Wednesday, June 30, 2004

WHY THE CONSERVATIVES LOST: A TOTAL TEAM EFFORT

That awful campaign of Fear and Smear worked after all. After complaining about Tory negative ads in the Ontario provincial election, those same ill-informed negative-TV-ad viewers went to the polls believing Harper had a hidden agenda, the skids greased by loudmouthed ex-Alliance MPs and Alberta Premier Ralph Klein's Canada Health Act comments.

We did it to ourselves, or more likely, THEY did it to ourselves. It's pretty hard to pin the blame on Stephen Harper for what happened in this election. He held up his end of the deal. Heck, he was terrific. He looked like a professional who had his act together. His only weakness was that he was an unknown quantity and the Liberals made full use of his anonymity in smearing his reputation. Would another leader have done any better in similar circumstances? Short answer: no. Let's face it: if Tony Clement or Belinda Stronach or Peter MacKay or Bernard Lord or Mike Harris or Jim Prentice or any of the other names floated out there for the leadership of the party had been at the helm of this ship, they would have had to contend with the same problems from these same untamed crew members. Maybe Stronach or Lord would have handled these crises differently with the help of the talented consultants and spin doctors they had access to. But they would still have been crucified.

And by the way, thanks a lot, voters, for sending these crew members back. The people are always right, right? It's pretty ironic that while sensible, soft-spoken people like Belinda were fighting for their lives on election night, the biggest winners at the polls were the biggest bigmouths of the campaign. You all know who they are. The ghost of the Alliance lives on.

Apparently I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Ontario co-chair John Baird has weighed in on what happened in the election to the Toronto Star, and he makes some pretty good comments about what went down in Ontario. I pretty much agree with his analysis: he blames the rogue MPs. Their views on abortion, gay rights and the notwithstanding clause became fodder for every radio talk show host in the country, and played right into the hands of the Liberal campaign of fear. Specifically, Baird says Randy White's comments about the courts ("to heck with the courts, eh?") put the final nails in the coffin. The Liberals and NDP were both able to scream "hidden agenda" and say that the Conservatives would use the Notwithstanding Clause to outlaw abortion, and that finished the Tories in the last weekend of the campaign.

So what should be done to avoid this mess next time? Every campaign, it seems like someone opens their big mouth. What must be done to minimize the impact of these foot-in-mouth-disease people on the central campaign? I think a strong party platform would help matters considerably.

Here's a suggestion: next time, the Conservatives' platform should not only spell out what they will do, but also spell out what they will NOT do (ie. not use the Notwithstanding Clause, not use private members bills to promote social issues legislation). They should promise to stay away from changing any of the current laws on the books regarding social issues, and promise to respect all court decisions. Baird talks about how Mike Harris was a great conservative without obsessing about social issues, but I think the public needs some sort of assurance that social issues won't be part of the legislative agenda, period.

And frankly, the Conservatives should finally take up Belinda's suggestion that a policy convention be held, so party policies can finally be written in stone and not subject to misinterpretation or misrepresentation by opponents. The fact that the CPC seemed to be creating policies on the fly KILLED the party at the polls. Candidates were freelancing and winging it on a grand scale, and that's what got these rogue MPs into trouble. This was a total team effort, folks, this defeat, and you can't say that these rogues were entirely responsible for the messes they found themselves creating. They got a lot of help along the way. (In fact, this party must do a better job managing the press, but that's another editorial.)

There needs to some kind of sweeping "Common Sense Revolution" or Red Book-type document, you name it, that spells out exactly what a Harper government will do and give the people confidence that Conservatives will do exactly what they say they will do. Come to think of it, I would even propose a Canadian version of the "Contract with America". It would be pretty difficult for people to disbelieve something like that. Spell it all out in that document that social issues won't be touched in any way, shape or form, PERIOD.

The Conservatives need to do something which puts this new party's neck out there on the line because that is what will engender trust from the electorate. They owe that much to the public and also to party members, particularly the moderates in the party ranks. The moderates were the ones who really got the short end of the stick on election day. They got hosed, in more ways than one.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

ELECTION DAY RECAP

What started as a pleasant, hope-filled election day for Conservatives in Ontario deteriorated once the first results from Atlantic Canada were known, and went straight downhill as soon as the polls closed at 9:30 Eastern time. I was an election day scrutineer for David Johnson in Don Valley East, and I thought I had done a pretty good job of getting out Dave's vote. But Dave fell behind right from the get go as the votes were being counted, and I realized quickly that he was in big trouble.

Round about 10PM I phoned in the returns to the campaign office and tuned in my portable hand-held TV that I saved for occasions like this. By this point the seat count was running at around 110 Liberals to about 47 Conservatives, which was bad enough, but worse was the large number of Conservatives trailing badly in Toronto. We were barely winning the rural ridings and getting absolutely killed everywhere in Toronto; Don Valley West and Scarborough Southwest were turning into disaster areas. The NDP were also getting killed: even Jack Layton was behind. And that's when I knew we were finished.

Dave Johnson's defeat party was held at the same restaurant where we gathered for our landslide loss in the 2003 Ontario election. The reaction was disbelief at the fact that a first-rate former high-ranking provincial cabinet minister lost by such a massive 2-to-1 margin to an undistinguished potential backbencher, Yasmin Ratansi. They voiced the opinion that Don Valley East was a permanent lost cause for Conservatives after what happened. "This seat will be Liberal forever!" they cried.

I later put in an appearance at the defeat party of John Capobianco in Etobicoke-Lakeshore, at the Old Mill Inn and Spa. The mood there was dejection, cynicism, and disbelief. People there were in shock over the big red avalanche that buried Bob Dechert, David Turnbull, Raminder Gill, and the other first-rate candidates running for the Conservatives. Many of them had worked on Tony Clement's leadership bids and they were in shock that he had been smoked in Brampton West. They couldn't believe that Belinda Stronach, of all people, was having to fight for her Newmarket-Aurora seat, or that places like Oakville, Mississauga South and Halton had gone Liberal. They also were shocked that the electors would send hacks like Carolyn Parrish and turncoats like Scott Brison and Gary Carr back to Ottawa. They also couldn't believe some of the third-rate chumps who got elected under the Tory banner in some ridings. With 75 Liberals to 24 Conservatives in Ontario, this was no better than what happened with Ernie Eves.

The evening hit its low point when CBC made the erroneous, premature projection of John Reynolds' defeat in West Van-Sunshine Coast, to a Liberal. Jaws dropped to the floor when people saw the projection flash across the screen. As it turned out, the old war horse Reynolds came back, but that moment punctuated an unpleasant, unhappy evening for all the Conservatives. The fact that even Reynolds had to fight for his job while these corrupt Liberals were winning landslides in Toronto was beyond comprehension for people.

