Plan for Dion: Sound Policy and Butter Tarts


Herewith, the online version of my weekly blackberry roundtable with Scott Reid and our Kady.

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Plan for Dion: Sound Policy and Butter Tarts

  1. The only thing I agree with in that entire article is SR’s advice about butter tarts. I don’t eat desserts/sweets but I never say no to butter tarts.

    It is hard to imagine Dion going even more left than he already is but I guess we can wait and see. Dion’s promised more than $80 billion in extra spending while claiming Green Shift is revenue neutral and he won’t take us into deficit. I would like to see how he squares that circle while claiming to be financially prudent in times of financial turmoil.

    However, he might try because he knows he’s got the media at his back who will do all they can to help him out.

  2. and here’s JWL, first out of the Con Gate to twist and spin.

    I liked the article. Fun, inside dirt on journalism (woot!), good advice, and the butter tarts were a great recommendation :)

  3. Yes Mr. Potter, it WAS a good read.

  4. I get a kick out of certain Conservative supporters worried about the Liberals 10 year 70 billion infrastructure promise. Considering their support for a Government that ever so quietly announced a 20 year half a trillion dollar Millitary plan last June, posted on some obscure (to the public) National Defence website. (note: with little objection from any of the opposition).

    Anyways, that was an enjoyable little blackberry roundtable.

  5. Blues Clair

    Except that Canada First Defence Strategy will increase the annual defence budget from $18 billion today to $30 billion in 20 years, around a 2% increase each year, while Dion is promising to spend tens of billions above what has already been budgeted for without saying how he’ll pay for it.

    And why would conservatives complain about a boost to the military budget. I think defence is one of the few departments conservatives actually like.

  6. Dion said he’ll pay for his $70B infrastructure (many different construction/repair municipal upgrades, employment intensive of course) projects over a decade by issuing “Green Bonds”. Certainly a market for these, but not all infrastructure investments are the same (transit more important than roads during high oil, rec centres cheaper than hospitals).
    Dion has explained his, despite the lies. Where does Harper honestly have us going post 2011? I’d like to see Africa, but need African Union negotiations (no mention of this). Are we just tagging along with USA NATO missions? Pretty crappy strategy when Republicans are in office.

  7. Ya know, I for one have been joining the leftoids in smirking at kody’s over-the-top condemnation of the media for being so biased that the Liberal pom-poms were distracting away from real news reporting.

    Then a trio of political observers in the media spend an end-of-the-week round-table discussion on how to salvage Dion’s campaign, in order to overcome “the jerks” for whom Canadians seem to be settling.

    My dear kody, I apologize for my silent smirking.

  8. MYL – But by acknowledging that the campaign needs saving, aren’t we confirming that the Liberals are in trouble? By Kody’s logic, we should have spent the entire go-round praising Dion’s strategic genius.

  9. My dear Kady, “But by acknowledging that the campaign needs saving,” you (collective you) are impressing on your readership that the campaign needs to be saved. A partisan observer cheers for a disintegrating campaign to pick up, a disinterested observer doesn’t care, and certainly would not be expected to utter a line like “Are people learning to love the jerks?”.

    A humble suggestion (leaving self wide open for trolls to debate the humble part): for the next week’s offering (I am assuming this will be a weekly series?), spend some time on each party, maybe, dare I dream, discuss the elements of POLICY that was developed / announced by the parties that week.

    More in shame than in anger, I remain your humble servant,


  10. JWL- “It is hard to imagine Dion going even more left than he already is.”

    Really? By what standards is Dion, or the Liberal party for that matter, left wing? Because he wants to spend money? The Tories have done plenty of that! How about the Republicans down south? Or is it just people who spend money on infrastructure instead of bombs who are left wing? Being left of Harper is not left wing just like being to the right of Tommy Douglas wouldn’t have made someone right wing.
    To the roundtable gang- excellent analysis, very informative. Thanks!

  11. Darling MYL: It’s up to the Commander in Chief to ask the questions, and I’m sure he’ll take your suggestions — but remember, it’s meant to be a lighthearted romp, not a substantial policy discussion. (Don’t you get enough of that during the week?)

