Monday, July 30, 2007

A column I wish I hadn't read

In my opinion, Geoffrey Stevens is on a par with Jim Travers in the credibility department, which is why I usually ignore both columnists.

However, I was intrigued by the title of Stevens' piece this morning - Colle's not the only minister who has reason to resign.

My first thought was, "Yikes! Are we finally going to see a non-partisan opinion from Mr. Stevens?" I seemed too good to be true.

And it was.

First Stevens goes into an explanation of why cabinet ministers might resign, on either a federal or provincial level. He cites Michael Chong as an example of resignation on a point of principle. Fine.

Then he mentions resignation due to conflict of interest and gives the Chretien-era Defence Minister Art Eggleton as an example. No problem.

However, then Stevens lists the Ontario Cabinet Ministers who have either already resigned, or should have - namely Mike Colle, Harinder Takhar and David Caplan, as examples of the last category; namely 'screw-ups'.

Yes, I agree there too.

However, then Stevens goes a step further and says there should be another category - 'stupidity'. He names Bev Oda as an example:

Stupidity can also be a factor. Take the case of Bev Oda, the heritage minister in Harper's cabinet. She caused a furor in 2006 when she took $5 million a year in federal funding away from Status of Women Canada and $4.6 million from assistance to museums. The stupidity occurred when Oda went to Halifax for the Juno Awards and spent $5,475 in three days on a stretch limo to ferry her about.

Given that her hotel was only a block away from the Metro Centre, where most of the events were held, the expenditure was both grossly excessive and appallingly stupid.

If stupidity were a firing offence, Oda would be history.

So Bev Oda should resign as Cabinet Minister because she hired a stretch limo to go to the Junos? Well, that may be some cause for criticism about waste of taxpayers' money, but I can't see that being a reason for calling for the Minister's resignation.

And I'm sure we could find lots of example of ministerial waste under the previous regime. Joe Volpe's penchant for lavish pizza dinners jumps to mind.

Also, the McGuinty government itself can be cited as an example of waste of taxpayers' money. Perhaps the whole lot of them should resign.

Anyway, that's my rant for today.

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I'll be taking a bit of time off, so you may find comment moderation enabled. Feel free to leave a message anyway - or just go out and enjoy the sunshine.

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Breaking news from National Newswatch - Pierre Trudeau voted "Worst Canadian" in history!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Using guilt to sell

A little snippet here from 'real life'.

I was at the local grocery store earlier, and a fellow came up to me in the dairy aisle with clipboard (not a good sign), asking me if I would please complete a short survey. He had a cart full of bottles of some kind of cleaning liquid by his side.

"No thanks", I replied. "I'm in a hurry".

- "But, it'll only take 30 seconds".

"No thank you".

- "Don't you care about the ENVIRONMENT?" he persisted, with an air of self-righteousness.

Well, at that point he may have just as well waved a red flag in front of my face. My disdain for solicitors of any kind is only surpassed by my total disgust at having the word 'environment' shoved down my throat every time I turn around.

"No!", I snarled back.

- "Not even a bit?", he stared at me incredulously.

"No, not even a bit!"

- "Well! Have a good day then", he muttered and sought out his next victim.

I walked down the aisle amidst a crowd of astonished onlookers.

I am an environmental pariah.

Just don't cross my path today.

Of cookies and cricket

Angelo Persichilli appears to be trying to defend his friend, master Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella in today's op-ed - "Kinsella scandal covers up real issue".

So does Sheila Copps - "One quirky comment could prove costly".

Why would they try to "help" their friend by bringing up this story again today? If it's a non-issue, as they seem to be suggesting, why not let it die?

Unless, as a reader of Adam Daifallah's blog pointed out:

It is strange timing for Mr. Kinsella's little blunder. Just as the excrement is hitting the Liberal fan over the "slush fund", Dalton's chief spinmeister is taking a lot of heat over an unfortunate cartoon caption. Could it be Warren taking one for the team?
It has given him a chance to post lots of nice emails about himself on his blog along with diverting attention just before the report came out.
muttsrus | 07.27.07 - 7:50 am

H/T to Vicki for bringing this to my attention.

Let's not take the focus off Cricketgate. We at least owe that much to ourselves - the taxpayers of Ontario.

* * * *
Update: Wow! I was surprised to see this one at a link off Liblogs!! McGuinty's in trouble if he's alienating his own base.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A message for Flicking Liberal Voters

Look in the mirror!

* * * *

This link to Licia Corbella's column, Kudos for Crown will self-destruct when the piece is archived, so here are the salient points:

...Saskatchewan's Crown prosecutors deserve kudos, not criticism, for getting Whitmore to plead guilty to 15 charges including kidnapping, abduction and rape against two young boys and accepting a life sentence with no eligibility for parole for seven years rather than grinding through a trial and then applying for dangerous offender designation prior to sentencing...

...So, do we blame the judges for giving him such short sentences for past child abductions and sexual assaults on children as young as five? Some of the blame undoubtedly can go there, but certainly not all of it.

Those judges, appointed by mostly Liberal politicians, simply apply the laws written by the same mostly Liberal politicians.

Currently, the federal Conservative government has numerous bills before Parliament that would toughen laws to better protect our children and all law-abiding people. One such bill proposes to raise the age of consent in Canada from 14 to 16.

That reasonable change to the law -- that would prevent grown adult pedophiles from preying on young children -- is being held up by the Liberal-dominated Senate.

One Conservative MP tells me he has been accused of being a "sexually repressed Neanderthal" for advocating such a reasonable and common-sense change to this law, one that most Canadians undoubtedly agree with.

What's more, had the age of consent been 16, rather than 14, it's believed that the Crown may have proceeded to trial and sought a dangerous offender designation for Whitmore. Why? Because the father of the 10-year-old boy Whitmore abducted, bound, threatened with death and raped last July refused to allow his traumatized son to be grilled on the witness stand.

That left testimony to the traumatized 14-year-old. See where I'm going? The defence would have berated the 14-year-old into admitting that he "consented" to sex with this 36-year-old pervert, even though he was threatened with death if he didn't.

So, want to know who to blame besides Whitmore for what has happened to his most recent victims and some of the eight ones before? If you have consistently voted Liberal, look in the friggin' mirror.

Kudos to you, Licia.

* * * *
Update: Licia strikes again! Liberal is a chopper blockhead.

Kudos for the Record

What's going on with these liberal papers lately? Have they all seen the light?

Today's editorial is scathing - Mismanagement, McGuinty Style:

Ontario taxpayers have a right to feel cheated by such grotesque mismanagement of their money. And to be angry. For years, the Liberals couldn't find the means to expand Cambridge Memorial Hospital, and even now Cambridge taxpayers have to sink more than $6 million of their own money into the venture. When the University of Waterloo agreed to build a pharmacy school in Kitchener, city taxpayers were stuck with the $30-million construction cost -- the province paid zero for that part of the project.

