Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dion 'apologizes'

First it's NATO forces in Afghanistan; now it's 'extortion'.

And this guy wants to be Prime Minister?

Wudrick Blog - You think it's easy to make apologies?

Dion apologizes as PM's spokesman demands apology

Hunter - Immunity, Immunity.

Is there anyone out there who can stand up to Dalton?

Matthew challenges the Tory team - 10 Ontarians That Would Be Better Leaders Than John Tory.

Personally I don't care who it is. I'm just looking for a leader who can stand up to this kind of hypocrisy:

But he wouldn't say whether that means the province won't bail out the cash-strapped school board at the end of the year, as it has in the past.

Actually, I don't want someone who can just stand up to McSlippery - I want a leader who can annihilate him (politically speaking, of course).

* * * *
Related: The brilliant punditry of Chuckercanuk - Segregation by any other name... This is a must-read.

Friday Update - Record: McGuinty opposes school plan. Witmer calls premier a 'hypocrite' for his reluctance to take action against creation of black-focused school.

The HypoGrits are back - Christina Blizzard.

Saturday Update: McGuinty fires back at Witmer - Record.

How Ipperwash emasculated Ontario

Yesterday's National Post contained an illuminating article by lawyer John Findlay ('Sacrificial lambs at the altar of Ipperwash'), regarding a class action suit he is bringing against 'former OPP Comissioner Gwen Boniface, the former Haldimand provincial police detachment commander and the Ontario Government, on behalf of several businesses and property owners in Caledonia'. (Thanks to Just Right or I might have missed it.)

Anyway, it is a comprehensive account of the whole Caledonia story, as well as being a real eye-opener concerning the lame attitudes of government and police as they cower in fear over the ramifications of the Ipperwash inquiry and strip non-natives of money and rights in the process.

But holding Ipperwash up as the Holy Grail on which to base all future native policy is not only disingenuous, it is also unworkable.

- Disengenuous, because as John Findlay pointed out, "The Ipperwash situation was unique. The disputed land at Ipperwash was located on rural land that had been used by the government. At Caledonia, by contrast, the occupation has taken place in a heavily populated area on land that has been in private hands for over 150 years."

- Unworkable because this spineless attitude of backing off no matter what, means that nothing can be built along the Grand River without fear of the project being taken over a dissenting native group, and everyone is well aware there will be no consequences for any law-breakers. This cannot continue in a democracy.

Finally, Mr. Findlay suggests that the real culprits here are the bureaucrats, politicians and police who are unable to "distinguish between the criminals and the responsible members of the native community."

By doing so they have not only disrespected the rights of all Ontario citizens, but have also played a role in promoting racism and stereotyping.

It is unacceptable.

Kudos to Keith

A huge non-partisan congrats to the Hon. Keith Martin for introducing his important private member's motion M-446.

Please show your support to this eminent Canadian politician and ask your own MP to help push this forward.

In today's National Post, John Ivison also mentions Dr. Martin's role in brokering a way for the Liberals to heal the divisiveness within their caucus regarding Afghanistan and still save face:

...This refinement in Liberal policy was discussed at yesterday's caucus meeting and emerged from a suggestion by B.C. Liberal Keith Martin that the Liberals propose hard targets, in numbers and timelines, for the development of the Afghan army, police, judiciary and correctional services. The imposition of timelines would satisfy Liberal concerns that Canada not be engaged in a "never-ending" war. But their adoption would also be in accord with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's belief that our contribution should be reviewed within two to three years...

The constituents of Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca must feel very proud of their MP.

* * * *

: Out of curiosity I meandered over to Liblogs to see the reaction:

Not very favourable here - BCLSB: Liberal MP Moves To Ensure Nazi Rights! The rest likely prefer to ignore it and hope it will go away.

Via Bourque - Ready to quit Afghanistan, PM tells Bush: Reuters.

Mike Brock: Hope, thy name is Keith Martin. With a whole bunch of links, including JR's.

Catprint in the Mash - M-446

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I don't get it - With Update

4 pm Update - John Tory finally opens his mouth - McGuinty 'hypocritical' on separate schools:Tory.

* * * *
(Original post)

How is it that Faith-Based schools are so unthinkable that an election was lost over it, but Race-Based schools are not a problem?

Kathleen Wynne is not impressed, or so she says:
Education Minister Kathleen Wynne fears that it will spur other cultural and religious groups to lobby for their own separate schools within a public system.

So why are you even allowing it, Dalton???

Only in Ontario.

Duff to be called to the Ethics Committee?

Mike Duffy announced on his show yesterday that he may be asked to appear in front of the Ethics Committee to provide information regarding CBC-gate.

Liblogger Yappa Ding Ding has declared this to be a "subversion of the committee process" and is urging readers to contact various politicians including the Ethics Committee chairman Paul Szabo. She applied a "corruption" label to the post.

Where to begin with this incredible piece of irony and hypocrisy? Well, for starters she's misquoted both Graham Richardson and Mike Duffy (interesting that the clip isn't on the CTV website. Always record the show.)

It was actually Greg Weston who said the following:
"... this is the most trumped-up, ridiculous pandering to the Conservative core who believe the CBC is part of the enemy... Unfortunately it's politicking with somebody's reputation, and that's really the worst... thing."
(Can you believe it?)

Graham Richardson
chimes in:

"...Well publicized mistakes have been made - it's on the website.... It sounds like the opposition is going to vote this down. It appears to be a maneuver much like Greg was saying to try to keep this thing alive..."

Duff attempts to interpret Graham's meaning:
"..try to embarrass the Liberals and the CBC - Get a twofer."


