Sunday, September 25, 2005

Debt Cancellation

This is wonderful news. Canada is moving to cancel debt owed by many third world nations. This is a part of a larger initiative by the EU and the IMF. One of the biggest steps towards making the third world no longer third, and repairing the damage that has been done to these nations is cancelling the crippling debt. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a much larger pattern.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Michael Jean on Multiculturalism

Maybe she isn't so bad after all. For the record, I've always thought that the policy of multiculturalism is counterproductive, and morally relativistic. I make no apologies for the fact that western culture is better than, say, middle eastern culture. Here we respect rule of law, there they respect the mullah. It's just a fact that we live in a better culture. Multiculturalism, on the other hand, enforces the notion that all cultures are equal, which is of course absurd.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Tory leadership candidate proposes drug legalization

Had you there for a second, didn't I? Well, I was only half pulling your chain - a Tory leadership candidate is proposing legalization - a British one. He's right, of course. Drug experts pretty much all agree that the so-called "War on Drugs" is a farce that doesn't, won't, and can't work. Why waste money on something so pointless, when wasting that money actually encourages more armed gangs to operate? The war on drugs is a lose-lose-lose situation - the people lose money, and in exchange, not only do they have their freedom curtailed, but they have an increased chance of getting shot.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Conservative angst - Mutiny?

Mutiny, eh? Not likely. Some Conservatives in Quebec are uppity about Stephen Harper's leadership. And it's hard to blame them - the guy is hardly the man to be leading that party. They ought to have someone who better reflects the Conservatives' views on social issues, like Jason Kenney or Stockwell Day.

Nevertheless, the media is blowing this way out of proportion. Simply put, if three failed Liberal candidates who garnered collectively less than 20000 votes started calling for Paul Martin's resignation, no one would take them seriously. And no one should take this seriously. The media has been continually unfair with Conservative party inner-workings, trying to find some kind of fault line. Talk of all the resignations and firings in Harper's office? Well, that's politics. Martin's office has taken resignations and handed out firings too, but it doesn't get repported. Also, the party supposedly ready to fall apart at the convention? Overblown hyperbole.

Does this point to some kind fo full-blown liberal media conspiracy? Absolutely not; I still maintain that people who cry about the "liberal media" are just babies who can't take losing. But the media is being unfair to the Conservatives, and that has everything to do with what they can sell. Fault-lines within the Liberal Party, you say? That would never sell - the party has an uncanny ability to stick together, even when the two most important men in the party hate each other. (see: Martin--Chretien wars.) The Conservatives, on the other hand, have a history of in-fighting, and the Canadian right spent a decade apart from each other because of it, in two competing parties. So people are more willing to buy "Conservative Party collapsing", because that has happened before. About a decade ago. Remember?

Why the Liberals are better than the Republicans, Reason #3824

Over a decade of Republican control and this is the best they can do? Fiscally conservative Republicans should be ashamed. I often wonder how it is that budget hawks, fiscal conservatives and libertarians can continue to vote Republican when they are obviously and openly so wasteful. Say what you will about the Liberal government, they don't spend beyond what they take in.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

That Mulroney thing

While I still think he was a fairly decent prime minister, and he utterly fascinates me, Brian Mulroney really did himself a lot of harm in giving those interviews.

I think Mulroney is a complicated man, and it was good of Peter C. Newman to share with us what he's really like, because he was definitely one of the major prime ministers, if only because he won the largest majority ever. Personally, I don't hold any of it against him. I know a lot of Liberals hate Mulroney with a firey passion, but I've always maintained a certain amount of sympathy toward him. He tried so hard, and so much of what he worked for exploded in his face. He lost nearly all of his political capital during the fight for Free Trade - a policy which is now generally accepted by Canadians - and saw his party collapse into a shambles because he tried to unite two regions which are fundamentally at odds with each other. He did his best to appease the west - including cancelling the hated NEP, and appointing Alberta's elected Senator - but they repayed him by forming the Reform Party. He did his best to appease Quebec - including trying to give them their "distinct society" in exchange for their signature to the Canadian constitution and a commitment to stop separatism - but when those efforts were torpedoed by the west and Newfoundland, they formed the Bloc Quebecois to pay him back. He tried to get the deficit under control, but he's not remembered for the fact that his methods probably allowed Chretien and Martin to slay the deficit, but rather as the man who brought in the GST and the FTA - much vilified at the time, but which future Liberal governments have found invaluable. He gets blamed for selling out Canada and for the hated GST, and Chretien gets credit for reaping the benefits of those actions.

