Saturday, December 30, 2006


The world's reaction on Saddam Hussein's execution seems to be mixed, of course. No word from the Canadian government yet that I've heard, though. I doubt we'll hear anything from Harper or MacKay, and if we do, it will be a generic comment about a fair trial and whatnot. But Harper and MacKay would probably prefer to not comment on this at all; MacKay supports the death penalty, and I'm pretty sure Harper does too. That's not something they want the Canadian public thinking about, just like so much of what they believe.

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Equality Goes Both Ways

Isn't this delicious?

"Gonzalez, 17, has become something of a target since November, when the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on her behalf against the Okeechobee High School principal and school board for refusing to let her establish a Gay-Straight Alliance, an after-school club that promotes dialogue and tolerance... She is suing under the 1984 federal Equal Access Act, which ironically was initially pushed by evangelical Christians after some public schools banned after-school prayer meetings and other religious gatherings. It says that if a public school allows any extracurricular activities to meet on campus it must allow all groups to do the same."


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Christmas is great. For a few years, I haven't really had much appreciation for the holiday. On the one hand, it celebrates one of the most important days of a religion in which I hold no faith. On the other, it is crass, materialistic, gaudy and a reflection of what is wrong with western culure. But then I realized something - Christmas is a celebration of the sum total of the component parts that make up the history of the evolution of western society, not just Christianity. The Christmas tree is a perfect example - it's actually an old pagan tradition, adopted by Christians. (Just like the holiday itself.) There is undeniably a secular side to it, representing the increasing secularism of the west. There is a fun side to it for the kids - Santa and what not. And it's pluralistic - everybody, no matter their faith or lack thereof, is entitled to a holiday on the 25th of December, unless of course they work in a job that doesn't permit such a thing.

In short, it's a holiday that unites everybody in at least some way, even if it is a superficial one. In that vein, Merry Christmas.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ben Mulroney interviews "Christopher Walken"

Some pranksters trick Ben Mulroney into interviewing a Christopher Walken impersonator. Good stuff.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Good news for drunk drivers

Apparently, drinking can help you survive a car crash. Well isn't that... useful.


The Power of Television

This is why I get so concerned about things like this.

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Marijuana > Corn

Guess what the number one cash crop in the US is? I'll give you a hint - it's not corn.

Now, given that America's pot is worth $35 billion annually, does it really make sense to continue spending billions of dollars trying to keep it illegal? Of course it doesn't. That's a $35 billion industry driven underground, so that the only people who can make a worthwhile profit off of it are crime lords. Essentially, decent people are sent to jail every year so that the heads of the criminal underworld can grow rich from an industry that is theirs by way of a government-manded monopoly. This isn't just an injustice, and it's not just a waste of money - it's insane. Utterly batshit one-flew-over-the-cuckoo's-nest insane.


Fun Fact

The Pentagon's annual budget is more than double Canada's entire annual budget.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Cute Break

It sneezed!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Scandal of Macdonaldian Proportions?

All I can say is, if this is true, Stephen Harper's devious election tactics put Sir John A's to shame.

Canadian Newsmaker of the Year (2)

Just to amend my previous post, have you ever seen such a piece of fawning, sycophantic tripe? I usually give that particular news chain credit for being relatively unbiased in their reporting, but that was just ridiculous. Not one bad thing is said about Harper in the entire article, which would be fine, if it didn't list his accomplishments, while practically lauding them. Pretending that that is independent, impartial journalism is an utter farce.

Canadian Newsmaker of the Year

Guess who.

The world's most cantankerous body

An interesting article about age and the US Senate. Did you know the average age of the incoming Senate is 62? Yeah, 62!

Greens seek recognition

Elizabeth May is arguing (unsurprisingly) that she ought to be included in the leaders' debates in the next election. I would urge the signing of the Green Party's petition to be included; if nothing else, someone as smart as May should be at the table. Democratic discourse is served best when bright people like May are given a voice. I've been consistently impressed with Elizabeth May ever since I heard her nuanced and reasoned comments on abortion and gay marriage. She has shown herself to be both reasonable and passionate, and very thoughtful - unlike her predecessor, whom I never could bring myself to like. She deserves a spot in the debate, and Canadians deserve a chance to hear her speak.

Careful analysis

With which I disagree, at least tactically; I don't think Mr. Dion needs to change his tune on federalism - the tune that has served him and the Liberal party well for the last 30 years.

Palestinian Civil War

Alright, perhaps that's a bit extreme. But rival factions Fatah and Hamas are engaging in some pretty serious combat in Gaza, with shots being fired at the president's home. President Abbas has called for Palestinian elections. One would quixotically hope that the results show a Fatah victory, though who knows how this violence will affect the outcome. On the one hand, people could become galvanized behind Hamas. On the other, they could be so disillusioned with Hamas that they simply vote them out of power. I wonder, then, if they would relinquish power? Oddly enough, a Fatah victory could actually result in more violence among Palestinians if Hamas refuses to go quietly.

Civil Unions aren't good enough

One more reason why.

Before or After?

A topic I'm sure many politically aware Canadians will be thinking about over the holiday season is whether there will be an election in the Spring. Given that both the Bloc and the Liberals seem determined to defeat the government in the Spring, I think it's safe to say we're looking at an election some time before July, likely earlier.

So that raises the question - would it be wise to defeat the government over the budget? Or would it be better to force the fall of the government over Afghanistan or Kyoto? Personally, I'd have to say the latter. I don't know what's going to be in the Tory budget, but it's rumoured to be laden with tax cuts. I question the wisdom of going into an election against a sitting government that is bringing in a budget that will cut taxes so heavily. The Liberals were able to crush Stockwell Day and the Alliance in 2000 due in no small part to their tax-cut heavy 2000 budget. It would be difficult to oppose such a budget and then fight a campaign on it; the thought of doing so worries me greatly.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

"Don Rumsfeld is the finest secretary of defense the nation has ever had."

So says Dick Cheney.

The pathology of these people knows no bounds.


The current Democratic frontrunner for president is no longer Hilary Clinton, it seems. (And thank God for that.) The spotlight is now on a new frontrunner: John Kerry's '04 running mate, John Edwards.

And it's not a small lead, either. The Iowa poll (Iowa and New Hampshire being the two most important states in the primaries) looks like this:
  • John Edwards 36%
  • Hillary Clinton 16%
  • Barack Obama 13%
  • Tom Vilsack 11%
That's gotta hurt for Vilsack, what with the home field advantage. One can also assume that Edwards would have a significant advantage in the next state after Iowa and New Hampshire - that is, South Carolina. Edwards is from North Carolina, was born in South Carolina, and won South Carolina last time around.

Edwards and Obama are probably the Democrats' best choices, in my opinion. An Edwards/Obama or Obama/Edwards ticket would be a force to be reckoned with.

Finally, a poll I trust

There are only two polling companies in Canada that I tend to trust - Ipsos-Reid and SES Research. SES Research notably predicted the results of the last election to within 0.2%, and Ipsos-Reid's numbers are usually comparable to SES'.

The poll out today is an Ipsos-Reid one, and it's good new for the Liberals, at least in Quebec:

Bloc Quebecois - 44
Liberals - 31
Conservatives - 13

Nationally, the numbers aren't incredible, but still decent:

Liberals - 36
Conservatives - 34
NDP - 13

It looks like Dion is really paying off in Quebec.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Democrats could lose the Senate?

Two pieces of horrible news.

Lord's Future

Bernard Lord's career in provincial politics is over at the tender age of 41. Obviously, he's still got a good 2o to 30 years to devote to politics. The fact that he has twice been scouted to run for leadership of the federal Conservatives probably bodes well for his future success; on the other hand, provincial politicians have a dismal record as leaders of federal parties. Add to that the fact that Lord lost the last election, and before that barely held on to his majority (by one seat), and Lord's stock just isn't as high as it was two or four years ago. A run in federal politics is almost certain for Lord - a former premier retiring at age 41? I don't think so - but he may have missed the boat.

He could probably have been annointed federal PC leader in 2003, and he is one of the only people in Canada who could have beaten Stephen Harper for the Conservative leadership in 2004. Now? He'll have a harder time of it. If he runs for the federal Conservative leadership next time around (which is still very likely) he will have a harder time winning. He'll still have a decent chance of course - let's not overestimate the talent in the Conservative party; Lord could well be the best they can do - but the cold hard fact is: he lost. The once-untouchable Bernard Lord is now damaged goods.

Dion taking NDP support

At least, that's what this poll suggests.

The Decima Research survey, conducted during the week following the former environment minister's win, suggested the Liberals had the support of 35 per cent of decided and leaning voters. That compared to 32 per cent for the Tories, 12 per cent for the NDP, 11 per cent for the Bloc Quebecois and seven per cent for the Green party.

