Saturday, April 30, 2005

THOUGHTS ABOUT NOMINATION RACES

I have been looking around for information about the nomination fights going on right now in anticipation of a snap federal election, in part because I want to find out what's happening in my area.

Anyway I found a great new website, Nomination Watch. It tracks all the nomination races going on in the country and I think it does a great public service. Generally these nomination fights are under-reported in the mainstream media, and quite frankly, they feature plenty of action. They're like mini-political conventions.

I was at the one in Don Valley East last year that nominated Dave Johnson on the first ballot. I was there as a Johnson supporter and it was pretty obvious he had the nomination in the bag. His opposition consisted of two party members who had no shot at winning whatsoever and someone else who seemed a little crazy. Anyway Johnson won on the first ballot by such a big margin that it was a joke. Over a hundred people voted.

The Liberal nomination meeting in Don Valley East last year went something like three or four ballots and had several serious candidates, and I heard that it got a huge turnout, more than a thousand people at least. Apparently it pitted ethnic groups against each other- each ethnic group had their candidate and hauled in everyone from their "community" to the convention hall. It also had "Martin" people taking on "Chretien" people, so everyone hated everyone. What I heard was that the winner cut a deal with one of the losing campaigns.

This happens a lot, though, in urban Canada and not just in the Liberal Party: ethnic groups take over riding associations and haul their "instant members" to nomination meetings by the truckload to get their people nominated. There's been lots of news stories written about all this stuff. I think this happens because it's a way for these groups to wield power and have more clout in Ottawa. Personally, though, I hate it. I think it's stupid for people to be voting at nomination meetings based on what ethnic group they're a part of. I only vote in nomination meetings for the best person who I think will win the seat, I don't care if they aren't part of my ethnic group! It would be like me only voting for members of the "Anglo-Saxon Canadian community" or something all the time. It's lunacy, and besides, it's also racist to do that anyway.

The other thing that's been happening in Conservative ridings is that you have old PCs taking on old Alliance types so it becomes a civil war within the party all over again. That's what happened last year in Newmarket-Aurora when the moderates and old PCs backed Belinda Stronach while the Alliance supporters backed Lois Brown. Actually I think it was a good thing that Belinda got nominated, because she won the election. But she only won the election by a narrow margin, even though the whole country knew who she was. If Brown had won the nomination with her so-con views, I am convinced the Conservatives would have definitely lost that seat and we wouldn't be talking about no-confidence motions today.

Anyway that is my rant on nomination meetings. From what I heard the Liberals might not even be holding many conventions, they might appoint a ton of people. I heard all their MPs are getting automatically renominated. I also heard that the Tory MPs won't be facing nomination fights either, their nominations were good for two years or something.

Some of the more contentious nomination fights last year included the Liberals' Tony Valeri beating Sheila Copps in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, Carolyn Parrish beating Steve Mahoney in Mississauga. The Valeri-Copps battle was probably the most publicized one in the country
and thousands upon thousands of people showed up for that one. Ridiculous. For the Tories, I mentioned that Belinda beat Lois Brown in Newmarket-Aurora in a contested fight. There were also quite a few good Tory fights in ridings in Alberta and BC. In BC, MPs Val Meredith and Chuck Cadman both lost their nominations and that's why Cadman is sitting in Parliament as an independent today, because the Tory party in his riding blew it and didn't renominate him. Bunch of fools out there; thanks to them, we might not get an election.

Hopefully that web site will let us know what happens in Etobicoke-Lakeshore with Kells and Capobianco and maybe it'll mention what is going on in the Don Valley area. It also mentions that Tony Clement, who is considering Parry Sound-Muskoka, is also looking at Vaughan as a place to run (!) and all I gotta say is Tony, don't go there! It doesn't matter that it's the 905, Vaughan is the most Liberal riding in the 905, it's HOPELESS. DON'T RUN THERE, TONY!

Friday, April 29, 2005

THE VOTERS HATE POLITICIANS, HATE DEMOCRACY

You know, polls are a snapshot, which is why I find it hard to believe the latest CTV poll by the Strategic Counsel which now has the Liberals up 30-28. That's not the reaction I get listening to CFRB. On CFRB there's still complete anger.

And it's not the reaction Paul Martin's getting at Bono's concerts. He's getting booed. Still. Mention Martin's name and he gets booed. The Prime Minister is still in the doghouse, despite the supposed good poll numbers. Once Parliament resumes the Conservatives should focus on the corruption revelations again and that will make people mad all over again. People need to be reminded why they hate the Liberals.

I'll tell you what I think is true about these polls. I think the people hate the government and all its corruption, but are worried the opposition Conservatives will come in and privatize the country and shove social issues down their throats. And I get the sense that people feel that all politicians are the same and equally corrupt, and in the case of Jack Layton, also inept. And most of the people booing Martin at Bono's concert are NDP or Green Party supporters anyway. So that's my sense of things. And they feel an election is a waste of their time and in the end nothing will be accomplished anyway, so why bother.

That's what I think is being reflected in these numbers we're getting and frankly, you can't argue with it. This is the mood of the country right now. The people just don't care about the corruption. What a country. Keep in mind that last year people were all mad at the Liberals during the election campaign but they basically said they were "fed up with all politicians" so just because they were mad at the Liberals, it didn't mean a thing as far as the Conservatives were concerned.

So a sense of defeatism is setting in with Conservatives again. I read the comments over at Free Dominion and on Andrew Coyne's website, and all I gotta say is that the poll numbers are making a lot of Conservatives sick. Some of them are really freaking out. We're seeing a lot of comments from people threatening to move to Alberta or to the States.

What I think is that maybe it isn't life or death for the Conservatives to defeat the government on the budget right away. If they pull the plug now, well, great, but I think it's more important for the future of this country for this government to be thrown right out. I do think, though, the Conservatives do need to stand on their principles against the corruption and should not prop up the Liberals any longer. So they might as well vote against the budget. At least now the Tories won't be blamed for being political opportunists if the government falls, since these new polls are s%!t.

And if the government falls the Tories need to make it clear to people that the fate of this Parliament rested in the hands of the independents, not themselves. Because a lot of silly Canadians, who'd rather sit and do nothing at home, will want to blame someone for an election even though there's all this corruption going on. Canada, the only country in the whole wide world where people don't like to have elections. Let freedom ring.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

NOMINATION FIGHTS SHAPING UP

With talk of an election I just want you to get caught up on some more news I'm gleaning about possible Toronto candidates. This is all stuff I found looking at the Free Dominion boards.

It sure looks as if there's a big Tory fight brewing in Etobicoke-Lakeshore between Morley Kells and John Capobianco. Kells was the former MPP for the area at Queen's Park and Capobianco was the candidate of record there last federal election. The nomination meeting was moved to May 5th and the riding website says it'll be in a bigger hall than the one they had booked before. There's also a rumor that Kells outsold Capobianco by a 3-to-1 margin but I don't know whether there's any confirmation of that. But whoever wins that nomination fight has a great shot at winning that riding. Etobicoke-Lakeshore is the best shot that Conservatives have in Toronto.

