New Republic's botched list of global Twitter leaders

New Republic ListCanada’s Stephen Harper does remarkably well in a list titled “The Most Popular World Leaders on Twitter” published in the current edition of the Washington-based magazine The New Republic. Harper is ranked 6th on this list of the “10 Most Popular World Leaders on Twitter.” (Excerpt at right)

I’m a little sceptical, though, about The New Republic‘s methodology. It is not clearly explained and, on its face, makes no sense.

To begin with: a list of “most popular” on Twitter inevitably means “number of followers”.

But get this: While no one would argue with Barack Obama’s top ranking on The New Republic‘s list — he has more than 40 million followers — what the heck is Herman Van Rompuy doing in the number 2 slot on this list? Quick, tell me: Who is Van Rompuy?  Ok, so you fancy yourself a smarty pants and know that he’s a European politician. So here’s a tough one: Is he the president of the European Commission or the European Council? To be honest, I’m sure I’d get that last question wrong at least half the time and I don’t know how many international summits I’ve been to where I’ve watched Van Rompuy in action and actually asked him questions! Now, Van Rompuy is always hanging around with Jose Manuel Barroso who is whatever Van Rompuy isn’t, namely the president of the European Commission or the European Council. They go everywhere together, these two EC presidents. Barroso, a Portuguese politican, is way more fun to put questions to at international press conferencesThe New Republic says Barroso is the third most popular world leader on Twitter.
So, Continue reading New Republic's botched list of global Twitter leaders

Canada Marks Anniversary of the Mumbai Massacre

In Mumbai, Minister of State (Foreign Affairs) Lynne Yelich marks the 5th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed 109 there.

Here’s my Flickr set from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to Mumbai in 2009 to mark the one-year anniversary of those attacks: Continue reading Canada Marks Anniversary of the Mumbai Massacre

About those by-election polls …

Abacus Data is Sun News Network’s polling partner and David Coletto is Abacus’ CEO. Tonight, on Battleground on Sun News Network, Coletto and I take a look at the work the only polling firm active in the recent by-elections did. That firm was Forum, whose polls we’ve reported on from time to time.

While Forum polls seemed to be pretty close to getting the vote right in Bourassa and Toronto Centre, it wildly over-estimated the Liberal vote in Brandon Souris and seriously over-estimated the Conservative vote in Provencher.  For serious number crunchers, Eric Grenier goes over this at his site –– but here, Coletto and I wonder – could these polls have had an effect on the results?

Trudeau asked for it and the government delivers: Relief fund matching program extended

In order to encourage more of these kinds of civil moments in our House of Commons, I highlight the following exchange from Question Period on Nov. 19 (my emphasis):

Mr. Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Lib.):  Mr. Speaker, all parliamentarians are united in expressing our sympathy to the people of the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.  Liberals wish to offer our full support for the $20 million in aid that the government has provided, in addition to matching private donations.    Given lessons we all learned from the tragedy in Haiti, would the government consider two other measures? Would it extend the deadline for matching funds until the end of the calendar year, and would it grant visa extensions for workers, students and temporary workers from the typhoon area?

 Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):     Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the support of the Liberal Party for this matter. I think it is a matter in which all Canadians are united. This is a humanitarian tragedy of immense dimensions that deeply touches Canadians across the country, and I can, of course, assure the hon. member that as we move forward we will apply the appropriate flexibility on all of these matters.

And here is today’s press release, under the name of International Development Minister Christian Paradis.
“As we approach Christmas, I encourage Canadians to keep donating to registered Canadian charities, and our government will match eligible donations, dollar-for-dollar, right up to December 23, 2013,” said Minister Paradis
If you can, please give. (Details on how to do so in the press release)

Canada's Green Party: Pals with Afghanistan or not?

Press release from The Green Party of Canada on November 18, 2013:

Elizabeth May joins Afghanistan delegation at UN climate conference

WARSAW, POLAND: Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May today announced that she has joined the Afghanistan delegation at the COP 19 UN climate conference, and will thus have access to high-level negotiations open only to government representatives … [Read the rest]

Eight days later:

Green Party condemns Government of Afghanistan’s plan to reintroduce stoning as punishment for adultery

Following the announcement that the Government of Afghanistan planned to reinstate the Taliban-era practice of punishing adultery with public stoning, the Green Party of Canada today voiced its unequivocal condemnation of the policy, and urged the international community to push for human rights reform in Afghanistan…. [Read the rest]


America's spies push for even more power

The New York Times reports on a jaw-dropping report produced by the U.S. National Security Agency — America’s spy agency — in which it pushes for even more powers:

…existing American laws were not adequate to meet the needs of the N.S.A. to conduct broad surveillance in what it cited as “the golden age of Sigint,” or signals intelligence. “The interpretation and guidelines for applying our authorities, and in some cases the authorities themselves, have not kept pace with the complexity of the technology and target environments, or the operational expectations levied on N.S.A.’s mission,” the document concluded.Using sweeping language, the paper also outlined some of the agency’s other ambitions. They included defeating the cybersecurity practices of adversaries in order to acquire the data the agency needs from “anyone, anytime, anywhere.”

Read the story: N.S.A. Report Outlined Goals for More Power –

Final push in Brandon-Souris with letters to voters and front page political ads

False Front of Brandon SUn

In the federal riding of Brandon-Souris — and in three other federal ridings — voters will elect a new MP Monday. Brandon-Souris holds the promise of a big upset. It’s been Conservative or Progressive Conservative for pretty much forever with one exception. In the Kim Campbell wipeout election of 1993, the Progressive Conservative candidate at the time, Larry Maguire, lost to the Liberals. Well guess what? Maguire’s name is on the ballot again, this time as the Conservative candidate, and he could lose what should have been a sure thing to Liberal Rolf Dinsdale. Continue reading Final push in Brandon-Souris with letters to voters and front page political ads

Finally! The Senate moves into the, er, 20th century

They still won’t let the TV cameras in but Senators will now let you gather around your radio-like machines and listen to live audio feeds of the Senate in action!


Senate to Make Audio Proceedings of Chamber Publicly Available

Ottawa (November 21, 2013) Beginning November 26, 2013, audio proceedings in the Senate Chamber will be made publicly available, announced today the chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration. Continue reading Finally! The Senate moves into the, er, 20th century

Conservative radio attack ads target Justin Trudeau

In markets across the country this fall, the Conservative Party of Canada has been airing radio ads that attack Justin Trudeau. The one above attacks him on his experience. There is also this ad more attacking him for his plan to legalize and regulate marijuana.


In the meantime, Ottawa political journalists would be grateful if you would help us spot these political ads in the wild. You’ll need to use Twitter to do so under the hashtag #SawAnAd. Tweet out a few details about the ad but be sure to note time, station and program you heard or saw the ad.

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