Sunday, May 30, 2004

The Day After Tomorrow 

I’m a little late commenting on this film, and no, I haven’t seen it nor do I intend to. I’ve seen formula disaster movies before and have no need to waste a couple of hours of my life to see this one. I get it. We’re evil capitalists and for our wanton consumption and sins against normally benevolent Mother Earth we will be delivered our righteous destruction. I guess I shouldn’t be, but I am a little surprised to see so much mainstream media coverage of this junk science extravaganza. Le Devoir even had it very prominently splashed across their front page with a large colour picture on Saturday, but I guess this is to be expected given high profile promoters. One can imagine Al Gore pimping for the film with ending off with a big “SEE THIS YOU IDIOTS? WE’RE ALL DOOMED, YEAGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”.

But anyway. This film is to the eco-moonbats what The Passion of the Christ was to born again Christians, so let them have their fun. It should be an interesting comparison, actually. The movie buffs figured The Passion would be a bust, and the fringes of society likely to go see it would be scary passionate wackos whipped into an anti-Semitic frenzy likely to go on Jew-lynching pogroms. Uh-huh. It turns out there are actually large numbers of practicing Christians and they aren’t actually prone to lynching Jews, at least in North America (who knew?).

Well, I’ll go out on a limb and make a prediction over The Day after Tomorrow. There are far fewer eco-moonbats than practicing Christians, resulting in a vastly smaller box office and shorter runs for it than The Passion. And, unlike Christians at The Passion this movie won’t pass without any violence. I’ll predict that at least somewhere in North America or Europe there will be a mob of eco-moonbats and anti-globos that will go on a rampage vandalizing SUVs, slashing tires and getting into other mischief. So keep a watch out and e-mail me any vandalism sightings associated with this movie.

Jack Layton and the homeless 

Andrew Coyne, like most commentators, says Jack Layton is overreaching when he tries to hold Paul Martin to account for the death of the homeless. The Ottawa Citizen editorial board and Norman Spector disagree, saying you can’t claim credit for any successes if you don’t also take blame for the failures. I opined earlier that it was quite debatable who was more to blame for the lack of affordable housing, the lack of federal subsidies, or the crushing weight of regulations, zoning restrictions, bylaws and meddling urban activists heaped upon anyone inclined to build them.

But on reflection even this misses the point. When it comes to the homeless we’re not talking about someone specifically within federal responsibility, such as our airmen being sent aloft in ancient Sea King helicopters. We’re talking about ordinary citizens in a free country who are at least temporarily experiencing difficulties such as substance abuse, mental illness or just indulging in a bout of self-destructive behaviour. It is quite alarming to even consider the idea that the population should be considered wards of the state, merely a flock of sheep with the federal government being our shepherd. It is axiomatic that if the government is responsible for your well-being then you can’t be considered responsible for yourself.

For the record, if I should find myself in such dire straights I would consider the responsibility as follows:
1. Myself
2. my immediate family
3. my extended family
4. my church
5. other charitable institutions
6. government social workers (municipal, provincial and lastly federal)

Very last, if at all, I would consider the federal government’s responsibility to maintain sound economic and social policies to minimize the number of people who find themselves entrapped in the downward spiral that ends in homelessness and sometimes death on the streets. And in any case it will always be very difficult to determine which policy was mostly responsible for the decline. If someone planning to work on the development of the Voisey’s Bay mine gets laid off due to political wrangling in Newfoundland, starting a spiral that ends in homelessness in Toronto, who is actually to blame? The lack of subsidized housing in Toronto or the economic decisions that drove him to Toronto looking for a job? Or the people that voted in the politicians who advocated these policies? It will always be impossible to pin down the ultimate source of blame, so this type of finger-pointing merely lowers the tone of the debate.

Frank McKenna on handouts 

Great praise to Frank McKenna. Margaret Thatcher said she should be judged not on the change she was able to effect within her party, or even within the government. The real lasting legacy should be measured by the change the opposition parties are forced to make to adjust to the new reality.

By that measure perhaps we are starting to see the glimmer of lasting change to Canada’s disastrous policies of keeping the Maritimes addicted to federal handouts. Former Liberal Premier of New Brunswick Frank McKenna, G-d bless his soul, has called for the replacement of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the end of Liberal handouts to be replaced by straightforward tax incentives to spur economic development and self-reliance in the Maritimes. These regional bribery-for-votes programs corrupt everyone involved and should be abolished immediately. If Conservatives manage to do it that would be considered a modest success, potentially reversed the next time Liberals find themselves in a tight race down east. But if the Liberals also agree that ending this corruption in plain sight is necessary we can claim a genuine lasting success for having moved the debate forward.

Friday, May 28, 2004

New deal for the PMO - stop meddling! 

