Thursday, November 30, 2006

More Nurture than Nature?

A recently released Danish study suggests that early childhood and family factors could have an influence on sexual orientation.

In general, early father or mother absenteeism may be one influence. Others could be urban vs. rural habitation and birth order.

("Childhood Family Correlates of Heterosexual and Homosexual Marriages: A National Cohort Study of Two Million Danes," by Morten Frisch and Anders Hviid, Archives of Sexual Behavior Oct 13, 2006. - H/T Lifesite.)

I wonder what would happen in a same-sex family where one partner leaves the family early on in the child's life? I suppose that we'll have to wait for more Danish studies to find out.

Redman Smack-down

It is with great pleasure that I relate this tidbit from yesterday's Hansard:

The Speaker - The hon. member for Kitchener Centre.

Hon. Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, Canada is becoming an international embarrassment at the hands of the Conservative government and it is small wonder. Once again, the foreign affairs minister has shown that he does not know the meaning of diplomacy.

First, he insinuated that a female member of the House was his dog. Several of us heard him. Last night he went further and claimed on television “when you sleep with dogs, you get fleas”. We all know what he was getting at.

When will the foreign affairs minister stop embarrassing all Canadians with this offensive behaviour?


Mr. Deepak Obhrai (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, the foreign affairs minister of Canada is doing an excellent job in representing Canada at international forums. He is standing for the principles that define the government and this country. We are all very proud of him.

Hon. Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, this week the Liberal women's caucus released “The Pink Book”. This groundbreaking policy document addresses several issues that impact women and discusses the challenges that they face in their daily lives. It focuses on modern, forward thinking approaches to these issues.

We in politics, on this side of the House at least, often say that more women are needed in the House, but when Canadian women hear the foreign affairs minister continue to make degrading remarks that go unpunished, do we blame them for simply saying no thanks?

Hon. Bev Oda (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear. In the caucus of this government we do not have a women's caucus or a men's caucus. We have one Conservative caucus.

We do not have a washed out policy book, a pink book. We have one Conservative policy book. In fact, every member in this caucus and every member of the government, men and women, will stand up and do the right thing for women across Canada.

Nice one, Bev!

Karen, please stop. You're embarrassing us here in Kitchener Centre. Bad enough I've got a Liberal MP, but this stuff is humiliating!

And speaking of embarrassed, check out yesterday's National Post editorial, "Bad Ideas, Dressed in Pink".

For all its predictability, there is at least one noteworthy tactical innovation in the Pink Book. Consider this sentence: "As a first step, the Liberal Women's Caucus endorses providing financial resources to Aboriginal women's organizations at the same level as their male-led counterparts." This is bold logic indeed: Because existing organizations claiming to represent aboriginal interests are actually led by men, those organizations must be duplicated, structurally and financially -- as a first step!

All one has to do is look around to see how fertile this idea really is. The Canadian Medical and Bar Associations? Historically male-led, and still lamentably somewhat so. Women obviously need their own parallel groups of equal budgetary size. The CBC? Why not two state broadcasters? We can call them the "She Be She" and the "He Be He."

And who would dare argue that women don't need their own fully-funded Wheat Board or War Museum? We look forward to the appearance of such hypothetical enterprises in future Pink Books, assuming that the Liberals aren't sufficiently embarrassed by what's in the first volume.

Karen, maybe best to stick to head-counting for crucial votes. Please!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Another Side to the Chong Resignation

National Newswatch has linked to this article from the Star: "Tories Challenge Chong's Account."

According to some insiders, ex-Minister Michael Chong was not completely above-board with the PM, and kept his cards close to his chest until the last minute. This contradicts Chong's story that he kept Harper well apprised of his concerns. There is also a dispute about how much the PM kept Chong in the loop ahead of time.

Chantel Hebert seems to feel that Michael Chong's resignation was unnecessary. In her article, "Party Must Look to the Future" she notes:

If ex-intergovernmental affairs minister Michael Chong had spent a bit more time listening to his Liberal colleagues from Quebec over the course of the parliamentary debate that led to the overwhelming endorsement of the motion Monday night, he might have remained in Stephen Harper's cabinet.

(Both Star links are available off the main page. As you know, Star links hate me. Hopefully the new Blogger will be better.)

And yet the discussion continues about what "nation" and "Québécois" mean. Unfortunately, I don't think this story is over yet.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Stop the Insanity!

Last night's historic vote is being well documented in MSM this morning. Frankly, I hope this is the end of it for a while. Can we please move on to other pressing matters?

This is really bugging me. The Toronto Sun editorial rightly points out the absurdity of Correctional Service Canada "studying a pay raise for convicts, including indexing it to inflation."

Have we all gone mad here? First of all, it's hard enough to get a left-leaning bleeding heart hug-a-thug judge to muster the courage to hand down more than a house-arrest, but then we actually pay convicts a wage (over and above the $110 grand plus a year for their upkeep)??? And we should be indexing that to inflation when many Canadian citizens can't even get a job?

