Friday, December 30, 2005

Gordon "Psycho" Stamp Gone, Income Trusts Still Here

I'm still not back, but I promised to post if something big hit.

One controversy that was unfolding, was that of comments made by Gordon Stamp, the campaign chairman for Edmonton East and Conservative candidate Peter Goldring. He was quoted as saying [Bouquets of Gray, Conservative Official: "Alberta has no future in Canada", easterners are "idiots"]:
[Same-sex marriage] was not an election issue. Canadian voters never really considered that - which is why the Liberals are terrified to have that "hot potato" around in the upcoming election. That is why they shoved it through both the House of Commons and the Senate - they know most voters are stupid and will forget that the next time they vote.

Which confirms to me that Alberta has no future in Canada. We refuse to be ruled by a corrupt dictatorship that continually stays in power by a bunch of eastern voting idiots."
That has since been resolved [Bouquets of Gray, the last time I did this...]:
Statement by Peter Goldring:

"This evening I learned about comments posted on the internet by Mr. Gordon Stamp, who has been serving as manager of my campaign in Edmonton East. I was deeply disturbed by these comments, which in no way reflect my views or those of the Conservative Party. To the contrary, I have spent my entire adult life fighting for a united Canada, and, in fact, was drawn into public service to fight for Canada as a united federation.

"Mr. Stamp has stepped down as the campaign manager for Edmonton East."
Good job, Buckets, and good job, Mr. Goldring.

Mr. Stamp does not belong in any Conservative Party that I know of, and he certainly doesn't belong in mine.

Mr. Stamp, good riddance.


So, that's one controversy down, and another to go [M.K. Braaten, CTV provides evidence of possible leak]:
Tonight CTV National news had even more devastating news for the Martin Liberals. CTV has found individuals who offered evidence of a leak from within the Ministry of Finance.

...

The theory previously floated by some that investors purchased only on speculation appears to be more and more flimsy by the day. With heavy hitters on Bay Street claiming they received emails from Liberal strategists containing information about the yet-to-be released tax announcement, one can only think the most plausible outcome of this scandal is that there was in fact a leak. It appears the reason the RCMP initiated a criminal investigation looks more and more warranted by the day.
Head over to M.K.'s site for the full quotes.

We'll see if that one resolves as nicely. My guess, is no. And, my guess is that this won't be resolved by January 23rd.

Conservative response ... we'll let the Liberals explain it for a while. That way, we can continue to talk policy.

More on the income trust leak:
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S.O.M.L

Story of my life.

Went to Tim Horton's this morning, and the driver's side window was frozen shut so I couldn't open it at the drive thru. The other three windows opened fine, but not the driver's side. I couldn't go inside the store because I was still in my Maple Leaf pj's. Ahem.

Up until this point, I had been trying the window again and again and again ... no budging.

Anyway, I had to open the door slightly to order the coffee.

I kept trying the window again and again ... no budging.

Then, I had to step out of the car to go up to the window to get the coffee. The kid in the drive thru window had a look on him like I was about to rob the place.

Two seconds after I got back into my car, I tried the window again and, sure enough - it came down.

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Monday, December 26, 2005

Doctor Who's Back

Half way through the Dr. Who "Christmas Invasion" episode.

All I can say, I'm glad Dr. Who is back. That means, more Billie Piper.

What is torchwood? Yes, yes - adapted from alien technology, shoots green lightning blasts a la the Death Star and blows up the Sycorax world ship.

And, Harriet Jones, Prime Minister, has got some grapefruits, murdering all those Sycorax, eh?

Man, I'm a Dr. Who geek.

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Friday, December 23, 2005

It's Funny How Religious and Secular Holidays Combine

To the more religious of us out there, today is Festivus:
Festivus is celebrated each year on December 23, but many people celebrate it other times, often in early December. Its slogan is "A Festivus for the rest of us!" An aluminum pole is generally used in lieu of a Christmas tree or other holiday decoration. Those attending participate in the "Airing of Grievances" which is an opportunity for all to vent their hostilities toward each other, and after a Festivus dinner, The Feats of Strength are performed. Traditionally, Festivus is not over until the head of the household is wrestled to the floor and "pinned."
To those of us in the secular world, today is in fact James Calder Day, where we celebrate my birthday. I know people do this because they decorate houses this time of year. I'm not sure I get the tree thing, but oh well.

So, to end confusion, Festivus observances will become James Calder Day observances. That is, we will all participate in the Airing of Grievances. However, it is insufficient to simply pin the head of household; the head of household must submit to an ankle lock, a la Kurt Angle's ankle lock pictured above.

Seasons Greetings, everyone, and Happy Birthday to moi.

:)


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Which Chess Piece Are You?

Unlike Socialist Swine, I am:

The White Queen

You scored 4 Power-Finesse, 3 Leader-Follower, 2 Unique-Ordinary, and 4 Offense-Defense!



You don't feel the need to express your perfect and terrible power on the chessboard-- the mere threat of it is enough to cause the Black team to cower before you. You usually hang back, letting the peasantry quarrel among themselves. Your minions know that you are protecting them, and so they will gain the upper hand. Should your followers' ranks become thin, you are able and willing to finish the job through your skill and menace.







My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:



















free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 80% on Power-Finesse





free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 44% on Leader-Follower





free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 19% on Unique-Ordinary





free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 78% on Offense-Defense
Link: The What Chess Piece Are You Test written by Gundark27 on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test


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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sirius Canada to Compete with ... Sirius US?

A Globe & Mail piece [A Sirius test: How to get subscribers on board without Stern] suggests that by Sirius Canada not picking up Howard Stern (for whatever reason that no one seems to be commenting on) may face competition from Sirius US:
Plans by New York-based Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. to add controversial talk show host Howard Stern to its lineup on Jan. 9 could put the Canadian company, which is not picking up the program, in a fight for listeners with its part-owner.

