57 posts categorized "media"

September 13, 2008

Political Cartoon Challenges Stephen Harper's Warm and Fuzzy, Father-in-Chief Image

Radioretro Clearly political cartoonist John Fewings hasn't been sold on Stephen Harper's ordinary dad makeover.

Either that, or he doesn't agree with the PM's taste in sweaters.

Here's his latest political cartoon, which takes on the father-in-chief's warm-and-fuzzy image.

Geri Hall's Stephen Harper Seduction Stunt; Stephen Harper's Latest Facebook Group: Mean People Suck

The comments in this post about Geri Hall's "I love Harper" seduction stunt are every bit as hilarious as the item itself. My favorite? The blogger who notes that Harper is becoming more appealing to the women of Canada.

Not as in "You had me at the first sweater." [ Swoon ]

But as in "I'll see you at the voting booth."

Interesting theory, but I'm not buying it.

If Harper is so beloved by the women of Canada, why are so many joining the Facebook group Mean People Suck, an off-shoot of Canadians United Against Stephen Harper. (Group blurb: "This page was created when the Canadians United Against Stephen Harper Facebook Group approached 5,000 members and I could no longer send out messages. For the duration of this election and the years to come I will use it to pass on information and updates designed to make the Conservative Party look bad. Conservatives should appreciate this because, as far as I can tell, their platform and policies are also designed to make the Conservative Party look bad.")

I have to ask one more question before I call it a night -- or this question is going to be ping-ponging around in my head all night:

Are Canadians actually considering re-electing a Prime Minister who inspired a group called Mean People Suck?

Here's a YouTube video showing how the Geri Hall Stephen Harper seduction scenario played out. Added 9/21:

September 11, 2008

Fear and Loathing on the Canadian Campaign Trail

I don't know about you, but I'm glad someone else is keeping track of all the missteps and nasty business on the campaign trail.

September 10, 2008

YWCA Canada Asks "Who's Afraid of Elizabeth May?"

Womanmanarrows I thoroughly support YWCA Canada's call for a woman's voice in the election debate. (See press release below.) They have issued a press release strongly objecting to the exclusion of Elizabeth May from the televised federal election debates and have called upon other social justice organizations to do the same.

I felt compelled to start this blog in late 2006 after the Harper government chopped funding to Status of Women Canada by a stunning 40 percent. And I have repeatedly expressed my dismay over the bullying and strong-arm tactics used by this government: whether they are trying to manipulate the media, damage the reputation of the Leader of the Official Opposition, silence their critics via lawsuits, call elections at will, chop funding to artists (who are always the loudest and most passionate critics in a free and democratic society), or -- in this case -- make it more difficult for newer political parties -- and fresh voices -- to be heard by ordinary Canadians.

This is not acceptable.

This is not Canadian.

* * * * *

"Who's Afraid of Elizabeth May?" YWCA Canada calls for a woman's voice in election debate

TORONTO, September 9, 2008 - YWCA Canada, the country's oldest and largest women's multi-service organization, is calling for the inclusion of Green Party leader Elizabeth May in the televised federal election debate and encouraging other social justice organizations to do the same.

"Our daughters need to see what equality looks like," says Paulette Senior, YWCA Canada CEO, "and equality isn't four men debating the future of Canada while freezing out the one woman who leads a national party. It's time for inclusion." 

The media consortium decision to bar Ms. May from the debate is shocking, particularly in a year of major firsts for women in national politics in the U.S., as Hillary Clinton became the first woman to make a credible run for a presidential nomination and the Republicans named Sarah Palin as the first woman ever on their presidential ticket. YWCA Canada calls on the media consortium to re-issue the invitation to the leaders of all five national parties, and hold a debate with whoever accepts.

"If you hold it, they will come," says Senior, admonishing those federal party leaders who said they won't show up. "Threatening not to participate if Elizabeth May is in the debate smacks of bullying. It sets a poor example to the girls we work to empower every day in our programs and services. And the message it delivers to boys is deplorable."

Elizabeth May is the fourth woman to lead a national party in Canada. The NDP was the first party to elect a woman as leader, selecting Audrey McLaughlin in 1989 and is the only party to be successively led by women. Progressive Conservative Kim Campbell is the only woman to have served as Prime Minister of Canada and did so for less than half a year. For more than 130 years, or well over 99% of Canadian history, men have served as Prime Minister of Canada.

