Justin Trudeau is turning to leaders from companies that include Canada’s biggest bank and BlackBerry Ltd. (BBRY) to help convince Canadians his opposition Liberals can be trusted to run the economy ahead of next year’s elections.
I wonder if anyone in the Grit High Command thought this through. Did they not realize that even the laziest of headline writers was going to jump at the BlackBerry connection? That the Tories will, inevitably, use this as political fodder? Because it's a smart idea to connect a political lightweight with the most dramatic Canadian corporate flame-out since Nortel. I'm guessing Gerald Butts was on vacation this week.
Are you a bored journalist / pollster / pundit / gadfly? Is it nearly a year before the next election? Do you have a desperate need to fill copy and not quite enough time? Then here's a perfect non-story for you:
The parties will all insist that they are running to win and that planning for a coalition is a bad idea — but for a majority of Canadian voters, this may be emerging as the best solution. Coalitions may be terra incognita for Canadian federal politics but they are widely accepted in Europe and elsewhere. The diverse values and interests of an increasingly pluralistic citizenry aren’t fitting readily into the older party systems — and a coalition may well be the preferred destination for the public.
There's an old story of Ronald Reagan, when he was a broadcaster fresh out of college, reporting on football games using nothing more than a ticker tape feed and his vivid imagination. The above is journalism in that same creative spirit. Taking a series of not particularly relevant facts, most notably that a government long in power is never very popular between elections, and trying to paint a dramatic pictures of Stephen Harper triumphing yet again, or being forced to walk out of the servants entrance at 24 Sussex with nothing more than a cardboard box and a forlorn countenance.
Ten months before an election we have conjecture and nothing more. Pierre Trudeau was a political corpse 10 months before the 1980 election. Remember who won? The electorate has to be whipped, beaten and prodded to give a damn about politics even during the writ period. Had the pollster asked if Daffy Duck or Justin Trudeau should be the next Prime Minister, there's a fair chance the media would be talking about whether a cartoon with a speech impediment can lead Canada. Oh wait.
The question upon which this pundit's castle has been built is this:
If you were forced to choose between a Conservative minority government led by Stephen Harper and a coalition government made up of Liberals and New Democrats led by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, which would you prefer?
I had thought for years that Quebec nationalists were the world class champions of posing obtuse and cynical political questions. Then again even Pequiste dead-enders have their limits. This isn't a push poll, it's a shove off the cliff and tell me where you land poll.
Let me put it another way:
If you were forced to choose between vanila ice cream that's slightly melted, or a new type of calorie free ice cream that has the great taste of chocolate flavoured orgasms, which would you prefer?
The amazing thing is that the poll still gives the Harper Tories 40% of the vote. So for those of you keeping track at home when forced to choose between a real alternative and the fever dreams of the Canadian Left, the Tories still win. This isn't a news story this is a sad desperate plea for Justin and Tom to get hitched.
This will never happen. Thomas Mulcair is a seasoned politician who leads the official opposition. The odds are between zero and nothing that he would ever consent to sharing political power, before an election is even held, with a neophyte playing guitar in the Gerald Butts Travelling Show. After years of slobbering media coverage the Once and Future Prime Minister is still being beaten in the polls by a dull bank manager with a terrible haircut. Wait just six months for when the Tory War Room gets fully fired up.
They turned Michael Ignatieff into a mound of excessively self-analyzed jelly. While Justin is more politically adept he is also far less substantive. The Liberal Party has to hope against hope they can spend the next ten months showing pictures of Justin's adorable family before people figure out that when it comes to Justin there is no there there.
Now some of the embittered cynics in the backrow will counter that Barack Obama, an empty suit's empty suit, was able to capture the Presidency twice. This is certainly true. Thing is that Barry of Chicago had two powerful trump cards: He is black (sort of) and wasn't Geroge W Bush.
Justin Trudeau is not from any identifiable victim group, unless WASP-Quebecois millionaires are now a victim group, nor is Stephen Harper widely despised. Many of the people who came to hate Dubya were people who once voted for him. The Tory base, both hard and soft, has stood by their incrementalist champion lo these many election cycles. This has not changed. As in 2011 The Badly Coiffed One just needs to swing 4-5% of the popular vote his way through a combination of bribery (i.e. tax credits) and making vaguely sinister remarks about Justin not being ready. Bribery works and the latter is, of course, perfectly true.
Back in 2008 we nearly had a Coalition between a traitor (Duceppe), a socialist (Layton) and a fool (Dion). After a few terrifying hours in which this might have come to pass, the public turned on the idea in much the same way, and for much the same reason, they turned on the Edsel and New Coke. A terrible idea is a terrible idea. A change in casting doesn't make the play any better.
Why don't more people realize this isn't a good thing?