Although Canada's new satellite radio industry is expected to diminish much of the grey market that thrived over the past few years, where listeners tap into U.S. signals, Mr. Stern's show threatens to lure Canadian listeners away.

Analysts estimate there are as many as 60,000 grey market listeners in Canada who subscribe to U.S. satellite radio. Converting that audience to Canadian subscriptions is now a key job for Sirius Canada and Canadian Satellite Radio Inc., operator of the XM network.
The same piece also indicates that Sirius Canada has denied the claim that Howard will appear on Sirius Canada in March.

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Bermuda Triangle meet Blogs

I've been noticing that when I'm surfing blogs today, inexplicably, my IE Browser closes. Is it just me?

Sometimes, it's just the window with the blog, but I've also noticed that if I have multiple browsers up, they all close.

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You Can't Fire Her, She Already Quit

Liberal4Life eloquently paints Sheila Copps thusly [Liberal4Life, Sheila Copps Makes Me Sick]:
How the Hell can you support the principals of the the Liberal party when you're currently trying to defeat one of its Cabinet Ministers? Am I missing something here?!? She needs to be thrown out the party. I mean my God I have issues with the party too but that doesn't mean I go out and support the far righters or the far lefties.

The sad thing is there are probably Liberals out there that will still support piece of human garbage. Hey! YOU LOST! deal with it!
The "human garbage" let her Liberal Party membership lapse, as reported by the Hamilton Spectator; it's by subscription only but Google News lets you around that.
[Sheila] Copps, who has let her Liberal Party membership lapse, said [Liberal House Leader, Tony] Valeri does not deserve to get re-elected "because if you win your nomination using stealth, you don't deserve the confidence of the people."
Whoops. I just needed to show Sheila Copps let her membership lapse, not why she let it lapse. I guess she's still nobody's baby.

That said, both Conservative candidate, Frank Rukavina, and NDP candidate, Wayne Marston, are tapping into Sheila Copps' vast electoral experience [Ottawa Sun, Tory gets Copps' counsel].

Other takes:

Updated: Added Scott's take.

Updated x 2: Apparently, L4L is on to why I posted about his post. Yes. I simply wanted to post that you were factually incorrect. That's it. My reason for existence is over.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Chain Letters, a Year in Review

I got this in my email, origin unknown.

Dear friends:

My heartfelt appreciation goes out to all of you who have taken the time and trouble to send me "forwards" over the past 12 months. Thank you for making me feel safe, secure, blessed, healthy and brought many a smile to my face.

1. Extra thanks to whoever sent me the email about rat crap in the glue on envelopes - 'cause I now have to go get a wet towel every time I need to seal an envelope.

2. Also, I scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason. Because of your genuine concern, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it I know it can remove toilet stains, which is not exactly an appealing characteristic.

3. I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could be pricked with a needle infected with some horrible disease.

4. Or sit in cinema seats for the same reason.

5. I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

6. I no longer go to shopping malls because someone might drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

7. Or if I did survive the shops I would be grabbed, raped and murdered by a nasty man in the car park.

8. I no longer eat KFC because their "chickens" are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

9. However, I no longer worry about my soul because at last count I have 363,214 angels looking out for me.

10. Thanks to you I have learnt that God only answers my prayers if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

11. I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl on the internet who is about to die in the hospital (for the 1,387,258th time).

12. In fact, I no longer have any money at all but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special on-line email program.

Yes, I want to thank you all so much for looking out for me that I will now return the favour!

If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 7 minutes, a large pigeon with a wicked case of diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 PM (EST) this afternoon. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbour's, ex-mother-in-law's, second husband's, cousin's beautician.

Only then will you be able to enjoy the festive season with your special friends and family and prepare well for the new year.

.... Oh, and Have a nice day !

Best wishes for the festive season!
Updated: Fixed the Technorati tags.

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Zellers = Scrooge

Wow [Canadian Press via Canada.com, Que. man fired from Zellers for taking chocolate out of garbage for his kids]:

A single father of three fired for taking chocolate bars from a garbage bin at a Zellers store will get some Christmas cheer from a charitable organization.

Guy Masse, 47, had planned to give the discarded chocolate to his children, ages six, nine and 15, for Christmas.

Masse, who was on welfare and had been working at the store only for a couple of months, was first suspended and then fired.
How does Zellers respond?

"Unfortunately this associate breached the trust of his supervisors by removing merchandise from the store, and as a result, he was let go from his position.''
Did Zellers ask why their employee felt the need to take the chocolate bars from the garbage? Or better, does Zellers feel the chocolate bars serve a higher purpose in the garbage?

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Move Over Captain Canada ...

The 'sphere is buzzing on the news that Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper has told Gilles Duceppe that he will meet him for a one-on-one debate on his terms - in Quebec, and in French [CBC, Harper challenges Duceppe to debate 1-on-1]:

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is willing to debate one-on-one in French with Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe on a Quebec television network.

Liberal Leader Paul Martin has already rejected a similar suggestion from Duceppe.

"If Paul Martin refuses to stand up for Canada, Stephen Harper will," a Conservative strategist told the Canadian Press late on Tuesday.
This is after Paul Martin challenged Gilles Duceppe to meet him on any street in Quebec, and then when Mr. Duceppe accepted - Mr. Martin backed away.

The Conservative Party has long suffered in Quebec, regularly polling below 10%, and not holding a seat in some time. In the worst case example, that any confrontation with Gilles Duceppe does not improve CPC fortunes in the province, it does show Paul Martin to be full of wind when it comes to defending Canada against the separatists face-to-face.

Paul Martin can't do it. He'll lose.

