"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!"
-Homer J. Simpson

Monday, November 26, 2007

Blogging Break

I will be taking a break from blogging for a couple of weeks. Check back in early December.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Does this explain the comment trolls?

Interesting article:

New Scientist has a psychological explanation for poor behavior online. Whilst the post talks mainly about email, NewScientist draws the relationship between this and comment trolls.

Very interesting.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Who's big and who's small?


Read about it here

Cabinet Predictions by the Big Shots

Although I may have misspelled "shots" when talking about Mandryk (The "o" should possibly be an "i"):

Premier-designate Brad Wall will unveil his first cabinet in primetime on Wednesday.

Wall simply does not have the diversity in his caucus he needs to form a well-rounded cabinet.

And what of the seven remaining original founders of the Sask. Party (Ken Krawetz, Rod Gantefoer, June Draude, Don Toth, Boyd, Bjornerud and D'Autremont) who surely have a claim to a cabinet job, based on past contributions? What about other long-time personal friends like Ken Cheveldayoff and Wayne Elhard and even Don McMorris?

If you appease all these stalwarts, how much room do you have for new faces in a cabinet you already said would be no bigger than 18 members?

First, despite all the rumours that D'Autremont, Draude and Bjornerud might not get in, Wall has proven to be incredibly loyal. That means the aforementioned founding guard of the party will have a good shot at cabinet. It would also make sense for him to put the ex-Liberals in the social portfolios, so don't be surprised to see Gantefoer in health, Krawetz in education and Draude in social services (or community resources, as it's now called) or First Nations relations.

Ultimately, though, Wall's problem is a familiar one for an incoming government with virtually no governing experience.

It just doesn't seem quite ready for primetime.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What's Brad going to do with the CUPE Strikers?

For those of you joining us from outside Saskatchewan, a quick catch-up:

As the strike by the province's 2,400 university support staff enters its 13th day today there is no sign of a break in stalled contract talks.
I am hearing from some interesting sources that Wall and Co. are looking at appointing a binding arbitrator for the dispute.

This would be a very interesting fist move by the Sask Party. It would send a signal to the labour movement that the Sask Party is serious about changing the labour-relations dynamic in this province.

This sort of move would be popular with the Sask Party base and only really piss-off trade unionists (who didn't exactly support them to begin with.)

Now, what would be a serious over-reaction by a rookie government would be to legislate these people back to work, THAT would be a sign that they are going to do exactly what the NDP always said the Sask Party would do: Declare war on organized labour.

This story bears watching....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Saskatchewan Cabinet Predictions

So Sean and John are starting the whole "guess who is in the new cabinet" game so I guess i will play too.

Firs off, I would agree that the cabinet will be smaller than the 16-18 of the Calvert years, but probably not as small as the 10 to 12 that John figures. I think 12-14 is the most likely.

So let's say 14 for the sake of this.

First off you need regional representation. I figure at least 2 from Regina and Saskatoon and 1from Moose Jaw and 1 from Prince Albert. Then you need your small urban's (So Estevan, Weyburn, Humboldt, Yorkton, Meadow Lake, Swift Current (obviously)) I would say you need 2-3 of those so let's say 2 other than Brad. So that is 9 all told so far.

Then you need some female representation. Luckily, you have some overlap with Regina and Humboldt out of the list above. But you are going to need more than just 2-3. I figure you need at least 5. So that puts Draude in for sure (Now we are up to 10) And you probably want Heppner in as well. Then either Wilson or Eagles

This then creates a problem. You only have 2-3 seats left for all the hardcore people from opposition. You have to include Boyd and Kravetz so that only leaves one (at best).

Let's recap:

Wall - Male - Small Urban (Swift Current)
Kravetz - Male - Rural
Hickie - Male - Prince Albert
Michelson - Male - Moose Jaw
Heppner - Female - Rural
Draude - Female - Rural
Huchinson - Male - Regina
Ross/Tell - Female - Regina
Morgan - Male - Saskatoon
Chevy/Norris/LeClerk - Male - Saskatoon [If he is smart he will pick Norris]
Harpauer - Female - Small Urban (Humboldt)
Boyd - Male - Rural
Eagles - Female - Small Urban (Estevan)

This gives you:

Small urban - 3
MJ - 1
PA - 1
Sasktoon - 2
Regina - 2
Rural 4

Male - 8
Female - 5

He could easily fit a rural female (Nadine Wilson) in there but that is the only easy demographic fit.

