12/29/2001

I'm beginning to be cheered up by the scent of outrage in the air. Here's Walter Robinson of the Canadian Taxpayer's Federation taking a few shots at Chretien.

Our prime minister lied to us about the GST, insulted us with tales of his imaginary homeless friends and continues to show his contempt for Canadians by allowing folks like Hedy Fry and Maria Minna to sit in cabinet. Enough is enough. With his latest comments he has spit on the grave of every Canadian veteran and dishonours the sacrifice military personnel and their families make every single day.

It's time to demand his resignation through a massive public outcry. If we don't, we will have only ourselves to blame.


Good on ya, Walter. You left out a few things though...

How about - APEC, the Somolia inquiry, the ongoing Airbus investigation and Shawinigate?

A Liberal Report Card From The Globe and Mail Apparently, this guy is grading on a curve because he is far more generous than I would have been. He gives A's to John Manley & Anne McLellan. I might go along with Manley but McLellan doesn't impress me much.

Paul Martin gets a B+. What exactly is this guy good at? He claims all the credit for good luck (while failing to properly capitalize on it) and denies any influence during bad times. EI is the biggest swindle since the Sex Pistols and the new Airline Taxes are being widely denounced as the next cashcow. Here's a fearless prediction for 2002; the airline security fees will be reduced and/or eliminated for selected flights. Why? Because an unjustified taxgrab at the upper end of the economy will be identified and excorciated as regressive and harmful. The same unjustified taxgrab at the bottom end of the economy is already accepted and expected which is why the EI taxes do not prompt the outrage that they deserve.

I'd give Martin a "C" in reluctant recognition of his skill as a politician. Where else but in Canada would a Finance Minister be so shameless as to operate his own business under a foreign flag? It takes an amazing level of hypocrisy to argue the justice and equity of the Canadian system while very clearly placing your own interests outside of that system.

The Globe gives all other Ministers fair to middling marks and only gives one "F" - Alfonse Gagliano

I wouldn't argue about Mr. Gagliano but let's not forget that he's only been accused of cheating and lying.
Maria Minna (D+) has admitted to voter fraud and still can't earn an "F"? Hedy Fry doesn't even get a mention?
Jane Stewart gets a C+ and credit for cleaning up her department? Better check with the Auditor General on that one. Sheila Fraser thinks that:

Management practices are uneven among the audited programs, and most have significant shortcomings in one area or more: Program design needs proper attention, in particular the results expected from the spending of public money and the management of risks.
Parliament still receives limited information on program performance.
Funding decisions are often based on partial or perfunctory assessments of project merits and the need for government support.
Control over spending is generally satisfactory, but monitoring actual project performance is often poor.


While it's true that going from 'absolutely horrible' to 'pretty bad' is progress of a sort, it's a little early to be breaking out the trophies and ribbons just yet. This isn't the Special Olympics, after all.

UPDATE :

Geeze, I can't believe I missed this one... Elinor Caplan gets a 'D'!

Remember the movie 'The Warriors'? When the weasely little head villain is shoplifting in the corner-store and the cowering little storekeeper peeps out ' that'll be $22.50'. He turns around and screams "FOR WHAT?!?!!?"

Now I know how he felt.

Rex Murphy looks back at 2001 and laughs. Or at least he makes me laugh, which is even better.

The good citizens of Cambodia have had it with karaoke. And they've adopted something that has the scent of what in our part of the world falls under the rubric of "zero tolerance," except that, as opposed to our part of the world, this is "zero tolerance" with teeth. I cite the Reuters report quoting the Prime Minister, Hun Sen: "If we know of any karaoke parlour still open, go to close it immediately and take tanks to knock it down," he told a military commander during a speech broadcast on state radio.

There is something in the vigour of that response that is especially heartening. After the trawl of Chrismas specials featuring the Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync and Britney Spears, the thought of tanks going out to the TV transmitters is both seductive and sedative. So before we go to more conventional catalogues of the great and prominent of 2001, let's give at least two cheers for Hun Sen, the Donald Rumsfeld of karaoke.


Read the rest. If you don't know whether to laugh or cry, you might as well laugh.

This is incredible! The RCMP are still trying to pin something on Mulroney almost SEVEN YEARS after they launched an investigation into the Airbus Affair. I just recently read Presumed Guilty, a book about the Airbus affair, and I highly recommend it for anyone who's interested in the truth about another Liberal clusterfuck. It's full of interesting facts including the fact that Mulroney offered complete co-operation with the investigation but was never even interviewed by that crack RCMP investigative team. It also reports the liberal version of the chain of command in which Herb Grey, the deputy Prime Minister, knew about the letter calling Mulroney a crook but decided not to tell Chretien about it. There are various and sundry other revelations in the book but I won't go into too much more about that right now.

