Friday, November 30, 2007
Kerwin didn't want to use a homeless shelter, because it meant abandoning his two dogs. Thanks to the publicity, a kind animal rescuer who lives on a farm took Kerwin in.
Tonight, an update revealed that Kerwin and his dogs are doing well. He said he has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the local community. His dogs are happy, warm and well-fed as is Kerwin. He is earning his keep by helping out at the farm, but plans to move back to Waterloo Region very soon. Apparently RIM may offer him a part-time job.
Anyway, I thought I would share this good news with all of you who were touched by the original story.
Too bad in one way. This was David Onley's debut for the occasion as lieutenant-governor. I have nothing but great respect and admiration for the man.
However, the throne speech is another matter. McGuinty's government could promise the moon, and I think many Ontarians (that didn't vote Liberal) would be highly skeptical.
Some things I would prefer that he didn't enact, such as the province-wide pesticide ban, but on the other hand at least there would be some continuity. Property rights would once again take a hit though. Oh wait, there aren't any property rights in Canada.... Pierre left that one out of his beloved Charter.
Anyway, back to the throne speech. The Post doesn't seem very impressed with the government's plans to fight poverty - McGuinty's phony war. As expected, the Star is gushing with praise.
The Sun thinks McGuinty has missed the important targets, while the Globe calls it 'short on specifics'.
Well, I don't believe throne speeches in general are meant to be anything other than a hint of where the government's priorities are. For the McGuinty Liberals that is obviously to stay in power. No threat there due to the Ontario voters' decision to reward him for all the broken promises with another majority.
All in all, I think Christina Blizzard's column is my favourite review - Ontario Neverland throne speech. At one point she mocks McGuinty's Nanny-state penchant for bans:
In one of those curious, off-the-wall nanny state-type bans, the Libs are poised to ban trans fat from school cafeterias. Kind of reminds you of the attempted ban on sushi and the pitbull prohibition.
Tuck into those fries while you can, kids. The long arm of the broccoli cops will grab them some time soon.
If only Dalton would ban himself.
Perhaps he'll do Ontario a favour and throw his hat into the next LPC leadership race.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Jason Kenney mentioned on MDL tonight that he hasn't had one email from a constituent regarding Karlheinz Schreiber. Outside of Parliament, MSM and political junkies like you and I, one wonders how many people are talking about it.
What do you think?
Are ordinary Canadians at the local Timmy's obsessed with KHS? Or is not even on their radar?
My guess is that Jason is right.
Updates for political junkies - Schreiber extradition likely to be delayed. (CTV)
Justice Department won't block Schreiber's appeal to stay in Canada. (CBC)
And Garth Turner figures Stephen Harper is toast - Apparently, there is a secret diagram...
Important: Check out MDL clip of party strategists for tonight. Liberal strategist Don Moors says something at the end which makes the other two go, "Oh, oh!!!"
"You can't call a public inquiry Mike, and then have an election before we get to the bottom of the matter..."
The Liberals will be pulling the plug in February, folks. You can take that one to the bank.
Here's a good one for Pat Martin: Schreiber also donated to Liberals:
Karlheinz Schreiber is in the spotlight for money he gave former Tory prime minister Brian Mulroney, but when it comes to contributions to political parties, he appears to have given significantly more to the Liberal Party of Canada.
Personally, I'm Schreibered-out.
Too bad. The pundits suggest that the best gong show ever is scheduled for later this morning.
Will it be called Truth? Or Avoiding Consequences?
Or none of the above?
Globe - Mulroney was supposed to get $500 K: Schreiber.
AGWN - Mistress Karlheinz Schreiber the Dominatrix.
SDA - "feisty Robert Thibault from Yarmouth” Meets With Karlheinz Schreiber?
Dan Cook (Globe) - Stephane Dion's 'Invented Cover-up'. (H/T Bourque)
Stephen Taylor - Notes about the Schreiber Show.
Jack's Newswatch has plenty of info as well.
Good episode of CTV's the Verdict tonight. Paula Todd was remarkably non-partisan and making a lot of sense. One of her guests said that the MP's in today's circus should be reminded that Canada doesn't have a 'Fifth Amendment'. Clip should be available soon.
Friday Update - Noteworthy items:
L. Ian MacDonald - The committee mob scene on Parliament Hill.
Chantal Hebert - Schreiber lures MP's with crumbs.
Don Martin - Politicians have reason to worry.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The labour movement is demanding that the province take a more aggressive stance in safeguarding union jobs. That usually means more money for them and more taxes for us.
Funny thing is that usually the lefties scorn corporate tax incentives, but they still want their high-paying, union jobs protected.
Anyway, at the end of this Star article (Unions turn screws on Liberals) there is an interesting bit of information about the infamous 'Working Families Coalition':
Representatives of the building trades, teachers and firefighters were all at the convention. But their unions all worked along with the CAW to help elect Liberals in last month's provincial election, either directly or indirectly through the "working families" coalition. They are unlikely to join any concerted anti-government protests.
It will be interesting to see how this all works out.
Meanwhile back in Caledonia, resident Ken Hewitt made it clear in an open letter to Michael Bryant that he expects much more involvement from the Minister than a quick photo-op:
In any event my concern lies with the comment you made regarding the HDI; a group that has no legitimacy, nor do they have lawful jurisdiction over land that has yet to be settled in any formal claims negotiations. I fully support and agree with your comment that no builder or developer should consult with such group, and that fees were not expected to be paid to any group; that they should trust the legal titles and registration process prescribed by the province. My question is why then does the provincial government not stand behind those statements. Furthermore your statement that,” natives will not be forcibly removed from any site” only serves to guarantee more protests like Caledonia’s. Most of us live our lives with an understanding that with behaviour come consequences. You have taken the consequences out of the equation and have given them a false of sense of power that will bring harm on them as well those they affect.
