Monday, July 31, 2006

Radwanski's Rant

Political Staples is showcasing Adam Radwanski's column ("Divided they Blog") from today's National Post. I glanced at Adam's piece early this morning when my Post first arrived, but then my husband dragged me out for a 6 a.m. power walk (ugh!). I forgot about it until I read Greg's post "Column du Jour".

Anyway, I hope you can access a copy. It's well worth the read for any blogger or blog enthusiast. Not that I agree with everything by a long shot.

Radwanski criticizes a particular comment on a right-wing blog as an example of extreme bigotry. He also seems to feel that political blogs are a waste of time because they tend to polarize everyone into ".. left and right-wing camps, each taking endless cheap shots at each other... And for evidence of its impact, we need only look at political discourse south of the border."

Then he goes into a huge rant about media like Fox News and certain radio talk shows exasperating the divisions. Funny how he never mentions CNN though (Certainly Not the News).

Anyway, Greg has his own very excellent analysis and lively discussion going on. Please take the time to check it out.

* * * *

Another Blogging Tory link to this story: Uncommon Truths - "On Radwanski"

Also: Radwanski's Ramblings (hey that would have made a great title for this post!) and Western Standard Shotgun - "MSM vs. the blogs"

This comment by Ezra Levant is priceless:

"...In fact, the very idea of an MSM enforcer shaking a finger at too-rough bloggers sums things up pretty well -- an impotent scold who can't get the public to obey their politically correct line. That's the MSM in a nutshell..."

That's one to savour.

Mixed Messages

O.K. I'm getting a little tired of talking about Caledonia - and if I'm bored, then you must be really sick of it!

However, that doesn't mean we still can't have some fun discussing the never ending antics of the Ontario Fiberals; and today's Toronto Sun has kindly provided even more fodder (as if we needed it).

It seems that although McGuinty's Liberal government has banned soft drinks from schools for health reasons, it still sees fit to co-sponsor a site aimed at encouraging kids to go camping. And just what does Pepsi hope the youngsters will drink when they're sitting at that picnic table having lunch by the lake? My guess is not milk!

What kind of message are we trying to send to the kids here - That it's not healthy to drink pop at school, but no problem if you're camping?

The lame excuse seems to be that the government needs the advertising funding to be able to promote this so-called healthy lifestyle out in the great outdoors. So why didn't they just go whole hog and partner up with some cigarette giant? I'm sure that would have yielded tons of cash!

Anyway, it isn't as if McGuinty loses any sleep spending taxpayers' dollars most days. Just look at the way he tossed hush money at the Caledonia dispute! (Oops! Sorry. There I go again.)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

So Much for the "Luck of the Irish".

Today's Hamilton Spectator includes a scathing commentary by columnist Susan Clairmont regarding the sudden resignation of OPP Commissioner Gwen Boniface, who has accepted a position in a newly established three-person panel that will provide oversight of Ireland's 13,000-member National Police Force.

Clairmont chastises Boniface severely for her missing-in-action method of leadership:

Leadership isn't about hiding. Or saving face. Or getting others to do your dirty work. Or having a wait-and-see attitude. It's about stepping up and taking control with confidence.

It's about standing by your decisions. Being accountable.

Leadership, like justice, should not only be done, but should be seen to be done.

Are you listening Dalton McGuinty????

Oh, and good luck to the Irish. They're going to need it.

* * * * *

More Blogging Tory links to this story:

Steve Janke - Gwen Boniface has already Left the Country

SDA - Is there a Justice in the House?

I like this comment from Kate's site, by 'Revnant Dream', 12:05 -

I think Harper is just letting Socialism run its vigilant course until no one in Ontario cannot but see how dangerous & weak these fools are.

Now there is an interesting perspective.

* * * *

Sunday Update: Can anyone out there please tell me what the heck 'Side tables' are? From the Spectator.

To me it just looks like another attempt to obfuscate the tension and make-believe that progress is actually being made.

Friday, July 28, 2006

And now, the Rest of the Story...

In an effort to be totally fair about the Caledonia conflict, I am going to reference Ottawa Core's recent post, where a Native is expressing concern and sadness over the effect this "symbolic" occupation (H/T to Monte Kwinter) and its resulting tension has had on their young people when they attempt to mingle in the Caledonia community.

But of course, in Monte's world, thisn't really happening. ("I can't hear you!!!")

I have empathy for these young Natives. They are taught from a young age to protect what their feel are their rights. They inherit the attitudes and messages that perpetuate these conflicts and claims. I'm not disputing the possibility that they may have some legitimate reasons to do so.

However, there was one comment in the piece that struck me as something bordering reverse racism:

" really is sad for me to watch all of this being played out because I know that no matter how hard we work at trying to help our young people, to try and educate them about our behaviours and setting good examples; yesterday i was reminded of how other cultures don’t..."

I wish she would have said, "some other cultures".

She also suggests that Justice Marshall's frustration that his orders haven't been obeyed may be due more to selfish attitudes than anything else:

Is it simply the fact that his contempt of court order has not been enforced? Or does it run deeper into his inner concience and the fact that the land that he resides on does in fact fall within the Haldimand tract, and that perhaps it is not the foundation of society that he is worried about, but something a little more personal?

But the government's method of dealing with the situation by turning a blind eye is not helping anyone. Their definition of a successful outcome is a zero death count.

Yet, people can be hurt in other ways.

Update: Listen to Jeff Allan's rant on Newstalk 570!


This story has legs that just won't quit!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Totally out of Touch" or Willfully Blind?

Ontario's Community Safety Minister, Monte Kwinter must live in a safe, cozy little Neverland to come out with the statements attributed to him yesterday.

Speaking in Hamilton about Caledonia he stated, “At the present time, there is no occupation,” said Mr. Kwinter. “I'm not aware of any mayhem.” He called it more of a "symbolic" occupation.

So Judge Marshall's orders to evacuate the site are being defied and ignored, but only in a "symbolic" way. Nice.

"Caledonia residents can go about their business", added Kwinter.

This did not go down well with the non-native residents and some politicians:

"To argue that no occupation is still going on is ludicrous," said Conservative opposition leader John Tory yesterday.

"If there is no occupation taking place, then why are people still on the land?"

