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Should Chris Bentley go down for Dalton McGuinty

Chris Bentley has been the Minister of Energy in Ontario since the 2011 election. Right now, he’s facing the possibility of being found in contempt of the legislature. “Contempt of Parliament” can not only cost him his ministerial seat, it could send him to jail. Unfortunately, it’s the wrong man facing the charges.Let me state clearly that in our system of responsible Parliamentary government, a Minister of the Crown is responsible to the members in the chamber. (All of them, not just those in his own party, despite what Whips and Premiers may think!) She or he must answer all questions, not mislead the House, provide requested information to the House, etc. He or she is also fully responsible for all the actions of their department, and its agencies, boards, commissions and crown corporations.For Chris Bentley, it would be bad enough that what comes with this is responsibility for his predecessors’ doings as well.But is he responsible for the actions of the Ontario Liberal Party’s campaign team? You be the judge.During the 2011 general election, the Liberals were worried they’d lose two Etobicoke seats, two Mississauga seats and the Oakville seat, due to local concerns about gas-fired power plants being erected in the area. The Mississauga plant was already under construction; the Oakville one was on the drawing board with preliminary planning work done.Playing the NIMBY game (“not in my backyard”) was seen as a way to swing the ridings back behind Team Red. So the orders were given — from the campaign — to kill both plants.The Premier, Dalton McGuinty, was reelected with a minority government. He’d have that if any or all of these seats had gone another way. Not that they were going to: subsequent poll analysis shows that the worst case would have seen all five… Read More

Uniting the right: the case for an OPCYA/OPCCA merger

This weekend, conservative youth in Ontario will gather in Cambridge to vote on an ambitious proposal to merge the two youth wings affiliated with the PC Party of Ontario. Currently, we have the OPCYA (Ontario PC Youth Association), which works at a riding level, and the OPCCA (Ontario PC Campus Association) which deals with conservative campus clubs at Ontario’s various universities and colleges. Years ago, when it was difficult to travel around the province of Ontario and commuting was much less common, conservative youth would be confined to their home ridings, so youth associations were much more prominent. Today, youth are more networked and mobile so there is more overlap between the groups of young conservatives that a given youth would interact with at a riding and a campus club level. As such, the distinction between campus clubs and riding associations has blurred to the point where the distinction between the youth associations and campus clubs has mostly lost its meaning.             That’s the more complex argument for why we should merge. However, since you’re busy and we’re busy preparing for the Cambridge convention, we have prepared a short and easy list of 10 reasons why you, the young conservative reading this, should wholeheartedly support this merger. Leave aside personal grudges, mudslinging on social media, and let’s get down to the heart of the debate:United we stand. OPCCA and OPCYA share one common goal – to get conservatives elected. There is no need for them to be separate for this goal to be achieved. The day-to-day activities of campus clubs and youth associations would be unaffected by the merger proposal.End membership overlap. Many of the same people serve in leadership positions in both organizations. All OPCCA members are considered OPCYA members. Much of the OPCYA membership is made up of the campus… Read More

“A Debate That Changed Everything?”: Examining Reactions to the First Presidential Debate

Judging from his performance last Wednesday, Barack Obama must have assumed that debates don’t matter. Mitt Romney won a clear, unanimous victory in the first Presidential debate and the incumbent President appeared at best inarticulate and at worst disinterested. While this provided a lifeline to a Romney/Ryan campaign that was seemingly on the ropes, its impact is fleeting if it cannot effectively re-direct the trajectory of this election. However in analyzing the post-debate reactions of the Obama campaign, it has become clear that this election has been fundamentally altered.In developing their communications to respond to the debate fallout, Democratic strategists must have asked themselves, “Where did this Romney come from?” After weeks of seemingly endless media hiccups that had given double digit leads to the incumbent in swing states, the President had an opportunity to land a knockout blow. Two things came together to stop this from happening: the campaign’s decision to play it safe and Mitt Romney taking advantage of unfiltered media time with the American people.Let me be clear, Barack Obama is not unintelligent and he is certainly not without passion. His lacklustre performance came from a classic front-runner mistake of sitting on a lead. It is now clear that Obama no longer has the luxury of playing it safe. His charisma, passion, and rhetoric are devastatingly diminished when he is not the underdog. The evidence is there; his victory over the favoured Clinton-machine in past DNC primaries, his usage of vague combative rhetoric to inspire marginalized demographics like never before in 2008, and even his slogan “Yes we can!” implied conventional wisdom was saying “No you can’t!” In this election however, no one is saying that. As the front-runner, Obama is not only stuck running on his failed record, he is unable to access the restorative rhetoric… Read More
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