Wednesday, August 31, 2005

It was only a matter of time...

Anyone who wasn't expecting this to happen is obviously not paying too much attention to the state of the right wing in America. Gays are to blame for Katrina. Oh how I wish I was making that up.

The Catholic Church (Uh oh, that's never good)

The Catholic Church in Newfoundland will have to sell 130 churches and other church assets in order to pay the settlement with yet more victims of abuse. With such a pandemic of moral repugnance within the Catholic Church, isn't it amazing how little humility they seem to have? Pope Benedict XVI certainly has gall - that bastard defended the sickos who molested all of those children, and he has the nerve to pass moral judgment on gays. And not just gays, but celibate gays, the ones who actually obey Catholic doctrine in the most extreme way! But hey, when you're responsible for protecting thousands of sex criminals, you've gotta scapegoat someone, eh?

"Intelligent" Design

An esteemed source forwarded to me an article from the Japan Times, of all places, which takes a whimsical look at the idea of "Intelligent Design" being taught in US schools.

Well thank you

Well, it seems that about half of the surprising amount of traffic I received on the first day of my blog's existence has come from that referral I got from Calgary Grit. Very much appreciated indeed.

Katrina - What's Canada Doing?

What we should be doing: offering help to our neighbours.

Statement by the Government of Canada in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

August 30, 2005 -- The Government of Canada today issued the following statement in support of those who have endured the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in the United States:

“On behalf of all Canadians, I wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to those who have lost loved ones as a result of Hurricane Katrina, as well as our sympathies to those who have suffered great losses and personal hardship,” said Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan. “During this difficult time, we are offering our support to our friends and neighbours.”

The Deputy Prime Minister added that she has contacted U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and advised him that Canada stands ready to provide assistance if needed. In addition, the Minister of Health, Ujjal Dosanjh, has directed the Public Health Agency of Canada to contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and offer any assistance that may be helpful, such as emergency medical supplies contained in the National Emergency Stockpile System.

Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew echoed the comments made by the Deputy Prime Minister and expressed relief that no Canadians had been reported dead or missing. “We have successfully contacted the majority of those Canadians who are registered with our missions and who may have been affected by the disaster,” said Minister Pettigrew. “We are confident that the U.S. authorities are deploying all possible efforts to assist them.”

“An advisory warning Canadians against all travel to the North Central Gulf Coast from Morgan City, Louisiana, eastward to the Alabama/Florida border, including the city of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain, was posted on August 28th,” noted Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dan McTeague. He added that Canadians in these areas have been advised to follow the advice of the local authorities.

Canadians with good reason to believe that Canadian friends or relatives are in the affected areas may contact Foreign Affairs Canada's Emergency Operations Centre at
1-800-267-6788, or in Ottawa at (613) 944-6788.

- 30 -

For further information:

Alexander Swann, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (613) 991-2863

Adèle Blanchard, Office of Minister Dosanjh, (613) 957-0200

Sébastien Théberge, Office of Minister Pettigrew, (613) 995-1851

"Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Ass On The Way Out"

Those were the words used on Rick Mercer's Monday Report when former US ambassador Paul Celluci left office a few months ago. Well, seems he couldn't end his tenure without taking some parting shots at our government. Apparently, he considers the Canadian government inept, and says that Canada betrayed the US when it did not sign up for the Iraq war.

Now, let me make something perfectly clear: I supported the war. However, while I am something of a neo-con on foreign policy, I am first and foremost a Canadian. And right now, I'd just like to tell Mr. Celluci that he's welcome to let that door hit him on the ass, because no one here will shed a tear. Betrayed? I wasn't aware that Canada was in any way obligated to support a war that even I readily admit was poorly planned, pathetically sold, and was based on misinformation (when it SHOULD have been based on freeing the people of Iraq, as that's all the justification I think is necessary).

I know, there's a lot of anti-Americanism in Canada. But here's the difference: while our anti-Americans are ridiculed and kicked out of caucus, Celluci was the ambassador to Canada.

And now we have David Wilkins telling us to stop our emotional tirades because the US refuses to honour a trade agreement it entered into knowingly and willingly. (Though kudos to Harper for standing up to him, there.)

