Wednesday, June 29, 2011

eHealth part 876

I'm confused: If the Liberals are the people who keep scaring people with disinformation about other parties "gutting Ontario's health system", why are they working so hard to gut the system themselves?

As reported on this blog some months ago, the Liberals dumped a ridiculous amount of our money into the festering eyesore that is the Windsor Grace Hospital and were repaid with a big serving of nothing by paid-up Liberal donor and occasional developer Lou Vozza.

As of a few months ago, Dalton had every confidence in Vozza. As of 18 days ago, Heath Minister Debbie Doubletalk was ready to give Vozza a gold star for all the "substantial progress" he'd made. As of Friday, the government ripped up the contract. As of today, Debbie Doubletalk had no comment on the situation, apart from "I dunno", which is a pleasant rarity indeed.

There isn't much new to be said on the subject that hasn't been said already, except that now we have a slightly clearer picture of why Sandra Pupatello quit a few weeks ago. This is because Dalton and his rotating cast of Health Ministers have pulled this same scam over and over and OVER and OVER again. And they will keep on doing it until we boot these con men out of office.

This has been a particularly crappy week for Dalton, as he seems to be intent of destroying every bit of credibility he has left. Whether it's a massive overreaction to a negative poll in the Toronto Star, fighting with the NDP over who's going to be the third party, or showing that he doesn't care about frontline healthcare, Dalton is doing more damage to the Liberal brand than any Conservative in recent memory.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail

No sooner had the skittish Liberals finished trying to crush the NDP walnut with a sledgehammer than they turned their sights on.....the Toronto Star?!

Yep. Seems like the Liberals are annoyed with a poll that the Star published a little while ago which showed the PC Party running away with the election. Oddly enough, other polls favourable to the PC's weren't attacked in this way. I'd suggest that the reaction to this poll indicates pants-crapping fear within the Liberal Party that the Star might make a habit of endorsing the NDP. My view is supported by a helpful unnamed Liberal:

The tone of Guy’s memo rattled some Liberals, who also questioned Forum’s findings but would have preferred the central campaign ignore them altogether.

“Why respond — because they’re scared?” asked one Grit on Monday.

So naturally the right thing to do when your party's flagship media organ kneecaps you is to kneecap them right back. It's all quite reminiscent of an incident during the 2007 campaign where prototypical Liberal hack Ben Chin threatened CHCH Hamilton into not running a clip that would have made Dalton look silly. In what I'm sure is a completely unrelated development, well-known CHCH Hamilton news anchor Donna Skelly decided to run for us in Ancaster Dundas Flamborough Westdale. Hmmmm.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Every Living Thing Pushed Into The Ring

The Ontario Liberals are quite the jumpy lot these days. Everything that could possibly be interpreted as a threat gets both barrels. Including, so it seems, the Ontario NDP, who got the full on war room treatment at their convention this past weekend, same as we did, for the first time I can remember in a long while.

And why not? After the bottom fell out of the Liberals federally, the Ontario Liberals are right to prepare a war on two fronts. They are wrong, though, if they imagine they won't get squeezed again.

I'm definitely one of those Conservatives who respects the NDP for having principles. Awful principles, but principles nonetheless. And I want the NDP to hew closely to those awful principles- to be as wild and crazy as they want to be so that we can look awesome by comparison. Of course, I realize that they probably see us the same way.

The NDP can be trusted to understand, as we do, that what we have here is a fight between fundamentally opposed interests. Boss vs. worker, business vs. union, urban vs. rural, privatization vs. nationalization, free speech vs. limited speech.

The Liberals can pretend that these conflicts do not exist and that they are working to bring these irreconcilables together, or that you can "take ideas from both sides" and it will somehow work. It makes for a great fairy tale until something like the Canada Post strike comes along.

This past week, we saw the federal NDP rattle their cage in a way the Liberals never did. Frightening and offensive things were said by NDP MP's all throughout the long and terrible filibuster. Moderation was, and will be, an afterthought. Come the next sitting of the House, it'll be open war. And in open war, distinctions disappear. There is no need to pretend you like the people on the other side. There is no need for diplomacy.

Faced with an NDP opposition that wants to party like it's 1917, there will be no need for the PC Party of Ontario to argue over whether we should compromise on our principles so we don't lose ground to the Liberals. We can tack right, the NDP can tack left, and both parties will occupy the vaccuum left in the centre. Everyone wins- except for the Liberals, of course. 

