Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Silence of the Shepherds

We human beings have learned a few things over the centuries - One of them is that belonging to a 'group' of some kind enhances our chances of survival. And along with that privilege come rules of some kind.

One of those rules, is the code of silence.

In today's society, there are times when this code or oath of silence is ethical and necessary; for example cabinet members in matters of national security; doctors regarding patient records; banks concerning their clients' financial records, and so on.

However, there is also the "unwritten" code of silence that exists among other groups and organizations.

This code exits in unions, in gangs, in families and even in school boards.

Thus we see a picture now emerging of a very closed society in schools such as C.W. Jefferys, and the results of an attitude of secrecy and willful blindness that seems to work to circumvent any effort to air dirty laundry in public.

Brave teachers are now stepping forward to tell the truth about a school environment where rules are ignored with little if any repercussion. Indeed, the code of silence is reinforced by rewarding see-no-evil teachers with a lighter workload, and ignoring the complaints of the few that do voice concern.

We hear today that the Board has finally agreed to probe conditions. But this has been requested before:

Doug Jolliffe, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation branch that includes Jefferys, said his organization has received a number of complaints about unsafe conditions within the school. "There is nothing that we've heard from Jefferys that we haven't heard from other schools as well," Jolliffe said. Jolliffe has twice requested that the Toronto school board sit down with the union to address the concerns of teachers about dangerous conditions inside school hallways and classrooms. He formally requested a joint union-management meeting on April 13. When he received no response, Jolliffe asked again on May 11 to arrange a specific date and time to meet.

"I'm hoping that they will now," Joliffe said. "One of the reasons why there is a problem in some schools and less of a problem in other schools has to be that sometimes principals run them like their own little fiefdoms.

"And, for some reason, the TDSB won't bring them into line," he said

Joan Tintor offers an insightful post juxtaposing the salaries and attitudes of this powerful clique of bureaucrats to whom we entrust our children's education - and in fact their very lives.

She mentions this quote from a previous Star article ("Jefferys Lawless - Teacher"):

Donna Quan*, safe schools superintendent for Toronto, said Jefferys was an outstanding school and urged concerned teachers to discuss their problems with administration and the school board. “We’ll be glad to meet,” Quan said. “It’s important to have courageous conversations.”

(*$136,616.54 in salary and $5,366.66 in benefits in 2006.)

Reader Tori had remarked at both Joan's site and mine that if you try to decode that statement, it sounds like they are trying to keep this "in the family" so to speak: other words, don't leak our dirty laundry to the press, let's keep it to ourselves. But why should the teachers go to the admin or the board? They've tried that, and nothing gets done. Again, this speaks to actions and consequences of the actions. Teachers will stop going to the higher-ups if nothing is done; youth will continue to commit violent behavior in school if nothing is done to stop it.
Well said.

But those are troubling words in themselves - "Courageous" conversations. Why "courageous"?

Why should encouraging teachers to share their concerns and experiences with the administration be deemed "courageous"?

My feeling is that with that very word, Donna Quan has tacitly admitted what we all suspect - That the school board is more interested in safeguarding itself, than the lives of those lambs it is paid to shepherd.

* * * *

Friday Update: Speaking of consequences, here's a great letter to the Sun from a police officer:

Re "Youth crime law is a farce" (Point of View, May 30): I could not agree more with Lorrie Goldstein. Youth court is such a farce that even when arrested, young offenders just laugh at the police because they know once the charges get to court they will be tossed out or the offender will get a week of community service. There is little punishment for the crimes committed by youths. I am a police officer and it has reached a point where the police know that once the charges are brought before the court nothing will happen that will make the young offender want to change his or her ways. So these kids continue their life of crime. Something has to be done to the Youth Criminal Justice Act to make young offenders responsible for their actions, and if nothing is done you will see more kids killing kids.
Steve James

680 News: Gunshots Fired near Manners' Home...

- Gunfire Erupts Near Manners' Home.

Lorrie Goldstein - Commit to Full Employment for Youth. (I think this is a bit unrealistic, but worth striving for).

Monday, May 28, 2007

Gone Gardening

Open thread. Comments by trolls will be deleted. I will provide links of interest.

* * * *

Tuesday Update: Mindelle Jacobs on cleaner places to dump your baby than a toilet. FYI.

Lifesite - Sacrilege isn't enough for the CBC; they have to lie about it. (H/T SDA)

Wednesday Update - Another brave Jefferys teacher steps forward (Star).

Why don't we just ban school boards that don't enforce rules?

Also, Licia Corbella asks, "What if Dad Left Baby in Toilet?"

Well, we already know the answer to that one.

Ontario Bungling Access Requests, Report Says - Globe.

Conservative Leader John Tory said his party has submitted countless requests for government information and documents but has mostly been stonewalled.

The party says a request for information about the continuing aboriginal occupation in Caledonia still hasn't been fulfilled after about 325 days, while other requests have taken as long as 299 days to be addressed.

Lorrie Goldstein - Youth Crime Law is a Farce.

And still a lively debate going on way back here - Critical Thinking No Longer Required...

Thursday Update: From the Gazette - A woman files a Human Rights complaint against a gay bar for tossing her out because she is female. How ironic.

So, is discrimination the entitlement of gay folks only?

ABC News
: Top NASA Official Questions Global Warming!

'Gentleman' Dion re: Harper - "...he is able to lie".

Lorne Gunter reads my mind

Lorne Gunter's column in today's Post, Blame Urban Culture; Not Urban Guns contains many of my thoughts from the last few days regarding the murder of young Jordan Manners; especially the way His Worship (in Gunter's words) blames Ottawa "for letting law-abiding citizens own handguns."

...Apparently, the problem couldn't be the prevalence of father-absent upbringings in the Jane-Finch area of Toronto, or the glorification of gangsta, drug and gun culture that liberals and social democrats such as Mr. Miller have been loathe to denounce out of a politically correct fear of being called racists.

Nor could it be the every-boy-a-good-boy approach to juvenile crime, also favoured by the Millers of the world, that has eliminated nearly all punishment for young offenders in favour of touchy-feely counselling that hardened young criminals -- such as those who would shoot down a student in the hallway of a high school--just scoff at.

It couldn't be the way courts have hamstrung police investigations or lefty city councils have pared back police budgets and reassigned beat patrol officers to traffic safety campaigns and police- minority relations teams.

Nope. If we follow Mayor Miller's logic, the only reason Jordan Manners is dead is the federal Conservatives' unwillingness to ban handguns...