Today, as a result of your statements, the HDI has decided to test them by stopping a builder in Brantford indefinitely. The terms are to consult and to pay fees that you said he would not have to. I am afraid that he will be faced with little choice as your (our) government abandons him and leaves him on his own. You should know that just recently the HDI was involved in stopping a dump that was given the provincial go ahead to move forward. While that is a win for the environment, the fact that they are no longer there would suggest that the environment was not their agenda and that they have been or will be paid fees as well.
So the McGuinty government is going to have a few challenges in the next little while. I wonder how much more of our money they will spend to try and make it all go away?
The Post has an article this morning about the meeting as well, but I can't find the link (I hate their new on-line format) - Africentric school issue brings TDSB meeting to halt:
"We're not divided tonight", said Ms. Wilson, a parent, directing herself at members of the executive committee who remained in the room. She pointed to other alternative schools, like one for gay, lesbian and transgendered youth, which flourish in the public system. "Why can't our children have that?" she yelled, before collapsing in tears into the arms of a man.
Expositor - Builder fails to get native OK to resume his project.
Where is Michael Bryant now?
The 'unelected Foreign Affairs Critic' clears the air:
I did not, in fact, make these remarks. Canadians will know that I(H/T Bourque)
would not be that non-partisando not believe Mr. Harper is on firm ground even at the best of times.
The heinous error appears to be corrected in the online version.
Harper's position is "No more Kyoto Kool Aid." He's not drinking it, and more to the point, he's not selling it. While Harper once said the science of climate change was inconclusive, leading to Dion's charge he was a climate-change denier (as in Holocaust denier, get it?), he now acknowledges it is the most urgent global issue of our time.
No more Kyoto Kool Aid.
Heh. I'll drink to that.
Chantel Hebert - Dion hasn't benefited from green debate.
I find it shocking that someone who worked as a temp for a company like RIM as recently September could find himself out on the street so soon afterwards.
The response from the community has been overwhelming for Kerwin Harrison and his two dogs.
Last night the three of them slept in a warm home for the first time in five weeks; thanks to the generosity of a stranger.
Putting a human face to the poverty of the working poor is very motivating.
I'll be thinking of Kerwin when I gather food for the Food Bank this Christmas.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Mr. Mulcair’s comments in the House are protected by parliamentary privilege from libel actions. When asked outside the House to comment on his mention of Mr. MacEachen, Mr. Mulcair instead discussed the nature of the public inquiry into the relationship between Mr. Schreiber and Mr. Mulroney.
I'm getting sick of this garbage - Say anything you want in the House; then obfuscate outside. No wonder people are getting turned off politics and not bothering to vote.
I was really hoping someone else would pick up on this, but since I don't see a post in Blogging Tories, I will proceed.
On MDL tonight, Duff interviews Environment Minister John Baird and discusses the 'nasty' atmosphere in Question Period.
The ever-pompous Thomas Mulcair was shown in a clip, right after Dion. He rants for a while, and then says this:
"...We're talking about the greatest ecological crisis the world has ever faced. All of the scientists that have looked at this issue agree with it..."
All of the scientists???? There are no opposing scientific views? I had no idea.
Or is exaggeration also covered by 'Parliamentary immunity'?
Tuesday - Exact quote from Hansard now available:
Mr. Speaker, we do not have hard targets. We do have aspirational goals, as in the void, the vacuum, created by the vacuous statements of that irresponsible government. We are talking about the greatest ecological crisis the world has ever faced. All of the scientists who have looked at this issue agree with it.
Tuesday Update: Last night on MDL, Duff made some reference to Elizabeth May and Hitler. That is explained here at AGWN.
Here's a classic line:
What a weak analogy!!!
To be sure, implementing an international plan to deal with climate change will not be cheap. Every cleanup comes with a cost. Harper's approach of waiting for all countries to be able to pay is naive. It will just delay the process. If rich and poor houses on a street were on fire, would Harper wait until everyone paid the same taxes before calling the fire brigade?
For one thing, Harper isn't 'refusing to call the fire brigade'. He simply realizes that it's pointless to fight a wildfire that's engulfing a whole neighbourhood if the poorer houses refuse to have their gas turned off. No matter how hard you try to stop your own house from burning, the fire from your neighbour's house is going to affect yours unless they stop it at the source.
Next they make this disingenuous comment:
Interestingly, Australia's prime minister, John Howard, who opposed Kyoto, has just been defeated by Labour Leader Kevin Ruud, who has pledged to sign the accord. From both a policy and a political perspective, Harper would be wise to become a more ardent opponent of climate change.
Well, Dr. John Ray from Brisbane thinks Rudd's stance is just so much hot air:
...And the resolve of Prime-minister-elect Kevin Rudd to sign the Kyoto treaty is a good example of such tokenism. Australia's emissions of carbon dioxide are already in line with what most of Europe has achieved so the signing will make little difference.
It should also be noted that Rudd will have to get the treaty through the Senate and, in a quirk of Australian politics, he is unlikely to be able to do that until July, 2008. Senate membership does not change until then and the present Senate is conservative-dominated. So Rudd's talk of "immediate" action is just the usual political flim-flam.
By contrast, the National Post has quite a different take on things than the Record - Standing tall in Uganda:
At the Commonwealth meeting in Uganda, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi professed himself "disappointed" with Mr. Harper's stand. No wonder. Under the original draft, nations such as Malaysia would have been subject to no emission limits unless they were also recipients of large cash payments.
Putting aside this attempted cash grab, our more fundamental objection to Kyoto, and any plan that requires large-scale cuts in greenhouse gasses, is that it would hobble our economy -- especially our already-struggling manufacturing sector. Mr. Dion may not admit it, but the drastic cuts he seeks would essentially kill whole industries -- including, most likely, Ontario's auto industry. In recent months, Mr. Harper has been accused of ignoring the financial needs of the Greater Toronto Area by snubbing its demands for more federal cash. Ironically, his rejection of the logic of Kyoto has, in one fell swoop, done more to help the region than any of the bailout schemes proposed by Mayor David Miller.
