Neumann Weakens The Buzz

USWA National Director Ken Neumann outlines the Steelworkers' position during the recent federal election campaign in today's Globe and Mail. In his article, Neumann takes Buzz Hargrove to task over his endorsement of Liberal candidates and "strategic" voting, and questions how the CAW President or anyone else could consider the Liberals "progressive".

Let's meditate on the notion of the Liberals being "progressive" for a moment: As Finance Minister, Paul Martin made the largest cuts to public services and transfer payments (for education and health care) in Canada's history. The Liberal Party's spiritual icon, Pierre Trudeau, was the only Prime Minister to invoke wage and price controls AND martial law, plus he repatriated the Constitution without the consent of the Quebec government.

For those of you scoring at home, at least those of you who aren't members of a union, the CAW may be one of Canada's largest unions, but it by no means constitutes a majority of union members in Canada. In fact, thousands of CAW members ignored the "progressive" urgings of their President, and voted for NDP candidates, some were even elected as NDP candidates. Others voted Conservative, and a few in Quebec voted Bloc. The moral of the story is, the overwhelming majority of union members in Canada could care less what Buzz Hargrove thinks.

So why does the Buzz appear to matter so much? It's not that he's speaking for 'Big Labour', it's that he's speaking as head of the Canadian AUTO Workers. Next time you're flipping through newspaper ads, or watching TV commercials, pay attention to which industry easily outspends all others in terms of advertising - Those $30,000 SUVs don't roll off the lot by themselves. Heading the union for the industry who does the biggest media buy means that it's not a problem to get Big Media's attention. If only Stelco and Dofasco bought a few more TV spots...


Masking Stupidity

Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery will be unveiling his new mask tonight vs. the Boston Bruins. As even casual fans are aware, NHL goalies often decorate their masks as a personal statement. The artwork can run from the inspirational Scottish lion Canucks' goalie Kirk MacLean wore during the team's 1994 playoff run, to the witty stitches the Bruins' Gerry Cheevers painted on his mask to represent what his face would like if he never wore it.

In Emery's case, he's chosen to express his love for another sport (boxing) by having the image of Mike Tyson painted on his mask. It's one thing to give the NHL another reminder of hockey's inadvertent pugilism, it's quite another to honour an ear-biting, beauty queen-raping moron whose name became synonymous with why boxing isn't taken seriously by sports fans anymore.

If Emery was really a boxing fan, and he wanted an image to make a personal statement, might this page suggest using the image of the The Greatest of All Time, the man who threw his Olympic Gold Medal into a river to protest segregation, the man who defiantly went to prison as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the Personal Statement: Muhammad Ali.


Coming soon to an election near you...

Remember going to the movies a couple of years ago, and seeing films like The Passion of the Christ or Fahrenheit 9/11? Remember how the movies helped America polarize itself into Red States and Blue States? Remember how the controversy grew until even special-effects vehicles like The Day After Tomorrow were accused of having a political agenda?

With congressional elections approaching in a few months, it appears that Americans will once again have the chance to vote with their popcorn. In a few weeks, a graphic reminder of the Bush Administration's raison d'etre will wing its way through multiplexes across the country.

Please switch off all cell phones, pagers, and anything you may have learned as to why 9/11 was allowed to happen in the first place. Enjoy the show.


Pull the Plug on PRC - TV

The CRTC is currently considering an application from the Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association (CCTA) to sponsor nine satellite TV stations from the People's Republic of China. If someone had gone to the CRTC twenty years ago with a proposal to sponsor programming from the Soviet Union, the Commission would have been skeptical. If it had been thirty years ago, there would have been outrage that a brutal, repressive, Communist regime would be allowed to jam a propaganda boot in Canada's broadcast doorway.