Gunter's whole article is well worth the read. At the end of the column he highlights some interesting facts on gun control, demonstrating that it is dangerously naive of Miller et al to assume that tighter gun control would somehow be a magic bullet:

Since Britain implemented a near-complete ban on civilian handgun ownership a decade ago, handgun possession among criminals has soared by an estimated one million to three million guns, and handgun crime has almost tripled.

Why don't we start with a focus on handgun bans in schools, and actually have school boards back up the policy with practical measures and consequences?

Then let's talk about how we can deal with urban ghettos or "Apartheid-lite", as Lorne Goldstein refers to the problem.

To be sure, there are many issues that contribute to the type of situation found in the Jane-Finch areas of large urban centres in Canada. I don't believe that there is a simple root cause. But willful blindness is not going to help kids like Jordan Manners.

* * * *
Update - 'Friends' shot Jordan: Police.

Red Tory seems to be under the impression that I am a politician. He is accusing me of hypocrisy - It's the (Black) Culture, Stupid. The post is worth reading, BTW, if only for this great link from "Closet Liberal", Growing up without Men.

On second thought, don't waste your time (going to Red's, that is).

* * * *

Tuesday Update: From the Post - One of the accused is apparently a father. Yet he is protected under our Youth Criminal Justice Act. Somewhat ironic, isn't it?

Oh, and thanks to Red Tory for boosting my daily "page views" count to a record 765 yesterday!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes - With important update!

It seems that when something tragic happens, we humans need to have answers. We ask "why?" and look for someone or something to blame.

Today Lorrie Goldstein ponders the reactions to the recent fatal school shooting of 15-year-old Jordan Manners. Blame runs the gambit from sleazy politicians to wimpy laws and wimpy judges who just send the offenders back out on the street, and kids who see no deterrent to using guns to solve their problems.

Politicians like Dalton McGuinty and David Miller hold up gun "bans" and blocking the gun flow from the U.S. as the panacea, yet kids are quite capable of making their own.

Moira MacDonald
seems to be blaming all us whiteys for not caring enough, but I can tell you that seeing the grief of Jordan's family and friends in news reports just tore my heart out. I am a mother. I can relate. His graduation photo depicts a beautiful, sweet boy. Please don't tell me I felt worse about Jane Creba's murder just because she happened to be white and was shopping instead of at an inner-city school.

Jordan's friend, 14-year-old Clyde Adu has the wisdom lacking in many adults. At the BBQ held yesterday in honour of the slain teen he remarked:

"I'm just sad," Adu said. "We shouldn't put anger in our hearts."

So let's just feel sad. Then let's work together on this multi-layered problem.

For the sake of the children.

* * * *

Update: One Charged; One Sought in School Shooting.

Globe - Teen charged in Toronto school shooting.

Monday Update: Second suspect turns himself in - Globe. Both were 'friends' of the victim.

On a Soldier's Right to Choose

I am growing weary of Jack Layton's predictable rhetoric every time a Canadian soldier is killed in Afghanistan.

Following the sad death of Cpl. Matthew McCully, who was killed by a roadside bomb on Friday, Layton used the occasion to say that "he hopes Canadians will ask the government to take a different approach to combat in Afghanistan."

"Our soldiers will risk their lives, according to what we request them to do. We saw yesterday the profound reality of that commitment," he said during an interview with the Canadian Press in Toronto.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall any soldiers being forced or conscripted here. For the most part, they are very committed, and believe in the mission. And the Afghans seem to be very grateful for Canadian assistance in trying to rid their country of the Taliban and help establish safety and democracy.

McCully's sister, Shannon McGrady, said the 25-year-old was a role model who acted a father figure to his younger siblings while growing up in Orangeville, Ont. He was also a soldier who loved his job, she said.

"I thought he was crazy. He loved the army," McGrady said. "If he was asked to do this all over again, he wouldn't change it."

And from his Dad:
"He was a very caring guy who just loved life," his father, Ron McCully, told CBC Newsworld from his home in Prince George, B.C., on Saturday. "His passion was the army. He lived it. He believed in what he was doing."

Perhaps Jack Layton's problem is that the concepts of integrity, commitment and freedom are foreign to him.

We often rail against that which we don't understand.

* * * *

Update: Jack has very kindly posted this entry at Jack's Newswatch - Daily Blogger feature.

Very interesting post here by Jarrett. I only had one issue with what he had written, which I mentioned in the comment section.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Who's in charge?

Former C.W. Jefferys teacher Sandra Fusco bravely exposes the reality of the inner city high school in today's Sun (We Are All to Blame):

"...I felt sick to my stomach when one reporter said the murderer "somehow got a gun into the school," knowing full well he or she needed just to walk through the front doors at any time during the school day and would likely not be approached or questioned by anyone."
"These are just a few of my experiences. Other incidents include students throwing textbooks and desks at teachers and the time a female teacher was surrounded by a group of male students as they taunted, "Suck my d--k"; the list is endless. Sadly, each of these cases were initially brushed off by certain members of the administration, if acknowledged at all. As each day passed, my sense of normalcy was deteriorating. Does this sound like a safe environment conducive to learning?"

She describes a school environment of complacency and willful blindness to the number of intruders that loiter in the hallways, and parents who don't seem to have assumed responsibility for instilling proper values.

The Globe carried an editorial yesterday (under subscriber lock) that backed up these observations (To Save Schools from the Thugs):

"...Believe it or not, there are Toronto schools with doors for black students and doors for the non-black, a rule enforced by school thugs. This is a recipe for loss of adult control and community confidence. School authorities need to move faster to take back control from the thugs."

We are far beyond the point where a few extra security cameras are going to make a difference. Who's going to watch them, or do anything about it anyway?

I have long been an advocate of teaching children logical consequences. You tell the child that if he or she does "a", then "b" will happen. Then if the child does "a", you actually follow through with "b". It's not rocket science, but it works. I have two children who grew up to be wonderful, responsible adults.

This is what a child needs - a firm, loving predictable environment. It sounds as if at C.W. Jeffrys, the inmates are running the asylum. There appears to be no control. No wonder the kids are cautious about snitching. Who's going to protect them? Not the teachers, that's for sure.

If you continue to let a child get away with murder when they're young, chances are that someday it just might actually happen.

* * * *
Update: Another very interesting perspective - Watch who's watching your road rage!

Baby in the toilet

Is the value of the life of the newborn the next step down the slippery slope? That is what today's National Post editorial seems to be suggesting. (Born unto Walmart)

The fact that this woman chose a Walmart toilet cubicle as a birthing room is rather symbolic itself - discarding unwanted 'solid waste' in a store that sells a high volume of low-priced goods in a throw-away society. Gee, I wonder if she picked up some discount toilet paper on the way out.

