Thursday, March 29, 2007


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

rae wins toronto centre nomination

that is all...

Monday, March 26, 2007

OPP probing alleged Tory link to mayoralty offer

Updated Mon. Mar. 26 2007 1:46 PM ET

Canadian Press

OTTAWA -- The Ontario Provincial Police have launched an investigation into a sworn affidavit that claims a senior Tory close to Prime Minister Stephen Harper was involved in an alleged bid to buy off an Ottawa mayoralty candidate.

"It's an ongoing investigation at this point,'' Sgt. Christine Rae of the OPP's east region headquarters in Smiths Falls, Ont., said Monday.

The affidavit, sworn out by former mayoralty candidate Terry Kilrea, names John Reynolds, the co-chairman of the 2006 Conservative election campaign, as the federal contact in a purported Parole Board appointment offer by eventual winner Larry O'Brien. In return, Kilrea was to drop out of Ottawa's 2006 municipal race.

Such an arrangement, if true, is a possible breach of both the Criminal Code and the Ontario Municipal Elections Act.

The OPP was forwarded the complaint by the Ottawa police last Friday, after a labour group -- acting on the advice of the attorney general of Ontario -- went to the local cops.

"We do have an investigation,'' Rae said Monday. "There was a complaint forwarded to us by Ottawa Police Service requesting that we do an investigation, which we have agreed to do.''

The job offer was allegedly made to Kilrea by O'Brien, a millionaire businessman who, like Kilrea, campaigned as a tough-on-crime, fiscal conservative in the crowded mayoralty field. O'Brien went on to win a surprise victory.

To date, none of the allegations have resulted in charges, nor have they been proven in court.

"It didn't happen, it's that simple,'' Reynolds said in an interview. "My point of view, I never put anything in for anybody. I don't do that kind of stuff.''

Added Reynolds: "I've talked to Larry (O'Brien), and I said, 'Larry, did you ever ask me?' He said, 'Well, we may have talked about it, but he never asked me to do anything.'''

O'Brien, who has previously denied published allegations that he offered to pay Kilrea's $30,000 of campaign debt if he quit, refused to comment Monday on the police investigation.

"We're just not commenting,'' said a spokesman for the mayor.

Reynolds, a former Conservative MP, interim party leader and currently lobbyist who meets regularly with the prime minister, said he doesn't know Kilrea "from Adam,'' but he hesitated to call Kilrea's affidavit a fabrication.

"Well, it's something in his own mind,'' said Reynolds. "People get in their own heads some days what people say.

"If Larry said to him, 'Hey, I can talk to John Reynolds and put your name in,' that would be a fair statement, a fair thing to do. But I never did (forward Kilrea's name), so I doubt that he asked me. I would have done it.''

The complaint is the latest twist in a municipal story that appears to have multiple connections to the federal Conservatives.

Then-treasury board president John Baird's unusual, mid-campaign intervention on a federal transit grant dramatically altered the course of the campaign, and ultimately helped O'Brien win by a wide margin.

Kilrea's claim that he was offered expense money by O'Brien if he would drop out was previously reported.

But Kilrea's affidavit, sworn out Dec. 20, 2006, contains a more startling allegation.

Kilrea, who did in fact quit the race last August, alleges that during a meeting last summer with O'Brien on a coffee-shop patio, he was also offered a Parole Board job.

"At approximately 2 p.m. later that day (July 5, 2006), O'Brien called to advise that my name had been put forward for an appointment to the National Parole Board,'' states the affidavit.

"When I asked how this was possible, he responded that he had spoken to John Reynolds. He then instructed me to call John Baird, President of the Treasury Board, and to tell him that my name `was in the queue' for an appointment to the board.''

Kilrea claims he then e-mailed Baird, a local MP whose federal nomination Kilrea had supported, but was told by the Treasury Board president that he knew nothing about the matter.

Four days later, Kilrea claims he was contacted by Dimitri Pantazopolous, a longtime Reform, Canadian Alliance and Conservative party pollster who is president of Praxicus Public Strategies Inc.

