Tag Archives: CPC

Vote Harvey Locke: The Progressive Choice for Calgary-Centre

Today (November 26th) is by-election day in the great riding of Calgary-Centre!

The Liberal campaign has been as exciting as it has been improbable and for the first time since 1968, Calgary-Centre might such send a Liberal to Ottawa. Though the moment began shifting from the CPC to the Liberals started in mid-November, the race first came to national attention when a Forum poll (November 20th)  had the CPC candidate Joan Crockatt at 35%, the Liberal candidate Harvey Locke at 30% and the Green Party at 25%. Many called that poll a fluke and noted that Forum had called the Alberta Provincial election for the Wild Rose (it should be noted that Forum was one of the only polling firms to correctly call the recent Kitchener-Waterloo provincial by-election.) The last poll of the campaign has Crockatt at 37%, Locke at 32% and the Greens at 17% (This poll shows the Liberals surging and was done by the firm that predicted Mayor Nenshi’s win.)

There are 3 keys factors that have led to a possible Liberal victory in the riding:

  • Harvey Locke is a great candidate: All of the Liberal candidates in 3 by-elections today (Victoria, Durham and Calgary-Centre) are strong candidates. Harvey Locke is a superb candidate and will do an excellent job representing Calgary-Centre in Ottawa. He has a long history with the riding and an impressive resume working as a photographer and conservationist . He was President of the Alberta Liberal Party, speaks English, French and Spanish. Harvey Locke is my kind of centrist Liberal and he is the only candidate transpartisan enough to effectively represent the people of Calgary-Centre.
  • Infighting between the Alberta PCs and Wild Rose: The Alberta provincial election earlier this year was divisive and hard fought by all sides. Calgary-Centre is where Premier Alison Redford lives, however Joan Crockatt endorsed the Wild Rose during the provincial election. The media was quick to focus on this by-election as a civil war on the right in Calgary-Centre.
    Harvey Locke received a warm welcome at the PC AGM, which just happened to be in Calgary Centre.  Crockatt didn’t dare make an appearance.  A photo of Harvey posing with Alison Redford at the event, with nary an inch of space between them, quickly spread throughout the Twittersphere, dispelling any misconception of a “united right” in the province.
  • Joan Crockatt is a divisive candidate who has performed poorly: Ms. Crockatt was editor of the Calgary HeraldShe presided over a prolonged and bitter strike at the Calgary Herald when she was editor there.  She avoided the first 3 debates and embarrassed herself at the 4th debate when she attacked the U.S. economy and accused the CBC (where she has appeared numerous times as a panalist) of showing pornography. Her Tea Party attitude towards the Obama administration is not reflected by the Canadian poulation (it seems like the only Canadians who wanted Romney to win are in Prime Minister Harper’s cabinet.) One of Joan Crockatt’s biggest slip-ups was skipping Mayor Nenshi forum’s forum on cities. Nenshi criticized the decision in the press and even tweeted a few of Locke’s criticisms of Crockatt during the forum. With Rob Anders next door, the people of Calgary-Centre have seen what happens when they rubber stamp a regressive conservative candidate who brings the wrong kind of attention to their city.

Though the Green Party campaign has been surprisingly negative in Calgary-Centre, I believe that it time for progressives to unite behind the fiscally prudent, socially progressive and environmentally responsible candidate. If you  or anyone you know live in Calgary-Centre please vote for Harvey Locke.

Here is a poll that shows that Mr. Locke is the only candidate who can galvanize the progressive vote and send a message to Stephen Harper.

“Pennies 4 Katimavik” Launches Today!

Pennies 4 Katimavik* (a campaign spearheaded by Bismah Haq) is officially launching today in Ottawa at 2:30pm (click here for the facebook event.)