Tory said the Liberal government should "come clean and tell us" if Queen's Park has negotiated a settlement with natives. Tory said the government's strategy is to pretend there is no problem in Caledonia.

Conservative Leader John Tory said Kwinter's comments show he is "totally out of touch'' and is simply ignoring the dispute, hoping it will go away.

"It makes me very angry that he would make such a foolish comment when clearly there is an occupation," said Ken Hewitt, president of the Caledonia Citizens Coalition.

Lots more links to this story and others.

The point everyone is missing is that Monte Kwinter's reality is not the same as everyone else's. In his world, things are peaceful; the Liberals always win elections, and his fearless leader never breaks a promise. The rule of law is always obeyed.

Unfortunately, the rest of us have to live in the real world, and we are desperately in need of more than "symbolic" leadership.

* * * *

UPDATE: CTV Southwestern Ontario ran a clip on tonight's news that "Caledonia's mayor is calling on the province's community safety minister to resign. She's upset over Monte Kwinter's comments that the native occupation is more than under control."

Would she care to start a petition? I think I know a few people who would sign.

Proud to be a Canadian

More reasons why I continue to celebrate the fact that my sense of pride as a Canadian has been renewed since P.M. Stephen Harper took office:

Check out these comments on the American blog, LGF. (H/T to Rempelia Prime and Kerplonka.)

How did Canada luck out like this? What a sane man. Bless him.

It is wonderful to have Canada back on the team.

Harper is doing us non moonbat canadians proud

It sure beats having to endure all that self-serving U.S. bashing from Paul Martin during the last election!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Warning - This is the blog of a person of average intelligence

Over the past few weeks I have been accused by some people of having a covert plan to convince all my loyal readers that I am disguising myself as a 'genius', when in fact according to these vigilantes, I am apparently devoid of any redeemable factor; including a minimum of intelligence or ability to debate in a logical fashion. I also been accused of being a 'net.crybaby'.

If all that is true, then you, my readers have been duped big time. How do you feel about that? This must come as quite a shock, because clearly you wouldn't choose to spend your time reading the blog of an idiot.

However, just to set the record straight, I am not a genius. I also make spelling, grammatical and vocabulary mistakes. I also sometimes make logical errors. I am far from perfect. However, if you still wish to continue to read this blog, you are more than welcome to do so. I won't even charge admission. But you do access this material at your own risk.

There! The secret's out! I'm just your average Jo.

Ah, that takes the pressure off. I feel so much better!!

More on the Logo Lunacy

Liberal-land appears to be less than enchanted with the new Ontario logo design. And we're not just talking Liblogs here - even the left-leaning Globe and the socialist flagship CBC are questioning this decision!

The 'Three men in a hot tub" motif is drawing sharp criticism from all sides (CBC link has graphic). If a new design was so important, why wasn't this put to the electorate in a referendum question in the 2007 election? Another question I have heard is why didn't we get Ontario school children and college art students involved to submit possible designs, instead of giving the contract to a Liberal-friendly ad agency?

Perhaps the 'hot tub' theme has an underlying meaning: We may all need one to destress after being exposed to the McGuinty antics over the past several years.

Look Out Quebec; You're Next!!

So much to blog about; so little time. For starters though, it looks as if the Caledonia syndrome is spreading. I will be watching with great interest to see how Quebec handles this stand-off.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Harper on 570

I'm just listening now to calls to the Jeff Allen show on Newstalk 570 after he spoke to the Right Honourable Stephen Harper moments ago.

People are saying how glad they are that he answers questions directly, without dancing around the issues; that it is so refreshing to have a Prime Minister that we can be proud of. Sara even sent an email which Jeff read on air (first!) saying that she appreciates the cheque she just received, and will be putting it towards the costs of child-caring her own three beautiful girls.

At the end of the interview, Jeff had asked the Prime Minister how he feels about his new role. Stephen Harper answered that he is enjoying it immensely. Jeff remarked how ironic it is that only a short time ago, Mr. Harper was considered to be 'unelectable', and suddenly he's Prime Minister!

Mr. Harper acknowledged that he has learned two things: (1) Don't ever believe polls, and (2) Don't ever write off your opponent!

Smart man. Just don't tell the opposition.

* * * *

UPDATE: This is awesome! The whole interview is now available on Jeff's program page. Just click on it about two thirds of the way down.

A Question of Allegiance

The criticism leveled at the Canadian government over the unprecedented evacuation challenges in Lebanon is in my mind totally unwarranted and confounding. Of course, the most vitriolic comments are likely emanating from a minimum of ingrats, and amplified by the spiteful media. The government seems to be doing everything humanly possible to assist stranded Canadians.

Many rescued Canadian citizens; especially those caught in Lebanon for a vacation are expressing gratitude and relief. Others condemn Canada and the Red Cross for not being instantly available when the bombing first started.

What bothers me though, is this issue of dual citizenship. How is it possible to declare allegiance to two different countries? When push comes to shove, which one would you choose? And how would you not bring your attitudes and prejudices from one country to the next? How can you park those feelings of anger at the border?

It should be interesting to see how the evacuees who haven't lived in Canada for years start to adjust to this country. If and when things cool down in Lebanon, will they go back? Will we have to pay once again for their retrieval if war breaks out again after that?

We are paying an undisclosed but staggering amount of money for this effort, which I don't think anyone begrudges at this point. However, I do think we need to reconsider this concept of dual citizenship at some point.

Last weekend there were various 'peace marches' by Arab Canadians, calling for peace in the Mideast and demanding that Canada condemn Israeli attacks on Lebanon. The Record quoted a few people, and I found these remarks rather disturbing:

"All of my family is there and it's my country," said Mazina Kaddoura of Cambridge, standing behind her children, who were bracing a large Lebanese flag. "We're all very worried."

"This is now an issue for every Canadian," said Jamila Ghaffar of the McMaster Solidarity for Palestinian Student Rights, who spoke at the rally.

"When the prime minister stands up and says the death of civilians is a 'measured response,' that's the business of every Canadian."
(Really? Every Canadian? Even the Jewish ones?)

"The Canadian government needs to help stop the bombing so the two sides can talk," said Naila Katerji of Waterloo, whose parents and brother are still in Lebanon. "It hurts when you see it on TV. They've hit everything. You can't imagine what it would be like there. It's going to take us years and years to rebuild."

