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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"Pride of world Muslims, Arabs, and Iranians" 

Okay, now what could it be that Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, that so-called reformer would be evoking with such pride?

Hezbollah. Nice.

Read more here, where he goes on to say "the bonds of proximity between you and us are our religious and cultural commonalities". Lovely.

And what does Hezbollah head Nasrallah have to say in greeting to us infidels?

We say to the American administration ''Don't expect the people of this region to receive you with flowers and perfume
''The people of this region will receive you with rifles, blood, arms, martyrdom and martyrdom operations. In the past, when the Marines were in Beirut and their fleets were in the Mediterranean Sea, we screamed in the southern suburbs 'Death to America. Today, the region is being filled with hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and fleets and 'Death to America' was, is and will stay our slogan.

Nice fellow. Would it be too much to ask Muslims to find pride in something else? And maybe the western media could rethink whether this Khatami fellow is really the reformer they make him out to be.



Sunday, April 25, 2004

Toronto's gun crime 

Dan Gardner had an interesting article on gun violence in Toronto in the Citizen this Saturday. In one sense it was admirable in that he took a skeptical look and tried to find actual statistics to see what was happening to the rate of gun crime. This is refreshing and I wish more journalists would retain that healthy skepticism when the alarmist du jour tries pushing the latest theory of why we’re all doomed due to global warming/GM food/endocrine disrupters or whatever.

So he adds a healthy perspective that some categories of gun violence in Toronto have been flat for a decade, while others have dropped. Good news. He could have also pointed out that the overall murder rate for Toronto is still something like 1.8 per 100,000 residents, an admirably low figure compared to New York at about 6 per 100,000.

But in other respects, he’s really just demolishing a straw man, here. No one is suggesting that the entire city is descending into gun-crazed lawlessness. Given the demographics of the city over the decades we should expect the overall gun crime rate to decline as the city has become older and more prosperous. After all, the vast numbers of wealthy aging boomers in the city aren’t likely to go shoot the place up one last time before easing into retirement. Even a casual observer from another province can see that the crime problem in Toronto is not so much the sheer numbers, but the changing nature of the violence.

In the last few years we’ve seen people getting hit by stray bullets while sitting in their living room watching TV, standing in line to pay at a store, and getting randomly shot while sitting in the car in rush hour traffic. And we’ve seen another aspect totally unheard of in decades past – the changing relationship of the populace with the police. In decades past the police could count on active participation in investigating gun crime by bystanders and witnesses, whereas in certain neighborhoods police can now expect a stony silence at best, and getting pelted with rocks and bottles at worst.

Such things were almost unheard of in the Toronto of decades past, and attempting to sweep them under the carpet by diluting them with some favourable overall statistics misses the point. But this is at least a step better than the Star, which decided the appropriate response to the crime problem was to run a propaganda campaign about how racist their police force is, interspersed with articles bemoaning the unbearable whiteness of their baseball team. If your police are getting pelted with rocks and stonewalled with a conspiracy of silence that sort of propaganda is no doubt just the thing to improve cooperation.

A better approach would be to look at the actual perpetrators of the crime. In spite of the media’s best attempts to bury the fact, even the most casual observer can see the overwhelming disproportion of both victims and perpetrators are from a couple of immigrant groups, especially Jamaicans. This should not really be a surprise, as Jamaica has a murder rate approximately twenty times that of Toronto, so you have to expect that heavy legal and illegal immigration from Jamaica would import some of these problems. The code of silence and hostility with the police is part of their cultural heritage, not ours. Rather than indulging in multicult bromides and mindless celebration of diversity we need to open our eyes to reality and notice that certain aspects of cultural diversity are not worthy of celebration. A combination of law enforcement and sterner immigration enforcement needs to ensure that this aspect of Jamaica’s crime problem doesn’t become permanently imported to Toronto. That’s not to say all immigration should be cut off from Jamaica or anywhere else, but we need to ensure that the immigrants we do accept respect our laws and police or get promptly deported. In our current system illegal immigrants know they can flaunt our laws without getting deported almost indefinitely and even if they are actually deported they can make a quick return. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Friday, April 23, 2004

John Kekes on today's coercive moralizing 

An excellent lecture by John Kekes is worth reading at Tech Central Station but here is an excerpt:

