Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Eco Fraud

This isn't earth shattering, but it is just one more example that the current government is quick to announce programs, but they never seem to have what's needed to implement them.

They make a lot of noise, put together nifty websites, then they don't deliver.

Oh and in case you're wondering about the levy on the fuel inefficient vehicles...that program is working just fine.

Senator Speaks Out

It would seem that Senator Campbell has had enough of the partisan sniping coming from the Harper government. Most recently, Rob Nicholson and Stockwell Day, used the death of 11 yr. old Efraim Brown to push their propaganda.

Senator Campbell isn't standing for it. I wonder if more Senators will start speaking out?

Monday, July 30, 2007

What to Make of This?

Aside from the fact that the Conservatives refuse to follow through on ANY Liberal initiative, it's difficult to understand how this plan makes any sense.

Is reinforcing the dike going to guarantee no more flooding? I don't see that written anywhere. If not, why on earth would we spend all of that money, only to have the community experience floods again?

A consultant who recently interviewed Kashechewan residents found that a majority of the people in the village favoured a relocation to higher ground still within their territory, because they feared they were prone to more flooding in the future.

For a government who screamed that they care about Human Rights for Aboriginals, this seems counter-intuitive or are the two events linked? What I mean by that is, they may have planned to buttress this announcement with their victory in committee.

All of that said, I think it's good to see some movement on this file, but it seems wrong headed to me.

Update: Chief Solomon was on the radio, CBC, and he said "This is the best deal he could get right now". He'd prefer this this to status quo. It sounds to me that he has pressure in his community and from the government, to do something, anything. It would appear as if the gov't gave him no option.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sadly it Can Always Get Worse

This first vid is of Pat Tillman's mother being interviewed about the lies she has been told by the US Government, with respect to the death of her son.

Here is a vid of part the congressional hearing they got and his brother Kevin speaking. (poor quality)

After this of course, Bush invoked executive privilege, which of course tells us there is more to hide. Okay, all of that is history, now we have this.

The lies we know about by this administration, the ones that have been exposed, are almost beyond comprehension. Imagine what we will learn of as time goes on? Sadly, it may seem unbelievable, but it can get worse.

h/t to Woman at Mile 0 for the recent video.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fighting Back

This clip used by the Edward's campaign is an example of how to defend yourself from attack ad's. Kerry did not act quickly when he was "swiftboated" and Dion has faith that people will see through the ridiculous Conservative ads that have run in Quebec.

This quick reaction from the Edward's campaign clearly illustrates how the GOP and their followers are distracting from the real issues.

Lesson to be learned by the Lib's?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hi-Jinks on the Hill

Even during the summer, the games at Parliament Hill don't stop.
The Conservatives recalled the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, in an effort to push through their agenda.
The committee had agreed to meet in September to proceed with their work, but the Chairman (ahem, read Harper and/or Prentice) decided that he didn't want to wait that long. So, they pulled the 12 members back to Ottawa from across the country, to make a scene.
The work in question concerns Bill c-44, which seeks to repeal section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. All political parties favour the Bill, but they differ on it's implementation. The Conservatives want to push it through now as is, while all of the opposition parties favour pushing it back, in order to provide First Nations people a chance for further consultation.
Every single group that has come before the committee, has asked for this consultation, but the Conservatives are sticking to their line, that the time for talk is over.
Long story longer, the meeting was full of all the nonsense that we witnessed in the House last Spring. The Chairman calling the meeting in the first place was ridiculous, but then the conservatives consistently distorted the position of all the opposition parties, suggested frequently that the Liberals do not want to extend Human Rights to First Nations, etc., etc. In the end, Anita Neville put forward a motion that was adopted, that essentially changed the agenda. It was adopted and the meeting was adjourned, to huge applause from the gallery.
So why did they do this? Are they out of announcements and want to claim that they have passed another "historic" bill? Are they trying to quell the damage that has been done in that community by not abiding by the Kelowna Accord? Or, do they simply want the opportunity to continue to distort the facts and suggest that the Lib's don't care about the Human Rights of our Aboriginal people?
More here and here.
Update: Kady O'Malley's blog.
h/t to Steve Thinks About Stuff and the anon in comments who alerted me.

Reasonable Reaction?

