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Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Iggy gives $0 to Liberal Party in 2008

This shouldn't be much of a surprise since it's not legal for foreigners to make donations to Canadian political parties.
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Monday, 2 February 2009

Where's Warren's backup?

If you're here it's because a post I actually wrote a year ago on Warren Kinsella's kitty comments has inadvertently been reposted with today's date as if it were new. It's not. Unfortunately, blogger doesn't seem to have any way for me to fix the date stamp, - at least none that I can find. If you know how to fix the date on this thing please feel free to lend your advice:)

Warren Kinsella has gotten himself in hot water for some rather dumb comments about a Chinese restaurant in Ottawa. The pathetic part of it is that Kinsella, who received a lot of prominence earlier in his career for his anti-racism would invoke really stupid, 1950s style, bigoted humour that should have died with Buddy Hackett's "Chinese waiter sketch". The "barbecue cat and rice" joke was so out of it's time I would have assumed that Kinsella was actually being deeply ironic if I thought he had the intelligence for irony or if irony hadn't died in 2001. It was the same patheticness that the writers of the Simpsons created for Krusty the Clown when they had him do Chinese restaurant gags in order to make the point that the only a fossil would think that stuff's funny.

If Kinsella were even the most rudimentary anti-racist he would have filtered those jokes out of his repetoire a long time ago. Heck, most racists don't engage in that sort of humour because they're too aware that they'll "out" themselves by doing so. The only way I can explain Kinsella's lapse is that in his arrogance he assumes that he's truly some sort of anti-racist icon and therefore is incapable of bigotry and so he is incapable of the sort of self-awareness and self-scrutiny most people use when they're tempted to blurt out something offensive.

Of course, the Tories and the right wing of the blogosphere is exploiting Kinsella's faux pas to the hilt. So much so that you would have thought he'd called for the reintroduction of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Of course, most of the Tories are being hypocritical considering the comments many of them have tolerated or even defended far worse from people like Herb Grubel, Monte Solberg, Lee Richardson, or the party's own ad team. And let's not forget that one of the founding issues of the Reform Party was opposition to Sikh RCMP officers wearing turbans. That many of the right wing blog netizens now chomping at Kinsella have no hesitation to mock and make abusive comments about Muslims only underscores the hypocricy around this issue. And, frankly, given Kinsella's eagerness to smear others based on half-truths and distortions it's hard to feel sympathy for the guy.

Kinsella should issue a real apology, ie one that expresses actual contrition and self-awareness, rather than the minimization he's been engaging in.

On a political plane, what's been interesting about this whole affair is the failure of any Liberals that I'm aware of to back Kinsella up and defend him. Perhaps the rehabilitation which seemed in the offing under Iggy will prove to be short lived?
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Friday, 30 January 2009

Ontario NDP leadership endorsement watch

All four candidates have published endorsement lists on their websites. Of the 10 person provincial caucus the endorsements are breaking down as follows:

Peter Tabuns (2) (himself and Cheri DiNovo, Parkdale-High Park)

Michael Prue (2) (himself and Paul Miller, Hamilton East-Stony Creek)

Gilles Bisson (2) (himself and France GĂ©linas, Nickle Belt)

Andrea Horwath (3) (herself, Peter Kormos, Niagara Centre; Rosario Marchese, Trinity-Spadina)


Three One MPP is uncommitted - outgoing leader Howard Hampton is expected to remain neutral. Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina) and Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre) are still to declare their intentions.

The federal NDP's Ontario caucus is larger with 17 MPs but most of them have stayed on the sidelines. Here is the endorsement breakdown so far:

Gilles Bisson (7) Charlie Angus, Timmins James Bay; Tony Martin, Sault Ste. Marie; Carol Hughes, Algoma. Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay-Superior), John Rafferty (Thunder Bay-Rainy River), Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury) and Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt) have now endorsed as well.**

Andrea Horwath (3) David Christopherson, Hamilton Centre; Chris Charlton, Hamilton Mountain; Malcolm Allen, Welland.***

Peter Tabuns (2) Irene Mathyssen, London—Fanshawe, Paul Dewar*, Ottawa Centre.

