Category Archives: Ontario Politics

My #elxn43 – Day 41

Tom Petty said it best, ‘The waiting is the hardest part’

the waitingIn the days leading up to the Prime Minister walking from the Rideau Cottage to Rideau Hall and asking for disolution of Parliament, the wait seems like forever.  There will be many that will tell you that they’re happy to have the extra days. On the other side, there is nothing like the adreniline rush of 36 days of campaigning leading up to election day.

For me I appreciate both sentiments; but at some point its time for the rodeo to begin.  In Barrie we wait for the call because unlike other municipalities across Canada, election signs cannot go up until the Prime Minister visits the Govenor General (GG).   In the Ottawa area riding of  Orleans, by-laws have allowed signs to be put on private property for amost two weeks. In Barrie-Innisfil the sign crews are just waiting for the “go” text.  Trucks are loaded with signs, posts and zip ties.

The official election call is also a sign that everything else starts rolling, and gathers speed right up to October 21st.  As the days pass, they pass faster as the days are crossed off the election calender.

In an interesting twist, campaigns are not the only people waiting – Elections Canada staff also wait.  As I learned today, the ‘go’ day for Elections Canada is September 15th, that represents that last possible day as election can be called – but it’s also the day that EVERYTHING Elections Canada does starts and the first day for the Elections Canada calendar.

Unlike campaigns where the election call accelerates the campaign activities, nothing Elections Canada does starts until September 15ththis year – the 36 day campaign is the starting line that thousands of Election workers are hunched over like Andre de Grasse waiting for the starters pistol to go off. The spectulation of the election call changes everyday that the Prime Minister does not go to the see the GG, the anticipation for candidates and their teams is heightened as each day passes.

While Canada has fixed election dates, there should be consideration for a fixed election period, meaning a fixed election day that has a fixed day that campaigns begin.  A fixed election period eliminates the 78 day campaign of 2015 and denies the government of the day the power to play with dates and call the election when it suits their purposes – all political parties will have the same calendar to work with.  This though is for another government to grapple with after the election.

For now the wait continues…and the sign crew chomps at the bit one more day.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker& @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

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My #elxn43 – Day 47

Reading will be my salvation this campaign.

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The days will be long and by Election Day I may be arriving at the campaign office in the dark and leaving long after sunset.  I have an amibtious reading list for this campaign period and it which will require a great deal of dedictation to complete.  The readng list is part of my plan to decompress from the pressure, stress and activity of the campaign.

Here is what I will be reading:

Trudeau by John Ivison

The King’s War by Peter Conradi and Mark Logue

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Right Here Right Now by Stephen Harper

The Making of the October Crisis by D’Arcy Jenish

I’ve started with Ivison’s take on Trudeau.  While this might not be a complementary account on JT it is scewed to my current opinion of him and how he has performed as a Prime Minister.   ‘The King’s War’ is a follow up to the Kings Speech, which won a few Oscar’s including Best Picture, Director and Actor in 2011. Mark Logue the co-author is the grandson of Lionle Logue, the therapist that work with King George to avoid stuttering as portrayed in the King’s Speech.

I picked up ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ because of the premise of the story; a Russian Count is ordered to house arrest in an apartment in Moscow by the Bolshevic tribunal for wrtting a poem with revolustionary undertones.

I’ve had Stephen Harper’s book for a while, this just seemed like a good time to read it.  My Sister-in-law sent me ‘The Making of the October Crisis’ after she had read it.  I was aware of the October 1970 crisis as a 10 year, this book goes back to the beginnings and Montreal in the early 1960’s.  Like other books I’ve read I find its important to understand what fueled a crisis as a means to prevent a repeat.

I’m going to have to complete a book in just over a week to return to Ottawa with these five books completed. Clearly some days will have more reading time than others, I’ll have to grab whatever time comes my way to be successful and hope what I’ve brought to Barrie with me are real page turners.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

My #elxn43 – Day 50

It’s the last long weekend I’ll get to enjoy for 2019.

img_20190831_16411934055614993906723429.jpgYes it really is, the election calendar for the federal election dictates that the Thanksgiving long weekend is when the four days of of Advanced Polls will happen.  Mark October 11thto 14thas your opportunity to vote before you sit down to have your Thanksgiving Turkey, Ham or Turducken (Turkey-Duck-Chicken) for dinner.