The CCTA's proposal, despite the assurances of the Beijing apologists, amounts to the same brutal, repressive, Communist boot. This page frankly does not care that the Communist-owned stations might be showing nothing but cuddly Pandas and grand openings of Starbucks locations in Shanghai, the real trouble lies in what viewers won't see. Does anyone think the "objective" newscasts will discuss Taiwanese Independence, Tibet, or the growing unrest in rural China? As far as this page knows, Chinese newscasters still have some 17-year old breaking news from Tiananmen Square to put on the air. Why should the CRTC really allow Beijing to manipulate Canadian audiences?

This page admits to not being completely up on the TV preferences of the Chinese community in Canada. From where I sit in Vancouver, those tastes appear to be well served by Fairchild Broadcasting, Shaw Cable, and Channel M. However, if anyone really needs programming that teaches western democracy is a farce, Japan is still your enemy, Falun Gong is worse than Al-Qaida, and that guy in India is not the real Dalai Lama, feel free to go outside and point the dish yourselves, or try to find this stuff on the internet. Don't make Canada's broadcast regulator a stooge for the Butchers of Beijing.


Go Fish or Go Home.

Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish at the neighbourhood swimming pool, and he just won't get it. Two days after Canadians voted for a Conservative national child care program that isn't a program, or national, Vancouverites are finding out that the Campbell Liberals are taking the same approach with social housing.

In the worst case of "Can't someone else do it?" since Homer Simpson ran for Springfield Sanitation Commissioner, the BC Government is moving away from building social housing and towards subsidies for slum landlords. Just like it makes no sense to give parents money for child care spaces that don't exist, it doesn't make sense to subsidize rental housing in a rental market of 1.4% vacancy and falling.

This news also comes just a few days after Vancouver's right-wing NPA City Council voted to reduce the social housing portion of the South False Creek Development from a third to 20% of the units to be built. This page assumes that even after last year's dramatic NDP comeback in the provincial election, there should still be enough Liberal MLAs around who can rub a clue or two together as to how much it costs to live in this city.

Where could low-income families take a subsidy for a roof over their heads? Certainly not in the condo-crazy Downtown or West side neighbourhoods where Liberal MLAs and their supporters reside. Victoria's support for social housing was the dealmaker for Vancouver City Council to back the 2010 Olympic bid. This time around, the Liberals and the NPA are looking to break that commitment and tell Vancouver's homeless to "Go Fish".



Random observations from election night:

-1982: 'The West' wants out. 1987: 'The West' wants in. 2006: 'The West' gets in, but notices 'The East' is still sitting in the comfortable chair, and doesn't appear willing to leave anytime soon. For those of you scoring at home, 'The West' really means Alberta Conservatives, and to British Columbians, everyone else in Canada are Easterners who shouldn't be trusted.

-Did anyone see Jack Layton in Vancouver the Saturday before the election? Did anyone else notice how disinterested Svend Robinson looked? Did anyone else get the impression that the NDP was putting its final push in Kingsway rather than Centre?

-It was nice of Duceppe and Martin to get off the stage early in recognition of the gains made by Layton and Harper.

-John Chan's 9,000 or so votes in Calgary North-Centre is impressive. Dave Haggard's 9,000 or so votes in Vancouver East is pathetic.

-Anyone watching CBC's election coverage could have been convinced that the Bloc Quebecois wasn't a real party, until one looked at the bottom of the screen and saw their 51 seats. What's the French term for "balance of power" again?

-Mind you, Peter Mansbridge's "Don't ask me" retort about Stockwell Day's cabinet prospects easily made up for any of the network's shortcomings on election night.

-Thanks to the Mercator Projection, the NDP is a now a force to be reckoned with. Winning Skeena-Bulkley Valley, Western Arctic, AND Timmins-James Bay looks damned impressive on the electoral map - look at all that orange...

-So...who gets more attention? Conservative cabinet appointments or Liberal leadership prospects? This page can't remember seeing anyone change the game so dramatically by taking his ball and going home.

