Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Blog About Nothing

Only one day into the federal election and I am already tired of it -- and there’s eight more weeks to go!!

But maybe the presence of blogs will make this election more interesting, but then again maybe not.

Case in point is the official Liberal Party blog that former journalist and current Paul Martin speech-writer Scott Feschuk is writing.

Feschuk is a good writer and it’s clear he is trying to inject his Dave Barry-style humour into the election campaign.

It’s interesting. It’s different. And I don’t think it works.

Not that I am against laughing at election politics. God knows we need something to keep us smiling in the dark days ahead.

It’s just when Barry wrote about politics he skewered both Democrats and Republicans, gleefully pointing out absurdities on a non-partisan basis.

Liberal Party employee Feschuk, on the other hand, will poke fun at the Opposition Parties but kiss up to Martin.

That just isn’t funny.

But if it does work, maybe Conservative Party Stephen Harper should fight back and hire Jerry Seinfeld to write his blog: “Did you ever notice how corrupt the Liberals are . . .”

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Fearless Election Prediction

Now that the federal election is officially underway it’s time for my fearless prediction.

After surveying the last election results, after studying various trends and polls and after consulting with people wise in the way of politics, I have come to one inescapable conclusion --- the party that wins the next election will be the party that makes the fewest mistakes.

OK that sounds like a cop out, but hear me out.

Since actual issues --- things like health care, Kyoto, taxes --- won’t play much of a part in what promises to be a nasty campaign, everything else will be magnified.

Every gaffe, every stupid comment, every bad photo op will become disproportionately huge as the media, starved of anything else to talk about, will magnify any screw up under its unforgiving microscope.

Does this make for a good election?


But until our political parties start coming up with real visions, and with real ideas, that’s what we are stuck with.

Anybody else have a prediction?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Once Election Starts, Gag Law Does Too

Well today’s the day the Opposition pulls the plug on the federal government.

That means starting tomorrow the country will be in election-mode and voters will be exposed to differing ideas, conflicting visions and alternative points of view.

Nah, I’m just kidding.

In reality, the only views Canadians will get exposed to are those put forward by the politicians.

That’s because the election gag law makes it a crime for non-politicians to effectively and freely express ideas through election advertising.

The National Citizens Coalition will be forced to essentially remain quiet for the next month or so.

It’s frustrating.

Imagine what a hockey player would feel like if he was told he could play in the regular season, but would have to sit out the Stanley Cup playoffs. That’s what we feel like.

Elections are the most crucial time in any democracy, and here we are forced to sit on the sidelines and watch.

The real losers, however, are the voters. They are losing their right to free speech, because free speech means having the right to listen as well as to speak.

Instead of hearing a wide assortment of ideas from a wide assortment of citizens and groups, voters will only hear the political propaganda of the political parties.

That’s not democracy.

OK end of my rant – for now.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Brison's Hypocrisy

Did you catch the recent remarks from the NCC’s good friend, Public Works Minister Scott Brison, who was responding to some tough Tory attacks?

Brison accused the Tories of “slanderous mudslinging” and declared the Tories “have as their modus operandi the use of absolutely false accusations … that do nothing but tarnish the reputation of everybody in public life.”

This is the same Brison of course who was forced to publicly apologize to the National Citizens Coalition because he made some false accusations that tarnished the reputation of the NCC.

Memo to Scott: People who live in mud houses shouldn’t sling dirt.

Rescuing the Book Launch

Had a great time last night at the book launch for the Adam Daifallah/Tasha Kheiriddin book Rescuing the Right.

Held in the Albany Club and hosted by former Premier Mike Harris, the event was a great conservative get-together, excepting Warren Kinsella who also showed up for some reason.

I had a chance to talk to bloggers Bob Tarantino, Greg Staples, Paul Tuns and Steve Janke which was great.

The highlight of the evening, however, occurred when Lord Black showed up, traveling media circus in tow.

It added a surreal touch to the evening, especially when the camera hordes nearly trampled a few of the guests.

All in all, though it was a fun event.