My Thanksgiving Long weekend will be anything but a weekend to eat and then collapse on the sofa, but I am all good with that.  So really this Labour Day Weekend is the last long weekend I can enjoy with a coffee and a newspaper, my book with my feet up and a chance to really sit back relax and breathe in the air of the last of the summer days as the autumn evenings start to creep in.  The next long weekend won’t happen until the Dalton McGuinty Long weekend, also known as the Family Day long weekend (which oddly enough not everone gets to have with their family) in February.

My Thanksgiving will be all about persuading you the voter to delay your Thanksgiving weekend by voting in advance and avoid the line ups on October 21st.  My line will be, ‘why not vote Thanksgiving weekend, then you won’t be hearing from me on election day’.  Leading up to Thanksgiving I’ll be working on the best way to convince you that voting on the long weekend is the best possible way to spend a bit of time between October 11thand October 14th.

I hope you’ll excuse me as I wrap this up now and think about how to spend my Family Day long weekend…oh wait…I won’t be able to because in Ontario Family Day isn’t given to ‘federally regulated’ employees.  At least I’ll still have Easter Weekend to dream about.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

My #elxn43 – Day 52

There is nothing like a blank open space into which a campaign office can be designed.

img_20190829_10190627587164478351558283.jpgI have seen some spectactular campaign offices, in 2008 when Brian McGarry, the Conservative Candidate in Ottawa Centre the old School Board offices/school building on Gilmour street served as his HQ.  The whole building was not used, many offices were utilized, but the hidden gem was the auditorium.  The “Aud” could house a few hundred people and had a beautiful stage.  It was used for a local rallys in 2008 and a couple of larger campaign events.  I have never seen any office since have anything like that space.

The campaign office is defined by the space available.  In the Ontario election last year Colleen McCleery had a beautiful home for an office.  It was a 2 story structure with a big basement.  Most activities were restricted to three large rooms on the main floor for sign storage, greeting space and a room for a few people to make phone calls and prepare for election day.  It was as homey and friendly as the campaign atmosphere was.

Each space has it benefits and its challenges.

This year I’ve the oppportunity to open two campaign offices.  Both spaces were leased before I arrived, and a campaign office was created out of each space.  In Orleans, for David Bertschi the campaign took over an old paint store.  When we arrived we found a rainbow of biege, ‘blah’ blue and purple on the walls.  With some paint, blue and white of course, the office was transformed – the fresh colours added energy to the space!

Moving to the new space in Barrie-Innisfil, the office is a ‘shell’ of an office.  Drywall and cynberblock are the décor.  Being stripped of any décor means that there isn’t much that would be damaged. On the plus side though there is plenty of natural light!

Every Campaign Manager has their own touches that they like to see or not see. I don’t like clutter. A campaign office has a limited time of use, clutter derails any effectiveness in the office.  I am also a huge advocate of the campaign calendar on the wall, and I mean ON THE ENTIRE WALL.  It’s a countdown to election day and it is the campaign at a glance – canvass times, meetings, voting days, events, debates and media time are all documented.  The calendar is a sign of accountability for the campaign.    If it’s on the calendar it’s important!

Our campaign office will be as plastic and waste free as possible, we’ll use water jugs and ask everyone to use personal refillable water bottles.  The same will be in place for coffee and tea, we’ll ask everyone to bring a mug or cup.  Just because the office is operational for a short periodof time doesn’t mean we become lazy when it comes to the amount of waste in the office.

The Barrie-Innisfil campaign office is in transition –  a work in progress, with many pieces needed to make it functional for the many that have different tasks to perform.  While  a campaign office is really only a temporary home, it is still a home that needs to be welcoming, functional and efficient.

Sadly, on October 22nd, we just take it all apart and await the next election to do it all again.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

My #elxn43, Day 53

img-20190828-wa00029003986068517925929.jpegIt’s 9am and I’m on Train 51 heading to Toronto and then north to Barrie Ontario.  This is my frst foray into leaving home to campaign.  All my previous campaigns, going back to the 2004 federal election have been local.  This election has me heading to the riding of Barrie-Innisfil to work with MP John Brassard, who I have been working with in Ottawa for three years, to secure his return to Ottawa after the October 21stelection.