Kilrea alleges that after showing him polling data suggesting why he should quit the race, Pantazopolous alluded to the appointment offer but said it "would have to wait until after the (municipal) election because it was `too hot to handle' at this stage,'' says the affidavit.

Kilrea claims that in a subsequent phone conversation with O'Brien on July 19 he was told "the offer 'would not be on the table forever' and that I needed to make a decision.''

Rumours of a patronage offer surfaced last fall, but the story died when Kilrea refused to publicly call the offer a bribe and O'Brien characterized the matter as sour grapes by a political foe.

But once Kilrea's sworn affidavit fell into the hands of the Ottawa District Labour Council, the labour group sent it to Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant in the belief that important elements of the allegations were being suppressed.

Bryant responded in a letter to the council that any complaint should go through local police.

The Ontario minister responsible for the Municipal Elections Act also refused to intervene, telling the labour group in a letter that "it would not be appropriate as minister ... to comment on a matter that may come before the courts.''

Sean McKenny, president of the labour council, said that after getting a copy of Kilrea's affidavit he was immediately concerned that "the biggest piece'' of the alleged bribe had not been disclosed in media reports.

"We're following the direction, as we understood it, of the attorney general (of Ontario) and that is to drop a package off with the chief of police here in the city,'' said McKenny.

"At the end of the day, people should know: either yes or no. That's what we're trying to push for here.''

Kilrea, a local bailiff who ran unsuccessfully for the Ottawa mayoralty in 2003, is sticking to his story.

"Before I turned down the offer, (O'Brien) told me the Parole Board was a five-year appointment at $110,000 a year,'' Kilrea said in an interview.

"So, I mean, pretty tempting for a guy who's making 60 (thousand) go to a 110 for a five-year appointment -- and cash, to boot, in the offer. It was a very, very tempting offer.''

He says he ultimately turned it down, and later initially denied that he'd been made such an offer.

"Did I consider it a bribe? Looking at it now, a lot of people are saying it is,'' said Kilrea.

"It is an inducement. In the Municipal Act it's very clear that you're not allowed to offer a job or anything like that to somebody to get them out of the race. Under the Municipal Act, it looks like this is a violation.''

Reynolds maintains there's nothing sinister. He said he would be happy to put Kilrea's name forward, or any other person's, for a Parole Board appointment because not many people want the job.

"They're looking for people to go on parole boards,'' said Reynolds. "Most guys don't want the jobs. They don't pay that much.''

Kilrea said he considers himself naive.

"I know this kind of stuff goes on probably every day in the back rooms at Parliament Hill and everywhere else,'' he said, alluding to a string of other allegations of candidates being bought off with cash or appointments to either give up a seat or not seek election.

"Obviously this kind of stuff is going on all the time.''

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

obama operative draws blood with youtube attack ad

Mystery creator of anti-Clinton ad is identified

Updated Wed. Mar. 21 2007 7:43 PM ET

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The mystery creator of an Orwellian YouTube ad against Hillary Rodham Clinton is a Democratic party operative who worked for a digital consulting firm with ties to rival U.S. Senator Barack Obama.

Philip de Vellis, a strategist with Blue State Digital, acknowledged in an interview he was the creator of the video, which portrayed Clinton as a Big Brother figure and urged support for Obama's presidential campaign.

De Vellis said he resigned from the firm Wednesday after he learned he was about to be unmasked by the, a liberal news and opinion Internet site.

Blue State designed Obama's website and one of the firm's founding members, Joe Rospars, took a leave from the company to work as Obama's director of new media.

"It's true...yeah, it's me,'' de Vellis said Wednesday evening.

He said he produced the ad outside of work and neither Blue State nor the Obama campaign was aware of his role in the ad.

"But it raises some eyebrows, so I thought it best that I resign and not put them in that position.''

In a statement released Wednesday evening, the Obama campaign said: "The Obama campaign and its employees had no knowledge and had nothing to do with the creation of the ad.''

"We were notified this evening by a vendor of ours, Blue State Digital, that an employee of the company had been involved in the making of this ad. Blue State Digital has separated ties with this individual and we have been assured he did no work on our campaign's account.''

The Clinton campaign had no immediate comment.