But look at who is being left out:

Don McMorris
Dan D'Autremont
Rod Gantafore
Bob Bjornerud
Wayne Elhard
Lyle Stewart

That was pretty much the front bench of the current Saskatchewan Party (Plus Chevy, Wall, Morgan and Kravetz) and he might leave Chevy out too.

Plus, do you want to leave nutjobs like Serge LeClerk and Jeremy Harrison on the outside ? (pissing inwards)

Mr. Wall is facing the first problem of moving over to government: cabinet selection.

It will be instructive to see how he handles it.

Note that this is all assuming that Wall cares about regional and gender parity, if he wants to just throw those ideas out the window then it would make his life better - in the short run. For example, I won't be surprised if some of the women that I have listed above get dropped to placate the old-boy's club.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saskatchewan Party's True Colors Starting to Show

Just ask the media.

It starts out with Brad Wall's Childhood:

If there was any indication Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall had a political future, it could be his childhood interest in the board game Poleconomy ... the game with the not-so-catchy title, initially launched in Canada with the support of the Fraser Institute think-tank.

And then there is the whole "promises, shmomises" angle:

Saskatchewan is now a "have" province, enjoying a prolonged commodity boom. Could its economy use any help? Actually, yes. Unfortunately, what it needs most, the SaskParty promised not to deliver: wide-scale privatization...With a booming economy at his back, Mr. Wall should spend some political capital and dare to aim high--even if it means breaking a campaign promise or two.

And then there is oil royalties:

Saskatchewan‘s current tax for extracting oil is considered less generous to oil companies than Alberta‘s, but Saskatchewan‘s premier-designate Brad Wall says he‘d like to change that

The Pulp Mill deal:

Saskatchewan's new government plans to re-examine a multimillion-dollar plan to redevelop a pulp mill in the northern city of Prince Albert.

Tilma? check:

It may have been Mr. Calvert's NDP that copped its right-wing-phobic campaign strategies from federal campaigns like Mr. Martin's. ... The Prime Minister has already begun throwing Ottawa's muscle behind traditional federal priorities: developing infrastructure and fostering interprovincial economic harmony by promoting east-west trade, a single market regulator and harmonized sales taxes, while backing away from centralized social policies.

Planning a purge of the civil service:

But the need for change goes beyond the need for fresh thinking and fresh thinkers. After one term in office, a government seldom has a strong grasp on its levers. After two, it should have. After three, it becomes difficult to tell the government apart from its bureaucracy. Prejudices harden, constituencies of entitlement-holders and -seekers form, the polity comes to have interests so vested that dissent is weakened. In short, it's unhealthy, as even Albertans appear to be starting to realize.

The media is already starting to lay the groundwork for Brad and Co. to rip off that sheep's clothing and reveal the wolf.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Election Predictions Review

We will start with the broad predictions and work into the narrow ones:

My most recent final numbers:

Sask Party: 31 - 36
NDP: 24-29
Liberals: 0

So I was off by about 4 seats. the NDP only got 20 (but three are waiting for absentee ballots to come in) So yeah, I was wrong by less than 30 votes in three ridings.

Specific Seats that I was Right/Wrong in:

1) Moose Jaw North

I predicted an NDP hold, but the Sask Party won by 30 votes (This is one of the absentee ones)
This one was a major upset for the NDP and I did not see it coming

2) Regina Wascana Plains.

I predicted this one would switch over.

3) Regina South.

Everyone said this one would go to the Sak Party and I said no way. I was wrong. the Sask Party won by just over 200 votes. That being said, this is not a safe Sask Party seat by any stretch of the imagination.

4) Regina Qu'Appelle Valley.

This was another upset for the Sask Party. I don't think anyone really saw this one coming.

5) Regina Dewdney.

Against people's claims, I predicted an NDP hold, which turned out to be right.

6) Regina Rosemont.