(Kudos, BTW to the Walmart manager that saved the baby's life!)

As I was discussing yesterday, George Jonas reminds us of how we tend to overvalue a woman's right to self-fulfillment at the expense of new life:

Living in an epoch that is selfish as well as matriarchal, of all the styles that we shield from being cramped, we put women's style first. We invent euphemisms, such as "choice" for killing, and sophomoric dilemmas, such as pretending not to know when life begins, to ensure that nothing hinders Virginia's quest for Santa Claus. No obstacle must interfere with her goal of self-fulfillment -- least of all an issue (as it were) of her healthy sexual appetite. There's plenty of babies where this one came from, eh, Ginny? And if not, we can always import some from Somalia.

What the writer of the Post editorial seems to be railing about, and with which I agree, is that society is far too compassionate or lenient towards the type of woman who commits this horrible act. Leaving a newborn face down in Walmart toilet is far different from ringing a doorbell and leaving the baby on someone's front porch.

But here's the paragraph that bothered me:
We have never subjected them to the same treatment as murderers. But we have never treated the drowning of infants as acceptable, either. One hopes, not so much for the sake of future babies as for ourselves, that this will not change. We have, by and large, learned to reluctantly accept a legal philosophy that endows an infant with the full human package of moral claims and entitlements to protection only at birth, and no sooner. Is the line to be pushed forward still further in the name of compassion for reckless mothers?

Who is "we"? The royal "we"? The editorial board "we"? Or are they suggesting that "we as a society" have learned to accept that an infant is only a person once they leave their mothers' body?

Because that, I will never accept.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Jonas on abortion

Great column here by George Jonas (H/T Lifesite), where he picks apart some of tired old arguments used by the Pro-choice crowd.

It is a somewhat irreverent and almost humourous perspective, if that were possible with such a contentious issue:
...Some put the question in terms of a woman's right to control her own body. That would be valid enough in the realm of smoking, diet, liposuction, or sex -- but abortion? Abortion means controlling someone else's body. (As a man, I have no authority to speak on the matter, I know, but I'm not speaking as a man. I'm speaking as an ex-fetus.)...

He also addresses the reality of our declining birthrate:
...We're all set to march to our extinction in style. We've become the only species that diminishes with success: the first in natural history to experience population decline whenever we do well. The wealthier and more secure our post-Darwinian societies become, the more we fail to reproduce...

Enjoy the read. Also please check out SDA's discussion on "Populating a Baby-Starved Canada".

Macleans has an interesting article concerning our Baby Deficit as well - Making Moms: Can We Feed the Need To Breed?

To all Slimy Politicians

Please stop using the tragic murder of a Toronto student to advance your political agenda.

Follow Stockwell Day's example - Offer sympathy and let the family grieve.

There will be ample time later for meaningless rhetoric, finger-pointing and political posturing.

Thank you.

* * * *

Saturday Update: Cops identify shooter - Halls of Macadamia.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

One of those days...

...when maybe you should have stayed in bed.

Pity this poor Kitchener Police Officer.

CTV gives the sanitized version.

570 News gives the full story.

And the local CTV station says it was a Grade 8 Orientation day! I bet those kids got a bit more excitement than they bargained for!

Defining Daddy

In our politically-correct fervour to bend over backwards trying to please every special interest group that wants to be called a parent, we now have this interesting situation to ponder - And Daddy Makes 3; Or Maybe Not.

The Star's Brenda Cossman examines the story of a common-law couple where the woman wanted a baby, but her partner did not. So, she took matters into her own hands, so to speak, and through the magic of modern science, used an anonymous donor's sperm to satisfy her maternal instincts.

Neither John nor Jane Doe want John to be considered a legal step-parent. He wants nothing to do with the child at all. But they are still 'lovers', living together, and therefore in the eyes of Alberta Court of Appeal, he is a father by virtue of the fact that "he continues to live with the mother. The fact that he has decided a "settled intention" to remain in a close relationship thrusts him into a parental relationship with the child."

"In other words, a romantic relationship with the mother makes a father."

The case is now being referred to the Supreme Court.

No Pandora's Box here, right?

I'm just wondering what happens when Junior tries to figure out who to give a card to on Father's Day?

More Great Inconvenient Letters

Now the Post has letters responding to letters regarding shutting down the classroom debate on global warming, and using Gore's film as gospel truth.

From B. Mark Podolak of Ottawa:

Kenneth Paradis of Wilfrid Laurier University states in his letter that opponents of Al Gore's views should "be given an amount of classroom time in proportion to their representation in the scientific literature," before he rather contemptuously adds, "there certainly might be a minute or two presentation of alternative theories."
It is this attitude that causes academics to be held in such low regard in the real world. The professor should remember two important points: 1. Academics are granted tenure in order to ensure that debate of the common orthodoxy can take place in the universities; and 2. the common academic orthodoxy once held that the Earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the Earth -- and debate on that idea was not allowed.
If the professor is unwilling to allow debate on climate change, then one must conclude that he fears the results of that debate.

Well, Gore's fans seem to be saying that any further debate is a waste of time; that it is ignoring the obvious:

..Isn't it enough that there is a significant consensus among scientists that human activity is contributing to global warming? Doesn't reason suggest that there is a greater likelihood that the prevailing scientific view is right? And given the consequences if we continue to ignore what they are telling us, isn't it the worst kind of folly to just sit back and hope against hope that they are mistaken?

However, Professor R.M. Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University in Townsville, Australia states:

Al Gore's film conveniently ignores that we live on a dynamic planet, and that all of the phenomena about which he raises alarm fluctuate naturally all the time. If teachers are to show An Inconvenient Truth in classrooms at all, then they must inform students that the ex-vice president's arguments are very weak.
As an example, take Mr. Gore's statements on glaciers. Students must be taught that glaciers flow. The rate of advance or retreat of their snout is a function of the overall mass balance of the glacier and the rate of flow. The mass balance includes the melting or breakaway at the bottom end. That parts of the Larson B ice shelf broke off from Antarctica in 2002 is part of the natural process of glacier flow off Antarctica that has gone on for eons.
Teachers must also explain that both the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps are thickening, and that the temperature at the South Pole has declined by more than one degree Celsius since 1950. And the area of sea ice around the continent has increased over the last 20 years.
It is incredible that this scientifically unbalanced "docu-ganda" is commanding any public attention at all.
"Docu-ganda". Heh.