Here’s a new deal the federal government could consider – stop meddling in provincial jurisdiction. Believe it or not, if we want to fund cities with a gas tax today we are perfectly capable of doing so without any involvement by the PMO whatsoever.

I don’t have much sympathy when the Quebec chattering classes mutter about the supposed fiscal imbalance – the idea that Ottawa has too much revenue and other levels of government too little – but Paul Martin essentially is admitting that they are right. He is saying that the federal government is collecting 5 cents/litre in gas taxes for which they have no use whatsoever at the federal level. The military evidently has all the money they need, every federal department is fully funded, the debt is being repaid at an acceptable rate and he has 5 cents/litre burning a hole in his pocket that he has to go looking into other jurisdictions to spend. Fine, if that’s the case then stop collecting it!.

Once they stop collecting it each province can determine whether they wish to replace it with their own tax to fund cities, fund something else, or let their citizens keep their money themselves. I already elect a provincial government and a city council. I don’t need the PMO to tell them what they can or can’t do, or to benevolently hand out grants like a paternalistic uncle. I very much prefer that they be accountable to me, the citizen, not be a sycophant to the PMO to grovel for handouts. There’s only one taxpayer, and a tax paid at the pump has no need to be laundered through PMO cronies before reaching its destination.

Clearly the only purpose of this deal is to expand the power of the PMO, not to improve Canadian governance.

Killing the homeless 

Jack Layton accuses Paul Martin of being responsible for the death of the homeless due to some cuts to housing subsidies. If you really want to go down that road I'd say it's quite debatable about who has done more to drive up housing costs - federal budget cuts to subsidy programs or meddlesome urban activists like Jack Layton and his wife. Here's a rerun of what I wrote on their refusal to acknowledge the consequences of their meddling and demonising of those who build the housing they supposedly want.

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.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Another National Energy Program? 

One never knows what the Liberals have in mind when it comes to high oil prices. Yesterday Martin was merely "very concerned", which given his hyperbolic rhetoric translates to "not really concerned". But today he hit the magic words and now he assures us: “Fundamentally, we are very, very concerned about this”. One assumes this doesn't mean he's going to invade an Arab country to steal their oil, though, because he also wants Canada to be different from the U.S.

Nope, good multilateralists that we are, he will talk about it at a G8 conflab.
I intend when I'm at the G-8 meeting in Georgia, to raise with my counterparts — the heads of state of the other G-8 countries — the necessity of really asking OPEC to increase production.
Well, that should do it. Without Martin's impetus they never would have thought of that, I'm sure.

Monday, May 24, 2004

All the Junk Science that's unfit to print 

But is evidently fit to be on the Ottawa Citizen's online extra. Fortunately no subscribers were forced to pay for this piece of junk. (Also posted at the Shotgun).

The start out this article with this nose-stretcher:
FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (AP) - The rising sea is eating at the shores of low-slung Funafuti, a spit of coral and coconut palms in the remote Pacific. Unseen fingers of ocean even reach beneath the sands, surfacing inland in startling places, among nervous islanders.
Like the Jenin massacre and the plastic turkey in Iraq, Tuvalu sinking below the waves is an image irresponsible journalists just can't let go. It's a great story. Tiny isolated South Pacific island living in its own little paradise, but getting swamped by the rising seas of climate change. There's just one minor problem: It isn't happening. If one is going to write a story about the tides at Tuvalu one would think the publicly available tide gauge data would be one relevant source to check. It's not as if they don't have a tide gauge to check these things.
In 1993, the National Tidal Facility in Adelaide, Australia installed a tide gauge in Funafuti, Tuvalu, which "has been returning high resolution, good scientific quality data since March 1993." The measurements show that during the nine years there has been a increase in sea level of 0.9 mm per year. The NTF notes, that, "A major anomaly occurred in 1998 in response to an El Niño that lowered sea levels by 35 cm in March and April of that year. By November 1998, sea level had completely recovered and resumed its normal seasonal cycle that typically exhibits about a 10 cm rise early in the calendar year followed by about a 10 cm sea level drop relative to average sea level for the latter part of the year."

A historical assessment of sea level change in Australia and the Pacific from 1978 to 1999, "shows a very similar sea level behavior at Funafuti," showing a sea level rise of 0.07 mm per year. "The historical record shows no visual evidence of any acceleration in sea level trends"
They are experiencing some localized erosion at Tuvalu, but a sea level rise of 0.07 millimetres per year is hardly going to swamp the island. But don't expect to stop hearing about poor Tuvalu anytime soon, either.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Election's on, you plebe's can shut up now 

Kim Campbell said elections are no time to discuss serious issues, or so the media now interpret what she said. They now assure us it's no time for us plebe's who are not blessed with a newspaper column or TV show to participate either.