It's too bad for Capobianco that he'll have to fight for the nomination there because he ran a great campaign last time in the same riding, but I guess that's life, that's politics. Anyway, just for the heck of it THE CAIRNS BLOG endorses John Capobianco for the nomination in Etobicoke-Lakeshore, mainly because I've known him forever. I'll probably actually go down there to help if Capobianco wins, but then again I don't live in the riding. Maybe I'll go down to the nomination meeting and see for myself what happens there.

Heard also that Pauline Browes, former federal cabinet minister, could be running in Scarborough-Guildwood, another riding the Conservatives have a hope in. I also read a rumor that Dennis Timbrell might run in "one of the Don Valleys" according to the information at Free Dominion. But nothing's confirmed on that. I can tell you, though, that I know he lives in Don Valley East and used to represent that area in Queen's Park. Like I say we'll know what the situation is in Don Valley East by day's end, and whether or not Timbrell has his name in nomination in this riding or if he's running somewhere else, or anywhere, period. I'll tell you this, I don't think too many people are going to be fighting over the nomination in Loserville Don Valley East, a hopeless Liberal riding in my estimation.

LATEST ANCHOR TO LEAVE: JUDY WOODRUFF

They're dropping like flies, these aging news anchors. Not just the guys, but the women, too. Stamina, my foot. Barbara Walters called it quits from 20/20 last year and now Judy Woodruff has announced that she, too, is leaving daily journalism and CNN.

Judy Woodruff, too? I didn't see this one coming, surely, she's not THAT old. Maybe there's something going on behind the scenes with Inside Politics that we don't know about. I don't think we all know the full story here.

Well, at least you have women lasting long enough in the business to be able to retire at an old age. In the old days they used to kick women off the air as soon as they hit their forties. Then again maybe this isn't progress after all, because Judy Woodruff isn't that old! Certainly not as old as Mike Wallace, Morley Safer and the gang.

Well, this really is the end of the era. Who's next, Bob Schieffer?

Wait--- Bob Schieffer just announced he's retiring too. He just got the anchor job, and now he's retiring. Might as well quit along with everyone else.

You think I'm kidding but I'm not. I actually read that Bob Schieffer plans to stick to his decision to retire when he hits 70 years old. So he'll be continuing as substitute anchor for the CBS Evening News, presumably until he retires. What a farce. I know people are giving his show rave reviews for his conversational style and for the correspondents not wearing neckties and stuff, but the CBS News ratings are in the toilet.

RUMORS OF MORE DEALS?

It's official: Stephen Harper is going to instruct his MPs to "put this government out of its misery" at the earliest possible opportunity. Next week, perhaps. And Gilles Duceppe and his gang are gonna vote them down, too. That leaves the fate of the country in the hands of three independent MPs: Chuck Cadman, David Kilgour and Carolyn Parrish, and Parrish is on record as saying she'll prop the Liberals up.

Last night I tuned into the nightly news broadcast of the network I was once an intern at years ago, and I watched Bob Fife tell Lloyd on the air that there are stories that the Liberals might try and use the pursestrings to prop their government up. Namely, they might appoint some of these independents to the Senate or pay them off with appointments or something. Seems Chuck Cadman is waffling again on whether to bring the government down. There's even talk that the Libs might even buy off one of the Tories with an appointment or something.

As Andrew Coyne disgustedly asks in his blog, "is there anybody in this country who isn't on the take?" This is truly awful, truly sickening. These kind of rumors, even if they aren't true, are making the parliament of Canada look really bad. It's exactly the type of thing that has soured me on politics in this country. No wonder Harper's pulling the plug, and no wonder you have Quebecers wanting to separate from Canada and get away from all this nonsense. There was a new poll out which said 54% of Quebecers now want to separate. I don't know if that's accurate. But Quebecers are definitely the maddest of everyone over all this.

Frankly I think it would be nuts for Paul Martin to even consider doing something like this, appointing people to the Senate and paying even more people off. He should know this type of thing is bound to make this government look absolutely terrible. That Jack Layton deal itself isn't playing well with people. The headlines the other day were just killing the Liberals again, they were of the "Paul pays off Jack with 4.6 billion dollars" variety, as if it was another shady Liberal deal. Of course Toronto mayor David Miller is saying how great this deal is for Toronto, but what do you expect him to say, he's NDP!

But apparently Layton's mad, now, too, because now Paul Martin is saying the corporate tax cuts will be part of a separate vote. So Layton doesn't know what to make of this, and this doesn't satisfy Harper who's hopping mad anyway. So this story's not over, folks.

Anyway, we could have an election at any time. I know the deadline for nominations in Don Valley East is today, and they plan to pick a candidate in mid-May. But frankly I'm out of the loop as to what's going on there, I haven't talked to anyone yet. Bottom line is we're getting ready for an election- whenever. Personally, I hope it's soon, because I've had enough of this nonsense in Ottawa.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

$4.6 BIL DEAL WITH THE DEVIL

Trick is for you to figure out who the devil is.

Here is the story on the Liberal payoff of the NDP.

I don't get it. Paul Martin seems to be doing this deal with Jack Layton because he wants to make it look as if it's the Conservatives who are shutting Parliament down. But on the other hand Martin isn't making parliament work, all he's done is ensure there's 153 votes in the House of Commons against the budget. And he's handed the Conservatives a big election issue. Cancelling tax cuts and spending all kinds of money- typical porkbarrel politics and buying off voters. I thought the voters were tired of this stuff?!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

CHUCK CADMAN

While Jack Layton continues his discussions with Paul Martin on ways to hose corporate Canada ( my opinion ), one of the Independents has spoken. Chuck Cadman says he will now vote to topple the Liberals. He had said he personally does not want an election but he's been flooded with e-mails and since he's an old Reformer, he's gonna listen to them and be accountable. He plans to vote in favor of the non-confidence motion and all I gotta say is, good for him.

Now this does not mean Cadman won't back the budget, he may in fact vote with the Liberals on that one. But it does make it almost impossible for the Liberals to survive a motion of no confidence. The Liberals need all their MPs, all 19 New Democrats and all three loose fish, just so they can force a tie vote which can be broken by the Liberal Speaker. Of those three, Cadman's gonna vote to topple the Liberals so the Liberals will have had it, even if they get both the other two. Carolyn Parrish is on record as supporting the government, while David Kilgour, who represents an Edmonton riding and who recently quit the Liberal party has not officially made his mind up yet. I guess he didn't join the Conservatives after all, I had read earlier that he did. Maybe he supports the Conservatives now but isn't part of the caucus. Anyway I find it hard to believe Kilgour will prop up the Liberals.

Monday, April 25, 2005

LIBS MAY DEFER ON THOSE CORPORATE TAX BREAKS

And I think this is Liberal suicide if they do this, but that may be what happens. I can see the Conservative ads now: "Flip Flop", "Mr. Dithers", etc.