RCMP Corporal Louise Lafrance told the National Post yesterday the Airbus inquiry is one of the "big investigations" that was kept intact even in the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

"Some officers were re-deployed for a period of time following Sept. 11, but the ongoing investigations are still ongoing investigations," she said. "The large files remain the same."

About 2,000 Mounties were reassigned to investigate the terrorism threat, forcing the RCMP to curtail major undercover operations such as organized crime and drug trafficking. The RCMP has about 17,000 officers, of which 10,000 are contracted out as provincial police.

The RCMP kept seven officers and a team of forensic experts on duty for the Airbus probe.


So with all that is going on in the world today (including that mysterious BDC document) the RCMP can spare seven officers and a 'team' of forensic experts for the Airbus investigation. I wonder if one of those forensic experts has a spare moment to pass judgement on the 'forged footnote'. I mean, what's a couple of hours for one expert out of a seven year investigation by a team? Think about what can be accomplished in seven years. My daughter didn't even exist seven years ago and now she is able to write her own name. She can even pick up the phone, dial a number and ask questions of the person answering the phone. Perhaps, if I can get Brian Mulroney's number for her, she can dial him up and interview him about the Airbus affair!

Mr. MacKay [Peter McKay, Conservative MP], whose father served in the Mulroney Cabinet, said he is convinced Mr. Chrétien will not allow the RCMP to drop the Airbus investigation until he leaves office and warns top echelons of the RCMP are becoming too political.

"This Airbus case is dragging on at considerable expense, but it's all about Chrétien's legacy," he said. "Mr. Chrétien completely co-opted the economic platform of the Mulroney government and has really nothing to point to in his own corner, so as long as Jean Chrétien is in office, that Airbus file will continue."

Mr. MacKay said he is struck by the fact the RCMP was quick to wrap up an investigation of Mr. Chrétien's lobbying activities while continuing to pursue Mr. Mulroney.

The RCMP investigated but quickly absolved Mr. Chrétien of criminal wrongdoing for lobbying a federal bank to obtain a substantial loan on behalf of a constituent who had purchased a hotel from him and his business partners.


I have a feeling that Jean Chretien would have been turfed out on his ear years ago if he had not had the good fortune of following Brian Mulroney into office. Canadians irrational hatred of Mulroney has blinded them to the reality of Chretien's corrupt and spiteful leadership. Chretien crows about the fact that he has not lost a minister to to scandal but he can only make that claim because everytime someone lowers the bar of ministerial integrity, Chretien and his crew slither under it. The bar of public opinion would have decapitated Mulroney for Shawinigate but Chretien is such a small man that it doesn't even knock his hat off.



12/28/2001

Lewis McKenzie blasts Chretien's latest boneheaded pronouncement. In case you missed it, Chretien dismissed those who have called for greater defence spending as "lobbyists" with nothing but self-interest motivating their criticisms.

"To state that our efforts were motivated by financial self-interest was both wrong and insulting," wrote Gen. Mackenzie, the former commander of United Nations forces in Bosnia.

Gen. Mackenzie said the Prime Minister is free to ignore his advice and that of other well-meaning analysts and politicians, including Lord George Robertson, the NATO Secretary-General, and Paul Cellucci, the U.S. Ambassador, who have criticized Canada for failing to significantly bolster its military budget.

"I cannot accept, however, that it is your right to question the integrity and intelligence of those of us who disagree with you on some of the critical defence issues of the day," Gen. Mackenzie said. "To do so is not in keeping with the dignity of your office, which represents us all."


Jack Granatstein joined in the fun;

"It was, in fact, absolute twaddle," said Mr. Granatstein, the former director of the Canadian War Museum.

"I am frankly astonished," he added. "I think it is simply bizarre. It misunderstands what is happening in the world. It is frankly disgraceful."


The Prime Minister's Office says that Jean 'stands behind his statements.' Funny, it looks to me like he is standing behind a PMO spokesperson.



12/27/2001

A really outstanding report on the state of the internet today. O'Reilly Network: 2002: The Carpetbaggers Go Home [Dec. 21, 2001]

Webloggers aren't professional journalists; they don't adhere to the code of ethics that CNN et al are nominally bound by, and they often can't spell or string together a coherent sentence, let alone pen an inverted-pyramid story. Nevertheless, bloggers are collectively brilliant at ferreting out every little detail of a story, wearing its edges smooth with discussion, and spitting it out again. Further, bloggers are spread out across the Internet, mirroring, quoting, and linking back to one another, collectively forming a Distributed Provision of Service that is resistant to CNN-killing catastrophes like 9/11. Blogs are about 95 percent of the way to being full-fledged news-sources, and the difference between the bloggers of the world and CNN is a couple of percentiles and several billion dollars.

