January 28, 2009


Bad Budget

A couple weeks ago, I sent the following e-mail to Stephen Harper:
Dear Prime Minister Harper,

As a long-time supporter of the Conservative Party and of you personally, I am very concerned about the news I have been hearing that your government is planning a massive increase in spending in the upcoming budget.

Trying to spend our way out of recession simply doesn't work. Bob Rae tried that in the early 1990's, and it achieved no significant recovery. The one major impact it did have was that future generations of Ontarians will be have to pay for its failure. Please don't force all Canadians to do the same.

Also, I don't believe this is something you need to do in order to prevent losing power. If Michael Ignatieff wants an election or to take power via the coalition, then he will find an excuse to oppose your budget, no matter what. Likewise, if he wants to avoid an election or discard the coalition, then he will find an excuse to support (or abstain from) the budget, no matter what.

Additionally, a big spending budget now will greatly increase the size of government, which will be very difficult to undo, even when economic conditions get better.

I am okay with recession-fighting measures like tax cuts (since those are a good move in general) and increased spending on things like infrastructure projects that would have eventually been built anyway (since the costs of construction will likely be lower during a recession).

Regardless of what happens on this front, I will still vote for the Conservatives, as I believe the other parties would do even worse. However, I feel very strongly that big spending increases purely for the sake of "stimulus" is a bad move which will hurt the country. Therefore, I feel I must inform you that if you go ahead with that kind of plan, I will no longer donate to the Conservative Party. I will also let other Conservative supporters know how I feel on this matter.

The measures you implement in this budget will affect Canada for a long time to come. I urge you to do what's best for our Party and our country. Thank you.

I also sent this letter to Jim Flaherty, Irving Gerstein, one of my Conservative Party National Councillors, and the conservative.ca website.

As you probably already know, the Conservatives didn't follow my advice. The new budget has a $34 billion deficit in the coming year, and $85 billion over five years. And most of that is spending, not tax cuts.

When you look at some of the specifics, it gets even worse. For example, there's a "Community Adjustment Fund" to "help communities adjust to economic hardship." While this sounds noble, it's also a boondoggle waiting to happen, and rather unlikely that the government can do anything significant to actually accomplish it. The amount of infrastructure spending being dumped in a short time period is also worrying, and is ripe to become a "Bridges to Nowhere for everyone!" fiasco.

There's a $1,350 tax credit for home renovations. Why exactly do we need to be artificially supporting this luxury?

Speaking of luxuries, there's $325 million for arts and culture. Excuse me? These perpetual whiners played a significant role in denying us a majority in the last election, and you're rewarding them with even more handouts? Face it: they're never going to vote Conservative, so there's no point in trying to suck up to them. And more importantly, they don't deserve the money.

The Conservatives may be able to win back my donations in the future, but for now, it looks like I've found a simple way to tighten my own belt in these tough economic times. (And it looks like I'm not the only one...)

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November 27, 2008


What's not to like?

So the Conservatives want to axe the $1.95-per-vote subsidy given to the various political parties, at a cost of $27 million each year.

I support this for multiple reasons:
  1. It's the right thing to do. Why should taxpayers be forced to subsidize political campaigns in the first place? Leave it to those Canadians who care enough about a party to send their own money.
  2. It's ideologically consistent. Stephen Harper was opposed to the subsidy when it was first proposed in 2003.
  3. It shows that politicians are willing to include themselves in the upcoming belt-tightening.
  4. As a bonus, it completely screws the Bloc, and to a lesser extent the Liberals. :)

Two thumbs up!

Update: This post has apparently caused Canadian Cynic to call me an "asshole." I will wear it as a badge of honour.

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October 15, 2008


Unexpected winner

I'm too tired to write a decent review of the election right now, so here's something completely trivial. The popular vote totals were:

CPC 37.6, LPC 26.2, NDP 18.2, BQ 10.0, Grn 6.8, Other 1.2

If you plug that into the Hill & Knowlton Predictor, you get the following seat count:

CPC 143, LPC 74, NDP 38, BQ 52, Grn 0, Other 1

And the actual results (pending recounts)?

