Saturday, June 27, 2009


Peter Pocklington

As Peter Pocklington’s legal miseries mount and his August 11 criminal trial* for allegedly bamboozling bankruptcy authorities with lies about his assets draws ever closer, the former car dealer, NHL team owner, federal Tory leadership candidate, and serial welcher**, has decided to 'take the fifth': See:

As we speak, Pocklington is being pursued on two separate fronts in connection with his assignment in bankruptcy in his adopted home state of California. First of all, there are the bankruptcy proceedings themselves. At this point, Trustee in Bankruptcy Robert Whitmore wants to know just precisely what Peter Puck’s assets are as well as their whereabouts, so that he might scoop them up and distribute them amongst Puck’s patient creditors. To that end, Whitmore has a bunch of questions that he would like to put to the shameless and duplicitous ego maniac*** to be answered under oath. Questions such as where are your Stanley Cup rings? Who owns the 10 Andy Warhol prints of Mick Jagger and other objets d’art already seized? And what about those reported off-shore bank accounts in the Bahamas and elsewhere? These are questions arising from what Whitmore already knows as well as Puck’s astonishing declaration that he has debts of 19 million bucks and assets of - heh, heh, - $2900!

The other front on which Pocklington is doing battle are two felony counts he is facing for allegedly filing false statements to conceal assets in connection with that same assignment in bankruptcy. He is scheduled to face trial in criminal court on those charges on August 11.

It was reported yesterday that the former insufferable Edmonton sports impresario and ex-director of the right-wing Mickey Mouse think tank known as the Fraser Institute, now wants to be protected by the Constitution of the United States in order to avoid answering the further questions that Whitmore wants to put to him in the bankruptcy proceedings.

Yes, the disgraced bamboozler and legendary welcher now wishes to seek the protection of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, or, ‘take the fifth’ as it has been invoked in other well-known trials or congressional hearings by lawyers and their unsavoury, rough-hewn, swarthy gentlemen clients who often wear bulging pin striped suits, black shirts, white ties, and wide-brimmed fedoras and who sometimes go to jail for very long periods of time.

The dilemma faced by Pocklington is that the answers to the dicey questions about his assets that Whitmore wants to put to him in the bankruptcy proceedings may very well sink him in the criminal trial in August. In the words of Pocklington’s mouthpiece, lawyer Brent Romney, “His [Pocklington’s] testimony may ‘provide a link in the chain of evidence' needed to prosecute him in either federal or state court.” Well, I guess.

This is not to mention that Whitmore’s questions and Pocklington’s answers may also alert a whole slew of Canadian creditors – including the government of Alberta - as to the whereabouts of some of those assets so they can get their grubby little hands on them.

About the assets thus far, Pocklington’s lawyer argues that Pocklington long ago gave some of the stuff – including Inuit art and Buddha sculptures - to his long-suffering wife and therefore it doesn’t belong to him. Pocklington, for his part, disclaims knowledge of the location of the Stanley Cup rings and says they have already been sold. As to the reported off-shore Bahamian bank accounts, Whitmore has asked the Bankruptcy Court to hire a special counsel to chase them down for the creditors.

Anyway, Peter Puck’s miserable life continues. His light at the end of the tunnel may very well be the train.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Doug Elniski as a Young Man

Doug Elniski, MLA for Edmonton Calder today

For those Canadians who live in parts of Canada other than my beloved Alberta, don’t think you are missing anything. Apart from substandard roads and health care, a lack of schools, services for seniors, adequate nursing homes, and overcrowded universities, many of the province’s citizens are represented by Progressive Conservative members such as Doug Elniski.

The knuckle-dragging 6 ‘ 7” Elniski who drives a smart car, squeaked out a victory against the NDP in Edmonton Calder in the last provincial election. Over the past few days he has shown that he is right on top of things when it comes to new technology by revealing his proficiency at twittering. Obviously using the technology for his official purposes, he recently twittered his followers that they should direct their attention to a bikini car wash where “girls look cold.”

