Predictions for 2015

The New Year Cometh!  Here is what I’m divining, as I sit in various states of undress, contemplating my semi-nude universe:

1. Justin Trudeau will become Prime Minister of Canada.  He’s the best, so he’ll win.

2. Pope Francis will be assassinated.  I love him.  He’s the man.  He’s almost certainly going to be killed.

3. Jeb Bush will announce that he is running for President of the United States of America.

4. Andrew Scheer’s tenure as Speaker of the House of Commons will end.

5. Thomas Mulcair will stay on as leader of the NDP after his party returns to third, fourth, or fifth party status, again, after the next election.  Why?  Because the NDP hasn’t changed, and it will continue to embrace failure.

6. “The Interview” will be pirated and released online, nefariously, but importantly.

7. My ex-boyfriend Steve is going to go on texting me once a month to be like “sup, you single?”

8. There will not be an Ebola case in Canada

9. Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, and Michael Sona will all go to prison.

10. David Bertschi will join another federal political party.

Discuss.

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No More Paikining, Please!

New rule everyone, if you want to take a giant dump on a political party by way of a Breakup Note – I’m looking at you, Warren Kinsella – you have to at least have been in some way formally associated with that party.

The worst example, naturally, is our old friend Ray Heard, who hasn’t done a day of work for the Liberal Party since the 80’s, but reserves the right to pretend to be a Liberal while shitting on the Liberal Party on Television and in print.

Zach Paikin, for whom the practice of breaking up with a girl who never even spoke to you is named, wrote a public repudiation of the leader and quit his… his… well he went from doing nothing back to doing nothing.  Thanks for your service Zach, which as far as I can tell involves tweeting about yourself and complaining about the leader of a party you don’t support.

And then we come to that sexy, sexy man, Warren Kinsella.  When was the last day he did as a volunteer for the Liberal Party?  I’m going to say, 1992.  Sure he’s been a candidate, a sometimes hired-gun.  He’s also publicly trashed every Liberal leader since 2003, including the current one. Most famously he complains about the people who surround any leader, and that always deeply influences his philosophical and judicious choice not to be a Liberal.  I suppose he would be more likely to vote Liberal if the people who surround the leader were, say, Warren Kinsella.

This is all very distracting stuff, and it does get covered by the media.  What doesn’t happen, however, is any kind of fact-checking into whether these people have been Liberals in recent memory or ever donated to the party.

So new rule: if you want to have a public breakup, the other side has to have at some point acknowledged that you were together.  Blogging about maybe running, tweeting about maybe submitting nomination papers, and pontificating about your days with Turner do not a relationship make.  Get over yourself.  Nobody at the Liberal Party would take a #FirstDateSelfie with you, and that means you were never a thing.

But I mean, sure, go on writing about yourself.  That’s cool, I guess.

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Oh David Bertschi….

When I suggested that he might sue the party, he didn’t seem to get that I WAS MAKING FUN OF HIM.  I didn’t want him to ACTUALLY TAKE MY ADVICE. I was being SARCASTIC and making fun of him for BEING A ‘LIBERAL’ IN NAME ONLY WHO JUST WANTS TO PROMOTE HIMSELF BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

Since you’re so huge on taking my advice, David, sweetheart, here is your next Press Release, free of charge:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELASE

today’s date

David Bertschi is announcing his retirement from politics in order to spend more time on his legal practice and with his incredibly large family.  He will not be giving interviews.

Mr. Bertschi wishes Justin Trudeau and Andrew Leslie all success in defeating the Harper Conservatives in the 2015 election.

-30-

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What Will David Bertschi Do Next?

Being a pain in the ass is a talent, and David Bertschi’s talent has earned him some b-list placement in obscure parts of the Internet.  He’s trying though, so let’s give him a little credit. E for effort!

He’s running out of options though.  He’s already gone through the standards, get your paid staff to whine on Twitter, create a phony petition for members of other political parties to sign and criticize the leader, write letters to the party complaining and appealing.