Decima CEO Bruce Anderson said the New Democratic Party's support is not only down from last January's election, but it seems to be soft.

"I guess the question for the NDP is, if Stephane Dion is positioned as a centre-left, environmentally-preoccupied, social-justice-motivated leader, does that further put pressure on the NDP voter pool?," he said

"So far, I think, the evidence is yes it does. The NDP numbers are soft."

Good news for the Liberals, bad news for the Tories, terrible news for the NDP.

First, fix the Commons - Globe editorial

An editorial in the Globe and Mail today calls Harper's bluff on Senate reform - namely, that if he's so concerned about democracy, why is he flouting it in the House?

"It is oddly incongruous for Mr. Harper to position himself as a champion of parliamentary reform when in government he has reverted to the same sort of high-handed tactics that he once condemned Liberal governments for using. For example, rather than permit chairs of standing committees to be freely elected by members, something he advocated while in opposition as essential for 'reining in the powe rof the Prime Minister,' Mr. Harper undermined the reform by choosing his own candidates for the jobs, candidates whom Conservative MPs then dutifully elected.'"

I'm all for democratic reform, myself. But I'd prefer it be done in a way that didn't strike me as extremely disingenuous. I honestly don't think Harper wants democratic reform, but he knows he must appear that he does to the Reform base. He's already appointed an unelected Senator, appointed that Senator to the cabinet (two things he promised he would never do), and has decided that what's good for the goose isn't so good for the gander when it comes to democratic reform in the House, manipulating committees chairs just as blatantly as his predecessors, whom he condemned, let's not forget, for doing exactly what he is doing today.

Soy is turning children gay

You'd think that was an Onion headline, wouldn't you?

Guess again.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Hero of the Right

The most disturbing thing about Augusto Pinochet, who is now dead, is not that he seized power from a democratically-elected government. It's not that he never faced justice for his crimes. It's not that he was supported by the United States government. It's not even that he tortured and killed thousands of innocent Chileans. No, the most disturbing thing about Augusto Pinochet is that he is adored by the right, many of whom act as apologists for his brand of dictatorship.

What's so disturbing about this is that a not insignificant number of conservatives consider Pinochet, on balance, a good guy. I mean sure, he tortured and kill thousands of people. Sure, he stole his country's wealth and robbed its citizens blind. But hey, look on the bright side: he believed in free markets! What's disturbing about this is that so many of these right-wingers consider themselves decent human beings, and yet they make every excuse for this murdering, torturing bastard. It's almost as bad as the left's inexcusable support of communist regimes during the 60s and 70s - I say almost because the full extent of the damage to be done by Communism was not fully known at that point. However, what Pinochet did to thousands of innocent Chileans at the Villa Grimaldi complex is well known.

Reading the tribute to him at NRO is truly stomach-turning:

"The reason Augusto Pinochet was universally hated by leftists and many academics worldwide was not because he was so brutal or killed so many people (he hardly figured among the 20th century’s most prolific political killers, admittedly a difficult company to get into) but because he was so successful..."

"Human rights did suffer under Pinochet... But Pinochet will also be remembered as leaving the country better off than he found it."

"And unlike his fellow Latin American generals, he let market-oriented civilians lay the basis for Chile’s economy — the most productive in the region. Can his fellow caudillo in Cuba — soon to be among the departed as well — say the same?"

(ed note: Right, because the failure of the Cuban economy has nothing to do with the 45-year-and-still-going-strong embargo against trade with the evil commies of Cuba... even while trading at ever-growing levels with the evil commies of China. Incidentally, I have no love for the regime in Cuba whatsoever, I'm just pointing out the facts.)

"The crimes of Pinochet may be unpardonable. But at least he tried to redeem them."

(ed note: I'm curious as to how one redeems oneself for institutionalized, and particularly brutal torture?)

"Pinnochet saved Chile from becoming another Communist hell. God bless him for that, and may he be forgiven for his later aberrations. Not only in Chile does power corrupt."

"Augusto Pinochet was a tragic figure. Instead of being remembered for saving Chilean democracy from a communist takeover, and starting the country on the longest-lasting economic expansion in Latin America, which he did, he will be remembered mostly for carrying out a brutal campaign of human-rights abuses."


Apparently, Gilles Duceppe wants to fight an election on the Afghanistan issue.

Or is this just harmless posturing? If Duceppe does introduce a motion, the Liberals would have to find a pretty good reason not to support it if they didn't want to force an election. Given that most Liberals voted against the 2-year extension, I'm guessing that could be difficult.

Breaking Ranks

These are the MPs who broke ranks with their party on the SSM vote - what's odd is that the number is mostly identical on both sides. So much for the Liberals not allowing a free vote (a line some are still trumpeting, unbelievably.) In fact, more Liberals broke ranks with their leader than Conservatives - and the Conservative caucus is bigger. Those who still insist on claiming that Dion threatened MPs into supporting his position are just out to lunch, unless they want to concede that Harper did the same thing.

Raymond Bonin (Nickel Belt, ON)
Gerry Byrne (Humber--St. Barbe--Baie Verte, NF)
John Cannis (Scarborough Centre, ON)
Roy Cullen (Etobicoke North, ON)
Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough--Agincourt, ON)
Wajid Khan (Mississauga--Streetsville, ON)
Derek Lee (Scarborough--Rouge River, ON)
Gurbax Malhi (Bramalea--Gore--Malton, ON)
John McKay (Scarborough--Guildwood, ON)
Dan McTeague (Pickering--Scarborough East, ON)
Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, PQ)
Paul Steckle (Huron--Bruce, ON)
Alan Tonks (York South--Weston, ON)
Tom Wappel (Scarborough Southwest, ON)

John Baird (Ottawa West--Nepean, ON)
Lawrence Cannon (Pontiac, PQ)
Bill Casey (North Nova, NS)
Mike Chong (Wellington--Halton Hills, ON)
David Emerson (Vancouver--Kingsway, BC)
Gerald Keddy (South Shore--St. Margaret's, NS)
Peter MacKay (Central Nova, NS)
Fabian Manning (Avalon, NL)
James Moore (Port Moody--Westwood--Port Coquitlam, BC)
Christian Paradis (Megantic--L'Erable, PQ)
Jim Prentice (Calgary North Centre, AB)
Lee Richardson (Calgary South Centre, AB)
Josee Verner (Louis-Saint-Laurent, PQ)

It continues...

Apparently, I'm not making myself clear enough. I'll try again, and try to be brief.

First, it is claimed that I equated the pro-life movement with the movement to legalize sex with children. I did no such thing, and a reading of my words will show that. I used them to make a rhetorical point - that is, a student council should not be forced to give funds to causes with which it disagrees, a principle with which I thought conservatives were in general agreement - but I did not equate them, which implies some sort of moral equivalence. I did no such thing.

But then, TT once again shoots a hole in his argument:
First off, NAMBLA is advocating something that goes against both the law and the Charter of Rights and freedoms, so no, they should not receive funding from the University.

Replace "NAMBLA" with "pro-lifers." There you have it: a group which advocates something that goes against the law should not receive funding, and since the Charter is part of the supreme law of the land (the constitution), groups advocating things that go against the Charter (like pro-lifers) should not get funding.

I am then called to task for making a partisan attack (ah, because TT is completely innocent of this) and my views on the matter are misrepresented. Allow me to quote myself:

"As I also stated, I don't agree with this position [banning pro-life groups from campus] 100%. But my objection to it is not with regards to the money, but with regards to barring the groups from council-managed spaces. I do disagree with that, and would go so far as to say it quite possibly breaches a Charter right. But money is a different issue; governing bodies must have a right to decide where their money will be spent." (emphasis added)

Do I need to make it any clearer?

Governing bodies have a right to distribute money how they choose. This isn't what's being argued.

It most certainly is, and attempting to argue otherwise is simply a red herring. It is precisely that right that is being challeneged here. A governing body is being told that it must, not should, but must as a matter of human rights provide funding to groups with which it disagrees.

Conservatives love to complain about courts "inventing rights." Well, that is precisely what is happening here. There is no right that exists in the Canadian constitution to receive money in order to promote one's political views. If there is, point it out to me, I'd love to see it. There is a right to free speech - which is being violated, not by witholding funds, but by not allowing the group to demonstrate. That is unconstitutional, and should be struck down.

You try to back away from an indefensible position by half condemning the CUSA decision

What? So being intellectually honest, and stating my real position on the matter (condemning the CUSA decision to ban the group from campus, and stating that while I disagree with their decision to withold funding, I support their right to do so, as I support the right of any governing body to decide how to spend money - emphasis added) is "backing away from an indefensible position?" Please. If my position is indefensible, than the idea of responsible government - that a governing body's most important function is managing a budget, and it must be free to make tough decisions regarding money - is meaningless. Should this same principle be applied to the government of Canada, than any political interest group - any at all - could claim a right to receive government funding, and could claim discrimination against their viewpoint, and sue the government for funding. And if my position is indefensible, they would win, and the government would be ordered to give them money. Indefensible? It is indefensible to be so irresponsible!