In my more idealistic moments, I like to think I am participating in this huge collective enterprise. Then my son demands that I give up the phone line and I remember that I'm just goofing off.
Finally, someone else who is genuinely offended by the Asper's swaggering. Dalton Camp, writing in the Toronto Star says what needed saying...

I have waited to hear even one small voice of protest from the Liberal cabinet, or caucus, or the leadership. Of course not. They have created this ugly monopoly; they hope it will, as reward, be nice to them.

We should be ashamed of them all.




No Free Luunch



The free online spell-checker that was linked from the Blogspot is now a subscription service only. Stand by for more blaring typos...
Whew! Blogger has been undergoing some trials over the past few days so very little updating has been possible. Not that there is a whole whack of activity on the news front anyway. Still and all, no news does not necessarily translate into no whining and complaining. There is all that old news to rechew and most of the newspapers seem to be doing so. The Globe & Mail has an interview with Joe Clark . Say what you like about Joe, he's the most straightforward politician in Canada today. I'm not convinced that he couldn't lead a united opposition party but I hope he can be magnanimous if his leadership turns out to be the sticking point in any negotiations that might arise.

He has some interesting things to say about the Liberal leadership; Joe is not so sure that Paul Martin is the shoo-in that everyone claims him to be.

I think there are people who look at Paul Martin and wonder if in the rough and tumble of an election campaign, he can make it or not. You've heard the stories of the temper and remember the trouble he got into in Quebec when he sort of offhandedly upset all the nationalists by exaggerating the costs of independence. All this suggests he's not so sure-footed when he's on his own, which is to say when he's not as carefully cosseted and handled as he is in Finance. The recession is going to hurt him more than the others.

12/25/2001

Merry Christmas to everyone who's popped by in the past few days. I'll be back to normal updating after boxing day. In the meanwhile, here are a couple of things I have noted in the past hours browsing...

Here's an interesting Christmas story from Mark Steyn. Link via InstaPundit.

Charles Tupper Jr. sent me this World History Quiz . I got 46% which would be horribly shameful under normal circumstances but I was educated in the Ontario public school system, never took a single course in history (Canadian or World), and picked up most of my education from Usenet. Under those circumstances, 46% is merely bad instead of horrid. (I'm being good to myself for Christmas)

Gotta run, here's a twisted little Christmas Tune for anyone who's had enough of the real thing.

12/23/2001

A bit of "In Your Face" for the peaceniks from the Guardian. I can understand the sentiment but I think it's worth noting that, as far as we know, Bin Laden survived. There are still untold numbers of loosely organized Al-Queda forces scattered throughout the world and the US seems in no mood to cease hostilities just yet. The next target is still an open question but there is no doubt that this action is far from over. Perhaps a little early to claim a slam dunk.
Eddie Greenspon has published his Christmas wishlist in the Globe.

As we all learned as children, you can't just start demanding stuff from Santa, you have to spend a paragraph or two sucking up and faking concern over Santa's happiness and prosperity. So it is with Greenspon;

Tis the season of giving, so let's give some credit to the Chrétien government. After a shaky start, the Prime Minister, his cabinet and the country's oft-maligned public service ultimately rose to the occasion in managing the crisis after Sept. 11.

Jean Chrétien's government is always at its best when forced to act, and the fallout from Sept. 11 left it no choice. Canadians demanded solidarity with their American cousins -- and continued access to the shared economic space of the continent. Americans demanded greater security from Canadians in the shared geographic space of North America. Ottawa responded on all fronts.


It's probably unfair to criticize a form letter but I've never claimed that this Blog is about fairness. Greenspon seems to be glossing over the truth of what happened post 9/11 in Canada. Chretien wasn't cautious; he was cringing, indecisive and insincere. The Liberals did not respond to the wishes of the Canadian people, they responded to the instructions of the American government. The fact that they did what's right in the end overlooks the fact that they had to be coerced and threatened into the proper action. Had we done the right thing of our own volition then we'd have some claim to virtue. In the present case, there is no credit to give.

I don't have a lot of quarrel with his specific proposals - they are all given the bows and ribbons presentation but- there seem to be some reasonable ideas underneath the fluff.

I'm not sure we need to 'airlift refugees from the world's hotspots' but, hey, it's Christmas. Everyone should be allowed one pipedream.


A commentary on Canada's declining strength and influence in International Peacekeeping

What Britain has is not just the political will to see its forces deployed as "a force for good" around the world but a military that is, in the words of the British Ministry of Defence, "versatile, adaptable and deployable."

"This is a coalition of the capable, not just of the willing," said defence analyst Paul Beaver, who says Canada has lost its edge in mounting peacekeeping operations. "The Canadians are slipping back. It really started when they withdrew from Europe."


I like that bit of phrasing - Canadian troops are willing, but years of political dithering have seriously hampered their capability.