Suffering the slings of Suzuki

“Last week, I discovered that the nature of things can be extremely unpleasant when you challenge the wisdom of the arrogant.I was attending a reception when suddenly the host of CBC TVs The Nature Of Things was in my face.”I want to talk to you!” a red-faced and agitated David Suzuki said, finger pointing at my chest.”You have no right to demonize me!” he yelled, causing people around us to back away.”

No, that’s not Suzuki yelling at a Sun News Network reporter but hollering instead at the Adrian Dix-supporting, left-leaning columnist for 24 Hours and The Tyee Bill Tieleman. (I quite like Bill’s commentary and reporting, BTW, and he’s generous enough with his time to share some of that with me often on my Sun News Network show Battleground). Some might have received the apparently incorrect impression that the experience of my colleague Jessica Hume from earlier this week was unique to her because she’s a Sun Media reporter and Sun Media employs Ezra Levant and Ezra is, to say the least, no fan of Suzuki.

But no, it’s not just us apparently. Read Bill’s account, from 2009, mind you  – “How I Demonized David Suzuki” right down to the end where Suzuki swears at him.

But it’s not just us journalists who sometimes suffer Suzuki’s ire. Sometimes it’s his fans, too. Continue reading Suffering the slings of Suzuki

A short history of floor-crossing MPs

By my count, there have been six MPs who have quit the caucus to which they were elected since Stephen Harper became prime minister in 2006.

Three Conservative MPs were involuntarily removed — i.e. kicked out — of the Conservative caucus since then. They would be Bill Casey, Garth Turner and Helena Guergis. Casey sat as an “independent Progressive Conservative.” Turner would join the Liberal caucus. Guergis sat as independent. Casey did not stand for re-election after leaving the Conservative caucus. Both Turner and Guergis subsequently lost their seats in the next general election. Peter Goldring voluntarily withdrew from the Conservative caucus and is sitting as a “Conservative Independent” while he fights a drunk driving charge.

Joe Comuzzi was a long-time Liberal MP and in 2007 defied his party and voted in favour of the Conservative budget — his riding was getting a hospital in that budget — and he was expelled from the Liberal caucus. He ended his parliamentary career as a Conservative MP but did not seek re-election as a Conservative.

So with those caveats, here’s the count:

Continue reading A short history of floor-crossing MPs

No freedom of the press in David Suzuki's world

The Green Party issued a media advisory yesterday, inviting reporters to attend a discussion at an Ottawa church organized and hosted by an Ottawa bookstore between environmental activist David Suzuki and former Bay Street economist Jeff Rubin, moderated by Green Party MP Elizabeth May. We took the party up on their invite and dispatched reporter Jessica Hume and cameraman, Andrei Filippov. We wanted to hear — and report on — what both Suzuki and Rubin had to say. (Rubin is the sometimes controversial economist who once said we’re headed for $200-a-barrel oil).

We also wanted to ask Suzuki some questions about his endorsement of Joyce Murray in the federal Liberal leadership race. Continue reading No freedom of the press in David Suzuki's world

Ottawa's spending plan: Winners, losers, watchdogs – the highlights


For the fiscal year that begins on April 1, 2013, the federal government plans to spend $252.54 billion. The most recent estimate for what it will spend in the current fiscal year, which ends March 30, 2013, is $259 billion. Now, the federal budget for 2013-2014 has yet to be tabled — it likely won’t be published until late March — and there is highly likely that the budget will override the current spending plan of $252 billion. It could be less but it could be more.

In any event, if the government follows through and sticks to spending $252.5 billion next year, it will have reduced spending next year by $6.5 billion or about 2.5 per cent.

Here’s some other numbers found in the spending plan published yeterday (see the note at the bottom of this post about the source of these numbers): Continue reading Ottawa's spending plan: Winners, losers, watchdogs – the highlights

Harper "Birthers" and other Laurentian media conspiracies

John Ibbitson, the chief political correspondent for the Toronto Globe and Mail and Darrell Bricker, the CEO of polling firm Ipsos Global Public Affairs, have a book that I think will cause many of John’s Globe readers, at least, as well as many other government, academic and cultural elites in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal  corridor to be cluck, cluck, clucking in disagreement over some uncomfortable ideas — uncomfortable to those elites, in any event —   the authors advance. For example: “The Conservative Party will be to the 21st-century what the Liberal Party was to the 20th: the perpetually dominant party, the natural governing party.”

Or:  “From the time of Confederation until quite recently, the political, academic, cultural, media, and business elites in the communities along the watershed of the St. Lawrence River ran this country. Continue reading Harper "Birthers" and other Laurentian media conspiracies

Trudeau: "Ottawa is less and less relevant to Canadians"

Today, in St. Hyacinthe, QC, our reporters asked Liberal leadership candidate more questions about the $277,000 he says he has earned in speaking fees since becoming an MP in 2008. You can watch one of his answers in the video above but I’ve also reproduced here below. If I parse it back correctly, Trudeau is saying his speaking tour has been necessary because Canadians are tuning out what happens in Parliament — and that, of course, is the fault of the current Conservative government — which means that if MPs, like Trudeau, want to talk to Canadians about their ideas and policies they advocated, well, the House of Commons is no longer the place to do that: Continue reading Trudeau: "Ottawa is less and less relevant to Canadians"

Suzuki for Murray. Take that, Trudeau!

David Suzuki
David Suzuki, seen here in Edmonton in 2012, says Joyce Murray should be the next federal Liberal leader. (DAVID BLOOM/EDMONTON SUN)

Earlier today, David Suzuki, the environmental activist, endorsed Vancouver-Quadra MP Joyce Murray in the federal Liberal leadership race. Here’s the letter from Suzuki, released by the Murray campaign: Continue reading Suzuki for Murray. Take that, Trudeau!