Tuesday, January 31, 2006

NO TOBIN

It's official, Brian Tobin isn't running for the Liberal leadership, either. Story from CTV.

Which leads me to believe one thing: Belinda's in.

UPDATE: A few more people out of the race, according to Paul Wells: David Peterson, Justin Trudeau, Celine Dion and the cast of Battlestar Galactica, among others.

Notice David Orchard wasn't mentioned...yet. Expecting a big press conference from him any day now to announce that he, too, will spend more time with his family. What's with these Liberals getting cold feet?! This is downright uncharacteristic of these folks.

2006- BIG YEAR FOR POLITICS

Well, already 2006 is a big year in politics here in Canada because of the election and the change in government. Now we have the speculation about who will be in the Harper cabinet and who will run for Liberal leader.

In addition to all the leadership hopefuls I mentioned before, I think we should add Ken Dryden to the list of people, especially with Frank McKenna out of there. People are talking him up these days. And more people are mentioning Stephane Dion and there are rumors now about Allan Rock. Who knows. Anyway the Liberal leadership race is on and the jockeying is on, but I really don't see anyone announcing their intentions to run until the convention date is all set up. Right now it appears to be wide open, but there could be backroom stuff happening that I don't know about.

The other thing happening is that Ontario has municipal elections coming up in the fall of 2006 and that is always a very big deal in Ontario. Already Toronto's fearless Mayor David Miller is going to face a challenge from city councillor Jane Pitfield. There are also people who want former police chief Julian Fantino to run but my information is he likely won't. These municipal elections are always a big deal here and all the big political bigshots in this town get involved, so I fully expect that people will want to concentrate on (a) electing a new Liberal leader and (b) electing their favorite municipal politicians, instead of bringing down the federal government and forcing elections that no one can afford right now.

The other thing is that these federal political parties are going to have a hard time raising money in Toronto when everyone on Bay Street has already been tapped out. Same thing for the municipal candidates who will have to compete for donations with these bigshot Liberal leadership contenders. All these people in politics know full well that money doesn't grow on trees. The pickings look pretty slim for these folks running for office.

Anyway, that's Toronto. Over in Peel Region, the news is that former MP and notorious bigmouth Carolyn Parrish is planning to liven up the normally dull-and-boring Mississauga municipal political scene and run for a seat on city council. This is yet more evidence of how hard it is to get rid of these politicians- they keep on coming back, whether you want them back or not. You can't get rid of some of these people.

Can you imagine a city council with Carolyn Parrish on it? You have to feel sorry for Mayor Hazel McCallion, whose stomach must be turning at the thought of having to run council meetings involving this woman and trying to get her to keep a lid on it. Maybe Parrish wants to set herself up for a run for mayor when Hazel finally leaves. If that's the case, people there must be hoping Hazel sticks around for a long time.

Mayor Carolyn Parrish... can you imagine?

MORE POLITICAL JUNK

Well, we have changes coming to Ottawa and a State of the Union address coming tonight from Washington. With that, I notice a few changes going on out there.

First, noticed Ana Marie Cox is out as editor at Wonkette. Why, I don't know. Maybe she's writing a book or something, who knows. Anyway she'll be back from time to time at that site (ie. tonight). One of her replacements, David Lat, is a lawyer who used to impersonate a female while writing Underneath Their Robes, a humorous and popular law blawg.

Already the complaints are flying that the Wonkette site sucks without Cox there. This is definitely the end of Wonkette as far as I'm concerned.

In other news, ABC has cancelled Commander-in-Chief, that boring show starring Geena Davis as the President of the United States. Wow, that was quick. This comes just one week after NBC cancelled The West Wing and after Canada's parliamentary channel, CPAC, cancelled The Liberals Starring Paul Martin. CPAC plans to run new episodes of its replacement series, The Conservatives Starring Stephen Harper, beginning next week.

January not a good month to be a Liberal- especially a Liberal on TV.

UPDATE: Ahem. Turns out Commander-in-Chief is not cancelled yet. ABC is simply putting it on hiatus for a few weeks. Well, it might as well be cancelled.

Monday, January 30, 2006

BOB WOODRUFF'S CLOSE CALL

Well, ABC World News Tonight still has an anchorman today as Bob Woodruff recuperates in a German-based US military hospital after he and his cameraman Doug Vogt (CANADIAN) were felled by an exploding roadside bomb near Baghdad.

I tuned into Imus in the Morning and they were talking about Woodruff's condition today. Tom Brokaw was telling them that Woodruff and Vogt were rushed to a US military hospital in Iraq and the doctors operated to relieve swelling in Woodruff's brain. His condition had stabilized enough that he was allowed to be moved overnight to Germany. Now word is they'll be transferred back to the United States soon. Woodruff and Vogt were in full metal armored gear at the time of the incident and were wearing their helmets- no doubt this is what saved their lives.

This incident really shows you the level of danger faced by journalists on a regular basis in that part of the world, and it comes at a time when things are really getting dangerous for reporters throughout the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Freelancer Jill Carroll is still being held hostage by captors, who sent another grizzly videotape of her to Al-Jazeera for that audience's viewing pleasure.

It just highlights the level of danger for everyone there and the danger journalists face. Something like what happened to Woodruff could have easily have happened to star reporters like Lara Logan (who herself had a near-miss from a roadside bomb) or Brian Williams, who had a close call of his own during the Iraq War. Many are comparing Woodruff to NBC's David Bloom who died at an early age in Iraq, leaving his young family behind.

You know, I did a whole blog post about guys saying no to careers in TV news- and I'll bet this is one reason why. Who in their right mind would want to put themselves in harm's way in a place like Iraq!? Especially if you have a wife and kids!!??!! But you know, this is part of the job, part of being in hard news. You expect guys like Bob Woodruff to go out there and cover this story and give it 100%. These are exactly the types of stories you want these people to cover. You've got to appreciate the commitment and dedication these people have to getting these stories and going to these dangerous places. It's easy to admire it, it's different to actually want to do it. I don't think you can blame people who would prefer a job where dodging bullets and roadside bombs isn't a requirement.

I also read that Woodruff got his break in TV news in Redding, California at a salary of $12,000 a year reporting and shooting his own stories. So you start out working for terrible wages in places like Redding, and if you're really lucky you could end up almost getting killed in Iraq. This is really going to encourage guys to go into TV news, this near-miss with Woodruff. NOT.

In fact, one reason I soured on TV news was what happened with David Bloom. I am not kidding. He was doing the White House beat and these cool stories, and I was thinking "I want to be David Bloom!" No thanks, not after this! I gotta say, entertainment news looks good today compared to hard news. Especially foreign news! What happened with Bob Woodruff and his crew is just terrible. I wouldn't want to put my relatives through something like that.

Many will say that too much is being made of this incident. The media is there to cover Bob Woodruff, they say, but where are the stories of soldiers coming home in bodybags? That's the latest thing they're whining about now, these talking heads. Well, first of all, there are plenty of stories about soldiers dying over there. For months they've been reporting that it's a bloodbath over there. Ted Koppel did specials where they ran off lists of people who died. So the soldiers have been getting plenty of coverage already.

I think an incident like this simply highlights the fact that it's a bloodbath over there and that Iraq is still a very dangerous place for Americans. You sort of expect soldiers to get killed, because it's a war zone. But the fact that the anchorman of World News Tonight was almost killed in Iraq says a lot about the state of things there and will get people's attention. Even him, they'll be saying.

If Iraq is not a safe place for Bob Woodruff, it's not safe for anyone.

NO MCKENNA

Frank McKenna says he ain't gonna run for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. Which means their leadership convention is almost certain to go five ballots and be decided at three o'clock in the morning-- whenever it happens.

This is another big name saying no-- John Manley said no last week. I think McKenna knew that even though he had this "frontrunner" label, when it came to the actual leadership campaign he would have a difficult time, having been tied to killing Meech Lake and all that. I also read in a number of places that he was pro-life, which, well, wouldn't sit well in the current Liberal Party, especially after what happened in the last week of the campaign when the Liberals trashed Harper by linking him to the pro-life crowd in their TV ads.

Maybe McKenna wanted nothing to do with the Martin crowd of advisors who were rumored to be ready to back him for leader; the Martin gang are in deep dung with the Liberal membership at the moment for the way they ran the government into the ground. I also heard a big anyone-but-McKenna movement was starting up if he ran, to gang up on him and stop him. Well, this settles it.

The field is seemingly all clear now for Brian Tobin, but he's made it clear already that he'd rather be done with politics, his wife would kill him. I guess he could be armtwisted into changing his mind, but his French isn't very good, either. Plus, I read a rumor on some blog somewhere that he's advising Belinda Stronach and may support her. As I see it, the only way Tobin runs is if Stronach doesn't run, and at the moment all indications are that Belinda's going to waste her millions on her own race for leader.

Good grief, this race really is attracting the second-raters- Stronach, Scott Brison, etc.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

NO FOOTBALL

This has been a tough weekend for me, decompressing not only from the political high season, but also from the football season.

I know I know, it will be back next week. Super Bowl weekend is traditionally one of the better sports weekends of the year. But the weekend before is definitely not. Nothing on TV.

I gotta say, I've watched a lot of hockey and a lot of basketball this weekend, and all I will say is this: it ain't the NFL. I miss football already. Football season is too short, but we all know that.

I will say this, though; it is nice to actually watch a sporting event on TV in this country that isn't littered with political commercials and attack ads. You can watch Hockey Night in Canada in peace again without being bombarded by politicians telling us about how sinister their opponent is.

What a relief. Time for a vacation.

P.S.- For you media junkies wondering if I am going to rant about Bob Woodruff, I'll get around to it later.

Friday, January 27, 2006

LIBERAL LEADERSHIP RACE IS ON

In case you haven't noticed, everyone and their family dog is running for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada.