I now ask you to consider the stifling of opinions on our campuses. When did you last hear of anyone defending fundamentalist Christianity or the superiority of Western civilization? Who has been allowed to express the opinion on our campuses that homosexuality is a perversion, that there exist racial differences in intelligence, that women's place is in the home, that the Holocaust is a fiction, or that America is a force for the good in a corrupt world? [...]
This coercive stifling of opinion permeates daily life, not just our campuses. It is very hard to think of an area of life that is free of the exhortation of intrusive moralizing. We are told what food is right or wrong to eat; how we should treat our pets; what clothing to wear; how we should spend our after-tax income; how precisely we should phrase invitations for sex; what kind of bags we should carry our groceries in; when and where we are permitted to pray or smoke; what jokes we are allowed to tell; who should pick the fruit we buy at the supermarket; how we should invest our money; what chemicals we should use in our gardens; by what method of transportation we should go to work; how we should sort our garbage; what we ought to think about cross dressing, sex change operations, teenage sex, and pot smoking; we are forbidden to inquire after the age, marital status, drug use, or alcoholism of job applicants; we are liable to be accused of sexual abuse if we spank our children or hug our neighbor's; our 19 and 20-year olds are permitted to fight our wars, but they are not permitted to buy a beer; we are not supposed to say that people are crippled, stupid, mentally defective, fat, or ignorant; and we must not use words like "mankind," "statesman," or "He" when referring to God.

What makes this coercive moralizing even worse is the hypocritical double-talk by which it is presented. For the stifling of opinions is said to be required by toleration.

Well, thank heavens we have blogs and the internet, is all I can say. We are slowly subverting the tissue of lies but it will take time. He has remarkable courage to deliver a lecture like that at a meeting of the North American Philosophy of Education Society.




Thursday, April 22, 2004

"An oozing of gray sludge" 

Another interesting but politically incorrect column by Fred Reed, An oozing of gray sludge, which pretty much sums up the mainstream media. He offers this piece of profound insight:

Every year a conclave of editors and publishers laments the decline in circulation and blames illiteracy or television or the alignment of the planets. It’s someone else’s fault.[…]
Permit me to offer another explanation: People weary of the usual media because they aren’t very good.

Yup, pretty much. As I work in the high tech field my epiphany came when the media finally focused on my industry for a sustained period in the runup to Y2K. I viewed the initial panic with a little bemusement, thinking they’d figure things out eventually. But the closer the day came they became ever more apocalyptic, rather than becoming more informed. I concluded they were incompetent and more than a little nuts. I started wondering if they were equally competent on other matters, such as environmental and food scares, crime, or coverage of military affairs.

The results are reasonably obvious to all of us, no? Is it not true that when you know a field, those writing about it clearly don’t?

Uh, yeah, now that you mention it.
And then there’s the little matter of bias:

Second, they are painfully politically correct, frightened of making a slip. Everyone in the racket knows exactly what you can’t say and what you have to say. Thus what reporters know, they don’t say; and what they say, they don’t believe.

Somehow, I find it strangely reassuring to find that reporters don’t necessarily believe what they’re writing. I recall reading an article in the National Post that indicated people who worked in the media ranked as some of the unhappiest people in the workforce; much less happy than hairdressers, for example. I wonder if they’d be happier if they just did a better job. Write informatively on a taboo topic for a change, rather than regurgitate the platitudes that everyone knows to be false but pretends otherwise.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

When all else fails, cry racism 

Here’s the latest victim crying racism, this time in the Liberal Party:

Riding president Ying Yang accused Mr. Martin of making the Liberal Party "more closed and exclusive" and challenged him to immediately call a fair and open candidate selection meeting.
"If you do not you must face the inevitable consequence that this board and the entire riding of Burnaby-Douglas shall deem your conduct in this matter discriminatory, race-based and undemocratic."

No, Mr. Ying Yang, the Liberal party is many things but you and your Asian candidates are not victims of racism. The Liberal Party may be an undemocratic lot, rife with factionalism, cronyism, nepotism and corruption, but you are not being sidelined because of your race. You are being sidelined because you have not sufficiently sucked up to the glorious leader.

I am getting tired of every minority everywhere crying racism at every setback. You may wish to reconsider the nature of the Liberal Party; you are very naïve if you take their soaring idealistic rhetoric literally. In reality it is a bare-knuckled power grab, which they consider their entitlement. But racism accusations aren’t gonna fly.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Confessions of a hawk 

The press were so desperate for an apology and admission of mistakes from the President it got me thinking about what I would have said in his place. Being a supporter of the war to depose Saddam, I here offer up my suitably chastened apology and admission of mistakes in thinking I believe I made prior to the invasion.

