Tom Roberts writes to ask about this story and others like it...

"... I am getting the idea that there is some sort of
factual basis for exactly how the Canadian Defense Forces are deficient
either as peacekeepers or as actual defenders of the realm. But nowhere do I
find any concrete details asides from the fact that budgets have fallen over
the last decade. That fact, in and of itself, does not signify anything
other than an absolute funding decline which in an era of changing missions
"may" be meaningless. Of course, such declines may also be very significant."

That's a fair comment Tom, and I confess that I have probably been guilty of taking on faith (or perhaps, 'lack of faith') the complaints that fit my preconceptions. So, I'll do a little research and try to report back on something concrete.

During the early 1980's I was a US Army Liaison Officer to the Canadian 4th
Bde in Germany, which included the 2nd PPCLI. During that period the
Canadian troops were equivalently trained and equipped to the UK troops
which I also had a chance to meet. Relative to the US troops in Germany they
were marginally worse equipped, largely due to a generation old set of
equipment, but better trained and had better field morale. In fact, I'd say
that in 1984-5 the Canadian infantry was the best infantry in Europe.

Canadians have always been rightly proud of their soldiers and appreciative of the credit they bring to this country. It is precisely because of this proud military heritage that Canadians become so enraged with this Liberal government which simply refuses to treat the military with the respect it deserves. Any legitimate criticism of the government's sorry record in military matters is deftly recast by Liberal hacks as criticism and disrespect of the military.

What happened in the intervening 16 years? I'd imagine that some of the
junior officers I knew then are now senior officers and I'd hope that the
old equipment had been replaced by newer items. But even equipped with the
M113 APC's and M60 tanks the Canadians of 1985 should be a formidable
peacekeeping force today, assuming minor communications upgrades to reflect
digital technology. Given the vehemence of the debate now swirling in the
Canadian press, I suspect that the 3rd PPLI is a lesser equipped or trained
force today than the 2nd PPCLI I knew in Germany. But this suspicion is
never confirmed materially in print.

I'll endeaver to provide some factual basis for you tomorrow. Here's a bit of a starting point. I'm afraid I'm not all that knowledgeable in military matters and I invite any reader who can better respond to give me a holler by email.

This situation contrasts to the debate over military readiness and force
transformation which has been ongoing in the US for the past two years. In
this debate it was suspected that Sec Rumsfeld would lose his job due to
Pentagon intransigence with respect to reform of the the military's
structure and missions. Reams of data were provided in briefings to buttress
both sides of the many issues. This contrasts completely to the Canadian
case which seems be dominated by rumors of woe, intrigue, and innuendo. This
is similar to the US situation in 1993-6, where nobody could identify why we
had a Department of Defense asides from "wagging the dog" on occasion. Sound
familar? But getting out of that situation takes more than political

Well, that's always the way, isn't it? There are external considerations and there are internal considerations. In the Canadian case, there's been very little consideration given to the military at all. There is no real external threat that would justify our having a military capability at all: and the internal considerations regarding the military are fractured, confused and conflicting.


Stop??? ... .... ....Stop what?

"A University of Manitoba assistant professor is fighting a $40 traffic
ticket in provincial court by launching a constitutional challenge of stop
signs--claiming the message they convey is too vague.

In what may be one of the strangest legal arguments ever heard in the halls
of the downtown Law Courts, Rod Yellon is seeking to prove the word 'STOP'
isn't a sufficient warning to motorists.

Yellon, who teaches full-time in the political science faculty, was pulled
over by Winnipeg police in March 1998 and ticketed for rolling through a
stop sign."

The judge reluctantly agreed on Friday to grant Yellon a 7 day adjournment,
because Yellon claimed he'd forgotten about his legal challenge until
Thursday. "Something very bizarre has happened here, I work entirely with
my mind, and this has been quite a shock for me. I was up all last night
trying to figure out how this could happen."

Rick Glasel sent me this bizarre story along with an explanation that it appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press so it can not be linked. (The Free Press is a subscribers-only site) Thanks for the much needed laugh. If only we could get them to carry this one on Court TV. Their current coverage of the Hockey Rage story is just too bloody discouraging for words.