Exactly. With the auto manufacturing sector already on the skids and begging for help, signing Kyoto would only worsen an already troubled Ontario economy. People are losing their jobs. They have to eat and be housed.
And where does that money come from? Taxes.
Are you willing to pay the price?
Tip from a loyal reader - Al Gore buddy owner of sunken ship that left huge carbon footprint on Antarctic Ocean floor: CFP.
Elizabeth May - Global Saboteur. Bourque gave this the following headline - Liz May: Climate Change Worse than Nazis.
Some people never learn.
Elizabeth May goes too far - EcoLibertarian.
In this country where political correctness reigns supreme, I can only guess that the reason gay men are not allowed to donate blood is that the math and science must indicate the the risk is too great.
Yet some still rail on against it.
In Jason's comments section, a reader mentions a gay columnist who had the courage to disclose the truth. I found the article - A bloody disgrace by Richard Burnett.
It closes with this line:
A ban on gay blood will continue to save lives. And just one life is worth it.
Straight (?) from the horse's mouth, as it were.
It's interesting how we are getting all this man-on-man sex pumped at us in the media lately, but when it comes down to it, there continues to be some medical issues about safety.
I know those on the left will have a field-day with this post. I have been purposely avoiding this issue for a while. However, some things need to be heard.
Like the truth.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Duff Conacher apparently feels that Harper shouldn't have been the one to pick the adviser.
Doesn't that call into question the integrity of David Johnston and his ability to remain impartial? Here is a man who agrees to serve his country. It is a thankless job. And this is what he gets?
I think the U. of W. President deserves an apology.
The opposition parties must think that a public inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair will somehow ameliorate their political capital vs. the present government. Some left-wing pundits seem to share that view. Others think it's a huge mistake.
But is it in Canada's best interest to fork over all this money and attention? Author William Kaplan, an expert on the Brian Mulroney-Karlheinz Schreiber affair, thinks not and predicts that the upcoming hearings will be a "gong show." (CTV)
Kaplan also thinks a public inquiry into a controversial $300,000 in payments to the former Progressive Conservative prime minister by the German-Canadian businessman will prove to be a bad idea.
"We don't need another inquiry. We certainly don't need the 'gong show' that's about to transpire on Parliament Hill next week before the ethics committee," the lawyer and author of two books on the controversy told CTV's Question Period on Sunday.
Kaplan's advice to David Lloyd Johnston, the legal academic whom Prime Minister Stephen appointed to advise on the terms of a public inquiry, would be that a special prosecutor be appointed to review the matter and recommend if charges should be laid.
Geoffrey Stevens who teaches political science at WLU and U of G, thinks that this whole affair will hurt the present government because "the hearings will keep the issues of corruption, integrity and truthfulness alive in the public mind" even though he admits that "there's scant chance that the ethics committee will lay a glove on Harper or his government".
I don't quite get the logic here. Attempting to malign the present government which is a totally different party and has nothing to do with the Mulroney era other than a few tangential relationships which are also present in today's Liberal party (e.g. Garth Turner), hardly smacks of a huge risk to Harper in my mind.
However, Stevens is suggesting this will cost Harper a majority government.
An new Ipsos poll shows the gap between the CPC and the Liberals is closing, but it is unlikely that the poll results are directly related to the Mulroney-Schreiber affair. (Post)
Darrell Bricker, president of Ipsos Reid, said the poll indicates that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have so far avoided major political damage from the Mulroney-Schreiber affair.
"I don't think these specific events have had much impact. Maybe a little bit of an impact but it's not like it has crashed the numbers in the same way, for example, as the sponsorship scandal hit Paul Martin and the Liberals," Mr. Bricker said.
I personally doubt the 'Airbus Probe' will have much of an adverse impact on the Harper government.
However, I doubt any party could achieve a majority in this period of Canadian politics. Unless Harper screws up bigtime, I doubt we will see another Liberal majority for a long time.
Liberal leaders before Martin had majorities based on right-leaning opponents who were in disarray and fighting against each other. All that has changed now.
And I also doubt we will see a CPC majority anytime soon. The lines of partisanship are just too firmly entrenched. The mushy middle that changes sides is getting smaller, as I see it.
So whose interests will the inquiry serve?
I can only only think of two people - Schreiber and Mulroney.
It will be an expensive gong show.
Frustrated residents were not able to talk to the Minister, but seemed only too happy to vent to reporters:
Misti Bottenfield, who lives near the former housing development site that has been occupied for almost two years, said it's time Mr. Bryant gave protesters an ultimatum.Pat Woolley, another Caledonia resident complained:
“It should be — get off the land or no talks,” said the 26-year-old, adding she has been repeatedly intimidated by the protesters. “Get off the land and out of the houses. Even though the barricades are down and the roads are open, it's still not much better. It sucks.”
“This thing is getting worse, not better,” said Woolley, adding the province should put an end to the occupation now while it continues negotiating the land claim.
“Businesses continue to suffer ... You can't allow this thing to go on. I've always brought my children up to believe we are all equal under the law. My frustration with this Liberal government is that we're not seeing this transpire in this community.”
Bryant's main response to the occupation was that "whether the provincially owned land is cleared of protesters is a matter for the provincial police, not the governing Liberals to decide".
So, what's the hold-up, Julian Fantino? Why not clear the land? Are we not all equal under the law?
Same old, same old.
Many residents have long insisted the occupation is a flashpoint for conflict, and many say they feel intimidated by the protesters. Bryant, however, said the occupation is now largely a symbolic one.
It sure is 'symbolic' - of two-tier justice, appeasement, and a police system that has a racial bias when it comes to enforcing the law.