-Social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage will be slipping off the radar soon, as the Conservatives struggle to achieve minority rights of their own...


'Til Tuesday

This page is off to attend to volunteer and personal commitments until after Monday's election.

With little more predictive resources than sticking the finger into the proverbial wind, the outcome should look something like this: CPC 144, LPC 79, BQ 60, NDP 25.
The CBC, has in fact, already projected a Conservative victory, given the gallows humour that sprung up in this week's editions of This Hour Has 22 Minutes and The Mercer Report.

More predictions can be found here. However, given the closeness of many races, this page advises you to talk to friends, family and neighbours about who should be elected, not who could be elected. No matter the outcome, that discussion is vital to keeping Canada from slipping out of democracy and into the tyranny of a plurality.


Shut up, Paul.

So much for "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Yesterday, Paul Martin went after Jack Layton for not being critical enough of the impending Conservative regime.

Just because Martin's Liberals have faltered badly in confronting the CPC, he does not deserve the right to criticize Layton and the NDP for their performance against Stephen Harper. This is akin to the Vancouver Canucks bitching at the New Jersey Devils for beating them 3-0 on January 13, but losing to the rival Calgary Flames 4-1 on December 7. However, given that Paul Martin has shown no vision to Canadians beyond what he sees in the mirror, yesterday's misplaced tantrum comes as no surprise.

This page realizes that this is only Martin's second campaign as Liberal party leader. However, that does not excuse his ignorance of the fact that he is, at least until early Tuesday morning, the Prime Minister of Canada. The NDP is an opposition party, and the first target for any opposition party is always the governing party. Layton has not "taken a pass" on attacking Harper, the NDP leader just understands the nature of a multi-party system and that no one's vote should be taken for granted. If Martin would stop plugging his ears when Layton says the Liberals are corrupt, he could hear Layton say the Conservatives are wrong, like the rest of the country has heard.

This would be why Martin's arrogant and cynical call for a "coalition of progressive voters" should fall on deaf ears - "progressive" means that a government is perpetually looking for ways to improve the lives of the people it serves, not just when it's politically expedient. Martin's performance as Finance Minister in cutting the sizeable holes in Canada's social safety net is not what this page considers 'progressive'. Nor is allowing members of his party to vote against equal rights for gays and lesbians, and then vote in favour of scab labour.

In bracing for the January 23 impact, Martin has moved from the politics of fear to the politics of finger pointing. Neither are working.


Air Wars: Can BC NDP MLA's intercept a Harper Majority?

Give or take a phantom poll by Ekos which has Liberals clinging to it for dear life, the last week of the campaign has the race in British Columbia boiling down the New Democrats and the Conservatives. If the NDP didn't have the momentum, why would the Conservatives be running attack ads making fun of Jack Layton's mustache? This page is not making anything up, I saw this CPC spot during Saturday's Seahawks-Redskins NFL playoff game* on Global. Somebody not directly connected with Gordon Campbell or the Vancouver Board of Trade actually attacked the NDP.

British Columbia could turn out to be a double-edged sword for the Conservatives. While the party stands to gain a few seats, our unique political culture could deny Stephen Harper his cherished majority in the House. Unlike other provinces, BC only has two major parties: the NDP, and whatever right-wing, pro-big business, anti-union party of convenience (formerly Social Credit, currently the BC 'Liberals') that rallies Liberals and Conservatives to stop the socialist hordes. Once again, to keep everybody happy under his big deluded tent, Generalismo Campbell has applied a gag order to his troops, and will bide his time to make nice with whoever the new regime in Ottawa turns out to be. Kevin Falcon can't go stumping for Stephen Harper, and Carole Taylor can't knock on doors for Paul Martin.