He can't be subjected to the fact that the Liberal Party is the single reason the Bloc Québécois is so successful today.

Even Quebec Liberal Leader, Jean Charest, and ADQ Leader, Mario Dumont [Toronto Star, Why Harper win won't faze Charest], understand that there is another option for federalism in Quebec.

Hat tips a plenty:

Updated: Lord Kitchener's Own provides another viewpoint on this call for a 1 on 1 debate between Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe.

Updated x 2: Mr. Duceppe has indicated he will not debate Mr. Harper one-on-one, saying there is no point, since it was Mr. Martin who challenged him and it is him, that Mr. Duceppe wants to debate.

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Ever Get a Hangover When You Weren't Drinking?

I can't believe I watched that whole debate ... Nobody won, but I sure lost. The format doesn't let them debate an issue, all they do is try to get a point in against somebody who doesn't have a turn to speak next.

The only blow I could clearly see came from the viewer question and it was the disabled woman who doesn't work and she was asking Mr. Martin how she will benefit from income tax cuts, and Mr. Martin responds that she will directly benefit from income tax cuts. Hello?

I have a couple more things to add to the NDP Debate Bingo:
  • Social cohesion (4 or 5 times)
  • The National Promise (once)
  • In fact (90 kabillion times)
I don't even know what the National Promise is, and I'm only assuming it is capitalized.

I do want to thank the NDP for the Debate Bingo - it did give us something to do while Paul Martin was deflecting shots.

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British Tories to Form "Modern, Mainstream, Progressive" Option to Labour

I'm not saying anything, I'm just saying.

I think if we look to conservative political movements elsewhere, we can find strategies for success, such that we can appeal to other segments of the population that have typically shied away from the Conservative Party. Ultimately, that is what a political movement is about, delivering on the message that Canadians know to be right.

I think we can borrow elements from the direction of the new Conservative Party of the UK for the Conservative Party of Canada to replace a stagnant Liberal government. I believe their vision meshes with our own.

The hesitation for some, would be that David Cameron, the new leader of the Conservative Party, describes himself as "liberal", but, as Christina [The Centre for Progressive Conservatism] says:

David Cameron ... is being seen as rather liberal because of his emphasis on “we as well as me” politics. Indeed, he describes himself as liberal, by which he means the traditional sense of “liberal” not the authoritarian Nanny State “liberalism” which tells people what to think as well as what to do.

I think the Conservative Party of Canada embraces a lot of these beliefs and we should expand on them. Canadians do not want to be told what's good for them; we already know, and we want that from our government.

I support Mr. Cameron's lead, and I support Britain's new choice for federal government.

Hat tip, to Christina, over at ProgCon.

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Howard Stern Coming to Canada Spring 2006?

Well, I've noticed an increase in the amount of traffic to the site since I started posting about the Howard Stern - Sirius Canada saga. I want to thank everyone who is visiting the site and leaving comments.

I just watched via Yahoo, Howard's last moments on regular radio and he's now on his walk to the Hard Rock Cafe in New York. I'm a big fan, and I'm going to miss the show on my commute in the morning.

It seems clear that it's a Sirius Canada decision to keep Howard Stern off the air, so that means we need to keep the pressure on them to add Howard to their lineup.

That says, the latest rumours have Howard Stern potentially coming to the Sirius Canada lineup in Spring 2006 [Digital Talk Central,
Howard Stern On Sirius Canada In Spring 2006?]

Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" may be on top of the game when it comes to US satellite radio, but in Canada, he's been placed on the bench.

...

According to well placed sources in the industry talking with Digital Talk Central on the condition of anonyminity, we can report that Howard Stern is expected to be included on the Sirius Canada service in the spring of 2006.

So, what's the full meal deal?

First of all, we'd like to make it clear that this is just a rumour (advice from our legal team) and this "exclusive" rumour has not been confirmed by Sirius Canada.

I had seen this rumour being posted all over the place - any readers out there have more information?

I still think Howard should come in January, but I will consider the Sirius subscription when Howard shows up, uncensored.

Previous posts:

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Cowboy-Ninja-Pirate-Knight Test - Which Are You?

A Knight


You scored 6 Honor, 8 Justice, 4 Adventure, and 5 Individuality!

The whole 'protect the innocent, for the Divine and Country" really appeals to you. You're rather go forward that around the side and you're comfortable with traditional values.

Strap on a sword and wear your armor proud. You'll do just fine.










My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 21% on Ninjinuity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 92% on Knightlyness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 8% on Cowboiosity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 41% on Piratical Bent




Link: The Cowboy-Ninja-Pirate-Knight Test written by fluffy71 on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

My Impression of Jim Harris, Green Party Leader

If you weren't aware, Jim Harris, leader of the Green Party of Canada was on the National last night in a town hall meeting hosted by Peter Mansbridge. That was the first time I saw Mr. Harris speak in a format like that - I know the Green Party platform largely from their press releases, but it was the first time I saw Mr. Harris present it.

Mr. Harris differentiated the Green Party from the NDP clearly, as the only party that supports the environment, with the creation of "green collar" jobs and they will not support industries they deem to be big polluters.

Jim Harris dismissed the claim that there would only be voluntary compliance for government regulations on the environment. It seems it's quite a controversial point for the current Green Party.

I think, on the whole, he carried himself well even if it at times it did seem he was not directly answering a question. I don't think it was question avoidance, in the conventional political sense, but just answering a different question then was asked. For instance, when Mr. Harris said something was "unacceptable", that meant he would eliminate or prohibit it. Say instead then "The Green Party would eliminate it".

