I Bet They Can Almost Taste It

Pictured: Detailed breakdowns (click for larger version).

Golly, what a shocker! Imagine, a new poll by the Strategic Counsel showing that the Conservative party is poised on the brink of a majority government, released the very same day that it now looks absolutely certain we’ll be going to the ballot box next month. I guess that proves conclusively that Harper wasn’t just lying his ass off about wanting an election because parliament was “dysfunctional” and overly partisan… um, right?

According to the poll, if a vote were held today, 37 per cent of Canadians would support the Tories, compared with just 29 percent for the Liberals, 17 percent for the NDP and 9 percent for the Green Party.

It seems all that furious vote-buying over the summer has really paid off for Harper and the Tories. Oh sure, there are a few cranks out there who might complain about it having frittered away what was left of the budget surplus and it increasing spending by an alarming rate, but most reasonable people would agree that a few billion dollars of taxpayers’ money is a small price to pay if it helps to fulfill Harper’s personal wet dream of vindictively “crushing” the Liberals and becoming the autocratic ruler of Canada for the next decade or so.

Dion-Harper Meeting: “A Charade”

Qu’elle surprise!

Not that it’s been in much doubt for the past several weeks ever since the “straight up guy” in the slimming blue vest started spinning his laughably feeble pretext for an election, but after today’s pointless meeting between the PM and Stéphane Dion, it’s virtually certain that there will be a federal election on Oct. 14, which also happens to be a Jewish holiday.

“[Harper] doesn’t want Canadians to have too much time to see he is ill-prepared to face the economy . . . he doesn’t want to face byelections,” Dion told reporters after the 20-minute “charade” during which he apparently berated Harper for breaking the spirit if not the letter of his fixed election law.

As to why the government is making a mockery of the law they introduced not long ago specifically to prevent the “government of the day be able to play around with the date of an election for its own crass political motives,” to quote a Conservative minister talking about Bill C-16, Tory spokesprick Kory Teneycke simply repeated the narrative he’s been pedaling to reporters for the past two weeks. “Mr. Dion could find no area of common ground with the government to move forward with a legislative agenda,” he said.

When asked about specifics of the “legislative agenda,” or queried as to what exactly he meant by “a number of things that government would like to move forward on,” Teneycke … Wait a minute, this is the liberal media we’re talking about. They never asked him those questions! Silly me, what was I thinking? No, instead, we got Mike Duffy, CTV’s morbidly obese cut-up, back from two months of basting his corpulent pile of flab in the sun, pronouncing that Dion, just as the Tories expected, had stupidly fallen into their oh-so-clever trap and that now Harper “will be able to say on the campaign trail that he tried to work with the opposition.” How fucking brilliant.

So, get the “Straight Up Guy Express” on the road ASAP and let the barefaced lying, pandering and skullduggery commence! We’ve got an election to endure.

Update: Somewhat related to this, there’s a hatchet job from this Drudge wannabe about Dion’s upcoming junket in Winnipeg. Oh, and don’t forget to contribute to the Conservatives’ favourite muckraking dirtbag while you’re there — now in convenient denominations of “$25 – $50 – $100 – $250 – $500 … Other” — consistently losing NASCAR races doesn’t pay all the bills you know!

First Green Party TV Ad

Good catchphrase: “Restore, repair, and regenerate…”

This is from Claude William Genest, the Green candidate running in the riding of Westmount-Ville Marie, who talks briefly (but forcefully) about PCBs being dumped into the St. Lawrence River. More info on his website.

Obama-Biden on 60 Minutes

In case you missed the broadcast last night, here’s the interview by Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes with the two men running at the top of the Democratic ticket. There seems to be a palpable comfort level between them on a personal level which is reassuring even though they may not see eye-to-eye on all the issues, but then my read of it could be biased. Undecided voters and intractable critics may well see things in the piece that are simply lost on me.

This part made me chuckle:

You went and sipped beer, which I know you don’t particularly like — I mean you even…,” Kroft remarked.

“Steve, I had a beer last night. I mean, where do these stories come from, man?” Obama asked.

“I’m the one… [that] doesn’t drink,” Biden pointed out.

“Where does the story come from that… I don’t like beer? …C’mon, man,” Obama said.

Good on Obama for nipping that one in the bud, so to speak.