So what if it's a minority government. So what if we swept the West again. So we won 13 of 14 in Saskatchewan. So we swept to wins in what seemed like all the boondock areas of the country. Simcoe goes Conservative, woo hoo! Big deal! That's not good enough to win power. The bottom line is that Stephen Harper now leads a party deeply discontented and upset at the results of the election in Ontario. Already battered and bruised by a series of losses, the Ontario grassroots are angry and feeling let down about the way this campaign ended and deeply unsatisfied with what they regard as a blown opportunity. The party brass must keep this in mind as they move forward in the days and weeks ahead. Clearly there must be a complete examination of what happened June 28th, and answers must be provided to Conservatives in Ontario and across the country about what must be done to put our party on a footing to contend in elections in the future. Because Conservatives in Ontario are in a really bad mood. Really bad mood.





LATEST ELECTION RESULTS: POTENTIAL DEALS WITH NDP GO DOWN THE DRAIN IN LATE TALLY

LIBERAL 135, CONSERVATIVE 99, BLOC 54, NDP 19, INDEPENDENT 1

POTENTIAL COALITION WITH NDP NOW UP IN SMOKE AS NUMBERS ONLY ADD UP TO 154- CONTROL OF PARLIAMENT SHAKY AT BEST FOR MARTIN AND CREW

OTHER NEWS: HE AIN'T DEAD YET: JOHN REYNOLDS STAGES LATE COMEBACK AND WINS IN WEST VAN- SUNSHINE COAST, DEFYING THE CBC SHOCK PROJECTION THAT HAD REYNOLDS DEFEATED BY LIBERAL

Monday, June 28, 2004

LIBERAL MINORITY COMES IN STRONGER THAN EXPECTED: PUNDITS EATING CROW

LIBERALS 136, CONSERVATIVES 97, BLOC 54, NDP 20

RESULTS ARE NOT YET FINALIZED
POLITICAL PUNDITS EAT CROW FROM COAST TO COAST AS RESULTS DEFY CONVENTIONAL WISDOM- EVEN POLITICAL PROS CAN'T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED.
IN AN ELECTION WHERE VOTERS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE MAD AS HELL AT POLITICIANS, THE INCUMBENTS END UP WINNING BIG FROM COAST TO COAST. BIGGEST WINNERS ARE THE CHUMPS AND MEDIOCRITIES WHO SAT IN THE LAST PARLIAMENT, AS VOTERS SPURN FIRST-RATE CANDIDATES WHO WOULD HAVE MADE BETTER MPs.

ALL THE LEADERS WIN: DEPUTY LEADER PETER MACKAY ALSO WINS FOR CONSERVATIVES
SHOCK RESULT OF THE NIGHT: JOHN REYNOLDS DECLARED DEFEATED IN VANCOUVER-SUNSHINE COAST BY A LIBERAL. TED WHITE DEFEATED AS WELL.
DAVID PRATT BIGGEST LIBERAL CABINET MINISTER TO FALL IN NEPEAN-CARLETON
ED BROADBENT WINS HIS RACE IN OTTAWA CENTRE
LIB PIERRE PETTIGREW WAS LEADING NARROWLY AT LAST REPORT
CONSERVATIVE TONY CLEMENT'S POLITICAL CAREER MORTALLY WOUNDED: DEFEATED IN BRAMPTON WEST BY INCUMBENT LIBERAL
LIB GLEN MURRAY'S POLITICAL CAREER FINISHED: LOSES IN WINNIPEG
NDP LORNE NYSTROM'S POLITICAL CAREER OVER: LOSES HIS HOUSE OF COMMONS SEAT FOR THE SECOND TIME: SASKATCHEWAN A SURPRISE LANDSLIDE FOR THE CONSERVATIVES, WINNING 13 OF 14 SEATS. BIGGEST CONSERVATIVE WIN SINCE DIEFENBAKER THERE.
LIBS RALPH GOODALE AND ANNE MCLELLAN BOTH SURVIVE OUT WEST
ALBERTA REMAINS CONSERVATIVE BEDROCK: ONLY EDMONTON A HOLDOUT. EVERYONE IN ALBERTA RE-ELECTED: CONSERVATIVE JIM PRENTICE VICTORIOUS: HARPER WITH BIG PERSONAL VICTORY
GREAT NIGHT FOR TURNCOAT-TRAITORS SCOTT BRISON, GARY CARR, KEITH MARTIN AND UJJAL DOSANGH;
MOST OF THE OLD HARRIS CROWD FALLS FLAT IN POLITICAL COMEBACK BIDS: DAVID TURNBULL AND RAMINDER GILL ALSO FALL.
TORONTO RETURNS 21 of 22 LIBERALS; JACK LAYTON LUCKY TO EDGE OUT MILLS: EVEN OLIVIA CHOW BEATEN BY TONY IANNO
TONY VALERI HANGS ON IN HAMILTON; NDP CHRISTOPHERSON TOPPLES STAN KEYES
CONSERVATIVE HOPES IN TORONTO (DAVE JOHNSON, DAVID TURNBULL, JOHN CAPOBIANCO) ALL LOSE BY BIG MARGINS. JOHNSON, SEEN AS POTENTIAL FINANCE MINISTER, BURIED IN DON VALLEY EAST BY A 2-TO-1 MARGIN

ONTARIO IS SURPRISING LIBERAL SWEEP WITH 77 SEATS, SWEEPING THE 905 REGION
BE-LIN-DA GOES TO OTTAWA BUT MARGIN WAS SURPRISINGLY NARROW.
PETER VAN LOAN WINS IN YORK-SIMCOE FOR CONSERVATIVES. IN ALL THE ONTARIO CONTINGENT COMES TO 22 SEATS AT LAST COUNT

I'll have more about my own election day and thoughts about the results within 48 hours. Obviously, we're looking at a left-leaning House of Commons and that is not good news for Canada.

IT'S DECISION DAY! CANADA VOTES 2004

LINKS TO ELECTION RESULTS

Polls begin to close at 7 PM EST in Atlantic Canada and in most of the country at 9:30 PM. British Columbia closes at 10 EST, 7PM Pacific Time.

CANWEST
GLOBE AND MAIL
CTV
CBC
CityTV
CANOE
RESULTS and COMMENT TOMORROW in the CAIRNS BLOG



A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE CAIRNS BLOG

Monday, June 28th is Election Day across Canada and the CAIRNS BLOG encourages a clean, fair and honest election. In a spirit of public service we encourage Canadians to guard against one of the worst threats to any free and democratic society: election fraud.