It's going to be a long wait until the 2011 election for those Caledonia folks. Let's hope we'll have strong opposition leadership by then.
Spectator - Bryant to Caledonia: No forced removals. That's right, Michael. Just throw more of our money at it.
Expositor - Native Protesters again shut down Mike Q's project.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
...As Sun Queen's Park Bureau Chief Antonella Artuso reported last week, over the past year, one in 20 big jackpots went to lottery insiders -- either retailers or people employed by the lottery corporation.
And while a spokesman for the OLG says the reason for that is there is now greater scrutiny of wins over $50,000, it's hard to escape the conclusion that something is horribly wrong...
...The government is happy to wash its hands of whole issue. Their mantra is that they've implemented the recommendations of KPMG auditors and the ombudsman - so their work is done.
I don't think so. Because as long as you're relying on lotteries as a major source of government revenue, you have to ensure the integrity of the process. As long as your hospitals, your schools, your police forces, are paid for from the proceeds of gambling, you'd better make darn sure it's fair...
The reference to schools being funded by gambling proceeds reminded me of a post from Nov. 18. I had been surprised to find out that the TDSB topped the list of Canada's richest charities, pulling in a staggering $2.4 billion dollars.
Interestingly, the Ontario Trillium Foundation ranked first in the most generous foundation category. A reader reminded me that funding for the OTF comes largely from lottery proceeds.
So, just remember. If you buy a lottery ticket in Ontario, not only do you have reason to still question the fairness and integrity of the system, but you are also putting money into the hands of a corporation that turns around and gifts it to rich 'charities' like the TDSB with their most interesting experiments in public education...
Just thought you might want to know.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Anyway, The Wudrick Blog contains an excellent analysis. Just don't drink yellow beverages and read at the same time.
This, of course, was predictable - Dion condemns PM's climate change stance.
Hunter - Media uses Lethal Weapon!
Interesting comments at the end of this CTV report. (H/T Trusty Tory).
One of the most commonsense, non-partisan editorials I've read in a long time.
Since CM is enabled, you may not see your comment posted for a while. Don't worry, it will show up sometime, unless your name is Red Tory or Kevron.
Star - Won't repeat Kyoto error: PM
I found this article particularly alarming - Security of patient data to be reviewed.
Yesterday, the Record published a report (MDs use private firms to collect patient data) about Metroland West Media Group's investigation of private companies that encourage doctors to sign up for their 'block fees' payment plan. Patients are charged an annual lump-sum rather than have to submit individual payments for fees such as sick-notes, telephone prescription renewals, etc.
The problem is the lack of full disclosure to the patient, which has the The Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner concerned, as well as the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
Here's the clincher:
The company acknowledges that the letters appear to come from doctors and says it does not disclose its involvement because physicians have asked it to stay behind the scenes.
So how's that 'public' health care system workin' for ya?
Friday, November 23, 2007
The "Joanne" he ridicules in his post was not me. I did not make those comments at SDA.
For a person who prides himself on being so meticulously correct in every little detail, he sure got sloppy this time.
Saturday Update: I'm done with Red Tory and his band of slimy miscreants.
It's just not worth it.
The Halton Catholic District School Board has pulled "The Golden Compass" from school library shelves after receiving complaints that the book was written by an atheist.
The comments following this CTV report are fascinating.
I'm not entirely sure where I sit on this one, but I think it's safe to say that the public funding of the Catholic school board in Ontario remains a contentious issue.
Anyway, Christina Blizzard has interviewed political scientist Dr. David Docherty and relates his observations (More seats, less democracy) . Please read the whole article. It's quite enlightening.
Here's what I didn't know - There is very little rep by pop in this country:
"There have only been three provinces whose seats are determined by population: Alberta, B.C. and Ontario," Docherty said in an interview this week.
Quebec gets 75 seats no matter what -- despite declining population in that province. So if you divide their population by 75 seats, you get a higher voters-to-MP ratio than you get here in Ontario. And it's that formula that critics -- particularly McGuinty -- are applying to the new formula. Or they take the overall population of the country -- 33,800,700 -- and divide it by the number of seats in the House of Commons. Except that doesn't work either.
New Brunswick and tiny P.E.I. are protected by what is called the "senatorial floor." A province can't have fewer MPs than it has senators. This means that despite their minuscule populations, P.E.I. and New Brunswick get four and 10 seats respectively.
According to Doherty, other provinces have their seat numbers protected by the 'federal Representation Act.'
"Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia probably shouldn't have the seats they do, but the act protects them from losing seats..."
Under the proposed changes, the number of federal ridings would increase from 308 to 330. Of those 22 new ridings, 10 would be in Ontario, seven in B.C., and Alberta would get five.
New provisions to the act guarantee that provinces with smaller populations than Quebec -- the largest province that has a seat guarantee -- are entitled to equivalent representation. So Alberta and B. C. get more seats to reduce their MP-to-voter ratios until their constituencies are roughly the same size -- but conveniently slightly larger -- than Quebec's.
Blizzard calls it "the quintessential Canuckistan dog's breakfast of a compromise". If Ontario's seats are increased, then Quebec will be throwing the tantrum.
What a mess. McGuinty's letter to all Ontario MP's calling for "Representation by population, 'one person, one vote,' equality under the law and effective representation", seems rather unachievable.
Blizzard has advanced her own proposal:
Dump the Senate, so you don't have to worry about how many seats provinces have. While we're at it, ditch P.E.I. as well. What's it doing with four MPs? It has a smaller population than some GTA ridings. Roll it into New Brunswick or Nova Scotia.
Then let's start from ground zero. No deals. No seat guarantees. Just rep by pop -- all across the country.