But this one by Jack Sands of Markham, Ontario is my favourite; probably because it resonates so well with the quote posted above my blog profile:

A brilliant scholar once told my class, "It's not the truth that makes you free; it's the search for truth." People who want to impose their "truth" without discussion, about climate change or anything else, are a menace not only to science but to a free society.

I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Breaking News: McGuinty trying to pull a fast one?

Caledonia Wake-up Call claims to have heard from an "inside source" that McGuinty is trying to buy off the natives:

Ontario Government has now handed down an offer to Six Nations worded as $50 Million for Policing Services on Six Nations for a year and in return they will vacate DCE.

This is nothing but a smoke screen money grab give away. The Six Nations does not need $50 Million to police; it may take $1-2 million. In other words reading between the lines, McGuinty is spinning it as a Law and Order issue and trying to bolster the policing when it will not happen. The money will be disbursed to the Six Nations through the police."

If true, it should be interesting to see how McGuinty spins this one as election time approaches.

* * * *

Update: News from Hagerdoniawash.

Dust My Broom - OPP: Meat in the Sandwich.

Agreement reached in Hagersville - Spectator. Could someone please explain to me how developers are allowed to continue to start construction on land under dispute? Or do the natives make a retroactive claim? I would love to hear from anyone involved with this issue.

Thursday Update: Native Occupation Fuels Fears. This could be a very volatile summer right across the country.

Medicating 'normality'

So finally there is a pill on the horizon that seems to be a remedy for the 'curse'.

The oral contraceptive, approved in the U.S. but not yet in Canada, claims to "put an indefinite stop to women's monthly periods".

Ironically, if a young woman is not menstruating 'normally', she is usually urged to seek medical help to try to discover the cause. Therefore, disease is in the eye of the afflicted, I suppose.

There are some concerns being voiced:

"For women in that situation (severe symptoms), I certainly can understand the benefits of taking these kinds of medications, but for most women menstruation is a normal life event -- not a medical condition," said Jean Elson of the University of New Hampshire.

"Why medicate away a normal life event if we're not sure of the long-term effects?

HRT comes to mind as an example of a treatment that was originally prescribed to help mitigate some of the symptoms of another very 'normal' female stage - menopause. Now the therapy is thought to have some serious potential side-effects, and physicians are much less inclined to approve this type of medication.

My spidy sense tells me that the new pill could be a useful tool for an occasional situation of convenience, or if a woman has some serious menstrual issues, but in general best to let nature take its course.

So anyway, now another natural female function joins unwanted pregnancy as a sickness requiring medical intervention. If Canada buys into this, will we be funding this in our National Health Care system as well? Just like abortion, illness in some cases will be determined by the convenience factor, and the whim of the woman.

And speaking of abortion, if the fetus is just a bunch of unwanted tissue, why isn't it regarded as a cosmetic procedure, and therefore delisted just like non-malignant mole removal? Or liposuction?

Just asking.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Critical thinking - No longer required in the Nanny State

There is an interesting selection of Letters to the Editor in today's National Post, which serves to back up a comment I recently made about the vilification of Global Warming deniers; a comment to which Red Tory took great exception:

...I think the point is that we need to be able to talk about this or else it's going to be pushed into a closet just like the abortion discussion.

Skeptics and deniers will be called heretics, and vilified if they even ponder bringing up the subject.

Red Tory responded:

...Funny, I’ve stated repeatedly that I’m agnostic when it comes to climate change and that this is the only reasonable position for a skeptic and rational empiricist like me to take. The vast majority of my liberal friends respond with “fair enough” or something along that line. Perhaps you can explain why I am not denounced as a heretic or vilified as you assert will always be the case regarding those even pondering such unorthodox thoughts.

Well, I'm not exactly sure which segment of humanity Red's liberal readers represent, but I digress...

In the wars of the Professors Emeritus this morning we have a Jon Van Loan decrying Kevin Libin's Gore smack-down:

Al Gore's well researched An Inconvenient Truth, even with its over-simplifications and the odd error, is still an excellent approach to jolting the public conscience into considering a problem that is now occurring and will -- if left without immediate and proper redress --lead to irreversible disaster...

Odd error??? Pull-eeze!

Here is the dangerous part:

A large panel of Nobel Prize science winners, along with greater than 90% of the scientists who have examined this problem in detail, believe that human-induced climate change is occurring. Thus, I would say to contrarian individuals that it would be time wasting, misleading and counterproductive to give "The Other Side" much of a mention.

In other words, ignore the dissenters. Shut down debate - just as we have with the discussion to limits on abortion.

This very frightening viewpoint is brought up again by Prof. Kenneth Paradis, Contemporary Studies (English), Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ontario:

...However, almost the the entire community of climate change scientists agrees with the basic reality of the global warming situation Mr. Gore describes. Why, then, would you argue that there is a "debate" on this issue and that classroom treatments of it should give equal time to an opposing view?

Instead of using the lack of absolute consensus as an excuse to manufacture a "debate," perhaps we should advocate that the positions be given an amount of classroom time in proportion to their representation in the scientific literature. So after Mr. Gore's film, there certainly might be a minute or two presentation of alternative theories, but even that goes against good pedagogical practice and common sense...

Read the whole thing. You won't believe it. These illustrious professors are forming the minds of our kids, folks!!

Fortunately the Post has published a few letters from the side of reason, that request that skill of critical thinking be taught in the classroom, rather than outright propaganda. Professor W.G. Hopkins of the University of Western Ontario writes:

...Our schools are clearly failing on the critical thinking part, at least when it comes to the global warming controversy. When An Inconvenient Truth, with all of its distortions, scientific inaccuracies and pure propaganda is thrust upon the student as the only and final answer, then this is no longer education. This is now indoctrination. It is also a distressing commentary on the quality of both the school system and its teachers, not to mention our prospects for the future.

You see, what's at stake here isn't so much the environment, as is the state of democracy in Canada.

Because if we shut down debate and only teach one side of an issue without encouraging critical thinking, we are churning out a country of sheeple.

With that, democracy is in serious peril.

* * * *
Update: Ah, finally some sanity from the left (H/T Steve Janke):

A top United Nations official says he is no longer alarmed by Canada’s stand on the Kyoto Protocol now that he better understands the Conservative government’s position.

“I must admit, I was worried for some time, but I was much encouraged by the clarification,” Yvo de Boer, executive secretary to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said in Montreal Tuesday.

He said he now understands that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government wasn’t rejecting the value of the Kyoto accord, but rather observed its objectives cannot be met within the target deadline.

David Suzuki will not be impressed!