Provincial New Democrats, unlike their 'Liberal' counterparts, will not be sitting out the last week of the campaign. Popular MLAs like Jenny Kwan and Jagrup Brar have been enlisted for the federal party's air attack. Last year's dramatic comeback from a dynamic duo of MLAs to 33 seats in Victoria bought a lot of credibility for the federal campaign in BC. It also doesn't hurt Jack Layton's chances either that many of the ads will be in Punjabi and Cantonese. Kwan may be Fairchild Radio's phone-in punching bag, but she speaks the language better than Layton.

Had the NDP made more effective use of its resources in BC earlier in the campaign, nobody today would be talking about a majority for anyone. Time does remain, however, for Jack Layton to tune into BC's frequency and stop a Harper majority.

*Seahawks 20, Redskins 10


Don't Walk...Run!

There is not a lot of good associated with the phrase "let's get this over with", but today, this page points out an exception.

If you feel strongly about a particular party or candidate, but you are starting to wonder about casting a 'tactical' or 'strategic' vote to keep somebody else from winning, you are only going to be pressured more to do so as January 23 approaches. Strategic voting by no means guarantees a positive result, and often leaves voters disenfranchised and remorseful.

How does one overcome this political peer pressure? Simple - VOTE TODAY! Elections Canada has one more day of advance polling. Check the back of your voting card for your polling station, or call 1.866.564.6457.

Remember in elementary school when you finished an assignment and the teacher let you play outside or do some free reading? Just think, no more tracking polls, no more sign wars, no more self-serving political blogs......oops.....


I Feel Your Pain

Once again, somebody's doing a little muckraking to try and squeeze the NDP vote, and once again, it doesn't appear to be sticking. Last year Jack Layton was accused of abusing Toronto's scarce social housing by living in a co-op apartment building with his wife Olivia Chow and her mother. As it turns out, the allegedly cheap bastard was paying fair market value for their suite, just like this page was when I lived for four years in a co-op apartment complex in Calgary.

This week, Layton is accused of going to a private clinic for surgery sometime during the 1990s. Again, this also makes two of us: I had a wart surreptitiously removed at my GP's office in 1993. Does that make me some kind of a hypocrite every time I go off on saving Medicare? Unlike certain Prime Ministers, Layton isn't trying to cover up his visit to a private clinic, and has a very coherent explanation as to why it happened.

The moral of the story is: if Stephen Harper is being allowed to evolve in six months, then Jack Layton should be allowed to let the anesthesia off a decade ago wear off before anyone judges the NDP position on health care.


Jesus vs. Moses

New numbers from the Strategic Council on national party leader preferences:
Harper 32% Martin 25% Layton 17%. If the Conservatives do squeak out a majority on January 23, this page contends that all parties should revisit the wisdom of choosing a high-profile 'saviour' to extend their time in government. Paul Martin 2006 is starting to smell much like John Turner 1984 or Kim Campbell 1993.

The person everybody thinks is the fresh face who's going to turn it around is usually the person who gets crucified (or bumped off by Hedy Fry). It's the leaders who face the adversity, get screwed over and driven into the wilderness, they're the ones who rise to the top and get to lay down the law. Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien might not be mentioned in polite company anymore, but can you think of anyone else alive who scored consecutive majority governments?

If the Liberals have in fact run out of miracles, decide to feed Martin his last supper, and start looking for someone they've exiled to lead them out of the wilderness, their next leader could look something like this.

"I'm nobody's baby...now, let my people go...back into power!"


Bad Medicine

The past two leaders debates have heard much discussion about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Notwithstanding Clause. Paul Martin wants to abdicate Ottawa's right to use the Notwithstanding Clause. Stephen Harper may be tempted to use it to overturn rulings on same-sex marriage and establish property rights. Jack Layton says an NDP government would use it to overturn Supreme Court rulings that might expand private health care. As for Gilles Duceppe, he'll recognize the Constitution when hell freezes over and the Nordiques come back from Denver to skate on it.

