Monday, January 30, 2006

Maybe ssm is not so safe after all.

I did some quick calculations about same-sex marriage shortly after the vote and guestimated that the conservative motion to overturn it would fail by 20 votes (see here).

Clayton over at Marriage Vote does a much more meticulous calculation and comes up with same-sex marriage surviving by just two votes.

Update As commenter Nitangae points out, Clayton's numbers seem to be firming up towards the confirmation of ssm.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

More on the Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill allegations

A few days ago, I noted the story about Conservative allegations of electoral impropriety in the Saskatchewan riding of Desnethé-Missinippi Churchill River, pointing out that the last poll to report (Ahtahkakoop), which Harrison had complained had put the Liberals over the top, had in the last election given Harrison only one vote. And only one vote when PC in 2000 (no one voted Allliance.) (The data is all downloadable at elections Canada.)

What I didn't realize was that the poll Ahtahkakoop used to be called Shell Lake, which is where my mother grew up and all my cousins live (or used to live before they grew up and moved away; I'm hoping to visit my uncles there two weeks hence.) Anyway, here's a map (within which, by the way, sits both my grand-father's farm and my great-grand-father's!):The Conservative Candidate complains that Ahtahkakoop went overwhelmingly Liberal. But this, as I mentioned, is consistent with their recent voting pattern, and consistent with other native communities in the area. Note that other reserves also appear in the map: Sturgeon lake (no CPC votes in 2004), Big River 118 (3 CPC votes in 2004 from 391 eligible voters), Mistawasis 103 (3 votes from 439 eligible voters), Sturgeon Lake (124) (no votes from 211), Sturgeon Lake (125) (3 votes from 300), Montreal Lake 106 (10 votes from 343). So Ahtahkakoop merely followed its normal voting pattern.

And in this it seems to have been consistent with how natives voted in 2004. In that election, there were 176 polling stations. Of these there were seven in which the CPC got no votes (Descharme Lake, Garson Lake, Kinoosao, La Loche, Pelican Narrows, Sturgeon lake); sixteen where they only got one vote (Shoal Lake--Ruby Lake, Ahtahkakoop 104, Sandy Bay, Cumberland House, Stanley Mission, Turnor Lake, La Loche Reserve--Clearwater River, Cumberland 20, Missinipe--Grandmother's Bay, Pelican Narrows, Pelican Narrows, Hall Lake, La Loche, Sturgeon Landing, Camsell Portage, Stony Rapids), eight with 2 votes; nine with 3 votes; etc. (If you want you to check my figures, download the data from Elections Canada yourself.)

What's the pattern here? I don't know all of these communities. But their names suggest that they are native. And in this riding, not many natives vote CPC.

The local Conservatives surely know this and concentrate their efforts elsewhere. What's their complaint? That the turn-out was higher than they expected, or, rather, hoped.

Is there any reasons to explain why it might be higher? Three come to mind:
  1. it is winter, rather than summer (cf. the turnout in Nov. 2000 to June 2004 here)
  2. the Liberal candidate was a high-profile native leader from near-by Prince Albert;
  3. the Conservatives had said they would ditch the Kelowna accord
Yes, the Conservative Harrison has repeated allegations of Liberal threats and inappropriately placed campaign literature. But allegations like those swirl in every campaign office about every party. If any are true, they should be punished.

But the data before us can be explained without widespread fraud. The native vote, which everyone expected to go overwhelmingly against the Conservatives, did, and their turn-out was high. And that should be a good thing, no?

Update CBC: Merasty's victory has shrunk to 73 votes and Harrison has until tomorrow to apply for a recount.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Harper will be to ssm what Mulroney was to the death penalty

Over at the Ambler, Kevin Grace, while critiquing some thoughts of mine on whether there was a socon-effect in some ridings, made an interesting statement:
I have it on unimpeachable authority that Harper never cared much about SSM and was shocked when it became a popular outrage.
Others have assumed as much (here); I don't doubt it.

One point that could be added is the effect that this will have on the issue for the future.

I'm not sure how many of my blogging friends are old enough to remember the politics of the late-70s and early 80s. One issue that especially animated conservatives back then was the death penalty. It hadn't been used in Canada since 1962 and was voted off the books in 1976. Conservatives used it as a wedge issue to good effect, and when Mulroney was elected with a majority in 1984, many hoped that it would to re-introduced. It was not to be the case. In a free-vote in 1987, capital punishment was rejected, never to re-appear as a serious issue.

I argued a couple days ago that there are not enough votes in the house to overturn same-sex marriage (see here).

It seems to me that net effect of Harper's coming free-vote will be, barring some unexpected gamesmanship (cf. here), that the issue is laid to rest forever.

more noise on the fate of the ssm liberals

Over at the Ambler, Kevin Grace takes apart my post (here) on the dozen or so socially-conservative candidates that could be identified last summer. I had suggested that these candidates generally did a couple points worse than we'd expect from the general movement in the election and might be attributable to discomfort with social conservativism. Grace points out that this can just as easily (and more credibly) be attributed to statistical noise.

I think his point is confirmed if we look at the ssm liberals. I list them here with their results in 2004 and 2006, the net change, and the net change in their province.

2004 2006 change prov.
Andy Savoy (Tobique—Mactaquac) NB 48.2% 42.9% -5.3% -5.4%
Paul Zed (Saint John) NB 43.3% 42.9% -0.4% -5.4%
Charles Hubbard (Miramichi) NB 48.1% 42.3% -5.8% -5.4%
Bill Matthews (Random—Burin—St. George's) NL 46.8% 45.5% -1.3% -5.2%
Scott Simms (Bonavista—etc.) NL 48.2% 52.0% 3.8% -5.2%
Rodger Cuzner (Cape Breton—Canso) NS 53.3% 53.2% -0.1% -2.6%
Walt Lastewka (St. Catharines) ON 40.4% 37.0% -3.4% -4.8%
Judi Longfield (Whitby—Oshawa) ON 45.0% 38.8% -6.2% -4.8%
Roger Gallaway (Sarnia—Lambton) ON 41.9% 33.1% -8.8% -4.8%
Gary Carr (Halton) ON 48.4% 41.4% -7.0% -4.8%
Ken Boshcoff (Thunder Bay—Rainy River) ON 39.4% 35.1% -4.3% -4.8%
Gerry Byrne (Humber—etc.) ON 62.6% 52.9% -9.7% -4.8%
John Cannis (Scarborough Centre) ON 56.7% 55.4% -1.3% -4.8%
Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay—Superior North) ON 43.0% 36.0% -7.0% -4.8%
Roy Cullen (Etobicoke North) ON 63.3% 61.6% -1.7% -4.8%
Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough—Agincourt) ON 64.1% 62.6% -1.5% -4.8%
Derek Lee (Scarborough—Rouge River) ON 57.9% 65.6% 7.7% -4.8%
Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan) ON 53.4% 56.2% 2.8% -4.8%
Gurbax Malhi (Bramalea) ON 49.5% 50.7% 1.2% -4.8%
John Maloney (Welland) ON 39.6% 35.5% -4.1% -4.8%
John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood) ON 57.5% 53.3% -4.2% -4.8%
Dan McTeague (Pickering—Scarborough East) ON 57.0% 52.7% -4.3% -4.8%
Paul Steckle (Huron—Bruce) ON 49.8% 39.8% -10.0% -4.8%
Paul Szabo (Mississauga South) ON 51.7% 43.9% -7.8% -4.8%
Alan Tonks (York South—Weston) ON 59.8% 57.1% -2.7% -4.8%
Tom Wappel (Scarborough Southwest) ON 49.5% 47.8% -1.7% -4.8%
Bryon Wilfert (Richmond Hill) ON 58.5% 53.4% -5.1% -4.8%
Brenda Chamberlain (Guelph) ON 44.6% 38.4% -6.2% -4.8%
Wajid Khan (Mississauga—Streetsville) ON 50.6% 45.9% -4.7% -4.8%
Massimo Pacetti (Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel) QC 63.9% 57.2% -6.7% -13.2%
Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds—Dollard) QC 63.6% 51.1% -12.5% -13.2%
Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis) QC 63.9% 48.2% -15.7% -13.2%
Raymond Simard (St. Boniface) QC 46.6% 38.6% -8.0% -13.2%