Details aside, the main argument here seems to be, 'Well everyone does it'.

Everyone? Not likely. Anyway, a lot of people cheat on their taxes. Does that make it ethical?

And has it happened before in an Ethics Committee hearing?

And is there a difference when it comes to the publicly-funded CBC, which admits themselves that they should be held to a higher standard?

And if the alleged collusion between the LPC and the CBC reporter was an attempt to sidetrack the process and go on a fishing expedition to fling as much mud as possible at a former PM and anyone he may have had contact with, who really deserves that 'corruption' label?

* * * *
Related: Excellent post here - The Black Rod: The Cruickshank Redemption.

SDA - What did Szabo know and when did he ask it?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Maj. General Lewis Mackenzie on the Globe report

Interesting how the Globe story from this morning seems to have disappeared from their home page. It's still available using the search engine or by clicking on the Afghanistan special report link, but it sure isn't getting top billing anymore.

Could it have anything to do with Maj. General (Ret'd.) Lewis Mackenzie's appearance on MDL this evening, not to mention the PM's dismissal of it this afternoon?


What is the responsibility of the press concerning 'anonymous' leads and fact-checking?

* * * *

Update: Reader Greg has advised me that the Globe has updated this morning's story under a different headline. There is some mention of Harper's dismissal of the telephone conversation, but they still seem to be sticking by their 'anonymous' source.

Reality Check: Some of Maj. General Mackenzie's inteview has been posted here, but CTV conveniently omitted the following:

"...the media has got to start treating these phony leaks with a little more journalistic integrity and start checking on the facts..."
"...The phone call never happened. The Chief at the time the phone call was alleged to have happened was into about his third rum and coke on the beach in the Dominican Republic..."

"...How far does this guy (Gen. Rick Hillier) have to go from the centre of Ottawa before people stop issuing these phony trial balloons to try and create some tension between the government and the CDS? I don't get it. I've never seen anything like it before in my life!"

Duffy asks about the detainees - "...Why so much secrecy about what's going on in Afghanistan with the Canadian troops?"

Mackenzie replies:

"...Because I venture to say that back in the Netherlands as an example, the people in the government and the opposition aren't hanging onto every word the commander says. If I was the commander in Kandahar right now, in southern Afghanistan, I'd just tell my people to SHUT UP. Why? Because no matter how the sentence comes out, no matter how it's explained to an embedded journalist or a media representative in Kandahar. . . the entrails are going to be dragged out in Ottawa, every word will be analyzed; it will become a Cause Célèbre in Question Period. Commanders have a lot better things to do than that".

"...There are detainees being taken obviously; they're being detained somewhere - and you don't want to get involved in telling the Taliban where or necessarily how many you picked up in a particular operation because that relates to success or failure and all those evaluations..."
"... So I think commanders are getting somewhat pee'd (?) off about how they're being micromanaged and micro-analyzed, and I have a lot of sympathy for them. So the answer was - Don't say anything."

Now compare all that to the little snippet from the CTV report:

"There are detainees being taken, they are being taken somewhere. I think commanders are getting somewhat teed off about how they're being micromanaged and micro-analyzed.

You see how that paragraph was edited with cut and paste methods that almost alter the tone of what Mackenzie was trying to convey? No ellipses to show missing parts of the conversation. And it wasn't even exactly what he said!

You just can't trust MSM.

Please also see The Torch - Afghan detainee delirium.

Wednesday Update: Hillier 'not furious' with PM.

NATO says it will meet Canada's Afghanistan demands - Globe.

CP - MacKay raised prisoner abuse claims with Kandahar governor.

Ivison - Liberal refight the convention.

Friday update - Kandahar mission impossible without combat: Hillier. CTV

Circling the wagons on abortion

I almost missed this one - Jonathan Kay's How late is too late? It's part of the ongoing series of debates about abortion in the National Post.

Kay alludes to a powerful 'tribalism' on both sides of the issue, which no doubt contributes to the lack of compromise and serious debate.

He suggests that the mere fact that the pro-choicers are hasty to point out the fact that very few abortions "take place in Canada 'for social reasons' beyond 20 weeks, and none beyond 24 weeks", exposes their discomfort about the procedure at some point, even if they are reluctant to admit it:

...If the "dominant ideology of the unborn child" is a spurious construct invented by patriarchal moralists, why does it matter if that so-called unborn child weighs one pound or five? Why strike such defensive postures against an issue that no one in the room saw fit to discuss?

The answer to this last question, I think, is that these women are not so doctrinaire as they pretend. Within their own minds, they do wrestle with these important moral questions -- as any intelligent person must. But when in public, they censor themselves. Locked in what they feel to be a tribal culture war against pro-lifers, the pro-choice camp allows itself no nuance. This is essentially the reason Canada has no abortion law: Any stirring of legislative action arouses such tribal war fury among pro-choicers as to send politicians scurrying...

For a real insight into how the pro-choice mind works, read Heather Mallick's, Privacy and Pregnancy courtesy of our beloved Mothercorps.

* * * *
Abortion statistics available here.

Friday Update - John Williamson on subsidizing abortion: No birth, no benefits.

Monday Update - A Canadian controversy - Joanne Byfield.

Garson Romalis: Why I am an abortion doctor - Post.

More rumours emerge

Today's Globe cites an 'anonymous source' as having some inside information on the Afghan detainee controversy - Detainee fallout: take few, free quickly. (H/T National Newswatch)

How is it that the Globe can publish operational security details? Don't they know that the Taliban can read?

