2/09/2002

The Canadian Press is reporting on that Liberal Membership spat. Sure enough, Alan Rock is one of the more prominent people quoted in the story;

"I would think any democratic Liberal would be offended by this," said Rock. He also said the amendment violated the spirit of the original recommendation. ... "It strikes a blow at the heart of the Liberal party," said Rock, speaking publicly on the issue for the first time.

Now I'm not cheering on dirty dealings here and I do think that limiting membership in Canada's only fully-functional political party is anti-democratic. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying this backbiting.

Richard Nixon used to say that ''Character is Destiny." Of course, Nixon's story was a tragedy whereas this play is a farce.



Deal's Off!



Warren Kinsella just sent me a note saying that the Paul Martin supporters within the Liberal Party have just reneged on the deal made last week to settle the membership dispute.

Warren sounds a little steamed;

"This is political racial profiling. A powerful group of lobbyists and hacks are trying to keep out Canadians who don't look, or think like them. And it's not just a repudiation of what the Liberal Party has always been. It's a repudiation of the deal these people made in Ottawa just seven days ago."

"It testifies to one of two things: one, their candidate or cause isn't as strong as they claim, so they're trying to rig the rules to keep out other challengers. Or, two, they're reckless, and they're prepared to sacrifice the Liberal Party on the altar of their own ambition. Either way, it's a goddamned disgrace, and we intend to fight back, hard."


Sounds pretty interesting, I'll see what else I can find out.

Not a lot more to report; Pierre Bourque has some more details at his site. It seems that the Martin faction is dragging their feet on issuing membership forms until they're provided with names and addresses of potential new Liberals. Paul Wells had a column about this battle a couple of days ago which made the point that this is less a battle between Chretien and Martin than a battle between Martin & the other leadership candidates. This latest skirmish would tend to support that view; Kinsella is now part of Allan Rock's leadership team and it's no secret that the 'racial profiling' charge is a reference to Rock supporters in the Sikh community. I thought I had made mention of the 'racial componant' of the battle a few weeks back but I can't find the reference right now. I have to organize all my back issues somehow.

2/08/2002

An Open Letter to Ivan Grose and Joe Volpe, Disgruntled Benchwarmers

Dear Ivan and Joe,

I've been reading today about your dissatisfaction with your lot in life. I understand that you and some of your unnamed colleagues are feeling under-utilized in the Chretien government. They're saying that you guys want to call it a game after two weeks back on the hill. You're bored and feeling neglected. Joe says, "Maybe it's time we took a break, refocused our attention, set an agenda, and engaged every MP in its realization."

Well, Joe, we really are trying to understand your feelings but, would it be insensitive to point out that you just had a six week break? One and a half months to recharge and refocus. And Joe, without discounting your own perceptions, I think your electors sent you to do a job for them without expecting some prima Donna bullshit about "what's my motivation, here?" You're not an overpaid professional hockey player and you're not some pampered Hollywood starlet, Joe. You're a politician, and your role is to go to Ottawa and represent your constituents and your motivation is $130,000 per annum plus gold-plated perks out the wazoo. It would be nice if you were motivated by some sense of civic duty, some noble urge to make a positive contribution to the society that is feeding you so well. Perhaps you might be motivated by a vision of a more equitable society. But, even in the absence of all of those intangibles, there's still the money. And decent money it is, Joe.

And Ivan, poor under challenged Ivan, he complains that "We're not achieving much. Part of it is due to the tight control (of the PMO), but part of it is due to the opposition. There isn't one ... and that's an unhealthy situation."

You know Ivan, when I was a young fellow, bored and irritable on a long drive, my Mother would urge me to use my imagination. I think that's good advice, Ivan and I offer it to you. Imagine what you could do if you initiated some change instead of complaining about the lack of change. Imagine taking a principled stand for something you value instead of complaining that nobody is giving you your marching orders. Imagine yourself, as a member of the government, acting in the interest of the country rather than the interest of your political party. Can you picture it, Ivan?

I suppose that's an unfair question. In fact, it's pretty unfair that I am scolding Ivan and Joe at all when they are 'brave' Liberal backbenchers who will allow their names to be used. Better I should direct my ire at those cowardly little backbenchers who haven't got the minimal courage required to defend such minimalist convictions. Speak! You anonymous Liberal ingrates and let us hear of your discontents.

"Just add it all up -- everybody's pissed off and they want to go home," said an Ontario MP.