Each year, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute recognizes a “Policy Maker of the Year”. Past recipients have included former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney and Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Development John Baird. One could argue that, while people in such positions are undoubtedly influential, there is another entity that is rarely acknowledged for its impact on policy yet in the last year has changed Canadian public policy in wide-reaching and long-lasting ways – the Supreme Court of Canada.
Television entrepreneur Moses Znaimer is hoping to expand his reach on the TV dial by acquiring the money-losing Sun News Network from Quebecor Inc.
According to a source familiar with the negotiations, Mr. Znaimer is eager to make a deal that would see ZoomerMedia Ltd., a company he controls, buy the news and opinion channel before the year is over. Mr. Znaimer currently has exclusive negotiating rights, and the price of the purchase would be low, the source said.
I readily grant that Znaimer is a very talented entrepreneur. Nevertheless this story makes me nervous. Since he's building up a media empire (his second) whose demographics slant grey, picking up a network, Sun News, that has a similar demographic makes superficial sense. Thing is that imagining Moses Znaimer employing Ezra Levant is one of those feats of mental gymnastics that is well beyond my meagre abilities. This looks like a gut and refurbish operation using the network's license as a platform for some new form of "Zoomer" related marketing.
A Vancouver lawyer is taking Prime Minister Stephen Harper to court for failing to fill 16 empty Senate seats, claiming the delay in appointing senators is a violation of the Canadian Constitution.
Aniz Alani has filed an application in Federal Court calling for the appointment of 16 senators, arguing the Constitution requires the prime minister to fill empty seats in a reasonable amount of time.
How about never? Never seems a very reasonable amount of time to me. If there's enough to reach quorum in the Red Chamber, and there is, that's more than adequate. I have the sneaking suspicion that Mr Alani was one of those kids in school who would remind the teachers to assign homework.
Alberta's opposition Wildrose caucus is expected to meet Tuesday to discuss merging with Premier Jim Prentice's Progressive Conservatives, sources have told The Canadian Press.
If merger talks fail, there may be four or more defections to the Tory team, said one source. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity.
Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith and house leader Rob Anderson could not be reached for comment late Monday.
Politics is a low profession. It got a bit lower this week. It's impossible for outsiders to know the personal dynamics within a party caucus. The private jealousies and petty feuding that makes much of the political process sound and feel like junior high but with less acne. Wildrose has been plagued in recent months by defections and by-election defeats. They've taken it on the chin. But was it really that bad? Is there no alternative but abject surrender to what you once rebelled against?
Comparisons are obviously being drawn to the unification of the Right under Stephen Harper a decade ago. Except that was the Reform Party, rebranded as the Canadian Alliance, swallowing the rump of the federal PCs. It was the rebels finishing off what was left of the old Tory Establishment. They even dumped the much hated qualifier: Progressive. Whatever you might think of Harperist incrementalism - I'm not a fan - the old style Red Tories are dead at the federal level. A brand of political ideology that was once described as socialism for WASPs.
What's started to leak out about the merger is, to say the least, cringe inducing:
A letter will be sent to the Wildrose party executive and members inviting them to “formalize the union.”
The Wildrose and PC mucky-mucks will “roll out multiple endorsements for reunion from several senior statesmen from both parties.”
The party will hold a spring vote on the “reunion resolution.”
As for what is known in PR as “overall messaging” they will speak of “the reunion of the conservative family under Premier Prentice.”
Prentice, says the messaging, “has shown himself to be a man of integrity and an exceptionally competent leader at a time of great economic uncertainty.”
Prentice, continues the Wildrose PR, has “adopted the vast majority of Wildrose policies and principles.”
With an "if" here and a "but" there you can put Paris, or the Wildrose Party of Alberta, in a bottle. For those of you following the bouncing ball at home the Alberta PCs, who were sworn foot soldiers of Alison "Red" Redford a few months ago, are now magically transformed into rock-ribbed conservatives. All that was needed was three months of Jim Prentice waving his Tory wand.
It's as if the Liberal Party of Ontario overthrew Kathleen Wynne and begged Mike Harris to lead them into battle. Credulity isn't being stretched here. It's being chopped up into little pieces and sold by the pound. To head off any possible counter-revolutionary activity we have this tidbit:
“The assurance that if an individual does decide to challenge an MLA despite the premier’s endorsement there will be a call reminding them of the premier’s endorsement.”
Perhaps a knock on the door in the middle of the night too. Just in case the "individual" doesn't remember what he was told before. Memory is a tricky thing in Alberta politics. It looks like the Wildrose Party, and whatever it once stood for, is about to be dropped down the memory hole for good.
Companies would be forced to justify why their prices are higher in Canada than in the United States or face naming and shaming under federal legislation introduced Tuesday — a move some critics called misguided.
Industry Minister James Moore said the aim is to protect Canadian consumers, not regulate prices.
Naturally. Regulating is a bad thing. Browbeating is something else entirely.