Michael Prue (0)


10 5 MPs are left to declare. Federal leader Jack Layton is expected to remain officially neutral - unofficially he's assumed to be backing Peter Tabuns who represents Layton's riding provincially and is a long time friend and colleague from their days as wardmates on Toronto City Council. The remaining MPs left to declare are:

Jack Layton, Toronto-Danforth (expected to remain neutral)
Olivia Chow, Trinity—Spadina
Joe Comartin, Windsor—Tecumseh
Wayne Marston, Hamilton East—Stoney Creek
Brian Masse, Windsor West

Overall the endorsement lists are notable in the following ways.

Bisson's list of endorsements is, not suprisingly, tilted heavily towards the northern Ontario (not listed yet is the Nickel Belt NDP Riding association which has also endorsed Bisson) It's easy for those of us in Toronto to take the north for granted but northern Ontario is a major base for the NDP and he could do much better than expected if he's able to consolidate the north. The Nickel Belt riding association alone, for instance, has 1,000 members or 5% of the total Ontario NDP membership. Therefore, it'll be interesting to see if the four currently uncommitted northern MPs fall in behind Bisson. Since writing this the four remaining northern MPs have endorsed Bisson.

Andrea Horwath's endorsement list
, aside from being Hamilton heavy, is also very union heavy and includes Ontario Federation of Labour president Wayne Samuelson and OFL Secretary-Treasurer Irene Harris, former OPSEU president Leah Casselman as well as a number of labour council presidents and union locals from around the province as well as a number of current and former union executive members. Only 75% of the "votes" in the leadership election will be on a One Member One Vote basis. Labour delegates are responsible for the other 25% of the vote so labour can still play a very important role in determining the outcome.

Toronto city councillors are heavily represented among Michael Prue's endorsements as are several former MPPs including NDP MPP and Speaker of the Legislature David Warner, former MPP Gary Malkowski (both according to Prue's campaign literature) and former cabinet minister Marilyn Churley. Not listed is the strong support Prue enjoys from public school teachers, particular a number of OSSTF officials, due to his stance on reopening the debate on Separate School funding. Also not listed is Prue's endorsement from the NDP Socialist Caucus (which is more a function of the fact that one Socialist Caucus co-chair is a public school teacher and the other is a public school trustee rather than of any hitherto crypto-Marxist tendencies on Prue's part).

Finally, Peter Tabuns' official endorsement list shows union support from the Toronto area - such as the Toronto Area Steelworkers Council , UNITE HERE Local 75 and CUPE Local 1 as well as support from party "establishment" figures - former provincial secretaries and party presidents such as Michael Lewis, Janet Solberg, Jill Marzetti, Andre Foucault and Diane O'Reggio as well as other prominent party figures such as Hugh and Dan Mackenzie. (It's not insignificant that the prominent Lewis and Mackenzie families, often in rival leadership camps in the past, are both behind Tabuns).

So what does this mean? It is interesting that the "party establishment" and the "labour establishment" are backing different candidates. Prue, who is widely perceived to be in second place, seems to be trailing in the endorsement race - possibly because his willingness to open the Separate School issue and his emphasis on internal party democracy may have alienated his colleagues and prominent party figures. Can he make up the difference by winning the grassroots? Bisson is dominant in the north (though he hasn't gotten all his federal caucus colleagues wrapped up yet, at least not publicly) but has not made significant inroads in other regions. Still, the north is the NDP's base at present and being their favourite son could position him well.

A race that seemed to be developing as a Tabuns romp a few months ago may be a lot more competitive than expected.

*UPDATED: I'm told that MP Paul Dewar endorsed Tabuns at today's leadership debate in Ottawa.