An Ontario MP, you say? I'm surprised he (or she) had the nerve to allow themselves to be pinned down as to location. After all, there are only 100 Ontario Liberal MPs and it's likely that 25 of those can be ruled out immediately. You brave, anonymous little field mouse. Don't get caught out in the open like that.

Here's another voice from deep in the back of the room; "We're not playing hockey. We're in penalty-killing mode. Let's call the game right now and start over again so we can re-energize people," said one MP.

Another sporting analogy. I guess an appeal to imagination is wasted on these poor sods.

"It's not a happy place."

Well shucks. Excuse me while I wring out my hankie. You say you haven't been told what to think. You say there's nothing to do. You say the opposition isn't even there to keep you honest. And you say you'd rather go home right now instead of staying in Ottawa trying to keep up the laughable pretence that you even give a shit? It's just too much effort to keep slapping on that happy face and getting screwed over day in and day out? Cry me a river, assholes. You bunch of cowards and kiss-asses are the only people in this godforsaken country who actually have it within their power to do something about this mess and your crying to the papers that you 'wanna go home.'

You have the nerve to complain about the bargain you've made? You are only complaining about the lack of busywork because you haven't the nerve or the imagination to do something meaningful with the power you've got. You are courtiers and sycophants and the last thing you want is time to think about what you've traded for the privileges you enjoy. Relax guys. Jean Chretien is nothing if not pragmatic, he'll send you all home with a pat on the back and an empty promise in the ear. You can all scurry off to your individual ponds and feel that self-pity and doubt fade away in a round of ribbon-cuttings and photo-ops. See y'all back here in the fall, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take one for the team.
From a Globe & Mail editorial.

Well, there's one thing you can say for Jean Chrétien. No, we take it back. There isn't.


Paul Wells lays a royal beating on the Bloc.

At a meeting of House leaders yesterday, Ralph Goodale, the Liberal House leader, sought unanimous consent from his colleagues in other parties to send off the tribute on the day of Queen Elizabeth II's half-century anniversary as Queen of Canada.

The Bloc said no.


The Bloc's absentee boss, Bernard Landry, always insists that once Quebec joins the "concert of nations," it will show proper respect to every other nation. One assumes this includes the nation Mr. Landry likes to call "our Canadian friends," as well as Great Britain, one of Quebec's greatest trading partners and an ancestral homeland to millions of her residents, anglophone and francophone.

While they await sovereignty, though, the Bloquistes can show Quebec's neighbours no such common courtesy.


Wells also raps the other opposition parties for jumping up like naughty children and loudly proclaiming their innocence when reference was made to the 'opposition' refusing consent for the tribute. Sadly, it's true. For a brief period yesterday it seemed that our MP's had launched an impromptu revival of Leave it to Beaver.




Norman Mailer is an Ornery old Cuss.




Mailer is not averse to throwing the first punch. With a mischievous smile, he says: "The Right wing benefited so much from September 11 that, if I were still a conspiratorialist, I would believe they'd done it."


Link via Arts & Letters Daily



2/07/2002

I haven't commented on the Enron story all that much. In fact I rarely comment on matters outside of Canada. It's not that I'm not interested, it's just that there are all kinds of knowledgeable people writing about these events from a more informed vantage point. I did come across a great article about it though and I think you might like it too. This is from Ted Barlow's weblog which is highly recommended by me.
The real scandal here is not what was illegal, but what was legal. Enron didn't pay any taxes for four out of the last five years- legally. Enron operated in a regulatory black hole which it bought and paid for, legally. It was "audited" by the same company that it paid millions in consultancy fees- legal. (Did you see that Enron actually fired Arthur Anderson today? Satire has become impossible.) It kept billions in debts off the books, legally. It prevented its employees from selling their stock legally. Enron bought extensive access to the Bush administration and wrote huge portions of the energy bill, all legally.

Follow the link, it's a great site.
My friend Cyn, sent me this comment about Randal Dooley and what the media should do...

I agree, to an extent, about the overwrought, excruciating level of detail some of these reporters feel the need to take us to, but on the other hand, I can also see what they are attempting to do with it, regardless of why some people like to read it. I remember feeling the same horror you are experiencing when the details about the crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer were coming out. I felt it was yet another violation of his victims, to have their last horrible moments revealed, every torturous humiliation was exposed, their very innards spread out for the world to gape at. I felt so ... *hurt* for their families, seeing this panoramic view of their loved ones' anguish on every channel, in every newspaper, all with the same voyeuristic tone. It *was* sickening, just as this case is, and I strongly felt that most of it was completely unnecessary. Except one truly sickening, truly evil story that changed my mind.

