The Shotgun Blog
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
In this year’s Oscar nominations, politics apparently continues to enslave art (to borrow an expression from Camille Paglia). Nominated were “Capote” (about a gay author), “Brokeback Mountain” (about gay comboys), “Transamerica” (about a transsexual), “Syriana” (about how oil is bad, and about how big and bad those naughty oil companies are), “Good Night, and Good Luck" (about a journalist who –oh,. such courage!-- takes on Senator Joe McCarthy), and “Munich” (a values-free romp that refuses to assign blame to Palestinian assassins for their cold-blooded murder of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics).
If these movies did not deal with subjects dear to the hearts of the elitist leftists who dominate the art world and academia, would they be on Oscar’s short list?
crossposted at vadum.blogspot.com
No one wants to be Liberal leader
First John Manley announces he won't seek the Liberal leadership, then Frank McKenna follows. CBC just reported that Brian Tobin has said he won't seek the Liberal leadership, either. What's happening? Today, both a Globe and Mail editorial and its columnist Jeffrey Simpson said that the stars of the Liberal Party avoiding its leadership is a sign of the high demands of public life. The paper called their decision "regrettable" while wondering if the opportunity to lead a major "political party, and quite possibly the country" should entice ambitious (in both the good and the bad sense of the term) people but that the political process is "so debased now that even the most dedicated people shy away from it." There might be something to that analysis. But it might not be public life they are avoiding as much as the leadership of a party with little prospect of regaining power. (I touched upon this morning at Sobering Thoughts this morning.) Or perhaps the party the like of Manley, McKenna and Tobin once were interested in leading is what is so debased. The Liberal leadership is not worth having.
Simpson called Manley and McKenna "gold standard candidates" and lumped Tobin in with the B team. It says a lot about the Liberal Party that the most prominent member of that B team has already dropped out. I hear that Liberal operatives and strategists are quickly coming to the conclusion that Belinda Stronach is the only person in the party that might generate the kind of excitement and fresh look at the Liberals to help them regain a majority. It also says a lot about a party that a person who 1) less than 24 months ago was seeking the Conservative Party leadership, 2) less than 12 months ago was a member of the opposition Tories and 3) just eight months jumped from the opposition to the ruling Liberals in exchange for a cabinet post, is now seen as the front-runner for its leadership.
Perhaps a Western Standard reader might want to throw their hat into the Liberal leadership ring.
I, Kevin Steel, would like to take this opportunity to announce that I do not intend to seek the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada. My primary reason is that nobody wants me to run; there's that plus family considerations. I had hoped to get my announcement out before Brian Tobin told everyone he isn't running either, but I got distracted doing the dishes. You too can proclaim your non-candidacy in this thread. Let the world know.
The sky isn't falling
What's this? Yet more common sense and level headedness from the ivory tower known as Simon Fraser University. Come on, guys, any more of this and you'll give Radical U a bad, er, good name.
Here are the first few lines of the Jan. 30 SFU news release that prompted my comments:
Contrary to popular belief, fossil fuels are not going the way of the dinosaur, says SFU professor and energy expert Mark Jaccard.
Forget the commonly held view that fossil fuels are on a downward slide given supply scares, rising costs and environmental concerns. Jaccard predicts that oil, gas and coal will still satisfy 58 per cent of the world's energy needs in the year 2100, fueled in part by growth in nations such as China.
Jaccard's forecast is detailed in his latest book, Sustainable Fossil Fuels: The Unusual Suspect in the Quest for Clean and Enduring Energy (Cambridge Press, 2005). The book is now available in Canada. It has also been launched in Britain and the US.
Read the full release here.
On Voting Liberal
I can't remember any time before where a leader whom I despised at the beginning of his office, and whom I actively campaigned against, went on to win me over, in a single term no less. Premier McGuinty has done just that. It seems that every time he's come up in the news over the last year, I've been strongly supportive of whatever he was saying and thankful that he was saying it. Here's the latest, on the need for a new gas power plant:
"In an ideal world, we could get to where we need to go through conservation and renewables like wind. But we don't live in that world. We live in this one."
