Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Happy Dominion Day! 

I'll be busy for the weekend. Back next week.

We got noticed after all 

And here I thought Americans ignored our election, but Kim du Toit weighed in with his thoughts:
I think that the U.S. should invade Canada, kill all the liberals and the French, and annex the whole country because they're allowing Islamist terrorists into the place unmolested.

That, and for the oiiiiiiiil and the wonderful hunting.

I can think of more than a few Western Canadians who would not disagree with me.

Especially the part about killing all the French.
Thanks for noticing us, but you'll have to go to France if you want to kill the French.

Good point at Peaktalk 

Pieter at Peaktalk makes an excellent point about one of the reasons advancing conservative ideas is just so hard in Canada:
During the Vietnam War, U.S. emigration to Canada surged as thousands of young men, often accompanied by wives or girlfriends, moved to avoid the draft. But every year since 1977, more Canadians have emigrated to the United States than vice versa - the 2001 figures were 5,894 Americans moving north, 30,203 Canadians moving south.

So for every six potential Conservative voters Canada loses it gets one Liberal back. That must have had an impact last night.
Yeah, and we lose so many potential opinion leaders, too, not just voters. There are just so many academics, writers, businessmen and others who simply decide it's easier to just leave rather than fight against the stale liberal consensus in Canada. Why put up with the abuse? Consider this hit piece on the Calgary School of political philosophy in the Globe. They actually refer to these accomplished academics who dare to be conservative as The Calgary Mafia. Why put up with such abuse when they could be taken seriously in Chicago?

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Fred on Voting 

I initially found this article by Fred to be a little too cynical for my taste, but the way we're feeling today have a read anyway:
The proper response toward what we occasionally imagine to be democracy, methinks, is to retain one’s self-respect by not participating in it.

Voting in particular is an embarrassment, being a public display of weak character and low intelligence. Let us face the truth: Democracy, like spitting in public or the Roman games, is the proper activity of the lower intellectual and moral classes. It amounts to collusion in one's own suckering.
Given that democracy is pointless, and participation in it a sign of a weak mind, what is the wisest attitude toward the government?

That of a tick toward a cow. Nothing else makes sense. The central question of American government is not what mountebank shall be president or what eructations of mendacity he may devise. The question, almost the only question, is whether the government can get more from you than you can get from it. One picks pockets, or one’s pockets are picked.

The clever or well represented—the racial lobbies, defense industry, teachers unions, feminists, AIPAC, big pharma, oil, corporations—suck money from the government. In turn the government gnaws like a hagfish at the entrails of middle-class people moldering in cubicles.
Go ahead and read the whole thing, it may make you feel better. Or worse.

So you've been stealing? Carry on. 

Whether they like it or not, Ontario has ratified Liberal theft, corruption, cynicism and incompetence. Do you actually think anyone will ever be held responsible for Adscam corruption? I assure you they will not. Liberals have demonstrated before they will stonewall inquiries until the public’s attention wavers, then abruptly shut it down as soon as it starts to appear incriminating information starts to surface. This is exactly what they did in the Somalia inquiry, and the abruptly shut down the Adscam inquiry to hold the election. Ontario gave them a mandate to ensure that whatever is buried there stays buried.

And the RCMP now has a mandate to be the enforcement arm of the Liberal Party. No need to focus on threats to the nation, they have been given a mandate to increase their focus on such threats as Ottawa Citizen reporters that try to write embarrassing stories, the National Citizen’s Coalition running ads during election campaigns, and any heads of Crown corporations that dare to ask too many questions about where all that money is being shoveled out to. And of course they can continue giving out grants to well-connected Liberals in PEI, because we know there are so few agencies doling out boodle in the Maritimes the national police force has to step in and fill the gap.

Don’t even dare to think Liberals will behave any better. If you don’t fire an employee that steals from you, it’s obvious he’s free to continue. And others are free to join in.

I am somewhat gratified that some regions have delivered a spanking. Saskatchewan seems to have come through, as has Quebec. But after all the revelations of Liberal malfeasance their popular vote increased in Atlantic Canada. I think I’ll without comment on that lest I say something intemperate.

Monday, June 28, 2004

What would it take? 

I'm not really in much of a mood to write about the election results. It looks like Quebec is the only region of the country with the stones to throw the bums out. Corruption, socialism, bribery, incompetence and demagoguery of the West evidently is the type of goverment Ontario and the Maritimes want. Well, that is certainly what they'll get.

I could never understand why a battered woman keeps running back to the man who beats her, but I think a similar psychological effect must be at play in those two regions.

Update: The other horrible thing is this will be the most screaming leftist government we've seen in the country since Trudeau. Welcome to Trudeaupian idiocy on steroids.

Historical Revisionism 

Hard to believe this is showing up at The Star, but just look at how David Olive explains the bad press Brian Mulroney got in 1985:
If things go well for the Tories tonight, watch for a knee-jerk media lionization of Stephen Harper. We will be reminded that in short order he won the Alliance leadership, united the right, won the Conservative leadership, and performed credibly in a general-election campaign for which his new party was ill- prepared. All true.

It follows that the press will then over-react in turning against their new hero, should he pull off the great upset many expect tonight. Contrast Brian Mulroney’s glowing press clips from 1984 with the scathing assessments of Muldoon's fiscally heartless, scandal-plagued and Reagan-pandering administration, circa 1985. Never mind that this early savaging of Mulroney was largely based on faulty hunches, misinterpreted nuances and the theatrics of a quickly assembled peanut gallery of special-pleaders among the culturati, organized labour agitators and eco-zealots, who made common cause - and found a new relevance - in the supposed treachery of the boy from Baie Comeau.
One might note that the scathing assessment of Mulroney was heavily piled on by a certain Liberal newspaper in Toronto. Not that that newspaper differs in any significant way from a "quickly assembled peanut gallery of special-pleaders among the culturati, organized labour agitators and eco-zealots".


Don't sit here wasting your time reading blogs. Today's the day to go throw 'em out. If by chance you came here for last minute guidance to resolve your indecision, I direct you to a couple of fine posts. First by Colby Cosh:
Today few conventional politicians regard their mandate as limited in any respect, even if they're running for county ratcatcher. They are obliged to have an opinion on every subject (which generally causes them to possess uniformly stupid ones), and must be prepared to intervene in any area of human life according to the media-stoked collective whim of the moment. Harper is different. He does not believe it would be his job, as Prime Minister, to lash Canadians onward to a New Jerusalem of state childcare, equal incomes, fit bodies, and pure thoughts. When Paul Martin is asked about health care he sets about defining "Canadian values" for you, exactly as an archbishop might define "Catholic values" for a querulous parishioner. When Stephen Harper is asked about health care, he points out that our health-care systems are the responsibility of the provinces under the Constitution, and in logic. He doesn't insist that every province should conduct its affairs the same way, or every person possess the same habits.
Amen. I could point out this inclination to let provinces and cities run things as they see fit will lead to far more agreeable intergovernmental relations, and maybe even some innovation in health care.