In fact, just this week there have been machinations and manueverings. Frank McKenna resigned as ambassador to the US this week, so he can get ready to run for leader. Meanwhile Anne McLellan says it ought to be a woman who should be leader of the party and that she might even run herself. Methinks, though, she will probably back someone else. I wonder who. Could it be... Belinda?

Meanwhile there are reports that Brian Tobin and even Bob Rae are mulling leadership runs of their own. I guess you don't need to be a lifelong Liberal to apply for the job. Heck, why doesn't Joe Clark run too, while he's at it?

I think there are two reasons why there are so many possible contenders for the leadership this time. One, this race is truly wide open. The last time, Paul Martin had the race in the bag from day one. Not true for the Liberals this time, so more people may feel they have a chance. Second, because Paul Martin basically won the leadership last time before the actual leadership campaign even began, many Liberals who might have wanted the top job were compelled to say "why bother?" They're realists, these politicians. Running for leader costs a lot of money; there's no point wasting your money trying to become leader if you're going to end up getting slaughtered.

I think a lot of these Liberals feel they have a real shot this time. And there's also Chretien Liberals who want to take the party back from the Martinite crowd that ran the party into the ground. There's a big, built-up desire by folks to run now while this opportunity is available. Who knows if this job will ever be open again.

So I think we'll see a lot of candidates. That's normal for a leadership race anyway. Usually these leadership races have something like eight or nine candidates anyway. When Trudeau won in 1968 there was something like nine contenders. It's pretty unusual if it's only two or three. I can also see the convention going multiple ballots, too. That hasn't happened in a long time.

Also in question is whether the Liberals will continue their unwritten rule of alternating between an Anglophone and Francophone leader. I think that tradition is in big jeopardy. It's supposedly a Francophone's turn to be leader but the only francophone I see running is Martin Cauchon, or maybe Stephane Dion. But neither of them have much of a chance, though Dion has plenty of admirers who think he's got some sense, unlike the rest of his party.

Maybe they'll get a Francophone to be Interim Leader and that will be how they continue that tradition of alternating between English and French leaders.

Already some people say they aren't running. John Manley, who was thought to be a contender, has said no. Even Brian Tobin says he's "a long way" from saying yes to a run. Family concerns are big for these folks. Warren Kinsella says he won't get involved in the leadership race either; his wife would kill him.

But the speculation and "draft" movements have begun. There are people out there wanting to "draft" Stephane Dion and even Clyde Wells. Jane Stewart has been mentioned as a candidate. Heck, it won't be long before rumors fly that Mario Lemieux will run for leader of the Liberal Party, now that he's retired from the Penguins. Heck, everyone and their dog is running.

Here's a list of who's been mentioned, as far as I can tell.

LIKELY or POSSIBLE PROSPECTS:
Frank McKenna, Brian Tobin, Belinda Stronach, Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae, Scott Brison, Martin Cauchon, Maurizio Bevilacqua, Denis Coderre, Joe Volpe

LESS LIKELY BUT RUMORED TO BE CONSIDERING IT, AT LEAST:
Stephane Dion, Allan Rock, Glen Murray, Anne McLellan, Ujjal Dosangh

OTHER/DRAFT POSSIBILITIES:
Clyde Wells, Bill Graham, Lloyd Axworthy, Jane Stewart, Sheila Copps, George Smitherman, Gerard Kennedy, Dennis Mills, Tom Wappel (ran for leader before), and union leader Buzz Hargrove (don't dismiss this possibility.)

FRINGE POSSIBILITIES:
Paul Hellyer, David Orchard (remember, he's a Liberal now. Don't laugh, it could happen.)

REALLY UNLIKELY:
Justin Trudeau, Canada AM host and longtime Liberal Seamus O'Regan, Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall, Canadian Idol winner Ryan Malcolm, comedian Jim Carrey, hockey stars Mario Lemieux, Tie Domi and Patrick Roy, Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean, skiier Ken Read, singers Celine Dion, Burton Cummings and Avril Lavigne, director Denys Arcand, Playboy playmates Pamela Anderson and Shannon Tweed, astronaut Marc Garneau, Entertainment Tonight Canada host Cheryl Hickey, eTalk Daily cohost Tanya Kim, Citytv personality Ed the Sock, and that guy in the Molson beer ad Joe Canadian.

I'm kidding, I think.

NOT RUNNING:
John Manley, Warren Kinsella, and disgruntled PC former prime minister Joe Clark (committed himself to be a guest judge on the reality show Who Wants to Be Prime Minister?, sponsored by Magna International) .

I also notice no one wants to draft John McCallum or even Ralph Goodale. I wonder why. They've mentioned everyone else.

I'm sure I'm missing quite a few names from the list of contenders. Now you may have noticed that not everyone on this list is a card-carrying Liberal. That hasn't stopped the Liberals before and won't stop them again, eh? Heck, they lured Belinda over, now she's their problem! I have enough sense, though, not to include either Ben Mulroney or Don Cherry on this list of names because, well, they're not Liberals. Besides, they're well paid in their jobs and under contract.

I read about the Paul Hellyer possibility (!) (?) at Calgary Grit and it doesn't sound too serious. But this is the silly season anyway. I don't think Hellyer will run. But I will say Watch Out for David Orchard. He's enough of a lunatic to want to run and make a mess of this race. I'd love to see this guy in the race, embarrassing the Liberal Party. Try cutting a deal with him on the convention floor, Frank McKenna! You'll lose your shirt.

That's all for now.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

THE APPRENTICE MOVES TO MONDAY

This is a big week for TV news. UPN and the WB are busy merging, and NBC is busy rearranging their schedule, starting with the end of The West Wing.

The other big news is that when The Apprentice 5 launches on February 27 after the Olympics, it will have a new time slot and a new night, Mondays, right after Deal or No Deal. They are punting Las Vegas to another night.

I don't know if this is a good move. Isn't this the same night as 24 on FOX?! And doesn't CBS have a strong lineup of comedies, and ABC has The Bachelor?! This move to Monday may very well finish off this Apprentice show for good, given the competition. But they were getting killed by CSI on Thursdays. NBC also shows the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants on Mondays so they figure all the Trump fans will make a point of tuning in. Still, Thursdays just won't be the same.

The other story is the impending total destruction of Law and Order, which is being moved to 9PM Wednesday--- directly into the line of fire with ABC's Lost. Well, this is certain to be the end of the show. Lost is going to kill Law and Order on Wednesdays, and Law and Order will be cancelled. It's sad. There was all this talk of this show breaking Gunsmoke's record for longevity and so on and so forth, but I don't see how it makes it to 20 seasons if it is served up against Lost. Dick Wolf is an unhappy man today, I'm sure.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

THE CW?!

The big news this week in the world of entertainment was no, not the Disney-PIXAR deal, but the shock announcement that UPN and the WB would be merging.

The new network is going to be called The CW and is a joint venture of CBS and Time Warner. It's going to be a youth oriented network that will combine all the top shows from the decade-old and youth-oriented WB network, and from UPN which carved out a niche as a home for urban-oriented and black-oriented programming. But by the end UPN had a lot of shows that were similar to the stuff airing on the WB. This announcement means that UPN's America's Next Top Model and Everybody Hates Chris will air on the same channel as Smallville and Gilmore Girls. It also means many more TV shows in production are going to be cancelled, as the worst shows on both the WB and UPN are now certain to get the axe. It leaves a lot of affiliates high and dry; the Tribune stations across the USA will be showing the new CW network, but where does that leave other WB and UPN stations that had a network affiliation? A lot of UPN stations in major cities like New York and Los Angeles lost their network affiliations with this news. In fact a lot of them have now dumped their UPN promos and won't be promoting themselves as UPN stations anymore for the rest of the TV season. Why bother promoting a network that is going to dump your station?! One rumor is that FOX might start up a new network of its own to put programming on their owned stations that carried UPN. But that sounds like something second-rate.

Who knows. All I know is that the UPN and WB affiliates in Buffalo, NY got broadsided with this terrible news. One of these stations is going to come out of this in good shape with a full network affiliation and identity, while the other is going to be stuck having to fill out a schedule with syndicated junk all day and infomercials all night. That station is going to see its ratings go into the toilet for sure, and that could mean junking their local newscast. On the positive side, though, they might have to put on a lot of sports to replace their network programming, so I'll look forward to seeing lots of baseball and basketball games on one of these stations real soon.

Viewers are going to end up big losers in this whole setup; we're going to end up with less choice on our TV screens. And we're losing a network with real personality in the WB, which had a unique style of its own as a youth-oriented network. I don't see this new network having the same kind of personality. The CW?! What's that, a washroom or something?!

What a name. I guess it's supposed to mean a combination of CBS and Warner Brothers, but really, I don't like this as a viewer. Sure, these two networks got lousy ratings and lost a lot of money. But they had good shows. What the heck is going to happen to SMACKDOWN? Is the WWE a part of this deal?

I don't know what will happen. FOR ALL TV FANS, THIS IS SAD.

LAST WORD ON THE ELECTION

I am going to get my comments about the election over with because I think it's time for me to go back to ranting about the entertainment industry and the world of sports.

I know that lots of people out there are still griping about the election results and that there's a large number of people out West who can't believe how Ontario voted for the Liberal crooks again. I say: get over it. The Tories won the election, they're going to be the government of Canada. So what if these people in Toronto voted for someone else, those guys still lost. The West doesn't have to separate from Canada, they have real power now.

And for those people still bitter that Belinda and these other Liberals got in, well, don't forget, the Conservatives were still able to get Anne McLellan defeated. I mean really, the Liberal cabinet did endure a bit of a bloodbath on election night. True, not everyone was defeated, it would have been lots of fun to see Belinda lose, but it's pretty difficult to get rid of all the prominent people you want to see defeated from the other side of the bench in any election.