From the T.O. Green belt, to dismissing Martin's handgun ban, to taking a stand against Sharia Law (when really, given that other religious groups had this right, was not an easy position to take), to campaigning with Great Lake Governors against new US passport rules (and getting results), to a myriad of other issues, he's made firm decisions and stood by them, even if they cost him political capital. Yes, the Health Care premium tax irked me, however given the horror stories I've heard from other Conservatives about the state of Ernie Eves' cabinet, I'm giving McGuinty the benefit of the doubt when he says he inherited a mess. And I didn't mention his campaigning against Ontario's outrageous fiscal imbalance because yes, that is a no brainer for any Ontario premier, but it's worth mentioning that he's done it exceedingly well, again achieving results.
Now, all this is to say that as much as McGuinty has gone up in my books, John Tory has gone down. I believe Tory to be a textbook "all things to all people" politician. I supported Flaherty in both of the PC's last leadership races when every other PC Youth went for the weak kneed Eves/Tory option ("But he can win in T.O.!") People I work with who cut big cheques for Harris wouldn't commit a dime to Eves, nor will they to Tory. Well, Eves was a disaster and Tory will be no different. At this point in time, McGuinty has impressed me enough that I feel he deserves a second term, and in the various speeches I've heard from Tory he's convinced me that the PC membership need to reevaluate what has and what hasn't worked for them in the past.
CUPE, SC hand-in-hand in Crazytown
Canada's top court has given the country's human rights commission the go-ahead to investigate whether flight attendants should be paid the same as pilots and airline mechanics.
Great, so we can also expect legal secretaries to make just as much as any partner in a firm, right? Absolutely insane. Flight attendants require seven weeks of training, paid for after you're hired by Air Canada. Imagine how flight school students coughing up thousands for their in-air hours feel. I'd love to hear any pro-union blogger try and defend this one.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Wisdom of the people
Do you mean that a weekly Hillary infomercial was not a ratings hit?
The federal election shows one thing above all, says Murray Dobbin, and that is that "Canada is a left-wing country." His reasoning is here.
It's an interesting take from the West's most dogged left-winger, especially in light of a telling bit of analysis from Paul Wells in Maclean's magazine's just-published election epic (the top bit of which can be accessed here).
"[Tom] Flanagan, the strategic guru at Harper's right hand, is an expert in game theory," Wells states. "This application of mathematics to the study of human choice can be as complex as you want to get -- Flanagan's textbook on game theory is no fun at all to read -- but the fundamental thrust of the Harper campaign was based on a simple decision that Flanagan had, uncharacteristically, made plain in his brief National Post article [of Sept. 24, 2005]. On any given issue, the Conservatives would stake out a position just a hair to the Liberals' right. [emphasis added] Far enough to be distinct. Close enough not to seem extreme."
Thus, if the Liberals are a left-wing party, and they certainly are, then the furthest the Conservatives could move would be to the centre. Which just happens to be the thrust of my "Stephen in the middle" cover story in the Jan. 30 edition of the Western Standard (not yet on line).
McKenna's not running
From Ezra Levant's column in the Calgary Sun:
Needless to say, the Liberals don't want an early election either -- they're already fighting over the rules for their leadership race, and a dozen candidates are gearing up to run. One hundred leaderless, indebted, bickering Liberal MPs will support nearly any Harper initiative to avoid an election before they're ready.
Harper's official to-do list is very short -- five priorities, including the GST cut. Expect him to finish that up in early 2007, and call an election, catching the new Liberal leader unprepared. It will be Harper who chooses the termination of his minority, not his opponents.
I hate to say it, but wouldn't purposely putting forward an issue guaranteed to cause the fall of government in order to time an election when the Conservatives are in the strongest position just a bit hypocritical? From the Conservative election platform:
Introduce legislation modeled on the BC and Ontario laws requiring fixed election dates every four years, except when a government loses the confidence of the House (in which case an election would be held immediately, and the subsequent election would follow four years later).
Part of dealing with the democratic deficit was to remove from the Prime Minister's Office the ability to pick and choose election dates based on favourable polls. That power favours the incumbent, of course.
Now I suppose that in a minority situation, where a non-confidence vote is a real possibility, having the ability to manipulated the date for an election could be seen as a consolation prize for not having been given a majority by the people. But then no one is owed a majority, so that doesn't really wash.
In a perverse way, a prime minister in a minority situation has an important tool to improve his chances at re-election that is denied to a prime minister of a majority government.
I don't know how to fix this, or even if it needs to be fixed. Just seems a bit bizarre though.
Let the healing begin!