I am by no means making light of the recent accident that resulted in a neighbourhood in Burnaby being coated in crude oil. It was an awful accident that will undoubtedly have horrible consequences for some time to come.
That said, when I read this from John Baird:
"I'm a big believer in polluter pays," he said. "There will be an investigation into how this happened ... and how we can stop this from happening in the future."
Call me crazy, but isn't the phrase more aptly applied to intentional polluters, like ummm, say the Oil Sands?
I'm not suggesting that whoever is found to be responsible for this accident shouldn't be held to account. I'm sure they will be. Baird just makes me laugh out loud with his over the top style, finding every opportunity for a photo op, while missing the big picture.
For the record, the videographer that captured the pipe burst, was on the news this morning and said he spoke to the work crew. Apparently they were going by blue prints that showed the pipe 3 metres away from where it actually was.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Maybe it's Time to Call it a Day John?

One bad news story after another. Perhaps it's time for John McCain to hang up his campaign hat and call it a day.
This news, is obviously not good news.

I honestly think this guy is just past his "sell by" date and his current stance just isn't selling.
He tried to appear moderate, gain support, but his unfaltering promotion of all that is Bush, is failing...among the GOP faithful no less.
I think McCain is sincere in his bid, but he doesn't seem to have a grip on what Americans want. Sometimes, you need to listen to the people around you and he seems, unable or unwilling to do that.
In the end, it's my belief, that no matter who the GOP select as their "guy", he'll lose. McCain has an honourable reputation. Wouldn't you want to maintain that?
I say, get out now, no matter how that plays against your instincts. You'll still have your integrity when the election rolls around and be able to make your case. When it doesn't sell then, you'll at least have the comfort of sitting among a few who will continue to prop you up.

The Former Ambassador Fits Right In

Gilles Duguay seems to have made a seamless transition to his new position. In fact, he seems to have read all the appropriate literature issued by the the Conservatives on how to attack your opponent.
Fair enough, it's a byelection and there is no question that the outcome matters. I have no idea of how this rhetoric will play out, but wasn't there just a poll out that suggested people were so over AdScam? Suggesting that Dion knew about it seems rather silly to me.
"I'm telling you, if you read his CV, the man has been in cabinet since 1995, and if this university professor, descendant of a famous university professor, didn't know anything about the sponsorship scandal, I suggest you ask him whether he knew anything or not," Duguay said Wednesday.
So, is he saying that the Gomery Report is wrong or just certain parts of it are wrong? If so, which bit did he get right and what sections does he consider to be in error? Good luck with that!
Then we have this gem from Lawrence Cannon:
"I find it rather appalling that the leader of this (Liberal) party, who seeks to obtain some sense of credibility, hasn't even deemed it necessary to excuse his party for the wrongdoings that have happened in Quebec," said Cannon, who introduced Duguay.
He wants Dion to excuse the Liberals? Another interesting strategy.
An interesting byelection to be sure, theatre in fact.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Why Can't We Ban Guns?

If you are in Toronto, you no doubt recognise Efraim Brown. He sadly is the latest victim of gun crime in this city. If you aren't familiar with him, he was 11 and caught in the crossfire of two rival gangs. Toronto Police within 2 days, have arrested the two that they believe were responsible.
The mayor and the premier, have asked the Federal Government, once again, to ban handguns. I understand that Quebec and one other province is also considering this action. As expected, the government has refused to consider this and of course goes on to bash the Senate and the Liberals.
So, aside from the obvious, (playing to their base), why are they so dismissive?
Banning handguns obviously isn't going to end gun violence, but given that half, (48% actually) of the guns used on our streets are stolen from gun owners, isn't it a step in the right direction? That coupled with work on the border and co-operation from the US, surely would be a start?
Obviously, there are social issues and programs to consider and they too are important and are going forward here anyway, with some success.
Who, in this country needs a hand gun?
I can only conclude, that in order to preserve their base, the Conservatives are content not to do everything that can be done, to prevent more violence.
This is not only insane, it's immoral, imo.

Monday, July 23, 2007

You're Kidding, Right?