This is not the only electioneering I’ve been doing though.

For the past 11 weeks I’ve been busy working with the Conservative candidate in the east end Ottawa riding of Orleans, David Bertschi.  David is a great candidate he works hard and goes non-stop; he has a dedictaed and hard working team with him.  Following his nomination win I worked with David and his team to set up a campaign structure, a strategy and bring in people I knew David Bertschi would like and trust to help him win and become the the next Mamber of Parliament of that riding.

I learn something from every election team I work with.  Previously, as a candidate in 2011 and 2104, I learned to listen to everyone and to turn a discussion around and present a new point of view.  As I campaign worker I took in what people were doing, watching and learning strategies.  I would learn to disect the end result and determine what led to a campaign’s success or failure.  And as a Campaign Manager I took the lessons I learned from being a campaign worker and candidate to bring a perspective that I would hope benefited the team I was leading.

I faced a new experience this summer, coming into a campaign as an ourtsider.  Oh, I knew the key people in the riding of Orleans, but I lacked the riding knowledge that everyone had.  I used their knowledge to lead me through ideas and strategies that would be put in place.  My experience as candidate really helped, I was relying on the team to teach me the what worked and what didn’t work.  After 10 weeks, I was happy with what was done to establish a team working towards one goal, winning.

I was proud of the people that came forward, listened to the plan and put their spin on what it would take to make Orleans a Conservative riding.  While I am heading to Barrie, Orleans will be a special place for me, there are great people there and I was really happy to be a part of that team for the summer.  The lessons learned in Orleans will be used in Barrie-Innisfil.

Now onto a new experience, again leading a team where I am the outsider but leading a team that has an incumbent.  This is definitely different from trying to unseat current MP, or take a riding back, this is a re-election campaign.  The dynamics are new, I know John Brassard, as the candidate, has a way of doing things – I’ve seen it for the past three years.  It will be about using all three experiences I’ve had and lead his team for the next 53 days until election day October 21st.

I hope you’ll follow my journey over the next few weeks as I share #elxn43.  This won’t be so much about the politics of the election, but the people, experience and the education I’ll have.

This is day 53, Day Zero will be here in a blink of an eye.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

From the Gallery: #BlameBrison

Brison ResignsOn February 6, 2019 in the House of Commons former President of the Treasury Scott Brison said “thank you and miss me, but don’t forget me”.  A few days later Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a media scrum “if Scott Brison had not  stepped down from cabinet, Jody Wilson-Raybould would still be Minister of Justice and Attorney General.”   This is the beginning of what is being known as #BlameBrison.

#BlameBrison has caused the following moves; Minister Philpott from Indigenous Services  to fill the desk emptied by Brison at Treasury Board, Seamus O’Regan was moved to Indigenous Services and the now infamous move of Wilson-Raybould to Veterans Affairs and the move out of left field from the back benches of David Lametti to Justice Minister and Attorney General.  Trudeau also added one more Minister to his cabinet, bringing another back bencher forward, Bernadette Jordan into the role of Minister of Rural Economic Development.

Watching all this from the gallery, the strangest move was not Wilson-Raybould, it was moving O’Regan; Veterans Affairs  Canada (VAC) is not a slouch file and needs a Minister that will stand up for our Veterans. Bold promises by Trudeau in 2015 have been followed by Ministers, until Wilson-Raybould was appointed last month that were weak and did not perform well. I wish someone could tell me just what it is that Minister O’Regan did in 18 months in VAC to warrant a move to Indigenous Services, a file in which Trudeau’s entire claim of reconciliation is dependent on.

If Trudeau is in fact correct and Wilson-Raybould could still be the AG and Minister of Justice, there would only have been one seat fill when Scott Brison resigned. Now the move of Minister Pilpott to Treasury takes a solid cabinet minister to a key portfolio. That leaves only one person to move to replace Philpott and maintain the work being done on reconciliation. One person was more than qualified for the position and more qualified than Seamus O’Regan, Dan Vandel the Parliamentary Secretary who served under Minister Philpott.  Vandel has the experience in the Indigenous Services portfolio and also has worked with First Nations communities in Winnipeg.  Trudeau makes that one move and quite possibly Trudeau and PMO only has to worry about the Mark Norman Case where it’s expected Brison will be called to testify.