Buried in a multi-million dollar debt, the once mighty federal Liberals will need to emerge united from their upcoming leadership race if they want to regain the trust of the population, several party officials said last week.
"We'll make sure that this new party will be reborn from these ashes after this last decade of infighting on the left and right," said Françoise Boivin, who lost her re-election bid in the former Liberal stronghold of Gatineau, Que., to Bloc Québécois candidate Richard Nadeau. "It's difficult to fight against your adversaries, but it's even harder to fight when you have traitors on the inside who are trying to sink everything."
Traitors? I thought Boivin was the traitor, and those people were fighting to save the soul of the party. At least that's what they say. Or maybe the traitors were those people on the outside sniping at the party from the sidelines.
How is the Liberal Party going to ever heal itself unless it is determined exactly who was the traitor and who was poor victim whose loss on January 23 was not their fault?
I suppose we won't really know who the traitors were until a new party leader is elected. Then the traitors will be whoever backed the losing leadership bids.
Breaking Down The Atlantic Vote
On October 11th I posted this article identifying eight vulnerable Liberal seats in the east. The Liberals ended up holding seven of those seats, with Avalon going to Fabian Manning and the CPC. Like many Canadians I was disappointed to see the Liberals do so well in Atlantic Canada, ending up with 20 seats to the CPC's 9 and the NDP's 3. The popular vote was fairly close, though, with the Liberals at 39.94% and the CPC at 34.49%. I think the voters in Atlantic Canada gambled on a Liberal victory - and lost. Next election they'll be looking for someone in government who can bring home the bacon.
If Harper can be effective in this mandate there is no good reason why the CPC can't pick up another half-dozen or more seats here next election. Personally, I don't think the CPC's Atlantic Canada policy went far enough; with all of the university graduates in the Halifax area it is remarkable that it isn't a hub of the knowledege based economy. I'd like to see a nice juicy tax cut and/or other incentives for high tech firms to set up shop in Halifax, or Montreal for that matter. Anyhoo, here is a closer look at what happened in the eight key ridings I identified:
Avalon: Liberal incumbent John Efford won this by a mile but is despised locally, not in good health, and likely will not run again. CPC candidate is undeclared but if the they can run a good candidate here then the Tories have a chance.
Fabian Manning, who appears to be a bit of a maverick, took over 50% of the popular vote in winning Brian Tobin's old riding:
Fabian Manning CON 18996 51.57% X
Bill Morrow LIB 14193 38.53%
Eugene Conway NDP 3349 9.09%
Charlottetown: The CPC are running a strong local candidate here, but the Liberal incumbent Shawn Murphy won nearly 50% of the vote. A longshot for the Tories.
Cripes, Murphy actually increased his percentage of the vote against a a strong Conservative candidate.
Shawn Murphy LIB 9586 50.16% X
Tom DeBlois CON 6524 34.14%
Brian Pollard NDP 2126 11.12%
Cardigan: Shady Liberal Cabmin Lawrence MacAulay's seat is far from safe.
Ooops, heh. It appears that MacAulay, who resigned from cabinet after being the subject of inquiry concerning allegations of conflict of interest, has one of the safest Liberal seats in the country. The last Tory to win here was Pat Binns in 1984, for what it's worth. This riding is a good example of what I mean when I say that eastern voters gambled on a Liberal win - and lost.
Lawrence MacAulay LIB 11542 56.21% X
Don Gillis CON 6923 33.72%
Edith Perry NDP 1535 7.48%
Dartmouth-Cole Harbour: Liberal incumbent Michael Savage is up against a traditionally strong NDP base and a strong CPC candidate. A good opportunity for the NDP.
In hindsight I'm not sure running retired RCMP officer Robert Campbell in Trailer Park Boys territory was such a good idea:
Michael Savage LIB 18659 42.3% X
Peter Mancini NDP 14396 32.64%
Robert A. Campbell CON 9998 22.67%
West Nova: The CPC is running a strong candidate (Former Nova Scotia Finance Minister Greg Kerr) versus Liberal incumbent Robert Thibault and has a good chance.
This loss was disappointing because it was so close:
Robert Thibault LIB 17734 39.24% X
Greg Kerr CON 17223 38.11%
Arthur Bull NDP 8511 18.83%
Fredricton: This riding historically has a strong Tory base and Andy Scott could be swept out by anti-Liberal sentiment.