With that stage set, we and the NDP can fight it out to wow the crowd. No one's getting out.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Past Behaviour Predicts Future Behaviour

I am convinced that the Liberal capacity for self-delusion is the most powerful force in the known universe. Nothing, it seems, will convince these Liberals that they are decidedly on the wrong track. That their grand schemes to save the world have failed. That they are not Moving Ontario Forward, but instead Going Nowhere Fast.

If I was a Liberal, and I was to consider all the misfortune that has befallen the Liberal brand in the past short while- losing municipal strongholds to populist revolts, clinging to power provincially where they haven't lost outright, a total collapse in the last federal election- first among my thoughts would be, "Hmmm. We must be doing something wrong. Let's try something a little different."

Let's use a concrete example: If I was one of Dalton's advisers, I wouldn't try to counter Tim Hudak's focused attack on my boss's total and complete uselessness by putting out a dry, boring lecture delivered by some invisible nerd who umms and ahhs into a $2 microphone for 11 minutes on the subject of a 100 billion zillion million trillion dollar hole.

I wouldn`t try this strategy, mostly because it has been tried before, and it didn`t work.

But of course, I am not a Liberal or one of Dalton's advisers. So I get to sit on the sidelines and watch these idiots act like they need to educate people about who to vote for. Listen to the Liberals talk! They're so much smarter than you!

If the Liberals have a problem with our platform, all we need to do is reply that, um, they have no credibility when it comes to managing an economy. That would be the simple thing to do. Or we could take the slightly more artful route and point out that all we've done is learn from the Liberals when it comes to not sweating the details. (Hey, how much did Family Day cost in terms of lost work-hours, again?) Or we could bang the populist drum and say that Ontarians are so angry at Dalton that they couldn't care less about how many billions in size the hole is.

Oh, but that's not the only reason why this video is a pile of crap. You see, I know that in a month or so, the Liberals are more likely than not going to do exactly the same kind of thing in their own platform. And how do I know this? Because when we announced we were going to loosen liquor laws, the Liberals made a fuss for a few weeks, then did the same thing. When we announced we were finally going to extend the 407, the Liberals freaked out for a while and then copied us. We took Rocco Rossi, they took Sarah Thomson.

Look, Dalton all but said he was going to copy Harper in this election. So when Jim Flaherty says it's time to wind down spending, what do you think Dalton's platform is going to look like?

Returning to our hypothetical example where I'm a Liberal and Dalton's advisor: If Tim Hudak really was a "reckless rookie" (and did you notice the Liberals aren't saying that so much anymore?), I'd do everything I could to distinguish myself from Hudak. But I'm not a Liberal and I'm not Dalton's advisor, so I get to watch Dalton continue to try and follow Hudak's lead. And Horwath's lead. And EVERYONE's lead. Which he is going to do, because he can't help himself. He just wants to be loved by everyone and if that means trying to suck and blow at the same time, well, why not?

Here's what's really hilarious: While nobody was looking, the Liberals and Conservatives switched places. They used to run slick campaigns and treat their opponents like afterthoughts while we looked for "opportunities to advance Conservative ideas." Now, it falls to frontline soldiers like myself to pick apart high-minded Liberal videos that are made because they have unsuccessfully tried everything else to get traction with the voting public while Tim Hudak's stride remains unbroken.

Last time I use my hypothetical example: If I was a Liberal/Dalton's advisor, and I was genuinely concerned about how every nickel and dime is not accounted for in Changebook, I would tell Dalton to go to the public, try to somehow appear natural, and explain himself person to person. But I'm not, and he won't.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Stunning Collapse

Yesterday, the Vancouver Canucks embarassed themselves. The fans of the Vancouver Canucks embarassed themselves.

But nobody should be more embarassed than those who insisted, even as downtown Vancouver was being destroyed, that this bunch of diving, conniving losers were "Canada's Team" and that the Canadian thing to do was to cheer for them. We can put Dalton McGuinty's war room right at the top of that list:

"He's not on our side," they said. Yeah, Tim Hudak is definitely not on the losing side.

Idiotic cheap shots from the Liberals are nothing new. Attempts to provoke outrage and suggestions of disloyalty are a dime a dozen when they're concerned. But this now hilarious-in-hindsight video made me angry.