Conclusion? Most of these Liberals' fortunes more or less fell in rough proportion to their provinces. This should mean that same-sex marriage probably played no great role in the election. Or rather, what roles it did play ended up cancelling as those who were motivated to vote pro- on this basis were equalled by those voting con-.

(In a slight defence of my last post, it was intended to explore the effect of social con-ism in general rather than ssm in particular. But still, such changes, except perhaps for Cindy Silver and Rondo Thomas, are probably noise.)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Why Paul Martin lost

(cross-posted to Buckets of Grewal)

comments on the socon factor and the election

(Update. See now also Jay Currie)

Over at the Ambler, Kevin Michael Grace (who is always a good read) reacts to my nose-counting of the other day and opines: "If Canadians were so hell bent on punishing those known (or suspected) to harbour retrograde notions on the dignity of gay nuptials, they would have rejected Conservative MPs en masse."

There may be some truth there. But we have to keep things in perspective. Same-sex marriage was only one of a number of questions competing for the voters' attention. And even if a candidate were out of step with their constituents, ssm could hardly turn a safe-seat into a marginal one.

What we need to be interested in are those marginal ones, and the fate of socially conservative candidates within them.

Last spring, the Globe and Mail published a couple articles pointing out that several Conservative nominations had been won by candidates who seemed to reflect a religious right agenda. I tried to identify candidates that fit (see here) and, coming up with only a dozen or so names, concluded that they were not numerous enough to be a threat (here and here).

What happened to those candidates? Here is last summer's list, with some figures:
  1. Andrew House in Halifax. Lost. Came in third with 18%, improving on the 2004 candidate's 15%.
  2. Rakesh Khosla in Halifax West. Lost. Came in third with 23%, improving on the 2004 candidate's 21%
  3. Paul Francis in Sackville-Eastern Shore. Lost. Came in third with 22%, improving on the 2004 candidate's 21.5%.
  4. Darrel Reid in Richmond. Lost. Came in second with 39%, improving on the 2004 candidate's 35.3%.
  5. Cindy Silver in North Vancouver. Lost. Came in second with 36.7%, improving on the 2004 candidate's 36.4%.
  6. Marc Dalton in Burnaby-New Westminster. Lost. Came in third with 27.6%, slipping from the 2004 candidate's 28.3%.
  7. Kevin Serviss in Sudbury. Lost. Came in second with 21%, the same as the 2004 candidate's 21%.
  8. Ron Cannan in Kelowna. Won with 49%, improving on the 2004 candidate's 48%.
  9. Rondo Thomas in Ajax. Lost. Came in second with 32.8%, slipping from the 2004 candidate's 33.6%.
  10. David Sweet in Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough. Won with 39.1%, improving on his 34% of 2004.
  11. Harold Albrecht in Kitchner-Conestoga. Won with 41.2%, improving on the 2004 candidate's 35.4%.
So, what's the pattern? Most Conservative candidates' totals improved, perhaps not as much as we'd otherwise expect--the Conservatives nation-wide were up 6%, and only Albrecht had that much of an increase. (Rondo Thomas, who was perhaps the most openly evangelical about his evangelicalism, actually went down.)

But even so, these figures suggest that being regarded as a religious activist would only cost a candidate a couple percent. In some races, of course, that can be enough.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Electoral misconduct in Churchill Saskatchewan? Probably not.

The riding of Desnethé–Missinippi–Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan is in the news over its election night results, which were:
Gary Merasty (LIB) 10237 (41.46%)
Jeremy Harrison (CON) 10131 (41.03%)
Anita Jackson (NDP) 3788 (15.34%)
John A. McDonald (GRN) 535 (2.17%)
The morning after the election Harrison, the Conservative incumbant, was outraged that he lost the riding when the last poll reported. Here's the relevant clip from the story in the Regina Leader-Post
Defeated Conservative MP Jeremy Harrison is alleging the Liberals used dirty tricks to steal the election Monday night in the northern riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River, a claim strongly denied by victor Gary Merasty. [snip]

Harrison, the only Saskatchewan incumbent to be defeated, is calling for an investigation and a new election.[snip]

The last poll of the night to report -- from the Ahtahkakoop First Nation -- gave Merasty the win.

Harrison, who was first elected in 2004, said the Conservatives are suspicious about voter turnout levels that seemed to reach 100 per cent on some First Nations in the riding.
(See also the Free Dominion thread or SDA for an extra helping of gracelessness, with more than a hint of racism.)

But what about the Ahtahkakoop poll? Let's look at what happened there last time. (You can download the poll-by-poll results for yourself here):
Poll Number: 105
Poll Name: Ahtahkakoop
Earl Cook (NDP) 5
Al Ducharme (Lib) 113
Marcella Gall (Green) 1
Jeremy Harrison (Con) 1
Rick Laliberte (Ind) 22
Rejected Ballots 0
Total Vote 142
Electors 458
So, what does this tell us? In the last election, only 1 voter out of 142 voted Conservative. 143 voters supported a Liberal (Ducharme) or ex-Liberal (Laliberte). The voter-turnout was low 31%.

This time, according to the Leader-Post, voter turn-out was much higher, presumably something in the order of 66%, and the vote went all-Liberal (unsurprising given the fact that there was no vote splitting with Laliberte).

Why the increase in turnout? Again no real surprise. The last election was held in mid-summer, when many in northern Saskatchewan are on the land. In mid-winter, they will be home.

That hypothesis can probably be confirmed if we look at the 2000 results:
poll. no. 101
poll name Shell Lake
Laliberte (Lib) 382
Funk (NDP) 14
Rogers (PC) 1
Peterson (CA) 0
Votes cast: 398
Eligible voters: 534
Turnout 74.5%
So, is there a story here? Probably not. At least as far as the Shell Lake/Ahtahkakoop poll goes.

