By Colin Campbell - Friday, March 29, 2013 - 0 Comments
In Ottawa, the leader of the NDP—the NDP—accused the Conservative finance minister, Jim Flaherty, of “banana republic behaviour” for his efforts to intervene in the economy and influence mortgage rates.
Meanwhile, Flaherty’s one-time ally in his anti-debt fight, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, has declared the household debt problem solved— apparently, a debt-to-GDP ratio of 165 per cent is no longer anything to worry about.
In Vancouver, a former prime minister, Kim Campbell, made headlines this month for filing a lawsuit in which she’s trying to get out of a 2007 condo purchase and recoup a $368,000 deposit. The Canadian housing market, it seems, has entered the twilight zone.
It’s getting harder and harder to tell what’s sensical and what’s nonsensical. Even the Tory cabinet can’t seem to agree if it should be concerned about Canadians taking on big mortgages at discount rates, with the Tories’ Small Business Minister Maxime Bernier joining Thomas Mulcair in his criticism of Flaherty.
By Nancy Macdonald - Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 9:38 AM - 0 Comments
Patrick Chan’s hat trick, Kim Campbell’s condo, Gwyneth Paltrow’s diet and Canada’s NBA takeover
It ain’t easy being a Mao
Serial laughingstock Mao Xinyu—Mao Zedong’s only grandson—made an appearance at China’s annual rubber-stamp parliament, which wrapped up this week in Beijing. The beefy fortysomething is at almost comical odds with new President Xi Jinping’s efforts to revamp the government’s reputation for bloat and indulgence. Mao, who is dyslexic and known to speak in slow, almost childlike sentences, is the People’s Liberation Army’s youngest major-general, and has advanced degrees from numerous prestigious universities. “Please take my proposal seriously,” he pleaded in Beijing after tabling a proposal to apply Mao Zedong’s strategic ideas to cyberwarfare. “I took much time in preparing it.”
Sending a message
The White House insisted on inviting Yityish Aynaw—Israel’s first black beauty queen—to a gala dinner celebrating U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the Holy Land this week. The 21-year-old’s crowning last month marked a significant step forward for Israel. The country—founded as a refuge from anti-Semitic persecution—has long treated its Jewish Ethiopian émigrés as second-class citizens, or worse: this year, the Israeli health ministry is slated to begin an inquiry into allegations that black Falasha Jews were unwittingly injected with a contraceptive to limit their numbers.
By Dene Moore, The Canadian Press - Friday, March 15, 2013 at 6:59 PM - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – Former prime minister Kim Campbell is suing a Vancouver property developer over…
VANCOUVER – Former prime minister Kim Campbell is suing a Vancouver property developer over delays in delivering her luxury condo.
The one-time Conservative leader and Canadian ambassador has filed a lawsuit against Georgia Properties Partnership, Georgia Trust and Hotel Georgia Management Ltd.
In her notice of claim, Campbell says she signed a contract in October 2007 to buy a suite in the Private Residences of Hotel Georgia. The pre-sale purchase came during a heat wave in Vancouver’s always hot real estate market and Campbell put down a $368,000 deposit.
The market has since cooled considerably, and Campbell’s is one of 13 lawsuits filed against Georgia Trust and Georgia Properties in the past year.
By Blog of Lists - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 9:27 AM - 0 Comments
Before they assumed the highest office in the country, these eight individuals held an unusual array of jobs:
1. Robert Borden, teenage classics teacher: Canada’s eighth prime minister studied Greek and Latin from a young age. When he was 14, the classics teacher at his private day school, near his home in Nova Scotia, abruptly left
for another posting and Borden was promoted from student to “assistant master” in charge of classical studies.
2. Jean Chrétien, black market chocolatier: While attending school at St. Joseph Seminary in Trois-Rivières, Que., Chrétien earned spending money by peddling illicit chocolate bars to fellow pupils. A friend on the outside bought the bars wholesale, and Chrétien sold them at a steep markup, hiding the goods from the authorities in the lining of his red raincoat. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 9:18 AM - 51 Comments
Pollsters continue to debate the meaning and prominence of their work.
Gregg said the proliferation of sometimes conflicting polls and the hypeventilating analysis that frequently accompanies them does not strengthen democracy. On the contrary, he said: “Rather than have a public that’s informed, you have a public that’s misinformed.” He said he’s not arguing that polls should be ignored; only that their import needs to be interpreted much more cautiously. Rather than pontificate on weekly fluctuations in individual polls, he said it makes more sense to average the results of various surveys and look at the trends over longer periods of time.