Sounds good in theory, Christina, but I doubt that the kids would ever stop whining no matter how hard you tried to resolve the situation.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I think there is a lot of grassroots support out there for this bill. Ironically, it was the Conservative government itself that squashed Benoit's efforts. Perhaps it was afraid of a pro-choice backlash, but I firmly believe this is not a mutually exclusive initiative. With the right wording, I think the law can protect a woman's right to choose whether she decides to abort her pregnancy or not. If she chooses to give birth to her baby and someone then commits an act of violence to destroy her unborn child, there should be a punishment for that.
Whatever your political stripes, please contact your MP and let him or her know that you support Bill C-484 (Unborn Victim of Crimes Act).
It's the least we can do for these grieving families.
They deserve closure.
Update: Red Tory has a problem with the bill.
Why am I not surprised?
Upperdate: Red actually makes a good point. *Shudder*
Nexus - I just love it when he gets all dishonest like that...
Saturday Update: Rootleweb - Unborn Victims of Crime Act.
Stand your Ground - Unborn Victims of Crime Bill to be Reintroduced.
On the website is a pic of a fetus and a toddler, with the following motto:
"A future child? NO! It's a CHILD with a FUTURE!"
Brother David's compatriots are now rushing to little Dalton's defence. That big bully Van Loan should apologize, according to Stephane Dion. Never mind that the LPC would benefit enormously from any increase in seats in the land of Lemmingville, so his actions are hardly altruistic.
The Post article quotes Dion as saying, "Premier McGuinty is taking his job seriously, and representing the people of Ontario ... The ridiculous comments made by Minister Van Loan are contemptible at best, and disrespectful of the office that Mr. McGuinty was recently reelected to hold."
Yet it is perfectly fine for Stephane Dion to call the Prime Minister 'pathetic', and infer that he is a liar, thereby disrespecting the highest political office in our country:
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is pathetic. Court documents show that he misled the House. Court documents told the truth, not the Prime Minister...
But of course, that is Liberal entitlement.
Meanwhile, Dalton McGuinty tries to keep his hands clean. Other people do his dirty work for him.
He will rise above all this name-calling:
At Queen's Park, McGuinty insisted he had no interest in a petty squabble with Van Loan and warned that Ottawa should look at the bigger picture. "Why is it that whenever we
TorontoniansOntarians stand up for ourselves we're accused of being un-Canadian?" he said.
As John Stossel would say, 'Give me a break!'
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Here's the Redman- Nicholson exchange (around 14:30):
Hon. Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, we know that in 2006 the justice department started to take another look at whether the $2.1 million payment to Brian Mulroney should be set aside but mysteriously the whole process just stopped.
Now the justice minister refuses to answer questions and threatens those who ask questions.
Why all the secrecy from the justice minister? Who stopped the justice department from discharging its duty to Canadians?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I want to be absolutely clear. I did not shut down anything in the justice department.
I think this would be a good opportunity for the member for Brampton—Springdale to get up on her feet and apologize and withdraw the remarks that she made about me.
Hon. Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, justice department officials wanted to review the Mulroney settlement in light of new evidence that his story had changed, but that was before the cabinet shuffle.
After the cabinet shuffle, when the former Mulroney caucus member became justice minister, there was no more talk of a review.
Will the government confirm that based on this new information it now has relaunched this review and, if not, why not?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the allegations by the hon. member are completely false. They are a fabrication.
I invite her to make those comments outside the House. It is one thing to slander an individual in the House of Commons. I say that she and each of them should have the guts to say it outside this place.
Question: What did Ruby say?
A reader in the previous post alerted me that McGuinty's personal attack-dog is courageously defending him though.
Wow, that Hon. Barney Rubble line is clever, Warren.
Good thing Dalton has you to defend him, boy. That way he can keep his hands clean.
McGuinty won't be bullied! Newstalk 570.
QP Update: McGuinty's big Liberal federal cousins went to bat for him in Question Period this afternoon. No partisanship there.
This is somewhat related in terms of Liberal QP tactics: Trusty Tory - Liberals accuse Canadian Troops of committing war crimes.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Poor Rob was getting a bit irritated. He requested that she and her fellow Liberals either refrain from making slanderous remarks in the House, or else "have the guts" to take it outside.
I'll try to supply Hansard references when available.
This Parliamentary privilege this is really quite remarkable. Apparently you can say anything in the House of Commons and not be held accountable for it. Yet the whole thing is televised for everyone in Canada to see; whether or not the truth is being spoken.
I just don't get it.
2:55 p.m. update - Monte Solberg tells the Member that she should apologize to the Minister of Justice.
3:05 pm Update: Peter Van Loan rises on a Question of Privilege to ask the Speaker to review the words that the leader of the Opposition used when referring to the Prime Minister in the context of not telling the truth, or something to that effect. The Speaker said he didn't hear the word "lying" used, but would look into it.
- End of 'Question Period' Live-Blogging
Christian Conservative has a bit more detail - Oops... Dion to apologize to Harper?
All the tawdry details now available from Hansard.
Hansard, Oral Questions 14:20:
Hon. Stéphane Dion (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, since the Prime Minister misled the House regarding the allegations of torture, what would stop him from trying to do the same in the Mulroney case, about when he saw Mr. Schreiber's letters, about why the Department of Justice interrupted its internal investigation, or about Mr. Schreiber's extradition?
Is he not trying to mislead the House on the Mulroney case, as he did on the allegations of torture?
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party is wrong. There is evidence of allegations in a case we learned about recently, two weeks ago. The Minister of Foreign Affairs explained this case to the House of Commons. We are working with the government of Afghanistan on the arrangement in place for investigating and resolving this situation.
Hon. Stéphane Dion (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the deception must stop: cover-up on torture and cover-up on Mulroney. Will the Prime Minister stop the cover-ups? Will he agree to testify under oath at the Mulroney inquiry?
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the terms of the inquiry, as the government already has said, will be set independently by Professor Johnston. I do not know whether he will accept the position of the current leader of the Liberal Party that there be an unlimited inquiry, or of the past leader of the Liberal Party that there be no public inquiry, or of the future leader of the Liberal Party, who says there should be a limited public inquiry. I am sure one of these Liberal positions will be adopted.
