Monday, November 21, 2005

Liberal Influence Peddling

Don't you just love it when Liberals rat on their own? The principals at TDH Strategies are obviously not welcome in the Paul Martin camp. One of their posts today highlights the questionable connections between Martin operative Erik Bornman and Dave Basi.

The search-warrant "information to obtain" or ITO released by police in September, 2004 claim that Bornman offered provincial ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk a benefit -- help in obtaining $100,000-plus jobs with the federal Liberal government -- in exchange for obtaining confidential information about the BC Rail deals.

Yesterday, the federal Liberal riding association for Saanich-Gulf Islands had their nomination meeting to choose their candidate for the upcoming federal election. The race between Jag Dhanowa and former Liberal MLA Sheila Orr had become bitter, largely because of disputes over what Orr supporters referred to as the "instant Liberals" who have supported Dhanowa in the past.

Orr ended up winning by 71 votes, but the most fascinating thing about the entire affair was the appearance of Dave Basi, the central figure in the police raids and a man now charged with breach of trust, accepting a bribe to influence government business (from none other than Erik Bornman) and fraud over $5,000. Basi brought a significant amount of members out to support Dhanowa.

Plus ça change...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

DIY election platforms

In a recent musing, Warren Kinsella characterizes Toronto Star columnist Jim Travers as "one of PMO's last remaining messenger boys." And yet in today's column, Travers lays out the reasons to throw the Martin gang out.

In a subtle dig at Kinsella, Travers calls it the century's "first do-it-yourself election." Kinsella, of course, waxes poetic in his recent book Fury’s Hour about DIY culture in the punk movement.

Travers comes up with these gems:

… democracy only works when votes are used as sticks to beat discipline into politicians who mistake the public purse for their own.


After years of demonizing Conservatives as secret agents for Ralph Klein and two-tier health care, Liberals are suddenly silent as Jean Charest speeds the country toward different systems for rich and poor. Even a watershed Supreme Court decision undermining Ottawa's health insurance monopoly has left strangely speechless a government more concerned with repairing its ruined Quebec brand than defending public health care.


Martin believes in asymmetrical federalism but, apparently, not enough to debate or defend it. Canada is under renovation without a blueprint and that justifies showing Liberals the door.


Decisions are tightly held in Martin's innermost circle, the promise to make MPs strong enough to do their job is broken, and tracking how taxes are spent is as intentionally difficult as ever.

Canadians recognize the problem and are applying a solution. They treat the federal government with the disdain it's earned and, come election day, record numbers will vote with their feet by staying home.

The few who still care have no shortage of other planks to build their DIY-platforms. From protecting privacy to reaching the Canada-created international aid threshold, there is plenty of rough stuff to finish the job.Now seems a good time to start.

Even Kinsella can't argue with that.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Let them go?

It is little wonder the CPC is on life support in Quebec if these views are representative of CPC party and Blogging Tories members.

Loyalist, in his post Boisclair: Maintient-Il Le Droit? argues:

If Quebec thinks that the rest of Canada is stifling its rightful aspirations, it's doing the same to ours as well.

Let's hope that Boisclair leads the PQ to victory, in the next election and referendum. Because if the choice is between Quebec or Alberta leaving, we know whose departure would weaken Canada the most, economically, politically, and culturally.

And in the comments, Warwick weighs in with:

Let Quebec go willingly. If not, invite them to leave. This country has not been viable since the beginning. Quebec has been dragging us down since we started letting them. They cost too much for the little good they do.

Let them drown in their own socialism - without us paying for it.

My sympathy for Quebec has reached into negative numbers. Be gone.

Such talk is not only offensive, it is down right counterproductive. No party can win a majority government without seats in Quebec. Moreover, if you want to bring more Ontarians into the fold, then playing the national disunity card is just plain stupid.

Smarten up guys.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

She's Brian's Mom

I thought she looked familiar. She's Brian's mom!

Listen to her here.

Big Brother Paul

Michael Geist highlights the shortcomings of Bill C-74, the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act, on his blog today. He concludes:

Canadians deserve better. They deserve real judicial oversight before their personal information is disclosed and, given the costs (financial and otherwise) they deserve a full accounting on why this bill is needed.

If this thing passes, you can forget about your privacy. Big Brother Paul will be watching.

Think harder


Prime Minister Paul Martin says he can't think of anyone who wants a Christmas election campaign except for the three opposition leaders.

I can think of at least one.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Toronto (Star) Consensus

After having lived in Quebec for most of the past fifteen years I naturally become suspicious whenever it is asserted that everyone agrees on an issue. More times than not, I found myself on the other side of the issue that all Quebecers supposedly agreed on. Whether it was on fiscal imbalance, the language laws or the clarity act, somehow the so-called consensus usually excluded me.

For some reason, I thought it would be different when I moved to Ontario. Little did I realize that claiming a consensus is a common rhetorical device used to marginalize one’s political opponents on this side of the Ottawa River as well. Take this recent book review in yesterday’s Toronto Star:

There are occasions you realize everybody in your community agrees on almost everything.

Sometimes this can be terrifying, but most times there's a certain comfort to be taken when most everyone agrees that certain things — say gay marriage, access to abortion and the legalization of marijuana — are all desirables.

Now personally, I cannot really say I am in fundamental disagreement with any of these things. In fact, I have even been an advocate for one of them. But only willful ignorance can lead one to be blind to the fact that many Canadians do disagree with them. Moreover, I fail to understand how pretending that defensible, opposing views do not exist actually advances one’s cause.

Unfortunately, disrespect for opposing viewpoints seems to be increasingly common in Canadian political discourse. Instead of attempting to bridge the gaps and forging a true, workable consensus, we have been prone to divisive and destructive debates.

For example, same-sex marriage may now be the law in this country to the evident pleasure of its supporters. But the attempt to demonize not only those who opposed the bill, but even those who were simply uncomfortable with it did not win over people to the cause. Ultimately, this winner-takes-all approach not only leads to bad policy, it also undermines support for the laws that do get passed.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

You too can be a Registered Lobbyist

Taking my cue from Scott Reid’s comments on Friday, I took the initial step to register as a lobbyist.

Scott Reid…said lobbying is legally defined as trying to influence public policy.

It's better to be safe than sorry. I have called my MP’s office in the past to provide my feedback on the public policy issues of the day. Moreover, my political opinions are now out in the open here at Nice Comfy Fur. What else is the purpose of calling one’s MP or writing a political blog if not to influence public policy?

You too can be a Registered Lobbyist by registering online at the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists. It’s free.

Think of the benefits. You can call your MP or blog about political issues with impunity. As an added bonus, Scott Reid or Scott Brison can never make unfounded accusations about you not registering as a Lobbyist.

Update: To register as a lobbyist at the link above, you must first create an account. Scroll down the page and click Account Creation.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

We are all lobbyists

We are all lobbyists now, at least any of us with a political opinion that might be foolish enough to articulate it.


The government issued a press release alleging that Harper once worked as an unregistered lobbyist. The Liberals also asked the registrar of lobbyists to examine his former role with the National Citizens' Coalition.

"If Mr. Harper wants to play sheriff, he can start by slapping handcuffs on himself," said Prime Minister Paul Martin's spokesman, Scott Reid. He said lobbying is legally defined as trying to influence public policy - which Harper did with the NCC.

Now that everyone has that straight, it makes it all the more surprising that Liberals such as David Dingwall and Richard Mahoney failed to register as lobbyists for paid work they did trying to influence public policy on behalf of their clients.

I just knew blogging about Canadian politics was going to get me into trouble eventually. Anyone know where we are supposed to register?