But the day after the Canadian Cricket Association asked for $150,000 in 2006, it was awarded a $1-million grant. That money was supposed to pay only for capital work. However, the Ontario Cricket Association, which ultimately got the $1 million, didn't need it all and invested $500,000 in a guaranteed investment certificate. Where were the government's priorities? Perhaps the citizens and politicians of Waterloo Region should wave cricket bats the next time they want help from McGuinty.


On anther note, congrats to the Record for the great new look on their website.

Oh, and their links work now too! Bravo!!!

* * * *
Update: Our resident detective isn't going to let this one go - Steve Janke.

And Jack on Cricketgate.

A warning for 'sock puppets' and anonymous loose cannons

If you think that you can remain anonymous on the internet and say what you want with impunity, better think again.

Vancouver businessman Wayne Crookes, a former Green Party of Canada campaign manager, filed a suit last April in the British Columbia Supreme Court against Wikipedia for what he believes were disparaging and damaging comments made by a writer last year with the handle "indyperson." The sock puppet was repeating comments made by anonymous authors on Blogspot's The Compost Heap. Google, which hosts the Web site, and the bloggers, were named in a separate suit. Mr. Crookes would like Google to identify the authors and remove the contentious words that exposed him "to ridicule and contempt."

There is a certain cynical blogger out there that might give this some serious reflection.

More at Time.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Warren's cookie gaffe

Probably the best thing that happened today for Warren Kinsella was Colle-gate. I'm sure he's quite pleased to be upstaged at this moment.

Anyway, Warren posted my little email on the subject along with many others (July 25th). My own apologies to my faithful Conservative readers, but I really do admire him for apologizing for his mistake. Even though we are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, I think it shows character when a person can admit that he's not perfect - and do it before an Auditor General tables a report.

Is Colle a scapegoat? - The Verdict

I think it's pretty safe to assume that Ex-Minister Colle is 'taking one for the team' here.

Whether or not that will have any impact on the October election is up to the citizens of Ontario.

Interesting though, that during a phone-in show at noon on Toronto's CityNews, Auditor General McCarter was the guest. The phone question was: "Will you vote for the Liberals in the upcoming election?"

At the end of the program, the votes were tallied:

YES - 491

NO - 1401

There is an online poll on the main City News site. Here's your chance, Libloggers.

And Ontario, you get to deliver the final verdict in October.

* * * *
More here: Funding Scandal Claims Cabinet Minister (Star):

Colle resigned as minister yesterday after Auditor General Jim McCarter slammed spending controls on the grants as among "the worst that we've ever seen." Colle acknowledged the money was often doled out with little or no paperwork.

I have to admit that the Star has been right on top of this all along.

And from the 'third party':

"Dalton McGuinty can't fob off responsibility for this scandal on to one disgraced cabinet minister," Hampton said in a statement.

"The issue is not Mike Colle's actions. It's McGuinty's attitude – his lack of standards, fairness and accountability. This is his responsibility and his failure," he said.

This bit is interesting from Hansard, April 26, 2007. Elizabeth Witmer asks Colle:

You are quoted in the Toronto Star on April 20 as saying that this money “has to go through [the] other ministers”—the Minister of Finance, who is the Liberal Party campaign chair, and the Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal—“and ultimately, I guess, by cabinet.” Now, these are your words; they’re not my words. Will you, Minister, please tell us what direction you received from the Liberal Party campaign chair as to who was to receive this money?

The answer is complete obfuscation.

* * * *

Uh-oh. I just happened upon this little tidbit from the Star. O.k. I take everything back I ever said about the Star. Maybe they are changing their colours?

...The premier himself was with Colle when the cheque was presented at a dinner last August, praising cricket as a "unifying force" for ethnic communities but not realizing that he'd land in hot water with the auditor.

"The assumption that I'd made in my capacity as premier is that the protocols were in place, systems were in place, rules were in place to ensure that this was all being done in the best way possible," McGuinty said yesterday...

Dalton, remember what they say about people who ASSUME something? It makes an ASS out of and U and ME.

* * * *
And just this last little link.

The Iranian-Canadian Community Centre of Toronto, got a $200,000 grant from Ontario's ministry of citizenship and immigration last year to help build a community centre in the Richmond Hill area.

But the auditor found no written request for funding. In fact, since the group was operating for less than two years, it didn't qualify for a grant under other programs administered by the ministry.

"We had a number of groups where there wasn't any documentation of what they wanted the money for," McCarter noted.

As first reported by the Toronto Star last spring, the group had numerous Liberal connections.

One member of its executive had worked for Health Minister George Smitherman. Another, Reza Moridi, has since left the executive and become a Liberal candidate for the Oct. 10 provincial election.

Yet another quit to become a Liberal riding association president. And another is a long-time acquaintance of Finance Minister Greg Sorbara.

However, McCarter concluded the political connections were not a factor in the group getting the grant.

O.K. Let the electorate decide.

Is Colle a scapegoat? - Part Three

The court now recalls the Globe as a witness for the prosecution. I know this particular court may seem a bit one-sided, but I honestly have been looking for a defense witness.

Oh, wait, here's one!

Anyway, back to the Globe (Clearing the Slush):

...The Premier would have us believe that the commissioning of Mr. McCarter's report and subsequent resignation of Mr. Colle demonstrate his government's commitment to accountability. But only those with very short memories will accept that storyline. Far from reacting promptly to concerns about the slush fund, Mr. McGuinty's initial response was dismissive. Not only did he stonewall demands for an investigation; he went so far as to imply (albeit with a quick retraction) that opposition members questioning the multicultural program were doing so out of racism. Only when it became clear that his refusal to commission a report would harm his party heading into this fall's election campaign did Mr. McGuinty relent...

Again, McGuinty's motives are questioned regarding his Minister's 'resignation'. Far from being accountable, it appears to have been an expedient way to name a scapegoat and distance himself from the smell.

- Lunch break.

Is Colle a scapegoat? - Part Two

I now call on a Star witness for the prosecution - Ian Urquhart, who asks why it took Dalton McGuinty so long to deal decisively with this problem? Instead, McGuinty played some kind of denial game.

So why didn't McGuinty fire Colle then instead of stonewalling demands for his minister's head for three weeks in the Legislature and suggesting his critics were racists?

McGuinty ducked that question in a press conference yesterday, but it is likely there are three answers to it.

Urquhart lists those possible reasons as (a) stubborness (b) unsuccessful attempt to dismiss the allegations as "mere caterwauling by the opposition and the media", and (c) with an upcoming election, McGuinty is in "survival mode".