And from Paul Jané:
I dream of a country with a Government capable of assisting the unemployed and the extraordinarily disadvantaged until they get back on their feet, but also capable of telling the moochers that make a career of spending their lives suckling from the Federal teat or expecting Big Government to take care of their every need from cradle to grave to get off their lazy arses and get the Hell on with it.
I dream of a country not lead by a smug arse gremlin capable of stating that "the national government does have a role to play in every single city, in every single community and hamlet in this country." The fact that Paul Martin can't quite grasp that such a statement tends to smack quite viciously of totalitarianism scares me (and the fact that only maybe a dozen of us bothered to call him on the carpet for it disturbs me to no end).
Go read the whole thing. Then go throw the bums out.

Update: And another fine post by Colin May:
Paul Martin, and to some extent Jack Layton, have both tried to play the fear card against Stephen Harper as well as against Gilles Duceppe. Their arguments are that these two leaders, and especially Stephen Harper, will threaten the Canada all Canadians love. The two things that we should note here are, first that Paul Martin and Jack Layton have said nothing interesting during the whole campaign. They are the broken record of twentieth century leftist thought unaware that the world has moved on. [...]

The second element of note is that when it comes to intellectual depth, in Canada at least, it's people like Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe who can wear the mantle of philosopher-king far better than Martin or Layton. And this is pretty much the same throughout the western world. The intellectual camp of today is what we used to call the right, though that label is rather useless and only really serves to reinforce the stereotypes the left uses to demonize the far more scholarly and penetrating ideas coming from the right (for lack of a better term).
I'm not sure I agree with him on Duceppe, but the leftist harangue against Harper has been intellectually bankrupt at best. Canada has never had a Thatcher or Reagan to snap the population out of the Big Government statist mindset. Harper will bring a gradual phasing out of this Liberal, statist way of thinking, which is why they are so terrified of him, but can't offer anything in response but snarling incoherent rants.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Kudos and thanks to the Harper team 

However this election campaign turns out I really have to tip my hat to Stephen Harper and the new Conservative Party. Just a few months ago we were almost resigned to living in a one party state that was drifting into ever more corrupt, arrogant and even authoritarian behaviour. Now we suddenly live in a competitive multi-party democracy with an attractive big tent Conservative party welcoming the various strains of conservatism. Whatever happens on Monday life in Canada is looking up.

If Harper actually pulls off the coup de grace on Monday, and I think he will, that will be one miraculous achievement. Some people might be tossing brickbats at the imperfections in the campaign, but I say don’t compare him to the almighty; compare him to any conceivable alternative. And yes, there remains much work to do to build support in Quebec. While this will still be difficult, I don’t think it’s impossible. The idea of Liberals winning rural seats in the West, now that’s impossible. But at this point let’s set aside the shortcomings and take stock of the achievements to date.

The Chretienite gang has been deposed. Good riddance, and yes, thank you Paul Martin for finally doing the deed. From the time the RCMP started carrying out Chretien vendettas it was painfully obvious that that gang had to go. And now they’re gone.

The conservative parties were split into squabbling regional rumps, neither of which had the strength to threaten the Liberals nationally, and in any case were more interested in sniping at each other than advancing the conservative cause. If you’re not happy with the way this conservative campaign has been run, just think back to the situation four years ago when we had the choice between Stockwell Day and Joe Clark, knowing full well either of them would be nothing but an impotent opposition. Take a deep breath and appreciate how far we’ve come. We don’t live in a (not so) friendly dictatorship anymore. The Liberals might keep their grasping, clammy paws on the Prme Minister’s chair in a narrow minority, but at least they’ll be kept on a short leash.

And look at what Harper has achieved. He had left politics and a series of seasoned politicians like Mike Harris and Bernard Lord had decided that federal conservative leadership was a job not worth having, the chances of winning being too remote. Harper has won the Alliance leadership, merged the two parties, defeated challenges from Belinda Stronach and mounted such a serious threat for power that they were daring to talk about a majority government just a few days ago. He has at the very least survided the coordinated Liberal/media smear campaign and has an excellent chance of being elected on Monday. Honestly, I didn’t think the Conservatives could dare to have such hopes until at least the 2008 election, if then. For the foreseeable future the Liberal hegemony over us is finished. Done. And for that we owe Stephen Harper, Peter MacKay and the team many thanks (and our votes on Monday).

Another time we’ll look back and see how the campaign could have been improved. For now, let’s watch how long the Liberals can resist turning on one another once the new realities sink in. I don’t think it will be pretty, but it will be fun to watch.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Reduced to begging 

There's something a little pathetic about a Prime Minister begging for NDP supporters to vote for him. They must be seeing a lot of Toronto area ridings slipping away due to their vote being split. Not that they've produced anything but scaremongering all campaign, but his latest speeches are almost whimpering for NDPers to prop them up:
He pleaded with Liberals to spend the final campaign weekend knocking on doors until their knuckles hurt - and seeking out NDP supporters to convert to their cause. [...]

In a speech to Liberals, Martin did the political equivalent of approaching New Democrats on bended knee and serenading them with a call to end vote-splitting on the left.

"When you're talking to your friends who might vote NDP say: `Think about the values that have built this country great.' And ask them if they want Stephen Harper as prime minister.

"And if they say no, then ask them to vote Liberal."
If they actually end up pulling this out just what kind of a mandate will they have too govern? Will anyone actually respect them after this campaign of demagoguery and pathetic bleating?

Someone has to do it 

Since Bob is being derelict in his duty I took a deep breath, braced myself, and read a Rick Salutin column. Bob is supposed to do this so I don't have to, but seeing as he is, like Bush, AWOL and a deserter, I had to do it myself.

And surprise, his column has periods of lucidity. He even finally figures out Paul Martin doesn't have an agenda and Jack Layton spews out silly ideas. On Jack Layton:
I'm not saying Jack Layton is an ideologue. More an ideas-logue. The guy spits them out. You don't like that, try this: windmills, proportional representation, rooftop vegetable gardens. For a real ideologue, you have to turn to Stephen Harper. He doesn't spew ideas, he takes a few and muses on how he got them, honed them, stuck to them.
Not a bad assessment, actually. And on Paul Martin:
Paul Martin is the clinker here. He likes the idea of ideas. He gets excited about them. But he gets excited about whatever hops across in front of the windshield. It's hard to remember what comes after, "I'm very, very excited about --" or "I've been very clear about --" Enthusiasm rules.

I know people who say Paul Martin's real agenda is to serve the rich and the corporate elite. But after watching a lot of TV for the past six weeks, I've come to the conclusion that his real problem is that he has no agenda. (He may not realize this, but what difference does that make?) And maybe it's not a problem. Maybe for the next 10 years, he could get as excited about building a vibrant health-care system as he was about erasing the deficit -- come hell, high water or sick people -- during the past decade. He's like Groucho Marx, who barked, "Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others."
When Martin's lack of focus and principles is so obvious even Salutin's picking up on it you know things are bad. But what is a Salutin column without a little admiration of communists?
Principles can be overrated when dealing with reality. Even V. I. Lenin, whom you'd normally consider a total (Karl) Marxist ideologue, after seizing power in a devastated Russia, decided: What this country needs is a little capitalism. That showed genius.
I can't say I'm shocked to find a little Lenin admiration in a Salutin column, but it's not every day he puts in a good word for capitalism, even if he is talking about the New Economic Program in communist Russia circa 1920. All in all, not a bad column.