Anyway, Rick also comments about the unintended consequences of stupid laws...

It almost makes me forget about how the Manitoba Human Rights
Commission is investigating if local restaurants have violated the rights
of children in the battle over a no-smoking bylaw. Our brilliant city
fathers thought they could keep everyone happy by allowing smoking in
places where there isn't anyone under the age of 18, such as bars. So now
Coffee Time is prohibiting minors so their patrons can still smoke and eat
a doughnut at the same time. Anti-smoking bylaws haven't worked anywhere,
so what possessed city council to wade into a mess of their own is a
mystery to me.

I heard about this case, 'Ageism' is the argument I believe. It's amazing how persistent people can be when attempting to correct behaviour that is none of their concern in the first place. Here in Ottawa our city council is suffering from the same confusion about their purpose in public life. I can't comment any further because I get irate, and they don't rate 'irate'.

A journalist from Halifax, Stephen Kimber, has fallen on his sword. This makes him the first, but likely not the last, victim of the Asper's drive to streamline the manufacture of editorial opinion.

A veteran writer at the Halifax Daily News has resigned after the newspaper refused to run his column criticizing the paper's owners -- CanWest Global Communications Corp.

Kimber believe that his column was 'spiked' at the Canwest headquarters in Winnipeg but Murdoch Davis, Maximum Opinion Leader at Southam, says that the column was killed by the local editorial board to comply with the recent Canwest edict banning backtalk.

Some of the more contentious points are repeated in the news story...

"CanWest's owners, Winnipeg's Asper family, which made its fortune in the television business, appear to consider their newspapers not only as profit centres and promotional vehicles for their television network but also as private, personal pulpits from which to express their views," he wrote.

"The Aspers support the federal Liberal party. They're pro-Israel. They think rich people like themselves deserve tax breaks. They support privatizing health care delivery. And they believe their newspapers from Victoria, B.C., to St. John's, Nfld., should agree with them."

Obviously, Mr. Kimber was not trying to avoid a fight. The whole of the article is available at Bourque in the (horribly formatted) discussion area. It's a good article which makes a number of valid points about the Liberal government and the concentration of media ownership.

I salute Mr. Kimber for his willingness to walk the walk.

Oh, one more thing, Mr. Davis said today that...

writers have been told they can comment on issues raised in corporate editorials.

That's a direct contradiction of what Mr. Davis said here.

"The only thing we have said, as a purely practical matter so that we don't look like we're contradicting ourselves, is that on the core points of view, we do not wish the editorial columns to contradict." --- Murdoch Davis Dec. 19, 2001

I suggested yesterday that Commissioner Zaccardelli's description of the BDC forgery investigation as being 'very active' reminded me of something. On checking today I find that my memory, while imperfect, did not let me down completely. In Presumed Guilty, William Kaplan's book about the Airbus affair, there is a quote from Philip Murray, the RCMP Commissioner at the time, who was commenting after the government had settled with Mulroney. Rather than the 'very active' I mistakenly recalled, Murray claimed that the Airbus investigation was proceeding 'at full speed.' A subtle distinction, but full disclosure is our policy at the hellhole, and I hereby chastise myself for the error.

We're still left to wonder how an investigation that is seven (7) years old can be considered a 'full speed' investigation but that's another rant.


RCMP chief denies allegations of political influence in raid

Giuliano Zaccardelli, the RCMP Commissioner, says Canada's national police force was not trying to harass or intimidate the former president of the federal Business Development Bank of Canada when its detectives raided his Montreal home 12 days before Christmas.

"We are in no way involved in trying to harass anyone or trying to bring any discomfort to anyone," the RCMP Commissioner told the National Post.

"Certain allegations were made. We investigate them. We try to conclude those investigations as quickly as we can and then we look at the evidence and determine if anything should be done," he added in a recent interview.

"I really can't make any comments on a very active investigation, but I can only reassure you that we are only in the business of investigating allegations of criminal offences."

Hmmm... That's an interesting choice of words. Let's compare the 'very active investigation' described by the Commissioner with the words of an RCMP spokesperson only a month ago;

''The investigation is being wrapped up, but a few more things still need to be finalized.''