B'Nai Brith Canada, is asking Stephane Dion, to withdraw this man from the race in Outremont.
You surely are joking. Has Stephen Harper succeeded in dividing this country so fundamentally, that you believe that this man, this man, is anti-Israel?
Have we now devolved to the point that intelligent discussion can no longer be had? Think back people, we used to have these discussions all the time. This is stupidity and it is certainly going back in time. And guess what else, it's discrimination.
Honestly people, get a grip. You're accepting mediocrity, if you stand by this.
Coulon is no more anti Israel than my neighbour's dog. He has in his career raised issues that must be admitted to the argument. How is that wrong?
I'm tired of seeing this in Canada and it's time to stop it.
Steve looks at it from a different point of view.

Can Someone Please Articulate a Clear Strategy?

It's not new for O'Connor to change his story daily, but I honestly do not understand what is going on in the Dept. of Defense right now.

From staying as long as it takes, to no arbitrary deadline, to staying until our current mission expires in '09, to now pulling back in 6 months? Is there actually any planning going on here? If there is, it seems to change with the wind, (or the polls) and the new position is never substantiated by fact.

When the conservatives weren't accusing everyone who asked a question about the mission of being a Taliban supporter, they were big on saying you can't discuss a deadline because it's confusing to the troops. That was rubbish of course, because by accepting the current mission, we had accepted a deadline. Then of course Harper said we'd likely change our mission in 2009 and now O'Connor is saying by the end of the Van Doos rotation, (6 months), Canada will be in a back up role and focus on training. Even Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie, their biggest cheerleader, is saying this is folly.

Who is confusing the troops? As someone who has never been in the military, I'm honestly perplexed by O'Connor, or is it Hillier, or is it Harper?

Scott Taylor has a more realistic look at this new announcement.

Surely O'Connor's rotation is up? Wouldn't you like to sit in on the next NATO meeting? I'm thinking the agenda would be entitled, "What the Hell is Going on with Canada?"

We Knew it Wasn't "New"

The Hill Times, July 23rd, 2007

Some 75% say Tories should drop the 'Canada's New Government' title: poll
Innovative Research Group poll also found 56% think the PM is a micro-manager and 26% like his take-charge style

A number of conservative bloggers and commenters, continue to insist that this government was right to use the term "New". It's good to know that they are in the minority and that most Canadians see it as foolish. In fact, 38% saw it as never having been appropriate, because of course, the Government of this country is a permanent institution.

In spite of polls such as these, some Conservatives will continue to defend this silly move, with twisted logic.

But Tim Powers, a Tory strategist disagreed. "The government is still new, thus the term, because the previous government was in place for 13 years and this one's only been there for 18 months so relatively that is new,"

Of course, Mr. Powers is paid to hold such opinion, so you can't really fault him, but I'm sure we'll see his logic used again.

The article also goes on to speak to Mr. Harper's style.

The poll results also show that 56 per cent of the respondents view Prime Minister Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) as "a micro-manager who controls all communications from the government by keeping a lid on his ministers, sticking to a tight script and not having any spontaneity in interaction with the media" and 26 per cent see him as a "take-charge leader who insists on all his ministers communicating the same message by controlling what is said and by sticking to a tight script."

As a result, few cabinet ministers were known to the public. When asked who was the best Minister, 49% didn't know, 6% thought it was Flaherty. When asked who was the worst, 40% didn't know, 10% said Baird.

The last bit of information provided by the survey concerned the byelections. 43% said it was extremely or very important that they be run simultaneously. 21% said somewhat, 19% said not very important, 9% said not at all.

All in all, it would seem that the Conservatives, (as it relates to the issues contained in this survey), are playing well to their base and that's it.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Invisible Wounds

Their are many debates on blogs about Canada's mission in Afghanistan. Some are serious, some are glib. Few ever discuss the toll it takes on our soldiers.

We sometimes talk about the injured and often speak of those who have lost their lives, but how often do we think about the mental stress that these young women and men are under?

I confess to not even being able to read some of the horror stories coming out of that region. Imagine what it must be like to witness them and then upon returning home, be expected to go back to life as usual?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as other disorders are to be expected. That we now have a name for this condition and recognise that some soldiers will suffer from it, is a step in the right direction. It seems, among the military, there is still a stigma attached to it though.

