Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Innocent until proven guilty 

I'm a little troubled by the news that the RCMP have picked up Mohammad Momin Khawaja on the very day the big news was going to be about Canada's lax security. I wish I could trust the RCMP to be free of such odious political influence, but their behaviour with Francois Beaudoin and Juliet O'Neill force us to be sceptical.

So let's not condemn this guy before we see the evidence. I hope they haven't busted him on a flimsy pretext just to provide a public demonstration of how vigilant our security forces are. They'd better have the goods.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

A travesty, or a tempest in a Punjabi teacup? 

Andrew Coyne calls it a travesty, and a number of other media outlets are sounding the alarm as if a foreign invasion were occurring (and no, not the Danish invasion of an arctic island).

There is no other word for this. A riding association which for years had an average of 200 members suddenly balloons to 2000, mostly from a single ethnic group, just before a nomination meeting, and a popular two-term MP with a record of legislative achievement is turfed.

I would say that a riding association with a popular sitting MP who only has 200 members is an example of a complacent, apathetic riding association. Given a major push for new members during the founding of a new party and a leadership race in progress there is no excuse for a sitting MP to sit and coast. If one is looking for an example of corrupt ethno-politics I think this makes an extraordinarily poor example. It strikes me as a complacent MP being displaced by a more energetic, engaged candidate with a more activist following. All to the good, as far as I am concerned.

If broad sections of the population are going to be complacent, apathetic and disengaged from the political process they can hardly complain that their candidates or issues get displaced by others more energetic than themselves.

But at least they are starting to talk about the corrupting effect of ethnic blocks in politics, even if they are picking a poor example. For decades the government, media and especially the federal Liberals have been haranguing us with lectures about how racist and intolerant we are. Every ethnic relations problem in the country was always evidence about just how hopelessly oppressive and unaccepting the mainstream population was. Never mind that they were creating programs and departments that were pretty much explicitly advertised and widely understood to be unwelcome to white anglo males (and probably francophone males, too). We stood by and watched passively for decades as mostly the Liberals, but other parties also built successively more corrupt relationships between feminist, ethnic, aboriginal and regional groups. Now that it is widely understood that it is unacceptable for the mainstream to be racist and intolerant toward minorities, it is long past time that we set the corresponding expectations for the minority groups.

It is totally unacceptable to set up a whites-only hiring policy, or whites-only government programs, or for a white candidate to try to appeal for support on racial grounds. A white candidate simply cannot stand up and say vote for me and I’ll deliver the federal largesse to the white population, to the exclusion of the others. So I think it is perfectly fair to set the same expectation of the minority groups. If Indo-Canadians join the party but refuse to support candidates who are not Indo-Canadians we should label them for what they are – racist. If they join and advocate for nothing but delivery of largesse along racial lines we should be outraged. But that’s not what Coyne has established here, as lots of ridings in BC have huge numbers of Ind0-Canadians supporting candidates of other backgrounds. So what’s the problem? I’m not yet convinced there is one, at least not in the Conservative party. The Liberal party pretty much bids for support by targeted ethnic and regional pandering, but again the largesse delivered to Indo-Canadian multicultural centers is small potatoes compared to blatant bribes like the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

As for tribal block voting, I think the only region that has a clear history of that is rural Quebec. A party with a white anglo leader and white anglo candidate has more than a fair shot at winning in Surrey, but none in Chicoutimi.

So I’m glad to see they’re exploring the topic, but they haven’t built much of a case for me to be outraged, at least not yet.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Impossible to parody 

It's quite literally impossible to parody politicians these days. Just a couple of days ago I quoted Thomas Sowell's updated adage about giving a man a fish versus teaching him to fish:

Give a man a fish and he will ask for tartar sauce and French fries! Moreover, some politician who wants his vote will declare all these things to be among his "basic rights."

Kinda funny, n'est-ce pas? So then Bruce points out this quote:

The first human right is to eat, to be cared for, to receive an education and to have housing.

That quote coming from that powerful thinker and defender of liberty everywhere, Jacques Chirac, naturally.

How about old folks baking in appartments without air conditioning, Jacques? Do they have a right to be cared for?

Sunday, March 28, 2004

And then they came for the sawmill operators... 

One foundation of a free society is that you are innocent until proven guilty. Another is that you are entitled to know what the laws are so that you can avoid breaking them. And all that is not prohibited is allowed. But we are slowly (or perhaps not so slowly) abandoning those ideas, especially in commercial affairs. For a textbook example of this new reality we should look at how the Ontario Ministry of the Environment is cracking down on Ottawa Valley sawmills. Many of these sawmills have been operating with little change for more than a century, building up piles of bark, wood chips and sawdust which are then sold for other uses. The problem: MOE has now decided that these piles are potentially hazardous, and in theory they could be right. Just because a product is natural does not mean it isn’t potentially toxic, so by all means let’s investigate and see if there are any toxic chemicals leaching out of these piles. But that’s not what they’re doing. They now require these sawmills to hire consultants and do extensive testing which includes drilling test wells all at their own expense to prove to the ministry that they aren’t leaching any chemicals. A century of operation with no evidence of harm is no defense. The expense of this regulation is putting many of the smaller sawmills out of business.

Charges were laid when the operators didn’t complete expensive testing and file management plans for MOE enforcers who’ve decided that wood chips, sawdust, bark and other residues could be toxic hazards.[..]
The ministry is lowering the boom on more than 40 sawmills in Renfrew and Lanark counties in a campaign which critics such as Fogal claim offers no scientific evidence that natural sawmill byproduct - which has been deposited throughout the area for well over a century - causes environmental problems.
In enforcing a section of the EPA, the ministry is requiring extensive consulting and engineering reports leading to certification and permits for storage locations. Failure to comply can bring fines ranging from $20,000 a day for individuals, to $100,000 a day for corporations.
Tim Schwan, a director of the sawmill association, claims there are no established testing protocols, and no guidelines as to what might be harmful or how much stored material is too much. The ministry, Schwan said, wants operators to pay to drill wells upstream and downstream from residue piles to test for leachates; meanwhile, he said, the association has learned that tests conducted elsewhere have shown no difference in water quality.

So you see, they don’t actually have a contaminated well or even evidence that there is a problem they are trying to solve. Nor is there a regulation or law that their current operations are violating. The ministry isn’t telling them that this pile is too large, or that pile is leaching something, and they should fix it. They have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of bureaucrats in the ministry that their business should be allowed to continue to exist.

But when they came for the family sawmill owners I did nothing, because I don’t operate a sawmill.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

How internments happen 

These days we live in pretty comfortable surroundings and can look back and condemn our ancestors for interning Japanese during war. We're pretty sure we'd never do such a thing, but think again.

Just read this rant on the death of Yassin from Michelle:

These people who live just miles from me praise this man. They cry over his death. In fact, they wail. They curse Israel, curse America and wish death upon everyone but themselves.