I know people in my own riding are down because our local candidate lost. In fact, it was a morose crowd who gathered at our local "victory party" (?) (!) at Joe Maggiano's Restaurant. That restaurant still has a perfect losing record. Imagine if they ever hosted a real victory party with the local candidate actually winning, for a change. They might have to spend days cleaning the place up after that. In fact the biggest cheers of the night came when Paul Martin announced he was going to step down as Liberal leader. Otherwise it was a pretty glum group of dissatisfied people, obviously out for blood.

A lot of us went home early from that place and I went back home to turn on the TV, in plenty of time to see Stephen Harper show up at his Calgary victory party to address these cheering Conservatives. And then, I realized...We won the freaking election, we're going to be the government. Sure the Liberal rascals deserved a total slaughter in our eyes after their pathetic campaign and corrupt running of our country, and we didn't get one. But still, we won the thing. Conservatives have been given a chance to show the people of Canada how they will govern the country and they should make the most of this tremendous opportunity.

And as for Stephen Harper, well, a lot of people didn't think he could do it, but he's pulled off something that was unthinkable a couple of years ago: he's toppled the Liberal machine. He came back into active political life in 2002 largely because of a desire to save the conservative movement, which was falling apart. When he took over the leadership of the Canadian Alliance that was still in a shambles from the regime of Stockwell Day, Paul Martin was busy putting the knife to Jean Chretien. The Martin people were openly bragging about winning 200 seats and destroying the opposition parties for good. It took the scary prospect of an electoral slaughter for Conservatives to realize that they needed to unite to fight the Liberals instead of each other.

Who would have thought that Harper would have been able to not only unite these two divided parties, but be able to reduce Martin to a minority in 2004, and then out-and-out defeat him in 2006? What can I say, the doubters have been silenced. It's pretty safe to say that the leader of the Conservative Party isn't going to be facing any leadership review any time soon. Stephen Harper is truly a hero to all Canadian conservatives today.

Moreover, by beating the Liberals, Harper has succeeded in holding the government to account for the terrible sponsorship scandal and the corruption that has plagued politics in Ottawa. Stephen Harper has earned his place in history for restoring a competitive parliamentary democracy to Canada and making the government of Canada more accountable.
He's already achieved this, and he hasn't even been sworn in as Prime Minister yet. That's how remarkable this achievement is.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

ELECTION SURPRISES

We all knew this election was going to produce a lot of surprises. I guess the big surprise for me is that so many of the usual hacks and idiots got back in again. People like Goodale, Brison, Lapierre, and of course Belinda. Especially Belinda. People at my miserable "victory party" (our local candidate lost, again) were really out for blood and hoping for Belinda's defeat, but it didn't happen.

Interesting was the big breakthrough of the Conservatives in the province of Quebec. Most people were predicting that the Tories weren't going to win any more than three seats there, especially with their lack of organization. But they managed to win ten seats and got their star candidates like Lawrence Cannon and Josee Verner elected. That's pretty good. But most surprising was the election of Howard Stern-esque shock jock Andre Arthur in Portneuf. That's the equivalent of Jesse Ventura getting in, or something. Arthur got in largely because of the controversy surrounding the CRTC's decision to strip the license of CHOI-FM in Quebec City. Anyway he'll make parliament really interesting, that's for sure.

THE HIT LIST: MOST OF THEM WON

Like I said, I was really out for blood. I had my personal "hit list" and as you know, it was more a wish list than a hit list. Some of them did fall, but not enough for the liking of most of us Tories. One guy I really hated who I forgot to mention was Tony Valeri. He's the guy who help do in Sheila Copps in her seat in Hamilton East-Stony Creek, taking her on for the nomination and knocking her off, and stabbing her in the back. Sheila Copps didn't deserve that fate- she is no doubt smiling today. This is what happens when our nomination process goes off the rails. Way to go, Hamilton East Liberals, your riding is now represented by the NDP. Good riddance Tony Valeri.

And good riddance to Anne McLellan, Pierre Pettigrew, Sarmite Bulte, Liza Frulla, Reg Alcock and the many, many Liberal losers in this election. One of the cabinet ministers to fall, Andy Mitchell, lost to Tony Clement by 21 votes in Parry Sound - Muskoka! That race is almost certainly going to go to a recount and might even be challenged in court.

All in all, I gotta say I'll be happy for Clement if his victory is upheld. He's basically lost four races in a row and has been out of elected office since 2003. That losing streak has taken its toll on him, that's for sure. He's no longer known in politics for being a capable politician or representative; he's known now for losing. Another loss would probably finish him and his reputation. But this win will put an end to all that and mark his personal political comeback. It will probably go down as his sweetest victory.

I'm also happy for Jim Flaherty, and Garth Turner, and all these other Tories who got in in Ontario. Of course I personally stabbed Flaherty in the back, backing John Tory for the leadership of the Ontario PCs instead of him. I'm glad he's gone to a better place for him and a major cabinet post.

It's too bad Toronto didn't elect any Conservative MPs and I feel really bad for John Capobianco in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. You'd think people down there would boot out the Liberals after what happened with their undemocratic nomination of Michael Ignatieff. But really I can't say I'm surprised at the results in Toronto. No surprise at all. I had thought Peter Kent in St. Paul's would stand a chance if there was a big blue wave sweeping the country with a split Liberal-NDP vote, but it was a slim hope and it didn't materialize.

And I can't believe Toronto would elect three NDP MPs, yet Saskatchewan hasn't elected any! For the second time in a row. Saskatchewan elected twelve Tories and two Liberals (Ralph Goodale in Regina, and some guy up north), and the NDP were shut out. I still say Jack Layton isn't Saskatchewan's idea of what a politician should be. He's just too urban and probably too left wing for the people of Saskatchewan.

GOVERNOR-GENERAL TO ASK STEPHEN HARPER TO FORM A GOVERNMENT

Here's the story from the CBC: Paul Martin has tendered his government's resignation and Stephen Harper will be asked to form a new Conservative government some time today. His new administration will be sworn in in a matter of weeks.

Question is who is going to be in the Cabinet. Speculation rages about what will happen with all the Alberta MPs who were elected, and in particular where Stockwell Day, Monte Solberg and Peter MacKay go. Speculation is that MacKay may not get the Deputy Prime Minister slot because of all his gaffes and machinations against the leader, etcetra etcetra. His leadership race is definitely on hold, at least for a while. Of course Stockwell Day is pretty unpopular with all the usual media people who think he's a religious-nut dinosaur, so they all think he's out at foreign affairs. Monte Solberg was finance critic, but other Conservatives such as Jim Flaherty got elected and may be in line for the finance portfolio instead. Solberg is bound to get a major cabinet portfolio, however.

There's also the question of what to do with the ten Quebec MPs the party elected, and also what to do with the many experienced newcomers elected such as Garth Turner, John Baird and Tony Clement. People are grumbling out West already that the West might get shortchanged, but I really don't see that happening. It's an embarrassment of riches for the Conservatives in picking a cabinet.

Monday, January 23, 2006

CANADIAN ELECTION: BIG NEWS WORLDWIDE

The top story on CNN is the Canadian election. Read it here.

I guess all these liberals in the United States, looking for a place to move to to escape George W. Bush, can forget about Canada now. (Although the Conservatives don't appear to have the kind of numbers to get rid of same-sex marriage, based on these results. So we get a Stephen Harper government but we don't get a big revolution. )

UPDATE: For more worldwide reaction check out this story from the CBC.

CONSERVATIVES WIN MINORITY GOVERNMENT

LATEST NUMBERS

CONSERVATIVES 125
LIBERALS 103
BLOQ 51
NDP 28
INDEPENDENT 1
GREENS 0

STEPHEN HARPER TO BECOME CANADA'S 22ND PRIME MINISTER- STORY FROM CTV

POPULAR VOTE: CONS 36% LIB 30% NDP 17% BLOC 11%- POLLS WERE BANG ON
PAUL MARTIN DONE AS LEADER OF LIBERAL PARTY: SAYS HE WILL NOT LEAD LIBERALS INTO ANOTHER ELECTION
MOST PROMINENT LIBERALS TO LOSE ARE ANNE MCLELLAN, TONY VALERI, SARMITE BULTE AND, THIS JUST IN, PIERRE PETTIGREW
TORIES FAIL TO GET THE BLOODBATH THAT MANY IN THE PARTY WANTED: BELINDA, BRISON, IGNATIEFF ALL WIN
TORIES SHUT OUT IN TORONTO AGAIN BUT MANAGE TO ELECT JIM FLAHERTY AND GARTH TURNER IN THE 905
TORIES SWEEP THE WEST AGAIN
BIG NIGHT FOR NDP AS OLIVIA CHOW JOINS JACK LAYTON IN PARLIAMENT
RECOUNT COMING IN PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA AS TONY CLEMENT EDGES OUT ANDY MITCHELL BY 21 VOTES!!!!
MORE COMMENTS COMING SOON FROM THE CAIRNS BLOG

Sunday, January 22, 2006

IT'S DECISION 2006! LIVE ELECTION COVERAGE

LINKS TO ELECTION COVERAGE

MAINSTREAM MEDIA/LIVE STREAMS:
www.CBC.ca/canadavotes (Live streams available)
www.CTV.ca (Ditto)
www.canada.com/national/features/decisioncanada/index.html
www.TorontoSun.com
www.Pulse24.com (Toronto)
www.CFRB.com
www.680News.com

NEWS SOURCES:
www.bourque.org
www.nealenews.com

BLOGS- dunno if they will live blog or not:
www.andrewcoyne.com
www.warrenkinsella.com
www.bloggingtories.ca

Most results won't be online before 10PM EST due to election blackout laws but who's really stopping anyone from trying, especially these days, given the Internet and the flow of information.