What could have happened between the first week of December and the first week of January to change the status of this file from 'being wrapped up' to 'veryactive'.

It seems to me that I remember another RCMP investigation that was described as 'very' active. I'll have to check on that and get back to you though...

Thank God for ENZA.


Rick Glasel again, on a variety of topics;

First, I think it's great Canada isn't participating in the Afghan peacekeeping mission. Why should the lives of our horribly equipped and underpaid soldiers be put at risk just to lessen the embarrassment of the Chretiens in Ottawa? A small number of JTF2 commandos to defuse booby traps and 1500 seamen is all this country can realistically contribute. If the Sea Kings never leave the ship decks, all of our military personnel might make it back alive. It just makes me sick to think of the potential casualties from forcing our soldiers to enter the fray on duct tape and baling wire.

I agree. It's shameful the way that our military has been neglected but I don't think the opposition's chest-thumping is very helpful right now. It's another blow to our national pride, but it's better that we should suffer the humiliation than place our Soldiers in an untenable position to try to save face. It's still a bloody disgrace that the Liberals have allowed this sorry state to continue. Martin's recent budget makes it plain that nothing will change under a Liberal government.

Second, one of the Edmonton Journal's music critics wrote a piece about your favorite vice-regal on or about December 28th. I searched but I can't find a link to the John Raultston Saul interview, and the newspaper hit my in-laws' blue box before I could save a clipping. What caught my eye was Mr. Clarkson's response to his critics and his analysis of the last 4 1/2 months. Words to the effect that nothing important changed on September 11th seemed rather ridiculous, but I found a Mark Steyn column that attributed the same sentiments to the Governor-General herself.

I really like Steyn, this more recent column had me in stitches. Steyn is a funnier, smarter, Dennis Miller and he's prolific as hell.

I don't think Raulston Saul is alone on this. Every phony intellectual and self-proclaimed expert is in deep denial right now. Saying that people didn't change in a significant way when the Twin Towers collapsed is just a feeble backlash against feelings of irrelevance. One of the positive effects of September 11th is a reawakening of the power of the people. Citizens have discovered that they don't need to listen to an intelligentsia that has no credibility and no more understanding of current events than the rest of us. We don't need political analysts to form our personal opinions for us. Writing gobbledegook and making meaningless predictions might have worked for Nostradamus but public acceptance of utter nonsense has reached a new low, and it should stay that way until we can afford to be lazy and complacent again.

I agree. This blogging thing is (or could be) a great counterforce against gobblydegook. Fer instance, earlier today I did a little hatchet job on that Globe and Mail editorial about Afghani warlords. Then I'm checking out Damien Penny's Blog and I see him mention another blog (Bruce Rolston's Flit) where someone else has cast a critical eye on the same piece.

that it was only in 2001 that Mullah Omar cracked down, after 5 years of financing his Islamic revolution with poppy profits. (Analysts still don't know if the last-minute burning of poppy fields by the Taliban was an attempt at gaining Western legitimacy, a newfound religious conviction, or an attempt to drive prices on the surplus heroin already in their warehouses higher.)

So here I am mocking the tone and reasoning of this piece, Damian Penny is commenting on same, and another guy is tearing him apart on his facts. If Blogs achieve even a portion of their potential; poorly reasoned and poorly researched commentaries will suffer a quick pounding whenever or where ever they pop up. Now whether or not the official media will notice is still an open question.

Charles Tupper Jr. stirs the pot;

Over the last 30 years Newfoundland has received over $180 billion in welfare,whoops, equalisation payments from the Federal government (Ontario). Granted not nearly the transfers heaped upon La Belle Province. The Newfoundland Offshore Accord, signed in 1985, provides Newfoundland with transitional protection, from large reductions in total equalization that would otherwise result once the province’s revenues began to grow as a result of economic development (e.g., economic growth from Hibernia, Terra Nova, etc.).

A little ditty for our Newfoundland friends,

Eyes da buy dat bilds da boat,
And eyes da buy dat sails em,
Eyes da buy that cashes da cheques,
As soon as Ottawa mails em.

