There! How’s that for a headline?…
As we keep tracking whether candidate offenses like Islamophobia, sexual misconduct, spreading COVID misinformation, or just a whole bunch of stuff over 19 years, are enough to have them dropped from the party ticket (answer: only if they already have no chance of winning), we have even more data points to add to the survey – with entries from the NDP and Bloc this time!
Today it was announced that, after anti-Semetic comments were revealed on their social media, two NDP candidates ‘resigned,‘ and “agreed to educate themselves further about antisemitism.”
Dan Osborne was running a distant third in the Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland-Colchester (10% to the Liberal’s and Conservative’s 40% each), while Sidney Coles was also bringing up the rear in the riding of Toronto-St. Paul’s (11% to the Liberal’s and Conservative’s 53 and 24).
Meanwhile, Ensaf Haidar, BQ nominee for the riding of Sherbrooke, with a history of Islamophobic comments, and currently in second place, but within the statistical margin of error of first place, remains in the race.
And finally (from the party that keeps on giving), Rosemarie Falk (another Falk?), the Conservative incumbent in the riding of Battlefords–Lloydminster, who, among other things (which included putting words into her leader’s mouth), ‘mispoke’ about opposing vaccine passports … twice… but who is all alone in first place in polling, is still out there campaigning.
So this amazing string of coincidences continues! The only exception so far is the backed-and-then-dumped Raj Saini, who was leading in the polls when he was removed from the Liberal ticket (though the calculus in that decision may have been more … national). But we’ll keep watching – after all, there’s still 5 days left for candidates to test the theory!!
Prove us wrong Guys and Gals!
So, after Sunday’s entry, noting the uncanny correlation between a misbehaving Conservative candidate’s chances of being dropped from the ticket or forgiven, based on their chances of winning, we have the following Breaking News!!
Provencher-riding Conservative incumbent Ted Falk (with a record of vaccine skepticism and undeclared vaccine status) has been found to be spreading dangerously innacurate, anti-vax information, falsely claiming that vaccines make people 13 times more likely to die from the delta variant of COVID – and making his point by citing a study that says exactly the opposite.
(Update: once the news went national (and doubtless after a call from the mother ship), Falk, ‘apologized for the confusion‘ (as if there was any confusion about what the study was actually saying) – the article linked in this paragraph being amended even as this entry was being written.)
So, we have a ‘pro-vaccination’ (albeit ‘anti-mandate’) leader, faced with a candidate promoting, not only demonstrably false information, but false information that could lead to illness or even death among those (and their families and close contacts) gullible enough to believe him. One would think that, strategic retractions or not, such a candidate would be completely unacceptable as a representative of the party, and would be immediately dumped from the Conservative roster.
As this is being written, Falk is currently polling at 51%, with the nearest candidate only scoring 18.
And a seat is a seat … is a seat.
Here we go, folks. Principles or Politics? Let’s grab the popcorn and see what happens!
We know where our money is riding…
While trying to understand why one Conservative candidate with a record of Islamophobic comments was dropped from the federal election campaign and another wasn’t, Dr. (Emeritus) Earl Puffwitt, Dean (Emeritus) of Statistical Researchering at The Warbis Institute (Emeritus), couldn’t find an explanation in the Leader’s official comments about keeping Central Nova candidate Steven Cotter, while dropping Beaches-East York candidate Lisa Robinson.
“Mr. O’Toole’s response of ‘…we’re running a positive campaign based on bringing the country together and getting the country back on its feet from an economic and health point of view’ (while at it’s core meaningless politispeak that was avoiding actually answering the question), would seem to be something that should apply to all candidates equally, so the question remained. Then I looked at each candidate’s chances of winning their seat, and saw that while Mr. Cotter was well within the statistical margin of error of winning his riding, Ms. Robinson wasn’t even in sight of second place.
“Robinson was polling at about 15% to the Liberal candidate’s 50%, so by fortunate happenstance, her departure from the election was not going to cost the Conservative Party any seats in this increasingly tight election. Mr. Cotter, on the other hand, while currently polling in second place, is in a race considered to be a toss-up, so it’s certainly quite the lucky break for the party that the rationale that was used on Robinson didn’t seem to apply to him … in some way that remains a mystery to those outside the party.”