We should help him out.  Watching Bertschi self-immolate and do things that no Liberal should ever do is just so much fun, that we hope it will never end.  I’ll start.  Throw your contributions into the comments section:

THINGS DAVID BERTSCHI CAN DO NEXT

1. Actually sue the party.  Heck, he sued a blog in the U.S., so we know he’s not above it;

2. Run as an independent.  The man believes in the power of his own brand.  Just watch him;

3. Get a spot on SUN Media.  That place is a graveyard of former Liberals a self-promoters who LOVE to go on TV and talk about how they are More Liberal Than Liberal.  Bertschi would fit right in;

4.  Legally change his name to Ray Heard;

5.  Run for everything else.  School trustee, City Council, Fart Catcher.  Who is your Candidate?  David Bertschi.  Don’t support Bertschi?  Then you must not support DEMOCRACY!;

6.  Start a blog so his daily attacks on the Liberal Party can have his face and name on them, and not just his paid staff’s;

7.  Write a book.  “Canada: The Canadian Advantage: attacking the leader of your own party in the media age” Bertschi University Press.  Bertschi Ontario.  1,500p. 16th ed;

8.  Stem the exodus of lawyers who have left his Gloucester (Note: not Orleans) law firm Bertschi Orth Smith, oops, I mean Bertschi Orth Solicitors.  No, wait.  He’ll never do that;

9.  Confound everyone by apologizing to Trudeau personally and working to help build a win in 2015; and

10. Write a cartoon about a politician who wears his red fleece scarf indoors and is completely tone-deaf to the political world around him.

Come on readers.  Can you do better than I can?

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You can’t overcome sexism with sexism

Scott Gilmore, whoever that is, has raised quite a stink with his paternalistic column about how women should overcome their pitiful $100 excuses and run for office already.  He deserves all the stink he is getting for his awful column. We all hope that he will learn his lesson.

The lesson, however, is not that he is a man.  It is not that he is wrong because he is a man.  It is not that men are wrong, or that men should be quiet.  In the first paragraphs of the two most popular refutations of Mr. Gilmore’s shitty column, one by Lauren DH from Planned Parenthood and one by Jordan Owens of the Gandalf Group, those authors specifically point to Mr. Gilmore’s gender as the primary reason for the shittiness of his column.

His column isn’t shitty because he is a man.  Being a man doesn’t make him shitty or wrong.  His column is a shitty column because it is thoughtless, insensitive, and glosses over the major challenges facing women in politics in the most careless and unfeeling way.  The column would be equally bad if it wasn’t written by a man.

We also need to be careful when calling out crap journalism.  The worst sin is to respond to crap journalism with our own crap journalism, relying on the ad hominem as the basis for an argument that really should be made on the merits of the issue – are the barriers facing women legitimate excuses for them to not participate?

Even if we are going to use the ad hominem, Ms. Dobson-Hughes and Ms. Owens have completely missed the boat on that the best ad hominem even is.  They’ve called him out for being white, and for being a man.  That is just so incredibly boring.

How about calling him out for being an unknown with no campaign or partisan experience published on his own bio?  How about pointing out that he himself has never run for anything?  What’s the problem Scott, was a $100 candidate fee too high for you?

In any event, all of these collected columnists have failed to address the central issue, how to promote more women candidates.  Because they have resorted immediately and viciously into personal attacks, the conversation very narcissistically has turned into a brawl about which author has the personal traits, gender, age, to make their argument correct.  It is just another pathetic example of writers covering themselves and not the issues.

Incidentally, neither Ms. Dobson-Hughes nor Ms. Owens appears to have been a candidate themselves, but they both claim to be “women in politics,” whatever that means.

Not enough women run for politics.  It’s a shame.  Man or women, often the people who do run aren’t the best people at all; perhaps it is because politics involves loud, angry, and stupid arguments like this one.

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“Open” nominations don’t mean “stupid” nominations

David Bertschi is a problem.  That’s not news of course.  His approach to politics has always been selfish, nasty, and aggressive.  His recent campaign, fuelled by his paid staff going nuts on Twitter, is a direct attack on the Liberal Party.  It will be curious to see where he goes after this.  My guess is, blue.

Of the 338 ridings in Canada, the Liberal Party of Canada has red-lit candidates in two.  Both of them are loud, abusive, and entitled bullies.  I wouldn’t want someone like that on my team, and neither would you.

Imagine for a minute how you would feel about a subordinate who compared you to Justin Bieber in the media.

Justin Trudeau has done what any of us would do.  He saw a problem, and he fixed it.  Nominations are still being held in those two ridings; it’s just that two particularly offensive people who are consciously working against the Liberal Party and its leader won’t be running.  That is how things should be.

Don’t forget, Trudeau even allowed a nomination in his own riding of Papineau.

