Jeffrey Simpson did an online chat at GlobeandMail.com just now, and at one point he gives his view of the odds for the Liberal leadership race:
Rae 4:1, Dion 6:1, Iggy 10:1, Kennedy 50:1
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
OK, so the Parliament of Canada overwhelmingly passed a resolution last night declaring "That this House recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada." ("Que cette Chambre reconnaisse que les Québécoises et les Québécois forment une nation au sein d'un Canada uni".)
So, here are what should be 2 simple questions.
My best friend was born and raised in Quebec, has never lived anywhere else, is a bilingual, anglophone Montrealer with French Canadian ancestry on one side of his family, and English Canadian ancestry on the other.
Question 1. Is he a part of the "Quebecois nation" as (not) defined by Parliament?
Question 2. What if I had asked Question 1 in French, based upon the French resolution?
Don't spend too much time thinking about this one. I have a feeling there are dozens of answers to each question.
And "meaningless" resolution or not, isn't that a problem???
Monday, November 27, 2006
So, the abomination that is the "Quebecois nation" resolution (and I'll stop calling it an abomination once it includes a definition of both the words "nation" and "Quebecois") has forced a Cabinet Minister to resign, and it appears that Kennedy and Dryden are both now going to fight it.
Is it too late now though? Can anyone kill this thing?
The chattering classes have been telling anyone who would listen that this whole episode was a bad, bad, BAD idea, from day one, and finally it seems a couple of politicians have taken them to heart. Too little too late though?
If the Commons is really going to pass a resolution recognizing the Quebecois as a nation (despite the fact that the majority of Canadians (and around a third of Quebeckers) disagree with that assertion) at least with a few people providing some opposition, someone might think to define the terms "Quebecois" (which means something different in French than in English) and "nation" (which means something different depending upon whom you're talking to, the time of day, and the ambient room temperature in the room the discussion is taking place in). At least we might get a resolution that is clear enough that more than two people at a time can agree on what it means.
If you ask me, politicians are much too focused on the (presumed) reaction in Quebec to this resolution failing, and not nearly focused enough on the implications of it passing.
Maybe a Cabinet Minister resigning and a couple of federal Liberal leadership hopefuls tossing hand grenades around will wipe away some of the fog that seems to have descended upon the brains of those on Parliament Hill lately.
I won't hold my breath.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
24 November 2006
The Globe and Mail
With reports from Campbell Clark, Bill Curry, Daniel Leblanc, Rhéal Séguin and John Ibbitson
"... Mr. Harper's immediate reaction was that the Bloc was trying to divide Quebeckers — and the federalist political parties.
But Conservatives said the Prime Minister believes the separatists made a historic error in asking Parliament to define the status of Quebeckers. Separatists have always said “We'll take our own destiny in our own hands and we don't need Ottawa to tell us what to do” — to Mr. Harper's mind, the Bloc motion marked the first time the separatists had indirectly admitted that Ottawa has a say in Quebec's future.
The Prime Minister called Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe and asked him whether this was a course of action he truly wanted to take. Mr. Duceppe didn't back down.
Insiders said there was no discussion in those first hours of the problems that the motion could create for the opposition Liberals, already embroiled in an internecine dispute over the matter. Instead, they said, Mr. Harper was convinced it was his job to prevent divisions within the country.
He and his staff drafted a motion identical to the one to be put forward by the Bloc Québécois but for four critical words added on to the end, reading: “That this House recognize that the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada.”
Some Conservatives gave credit for the idea to Mr. Soudas, a young Quebecker of Greek descent. But Mr. Soudas refused to acknowledge that he played so crucial a part.
“There is a team around the Prime Minister and we all played an important role,” he said yesterday. “But, ultimately, at the end of the day, advisers can give 101 pieces of advice but it's the person who decides that matters..”
Mr. Harper met with NDP Leader Jack Layton and Liberal Leader Bill Graham on Tuesday evening to ask if they would form a united front against the Bloc.
During the brief meeting with Mr. Layton, the NDP Leader said his party has recognized Quebec as a nation for many years. Mr. Harper left believing that the New Democrats would be onside.
Mr. Graham was less clear. Conservatives suggest that was due to the divisions within his party. Liberal sources say the meeting was simply intended as a heads-up.
“It was something to the effect of, ‘This could turn into a Gong Show, and I'm going to try to put something together,' ” one Liberal said.
Later that evening, the Prime Minister's staff ran the motion past Stéphane Dion, the former intergovernmental affairs minister and author of the Clarity Act. He was the only Liberal leadership candidate the Conservatives consulted.
Wednesday, it was time to face the rank and file at caucus meetings. The Conservatives said the Prime Minister had little trouble consolidating support.
“There wasn't really any indication that people would be afraid of doing this, simply because they trust the Prime Minister . . . and they know that given his background, there wouldn't be any opening up of the Constitution or trying to lead down that road,” caucus chair Rahim Jaffer said.
The young Quebec caucus members were particularly moved by what the Prime Minister was saying, Ms. LeBreton said.
“At one point, a couple of members kind of jokingly suggested that they agree with what he is doing but is there not some way we can delay this because they were so enjoying watching the Liberals wrestle with this,” she said.
“But he simply said to them, ‘Look, this is about our country and the unity of our country and it's far more important than scoring political points on the backs of the Liberal Party'. . . That's when I said to myself, I am witnessing a special moment in history.”
Meanwhile, across the corridor of the Centre Block, the Liberal caucus was also meeting.
