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Archive for September, 2008

Lorne Mayencourt, the Tory candidate in Vancouver Centre against Hedy Fry, is the only Tory candidate to have ever voted for the imposition of a carbon tax. As a BC Liberal, Is support him on this, and it’s disappointing to see him join a party with such retrograde positions, positions that he has previously fought against. These include InSite, Carbon Taxation and others. That said, in a Vancouver Province article, Mayencourt agreed that revenue neutral Carbon Taxes (like both Premier Campbell’s and the Green Shift) do cut greenhouse gasses.

Mayencourt said B.C. residents are already taking more transit and driving less as a result of the provincial tax, which came in July 1.

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That Damn Trendline

So, a trend line appears to have been developing during the last couple of days. While many see the falling liberal poll numbers a bad sign for the party, I have to wait and see, because its not as if the impressions of people during the first week of the campaign have had a chance to gel yet.

Nanos consistently has the Liberals at 30%, now for the second day in a row. The Conservatives have stayed steady at 38%. This is indicative of one of two (or both, I suppose) things. First, the Canadian people could be topping out for Tory support. Perhaps there are just a given number of people who are not in favour of the idea of a Conservative government, and will not vote for one. In all honesty, this is probably more on the Grit-Fantasy side of things, so the second scenario is what I think is probably more likely. People have been turned off by the conservatives nasty style attack ads, and while those who are decided have parked their vote with the Tories (for now, given some variability questions), the rest of the country has been turned off by the amount of Avian Excrement that has been spread over the Tory campaign.

The reason why the Liberals have not picked up is nobody’s fault but the Liberals. They have to give the citizenry a reason to vote for them – if there is no reason to change, advantage goes to the incumbent. That said, the Liberal campaign is being run with a bit of hard core desperation, which is making the appearance of the campaign come off as disciplined, if uninspired. More announcements, and Stephane should work on the sound-byte. He keeps slurring it into other sentences, and really just needs to take a bit of a break, are carefully mete out his words.

He is getting better at it, and quips like “While Stephen Harper was building firewalls in the west, I was fighting for the unity of my country”, and “We would lose against the Americans, we would lose against the Russians, and we are too civilized to shoot the Danes”, there may be some gas in the Liberal tank yet.

 

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Handcuffs?

There are two things wrong with this. One is the fact that they handcuffed a comedian. (Please, please keep doing this kind of thing.) The second is “Do you like Handcuffs?”, which has provoked a mental image that is really only going to be able to be removed if I shove a Brillo pad into my brain. The horrible thing about this is that YouTube actually recommended that I watch this.

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I think that we can all agree that the debates are not something that is necessarily considered ‘must-see-TV’ by many Canadians, but that they are an important part of the election process. Viewership should be courted, not discouraged, which is what some particularly stupid decision is doing.

There are two debates scheduled for Thursday, October 1st. In English. On either side of the 49th Parallel. The United States Vice Presidential Debates and the Canadian Leaders Debate have been scheduled, respectively, for 8PM CDT and 9PM EDT (Times based on location of debate).

They’re taking place at the same time. Now, I don’t know how much of the debate viewing demographic is interested in Canadian politics to the exclusion of our Southern neighbors, but I can’t imagine that it is many, especially when the United States is going through one of the most exciting and important campaigns of its history. The Biden-Palin Debate involves a woman who has captivated the narrative in the US for weeks, as compared to our relatively pedestrian leaders who have to fight for news coverage with  their American counterpart at the best of times, let alone a once-in-a-campaign event.

There is still time to change the time of the Debate. Perhaps a September 30th debate, or a shift to one week later. Or holding it earlier. Or later. Really, something to allow people to watch both these events. Every person who watches the American debate is less informed on the Canadian campaign. The consortium is supposed to take the interests of Canadians into account. I think its in the interests of Canadians to watch the debate with as few major political distractions as possible.