Wondering if this happy accident might exist in other ridings, Puffwitt looked at the numbers for still-in-the-race Cheryl Gallant, who has years (almost decades) of controversial and unacceptable behaviour under her belt, and removed-from-race Troy Myers, who is accused of sexual misconduct. And? Gallant has more support than the next three candidates combined, while Myers’ numbers were a distant third – at about a third of the frontrunner’s numbers when he was taken off the Tory ticket.
Oddly, this peculiar political providence doesn’t cross party lines to the Liberals, where first-supported-then-dumped-after-‘new revelations’ incumbent Raj Saini, also accused of sexual misconduct, was leading in the polls when he was dropped. “A cynic might think that the Liberal Party eventually decided that even if they won that particular seat, keeping the candidate might cost them enough votes across the country that they could lose other seats,” mused Puffwitt, “but I’m sure that all these decisions in both parties were made for purely moral and honourable reasons.
“I mean it.
“Don’t look at me like that!
“It’s all just a highly statistically unlikely coincidence – a timely Tory twist of fate.”
We will watch to see if any last-week dropped candidates follow this pattern.
Another day, another reversal -sorry, ‘clarification’- in the Conservative position on gun control, but in an exciting new development, the new position holds both positions at the same time!
Erin O’Toole has ‘tweaked’ the official party platform document to add a footnote – claiming that while an elected Conservative government WILL repeal C-71 and the May 2020 Order in Council banning some 1500 designed-to-kill-humans weapons, “All firearms that are currently banned will remain banned.” So while removing the only thing that is banning these weapons, said weapons will somehow still be banned.
Apparently, Erin believes in magic.
Nope, seriously. The Conservative Party of Canada is now officially a self-contained paradox, and in danger of being sucked into a logical vortex of its own making. (To be fair, hardly a surprising development, given the party’s “Progressive Conservative” roots.)
So, just to be clear…
While still promising to remove the ban, “It is critically important for me to say to Canadians today that we are going to maintain the ban on assault weapons.” the consistently inconsistent O’Toole (who was tragically born an only twin) said (near a restaurant that nobody goes to because it’s always too crowded) – to try to appeal to his more … liberal voters.
Meanwhile, while promising the electorate that banned weapons will remain banned, the leader (who never went near water until he learned to swim) is still leaving the promise to repeal the ban on page 90 of the Conservative platform – for his more … Rambo-fetishizing voters, who were so pleased with his election as Conservative leader last August.
A man of two minds, and the rest is just too easy…
Interestingly, and not changed in the platform (at least yet), is the statement that the ‘public review’ panel will specifically include gun owners and gun manufacturers (so, no conflict of interest there), but no specific mention is made of including victims of gun crimes, surviving family of those killed, ER physicians and nurses, specialists in hate crimes, psychologists, or in fact, anyone with academic qualifications … just in case there was any doubt about the eventual decision of the review panel.
“I’m not going to pre-judge that process.” said O’Toole, even as his platform made it clear that he intends to stack the deck like a riverboat card sharp. After all, the National Firearms Association has spent $400,000 in third-party pre- and post-writ, pro-gun (and by extension pro-O’Toole) advertising, and they fully expect a return on their investment.
Nevertheless, O’Toole claims, “I’m the leader.” (With all the times he has to say that on the campaign trail, with his party not following him on abortion, climate change, or gun control, and with him unable to even convince 100% of his candidates to get vaccinated against a global pandemic that has killed over 4 million people, one imagines he has to repeat that phrase to himself in the mirror every morning, and through the day as a private mantra – though at this point, we can’t imagine that he actually believes it.)
Reporters across the nation are standing ready for the next reversal.
Update: As his staffers predicted yesterday, O’Toole has recovered to full position-reversal capability.
Sometimes they just make it so easy folks…
Just a day after promising to reverse the Liberal ban on assault-style weapons brought in in 2020, Erin O’Toole has reversed his reversal promise, now promising (unless there’s a reversal) to leave the Liberal ban in place until a “public review” of the firearm classification system is conducted – demonstrating the flexibility of a Cirque du Soleil contortionist when it comes to facing in two directions at once.
This is also a reversal of the unequivocal declaration in the ‘ceps and ‘pecs party platform that he holds up at every event, and something that will no doubt displease his National Campaign Manager (or in the vernacular, ‘handler’), who just happens to be an ex-lobbyist for the NFA (Canada’s NRA)… unless, of course, he already knows what the outcome of the ‘public review’ will be.
(When asked what he would do if the review recommended scrapping the 2020 ban (see above), O’Toole … go ahead, guess … DIDN’T answer the question – at least showing consistency where it REALLY matters for a politician.)