I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of being insulted by diplomats from what is supposed to be our greatest friend.


This appeals to the geek in me on so many levels. Inspired by the picture CalgaryGrit used for Chretien in the "Greatest PM" contest. I think it's my favourite picture of old Jean ever. I was gonna use it if Chretien beat out Laurier, but I've realized that the odds of that happening are pretty slim.

Republicans Taking a Beating

Progressive 'mericans got some good news today. President Bush and the Republicans can't be loving this new poll, which puts Bush's approval rating at 45%. (And aren't we all glad the American public decided to come to their senses AFTER they had their one and only shot to dump him?) Even more troublesome for the publicans is that only 37% think that the Congress is doing a good job. That does not bode well for the Republican dominated House and Senate; if disapproval like that keeps up, they could be in serious trouble when the entire House and 1/3 of the Senate is up for re-election in 2006. Due to gerry-rigging by Tom DeLay and his ilk, it may not be possible for the Democrats to reclaim the House no matter how discontent the people are, but they could very well end up with control of the Senate again, since it's impossible to gerrymander the fixed Senate seats.

Even more troubling for American righties is that Independents, not Democrats, think that the Democrats haven't been hard enough on Bush. And we all know that in the polarized environment that is American politics, the Independents decide it all.

This is making for an interesting 2006 mid-term election indeed.

The Deathmatch

Calgary Grit is holding a rather interesting race: the greatest 20th century prime minister (plus Macdonald). While I think it's unfortunate that the likes of Tupper (one of the Fathers of Confederation), Thompson (one of the brighter minds in the Conservative Party) and Mackenzie (the first Liberal prime minister) were left out, I understand that it was for reasons of logistics.

(A similar poll for "Worst Prime Minister" would be amusing, to say the least, especially if it left out all the obvious choices like Mackenzie Bowell or John Abbott.)

The righties from Small Dead Animals and the Shotgun have organized a campaign against Pierre Trudeau and Lester Pearson (who ironically are facing each other in the next round). Given that they hate Trudeau more than Pearson, though, I don't like Trudeau's chances of going on to the semi-finals. Well, I'm voting for him anyway. But given what a hard time he had against Joe Clark, I think he's toast.

Here are my thoughts on the match-ups:

King vs. Diefenbaker: Two heavyweights - and our two crazy PMs - go up against each other here, King as one of the most well-known prime ministers in Canada, and Diefenbaker as one of the only conservatives to win an election, unseating King's protege St. Laurent. Diefenbaker knocked off St. Laurent in the first round, and now goes on to face the master. Personally, I've never held much sympathy for King, and I wish St. Laurent had won so that I could vote against him. But I hold even less regard for John Diefenbaker. I am fully aware that King was, among other things, clinically insane. He did, after all, receive political advice from Wilfrid Laurier throughout his career... even though Laurier died in 1919. He also got advice from the dog he owned as a teenager and frequently spoke to his dead mother. But while King was a total lunatic, and one of the people who thought Hitler was a decent fellow, he never let his insanity dictate public policy. Diefenbaker, on the other hand, once wanted to base the date of a British Commonwealth Conference on the advice of a water diviner in the Praeries. Keep in mind that this is also the man who destroyed the Canadian aerospace industry - the Avro Arrow would still be modern today - approved the construction of nuclear warheads without the nukes, making them essentially useless, and so hated John F. Kennedy that the Defence Minister actually had to go behind his back to declare a state of emergency during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Dief didn't want to declare an emergency because he didn't trust Kennedy. And the reason he voted against Trudeau's omnibus bill decriminalizing homosexuality was because he - I couldn't make this up - thought that gays were Soviet spies. To me, this is not a hard choice. Unfortunately, I suspect that many people may vote with partisan blinders on and push Dief over the top, which is saddening.

