12/15/2001

Prime Minister Jean Chretien has been working on that "Legacy" thing.

"When they read the polls five days before (the election) that it's going to be another Liberal government and they don't vote for the Liberals, they cannot blame anyone but themselves. They cannot blame me. They want to have influence and they prefer to have influence in the Opposition. Fine, it's their choice."

The Prime Minister then spit on our reporter, dropped his pants to urinate in the lobby, punched the doorman in the face and then drove off in his mid-class Chevrolet sedan.
Self-proclaimed free-speech advocate strikes again.

The Globe and Mail is considering a printed apology to Heather Reisman, head of the Chapters bookstore chain, after she complained that a cartoon accentuating her nose had anti-Semitic overtones.

Richard Addis, editor-in-chief of the Globe, has drafted an apology to Ms. Reisman, who is Jewish, for an Anthony Jenkins cartoon on Dec. 1 that depicted her as a hook-nosed blow-torcher of books. "I have spoken to Heather Reisman and we have a proposal under consideration," Mr. Addis said yesterday.

12/14/2001

Warning! This is an article about Brian Tobin



Our favourite Weeble has once again popped up with his chipper little grin and his 'can-do' attitude despite his recent shit-kicking at the hands of leadership rival, Paul Martin. Let's see what our 'by' has to say...

Industry Minister Brian Tobin says he'll push hard for money by next year to extend high-speed Internet access across the country, despite being virtually shut out of this week's budget on the politically charged proposal. "We'll come back at it. I'm going to be like the Energizer Bunny. I'm going to keep pounding away until such time as I can move this file forward," Mr. Tobin said in an interview yesterday. ". . . I can assure you, I'll be back pounding the drum again next year."

Isn't that cute? The very image just makes me want to give him a pinch!

Mr. Tobin, a contender in the underground competition to lead the federal Liberal Party, had turned the broadband proposal into a key plank in his leadership platform.

And what a plank it was! Heaven knows there are few enough problems in Canada today. Mr. Tobin has been touted as a true visionary for identifying a serious problem and proposing a solution before lesser intellects even finished shaving. The Problem? Frustrated onanists across Canada who "can not wait for the internet." It's true. Throughout this land there are lonely, agitated men (and maybe a few women) who have to wait 40, 60, even 90 seconds for their 'live nude teens' to download. Mr Tobin proposes to resolve this outrageous injustice in 3 years with an outlay of only $1.5 billion -a savings of 2.5 billion dollars from the original retail price!

While the budget promise of eventual funding was too little and too late for the minister, it was still too much for the Official Opposition. "That was $110-million to soothe his wounded ego for not getting the full $4-billion enchilada for his crazy scheme to lay fibre-optic cable to every hamlet, homestead and outport in this country; $110-million as a parting gift to the budget loser," interim Canadian Alliance leader John Reynolds said yesterday in the Commons.

If I were smart enough to figure out permanent links I'd be linking, smugly, to a posting of me saying that first.

Mr. Tobin is convinced that the broadband initiative will be popular, not only among his colleagues but in rural areas, which are important to his leadership campaign.

Do you think that, if I moved to the city, Brian Tobin would quit trying to do me favours?
Jay McKeown writes about proportional representation...

You have not addressed the main problem with P.R. The one good thing about
FPTP is that local voters control who represents them, by voting for their
favourite candidate. P.R. puts party head offices and, in particular, the
party leaders' offices, in charge of filling seats after the election. I
know that there are many weaknesses in the current system. However, I do
not see how we can solve those problems by giving party leaders more
control over the process than they have now.


I confess that I am missing your distinction. It's the party apparatus that is controlling all of the variables under the current system. The party chooses your local candidate ( while reserving the right to parachute another candidate into your riding ). The party members choose the candidate but membership is not necessarily open to all. If your preferred candidate get's his parties nomination, and wins the riding, and belongs to the government party then he might have a chance to represent your interests. Of course he will still be subject to strict party discipline and, if ever there is a conflict between your interests and the parties interest; well... we know what happens then. It seems to me that a mixed proportional representation system would return some autonomy (but certainly not all) to the local candidate. In the current system all of your representative's loyalties are owed to the party and only lip-service is owed to the voter.

To paraphrase Churchill, FPTP is the worst possible system, except for all
of the others.


I went looking for more info on PR earlier tonight as I am certainly no expert. This Green Party policy paper is lengthy but it does address the most common criticisms of the PR system.
Some shameless cheerleading (and some self-deprecation) in this piece by David Warren.

