For 15 years, voters and those they elect have ignored the Environment Commissioner

Some in Canada will think it perfectly appropriate that Canadian governments have paid little heed to Canada’s environment commissioner annual warnings that Canada just hasn’t been getting it done when it comes to climate change. Others will find this review depressing that we have not got it done on climate change.

Whatever your view: Given the fact that we’ve had five general elections since 2000 (2 won by the Liberals, three by the Conservatives) and no party has been punished for failing to meet their own targets, it’s pretty clear that our politicians have gotten the message about how much heed they should pay the Environment Commissioner: Continue reading For 15 years, voters and those they elect have ignored the Environment Commissioner

Harper's History key to a Conservative Century

Harper War of 1812
Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits Fort Lennox in Saint-Paul-de-l’Île-aux-Noix, Que. on Friday Sept. 14, 2012. Harper visited the site to commemorate Canadian victories in the War of 1812. (Maxime Deland/QMI Agency)

Both his fans and his critics agree on one thing about Stephen Harper. He wants to transform the country, so Canadians will come to see his Conservatives and not the Liberals as the natural governing party.

By the election of 2015, he will have done much in that regard.

But to make that work endure, the Conservatives need history on their side. They need a narrative of Canada in which Conservative Party values are integral to the story. Voters who buy this history will then turn to Conservative leaders as the default choice in this century the way Canadians turned to Liberal leaders by default in the last century.

I’m not the first to advance this thesis. Plenty have done something similar over the last few years, particularly when the Harper Conservatives allocated millions to mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. But this week, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird gave a speech about John Diefenbaker’s foreign policy and that speech, more than anything I’ve heard yet from a Conservative politician, neatly articulated the Conservative vision of how Canada’s history ought to be read or interpreted. Continue reading Harper's History key to a Conservative Century

Liberals set for big finish to 2013 in fundraising

Justin Trudeau
VANCOUVER — Justin Trudeau speaks to supporters on December 18, 2013. His party is having a monster month — relative to its prior years — when it comes raising money. (REUTERS/Ben Nelms)

Can they beat the Conservatives?

Shortly after 1 p.m. ET this afternoon, the Liberal Party of Canada’s senior director for fundraising Christina Topp sent out an e-mail to party members saying that, in the month of December alone, the party had raised $2,174,634 from 32,107 donors. Those are very good numbers. Indeed, that one month alone would beat the haul the party has had in many three-month periods over the last several years. (Federal political parties have been required to disclose financial data on a quarterly basis since 2007).

But while Liberals should, quite rightly, celebrate a helluva month from its fundraising division, that party still has much work to do to match the Conservatives when it comes to fundraising prowess. Continue reading Liberals set for big finish to 2013 in fundraising

Conservatives worry "Liberal attacks and the media" will derail fundraising drive

Senator Marjory LeBreton
Senator Marjory LeBreton is pressed by reporters last spring for answers about the Senate scandal, a scandal which had a lot of grassroots Conservatives stop donating to the party. Now, party president John Walsh is encouraging those donors to get back in the game and blaming the “media” for getting in the way of things. (DAVID AKIN/QMI Agency)

The latest missive from John Walsh, the president of the Conservative Party of Canada, to the party’s membership (delivered to my source for this at just after 6 pm ET on Friday night) I have emphasized one line: Continue reading Conservatives worry "Liberal attacks and the media" will derail fundraising drive

The new "hot button" issue for Conservative fund-raising: Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau
VANCOUVER – Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau talks to media after handing out food with Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen on December 18, 2013. (Carmine Marinelli/Vancouver 24hours/QMI Agency

The federal Conservatives raised millions of dollars from their supporters over the years by finding and pressing key “hot button” issues like the gun registry. A good “hot button” issue gets a donor riled up and ready to write a cheque so his or her side will deal with that that “hot button” issue.

Well, with the gun registry retired, the Conservatives have settled on a new hot button issue — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. Trudeau is the key “issue” in a series of fundraising e-mails flying out of Conservative Party HQ in the last couple of weeks during the party’s “Seize the Moment” fundraising campaign. Consider this latest one that comes from Heritage Minister Shelly Glover: Continue reading The new "hot button" issue for Conservative fund-raising: Justin Trudeau

The Longer He's Prime Minister

PM-Elect Harper
i snapped this pic on Stephen Harper’s first day as prime minister-elect, the day after the 2006 general election, on his campaign plane winging it back from Calgary to Ottawa. This sight — Harper scrumming reporters on his plane or anywhere else was about to become an increasingly rare sight and, seven years on, is something almost never seen.

I’ve just finished reading Paul Wells’ The Longer I’m Prime Minister, a book I’m happy to recommend to Harper-haters and Harper-lovers alike largely because of the way Wells treats his subject:

I offer no blanket endorsement of the twenty-second prime minister. Much of what he has done makes me angry; much more is open to serious debate. But too many people in this country have spent too much time trying to ignore Harper, or to dismiss him, or, with varying degrees of ineptitude, to defeat him. He endures. I figure it is not too soon to try to understand hi . . . Readers who still cannot bring themselves to believe he is the elected prime minister of this country not only misunderstand Stephen Harper. They also misunderstand Canada..

The Harper-lovers will love paragraphs like this: Continue reading The Longer He's Prime Minister

Conservative MP Dan Albas on that "freedom of speech" issue

In his most recent report to his constituents, first-term Conservative MP Dan Albas writes,

…contrary to what you may have heard in the media, Parliamentary practice is clear in recognizing that Whips of arespective party have long been involved in the process of determining the speaking order during Members Statements. Much of this current debate is in questioning to what extent a whip should and by extension a party be involved in what individual Members of Parliament can or cannot say within the House of Commons. This is largely the more important subject and one that I would like to address in my report today.

Read the rest of what he had to say on this issue here (it’s interesting) MP Report –  Dan Albas MP, Okanagan- Coquihalla.

The job-killing carbon tax. Again and again and again.

Speaker's Parade
The Sergeant-at-Arms carries the Mace into the House of Commons during the Speakers Parade at Parliament Hill in Ottawa Jan 28 2013, the first day of the new year for MPs. The Speaker of the House of Commons, Hon. Andrew Scheer follows on the right. (Andre Forget/QMI Agency)

We now have Hansard for the first week of 2013 in the House of Commons. Each day, there is a 45-minute Question Period. You’ve seen this. It generally gets the most media attention of any daily event on the Hill.

But just before Question Period gets underway (at 2:15 pm ET M-TH and 11:15 am on Fri) there is a 15-minute period for Members’ Statements. This period is provided for under Standing Order 31 so these statements are often referred to on the Hill as “S.O. 31s.”  The Conservatives mostly, but exclusively, are now using this period to bludgeon their opponents. (See my earlier post for more explanations: “The evolution of the SO31: From happy thoughts to political mud fights”) Used to be that Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals were the objects of the Conservative SO 31 ire. No more. Here’s what those of us who are paid to watch that 15-minute period of SO 31s have been suffering through for the first five days of this year in Parliament (and have every expectation of suffering through for many more days to come). I’ve excerpted just the juicy “carbon tax” bits … Continue reading The job-killing carbon tax. Again and again and again.