John Murney claimed a Liberal pick-up, I said that was nonsense. I was right. :-)

7) Yorkton.

I conceded it part-way through the election but I thought it would be closer than it ended up being.

9) Humboldt.

I also conceded this one. And based on the polling numbers, I knew this one wasn't going to be close.

10) Saskatoon Sutherland.

I initially did not think this one would go, but then news out of Saskatoon during the campaign convinced me it was going down.

11) Saskatoon Greystone.

I was totaly wrong predicting an NDP hold here.

12) Saskatoon Eastview.

I was totaly right predicting an NDP hold here.

13) Saskatoon Meewasin.

NDP hold, I said it all along, the campaign started with Liberals saying they were going to win it and it ended with the Sask Party saying they were going to win it, but the NDP held it.

14) Saskatoon Northwest.

Conceded it to the Sask Party.

15) Batoche.

Thought it might be close, but the poll numbers meant a Sask Party hold.

16) PA Carlton.

Another upset for the NDP (But wait for the absentee ballots)

16) PA Northcote.

As predicted, NDP Hold.

17) Sask Rivers.

I thought we were going to win, but the polling numbers said otherwise. The polling numbers were right, I was wrong.

18) Battlefords.

As predicted, and NDP hold.

19) Lloydminster

I thought this one would be way closer, but the Sask Party really won this one.

20) Meadow Lake.

Wait for the recount. (But for now it looks like I was wrong)

So in conclsuion, I called the 38 easy seats right and got 12 out the next 20 right. However, in at least 3 of those there are still ballots to count that could change things and in 2 more there was a difference of less than 250 votes.

I am going to go with about 90% of my predictions were accurate, which isn't too bad. But there were some surprise upsets in PA, Regina and Moose Jaw that don't exactly make for safe seats for the Sask Party.

The election on November 7th, 2007 will be even closer than this one.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


I don't like the outcome of yesterday's vote but I do like the fact that we live in a democracy that takes things like the smooth transition of power from the old government to the new one peacefuly.

There are other countries that are not nearly so lucky:

An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan Thursday granted bail to more than 300 lawyers arrested during protests against President Pervez Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule, attorneys said.

Chaudhry and eight other Supreme Court judges remain under effective house arrest.

Chaudhry has accused Musharraf of imposing the emergency because he feared an upcoming Supreme Court verdict on the legality of his victory in a presidential election on October 6.

We should be thankful for what we have and the people who did not vote yesterday should be shipped to Pakistan.

I will be back tomorrow with my recap of my predictions, where I was right, where I was wrong, and where John The-Liberals-Are-Going-To-Win-Four-Seats-including-Rosemont Murney was wrong (Just kidding John!)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Election Day in Saskatchewan

It doesn't matter who you vote for, but Vote!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Everyone wants NDP voters to got to the Polls

I mean, I understand the NDP wanting NDP voters to go to the polls:

Premier Lorne Calvert’s campaign will make stops in key ridings in Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Regina, where he will encourage NDP supporters to continue to work to ensure the NDP forms another majority government in Saskatchewan.

But what is going on on the Sask Party Site?

After 21 Years of NDP MLAs, Prince Albert Voters Looking For Positive Change
Brad Wall Asks Prince Albert Voters to Support Darryl Hickie and Kevin Shiach

Yep, he is looking for NDP voters. He's not saying it in as many words, but that what he means.

I mean, at least the Liberals are open about it.

Saskatchewan Liberal Leader David Karwacki today spoke directly to NDP supporters of the necessity of having a strong opposition in the Legislature in order to hold the next government to account.
Now in the Liberal's case that makes sense, I mean, there is no point in appealing to Liberal voters because, you know, there aren't any.

But isn't it interesting that all the parties basically acknowledge that traditional NDP supporters will decide this election.

But what if they all voted the way they actually believe?

What if they all voted for the NDP?

I'm not saying that I think this is a likely or even probable outcome tomorrow, but what if?

There would be some red-faced media outlets.

Just like in 1999 (although in the opposite direction) and 2003.


Monday, November 05, 2007

The Liberals bring in the Big Guns!

Hey, when none of your candidates are elected and 50% of your federal caucus in the province has resigned this year, you have to take what you can get.