CPC 143, LPC 76, NDP 37, BQ 50, Grn 0, Other 2

Not bad, especially considering that their formula completely ignores local dynamics.

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April 03, 2007


How many mistakes can the Globe & Mail cram into a single sentence?

A recent scare piece on a Tory proposal for a bill to protect freedom of religion (how awful!) contained this:
Ms. Hitch's reference materials included a private member's bill on religious freedom, since defeated in the Alberta legislature, from Conservative MPP Ted Morton, with links to socially conservative websites such as campaignlifecoalition.com; lifesite.net; evangelicalfellowship.com and a website that does not currently work called "http://www.thescaryliberals.com/blog."
Let's see now:
  1. Bill 208 was not defeated in the Alberta legislature; it passed second reading. What actually happened was that the Liberals and NDP filibustered the Legislature in May and August of 2006 to prevent the bill from getting to third reading; it then died on the order paper at the end of the 2006 session.
  2. Ted Morton's party is called the Progressive Conservatives, not the Conservatives.
  3. Morton is an MLA, not an MPP. (How shocking that Toronto's National Newspaper would make this mistake!)

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May 17, 2006


Happy Belinda Day!

Yes, it was one year ago today that Belinda Stronach defected to the Liberals. It also marks the first anniversary of this blog.

Looking back, I would say that the Conservative Party is definitely better off because of it. (The defection, I mean, not the creation of my blog. :)

This goes well beyond the fact that the Conservatives might have lost if the election had been held in May/June 2005. For all her star power/glamour/blah blah blah, Belinda was a very divisive force in the party. This was a result her constant behind-the-scenes maneuvering to become the leader, not to mention her very public campaigning to alter the party's structure to further those leadership ambitions, i.e. the ability to swamp future conventions with thousands of bought-and-paid-for youth delegates. It got to the point where, in the months before her defection, the fastest way to start an argument between Conservative supporters was to ask them what they thought about Belinda.

When she left, there was definitely some short-term pain from the betrayal and disillusionment our supporters felt, as well as the bad press it resulted in. (Funny how no one in the media claimed that Emerson's switch was evidence that the Liberals are a bunch of extremists who can't hold onto their moderates. But I digress...) As time went on, however, it helped to unify the party in a way that went beyond Belinda's absence. As the public face of the anti-Harper faction within the party, Belinda's defection severely discredited their position, forcing the media to rely on a handful of washed-up nobodies to get their Harper-bashing fix from then on. Try to imagine what it would have been like to fight an election with one of the Conservative Party's "stars" desperately hoping that we'd lose (and possibly engaging in deliberate sabotage) so that she could take over.

That's why I'm ultimately glad that Belinda Stronach is no longer a Conservative. I'd like to extend to her my very best wishes as she endeavors to eventually take over the Liberal Party, with all the backstabbing, riding takeovers, and delegate-buying that will require. ;)

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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? ;)


December 01, 2005


More good news for the Conservatives

Kim Campbell has predicted that they'll lose.

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September 26, 2005


Conservative organizer calls for Carol Jamieson's resignation

Tory organizer The Invisible Hand has written an open letter calling for the resignation of Carol Jamieson.

The Invisible Hand, who is the chairman of the Conservative Council of The Invisible Hand's Bedroom, says he has received supportive e-mails from over 40 million Canadians and the endorsement of 309 Members of Parliament.

UPDATE: The Invisible Hand was forced to withdraw his letter after it was discovered that Ms. Jamieson does not currently hold any position worth resigning from.

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August 24, 2005


A Tale of Two Newsletters

When I got home this evening, I was greeted by two e-newsletters in my inbox. The first was from the Conservative Party, and featured a comparison of what Stephen Harper and Paul Martin have be doing over the summer.

It links to a page on the Conservative site with a map that shows how much more Harper has travelled around the country this summer compared to Martin. More importantly, it also features ten issues which have been important to Canada during that time, and contrasts the Liberals' inaction with the what the Conservatives would do if they were in power, including links to the relevant sections of the Conservative policy declaration. The issues are all referenced to the Conservative slogan, Stand up for Canada.