So yeah, I think he has a right to his anger and his bitterness. I think the Canadian people should definitely see Mulroney as he truly is, if only to understand how much he gave this country, and how we like to shit on him for it.

No Gays Allowed - Catholic Church

The always invaluable Andrew Sullivan has been blogging at legnth today about the Catholic Church's new ban on gay priests. This includes not only those who are not celibate, but those who are. Celibate gay priests are being blamed by this pope - the man who SHOULD be held responsible, perhaps more than any other, for the child molestations - for the sex abuse. Well, isn't that convenient? It must be convenient for this dick to blame the sex abuse on an already vilified minority. Keeps the heat off of him (though I guess it's permanently off now that he's infallible). I was no fan of John Paul II (that's being kind) but I will give him this - he never engaged in this kind of fearmongering and vicious bigotry.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Election will be later than we thought

Justice Gomery's report has been delayed until February 1. Well, what this obviously means is that, barring a no-confidence motion, we won't be having an election until mid-March at the absolute earliest, and more likely early April. This would make for a slightly less cold campaigning season (oh thank god...) and would put even more distance in between Gomery's initial report (the one that has the most potential to harm the Liberals) and the actual election. Advantage: Liberals.

If I were the Tories, I'd be seriously considering bringing down the government closer to the initial report, as that would be their best chance to benefit from Gomery.

One Canada, One Law - McGuinty voids Sharia

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has made a decision to reject sharia "justice" in Ontario's legal system.

Good for him. Separation of church and state is one of the greatest things about western society. No church, mosque, temple or synagogue will ever dictate what justice is in this country - and that's the way it should be.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

More bullshite from Faux News

As if Bill O'Reilly calling Canada stingy for not giving enough aid was not enough of an insult - when in fact Canadian aid was there before American - another Faux News commentator, John Gibson, asked Ambassador Frank McKenna whether or not the aid was a deliberate attempt by the left-wing Martin government to embarass the Bush administration.

There's so many things wrong with that.

First of all, of course it wasn't; such a question is inappropriate, ungrateful and downright paranoid.

Second, George Bush has done a good enough job embarassing himself, he doesn't need Paul Martin to do it for him.

Third, isn't it the job of the AMERICAN GOVERNMENT to protect the AMERICAN PEOPLE? Instead of crying foul over the fact that Canada sent aid in so soon, shouldn't they be outraged at the fact that the Bush administartion DIDN'T? Ah, but that's Faux New for you - always fair and balanced.

It really shows the level of neuroticism that exists within the American right, and this station in particular. Remember, these are the people who say that the media is left-wing. They view everyone who doesn't agree completely with their orthodoxy with suspicion, or even outright hatred. One needs to look no further than O'Reilly's insult and Gibson's petty international demagogery to see just how deluded they are.

Well, look at the language they use when describing their OWN people. Ann Coulter labels all liberals as traitors to the country. A Congressman calls comedian Bill Maher (a favourite of mine) a traitor for daring to make a joke about the low recruitment levels in the military. (Well, Congressman, that's Mr. Maher's job. YOUR job is to actually DO something about the problem - that's what you're being paid to do.)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Gay marriage in California

Conservative Ryan Sager has written up a good article about the Governator's decision to terminate same-sex marriage in California. After the Senate and the Assembly passed same-sex marriage legislation, Ahnuld said that he would terminate it. What does this all mean? Sager gives us a very insightful analysis. Here's the essence of the article:

"Yet it's crystal clear where public opinion is headed, both in California and nationwide. The younger the demographic polled, the more support is found for gay marriage and civil unions.

Really, what gay marriage opponents are looking to do is write anti-gay provisions into as many state constitutions as possible -- and maybe even into the federal Constitution -- before the people invested in the so-called "defense of marriage" all die off."

What he's saying is that, quite simply, gay marriage is inevitable. It's not a matter of whether or not it will be legalized - it will - but rather, a matter of "when." It's already legal in the northern half of North America. And it's making headway in the south.

