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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina - Canadian response

What did our federal party leaders say in response to the havoc wreaked upon New Orleans and the American Gulf coast by Hurricane Katrina?

The answer might surprise you (but probably not)

Posted by Stephen Taylor on August 31, 2005 | Permalink


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I was just watching CNN, and they had the camera focused on an middle-aged man clinging to a broken chimney as the gray floodwaters rose around him. As his grip slowly loosened, he looked squarely into the lens, tears streaming from his eyes, and asked:

"Has the Prime Minister of Canada been heard from yet?..."

When the cameraman very slightly shook his head "No," the despairing man let go of his handhold and became one with the frightful tide. Damn Liberals.

Posted by: Colby Cosh | 2005-08-31 10:30:07 AM


While the Americans aren't looking for leadership from Canada, Canadians look to Paul Martin to express their condolences and desire to help!

Posted by: Stephen Taylor | 2005-08-31 10:50:25 AM

This is typical of the Canadian government. Now, if it was Haiti or a francophone country - the Liberals would be promising millions - as they did to Haiti.

Remember the tsunami? We heard nothing from Martin - and finally, the response from individual Canadians was so massive, the Liberals were forced to 'match' the private individual donatations. Oops...no..that was simply their MSM blurb; Liberal rhetoric; they didn't send the money.
What about the famed DART team - which is also existent only in words; when the public began to ask - Hey; do something; send DART - the gov't stuttered all kinds of excuses (except that it doesn't exist off the paper)..and finally, after several weeks, seconded enough troops to send..oh..but they couldn't. They had to ask the Russians for transportation..and..then, silence.

Now, that the US has undergone an enormous natural disaster - silence, silence...and quite possibly, gloating. Canada doesn't deserve to be part of the 'nations of the world'.

When are we going to kick this corruption out, and return to being a people with integrity?

Posted by: ET | 2005-08-31 11:03:27 AM

Colby: was your CNN feed rerouted through the CBC or Earnscliffe rebroadcast group first?

Posted by: WLMackenzie redux | 2005-08-31 11:15:04 AM

I don't give a damn about Martin. No-one wants to hear from him anway. But where is Klein? Alberta should make an announcement about ramping up their oil and natural gas production to help make up for a shortfall that will surely hit the home heating market beginning in a couple months. Americans and traders at the Merc in Chicago would just like to hear from the province that supplies more oil to the US than does the Middle East.

This is hell on earth for the Mississippi Delta area that handles over 25% of all imports and exports in the US. It's times like these that you at least call your friends and give them your support publicly.

Where is Ralph Klein?

Posted by: John Crittenden | 2005-08-31 11:43:24 AM

If the US can spend billions occupying a foreign land than why should I give a cent to help them when God decides to teach them a lesson?

"Those who live by the sword, shall die by the sword"
- Jesus (the First anti-American)

Posted by: Justin | 2005-08-31 11:57:23 AM

It's more than that, John.

The ports of New Orleans and Southern Louisiana (i.e. the port and the offshore oil terminal) are the 4th largest in the world by tonnage of cargo handled there.

If the port is destroyed, or the channel has shifted, than among other things the grain harvests over the next few weeks will not be able to ship down the Mississippi river. Americans will be fine - our needs will be shipped cross-country by rail.

But those countries overseas who are dependent on these grain exports - either by purchase or, in many cases with poor nations, as aid donations - will be hurting over the next few months.

Those who smuggly take pleasure in pain for Americans should think a bit before they indulge this time around.

Posted by: Robin Burk | 2005-08-31 12:06:11 PM

An excellent point, sir, but God made his true feelings clear this morning by crushing and drowning nearly 700 Iraqi Shiites on a bridge over the Tigris River. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Posted by: Colby Cosh | 2005-08-31 12:07:22 PM

Oh, and remind me again which oil company Ralph Klein is the CEO of?

Posted by: Colby Cosh | 2005-08-31 12:09:12 PM

Hey there, Justin - could you tell me what God's agenda was when he practically wiped out Quebec for a month during the Ice Storm of '98? Was Quebec in need of a lesson??? Was Quebec occupying...what...Ontario??

Are natural disasters always caused by God..and are they always 'because you've been naughty'???

What about Hurricane Hazel in Canada?? What had poor Canada done?

Oh- and the tsunami - who was God punishing? And why?

You know, Justin, I think you need to examine your frame-of-causality. Neither facts nor logic are on your side.

And woosh...'Jesus - the first anti-American'. Cool it, my boy. America wasn't even 'discovered' at that time, so, sorry, but facticity and logic aren't, again, on your side on this one.