The connection to the Obama camp, however, poses a public-relations problem for the campaign. Obama has argued he is a different type of presidential candidate who rejects negative politics.

The ad was guerrilla politics at its cleverest and had become the boffo hit of the YouTube website.

The 74-second clip, a copy of a 1984 Apple ad for its Macintosh computer, has recorded nearly 1.5 million views, with an enormous surge in the past two days. The video's final image reads: "''

De Vellis remained hidden for weeks, protected by the anonymity afforded by YouTube and the absence of government regulations governing most Internet political speech.

The ad portrayed Clinton on a huge television screen addressing robotic humans in a stark, futuristic hall. A female athlete tosses a hammer at the screen, destroying Clinton's image with an explosive flash.

Then this text: "On January 14th the Democratic primary will begin. And you will see why 2008 isn't going to be like `1984.'''

De Vellis said he used footage of an updated Apple ad that portrayed the female athlete wearing an iPod. He said he used standard Apple equipment to modify the video and edit Clinton's image into the clip.

Obama, appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live'' on Monday night, said his campaign knew nothing about the origins of the anti-Clinton ad.

"Frankly, given what it looks like, we don't have the technical capacity to create something like this,'' he said.

"It's pretty extraordinary.''

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

the budget

Yesterday I was stark mad at the budget that was brought down by Jim Flaherty. So I decided to take a day to reflect and then write a post on what I thought the main problem of the budget was.

The first is that I keep hearing this is a budget for families. I don’t mind focused budgets on specific issues providing that they do not neglect other Canadians. Lets not forget that this government was elected to represent everyone, not central Canada and working families ONLY. To me it seems like Harper has decided to buy votes via nifty tax regulations focuses on middle class families. In reality this tax relief doesn’t amount to much, but it’s enough to buy a new tv or stereo.

What this budget needed was tax relief that would help families pay down debts. Real tax cuts or a shift in the gradual tax bracket is needed.

As a right leaning Liberal I was quite disappointed. If you put serious money back in the middle class, they will stimulate the economy. With less debt people will spend more and be able to afford post secondary or continuing education, more environmentally friendly products and spending on consumer goods. These areas of spending all lead towards a knowledge based economy and prosperity for all Canadians.

I was also surprised to see spending balloon. What amazed me is that there wasn’t focused long term strategy spending on initiatives. Rather it seemed as if this budget was geared to line the Conservatives up for an election within the next year. I figured out of all parties the CONS would understand that sooner or later the market would slow and saving money for a rainy day or paying down the deficit would have been a much better idea then blowing spending and poor tax schemes and misguided views of a ‘fiscal imbalance’.

Not even going to talk about the environment because I think we can all agree this budget didn’t even address the tip of the iceberg on the issue…

Lastly I think this budget really shows a lack of long term planning. There was virtually nothing for post secondary education. I applaud the idea of revamping Canada Student Loans and investing $800 million nationally in post secondary education, but this is not a small country with small post secondary problems. What I believe was needed was tax incentives for students who continue on past their third and fourth year of education in Canada. It is statistically proven that students with higher education gain more meaningful employment with higher wages. We must ensure that we train and keep these individuals in Canada with seriously focused tax incentives and debt assistance.

Monday, March 19, 2007

kenzie mackinnon ns lib. leadership candidate misleads party faithful

if you are sick of leaderships, elections and partisan bickering you probably haven't been paying attention to the current nova scotia liberal party leadership race.

the race has been underway now for the past month or so, with four candidates grinding heads for the top liberal job: diana whalen, stephen mcneil, mike smith and kenzi mackinnon.

over the past weeks these candidates have been participating in a series of leadership forums outlining their visions for the future of our party. after browsing through the candidate websites i found it quite odd that a kenzi mackinnon on his web site would suggest not being elected to office or ever being elected would be beneficial.

kenzi's argument suggests that no mla has retained a seat after being elected liberal premier in the last 100 years. which is absolutly true. however, kenzi failed to mention that out of those who had successfully been elected premier in an election, four had previous experience either in the house of commons or the upper chamber of the nova scotia legislature (no longer exists).

in the coming weeks i would think it would be ideal if kenzi decided to offer party members more then the idea of him not being elected to office as a reason to vote for him. if anything i would think kenzie needs to do two things.