There have been alarming reports that dead people have voted in elections in countries around the world. More worrisome are reports that this type of illegal activity may have been responsible in determining the outcome of close national elections.

Canada prides itself on its clean and honest elections. To that end, we at the CAIRNS BLOG wish to let those of you who have passed away know that deceased individuals are ineligible to vote in the federal election. Election fraud is a serious offense and will be prosecuted fully by the federal government. If you are deceased and are caught voting in the election, you will be prosecuted and you could go to jail. So please: if you are deceased, stay at home.

A reminder from the Cairns Blog, which encourages our live readers to vote early, vote only once, and above all else...vote CONSERVATIVE!
(As an old professor of mine used to say, some people take life far too seriously...)

Sunday, June 27, 2004

MY PREDICTIONS FOR ELECTION NIGHT, AND WHY THE ELECTION PREDICTION PROJECT IS OUT TO LUNCH

I promised predictions about the election within 24 hours and with election day coming up tomorrow I have no time to waste in giving my predictions.

And the truth is: I don't know what the heck is happening tomorrow! A LOT of these ridings, particularly in Ontario, are so volatile that they defy prediction. I also find the poll numbers from Quebec difficult to believe- these numbers that have the Bloc something like thirty points ahead. But the fact that Jean Lapierre is trailing in Outremont, according to the pollsters, says plenty. Outremont is Liberal bedrock! If the Libs are having trouble there, they're in big trouble in every French-speaking riding in Quebec. The Bloc aren't going to win the staunch federalist seats like Mount Royal, we all know that, but even a tie in the popular vote will win the Bloc 45 seats. Imagine the damage the Bloc will inflict throughout Quebec if they're even in the race in Outremont.

I don't think the Bloc will get 60 seats- but they'll come close. And we're going to see spectacular upsets in Quebec on election night- including Lapierre's defeat.

As for Ontario: I think the predictions of 60 seats out of 106 for the Liberals are, well, over optimistic. I think that the popular vote is going to come in a lot tighter than anyone expects--- and I think the NDP showing will be stronger than people expect. People are truly mad as hell in Ontario over a number of issues and a lot of people in Toronto are going to vote NDP because of it. I think, also, there has been a late campaign recovery by the Conservatives (thanks to several newspaper endorsements by the Post, the Citizen and the Sun, and a relatively peaceful week) and the final result will reflect that.

The Election Prediction Project has been going out on a limb trying to figure out how to give the Liberals an election victory on their prediction website (run by a Liberal). Most of their projections are solid but a large number of them are completely outrageous. Among other outrages, the site is predicting Liberal wins over Conservative opposition in Barrie(!), Simcoe North, Don Valley East and West, Richmond Hill, Etobicoke-Lakeshore, and most shockingly of all, Brampton West (Tony Clement!!!).

Now I agree that these are close races, but they have Tony, a leadership candidate and potential major cabinet minister in a Harper government, losing his seat, while Sam Hundal and Raminder Gill are winning their races next door. What nonsense. If Raminder is winning his riding (and I've heard reports of Liberal workers there getting doors slammed in their faces), then Tony is going to win his race, maybe not easily, but comfortably. Besides, my information is that Tony's leading.

They even have the Liberals winning Ottawa West-Nepean! I think the guy running the Election Prediction Project is WRONG WRONG WRONG on most of these. Put me on record as predicting Conservative wins in every single one of these seats- just to spite them. They're also predicting 20 out of 22 for the Liberals in Toronto! They even have the Liberals winning in Beaches-East York (NDP central!) and Parkdale-High Park (homeland of David Miller. Here, Liberal Sam Bulte has run the worst campaign ever. She's even had to remove all mention of Martin from her signs)! Put me on record as challenging the Election Prediction Project on these seats, too. My information is that the NDP are running at over 30% in Toronto and that their vote is concentrated on the lakefront. The Liberals are gonna lose more than two seats in Toronto, folks, or I'll eat my hat.

The West and Atlantic Canada are going to wield few surprises with a lot of incumbents holding on. But Quebec and Ontario are going to see a bloodbath. A big one. And Alberta's going to see a spectacular result with the demise of Deputy PM Anne McLellan after three straight near-misses, thanks to Paul Martin's declaration of war on Alberta in the final week of the campaign. Her luck has run out.

I could go on and make all the easy predictions about how Belinda will clean up over Elvis and the "PC Party" in Newmarket-Aurora, how Jack Layton will kill Dennis Mills in Danforth, how Peter Van Loan will clean up in his Simcoe-area seat etc., but that would be a waste of time. I will make a comment, though, that while Olivia Chow will win for the NDP in Trinity-Spadina, incumbent Tony Ianno will not go down without a fight. Rumor has it that he'll have 1600 people working on his E-day alone, including much of the Allan Rock crowd. Now, one person told me that it's doubtful that Ianno really has 1600 people working for him on e-day- but there is a grain of truth to the story. Watch that riding on election night.

The Election Prediction Project is predicting a grand total of 122 Liberal seats to 104 Conservatives, and 66 seats for the Liberals in Ontario. I think they're way off, but if that prediction comes true and the Liberals do win the election, the West will get ready to separate from Canada. Everyone in British Columbia and Alberta will be blaming Ontario for returning the corrupt Liberals to office, and screaming about how their votes did not count, again.

I think the damage to the Liberals is going to be much greater in Ontario and Quebec than the Prediction Project thinks. I see the Liberals reduced to the high teens in Quebec and to around 50 or so in Ontario. Accordingly I predict the Conservatives will, somehow, some way, end up ahead in the seat count on election night, by a few seats. Final count- who really knows? 115 to 110 for the good guys.

Then look out, folks, we'll have chaos. Queen Adrienne will end up selecting our next Prime Minister and it will make Florida's hanging chads look like civility. It will be a repeat of the '71 Newfoundland election mess when Smallwood hung on to power after losing the election, if Martin doesn't spare the country the agony by handing Adrienne Clarkson his resignation.

For more election predictions go to Andrew Coyne's blog- he has predictions from all over Canada and they're pretty much a good read on what's going on.

(Keep in mind the Election Prediction Project predicted that Frank Klees and Elizabeth Witmer would lose their seats in the Ontario provincial election, and that Tony would survive. Don't take their predictions too seriously. Just because they have your candidate losing doesn't mean it's the gospel.)



SUN ENDORSES CONSERVATIVES

The Toronto Sun announced it has "proudly" endorsed the Conservatives and took a veiled swipe at the Globe and Mail in doing so. Their editorial is a great read.

BILL GRAHAM IN TURKEY

As I said earlier, Bill Graham will be spending election day out of the country. He's at a NATO summit in Turkey. Does he absolutely have to be there at that summit?! If so, it's yet another example why this election was so poorly timed.