Just look at how much sneering condescension Charles Gordon can hurl our way in his Ottaw Citizen column:
Ordinary Canadians can promote their views in all kinds of ways. [...]
They include issuing press releases, calling press conferences, deluging newspapers with e-mail, which heaven knows they already do. They can also write letters to the editor, hold rallies on Parliament Hill, knock on doors, submit opinion articles to newspapers and, let's not forget, run websites on the Internet. It is also quite lawful for third parties to advertise outside the actual election period.[...]
Even those moneyed interests gain. They can save their money.
Ah, yes. Those people who pooled their money and ran low budget amateurish ads during the Charlottetown referendum would be freer to save their money and write to the newspaper instead. So much smug elitism packed into one head it's a miracle one skull can contain it all.

Of course we should save our money and just sit back and watch the professionals at work. We'll watch the mainstream media hang like vultures and give saturation coverage of every Conservative gaffe, while ignoring the Prime Minister land in Norway for the D-Day celebration wondering where everyone else is. We'll watch them do their best to convince us our lives depend on ever-expanding government and anyone who says otherwise is a dangerous freak. We certainly wouldn't want amateurs intruding on that narrative with an uncomfortable low-budget television ad or two. Fortunately we in Canada are so free we'll even be free of exposure to that.

But we will see political parties running ads. In fact the Bloc Quebecois is positively flush with cash, a situation quite new for them. Being fundamentally useless, nothing really more than a place one can park a protest vote, they've always had trouble actually raising money on their own. Not anymore, 'cause you lucky plebes are paying for it thanks to public funding of political parties. You can't spend your own money on what you want to say, but you are required to fund the Bloc Quebecois to travel around in newfound luxury, and to mount a much more substantial advertising campaign than they've been capable of in the past.

I'm liking this freedom already.

And let's not forget the high quality of message the political parties send us. In Ontario Dalton McSwindle ran untold numbers of commercials saying "I won't raise your taxes". That message was dutifully broadcast uncritically by the media to remind voters that they could safely get rid of those evil neanderthal Conservatives without costing themselves anything. Hardly anyone in the mainstream media seriously questioned whether the Liberals really meant it or could be trusted on such a pledge. And of course it was nothing but a baldfaced, shameless lie. Rest assured we will be fed horse manure of equal quality from the Federal Liberals. And the mainstream media will apply equal skepticism to their claims, that is, almost none.

Can this be simplified at all? 

Stephen Harper on bilingualism:
I have said in the past that I disagree with the Trudeau utopian vision of actively altering Canadian culture to create a land in which each and every Canadian speaks both English and French. I continue to disagree with this old and stale misconstruction of official bilingualism.

"Trudeau utopian"? C'mon. Use the contraction, your street cred's at stake.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Andrew Coyne mystery solved 

Many people have been wondering why Andrew Coyne put so much effort into his blog and then abruptly disappeared. With some investigative work and a couple of Access to Information requests I have solved the mystery.

AndrewCoyne.com is a shell company incorporated in one of the newly designated areas of New Brunswick eligible for extra weeks of EI. The company was formed with grants from both Technology Partnerships and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, in which he hired half the eligible voters in two key Liberal ridings as typists, as well as all of his siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles. Once the family and make-work employees have all had their EI cards "stamped up" for the season the entire staff was laid off and they're collecting EI. Andrew is currently working on his new book How I Learned to Love Liberal Largesse.

In return for not posting any criticism on his blog during the election campaign he will be appointed ambassador to Denmark after the election.

Probably pointless, but I wish them luck 

The Canadian Taxpayer's Federation doesn't appreciate being used by McGuinty to get elected and is planning to sue the Ontario government.

Don't forget if they're mad at you they send you a fetus in the mail.

I wish he had a blog 

Or at least put his articles on line. Since Canwest put the Ottawa Citizen behind a subscribtion wall you have to either subsribe or pick up a dead tree version of the Citizen on Wednesdays and Fridays for John Robson's excellent columns. With a cutting wit and excellent insight today he tackles lying Liberals and our feckless political class:
...low turnout is hardly surprising given the mendacious incompetence of recent politics. [...]
But such a suggestion implies that it is the place of voters to pass judgment on politicians.

Our political class clearly holds the opposite view. Understandably, given our opinion of them. A snap survey right after the McSwindle budget found majority opposition to the health premium and service cutbacks even among Liberal supporters but, the Citizen added, "The good news for the Liberals is that 66 per cent of people polled believe they are no better or worse than any other party when it comes to breaking promises."