And as I mentioned earlier, in Ontario we spend more to feed convicts than our seniors.

What kind of crazy, demented society is this? Maybe those seniors should all go out and commit serious crimes. It'd be like winning the lottery!

* * * *

And then there was this former ombudsman for federal prison inmates...

Liberal entitlement - The gift that keeps on giving.

Monday, November 27, 2006

This can't be good

Michael Chong said to be quitting his cabinet post! I've had the pleasure of meeting Michael. He is one great guy.

This is not a good thing.

UPDATE: Yes, it's true. Michael Chong has resigned his cabinet post so that he can abstain from the "Nation" vote tonight. It is a three-line whip, which means that cabinet ministers must support the government bill, but back-benchers may either abstain or support the bill.

This is quite a loss.

* * * *

Technical Update: I corrected the definition of "Three-Line Whip" here, because I now realize that caucus members do not have the option to vote against the government bill in this situation.

It is the most severe whip, and not one that allows any vote against the proposed bill; only abstentions from non-cabinet caucus members and even then only with permission.

The term "whip" BTW is derived from foxhunting. I thought that was interesting.

Does McGuinty Value Criminals more than Seniors?

If you check out the meal allowances, you might think so.

* * * *

BTW, planning to switch over to new version of Blogger soon. If I disappear into a digital black hole, please send out a search party!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Furious George and the Squirming Hospitals

Poor George! Thursday was not a good day. Furious George lost his temper, and the Man with the Yellow Stripe Down His Back was not there to bail him out.

George loves playing Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, but Thursday he got angry. The other people weren't playing nice. They were blaming George.

George lost it.

Sometimes George and the Man with the Yellow Stripe Down his Back blame the Big Man in Ottawa when they get into trouble, but that doesn't count.

If only everyone would learn to play nicely together, then George could have fun wearing his Health Minister hat, and he wouldn't have to use those naughty words!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

What is the future of MSM?

Joan Tintor has uncovered a little gem of insight in the Globe's Report on Business Magazine. It highlights some of the challenges of MSM in an interview with ex-Star editor Giles Gherson.

As I have previously stated, I have to be careful what I say about the Star due to familial connections, but the bias is right there in black and white. However, Gherson feels that he adhered to the Atkinson principles, and that the decision was due to political reasons more than anything else.

What I find interesting is how the newspaper industry still measures success according to subscription rates. Gherson seems to be suggesting that MSM needs to move into a more multiplatform approach to news delivery as subscription rates for the "broadsheet newspaper" continue to fall in this electronic, tree-conserving age.

This is where blogs are light-years ahead. Instead of feeling threatened, MSM should try to update their approach. They need to look at more innovative methods of acquiring revenue, such as through increased on-line advertising, etc.

There's no turning back now.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Will it work?

Not much time to blog today, but I did want to mention the proposed 'reverse-onus' gun crime legislation. I would be a happy camper if this actually saw the light of day, but I am skeptical for a few reasons.

First of all, as Iggy says in today's Post, the courts may have something to say about it:

Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff questioned whether the reforms would withstand a challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"We're a country based on the presumption of innocence. I've yet to be convinced that this measure, which I think might do damage to the Charter principles of presumption of innocence, is good public policy," Mr. Ignatieff said in an interview with Global Television's Focus Ontario that will air this weekend.

Thank you again, Pierre Trudeau...

And, as the Sun editorial states, it's just a baby step in a whole long list of things that need to be done to stop pandering to criminals in this country. The Sun points out the need for a Conservative majority to be able to accomplish this goal. No wonder the Liberal cabal gave inmates the right to vote!

* * * *

Jack's Newswatch has a great post on this topic - "Reverse Onus!"

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Beaver Tales

A firestorm of controversy erupted in Waterloo, Ontario when the University of Waterloo administration attempted to stop the destruction of local beaver-gnawed trees by hiring a trapper to um, "deal" with the problem on a permanent basis. Local beaver-lovers are up in arms and even held a memorial service for the little critters! (Man, the tree-huggers would really be conflicted on this one).

Environmental studies professor Greg Michalenko stood on the stump at the rally site. After taking a group of students to see the "beautiful" beaver tooth marks on the stump on Friday, Michalenko said he was shocked on Monday to see it had been sawed to the ground.

It's "as if the university administration doesn't want us to remember" the beavers' fate, he alleged.

Where's Heather Mills when you really need her? I guess baby seals are cuter.

Anyway, the students want a more "Pro-Wildlife" policy regarding such matters. Too bad they can't get as excited about plain old Pro-Life issues. Pre-born humans must really be at the bottom of the food chain in student priorities.

* * * *

Friday Update: Beaver outrage continues in the Letters section of the Record. One reader seems to have his head screwed on right though. Eric McGrath of Kitchener asks everyone to take step back and look in the mirror:

"...A full page of letters to the editor about beavers. All of this uproar over a couple of beavers that have been trapped by professional trappers and disposed of according to legal trapping laws in our province.

And a memorial service for four beavers?

I can't help but wonder about a couple of things.