Here's the link here.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

FINAL 48 HOURS

Today I was out in Etobicoke-Lakeshore helping the John Capobianco campaign scrounge up any votes they could find. It's going to be a tight one.

The Toronto Star (surprise surprise) endorsed the Liberals again for the millionth time, and then in a mushy article inside they explained that they don't "always support the Liberals"- they also supported the Bill Davis PCs and even Robert Stanfield. Lame excuse.

I think the Star editorial board is out to lunch, but I guess Liberal supporters need a newspaper too, and they do have their principles--- unlike that pathetic Globe and Mail, which is still explaining itself to all the Conservative readers it has royally ticked off.

The Star also had a poll from Ekos that gives the Liberals a 117-109 seat lead. I don't have a problem with the actual polling data or the percentages: what I question is their version of the seat count. I particularly question their bogus totals for British Columbia. They're giving the Liberals 11 seats in B.C. and 17 to the Conservatives, and I just think that's out and out WRONG. The margin to me looks closer to 22 to 6, Conservative- and these pollsters don't even factor Chuck Cadman (Independent) into the mix.

The problem for the Liberals is that their vote is entirely concentrated in Vancouver and has been for years. The rest of the province is going Blue- except for Vancouver Island which may see the NDP rise up and get a few wins. So I think EKOS is out to lunch on the seat projections and I look forward to being proven right on Monday. To be frank, though, I have trouble taking the seat projections that anyone makes very seriously. These polls don't factor in voting history, organization, motivation to get out and vote, you name it. The polls are a snapshot, that's all they are.

Oh, and EKOS also shortchanges the NDP in Ontario by giving them only 7 seats in Ontario! NO WAY are the NDP coming in that low in Ontario, my friends, not with 20% of the vote, and not with that vote so heavily concentrated in Toronto.

The most shocking news in the poll is that in Edmonton Centre they have Anne McLellan trailing, and trailing badly. I think they could be on to something. You know, maybe those Martin attacks on Ralph Klein and the health care system in Alberta backfired badly. A lot of Edmonton voters may be thinking: there they go again, those Liberals, on their anti-Alberta rant. EKOS also says that the Minister of Finance Ralph Goodale should be safe in Wascana. You know, I think they're right there, too. I can tell you with certainty that Ralph Goodale always runs ahead of his party in Saskatchewan. He's the only Liberal capable of winning any seat in that province, and the reason is because voters are voting for Goodale as opposed to the party.

I do NOT, however, think turncoat-NDP-traitor Chris Axworthy will win in Wanuskewin. That riding is going Conservative. Heck, it's the most conservative part of Saskatoon to begin with, and the riding takes in the towns of Warman and Martensville which are both full of religious types. No way will they vote for a Liberal ex-socialist. Conservative hold in Wanuskewin, and we'll see if I'm right on Monday.

I'll have some more election predictions within 24 hours.

Finally, on the subject of Randy White's big mouth. So he's another MP with a big mouth. Big deal already, and who cares anymore.

Friday, June 25, 2004

ELECTION NOTES WITH 3 DAYS LEFT

Canada is headed for an absolute political deadlock on Monday if the latest polls are any indication, and I happen to believe what the last couple of polls are reporting because it's reflecting what I'm hearing from talking to political people and at the door from voters.

Latest polls have the election as a statistical dead heat- Ipsos-Reid has it 32-31 Liberals, with the Conservatives back in the seat lead. COMPAS, however, gives the seat lead to the Liberals, by 1 seat. I'm not so sure, but it's definitely too close to call.

Consequently, I can tell you that tensions on the front lines of this thing are at a high point. Campaign workers are unusually testy and belligerent. It's because everyone knows the future of the country is at stake. A few votes in any swing riding in Canada could determine the next government of Canada. People in campaign offices are sick to their stomachs with tension. No local campaign wants to be the one responsible for blowing the election for the rest of the party.

Consequently, campaigns are descending into the battleground ridings with every piece of arsenal they have. Residents are being demon-dialed in swing ridings and they are being inundated with phone calls and literature. Voters, sadly, don't seem to appreciate the attention they are getting. Instead of feeling important because they are being courted by the political parties, voters are instead yelling at canvassers, telling them this is the #$%@! piece of junk literature they've received, and please get lost and don't ever come back. The voters are still mad as hell at all politicians and the volunteers are getting the flack.

The way this is going, we could be counting votes well past midnight Monday without a resolution. We are hearing doomsday scenarios where Martin could come in with fewer seats and attempt to hang on to power. If he pulls a stunt like that there will be chaos. It'll be a repeat of the King-Byng affair of 1926 and I invite you to check the history books to find out what happened in that instance. There would be total outrage.

Ontario remains the most volatile battleground province with several ridings in play right to the bitter end. The ridings in question include several ridings in Toronto and in the 905 region, bellwethers in eastern Ontario such as Peterborough, much of the southwest, and the entire city of London, Ontario which is literally dead-even. My information has Dave Johnson ahead in Don Valley East, Tony Clement ahead in Brampton West, and John Capobianco narrowly leading in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. The NDP are either leading or in serious contention along almost the entire Toronto lakefront and also in Hamilton, and they are likely to be a spoiler in several of the Liberal-Conservative fights.

A big mystery is Scarborough Southwest. Stephen Harper stopped in the riding for an event to help Conservative Heather Jewell topple Liberal Tom Wappel. Along with NDP candidate Dan Harris, that is probably the closest 3-way fight in the city of Toronto and I think it could go either way.

Go to the election prediction project to find out which ridings are still in play and look at all the posts about how the race is shaping up in each riding, and judge for yourself what's happening.

Toronto-Centre could be interesting. Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham has the NDP breathing down his neck in his own riding, but there's word he's going to be out of the country representing Canada at some big international gathering that he's required to be at, and will be AWOL for election day! (I read it in the Toronto Sun.) I'm thinking, what a remarkable show of bravado by Bill Graham! Either he's doing this because he's completely arrogant and thinks he's got better things to do than be in his home riding on election day, or maybe he realizes the jig is up and he wants one final chance to travel the world and hobknob with foreign diplomats before he loses his gig as Foreign Affairs Minister. Methinks it's the latter.

And KEN DRYDEN's campaign in York Centre has finally picked up steam. Apparently, his signs are being ripped down and stolen, not by the opposition, but by crazed hockey fans who want souvenirs of Dryden! Dryden is also being inundated with requests for autographs, which I imagine will wind up getting auctioned on eBay for big money. By the way, Dryden is certain to win this seat. York Centre is one of the five safest Liberal seats in the country. Dryden can sit at home and do nothing and still win this seat in a walk.