See the story.

POSSIBLE DEALS WITH NDP LOOK SHAKY AT BEST

Doesn't look like Martin will do a deal with the NDP: according to this story the Martinites are cool to the idea of getting rid of all those corporate tax cuts Layton's demanding.

If I were Martin I wouldn't do a deal like that with Layton, especially since there's no guarantee the government would even survive a confidence motion WITH a deal. By doing a deal like that the Liberals would be certain to lose both the confidence motion AND the election! In Paul Martin's shoes, I'd rather keep the corporate tax cuts and gamble that corporate Canada will hang in with the Liberals in the election. Actually if I were Martin I'd resign in disgrace, but I don't have to worry about that.

As for Jack Layton, I personally think that he's doing the smart thing from his position. He's trying to take advantage of the situation and get the best deal possible for his party and look important. He should also walk away if he doesn't get his deal and should pull the plug; that way he stands to gain votes in Toronto from people who'd usually vote Liberal but who are turned off by Paul Martin always cozying up to corporate Canada. Among other things.

Like I say, when you read these stories about deals with the NDP you have to remember that even with the NDP on side there's no guarantee the Liberals will even win a confidence vote. Their only real hope, I think, is for the Conservatives to somehow back off. And speaking of that confidence vote, kicked-out Liberal Carolyn Parrish will vote to prop the Liberals up in spite of the fact that she got tossed out of there by her friend Paul Martin. She is calling a new election a waste of $250 million dollars. An election would also probably cost her her job as MP as well, but that's another story, too.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

MOVIE CRITIC FOR A DAY

For a change I am going to weigh in here on some of the movies I've seen over the past month or so. I'm reviewing them, just for fun.

I want to see if I have it in me to be a movie critic, so I am going to give my assessment of some of the movies going on and let you know what to see and what to avoid. I saw most of these because I got a bunch of gift certificates as a birthday present, so I went to all the movies I could go to.

So I might as well talk about them. Besides, I saw a movie last night that I thought was a waste of money. A total, total waste of money and two hours of my life. So by voicing my opinions here maybe there will be people who will heed my advice and stay away from movies that are a total waste of time.

Anyway, here's what I saw. Figure out whether to buy the DVD when it comes out.

Hitch: Funny movie. Fun movie. Will Smith as the date doctor is really comical. You know, guys can relate to a lot of the nonsense these guys have to put up with, trying to get a date with these gorgeous women who wouldn't recognize a good thing when they see it and who would rather go out with these no-good, two-timing, player-type losers who break their hearts. The plot is kind of ridiculous, in fact the whole plot stretches credulity, but it is very funny.

Be Cool: The sequel to Get Shorty and the famed pairing, again, of John Travolta and Uma Thurman. But I found the movie's plot a little confusing and rather flat and unfunny. A lot of other people really laid into it and thought it was absolutely terrible. In the movie, they tried to make the audience believe that Travolta had discovered this big singing star who in truth wouldn't have been allowed onto American Idol. So it wasn't all that good a movie. I'd say only go if you're a die-hard Travolta fan, otherwise forget it.

Guess Who: This movie's plot line is sort of a modern-day version of "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", except this time it's the white dude (Ashton Kutcher) marrying into a black family. And the father (Bernie Mac) doesn't like it. Not a complete disaster, has its moments, but not all that memorable, either. Kind of dull, in fact. Sort of like a sitcom for the movie screen (not a compliment).

Fever Pitch: Featuring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore. "I am a Red Sox fan!" And so we see what fandom is really all about, and see how this poor guy tries to balance his passion for the Boston Red Sox with his love for his girlfriend, who of course has no clue about baseball at all. I can really relate to this poor guy. This is a movie that truly shows what it's like to be a die-hard sports fan and how crazy people can get, especially when there's big games. This one's another Farrelly Brothers picture and the Farrellys are known for their extremely funny, obsessive, gross-out movies which make fun of people with artificial limbs and mental health problems and the like. There is very little of that stuff in this movie, thankfully. They showed a lot of restraint, for a change, and ended up making a really good, memorable movie.

A Lot Like Love: Should rename the movie A Lot Like $%!t.
The trailers and the TV ads promised this laugh-a-minute movie, unfortunately they crammed the only highlights of the whole movie into something like a half-minute promo. This was a long, dreary, boring movie with two people in it with little apparent chemistry to begin with, and it was bogged down by what Roger Ebert describes as the "idiot plot" (when the whole story is due to idiot decisions by the characters). If these two blockheads simply fell in love in the first act, we would have been spared with this 107-minute atrocity.

In fact the whole audience, when this movie ended, stared at each other in disbelief as if they couldn't believe how bad this movie was, because the promos looked so promising. People were shaking their heads and complaining about how "lame" it was, so it wasn't just me. This one had Ashton Kutcher in it again and all I gotta say is that I plan to run like heck from the next movie he stars in, because it'll be a sure sign that it's crap. So far his movies seem to all be clunkers. At least Jimmy Fallon can say he appeared in a bona-fide good movie.

Amanda Peet, meanwhile, is usually also better than this stuff. It's sad, because usually I love Amanda Peet! That's why I was sucked in to going, I think she's the greatest! She's usually in roles where she seems like the girl you always wanted for a girlfriend: smart, funny and adorable. But not in this movie. In this movie she plays a ditzy, unadorable, total idiot. Too bad for Amanda Peet, and for the audience.

The other thing I gotta say about this movie is: it is obvious to me that all these ads in these screenwriting magazines for "script consultants" and "script doctors" to get your screenplays noticed in Hollywood are all a big ripoff, a waste of money. You can do everything right, do all the things these consultants tell you to do, and your movie will still get passed over in favor of junk like this, which ignores every rule in the script doctor's playbook. A Lot Like Love was too long, it was boring, the characters were forgetable, it had no real point to it, had an idiot plot and a contrived ending, and no coherent dialogue to speak of. I wonder what Robert McKee has to say about THIS piece of trash! (Die-hard screenwriters and movie people know who Robert McKee is, he advertises in all these movie magazines on all his screenwriting seminars he holds all over North America and he's making a fortune.)

You know, a lot of the movies I saw so far this year just weren't very good. I should definitely go to some better movies in the near future.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

EVEN BONO HAS TURNED ON THE PM!

That's right, him, too. Read it here. I also saw that story leading the news on CityPulse last night and boy did I ever fall out of my chair laughing like a hyena.

It's getting almost comical, all this nonsense in Ottawa. Meanwhile local hack Jack Layton plans to meet with Ralph Goodale in an attempt to see if they could do a deal to save the government and move it to the left. The problem is that the NDP and Liberals together don't have enough seats. And the Liberals lost one member to the Conservatives (David Kilgour) and kicked the other member out of the caucus (Carolyn Parrish). I'm sure they're in a good mood, not, in fact I even read somewhere that Kilgour's definitely voting to bring the government down. And then you have Chuck Cadman, who usually hates the Liberals and all the corruption.