Election Predictions 

The National Post has these seat projections:
Lib 112
CPC 111
Bloc 60
NDP 25
But that's what you get when you turn to someone who has expertise, a track record, and a scientific method bolstered by reliably gathered data. As I am unencumbered with any of those liabilities, my predictions are sure to be more accurate:
CPC 123
Lib 95
Bloc 60
NDP 28
Independent 2
I think their expert is overlooking the extra anger and commitment in the anti-Liberal vote. The Liberal Party machinery is badly fractured after decapitating Chretien and won't be able to get out the vote the way they have in the past, while the opposition has extra motivation. Final vote projection:
CPC 35%
Lib 31%

Conservative Ottawa 

Interesting observation at TalkCanada that I'm surprised isn't getting a little more media attention. One might think that the public servants in Ottawa would be reliably Liberal, but it's not so. On Monday a blue wave will sweep down the Ottawa valley taking the outlying areas, suburbs and stop only at the downtown core (Ed Broadbent), and some predominantly francophone ridings in the east end (unfortunately still Liberal).

I'd say the Liberal political correctness, waste, mismanagement and sleaze is turning off all but the most die hard leftist. Take bilingualism as one example. Nobody in the civil service objects to the idea the government must provide biligual services to the population, in a pragmatic, cost-effective way. But that's not what's happening. The place is run by language zealots putting the overwhelming buld of the upper reaches of the civil service out of reach of all but the most fluently bilingual. The typical anglo living in the west end sees his career at a dead end without years of intensive language work, something many people have neither the talent nor inclination to master.

Similar things with diversity nonsense. To the average person in Canada with a real life we just turn off when the Liberals drone on about diversity, inclusion, and all that multicult ethnic pandering stuff. We figure they shovel money to some ethnic folk dancing outfits for votes and that's the end of it. But it has a real effect if you work in the civil service. If you're a white anglo living in the west end raising a family like a typical Canadian you're just not diverse enough to be eligible for new opportunities.

Every job or promotion you apply for gets put on hold while the zealots scour the country for a bilingual aboriginal lesbian to boost their diversity quota. That, and the overall sleaze, arrogance and vindictive nature of the ancien regime has really turned off a lot of civil servants. So look for the Liberals to take a serious pounding in the Ottawa suburbs and outlying areas. I'm looking forward to the spectacle.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Liberal Daycare program unveiled 

With a proud smile the Liberal leader unveiled details of his promised child care program today. It simultaneously addresses the problem of prison overcrowding and rampant spread of HIV. This enlightened policy will reform convicts, bringing them back into society through providing guaranteed places of employment, reducing prison costs and finally provide the cost effective daycare often promised but never delivered.

That’s right; they plan to have convicts serve their sentences by running daycare centres. No longer will convicts like Martin Ferrier simply walk free, they will serve out their sentences providing day care in federally run child care centers across the country.

“We are also very, very concerned about the spread of AIDS in prisons. Let me be very clear about this, for the health and welfare of the remaining prisoner population we feel it is important to separate these inmates. So those already infected with HIV will be the first ones enrolled in this program, and those currently committed to serving the longest sentences. Since we want long term employees that we can count on to provide many years of service we will be taking those with the longest sentences first. Providing cost effective access to daycare is a very, very high priority for us. We will be offering these daycare spaces in your neighbourhood soon come hell or high water.”

A committed Liberal voter, for sure 

I'm sure there are many out there that are voting Liberal with great reluctance. But I bet Martin Ferrier is sure to vote Liberal with enthusiasm. And why not, they've been serving his interests well:
Ferrier has spent 15 of the last 17 years behind bars. He has 63 convictions, including six for rape. He once told a doctor he wanted to become "the most prolific killer in Canada, perhaps North America."

Peel police issued a public warning yesterday that Ferrier will live "in the Peel community" upon his release next month. [...]

He has also been convicted of arson and the rape of an ex-girlfriend that saw him return afterward and try to burn the woman and her two children to death.
With a mere 63 convictions this victim of society no doubt will be lavished with lots of Liberal compassion. As he's only 31, his best years of crime are still ahead of him, and what Liberal would not want a man to reach his full potential?

Those intolerant neighbours who might be tempted not to welcome him into their neighbourhood are obviously conservatives who need to be sent to sensitivity training courses.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Stammering incoherence 

I hope at least some people have been watching these CBC events where the public asks questions of the party leaders. Tonight Paul Martin's on, and surprisingly the CBC didn't manufacture a Lib-friendly audience with puffball questions. Yesterday's event with Harper and tonight with Martin have been the best, most informative electoral events of the entire campaign. Kudos to the CBC for a job well done.

But on to Martin. The more I listen to this guy the more incoherent he is. One example, the question is something about agriculture. He's Mr. Subsidy and protector of supply management programs and will guard them against any WTO challenge. Supply management fundamental core foreign policy. Yessir, WTO evil, like Ralph Klein.

And the next sentence is about how "criminal" it is that farmers in poor countries don't have sufficient access to wealthy markets (like supply managed Canadian dairy and egg markets, you mean?) No, the problem isn't that Canadian governments protect Canadian markets, it's that other wealthy countries protect their markets.

Got it. This is the thing about Liberals constantly condemning idealogues. At the base of an idealogue is a coherent set of ideas about how the world works. Whereas he's assembled a coalition of client groups with inherently contradictory policy requirements. No matter, just stammer incoherently.

But there was lots of incoherence and evasion of tough questions. The sad things is probably too few people watch these things for them to have much of an effect.

What kind of Canada do you want? 

Great quote from John Ivison:
What they have instead, as Daily Show correspondent Stephen Colbert so succinctly observed about the U.S. election, is a choice between a party proposing the vision of a nation of heavily armed white men, befouling the air and water in a ceaseless quest for profit, and beholden to no laws but those of the Almighty; and, another offering a namby-pamby quasi-socialist nation, with an all-homosexual army, flamboyantly defending a citizenry sucking at the foul teat of government welfare.
Well, we've had the one kind for about three decades. I wouldn't mind edging ever so gently in the other direction for a while.

Summer vacation 

And Thomas Sowell has some suggestions for de-programming the steady diet of politically correct propaganda kids get fed at school:
The appeal of socialism -- the beauties of it in theory and its painful consequences in practice -- are discussed in a very readable book titled Heaven on Earth by Joshua Muravchik. The young need not be embarrassed by finding socialism attractive. Many who were old enough to know better also fell for it.

Economic illiteracy is almost as dangerous as slanted political propaganda. A painless way to get some sense of economic realities would be by reading a popular, topical, and often humorous treatment of economic issues in John Stossel's book titled, Give Me a Break.
Lot's of good stuff to be found there. Now if we could just get the Canadian electorate de-programmed away from our socialist ills.

Idiot du Jour - Paul Martin 

Quoth Paul Martin, hypocrite extraordinaire:
"If any premier, in the case of doing reforms, violates the Canada Health Act, we will . . . do whatever is required to ensure the Canada Health Act is lived up to. You can take that to the bank," Martin said to applause during a speech.
Quebec is, and has been for many years, in gross violation of the Canada Health Act. When I travel outside Quebec they will not pay the full fees of doctors and hospitals outside Quebec, they only honour the lower rates paid to Quebec doctors. I frankly don't think the federal government has any business telling provinces how to run their own systems, but if there is a legitimate federal role at all, it is to ensure transportability.

If you want to be Prime Minister, ACT LIKE IT. And if the media don't hang this rank hypocrisy around his neck like an albatross they should be ashamed of themselves.