Global TV sounds as if they are attempting the greatest election coverage in the history of the country. They are having Ipsos-Reid conduct a big exit poll of 50,000 voters across Canada and I have a feeling they are going to call this race very early, in American-style fashion. The Americans are notorious for calling races as soon as the polls close, using exit polling. Here in Canada, CTV and CBC still use the old-fashioned technique of looking at the results coming in and then making their projections based on who's leading in which seats. So when they show the Liberals with 133 seats it includes seats where the Liberals have leads, not places where they've actually been elected yet. And then after a while they project whether they'll get a majority government.

In the United States, the TV networks simply omit the places where there are "leads" and the totals they announce are actual projected victories in the Electoral College and in the House and Senate. And they only announce who's won the Presidency of the United States as soon as that individual is projected the winner in enough states to reach 270 electoral votes. Canadian networks usually jump the gun and make a projection very early in the evening with only a few returns in. They don't even wait until they hit the magic number of 155 for majority government, they just make a general projection based on who's leading in what seats, and that's it, over very early in the evening.

While the British do make exit poll projections they, too, tend to announce results based on who won as opposed to who's leading. Anyway, tune in Global and see what they are up to.

HIT LIST

Obviously I would be delighted just to see a Conservative victory tomorrow, but after the last several months of nonsense in Parliament and the general misconduct of the government, I'm really out for blood this time.

Which in itself tells you all you need to know about how confident I'm feeling about things. Last election I was worrying about Conservatives who I wanted to see elected who were going down to defeat. I'm still concerned that some good Toronto Tories will end up losing on election night. But what I'm really interested in is seeing these Liberals punished severely.

The people I really want to see defeated are these turncoats, particularly Scott Brison and Belinda Stronach. I know quite a few Tories say they'd love to see these two squirm on the opposition benches. Not me. I want to see that hatchet man Brison defeated. I hated him in government and I'd also hate him in opposition. So I want to see him gone. Good riddance to him.

And everyone in the Tory party wants Belinda kicked out because of her defection to the Liberals from the Conservatives. The problem in Newmarket-Aurora is that "Elvis" is running against her for the "PC Party", and lots of Tories are worried that people will confuse the PC Party (the Progressive Canadian Party) with the Conservative Party (which the old PC Party of Canada merged into). In a close race it could cost real Conservative Lois Brown a ton of votes. Anyway, I hope Brown wins and gives Belinda a richly-deserved boot.

Several others on my hit list:

Ujjal Dosangh: Another traitor, this one from the NDP. Was involved in discussions in luring Gurmant Grewal over to the Liberals. Get rid of him, too.
Jean Lapierre: Can't decide whether he's a separatist or a federalist. Would love to see him lose.
Ralph Goodale. Ralph, you're a good guy, but you should have stepped aside as Finance Minister while the RCMP investigated that income trust thing. Nice knowing you.
Liza Frulla. Have all sorts of issues with her handling of the CRTC. Barely won last time.
Sarmite Bulte. Slave to the Copyright Nazis and entertainment industry lobbyists. Deserves the boot for that reason alone.
Michael Ignatieff. Okay, he's not an incumbent Liberal, but his undemocratic parachute nomination into Etobicoke-Lakeshore is a disgrace to Canadian politics.
Anne McLellan: fed up with seeing Paul Martin parade her around as some sort of "representative" for western Canada. She doesn't stand for anything most western Canadians believe in. Her boot would be richly deserved.
And last but not least, The Prime Minister Himself, Paul Martin. Seeing him go down in flames in LaSalle-Emard would make my night. He's been a lousy prime minister and he's run a terrible campaign, and has treated good Liberals like Sheila Copps completely shabbily. The team around him is absolutely the worst group of negative partisan hacks I've ever seen in Canadian politics. It's too bad Liberals Scott Reid and John Duffy aren't running for office; if they were, they'd be on the Hit List, too. But they aren't, so instead I'm putting the Prime Minister on this list, so that both Reid and Duffy will be cleaning out their desks Tuesday morning. While this is a long shot, I really do hope Lasalle-Emard gets rid of Martin.

Ironically a lot of these people are facing their toughest challenges from not the Tories, but the NDP and the Bloc. I may be in the unusual position of cheering NDP and Bloc victories tomorrow night over unpopular Liberals. As they say, politics makes strange bedfellows.

The Liberals not only deserve a defeat tomorrow, they deserve a slaughter at the polls. I am thoroughly fed up with their corrupt machine politics, their entitlements, and their general lack of respect for the Canadian voter. I want them all to deal with the same problems in the private sector that the rest of us rabble face on a regular basis. They aren't entitled to their entitlements, these Liberals. GET RID OF THESE PEOPLE.

PREDICTIONS

I will not give a seat total prediction because I really think a number of races are too close to call. I will say that I detect out there a distinctive desire by people to get rid of the Liberals. I talked to many undecideds who blurted out that they hadn't made their decision but they are definitely not voting Liberal. I suspect many minds are made up.

I see it being an incumbents election out West with a few modest NDP gains at Liberal expense in British Columbia. I see Atlantic Canada gains for the Conservatives. Quebec will be a slaughter: I think the Liberals are going to be lucky to win ten seats. My guess is they may come in as low as five, that's how mad people in Quebec are at them. And I think the Tories may come in as high as the Liberals.

As for Ontario, I see similar results there for the Conservatives to what Brian Mulroney achieved in 1988, with eastern, central and southwestern Ontario making up the bedrock of the Tory caucus. Toronto, I see staying Liberal, but John Capobianco has a real shot at Etobicoke-Lakeshore and even Peter Kent has a shot in St. Paul's. Let me tell you, six months ago I would have told you that St. Paul's had as much a chance of endorsing a Conservative as the Globe and Mail. And the NDP is running a strong campaign there. Peter Kent might just pull one out. The Tories also have hopes for John Carmichael in Don Valley West; Stephen Harper was in the riding yesterday. If they win there they're going to win in a lot of places in Toronto.

As for my former home province of Saskatchewan, I really see things being similar to last time with Tories sweeping the province. Regina is the only place likely to hold out and vote Liberal or NDP. The race in Wascana with Ralph Goodale is likely to be close, while the NDP are the main threat in the other Regina ridings. The NDP are saddled with the baggage of a deeply unpopular provincial government, though, and that is always a big factor because provincial politics is a bigger deal there.

The Liberals thought they had a shot in Wanuskewin with Chris Axworthy but that embarrassing call-in show incident has blown their shot at that riding, and the riding will likely stay Conservative. The problem for the Liberals and NDP is that the urban ridings are all split urban-rural seats. The rural portions hand the victories to the Conservatives every election while the urban portions split between the NDP and Liberals. The Liberals made the ridings in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert split rural-urban because they figured they had a better shot than if the ridings were entirely urban; Liberals in Saskatchewan traditionally did better under such a setup because of the strength of the NDP in the cities. But now these setups hand these seats to the Conservatives every election because of the rural vote. Anyway, 13-to-1 Conservative would be my guess. Saskatchewan is pretty unpredictable, though.

That's all for now.

218 REASONS NOT TO VOTE LIBERAL

Well the Toronto Sun has joined the growing legions of media to endorse the Conservatives and today in the Sunday SUN they splashed on their front page "218 Reasons Not to Vote for the LIBERALS".

Only 218?! But the Liberals say there are thirty million reasons to vote Liberal. That's probably something else they made up.

In another story the Liberals are telling reporters they are already conceding defeat!

THE WEST WING CANCELLED

Irony of ironies, NBC has cancelled The West Wing just one day before Canada cancels The Liberals Starring Paul Martin.The most liberal White House on TV has gotten the boot.

The show has been sinking for some time, of course, with the departures of Aaron Sorkin and Martin Sheen, among others, but the big loss came a few weeks ago when John Spencer suddenly died. Whatever reason NBC had for the show to continue disappeared with the loss of his central character on the show. The show will end with the results of the presidential election between Alan Alda and Jimmy Smits.

NBC is also shuffling Law and Order to a new night and the worry I have is that Law and Order will meet the same fate as The West Wing. That show has been sinking, too. NBC really is in the tank these days. Their shows have been on too long.

Time for a change, right?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

THE CAIRNS BLOG GOES AWOL ON ELECTION NIGHT

Fat chance you are going to get any live-blogging from me this coming Monday night. THE CAIRNS BLOG will once again offer you links to election night coverage from all over Canada, but just like last time I will be out of commission. I will be working Election Day and then I expect to be celebrating the liberation of Canada from the Liberals with friends at a victory party at Joe Maggiano's Restaurant in Toronto.

At least I hope I will be celebrating. Every time I've gone there on election night my party's been defeated. And they also hosted the defeat party for Frank Klees in the PC leadership race. They have a record of losing to uphold. I'm going to go there anyway, though, the food's good.

Don't worry, I plan to provide all the usual links to the usual people, Peter Mansbridge and Lloyd Robertson. There ought to be live streaming of all their election coverage on the Internet but I don't expect to be able to take advantage of any of it, unless there's recounts or something. Already there are allegations flying of possible fraud in Edmonton Centre, and the election isn't even on yet! We'll see.

Don't expect to see actual results until about 10PM Eastern Time. That's 3AM in the UK, and something like 5 AM local time Tuesday for you relatives in South Africa reading my blog. If you live in the far East (ie. China), it'll be even later in the morning.

The reason the results will come in so late is because section 329 of the Canada Elections Act is back in effect, banning results from being broadcast to time zones where the polls are still open. This also applies to web sites and blogs.

This law was lifted by a court decision in 2004, so all the blogs and TV nets were able to broadcast Atlantic Canada's election results to the world. Not this time, they'll all be blacked out. Rats. I guess I'll have to attempt to pull in the signal of CBC New Brunswick again on the radio like I've done in past elections, just to get Atlantic Canada results. But I'll probably be too busy to even do that this time.

I will, of course, provide a summary of election results right here once I am able to do so, probably around 2AM EST.

