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Old 03-27-2011, 10:03 AM   #16
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More like thoroughly boring, and that's the way I want it to say.

U.S. politics is exciting, you don't want that BS here, do you?
Sure, but even a few weeks ago I started noticing U.S.-style television attack ads, mostly from the Conservatives.

I really hope this doesn't turn out to be a U.S. type of campaign, at least the ones we've seen since 2000.
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:47 AM   #17
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Sure, but even a few weeks ago I started noticing U.S.-style television attack ads, mostly from the Conservatives.
They've been running those on and off for the last 2 years. I usually just laugh.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:35 PM   #18
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Gardner: Are we going to reward contempt of Parliament?

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The man who wrote Two Cheers for Minority Government doesn’t cheer the prospect of yet another Harper minority.

“The status quo is just not tenable, for anybody,” says Peter Russell, professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and one of the country’s most respected political scientists. But a Conservative majority would be worse. “It would send a bad message about Parliamentary democracy if a government brought down for contempt, very serious contempt, on the finding of a Speaker, is rewarded with a majority. I think it would encourage Mr. Harper and maybe those after him to be contemptuous of Parliament. And then I think we’re in real trouble.”

Ah, yes. The small matter of contempt.

It’s easy to forget that, in the mad rush of events leading up to the election call and the noise that followed, Stephen Harper’s government was formally found to be in contempt of Parliament — by vote in the House of Commons — for refusing to disclose the cost of several items on its agenda. It was what formally brought down the government. You might say it’s what this election is about.

Not that anyone would know that listening to the prime minister. Speaking at Rideau Hall after asking the Governor General to call an election, Stephen Harper said nothing about the contempt verdict. It was a fittingly contemptuous response, as all his comments on the matter have been. Earlier, as events were pushing toward their conclusion and a key ruling went against the government, Harper shrugged. “You win some, you lose some,” he said. On another occasion, he dismissed the whole matter as nothing more than the “the game of democratic politics.”

Lots of Canadians seem to agree. Since the election call, the contempt ruling has essentially vanished from the campaign. A recent poll found the umbrella term “ethics” placed a distant third in a recent survey of election priorities, with just 14 per cent of Canadians citing it as a top concern.

That is sad, frankly. Because this is most certainly not a political game.

Remember that the vote in the House of Commons was only the final step in the process. Before it could happen, there had to be an investigation by the Speaker of the House, Peter Milliken, a man who probably knows as much about parliamentary power and procedure as anyone in the country. Milliken concluded the government had indeed breached parliamentary privilege and so there were good grounds for finding it in contempt. “This is serious matter that goes to the heart of the House’s undoubted role in holding the government to account,” Milliken declared.

It’s also important to put the verdict in perspective. In Canada, we have had 13 minority governments at the federal level. There have been many more in the provinces. In Britain, the “Mother of all Parliaments” has seen 18 minority governments since 1834. A lot of political games were played in all those governments and yet what just happened in Canada is unique: No government has ever been found in contempt of Parliament.

So the verdict is nothing less than historic. And it’s not the only historic ruling to come out of the 40th Parliament.

Recall that when Parliament explicitly and repeatedly demanded to see documents related to the Afghan detainee controversy, and the government refused, the Speaker rebuked the government in a landmark ruling: In the Westminster system, Milliken reminded the prime minister, the people elect representatives to the House of Commons and the House decides who forms the government. Hence, the government answers to the House, not the other way around, and if the House orders the government to hand over documents, the government must salute and deliver.

That’s all basic stuff. Every MP and high school student should know it. But Stephen Harper has consistently chosen to put his fetish for power and control ahead of fundamental constitutional principles. He has even chosen to lie about the Constitution.

Yes, lie. Whatever his faults, the prime minister is an intelligent man who has lived and breathed politics his entire life. He understands constitutional basics. He has even astutely commented on the Constitution in the past. So Harper knows that much of what he and his ministers have said about coalitions and the Constitution is not true.

“The Canadian government has always been chosen by the people,” Harper said in a televised address during the “coalition crisis” of 2008. That is false. Around the same time, John Baird claimed that a coalition of smaller parties taking control of government from a party with a plurality is “nothing short of a coup d’état.” That is absurd.

And the barrage of lies about the Constitution didn’t end in 2008. The day before the government was found in contempt of Parliament, John Baird, now government house leader, roared in the House of Commons that “it is the leader of the Liberal party who is showing contempt for Canadian voters. He does not accept the fundamental democratic principle that the person with the most votes wins elections.” That’s great political rhetoric. I’m sure it plays well with the one-half of Canadians who believe that the prime minister is directly elected by voters. But it doesn’t remotely resemble what our system actually is.

“The licence to govern in Canada is the confidence of the House of Commons,” Russell says. “Period. Full stop.”