Monday, June 21, 2004

A little tidbit from Radwanki 

I just read Adam Radwanski's coverage of a Liberal campaign stop in Toronto, and this little tidbit caught my eye:
I could focus on what Martin had to say, but that - like the speech itself - wouldn't be very interesting. It was standard stuff, reasonably well-delivered but entirely vacuous. And he's still on about the bloody aircraft carriers, which is starting to get really tiresome.
The nonsense about aircraft carriers is a blatant lie, a grotesque bad faith mischaracterization of the Conservative platform. And everyone by now knows it's a blatant lie, totally and utterly without foundation. Yet the Prime Minister still goes out every day and delivers a blatant falsehood, evidently a core component of his stump speech. Everyone involved knows perfectly well that these are exactly the same type of ships the Prime Minister himself announced in a speech in Gagetown.

Are we supposed to believe this man will treat the investigation into Adscam when he has such a casual disregard for basic integrity like this? By all means bash Conservatives, it's part of the process. But going out every day and lying is not.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

A fine debunking of Bloc posturing 

Check out this fine post by Laurent at le Blog de Polycopique. He does a fine job debunking the Bloc's posturing over "Quebec values", which by any objective measure are very similar to the values of the rest of Canada. And it displays a pretentious arrogance that masks the divisions within Quebec, something the PQ does as well. The very name of these parties is pretentious, claiming to speak for all of Quebec when we are as divided on most issues as anywhere else.

It's a message rarely heard in the French media, but substantially true. Someone really ought to give Laurent a column in Quebec newspaper. He's a breath of fresh air in a media infected with groupthink.

The post is just in French for the moment but be patient, he'll provide a translation for the undereducated.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Must read Flit 

After a long pause, Bruce is back:
I might be tempted to say that, regardless of their performance pre-election, the shameful display of gutter-politics, fear-mongering, vote-buying and outright lying we have seen from one party in particular in this election would, in any just country, lead to them not only being denied Ottawa, but being denied service at donut shops for at least the next four years. [...]

My private hope that one, just one, of the leaders vying for our vote today might not subscribe to the new orthodoxy of autocratically-determined diktats-from-on-high, might want the people to someday have a voice again, but fears to say so more explicitly than he absolutely has to right now because of all the scaremongering going on, is probably too much to dream for. Isn't it?
Go read it all.

But I have to agree that the most disgusting thing is that the general reaction to the Liberal campaign is not disgust. Paul Martin goes to Gagetown in April and announces the purchase of supply ships capable of carrying tanks and helicopters. He then repeatedly demagogues Harper over aircraft carriers when he has already announced the intention to buy the same ships himself. Would you buy a used car from someone with that type of honesty and integrity? Is this type of character trait not a valid election issue? If someone is prepared to engage in such blatant dishonesty during a campaign can we expect honesty, transparency and integrity in government? Yet it just gets shrugged off. Liberals lie, what else is new? Has a Conservative treated an opponent with less than utmost respect today? Now that's news.

I wish I could say we are with you 

Debbye once again states the obvious and necessary after the brutal murder of Paul Johnson, Jr. Yes, we have an enemy and they are evil.

I wish I could say we are with you in this, but the best I can say is that some of us are with you. Many others will excuse, minimize, rationalize or even take smug satisfaction that Americans are getting what they deserve. Shameful.

But almost as shameful is the near silence that an event like this receives in Canada. We are in full election mode but no party chooses to take a stand on the major issue of the day, the rising danger of Al Qaeda. The media don't press them. The entire chattering classes are content to avert their eyes and sit this one out. Be spectators in our own fate, as David Warren has said.

Make no mistake. Today it's an American, another day it will be our turn. Even if we attempt to sit this one out, the Islamists have no such inclination to give us that option.

Our prayers and thoughts are with his family. Rest in peace, Mr. Johnson.

Idiotic smear 

For the record, this press release by the Conservatives is idiotic:
The NDP Caucus Supports Child P0rn-graphy?
No, they don't support child pr0n-graphy. They understand the difficulties involved in criminalizing stories like Lollita, or entirely fabricated digital images that can be easily created with photoshop. Stop it. The NDP can be criticized for more substantive things, like being soft on real criminals.


Not at typo - SchadenFraud - the malicious satisfaction one feels at the misfortune of Liberals.

So says (feels?) the the monger. Nice word. I'll try to use it.

Idiot du Jour - Rick Salutin 

Rick Salutin on the debate:
Vote for Gilles: Based on the debates, I would. [...]

Another reason I warm to Gilles Duceppe: He began political life as a radical Maoist...
I honestly don't know how to respond to that.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Gagged by their own petard 

Implementing the gag law probably seemed like a good idea to the Liberals at the time. They’d just shut up the National Citizen’s Coalition and they’d have the election debate to themselves, with their friends in the media doing a little heavy lifting if necessary. But now that the forces of darkness are on the verge of destroying the nation, as Andrew Telegdi would say, they must be awfully sorry they can’t call on their assorted client groups to mount an advertising campaign in their defense. Sure, The Star, the Globe, and the CBC are fighting the good fight on their behalf, but the public just doesn’t trust them anymore. But a motley collection of pressure groups each explaining in their own ads the massive calamity to human life on earth that would be unleashed if Conservatives were to actually win might have an effect. But they can’t. The Liberals have inadvertently gagged their friends in their hour of need.

Environmental groups could be screaming that we’re all going to fry ‘cause the Conservatives will scrap Kyoto. Pogey pressure groups could scream that Conservatives will be starving and killing their children. The entire CanCon gravy train could be marshaled into a massive blitz about the return of the dark ages. The corporate welfare bums could be threatening to leave entire cities as a scorched earth wasteland if the Liberal largesse were ever to dry up. They can try to get their hysteria packaged into news stories in the media, but they can’t advertise directly to Canadians themselves. I wonder if they’re having any second thoughts about the gag law now.

Update Jerry Aldini had similar thoughts.

If demagoguery doesn't work, try more demagoguery 

You might have thought SARS was a public health risk. Or that bug killing dozens in Montreal hospitals. Maybe the West Nile virus. Nope. The Liberal Party of Canada tells us the real public health risk - Alberta Premier Ralph Klein. Is this really the kind of debate we want from our federal politicians? If Albertans don't like their premier they can vote him out. What business is that for the rest of us? The Liberal Party will be lucky to win a single seat in Alberta, but they want to have MPs elected outside Alberta stifle health care reforms initiated by this popular, long serving Premier? Fortunately the stink of desperation waffling off them will probably doom them, so we won't find out. But just look at this astounding demagoguery aimed at Canada's longest serving Premier:
Ralph Klein: Public Health Risk

In a blatant attempt to hide their shared agenda from voters in the midst of an election campaign, Firewall buddy, Harper supporter and public health care menace Premier Ralph Klein announced today that he will be introducing radical changes to Alberta’s public health care system – two days after the federal election.

"The whole issue that's going to raise controversy and you'll see it, and that's the issue of more private clinics offering various services within the public system," he said. "There might have to be legislative changes, but we'll contemplate those when the time comes."