1) explain why a party should elect a leader who has lost three elections in a row, one for the house of commons in 1984 and two for the ns legislature in 1998 and 2003.

2) outline a vision that is more then just utopian phrased political retoric. it is great you think nova scotia needs to be better... the question is where is the money going to come from to do it and how are you going to sell it to voters.

these are two attributes that mla's diana whalen and stephen mcneil, and mike smith (mayor of colchester county) have proven as successfully elected politicians.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

rank and file deserting harp

don't know if this what many cons are thinking ... but whatev's

spy vs. dion

'Tory spy' outed online in YouTube video
Conservative staffer shadowed Dion at events in Ontario

The Gazette

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Conservative staffer is being paid through the House of Commons budget to shadow Liberal leader Stephane Dion.

The revelation, complete with video footage of James Murray, a Conservative Resource Group senior researcher, shadowing Dion at an event last week, has been posted to the popular video website YouTube by the Liberals.

Titled Tory Spy Revealed, and set to the catchy Pink Panther theme music, the video shows Murray at the Bradley Museum in Mississauga, Ont., where he videotaped Dion's speech. The video then shows Murray, wearing sunglasses and a big green coat, beating a hasty retreat once he is spotted, only to turn and point a camera at Liberal Mick Gzowski, who was filming him.

In the script, the video focuses on the fact Murray is paid through the research budget the House of Commons allocates to the Conservatives.

"He is a House of Commons employee," the video flashes in black and white. "Your tax dollars at work. Shadowing Dion across Ontario and filming Dion in the House of Commons. The government is spying on the official opposition."

The video then cuts to a picture of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a quotation from him in December 2005: "These guys can't tell the difference between right and wrong."

The video wraps up with: "They're getting nasty things done. With your money."

The video, posted by a subscriber called liberalvideo, had been viewed hundreds of times by press time and was beginning to be talked about on the Internet as a message originating with the Liberal Research Bureau.

However, that paled in comparison with the number of viewings of the Stephane Dion attack ads that the Conservative Party posted to YouTube.

Jean-Francois Del Torchio, a spokesperson for Dion's office, said the Liberals first noticed someone was following them last week.

"We find it a bit strange for them to send someone to spy on us during our trips."

Del Torchio said he spotted Murray at a series of events where Dion was speaking last week and recognized him from Parliament Hill.

Murray has worked in Ottawa as a freelance researcher for a number of clients, including The Gazette.

While the Liberals were themselves caught hiring people to observe and record activities of Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe in 2004, Del Torchio justified it, saying it was done during an election campaign.

Reached yesterday, Murray's sole response when informed about the video was, "Oh, s--t," before referring all questions to Conservative Party communications officials.

A Tory spokesperson made no attempt to deny Murray had been following Dion, or to make any apology for it.

"An opposition researcher does opposition research," Ryan Sparrow said. "It would be irresponsible to simply rely on media reports to track the missteps of Stephane Dion."

The term "opposition research" is known in the trade as gathering information to attack one's opponents.

Sparrow refused to explain why Murray's activities were being paid out of the House of Commons research budget rather than out of party coffers.

A Conservative insider, who asked that his name not be used, said Murray's filming of Dion's appearances is just part of the Conservatives' secretive "black ops" - shadowy activities of a kind the insider said the Liberals also indulge in.

"You think they don't do this stuff?" the insider asked. "This is something that all parties do. We place our people in their events and they place their people in our events."

In fact, the Tories have been tracking Dion for some time, the insider said. The were shadowing various Liberal contenders during the leadership campaign.

"The material gets used for many different reasons and different sources," the insider said, pointing out ammunition for attack ads is just one possible use.

The insider said there are people in the Prime Minister's Office, in the Conservative Party and in the Conservative Resource Group who were aware Dion was being shadowed.