There was a young Asian boy, Konerak Sinthasomphone. I know you remember the story, how could anyone forget it? He escaped from Dahmer, and was even picked up by police, who cheerfully returned him to Jeffrey, assuming that the naked, bleeding teenager had run away from a lover's quarrel. Of course, Jeffrey killed him, violated him yet again, dismembered him, etc. The point is-- who on earth would have thought that's what would happen? Why would you think that? People don't *do* that.

Just the same, why would you assume that the odd bruises on the neighbour child's arms came from being restrained with bungee cords? Do you think to yourself, "I bet that child is being systematically tortured at home" when one of your kids' playmates shows up with more typical kid-like scuff marks than usual? No, you don't. You might suspect something is wrong, but your first impulse is not to think "This child's parents are going to kill him one day." No one else's is either. All those people who saw the signs of abuse and did nothing were reacting according to their experience of humanity-- parents don't torture and kill their children. They just don't; sure, maybe weird people in horror movies and people you don't know, but not, you know, *people*.

The point is, now you know they do, exactly, explicitly. This is a part of your experience of humanity. People *do* this. That weird mark? On the neighbour kid's arm? Maybe he fell down. Maybe he didn't. When you consider that maybe Dad grabbed his arm a bit too hard during a scolding, you probably wouldn't do much about it even still. But if you consider that maybe Dad tied him to his bunk bed and beat him severely for hours, you might. You might call Social Services, and they might look more closely now, too, now that our experience of humanity includes monsters in close proximity, just as real as you or I.

Yeah, I know, all this seems to be a bit like advocating hysteria and paranoia, and I'm really not, but the reason for the "pornography" seems clear to me. They want to make it real to you, even realer than real. They want to let you know that some people *do* this stuff, so you, and everyone else, won't be so quick to dismiss your fears when a child really is at risk.





What is the CBC doing with your money?



Giving it to Larry Zolf.

What do they get in return?

This...

The Chrétien Liberals should conscript the Canadian Alliance en masse as a special peacekeeping unit in Afghanistan. That Alliance peacekeeping unit could exchange views on abortion, divorce and gay rights with the remnants of the Taliban still left in Kabul and the surrounding mountains.

If the peacekeeping Alliance contingent in Afghanistan should not prove to be sufficient, then how about conscripting the Sun newspaper chain's reporters and writers, all forever ferociously outraged at Canada's woeful defence and peacekeeping postures. With the Alliance and the jingo press busy keeping the peace in Afghanistan, temper tantrums over peacekeeping and the Canadian identity are bound to cool domestically, and quickly.

Then once again we can all go back to calling Canada – the Peaceable Kingdom.


Doesn't it just warm your heart to know that this smug old bigot is still sucking back your tax dollars. Don't you love the fact that those pampered, liberal Friends of the CBC can read that shiite and come away with a warm glow about how enlightened and tolerant and wise they are. They get it, you know. Unlike you crude working people, they grasp the importance of hating others with a little style, a certain élan. If you wrap that delicious, dry, bigotry in reams and reams of highbrow allusions and wordy, self-assured, namedropping then the plebes will never even understand how deftly they have been skewered on your rapier wit, your subtle but enormous disdain for 'those people'.

David Janes also alerted me to this hilarious story.

At least three members of the Edmonton Edible Ballot Society have been charged with eating their ballots in the last federal election. The charges follow a year-long investigation by Elections Canada into the groups' culinary activities.

Think of this. Elections Canada spent a year investigating a fricking political protest. If this isn't protected free speech then I don't know what the hell free speech is...
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Section 2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication


I don't think it could be much clearer. This is a pretty funny example of an attitude that is not funny at all - the attitude that the government and the people are separate. The principle that government is the representative of the people seems to be getting lost. Any argument that destroying the ballot is destruction of private property is completely specious and I can't think of any other argument that they could make. It is absurd that Elections Canada would try to claim ownership of the ballot - the ballot is both a symbol and a physical tool which belongs, in both senses, to the voter.




I got a bit of feedback on that 'pornography' post of a couple of days ago...

David Janes points out that Blatchford also went a little overboard on the Bernardo case.