“Klein and (Health Minister Gary) Mar have been talking about radical reforms for at least the last two years, but Klein has said changes are going to happen, even if they contravene the Canada Health Act.” (CBC RADIO, June 16, 2004)

Ralph Klein wants to dismantle public health care in Alberta.
Keep turning up the volume as you circle the drain, Liberals.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

CBC knuckles under to the pressure 

Trudeaupia has influence far beyond what we realized. Last week I wrote about Lucy van Oldenbarneveld's comments comparing a Conservative candidate's views to the hellish dystopia described in Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

Two days later the Ottawa Citizen wrote an editorial on the same topic (and I bet you thought Canwest was controlled by a Zionist cabal, not a lowly blogger).

And this morning the coup de grace. The CBC came on the radio and acknowledged her comments a week ago were inappropriate. Not exactly an apology, but an acknowledgement nonetheless. I realize live radio is tough, but it's good to see the CBC coming clean when they lay their bias on a little too thick.

Update: Well, look here. An actual apology in the Ottawa Citizen:
Regarding this Citizen editorial, we acknowledge that Lucy van Oldenbarneveld's remark was inappropriate. We apologize to our listeners for any concerns raised as a result of the comment on Conservative candidate Alan Riddell's position on abortion: "Some might describe that position as a bit Margaret Atwoodian, Handmaid Tale-like."

But, strangely, the Citizen actually makes the letters to the editor subscriber-only content.

Monday, June 14, 2004

The French Debate 

I didn’t watch all of the debate, but I watched enough to get the gist. Even for a political junkie like myself listening to all the content-free blah blah blah was beyond my endurance, so I can imagine just how few people actually watched it intently.

Here is my summary.

Content: No new policy proposals were floated that I detected. Essentially it was a donnybrook with the leaders defending positions they’d taken before, and attacking opponents with material they’d unveiled before. So nothing new or earth-shattering.

Martin Looked a little better than he has through the campaign, frankly. I noticed at least one pundit say he looked tired, old, sweaty, desperate, and scared. Compared to that assessment of his campaign performance he was certainly much better in the debate. People attacked him on the things you expected him to be attacked on, but he delivered his defense with a reasonable degree of dignity.

Duceppe Was pretty effective at sticking the knife in. The Bloc never has to defend a record or make a promise, all they have to do is sling mud at their opponents. Duceppe is pretty good at doing just that. Lots of digs on CSL conflicts, Adscam, budget cuts. He got in some digs at Harper holding positions likely to be unpopular in Quebec.

Harper He stumbled more with his French than I expected. He normally delivers interviews and soundbites with clear, crisp concise answers that give the impression his French is more fluent than it evidently is. In a free-for-all he was frequently left stammering for words. On the main topics he delivered his message solidly and effectively, though. But it doesn’t matter much because the Quebecois won’t be voting for him no matter what he had to say.

Layton He came across as an even more vacuous, glib, posturing, annoying empty vessel than he is in English. His French is a strange schoolyard mix that is at times fluent and other times mangled and stammering. But every time he started to talk I pictured Pierre coming out and hitting him with a shovel. After he talked for a while I was overcome with an inexplicable urge to do the same.

Bottom line, if you were hoping to watch Martin crater completely you would be disappointed. Neither did anything earthshaking happen, that I noticed anyway.

Wrestling lesbians 

All-candidates meetings sure aren't what they used to be. Now you get called homophobic if you dare to refer to your lesbian significant other a "partner" rather than "spouse". I wonder if we should invoke C-250 on this pair, or initiate a human rights commission to arbitrate. I can't really add anything to this "not lesbian enough" spat:
Ms. Chan, meanwhile, has found herself in an unseemly spat with her NDP opponent Libby Davies in Vancouver East. When Ms. Chan criticized Ms. Davies for wasting taxpayers' money by flying her "girlfriend around" under the spousal-partner visiting program for MPs, Ms. Davies accused her of homophobic remarks.

Ms. Chan, who worked closely for many years with former Vancouver mayor Mike Harcourt of the NDP, retorted: "I would say that she [Ms. Davies] is homophobic. She denies being a lesbian, but lives with a woman. And she doesn't call her her spouse; she calls her her partner."

Ms. Davies said she has never denied having a same-sex partner since their relationship began.

Mr. McWhinney, the former MP, said he was distressed by Ms. Chan's outburst. "I think it's mean-spirited. You've got to have generosity in politics. That's one thing I learned, but people like Shirley Chan have never been through a campaign before."
Let's hope the Conservative candidate can muster the strength the stay out of this little catfight, tempting though it must be to wade in and stir the pot a little. They seem to be doing fine without any outside assistance.

Boodle for their buddies 

Nothing spells Liberal more than handouts to their buddies. So how many people will be bought persuaded with a $100 million handout to a corporate welfare bum in the middle of an election campaign?
The federal government is committing $100 million to Ford Motor Co. to help the company refurbish its Oakville plant and protect 4,000 jobs, Human Resources Minister Joe Volpe will announce today.
This $100 million is being extracted out of the hides of productive, taxpaying industries to be stuffed into the pockets of the well-connected.

And if the greenhouse gas emissions are going to doom the planet as they claim, why are they subsidizing the manufacturers of cars?

How much smaller could we get? 

Excellent point by Lorne Gunter at the National Post blog about how diminished Canada has become since 1993:
There for all the world to see were Prince Charles, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev...and Brian Mulroney. Mulroney, of course, gave a euology, too. Not even Gorby was asked to do that. Mulroney gave one, and Thatcher, and the two presidents Bush. Pretty heady company for the PM of a middle power, no?

At the same time, Martin was warning his TO audience about the bad, scary Conservatives and what a dark time it will be for Canada if they win on June 28.

We would be smaller within our own borders. The effectiveness of our national government as a force for good would be curtailed. [...]

We would be smaller in the world outside of our borders as well.

Now, thanks to Liberal neglect and indifference (and downright hostility) our military and diplomatic corps have been greatly diminished. What influence we had when the Liberals took over in 1993 has largely vanished into the blackhole of "soft power" fantasies. Our influence is not just gone with the Americans, either, but with all sorts of multilateral organizations.
Now, I was never a fan of Mulroney, but at least he had the maturity and self-confidence to treat Americans as the friends they are, not to use them as a cheap political prop by pandering to anti-American sentiment in Canada. And as a result Canada at least was at the table and had a voice worth listening to.

All the Liberals have done is throw our lot in with a group of petulant whiners that sit around UN agencies with the likes of Syria, Libya, Sudan and Iran and bleat about what a threat to the world America's human rights abuses are. Ingratiating ourselves with that lot doesn't earn influence, even if these UN agencies had any meaningful influence to speak of. Even they view our soft power fantasies with contempt.

Bought with lies 

All the Liberal's friends/clients are coming out of the woodwork and putting on a a full court press but it's curious why some of their friends are so loyal.

If you're an environmentalist who seriously considers greenhouse gas reductions an urgent issue (rather than an opportunity to cash in on some boodle), why would you trust the Liberals?

Their 1993 Red Book promised 20% reductions from 1988 levels by 2005. Since then they've - issued posters calling for a one tonne challenge. And greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Oh yes, they've ratified Kyoto - and greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. And they've delivered a little boondoggle boodle to those who know how to extract grants out of the bureaucracy. And emissions continue to rise.

Yet these supporters are apoplectic at the potential loss of the Liberals? Have you no dignity? Can you really be so easily bought with lies and distribution of some pointless pork?