I'm sure glad you only get one vote.

I'm glad I only get one vote too - any more would be superfluous, and any fewer would be unfair.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dion to Follow Through

Good to see the new Liberal leader already confirming that he's going to follow through on a promise, even if it's one I don't entirely agree with.

As an alternative to this, I'd propose a different plan, though it would be legislative, not simply the prerogative of a party leader. I would propose that each riding elect both a male and a female MP. That way, no one has to worry about a more qualified candidate losing the nomination because of their gender - and we would get total gender parity in the House. Win-win.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Alright NBC, what the hell is going on? Are you telling me that, in 2006, you can't have a minor, peripheral character on a TV show be openly gay? Are you telling me that this character can be conceived, written and basically taken for granted as gay, confirmed as being gay by the show's creators, and then be ret-conned into a straight boy, after he's essentially come out, after the thematic parallel between his coming out and a major character's hidden secret has already been firmly established? And are you telling me that no one is prepared to offer an explanation as to why this has happened? Are you fucking kidding me?

Let me tell you, I take what I can get. It may be difficult to understand for straight audiences, but gay people have to put up with almost complete invisibility in our pop culture, aside from stereotypical and offensive representation, both positive and negative, and in between. Very often, the only representation we see besides that is when the show decides it wants to tackle either "the gay issue," or "the AIDS issue," and thus seem progressive and inclusive, when really it's being anything but. Even the most famous gay couple in history was reduced in epic docudrama to being little more than affectionate friends. (True, if one reads between the lines it's easy to see their erotic love for each other, but considering their on-camera affection is limited to a few hugs, while there is an extremely explicit and heterosexual sex scene with a woman of far less importance, I can't help but feel a bit cheated.) In the 21st century, it's ridiculous and outrageous that this is the state of affairs, and yet it is.

So that's why I take what I can get. And if what I can get isn't even a mostly unimportant, peripheral character, then I'm more than a little bit disheartened.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Abortion for some, miniature Canadian flags for others!

Predictably, I've received quite a bit of feedback on the abortion post, so much so that I felt it necessary to respond in a second post - in particular to this. So let's break it down, first from my comments section:

If CUSA is going to take student's money to fund groups they should give it to all groups regardless of the view they are putting forward.

So... if NAMBLA wanted funds from CUSA, it should get them? I don't think so. Sorry, but there are only a limited amount of funds to go around, and considering those funds come from students' tuition, I think students should have at least some say in where they go.

Im really quite shocked that you see nothing wrong with this.

I disagree with the principle of taking student levies and giving them to political groups in the first place. If I'm paying for an education, I want an education, not advocacy for causes I don't agree with. So I consider this issue quite secondary to that, hence why I can't get too up in arms about it. Any scaling back of this kind of advocacy funding is fine by me.

Im sure the far lefties in these groups are just salivating at the thought of cutting off pro-Israel student groups.

As would be their right, but they would certainly have a fun time dealing with the fallout.

Clear Grit, show me an example of this happening anywhere else the other way around and you may have half a point.

I already did; the University of Toronto doesn't use student levies to fund its on-campus gay group, which by the way isn't even a political advocacy group, but a support group.

However, I would've thought it wiser for the school to simply say "we want no part of the debate" and stop sending money to groups on EITHER side.

As would I, and as stated above, this is my position. As I also stated, I don't agree with this position 100%. But my objection to it is not with regards to the money, but with regards to barring the groups from council-managed spaces. I do disagree with that, and would go so far as to say it quite possibly breaches a Charter right. But money is a different issue; governing bodies must have a right to decide where their money will be spent. My point is that
a) It's not a big deal, and
b) It's their right to do so

And now from those lovable Toronto Tories (TT), who I feel I must point out, just to show how fair-minded they really are, the other day declared marriage dead:

"baby murder" vs. "anti-choice" is just moving away from the real debate.

I think it's a far more accurate reflection of the views of both sides, actually. I do realize that anti-abortion advocates truly do believe that babies are being killed. I'm also confident that in most cases they're wrong (calling what is aborted a "baby" at any stage before sometime in the second trimester is quite a stretch to make scientifically). But I do understand where they're coming from. Why, then, can they not understand that women honestly feel threatened by what they are pushing, and do consider it a serious breach of their rights to be told what they can and cannot do with their own body? But I suppose this is a side-issue.

I support a choice for women wholeheartedly, but I equally support the right of others to hold a contrary position.

I can't say I disagree with this, but does supporting free speech mean one must also support giving money to groups who hold views which, if implemented into law, have already been determined contrary to the Charter of Rights? Again, as far as the money goes, there is no reason why a student association should not be allowed to withold funding from any group to whom it feels a majority of students would be uncomfortable giving their money. CUSA went too far - let me repeat that, CUSA went too far - by refusing to allow these groups even a voice on campus. But they are under no obligation to support groups financially with whom they disagree.

CUSA is committing the same, although on a less drastic scale, crimes against human rights that radical islamists do.

For someone who complained so vociferously about Bill Graham making an apt reference to Goebbels with regard to propaganda techniques, blowing it up, twisting it, and making it seem as if Graham had called the Tories "Nazis" when he did no such thing (Goebbels is famous for being one of the most effective propagandists who ever lived; the fact that he was a Nazi is merely incidental in this case) TT is certainly showing quite a willingness to make his own comparisons to murderous regimes. Only in this case, instead of referencing them with regard to propaganda techniques (as Graham did), TT is actually accusing the Carleton student government of human rights abuses comparable to those of the Taliban. Classy.

Now, as for my earlier question about the Liberal bloggers and their response to this.

That's unfair. I've had two very committed Liberals disagree with me on my blog over this issue.

I will use the example of Clear Grit. He calls himself a former Progressive Conservative who quit after the merger. Well, I can't say I'm going to shed a tear over losing this ignorant and intolerant Liberal.

In my comments section, TT extended an invitation to me to address his posting on this issue. When he did so, I assumed that he wasn't going to resort to personal attacks. I guess I was expecting too much.

His argument is that since "Conservatives are the ones who like taking away funding from minority groups", they shouldn't mind this happening.

This is a gross, utter and complete distortion of what I actually said. For those of you who are interested in the truth, and not in TT's attempt to make me look stupid, this is what I actually said:

"[I]t is usually conservatives who are opposed to taking money from the unwilling and giving it to the demanding."

Is this not an accurate reflection of what conservatives, in general, believe? Opposing the levying of taxes intended to be spent on others?

But wait a minute, who is really being intolerant here? Do we really need to review again the importance of free speech, and how ridiculous this is? If I were the Liblogs webmaster, I'd try hard to disassociate with this kid who is a bit out of touch with reality. I don't usually think that Liberal supporters are that radical, just arrogant.

Yes, TT then has the temerity to suggest that I be removed from Liblogs over this. This, amazingly, in the middle of a rant about the value of free speech. Honestly, I hope they ask Cherniak to do this. I really do. This just shows how out to lunch these nutjobs really are.

Clear Grit's IQ: -1

And mature, too.

Not every Liberal has it wrong. Kyle from Northern Liberal did what I expected rational Liberals would, and agreed with what I've said here. Glad to see we have some worthy opposition out there.

And finally, we have the post's delicious conclusion. After ranting and raving about tolerating other points of view, we have this stunningly, embarassingly hypocritical statement: that the only "worthy opposition" is an opposition which doesn't oppose at all. How telling.

Habeas Corpus

It's over in America. The foundation of western law since 1215 is now irrelevant in the "greatest country in the world." And there are people who think that gay marriage will cause the collapse of civilization.

Abortion Debate at Carlton Shows Conservative Hypocrisy

I realize that abortion is a touchy subject, and therefore emotions can get in the way of looking objectively at what is going on. That is why it is unsurprising to see certain individuals raising such a fuss over the Carlton University Student Association's refusal to fund pro-life groups.

Most of the people who are opposed to CUSA's decision are conservatives, and they're crying "free speech" and the like. The irony is, it is usually conservatives who are opposed to taking money from the unwilling and giving it to the demanding. Yet that is exactly what CUSA voted to do. Do I agree with their decision? Not 100%, no. But then, let's look at it this way. A majority of Carlton students do not want their student levies being used to support groups that are essentially attacking the rights of women. One may disagree with the position of those students, but conservatives, I thought, would certainly support a move to stop money from being transferred from and unwilling majority to a minority. I guess where I erred was in assuming that conservatives value the principles they claim to value.