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Let May Debate

I am not a Green Supporter. I am not even sure that the Greens would be my second choice in this election, although they probably would be. I am not a huge fan of Elizabeth May, but she is my favorite amongst the other party leaders. But overall, I believe in democracy, and I think it is abhorrent that May is not allowed in the leadership debates.

The standard for inclusion in the debates should not be some arbitrary seat requirement. The standard should be whether or not the inclusion of someone in the debates would offer relevant information to a large proportion of the Canadian Public.

Polling on this is pretty clear – people want the Greens in the debates. Even biased web polls, like the one on Macleans.ca are sitting at about tied, and that’s with thousands of partisans from the NDP and Tories stacking one side of it (Are Greens stacking the other side – you betcha – but look at party membership numbers). Scientific surveys are way more on the side of the Greens inclusion.

However, polling is irrelevant. People might want to vote for the Greens, and those broadcasters who we gave the Airwaves away to for free owe it to Canadians to show us what the party leaders think. I wonder how many people polled would like to see Gilles Duceppe in the debates? After all, Non-Quebec Canada will NEVER have the opportunity to vote for a Bloc MP. They’ve been able to vote Green for some time now.

Perhaps looking at another standard – that of the taxpayer. How much money are Canadians spending to finance Elizabeth May’s campaign? The Greens cleared that threshold, which no other non-represented party did, and so we, as the taxpayers deserve a chance to see what we are paying for. Many people vote for the Greens as a protest vote, and now that they are becoming an honest to god alternative, perhaps we should no longer be so cavalier.

Finally, historically, this is not unprecedented. Parties are pragmatic institutions (with the notable exception of the NDP, which would not know pragmatism if that particular abstract concept walked up and hit them in the face), and have coordinated historically. In the 1926 election, the Progressive and Liberal parties were so coordinated that they would not run candidates in some Manitoba and Ontario ridings against one another, and in some, nominated Liberal-Progressive candidates, while still running against each other in the rest of the country. Taste that – that’s precedent. I wonder what Jack Layton thinks about the actions of his parties spiritual forbearers.

Notably, Jack Layton stands out in this story as a huge hypocrite. His threats to boycott forced the cable consortium into excluding May, and then when he is caught up in controversy (Sample from Democrat-Jack’s Facebook page – As a 60 year old women who has voted N.D.P. my entire life, you have also just LOST my vote unless you allow the Greens into the debate. It makes you look like a very worried man who is afraid of an open fair debate. Come on Jack, are you really that afraid of Elizabeth May?), he blames the broadcast consortium for making a decision that he himself forced them into.

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This is an incredibly interesting time in Vancouver right now. In the next eight months, we will be thrust headlong into three campaigns, renewing each of the three levels of government.

Federal

Good news for Joyce Murray and Blair Wilson (as good as news can get for Blair nowadays anyway) in that David Emerson will not be seeking reelection. As much of the buzz was that Emerson would try to unseat the vulnerable Murray in Vancouver Quadra, the district in which he lives. Blair Wilson’s West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea To Sky Country was also touted as a possible parachute target. Blair’s riding is going to be interesting – provincially, the ridings that comprise WVSCSTSC vote Green at rates over 20%. When an incumbent MP, one who has a fair degree of name recognition in the riding and still (interestingly enough) has a fair degree of personal popularity. One to watch.

Provincial

Not much going on right now, aside from Gary Lunn sticking his ugly mug into the mix. I wonder if this might make one or two hardcore BCLP supporters vote Liberal rather than Conservative out of spite.

Municipal

Fun things going on on the other side of Blanca Street. I like Ladner and Robertson, and am really just happy that Sullivan will no longer be the Mayor. When you have an oppertunity such as the Olympics, it is your job not to squander it, which is exactly what Sam did. We could have revitalized this city, and solved som of the serious housing and addiction problems that confront us, especially in the Downtown East Side. Alas, it was not to be – one of these two men, however, should be able to salvage something from the wreckage.

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