This comes as no surprise, really. I would presume, being able to "deal" with what ever comes your way is a part of basic training. I wonder if we do enough however, to prepare them for the reality of the horror and how they may be affected? It must be a difficult balance.

Surely Romeo Dallaire's courage on this issue should have broken down some barriers? It seems though, that we still have some problems. I've read quite a bit on the subject as it relates to the US military, but it's rare to see anything in the Canadian media.

This is an insightful piece and one that has me hoping that the Canadian Military is moving on this, now.

No to Obama, Osama and the Museum Of Modern Art?

Apparently, some candidates are as stupid as their supporters.

It's beyond me how anyone would think it acceptable to put Obama and bin Laden in the same sentence to begin with, but how stupid are you as a candidate to pose with the idiot?


Might Makes Right?

It seems to me, that hardly a day goes by without hearing of yet more spending on the military.

No one disputed that the military required more attention and in fact, the Liberals committed to 12.8 billion over 5 years. The Conservatives said they'd add 5.3 billion to that amount, which to me adds up to 18.1 billion, over 5 years.

According to this article however:

The total cost so far is more than $22 billion, which doesn't include the billions more for operations and maintenance.
It's the biggest build-up since the Second World War.

Am I missing something here?

What are we gearing up for? O'Connor is on the record today saying that we are planning to begin backing down from the mission in 6 months, (a comment that contradicts the recent report issued by the UK, btw). So, what are we planning for? Much of the equipment being announced won't even be ready until after 2009.

It seems to me that the conservatives are making up for lost time and spending as much as they can in the shortest amount of time possible, or perhaps they are planning for something we're unaware of.

Rebuilding the military is all well and good, but something seems off here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Best Laid Plans...

Well, we all know that Harper was in Chile this week and by all reports, things went well.
Apparently, he didn't get much, if any, local press though.
While we often decry the penchant of leaders to seek good press coverage for political gain, in this case, some favourable press about Canada might have been an asset.
It seems that on the heels of this visit, Chile is rather ticked at us and they are protesting in the streets, against a "racist" Canada.
The claims being made by the Chilean players are of course nonsense. One claims that Toronto police threw acid in his face. That will be a little tough to explain without any scars, don't you think?
While this is a silly story and even sillier accusation, it is rather odd that President Bachelet would issue an official directive, having just met with Harper.
I'm not quite sure what to make of that.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Can't We Just Have a Real Conversation?

Isn't it time to have a real conversation about Afghanistan in this country? Haven't we had enough of the rhetoric, enough spin, enough juvenile taunting?

I think we've also had enough of pundits and pollsters telling our leaders what they must do to manipulate our thinking.

The poll, conducted by the Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail/CTV News, suggests that the best way for Mr. Harper to obtain that consensus would be to argue that Canada has a duty to safeguard the humanitarian gains of Afghan women and children.

The expression, "won't anyone think of the children?" comes to mind. I'm not being callous. To be honest, I'm insulted by the comment. Pull at Canadians heart strings and they'll follow you anywhere. No! We know what is at stake, what we want to know is why the strategy isn't working.

There can be no question that this government has utterly failed to gain support for this mission. In March of 2006, support for sending troops was at 55%. As of this week, it's at 36%.

I'm sure there are many reasons driving this number, but most significant to me, is the fact that this government is loathe to be honest about what is going on. They have turned it into such a political football, that they are unable to articulate anything about the mission, outside of a carefully crafted narrative, that really tells us nothing.

Enough already. It's time for some truth. Obviously the mission is not going well. The Taliban is on the rise and not just Taliban, but Al Qaeda seems to have been successful in re-establishing their capability. The opium eradication plan is a complete failure, that should never have been undertaken in the first place and we have not been able to secure the south, nor do I think we ever will.

Honest questions must be asked and answered. Questions to NATO and to our government. Hillier shutting down access to what we can see, was really the last straw. I see too much similarity here to what crept into the US. I know Conservatives hate that comparison, but it's tough to deny the facts.

No one wants to admit failure, but until we have some factual basis on which we can claim success, it's time to be honest.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

George's Groupie's

It's a sad state of affairs, when kids, who are supposedly benefiting from higher education, aren't able to offer anything more than a parroting of Dubya's words. No critical thinking, no analysis, just repeat anything that Bush has said.

