Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Hey, Scott Reid!

I guess Alberta could blow you!

Polls

SES was right. The bastards.

Victory

The Ontario vote did collapse, just as I'd feared, but thanks to Quebec--QUEBEC!!--the Tories still win.

Razor thin, yes, but a victory nonetheless.

Kinsella notes that the Tories ran an almost perfect campaign, and the Liberals an almost impossibly bad campaign, and that Canadians still were only willing to grant Harper the tiniest of wins. But I think this is failing to see the forest, or looking a gift horse in the mossy stones, or something. A mildly right-wing government has won, led by a mildly libertarian candidate, who actually advocated adding property rights to the constitution in the middle of a televised debate. In Canada. In our cities! And despite the fact that Harper was running against 3 other parties, all of whom made him out to be some unholy product of a union between Chimpy W. Bushitler and Satan Himself... And despite the fact that the Tories were opposed not only by the incumbent, who came to office only 2 years ago trailing clouds of glory, but also opposed by the public broadcaster and by the largest-circulation newspaper in the country... And despite the fact that Harper was himself widely perceived as such an electoral albatross only 6 months ago that he was seen as his opponent's biggest asset.

It is an historic achievement.

And to all those who are whingeing (this means you, Robert Fife!) that Harper will have a difficult time working with this tiny minority, I say: suck it. It is, parliamentarily speaking, no more difficult working with a 21 seat lead than a 41 seat lead. A minority is a minority. Just like Martin's minority in 2004, Harper needs 2 other parties to support any legislation. And his slim lead will help keep the Tory crazies (this means you, Cheryl Gallant!) on a short leash. This slim minority will help Harper whip his fractious team into line.

I would have preferred a larger lead--a 30 or 40 seat lead, rather than 20 seats. But this is only because I wanted more Liberals to lose (The sweet part of this bitterness: they're sitting in Opposition! Olé!) If we are to have a minority, it truly does not matter how big the lead is.

This is only the first step. And for the first time in more than a dozen years, it's a step in the right direction.

This is a good thing for Canada.

Phew.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

From the hit musical Les Liberables...

One day more!
Another day, another destiny.
This never-ending road from Calgary;
These Grits who perpetrate their crimes
Now surely have run out of time.
One day more!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Almost there.

Paul Martin is a disgusting demagogue. Like that race-baiter Al Sharpton, Martin is a prov-baiter: he will intentionally make every effort to divide the country into with-me's and against-me's, because he hopes to be on the right side.

It is one thing to attack your opponent on the basis of his personal flaws or mistakes: he is corrupt, she is wrong-headed, he is weak, she is hypocritical, etc. It is quite another to attack an entire region of your own country, as Martin and his monkey Buzz have been doing. When Martin's monkey tries to carve up this country into Good Toronto and Bad Alberta, he no doubt thinks that he is doing his master a favour--if Good has more votes than Bad, after all, then Master may win!

But such a victory can only come at incalculable cost to the nation as a unitary state. How many times do Albertans and other westerners have to be told we are Unwanted, before we finally shrug like Atlas?

[UPDATE: want an example of what I mean? Read this. And it's not even from Martin's monkey. It's from the Great Man Himself.]

This should be a sobering piece for any Liberal who thinks he can save Canada by pushing the knife into Alberta just one more time.

Personally I am not overly emotionally invested in "Canada" as a nation. Don't get me wrong: I like it here. We're a pretty free people, albeit with a pretty corrupt and increasingly statist government. Compared to most of the world's crapholes, this is a pretty great place to live. But I can easily envision a better country: one with all of Canada's freedoms, and more. One with less government, fewer taxes, a stronger economy, better universities. A well-armed, if modestly sized, armed forces. A foreign policy more grounded in values and liberty, and less in schoolyard anti-Americanism. A country worth keeping.

The Conservative Party is hardly a libertarian's dream. To call their policies "watered-down" is to do a disservice to water. But it is a start: they make an effort, in tiny, pathetic ways, to enlarge the sphere of my liberty. My taxes would be lower under their rule--if only slightly. The role of government in my family's life would be smaller--although you might need a micrometer to prove it. The government might finally do just one of the three things a government actually should do, namely defend our borders--if only a little bit better. But I accept that the only way Canada will improve is incrementally. We are not going to wake up one morning and find ourselves in Galt's Gulch. But we may just wake up next Tuesday with the tiniest flickering ember of hope.