When I heard about this campaign I was very excited. Axing the program was one of the Harper government’s most maliciously-arbitrary decisions in the 2012 budget. I talked to Bismah about what inspired her to start up this campaign and what she hopes to accomplish. Here is what she
told me:

“I originally came up with the idea while watching an analysis about the budget on CBC at Hedy Fry’s office (I volunteer there) the day the budget was released. I didn’t think much of it at first, but last week some friends urged me to act on the idea. So along with other members from the OYL United team who committed to launching this in their cities and towns, some Young Liberals in BC and some Katimavik alumni I know, we will be starting our penny drives and online launch this weekend.

Here is some additional information on “Pennies 4 Katimavik” that was provided to me from the campaign:

Project Idea: According to the 2012 Federal Budget, as of fall 2012, the Canadian penny will not be in circulation anymore, and the youth volunteerism program called Katimavik has lost its funding. Pennies for Katimavik, quite literally, is a penny drive/small change drive to fundraise to support Katimavik to continue to serve our nation through youth community service, as well
as to raise awareness about the positive impact Katimavik has had on our communities.

Background: The Canadian federal government has decided to phase the penny out of existence starting this fall, when the Royal Canadian Mint will stop distributing the one-cent coin to financial institutions. Pennies themselves will continue to hold their inherent cash value, so Canadians can always trade them in at financial institutions. Banks can then return those pennies to the mint for recycling into their base materials. Which means before too long, the penny will
be mostly removed from the Canadian economy — except for the jars i Canadians’ closets.

We will be collecting the change and money that we raise,rolling the coins and exchanging them at a bank for cash, and then sending the money to Katimavik’s National Office.

Our short term goal is $5000(500,000 pennies) but we hope to exceed that by approaching organizations, businesses and individuals( Liberal and non-Liberal) to match our fundraising or to make larger donations.

This is a Young Liberal initiative but we hope to make this as non-partisan as possible in order to engage with Katimavik alumni and the general public.


Please “like” the “Pennies 4 Katimavik” facebook page: here. This isn’t merely a fundraising operation. They provide a backgrounder of facts on the Katimavik program (here) and they have set up an excellent Katimavik Advocacy Kit (here.) If you are in Ottawa please attend the launch party. If you cannot attend (or are living outside Ottawa, like me) then check the facebook page regularly for details on upcoming events.

*Pennies 4 Katimavik is not officially affiliated with Katimavik.

Why Nobody Believes the Conservative Talking Points on the RoboCon Scandal.

Mere days ago the Conservative Party finally admitted their guilt in the “In & Out” election fraud scandal (remember that the Conservative Party headquarters was raided by the RCMP.) Months ago, the Conservative Party admitted that they paid to make phone calls in Mount Royal (saying Irwin Cotler was going to resign, which is a lie).

The Conservatives voted against giving Elections Canada expanded power to investigate the election fraud that they are being accused of today. Stephen Harper and Dean Del Mastro said repeatedly in the House of Commons that the Conservative Party didn’t use American call firms. It was later revealed that they did.

So, only the Conservative Party of Canada has been convicted of electoral fraud. Only the Conservative Party has been caught paying to make misleading calls. Only the Conservative Party has opposed an independent investigation of possibly electoral fraud in the 2011 election.

On a number of occasions the Conservatives admitted that they called Conservatives to inform them of changes of polling locations. Now, Elections Canada specifically told all of the political parties not to do this. The riding that was mentioned, a number of times, by the Conservatives was Edmonton-East. There were no polling location changes in Edmonton-East.

Stephen Harper prorogued parliament, twice, to avoid democratic accountability. The Conservative Party of Canada then proceeded (in 2009, then throughout the 2011 election) to lie to the Canadian people on the subject of coalition governments. Conservative Members of Parliament, the Senate, the Conservative campaign team and the Prime Minister told Canadians over, and over and over again that coalition governments were “anti-democratic.” The Prime Minister said that he prorogued parliament because the opposition wanted to “overturn” the election results, which is exactly what he did by proroguing parliament.

Stephen Harper’s animus toward Elections Canada is well know. He has had the opportunity to call an independent investigation but he has refused to do so.