Where are their leaders, the ones who claim to be moderates and wonder why people walk on the other side of the street from them? Speak up. Tell us that you denounce Yassin and Arafat. I'm not asking that they turn around and praise Israel or defend her actions, I'm just asking that they show me who they are, that there are Muslims who do not fall to their knees in despair when a despicable mass murderer dies.

All it would take is a series of terrorist attacks in North America and that suspicion would start to become widespread. We had all better pray these attacks don't happen. And if they do happen, we'd better see total cooperation on security matters from the so-called moderate muslims, rather than cheering of terrorists the likes of Yassin.

Quote of the day 

From Thomas Sowell's latest column:

The old adage about giving a man a fish versus teaching him to fish has been updated by a reader: Give a man a fish and he will ask for tartar sauce and French fries! Moreover, some politician who wants his vote will declare all these things to be among his "basic rights."

Yes, indeed, many of the old adages simply no longer apply to the modern age.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Congratulations Abdel Aziz Rantisi  

The newly "elected" leader of Hamas is no doubt relishing his new role as tester. As Tim Blair suggested, I just wanted to pass on my congratulations quickly, before he becomes a human pin cushion full of those wicked Jewish Hellfire missiles.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Note to self- keep the day job 

In one way it is kind of frustrating to have some ideas bouncing around but be unable to write them in a coherent way. Then you find the ideas and skilled writing woven into a thoughtful column by David Brooks. So I guess I’ll stick to high tech and leave writing for a living to the professionals. Be sure to check out both the full column and Debbye’s thoughts on it, but here’s an excerpt:

the Bible and commentaries on the Bible can be read as instructions about what human beings are like and how they are likely to behave. Moreover, this biblical wisdom is deeper and more accurate than the wisdom offered by the secular social sciences, which often treat human beings as soulless utility-maximizers, or as members of this or that demographic group or class.
Whether the topic is welfare, education, the regulation of biotechnology or even the war on terrorism, biblical wisdom may offer something that secular thinking does not — not pat answers, but a way to think about things.
For example, it's been painful to watch thoroughly secularized Europeans try to grapple with Al Qaeda. The bombers declare, "You want life, and we want death"— a (fanatical) religious statement par excellence. But thoroughly secularized listeners lack the mental equipment to even begin to understand that statement. They struggle desperately to convert Al Qaeda into a political phenomenon: the bombers must be expressing some grievance. This is the path to permanent bewilderment.

I’ve experienced the frustration of trying to discuss certain topics with these secular liberal multiculturalists. It’s like trying to have a real conversation with Eliza, where the words get regurgitated back at you but you just know the person doesn’t really grasp what you’re saying. You seem to be speaking the same language but the person hears the words without understanding their meaning. You can try to illuminate the fanatical hatred that drives these Islamic terrorists like bin Laden, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Iranian Ayatollahs, but you just can’t force the light to go on. To them the only people actually capable of intolerance are conservative white males, usually Christian. Confronted with understanding faraway Muslims that are filled with hate they experience a severe case of cognitive dissonance. People like Cherie Blair react to suicide bombers in buses with a patronizing, condescending sympathy. Such things can only be caused by some kind of grievance, a reaction against unjust colonialist legacies. Rejection of Kyoto or inadequate foreign aid. Rigged WTO rules. There just has to be something. It is a patronizing view where people are less than fully human and they just can’t be blamed for how they react to western countries.
The only people secular liberals seem to be able to really muster up moral condemnation against are those who oppose their favourite liberal programs. A conservative Christian white male can be lustily condemned as a racist hatemonger for opposing their pet affirmative action program in their world view. There’s no negotiating or compromise with those people, but they just can’t muster a similar moral clarity when it comes to Islamic nutcases spending twenty years chanting “Death to America, Death to Israel” and toiling away at their nuclear bombs. What do you negotiate with them? Do you prefer to be vaporized by enriched uranium bombs or plutonium? Five bombs at 100 kilotons each or ten at 50 kilotons apiece? Israel first, then America or the other way around?
It is interesting that Tony Blair is almost entirely alone among the Euro-left who seems to grasp what the threat is about. It is surely no coincidence that he is one of the few on the European left whose beliefs are formed through genuine religious convictions.
I don’t think we’ll ever be able to count on the Euro-left (and by extension, Canadian liberals) to take the Islamist threat seriously. Even faced with attacks on their homeland they’ll probably react like Spain and attempt to withdraw from the fight, directing their anger more at America than the terrorists. It seems like an irrational response, but I think David Brooks nails it as the path of bewilderment in the face of religious fanaticism they just can’t relate to.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Idiot du jour - Bill Graham 

No stranger to being an idiot, it seems to come naturally to Liberals, Bill Graham chimes in with his thoughts on the dearly departed Hamas leader:

We have condemned the death of Sheik Yassin because in our view this is a matter that is contrary to international legal obligations on behalf of the state of Israel," Foreign Minister Bill Graham said in the House of Commons.

Graham said the killing of Yassin will serve to contribute to instability in the area and make peace more difficult to achieve.

I would say that the entire life of Yassin has contributed to instability and made peace impossible. What, exactly, is Israel supposed to negotiate with Hamas? And if there was any doubt whatsoever about Arafat's inclination to fight terrorists, let's see what he has to say about the demise of a terrorist:

Reaction was similarly critical in the West Bank, where flags at Yasser Arafat's headquarters flew at half-mast as the Palestinian Authority paid tribute to Yassin.

"May you join the martyrs and the prophets," Arafat said after reciting a Muslim prayer for the dead at a cabinet meeting. "To heaven, you martyr."

Perhaps Bill Graham, idiot du jour, would note that Palestinians were supposed to actually combat terrorists, not laud them as martyrs. In the absence of the Palestinians policing themselves Israel is left with the unpleasant chore of defending itself. The Palestinians could put an end to this state of affairs any time they choose to. Perhaps Bill Graham, idiot du jour, should encourage the Palestinians to consider their international legal obligations, which frown on blowing up buses and pizza parlours.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

The French discover they're not popular - in Iraq! 

Spain's Zapatero claims Bush and Blair need to do a little self-criticism because they liberated Iraq, but in this fascinating article in Le Monde the French are doing a little self-criticism themselves.

La politique de la France reste très vivement critiquée par les Irakiens. Contrairement à ce que croient souvent les Européens, le fait d'être opposé à l'occupation américaine ne fait absolument pas monter la cote de popularité de l'Europe, ou de tel ou tel pays, en Irak.