...One well-placed source who spoke to The Globe and Mail Monday on condition of anonymity said that, in addition to being told that Canadian detainees were being held at Kandahar Air Force base, he understood some insurgents detained in joint Canadian Forces-Afghan National Army combat operations were being turned over to the Afghan military in a “grey zone” action.

He said he has been told that Canadians have been content in some cases to allow operations to be labelled as Afghan-led military proceedings. Thus, detainees passed into Afghan military hands with no records kept...

But the Post reports that Harper calls this information "operational security":

...Citing "operational security" and the desire not to tip their hand to the Taliban, Mr. Harper and his Cabinet refused yesterday to discuss what was being done now with detainees...

Politically, it would be to his advantage to disclose the information and be 'transparent' about the whole process, so there must be a reason to keep details on a need-to-know basis.

And so just who is this 'well-placed source' and why did he feel he needed to bypass national security and the safety of our troops to get this story to the Globe? And how do we know it is true? How can we check?

Where's the accountability?

* * * *
Related: Don Martin has a great column today - Harper reveals a humble side. Well worth the read. As a sidebar he muses:

(Nobody has satisfactorily explained why revealing the status of our detainees is a national security concern, particularly when that information is released routinely by our allies. After all, the Taliban have rarely hit the massive Kandahar Airfield's outskirts with long-range mortar fire. How on Earth would they stage a rescue of their terrorist buddies from an undisclosed spot deep inside the heavily fortified base? Answer: Only if they want to die in the attempt.)

Well, I'm no military expert. I'd love to hear some theories though.

As for the rest of Martin's column, I totally agree. If Harper can continue with this approach to be open to compromise, show his softer side, and refrain from the angry outbursts in Question Period, I believe he would be able to achieve his majority. This is the kind of attitude that can sway female voters.

Perhaps like a fine wine, Stephen Harper only needed a chance to age a bit and mellow.

* * * *
Tuesday Update: Newstalk 570's Jeff Allan just reminded the listening audience of this World War ll phrase - "loose lips sink ships".

Raphael has a theory. Check it out.

CNEWS - Canada would be first nation to abandon Afghanistan.

CTV - PM defers to military to disclose prisoner info. Check out the comment from "Army Wife".

Wednesday Update: Steve Janke - Globe and Mail backs off the furious Rick Hillier story.

Monday, January 28, 2008

On censorship and the future of the HRC

One more journalist has broken the 'code of silence'. Lorrie Goldstein points out the problems of the evolving powers of the HRC - Stop these attacks on free speech:

...As Alan Borovoy, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association wrote recently, "during the years when my colleagues and I were labouring to create such commissions, we never imagined that they might ultimately be used against freedom of speech."

Censorship, he said, "was hardly the role we had envisioned for human rights commissions."

Sadly, censorship is increasingly the role they envision for themselves...

As Lorrie points out, these Human 'Rights' Commissions actually involve a process that entails less 'rights' for the defendants than a regular courtroom, where they would normally be able to avail themselves of various legal benefits that are part of our free and democratic society - and which also includes the assumption of innocence until proven guilty.

How to deal with this lunacy? I would suggest starting with your MP. Write letters to the editor. Call in on talk shows.

Speak out now, while you still can.

* * * *
Related: Jack's Newswatch - Murphy: Coming to a human rights commission near you.

Dr. Roy - The enemy is us.

Just Right - HRC colluding with Warman?

Lorne Gunter - Suicide by tolerance.

Free Mark Steyn... "and free Canadians from the thought police and "human rights" commissars."

* * * *
Tuesday Update: National Post letter by James Morton, president, Ontario Bar Association, Toronto:

...If we as a society do not want administrative tribunals to censor the media the answer is to remove that power from human rights tribunals. MPs and MPPs get very little public input for law reform and listen carefully when voters ask for legislative change. Perhaps the legislation should change. That said, we ought not to blame those who follow the existing rules to seek redress for the wrongs they perceive as being perpetrated against them.


Happy Unbirthday

Today is the 20th Anniversary of the Supreme Court decision to strike down abortion law in Canada, thereby ensuring that roughly 100,000 Canadians annually won't have a birthday to celebrate.

As I predicted
, last week's National Post series on abortion has triggered an emotional debate on both sides.

Several comments were featured on "Best of the Blog" - The Silencing of David Frum (which is a strange headline because not all the comments were anti-Frum). The original column can be read here, along with all the reactions.

There were several excellent letters as well. The most notable in my opinion was by WLU's Dr. David Haskell who challenges Judy Rebick's statistics - Judy Rebick's Abortion Spin:

...Knowing Ms. Rebick's motivation and agenda, it is not surprising that she downplays the occurrence of late-term abortions in Canada stating, "a mere .04% [of abortions] take place after 20 weeks and only when the health or life of the woman is at stake." Actually, the most current data from Statistics Canada (accessible online) states that .7% of abortions take place after 20 weeks.

I must also question Ms. Rebick's second claim. To my knowledge, just one study has ever explored why women seek late-term abortions. Though conducted in the U.S., the results are probably reflective of the situation in Canada. Surveying 1,900 women who had late-term abortions, researchers at the Alan Guttmacher Institute found none had undergone the procedure because of maternal health problems. Furthermore, only 2% were due to "a fetal problem diagnosed late in pregnancy." Simply put, the vast majority of late-term abortions involve healthy women and, up to the time of the procedure, healthy babies...

I'm looking forward to Rebick's Counterpoint on that one.

Meanwhile, please read an abortion survivor's story (you may need your reading glasses). At least Gianna Jessen is able to celebrate her birthday every April 6.

How many others have been silenced before their stories could be told?

* * * *
Related: An anniversary of death - Michael Coren.