(The interesting side story is to note that Shell Lake's lone PC voter from 2000 seems to have migrated to the Conservatives in 2004. I wonder how s/he voted this time?)

(Another piece of trivia: I went fishing on Shell Lake in '73 or '74.)

Update Other news stories have been filed by the G&M, CBC, CBC Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Star Phoenix. Most of these emphasize other aspects of Harrison's allegations rather than the Ahtahkakoop poll, which as I explain above does not seem anomalous.

[edited out snears about Conservatives being sore winners; added data from 2000]

Same-sex marriage is safe until the next election

In the last couple posts, I've been trying to gauge the effect of the election on same-sex marriage.

As I count noses, I estimate that there are about 100 Conservatives who will vote against ssm (here) and at most 29 Liberals (here). There were five BQ who voted against ssm in the last parliament, one of whom was defeated (Desroches). The NDP will all vote for ssm.

This means that there could be about 130 votes for a motion to revoke same-sex marriage. I suspect that is a ceiling, not a floor. Some of those who voted against ssm last time did so reluctantly and for the status quo. Now, however, same sex marriage is the status quo. And it will increasingly be so.

Add to this a general reluctance on all but the most committed to this issue above all others to avoid the embarrassing excesses of the last debate, and you have a recipe for no change on this front.

What happened to the anti-ssm Liberals in the election?

In the last couple posts, I've been counting noses for the free-vote that Harper has promised on same-sex marriage. As part of that, we need to review the Liberals who voted against ssm in the last parliament. These are:
  1. Ray Bonin (Nickel Belt), re-elected
  2. Ken Boshcoff (Thunder Bay—Rainy River), re-elected
  3. Gerry Byrne (Humber—etc.), re-elected
  4. John Cannis (Scarborough Centre), re-elected
  5. Gary Carr (Halton), defeated by pro-ssm Garth Turner (CPC)
  6. Brenda Chamberlain (Guelph), re-elected
  7. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay—Superior North), re-elected
  8. Roy Cullen (Etobicoke North), re-elected
  9. Rodger Cuzner (Cape Breton—Canso), re-elected
  10. Roger Gallaway (Sarnia—Lambton), defeated by Pat Davidson (CPC), whose position on ssm is not clear.
  11. Charles Hubbard (Miramichi), re-elected
  12. Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough—Agincourt), re-elected
  13. Wajid Khan (Mississauga—Streetsville), re-elected
  14. Walt Lastewka (St. Catharines), defeated by anti-ssm Wade Dykstra (CPC)
  15. Derek Lee (Scarborough—Rouge River), re-elected
  16. Judi Longfield (Whitby—Oshawa), defeated by Jim Flaherty (CPC) anti-ssm (?)
  17. Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan), re-elected
  18. Gurbax Malhi (Bramalea), re-elected
  19. John Maloney (Welland), re-elected
  20. Bill Matthews (Random—Burin—St. George's), re-elected
  21. John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood), re-elected
  22. Dan McTeague (Pickering—Scarborough East), re-elected
  23. Massimo Pacetti (Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel), re-elected
  24. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds—Dollard), re-elected
  25. Andy Savoy (Tobique—Mactaquac), defeated by anti-ssm Mike Alan (CPC)
  26. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis), re-elected
  27. Raymond Simard (St. Boniface), re-elected
  28. Scott Simms (Bonavista—Gander—etcc.), re-elected
  29. Paul Steckle (Huron—Bruce), re-elected
  30. Paul Szabo (Mississauga South), re-elected
  31. Alan Tonks (York South—Weston), re-elected
  32. Rose-Marie Ur (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex), retired, replaced by anti-ssm Bev Shipley (CPC)
  33. Tom Wappel (Scarborough Southwest), re-elected
  34. Bryon Wilfert (Richmond Hill), re-elected
  35. Paul Zed (Saint John, NB), re-elected

So, my guess is that there are at most 29 anti-ssm Liberals in Parliament. (I say at most because there are some in this list whose vote against ssm was a vote for the status quo and may vote against a change back.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Conservatives not endorsed by Vote Marriage

There are 124 Conservative MP-elects, 101 of whom were endorsed by Vote Marriage as supporters of 'traditional marriage'.

What are we to make of the missing 23?

Five are fairly well-known as being in favour of same-sex marriage:
  1. Garth Turner (CPC, Halton, ON).
  2. Gerald Gordon Keddy (CPC, South Shore—etc., NS)
  3. James Moore (CPC, Port Moody-etc., BC)
  4. Jim Prentice (CPC, Calgary Centre-North, Alta)
  5. John Baird (CPC, Ottawa West--Nepean, ON)
No surprise that these were left out of Vote Marriage's list: they sit on the wrong side of the question in VM's eyes.

But what happened to the rest? Here is the list from English Canada.
  1. Blaine Calkins (CPC, Wetaskiwin, Alta). Not endorsed; no mention of marriage that I can find on his website.
  2. Brian Storseth (CPC, Westlock--St. Paul, Alta) Not endorsed; no mention of marriage on website.
  3. Bruce Stanton (CPC, Simcoe North, ON) Not endorsed; no mention of marriage on website.
  4. Mike Wallace (CPC, Burlington, ON). Not endorsed; no mention of marriage that I can find on his website
  5. Pat Davidson (CPC, Sarnia--Lambton, ON) Not endorsed; no mention of marriage on website.
  6. Patrick Brown (CPC, Barrie, ON) Not endorsed; no mention of marriage on website.
  7. Rick Norlock (CPC, Northumberland--Quinte West, ON) Not endorsed; no mention of marriage on website.
  8. Jim Flaherty (CPC, Whitby--Oshawa, ON) Not endorsed; no mention of marriage in website.
I'm not sure what to make of the Flaherty omission. He has long courted the social conservative vote in Ontario, most recently in the Ontario legislature where he bucked his party by calling for a recorded vote on a revision of Ontario's laws to bring them in line with the new federal legislation and being heckled by fellow Conservative John Beard (also now elected.) Flaherty's rival in Whitby was Judy Longfield, one of the Liberals who voted against ssm, who was not endorsed by Vote Marriage either. Might they have decided to refrain from endorsing either? Or did Flaherty not want their endorsement? Or is his position more nuanced than many of us are supposing?

As for the other Ontario omissions, it is possible that these too did not want the endorsement either because they are in favor of same sex marriage (or are at least not strongly opposed to it), or perhaps because they have other priorities.