**UPDATED: Gilles Bisson's campaign announced today that Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay-Superior), John Rafferty (Thunder Bay-Rainy River), Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury) and Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt) have endorsed his campaign meaning all northern Ontario MPs are supporting Bisson.

***Updated: Malcolm Allen, the MP for Welland has followed Peter Kormos' lead and endorsed Horwath.

****Marchese has endorsed Horwath.
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Thursday, 29 January 2009

Iggy gags caucus III

Earlier this month I alleged that new Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff was gagging his MPs from speaking out on Gaza. My allegation was indirectly proven by the fact that a number of MPs who were usually outspoken on the issue of Palestinian rights were remaining silent during the Gaza war. The furthest any Grit MP would go, namely Rob Oliphant, Bonnie Crombie, Borys Wrezesnewskyj and Jim Karygiannis, was to attend a round table discussion with pro-Palestinian groups to hear their concerns but no Liberal MP agreed to speak at any of the numerous of Gaza solidarity rallies and events held during the war or to criticize Israel in the media.

Nevertheless, several people were either skeptical of my assertion that there was a gag order or were reserving judgment while Ignatieff's office officially denied that they would ever do such a thing.

Well, today comes confirmation that Ignatieff is muzzling his caucus and is attempting to control the access his MPs have to the media. The Globe and Mail reports that

At his first caucus meeting as leader in December, [Ignatieff] made it clear the caucus speaks with one voice and it is his.

“He laid down the law at the beginning. You could hear a pin drop,” a Liberal insider said about the way Mr. Ignatieff outlined the new one-voice strategy. He said Mr. Ignatieff possesses discipline and firmness. “You know when you leave the room who the leader is.”


In addition, Ignatieff is banning "Liberal strategists" from appearing on TV panels without approval.

So far, the designation of TV pundits has not been tested, but the other Ignatieff edict is working. Trying to get any information from this week's caucus proved extremely difficult.

“We have taken a death vow,” one Liberal MP said. “You could hold me down and tickle me. I'm totally mum on this one.”
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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Iggy folds


Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said his party is prepared to “swallow hard” and support the Conservative government, provided they agree to table regular updates outlining how they are living up to their commitments outlined in the federal budget.

Is that it? Is that seriously Iggy's only condition for passing the budget? Despite broad-based demands the budget does nothing to rectify the absurd qualification regime for EI which excludes over 60% of unemployed Ontarians from the program. An effective form of unemployment insurance is an absolute necessity as we enter this recession and yet not only has the Harper government refused to budge on this issue but the Ignatieff Liberals have balked at holding Harper's feet to the fire and insisting that the budget be amended to broaden EI eligibility as a condition for Liberal support.

Instead all Ignatieff is asking for is "regular updates" from the government? This alone will satisfy the Liberals and cause them to favour the continuation of the Harper horror show and ditch the coalition which could have taken power as soon as this Thursday.

This is leadership? This is using your political advantage to leverage concessions?

If neither the Tories nor the federal Liberals are prepared to fix the EI system perhaps the Ontario government, which has complained about the current inequity, should seriously consider this proposal to pull out of the federal EI system and create an Ontario Employment Insurance Program instead?
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Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Liberal MPs gagged part II: The Hounds of the Ignatieffs or the Curious Incident of the Liberal MPs who did not bark

"The dog did nothing in the night-time,"Holmes said. "That was the curious incident."

According to Maclean's columnist Kady O'Malley, the office of Michael Ignatieff has said it is "absolutely untrue" that Liberal MPs have been told not to speak at Gaza solidarity rallies on the pain of having their nominations rejected in the next election. The question then is why was at least one rally organizing committee told otherwise when invitations were extended to Liberal MPs and why is it that not one Liberal MP addressed a single one of the cross-Canada rallies last weekend when NDP MPs such as Irene Mathysson and even a Liberal MPP from Dalton McGuinty's caucus did? Normally, loquacious MPs would climb over each other for the chance to speak to thousands of people and there is no shortage of MPs in the Liberal caucus who have been outspoken supporters of the Palestinians in the past.