So I don't see how doing a deal with Layton will save the government here. But it might make the vote extremely close. Maybe it will make Layton look good going into an election, then he'll be able to say he tried to prevent it.

Man, what an issue: "I want you to vote for me because I tried to prevent an election!" So vote against democracy. Only in Canada, the only nation in the world that doesn't want to hold free elections. Might as well put the Junta in right now and be a banana republic if that's what people really think here.

I almost think Stephen Harper HAS to defeat the government now, or at least try to, or else it will be seen as a tactical win by the Liberals. If they fail they can still try again later and say their usual line of bull about how "we tried to make Parliament work" etc etc.

Meanwhile the list of potential candidates grows. JIM FLAHERTY is going to run federally in Whitby-Oshawa for the Conservatives, a good move for him and great news for the federal party. I am confident he will steamroll to victory in his seat. I have read another report, this one from the Globe, saying that Tony Clement is looking at winnable Parry Sound-Muskoka, and I even read that Garth Turner is looking at running for the nomination in Halton. In the last election Garth looked at running in Wellington-Halton Hills but decided not to go for the nomination, and the seat went to Tory Mike Chong. Halton, meanwhile, is represented by turncoast ex-Ontario PC-now-Liberal Gary Carr and ought to be a Conservative gain. You know, it's amazing the number of seats out there that ought to be Conservative seats but aren't. Parry Sound Muskoka, Whitby-Oshawa, Halton, Oakville, Oak Ridges-Markham, Ottawa West-Nepean- it defies common sense that these seats aren't held federally by the Harper gang.

And the latest rumor on Peter Kent is that he might run in St. Paul's. Man, I can't believe this, Peter Kent in St. Paul's, for the Tories of all people. If he runs there he'll get his head blown off. I don't care if his name's Peter Kent. He'll be back on television in no time. He should run in Don Valley West or Willowdale or somewhere winnable if he's serious about getting out of TV. St. Paul's is a lost cause, what a joke.

By the way, speaking of lost cause ridings, anyone know if anyone is running in Don Valley East? Dave Johnson again?!

Friday, April 22, 2005

PM'S ADDRESS LAST NIGHT A FLOP

Well that free-time political shill job by Paul Martin last night to try and pin the blame on the opposition for all the government's problems has not worked. Check out this article from CTV News. It has all these pundits all saying the PM's speech was a bust. Then again, they don't all live in Toronto and the 416 seems to still have a high tolerance level for all this nonsense from the Liberal government. 905, though, may finally have had enough.

And every newspaper in town seems to have "Martin buys time" on the cover- this is not looking very impressive, I must say.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

OUR ESTEEMED PM HAS SPOKEN

Probably the biggest seven-minute waste of time in the history of Canadian network television in my estimation.

Martin did say that he would call an election as soon as Gomery was over, but what did you expect him to say. It's so obvious he was trying to buy time.

And maybe get a few good headlines in the paper, for a change. Fat chance.

WHAT THE HECK IS THE PM GOING TO SAY?

You know what, the Liberal minority government is closer to falling than I thought. The opposition had secured May 19th as an opposition day, but something passed the Public Accounts Committee giving notice of a non-confidence motion, and so that will be put to the house May 3rd, much earlier than expected.

Meanwhile it's increasingly looking as if this rare public appearance by Paul Martin on national television looks like little more than a glorified Liberal free-time political announcement in my opinion. Martin won't use the time to resign or call an election, or prorogue the Parliament. Instead it looks like he's going to use the time to try and buy some time for his government, and try and brainwash the public into thinking this is all the opposition's fault. If that's all that goes down tonight all I have to say is: what a fool.

The last time prime ministers used this TV time it was to bring in wage and price controls, or the War Measures Act. or in Jean Chretien's case, to try and save the country. All Martin's trying to do is save his government, it seems, and I even hear now that some of these networks may not even carry his address. It was scheduled for 7:45 PM but it's been moved to 7PM, presumably so it won't go up against a really big night of must-see TV on Global.

Are the opposition parties going to get equal time? That's what they do in the States.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

MARTIN TO ADDRESS COUNTRY TOMORROW

Further to all the rumblings out of Parliament Hill comes word that Paul Martin will address the nation tomorrow night.

He's expected to discuss the Adscam situation and the current total stalemate in Parliament and outline how he wants to see the situation addressed. Again, I look at this with cynicism but this is a highly unusual move by Martin.

ELECTION COMING SOON: DEAL WITH IT, CANADA

Well, the Liberals were arrogant as all heck this week. They got fancy and did some sneaky parliamentary manuever to get a bunch of opposition days cancelled for three weeks. Opposition days are those days set aside for the opposition parties to set the agenda and so on, such as to bring in non-confidence motions against the government. The Liberals decided to get all that delayed for three weeks and the opposition was furious, Stephen Harper was saying the Liberals were signing their own death warrant. Party whip Jay Hill was also mad, saying his party was through with helping prop up the Liberals or something to that effect.

But it seems this time the Liberals got out-witted. The opposition was able to salvage May 19th as an opposition day and on that day they can bring the government down and get an election called for June 27th, and you can bet your hat now that it will happen because the entire opposition bench is FURIOUS with the Liberals for what just happened. I even read that Jack Layton could be on board now, too. Layton was musing about propping the Liberals up a few days ago if they could get more money out of Ottawa for the cities or something like that. But these latest Liberal shenanigans and overall disrespect for the opposition parties have basically made that impossible. Besides, Layton can't prop the Liberals up anyway, the NDP don't have enough seats. The Tories and the Bloc together have a majority to put the government out of its misery.

Only issue is whether Stephen Harper's patience with this government will finally run out. Looks like it has, thank G. We're hearing increasing election talk. Now we're hear rumors that the Tories may lure Russ Courtnall and even Global TV anchor Peter Kent to run (!). I don't know who makes this stuff up, I read the Kent blurb on NealeNews.

I don't understand this behaviour by the Liberals, refusing to work with the opposition parties. They're acting like they're governing with a majority. Maybe they're trying to provoke the opposition into defeating them in the Commons and forcing an early election. Then Paul Martin could turn around and blame Harper for an unnecessary election and accuse them of all kinds of evil plans to destroy the country, or flip-flopping on all their old Alliance policies or you name it, Just like last time.

And all these opinion polls are saying that 85% of Canadians do not want an election. Probably because they all think everyone in politics is a crook. Typical Canadian thinking.

These geniuses in the Liberal Party seem a little too interested in making the opposition parties mad. I smell a rat, folks.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

POPE ELECTED

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger elected today, takes the name Benedict XVI. He's from Germany and he's 78 years old. Also said to be a conservative.

Interesting choice.

Monday, April 18, 2005

THE VAST WASTELAND

You know, I just watched Supernanny on TV here and all I gotta say is that I can't believe some of the shows they allow on the air, because that show is crap. Garbage.

