Monday, July 30, 2007

Billy Bragg's "She Came Came ALong to Me"

Feminist union song. Lyrics below.

Ten hundred books could I write you about her
Because I felt if I could know her
I would know all women
And they've not been any too well known
For brains and planning and organized thinking
But I'm sure the women are equal
And they may be ahead of the men

Yet I wouldn't spread such a rumor around
Because one organizes the other
And some times the most lost and wasted
Attract the most balanced and sane
And the wild and the reckless take up
With the clocked and the timed
And the mixture is all of us
And we're still mixing

But never, never, never
Never could have it been done
If the women hadn't entered into the deal
Like she came along to me

And all creeds and kinds and colors
Of us are blending
Till I suppose ten million years from now
We'll all be just the alike
Same color, same size, working together
And maybe we'll have all the fascists
Out of the way by then
Maybe so.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Michael Moore Sentenced to House Arrest

Read about the sexually explicit details here.

Urquhart Rips McGuinty a new one over Slush Fund


Ian Urquhart and the Star have really done a great job covering this scandal.

You can read his previous columns on the issue here.

New Breed Added to Canada's Endangered Species List

Hinterland Who's Who features Canada's newest endangered species: the honest politician.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ontario Minister Responsible for Slush Funds Quits

Liberal Mike Colle exits cabinet under a dark cloud. Read about it in the Globe here.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's government was rocked Thursday by the resignation of a cabinet minister after revelations that millions of dollars in grants were rushed out the door with no rules and procedures.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Mike Colle stepped down after the Auditor-General released a damning report concluding that the process for handing out grants to multicultural groups was not "open, transparent or accountable." There was often no paper trail, and many grants were handled in the minister's office based on little more than a verbal discussion with Mr. Colle or his staff, the report says.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"It Says Here" Billy Bragg Takes on the Media

Ignore the introductory comments by the goofy vj, Billy Bragg's "It Says Here" is a great indictment of media bias in advanced capitalist countries.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Liberal Candidate in Outremont "has well-documented anti-Israel bias"

Jewish organization B'Nai Brith is claiming that Stephane Dion's star candidate in Outremont, Jocelyn Coulon, "has a well-documented anti-Israel bias." Amazing how Jason Cherniak didn't pick up on that. A few days ago, Cherniak mused "Perhaps [Coulon's] the first of three new wise people for Dion in Québec?" However, it looks more and more likely that the NDP's Tom Mulcair will prevent Coulon from ever getting to Ottawa.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Stephane Dion is a Commie

Conservative ad spoof from the Royal Canadian Air Farce.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Vive le Quebec Libre: 40 years later

Forty years ago, French General Charles De Gaulle spoke these very politically charged words to a crowd of 20,000 people while visiting Montreal. Forty years later, they still resonate with Quebec society. Le Devoir has a great article authored by Brian Myles about the significance of De Gaulle's speech forty years later. Here's a preview:

En juillet 1967, bien des Québécois se considéraient encore comme des Canadiens français, René Lévesque n'avait pas encore quitté le Parti libéral, Daniel Johnson père avait remporté son élection sur le thème «Égalité ou indépendance» et les partis indépendantistes récoltaient moins de 9 % des suffrages. C'est dans ce contexte que le général Charles de Gaulle débarquait pour une tournée triomphale en ces terres françaises d'Amérique.

The Politics of Military Recruitment

Yesterday, I checked out Canal Fest in North Tonawanda NY, between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. It was an impressive festival for such a small community, featuring live music, a midway, lots of different food options (including Democratic and Republican food venues), and even a charity casino. What surprised me the most was to see such a heavy emphasis on military recruitment at the festival. The Army, the National Guard, and the Marines had three separate recruitment stations interspersed throughout the vendors. All three featured military-like video game simulations to attract young people. I sat and watched a teenager play a first person shooter game, and interestingly, it didn't appear possible to "die" in the traditional video game sense. Recruiters followed up with encouraging words and a not so subtle suggestion that the Armed Forces needed "people just like you." I hope we never get to this point in Canada.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Senator Elaine McCoy Links to Progressive Bloggers

It looks like the new blog launched by Alberta Senator Elaine McCoy has links to a whole host of progressive blogs, including yours truly. I'm sure all the Tories in Alberta will be pleased to know that their senator has links to blogs like A Socialist in Calgary, Dykes Against Harper, the Neo-Communist, and the Unrepentant Old Hippie.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What do Sid Ryan and Roy Cullen Have in Common?