All of these aspirations would require some pretty delicate work. Re-opening the constitution is one thing, doing the preferred cosmetic surgery, then successfully closing up the patient without too much political bleeding is quite another. An operation of this kind requires the support of 7 provinces representing 50% of the population, or if you go by the method forwarded by Dr. Mulroney in the 1990 edition of the Meech Lake Journal of Medicine, consent must be unanimous.

An alternative to surgery may lie in a treatment that has been a hallmark of American constitutional medicine for decades: politicize the judiciary to interpret the constitution as the government of the day sees fit.


E Minus 14: Debate Notes

From last night's English language debate in Montreal, a review of the leaders performances:

Stephen Harper - "If you know me, you know I'm not about passion and I'm not about spin". Unfortunately for Harper, the Undecided left Monday night's debate still wondering what exactly he and the Conservatives are about. It's one thing to support a balance between Parliament and the courts when it comes to the Charter of Rights, it's another to think out loud about tinkering with the Constitution to do everything from appeasing Quebec sovereigntists and enshrining property rights. To the CPC leader's credit, he stayed composed, on message, and didn't take much of the bait from Paul Martin. However, if patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, Harper was hiding out there 49 minutes into the debate when Martin brought up the CPC leader's assorted right-wing love-ins with Republicans and other American Conservative groups.

Paul Martin - The Prime Minister was better than expected. This page thought Canadians would see desperation and a little fear-mongering, what we got was a surprising amount of resolve, a string of goodies, and a couple of chips on his shoulder. One chip was the Gomery Inquiry, and his anger and frustration in how it's played out. Gomery was supposed to be Martin's chance to flush the Liberal Party of any Chretienite influence, but instead, whether or not he and the cabinet have been cleared of any wrongdoing, he's spinning down the drain too. The other chip was the Notwithstanding Clause, and his challenge to Stephen Harper to try and knock that chip off his shoulder. If the debate had a "tune in tomorrow" or "vous allez voir" moment, this would be it.

Jack Layton - The NDP leader is starting to come off as much more serious and a little stiff, which isn't a bad thing: the stiffness makes it harder for the Liberals to squeeze out soft NDP support. As much as this page has questioned why New Democrats never talk about electing a government, it was Layton who kept it most in voters' minds that there's an election in two weeks, and that we have "A third option" and "A better choice". Not only did Layton relate to the audience better than Harper or Martin, he also did a better job driving home policy planks: "The NDP will do A, B, and C, vote for us January 23" Anyone who believes the New Democrats regard Conservatives and Liberals as the same should now be aware that Layton and the NDP think the Liberals are corrupt, and that the Conservatives are just plain wrong.

Gilles Duceppe - Last night was the first time this page remembers the English language debate preceding the French language one, and I think that debating in French first always worked to Duceppe's advantage, giving him the chance to find his feet in his first language and debate rings around his opponents. It was pretty much the same Duceppe from the first set of debates, but that trademark sharp wit seemed a little dull as he once again raked Paul Martin over the coals concerning Gomery. At one point, he almost took the bait from Martin to duke it out in French over national unity, which to this page illustrates the absurdity of having separate French and English debates. It's not like the House of Commons has separate French and English sittings.


Hands off the panic button

The latest Strategic Council Poll: CPC 37, LPC 29, NDP 15, BQ 13 (47 en PQ), GPC 9
(sample 1500)

It appears that the BUSH (Big Ugly Scary Harper) administration is upon us. Over the past weekend (save for a couple of hours of listening to TWU war stories while waiting for Jack Layton to take the stage at the Hyatt) this page heard from a number of people about how the sky will be falling in two weeks. "Our health care system is as good as gone.", "If they're handing us over to the Americans, why don't we just move to the states?" "Only straight white males will have any rights in this country after January 23".

This page has some good news and bad news for these people. The bad news for Liberals (particularly those who haven't realized Pierre Trudeau has been dead for five years) is that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives will win a minority government on January 23. The Liberals continue to self-destruct and I don't think any mea culpa in tonight's debate can save Paul Martin at this point. The post-Gomery corruption charges have stuck in the court of public opinion, and the CPC has given the Liberals nothing to fear monger over during the campaign.

