Saturday, March 31, 2007

Proportion Representation, of sorts, is needed.

I have toyed with the idea of proportional representation, but have never really made up my mind one way or another. One thing I am convinced of is that the amount of seats allotted to each province should be proportional to the amount of people living there. Currently that is not the case. Places such as PEI and Saskatchewan, for example, have way more clout on a per capita basis than either Alberta or Ontario. Part of this is an artifact of the past. PEI, for example, can not have less seats than senators.

As I said in my last post, this situation can be corrected if somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 new MPs are added to the house. If the government where to commit itself to giving an MP for every 70,000 people the new numbers would break down as follows. Ontario would gain 67 seats, Quebec 27, BC 23, Alberta 19, and Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia 2 each. All total, a 142 seats should be added, most of those in Urban areas. There would still be outliers. PEI, and the territories would still be over represented, but I do not think this would bother anyone.

How would such an expansion be paid for? The senate should be abolished.

Friday, March 30, 2007

An Agenda for Cities: More Seats

Unless the Liberals do something drastic, the Conservatives will win a majority. The Liberals are retreating on every front. Dion is proving to be an unmediated disaster and the second coming of John Kerry. The Liberals only hope for holding Harper to a minority is to try to fortify their base of support in Canada’s major cities and in the Maritimes.

In order to do the former the Liberals need to do more than promise cities more money. For one, the Liberals need to offer them more power in the form of more seats. One of the reasons why the party is in such a desperate state is that Canada’s major cities are grossly unrepresented and its rural areas grossly over represented. Promise to solve the democratic deficit and I do not mean by promising to add a few more seats here and there. I mean somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred and fifty plus. Where would the funds come from? Propose abolishing the senate – if only in a piece meal fashion.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Liberal's Harper is a "scary" social con strategy

The Liberals tried hard to paint first the Alliance Party and later the Conservatives party as being a socially conservative party. Such a strategy has met with varying degrees of success. However, with regard to the Conservatives the strategy has, outside of few ill advised comments by Randy White, had only one success and that was the Liberal’s decision to pass the SSM bill. If the Liberals want to paint again paint Harper as being a “scary” social con, they are going to have to force Harper to embrace a socially conservative issue. And there is only one way of doing that and that is promise to pass socially liberal legislation, a la SSM. To think that such a feat can be accomplished in any other way is simply wishful thinking and quite frankly a sign of incredible arrogance.

That being said, to date the Liberals have been terribly reluctant to take the fight to the Conservatives by proposing legislation that will force the Harper to publicly embrace social conservatism. For example, there has been no hint the Liberals are willing to broach the subject of euthanasia, marijuana legalization or even stem cell research even though Harper either explicitly or implicitly rejects all three. Harper has stacked the board over seeing stem research in Canada with social cons and is on record as opposing both euthanasia and marijuana legalization. Such reluctance is somewhat surprising given the libertarian bent of most of Canada’s most conservative new organizations and think tanks. The Fraser Institute, Canwest global, and Macleans, for example, all favor legalization of marijuana.

Now this may be a sign that the Liberals have chosen to abandon such a strategy. However, given Dion’s short time as leader and the prospect of election on the horizon, I consider this unlikely. This is one of the Liberals most developed lines of attack and in terms of the amount of publicity such a strategy generates one of the most successful ways of controlling media coverage.

Whatever the case, I think it unwise to abandon such a strategy if properly implemented (i.e., if the requisite policies are adopted). Outside of war and recently the environment, cultural issues tend to galvanize people in ways other issues do not and the Liberals desperately need to generate some excitement advant guard cache before going into the next election. Furthermore, although the Liberals seem not always to recognize it, what makes a issue a winning is not necessarily how popular an issue is with the public put what effect coverage of a particular issue will have on people’s perception of the major parties. SSM was great example. At the polls it was looser. Canadians were spilt on the issue, but the older one is the more likely one is to be opposed and to vote. What made it a winning issue is that it left the Conservatives defending a morally, legally, and intellectually untenable position and media and academics hampered them every step of the way. Where this relates back to the matter at hand is that should the Conservatives again champion the social conservative position on the aforementioned issues they will again be pillared by the media and academia.