Watch how Andy Scott's popularity fades with the electorate now that he can't bring home the bacon. This riding was blue for decades and I can't help but conclude that Scott was re-elected on his ability to bring home the pork.
Andy Scott LIB 19652 41.8% X
Pat Lynch CON 16294 34.66%
John Carty NDP 9988 21.24%
Madawaska-Restigouche: Former provincial cabmin Jean-Pierre Ouellet is running for the CPC and is considered a strong candidate.
Another very close race. This is an interesting riding: "Of the 65,877 residents counted in the 2001 census, more than 80 per cent are francophone; just two per cent are immigrants.
The economy here is diverse, and depends mainly on manufacturing, retail, health and social services. The pulp and paper industry is also important. Unemployment is 14.4 per cent and the average family income is $47,326."
Jean-Claude J.C D'Amours LIB 13943 38.34% X
Jean-Pierre Ouellet CON 12877 35.41%
Rodolphe Martin NDP 8333 22.91%
Saint John: The CPC are running star candidate John Wallace in Elsie's old riding and have a good shot at knocking off Paul Zed.
John Wallace is an exceptional candidate, which makes this all the more disappointing.
Paul Zed LIB 17189 42.9% X
John Wallace CON 15753 39.32%
Terry Albright NDP 6267 15.64%
It bears repeating: In the final analysis Atlantic Canadians gambled on a Liberal government - and lost. The good news is that Conservative support is reasonably broad and deep here, and should Harper do a good job in his first mandate an opportunity exists for an additional 6-12 seat gain in the east next election, which may be enough to give the CPC a majority.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
"Right" or institution?
(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).
How one understands the very nature of marriage will in large part determine how one sees its proper status in law and its relation to the state.
So, is marriage merely a right?
Marriage predates not only the section 15 "equality rights" of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, but also the association rights spelled out in the Canadian Bill of Rights (1960) and all rights accruing from English common law.
Marriage is not merely a right. It is an institution that predates all states.
So, can the state have any role in respect of marriage, and are there rights which accrue to marriage?
"Yes" and "yes."
The role of the state is to support and promote the institution of marriage since it is this institution -- not the state -- that procreates and raises the next generation of people. There are certain rights which accrue to marriage by virtue of its importance to procreation and raising the next generation of people. There are some "free riders" -- some who acquire the rights of marriage without procreation, for whatever reason.
But now, by construing marriage as a right instead of as an institution, the Canadian state has expanded the range of "free riders" who acquire the rights that go with marriage without any possibility of procreation. And, over the last several years, the Canadian state has moved to create financial penalties and disadvantage in respect of children to those who marry or, even, form households.
Instead of upholding the character of marriage as an institution with rights that accrue to that institution, over time the Canadian state has seen fit to downgrade marriage into a bundle of rights. In so doing, the Canadian state no longer fulfills its responsibility to protect the integrity of an institution, an institution on which the Canadian state's future itself rests. If it no longer upholds the integrity of an institution whose central reason for being is the procreation of the next generation, will the Canadian state have a citizenry to govern which is capable of underwriting its program?
How Harper Will Proceed
"During the campaign I found that there was a remarkable amount of multi-party consensus on many of the key priorities I just mentioned. We’ll look for shared goals and for common ideas. And, working together, we’ll seek to implement ideas that will help ordinary working people and that will strengthen our federation."
I agree. I think Layton is being disingenuous when he says he'd need to research areas of common interest with the CPC. Back in November I pointed out that the NDP's Consumers' Bill Of Rights (PDF) might be a good example of common ground:
• Interest rates keep going down, but there’s
nothing to make credit card companies lower
the interest rate they charge you. With many
credit card interest rates at 18-19.5% and a
prime rate of 3.75% (April 2004), something’s
• Unlike more than 30 countries, Canada still
doesn’t have mandatory labels on genetically
• Consumers have no clout against large banks,
telephone or cable corporations.
•Many neighbourhoods have lost banking
service altogether. And as the banks move
out, cheque-cashing companies and unregulated
ATMs move in, routinely charging you
more than the Criminal Code allows for interest
Jack Layton and today’s NDP have practical,
innovative solutions for consumers, contained in
today’s NDP’s Consumer Bill of Rights:
•We’ll tie credit card interest rates to the prime
rate, so when interest rates go down, your
credit card interest rate goes down, too.