First, where are all of you the rest of the year when trappers take beavers across our province? Isn't this the same thing? Doesn't that cause you as much concern?

Second, has this more to do with the university than the beavers? Are these the protests of people dissatisfied with the university and have jumped on this bandwagon?

And third, it begs asking, what about abortion? A few beavers versus thousands of human lives -- and all disposed of according to the laws of our land.

Seems to me we have our priorities messed up."

Thank you, Eric!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Stephen Harper; Guardian of National Unity

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, you had a good day today. And the Liberal leadership hopefuls should be sending you thank-you notes tonight.

* * * *

UPDATE: Lots in MSM and blogs this morning. I think Chucker Canuk's insight is brilliant as usual - "Call me anything you want; just not late for dinner".

Yes indeed. If we can water down the word 'marriage', why not the word "Nation"? Just one more semantic sacrifice to preserve our unique muticultural, all-inclusive, politically-correct country.

Aversion to Prison

Today's Kitchener Record carries a front-page story that dovetails nicely with yesterday's post, where we discussed a possible cabal of left-wing elitists controlling the Canadian political agenda. In fact, Globe's John Ibbitson as much as admitted this.

Today's headlines in the Record state: "Judge explains aversion to prison". No, it's not that he's worried about going there himself - he explains why he hates sending convicted criminals to prison, and why he'd rather just rap their knuckles with a house arrest.

Read this article which seems to be available without subscription. You will begin to understand why Justice Minister Vic Toews is running into so much opposition to his proposals for stiffer sentences and cracking down on crime:

To explain his reluctance to send offenders to prison, Westman told Janzen several stories from his own days as a criminal defence lawyer, when he visited imprisoned clients.

Once, a "young man'' died after being thrown down a stairwell at the Joyceville prison, the judge said. No witnesses would come forward to finger the culprits.

Westman also recalled three clients doing time at Millhaven for murder. He inquired about them while visiting someone else at the prison and was told by guards that they'd been whisked out quickly one night. The men had come to the guards and told them they had to be out by midnight.

"If they hadn't, they would have been dead by morning,'' Westman said.

"We just oversee the institutions, we can't control them. Sometimes, you have to send people to that system, but you worry. Recognizing the difficulties, you really hesitate to send him to that kind of setting.''

Gee.. prison isn't a nice place? Gosh, who knew? Maybe those bad guys should think twice before committing a crime!

Anyway, prosecutor Marg Janzen wasn't impressed:

"Well, that's a problem,'' she retorted. "The court has to set aside sympathies and biases to fulfil this court's obligation.''

She said the court was "abdicating its responsibility'' by failing to send an offender to prison for fear of potential harm.

But Westman argued the penal system isn't accomplishing what the community wants it to. He wondered why Canada and the United States jail so many people.

"Other countries seem to be having more success by dealing with it differently," he said. "It's an enlightened society that turns away from the heavy use of incarceration."

So he is using his position as a platform for judicial activism and social engineering.

Never mind the poor victim, who had passed out after her former boyfriend, Jeffrey Graham, threw her to the ground in a rage, grabbed her by the throat, stuffed her back in the car hitting her head against the window in the process, and then attempted to shove her out of the moving car. Graham has been charged with aggravated assault, and also "pleaded guilty in September to possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possessing a prohibited weapon".

Justice Colin Westman has been very candid about his bias, but the implications are frightening. He's reluctant to send criminals to prison because he has heard that bad things can happen to people that go there. Better to just keep them at home. Never mind the victim who is living in constant fear that her abuser might go after her again.

Read it and weep, folks. Two stories in two days from members of the left-wing elitist lobby freely admitting that democracy is flagrantly circumvented in Canada.

Well, at least they're not trying to hide it anymore.

* * * *

Update: Wow! Yesterday's post got picked up by an Army Forum! Awesome!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Globe admits left-wing agenda

Since one of my readers has threatened to switch to Red Tory if I don't post something new soon (which BTW is a very curious and desperate leap!), I thought I'd highlight today's Toronto Sun editorial "Globe sees the light at last".

The Sun editorial board is celebrating the recent John Ibbitson column "Bob Rae and the China Syndrome", where he candidly admits that small-c conservatives and Albertans in particular have reason to be suspicious about media, judges and others in positions of power and influence.

A governing class of senior public servants, academics, artists, journalists, lawyers and judges belongs to a community of common interest physically and intellectually centred in downtown Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

Ibbitson continues:

For them, Stephen Harper is not simply a politician, he is a wrecker: a cold-blooded leader of a band of vulgar ideologues that, with every action, destabilizes the liberal consensus that has dominated the federal government for generations.

The Sun finds it ironic that this very frank observation comes from "a senior Globe writer and member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, two institutions many westerners (and others) see as house organs of the eastern liberal elites."

I managed to locate the original column by going through Google. This paragraph really resonated with me:

And on Conservative domestic policy, don't get the liberal consensus started. All this stacking of judicial advisory committees with police representatives, these barbaric proposals to impose mandatory minimum sentences and to abolish the gun registry..