Is Ignatieff's office telling the truth or is this a case of plausible deniability?
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Monday, 5 January 2009

Liberal MPs gagged on Gaza

I've just heard word from a reliable source that Liberal MPs have been instructed not to speak at Gaza solidarity rallies with the threat that if they do their nominations forms will not be signed for the next election. I wonder if Liberals have been given the same instruction in relation to pro-Israel rallies?

Click here for an update.
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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Mike Duffy gets his reward


CTV's coverage of the recent parliamentary crisis was unbelievably one-sided and egregiously partisan. Mike Duffy was particularly subjective - one broadcast of Mike Duffy Live I watched on December 3rd consisted of interviews with Tories who opposed the coalition and the two Grits interviewed, Stephen LeDrew and a former Toronto MP were also opposed to the coalition while Duffy himself couldn't contain his own opposition using questionable and loaded words like "coup" to describe the arrangement, referring to it as the "separatist coalition" and repeating as fact the Tory talking point that the BQ was a coalition partner. An objective broadcast would have included an equal number of pro and anti-coalition talking heads but evidently Mike couldn't find a single coalition supporter to talk to. And what sort of interviews did he conduct? Watch this chat with Premier Brad Wall in which Duffy rolls his eyes when he first refers to the "event" of the coalition. Rather than challenging Wall (which is what one would expect in an interview, even if you're just playing Devil's Advocate) Duffy agrees with him throughout and adds to his objections calling the coalition at 3:38 claiming that the NDP is agreeing to be in bed with separatists.


Personally, I'm glad Duffy was appointed not because he will add anything to Parliament but because it will get him off the air.
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Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Questions for 9/11 Truthers

One of the byproducts of the internet is the increased proliferation of conspiracy theories. If antisemitism is the socialism of fools, as Bebel said, then conspiracy theories are the dialectics of morons. Conspiricism diverts people from serious critical analysis of the structure and practice of society and away from conclusions that can lead to useful action for social change and substitutes it for a belief in mysterious figures shrouded in shadows and fog. At best, it is disempowering - at worst it re-enforces the ruling class by setting up scapegoats that can be sacrificed in their stead - Jews, for instance.

While conspiricism is a symptom of a society that distrusts its leaders and disbelieves what it is being told from on high it is a skepticism that is devoid of the rigours of logic, fact-finding and evidence testing using instead magic thinking, supposition and wild logical leaps.

The latest example of this malady is the 9/11 Truth Movement. Now, I've been a critic of the War on Terror since it began and there are a number of cogent criticisms that can be made of it - that the US and other Western governments have exploited 9/11 and Al-Qaeda in order to justify not only a war against Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 or 7/7 attacks; and that western countries, the US, UK and Canada in particular, have used the War on Terror as a pretext to vastly expand the national security state and curtail the rights of citizens and, in particular, non-citizen residents. However, that is quite different from arguing that 9/11 was an "inside job" planned by either the US or Israel (as the more antisemitic of the 9/11 troothers imply).

counterknowledge.com is a new website devoted to challenging and debunking conspiracy theorists and quackery of various stripes. Here are their 15 questions for the 9/11 truth movement:

Let’s take your thesis (that 9/11 was an inside job perpetrated by the Bush administration, and covered up by a coalition of US government agencies, allied powers, big business and the media) as read. The following questions point to logical and factual gaps within that thesis. It is now up to you to answer these questions and explain why your theories are still valid. For your answers to be credible, they need to be detailed and based on verifiable evidence. No suppositions, no speculation, no unsupported assertions, just the facts. Stop “asking questions”, and provide answers. These fifteen initial questions will do for starters.

