Garth Turner’s Sheeple

As a physicist, it’s always nice to sum things up with a formula. Garth Turner‘s recent book, Sheeple, can be quickly summed up as follows:


He ran and won as a Conservative who naively believed Stephen Harper’s 2006 team was vastly different from its Reform Party roots and had dropped all the SoCon baggage. He promised middle-class tax cuts and an open an honest government, which would be connected to his constituents through his blog.

He quickly discovered that dissent isn’t tolerated in the HarperCons and was ousted from his caucus within a year of joining it.

He paints a noble picture of his actions, standing against the hypocrisy of his party.

And for the most part I admire him for it.

While I likely disagree with some of his stances, overall we need more Garth Turner’s in this landscape.

Unfortunately, he misses part of his tale, and leaves his flank open to being by being himself a hypocrite.

Throughout the book he stands by his attack of the Conservatives for appointing David Emerson (elected a Liberal) to Cabinet shortly after the election, and for further appointing the unelected senator Martin Fortier as well.

He was passionately against floor crossers and demanded that they face the electorate before trading brands.

He continues to vigorously slam opportunistic MPs who seek cabinet positions and power over representing their constituents.

But then, as a complete contradiction, he recounts briefly his time in the Dion shadow cabinet, without so much as a peep to his reasoning for that switch.

If one were looking to attack Mr. Turner, they might ask why he abandoned his principles and may even accuse him of political opportunism in seeking a seat in Dion’s shadow cabinet.

But nevertheless, Turner exposes the dark side of Harper’s “New Government” and its ties to the Religious Right and the extreme control being wielded by the PMO and countless unelected beaurocrats.

For anyone who thinks voting Conservative means sending an independent voice to Ottawa, this book is for you.

Weekend straw poll: Worst cowboy hat leader?

In honour of the kickoff to the Calgary Stampede Parade (and due to the fact I’ll be camping and not blogging for at least the weekend), here’s a straw poll for you, vote in the comments.

There’s our PM, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper:


Or Green Party Leader Elizabeth May:


Or NDP Leader Jack Layton (bonus: featuring Calgary Stampede Marshall: Mike Holmes):


And as honourable mentions (since I couldn’t find pictures of them in cowboy hats – send them in if you have them):

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff (in white and black fedoras):



Or Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe (in a hairnet?):

Duceppe 1997

Vote (for the best/worst/funniest) in the comments below. (Also submit any other good pictures you have and check out CalgaryGrits past roundups).

Conservaspam and Gritspam

I received my latest Conservaspam a few weeks ago (older spams here, here, here, and here), so here it is, this time portraying Mr. Ignatieff as a typical “tax and spend” Liberal.



Even richer though, is Liberal John Cannis‘ 10 per center from Scarborough Centre which accuses the Conservatives of underfunding science (notice that it follows almost the exact same format as the Conservaspam template):



I now actually have to give credit to Harper and crew for being willing to include the other major national party leaders (Layton and May). Harper’s arrow is even less pointed at himself on this one. However both loose points for no comment line.

I really find it rich that the Liberals are criticizing the Harper budget now, that they voted for over 4 months ago.

I was even a little wary that today’s Edmonton Journal editorial entitled “Curtail MPs’ newsletter rights” would simply be a response to this recent Gritspam, but actually attacks the Harpercons for using their 10 per centers to push their attack ads. Most priceless is Fort McMurray Conservative MP Brian Jean’s comments defending the spam:

I don’t think of it as an attack at all. I think it is providing information and my job is to inform Canadians as to what their options are.

Apparently Ignatieff is too right wing for some Albertans

The following was taken after the Silly Summer Canada Day Parade on Whyte Avenue that Michael Ignatieff was rumoured to show up in, but didn’t end up making an appearance (local NDP representatives Rachel Notley and Linda Duncan sported hockey sticks and cheered to the crowd).


This follows a Liberal 10%er that I promise to upload in the next few days.

Update: As mentioned by Daveberta in the comments and seen on the Edmonton Journal’s photo gallery, Ignatieff was in the parade.

In Alberta, everyone’s a Commie

The Edmonton Journal has a pretty selective memory today by calling Brian Mason’s recent comments comparing one of the Tories recent land-use bills Stalinistic “out of bounds.

