A cynical take on some recent NDP communications tactics

I’ve long maintained that, from a political operations and communications standpoint, the federal Conservatives and New Democrats are, in many ways, mirrors of each other. The parties stand, of course, for very different things but, to give one example, they both approach political marketing and messaging with similar discipline, objectives, and operational smarts matched only by their Conservative counterparts.

Latest case in point: Continue reading A cynical take on some recent NDP communications tactics

What do we make of Senator Fairbairn?

Senator Joyce Fairbairn is two years away from the Senate’s mandatory retirement age of 75 but the odds of her ever sitting another day in the Senate are slim to non-existent. She has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and left Ottawa earlier this year for her home in Lethbridge, Alberta where she will receive round-the-clock care. Earlier this year, a geriatric psychiatrist declared her to be “legally incompetent” because of her affliction.

And yet, after the determination that she was “legally incompetent” she continued for several weeks to vote in the Senate and her office continued to spend taxpayer dollars. Senator Fairbairn is a member of the Liberal caucus, has been a senator since 1984, and, among other accomplishments, was the first woman in our history to be the Leader of the Government in the Senate. (The current Leader of the Government in the Senate, I should note, is also a woman: Senator Marjory LeBreton.)

So what are we to make of all this?

Continue reading What do we make of Senator Fairbairn?

Support Jaden, Mike and autism awareness

Mike Lake is one of the Conservative MPs from Edmonton and one of the nicest guys you’re likely to meet. His 16-year-old son, Jaden, has autism. So Mike has used his platform as an MP to raise awareness about — as Mike calls it — “this mysterious disorder” and he’s doing so again this week ahead of the September 9th Edmonton Walk Now for Autism.  Do click through on that link for information about how you can help raise awareness, chip in a couple of bucks and learn more about Jaden and autism.

One of the most effective ways Continue reading Support Jaden, Mike and autism awareness

Northern Gateway Pipeline opponents outnumber supporters, Abacus says

Did you see the latest poll from our friends at Abacus Data? Abacus finds:

  • B.C. Premier Christy Clark is getting a big thumbs up from Canadians outside Alberta for her stand against the Northern Gateway pipeline
  • More Canadians — again, outside Alberta — oppose the construction of a pipeline to ship Alberta crude to a northern B.C. port than support the project.
  • Outside Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, a majority of Canadians do not believe the oil sands in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan generate wealth for the rest of the country.

If you ask me, these findings add up to political trouble for Stephen Harper and federal Conservatives as well as Alison Redford and Alberta Progressive Conservatives who have pushed a pro-oil sands policy that includes support for the construction of the Northern Gateway pipeline.

Continue reading Northern Gateway Pipeline opponents outnumber supporters, Abacus says

The Olympics as destructive public policy

Don’t know about you but I watch the Olympics in the first way Ian Johnson describes things here. Ian, on the other hand, has a rather different view …:

You can follow the Olympics two ways. First, there’s the right way: you pay attention to the athletes and root for great performances. You see them cry and hug each other in joy or look away in disgust at a bad performance. You empathize with them as human beings and debate issues like whether Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all time or just the greatest swimmer. You wonder about doping but try to believe that the sports agencies have it more or less under control and that Dick Pound is just another Canadian curmudgeon.

Then there’s the way I watch the games: as a statistical survey of geopolitics and destructive public policy …

Read the rest : The New Olympic Arms Race by Ian Johnson | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books.

Carney vs Myers: Economists face off over "dead money"

The line story on Bay Street’s favourite newspaper, The Globe and Mail, had a great eye-catching headline courtesy of Bank of Canada Mark Carney:

This is Dead Money

Carney, responding to questions from reporters, noted that Canadian companies (not including banks and insurance companies) now have $562 billion in cash in the bank, up from $370 billion in 2009. That $562 billion represents about 13.2 per cent of total assets — an all-time high — compared to 10.3 per cent of total assets in 2009. Continue reading Carney vs Myers: Economists face off over "dead money"

Google goes north — waaay north

Google Street View Team in Cambridge Bay
Canadian Googler Mike Pegg peddling the Google bike through Cambridge Bay, Nunavut (Google handout)

I think this is terrific. While Google has sent those little Google cars with the camera balls attached to the roof to photograph the streets capes of most of urban North America, it’s just now getting around to collecting the visual data to do Street View for Canada’s north. Google “cars” aren’t practical north of 60 where the only way you get vehicles in and out is by barge and so Google has shipped Google bikes by air equipped with the camera balls. Great idea.  Continue reading Google goes north — waaay north

A Bloomberg columnist argues that economists should stay out of politics

Quite frankly, I find Laurence Kotlikoff’s argument here absolutely absurd:

Some 500 of my colleagues in economics, almost all academics, have signed a statement applauding former Governor Mitt Romney’s economic plan and condemning President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy. The statement amounts to an endorsement of Romney’s presidential candidacy. As such, it represents a disservice to the economics profession as well as to the statement’s signatories, five of whom are Nobel laureates.

The decision of the 500 U.S. economists, many from the leading ranks of the profession, to trade in their credentials as economists for that of campaign workers is just the latest sign that something’s rotten in economics.

Read the rest at Economists Risk Labeling as Political Hacks – Bloomberg.

In the U.S., those who don't vote like Obama a lot

Suffolk University has just polled those in the U.S. who say they are unlikely to vote in November’s presidential election. There are 80 million such Americans and Suffolks conclusions is that if those who are not planning to vote actually voted, Obama would cruise to re-election. Continue reading In the U.S., those who don't vote like Obama a lot