Harper talks tough with US

I'm actually pleasantly surprised by Stephen Harper's willingness to stand up for Canada's interests in the softwood lumber case. I guess it is sort of incumbent upon any leader of a political party in Canada to make a claim to stand up for Canada if elected - hey, that's even the Tory campaign slogan - but the Tories have tended to be be, how should I put this, willing to bend over a desk and allow the insertion of... *AHEM* er, US policy. Yes, US policy.

It sort of says something about how seriously the Tories are taking getting elected this time. These guys are really, really trying. Stephen Harper wants to be prime minister almost as badly as Paul Martin wanted to be Liberal leader, and he's taken his party on a complete 180 on so many issues - Kyoto, healthcare, abortion, Canada/US relations and EEE Senate to name a few - that they're hardly distinguishable from the Liberals at this point, which is actually kind of depressing. And yet, they stand firm on gay marriage? Can you believe that? They're willing to sell their principles on healthcare and abortion of all things - but not gay marriage. Think about what this says; to oppose abortion, one has to believe that it is the murder of children. So, what they're saying is they would rather compromise on the murder of children than let fags get married. Does anyone else see something a little bit screwy with that position?

I look forward to the next issue the Tories change positions on. Who knows? Maybe next they'll endorse sponsorship programs.

Election plan at the ready

I don't blame the Tories for preparing for an early election; the temptation for the Liberals to orchestrate their own downfall this session may well be too great to resist, especially if they can go down on a popular spending bill.

But I do have to ask this question: what if the Tories end up bringing the Liberals down? Wouldn't it make more sense for them to wait for Gomery to finish his report, if they're so sure he's going to implicate Paul Martin?

Personally, I'd like to have the winter election. Sure, it'll be tough, but I'm convinced that Justice Gomery will vindicate Paul Martin and the Liberals, and then we can finally have an election free of this sponsorship nonsense, and instead get back to what election campaigns should be about - demonizing the Conservatives for wanting to ban abortions and privatize healthcare. Oh, I'm kidding, I'm kidding...

Speaking of CG...

...he's made apparent his dislike of the Liberal Youth Wing's new proposal to limit federal election public funding based on how many ridings a party runs candidates in. He sees it as a deliberate attack on the Bloc Quebecois. Personally, I do see the wisdom in this proposal. As it stands now, the Bloc gets a heck of a lot of money from federal coffers - the irony of the federal government sponsoring a separatist party should not be lost on anyone - and it only has to spend that money in one place - Quebec. They don't have to worry about spreading the money out across the country, they simply concentrate it in one province. Of course, I suppose the counter-argument could go that that's what the Liberals do anyway. They don't campaign actively out west because they know it's a lost cause, just like the Tories don't sink all of their money into Quebec because, come on, let's be serious, Quebec will vote Conservative when Jean Chretien returns to politics. Quite the conundrum indeed... I'm not precisely sure where I stand on it.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Right Honourable Men

Probably inspired by Calgary Grit's ongoing "Greatest Prime Minister" battle, today I bought and am quite excited to read, "Right Honourable Men", by Michael Bliss. I haven't read past the introduction yet, but for the record, here's how Bliss ranks our prime ministers:

1) Mackenzie King
2) tie b/w Sir John A. Macdonald and Pierre Elliott Trudeau
4) Sir Robert Borden
5) Sir Wilfrid Laurier
6) Lester Pearson
7) Louis St. Laurent
8) tie b/w Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien
10) Alexander Mackenzie
11) John Diefenbaker

He dismisses the rest of the PM's as, "and then the others". I'm actually quite surprised by his ranking of Louis St. Laurent, considering he didn't even think him important enough to give him his own chapter in the book (which goes Macdonald, Laurier, Borden, Meighen and Bennett, King, King again, Diefenbaker, Pearson, Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien) and I'm also surprised that someone I always felt was a more conservative historian placed Mackenzie King (champion of the welfare state) and Pierre Trudeau (champion of everything conservatives love to hate) so highly. I look forward to reading his reasoning.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Katrina Timeline

A very helpful timeline of the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina, including federal, state and local responses. It speaks for itself, really. Incredible that these are the people charged with protecting American citizens. I wonder if our government would be that inept in the same situation? (That's not a rhetorical question.)