There seems to be some confusion as to what I am proposing. I am not suggesting for a second that should these policies be adopted that the become focal points of any campaign. The Liberals should stick to talking about core issues such as the economy, health care and the environment. What I am saying is that simply by introducing these policies the Liberals will generate plenty of discussion, a la SSM, and discussion of these policies in the media and elsewhere will hurt the Conservatives and help the Liberals. Far from urging the Liberals to be immersed in any debate, I prefer that they lay back. Pundits, academics and indeed bloggers are far better positioned to champion a particular policy than a political party. Like any good therapist, the Liberals should direct the discussion and do not become part of it.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

How to counter Harper’s smears

I can not imagine the Liberals handling Harper’s smears any worse then they have. They have come off as bunch of sniveling cry babies.

They should mock Harper and not demand that he apologize. Mind you, they just do not seem to know how to go negative. Armed with a truck full of anti Canada quotes they should have mocked Harper’s claim to Stand up for Canada. Instead we got warnings about soldiers with guns. Idiots. The lot should be tied down have their eyes forced open and be made to watch hours of the Daily Show. Then they might have some idea as to how to proceed.

Anyway, with regard to the Gordon O’Conner case, what I would do is confidently claim victory and claim that Harper’s smear is sign that he has nothing of substance to say on the matter.

“The defense minister was clearly in the wrong, but rather than doing the right thing and dismissing him, Harper did as he always does and that is he tried to lay the blame elsewhere. To wit:

Stephen Harper: “west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada: people who live in ghettoes and who are not integrated into western Canadian society.”

Stephen Harper “I delivered [speeches] everywhere I went … about the spirit of defeatism in the country”

Stephen Harper: “Canada is a Northern Welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it.”

From Stephen Harper’s magnum opus “Separation, Alberta-style: It is time to seek a new relationship with Canada”: “Any country with Canada’s insecure smugness and resentment can be dangerous.”

Stephen Harper: "Canada appears content to become a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status"

For Mr. Harper either you are with him or you a smug, resentful, defeatist, slum dwelling terrorist. It is just that simple.”

As for Duceppe approach of comparing Harper to Bush, it is as good as far as it goes. However, it is quite clear that Harper’s soul mate in the Bush administration is not Bush, but Dick Cheney and it is this comparison the Liberals should try to make.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Great News, Tom Wappel will not run!

Wappel is not running for the Liberals next election

For the same reasons that a believer in flat earth and alien abduction should run for the Liberal party, a person who believes that homosexuality is morally wrong and that personhood begins at conception should not run for the Liberal party. It does not matter that a large percentage of the population holds these views. For a position to be mainstream it has to have more than a wide body of support. The fact, for example, that a huge % of the population believe in ghosts does not make such a believe mainstream. For a position to be mainstream it has to have some intellectual weight and the aforementioned beliefs have none. Wappel held that homosexuality is morally wrong and that personhood begins at conception and these two positions in large part defined his career.

As the Wappels of the world leave the Liberal party, one can only hope that the party will do more to live up to its name in the future. Wappel is not only an embarrassment, but he and the other social cons in the party are real barrier to progress, particularly within the context of a minority government.

Social cons Wappel, Steckle and Bloc founder Lapierre are all not running for the Liberals and the Liberal party is all the better for it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Harper and Cheney, soul mates of smear

It is quite clear that Harper’s soul mate in the Bush administration is not Bush, but Dick Cheney. That being said, it would be great if a Lib blogger could do up a video of Harper turning into Cheney, or even Cheney turning into Harper.

Taliban quote: what the Liberals should do with it

It is high time the Liberals develop a global critique of Harper’s leadership and put his Taliban quote in some sort of context. What I would do would be claim victory in the Gordon O’Connor case.

“The defense minister was clearly in the wrong, but rather than doing the right thing and dismissing him, Harper did as he always does and that is he tried to lay the blame elsewhere. To wit:

Stephen Harper: “west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada: people who live in ghettoes and who are not integrated into western Canadian society.”

Stephen Harper “I delivered [speeches] everywhere I went … about the spirit of defeatism in the country”

Stephen Harper: “Canada is a Northern Welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it.”

From Stephen Harper’s magnum opus “Separation, Alberta-style: It is time to seek a new relationship with Canada”: “Any country with Canada’s insecure smugness and resentment can be dangerous.”

Stephen Harper: "Canada appears content to become a second-tier socialistic country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services to mask its second-rate status"

For Mr. Harper either you are with him or you a smug, resentful, defeatist, slum dwelling terrorist. It is just that simple.”

Social Conservatism and Liberal Prospects.