What I can say is that when the Leader of the Opposition alleges vast conspiracies and then votes by abstaining to keep the government in office, nobody takes his allegations seriously.
I love it.
Meanwhile - Iggy remains strangely (or wisely) silent.
MP's want to hear quickly from Schreiber, former PM - Star.
Le Politico - James Travers conspicuously distances himself from official Liberal position.
If you missed CTV's Question Period at noon on Sunday, there is a great interview with Bob Rae & Tom Flanagan still available on the Politics page.
CBC - MP's tempers flair at House ethics committee meeting.
L. Ian MacDonald - A despicable smear campaign:
One of the oldest tactical rules of the political game is, when you're in trouble, create a diversion. No doubt about it, it's working for the Liberals...
Thursday Update: Chuckercanuk - Cost Free Promises.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Earlier this year, the Ontario Medical Association said Ontario should ban smoking in vehicles carrying children, and said most residents in the province would support the move.
So this ban could likely gain momentum across the country.
What are the implications? This would seem to be an infringement on individual rights in favour of the greater good.
What about a pregnant woman? Should she be allowed to smoke in a car?
Finally we get some definitive information on the infamous Schreiber letter from non other than Marilyn MacPherson, who is Assistant Deputy Minister of Corporate Services for the Privy Council Office - PCO didn't forward Schreiber's letter:
I am writing to clarify several issues relating to Don Martin's Thursday column. Firstly, the headline of the column is misleading -- no letter went missing. All correspondence processed by the Privy Council Office is kept on file for the prescribed period of time. The statements attributed to a former supervisor in the correspondence unit of another government, to the effect that "all correspondence addressed to the Prime Minister is routinely forwarded to his office" is not accurate either. Due to the volume and nature of correspondence, in fact the vast majority of it is not forwarded to the correspondence unit in the Prime Minister's Office, but is processed by the Privy Council Office correspondence unit.
As we have stated with other media representatives, the Privy Council Office processes all incoming correspondence to the prime minister. In the case of correspondence from Karlheinz Schreiber, it was decided that replying would be inappropriate as a result of the author being the subject of an extradition hearing, as well as his involvement in other litigation.
Finally, I want to reconfirm here for your readers the accuracy of statements made by the Prime Minister's Office, that the Privy Council Office did not forward the March 29, 2007 letter to the Prime Minister's correspondence unit.
So the letter was indeed received, but not forwarded to the PMO, due to concerns about the correspondence seeming to be inappropriate due to ongoing hearings and litigation.
Don Martin claims:
The Privy Council Office did not respond to requests for an interview to discuss this possibility, even though they were asked to call by the Prime Minister's tight-lipped communications director.
Do you blame them, Don?
Just because you don't get an interview doesn't give you the right to therefore concoct your own story full of innuendos and spurious allegations.
Two opposing Liberal views here - Wide or narrow? The Wudrick Blog has something to say about this too - The plot thickens.
Sandy at COTM - Who's running this country? Harper or Schreiber?
National Post on-line: Liberals appeal to Johnston for a stick to beat Harper with.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
It's a list of top charitable givers and receivers, with the Toronto District School Board topping the list of Canada's richest charities at an astounding $2.4 billion dollars! By contrast, the Salvation Army ranks only 184, and Heart and Stroke failed to even get into the top 200.
Unfortunately, what isn't available online is the accompanying List of the top 10 most generous foundations, with the Ontario Trillium Foundation ranking first. I checked out their website and under "where we get our funding" is simply says that it is an "agency of the government of Ontario".
I would certainly appreciate any more information on why the TDSB would be top receiver, and a government of Ontario agency top foundation donor.
Thanks in advance.
His wisdom still rings true today. In today's Sun column (Tory would have been sitting prettier under MMP), Christina Blizzard points out a number of trends that threaten democracy - the biggest one of all being voter apathy. First she explores the very different results that MMP would have delivered to Ontario had it been in effect during the last election.
But the way that referendum was thrust on us in a similar manner that FB-funding was announced, left voters with little time to properly sort out the issues in a rational process.
Fear-mongering and paranoia overcame the debates. Personally, I ended up being against MMP and have no regrets on that score, but it was a difficult process trying to sort out the various ramifications of a very complex question. Little information was given to voters before the election. Similarly, John Tory's fatal flaw was to spring FB-funding on us as a campaign platform that allowed the opposing side to run with the fear-ball all the way to the goal line.
Blizzard interviewed Peter MacLeod, of Queen's University's Centre for the Study of Democracy, and received this observation:
"The recent election wasn't a contest of ideas, it was a monologue about one bad idea. Yet Ontarians had no way to tune into a different conversation," he said.
"There was no space for a discussion about any number of issues -- mainly because we've created a political culture where ideas and issues have themselves become dangerous," he said.
"No wonder so many people simply change the channel or pull the plug."
But back to Churchill. He also noted the best argument against democracy is "a five-minute conversation with the average voter." Many potential voters in this province simply sat home Oct. 10. Voter turn-out was a pathetic 52%.
"We may have voted down the referendum, but we're getting perilously close to voting down democracy too. A 52% turnout isn't much of an endorsement and yet I can't believe this is what people want," MacLeod said.
So we can blame the powers-to-be for not educating us enough on the relevant issues and we can blame the fear-mongers for taking advantage of our naiveté.
Or we can start taking responsibility for ourselves and stop letting the nanny-state do our thinking for us.
That means making a real effort to learn about the issues from a variety of sources. It means objectively assessing the pros and cons. It means caring.
And it means getting out to vote.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Last night I was impressed with Craig Oliver and Jane Taber on MDL. They both seemed so reasonable - expressing concern that an investigation would be a waste of taxpayers' money and could open up a Pandora's Box of problems.