You would think that by now, they would have gained a little clarity. I presume if you never venture outside of your comfort zone as it relates to media intake, personal friends and family, you only hear one view. So sad that so many seem to think that's the right thing to do.

I'm sorry that Blumenthal didn't ask deeper questions, but then again, I'm not sure these kids would have changed a word that they said.

Oh Those Darn Statistics

Crime in Canada is at it's lowest level in 25 years. Actually, it's down 30% since it's peak in 1991. That's good news! It kind of puts the kybosh on the Conservatives running on a law and order platform, though.
Interesting to me, are the Toronto stat's. How often do we hear what a horrible, crime ridden city this is? The most notable decline in homicides was in Toronto. In fact the rate in TO is 1.85 homicides, per 100,000, compared to 4.5 in Edmonton, 3.7, Regina, 3.3 in Saskatoon, 3.0 in Winnipeg 2.5 in Vancouver, and 2.3 Calgary.
All in all, good news.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Nefarious Cheney

I should know better than to think it could not get any worse when it comes to the Bush administration.

The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned.

While this has been in and out of the press for the past few months, Bush had been reported to have resisted Cheney's overtures. According to this article, that seems to have changed.

I recall the first time I read the Project for the New American Century, my blood ran cold. As time went on, I thought surely the American people would never let any of this happen. Sadly, I was wrong. I didn't count on Americans not knowing or caring about the direction their government intended to go in. Nor do I think I realised just how deeply entrenched it's author's and proponent's actually were in DC.

So here we are again, with Cheney running the show and Bush happily panting behind him. While I cannot fathom how they could pull off a military mission, I'm no longer naive enough to think it impossible.

One of the most ironic statements out of the White House:

The White House claims that Iran, whose influence in the Middle East has increased significantly over the last six years....

Hmmm, I wonder what changed 6 years ago? Unbelievable.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Apparently Someone Does Listen to Gordon O'Connor

How often has it been said that we, Canada, are a bit player? That nations around the world do not really listen to what we have to say? Of course in recent days, Harper has become fond of inserting the phrase, "Canada is back on the world's stage". Perhaps he has a point, though I doubt that this is what he had in mind.

"Hands up those readers who know that Canada's Defence Minister, Gordon O'Connor, actually sent a letter to Rumsfeld two days before his departure in disgrace from the Pentagon, praising this disreputable man's "leadership". Yes, O'Connor wanted "to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your many achievements (sic) as Secretary of Defence, and to recognise the significant contribution you have made in the fight against terrorism". The world, gushed the ridiculous O'Connor, had benefited from Rumsfeld's "leadership in addressing the complex issues in play".

or this:

O'Connor, it seems, is just another of the world's illusionists who believe they can ignore the facts - and laud fools - by stating the opposite of the truth.

These comments from an article by R. Fisk in the Independent. Fisk seems to be either loved, or loathed, so his opinion will either be shared or derided, but that is not really the point. I was surprised frankly to see O'Connor referred to, period. Of all the ministers in this government to gain notoriety abroad, who among us would choose him?

O'Connor wasn't the main point of Fisk's article though. Some of T. E. Lawrence's writing was. Interesting read.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Of Course! That's the Answer!

Today, the US Senate voted to double the amount of the reward for the capture of Osama bin Laden. $25 million had no effect, so I suppose they think $50 will.

The measure also states that Bush should focus more on his capture. That of course makes some sense, or would have years ago.

Shortly after the September 11 attacks, Bush said he wanted bin Laden caught, dead or alive. But a year before the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bush's emphasis shifted, saying he did not know bin Laden's whereabouts and "I truly am not that concerned about him."

If that, in a sentence, does not sum up the mess we now see, I'm not sure what does.

It is stunning to me that the conversation south of us, goes on as it does. It's truly as if they are stuck in time. The same circular discussions, the same inane arguments and yet, Bush just plods along his merry way without consequence. Breaking laws, breaking rules, without no one calling him to account.

The planet is paying a price for this Alice in Wonderland mood in the US, and no one is doing a thing to stop it.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Canadian Culture Abroad. Does it Matter?