However, if you're a New Democrat, and you're willing to take a long view, there is a profound upside to the Conservative ascendancy. As the media line up to congratulate Prime Minister Harper, the question shifts from which party can stop Stephen Harper on January 23 to which party can best stand up to Stephen Harper in the House of Commons after January 23? If the numbers hold, the Liberals will be severely wounded and in search of a new leader. The Bloc Quebecois will be sizing up the Conservatives for Meech Lake/Charlottetown - style concessions, throwing Canada back into the all-or-nothing instability of the Mulroney era. Who's left to pick up the gauntlet and serve as the real opposition to the Conservative agenda?

That gauntlet may not even be that heavy, given that Harper's cabinet material looks like the remainder bin at Fanny's Fabrics. Stockwell Day? Jason Kenny? Myron Thompson? There are some real intellectual heavyweights...Geez...Even if they take a hit in the seat count because of Liberal fear-mongering, Layton and company could still make Question Period look like Crank Yankers or Da Ali G Show. Give it a few weeks, and Harper will be asking Keith Martin AND Belinda Stronach (assuming they dig themselves out from under the shift in momentum) if they might consider coming back to the Conservative side of the House.


I got nothin'

Like a lot of people after the holidays, this page is pretty short of scratch, and those fast food coupons in the mail sure come in handy. Unfortunately, the mailbox also gets a lot of bills, which makes taking up one of those 'free' credit card offers next to those bills a little more tempting.

The biggest bill, however, is the bill of goods the Conservatives and Liberals want to sell Canadians about this country's health care system. Election or no election, it's bad enough in the month of January that both Stephen Harper and Paul Martin (although Paulie Pockets is a little shy in saying so) want us to shill out of our own pockets so they can dismantle the Canada Health Act.

After reading Walnut Boat on this issue, this page doesn't feel so good......what did I do with that thing from MBNA?


Strategically Yours, Don.

Over at Revolutionary Moderation, Don is well into mulling over strategic voting, and the concept of trading votes. For those of you scoring at home, Don and I go way back. Far back enough that I have a collection of favourite Don-isms, the most appropriate for this occasion being "The fights are so fierce because the stakes are so small." RevMod Don is waaaaaay more politically astute than anybody I know, but I can't believe anyone in Fort Harper, er, Alberta would work themselves up over strategic voting.

Strategic voting ranks with Patriotism as a last refuge of a scoundrel. The only masters it serves are polarization and the politics of fear. The more New Democrats think out loud about voting Liberal because they're scared of the big, scary, Conservatives, the more momentum the CPC picks up. There are still a disturbing number of people in Canada who cast their ballots on the basis of who they think is going to win. Paul Martin would have had a much more stable coalition last June if he hadn't gone running around the Lower Mainland in the last week of the campaign screaming about how the sky was falling. His antics pushed a lot of soft NDP votes to 3rd place Liberals and allowed Conservatives to come up the middle. How do you think we were saddled with two Grewals?

Of course, Don's experience in Edmonton Centre is different, given that Anne McClellan is once again dangling perilously over the electoral cliff. This page says let 'er drop. If Paul Martin was serious about shoring up the traditional Liberal base, he wouldn't be flogging the carcass of Mike Harris' political career as his Harper metaphor, he'd be getting in the right-wing faces of Jean Charest, Gordon Campbell AND Ralph Klein. These three less- than-wise men are all either on their way down or on their way out, but at least they're still around and could give the illusion of a little Trudeau-style federalist piss n' vinegar in good ol' Paulie Pockets. Sure, voters in Edmonton Centre and elsewhere in Alberta (Canada's Red State) will vomit on it and give the CPC two more seats, but voters in Ontario are more amenable to how the stuff tastes, and they can deliver way more seats to the Liberals.