(1) On 9th September 2001 Ahmed Shah Massoud, the most effective military commander of the anti-Taliban coalition (the Northern Alliance, or NA) was killed by two Arab suicide bombers posing as journalists. The assassination of Massoud had taken months to plan, and the latter had received the bogus request for an ‘interview’ in May 2001 (See Steve Coll, Ghost Wars, pp.574-576; Jason Burke, Al Qaeda, p.197; Daniel Byman, Deadly Connections, p.210. Two days before 9/11, Al Qaeda killed the Taliban’s main enemy, who had also played a pivotal role in keeping the NA factions together, and who would have been the obvious figure to liase with if the Americans had decided to effect regime change in Afghanistan. If Al Qaeda were not responsible for 9/11, then why was Ahmed Shah Massoud’s assassination so well co-ordinated with the attacks on New York and Washington?

(2) Conversely, prior to 9/11, the US government had minimal contacts with Massoud and other Northern Alliance figures, much to the latter’s frustration (See Coll, passim). If 9/11 was a “false flag” operation intended to justify a pre-determined plan to invade Afghanistan, then why didn’t the CIA and other US government agencies do more to facilitate ties with the NA?

(3) Just before 9/11, Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and other key Al Qaeda personnel left their quarters in Kandahar to hide in Tora Bora (Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower, pp.356-358). Why did bin Laden and al-Zawahiri suddenly leave their known locations and go to ground, if they were not anticipating imminent military action by the USA?

(4) In the days following 9/11, the Bush administration asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a plan to invade Afghanistan. The JCS had to admit that they had no contingency plan for such an invasion, and in the weeks preceding Operation Enduring Freedom the CIA and the Department of Defense were obliged to improvise a plan of attack against the Taliban and its Al Qaeda allies (Benjamin Lambeth, Air Power Against Terror; Bob Woodward, Bush At War). If 9/11 had been an inside job, and if there was a long-standing intention by Bush and his advisors to invade Afghanistan and overthrow the Taliban, then why did they have to scrabble around for a workable plan? Why was one not prepared beforehand?

(5) We are being asked by the truthers to believe that the 19 hijackers were “patsies”, or non-existent. If that was the case, and if the intention of the real plotters in the US government was to justify military interventions to overthrow hostile regimes in the Middle East, why were 15 out of the 19 ‘bogus’ Al Qaeda terrorists given Saudi nationality? The other four hijackers consisted of an Egyptian, a Lebanese and two citizens of the UAE. We are being asked to believe that the conspirators behind 9/11 decided that they would make the hijackers citizens of allies of the USA, not enemies. Why were they not given Iraqi, Iranian or Syrian identity? Why were they not given forged links with terrorist groups (such as the Abu Nidal Organisation, the PLFP-GC or Hizbollah) with closer links to Tehran, Damascus and above all Baghdad? If we are supposed to believe that the Israelis had a hand in 9/11, then why were none of the patsies Palestinians linked to Fatah or Hamas? What kind of conspirator sets up a plot to frame an innocent party without forging the evidence to implicate the latter?

(6) Following on from this point, if the identities and the nationalities of the hijackers were faked, then why did the Saudi, Egyptian, Lebanese and UAE governments accept that citizens from their own countries were involved? What incentive did Saudi Arabia have for accepting that 15 of its own people had committed mass murder on US soil? Why would the Saudis co-operate in a plot which would blacken their country’s name, benefit Israeli interests in the Middle East, provide the pretext for the overthrow of one fundamentalist Sunni regime in Afghanistan, and contribute to the destruction of a Sunni Arab dictatorship in Iraq long seen by the Saudi royal family as a bulwark against Iran?