About 10 minutes before it ended, Mr. Graham and Mr. Harper had a tête-à-tête in the rear hallway. Mr. Harper told the Liberal Leader about the motion. Mr. Graham listened, but did not offer a commitment. Nor did he bring it back to his caucus. Instead, he consulted some “key” MPs, and decided to sign on.
Inside Mr. Graham's office, there were concerns about the impact the motion could have on the leadership race — in particular, the feeling that second-place Bob Rae, who has criticized Mr. Ignatieff on the nation issue, might feel sideswiped. But Mr. Harper had given Mr. Graham a yes or no choice.
The NDP, meanwhile, says it was being left in the dark. Mr. Layton's office was told that the Prime Minister would make a statement in the House of Commons at 3 p.m. but the topic would be “money related.” Then Canadian Press began to report that Mr. Harper would be talking about the Bloc motion.
Partial texts of Mr. Harper's statement were given to the opposition leaders about 20 minutes before he stood in the House to table his motion. In an eloquent address, he talked about Canada as being the greatest country in the world — one that has been forged with the help of Quebeckers. Mr. Graham gave his reply in an equally moving speech. His party would support the Conservative motion, he said.
Mr. Charest, who received a copy of the motion just before it was read in the House, called to say he was delighted. Inside the House antechambers, MPs on the Liberal and Conservative side were jubilant.
Yesterday morning, former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who is on vacation in Florida, called Ms. LeBreton to say how impressed he was with the media coverage.
“I said to the Prime Minister,” she said, “You can never go wrong when you do the right thing.”"
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
So, it seems to me, with Rona Ambrose continuing the party line that everything that's wrong with the country is the Liberal's fault, and the Tories shouldn't be held responsible, having been in office only 11 months, that someone really needs to call them on their claim that the Liberals "didn't have a plan" to address climate change.
It seems to me, for whatever little they did while they were in office, the Liberals DID actually have a plan to meet our International Treaty obligations under Kyoto, and that a big part of the Tories first 11 months in office has been spent cutting funding to those programs, and shelving all those plans. So, it seems to me the Tories are in the typical politician's position of claiming that their opponents didn't have an environmental plan, while spending all their time on the environment file systematically dismantelling the Liberals actual plan (which doesn't exist, never did, and is all in your mind... just because they're reversing it doesn't mean "it" ever existed).
The Tories are shouting to the rooftops that the Liberals didn't implement their climate change plan, and conveniently leaving out the fact that this is because they were defeated in the election and replaced by the Conservatives, who quickly gutted the $10 billion plan (which they will now have you believe never existed, because it was never implemented... and please ignore that it was never implemented because the government was defeated by a bunch of Tories who didn't want to implement it!!!).
So, I'm wondering. Does anyone have a comprehensive list of all of the Liberal's environmental programs, and plans for new programs, that the Conservatives have cancelled and/or shelved?
I think the Liberals could have met our Kyoto obligations, I know they would have at least tried, and at the very least I'm sure they wouldn't have been so casual about failing to live up to our obligations under international law. I'm also positive that if we did something as simple as reversing every environmental poilicy decision the Conservatives have made in the last 11 months, we'd get closer to fulfilling our international obligations than we will with their "Clean Air (someday) Act".
So, who'd like to start a list of all of the previously existing and planned Liberal environmental programs the Conservatives have cancelled, while simultaneously denying their existence?
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Is it just me, or is it a bit rich of a professional pontificator, who makes a living giving people his opinion in national newspapers and national television programs, to insinuate that a blogger is being too "self-involved" on his own blog!?!?
I like Andrew Coyne and all, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with a nationally published columnist taking pot shots at some guy's personal blog for being too "self-involved" as though that wasn't kinda the WHOLE POINT of blogging.
Cherniak's blog may be widely read, and he may be "in the public eye" to a certain, limited extent but if "too self-involved" is a legitimate criticism of some random Canadian's personal blog, then maybe we should shut down Blogger. It feels to me, kinda like reading someone's autobiography, and complaining that it's all about them. Or of a nationally recognized literary critic taking time out of their busy day to negatively critique a book of poetry published by some young aspiring poet on a vanity press somewhere, and publishing the review in Toronto Life.
I guess Cherniak should be flattered, Andrew Coyne is concerned about what he's writing about.
Me, I'd think it was a little creepy.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I give it two weeks!
History shows that such stunning incompetence can't be left unrewarded for long.
"You did a great job Rummy".
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
In honour of Remebrance Day, please consider signing the Dominion Institute's online petition urging the Prime Minister to honour our last WWI veteran resident in Canada (and by extension all WWI veterans) by offering his family the honour of a state funeral.
I think it's an excellent notion to bring greatly deserved honour to our WWI veterans who fought in such a terrible conflict under such horrific conditions, and to remind us all of their sacrifice in the Great War, a terrible conflagration that garners less and less remembrance each year, and which we do not connect to as readily as conflicts such as the Second World War, and more recent events.
Our youngest resident WWI veteran, Percy Wilson is 105 years young, and fellow veterans Lloyd Clemett and John Babcock are both 106, so sadly our last living connections to this tragic time may not be with us much longer.
I think a state funeral (at the option of the family, of course) would be an excellent, and meaningful way of honouring our WWI veterans, and their great sacrifices on behalf of all of us, and a tremendous opportunity to remember.
Please spread the word!
Update: Please vote for this post to keep it high on the Progressive Bloggers homepage for all to see!