The RoboCon situation will unfold over the next few months and years. The allegations are quite serious but the Conservative Party, the only Federal party that has been convicted of electoral fraud, the only party that has paid to call Canadians with false information, the only party that is being investigated for election fraud and the only Prime Minister in Canada’s history to be found in contempt of parliament, refuses to take it seriously.

Canadian Politics Word(s) of the Year: 2011

Today is the final day for writing/releasing end-of-the-year posts. 2011 featured a federal election and provincial/territorial elections in Manitoba, Ontario, PEI, Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, Yukon and the NWT. At the end of 2011, Canada now has 4 female premiers (up from 2 at the beginning of the year), the BQ have 4 seats in the HOC and the Liberals and NDP have interim leaders. It is impossible to summarize the year in one paragraph/blog post, so I have decided to highlight 5 words that paint a picture of the last 12 months in Canadian politics:

1. Contempt:

Though the Harper government wants to forget what precipitated the 2011 election, the catalyst for what the massive shift in Canadian politics that seems to have occurred this year, is the motion that held Prime Minister Harper and his government in contempt. This was Michael Ignatieff’s last noble act as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. “Contempt” is the best word to describe how Stephen Harper and the CPC treated the media and the Canadian voter during Canada’s 41st election campaign and it describes the triumphalism of the Harper government in the months after the vote. With a declining voter turn out and memberships in political parties, it seems that “contempt” is how many Canadians view politicians in Canada. As a Liberal I have felt my share of contempt from the media. The amount of ink/bandwidth spent on why the Liberal Party is doomed is unprecedented (the NDP/Reformers/BQ were dismissed but never faced an unending flow of articles on why they should just fade away.) Let’s hope that 2012 is the year where the oppositions channel their anger at the arrogance and contempt of the Harper government into substantive debate and strong political organization.

2. Orange Crush/Jack Layton/Le Bon Jack:
Though I believe it is too early to view the NDP gains in the last election as evidence that the Liberal Party of Canada is doomed, I also reject the notion that a view polls in Quebec show that the NDP wave is receding. The NDP gains in 2011 have drastically changed the political dynamic across Canada. No one can deny that the routing of the Bloc Quebecois is a good thing, but we should not convince ourselves that the NDP MPs who supplanted the BQ are themselves strong federalists (the Sherbrooke Declaration makes no mention of the Clarity Act and argues in favour of asymmetrical federalism for Quebec only.) The massive electoral shift in 2011 has been combined/overshadowed/absorbed by the tragic death of NDP Leader Jack Layton. It seems like the NDP want the letter released after Mr. Layton’s death to be the final word on his legacy but the reality is that we finish 2011 with more questions and flux than certainty and answers. Questions still remain about the media’s coverage of Layton’s health and his choice of Nycole Turmel as NDP leader will be explored over 2012. Jack Layton was a very gifted politician but the beatification that occurred after his death could have negative implications for the next NDP leader.

3. Omnibus crime bill:
Bill C-10: The Safe Streets and Communities Act is the perfect microcosm of the Harper government: it puts gut feelings over evidence, it will do the exact opposite of what it claims to do and it wastes hundreds of millions of dollars for no reason. This bill is going to create criminals, bankrupt governments and destroy the futures of many young Canadians. C-10 is a farce. Harper claims to be for decentralized, fiscally responsible government that puts safety first. This bill flies in the face of all three of those proported ideals. The process of passing this bill was an affront to democracy and is further evidence of the Prime Ministers contempt of parliament. With the leader of the opposition, Nycole Turmel, being so weak and the NDP’s front bench running for its leadership it has fallen to the provinces, the ones who will be bankrupted paying for the bill, to opposite PM Harper’s regressive crime agenda. The only positive outcome from the passage of this bill is that the Liberal Party has finally realized that if we are to differentiate ourselves from the Conservatives, we must be smart-on-crime and it showed us how dumb we were to fear being labeled “soft-on-crime.”