Rick Glasel wrote :
You raise a valid point about voyeuristic journalists and sensational child abuse cases. The journalists give it so much ink because most people are absolutely fascinated by it, but the lives of a lot of people get destroyed. On the other hand, I really believe that we are in the midst of a horrific scandal involving child welfare agencies right across the country. It is really frightening to see the human debris that results from social engineering experiments carried out by presumably well-meaning social workers. It's not a lack of manpower, it's a mind set that assumes that everyone is dysfunctional, and the state has to be every child's surrogate parent from birth until the age of majority, when the state just washes its hands and drops all intervention and support. The current system and programs don't work at all, and the response is to just do more of the same. I won't give specifics, but once Social Services or Family Services or whatever agency has responsibility gets involved in the life of a child, that child's life might as well be over. It's like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, no one ever gets better. Ask a social worker how many success stories he or she has. I don't have the answers, but there is a huge problem here, and someone is going to have to pay the piper one of these days.


Charles Tupper Jr. tore a strip off of me...
It saddens and disappoints me to read your post on the death of Randal Dooley. Christie Blatchford, to her credit, has written much about the failure not only of the Child Protection Agencies, but also those groups entrusted with the care of the disabled and the elderly with an insightfulness that is uncanny for one who does not traverse these worlds everyday. It is simply callus, myopic and self-serving to describe the brutality, horror, loneliness, and despair; the crushing, ineluctable despair that this poor child felt, and her description of it, as pornographic.

To use your words, quite frankly I am sickened and horrified by the self-righteous, sanctimonious superciliousness of Canadians who haughtily extol the virtues of a kindler, gentler Canadian social justice yet bellyache profusely when they are splattered with the hideous excretion when the pustules of this grand social scheme are burst.

This is not about slasher movies this is about a social conscience. This is about being responsible for your actions or inactions. This is about the very fabric of our society and its willingness to forget despair, and to let those responsible for it go unpunished. It is about a society and its institutions that are burdened by hopelessness, who have no time for desperation and misery because it is vulgar and offends our sweet gentility.

This is not revel, no one is celebrating, and it is not bacchanalian. This is brutality and terror in its most evil form. Both those who perpetrate and harbour it are our enemies.


I guess I'm not making my objection clear enough; I'm not asking that child abuse be swept under the rug and I'm not trying to use the issue to beat some ideological drum. I'm simply saying that ghoulish journalism doesn't serve anyone's interests. My opinion of the CAS is that it has been guilty of bad judgment in the past but it is a sadly necessary agency. It seems to me that all the political wrangling over this agency has made it a tentative and ineffective protector of children. You get children abducted from their loving and careful parents (for blatantly political purposes) on the one hand, yet you have a whole team of impotent but 'concerned' people who watched this child be beat to death over a period of months. Wringing their hands, expressing their concerns, feeling genuine anguish over the situation but doing nothing to stop it. I don't give a shit what your precious sensibilities tell you about the interventionist state or personal freedoms; when you see a kid in danger of his life, you shut your mouth and act to protect that child. All the rest of it is nothing but mouth noises.

Anyway. I don't mean to go off an a rant. It's very easy for me to lecture these strangers about what they should have done. But again, what is the point? It's just self-serving rhetoric, I have to agree with Charles about that. In fact, that is my entire point about Blatchford and the rest of the media crew. ( About Blatchford; I agree that she is an outstanding columnist. One of the best individual voices writing in Canada today. I just think she's gone off the rails on this one. I only single her out because she stands head and shoulders above the other journalists writing on this topic.) If the focus of the reporting was on exactly how and why the system failed this kid then I would be cheering loudly. But the focus is on the mechanics of abuse and torture and, really, who is served by that? It seems to me that this sensational reporting is just another indignity perpetrated on this kid - the fact that it's done to sell soap (In Izzy Asper's infamous phrase) makes it truly obscene.




2/06/2002

You had to know I would come back to that Grand-Mere item. Here I was singing the blues about the lack of news just yesterday and I skimmed right over the big news of today; lumping it in with a couple of other convenient changes announced today. Without further ado, here's my paranoid reading of this latest development.

The first thing to notice is that there is nothing new here. There are new details about what happened in the past but no new statements by the RCMP, the statement that calls the document a forgery was made way back on Dec 12th.

The RCMP has concluded that a Business Development Bank of Canada loan document leaked to the National Post and others in April, 2001, was "altered and falsified," according to a sworn affidavit the police used to raid the Montreal home of the bank's former president.

The conclusion, outlined by RCMP Constable Roland Gallant in an affidavit dated Dec. 12, 2001, contradicts remarks by the RCMP to the Post in early December to the effect that, after an eight-month probe, it could not determine whether the leaked document was a forgery.


The RCMP affidavit states the leaked document is indeed a forgery.

So the question is; what new information was obtained between December 1st and December 12th of 2001? It's a good question but there are no answers in this story.

Mr. Beaudoin, who is locked in a bitter civil court battle with the BDC over his departure from the bank in September, 1999, has denied any wrongdoing and has called for a public inquiry into the Grand-Mère Inn loan affair.