Am I the only one feeling somewhat alarmed by these remarks?

Then I read this morning's National Post headlines: "Majority Supports Israel", with mainly Quebec being the only province at odds with the rest of the country in their feelings that Canada is too pro-Israel. (H/T to Conservative Life).

Perhaps we should all be praying for peace in Canada as well.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Breaking News re: Caledonia

The Caledonia stand-off has been flying under the radar lately, due likely to more urgent concerns in the Middle East. However, the dispute is still far from resolved.

Today Justice David Marshall called into court representatives from provincial police, the Ministry of the Attorney General, and the aboriginal occupiers. He is again demanding to know why his orders to police to end the aboriginal land dispute in Caledonia haven't been carried out. He is hearing legal arguments about why the protesters are still at the housing development in spite of his orders.

Lawyers for the Attorney General say Marshall's orders have been carried out, noting police have laid 53 charges against 28 people.

I would classify this as 'selective hearing'. The OPP ("Ontario Paralyzed Police" according to Caledonia Wake Up Call) and the Ontario government seem to be only following the orders that they wish to hear. The site remains occupied.

Meanwhile, the Hamilton Spectator carries a story today about a Haldimand OPP officer openly admitting to a two-tier justice system in Caledonia, and describing his personal shame in the process!!! What are Dalton McGuinty and the OPP upper-echelon doing to the collective morale of these poor officers? It is a disgrace!

Also from Wake-up Call, a first-hand account of Saturday's native run-in with the OPP. Funny how that has been kept so quiet.

Finally, I just caught the tail-end of an interview on Newstalk 570 with Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara. Gary Doyle was talking to him about Caledonia, among other things. Sorbara said that the Caledonia situation was a 'wake-up call' for the government. He actually used that phrase! He must read the website!!

He also said that the federal government seems to be awol on this issue. Imagine that! If that isn't a case of the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is. Actually, I have heard that the federal government is working quietly behind the scenes on this, but it the matter is formally under provincial jurisdiction. And, BTW, the Feds do have their hands somewhat full right now in the Middle East, Mr. Sorbara!!!

Sorbara admitted to only a 'symbolic blockade' remaining on the disputed land.

Judge Marshall said today in court, "If court orders can be disregarded the whole fabric of democracy falls to pieces."

I guess someone should explain to the Judge that certain 'symbolic' exceptions are allowed in Ontario. Maybe he was absent from law school that day.

More at Dust My Broom.

More Breaking News - Are we getting "Officially Screwed" again???

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Prayers for Peace

Unless you are an atheist, agnostic or have "zeusophobia", please consider joining Pope Benedict in his request that today be a special day of prayer for peace in the Middle East.

...the Holy Father hopes that prayers for an immediate cease fire between the warring sides, for humanitarian corridors to be opened in order to bring assistance to the suffering people, and for reasonable and responsible negotiations to begin to put an end to objective situations of injustice that exist in that region, as already indicated by Pope Benedict XVI at the Angelus on Sunday, July 16.

The Lebanese have the right to see the integrity and sovereignty of their country respected, the Israelis the right to live in peace in their State, and the Palestinians have the right to have their own free and sovereign homeland. At this sorrowful moment, His Holiness also makes an appeal to charitable organizations to help all the people struck by this pitiless conflict”, the written statement said...

As I listened intently to our pastor read this letter in church this morning, out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of our Canadian flag waving proudly behind the translucent stained-glass window.

If ever there were a time to appreciate and use your gifts of freedom and faith, this is it.

Speaking of MSM...

I have taken a lot of flack over my absolute admiration for the Toronto Sun's Lorrie Goldstein. However, I will not be intimidated. Lorrie has demonstrated time and time again that he is a cut above all other political pundits and MSM soothsayers. In fact, the man is a genius.

His gift is his uncanny and unabashed way of taking a shot at his own profession; pointing out the inherent self-righteousness with both imagination and sardonic wit. He did not disappoint me today.

A few gems from Update on the Media's Jihad, a pseudo-memo to members of the PPG from the executive:

...I am also unhappy to report that public reaction to our announced boycott of the Prime Minister's press conferences has not been exceedingly positive. Typical of the many emails our office has received was this one: "Who do you navel-gazing, pasty-faced twits think you are?" And that was from my wife...

And Lorrie even manages to lop a few other zingers at 'unbiased' polls and Bob Rae supporters:

To test whether this anecdotal evidence of public disapproval of our journalistic jihad against the prime minister is widespread, your executive has commissioned a poll by the respected Ottawa market research firm "Opinions 'R Us."

The question to be asked is: "Do you support Prime Minister Stephen Harper in his dictatorial attempts to muzzle the noble Parliamentary Press Gallery, thus destroying the cherished Canadian institution of freedom of the press?"

We will let you know the results once the survey is done. We are waiting for the Liberal leadership convention in order to have easy access to a large sample of unbiased and enlightened Canadians. Either that, or we'll just poll anyone who's voting for Bob Rae because, frankly, I've always wanted to ask those folks, "what the hell are you people thinking?"

Aw, what the heck. Just go read the whole thing for yourselves!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Fall-out from the Culture of Entitlement

I am beginning to access my inner rage again, which is a good thing. Without it I wouldn't be able to do justice to this blog. Anger is a powerful, energizing emotion.

Just like so many other taxpayers, I am fed up with the complaints emerging from the ungrateful mouths of some of the 'Canadian' evacuees. And, as I mentioned yesterday, I'm sure that the media is focusing on these negative comments in gleeful retaliation as they engage in their own little unending war with the PMO.

However, I have a few questions. First of all, what were 40 - 50,000 Canadians doing in Lebanon in the first place? The Toronto Sun's Peter Worthington has a few ideas:

...Most are dual-citizenship Canadians who've chosen to return to the motherland to live as Lebanese -- until trouble strikes and then they want the Canadian government to rescue them, not the Lebanese government...

...Now Canada is chartering seven ships and a bunch of aircraft to rescue these citizens, many of whom have chosen not to live in Canada. Does Canada have an obligation to be responsible for them? The cost to taxpayers of removing tens of thousands from Lebanon is enormous.

