During the holiday season, many people complain about the rigours of shopping, travel, and dealing with the crowds that come with both. While these are inconveniences, they pale in comparison to our brave men and women who are unable to be with their loved ones this Christmas.
This was reinforced for me this morning when, while watching Newsnet, a fellow I went to high school with came on the screen as part of the "Christmas Wishes from the Troops" series that runs on many networks at this time of year.
If you know someone who serving our country, be sure to thank them for their service over the holidays... especially if they are away from their family and friends. Consider using the Canadian Forces' Morale by Messageboard program to send your appreciation to those who proudly fly the Maple Leaf while trying to make the world a better place.
For my part, I extend sincere thanks and a hearty Merry Christmas to Captain Bill Thomey onboard the HMCS Charlottetown and everyone of the brave Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen who are away from their loved ones this Christmas!
In other news...
This item from 630 CHED suggests that the idea of a high speed rail link between Edmonton and Calgary is gaining support with Premier Stelmach. The environmental argument is a difficult one to counter and will go a long way in helping shore up public support should it be persued.
Turning to the federal scene, there is a fascinating saga unfolding regarding collusion between CBC reporters and the Liberal Party of Canada. Stephen Taylor and Steve Janke have both done excellent work in helping to bring things to light.
One of the most intriguing bits is that Pablo Rodriguez, the Liberal MP who asked the supposed CBC-written questions, asked them in rehearsed, lawyer-precise English. In the House of Commons, Monsieur Rodriguez speaks French almost exclusively.
C'est bizarre, non?
Finally, Prime Minister Harper has called 4 byelections for the spring.
Up for grabs are Toronto Centre and Willowdale in Ontario, Vancouver Quadra in BC, and Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River in Saskatchewan.
I suspect the Liberals will have a lock on both the Ontario seats (and add to their internal bickering once Bob Rae gets into the House of Commons).
Vancouver Quadra, although traditionally Liberal, may be more of a fight than people expect given that the Conservative candidate, Deborah Meredith, won a hard-fought nomination against a high profile challenger. She'll also be running against Liberal Joyce Murray, whose greatest claim to fame was a single, exceptionally lacklustre term as the MLA for New Westminster in Gordon Campbell's first government.
Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River will be the most interesting to watch. This seat was held by Liberal Gary Merasty until he quit earlier this year. Mr. Merasty, you will remember, barely won the seat in a shroud of controversy after some exceptionally high turnouts at polls that usually see little or not votes cast at all.
Anyway, there appears to be a fight brewing between my old buddy David Orchard and Ralph Goodale. Orchard is contesting the nomination and wants to be the Liberal candidate. Ralph, meanwhile, is reportedly touting current NDP MLA Joan Beatty as a potential appointee, thus quashing Orchard's hope.
As a conservative, i'm going to enjoy watching this no matter how it plays out.
If a contested nomination goes ahead and Orchard wins it, Stephane Dion and the Liberal Party are going to have their work cut out for them in trying to tame the organic, free-range beast that is David Orchard.
If the nomination is quashed and Beatty is appointed, the Liberals will face the wrath of David Orchard and his small army of fringe activists who can't really be counted on to "do the right thing" by accepting the party's decision... particularily since Orchard delivered a sizeable chunk of votes to Dion during the leadership race. PLUS, we get to hold Beatty to account for having run and won as a provincial MLA just SIX WEEKS AGO!
Liberals are painting these byelections as a opportunity for Dion to save some face. I disagree. No one expects him to lose the Toronto seats anyway... but they also don't expect him to lose Quadra, which may happen. Add to that the drama unfolding in Northern Saskatchewan, and Stephane Dion may end up wishing he could tuck himself into his backpack and be carried away from the whole mess.