1. I thought Iraqis would be more active partners in building a new democratic order once Saddam was fully deposed and his ability to intimidate completely removed. A fat loudmouth with $80 million in support from Iran can raise a militia of 10,000 who are willing to fight for a twisted theocracy, but $80 billion dollars, a draft Iraqi constitution and the imminent transfer of sovereignty has produced nothing but a police and Iraqi Civil Defense Force who flee rather than fight. This standoff in Najaf is a case in point; Al Sadr is accused of murdering a rival cleric with a warrant for his arrest coming from an Iraqi judge evidently sincerely attempting to reestablish the rule of law. Iraqis are faced with a choice of arresting him and living by the rule of a civilized law, or cowering in the face of a murderous mob that would advance their position by eliminating rivals. So far it looks like they are prepared to mumble some disapproving noises about Al Sadr’s crimes but not only are they unprepared to confront his mob, they also would actively oppose American efforts to do so on their behalf. This strikes me as unfathomable as he is more of a threat to rival clerics than he is to America, but there it is.

2. I overestimated the level of development of Iraqi society. It’s difficult to get a good understanding about what’s going on in a totalitarian state like Saddam’s, but the view from this outsider’s perspective looked like a society at least as ready to make a democratic transition as many of the Eastern European places, like Estonia, Slovakia, Bulgaria or Romania. All those freeways, modern buildings and traffic give off the superficial trappings of a more advanced society. Even the former regime members like Tariq Aziz reminded me of European fascists like Mussolini or Franco. I figured behind him there would be ample numbers of educated, civilized people who would present themselves as potential alternative rulers, though more democratic in inclination. They exist, but don’t appear to command any widespread respect, much less have anyone willing to actually fight for them (Kurdish region excepted). Instead what’s been unveiled is a more tribal society, with a thread of barbarism running through it. So Iraq has more in common with Yemen, Beirut or Gaza than I had anticipated, and I was wrong about that.

3. I wrongly dismissed warnings by Arabists about the Arab street. I had considered it a condescending, almost racist view of a seething mass just waiting to explode at the infidel. I think that view is still mostly wrong, but one must admit that this is perhaps a cultural observation with a grain of truth to it when we look at the great acts of depravity in Falluja and environs. Hostage takings, mutilations, stringing up bodies off bridges and eleven year olds with AKs are indeed signs of an uprising Arab street, though a fairly localized phenomenon. Again, it’s bad enough that people are doing such things, but the lack of dedication by Iraqis in returning the area to order is particularly depressing. Indeed it appears Iraqi police in the region are more likely to be participating in the other side than in reestablishing order.

4. I overestimated the attitude of allies and domestic war opponents. I had figured that once Saddam was deposed everyone would consider it in their interest to assist in the rebuilding of the new order. Opposing the war is one thing, but how can anyone prefer to leave the country in chaos rather than establishing a democratic order and hastening a quick exit for the occupation? Yet there is a vast swathe of supposed friends who will do nothing to help and almost seem to be willing the effort to fail. Better the Americans fail so war opponents can indulge in a smug I-told-you-so than make the new Iraq a success. I never thought Germany, France, Canada and now Spain would be so petty, but I was wrong.

So was I wrong about things and is it turning out tougher than I thought? Yes and yes.

Do I regret supporting the war? Absolutely not. What will come out of Iraq will still be a vast improvement over Saddam and less of a threat to the west, but it will take longer and be tougher than I thought it was going to be.

I wonder if those carping from the sidelines have any regrets or apologies to make. Perhaps a more constructive role by others in the immediate aftermath of the war would have headed off some of these problems. Perhaps more self-confidence and less defeatism would have discouraged our enemies there. I doubt we’ll be hearing any admission of mistakes or apologies from them, though, nor anyone asking for them.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Why bother with elections? 

I don’t follow Ontario politics really closely, but during the Common Sense revolution it was hard to miss the constant high pitched whining condemnation about the ideologues who had seized power in Ontario, seemingly always on the brink of ending civilization as we knew it. The particularly focused howl and condemnation against market pricing of electricity was rather difficult to miss. It was a major issue in the recent election, with the Liberals promising to fight back the barbarian duo of privatization and market pricing those evil ideologues had been foisting on the public. So now that the people have spoken and the Liberals were given a mandate to maintain the price freeze below the cost of production the debate should be over, right? After all, why do we bother having elections in Canada?