•We’ll establish citizen utility boards just like
some U.S. states have done—saving
consumers millions—giving consumers clout in
dealing with banks, telephone and cable
•We’ll respect your right to know what you eat
by putting mandatory labels on genetically
•We’ll establish a national do-not-call list that
protects your privacy from corporate
I imagine Conservatives don't especially enjoy telephone solicitors, stealth GM food, and usurious interest rates either. There is plenty of common ground on policy matters between The Left and The Right in this country. What seems more problematic is the matter of trust. This is our challenge.
This is Promising
Hamas is planning to create an army:
Hamas's supreme political leader said from exile in Syria yesterday that when the party officially takes power it will create an army out of Palestinian armed factions to defend itself against Israel and would only honour selective existing agreements with Israel.
And, from this story, more of the same:
The leader of Hamas suggested Saturday that the Islamic group could create a Palestinian army that would include its militant wing - responsible for scores of deadly attacks on Israelis - in the aftermath of its crushing victory in parliamentary elections.
I hope the nutjob means it. And then I hope Hamas takes its army and lines it up along the Israeli border, firing a shot or two along the way, giving the Israelis a chance to respond in a fitting manner. (Even the UN couldn't rule against Israel in that scenario -- a fact which would probably cause them no end of grief.) This might be the best thing to come out of Hamas' election victory -- a real silver lining.
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Don't think there's an anti-Christian sentiment?
The novelist Phillip Pullman has described CS Lewis' original book as 'one of the most ugly, poisonous things I have ever read'. With the zeal of a veteran cultural crusader Polly Toynbee of the UK Guardian cut straight to the chase: 'Narnia represents everything that is most hateful about religion.'
Mr. ________ goes to Washington
I'm told by a source close to the Harper transition that the choice for US Ambassador has been narrowed down to two people: just-retired oilman Gwyn Morgan or former Mulroney finance minister Michael Wilson.
Reply to Rondi, er, "Wonkitties"
(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck)
DISCLAIMER: Rondi Adamson is one-of-the-greatest-columnists-who-ever-lived . . . a pocket of sanity in the Red, er, Toronto Star.
I've never forgiven David Frum for shuttling off Robert Bork from the Barbara Frum Lectureship before I could get the judge to sign my copy of his book from the Frum lecture . . . David told me to come back the next morning at 9AM . . . (Um, I was working during that hour at Queen's Park!). His sister, though, has raised a lot of money for Stephen and she can carry on a decent conversation.
Good for you, Rondi, giving that loon the brush-off. I blame the godless white people for the Tories' inability to woo voters in Canada's Biggest City (TM) and Canada's Second-Biggest City (TM). You know -- the Ulster Scot WASPs who not only no longer believe anything like what their great-grandparents believed, who hold a world view that consistently undermines the things that made Canada great, but who still possess their grandparents' genes and, in some cases, their money and hubris. I think new Canadians may well be the salvation of this country -- they believe in some things remarkably similar to those Old Toronto Ulster Scots . . . (Also, new Canadians have babies).
Should Prime Minister Designate Stephen Harper be "moderate" or "bold?" Um, I think he should govern. And in a minority government situation, that may mean being bold, moderate, or otherwise as the occasion requires or permits.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Dave Barry Knows All about Money
Dave Barry's new book, Dave Barry's Money Secrets: Like: Why Is There a Giant Eyeball on the Dollar? will surely become a must read. I've just ordered a copy on the basis of this excerpt. Here is one very short clip from that excerpt:
If our money really is just pieces of paper, backed by nothing, why is it valuable? The answer is: Because we all believe it's valuable.
Really, that's pretty much it. Remember the part in Peter Pan where we clap to prove that we believe in fairies, and we save Tinker Bell? That's our monetary system! It's the Tinker Bell System! We see everybody else running around after these pieces of paper, and we figure, Hey, these pieces of paper must be valuable. That's why if you exchanged your house for, say, a pile of acorns, everybody would think you're insane; whereas if you exchange your house for a pile of dollars, everybody thinks you're rational, because you get... pieces of paper!
He really does understand, doesn't he: Something serves as money only because it is generally accepted in payment for goods and services. [h/t to King Banaian at SCSU Scholars]
Wonkitties Infiltrates Top Secret Event!!!