Sid Ryan won the NDP provincial nomination in Oshawa last night. Curious about his platform, I checked out only to discover that the URL redirects you to a "Re-elect Roy Cullen" page. Cullen, of course is the Liberal MP for Etobicoke North. Weird, huh?

A Commercial Casino for Toronto?

Looks like the left-wing do-gooders on Toronto City Council are willing to roll the dice and explore the establishment of a commercial casino at the Woodbine racetrack. The irony is that left-wingers, along with the religious right, have traditionally been the most opposed to casino gambling. We'll have to wait and see if the province plays along. I think it's shocking for most people outside of Ontario to learn that the province hosts four commerical casinos (2 in Niagara Falls, 1 in Windsore and 1 in Orillia), but not a single one is located in the GTA. The City of Toronto, of course, is not so much addicted to the idea of gambling than it is to gaming revenues. With a real finanical crunch setting in, and a province less willing to bail out its largest city, it will be tough for Queen's Park to dismiss the whole idea out of hand. The NDP and the Tories opened up commercial casinos, Dalton could hardly be attacked for doing the same.

From the Star:

Late on Tuesday, council approved a massive $750 million development at Woodbine racetrack, in the city's northwest corner, including a hotel, shopping, a skating rink and a large area that could easily house a full casino similar to Casino Niagara or Casino Rama.

Woodbine officials yesterday said a casino is in the province's hands.

"There's been pressure for years for a full casino in Toronto," said Councillor Brian Ashton (Ward 36, Scarborough Southwest), a member of the executive committee. "Casinos are now centrepieces of many communities ... I would say it's probably time to roll the dice again and review this and determine if it's beneficial to Toronto."

Miller told the Star he hasn't thought through the implications of a full casino at Woodbine, though he has said in the past that he disapproved of a city casino – including during the 2003 election, when mayoral rival Tom Jacobek floated the idea.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Should Conrad Black Go to Jail?

The Globe & Mail is asking its readers this question and the result looks almost unanimous. No wonder the Tories aren't rushing to the defence of their free-market idol.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Strip Black of the Order of Canada: NDP

The NDP has submitted an official request to the Chancellery of Honours at Rideau Hall to have Black removed as officer of the Order of Canada now that he has been convicted of criminal offences. The newspaper tycoon was found guilty by a U.S. jury last week on three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice.

NDP Heritage critic Charlie Angus said allowing Black to hold on to Canada’s highest civilian honour undermines its integrity.

“It’s a fundamental question of fairness,” Angus said from Timmins, Ont.. “We look to the Order of Canada to recognize the highest achievement in Canadian life, and when someone falls below that standard by being convicted, in the past they’ve been removed from that Order.”

Read the whole story here.

Some will accuse the NDP of kicking a man when he's down, but politically speaking the NDP's constituency is likely the least friendly to Conrad Black. Nothing to get the rank-and-file excited like a little class antagonism.

Incarcerex: Are You Scared of Losing Your Election?

America is addicted to the war on drugs.

Via: Nag-on-the-lake.

Former NDP Politicians Get Into Trouble

Former Windsor area NDP MP Howard McCurdy is facing criminal charges, while former BC NDP MLA Tim Stevenson is pleading guilty to drunk driving. You rarely read about New Democrat politicians engaged in illegal activities. But I must admit that these stories reminded me of the time former NDP MP Lorne Nystrom got caught shoplifting. He was never convicted.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Liberals for MMP Meeting in Toronto

Found in my inbox:


Any MMP supporters who are active in the Liberal party, or are party supporters, are invited to a founding meeting for Liberals for MMP on the evening of Wednesday, July 18. The meeting will be at the Vote for MMP campaign offices at 215 Spadina, 4th floor. If you are planning on attending, please RSVP to Matt Guerin: Supporters outside of Toronto can connect via conference call, contact Matt for instructions.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Does the Bloc Stand a Chance in Outremont?