Even if you don’t agree with all of that, your complaint only registers in two of three-hundred and thirty-eight ridings.  The promise is still 99.4% good.  Compare that to, say, David Bertschi’s pledge to run a debt-free campaign.  Compare that to David Bertschi’s claim that he is a Liberal.  Given what he says and does about Trudeau, can you say he is a Liberal 99.4% of the time?  Half the time?

Jeremy Broadhurst was clear in his statement months ago:  just because the party is holding open nominations does not mean that the leader is indifferent to nomination outcomes.  Trudeau is trying to build a government, and that necessarily means recruiting the best members for the team that will eventually become a cabinet.

Another way of thinking about it is to remember what Hillary Clinton said, that “you can’t keep snakes in your back-yard and only expect them to bite your neighbours.”  Once they become MP’s, problem candidates like these, like Rob Anders, like Dean del Mastro, are incredibly difficult to remove.  The time to make a move against a problem candidate is before the election, now.

Leo Bourdon, paid staffer, has taken to the Internet to insist that 1. I am an idiot, and 2., I don’t care about democracy because I don’t support David Bertschi.  My version of democracy, unlike his, includes the power of political parties to purge douchebags from their own ranks.  This is a necessary step in crafting a just society.

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When you vote today, remember Chuck Cadman

There is very little satisfaction in saying “I told you so.” Being right is no fun when the consequences are actually dire. There is no bragging when we look back in time and know that we were right all along; however, it can be important to remind everyone of what happened when it forms part of a larger pattern.

Canadians are shocked that Stephen Harper’s staff would pay Mike Duffy $90. Duffy is a sitting legislator, and there are strict rules, criminal law rules, about when payments can be made to law-makers of this type. Since even in the version of this story, Stephen Harper’s staff paid Duffy in order to effect the business of a Senate committee investigating expenses, it is almost certainly an illegal payment.

Nigel Wright, Stephen Harper, they will tell you that the purpose of these payments was to prevent taxpayers from bearing the expense of the Duffy cheque. This does not matter. Even if it is true, it does not change that Stephen Harper’s staff made a payment, likely a criminal bribe, to a sitting legislator.

Consider the alternative – Stephen Harper’s version – in which it would be OK to pay a $90 000 bribe to a sitting member, affecting the business of Parliament, any time that (in your judgment) taxpayers would be saved money.

At the risk of making a daring, shocking, and unusual argument, let me submit to your learned judgement that bribery actually is not OK. The fact that we have laws on this subject could influence your thinking, if you allow. Other countries do as well, so being against political bribes isn’t just a hokey Canadian thing. Bribes are actually wrong. They pollute our politics with private interests. They interfere with the basic democratic principle that the people should hold the power by corrupting that power under the influence of money. They are wrong, and it was wrong for Stephen Harper ever to authorize any payments to sitting members of the Parliament of Canada.

When I say “I told you so,” it’s because this isn’t Stephen Harper’s first bribe. Years ago, when he was opposition leader, on the eve of a confidence vote, in a very similar manner, he sent Tom Flanagan and Doug Finley to offer Chuck Cadman, a member of the House of Commons, a one-million dollar life insurance policy. The purpose of this offer was to allow Cadman to vote against the Martin Government, something Cadman ultimately refused to do.

In the Cadman situation, as in the Duffy situation, Harper offered the justification that the bribe served the greater good. Where the Duffy payment protected taxpayers, allegedly, from bearing the cost of bogus expenses, the Cadman bribe allowed a dying man not to be deprive his family of a million dollar legacy just because of parliamentary funny business.

That is Stephen Harper’s value system. In order to achieve his political goals, defeating the Martin government, avoiding the Senate scandal, he is willing to bribe parliamentarians. He sends his henchmen to do it. After being caught on tape discussing the first bribe, he better insulated himself from his henchmen for the Duffy bribe attempt, and now the best connection we have between Harper himself and the actual payment is an e-mail from Nigel Wright saying that Harper had personally approved the payment.

Perhaps bribery isn’t high on your list of concerns today in your by-election vote. The economy, social justice, education, foreign policy, and other things are equally worth considering. I merely write this today because it angers me that Stephen Harper can campaign in the name of accountability, and win, all the while secretly passing bribes, washing money illegally through dormant riding campaigns in the in-and-out scandal, attempting to prevent voters from reaching the polls by sending criminal robocalls, and win again. For me, all this defies comprehension. It is almost as if we are OK with bribery and corruption.

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