Courtesy of Charles Tupper Jr.
This just keeps getting stranger. The Mounties have raided the home of Francois Beaudin, the former president of the Business Development Bank of Canada. This means that the Grand-Mère affair ain't over yet.

Two weeks ago, RCMP officials said that after an eight-month probe, detectives were unable to confirm allegations that the leaked loan document about the Grand-Mère Inn is a forgery. RCMP detectives had also not concluded that the leaked document is genuine, the RCMP said.

Opposition MPs used the news to criticize Mr. Chrétien, demanding in the Commons that he explain what will be done to clear up the matter.

Beaudoin's Lawyer is Doug Mitchell.

"A lot of the information in the sworn affidavit is from the BDC and a lot of it's dubious, if not completely false," Mr. Mitchell said.

Mr. Mitchell expressed concern last night that he heard about the RCMP raid on his client's home from a Southam News reporter in Ottawa, before his client contacted him. "My understanding is that police investigations are confidential and she clearly was told about the raid by somebody in a position to know," he said.


"A lot of the information in the sworn affidavit is from the BDC and a lot of it's dubious, if not completely false," Mr. Mitchell said.

There is a bit of a discrepancy in the article; the raid is reported to have taken place 'in the evening' at one point and at " '7 a.m." later in the article. Whether it was 7 a.m. or 7 p.m., the timing just screams 'political pressure'. On the very cusp of the Christmas break, Mr. Chretien orders another cynical abuse of his powers. He does so knowing that his loving Canadian public will never hold it against him, if they remember at all, when he finally goes back to work six long weeks from now.

It certainly looks like the RCMP investigators, with a refreshing display of backbone, have refused to pronounce the document a forgery. I'm sure they've spent the last eight (8) months scrambling to find anything that could be construed as evidence of forgery. The fact that they chose to call the evidence 'inconclusive' instead of 'rubbish' is evidence, itself, of a careful diplomacy on the part of the investigators. But Mr. Chretien is having none of that, if 8 months of investigation can't find even a stitch of absolution then "you'll just have to go back and investigate some more, Damnit!"

"Oh why can't everyone be as accomodating as that nice Mr. Wilson?"







It seems that David Asper is just not that bright. This is a speech that he gave to a business breakfast yesterday.

Interruption !



I just now went looking for a link about the reporters who were protesting and found something strange. Contained in the above article is a link to the reporter's site but I haven't included that here because the entire message on the site is;

The contents of this site were removed on December 14, 2001.



Legal action maybe??

*** Brief bout of paranioa excised at 10:30 p.m. Sorry bout that. ***

Someone hacked the site maybe?

Anyway, I thought it interesting. I sent an e-mail to the address listed but no response as yet.
Alan Cameron sent me a bunch of Mark Steyn columns which I have not read yet. I will do so today though, because I've had to revise my opinion of the man since I've started surfing the warblogs. Instapundit sent me to a great article of his just yesterday. I don't know if he's gotten better in the past few years or if I have just been moving to the right, but I do intend to catch up with this guy.

Rick Glasel writes about Proportional Representation...

Somebody has to stand up for our Canadian political system, so why not me?

It is not the fault of our system of government that 45% of the 50% of eligible voters in the last federal election were too chicken or too lazy to send a message to our politicians. I still don't think proportional representation or an American style presidential system will work in this country. In Europe, proportional representation provides political jobs and influence to crackpot special interests. In Canada it would mean that the NDP would always have some representation, no matter how irrelevant they become. With a "first past the post" system like ours, regional parties like the Alliance and the Bloc that represent a significant part of the local electorate can still elect MPs and get some attention for their regional concerns. If voters are truly concerned about vote-splitting, they are sophisticated enough to make sure the "right" candidate wins. The main body of voters in Ontario wanted a Liberal government that was dependant on the support of Ontario MPs, and that is what they got. More people live in Ontario than in all of Western Canada, so they won. Why should a vote in Vegreville be more important than a vote in Toronto? At least with our system, the voters in Vegreville get a chance to send someone to Ottawa to argue with the Liberals.

These are valid points but I think the use of a Mixed Proportional system would address some of that concern. As to provincial balance - it's exactly because of FPTP results that Ontario is electing the government for the whole country which best suits Ontario's needs. Additionally, despite the media's constant bleating of the 'regional party' mantra, the Alliance got 20% of the popular vote in Ontario in the last election. Due to the FPTP system they received 2% of the Ontario seats and the reputation of a failed, regional party.