Long live Terra Nova!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm glad I've already resolved to shut up for a while.
Viewer Mail: I'm tired of my own voice after that Kinsella marathon. Luckily some kind readers have forwarded some comments.

Here's Rick Glasel on the Alliance Leadership race;

The key event will be the by-election in Preston Manning's riding. The
Liberals actually believe they can manipulate the vote to steal the
seat. They are dreaming in Technicolor, but they are taking a serious run
at it. For Liberals to win they want the right-wing vote split and they
want to keep the Alliance busy with their leadership race.

A poll taken before Ezra Levant hijacked the riding executive showed that
the Alliance couldn't win this seat on their own. A combined Tory-Alliance
candidate would take about two thirds of the vote. I don't remember the
numbers, but I believe it was neck and neck between a Tory-alone candidate
and the Liberals. When Ezra took the boots to the Manning crew you have to
know that some of those disaffected Alliance members will have no choice
but to vote Tory. If the Tories take another Calgary seat, the Alliance
party is dead, dead, dead.

Ablonczy is just a token candidate with no support from the remaining
Alliance caucus or the radical "grassroots." However, she serves Joe
Clark's aims very well. Joe can now say he tried to build a bridge to the
Alliance, and avoid pissing off disgruntled Alliance members. He doesn't
need the support of Alliance voters until the next general election which
is plenty of time for the Alliance to wipe themselves out permanently.

Interesting stuff. I'm unsure whether I'd prefer to see the Alliance flame out sooner rather than later. It's pretty tough when you have a bunch of possible scenarios and each is horrible in it's own way. I've had moments when I've considered buying an Alliance membership with the express purpose of voting for Stockwell Day and hastening the demise of the party. But that would be giving comfort and encouragement to Joe Clark - I like Joe as a human being but I don't like his mushy conservatism and I don't think he can ever unite the right. Too much blood under the bridge. I know, I said I was going to shut up and now I'll do it.

Warren Kinsella, in a desperate bid to get published somewhere, has resorted to volunteer pimping for the Asper family. His latest opus is a defense of the editorial policy which I've spent so much time bashing lately. You'd almost think he's been reading this Hellhole.

Warren has formatted his own site so that 'cut and paste' is impossible and a quick browsing of the Ottawa Citizen site reveals no article there (perhaps a 'must publish' directive is required here) so I'm forced to actually transcribe some of this steaming goo. I'll have my keyboard disinfected in the morning...

Kinsella starts by quoting George Bernard Shaw so that we all understand, immediately, that we are dealing with a serious intellect.

"Newspapers are unable, seemingly," wrote the Anglo-Irish playwright in 1931, "to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization"

Wow! An Anglo-Irish playwright said it 70 years ago, it must be true.

More than virtually anything else that happened last year - terrorist attacks, anti-terrorist legislation, the re-signing of Vince Carter by the Raptors - the shocking insolence of the Aspers has rendered the journalistic classes apoplectic. Canwest's "national editorials" decision has resulted in smirking front-page stories in the Toronto Star, lengthy thumb-sucker moralizing in the Globe, and even a rebuke from the poltroons who occupy seats in Quebec's National Assembly.

I guess we know where David Asper picked up his penchant for the understated tone.

A poltroon is defined as a 'wretched coward' by my Random House Pocket Dictionary. This from a man who hands out litigation threats like condoms at a Frat party.

Kinsella then offers up his top ten reasons why the Aspers are cool with him...

1. The West wants in: That's right, the first and foremost reason offered by the Whizkid is a completely specious argument that objections to the editorials are the result of Eastern Elitism. I will say no more about that.

2. Free speech wins: "Owner's have rights too" sez Warren. Of course they do. It's not their right to speak that is at issue. It's their decision to stifle opposing voices among the editorial boards of 13 major newspapers that is raising eyebrows. You would think that this 'free speech' strawman would be too transparently absurd for even Kinsella to try, especially when he assures us that 'readers are smart'.

3. The land is strong: BWAHAHAHAHA!! Yes, he actually says this. "Never mind all this free press nonsense, pick up your free flag at Heritage Canada and have a BeaverTail, Citizen."

