So my 11-year-old son came home from school today to tell me that he’s running for school president. He goes to a small school — few hundred students — with kindergarten to grade 6. He’s in grade 6. He tells me that all the senior boys are behind him and no other boys will be running. The girls, however, will be putting forward a girl candidate. He’s worried about that. The girls tend to vote for girls and the boys tend to vote for boys. In my world on Parliament Hill, it’s left vs right, rich vs poor, old vs young but here, at my son’s public school, the key political cleavage is boys v girls.
Toronto Mayoral candidate Ari Goldkind doesn’t show up in any of the polls — such as this one, released today showing John Tory in the lead with 37%, Doug Ford in second at 30% and Olivia Chow back at 21% — but Goldkind, who is a criminal lawyer most of the time, is taking the campaign seriously and offering up some interesting ideas. His latest? Turn the Gardiner Expressway that runs east-to-west through Toronto’s downtown into a green space. Continue reading Nothing But Flowers: Goldkind's Green Gardiner
Paul Calandra, the Conservative MP who is also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, gave a tearful apology today in the House of Commons for the way he failed to answer questions put to him during Question Period earlier this week from Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair.
Moments after speaking in the House of Commons Tuesday (above), NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair told reporters in the House of Commons foyer (my emphasis):
You know, as far as we’re concerned, when you ask a question that corresponds to all the rules on a very important subject of national concern like Canada’s involvement in a war in Iraq, Canadians deserve better and they deserve more respect for our institutions than we got today. … And frankly, the Prime Minister should have been there today. That’s his role to be in the House.
New Brunswickers vote Monday in their 38th general election. They will decided either to keep incumbent Premier David Alward and his Progressive Conservative government or choose Liberal Brian Gallant as their new premier. Only PCs and Liberals had seats in the legislature at dissolution but the NDP, led by Dominic Cardy, believe they have a good shot at one or two.
And while there are some serious issues at play in this campaign, one of the odd issues that cropped up in the campaign’s dying days was a Hitler parody video in which Gallant was, apparently, a German general and the MLA for Shedica-Cap-Pelé, Victor Boudreau, was Hitler. (I annotate the above for non-New Brunswickers below) The Liberals demanded apologies from the NDP, a party that has not had a seat in the legislature since 2003. We’re not exactly sure who created this video but some New Democrats put this out on their social media feeds and that has drawn incredible Liberal indignation, fueled by the fact that Gallant’s grandfather ended up in a Nazi concentration camp because he helped European Jews escape during the Second World War. On live television, the NDP leader tried to apologize for whatever role his partisans played but Gallant — in high dudgeon — refused.
Now, I have opinions about the New Brunswick Liberal reaction to this parody. I think it’s way over the top and that they should have shrugged their shoulders and moved one. I said as much on my program, Battleground, on Sun News Network on Friday. But you’ll also want to watch this clip for the video of Gallant’s refusal to accept an offered apology from Cardy in the midst of a debate moderated by CTV’s Steve Murphy.
Need help with NB jokes?
If you’re just coming to the New Brunswick provincial election, here’s some things you need to know to get the jokes in the parody:
Brian Gallant’s Liberal Party has been leading in the few polls done in that province for over a year. There have been four public domain polls released since the campaign started, two by Corporate Research Associates and two by Forum Research. While each firms has some different numbers, the trend is similar: What was a monster lead at the beginning (19 points in CRA poll one) by the Liberals over the incumbent PCs has narrowed but still seems healthy enough.
“Leader Boudreau” is, presumably, a reference to Victor Boudreau, a Liberal MLA who was interim leader of the New Brunswick Liberals until Gallant won the permanent job. Boudreau, who was finance minister in Shawn Graham’s cabinet, is s cinch for cabinet if Gallant wins government Monday. The video’s creators have made Boudreau the Hitler character.
“Dominic, Brian, Roger, and Ottawa consultants …” The Dominic here is almost certainly Dominic Leblanc, the Liberal MP who is co-chair of the NB Liberal campaign. The “Ottawa consultants” may be a reference to David Herle and his Gandalf Group who, several reports said, are doing polling for the NB Liberals. Herle has just come off managing the super-successful majority-producing campaign of Kathleen Wynne in Ontario. But I’m pretty sure Herle and Gandalf Group are Toronto-based. I’m not plugged in enough to know who Roger is. The “Brian” though, would seem to be the 32-year-old Liberal Leader Brian Gallant. The video’s creators have assigned him the role of a Nazi general.
“The Farmer” That’s the incumbent premier, Progressive Conservative leader David Alward.
“Now Cardy is gaining on us”. That would be NB NDP Leader Dominic Cardy. And while the behaviour of the Liberals over the last week — not to mention their indignation over this video — would suggest the NDP are causing problems for the Liberals, the four polls we have seen have shown NDP support has weakened over the course of the campaign.”Coon” is David Coon, leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick.
“Shannon” No idea who that is. Anyone?
Now the NB Liberal Hitler parody is not the funniest one you’re ever going to see. The best-ever at making Hitler funny was Mel Brooks (Jewish!) The Producers. Here’s the signature tune from that terrific musical:
With just five full days of campaigning to go until New Brunswickers vote on Monday, Liberal Leader Brian Gallant will be struggling to recover from the worst media interview a politician ever gave in mid-campaign since Stéphane Dion got confused in the 2008 federal election.
But while Gallant’s mix-up, like Dion’s, involved a re-do, Gallant cannot blame his media interlocutor for a confusing, ill-worded question.
Late last week, a recording was forwarded through a third party to the Ottawa Sun and and to my newsroom in Sun Media’s parliamentary bureau. The recording, about five minutes long, contained a conversation from Aug. 19 between Lt. Gen (Ret’d) Andrew Leslie and, at the time we received it, an unidentified woman. In the process of verifying that circumstances and content of this conversation we contacted Leslie and the office of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. Leslie also made a recording of this same conversation and, on Tuesday, provided us with his transcript of conversation. His transcript matches the transcript we made from the first recording we received. The Liberals also identified the woman having the conversation with Leslie as the Parliament Hill assistant to Calgary West Conservative MP Rob Anders, Alexandra Constantinidis. Attempts to reach Constantinidis Tuesday to confirm she is the other participant in this conversation were unsuccessful. (Constantinidis’ Facebook page indicates she is a student at Mount Royal University and may well have returned to Calgary to start classes this fall there.)