The Star piece continues:

"Auditor general finds no ties between grants and politics," trumpeted a press release from the premier's office.

That's true, to a certain extent. The auditor general did report that "a few" of the recipient groups had Liberal ties but added: "We found no evidence that the organization received the grant as a result of this."

However, another allegation was beyond the purview of the auditor general to investigate: that the Liberals dispensed the money to curry favour with various ethno-cultural groups.

After all, the citizenship grants weren't handled like a normal government program, with bureaucrats involved. Rather, it was run out of Colle's own office.

But Colle was not a rogue minister, and he didn't find the money for the grants in the men's room of his ministry. It was given to him to distribute by the minister of finance, and McGuinty himself participated in at least one of the ceremonies in which the cheque was presented.

The court will now take a brief recess.

Is Colle a scapegoat?

Lots of damning editorials in MSM today, but the most critical may be the Globe. Actually, it's interesting that the most vehement attacks seem to have come from both the Globe and Star.

Lorrie Goldstein has a piece in the Sun (Colle-gate is shades of a new Adscam), but it's little more than a slap on the hand compared to the others. The Post seems to be MIA.

Anyway, let's start with the Globe's Murray Campbell (McGuinty must shoulder blame for the whole sorry mess). He starts by suggesting that "the first wheel finally fell off Dalton McGuinty's government", meaning that Dalton appears to have ducked previous potential scandals until this moment. The remark, however, reminded me of that ominous moment on the 2005 federal campaign trail when a wheel suddenly fell off the wagon Paul Martin was driving...

Campbell's whole piece is worth the read, but here are the highlights:

...The furor over the year-end grants to groups seen to be friendly with the Liberal Party began last April with a story that the Bengali Cultural Society received $250,000.

The story had legs because one of the organization's executives was vice-president of the riding association of Liberal MP Maria Minna.

The next day, we found out that the Iranian-Canadian Community Centre was given $200,000 just three weeks after it registered as a charity and that its directors included a Liberal candidate in the coming election.

The opposition called for Mr. Colle's head. Instead of acceding, the government embarked on what Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory characterizes as days of "denial, ducking and stonewalling."

The grants issue dominated Question Period until Mr. McGuinty could stand it no more and recessed the legislature three weeks early, a few hours before Mr. Colle was scheduled to be grilled before a legislative committee.

The Conservatives asked about 270 questions in that period. They received no answers and, worse, were on the receiving end of insinuations that they were motivated by racist attitudes.

It gets worse:

In the coming weeks, you will hear a lot from opposition politicians about the cricket association that asked for $150,000 after it was invited to apply for funding and the next day received $1-million. It had so much money that it spent $20,000 to throw a celebratory dinner (at which Mr. McGuinty spoke) and then socked away $500,000 in five-year, investment certificates.

Actually, I'm going to be doing this in installments today, because I have a lot to say, and I know most people hate reading long posts.

More to follow.

If women have a 'right' to abortion...

...then I think this is reasonable. It's his body, right?

Whitmore had previously agreed to be chemically castrated in 2005 after his release from jail, but the procedure was never done because probation officials couldn't find a doctor willing to have Whitmore as a patient, his former lawyer, Dan Brodsky said yesterday.

The newspaper said Whitmore may have also made a half-hearted attempt at self-castration while at the Regina Correctional Centre in May by trying to cut off his penis with a tin can.

Isn't it Canada's responsibility to ensure that safe castration is accessible on demand, and that there are doctors readily available to do the procedure?

* * * *

Oh, and if someone tries to tell you that my belief that medical attention should be available to all Canadians is the same as saying that "women seeking legal abortions (a good number of them Liberals, presumably) were compared to mentally-deranged child molesters", please file that away as an excellent example of 'intellectual dishonesty'.

* * * *

Update: Lorne Gunter - Lax justice system the real crime.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Another nail in the Liberal coffin

Colle resigns.

* * * *

Update: (10 p.m.) Wow. I got a lot of mileage out of this little post. 21 comments already! It shows that you don't have to be long-winded to attract debate. Actually, I had to go out for the evening, but managed to type out those two words and hit 'publish' before dashing out the door. See how dedicated I am?

Anyway, here are a few more links:

Exactly Right - Once a Liberal, Always a thief. (Yikes, that's a bit harsh, isn't it?)

Crux-of-the-Matter - The ON Liberal Sponsorship Scandal.

Star - Minister quits over grants. Full text of report here.

Sun - Liberal Minister Coll resigns. (While you're at it, check out the on-line poll).

Travers sinks to new low - With update for the 'mushrooms'

I try really hard to avoid reading James Travers. His columns are so unabashedly biased that I can barely stand to glance at the title. Sandy knows what I'm talking about.

However, today's opinion piece in the red Star ("Human factor transcends dogma in gun debate") is way over the top. In the Record, the same pile of vitriolic rubbish trying to pass for journalism is titled, "Harper turns blind eye to the compassion of gun control", which is what stopped me from glossing over his rhetoric today.

If I am understanding this correctly, Travers' argument is that Stephen Harper doesn't feel the pain of those who have lost loved ones in gun shootings, and the evidence of this is because he is not entertaining the thought of making guns unavailable to legal, law-abiding citizens who properly register and store their guns safely.

This according to Travers, shows Harper to be without empathy for the family and friends of Ephraim Brown and others.

Harper is supposedly too cerebral and doesn't have a heart.

This is so low, I can barely stand to type these words. (Note to self: Switch to decaff.)

I would suggest that it may be more the left-wing, knee-jerk reaction to a call to arms against guns rather than criminals, which is showing more of a lack of empathy. It happens again and again. And it will happen the next time.

Let's get the criminals off the street and keep them off. Make the judicial system more accountable for revolving door courtrooms, bail and light sentences.

But it's just way too easy to blame the guns and feel so smug and self-righteous.

* * * *

Update: Now here is someone James Travers can learn from - Lorrie Goldstein. His column today ("Using avoidance manoeuvres") is one of his best. Lorrie lays it all out without all the partisan rhetoric and camouflage :

..Indeed, in today's politically correct atmosphere, a politician who seriously wants to fight gun crime will be accused of interfering with the judiciary (for demanding judges take into account public concerns about gun violence), of being a racist (for demanding tougher bail and longer sentences since the criminals are disproportionately black), of being a fascist (for demanding the hiring of more cops and building more prisons) and finally, of being a bleeding heart and a spendthrift (for calling for massive new public spending, meaning higher taxes, to bolster public education, strengthen families and help find decent jobs for people jammed into urban ghettoes like Toronto's Jane-Finch).

Now, what are the chances we'll find a politician like that?

Better to treat the public like mushrooms. Keep them in the dark, cover them with manure and tell them "banning handguns" is the answer.