4. Insite:
On September 29, 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously to uphold Insite’s exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, allowing the facility to stay open indefinitely. This was not only a rebuke of the Harper Government, it was judge-created public policy that will let the provinces lead on crime prevention and treating mental health and addictions. In the year of the Harper majority, this Supreme Court ruling was a sign of hope for progressives. There is even talk of a safe-injection cite opening in Montreal. Since there was no strategy for the Insite victory (besides using science and facts) it is not as if this blow to the Harper government can be replicated.

5. Strong Stable Majority Government/Moving Forward Together:
Even with the so-called “orange crush”, 2011 was a year where the plurality of voters said they preferred stability or the perception of stability, over change. On the federal scene, the Prime Minister used “chaos” as a stick and “continuity” as a carrot. In Ontario, the Premier used “Hudak” and “growth” to the same effect. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and PEI all said “Yes” to the status quo. In Quebec, voters lined up for a leader who spent his life in politics and who didn’t necessarily call for drastic change in Quebec’s approach to federalism. Though it seems like 2011 was the year of anti-change, with the occupy movement and the arab spring, the dynamic of 2012 could be defined in opposition to the fear of change voters.

What word(s) do you think defined 2011?

Stephen Harper will ^NOT be balancing the budget.

If you were wondering how the Conservatives were planning on filling that $11 billion hole in their platform? Apparently, they are planning on using Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty’s massive cojones. Just 9 days after Canada’s 41st federal election PM Harper has announced that he wont be balancing the budget by 2014-15. The Globe reports: ” The revised 2011 budget that the government will present next month will not show a surplus by 2014-15 as promised in black and white in the Conservative campaign platform, even though the government insists it still intends to deliver on the election promise.”

You may remember that every promise the Conservatives made in their sparse platform was followed by fine print saying “* after the budget is balanced in 2015.”  It turns out that this was followed by an even smaller “** Offer not valid in Canada.”

Julian Fantino Vs. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Yesterday I discussed how Julian Fantino, Conservative Party candidate for the Novermber 29th Vaughan byelection, is an advocate of the death penalty (a barbaric practice banned in 1962.) Today, I want to highlight Mr. Fantino’s opposition to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In many ways “Duty: The Life of A Cop” is a polemic against the Charter as it is an autobiography. Fantino goes after The Charter on pages: 89, 95, 135, 181 and 291. The denouement of his anti-Charter argument is pithily stated on page 96:

Who has reaped the greatest benefits from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? I would argue that if it isn’t common criminals, then it must be the Hells Angels.” – Julian Fantino. Duty. Chapter 6. Fighting the Mob.

Mr. Fantino immigrated to Canada from Italy, he didn’t have The Charter in 1953, but immigrants/minorities, like a large segment of the population of Vaughan, have benefited from the protection of The Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Women, have benefited from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the form of equal pay (though Stephen Harper slashed funding for groups that ensure women are paid a fair amount for their work.) Freedom of expression (Article 2) and Mobility Rights (Article 6) are what makes Canada a functioning democracy. One only need look to the G20 in Toronto (where Mr. Fantino played a role) to see the chaos of a Canada where the Charter is ignored.

In Canada, there is often an overreaction about protecting people’s privacy in the public domain. Frankly, I don’t understand why any person wouldn’t want to co-operate fully with the police in a case like this. Yet, some people seem very concerned with an already overworked Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. – Julian Fantino. Duty. Chapter 12. Two Little Girls and a Trail of Broken Hearts. Page 181.

Julian Fantino seems to have a problem with Article 2 (c,d), 8,9 and 10(a-c) of the Charter. He faults the constitution, instead of the police officers who sometimes make mistakes. In the concluding pages of John Ibbitson’s “Open and Shut: Why America Has Barack Obama” he recommends adopting the American practice of having politicians swear an oath to defend Canada’s constitution when they enter office in Ottawa. He acknowledges that there would be difficultly in Bloc MPs swearing such an oath, but with the Charter being part of Canada’s constitution would Mr. Fantino be able to swear an oath to defend something he so despises? Would Prime Minister Harper be able to do so? He is famously quoted as dismissing Pierre Trudeau’s accomplishments as “Hippie B.S” (Harperland, 269.) does this phrase also summarize PM Harper’s views of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Fantino and Harper appear to be in lockstep on many issues, though Mr. Fantino is trying to run a campaign without answering any real questions. The majority of Canadians see the Charter as a great document that helps establish and preserve our free and democratic society. Fantino sees it as an inconvenience at best and something to be ignored at worst.