What about the American system? Well, we would need to make our Senate relevant and elected. We would have to have term limits and we would need a responsible judiciary accountable to the people. That is a big change from what we have today. I don't think regional interests would be represented as well either. In the U.S. they have two political parties that count, the President's Party and the Other Party. To get the most votes, Democrats don't want to be too different from Republicans, and Jesse Ventura withstanding, only Democrats and Republicans get elected to anything. In Canada, the third, fourth and fifth political parties have a role to play. Our problem is in how we select party leaders and local candidates, so why don't we do a better job of those things, instead of throwing out our political system?

Imagine a country where party leaders aren't selected by buying the most party memberships, where an honest, hard-working politician who stands up for his or her constituents will be rewarded at election time by the local voters, where at least 80% of the population over 18 votes because it is their opportunity to give politicians the fate they deserve, and where all Canadians can not only complain about the government, they can actually do something about it. My whole point is that if most Canadians are serious about getting the kind of government they want, there is nothing in our political system to stop them.

Disclaimer: I wrote this very unscholarly memo a couple of months ago, but I still believe our current political system is the best one for this country. Our current mess is our own fault. We elected Chretien's merry band of idiots three times, so let's put the blame where it belongs, on a lazy electorate that just lays back and expects our governments to keep us fed and watered all the time. Your blog is hopefully going to help wake up a few people and give encouragement to other people who want to get this country back on track.

I'm not deluding myself that proportional representation is a panacea, but I think it's something we should explore as one possible step in reclaiming our government.

P.S. I don't have the energy or the inclination to try to follow Martin's budgetary shell game. I want to focus on the $2 billion plus that will be spent to secure air travel. Doesn't the law of diminishing returns come into effect here? We have less than 20 international airports in this country. I would feel more secure if most of the money being spent on beefed up security in the air was redirected to our military, and I fly at least 25 times a year. Of course that would mean that our military might survive until the next federal election, instead of collapsing completely.

Thanks for the note... I'm getting weary of the budget topic as well but I'll probably keep beating on it for a few more postings yet.
Michael Lewis writes about 'Ol Chickenhead' (Rex Murphy)

Gotta say, on Sept.11, Mister Murphy, whose writings I had always avoided
before, said something along the lines of "We, the people of North America
are no longer the audience, we are now participants of the world."

I think that he is a man who is so bright that he needs something important
to talk about, otherwise he really has a bad habit of showing off and
becomes incomprehensible. That day was his day to sum up what I needed to
hear. Not comfort, but truth that itched to be said. We had to grow up now.
And that made a sense of that day for me. He also made me very proud to be
Canadian.


I used to think that Rex was just this pretentious old blowhard until I started hearing him on DNTO when he would comment on popular culture. The man is hilarious and, though it sounds like he's reading an essay, he actually talks like that. Some of his writing since 9/11 has been flat-out brilliant in my opinion.

My girlfriend agreed, she also noted another truth, we understood why he
mostly stuck to radio.


That's true, he is very stiff and his frozen karate chop gesture seems to be his entire body language repertoire.

Mother Mercy! I've got a lot of stuff today and I've spent 10 minutes trying to decide what comes first. My wee little blog is over a week old already and I'm spending far too much time on it. But that's neither here nor there. I already have a backlog of things I meant to post about and a couple of e-mails that I intend to post as well. BTW, if you send me an e-mail, please indicate whether you object to having the message blogged. I'm a recent convert from Usenet where it is considered a mortal sin to post e-mail so I'm still a little shy about doing so. Okay, here comes the rest of the stuff...

12/13/2001

I hate to take exception to anything written by my countryman at Daimnation but a recent post about Stockwell Day reminds me of an irritation I have with expectations about politicians. I agree with Damian about Stockwell himself but I do have a quarrel with this...

About the drag queen: obviously, his/her/its candidacy is a joke meant to humiliate the party more than anything else. (Anderson has some great lines, though: "I'm gonna unite the right...and let me tell you, there's a lot of sexy MPs I'd like to unite with.") But it does bring up an interesting point about Canadian gays who don't support the loopy indentity politics that dominate the gay rights movement. As Andrew Sullivan (and Canada's Mark Wickens) show, it is possible to be openly gay yet support free-market economics and limited government. But where are people like that supposed to go in Canada? The economic policies of the Alliance could be a good fit, but let's face it, they're still the party of Darrell Stinson.

