Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When Did Peter Donolo become a Conservative?

I read with interest the polling results in today's Globe and Mail and I will talk about it and its "analysis" later.

However, what really surprised me about this was the companion piece that Mr. Donolo helped to write. I could not believe that a man who worked as Mr. Chretien's communications chief could put his name on such an obvious piece of Conservative friendly spin. I realize that everybody needs to make a living but he is one of the reasons why Canadians are so cynical about politics and the political class in this country. Too many of them seem to be available to the highest bidder.

As for the poll itself I was surprised to see the Conservative numbers where they were. SES published a poll last week that put them in the mid-30s in support so I expected subsequent polls from other organizations to do the same.

The Liberals are exactly where I expected them to be because they have been hovering around the 32% mark since the last election. And contrary to what the pollsters say their support is rock solid while the Conservative support is fluid. The proof is in the trends and they are more credible than a poll question asking the respondent a hypothetical question regarding whether they would switch their vote. I have already mentioned the trend for the Liberals and the other trend is the Conservatives have been bouncing around like a basketball for months. One month they are up, the next they are down. They cannot seem to find a level and stay there. That indicates fluidity in support and that makes the life of political strategists for the Conservatives very complicated.

The Globe and Mail spin had me chuckling. The writers and editors must have been feeling rather queazy after writing the story as they were spinning rather quickly. I certainly hope they all took cabs home last night because they would not have been in any shape to drive home after writing that BS.

I have never bought into the idea of the G&M being a mouthpiece for any political party so it begs the question as to why they went to such lengths to take a poll that is bad news for the Conservatives and spin it into good news.

Part of the answer lies with their editorial from yesterday about Kyoto. It is no secret that the G&M is very pro-business and it is very against implementing the Kyoto Protocol because it has bought into the argument that doing so would be bad for the economy. It has dismissed the positive economic offsets of its implementation, which I think is wrong, but that is an argument for another post.

Today's poll indicates that the next election could be anybody's race and that the Liberals probably have as much of a shot at forming the next government as the Conservatives. Mr. Dion has committed to implementing the Kyoto Protocol. They know that he means what he says and that he is not just posturing. So they do not want him anywhere near the levers of power. Hence, the spin on the SC poll.

No Liberal should be happy with the spin of the poll but they should take heart that the G&M felt they needed to do so because they are beginning to see the fact the Liberals are back in the game, there are as many negatives on the Conservative record as positive (and we all know that negative tends to have a greater impact than positive during elections) and Stephen Harper has not connected with Canadians even after all of this time in the spot-light.

If the Conservatives continue to langish in a tie with the Liberals expect the G&M to continue to write Conservative friendly articles. If it actually looks like the Liberals may consistantly overtake the Conservatives expect that Conservative friendliness to be more strident.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What a boring political summer it has been

For the last two months or so I have found that not much has really happened on the Canadian political scene that I could write about in an indepth fashion. Certainly, there have been a few issues and events but none of them has really gripped my imagination.

So I decided to put them all in one post.

1. The Cabinet Shuffle: There is not much more to be said on it that has not already been said. The only thing I would add is that Stephen Harper has twice failed to build a cabinet that created the conditions for achieving his much coveted majority government. Indeed, his second cabinet did worse that his first. Kind of makes me wonder why he bothered with another shuffle. I guess he believes that the third times the charm.

2. Latest SES Poll: Speaking of the government's failure to grow its support into majority territory there is the SES poll from last week. It was not very surprising. The Conservatives got a bit of a boost, the result of the incumbent advantage. The only really remarkable thing about it was that advantage did not kick in until August. Usually a government enjoys that advantage soon after the House rises so I would have expected to see it occur in July. Its delay could indicate that the damage from the Afgan detainee controversy in the Spring could have caused more lasting damage to the Conservatives than originally thought.

3. Michael Ignatieff's mea culpa on Iraq: During the Liberal leadership race he was crucified by many of his critics for supporting that war. Then he admits he is wrong and many of those same critics claims he did it so that he could make a run at Mr. Dion. What partisan rubbish. If you are like me and you have ever wondered why politicians do not admit error or apologize then you just have to look at this event to see why in living colour. As well, if you are wondering why we always seem to be saddled with a large surplus of sub-par career politicians, many of whom have never held down or could find a real job, you can also look to this situation for your answers. I am certain that anybody with the abilities to offer real leadership and vision would avoid politics like the plague so that they can avoid all of the dickless, microbrained, scabrous trolls that infest our politics.

4. Karl Rove resigns: Speaking of dickless, microbrained, scabrous trolls. Considering how the Bush Administration seems to be sinking like a stone it is difficult not to use that old cliche about rats deserting a sinking ship. My only wish is that some of his kind that live in this country would follow his lead and bugger off.

5. The Bush Administration declares the Iranian Republican Guard as a terrorist organization: Is this a pretext for a military strike? If so the ramifications of such a strike are incalculable. At the very least oil prices going above the $100/barrel level for sustained periods is not out of the question. In fact it is a certainty I believe. I still find it amazing that a government with as many checks and balances as the US government would be powerless to stop the most unpopular president in recent memory from such folly.

6. The sub-par mortgage market in the US is collapsing: The North American economy has been growing continually for about 15 years. Over that period there have been periods where it looked like it would come to an end but we have always dodged the bullet. Could this be the one that ends the good times? We are due and there is a strong possibility that the malaise in the sub-prime market will spread into the general real estate market in the US. If that happens the NA economy will be in for a rough time. Interestingly, the impact of the current troubles will probably not really be felt until next Spring, which could very well correspond with a US attack on Iran. Considering the general incompetence of the Bush Administration they would be capable of taking an action that would cause energy prices to spike just as the NA economy was heading into a recession.

7. The lumber industry in the US is gearing up for another fight: And they are using the money that the Harper government gave them as part of the Softwood Lumber Deal to finance the new fight. I bet no one saw that coming.

8. Mr. Harper announces the building of a new northern port and new patrol ships for the Arctic: Right, I will believe that when I see it.