How many, one wonders, of these people will move back to Lebanon when the crisis is over and security is restored -- assuming it ever will be in Lebanon?

The view that "a Canadian is a Canadian" and all should be treated equally may need revising.

Why should the government be responsible for naturalized citizens who return to live in a dangerous country in which they are also citizens?

Tourists or short-term visitors are in a different category...

M.P. Garth Turner is also asking some questions, and it looks like he is taking a lambasting over it. He has even been called a racist for daring to say out loud what others are thinking (but of course, that's nothing new for Garth!).

Earl McRae of the Ottawa Sun has some questions too (H/T to Right in Canada):

Some Lebanese-Canadians demanded Harper "apologize" for the Lebanese-Canadian family killed in the Israeli bombing. Tragic? Of course.

Harper apologize? No bloody way. Why should he apologize? Get real, for God's sake.

(Sounds a bit like Dr. Phil there, doesn't he?)

The situation itself is tragic and desperate. However, a simple thanks would be nice. When we instead hear things like:

..."It was insulting,” said Woodbridge’s Omran, as she remembered the fainting and vomiting on a crowded boat from Beirut...

we feel insulted ourselves. But apparently we are not allowed to express those thoughts because that would be politically incorrect. Thank you Mr. Trudeau and all those years of Liberal indoctrination.

Ha! I got my mojo back!!!

* * * * *

UPDATE: Think about this next time you have to pay your taxes:

Another evacuee said she was "ashamed to be Canadian" and regretted the apparently arduous journey.

"If I knew that it was going to be like this, I would have stayed in Lebanon under the bombs," said Roula Karbash. "It would be easier."

Doesn't that just make you feel warm all over?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Press Gallery Politics?

Just easing back in the saddle after a lovely time of surf, sand, sun and general mellowing-out...

That makes it all the more difficult to relate to the tension and suffering going on in the Mid-East. We are hearing horror stories about the sub-human conditions aboard the first rescue ship out of Lebanon. In fact there is very little else other than castigation about the way Canada has handled the evacuation.

I only wonder how much of this is filtered through a media lens that has an axe to grind. (Excerpt from Gloria Galloway on why PMO wanted crisis kept under wraps):

Jim Whittier, Hamilton, Ont.: It is important to have a critical press. But do you think the recent hissy fit of the Ottawa Press Gallery had anything to do with the vitriol in some of the recent press attacks? From my perspective, this approach seems to be more damaging to the credibility of those reporting it than to the targets of their attacks.

Gloria Galloway: Hi, Jim. It would be foolish of me to deny that there is an ongoing dispute between the Prime Minister's Office and the press gallery. And I think there have been incidents of bad behavior on both sides. I think the job of any Ottawa reporter is to get beyond that and tell the story as we see it, without allowing the relationship to get in the way. To be honest, though, I think it works this way. When people are fair and open with reporters, and when they seem to respect the fact that we have jobs to do and do their best to help us, we are more inclined to overlook occasional minor pratfalls. If there is no good relationship established, then we are less likely to do so.

Is it reasonable to expect immediate evacuation by a country whose military has been gutted by Liberal governments for so many years? Is it reasonable to expect first-class accommodations? Is it reasonable to expect as timely a response as a country near the area of crisis?

Those who have been rescued must feel traumatized, but let's give them a chance to get home and recuperate. Then we can rehash the whole operation and see how things can be improved for the future.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Time Out for Fun

I'll be taking several days off for a little R & R, so all my worthy sparring partners can sit back and sharpen their knives in the interim. Comment moderation will be left on, so anyone still wishing to leave a comment may do so and I'll check in periodically.

As a parting word, I would like to acknowledge that some of the issues we have covered here have been contentious to say the least. Feathers have been ruffled on both sides of the more divisive issues. If I have inadvertently hurt anyone's feelings, I sincerely apologize.

Part of my "Journey" has been to try to come to terms in my own heart with the same issues that everyone else is grappling with in today's Canada. This forum has been an excellent venue to conduct that type of discussion. I've learned a lot from all of you, and I would even go so far as to say that my initial very hard-right stance has been softened somewhat by the comments that several contributors have shared.

The one thing I want to make clear, however, is that calling me a "bigot" was not the "tipping point" (thanks Malcolm Gladwell, as I leech off you once again).

Neither was it the blindsiding hate-filled posts by some other vengeful bloggers where they attacked me personally with a plethora of raging epithets and derisive labels. I could provide links here, but why give them more hits?

No, instead it was the poignant comments and calm, logical arguments from several intelligent individuals that helped me to have empathy for another point of view.

You know who you are, and I thank you.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Are you a leech?

For a seemingly self-indulgent behaviour such as blogging, the epitome would likely be for a blogger to attempt to justify the behaviour itself. So please indulge me while I do just that.

Malcolm Gladwell
thinks bloggers are 'parasites'. He lectured recently at the New York Library, and defended the old media in the following way:

While former Time Inc. editor in chief Norman Pearlstine and Slate founder Michael Kinsley predicted doom and gloom for newspapers in the Internet age, Gladwell sang the praises of paper products and derided bloggers as "parasites" who feed on newspapers to survive. If newspapers die, "What are they [the bloggers] going to do? Get jobs?" Gladwell mocked.

(New York Daily News, towards the end of the article). H/T to Blogebrity.

Is that true? Are bloggers nothing more than news-sucking slugs living off the avails of all the hard work done by MSM?

Well, in our defence, we're cheaper, faster and occasionally more innovative.

When I think back to the media ban about the Gomery proceedings, it was actually a U.S. blog that scooped the MSM for information. Some newspapers even made cloaked references to the blog by mentioning phrases such as 'where Captain Kirk might go if he wanted to rest', and so on. That was the only way they could direct readers to information - they had to leech off the blog.

I actually see blogging and MSM as partners in a symbiotic relationship. We can complement each other, and that is certainly the case lately, with the Toronto Sun having a daily "Best of the Blogs" feature, and even the Globe and Mail noting the importance of some Liberal bloggers as they scored interviews with various leadership candidates.

Some high-profile bloggers, such as Steve Janke and Stephen Taylor even do their own investigative journalism and interviews on a continuing basis. They have working relationships with various sources including MSM reporters.