It seems to me that we do ourselves a disservice by demanding of our political parties all of the virtues that we would expect in a superhero. When we let the media portray the lowest member of a group as the definitive member of that group then we are accepting a judgement rather than making one. I wrote a rather impassioned plea about this topic prior to the last election and I reproduce it now because I think it holds true even though it was completely impotent last time.

I can't deny that intolerance may exist and I don't doubt that there
may be evidence of it. But the recent Supreme Court ruling and the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms will outweigh those individual
voices. Let's face it, equality for all sexual orientations under the law is
the desire of the majority of Canadians. Any political party that wishes
to attain and/or retain power will very quickly align themselves with
public sentiment as they see it. Does that make them open and enlightened?
Not by my judgement; it simply makes them pragmatic. And I think
pragmatism is about as high a standard as we should hope for
among politicians.


In reply to an objection about the flat tax proposal...

I don't think a flat tax is such a terrible thing provided that there are
low-income cut-offs as promised in the CA platform. The existing tax
code is ridiculously convoluted and excessively punitive on the middle
class. The future of this country - the young people with valuable skills
- are leaving in droves. The Liberals like to point out that other highly
skilled immigrants are replacing them but they neglect the fact that those
immigrants stay for a single generation and then send their children
abroad as well. It's a bloody pyramid scheme. People like the Bronfmans
get special rulings from the Revenue Dept to keep them rich and happy
and middle-class people who are struggling to raise families make up
the difference. With all the forms of taxation that we have (all of which
are progressive) I think it is reasonable to make one form, the income
tax, a flat tax. Watch and see how much of the underground economy
re-emerges when the tax rate is capped. I know for a fact that a great
number of people keep their reportable income around $30,000 and
perpetuate a fraud to retain _all_ of their income above that level. The
existing tax code gives taxpayers a choice; become a lawbreaker or
lay awake nights wondering if you are just a fucking rube for holding to
old-fashioned notions like honesty and fairness. Watching little pimps
like Jean Chretien shrug and grin while he pumps _my_ money into his
friend's pockets puts me very firmly into the latter category.

And Chretien isn't even _ashamed_ of it!!! He laughs and says " Hey,
that's just the way it's done." I'm amazed that people can get so worked
up about an impotent homophobia and be so complacent about the fact
that the Prime Minister stands up and says 'kiss my ass, you losers' and
we go back to the polls and *vote* for more of the same.

Look at Jane Stewart, she spent months standing in the House of Commons
lying so badly that she couldn't even keep a straight face. After a while
she just stopped trying and openly laughed while she lied. And still, she'll
be re-elected as sure as the sun rises. We really _are_ stupid, I guess.


I was a little excitable in those days. I'm better now.



I just caught the Bin Laden tape on CNN. It makes me think of that expression about 'the banality of evil'. It reminded me of nothing more than a basement rec-room containing a collection of adolescent boys grunting and posing like great embarrassed birds. Trying like hell to appear serious and profound but constantly betrayed by their suppressed giggling and childish glee at 'one-upping' the Man. There's a reason that losers collect in basements and caves and this tape only reveals what losers these guys were. Even a loser gets lucky once in a while but, even in celebration, that loser aura can not be denied.




What kind of moron puts 911 on his speed-dial?

Link stolen from a friend
Something fun for us Usenet geeks...

20 Year Archive now Available on Google Groups This page has a timeline of first instances.

Link via wickens.ca
John Raulston Saul is updating that old concept by Having his cake & eating mine. Mr. Saul has apparently published a new eyeglazer in which he lectures the reader on all manner of topics, which is what he's always done and 'good on him' I say. The trouble some folks have is that Mr. Saul is now a very public teat-sucker along with his Missus, the lovely Ms. Clarkson.

Adrienne Clarkson and her husband have both been forthright with their opinions and the Governor-General has not disputed that she and her husband act as partners in her office. Mr. Saul's speeches are on the Governor-General's official Web site.

I have no particular beef with Mr. Saul. I haven't read a lot of his work - the Doubter's Companion was amusing but nothing more - so I can't comment on the quality of his opinions. He apparently enjoys some reputation as an intellectual giant, but not at my house. The trouble, as outlined in the linked article, is that the Governor General's role is to be an apolitical representative of the Crown and our current GG has made it very evident that she and the hubby are a tag-team.

Mr. Saul and Mme. Clarkson often take a team approach to the Governor-General's official duties. Shortly after Mme. Clarkson was named as the Governor-General, Mr. Saul and his wife did not dispute the idea that they would be partners in the new position.