In addition, In his capacity as an MLA he attended the Edmonton gay pride parade a few days ago. While attending to his official functions he tastefully twittered to his avid followers that at one point he was "surrounded by bumping and grinding lesbians."
But that’s not all. Recently while using the new technology to publicize his lofty views on junior high school graduations, Elniski posted some homespun advice to young girls. Elniski declared that "Men are attracted to smiles, so smile and don't give me that 'treated equal' stuff, if you want equal it comes in little packages at Starbucks."

He also opined, "There is nothing a man wants less than a woman scowling because he thinks he is going to get sh--for something and has no idea what."

For more of Elniski’s twittering intellectual musings, read:

The publicity generated by the offending posts brought forth considerable derision from many thoughtful Albertans thus prompting Elniski to expunge his musings from the internet. He observed, “"To be honest with you, I feel kind of foolish because as I go back and look at it now I can say I never, ever should have done what I did." Indeed.

Elniski’s gaffes came only a few days after Stelmach’s Finance Minister Iris Evans said in a speech in Toronto that families with two working parents did not properly care for their children. Like the erudite Elniski, the high positioned ditz also apologized for her offensive comments.

Tom Olsen, a former Calgary Herald columnist and prominent Tory cheerleader during the dark ages of the Klein years, is now Premier Stelmach’s mouthpiece on damage control matters. He reported that Stelmach is not considering disciplinary action against this Neanderthal Calder MLA.

So, all you Canadians out there in the hinterland, you are not missing much!

Friday, June 19, 2009


God help us all. He’s back. Yesterday, Ralph Klein returned to the political rostrum in Calgary where he spoke to an audience of about 150 moles, spies, geeks, James Bond and Dick Cheney wannabes, and other right-wing maniacs and pursuers of government largesse. His subject ? Get this – “his government’s experiences related to security and public safety in the weeks and months following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.” For more on the advance hype to his speech read this bullshit:

The sponsoring organization was the Trilateral Conference, a group of delegates representing the lunatic fringe of the most conservative elements of society, top heavy with security corporations trying to get pork barrel government contracts.

In the course of his scintillating presentation of the dramatic heroics of his government in the face of code red terrorism, the ex-Premier of Alberta took the opportunity to hurl a couple of typically witless Kleinisms at federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. In answer to a question from the audience about Iggy, the cerebral Klein said, “Ignatieff, I think he’s playing a game. He says all the right things, especially when he’s in Alberta and in British Columbia, he says whatever the population desires. So what I think he should do to keep his mouth shut.” He then accused Iggy of saying different things about the oilsands to Westerners, than he did to Easterners - without offering a scintilla of evidence, of course.

Ah, yes, vintage Klein to be sure - cutting, rapier-like, clever discourse – akin to some of his previous gems like “bums and creeps” from Eastern Canada. Or his view that “dinosaur farts” caused global warming. Or his prescription for dealing with mad cow disease in Alberta, when he said, “I guess any self-respecting rancher would have shot, shoveled and shut up . . . ” Needless to say, the 150 others in attendance whose organizations paid good money for them to hear this drivel, har-de-hared at his every breath and gave him much applause. An increasingly typical Calgary audience, I'm afraid. Read:

Klein however was content neither with merely talking about his bold and decisive actions in the wake of 9/11 nor trashing Iggy. The ex-Premier - who blew up hospitals and allowed his cronys to buy the land thereby vacated at cut-rate prices, who laid off teachers and nurses, and who allowed Alberta’s infrastructure to go into the tank, all in the name of an “Alberta Advantage” that Albertans have yet to see – also had some economic advice for his successor.

He criticized the steep Stelmach deficit and suggested he (Klein) would cut government services in order to deal with it if he was in Eddie’s position. How much would Klein cut? Klein had these trenchant and thoughtful comments: "You know, I'm not in politics any longer so I don't know what I would cut.” "Ten per cent or 5% ... across the board. Everything."