I am willing to allow for some leeway here; surely there must be some principled conservatives out there who would be willing to re-examine the facts of the case, and to them, I would put forward one other example:

When I was at the University of Toronto, the student council there voted to deny funding to campus gay rights groups. I didn't hear conservatives making a stink about that. I don't think anyone needs to guess at the reason for that.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


"Now I'd like you to use your imagination for a second. Let's assume the unthinkable: that America had embraced Mr. Bush's "Program" in the Second World War; that German, Italian and Japanese fighters had been waterboarded, subjected to the cold cell and techniques like "long time standing." Do any of you think for even a second that these nations would have been our allies and friends in the following generations? Think of how much darker, colder and more hate-filled our world would be than it is today...

A short time ago, in Germany, I spoke with one of the senior advisors of Chancellor Angela Merkel. I noted that a criminal complaint had been filed against Donald Rumsfeld and a number of others invoking universal jurisdiction for war crimes offenses. How would the chancellor see this, I asked? There was a long pause, and I fully expected to get a brush-off response. But what came was very surprising.

"You must remember," said the advisor, "that my chancellor was born and raised in a totalitarian state. She cannot be indifferent to questions of this sort. In fact, she views them as matters of the utmost gravity and they will be treated that way. The Nuremberg process happened in my country. It was painful for us. But we absorbed it. It became a part of our legacy. An important part of our legacy. We will not forget it. But I have to ask you: why has your country forgotten?"

- Scott Horton


I have no fundamental disagreement with this legislation and I hope all parties support it. Sure, it's meant to distract Canadians from Ambrose's unambitious (to put it generously) environment legislation. But it's good policy.

The funny part about this crew

They could all get along with each other fairly well, one imagines... bearing in mind that Mulroney has, at some point, grievously insulted the other three, particularly Campbell.

Forget the Blogging Tories...

I should have gone here. Conservatives in moments of candour:

"Is homosexualtiy WRONG? That depends. Is there anything wrong with pounding another man up the back end for a twisted orgasm and pretending you're a family?"

"Dirty Filthy Animals"

"Dirty cuz it is certainly not holy. Filthy cuz it starts with lust. Animals cuz people who are obsessed with sex are no different than pigs."

It's a serious threat to public health and demographics."

I consider it rather selfish for homosexual couples to adopt children."

Homosexuality is WRONG, it is now and always has been. They are the only group of people I know of that will knowingly and willingly give deadly diseases to their friends and loved one. Subhuman behaviour."

almost believe that recriminalization is needed as they seem to overstep their boundaries once this was removed. The only other way is to have judges with backbones and actually would rule with what the Charter says, not what it doesn't and therefore would shut out the homosexual lobbyists."

Tell that to people whose teen sons and daughters have been seduced and/or molested by predatory older homosexuals. Tell that to people who contracted AIDS and hepatitis 3, because irresponsible homosexuals donated blood and contaminated the blood supply. Tell that to women whose "bi-sexual" perverted husbands have given them AIDs and other terrible diseases because of their extracurricular activities."

The sexual union of a man and a woman is supposed to be symbolic of the union of Christ and the Church. That's why the Church is called "The Bride of Christ". A man putting his penis into the anus of another man - I couldn't think of a better way to insult God."

(Incidentally, if the Church is the Bride of Christ... does that mean Christ is going to fuck the Pope?)

Shown by who? You. When animals demonstrate homosexual activity is because they are gender confused ie. a steer mounting another steer, in the wild, homosexuality is bred out, do to their lack of procreation."

(What? Then wouldn't it be "bred out" in humans, too?)

75% of the FD posters believe that homosexuality is wrong, I would agree with them. Is recriminalization neccessary? Maybe we need to, maybe we dont, but Trudeau is stupid and we all know it. At least we have a consensus on this issue."

Until very recently, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder. It was only when aggressive lobbying and a sizeable dose of political correctness dug its claws into our mental health establishment that it became a "lifestyle choice.""

HOMOSEXUALITY IS WRONG. And that is why, after the vote to re-open the ssm debate was debated, I jumped on the Alberta nationalist bandwagon, along with many FD'ers."

We may have the free will and capacity to commit incest, yet in sexually perverse Canada two consenting adults will be prosecuted if they are a mother and a son, as happened in Ontario last year. (The son was almost 30 years old I believe.) Is it spiritual blindness that prevents Canadian Christians from recognizing there is no sound reason to advocate keeping sodomy legal?"

the rule of govt should reflect its correct mandate, to help protect us from harm to person and property, in I guess what would be called a constitution, so that no politician could stray outside this mandate. The only thing we'd elect then would be army generals, police chiefs, and possibly a small number of other positions. And within this govt, there'd be no APPOINTING of anyone. Then we wouldn't have to go commie on anyone, homos could do what they wanted without us fearing for our lives and right to religion, and if they tried to go near our kids then the police would do their correct jobs."

No unlike most heterosexuals homosexuals are indeed obsessed with sex and in disproportionate numbers homosexuals are obsessed with young boys or in the case of lesbians girls."

We'll end with this:

Yes, homosexuality is a sin. I also believe it was a terrible thing for Trudeau to remove homosexuality from Canada's criminal code. For those who believe homosexuals have the right to engage in their sexual practices but are opposed to homo adoption and marriages etc... I submit by allowing homosexuality to come out of the closet the incessant demands from the newly liberated homosexual lobby was inevitable. Until homosexuality is recriminalized it will continue to be pushed in schools, churches, media, in public, etc.....

Legalizing homosexuality was an act of rebellion against God.

Criminalizing the practice is the only logical answer for those who recognize the behaviour as wrong and want to protect children and society from the homosexual lifestyle and the agenda's corrupting influence.

I believe the genesis of our loss of religious liberty and free speech through the actions of hate crimes laws and pro-homosexual human rights tribunals can be found in Trudeau's decision to legalize homosexuality. I believe the world over you will find homosexuality and Christian liberty to be mutually exclusive."

"Goodness, what if someone were to actually take my advice?"

The best Savage column ever. (Warning: explicit.)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Hottest... priests?

I'm... once again at a loss for words. Isn't this a bit... gay?

Would you refuse to testify against your kidnappers?

I'm really not sure what to make of this. Personally, I'd want to see them pay. Does that make me a bad person?

Unite the Left

Great article, though I do think Meighen's short-lived government was more reactionary than Harper's. But that's just a minor quibble.

The Lessons of History

The Iraq War, regardless of how it inevitably works itself out, has at this point become a quagmire. Like Vietnam, there is no way that Iraq could possibly work out in favour of the Americans or their allies. This includes the current Iraqi government, which is possibly analogous to the South Vietnamese government.

I recognize that this does represent a departure from my previous support of the war. Indeed, I do support the principle of war in defence of others, as I support the principle of defence of others in general. But it has become painfully obvious that the war in Iraq is not, and never was about protecting Iraqis, who are now dying by the thousands.

In any case, once the war is over, the comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam are going to be vindicated as being apt, not because Iraq is exactly like Vietnam, but because their consequences will be the same.

The United States has crippled itself militarily for decades to come, as it did in the 1970s. While it remained a superpower, America lost confidence in itself. Public opinion after Vietnam swung so heavily against the use of American force abroad that America, until the 1990s, limited itself to waging wars against countries like Panama and Grenada, or simply assissting South American and Middle Eastern guerillas (the latter turned out to be a very bad call, in hindsight) in their fights against democratically elected socialist governments in the case of the former, and the USSR in the case of the latter.

Irony is perhaps the cruelest mistress of all, as shooting oneself in the foot is both painful and embarassing. The great irony of the Iraq war is that the neo-conservatives - the ones who wanted the war more than anyone - have essentially ensured that no other wars like it can happen for at least a generation. No American administration is going to be electorally suicidal enough to engage any country in unprovoked war, and without unprovoked war, the neo-conservative dream of total American dominance of the world is ended, as most dreams are, by cold hard reality.

The war with Iran that the neo-cons want so badly? Forget about it. Not only will the American public never support such an action now, it is becoming more and more implausible every day. Iran is ascendant in the Middle East, poised to become the dominant country there, a state of affairs which has America's so-called ally Saudi Arabia fretting, and rightly so. The rise of sectarian ideological Shiism, dormant for centuries, has been provoked by the American invasion of Iraq. Iran and Iraq are the only Middle Eastern countries with majority Shiite populations, but Iraq's has been kept under control for some time. Far from draining the swamp, the metaphor the administration preferred to describe their adventures in the middle east, attacking Iraq was tantamount to hitting a hornet's nest. The violence occurring in Iraq is between militant religious sects, and the Shiites are clearly winning, and are clearly eager to wrest control of their country from the Sunnis who have dominated them for centuries.

