Sunday, May 18, 2008

Politicians Fail on CTV's QP

Watching Jane Taber interviewing the politicians then David Suzuki this morning provided a shocking reminder how poorly politicians are at leading, informing and debating.

Some Tory, Peggy Nash and David McGuinty squared off with Taber throwing questions at them about their view of Dion's new proposed tax reform.  The Conservative guy with Trailer Park Boys hair was pretty obviously rotten.  Peggy Nash and David McGuinty did a good job saying "my policy was better".  I thought it was a reasonable back-and-forth between them.  I have to say, McGuinty got the benefit of the argument from Taber.

But then Suzuki came on and demonstrated why politicians are subsidized with their own shows outside the real world, with the only 'intelligent' interjections coming from the tiresome talking heads and columnists.  They don't do well with anything but talking-point politics.

Suzuki, in probably less than 5 minutes, actually explained policy beyond rhetoric, criticized the Harper government for inaction, the NDP for obstruction and the past Liberal government for inaction.  Indeed, he spoke passionately and convincingly about how past "aspirational reductions" don't work and how Canadians need our noses put in it.

He cites the NDP opposition to the BC gas tax as a tempest in a teacup, $10 per tonne of fuel, whereas in Sweden for years they have had a $150 per tonne charge on fuel.

Our proposed action seems a joke, but at least it's a start.

He chided politicians for endless rhetoric, committee-ing, and myopic vote-hunting.  He cited a 1977 government panel during the OPEC crisis that came to conclusions that are the same as today, energy efficiency, 30 years ago!

I'd love to read that committee report, if anyone reads this post that knows could you please post a link?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Women: Us vs Them

Women are big in politics in the US this year.  We haven't had a woman in a key position of political power in ages, many columnists have written about this before.

I was just looking at the numbers again, and the Senate is surprisingly better than the House; I guess that's because women live longer, especially with Hugh Segal stealing all the guys' lunch money.  Imagine those frail male bodies, spare a little change for food?

Senate: 32 (34.4%)
House of Commons: 65 (21.3%)

I get the feeling Harper would only appoint men to the Senate.  The number of women should drop further.  Imagine the House of Commons numbers and how they would plummet if there was a Conservative landslide.

Worldwide, we are 49th (fitting maybe).  I thought the US was going to do better in their Senate or House, but nope:

US Senate: 16 (16%)
US House: 73 (16.8%)

And our parents, the UK and France?

#58, UK (tied with Cambodia)
House: 126 (19.5%)
Lords: 148 (19.7%)

#62, France (tied with the Grenadines)
Lower: 105 (18.2%)
Upper: 60 (18.2%)

None of this is close to the equality in Cuba and Scandinavia, but we are working towards it.  I wonder how many people vote for gender more than anything else.  That would be an interesting poll.  Maybe it's one that Dion did back in his days as a sociology prof?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The House: Dion & Rae

Bob Rae and Stephane Dion were very clear and well-spoken again in the media, on May 10th's The House (link to the podcast).  Mr. Dion was clear with his views of pricing carbon pollution.  The clarity was enlightening, he was honest and convincing.  If the Liberals could replay that segment in ads right now, Canadians would vote for the Dion team ASAP.

Beyond the above, I think the strong Liberal team should be sold to the public.  There is a huge amount of skill and competence to contrast with the Tory cabinet joke.

To that end, Rae will get slagged by opponents for his rocky Premiership in Ontario.  To counter that, the Liberals should be promoting Rae's international experience of mediating in Sri Lanka.

I have a great deal of respect for Lloyd Axworthy, who spearheaded the anti-landmine campaign and deservedly received a nod for the Nobel Prize-winning work.  Rae and others can further this popular legacy of peace and mediation; I think Ignatieff's missteps don't poise him to stand on his own at this point.

A New Candidate? Blair's waiting. BC is waiting!

The riding is a mouthful: West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country... sooo westcoast, haha.  Damned hippies.

We should all remember this: Blair Wilson, excommunicated from Liberal caucus for not being entirely above the board... according to his own father-in-law.  Well, Wilson is still working as the MP and seems not to be a thorn in the local riding association's side.  Now, who will be the new candidate, and when?

This riding is one of great wealth, great diversity and will be the focus of the World in 2010.

It is a microcosm of a lot of BC issues.  Tourism, logging, quality of life, money.  West Vancouver, a tony suburb of Vancouver; Whistler, the tourism Mecca of BC; Squamish, the resource town in between, with large working class and First Nations populations; the Sunshine Coast, resource workers and hippies, not to mention a few retirees.

The riding is a battleground.  In 2004, John Reynolds, Tory house leader (and creep), was prematurely called the loser.  In the end, he won by a scant 1687 votes (3%, down from a 21% margin in 2000).

In 2006, with Reynolds retired, his perennial opponent Liberal Blair Wilson  beat the new Conservative candidate, John Weston, by only 986 votes (1.5% margin).  Then, in 2006, things went pear-shaped for Wilson, (as linked above).

It was claimed that Weston was a "star" candidate.  Sure, maybe, I dunno.  But here we are now, post-sponsorship scandal (having won the riding), with a new slippery Liberal MP.  How will the riding's voters react?

Likely, same as last time.  If they didn't mind voting for a Liberal when the country was sick of doing so and more than a little turned off of the party, why would they change their vote now? At the same time, Reynolds was never a popular figure but rather won the riding through name recognition.  Obviously his successor didn't have that advantage in 2006 but may in the coming election.  While likely that the Liberal vote will stick, it is in no way guaranteed.  Politics is local and the Liberal MP is scandalized.

The riding must be carried by the Liberals to keep their lock on the big cities.  It will also give them a much needed seat in BC.  The riding cannot be neglected.  The Conservatives have a strong organization in the riding, and surely taste blood in Wilson's ejection.  The Conservatives spent $86'000 in the riding in 2006 (the Liberals spent $82'000).

It's time to focus, build a campaign and select a strong, well-respected, progressive candidate for West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky Country - Candy and Bubble Gum - Trees and Shrubs - Skis and Snowboards.

Afterall, we want a progressive Liberal on the podium in 2010.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Polls: The UNdecideds

The polling numbers are always around 30-34 or something... but that's committed voters.  I want to know what the undecided numbers are.

What are they?

They seem to be the most important numbers if we've known for months that the committed numbers haven't changed.  In the past I always remember the undecided votes to be about 10-15% and that a big hoopla was made when they were at 20%.

I have a feeling that if both Tories and Liberals are stuck at 1/3 each, the undecided number is big.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

CPC & Double-dipping?

If you look on the CPC 1st Quarter donations list there are two entries on different dates:

Edward S. Rogers    March 13th, 2008    $1000
Edward S. Rogers    March 25th, 2008    $1000

Hmm, I'd be curious to know whether these entries were the same person or not.

Here is another less suspicious one I noticed:

Frederick H. Mannix   February 5th, 2008   $1000
Frederick P. Mannix    March 17th, 2008      $1000