At the time, the Prime Minister suggested they operate as a team in the new role. Jean Chrétien noted that Mme. Clarkson was well-versed on Canada and public policy and had access to good political advice from her husband.


I predict an over-reaction. Which is a good thing since I think it is under-reaction that has brought us to such a sorry state in the first place. I'm not a strong Monarchist myself but I cheer on the emotion of outrage among that faction. Go get em, chaps.




Paul Martin says that it would be "Inappropriate to pay down debt" during these hard times.

"I think it was very appropriate to pay down debt in good times and we paid down a great deal more debt in good times than people expected or thought we would," the finance minister said.

"But in a time of economic downturn, it would be inappropriate to pay down large amounts of debt. And there are very important long-term needs that have to be met, infrastructure as an example."


Yeah Paul. That's why I responded to a pay cut by making interest-only payments on my debts while building an addition on my house. It's the prudent thing to do.

Only our children need to sacrifice says William Watson.

In fact, the only real sacrifice is by our children. If it had done nothing at all yesterday, the government would have posted a $6.2-billion surplus this year. Osama-proofing costs it $1.1-billion (not much, really), Red Book promises another $1-billion and "departmental operations" $569-million, which takes it to $3.5-billion. It then shifts $2-billion of taxes into next year -- supposedly to help small business at its time of need, but really to prevent the political embarrassment of showing a deficit next year. (Seldom has so much been hidden from so many to so little purpose.) That leaves about $2-billion for debt reduction. But, purportedly because of the short-term crisis, we invest in long-term help for infrastructure and Africa instead of keeping the debt headed south.

What would $2-billion do for the debt, the government might say? But when the fiscal history of this period is written, I doubt our children will judge that this was their parents' finest hour.


Not much to add to that... Martin seems to be answering any criticism of the budget with the same rejoinder, "Look what we did on the debt!" No surprise that he wouldn't want to discuss what we are doing now.

12/12/2001

Check this out, it's the 'Report of the Auditor General on the Condensed Financial Statements of the Government of Canada' as reproduced on the website of the Finance department. If you have a big-ass magnifying glass, you might want to haul it out before hitting the link.

I have all kinds of remarks to make but you better just go look first, we'll talk later.
Good article about the budget from the Montreal Gazette.

"This budget will be written by one person," Chrétien's communications director, Francie Ducros, had confided to a friendly Ottawa journalist. "It happens to be the prime minister of Canada, not the minister of finance."

While sniping between the Finance Department and the PM's Office is what often passes for excitement in Ottawa, it is unprecedented for the PMO to publicly humiliate and undermine the finance minister, and on the eve of a budget.

But in truth, Chrétien's fingerprints are all over this budget.


Francie Ducros denies that she made those comments, BTW.
More on Minna

Is it possible that a Liberal Minister may actually be held accountable?

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien provided only a timid defence yesterday for Maria Minna, as Toronto police consider an MP's request for an investigation into the embattled International Co-operation Minister's participation in a municipal election in which she wasn't eligible to vote.

Reading from a text, Mr. Chrétien paraphrased the provincial law that deals with voter registration for municipal elections. Instead of saying that the law is clearly on Ms. Minna's side, however, Mr. Chrétien said he has called in his ethics counsellor to adjudicate.


It's too soon to hope. After all, the Ethics Counsellor, the foremost Canadian authority on conflict of interest, has not seen one example of that elusive beast since he assumed his role in 1994. It will be interesting to see what contortions will be required to whitewash this one, though.

Stopped off for a visit at Damian Penny's blog and found that he is making nominations for the Dropped Ball Awards which were conceived by Glenn Reynolds. Damian is making a very strong case for a lifetime achievement award for Dalton Camp. On the flip side, I think Rex Murphy should get some kind of Heismann Trophy for surehandedness right down the field.

Starting on Sept. 15;
Our sympathy should come without qualification. It does not demean the suffering of any others anywhere else in the world that we would feel more readily and more deeply for our neighbours, for those with whom we live so closely.

Sept. 22;
The security of its citizens is a nation's first virtue. The response to those who appropriate the "right" to mass slaughter had to be unequivocal. George Bush had it right. As between terrorism and democracy, there's no room on this planet for both of us.

Sept. 29; (scolding Jean Chretien for his reticence)
But, in matters of compassion, "he who gives quickly, gives twice." If something comparable were to happen to this country -- and we are not as exempt from the blind rages of the world as we would like to believe -- it is difficult to conceive of the Americans or their government holding off from the impulse to help.