Once this occurs, a Shiite axis is set to form, with Iran at the centre. Iran's two greatest foes, Afghanistan and Iraq, have both been thoroughly dealt with by outside forces; Iran did not have to lift a finger to remove the threatening Baathist (secular/Sunni) and Taliban (Sunni) regimes. There are significant Shiite populations in Lebanon, Pakistan, northeastern Saudi Arabia, and of course Iraq. (As for Syria, it has had an alliance with Iran going back 25 years.) If Iran is successful in convincing them that Pan-Shiism, not Pan-Arabism (of which Iran is obviously not a fan, being that they are Persians) is the way to go, then we could be looking at a threat far greater than Saddam Hussein and the Ayatollahs. We could be looking at a Shiite Crescent dominating the Middle East, with its capital in Tehran. All thanks to jingoistic short-sightedness and neo-conservative delusions of grandeur.

The saddest part of all of this is that it didn't have to be this way. History is an open book, inviting us to read it, to learn from it, so as to avoid situations like this. Studying the history of the Middle East, one learns that things just aren't as simple as they are often portrayed in the west by our irresponsible leaders and our lazy media. It's not just a bunch of crazy Muslims who want to blow themselves up; ideological Islamism is not a fixture of Middle Eastern history - it is rather a very recent phenomenon that is tied very directly to the interference of the west in Middle Eastern affairs. The lesson to be learned is this - the more the west meddles with what it doesn't understand, the worse it will get, and the more hostile, militarized and violent the region will become. The United States is not capable of policing the Middle East, short of bombing it into a glass parking lot, the only way (short of simply evacuating, of course) to fascilitate an end to the violence occurring in Iraq on a daily basis.

There is one more lesson of history - empire is a fool's endeavour. The neo-conservatives and their political lapdogs deny it, but it is painfully obvious to any historian what their goal is, as it has been repeated time and again throughout history. They want to rule the world. They want their civilization, their values, their culture, their customs, their mores, to spread throughout the known world, take hold, and last for all time. History is littered with examples of such dreams being shattered, but there is not one - not one - example of these dreams ever coming true. Rome may have left us her legacy, but she fell just the same - and spectacularly so! - under the weight of her own empire. Why the neo-cons think that they can deny historical inevitability is what is at the heart of this matter. The reason they think that they can deny history is the reason that every imperial jingoist has cited for their unflinching belief in their civilization's teleological superiority - hubris. Raw, naked, unabashed hubris.

Hubris is why war was declared on Iraq. Hubris is why George Bush refuses to adjust to facts on the ground. Hubris is what will lose the war. And hubris is what will cause the American empire, like all empires, to fall.

Letter or Spirit?

A 13 year old girl is being charged as a sex offender in Utah. The victim? Her 12 year old boyfriend, with whom she had (consensual) sex.

On a related matter, the same 13 year old girl is also being named the victim in the case against her 12 year old boyfriend, who is also being charged as a sex offender.

Apparently they raped each other. This is a perfect example of why the spirit of the law is far more important than the letter.

Dualling Identities

I think it's sad that Dion may be forced to give up his French citizenship. He clearly holds no loyalty to the Republic of France; his appearance on The National tonight made it clear that it was purely a personal, sentimental matter to him, as his mother was a French citizen, and as such it is dear to him. But I suppose it may come to that. Kind of sad, considering John Turner was a British citizen, many of our prime ministers have expressed loyalty to the British crown, and one (Bennett) was even created a peer.

Has God Failed?

I think, if one follows M. Lemieux's "logic" to its conclusion... God is to blame for the end of society as we know it. I mean, how could God ignore such a heartfelt plea to save civilization?

Conservative Cracks?

Will the Conservatives be able to count on the votes of social conservatives if they refuse to submit to them on either SSM or abortion? I don't see how they can. The cracks in the coalition are already showing.

Green, Without Envy

I love Elizabeth May. Thus far, she has shown absolutely nothing to make me think she is anything but an extremely classy woman. Her well-thought-out and reasonable position on abortion was circulating about last week, and that impressed me too.

Ken Dryden's speech

As promised, from Hansard:

Mr. Speaker, this is a difficult matter for many Canadians and many parliamentarians.

When one is a regular citizen, one has a right not to have a public opinion, to remain quiet, to say “I do not know”, to be unsure enough to decide even not to make up one's own mind, let alone influence others. As a member of Parliament, I lose that right. I have to stand and be counted because a decision must be made, yes or no, and the public has the right to know what I decide so they can decide about me.

I bring no special expertise to the issue of same sex marriage. I went to church as a child. I loved hymns and, at times, the feeling of church, the quiet and community of it, the getting dressed up, the family together and the niceness of it. I did not read the Bible except to memorize a few parts for Sunday school. I found the 10 commandments interesting for what was included and what was not. I thought the name “The Golden Rule” pushed a little hard and yet I am not sure I have heard 11 such simple, non-pushy words, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, that offer a better personal or societal path to life.

Not many years ago, I decided to read the Bible from beginning to end. The experience only confirmed what I had vaguely felt for most of my life, that the Bible offered the best thinking and understandings of a time, a place and people. It reflected how people explained to themselves the world, how the world worked, how people should behave and what would happen if they did not. Much of the wisdom of the Bible has held up in different times and places for different people, but to me no wisdom is timeless. Each is challenged by a new time. Some pieces of wisdom last, some do not.

In thinking about same sex marriage, I have only the experiences of my own life to go on. I am not sure when I first heard the playground words kids used for homosexuals. It was certainly many years before I knew what they meant. The words were intended to punish, to hurt. They said, “You are weak”, “You are not a man”.

By the time I knew better what they meant, I do not think I ever believed that anyone I knew really was one. There were rumours and whispers intended to put down somebody someone wanted to put down. Somebody somewhere surely must be one, I knew, but nobody in my world. I have since come to know that kids I knew very well, kids in my own class, were gay or lesbian.

I have thought how impossibly hard it must have been for them. As teenagers, all of us had to struggle so hard to figure out what was going on in our own bodies and minds, having strange things begin to happen to us, which surely were not normal and must make us bad. What would the other kids think if they knew? What would our parents think? There must be something wrong with me, darkly, dirtily wrong, and we were the lucky ones, the ones who never had to confront the possibility that we were going in the unthinkably wrong direction. We had only to find a way to do acceptably what was acceptable.

What must it have been like for the others? How often must they have thought themselves hideous and unspeakable?

In more recent decades, I have seen what this exclusion has done to people. I have seen them forced to twist and contort themselves to hide and pretend just to get the chance to do the things they wanted to do in life, having about them one big fact that to others completely defines them.

I think now about the untold lives this has directed and shaped and the untold lives it has destroyed. This is so far from being right, it is outrageous.

I grew up knowing that marriage was something that involved a man and a women. Kids eventually seemed to be a part of marriage because that is how life worked, but they did not have to be, as many very good marriages did not produce kids. I thought marriage was something that people did when they loved one another so much that they could not stop themselves from committing to each other privately, and then in a public ceremony, vowing that they wanted to be with each other forever.

I never thought of marriage as something that could involve a man and a man or a woman and a woman. I never thought about a man and a man or a woman and a woman loving each other in a marriage way. I have thought about this question more in recent years. How do I feel? Like most people I think, not entirely comfortable.

Life is hard, even when we live on the majority side of things, of race, language, culture, religion, sexuality. Our biggest challenge as human beings is to get along, to learn about each other, to accept differences, to give the same chance to others to live their lives as we would like them to give to us and to allow others to share fully and completely in the world.

It is also hard to have to think again in a different way about something we had always experienced differently, like marriage. I think the great majority of Canadians on either side of the same sex marriage debate are not 100% sure or comfortable. That is important to know. In the midst of this often heated debate, it is hard not to be swayed, usually in the reverse direction, by the words and tone of the advocates who scream their certainty, who tell the rest of us that we must surely be stupid or at least depraved if we are not as certain as they are.

It is okay to be 60-40 or 70-30 on this. As the debate more and more attempts to polarize us, it is important to know that on one side of the question or the other, most of us have more in common than it seems. It is important to know because it will help us immensely to get along again, as we must, when all this is done.

All these decades later, with the vote ahead of me, where am I? For me, man and woman, man and man or woman and woman, marriage is for two people who love each other, who want to be with each other and who privately and publicly commit to each other. I support same sex marriage and I will vote against the government's motion.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Oh Dean, you self-righteous hypocrite

This is why partisan hacks shouldn't have blogs... or at least why they shouldn't be self-righteous about positions they don't actually hold.

Dean Del Mastro (Conservative, Peterborough) on November 9, 2006:

In a move that can only be described as astounding, the Federal Liberal party officially aligned themselves with the Bloc Quebecois.

[The Liberals] apparently agree that Quebec is a Nation, contrary to proud Canadians everywhere.

Dean Del Mastro (Conservative, Peterborough) on December 6, 2006:

I chose to vote [in favour of] a motion [defining Quebec as a nation] that I believe united Canadians. I hope the member voted the same way on that motion because I believe in Canada. I believe in a united Canada and I believe in this party as a party that is uniting Canadians from coast to coast.

