January 27, 2006


You are hearing me talk

From the Calgary Herald:
Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore has accused the oil industry of financially backing the Tories and their "ultra-conservative leader" to protect its stake in Alberta's lucrative oilsands.

Canadians, Gore said, should vigilantly keep watch over prime minister-designate Stephen Harper because he has a pro-oil agenda and wants to pull out of the Kyoto accord -- an international agreement to combat climate change.

"The election in Canada was partly about the tar sands projects in Alberta," Gore said Wednesday while attending the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

"And the financial interests behind the tar sands project poured a lot of money and support behind an ultra-conservative leader in order to win the election . . . and to protect their interests."
And then, as always, the cashier nodded and handed Gore his Big Mac.

(This joke has been blatantly lifted from SNL's Weekend Update a few years back. Also hat tip to Vitor.)

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January 23, 2006


My Prediction

Since it's late and I'm tired, I'm just going to plug the latest Ipsos-Reid poll into the Hill and Knowlton predictor and call it a day:

CPC 155
Bloc 64
Lib 47
NDP 41
Ind 1

...which should make for a 39th Parliament only slightly less interesting than the 38th.

You heard it here first. ;)


January 22, 2006


Three party leaders go for a drive...

Happy E-Day, everyone!

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39th general election, summarized

All you need to know...


January 21, 2006


Dogs know what to do with (blatant manipulation of) polls

Andrew Coyne has commented on how the Globe & Mail buried their poll results when the Conservatives had a big lead, but made them the front-page headline when that lead dropped sharply. Now that The Strategic Counsel has released the full details, the integrity bar drops even lower.

Click here, scroll down to page nine, and look at the "N equals" row, where the sample size is listed. Notice how it's 1,500 people all throughout the month of January... except for the most recent day, when the sample suddenly drops to 1,000.

Why did they do this?

Well, remember that each SC daily number with a sample size of 1,500 is the sum of the last three days of polling, with 500 people each. If the last poll is only two days (January 17 and 18), it means that they threw out the January 16 result a day earlier. And by coincidence, the Conservatives' big 18-point lead happened on... January 16. This means that the polling day which put the Tories way up was conveniently dropped a day earlier than it should have been, which conveniently allowed the Globe to loudly proclaim they had a big drop in support.


See also:
Dogs know what to do with (media reporting on) polls, part 1
Dogs know what to do with (media reporting on) polls, part 2

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January 19, 2006


Google News: Non-Liberals need not apply?

Here's a little experiment to try. Go to the Google News Advanced Search page, put "liberal.ca" in the News Source field, and a common search term (eg. "election") in the main keyword field. This is what you get:

Now back up, change the News Source to "conservative.ca" and try again:

The same holds true for the NDP, Greens, and Bloc Quebecois as well.

Does this seem like fair coverage to you, especially during an election campaign? Please write to Google and let them know that if they're going to include party press releases in their aggregator, they should do so for all the parties, not just one.

Update: Google sent me a reply, claming that "an article's placement on our main page is determined entirely by a mathematical algorithm, based on many factors including how often and where a story appears on the web." That's nice, but it's also completely irrelevant to my complaint. It's not that the other parties get less prominent "placement" than the Liberals, it that they don't get any placement whatsoever. Try again, guys.

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January 15, 2006



The following e-mail was in my inbox when I got home tonight:

("Don" presumably refers to Don Plett, the president of the Conservative Party.)

I did a literal "LOL" when I read this. It's such a obvious fake (note the lack of any formatting or even paragraph breaks) that I have to wonder why the sender even bothered. For this reason, I doubt that the Liberal Party was behind it, at least in any official capacity. It was more likely some rogue Liberal supporter and/or Conservative-hater who sent it out on their own.

As I am wont to do, I immediately checked the headers to find out where it came from. The notable bits:

Return-Path: (standupf@jupiter.usedns.com)
Received: from jupiter.usedns.com not authenticated []
    by smtp-send.myrealbox.com with NetMail SMTP Agent $Revision: 1.6 $ on Linux
    via secured & encrypted transport (TLS);
    Sun, 15 Jan 2006 20:21:45 -0700
Received: from standupf by jupiter.usedns.com with local (Exim 4.52)
    id 1EyKwA-0003Cq-Rn
    for *****@*********.***; Mon, 16 Jan 2006 06:21:42 +0300
X-AntiAbuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it with any abuse report
X-AntiAbuse: Primary Hostname - jupiter.usedns.com
X-AntiAbuse: Original Domain - myrealbox.com
X-AntiAbuse: Originator/Caller UID/GID - [33424 32003] / [47 12]
X-AntiAbuse: Sender Address Domain - jupiter.usedns.com
X-Source-Dir: standupforcanada.ru:/public_html/mlist

Standupforcanada.net and standupforcanada.ru send you to an empty site. The domain is registered to someone from St. Petersburg, Russia; the site is also hosted somewhere in that country, as is usedns.com.

Unless the Conservative Party president has suddenly decided to take a vacation to Russia in the middle of an election, I think the idea that this e-mail reveals the "hidden agenda" of legend is pretty much dead. This hasn't stopped at least one blog from assuming it's genuine, though.

Update: This e-mail was discussed on Peter Warren's show on Sunday (audio link; go to the half-hour mark). He interviews a computer technician who notes the Russian connection, and adds that he traced one of the headers to Seattle. A caller says that the name the site is registered to (Alice A Tokareff) is a reference to a Russian gun and Paul Martin's favourite brownies.

Note that the site was registered on December 18, indicating that the creator(s) have been planning something like this for awhile.

I just checked the whois results again, and the registration seems to have been changed to "Vit Jouss."

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January 07, 2006



A young Conservative shows us how to look cute while getting ready to kick some Liberal butt:

I got the image from the Conservative Party site. Why not outfit your baby the same way? ;)


January 04, 2006


New and improved

Check out this awesome parody of a Liberal attack ad from the 2004 election.

It was created by Grig, who also wrote a detailed analysis of the original Liberal ad. (I don't know if I believe his "subliminal image" argument, but it proves beyond any doubt that the muzzle flash was there.)

For what it's worth, here's my (much more humble) take on the gun ad:

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