...In those two decades almost two million babies have been killed in what is supposed to be humanity's safest place, the womb. It has also cost more than $1-billion of public money, in that the taxpayer is obliged to finance this elective surgery. In that same period numerous necessary medical procedures have been de-funded by governments that would not dream of removing a penny from state-funded abortion, no matter how wealthy the woman who demanded the procedure...

Christian Conservative - A Dark Anniversary for Canada.

Dr. Roy - A sad day of remembrance.

Spinks - 101 people who are screwing up Canada - This guy is #1.

* * * *
Tuesday Update: Couple of great letters in today's Post.

From Kathryn J. Smith, Victoria:

Judy Rebick states: "The majority of Canadians support a women's right to control her own body." I think we all know that at no time is a fetus part of the mother's body, but is genetically unique in every cell from the time of conception. A woman has not only the right but the responsibility to control her own body, and if she doesn't want to become a mother, her choice needs to be made at the beginning of the process -- i.e., before she becomes pregnant.

And from Phil Cortens, Carstairs, Alta.:

Re: Abortion Is A Personal Matter, letter to the editor, Jan. 26.

Abortion is no personal matter as long as taxpayers are forced to subsidize it.

Margaret Somerville - New Life Matters.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

CTV tries to skew the story - So what else is new?

The CTV report here would have you think that Pamela Wallin is very critical of how the government has handled the detainee situation, but in reality she is just saying that people need to be made aware of all the good that is being accomplished in Afghanistan.

She emphasizes the difficulties of working with a country whose democratic institutions have to be built from scratch. She also mentioned that many Canadians seem to have forgotten about Afghanistan and were not sure why we are there. She credited the Manley report with raising consciousness and pointed to poll results this past week as evidence. When Pamela talks about 'information deficit', I think she is referring to the heavy emphasis on casualties and deaths, with little about the accomplishments. Now whose fault is that? I know - if it bleeds it leads...

Watch the interview here (click on QP - Pamela Wallin on the Manley Report) and compare.

Strange that the clip on the QP website gets cut off just as Wallin explains how she was touched by the interactions of the children and the soldiers and how she was so deeply moved by the Afghan people expressing their gratitude...

Anyway, good on Pamela Wallin for her non-partisan, classy handling of this issue. Craig Oliver must be frustrated that she didn't play the game.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

'Celebrating' abortion

Suzanne and Matthew have both done excellent jobs fisking Judy Rebick's contribution to the ongoing abortion debate in the National Post - Celebrating a victory for women.

This column bothers me on so many levels, but I suppose what I object to the most is her opening paragraph:

The majority of Canadians support a women's right to control her own body and have no moral problems with abortion. For me and thousands of other women who fought hard for reproductive freedom, this 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision striking down the abortion law is a day to celebrate...
As Suzanne notes, there are many polls that show that the majority of Canadians actually would favour some sort of restriction on abortion. That figure likely goes even higher when talking about some kind of legal protection against violence perpetrated on the mother and her unborn child. However, many times the results of the poll depend on who commissioned it in the first place, and what kind of agenda they were pushing. And in any case, few if any politicians want to take on this explosive issue.

But what's this about the majority having "no moral problems" with abortion? Now where did you get that information, Judy? No moral problems? Not the tiniest qualm of regret or a minuscule prick of conscience? And the majority feel this way?

Frankly, I'm surprised the National Post even included this op-ed in their series. If these are the the most compelling arguments that the pro-choice side has to offer, I think the only thing Ms. Rebick should be celebrating is Canadian complacency and apathy.

* * * *
Here is a startling statistic, but who knows if it's any more accurate than Judy Rebick's? - "In Canada, there are roughly 500,000 pregnancies a year, with one abortion for every three live births."

Related: The Catholic Register - Jan. 28, 1988: A notorious date.

Liberals for Life Write Dion - CLC

David Frum - The Day Humanity Became Cheap.

Matthew says he'll be discussing this one early next week - Long live Morgentaler! by Colby Cosh.

Dr. Roy - Defeat for children and life.

Statistics - Abortions by Gestational Age

Friday, January 25, 2008

Move over Caledonia

Here comes the CAW.

Hey - If it works for the natives, why not? Maybe Dalton could pay off the creditors and let the protesters stay there.

Fantino can send over a few officers to 'keep the peace'.

* * * *


Related: At Home in Hespeler - Inflexible Unionism.

Saturday Update: Ledco workers occupy plant:

...CAW officials met yesterday morning with officials from Deloitte & Touche, the accounting firm appointed as bankruptcy trustee in the case, and allowed them into the plant in the afternoon to conduct an inventory of remaining assets.

The union has also talked to customers of Ledco with orders waiting to be shipped from the plant, Dias said.

He said the union had a frank discussion with Deloitte officials. They pointed out that the union is occupying the plant illegally, he said.

"The only thing that's illegal is that people with as much seniority as employees at Ledco are not getting severances. That's the only crime."

570 News - Ledco talks come to a halt.

Southwestern Ontario CTV - CAW: "We're not going anywhere".

Sunday Update: Ledco clients could soon get their products - 570 News.

Record - Workers end occupation of Ledco:

Ledco workers gave up their occupation of the auto-parts plant in Kitchener at 2:30 p.m. today after a receiver won a court order. But the workers, who want severance from the bankrupt company, say they’ll keep fighting...

The tactical disadvantage of democracy

All this latest brouhaha regarding the cessation of prisoner transfers and who knew what when, is confusing at best to the average Canadian. The opposition parties are painting this as a terrible 'stain on our democracy'.