I was angry because of the implication that the Canucks, by virtue of being the only Canadian team left in the playoffs, were automatically our side, and if anyone put forth a reasoned defence of the Bruins -like Tim Hudak did- it became OK in the minds of people like the moron who slapped that video together to marginalize them. For both the Liberals and the Canucks, it was the same line of thinking; there is one right way here, and it's our way.

And very much like the Liberals, we were expected to support the Canucks no matter what they did. Biting other players? Diving? Playing a goalie that was clearly in no shape to play, over and over? Total lack of offence? Rioting when you lost? Sure, give us more. We don't want those Americans to win, even if they deserve to win.

What was all the more incredible was that the fans knew the Canucks were blowing it, and were clearly dissatisfied with how they played, but even so, forced their anger down, hid sighs of relief behind cheers when the Canucks squeaked out wins, and told all of us that we'd be sorry for doubting the home team. Well, guess what: all that stiff-upper-lip amounted to nothing, and when that realization hit home for Canucks fans, they lost their minds on a grand scale.

Of course, that's out there, on the Left Coast. Imagine what's going to happen here in Ontario when all the Liberals who've choked down their hatred of Dalton for so long realize that it was all in vain.

Some Liberals have already reached the tipping point and can't swallow any more delusion, as Bob Hepburn told us today in the Star. He says that former Liberal MP's Gerard Kennedy, Mark Holland, and Dan McTeague won't run for Dalton. Just to be clear, those three are the guy who thought he'd make Stephane Dion leader of the Liberals,  the guy who sat on confidential documents for a year and then released them, claiming all the while he had no idea where they came from, and the guy who was basically allowed to sit within the Liberal Party so they could try to make so-cons think twice about voting Conservative, respectively. All three of these top-quality horse manure salesmen took one look at Dalton's operation and said, "No thank you."

Tim Hudak picked the unconventional choice, braved the criticism, and was proven right in the end. And in this upcoming election, he will do so again.

(Oh, and, um, Go Leafs Go! Next year, baby!)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tax Attack

Unlike the Liberals, who talk a good game about "ripping people's faces off" but in actual fact couldn't rip a piece of toilet paper because they're so frightened of getting bumped off in October, we know how to do attack ads right.

And what are they replying with? Half hearted jabs about a fictitious promise from Hudak to not go negative. You won't see the text of this promise, or anything that could be fitted between quotation marks that could be attributed to Hudak which resembles a promise.

Meanwhile, I've got a quote from Dalton's campaign chair, Greg Sorbara, and it goes a little something like this: "I’m not going to tolerate a campaign that is driven by negative advertising. It will not happen."

Greg Sorbara and "Flat Tim", hard at work *not* tolerating a campaign driven by negative advertising.

So here we have a short and to the point ad that's going to be seen by millions of people that will do what the Liberals could not do with weeks of unfocused, and no doubt extremely expensive, attacks that have been singularly ineffective at improving the Liberals' electoral fortunes. 

Importantly, our ads take the bold step of actually featuring our leader, instead of a disembodied Big Brother Is Watching You voice-over. We also take full ownership of our ads, while the other guys hide behind unions and then do a cute shrug of the shoulders when people start to ask questions.

We are not the timid party of four years ago. We came to play.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A House Divided

"Boy, those Conservatives with their infighting! Aren't they just hilarious? Aren't we Liberals going to just cruise to re-election in October?"

Well, look who's getting the last laugh now, Liberals. We had Sandra "Snooki" Pupatello, one of Dalton's toughest consiglieres, quit this week, and now we've got Donna Cansfield getting the vapours over a planned power plant.

Is she Donna Cansfield, or Donna Can'ts-field?

If you have a vague recollection of another of Dalton's cronies having a power plant-related credibility blackout, you're right. In Cansfield's case, though, it's a little more hilarious because she was originally a member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, but "her involvement in the education community led her to oppose the policies of the Mike Harris and Ernie Eves governments." That's a nice way of saying, "the teacher's union made her an offer she couldn't refuse."

Now, if avowed Red Tories like Cansfield who took the step of leaving the PC Party are now opposing Dalton's policy, what does that say for that other Liberal talking point about how red Tories should support Dalton?