But heck - the one neat thing about your position is its certainty, the safe-by-the fireside comfort of its utter lack of doubt. For you - there's nothing to explore. No need for science and tests. It'c all known. For you - all bad things that happen to you, are caused by you; you've been bad..and The Top Poppa will punish you. Ahh...the security of certainty.

That's how polio was cured, how diabetes was controlled, how TB, the plague, smallpox, ....etc...

Posted by: ET | 2005-08-31 12:23:50 PM

Hey All,
Irony called - he wants to know why you're ignoring him.

Posted by: Justin | 2005-08-31 12:43:23 PM


So God teaches a quarter million fishermen a lesson with a tsunami for... not using barbless hooks? Here's a website for ya Justin:

Posted by: Colin | 2005-08-31 12:52:18 PM


Courteny Love called, she want's whatever you're having

Posted by: jhuck | 2005-08-31 1:14:58 PM

I wouldn't be so hard on Justin's theory of God's vengeance. I seem to recall Nawlins was always disproportionately popular amongst those of a particular orientation.

Posted by: heynowhank | 2005-08-31 1:46:34 PM

With all the damage to housing in the southern states we Canadians could suggest to the US president that now would be a good time to eliminate the duty on soft wood lumber. It would help reduce the cost of rebuilding.

Posted by: truthsayer | 2005-08-31 1:54:20 PM

I love how Anti-US bigotry has taken on a hollow biblical avenging dimension with all these secular statists divining that God, (if they believed there was one), is definately a Chomsky-esque America hater too. "God sends the tempest to destroy the capitalist infidels...those of not the true faith (anal liberalism)

The cynical hypocrisy in this demented partisn mind fart is too ludicrous for this observer to let it pass without a well deserved gibe.

You put a real creepy spin on the psychosis that infects the liberal soul Justin.

Love your handle...... a Trudeau brat packer pseudonym... please stay away from western glaciers "Justin"...God hates Trudeaus because he sends his sacred ancient ice flowes out to kill them. He hates Qubec too because he sends them ice storms. And he really hate Canadians because he sent us Martin and Chretien ;-0

Posted by: WLMackenzie redux | 2005-08-31 1:55:10 PM

Ezekiel 25:17
"The path of the rightous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyrannies of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of CHARITY and GOOD WILL, shepards the weak through the valley of darkness. For he is truely his brothers' keeper and finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you."

Pulp Fiction

Justin, say "WHAT" again!

Posted by: Samuel L. Jackson | 2005-08-31 2:01:04 PM


Posted by: Justin | 2005-08-31 2:12:32 PM

See- Justin is a good boy; he obeys Authority.

Now - forget him; he's a mindless twit..like those street oldies who yell all day and preach The End of the World ..Oh - and forget the gov't. As happened in the tsunami disaster, the gov't did zilch, but ordinary Canadians donated a massive amount of aid. Without being asked, without being top-down guided by their corrupt gov't. The feds were shamed into..

So- donate on your own. I've done so, via the American Red Cross. You can donate easily to any number of sites online. Michelle Malkin has a list.

Posted by: ET | 2005-08-31 2:29:07 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, anybody, but didn't Chretein go to Bay Street for his orders before visiting Ground Zero after 9/11. So let's not be surprised that Martin is awaiting orders before doing something about this disaster. He's no better than JC.

Posted by: old squid | 2005-08-31 2:35:53 PM

ET, you're every bored office-worker's dream.

Posted by: Justin | 2005-08-31 2:38:16 PM

If my neighbours' basement flooded, I'd pass on my condolences and offer my help. Even if he's a plumber and has all the tools and manpower necessary, I'd still offer my help. It's called being a decent neighbour.

I'm guessing thats the point of the original post.

Posted by: rhebner | 2005-08-31 2:39:06 PM

Justin- your comment makes no sense. Why would I be a 'bored office-worker's dream'? Am I providing stimulating, thought-provoking posts? Or, was it my suggestion on How-To-Donate? Will bored office workers take some time off from reading TV Guide and People's Mag..to do something for someone else??

So- you are an office-worker? And, since you are bored, you are obviously low, low, low on the staff hierachy and, for obvious reasons, aren't allowed much responsibility.

So- I have a suggestion. Invest in a book on critical thinking and, since you are bored, rather than reading the local pop mags, try to work through the exercises on 'how to think' and 'finding the fallacy'.

Have fun, and don't be bored, Justin. It's easy to be bored; it's a sign of a dead-mind.