4. Politicos coddle media: Okay, only four points down and Warren actually makes a point. But only after taking a gratuitous swipe at the Gazette Journalists who's boots he is not fit to lick. Kinsella warns that government regulation is not something to be wished for and I tend to agree. That's why I'd prefer to see the Asper's slink away from the newspaper business nursing a whopping financial black-eye. I want them to suffer so badly that no future tin pot mogul wannabe will even think about dicking around with the freedom of the press for the sake of expedience. Let's hope.

5. Good opinion is good opinion: More of the elitism canard.

6. Hysteria runs rampant: The alleged offence here, is far out of proportion to the punishment being meted out to the Aspers. Let's see; the Aspers have acted to limit the range of opinion expressed in all Southam newspapers, they have insulted, belittled and threatened every person working in their organization and for this they have suffered.... what? Ridicule? I'd say they've gotten off pretty easy. As I said above, I hope and expect that their real punishment lies ahead, on the balance sheet. Even then, a serious financial reaming will be a mere slap-on-the-wrist considering the bullying attitude they have displayed throughout this fiasco.

7. No one dead yet: Again, I am not making these up.

8. The reader comes first: Translation: 'The readers don't care.' Possibly true, hopefully not.

9. It works for news: Yes, it does to an extent. But reporting is (theoretically) objective while editorial content is intended to be subjective. If you limit the freedom of the local editorial boards (and there is no dispute that this policy limits that freedom) then you are choking off debate and doing a serious disservice to your readers. Once the national position on a topic is proclaimed then no dissenting opinions will appear. That's not just an apprehension but a stated Asper policy.

10. The Aspers are A-OK: Warren tries to close the deal. "Please hire me, I trust that I have shown I am shameless enough to be a part of the Canwest team."

Warren closes with another hamfisted quote and leaves the reader scratching his head with the following, rather puzzling, final thought.

Given the absurd over-reaction by Canada's journalistic establishment to the Asper's move, it seems we were all overdue for some challenging of current conceptions, wouldn't you?

I hope someone hires this guy soon and introduces him to an Editor. Just as a closing thought, I understand that Warren really does like to litigate in his spare time. You'd think that he'd be thankful to me for giving him this limited exposure but, just in case, let me hasten to add that I'm only poking fun at Mr. Kinsella and I don't intend to disparage his character anymore than is strictly necessary for the purposes of this satirical monologue. Neither do I believe, or claim, that this quoted article is in fact a job application. It just reads that way, I'm sure.

It seems that both Buzz.ca and rabble.ca are on hiatus. If I were better at self-promotion I'd snatch up all those aimless Canadian websurfers while the opportunity is ripe. Of course, if I were better at self-promotion, I'd probably be doing something a little more financially rewarding right now.

Never mind.
Here's another high pitched whine from a confused correspondent at the Globe & Mail.

When the United States unleashed its massive military machine on Afghanistan a few months ago, its goal was to destroy the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. It gave little thought to the tribal factions that would exploit the war by moving into the power vacuum.

But as the fighting ends and the dust clears, the Americans have inadvertently given power to a handful of warlords and clan leaders with a long history of violence, feuding, looting and drug trafficking.

I can never understand where anyone got the impression that the US was planning to create a Utopian society in Afghanistan. Say what you like about the wisdom of a 'war on terrorism' - and there are valid points to be made against the concept - but don't make the complaint that the 'war on terror' failed to eradicate all the various forms of violence and greed that are found in the human heart. It was never on the page.

Under intense pressure from the international community, the warlords have agreed to share power in a new Afghan government. But the real question is whether they can refrain from criminality and murderous attacks on each other as soon as the United States and the United Nations loosen their grip on the country. Their record in power, in Kabul from 1992 to 1996 and in northern Afghanistan since 1996, gives little reason for hope.

So the complaint is; even though these murderous scum are behaving under the watchful eye of the US and UN, they really haven't changed their spots. Who's fault is that again?