Let’s hope the next launch of this kind will be for a book called Rescuing the Liberals.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Felicem diem Natalem

That’s Latin for “Happy Birthday” which is I think an appropriate way to express best wishes to William F. Buckley who turns 80 years old today.

Buckley, of course, is almost as well known for his erudite use of language as he is for his brilliant and trenchant defence of conservatism.

His greatest achievement was the creation of National Review magazine which in the dark days of the 1960s and 70s, was one of the few voices of reason.

Check out George Will’s excellent tribute.

Liberals to Get Nasty

“PM plans negative campaign” screams the headline in today’s Globe and Mail.

No kidding!

Indeed, you got to wonder why the Globe headline writers seemed so shocked. Negative campaigning has been a Liberal trademark for the past 20 years.

And you can bet any Liberal attack campaign will include smears against the National Citizens Coalition because Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper used to be our president.

In the last election they even produced a massive report to expose the NCC’s “scary” agenda – you know things like fighting gag laws, opposing waste and promoting honest government.

Of course, thanks to the election gag law the NCC can’t fight back, making it all the easier for the Liberals to sic their attack dogs on us.

Mind you we welcome their hatred.

The day the likes of Paul Martin says nice things about us is the day we are not doing our job.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Brison Vs. the NCC

The little battle between the NCC and Scott Brison has generated lots of interest.

And now that it’s winding down (at least for now) you might want to check out the chronology of the whole affair.

We have set up a special section on the NCC site that details this mini-epic.

Check it out.

And speaking of Brison, I did an interview yesterday with Charles Adler on this topic and he suggested an interesting theory.

Adler contends that Brison, who just jumped to the Liberal Party a few years ago, is trying to out-Liberal the Liberals in a sad effort to ingratiate himself with his Grit comrades.

Makes sense.

Despite all his bravado and tough rhetoric, Brison is probably just an insecure politician out to score brownie points.

Of course, that doesn’t make his smear tactics any more palatable.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Brison On Losing Streak

This has been a bad week for Public Works Minister Scott Brison.

First off he had to publicly apologize to the National Citizens Coalition for slandering us a few weeks ago – man that must have hurt.

Then he had to back off on his department’s ill-advised and discriminatory scheme to ban the hiring of white males in his department.

And now a long-time Liberal is demanding Brison apologize for rude comments he allegedly made to her in a public restaurant.

He is quickly becoming the Toronto Raptors of Parliament.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Brison Eats Crow Again

Public Works Minister Scott Brison has formally apologized to the National Citizens Coalition for trying to smear us on November 4th.

Readers of this blog will recall he offered a half-baked apology to us two weeks ago, but we rejected it and threatened legal action.

So today we got a better apology faxed to us. (Please note this letter is the only thing we are legally allowed to make public concerning his apology)

Of course, this apology does not make up for the fact that Brison smeared our organization on national television but at least we have put him and other politicians on
notice that the NCC will fight to defend its reputation.

And as a bonus we have also undermined the credibility of Brison, who appears to be the designated Liberal attack dog.

We plan to keep an eye on this guy, so he had better watch his step.

New Gag Law

Well it looks like the Liberals are not just content with shutting us up; now they want to try and shut us down too.

News reports say the Liberals want to enact a new gag law which would limit how much money citizens could contribute to the National Citizens Coalition.

This is on top of a law they have already enacted which effectively makes it impossible for the NCC to effectively speak out during elections.

Man they must be scared of us!

And for good reason – the NCC exposes their sordid, scandal ridden record.

Here’s a news release I just sent out:

NCC Condemns New Gag Law

(November 21, 2005) The National Citizens Coalition today denounced the Liberal government’s plans to rush a new gag law through the House of Commons on the eve of an expected federal election.

“The same government which enacted a gag law making it a crime for non-partisan groups to express political opinions during federal elections now wants to take away our right to raise funds during an election,” says NCC vice president Gerry Nicholls. “Not content with just shutting us up and they now want to shut us down.”

The Liberal government is pushing new rules that would place a limit on how much individuals can contribute to non-partisan organizations like the NCC.