THE MISS AMERICA PAGEANT: RUINED

Well, tonight of all nights the Miss America Pageant goes on. IN LAS VEGAS!

I think this is the END of the PAGEANT. They're holding it at the wrong time of year, for one (January instead of September), and they are holding it in Las Vegas. One of the great things about the old pageant was the fact it was held in Atlantic City and the winner walked down the runway waving to everyone while Bert Parks was singing. Not anymore.

This show has been consigned in disgrace to cable TV's CMT. And they have James Denton of Desperate Housewives as the host (!). What a comedown for this pageant. Anyway, it's on tonight, if you care. And oh yeah, CMT Canada isn't going to show it. Not that you're going to be missing much.

THE ELECTION SUMMED UP IN ONE WORD

Liberals.

Michael Coren says it all in an excellent article in the Sun.

Friday, January 20, 2006

THREE DAYS TO GO

Well it's almost over folks. Thank G.

Let's see. Chris Axworthy has apologized for the incident involving that clown who used the Liberal campaign office in his electoral district to phone up Shaw Cable to smear Maurice Vellacott. I guess we know who's going to win there in Saskatoon-Wanuskewin.

And the president of the Etobicoke-Lakeshore Liberals has quit. He's endorsing Conservative John Capobianco, largely because of the Michael Ignatieff nomination mess. So that's more bad press for the Liberals.

The NDP ads pleading for people mad at the Liberals to lend them their votes appear to be working. That's their whole ad pitch in their TV commercials this week, to appeal to disaffected Liberals.

Darrell Bricker and IPSOS=REID have it 38-26-19 for the Conservatives, and he says the polls haven't moved for two weeks.

And I forgot what it was that Michael Moore said about the Canadian election, but he said something. Who cares about him anymore.

Um, that's it for now.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

CAMPAIGN NEWS

Well, the leader's tours continue.

Paul Martin today is at a BAKERY. In BROCKVILLE. Today.

Meanwhile Stephen Harper was in St. Catharines, which in the 2004 election went Liberal. 1,200 people showed up.

Keep in mind, for Canada 1,200 is considered a good crowd. 1,200 people for the leader of the Conservative Party in a Liberal seat, while the Liberals are visiting a bakery. That's embarrassing.

Meanwhile, a Quebec Liberal candidate has all but conceded his own defeat and is urging supporters of federalism in his own riding to vote Conservative in an attempt to stop the Bloc. Not exactly a sign that the Liberals have the momentum right now.

TORIES TARGETING THE UFLs

Well, here's a story about two big events the Tories had in Toronto and Montreal the other day. The Conservatives held a rally at the Granite Brewery in midtown Toronto Wednesday. Candidates John Carmichael (Don Valley West) and Peter Kent (St. Paul's) were there introducing the Conservative team and Stephen Harper. Carmichael had the opportunity to introduce a UFL--- "What's a UFL? Urban Former Liberals"- and then brought up to the stage David Asper, himself an Urban Former Liberal, who said some things about the Liberals and how terrible they were before letting Kent introduce Harper. Harper gave a pretty good speech and said all the right things about new Canadians and transit and so on, but I didn't really pay too much attention. It was early in the morning when I was at the rally and I am not a morning person by nature.

Anyway, on hand there was Michael Wilson and Barbara McDougall. former Mulroney cabinet ministers. This was a real show of moderation by the Tories, to prove to the world how honest and moderate they really are. Also there was evil radical ex-Reform MP Monte Solberg. I guess he was there to let the old Reformers in Toronto know they weren't being ignored. Solberg can't be too worried about his own riding Medicine Hat.

Later in the day the Tories went to Montreal and Solberg live-blogged it on his website, bragging there was a crowd of a thousand people, for the Harper Conservatives. In Montreal.

As far as political crowds go in this country that's downright sensational. There had to be a lot of Urban Former Liberals in there: people embarrassed to associated themselves with the Liberal Party who want to vote Conservative to stop the Bloc.

And the polls keep on showing the Tories surging in Quebec while the Liberals are absolutely tanking there. I really do think Quebec is going to reduce the Liberals to complete rubble on Monday. The crowd at that rally for Harper was TELLING.

You know, forget the polls for a moment and look at all the things happening on the ground. The Conservatives are going to Montreal, to Toronto, and to all these other places where they are trying to freak out Liberals and win seats. Meanwhile the Liberals are stuck defending themselves in places like Toronto, and London, Ontario, where they already have seats. These are ridings they shouldn't even be needing to defend, really. If the Liberal campaign was really going well, they would be getting big crowds at rallies in places like Calgary! Or Medicine Hat! Monte Solberg would be doing door-to-door canvassing right now in his home riding out of fear if the shoe was on the other foot.

Incidentally, Asper's paper The National Post endorsed the Conservatives today. I guess they wanted to stick it to the Toronto Star who embarrassed themselves by supporting the Liberals again. Anyway I expect most of the newspapers in the country will support the Conservatives.

ANOTHER HUMILIATING NEW LOW FOR LIBERALS AGAIN

And the Liberal gaffes continue. Yesterday Buzz Hargrove stood on a stage with Paul Martin and called Stephen Harper a separatist, and said vote for the Bloc to stop Harper. Today, Saskatoon MP Maurice Vellacott is thinking of suing the local Liberals for defamation after some clod in the Liberal campaign office called in a Shaw Cable TV show and accused him on the air of committing a sexual assault on somebody!!! And Vellacott was so angry about it he found out who made the inflammatory call and in fact got it traced back to the Liberal campaign office in his riding! So Liberals in Saskatoon have been caught red-handed engaging in dirty tricks! They ought to be totally embarrassed by this now. They just made national news, in a negative way.

Talk about a new low for this campaign, folks. The campaign has hit rock bottom in Saskatoon. The name-calling and the smears are getting to be too much. In fact, it's worse than last time. I have to agree with Jack Layton: the Liberals need to go into the repair shop. The Liberals remind me of a junkie in dire need of cleaning out. They need to check themselves into rehab, these Liberals, clean themselves out, and then come back as a party with some real principles and some semblance of basic decency. They have lost any sense of decency, any sense of class.

Yet this is the same party that EKOS says is only trailing by five points. They could still get back in, these guys! Good lord, what is it going to take to get these people out of there?!

Isn't it time for a change? If not now, when, to quote the Globe and Mail?

UPDATE: Buzz Hargrove is still saying vote for the Bloc, according to Andrew Coyne. He hasn't recanted. This has got to be the Randy White moment of the 2006 campaign.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

BUZZ HARGROVE SUPPORTS THE BREAKUP OF CANADA

Well, CAW boss Buzz Hargrove opened his big mouth and caused the Liberals even more embarrassment today. He called Stephen Harper a "separatist" in his views, and said Quebecers should vote for the Bloc. "Anything to stop Harper."

Of course Hargrove is the one who stood on a stage with Paul Martin in Windsor or wherever he was, and endorsed the Liberals, stabbing his NDP brethren in the back. Anyway, this is Paul Martin's problem now, not Jack Layton's, and it is yet another embarrassing gaffe to hit the dismal Liberal campaign. Hargrove really makes the Liberals look bad. With friends like him Paul Martin doesn't need any enemies, let me tell you.

And the polls continue to make no sense. EKOS came out with a new poll that put the Tory lead back to ten points, but then SES-CPAC came out with a very strange tracking poll that put the Tory lead at only 5, with the filthy Liberals at almost 32. Andrew Coyne mused about how this is the worst campaign in Liberal history and yet these jokers are only down five. SES also supposedly puts the Liberals ahead in the West which makes absolutely no sense. Warren Kinsella doesn't appear too concerned about it, says the sample size can't be trusted and the methodology flawed. Besides, I have my ears tuned in to what people are saying on the ground and there's lots of anger at the Liberals and at Martin. They're not getting 32% of the vote based on what I'm hearing from people, and keep in mind, I'm in Red Toronto.

Stephen Harper was at a successful rally in St. Paul's riding this morning that the Toronto candidates all showed up for but I don't feel like blogging about it right now, I've had a long day. I'll blog about it when I get a chance, maybe tomorrow. All I will say is it's quite an achievement for Harper to get a full house for a rally in Toronto at 8AM in the morning no less while Paul Martin plays to empty buildings all over the country at more convenient times.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

POLLS ARE FOR DOGS

Well I don't know what to believe now. EKOS had a poll suggesting it was 36-30 and the election was a horserace now. Now, tonight, I watch CTV and Allan Gregg's bunch have it 42-24 for the Conservatives, and I just about fell out of my chair in shock when I saw that. The Tories now are at 31% in the province of Quebec and the Liberals there are absolutely going to be hammered, destroyed. I can't believe the numbers out of Quebec are that low for the Liberals, in parts of Quebec they're polling less than 10%.

This can't be right. Can it?! I hear that Mario Dumont and Jean Charest have sent their organizations over to help the Conservatives, which would explain a lot. La Presse endorsed the Conservatives today, too, pretty strongly. Things are for real over there. But these polls look pretty fishy to me.

About all we know for sure is that the Conservatives are winning, but as I see it some of these polls could be a big plot to scare left-leaning voters into running back to the Liberals. The only poll that counts is on election day as far as I'm concerned.

There were also some other La Presse polls out of Quebec suggesting the Liberals were going to get hammered, that Pierre Pettigrew was 20 points behind or something like that, and a couple of Tories had in excess of 50% of the vote. The only places where the Liberals still had a chance were Montreal ridings.

Noticed that CTV ran a Countdown with Mike Duffy promo that showed Mike staring down John Duffy and doing his "I will not be intimidated" routine. Great to see the folks over at CTV taking advantage of that exchange and using that clip.

Monday, January 16, 2006

JACK LAYTON WANTS A LOANED VOTE FROM YOU

So, another day off the calendar before the big vote on January 23rd.