So I was a little surprised (ok, not really surprised) to see this story in the Globe, where the newly elected Energy Minister unveils his never before mentioned magic solution to electricity. It is neither public monopoly nor free market, but a newly unveiled Electro-Blenda-Price-amatic layer of bureaucracy that will solve the ills of supply while maintaining price stability. The Electro-Blenda-Price-amatic will assure private generators can invest in the province profitably while magically blending up a low stable price for consumers.

The Energy Minister thinks his "balanced approach" of blending the regulated price of the output of hydroelectric and nuclear generation plants with the spot-market tariffs of other types of plants will bring price stability for residential and small-business consumers. It's a halfway approach to the Conservatives' all-out market plan, and it might provide homeowners with peace of mind while attracting private-sector investment for the 25,000 megawatts that Ontario needs to keep prices down.

So the solution is to inject private investment and just a little bit of the market after all. But in an actual free market producers and consumers can freely trade hedges, futures, options, long term contracts, derivatives and all of the other things you find with other markets, like metals, coal, gold, oil, gas, currencies and even frozen concentrated orange juice. It appears people sort out their own acceptable balances of stability and fluctuating daily prices if they are just left alone to negotiate their own contracts, as they certainly do with mortgages. But they assure us they will generate one solution for everyone through their magical Electro-Blenda-Price-amatic Authority that they weren’t quite brave enough to mention during an election campaign.

Well, consider me a skeptic. It will end up being just another politicized bureaucracy that no private electricity generator should touch with a barge pole. And consumers in Ontario will get neither price stability nor assured supply through this attempted piece of political magic.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Adieu, Svend 

I’d prefer it if the good people of Burnaby had shown enough sense to vote out this socialist showoff earlier, but seeing the end of Svend should at least raise the level of debate in Parliament. After all of his hyperventilating rhetoric against evil corporations amid the anti-trade, anti-globalization mobs protests, it turns out he’s the one brought down by an act of petty thievery. Well, whatever it takes. Buh-bye. Save the tears and victimology theatrics for an Oprah appearance; I’m not interested in hearing it after listening to 25 years of self-righteous lecturing from Castro-sympathizing, Arafat supporting business-demonizing socialists like Svend.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

A return to tradition 

Laurent points out that now the British are rethinking multiculturalism. This is becoming a trend that one hopes eventually crosses the Atlantic. We've seen other European countries like Netherlands, Denmark and France start to totally rethink how they try to integrate immigrants. One can only hope that Canada will rediscover its heritage and its traditional approach to welcoming immigrants, but also expecting immigrants to integrate into Canadian culture.

We could start by having our Heritage department actually focus on Canada's heritage, rather than celebrating the heritage of every other country that Canadians left to come here.

Monday, April 12, 2004

A promising start 

The Western Standard group blog is up and running, and in what must be a record of sorts it has gained a link in the Rising Stars section at Stephen Den Beste's site, even though it has only been operating a few days.

I'll still be posting here, but it's likely to be less frequently than before. Check out the action at The Shotgun for more frequent updates. And why not subscribe to the Western Standard while you're there.

Friday, April 09, 2004

A deeply moving, spiritual experience 

Last night I went to the Museum of Civilization in Hull to see a special limited time exhibit they were putting on. People were clearly moved in different ways, some approached the exhibit in an atmosphere of deep reverence, others one of child-like excitement. As you approached you could make out the ancient lettering which many examined in deep reflection, pondering the names of the people referred to, and the history of the deeds they had done in their time. Yes, they provided examples to following generations to follow, some names becoming household words to this day, others known only to historians in the field. We've all seen pictures and heard the stories, but there's a special atmosphere to being in the presence of the genuine article. Yes, the Stanley Cup has that special effect on people. Beside it were other trophies, and some Rocket Richard memorabilia, also treated with great reverence.

And I tried to get in to see that other exhibit, something about some old hebrew scrolls from Israel but I was too late, they'd stopped selling tickets due to the long lineup. I'll try to get back in this weekend to see what the fuss is all about.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Affordable housing through less regulation 

Urban activists (such as Jack Layton) have two main hobbies – clamouring for more affordable housing, and strangling those who build and rent apartments with red tape. It is hypocritical, to say the least, to never acknowledge the cumulative costs of all the rules, regulations and tax burdens heaped onto anyone foolish enough to try to build a large apartment building or condo complex. It is no wonder so many people and builders opt for urban sprawl instead.