While I think his statistics were good, I think he could tone down the X% of this, Y megatons of that, in each response as the answer to a question - what is your position and your end goal. Use the statistics to support that goal and only focus on the goal - what are you going to reduce, what are you going to eliminate, or tell us why reducing something by a certain amount will increase something good. Then say, "We're doing this because, Y megatons of this substance affects X% of Canadians."

He's not as slick or polished as the other leaders, but that's not a prerequisite for a job as an MP. And, he's got that Salesman 101 training down pat - "That's a great question, [insert name here]". :-)

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Best Burn Ever

Best burn of the election happened over at daveberta's.

daveberta: Former US President Bill Clinton will be coming to Edmonton in March of 2006!

Yours truly: So, I guess there is zero chance Paul Martin will show up in Alberta before the election, eh?

Ha ha.

Then I got called Bizarro Jim, but that's neither here nor there.

Updated: Okay, it is there, and it is here because I reference it. Meh.

Reality Blurred's Recap of TAR: Family Edition - Must Read

If you're a fan of reality television, then you must have hated this craptacular season of the Amazing Race, the Family Edition. It was painful to watch. Literally, so I gave up half way through.

I encourage everyone to read
Reality Blurred's recaps of the episodes - they are hilarious. RB has them compiled into this one post.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

No Driver's License for You

Well, I waited to see it on the news tonight to make sure I got it right, but the Ontario Liberals are going to prohibit people from getting a driver's license if you dropout of high school before age 18. Plus, they are going to raise the fines for truancy for 16 and 17-year olds from $200 to $1,000.

Did they mean to announce these measures when the Progressive Conservatives released their report on curbing youth violence, detailing stronger policies for helping youth?

Read the comments from the opposition - it'll make you think.

Updated: I fixed the Technorati tags.

Updated x 2: What are they thinking? I just can't fathom this one.

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Give'Em The Boot Bingo

Courtesy of the NDP [NDP Official Site, Welcome to “Give’em the Boot” Bingo], we have a bingo game you can play as you watch Liberal Party Leader Paul Martin talk during the debates. I could see, for those of us less responsible, easily turning this into a drinking game.

When listening to Paul Martin talk, do you ever say to yourself – that sounds familiar? Didn’t he say that last time?

If it was a commitment to do politics differently, clean up the environment, cut the costs of going to university, or improving health care…you’re absolutely correct.

He’s says a lot of things and it’s getting harder and harder to believe him. His biggest problem isn’t making promises – it’s keeping his promises.

So as a public service, we invite you to gather around with family and friends, get some beer and popcorn and settle in for “Give’em the Boot” Bingo during this Friday night’s English Language Leader’s Debate at 8:00pm ET/5pm PT.

During the debate, just cross off each phrase on your bingo card as Paul Martin says it. The first player with five-in-a-row wins.
Beer and popcorn ... that seems like a fantastic idea.

My favourite Martin cliches available on the bingo cards.
  • Transformative change.
  • Fundamentally. I think he's even said something was "fundamentally a fundamental".
  • Let me be perfectly clear.
  • The politics of achievement.

The following, however, are missing:

  • Um.
  • Uh.
  • Ah.
  • Er.

Enjoy.

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Ontario Progressive Conservatives: Time For Action - Violence Affecting Youth

The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party has released its report on curbing youth violence and proposes recommendations that I think everyone should review, especially during this federal election.

The proposals include stemming the flow of illegal weapons into Ontario, creating and funding programs to help those at risk, programs to eliminate the dependence on crime to escape poverty, and ensuring adequate levels of policing in areas needing it. It also includes revisiting the Safe Schools Act.

The PC Party held a summit on youth violence in June 2005, with community and legal activists, and came up with the following four main themes:

  • The importance of early intervention, supporting parenting programs and educating children on right and wrong, early.
  • Stronger and visible police presence, not just to enforce laws, but to actively participate in community programs.
  • Separating youth violence from other minor youth crime - including revisiting the Safe Schools Act.
  • More programs to help in the transition between school and the workforce, and more general programs to help youth in any change of their lives, including reintegrating from incarceration back into general society.

The report also makes specific recommendations that I think everyone should peruse. I would have preferred the report to take less jabs at the current provincial Liberal government (as much as I think they are warranted), but if you skip those, you get a meaningful set of recommendations based upon thoughtful input by those impacted and those on the front line.

There will be a lot of promises made during this election about how to stop violence, and I encourage you to review this report and reflect upon them.

You can find the full report here.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Vote By Issue Quiz

This quiz is currently floating around the 'sphere, so I decided to take a crack. I'm not entirely surprised that I agree with the Conservative Party on 11 issues, nor am I entirely surprised that I agree with the NDP on 9 (maybe 10, because I might be swayed on the MP resigning bit). I told you, I'm a closet Dipper.

The summary (subtracting where I disagree in parentheses):

Conservatives - 11 (10)
NDP - 9/10 (6/8)
Bloc Quebecois - 6 (0)
Liberals - 1 (-10)



I disagreed with the NDP on withholding health transfer payments - I don't think patients should be punished for the provincial governments they elect. And, you might argue that it's not punishing patients as it is that you'd be punishing the provincial governments for not spending the health transfer payments in accordance with Ottawa's wishes, but I think provinces should ultimately decide what health care priorities exist there.

I'm also not entirely sure on the parliamentary reform package that says an MP cannot switch parties unless they resign their seat and run in a by-election. I can sort of see it, because most people vote for the party and not the MP - but, resigning a seat, I'm not sure of. Maybe sit as an independent - but not resigning a seat.

[H/T Socialist Swine]

Updated: Whoops. Here's the link to the quiz. I'm sure if you followed the link through to SS's site, you would have found it there too. My bad.

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Where Should You Live?

Tip to Socialist Swine.


Rowhouse 'Hood
You scored 35 out of 40 on urban-rural and 24 out of 40 land intensity.
People know you as: The Bohemian Gentrifier

Quote: "That crack house just needed a little paint."