Well, two more polls have the Conservatives leading the Liberals by twelve points. It's pretty obvious to everyone that the Liberal campaign is a train wreck. The Liberal campaign has been so bad that now Jack Layton of the NDP is trying to take advantage of the situation and appeal to embarrassed Liberals who are too ashamed to vote for their disgraceful party. He's saying to Liberal voters "lend me your vote".

"Vote for us just this once, in this election, so there is a strong voice in the next Parliament that is standing up for the priorities progressive people believe in,” Layton said today. He said the Liberals will be going in the "repair shop", so just this once, cast your lot with the NDP.

I guess this is sort of like what happened with Conservative voters "lending" their votes to the Liberals the whole time that the Tories were split into two parties. And many fed up Tories went and supported the Liberals in disgust because they were your only choice, all the other parties were in chaos. I guess what Layton is saying to progressive voters is "come home". Well, why didn't he do this the entire campaign and make that his central message?

The NDP has been lost in the shuffle this whole election. Layton should have been doing more throughout the campaign to prevent soft NDPers from moving to other parties. In fact the big problem for the NDP all campaign is that too many lefties have not committed to them until it was too late. Too many are going to stick with the Liberals, or even vote for the Green Party. In fact, the Green party is going to be a big problem for the NDP. A lot of lefties and progressives like what the Greens stand for and want to help that party stay in business, although a lot of their vote is going to consist of what I call the anti-everyone vote. The Greens are going to get a lot of votes from people protesting the other parties. These voters really could care less about the environment, they just hate everybody, so they're voting Green. This is going to split the vote and really hurt the NDP, and likely cost them a lot of races.

As it stands the NDP are going to get yet another fourth-place finish in the House of Commons and get no further than before, though they might gain seats in Toronto. I think Layton's pitch is aimed at Toronto where the NDP are looking to make big gains. I also read a rant somewhere by Douglas Fisher claiming the NDP were going to finish ahead of the Liberals. What hogwash. The Liberal campaign is a mess, but not that big a mess.

As for the rest of the week, looking ahead I see very little change in the situation. We have a week of stinging newspaper endorsements coming up from the likes of the Sun chain and the National Post, clobbering the Liberals. Paul Martin is going to be continuing his "loser's tour" of bedrock Liberal ridings that he's trying to save, while Stephen Harper continues to make the Liberals look bad by travelling into ridings he never thought in his wildest dreams he would ever visit at this point in a campaign, deep in Liberal territory. And doesn't Sarmite Bulte have that big entertainment lobby fundraiser this week, too? That should be more bad press.

Plus, there's bound to be quite a few "Liberals running out of time" stories popping up and the usual stories of Liberals fighting for their lives in their seats. And the "Liberal leadership race" stories are out there now with people hounding Frank McKenna about whether or not he will run and whether Martin's inner circle is supporting him to be the new leader! People will also be hounding John Manley, and Brian Tobin and the rest of them. It can't help matters that there are rumors flying that Martin is going to lose his own seat!

Already it's shaping up to be a long, long week for the Liberals. Again.

MALE TV NEWS ANCHORS AN ENDANGERED SPECIES

I've missed ranting about the media lately because of the election and all of that nonsense. So anyway, here's a long overdue TV news rant. I read this article in the Boston Globe about how there are fewer and fewer male TV anchors.

Seems that the number of women in these broadcast journalism programs outnumbers the males by a margin of something like 10-to-1. I'm not surprised. I've noticed that the TV journalism industry is overrun these days by female news reporters trying to get ahead. When guys pursue TV it's generally to try and get into sports reporting. I ended up pursuing sports reporting, mainly because I was much more interested in the sports stories I covered and was also much better at it. I also felt news departments were mainly looking for female news anchors and didn't feel I'd get very far in a female-dominated business.

Look at CBC Newsworld, that network is absolutely overrun with female news anchors, with the exception of Peter Mansbridge and a few other folks. Women are also taking over the newscasts in the USA as co-anchors at World News Tonight and Nightline, and Katie Couric is still the leading candidate to take the chair at the CBS Evening News. So the guys are exiting the air, fast. I'm not making any value judgements about this, I really don't care. It's just a fact of life for the news business right now, guys don't want to be news anchors or even in the business.

I couldn't blame guys for wanting to go a different direction in broadcasting. Look at it this way. If you're a guy, who would you rather be, really: Bob Costas, or Anderson Cooper? Case closed! I don't know too many guys who'd be interested in being Anderson Cooper right now. But that's what these news directors seem to want. They want clones of him, and clones of Matt Lauer or Stone Phillips or any of these other blow-dried TV news people. Who wants to be judged on your looks or your appeal to the female segment of the audience?! Who needs it.

It used to be that guys could pursue TV news in the hope of being the next Edward R. Murrow. Now it has increasingly become a vanity business. You have to have the right image for these news executives; moreover, you have the added disincentive of covering these freaking celebrities and missing-persons cases for news. And even if you do end up covering cool hurricanes you'd still have to face a lot of death and destruction and misery on the job. That's the real reason why guys are turned off, not because of the crummy pay or any of that nonsense cited in that Boston Globe story. Let's face it, this is no place for guys! GUYS HATE DOING TV NEWS.

I think another problem is that in TV news there's a lot less political reporting going on these days, too. I think a lot of guys would actually be interested in pursuing TV news if they had some assurance of covering politics more, because lots of guys are interested in politics. But there's much less opportunity to do that these days. And frankly there are better ways to get close to politics than TV news, as people like myself have discovered. Anyway that's my rant about a business I've seen up close.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

24 IS BACK

I apologize to those of you who miss my rants about the media and the entertainment industry during this extended period of electioneering. Don't worry. THE CAIRNS BLOG will get back to ranting about entertainment and TV again as soon as this election is over. Okay, maybe not as soon as the election is over. Maybe the middle of the week after the election. But right now I'm too carried away with politics to concentrate on the stuff I usually rant about. I suppose the Mike Duffy-John Duffy smackdown was a rant about TV, but the rest of my rants have been political in nature.

This is a big night for TV fans because the new season of 24 has debuted on FOX. This is nonstop action and Kiefer Sutherland is back from the dead as Jack Bauer.

For those of you screenwriters in California who may not know, Kiefer Sutherland has a pretty strong family political connection. His grandfather on his mother's side was none other than Tommy Douglas, former premier of my home province of Saskatchewan. Douglas led the first socialist government in the history of North America when he was elected in 1944. He also was the guy responsible for bringing in medicare when he was premier of Saskatchewan. Later he became the first leader of the national New Democratic Party in 1961 and was the guy primarily responsible for getting socialized medicare installed across Canada.

In 1962 Douglas ran for Parliament in Regina and was one of the people mowed down by John Diefenbaker's PCs in Saskatchewan. The personal defeat finished him politically in Saskatchewan. He ended up moving to British Columbia and represented that province in Parliament, and from what I heard stayed there for the rest of his life. My brother also used to live in Saskatchewan. He, too, ended up moving to BC. Moreover, my brother works in the same industry as Tommy Douglas' daughter, son-in-law and grandson: the film industry.

Douglas' offspring also frequently get involved in politics. No wonder, then, that 24 is getting overrun with negative TV ads from the Tories and the Liberals tonight on Global TV. These parties figure that all the politically-minded types will be watching. I'm just waiting to see a Jack Layton NDP ad on the show: one that tells Canadians to give these two the boot, and then shows a picture of an actual boot onscreen. At least those ads are funny.

TORIES ATTACK LIBERAL ATTACK ADS

Well, maybe I should have tuned into Hockey Night in Canada after all. Apparently the Conservatives were buying time for the sports broadcasts last night, according to CTV's Craig Oliver. Maybe the Liberal purchase on Hockey Day in Canada was a one-time thing. Anyway I don't see many political ads on the NFL broadcasts today. Thank G. I can watch the Patriots and the Colts lose in relative peace. Yes the Colts are losing right now, 14-3 to Pittsburgh in the third quarter. And the defending champion Patriots are out, too. I guess there's no rematch next week, then. So much for all the hype. Anyway, enough about football. Let's talk about the latest Tory attack ad.

The Tories have an ingenious new counterattack to the Liberal attack ads. Check it out here. They use actual audio from Liberals like Keith Martin and John McCallum dissing their own ads, and then the ads ask "So who approved these ads?" And then they run a clip of Paul Martin saying "look, I approved these ads!"

It ends with "let's do something positive," with the Stand Up for Canada logo again.

Sweet. This ad does three things: it makes the Liberal attack ads an issue and throws their credibility into question, they make the Liberals look dishonest, and they make the whole Liberal campaign look like it's in complete disarray. Good job this time, Tory ad guys. The Liberals have just shot themselves in the foot with their own TV attack ads.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

ABORIGINALS DESERTING THE LIBERALS

Check this out: another big endorsement of the Conservatives. Via Angry in the Great White North.

MORE LIBERAL ATTACK ADS? SURELY NOT

Well the Martin Liberal campaign has officially been deemed a train wreck in progress. A BC Liberal was quoted in a big Bourque headline, comparing this campaign to the sinking of the Titanic. Andrew Coyne is continually comparing this campaign to the explosion of the Hindenberg. Political watchers are sharpening their knives. Richard Gwyn said the Liberals were heading not for a defeat, but for a slaughter. Coyne mentions that the Tory tour is now in Montreal, of all places, while the Liberals are in Toronto, trying to save Toronto! The Liberals will also be in Montreal tomorrow. It's a sure sign of a campaign in trouble.

The Globe and Mail threw a knife into the back of Paul Martin today as the normally Liberal paper called for a change in government in its editorial. Says they need time in opposition to get their act together again. That tells you all you need to know about the mood out there.

Now there are rumors that after the Liberals lose Paul Martin may try and stay on as leader! This is absolute madness. Imagine the internectine warfare that will happen in the Liberal party if he tries to stay. Maybe he thinks he can pull a Trudeau: wait a few months, resign, then bring the government down and force an election, and compel his entire party to invite him back. Who knows. Nothing they do or say makes sense anymore.