If that's the good news, I have an even wackier thought. If citizens don't believe a word politicians say, but you want to re-engage them in politics, it would be a perfect time to throw public debate wide open. Instead, the Supreme Court just threw it wide shut by upholding an election gag law[...]
And he notes that this is entirely at odds with the Anglo tradition of classical liberalism, but not entirely inconsistent with French statist thought:
According to A.V. Dicey's magisterial late 19th century The Law of the Constitution, "In England the doctrine has since 1700 in substance prevailed that the government has nothing to do with the guidance of opinion ... Hence the government has (speaking generally) exercised no special control over literature, and the law of the press ... has been nothing else than a branch or an application of the law of libel. In France , literature has for centuries been considered as the particular concern of the state. The prevailing doctrine ... has been, and still to a certain extent is, that it is the function of the administration not only to punish defamation, slander, or blasphemy, but to guide the course of opinion or, at any rate, to adopt preventive measures for guarding against the propagation in print of unsound or dangerous doctrines." We seem to have switched philosophies here in Canada.
Yes, this is what Mark Steyn calls the "Francization" of Canada, and what made me point out that the majority of the Supreme Court who upheld the gag law were either francophones or Quebec-educated anglos. Canada has moved very much into the mode of not trusting its citizens and to "adopt preventive measures for guarding against the propagation in print of unsound or dangerous doctrines". Things like Hate Crimes laws, the CRTC regulation, uncontrollable Human Rights Commissions and the like. All of it together is a grotesque break from Canada's tradition of classical liberalism.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Better dead than a capitalist bed 

After this week’s abominable Supreme Court decision putting an end to free speech during election campaigns, I thought I’d bring to your attention another case before the Supreme Court, that of Chaoulli & Zeliotis. George Zeliotis languished in misery on hospital waiting lists in Montreal for nearly a year before finally receiving his needed hip surgery in 1997. He and his doctor, Jacques Chaoulli brought his case before the court charging that the public health care monopoly infringes our Charter Rights of life and security when they don’t deliver timely care.

They might as well stop wasting their time. They have no chance with the currently stacked Supreme Court.

That’s not to say their case has no merit. Indeed, if the Americans denied health care to a prisoner in such pain for so long they’d have international human rights groups on their case, with justification, I might add. The Geneva Convention does not allow prisoners to be denied access to timely medical care, a protection we are unlikely to be granted as Canadian citizens.

The core of the case turns on what options a patient has when the state system fails to deliver the necessary care, as it so frequently does. Anyone who has friends or relatives waiting interminably for cancer treatment, hip surgery or even in a hospital emergency room with a cardiac problem knows this situation well. If they win their case patients would have the right to seek care elsewhere when the state care is inadequate or untimely, either in another province, in private facilities outside the state monopoly, or even the U.S. Which shall have precedence, the government’s imposition of socialism in health care, or an individual’s right to treatment? No prizes for how this court will rule.

A court that doesn’t think an individual has a right to advertise his views to fellow citizens during an election certainly will not undermine the sacred health care monopoly in the interest of an individual’s well being. So lie back and suffer. If your kid is on a waiting for cancer treatment grin and bear it. It’s your patriotic duty.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

They should throw confetti until the war's over 

I kind of doubt this story is even really true, but the CBC is reporting that an Iraqi wedding was attacked while celebratory gunfire was being shot in the air. If they say so. I'm more inclined to think jihadis were taking cover among civilians, as usual. But still, excessive gunfire in a war zone strikes me as unwise.

Once reported like this it doesn't matter whether it really happened that way. It's a permanent part of the Iraq war lore now, just like the Jenin massacre.

Just liquidate it already 

Air Canada has a huge pension deficit, uncooperative unions and a broken business plan. Every day they fly they lose more money, and with skyrocketing fuel prices their broken business model is even brokener, if that’s possible (or even a word). Buzz Hargrove is an idiot if he thinks he can drag out negotiations with this bankrupt company. By any measure the company’s assets have to have more value being broken up and reallocated to other businesses. Liquidating Air Canada doesn’t mean we won’t be able to fly. The planes will be bought by other airlines. Many of the employees will be hired by other airlines when they expand into Air Canada’s vacated routes. And Air Canada will just be a bitter memory of surly service, grumpy unions and perennial losses for investors. Good riddance.

Kate lets out the secret 

Kate lets the secret out of the bag, finally acknowledging what everyone else really knew but was afraid to say.
It's Vietnam all over again. Tet. My Lai (did you know it's pronounced "me lie"?) Soldiers raping babies. Quagmire quagmire quagmire. Bush lied. Bush is stupid. Bush is a chimp. An evil mastermind Nazi puppet chimp who engineered the takeover of America by stealing the election. And he's ours. We hold the strings.
Yep, the cabal of right wing neo-cons control the world. The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy hasn’t yet conquered the Internet yet, but don’t worry we will. We’re just letting a few lefties post to give the illusion it is free and to build a readership. Then we’ll take them out, too.

And Kate forgot a few interventions. Yep Panama was all about oil. As was Kosovo. Afghanistan – pipeline. Haiti – Halliburton wants to build a pipeline for narcotics across the island.