(In the event that one of the conservative.ca webmasters is reading my humble blog, I'd like to point out a small glitch: in the "Devil's Lake" section, the banner text mistakenly says Safer Communities when it slides onto the screen, before changing to the correct version, The Environment.)

On the other side, we have the Liberal newsletter.
Dear Dan ,

In our first survey you told us that health care was your number one priority, as it is ours.

What element of our health care accord is the most important to you?

Click Here Now to answer this short survey about issues that are important to you.

Thanks for your participation!
Funny, when I filled out the Liberal Party's online survey a month ago, I didn't choose health care as my "number one priority." Isn't it nice that the Liberals assume that whatever option wins a plurality of the vote automatically becomes the sole voice of the nation? At least we know why they think they should be able to do whatever they want when they win less than 40% of the vote...

Anyway, let's take a look at the choices in their new survey, asking "What element of our health care accord is the most important to you?"
To the surprise of no one, "Choice in health care options" and "Allowing the private sector to help out" weren't acceptable votes. I guess it would have been rather embarrassing if one of them had won, as their next newsletter would have been forced to boldly proclaim to all Liberal supporters "You told us that you want two-tier health care!"

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June 10, 2005


Would replacing Harper solve anything?

Mike Brock recently made this post on his blog:
Whether or not Stephen Harper is deserving of the negative perceptions he carries is immaterial. He is simply carrying too much baggage, and that is pulling the party down.

We need to bring a fresh face to the leadership of the party. We need somebody who can be given a reasonable and fair chance to sell his or her message to the Canadian people, without having to face deeply held preconceived notions of hidden agendas and radicalism.
The problem with this is that it's a fantasy to believe that that getting rid of Stephen Harper will solve the Conservative Party's image problem. Having a non-Western "moderate" won't accomplish anything, as we will never escape these "preconceived notions of hidden agendas and radicalism." Frankly, the press already does seem to view Harper as rather moderate; instead, they play up the idea that he is "beholden" to extremists.

We could have Jack Layton as our leader, and the Liberals and the media would still crucify him as being a tool of the scary Christian hard-right blah blah blah.

Almost nothing could make the CPC look less capable of governing in the eyes of Canadians than dumping its leader after the first bad poll. It's worth noting that since the Liberals took power, no conservative party has had the same leader for two elections in a row. The PCs had Kim Campbell (1993), Jean Charest (1997), and Joe Clark (2000); the Reform/Alliance side had Preston Manning (1997) and Stockwell Day (2000); and the merged parties had Stephen Harper (2004). (Manning was also the leader in 1993, but wasn't considered to have any chance of becoming Prime Minister until 1997.) These constant leadership changes allowed the Liberals to paint us as having a hidden agenda every single time. It also made the parties look unprofessional and unprepared to govern.

There's also the matter of how, if Harper steps down now, it would be very easy for the Liberals to deliberately lose a non-confidence vote so they could fight an election against a leaderless Conservative Party (who would still get blamed for causing "an election no one wants").

In the next election, it will be much harder for the Liberals to convince Canadians that Harper has a hidden agenda (especially if the CPC starts promoting the positive aspects of their platform well in advance) than it was last time, or than it would be for an unknown new leader.

Update: Bound by Gravity says it much more succinctly.

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May 29, 2005


Christian Verboten

The Globe & Mail ran this bit of scaremongering on Friday:
Christian activists have secured Conservative nominations in clusters of ridings from Vancouver to Halifax -- a political penetration that has occurred even as the party tries to distance itself from hard-line social conservatism.

At least three riding associations in Nova Scotia, four in British Columbia, and one in suburban Toronto have nominated candidates with ties to groups like Focus on the Family, a Christian organization that opposes same-sex marriage.
Oh my! Eight of the open Conservative nominations were won by known or suspected Christians! Let's see now, with 210 nominations up for grabs, that means the Jews Christians have seized control of a whopping... 3.81%.

If this meets the Globe's standards for "political penetration," I have a feeling that their romantic partners are going to be rather disappointed...

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