If you glance over at my profile, it will be obvious to you where I stand on this issue.
I think this is a smart move by Dion.
Many Liberals have been calling on Dion to start putting out policy. I think he has been, one issue at a time. We are not in an election at the moment. Obviously, if we were, there would have to be a very cohesive message, but at this point, I think he does well to suss out individual groups, assess what he feels he can bring to the table and present it. That he has been well received by many groups, speaks more to reality than current polls. The people who have heard him, are supporting him. Canadians as a whole, haven't yet heard him.
I'm not suggesting that it won't be tough work. It will be, but hitting issues like this, that he obviously believes in, will bring those elements in.
I am well aware that many Canadians do not know and do not care about our artistic culture. Furthermore, they see no benefit in spreading it abroad.
The segment may be small, but we did not gain our reputation abroad through military means alone. We represent something that people around the globe are intrigued by.
Sadly, some Canadians recognise it less than they do.

Losing Support One Group at a Time

We all know by now that Mr. Harper is loathe to adopt anything that came from the Liberals, unless of course he does adopt it and re-name it, or in the case of his shift on the Afghanistan mission, just adopts it without saying he is.
On the Kelowna Accord issue though, it's truly perplexing that they continue to use the language they do. It plays to their base of course, but the damage that it is doing to a relationship that is already strained, just makes no sense at all.
It's apparent that Native Leaders are very proud of all the work that went into the Accord, why continue the partisan rant?
Rod Bruinooge who, when asked by reporters why the government shelved the accord, said the arrangement was a mere public relations exercise by the Liberals before the last federal election. "The previous government made an election promise at the last hour," Bruinooge said. "This was later dubbed the Kelowna accord. ... There was no agreement. It was a press release."
I suppose it's simply automatic now for most conservative MP's, to give the standard response. Perhaps if there were a few of them that actually were allowed to think for themselves, things would be different.
As it stands, Harper seems content to tell those he is trying negotiate with, that there opinion means nothing.
What a vote getter!

Evidence of Climate Change in Toronto!

Here's proof that climate change is real. Elephants were spotted walking the streets, north of Toronto!
Listen to the 911 call here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

It's People Who Make a City

With the passing of Ed Mirvish today, it's interesting to reflect on just how much of an impact one life can have on a city. Ed is of course famous for Honest Ed's, a bargain emporium that he started by going to every estate and fire sale he could find and cleaning them out. He then sold these goods at bargain prices. He could have opened a luxury store in TO, but having previously experienced pretty tough times, he was all about helping those who needed help. Free turkeys at Christmas had people lined up for hours. Without Ed, they'd likely have no turkey.

Of course, he also purchased the Royal Alex, which was slated for demolition and went on to revive the theatre district and industry in TO.

All of this simply sounds like a nice eulogy, but it's really much more. He filled a niche that no one else was prepared to fill. He made a difference for those who find it tough to get ahead, no matter how much they work. He brought revenue to a city that needed it, by thinking outside of conventional wisdom. He did much more than this of course, but suffice it to say, he lived a life that really made a difference.

I think of the people who made Toronto their home and I'd say we've been pretty privileged. Jane Jacobs, June Callwood, Ed Mirvish, to name just a few. We are poorer for their loss.

I know it's fashionable to bash TO, but I've lived here a long time. All cities have problems, TO, no exception, but there is an awful lot to like too, not the least of which, are the people who care about it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Who is Really to Blame?

I read an op-ed, by Sarah Chayes in the NYT today and found it fascinating. It's amazing how we can sometimes forget exactly how events actually unfolded, years later.

She argues that NATO is not the problem in Afghanistan, but that the real problems, are the US troops and the US Government, then and now.

While I still think we do have some problems with NATO, namely troop commitment, this does provide some perspective. It also perhaps explains why Martin agreed to the mission.

But not until 2005, when it was clear that the United States was bogged down in Iraq and lacked sufficient resources to fight on two fronts, did Washington belatedly turn to NATO to take the Afghan south off its hands. And then it misrepresented the situation our allies would find there. NATO was basically sold a beefed-up peacekeeping mission.

It does not however explain why Harper extended the mission after we knew it was going badly.

Who Will the Hawks Support Now?

This is not a banner created by the government, but apparently it could be.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday his government has no plans to prolong Canada's combat role in Afghanistan beyond its February 2009 commitment, arguing any extension would be for a new mission and contingent upon beefed up NATO support.