But the Falkland Islands? Believe it or not that really was about sheep. We’re pretty crazy, huh?

But he's usually so patient 

fisking the idiocy of the left. But the latest Supreme Court judgement on the gag law has gotten Bob mad. He's not nice when he's mad. Go read it all

Freedom Chains 

Jay Jardine points us to a fascinating book I'll have to read, Freedom Chains by James Bovard. It sounds like a great book on how our regulatory state is slowly turning into a flabby, benevolent tyranny. I always thought we needed an update on Hayek's The Road to Serfdom because we aren't really on a road of economic central planning that he envisioned. But we are being ensnared into a tax slavery and having our lives minutely managed by an ever growing nanny state apparatus. It sounds like this is the book to read. Meanwhile check out his description here:
"Trusting contemporary governments means dividing humanity into two classes: those who can be trusted with the power to run other peoples lives and those who cannot even be trusted to run their own lives"

"Rather than 'government by the people' we now have Attention Deficit Democracy. Less than half the voters show up at the polls; less than half of those that do show up understand the issues; and politicians themselves are often unaware of what lurks in the bills they vote for"

"Modern political philosophy largely consists of glorifying poorly functioning political machinery - the threats, bribes and legislative cattle prods by which some people are made to submit to other people"

And that's just the introduction. Sold.

Idiot du jour - Paul Martin 

So PM the PM's Liberal cousins in Ontario get elected on a fraudulent platform, campaigning specifically against tax increases and deficits, then do exactly the opposite. And who does PM the PM, Idiot du jour, blame? Mike Harris. Of course. The guy who retired years ago and was totally uninvolved in that little democratic exercise called an election. Here's PM the PM himself:
"(McGuinty) had to deal with a very difficult situation. "I think that this really demonstrates that when Mike Harris cut taxes prematurely, eventually those chickens come home to roost," Martin said outside his parliamentary office.
Harris made other "Draconian cuts" and left Ontario in need of services and in a deficit.
Martin suggested McGuinty had no choice but to reimpose health services levies Tuesday in the provincial budget.
Ah, he had no choice. He had a choice on what type of platform to present to the voters and chose to blatantly lie. I take it this indicates you have no problem with that approach.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Chrétien continues to rule 

I generally loathe the ethnic and regional politics of the federal Liberals, but since that is the way they have chosen to govern the country it’s interesting to look at how they’ve stacked the Supreme Court, using the latest gag law decision as an example.

The National Citizen’s Coalition challenged the gag law in Alberta and won in both the lower court’s decision and on appeal. Both those courts were able to read the (previously) relevant sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and decide that laws intended to have politicians gag the citizenry is exactly the sort of abuse the Charter was intended to prevent if it was to have any meaning at all. That is also consistent with the last seven times the NCC challenged gag laws.

But now with our Court carefully stacked with ideologically compatible Liberal stooges the law was upheld 6-3. So who were these judges who could deliver such an abomination?

Judging to uphold the law were: Iacobucci, Bastarache, Arbour, LeBel, Deschamps and Fish.

Judging to uphold the Charter were: Chief Justice McLachlin, Major and Binnie.

Well, at least the Chief Justice is capable of reading the Charter. But look who upheld the law – four francophones (Bastarache, Arbour, LeBel, Deschamps) and a Quebec educated Anglo (Fish). Anglos outside Quebec ruled 3-1 to defend the freedoms in the Charter, but, as with the Alberta lower courts, their opinions don’t matter. It appears Chrétien’s friendly dictatorship and his stacked Supreme Court will be our robed philosopher-kings for a long time to come.

Liars are Liberals, Liberals are liars 

So what do liberals do more? Tax and spend, spend and tax, or lie, tax and spend and lie some more? I don't live in Ontario and I can certainly understand why Ontario voters chose to toss out the Eves government. But with the lying tax and spend Liberals to replace them they must be having a touch of buyer's remorse. Even I remember McGuinty making a big show of signing a pledge in public that he wouldn't raise taxes or run a deficit. In what has to be the crassest lying in Canada's recent history he promptly brings in a budget with higher taxes and deficits, while doing essentially nothing to control spending. If signing that pledge meant anything, it surely meant that he would at least try to control the reckless tax and spend Liberal tendencies the public suspected he had.

The last Ontario election was certainly a low point for Canada's democracy. If the parties aren't going to even pretend to pay any attention to the platform they ran on they can stop complaining about voter cynicism or wondering why nobody trusts what the lying slime have to say. McGuinty knew perfectly well what the financial situation of the province was during the election campaign. He chose to lie rather than treat the public like adults who could be trusted to make a responsible choice on an honest platform. He deserves any and all abuse hurled his way. And Ontario voters should certainly never trust a word he says again.

