The G20 Idiots

I've sat back and watched the coverage. Police cars burning. Police harassing seemingly innocent protesters.

Those same protesters destroying public property.

Then I watched videos of real wanna-be "hero's" confront police officers to prove some sort of point. Who knows exactly what they were trying to prove. Then I watched police officers, believe it or not, professionally handle these situations.

Then to make matters worse, I just watched a police chief admit he lied to the public.

There was no 5 metre rule. It was just a tactic used to intimate individuals into complying with searches.

The end result? There were idiots all over downtown Toronto this past weekend - Both Police and Protester.

In my opinion everyone should be ashamed at their behavior. Police should be ashamed at the abuses of power that their police chief apparently sees no issue with. Protesters should be lamenting the horrible damage those that destroyed property did to their cause.

In the middle of this stupidity their were no doubt true innocents not reported by the media who have experienced financial loss or a violation of charter rights.

This past weekend was not a good weekend for Toronto or Canada.

G20 Costs IV

I was just forwarded this email exchange from a fellow Tory. Relevant names and email addresses have been deleted.
----From: Donations
Subject: FW: Help us end the long-gun registry...
Date: Thursday, 24 June, 2010, 12:34

Thank you for taking the time to contact the Conservative Party of Canada and for sharing your thoughts with us regarding the G8/G20 security costs. Please be assured that your comments and suggestions have been carefully reviewed.

Since the tragic events of 9/11, increased security has, unfortunately, become a fact of life. Security is costly, but it is imperative to the safety and well-being of the G8/G20 participants and all Canadians, that we spend this money. Some 30 world leaders will be in attendance, along with thousands of delegates and media. All of these people need to be housed, fed, transported, and protected. These individuals will face the entire range of security threats that accompany such meetings, which is why we need to go to such lengths to ensure their safety.

The infrastructure that will be put in place will remain long after the G8/G20 has finished, benefitting residents of Toronto and Muskoka. The new infrastructure ranges from new equipment and road improvements, to buildings and improved communications networks. Please rest assured that our Conservative Government has planned accordingly for all costs and are on target and within budget.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to write.

Yours truly,

Fundraising & Membership Services Department
Section des Activités de financement et des Services aux membres
Conservative Party of Canada
Parti conservateur du Canada
Tel./Tél. 1-866-808-8407 Fax/Télec. 613-755-2001

----From: [DELETED]
Date: June 16, 2010 8:07:10 PM PDT
To: "Irving R. Gerstein"
Subject: Re: Help us end the long-gun registry...

Put some money towards a tax cut for me, instead of this silly G8/G20 summit combo, and you'll get my attention!

--- On Wed, 16/6/10, Irving R. Gerstein, Chair, Conservative Fund Canada wrote:

From: Irving R. Gerstein, Chair, Conservative Fund Canada
Subject: Help us end the long-gun registry...
Date: Wednesday, 16 June, 2010, 22:09

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dear Mr. [DELETED],

Last week, I sent you an email asking you for your opinion on how we should handle the upcoming battle to scrap the expensive and ineffective long-gun registry.

Right now, the final vote on the bill to scrap the registry hangs in the balance: the difference between success and failure being decided by 12 NDP and 8 Liberal MPs who have previously voted in support of the bill but whose commitment may be flagging.

This is your chance to tip the balance.

I get that the responder is merely a peon carrying out orders. But I gotta ask: does anyone up at the PMO know what they're talking about?

Using 9/11 as a reason for escalating costs would be reasonable in a world where G20 summits have only happened prior to 9/11. In the "real" world, the Toronto summit is one of four since 9/11.

Two of the four happened in major urban centers and two cost between 12 to 28 million. Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, was roundly criticized for the 28mill price tag of his summit just last year. Our summit is nearing $1billion.

Britain surely had to deal with the increased security costs of 9/11 - they somehow seemed to spend 35 times less for the same service.

Let's put this into perspective here. For the same cost of our G20 summit Britain could have held the following summits:

1) The London G20 Maternal Health Summit
2) The London G20 Holy Moly The Economy is bad Summit
3) The London G20 "Cause We Can" Summit
4) The London G20 Climate Change Summit
5) The London G20 Bank Tax Summit
6) The London G20 Irish Drunkards Summit
7) The London G20 Drug Dealers Summit
8) The London G20 Mafia Summit
9) The London G20 Horror Film Summit
10) The London G20 Soccer Summit
11) The London G20 Bollywood Summit
12) The London G20 Stars on Ice Summit
13) The London G20 Washed-Out Actors Summit
14) The London G20 Nuclear Summit
15) The London G20 End of World Summit
16) The London G20 Mama's Boy Summit
17) The London G20 Meddlers Summit
18) The London G20 Old Aging Hippies Summit
19) The London G20 Old Aging Hairy Arm-pitted Hippies Summit
20) The London G20 New Age Summit
21) The London G20 No Name Summit
22) The London G20 Britain's Got Talent Summit
23) The London G20 Austin Powers Summit
24) The London G20 Pad Thai Summit
25) The London G20 It's Called Football Stupid Summit
26) The London G20 We Are Not Alone Summit
27) The London G20 Star Trek Summit
28) The London G20 Haggus Summit
29) The London G20 Braveheart Summit
30) The London G20 Teabag Summit
31) The London G20 Europhile Summit
32) The London G20 Euroskeptic Summit
33) The London G20 Riot This! Summit
34) The London G20 Chinese Buffet Summit
35) The London G20 Summit to End all Summits

For the same summit that Canada has done once, Britain could hold one summit every year for next 35 years!