Finally, there are the new CPC MPs in Quebec, about whom I'm finding it difficult to find much:
  1. Lawrence Cannon (CPC, Pontiac, QC), who is widely reported as pro-ssm.
  2. Josèe Verner (CPC, Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC), on whom see below
  3. Christian Paradis (CPC, Mègantic—etc., QC)
  4. Daniel Petit (CPC, Charlesbourg-etc, QC)
  5. Jacques Gourde (CPC, Lotbiniëre-etc., QC)
  6. Jean-Pierre Blackburn (CPC, Jonquiëre--Alma, QC)
  7. Luc Harvey (CPC, Louis-Hèbert, QC)
  8. Steven Blaney (CPC, Lèvis--Bellechasse, QC)
  9. Sylvie Boucher (CPC, Beauport--Limoilou, QC)
On the attitude of the Quebec group, it is worth noting this Canadian Press NewsWire story from January 20, 2005:
"Harper's Quebec wing, including his unelected Quebec lieutenant, Josee Verner, openly support gay marriage, a woman's right to an abortion and other liberal-leaning positions."
To judge from this, it is possible that many if not most of these are in fact pro-ssm.

That would nicely explain why they were left out of the Vote Marriage endorsements.

So in the end we should probably assume that Vote Marriage's list of anti-ssm Conservatives is more or less complete at somewhere around 100.

election effect on net-opposition to ssm (in progress)

As I mentioned (here), Vote Marriage endorsed 208 candidates in this election. Of these, 113 won. Of the winners, 99 were incumbants (mostly Conservatives, and a few Liberals) who voted against ssm last time. The fourteen new MPs who are on record against same-sex marriage are these. Five of these are replacing MPs who were against SSM:
  1. Colin Mayes (Okanagan—Shuswap, CPC), replaces retiring Darrell Stinson (CPC, anti-ssm), net effect 0.
  2. Edward Fast (Abbotsford, CPC), replaces retiring Randy White (CPC, anti-ssm), net effect 0.
  3. Michael Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac, CPC), defeats Andy Savoy (Lib., anti-ssm), net effect 0
  4. Richard Dykstra (St. Catharines, CPC), defeated Walt Lastewka (Lib., anti-ssm), net effect 0
  5. Ron Cannan (Kelowna--Lake Country, CPC), replaces retiring Werner Schmit (CPC, anti-ssm), net effect 0.

Nine replaced pro-ssm MPs.
  1. David Sweet (Ancaster--Dundas--Flamborough—Westdale, CPC), defeats Russ Powers (Lib., pro-ssm), net effect +1
  2. David Van Kesteren (Chatham-Kent—Essex, CPC), defeats Jerry Pickard (Lib., pro-ssm), net effect +1
  3. Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Center, CPC) defeats Anne McLellan (Lib., pro-ssm), net effect +1
  4. Fabian Manning (Avalon, CPC), replaces Efford (Lib., pro-ssm), net effect +1
  5. Harold Albrecht (Kitchener—Conestoga, CPC), defeats Lynn Myers (Lib., pro-ssm), net effect +1
  6. Maxime Bernier (Beauce, CPC), defeats Claude Drouin (Lib., pro-ssm), net effect +1
  7. Pierre Lemieux (Glengarry--Prescott--Russell, CPC) , replaces retired Don Boudria (Lib., pro-ssm), net effect +1
  8. Rod Bruinooge (Winnipeg South, CPC), defeated Reg Alcock (Lib., pro-ssm), net effect +1
  9. Tony Clement (Parry Sound--Muskoka, CPC), replaces Andy Mitchell (Lib., pro-ssm), net effect +1

On the other hand, there were anti-ssm marriage MPs, who were endorsed by Vote Marriage, who have been replaced by pro-ssm candidates. Here is a list:
  1. Dawn Black (NDP) defeated Paul Forseth (CPC, New Westminister), net effect, -1
  2. Penny Priddy (NDP) replaced deceased Chuck Cadman (IND, Surrey North), net effect, -1
  3. Alex Atamanenko (NDP) replaced retired Jim Gouk (CPC, BC Southern Int.), net effect, -1
  4. Catherine Bell (NDP) replaced John Duncan (CPC, Vanc. Island N.), net effect, -1
  5. Irene Mathyssen (NDP) replaces Pat O'Brien (Lib., London-Fanshawe.), net effect, -1
  6. Garth Turner (CPC, pro-ssm) defeated Gary Carr (Lib., anti-ssm), net effect, -1
  7. Sukh Dhaliwal (Lib.) replaces Gurmant Grewal (CPC, anti-ssm) in Newton-North Delta. According to this he "promises to uphold the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the issue of same-sex marriage." Net effect -1.
  8. Omar Alghabra (Lib.) replaces retired Carolyn Parrish (Lib., anti-ssm) in Mississauga—Erindale This story implies that he is pro-ssm. Net effect -1

(I assume here that all NDPers are pro-ssm.) Some other ridings where MPs changed with possible effects:
  1. Bev Shipley (CPC, not endorsed by Vote Marriage) replaces retired Rosie-Marie Ur (Lib, anti-ssm) in Lambton-etc. His comments here make me assume he is anti-ssm. The net effect is 0.
  2. Mike Allen (CPC, not endorsed by Vote Marriage) defeated Andy Savoy (Lib., anti-ssm) in Tobique-Mactaquac. His web-page says he will 'defend traditional marriage', which clearly means he is anti-ssm. Net effect is 0.
  3. Blair Wilson (Lib.) replaces John Reynolds (CPC, anti-ssm) in West Vancouver-etc. (Update: in the comments Ian points out that Wilson's website implies that he supports ssm. Net effect -1
  4. Gary Merasty (Lib.) replaces Jeremy Harrison (CPC, anti-ssm) in Desnethé-etc.
  5. Tina Keeper (Lib.) replaces Bev Desjarlais (NDP, anti-ssm) in Churchill
  6. Jacques Gourde (CPC, not endorsed by Vote Marriage) defeated Odina Desrochers (BQ, anti-ssm) in Lotbinière-etc.

The base from which to compare is the series of votes on ssm in June 2005, when ssm passed by 158 to 133, with 16 absentees.

If you have information to add, please add it in comments, which are enabled.

silver linings… (1)

Although I'm not thrilled about having a Conservative government, there are some positive results.

One is that the Vote Marriage campaign was pretty much a failure. They endorsed, on my quick count, 207 candidates. Of these, 113 won their ridings (mostly Conservative encumbants), and 94 lost.

This probably means the death of the anti-ssm movement, not least because for the future it will become an increasingly losing proposition.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cindy Silver loses

As many of you know, I've been blogging a fair bit about Cindy Silver in North Vancouver. CBC has now called the election for her opponent.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Remember Florida when you remember to vote

I'm just adding my voice to those encouraging everyone to vote tomorrow. Vote early. Vote proudly. Vote your conscience.

But if you're a Liberal voter who lives in one of these ridings, or are an NDP-voter living in one of these ridings, or are a Green voter who lives in a riding in either group, I encourage you to think seriously about voting strategically.

Remember Florida:
strategic voting

Apropos of nothing in particular…


Vote Marriage support a headache for Conservative ridings: news story

I'm not sure why it's in the London Free Press and not a Toronto newspaper, but there's a story in the London Free Press about the automated calls from Pat O'Brien's anti-same sex marriage. The story seems to be consistent with everything I blogged about yesterday (here)

Calls from pro-traditional marriage group causes headaches for Conservative

NEWMARKET, Ont. — An automated phone message endorsing a Conservative in a riding north of Toronto is causing headaches for the candidate.