“While fighting the original gag law we predicted this would happen,” says Nicholls. “First they limit how much you can speak; now they want to dictate how much money Canadians can contribute to private organizations. What’s next?”

Nicholls says this move reveals how desperate the scandal-ridden Liberal Party has become.

“Prime Minister Paul Martin knows the NCC is an effective voice in exposing the sordid record of his party,” says Nicholls. “So he is using the power of the state to strike back. It’s sad and it’s scary.”

The NCC fought a constitutional campaign against election gag laws for more than 20 years.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Black Affair

Not long after the news broke that the U.S. government was going after Conrad Black, my friend Pierre Lemieux sent me a link to an article he wrote a few months ago called “The Anti-Capitalistic Inquisition”.

Check it out.

It might shed some light on this Black affair.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Conservative Prospects in Quebec

I was in Montreal yesterday to give a speech to the McGill University Campus Conservative club, and while here I talked to some conservative/libertarian Quebecois to get their take on the political situation.

What they told me does not bode will for Conservative Party.

To be blunt, the Conservative brand name just doesn’t register here.

Quebecois fed up with the Liberals will park their vote with the Bloc, even those who are not separatist.

In fact, the Bloc makes the perfect protest vote – Vote for them and you send the Liberals a message without ever having to worry about the Bloc Quebecois ever taking power.

On the other hand, I got the sense that even here in Quebec – home of the “Quebec Model” – people are getting fed up with big government, militant unions and high taxes.

The Tories need to connect the dots.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Book Review: Rescuing the Right

Ever wonder what’s wrong with the Right in Canada?

Left-wing views dominate our media, our courts and our schools; federal conservative parties are on a twelve year losing streak; and worst of all word has it, young people see conservatism as “uncool.”

But help is on the way.

Two young, bright conservative activists, Tasha Kheiriddin and Adam Daifallah, have written a book called Rescuing Canada’s Right: Blueprint for a Conservative Revolution.

And that’s exactly what this book delivers: a blueprint.

Rescuing Canada’s Right delivers a bold plan of action showing conservatives not only how they can win elections, but more importantly how they can transform Canada’s statist culture and society.

Kheriddin and Daifallah, for instance, argue that to be successful the Conservative Party needs to be . . . well more conservative and more innovative when it comes to applying free enterprise solutions to issues like health care and the environment.

They also offer practical and useful advice on how the Conservative Party can make badly needed inroads among immigrants, the young and in Quebec.

The most interesting and provocative aspect of this book, however, is its core argument on the need for a conservative Canadian infrastructure “encompassing all aspects of public life, from the media, to the courts, to academia.”

In other words, Rescuing Canada’s Right is call for conservatives to seize back the country.

And while that’s a tall order, Kheriddin and Daifallah, who make their case with passion, with unassailable logic and with humour, show how it can happen.

This is an easy to read, informative and important book, which every conservative Canadian should read. And Liberals should read it too, just so they know what’s coming.

Liberal Tax Announcement No Reason for Joy

Usually I am pretty happy whenever a government announces a tax cut.

I am even happy when a tax cut is simply the result of crass, political calculation. I am even happy when the tax cuts are not deep enough or go far enough. I am even happy when tax cuts won’t happen for awhile.

So why am I unhappy with the tax cuts the Liberals announced yesterday?

Maybe it’s because I know the Liberals too well. They know how to promise tax cuts they just don’t know how to deliver them.

Remember the GST they promised to scrap? Remember the corporate tax cuts they were supposed to provide last year?

And I have a funny feeling that somehow the Liberals will figure out a way to forget about these tax cuts (small as they are) even if they do win the next election.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a government that was sincere about cutting taxes because it was the right thing to do?

Now that would make me happy.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Republican Tent Divided

Alan Ehrenhalt, writing in the New York Times yesterday (free registration required), poses an interesting theory regarding America’s Republican Party.

We Canadian conservatives, of course, often point to the Republicans as a successful conservative entity that, unlike our Conservatives up here, can put together majority coalitions and win elections.