There is no doubt that many bloggers, including yours truly, rely heavily on news items and editorials from various types of media.

However, as I commented recently at Chucker Canuk's, the real benefit to society is that we're not driving our friends and family crazy with our constant rants! We have a safe outlet that is saving the public health care system a pile of dough!!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Where Does the Buck Stop?

Very disturbing report in the Toronto Star, "OPP Chief Breaks Silence". OPP Commissioner Gwen Boniface denies that the native protestors were exempt from the law.

Boniface said her force tried to deal with the situation "in a way that's reflective of 2006."

What the heck does that mean??? For some reason, it sends chills up and down my spine.

While several unidentified officers blame Boniface for bringing 'shame' to the force, she insists that she "gave no special directions to officers for dealing with native protestors."

She also said she received "absolutely" no direction from the provincial Liberal government, which was quick to call a public inquiry into the 1995 shooting of native protestor Dudley George at a dispute in Ipperwash Provincial Park.

This was the same Liberal government, you may recall, who ignored the Legislature's demand for an inquiry into Caledonia.

So will someone please tell me who is running this zoo we call Ontario?

* * * *

UPDATE: One (albeit biased) source puts the total cost to date at over $250 million!!!!

Yet, we can't look after autistic kids in Ontario after age six.

(Note: Don't bother looking for the link. Shut down. So much for freedom of speech).

* * * *

THURSDAY UPDATE: Does this sound familiar? (Logging Protest Blocks Ontario Trans-Canada Highway) Note: No response from McGuinty.

* * * *
Just came across this quote by James Freeman Clarke: "A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation."

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Smart Meters = Dumb Decision

If all the broken promises, Lord of the Farce and the Caledonia fiasco aren't enough reasons to boot the Ontario Liberals out in 2007, Sun Business Editor Linda Leatherdale provides us with yet another!

In Pull McGuinty's Plug, she warns of another Liberal boondoggle in the works that "will make Ottawa's gun registry or Ontario's property tax madness look like financial sanity."

The intent likely was to make it appear as if the McGuinty government is taking responsible action by encouraging homeowners to save power and supposedly also save money by running large appliances on the off-hours when the rates would be cheaper.

In reality things look different:

"The gun registry cost overruns will pale by comparison to what will happen with smart metering," warns hydro expert Dave Young, an engineer for Kinectrics (formerly the research arm of Ontario Hydro).

Young says the smart meters McGuinty wants to install are too expensive, won't do what they're designed to do and will cheat customers who adjust their behaviour, like getting up at 4 a.m. to do the laundry, turn on the dishwasher and cook meals.

McGuinty's hydro plan is so insane that the poor souls now forced to use smart meters in his pilot project are paying the highest electricity prices during waking hours.

Linda says that Conservative Leader John Tory found out that:

...the Liberals plan on forcing us to buy brand-new smart meters at a cost of up to $5 a month -- when a Chatham utility using technology can do it much cheaper, at $1.29, by retrofitting existing meters.

But rather than go the cheaper route, Energy Minister Dwight Duncan went to Europe on a smart meter hunt, where he blew taxpayers' money on $70 steaks and other expensive feasts as his team wined and dined in Rome, Copenhagen and Brussels.

She continues:

Tory also says the Liberals plan on setting up a new administrative nightmare, similar to the Municipal Property Assessment Corp., which will blow tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on a government-run smart meter data collection centre.

Energy expert Young agrees: "The communications linkages and data warehouses we'll need for all this information flitting back and forth will sink this system in the end," Young said. "Or, if it doesn't sink it, it will dwarf the billion-dollar gun registry that was supposed to be $2 million. Ten billion wouldn't surprise me at all."

It appears that not only is the program itself inherently flawed, but that we will be paying dearly for it in increased taxes and hydro rates.

Obviously this government is spinning out of control, but my biggest worry is that many voters will be sucked in when McGuinty inevitably attempts to bribe the taxpayers with their own money just before the next election - and then proceeds to break the promises again.

* * * *

TUESDAY UPDATE: Please check out This Canada for the complete list (to date) of McShifty's broken promises. Recognized by the Toronto Sun. It will be a useful resource for the next election.

And even the Toronto Star is telling McGuinty to keep his promise to autistic children!!!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

It Just Keeps Getting Worse

Steve Janke has done some awesome investigative journalism and is the process of uncovering another potential scandal. It seems that a new ad campaign has been launched to lure tourists to lovely Caledonia. Steve is connecting the dots to a very interesting origin and possible conflict of interest concerning this contract.

TrustOnlyMulder says that we may once more be "getting Officially Screwed by a Liberal and their ad agency friends."

Meanwhile, I came across the following condemnation in our normally Liberal-friendly newspaper, the Record (Dropping the Ball in Caledonia). Here's the best part:

But the protesters who still occupy the property do not believe that they need rely on courts or peaceful negotiations to get what they want. They are willing to ignore the laws of Ontario, laws which many of them say do not apply to the Six Nations. They are ready to arbitrarily apply rules of their own and enforce those rules with violence. In doing this, they have shown their contempt for the laws of Ontario and for the democratically elected government that makes those laws and is given the sacred trust of upholding the rule of law. And with all the spine that can be located in a jellyfish, the provincial government has acquiesced. What a dismal, dangerous precedent has been set.

Spine of a jellyfish. Kinda has a nice ring to it. I can just see the 2007 Ontario election ads now...

Maybe I won't cancel my Record subscription after all.

Please Don't Feed the Bears!

"Comment Moderation" is becoming a huge pain, and it is restricting the flow of discussion here. I would like to remove it, but I will have to enforce some rules.

Comments will be deleted if:

1. Extreme profanity or vulgar references are used. I can live with the odd expletive when nothing else will do. H--l, I've done it myself on occasion! But everyone knows when that line is being crossed.

2. Personal attacks will not be tolerated. There is a huge difference between criticizing an attitude or behaviour, and attacking the person themselves. Sarcasm intended to vilify or destroy another person is destructive and immature. It takes a lot more brain power to sit back and ponder a reasonable response to a challenge than it does to hurl back digital assaults. Please try previewing your comment, read it through, make sure it is coherent and logic-based before hitting the 'publish' button.