Man, this guy's stock just keeps plummeting. I can't believe I was represented by him for a few months.

Just a thought

To be a Conservative, one must believe these two fundamental truths:

1. That the Liberal Party has no principles and always simply defers to public opinion.

2. That public opinion opposes same-sex marriage.

Wait a minute...

Hatred on the Right

The vitriol coming out of the Blogging Tories over today's vote is both predictable and sickening. I've said many times that the best part about the Blogging Tories, and indeed the blogosphere in general is that it provides a grassroots-eye-view of how conservatives really think, the things you won't hear during an election campaign. It serves as a reminder that this issue won't truly be dead until the Conservatives accept it, or at least get over it. So what do our modernity-challenged friends have to say?

"Marriage is dead," proclaim the Toronto Tories, whom I'm sure will now either never get married or will proceed to divorce their wives as soon as possible, because the idea of two men enjoying the love and nurturing they can provide for each other in a stable marriage is simply too horrible a thought for straight marriage to endure. (They also erroneously claim that Stephane Dion opposed gay marriage last time; he obviously didn't, as he was in cabinet, and the entire cabinet supported C-38.) "All we wanted was a debate on the issue and a free vote!" they whine. Well, guys, you got your debate (32 years of it) and your free vote, so obviously you want more than that. Why don't you just come right out and say it - you want gays to be second class citizens; your problem with gay marriage isn't the "marriage" part, it's the "gay" part. Period.

"Marriage has never been about love," says marriage expert Shane over at ThePolitic. Really? Never? (I think my recently re-married mother, who deeply loves her new husband, would disagree.) Oh, wait - in the very same post, he then admits that over the past 30 years (actually, it's been a bit longer than 30, but nevermind that) marriage has changed. The purpose of marriage is no longer what it used to be; it is now about love. People today marry because they are in love, not because they want to secure property or have children - this self-evident fact completely decimates this entire argument.

What does Shane have to say about that? Well, in his great wisdom, Shane provides us with this piece of advice: "What if the married couple doesn’t want kids? From a humanist point of view, if you don’t have kids and never plan to, then don’t get married! Why would you want to? What is the point? To tie yourself down to one person? To limit your freedom for what? There is no point in being married, from a humanist perspective, without some reference to offspring."

Yeah. When you get married, you sacrifice your freedom. There is "no point" in getting married to the person you love unless you plan to pump out some children. What a crass and disrespectful way of seeing marriage. Call me an idealist, but I've always seen marriage as two people who love each other deeply committing to love and care for each other, "In sickness and in health, 'til death do we part." Silly me - it's not about caring for each other at all (even though that's right in the marriage vows!) it's about nothing more than a biological process. And these guys have the nerve to say that we who support equality don't respect the sanctity of marriage!? Such misplaced sanctimony.

The comments section over at Defend Canada is brimming with hate. "And the best one can do, which is what I will do, is teach one's children never to accept the concept of same-sex marriage." How nice, trying to force your children to hate the same people you hate. "Future children our (sic) counting on your continued political activism so THEY can still remain sanely grounded in reality." Right, because same-sex marriage will make our children insane. Is there any line these people won't use?

Here's a good one: "slippery slope doesn't even begin to explain where this is going. for those unaware, sex ed classes have been (for a couple years now) teaching that homosexual activity is not only normal, but is lots of fun." Oh no! Our schools are teaching that gay people aren't dangerous freaks! It's a slippery slope! And in response to that from the proprieter of the blog: "I can tell you right now - that if I have children anytime soon, I will be fully investigating the cirriculum before sending them into that nonsense." Wonderful; so you'd deny your children a decent education if the school they are to go to teaches that gay people aren't freaks? Wooow.

And then there's this, which covers all the usual bases, except child molestation: "I'm disgusted by the fact that homo's get to dictate my life. I'm disgusted by them always in my face with the special rights they covent. Put the issue in the next election. Let the people decide who gets to get married and who gets what. Ill bet $1000 that voters tell fags they can't marry." Lovely! Moving on...

I'll leave off with Kitchener Conservative, who incidentally is already accusing the leader of the opposition of being indecisive even though he is only in the middle of his first week on the job! (These guys work fast, eh?) "Changing the traditional definition of marriage was a political wet dream of the Liberal Party and the left to keep it wedge issue for many years," says he. Right, it has nothing to do with equal rights and all that other passe stuff. Then again, I can imagine why a conservative wouldn't attribute equal rights as the motive behind this change - I'm not sure the phrase is in their vocabulary. Moving into the comments, "It seems that the absolute left thinks this an ethical superiority issue, with no regard to the ethics of the impacts which will be forcing the majority of this nation's children to undergo sexual education that MUST be inclusive off all sex acts, not merely those necessary for reproduction." (I didn't write that sentence, I just copied it; direct comments about its horrendous grammar to its original poster please.) Yup, because teaching in sex ed that gay people *gasp* have sex *GASP!* will damage and destroy children forever. Here's a newsflash - the vast majority of grade-school age children both know that gay people exist, and have a pretty good, if banal, idea of what they do in bed. The idea of including homosexual sex in sex ed. is to eliminate misconceptions that children almost certainly have about... oh, fuck it, nevermind, anyone who needs to have this explained to them probably isn't rational enough to get it anyway.

To top it all off, this is apparently where same-sex marriage is leading: "I can't wait to see what happens when the US parks a dozen or so BAttleships in the Canadian Arctic. What then?" Riiiiight.

"We have no idea whether or not children reared in a same-sex environment will turn out okay." Except that we do, a fact which is constantly ignored by anti-gay activists. "Any Christian supporting SSM is what truely disappoints me. Those who shrug their shoulders and believe Jesus would be fine with it. That's what get's me. Those not yet accepted Jesus I can understand... but those who have been born again I hold to a much higher standard." The message: those who support same-sex marriage aren't good Christians.

I'll end with a comment from someone who called himslef "traditionalist," which made me laugh:

"Marriage should be defined based on past religious tradition.

This being the case, the vast majority of religious marriages throughout history have been polygamous in nature. So based on religious tradition, we should legalize polygamy.

Oh, but wait...thats not what you want is it?

Maybe you should state your true opinion on this issue: the government should define marriage as traditional Christian's would like it defined.

Fact Check:
According to the Ethnographic Atlas Codebook (you can search this in google and find the data yourself) derived from George P. Murdock’s Ethnographic Atlas recorded the marital composition of 1231 societies from around the world, between 1960-1980. Of these societies, 186 societies were monogamous. 453 had occasional polygyny, 588 had more frequent polygyny, and 4 had polyandry."

Mary Cheney's baby's daddy

According to the Christianist right, Mary Cheney's baby was conceived "With the express purpose of denying it a father."

In other words, these are the motives attributed to Cheney and her partner by these frothing-at-the-mouth bigots:

MARY CHENEY: So would you like to have a child?

HEATHER POE: No, not really.

MC: Neither would I.

They continue watching Seinfeld. Mary's Partner frowns.

HP: Wait, I just thought of something.

MC: What?

HP: If we did have a child, we could deny it a father.

MC: Wow, I never thought of it that way before. What should we name it?

Get out while you still can!


Thoughts on citizenship

The occassionally wrong but always engaging Andrew Coyne, on Dion's dual-citizenship. My favourite part is where he gets philosophical:

Mr. Dion objects, reasonably enough, that identities are multiple, that “the hearts of people are big enough to accept different identities.” And so they are. The proposition is at the very foundation of a liberal society: that each individual person is the unique intersection of all the many groups to which each of us belongs; that as such the individual is, far from the rootless atom of caricature, the greatest common denominator of social cohesion. Our uniqueness as individuals, the perfect singularity of every human consciousness, is in fact what we have in common.

(What parades in the name of “diversity,” the obsession with particular group memberships -- racial, sexual, and so on -- that is the hallmark of identity politics, is thus revealed as a fraud. The truer, deeper diversity extends all the way to the individual. Anything short of that is not really about diversity, but homogeneity: not differences between groups, but sameness within the group. As it oversimplifies, so it divides.)

I couldn't agree more.


I'll say what I said last time: eat it, Pat.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"Family is composed of a mother and a father, and usually but not necessarily, children..." Ken Epp's (Edmonton--Sherwood Park) argument. A mother and a father, but not necessarily children? Doesn't "mother and father" sort of necessarily imply children? This gets to the core of these ridiculous arguments about children I've been hearing all night. There are many heterosexual couples who aren't mothers and fathers. Children are not the reason men and women get together; sex is. Children are just a byproduct of that, and you don't have to be married to have children.

Gays don't face discrimination in daily life... the argument of Ed Fast, the Conservative MP for Abbotsford.