C'est un paradoxe, mais c'est une réalité. Si l'immense majorité des Irakiens souhaite et réclame publiquement la fin de l'occupation américaine, cette même immense majorité demeure satisfaite de la chute de Saddam Hussein et reconnaît en privé qu'un départ des troupes étrangères pourrait entraîner le pays dans la guerre civile. Les Irakiens savent par ailleurs que Washington a menti sur les armes de destruction massive, mais ils s'en moquent éperdument, la chute du tyran étant pour eux l'événement le plus positif depuis trente ans. [...]
"Si la direction américaine enchaîne erreur sur erreur en Irak, les Européens, et les Français en particulier, sont encore plus idiots car ils ne déterminent leur position qu'en fonction de Washington. Ils ne tiennent aucun compte de l'Irak et de ses habitants, estime Fakhri Karim, le directeur du journal Al-Mada, tentant de résumer le sentiment populaire. Les Irakiens pensent que l'Europe et la France les ont doublement lâchés, d'abord face à Saddam, puis face à l'occupation américaine. La France n'est intéressée que par sa position antiaméricaine. Elle oublie les Irakiens. Chirac et Villepin doivent comprendre qu'aucun Irakien ne juge que leur position est courageuse... Qu'a fait la France pour aider l'Irak à se libérer du dictateur, puis pour aider l'Irak à retrouver sa souveraineté ? Rien !"

Wow. That is stunning to see that in the normally sycophantic French press. Read the whole thing, it's remarkable.

The Star discovers school choice 

I was pleased to see The Star has discovered the wonders of school choice in Edmonton in this article by Trish Worron, a member of the Star’s editorial board. I wrote about a different implementation of school choice in Quebec earlier here.

This article provides a fascinating insight into the dysfunctional mind of your typical leftist. The article largely lauds the Edmonton school board for bringing innovative programs into the public system:

Edmonton met the challenge head on. It countered the charter school threat by allowing parents to say what kind of programs they wanted their children to attend. They then worked with parents to set up these programs within the public system.
The board now has 30 alternative programs — some of them very innovative. For instance, the Nellie McClung program, a girls-only school for Grades 7 to 9, the grades where adolescent girls often fall behind, has been so successful it operates in three locations.
There is a school for elite athletes, who spend a lot of time on the road competing in hockey, gymnastics, skiing and the like. Students get tailor-made programs, often using computer-assisted instruction.
There is even a separate soccer academy for Grades 6 to 12 that combines school with concentrated soccer training. A lot of cities might be big on soccer, but Edmonton is berserk.
An arrangement was worked out to give specialized therapy to hearing-impaired students through the Alberta School for the Deaf.

So, we have a real world example of a public school board responding to parents’ and students’ needs with the programs they want. And doing it within the public school board. So, what does The Star think of the policy environment that spurred this response, as opposed to the fossilized resistance to all reform we get from leaden bureaucracies in other provinces?

Alberta all but encouraged parents to desert the public system by taking the unconscionable step of making charter schools eligible for the same per pupil funding as the public schools.

So even with the evidence on the ground that giving parents the right to opt for charter schools results in all this innovation in the public school board, the policy is unconscionable. These people really, genuinely are impervious to all evidence. Even when they are fully aware of the positive results that giving parents school choice created, they still consider it unconscionable. So they wish for Toronto to imitate the results, while rejecting the policies that created these laudable programs. These people are hopeless.

And, of course, we would have to protect unwashed masses because left to themselves they may be subject to making bad choices. Schools for girls, dance, athletics and therapy for the deaf are one thing, but look what else parents might choose, if given the chance:

There are some distinctly distasteful aspects to the Edmonton program. One of its programs is "Christian-based."

It is always nice to see how sensitive and tolerant these multiculturalists are.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Appeasement can work for some 

From Debbye I found this quote from George Bush on appeasement:

There is no safety for any nation in a world that lives at the mercy of gangsters and mass murderers. Eventually, there is no place to hide from the planted bombs or far worse weapons terrorists seek. For the civilised world, there is only one path to safety. We will stay united and fight until this enemy is broken.

Nice words, but strictly speaking not true. If we look back to Europe’s experience of World War 2 many, many nations tried appeasement or neutrality and ultimately found themselves under the Nazi jackboot. Many, but not all. Even by the spring of 1941 the Soviet Union and America were both still neutral on the conflict, don’t forget. It must have been awfully lonely in Britain facing such an enemy with the support of only their fellow members of the Commonwealth.

Switzerland managed to stay neutral throughout, but only by providing a sufficient military deterrent. But this suicidal enemy welcomes death and cannot be deterred, so this is a poor model.

Sweden also managed to remain neutral, though more through appeasement than deterrence. In their case neutral wasn’t really neutral, it meant being far more accommodating to Nazi requests than Allied ones. Britain initially asked for free transit through Sweden to assist in Finland’s defence. It was denied. A subsequent request by the Nazis for free transit to facilitate the occupation of their neighbour Norway was granted. And Sweden continued to supply iron ore to keep the Nazi factories humming. Sweden demonstrated that it is possible to sit out the conflict as long as there are others who will do the heavy lifting for them. It is not necessarily true to say that an Axis of Appeasement couldn’t successfully sit out the conflict as long as someone else defeats the enemy for them. The strategy failed for most, but it can be tried if you’re sufficiently confident that others will do the fighting for you.

Just because it can work doesn’t mean it’s a strategy to be proud of, though.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Ian Scott on cops 

Ian Scott has an excellent article on cops acting like masters, not the servants that they are intended to be.

I couldn't agree more.

Canada on motherhood 

One is used to hearing about the Liberals claiming the moral high ground on motherhood issues, but now it appears Canada’s UN officials are against motherhood itself. Since these people are far beyond any parody I could possibly dream up, I will pass on the report verbatim:

When the US asked that the document explicitly state that 'mother' and 'father' were not under the umbrella of the term 'negative gender stereotype', she was jeered by the EU and cut off by the Canadian chairperson.

‘Mother’ and ‘father’ are now negative gender stereotypes? I’ll have to be more careful in the future.

Typical of the interactions at the UN, highlighting the great divide between Canada and many developing countries, a representative from Sudan became exasperated at the Canadian representative's penchant for political correctness. When discussing portrayals of women in the media and gender stereotypes, the Canadian chairperson Beatrice Maille said that countries must work together so that girls in the media aren't portrayed as playing with dolls and boys aren't seen as sports players as this perpetuates negative stereotypes. The representative from Sudan responded, "How can we prevent this portrayal of girls? Why should we prevent this? It's the reality that most little girls play with dolls. In fact, I still play with dolls on occasion!"

It is indeed pretty sad when Canada is getting lessons on media freedom from Sudan.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

"Our allies are not really allies" 

By itself, Spain’s running away in the face of terrorism is not that exceptional. Lots of countries have tried to stay neutral in the great wars of the past, and there have been many instances of countries running away from prior Islamic terrorist atrocities. Without doing any research at all, I can think of quite a list of occasions where countries have retreated from terrorist attacks:

America allowed diplomats to be taken hostage in their Iranian embassy, eventually appeasing the mullahs and leaving.

America abandoned Beirut after a suicide bombing.