'Good', 'nice' people involved in alleged Liberal theft and coverup

"David Pretlove, the interim financial director of the Liberal Party of Canada's Ontario wing, offered to reimburse the Elgin-Middlesex-London Riding Association [EMLFLA ] with party funds if it took no further action against the alleged fraudster, Suzan Pawlak." - National Post.

Mike Crawley, president of the LPC (Ontario), has this to say about Mr. Pretlove, who allegedly acted without party approval:

"He is an individual of very sound judgment and is a nice person, and unfortunately, the latter characteristic took hold."

Yes, indeed. Too bad Mr. Pretlove is so nice. That would explain it.

Then we have Ms. Pawlak's former boss, Gar Knutson, painting a picture of Ms. Pawlak as "a single mother of modest means", and that:

"It's out of character, but sometimes good people make bad decisions."

Oh, please. A single mom who 'made a bad decision' has now been arrested for allegedly stealing more than $13,000.

Gee, I mean, it wasn't her fault right? Weren't all the cards stacked against her? How did she have a chance? We should have provided a basketball court. We are to blame, not her.

In La-la Liberal land, only guns are bad. People are nice and good.

Obviously, they haven't learned a thing.

* * * *
Update: Steve Janke - 'David Pretlove was going to use Liberal Party funds to cover up a criminal act'. Where is the outrage?

Steve is all over this one.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Barbara Kay thinks three's a crowd

Interesting Full Comment piece by Barbara Kay about three parent families.

Personally, I'm not going to get into it, but anyone who wants to is welcome.

Christie cuts through the P.C. smokescreen

H/T to BATB at CBL for pointing out this gem by Christie Blatchford - Don't get deafened by the noise - do something.

Christie paints a picture of the very poignant scene that caught my eye as well on the news coverage - that of the line of children holding hands and being led away from the scene of the shooting of Ephraim Brown in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

When I saw that clip, I was trying to understand why children of that age would be up at that hour in the first place, much less wandering around outdoors in the dark during a very large and rowdy party.

The police had apparently been there earlier in the evening. Yesterday's Post carried an article in the print edition, "Police say accused has gang history"(Sorry I don't have the link):

"...Police visited the party at about 10 a.m. (typo), three hours before the shooting to ask the party-goers to turn down their music, said Alisha Pomnainville. As the night progressed, said Detective Sergeant Gary Giroux, strangers started blending int the party crowd. A dispute led to multiple shots being fired, one of which hit the 11-year-old in the neck..."

In an accompanying article, Pomnainville relates more of the story:

On Saturday night her five year-old, Jahqwan, went to the birthday party for his friend Jayshawn, who was turning seven. Two 18-year-olds celebrated their birthdays in the same home that night, and by 9 p.m. the crowd had grown to more than 100, she said.

"You could feel there was a bad mood in the air," she said. "All these young men were standing there looking at each other, and every boy had their hoodies on."

She grabbed her boy and went home; a few hours later shots rang out and another boy was dead.

So this mother correctly relied on her maternal instincts and common sense and got her youngster away from potential danger.

There were many warnings signs of problems before the tragic event occurred. Yet obviously many parents chose to turn a blind eye.

Blatchford, in her op-ed, describes the need to look at the many small parts of this disturbing puzzle that contribute to the overall problem. I would suggest that the mothers and any available fathers take a long, hard look at themselves first.

Yet there is so much noise, in the wake of Ephraim's slaying, that the temptation is to give up, do nothing, or in the more modern manner, parrot some of the noise and do nothing. The trick, rather, is to do a little and pray others do the same.

We'll all do our part, but I pray that the parents take responsibility as well.

* * * *

: From Lorrie Goldstein's Missing the target on gun crime:

...As he (Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz) noted in a recent parliamentary debate, of the 5,194 homicides in Canada between 1997 and 2005, 118, or 2.27% were committed with a registered gun, 63, or 1.21%, were committed with a gun registered to the accused murderer and 111, or 2.14%, were committed by a person who held a valid firearms licence.

Of Canada's two million licensed gun owners, 111, or 0.00555%, used their firearm to murder someone.

Since most criminals don't register their guns, why would they obey a "ban?"
On the other hand, in 2005, 64% of accused murderers had a prior criminal record, including 6% for homicide.

Gee, do you think the real problem here might be the criminals and an absurdly lax justice system?

* * * *

Jack really cuts through the politically-correct smokescreen here - Elected politicians and stupid games.

All weather is climate change

L. Ian MacDonald gives us a science lesson.

And I'm still having trouble figuring out this double negative:

Climate change? Something is going on. There hasn't been an evening in the last two weeks when it hasn't been cool enough to start the fireplace - in July. In two decades of summers here, this has never happened before.

Thanks, Ian. I can skip today's brain teaser. (That should set up Red Tory quite nicely for a snarky comment.)

* * * *

Related: Good chance Mayor Andy Wells isn't a member of the Gore-Suzuki fan club.

Kinsella's Mea Culpa

Warren Kinsella eats humble pie in his July 24th entry. For those who didn't quite catch his sexist thought bubble, you can read all about it here and here and here.

Personally, I enjoy Warren's columns in the National Post, and most of his blog entries. However, this little vendetta against Hillier is becoming somewhat tiresome.

I was very disappointed by the 'cookies' reference. He can do better. Anyway, I admire his taking the high road, although he still managed to get a few parting digs in.

John Wayne said "Never apologize and never explain - It's a sign of weakness". (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon).

I strongly disagree. It takes tremendous courage and humility to make a genuine apology and learn from your mistakes.

And we all make mistakes.

* * * *
More - Kinsella's Chaos Over Chocolate Chips - Phantom Observer.

Adam apparently isn't buying it - Bad week for Team McGuinty.

Nor is this Blogging Tory - W Kinsella: Having Cookie Problems.

Beating on a dead horse - Christian Conservative.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Bad" Handguns

If you read the Star's editorial today (Ban handguns before more die), you'll see a small typo near the end of the piece which, if it hasn't been corrected yet, ironically illustrates the knee-jerk way this liberal op-ed must have been thrown together:

But the most pressing need in this struggle to control violence is a nationwide bad on handguns.

You can almost hear Bryant and Miller chanting in the background, "Bad handguns; bad!!!"

Michael Bryant seems to be on a mission to ferret out those nasty guns:

"We've got 215,000 (registered) handguns in Ontario alone and each one of them is a target for theft," Bryant said. "I say `no gun, no funeral,'" he added, referring to the deaths that have plagued Toronto in recent years.

And in a way, the Star's typo pretty much sums up the sole remedy of Miller and Bryant for this ongoing problem - Guns are bad. Therefore once we ban them, our problems are over. All those young people selling drugs and growing up in fatherless homes are going to suddenly see the light. It will be an amazing day. The city of Toronto will be shining with virtue and prosperity.