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Let's hope it doesn't become a fad. 

From Dave Barry I read about this project to build a giant lava lamp. I have to say I like the Wawa goose, as long as it stays several hundred miles away, and happily there haven't been widespread imitation with lawn ornaments.

But lava lamps are awfully fadish things. What if suddenly everyone had to have one on the front lawn? Curse you Dave Barry for promoting this thing.

Upset in Gatineau? 

My riding of Gatineau is one of the safest Liberal seats in the country, yet even here there are whispers of an upset and talk of a three way race between the Bloc, Conservatives and Liberals. If they're actually in trouble here there really is almost no such thing as a safe Liberal seat anymore. What an amazing development.

And casual observation is no substitute for research, but I notice in my neighbourhood the Liberal signs have been defaced, while the Conservative and Bloc signs have been left alone. No, it wasn't me.

Someone used a clever play on the Liberal/CSL slogan "Tout droit" and inscribed Tout droit en enfer - straight to hell. I don't think they're having much fun these days.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Compare and Contrast 

Pierre Trudeau on the Soviet Union:
In 1952 after returning from an economic conference:
"For many people the Soviet Union is hell, and you don’t put a foot in it without making a pact with the devil. This prejudice prevented many economists and businessmen from attending the [conference]."
In 1953, debunking the threat of Soviet military expansion:
"On the contrary, one of the principal concerns of the state seems to be to better the material welfare of its citizens. And if they are happy with a system which raises their standard of living slowly but surely, the present government doesn't have any worries for a long time."
On their human rights abuses:
"In my effort to understand the U.S.S.R., I’ve always tried to explain the rigours of the regime away with the necessity of protecting the revolution from enemies without and within. . . . I still believe that from the material point of view (and I don’t say anything about spiritual needs) your system can be excellent for countries such as yours . . . and I add that in your country I never saw opulence displayed which was an insult to a great many people like I have often seen in countries on the other side of the Iron Curtain."
In 1971, as Prime Minister:
"We have a great deal to learn from the Soviet Union . . . a country from which we have a great deal to benefit."

And Ronald Reagon on the Evil Empire:
We're approaching the end of a bloody century plagued by a terrible political invention -- totalitarianism.

If history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.

Must freedom wither in a quiet, deadening accommodation with totalitarian evil?

The dimensions of this failure are astounding: a country which employs one-fifth of its population in agriculture is unable to feed its own people. Were it not for the private sector, the tiny private sector tolerated in Soviet agriculture, the country might be on the brink of famine.

The decay of the Soviet experiment should come as no surprise to us.

The objective I propose is quite simple to state: to foster the infrastructure of democracy, the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities, which allows a people to choose their own way to develop their own culture, to reconcile their own differences through peaceful means.

So, let us ask ourselves, "What kind of people do we think we are?" And let us answer, "Free people, worthy of freedom and determined not only to remain so but to help others gain their freedom as well."

Rest in peace, Mr. Reagan

Useless Idiots 

To Lenin they were useful idiots, but now that they aren't useful to anyone anymore it's interesting to see that they're still idiots. Here's Murray Dobbin displaying his idiocy over at the marxist relic Rabble:
Perhaps the other reason George W. wants to end the Communist regime is that it has embarrassed the U.S. for so many years regarding its incredible achievements in human development even in the face of one of history's most ruthless embargoes. Cuba nearly matches the U.S. on a whole range of UN human development indexes; it sometimes surpasses it. While the U.S. has trouble graduating 85 per cent of its youth from high school, Cuba comes in at 99 per cent. Its student/teacher ratio is 12/one, less than half that of the U.S.
Yeah, that's it. Everyone's jealous of Cuba's incredible achievements in human development. And North Korea's amazing success at fighting obesity. Socialist agriculture may produce famine, but it sure is an effective program against obesity.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Immoral, pandering tyrants 

That's Jay Jardine's assessment of the Liberals after viewing the latest attack ad on the future Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper.

I took a quick look at the ad, and I have to agree. Resorting to already debunked lies about aircraft carriers, and scaremongering about teenage pregnancies is just pathetic. Their problem is their integrity, which is not enhanced by piling lies higher and deeper.

The stink of desperation coming off them certainly should ensure their slide continues.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The CBC fights the good fight 

Listening to CBC radio this morning (all abortion, all the time), they turned their guns on Alan Riddel, Conservative candidate for Ottawa South. He mused about ways of encouraging women to consider giving an unwanted baby up for adoption rather than aborting, and considered it a tragedy that so many infertile Canadian couples were forced to spend large amounts to go overseas to adopt. The CBC's Lucy Vanoldenbarnefeldt likened the comments to something out of the extremist dystopia portrayed in The Handmaid's Tale. Okay, Lucy. Once upon a time abortionists would pay lip service to the idea that they should be rare and only a last resort. Evidently even musing on the idea of alternatives is now an extremist.

Of course she didn't mention that Mr. Riddel's opponent is a pro-life, anti-gay devout Muslim in a hijab. Yep, his opponent is Monia Mazigh of the NDP, the wife of Maher Arar.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Support a woman's right to choose 

The media’s all a-twitter about a woman’s right to choose. Of course they never finish the sentence and mention a woman’s right to choose “what”, exactly. So here are a few things I think a woman should have the right to choose.

A woman should have a right to choose her own health care and health insurance. Aging women require timely access to lots of things, such as breast cancer diagnostics and treatment, hip and knee replacements, cornea transplants, MRIs, PET scans and lots of other types of treatment. Get your laws off my body. I insist on the right to choose.

A woman should be allowed to choose to defend herself and her property, with a firearm if necessary. It doesn’t matter if only a minority opt for the choice. A woman should be allowed to choose, it’s just not anyone else’s business.

A woman should be allowed to choose the school her children attend, be it public or private, with no financial penalty for her choice.

And how about all those municipal restrictions? Should a woman be allowed to have a cigarette in a restaurant? Choose to kill dandelions on her lawn? Rent out a basement apartment?

Is her diet a matter for the government? If a woman’s body is her own why would obesity be a concern of the government? If she has a right to choose, that choice should include the option to overeat.

And how about her right to spend her own money as she sees fit? Surely the overtaxation is depriving her of her right to save, invest and spend her hard-earned money.

A woman should be allowed to choose how to invest her own pension. The CPP and QPP provide abysmal returns for a young woman today. Her retirement and her pension are her own choice.

Naturally, I think men should have these choices, too. But ladies first, I can wait.

Liberals, the new intolerant bigots 

Lest anyone think Liberals will tolerate any dissent from their orthodoxy, whether such people are in the Liberal Party or not, Martin has clarified the situation.

Holding a religiously held view that abortion is morally equivalent to murder is something many people hold. I don't share that view myself, though in the case of very late term abortions I'd say I'm closer to thinking it's infanticide than merely a woman's right to choose. Others, such as Cheryl Gallant and many deeply religious people of many different faiths don't distinguish that way, and hold the same view of the procedure regardless of the timing. She even compared abortions to the beheading of Nick Berg. Not very articulate or persuasive, but very well, we can agree to disagree.

But people who hold such religious views evidently need to be roughly shoved into a closet somewhere, shunned, condemned and driven out of public view. Says Paul Martin:
Martin said the Tory leader should have condemned "abhorrent" comments by MP Cheryl Gallant, who said there is no difference between abortion and the recent beheading of an American by Iraqi terrorists.