Your score indicates that you are a city-dweller of the old-school. You like a dense, finely grained neighborhood with restaurants, churches and brothels all on the same block. Although you've never spoken to him personally, you know that guy Eddie down the street is a pimp and you're sure to tell your lame suburban friends about him at every opportunity, just to freak them out.

The bad news is that as more and more people like you move into your neighborhood it gradually becomes less cool and more expensive. Enjoy things while you can, because in 5 years you're going to have to move to the next 'hood uptown.

Examples of places you should live: Baltimore, Philadelphia

All Categories

Secluded Hideaway / Farm or Ranch / Small Town / Little City / Suburb / Streetcar Suburb / Rowhouse 'Hood / Downtown Loft
My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 96% on urban-rural
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 46% on land intensity
Link: The Where Should You Live Test written by TwelveFloorsUp on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test


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Green Party Petition - Leaders' Debate

The Green Party of Canada has started its own petition to have leader Jim Harris included in the Leaders' Debate. I encourage everyone to sign this.

http://www.info-greenparty.ca/petition/signPetition.html

Why sign?


While I'm not a Green Party supporter, I do believe that the Green Party has a rational platform on national policy that deserves open debate with the other leaders.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Richard Pryor, December 1, 1940 - December 10, 2005

Actor and comedic legend, Richard Pryor, has passed away due to a heart attack at the age of 65. I was probably too young to be a big fan of his, but I did like his stand-up and I loved Stir Crazy and See No Evil, Hear No Evil. From the New York Times:
Richard Pryor, the iconoclastic standup comedian who transcended barriers of race and brought a biting, irreverent humor into America's living rooms, movie houses, clubs and concert halls, died Saturday. He was 65.

Mr. Pryor, who had been ill with multiple sclerosis, suffered a heart attack and died at a hospital in Los Angeles, his wife, Jennifer Lee Pryor, told CNN.

Mr. Pryor's health had been in decline for many years. Episodes of self-destructive, chaotic and violent behavior, often triggered by drug use, repeatedly threatened his career and jeopardized his life. "I couldn't escape the darkness," he acknowledged, but he was able to put his demons at the service of his art.
You can find a good biography of him at his official website.

Remember, this is Richard Pryor we're talking about, so there is some stronger than normal language at his site.

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Hand Guns, Why Exactly Are They Being Banned?

Throw this in the "mediocre politics, bad policy" bucket - it sounds good off the cuff, but when people think about it more, they realize it doesn't address the problem it's meant to. It certainly resonated somewhat with urban voters, initially. I mean, afterall - who needs a handgun, right?

I read two excellent "reality check" articles today. One via CBC [Is happiness a banned gun?] and one in the Globe & Mail [Will Liberal gun plan really help?].

Both conclude that the proposed banning of handguns will not have the desired effect.

In sharp contrast to the United States, so few Canadians commit crimes with legally owned handguns that there appear to be no statistics. In large part, that's probably because police background checks for would-be handgun owners are extremely rigorous. Any hint of a serious criminal record or psychological instability, and a rejection letter will soon be in the mail.
Handguns used in crimes come from one of three of the following sources:

1. The black market, which I'm presuming gets the supply from the below sources or are funneled via back alley dealers.

2. Smuggled from the United States. There are no stats for this volume, but it's not hard to see how they can get here.
Customs Excise Union president Ron Moran said 232 roads connecting Canada and the United States are unguarded, and about 1,600 vehicles simply drove past Canada's unarmed border guards without stopping last year.

3. Break-ins.

The G&M piece concedes that the third source may be the impetus behind the legislation proposal, that if "legally registered handguns [are] out of private homes and gun shops[, then] they can't be stolen." The problem with that theory is that most of the guns stolen in burglaries were not legally owned in the first place, the article goes on to say.

The target of the ban will be those who own the guns responsibly - collectors and some target shooters.

The CBC piece ends:

The reality is that despite the newspaper headlines and concern of politicians, there has not been a massive rise in violent crime. Over the past 30 years, the level of homicides has declined dramatically, so it is hard to see what difference the current election campaign will make.

All said, the announcement coincided nicely with Anne McLellan and Brian Tobin scolding the NRA for apparently peddling influence in the election and came around the same time as anniversary of the Montreal massacre, and gives the Liberal Party the illusion of being tough on crime, while truly accomplishing nothing concrete.

On a side note, Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant has already committed Ontario's support for the ban, because we like a good banning.

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On the Campaign Trail

I was coming down by the Danforth this morning on my way to work, and I have no idea who this "Jack Layton" is, but there seems to be signs advertising him on every other lawn.

Also, I saw The Liberal Party ConvoyTM travelling down the eastbound 401 this morning too, getting mired in the snow like everyone else. Paulie needs to haul you know what if he wants to catch Bill Clinton in Montreal before he's gone at 5 pm. I don't think he's going to make it, actually - if he's on those buses. I also notice, there were three buses - one really nice, sharp red painted job, and two kind of lousy ones bringing up the rear.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Controversies Abound, Part the Second

Of course, the other little controversy brewing is the whole income trust leak causing trading irregularities. You can read about it at the CTV website [CTV, CARP says it got notice of Goodale announcement]. In summary, the controversy is that it seems there was an alleged leak from the Ministry of Finance prior to market close about changes to how dividends are taxed and that there was a change in income trust policy. If the OSC investigates, that will be something. MoF denies it, and so does CARP, the alleged recipient of the leak.

More to the point though, the individual named as the recipient of the leak, William Gleberzon a director of Government & Media Relations for Canada's Association for the Fifty-Plus (CARP), says he received early income trust information - according to the article anyway:
When asked what exactly he was told, Gleberzon indicated the specifics were vague, but the underlying message was clear.