To pick one example from Ottawa, a developer would like to build an apartment building in Westboro, which on the surface would appear to be exactly the type of building that anti-sprawl types would want. It’s near the Transitway, doesn’t add to freeway traffic to the suburbs, and increasing the supply of downtown apartments by definition leads to housing being more affordable. This is a simple application of economics 101 – more supply, less scarcity, lower cost. So naturally everyone wants their pound of flesh from this poor fellow who has the nerve to try building what all the bien-pensants claim they want. Anyone who follows any significant urban development will be instantly familiar with the reaction:
· The buildings too tall – shorten it.
· There are too many apartments – it will cause too much traffic in my peaceful neighbourhood.
· They’re taking up precious green space – force them to compensate by setting aside land elsewhere
· Not in my back yard – find another site.
· Tax these evil capitalist exploiters
And each of these and other objections will be studied ad nauseum, the developer will grovel, shrink the building, answer every objection with the costly Danegeld required to appease the mob, and after years of suffering the studies, planning committees and associated forms of water torture eventually build a smaller, less dense, far more costly building which is – wait for it – not particularly affordable. The taxes are particularly insane. If you want affordable urban apartments does it really make sense to tax them at three or four times the level of suburban houses? They think they’re taxing developers, but this is just a cost of business that gets worked into the rent.

If I may digress a little, thirty or forty years ago vagrancy was illegal, while basement apartments, flophouses and cheap boarding houses were legal and plentiful in larger cities. Now vagrancy is legal and anything that would have remotely resembled an affordable room in the past violates about 20,000 rules, regulations and bylaws today. It’s true that those flophouses forty years ago weren’t necessarily very attractive, but it’s hard to see how the alternative of a park bench or sidewalk grate is an improvement. It is no surprise we have a far greater homeless problem now (or shortage of affordable housing, if you prefer). If you were trying to create exactly that situation you would implement pretty much exactly the laws, regulations and bylaws we now have in most of our larger cities. So why don’t we stop?

More affordable housing through less regulation – what a concept. Less regulation would almost certainly lead to more attractive, distinctive cities to boot. Most noteworthy urban areas such as Ottawa’s Byward Market or Quebec City’s old city center grew organically, through individuals and businesses building with little harassment from urban activists. And if anyone proposed building anything remotely similar today they would be hounded to death, pounded into submission with the force of bylaws and planning committees until they eventually produced something more in line with the dull conformity of modern urban planning. If they actually want what they say they want, they should get out of the way.

Update: Laurent adds his thoughts on the topic.

And Jay Jardine weighs in as well.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Is tyranny inevitable in Iraq? 

Many years ago I had an argument with a white Rhodesian about the prospect of democracy in his country (now Zimbabwe). He gave me an appalling lecture about the tribal nature of black society there and how the tribes would undermine the stable government institutions that had been created under white rule, resulting in corruption, nepotism and tyranny. I considered him a racist bigot at the time and said so; while he insisted he wasn’t being racist (he had nothing against the blacks in Canada, for example) it’s just that their culture was different. He predicted the local tribes would never fairly enforce the laws, that family and tribal favoritism would inevitably corrupt the police, judiciary, civil service and political classes so that even if the country had a democratic constitution it would be meaningless in practice. Laws would mean whatever the triumphant tribe said they meant, resulting in a kleptocratic free-for-all with the spoils going to the tribe that is the most powerful and/or ruthless. It has been painful to watch the descent of Zimbabwe follow exactly that path predicted by this Rhodesian acquaintance twenty-five years ago. So it’s fair to ask the question, did Mugabe wreck Zimbabwe, or did Zimbabwe’s political culture ensure only someone prepared to be as ruthless as Mugabe could ever rise to the top?

And so we look at Iraq. Everyone agrees Saddam was a murderous, ruthless tyrant. But now he’s gone and Iraqis are free to set up a peaceful democratic order if they are so inclined. Instead we’ve seen acts of great depravity like bombing the Red Cross, stringing up civilians on a humanitarian mission in Falluja, and now a fanatical Shiite militia is inciting a coordinated armed confrontation with the Coalition Authorities who are just trying to create a democratic order so that they can leave in peace. I was cautiously optimistic about the chances for a new, civilized Iraq but it’s possible any civilized leader will just end up being hung from the nearest bridge. Murderous ruthlessness just may be a prerequisite if you’re trying to be president of Iraq. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m starting to get a sinking feeling that Iraq will just descend into tyranny again as soon as foreign troops have had enough of fighting off the barbarians.

At the Shotgun 

Many thanks to Ezra Levant of The Western Standard, who has invited me to join the fun at the The Shotgun.