"I've got to say that if anybody in my party made an extreme statement such as that, I would have spoken out immediately against that statement,"
You've got lots of people in your party who consider abortion morally equivalent to murder. The NDP has a Catholic priest as a candidate who preaches exactly that morality, and if you pay attention in mass in your Catholic church you'd have heard exactly that comparison being made many times over the years.

Are you going to condemn your Church, your priest, and your fellow parishioners who actually take their faith seriously, Mr. Martin?

Once again we see who the extremist is. Stephen Harper on abortion:
Abortion is going to go on one way or the other, and I think it's part of life, rightly or wrongly.

I wouldn't say I like abortion, but I think abortion is a reality that is with us.
And with that, places himself in agreement with about 70% of the electorate. And evidently able to tolerate those of religious faith, who should be asking themselves if the Liberal Party is an appropriate place for them, whether they are Jews, Christians or Muslims.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Who's the extremist? 

Excellent post by Laurent demolishing completely the attempt by the Liberals and their media megaphones to portray Stephen Harper as an extremist. They've really overplayed their hand this time, as the more shrill they get about the current state of abortion, homosexual marriage and capital punishment in Canada the more they illustrate how out of touch the chattering classes are. The public is far more conservative on these issues than any conceivable makeup of parliament, no matter what the results of the next election.

In fact, if there is a group of extremists out there they are to be found not in either major party, but in the Supreme Court. If the Liberals choose to cosy up with that position they're going pretty far out on a limb.

A whole lotta good sense 

Sometimes you can learn a whole lot more about a leadership candidate in the way he answers an unexpected question than all the platforms and speeches combined. Here’s an excerpt from John Ivison from an article in the National Post (but since they’re sub-only, go read it at Norman’s Spectator:
Standing in a field in tobacco country in southwestern Ontario , he was asked whether he supported a smoke-free Canada . It was one of those questions that would have seen Martin contort himself in knots as he stammered out a non-response. Harper leaned on the podium, ran the computation through his internal microprocessor, and delivered a succinct answer. "I'm not a smoker -- I'm an asthmatic. But I'm not a prohibitionist. People are going to have a drink and a smoke and that's kinda the way life's going to be," he said with a lopsided grin.
There’s a whole lotta common sense in that response that speaks volumes about the relationship between a citizen and a government.

Rather than stammering a non-response, I would expect a Liberal to have lots to say about a smoke-free Canada. They would natter on about the evils of the tobacco companies and talk about what they would do to bring them to heel. They’d have programs for the farmers, regulations for the retailers, lecturing for the youth, health bureaucracies, taxes to coerce the citizenry, ever-expanding areas in which smoking was banned. A policy pill is required for every ill, and anywhere citizens are falling short of government expectations for them they will have taxes, bureaucracies, propaganda and programs to cajole, coerce, persuade, regulate, and subsidize in an attempt to engineer a population who behaves more to their liking. Particularly intense hand wringing and nagging is naturally directed at The Children. And the result, of course is that “People are going to have a drink and a smoke and that's kinda the way life's going to be”, in spite of all the earnest social engineering they attempt. A guy who can dismiss all that with a philosophical libertarian-minded comment is someone to be respected, indeed. Implied in this is an utter rejection of the idea that government can or should be attempting to address every problem that arises.

If people see a little more of this side of Harper the Liberals will be in a lot of trouble, I think.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Ronald Reagan, Rest in Peace 

We've lost a great defender of freedom, here he is from 1964:
You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream-the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, "The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits."

The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.[...]
Yet any time you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being opposed to their humanitarian goals. It seems impossible to legitimately debate their solutions with the assumption that all of us share the desire to help the less fortunate.
A defender of freedom a philosopher, one who could see clearly the great challenges mankind faced. You will be missed.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Random thoughts on foreign adventures 

I direct your attention to this tribute to Canadian soldiers lost on foreign assignments since 1950. It’s quite a list, from Harry Angle, who died in July 1950 on a mission between India and Pakistan to Andrew Johnson, who died on the 29th of January of this year. It is noteworthy that our latest casualty came not in Afghanistan (last casualty there was just two days earlier, Jamie Murphy) but in Bosnia, where we have had soldiers continuously since 1997, and still do. How many people realize we still have soldiers there. When was the last time the media cared to comment on what they were doing?

Another tragedy on that list caught my eye. Gregory LaRose died in May 1993 on a mission in the Golan Heights, where peacekeepers have been stationed since 1974. Thirty years later they’re still there.

It’s probably fair to say that some of these missions they’ve been on were misguided, or perhaps they should have ended sooner. It’s even truer to say that on many of these missions Canada had no serious interests at stake, they were sent there for idealistic reasons only. Many others were vital for ensuring the long-term security of Canada and our allies. But never do I recall Canada shying away from a mission because it might be long, difficult or dangerous.

On no occasion did we require proof of imminent threat, or evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Or ironclad evidence of terrorist connections. Or guarantees of a settled security situation before they arrived. Only showing up when it’s clear you’re not needed isn’t much of a military strategy, is it?

And if the Liberals figured they were being clever by sending Canadian troops to Afghanistan to avoid the danger of Iraq, here is a little comparison:
Canadian fatalities in Afghanistan: 7
Australian fatalities in combat and occupation duties in Iraq: 0
Sure, we might not have been as fortunate as the Australians have, but there is certainly no assurance that Afghanistan would be or will be less dangerous than Iraq.

There are quite a number of international interventions going on at the moment. Currently Canadian peacekeepers are serving in 14 operations in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East. Canadians are not involved in all UN operations, but some of the active ones off the top of my head are Bosnia, Kosovo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, East Timor, and of course Afghanistan.

There is no pressure for firm withdrawal dates for foreign soldiers in any of these places. All of these countries have their sovereignty comprised by the presence of foreign troops on their soil. The forces will be withdrawn when the local conditions appear to be secure and stable, and the situation is unlikely to rapidly deteriorate by their abrupt exit. Somalia provides a useful lesson on premature withdrawal of forces. A decade later Somalia has no functioning government, security or rule of law. It is pure chaos and anarchy, which also happened after the abrupt withdrawal of foreign troops from Lebanon in 1983.

So this is a long and rambling way to eventually arrive at the topic. Even if you were against the initial invasion of Iraq why are so many people from so many countries opposed to assisting in setting up the new government? And why the international pressure for an abrupt withdrawal of foreign troops? Do they actually want Iraq to descend into Beirut or Somalia-style chaos? Why would anyone want that?

The most distasteful thing about the international attention on Iraq is the palpable sense of schadenfreude many obviously feel when the security situation deteriorates. And other than the coalition countries actually helping any participation by others appear to be actually trying to obstruct the mission by setting impossible conditions and deadlines apparently to hasten failure. Canadian and European forces have been stationed in Bosnia since 1997, yet there is still no firm exit strategy, no withdrawal date, no date when sovereignty will be fully and completely handed back to the Bosnians (or their ethnic partitions).

Kosovo is even worse, though we’ve been there since 1998. No one can say even what options Kosovo has, be it full independence, union with Albania, partition into Serb and Albanian sections, or reuniting with Serbia. There’s also no date for when any such decision will be made, nor any process or mechanism for the decision to be made. Kosovo is under UN administration with no apparent end or exit strategy in sight. And no one cares if the electricity is reliable (it isn’t), if a reasonable justice system has been established (it hasn’t), or if meaningful economic development is occurring (it’s not). The place is just hanging in limbo.