In my recent post, New Drugged-Driving Legislation, Mac voiced his frustration regarding too-lenient judges that undermine the process of sending a serious message about impaired driving. The obvious solution seems to be to get some police input into judicial selection, but of course those elitist judges and lawyers have their knickers in a knot over that idea!

What's refreshing though, is to have a member of the actual power class come out with this admission. So we weren't just dreaming here! It is a real and serious undercurrent running through the Canadian political scene. The elitists see Bob Rae as their best chance of deposing the "wrecker" and regaining solid control of their power entitlements.

The Liberal Leadership Convention and the next general election will both be fascinating to watch as we witness the battle of the elitists vs. the last vestiges of democracy in Canada.

Let's hope that the dog starts wagging the tail again someday very soon.

* * * *

Update: Great editorial in the National Post by two U. of Alberta assistant law professors "Out From the Shadows". Not under subscriber lock!

Very interesting take on Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin's protests about the notion of police representatives on judicial advisory committees. The whole idea seems so common sense to me that I have to wonder what she is worried about? Why not get everyone working together so we can actually deal with crime instead of just paying lip-service?

Assistant professors Brown and Yahya put the lie to her feeble concerns about "Judicial independence". Watch for this to be another left-wing mantra to be bandied about by self-serving sanctimonious opponents to Vic Toews' logical suggestion.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'm still alive

Sorry that posts here have been so infrequent. I have been attending to some family issues, and then when I started looking around, I realized that my house was in a frightening state of chaos!

Blogging can become addictive to the extent that you sometimes don't even notice the inch of dust everywhere, and the towers of newspapers on every available surface.

So I'm trying to plough through the debris, and also doing a bit of reading and reflecting. I will share my thoughts and insights at a later time.

The book I'm currently reading was recommended by a fellow-blogger. It is "Selling Illusions - the Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada", by Neil Bissoondath. This book has been around for a while, but is still relevant in today's society (perhaps even more so)

Next on my reading list is Mark Steyn's "America Alone". I can't wait to start it, but I want to finish the other since it is a library book. See? I do have some self-discipline!

Please use this blog as a forum to discuss your favourite and most insightful books.

And thanks for checking back every once in a while. I appreciate it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Just a quick little post here. I couldn't resist mentioning John Tory's latest initiative with the Wastebusters website - Blow the Lid off McGuinty Government Waste.

This looks like a great way to vent. Help John Tory accumulate evidence of government waste under Dalton McGuinty. By the time the next election rolls around we should have a lengthy list of examples showing how your tax dollars were flushed down the toilet.

And hey, anyone outside of Ontario can join in too, because it looks like McGuinty is trying to make the rest of Canada help pick up the tab for Caledonia, as well as setting a new precedent for dithering and inaction regarding Native issues.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Brief Time-out

Real life is intruding upon my political musings. Back in a few days.

Meanwhile, keep up to date with Jack's Newswatch!

Update: Check this out!

Friday, November 10, 2006

New Drugged-Driving Legislation

Prime Minister Harper has unveiled new legislation to target drivers under the influence of drugs.

MADD strongly supports this initiative.

I tried to get into the news conference where this was being announced, but all I got for my efforts were some MADD ribbons.

You will sleep better at night knowing that the Prime Minister is well-guarded by the RCMP, and quite safe from the likes of me.

* * * *

More thoughts (?) on this at Red Tory.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Does sexism mean never having to say you're sorry?

And is the collollary that it is acceptable to hurl any insult you want as long as you apologize immediately afterwards? (Check out comments at The Politic)

Apparently there are some that would say yes. David Akin seems to think there is no story here as well. No "legs" - only hair.

I can just picture the chaos ensuing from this judgment call, as if Question Period wasn't wild enough already. Anyone can now shout whatever they want at any time, as long as they rise up immediately afterwards and apologize. Get in your witty slams and then look like a hero as you retract them. Just what we need - more phony political posturing and wasted time on the backs of the taxpayers.

I agree with Devin from Maxwell's House that they should "grow up", but for the sake of peace and decorum I have another suggestion. If you clowns can't help yourselves from dishing out the dirt in the heat of Question Period, at least refer to the recipient of the insult by their parliamentary title.

Hence, the offending remark from Salongate would have been phrased as, "The Honourable Member from Edmonton-Spruce Grove is too busy at the hair salon to do her job", or something to that effect.

And David McGuinty's original taunt at Peter MacKay would have been, "Minister of Foreign Affairs and Honourable member from Central Nova, what about your dog?"

Obviously some of these clowns are unable to keep their mouths closed and to only address the Speaker, so my suggestion would go a long way towards slowing down the insults. By the time they remembered their colleague's title, the moment would have passed and the brain would have kicked in.

Even if they did manage to spit it out, it would be less likely that an offensive comeback would ensue, as some of them ponder the fact that they are supposed to be in a position of honour and respect.

Or maybe we should start right here in the blogs, referring to Members of Parliament by their title instead of stooping to insults. Lead by example.