The Life of Palin

One could have been excused for thinking that today’s surprising news that Sarah Palin’s 17-year old daughter Bristol is five months pregnant might have soured evangelicals and other “social conservatives” on McCain’s reckless and irresponsible pick for vice-president, after all, it makes a joke out of “abstinence only” sex-education and casts further shadows of doubt over the moral authority and questionable judgment of both McCain and his running mate, but apparently that would have been a complete mistake:

I’m sure lots of people will take their shots at the pro-life Christian woman but hold on a moment. If you think Evangelicals are going to ditch her for this, you’re totally misreading the situation. As a matter of fact, they are ready to fire back at any potential critics…

Look, this development will actually be positive for the most part with Evangelicals. First they hear that Sarah Palin chooses the life option even though she had a Downs Syndrome baby and once again the family (and Bristol) has chosen the life option in this recent case. That’s a double “ca-ching”. Let’s call this the Evangelical daily double. If anything, this whole situation will probably make more people around the country relate to her and her family. It makes them more real. Will there by some turned off by the whole pre-marital sex thing? Of course but this type of story doesn’t sink her at all with Evangelicals.

There you go; always look on the bright side of life! In the bizarre, schizophrenic world of the right blogosphere, this latest bombshell about Palin is actually regarded a “positive” development. One could easily imagine that had the shoe been on the other foot and the young daughter of a liberal politician was found to be having a child out of wedlock (amongst other Springeresque family shenanigans), it would similarly have been regarded as a “daily double” by the right-wing commentariat, but likely not in a positive way. Such are the hypocritical double-standards that unfortunately typify much of our so-called political discourse these days.

Reaction from the Obama campaign was classy if not altogether unexpected:

“I have said before and I will repeat again: People’s families are off limits,” Obama said. “And people’s children are especially off-limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. So I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18, and how a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn’t be a topic of our politics.”

I’m certain the right will find some way of mangling and twisting even that fundamentally decent, sensible statement into something vile and ugly. They always do it seems.

Update: Just to prove my assertion, here’s a statement from a senior McCain aide: “The despicable rumors that have been spread by liberal blogs, some even with Barack Obama’s name in them, is a real anchor around the Democratic ticket, pulling them down in the mud in a way that certainly juxtaposes themselves against their ‘campaign of change.” Linking Obama to the muckraking of some left-wing blogs simply because his name was mentioned in the blog, I mean, how desperately low is that? These people are utterly beneath contempt and totally without scruples.

A Matter of Debate

I’m not saying that Tory supporters are a craven bunch of girlie-men, but one might get that impression from reading some of the comments desperately attempting to rationalize why Green Party leader Elizabeth May shouldn’t be allowed to participate in any televised election debates. Not of course that it’s their decision to make, or any of ours for that matter. Far from it.

Which political voices will be heard by the public in these forums is decided by an exclusive group of media representatives known as The Broadcast Consortium, which is made up of top executives from the major TV networks, the mainstream press (currently manifested in the form of CanWest Global’s Leonard Asper, I believe) and officials from self-serving organizations such as the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. No public input is sought or desired — what do you think this is, a democracy or something?

There are no official government laws, rules, or minimum requirements to regulate participation in the nationally televised debates and the decisions made by the group are, at best, arbitrary in nature. For example, it’s been contended that a party must have a national slate of candidates to be included, but for obvious reasons this has never been the case with the Bloc (and in fact won’t be for the Liberals this time around either). An exception to the national “rule” was also made in the past for the Reform Party. Another supposed criterion is that each leader included must have at least one elected Member of Parliament, a sort of Catch-22 barrier that’s been insurmountable for Greens up until now.

With disgraced MP Blair Wilson having been booted from the Liberal caucus for “financial irregularities” in the last election in addition to some rather sordid personal difficulties, now hitching his wagon to the Greens, May has her first elected MP, albeit one who wasn’t put in that position under her banner. Nevertheless, there’s a certain amount of justice in it so the argument goes given that the party received 660,000 votes or 4.5 percent of the popular vote in the last election and is currently polling about 8 percent of likely voters.

Tory spokesprick Kory Teneycke scoffed at the notion of including May in the debates. “Our view is there should only be one Liberal candidate in the leaders’ debate,” he said. That remarkably dumb comment encapsulating the flimsy rationale of the Tories on this issue more than satisfied the apes here and here, but then we’ve long since given up being surprised at such things. Whether the “Broadcast Consortium” will be as easily gulled by such unserious clowning is another question that only time will tell. In the meanwhile, it might be more useful to ask whether these so-called “debates” actually matter at the end of the day and whether it’s reasonable to allow a cabal of private interests to decide who can fully participate in our political discourse on a national stage and to determine the particular format those discussions should take.

Personally, I’d like to see May included, for reasons of the anticipated entertainment value, but more seriously, as Chantal Hébert suggested in the past, of having the Greens subjected to some of the scrutiny afforded their more established competition.