Historically, the riding of Outremont has not been very receptive to sovereignist politics. However, in every election since 1993, the BQ has managed to win at least 28% of the vote. Heading into a by-election against four federalist parties, 28% doesn't look so bad - especially when recent polls suggest that the Liberal vote is being threatened from both the left and the right and that Jack Layton is the most popular federal leader in Montreal.

Most pundits interested in the Outremont by-election have shown great interest in the NDP candidacy of Thomas Mulcair. Some have even suggested that he is the hands on favourite to win. There is no question that Mulcair changes the dynamic in Outremont, but will he win the day, or simply divide the federalist vote? So what are the chances of BQ candidate Jean-Paul Gilson? (You can watch a video of the candidate here).

If sovereignist voters back Gilson en masse, there is a real possibility that the BQ could win the day, even by taking only a third of the votes. If Mulcair eats into the Liberal vote total from 2006 enough to increase the NDP share of the vote to 27%, the party would still fall short of the BQ's lowest vote total ever in Outremont. Of course, the Bloc is unlikely to win over 37% of the vote like it did in 1993, but BQ support isn't totally crumbling either. At worst, the party should be able to rely on a core vote of 25% (made up almost entirely of convinced sovereignists).

A possible BQ victory in Outremont could look like this:

BQ 28%
Liberal 26%
NDP 27%
Conservative 14%
Green 5%
Other 1%

I wouldn't be surprised if the Liberals are busy cooking up a strategic voting angle for their own campaign, designed to scare federalists interested in Mulcair's candidacy into voting Liberal for the sake of federalism. I certainly anticipate a post from Jason Cherniak headlined "A vote for the NDP in Outremont is a vote for the Bloc." Of course, the NDP and the Bloc are two very different parties - but either party would be a better option than the Liberals for progressive voters in Outremont.

It is too early to tell how this by-election will play itself out. However, the Liberals, New Democrats, and BQ all have a fighting chance.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

20th Century Quebec History

A humourous look back at the last hundred years in Quebec.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hillary, Obama, Edwards and Gore: Democratic Super Friends

A spoof of the 80s animated super hero series.

Even More Liberal Resignations

Back in April, I was blogging about Liberal MPs who would rather quit than run under Dion. Well, another one bit the dust today. A rookie Liberal MP from Saskatchewan is calling it quits. Some are blaming Dion's leadership.

"There have been some big names go, which is unfortunate, but [it] speaks to the adage that MPs generally measure three things when an election looms. Getting elected, getting into government, getting into cabinet," a veteran Liberal wrote in an e-mail.

"Dion has made the calculation easy."

I'm not sure exactly how many Liberals have now announced they won''t be running again, but I estimate the number to be around 15-20% of the Liberal caucus. That's a huge blow to Dion's leadership and doesn't bode well for the Official Opposition.

Layton Most Popular Federal Leader in Montreal

Good news for Tom Mulcair...

One of the surprises in the poll was that Layton was the most popular leader in Montreal, where the NDP has never elected an MP.

Among Montrealers polled, Layton scored 24 per cent, compared with 19 per cent for Harper, 16 per cent for Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe and 12 per cent for Dion. However, the Montreal sample was only 217 respondents and had a margin of error of 6.7 percentage points.

Leebosh said Layton’s apparent strength in Montreal could be attributed to two factors: “Tom Mulcair (a former provincial Liberal cabinet minister) is the NDP’s star candidate in an upcoming byelection) but also the city may be more left-wing than the rest of the province,” which suggests dispirited Bloc and Liberal voters may be turning to the NDP in the urban area.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Vote for Andy

I saw Speech today as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival. I highly recommend it to political operatives at all levels. Read a review here.