3. Please refrain from high-jacking the thread as much as possible. This means stay on topic. The odd reference to something unrelated is fine, but when one or more people take over and try to advance their own agenda, this is where I draw the line. Feel free to do that on your own blog or elsewhere. Thank you.

(On the other hand, I always welcome tips and suggestions, and can be reached at the address on my profile.)

And this brings me to the last rule regarding -

4. TROLLS! What is a troll? Kate at Small Dead Animals has a great definition and prescription for dealing with them. The trolls (or shall I say people exhibiting trolling behaviour to follow Rule #2) will be allowed back in, but only if they play by the above-stated rules. It is recommended that anyone displaying troll-like behaviour be ignored by the others. Don't allow yourself to be baited. It takes you down to their level. As Kate says, "Ignore, ignore, ignore." (Thanks, Kate.) As I mentioned on a previous post, C-Junk refers to it as "feeding the bears". Please don't feed the bears.

This is a digital forum, but there are still human beings sitting at each keyboard, and they have feelings. Let's respect those feelings. However, if someone takes a cheap shot at you, consider just ignoring it. Their open display of childishness and lack of integrity will speak for itself.

BTW, to anyone who feels it is their life's-mission to "teach me a lesson" or "teach me how to be a better blogger", I'm sure there are other more deserving charities out there.

And finally, as I've said before, we need to be careful when fighting the monster that we don't become the monster ourselves.

* * * *

Update: I just happened to stumble across this lovely bit of advice. The interesting thing is that she apparently has her own method of dealing with trolls - don't post their comments. She rejected mine, so I am assuming that's how she handles it. Post only the comments which agree with what you say. Interesting.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Lesson in Debating Skills

In a recent effort to come to some kind of conclusion regarding the treatment of Margaret Somerville at the Ryerson debacle, I threw out some questions about whether or not we are in danger of losing our freedom of speech when someone like Professor Somerville can be accused of being a "homophobe" for simply expressing her concerns about same-sex marriage.

As I anticipated, a high-spirited and lengthy debate ensued. Towards the end of the discussion, it became apparent that even the hypothetical question of expressing any views related to homosexuality or gay marriage can be seen as homophobic and bigoted, according to one of the more emotionally engaged participants in the discussion.

Also, it is apparently taboo to refer to homosexuality as a "lifestyle", thereby implying that it is a choice rather than having a "biological foundation". This too will earn you the moniker of "bigot". And that should effectively end the discussion as far as that debater is concerned.

I find this rather frightening, because if we are not even allowed to discuss this anymore without being labeled a bigot, then just who is doing the discriminating? And who is losing their rights?

Of course anything meant to vilify or put down any segment of the population is not to be tolerated, but if we can't even have a discussion about where freedom of speech ends and hate speech begins, aren't we in real trouble?

However, the ultimate lesson I've learned from all this is that some people have their own peculiar code of tolerance for ending a debate - If all else fails, call your opponent names.

* * * *

Update: There must be an awful lot of "bigots" in the States!

Culture of Entitlement Continues

Very interesting discussion going on at Garth Turner's blog regarding M.P.'s being allowed to use per diem expense account money to make mortgage payments on personal homes in Ottawa (H/T to Mike McGuire at Dispatches).

On an earlier post, Garth reports:

Apparently, according to the Liberal whip, Karen Redman, who is on the Board, MPs can now claim $75 a day for meals while they are away from home, in addition to $25 a day for accommodation if they own a house or condo in Ottawa.

“You just apply for your per diem for every day you’re in Ottawa and you receive an expense cheque,” Ms. Redman said. “You make a choice; either you’re using it for your meals or you’re applying it to your mortgage.”

Garth says:

This means MPs in Ottawa four days a week during the time the House of Commons sits can get more than $17,000 a year in the form of meal money to use to pay their mortgages. And it is absolutely, unquestionably and inarguably wrong...

The point is this: (a) Taxpayers should not be helping an MP build real estate equity at the same time he or she is getting a wage three times higher than the national average, and (b) it is indefensible to take mortgage subsidy money when all our constituents are paying their loans with after-tax dollars, and (c) how the heck are MPs ever going to understand the need for tax relief and the pressures placed on family finances today when they are insulated from the real world?

The secret committee that made this decision is comprised of M.P.'s of all political stripes, and you can see that the opposition in total outweighs the Conservative members. Since it is secret, there is no public disclosure of how each member has voted.

Lots of links related to this story, including the Vancouver Sun, and the Toronto Star. At the very least, I think the public should be allowed access to the voting record.

Love him or hate him, Garth keeps things interesting!

* * * *

Update: TrustOnlyMulder says Garth is wrong.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Fife blows it

CTV's Robert Fife gives away the surprise. Way to go, Bob.

Something's Rotten in Ontario

How is it be possible that Judge David Marshall's orders regarding the Caledonia dispute continue to be ignored? Isn't the judiciary a separate and independent body apart from the provincial legislature?

Judge Marshall is obviously frustrated and is "ordering the parties to return on July 24 to submit ideas on how to deal with the failure to enforce the injunction. There will be another hearing to discuss an appropriate penalty for contempt of court". (CBC)

What is the point of having courts and judges if the orders can be ignored if they don't suit all the participants?

The other thing that I find ironic, is that in most cases up until now, the courts have had an extreme hand in determining our social values, with regards to swingers' clubs, same-sex marriage, etc. In those cases, the judiciary was regarded as infallible and beyond reproach. Provincial and federal legislatures had to fall in line.

However, we have this interesting situation in Ontario now, where a judge's orders can be ignored. I find this very disturbing. It erodes confidence in the government, the courts, and everything that we hold up as a part of a civilized democracy.

The Globe reports:

...And in a democracy, when court orders are not obeyed, "the court is not hurt by it. It is destroyed by it. There will be a return to rule of law," Mr. Justice T. David Marshall of the Ontario Superior Court said at a hearing yesterday as he ordered parties to return to court on July 24...

...Ontario government lawyer Dennis Brown said that, since the injunction was sought by a previous owner and is legally not attached to the land, it no longer had any force in law, and the province does not intend to seek a new one now.

While Judge Marshall reserved his ruling on the application to end the injunction, the focus of the legal jockeying has shifted to the future of the contempt order, directed against two named aboriginals and other, unnamed protesters.