However, I would suggest that what we are fighting for in Afghanistan - the establishment of safely and democracy for the Afghan people - is the very thing which puts our soldiers in harm's way with our obsession to need to know everything that is going on, no matter how much that information might compromise the lives of our brave men and women who are fighting there.

I think ultimately what Canadians want is to be reassured that the mission is under control. How far the government should be apprised of every military decision, and by extension how much Parliament and the public should know, is something I couldn't even begin to ascertain. But I do think we need to temper our thirst for details with concern for the safety of our troops.

It's a fine line, but until the Taliban starts broadcasting all its secrets, I'll defer to those with more military experience than myself.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

More Ontario manufacturing jobs bite the dust

Two more plants are closing in Southern Ontario - Ledco in Kitchener, and Dana in St. Mary's near Stratford.

But Dalton says, Don't worry - Be happy. Spend that money you don't have.

Actually, I'm not sure that governments can do very much about this situation. In the case of Ledco, you have to wonder about the integrity of a union that would rather see people lose their jobs than accept a pay cut.

"We were willing to take the pay cut and try our damnedest," he said. "I'd rather have a job and fight tooth and nail for it, even if it's for six months."

(Elgin) Dezell said he is worried he will lose his house now that he has no job...

Well, Mr. Dezell, about that house. I may have more bad news for you.

* * * *

Friday Update
: Ledco just ran out of money - Record:

...Reached in Ottawa yesterday, Arends said he was "very, very disappointed" that the company could not convince the Canadian Auto Workers Local 1524 to consider a plan to cut wages by 25 per cent.

Unionized workers earned an average of $25 an hour. The company also asked its unionized workers to accept a 20-per-cent benefits cut and a reduction in vacation days.

Arends said the company made it clear to its employees that it couldn't compete with U.S. competitors if the dollar continued to trade near parity.

"Customers were putting extreme pressure on us on pricing," he said. "We got to the point where the bank said, 'No more money.' "
Non-union employees had already accepted the 25-per-cent wage cut, Arends said..

...The CAW has a no-concession policy on wages and benefits...

More jaw-dropping ineptitude from the 'Red/Green' show

I wonder if Stephane Dion is starting to regret that he hitched his wagon to this train-wreck? The good folks in Central Nova must be scratching their heads - especially in view of the recent in-fighting.

On the other hand, considering his Pakistan-NATO gaffe, perhaps Steffi sees no problem.

* * * *
Friday Update: Adam Radwanski - May Daze. (Clever title!)

Where the rubber meets the road - Part Deux

From the school of harsh reality - Carbon Tax Bill in the Mail (Gazette) H/T National Newswatch:

"They said consumers would not pay for this - and now here we are, paying for it."

When the Liberal government introduced the carbon tax, it said it was targeting oil companies with deep pockets.

"We are asking them to be good corporate citizens," Natural Resources Minister Claude Béchard said at the time.

He added that the plan is based on the principle that the polluter should pay.
How naive.

In the end, there really is only one taxpayer - whether you pay the bill directly or as a consumer - or even as a laid-off worker.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

John Manley and the NP Editorial Board

Yoni Goldstein has kindly posted an edited transcript of a Q & A meeting with John Manley.

This item caught my attention:
...JM I don’t think that this issue would be a good one for either Liberals or Conservatives to stake themselves on in an election campaign. I don’t think Canadians want partisan politics to be the focal point of this mission. I think Liberal [Foreign Affairs critic] Bob Rae has left the door open with his comments on Tuesday, and I hope the government will extend an olive branch and that a bipartisan approach to this can be forged...

Tonight on MDL, Tonda MacCharles and Robert Fife were discussing with Duff how Dion blew it after the report was released; that Rae was much more statesmanlike in his comments. I think the point they were trying to make was that the Liberals and Conservatives need to work together on this and both could come out ahead politically as a bonus.

Dion is clearly out of his league. Bob Rae should just quietly take over on this file, and let Dion go back to his green dreams.

* * * *
Related: Check out Adam Radwanski via Calgary Grit:

The obvious solution is for the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Official Opposition to sit down like two grown men and plot this thing out. It wouldn't exactly be unique; partisanship is supposed to occasionally take a back seat when your country is at war. But it remains to be seen if either of these two have it in them, let alone both at the same time.

But what about Bob Rae?

Crowding the left

Deirdre McMurdy articulates what many of us have been observing for some time now - that the more Stephen Harper moves into the rational centre of the political spectrum, the more Dion crowds the left (Party faithful set to pick economy as next hot-button election issue):

...All this blurring of traditional lines would certainly have caused real brand confusion issues for voters at the polls if the Liberals hadn't been quite as obliging as they've been lately.

As the Conservatives have nudged to the centre, the Liberals have gone all retro and moved further to the left, back into the territory marked out in the Trudeau era. Party leader Stéphane Dion is already calling for a return of targeted spending programs to help individuals and businesses make it through a rough patch...

But this doesn't just apply to the economy. The Afghanistan mission has also become a tug-of-war between the government and the opposition parties, with Stephane Dion vacillating like a reincarnated Mr. Dithers, and a Liberal caucus that is not united on this issue.

In spite of the Manley report however, Dion now seems to be throwing his weight to the left, which may be regrettable decision in terms of the future of Afghanistan' women and children.

I suppose it could end up depending on whether or not Dion allows his caucus a free vote.

Canadian Blog Awards - Round Two

Voting has begun for round two of the Canadian Blog Awards. This is a great opportunity to check the finalists, and possibly discover some new favs.