And there's also word these fools may try and put more air pollution on our TV screens as they muse about even more negative ads. And let me tell you, I can't wait for the 23rd so that the Canadian public can send the Liberals a big message. I really hope they get hit with a colossal defeat: then maybe it will send a message to politicians that negative campaigning is no way to go. The Liberal negative campaign is a DISGRACE to CANADIAN POLITICS. David Asper was absolutely correct in slamming these ads as the most base he's ever seen.

Well, enough election for me, for a day or so. The NFL playoffs are on and I am tuning into that. No way am I going to watch Hockey Night in Canada, I don't want to be bombarded by the Liberals' negative ads again like I was last week.

Friday, January 13, 2006

BC LIBERAL GETS KICKED OUT

Well, the Liberals have really done it to themselves. What the heck's in the drinking water out there in BC? Just a day after the Conservatives kick out one of their candidates, the local Liberal candidate in Abbotsford gets the boot by his party for supposedly offering a bribe to the NDP to try and get them to withdraw from the race!

Why they offered a bribe, what really happened, I don't know. What I do know is this: the Liberals have reversed whatever gains they've made in British Columbia in the last 24 hours because of this latest fiasco. Nationally, it is yet another nail in their coffin.

And the NDP come out of the last 24 hours looking like big winners in BC. They are certain to pick up at least one seat at Tory expense because of the Tory mess in Southern Interior, and possibly more at Liberal expense because of this big scandal in Abbotsford- even though Abbotsford itself is going to go Conservative.

So let's see: the Liberals lose the debates, the attack ads blow up in their faces, the whole Canadian military is mad at them now, the Liberal Red Book gets leaked by The Liberal Mole, and now one of their candidates gets accused of bribery and is disowned by the party. And the polls now put the Liberals something like ten points behind. Nice work, you Liberals. January 23rd is shaping up to be the Monday Massacre the way things are leaning.

LIBERALS IN FULL RETREAT

In a sure sign of trouble for the Liberals they are sending their fearless leader Paul Martin into Liberal fortresses in order to try and save themselves. Back in 2003 the provincial Liberals were doing so well that they were sending Dalton McGuinty into Tory bedrocks like Whitby just to freak out the Conservatives. Not this time.

A couple nights ago they sent Martin in to Agincourt to a rally, apparently because this was the only place in all of Canada where Martin could draw a decent crowd for an event. (He couldn't even draw a crowd in Belinda's riding for Belinda's event.)

Now comes word the Liberal bus is going to another fortress, Hamilton. Hamilton?! Where Sheila Copps used to win big majorities all the time?! Why is Martin going there? If he has to go to Hamilton the Liberals are in huge trouble. Maybe Tony Valeri's troubles have something to do with it.

In contrast Stephen Harper is heading to Oakville and Barrie, two of the many, many places where they have incumbent Liberals on the run.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

EVERYONE RUNNING FOR COVER FROM THE LIBERAL ADS

Andrew Coyne is recounting the fallout from the Liberal ads. Keith Martin calls the person who released this ad an "idiot." Even Anne McLellan is distancing herself from the ads and saying they should never have run. I can tell you Liberals across the country are going to be facing angry veterans.

Last night at the all-candidates meeting in Don Valley East, even Liberal MP Yasmin Ratansi had to say "I apologize" to an offended veteran who was furious about these ads. But then she sort of backtracked and went on about the prime minister's thought process behind these ads, or something. Her apology ended up sounding like a half-apology, and the crowd there seemed pretty underwhelmed.

Anyway, that's the type of reaction the Liberals are getting to these ads. Our troops around the world are bound to be outraged. To say nothing of the people who support our troops and appreciate their efforts to defend people's freedoms around the world. These are the people who liberated Holland from the Nazis being insulted in these ads. Shame on the Liberals.

I almost think that proud supporter of our armed forces, Don Cherry, might do a Mike Duffy on the subject of these anti-military Liberal attack ads this Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada. Heck, it seems the rest of the media is beyond intimidation, they're standing up for themselves; Cherry should too! If he does blow his gasket on this subject on Coach's Corner like he did when he debated the Iraq War with Ron MacLean, he could get himself fired. If that happens, it will be the best thing ever to happen to Stephen Harper. People will vote for Harper just to punish the CBC and get Cherry reinstated. The election will be in the bag.

Why shouldn't Cherry speak his mind? That's why we watch!

CANWEST'S DAVID ASPER ENDORSES PETER KENT

Big surprise. David Asper, whose family owns Canwest Global, and also a longtime Liberal who gave money time and again to the Liberal Party and to Paul Martin, today endorsed St. Paul's candidate Peter Kent, Conservative. His endorsement came in the form of a letter of recommendation for his company's former TV anchor.

A Liberal. From the Liberal Media. Endorsing a Conservative.
I am not making this up.
I'm not allowed to make this stuff up.

STEPHEN HARPER: EVEN THE BAD DAYS ARE GOOD

BRITISH COLUMBIA'S DAY OF MADNESS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

How well is the Tory campaign going?

Well, today, Stephen Harper had to fire a candidate, Derek Zeisman, for refusing to disclose that he was going to stand trial for smuggling. Last election an event like this would have been considered a major gaffe. The Tories would have looked like they were in disarray. This year, they look competent and responsible for handling this mess the way they have.

Harper's timely decision to get rid of Zeisman- a costly loss for the party which will hand his Southern Interior riding to the NDP- is being hailed by Tories as a sharp contrast to the bumbling leadership of dithering Paul Martin, who still refuses to ask for Ralph Goodale's resignation over the income trust leak. Harper turned what could have been a disaster into yet another reason to vote for him. No wonder Harper's ratings ratings for trustworthiness are going up every day.

As for the NDP, not only do they have shoplifter Svend Robinson trying to win a seat in Vancouver Centre (where he is apparently having all kinds of problems), but Jack Layton today was revealed to be a customer of private health care clinics. So they can't exactly crow about how ethical they are either.

And the Liberals are still getting killed for their negative ads about the military. By Keith Martin. Who called the person who made this ad an idiot. At an all-candidates meeting. In British Columbia. This is a Liberal saying this. In Canada. I am not making this up.

And I'm not the only blogger in Canada ridiculing the Liberal campaign ads. Everyone in Canada is parodying these ads and making jokes about them. What can I say? The Liberal campaign has turned into a national joke.

When even the bad days are good for the Tories, that's a sure sign your campaign is really rolling.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

SASKATCHEWAN RACE: DAVID ORCHARD JOINS THE LIBERALS

Now comes word that the Liberal Party is now supported by another reputable figure in the world of politics, David Orchard, who is backing the Liberals in Saskatoon-Wanuskewin according to Calgary Grit.

The question I have is why is David Orchard supporting the Liberals? And why would the Liberals even want this guy? David Orchard is basically an anti-free-trade extremist who wants to seal the border. His views, far from being conservative or even progressive-conservative, would fit in with the Green Party or the NDP. To have him rummaging around the Liberal Party is quite bizarre. It makes the Liberals look like they are the party of wingnuts! It raises a lot of questions about whether the Liberals are interested in sealing the border, scrapping NAFTA and so on.

When you look a little more closely at who Orchard is supporting it makes a little more sense. Orchard is supporting Chris Axworthy, a former member of Parliament for the area who interestingly used to be a member of the NDP. In fact he sat in Parliament as a New Democrat, sat in the provincial Cabinet as a New Democrat and ran for the provincial leadership of the NDP. Then Paul Martin co-opted him and these other ex-NDPers. So no wonder Orchard feels at home supporting him. But why would the Liberals want Orchard, that's what I wonder about. Who's next, Joe Clark?

By the way, Wanuskewin is the most right-leaning riding in the entire City of Saskatoon. It covers the whole north end of the city which leans in a conservative direction anyway, and it encompasses the rural section which includes towns like Warman which are absolutely filled with social conservatives. These people probably think the Conservative platform is too liberal!!!Also, the part of Saskatoon that makes up Wanuskewin is the very same area of town that was responsible for sending Ray Hnatyshyn to Ottawa for so many years, as a PC. It's currently held provincially by the Saskatchewan Party, one of the very few urban seats it has at the moment. Practically the whole rest of the city is NDP provincially.

Granted, the NDP vote is always very strong here and they were able to win here occasionally. The NDP candidate, Jim Maddin, was once Mayor of Saskatoon and will probably steal votes away from the Liberals. It's not totally hopeless for the Liberals, they were able to capture a seat in this riding at the provincial level in recent memory. Former Liberal leader Jim Melenchuk held the seat provincially in the north end of Saskatoon, before he joined the NDP. Maybe that's why the local Liberals feel they have a hope. But federal politics is a different story given the current boundaries. The Liberals also got drilled here in 2004 with the same candidate they're running now.

And David Orchard's involvement is the kiss of death. He lost every race he's ever attempted. The history:

1988- fought nationally against Brian Mulroney and Free Trade. Lost.
1998- Lost PC Leadership race to Joe Clark
2000- Lost race for Parliament in Prince Albert as a PC, badly.
2003- Ran for PC Leadership again, eliminated on third ballot. Did infamous deal with Peter MacKay.
Late 2003- MacKay tears up agreement with Orchard. PC Party holds vote on merger with Alliance. Orchard fights the merger with his "No" campaign and also tries to block it in court. Merger is approved with 90% of the vote. Orchard also loses in court.
2006- Joins the Liberals and supports Chris Axworthy. Look at the polls, man, to figure out what is going to happen next.

I think the UBC Political Stock Market should have a special category for name politicians: buy, sell, hold, etc. They would rate Orchard's status at the level of "junk bond". Totally.