Nah, we're not getting paid enough for that.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Right to choose vs. Right to information

Yesterday's National Post included an interesting article by Andrea Mrozek, Manager of Research and Communications at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada ("The Hidden Cost of Choice").

She refers to a Times letter where 15 prominent signatories wrote a letter asking the official bodies regulating obstetricians and psychiatrists to revise their guidance on abortion as it pertains to mental health in young women.

This caution to advise women about the risk of adverse psychological harm to women from abortion follows a New Zealand study, showing that "young women who have had abortions exhibit twice the level of mental health problems, and three times the risk of depression, as those who had given birth or never been pregnant."

Accepted wisdom in Canada is that abortion is benign. So too in the U.K., where the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Web site tells women of limited to no harm from having an abortion. They write that "for most women, an abortion is safer than carrying a pregnancy and having a baby."

In the United States, however, the American Psychological Association had to withdraw their statement on the subject, which cited no evidence of psychological harm to women as a result of abortion, after the New Zealand study was published.

In Canada, there's no statement to withdraw: Since the issue is never even broached, the Canadian Psychological Association has never felt compelled to pronounce on the issue. As a result, we are in an unusual situation vis-a-vis other developed nations: We provide women considering abortion with little health-related research. (On the other hand, perhaps such an anomaly is to be expected: Canada is unique among liberal democracies in that we have no law regulating abortion either.)

Some women even commit suicide.

Ms. Mrozek suggests that Canadian women deserve to be made aware of these risks. "Bad health news on abortion must not be hidden as if it were always a pro-life ploy to thwart women's freedom."

What is the underlying cost to a Canadian women for that unquestioned "right to choose"? It may be her mental health or even her very life.

Watching them watching us watching them - again

I never thought I'd get involved in a counter-post war with CTV, but it seems that self-proclaimed "humble worker bee" Bill Doskoch has taken issue with my Where's the Outrage? post.

He has posted a Newsnet script describing the Ambrose hair-mocking incident on his blog.

O.K. Bill, is this meant to show me how you guys are balanced? And what's with the caps? Are you shouting at me?

He's quoted Jeff's comments from my post:

obviously the big differnece here is that the remarks about ambrose weren't made in the house of commons, in front of visiting dignitaries, veterans and school children, by canada's new government's minister of foreign affairs. it's not quite the same is it?

(Boy, Jeff, I bet you would have taken more care with the typing if you knew this would be your 15 minutes of fame, huh?)

However, Bill must have hit a deadline and therefore failed to read a bit further down the comments:

jeff & Dictus,

You are correct about one thing, there is a big difference between what was said about Belinda and what was said about Rona

Belinda: At H of C infront of a national audience

Rona: At that UN infront of world wide audience
(posted by Kitchener Conservative)

That was one of several noteworthy comments.

Hey, Bill, I'm just having a bit of fun here, really. No harm intended.

BTW, you can thank your pal David Akin for encouraging me to start this blog. Never mind he probably did it to get a little peace.

If truth be told, I really love CTV. Any network that offers "Corner Gas" can't be all bad.

* * * *

More sexist comments at The Politic.

And then there was Ralph Klein... Sheesh!

UPDATE: David Akin gets into it! This is too funny!!!

Winds of Change in the South

I don't usually blog about U.S. politics. To be honest, I don't know that much about the subject. Their system of government puzzles me and I usually find myself deliberately tuning out all the histrionics.

However, after scanning various morning headlines and editorials, I am left with the following questions:

- What are the implications for Canada?
- What does a shift in popularity to the Democrats mean for the world; especially concerning Iraq and the 'war on terror'?

According to Renan Levine, a University of Toronto political scientist, "the House is a bigger prize for Democrats than the Senate" (CTV):

"Because the minority tends to have quite a lot of power in the Senate and because there's a Republican president, not a hug impact," Levine told on Tuesday.

For example, overturning a presidential veto requires a two-thirds majority, or about 67 votes in the Senate.

"One of the big impacts, though, by taking over the House, the Democrats will have subpoena power," he said.

Under the U.S. system, Congress is charged with the oversight of the executive branch, i.e., Bush and his cabinet, he said.

"They can hold hearings about policy matters that will embarrass the administration," he said. "We're likely going to hear a lot of hearings about Iraq."

Well, I'm turning it over to you, dear readers. Please enlighten me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

O.K. CTV, Where is the Outrage?

I have been combing the CTV site looking for any mention of outrage regarding the recent sexist remarks from Environmentalists concerning Rona Ambrose.

Details at Winnipeg Free Press and Joseph Lavoie.

If anyone sees a CTV report on this, would you please let me know?

They couldn't stop reporting on Belinda's Puppygate. I'm sure they wouldn't be biased now, would they???

Monday, November 06, 2006

U.K. Docs Greasing the Slippery Slope

Damian has linked to a frightening story from the U.K. - "Allow 'active euthanasia' for disabled babies, doctors urge".