ENDORSEMENT NEWS: The Ottawa Citizen has endorsed Harper and the Conservatives, no surprise. The Toronto Star makes their pick tomorrow (take a wild guess).

Thursday, June 24, 2004

THE PROGRESSIVE CANADIANS- A SORRY EXCUSE FOR A PARTY

I've finally seen a couple of signs up for the "Progressive Canadian" or "PC Party" at long last! The party of Sir John A. Macdonald lives on, so they claim. They're running 16 candidates and, thankfully, stand no hope in heck of getting elected.

In Scarborough-Agincourt these jokers are running a candidate (Tony Karadimas) and I saw a big sign for him, running for the PC Party, on Victoria Park Avenue. As far as I can tell, this party is basically the die-hard last remnants of the Joe Clark Party. (Apparently Sinc Stevens is backing this bunch). Their sign featured the same old Joe Clark colors and the old arrow with the maple leaf in it, the same logo used by the real PC Party in the campaigns of 1979 and 1980.

Most galling of all, they even referred to themselves as "Progressive-Conservative"! Yes, they used the word Conservative. Why doesn't the Conservative Party of Canada sue for copyright infringement?

Sir John A., who was never actually a Progressive Conservative but simply a Conservative, must be rolling in his grave. This group is an insult to Sir John A., to the old Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and to all its former supporters and members (myself included). Among other things, these jokers are running a hilarious Elvis impersonator in Newmarket-Aurora, against Belinda Stronach.

Why don't these folks simply work on bringing back the old Rhinoceros Party, or better yet, the Natural Law Party, and run as candidates for them? About all that's missing in this "PC Party" is Joe Clark himself, but even he won't be part of this group of wingnuts and that's saying a lot.

FANTINO OUT

Tonight comes word that Toronto Police Chief Julian Fantino will not have his contract renewed. A shame. Here's a good man who did a good job- without much support from the current administration at City Hall, might I add- and he gets the knife for what looks to me like political reasons. Too bad, and a loss for Toronto.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

POST, GLOBE WEIGH IN ON ENDORSEMENTS

The newspapers are starting to write up their editorial endorsements. The National Post, no surprise, is backing Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party with a really strong endorsement. Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail, in a move that will keep the Post in business for years to come, went ahead and endorsed the Liberals for what seemed like the most timid of reasons.

I won't even give you a link to that disgraceful Globe endorsement, you can go find it yourself! In my opinion that editorial board showed a complete lack of guts. The gist of it was that they were disappointed with Paul Martin's performance as Prime Minister but worried about that lunatic Harper, so they urged a Liberal vote because they felt Martin deserved a second chance to show us how great he was.

Hasn't this guy Martin had 11 years of chances? Wasn't he the finance minister who downloaded health care to the provinces and cut federal funding? Sure, he balanced the books--- on the people's backs. Then, instead of spending all that tax money on health care, Chretien sent the money to Liberal-friendly ad agencies in a bogus attempt to save the country.

That's the kind of hard-hitting message Stephen Harper and the gang ought to be getting out in these final days. Martin's been Prime Minister for six months and instead of actually doing something to solve the problems of the country, he's been engaging in civil wars with other Liberals, he's REVERSED himself on the democratic deficit (appointing candidates etcetera) and his team of spin doctors have run the most cynical and unabashedly negative election campaign in the history of the country. The Conservatives need to focus attention on that. SES came out with another poll that has the Liberals slightly ahead, and the seat count is said to be dead-even. So now is no time for the Conservatives to hold back. The vast majority of Canadians are still saying "it's time for a change" and Harper's got to tap into that mood in these last few days. The public's appetite for change must be matched with action at the ballot box.

Certainly Harper had a bad weekend with that hideous press release fiasco, the Ralph Klein health care controversy and the Air Canada bilingualism business. But I think that's over now. Harper is back on the high road and he really looked good on CBC the other night. He took some tough questions but you have to be able to answer the tough questions in an election campaign, and Harper gave really good answers. If he keeps doing that and keeps his cool (which he will), he'll be able to inflict a lot of damage on the Liberals in Ontario, and newspaper endorsements will really help.

Still to come for Harper is an endorsement from the Toronto Sun, which is already on record as saying Throw the Bums Out.

For the record, the CAIRNS BLOG endorses the Conservative Party in this federal election and Stephen Harper for prime minister, but you've surely figured that out by now.

EURO 2004- ITALY BOO HOO

One of the great joys of living in Toronto is the fact that this city goes nuts over international sporting events that happen on the other side of the world. So when the big soccer matches happen at the World Cup, all the Italians, Portuguese and Greeks go nuts. Even the South Koreans go nuts. (The England fans are also nuts, but there's a lot fewer of them here in Toronto.) Everyone temporarily forgets that they're supposed to be Canadians and they put the national flags of their homelands on their cars. I think it's great. Hey, if you can't make it to a World Cup-qualifying country, Toronto is as good a place as any to be. They're really into it here.

Here in Toronto the big story is that Italy got knocked out of Euro 2004. All these Italians were gathered in Little Italy watching the big screen TVs, and they all went nuts when Italy scored in injury time to pull out a win against Bulgaria 2-1. But all that meant was that Sweden and Denmark needed to draw to kick Italy out, and that's exactly what they did. Now the Italian fans are screaming about a conspiracy. They can scream and yell about conspiracy all they want: they knew the score. Italy played like their lives didn't depend on it and that doesn't cut it at this level. They went into this last game with two draws on their record. They needed to take care of business, and they didn't. Now they're going home---undefeated! What a way to go out. Soccer can be a brutal sport: there's absolutely no room for mediocrity. You can avoid losing every game and still end up going home on goal differential. And yes, I agree they've got to change the format so that they get rid of the conspiracies and the playing-for-a-tie-so-you-can-eliminate-Italy nonsense.



Tuesday, June 22, 2004

6 DAYS TO GO

World War III continued last night in Toronto-Danforth- here's the story on the debate. It can be summed up as follows: Sha na na na, na na na na, hey Dennis, goodbye.

As for Ipsos-Reid and their poll in the Globe that gives the Liberals a 34-28 lead over the Conservatives: I'm pretty steamed at the Globe because I'm convinced the poll is garbage. Do these guys at the Globe want me to switch permanently to the National Post and the Toronto Sun?

