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Tony Makara

Graeme, I have to agree with your comments on Simon Hughes. He certainly seems to be a very unsavoury character. We may not agree with one point of Peter Tachel's politics but he was was the only the straight candidate in Bermondsey, straight with the truth that is, and was nothing but honest. Such a contrast with Hughes who didn't admit that he was bi at the bi-election. That tells us a lot about Simon Hughes character. I'm just pleased to see that he is not running because I think he is a case of bad blood in the Liberal party.

On to everyones favourite waste of money, the BBC. As you quite rightly say this is a poll tax. Any person who enters the easy-payment licence scheme can look forward to paying a fiver a week to finance Jonothan Ross and his 18 million salary. The BBC have no sense of propriety. Instead of paying 18 million to Ross they could have hired many talented presenters, performers and technicians. I fail to see what makes Ross worth 18 million? The job he does could be done by any good presenter. Years ago I had the opportunity to talk to someone at the BBC and I asked him what was the best thing about working for the BBC and he told me:

"Its basically a job for life, and a job for your nearest and dearest too, its easy to pull strings at the BBC"

Tory Optomist

There have been four national opinion polls published in Canada recently, giving the Conservarives leads ranging from 8-13% over the Liberals. See STIMedia (www,politicalstaples.com).

re the Liberals recent win in the Ontario Elections, provincial and national political standings do not always line up for reasons that are to complicated to into here (ie i'm too lazy at the moment to go into it).

Suffice to say, the Conservatives would be in with a chance of a majority government
should an election be held.

Tory Optomist

One could be cynical and say that it's a pity simon Hughes is not running for the Lib Dem leadership (along with Mark Oaten and LempiK Opick.

Graeme Archer

Hi Tory Optimist - I did see one of the polls, which showed the Tories a good bit ahead of the Liberals. It looked like there was quite a split between Ontario and Quebec (which surprised this ignorant Brit - not the split - the fact that the Tories seemed to be doing better in Quebec). I would be interested in fact if you would write about why the provincial results don't necessarily translate into federal ones - I am a new found fan of all things Canadian!

Another thing I liked about the Globe and Mail - it covered the Toronto city politics with detail and a lack of derision that compared very favourably with our own 'plague on all their houses - that's enough politics, here's a photo of a pop star' Evening Standard (I thought).

Dave H


I'm too a fan of all things Canadian after having the opportunity of spending an extended holiday over there this summer.

Would also recommend Vancouver - beautiful city and Montreal - excellent metro!

Only 'politics' I came across were a bunch of pro-life supporters outside Union Station in Toronto. They were getting quite a lot of abuse from commuters, who didn't seem to appreciate the posters they were waving in peoples faces.

re. Provincial Ontario politics the Liberals were very unpopular due to broken promises over increases in taxes, but the Tories seemed to have run a bad campaign and got into problems with promising to extend funding to religious schools.

Tory Optimist

Hi Grahame,

There were recently three by-elections in Quebec. The Conservatives gained a seat from the Bloc Quebecois in Roberval-Lac St Jean and nearly unseated them in St Hyacinthe-Bagot. The New Democrats captured the Liberal stronghold of Outremont in Montreal.

The Consevatives came from nowhere to capture 10 seats in Quebec at the 2006 General Election and are rapidly replacing the Liberals as the alternative to the Bloc in that province. The Liberals have collapsed in Quebec outside of Montreal and are now losing out to the New Democrats (NDP)in that city.

Ontario is complicated. The Liberals are strong in Toronto and to a lesser extent the 905 region (Toronto hinterland). The Conservatives dominate the rural ridings, except in the North of the province which is either Liberal or NDP.

The Liberals are in serious trouble and outside of Toronto, Vancouver and Atlantic provinces are barely alive now.

The Conservative Party in Canada has historically been a coalition between
three elements (The Three Sisters), The West (which is free market and spawned the Reform party which took a lot of votes from the old Progressive Conservatives between 1993 and 2000), The East, which is traditionally more statist; the Red Tories and Quebec. Diefenbaker, Mulroney and the current PM Stephen Harper successfully brought these three elements together, though in Mulroney (and Kim Campbell's) case they spectacularly fell apart in the 1993 election.

Harper is gaining reputation as a master strategist and could well win a majority at the next election.

An interesting side line. When the Liberals returned to power in 1993, Chretien was PM and his finance minister was Paul Martin (jnr), who had ran for the leadership. Over the years a bitter rivalry developed between the two and eventually Martin forced Chretien to stand down in 2003. Martin was expected to win the largest majority ever at the following election, but the Adscam Scandal was uncovered and at the 2004 he lost his majority and in January 2006 was defeated.

Reminds one of someone closer tohome.

Finally an old Canadian joke. Canada is like a cow; in the West they feed it; In Ontario and Quebec they milk it; you can imagine what happens in the Maritimes.

Tory Optimist

Sorry to bore you again and this is for tose unfamiliar with Canadian politics rather than Graeme.

Provincial and Federal parties are seperate entities in Canada. The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario is seperate
from the Federal Conservative Party of Canada.

The failings of the provincial party's campaign in the recent Ontario election will probably not reflect on the federal
parties showing in that province.

That activist base is common to both parties.

And compared to some other provinces the situation in Ontario is straight forward !

And my apologies to Graeme for spelling his name incorrectly in a previous post.

Werner Patels

I am glad you liked your stay in Canada.

Yes, indeed, the Tories have moved into majority territory, and it's only matter of time before the Liberals push the self-destruct button (= Canada's Redemption).

You should come out west, to Calgary, the New Centre of the Universe, according to Canada's national news magazine last summer. Toronto is a very unsafe place (with gangs, bullets zapping through the air and, of course, way too many Liberals).

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