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology has put forward the option of permitting mercy killings of the sickest infants to a review of medical ethics.

They call it "active euthanisia". Incredibly, they somehow rationalize that this would measure reduce late-term abortions!

"A very disabled child can mean a disabled family. If life-shortening and deliberate interventions to kill infants were available, they might have an impact on obstetric decision-making," the college writes in a submission to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

John Harris, a member of the official Human Genetics Commission and professor of bioethics at Manchester University, welcomed the college's submission. "We can terminate for serious foetal abnormality up to term, but cannot kill a newborn," he told The Sunday Times. "What do people think has happened in the passage down the birth canal to make it OK to kill the foetus at one end of the birth canal but not the other?"

That would be my argument against late-term abortions, but he's gone and flipped it around: If we're allowing an abortion up to the minute of birth, why not terminate the life a minute afterwards?

I find this whole concept appalling on so many levels.

First of all, the obvious. We are coming closer and closer to a designer society where a collection of elitist human beings get to decide what characteristics warrant the gift of life. And what will happen at the other end of the scale? Will we one day decide that anyone with Alzheimers, for example, is too big of a drain on our ailing health care system?

On a purely personal level, there is someone very close to our family who has a disability that some people might consider worthy of termination, but this young woman is a pure joy in our lives and someone whom we are very blessed to know. I'm sure her family cannot imagine life without her.

Once we decide to play God, where does it end?

More at RootleWeb: "Mercy" Killing Babies, with a link from This is London.
Relapsed Catholic: "Kill! Everyone! Now!" Mmmm... Do we have another blogburst starting, Kathy? Do we all have our 'talking points'?
Big Blue Wave: "Allow 'active euthanasia' for disabled babies, doctors urge".
Dr. Roy: "Active Euthanasia for severly disabled newborns".

If you have posted on this topic, please let me know. Thanks.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Ruth has just produced another awesome post on this topic!! Please check it out (Regarding Euthanasia and Infants). Great post, Ruth!!! (Especially considering the fact that she is rebutting a counter-post ridiculing mine!) .
-Note to Soccermom: Don't go there. Trust me.

How are we going to prevent this from happening in Canada???

Sunday, November 05, 2006

End the hypocrisy

I was pleasantly surprised to read the left-leaning Record's Saturday editorial slamming the Ontario Liberals regarding wait times propaganda. If this Torstar offspring can see through the hype, McGuinty and Smitherman may be in more trouble than they realize.

The editorial focuses on the sad story of Kitchener resident Harald Draxler who arrived at Grand River Hospital this past Tuesday for lung cancer surgery, only to be sent home an hour before the operation because there were no critical-care beds available.

Like anyone else who has turned on a TV or opened a newspaper this fall, the ailing 66-year-old Kitchener man has been bombarded with taxpayer-funded provincial government ads that sanctimoniously proclaim the people of Ontario now "spend less time waiting'' for health care. But Draxler's shameful experience in a hospital this week, when he was sent home instead of being treated for lung cancer, shows the government's rose-coloured glasses are cracked...

...The governments ads are pure public relations puffery. They do nothing to advance public knowledge while draping the Liberals in shining robes of political purity. And it is by no means clear that the improvements in wait times are as profound as the ads suggest. To begin, the record of wait times only goes back to August of last year -- a recent and somewhat arbitrary starting point.

The Record is urging the McGuinty government to put that ad money towards helping people like Mr. Draxler instead.

However, that is unlikely. At a recent Ontario Liberals' annual general meeting at the Sheraton Centre, U.S. political strategist James Carville delivered a message exhorting the need to manipulate the public:

"We need to learn to communicate simply in ways that people can understand," said the Louisiana-born Carville — who helped Bill Clinton win the 1992 U.S presidential race with the credo: "It's the economy, stupid."

"Political communications is the only endeavour on Earth that you multiply by subtracting. The less you say, the more you're heard. The test of a good message is this: Is it simple, is it relevant, and is it repetitive? If it doesn't meet those three tests, it's no good."

How about, "Is it true?"

Calling Toronto "the most international city in the world," Carville said Liberals must constantly remind voters of positive things the McGuinty government is doing.

Sounds like they're already following his advice, even if it's all hype.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bleeding Heart Dippers

Chalk up another one for the hug-a-thuggers.

Tom Brodbeck exposes Winnipeg MP Pat Martin's total flip-flop regarding Bill C-9 which would ban conditional sentences for serious crimes.

Yesterday, Tom ran a column exposing Martin's apparent lack of conviction. Originally, Pat Martin said he would support the bill but last week he voted in favour of watering it down.

Today Tom has a follow-up item about how Pat Martin emailed him to explain his side of the story.

It seems he has recently been "convinced" by his NDP justice critic that Justice Minister Vic Toews’ bill takes too much power away from judges.

Too bad.

Tom makes a good case why the NDP's reasoning is erroneous:

That’s where MPs such as Martin have been duped.

Under the original drafting of Toews’ bill, judges would still have plenty of discretion to give offenders non-jail sentences for crimes where a conditional sentence was no longer available.