(7) Afghanistan is a landlocked country (truthers may need to be reminded of this fact), and any invasion is logistically impossible without the support of its neighbours. Prior to 9/11, Pakistan was a staunch ally of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan (see Ahmed Rashid, Taliban, passim). The former Soviet Central Asian states of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan backed the NA, but were also wary of antagonising their former imperial master, Russia. Pre-September 2001 these states would not have contemplated admitting any US or Western military presence on their soil. Although Russian President Vladimir Putin backed the USA’s invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, it took the Americans considerable effort to persuade him to permit the US and NATO forces to use bases on Uzbek and Tajik territory as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. It also took time and considerable pressure to force General Pervez Musharraf to abandon the Taliban - despite resistance from the military and ISI. Given the geo-political realities of Central Asia in mid-2001, there were no guarantees of any host nation support for any attack on Afghanistan. Assuming againt that 9/11 was an inside job, how could the US government realistically presume that the Russians and Pakistanis would actually permit the USA to effect regime change against the Taliban?

(8) Assuming that claims of Mossad complicity in 9/11 (”dancing Israelis”, etc.) are correct, can the truthers suggest a feasible motive for the Israeli government conniving in an act of mass murder on US soil? Since 1967, the mainstay of Israel’s security and survival has been its alignment with the USA, and the military assistance it has received as a result. This relationship is based on a bipartisan political consensus (both the Republican and Democratic parties are predominantly pro-Israeli) and considerable public support in the USA. Why engage in a “false flag” attack against the civilian population of an ally, when you have so little to gain and so much to lose if your responsibility is ever disclosed?

(9) Following on from this, assuming that the “five dancing Israelis” story isn’t a complete fabrication, what kind of secret service recruits undercover agents who compromise themselves by acting so ostentatiously in public? And if the five arrested Israelis were part of a conspiracy organised with the US government, then why did the FBI hold them in custody for over two months, instead of releasing them on the quiet a matter of hours and days after their apprehension?

(10) If the WTC towers in New York City were destroyed by controlled demolitions rigged by US government agencies, then why were the fake terrorist attacks used to cover up these controlled demolitions so insanely convoluted? Why concoct a scenario involving the hijacking of planes which are then crashed into tower blocks (involving complicated planning involving remote controlled flights timed with explosives detonated in the towers, which allow plenty of opportunities for gliches and technical errors)? Why not use a more simple means, such as a truck bomb?

(11) Assuming that Niaz Naik’s account of his alleged meeting with retired US officials in July 2001 is true, then where were the 17,000 Russian troops who were supposedly ready to invade Afghanistan when it came to the commencement of military operations in October 2001? And if the main motive behind the invasion was to build a natural gas pipe-line which would be under US control, then why was no attempt ever made to build one once the Taliban were overthrown?

(12) We are being asked by the conspiracy theorists to assume that NORAD was stood down on the morning of 11th September 2001 so as to enable the success of the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. NORAD is a combined command, not a purely American one - it has a binational staff drawn from the US military and the Canadian Forces (CF). We are either supposed to believe that the CF personnel assigned to NORAD were too stupid to notice anything amiss in their headquarters - and query it - or that the Canadian government and the CF were complicit in 9/11. Which of these scenarios is true?

(13) If Al Qaeda were set-up for the 11th September attacks, then why have its leaders and spokesmen repeatedly affirmed their responsibility for - and pride in - these attacks (see here, here, here and here for examples)? Why are we supposed to believe that repeated video pronouncements by bin Laden and Zawahiri are fake, while just one written statement allegedly from bin Laden denying responsibility - which was handed by courier to al-Jazeera without any confirmation of its origins - was genuine?

(14) If the hijacking and crashing of four passenger planes was engineered by the US government, then why did UA93 crash into an empty field in Pennsylvania? Why not crash it into a target which would add to the death toll on 9/11, and further inflame US public attitudes and popular demands for revenge against the supposed perpetrators?

(15) Finally, if the US government is institutionally ruthless enough to organise the massacre of thousands of its own citizens in a series of “false flag” attacks, then why is it too squeamish to arrange for the deaths of the supposed “truth-seekers” (David Griffin, Kevin Barrett, Steven Jones, Richard Gage, the Loose Change team, Alex Jones, etc.) who have exposed their complicity in one of the most heinous crimes a government can commit against its own people? Why are these people still alive and well, and in a position to publicise their “theories” on radio, television, in print and online?