In fact, Monday is a big night for complete garbage on TV. You have shows like Fear Factor, the Bachelor and Las Vegas, all mindless junk. It seems like two-thirds of the stuff on TV these days is junk, mostly of the reality-show variety, and all I gotta say is that if I'm a writer in Hollywood right now I'd be pretty sad. Good TV writing jobs are being trashed in favor of this junk.

Now I hear that Britney Spears is going to get a reality show now, too. Arrgh.

It's pretty sad that a show like "Stacked" could look like a good show in comparison to Supernanny and Paris Hilton and the rest of this rubbish. I checked out Stacked and all I gotta say is Pam Anderson is still hot, and that show was a lot better than I expected. But most of the rest of the shows out there are terrible. So as a result a show with Pam in it looks good by comparison. It's being made by the same people who made Just Shoot Me, so it looks and sounds exactly like Just Shoot Me, except it's in a bookstore.

What's really disgusting is that there are still lots of shows out there besides hit shows like Desperate Housewives and Lost and the rest of them that at least try to be good, try and raise the bar. And sadly a lot of them end up getting kicked off the air or fighting for their survival. A show that is in that category, Arrested Development, is still in serious limbo and there are a few petitions going to try and save this show.

They had their season finale and people are worried it is the series finale. But I think folks at Fox are looking for some signal from the public to save this series.

I noticed that the TV ratings are out and they have CSI as the top show in Canada and CTV has 14 shows in the top 20 including American Idol, Amazing Race and Desperate Housewives. Global has Survivor, Joey, the Apprentice and the Simpsons. Corner Gas is there too, on the top 20- a big fat Canadian hit on CTV.

Notice there were no CBC shows in the top 20. Your taxpayer dollars sure aren't producing any hit CBC shows, eh? If Hockey Night in Canada were on the air CBC wouldn't be having these problems! Blame the NHL. At least you get stuff from the CBC that's better than the reality junk you get on other stations.

POPE ELECTION COVERAGE

And the CBC DECISION DESK projects,uh, black smoke. Oops.

Back again, tomorrow, for more fun.

They are scheduled to have two ballots in the morning and then two more in the evening, if needed. CNN is obviously having a field day.

It's times like this when I think being part of the international press corps would be really cool. This would sure beat covering sports and beats covering the criminal element in this town. "Today in Toronto, another murder." You get the idea.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

CONCLAVE BEGINS TOMORROW

The College of Cardinals will meet in the Sistine Chapel starting tomorrow to begin the balloting to determine the next Pope. This article from CNN explains how the process for voting works and no doubt there will be wall-to-wall coverage of this from all the major networks. There have been a few changes made to the voting process such as the possibility of a simple majority being enough after 30 ballots, plus there will be the ringing of bells when a pope is elected, along with the traditional white smoke. So watch out for an interesting week of news coverage.

I remember watching the network TV coverage of the two elections for Pope in 1978 and I remember the white smoke and all the rest of it. And the one thing I remember is that it was totally secretive, everyone outside was totally in the dark when it came to what was going on. I remember it rather well, because the Papal elections interrupted my favorite Saturday morning cartoons on TV. Instead of Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner, we got the Pope. I must say, it was all highly educational and all that, but I wasn't looking for an education; I got enough of that nonsense in school. Instead I was looking for entertainment. And I sure didn't get it.

Interestingly, when Pope Paul VI died I was actually in London, England at the time with my family on vacation. We bought a British tabloid newspaper and it had "Pope Paul VI Dead" on the front page, and I was confused because I didn't know what the heck a Pope was. I soon found out.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

MICHAEL JACKSON TRIAL IS A CIRCUS

Just wanted you to know, it's official: Celebrity Justice reports that Larry King has been served.

So there you go.

SHE'S BAAAAAAAACK! ASHLEIGH ON COURT TV

Read TVNewser and TVSpy and the news from them is that Canadian-born TV newser Ashleigh Banfield was subbing for Catherine Crier on Crier's show. This has to be the first time she's been on the air ever since she got kicked out of- I mean, left- MSNBC.

Of course, because Ashleigh is so notorious in the TV industry in the United States and much-hated by everyone in TV, this is big news. I think she's hated because people were jealous of her and her designer eyeglasses, and her changing her hair colour and all that. I suppose you aren't allowed to have a personality and be in the TV news business.

Nice to know her U.S. visa hasn't expired yet.

Friday, April 15, 2005

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER POLL

Well, it's more bad news for the Liberals. CTV just came out with yet another Ipsos-Reid poll that this time has the Conservatives at 36% and the Liberals at 27%.

Every poll this week has the Liberals trailing the Conservatives and the Tories could win anywhere between 120 and 145 seats, based on these numbers. This poll also has the NDP slipping to 15%, which actually sounds about right.

I take the polls semi-seriously. They're a snapshot, that's all they are. And you have to factor in things like organizational strength and so on. The polls always underestimate Conservative strength in BC and Liberal strength in Quebec, that's something I always find.

They also usually overstate Liberal strength out West, usually, so if the poll numbers we are getting are accurate the Liberals are due to be completely slaughtered in Western Canada, with everybody losing their seats. Because these poll numbers from the West look absolutely hideous for them.

Stephen Harper was noted as being in Ontario and in "campaign mode." The polls keep on saying the people of Canada don't want an election, but frankly I think the issue now is whether the government should change, given the scandals surrounding the Liberal Party. If that's the real issue then I think the people ought to be consulted in an election. The last thing we need to see happen in the House of Commons is for the Liberal government to be defeated, and then for the government to be simply handed over by the Governor-General to the Conservatives without an election. That reeks of backroom shenanigans and besides, what the Tories really would need is a mandate. Technically they would be able to take power with a deal with the Bloc Quebecois. But that would be a deal with the devil. No way Stephen Harper would want that. He'd have no mandate to govern at all.

In potential campaign news I was watching TVO tonight and they were mentioning a few Queen's Park names looking to run federally. John Baird's name keeps popping up in Ottawa West-Nepean, but they also mentioned that John Capobianco is looking to run again and that Tony Clement is thinking of running in Muskoka, of all places. I'm actually not surprised that Capobianco may be thinking of running, he told me last fall he was going to try again. I am a little surprised that Clement might be going for a Muskoka seat, though. I thought he might run in Brampton again.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

FOR CANADIAN SPORTS FANS, AN EMPTY FEELING

Yesterday would have been the opening day for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Instead, a group of people are wasting their money on legal fees, trying to free the Stanley Cup from the clutches of the National Hockey League and hand the Cup to a bunch of amateurs.

I'm sorry, but I only want to see the Stanley Cup awarded to the champion of the National Hockey League. It shouldn't be awarded to a bunch of rank amateurs regardless of whether there's a lockout. I don't care what Lord Stanley said when he donated the Cup, it belongs to a World Champion, not some crummy amateur team from Whitby or somewhere! Keep in mind that when Lord Stanley donated the cup, that was back before professionalism took the game over. It was also before the game expanded to the U.S. So these clowns fighting this case are basically arguing to return this game to the Stone Age. Some will say that's an improvement over the current situation. It isn't. The only improvement is to get this game and this sport back to normal.