These places would probably benefit from a fraction of the attention focused on Iraq. At some level exit strategies and reasonable deadlines for withdrawal of foreign forces are beneficial. They focus the minds of all the participants and prevent an unhealthy dependence on foreigners from developing. Indeed, what little economy Kosovo has would collapse because most of it is aimed at offering services to their UN overlords colonizers administrators. So establishing clearly that the foreign presence is temporary and working to minimize its scope and duration is a good idea, as long as there is sufficient time to ensure the mission’s success. So why do the French and Germans (and presumably Canadian Liberals, though it’s hard to be sure) show such unseemly haste to get foreign troops out of Iraq, when their own missions have dragged on so much longer?

I can only draw one conclusion. They really do want Iraq to descend into chaos, just to gloat over an American failure. Their role is not constructive, but obstructive. But if that’s the case they can’t be considered allies, and shouldn’t be treated as such.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Welcome back, Peaktalk 

After a prolonged pause PeakTalk is back and blogging just in time for the election.

Check out his thoughts so far on the uninspired debate in this election campaign:
The inability to break the political taboo leads to an infertile discussion, an impoverished campaign and as a result an outcome that is not all that meaningful as no one has been asked to give input on real change. A similar pattern could be discerned in The Netherlands in the late 1990s where it was out of the question to debate, question, yet even discuss issues of Muslim immigration and integration. Everyone, again left right and center, knew the issue was there but very few dared to take it on.
I couldn't agree more. The hyperventilating reaction to any comment that addresses bilingualism, abortion, and presumably immigration or other sacred cow is killing our democracy. If we can't debate like adults we deserve to be governed like children.

It's encouraging that the Netherlands has snapped out of its PC straightjacket. One can only hope we do soon, too.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

A Revolting Prospect 

This afternoon I briefly checked the Toronto Star website and found the lead story on their site had headlines that looked like they thought they had a major gaffe on abortion they could smear Stephen Harper with. But when I came back later to comment on it the entire story appears to be gone. Perhaps on reflection they realized their attempted smear was ridiculous.

They appeared to have been alarmed at the prospect that, if elected, Stephen Harper would allow the basic function of a Westminster style democracy to perform its role as intended. That’s right, he would allow an elected member of parliament to bring forward a bill and allow other members to vote on it, even if the bill contained measures addressing abortion. It appears that in some eyes this paints him as an extremist, while a hardline commitment to ensure any discussion on the topic is killed at source is the reasonable, mainstream thing to do.

I guess from the perspective from the house organ of the Liberal Party, that’s true. The Liberals have, over the decades, ensured our parliament no longer really functions the way Westminster democracy is supposed to. They have ruthlessly aborted private members’ bills and ensured the only meaningful legislation that has any chance of becoming law is sponsored and controlled by the PMO, and is rubber stamped by the backbench MPs of the ruling party as a mere formality. So the bien-pensants at The Star have rarely been exposed to the prospect of any of their sacred cows being put up to a free vote, much less a referendum. They appear to be much more comfortable with the idea that such things should be strictly controlled by a class of like-thinking apparatchiks in the PMO and robed philosopher-kings in the Supreme Court.

Who knows what sort of revolting ideas might arise from the revolting masses if democracy were allowed to function in our national parliament? Personally, I’m not particularly frightened by the idea of giving it a try, and I don’t consider it a major gaffe for a leader to permit it.

But in any case they really shouldn’t be alarmed. Even in the unlikely case that our parliament approved an abortion law we can count on the Supreme Court to strike it down, no matter how minor the limitations or reasonable the restrictions. Until we get a Supreme Court that is inclined to respect parliament and limit their rulings the written constitution the bien-pensants at The Star have little to fear from a little democracy breaking out in parliament.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

October 4, 2007 

So Dalton McGuinty, who is a liar, now says he'll be going to the polls October 4, 2007, forgoing the usual incumbent advantage of picking the timing for the next election. He promises. Honest. He means it. It'll be a law. And everyone knows you have to obey the law.

And he wouldn't stoop to change the law if he finds it electorally convenient, just because he's the premier and he can. He's never done it before, has he?

Paul Martin, le Québécois 

One of the things I like about Paul Wells is that he covers what politicians say in both languages, happily pouncing on the blatant contradictions and not so subtle difference in spin they frequently engage in. So I found it a little odd when he made this post:
As the bus pulls up to a waterfront hotel, a knot of protesters is waiting across the street. They're mostly union types — it's Windsor, after all — but one woman has a hand-lettered sign that says:

"'I am a Quebecer.'
— P. Martin"
Oh, you're right. The real reason to vote against the guy is that he's secretly French.

Strange that it’s okay for Paul Martin to grovel and pander to a Québec audience emphasizing that he’s a Québécois (unlike, say, Stephen Harper who is un des autres), but it’s not okay for his hometown crowd to observe that he no longer considers himself one of them. He doesn’t tell the Québécois he’s a proud franco-Ontarien, or reminisce often about his Ontario roots.

I’d say if the Liberals want to practice identity politics, together with ethno- and regional pandering, and it’s obvious they do, it should be legitimate for those getting stuck with the bill to point out what they’re doing. And it’s not just an ethnic or linguistic identity at issue, it’s also a matter of dollars and cents. When Québec reporters ask Paul Martin about transferring federal tax points to the provinces he responds with something like “As a Québécois I’m against this, because Québec would end up with less money. Transferring tax points would advantage Alberta and Ontario over Québec.”

So when talking in French in Québec it’s fair for him to say “I’m one of you, and I’ll represent your interests” but somehow when a lady in his hometown observes “he doesn’t consider himself one of us anymore”, she’s the bigot.

And speaking of identity politics I also note that quite a number of Canadian commentators like to point out that David Frum is now American, as if this makes him unworthy to comment on Canadian elections. But when in America David Frum does nothing to hide or distance himself from his Canadian origins, nor has he ever taken any extended pause from writing about Canadian politics. Quite the contrary, it’s frequent topic of his at National Review Online.

A Three-fer 

Jay Jardine posts about about a possible three-for-three record on being lied to about tax increases by three different levels of government during election campaigns. He's already got a mayor and a premier elected on a no-tax-increase promise who immediately after the election raised taxes. And now we have the Prime Minister promising billions for health care that were not there just a couple of months ago, as well as billions for cities, and billions for a wide array of other special interests grasping at the public purse.

So just how much can we count on Paul "I will abolish the GST" Martin to honour his current musings against tax increases? Especially after his first instinct was to support Dalton The Liar McGuinty with the most shameless lying about taxes I can remember any politician doing. He only distanced himself from McGuinty The Liar after it became obvious just how damaging it was going to be associating himself with such a shameless liar. He didn't appear to have any ethical problem with the lying itself, just the effect it was having on his polling numbers.

I'd say let's not give him a chance to break that promise.

And Jean Charest might want to review his promise about a $1 billion tax cut. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has noticed that promise remains unfulfilled. I'm patient, but I don't like being lied to.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

How do you like your Grits? 

Baked, fried, grilled, smoked, or toasted?

I'm not sure, but I'm enjoying watching them cook so far.

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