The judge would like to be able to use the order to help end the occupation and to respond to the needs of the local community, which is extremely frustrated by the continuing occupation, according to C. E. McCarthy, who represented the Haldimand Law Society.

"When the province owns the land, we have to ask ourselves the question why the protesters need to be there. Now it is time for them to leave," Mr. McCarthy said...

So if I am interpreting this correctly, it appears that the Province bought out the developer so that the injunction ordered by Judge Marshall would then be rendered void, since it was originally requested by Henco Industries. My guess is that McGuinty hopes when the smoke and dust clears, he can just quietly pass the land over to the natives for a nominal sum if any.

Whether or not the land claim is legitimate is irrelevant at this point. We have a serious problem in Ontario, and it extends way beyond Caledonia.

Dare I use the word corrupt?

UPDATE: Check out Musings of the Technical Bard: On Caledonia. It's worth the read!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Grassroot Thoughts - Part 2

The other letter that caught my eye in Tuesday's Record, by Sarah Albano of Fergus, is one that may provoke some controversy here.

Ms. Albano speaks to the right of Freedom of Speech, and the recent spectacle surrounding the ceremony where Margaret Somerville was given an honourary degree, but was greeted by some faculty and protesters in a not-so-honourable fashion:

The word 'homophobia' is used improperly

I am weary of people misusing certain words. One that keeps popping up in the news is the word "homophobia." What on earth does it mean?

Does it mean people have a phobia of homosexuals?

A phobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by extreme and irrational fear of simple things or social situations.

The correct use of the word homophobia should refer to people who have extreme and irrational fear of homosexuals.

That certainly does not refer to those who simply do not accept some of the agenda being advanced by the homosexual community.

If someone of a different faith dialogues with me, we may have very strong opposing views. Would it be correct for me as a person of one faith to call the other a "Christianphobic" person because that person does not agree with any of my views? That would be ridiculous. I can accept that there are others who hold views with equal conviction to their faith as I do to mine.

I was recently shocked at the name- calling and irresponsible comments made by those in the gay community toward Margaret Somerville, who was given an honorary degree by Ryerson University.

Somerville is free to express her views on this issue. This does not make her homophobic. It simply means she has a different view. And if my memory serves me correctly, we live in Canada and she is as entitled to her view as you are yours.

There will always be those who disagree with you. This doesn't mean they hate you or discriminate against you; they simple don't agree with you.

Wikipedia defines homophobia as:
"fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals. It can also mean hatred of and disparagement of homosexual people, their lifestyles, their sexual behaviors, or cultures, and is generally used to assert bigotry.

When the term is applied to political or religious opposition to specific sexual acts or political positions, it has been criticized as a pejorative, loaded term intended to discredit religious criticism of homosexuality."

So who is right? It seems to me that 'homophobia' is a convenient weapon to be hurled at anyone who doesn't buy into the gay agenda - Dismiss any discussion as 'homophobic'. End of story, unless a Human Rights Tribunal gets involved.

In my search for a definition of homophobia, I came across this very interesting article written by a Penn State political science student. The full essay is available online, but here are some points to ponder:

Stop the name-calling. Stop redefining social phobias to fit your ideological and political agendas. To tolerate homosexuality, one does not have to agree with it, support it or think it is natural.

The next time someone says homosexuality is wrong, disgusting or that they'd just rather not see it, respect their opinion and tolerate them.

The people who have been called "homophobes" in the past have a right to think this and to say it. It does not make them homophobic because this radical definition is wrong and intolerant.

Likewise, homosexuals have the right to be gay and be proud of it. They cannot demand that people tolerate them if they do not reciprocate that tolerance.

Now, to be clear, I do not necessarily agree or disagree with any of the above. I am simply putting forward some items for discussion. We may as well enjoy our Freedom of Speech while we still supposedly have that right.

Thoughts from the Grassroots

The Record, our local Torstar-affiliated paper, provided a surprisingly conservative sampling of letters to the editor yesterday. Perhaps it was their random token effort to appear unbiased, but it is appreciated nonetheless.

Two letters were intended to refute a June 23rd op-ed by Lindsay Moore, "Harper's 'Family Allowance' will Force Moms to Quit". (You can get the background from Sara, who took her own shot at the article.)

The part of Ms. Moore's piece that seems to have ruffled the most feathers is:

"...I was a stay-at-home mom for five years. We decided that for our financial future, I should return to school and strive for a career that I would love. I am doing just that. I was no longer happy staying home with the kids. I lost my identity, my spunk, and it was felt by everyone in my household..."

Personally, I feel that this is a frightening and all too common attitude seen in today's society; namely, the 'What's in it for me?' syndrome. In an increasingly self-focused, rights-grabbing culture of entitlement to government assistance and dependency, people have been encouraged to see their own needs and wants as being superior to others; even those of their own children. Some people do indeed require the second income to make ends meet, but if it's just to buy a new minivan or take a vacation, I have to question why the rest of Canadian taxpayers should subsidize it?

However, it was interesting to see some other letters supporting my POV. Since they are behind a subscribers' firewall, I'll give you the highlights:

Tad Pecak of Kitchener writes:

"...Young people should show some individualism, a responsible approach to real life and do some critical thinking before they start families and start losing "spunk" (in Moore's words) just five years later."

Martha Lesis of Holstein writes:

"...I do not see her as representative of "many many working families," nor do I feel she was fair in blaming her woes on the family allowance plan. While I commend her for her desire to equip herself to be a social service worker, I wonder if she has forgotten that her three children are the precious products of decisions that she and her husband presumably made during the past six years.

How about considering a very important incentive not to work, i.e. three young children? She chose to have those children and, like many of us whose children are now grown, she may just have to wait until the kids are in school before she gets to focus on herself. It's not forever..."

Couples contemplating parenthood should remember that having kids is an unalterable, life-changing experience. You can't just return them when you get bored, like a DVD rental or something.

I'm going to save the last letter for a separate post, because it deals with a different topic, and also because people seem to have a very short attention span these days.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

THIS McGuinty Doesn't Mince Words!

From today's National Post - "Police seek 'despicable' men who urinated on war monument."

The outrage continues over the photographs of several young men caught relieving themselves on the National War Memorial on Canada Day.