However, after reading some of the comments at Tony's and TTT, I wonder if we've been 'had'.
For example, Tony's reader Durward made this observation:
I think Oliver and Jane are just smarter than the Lib MPs and can see that the Libs will bleed more from any inquiry than the Cons will, inevitably Chretien's Liberal party will be under the scope and being the most corrupt gov in Canada's history there is an awful lot left to find, like why would an influence peddler contribute 10,000 dollars unless he was promised something, why would an ex Lib Mp put up his 100,000 dollar bail?
I don't think Oliver and Jane were being non-partisan, rather they were looking out for Da Boss and the Party.
Unfortunately this particular interview doesn't seem to be accessible on-line, so I went back to my archaic VCR (yes, VCR!) and reviewed the Oliver-Taber portion.
Craig Oliver said that an investigation would be a 'political abattoir'; 'let the Mounties deal with it'; 'the Government should have the courage to send him to Germany'; 'we don't need a public inquiry'; 'it would be an archaeological dig into the lives of Mulroney and Schreiber', and so on.
Jane Taber said she felt sorry for Rob Nicholson; that he was in a 'no-win' situation; that whatever he decides won't be 'good enough' for the other side. She mentioned that she had spoken to Justice Gomery about it and he doesn't want any part of it. According to Jane, Gomery feels it will be a political minefield.
Durward may be onto something. Jane & Craig do seem uncharacteristically pro-Tory on this file. Something is up.
So now I'm doing an about-face and say Schreiber should stay here; but not in Club-fed. He should be in a prison appropriate to his crimes until the investigation is completed.
Triple T's reader Stan says it nicely:
I watched Craig Oliver burn out a bearing ranting against an inquiry, Duffy and Giggle Taber also were against it.
That to me is a good enough reason to have one. Methinks some liberals are getting nervous.
Friday, November 16, 2007
And in a telephone interview yesterday, Mr. Schreiber warned that if he's sent back to Germany, the inquiry won't hear from him.
"Not one f*cking word would I say," Mr. Schreiber said from the Toronto West Detention Centre. "Not one word," he repeated.
"Why would I care about the country any more? ... Why would I care any longer?"
So this is the character of the man who is Stephane Dion's new best friend - the man who has rescued Dion from the abyss of weakness, fear and inaction and turned the stoplight on Brian Mulroney, and Schreiber's own selfish interests. (And yet poor Stephane still manages to look ridiculous).
Obviously Schreiber does not care about our country. He is trying to save his own neck, and in the process he is hogging the spotlight to the exclusion of other issues that matter to Canadians.
Chantal Hebert methodically lists the reasons why the Mulroney inquiry won't be a repeat of the Gomery probe, and yet the Liberals salivate at the prospects. Meanwhile, the NDP is hoping for a double salvo.
All this circus is really doing is allowing the Liberal leader some time to regain his composure and try to find his missing backbone.
Also, excellent Post article by L. Ian Macdonald, who is a frequent guest on MDL - He's only just begun to fight:
...It's a classic case of he said, he said...
And this part is interesting:
...Journalists have no claim of privilege before a royal commission. They cannot hide behind their anonymous sources. Moreover, since the passage of the Accountability Act, the CBC is subject to Access to Information demands. This means Canadians may finally discover how much the CBC has spent on this story over the last 12 years...
And that may end up being one of the few reasons to pursue the inquiry.
If Brian Mulroney were a Liberal, would there be a public inquiry into his private business dealings?
MDL link available here (at right). Mr Macdonald's exact quote was "I thought it was black mail, Mike and I wondered who's running this country...?"
I must agree.
Globe - Tories say they may allow Schreiber's extradition.
Post editorial - Kick Schreiber out:
To which we say: Don't let the cell door hit your backside on the way out. Let's kick him out. Now.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
'Doesn't even understand the federal bill'?
C'mon, Peter. That's really pushing it!
Star - Schreiber loses appeal. Yeah, I never found him very charismatic either.
Newstalk 570 reports that Schreiber has won a two-week reprieve. The Star has the story.
Perhaps I'm being a bit naïve here, but why didn't Karlheinz Schreiber simply use registered mail?
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Seems like a good choice. This man will need to wisdom of Solomon to sort out the mess.
More to follow.
Globe - University of Waterloo President to advise on Mulroney probe.
Phantom Observer - The Third Man: David Lloyd Johnston.
Post - Waterloo University president to guide Mulroney inquiry: PM.
CTV - University head to lead Mulroney-Schreiber probe.
Background - Schreiber letter withheld from Harper, bureaucrats say - Star.
And this is hilarious! Charles Adler - Mulroney and Schreiber -- the politics of old men:
...This is Grandpa being kicked in the dentures by another grandpa drowning in his drool in some jail near some airport in Toronto waiting to be flown off to some German jail to spend the rest of his years rotting like old salami...
Thursday Update: Accolades for Harper's choice from surprising sources:
...The appointment was applauded by local politicians and university colleagues who said Johnston -- a former dean of law at the University of Western Ontario and former principal of McGill University -- is "beyond reproach."
"This is the first good move the Conservatives have made on this file," said Kitchener-Waterloo Liberal MP Andrew Telegdi. "David Johnston is a man of real integrity and a man of real skill and I look forward to his recommendations."
Kitchener Centre Liberal MP Karen Redman said Johnston has "sound judgment" and "a lot of integrity.
"I would think he is a good choice for what I see as a very difficult assignment," she said...
Bravo! Finally Ms. Redman and I can agree on something.
More kudos from another unlikely source! The Star - Johnston believes in the nobility of public life, by ... wait for it ... Susan Delacourt!!!!!!
Globe - Tories not on hook for Mulroney furor, Canadians say in poll. Oh, alright then. You're not all lemmings.