But when asked whether he has any desire to prolong the combat mission in southern Afghanistan beyond 2009, Harper said: "No."

Yet more "policy by polls", from this PM.

It's hilarious to consider, that for months, he's accused the Lib's of not having a policy, being all over the map, etc., etc. (which was a lie of course) , then he proceeds to adopt their policy. Not the first one he's taken and I'm sure it will not be the last.

I confess I am at a complete loss to see any reason for anyone to support this man. He misleads, he backs out of commitments, he lies, he spends more than any Liberal and he changes his positions whenever the polls tell him he should.

That said, I'm glad to see that he's backed off his previous position.

Now, how will all the hawk supporters defend this latest shift? If they still agree with Harper, they also agree with Dion. Imagine that?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Information? Irrelevant!

I wonder if there will come a point when Canadians become outraged at what this government is doing? It's summer of course, so most of the nation is busy enjoying that and not thinking about politics. It therefore comes as no big surprise to me that this bit of news came out today.

Each small, but decidedly damaging, measure this government takes seems to fly under the radar. I find that disturbing. Is that because Canadians are apathetic, or is it because this government has mastered the art of implementing change by stealth? I tend to think it's a combination of both, in that the government is taking advantage of the apathy.

This move by Hillier is being sold as being in the best interest of the troops. BS! It's in the best interest of the government, full stop. The headline here says it all.

The irony of all of this of course, is the fact that this would not have happened had questions not been raised in the first place. Those questions were justified. If we are to support our troops, are we not entitled to information about what they are being directed to do? We the people, are entitled to oversight from afar and frankly, they the troops deserve that.

Apparently, the US makes public the numbers of, names, etc., of all detainees at Guantanamo on the Pentagon website. (I didn't dig through it, but anyone notice any similarity to this site and our government's ever changing site?)

Here's the kicker to me. They will release the number of Taliban they kill, to us at home and in local media, but not who they detain. Yeah sure, it's all about protecting the troops.

This is all about saving Harper's butt, nothing more.

What our government has done is wrong. Slowly but surely we are being denied information and sadly I'm not sure that Canadians have noticed.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


What do you do if you are a government that has produced two Environment plans and they are both panned by the experts? Attack the experts of course!
What a ridiculous stance to take. I guess they realised that Canadians weren't buying what they were selling, because the Environmental Groups were not letting them get away with it. So, as has become the pattern for this government, anyone who disagrees with them becomes the enemy.
It's not a surprise that Heath would join the chorus as his current mission in life, is to destroy anything Liberal.
I don't know if the NDP is going to come out more strongly than that, but that would be a big mistake in my opinion. To be honest, I think this may just backfire on the con's. You can only whine about the whole world being against you for so long.
UPDATE : Steve has a deeper look at the article.

Impossible Mission

The Prime Minister is determined for us not to discuss the mission in Afghanistan. Why? My guess is because it's not a winner for him politically. This is of course much bigger than politics and that is why it must be discussed and debated.

It is not enough to tell Canadians that we are there because the Afghan's want us there. It is not enough to say that girls now go to school. I have yet to hear one compelling argument as to what our goal is and how we plan to achieve it.

Oh, I know that we are there to "get the Taleban", but the various groups attacking us are going to be there forever. When they lose a man, he is replaced by two more and their recruitment appears to be gaining in strength, not weakening. The attacks are growing in number and strength and, as we have all read, everytime we change our tactics or strategy, they simply adapt.

A new study referred to in this article lays it out pretty clearly.

It turns out that a major power is much more likely to fail when its war aim requires some sort of co-operation on the part of the adversary or the citizens on the ground, in order to change a despised foreign or domestic policy, for example, or quell sectarian violence, or prop up a regime that's on shaky ground.

Of course the military don't seem to be in favour of studies.

"I look at this and see it has a formula, and I'm immediately turned off," says Lt.-Col. Doug Delaney, chair of the war studies program at the Royal Military College in Kingston.

While he makes good points about every situation being different, it seems to me that the criteria used by the study are still valid, in fact they are common sense.

