Working notes, observations, links and other errata from a parliamentary bureau reporter in Ottawa, Canada.
About "David Akin"
Gemini Award-winning journalist David Akin is the National Bureau Chief for Sun Media and is based at Sun's Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has covered events as varied as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s annual tours through the Arctic to the uprisings in Egypt in the spring of 2011 to terror trials at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba. Akin received a Gemini Award for his reporting while he was a correspondent for CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson and he was a National Newspaper Award finalist while working as a contributing writer for The Globe and Mail. His 20-year career in journalism also includes being a member of the inaugural staff at the National Post.
Akin has long been one of Canada’s journalism pioneers when it comes to exploring ways to use digital media and computer-assisted tools for newsgathering and publishing. His blog, On The Hill, is nearly a decade old and he is a frequent speaker on the use of social media in communications.
Akin has been named one of the 100 most influential people on Parliament Hill.
A Montrealer by birth, Akin studied history at the University of Guelph. He lives near Ottawa with his wife and two children.
Toronto Mayoral candidate Ari Goldkind doesn’t show up in any of the polls — such as this one, released today showing John Tory in the lead with 37%, Doug Ford in second at 30% and Olivia Chow back at 21% — but Goldkind, who is a criminal lawyer most of the time, is taking the campaign seriously and offering up some interesting ideas. His latest? Turn the Gardiner Expressway that runs east-to-west through Toronto’s downtown into a green space. Read more…
Paul Calandra, the Conservative MP who is also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, gave a tearful apology today in the House of Commons for the way he failed to answer questions put to him during Question Period earlier this week from Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair.
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Tuesday. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)
Moments after speaking in the House of Commons Tuesday (above), NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair told reporters in the House of Commons foyer (my emphasis):
You know, as far as we’re concerned, when you ask a question that corresponds to all the rules on a very important subject of national concern like Canada’s involvement in a war in Iraq, Canadians deserve better and they deserve more respect for our institutions than we got today. … And frankly, the Prime Minister should have been there today. That’s his role to be in the House.
New Brunswickers vote Monday in their 38th general election. They will decided either to keep incumbent Premier David Alward and his Progressive Conservative government or choose Liberal Brian Gallant as their new premier. Only PCs and Liberals had seats in the legislature at dissolution but the NDP, led by Dominic Cardy, believe they have a good shot at one or two.
And while there are some serious issues at play in this campaign, one of the odd issues that cropped up in the campaign’s dying days was a Hitler parody video in which Gallant was, apparently, a German general and the MLA for Shedica-Cap-Pelé, Victor Boudreau, was Hitler. (I annotate the above for non-New Brunswickers below) The Liberals demanded apologies from the NDP, a party that has not had a seat in the legislature since 2003. We’re not exactly sure who created this video but some New Democrats put this out on their social media feeds and that has drawn incredible Liberal indignation, fueled by the fact that Gallant’s grandfather ended up in a Nazi concentration camp because he helped European Jews escape during the Second World War. On live television, the NDP leader tried to apologize for whatever role his partisans played but Gallant — in high dudgeon — refused.
Now, I have opinions about the New Brunswick Liberal reaction to this parody. I think it’s way over the top and that they should have shrugged their shoulders and moved one. I said as much on my program, Battleground, on Sun News Network on Friday. But you’ll also want to watch this clip for the video of Gallant’s refusal to accept an offered apology from Cardy in the midst of a debate moderated by CTV’s Steve Murphy.
Need help with NB jokes?
If you’re just coming to the New Brunswick provincial election, here’s some things you need to know to get the jokes in the parody:
Brian Gallant’s Liberal Party has been leading in the few polls done in that province for over a year. There have been four public domain polls released since the campaign started, two by Corporate Research Associates and two by Forum Research. While each firms has some different numbers, the trend is similar: What was a monster lead at the beginning (19 points in CRA poll one) by the Liberals over the incumbent PCs has narrowed but still seems healthy enough.
“Leader Boudreau” is, presumably, a reference to Victor Boudreau, a Liberal MLA who was interim leader of the New Brunswick Liberals until Gallant won the permanent job. Boudreau, who was finance minister in Shawn Graham’s cabinet, is s cinch for cabinet if Gallant wins government Monday. The video’s creators have made Boudreau the Hitler character.
The creator of this parody has apparently designated this charactor as that of NB Liberal Leader Brian Gallant.
“Dominic, Brian, Roger, and Ottawa consultants …” The Dominic here is almost certainly Dominic Leblanc, the Liberal MP who is co-chair of the NB Liberal campaign. The “Ottawa consultants” may be a reference to David Herle and his Gandalf Group who, several reports said, are doing polling for the NB Liberals. Herle has just come off managing the super-successful majority-producing campaign of Kathleen Wynne in Ontario. But I’m pretty sure Herle and Gandalf Group are Toronto-based. I’m not plugged in enough to know who Roger is. The “Brian” though, would seem to be the 32-year-old Liberal Leader Brian Gallant. The video’s creators have assigned him the role of a Nazi general.
“The Farmer” That’s the incumbent premier, Progressive Conservative leader David Alward.
“Now Cardy is gaining on us”. That would be NB NDP Leader Dominic Cardy. And while the behaviour of the Liberals over the last week — not to mention their indignation over this video — would suggest the NDP are causing problems for the Liberals, the four polls we have seen have shown NDP support has weakened over the course of the campaign.”Coon” is David Coon, leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick.
“Shannon” No idea who that is. Anyone?
Now the NB Liberal Hitler parody is not the funniest one you’re ever going to see. The best-ever at making Hitler funny was Mel Brooks (Jewish!) The Producers. Here’s the signature tune from that terrific musical:
The posts on this blog are, by and large, created and maintained by me, David Akin, the national bureau chief for Sun Media.
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