But it seems most of the public either does not know or does not care that Canada’s head of government has repeatedly lied about Canada’s Constitution. Nor are they concerned that the government has shown so little respect for the constitutional order that Parliament was forced to find it in contempt.

In the week following Parliament’s historic condemnation of the Harper government, polls showed support for the Conservatives either stayed flat in the high 30s or rose into the low 40s. If that’s how Canadians vote on May 2, we’ll get a Conservative majority.

Contempt for Parliament will be rewarded. And then, as Peter Russell suggests, we’ll be in real trouble.
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:39 AM   #19
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can i just politely say that stephen harper and his party are the absolute worst thing about canada?

yet another scandal, so expect another modest bump in the polls for the tories:

TheSpec - Conservatives want to dump Guelph U student votes

Conservatives want to dump Guelph U student votes
On campus vote has not been challenged in past

Ballot box Elections Canada Ballot Box No. 2 sits at the polling station at the University of Guelph special ballot Wednesday. The Conservative party now alleges all votes cast and collected in this box should not count in the final tally of votes for the Guelph riding.
Rob O'Flanagan/Guelph Mercury
GUELPH No votes cast Wednesday in a special ballot at the University of Guelph should stand, according to the Conservative Party of Canada.

The party wrote Elections Canada on Thursday to request that none of the votes collected during the U of G session be included in the final tally of votes in the Guelph riding. The letter was sent by lawyer Arthur Hamilton, of Toronto-based law firm, Cassels Brock.

The move has generated considerable controversy at the university, home of the first youth "vote mob" encouraging students to vote.


In his letter, Hamilton alleges the polling station was illegal and also that partisan election material was present at it, which is a violation of the Canada Elections Act.

The polling station in question was located on the main floor of University Centre, where approximately 700 students cast sealed ballots.

Elections Canada media advisor James Hale said this was the third election during which the University of Guelph held a special ballot on campus. And this is the first time it’s ever been challenged, Hale said.

“Part of our mandate is making the vote as accessible as possible. So, we look at outreach programs,” Hale said.

Hale said special ballot polling stations are often held for groups of people who consistently display less-than-average voter turnouts, such as students, First Nations, seniors and the disabled.

“It’s never been challenged, not to my knowledge,” Hale said.

However, it was Wednesday and then again Thursday by the Conservatives.

Several University of Guelph students claim Michael Sona, the communications director for Guelph Conservative candidate Marty Burke, attempted to put a stop to voting at the special ballot held Wednesday.

The students say Sona approached the Elections Canada balloting site claiming that the process unfolding at the location was illegal and at one point reached for but never took possession of a container with ballots.

“He tried to grab for the ballot box. I’m not sure he got his hand on the box, but he definitely grabbed for it,” said Brenna Anstett, a student, who at the time of the reported incident was sealing her second of two envelopes containing her vote.

Student Claire Whalen was just about to receive her ballot just before 5 p.m. when the episode unfolded.

“That’s when a guy came up and said it was an illegal polling station and that he was confiscating the ballots. And then he tried to take (the ballot box),” Whalen said.

Whalen also identified the man as Sona.

The Guelph Mercury has not been able to verify that it was Sona and has not confirmed the identity of the individual that made the approach witnessed by the students.

Sona, who recently was a University of Guelph student, did not respond to phone calls or emails placed to him Thursday by the newspaper. He was in a meeting Thursday when a reporter stopped by Burke’s campaign office for comment on this story. Burke campaign officials confirmed Sona was aware of the requests for comment. The nature of the story was also described to the Burke campaign in connection with requests to interview Sona.

Burke has not yet made a public comment in connection with the special ballot issues. Requests to interview him in connection with this story did not yield an interview.

Anstett said she filed a complaint with Elections Canada on Thursday morning about the brief disruption the incident caused.

Hale said Anstett’s submission will be reviewed but no formal complaint was made on the matter.

Before the late afternoon incident, the special balloting event was heralded as a success Wednesday by various U of G officials.

Hundreds of students queued to mark ballots at the session. Student interest in the voting was so significant U of G president Alastair Summerlee honoured a pledge to have his face painted blue at the venue if the event garnered enough student participation.

“We were all very happy there was going to be a poll on campus” student voter Yvonne Su said. “I’m not aware of the legalities of it, but I would think Elections Canada would know what they’re doing.”

Some students waited up to two hours to vote. Some studied for final exams while they waited.

Su, an organizer of the Vote Mob action in the city on April 4, said if the ballots are rejected “there will be a lot of really upset students.”
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:54 AM   #20
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Hey, guys, what do you make of the NDP surge?
I'm really hoping for a shake up of Canadian political dynamic, and Jack Layton is positioned to do just that. Of course, it is extremely unlikely that he will become PM, but his gains recently are turning heads, and inspiring fear in all the other parties, and that is something I like to see.