All of this is a long and wordy way of saying something very simple.

If Canada's voters let Martin's demagoguery win the day again, for the second time in as many elections, then I will finally see the light. If my values are bad for Canada, if I'm not only wrong but actually harmful to this country, then it will be time to go. For me, my Canada does not include Buzz Hargrove. But if Canadians decide that they'd rather have his values than mine, that's their right. Farewell, no hard feelings, see you later, here's your toothbrush and robe. Goodbye.

Splitsville.

Polls

They've all pretty much moved into equivalence with one another: the Tories have about 37, the Grits about 30. Personally I think the final results will be a bit tighter (36-33), with a weak Tory minority--i.e. it will require more than 1 party to support them in order to pass anything.

Fortunately the Libs are going to be brokebrokebroke after this, and the Bloc are going to be scared, so I think a Tory minority would be at least as stable as the Martin minority was. Which is to say, we'll be back listening to the same disgusting lies and cheap pandering by fall 2007.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

2004 Election - Canada



These are the SES data for the 2004 campaign. I have added my own "best-fit" trend lines (for Tories and Libs) to smooth out day-to-day bumps.

There was clearly a trend towards a Liberal victory from about the 3/4 point of the campaign, i.e. with about 10 days to go. The parties' support had really almost flattened out with about a week to go.

Atlantic Canada and Quebec



Here are the SES results for the 2006 campaign, for Atlantic Canada and Quebec. I have added my own "best-fit" trend lines for the Tories and the Libs.

It looks to me like the parties will be roughly tied in Atlantic Canada (meaning a seat gain for the Tories from 2004), and with the Tories ahead by a bit in Quebec (which means probably 2 to 4 seats for the CPC, and maybe 6 to 8 for the Libs, because of how the latter's vote is concentrated in Montreal).

Ontario and Western Canada




Here are the SES results for 2006 in Ontario and Western Canada. I have added my own "best-fit" trend lines for Tories and Libs.

It looks to me like these two parties will end up approximately tied in Ontario (which means Libs hold seats in GTA and Tories pick up in 905), and with the Tories way ahead in the West (which is irrelevant information, because the only place that matters for the Libs is BC and these data do not give BC numbers).

I can't stand it

I knew the race would tighten. My guess is Monday will show something like 36 - 33 in favour of the Tories. But it's still agony watching it happen. It's agony because I have no trust in the political judgement of my Learned Friends in Ontario. None. Zero. I wouldn't trust Ontario voters to choose the prize bull at a county fair, let alone a g**d*** Prime Minister.

I know Occam and others think polls are stupid, but they're not. They're just data. Sure, the data may be biased or inconclusive or misinterpreted by eager partisans... but they're still just data. They're generally true... or, at least, true-ish. As Terry Pratchett might say, they're true for a given value of true.

That being said, something looks wrong with these data:
Decima: 37 - 27 for the Tories, +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20
SES: 37 - 30 for the Tories, +/- 2.9%, 19/20
CTV: 42 - 24 for the Tories, +/- 2.5%, 19/20

Is it different voter support on different polling days? Which is to say, is voter support shifting quickly from one day to the next? Decima is Jan. 12-15, SES is Jan. 14-16, and CTV is Jan. 14-16. Given that SES and CTV are the same dates, the answer here is "no".

Or are these just different points along the "plus-or-minus" line? Maybe we can make these make sense. Look just at Tory support.
Decima's Tory range: 33.9 - 40.1
SES' Tory range: 34.1 - 39.9
CTV's Tory range: 39.5 - 44.5

And the Grits:
Decima: 23.9 - 30.1
SES: 27.1 - 32.9
CTV: 21.5 - 26.5

It's possible to make the Tory number work out--something in the 39.5 to 39.9 range fits all 3 polls. The Libs don't quite fit: with only Decima and SES considered, we can make the Liberal number anything from 27.1 to 30.1, but the CTV number is incompatible. The highest CTV number (26.5) and the lowest SES number (27.1) don't mesh.

Either one of these polls is the "mythical" 20th poll, or there are local complications (e.g. is one province sampled differently in SES and CTV polls?) or different ways of handling the undecideds. We could split the difference, and say "the mid point between SES and CTV is 26.8% for the Liberals", but that's pretty fudgey and likely wouldn't pass muster with most statisticians.

Regrettably I am no statistician. If one is out there, please help me understand these polls...