CBC watch - bias # 8,503 

Listening to CBC Ottawa in the car today they interjected this little tidbit, apparently on an ongoing series about Asians in Ottawa (quoting from memory):
Thousands of refugees from the Vietnam War arrived in Canada in 1979, about 5,000 of them settled in Ottawa
The Vietnam War, of course, ended in 1975 and the refuguees were not fleeing the war, but the Communist "peace". The "Give Peace a Chance" crowd got their wish for communist rule and it yielded wholesale slaughter, re-education camps, abject poverty, misery and millions of refugees far beyond anything the war produced.

A small point, perhaps, but refugees arriving many years after the war ended are not fleeing a war. They're fleeing the subsequent peace.

First Amendment and Gag Laws 

Well, as I feared the Supreme Court had indeed upheld the gag law. It is safe to say neither the constitution nor the long history of liberty in western democracies has changed from the previous seven times similar gag laws were struck down. It's the court that has changed. This is not unique to Canada, what follows is what I posted after the U.S. supreme court upheld America's vaguely similar campaign finance laws. In Canada it is fair to say the Supreme Court is just another wing of the Liberal Party now, having been stacked with judges who are at a minimum on good terms with the Liberal Party. They will read into the constitution liberal shibboleths on which the constitution is silent (abortion, homosexual marriage), and ignore safeguards that are explicitly written in black and white (free speech).
In America the first amendment is remarkably brief and clear:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

It seems reasonably straightforward that this clause is designed to restrict Congress from passing laws to restrict speech, especially as regards people peaceably assembling, pooling resources and petitioning government (either for or against a law). It does not say the Dixie Chicks shall not be subjected to criticism for saying something stupid upon their return from London. Nor does it say anything about lap dancing or committing buggery. It says "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech".

So how can a court possibly uphold a law that restricts the ability of people to advertise during campaings, as they just did? It boggles the mind.

Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms is equally clear:
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association.

Same freedoms. Assembly, association, opinion and expression, including the press and other media of communication. Like, say, television ads.

Yet, Canada, too, keeps passing these gag laws, and charging the National Citizen's Coalition under them. So far, Canada's courts keep striking the laws down (seven times so far), but we should be worried about the US example now. Canada's Supreme Court will be fully aware of this latest decision in the US. While the courts in Canada have consistently struck down these stupid laws in the past, we have real reason to fear they may now reverse themselves. The NCC will be back in court in January, and we can only wish them well.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Another crack in the multicultural wall 

It’s not often I agree with a rabid socialist like Heather Malice, but I generally agree with the gist of her latest column – taking multiculturalism to the point of implementing sharia is a bad thing.
Canada, where I was born to immigrants, is as friendly a country to foreigners as can be found. But multiculturalism to the extent of cutting new Canadians off from the legal mainstream is like hacking off your own leg.
It doesn't grow back.
Naturally this column, as always, contains her trademark set of swirling paranoid conspiracy theories that pass through her mind in lieu of coherent thought – she actually blames this situation somehow on Bush, Enron and WorldCom, rather than a logical consequence of multiculturalism in action. If you believe in healing circles for natives it’s hard to throw up a coherent objection to the sharia option for Muslims. Every time the left puts their ideas into practice in the real world the results always seem to come as a surprise to them.
In their world the West is supposed to be the patriarchal oppressor, exploiter of resources and selfish capitalist while non-western cultures keep alive the kinder, gentler collectivist way of life enlightened by historical wisdom, so of course they’re in favour of native self-government and immigrants retaining their way of life. Then they get natives hunting whales, killing endangered caribou, opening for-profit MRI clinics and the Inuit spearheading the development of resource industries in the Arctic. It is rather ironic to see how often environmental groups are now clashing with native economic development initiatives – the idea that natives weren’t going to forever live in some kind of utopian eco-commune arriving as a bit of surprise to them. And now multiculturalism has been taken to its next logical step with the implementation of sharia family law that will set back women’s rights in Ontario, though they likely won’t be stoning adulterers – yet.
So how about this radical idea – multiculturalism was a stupid idea in conception, a mistake as policy and will eventually lead to severe social tension between the separate and now unequal groups. It used to be just us right wing lunatics who thought that way and we got called racist for expressing such outrageous views but now we’re starting to see the left realize the nature of the monster they’ve created. Countries in Europe like Holland and Denmark have pretty much reached a consensus that their immigration and multiculturalism policies over the last thirty years were a mistake. Let’s hope we reach a similar consensus here soon.