But Ehrenhalt, says the Republicans are actually weaker than they appear. In fact, he calls the Republicans a “hyper-extended family” whose members – right-wing Christians, libertarians, suburban businessmen – have very little in common.

Ronald Reagan was able to unify these diverse groups because they all agreed on the need to fight communism.

But when communism collapsed so did Republican unity.

When the Democrats are able to capitalize on these Republican rifts, they win, as Bill Clinton did when he won back-to-back elections starting in 1992.

The emergence of the terrorist threat, says Ehrenhalt, reunited the Republicans and helped them win in 2004, but that glue he argues is also beginning to weaken, hence the recent Democratic victories last week.

So you see, even the mighty Republicans have problems too. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the political fence.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Remembering Our Heroes Past and Present

Today’s the day we rightfully pause to remember and honour the courage of those Canadians who fought to protect our freedoms.

Yet we must not forget about those Canadians who are risking their lives today for their country.

And the folks at the Canadian Coalition for Democracies have come up with a great way to say thank you to the men and women currently stationed in Afghanistan.

They are asking Canadians to donate to “Operation Rudolph”, a program aimed at purchasing special holiday gifts for each soldier in Afghanistan. Each gift will include a letter of thanks from students and adults.

This is a great way to make sure our troops enjoy a little Christmas cheer in a somber dangerous land.

You can learn more about this worthwhile initiative here

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Hatchet Job on NCC in Globe and Mail

I was on a plane flying back from Calgary yesterday when I read Murray Dobson’s anti-National Citizens Coalition hatchet job in the Globe and Mail.

And although it’s in the editorial section of the paper it really belong in the comic section, because it was pretty funny.

Dobson, who specializes in denigrating anything conservative as “virulently right wing”, was trying to make the case that Public Works Minister Scott Brison should not have apologized for calling the NCC a lobby group.

Brison, as readers of this blog know, is facing a possible lawsuit for falsely stating among other things, that the NCC was involved in illegal lobbying.

How Dobbin make his case?

Well he says our founder – the late Colin M. Brown –“took Ontario Premiers Bill Davis and John Robards on chartered flights to the Master Golf tournament in August, Georgia.”

That’s a hoot. Clearly Dobbin, somber working class socialist that he is, doesn’t understand these kind of golf getaway weekends. Believe me, the last thing anybody talked about on these trips was politics.

Then Dobbin claims our former president, David Somerville, was given a “special meeting with finance minister Michael Wilson in 1984 to lobby him on deficit cuts.”

I don’t know anything about such a meeting; the only time these two met that I know of occurred when Wilson harangued David because the NCC put out a “Tales from the Tax Trough” booklet that exposed Tory government waste.

Maybe that’s an example of reversing lobbying: politicians trying to get us to change our ways.

Finally, Dobbin says the “NCC presents position papers to public hearings.”

Yes we have done that from time to time, but here's a news flash: appearing before a public committee does not constitute lobbying. Anybody can appear before a public hearing.

In short, if Brison is hoping Dobbin’s “evidence” will help should we sue him for libel, he is deluded.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Sick of Liberal Tactics

Word has it that Scott Brison is getting ready to offer another apology to the NCC.

Funny what the threat of a slander lawsuit will do.

The National Post has a good line in one of its editorials today concerning Brison’s original half-baked apology which he put forward as an example of his “civility.”

Wrote the Post:

“Perhaps it would be even more civil if people like Mr. Brison refrained from publicly branding innocent politicians like Mr. Harper as lawbreakers when there is no evidence of their having committed any misdeeds or broken any rules. False demonization is a time-worn Liberal campaign tactic and we are sick of it.”

Monday, November 07, 2005

NCC Rejects Brison's Apology

The National Citizens Coalition has decided to reject Public Works Minister Scott Brison’s apology concerning the slanderous comments he made on Friday:

See below the text of a letter I emailed him today:

Dear Mr. Brison:

We cannot accept your apology for the following reasons:

Your comment that the National Citizens Coalition engaged in illegal lobbying was not “premature” it was dead wrong. As I stated in my first email to you, the NCC is not a lobby group. We are a non-profit corporation that promotes economic and political freedom through media ad campaigns. We provide a voice for thousands of Canadians who believe in free enterprise, individual freedom and honest, accountable government.