Look, we know that Dalton's cronies are out there trying to recruit people like John Tory, Jr. on the pretense that the Liberals are somehow the real home for centrists. But only a few posts ago, I pointed out that Dalton plans to copy Stephen Harper's election tactics. Why? Because he knows what people like Sarah Thomson and Donna Cansfield and Belinda Stronach and Garth Turner and Mike Colle do not, and that is that THE CENTRE IS DEAD and hoping it will come back isn't going to work. 

That's Dalton's problem in the first place. Given the choice, he'd be as right-wing as Hudak, maybe right-er. There's a chance that he will do exactly that in the alternate universe where he wins the election in October. Or maybe he'd confess his undying love for unions and proclaim Dalton Days like the NDP did. But he can't do either of those things and instead tries in vain to capture "the centre" because it's what his puppetmasters tell him to do. His party is way more divided than ours ever could be, with people in his own party telling him, likely to his face, that he's the reason they're so far behind in the polls, and it's all happening in spite of-or because of- his efforts to make everyone like him.

A word to the Red Tories out there who may be considering following Thomson's lead and joining Dalton. You will not "remake the Progressive Conservatives." You are stepping into an abyss. Accept that there is no way back to the way things were.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thought Provokers

Hey, look! Ontario News Watch is up and running. Fan-diddly-tastic.

Let's see what we've got....hmmm....Dalton McGuinty Remains Highly Unpopular......not really news, is it?.....oooh, this looks interesting: Dalton wants schools to stay open on Voting Day so that teachers can go vote Liberal on their lunch break, very nice....

Wait a minute....what's this? Michael Bryant's opinion on the prisoner proposal? Just so we're clear, we're talking about this Michael Bryant.

A rising political star once touted as a future premier, former Ontario attorney-general Michael Bryant now faces a pair of serious criminal charges after a Monday night collision in which a bike courier was killed.

Cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard, 33, a father of four and aspiring comedian, died in hospital after what started as a minor run-in between him and a Saab convertible along Bloor Street West in Yorkville.

Oh boy. You know, I'm as big of a fan as anyone else of expert opinion in journalism, but this is taking things just a little too far, don't you think?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Crime and Punishment

God bless his pointed little head, Dalton is trying. Trying to make a Conservative leader look soft on crime, but trying nonetheless. It's an improvement over "jets and jails", to be sure, and I suppose if I reminded all the Liberals that Dalton is okey dokey with Harper's crime agenda, that wouldn't cause them to shed a tear for poor Michael Ignatieff, for whom they worked so hard just scant months ago. Nope, didn't think so.

Maybe I'd have a bit more luck if I reminded the Ontario Liberals that they are the ones who are responsible for this:

And just in case you think we've forgotten about Dalton's inaction on the burning issue of possibly illegal smoke shacks, well, just have a watch:

Then we've got Dalton's refusal to release the Ontario Victims' Justice Fund to victims of crime. Victims of crime....that would be pretty much every taxpayer in Ontario during the last eight years, wouldn't it? ;)

If you have read changebook, you will see that the PC Party will establish one law for all, crack down on illegal operations like meth labs and grow ops, ensure that victims of crime are fairly compensated, and basically not stand around with their thumbs up their butts (like Dalton has) while illegal activity flourishes in the province of Ontario.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Something Just Ain't Right

That noted scribe from St. John's, Tim Powers, wrote this week that we taciturn Ontarians should be getting our tuckers up in a big way over Dalton's dismal performance. As is the case with many an Easterner, Westerner, or Northerner who seeks out our big mushy centre of Confederation, he seems surprised at the lack of public outrage we Upper Canadians display when things go wrong:

Anybody else starting to get angry? Why maintain that polite Upper Canada restraint? While great fodder for jokes in many other parts of Canada, Ontario's downward spiral ought to concern us all. With voters going to the polls here in October, Dalton McGuinty should not be getting a pass for his failing grades on the economy.

I shudder to think what Ontario will be like with another four years of Liberal rule. Maybe no feathers will get ruffled, but is that enough of an appealing hypnotic spell to overlook everything else?

Ontario, I believe, plays an important role as a buffer zone for the complaints of the other regions. Depending on where you're from, you rage against the arrogant Upper Canadian, the pompous Eastern bastard who needs to freeze in the dark, or the maudites anglais, and call it a day. And in turn, we Ontarians have become so used to everyone hating us that we have become experts at tuning it out. Can't we just move forward together instead of arguing about wheat or oil or fish or transfer payments or whatever it is today?