If the Liberals successfully define Harper as either being a social conservative or beholden to the social conservatives, they will win the next election. If they do not do so, they will loose. It is just that simple.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Liberals need to recongnize some hard truths about the media

The Liberals need to recognize some hard truths.

1)Most of what the Liberals say does not interest the media in the slightest. This goes for large issues as well as small. Just because something is important does not render it “newsworthy.” The media do not care about the Liberal income trust plan. They do not care about the Kelowna accord. They do not care about the Liberal record. They do not care when Dion's blathers on about "social justice". ....

2)As far as the English media is concerned, Dion’s grammar and accent do not make for great TV. Focus his energies on Quebec and in the rest of country use others, in particular Bob Rae.

3)Trying to use the media as vehicle for getting your message out is like trying to pass a message to someone across a large room by having a series of people whisper in the ear of the person next to them. What message is eventually received is seldom the same as the message given.

4)For the vast majority of Canadians, what Liberal “messaging” they come across comes from the media.

5)The media is by far the most important focus group.

6)The media love hot button issues. No Liberal bill under Paul Martin garnered anywhere near the amount of press as the SSM bill.

7)Media love of hot button issues ensures that these issues define political parties. SSM is again a good case in point.

8)If an issue takes off, sit back. Pundits, academics and indeed bloggers are far better positioned to champion a particular policy than a political party. Like any good therapist direct the discussion and do not become part of it.

9)The Canadian media are a conservative bunch, but are not socially conservative.

10)Promise to legalize marijuana, euthanasia and in the firestorm that is sure to follow the Canadian media will brand the Conservative party in ways that will hurt the Conservatives at the polls. Although extremely conservative in outlook, Macleans, the National Post, the Fraser Institute and even a large chunk of the Sun media pundits back legalization of marijuana. A plan to legalize euthanasia will be equally well received.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Cherniak, Chomsky and anti Semitism

Cherniak: “While this singling out of Israel can be called "anti-Zionism", the reality is that it is no different than anti-Semitism. It is the singling out of Jews (indeed, an entire country of Jews) amongst all the people of the world for condemnation. I don't see how else you can view it.”

Anti-Semitism is indeed partly to blame. However, to offer up anti-Semitism as the phenomena’s ONLY cause is ridiculous.

It is quite clear that one of the causes is an unwillingness of successive US administrations to call Israel to the account. In other words, the US reluctance to play fair and call a spade a spade generates a great deal of discussion. As the self described leader of the free world, many people are frustrated with US’s unwillingness to treat the issue judiciously. Another cause is that Israel, unlike Iran, Syria, Jordan and China, is considered to be part of the Western orbit, one of us as it where, and as such is held to a higher standard by countries both inside and outside the western orbit.

Cherniak: “This can be applied to our personal lives as well.”

To apply this hair brained theory to various groups and countries is bad enough but to apply it to individuals is even worse.

Cherniak seems not to understand that hotly disputed issues, obviously, draw more discussion than topics that are not hotly disputed. Yes China mistreats Tibetans, but no one in the MSM media, or the political arena or the blogging community disputes this or would be surprised by it if they did not already know. Israel’s right to “self defense” is an entirely different matter and naturally enough people are more eager to discuss it.

As for Chomsky, for someone with political aspirations Cherniak certainly demonstrates a tin ear at times. Say for argument’s sake, that Himmler was a self hating Jew. There is no evidence that he was a Jew by the way. Would this little tidbit help make his case, viz., that Chomsky is an anti-Semite, or distract from it? Look in his comments section and you have your answer. If he wanted to make the case that just because someone is an x does not preclude them from being an x hater, he could have gone about it in a way that would not inflame and distract.

As for the accusation itself, it rests on some pretty weak evidence. Be rest assured, many people believed David Irving’s books were extensively researched and most of them were not anti-Semites. That said, it is very unlikely that Chomsky was truly convinced that Robert Faurisson’s book was based on "extensive research”. He admitted that he does “not know his work very well”. That said, if he did believe Faurisson’s book was based on “extensive research” it would be more of a backhanded complement than anything else. Given his assessment of Faurisson’s work he might as well have said this: “Despite years of extensive research, Faurisson, dim bulb that he is, draws all the wrong conclusions.”