Friday, January 13, 2006

This is no time to quit

I sense my fellow partisans letting down their guard. Andrew Coyne is going all Hindenburg on us, and Greg Staples says he is "worried no more" and "the only remaining question is how strong will the Conservative mandate be?"

The election is not tomorrow, people. It's more than a week away. You think it's over? Not a chance.

The Liberals are a wounded bear. Harper can't take his eyes off them for a second. The moment the Tories get distracted and triumphal, this goddamn thing could all go pear-shaped. A couple of Tory war-room screw-ups, a couple of loose cannon candidates... shudder. All I'm saying is: focus!

Just because the Liberals have the stench of death does not mean they are actually dead. We can't let up now. Drive the stake in their heart, Stephen. Show Canada some positive issues-based ads, to take advantage of the Liberal confusion over their ad disaster, and a new negative one to fight back: not sponsorship, but honesty. I think you should quote their military ad and their leadership funding ad and refute them, personally, on camera. I think you should call Martin a liar. He is, and everybody knows it.

They won't be dead until January 23, and then only with continued hard work and good luck. Any other party would be at 10% in the polls now. They're still hovering around 30 nationwide, and basically tied with the Tories in Ontario. Tied! After the campaign they've had!?!? Remember: there is a HUGE reservoir of goodwill towards the Liberals out there. We have to poison that well.

Kill! Maim! Disfigure! Don't let up until the final whistle has sounded!

Courage is all well and good, but we need something different. What we need is bloodthirst.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Thank You

Flush.

The more I think about this, the worse it gets

Here's John Reynolds, Tory Campaign guru, on Derek "Nothing To Declare" Zeisman:

“He will go to court, and he is still an innocent man until he goes through this process.... He’s a nominated candidate for the next election, and he’s on the ballot. And his constituents will make up their mind whether they think this is a serious issue.”

Let me get this straight.

When it's Goodale and the Liberals, it's all about the "appearance" of wrongdoing, and the responsibility of parliamentarians to uphold the highest ethical standards.

But when it's about some no-name Tory pustule who's putting MY PERSONAL JOY AT MARTIN'S IMPENDING LOSS AT RISK, it's all "ooh, he's innocent until proven guilty... these are charges not evidence... I have considered my own behaviour and I have completely exonerated myself."

Up yours, Reynolds. Cut this f*cker loose. Now. Send him a fax: "Go. Go away. You're getting in between me and my Tory victory celebration, asshole."

Nothing explains this kind of Tory passivity except the kind of blinkered stubbornness that led to the Martin Supports Child Pr0n... etc etc from 2004. I can't believe that someone calling himself a Tory during this election would have the gall to even mouth the words "he's innocent until proven guilty." Um, hello? Suck my what? Don't you think this kind of undercuts the WHOLE FREAKING TORY PLATFORM, YOU ASSHOLES!

Pathetic.

Stand Up For Canada, Unless It's A Tory Under Indictment, In Which Case Stand Up And Plead Not Guilty Your Honour.







Don't do this to me. I've waited so long for the Liberals to lose. Soooooo long. Dear lord, please. Do the right thing. I'll never think bad thoughts about Stephen Harper again, I promise. Pretty please?

I knew it couldn't last

Nice.

Thanks, bud.

The only blessing here is that this broke after the eastern papers were put to bed (I hope--the morning editions may prove me wrong). This will give Harper a chance to cut this f*cker loose before noon Thursday.

Don't give me any crap about "innocent until proven guilty". It's not a goddamn constitutional right to be a Tory candidate or MP. If you're a candidate, you have to tell the goddamn truth about being criminally charged with a goddamn felony offense. Harper must must must MUST get rid of this guy.

He must say this:
"The Conservative Party has higher standards than my opponent. We expect a certain standard of behaviour from our candidates and ultimately our members of parliament, and Mr. Zeisman has failed to live up to those standards. By his lack of truthfulness about this matter with our party and with the public, Mr. Zeisman has disqualified himself as a Conservative candidate. I have revoked his nomination papers. He is no longer a candidate for the Conservative Party in this election. If you have any questions I would be pleased to answer them."

Please. Please. Please. Show the kind of leadership that Paul Martin has not and cannot. This is either a silly bump in the road, or the beginning of a media backlash--and a voter backlash--against the Tories. For God's sake do the right thing: amputate.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Those Ads

I think they'll work. I think they'll work well. Part of the reason they'll work is because the Tories won't want to hit back just as hard.