To its credit, today's Globe takes a more realistic view of the possible endemic causes (h/t Neo):

Toronto has undertaken a variety of useful responses: setting up four 18-member police squads that blitz high-crime areas on foot, creating extra social programs, and keeping schools open for summer programs. But the underlying problem of large, poor, fatherless families, alienated teens and a gangster culture transplanted in part from Jamaica is sinking its roots into Toronto, and will not soon let go.

Tough words, but they had to be said.

The question is, will Miller et al listen?

* * * *
Related: Exactly Right - Apparently it's guns that kill people; not criminals. (Interesting comment by one of Dave's readers, who says he owns several handguns).

Sandy - Don't change the subject! Pass the crime bills! One of Sandy's readers mentions a recent article by Licia Corbella. It's well worth the read.

Excellent post at Jack's Newswatch - The dumbest editorial the Star has produced in years!

* * * *
Wednesday Update: Lorrie Goldstein - Missing the target on gun crime. Well worth the read.

Sandy - Canada has a "criminal" control problem.

Bigotry: Double standard in Canada?

In today's Post - Vision TV has promised once again to ban broadcasts of Pakistani fundamentalist Israr Ahmad. President and CEO Bill Roberts issued the following statement: "VisionTV profoundly regrets any offence that resulted from Mr. Ahmad's appearances on our network."

While VisionTV did not broadcast Mr. Ahmad's derogatory comments about Jews, or his theories of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, Mr. Roberts said the decision about whether to allow him on Canadian airwaves should have perhaps taken those views into account.

The producer was apparently "distracted" by family matters, including his daughter's upcoming wedding.

"So the show was pulled and another show was put in its place, but it ended up being a show that also included him [Mr. Ahmad]."

(Maybe the producer should have taken some time off instead of accidentally allowing a purveyor of hate propaganda to have airtime in Canada? Just a thought.)

One of Mr. Ahmad's followers is, according to the Post, "Qayyum Abdul Jamal, who was arrested last summer for allegedly belonging to a Canadian terrorist group accused of plotting truck bombings in downtown Toronto."

Vision promises to set up a new task force to review standards and procedures.

Sounds like a start, but if you read today's editorial in the Post (Hateful Vision), you will see that the whole organization could use a good shaking up to put some balance in its obvious left-wing agenda. The Post points out a double standard in Vision and in our society in general when it come to bigotry:

While we accept that the July 21 broadcast was an accident, the incident fed into existing complaints about the network. Since its inception, VisionTV has shown a pronounced liberal bias. Evangelists have had to pay hefty sums to get their shows on the network -- and even then, they have appeared late at night or very early in the morning. Meanwhile, the channel's own original programming has been dominated by schismatic Catholics (those who favour female ordination, for instance) and United Churchers who question the divinity of Christ or who favour gay marriage.

Canadians also are understandably upset that Mr. Ahmad appeared on VisionTV in the first place. Our society (rightly) has zero-tolerance for traditional Archie Bunker-style racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia. Yet when the same hatred spews forth from someone speaking Arabic or Urdu, the instinct of some liberal Canadians is to permit it (or at least look the other way) in the name of cultural sensitivity.

This relativism comes across as hypocrisy. As you read this, an Albertan youth pastor is facing human rights charges because he disparaged gay activists in a letter to a Red Deer newspaper. What message does it send to this country that such a man must be shut up, while a Muslim who foresees the "total extermination" of Jews has been permitted to preach on a television network available in eight million Canadian households?

Meanwhile, CBC reports that B'Nai Brith Canada has asked Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion to "remove new star candidate Jocelyn Coulon from an upcoming byelection in Montreal's Outremont riding because of his past stance on Israel" (H/T National Newswatch). Apparently Coulon has a "well-documented anti-Israel bias, which is supposedly "out of step with current Liberal policy".

Coulon insists he is merely a "proponent of healthy debate" when he writes such things as feeling that the international community should not isolate Hamas; that it is committed to fighting corruption and helping people.

The Gazette reports that MoOse Moghrabi, legal counsel for B'nai Brith's Quebec region has grave concerns about Coulon:

"His hostile attitude toward Israel, his anti-U.S. rhetoric and his calls to end the isolation of a government controlled by Hamas, a terrorist group banned in Canada, ought to disqualify him as a candidate for the Liberal Party.

"Surely, the Liberals cannot continue to countenance having an individual with such biased views as their point person on foreign policy issues."

Considering that Outremont has a considerable Jewish population, it should make for an interesting byelection.

* * * *

Related: Mark Peters - The hypocrisy of political correctness.

Jack picks up this post at Jack's Newswatch - Daily Blogger.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Gang member arrested in T.O. boy's murder

An arrest has been made in the shooting-death of 11-year-old Ephraim Brown. This is another very tragic story of a beautiful child getting caught in the cross-fire.

I've read several accounts of this story and it has left me wondering why an 11-year-old would be outside at one in the morning with known gangs around at the party? Am I missing something here? (Quiet, Red Tory). Where were the adults?

Video report available on City ("Suspect arrested in shooting death of 11-year-old").

Update: Sandy has more with a link to Yahoo news which explains a bit more about what happened that night. Apparently Ephraim was allowed to stay up later than usual for the party, and a couple of gangs crashed the party. Things quickly got out of hand.

Where do we draw the line?

While Free Dominion ponders how to deal with a Human Rights complaint, today's National Post reports that Vision TV aired another hour-long talk by fundamentalist Israr Ahmad on Saturday - one day after saying it regretted broadcasting a previous lecture by the Pakistani preacher, who says Muslim scripture advocates violent holy war and the "extermination" of Jews.

Amad's Saturday lecture apparently included statements comparing the Jews to "parasites", and described the Holocaust as "divine punishment" and called Jews "condemned."

"It is most troubling that VisionTV made a calculated decision to re-broadcast a segment featuring a radical Imam, whose words have the potential to incite hatred and violence," Frank Dimant of B'nai Brith Canada said yesterday.

"It is a complete abdication of their responsibility to knowingly give a platform to this individual whose calls for jihad can clearly be interpreted by his supporters as a call to engage in terrorism. B'nai Brith Canada will be launching a formal complaint with the CRTC calling for a full investigation of this matter."

The comparison is interesting because both situations deal with allegedly inflammatory third-party dissertations, but the first case is a conservative-leaning internet forum and the second is a TV channel supposedly regulated by the CRTC.

Free Dominion's Connie Wilkins was interviewed last night by Michael Coren (Suzanne has it here). Wilkins alluded to the possibility that the end goal here may be to try to shut down Free Dominion, and other Conservative blogs when the business of worrying about third-party comments becomes too complicated and expensive to handle.