It is probably important to consider, as Eric Grenier did this week, how much and how often polling responses change when an election campaign is conducted. Consider, for instance, that the last three changes in government were not obviously foretold by publicly available polling data released immediately before the election was called. Continue…
By Charlie Gillis, Chris Sorensen and Nicholas Köhler - Friday, February 4, 2011 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
Kim Campbell schools the U.S. right, Naomi Campbell’s ‘Frost-Nixon moment,’ and Nabokov was right
A breath of fresh Canadian air
The usual right vs. left political jabber of American talk TV was punctuated this week by a few clear-eyed statements courtesy of Canada’s first female prime minister. On Real Time With Bill Maher, former Progressive Conservative leader Kim Campbell called Republican Jack Kingston‘s views on global warming “absolute rubbish,” pointing out to the Georgia congressman that scientists didn’t set out looking for a non-existent problem just to torture right-leaning politicians. When the conversation shifted toward the evolution vs. creation debate, Campbell asked if Kingston was concerned about the alarming rise of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms in hospitals. He squirmed. “That’s evolution,” she said to applause. Does 132 days as PM preclude Campbell from a future in politics?
In addition to writing great novels, Vladimir Nabokov was a self-taught expert on the evolutionary biology of butterflies—though, like any amateur, the Lolita author faced skepticism from the scientific establishment. Now one of his most audacious theories has been proven right. A paper published by the Royal Society has endorsed Nabokov’s hypothesis that butterflies are not indigenous to North America, but rather arrived in a series of “waves” from Asia. The new research was made possible by gene-sequencing technology Nabokov never had. Said Naomi Pierce, a Harvard expert who co-authored the study: “It’s really quite a marvel.”
Single White Premier seeks less idiotic press
With three female premiers and a female prime minister, Julia Gillard, Australian voters seem fairly accustomed to the idea of women in politics. The media? Not so much. The country’s biggest national newspaper, the Australian, ran a front-page story about Tasmanian premier Lara Giddings‘s first day in office that zeroed in on her comments (in response to a reporter’s question) about the challenges of snaring a husband when you’re a busy politician. The headline read: “Leftist Lara still looking for Mr. Right.” Critics shook their heads. “Why on Earth was this suddenly relevant the day Giddings became Tasmania’s first female premier?” asked one Sydney Morning Herald columnist, noting Giddings was previously an unmarried treasurer and an unmarried attorney general. “It was not as if she had landed from Mars.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 27, 2009 at 1:08 PM - 21 Comments
A few interesting reads from the weekend: Susan Delacourt looks at new research into the electability of women in Canada, Alice Funke adds her own analysis, and Linda Silver Dranoff reviews Canada’s Unfinished Democracy. From the latter.
She points out that this “women+power=discomfort” equation makes people focus on the contests that women lose and extrapolate from that, that women are losers. Many do run in ridings they have no chance of winning, or for parties that have no chance of governing.
The examples she provides are persuasive, including Agnes MacPhail, Thérèse Casgrain, Kim Campbell and Belinda Stronach, but the one that resonated with me was Flora MacDonald. In 1976, she was considered a shoo-in for the Progressive Conservative leadership; members of her party had promised her enough votes to assure a win. But when they went into the voting booths, they didn’t vote for her. Has Bashevkin provided the explanation about 30 years later? Were MacDonald’s supporters just plain uncomfortable with a woman in power? It would seem so.
One other way of looking at this: what precisely is the model for female political leadership in Canada? Who would you tell a 25-year-old women thinking of getting into politics to model herself after? Continue…
By kadyomalley - Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 8:09 AM - 27 Comments
First up on the witness stand today: Kim Campbell, who you may remember from her don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it tenure as Canada’s first (and still sole) female prime minister, who also served as Mulroney’s defence minister during the early 1990s. She’ll be followed by Perrin Beatty, another former Mulroney-era defence minister; while it seems unlikely that either of them will be able to shed all that much light on what was going on within the inner circles of the St. Francis Xavier old boys’ club, both held key positions during the years of interdepartmental battling over Bear Head.