The computer and related materials seized in the December RCMP raid have since been returned, a lawyer for Mr. Beaudoin said.


The fact that the 'computer and related materials' have been returned certainly leads to the conclusion that the RCMP does not consider them evidence of any criminal activity. The National Post piece then goes into some detail about the three claims made on the sworn affidavit.

First is the obvious - the leaked version and the official version 'differ.'

Second, Const. Gallant states the BDC had a list of unpaid accounts amassed by the Grand-Mère Inn in 1997 before it secured its BDC loan, which was used to pay all those unpaid bills and expand the inn.

The list of unpaid accounts was supplied by Jacques St. Louis, a Shawinigan accountant who did the books for the inn. It was reviewed by Louis Cayer, an assistant vice-president of credit, and no debt to the Chrétien company -- "JAC Consultants" -- is on that list, the RCMP officer states.


How much suspicion is enough, do you think? Do you think a person should be suspicious that the quoted "JAC Consultants" is not the legal name of Chretien's company? I believe it is 'J&AC Consultants' but I'll have to double-check. Would the BDC be shifty enough to use the discrepancy between "JAC" and "J&AC" as a loophole? Supposing that the BDC is that shifty, would the RCMP be relying on the BDC's word when framing an affidavit or would they demand to look at the documents themselves? I'm not saying that this is necessarily a fudging of the record but the use of the quotes around that name surely raises some questions. In fairness, I'm sure that the Post intended that those questions be raised. Where the quotation marks used in the affidavit or where they used by the National Post? It was the disputed footnote that got the name wrong in the first place so it's possible that the RCMP was framing the statement in good faith. I'm paranoid but I'm not a complete conspiracy theorist.

The third point in the affidavit concerns Mr. Beaudin's opportunity to copy files and documents from the BDC database. Nothing really surprising about that since all BDC employees had that same access.

Nobody from the BDC checked the hard drive of the Powerbook to remove any BDC information on it when Mr. Beaudoin left his job in 1999 and kept the machine under his employment termination agreement, the affidavit states.

Prior to the Dec. 13 raid by the RCMP, the Powerbook might still have contained "information belonging to the bank," Const. Gallant said.


I love that part. "We forgot to follow the most basic security procedures at the time that he left, therefore we require the RCMP to raid his home and do it for us now."

Then follows a number of details about who viewed the documents and when they saw them... I presume that it all comes from the affidavit but I confess that I find it a little unclear.

For instance;

Ms. Bergeron, who signed the loan approval document, two months later gave the RCMP a signed statement, but no details were provided of what she said.

Is that something that was included in the affidavit or not? What is the relevance? It's all kind of confusing but I don't think there is anything here that is very conclusive.

One thing that is kind of interesting though. The Commissioner said this on January 4th in an interview with the Post;

Commissioner Zaccardelli said the RCMP is not involved in or even interested in the civil dispute between the BDC and Mr. Beaudoin. "We have no interest in any civil litigation that may flow from any investigation that we undertake," he said. "We don't get involved in civil disputes."

What makes this interesting is the fact that the RCMP filed a criminal charge against Francois Beaudoin on December 5th, 2001 concerning an alleged fraud of $13,000 for a golf membership. This came 4 days after the RCMP had tried to wash it's hands of this whole mess on Dec. 1. and only one day after this exchange in the House of Commons.

Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the Business Development Bank of Canada have worked for the past eight months to prove to the RCMP that indeed the document was a forgery. They have been unable to convince the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Will the Prime Minister admit either that he was in a conflict of interest or bring forward the necessary documents that will prove his version of the story?

Hon. Herb Gray (Deputy Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is one of the basic principles of Canadian and British justice that those who assert must prove. It is not up to the Prime Minister to prove that he was acting in the right way, although in fact he was. It is up to the hon. member and those who have these fanciful, wrong allegations to bring forward their evidence.

The hon. member is wrong. The RCMP has not found any wrongdoing.


So my questions are; Why did the RCMP file a criminal charge against Beaudin - a charge that arose from a 'civil dispute' - based on a question of interpretation on a fringe benefit, a discrepancy that amounted to $13,000 over a period of seven years and was not even identified until an audit almost three years later? If the BDC has an active civil dispute with Mr. Beaudin, why could this additional allegation not have been included in that statement of claim?

I suggested months ago that Chretien had ordered this 'investigation' to continue and I am more convinced then ever that this is the case. It certainly seems to me that this criminal charge is additional cover for the PM. It won't be long before the PM or one of his minions will be asked about this matter again and I guarantee the answer will be "We can not comment on an active criminal investigation."