Russia allowed de facto independence for Chechnya in the mid-1990s.

America abandoned Somalia after 18 were killed in Mogadishu.

Israel attempted to appease Arafat with the Oslo accords.

America tried to appease North Korea into abandoning its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The UK tried to appease the IRA in Northern Ireland, bringing former terrorists into the government.

Israel retreated from Lebanon in 2000.

Just doing a little research could easily add to that list, I’m sure. Spain is not doing anything that many nations have not done before, but it’s hard to find an example where they haven’t come to regret their actions. And of course it’s hard for a Canadian to talk much about Spain’s lack of cojones when Canada never had the cojones to help in Iraq in the first place. So all they’re doing is moving to a position the likes of Canada, France, Belgium and Germany are already in.

But what is particularly striking about this, is Spain is frequently cited as “one of America’s strongest allies” in Iraq. And how big are they? They didn’t participate in the invasion (though they provided verbal support), and they contributed about 1% of the troops after the war was over. And this is one of America’s strongest allies.

Reading this article by Victor Davis Hanson one line particularly jumped out at me:

Apart from the shameful spectacle of appeasement, our allies are not really allies…

Indeed. Americans have been risking their lives for others during things like the Berlin airlift, stationing troops in South Korea and Europe, guaranteeing the security of Japan and Taiwan, and providing the overwhelming majority of the combat capability is so-called alliances like NATO and ANZUS. But when America looks to assistance, what do they get? A 1% contribution from one of their strongest supporters, who promptly cuts and runs at the first counterattack. And whatever “help” they get from the rest of their “allies” reminds me of this Gary Larson cartoon, with America being the bear on the left, when their allies find themselves being targeted by Islamic terrorists:

Beyond The Far Side

Canadians really need to reflect on this. Americans have largely ignored the anti-American ranting from their so-called allies in the past, figuring their friends might engage in juvenile, parochial ranting during peacetime, but could be counted on when times turned serious. That was what I thought, too, but I was wrong. Well, they’re sitting up and noticing who their real allies are now and they don’t like what they see. I think we can expect them to review their military alliances like NATO, NORAD and ANZUS to see if their allies are contributing anything of value or just adolescent carping. I don’t think we’ll like their assessment of Canada’s contribution lately.

Monday, March 15, 2004

A victory for the other side 

I’m glad I spent the weekend skiing with my kids, being blissfully unaware of the Spanish elections. The terrorists have only succeeded in driving the UN out of Iraq so far, but now they have scored a huge strategic victory. Bombs in Madrid’s train stations have accomplished what scores of attacks on coalition forces in Iraq (and Afghanistan) have failed to do. One coalition ally will now turn tail and head home in retreat in the face of terror.

The lesson for every other nation with forces in Muslim countries is obvious. Canada has not (yet) retreated from Afghanistan in spite of a number of attacks on forces based there. With an election approaching this year the terrorists will have surely drawn the appropriate lesson on where to place their bombs next.

The war on terror will be a long one and there will be setbacks along the way. In the past couple of years there have been many successes, but no one should be under any delusions about the past week. It was a major, strategic victory for the other side.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Brave guardian of the public treasury 

Paul Martin on handouts to the auto industry:

We've got to sit down with the industry and say, look, what do you require?"

Never let it be said he doesn't have a heart for welfare bums of the corporate variety.

Friday, March 12, 2004

But it could never happen here... 

New York, Washington, Bali, Istanbul, Karachi, Moscow, Casablanca, Riyadh, Kabul, Israel, Irbil, Baghdad, Karbala, and now Madrid. The terrorist outrages spread across the globe but so far, thankfully, Canada has only been caught as collateral damage. We’ve lost a few soldiers in attacks and a few citizens have been caught up in attacks abroad but we haven’t yet been attacked directly, or suffered on the scale of Australia, Spain, the U.S., Iraq, Russia or Israel. With such a long list of locations already attacked surely one would have to be in willful denial to think such an attack couldn’t happen here. But think the unthinkable for a moment, how would we respond to a massacre on public transit?

Start with just the infrastructure. Madrid had something like 1000 trauma victims show up at their emergency rooms. How would our hospitals deal with something like that in Toronto, Montreal or Ottawa? A minor ‘flu outbreak puts the hospitals into crisis mode, what would they do in response to a terrorist attack? It’s hard to imagine. I certainly hope we never find out, but it would certainly be prudent to be prepared.

But how would Canadians deal with it emotionally? This is a nation that has a nervous breakdown in response to insults from a sock puppet. The CBC and its fellow travelers quake in fear over barely detectable trace contaminants in salmon or children’s’ playground structures made from pressure treated wood. They don’t let their little munchkins ride a tricycle without a helmet. And of course they rest assured in their smug complacency and moral superiority that somehow all these Israelis and Americans had it coming. How would these emotionally fragile souls deal with pulling blown up women and children from the scene of a mass murder here at home? Their entire fantasy risk-free neighbourhood and adolescent worldview would be in rubble, too. Once upon a time Canadians were made of sterner stuff, able to deal with catastrophes like Dieppe, but we’ve spent decades withdrawing into a Trudeaupian bubble strikingly detached from the real world. If this bubble were to burst I think we have good reason to fear the reaction might be either extreme or irrational.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Socialism in action 

New Brunswick spent $750 million dollars to refurbish their Coleson Cove generating station to burn Orimulsion, a fuel only available from Venezuela. And now there is some question about whether or not Chavez and his goons are still interested in supplying this fuel.

I have no idea whether this venture was visionary or misguided, but $750 million dollars is a lot of money in New Brunswick, being almost half what they spend on health care in a year. Put another way, the government, through their wholly owned utility, invested about $1000 for every man, woman and child in the province on this venture. There are lots of reasons why a normal person would not want to take such a risk with his own money, Venezuela being a politically unstable place these days. As Venezuela descends into tyranny there may even be people who would want to boycott the country rather than commit to twenty year supply contracts with what is quickly becoming a gangster state. I thought only evil multination profiteering private corporations got involved in these sorts of ventures, but here we have two government owned companies seemingly screwing one another. Why Venezuela would not want the customer for their Orimulsion fuel is a bit of a mystery, but then tyrannies can’t be counted on to act rationally. Whether honouring or canceling this deal is good for Venezuelans is hard to say. It’s remotely possible that they’ve figured out they were losing money on the business and have decided to get out of it, or at least stop expanding it. Or maybe they’re just so screwed up they’re incapable of expanding the business, even though it would be profitable to do so. There is talk that NB Power may try to sue. As if suing a state owned company in Venezuela is likely to be successful. Do they know the state of the rule of law there these days?