Okay, so, first off — she doesn’t seem to be here yet — the witness, that is; our country’s first and still only elected Right Honourable-ette. If she is, she’s wearing her invisibility cloak, and since the cameras are still thronging out front, my guess is that she’s going to make an entrance, although who knows if that means Making an Entrance, perhaps with a bit of bare shoulder peeking out, just to remind us of those heady days – actually, more like hours – when the Kimentum was high, and it looked like she might actually pull off a win, or at least not see her party reduced to just two seats.
Anyway, it will be Evan Roitenberg taking the lead for the commission during the first round of questions; I’m not sure if any of the other lawyers will have much more to say after that, which is why the rumour is that we may be out of here early this afternoon. I might even get to watch Question Period!
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 8:13 PM - 10 Comments
Welcome to our Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister liveblog. Just like being there. Even if we’re not. And the show was actually taped last month.
7:51pm. Catching the last ten minutes of Jeopardy. Accepting that there’s something to be said for the CBC not spending its precious public dollars on American programming, surely there’s an exception to be made for Jeopardy, a show that screens for knowledge and lucratively rewards nothing more than intelligence and a quick thumb reflex. All things considered, it’s altogether remarkable that it’s still on television. There’s nothing remotely like it on network television. It and Fareed Zakaria’s GPS are the only things still separating us from the apes.
7:56pm. In the CNGPM promo they keep showing, Paul Martin observes that Canadians are looking for leadership but just aren’t seeing it. Not that that he’s had anything to do with that.
7:58pm. What is pop? No, gospel. Elvis won all his Grammys in the gospel category. Interesting. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 4:38 PM - 8 Comments
The former Prime Minister talks to the Globe about Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister, airing tonight on CBC.
“If you look at Question Period, you can see that it’s often the theatre of the absurd. There’s no relationship whatsoever to the problems of ordinary Canadians, and that’s one of the reasons why ordinary Canadians turn off so quickly in politics,” said former PM Brian Mulroney, in an interview before the show’s taping last month. “They look at it: It’s all contrived indignation and cheap shots and phony questions and unserious answers, so they turn off on it.”
Later, Kim Campbell takes a rather unnecessary shot at George W. Bush.
We’re going to liveblog the show or post a running diary after the fact tonight. Either way, there will be something here later.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 16, 2009 at 2:50 PM - 46 Comments
Pierre Poilievre climbed on stage, extended a hand and greeted Bernard Lord as “premier.” Noticing a couple dignitaries in the first row of seats in front of him, he smiled and struck up a conversation.
Organizers walked around handing out a workbook for “personal reflection.” Poilievre—baby-faced and not yet 30, short hair parted to the left and slick with product, wearing rimless glasses, a dark blue suit, light blue shirt and maroon-and-blue-striped tie—sat and studied his audience, a group of maybe 25, many of them his age or younger.
To his left sat Patrick Brazeau, a 34-year-old Aboriginal man, recently appointed to the Senate and the subject of various controversies. To his right, sat Fraser Macdonald, a 20-something who had already managed a campaign for federal office. At the microphone, stood Bernard Lord, emcee for this forum. In 1999, at the age of 33, Lord was elected premier of New Brunswick and was quickly hailed as a potential saviour for the federal Progressive Conservative party. Seven years later, the PC party now in the past tense, Lord was voted out of office in New Brunswick. Still charming and boyish, though with as much grey hair as black hair, he’s now a lobbyist for the telecommunications industry.
The panel, part of a weekend conservative conference in Ottawa, was entitled “Next Generation: For those new to politics, particulary students and young people—Imagine what could be, imagine what you could do.”
Though 14 years older, Lord introduced Poilievre in tones approaching reverence. “I’m very pleased to introduce Pierre Poilievre. He is an energetic and outspoken member of parliament, who gets results and is not afraid to take principled stands on difficult issues … a great example of youth, energy, results and success in Canadian politics.” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 9, 2009 at 11:39 AM - 52 Comments
Belinda Stronach on women in politics.
We are of course long past the time when a woman entering politics prompted men to gasp at the audacity of it all. But we haven’t achieved equality of numbers. In fact, we’re not even close.
While women represent 52 per cent of the Canadian population, only 22 per cent of federal Members of Parliament are women; this ranks Canada 46th out of 189 countries in this indicator, behind countries like Rwanda, Iraq and Afghanistan.
We haven’t achieved the kind of progress that so many Canadian women seek in advancing social justice and improving the tone of political discourse in the House of Commons and beyond.
It’s possibly even worse than that. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 2:48 AM - 12 Comments
Shocking news from the world of opinion polling, many Canadians wish they could vote for their own version of Barack Obama.