Maybe you should out yourself to your constituents, Mr. Fast, and see how much non-discriminatory hate mail you get.

And as always, Ms. Fry's question was wonderful:

If Harper reverses same-sex marriage, we will create two classes of same-sex couples: one group which is married already, and one group which can never get married. How is that fair?

Fast just ignored her question completely, of course.

He then had the temerity to say that Bill Siksay's desire to be treated as an equal citizen of Canada was driven by "ideology." Of course, Mr. Fast, it has nothing to do with the fact that Bill Siksay is gay and wants to be treated with respect, you dick.

Gay marriage will cause the collapse of civilization...

...seems to be the argument of Chris Warkentin, (Conservative, Peace River) who stated in his speech that we ought to be mindful that the collapse of civilizations before ours who engaged in, what he termed, "Decadence in times of material wealth."

Go Hedy

I had the opportunity this weekend to thank Hedy Fry in person for her gay rights advocacy. In this debate, she hasn't disappointed. A wonderful speech on her part, and her answers to the questions directed at her were just as well-reasoned and impassioned.

On the deference of anti-SSM folks to "tradition:"

"If we defended tradition, slaves would still be working on the plantation." If we always defered tradition, women would still be "chatel."

Rock on, Hedy.


I was just checking over the stat counter for my blog, and it seems that one of my readers came here from this site. Nothing wrong with that, of course, I'm an extremely accepting person. But I am curious as to the thought process here. I think it might be something along the lines of, "I like being spanked... maybe I should head on over to Clear Grit's comments section and see if he can use his brilliance to..." well you get the idea.

Glad I don't live in Peterborough anymore...

It's official - Dean Del Mastro (Conservative, Peterborough) wants a theocracy.

"The supremacy of God will ultimately dictate how the laws of the land are crafted by parliamentarians," says he. Ugh, I can't believe my former fellow Peterburgians elected this putz. I don't understand how anyone who saw him debate his rival candidates in the last election could ever possibly vote for him. He's terrible - promising billions of dollars here and there to everyone who asks, accusing the Liberals of spending cuts and tax increases, promising to spend more than even the NDP candidate was offering to spend... just the most steaming piles of BS.

He's also a bloviating bullshitter when he gets called on his bullshit.

"We had a vote on Quebec as a nation, and every one of them [Conservative MPs] had been whipped," said Andrew Telegdi on Del Mastro's pontifications about free votes. And right away Dean burst into a tirade about how his party is standing up for a united Canada, and he hopes Telegdi voted to support a united Canada too, blah blah blah. He then said, I can't believe this, that we must revoke same-sex marriage because we can be "sure" that a majority of Canadians IF THEY COULD VOTE (Del Mastro's emphasis) would vote against same-sex marriage.

WELL, Mr. Del Mastro, it seems that something along the lines of 70% of Canadians oppose recognizing Quebec as a nation. Hmm...

Ken Dryden's speech

Wow. Beautiful. I'm going to post the Hansard record of it here whenever it's available.

Still on SSM

John McKay, in the course of his speech, made the eroneous statement that other countries which have legalized same-sex marriage did so legislatively, and did not do it as a response to a court decision. I think he's forgetting some notable examples, such as South Africa, and Massachusetts. There are not many jurisdictions where gay marriage is legal, so even a couple of exceptions to his blanket statement are pretty significant. Also, Canada did deal with same-sex marriage legislatively. Parliament passed a law in 2005 making same-sex marriage legal.

McKay also made one statement that completely contradicted his entire argument. In an attempt to pre-emptively refute criticism of his position that the core purpose of marriage is reproduction, and thus marriage must remain heterosexual, he contradicted himself. When addressing the question of why, then, would a heterosexual couple which is sterile be allowed to marry, he said, "[Because] that doesn't detract from the core purpose of marriage, it's just a deviation from the norm."

Whoa, there, hold on! So, heterosexual couples who are physically unable to reproduce, even with the help of a third party, don't detract from the core purpose of marriage (defined as the reproduction of offspring), they are simply a "deviation from the norm." Yet gay couples, who are also I think it's fair to say a "deviation from the norm," most of whom can reproduce with the help of a third party, detract from the core purpose of marriage, and should thus be discriminated against? Sorry, John, but you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Bill Siksay questioned him on this before I could finish writing this post, and McKay's response was that gay relationships are "inherently sterile." Well, what about a heterosexual couple that is sterile; would not their relationship be inherently sterile?

Moving on to Pierre Lemieux (Conservative, Glengarry--Prescott--Russell), who in his speech said that marriage is an institution which pre-dates the state and has been with us since the start of human history. Well, I don't expect Conservative MPs - in fact, I don't expect most people - to study history with the same zeal that I do. But I do think that people who don't study history as such should avoid making statements which rely on an understanding of the beginning of human history, and as M. Lemieux apparently studied in the field of science and technology, and not history, he should probably avoid making blanket statements such as these.

The fact is, as I pointed out recently, it's a bit more complicated than that. By definition, marriage as an institution could not possibly have pre-dated the state, because marriage is regulated by the state. Moreover, marriage as it has been understood for the past millenium or so in the west most certainly did not predate the state, and to say so is to speak absurdity. To the extent that human beings have desired to be coupled with other human beings in nurturing, caring and sexual relationships, "marriage" has existed most likely since the beginning of human history (though we can't say so for certain) but it was not marriage as we understand it today. Most cultures throughout history have had pair-bonding ceremonies or some kind, it's true... the kicker is that many, perhaps most of these cultures have included same-sex couples in these ceremonies! To say, then, that exclusively-heterosexual marriage has existed since time immemorial is a fallacy.

Thank you, Mr. Keddy

Kudos to Gerald Keddy for standing up to his party, pointing out that same-gender religious marriages had already been happening for some time prior to parliament legalizing same-gender civil marriages. His speech was probably one of the best pro-SSM speeches I've seen so far in this debate.

Can you believe these clowns?

Watching the SSM debate on CPAC.

The cognitive dissonance displayed by Conservative MPs, who can at once claim to be respectful of families, and yet at the same time attack gay families with such vehemence and venom... and then claim to not be homophobic, is just appaling. Watching Harold Albrecht give his speech, I was simply seething. I'm used to all of the vicious, vile things he was saying of course - that gay marriage is a threat to family, community, children, etc. - but the fact that this small-minded homophobe even has a soapbox on which to pontificate is ridiculous; this issue shouldn't even be before the House. As Joe Comuzzi just said, when was the last time a government asked parliament for permission to bring forward legislation? Is this not ridiculous? You either bring forward the legislation, or you don't.

Albrecht and his ilk like to say that this issue needs to be re-opened because last time it did not get a full and open debate.

Excuse me? Didn't this issue last time around receive five months of official debate on the bill itself, plus three prior years of debate ever since the high court in Ontario ruled in favour of same-sex marriage in the summer of 2002? To claim that we haven't had a debate on this issue is an utter and complete lie, and everyone knows it. Who hasn't discussed this issue at some point over the past four years? 98 Conservative MPs out of 99 in the last parliament spoke on the issue. (I believe James Moore was the only one who didn't speak.)

There has been debate about this. As Bill Siksay said, this wasn't steamrolled, especially from the perspective of a gay man. 32 years, he implored, does not seem like a "mad dash" (as Albrecht put it) to gay people who have been fighting for equality. 32 years is quite enough debate, thank you very much.

Also, to all Conservatives who think that a free vote is essential so that MPs can vote their conscience, and are attacking the NDP and the Bloc for not allowing such a vote... if you think that free votes are so sacred, then do you think that MPs should be allowed to vote their conscience on issues like, say, poverty, homelessness, the environment, international aid, and the like? I'd say that homeless people dying in the streets is far more of a moral crisis than whether or not gay people are getting married. Do you think MPs should be allowed to vote their conscience on an important moral question like that, even if it means voting against their party's position on the budget? Should Belinda have been able to vote in favour of the Liberal budget without crossing the floor?

The Original (Only) Stockaholic Just a Bigot (Surprise, Surprise)

Why is Ezra Levant making such a stink about Dion's dual-citizenship? Here's why. It's not the dual-citizenship thing that bothers him, it's the French part. Given how much those on the far-right tend to hate France and everything to do with it, is this any real surprise?

"You don't just snap your fingers and have the Arabic speakers you need overnight."

Overnight!? How about five years after September 11? So the official position of the Bush administration is that they are so incompetent that they can't, in five years, hire the requisite number of Arabic speakers for proper intelligence? And to make matters even more ridiculous, the United States military has been spending significant amounts of money to hunt down and dishonourably discharge qualified Arabic speakers... for being gay?

Impeach this man. Now.