Newmarket-Aurora residents have been getting the calls from Vote Marriage Canada, a group opposed to same-sex marriage. In the message, spokesman Pat O’Brien asks residents to complete a survey on same-sex marriage and endorses Conservative candidate Lois Brown.

But many residents say they’ve been receiving dozens of the calls, with one business saying it had more than 50 in an afternoon. Rita Smith, Brown’s communications manager, says they didn’t approve the message and have filed complaints with police and Elections Canada.

O’Brien says he doubts people have been receiving dozens of the calls, and notes it’s within CRTC rules to conduct the survey. Smith disagrees, saying Brown’s campaign office has been flooded with complaints.

‘‘We had nothing to do with this demon dialler phone blast. It was just dropped like a bomb on the riding.

‘‘This is the last thing that anybody needs on the weekend before E-Day.’’

Brown is in a tight race in Newmarket-Aurora, where she is up against Liberal candidate Belinda Stronach.

Update. See now the CBC report.

Friday, January 20, 2006

heterosexual marriage is a gamble…

As you can see by comparing this website

with this one



(Hattip to posters at this rabble thread)

Update For the source of the picture, see here.

Conservative candidate complains to the OPP about Defend Marriage callout

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been demon-dialed today with a message from Defend Marriage Canada. It is Pat O'Brien's voice idenifying himself as having left the Liberal party over bill C-36, the same-sex marriage bill, asking several automated questions and then informing me that the endorsed candidate in my riding was [insert-name of Conservative candidate].

Shrug. Who cares. 15 minutes later, the same call.

Less of a shrug. Might care a little bit. 15 minutes later, the same call.

Now I'm annoyed enough that I phone the campaign office in question. A nice young man answers, but as soon as I mention the calls becomes very apologetic insisting that Defend Marriage have nothing to do with them. Apparently they've been getting angry phone calls all day, and that… get this … they've phoned the OPP to complain about the calls.

That is not all. The young man said that the OPP complaint was originally filed by Lois Brown's campaign, where this calling has been going on all day.

So, it seems that the conservatives have not been able to keep their crazy aunt hidden in the attic, and at least in these two ridings, it seems that they're doing some damage.

(By the way, if you get one of these calls, be sure to phone your local conservative candidate. It'll keep them off-balance going into election day.)

Update. Apparently even Conservatives find the calls annoying. See this thread over at Free Dominion

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Linda West's university has a world wide reputation ...

As we've been seeing over the last couple days, Linda West, CPC candidate in Elmswood-Transcona includes as part of her educational background a PhD from "Washington University" (here). This is not the Washington University of St. Louis, but Washington International University, a mail-order outfit in Pennsylvania.

This "university" has been attracting its share of legal troubles. The real Washington University sued it and forced it to change its name to Washington International University (see here). And it was driven out of Hawaii by the Department of Commerce and Consumer affairs (see here).

Washington International University has attracted legal attention from other jurisdictions, too.

Michigan includes it in its list of institutions that will not be recognized in applications for civil service positions.

In Oregon degrees from WIU are "invalid for use in state or licensed employment in Oregon and the use of such degrees can result in criminal prosecution or civil penalties depending on the circumstances of the use".

WIU degrees have been dismissed as worthless in Pakistan, Sweden (see p. 25), and Singapore.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Linda West's university's legal troubles in Hawaii

As we've been seeing, Linda West, CPC candidate in Elmswood-Transcona includes as part of her educational background a PhD from "Washington University" (here). This is not the Washington University of St. Louis (which is a top University), but Washington International University, a mail-order outfit in Pennsylvania with a faculty of seven.

This "university" has been attracting its share of legal troubles because of its activities. The real Washington University sued it and forced it to change its name to Washington International University (see here).

The office of Consumer Protection in Hawaii, where WIU was based, brought complaints against it in 1999 that it violated consumer protection laws (pdf here) and required it (among other things) "to dissolve its Hawaii corporation and shall not represent in any literature or promotional documents it is incorporated in or affiliiated with the state of Hawaii." (item 6 of the judgement: pdf, here). According to the Hawaii Dept. of Commer and Consumer Affairs, WIU Hawaii dissolved in March 2000 (here).

Some background about Linda West's (Elmwood Transcona) university

As we saw in the last post, Linda West, CPC candidate in Elmswood-Transcona includes as part of her educational background a PhD from "Washington University" (here). This is not the Washington University of St. Louis (which is a top University), but Washington International University, a mail-order outfit in Pennsylvania with a faculty of seven.

Over at the CBC Forum for Elmwood Transcona, West herself tried to clarify matters
The University of Washington, as it was called when I attended is a degree granting institution in the United States and when I graduated it provided my with a diploma that was notarized by the state.
A little digging around confirms. Here I've archived a news story about how the institution came to have its present name: it was originally Washington University, but it was sued by the real Washington University in St. Louis. Especially noteworthy quote:
"We are entrepreneurs, we are not educators," says Yil Karademir, the Lower Merion businessman who, with his wife, runs the university and readily acknowledges it is not accredited. "I'm in it for money. I'm not in it for education."

Karademir and his wife founded Washington University three years ago. It's incorporated in Hawaii and the British Virgin Islands - and, no, it's not connected to the better-known Washington University, the one in St. Louis. That school is suing Karademir's, claiming trademark infringement.
In an article in the New York Times about degree mills, the outcome of the suit is reported (the full article is archived, here):
An unaccredited school called Washington University, which has an office in Bryn Mawr, Pa., but is incorporated in Hawaii and the British Virgin Islands, settled a suit in June filed by the more established Washington University of St. Louis. The suit charged that the unaccredited school infringed on its trademark and engaged in unfair competition.

The details of the settlement are confidential, but the consent judgment entered by the court told the school to come up with a new name, and one that separated the words "Washington" and "University" with a word of at least 10 characters.

Yil Karademir, who owns the unaccredited school, chose Washington International University. (Unaccredited schools tend to favor the word "International," as well as "America," "United" and "Pacific.")
The article goes on to report
Mr. Karademir said his school is made up mostly of international students who are given academic credit for life experience, though he plans to add on-line courses in the fall. Washington International's Web site is extensive and promises to grant degrees in one year. "The academic comunity sic find our degree programs to be OUTSTANDING!" the Web site declares. "All Washington International University degrees are ATTESTED and sealed for authenticity by a Government appointed NOTARY!"

Costs range from $2,850 for a Bachelor of Science in business administration to $7,400 for a combination bachelor's and master's degree.

[Edited to archive full article here and add NYT article]

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

CPC Linda West touts mail-order PhD

Over the weekend there was a story in the Winnipeg Free Press (quoted at POGGE, whom I hattip) questioning the academic credentials of Linda West, Conservative candidate in Winnipeg. Her webpage lists her academic achievements thus, "RN, BA, MBA, CHE, Ph.D.", specifying further down the page that her Doctor of Philosophy in Health Administration is from "Washington University".

The Free Press pointed out that "Dr." West's degree was not from Washington University in St. Louis, but from Washington International University, an unaccredited university in the USA.