Ipsos-Reid seems to be the only poll out there consistently giving the Liberals the lead in Ontario- in fact, I've never liked their polls, going back to before the election when they were giving the Liberals 170 seats. Total nonsense back then and still suspect here. Here they give the Liberals a 12-point lead in Ontario and have the parties dead even in Atlantic Canada. That makes absolutely no sense: Atlantic Canada is supposed to be the Conservatives' worst area of the country, outside Quebec. And when you consider what's happening on the ground, with the sign war and the rest, it makes even less sense. They only polled about 330 people in Ontario anyway so the margin of error is, well, massive. If the Liberals really have a 12-point lead in Ontario we would be looking at a landslide of McGuinty-type proportions there, and that simply isn't going to happen. Besides, I read on Free Dominion that some other polls are due out which will show a Conservative rebound, back to even with the Liberals. We'll see.

I take more stock in the Lick's burger polls, myself. They give you a good sense of where the wind is blowing, and they have the Conservatives ahead with a sizable NDP/protest vote.

Monday, June 21, 2004

MOVIES MOVIES MOVIES

THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH POLITICS I CAN STAND. The negativism and the nastiness of this campaign has taken its toll on yours truly, and now it's finally reached the saturation point. I've had enough. Everyone is accusing everyone of bloody murder. Martin has called on Layton and now Harper to apologize for low blow attacks, but Martin's been delivering low blows at everyone all campaign with no hint of an apology in sight. They should all apologize to the voters. The people are fed up, and so am I. If a political junkhead like myself is at the point of tuning out all these politicians, you can imagine the general public's reaction.

So I've escaped to the movies, partly motivated by the fact that I have a ton of movie coupons I have to use up by the end of the month. But because of the dearth of good movies and other assorted excuses, these coupons have been sitting on the table unused. Now, with the clock ticking down, I'm finally using them up. Unfortunately, they're being wasted on garbage.

I used up a movie coupon on Garfield. I should've known just by the title that this was two thumbs way down. What a waste of two hours. Then the other night I went to Around the World in 80 Days. It was a little better. I'm big on movies set in other countries and international stuff, and I'm a big fan of Jackie Chan. It got my mind off of politics- at least until seeing that cameo appearance by Schwarzenegger.

I'll say this much: these flicks may have been junk, but going to the movie theatre rescued my sanity and now I'm entering the stretch run of this campaign refreshed and raring to go.

I'll need to keep wasting my remaining movie coupons this week, hopefully on better movies. I highly recommend movies to anyone fed up with politics right now. At the very least, you'll spare yourself the misery of watching those awful Harper-Mulroney Liberal attack ads on TV.

Friday, June 18, 2004

JACK LAYTON'S MOUTH IS TOO BIG

It always takes a few days to figure out who the winners and losers are to these debates. But a consensus seems to have emerged among my conservative campaign friends. The big loser in the leaders' debate, in their unanimous opinion, is JACK LAYTON.

And that's saying a lot, because these people were pulling for the NDP to take down some Liberals in downtown Toronto on election day. But my conservative friends really do think Layton is absolutely a danger to society who should be kept as far away from Ottawa as possible.

They thought Jack's debate performance was undignified, combative, hostile, you name it. "He looked like a snake oil salesman", said one. Another asked: "in his years on city council was Jack Layton ALWAYS this obnoxious?"

Voter reaction seems to confirm that people were really turned off by the general combative tone of the debate. In conversations with voters, the reaction seemed to be "I tried to tune into the whole debate, but there was too much shouting and bickering! You couldn't hear anyone speak!"

Layton has a chance to try and redeem himself this Monday in an all-candidates debate in Toronto-Danforth, but I was at an all-candidates meeting last evening in Don Valley East that made the WWE look dignified in comparison. The Layton-vs.-Mills debate promises to be even worse. Fortunately, the people of Canada won't have their favorite shows pre-empted by this Toronto-Danforth nonsense. Now you know why young people don't vote any more in this country. Layton's debating performance, combined with the embarrassing Liberal low-road campaign and the big mouths of social-issue-obsessed Conservatives, have made this the worst campaign ever. No wonder everyone's fed up with politics.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

LIBS THROWING IN THE TOWEL DOWNTOWN: NOW TRYING TO SAVE ETOBICOKE

The Toronto election battlefield is shifting away from the lakefront, and towards the Lakeshore.

Don Wanagas says in NOWToronto that the Liberals are doing so badly in four downtown Toronto ridings that they are now privately conceding those ridings to the NDP and they are sending their reinforcements to Etobicoke in an attempt to save their seats there.
Whether or not it will work remains to be seen. If true this is a sign that the Liberals are in deep trouble, not just downtown but in Etobicoke as well. John Capobianco's surge in Etobicoke-Lakeshore clearly has the Liberals worried, but Capy's team is taking no chances and are calling for reinforcements of their own. If you're a Capobianco supporter be sure to lend a hand!

CAIRNS BLOG ENDORSES JOHN TORY FOR LEADER OF THE ONTARIO PC PARTY

I'm just catching up.
Last Friday I was at the grand office opening for Ontario PC leadership hopeful John Tory. I am endorsing Tory for leader of the Ontario PC Party.
Pretty easy decision considering I worked last fall to help Tory get elected Mayor, so I was able to meet a few old friends there.

Tory is the best choice for Ontario PC leader because, frankly, we need significant changes at the top of the party. There needs to be a reexamination of the policies of the Ontario PC Party after the 2003 election debacle. We need to make this a much more open party than it's been the last few years, and we need to do something to revitalize the party in the cities. John Tory, to me, is the most likely person to energize the party and has the competence and trustworthiness that will help the party attract disaffected Liberals so that we can win in 2007. I must add that I was impressed that Tory won the popular vote in the portion of my own riding that went Liberal both federally and provincially for the last 10 years. Our party needs these disenchanted Liberals in our ranks.
( Might I also say that the campaign office was a lot spiffier than the one used for the mayor's race. And the food was good too. I think John Laschinger shipped in the office supplies from the defunct Belinda Stronach leadership campaign.)

Tory isn't officially actively campaigning yet- he and his buddies Jim Flaherty and Frank Klees have been out on the campaign trail with the federal Conservatives all this month, going to campaign office openings, fundraising events, door to door, you name it, to help the feds. It's the right thing to do. ( I know one of my buddies sent me an email pleading for me to vote for Klees. Sorry bud, Klees is a good guy, but I'm voting for Tory.)
Here's an article from Ian Urquhart on the state of the Ontario PC leadership race.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

THE ENGLISH DEBATE

Well, Round Two is over and in my humble opinion, the Liberal majority government is finished. The best they can hope for now is a minority and it's questionable they will even get that. Global National says the Liberals are now looking at maybe getting 98 seats to the Conservatives' 125- that was before tonight's debate.