But one thing is certain. The fate of the investment of New Brunswick taxpayers is now in the hands of Chavez thugs, whether they like it or not. Why on earth do proponents of socialism think this situation is preferable to having such risk borne by private investors? Together with Ontario’s legacy of nuclear reactors and $36 billion of stranded debt it’s clear governments have a habit of taking large risks and sticking taxpayers with the results. Whatever one may think of the Enron fiasco at least that was private money at risk. Here governments are quite literally putting the funding of schools and hospitals at risk through huge investments in utilities. Why not let private investors risking their own money buy the bonds and shares of utilities who think Orimulsion is a good business risk? If it doesn’t work out they will bear the losses, not taxpayers. If it is profitable the government will get its cut through taxes.

New Brunswick already has trouble financing their current social programs, touring the country to see if they can get warm bodies back in their province to tax. It’s sort of a province turned panhandler, wandering around the more affluent provinces saying “Hey, buddy, can you spare a taxpayer?”, and of course whining for more federal handouts. But of course they’ll always phrase it as “more money for health care”, not “more money for bailing out Orimulsion generating stations”, which would be more accurate.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Les Bougons - subversion extraordinaire 

I'm doing my best to crank out subversive commentary but I have to bow to the masters, la famille Bougon. Unfortunately the rest of the country completely misses this marvelous piece of satire.

Every week it seems some aspect or other of our caring, sharing, compassionate nanny state is subjected to merciless satire. Tonight it was our caring, compassionate child protection services taking away a little kid for missing too much school - and dropping him off in a place where the kids were practically stacked like cordwood and fed industrial style. I could write articles 'till I'm blue in the face that kids are almost always better off with their parents than placed in state care, but this show delivered the message far better. And to a vastly larger audience. Well done, Radio-Canada.

Getting the government we deserve 

It is often said that in a democracy you get the government you deserve, and there’s a lot of truth to it. Railing away at the Liberal corruption and incompetence is good fun and allows some of us to retain an iota of sanity but in the end they are in power because they keep getting elected. Andrew Coyne has been doing a masterful job documenting the rot in all of its ugliness, and has been doing so for years. But now the rot is very visible, has been getting saturation media coverage in all the major outlets and has been a topic of conversation in every Tim Horton’s in the country. And what is the result?

The Liberals support actually increased in Atlantic Canada during the height of the Adscam coverage. Stephen Harper was criticized for some fairly innocuous observations about Atlantic Canada’s penchant for handouts, but what is one supposed to say in response to this? They see a party that is prepared to raid the public treasury and one can only conclude they like what they see. George Bernard Shaw said “A government with the policy to rob Peter to pay Paul can be assured of the support of Paul”. Obviously there are a lot of Pauls in Atlantic Canada and if they haven’t been recipients of this particular largesse they are patient enough to wait their turn.

And Quebec still ignores the Conservative party. I don’t believe this is a rejection of anything Stephen Harper has to say, as his ideas on respecting provincial jurisdiction would be popular in Quebec if it were a francophone de souche saying them. It is not a lack of effort from Harper’s part. He’s been grabbing every opportunity to get on Radio-Canada he can, going way back to his days in the Reform party. And his ability to express himself in French is very good, though no one would confuse him with a native speaker. But given a choice between the useless Bloc Québécois, corrupt Liberals, and the parti des autres they vote along tribal lines. This is an aspect of Canadian politics that the mainstream media consider politically incorrect to talk about, but it has been so consistent for so many decades you have to be willfully blind not to see it. A federal party simply has to offer up a leader and core team of people from Quebec to gain any popular support in Quebec; actual policies are almost irrelevant.

Even in provincial politics to many people it actually seems to matter whether Charest’s first name is really John or Jean. And many talked endlessly about Trudeau’s middle name of Elliot, this being evidence enough he wasn’t really Québécois.

So we have about fifty seats in Quebec that are largely a tribal vote, and we have easterners open to the highest bid. And if a party refuses to be held hostage to those games they get criticized for not being a national party. So the result is we get a corrupt party centred in Quebec doling out the booty from the public treasury in response to public demand. And large numbers of people in Ontario are obviously content to avert their eyes from it all, as it's all done for fine patriotic reasons. There is no democratic deficit; we’re getting exactly the government we deserve.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Copps calls the cops 

This is hilarious. Sheila ought to ask François Beaudoin if getting the RCMP involved in Liberal disputes is a good idea.

Copps calls in the Mounties:

Liberal MP Sheila Copps launched a spectacular broadside against her own party Tuesday, calling on the Mounties to investigate what she described as a "massive" fraud meant to oust her from Parliament.

This is known as calling in fire on your own position in the army. Being a good Trudeaupian Liberal she's naturally ignorant about such matters.

A Federalism for All Canadians 

Laurent has an excellent assessment of Stephen Harper's text, A Federalism for All Canadians. I agree completely that this is an excellent assessment of what's wrong with the federal government under Trudeau-Chrétien-Martin governments. It's one of the reasons I support Harper; he has clearly thought very deeply about what's wrong with the government and offers more than just the usual infantile partisan jabs. The paper is chock full of suggestions with which I've found very little to disagree.

One point I would disagree with, though:

Stephen Harper will ask for the provinces for the names of nominees for any
vacancies on the board of the Bank of Canada.

I think this is a dumb idea. The Bank of Canada is exclusively federal jurisdiction, and nothing but mischief can come from getting the provinces involved in its operation. This is probably not as dumb of an idea as Martin's "New deal for cities", but dumb nonetheless.

But that's one point out of a seven page document chock full of practical positions on major structural flaws in the way the federal government operates. Well done, Stephen. I'd like to see the other candidates respond in similar detail. Naturally we'll get nothing but soaring rhetoric and empty platitudes from Martin, though.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Kofi comes to Ottawa 

For those who don’t live near our nation’s capital you might not be aware of the diplomatic niceties extended to visiting dignitaries of foreign nations. I’m no expert either, but I always notice the flags along the streets, which I usually turn into an identify-the-flag game with my kids. You see, whenever a visiting head of state comes to Ottawa the route to Parliament Hill is decked out with alternating Canadian flags and the flag of the visiting country. This evening I was driving along Colonel By drive and noticed a strange sight – alternating Canadian flags with the blue emblem of the United Nations.

I have to say I found this bizarre. Kofi is being treated as if he were the President of the World or had some official diplomatic standing. That’s nonsense; he’s a bureaucrat, not a head of state. His is a consensus appointment whose job is an administrative one. His utterances are not the policy of some body with legitimacy, and in any case he serves no role in setting any policies the UN has, such as they are. Anything with teeth comes from the votes of the members of the security council, not pronouncements from Kofi. The rest of the nonsense comes from resolutions voted on in the General Assembly, which can safely be ignored as empty hot air.

He does have administrative responsibilities, though. When the Security Council implements things like the Oil-for-PalacesFood program it is his job to see that it is run honestly and effectively. When he comes to visit parliament the relationship should not be him lecturing Canada, though that is no doubt what will happen. He should be answering to parliament the way the civil servants running Adscam answer to a parliamentary committee. He has overseen more corruption and scandal than anything even the Liberals have produced. He should be called to account on where Canada’s UN contributions have gone, not fêted as if he represented anyone important.