The following editorial was published in the Goderich Signal Star on October 24, by Cathy Cove who is a freelance writer for the Signal Star (no direct link available). In the article, she references a London Free Press editorial that was published in the Signal Star on Oct. 17.
In her article, Cathy points out the hypocrisy of the McGuinty government which frantically extolled all the horrors of 'segregation' if faith-based school funding were allowed to exist in Ontario.
Here is Cathy's editorial:
GHOSTS OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOL CHOICE WILL HAUNT GOVERNMENT
An editorial in the Signal -Star entitled “Faith-based school debate is not over yet” (October 17) suggested that there was a “debate” that took place during the provincial election on the issue of allowing other faiths to opt into the public education system.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Nothing close to a “debate” happened. I’m even hard-pressed to suggest that any rational discussion on the subject was engaged in anywhere in the province.
What we witnessed was something else entirely.
We saw a premier defending is own religious choice yet no one else’s, while playing on the fear that allowing other religious choice into the system would lead to “segregation” of children or worse.
That line of reasoning is not only archaic, but more proof that neither the premier nor his election team did their homework.
If they had they would have known that schools of other religious choices exist in Ontario now thanks in large part to the funding they get from the provincial government itself.
Does the government suggest that schools like the five Ukrainian Eastern Rite school, Burkevale Protestant School (Penetanguishene), Eden High Christian School (Niagara), or the Christian School Cooperative (Rainy River), or the new native school in Toronto are bastions that breed segregation and work to weaken the public system? These are all schools other than Catholic currently being funded by the public tax dollar. No segregation or weakening of the system happening at these schools.
The mantra of the media, expert panels and talk radio seem content on blaming the outcome of the election on John Tory because it unearthed old feelings about religion and education which were never fully satisfied in the days of Bill Davis.
While Ontarians got sucked into a perfect storm, what we failed to recognize is that the Ontario of 2007 is not Bill Davis’s Ontario. Not by a long shot.
Ontarians also failed to realize that the question of funding and faith wasn’t initially brought to the forefront by John Tory for his campaign.
The first salvo in the current education funding wars was fired by the Grand Erie public board this past February when it asked other school boards to join them in lobbying the Ontario Public School Boards Association to move to one single publicly funded school system.
Locally the lobbying effort proved fruitful when at a March 27 board meeting the Avon-Maitland District School Board trustees voted to support the one system concept and encourage the Ontario Public School Boards Association to do the same.
It didn’t seem at the time that the Avon-Maitland trustees could agree on why they were supporting the move.
In his recounting of the decision journalist Stew Slater reported that South Huron trustee Randy Wagler insisted that the move to one system was all about finding efficiencies.
His colleague, former chair and Stratford trustee Meg Westley felt differently. Quoted, trustee Westley stated “if you’re going to allow one religious group to have their school system publicly funded, then you have to have it for all.” She added, “It’s a bit discriminatory.”
I thought it oddly counter-productive for the Avon-Maitland DSB to so overtly hop onto the bandwagon in support of a move to one system, without consideration for what it threatened to do to our other local coterminous Huron Perth Catholic School Board.
The HPCDSB must have indeed felt the heat. In June Director Larry Langan and board chair Ron Marcy sent a letter to parents and parishes within its jurisdiction supporting their existence. The letter shared that the Catholic schools in Ontario “enjoy the publicly stated, unqualified support of our government and all major opposition parties.”
Mr. Langan and Mr. Marcy also challenge the notion of efficiency, suggesting that “their assumption that amalgamations lower costs is incorrect.” They remind that historically amalgamation of boards, as we saw in 1998 actually cost taxpayers more money, not less because costs rose to the highest denominator. The HPCDSB resisted amalgamation in 1998.
Bigger does not mean better when it comes to small town and rural communities. Moving to a mega-system moves boards farther away from the individuals they serve. Local control of schools by its community would be at risk.
When left to their own devises and by their own admission both the Avon Maitland and Huron Perth Catholic boards work well together, but they also, thus far, have respected the rights of the other to exist.
The Huron Perth Catholic DSB has also publicly supported the move to bring other faiths under the public education umbrella.
While pundits believe the issue is over, I don’t.
As for “discussion” and “debate” on the future of faith funding in Ontario. That hasn’t even begun, but I predict it will under McGuinty’s watch. Just how he deals with it will indeed be interesting to watch.
Toronto Sun’s Angelo Persichilli said it best in “Don’t Mess with Tradition” (Oct. 2) “The Charter of Rights and Freedom, rightly or wrongly, has successfully been used to challenge the Canadian constitution and the BNA act. Some could even argue that the Charter has made the BNA act and the Constitution irrelevant. I’m betting another battle will happen in Ontario pretty soon, and McGuinty will have to choose between funding everybody or nobody. I think I know what he will decide. Catholics, consider yourselves warned.”
The region needs to look to those best practices, such as our own Stratford community where Catholic and public schools are sharing facilities, and experiences.
Hopefully, we can achieve efficiencies and cost savings without compromising the option of faith-based education that Ontario’s Catholic schools offer to parents who choose that option for their children.
In the end Ontario is still left with systems that are suffering from too few students and where resources are being spread to the max.
Civil, positive discussion about what comes next is far preferred to that of threats or bandwagon politics.
- Cathy Cove, freelance writer for the Goderich Signal Star.
I agree with Cathy that this discussion is far from over. It will continue, as it should because if not, then we resign ourselves to complacency. We should always be striving for improvement, and sometimes that requires thinking 'outside the box'.
We need civil, enlightened discussion on this subject; not fear-mongering.
And that is exactly why the election was a poor time to introduce it.
Education Minister Kathleen Wynne last week praised the school board for looking at ways to improve student achievement. She said the province would not intrude if the board approves the initiative.
Also, lots of interesting posts about education at Crux-of-the-matter.
Sunday Update: Black schools in focus. (Star)