Also please check out Conservaparanoia - Thinking Deep.

And speaking of David Suzuki, check out Steve's Hypocrite or Henpecked?

Monday, May 21, 2007

God Works in Mysterious Ways.

Originally I wanted to make this a longer post, but the weather is just too awesome today. So here is the abbreviated version.

This morning Dante referred to a recent article by Ted Byfield (Docs Speak out about Abortion), discussing how so few doctors are comfortable about performing abortions these days:

Some doctors reject abortion on purely professional grounds. Medicine is about healing sick people and pregnancy isn't a sickness. Others regard as morally repugnant the forcible extinction of a human life.

Byfield laments the fact that the topic of abortion is squelched by MSM, but it is still very much an issue with many Canadians:

Polls have consistently shown public opinion almost evenly divided three ways -- a third of the people in favour of abortion on demand, a third favouring a total ban on abortion except where the mother's physical life (as distinct from her lifestyle) is clearly threatened, and a third favouring a ban on abortion beyond some definable point in the pregnancy. The idea of a national consensus on the issue was, in other words, a falsehood preserved by the mainstream news media. The fact is two thirds of Canadians opposed abortion-on-demand as provided in Canadian law. But with representation in the media cut off and politicians terrified of any mention of the issue, the majority view was successfully squelched.

But never fear! M.P. Garth Turner came to the rescue when he outed March for Life for using the official Canadian logo.

This prompted a virtual brouhaha of activity amongst left-leaning media who covered the story with glee.

As Byfield commented, "Any public attention focused on this dispute has the effect, however, of weakening the pro-abortion position. Canadian feminists had assumed that resistance to abortion would gradually decline and be replaced by a general public acquiescence."

Garth Turner - working on the side of the angels. Who knew?

The Elephant in the Boardroom

Globe's Richard Patton gives us his take on why so many manufacturing companies are closing these days; especially in Ontario - "While Factories Close, Governments Sleep". (H/T to Bourque.)

According to Patton, who is president of the Canadian Chemical Producers Association, governments need to get more involved in the process of gaining investor confidence. He lists some of the unavoidable problems that are out of our control, such as the high Canadian dollar, but feels that more could be done by politicians. He cites a hopeful sign that this message is finally getting through:

We have recently seen some federal government leadership for manufacturing, following the excellent work by the parliamentary committee on industry, chaired by MP James Rajotte. The committee examined manufacturing woes and issued a unanimous report with 22 recommendations. Its first recommendation, a two-year capital cost allowance for new investments in plants and equipment, was introduced in federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's budget and more recently by provincial Finance Minister Greg Sorbara in Ontario. This is a very encouraging sign that we can work together.

Manufacturing closures will continue if we don't work hard to understand the problems and keep working on solutions.

But no where in this whole article did I see the word "unions".

To me this is the single most glaring issue that will dictate whether a company continues to thrive or is shut down. A militant union can choke production and profit. The union hierarchy often doesn't care about the jobs of the individual members as much as its own perception of strength, and usually takes a very negative stand regarding the possibility of concessions in terms of pay cuts or surrendering of benefits in order to forestall a plant closure.

The new global economy has changed the rules. Jobs can be outsourced where labour is cheaper.

Militant unions belong to an antiquated economic past, and soon so will most of our manufacturing jobs that are controlled by defiant union leaders.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Extreme Makeover - Summer Edition

Greg Weston opines on the sorry state of affairs for political parties and leaders in general - Makeover Season on Horizon:

"As the seat of national government degenerated into a parliamentary sandbox of mindless mud-slinging this week, little wonder pollsters are reporting Canadian voters underwhelmed by federal politics.

Stephen Harper is viewed as the most prime ministerial of the bunch, and by a wide margin. But fewer Canadians would vote Conservative today than at any time since the last election.

The Liberal party seems to be creeping back into favour with the national electorate -- or perhaps more accurately, crawling back from its status as Canada's political pariah -- to the point the Grits and Conservatives are in a virtual dead heat in public opinion.

Yet, even among Liberal supporters, analysts say Stephane Dion is widely viewed as the leader least likely to succeed as PM..."

So Stephen Harper is seen as most prime ministerial, but unfortunately carries the weight of the CPC on his broad shoulders.

The LPC by contrast would likely be surging in the polls right now if not for their albatross leader.

Therefore, I would assume that the only way for PMSH to garner his coveted majority would be to become leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, no?

* * * *

Update: Please check out The Tiger in Exile - It's Time.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Force-feeding Inconvenient Propaganda

Is 'Global Warming' the new gay?

Alright, that question does seem somewhat provocative, but in the sense that that both subjects are being pushed in Canadian curriculum, you have to wonder what forces are behind the thrust of classroom education today. Parents are becoming concerned that perhaps a one-sided view of global warming is evolving, and similar to the force-feeding of gay education, they have very little input.

However, the Global Warming movement has gone one step further, by promoting Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" in the classroom when even some of Gore's own supporters concede that the film contains inaccuracies. The National Post has a front-page article this morning that highlights this trend, which is not confined to Canada.

There were a few disturbing items in this report, including the willingness of many teachers to gloss over the inconvenient flaws in the subject matter. Parents are concerned:

"I get e-mail from parents all across the country about this, in Calgary, B.C., Ontario," says Albert Jacobs, the founder of Friends of Science, a Calgary-based group that promotes alternative theories to climate change. "They say, my kid has been exposed to this stuff which is totally one-sided and totally wrong and we want them to see the other side."

Yet the "facts" seem in dispute:

Though Mr. Gore was right for "getting the message out," University of Colorado climatologist Kevin Vranes told The New York Times last month that he worried about the film "overselling our certainty about knowing the future." James E. Hansen, a NASA scientist and one of Mr. Gore's advisors, agreed the movie has "imperfections" and "technical flaws." About An Inconvenient Truth's connection of rising hurricane activity to global warming - something refuted by storm experts - Mr. Hansen said, "we need to be more careful in describing the hurricane story than he is." Among other things, since the film's release last year, scientists have rejected Mr. Gore's claims that 2005 was the warmest year on record (temperatures have been receding since 1998), that polar bears are heading for extinction (their numbers are growing), that Antarctica is warming (interior temperature readings show cooling) and that sea levels will "rise 18 to 20 feet," swamping coastal cities (the International Panel on Climate Change predicts a few inches).

Efforts are being made to show the alternate viewpoint espoused in the new British documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle, but "there's no requirement teachers to show both sides of the argument unless school boards demand it."