SUSAN MURRAY GOES NUTS ON DON NEWMAN'S CBC SHOW

From Bourque's site today (Courtesy Bourque):

Eagle-eye'd Bourque regular Riley Hennessey reports that "the Liberals are so desperate, that they are resorting to profanity on national television. On this morning's Politics program with Don Newman, Liberal strategist Susan Murray (Ed: strategist?), a longtime CBC reporter, no less, lashed out at the NDP's margarine-like Brad Lavigne. After Brad said that the Liberals are running on 12 years of broken promises, Susan lost her cool. "Thats Bulls#!t!" she blurted out. Brad Lavigne raised his eyebrows in astonishment, but carried on while she continued to attack him. This can be found by clicking on the Wednesday AM broadcast of Newman's Politics show. Fast forward to minute 20:00-23:00 to see the entire exchange. At exactly minute 21:20, she lashed out at Brad and blurted "Thats Bulls#!t". You know the campaign is sinking when Susan resorts to profanity when she trys to make a point. This is the kind of negative campaign the Liberals will run from this point on."

So that's the Bourque reaction. Mine: do we really want these people in charge of this country? These Martinites are ANGRY PEOPLE.

Makes me SICK.

WHO IS THE MOLE?

I KNOW WHO THE MOLE IS

I'm just waiting for CNN's Anderson Cooper to come up to Canada to do a story on the Canadian election and say "who is the Mole?"

There's been all kinds of speculation about who this mysterious Mole is but never fear, I've done my digging on the Internet and I can reveal to you now exactly who the Mole is.

So HERE I GIVE YOU THE LINK TO...

THE MOLE!!!!

LEAKY LIBERALS RELEASE RED BOOK

I think it ought to be the goal of the Tories campaign to make every day up to and including election day a completely miserable one for all Liberals. If that is the strategy I say it is working. It's working bigtime.

Late last night the Liberals' "Red Book", which was supposed to have been sprung on the public today, leaked out --- to the Western Standard Shotgun website. People are now blaming, once again, the "Liberal Mole" for this and the other embarrassing leaks that have come out of the Liberal war room all campaign. So it was another embarrassment for the Liberals. Good grief, they can't run a government and now they can't even run a campaign.

Also, Ezra Levant noted there was no mention of abolishing the notwithstanding clause in the document.

This morning the Conservatives held a big press conference to demolish the Liberals on their hideous, grotesque attack ads. Jason Kenney, Gordon O'Connor and Monte Solberg were all there and they were roasting the Liberals for the military attack ad, the one which basically implied that Stephen Harper would put the military on our streets in Pinochet-type fashion. Kenney was outraged and calling for the Liberals to apologize and pull these ads, and O'Connor was calling it an insult to the armed forces. Kenney was blasting the Liberals as well for the American-style campaign tactics and basically making a big issue out of the Liberal TV ads. Solberg, looking decidedly like a guy who was ready to run to the washroom to throw up, blasted the Liberal lies and platform and repeatedly referred to the Liberal campaign as being in "disarray". They also roasted Martin for not mentioning his notwithstanding clause ban pledge in his platform and for making his policies up as he goes along. All in all, it was a total demolition of the Liberals by these three today. No stone was left unturned: they mentioned Mike Duffy, they mentioned Martin confusing Harper with Jack Layton in the TV debate, they mentioned the Liberal Mole, they mentioned everyone. They tied the Liberal leaks to the income trust scandal that was caused by leaks. They were saying you couldn't believe a word Paul Martin said anymore. Wow, they really killed him today.

The day isn't half over and the Liberals are already well on their way to getting roasted on the newscasts across Canada tonight, and in the online press and in the blogs. The Liberal negative ads have already blown up in the Liberals' faces and are a big scandal in their own right, today. And you can see how hostile the press has become, they aren't putting up with the Martin Hot Air Machine anymore. Guys like Mike Duffy and Bob Fife are completely ticked off.

By the way, I heard that Paul Martin is supposed to be in Scarborough today. Why is he in Scarborough, of all places? Is the campaign doing that badly that he has to go to Scarborough to try and save the area? I notice Martin going to places like Newmarket-Aurora and other venues where he shouldn't have to go to, a sure sign he's playing defense. Meanwhile, I hear Stephen Harper is planning yet another visit to Toronto sometime this week - presumably to make the Liberals pay.

MIKE DUFFY BLOWS HIS TOP ON NATIONAL TV

You've heard about it everywhere, it's the talk of Canada today, so you might as well see it for yourself if you didn't watch it on CTV Newsnet.

Check out the video at Proud To Be Canadian of Mike Duffy bodyslamming John Duffy on CTV Newsnet. Liberal hack J.Duffy got his head handed to him in Jon Stewart-like fashion when he tried to change the subject away from the vicious negative TV ad that the Liberals pulled, and Mike went nuts, accused J. Duffy of intimidating him and "I will not be intimidated!"

You think Americans have all the fun in politics. This is too good.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

LIBERAL ATTACK ADS: RETREAT

It's worse than I thought. I thought it was only eight attack ads. Turns out it's TWELVE.

And they've pulled one of them already. The awful ads claiming the Tories were going to send the troops into our major cities got so many howls that it was pulled off the air. Now the news media is running and re-running this ad to show Canadians how low the Liberals will go. I read somewhere that even Craig Oliver was complaining about it.

Now the Conservatives are fighting back with their own attack ads in retaliation to this Liberal sleaze. You know, I hate all these attack ads. I don't like the fact that the Conservatives have to resort to these, too. But the Liberal attack ads worked the last time, so the Tories really have no choice but to fight back with their own. These political ads are air pollution as far as I'm concerned. Canada, keep this in mind: the Martin Liberals started it. They're to blame. Chretien's ads were never even this bad. The Martin Liberals are dipping to new lows.

The French debate is on as I speak and I am watching it on the French channel. Let me tell you, it is darned easy to understand a French debate when you have three Anglophones up there attempting high-school-level French.

UPDATE: Damian Penny also is howling over the Liberal attack ad "contributions", where they claim, wrongly, that Harper didn't release his campaign contributions. He wants the Liberals annihilated now, not simply defeated, and I don't blame him.

January 23rd can't come fast enough as far as I'm concerned.

ANOTHER BAD DAY FOR THE LIBERALS

I'm listening to Bourque right now on the radio on Charles Adler and he's talking about the Liberal meltdown. Already there's talk from Bourque about Michael Ignatieff hosting a Liberal leadership fundraiser tonight--- and the race isn't even on yet! Ignatieff hasn't even won his own seat yet and is having all kinds of troubles in his own riding. Yet he thinks he can become leader. Maybe he thinks he can do what Tony Clement did: lose his seat and then run for leader. It didn't work for Tony Clement and it won't work for Ignatieff, trust me. (I know, because I supported Tony and saw what happened.)

This can't be good- the Liberal leadership race stories are out there now and it illustrates the problems this central Liberal campaign is having. Anyway Ignatieff should worry about his own seat first. I was in Etobicoke-Lakeshore with John Capobianco yesterday and he got a great response in the area we canvassed. And I notice a lot of NDP signs up down there, too. The Liberals in Etobicoke are in big trouble.

PUNDITS SPEAK

The fallout from the debates continues. Andrew Coyne is convinced the race is OVER. In fact he says "this is beyond over. It's overer. It's overest." He cited focus groups that scored the debate 10-to-1 for Harper. He's convinced Paul Martin is FINISHED. Adam Daifallah is convinced Harper did well but he's much more cautious, recalling what happened in 2004.

Now you hear stories that the Liberals are preparing for defeat, like this one in the Globe. Liberal campaign people on the ground in the local ridings are grumbling about the national campaign. The latest numbers for the Liberals are gruesome bad: they trail the Tories in Quebec--- QUEBEC!!! They now trail the Tories in Ontario and one poll had them down by 10 points. If this type of momentum holds up for the Tories on election day so many prominent Liberals in Ontario will be going down to defeat that it will be a massacre.

Many Liberal local campaigns are in disarray. Garth Turner notes the contrast between the bustling Conservative campaign in Halton and the bare-bones, Liberal effort. From the sounds of it the Liberals in Halton are not only going to lose, they are going to get destroyed. Just based on what I hear about the organizational strength.

As for Tory local campaigns, all I'll say is that the poll numbers have created a lot of excitement. Morale is way up. And after what happened last time local people are determined to seal the deal. I think the Tories are going to be awfully energized for the next two weeks of the campaign.

MORE AWFUL LIBERAL ATTACK ADS

In a last gasp of desperation the Liberals are rolling out even more awful negative ads- eight of them in fact. One attack ad linked Stephen Harper to Mike Harris and blasted the Harris record as Ontario premier. Except the ad was freaking lying to the public. Harris didn't run a deficit: he actually balanced the books! It was Ernie Eves that did nothing to ensure the books were balanced after Harris left, and then it was the McGuinty Liberals that opted to run the deficits. Harris and his last finance minister Jim Flaherty would have made sure the books were balanced, you can bet on that. Paul Martin also made sure Ontario was starved of health care funds so Harris ended up taking a lot of blame for the health care problems, undeservedly.

The second thing is that Harris didn't even support Stephen Harper for the leadership of the Conservative party! Harris supported Belinda, and Belinda is now a Liberal. Consequently, when the Liberals attack Harris they are really attacking themselves, because Belinda's one of them now. Anyway, the Liberals don't have the sense to realize that they are running against Stephen Harper, not Mike Harris. They're stuck in the past and still fighting past fights. The Liberals are even still fighting the war in Iraq, even though that's old news as far as Canada is concerned. And Harris has been gone for almost four years now. The Liberals are wasting their money with these ads.

I hope the Conservatives have some ads to counter the Liberal attack ads--- and they better not be too gruesome because then the Liberals would simply complain about the Conservatives again and blame them for a negative campaign. So far, though, it's already shaping up to be yet another bad week for the Liberals, and the week has barely even started.