Oct. 6;
I played a tape of George W. Bush's speech to the U.S. Congress, and compared it to excerpts from Ms. Thobani's; I concluded that, of the two presenters, Mr. Bush is more calm and coherent and pacific. Lock up your stereotypes. The redneck is more moderate than the sociologist. Stephen Leacock, a connoisseur of life's little ironies, must be chortling somewhere in his Mariposa heaven.

Oct. 20;
The terrorists do not wish their deed to be seen unadorned, in all its horror simply as it is, and for what it is. We may presume they hijack an agenda with even less reluctance than they hijack a plane. If Palestine will not do, then throw in the suffering of the Iraqi children. Or U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia. Or U.S. foreign policy.

None of these is a root cause. All are after-the-slaughter post-it notes -- mass murder seeking the expedient of an alien moral prism, the unnecessary murder seeking the necessary excuse. The mind that conceives and executes the murder of thousands of people is not a mind that will hesitate before a little duplicity. After you kill 5,000, it's no great exertion to offer a lie or two. The agenda of terrorism is terrorism.


Nov. 3;
Terrorism has a great capacity to spiral viciously toward unknown and frightful consequences. It mimics the viruses the West has grown familiar with from its computers, and those other viruses we fear now from our mail.
This is a fearful time. As fearful as we have seen for at least a generation


Dec. 8;
There is one video entertainment, however, that debuted in the dark days after Sept. 11 that I shall miss in a curious way. It was the most underground of underground productions. The Osama tapes, those wonderful basement studio homilies in front of the cave. You remember: "America is in fear now from north to south and east and west."

It's almost enough to make you forgive the CBC, isn't it?

Sid Cochran sent me a whack of information about various scenarios that could occur under some form of proportional representation in Canada. I haven't had the chance to go over it all just yet. I'll try to find a workable method of posting or summarizing these charts, but in the meanwhile have a look at the Fairvote site which has some similar information. They're haven't got anything on Sid when it comes to detail (plus their site is slightly wonky) but it's a starting point and I am interested in the topic.

12/11/2001

I came upon this site while surfing around this evening. It's QuebecNews.com which provides translations of articles from selected french media. It's not exactly bleeding edge - the most recent dateline tonight is Dec. 8 - but it's better than nothing. Check out the Hatchet Job link before it expires...

Bernard Landry sometimes shoots off target, like the time he called the Canadian flag a "red rag," but he’s no fool. Drawing the slightest link between Québec sovereignty and the September 11 terrorist attacks, however, would be clearly idiotic.

The Premier also knows that suggesting this absurd idea, even implicitly, would attract the immediate and unanimous reprobation of Quebecers, citizens across Canada and people around the world. Even worse for a man as proud as Landry, it would make him a public laughing stock. As René Lévesque once said, irritated by the cries of the tormented souls in his own party, Canada is no Gulag.


The writer goes on at some length about the injustice of it all but he never troubles himself to actually address what Mr. Landry did say, preferring instead to assure the reader that Mr. Landry didn't say anything as horrid as what's been suggested in the english press. There are other articles which show a much more balanced perspective and many articles are not concerned with the language issue at all. Check it out.
Andrew Coyne gives Paul Martin quite a thrashing over 'his' budget calling it "A reckless, dishonest, two-year con job."

...even if we take the numbers at face value, what is clear is that the Liberals have decided once and for all to shed the cloak of fiscal responsibility it once pleased them to wear. Perhaps we should have seen this coming: as a political insider tried to warn us, "This budget will be written by one person. It happens to be the Prime Minister of Canada, not the Minister of Finance." Or perhaps Paul Martin's reputation as a fiscal manager was never fully deserved.

Either way, we are back to deficits and double-digit spending increases, just like the old days. There will be no payment against the debt this year, none next year and none, it appears, for several years after that. After going nearly two years without a budget, this is what we get: a reckless, spendthrift, dishonest document, a rolling two-year con job.


Whew! Wish I'd said that.

The Art and Practice of the Indirect Smear



Clayton Lee Waagner, who was arrested for mailing hundreds of anthrax hoax letters to abortion clinics, said he had nothing against John Ashcroft: "I understand he's anti-abortion also. He's a good man."

from Harper's weekly-review.
Miss Manners would be pleased, she always stresses the importance of Sending a Note as a follow-up to a social engagement.
An interesting article from Margaret_Wente about the new Auditor General.