The most frightening item of all in this report though, is the closing paragraph:
But others, like Mr. Gore, have an agenda. On a discussion board on the CBC Web site last month, readers debated the Surrey controversy. One commentor, who identified himself as a teacher, wrote this: "Yes students should look at both sides on an issue and learn to judge for themselves. But there are times to do this and times to stop." He is certain Mr. Gore is right. Now, he wrote, "It is time for action."

Let's hope that guy isn't your kid's teacher.

* * * *
Update: A little Inconvenient Hypocrisy here.

BTW, my apologies to anyone who tried to comment earlier. It seems that the comment function was turned off altogether. Please feel free to weigh in anytime now. Thanks.

Check this out - Global Warming will be considered a joke in five years!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Blizzard redeems herself (sort of)

Christina Blizzard should stick to native issues and politics, rather than opining about the Catholic faith and the role of a "medieval organization like the Vatican" in modern society.

Today's column ("Figure out our Native Land") actually makes some kind of sense. The elephant in the room regarding native land claims isn't governmental ineptitude so much as the disarray of the governing process of the various native groups, and the power struggle within.

...It seems to me, though, that if we are going to streamline the process, the first thing an independent body needs to decide is which claims have merit and which don't. Then someone in the aboriginal community needs to decide who can speak on their behalf. You can't have dozens of disparate groups all claiming a part in the discussions.

It's not just road, rail and new construction that is in peril. Native groups are also demanding a say in where new power lines go and how we go about building new generating plants. You can't hold the economy of this province hostage in that fashion...

Good stuff, Christina.

Stick to your knitting and let the Pope run the Catholic Church.

* * * *

Update: Speaking of the Catholic Church, a Canadian Bishop speaks out on the issue. Bishop James Wingle states:

"No person can claim immunity from the truth. People in positions of civic leadership cannot legitimately espouse a form of schizophrenic split between what they know personally to be true and good, and the proposition of laws or policies that negate that truth and good."


And Nicol relates a personal story describing how he witnessed Dalton taking Communion.

Latest Caledonia developments at local church - Tensions High as Natives Block Caledonia Church Construction.

(BTW - This is post #600 since I started blogging back in Dec. 2005. Thanks for the memories.)

Environmental Moles

John Baird obviously needs to spend some time this summer ferreting out the pests in his department.

(H/T National Newswatch).

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Red Media Shows Rare Glimpse of Balance

The story here is not what was actually reported, but rather who did the digging!

Both the Torstar group and CTVglobemedia have shown some non-partisan integrity today, by disclosing two interesting reports that involved a fair bit of investigative journalism and do not help the PR images of the Ontario and Federal Liberals.

The Record reports that Torstar's Hamilton Spectator actually went to the trouble to obtain summaries of Ontario government aircraft flights from 2002 to the summer of 2006 under the Freedom of Information Act! Apparently Premier McGuinty has a penchant for flying and is under no legal obligation to be accountable to the taxpayer for these expenses.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation wants to see more accountability and transparency. Seems like a good idea to me.

(Note: The links to these articles do not translate well on Blogger. For the Record article go here and then click on "Premier's $2,000/hr flight pattern". For the Spectator's piece, go here and then click on News - Local, then "McGuinty Plane rides cost up to $1 Million".)

Then we have Globe and Mail, CTV and Canadian Press actually filing and winning a court challenge regarding a publication ban on RCMP affidavits surrounding the 2005 Income Trust investigation - and then releasing the results!!!

Oh sure, only one top Finance Canada official has been charged with making a profit on information to which he was privy while in Ralph Goodale's confidence. But it does cast the previous Liberal government in a poor light in terms of security control, competence and good judgment.

Mr. Nadeau, 50, was one of only eight people in the room with Liberal finance minister Ralph Goodale on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 2005, when a decision was made not to tax income trusts, according to the RCMP. Mr. Goodale announced the change at 6 p.m. the next day.

According to the RCMP, Mr. Nadeau bought 3,100 units of Yellow Pages Income Fund early in the morning of Nov. 23, 2005, through his TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage account. That was more than eight hours before Mr. Goodale's announcement.

Another interesting behind-the-scenes story here ('Sheer Agony' followed Income-Trust Leak allegations: Goodale). It seems that Ralph isn't a big fan of Blackberries.

Liberal media - reporting stories unfavourable to Liberal parties.

Hell surely won't have to worry about global warming now.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Suffer the Little Bloggers

How do our M.P.'s spend their taxpayer-funded time in Ottawa?

Well some work very hard, and others allegedly surf the net.

* * * *

Update: Garth has forgiven Canadianna - Read comments at her place.

Behold St. Dalton - Model of Devout Catholic Secularism

Dalton McGuinty's parents were obviously not very environmentally-friendly. According to the Sun's Christina Blizzard, Dalton is one of ten children in his large Catholic family, and "jokes that while other kids got a new puppy for Christmas, he got a new brother or sister."

That's a lot of carbon-producing earth polluters!

However, Ms. Blizzard hails Premier McGuinty as some kind of political demi-god in today's column, Premier Pops off on Pope. Mmmm... Interesting headline, but let's move on.

Blizzard has canonized Dalton for telling off Pope Benedict following the papal comment agreeing with "Mexican bishops who said Catholic politicians had excommunicated themselves by legalizing abortion in that nation's capital. A papal spokesman later clarified that statement to mean that the bishops had not actually excommunicated them."

The way I interpret that statement is that by the very act of enabling a pro-choice policy, a Catholic politician has ex-communicated himself. I have yet to hear of any politician being officially ex-communicated by the Pope. Please enlighten me if I'm wrong here.

It is a nuanced, but highly important difference. As an example, if I say I am a concerned environmentalist, but I go around littering and driving a big pollution-belching car to the corner store all the time, I'm not really an environmentalist, am I? My actions define me.

Should all Catholics who are true to the doctrine therefore recuse themselves of politics? That is a very interesting question. I really don't have the answer, but I think at some point your moral convictions are inseparable from the way you conduct yourself and how you see the world.

"The Pope, his purview is the church. My purview is Ontario and there is one particular aspect of myself that is in common with the Pope -- I happen to be Catholic, but I have other responsibilities as well," McGuinty told a scrum before a caucus meeting yesterday.

Perhaps Dalton is more of a Catholic relativist.

* * * *

Update: BTW, Dalton. Where's your Catholic outrage here?

Thursday Update: Lifesite - "Mr. McGuinty needs to show some respect to the Church to which he claims to belong," said Suresh Dominic, spokesman for the Catholic pro-life group Campaign Life Catholic. "It is the job of the Church, and not Mr. McGuinty, to decide who may and who may not receive Holy Communion."