When this was brought-up in the CBC Forum for Elmwood Transcona, West herself made an appearance and clarified matters:
In the mid to late 1990s I was involved in a project to improve rural health care by strengthening rural ER services. It involved having care providers having a real say in what was done. I wanted to measure and study the results. It was the ideal thesis material.

I approached the UofM and other Canadian Universities all of whom would accept me only if I quite work. If I quite work I would lose my access to the data – talk about a rock and a hard spot.

The University of Washington, as it was called when I attended is a degree granting institution in the United States and when I graduated it provided my with a diploma that was notarized by the state.
I'm not sure where to begin here. First, it is a little disconcerting that West does not even know the name of the institution that she attended. It is not 'Washington University', as in her website, nor the 'University of Washington' (another fairly good real university: see here), as she calls it here.

Perhaps we should not be surprised that West could be confused about the name. It is, after all, hardly a large institution. Indeed, its webpage lists its seven faculty members, only two of whom hold PhDs (see here). This is beyond miniscule. For comparison, Ontario has a 'rule of 10' which requires that university departments must have 10 faculty members in order to offer a PhD degree. That an entire university has only seven faculty members is beyond derision.

Nor is the program at Washington International University very rigorous. On their webpage here they tell us that:
Your extensive work experience, specialized training received and professional knowledge in your field eliminates the need for core materials
And elsewhere we learn that
All accelerated degree programs are designed to be completed within one year.
So West spent one year, part-time, on her "PhD". For comparison, a PhD at a real University (like the real Washington University in St. Louis, or the University of Washington in Seattle) is typically five years of full-time work. This is why earning a PhD is in itself a considerable achievement, which is in turn why people like West want to have one. It is a grueling process.


Monday, January 16, 2006

How expensive is Conservative committment on fiscal imbalance?

For those who've missed it, the economist who endorsed the Conservative platform as economically sound has issued a clarification: the Conservative platform that he had seen did not include the commitment to pay for out-of-jurisdiction health-care or for correcting the so-called fiscal imbalance.

The Conservatives have an explanation (here):
Conservative finance critic Monte Solberg said last night the Tories did not put a price tag on fixing the fiscal imbalance because that remains to be worked out in deals with premiers.
The Conservatives, of course, could tell us what their proposal would be and cost it out. As it happens, we already have a provincial proposal made by Quebec's Commission on the Fiscal Imbalance, which concluded that
to restore fiscal balance within the federation, the provinces must have additional financial resources. In Québec's case, the Commission estimated these financial resources at a minimum of $2 billion per year in the near term, and at least $3 billion annually in the medium term.

For the provinces as a whole, the Commission estimates that $8 billion in additional financial resources is needed annually in the near term.
Now, it may well be that the Conservatives' proposal to fix the 'imbalance' is less expensive. But even if a Conservative government met Quebec half way, we're looking at an extra $4 billion per year. That is not a trivial amount.

Strategic voting

Greg Morrow over at Democratic Space has put together a strategic voting guide for each of the mainline parties. Most ridings are not competitive. But there are dozens where a few hundred strategically cast votes might make the difference by voting for their second choice. Go check them out here:

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Conservative candidate Zeisman dumped

CTV news is reporting that Zeisman has been dumped by the Conservatives. If he is elected, apparently he will not sit with the caucus.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Conservative candidate Zeisman charged with smuggling

CTV is reporting that the Conservative candidate for Southern Interior, Derek Zeisman, is facing charges for smuggling. See here.

Update. More on the Zeisman story here.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Standing Up for Canada

Here's a Conservative who is standing up for Canada. From here
Jon Lord
Western separatism based on lies
Albertans pay more in federal taxes because they have higher incomes

As a former Conservative politician and Calgary MLA, I was often attacked by the far right within my own party – dissed as a "Joe Clark Red Tory," labelled a socialist for speaking up on topics like increased income for AISH recipients and affordable housing for young people, or for staying in homeless shelters in disguise. It got worse when I helped advocate (successfully) for increased gay rights, and when I became the only Conservative MLA in Alberta to point out possible Kyoto benefits. Not surprisingly, many Conservatives didn’t support me in the last election, so I got fired.

Nonetheless, I’ve always been inspired by the words of Abraham Lincoln: "He serves his party best, who serves his country first." So, at further risk to my reputation, I am going to speak against a subject that many hold dear: western separation.

According to a recent poll in the Western Standard, young people are leaning more and more towards separation. If this trend and that poll can be believed, I would find it deeply disturbing – even if the usual propaganda touted as the benefits of separation were actually true, but even more so because they are not. At best, the separatist arguments tell only half the story; at worst, they are downright misleading.

Let’s start with that oft-repeated statement about Albertans sending $3,500 more per person to Ottawa each year than we get back – that we have been pillaged to the tune of billions in subsidizing the rest of Canada. Obviously, a compelling argument, especially if you have already been indoctrinated into the fold, or just don’t know what questions you ought to be asking.

You might view it differently if you were to realize that this $3,500 figure is actually just discussing the "government transfer" side of the ledger, and not private sector wealth transfers, which actually flow massively in the other direction. The reason Albertans pay more in income taxes to Ottawa is because a large number of us have much higher average incomes than the rest of the country does – not because we are Albertans. And the reasons that many Albertans have much higher incomes on average is because they benefit from the oil and gas industry, and the rest of the country has to send us increasing truckloads of money to buy all that oil and gas. Much higher incomes equal higher income taxes, whether you are in Quebec, Halifax or Calgary, and guess who is gathering up by far the most money per capita in Canada after taxes? So we send a little back, but look what they are sending us!

I would further challenge that $3,500 figure with the following questions: Who did the measuring and what did they include in the accounting? Did that $3,500 figure include our share of National Defence spending as a "benefit" to Alberta – or is that deemed a subsidy from us to the rest of Canada? Are civil servants who live in Ottawa, but who work full-time administering Alberta pensions and taxes, counted as a "benefit" to Alberta or an expense? How much of each dollar that we send to the City of Calgary do we "get back" in goods and services, knowing that 70 per cent of each dollar goes to civic employee salaries and wages? Does this mean we only get 30 per cent back? Or 100 per cent?

Let’s take a look at some other wealth transfers. What is the value of the brain drain of hundreds of thousands of the best and brightest Canadians from coast to coast moving to Alberta, bringing their incomes and bank accounts and family savings and expensive educations along with them, and who are now paying provincial income taxes to this province instead of Quebec or elsewhere? Alberta is the beneficiary of probably the largest interprovincial net wealth transfer in Canadian history on a per capita basis – into, not out of, the province. Puts a bit of a different spin on the "orphan child of Confederation" the separatists keep talking about, doesn’t it?

I could go on and on. I could talk about the first national energy policy (the one where we did it to them). It was called Diefenbaker’s National Oil Policy, and it forced easterners to buy only our oil, at well above prevailing world oil prices at the time, and among other things it decimated Quebec’s petrochemical industry, which used to be at the forefront in Canada. (Dief also did that Avro Arrow thing, so no wonder easterners would never vote for a western prime minister ever again – er, until 39-year-old Joe Clark came along and proved it could be done, thus disproving that separatist claim as well.)