I won't bother going through the whole thing, suffice it to say that this correspondent can think of nothing that was done properly and can foresee nothing good ahead for the people of Afghanistan. He repeats the usual complaint about the prisoners killed at Mazer-e-Sharif as if it were a slaughter of innocents rather than an act of self-defense. He provides a litany of sins among the new coalition which will come as no shock to anyone. These folks are not the local Rotary Club and anyone who tells you different is a liar.

In other parts of Afghanistan, local farmers -- who had stopped growing opium poppies under the Taliban -- reportedly resumed their poppy cultivation as soon as the Northern Alliance gained control of their regions last month. A surge in heroin production can be expected.

Is this what Washington was fighting for?

No. It isn't and it wasn't. Washington was fighting (and is fighting) against organized terrorists based in Afghanistan. If the Taliban government, that great 'law and order' regime that you miss so much, had co-operated with the US they would still be sitting pretty with all the perks available to them. The daily worship services, the daily beatings of women and other sinners, the occasional trip to the soccer stadium for civic virtue lessons, and the love of idiots around the world.

Well, I'll turn around and pluck a story from Bourque. Here's a very straightforward analysis of the state of the Alliance leadership race. It's rather hardline about rebuffing the PCs but it's hard to argue with the logic.

As Harper is now pointing out, Reform pushed the political agenda in Canada. Reform changed our nation's landscape.

Disastrously, Stockwell Day pulled Reform and the Alliance to a halt.

Those who feel the Alliance can still come to an accommodation with Clark's PCs should be taken by the scruff of the neck and made to remember once again why Manning took on Clark -- why we mustn't now capitulate.

I'm depressed.
Check this out. I scooped Bourque.

UPDATE: Bourque has updated. The link still works but it doesn't work, if you know what I mean. That's the internet for you.


I just love to see Brian Tobin catch hell. It seems that the guy who wants to grow up to be the little guy is not coming through with the bigger, better deal as promised. Current Newfoundland Premier Roger Grimes has some harsh words for Mr. Tobin.

Grimes, who succeeded Tobin as Liberal premier last February, criticized the federal industry minister for failing to persuade cabinet colleagues to change the way Ottawa calculates equalization payments for Atlantic Canada.

"That will rate as the biggest disappointment for me personally and I think for every Newfoundlander and Labradorian from the year 2001," Grimes told radio station VOCM in St. John's.

"Right now there's no sign our federal representatives in the government of Canada, led by minister Tobin, are making any headway or having any success with the large majority the Liberals have in Ottawa. ... They seem to have tuned us out."

Tobin couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

It seems that Tobin, for all his well-hyped influence with da Boss, can't get much satisfaction these days.

Here's a rather pointed comparison of Heather Reisman's business decision with that of a Mr. Brockie, a Toronto Printer, who found himself on the wrong end of a Human Rights decision when he refused to print material for a Gay Rights group. I read over a bit of the Brockie decision and it seems that the Commision would likely argue that no complaint has been made on behalf of Hitler. It would be amusing if a complaint was made because the parallels are hard to ignore.

Both parties made a personal decision about a matter of conscience but Mr. Brockie was told to keep his conscience at home. There's been some outcry about Reisman's decision but certainly no legal attempt to reverse her decision.

Apparently a group of charities share in any royalties that come from sales of Mein Kampf. I wouldn't be expecting a complaint anytime soon. It might be a little hard to solicit donations while involved in a court challenge on behalf of Hitler. I believe that's what they call an optics problem.
A Study recommending electoral reform is discussed in this article. The study itself is available here. I didn't link directly to the study since it's a 47 page PDF document. I don't know about you but I hate PDF documents. I just print them out and read the hard copy because reading them online is near impossible. Anyway, despite that half-hearted endorsement, the link is provided for those who want to torture themselves with PDF.
Concern about Anglophone rights in Quebec Megacities.

"The goal of amalgamation was not to get rid of anglophone cities, but the fact that the Parti Québécois got rid of them was a felicitous by-product, or was collateral damage they were happy to see happen," Peter Trent, the former mayor of Westmount, a predominantly anglophone city founded in 1873, said yesterday.

A brief restatement of the Yves Michaud controversy in Quebec. Apparently it ain't over yet.


I love year-end review pieces - This is the Best of Notable Quotables -- 2001 a review of the greatest hits of the objective media.