In any case, kudos to the organizers of this Awards event. At least they won't have to worry about a Writers' Strike!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

John Manley - A Liberal Canadians can be proud of

The National Post appears to be posting their editorials the night before on their blog, which is great for political junkies.

The one that caught my eye tonight is John Ivison's "Manley report invokes the spirit of Lester Pearson", which is a surprisingly strong attack against Stephane Dion:
...What's more, the report is clear that to withdraw from a combat role, in favour of training Afghan forces as Mr. Dion advocates, "falsely implies a clear line between training roles and combat activity; in reality, training and mentoring sometimes mean conducting combat operations with them."

Mr. Dion doesn't appear to have much wiggle room but if he was half the politician Mr. Manley is, he would clasp that statement close and say that's what he meant all along -- combat if necessary but not necessarily combat...
(Note: Wednesday's print edition has retitled the same editorial - Liberals best think again.)

John Manley's contribution to this report, and his frank, nonpartisan reflections that were voiced in today's press conference all serve to underscore how far the Liberal party has fallen by comparison.

If John Manley were the leader of the Liberal party today, Stephen Harper would have a worthy opponent - and perhaps Canadians would have a Parliament that actually works in the best interests of the country and the world.

* * * *

Related: CTV - Opposition renews calls for ending combat mission:

...Speaking at a press conference after his panel delivered its report, Manley said that Canada must stand up for the rights of individuals, "of the human security of people whose own governments can't protect them."

"There are times when we have to count, there are times when it matters ... (that) we are prepared to be out there," he continued, "and we're prepared to pay the price because that's what you expect of a country like Canada."

Carleton University professor Elinor Sloan, a supporter of the mission, told CTV Newsnet she found Manley's words to be one of the more eloquent statements on why Canada should stay in Afghanistan...

I quite agree.

Strange that a Liberal made me feel so proud to be a Canadian today.

* * * *
On the other hand, not all Liberals share my enthusiasm . . .

Wednesday Update: The Record shocks me again! Keep our troops in Afghanistan.

The Province - Manley hopes his old party can rise above domestic politics.

Just Right - "military sugarcoating what is going on" .. Newman on Afstan.

John Tory's Counterpoint

John Tory appears to have taken exception to the National Post's January 19 editorial, The Coward at Queen's Park, which was mainly a slam at Premier Dalton McGuinty for his lackadaisical attitude regarding Caledonia and the HDI's so-called native 'extortion racket'.

The Post had taken Tory to task as well:
...The saddest part is that the disgrace here is bipartisan: This is not merely an indictment of Ontario's governing Liberals, but also the opposition Conservatives. In the face of Mr. McGuinty's spinelessness, the best John Tory's party could do was suggest bringing civil lawsuits to try to recover lost income. Among other things, this is a pathetic microcosm of why Mr. Tory can't win an election...
At the time I thought it was a trifle harsh, but nobody seems to be taking a tough stance in this matter, so I reasoned that the criticism was warranted.

In today's Counterpoint - At Caledonia, the rule of law must be upheld, Tory clarifies his stance on the issue:
...Since the beginning of the dispute in Caledonia, my colleagues and I in the PC Party have been unwavering in our argument that the rule of law must be respected and upheld. Quite simply, actions must have consequences.

I have said repeatedly that no negotiations should be held with any person or group involved in an illegal occupation, or any other illegal activity. Otherwise, a very dangerous precedent will be set...

That's true. I must give credit where it is due, and I strongly feel that Tory's solution is the best. It is non-confrontational, but it does imply a certain consequence when the rule of law is broken.

Too bad that the one myopic issue derailed the whole election. John Tory would have done far better on this file than Dalton McGuinty.

I could almost support John Tory to stay on as leader - if it weren't for the Prince of Darkness.

* * * *
Related: Great letter in today's Post by Mike Quattrociocchi - 'Lawlessness' in Caledonia:

As a small developer in Brantford who has dealt with native protesters and their demand for "development fees," I can say that your editorial was bang on. Truer words could not be spoken than, "It is a case study in cowardice, and everyone who voted for Mr. McGuinty should be ashamed of it."

However, I don't agree with tarring all politicians with the same brush. While Mr. McGuinty took his firm stance on the fence, John Tory was busy visiting Caledonia on several occasions to witness firsthand what was happening. He wanted to understand the challenges and concerns many residence faced, and even accepted an invitation to sleep over at a Caledonia residence. While Mr. McGuinty was busy pitting natives against non-natives and promoting vigilantism, John Tory was the only politician who spoke for the rule of law and constantly pushed for a resolution.

( . . . )

When I confronted Mr. McGuinty at a campaign stop in Hamilton to question his government's lack of resolution, he was more concerned with threatening media outlets who dared to air the story than addressing my problem. Mr. Tory, on the other hand, in the middle of his campaign, took time to talk to me and to listen to the problems I and other developers were experiencing. Mr. McGuinty attempted to stifle the subject, Mr. Tory listened and addressed the issue.

Mike Quattrociocchi, Brantford, Ont.

(Links added by yours truly)

* * * *
Wednesday Update: Oops!! Gary McHale is not impressed - John Tory failed Caledonia.

O.K. then. Let's just say that there are degrees of spinelessness. Realistically no Ontario politician is going to rush into Caledonia with guns a-blazing.

Thursday Update: Ontario reaps what it sows - Gazette. H/T Jack's Newswatch.

Canada's 'Abortion Law' - There isn't one

This week, the National Post will be featuring a series of articles discussing the effects of the 20th anniversary of R. vs. Morgentaler. David Frum kicks things off with The day humanity became cheap.