Of course, when you expect attacks to come from outside, it creates two things; detachment from the people making those attacks, and delusion to try and keep a positive self image in the face of those attacks. As a province in a very scary place economically (one which we're not used to) and as people who are used to trusting the government and letting them manage things, we have to believe, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that things are not as bad as they seem. We have no game plan for how to deal with our province falling as far as it has, so the only thing to do is to walk slowly forward. What did you expect?

For Dalton's part, I can't figure out if he is deliberately reinforcing this delusion or if he has wholeheartedly bought into it himself. It's hard to tell with a guy who tells an audience of Liberals in Woodbridge last week that the past eight years were "a good start" yet doesn't seem to be sure about whether he'll continue as leader after the next election. What is known is that he has a big problem with us not buying into the delusion. That's why he says that we "don't believe in Ontario."

If you take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland.

How many Liberals at that rally in Woodbridge could feel the limits of credibility being reached during that speech? Probably lots, given the party's standing in the polls and the fact that, try as they might during this past week, they couldn't land a decent hit on us.

It's why they're trying to recreate ads from the Bush/Dukakis race like anyone will even remember who Dukakis is, and why they're giving a platform to Paul McKeever, the leader of a party that gave its support to the Northen Alliance back when Bush was running. Hmmm. Well, it's not like anyone who gave McKeever the soapbox would know about the Northern Alliance......right?

Bottom line though- delusions always fall apart. Always. The Liberals know this in the back of their minds, and the bottom will drop out on Oct. 7th.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


A modicum of trust in Canada's journalistic corps was restored today when this simple, blindlingly obvious bit of truth was recognized in the Globe and Mail:

And the Liberals’ broadsides, through press releases and talking points and Twitter posts, have been unfocused to the point of being contradictory – at various points labelling Mr. Hudak nostalgic for his time in Mike Harris’s government 15 years ago and a “reckless rookie, ”a man with no plan, except for the sinister secret plan he keeps to himself.

But still, their criticisms are all over the map. Mr. Hudak is not just “slick,” but also “dark” and “angry.” Despite being too “pessimistic,” he’s also promising Ontarians too much.

This revelation from Mr. Radwanski might come as a shock to some people. For the rest of us who are more familiar with Liberal doublethink, this is the point where their lame clown-and-straight-man act falls apart. You know the one: where Liberal "A" bashes someone for doing one thing, and Liberal "B" bashes him for doing the exact opposite, hoping to split the difference and that people won't "C" what's really going on here.

A summary of Dalton's communication strategy thus far.

Look at poor little William Norman sweat his heart out trying to do just this. If I read him correctly, he's saying, "Well, before Tim Hudak had problems with full day kindergarten, and that was bad, but now he decided that he doesn't want to make it an election issue, and that's somehow even worse!" Yeah, it's definitely "reckless" to say you're not going to fight the other guy. :P   

The PC Party of Ontario's Changebook has been discussed intensely for the past four days by both the commentariat and the people whose opinions actually count. Pretty much everyone who is not employed by the Ontario Liberal Party has found something they like about it, and even Andrew Coyne  had something halfway nice to say about it. For example, we got an endorsement from a real life student group. Pretty mindboggling to have students endorse the Conservative party, but there you have it. 

Naturally the Liberals have crapped all over the whole thing and made what they consider to be Highly Intellectual Criticisms and Devastatingly Intelligent Witticisms and Really Lame Twitticisms which they think will make Ontarians say, "My God, you're right! We need four more years of the guy that made Tim Hudak so popular in the first place!" 

What these idiots seem to have forgotten is that every time they talk smack about Changebook and Tim Hudak, they make him more popular and better known, and help get his ideas out there. Furthermore, as they talk the aforesaid smack, they draw a considerable amount of attention to the fact that they HAVE NO PLAN THEMSELVES. (Wow, that felt good.)

To win a campaign, you must stay on message. What, pray tell, is the Liberal message? "We're going to carry a cardboard cutout of a stick figure around the province and pretend it makes us look cool"?

Dalton was the king of "I needn't touch you to defeat you", and now he's losing a fistfight with his own shadow.