He bragged about his own record as Premier of cutting government employment by a third, rolling back government salaries, and getting “rid of our pension plans,” - no doubt forgetting the $700,000 severance allowance he pocketed after the Tories gave him the boot. Naturally, he took credit for his phony legislation – now repealed – making it illegal for Alberta to incur deficits.
For an enhanced and electrifying record of his piffle, read:

Fortunately, his successor Premier Stelmach - no prize or mental giant himself - shows no signs of listening to the failed ex-Premier's economic advice.
Klein’s appearance was a scary and nightmarish back to the future moment to be sure. Hopefully for Albertans, his reemergence onto the public stage is merely an anomaly and not a sign of things to come.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


In a column published today in the Ottawa Citizen, journalism professor Andrew Cohen reminded his readers of the sleazy depths to which some media are prepared to stoop to promote their political causes and the depths to which some politicians may be prepared to stoop to pay them off. His subject was the sorry hatchet job CTV and Senator Mike Duffy did on then Liberal leader Stephane Dion on October 9, 2008 just 5 days before the last federal election. The issue arose as a result of a twelve minute taped television interview of Dion by CTV Atlantic reporter Steve Murphy. See:

The facts of this shameful episode are worth reviewing.

The interview was in English rather than Dion’s mother-tongue French. The nub of the interview was this question put to Dion by Murphy:

"If you were prime minister now, what would you have done about the economy and this crisis that Mr. Harper has not done?"
Dion did not understand the question and asked Murphy to repeat it. After repeating the question two more times, Dion still did not understand it and said so. Dion looked confused and befuddled and requested that the interview recommence. After the completion of the interview CTV Atlantic broadcast the entire interview replete with Dion’s apparent confusion together with his requests to repeat the question.

Later on the same day on his national show Duffy told his viewers that the program would include a discussion of “Stephane Dion’s struggle with the English language (which) is going to be one you will be talking about for days.” The Duffy show ran only that portion of the interview that contained the exchanges between Dion and Murphy on the question that gave Dion trouble, with Dion’s hesitant attempts to grasp the meaning of it and answer it. Of course, that portion of the interview was aired a multitude of times over the next few days.

Prior to the interview and Duffy’s show, polls had been looking good for the Grits and it appeared that they were about to peak at the right time. The Duffy show changed all of that. Liberal momentum went into the tank, its polls started to go south and on election day, Harper got his second split decision.

Many Canadians were outraged at the behaviour of the CTV talking heads and lodged several complaints against what they perceived as unfair and unprofessional reporting. Those complaints wound up on the desk of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, a body which is responsible for maintaining the code of conduct among Canadian broadcasters.

As reported by Cohen in his column the council recently issued its decision on the complaints. It found that CTV had indeed violated the code, stating that Murphy’s question was “confusing, and not only to a person whose first language is other than English.” It observed that Murphy’s question contained mixed tenses and moods and it was no wonder that Dion was puzzled. It also said that Murphy could have clarified the question and that Dion had every right to expect the footage showing him to be confused would not be broadcast.

As to Senator Duffy, the Council found his report to be unfair and unbalanced. Duffy, the Council held, had breached the code of ethics.

Michael Dennis Duffy was sworn in as a member of the Senate of Canada on December 22, 2008, two months and 8 days following the Harper victory and two months and 13 days following his breach of the broadcast code of ethics when he stuck the dagger between Dion's shoulder blades. His patron was his pal Stephen Harper.

A foul smelling episode indeed.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


The government of Stephen Harper Group Picture 2009

Sadly, Stephen Harper's Keysone Kops government has just acquired a new member. She’s none other than Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt. I use the word ‘sadly’ because she stood out in the Harper cabinet as articulate, cool and even funny. No kidding. Funny and still part of the Harper cabinet!