I think the popular vote will end up being a virtual tie. The Tories may end up squeaking out a razor-thin minority, but we can kiss strong minority/majority goodbye.

I don't know why the Tory ads are so pusillanimous. I don't know why they're scared of using the word "liar" to describe Martin. Yeah, yeah, "why should we believe him" blah blah blah. Call him a goddamn liar and hit him HARD. But they won't.

This is why the Liberals win all the time. They're not afraid to do the dirty work.

Damn.

Notwithstanding the Red Book

The Shotgun has what appears to be an advance copy of the 2006 Red Book. It will come as no surprise to you, I am sure, that there is no mention of the "central" plank of Martin's New! Improved! campaign: i.e. Martin's panic attack "plan" to revoke the Notwithstanding Clause.

The only mention of the Charter in the Red Book occurs on page 55 (of 85 pages total, which gives you some idea of its relative significance to the Liberals...). Here is the relevant paragraph:

"The successes that Liberals cherish today – the creation of our public health care system; bilingualism; multiculturalism; the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; the restoration of fiscal order – did not come about by chance. They are an extension of the values that set us apart from our political opponents and that guide our actions."


Nope, nothing about notwith. I bet the Red Book was written about 2 weeks ago, and the notwithstanding "plan" invented about 3:15 a.m. Monday.

Paul Wells suggests that Martin's plan was written on the back of a napkin. Me, I'm not so sure. I doubt it was written down at all. But if it was written on a napkin, I have a simple solution: just staple that bad boy into the Red Book, and voila! It's policy!

Another triumph, Prime Minister. Well done, sir.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Maybe this time it's just different

"We just started the third quarter pause, refer to notes and I don't think you spark the ball short pause spike the ball pause, refer to notes until verrrrry long pause, refer to notes twice until pause until the game is over sickly smile, head bob."
Rt. Hon. Paul Martin Jr., Prime Minister of Canada, January 8, 2006

Hey, stumblebum: I'm sure you're getting suuuuuuper advice from The Board, but here's my two cents.
(1) This is a hockey country. Not football. Not baseball. Not box lacrosse. Hoooockeeeeey. If you're going to make a sports analogy, try the one with the ice and the puck.
(2) Spark the ball?
(3) You don't spike the ball when the game is over. You spike the ball when you score a touchdown. Nobody spikes the ball when they win, OR when they lose. Doesn't happen. You're an idiot.
(4) If you are unable to present a simple sports analogy without 5 pauses and 3 references to notes, you may wish to find another line of work.


I was getting my knickers all in a twist about the Tories' mistakes this weekend, but maybe I needn't worry. Their timing is impeccable: one day after their worst campaign day by far, the Tories get a pool showing them 8 points up nationwide, leading in Ontario, and statistically tied in Quebec. You think tomorrow's Globe headline is going to be "Harper muses about majority"? Good freakin' luck, my friend. It's going to be a big poll B.J. for les Bleues. And the debates are tomorrow as well, which pretty much ruins any Liberal chance at focussing people's attention on their "platform" (insert pink elephant hallucination joke here).

And speaking of Tory BJs, did anyone else catch NewsNet tonight? There was a typical "nationwide" panel of reporters (two in Montreal, one in Kitchener), and they and Saaaandie Rinaaaaaaaldo spent at least 10 minutes giving Harper a big kissy-smoochy. It was weird. Craig Oliver, Robert Fife, Lisa LaFlamme--it was a love-in for Harper. They frankly kicked Martin's ass to the curb. Weird. Fife even said that Martin's attempts to go neg "probably wouldn't work this time."

It was apparent that poor Craig Oliver did seem to be legally dead. I like Craig, but maybe he needs a vacation.

There's that old adage about generals always trying to fight the last war. I wonder if this is what the Liberals are trying to do, and what I was trying to do as well. Who knows. This whole thing could still blow up in Harper's face like some backed-up toilet. We could all be forced to sit through another sweaty-faced triumphal speech from that Martin character. January 24 could be a very bad morning. But I'm starting to wonder if this time might not be different. Maybe the Liberal spin won't work this time. Maybe the Globe won't try to assassinate Harper's character. Maybe that famously tremulous beast, Ontarionus voterensis, will keep its wits for two more weeks.

We'll see.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

3 ½ mistakes in 2 days

Maybe we really are re-living the 2004 campaign.

1) Tories say they'll raise taxes on the poor.

2) Tories say they'll repeal Kyoto.

3) Tories muse about a majority.

3 ½) Liberal ad says Tories will "kill your children"... and the Tories don't respond. (Only ½ point because it's only been 24 hours, so maybe a response is pending.)

Look, you stupid bastards: don't you understand? You have to be better liars than the Liberals. This is not actually as hard as it sounds, because these Liberals are led by Paul Martin who sounds like he's lying even when he's telling the truth. Harper should be beating Martin like a rented mule in the plausible lie department.

Here's how the Tories should have handled these questions:

1) "We'll be releasing our entire tax package in x days. It's a family focused policy for middle class Canadians."

2) "We'll be releasing our complete environmental platform in x days. Unlike the Liberals, we don't believe in lying about imaginary goals and pretend policies. The Conservative platform will address real change to air quality and water quality, to help make sure that polluters like Paul Martin's old company don't get away with it any more."

3) "Look, Canadians know we are going to have a minority government after January 23. The question this country is faced with is: which party offers Canada the best chance for honest, trustworthy, capable leadership? Will we have a Liberal minority, focussed entirely on scandal, leaks, and lies? Or a Conservative minority with an achievable five-point plan?"

3 ½) HIT THEM HARD.

Opening shot: two television screens in a dimly lit studio. The first screen flickers into the "They'll go neg" ad opening: a black and white Paul Martin face, fading quickly into the Globe and Mail head.

FEMALE VOICEOVER
Last week we told you Paul Martin was about to run a campaign of lies and distortions, because Paul Martin has nothing positive to offer the country.


Second screen shows the beginning of the Liberal child care spot, with the disappearing children.

FEMALE VOICEOVER
Now Paul Martin's Liberals are lying about the Conservative Child Care Plan.


Fade to pictures of children and families popping up all over the screen, the reverse of the Liberals' disappearing act.

FEMALE VOICEOVER
The Conservative plan will help all families, by helping families do what's best for their children. Paul Martin's team may think that parents would rather buy beer and popcorn than take care of their children, but the Conservative plan will make it easier for all Canadian parents to make their families strong. The Conservative plan for 125,000 day care spaces and direct help to every family with children is something Paul Martin can't offer...


Fade to black and white picture of Paul Martin from the "They'll go neg" ad.

FEMALE VOICEOVER
...so all he can do is lie. Again.


Fade to Conservative logo.

FEMALE VOICEOVER
On January 23rd, stand up for Canada. Vote Conservative.




Hit.
Them.
Hard.

Now.

(With thanks to Norman and Andrew for links)

Oh yeah? Weird THIS, razor boy!

Tagged by Occam.

5 weird things about me:

1. I can move my ears independently of one another.
2. I support privatizing the fire department.
3. I practise conversations with people inside my head, before they happen in real life. The conversations are in my head. The people are not in my head. Does that make sense?
4. I am obsessed with the newspaper. I can be walking down the street with my wife, and we'll walk past a newspaper box featuring a newspaper I already read that morning. And I will stop in the middle of the sidewalk, and read the part of the front page visible through the glass of the box. You know, just in case.
5. I have fallen asleep standing up. More than once.

For what it's worth, I tag these 5:
Matt
Colby
Jay
Sean
Bart

And just to piss off Bob: cheers!

Monday, January 02, 2006

This is like the political version of the prisoners' dilemma...

Dec. 31: Prime Minister Paul Martin says he was one of the people who knew in advance about Ralph Goodale's announcement on income trusts Nov. 23[...] Answering reporters' questions, he was unable to say who else in his office heard about Goodale's announcement before it was made public. "Well, I knew and I'm one of them," Martin said.

Jan. 2: Finance Minister Ralph Goodale is trying to get Paul Martin out of the line of fire in the income trust controversy as the Liberals and other parties revive their full-scale election campaigns today. [...] Goodale said yesterday [that] the Prime Minister was not aware of the final position the government was going to take.


This is exactly like the whole CARP imbroglio at the beginning of this Income Trust mess. The CARP guy says on camera that he got a heads-up call pre-announcement from Finance. Then he comes on later and says NONONONO I WAS MISQUOTED nobody called me. But it was too late, someone at Finance had already admitted notifying CARP. So then the CARP guy comes on again and says, well, yes, he HAD been called... by which time the Libs were slamming the CARPers as demented old coots.

Hey, Ralphie and Paul: another home run, boys. Well done.

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