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Monday, 8 December 2008

The Second Death of Stephane Dion and the paradox of Canadian politics today



Almost a week after delivering an address to the nation that looked like something hostage takers release to prove their victim is still alive, Stephane Dion has resigned as leader of the Liberal Party. Dion thus becomes the first party leader in living memory to resign from the same position twice in one year.


The Liberals are current wrangling over how to expedite its leadership election process so that the party will have a new chief in place by the time that Parliament resumes on January 26th. It now appears that with Dion having been unceremoniously pushed under a bus, Michael Ignatieff will be crowned Liberal leader by caucus on Wednesday with the blessing of Liberal Party riding presidents - party members will be allowed to send their post hoc congratulations sometime next year when, in the best traditions of Stalinist Russia, a party convention will be held to "affirm" the Great Man's leadership. This illigitmate process is being undertaken in order to confer onto the Liberal Party a leader who has more legitimacy than the electorally deficient Dion.


But you can't have party unanimity without a few victims - just ask Stalin's victims. In this case, the murder victim will not be Kirov but Bob Rae's political ambitions along with the "Coalition" that would have brought down Stephen Harper had it not been for the last minute deus ex machina intervention of the monarchy in the form of the Governor General who, like the professor presented with a forged sick note by a bad student desperately seeking a postponement of an exam he's otherwise doomed to fail, gave Harper an extra six weeks to cram. It remains to be seen whether in that time Harper will learn the difference between governing with a majority and governing with a minority. Ignatieff has clearly signalled that if the Tories make concessions - and this means adopted the Coalition's program (weak as it is) the Liberals will likely support the budget.


Few people noticed the election night split-screen interview CTV News did with Rae and Ignatieff. In both his victory speech and in the interview Rae anticipated the broad strokes of the current parliamentary crisis and stated that with a minority parliament Stephen Harper is not necessarily going to be able to stay in government as his Throne Speech needs to gain the consent of the Opposition in order to pass. Rae was intimating that if the Tory Throne Speech was defeated the Liberals would have the opportunity to form a government. Ignatieff haughtily dismissed this scenario as "political science fiction" - the look on Rae's face was priceless. A mere six weeks later, what Iggy had dismissed as fantasy threatened to become reality (over a Fiscal Statement rather than the Throne Speech) and Ignatieff reluctantly signed on and then went into hiding. On Sunday, Ignatieff all but declared his opposition to the coalition idea and went on CBC Sunday to paraphrase William Lyon Mackenzie King by saying "a coalition if necessary but not necessarily a coalition" and explaining that he saw the coalition as a tool to get concessions from the Tories and little else.


Bob Rae, conversely, has been selling the coalition as if it's the Second Coming. After spending an election campaign as the Stephane Dion's designated hitter against the NDP - bashing Layton and his social democratic party at every opportunity - and after years of denigrated his former party as not worthy of support, Rae now posits himself, unconvincingly, as the NDP's best friend in the Liberal Party trumpeting a Liberal-NDP coalition as good for the Liberals and good for the country (good for everyone but the NDP, it seems). How the NDP could be beneath contempt in Rae's eyes on October 13th but potential cabinet colleagues on December 1st remains unexplained. But the ironies don't end there for it is the dire threat posed to the Tories by the coalition that has made it a necessity for the Liberals to expedite their leadership election - an act which will not only sunder aside Bob Rae's leadership ambitions in order to crown Michael Ignatieff as leader. In other words, in order to be prepared for the possibility that the Coalition might bring down Harper and be asked to form a government the Liberals are pushing aside the pro-coalition candidate in favour of the candidate who sees the coalition as expendable.


And people say Canadian politics is boring.
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