Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tanker Tuesday

Quick media round up

  • An article on hospital closures and cuts and their effect, mayor of Woodstock says: "I think that there are some people who are certainly going to remember what the Tory government did to the Town of Woodstock"

  • More coverage of Lib education announcement

  • Frank Branch not running - as I result I will modify prediction... standby for that update
Now for more substantive comments based on the press:

Richard Meyers, former VP and current prof at STU who has only recently become a regular political commentator and who recently served on the electoral boundaries commission, seems to be in love with Lord. So one member of the democracy commission has become a convert to Lord's politics and now a member of the boundaries commission is his best champion in the media. Maybe if Brent is still reading he can let us know if they served a lot of koolaid at those meetings? ;) There was another over-the-top piece last week from Meyers but this one was really out there.

He says Graham is toast if he loses (we all agree, including Graham) but that Lord could stay around and run again in four years. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? If Lord loses to Graham, who both he and his party view as completely incompotent, how could he possibly be welcome to say as leader of the opposition until 2010? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Meyes also says that, though Lord would be welcome, he would probably resign on his own because he "would likely be enticed by offers on Bay Street or in Ottawa". In fairness, Lord is already damaged goods and not as hot a commodity as he once was in Ottawa. If he losses, I think that they will have lost interest. As for Bay Street, maybe, but Bernard Lord is no Frank McKenna and I don't remember Louis Robichaud or Richard Hatfield being offered Bay Street gigs so it isn't a right of passage for former premiers.


Front page of TJ reads "NO STABILITY AT THE GAS PUMP" and extensively quotes Rick Brewer as the champion of fair gas prices in his role as chair of the Liberal Task Force. If gas prices become an issue and Brewer continues to get front line coverage as a result, this could save him from Brent Taylor's challenge. We'll have to watch for whether or not this develops. Article also says Graham will be announcing the Liberal plan on this soon. I am curious to see whether or not they have the balls to do what's right and say they'll throw it out all together.


There is an interesting piece focusing around Allison Brewer on women in politics. She says she will try to have 50/50 female/male candidates. Lord says he could have as many as nine (I think the same as last time - 5 of his won). Former McKenna minister and former Shawn Graham chief of staff Joan Kingston, who was tasked by Graham with recruiting women, said the Liberals may have 19. I think that could be a record if they meet that goal. Very interesting.


The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a conservative thinktank, is all over Lord - as I am - for the massive spending. Let me quote their national director:

I think its cheeky and a misuse of public money.

He's really jumped the gun here, and, frankly, he's playing fast and loose with the spirit of elections.

This is an election that's being called because Bernard Lord has decided to call the election campaign, the Opposition didn't force it. Either get on with governing, or campaign, but don't do both at the same time
The Liberals make a good point on this as well: "Not only are they making announcements with taxpayers' money, but they're also using the government communications system, the government vehicles, planes and so on to travel the province and make these announcements."

I really hope the Liberals hammer home on this. It makes my blood boil. GRRRRRRR!


NOTICE: You have until 6 p.m. today to join the PC Party and file against Tanker Malley for the nomination in Bay du Vin. Anyone like the Tories but not Malley? Spinks perhaps you should file!!


Anonymous said...

I find Rick Brewer and the Libs arguement hilarious! First they demand regulation, then when it is brought in to provide stability to the regional market they say it's a bad idea! NB has the lowest prices of any Atlantic Canadian province so it is proof that regulation does provide lower prices and stability. Historically, Atlantic Canada's gas prices have always been higher then the rest of Canada due to higher taxes and a smaller market.

The other hilarious point is this; the people of NB demanded that regulation be brought in, now that they have it, they want to do away with it. "Confused I am?", said Yoda.

I am a capitalist, I hate regulation but I understand the need to provide NB families with stability for a comodity that we have no control over. I find it irresponsible to imply to people that if elected, Shawn Graham's goverment will put in place a system that will result in $0.80/litre gasoline. Unless the Libs plan on brokering a world peace agreement in the middle east forget about it! Oil has breached new records in the last several weeks and without regulation we would be paying at least $1.40/L.

The next argument is cutting the tax on gas. If you think our roads are bad now, just wait... Then again, $0.80/L gas wouldn't be much use if you have no roads to drive on... Just think, if they cut taxes somewhere they need to make up for it elsewhere. Say hello to tolls, but just not in my neighborhood.