On Homophobia

Real Menard (Bloc Quebecois MP for Hochelaga) is really going strong in this same-sex debate. My favourite thing he's said is that opposing same-sex marriage is not necessarily tantamount to homophobia, but voting nine times against every bill recognizing gay rights of any kind (as the Conservative-Reform-Alliance has done over the past decade or so) most definitely raises legitimate questions about homophobia.

Free Vote

I understand why Dion is giving Liberal MPs a free vote on same-sex marriage. This way, Harper won't be able to say there was no free vote, and thus won't have any legitimate reason to raise the issue again beyond homophobia. It's a sound move.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New Sec.Def. not as crazy as Rumsfeld

That's encouraging, to say the least.

Bob Gates' testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee was refreshingly honest. When asked if he thinks the United States is winning the war in Iraq, he responded, "No sir." Gates also agreed that, at the outset of the war, there were not enough troops in Iraq. (Duh!)

Gates was rewarded with a 21-0 vote to approve his nomination as Secretary of Defence. Bravo, sir.

Gates seems to be rattling the White House with his candour*, as well, which is always a good thing.

*If candour is displayed by an American, should it be spelled "candor?"

1% of the Population Owns 40% of the World's Wealth

I never really know what to say when I read a statistic like that. It's just so mind-bogglingly criminal, I'm not sure where to start.

It's 5am, and I was just thinking...

You know what I really hate? Like, pathologically?

Those canned computer noises that all computers in every single movie and TV show, but no computer in the real world, make. I was just watching an Air Farce rerun, and they were doing a skit about As Luba Goy dressed as an old woman hacked away at keys on her laptop, the computer made all sorts of arcade game bleeps and computer blips that were canned in the 1980s and have been used ever since in every form of entertainment featuring any electronic device, from a Playstation to a laptop to an iPod.

How many people own computers? 80% of the North American population or something like that? I know I can't think of anybody who doesn't own a computer. Everybody knows computers don't make those ridiculous noises. They just bother me so much!

While I'm on the subject, I was watching an episode of a fantastic show the other day, and one of the characters was very clearly playing Donkey Kong... on an X-Box! What the hell is that!?

Long story short, I think we should ban these sorts of blatant displays of ignorance and prosecute them to the full extent of the law, with the maximum penalty for infractions being 10 years imprisonment. Maybe I could start a letter-writing campaign and convince the Liberals to include that in their next election platform...

A New Era

"The Chretien era is now over. That era where bluster led to arrogance, which led to scandal, is finally over. That is Dion's gift to [Liberals]." - Rex Murphy

Here here.

Should Dion whip the gay marriage vote?

This is a very important question both tactically and morally.

Does the right of an MP to vote his or her conscience trump the right of gays and lesbians to equality? I would argue that if the right of an MP to vote his or her conscience does not trump the necessity of caucus solidarity on matters of confidence, then it doesn't trump human rights, either.

As to the tactical question, however, that's a bit different. There are two factors to consider here. The first is party unity. The second is electoral politics.

So far as party unity goes, the issue is obvious. The last thing Dion wants to do right now is cause a split within the party. However, I don't think a whiped vote would cause too big of a split. Consider this: There are 29 sitting Liberal MPs (out of a caucus of 102) who voted against same-sex marriage last year.* That's almost 1/3 of the caucus. Four of these MPs (Bryon Wilfert, Charles Hubbard, Francis Scarpaleggia and Paul Steckle) made up part of Dion's 11 MP caucus support. By the final ballot, his caucus support had swelled to 25 MPs. Among the 14 newcomers, however, only Jim Karygiannis opposed gay marriage, for a total of 5 out 25. That's still 20% of his caucus support, but it's not as drastic. Moreover, those men are generally not considered to be among the social conservative hardliners in the Liberal caucus, which mostly consists of a small coterie of Toronto-area MPs many of whom I suspect are mostly Liberals of convenience, since they could never win their ridings as Conservatives.

Basically, I think that most of the anti-SSM MPs could be convinced that this issue has been dealt with already and should stay closed (Paul Szabo, a leading social conservative, has already stated he will vote against re-opening the debate). The ones who would be most likely dissent from this party line (I'm thinking chiefly of Dan McTeague and Tom Wappel here) to be perfectly blunt would not really represent a huge loss, certainly not significant enough to warrant unnecessarily ceding any ground on the left to the NDP, which brings me to the second factor.

Tactically, the Liberals need to be able to use same-sex marriage as a card against Stephen Harper in the next election. It's becoming increasingly obvious that Dion plans to try and make the ballot issue of the next election a clear question of ideology (and equally clear that Harper wants to make the ballot issue a question of honesty) and while same-sex marriage is not an important issue for most Canadians, it plays into a rich tapestry of what-we-believe, opposed to what-they-believe. We need to be able to say that the next election is a choice between a real child care program, or just $4 a day; a choice between environmental sustainability, or environmental recklessness; a choice between treating aboriginals with respect, or treating them like third class citizens; a choice between a compassionate Canada, or a selfish Canada; a choice between equality for all citizens, or meanspirited homophobia.

The NDP is fond of blunting that last point by saying that the Liberals aren't really standing up for equality because 1/3 of Liberal MPs voted against it. They have a point; having 1/3 of your caucus oppose you on an issue you're using in a campaign is embarassing. What I'm saying is, it would be nice if Jack Layton wasn't able to make Dion look like a hypocrite if the issue is raised in a leaders' debate. Worth, I think, a few hard feelings.

*Raymond Bonin (Nickel Belt, ON) Ken Boshcoff (Thunder Bay--Rainy River, ON) Gerry Byrne (Humber--St. Barbe--Baie Verte, NF) John Cannis (Scarborough Centre, ON) Brenda Chamberlain (Guelph, ON) Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay--Superior North, ON) Roy Cullen (Etobicoke North, ON) Rodger Cuzner (Cape Breton--Canso, NS) Charles Hubbard (Miramichi, NB) Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough--Agincourt, ON) Wajid Khan (Mississauga--Streetsville, ON) Derek Lee (Scarborough--Rouge River, ON) Lawrence MacAulay (Cardigan, PE) Gurbax Malhi (Bramalea--Gore--Malton, ON) John Maloney (Welland, ON) Bill Matthews (Random--Burin--St. George's, NF) John McKay (Scarborough--Guildwood, ON) Dan McTeague (Pickering--Scarborough East, ON) Massimo Pacetti (Saint-Leonard--Saint-Michel, PQ) Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds--Dollard, PQ) Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, PQ) Raymond Simard (Saint Boniface, MB) Scott Simms (Bonavista--Exploits, NF) Paul Steckle (Huron--Bruce, ON) Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, ON) Alan Tonks (York South--Weston, ON) Tom Wappel (Scarborough Southwest, ON) Bryon Wilfert (Richmond Hill, ON) Paul Zed (Saint John, NB)

A United Party

Rock on, John Lennard.

The Sanctity of Marriage, Part 2

Red Tory denounces marriage as a pointless institution with only a scant few hundred years of history, going back only to medieval times. As a student of history and someone who believes in an organic evolution of society and values, I must respectfully disagree.

It's true that human beings are polygamous animals. It's also true, however, that we crave partnership and togetherness. It is true that the divorce rate is over 50%, but to me, this is not so much proof that marriage is unnatural. Rather, I would say that this is proof that far too many people get married to early in life, before they are ready, and before they truly understand the ramifications of their decision. I have no current intent to get married, and certainly won't even consider it for at least ten years. Many younger people (ie: under 40) seem to have much more idealistic and incredibly naive ideas about love and marriage, and are willing to jump into marriages with people who may not be their best match. Whenever I hear about people getting married in their early, mid, and even late twenties, I will offer congratulations, of course, but I will regard the marriage with a sense of trepidation, knowing that odds are it will end in divorce. Also, many people marry for religious reasons, and then realize that it was a mistake to do so. This is especially true in extremely fundamentalist areas, where young people marry early so that they can have sex without having to worry about going to Hell.

As to the claim that marriage has no social history before the middle ages, I couldn't disagree more. I spent a good part of the early months of this year researching a paper on homosexuality in the middle ages, and in so doing I came upon examples of many pre-medieval institutions which were essentially marriages. The word "marriage" was not used, as it was not yet a word in common parlance, but that is essentially what these pair-bonds were. Moreover, these bonds were - and I know social conservatives will refuse to admit this until their dying breath - quite often between two people of the same sex. It is plainly evident in most of the cultures I studied - the Celts and the Greeks especially, but also the Germans, the Romans, even the medieval Byzantines. The middle ages, or more specifically the high middle ages (1000-1300) saw the hardening of social attitudes against gay people. And while the high middle ages may have been the beginning of marriage being considered an exclusively heterosexual institution, the idea of bonds for life between human beings most certainly predates the middle ages. These bonds are, in fact, as old as society itself, probably older. And, yes, in the majority of cultures before the middle ages, they were often homosexual.