Anyway, as should be clear to anyone, Chomsky’s support for Faurisson is a byproduct of his extreme libertarian view of free speech and is not a byproduct of anti-Semitism. And this was clear to anyone reading the Chomsky’s essay that is at the center of controversy, viz., Some Elementary Comments on the Rights of Freedom of Expression.

“Faurisson's conclusions are diametrically opposed to views I hold and have frequently expressed in print (for example, in my book Peace in the Middle East, where I describe the Holocaust as "the most fantastic outburst of collective insanity in human history"). But it is elementary that freedom of expression (including academic freedom) is not to be restricted to views of which one approves, and that it is precisely in the case of views that are almost universally despised and condemned that this right must be most vigorously defended. It is easy enough to defend those who need no defense or to join in unanimous (and often justified) condemnation of a violation of civil rights by some official enemy.”

A run down of the whole affair can be read at wiki.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Conservative Lies of Omission: Part 4 Conference Board of Canada

The Conservatives made a big to do about the Conference board of Canada saying their platform is fully costed. To put this into perspective this is akin to the NDP holding up the fact the CCPA says their platform is fully costed. That is not the problem though. The Conference board of Canada economist who did the analysis is now saying that the platform he examined is not the same platform the Conservatives released. In other words, the Conservatives were trying to pass off the new platform off as the one given the ok by Conference board of Canada. Global and Mail: “Economist washes hands of new Tory agenda”

“Paul Darby, deputy chief economist of the Conference Board of Canada, originally concluded that Stephen Harper's Conservative platform “is affordable in each fiscal year from 2005-2006 through 2010-2011.”
The Conservative party promoted that conclusion last week as evidence its election platform had been “independently verified” by the Conference Board, an Ottawa-based think-tank.
But Mr. Darby says the version of the platform he was given to vet didn't include a Conservative health-care guarantee which states patients will be transported to another jurisdiction if they can't get timely care at home.
It also omitted a Tory platform promise to redress the so-called “fiscal imbalance” between Ottawa and the provinces.
Mr. Darby wouldn't comment on whether the timely health-care guarantee would bear a significant cost.
“Talk to Harper,” he said. “It is not in the platform I received from them.”

Conservative Lies of Omission: Part 3 Crime Rates

In one of their later electoin ads, balloon, the Conservatives claimed that in 1995 Martin said crime would be down and Canada would be safer, but, they add, homicides are up and so is drug crime. So is violent crime up since 1995? Of course not. In 2003, the murder rate reached a 36 year low and violent crime is way down since the Liberals took office. The homicide rate did go up in 2004, but one year hardly a trend makes.

These are the facts:

The crime % change 1994 to 2004
Homicide -5.3
Attempted murder -29.4
Serious sexual assaults -32.6
Robbery -14
Total violent crime -9.7

The same broad decline can be found for property crime, down 24 per cent in the past decade, car theft (-3.5 %) and break-and-enters (-36 %)

I am not inclined to give the Liberals much credit for the drop. If there is one thing criminologists agree on it is that the demographic makeup of a society plays a big role. The CBC does a good job of explaining this:

“Violent crime in this country rose steadily during the 1960s, '70s and '80s – the latter being the decade when the Brian Mulroney Conservatives were in power. It peaked in 1992, just before the ChrĂ©tien Liberals were returned to office, and for the most part has been dropping steadily ever since. Campaigning Liberals might like to take credit for this achievement, but that, too, would be to play loose with the facts.

The underlying reality is that crime rates are largely a function of demographics. Simply put, violent crime is carried out for the most part by young men between their late teens and late 30s; and probably has been since time immemorial. The decades-long rise that culminated in 1992 coincided with the miscreant faction among the baby boomers and the so-called echo generation that followed close on their heels. When that contingent hit middle age, the rates for murder and violent crime fell – and, perhaps not coincidentally, counterfeiting shot up.”

The Conservatives are right about one thing though; drug crime is up way up. It is up 52% over the past 10 years. Marijuana possession charges account for most of increase. Interesting enough, drug crime dropped 8% from 2003 to 2004. So the Conservatives are using 1995 as a bench mark for one claim and 2003 as a bench mark for the other.

Anyway, will drug crime go down when the Conservatives launch their War on Drugs? Not if the US is any guide. According to the US Bureau of Justice, Marijuana arrests have more than doubled in the US since 1991. There is both an opportunity cost and real cost to the tax papers to cracking down on marijuana and failing to follow through on plans for decriminalization. Indeed, the state of California, for example, saved nearly a $ 1 Billion by decriminalizing the personal possession of mere one once of marijuana. M. Aldrich and T. Mikuriya. 1988. Savings in California marijuana law enforcement costs attributable to the Moscone Act of 1976. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 20: 75-81. Add to this the cost to productivity of of needlessly saddling hundreds of thousands of Canadians with a criminal record.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Fraser Institute and Sun Media will help the Liberals if ..