  12. Don’t you get enough of [substantial policy discussion] during the week?

    Oh dear, please tell me that was in jest…

  13. Lay off Kady — I’m the one directing the ship. And if you think I’m out there waving pom-poms for the Libs, I’d be happy to forward you the contents of my voice mail every morning complaining about the insufferably pro-Tory bias of my newspaper.

    Look, here’s the deal about the Blackberry roundtable: I’m a student of political strategy, in the most literal sense. I don’t know much about it, but I’m very intrigued by it. And it gives me no end of pleasure to be able to spend a few hours on Friday mornings picking Scott and Kady’s brains about this election.

    So what’s my agenda? None, really, except trying to elicit some jokes and good lines from the two of them, and hope some insight slips in along the way.

    The two of these we’ve done have focused on the problems with the Tory campaign and how to fix them (last week) and the Lib campaign and how to fix them (this week).

    Anyone noticing maybe the beginnings of a pattern here? I guess you’ll have to tune in next week…

  14. Andrew, our intrepid ITQ is more than capable of giving as good as she gets, so you need not fear that she is in any grave danger. Least of all from me.

    As to “laying off Kady,” she was kind enough to engage in a conversation on your post. And Kady doesn’t strike me as someone who would take kindly to a “there, there, dear, don’t put your pretty little face above the trench on my battlefield.” This fan certainly doesn’t, on her respectful behalf.

    As to the pom-pom thing, well, I have been reluctant to join that bandwagon, but I took the trouble of reading the Dion peanut gallery strategy session to which you linked, and my comments followed in good faith therefrom.

    I missed last week’s session, so I take you at your word that you were seeking to resurrect the Tory campaign seven days ago. Fair enough. But the lament for some, oh what’s the word, POLICY discussion remains.


  15. You want policy discussion? Ok, let’s take the biggest policy discussion of them all this year, the Green Shift. How about John Geddes in the current issue of Maclean’s, pages 23-26 inclusive, 3000 words or so worth.

    Or if it is the Ottawa Citizen you are looking at, yesterday we had our entire Observer section (four open pages) devoted to the Green Shift — 2500 words by Don Butler talking about the policy of carbon tax versus cap-and-trade, interviewing experts like Mark Jaccard and Jack Mintz. That was accompanied by an excellent 900 word analysis piece by David Reevely. And oh yeah, Randall Denley had a fine column about it as well.

    So there you go. Combined this week, you have about 8000 words of serious hard reporting and analysis Green Shift policy to choose from, versus 1000 words of candy from me and Scott and Kady yacking about Liberal troubles and how to mebbe fix them.


  16. Easy, menfolk. Don’t make me come over there – either of you. I’ve been making salsa and have fire in the belly, literally and metaphorically! We did, in fact, spend last week giving helpful advice to the Tories, and I look forward to the next session of the round table, at which I’m hoping we can come up with a plan to win back the potheads for Jack Layton.

  17. MYL

    Last week’s discussion was similar to this one. It was all about how conservatives are really mean and they better stop being mean if they have a hope in hell of being re-elected. The underlying message was that cons should be more like libs, or how the commentators perceive libs to be.

    There was no explanation of why the cons should stop behaving in the way they are. Apparently it is irrelevant that cons are doing rather well, if the polls are to be believed, while the Lib numbers are rather dire.

    Andrew P

    I have been enjoying Ottawa Citizen coverage, it’s been one of the few news sources I have been reading regularly since campaign kicked off.

  18. Well, colour me chastised for missing some Citizen coverage on real issues. Will dig, I promise. Based on jwl’s report, will not dig for instalment number one of the roundtable. The phrase that wondered whether Canadians will put up with the “jerks” said all I need to know about the tone.

    And with that, I will mop up all the testosterone left spilled on the floor, as requested by our intrepid ITQ.

  19. It seems unquestionable to me that there are bureaucrats in the public service manufacturing scandals, feeding them to the media, and the media are running with it, and Andrew Potter is buying into the mindless drivel with his “jerks” comment.
    Every time a conservative says or does something nasty, it makes it onto the front pages.