As for the National Energy Program in the 1980s, which is claimed to have cost Albertans $80 billion – can anyone show me any such cheque? Facts are the $80 billion is mostly just estimated additional profits that didn’t get made, and probably wouldn’t have been made, and if they had been made, they would have mostly gone south if they hadn’t gone east anyway, because the oil industry was 80 per cent American-owned at the time. I was here – and I think it was the then-prevailing 22 per cent interest rates that did the most damage to our real estate values – and those sky-high rates were doing the same thing all over North America, not just Alberta. Further (at the risk of really getting people mad at me here), for every single distressed seller back then, wasn’t there a risk-taking buyer, who got one heck of a deal and actually got richer as a direct result of the NEP? In other words, didn’t a lot of entrepreneurial people actually end up buying the fleeing American oil and gas assets, at fire-sale prices, while others snapped up prime real estate all over Calgary for pennies on the dollar? Why don’t we ever hear a single word about that side of the equation?

But moving on, who did what to whom first, and engaging in tit for tat against "foreigners" from outside Alberta, isn’t a productive exercise. A little local pride is a good thing, but when it turns into tribal hate mongering against perceived "outsiders," well, that is another thing entirely.

Anyone who has built a successful company knows that to really succeed, you must first start by building a great team. To build a great team, it is vital to attract a very diverse group of talent, since there are many completely different jobs that need doing. It’s nice, but not necessary, that this group of people get along with each other on a personal basis. In fact, they may intensely dislike each other, but that is not important, as long as the job gets done right, which requires professionalism, mutual respect and tolerance. In fact, a team is usually strengthened, not weakened, by a large diversity of thought, opinion and expertise amongst its members – and conversely, any organization that only recruits "like-minded" individuals soon begins to suffer.

Now apply the same philosophy to building a great political party, and then building a great nation. I am really tired of hearing how other Canadians outside Alberta are "different" than us, and that therefore we should separate. Having continually and thoroughly insulted Ontarians and virtually all other Canadians, how can we expect them to vote for a party that is often viewed as representing only Western demands? This is not the type of thinking that builds great nations.

I certainly am not suggesting that you vote Liberal –their well-meaning policies usually result in the exact opposite of what was intended. However, they have managed to be perceived, at least, as being the only party standing up for a united Canada (although, as usual, their baggage has had precisely the opposite effect). But I think the Conservative Party is also badly embarrassed, and is badly held down in the polls nationally, by some of our members who only seem to stand for the West getting a better deal – or else!

O Canada, indeed.

P.S. Note to separatists: Save the angry abuse – one of the advantages of not being in public office anymore is that I can’t be threatened with being "taken out" in the next election.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Buckets endorses ... (4)

Continuing my list of endorsements.
  • Jim Prentice (CPC, Calgary Center)
  • James Moore (CPC, Port Moody, BC)
  • Gerald Keddy (CPC, South Shore, NS)
  • Josée Verner (CPC, Louis-Saint-Laurent, Quebec)
  • Anne McLellan (Lib., Edmonton Center)
  • Olivia Chow (NDP, Trinity-Spadina)
  • Andrew Lewis (Green, Saanich Islands, BC)
Here I add:
  • Brenda Locke (Lib, Fleetwood-Port Kells, BC)
  • Jennifer Pollock (Lib, Calgary West)

Today's endorsements have almost nothing to do with the candidates themselves. They are the beneficiaries of an 'anybody but…' process.

Brenda Locke is not normally the kind of candidate I would enthuse about. But she's running against Nina Grewal, who doesn't belong in Parliament (see here)
Jennifer who? I know nothing about her. But the Liberals were the second place finishers (16k) to Rob Anders last time (31k). Maybe she doesn't have a chance of winning (rule 2). But hey--a guy can dream, can't he?

Take the Buckets Challenge. The rules: (1) try to create a list of candidates whom you would like to see in parliament that is balanced amongst parties and (2) contains only candidates who have a reasonable chance of winning. (Bonus marks for those who also provide gender balance!)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

CTV news story on Stamp/Psycho

I must run out the door, but…

If you haven't seen it yet, the CTV TV story can now be seen here, clicking on the video link on the right side of the page.

out of the office

Hi all,

I have to travel on business until Sunday and will be blogging less and unable to moderate the comments. I'll be turning them off until next week.

If there is something that you need to tell me about right away, you can email me at

Josee Verner's social policies?

Josee Verner is the Conservative Candidate in

the Interim, a prolife publication:
The best result for the CPC among the Quebec candidates was in Louis-Saint-Laurent, an eastern suburb of Quebec City, where Josee Verner, an anti-life and pro-gay marriage candidate, got more than 30 per cent, second place behind the BQ.
A comment to an earlier post pointed out this post over at Tasteful Future, asserts the opposite:
the candidate who ran away from a post-press conference interview was the only star candidate the CPC has in the region, Josée Werner, who was actually grabbed by Tory campaign people and stormed out of the room when the gay marriage issue came up. It's to be noted she has very strong views against same-sex marriage, which isn't a winner in Québec.
Anyone know anything more about this?

Update: Canadian Press NewsWire, January 20, 2005: "Harper's Quebec wing, including his unelected Quebec lieutenant, Josee Verner, openly support gay marriage, a woman's right to an abortion and other liberal-leaning positions."

Monday, January 02, 2006

Buckets endorses ... (3)

Continuing my list of endorsements.
  • Jim Prentice (CPC, Calgary Center)
  • James Moore (CPC, Port Moody, BC)
  • Gerald Keddy (CPC, South Shore, NS)
  • Josée Verner (CPC, Louis-Saint-Laurent, Quebec)
  • Anne McLellan (Lib., Edmonton Center)
Here I add:
  • Olivia Chow (NDP, Trinity-Spadina)
  • Andrew Lewis (Green, Saanich Islands, BC)
Olivia Chow probalby needs not much explanation. To it can be added that I don't much like the incumbant whom she would be unseating (Ianno: see here, e.g.).

Andrew Lewis is one of the few Greens that has a chance of winnig. It's a long-shot, admittedly, but he got 10,000 votes last time, and in a four-way split he's in striking distance.

(I am sticking with Ms. Verner for now, despite her views on ssm-marriage as pointed out in the comments of her thread; I am willing to hold my nose on this one occasionally. [Update: are we sure that Verner is in fact against ssm? Look at this article in the Interim out of Campaign Life: it describes her as anti-life and pro-ssm marriage.)

Take the Buckets Challenge. The rules: try to create a list of candidates whom you would like to see in parliament that is balanced amongst parties and contains only candidates who have a reasonable chance of winning. (Bonus marks for those who also provide gender balance!)

DanReport: which MP and board president discussed separatism with Stamp/Psycho?