I don't think these people have a case, but still, if these judges are stupid enough this thing could get ugly, it could be like those court fights over the America's Cup. The bright side of all this is there's still a fight going on for the Stanley Cup, not on the ice but in court. Tonight in the the Stanley Cup playoffs: The People vs. the NHL, on the new Home of the National Hockey League: Court TV.

This is the last thing we need, Fred Graham covering the Stanley Cup. If they're not careful the Cup might wind up in the hands of Michael Jackson.

Anyway the Stanley Cup should be fought on the ice, not in the courts, and the NHL has ruined the sport by not holding the playoffs. Enough said.

And in a double-whammy for sports fans across Canada, tonight is the Montreal Expos home opener. In Washington D.C.!

I do hear that Youppi! has a new job, rumor is he's joining the Montreal Canadiens. That's assuming of course thaat they ever come back. I hear now that the league is starting to get cold feet about bringing in the replacement players. Who knows what they'll decide to do. And people are still wondering who will wind up with Sidney Crosby and people are saying the League hopes he winds up with the Rangers. What nonsense by these sports reporters and commentators.

But boy what an empty feeling right now for all hockey fans. I know people are going to tune in to the World Championships now but really, the World Championships always go on around this time anyway. It is no replacement for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Memorial Cup is not a replacement for the Stanley Cup. And having a bunch of crummy amateur teams play off against each other isn't a replacement either. As a Canadian sports fan my life is ruined. I'd trade places any day with the American sports fans who are all revved up about baseball, basketball and the Master's. I'd trade places with European fans who are going nuts over the Champion's League and holding riots in soccer stadiums over games.

Life for Canada's sports fans is miserable, and pretty empty.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

THE LADIES ALL HATE THE BACHELOR

Earlier I called the latest edition of the Bachelor an improvement. Well, I guess that makes me a slime pig dog just like Charlie O'Connell the Cad Bachelor, because the women all hate him and his show.

Charlie's been going after the skanks and doing body shots off of girls in bars; meanwhile the women in the audience, all of whom were expecting the usual dreamboats and the fairy tale fantasy, are turning the show off in droves. For proof, check out this hilarious article in the New York Post. Actually, I'm not terribly surprised by the female reaction. This is a bachelor that guys can relate to, sort of, but unfortunately women can't relate to him at all. They all want their men to be suave pretty-boy types who like animals and good clothes and stuff.

And of course all the women viewers can't relate to the bachelorettes, especially the skank contestants that Charlie seems to prefer. They all hate Kimberly the swimsuit model from Edmonton who is attempting to be the biggest skank in the history of the show. I don't know whether this routine is for real or if it's an act, but Kimberly is going to emerge from this show with a layout in either Playboy or Maxim, for sure.

The male viewers, of course, gave up on this lame show a long time ago, and even I don't watch the show all that often. Which is why I find it rather bizarre that they seem to be gearing this Bachelor series to a male audience. Heck, they should have known this type of series they're serving up this season would offend all the women out there! I don't think the guys are watching, I think they all probably think this is the same old show with the same weepy women and the limos and the nightgowns.

I think guys would rather watch the WWE. Or cop shows, or any show starring my favorite woman of all time, Pam Anderson. You want a woman who is really popular with the guys, that's her. I think Kimberly on The Bachelor is secretly trying to copy Pam and do the Pam thing, but that's only my opinion.

The adorable Pam debuts in her new sitcom Stacked tonight on FOX. The show looks bad but Pam still looks good.

DAVID KILGOUR DEFECTS, NOW A CONSERVATIVE

The story here.

Who's next... maybe Pat O'Brien?

In other stuff, read this column from a cynical Winnipeg Sun columnist who doesn't believe the Liberals will ever lose, because Ontarians will all put up with all kinds of Liberal nonsense and still vote for them, just because they're the Liberals. Sobering stuff.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

THE APPRENTICE FINALE COMING SOON (THANK G.)

This is a big week for Donald Trump, lots of TV news. Last night was the Miss USA pageant on NBC and Miss North Carolina was the winner. And they had a special Miss USA Fear Factor.

And they announced the plans for the finale of the Apprentice. When the Apprentice 3 has its big finale soon, it will only be an hour. What a relief. No 3-hour abominations like that last one. But what a comedown for the Apprentice to only have a one-hour final show. Usually a Mark Burnett production like this one would warrant at least two hours with a reunion show, but I don't even think this is even going to be a reunion show! Maybe, too many of the people have hard feelings.

That tells you a lot about how far this show has fallen in the ratings in the United States. The show is routinely getting killed by CSI every Thursday night, and people on the forums of these TV websites are ridiculing the product placements on the show. But in Canada the show seems to be still doing very well on Thursdays on Global. Thursday is Global's biggest night with Joey, Survivor and the Apprentice. Actually, Survivor is still Mark Burnett's best show (especially now that we've seen the mediocre Contender). There's always something new happening on that series. For the first time one of the tribes got absolutely creamed in the challenges, pretty much totally wiped out. And the remaining last member of that tribe has to live alone, no merger yet, nothing. So that's pretty interesting.

But there's nothing interesting about the Apprentice as far as I'm concerned. It was great the first year and even the second year held my interest with Raj and Andy and the other characters. But they lost me this season, these people are boring as heck except for Chris, who's a total embarrassment and sort of a white male Omarosa (see below) . I know there are a few people out there who think this season is actually better than the last one because the people on this show have done incredibly stupid things. But I have to break ranks. That's been the reason why this season's been brutal, the candidates have been complete idiots. I have no sympathy for any of these clods.

As for Chris, the candidate with the loud mouth and the temper, well, he was arrested for disorderly conduct over the weekend! You can read about that on the above link as well. I gotta tell you, Chris should have been fired weeks ago, he's a lousy employee who yells too much. The only reason he's still around is because outside this show he's a big millionaire, a big self-made success in life. Yet on this show he's an absolute idiot. It makes no sense.

It's testament to the utter incompetence of the entire cast of the show that Chris is still around, because this show, this season, has been full of even bigger losers than him. Kristen and Danny and other people I've forgotten the names of (eg. that woman who quit). And this guy Chris reminds me of Bobby KNIGHT the basketball coach! He needs to calm down and take anger management courses.

Actually there's a lot of Apprentice news today. The original Apprentice Bill Rancic is staying on with the Trump Organization, he's agreed to extend his contract. That looks good for him. Then if he decides he wants to leave a year from now to do whatever, he'll still look like a big winner.

And I read the press release for Thursday's show and apparently there's a really big brouhaha in the boardroom and the firee ends up in tears, and apparently Trump is reduced to tears as well. I dunno, this could be the usual hype machine.

