Monday, September 17, 2012

Is this yet another Mulcair flip-flop?

As parliament resumes today, apparently the news-of-the-day is that the NDP never advocated for a carbon tax.  In fact, Thomas Mulcair and House Leader Nathan Cullen went so far to say the Conservatives were lying about it!

The NDP response came after Conservative House leader Peter van Loan commented thatIn the last election, Thomas Mulcair campaigned on a platform that had right in it, in black and white, a $21 billion tax hike from carbon."

The NDP’s denial is news indeed, since, right there, in the NDP’s 2011 election platform – in black and white just as Van Loan said – is:

“We will put a price on carbon through a cap-and-trade system, which will establish hard emissions limits for Canada’s biggest polluters to ensure companies pay their environmental bills and to create an incentive for emissions reductions” (p. 12).

Page 13 then speaks of selling “emissions permits,” which, as a simple Wikipedia article can explain, is a central theme of any effort to tax or regulate carbon.

It’s all part of their plan to create a “lower carbon future” (13), so that the NDP would suddenly deny a central tenet of their platform is puzzling.

But wait, where did Van Loan get the $21.5 billion figure? How does he know that number? He probably made it up, right? Nope, the NDP acknowledge their carbon tax will cost Canadians $21.5 Billion between 2011 and 2015 in their own costing document!

Or perhaps this is another Mulcair flip-flop, attempting to reverse an NDP policy from when Jack Layton was still the leader, as with the legalization of marijuana and countless other policies?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Elections Canada makes exceptions for Liberals to break Elections Act

How rotten the Liberal election campaign in Guelph really was in 2011 is only beginning to be exposed.

The Canada Elections Act is clear on a number of important rules: landlords cannot stop political party representatives from canvassing an apartment building during a writ period; a person cannot make a false statement in order to vote; a candidate cannot accept "gifts"; and a bunch of other rules most of us accept as warranted and appropriate to conduct fair and free elections.

One such law is that partisan materials and identification are not allowed at polling stations.  It's right here:

  • 166. (1) No person shall
    • (a) post or display in, or on the exterior surface of, a polling place any campaign literature or other material that could be taken as an indication of support for or opposition to a political party that is listed on the ballot under the name of a candidate or the election of a candidate;
    • (b) while in a polling station, wear any emblem, flag, banner or other thing that indicates that the person supports or opposes any candidate or political party that is listed on the ballot under the name of a candidate, or the political or other opinions entertained, or supposed to be entertained, by the candidate or party; and
    • (c) in a polling station or in any place where voting at an election is taking place, influence electors to vote or refrain from voting or vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate.

You read that, right?  No posting partisan materials outside a polling station and no person may wear anything that indicates partisanship while inside a polling station.

Well, don't worry.  If you're a Liberal and break the law, Elections Canada will simply say the rules don't apply to you!

> From: CommissionersOffice <>
> To: Kenneth Morgan
> Sent: Monday, October 31, 2011 1:46:06 PM
> Subject: Complaint
> File # E11-322
> Dear Mr. Morgan:
> This correspondence is further to your complaint that the Returning Officer and Assistant Returning Officer allowed the Liberal Party to distribute literature and wear political paraphernalia at the special ballot voting activity held at the University of Guelph on April 13, 2011, during the 41st general election period.  You also indicate that at the same activity, after “adhering to all relevant articles of the Canada Elections Act”, your scrutineer (candidate representative) was not allowed to scrutineer at the poll.
> For each allegation this Office must determine if the elements of an offence under the Canada Elections Act (Act) can be met.  Enforcement action, including a warning, compliance agreement or referral for possible prosecution, will not be contemplated if the elements of an offence are not met.
> The Act provides that electors can vote on polling day, at advance polls and by means of a special ballot.  The voting at the University of Guelph was a special ballot activity. The rules governing voting by special ballot are found in Part 11of the Act and differ from voting at a “polling station” within the meanings of the Act. 
> The prohibition of the distribution of literature and the wearing of paraphernalia indicating support for or opposition to a political party, applies to a “polling place” or “polling station” as defined by the Act.  Voting by special ballot does not take place at a polling place or polling station; consequently, the prohibition does not apply.
> The same is true with respect to the presence of candidate representatives to witness the vote. The Act does not provide for scrutineers in the case of voting by special ballot (representatives may be present when the special ballot votes are being counted “at the office of the returning officer”).  Scrutineers of all parties present at the University of Guelph special ballot activity were asked to leave because election officers believed there was no basis in the Act for them to be present.
> Based on the law and the evidence available to me, there is no reasonable basis to believe that the conduct described in your complaint involves a violation of the Act.
> Thank you for your interest in the electoral process.

> Yours truly,
> The Commissioner of Canada Elections

Reminder: the only reason this was a special ballot vote in the first place was because "a well-intentioned Returning Officer" set up a polling station without the authorization of Elections Canada.  A rogue Returning Officer operating without the knowledge or consent of her bosses is one thing; it's far worse to retroactively change the rules by saying they don't apply to one party.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

When political correctness goes too far...