Hot For Hillary

Former American Idol contestant Taryn Southern crushes on Hillary Clinton in this original song.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Just in Case You Forgot...

Stephane Dion in not a leader.

Link-O-Rama: Outrage Edition

Dymaxion World on Iraq.

Dipper Chick lashes out at the media.

Rambling Socialist on hospital wait times.

Buckdog on George W Bush.

Mormons VS Michael Moore

A new documentary about the controversy that erupted over Michael Moore's invitation to speak at a Mormon university in Utah.

Hudak No Fan of MMP

The Progressive Right is congratulating Conservative MPP Tim Hudak on his openness to exploring the issue of electoral reform on his facebook site. But it's all smoke and mirrors. Hudak has already come out publicly against the Mixed Member Proportional proposal in the Niagara Falls Review:

"I see no reason to change it." Erie-Lincoln Conservative MPP Tim Hudak said the new system creates a less democratic parliament because it allows for 39 MPPs to be selected by political parties rather than being personally elected by voters. "

Because these MPPs would not be elected by a riding, they would not be accountable to the voters. They would be beholden to the party bosses who appointed them," Hudak said. "I don't think that is a good thing at all.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Young Liberal Priorities

Young Liberal priorities are certainly interesting... Universal childare? OK. Kyoto? OK, but Icome Trusts? Are you kidding me? Restoring income trusts is a priority for the Liberal Party youth wing?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Liberals Can't Balance the Books

Not only are the federal Liberals struggling with fundraising, many prominent Liberal MPs are mired in debt.

Michael Ignatieff still owes more than $777,000 in debts on his unsuccessful bid last year for the Liberal leadership....

... In fact, Mr. Ignatieff's campaign still owes about a third of its costs, including $529,500 in outstanding loans and $247,238 in unpaid bills....

...Under elections laws, Mr. Ignatieff has another year to raise the money to pay off the debts, after which they would be deemed illegal contributions. Candidates must get the money from eligible donors, and are not allowed to pay the debts off themselves because of limits on donations by individuals...

...Toronto-area MP Maurizio Bevilacqua, who became the first of the 11 official candidates to withdraw from the race four months before the convention, still owes $296,000 in loans and unpaid bills.

Dion Trains Kyoto to Produce Political Results

But without much success...
Quebecois spoof features Stephen Harper, Stephane Dion and Quebec premier Jean Charest.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Ontario Liberals for MMP Getting Organized

This landed in my inbox today from Fair Vote Ontario:


Any MMP supporters who are active in the Liberal party, or are party supporters, are encouraged to contact Matt Guerin: Matt will be convening a meeting to discuss formation of a Liberals for MMP group to help spread the word among fellow Liberals about voting for MMP. The meeting will likely take place in Toronto, but anyone who would be interested in connecting by conference call, or would like to be part of this network, should also contact Matt.

Momentum is building as more Liberal political figures are coming out in favour of MMP (e.g., Ontario cabinet ministers George Smitherman, Michael Bryant and John Gerretsen; plus federal Liberals such as Carolyn Bennett, Bob Rae and Monique Begin).

Left Wing Tendency to be Purged from PQ?

SPQ-Libre, a left wing tendency of trade unionists and progressives in the PQ may become a casualty of Pauline Marois' crusade to "modernize" the party.

The SPQ Libre was created and given official status in the party while Landry was still leader, partly to mend the relationship between the PQ and organized labour. The SPQ Libre ran a candidate, Pierre Dubuc, for the PQ leadership in 2006, but he won only 2% of the vote. However, the group's influence is not reflected in those numbers.

The PQ's President, Monique Simard, is a member of SPQ-Libre along with many current and former trade union leaders in Quebec.

Read about it here in Le Devoir.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Ontario NDP Pre-Election Ads Encourage Voters to "Get Orange"

"Seeing red over Dalton McGuinty?" The Ontario NDP wants us to get orange.