Paul Martin looked like a nervous man. He seemed evasive at times, seemed condescending to the other leaders, refused to answer other leaders' questions with a direct answer, seemed to want to put words into other peoples' mouths, and was accused by Jack Layton of showing no leadership. Craig Oliver said on CTV that Martin was TKOed. I don't know if I'd go that far. There were times in the debate where Martin seemed to make some salient points, particularly when he defended minority rights. But those moments were overshadowed by a battering from the other leaders and clearly Martin was far from in command of the floor. All the leaders took their turns roasting Martin. Harper didn't get roasted nearly as much.

Harper put in a much better performance than in the French debate, I thought- he was a little laid back in the first debate-but in the English debate he gave as good as he got without looking like the "scary" person Martin made him out to be. Harper looked like a moderate, credible prime minister. When Martin went after him on the notwithstanding clause Harper fought back hard and looked like a responsible individual who wouldn't go nuts with the constitution.
Jack Layton also scored some hits on Martin. I thought it was probably the most pugnacious performance from an NDP leader that we've ever seen in a federal debate, although I don't know if he was able to swing any votes. He was at his best when grilling Martin on the gay marriage issue, saying Martin showed no leadership by sending the issue to the courts.
The surprise was the confident, assured performance of Gilles Duceppe, who turned in probably his best performance in an English-language debate and scored some more points on Martin re: the sponsorship scandal. I listened to the radio afterwards and a lot of the talk show callers seemed to say: "Gee, Duceppe added a lot to the debate. Too bad he's such a separatist." These papers that will say this was a Harper-Martin "duel" have no clue what they're talking about. Duceppe did a good job of mixing it up and I think that's one reason why it's difficult to say there was clearly a winner or loser in this debate. But I will say this: it wasn't all that great a night for Martin, and they needed a great night to stop their slide down the greasy pole.

As for who won: my prediction is that the National Post and Toronto Sun will say Harper creamed 'em, that the Toronto Star will say Martin (or maybe even Layton) won and that Harper lost, and the Globe will be totally confused and probably say that there was no knockout punch. So believe whoever you're prepared to believe.

ELECTION SILLINESS

I've been watching WAY too much French TV lately.
There were ads on Radio-Canada for something called the "Parti Bleue." Turns out this isn't a real political party: it's a phony one invented by Labatt's! Apparently the policies of the Parti Bleue are to drink beer and have a good time.
Labatt's is not the only beer running for office: if you've watched the American TV ads you know that Miller is running for President, too. I thought Miller already got elected- he was elected mayor of Toronto last fall.

In other news: I was watching Le Telejournal on the weekend and they had an interesting piece about Montreal Canadiens goaltender god/recent Leafs prez Ken Dryden. Apparently there are a lot of voters in York Centre who have no idea who this Liberal star candidate is! "Ken Dryden?! Who's he?!" Seriously. Apparently there aren't a lot of hockey fans in York Centre. I guess they must be Raptors fans (hee hee).

And, finally, more evidence that Paul Martin's election call was really poorly timed. Tonight's election debate, the one that's supposed to save Martin's campaign, goes up against... irony of ironies... Game Five of the NBA Finals between the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers, with Detroit leading 3 games to 1! You think any die-hard sports fans will be tuned into the debates? (And contrary to conventional wisdom, there are a lot of basketball fans here in Canada.) I'm sure people in Windsor will be riveted to the debate on TV tonight, not.

Monday, June 14, 2004

HOW DO YOU SAY "SNOOZEFEST" IN FRENCH

Is it me, or was that French language debate a complete waste of time? All four party leaders were their usual selves, and all four of them spewed their usual party lines with their usual propoganda. Paul Martin was his usual bombastic self, spewing out a lot of hot air about how anti-bilingual the Conservatives were, but Gilles Duceppe really nailed Martin on the sponsorship scandal, and quite frankly Harper and Layton showed they could debate in the French language. Consequently I think Martin may have lost the most in this debate. His party is already trailing badly in Quebec, and Martin needed to provide French Canadians with a compelling reason to vote for the government party. This he completely failed to do.
About all Martin can come up with is his "I am the defender of health care" routine, but Adscam has thrown a wrench into the whole debate.

Duceppe really set the tone right away by saying that this election was about the Paul Martin record, not about the sovereignty issue. That's Duceppe's biggest advantage right now: because Charest is in power in Quebec, the risk in voting for the Bloc is gone. Vote for the Bloc, they are able to say, and you can register a protest vote for Quebec against those bums in Ottawa without risking yet another referendum. Duceppe even made clear he'd be ready to defeat Harper in the Commons on a number of issues (including Kyoto) if Harper took power in a minority government. So Martin is made to look even more ridiculous with his "a vote for the Bloc is a vote for Harper" rants.

We'll see what happens in the English debate but if there was ever any doubt about whether Martin could rescue his majority, I think it's been snuffed out now. Quebec is still down the drain.

TOUCH 'EM ALL, JOE

SAD, SAD NEWS from Blue Jay land. Tom Cheek, the ironman of the radio broadcasts for the Toronto Blue Jays who until not too long ago had attended every single Blue Jays game, has had surgery to remove a brain tumour. The news is not particularly good: he must undergo further treatment. Let's hope and pray that he pulls through and gets back on the air soon.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

DON'T YOU HATE IT WHEN...

... you tune into the Canadian Grand Prix on French-language TV, hoping you could get away from politics, and have to put up with these political ads for "Equipe Martin" and for the (ugh) Bloc?! Ugh! I don't know what's worse: watching those negative ads from the Liberals that say a vote for the Bloc is a vote for Harper and isolation from government, or watching ANY ads from the separatists. What a choice.
And to top it all off, Michael Schumacher wins again. You can't get away from him, either.

Friday, June 11, 2004

CANADA's HOTTEST RACES

There were some interesting numbers in the NATIONAL POST today. They did polling in 12 of the hottest, most interesting races in the country and the results are pretty interesting.

- In Toronto-Danforth, one of the hottest races in the country, the NDP leader Jack Layton is on cruise control with a 20-point lead over Dennis Mills, the incumbent MP who is fighting an almighty battle to save his seat. Mills has a big campaign office on Danforth and has put his mug on big area billboards. So far, not working.
- In Ottawa Centre the NDP's Ed Broadbent is clubbing Liberal Richard Mahoney, and in Newmarket-Aurora Belinda Stronach has a lead so massive (29 points) that the Elections Prediction Project is now predicting she'll win the seat. In Essex, Liberal incumbent Susan Whelan is in deep trouble, trailing the Conservative by 10 points.
- Out east, ex-PC-turned-traitor-Liberal Scott Brison is decisively ahead in King's-Hants.
- Out west, both Ujjal Dosangh (Liberal) and incumbent MP Chuck Cadman (running as an independent after losing the Conservative nomination), are both solidly in front at the moment. All these people have double-digit leads.
- And Landslide Anne McLellan is again in one of her fights for her political life for the fourth election in a row, and the Post says she's leading the Conservatives in Edmonton Centre- by 1%. Too close to call, still.