"They said something was going to be announced later in the day. And we assumed that if they told us that ... it would probably be something we'd be happy with."
Mr. Gleberzon then goes on to indicate that no information was passed to members (because he said they didn't know what information it was).

But then, he's listed as the contact for a release on the CARP website that CARP had no information about the change in investment policy.
There is no truth to the serious accusations that CARP had inside information about Minister Ralph Goodale’s announcement regarding Income Trusts. In fact, the political crossfire regarding who knew what, when and how about the Minister’s announcement has created the false allegation that there was a leak to CARP.
Truly bizarre - somebody messed up somewhere.

Anyway, if there is suspicious activity, I would expect the Ontario Securities Commission to launch an investigation, and they haven't yet and they haven't commented.

Don't know what to think on either one.

Say, how about we get back to policy discussions?

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Controversies Abound, Part the First

It wouldn't be much of an election campaign without a little controversy, would it? And, everybody gets a bit.

The first, is the apparent influence of American-interest groups in our election. The most prominent of the influence sprayed everywhere is the National Rifle Association [Canoe, McLellan to NRA: Stay clear of Canadian election]:
McLellan was troubled that the NRA, which views gun ownership as a constitutional right, was "working with Conservative candidates" with the goal of influencing electoral outcomes.

But Conservative justice critic Vic Toews called it "absolute fabrication" to suggest the NRA is working with the Conservatives. The Tories have strong policies on cracking down on criminal use of firearms and don't agree with the NRA on fundamental philosophies, he said.
It is illegal for foreign companies, associations, and unions to contribute to candidates in Canadian elections (unless they do business in Canada or in the case of a union, does bargaining rights on behalf of Canadian employees), if I'm reading the section correctly in the Elections Act. So, if the NRA are attempting direct influence on the election by contributing to campaigns, then Mr. Cotler just need drop the hammer. That's obviously not occurring. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Can a Canadian citizen be swayed by one of these organizations and then contribute to candidates that follow the NRA way? Sure. Is that a controversy? Not really. If I'm interested in promoting a gun agenda, I don't think I need the NRA to sway my position to be more gun-oriented.

All that said, it does bother me. I think the NRA has no business up here attempting to influence anyone. And, that's in general for any foreign-based organization or individual.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

TLC + Judge Judy + Maury Povich

So, I'm sitting at home with perhaps the worst cold I've ever had and I just noticed something. When did TLC (The Learning Channel) become the "crappy home improvement spin-off" network? I think every show on TLC is about home makeovers. No wait, they throw in the odd person makeover too. Wow. I feel enlightened.

And, how many "real life gritty" courtroom shows do we need? Judge Judy, People's Court, Judge Joe Brown, Texas Justice, Divorce Court ...

And, why is every Maury Povich show about paternity tests?

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An Alternative to Both Platforms

The cold medication I'm on only lets me small periods of clarity before I fall back into a coma, so I need to be quick.

Right of Center Ice sums up my apprehension to the Liberal Party's plan for a nationalized day care strategy:
Why not take out the middleman (Parents) and give the money straight to the child care system?
That's why I don't like the Liberal Party's policy at all. I'm not sure I'd consider myself a middleman when it comes to the welfare of my kids. That's just me, though.

Truth be told, I'm not entirely sold on the Conservative Party's platform either, but of the two - it involves me deciding what's best, and that's certainly better. The infusion of money will certainly help lighten our burden, but I'm not sure about the universality of it all.

I think a better policy for nationalized daycare could go something like this, which combines accessibility and choice - plus, involves little or no extra bureaucracy creation. You may argue it's more expensive - maybe, maybe not.
  • Increase Employement Insurance (EI) benefits for childcare leave up to 24 months (an increase of 12 months). This allows the child's primary caregiver the option to remain home with the child for the first two years. The EI benefit does not benefit the wealthy, because it's capped. Of course, this would need to be negotiated with the provinces to amend their labour laws to allow the time off.
  • Spend the childcare funding amount on nursery and pre-school programs at the school board level. Invest the money into provincial school boards to create school programs for toddlers and pre-schoolers, so that children can enter the school system earlier, at age 2. I mean, kindergarten starts at age 4 here in Ontario, so what's adding on 2 years.
  • If you're in a province that funds a separate school system, you would have the option to send your portion of funding to that separate system.
There's no new bureaucracy created - the existing EI benefit payout structure would continue, plus provincial ministries of education via local school boards would be responsible for setting up the local day care solutions. School boards, managed by teachers and parent trustees, would oversee the community needs for day care infrastructure - new buildings, more staff, whatever is required.

Provinces with existing day care solutions, could use this funding to help subsidize their existing plans.

The cost, is of course, debatable.

Back to sleep now.

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Couple of Oddball Questions for You

I need some CBC Radio verification on a couple of points. I heard two things over the past week on CBC Radio One in Toronto.

1. Gilles Duceppe has thanked Canadians calling his campaign office, but he has repeated that he has no plans to run candidates outside of Quebec. That said, I heard that the Bloc Quebecois polls at about 3% in Vancouver? I can't find it anywhere.

2. The NDP has a star candidate in the wings, and I mentioned it in a comment over at another blog. Dan Aykroyd is rumoured to be contemplating an election run as an NDP candidate in Toronto or area. Anybody got any dirt on that? Man, Elwood running as a Dip. I'd cheat on Steve-o to work with Dan. From Now Toronto:
Dan Aykroyd, that wild and crazy guy of Saturday Night Live fame, has turned his conehead to activism.

Aykroyd has joined the advisory committee of the Ottawa-based Democracy Watch (DW).

...