Now that's a cost overun!

G20 Costs III
G20 Costs II
G20 Costs I

G20 Costs III

An apparent blunder by Sarkozy? I don't think so:
He then went on to make a bold declaration that could come back to haunt him in 2011.
“...As for the French G8/G20, even though I can’t confirm the Canadian numbers, they will be ten times less. Exactly.”
Except that previous summits held in the past had a price tag closer to 1/63 of the cost of this summit. 1/10th, it could be argued, is actually a pretty extravagant target.

Sarkozy's rush to name a number (in my opinion) is a smack against Harper. Sarkozy could have easily said nothing. Instead he chose controversy.

Something tells me some background politicking may be in play.

G20 Costs II
G20 Costs I

MP Pensions By The Numbers

Last week, the group called attention to the new list of MPs qualifying for the pension plan by putting 75 plastic pigs on the front lawn of Parliament Hill. Watson's name was on one of them.

Also included was disgraced former Tory MP Helena Guergis. Each is entitled to $32,000 to $44,000 a year once they turn 55, even if they stop working as MPs at the end of the month.
The issue here is whether or not a pension that pays out $30k / year is excessive or unreasonable.

Let's do the math here. The nest egg someone would need to amass to ensure a $30k /year retirement is somewhere in the range of $500k to $1million.

Let's presume that the average qualifying period for this pension is 8 years. That's the equivalent of around 47k to 95k a year stashed away based on an interest rate of 3 to 6% and annual inflation of 2%.

The average MP salary is around $150k/yr. That's a final benefit adjusted salary of 200k to 300k a year. The average MP also has about $280 k of miscellaneous expenses every year. That brings the average MP's annual salary + benefits to about 500k to 600 k a year.

Comartin is also under fire from the group after making remarks in a recent radio interview. He said MPs are comparable to the "semi-elite" of the working world and should be at the level of upper management or even professional athletes in terms of their pensions.

If we took Mr Comartin's basis for this evaluation of what an MP's salary should be then we should compare an MP's salary to the average salary of a an executive at a private corporation. (I quite frankly think that a professional athlete's pay is just an unreasonable comparison).

The average board member of a corporation earns $139k/yr.

As far as I can tell there are no "pensions" for directors on corporate boards for the most part. Travel fees are reimbursed. I did find that the Bank of Montreal directly lists total compensation packages for Director's. If we use a BMO director as obtaining a "typical" level of compensation for a director in private industry, at about 40 meetings a year the average director has a total compensation of salary + fees of somewhere in the range of 200k to 300k / year.

The basic conclusion of these numbers is that the compensation that MPs receive in Ottawa is nearly double what their private sector counterparts get.

Is that excessive? If these MPs were cars, and I had to buy an MP-car I would say they're overpriced.

G20 Costs II

“So that is exactly why we need these type of summits, that is exactly why leaders sitting around the table face-to-face—and not through Twitter, Skype or video-conferencing—will eventually produce more results.”

Soudas also suggested that once leaders get down to business, any questions about Harper’s credibility as a result of the $1.2 billion cost of the meetings and the controversy over the “fake lake” at the media centre will be left far behind.

The problem is that's a really bad reason for costs to be 63 to 3 times the cost of similar summits held in other countries. The issue isn't that the costs are unnecessary, but it's that they are extravagant and ultimately unreasonable.

It's the equivalent of the government buying a car for $1.2 million, yet similar cars go for $20,000 in the market. If you ever saw that type of expense you couldn't tell me you would buy the car.

This is a big whopping mistake. No business would accept cost overruns like these. I just can't figure out what the Tories in Ottawa were thinking.

G20 Costs I

G20 Costs

2008 Washington Summit: $??
2009 London Summit: $19 mill UK ($28 mill CDN)
2009 Pittspburgh Summit: $12.2 mill USD ($12 mill CDN)

2010 Toronto Summit: $1 Billion CDN

That's a pretty big difference.

This Liberal Ad Stinks

I realize I am fully biased saying this but I think it anyways: this new Liberal Ad stinks. It's wholly ineffective and it's a waste of Liberal Party donors moneys.

Where's the Contrast?

This ad is all about Stephen Harper. It isn't scary. And it says nothing about the "other" guy. Negative ads are only good if they provide a good contrast to the other guy IMHO. A "billion dollar boondoggle" sounds bad but it does nothing to make a voter think "hey those Liberals aren't as bad as this guy."