Urban legends brought to you by the Globe 

The Globe discovers the internet, which is kind of nice. No media company is complete without a good convergence strategy. They must be thanking Al Gore for inventing the internet, ‘cause it means they can tune into hip, cool stories that the inkstained wretches would otherwise miss. It also means they can recycle electronic urban legends into real honest-to-god dead tree urban legends:

The United States is notorious as the land of opportunity for frivolous lawsuits. There is even an annual ceremony, the Stella Awards, to honour the most bizarre and unlikely of the successful plaintiffs. The winner for 2003 was an Oklahoma City man who set the cruise control of his Winnebago motor home at 70 miles an hour, left the driver's seat to go back and make himself a cup of coffee and, after the vehicle veered off the highway and crashed, sued Winnebago for not warning him that leaving the steering wheel unattended might be dangerous. The jury awarded him $1.75-million (U.S.) and a new Winnebago.

That’s a great story. But if you want to be really hip you should access the Al Gore information freeway and check out snopes before publishing crazy stories that sound a little too good to be true.

Last word on Sheila 

Jay Currie has said it perfectly, I think:

She thought she was representing the part of the Liberal Party which has a heart, what she was really doing was marginalizing great swathes of Canadians. The entire concept of celebrating diversity and different heritages actually translates into creating professional ethnics and minorities who line up for the lolly and let lose a chorus of whines if the funding ever stops.

This sort of Liberalism, with its patrons and clients locked in a dance of corruption, is exactly the sort of Liberalism Paul Martin needs to eradicate. Beating Copps was a good first step.

If ending this dance of corruption is really Martin's intention then I applaud his efforts wholeheartedly. So far I'm not convinced this is what he has in mind. I think he just prefers to have his supporters doing the dance rather than his opponents, but I am open to being convinced otherwise.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Fallback options for Sheila 

There's still no word on the nomination battle in Hamilton, but have no fear for the future of Sheila Copps. If it turns out she's deposed etiquette requires that those she helped while in power return the favour later.

So perhaps we'll see her in a starring role soon in an all new sequel to Bubbles Galore.

Update: The results are in and Sheila will have the opportunity to apply her, uh, talents in a new direction. Watch for the sequel coming to a dingy theatre near you soon!

Andrew Coyne: Citizens incapable of self-government 

So I guess results of the experiment that is western civilization are in and it was a failure. Ordinary citizens are not capable of governing themselves after all, and we require a breed apart – ruling class, separate and distinct from us lowlifes to handle the affairs of state. Now that’s not exactly the way he puts it, and I might be accused of constructing a strawman here, but this seems to me the logical conclusion one must draw from Andrew Coyne’s column in the National Post today (sorry, no link yet). Technically he doesn’t say normal, mortal citizens are incapable of self-government – he just says Belinda Stronach is.

In continental Europe normal citizens just can’t put themselves forward for senior political leadership positions. Arnold Schwarzenegger can be governor of California, but would be cast aside with haughty disdain if he had tried to be mayor of a town in Austria, and laughed out of polite society for the very nerve of suggesting he might have something to offer at more senior levels of the Eurocracy. In Europe, or at least in countries like Germany, Austria and France politicians simply have to go to the right Universities, assimilate into the correct social circles quite separate and distinct from the lowly citizens, acquire through osmosis the correct opinions of the political class, and learn to studiously avoid addressing a wide range of taboo topics. The entire process ensures that the public has a choice among a suite of carefully scrubbed Eurosnots, but no real chance at a candidate that actually represents them. Iran has a far less subtle method, through their Council of Guardians. If you can’t convince them you’re a bonafide Islamic nutter you just can’t run for office. Evidently screening and scrubbing candidates should be a more subtle, indirect process as Iran gets criticized for its direct approach, while the chattering classes in more enlightened western countries attempt to implement a similar process through social stigmatization and ridicule of the unworthy.

Andrew Coyne, commenting on Belinda Stronach:

She strikes me as a decent person with reasonable opinions and an admirable commitment to the public good. [..] But she is not remotely qualified for the job she seeks, and her candidacy is an embarrassment to everyone concerned – to her, to the Conservative Party, to the political process.

Well, consider your application to the Trudeaupian Council of Guardians rejected, Belinda. He does not merely say our interests would be better served by supporting other candidates. Our political process is embarrassed by a decent person with an admirable commitment to the public good offering her services. Whose services, of course, we are free to decline. Perhaps we prefer to be governed by vindictive power-hungry thugs rather than decent people. Obviously we have made that choice in the past and may do so again.

I happen to think Stephen Harper would make a better leader for the Conservative Party, too. I just wish we had the choice of more candidates, not fewer. I would like to see representatives with a wide variety of backgrounds put forward their ideas. Let frustrated nurses come forward and offer their prescriptions on how to solve health care problems. Let people from academia, industry, Newfoundland outports and displaced farms step forward and let the people decide who best represents them. I will not be embarrassed or feel diminished by their offer or suggestions. It is easy to see why so few people step forward when this is the type of abuse heaped on a decent person with an admirable commitment to the public good.

The chattering classes sneered at the suite of candidates that stepped forward in California. Yet the people decided to toss out their carefully scrubbed offerings and install Schwarzenegger as governor instead. I don’t think Canada would suffer from more people from the nonpolitical backgrounds stepping forward and offering their services.

And in any case I doubt Harper’s position is really seriously threatened. I’m confident the democratic process will sift through the strengths and weaknesses of the three candidates and choose Harper. All this gnashing of teeth and rending of garments by the self-appointed Council of Guardians will be for naught.

Friday, March 05, 2004

On mindless moonbats 

Last Sunday the Star unleashed its barking moonbat brigade on the Bush administration for not intervening in Haiti. Any bets on what their moonbats will have to say this Sunday now that American Marines are in Haiti? I’d be willing to put money on it, but somehow I think I’ll have trouble finding any takers.

But do these mindless anti-American moonbats actually believe what they write, or are they just tossing out the meat for the cheers of the crowd? Hey, sometimes I find myself on stupid government projects where I just write what I think they want to hear. It’s not fun but it pays the bills.

I’m just curious, thought. If the U.S. is really guilty of all the sins the likes of Linda McQuaig accuse it of, why would she be feel anything but relief in their initial resistance to intervention? Surely this would be an opportunity for her to advocate a coalition of the whining to demonstrate their superior foreign policy prescriptions without those annoying Yanks fouling things up. Surely there’s something the 94% of the world’s population outside the U.S. can do without adult supervision. But apparently not.

It must be pretty easy to write these anti-American screeds. Everything’s America’s fault. I’m reminded of the creative writing machine in Orwell’s 1984 where they just scramble around a bunch of words, names and storylines to generate new novels. It’s pretty easy in practice.