Personally, I think all bloggers need to be concerned about this eventuality. Few of us can afford lawyers. Most of us are providing this service free of charge. Some have tip jars to help pay for the costs of the domain site, but few if any are making a living from blogging.

Television broadcasters on the other hand, have access to corporate lawyers and cash.

I know what you're thinking - What about that 'faceless digital entity' that used vulgarity to attack the mother of a recently-fallen Canadian Soldier? Well, I think blogs can be self-governing to a point. Once the offensive post is pointed out, the owner can then decide whether to delete and apologize or carry on, in which case they will likely lose readership in the long run. Also, remember that in that particular case, we are talking about the blog owner making an offensive comment; not a third party or guest.

I would also suggest that the remarks made by Israr Ahmad on Vision TV were far more inflammatory than those made by Bill Whatcott (Relapsed Catholic).

Kathy notes in a subsequent post:

And Coren made an excellent point: "Isn't the notion that 'radical Islam is a threat to national security' actually the official policy of the Canadian government...?"

Perhaps there's fodder here for another Human Rights complaint.

* * * *
Update: Actually maybe the next complaint will be directed at the National Post, which has dared to publish this letter complaining about the Vision programming:

"...This program must be shut down as it propagates jihadi violence against non-Muslims. We Canadian Muslims must learn from the British experience and start the crucial task of waking up from the state of denial and realize there is no shame in confronting extremism within our communities. If our beloved Canada is going to confront radicals and violent extremists, we simply cannot afford to tolerate individuals who take advantage of our liberty and democracy to harm fellow Canadians."

And at BigCityLib Strikes Back - The Ballad of Free Dominion and other news. (BCLSB provides a MSM link to the story).

Tuesday Update: Letter from Bill Roberts of Vision - An apology and clarification.

Wednesday Update: From Jack's Newswatch: Political website cited for crime of 'offending'.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Free speech debate rages on

Not much time for blogging this morning, but please check out links here, here and here.

Suzanne is all over this topic, and rightly so. There is a lot at stake.

* * * *
Comments taken on next post.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Free speech vs. hate speech

Very interesting editorial in today's National Post (Alberta's Thought Police), concerning the human rights hearing against Stephen Boissoin, a "former youth centre pastor who wrote to the Red Deer Advocate in 2002 to complain about the presence of literature about homosexuality in school libraries".

The item that appears to have been most objectionable was the statement that gay activists were "spreading a psychological disease" and are "just as immoral as the pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps that plague our communities."

The complaint was filed by Darren Lund, a heterosexual professor.

Even more interesting is that the gay-rights organization, Egale is not supporting this challenge:

Apparently, EGALE, after 20 years of courtroom triumphs, does recognize limits to how far the law can or should be used to suppress opposing views. Not every interest group is so willing to stand behind higher principles when an opportunity for publicity comes along.

But is Egale in fact so principled, or is simply a matter of expediency?

Macleans filed this story yesterday - Why the country's leading gay rights group is sitting out a fight against homophobia:

...In 2005, the group declined to support Lund's human rights complaint, arguing instead for Boissoin's right to free speech...

However -
...In the two years since its original decision, Helen Kennedy, EGALE Canada's new executive director, says the organization's board of directors have changed and, were it up to her, EGALE would reverse its stance. “Based on the facts that I have seen of the case to date... I would recommend to the current board that we reverse that decision and that we support the professor in his quest," she says.

What’s stopping them? According to Kennedy: "We don’t have a board meeting scheduled in time to discuss this. Because of vacations, etc., we haven’t convened a meeting.”


Anyway, the Post appears to be of the opinion that this claim against Mr. Boissoin be dropped in the interest of freedom of speech.

...What may be most objection-able about Prof. Lund's complaint, however, is the way he is trying to use a single, unverified gay-bashing assault that happened in Red Deer two weeks after the letter's publication as evidence that Mr. Boissoin's declaration of "war" against the gay rights movement had the effect of inciting hatred. No charges have been laid in the assault, so this tactic creates the steepest kind of slippery slope imaginable.

It could lead to a critic of Islamist terrorism being held specially culpable for "hate speech" just because a mosque was, by chance, later defaced by drunken vandals. An opponent of the Pope who wrote an editorial against him would have to hope there were no unexplained fires in Catholic churches nearby for some indeterminate period...

If Lund wins this case, then the next logical step would be to ask what is the necessary waiting period wherein any related 'acts of hatred' occur, and within what radius of the particular paper's location, and do any charges have to be laid for it to be considered 'inciting hatred', etc.

Comments welcome.

* * * *
Update: More HR issues at Big City Lib Strikes Back - More on Free Dominion Human Rights Complaint. Watch this one folks. It involves cyberspace and could have implications for all of us.

BCLSB links to Big Blue Wave - Human Rights Complaint Against Free Dominion - Details!

Canada Free Press weighs in here - Free Dominions' Light Shines Strong.

Relapsed Catholic - Details emerge re: the secular fatwa against Canadian Conservative Website.

Kathy links to this great column in the Calgary Herald - Free Speech and the Charter of Rights.

Friday, July 20, 2007

With friends like that...

Adam Radwanski has a strange way of complimenting Stephane Dion.

Stephen Harper will never, ever face weaker opposition than he has from Stephane Dion in the past seven months...

...Admittedly, he's still not exactly lighting any fires; the Liberals aren't moving up so much as the Tories are sinking...

Interesting comments too. The first one by 'Wet Back' is very thought-provoking.

And I like this bit from the second one:

And we have yet to hear Dion's costing out of fully implementing Kyoto.
And... the significance that will have on health, education, infrastructure budgets.
To name three.

Dion's silence has him at exactly the same place Martin was when he resigned.
Once Dion opens his mouth, down, down he goes.

Kept those columns coming, Adam!

Should MP's pay a price for quitting?

Licia Corbella has an interesting column in the Sun today, asking if MP's shouldn't face some kind of penalty for quitting and forcing a byelection - Costly Quitters.

She quotes Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch:

Any MP who doesn't serve out their whole term -- with the exception of those who are severely ill or have a family member who is very ill -- should be disqualified from running in the next two elections, should have none of that truncated-term added to their platinum MP pension plans and should have to pay back a percentage of the salary they received in their shortened term...


Personally, I'd rather just see them go. I doubt they'd be very effective if they were just putting in time until the next election.

Words can hurt

This just hit me like a kick in the stomach. Wanda Watkin's cousin comments on Big Blue Wave:

I just wanted to thank you for your support....Wanda is my cousin and when my family and I came across CC's blog about her today, I felt sick. I fail to see how crass and hateful comments foster positive dialog and debate about the issues...I only hope that my cousin doesn't come across CC's disgusting rant.