Big Family Flick-off continued

Today may very well be a multiple post day. There are so many things grinding my gears that I will need to use this blog as a forum to decompress.

For now let's focus on a few amusing letters in today's National Post, which will hopefully serve as a continuation of yesterday's discussion about the perceived environmental irresponsibility of having large families.

Yesterday's post started off focusing on the Suzuki Foundation's utter shock and disbelief regarding a poll that suggested Canadians would not be willing to sell their souls for the sake of the environment, but quickly morphed into a discussion about the social disease of having children, especially several, after I posted a link to Jonathan Kay's op-ed as an update.

Read Kay's column if you haven't already, then enjoy the letters. Here are snippets from my favourites:

My response to Gaby Kaplan and his anti-procreation crowd would be the following: Who do you think is going to wipe up your nether parts when you become a geriatric assmonkey during your second childhood a few decades from now?...
- Ruth Dubin, Kingston

As the father of two well-behaved "assmonkeys," I tip my hat to Mr. Kay for his comments about the obnoxious lunacy of the "child-free" movement.

Frankly, I find it hard to get too upset about these people. After all, the trend appears to be exclusive to left-leaning, hemp-wearing, egocentric tree huggers, and we should be thankful that some members of that peculiar demographic are doing their level best to pare back their corner of the herd...
D.A. Neill, Ottawa.

And on a more serious note:

By far the most dangerous aspect of the so-called "green agenda" is the undercurrent of socialism. This green agenda would quickly move to restrictions (in the name of morality) on numbers of children (carbon producers), how many families live in a common space (to save energy) and where you live (next to the factory so you don't have to drive).

Those pushing the green agenda are not interested in our freedom nor our welfare. They are interested in their cause...
Rob MacDonald, Calgary.

It would seem that the Kyoto Krowd's fixation on zero population growth runs contrary to our need to sustain ourselves as a country in terms of demographics. However, Red Tory makes the point in the previous thread that attempting to encourage larger families through incentives runs against the Conservative view of hands-off government:

...Incentivizing reproductive behaviour and putting in place measures to provide an environment more inclined to facilitate larger families through various social welfare programs targeted in this direction are all things that are an anathema to the “conservative” creed...

Well, I can think of a lot of things this government is doing that would appear to be against "conservative creed", but the point is that this is one more example where the environmental extremists' philosophy seems to be somewhat antithetical to our economic needs as a country.

To be sure there are other more emotional reasons for having children, but I am just looking at this as an issue of pragmatics for now.

As Baby Boomers continue to rely more heavily on the social and medical network for assistance, who is going to pay for it? Natives and immigrants are replacing themselves. Their children will surely look after them in their old age.

Who will look after you?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Suzuki Foundation shrugs off Inconvenient Poll

Innovative Research Group's latest poll shows that when it comes to the environment, Canadians don't want to put their money where their collective green mouth is (Save the Planet, but Not on My Dime).

It seems that we would rather have government and technology to get together and manufacture a painless magic bullet. IRG Director Greg Lyle explains:

"The biggest thing is the secret hope that a lot of people have that technology is going to come to the rescue and that someone is going to invent an answer that won't cost us very much or inconvenience us very much. They're looking for a lowcost ... solution that doesn't place heavy demands on us. And, they believe it's out there."

Ann Rowan, a spokeswoman with the David Suzuki Foundation, yesterday "downplayed the findings of the poll because such tools do little to address the opportunities for change, she said."

( . . . )

Why would the majority of people say they're concerned about the environment and not want anything done? I mean, that doesn't make any sense."

Two words, Ms. Rowan - Human Nature.

We are so shallow.

* * * *

Update: Great piece here by the Post's Jonathan Kay about the environmentalist initiative to discourage folks from having those nasty little carbon-emitting earth-defilers (Send in the Assmonkeys). Red Tory will likely get a kick out of this one!

On the serious side, Getting Cooler.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Red Rag Op-Ed

This morning's misguided, misinformed Record editorial, "Signal to Whistleblowers" brings me one step closer to canceling my subscription. (Sorry, you'll have to hunt for the editorial because their links are pathetic.)

John Monaghan, a former temporary worker at Environment Canada, was arrested in his workplace Wednesday and led away in handcuffs while his co-workers looked on. Police alleged he had committed a breach of trust under the Criminal Code. He was released from custody a short time later.

Federal Environment Minister John Baird stated plainly that the arrest was meant to be a signal to other government employees that leaks of information will not be tolerated.

Well-meaning, conscientious whistleblowers, it would seem, are not welcome in our federal bureaucracy...

Conscientious? Well-meaning?? Pull-eeze!!!!

The writer not only gets the facts wrong with the reference to "John" Monaghan, instead of Jeffrey (sheesh!), but also glorifies his actions with the label "whistleblower".

The Record isn't the first to do this, but whistleblower conveys an almost martyr-like quality of integrity. It implies courage and risk to self in the face of obvious evil and corruption. Allan Cutler was such a whistleblower.

Jeffrey Monaghan allegedly violated the terms of his security clearance by leaking details of a secret government draft regarding proposed environmental legislation which he did not personally agree with.

"The complaint about the leak came from the department's deputy minister, Michael Horgan, said (Environment Canada spokeswoman Lynn) Brunette."

The information contained in the document would have been made public in due course in any event. This was not a case of brown envelopes of cash being handed over in restaurants. There was no cover-up.

defines Whistleblower as:

" employee, former employee, or member of an organization, especially a business or government agency, who reports misconduct to people or entities that have the power and presumed willingness to take corrective action. Generally the misconduct is a violation of law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest — fraud, health, safety violations, and corruption are just a few examples..."

Even with the most generous of interpretations, it would be difficult to see the alleged actions of Jeffrey Monaghan as being an example of the above. The Government doesn't expect to achieve Kyoto targets on time? That is the crime? Does the Record seriously believe that the Liberals would actually be able to reach those targets in time without disrupting the whole Canadian economy?

By calling Jeffery Monaghan an alleged "Whistleblower", the Record does a disservice to the real heroes like Allan Cutler.

This editorial isn't just biased - It is an appalling example of irresponsible, shoddy journalism.

* * * *

Update: Meanwhile, Steve Janke asks, Didn't Jeff Monaghan admit to being an anarchist?

More from Ezra Levant, H/T National Newswatch.

Tuesday Update: Or was the problem the result of using temps?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers' Day! - With annoying update

I get a lot of email - Too much frankly, even after the anti-spam machine does its wonderful work. Therefore, I rarely read those cute little forwarded messages about dogs, cats, platitudes and all things under the sun that apparently make life so beautiful.