My favorite so far...

Bill Maher, host of ABC’s Politically Incorrect: "I do think, if it turns out that this beautiful young girl is gone, I think, and he [Condit] is responsible in some way, you have to look to Ken Starr for a little bit of guilt."

Larry King: "Why?"

Maher: "Because, you know, Ken Starr made it so that you, in the old days, you had an affair with somebody, and you know, okay, you had an affair. The press didn’t report it. They didn’t make a political criminal case of it. Now, it’s almost like you have to get rid of them."

– Exchange on CNN’s Larry King Live, July 27.

Link via Instapundit.
More about Airbus and Ministerial Grades from Peter Carayiannis;

Let's also not forget Chretien keeping that buffoon Colenette in Cabinet.
After botching the Somalia matter beyond reason, Colenette was sent to
Transport Canada in the hopes that he would stay out of trouble. At the
time of his transfer we had the following national airlines (chartered and
1. Air Canada;
2. Canadian;
3. Canada 3000;
4. Air Transat;
5. Royal Airlines; and
6. Skyservice.

Transport Canada, in cooperation with the good people at our Competition
Bureau have seen fit to reduce the number of carriers to 4 - Air Canada,
Royal and Skyservice (I specifically exclude Tango as it is only in business
to drive everybody else of out business). Luckily we have Westjet on the
scene. (Godspeed Westjet)

I believe in free markets and strong economies and I don't mean to minimize
the impact of September 11 on the travel industry...HOWEVER...Colenette
allowed Air Canada to absorb Canadian and Canada 3000 to acquire Royal and
then allowed Air Canada to launch Tango - a cut-rate carrier whose sole
mission in life is to offer predatory prices on routes currently serviced by
the chartered airlines and others such as Westjet. In fact the Comptetition
Bureau issued its opinion of Tango on, if I'm not mistaken (and I stand to
be corrected), the day that Canada 3000's assets were being seized by its
creditors -- and the opinion was that Tango was engaging in predatory
pricing. Still not satisfied that Air Canada is a monopolist acting with
the tacit approval of Transport Canada, the Competition Bureau (and, by
extension, Chretien) -- do you remember Roots Air and what happened to that

(What is the northern equivalent of a banana republic? HA! we're can't
even be that in that we still hold on to the useless monarchy. This country
can be so frustrating.)

I am not 100% certain of the timing of some of the facts I mention above -
but I am certain enough that I don't mind writing this down and exposing
myself to the possibility that somebody might "fact-check" my ass. I may be
off on a few of the details but I defy anybody to defend this government's
record (and the record of Minister Colenette) on the matter of this
country's air travel industry.

A Reader responds to the Airbus comments;

In general, I agree with your position re Airbus and Mr. Mulroney and I also
agree that Mr. Chretien is so fortunate to have followed Mr. Mulroney,
especially given Canada's irrational hatred of the man (he was run out of
office for things like GST and NAFTA and look what the Liberals have done
since then!).

With respect to the Airbus matter, I do not personally believe that Mr.
Mulroney was involved in any shady business dealings but I would point out a
few things. Air Canada was a Boeing company prior to the first Airbus sales
to Air Canada. Airbus did seek to obtain and did in fact obtain commercial
advantage in this country through the use of bribes.

I don't know how to run an airline or how to judge one plane from another.
I do know that British Airways has one of the largest fleets of Boeings on
the planet (have you ever seen the 747's lined up at Heathrow?). If Boeings
are good enough for British Airways (remember that the England is a partner
in Airbus) then they are damn well good enough for Air Canada. Something
stinky happened with the sale of Airbuses to Air Canada. It's too bad that
is falling on Mr. Mulroney when he is likely entirely innocent of the

My opinion, based on both the Kaplan book and my own memory of the events, is that Mulroney didn't get a dime of any alleged kickbacks. But, I'm not a complete innocent and I would not be incredulous if that opinion was proven false. However, if you can't find the evidence in seven YEARS of trying, you ought to pack up your tents and admit that no evidence exists. This ongoing investigation is nothing more or less than a publicly-funded, marathon smear campaign and 'fair-minded' Canadians ought to be screaming blue murder that this crap is allowed to continue.
Charles Tupper & Robert Toms have been kind enough to include me in a conversation that arose from Mr. Toms' comments posted here a few weeks ago. I've been meaning to post these discussions on my own site but I see that Charles has done so on his site. Interesting reading.
I got quite a scolding for my hesitancy about attacking Iraq a week or so back...