The class-based nature of this ad is certainly appealing to the NDP's core consituency while highlighting the Liberals as breaking their promises. Looks like the NDP is off to a good start, but does the party have the resources needed to ensure that they get decent exposure?

The Sky is Falling: Cherniak and I agree on a Unified Secular Public Education System

Liberal blogger Jason Cherniak is calling for a unified single public education system in Ontario like the one I proposed here. In doing so, he has joined forces with the Ontario Green Party and the NDP's socialist caucus. Cherniak's friend, Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty, is on record as opposing a secular unified public education system in Ontario. Nice to see Cherniak put away the partisan blinders for once and call for real change.

Can YouTube Improve Politics?

This is a question I find myself asking occasionally. I don't think it improves the level of political discourse, but I do think it can help keep politicians more accountable. This YouTube video talks a little about the relationship between politicians and YouTube.

Mulcair and the NDP: Solidarity Forever?

Mulcair's position on the Middle East, his relationship with the labour movement, and his views on water exports are making some New Democrats nervous. If he does win an upset victory in Outremont, will his policy differences with the party be contained or cause him to jump ship in the future? This article in the Globe & Mail outlines the challenges and pitfalls Mulcair and the NDP will face in the upcoming Outremont by-election. Here's a preview:

There is one peculiar challenge, though: Outremont is home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the country. Last fall, the Israeli ambassador accused the NDP of “aligning itself with terrorists” after the party adopted a motion at a convention in Quebec City that described Israel's military campaign on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon as “drastically disproportionate.”

On this issue, Mr. Mulcair distances himself from his new party. Over the course of a two-hour interview in Outremont, it is the only subject with which he struggles. “My wife's family, like a lot of European Jews, suffered a lot during the war,” he said, offering further details but requesting discretion. “My strong support for Israel shouldn't be interpreted as meaning that I don't realize there are huge problems.”

His position on the Middle East is not the only one that strays from the views of the party's base, which, as last year's convention showed, can tend toward the dogmatic.

Like a school of piranhas devouring a fresh victim, the Canadian left has been picking apart Mr. Mulcair's record.

Discussions on websites such as, popular with young New Democrats, reveal a great deal of excitement about the star candidate. At the same time, they question whether he is really one of them if he could sit in a Charest cabinet that fought a major battle with the province's unions. His 2004 call for a debate on the bulk export of fresh water to the United States is also raising alarms.

Other observers are also surprised to see Mr. Mulcair join the NDP. “If you asked me before he joined the New Democrats, I would have said he was on the centre-right,” said Alain Noël, a political science professor at the University of Montreal.

In his defence, Mr. Mulcair says he campaigned for NDP candidates in his university days. On bulk water exports, which he points out are already happening, he said he has learned that the issue is too emotional for rational debate.

As for the Charest government's battle with public-sector unions, Mr. Mulcair now says it was a difficult time for him in the cabinet. “It was a very clear decision that we had to do something to clean up public finances and that included the unions taking us on,” he said. “Frankly, it's not the type of thing you're ever comfortable with.”

Monday, July 2, 2007

Michael Moore on Hillary Clinton's Role in "SICKO"

See my previous post... Hillary Clinton is the second largest recipient of political donations from the healthcare industry.

In "SICKO" Moore portrays her as having fought so hard for universal health care in the early 1990s, only to have sold out to the health care industry in later years.

Sicko: Does it Help or Hinder Clinton

Who would have ever thought that such a popular film would feature Tommy Douglas, Richard Nixon, Che Guevera's daughter, George W. Bush, Fidel Castro, and Hillary Clinton? Speaking of Hillary, one wonders if the film will help of hinder her bid for the White House... Moore seems to set her up as a hero before exposing her as a sell-out.

Lefty Blog Awards 2007

Yours truly has been nominated for a 2007 Lefty Blog Award.

Not sure how this competition works, but it's an honour just to be nominated I suppose...

I've added the 2007 Lefty Blog Awards badge to my site... click on it for more info and links to some great lefty blogs.