As for trading votes: Dude....secret ballot....


Beat 'em in the alley

While significant analysis has been given to the content of election TV ads, this page has not seen much analysis regarding where the parties are buying time to air those ads.

What I have noticed, as I watch more sports on TV than is probably good for me, is that the Conservatives are aggressively courting the nation's jock-riding couch potatoes. The CPC has bought substantial airtime on TSN, Rogers Sportsnet, and The Score, and hardly a time out, halftime, or intermission goes by without those shaking heads and the 'STAND UP FOR CANADA' road sign. If you're scoring at home, this page keeps expecting a Bart Simpson type to switch the letters around to read "FORT UP NADS CANADA".

Much of the country will be forting up our nads...er...standing up for Canada in front of our TV's later today when this country's surprising national junior hockey team takes on the Russians for the World Championship. However, the political season has collided with the hockey season: Vancouver's tournament organizers charge the Martin Liberals with backing out of a pledge to match the BC Government's contribution to the event. Victoria gave $1.3 million, while Ottawa chose to match its contribution from the 2003 Halifax WJHC of $25,000.

The key to any successful power play is timing, and in this case, the Liberals have none. Not so long ago, the Martin gang was all over Vancouver's 2010 Olympic bid, shovelling money for such dubious necessities as the Canada Line (formerly the RAV Line) and twinning the Sea-to-Sky highway. This high-profile involvement may have brokered some local goodwill toward the Liberals during last June's election.

However, when a high-profile athletic event shows up in the middle of a campaign in an area with several battleground ridings (including Vancouver Quadra, where Sport Minister Stephen Owen is anything but a mortal lock), shortchanging the locals amounts to a shorthanded goal for the opposition, particularly when the game will be right back after these messages...


For whom the Bell Globemedia tolls...

A few weeks ago, the CBC pulled Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story from its January schedule out of fear that it could influence the upcoming Federal Election. Instead, the network chose to air the anti-Medicare diatribe Medicare, Schmedicare, somehow believing the televised spitting in the face of the Douglas legacy wouldn't be construed by audiences as political.

Over at CTV, there appear to be fewer qualms about taking sides. As divisions of Bell Globemedia, it appears that the network and the Globe and Mail are working in tandem to bolster the faltering fortunes of the Martin Liberals. In fact, last week saw a Globe editorial advising Jack Layton to "lighten up" after seeing his wife Olivia Chow compared to a dog in a Liberal staffer's blog.

Yesterday saw a prominent story in the Globe in which the Prime Minister warns voters that Stephen Harper is the reincarnation of Mike Harris and the harbinger of a "fend for yourself" regime of program cuts, privatization, and hostility. Now that people are thinking about Mike Harris again after reading the Globe, let's take a look at what's on CTV tonight!

Looks interesting. In fact, Globe TV critic John Doyle says "The name Mike Harris is shorthand for stone-cold, right-wing, screw-you government policies and tactics." Wow. It's not every day that the TV column comes off like a government response in Question Period. That folks, is some serious high-definition convergence.


Fix the scoreboard

As the holiday time out has ended, Ispos-Reid and Strategic Counsel have poll numbers out showing the Liberals (or Conservatives) leading the other by the slimmest of margins.

I skimmed the methodology for the Strategic Counsel poll in today's Globe and Mail and found it was based on a phone survey of 1,000. What I didn't find out was when the survey was done. If there's no campaigning during the holiday, how fresh is the information that poll respondents are using to make up their minds, and may they not be a little preoccupied with the holidays than to give a straight answer, or even be at home when pollsters call?

Oh, and did I mention there's still quite a bit of booze around the house at this time of year? This page would rather have the exit polls from advance voting on Xmas and New Year's Day. Sure, I could dig further into the methodology surrounding polling dates, but after the holidays, I feel as motivated to do it as I do to answer the phone....