DW director Duff Conacher is also at a loss to explain why Ottawa-born Aykroyd chose to throw his name behind the group's efforts, which include banking reform. Hmm. Could it be that Aykroyd, who's about to receive the Order of Canada, wants to add another good cause to his resume?
Now, this doesn't say anything about him joining the NDP - but I heard that on the radio this week, and this was the only thing that popped up in my Google search.

That is all. Let me know if you know anything, or if I'm a complete nut.

My apologies if blogging seems light. I am around, commenting on other blogs and such.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Uniting Against a Common Problem

Taking a cruise through the 'sphere shows an interesting idea taking root from both sides. There is much talk about the possibility of forming a Conservative / NDP coalition - do both sides agree on enough issues? Some opinion says yes.
I've decided to start a series outlining areas where there appears to be NDP/CPC concurrence. I'll also be going back about a week and digging out some of the other gems I've been seeing.

Item: Will the NDP support the CPC on cutting the GST?

[Read the rest at They Hate Us For Our Freedom]



We are in a state of continual minority governments and it is imperative for parties to make it work. Contrary to popular opinion there is enough agreement on policies for the NDP and CPC to work together to form a Progressive-Conservative platform.

...

There would be enough balance to not allow legislation in divisive issues such as same-sex marriage or abortion on one side or euthanasia or decriminalization / legalization of marijuana on the other hand.

This is how minority governments are supposed to work - and if we send the correct message through our democratic rights we can get it.

[Read the rest at Political Staples]



For instance, on the issue of auto jobs, the NDP platform is something a conservative could work with:

[NDP Leader Jack] Layton said adoption of his plan on the auto industry will be a core element for the party, no matter who forms government after the Jan. 23 election.

"Any political party hoping to work with us in the next Parliament had better understand that an early, comprehensive, effective auto strategy must be part of the agenda," he told autoworkers.

Speaking in this Toronto-area community, which is bracing for 3,000 job cuts at General Motors, Layton said there needs to be a commitment to research and development and targeted incentives that will allow the industry to retool for the production of more energy-efficient vehicles.

In addition, he says free-trade talks with Japan and Korea should ensure that those markets are open to Canadian-made vehicles.

The NDP also wants improved border transportation links to help with the flow of Canadian manufactured auto parts to the United States.>

[Read the rest at Angry in the Great White North]
Strategically speaking, outside of Quebec, the Liberal Party gains usually at the expense of the NDP and the Conservative Party. If the Liberal Party has to fight against the NDP and the Conservatives ... could be interesting. One national message against the Liberal Party, and in ridings where it's between the Conservatives and the NDP - local issues take precedent so we stay on the dump the Liberals message.

Finding a parliament made up of mostly NDP and CPC, we relegate the Bloc to minimal participation. By extension, the Liberal Party to an even more minimal level of participation.

It certainly isn't outside the realm of possibility. Looking at the history of Canadian conservatism, some have argued that Canadian socialism grew out of "red Toryism". Our roots together run deep.

I for one, think it's certainly worth exploring - and I look forward to RP's future posts [They Hate Us For Our Freedom].

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World AIDS Day

Today is World Aids Day.

In the midst of the election, take a moment to remind yourself about the single greatest pandemic currently plaguing the planet. More than any war. More than any natural disaster.

In 2005, over 3 million people acquired HIV, which means there are now over 40 million people living with HIV and AIDS. Despite best efforts from governments, non-profit organisations and healthcare practitioners around the world, HIV and AIDS is still having huge global impact.
Do whatever you feel is necessary to reflect and to ultimately fight this scourge.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Is There a Third Liberal Camp?

I've got a question for some of the Liberal Party readers out there, and I'm just going to re-type my title to show some emphasis for it.

Is there a third Liberal camp?

There's always talk in the Liberal camps about Chretienites versus Martinites, but is there another camp led by Pickering-Scarborough East MP, Dan McTeague? In the last little while, Mr. McTeague has garnered quite a bit of exposure for an MP who has been a backbencher for quite some time.

Or, did Mr. McTeague just get more exposure or become more prominent because of the minority government?

The reason I ask (and why I've thought about it):

  • He seemed to be the de facto leader of the anti-same sex marriage crowd in the Liberal Party caucus. In the hours and minutes leading up to the vote on C-38, it was Mr. McTeague defending the anti-SSM Liberals for not defeating the budget and thereby allowing C-38 to pass. At least, that was the appearance on CPAC.
  • He has openly called for hip-hop artist 50 Cent to be prohibited from performing in Toronto apparently not in line with official Liberal caucus wishes. I say "not in line" because there's no push from cabinet to ban 50 Cent. There has, as far as I'm aware, been no rebuke from within the Liberal Party for this public stand.
  • According to How'd They Vote, Dan McTeague holds the record for the most dissentions - 25 - in the 38th Parliament (tied with fellow Liberal MPs, Alan Tonks and Paul Steckle), meaning he has voted 25 times against the Liberal Party line of thinking.
  • He was the one to report that Canadians had been kidnapped in Iraq, presumably in his role as "Parliamentary Secretary for Canadians Abroad", but Canadians being kidnapped in Iraq is significant news - especially when there is no Canadian embassy, so there are negotiations required with the U.K. and the U.S.

Now, does Mr. McTeague wield significant clout within caucus? In the first three points, it seems that he doesn't flow with "general" Liberal strategy and frequently strays off message, but in the last, owning the issue of Canadians kidnapped in Iraq where no official Canadian embassy exists is a significant project.

Personally, I suspect he's garnering more exposure for himself because of the minority parliament situation - he can pretty much do what he wants and the top brass can do little to stop him, but I'm just curious to see what others think. If there is no "sub-camp", is McTeague a Martinite or a Chretienite? Or, none of the above?