Judges could still hand out non-jail penalties like suspended sentences, probation and fines for offences they believed didn’t warrant jail time.

Martin is in the difficult spot of wanting to please his constituents who want more protection from crime, and yet he must toady to the party line.

Another example of democracy gone sour.

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H/T to Jack's Newswatch, BTW.

Jack's is one awesome blog. If you only have limited time each day to check the news, I would highly recommend going there. (And just because he featured a post of mine the other day has absolutely nothing to do with it).

More Income Trust Fallout

The Globe's Gloria Galloway was quick to pounce on this juicy tidbit - "Long-time Tory angrily quits party over trusts".

Westmount-Ville-Marie Conservative Riding Association President Sean Ahern tore up his party membership yesterday, in response to the government's decision to tax income trusts.

"If the Liberals promise to leave things the way they are for existing unit holders, I'll vote for them. I've never voted for a Liberal in my life. But I will vote for them," said Mr. Ahern, a financial planner in his 60s who has been a Conservative Party member since he was 16.


I know for a fact that there are other bitter Tories out there. No doubt the party's fundraising efforts are going to take a hit.

However, the markets seem to be recovering. I would assume that if investors just wait it out, they can find an optimum time within the four year grace period to convert their investments to another area.

Conservative Party president Don Plett said Mr. Ahern is the only riding association president to take this kind of action over income trusts. He said he has received few complaints about the matter.

"I never want to downplay something like this," Mr. Plett said. But "the way I understand it, you've only lost money on paper if you don't sell out."

However financial planners and consultants must be taking a lot of heat over this from their clients.

It's rather ironic that the biggest backlash of all may come from the party membership.

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Dissonance and Disrespect has a little less sympathy... Gloria in Extremis: Shattered Trust.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Baby Girl killed after botched abortion

This is so sad. So little regard for human life or suffering.

The warrant says that the staff “began screaming that the baby was alive.” Then, “Ms. Belkis Gonzalez cut the umbilical cord, threw it into a red bag with black printing. Ms. Gonzalez then swept the baby, with her hands, into the same red bag along with the gauze used during the procedure.”

Eight days later, police found the body of the child which Rojas had informed them had been treated with a caustic chemical and left in the heat of the Florida sun to accelerate decomposition in a possible attempt to dispose of the evidence.

God help us all.

* * * *

BTW, here is a more upbeat story about abortion survivor, Gianna Jessen.

"My biological mother thought she was making a decision affecting only her. If abortion is merely about women's rights, then what were mine?"

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Red Ryder BB Gun, Anyone?

Just taking a brief break from politics here.

I saw that the Toy Testing Council has just released its latest report for the most sought-after toys for 2007.

It took me back to the days when I would rush out to the library to check the report and then hunt down those toys for our kids before the shelves were empty. We knew Christmas would be a disaster if Santa didn't deliver the right toys under the tree, and the Toy Report was usually a good indicator of what they'd be asking for. I always thought it best to think ahead of the pack at Christmas.

Anyway, the Toy Report release brought back a lot of memories, and I thought it might be fun to throw out a question regarding what was your favourite Christmas gift, or what was the one that one of your children seemed to enjoy the most.

In our house the Cabbage Patch Kids were huge. It was a cloak and dagger mission to find them when they first came out. I remember hearing about parents scuffling over them as they were placed on the shelves. We managed to snag a couple for our kids, but it was brutal work.

Any other fond memories out there? I'll make the eggnog.

Tough Love

There is no shortage of commentary in MSM this morning regarding Income Trust fallout.

The Globe claims to have the inside scoop on how this all came down "Income-Trust Crackdown: The Inside Story".

Ironically, it was the courtesy call placed to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty by BCE's Michael Sabia that appears to be the catalyst in the equation.

Astute investors might have picked up some nuances. When the PM was speaking at the Toronto Club after BCE had announced its planned conversion, Harper was asked point blank about the issue:

“Harper hummed and hawed and basically avoided answering,” said one CEO in the room. “I took it as a sign that this was something the government was worried about.”

The market never caught on. Indeed, Mr. Flaherty's decision was made several weeks ago, with the intervening time spent hammering out last-minute details.

I recall several times when I heard Flaherty being asked by MSM about the BCE and Telus announcements, and he always expressed concern. That should have been a warning sign right there.

We now come down a fundamental question - What is integrity? Is it better to keep a promise no matter how much the variables change as time progresses, or is it more principled to break a promise for the greater good; even at the risk of political peril?

It would have been so easy for the government to turn a blind eye to what was obviously turning into a very serious domino effect of corporate tax evasion and unsound financial practices.

The Toronto Sun's Linda Leatherdale caught up with forensic accountant Al Rosen for his POV:

Bay Street's outspoken critic of income trusts, Al Rosen, applauded Flaherty for having the guts to clamp down on what he calls a dangerous investment scheme, which countries like Australia and the U.S. have banned.