I'm sick of Harper's campaign. He is running on threats and ultimatums: give the conservatives a majority government...or else.
Or else healthcare will not be protected
Or else Canadian unity will suffer at the hands of the Bloc Party
Or else loan guarantees to provinces will be rescinded

It is loathsome. It is bullshit.

But Mr. Ignatieff is thoroughly unimpressive. The intelligence and ideas on display in his pre-political career have been supplanted by platitudes and demagoguery. I believe there is a sense, even among many Liberals, that this man is not The One.

Personally, I am hoping Canadians put Layton in firm opposition. send the Liberals to their rooms to think about what they have done, and where they have failed.
Also, give the Greens a seat or two. C'mon. We need more people in parliament with ideas for electoral and political reform.
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Old 04-23-2011, 03:28 PM   #21
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Layton's surge has been pretty great to see. Especially in Quebec, where francophones usually break Conservative if not voting Bloc Quebecois. The Conservative party has been making inroads here for many years now and I'm glad to see NDP pulling ahead in the polls recently.

Layton was on Tout le monde en parle (most popular TV chat show in QC) last year I believe, and the guy was really warm, charming, intelligent, and in an all-French interview to boot. Canada is fortunate to have him in politics.
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Old 04-28-2011, 06:52 PM   #22
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Well, this general election is certainly shaping up to be quite an interesting one.
Polling done by the likes of Nanos and Ekos certainly needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but there is some indication that the NDP are nearing the Cons. Also, they have momentum...who knows what the results will be on Monday?

Layton's party started off nearly 20 points behind the Conservatives, now some polls show them at 5 points behind the ruling party and....closing? They are definitely the beneficiary's of popular disillusionment with the Liberals, and now that they are within reach Layton is going through a "trial by fire" (as the Globe and Mail put it)

To be honest, the prospect of "Prime Minister Layton" does make me a little nervous. But, my vote may be going that way regardless. In the off chance they did win, I'm confident that the need to prove themselves as a capable governing party would temper their more lofty (unrealistic?) goals. If they don't win, a stronger NDP in opposition would be a great thing.

Canadiens1131, what do you make of the accusations being leveled towards Layton and the NDP as of late? From the liberals we hear about their "uncosted" platform, from the Cons we hear about their resistance to global trade. Both attacking parties seem convinced that the NDP are a risky venture for Canadians to support...but, then again, they are supposed to say that.
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Old 04-28-2011, 07:43 PM   #23
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Layton is the best man in the game in regards to honour and integrity. Harper is contemptous and men spirited in my opinion. Not to mention he worked for the Oil Company.

I really want them to fix this country as it isn't that great to be a young person. Many go to the States and abroad.
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:40 AM   #24
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Hey, guys, what do you make of the NDP surge?
I'm really hoping for a shake up of Canadian political dynamic, and Jack Layton is positioned to do just that. Of course, it is extremely unlikely that he will become PM, but his gains recently are turning heads, and inspiring fear in all the other parties, and that is something I like to see.

I'm sick of Harper's campaign. He is running on threats and ultimatums: give the conservatives a majority government...or else.
Or else healthcare will not be protected
Or else Canadian unity will suffer at the hands of the Bloc Party
Or else loan guarantees to provinces will be rescinded

It is loathsome. It is bullshit.

But Mr. Ignatieff is thoroughly unimpressive. The intelligence and ideas on display in his pre-political career have been supplanted by platitudes and demagoguery. I believe there is a sense, even among many Liberals, that this man is not The One.

Personally, I am hoping Canadians put Layton in firm opposition. send the Liberals to their rooms to think about what they have done, and where they have failed.
Also, give the Greens a seat or two. C'mon. We need more people in parliament with ideas for electoral and political reform.
Election ads are always bluster; I don't think there was a single one I liked, except, curiously, for a BQ ad I saw on Radio-Canada that I thought had pretty great art direction and cinematography...hah. But maybe I'm desensitised after having to endure U.S. election ads, which are truly dreadful; even the worst Canadian ads often have more decorum than the "best" U.S. ones.

I would not mind Harper remaining PM after all is said and done in a minority government capacity; it certainly ensures that the social conservatism is a dead issue, whilst forcing him to stick to fiscal issues, which he has managed quite aptly. Canada has weathered a global economic crisis quite well compared to the rest of the G8, and subsequently sits in a position of strength. I frankly worry about populist meddling from the Left, which I fear may be tempted to start engaging in protectionism, currency devaluation or other populist, but economically disastrous tax policies that I think would hurt Canada in the long term.

Ah well...I can't vote here and even if I could, I live in a solid NDP riding.
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:44 PM   #25
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In the off chance they did win...
They won't.