Despite her necessary circumspection, Ms. Fraser's nine-volume report is laced with lethal understatement. "The challenge to government is to make good management the norm rather than the exception," it says. "Our most recent audits found a government-wide control system for grants and contributions that is not yet rigorous enough to ensure the proper management of public funds." As for recent reassurances that our fighting forces have never been more combat-ready, she advises "a grain of salt."

12/10/2001

A good article in the Hill Times about Regulation versus Legislation
Speaking about the Water Exports Bill. Pat Carney says...

"This is the typical Liberal approach to legislation. One size fits all. This bill will allow you to prohibit the bulk export of bulk water and it will allow you to license the export of bulk water. It will also allow you, option three, to do nothing. This is what the witnesses have told us. It is a bill where the minister has got the right to do anything he or she wants, including the right to define every single term in this act."


A little good news for a change.

Jim Carrey is seeking US citizenship because, as he says, "... this country [the US] defined me"

Godspeed, Jim.
Got an interesting e-mail from Alan Cameron, who writes;

For a nation that defines itself not by what it stands for, but by what it doesn't, Canada had better read the article by Leonard Peikoff on socialized medicine. There seems no issue more sacred, and none that the Anti-American Canadian Left more closely identifies with, than government-run health care. Before we make such a "right" an integral part of our society it might be worth first trying to come up with some justification for the concept. I think Peikoff does a fine job of tearing away any philosophical justification for such a "right".

There was a story in the Post a month or so ago that mentioned that the Supreme Court was hearing a case brought forth by a Montreal welfare recipient. The outcome of the case was likely to determine whether Canadians have a constitutional "right" to some minimum level of income. It is an outrage that the case was ever heard in any court of appeal, never mind making it to the Supreme Court, to be seriously considered. I have heard nothing further on it, and was surprised (well, not really, this is Canada after all) that there was no public outcry at the news. Have you heard anything further?

I haven't heard anything more about that one but it puts me in mind of a similar situation that occurred just last week. The Montfort hospital in Ottawa was ordered protected from closure by the Ontario Court of Appeal on the basis of 'unwritten constitutional protections.'

So it's not all that surprising that people would attempt to expand the meaning of 'rights' here in Canada. It seems to me that it was only in the last few years that sexual orientation was read into the Charter as a criteria for minority protection. group. I'm not opposed to the fact of sexual orientation being included in the charter, it seems like a simple oversight that it wasn't included in the first place, but the practice of 'reading in' this or that expanded right is a one-way street down a cliffside. The fuzzy, friendly attitude towards the law in this country may make us all feel like nice co-operative people but it leads to situations like I witnessed in Question Period today. Everyone knows that Maria Minna has screwed up again and, of course, the opposition was howling for her head. My own reaction to the incident seems rather instructive; I'm no fan of the Liberals but even I was thinking to myself, "Oh c'mon, this is no big deal!". No harm - no foul. All the usual equivocating that we do without even thinking. But the reaction of the Liberals is what makes me reconsider. If we accept all these seemingly trivial infractions over and over again (as we do) then sure enough the infractions become less and less trivial and our tolerance level for infractions is slowly increased til we reach the point we are at now. Ms. Minna breaks the law, admits to breaking the law, blames her staff and puts her head down until the latest tempest blows over. And we all accept it. We have all been desensitized by a Prime Minister who is, on the basis of all available evidence, perfectly willing to break the law to advance his own interests. A Prime Minister who is unwilling to censure any of his Ministers no matter what indignity they bring to the House.

So we ought to go after the little things because every little forgiveness is taken as license by these bastards. A government that showed some shame, even some humility, might earn a pass on these small things. But this government deserves no quarter at all.

Damn! I get off track sometimes.

The point I was really trying to make is that; instead of making 'generous' interpretations of the current law and letting the small things go, we ought to enforce both legal and moral standards with vigour. This means that we ought to oppose or disavow any attempts to expand or enlarge the meaning of 'rights' unless we are willing to do so formally and permanently, with all of the attendant discussion and debate that is entailed in the process.

still more later... (I'm feeling cantankerous today)
It's budget day... and I'm bored with it already.

Yeah, yeah... I know. It's very important and everyone is all excited and yadda, yadda, yadda... It's not like there are any surprises in store. The thing has been leaked and telegraphed and mulled over for the past month. It's like we've watched a grossly obese, worn-out old stripper flounce around in a thong and pasties for weeks on end. There's really not much incentive to stick around for the 'full monty.' The whole Liberal leadership undertone makes this budget a more cynical exercise than the usual and I dare not discuss the $100,000,000 that's going to stroke Brian Tobin's tenuous manhood because I'm liable to break something expensive.