Frum points out Canada's lone stance in the Western world regarding a lack of abortion law of any kind:

The result of the two decisions was to give Canada the Western world's most radical abortion regime. The mother's ownership of the pregnancy is absolute and final, and she may end it at any moment, for any reason. Neither the father of the child-to-be, nor the government, nor the child itself has any rights in the matter at all.

Almost every other advanced country on Earth grants the fetus in the womb some measure of protection.

Frum is concerned that this lack of acknowledgment of the embryo or fetus as having any kind of rights will eventually compromise the ethical concerns and guidelines presently controlling scientific experimentation on human embryos:

...The federal guidelines on stem cell research urge "respect for community notions of human dignity." But the supreme arbiters of human rights in Canada have ruled that the fetus-in-the-womb has no humanity to respect.

Cures, no -- but late-term abortions, yes? How does that make any sense? It makes no sense and cannot endure...

This series is sure to provoke some letters to the editor and bring the whole question back to the forefront. Canadians need to be reminded again and again that we have no laws at all in Canada regarding abortion.

* * * *

More from Dr. Roy - Regina vs. Morgentaler: a tragedy.

Wednesday Update: Barbara Kay - 20 years of silence: 1988, 16% of pregnancies in Quebec, Canada's most abortion-friendly province, resulted in abortion. Today, 30% do. Girls are using abortion -- tax-funded and easily available -- as an alternative form of birth control. No morally aspirational society should feel complacent abetting this trend...

Well, maybe I won't cancel my subscription after all

The federal Liberal caucus members are going to wake up on this snowy, frozen morning to more than a hangover from their ompah-pahing last night - It's the economy, Dion.

Not quite the editorial they'll be looking for from the usually-liberal local rag. It is a scathing slam even taking aim at Liberal MP Karen Redman:

...And there was the Liberal leader, bragging that if it weren't for former federal Liberal governments, Toyota and Waterloo's Research In Motion would have never amounted to anything in this province. Not so. Meanwhile, Dion cheerleaders like Kitchener-Centre MP Karen Redman asked a gullible public to believe his proposed $1 billion rescue package for struggling manufacturers is the tasty little sugar pill that will set everything right. It's not...

Dion cheerleader. Heh

This is all presumptuous, self-serving, partisan blather. Whatever good previous Liberal governments did, it's wrong to credit them for the phenomenal success of Toyota and RIM. Yes, the federal Liberals handed Toyota $55 million to build a second Ontario plant in Woodstock. But whether or not that corporate welfare was needed, Toyota opened its first Ontario plant in Cambridge back in the 1980s -- when federal Conservatives were in power.

- I'll drink to that. Prost!!!

* * * *

Related: Made-in-U.S. recession to P.M.'s advantage - Don Martin

Monday, January 21, 2008

CBC finally coughs up a name

Stephen Taylor has the latest. More at CNEWS - CBC transfers reporter who fed questions to MP.

National Post's Full Comment has a response up already - Jonathan Kay on Pablogate: The CBC does the right thing.

How do you feel? Do you agree with Jonathan Kay that we can all 'put Pablo-gate behind us' now?

* * * *
Update: Great discussion going on at Jack's Newswatch - Ethics committee not so ethical after all...

Tuesday Update: The Black Rod - CBC to Canadians: Sure Krista helped the Liberals ambush Mulroney. Get over it.

Steve Janke - Giving Jason Cherniak credit for bucking the Liberal Party line.

ASTTR - CBCgate Comes to an End - Or Has It?

Thursday Update: SDA has the latest - To this end.

Anyone jumping out of windows yet?

Things not looking too good today - Toronto Stock Market falls more than 600 points.

What do you think? Bail or hang in for the ride?

* * * *

: Jonathan Chevreau - Global Stock Market Rout – babies tossed with bath water:

...Exactly the same "baby/bathwater" cliche was used by Gordon Pape in his current Internet Wealth Builder: "Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. In every market downturn, some investors reach a point where fear overwhelms common sense and they sell everything at any price. That happened most recently in November 2006 in the days immediately following the announcement that the government would tax income trusts. Those who blew all their trust units out the door in reaction have long since come to regret it. Don’t make the same mistake now."

Afternoon Update - Global anxiety takes its toll on the TSX - Globe

Sun- Economic fears complicate decision on election timing:
Mounting fears of an impending economic meltdown are making it harder for Liberals to decide whether to force an early federal election.

Even the most hawkish Liberal MPs were suddenly pulling back from the election brink Monday as stock markets worldwide went into yet another nosedive.

“I think the economy is the No. 1 thing right now, rather than an election, I really do,” said Toronto-area MP Garth Turner...
Does this mean the Liberals will be sitting down on the job again this spring?

CBC - TSX plunges 500 points:

"This isn't a 'panic', but in a thin market, with the U.S. closed for a holiday, the scale of the decline today may have been exacerbated by illiquidity — simply not enough bargain hunters around," said CIBC World Markets senior economist Avery Shenfeld...

* * * *
Tuesday Update: Terence Corcoran - Throw another forecast on the fire.

They get letters

The editorial in today's National Post is a sample of the collective voice of citizens affected by the disruption in Caledonia. On Saturday, the Post invited readers from the Caledonia area to send in their stories and this is the result - Caledonia's pain -- in our readers' words.

Good on the Post for taking up the cause for freedom of speech and the rule of law in a province that turns a blind eye to extortion and lawlessness.

Now how's that for a reality-based editorial, Warren?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Why the code of silence?

Alberta Ardvark has an interesting discussion going on regarding the deafening silence from most of MSM regarding a few outrageous HRC complaints currently being fought - WTF is wrong with the media in this country.