As regular readers know, Gordon Stamp, who posted regularly on Freedominion and elsewhere under the handle Stamp, resigned his position as campaign chair of Conservative MP Peter Goldring over posts that expressed separatist sympathies.

In one of these posts (here), Stamp reports that he was part of a discussion about separatism with other officials in the CPC.
It was funny sitting at a table a few months ago when one long term MP, our Board president and I were in a conversation. Our president was telling the MP that although most of the people he worked with supported separatism, it wasn't going to fly. The MP told him to check out his Board because he would find separatist sentiment. I smiled and raised my hand - if looks could kill... The point is that the CPC candidates know what is going on. They (as Preston Manning did) are trying to stave off the destruction of Canada.
Over at the Dan Report, Dan speculates on which Conservative MP it was. Those who want to keep up with the story may want to check it out.

It strikes me that before that question can be answered, it would be easier to identify the board president that Stamp mentions. Anyone know?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Buckets endorses ... (2)

Continuing my list of endorsements.
  • Jim Prentice (CPC, Calgary Center)
  • James Moore (CPC, Port Moody, BC)
  • Gerald Keddy (CPC, South Shore, NS)
Here I add
  • Josée Verner (CPC, Louis-Saint-Laurent, Quebec)
  • Anne McLellan (Lib., Edmonton Center)
Ms. Verner came second last time and has proved an intelligent and articulate spokesperson for her party in Quebec. More importantly, it would be good for the country for the Conservative Party to have representation in Quebec.

By the same token, it is better for the country for the Liberals to have representation in Alberta, and Anne McLellan has proved a solid cabinet performer when given some very difficult tasks.

Update. The rules of the little game that I've set myself here--and challenge other bloggers to try--are going to be refined. I suggest that those who do this must endorse an equal number of candidates from each of the three main parties. This means that in order for NDP-supporters to expand their lists of endorsed-dippers, they must find more Liberals and Conservatives that they find tolerable. Give it a try.

Update 2. Another rule. Only candidates that have a reasonable shot at winning!

Contingent Canadians

Over the last few days, vigorous discussion has broken out about what, indeed, one must say in order to be regarded as a separatist. Apparently for some, something like this does not qualify:
Many of us in Alberta are working on our last federal campaign if the Liberals remain in power - we will be working on Alberta separation after January 23...
Stamp here says that he will only begin working on Alberta separation after the election if the Liberals are re-elected. (He said the same thing following the last election, see here, and for all we know had said it about Cretien's re-elections, too. But let's leave that aside.) There are, of course, other posts where his separatist sympathies are less qualified, for example at Project Alberta, where under the handle 'Gord S.' he closed many postings with the proclamation that "Canada has no moral justification to exist". (See also his separatist statements here.)

But let us allow Mr. Stamp, and those like him, a mental footnote: "Canada has no moral justification to exist (after January 23 if the Liberals are re-elected)".

Frankly, to me, whether someone is an out-and-out separatist or a proto-separatist does not much matter. Contingent Canadians--those who say that they are happy to be Canadian if the country does one thing or stops doing another--do no credit to themselves or their ideas. OK. Let's wave our magic wand and make the Conservatives the government. Will not Mr. Stamp and his kind merely reinvoke their tawdry little threat at every political cross-roads? The Supreme court overrules a pet piece of legislation? "We'll start working for separation!" A member of his party crosses the floor? "Separation!" The Conservatives are unsuccessful in convincing the provinces of its constitutional agenda? "Separation!" It looks like they might lose an election? Etc. Etc. Etc.

No. Commit yourself. Either in or out. Grow up and decide. Show some respect for yourself and your beliefs.

I am a Canadian. I was born Canadian. I will die a Canadian. I have lived most of my life in the west, am now living in Ontario, and by the time I die might have the privilege to live elsewhere in this great nation. I am proud of Canada, its history, and its achievements. I like who we are and what we're becoming. I will not vote for anyone who asks me to defend Canada to them; nor will I vote for anyone who knowingly associates with such a person. I want people in public life who can articulate their reasons that Canada has "a moral justification to exist" no matter what mistakes its people or governments make. I do what I can to get along with my fellow man, but I will not change my vote to buy off contingent Canadians.

(I welcome comments that adhere to my comments policy.)

Buckets endorses ... (1)

As I mentioned here, I am embarking on a series of endorsements for individual candidates from all parties. I do this not under any misapprehension that anyone cares who I endorse. Rather, I think it is a useful exercise (1) to try to find worthy people in all parties.

I begin with a trio of Conservatives:
  • Jim Prentice (Calgary Center)
  • James Moore (Port Moody, BC)
  • Gerald Keddy (South Shore, NS)
These are three of the four Conservatives who voted in favour of same-sex marriage last spring, despite very strong lobbying efforts against them from within their own parties. (The other, Stronach, defected to the Liberals.)

Although support for same-sex marriage is not an absolute litmus test for me, I would find it very difficult to vote for any candidate that was eager to drag the nation back through the same-sex marriage debate. It was unpleasant and divisive enough to go through the first time. We don't need to do it again.

CPC MP says separation never discussed

For those tuning in late, Gordon Stamp, campaign chair in Edmonton East for Conservative MP Peter Goldring, resigned the other day when it was revealed that he had expressed separatist sympathies--he now denies he's a separatist--on Free Dominion. (See the three posts starting here; for a good overview of events, see the summary here.)

Conservative MP Goldring, naturally enough, tried to distance himself from Stamp and Free Dominion (here). The Journal adds:
Goldring, who was on his way back to Edmonton from New Brunswick, said he has known Stamp for eight years, but they had never discussed Alberta separation.
One would hope so. Psycho/Stamp has said some things on the internet that would seem to contradict that (here):
It was funny sitting at a table a few months ago when one long term MP, our Board president and I were in a conversation. Our president was telling the MP that although most of the people he worked with supported separatism, it wasn't going to fly. The MP told him to check out his Board because he would find separatist sentiment. I smiled and raised my hand - if looks could kill...

The point is that the CPC candidates know what is going on.
Stamp stops short of identifying the Conservative MP to whom he confessed his separatist leanings. But he is quite emphatic in his statement that Edmonton's CPC MPs know that there are separatists in their midst.

new comments policy

Please note that I generally don't turn the comment-feature on. Comments, to be frank, are a bit of a headache, and I don't have the patience to baby-sit.

When I do allow comments, they will be normally be moderated, and potential commentators should know that I am selective about what I allow. Honest disagreement is fine, when expressed respectfully and concisely. Comments that I judge to be off-topic, irrelevant, glib, or unreasonably disputatious will be rejected, as will ad hominem attacks, general trollishness, or base stupidity. There will be absolutely no name-calling, eye-gouging, or hair-pulling. Overly lengthy comments are not welcome--it is better to make your argument in your own blog and link to it in your comments. And 'cut-and-paste' from other sites is forbidden. Again, link and summarize.  Generally speaking, opinions submitted by those without active blogs will have a harder time making the cut. 

Decisions are final.  If you don't like this, feel free to denounce me -- but elsewhere. (Comments on this comment policy will not be approved.)