P.S. I realize that this post rambles all over like a drunk on a waterbed. I've written it in snatches of five and ten minutes over the course of the entire day... I really should polish it up before posting but, instead, I offer this coherence disclaimer.

P.P.S... If you don't read this - it means I've fixed it and any remaining incoherence is genuine incoherence.











2/05/2002

Montreal Newspaper Guild files grievance on Gazette "Advisory" memorandum.
Poor John Manley. Watch the Scrums if you get a chance tonight, CPAC reruns the highlights in the evenings and this little glimpse will definitely be a highlight. Here's Manley, the head of the Triumvirate, with Bill Graham very close on his left side and Art Eggleton very close on his right. It looks like Chretien must have picked up the phone and laid down the law, 'keep those assholes away from the media til I get back!' So Manley leads them out to the scrums almost literally holding their hands. They looked like three guys in one suit!

The problem is that the Three Amigos have been going off message lately. One loves the Geneva convention, one just want's to be friends, and one is leafing through his little black book saying " is that Geneva with a G or Geneva with a K ?"

Don't ask me which is which because, frankly, I can't keep up with these guys. Slapstick humour is great but you don't want to intellectualize the stuff or you lose the joy of it.

They were jammed in together looking like Larry, Daryl and Daryl. True to those roles; Manley (Larry) did 98% of the talking, Eggleton (Daryl 1) pipes up at the end with an assurance that they are all in agreement, and Graham (Daryl 2) says nothing but nods knowingly throughout this brief, painful interlude. High Comedy. Manley, at one point, says that 'no further prisoners have been taken' and gives a look to Eggleton that would make Lucille Ball cheer. It speaks volumes about how much he's enjoying the Deputy PM gig so far and Eggleton's quick, obsequious response is textbook 'second banana.'

CPAC is the best entertainment going these days.
Some Numbers

It's been 66 days since the RCMP stated that they could not confirm or deny a forgery in the BDBC document case.

It's been 54 days since the RCMP raided Francois Beaudin's house and seized his laptop computer.

It's been 32 days since the RCMP Commissioner characterized the ongoing investigation as ' very active.'

Number of public statements or media references concerning this investigation since Jan 4/02 --- 0

Serendipity update;

I caught the last part of Question Period today. One of the last questions asked was kind of interesting...

Peter McKay (Conservative MP), just asked Allan Rock (Liberal MP, Minister of Industry) if he could assure the House that Jean Carle (Former and Future Member of the Liberal Party Goon Squad) did not participate in any destruction or alteration of documents at the Business Development Bank which related to the allegedly forged documents. Rock declined to answer, saying that he would 'look into it and answer later if he had anything to report.'








There are no links in this post. There is something that has been bothering me for the past week or so and I'm not even sure how to approach it, or even if I should approach it at all. The topic is child abuse and the media's reporting on child abuse. Anyone who reads the papers regularly will know of the case of Randal Dooley, a seven year old Toronto boy who was tortured and killed by his own family ('allegedly', you always have to say allegedly). The Sun newspapers and Christie Blatchford of the National Post have been following the legal proceedings closely - far too closely as far as I am concerned. I'm very big on free speech and I would never suggest that they should not have the right to report on the details of the case but I really think that Blatchford and the Sun newspapers have been engaging in a form of pornography in the last few weeks. The public has a right to know, and the media has a duty to report, that this little boy was beaten and abused and eventually - inevitably - murdered. It's important to know that the Children's Protection Agencies failed horribly in this case. But, quite frankly, I am sickened and horrified by the excessive zeal with which Blatchford and the Sun have repeated every heart wrenching, stomach-turning detail. Most uses of the term 'pornography' center around sexuality but, it seems to me that detailed narratives about torture and extreme cruelty - especially when directed against a child - should be defined as pornography as well. It's an appeal to prurient interest - we read it and feel that thrill of revulsion, the same cheap thrill we buy at slasher movies - but this is more repellant because it is the packaging and marketing of real horror, real torture. It's a genuine 'snuff' piece in your morning newspaper.

It's disgusting.

I'm sure that the Reporters on this case would reply that they are only trying to raise awareness. It's true that we do need to face our own failings, both institutional and personal, so that the fact of cruelty is not denied or diminished. But as detail follows detail, week after week, story after story, there comes a point when you are no longer reporting on cruelty, you are reveling in it. I think that the press has gone beyond that point - this is pornography now.