The Bernie spending is questionable, but I wonder how many of these announcement would have been made if the Libs were not holding the Legislature hostage. I also find it hilarious how Liberals are crying for something they are know for being the masters of, Bernie should be ashamed if indeed he took a page out of the Liberal playbook but come on... You know Graham would do the same in a heartbeat!

Also, we talk about Lord being the mediocre Premier. But remember, he's only as good as the team we surround him with. How many potential Cab Min MLA's did we vote out last election in protest over the issue of car insurance? You get what you pay for people...

Anonymous said...

2:16 PM I have not read the update yet as it is a long read. However, your comment caught my attention. I generally agree with you but let us face it that Bernie did screw up on tolls big way-one of the many of his screw-ups. You can always issue passes to local users but we are losing hundreds of millions from out of the province traffic. That would have looked after roads quite well.

Would Shawn Graham bring tolls back? I doubt it. When it comes right down to it, you may be right that there may not be much difference between the two parties. However, I think Bernie is not only mediocre premier but down right incompetent. His personal morals? Lot remains to be desired. All that matters to him is to win an election so that he can satisfy his ego and then travel the world. N.B can go to hell as far as he is concerned. Any alternative to Bernie is good enough for me.

Anonymous said...

I agree that he should have left the tolls, I was being sarcastic of course.

As for the power thing, of course he wants to hang one. What politician wouldn't? The power to implement your worldview is a reponsibility that many want, but few can handle. The question is whether Shawnie is a true alternative or has you mentioned just someone else?

From my experience band aid solutions never work.

Spinks said...

Hmmm, a parachute candidate. Naw, I think I'll pass but thanks for thinking of me. Who's getting the nod there for the Liberals anyway? Last I heard Bill Fraser and Jason Dickson and some other guy were looking for the Miramichi nod. Fraser might be able to beat Tanker. I'm not convinced Dickson could though.

I'm with you nbpolitico. The losers after this election end up taking a walk. Lord, Graham or Brewer. Speaking of kool-aid, can someone explain what is in the stuff the NDP is drinking? I've run into a few who are high enough up in the chain to have some pull and honestly think they'll win 12 seats. That's fine rhetoric but c'mon. Can you say out of touch?

Anonymous said...

Spinks, once in a while I do agree with you. NDP winning seats? Fat chance. It already had terminal illness problems and along came Brewer who is a weak leader. Given the conservative nature of NB society it does not make any easier for her.

Then you never know. She may surprise you.

nbpolitico said...


I don't think that Shawn Graham, Rick Brewer or the Liberals ever called for gas regulation.

The previous Liberal government said no and the current Liberal opposition has said no consistently since 1999 as far as I understand.

I don't think they are saying they'll bring in lower prices, but they are saying they will get rid of regulation which is bad for small businesses and for consumers.

If NB has the lowest prices in Atlantic Canada, it isn't because of regulation because PEI and NL are regulated too!

nbpolitico said...

Spinks - Dickson and a few others ran for the nomination but it was the first one (or one of the first) the Libs held back in the spring and Fraser won it.

Anonymous said...

Officially they haven't, but I have seen interviews and I watch the leg broadcast where the Lib MLA's have asked for regulation.

Spinks said...

Man I'm slow on that one. Yeah, Fraser has a decent chance. He's kind of like Tanker in many ways and extremely well known.

I know a lot of folks who think Tanker is toast. While that might be true in the other 54 ridings if he were to run, the Miramichi riding is different and Tanker is popular. I wouldn't underestimate him. It should be a good race.

nbpolitico said...

Sprinks - I think your take on Tanker is out of date. While he would have been toast in any other riding in 2003, as you describe, he was invincible in his riding where he is something of a folk hero.

Here is my description from my post on the ridings:

Before 2004, Tanker was undefeatable. After the hospital controversy the Tories were destroyed here but Tanker's personal rep managed to survive though with some damage. After February 18, 2006 people were uncertain but when Tanker rejoined the Tories he was toast. That faced with the fact that the Liberals are running Bill Fraser who chaired the hospital protest committee, this is the first seat I am going to call to change hands. Liberal gain.

I understand people are particularly peeved that he wouldn't quit caucus during the heat of the hospital controversy but that he did when he personally couldn't be added to the cabinet.

Spinks said...