If posting is light here, be sure to check out the action at the Shotgun, which you should be doing for the many other fine bloggers anyway.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Government as absentee husband 

Fred has a highly politically incorrect ranting on the feminization of government this week. Considering what a landmark it was in the western world to give women the vote I've often found it astounding that no one ever talks about what changes they've brought with it. Now Fred has put his two cents worth on the taboo topic:

Women and men want very different things and therefore very different worlds. Men want sex, freedom, and adventure; women want security, pleasantness, and someone to care about (or for)them. Both like power. Men use it to conquer their neighbors whether in business or war, women to impose security and pleasantness.

It has often been said trading freedom for security gets you neither. I wonder if this is a lesson women voters need to learn?

On schools, I believe Fred is bang on:

The growing feminizaton accounts for much of the decline in the schools. The hostility to competition of any sort is an expression of the female desire for pleasantness

Schools have become an entirely alien place for young boys. If this continues I think we will be forced to resegregate them.
And the ultimately politically incorrect conclusion:

A case can be made that a feminized world would (or will) be preferable to a masculine. Perhaps. It is males who bomb cities and shoot people in Seven-Elevens. Yet the experiment has not been made. I suspect we will have the worst of both worlds: a nation in which men at the top engage in the usual wars and, a step below, women impose inutterable boredom.

I'm not sure he's right, but then we have a crushing nanny state that wants to register breast implants and regulate their size. And we keep getting ever more therapeutic governments that are keen to demonstrate empathy rather than effectiveness.

A new threat to national security 

Many thanks to Kate for bringing the breast story to my attention. I was not aware that the nation was threatened by an illegal breast trade, or that a registry would prove useful in combatting it, but it apparently is so:

The registry would address concerns of Health Canada that illegally sold and unregulated breast implants are making their way across the border from the US and Asian countries. It is estimated that the illegal breast trade has swelled to nearly $300 million

Yet another thing for us vigilant citizen warriors to keep a keen eye on. After all, who knows what they're packing in some of those totally unnatural oversized hooters. If you can stuff 'em with 30 pounds of Silicone it could just as easily be Semtex. We must be vigilant and inspect anything suspicious very closely indeed.

Ahh, but of course the NDP would solve this through regulation. The nanny state to the rescue!

The legislation also further restricts the use of approved breast implants, including limits on minimum age and maximum size. As of Jan 1, 2005, no implant in excess of a B cup will be legal in Canada, unless approved by a hospital committee.

Big brother (sister?), save us from the horrors of the C cup. Think of the self-esteem problems they could cause in teenage girls. I wonder if this is the first step to banning natural ones over B cup size. Social equity surely demands no less.

On this topic I prefer the other leftist slogan. Celebrate diversity.


Excellent column by Zerb 

I know, I can't believe I wrote that title either. But it appears if Antonia Zerbisias can set aside her anti-Bush pathologies she is actually capable of writing something both informative and reasonable:

It's the 21st century: You can't stop the flow of information at the border because some Canadian businesses, already coddled by protective regulation, demand it. [...]
First, there are the black market types(of satellite dishes). They amount to piracy, the stealing of TV without the subscription fees that the law-abiding pay.
Then there are the so-called gray market systems for which people pay to get channels piped straight into their homes through American providers such as DirectTV. It should be obvious how black market dishes constitute stealing.[...]
Rather than threaten citizens, distributors, with the approval of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, should make these foreign-language services available — as long as they don't impinge on the program rights of Canadian-based services.
If they can't, or won't, offer these channels because they're not profitable, then they should just get out of the way.[...]
But Canada's media empires have grown fat and slow thanks to their monopolies and government protection.
If they're not fleet-footed enough to cope with changes to our demographics and technological landscape, then they deserve to be road kill on that old information highway.

Indeed. But even more than that, the influence of the CRTC on the media companies has become an odious form of self-censorship. They always pull back from truly enraging the ruling Liberals because they know retaliation can come from punishing rulings at the CRTC. At the height of the Adscam coverage the National Post abrubtly came out with a front page story about two stars converging 700 million years ago. And then recently as more dirt is emerging on the Liberals they hype on their front page an irrelevent dispute with Denmark over an unimportant rock between Greenland and Ellesmere Island. What's up with that? It reads like a schizophrenic attempt to simultaneously write a conservative paper while pandering to the Liberals and slowly going insane in the process.

In any case, it's nice to see a brief bout of sanity from the Zerb. End the coddling and corporate welfare for media companies. I couldn't agree more.

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