I thought you would have heard by now that Iraq is not exactly a friendly
government and Sadam would love nothing better than to do as much or more
damage to the US as his pal OBL did. And by the way this would also apply
to Britain, Germany, France and yes even meek and mild little Canada too.
Guess where the chemical capital of the world is, a hint, it's not

I am aware that Iraq is not the new Disneyworld but I was expressing the opinion that making Iraq the next target of the roving war seemed to be more about what happened in the past rather than what is the most immediate threat for the future. I linked a map of the possible locations for the next stage of the action a couple days ago. According to my reading, Iraq is not the predominate threat to US interests at this time, so I question why they would be the next target. It's understandable that the US harbours a grudge against Iraq but I don't think vendettas are necessarily the best advisors. It seems to me that there is a much stronger case for focusing on the Philippines or Somalia.

At the beginning of this exercise Bush announced to the world that this was
a war on terrorism, not on Bin Laden, not on Afghanistan, not on any
particular country or religion or anything else but a war on terrorism,
Sadam is brewing up chemicals such as Anthrax and other worse ones as
quickly as he can and he will use them in a minute given the opportunity.
Would you prefer that we wait for him to deploy them and kill thousands or
tens of thousands before we clean up that mess too? Iraq supported OBL as
much as any other country and while I don't know that he has made his way
there yet I feel quite confident in saying that Sadam would shelter him if
he does manage to get to Iraq.

I certainly don't think we should be ignoring Iraq, and I didn't mean to suggest it.

Of course the we in the previous paragraph is the US since our pathetic
excuse for a government seems unable or unwilling to stop skating around in
circles on every issue... Ottawa's military strategy is to obfuscate until
it is too late and then proudly proclaim how we support the US and Britain.

No argument here...
Happy New Year - let's hope for a less eventful 2002

There's an old Chinese curse that goes; 'May you live in interesting times.' It certainly seems that we were suffering under that curse in the last year and all indications are that we will continue to be cursed in 2002.

My only resolution this year ( the same one I make every year) is to quit procrastinating. With that in mind, I'll respond to some email before cracking any new topics.


I've redeemed myself a little bit after that shameful 46% in world history. There's a 2001 year in review quiz at the CBC site and I scored 19/22 (or 86%) on that one. There's an international quiz as well, if I don't report my mark here within a few minutes you can assume that I bombed it.

UPDATE I got a 92.9% on the international quiz which is not as impressive as it sounds. It's only 14 questions and it's considerably dumbed down from the Canadian Quiz - 'What sport does Venus Williams play?' D'uh!

You know what's weird though? Over 11,000 people have done the international quiz but just over 1000 people have done the Canadian quiz. Kinda sad. Even Canadians are not that interested in Canada.

Questions about the relationship between the RCMP and the Liberals here.

Opposition parties yesterday called on Parliament to restore the integrity of the RCMP, alleging that the relationship between senior Mounties and the Liberals appears to have grown too close.

The allegation drew a strong rebuke from Herb Gray, the Deputy Prime Minister and a former solicitor-general, who told the National Post that the RCMP remains a neutral police force, free of political interference.

It seems like the opposition is simply trying to raise the question for public consumption because the real odds of getting an admission of bias from the RCMP are about 1 in 300,000,000,000. Still, the article does make some interesting links between the ongoing Airbus investigation and other examples of perceived Liberal interference going right back to APEC.

Mr. MacKay, a former Crown prosecutor, said he was surprised Commissioner Zaccardelli attended a Christmas party at the home of a senior U.S. Embassy official where he had his arms around Françoise Ducros, the PMO communications director.

Check out this Allan Fotheringham column for details about the holiday hugging. You have to scroll to the bottom of the piece. Frank Magazine made mention of the love as well.