This one did catch my eye though. It was forwarded by my sister, who also rarely reads or forwards them. I thought I'd post it today, and let all the Moms out there see if any items apply to them. I sure found a few.

For all My Favourite Mothers.

This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's okay honey, Mommy's here."

Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can't be comforted.

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who DON'T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes. (- Happy Mothers' Day, Sandy!)

This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.

And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars, so that when their kids asked, "Did you see me, Mom?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the (grand)mothers who wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.

This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat.

For all the mothers who read "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a year. And then read it again. "Just one more time."

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home -- or even away at college.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomachaches assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up. RIGHT AWAY!.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't find the words to reach them.

This is for all the step-mothers who raised another woman's child or children, and gave their time, attention, and love... sometimes totally unappreciated!

For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed when their 14 year-olds dye their hair green.

For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting.

For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good Mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?

Or is it in her heart?

Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?

The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby? The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M . when you just want to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in your home?

Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation... And mature mothers learning to let go.

For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers. Single mothers and married mothers. Mothers with money, mothers without.

This is for you all. For all of us. Hang in there. In the end we can only do the best we can.

Tell them every day that we love them. And pray. Please pass along to all the Moms in your life.

Home is what catches you when you fall - and we all fall.

If you didn't see yourself in here somewhere, chances are you're not a mother.

Happy Mothers' Day.

* * * *

UPDATE: And under the category of How Low Can You Go?, we have this lovely tidbit from Liberal MP Garth Turner, complaining about the "clogging up" of Parliament Hill by the Pro-Life March this past week, and assorted other mud-flinging.

Nice. On Mothers' Day. Way to go, Garth. What class. I can't believe you.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Tale of Two Jeffreys

I've been neglecting federal politics lately - partly due to bewilderment as to what the heck is going on there in Ottawa. The plummeting polls for the Conservatives are not inspiring either.

However, Karen Redman waved a scarlet flag in my face yesterday with her opening salvo of diatribe in Question Period. Fridays are typically the domain of the "B-team", and yesterday was no exception on the part of the opposition.

Here's the transcript from Hansard (without the annoying sound of a whiny voice for your reading pleasure):

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

Mr. Speaker, what we have seen in the last two days is a government ruling by fear and intimidation. The Minister of the Environment admitted yesterday that the bogus arrest of Jeffrey Monaghan would send the right message to public servants.

However, what about the leaks by his own staff and the leaks by Jeffrey Kroeker, now the director of communications for the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs? Where were the handcuffs for him?

Why does the government want to send a chill through the public service?

Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, I will not to comment on the specific investigation into the criminal matter to which the member for Kitchener Centre refers. However, I will quote her leader on the general subject of that investigation and he said:

—"I will never encourage this kind of behaviour...For the principle, I think civil servants must respect the secrecy of their role."

I would like to know why the member is asking that question when her own leader looks at that kind of behaviour and condemns it as inappropriate. Why can the Liberal Party and the Liberal leader not hold the same position on any issue for more than 24 hours?

Good question, Peter. I was wondering the same thing. Why would Karen Redman attempt to contradict her own leader with her innuendo that the government was out of line to come down hard on a government worker who defied laws of confidentiality?

I admit the handcuff spectacle was a bit much, but we can't allow public servants to take matters into their own hands and decide when government platforms should be released to the public.

How is that different from the situation of the 'other' Jeffrey? I think Stephen Taylor said it best in his response to Calgary Grit in the comments section of his excellent post, "Whistleblower Stomped by Unaccountable Senate":

"...we know that what Monaghan did was an arrestable offense. You don't know that what Kroeker did was "illegal". They are two different situations. Monaghan was a bureaucrat and Kroeker is a Senate staffer. Kroeker blew the whistle, Monaghan was serving his own agenda. And besides, any researcher could have picked up the phone and found out the cost of a hotel room in Dubai. I could have blown the whistle. You could have blown the whistle..."

Kroeker may have embarrassed his boss, Senator Breton, by contradicting her earlier statement, but the two incidents are just not comparable in terms of severity and breach of trust.

If civil servants were allowed to announce any government policy ahead of time, fueled by their own particular political view, we would have chaos! Wow, just what Mr. Monaghan seems to be so preoccupied with.

Sandy has also done a great job fisking the Globe's Bill Curry and Alex Dobrota for the same illogical comparison - MSM on the Anarchist and the Aide.

Perhaps if certain members of the Liberal party and the liberal media were a bit more truthful, the Canadian public would be better able to assess the antics in Ottawa (and maybe those polls would start going back up for the CPC).

At the very least, the Chief Whip of the LPC should listen to the wisdom of her leader and chill out.

* * * *

Update: Steve Janke shares some insight about Jeffrey Monaghan. It seems young Jeff might have it in for Harper.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Pro-Life Talk still in the closet

Kudos to the National Post for covering yesterday's March for Life, even though reporter Julie Smyth uses the typical MSM rhetoric of negativity ("anti-abortion" rather than Pro-Life). I think Sandy's idea is a good one - Let's frame the issue as Abortion vs. Adoption.

CBC Newsworld's Don Newman also did a credible job showcasing the issue. Other than that, I haven't come across any other reports.

It would appear that this debate continues to be regarded as some kind of political leprosy:

As Cabinet members arrived on the Hill, most avoided the rally. Some Liberal and Conservative MPs were seen going out of their way to walk away from the protest as they headed toward Centre Block. Abortion did not get a mention during Question Period and was overshadowed by other news.

Given the current climate of taboo surrounding the mere discussion of the topic, I feel it is worth applauding the handful of Conservative and Liberal MPs who actually did attend the rally. They are the kind of politicians that I admire. It takes great courage to stand up for what you believe in despite the fact that doing so may be a career-limiting choice.

Therefore, let's give some recognition to the following:

Conservatives - Jeff Watson, Myron Thompson, Dave Anderson, Mark Warawa, Dean Del Mastro, James Lunney, Kevin Sorenson, Cheryl Gallant, Harold Albrecht, Maurice Vellacott and Bev Shipley.

Liberals - Paul Steckle and Paul Szabo.

If these good people are representing you in Ottawa, please take the time to thank them for showing their support, and for putting their principles ahead of ambition.

Integrity seems to be a rare commodity in politics these days.

* * * *

Meanwhile, the Pope uses the dreaded e-word.

Saturday Update: Beautiful eye-witness account of the March for Life here. Why don't we see this kind of thing in MSM???