Some feedback on the GG

This comment was posted after my Governor General post. Says it all, I think:

I am a survivivor of a FLQ bomb that blew out the windows on my home when I was a kid. No Hurricane Katrina but bad enough for me. I have posted unrelentingly on this issue and I have written my Member of Parliment Steven Owen and Paul Martin himself begging that this appointment of Michaelle Jean be rescinded. Remember the FLQ murdered innocent Canadians, kidnapped the British Consul and assassinated the Honorable Pierre Laporte, member of the Quebec Cabinet. They garrotted him with his own religious medialion chain and dumped his body in the trunk of a Montreal taxicab.

We used to call people like her and her husband traitors. I look at her and I feel a stab of betrayal of pain in my heart. I do not want five years of that feeling.

We have thousands of Canadians above reproach who could fill this position which could be very important. The GG assents to legistions such as the War Measures Act, he/she can dissolve a minority government...or not. All the more reason for someone like Paul Martin to have a weak, unqualified and beholden person whose loyalty is in question, in that position. Don't give up the fight to have the GG positon appointed to a qualifed person, or better still, elected.

Cabinet shuffles must be fun when you know you're a shoe-in

Much as I enjoy seeing fresh new faces in cabinet, I highly doubt that this week's cabinet shuffle will have any changes of much interest to even political junkies. According to that article, it seems that about the only interesting thing that could happen would be Anne McLellan taking on the profile of Natural Resources minister (and I thought she already WAS the minister of everything). She has held the portfolio before, from 1993-1997, and it would be a good way of showing how seriously the government takes the softwood lumber dispute. On the downside, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is one of the most senior portfolios available - what with controlling the RCMP, CSIS, and having influence in ministries such as Health and Foreign Affairs - and Natural Resources is, quite simply, a demotion. However, so long as she remained Deputy Prime Minister and got to sit beside Big Paulie in the House of Commons, I don't think too much could be read into that.

Well, whatever happens, I'm sure McLellan won't have anything happen to her that she doesn't want. Whenever there's talk of a cabinet shuffle, she's always got a big smile on her face, and why not? She's the only Liberal from Alberta, and a woman to boot, not to mention being one of Martin's most devoted supporters. That makes her a very important person in the Martin government, and frankly the only way she would ever be stripped of her Deputy Prime Minister title would be if she were defeated in an election - which is not unlikely, given how close her victories always are.*

*I make a pledge here and now never to refer to Anne McLellan by her media-given nickname. You know, the one involving a natural occurance of moving rocks and mud along with an endearing form of her name.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Well, we know that ONE of 'em is going...

Either Paul Martin or Stephen Harper will likely not face an election as leader after this one.

In a recent SES poll, it would appear as if former NB premier Frank McKenna is the choice to lead the Liberals, where deputy leader Peter MacKay is favoured for the Conservatives.

This is old news, but what strikes me as interesting is that McKenna leads in all areas of the country - except Ontario. In Ontario, former NDP premier Bob Rae is favoured.

What? Bob Rae!? Something's not right here. Either people don't hate Bob Rae as much as they say they do, history has softened impressions of him, or else Ontarians would just rather vote for an Ontario man than a New Brunswick one. That doesn't make sense to me, of course, since Ontarians have voted for Quebeckers for most of the past three decades.

Interesting indeed...

Half of Canadians want oil industry nationalized

The CBC, despite the strike, is still keeping up with the latest news. Apparently, almost 50% of Canadians want the oil industry and gas stations nationalized. I've never actually seen numbers on what Canadians think of public vs. private in this particular industry. There's a lot more support for public than I thought.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The GG Fiasco

Like many Canadians, I have been extremely disturbed by the Michaelle Jean affair. Throughout the entire adventure, from the time when the allegations were just unfounded rumours, through the uncertainty, and now when any reasonable person would be forced to admit that these rumours perhaps aren't all that unfounded, one journalist has been persistant in his questioning of Jean's appointment and his skepticism towards her half-hearted denunciation of the separatist "movement". Like him, I remain unconvinced that Michaelle Jean is fit to be Canada's head of state. Leaving aside the fact that she is completely unqualified on political grounds, she is absolutely unqualified on national unity grounds.