2/04/2002

This HAS TO BE WRONG!!!


Mike Duffy is saying that Chretien may suspend Parliament within the next '4 to 5' weeks.

The move would end the current session, but would not dissolve Parliament. It would allow the Liberals to prepare a new legislative agenda.

"It would give the government the opportunity to start all over again with a whole new, fresh approach later in the spring, setting out a new course for the Chretien administration," CTV's Mike Duffy says.

"The move would get MPs back into their ridings and not sitting around [Ottawa], moaning that they didn't get into the federal cabinet or talking about leadership or any of the other things that are preoccupying members of the causus in the last little while," Duffy says.

As well, a number of by-elections need to be held to replace departing MPs, such as Alfonso Gagliano, Herb Gray, and Preston Manning.


If this is the agenda, you'll see all current legislation pushed through the house in record time. The Liberal's invoked time allocation on a bill today come to think of it.

I'm suspending judgment for now but ... could they really be this brazen?

Update: Here's a bad omen... The notices of Vacancies for By-Elections have just been filed. Here's the procedure as outlined by the Chief Electoral Officer.

Under subsection 31(1) of the Parliament of Canada Act, the writ for a by-election must be issued between the 11th day and the 180th day after the Chief Electoral Officer is informed of a vacancy. The Chief Electoral Officer issues the writ, but he does not select the date the writ is issued or polling day. Within the period during which the writ must be issued, the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, issues an order which sets the date on which the writ must be issued by the Chief Electoral Officer and the date for polling day (s. 57, Canada Elections Act). The minimum election period is 36 days.


The last of the 5 Vacancy notices was received Feb 1st. Poor old Preston was barely out the door when the Liberals hustled down to the fax machine, it seems. This means that the by-elections could be announced as soon as Feb 12th and the Elections could take place anywhere between March 25th and some Monday in June or July. Why bother with the math? They'll do it whenever they think the time is most advantageous. It sure seems like they'd like to announce as quickly as possible, some bells and whistles to cover their tracks as they slink out of town again. These bastards just keep sinking to new lows... Six days back in the house and they are plotting their escape again.

How stupid are we to allow this?

I'm not sure I believe this will happen just yet. But these By-election notices - less than an hour old - don't cheer me up very much.









Democracy Watch issued a Press Release one week ago today...

Democracy Watch questions the following activities of the Ethics Counsellor:

- None of the Ethics Counsellor's investigation reports in 2001 have been tabled in Parliament, as required under section 10.5 of the LRA;
- The Ethics Counsellor's Annual Report to Parliament for 2000-2001 concerning the Lobbyists' Code of Conduct claims that he has only three complaints filed during the year that were still to be ruled on, when in fact he has five outstanding complaints from 2000-2001;
- In addition to being poorly organized, the Ethics Counsellor's website does not include rulings he made in February 2000, April 2001, August 2001, and early November 2001, but does include a ruling he made in late November 2001 for a Senator who is not even covered by federal ethics rules.


If anyone saw this mentioned in the papers please give me a holler... I'd hate to claim it got no coverage whatever but my reading and my searches have come up blank so far.

Follow The Money...

if you have a strong stomach.

Two federal departments boosted funding to Montreal's Just For Laughs festival last year, including one cash increase just before the festival hired Jean Carle, a long-time friend of the Prime Minister, and a rare retroactive grant that came a few months after he arrived.

Documents obtained by The Globe and Mail show that Public Works Canada swiftly doubled its sponsorship to the Montreal comedy festival in mid-July last year, while the event was already under way. The festival announced at the end of July that it was hiring Mr. Carle as vice-president and chief of operations.

Mr. Carle is quite the ubiquitous fellow; he first came to public attention throwing his weight around during the APEC debacle. After helping run interference for the PM on the Grand Mere file, delivering talking points to the BDC from the PMO, Carle made a career change. Where would you expect to see this political flunky turn up? Surprise surprise, he ends up with a Vice-President position at the Business Development Bank of Canada despite a pronounced lack of banking experience, any business background or even a university degree. It's unclear what Jean Carle did at the BDC, some folks believe that he was Chretien's inside guy on the Grand-Mere file but, how would you know? Not to worry though, Carle apparently didn't take to the banking life, he left after less than three years, with a nice little parachute, and signed on with 'Just For Laughs'.

And the money pours in...

The department of Canadian Heritage more than tripled its funding to Just For Laughs last year. Canadian Heritage had awarded $100,000 to the festival's 2000 edition, but the amount went up to $375,000 last summer.