But that's enough of my whining... I've taken on this task of entertaining you disaffected Canadian websurfers and, by gum, the show will go on! Hugh Winsor has a good piece about the budget wherein he says some of the same things I said above, but he says them somewhat more politely.

12/09/2001

All the Bloggers are talking about...

Robert Fisk on getting your ass kicked. Now obviously this guy is a fool and a lickspittle of enormous proportions but I think his entire wea culpa is just thinly veiled bigotry. It's like "we can't possibly assign one scrap of accountability to these poor oppressed bastards even while they are bashing our heads in with rocks." A few excerpts...

And – I realised – there were all the Afghan men and boys who had attacked me who should never have done so but whose brutality was entirely the product of others, of us –

The people who were assaulted were the Afghans, the scars inflicted by us – by B-52s, not by them. And I'll say it again. If I was an Afghan refugee in Kila Abdullah, I would have done just what they did. I would have attacked Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.

the mark of the tooth I had just knocked out of a man's jaw, a man who was truly innocent of any crime except that of being the victim of the world.

Does this guy have some sort of Messiah complex? "Forgive them father, they know not what they do" Not only is it incredibly stupid crap it is incredibly condescending crap to boot. "These poor savages can't possibly be responsible for their own actions and, while it's not my fault that they hate me, (that would be your fault dear reader) I understand their hatred."

What a steaming load!
The Broadband Thing I really can't comment on this right now because I haven't got time to go into a full-bore, spit flecked, capillary-bursting, screaming rage about the stupidity of Brian Tobin and this asinine pipedream. I know the internet, I use the internet and I'm here to tell you that 'there's nothing there'. What content one can find on the net comes trundling down a 56k modem with all the speed it requires. Need audio? Use a radio. Need video? Try that TV. Found something on the net that you just really, really, want to have? Download it at 56 k and thank the gods of technology that you can do it.

Argh! Just read the article. Weston has got it right.
The thing I was looking for this morning was a review of Jeffrey Simpson's new book, The Friendly Dictator. I finally found one... on the website of the Shanghai Star. Actually, to be fair, I did find a review at the Globe and Mail as well. I liked the Shanghai Star review better...
Here's an another interesting Canadian site I ran across this morning while looking for something else...
Sid Cochran sent me a note about proportional representation...

I've been conversing by e-mail with Joe Green of Edmonton, who is fairly active as a neo-Liberal in ab.politics, He must be a neo-Liberal; his favorite low-level insult is "neo-Con". Folk who are more evil than that are "Randian" and at the superlative end, Osama bin Ladin is a "capitalist." No matter; in those conversations, I accessed article 51 of your Constitution Act, as amended 1985, and calculated the number of seats in each province the respective parties would have won under PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION (Knesset style) in each province, if that had been in effect for your last General Election, and also the number of seats to which each province will be entitled in the 38th Parliament, to be elected in 2004 or 2005.

Joe was amazed: He had been pushing for PR for Alberta and maybe British Columbia to reduce the heavy Alliance cast in their provincial caucuses at Ottawa, not realizing that PR would have forced the Liberals to accept a NDP coalition in order to get a majority,or else be subject to a no-confidence vote at any time from a temporary coalition at the hands of a temporary agreement between the other three parties. He had also been expecting Alberta to receive six additional ridings in the 38th Parliament,and was surprised at the result of the intersection of the Constitution Act and the Census of 2001. So much so, that he asked me to move North and stand for MP some time. (I told him I had to refuse: I failed to screen for SEAL training before I left the Navy long ago, and thought it too late to undertake that training now, as the Liberals currently seem to require.}


I'm glad you mentioned this Sid. There is something of a movement towards proportional representation in Canada. I say 'something' because I'm not sure how active this organization is, I subscribed to their weekly e-mail update a week or two back but I've heard nothing from that yet. I note that their last weekly update was posted October 8th. Getting rid of the entrenched 'first past the post' system is, of course, a huge undertaking. Jeffery Simpson was talking about this on the radio the other day. He pointed out that the Provincial Liberal Party in Ontario has been talking about democratic reforms and he speculates that some version of proportional representation will be seen in provincial politics first and perhaps the federal system will be brought along, clawing and kicking, in some distant future.

It's a huge undertaking to consider at the outset. But it is, at least, a faint hope that Canadians can actually wrest back some of the power that was taken from us in broad daylight by a charming thief.