The journalist to whom I am referring is Andrew Coyne, who has written several pieces on Jean's appointment. Coyne is one of my favourite journalists, and I've been nothing less than impressed with his committment to this story. His points that merely "not being a separatist" is not what ought to qualify one to be Governor General, and that there shouldn't even be a shadow of a doubt as to the vice-regal's loyalties, are very astute and, I feel, completely correct. Being Governor General is not a right, it is a privilege. Michaelle Jean does not have a right to be Canada's head of state, and supporters of her appointment should stop pretending like it's somehow "aiding the separatists," or "unpatriotic" or whatever other bunk they've come out with, to question her qualifications. This is the person who is supposed to represent Canada, in whom we place the trust of being Canada personified. The fact that there's even a legitimate question as to her loyalties is proof positive that she is not fit to be our head of state.

The (lack of) response to Katrina

I saw an interesting comment that made me think a little.

If it was al Qaeda who had taken out the levees instead of Katrina, would the response have been any different? No, it wouldn't. The country was ill-prepared to handle such a thing, which is frightening, because it has theoretically spent the last four years preparing for such things.

Read the whole thing here.

Maybe instead of using terrorism as an excuse to curb civil liberties and invade countries, the government should actually do something substantive to prepare for it as well as protect from it.

Friday, September 02, 2005

25 People Who Are Screwing Up America

(Oi, what a long day. Won't be writing much tonight.)

The Free Liberal has posted a hilarious parody of Bernard Goldberg's inanity (and waste of good trees) known as "100 People Who Are Screwing Up America". Take a look, it's good stuff. My personal favourites:

"1. Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes, of Hannity & Colmes fame. One’s a loudmouth conservative who’d conserve nothing and blow up everything; the other’s a little liberal puppy who barks and growls and then rolls over for a belly rub. Hannity is the worst. Every call on his radio show consists of him and his caller calling each other “a great American” over and over again. It’s nauseating—like the “You’re shmoopy"/"No, you’re shmoopy” scene from the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld. Colmes is no better. He only takes a backseat because he isn’t as good at drowning out his opponent. He’s equally annoying, though. And his head looks like a rotting pear. Watch these guys long enough and you’ll start to see everything as a Left and Right issue. Even breakfast. “Coming up after the break: Why some liberal housewives refuse to put sugar in their coffee. Are these Splenda-lovin’ liberals bad for America?”"

"2. The Supreme Court. Pot used for cancer pain relief—bad. Homes seized to build office parks and strip malls—good?"

"14. The DEA. Hi. Remember Prohibition? Remember all the crime it caused? Keep doing what you’re doing. The war on drugs makes perfect sense."

"20. Kids who wear Che Guevara t-shirts. Seriously. Do you even know who Che Guevara is?"

New Orleans Descending Into Anarchy

Right Ho! has provided a link to a Guardian story documenting the horrible state of affairs in New Orleans. People are being beaten, killed and raped. A natural disaster is one thing - it is unavoidable and morally neutral. The behaviour of these violent criminals is the real tragedy, one that reflects very badly on humanity as a whole.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Canadian Forces on Standby

The Canadian Forces are on standby to help the disaster relief efforts in the United States.

You know, I'm not the most pro-American person in the world, (that's being kind) but I think Canadians should still feel a certain sense of pride in the friendship we've managed to maintain with the US for as long as we have, and even though the help that we are able to provide is necessarily smaller than that which they can muster themselves (we are a nation that is 10% the US' size in population, after all) we are still at the ready to help our American friends. It is a testament to what civilized nations can accomplish in friendship, and a reaffirmation of the two countries' committment to look out for one another, like the brothers that we metaphorically are, even if we don't always agree.

Thought for the day...

It's appauling how many people have never actually read anything on socialism that wasn't written by a right-wing idealogue (and this is speaking as someone who has absolutely no love for socialism), and who haven't even the faintest grasp of ethics or political and social philosophy. Actually, that's not what's appauling, that's just depressing. What's appauling is when these people assume that they are well-versed enough in such things to communicate intelligably about them. The sheer idiocy I've seen with regard to how socialism is depicted is really unbelievable. It's a flawed ideological system, people; Karl Marx was not the devil incarnate, just a misguided fool.

A Queer World

Some amusing and adorable cartoons give us a crash-course in homosexuality in animals. Unnatural? Well, if it occurs in nature...