Pity the poor people in Cuba/Asian sweatshops. Their poverty is a direct result of “American refusal to invest and trade”/”exploitation by American multinationals”. We have to address this by “campaigning to get sanctions lifted”/”boycotting companies investing there until they pull out”.

And of course when it comes to any undemocratic countries guilty of human rights abuses America basically has three choices.

1. Constructive engagement, hoping that over time trade, contacts and moral suasion will improve the situation.
2. Diplomatic and economic sanctions.
3. Military action.

If America chooses option 1, they are propping up dictators and guilty by association of all the crimes of the third world dictators. Strangely France is not held to this standard, but America is.

If America chooses option 2, they are starving children and only strengthening the dictator’s grip on power.

And of course option 3 is simply beyond the pale. They are warmongering fascists worse than Hitler. Except when they refuse to invade Haiti they’re racists, except now that they have intervened I guess Halliburton decided Haiti is a useful place to build a pipeline across after all.

It seems impossible that all of these opinions could emanate from the same pair of synapses, but it’s always the same.

Welcome to the road to serfdom - Straight ahead seven years 

Anyone who has read Friedrich Hayek’s book The Road to Serfdom will not be surprised to see the effect of socialized medicine on medical practitioners. Going down the road to serfdom has some fairly predictable steps.

The first step is to implement centralized planning of medical delivery (check).

Having eliminated the invisible hand of the market, shortages develop (check).

Government responds with increasingly strenuous propaganda (check) – See Romanow report, Canada Health Council, etc.

Public gets increasingly agitated with shortages and demands the government do whatever it takes to resolve it (check).

Government responds with steadily more coercive measures on workers to meet public demand, ultimately resulting in abject serfdom of the workers (in progress).

It’s not widely known outside Quebec, but in the dying days of the PQ government doctors were actually getting orders from a bailiff to serve in regional hospital emergency rooms. That law has since been repealed but it hasn’t resolved the issue. They are still looking for voluntary recruits into serfdom:

Last spring, while campaigning for the Quebec premiership, Jean Charest promised the provincial government would spend $50 million to pay for the tuition and housing of 100 foreign medical students.
In exchange, the students would agree to practise for at least seven years in outlying regions of Quebec.

Seven years of being told where to live and where to work in return for the government financing an education. Most of us choose where to live through a number of factors, including family connections and other private reasons. And what if these new graduates marry someone who lives in a different region and starts a family? Will the government really coerce a doctor into doing his time in the boondocks for seven years away from his family? And when there’s no replacement for him when the time is up will they dream up some new excuse to keep him there? It sounds almost inhumane in practice. People aren’t pawns to be moved around chessboard to suit the government’s political needs. I’m sick of people claiming socialized medicine has a monopoly on compassion. This is not compassion for the doctors, nor is having seniors with dilapidated hips spending 18 months of agony on a waiting list compassionate.
There’s a reason these regions don’t have permanent shortages of veterinarians or opticians. The invisible hand of the market sees that these needs are met. It’s time we introduced market reforms into delivery of medical services too.

The Star gets tough on terror 

You know the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is making its presence felt when the even the Star gets tough on terror:

Osama bin Laden admirers who hate Americans and back suicide bombers must not be waved through immigration with a nod and a smile.

Wow. Withholding the nod and smile is a little harsh, don't ya think?

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Kudos to the CBC 

Fine work by the CBC, and no I don’t mean that sarcastically at all. Surely the world’s media must have been trying for a long time to interview close Bin Laden associates, but by far the best insight to date has been served up by none other than the CBC with their documentary on the Khadr family. What a marvelous piece of investigative journalism being broadcast with the depth and length the subject deserves. This follows on an excellent documentary they had done earlier on radical mosques in Europe that had been infiltrated by an Algerian. While I am a frequent critic of the CBC I have to say they are producing great documentaries like this while the rest of the world’s media treat these topics superficially at best.

One can easily imagine where they thought this story was leading them. Innocent Canadian pious muslims doing charity work in Afghanistan being slandered as jihadis by right wing neocon lies. The CBC would set out and tell the real story. Well, tell their story they did, and the CBC must be congratulated for carrying through with it.

If you haven’t seen the CBC special on Canada’s Al Qaeda family, it is a must see. You can hear these fine Canadians muslims in their own words as they talk about their time sharing a compound with Bin Laden’s family, celebrating the attacks on Americans, defending the Taliban, admiring the bravery of suicide bombers, and defending their brave jihadi for tossing a grenade at American soldiers (“So he killed one. Big deal, the Americans killed three.”) It is captivating television.

I’d like to ask the multicuralists out there a simple question. What do you think of those two lovely ladies on Newsworld last night? Their assessment of Taliban justice, complete with amputations and stringing up corpses in the public square- “Firm but fair. A strong to deterrent to others”.

On sending their kids to Al Qaeda terrorist training camps for explosive training and suicide bombing recruitment: (quoting from memory here) “I want my son to be strong and prepared to stand up for himself – not like in Canada where he might be taking drugs or into a homosexual relationship”. So I guess the NDP won’t be recruiting these lovely ladies as candidates after all. Their anti-American bonafides are impeccable but Svend would have trouble getting over the homophobia bit.

Part two of this documentary will be on Newsworld tonight. Don’t miss it.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Sponsorships still @ work 

I happened to drive through our nation's capital today and saw a large billboard promoting culture.ca with the lovely Government of Canada logo prominently displayed. And what do we find there?
Hiphop culture is world culture; it is global culture; it is revolutionary culture; it is youth culture... and it is definitely part of Canadian culture!

Your taxes at work/ Vos impôts font du chemin!

Denis Coderre - Brave saviour of our civilization 

From Andrew Coyne, we find this quote from Idiot du jour Denis Coderre:

With everything going on right now in Haiti, with everything we see on the international scene, human nature is fragile. It is essential that we be able to preserve this democracy. To do it, it is important that we have a strong Liberal Party of Canada.

The sad thing is this type of breathtaking arrogance from Liberals doesn’t even outrage me anymore. There are just too many ways they let us know what they really think of us lowly barbarian plebes, and what we might do to ourselves if they weren’t there to nanny us. We must be grateful for the tremendous burden they bear on our behalf. Who knows just what kind of barbarian society might be unleashed if the Liberals were to find themselves in opposition. Illegal immigrant criminal gangs might end up being deported rather than being given multicult grants for their clubhouses. Yes, it might actually get as bad as that.

But it is worth addressing just what is the difference between Canada and basket cases like Haiti. The foundation of a civilized society requires that the citizen respect the institutions of authority, and those institutions respect the honest, law-abiding citizen. We have that today, but as Monsieur Coderre rightly states, such a balance is fragile. I would also suggest I sense the beginnings of that respect fraying at the edges, and much of the responsibilty goes to the mush-headed policies of Liberals and insane judgements of the Liberal hacks currently occupying many judicial benches of the country. While people still trust their institutions, the reciprocal respect of the typical citizen is no longer being shown.