Friday, May 14, 2004

A massive intelligence failure 

at the New York times. There's a reason the mainstream media and especially the leftish ones like the New York Times are losing their influence. They pontificate with a condescending sneer about things they proudly know absolutely nothing about. Check out this masterful smackdown at Iraqnow
The New York Times has absolutely lost it.
Here are some of their helpful "suggestions" for fixing the Abu Ghraib problem:

1. Order Mr. Rumsfeld to get military intelligence personnel out of the business of overseeing the detention and interrogation of Iraqi prisoners; an overwhelming majority of the prisoners have no intelligence value.

Hey, New York Times--don't make me slap you. If military intelligence personnel don't interrogate Iraqi prisoners, then who will? Oh, maybe generator mechanics will do a better job.

Except as soon as they are given responsibility for collecting HUMINT, they will by definition become military intelligence personnel. Except without the training. You want to see abuses? REAL abuses? Then pull the trained interrogators out of the process.

It is flatly stunning to me, so soon after the 9/11 hearings, to see the New York Times actually advocating that military intelligence STOP exploiting detainees for Human Intelligence.

That is just off the wall stupid.

But wait, there's more.
Oh yes, there's more. Make sure you go read it all. And then stop listening to the passivist left advice on military affairs. You'd think their advice was actually intended to ensure the effort fails.

Now who can I vote for? 

Just when I thought knuckle-dragging troglodytes were finally at the gates Stephen Harper let's me down
Women's voting rights aren't going to be stripped away or whatever the allegations are.
They're not? But you are going to turn the CBC into an Evangelical network, aren't you?

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Crass bribery 

With all the scams the Liberals have been involved in in the last ten years no one should really be under any delusions about their ethics, or the lengths they're prepared to go to to retain their grasp on power. But the crass bribery of using the EI program to buy some seats in the Maritimes just weeks before an election demonstrates a lot of chutzpah, even for them. They are betting that they can just come clean and say without embarrassment that maritimers are prepared to elect a bunch of kleptocrats as long as they dole out a cut of the booty in increased eastern handouts. Is that really the type of government easterners want?

And just how much tolerance do Ontario taxpayers have for these shenanigans, anyway?

Quote of the day 

This is from Tish Durkin, in the New York Observer
the fact that an Iraqi says something does not make it true. On the contrary, give many Iraqis a dust particle of truth and they will not only build you a palace of conspiracy theory, but fill it with alternative conspiracy theories and spiral staircases of guilt by association and shelves of imaginary documents.
It makes it tough to have a rational conversation about much of anything when one of the parties is nuts. One wonders how democracy can ever take root in a populace so firmly embedded in an Arab Dream Palace.

The first I recall noticing this tendency was in the investigation of the Egypt Air crash. It was an extremely straightforward investigation that showed the co-pilot put the plane into a dive and crashed the plane into the sea, though we don't really know why. The black box, cockpit voice recorder and radar all corroborated the story and no evidence of mechanical malfunction or bomb damage was ever found. But even western educated Egyptians who participated in the investigation wove a web of conspiracy theories, of which a few of the better ones are here:
Many neutral investigators are almost definite that the tragedy happened as a result of "sabotage". They ask: What has hit the plane (in the tail) without leaving any trace or evidence of the cause?

They also ask about the nature of "the sabotage": was it something that was done from outside the plane while flying or if it was actually something "implanted" inside the plane. Whatever the cause, there has to be someone who caused the incident.
That would be known by sane people as pushing forward on the control column in the cockpit, causing the plane to dive. Miraculously, no tail damage (until it hits the water, that is).
7. On the same day, a crew of pilots and flight attendants of Israel's airline (Al A'al) checked in the same hotel with a general form the Israeli Intelligence (Mossad) who was in charge of the crew's luggage and personal belongings.[...]
9. The day of the incident, Edward Mcglauglen, an American Jew, who is a vice president of an American civil agency was one of the passengers of Egypt flight form Los Angeles to New York City in route to Cairo. But when the plane landed in New York City, Mcglauglen refused to continue his journey to his final destination (Cairo) for fear of possible "planting of a bomb" by "one of the passengers" at its first stop (New York City).
Ah yes, those Jews managed to stay away from work in the Twin Towers, too. How do they keep doing that?
12. After 40 minutes of the flight's departure, contact with the plane was lost over the Edward American naval base, which is known to have anti-aircraft missiles, some of which are ready to be launched automatically by the mere sensing of an object passing over at a certain elevation.
Yes, yes, but you had already remarked on the lack of bomb damage, so what's up with the Jews and missiles?
16. There were 34 generals from the Egyptian army on board "the plane", which is a violation of Egyptian army rules that "prohibit" more than 3 generals to be on board the same flight, domestic or international, for security of the generals. This decision was reached in 1978 after "the downing" in the Western Sahara of the flight that had Ahmad Badawi on board (in which 12 generals have died). At that time the fingers pointed to "the Israeli enemy" and the American intelligence.
No doubt fingers did indeed point to the Israeli enemy. When have they not?