And while the reversal was clearly a reaction to a negative reaction to his Sunday promise of a reversal, with the removal of the gun ban not polling at all well to the point of potentially losing votes or even seats, the Conservative leader was able, with a straight face, to declare that all this would “bring the politics out” of gun control and that the discussion on gun control, “should not be politicized” – despite its inclusion in the party platform, his political statement about it on Saturday, and his politics-based reversal of that statement on Sunday.
He then tried to blame Trudeau for “misleading” Canadians about the Conservative plan (which is printed in black and white on page 90 of the platform), despite the fact that O’Toole had refused, ten times, to clarify the plan for reporters by answering their simple yes or no questions just the day before.
Clearly, O’Toole has completely recovered his ability to U-Turn like a Fast and Furious stunt driver, and, credit where it’s due, saying all that while looking like you honestly believe WHAT you’re saying, is a truly impressive demonstration of deliberate dissociation.
Representatives for Conservative leader, Erin O’Toole say that he is resting comfortably and will be able to resume his campaign schedule after performing a principle reversal so complete and so rapid, it could have left him with his chin permanently oriented between his shoulder blades.
During an admittedly … ‘brave’ and unexpected attempt to make the Conservative Party the Champion Of Vaccinations (ignoring the fact that he won’t require that his own candidates be vaccinated, and no doubt desperately hoping no one would look at the records of provincial Conservative governments where it came to dealing with the pandemic and their vaccination rates (too late)), O’Toole was promising such radical approaches as an “information campaign” (or, as non-politicians say, “mailers and commercials”), and ‘incentives,’ such as paid time off work and free transportation to vaccine appointments.
(Presumably, the leader is convinced that while his most base base can take time off work and find transportation to ensure mob participation across the nation at non-Conservative rallies and, obscenely, outside of hospitals -harassing, abusing and threatening the very health care workers they will be begging to save them when they contract the virus- these same right wing intellectuals CAN’T find time off for a 5-second injection or transportation to an injection site in their immediate neighbourhood.)
Doing his best to pander to both the anti-vaxxers by continuing his no-mandate/no-passport position, while at the same time announcing his ’90% vaccinated’ strategy as he tried not to lose the right wing demographic that actually BELIEVES that people who spend their entire lives studying things like contagious diseases are better qualified to give medical advice than someone with a Facebook page who dispenses the wisdom passed on by their dead cat -or QAnon- O’Toole tried his best to deflect attention from this obvious philosophical contradiction by attacking the Liberal approach, saying, “You don’t win people over by threatening them. You win them over by reaching out, talking to them, understanding their fears, answering their questions.”
‘You win people over by answering their questions.’
And then, as reporters asked him repeatedly to clarify whether he would be re-legalizing the kind of assault-style, semi-automatic weapons that were used in multiple mass shootings in recent years, O’Toole … refused to answer their questions – falling back on (or as a veteran might say, retreating to) boilerplate and parroting rather than giving a simple yes or no answer to a simple yes or no question.
Not a surprising reaction from the leader, as this is another situation where the base of the Conservative base thinks that the current ban on privately-owned portable nuclear weapons, ‘makes criminals of regular citizens who just happen to like collecting,’ while those Conservatives who can write their own names on paper rather than just carve their “X” into rifle stocks realize that there is no more need for a civilian to have an AR-15 than there is for them to have missile silos under the garden shed in case the town next door gets ‘uppity.’
Still, the reversal was so rapid and so utterly absolute that some reporters in the room swear they heard something akin to a sonic boom as one position instantly overtook and annihilated the other. Others claim O’Toole briefly disappeared, leading to speculation about a momentary bridge between alternate universes.
But sadly it was nothing so fantastic. It was just a politician being a politician. As one staffer said on the condition of remaining anonymous (and fictional), “Let’s face it – it was a rookie mistake on O’Toole’s part. No politician should ever admit to a duty or obligation to answering questions at a press event! When you paint yourself into a corner like that, the only way out is through the wall.”
Staffers say O’Toole is getting a bit of existential physiotherapy and, like any self-respecting politician (though in so many cases, that term should really be an oxymoron), will be ready to return to similar reversals of principle tomorrow.