He is beatable nbpolitico, no question, but I wouldn't underestimate his support either. We'll see election night but I suspect this one will be closer than some think. Put it this way, I wouldn't be surprised to see him fall or see him still standing on Sept. 19. It's a funny riding.

nbpolitico said...

spinks - I disagree. He had tremendous political capital but he has spent it all now. Miramichi-Bay-du-Vin won't be a close race at all.

Anonymous said...

There's no way of predicting what people will do, and in a two way race they won't do it for the reasons you suspect. As said, in every poll almost half have no idea who they would vote for.

In Miramichi they play by different rules, and if you aren't from there you can't understand. Tanker showed real balls doing what he did, and he got results for it, and in the miramichi, and to a certain percent elsewhere, that pays huge political dividends. Only a slim minority of people are interested in the 'chatter' of politics, the rest just want to see results and if Tanker had danced naked and said it was insanity that was making him leave the party people wouldn't care-so long as it got results. For the majority of the population-bullshit walks.

It was a long blog, it would be easier to comment if each one was broken down into a separate blog then the comments wouldn't be so lengthy and all over the place.

As for the St.Thomas university prof, those 'liberal elites' are always suckups to power, they have been from Machiavelli on up(and even before). It doesn't take much to impress those people, you just compliment their wit and wisdom and tell them of your high ideals. The liberal education essentially teaches you to suck up to power. If it wasn't him, there'd be some other head in the clouds intellectual easily conned.

Anonymous said...

I think the distinction is that if Lord loses, there really hasn't been a 'standout' replacement. For the liberals there are several people in the wings who could take over at any given time, but not so much for the tories.

Brent said...

Hey, NBPolitico

I'm still here, but not able to catch up on my reading very efficiently lately.

No Kool-Aid at the CLD. It was very non-political around the table, actually, despite the topics we were confronted with.

It DID get me interested in electoral politics again, and it did afford me an opportunity to get back in the orbit and meet some of the newer MLAs with whom I had not served in the 90s.

I was made to feel very welcome by several newer members of the PC caucus, and had a good relationship also with many of the Liberal MLAs. Kelly Lamrock was asssigned to the democracy stuff, kept in pretty close touch with the Commission, and participated at our events. He took us seriously and, I think, was key a part of the success of the Commission, even though he obviously had some differences with our conclusions.

As for Tanker, he's a machine. Of course I'm partisan, but I can tell you there is a feeling of something going on down in Chatham, and he is never to be underestimated.

Once Bill Fraser and the Liberals are called out into the schoolyard to declare whether they will REVERSE the hospital cuts (and I'm strongly doubting they could make that commitment) then it's a fair fight.

Tanker has customized his signs and departed from the provincial template by adding "For the People" to them. That might raise the eyebrows of the marketing consultants, but Chatham is its own place, and Michael Malley is his own man.

On gas prices, I think that the Grits have horribly mishandled it. You can be absolutely sure that if the PCs had not brought in regulation, that the Libs would have had it as the main plank in their platform.

Now that they can't offer regulation, they can only criticise what's been done. The most incomprehensible criticism I heard this week was the "consumers should get $1.5 M refunded that they overpaid while the prices were high."

Refunded from whom? Well, the government did not collect that money - the sellers of fuel did. The same sellers of fuel that were standing at Shawn's newser yesterday?!?!

These were the guys who made outrageous profits for days and did not drop their prices. We now see what the price of fuel would likely have been if it were not regulated.

The premier's announcement of a large cut in the provincial fuel tax last night bolsters even more the necessity of maintaining regulation, so it can be worked into the formula and guaranteed to propagate down to the consumer.

Ker-plunk. Now, I was on stage and I'm clearly not anyways near impartial on this, but I'm telling you the reaction I'm getting to our position on energy prices is excellent.

I have no doubt that Shawn named Rick to chair his "task force" on fuel price regulation to give him a boost in the media, but aligning one's self with the sellers (and former sellers) of fuel - to the exclusion of the interests of the consumers themselves - is very risky business indeed.

If I were writing the Tory ad campaign and they needed a negative attack ad, I'd have a slo-mo clip of Shawn standing with the fuel retailers, with the screen-crawl, "These people held your gas prices high long after their wholesale price dropped....and they are backing Shawn Graham for premier....Shawn Graham wants to remove Bernard Lord's gas price regulation program and put more money in the pockets of the gasoline distributers and sellers...." etc. etc.

Such an ad won't be needed, however. You don't kick a guy when he's down.

Ok, off to read some more before dawn and get ready to kiss some babies and plant some signs in Southwest Miramichi.