"We make sure that what he says in one part of the country is what he says in another part, and make sure there is no hypocrisy on their part."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

reason to believe - diana whalen for ns liberal leader

Saturday, March 10, 2007

premier rodney macdonald dance'n

Thursday, March 08, 2007

comes a time...

well i guess there comes a time in every party when "out with the old and in with the new happens"... for those of us liberals who have been involved in the party a number of years its really weird seeing familiar mp's call it quits.

in a way there are some nostalgic feelings of sort, particularly when you see former cabinet ministers decide that it is time to move on.

so who is out so far since the last election... ?

joe fontana - former minister of housing and labour

jean lapierre - former minister of transportation

paul martin - former prime minister, minister on finance

bill graham - interim leader of the official opposition, minister of defense, minister of foreign affairs

andy scott - solicitor general, minister of indian affairs and northern development

joe mcguire - minister responsible for atlantic canada opportunities agency (acoa)

jim peterson - minister of international trade, minister of state (international financial institutions)

others who may be saying goodbye to politics:
-tom wappel
-joe comuzzi
-irwin cotler
-john godfrey

with the news of bob rae, gerard kennedy, martha hall findlay and justin trudeau running ... it looks like the face of party is going to change drastically during the next election. furthermore with young guns - mark holland, scott brison, balinda stronach, dominic leblanc, ruby dhalla, tina keeper, navdeep bains... among others ... its going to be a tough team to beat!

with the dion team shaping up nicely so should a clear and decisive message that these individuals can project.... which is that the liberal party of canada is the party that can best manage the economy, sustain social programs and provide a comprehensive environmental strategy.

p.s. does anyone else think rae took the easy way out by seeking the riding of toronto centre?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

bob should run in oshawa

after reading a post over at the ontario liberal regarding bob rae running in a riding that is a for sure thing instead of taking on a challenging riding... it got me thinking...

when you look about an hour outside of toronto you find the city/riding of oshawa ontario. oshawa has been one of the few ridings in the 905 where the ndp have had some strength in the past federal and provincial elections. usually the ndp come up a thousand or so votes of winning a seat in the riding becasue of us pesky liberals.

in the last two federal elections and the 2003 provincial election, union king pin sid ryan has run and lost by only a marginal amount. with bob being somewhat of a political super star he should perceivably be able to take votes from the ndp and ad to what is fairly steady voter support for the liberals.

here are the numbers from the last three federal elections and the last provincial election:

Canadian federal election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes

Conservative Colin Carrie 20,617

New Democrat Sid Ryan 17,815

Liberal Louise V. Parkes 12,831

Green Adam Jobse 2,019

Marxist-Leninist David Gershuny 91

Canadian federal election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes

Conservative Colin Carrie 15,815

New Democrat Sid Ryan 15,352

Liberal Louise V. Parkes 14,510

Green Liisa Walley 1,850

Marxist-Leninist Tim Sullivan 91

Canadian federal election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes

Liberal Ivan Grose 16,179

Canadian Alliance Barry Bussey 10,863

Progressive Conservative Bruce L. Wright 5,675

New Democrat Bruce Rogers 4,203

Marijuana Craig James Michael McMillan 679

Marxist-Leninist David Gershuny 97

Ontario Provincial Election 2003
Party Candidate Votes

Progressive Conservative
Jerry J. Ouellette 14,566

New Democrat Sid Ryan 13,547

Liberal Chris Topple 9383

Green Karen Tweedle 636

Freedom Party of Ont.

Family Coalition
Paul McKeever

Dale Chilvers


if bob wants to really contribute to the party and take on a challenge ... then oshawa is the place to do it.

Monday, March 05, 2007

liberals win n.b. by-election

provincial new brunswick liberals picked up a seat in today's by-election in the riding of moncton east.

congrats to mr. chris collins the new mla for moncton east.

what is most significant about this win is that it is the seat of former p.c. premier bernard lord.

here is the breakdown of the latest liberal win (it wasn't even close).

LIB - chris collins : 2,628
PC - chad peters : 1,505
NDP - helene lapointe : 373

this leaves the door wide open to speculation that lord may run in the next federal election...?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

blast from the past II

i remember this like it was yesterday... wonder who will challenge mr. o'toole this time?