... This happens:

According to the Durham Regional School Board, every corner of our society has been using bigoted, hateful, archaic language.

No longer are Foremen Foremen... they're Supervisors.
No longer are Janitors Janitors... they're Custodians.
No longer is mankind mankind... we're humankind.
No longer do employers calculate "man hours" or "manpower"
No longer are children asked "is your mom or dad home?" Instead, use "is your parent or guardian home?"
No longer are they "husband" or "wife" or boyfriend or girlfriend. They're simply "spouse" or "partner."
No longer should we address groups as "ladies and gentlemen."

What really bothers me is that accepting these guidelines is apparently the only way to become "culturally proficient." Otherwise, you could be labelled "culturally destructive" or "culturally blind." Sorry Durham, but sometimes the "differences between cultures" are not positive and they're certainly not "honourable" as you suggest. Simple as that.

... Seriously.  Is this really what a School Board should be concerned with when only 41% of their students are meeting provincial math standards?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Disgraced Liberal Guelph MP slips, admits his party targeted Conservatives with robocalls

The plot thickens against the disgraced Liberal MP for Guelph after being fined and admitting to participating in illegal robocalls.

In this interview with Sun News, Frank Valeriote has quite the revealing slip as he's being interviewed:

Krista Erickson: Why, Mr. Valeriote, did you feel an apology was necessary?

Valeriote: Because we've made a mistake and, through inadvertance, we broke some of the CRTC rules - specifically, the requirement to include a phone number and an address in the message.

Erickson: When you say through inadvertance that you made that mistake, what exactly do you mean? What was done inadvertently?

Valeriote: Mr. Ignatieff had visited [Guelph] that morning and some campaign team members felt it necessary to respond to some very negative characterizations of a position that I had taken on an election issue and to clarify the position the Conservative candidate had taken and as I understand it in that confusion and chaos they sent a message to a number of Conservative... er sorry... a number of voters in Guelph, of all parties frankly, and in doing so and in haste they left off the phone number, address, and on whose behalf the call was being made.

Was this a Freudian slip as Valeriote quickly realized he mistakenly told the Sun what actually happened on that day in the Guelph Liberal campaign office?  More importantly, how did the Liberal campaign have the data to exclusively call Conservative supporters, unless their party had connections in a Conservative office or was able to obtain Conservative ID documents?

We already know Valeriote is guilty of the illegal robocalls he's admitted to and for which he's been fined - but how deep does his involvement go in such illegal activity?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Baseless robocall allegations continue to crumble

It's tough being on the left these days.

First of all, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair is having trouble shaking the "Angry Tom" nickname he was given during the NDP leadership race.

Secondly, your leader is entirely silent on issues vitally important to the Canadian union, such as whether a separatist movement in Quebec with 30-something percent support is legitimate.  Oh, but if you want to talk "Dutch disease" or the next new tax on Canadians, they're game.

Thirdly, your party was just forced to repay over $344,000 in illegal political contributions.

But worst of all, that baseless monstrosity some call "RoboGate" or the "robocall scandal," which united the Liberals and NDP in hilarious rhetoric questioning whether the May 2011 election was legitimate, is crumbling more by the day.

When the "scandal" first broke, a few hardworking Canadians, myself included, questioned whether this was really a scandal at all, and quickly found little evidence of the ridiculous allegations which quickly ballooned into charges of "widespread voter fraud."

Then it turned out that a vital witness - a woman working in the call centre which supposedly initiated those "robocalls" on behalf of the Conservative Party - was lying.

And then it turned out the only thing rotten in the Guelph campaign - the only riding to-date with any solid allegations of elections malfeasance - was the Liberal campaign, as Liberal MP Frank Valeroite was fined for illegal robocalls!

But these robocall allegations have suffered yet another blow, as today it was revealed that Michael Sona is completely cleared from all allegations. Why? An error by Elections Canada investigator Al Mathews:

“In an earlier (sworn affidavit) I wrote that Sona called McBain ‘about a campaign of disinformation such as making a misleading poll-moving call,’” Mathews wrote in a footnote on page 30 of the 36-page document. “On checking I realize that in both interviews Mr. McBain … did not recall Sona as relating the call to ‘disinformation’ or about a ‘misleading poll moving call,’ only that he wanted to set up an autodial call that would not track back to the Burke campaign.”

What actually happened is becoming clearer every day:  The Liberal campaign in Guelph setup a series of misleading robocalls intended to misdirect voters from their actual polling stations. Guelph residents are fooled and quickly point the finger at the Conservative campaign, and the anti-Conservative media quickly find a random staffer who worked the Conservative campaign and blame him with orchestrating a nation-wide campaign of "voter fraud."

It's time for a by-election in Guelph, and an apology to Michael Sona.