You failed to apologize for stating that the NCC was “convicted” of violating the Canada Elections Act. The NCC has never been convicted of any crime.

We requested a public apology. By that we mean an apology that generates at least as much media attention as your slanderous comments did.

Please understand that thanks to the election gag law your government enacted, the NCC is unable to defend its good name or to rebut defamatory comments that might arise during elections.

Indeed, your comments were clearly partisan and seemed designed to smear our organization.

That’s why it’s so important for us that you set the record straight loudly and clearly.

If an appropriate and public apology is not forthcoming soon, we will turn this matter over to our attorneys.

Yours truly,

Gerry Nicholls

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Brison Eats Crow

Liberal MP Scott Brison has officially apologized for the malicious and false statements he made about the National Citizens Coalition.

See below a letter he emailed me late Friday after I demanded an apology and retraction:

Dear Mr. Nicholls:

Thank you for your letter dated today concerning my statement regardingthe NCC.

I wish to acknowledge that my statement was factually incorrect in two ways:

* I was in error to say that the NCC was charged six times with violations of the Elections Act.

* It was premature to say that there was a contravention ofthe Lobbyist Registration Act. In order to resolve and clarify thenature of these activities, I have asked the Registrar of Lobbyists toinvestigate. I was provided with incorrect information, but I accept responsibilityfor my statements. I regret my errors, and I withdraw those statements categorically.

Please accept my apology.

Sincerely, Scott Brison

Friday, November 04, 2005

Brison Smears NCC

Well it’s been quite a day.

A clearly desperate Scott Brison decided he was going to smear the National Citizens Coalition and by extension, our former president Stephen Harper.

Speaking before the media, Brison declared the NCC had engaged in illegal lobbying activity, that we had been charged with breaking the Canada Elections Act six times and that we had been convicted of violating the Canada Election Action.

Serious charges.

The problem is they are all completely false.

The NCC does not lobby politicians, we were not charged six times with breaking the Election Act and we have never been convicted of anything.

I wrote Brison demanding an apology.

If one is not forthcoming, he can expect to hear from our lawyer.

I talked about this on the Mike Duffy news show this evening. Proud to be Canadian has put it on his site.

Check it out.

More Liberals Who Need Purging

Just as St. Patrick cast all the snakes out of Ireland, Prime Minister Paul Martin, in the wake of the Gomery Report, has been casting out Adscam-tainted Liberals from his Party.

And while he’s off to a good start in that regard, much more needs to be done.

So in the interest of helping the Liberal Party help itself, I have compiled a list of 10 more Liberals Martin should flush out in the interest of cleansing his party.

Here are my suggestions along with explanations:

David “The Chiclets Kid” Dingwall, whose main achievement seems to be that he can chew gum and waste tax dollars at the same time.

Carolyn Parrish: Yes she already got kicked out of the caucus. But you can never be too careful. Ban her again just to be on the safe side.

Joe Volpe: Too many restaurant bills charged to taxpayers. We just can’t afford his appetite.

Pierre Pettigrew’s Chauffeur: Time for him to pay for his own European vacations.

Jack Layton: Ok so he’s not really a Liberal, but he plays one in the House of Commons.

Belinda Stronach: Liberals only needed her for one vote anyway.

Hedy Fry: Only claim to fame: Attacking cross burners who never existed.

Judy Sgro: Thinks Canada’s most pressing immigration problem is a lack of exotic dancers from Romania.

Ralph Goodale: Won’t introduce tax cuts, unless of course, they serve the purpose of distracting us from Liberal scandals.

Jean Chrétien –Read the Gomery Report.

Anybody else got any ideas?

Grading President Bush

Is President George W. Bush promoting a truly conservative agenda?

In the latest edition of National Review magazine, John O’Sullivan says so far the answer is no.

O’Sullivan says Bush needed to get three things right to be counted as a successful conservative leader:

He had to halt the advance of the regulatory state.