At the present time, all first ministers across the country are male. In fact, Canada's international ranking on the Inter-Parliamentary Union, "List of Women in National Parliaments,"  is 48th in the world.  Despite our relative economic prosperity and political stability, Canada now has fewer women in parliament than most of Europe and many so-called less developed countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fairness and equality are important values that all Canadians share.  It's time for the parties to live up to the standards they claim to cherish and include Ms. May in the electoral debate.

Peterborough Examiner's Take on Campaign: Local and National

B Last night's Peterborough Examiner provided an excellent snapshot of the political situation both locally and nationally. Here are two key highlights:

"Harper broke his promise to deliver a fairer, less partisan electoral system. That shouldn't be a surprise. He's broken almost every one of his 2006 campaign promises related to more open, more transparent, less adversarial government....

"[Dean Del Mastro's] promise to return Toronto-to-Peterborough passenger rail service is looking more likely to come true, but is open to questions about whether it would be an economic drain. Last week's surprise proposal for a massive hotel-entertainment complex on Parks Canada property on Little Lake is exciting, but a long way from reality."

Is Your Tory Incumbent Allowed to Hang With the Grownups?

NumbertwoKady nails it again in her analysis of Puffingate:

"What I suspect may have happened - and will happen again if they don’t watch out - is that there are two parallel campaigns emerging; one on the leader tour, and one at the Little Shop on Lancaster Road; the former being run by grownups, the other — not."

Meanwhile: Some people have a problem with Kady and other people with opinions and brains.
Ask your Tory incumbent MP if he (or possibly even she) is allowed to sit with the grownups.

September 09, 2008

From Vision to Poop Jokes

This is the Dion I know...the man I have had the privilege of meeting in person in Peterborough not once, but twice. He is every bit as passionate about his country as he comes across in the "Meet Dion" video on this website -- and every bit as real and likable as he appears in the other clips. Look in his eyes. (A person's eyes tell you a lot about his heart and his soul.) Dion is someone who is guided by the strength of his convictions. He doesn't choose the easy path for himself. He does what he believes is right. We need more leaders like him.

Dion also happens to be warm and funnyChalkboard. That doesn't always come out in every interview (sometimes he gets too earnest or uses too many words to get his message across, and that overrides his natural charm. He is learning to overcome that tendency with practice.

Now on to the now infamous Conservatives Internet spot that showed a puffin pooping on Dion's shoulder. The attack ad has since been pulled after Harper apologized for the spot.

The ad kind of brings to mind Maclean.ca blogger Aaron Wherry's recent comments about the juvenile behavior exhibited by a group of Conservative MPs at a party barbecue in Mississauga.

"If 14-year-old boys were given the vote this bunch would surely be well on its way to the Republican dream of a permanent majority."

I suppose I should be proud that my MP, Conservative Dean Del Mastro, scored the ultimate hit with the predicable "green shift/green sh*t" punchline. After all, if a poop joke made it into the online advertising campaign for the election, poop must the in-thing within the Conservative Party these days.

It kind of leaves you wondering about the big-picture vision of the party, doesn't it? I mean if reducing the tax on diesel and jet fuels (to boost fuel consumption?) is the Conservative Party's idea of an environmental strategy, poop may very well be at the core of the party platform. And I'm not talking human bio-fuel in this case.

Why Are the Networks in Charge of Democracy in This Country?

Electricalplug Like many Canadians, I have questions about the networks' decision to bar Elizabeth May from the Federal leadership debate.

Who put the television networks in charge of deciding which political party leaders get to participate in the federal leadership debates -- and who is asked to stay home? And why do the leadership candidates themselves get a say in vetoing a fellow candidate?

Why isn't Elections Canada in charge of this process?

Finally, who thought it would be in Canadians' best interest to outsource this function -- and which parties benefited from the decision to privatize this fundamental aspect of democracy?

September 07, 2008

The ABCs of Smart Voting

I want to start out by wishing everyone the best with their campaigns, now that we're into a Federal election.

As regular readers of this blog already know, I will be backing Peterborough federal Liberal candidate Betsy McGregor and Federal Liberal party leader Stéphane Dion, both of whom I consider to be leaders of vision and integrity. (You can catch Dion's fabulous campaign launch via Scott's DiaTribes.)

That said, I also see a lot of good in the campaign messages of the NDP and the Green Party; and I would be happy to see either of them form a coalition government with the Liberals, if the Liberals are unable to form a majority government on their own. Progressive is progressive is progressive -- is not conservative.