This scene from “A Man For All Seasons” is what the arguments Julian Fantino makes in “Duty: The Life of a Cop” calls to mind:

Does “tough-on-crime” mean bringing back the death penalty, Mr. Fantino?

When I heard that Julian Fantino was going to be the Conservative candidate in the November 29th Vaughan byelection I ran out and purchased his book, “Duty: The Life of a Cop.” Though I’d argue that “Harperland: The Politics of Control” is the better read (in terms of the quality of writing and the importance of the lesson for all Canadians) the fact that Mr. Fantino is a candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada makes the thoughts he recorded in this book (written in 2007) quite pertinent.

The Globe and Mail described Fantino perfectly here:

For all his branding as a cop’s cop, Julian Fantino has for many years come off more like a politician in police uniform. Now, if all goes according to plan, the former chief of the Toronto and Ontario forces will get to take his natural place in Ottawa.

He has always been a politician, which gives added relevance to what he wrote just three short years ago in “Duty.” However, there has been a dearth of coverage so far in this byelection on the controversial positions/statements taken/made in this book. So, over the next week, this blog hopes to shine a light on what Julian Fantino, candidate for the Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in Vaughan, has written and the implications of what Mr. Fantino is not saying on the campaign train but what he clearly, wholeheartedly believes.


Julian Fantino and the Death Penalty: In His Own Words.

From “Duty.” Chapter 10. The Trial of the Munros. Page 165:

Judge Callaghan told Jamie [Munro] he would be imprisoned for life without eligibility for parole until he had served twelve years.

Appeals were filled for both Craig and Jamie, and in 1983 they were both rejected. But for all intents and purposes, the trial of the Munro brothers was over on Saturday, February 8, 1981, when their guilt was there for a whole city – and a whole country – to see. That was the day Dave and I escorted the Munro brothers out of the courtroom and on to jail. It was the finale to a long, arduous, difficult and traumatic case. It was gratifying to me and to Dave and to Eddy Adamson and to all of us who had worked so hard on this case.

But if it was a victory, it wasn’t a pleasant one. To this day I believe justice would have been better served if we’d had capital punishment. Craig Munro, if not his brother as well, deserved it.

From “Duty.” Chapter 12. Two Little Girls and A Trail of Broken Hearts. Page 192:

I have always been very protective of children, both on the home front and in the public domain, but knowing what I know and realizing that children can be preyed upon has made me an extremely protective grandfather. Child murders and the vicious abuse of children have much deeper meaning to me than the evening news because I have seen the handiwork of these animals up close which is why I believe some cases cry out for capital punishment. It wouldn’t bother me to pull the switch, open the trap door, or give the lethal injection to such killers of children. Predators must know there will be certain and severe consequences for their actions.

The crime policy that Stephen Harper and Julian Fantino advocate is based on “gut feelings,” not facts. The truth is that the death penalty is not a deterrent for any form of crime. Canada’s penal system still makes mistakes which is one of the many many valid arguments against capital punishment. The last execution in Canada was on December 11, 1962, at Toronto’s Don Jail. It was a Liberal Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson, who abolished capital punishment. For Fantino and Harper, crime legislation is at the top of the agenda, even though crime has been declining in Canada for over a decade (another example of the aforementioned pair ignoring the facts). Stephen Harper has said that he wants Fantino to be his point person on crime. Was the reinstatement of capital punishment the kind of thing that Tom Flanagan meant when he called Stephen Harper an “incrementalist”?