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If they don't win, a stronger NDP in opposition would be a great thing.
Agreed. I hope it plays out that way.

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...but, then again, they are supposed to say that.
This.

I've been amused by the recent Layton attack ads. It shows the degree to which the other parties are worried by the NDP, Layton/the NDP are no longer political nonentities and in my opinion, this is the best thing to happen in Canadian politics in a long time. The NDP have governed fiscally successful provincial governments many times. Listening to the other parties would have you believe that they'll take our money and spend it on crack and hookers for all, but that's simply not the case.

We have a young, super dedicated, grassroots NDP candidate running in my riding, and he seems to have really connected with the people in a way that an NDP candidate hasn't around here for a long time. I'm not sure if it'll be enough for him to win, but I have my fingers crossed for him. He should at least make it interesting. I also hope that if he doesn't win, he sticks around and runs again in the future.

And at the very least, it's been fun seeing some of the wind knocked out of that arrogant bastard Harper's sails.
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:30 PM   #26
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Harper worked for Imperial Oil in his early 20's. He is just a dick. I hope Canadians get off their complacent assess and vote his sorry ass back to Alberta.

He also has little to no understanding of the Arts. Thinks its a waste of money.

It will be interesting just to see how well Layton does. Anyone rememeber the 1993 election?
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:32 PM   #27
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Lets just consider the G8 conference the biggest dick move ever. All his police buddies who are 'right' got a great payday that weekend.
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:02 PM   #28
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Canada has weathered a global economic crisis quite well compared to the rest of the G8, and subsequently sits in a position of strength.
We have done so almost exclusively due to two things: 1. banking regulations (and by extension, mortgage rules) and 2. the rise in global oil prices, which has benefited us enormously. Neither of which has anything to do with Harper or his governance. Essentially, he was the right man at the right place at the right time and didn't screw up. This nonsense that they're running on of economic stewardship is silly.

I would not be opposed to a continuing Harper minority - have him lose about 10 seats and then have to learn how to work with the opposition for the first time ever. Frankly the NDP could use more seasoning in office anyway.

The one thing that I do find funny is that Harper spent 4 years and countless millions demonizing Ignatieff - an unlikeable man who was never going to be Prime Minister - with almost a singleminded obsession, only to now be faced to possibly having to bow down to his socialist overlord Layton, an infinitely worse option. You have to admit there is some humor in it.
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:48 PM   #29
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We have done so almost exclusively due to two things: 1. banking regulations (and by extension, mortgage rules) and 2. the rise in global oil prices, which has benefited us enormously. Neither of which has anything to do with Harper or his governance. Essentially, he was the right man at the right place at the right time and didn't screw up. This nonsense that they're running on of economic stewardship is silly.
I would argue that Harper should be credited for being prudent and knowing when not to meddle. In other words, there is a virtue in doing nothing, when everyone is begging you to do "something, anything"; if it were up to the Liberals and the NDP, Canada would certainly have spent far more in economic stimulus measures, putting the country into a larger debt than we currently have.

And I give his government a lot of credit for not panicking over the strong loonie. I respect that there is some short-term pain related to exports, but Canada also suffers from poor innovation largely due to an historical over-reliance on currency advantages in trade. A strong and stable currency would ensure that Canadian businesses put more emphasis on innovation to survive over the long haul.

Quote:
I would not be opposed to a continuing Harper minority - have him lose about 10 seats and then have to learn how to work with the opposition for the first time ever. Frankly the NDP could use more seasoning in office anyway.

The one thing that I do find funny is that Harper spent 4 years and countless millions demonizing Ignatieff - an unlikeable man who was never going to be Prime Minister - with almost a singleminded obsession, only to now be faced to possibly having to bow down to his socialist overlord Layton, an infinitely worse option. You have to admit there is some humor in it.
Hah...I dunno. My impression of parliamentary democracy versus American representative democracy is that it never really seemed suitable for co-operation. Compromise is integral to the U.S. system of governance, which is why it's so painful to see the two parties talk past each other over the past generation; whereas in Canada, you either achieve a majority, meaning you really never have to listen to the opposition, or you manoeuvre an unwieldy minority government that survives just long enough for all the parties to load up their war chests for the next election when the "no confidence" motion inevitably passes.

It does appear that Harper won't achieve his majority, and Layton is increasingly looking to become opposition leader. It will be very interesting to see what happens in the aftermath!
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:23 PM   #30
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It would be nice if we started to repect the rules of democracy again. Dismantling Parlament when you don't get your way is not cool.

I am not sure why Iggy is so demonized. Granted he doesn't jive with the rink folk, but he is a man who could apply he work in academics to well to national problems. Why is everyone so turned off by an academic?
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