Well, Monica. Your cousin may come across that garbage someday, but if she does please let her know that the vast majority of Canadian bloggers support the troops and their families.

Warren Kinsella was outraged too, and said that "just when you think the blogosphere can’t get any more hateful, someone comes along to surprise you" (July 18). However, I believe most bloggers are decent folks. Hate is everywhere; not just on the internet.

Mr. Erl's post, "An End to the Cynical Debate" contains several thoughtful comments (Warning - please don't read anything by 'Ti-guy' or CWTF):

Anonymous said...

As a serving soldier, I find the crass comments of the various lefties like Ti-Guy, cherniak_wtf et al very offensive, seeing as they are coming from individuals who would probably not have the fortitude to join us. But guess what, sunshines - my job is to make sure you can all spout whatever nonsense you like without anyone beating you up or worse. Our job is even to defend the rights of a guy like CC. We can't choose who we defend.

That being said, whether or not you agree with the war, respect for the dead and the grieving is a basic courtesy that should be part and parcel of civilization. To see so many "progressives" act like loud-mouthed, spoiled children makes me wonder whether our progress has reached the downwards slope of the evolutionary curve. In my father's day, people would have shown a modicum of decency, whether they agreed with the politicians or not. Those of you who oppose the war, take your quarrel to the politicians who got us there. Leave our dead and grieving alone.
July 19, 2007 9:08 PM

And Paul makes some great observations 10:14 PM:

I think that my position on some of this is different from most bloggers. Here is my take on the likes of CC:

Blogging is a public forum; in most cases blog posts are published for the general public. In many ways then, blogs are no different than a magazine or newspaper as their words are made available to an unlimited audience. CC denigrated a real person, naming her in print, yet he himself remains anonymous. Not only is this cowardly, but it steps well outside normally expected bounds of free speech. Let me explain.

Imagine if CC's rhetoric and profanity were published openly under his real identity or by a magazine ... there would and could be court action and other forms of counter action, all legal, all based on the rights and freedom of a civil democratic society and laws that govern it.

The only thing, as far as I see it, is that blogging gives people anonymity, and therefore they can behave in ways they never would outside the cyber community. They avoid the repercussions of their words ... repercussions both legal and personal.

So are they really practicing the right of free speech ... they are faceless digital entities who are not even citizens of any country until they have location, name, and number ... they aren’t marching, protesting, singing, or doing anything in the normal sense of things, and I'm not sure that CC, who is no more than a digital entity, has any rights of free speech as a pixel...

Read the whole thing. Paul expands on his thoughts here. And Kate provides the reason why we shouldn't feed the trolls.

Now I'm going to follow my own advice and ignore that particular 'faceless digital entity' and a few others.

* * * *

Final Update: I would just like to address some crazy fabrication out there that I suggested a blogburst. Nothing could be further from the truth, although it is possible that some scatter-brained dipsticks misread my comment here at 7:40 am where I questioned Mr. Erl's call to arms for 'Bloggers of Canada' to all stand together and demand an apology. My comment was:

"As you can see from the link that Mr. Erl provided, I have been a victim of CC's little smear campaigns as well, although this one aimed at Mrs. Watkins is beyond the pale.

The remarks in this post aimed at a woman who lost her son in Afghanistan are just sick. I just wonder if a blogburst against his post might feed his warped little ego though."

So if you read that carefully, you can see that I am questioning the wisdom of a blogburst as an effective way to handle the situation. Some people have taken the whole thing out of context to try to prove... I'm not sure what?

If you're going to go to the bother of starting a flame-war folks, at least get your facts straight.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Boycott the trolls

Can you do it? Boycott CC.

Just don't go there. Gerry is right.

And while you're at it, boycott all the trolls.

* * * *

Update: Please note that I am not referring to Chucker Canuk!!! His blog is one of the very best out there.

Paul asks Why Boycott CC?

Mr. Erl decides to take my advice.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rights of child trump Mom's

Just a little follow-up to a previous discussion about Jane Doe wanting to have a baby without her live-in boyfriend being involved in any way.

Turns out that the Supreme Court denied her request for an appeal.

So baby, Mommy & Daddy make three; even though John Doe doesn't want any part of parenting.

And Junior's rights trump Mom's. Nice to see for a change.

From the Star:

"So one of the messages is that we treat children differently from property."

A Gray-ve Warning

The latest Statscan Census release on Age and Sex seems to have created a few waves of concern. Well, actually the Sun's Licia Corbella refers to it as a "grey tsunami" - (Cut taxes to avoid Boomer Bust).

Corbella and others understandably foresee major problems when all these boomers retire and start draining the public health care system en masse.

She recommends that taxes be lowered as a way to encourage young families to have more children. Statscan reports that "the proportion of the under-15 population fell to 17.7%, its lowest level ever."

Andrew Coyne has put his own Orwellian-esque skew on the story with today's op-ed, "From 2037, a cautionary tale". His predicted economic crisis could be averted by various measures, including the following:

The solution: increase the supply of domestic savings, notably by reducing taxes on incomes, and lower the barriers to capital inflows from abroad. Instead, the era was marked by cuts in sales taxes and hysteria over foreign takeovers.

Again, reduce taxes.

The Globe agrees that Canadians need to be encouraged to have children and also that Boomers must be encouraged to stay in the work force as long as possible.

Are there any more solutions?

And what about other implications?

I foresee seniors having a tremendous amount of political clout. Witness the Pension-splitting already in the works. Seniors also tend to be more conscientious about voting than young people. - They see it as a civic duty; a hard-won right of fighting many wars.

So this is a warning to the Twenty-somethings: If you want to even up the odds, you'd better start having more kids.

* * * *

Thursday Update: Greyte column here by Margaret Wente - "Geezers in Paradise".

Dion Softens opposition to income-splitting - Wake up CPC!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Post in La-la Land

I have to wonder what the author of today's National Post editorial was smoking when writing "A Tory Blueprint".

According to this piece, this minority government has reached its "best-before date". It also includes some policy suggestions for the inevitable election:

Cut income tax by 20%. The 1% reduction in the GST last year was nice. But, please, stop playing around with targeted tax cuts for the middle class and just cut income tax across the board.

-Adopt practical environmentalism. Get away from the globalist approach to the environment, such as the Kyoto accord, and stick to reducing real, tangible air pollution that kills 750,000 people annually, according to the World Bank.

-Continue to fight crime by pushing for changes to our criminal justice system that will make it easier to detain and hold anyone charged with committing a gun crime and make it harder for criminals convicted of a third violent offence to get out of prison after only a few months or years.