Various theories have been proposed. This anonymous comment may be the closest to the truth:

The MSM does not see a problem with the HRC's because they know they are all stacked with people who think the same as they do. Only white people can be racist and so only those cases will be prosecuted.

In today's Ottawa Citizen, David Warren concludes his column (Fighting for Freedom) with this observation:

...For there is something even more seriously wrong in Canada, than HRCs, when these appalling cases are getting more attention abroad than here at home.

Very few Canadian newspapers are courageous enough to go out on a limb and publish a factual story if there is even the slightest chance that some 'victimized' minority might be offended. Or else they torque the wording to make sure that the article is politically-correct.

My suggestion would be to put your money where your values are, and consume your media accordingly.

Unless of course you happen to feel that some folks are more equal than others.

* * * *
Related: Stephen Taylor - Jason Kenney opines on HRC/Canadian Islamic Congress case against Steyn. This is a classic!

Monday Update: The Globe joins the push for free speech in Canada and allows Ezra to opine in a web-exclusive comment - What a strange place Canada is:

...Early in her interrogation, she said "I always ask people … what was your intent and purpose of your article?"

It wasn't even a question about what we had published in the magazine. It was a question about my private thoughts. I asked her why my private feelings were of interest to the government. She said, very calmly, that they would be a factor taken into account by the government in determining whether or not I was guilty.

Officer McGovern said it as calmly as if I had asked her what time it was.

When she's doing government interrogations, she always asks people about their thoughts...

Thought Police. In Canada.

We are not making this up.

Fox News - Iran warns Netherlands not to air controversial 'Anti-Muslim" film.

Tuesday Update - Colby File: Does Ezra Levant have a point?

How much of this goes on that we DON'T know about?

Something to think about next time you pay your taxes - School Board Trustee Should Resign. (Sun)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Something just doesn't add up here

Duceppe sets sights on Tories...

"Our main interest is to make everything so that the government doesn't have a majority," said Barbot, who will square off against Liberal star candidate Justin Trudeau in the Montreal riding of Papineau.

"The population never wants to go into an election, that's for sure, but it's something we have to do and no doubt they are recognizing there is a need for that now."

So, if your main interest is to make sure the government doesn't have a majority, why bring down a minority government?

Just askin'.

I hope I don't drown in the Kool-Aid

The Red-Green show threatens to pollute my fair town tomorrow.

Tough being a conservative here at the best of times.

* * * *
More Red/Green News - The Westmount Examiner - Local greens choose Genest.

Leader-Post: Liberals still giving each other the rocket.

Hubert Bauch, The Gazette - Dion is misunderstood in both official languages:

...Dion's language problem, in one tongue or the other, is that he still talks too much like the poli-sci professor he was before he entered political practice.

He has a tendency to speak in chapters, not sentences - never mind sound bites. Intelligent and well-meaning as he undeniably is, in an age of diminished attention spans where the seven-second clip rules the newscasts, Dion comes across like a dinosaur from the days before radio.

And he can be as incomprehensible and eyeglazing in French as in English....

WFP - Parsing Mr. Dion:
...What he meant to say was that Canada should abandon the war in southern Afghanistan and NATO should take up a diplomatic war against Pakistan to persuade it to close its borders to terrorists. The Liberal leader appears oblivious to the fact such a war of diplomacy has been going on for years without any success and that if he wants to step it up a notch now, he might have to actually pick up a gun.

CanWest News
- Bernier letter attempt to reassure Pakistan:
That clarification prompted even more criticism from the federal government and other critics who said Dion should know better, that NATO is a military alliance, not a diplomatic one.
(H/T Neo)

Joan Tintor - Delacourt: Keen coverage is payback for Harper’s treatment of press gallery

Michael De Tandt - Dion's view on Afghanistan dangerously flawed.

ANGELO PERSICHILLI - Dion out of this world on foreign affairs:
...if Dion's going to handle our economy with the same skill he just showed in foreign affairs, it would be better if he stayed in Afghanistan.

The National Post takes on the fight for justice and equality

The National Post is fighting for the return of the rule of law in Ontario - The coward at Queen's Park:

The Post reams Dalton McGuinty for his wimpy attitude regarding what amounts to a native "extortion racket" (their words):

...It is a case study in cowardice, and everyone who voted for Mr. McGuinty should be ashamed of it...

But the Post has scorn for the opposition parties too:

...Much as we are proud to take this issue on, we find it astonishing that it falls to a newspaper to air the grievances emanating from a patch of Canadian territory that a provincial government has surrendered wholesale to thugs.

The saddest part is that the disgrace here is bipartisan: This is not merely an indictment of Ontario's governing Liberals, but also the opposition Conservatives. In the face of Mr. McGuinty's spinelessness, the best John Tory's party could do was suggest bringing civil lawsuits to try to recover lost income. Among other things, this is a pathetic microcosm of why Mr. Tory can't win an election....

Good for the Post. They're all cowards - The politicians, the OPP; the whole lot of them.

And where is David Crombie? The Federal Government? The Federal opposition parties? (See? I'm slamming everyone today.)

Readers are invited to send their personal accounts of how this issue has affected their lives to

I invite any of my readers who voted Liberal in the past election to please tell me what the *&%# you were thinking???

Time for the grassroots to take back the province.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Envelopes stuffed with pamphlets?

How deep does the Liberal rot actually go?

More at Jack's Newswatch, with a related link to Canada Free Press.

* * * *
Sunday Update: Greg Weston - Not Keen on this move:

...the Conservatives have to know their shabby treatment of her, at least, will come back to bite them, one brown envelope at a time.

Mmmm.... Could there be a connection?