The most vocal so far is Ottawa South M.P. David McGuinty, brother of Ontario Premier Dalton:

David McGuinty, the MP for Ottawa South, did not mince words on the appropriate punishment for those caught urinating, whom he called "the worst of the worst that society has to offer."

"You want to grab them by the hair or by the ears and walk them through the War Museum, to understand just how despicable and disrespectful that kind of conduct is," he said, adding, "You cannot attribute this to drunkenness."

Then he talks about taking action:

Mr. McGuinty also vowed to take up the cause of protecting the monument, saying he wanted to bring together military agencies, the chief of police, the NCC and others to find a solution.

See, Dalton? Learn from your brother. This is how a leader conducts himself. He acknowledges a problem, and then he deals with it. He doesn't hide under the covers or send an ex-M.P. to handle it in order to keep his own hands clean.

Ah, if only they had switched paths when they first started their careers...

* * * * *

Update: Check out RGM for more on this story.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The Phantom Observer suggests the David McGuinty's actions smack of "political opportunism". Interesting POV.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Police seek Montreal Man in Ottawa urnination scandal. Also looks like David McGuinty is actually taking some action. Kudos to him. (H/T Nealenews)

Also - Two Ottawa youths identified (H/T Canadian Christian Conservative).

Monday, July 03, 2006

Much Ado about Nothing

Well, it seems that the anticipated brouhaha in Caledonia never actually materialized, which is a big relief for all concerned.

But apparently there is still a great deal of tension. According to the Hamilton Spectator, native flags greatly outnumbered the Canadian ones, which I suppose is not surprising, given the hostility.

Meanwhile, a loyal reader sent me this pic which says it all regarding the handling of the whole fiasco! (Well, I guess Dalton should be in there too.)

Wednesday Update: Dalton in the real estate business (H/T Small Dead Animals)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Calling All Policy Wonks!

I have often complained that my M.P. Karen Redman doesn't seem to bother getting feedback from constituents. However, in her Spring 2006 newsletter, she actually did seek to take the pulse of the community on various issues. I have been a bit tardy getting back to her, but better late than never, right? (Never mind that she ignores me).

Here is a sampling of the questions from her brief survey "intended to review current public opinion on various issues currently before the House of Commons." I need your help to determine if these questions seem objective, or are they worded in such a way as to elicit a particular response?

1. Do you agree with the Conservative government scrapping climate change programs in favour of a tax credit for transit users?

2. Do your support the Conservative government's 1% reduction in the GST rather than an income tax reduction?

3. There is no evidence to suggest that jailing more people works as a deterrent to criminal behaviour. However, the Conservative government has recently tabled legislation to address Conditional Sentences and Mandatory Minimum Penalties. Do you support mandatory minimum penalties as an effective tool in crime prevention?

4. The recent federal budget provides no additional funding for wait times reduction, nor any explanation of how the wait times guarantee will be implemented. Do you believe a better, stronger health care system to be the most important issue for the federal government?

5. The Canada Council was supposed to see its funding doubled this year, but instead receive only $50 million over two years. Is federal funding to support the arts important to you?

6. The 2006 budget cuts the funding for Aboriginal Canadians provided under the Kelowna Accord, a reduction in funding by 80 percent, down to just over $1 billion. Do you believe that abandoning this agreement jeopardizes Canada's relationship with its Aboriginal people?

7. Does the reduction in regulated child care spaces cause a hardship for your family?

8. Since 2001, Canada has been committed to long-term stability and strengthened governance in Afghanistan. Canada continues to work with the United Nations, NATO and the international community to help Afghanistan become a stable, democratic and self-sustaining state. Do you support Canada's continued military mission in Afghanistan?

I have no problem with the last question. I would answer with a resounding "Yes"!!!

Several of the other questions are not black-and-white, yes-or-no questions. I am assuming that Ms. Redman is looking for some kind of riding mandate with which to support her position in Parliament.

Any input is appreciated here. As a good constituent I must reply to my M.P. even though I am waiting for several responses from her.

Right Back at Ya

Am I the only one suffering from political ennui concerning this finger-pointing going on regarding convention fees? David Akin also reports on the dispute.

The opposition is obviously desperate to get a little dirt on the Tories, but they're going to have to dig deeper. Let's just get a definitive interpretation and move on.

Canadians care about this as much as they do about the Press Gallery snit. Navel-gazing obviously isn't limited to Toronto.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Domada Day!

While everyone else seems fixated about the "Dominion Day"-"Canada Day" controversy, I would like to point out a tiny news item in today's National Post.

It seems that Stephane Dion is the first Liberal leadership wannabe to step into the real world, by admitting that Kyoto is not the panacea for all environmental woes, as some Lefties would have us believe.

Unfortunately, the article is under a subscribers' firewall, so I'll give you some highlights:

Dion admits Liberals' Kyoto goal impossible
Ex-minister first in party to say 2012 targets out of reach

"In 2008, I will be part of Kyoto, but I will say to the world I don't think I will make it. Everyone is saying target, target. But ... it is to be more than to reach a target. It's to change the economy. It's to have resource productivity, energy efficiency when we know that energy will be the next crisis for the economy of the world."

The Liberal party maintains its climate-change plans would meet the 2012 deadline. Mr. Dion is the first senior party figure to cast doubt on that claim.

A spokesman for Environment Minister Rona Ambrose said Mr. Dion's comments were cause for concern. "It is concerning that the Liberals were prepared to mislead Canadians on the Kyoto targets even though the former Liberal environment minister now admits the targets were unachievable."

My own M.P. Karen Redman is one of those Liberals who keeps warning that the sky is falling because of the current government's disenchantment with Kyoto. I sincerely hope that Mr. Dion has a chat with her, so that she can relay the facts to her constituents.

Anyway, in closing I would like to wish you a happy and joyous holiday, whatever you choose to call it (does this not sound reminiscent of the Christmas debate?).

Personally, I prefer Dominion Day. It brings back a lot of warm, fuzzy memories like "Happy Days", the "Friendly Giant", and chocolate cigarettes that were actually called cigarettes, instead of the politically-correct candy sticks. Oh, and big chunks of sponge toffee! And the real Turkish Delight chocolate bars...

O.K. - Happy Dominion Day!