"Seniors have to understand there is a fair bit of accounting gimmickry holding up trust values," said Rosen, a forensic accountant with Rosen & Associates. "When they understand how the tricks work, they'll be glad they got out."

Rosen, who's tracked returns on income trusts, estimates only 20% of them are on solid footing. His advice is unless you own one of the more solid trusts, "you should be out while the chances are still okay," Rosen said.

So if we accept that it was the right move, was it done the right way? Some people like Garth Turner suggest that it could have been done in stages, to soften the blow to investors.

I think the minister of finance could have declared a moratorium on new conversions, struck a blue ribbon panel to study the industry and eased in regs over the past few months making it crystal what direction the feds were going in. That would have allowed for a more orderly, less panicked correction, and kept from scaring the crap out of a few million seniors. It would have been a kinder blow. But if you’re a prime minister planning an election in a few months, and want nasty things done now so people will forget about them, well, you pick another route.

But if there's one thing the stock market hates, it's uncertainty. Perhaps the Finance Minister reasoned that it was better to rip the bandage right off, rather than one painful hair at a time.

Some financial advisors are saying that now is a great time to hunt for bargains in the stock market. If that kind of attitude prevails, the market will recover. The political fortunes of the Conservative party is another thing.

It will depend on whether voters see this measure as a broken promise or rather a necessary intervention to protect investors in the long term, and ensure the continued national economic health.

* * * *

Another great analysis by Terence Corcoran at the National Post - "Flaherty fix killed a gimmick".

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ball's back in Ontario's court

The Toronto Star reports that Jim Prentice isn't buying into Dalton McGuinty's interpretation of the Constitution ("Ottawa Hits Calendonia Ball Back"):

The Ontario government is solely responsible for paying for the costs of the First Nations occupation at Caledonia, and is now attempting to shift attention away from that fact, Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice said today.

"The Constitution is very clear. Property and civil rights, the administration of justice and policing are all provincial responsiblities," Prentice said in an interview.

"What's missing here is the justification for the province to say this is a federal obligation to pay for this. While the federal government has responsibility for Indians, that doesn't override provincial law."

See the thing is Premier, that with power comes responsibility. Just wishing a problem would go away doesn't always work.

Grandstanding ploy not working

Funny how political posturing doesn't always have the desired effect - Feds cancel meeting to discuss native standoff.

I guess that kind of media blackmail worked with the previous government, but this one doesn't respond well to threats and intimidation. Maybe Dalton could learn something from his federal counterparts.

"They said they were working very well with the federal government, but now they're saying something quite different," Tory said.

"This government will say anything they can get away with in this matter, and do as little as possible in the meantime."

McGuinty responded by suggesting Tory call Prime Minister Stephen Harper to help convince his federal cousin to help the province pay some of the Caledonia costs.

Well, if Caledonia is still occupied by this time next year, perhaps with the help of the Ontario electorate John Tory will be in a position to do exactly that.

* * * *

Update: Great Q & A with Jim Prentice and the Spectator.

U Happy?

Liberal leadership candidate Scott Brison must not be overjoyed that the words "Income Trust" are back in the news. The whole thing probably dredges up some rather unpleasant memories.

Ralph Goodale
had floated this idea back in the fall of 2005, but the process was so full of apparent leaks that it ended up dead in the water.

Last night Jim Flaherty announced that the government will impose a tax on income trust distributions. The move took the investment community completely by surprise and underlines the advantage of running a tight ship (don't you love the nautical metaphor?). Otherwise we would have seen the same chaos that happened under the Liberal government.

The Income Trust gravy train had to end (o.k. changing metaphors here):

In an unexpected news conference, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he was forced to act due to the "growing trend of corporate tax avoidance" -- an estimated $70-billion in new trusts coming to market this year alone.

"We were faced with a situation where Canada was moving to an income trust economy. Is that a good thing for Canada? No," he said.

"If corporations don't pay their share of taxes, this tax burden will shift on to the shoulders of hard-working individuals and families. This is simply not fair."

In order to mitigate the effect on retired investors, a number of provisions have been included; notably Garth Turner's suggestion of income-splitting for seniors.

Garth has been championing this cause for some time now, but was seemingly not taken seriously until he was thrown off the caucus-train and into an Indie seat.

My guess is that Finance Minister Flaherty has been ruminating on this corporate tax hemorrhage for some time, and Garth's idea seemed like a serendipitous answer to the problem of how to placate seniors.

But whatever happened, I am very pleased.

And if I asked Garth how he is feeling this morning, my guess is that he'd reply (to borrow a phrase from Scotty's bank buddy):

"I can't express my joy properly."

* * * *

More at Choice for Childcare - "Government to allow split pension income".
Musings of the Technical Bard - "Taxing Trusts"
Kitchener Conservative - "Question for CP - Can we blame income trust on the BT's?".
Political Staples - "Income splitting".

Update: CTV - Liberals lambaste Tories over income trusts. Well, that was predictable.

Very interesting read here by Linda Leatherdale - "Tories targeting trusts". The fundamental flaw with income trusts is exposed.