If the Liberals promise to legalize marijuana, they will be able to define Harper in a matter that is favorable to them. What is more, the Fraser Institute, Canwest, Sun Media and Macleans will help!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Harper LIED about Robillard and Jennings

In uttering the following Harper either flat out lied, or he was inexcusably ignorant of the facts. The latter is very unlikely.

Stephen Harper:
“We are putting in place a new selection system so we do not have what we had before – like the member for Westmount-Ville-Marie (Robillard) appointing her former husband as a member of the board”

The problem is that “Robillard's ex-husband, Jacques Lasalle, was appointed to the board in 1990 when Brian Mulroney was prime minister.”

It gets better. As the Toronto Star noted, “he [Harper] repeated the allegation in French, accusing [Liberal MP Marlene] Jennings, too, of making the appointment.” The problem with the latter is that “Jennings' husband, Luciano del Negro, joined the board in 1996, before his wife was first elected to the Commons in 1997.”

Naturally, the geniuses in the Liberal war room have gone out of their way to minimize the damage to Harper’s reputation. Rather then saying that Harper LIED and in so doing grabbing headlines. They choose to say that his behavior is “un-prime-ministerial" and in so doing ensured that no one in the public noticed.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Liberals: the Media is the Message

There seems to be a lot of confusion, here and elsewhere, as to why I think the Liberals would be wise to embrace a full blooded social liberalism as a political strategy. So I will try again.

The Canadian media is a very poor vehicle for getting the Liberal's word out. Study after study has showed that the coverage the Liberals have received over the course of the last number of years has been worse than abysmal. Yet the Liberal party has still not recognized that if the media does not care for a particular policy or talking point, it matters not a lick how well a particular issue polls, or focus groups. To borrow from Marshall McLuhan, the media is the message. A party’s platform and talking points are only as good as the press they generate. The media is the only focus group that matters.

What this means is that the Liberals have to reassess not only their media strategy, but also what policies and talking points they push as well. With regard to talking points, the Liberals have to recognize that the media are much more politically savvy, educated and knowledgeable than your average Canadian; the Liberals then have to respond accordingly. If a particular talking point offends the intelligence of those in the media they are sure to let the public, subconsciously or otherwise, know their opinion. And if they do that, it matters not at all that Joe focus group loves this talking point. The talking point will be more a liability than a benefit. For a party that is now in opposition and a party with so little to spend on unmediated ad time, this is a lesson the Liberal party has to learn and fast.

Incidentally, while a proper reading of the role of the media in disseminating political messaging seems to hold out the promise of an elevated public discourse, paradoxically it also casts doubt on the possibility of nuance. Nuance invariably involves concession and that is exactly what a politician can not do with the press present. There is simply no guarantee that the media will report both the concession and the triumphant counterpoint. Worse, the media’s fascination with sound bites turns careful deliberation, nuance and concession into dithering. Context is the ecosystem of nuanced comments. Most politicians recognize this and the words “but”, “however”, “although”, “while”, “given”, “granted”, “nevertheless”, “nonetheless”, “despite”, etc. are lacking from many political speeches as a result. This makes political speeches almost intolerable to listen to, but it insures the media does not send out mixed messages on a politician’s behalf.

The media reports what is newsworthy and what is newsworthy is what generates the most profits and what generates the most profits is by and large what generates the largest audience. So, not only should there be no expectation on behave of the Liberals, or any other political party for that matter, that the media will faithfully report what the party is saying, the Liberals must readjust what issues the party focuses on. The public may care a great deal about meat and potatoes issues and tell that to politicians, but the media does not share the same concern and media are the ones that matter. The media love hot button issues. The Liberals should give them what they want. Having introduced the subject, the Liberals should then sit back like any good therapist and let the dialectic play itself out in the media and invariably the public at large. Pundits, academics and, indeed, bloggers are far better positioned to take over championing the policy from there on in.