    Here is some commentary I’ve read from elsewhere:

    Last Thursday a CBC crew undertook a dramatic chase-down of Gerry Ritz in an airport. The shaky camera footage and the out-of-breath questions suggested a scandal of government-toppling magnitude. Viewers unaware of the details could be forgiven for thinking Ritz was some international criminal finally caught on camera by the Fifth Estate, rather than someone who had used ill-advised gallows humour in a private exchange during a tense crisis.

    The Ritz scandal was just the latest installment in an ongoing series. The previous weeks’ scandal began: “Oops again! Stephen Harper pulls his communications director after another false step,” accompanied by a helpful graphic – “Oops again” – and video footage of the *Elections Canada raid* from last April. After a brief bit about gas prices, it was back to business: over the graphic “Derailed,” Mansbridge alarmed: “The mistakes and apologies are piling up! Is the Conservative campaign in trouble?”

    Recently the NDP, now that they’re emerging as a threat to the Liberals, has been getting that same treatment. Last Thursday the NDP dropped a candidate after a video surfaced of him taking illegal drugs; it’s the sort of thing that merits a mention, but The National saw fit to air, as top news, a lengthy “worst-of” compilation from the tape. So we saw Dana Larsen taking LSD on a beach, and smoking a joint in a car; it went on and on. The word “NDP” was repeated so gratuitously as to render the report a piece of of Liberal-strategy campaigning, a “think again” warning-piece directed at anyone who’d been considering switching from the Liberals to the NDP.

    The CBC’s scandal-mongering is highly suspect for two reasons. First, the scandals are too frequently based on events that happened long before they are presented as breaking scandals. Gerry Ritz’s remarks were made two weeks before the “scandal” broke; the Dana Larsen video was eight years old when it was aired at length in the midst of an election campaign; the Tom Lukiwski tape became a scandal fully seventeen years after a tipsy Lukiwski jokingly made the remarks at a private party. Second, such scandals are often not the result of investigation on the part of CBC journalists, but rather the end result of dirt about non-Liberals being handed over, by individuals who remain unnamed, to producers and/or reporters who then run with it.

    Greg Weston:

    “With the media leak coming more than two weeks after the fact, and timed to do the maximum political damage to the minister, the PM and the Conservative campaign, there is one obvious question: Who shot Gerry Ritz and why?
    “A high-ranking Conservative familiar with what happened on the conference call says no one really has any doubts the leak came from a disgruntled bureaucrat.
    “A Tory insider points to previous damaging leaks about the Conservatives’ environmental plans, and cuts to cultural programs as similar push-back from ‘some people who don’t necessarily agree with us.'”
    For too long the LPC has had their own public-relations juggernaut, massively funded by Canadian taxpayers, with which to campaign against the other parties. It’s time to stop forcing Canadians who don’t wish to support the Liberals to pay for it.

  20. and from Christie Blatchford:

    Do people really believe these remarks represent what Mr. Ritz, or his government, think about the outbreak, least of all about the 18 Canadians who have died?

    It is what we are meant to think, apparently.

    Keith Boag’s report the other night, for instance, noted that Mr. Ritz’s jokes came late in August when the government was showing a public face “meant to reflect compassion and understanding,” the film moving slickly to a shot of Mr. Harper speaking on the subject and looking stricken. What? The viewer was to take from this that the Conservatives’ real position is closer to Mr. Ritz’s than Mr. Harper’s? That the expression of sorrow and sympathy was insincere?

  21. By quoting Mssr Weston and Blatchford, you’ve answered your own partisan whining with partisan whiners of your own kind. Kinda defeats your argument, methinks, but it does keep up that whining theme.

  22. Dan: Well, I will not hesitate to declare that I am voting Conservative. Therefore you can consider my comments partisan.

    But, like madeyoulook, I take issue with the media trying to insinuate that they are in fact not partisan, and not biased, when in fact they so very clearly are!

    So I guess it’s honesty that I’m looking for. If the media want to be Liberal cheerleaders they should admit it.

    The latest attempted smear job is the Globe and Mail’s attack on Peter Mackay and hospitality expenses for passport workers, which is clearly a partisan attack-job as well (and not a good one), disguised as honest reporting.

    Andrew’s weekly roundtable, which consists of 3 Liberal supporters, not that’s anything wrong with that, is biased towards the Liberals, and I’m just pointing that out, and their attempts to deny it are laughable.