For the record, NDP Leader Mason stated:

Mr. Mason: Thanks very much, Mr. Speaker. This government is proposing a bill that gives them unprecedented power to control all activities on any land in the province it designates, and it would lock them in jail if they protest. Joseph Stalin would be proud. To the Minister of Infrastructure: why is your government implementing a policy that tramples the rights of rural property owners? [Emphasis added]

And in a letter from the NDP’s caucus Chief of Staff to the Journal and a Point of Order in the Assembly, they further clarified:

Point of Order
Factual Accuracy
Mr. Mason: Thanks very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise under Standing Order 23(h), when a member “makes allegations against another Member,” and 23(i), “imputes false or unavowed motives to another Member.” The Premier used words to the effect that I had called him a Stalinist. This came out of the question that we just dealt with
from Calgary-McCall. It was a bit of a diversion; the Premier wanted to stand up and talk about something that happened quite some time ago. The Premier was quite wrong in suggesting that I had called him a Stalinist. I’ve got the Hansard here of March 9. I said, “Rural Albertans are furious that a rural Premier and his cabinet would propose such a Stalinist law. To the Premier: why won’t you admit that this policy tramples the land rights of rural Albertans?”
I did not call the Premier a Stalinist, but I called the bill such. This was actually subject to a public clarification in the form of a letter to the editor in the Edmonton Journal on March 27 written by the chief of staff for the NDP opposition caucus. It states there:

Mason absolutely did not accuse Premier Ed Stelmach of being a Stalinist. Mason characterized Bill 19 as such, for its authoritarian provisions allowing government to trample the land rights of rural Albertans without compensation or defined right of appeal.

Mr. Speaker, I will always stand up when someone puts words in my mouth and says that I said something that I did not actually say. Now, having said that, the Premier has also stated that those comments caused him personal hurt. You know, this might be a bit of an unusual situation, where I’m standing up making a point of order to insist on my right to be quoted accurately and correctly and, at the same time, to make an apology to the person whom I’m raising the point of order against. It was not my intention to cause the Premier or any other member or any other person personal pain or hurt as a result of that statement, and I want to apologize to the Premier for doing so.
You know, when I feel an apology is required as a result of my behaviour or what I say, I don’t need to be compelled to do it, but I do ask, Mr. Speaker, that you recognize, in fact, that I’ve been again misquoted by the Premier and had words ascribed to me that I have not uttered. You know, I want to reiterate that I find that unacceptable.
I believe that it’s contrary to the rules of this Assembly, and I think that the Premier needs to deal with that appropriately.
Thank you.

The Speaker failed to grant Mason’s request for a misquotation.

But let’s dig back a bit, and see who else has been called a Stalinist or Soviet in this Legislature.

From Dr. Kevin Taft (Liberal) in reference to Bill 27, the Research and Innovation Act:

There’s also, of course, the whole idea – and I think it’s kind of ironic that this comes from a government that seems so consistently committed to the marketplace because the marketplace is all about decentralized decisions. You know, there’s a sort of famous case study on how it is that people in Edmonton, for example, can go to any number of grocery stores in the middle of January and get fresh tomatoes. How does that happen? Well, when you look at that, it doesn’t happen because there’s a minister responsible for fresh tomatoes. It doesn’t happen because there’s some centralized structure. It happens because there’s this tremendously decentralized structure, and a whole series of marketplace decisions that seem to occur on their own lead to us having fresh tomatoes in Edmonton.
You know, the comparison was the old Soviet system, where there was central planning. I don’t know how fresh the tomatoes were in Moscow in January, but I don’t suppose they were that great. [Emphasis added]

Or what about from Mr. Stelmach himself, seeing as he is the Ukrainian immigrant whose family suffered at the hands of Stalin and the Communist regimes (which he makes a point to bring up at every possibility in the Legislature – he even brought forth Bill 27 in late 2008 to recognize Ukrainian Genocide and Famine Memorial Day), he has clearly personally suffered trauma at the hands of Stalin’s Communists, and would be above making ad hominem attacks like the other parties, right?

(In reference to calls for managed growth in the oil sands):

Mr. Stelmach: Obviously, now we see the true colour of the Leader of the Opposition. He sure as heck isn’t a capitalist, talking about managing growth through the government. Sounds more like what they were doing in the former Soviet Russia. [Emphasis added]

And if we go back even further, we can find tons of back and forth comparing both the government and both opposition parties to Soviet/Stalin/Russian Communists.

So you know what Edmonton Journal? Do your homework and don’t accuse just one party that you may have it in for of playing unfairly. They’re all dirty in this province.

Grits miss Bill 44 free vote?

To Hugh MacDonald, Bridget Pastoor, Darshan Kang and Kevin Taft: Where were you all on the night of Monday, June 1, 2009?

It must have been somewhere mighty important for you all to miss the third and final vote on Bill 44 in the legislature.

I mean, I can understand all the Conservative MLAs who missed (including Education Minister Dave Hancock), who may fear that there really is no such thing as a “free vote.”

But you Liberals made a lot of hoopla, and then almost half of your caucus fails to show up to oppose it. At least the New Democrats did their job (see page 8 for votes).

Bill 44 received Royal Assent on June 4th.