Poor Positioning

Watch this ad but Imagine Stephen Harper's face is not there and his name is never mentioned. It could have easily been an ad made by the Tories criticizing Paul Martin during the Sponsorship Scandal.

When it comes to "fiscal responsibility" I don't believe this issue is a Liberal issue, just like Healthcare is not a Conservative issue. It's a strange topic for a negative ad for the Liberals.

A far more effective issue to make a negative style ad would be regarding the Afghan detainee issue and the release of documents. To be clear I believe Law & Order issues are the Conservatives natural strength. That being said when the debate switches to secrecy and human rights I believe these are natural Liberal strengths in the public's eyes.

Either way I think it's just a weird issue for the Liberals to be pushing. I realize that the issue has shown some play in the polls, but who actually believes that this will be a long term problem?

Given a few months, the G20 will be over, and no one will remember a darn thing. Like prorogation the issue will fizzle. What the Liberals need to be looking for right now to win is are issues that stick over the long term.

Iggy's Turn The Page

What the Puffster needed right now was an ad that grabbed your attention. They needed an ad that got people talking. I don't believe this is that ad.

Iggy's problems of late with low polling numbers and the never ending talk of "merger" needed a moment to turn the page. This was an opportunity to do just that.

This ad was a failure in the sense that it failed to live up to what it could have done.

As a Conservative this makes me happy. If I were Liberal this wouldn't be an "up" moment.

Someone's pants are on fire...

Kinsella on NDP/Lib Merger:
"Serious people are involved in discussions at a serious level," Warren Kinsella, a former adviser to former prime minister Jean Chrétien, told CBC News.(link)

Iggy Puff on NDP/Lib Merger:
“We had some discussion of this ridiculous discussion of fusion of the two parties,” the Liberal Leader told reporters. “No one has any authorization to even discuss this matter. It’s ridiculous. I am a Liberal. I am proud to be a Liberal. The people around me are Liberals. We are going to form a Liberal government.”(link)

This is an interesting circus. But a circus is all it is.

If talks were really in progress Iggy wouldn't be denying it. He would be using his regular Iffy lingo and avoid the topic...

I really think this is being done for far more strategic reasons. Jeff Jedras is right: this is all about leadership politics.

The media firestorm this is creating is de-stabilizing Iggy Puff's leadership.

Let's look at the people at the center of this controversy pushing the merger story: Kinsella, Rae, and good ol' Chretien. All three of these clowns are not exactly Iggy-Friendly. Kinsella left Iggy's office not to long ago for reasons all too unclear. Rae is the Puffster's natural replacement should the Supreme Iggy decide to return to Harvard. And Chretien hails from the left of the party and has numerous connections in his past to Bob Rae which leads me to think he would support Rae over Iggy.

A scheme by the anti-Iggy-ites in the Fiberal Party of Canada?

On a balance of probabilities I would say so.

Triple 'E' Doubts

Stephen Harper's Elected Senate plans have come under fire from one of his own:
"I don't think that being elected that will add to sober second thought," Nolin told the Senate.
"Quite to the contrary, I think that will create havoc between this house and the other house because at the end of the day we will try to challenge them (on) being more popular than them, being more democratic than them."
Nolin is wrong on several fronts.


An elected senate would make Senators in the upper chamber actually accountable. The question of accountability has been the central reason the Upper Chamber's reputation has been called into question over the last 20 years.

Making senators accountable, even in a loose way, to an electorate gives them a boss.


Canadians don't take the Senate seriously.

Maybe that last sentence should have an exclamation point. No one believes that the senate actually holds parliament accountable in any way shape or form.

The senate is merely a rubber stamp for a Prime Minister who crams loyalists into the upper chamber who will do his bidding. Recent sporadic signs of spine by Senate do not undue the years of rubber stamping under successive Liberal and Conservative governments.

An elected senate gives the upper chamber a legitimacy that otherwise will never come on its own.

Sober Second Thought

Nolin's argument that instead of more sober second thought "... two elected chambers would be a recipe for parliamentary gridlock..." makes no sense. If the Senate is going to provide "Sober Second Thought" it needs to question.

Questioning means in some cases gridlock. Gridlock means that it will be tough to pass legislation. For some reason this is a bad thing.

Governments do not have a natural tendency to create less laws. They create more. And then more. And then when that's done they create more laws.

Ensuring a hint of division in an otherwise undivided senate injects into the upper chamber a questioning attitude. It'll lead to less laws, less government, and better quality in the bills that do make it through.

Less government is a noted goal of conservatives last time I checked. We'll just have to wait and see if the Harper's bill manages to shrink big old government just a tiny bit.

Progressive Not So Strong

The latest poll shows interesting polling numbers for a Conservative Party vs Left-Coalition scenario.

What it shows more importantly to Conservatives is that Conservative support increases:
"... Conservatives led by Stephen Harper would defeat a coalition led by Michael Ignatieff 40-34 per cent..."

There must obviously be a large chunk of Liberals who are more willing to vote Conservative than they are willing to vote for the NDP.