  23. “The latest attempted smear job is the Globe and Mail’s attack on Peter Mackay and hospitality expenses for passport workers, which is clearly a partisan attack-job as well (and not a good one), disguised as honest reporting.”

    Oh for Pete’s sake. Is there no way for the media to report on Conservative activities without being accused of favouritism?

    Stop being thin-skinned bullies, and start debating the merits of the conservative platform, I’d suggest. Go on, I dare you. Explain why the country would benefit from a Stephen Harper majority rule, WITHOUT slagging the other parties and WITHOUT mentioning the media. Explain to me how my kids and grandkids could benefit from all of us voting conservative this time. Honestly, your conspiracy/bias theories have been heard, loud and clear, by the rest of us. Go ahead and use this blog space to shine light on any productive reasons you can think of to vote for these guys.

  24. Sean: They don’t have a plan. You can see it plainly in their advertisements.

    “We’re better off with Harper” they proclaim, meaning, “We’re not going to do anything good, but those other guys.. woo.. look out for them.”

    I think today I’ll take a line from Ken Chapman.

    “We’re better! Off with Harper!”

  25. OK Sean, here you go, here’s what we’d get, amidst all the postives I’m inserting a few of the contrasting things we’d get if the other parties reach power:
    -a stronger economy, due to
    -less taxes
    -more competition
    -and fewer business subsidies in the form of bailouts
    -but increased support for innovation in education and support for entrepreneurs
    -no ruinous state interventions into the economy and central planning
    -no vast wastes of citizens’ hard-earned money on elitist junkets and bureaucratic boondoggles like the gun registry, the HRC scandal and government corruption, but rather taxation targeted towards the true needs of government and targeted towards measurable results
    -targeting environmental problems with the pursuit of real and measurable results rather than hopeless and destructive schemes that will achieve nothing environmentally and bring financial hardship and a lowered standard of living
    -stronger Canadian companies and low unemployment for the same reasons
    -fewer restrictions on rights and freedoms like the Canadian Wheat Board, the gun registry and the CHRC
    -more flexible support for child care and families of all shapes and sizes
    -better health care, in which citizens can receive the care they need rather than being forced onto endless waiting lists with no recourse
    -a stronger federation through decentralization in areas of provincial jurisdiction
    -a better justice system, where criminals cannot re-offend hundreds of times and still be returned to the streets, and the empowerment of citizens to feel that the justice system benefits the victims of crime and not the criminals
    -a foreign policy with values and principles and influence, rather than a directionless foreign policy with no clout and no influence anywhere
    -an immigration system that works and provides immigrants with the tools they need to succeed
    -a reformed senate: a senate the provides benefits to Canadians by improving government rather than dragging it down
    -support for family values, hard work, and cooperation, rather than supporting destructive behaviours like hard drug injection and government dependency
    -support for human rights and freedoms
    -support for a strong military and a presence in the world, promoting democracy and freedoms abroad and assisting countries in need
    -leadership in all the areas listed, rather than aimless drifting
    -a government that does not believe that higher taxes is the solution to every problem
    -a Canada that believes in freedom, justice and courage

  26. I think Conservatives are the only party not ending $1.2B/yr oil accelerated capital subsidy.
    Conservatives are the only party running on prohibition boondoggle that costs conservatively $400M/yr and misses $2B/yr tax revenue.
    If you kill CWB, kill some farmer subsidies too, as CWB serves consumers, food producers and export market. That’s like saying let doctors have the freedom to set up clinics that over prescribe diagnostic tests like in USA without accounting how it will be more expensive for other value chain players. This process not recognized by the Cgy Business School is called an externality.
    Kelowna Accord and legalization are probably the cheapest ways to free up police resources. Here Conservatives are only Party weak on crime.
    Military is the least efficient industry ROI. You need it, but just enough. Harper has not spelled out how he will catalyze missions promoting *peace* and assiting countries in need. Love to hear how this is cheaper than just having CIDA give money to WFP or buying grain from CWB to give to WFP.

    I want a government that tells boomers they have to leave a prosperous environment for the children they expect to provide palliative care for them. Harper breaks this social pact.

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