Posted by: ET | 2005-08-31 2:51:12 PM

I am a Canadian and I live in Otawa. Does the tragedy in New Orleans affect me? Damn right it does.

The grandmother, grandfather, uncle, two aunts and several cousins of my daughter-in-law all lost their homes over the past few days. Thank God, all are safe. Our extended family - will house the New Orleans members of the family for the new few months while they rebuild their lives in New Orleans - and a family restaurant which was also destroyed.

I am not alone. There are many, many Canadians like me who have family and friends in the United States.

Even if Paul Martin did not feel that he needed to issue a general message of sympathy to the victims of this disaster becasue "no Canadians were involved" (which of course is not a good enough excuse) he should have realized that our two societies are so interconnected that it is virtually impossible that a disaster of this magnitude does not impact on the lives and families and friends of so many of us.

Stephen Harper showed class in his statement on the hurricane devastation. He has once again proven to me that he is ready to take over from Paul Martin as Prime Minister.

Jack Layton is so anti-American he is not even worth commenting on.

When can I vote?

Posted by: Two Cents | 2005-08-31 3:01:03 PM

Robin. Yes, I agree and I'm aware of that. You say that America will be fine. Agree again. America can and will take care of itself. That's why I take my hat off to America.

But think of someone on limited means heating their home with natural gas this winter. Alberta has lots of natural gas. I'm sure they could ramp up the delivery of more gas as well as oil fairly quickly. But still, it's the spoken support that's important at times like this. There will be time to solve problems of supply later.

Colby. God had nothing to do with those people in Iraq. Or the tragedy unfolding in the Mississippi Delta area. But that's beside the point. One should not rejoice over the suffering of others.

Klein speaks for Alberta, not the oil industry. He speaks more than Martin for that matter. But that brings up a point. Where are the CEOs from the oil companies that make their headquarters in Alberta?

Finally, I hear that some service stations have increased the price of unleaded by as much as $0.60/gallon today for people still trying to get out of town. Isn't that usery and illegal? Gas is already up to $116.9/liter in Burnaby today. Bastards.

Posted by: John Crittenden | 2005-08-31 3:37:53 PM

The CEOs of oil companies know that no reassurance is needed about their intention to continue pumping oil. With futures at $68 they'll be squeezing it out of puppies if they think that'll work.

Posted by: Colby Cosh | 2005-08-31 6:38:41 PM

(Actually, I thought that was too obvious to need pointing out, but it may not be for someone who thinks that a rise in gas prices constitutes "usery".)

Posted by: Colby Cosh | 2005-08-31 6:39:47 PM

I just heard from relatives in the NOLA area, and they said things could not be worse. Whole neighborhoods have been destroyed and will have to be rebuilt. An entire way of life will have to be built from the ground up. Fortunately, they are safe in Texas.

Canada's "response" has been nothing short of pathetic. It seems that Cdn-US relations comes in one big box - everything is connected to everything else whether it makes sense or not. It seems that giving them a hand is tied to trade issues. In other words, we'd be glad to help if you give the softwood duty money back.

There is a precedent for helping in the US. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew devastated parts of Florida. PM Mulroney generously sent troops there to help. If Martin had more brains than money, he'd send a DART team down there immediately.

It is occasions like this where true friends say "Hey, this one's on us". I recall after 9/11, when help was given to stranded airline passengers, Cdns were disappointed when President Bush didnt mention it in his famous 9/20 speech. Talk about an entitlement complex! This proves that anti-American arguments are being strained for credibiltiy. The truth is cooperation has yielded far greater benefits than confrontation.

Someone mentioned that Layton isn't worth commenting on. Absolutely right. He's just another rich easterner, who will bash the US to stay in power and get all the perks; but when it comes to Kyoto, he insisted on the auto industry exemption lest the NDP lose its largest supporters from the autoworkers unions.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-08-31 6:43:37 PM

Colby. I know what constitutes usery. It's when you're upping the price for people trying to get out of town in a disaster situation. It's when you up the price of gasoline that you've already bought for a lower price.

And, seeing as you're so smart, why don't you explain to everyone why, when oil prices fall $2/barrel on the market, pump prices come down so much slower, if at all, than they go up when prices go up $2/barrel.

Posted by: John Crittenden | 2005-08-31 7:14:25 PM

Mr. Crittendon: How is the market supposed to work when a significant amount of production is cut off? By lowering prices to encourage greater consumption? Of course prices have risen: there is less available supply facing the same demand. Duh. You're not supposed to like it but that is how a market works.

What most people don't realize is that there has not been a new refinery built anywhere in the USA or Canada since the mid-1970s due to environmental laws and NIMBY attitudes. Guess what? There's a cost. If you want gas prices to fall in the longer term, work to have more refineries built in North America. In the short term, hope or pray or whatever else that the refineries come back on line quickly and that the supply of produced oil magically increases. By the way, King Ralph can't increase production, particularly in the oil sands. Greater production levels will take years due to the very large up front investment (time, people and capital) that is required.

Or you can keep your head dug deep into the sand. Whatever.

Posted by: Strong and Free in AB | 2005-08-31 7:19:30 PM

I'm as much of a free enterpriser as anyone. My head isn't in the sand. But in a disaster situation it is just not right to up the price of a necessity. Ditto for food, etc. I'm onlya talking about the situation affected by Katrena.

I agree with you about the refineries. Why on earth Shell shut down a refinery in California last year (I think it was last year) when it made a very good profit the last year of operation, and when they had no shortage of oil to process, is beyond me.

The problem with refineries though is that no-one wants one in their own back yard. But that's a political decision isn't it.

Posted by: John Crittenden | 2005-08-31 7:42:47 PM

Markets responding to a supply shock isn't gouging -- if the oil companies could get away with these prices all of the time, why wouldn't they? While competition is limited in the industry, it does exist.

The market is operating as one would and should expect -- rising prices will make sure that fuel is allocated most efficiently to those who value it the most. The market's job is not to care for the needy but to ensure that scarce resources are efficiently allocated. Market forces, for good or for worse, do not take a holiday for terrible tragedies, such as the situation in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Posted by: Strong and Free in AB | 2005-08-31 9:22:52 PM

Well, that's all well and good, and the way it should be. I undertand how the futures market works. I also understand supply and demand. But, at a time when others are giving their resources for free, why not some gas for the same price as yesterday to get out of town?

But no-one has answered my main question. Why the lag in reducing prices when the spot market for oil drops? They sure don't take long to increase prices. I remember one evening when I noticed the price of oil on overseas exchanges rose about $1.80/barrel, the top price of regular gas rose 3 cents/litre the very next morning here in the Lower Mainland. I know that local price wars cloud the picture.

Does anyone think the price of gas at the pumps will drop much if/when oil drops back down due to a recession in the US? I don't. But it should if your reasoning is correct. Less demand should mean lower prices, right?

Posted by: John Crittenden | 2005-08-31 9:36:49 PM


I did a quick analysis this evening of your question. I downloaded some weekly data from Bloomberg Markets (very expensive subscription required) on Edmonton light crude oil prices and Edmonton retail gas prices (excluding taxes) from July 2001 to the present. I compared the times that oil went up $2/bbl or more during a week and the impact on gasoline prices during the that week and the following week and I did the same for times when prices went down $2/bbl or more. To make a long story short, there was no statistically significant difference in the price changes on the way up or the way down during either the week of the oil price change or the week after. Before anyone criticizes me and my methodology, it is very rudimentary, I know. Suffice to say that the standard deviations of price changes was so high that a great deal more study would be required to remove the noise and to prove or disprove the point you made.

Having said all of that, before your question can be answered, first I think you need to prove your underlying assumption regarding the speed of price increases/decreases is true. This week's price increases, for instance, have much less to do with increases in the price of crude oil and much more to do with the loss of refining capacity.

Posted by: Strong and Free in AB | 2005-08-31 10:06:52 PM

First, I'd like to express my deepest condolences to all those affected by hurricane Katrina. It is never good to lose a loved one or your house.

That's why it's a good idea to buy flood insurance, or not to live in goddamn flood plain! Or at least build their houses with something other than 2X4s and drywall.

While I think Canada should/could help the Americans in rebuilding(by giving them some cheap softwood lumber...), the fact is that these people shouldn't have been living there and the government could have moved these people out. Now every Tom, Dick and Harry is gonna paying massive amounts of taxes to rebuild New Orleans when Bourbon St. should actually been abandoned like the cesspool that it is!

Posted by: Cynical Bastard | 2005-08-31 10:33:16 PM

Seems to me...when you had your terrible ice storm, it was US Citizens who came to your aid...working 12 hr days standing on ladders knocking ice off the power lines....My son was one of them.

Posted by: Mary Ann | 2005-10-01 4:46:53 PM

Oh...by the way Canadians and US Citizens are ALL AMERICANS. The term holds all of us on the continent as Americans and as Canada isn't an island..you to are American.

Posted by: Mary Ann | 2005-10-01 4:50:12 PM

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