But I digress. However, this is the sort of drivel that shows up in the Arab nattering and chattering every day. There's always some conspiracy to blame for every setback, and it's usually the Jews. Perhaps many of us were too optimistic about how the Iraqis would rise to the challenge after liberation. David Brooks referred to the effort as a "childish fantasy", which I think is overstating the case. But even those of us who have explicitly rejected the multicult pablum we've been fed for the last three decades have been sheltered somewhat from the sheer backwardness and barbarity that pervades the Arab countries. The first step to dealing with appropriately it is to see it clearly.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Time to move on 

Horrible as the prison abuses are, it’s time to stop the self-flagellation and get on with the job. Nothing Bush can possibly do will ever get good coverage in the Arab media, or even the CBC for that matter, so public demonstations like calling for Rumsfeld’s resignation are pointless. Bush goes on Arab TV for an indepth interview and the only story anyone covers is that he didn’t actually apologize. Today he apologizes, but no one will be satisfied. Here’s a news flash – the opponents of the American war effort will never be satisfied until it’s lost. The day Ba’athists and jihadis hold their victory parade in Baghdad, preferably dragging the bodies of a few infidels and collaborators behind their vehicles is the only time war opponents will manage a smug “I told you so”. This story has been a bit of a gift to the Arab media but people are totally overestimating the impact because in the Arab point of view they’ve been broadcasting a steady stream of propaganda anyway. The news would be full of American atrocities and conspiracy theories, staged or even entirely fabricated anyway, so all this has done is save them the effort of fabricating lies or engaging in grotesque exaggerations. If you don’t believe me just read http://www.memri.org for a while. This has been a big story in the West because we either don’t receive or discount as nonsense the usual drivel being broadcast there. But many people in the Arab world really do believe the most absurd conspiracy theories circulating about, so the prison story is just another outrage on top of the Jews staging 9/11 as a pretext to invade and steal the oil.

Bush could haul Rumsfeld out in public and do a Daniel Pearl on him, offering up his head on a silver platter to be used in the next soccer game in Fallujah and the opponents would say it’s not enough. He could it follow that up and commit hari-kari on Al-Jazeera and they’d say he took the easy way out, and anyway Wolfowitz is still pulling the strings so nothing changes. So forget about the public relations and just do what’s necessary to restore discipline, punish the guilty and get on with it.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

A campaign worthy of support 

Kate has started a worthy campaign
As a few of the environmental benefits provided by GMO crops include reduced soil erosion and pesticide use, wrap up your empty herbicide container, or simply fill an envelope with dirt, and mail to:
The Council of Canadians
502-151 Slater Street
Ottawa, ON, K1P 5H3
An excellent idea. Mine will be in the mail tomorrow.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Harper's hidden agenda 

Now that the Conservative Party has been successfully taken over by Evangelical Christians there has been much speculation (by Liberals, at least) about what is contained in the hidden agenda. Using the latest in listening equipment we were able to overhear a conversation between Stephen Harper and the cabal of Evangelical Strategists (ES).

SH: The first thing we gotta do is end those handouts in the maritimes. That’s been bugging me for years.

ES: I know, we’ll convert the EI offices into Christian revival meeting centers. No hallelujahs, no handouts.

SH: Good idea. And we’ll put the homeless to work rebuilding the military. We’ll put cots in the bomb factories and move ‘em there. If they meet their quota they get fed. If they exceed it we’ll give ‘em booze as a bonus.

ES: Not if they don’t pray first, we don’t. They only get the booze if they build bombs and pray, alright?

SH: Alright, I guess. But what about orphans? How can we make them useful?

ES: We’ll build a residential school on Hans Island. Assert our sovereignty and indoctrinate a new generation of missionaries at the same time. Just drop ‘em off on the island and we’ll take care of it from there.

SH: Won’t that piss off the Danes?

ES: So what? They accuse you of being like Bush and you’re afraid of Euroweenie Danes? What would Bush do? Bomb ‘em, that’s what.

SH: Yeah, I’d like to bomb someone, but I’m not sure whom. I dunno about bombing Danes, though. What if they don’t complain? Whom do we bomb then?

ES: Castro. I’m tired of Canadians sucking up to Godless commies. Let’s bomb Castro.

SH: Yeah, that oughta help out relations with Bush, too. Just make sure we don’t hit the hotels. We’ll convert them into private hospitals once we’re done bombing. A great place for boomers to go for sun, sand, and for-profit hip replacements.

ES: Yeah, but only if they pray first.

SH: Yeah, sure. And no gays.

ES: And we really gotta do something with the CBC. Either get rid of it or make it spread the gospel.

SH: We’ll give ‘em a chance. If we don’t see Peter Mansbridge kicking off the news with a prayer we’ll sell the whole thing to a coalition of churches, okay?

ES: Hallelujah.

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