Monday, April 11, 2005

LIBERALS FREAKING OUT

Another day, another poll. CTV now is reporting the Conservatives ahead of the Liberals. 30% to 27%. That's two polls in a row with the Tories ahead in the 30s and the Liberals trailing in the mid-20s. No doubt Stephen Harper will be mulling this over. He doesn't want to look opportunistic but he does say he'll listen to the people. Well, the people are speaking. Loud and clear.

And Harper is Mister Accountability after all. He has no reason whatsoever to keep this Parliament going much longer, except to extend the Liberals' agony.

According to this CTV News report the Liberals are said to be "freaking out" and are worrying they could be reduced to as little as 60 seats. I don't know if they'd drop that low, but based on what I'm hearing the Liberals stand to be slaughtered in the West and Quebec, and would lose seats in Atlantic Canada and even Ontario. They're tied statistically in Ontario with the Tories and even with numbers like that they stand to lose twenty additional seats. This is really bad news for the Liberals, and the Gomery inquiry isn't even done yet.

And people haven't even gotten around to crossing the floor yet.

LIBERAL SHIP IS SINKING FAST

The entire country has started to wake up and realize how bad this alleged kickback situation is with the Liberal Party. A new poll today by EKOS Research has the Conservatives ahead of the Liberals in every region of the country, even in QUEBEC! It basically has the Conservatives up about 30% on the same numbers they had last year at this same time, and the Liberals down about 30. In some regions the Liberals are down more than half.

The poll also had the NDP up in BC but the Conservatives always get shortchanged by EKOS in British Columbia, and then the election results come in looking pretty good anyway for the Tories. What I think this does mean is that the NDP absolutely stands to gain at Liberal expense.

Chantal Hebert has a column in the Star, predicting the Liberal government will be dead and buried by Canada Day. Hebert mentions that the Gomery witness list will be pretty much exhausted by the end of May anyway and the Tories will have run out of excuses to prevent an election.

And the more I hear of what's going on the more I have to think that this government isn't going to survive. Already there are rumblings that David Kilgour might cross the floor to the Conservatives and there are additional rumblings that Pat O'Brien in London may join him. O'Brien even says a few more Liberals may join him. There are also rumblings out there that the Alberta Liberals are thinking of changing their name, and that even the Manitoba Liberals might change their name! This indicates nothing but bad news for the Liberals.

I keep reading comments from editorial writers and other people about how the Liberals are making this country look like a banana republic as far as its politics are concerned and when you get comments like that, and comments about people defecting to other parties, you have to think they're in serious trouble.

You know, Stephen Harper is actually doing the wise thing, holding off on an election. He doesn't want to seem greedy, or interested in bringing a government down for opportunistic reasons. But I have to think this nonsense in Ottawa won't last too much longer.

Oh, and they vote on same-sex marriage tomorrow in the Commons tomorrow. Notice no one cares about that issue anymore? All they care about is Gomery and corruption scandals.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

UPDATE: UNION, TTC MAKE A DEAL

The trains will run on time tomorrow, to quote Mussolini.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

JUST WHAT WE NEED, A TRANSIT STRIKE IN TORONTO

Wonderful eh? The union rejected the latest offer from the management and now we're all set to have a big freaking transit strike. Every bus, train and subway line in the city will be out of commission on Monday.

Why can't this union make a deal? Instead they want to hose the customers and hold the entire City of Toronto hostage. Keep in mind TTC fares already went up this year, again, to $2.50. And these guys are getting a raise, and yet they still want more.

So guess who gets left holding the bag? The customers. That's who. I want to see back to work legislation if these people are serious about this strike. It could be a big negotiating ploy for all I know. But I have a feeling these union people have spent a little bit too much time studying the negotiating tactics of Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow.

This city is going to be IMPOSSIBLE to get around Monday, you're better off using your feet.

Friday, April 08, 2005

THE POPE UPSTAGED BY THOSE SINNERS IN THE LIBERAL PARTY

Check out the newspapers right across the country today. Every front page, in big large letters spelled out Adscam, corruption, millions in kickbacks to the Liberal Party of Canada. Not a good day to be a Liberal.

Just in Toronto, every bleeping paper in this town had this scandal on the front page in bold letters, even the Liberal-friendly ones. The government was getting killed.

I don't know why there are people out there saying that this isn't that big a deal. To me this is up there with Watergate. This was an attempt to influence an election and funnel taxpayer dollars to the Liberal Party. if there's corroboration to this testimony.

And again I want to say, Stephen Harper, why are you keeping this Parliament going? At least he's saying now that he'll listen to people and if there's an "outcry" he'll pull the plug. Well, good. Consider me part of the "outcry". And if the people of Canada don't want to punish the Liberals over this, don't want to hand the Liberals their lunch over this misuse of their money, then I will lose respect for the people of this country because they'll tolerate all kinds of crooked behavior and do nothing about it. Instead they'll go on and on trying to tell themselves "all politicians are the same" and that they're all crooks, which isn't true.

From what I hear though, people are angry and calling in the talk shows. But then again these could be the usual angry people who all vote Conservative anyway.

But still, the people of Canada need to punish people who do this stuff. And frankly this is one time when I think the Conservatives ought to say to heck with whether there's an outcry, we ought to stand on principle and bring the government down anyway, because what happened to the taxpayers' money just isn't right.

I also read somewhere that now Martin is now warning Harper about dire consequences if he pulls the plug. Harper ought to fire back that they'll determine whether or not to pull the plug without any help from Martin. Man, this guy Martin is so arrogant. When the heck did Martin say this anyway, isn't he supposed to be at a funeral?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

GOMERY LIFTS BAN

Well the Gomery inquiry has partially lifted its ban on testimony and now all heck has broken loose in the House of Commons. Now I can give you this information without fear that I will be thrown in jail. Read all the gory details here.

I hope the people are outraged enough to want an election over this. These kickbacks, if true, are downright criminal, an abuse of the electoral system. Harper and the gang need to pull the plug. Enough already!!!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

MY THOUGHTS ON PETER JENNINGS: ERA IS SLOWLY ENDING

I watched World News Tonight on Tuesday and as it turned out Elizabeth Vargas had to take over at the last minute because Peter Jennings decided his voice couldn't hack it because of the lung cancer.

Instead Jennings appeared in a taped announcement at the end of the broadcast to disclose that he had lung cancer, and I've got to say he sure didn't look or sound good at all. In fact he sounded really terrible, his voice was breaking all the time. He seemed to be struggling to get through his taped statement and sounded not at all like his normal self. Keith Olbermann over at MSNBC blogged about it and he found it excruciating and sad to watch as well.

It's obvious to me that Jennings is not going to be able to do this broadcast very often. The chemotherapy is just going to zap his energy and his voice won't be back in shape for a while at the very least. It was obvious just looking at him that old Charlie Gibson is going to have to fill in for Jennings a lot in the near future.

And then it hit me. This is it, the end of an era in TV news.