After meeting and hearing her recently in Calgary I mused that the Honourable Ms.Raitt would be far more at home with the Grits. She’s from Cape Breton – lots of Grits come from Cape Breton – and she is the daughter of a man who worked in the mines and earned his keep for a time as a union negotiator. She has three degrees from three top schools and won a scholarship that allowed her to train with British barristers in the Middle Temple in London. She also has a distinguished record of public service. She was Canada’s first female harbourmaster and just prior to getting elected in 2008 she served as President and CEO of the Toronto Port Authority. And - get this - she’s married to a comedy writer. Now that is a Liberal resume! It is certainly not a resume one would expect to find in the files of the dark and brooding, xenophobic, and unworldly government of Stephen Harper, unless it was on some enemies list.

Alas, poor Lisa as been stuck in deep political doodoo now for several weeks. First of all, there is the problem of shutting down the Chalk River nuclear reactor thus causing a world wide shortage of medical radioisotopes. As a result probably tens of thousands of cancer patients have to go without treatment. The problem falls under her department’s responsibilities and it has come to prominence on her watch. Her government is seen to have bungled the issue. Bad stuff indeed for any minister to face.

Last week Ms. Raitt’s fortunes took a turn of the worse. A couple of secret briefs on Chalk River were left inadvertently at the CTV news offices in Ottawa after a visit from Ms. Raitt and her chief aide, Jasmine MacDonnell. Jasmine up to that time was having a remarkable meteoric rise career-wise. A mere child of 26 years of age, Jasmine’s boss had promoted her to communications director, a gig that paid 120 grand a year. CTV hung on to the briefs for a week before doing the honourable thing of releasing its contents to the public. Jasmine, thankful at the opportunity of having served the Minister at such a young age and at such a high salary, took the fall and resigned. All of which was treated by the opposition in the House with the usual angry and indignant questions followed by loud guffaws and catcalls heaped upon the government. Raitt however stood her ground and fessed up to the botch-up glibly,coolly, and very alone. Her performance generated considerable admiration and even sympathy from many political observers.

Yesterday, life became much more complicated for the Minister. Steve Maher, a press gallery reporter for The Halifax Chronicle Herald reported that he had a tape of Raitt nattering away in a car between two political events in Victoria. On the tape the Minister called the isotope crisis “sexy” – hardly a worthy comment considering that thousands are going without cancer treatment because of it. About the isotope issue she said on tape,

"when we win on this, we get all the credit. I’m ready to roll the dice on this. This is an easy one. You know what solves this problem? Money. And if it’s just about money, we’ll figure it out. It’s not a moral issue."

The tape also had the Minister opining that her fellow minister, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq was not up to the task running her department, an opinion not likely to contribute to the peace and tranquility of the Conservative caucus. Read:

And how did the redoubtable Maher get his hands on the tape? Enter the absent minded, probably ditzy, highly paid, twenty-six year old ex- communications director. According to Maher, she left the tape in a women’s washroom on Parliament Hill. Maher did the honourable thing by contacting MacDonnell and telling her he had the tape. She expressed interest in getting it back, but for several months thereafter did nothing about it. After MacDonnell’s resignation, Maher and his superiors decided they should hear what was on the tapes. Presto! A five hour treasure trove of nasty politics!

MacDonnell, or people behind her, did not take this turn of events lightly. They immediately applied to the Courts for a publication ban. The Judge wisely decided that there were no legal grounds for such a ban and so Canadians everywhere now know the story. The Prime Minister’s Office has denied that the government nor the Conservative Party was behind the court application to keep the tape under wraps. Ahem. Read:

Come to think of it, after some consideration I think the Minister should stick with the Conservative Party.

Monday, June 01, 2009


Dr. Strangelove's last day in office
Well, far be it for me to brag, but I've got to tell you that I published this blog: on May 22, 2009.

Thus, I even beat the great Frank Rich of the New York Times by a whopping 8 days with my reporting of the significance of the Landay/Strobel piece. So you can say once again that you read it on my blog first. Tell all your friends.
For proof of the above proposition, See: