Saturday, September 29, 2007


The Canadian Forces are sending some of our troops to be trained by none other than the infamous Blackwater. I have no idea what on earth would possess our military to make such a move at any time, but to do it now, seems all but insane given recent events in Iraq.

Why would we associate ourselves, with a group that has been termed a lawless band of mercenaries? And why now, when resentment for our troops is on the rise?

Here's another look at this group.

I guess Hillier, of "kill the scumbags" fame, saw a good fit.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Well, if you're a wonk, the Lib's had a tough day according to the evening political shows. Politics and Mike Duffy Live, approached the subject in different ways, but they both concluded, that: Dion is in trouble and the term "hidden agenda" doesn't work.

In fact, the media has already started rolling their eye's at the phrase, just as they did during the last election.

It was mostly derided in terms of how Dion referred to Flanagan's proclamations in his new book. Dion cited fact, the media rolled their eyes.

Duffy gave Flanagan a platform, of course, which he accepted readily in order to add to the eye-rolling. That said, he climbed down off his high horse suggesting yesterday that the GG was too partisan to be impartial as it relates to Harper and apologised. To that I say, BS and wimp! He was pretty damn clear in his comment:

The Governor-General, Michaëlle Jean, is a politically inexperienced CBC broadcaster chosen by Mr. Harper’s predecessor, Paul Martin; her French-born husband is, or at least used to be, sympathetic to Quebec separatism. Could Mr. Harper count on fair treatment from this Governor-General in a constitutional crisis? Suppose he was defeated in the House and asked for a dissolution of Parliament and a new election? Would she comply with his request, or would she accept his resignation and then invite the Liberal leader to form a government? It’s probably more prudent not to put that question to the test.

Obviously the PMO got to him and told him to shut up. Flanagan you see, is riding on the the same arrogance, that he accuses the Lib's of. In the same article, he goes on to say how the Senate and Judiciary are stacked with Liberals, hmmm, the same words Harper used, not that long ago.

Here's the thing, their real agenda is being hidden from Canadians, in an effort to gain a majority, at which point they could change the country as they see it. They've begun in fact, but the media is rolling their eye's at the term and frankly I can't blame them. That does not mean it isn't fact, it just means that they are not buying the term, and gawd knows, they are all about sound bites and headlines.

So, here is the dilemma. The fact is that the con's are hiding what they want to do. In short, reduce the role of Federal government, sorry, not just the role, but the responsibility. They want the free market to rule and we've seen how well that's done in the US. Even Greenspan has come out against some moves of the Bush admin...though he's a coward too, imo. A lifelong Ayn Rand devotee, a concept that most of us put to rest in our 20's.

That little aside, aside, we have to improve the message. My preferred honest term would be "liar", but that doesn't play, as we are seeing in Ontario with Tory. To be honest, that kind of negativity would not play well.

So, how do we get out the "real" agenda of the con's and what it means to Canada? We, on blogs, tend to discuss these things, but that doesn't work with a bored and "need a headline" media. Sincerity should win, but with this crew, it won't. They want what is "sexy".

We need a new term, that reflects "hidden agenda". One that is easy to strike on a keyboard and one that is easily consumed.

I'd love some thoughts on this. There has to be a way to depict, Minority='s this, Majority on the other hand ='s...

Get out your Thesaurus people. The grassroots have to provide input now.

Harper is constructing the next election.

BTW, if you're wondering why I chose the photo I did, it's all about messaging. I want to see this young, obese PM, (the photo was taken yesterday or today, btw), talk to us about health care and obesity.

It's all about messaging.

For the record, I picked up the Flanagan book today. I do not want to be accused of "here-say".

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's Not My Imagination

I frequently write about my dissatisfaction with our media in Canada. Sometimes I focus on what I perceive as bias, but I'm fully cognizant that I view such things through my own lens.

More often though, I'm frustrated by the lack depth, the seemingly poor quality of written, television and some radio reporting of the news. I've often referred to the fact, that reporters simply parrot the words of whomever they are speaking or listening to. That tough questions never seem to be asked and most often, reporters/journalists, simply repeat the mundane "talking points", that are inevitable rhetoric.

Well, it would seem that some testimony at the CRTC Hearings, bears out my complaint. A Hill Times article, by Simon Doyle entitled,

'Journalism is under siege across Canada,' journalists tell CRTC

reports on some testimony offered, that supports my contention. That of course doesn't make me right, but I feel a heck of lot less lonely.

The Hill Times article, may be behind a wall tomorrow, so I'll pull some quotes to give you a flavour.

One of the things that really gets under my skin, is the fact that they never seem to put stories in context. They seem to use the mood of the day, rather than historical context and worse, they take whatever rhetoric is contemporary as a back drop.

Media consolidation has reduced the quality of journalism in Canada, creating a "crisis in local news" and an environment in which journalists are overworked and fewer are "digging beyond the press release or the sound bite," journalists told a CRTC hearing last week. "In the space of a daily news cycle, it is virtually impossible for one reporter to do an adequate job on a television news item, a newspaper story, a web story, even covering a routine press conference," Mary Agnes Welch, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists, which has about 1,400 members nationally, said at a CRTC hearing in Gatineau, Que., last week. "There is far less time to consult a variety of views, to verify information, to treat sources critically, to understand background and context, to track down documents and to explain the information in the clearest and most useful way to readers and viewers. There is certainly no time left to do some old-fashioned digging, following up on tips or courting sources, the kind of gumshoe reporting that often yields the groundbreaking stories," she said.

Well, that couldn't be more clear. They might as well simply plug their recording device, into an electronic translator and print/report that. If they have simply become scribes, (how regressive is that thought?) and it appears they have, how does that serve us? In two words, it doesn't. They are allowing groups to simply get their message out without scrutiny. Given that a government will receive far more attention than an opposition party, guess what is getting out? There is no question that this government is all about propaganda, as evidenced by Flanagan's words, therefore the logical leap is that is what we are getting.

To all you Liberal haters out there, I think it would be exactly the same if the Lib's were in power. All parties "message", but the con's, con and that's the problem at the moment.

Another document submitted to the CRTC prior to the hearings, signed by 30 journalists and freelance writers in the Vancouver area, including Deborah Campbell, J.B. MacKinnon, and Chris Tenove, said that "we believe that journalism is under siege across Canada." The submission goes on to say that talented journalists are choosing to leave the profession as a result of lower-quality jobs. "In our experience, the growing concentration of the news media has reduced demand for in-depth investigative journalism, a crucial element of a healthy national media," the submission says. "In this increasingly concentrated ownership environment, we find that the media outlets are paying less for freelance work and demanding more extensive control over copyright in the past."

Extensive control. That of course plays to my bias protestations. It's hilarious to me that the political right in this country, including the PM, still maintain, that media leans left. Who owns most of it? Not left leaning corporations. They've never had it so good, but as usual, they do not see what is in front of their collective faces.

Some of the discussion last week surrounded the issue of "self-censorship" in reporting and whether the business interests of large media organizations influence journalists' stories. As Russell Mills, former publisher of the Ottawa Citizen, said before the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications in 2003: "The principals of the company [CanWest] have been quite open about their desire to use their newspapers to promote their interests and views. Staffs of the newspapers have learned which issues are sensitive and when to censor themselves. For example, you are unlikely to find much that is favourable about the CBC or about Palestinians in CanWest newspapers."

Bingo...bias exposed. Of course this view was countered, poorly, but it's out there now.

I'm not sure what faith I have in the CRTC. I find that they step back too much, but there is good information being given. We shall see.

To any readers who also question media today, be heartened by the fact that noise, is now getting louder...sort of. The CRTC will temper their conclusions...but cross your fingers that more regulation will evolve.

Oh the con's will hate that!

Monday, September 24, 2007

You Can't Choose Your Family, But You Can Choose Your Friends

I suppose we should be getting used to being embarrassed on the world stage. Certainly, every time Harper travels, I expect it, but I do hope that this time there will be much more backlash.

We at home know that Harper doesn't have a policy worth anything, concerning the environment, GHG's, etc. Geesh, half his supporters still think that climate change is a myth. We know too that he's been crafting a strategy, that would give the image that he's doing something, when in fact all he's done push the solutions further back. Because we've been passive here, specifically in reporting what Harper is not doing, perhaps he thinks he has a pass. Perhaps because at the recent meeting in Australia, he was bolstered by his buddies, he thought he had a pass.

I'm not sure what encouraged him to say what he did today, but we've lost all credibility now. Harper chose his friends, Bush and Howard over the rest of the planet. Actually, he formally announced that he's joined the APP, as it's now called. That's the group that courageously came forward to proclaim that they'd consider aspirational targets, in the future. So firm, so definitive, such other words a joke. These men, cater to business, contemporary business, over the future effects to those who can ill afford to have more adversity.

No doubt his base is cheering, but given the overall reaction at the UN, I don't believe they realise the import of his choice. He has now officially put himself in the same league as Bush, that being, a head of state who speaks, but no one listens. If he thinks, that on the world stage this behaviour will go unnoticed, he's not the intelligent guy he's portrayed to be.

Going back to my post on Flanagan's 10 commandments, my sense is that on many issues, the con's have come to power, albeit minority power, too late. They may have had a chance to completely dupe us, earlier on, but at this point, Bush and Howard have made clear how duplicitous their agenda is. In emulating them, Harper alone is responsible for the criticism that should come his way. The question is, will it?

Robert Fife, usually a Harper cheerleader, surprised me today. He actually said that when the heavy hitters, Schwarzenegger and the Secretary General of the UN were speaking on the subject of climate change, Harper was shuffling papers, yawning and generally not engaged.

He cares nothing about this subject of course, but I hope to see pictures to substantiate that tomorrow. Will we?

Thankfully, the youth of our country, are more astute than Harper:

Harper drew sharp criticism from two Canadian youths participating in the one-day event. They said the Conservative government's emission targets are way too low.
"I, for one, am sick of being ashamed of my country and its poor behaviour on the world stage," P.J. Partington of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition told a news conference.
"The government keeps saying Canada's playing a bridging role in the negotiations, but with our current plan we're on the road to nowhere."
Catherine Gauthier, who told leaders the future is in their hands and that too many world capitals are "spinning" their positions, was equally scathing.
"Canada needs to step up our action on climate change or get out of the way of progress," said Gauthier, a member of the Quebec-based Environnement Jeunesse.
"Our current targets won't yield real action until I am about to retire, which is completely out of line with the urgency of the science. We cannot play a constructive role in the international negotiations with our current plan."

”There are spin doctors in certain capitals that will try to convince you otherwise with their ‘diplomatic breakthroughs,' ‘bridges' and ‘complementary processes.' But there is only one road to a safe climate, and it leads to Bali,” said Ms. Gauthier, 18, who has addressed previous UN climate-change talks.

Sad isn't it? We used to be respected on this planet. Harper's ideas and ideals are old. The world fell into a silence after 9-11, a silence that aided agendas such as his. We are coming out of that, at least those of us who didn't buy it in the first place and those of us who were suspect. Fear is necessary for these people to exist and thankfully at the moment, we are not ensconced in it. Will that shift? Perhaps. The real question is, if it does, will we now, at long last, cast a critical eye to expose the propaganda?

When you choose your friends, you should choose them carefully. Harper chose those to whom he was aligned. Apparently, he was unable to crawl out of his ideology, so he missed the fact that they are on the way down. Hitch yourself to a falling star? Yep, that's what our guy at the top did. A falling star is gripping, but only while it lasts. Harper has hitched himself to that star, as it fizzles.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Conning or Cunning? The Canadian Senate Debate

The con's have made much of the fact that most Canadians want Senate Reform. I believe there was a poll last December that suggested that most Canadians thought that was a good idea.

What do you suppose most people really know or understand about our Senate and it's purpose? I suggest, precious few.

I don't think Canadians are stupid, but our Senate is not a topic of conversation at most dinner tables. Nor has the question been adequately debated in the media. Is it in vogue to fight institutions? Perhaps, but I imagine that most people see that the US Senate is an elected body and they assume that it works. Different systems of course and there is plenty of evidence to show how their system doesn't work.

This article intrigued me. It's written by an Alberta Senator who is a Progressive Conservative. I'm with her on most of the issues.

I've long opposed an elected Senate, for the very reasons she puts forth. There is too much partisanship as it stands and electing them, will only make them more beholding to their respective leaders, for they'd have to campaign on their Party's issues.

The one point that she brings up that I found interesting, is how the caucus's meet. Caucus meetings are all about strengthening party roots and loyalty. I think that may be a logical point to begin looking at reform. Perhaps not a complete exclusion from caucus meetings, but maybe quarterly. It seems to me that this move could reduce the automatic partisan stance of Senators, particularly in these heated times.

I'm also not opposed to term limits, but they must be reasonable, recognising just how long issues must be reflected on and reviewed. You must maintain a base of individuals who have a grasp of the subject, when it came into being.

It's interesting that this Senator is a PC. A rare breed these days. I admire her ability to step back and reflect...that is what they are meant to do of course.

To go back to my start point, how many Canadians really understand their role? I love our system and I'm open to improvement.

Harper's suggestions do nothing to improve the system, in fact, he suggests remedies that will make the "patient" more ill. Snake oil salesman comes to mind.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Flanagan's Plan to Get a Majority: Dupe the People

After reading Tom Flanagan's piece today, I think we may have learned who was behind the "Dirty Tricks" manual.

The Globe article, is meant to show the Conservative minority government how to parlay that into a majority. Fair enough. It's certainly no secret that this is Harper's one and only goal and of course, it's to be expected, of any minority. His advice on how to achieve it however, should leave a bad taste in any one's mouth.

Politics has been called a blood sport and there is no question that it is not for the faint of heart, but it's time that lines were drawn. What Flanagan lays out is nothing short of a guide on how to "fool" Canadians, into believing one thing, when all the while, you plan something else. Political junkies will not show any particular surprise when reading that. We all know that this has been the plan all along. Canadians who do not follow these things, should pay close attention however, you are about to be fooled and Harper is counting on your complacency to do it.

Flanagan's piece begins with his assertion that there is no way that the government will fall, following the Throne Speech. Given Duceppe's recent declaration, I'd say Flanagan's assertion is weak. Furthermore, he goes on to employ his strategy in writing this:

Much as he (Harper) might like an early race, election dates are now fixed by legislation and he can't just ask the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament. The opposition must pass a no-confidence vote, and that just got a lot less likely.

Of course he can write his Throne Speech in a way that would force the opposition to vote against it, so yes, he can engineer an election. Flanagan is being disingenuous of course, but then goes on to instruct the Con's to follow his lead.

He lays it out in the context of the Ten Commandments. Ironic, no? I'm sure there is something in the original list that speaks to "bearing false witness". Anyway, here they are:

1. Unity
The party contains libertarians, social conservatives, populists, Red Tories, Quebec nationalists and Canadian nationalists, plus many people who don't care much about any of these "isms." They all need each other. They can never win unless they try to understand each other and reach compromises that they can all live with.

They don't actually all need each other. Each is a movement in it's own right. They need to shut-up of course and stick together, but I suspect that this is going to be a bit more difficult as time goes on. Perhaps not in the immediate future, but with time, I think these disparate groups will realise that their particular ideals will never be realised, under this manufactured, as opposed to natural, big tent. Lying to his own, imo.

2. Moderation
Canada is not yet a conservative or Conservative country. The party can't win if it veers too far to the right of the average voter.
In times of perceived crisis, a conservative party can win by positioning itself further to the right, as shown by the victories of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Ralph Klein, Mike Harris and Gordon Campbell. But Canadians don't perceive themselves in crisis right now.

This one in particular burns me. He's right when he says that Canada is not a small or large C, conservative country. He says "yet", expressing the desire to shift a nation. He ignores the fact that we've deliberately not become what he desires. It's not by accident, nor can he argue it's because the Lib's have held power so long. The reason they have, is because that is what the majority of Canadians wanted. Conservatism has done it's self no favours of late. Whether it be in Canada, the US or Australia, and I have no doubt we'll see more from France, the attitude is not palatable to most of us.

What is particularly irksome though, is his contention that in times of crisis, people vote Conservative, conjuring the spectre of "manufactured crisis", as we have seen in the US. Beyond manufactured, even a real crisis, is something that the Conservatives choose to exploit, to shape what they see as a malleable populace. Disgusting. Lie to the people, whether it's real or not...and scare them while you're at it.

3. Inclusion
The traditional Conservative base of anglophone Protestants is too narrow to win modern Canadian elections. While preserving that base, we have to appeal to francophones, Roman Catholics (44 per cent of the population, according to the 2001 census) and other racial and religious minorities. The key to the long-term success of the Liberals has been their cultivation of minority groups. Conservatives have to take away that advantage.
Conservatives will not win a majority government simply by adding seats in Quebec, although that will be part of the formula. They also must add seats elsewhere and that means doing better with ethnic voters. The suburbs of Toronto, Vancouver and, to a lesser extent, other cities are now filling up with new Canadians who, based on their social values and capitalist work ethic, should be natural Conservative voters, but who are still emotionally tied to the Liberal Party.
Conservatives must break the Liberal hegemony over Italian, Chinese, South Asian and other ethnic voters. That doesn't mean getting all their votes, but it does mean getting a bigger share, in order to win the suburban ridings that a conservative party would ordinarily expect to win.

While he may be correct in referring to some groups sharing some social values and work ethic with the con's, he ignores the value that immigrants place in the social institutions in this country. The same institutions that Harper is slowly but surely dismantling. Again, the mandate is lie. The Lib's have to honestly counter the narrative that is sure to come from the con's. The good news, Jason Kenney heads up that file.

4. Incrementalism
Conservatives must be willing to make progress in small, practical steps. Sweeping visions have a place in intellectual discussion, but they are toxic in practical politics.
Incrementalism is the twin of moderation. Small conservative reforms are less likely to scare voters than grand conservative schemes, particularly in Canada, where conservatism is not yet the dominant public philosophy. In any case, incrementalism is intrinsically the right approach for a conservative party.
Modern conservatism has its origins in Edmund Burke's critique of the sweeping radicalism of the French Revolution. "We must all obey the great law of change," he wrote. "It is the most powerful law of nature, and the means perhaps of its conservation. All we can do, and that human wisdom can do, is to provide that the change shall proceed by insensible degrees."

Translation: Take very small steps, lest you "scare" Canadians. They are not up for what you really stand for, so dupe them into thinking you're pretty moderate. When you get your majority, screw it. They were stupid enough to buy the lie, so now you have the right to implement anything you want. They gave you the mandate after all. In other words, lie. Hmmm, who else did that? Oh yeah, Bush comes to mind.

5. Policy
We have to develop well-thought-out policies and communicate them effectively. Since conservatism is not yet dominant, our policies may sometimes run against conventional wisdom. The onus is on us to help Canadians understand what they are voting for.
A political campaign is an extended exercise in rhetoric, mobilizing ethos (character), pathos (emotion) and logos (reason) to persuade millions of people to vote for the candidates of your party. People don't vote just for good ideas; they vote for potential rulers whose character they can trust and who inspire passions of loyalty and support.
Conservative statecraft has to be more than the logical deduction of policies from philosophical premises if it is going to succeed. It has to be an artistic combination of sound policy with the deft communication of conservative values, such as integrity, reliability and fortitude.

Again, the instruction here is: Lie and dumb it down. Visualise yourself patting heads, thinking they just don't get it, so we'll keep it simple, stupid.

6. Self-discipline
The media are unforgiving of conservative errors, so we have to exercise strict discipline at all levels.
There must be a complete plan for the campaign, so the leader is not forced to improvise. Staff must avoid the limelight and let the communications department deal with the media. Candidates must talk about the platform, not their personal beliefs, and (except for designated spokesmen) concentrate on local rather than national media. Members and supporters must be careful and dignified in all their communications, even e-mail and Web postings.
The media can be savage with any party that lacks discipline, but they are particularly suspicious of conservatives. There is no point complaining about it; the situation is the same everywhere in the democratic world. But it means that conservative parties must put special emphasis on self-discipline to win elections.

I have no idea what he is reading, but there is far more evidence that the media is harder on the Lib's, than anyone else. I know it's a mantra within conservative circles, that media is out to get them, but it's BS. He is right though, when he says that the media pounces on a party that lacks discipline, but all he is saying here is, keep your guy's muzzled. Flanagan is admitting that they have loose cannons, nuts. He doesn't address that problem, he just says, shut them up. How you do that during a campaign, I'm not sure, but I'm sure they will all have their scripts to lie by.

7. Toughness
You cannot win by being Boy Scouts. Conservatives have to conduct thorough opposition research and make use of the results, run hard-hitting, fact-based negative ads, and do whatever is legally possible to jam our opponents' communications and disrupt their operations.
The Conservatives were ambivalent about playing hardball in 2004. In 2006, however, Tory advertising went for the jugular and it paid off. Their war-room messages also scored heavily against the Liberals (especially with their campaign jet's "beer and popcorn" rejoinder and the income-trust investigation).
Another point for consideration is how to respond when other parties play hardball. Mr. Harper set the right tone during the last campaign in a squabble with the Liberals' Paul Martin about who was in bed with the separatists. When the media asked him if he wanted an apology, he said simply, "I don't go around demanding apologies. I can take a punch."

This is nothing more than bringing American strategy here. Go negative...all the way. Insert what you consider to be fact and run.

Of course they distort fact and for the record, I thought the Martin ad that never ran, "soldiers in the streets", was beyond stupid. To the point though, he suggests, go mean. Distort and destroy. To the Liberal advantage this time around, no distortion necessary. The con's have given us all the fact we need.

8. Grassroots politics
Victories are earned one voter at a time. Door-knocking, voter identification and Get Out The Vote programs make up the holy trinity that wins close races. Conservatives must extend their lead over other parties in ground-level campaigning and grassroots fund-raising.
All political parties need to raise money, identify supporters and mobilize volunteers, so they all make use of the same methods, to varying degrees. But grassroots politics is particularly critical. A conservative party stresses individual choice and responsibility in a competitive marketplace. That gives it a special responsibility to deal with voters as individuals, to find out what their concerns are, and to give them a stake in the political process by making it easy for them to donate time and money.
Moreover, the Conservative Party draws heavily on the legacy of Preston Manning. His vision of the Reform Party as a neo-populist revival did not lead to forming a government, but it triggered an ongoing organizational revolution of political parties. As Mr. Manning's heirs, Conservatives have to be in the forefront of creating a party that is easy for individuals to join, encourages donation and volunteerism and is committed to winning elections one voter at a time.

On this point, I cannot disagree and this is where the Lib's need to move.

9. Technology
We are living in the biggest, fastest-moving communications revolution in human history. Each election campaign features new technologies. We must continue to be at the forefront in adapting new technologies to politics.
Right now, Conservatives are the grassroots party of Canadian politics. They have to keep using technology to mobilize the grassroots in ways that no one has ever dreamed of. As students of German philosopher Friedrich Hayek, they believe in the market as a process of discovery. It is only logical for them to be in the forefront of applying to politics the technological marvels produced by human ingenuity in a market economy.

While there are many comments that could be made here, specifically to the last para, I'll refrain and state that indeed, technology has not been used enough and should be exploited, on all sides.

10. Persistence
Campaigning is a tough business and mistakes are frequent. We have to correct errors, learn from experience and keep pushing ahead.
The Harper team certainly has no grounds for complacency. The Liberals are cunning and experienced and have enormous bench strength. They are the best-established brand in Canadian politics and the Conservatives still have a lot to learn from them.
The New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois are not national parties in the same sense, but they are equally tough competitors on their own turf. The next election will be not just a street fight but a brawl, as the other parties go all-out to recapture ground taken away from them.
But even if complacency is not in order, the team should have a little confidence, based on its achievements. In just a few years, they were able to stop the supposedly unstoppable Mr. Martin. The next time out, they have a chance to make Mr. Harper the one who is unstoppable.

False hope. There was no way that Martin was unstoppable. Pulleeze, he was in an untenable position. Harper cashed in on that and this list of commandments, ending with this gem, shows just how much they are living in a delusional world.

That's the hell of it. It's all delusion, illusion and lies. We're better than this and I tip my hat to Flanagan for telling us, up front what we've always known. Your party will lie, deceive, dedelud and dupe Canadians, in order to gain power and shove us in a direction we have no desire to go in. Congrat's. I'm not so sure Harper is pleased with the exposure.

Sorry for the long post folks, but if you stuck through it, thank you for bearing witness to my frustration. I'm sure there are ton's of typo's, but I had to get it out.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Is There a More Disgusting Person on the Planet?

Obviously, there are, but let me put it this way. This guy now lies in the company of every despot, who incites hate and strives to change opinion through deception. He has become the enemy that he decries and the fact that he has adopted their strategy, completely eludes him.

This article and sound clip gives you a taste of just how low he will go.

He carries Bush's water of course. Bush, the idiot, who said this recently. I don't even understand what he meant? How did he confuse Iraq and Africa? Does he really think that Saddam Hussein went in and killed the Mandela family? For the record, I think there is something seriously wrong with this man.

Limbaugh's style, is obviously being emulated here, in Canada. Charles Adler, Bill Carroll...they carry Harper's water and present their audiences with nonsense. The audience, laps it up in a way that brought about the "kool-aid" expression and it's apt.

Those who cannot think, will follow these people, here in Canada, just as they have in the US.

At what point will intelligent media step in and claim their intended spot in society? Are we past it? I sincerely hope not. There is a place for intellectual discourse. Sadly, too many seem to have dismissed that need.

Step up to the challenge. Who among them will?

How Would Nellie McClung Respond?

It's no secret that Harper is hell bent on dismantling, (by not funding) all programs designed to assist citizens protect their constitutional rights.

From the Court Challenges Program, to the Law Commission of Canada, the Status of Women program, (they closed 12 of 16 offices), the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women and other women's advocacy groups, the most recent being the largest, the National Association of Women and the Law, NAWL.

Harper's ideology, his belief that government has no role in our lives, specifically as it relates to social issues, seems particularly determined to target women. Why that is, I'm not entirely clear, but it's a fact. The rationale used to close these programs, is that women are equal and require no additional help. That is pure fiction of course, as women make up the poorest part of society in this country. They are still only paid .73 on the dollar and of course have many other issues, for which they still require assisstance, domestic violence, etc.

Slowly but surely, he is chipping away at all groups that advocate for women. If you have money, you can fight for your rights. If not, there is nowhere to go and no one to help. It's difficult to believe just how regressive Harper and his followers are.

Of course he's a hypocrite, because what is his favourite line with respect to Afghanistan? We are there to help women, who for so long have been repressed and had no one to advocate for them.

What is most disturbing though, is just how under the radar all of this seems to be. There is an occasional article, but it really doesn't get much play. Harper is dismantling this country, bit by bit, and the media is more interested in chasing the inane sound bite, than they are in telling us what is actually going on.

Given how many groups Harper has offended, perhaps the anger will come to a head all at once. Perhaps there will be a collective scream that will not only wake up the media, but oust Harper in a magnificent way.

Think of power these groups speaking as one would have:

- Environmentalists
- Manufacturers
- Income Trust victims
- Families in need of Daycare
- Women
- Aboriginal Groups
- Literacy Groups
- Farmers, (specifically those involved with the Wheat Board)
- the Arts Community get the idea.

Perhaps they will come together to manifest Nellie McClung's famous quote, in a contemporary context:

For generations women have been thinking, and thought without expression is dynamic and gathers volume by repression. Evolution when blocked and supressed becomes revolution.(1915)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Good Self Reflection

Stephane Dion, during an interview with Radio Canada, said that he sees his error as having not put himself out there, in front of the issues. Put himself, Dion the person, on the line. He's clear that in spite of being a naturally collegial person, that Canadians have not had a chance to get to know who he is and that he needs to change that. To that I say, yea!
He also realises that Harper has sold Canadians, (and many have bought it), a caricature of himself, one that is inaccurate.
I think this realisation will go a long way, the trick will be to get more interviews like this one. The english media appear to have bought Harper's low brow message, so it will be interesting to see if they can step up to the plate. Dion is who he is, so I suspect his style behind the scenes, one that most members of caucus express great respect for, will remain the same. But, when in the public eye, he has to take the spotlight.
Since we've learned that the idiotic, "anonymous sources", who are constantly claiming that there is enormous discontent in the party, amount to "has beens" like Ray Heard and bloggers who are still ticked that their candidate didn't win, I imagine that most will soon be ignored. Oh, the Taber's of the world who live for gossip rather than real news, will no doubt continue, but no one takes her seriously anyway.
Here's hoping this a new start, one that can be built on.
Harper's biggest fear was that Canadians would get to know Dion, so who knows how he will try to sabotage this, but try he will. Dion just has to stay on track.
I'll end by saying that I'm happy to see some intelligent discourse entering the scene finally. I was worried that sanity would never reappear in this Harper Bizarro world. Some hope is restored here.
To hear the interview, go here and here is a recap in english.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

God Grief!

No that wasn't a typo. It wasn't meant to be good grief, though that's what I said when I first heard about this. The fact that a woman on a popular show in the US and has come through their education system, is unable to answer what is perhaps the most basic question on the planet, is a bit disturbing, no? It's tragically hilarious.

For the record, I don't watch this show, but when I heard this being reported, I dug it up. Now, obviously not all Americans share her view. In fact, because it's fact, I was unaware that anyone in the US didn't know that. Oh and her comment about "just trying to feed her child", pulleeze. She's not exactly working 3 minimum wage jobs from what I can see.

The fact that 4 GOP presidential candidates don't believe in Evolution, to that I say, good grief!

Are we right not to want emulate the US? It's a rhetorical question and yes, I'm allowed to point out flaws without being painted as anti-American.

Wasn't this supposed to be the show that would present a female point of view? Someone, save us from them. These are not people who I want to represent me, or my gender, period.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Well, there certainly is no shortage of opinion on last night's by-elections. Whether you read the blogs or the papers, there is everything from finger pointing, to panic.

I subscribe to neither camp. I do however think it's time for reflection, to chart a course going forward. To ignore the mistakes made or worse, suggest there were none and blithely roll along, would be a huge error mistake in my view.

Dion has taken responsibility, as he should, and now it's his job to analyse what needs to change. Those who suggest that all the blame should be laid at his feet and are calling for his ouster, are not thinking straight, imo. Now is not the time to fracture the party even further by suggesting a new leader. It's time to really focus on any existing fractures and deal with them now.

I'm afraid I don't understand people, who have seen how destructive internal rivalries are, go on to make a decision to perpetuate them. If the Liberal party, wants to survive, let alone win, those who have supposedly been stirring the pot, should be exposed and fired.

While I do not think Dion has received enough coverage for all the good work he did this summer, I do think he was wrong not to spend more time in Quebec. I also think other MP's from Quebec need to get out there to gain a sense of what constituents are looking for from the Liberal party.

The Lib's are not going to get any help from the media, that's become obvious, so they have to find a way to break through that.

Anyway, there are lessons to be learned, let's learn them without self-flagellation.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Media, I Call BS!

You call this objective? Unbelievable. I've been railing for some time about the bias that is obvious in media, but it's just past 19:30 in Toronto, Montreal poll's aren't closed and the CP has a pic of Mulcair in front of the Parliament Buildings? Absolute BS.

The right gets delirious when spewing their nonsense about left wing media. The myth seems to be taking and people, we are not paying attention.

I'm disgusted to be honest. How have we become such a facile nation, one that caters to 36% or whatever the hell it is? Why, because we've become complacent and we do not register our complaint. We've allowed take overs, without raising concern. Un-freaking-believable.

The inmates are running the asylum.

Con's and Dipper's Unite!

Oh, Dipper's and Con's are going to hate this story. The Dipper's will continue to deny it of course, but the con's will be hard pressed to do the same, when the word's come from none other than Flanagan himself.

Both groups have denied this reality, because it's one that has been blogged to death by the Lib's. The reason for that, is it's the truth and it was obvious to all who cared to pay attention.

I've never been a Layton fan, but what he did during the last election, cinched it for me. Layton is all about Layton, even at the expense of the country and his principles. I've yet to figure out if he's stupid or just so full of ego that he's blinded. Whatever the answer, that's not a good leader. I chose the phrase, "not a good leader" as opposed to the trite "weak" expression, because having the strength to do the wrong thing, takes no strength at all. All that's required there is opportunism and I'd apply that expression to Harper and Layton equally.

Thanks Tom to giving credence to what most of us have been saying forever.

What Are We Doing?

The Navy is relaxing their rules as it relates to the environment in the Arctic. Good grief, it would seem that we are determined to destroy every square foot of this planet.

Have we not learned how this behaviour affects us, other inhabitants of the planet including flora?

Aren't we in a predicament now that we are striving to clean up the mess we've already made, without pursuing how to further screw things up?

The revamped orders, expected this fall, would also allow Canadian ships to dump raw sewage offshore in the Arctic and even to toss garbage bags overboard if there are "operational" reasons for doing so.

This of course because Harper has increased our presence in the Arctic. I won't argue that point, because I see pro's and con's, but overall I do not think that we have to it all militarily.

Military-source pollution in the sensitive Arctic environment is becoming a navy headache as the federal government sends more warships north on sovereignty patrols in a region already under assault from global warming.

This response from the navy is far too facile and historically, that has been our problem isn't it? We choose what is easy and worry about it later. Wrong!

What is truly preposterous about this, is the fact that we know it's wrong, we have proof, facts and they are proposing to do it anyway.

If you care, please contact your MP and the government.

BTW, you'll notice that I'm not blogging about all the nonsense coming out of Outremont at the moment. Same subject though...raw sewage.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Our Media - They All Got the Same Script

If there was ever any doubt about the laziness of the Canadian press corps, it can now be safely put to rest. In these times, where wedge issues rule the day and divide opinion, the press seems to have somehow eluded that dilemma, at least as it relates to the Outremont by-election.

In fact, when a cast of characters with varied opinions makes for a far more interesting read, it would appear that our press, have all been given the same script, for the play that they wrote.

Craig Oliver - CTV
An NDP victory would be seen as a serious blow to Dion's leadership.
(Check out the two vid's to the right of the story. Beauchemin's piece ends with a Mulcair sign behind her, and Oliver's piece features Mulcair about 14 times vs Dion or Coulon, about 7 times.)

Hubert Bauch - The Gazette
For this reason, Monday's by-election vote in Outremont in particular, and less so in the other two ridings where vacancies will be filled, is widely held as a judgment on Liberal leader Stéphane Dion's leadership even more than on the merits of local Liberal candidate Jocelyn Coulon.

Robert Fife - CTV
" if those poll results translate into actual voting results, there may be moves within the Liberals to oust Dion if he's perceived as a weak leader".

Chantal Hebert - The Star
But if his party underperforms, Dion – as an untested leader – will take the biggest hit.

Andy Blatchford - The Globe and Mail
Letting Outremont slip away would be a major blow to Mr. Dion, whose party is facing its first ballot test since he was crowned head of the party. A loss could bring his leadership into question.

I'm sure there are many more, but why bother? While there is of course something known as "conventional wisdom", this is not what I see here. What I do see are a slew of journalists who are once again "creating the story", that is easy to tell. It's easy, because it's all they have written about and focused on since Dion became leader. Harper gave them their tag-line and they bought hook, line, and I hope, sinker. How intellectually weak of them.

I don't know about you, but I've seen precious little analysis of what each candidate is offering versus what the citizens of the riding are speaking about. You'd think having seen their counter-parts in the US ridiculed for their intellectual laziness, that they'd strive to avoid that fate. Apparently though, they are quite comfortable in parroting each other.

Obviously, the most recent polls aren't what a Liberal would wish for, but nor do they really distress me, the undecided number is too high. I'd prefer to know what is really driving the numbers and what the Liberals still need to do. Honest analysis, what a concept!

I really have nothing bad to say about Mulcair, but I could go on at length at why it's a bad idea to increase Layton's presence in the HoC.

Anyway, for me, I'm staying reasonably optimistic. If the disgruntled Iggy supporters want to continue the feud most Liberals are trying to move forward from, so be it, but don't expect to regain power anytime soon.

That strategy didn't work out so well for Martin, as you may recall.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Still Don't Believe Our Reputation is Being Affected?

If you seriously think the actions of this government are not affecting our reputation and arming those who deserve no ammunition, you're dead wrong.

When we have Iran calling us up on the rug for Human Rights, you know something has gone terribly wrong. Like China before them, Iran has been handed a gift, directly attributable to Harper's hypocrisy.

To suggest that Iran and China are not credible, misses the point of course. They are simply stating the obvious. It certainly does not provide them a pass on their record, which is what they desire, but it does give them the ability to point to our record on issues. They correctly point out that Canada rides on a pretty high horse, while abusing what they accuse others of.

Is Iran right? Well as they saying goes, it would be tough to prove that they are wrong based on our recent actions. Obviously, the way they portray us, that is as a country where this sort of behaviour is wide spread, is idiotic. However, we have given them enough examples to support their public statements.

Not signing the UN aboriginal contract is one, but it goes on of course. The bumbling efforts of O'Connor on the Afghan prisoner file, the reneging on the Kyoto accord, the Kelowna Accord, the Agents Provocateur at Montebello, the recent "veil" idiocy in Committee...the list goes on.

Those who defend Harper at any cost, dismiss these leaders. What they miss of course is the fact that many see these leaders as being credible and it is that population, who's minds are being swayed. These same people, the defenders, view these issues as quaint domestic political fodder. Wrong again.

It will play out domestically of course, but the real damage is being done abroad, amongst countries with whom we should be building credibility, in order to persuade, through diplomatic channels.

Being a stubborn bully and following wrong-headed ideology, simply reduces us to a place that we as a country, have fought and won, to never enter.

Harper has led us here and it's only taken 20 months of a minority. He wanted to have a voice on the world stage...he missed the fact that we did have one, and it was powerful. It was a voice that was listened to and respected, because we didn't shout. Nothing commands respect more than a quiet, reasoned argument. That has escaped Harper. He's happier being the bully and bullies as we all know, are cowards.

He wasn't bullied in our High School to my recollection, but he was isolated. He's now in the phase that people are paying attention to him, something he's never had before.

That's to our detriment as a Nation.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Are We Proud Now?

I'm not quite sure what more this government can do to embarrass this country and cause the rest of the world to shake their collective head.

In almost every International venue, this government has taken a shameful stance. If you do not think this is doing Canada's reputation damage on the world stage, you are wrong. It's not debatable, it's fact based on real reaction.

Today of course, Canada opted to vote against the UN aboriginal declaration. For decades, Canada has been instrumental in designing the wording of the declaration. That stopped when the con's took power. The con's had an agenda, one obviously designed to keep the aboriginal issue at bay. Big mistake. Having Strahl there, will make no difference of course, because he, like Prentice, is only consumed with pleasing their "man".

How they can actually think they can go forward in good faith, on any dispute, is laughable. They have basically said, "we do not think enough of you to recognise your rights, the rights the rest of us have". Good luck with that strategy.

What was so telling, is that Chief Fontaine was so gracious...hoping, (while interviewed) that the gov't will reconsider. They won't of course. He was right to say that this is a "stain" on Canada's reputation.

Who else voted against? The usual suspects. The US, Australia and New Zealand. Keep kissing Harper, because you'll need those lips close, to resuscitate yourself.

To any con's out there that propose the legislation that you brought through re' Human Rights, and suggesting that the Lib's are stonewalling, hold your breath. Aboriginal communities have asked for consultation, something your government opposes and that is why the opposition has held up the Bill. MSM, in either their obvious deference to the government, or their ignorance, never bring that up, but it's fact.

I imagine most Canadians are introspective at this time of year. Getting children back to school, concentrating on what lies before them personally through the winter, so perhaps they aren't aware of how this government has chipped away at our reputation throughout the summer. My hope is, that the affected will start to organise and inform. The con's have cut through this country and it's values, with a huge scythe. It deserves to be noticed.

Dion said it well:

"By arguing against the text it helped draft, and ultimately trying to defeat it, Canada has lost credibility among the community of nations concerned about the protection of human rights," said Mr. Dion. "Is this the legacy Mr. Harper wishes for his government and his country?"

Apparently it is.

You know, they could have abstained. They could of put out a less inflammatory message, but as usual, they chose to be the bully. These people, the con's, are cowards and the sooner that comes out, the better.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The "Veiled" Agenda

I've not discussed this issue as yet, other than a few comments on another thread, with a Conservative commenter.

Given that Mayrand is about to be grilled, by the con's tomorrow at a committee meeting, I want to weigh in.
While I'm a bit perplexed as to why Mayrand felt it necessary to hold a press conference on the issue, I suggest he had two motives. One, the law is pretty darn clear and he's a straight shooter. Should there be fall out, he wanted Elections Canada's take, to be clear. The politicians are to blame here, no one else.
Is Elections Canada in a fight with the con's? Absolutely. IMO, Mayrand is playing it straight up, while exposing the con's for what they are. His first shot off the bow, brought the con's to express outrage. The other parties were concerned, but no outrage...maybe a bit from the Bloq.
The Con's and the Bloq have shown their xenophobic colours, for all to see. Disgusting isn't it? Anyone who visits the BT's, is pretty familiar with the posture of the con supporters.
In the main, this is a non-issue, that has been used to fuel xenophobic discourse, across the country, but specifically in Quebec. The con's have pounced, as was evident in the committee meeting. If you're inclined to watch or listen tomorrow, look for Poilievre to have a shredding machine, in the form of his mouth, asking questions.
Harper called the Afghanistan mission a political football in Australia, (big brave man, out of country with controlled media...coward), when in fact that is what this issue is, the veil, and the con's shaped the football.
Again, not one person has ever tried to vote veiled and the legislation that passed, didn't prevent it. Watch now, the con's will try to change that. Imagine that, changing legislation to prevent that which is not a problem. Idiots!
How many times are we going to tolerate this? Aboriginals, Chinese, Japanese and many more...people, this is crazy stuff that most mature people have outgrown.
The adolescent con's obviously have not. Thoroughly disgusting.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The "Dirty Tricks Manual" Lives

Some of you may know that an emergency meeting of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs was called this week. It was called of course, to investigate the inappropriate advertising spending by the Conservative government.

The meeting convened Monday. Almost right off the bat, the con's demonstrated, just how hard they have been cramming this summer, to hone their skills on how to not deal with what is front of the committee. They began with presenting a motion to shift the discussion to the big "veil", (yawn), controversy. They claimed this was urgent and had to be dealt with before the by-election. Ridiculous of course, the law will not change between now and then. The opposition parties agreed to look at the issue, but made it clear that they thought this was a diversion, and yet the con's went on and on, in spite of that, wearing down the clock.

Finally agreeing on the details, this MP, Scott Reid, piped up. He brought a motion forward that argued that what was before them, the Ad-Con, was not legitimate committee business. I'm not sure how long he went on, but the meeting was only two hours long and he took up a huge portion. To his credit, his motion was really well researched, footnoted and referenced and he spared us none of that detail. That said, the depth of research shows just how hard they are working to block any light being shone on this issue.

His buddies on the government side, supported his position of course, which led to a decision by the chair,
this MP, Gary Goodyear, to state that he could not go on in good conscience, without reviewing the matter thoroughly. He stated that he'd do that and get back to committee with a ruling the following day at 15:30. After some debate, that is what happened. To his credit, I suggest that Reid did put an awful lot on Goodyear's plate and apparently he had only 4 hours sleep, along with the clerk and staff. That said, I do not believe for a minute that he didn't know it was coming.

So we come to Tuesday. The chair ruled, (surprise!), that indeed the issue before the committee could not be reviewed. He was voted down.

Enter the next character in this very bad play.
Yep, the vindictive brat, MP Poilievre. He of course, had an amendment to the motion. He contends, that if the committee wants to go forward, ALL parties must be examined equally. He took every opportunity to insert the words, Gomery, envelopes, criminal, etc., completely skewing the intent and then went on and on and on, and faced his guns to the Bloq and the NDP.

The rest of the con's then, in the most juvenile fashion, supported the amendment.

This character, MP Likiwski, was obviously scripted to be a main defender. It was beyond ridiculous. As they ran out the clock, I was surprised at how calm the opposition was, but then I thought about it.

There are two things at issue here. This is a pretty calm committee with regular members. The con's brought in Poilievre, (not a regular member), because he is a pitt bull, though a whiny teenager in terms of how he presents himself. The Lib's and the NDP also brought in sub's. It's not clear, by the choices, why they were chosen, (I suspect it was who ever could get to Ottawa). So, either the opposition was quiet because they are not used to being sideswiped like this, or they were happy to allow the con's make fools of themselves, which they did. They allowed the con's to prove that indeed, they have adopted a method to shut down committee's. They are terrified of this issue, Ad-Con, and will fight tooth and nail to prevent an examination of the facts.

The con's ran out the clock, again, I presume looking to their devoted Leader to prorogue and get this off the table. Today, on Politics, Poilievre, with a straight face, said the opposition spent hours filibustering. I burst out laughing. They honestly believe that they can say something, a lie, and presto!, it becomes fact. The problem is of course, that annoying little detail called Hansard.

It's clear that the con's have a hate on for Elections Canada. The veil non-issue, came up in committee, because they are determined to discredit Mayrand, who is appearing tomorrow.

Harper has spent a week on the world stage, bashing his opponents, the Senate, and Elections Canada. The lack of statesmanship this man shows defies description. His minions follow his lead and play that lack of civility at home. I've never agreed with Harper on policy and I understand his history in that regard. I'm not sure I expected to see the entire party behave like a bunch of goons.

The problem is, not many Canadians see this stuff. More's the pity.

Monday, September 10, 2007

When There is no Policy to Discuss, "Keep 'em Scared"

With such a dearth of policy and real issues to discuss, (ahem), the "right" once again finds a need to remind us to be frightened.

I mean, speaking about the frightening impact of our government ignoring GHG's, just isn't sexy enough, I guess. Too intangible and waaay off in the future to write about now. How about the ways in which the government is not respecting Canadians rights? Nah, boring cause some Canadians don't matter anyway. Strategy in Afghanistan? No way! Terrorist appeasement written all over that one. SPP? Nope. Potential election fraud? "We're the con's, the rules are irrelevant to us!"

No, when there is nothing of substance out there, it's time to get back to "keeping the people afraid".

Peter Worthington felt it important to keep that issue on the table, lest we actually be allowing reason to prevail. You see, if that happens, the con's are in trouble. It's the one thing they are good at, keeping you off balance so they can take care of you, but of course we know it's really only about taking care of themselves.

In the chaotic days following 9/11, there was general relief that it was George Bush who won the U.S. presidency, and not Al Gore. Bush was leader of the moment who rallied his country, reassured the people, showed neither panic nor hesitation in recognizing the enemy and vowing to eliminate it.

Oh absolutely, I was thrilled to watch the man reading "My Pet Goat". I would have been really disturbed to see Gore step into action.

America and the West were rocked out of complacency by 9/11. Until then, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida terrorism, Islamic militancy and extremism, were mostly ignored or under-estimated.

Ummm, only by Bush and co., apparently. Everyone else had been jumping up and down to get the administration to recognise the threat.

To America's credit following 9/11, the country as a whole showed little tendency to exact revenge or display hostility towards individual Muslims. Most developed countries have not made individuals scapegoats for acts of religious terrorism.

I wonder where this Worthington guy lives? It's a shame he doesn't have access to news. He could have read about Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, No Fly Lists, Rendition, Abu Ghraib, not the mention the charming language used on many right wing blogs to describe Muslims. I know he's speaking of America as a whole, but they weren't exactly out in the streets protesting these things at the beginning. There may not have been many citizens who have exacted revenge, but not display hostility? Pulleeeze.

We know, now, that in some mosques the imams and religious leaders preach peace in English, but are more militant in their own language. Little is done to deal with this reality.

Hmm, sounds a little hostile no? I for one had no idea that Peace is only a word found in the English language and no other. And imagine, all those imams fooling us that way? What an incredibly clever tactic...the police forces will never figure that one out. I guess I really should be afraid.

In a Conservative world, it's important that fear be kept fueled, through real or imagined events and, the less predictable the cause of that fear, the better. Not being afraid brings clarity and that would be the real enemy wouldn't it? The ability to really see what is going on, what rights are being trampled, how real issues at home are being ignored. None of those things would serve a Conservative government, because those are the things that they don't believe government should be involved with.

Watch for Security and Law & Order, coming in a Throne Speech near you.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bid Hooroo to Our Credibility

Harper may think he's fooling Canadians and the rest of the world, but finally someone has called him on his hypocrisy...on a world stage no less.

The rebuke came as Canada endorsed a new consensus that was immediately blasted for undermining the international climate-change agreement.
Chinese President Hu Jintao upstaged the leaders' official declaration on climate change by lashing out at wealthy nations for bailing out on their legal obligation to help the developing world cope with global warming and acquire technologies to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases.

All I can say is it's about time. All the headlines, claiming the great success of the summit, are of course ridiculous and the media, who are eating it up, are embarrassing. I do not know how this right wing gang have convinced some, that their plan to do nothing qualifies as a plan at all, but it would appear that some are willing to buy what they are selling. Not everyone though:

He (President Hu Jintao) said China was willing to do its share, but it didn't have the capacity to do as much as its richer counterparts.
"Developed countries should face their historical responsibility and their current high per capita emissions (and) strictly abide by their emission reduction targets set forth in the Kyoto Protocol," Hu told Harper and the other leaders at a meeting of the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum.

They should "honour their commitment on making technology transfers and providing financial support to developing countries, and continue to take the lead in reducing emissions after 2012," Hu said.

Obviously that was directed at Harper.

Under Harper's leadership, Canada has become the only one out of 158 members of the international Kyoto agreement to publicly admit it would not honour the deal.

Oh, the pride! To quote a BBC commentator, "The only concrete development to come out of the summit, was the security fence around the perimeter". Someone should explain that to some of our media.

A cute aside, here's a comment about Harper's pal Bush.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Assessing Afghanistan

On a day when we learn that Canada has undertaken another huge combat mission, we also have a report from the UN, telling us that suicide bombings are spiralling out of control.

I've come to a point where I am convinced, that those in charge simply refuse to see what is in front of them based on an ideology, that has no room for debate.

Oh, I know there are many who support this mission, from right to left on the political spectrum and initially I was one of them. At that time, I was lulled into the fear that was the result of the shock of 9/11. It seemed reasonable that, considering the NATO credo, we had been attacked, therefore we would retaliate. All these years later, with a calmer and more critical eye, it looks quite different to me. Removing the Taliban as government was a good result of the invasion, laudable perhaps, beyond that, it get' s blurry. Indeed it could be argued that to have left immediately following that, little would have been accomplished, so, stay a while and get another government in power. Fair enough, but following that, we have to stay to give that government a chance, here is where it starts to crumble.

Karzai has done little to eliminate the tribalism and corruption from that government, therefore it has not extended itself throughout the country. Indeed, it's regarded in many quarters, including within the government, as a puppet to the US.

I understand that NATO is training the Afghan army and police. That makes sense, though it's not exactly going to plan. But this idea that we are keeping the Taliban and their sympathisers at bay, is nonsense. It has become clear that the resistance is growing and there has been no effort, (that I can find), to really go to the heart of that problem, nor do I think there will be.

Supporters of this mission constantly drag out, "it's not a US mission, it's lead by NATO". Not true. Who is the Supreme Allied Commander? Gen. Bantz Craddock. Don't know the name? He was in charge of Guantanamo Bay, where the horror of "acceptable" treatment and torture was honed and exported to Abu Ghraib. Anyone who is naive enough to believe that this is not a US led mission, deserves the fog they live in.

Here's the deal though, we are not winning, nor making headway. We are making the situation worse, providing an endless list of reasons for the Taliban and others to use, to recruit the young.

The UN report makes clear that Afghan's are crossing the border in droves, due to their discontent, no matter what form that takes or what drives it, and are training in Pakistan with the sole intent of wreaking havoc in their home country.

It should seem an obvious solution to deal with Musharraf, but that cannot happen, for the group that trains these people, were created by him. They were designed to go after his biggest foe, India, to attack /defend Kashmir. Without some help from the West, to settle the Kashmir dispute offered to Musharraf, nothing will happen.

That is where we should start, but we don't. And even then, it has to be even handed, noting the Indian position.

Canada has always been a country that viewed these nuances and dealt well with them. Harper is simply following the simplistic view of Bush's world and I'm afraid that our country is in a slumber, walking along with him. He's dumbed this down so much, as have the media, that we simply do not know what is at stake.

It is time that people became informed. We have to stop this dumbing down. I welcome suggestions as to how to do this.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Damage Being Done to Our Credibility

Many of us said this a year ago and of course Harper and friends dismissed it out of hand. Now, once again, our assertions have been borne out. Better late than never I suppose.

Opposition MPs charged yesterday that the Conservatives decided to kill any hint of MP Wajid Khan's report on the Middle East last year because he met with criticisms of Stephen Harper's Conservative government.

Khan denied this last year of course as did Harper. We were assured that our relationships with these countries was strong and our credibility was intact.

A heavily censored series of summaries of meetings drafted by Foreign Affairs official Sam Hanson showed that Mr. Khan was told in meetings that Canada had lost credibility in the region because Mr. Harper's government had become too pro-Israel.

There was a consensus view that, diplomatically, Canada is well-placed to play a constructive role, but also that Canada's credibility in the region has recently been damaged by a perceived shift in Canadian rhetoric on the Middle East ..." Mr. Hanson wrote.

Just one more lie in a list that is growing so long, it's sickening.

"The Shock Doctrine"

I heard Naomi Klein being interviewed the other day, on her new book The Shock Doctrine. I'd not heard of it until then and was really quite fascinated. While she is left of me politically, I find her interesting. I made a mental note to look up the book to see if it was really something I wanted to pick up. In doing so, I came across this trailer for it.

I'll be buying the book.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

What About a Debate in Canada First?

As I have come to expect from this government, once again, issues that affect all Canadians, are being dealt with in secret. No debate, no discussion, not even a hint of what their position is on a issue as important as repatriating nuclear waste.

Canada will make a decision on joining a new U.S.-led nuclear initiative "within a matter of days," Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier said Thursday at a summit of pan-Pacific leaders.

Well, isn't that great. A minority government, is going to unilaterally determine whether or not to join a group, that is not only controversial, but is recommending proposals that are dangerous to Canadians and others around the world.

That in itself is bad enough, but that we don't even know where the government stands on the issues, is worse.

The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is denying reports that it has been suppressing information about the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership after documents obtained by The Canadian Press showed negotiations between Canada and other governments have been ongoing for at least a year.

It is unbelievable that with each passing day, this government believes that they can simply say that something isn't so, in spite of factual evidence to the contrary, repeat it a hundred times and that's it. Canadians really must wake up, especially as it relates this issue.

Whether or not the "repatriation" issue is on the agenda, is irrelevant. It's certainly an issue that the group supports, so it's a matter of now or later.

If this government joins this group, it will once again show it's total disregard for Canadians and their opinion, not to mention our system, our government. If they go ahead, Harper will once and for all demonstrate his "Bush-like" style of governance.

The media had better stay on this. I have little faith in their attention span, but this one is too important to dismiss.

A Small, Small Man

What is it about so many conservatives that makes them bitter, mean spirited and always angry?

The current crop of con's in Ottawa are obviously in perpetual attack mode, even through they are now the Government and that is not their role. I suppose it could be said they are still getting their "government legs", though I don't buy that, but what possesses a man, who has been in private life since 1993, to attack someone who is unable to defend himself?

If Mulroney is attempting to re-shape his legacy, he certainly blew it with this move. I guess Lyin' Brian is unable to define himself by his own accomplishments.

What a small, sad, bitter and dishonourable man.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Bad Idea, Made Worse

I do not know who is advising John Tory, but he really should consider a staff change.
His latest idea of funding religious schools was not only a bad, it's been widely panned. Today, he continues to defend it, as you would expect, but went further, saying it would be fine to teach Creationism in these schools. As if that wasn't bad enough, the facile manner in which he handled the question, again speaks to his judgement.
“They teach evolution in the Ontario curriculum, but they also could teach the fact to the children that there are other theories that people have out there that are part of some Christian beliefs,” Mr. Tory said at the Kamin Education Centre.
Huh? Creationism isn't a competing "theory". It's part of some belief systems and as such of course, it should be restricted to religious instruction, period. In fact, calling Creationism a theory, in an effort to link it to the Theory of Evolution, is beyond facile, it's disingenuous.
It has been said that part of Harper's decision to prorogue, was to free up staffers to assist with the Ontario election. Perhaps in this case, Tory could ask for Stock's help on the campaign trail.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

No Kidding!

Every economist in the country made it very clear, that the craven political gesture of cutting the GST was a mistake. They went further and attempted to dispel the nonsense that the con's were telling the public, namely that the cut would stimulate increased consumer spending.

Well, here, we have some analysis of that decision, that shows how Flaherty and Harper were wrong.

It sounds like Harper is going to prorogue Parliament until October 17th. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that yet, but it's clear that even when they aren't being scrutinised by the opposition in the House, others are looking at their policies with a critical eye and in almost every case, the reviews are bad.

Gee, I wonder if another GST cut will be part of the New Government's, New Platform?

From the Silly Season to Just Plain Stupid, in One Fell Swoop

Well, Mr. Tory has wasted no time in making a mistake in his campaign. No sooner did he kick it off, he makes this remark to a potential voter.

He has of course said that he didn't mean anything by it:

"It's obviously a very light-hearted exchange," said Ingrid Thompson. "It's very clear that it's the banter and the tone."

I would agree, it was light-hearted, in that it just fell off his tongue in a manner that he felt everyone would agree with him. That's the problem when you hold such views, they become part of you, taken as an absolute. Why you'd say it to an actual student of the university, is beyond me and it strikes me as rather stupid. Had he said it to a student of a rival U, it would still be wrong, but at least it would make a little more sense.

Anyway, it's hardly the stuff of outrage, but it is yet another misstep for Tory. He vowed not to go negative, yet that's all he's done. He's not off to a good start.