The Big 3 of TV news have truly left the scene, all of them. Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, and Peter Jennings. Oh sure, Peter will be back on the air ( we all hope ) but the broadcast is going to have to deal with a lot of substitute anchors for a while. In fact I think they should think of possibly naming a permanent co-anchor for the broadcast to take some of the load off of Jennings and his weak voice. The last thing Jennings ought to be doing is exerting himself right now.

But still. Brokaw, Rather, and now Jennings. If you want to count Ted Koppel and Bernard Shaw, too, that's 5 in a row. All of them, gone- except Jennings is still fighting like mad to stick around. His ABC News broadcast on Tuesday, though, looked to me like the TV news equivalent of Lou Gehrig's address at Yankee Stadium.

Now we have a brand-new era of, well, the anchorless newscast. NBC's in pretty good shape with Brian Williams, but CBS has a permanent substitute-anchor in Bob Schieffer, and ABC has a bunch of substitute anchors lined up for Jennings' bad days. And Fox News has no nightly news at all, but they do have Shepard Smith and a big assortment of news babes on their channel. So I think that all of a sudden we're in the era of news without news anchors, or with anonymous news anchors, whether anyone likes it or not. I should write an article about this. It's truly uncharted waters in the United States. Even in the 70s there were star news anchors, and in the 60s you had Cronkite and Huntley and Brinkley. But here we are with a bunch of newscasts from the USA fronted by substitutes and replacements.

Now how does Tom Brokaw's retirement look today? Tom Brokaw's decision to retire, and the grooming of Brian Williams to replace him now looks like pure genius by NBC. Everyone said Williams would get his head blown off following Tom Brokaw but everyone forgot that everyone else was probably going to retire at some point. The surprise is that it happened so fast. Nobody saw Memogate coming and certainly no one expected this, Peter Jennings with lung cancer. The fact is that Williams has done a great job at NBC, and they had been grooming him for years, so seeing him anchor a newscast at 6:30 PM didn't come as a complete jolt to people. The moment Williams stepped right in to take over from Brokaw, everyone over at NBC realized things were going to be just fine after all. The same can not be said for any of the other major networks.

And my heart goes out to Jennings. You know what, I had described Dan Rather's exit along the lines of "going out on a stretcher." But this is way worse than what happened with Rather, if Jennings goes out the way Frank Reynolds did, or the way Barbara Frum did. When Barbara Frum died the whole country was in mourning, and they devoted a whole newscast to her and they named the atrium at the CBC after her. A lot of good that was, she died.

I hear Jennings could be in really bad shape. I read Howie Kurtz in the Washington Post and he said that Jennings is only going for chemotherapy, no surgery or any of that, suggesting this is a pretty advanced form of lung cancer he's got. And the survival rate for lung cancer is pretty grim, it's one of the lowest survival rates. I remember when hockey announcer Dan Kelly was diagnosed with lung cancer and knocked off the air. In fact he didn't come back, he died pretty quickly. Supposedly the treatment for lung cancer these days is a lot better.

But this is still a shock.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

ELECTION, ELECTION

Well, today Tony Blair called an election for May 5th in Great Britain and I surely plan to tune in to the election night coverage from the old U.K.

Meanwhile, election speculation continues here. Apparently the Liberals are cutting a deal on the Kyoto issue that was threatening to bring the government down, but the Liberals are now in deep trouble over the Gomery inquiry and all that stuff that I can't talk about because there's a publication ban on it. I read today that now the feds want to go after the bloggers and put bloggers in jail for violating publication bans. Can you believe this? And this is supposed to be a free country.

I don't know about this but this publication ban makes this country look like East Germany. Way to go, Canada. It's terrible that our country that acts like some police state when it comes to free speech. This is sad.

Anyway, Gilles Duceppe is hopping mad over what he's hearing and threatening no-confidence votes and I am convinced it'll happen at the opportune moment. I keep on reading that the opposition flip-flops about wanting an election but the truth is they're been consistent in their reluctance to pull the plug. They want to look like a responsible bunch of people, going out of their way to be co-operative with this filthy Liberal government in power. Stephen Harper and the gang have gone way out of their way, abstaining from budget votes and looking like complete wimps in the process. Conservative supporters hate it, but it's good strategy. It makes it look as if the Conservatives are all holding their noses, trying their best to make Parliament work. So if the Liberals say the Conservatives weren't trying to make Parliament work, they have no legs to stand on.

But the opposition is running out of reasons to keep it going, folks. And I predict that once they all find a really good reason to pull the plug, they'll do it. The Liberals are making it awfully hard for the opposition to keep on propping them up.

The end of this Parliament is coming, soon. Only a matter of when.

PETER JENNINGS HAS CANCER

First Brokaw, then Rather, and then the other day, Ted Koppel. The grand old men of TV news have been leaving us to retirement or other projects. Peter Jennings had outlasted them all. But now, during a week of major international news with the Pope's funeral coming up, Jennings is facing a different challenge: he may be fighting for his life.

Peter Jennings has been diagosed with lung cancer. Read it at TVNewser. He plans to work through the disease and the chemo but he says this came as a shock. (TVNewser said that Jennings smoked heavily when he was a foreign correspondent but was supposed to have given up the habit.)

They plan to have Charles Gibson and Elizabeth Vargas anchor when Jennings is unable to anchor the broadcast. I'm hoping Jennings pulls through. But here's an ominous piece of trivia for you news buffs out there...

...when Jennings took over as the sole anchor for World News Tonight, the guy he replaced, Frank Reynolds, had died of cancer.
This can't happen to ABC News again, can it?
What a star-crossed news division!

(By the way, CBS' Bob Schieffer had cancer a couple of years ago, but he managed to beat it.)

UPDATE- Jennings will anchor World News Tonight tonight, be sure not to miss it.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

POPE JOHN PAUL II HAS DIED

News broke a few moments ago, watching the sad coverage on TV right now. Very sad.

Friday, April 01, 2005

POPE STILL ALIVE

And meanwhile, in other international news Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

Happy April Fools Day. The pope was alive, then he was dead, then he was alive again. Early in the day they had a press conference where one of the Pope's aides described the pope as "lucid" and "serene" and that he participated in mass that morning. Then at about 1 PM EST the Italian media jumped the gun and announced he had died. That has been vehemently denied by the Vatican. 680 News even jumped the gun and announced they were sad to report the Pope had died, and then they had to recant.

Now it seems the Pope remains in very grave condition but he is still alive, and there are crowds of people outside the Pope's apartment at St. Peter's Square. The lights are still on in the Pope's apartment. I've been watching the coverage on CTV and CBC and they broke into regular programming for a while, but they eventually returned to regular programming once it became clear that nothing was happening, yet. I also tuned into a video stream from a station from Argentina on the Net and.they had Pope death watch coverage all day from the Vatican.

For continuing news coverage here are some links:
www.cnn.com
www.foxnews.com
www.msnbc.com
www.rai.it
www.cbc.ca
www.ctv.ca