Macdonald vs. Mulroney: In the first round, Sir John A. crushed Kim Campbell. Not content with just exacting his posthumous revenge upon one of the two people who destroyed his party, he is now going up against Brian Mulroney. I'm not sure how this one will go, and to be honest, I'm still debating how to vote. I'm a fan of Mulroney's, though I'm not sure I'm enough of a fan to vote against the man who created Canada. They were both involved in a great deal of political scandal, Macdonald probably more than Mulroney in terms of how much it benefitted him. I'm thinking I'll have to go for Mulroney; the Free Trade Agreement is one of the best things to happen to the Canadian economy, and he was daring enough to go for it, even though he knew there was a great deal of opposition to it at the time. I'm no fan of the GST, but something had to be done to get finances under control. (Though on a side note, isn't it interesting that the two most hated taxes in Canada - the GST and income tax - were introduced by conservatives?)

Trudeau vs. Pearson: The choice is obvious to me, since I'm a great fan of P.E.T., both for his personality and his policies. I greatly admire him for his bravery during the St. Jean Baptiste parade where he stood up to violent separatists, literally, and during the F.L.Q. crisis when he refused to let terrorism have free reign. His consistent stand against Quebec separatism shows a commitment to Canada that some could possibly learn from. Plus, I think his omnibus bill is one of the most important, progressive and wonderful pieces of legislation to ever pass the House of Commons. That's not even to mention the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the recognition of Canadians as a rights-bearing people, even though the provinces demanded the inclusion of the notwithstanding clause. The Charter, to me, represents the crowning achievement of his prime ministership, and as someone who was born after it was implemented, feel great pride that I was born in a Canada where my rights as a citizen are respected. I like Pearson, too, but to Trudeau, I just don't think he compares.

Laurier vs. Chretien: This one is a no-brainer to me. I think Laurier is one of the greatest prime ministers in Canadian history - second perhaps to Pierre - and his commitment to free trade was just as admirable as Mulroney's (especially considering that he lost two elections over it). He led a battered coalition of Frenchmen after the 1917 election, and stood up against one of the most undemocratic and illiberal ideas ever conceived - namely, conscription - even though he knew it was a losing battle. He established the Liberal Party in Quebec, did his best to keep the country unified and keep French--English tensions to a minimum after the Manitoba Schools Question, and will always of course be remembered for his "20th Century shall belong to Canada" speech. Even if it didn't come to pass, political leaders these days are sadly lacking in rhetorical flourish that powerful and sincere. Speaking of today's leaders, he's up against Chretien, who while he wasn't terrible, wasn't good either. Pretty much the pinnacle of mediocrity - just like most leaders today.

Well, I've got one vote (two actually, due to CG's voting system) to give, and that's who they're going to. I'm rootin' for my men from the spectator's booth!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius

Or so I'm told by Canada's flakiest political party. Colour me unsurprised that this party has earned the support of a heavyweight like David Kilgour, who endorsed it in the House of Commons. Actually, that must have been a big deal for them, as it's probably the closest they'll ever come to having a Member of Parliament represent them.

Honestly, what's with the lefties in this country? As if the Greens aren't siphoning enough pro-environment votes away from the NDP. Haven't they learned what happens when splinter parties become too successful?

Perhaps I should not be so quick to make fun of this fledgling party. But it's just so much fun. Here's a brief outline of their "spiritual values":

"The domain of "Mammon" seeks to substitute values of social ethics, in favour of its own bleak order. The pursuit of Mammon seeks to destroy nature, as it enslaves humanity, in order to satiate its pursuit of "material prosperity", and power, that it can never fully satisfy."

A hilarious testament to what the religious left would look like if one actually existed.

Blogs are complicated

Hey, I may have just started this thing an hour ago, but let me tell you, the coding on these things is monstrous. I'm not a computer type of guy, so the HTML code in the template for this beast almost made me curl up into a diminutive ball and cry like a baby. However, I did live to tell of my look into the heart of darkness, and what have I to show for it? Well, I've gone and joined Liblogs and Progressive Bloggers, the first step in selling my soul to various different interests and thus becoming successful. (Or at least that's the lesson I learn from watching the big kids do it.)

Inaugural Address

I'm horrible at introductions, so I'm going to skip it. I'm not important enough to warrant any introduction larger than this short paragraph, so if you're desperately curious to know about me (hahah) please refer to the "About Me" section. Thank you.