A little while ago I realized I don’t like cops anymore, and it came as a big surprise to me. When I was a kid I admired firemen and cops as brave defenders of civilization. I figured only criminals need shrink from the sight of a cop on the street and the average citizen should find a cop’s presence reassuring. It has taken many years but I have slowly started moving to the position that almost exactly the reverse is true. Consider this story related to us from interim Conservative leader Grant Hill:

Let me tell members the experience of one rancher in my community. As this fellow left his farm, he saw a hitchhiker nearby. He rolled down his window and asked him if he wanted a ride anywhere. The fellow said, “No thanks, I’m going a different way”. Off he went to his fields and the hitchhiker broke into his home, broke into his locked gun cabinet and stole his pistol. He was subsequently caught by the police with the stolen pistol. For stealing the pistol and the subsequent chase in which he crashed the guy’s motorcycle which he had stolen as well, he received six months in prison. The gun owner, the fellow who had his home broken into, was charged for unsafe storage of a firearm. Remember, the firearm was in his locked home, in his locked cabinet, and what penalty did he receive? He received a greater penalty than the thief.

So this guy now realizes he would have been better off just replacing his stolen property and leaving the police out of it. The beginning of my realization started with a similar experience, many years ago. Someone stole the license plate off my motorcycle one day while I had left it parked downtown. I immediately went to the closest police station to report it, thinking they might be interested in what someone would be doing with a stolen license plate (such as putting it on a stolen motorcycle, perhaps, or finding it otherwise useful to elude police). But no, they were decidedly uninterested in anything like that; the only thing of supreme importance to them was that I not drive the bike without a plate. Uh-huh. I’m just going to abandon a bike while taking a cab around to police stations and government ministries for some undetermined number of days while waiting for a replacement. Similar lecture received from the government ministry before finally getting my plate, which I affixed in the parking lot and drove home. Back then I was naïve enough to think they’d have a token interest in finding a thief, if for no other reason that it might be pointing to someone involved in more serious crimes courtesy of the stolen plate.

And of course this was followed by a steady stream of brushes with the police and bylaw officers enforcing the usual nanny state regulations that plague our daily lives – speed traps, RIDE stops issuing 20,000 nuisance tickets for every drunk they find and the like.

Last summer my family and I did what we had done many times over the years – take the dog for a walk around Dow’s Lake during the Ottawa Tulip festival. After the usual practice of making sure we had the regulation short leash and plastic bags we got there and found temporary "NO DOGS" signs at the entrance to the park. Our Liberal patronage hacks in the National Capital Commission have evidently issued a decree declaring a public park an inappropriate place to walk a dog. Ignoring it I quickly got accosted by a bylaw enforcement officer and for the first time in my life I blew my stack with a guy in uniform. But for many years now I realize I react to a cop the same way a drug dealer would, that being to avoid eye contact and try to draw as little attention to myself as possible, even if I’m not aware of being in contravention of any of the nanny state’s laws. It’s become a Pavlovian response by now.

In a recent column Thomas Sowell wrote:

I have a terrible feeling that mush-headed judges are going to let so many people get away with so much for so long that we may eventually see the return of vigilante justice. Fortunately, I am old enough that I will probably be spared seeing it happen.

I think his fear is well founded. I hope it doesn’t happen in my lifetime but I no longer consider the idea ridiculous. Presumably Monsieur Coderre fears the trigger for such an event would be the defeat of a Liberal government, but I think it’s more likely to be the inevitable result of their mush-headed policies. If I lived in a neighbourhood in Toronto where known illegal immigrants are regularly given the catch-and-release procedure I think I might eventually snap. Or consider the experience of the Dagenais family. René Michaud was released after being charged with possession of stolen weapons and murdered Bob and Bonnie Dagenais a week later with more stolen weapons. I don’t know if they immediately imprisoned the poor folks who had their guns stolen like the unfortunate rancher in Grant Hill’s community, but we do know they immediately released the eventual murderer. Events like this, Monsieur Coderre, are what may eventually lead to a descent into Haitian style chaos, not a little criticism of our benevolent(?) dictators in the ruling Party from us ungrateful plebes.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Congratulations, Denys Arcand! 

I was glad to see Denys Arcand get the well deserved Oscar for his excellent movie The Barbarian Invasions. Less honourable was his decision to snub the Academy by refusing to make an acceptance speech, but evidently his anti-Americanism runs so deep he felt a need to make this infantile gesture. He flew down there to bask in the honour only to give them a not-so-subtle snub, the Hollywood version of having your Oscar and rejecting it too.

Through his movies it appears his thinking has matured considerably since he made The Decline of the American Empire, but evidently his personality has not. If you haven’t seen The Barbarian Invasions, you definitely should take the time. Inspired by Arcand’s real life experience with Quebec’s health care system it shows the dilapidated state of a typical Montreal hospital, a useless bureaucrat detached from the surrounding chaos, and the unattractive influence of our thuggish unions. The patient’s son, a now a London-based capitalist, returns and cuts through the bureaucracy with bribes, a trip to Vermont for tests and a general dogged determination to make things happen. So he’s now making movies where the unsavoury capitalist is clearly the one to turn to to get things done, but he still needs feels the need to snub an American award. A little bizarre, but he deserves the award nonetheless for his taxpayer-funded slaughtering of one of the Trudeaupian state’s most sacred cows.

Speaking of taxpayer-funded nonsense, what’s one to make of this interview with Mary Walsh? Mary Walsh is the warrior princess of the CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, who regularly subjects conservative politicians to haranguing monologues. Here she is taking a run at Alberta Premier Ralph Klein’s health care reforms:

Well, I already talked to Jean Chretien about it, but what is Ralph Klein up to? What does he want? I think he's just drinking too much. I think he should just get off the liquor. Personally, Ralph Klein, cuz he really has that kind of, now, this is the fourth time he's trying to drive through this private health care legislation; nobody wants it, not even the people of Alberta and he's still doing it. He's just like one of those drunks. He's got a bad hangover. I don't even know if he drinks, but just to me, it appears to me that I'm not making any kind of libelous statements about Mr. Klein and his relationship with a scotch bottle.

Now that’s the kind of classy, cerebral policy analysis we fund the CBC to do. Perhaps you’re not aware that Mary Walsh has a personal interest in health care. She is suffering from macular degeneration, which would have left her blind had she gotten the usual Canadian treatment of being stuck on a waiting list for several months. But instead she’s been rushed off for two urgent eye surgeries – in St. Louis.

She continues to read her leftist harangues off of a teleprompter albeit with large type. That she can see at all is thanks to surgery performed in private American clinics, yet she continues to rant against private health care. All the time funded by Canadian taxpayers, of course.

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