Of that money, documents show that $175,000 for a pan-Canadian comedy tour came out of so-called special authorities, money transfers that require special approval by the Minister because they do not fall under a specific program.

In addition, Ms. Copps approved the final component of last year's financing, a $100,000 grant to the festival's improvisation competition, last November, or almost four months after the event had been held.

Documents obtained under the Access to Information Act show that bureaucrats struggled to find a program under which to fund the project.


That's right people. The biggest problem that bureaucrats had was coming up with a plausible excuse for shoveling your money into the pockets of Jean Carle's newest associates. Doesn't it make you proud?



Lots of traffic this morning from Overlawyered.Com which has picked up that item about the fellow in Winnipeg who finds 'Stop' signs ambiguous. I've no idea how they stumbled upon it a full month later but I'm pleased to have the company. Overlawyered also informs me that copyright issues are getting lots of play in the US and in Australia.

2/03/2002

I sent an email to the CBC about an interview I saw on Saturday Report. Posting your own email is kinda lame but it's either that or an extremely bad-tempered rant about Idiot Politicians and the Rock Stars who Love Them.

Chretien held a private half-hour chat with Bono. It was the third such meeting between the two since Bono took up the cause of Third World debt relief.

"These Canadian politicians keep taking the lead on issues that really concern us," explained Bono.

"It's just great to have the prime minister actually walk like he talks (on the issue)," said Bono.


If Chretien walked like he talks he'd have to be wheeled around in a shopping cart.

So here's the email... I better go to bed before my bad temper starts showing.

Everybody knows that the CBC is not balanced. It's a matter of faith among all but the most partisan, that the Canadian Alliance, indeed any conservative viewpoint, will not be given a fair hearing on the National. Still, a person has to occasionally raise an objection to the worst offences, if only to test his flagging capacity for outrage, and this particular interview merits some comment.

Mr. Jaffer for the prosecution.
Mr. Pratt for the defence.
Mr. Chin as Judge Dredd.

Mr. Pratt; yadda yadda yadda, it's no big deal... "The fact remains that nothing hung on this information. It was important information but it was not critical information. Our policy with respect to the taking of prisoners had been well established and had been enunciated by the Minister a couple of weeks ago at the joint committee involving Foreign Affairs and Defense."

Viewer perks up, "what's that?, sounds like a huge, whopping untruth by Mr. Pratt." Viewer stops leafing through magazine and gives full attention to droning voices on the television. After all, the whole controversy was launched because Mr. Chretien had called the issue of prisoners "hypothetical" - indeed the entire thrust of Mr. Chretien's response was that no determination had yet been made. And yet Mr. Pratt has just piously declared that the policy had been well established weeks in advance of the events in question. The Viewer actually drops his magazine, could this be an actual feeling of anticipation for what comes next? This is drama, this is excitement, this is TV worth watching.

Let's see what happens next...

Mr. Pratt: "...And so nothing really critical hung on this. I think it's important to put it, to get the information from the Minister and then to put this issue behind us because I think there are more important things to deal with, quite frankly."

Mr. Chin makes like he's about to speak, Viewer leans forward, anticipating a supplementary question that enlightens, challenges, clarifies or does something, dammit! Something to suggest that he understands, on some level, that his interviewee has just contradicted the Prime Minister's version of events on national television, coast to coast, and bold as brass.

Mr. Chin says...

"Rahim Jaffer, from the government said there are a lot of arguments and look, it was a mistakes. Mistakes are made. You certainly know something about making mistake in a political spotlight."

JAFFER: "Sure."

CHIN: "Does this really rise to the level of, you know, having to be removed from the job or having to step down?"

Viewer utters a few words that he will not type, picks up his magazine and his remote control, changes the station to some mindless American comedy, and scolds himself for losing his place in _People_ magazine over something so trivial as a CBC interview with a Liberal MP.


Rex Murphy's latest column touches on a couple of subjects (Preston Manning and his departure from Parliament being the main focus) but it's this passage I especially like;

It's also a moment to recall that there are "fundamentalists" on both ends of the spectrum, that the left can be as ardent and hard core as the right, and those who have never seen a church as "evangelistic" as those who centre their lives around one. Some go to church, others go to Seattle.

Murphy also comments on the lack of tributes to the departed Brian Tobin. I suppose it's not surprising that Tobin doesn't rate any flowery tributes but you'd think that Herb Gray would have rated a Liberal mention for 39 ½ years of loyal service. Pretty sad that it was Joe Clark who first mentioned his retirement 3 days after the house resumed sitting. I guess that 'big happy family' of Liberals doesn't want to be showy about their affection for one another.