However, Lt.-Col. Delaney then goes on to say this,

The challenge for the government is maintaining support for a conflict when people don't perceive a threat – of a failed state falling into the hands of extremists, for instance – particularly as Canadian deaths are rising, says Delaney.
It may well be that the key to bolstering Western resolve is another terrorist attack like 9/11 or the London transit bombings of two years ago, he says.

Fantastic! Keep 'em scared and they'll buy the mission. Brilliant.

Call me crazy, but that is not what I want to hear from the military. This isn't new information to many of us, but it's interesting to actually see it expressed for a change.

More on the Senlis comments here.

Friday, July 06, 2007

William Elliott to Head the RCMP

I do not know enough about this man to really determine whether or not appointing him Commissioner is a good move. I know he was national security advisor for both Mulroney and Martin, but that's about it.
I did read this though: (it's from a statement issued by Sue Barnes, Lib Public Safety critic)
Newly-appointed RCMP Commissioner William Elliott was the senior public servant who met with Mr. Zaccardelli between his two conflicting appearances before the Public Safety Committee in the fallout from Justice O'Connor's report on the Arar affair. Canadians are still waiting for answers about when the government became aware that Mr. Zaccardelli had misled Canadians and what steps have been taken to evaluate which version of his testimony was the truth.
"Mr. Elliott's involvement in Zaccardelli's testimony and his past experience as a political insider will raise some doubts among Canadians about the legitimacy and impartiality of the overhaul of the RCMP management culture at a time when the credentials of the Commissioner must be unquestionable," said Ms. Barnes.
She's also calling on the government for him to appear before the Public Safety Committee, before he's appointed. Good luck with that!
All the same, I will wait to see who this man is before passing judgement.

Now This is a Poll I Could Support

I wonder if the Democrats will change their position if public pressure grows?

What Did He Just Say?

I watched a bit of Canada AM this morning and Gordon O'Connor was being interviewed. He was defending the mission in Afghanistan...fair enough, that's his job.

Toward the end of the interview though, while explaining why we are in Afghanistan, he suddenly said, "remember, the terrorists that blew up the twin towers, came out of Afghanistan". (video)

Now I'm quite sure that this man knows that is incorrect, but the question is why would he say that? Is it just easier to explain our NATO role in Afghanistan by simplifying it in this ridiculous way or is it meant to mislead and bolster support?


Give Us a Call?

You'd think with the mounting death toll in Afghanistan, that every effort would be made by our Defense Department to explore all ideas concerning the detection of IED's, wouldn't you? Apparently not.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Could we, at long last, finally be seeing a shift away from the incessant "fear mongering" that we have experienced, over the past 6 years?

"In contrast to Tony Blair, the new British leader has offered no emotive sound bites, no promises of tough new laws and no talk of a “war on terror” since the failed attacks in London and Glasgow."
Obviously, until Bush is gone, this will not be the new "norm" and even then there are no guarantees, but it is refreshing to see a more leveled approach to this issue.
I heard a report yesterday that Brown intends to stop using terms like, "the War on Terror" and "Muslim Extremists". All I can say is, it's about time that a Leader started to bring us back to a more reasonable view of what we face in the world today. As it relates to the perpetrators of terrorism, his intent is to name them by affiliation, Al-Qaeda, etc.
Approaching terrorists as criminals, seems infinitely more effective to me. Isn't that how we approach this issue here? In spite of all the blustery rhetoric from Harper and Day, at the end of the day, it's an intelligence and policing issue, not a "war".
I hope his sanity will catch on and that other leaders will stop their endless rants and childish repetition of vacuous "tag lines".
We all know what is going on around the world and I have no doubt that the media will continue to inform us as events occur. Having leaders who can put those events into context, without the histrionics, is long overdue.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Excessive? Compared to What?

What a surprise, Bush has commuted "Scooter's" sentence.

"I respect the jury's verdict," Bush said in a statement. "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison."

Perhaps we should buy the man a dictionary, respect and excessive, seem to require further definition.

A spokeswoman for Cheney said simply, "The vice president supports the president's decision."

I think we can replace the word, "supports" to forced, don't you?

It is quite remarkable what this man, Bush, has gotten away with. This being minor in the scheme of things. I'm sure historians will be scratching their heads wondering how it all happened.

The answer of course is, because America allowed it, politicians and citizens alike.