Showing posts with label 2008 election. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2008 election. Show all posts

Monday, 22 September 2008

Theo's hope: Chris Reid

Financial manager Theo Caldwell, who moonlights as a conservative columnist for both the National Post and the Toronto Sun, recently talked up Chris Reid, the Tory candidate who had to resign this past weekend when his wingnut views became public.

Theo's point was that even though Tory candidates in Toronto had no hope of winning they can still play an effective role because
...it can be liberating for these locals to know that they can speak their minds without endangering their Commons seat. Such candidates can be the most effective in exposing key members of the Opposition.
He went on to say:

Consider former NDP Ontario premier Bob Rae, now the Liberal MP for Toronto-Centre. There are myriad reasons why Rae deserves a public talking-to from a Conservative opponent, but Sir John A. Macdonald himself could not unseat this once and future socialist.

If Rae is soundly defeated in debates or pushed into making intemperate remarks that gain national attention, however, that could prevent him from becoming prime minister and doing the same damage to Canada that he did to this province.

If Conservative candidate Chris Reid can accomplish this, even in defeat, he will have served his country well.

Hm. So how did that work out I wonder? Reid certainly did feel liberated enough to speak his mind on gays, women, guns and bus decapitation but "exposing key members of the Opposition" or tricking Bob Rae into making "intemperate remarks"? Um, not so much. But perhaps that's what Reid was up to - making remarks that were so outrageous and beyond the pale in an attempt to provoke Bob Rae into saying something even more intermperate? Probably not but I'd hate to think Theo's trust in Chris Reid was so badly misplaced.
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Saturday, 20 September 2008

Jason Cherniak gets it wrong

Jason Cherniak is a well known Liberal blogger cum pitbull. In a blogosphere of partisans Cherniak is a sectarian extraordinaire who never fails to rush to judgement in the absence of facts if he can score a few partisan posts. Recently, he has smeared a political activist named Stacy Douglas who was a provincial NDP candidate in Scarborough Agincourt in the 2003 provincial election and planned to be a federal candidate when it looked like there would be an election in 2007.

On Friday, Cherniak made a post on his blog titled NDP fired candidate who was anti-Israel which claimed in no uncertain terms that Ms Douglas was "fired" by the NDP for comments she made in support of Palestinian rights. He repeats the claim, using the phrase "getting rid of Dougls" instead of "fired" in a subsequent post. Cherniak's evidence? Well, she was the candidate at one point and is no longer and she wrote a letter to Jack Layton in March complaining about the party's decision not to back the Durban II conference on racism. In the absence of any actual factual evidence (such as a statement or news item) stating why Douglas no longer is the candidate, Cherniak assumed, in the absence of any facts, that Douglas must have been dropped as a result of the letter. After all, correlation must mean causation ergo a letter written in March and someone not being a candidate six months latter means the two events must be connected. So concludes the steel trap mind of Jason Cherniak and hey, if his finely tuned legal intellect makes a supposition it's not just an ordinary suppostion it's as good as a fact; hence Jason's assertion that his blind speculation must be true.

The problem is it isn't.

My grade 6 teacher used to say that when you assume you make an ass of u and me. In this case, Cherniak has only made an ass of himself. The fact is that Ms Douglas is not a candidate because she is in England this year pursuing her academic studies. Had there been an election in 2007 or early 2008 she would have been a candidate. Had there been an election, as scheduled, in the fall of 2009 after her year abroad was over, she also may have been a candidate but as the Prime Minister decided to break the spirit of his own law and call a snap election Ms Douglas cannot be a candidate because she is not in the country.

So here is the upshot of this. Because of Cherniak's combination of intellectual arrogance (if I thinks it it must be so) lack of due diligence (if I thinks it's a fact there's no need to verify it) and general sloppiness he's now defamed a once and possibly future poltical candidate with the claim that she was fired by her party for her criticisms of Israel, a claim which in this day and age also implies the existence of anti-Semitism.

It's one thing to criticize other political parties based on their actual deeds or misdeeds or on their policies but to engage in this sort of smear because of intellectual laziness is not acceptable. I say intellectual laziness because Cherniak is a law school graduate and should have at least a passing familiarity with the methods of critical thinking and debate. If this is an example of Cherniak's analytical mind at work then I think he's going to have a very serious problem practicing law, particularly when it comes to arguing cases in court. If he was deliberately disregarding logic and due diligence in order to score cheap points than shame on him but moreover shame on anyone who takes his blog seriously. The reason the BBC was a force to be reckoned with during World War II's propaganda wars was because they had a reputation for being factual and credible. Once you become known to invent facts for propaganda reasons you're finished and if Cherniak does not take responsibility for his mistake and apologize then I think he's finished as a serious commentator.
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Sunday, 14 September 2008

Election 2008

We're a week into the campaign and so far the Liberals are running an anemic effort despite the fact that Stephane Dion pledged that the party would be election ready more than a year ago. Some polls suggest the Liberals and NDP could be in a fight for second place, though this is more because of Liberal weakness than anything else as the NDP has not broken through the 20% popular vote barrier - something the party only managed to do once in federal electoral history - in 1988 when the Broadbent led party won 43 seats with 20.38% of the vote.

So far though the NDP has run a stronger campaign than the Liberals and the media is starting to take notice. The NDP ads are crisp, visually interesting and take direct aim at the Tories and are designed to position the party as the real alternative to the Tories.

The NDP are bucking a decade or so of Ontario and federal party conventional wisdom which dictated that the party should focus its efforts on the Liberals. This attempt at "triangulation" was too clever by half and actually had the effect of alienating left leaning Liberal voters. The NDP's fear has been that if they attack the Tories they will only drive their own voters to the Liberals and encourage strategic voting. However, progressive voters are first and foremost anti-Conservative and it has been pure folly for a party to try to win the progressive vote by ignoring the real enemy.
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