-Continue to permit more flexibility and freedom of choice in health care delivery. In fact, encourage the slow evolution of private clinics in Canada by telling physicians and provinces they will not be penalized for offering alternatives to the public health monopoly, so long as no one is denied timely care regardless of their ability to pay.

Yes, well, all good in theory, but I would like to submit a tiny reality-check here. The last three would never be supported by the opposition parties.

The environmental suggestion is especially ludicrous, considering the opposition bill to honour Kyoto which has already been passed by Parliament, and was supported by all but the Conservative party.

So, National Post, unless you're envisioning a Conservative majority, please save your editorial space for more pragmatic suggestions. Thank you.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Defining Treason

The Sun's Peter Worthington questions Jack Layton's motives and actions in this morning's column, "Lucky it's not 1942", and suggests that in another era, this conduct would have been considered treasonous:

No Canadian of good intent should want to make life more difficult for soldiers. We should all show encouragement and offer moral support.

Whenever there's a casualty, the Laytons of our country are in full cry, like hound dogs after a coon. Soldiers in the field know what's happening at home, and it does their morale no good when people who should know better use any opportunity -- even the death of a comrade -- to advance their political agenda.

Conversely, the enemies of our country exploit any dissension -- which should concern all our politicians, regardless of party affiliation.

It's too easy -- and quite misleading -- to assume that because six soldiers died in an enemy attack, that the mission is flawed and failing.

Wikipedia defines treason as a:

...crime of disloyalty to one's nation. A person who betrays the nation of their citizenship and/or reneges on an oath of loyalty and in some way willfully cooperates with an enemy, is considered to be a traitor. Oran's Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as: "...[a]...citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]."

Is it an act of treason to merely express concern or displeasure over the mission? No, of course not. In fact it is the duty of the opposition to lend balance and be a voice for those who disagree with the government of the day.

However, timing is crucial.

I have been asked when and under what circumstances should dissension be allowed IMO. Personally, I think that is why we have a Parliament, and a Question Period therein.

But when politicians use the still-warm bodies of our brave, fallen soldiers to score partisan points, I think their actions are beyond revolting.

* * * *

Update: Please also read Dan Leger's excellent column in the Chronicle Herald - Canada: Do what's right but don't desert Afghans.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

CTV Interview goes horribly wrong

Robert Fife tried his best to play up the corruption side of the Afghanistan debate, but Mirwais Nahzat, a spokesperson for Afghanistan Peace Ambassadors, just wouldn't play the game (H/T to Joel).

He kept dropping the ball, by suggesting that perhaps the media was painting too much of a one-sided picture, and that Canada was actually doing good things in Afghanistan, and that we should be patient and keep the faith.

Someone clearly messed up at CTV.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What is an 'acceptable' number of deaths?

"A Canadian Press-Decima Research survey shows 67 per cent of those asked believe the number of casualties suffered by Canadian troops is unacceptably high, even with whatever progress has been made in rebuilding the war-torn country."
- Star

So, Canada, just what is your comfort level here? How many? Five? Twenty? Thirty? Of course Lorrie Goldstein already pointed out that we don't have the stomach for this.

I wonder how many of that 67% have friends and relatives in the armed forces.

Meanwhile, the father of a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan thinks Stephane Dion and the LPC are on the wrong track.

Update: Norman Spector - An Afghan Solution: Redefine the Mission.

Don Martin - At the arms dealers' crossroads. (Very depressing)

Friday Update - This is such a great comment by reader Barry at 9:47 pm, that I just have to make special note of it here. I feel very privileged that he choose to make this comment on my blog because it is so eloquent and profound:

Being a long-timer in the CF (25 years), I'm always amazed at how the media represent an issue, or how polls present a question - that so totally misses the point it's outrageous.

For instance, this obsession with death; if there were no deaths is Af, would that make it a more worthwhile mission? Or how about "exit strategy" (one year - five years- ten years - 2009?). The whole thing drives me nuts. Canada was in Syria for over thirty years (we departed in 06) and during that time a CF aircraft was shot down by a Syrian surface-to-air missile killing all nine soldiers on-board, it's funny we don't hear much about that incident though.

So it was with some distaste I saw the news try to make multiple deaths in Af take on some sort of historical significance, IE "the largest number of troops killed in combat since the Korean war" kind of tripe: I mean what's the difference? We lost good folks in a worthy cause in both missions - period. "Lessons Learned" of historical events is a great way to avoid mistakes of the past. Appeasement is one of those big mistakes that got us into WW II (arguably of course). Should we have taken the same road in Af, the death toll may have been astronomically higher and the mission to stop terrorism much more difficult.

Boots on the ground are the only way to go, death will always be part of the equation and a great exit strategy is called victory, (anything less is known usually known as a retreat).

Thank you, Barry.
* * * *

Well, I'm going to leave you with those thoughts, and take my own advice from the preceding post. I need to go 'cold turkey' again for a while.

Comment moderation may be on occasionally. Please don't let that stop you from weighing in. Thanks.

True north strong and stoned

There is an excellent cover piece in this week's Time Magazine on the psychological and physiological factors in addiction - How we get Addicted.

It's a fascinating read, especially if you have access to the print edition which contains some very detailed diagrams of how drugs affect the brain. Even better, it's written by a recovering alcoholic, and so it contains some first-hand insight. The author starts out with his own story and then gets into a more scientific discussion. It seems that "in the brain scans of addicts, there is reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex, where rational thought can override impulsive behavior."

This article led me on a google search to an equally compelling blog, Addiction and Recovery News. This is a great resource for anyone involved with addictions. And as Jason points out here in "The Press loves pot", Canada seems to have a bit of a penchant for drugs.

He points out articles on Canada's high rate of pot use, including a caveat on the statistics.

He also mentions the National Post editorial calling for the legalization of pot even though there may be a link between mental illness and the use of pot.

Jason has also highlighted the recent National Post article "50 Years of Drug Addiction", in which writer Susan Martinuk takes a hard look at Vancouver's open-drug Downtown East Side:

Harm reduction waves the white flag of surrender, abandons an entire population to a lifetime of despair.

Very good read there.

Where am I going with all this? Well, considering the problems associated with all substance (alcohol, drugs, tobacco) and behavioral addictions (gambling, shopping, sex, internet), I am left wondering what we are all trying to escape from?

And where is the tipping point where a casual social behaviour becomes an uncontrollable problem? And why don't we allocate more funding towards helping folks who want to overcome their particular demon before it sucks them into the abyss?

However, it seems that current attitude in Canada is to either turn a blind eye, or even enable the behaviour, as in the case of casinos.


* * * *
Related: Council Kills Crack Pipe Program. Interestingly, this is seen as a 'blow for public health" by some who are concerned about the spread of disease.

Well, I say kudos to Ottawa City Council! Let's try to increase education and recovery programs instead.