He had to restore a sense of national unity.

And he had to prevent the rises of anti-Americanism in Europe.

On the all points, O’Sullivan says Bush has failed.

Indeed, under Bush, O’Sullivan points out that “Domestic discretionary spending has risen faster since 2001 than under another other president since LBJ and Nixon. Federal spending now accounts for over 20 percent – and the federal deficit about 3 per cent – of America’s GDP.”

Meanwhile, O’Sullivan laments that Bush has aided disunity with his support for bilingualism and with his support for an immigration policy that would “admit as many new immigrants as businesses wanted to employ without limit.”

Finally, Bush’s policy of promoting and encouraging the unification of Europe, O’Sullivan argues could result in the emergence of an anti-American superpower.

Yet, O’Sullivan says Bush can still turn things around, but he will have to act fast.

“He (Bush) needs a positive conservative agenda that can be successfully enacted in a relatively short time.”

Time will tell if the President can rise to the challenge.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Waste Meters

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty plans to install “smart meters” in people’s homes as part of his grand plan to promote energy conservation.

The meters are supposed to help consumers manage their costs by displaying how much energy they are using over a given period.

That gives me an idea.

Let’s install “waste meters” in the Ontario legislature that would display how much money McGuinty is squandering in a given period.

Maybe that might promote tax dollar conservation.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Liberal Health Care Hypocrisy

I went to a Fraser Institute event last night.

The featured speakers were former Ontario Premier Mike Harris and former Reform Party leader Preston Manning.

The purpose of the event was to publicize their “A Canada Strong and Free” platform, which by the way is excellent.

But I thought one of the most interesting remarks of the evening came from Manning, who suggested what he thinks is the real reason the federal government won’t clamp down on private medical clinics operating in Quebec.

Those clinics, says Manning, would battle the federal government in the courts which could lead to disclosure of their client lists.

So what, you ask?

Well says Manning, “Those client lists include the names of lots of deputy ministers, senators, cabinet ministers.”

So rather than face the embarrassment of being exposed as health care hypocrites, the Liberals content themselves with smearing any reforms Alberta might dream up.


Writing Cheques Not Enough

Prime Minister Paul Martin says the Liberal Party is going to pay more than $1 million to taxpayers as restitution for the ill-gotten gains the party received as result of the Sponsorship Scandal.

It’s a good move and one the National Citizens Coalition has been urging him to do for months.

But it’s not enough, because this scandal was always about more than just wasted money and kickbacks.

What restitution, for instance, can the Liberals offer to make up for the fact that they essentially won elections using dirty money?

What restitution can the Liberals offer to make up for the fact that their antics have fueled separatist feeling in Quebec?

What restitution can the Liberals offer to make up for the fact that thanks to this scandal, Canadian voters are more cynical about politics than ever?

In short, the damage the Liberal Party has done, cannot be undone simply by writing a cheque.

And unfortunately for the country, writing cheques is the only thing the Liberals are good at.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Time to Investigate Chretien

Here's a news release I sent out on the Gomery Report:

NCC Says RCMP Should Investigate Chrétien

(November 1, 2005) The National Citizens Coalition says today’s Gomery Report should trigger strong action from Prime Minister Paul Martin to stop the scandals plaguing the Liberal Party.

“Prime Minister Paul Martin must order RCMP investigations into former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and other top Liberals associated with Adscam,” says NCC vice president Gerry Nicholls. “The time has come to punish the guilty no matter how high they are in the party’s hierarchy.”

Nicholls notes Gomery’s conclusion that Chrétien bears some responsibility for the scandals is not enough.

“Canadians need to know if Chrétien broke any laws associated with this scandal,” says Nicholls. “Gomery has pointed the way, now Martin must have the courage to follow up with a serious police investigation of any wrong doing.”

Nicholls says the only way to stop the scandals is to ensure those guilty of abusing the public trust pay a price.

“So far no one has paid any price for this disgusting scandal,” says Nicholls. “If Prime Minister Martin is serious about making government honest he must punish the guilty.”