I would also suspect that he's been largely the same personality for the years he's been an elected Liberal MP (since October 1993), so wouldn't he have been turfed before this? Or, is he valued because he's a proven commodity as a Liberal candidate.

I'm curious as to your thoughts.

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It's Official Now

It's official now - from Reuters.

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Paul Martin sent Canadians to the polls for a January 23 election on Tuesday, after the opposition brought his minority Liberal government down the night before in a confidence vote.

Martin announced the date after informing Governor-General Michaelle Jean, representative of head of state Queen Elizabeth, that he had lost the confidence of Parliament.

The Liberals were reduced to a minority in the June 2004 election. Martin has been weakened by judicial findings of a Liberal kickback scheme but still leads the Conservatives in popular support.
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Which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Are You?

Hat tip to daveberta for this one.

Take the quiz:
"Which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle are You?"

Raphael
You can be considered the 'dark one' of your family. You're a hot-head, face it. Or...the 'Realist' some may say. It's a dog-eat-dog world, you're a pretty big dog. You normally lay low until some one gets up your back. You're anti-social and short-tempered...and you're not big on admitting it! But, even though you can act kinda rude and not-there, you're a rather large teddy bear on the inside when it comes to the ones you love...in danger. You hate being called a, 'softy' and you're always ready to 'bring it'.


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Monday, November 28, 2005

Interesting Parliamentary Factoid

James over at Bowie's Call presents an interesting factoid about the upcoming confidence vote.

Ed [Broadbent w]ill be defeating his third minority Parliament today. I believe that this may be more than any Canadian in Parliamentary history.

...

He defeated the '72 Trudeau government, the '79 Clark government, and now he'll defeat the '05 Martin government.
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It's the Final Countdown ...

I know I shouldn't have used that title. With all due respect to Europe, I'm going to have that awful song in my head all day now. And, just the opening synthesizer part too ...

Anyway, today is expected to be the last full day of work for the minority Liberal government in Ottawa, as they are expected to lose a motion of non-confidence against a united opposition. Mr. Martin will then likely head tomorrow to Rideau Hall and ask the Governor General to dissolve parliament and call for a general election in the new year.

To be honest, I have no idea how this election is going to turn out. I suspect, we'll be in another minority government situation - but who governing, is up for debate.

Depending on your spin, you see a rosey outlook for your party, and I'm largely no different.

I do plan on helping my local Conservative candidate on their campaign, so I'll try to do some posts from the front. Toronto is a near impenetrable Liberal Party stronghold, so it's always interesting the conversations one can find themselves in.

Take a cruise through the 'sphere today, and you'll see other posts and points on the election.

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Guilty, Part 2

I read PostSecret weekly to see which ones apply to me.

Guilty, once again.


But, in my own defense - I always walk a straight line and I always walk on the right side. What bugs the s*** out of me is when a group of people have to form a "walking wall of humanity", either taking up the whole sidewalk or the entire corridor width. Or, you get somebody gawking at stores or looking up at the clouds or whatever, and they're not paying attention.

If you're ever downtown, and a dude yells, "Heads Up!" - that's likely me. I've started doing that.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Which Star Wars Character Are You?

I'm beginning to think that Socialist Swine [h/t] is putting these things up, then timing how fast they show up here.

Han Solo
You scored 12% airiness, 10% squishiness, and 42% edginess!

According to our patented JawamaticTM technology, you
are most like Han Solo in personality.

Han Solo is down-to-earth and improvisational, cool-headed and cynical. Appeals to emotion rarely sway him, but as he matured throughout the saga, he let his less-well-developed compassionate side show occasionally.

Solo is, in a word, cool.

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 4% on airiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 4% on squishiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 50% on edginess
Link: The Star Wars Personality Test written by MiguelSanchez on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test


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Uh oh ... Somebody's Watching Me

I received the following email from the CIA.
Dear Sir/Madam,

we have logged your IP-address on more than 30 illegal Websites.

Important:
Please answer our questions!
The list of questions are attached.


Yours faithfully,
Steven Allison



++++ Central Intelligence Agency -CIA-
++++ Office of Public Affairs
++++ Washington, D.C. 20505

++++ phone: (703) XXX-XXXX
++++ 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., US Eastern time
All that was attached was a virus scan report.

I hope my virus scanner didn't delete all those questions!

Mr. Allison, can you resend this email? i [sic] promise I didn't go to illegal Websites [sic].

Thanks!

PS - It has to be real because "703" is the area code for Arlington, Virginia!

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You Win Some ...

... and you lose some.

Bas Balkissoon, Liberal - 9,347 (57.6%)
Cynthia Lai, Progressive Conservative - 4,032 (24.9%)
Alan Mercer, Libertarian - 100 (0.6%)
Rina Morra, Family Coalition Party - 93 (0.6%)
Wayne Simmons, Freedom Party - 59 (0.4%)
Steven P. Toman, Green Party - 167 (1.0%)
Sheila White, NDP - 2,425 (14.9%)

- Source, Elections Ontario

I said before this was going to be a tough fight, especially so when one of your opponents is a sitting Toronto councillor who's been in the job since 1988. It's almost impossible to beat name recognition like that.

What's unfortunate, however, is it seems only 19% of the riding voted. On the plus side, I wouldn't entirely endorse this as a change in Ontario Liberal fortunes, but I hope Mr. Balkissoon is correct when he says he thinks it was the weather that kept people home and not voter apathy. It doesn't bode well for a federal holiday campaign. For some perspective, Alvin Curling won this riding in the 2003 general election with 24,000 votes.

Now, with Mr. Balkissoon's seat vacated, I wonder if Cynthia should consider running for that council seat? She has the endorsement of two other sitting councillors plus she has done all the campaigning - people know her.

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