On the down side, Harper and other Canadian politicians suffer by contrast when compared to the “charisma and style” of Obama, the poll shows. “Canadians are experiencing collective Obama envy,” Graves said.
In all, 47 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement: “Watching the excitement surrounding the inauguration of Barack Obama and comparing it to our own political leadership, I feel disappointed with our options.”
Those struck most hopeful (or least impressed)? The kids. Or at least the less old. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 9:47 PM - 13 Comments
From his blog, and apparently his next book.
While parties are central to how we run countries, it is less so each day. The Internet has the power to turn unknowns into leaders and involve citizens whom partisan recruiters, organizers and militants will never meet. A blog can alter political outcomes, while web sites reach millions when media outlets are still editing. Politicians who open digital conversations make the future impossible for those who do not. One or two more federal elections, and the traditionalists will be gone.
Parties may follow. They’ll certainly be transformed. Online members will be harder to control, and more responsive to voters. Ridings will melt away in the digital ascent of issues over geography. And if dozens of independents are ever to take their seats in the House of Commons, it will be because of this. Funded, promoted and elected through web-based campaigns, they will skirt the rules of a political establishment which abhors them.
Experience has convinced me this is what many Canadians want. Parties and leaders who demand unquestioning acceptance of dogmatic positions are doomed. No one, not even a prime minister, can put this back in the bottle.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 5:36 PM - 0 Comments
As reported elsewhere today, Canada’s next great ice-breaking vessel is to be named for our 13th Prime Minister, John George Diefenbaker, to whom our present PM seems to have taken a certain fondness.
On the BBQ circuit last week, he changed a line from his Levis speech about lowering the tax burden to its lowest point since Trudeau to include mention of Dief. He now also, in making the Conservative claim to compassionate governance, lauds Diefenbaker’s Bill of Rights. And speaking this week, now obviously in a wink to today’s announcement, he found an excuse to reference the Chief.
What to make of this? Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 1:40 AM - 809 Comments
Back, for a moment, to David Foster Wallace’s take on John McCain.
Near the end of that little book Foster Wallace arrives at his definitive division of political leadership—laying out a distinction between “leaders” and “salesmen.”
“A real leader,” he writes, “isn’t just somebody who has ideas you agree with, nor is it just somebody you happen to believe is a good guy. A real leader is somebody who, because of his own particular power and charisma and example, is able to inspire people, with ‘inspire’ being used here in a serious and non-cliche way. A real leader can somehow get us to do certain things that deep down we think we are good and want to be able to do but usually can’t get ourselves to do on our own … In other words, a real leader is somebody who can help us overcome the limitations of our own individual laziness and selfishness and weakness and fear and get us to do better, harder things than we can get ourselves to do on our own…
“There is a difference,” he continues later, “between a great leader and a great salesman. There are similarities, of course. A great salesman is usually charismatic and likable, and he can often get us to do things (buy things, agree to things that we might not go for on our own, and to feel good about it. Plus a lot of salesmen are basically decent people with plenty about them to admire. But even a truly great salesman isn’t a leader. This is because a salesman’s ultimate, overriding motivation is self-interest—if you buy what he’s selling, the salesman profits. So even though the salesman may have a very powerful, charismatic, admirable personality, and might even persuade you that buying is in your interests (and it really might be)—still, a little part of you always knows that what the salesman’s ultimately after is something for himself.”
This leads to a consideration of whether John McCain (circa 2000) could quite literally sell himself as a real leader, without, in the process, becoming a salesman. (see also, Barack Obama circa 2008).
But, for the moment, let’s consider something else. Namely, when was the last time Canada had a real leader? Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 2:50 PM - 0 Comments
As Susan Delacourt notes, today marks the 15th anniversary of Kim Campbell taking power. And as Elizabeth May lamented shortly after today’s shuffle, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper missed the opportunity to promote some of the very few strong women in his caucus.”
A few weeks ago, after announcing her impending retirement from politics, Alexa McDonough rose in Question Period and opened with this. “Mr. Speaker, I came to Parliament 11 years ago with some urgent priorities, the inferior status of women and fixing unemployment insurance among them. Perhaps it is because of the pathetic under-representation of women in the Conservative caucus, an unbelievable 11%, that the government refuses to fix employment insurance for women.”
The government members, notably those of the female persuasion, were noticeably less than pleased.
Thing is, that 11% figure actually flatters the female presence in this government. Continue…