Gerard Kennedy, former Liberal Party of Canada leadership contender and special advisor to Stephane Dion for party renewal was door knocking with some Regina Liberal candidates on Sunday.
Yep. A non-elected official out helping other liberals who can't get elected.

Sounds about right.

Maybe Kennedy will bring some of the Dion magic to Saskatchew.....no, I can't even type that with a straight face.

Where's Ralph Goodale in this Campaign? As the only card-carrying Liberal who is actually elected to any position in the province, he might be of some use.

Oh, right, he depends on too much NDP support in his riding federally to piss them off provincially.

Or, perhaps, even Ralph thinks Karwacki is a loon.

The only good news for a dipper like me in this election is that it could spell the demise of the provincial Liberal party once and for all.

Good riddance.

(P.S. David Kawacki can't win his seat, so stop e-mailing me to tell me I am wrong, I don't care, and it just makes me do more posts like this one)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sask Liberal Leader keeps making stuff up!

Seriously, how is this guy allowed to just get away with making stuff up left and right?

The Canadian Federation of Students website is trying to compare all the platforms of the two main parties in Saskatchewan and for some reason they let the Liberals play too.

Interestingly when it comes to Tuition the NDP is the only party that gets an A (The Sask Party is the only one to get an F on the report card)

But here is the interesting thing. What is the Liberal Plan?

The Liberal Party achieved a grade of B for their promise to continue the tuition freeze for 10 years.

That would cost in the range of a BILLION dollars, that is a hell of a lot of money. You would think they would mention that in, oh, I don't know.


and yet, not so much.

Not a cent.

The same amount budged for their Debt-Free-In-A-Decade-Scheme.

Seriously, why not just go around promising solid gold toilets for everyone? while you are pulling policies out of your ass, David, why not make them interesting.

Why does the media let this guy get away with this stuff.

Oh well, when you are only going to get 6-7% of the vote on election day and win no seats I guess no one takes you seriously, but still.

The stupid pronouncements of the leader don't help. If I was a liberal I would be calling for his head.

Friday, November 02, 2007

My take on the recent Poll Numbers

So everyone has been carrying on about the polling numbers from Saskatchewan:

The numbers suggest the Saskatchewan Party has the support of 54.2 per cent of decided voters, the NDP with 33.7 per cent of decided voters and the Liberals far behind with 8.1 per cent.

First of all, even the media is putting an important caveat on these poll numbers:

The samples aren't quite large enough to tell us whether or not, you know, what's happening specifically in Regina and Saskatoon

Secondly, this is reminiscent of the 1999 polls that showed the NDP with a 20 point lead and we all know how that turned out.

Now, before people accuse me of covering my eyes with my hands and ignoring reality, I admit that these types of polls have some validity and things are not looking good for the NDP.

However, in Regina I will stand by my prediction that only Wascana Plains is changing hands. Saskatoon is a different story. I think Eastview and Greystone are still fine (based on my local contacts) and I have always said that Meewasin will be going NDP. However, I am prepared to concede that Sutherland may be in the too-close-to-call category.

So if the NDP lose Wascana Plains and Sutherland, and they are in trouble in Yorkton, well, then that does not bode well for them. Even if they keep Meadow Lake, Sask Rivers and pick up Lloydminster (all still in the realm of possibility) they are still a couple of seats short of government.

I think it is looking likely that the Sask Party is going to form the next government, but I will stand by my claim that the final outcome is going to be a lot tighter than people think.

I think that Lloydmister is the only seat that could change into the NDP camp and I think that Yorkton, Sutherland and Wascana Plains are likely to go Sask Party. In the too-close-to-call camp remain Greystone, Eastview, Meadow Lake and Sask Rivers, but I think the NDP can (if things break in their favor amongst the undecided) hold all 4.

So here is my updated seat range:

Sask Party: 31 - 36
NDP: 24-29
Liberals: 0

I will work on narrowing that prediction down a little before e-day

(And by the way, when David Kawarcki said during the debate that he didn't think the NDP was going to form the government, Calvert's response should have been, "You aren't even going to win your own seat, so be quiet you goof and let the adults talk")