With poverty reduction and ‘affordable housing’ being fashionable campaign planks for all three major federal parties this year, and with irrefutable evidence that all three parties are completely out of touch with what poverty and affordable housing actually ARE (evidenced in Nova Scotia, where federal money is bankrolling a 324-unit building with 76 -that’s right, 76- ‘affordable’ units priced at $1,400 to $1,800 per month – in a province where 42% of the population earn less than $30,000 per year), The Undecided Party of Canada is once again forwarding its ‘modest proposal’ to better acquaint all elected officials in the House of Commons with the lifestyles they so blithely pay lip service to while functionally ignoring.
Having spent much of our own lives below the poverty level, we at the Undecided Party feel that the reason for the lack of any genuine sympathy on the part of most elected members is the simple fact that they don’t know what they’re missing – things like skipping food, clothes for the kids, essential drugs, and heat in the winter.
Clearly, Members of Parliament from ALL parties, with a BASE salary of $185,800 (which includes a $3200 raise they gave themselves in the middle of the pandemic last April 1st – and places them in the top 2% of Canadian income earners), have NO IDEA what it’s like to try to make ends meet when your fondest wish is to be able to claw your way all the way UP to the poverty level. Add their travel, office, housing, staffing and other paid expenses, and a base $32,000 pension after only 6 years of ‘service,’ and it might not be surprising (though still disappointing) if they think that poverty means no-name caviar.
So, giving Members the benefit of the doubt, and making allowances for their endearingly simplistic view of the people below their feet (when they take a moment during elections to look down), we at the Undecided Party suggest ‘participatory education.’
We propose that for one month of every year, each serving MP should be required to eat the diet of a minimum wage earner (e.g.. Kraft Dinner, instant ramen, and peanut butter sandwiches – but GENERIC peanut butter, no Jif or Kraft!), live in the accommodations of a minimum wage earner (one-room bedsit – or tent in a public park, with periodic pepper-spray evictions), use the transportation of a minimum wage earner (walk), and, to be fair, they can even experience the occasional luxuries in the leisure-time life of a minimum wage earner (Big Mac by candle light – because you weren’t able to pay the light bill).
While this is certainly not a conventional proposition, and it should by no means be seen as a substitute for increased funding to social programs, and affordable housing that is actually affordable housing (rather than financial favours to help rich developers (and campaign contributors?) to get even richer), we feel that some enforced empathy could go a long way towards a serious reconsideration of Ottawa’s inter-election attitudes towards the unemployed and the working homeless.
Of course, we fully realize that there is no chance that any mainstream party or its members would ever agree to lower themselves to the level of so many of their constituents.
But wouldn’t it be nice if we -their employers- could make them?
(Official Undecided Party of Canada Press Release)
As it did almost two decades ago when it donated the highly debatable masterpiece, Paul Martin’s Scream, to Ottawa’s National Museum of But Is It Art?, The Undecided Party of Canada will be adding two more … let’s just say, ’pieces,’ to the Museum’s collection.
Once again, created by Agar Dunwiddie, a leading painter of the Neo-Colonic Movement, the first of the two paintings completes a triptych of canvases based on Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Joining Preston Maning’s Scream, and Paul Martin’s Scream, Justin Trudeau’s Scream depicts the leader’s realization that his gamble for a Liberal Majority may well end with a Liberal Opposition.
The second work, Rambo’Toole, combines an homage to the Conservative Leader’s apparent desire to be seen as fit enough to qualify as (the Conservative concept of) Cheesecake on the party’s glossy election platform magazine, with an additional tip of the hat to his frequent references to his status as a veteran – after spending five years flying in the back of a helicopter over the war-torn theatres of Winnipeg and Halifax, (book-ended with school, and flight simulator training in the Reserves).
As with his earlier canvases, Dunwiddie appears to have tired of his works before the paint was even dry (some may argue he should have tired of them before any paint was applied), and a nocturnal deposit over the transom of the UDP national headquarters resulted in a fresh campaign contribution – in full violation of the restraining order.
But, repeating his statement from so many years ago, campaign manager Gerry Mander pointed out, “As campaign contributions go, you really can’t gas up a car with a painting, or stuff it into a vending machine’s coin slot, so we thought it best to release it for the greater good of all Canadians – and get the deduction for the charitable donation.”
Unless something can be done to stop it, the paintings will soon be hanging in the museum’s “Art of Politics” wing, with such other highly derivative works as Dejuner sur l’Herb (Gray), Salvador Wali’s The Inconvenience of Memory, and the disturbing, Nude Mulroney Descending A Staircase.