WayoutMy campaign bottom line?

A positive outcome for me in this election, both locally and nationally, will be what Danny Williams has been campaigning for since his part of the country was betrayed last year by a Harper government broken promise: "Anything but Conservative."

A - B - C.

It's so simple and so logical -- and so essential.

Here's why.

I hardly recognize Canada anymore -- this after just 2 1/2 years of Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) rule. Imagine what our country will be like if they achieve another minority or (I hate to even type this) a majority government.

We'd be handing them a license to continue on their current path -- a path that has seen them

Many political observers have raised concerns about the Tories' future plans for the CBC (e.g. whether it will continue down the slippery slope to privatization (we've already seen the CBC TV have to resort to airing US game shows in the prime after-dinner time-slot in order to make ends meet and everyone knows that privatization is a sacred principle in neo-conservative circles); asked if the Tories still intend to privatize the food safety system in light of the listeriosis outbreak and deaths in Ontario; and wondered if we would be subject to more embarrassment internationally as other countries are left wondering what has happened to our country's traditional commitment to human rights, the environment, and global peace-keeping. Since the election of the Harper government, many Canadians have found it difficult to feel proud of our government and our country.

The mere timing of this election raises further concerns and questions. Was this election called in a hurry in the hope that the current government would be returned to power before the U.S. election results come in? (A wave of change in the U.S. might not bode well for a Canadian Conservative government.) Is the government concerned about the outcome of the ethics committee hearings, the follow up to the Schreiber, investigation, and the outcome of the Harper "misappropriation of personality" trial (a.k.a. the Cadman affair)? It's clear that what has brought about this election was a sense of urgency from within the Conservative Party to seize the day (and potentially deplete the funds of other political parties, according to a recent rather Machiavellian op ed piece by long-time party advisor and pundit Tom Flanagan) rather than any grassroots groundswell of desire to head to the polls by average Canadians.

Here is my plea to everyday Canadians at this crucial juncture in our country's history.

  • Refuse to allow yourself to be swayed by all the vote-buying of recent weeks and months. (Here's where the vote-buying tally sat as of Friday. Pretty incredible, huh?
  • Take time to research the record of this government and this Prime Minister. I was going to direct you to the House of Commons website www.howdtheyvote.ca, which tracks the voting records of all MPs, but all versions of that URL have mysteriously ceased to function. Very mysterious, in a 1984 kind of way. I mean if ever there was a time for this website to be available to Canadian voters, it's right now.
  • Look beyond the smoke and mirrors of elections advertising. Do your homework and vote with your brain rather than allowing attack ads aimed at CPC opponents and political ads starring the PM as Super-Dad in Utopia to do your thinking for you. You may be more chilled than thrilled -- and you may be less likely to buy into the PM's "just an ordinary dad" pitch and persona (unless your idea of an ordinary family guy is a family guy with neo-conservative roots so deep no hair-dresser could hope to cover them) once you've done some independent research. Seriously! Prime Minister Stephen Harper was one of the founders of the Reform Party of Canada and headed up the right-wing think tank the National Citizens' Coalition before that. So people -- write this on your garage doors so other people get the message: Steven Harper may be a Conservative, but he's anything but progressive. There's no such thing as a Progressive Conservative in Federal politics anymore. They went the way of the dinosaur after Mulroney had his way with the party. It's a shame because there were some really good people in the PC Party of yesteryear. But those days are gone.

Related:

IMC Winnipeg: 10 Good Reasons Harper's "Conservatives" Should Get the Boot

September 06, 2008

Young Voters influenced by Negative Political Ads

Noway Negative attack ads have a powerful impact on younger voters, a recent study published by the Journal of Consumer Research has found.

Researchers from Notre Dame and the University of Texas at Dallas used real advertisements from the 2004 US presidential election to show that, although negative political ads are explicitly disliked, they have a powerful impact on voters’ mindsets that positive ads do not – and the potential to change preference and behavior in ways that benefit the party running the attack ads.

After viewing an ad that attacked their favored candidate, about 14 percent of the voters “dug in their heels” and indicated stronger support for their favored candidate. At the same time, another 14 percent of the young voters viewing that same attack ad were influenced by the ad’s content to weaken their support for their preferred candidate and to switch their support to the party conducting the attack ads. Viewing positive ads did not lead to significant voter movement.