CONSERVATIVE HOPES IN THE 416

I've been helping out on two campaigns in the 416 in this election: in Don Valley East I've been helping David Johnson, and from time to time I've gone to Etobicoke-Lakeshore to help out John Capobianco. Ironically, perhaps, Capobianco used to work for Johnson at Queen's Park and worked on Johnson's last provincial campaign in 1999.

It turns out they are the two best Tory hopes in the 416. Here's an article from eyeWeekly that mentions both of them. And yes, I know some of the other people mentioned in the article.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL WITH STEPHEN HARPER

There are two sides to every campaign. There's the ground war that you see with candidates waging local fights in every riding, and with leaders unveiling their platforms and making their case at rallies across the country.
Then there is the air war: the media fight. And this can be very different from the ground war. Reporters' priorities differ from voters in this crucial respect: they are trying to sell newspapers and get a juicy story. So instead of reporting on what actually happens on these campaigns they dredge up month-old comments by hack MPs who make stupid comments, and report about protesters who crash political events, all because it makes for better copy.

While the media seems obsessed with gotcha journalism and with making social issues the focus of the campaign, they're ignoring the real story: the growing momentum of the Conservative campaign on the ground- a momentum that has nothing to do with social issues.

I was at the big rally that was held at the Toronto Congress Centre on Saturday where Harper unveiled his platform "Demanding Better". It was a great event attended by 1500 people. Let me tell you, the size of a political crowd is significant. In the old days Harper would have been lucky to fill a room full of people. Now he's having to book places like the Toronto Congress Centre. And this was a multi-ethnic crowd, younger and more diverse than the crowds the Alliance used to attract. It looked and felt more like a PC event than an Alliance event. You can forget about calling this group of people the "Conservative-Alliance", it just doesn't fit.

Harper gave a great speech and nailed the Liberals, saying that waste, corruption and scandal were not Canadian values. It was a very patriotic sort of performance and the crowd loved it.

There was a similar story to be told when the Conservatives rolled into Don Valley East to an event for candidate Dave Johnson. The fact that "the bus" rolled into Don Valley East was telling: this seat produced a massive landslide Liberal victory in 2000 and is held by the Liberals provincially. Now it, too, can no longer be taken for granted (using Harper's words in describing what is happening in Ontario). Harper railed against the negative campaign that the Liberals were running and emphasized that only the Conservatives are offering a positive vision and hope for the country. Quite frankly, he's right. The Liberals are all about negativity and that's turning off voters.

As for social issues, they've hardly been mentioned by the central campaign on the stump or in their releases. The position of Harper and the party on social issues, as far as I can tell, is this: "we're going to do absolutely nothing." Yet the press is going crazy trying to prove otherwise with this "hidden agenda" nonsense. What hogwash. The truth is there is a wide range of opinion within the new Conservative Party on social issues to begin with. And a large segment of the party has an attitude to social issues that are summed up by two words: "who cares?" They just want government off the people's backs.

I'm convinced that the Conservative campaign wants to concentrate on issues that party members and voters actually care about, like corruption and taxes. It's been the Liberals who have been obsessed with social issues and "wedge" issues. They're desperately trying to save their campaign on wedge issues. But when you go door to door you find the voters don't care about any of that: all they care about is McGuinty, and they're mad as hell at his Liberal broken promises.

Remember last fall when Dalton McGuinty urged voters to take the high road? Paul Martin is taking the low road now, and he can thank Dalton for what's happening to his lousy campaign.

LIBS GET DESPERATE

In a sure sign that the Liberal ship is sinking fast, check out this article in the Toronto Star. When the Toronto Star reports stuff like this you have to know the Liberals are in trouble.

The Grits are hitting the panic button, rolling out some vicious negative ads.
Now we'll see whether negative ads really work in this country or whether this is yet another flop. What a brain-cramped Liberal campaign. And polls are increasingly putting the Conservatives ahead in the seat count. Man, this is unreal.

Monday, June 07, 2004

CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE

is in St. Pete Times Forum tonight. CLICK HERE.
BY THE WAY, be sure to tune into COACH's CORNER on Hockey Night in Canada during the first intermission. The rumors continue to fly that this could be it for Don Cherry. They're all saying the CBC is all set to say no to a new contract and give Cherry the boot--- and I suspect no amount of raging protest from the fans will save Grapes this time. It's too bad- it's the best part of the show. Rabid fans in sports bars would stop what they were doing so they could tune into the Ron and Don Show and hear Cherry tell it like it is. And people at the CBC who want to get rid of this cultural institution? Give me a break. If Grapes leaves, HNIC will be ruined and you might as well tune into TSN or NBC next year. Hockey coverage will never be the same.

65 LIBERAL SEATS IN DANGER

Or so the Hill Times thinks. Check out the article here. Frankly, the way things are going for the Liberals the Hill Times could be underestimating things. Then again, if the Conservative backbenchers don't shut up...
- If the current poll numbers in Ontario hold up, with the Conservatives maintaining a lead and the NDP polling higher than they did during the provincial election, we're looking at the Liberals dropping 60 seats in Ontario alone. Thanks, Dalton!

Sunday, June 06, 2004

THE CAIRNS BLOG OFFICIAL RIBBON CUTTING

HELLO. And welcome to The Cairns Blog. Well, I've been thinking of getting a blog off the ground for several weeks and now that I have a day off, I've finally up and done it. I am now officially a Blogger like herds of other people on the web.
I hope you find The Cairns Blog to be informative, entertaining, and yes, useful. Here I'll link up to some useful links that I happen to see around the Worldwide Web- news, opinions, political stuff, foreign affairs stuff, sports, entertainment---- you name it. I plan to update this blog every----so often. I'm new to this blogging business and I still need to figure out a few things, like how to link up with other websites. And of course, how to use the italics and all that.
It has been a very eventful past 24 hours, as the tributes continue to pour in after news of the passing of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. Of course today happens to be the 60th anniversary of D-Day and here I am at home, irony of ironies, watching an NFL Europe League on TV from Germany, of all places- the place that has been the flashpoint for so much of world history, particularly in the 20th century.
On a day like today I want to salute all the true heroes of our armed forces who have fought for freedom and democracy around the world. Freedom, we sometimes forget, is a very fragile thing and we owe so much to those who gave their lives for freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That's it for now. I was at a big political event the other day but I'll save that for later. Today's a day of remembrance.

WELCOME TO THE CAIRNS BLOG

Test. One. Two. Three.