What hot button issues the Liberals should bring up are, of course, the $64,000 question. As I said before, I think the Liberals should introduce hot button issues that have already played themselves out amongst the learned and are bound to be well received by news organization such as Canwest, which is very libertarian in outlook (e.g., the stem cell research debate and the relative benign nature of marijuana). If the debate is allowed to go on long enough, the end result is predictable. As I have said time and time again, SSM was a great case in point. At the polls, SSM was a looser. Canadians were spilt on the issue, but the older one is the more likely one is to be opposed and to vote. The reason it was a winning issue was because it left the Conservatives defending an intellectually, morally and legally bankrupt position and they were, rightly, pillared by the media and the learned every step of the way. Pace Harper et al, the various court decisions, that ultimately led to C-38’s passing, represented not a premature beginning, but a summation.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Dion is Politically Inept.

A few weeks back I wrote this:

“Dion has proved to be a one trick pony and not a very impressive one at that. Many Liberal bloggers have claimed that the Tory ads did not work, but polls suggest that Canadians do not trust the Liberals environmental stewardship. The Liberals have been badly outmaneuvered on the file and have offered nothing to fill the hunger for broadly progressive agenda. Harper is slowly neutralizing the environment as an issue and has begun focusing the public debate on issues that he, rightly, feels that will favor the Conservatives, viz., tax cuts and law and order issues.”

Conservatives lauded me for my “honesty” and one Liberal preferred to shoot the messenger. Since then Dion has proved me wrong. He is not a one trick pony. The situation is much worse then that. He played right into Harper's hands. Dion decided to focus on a law and order issue and one very dear to Canwest’s heart, i.e., Israel, err, terrorism. I have said before and I will say it again. The Liberals must not and I repeat must not allow these issue to dominant for long, but that is exactly what Dion let happen. Indeed, rather than talking up a compromise on two provisions, Dion dug in his heels, divided his party and made sure the media forget all about Harper’s smear.

As for Harper’s smear, it was a gift. However, the Liberals never fully capitalized on it. Their pathetic grandstanding made it seem that Harper’s comments were a one off and not business as usual. Not surprisingly, they have still not developed a global critique of Conservatives as having a problem with the truth and have not tied the Conservatives terrorism talking points to the Republican party.

The Liberals need to stop the bleeding. They need to focus the public debate on socially liberal issues (e.g, stem cell research, euthanasia, pot)that will appeal to voters Harper is making hay with, viz., urban and Quebec voters.

Conservative Lies of Omission: Part 2 the Grewal Tapes

The Tories hired audio expect Randy Dash in June 2005. Dash concluded that the audio “clips” he was given by the Conservatives were not altered. “Mr. Dash’s analysis of the recordings shows that they are clean and unaltered,” Conservative Jason MP Kenney said in a news release sent out on June 9th. The press release did what it was attended to do. It made it appear to anyone, but the most observant, that what you had here was a battle of audio experts. Some experts held that the tapes were not altered and others that they were. This is what NY Times reporter Clifford Kraus concluded in a June 19th article. However, there never was any disagreement. The Tapes spoken about in June 9th were different then the tapes released on May 31 by agent Grewal and the Conservatives. The Conservatives were amazingly brazen about trying to pass one off as another. Indeed, Randy Dash has been hired by Canwest news services to examine the May 31 tapes and concluded that they had probably been altered (e.g., The Star Phoenix (Saskatoon) Friday, June 3, 2005, Page: A1: News Byline: Grant Robertson, Anne Dawson and Allan Woods) “In reviewing some two hours of discussions between B.C. Conservative Gurmant Grewal and top Liberal officials, Randy Dash, a professor and sound engineer at Ottawa's Algonquin College, said: "it appears that on one of the recordings, an edit could have been done." By the time June 6 rolled around the experts were not mincing their words anymore.

The following from Campbell Clark June 6th article in the Globe and Mail:

Yesterday, Jack Mitchell, a U.S. forensic audio expert who conducted a preliminary review of portions of the originally released recordings, said they had been altered. He said he did not believe the changes occurred in the digital-copying process.

"These tapes have been edited. This is not a maybe. This is not something that's unexplained. This is not, 'Oh, this is odd.' This is a definitive statement. The tapes have been edited," Mr. Mitchell said.

He said he could not say with certainty how the alterations occurred, or conclude definitely that it was done intentionally.

However, Mr. Mitchell said that he not only found instances of possible edits, including sections where it appeared that phrases had been added to the recordings, but also a telltale repeat of a brief snippet of conversation that was repeated exactly.