The 400 words above make sense if the following doesn’t happen.  SNC Lavalin had not spent years lobbying for a deferred prosecution agreement to avoid a criminal trial. A remediation clause for the criminal code wasn’t buried in a budget omnibus bill.  The allegations of PMO putting pressure of Wilson-Raybould were not published by the Globe and Mail. The Standing Committee on Justice was not a sideshow circus of a committee meeting, and as of today (February 18, 2019) Gerald Butts, Principal Secretary for the Prime Minister would not have resigned. Unfortunately all these events did take place, and the Prime Minister shuffled four Ministers to cover one resignation.  In the space of ten days, Minister Wilson-Raybould  resigned from Cabinet, Trudeau has told three versions of the reasons for the Wilson-Raybould move to VAC; The Ethic Commissioner announced an examination of the SNC Lavalin persuasion allegations and Liberals controlled the Special Justice Committee agenda.

Welcome to the Brison Effect. #BlameBrison

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker&  @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Save the Dates

The New Year is a clean slate, nothing held over from the previous 365 days. It begs the question, what is coming our way that we should be bookmarking as key milestones this year?

February 2019: 4 Federal By-elections will be called for February 2019,   there should be 5 by-elections called this month, the Quebec riding of St. Leonard – St Michel has not been represented in the house for month. The only reason for it not being called is that it will be officially vacated January 22nd, nine months before the next general elections, by Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio. The Prime Minister is not obliged to call a by-election for a riding that is vacant 9 months or less before the next general election.  The by-election all of Canada will be watching is Burnaby South BC, it’s where NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will be tagging his hopes to win a seat in the House of Commons. Early prognications are not good for Singh.  If he loses what happens to the NDP under his leadership? Other ridings up for grabs are York Simcoe, formerly held by Conservative Peter Van Loan, Outremont which was the home of former NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and a second in BC, Nanaimo Ladysmith vacated by NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson to run in the same riding in a provincial by-election. At the time of writing this, no date had been announced by the Prime Minister for byelections.

October 21, 2019: This will go one way or another, you either support the government or you don’t and plan to vote that way.  The subtext of this election is more interesting and diverse.  Is Trudeau doing well?  Is he not?  It has not been a smooth four years.  Two key promises have been broken; despite what Trudeau said, this election WILL be decided under ‘first past the post’ and rather than small meaningful deficits and a one balanced budget there will be huge deficits and no balanced budget for 40 years. Will Justin Trudeau remain a one-term Prime Minister because of these broken promises or will he hold on in spite of them?  As MP’s get set to return to Ottawa the polls are close between the Liberals and Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives, this will be an important session for both as leaders will need to score “points” if they want to be Prime Minister. As the election gets close, has the anti-Harper vote been eclipsed but the “I voted Liberal, but didn’t vote for this” vote? 

March/April 2019: Ontario 2019 Budget will be the first budget from Doug Ford and will build on the November Fall economic statement delivered by Finance Minister Vic Fedeli.  The new Ontario government made may promises about reducing the debt and being responsble in spending.  This budget could be influenced by the promised line by line audit of government spending.  The Ford government has already announced cuts in programs that were brought in under Kathleen Wynne.  Notable were announcements include the end of the Gauarranteed income project, pausing the Francophone University spending and freezing the minimum wage at $14/hour. What Minister Fedeli will introduce will likely shock the NDP and Liberals, but it shouldn’t – the Ontario PC’s campaigned on reversing the out of control spending of the Wynne government.

Before or on May 31, 2019: The Alberta Provincial Election outcome seems to be pre-determined.  A NDP government elected four years ago was a blip on the Albertan polictical scene. It happened because the Alberta PC was too comfortable, an outcome that many governments have had to face.  Under a new leader and a new banner, Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party seem primed to wrestle the reigns of power back from the NDP.   The lone question may be, what capital has Premier Notley earned in her defense of building pipelines and moving Alberta crude to market?  What kind of election result will that give the Alberta NDP? June 1stor the day after the election will be a pivotal day for not only Alberta, but also Canada, Justin Trudeau’s Canada.  With a likely victory by the UCP, Alberta will become the 5thprovince to opt out of the Pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, and eliminate the provincial carbon tax.

Mark the dates on your calendar and watch the events unfold.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker&  @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net