"The entire thing repeats exactly. It's not the speaker repeating his phrase. This repeats exactly in the same way, with the same rhythm, with the same timing, with the same noise signatures. This is impossible," he said.
Mr. Mitchell said that he is not aware of such a glitch ever being produced in a digital transfer.

"I don't know how it could. I really don't," he said.
Errors in digital transfer can produce crashes that end the recording, or "dropouts" where brief gaps lasting a fraction of a second to a few seconds are created.
"But as far as it actually taking the digital file and sort of combining them and doing its own editing and changing things, I think that's nonsense. I've never seen it, I've never heard of a report of it."

The same repeat -- where Prime Minister Paul Martin's chief of staff, Tim Murphy, says "cup of tea" -- was found last week by Glen Marshall, a former RCMP engineer hired by the Liberal Party to examine the recordings.

Mr. Harper's communications director, Geoff Norquay, and his press secretary, Carolyn Stewart-Olsen, could not be reached yesterday.

Mr. Mitchell operates a forensic audio firm called Computer Audio Engineering in Albuquerque, N.M., which has done work used in court cases for U.S. federal prosecutors, several U.S. police forces, and prosecutors and defence attorneys.
He said he has not seen any reports of any other examination of the recordings, except a written statement issued by Mr. Dosanjh's office that alleges at least six sections of the tape were altered, which was sent to him by The Globe.
Mr. Mitchell reviewed two portions of the recordings where Mr. Dosanjh claimed to have found changes, totalling about eight minutes, to determine if there was evidence they had been altered.

The repeated "cup of tea" section is not on a new version of the recordings issued by the Conservatives last Thursday. Those new versions contain 14 minutes of new audio material -- pieces of conversations that are interspersed throughout the recording in a variety of places, which were missing from the first version that was released to the public.

Mr. Mitchell said he thought it was unlikely that such interspersed material was accidentally cut when it was copied to compact disc, as the Conservatives maintain.
"I've never heard of it. Is this something new taking place out there that I haven't heard of? Well, you know, that's always possible, but I don't think so. It would be all over the place if this happened. There are people out there making audio CDs all the time, and nobody has mentioned anything like this ever happening."

In addition, a section of another conversation reviewed by Mr. Mitchell, in which Mr. Dosanjh asserts that any arrangement made with Mr. Grewal "requires a certain degree of deniability" appears to have been edited in from another conversation, as Mr. Dosanjh had alleged. But Mr. Mitchell said it would take further analysis to determine that with certainty.

"The phrase is suddenly -- the amplitude is higher, the frequency content is different, meaning that essentially there are more bottom frequencies in it. The noise signature is different, and on either side of that phrase, they're the same."

Conservative Lies of Omission: Part 1 Harper and Iraq

During the election Harper came out and said this. “On Iraq, while I support the removal of Saddam Hussein and applaud the efforts to establish democracy and freedom in Iraq, I would not commit Canadian troops to that country.” In saying this Harper was clearing trying to obscure the fact that he supported Canada joining the coalition of the willing. You see, unlike most bloggers, the vast majority of population can not list all the times Harper said he wished Canada had been part of the coalition of the willing. Here are two examples by the way.

“On the justification for the war, it wasn't related to finding any particular weapon of mass destruction. In our judgment, it was much more fundamental. It was the removing of a regime that was hostile, that clearly had the intention of constructing weapons systems. … I think, frankly, that everybody knew the post-war situation was probably going to be more difficult than the war itself. Canada remains alienated from its allies, shut out of the reconstruction process to some degree, unable to influence events. There is no upside to the position Canada took.” (Maclean’s, August, 25, 2003)

"We should be there with our allies when it counts against Saddam Hussein." March 26 2003 7 days after the war started, some two weeks before the collapse of Saddam’s regime."

So how does the above passage do this? Well, look at the above passage again. Saddam Hussein has long since been removed from power. His government fell on April 8 2003 and he was fished out of Spider hole in December 2003. Yet Harper speaks as if it was not already a done deal. By speaking of the Saddam regime in the present tense rather than in the past tense he was able magically go back in time and state his position was that he will not send troops to help overthrow Saddam. Austin and Grice and the other founders of speech act theory are no doubt turning over in their graves.

Perhaps, an example is in order. To understand how truly Orwellian all of this is, imagine for a second that the Swiss had declared in 1948 that “we support the removal of Hitler from power.”