Yesterday I attended a luncheon hosted by the Secret Society of which our new PM used to be president. The speaker during lunch was David Frum. Here is a summary of Frum's speech, as best I can recall, keeping in mind I had had two Advil Cold & Sinus, a vodka Perrier and a glass of white wine and barely any food:
Introduction from some guy:
-David Frum went to Yale and therefore is the smartest person ever.
-He has a great career.
-Here he is.
-What great timing for me to be here. Who knew?
-I remember your parents, guy who introduced me!
-Andrew Coyne is the greatest person who ever lived.
-Andrew Coyne's blog is the greatest blog ever.
-Andrew Coyne is more addictive than crack. (And, from the looks of him, probably more damaging to one's private life. -ed)
-The Liberals might try to force another election sooner than we think.
-They are really sleazy. (Agreed. - ed)
-Stephen Harper should not be moderate, he should be bold. (Agreed. - ed)
-My sister is the greatest person who ever lived. (What about Andrew? Frum very fickle. - ed)
-She helped the Tories win more than any of you will ever know. (Do tell! - ed)
-Maybe it won't be Frank McKenna who takes over Libs. Maybe Brian Tobin. (Yay! We are all in favour of handsome politicians. - ed)
-It's time for Canada to grow up and stop sitting at the kids' table. (Agreed. - ed)
-Canadian women don't have enough babies. This is because Canadians are pessimistic about the future. (No. This is because Canadian men are f&^%wits and most Canadian women, as a result, are going to die barren and alone with no love or children. - ed)
-I might run for office one day because I hate what I'm doing now.
-I am not an American citizen.
I may have left some stuff out, but you get the gist. He was pretty excellent.
The Virtual Museum of Digital Satire
The videos I posted during the campaign are now all accessible here. My server stats showed nearly ten thousand downloads in one week, so somebody out there loves this stuff. According to the logs, Scott Feschuk downloaded "Battlescarred Gritica" on the eve of the election. Sweet!
Many thanks again to Ezra Levant and the Shotgun team for the opportunity to post here. This blog and the main site are the ne plus ultra of the conservative web in Canada, so the honour is acknowledged gratefully.
And if you enjoy football from England, swing by here .
Auschwitz: Never More Relevant than Now
Today marks 61 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. Given the ongoing nutty commentary from Iran's president, the admonition to "never forget" seems as relevant as ever. Of course, some groups, such as the Muslim Council of Britain, would rather not remember. And even some Muslims who are willing to honour this day appear to be possessed of the need to parse:
In her first interview, Ms Huda, 44, said Holocaust Memorial Day marked not only the deaths of six million Jews but also the killing of gypsies and other minority groups by the Nazis, and more recent genocides including those in Bosnia and Rwanda.
She said: "I feel very comfortable that we are looking at genocide issues, that we are looking at racism, that we are looking at Islamophobia, that we are looking at anti-Semitism in the round."
But what if this day were "only" about the Holocaust? Would Ms. Huda not be able to participate? If so, that's pretty scary. Is the Holocaust not unique and horrific enough to deserve that? Certainly, admitting as much does not take away from anyone else's suffering. Why the need for calibrations all the time? I don't get it, and I find it a particularly hideous kind of anti-Semitism. It almost seems like a polite way of revising the Holocaust.
On a more positive note, Kofi Annan, for whom I generally don't have much time, made some good comments.
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
A crime to assert belief?
As a follow to my posting yesterday about free speech in Canada:
An Italian man, an atheist, has filed a criminal complaint against his school friend, a Roman Catholic priest, on the grounds that the priest's assertion, that Jesus Christ really did live 2,000 years ago, is a lie -- and, as such, has broken two Italian laws, one regarding "abuse of popular belief," the other "impersonation."
Also interesting is that the complainant has admitted he doesn't expect his action to get very far in Italian courts, but, according to the AP story, "says he is merely going through the necessary legal steps so he can ultimately take the case to the European Court of Human Rights, where he intends to pursue the case against the church for 'religious racism.'"
Wikipedia has a entry on the court, including links to several of its high profile decisions.
Frying with ambition
Fresh from her triumph over the horde of the ring, Vancouver Centre MP Hedy Fry is now pondering an even bigger challenge. Could she really be serious? Well, was she serious about those crosses in Prince George?
Are they trying to tell us something?
Check out the picture and headline at CTV...
Nah...it's probably nothing.
Groan, not another one
Check out this story today in Australian News: Kickback 'paid through shadowy agent'. And where was that shadowy agent based? You guessed it, Canada.
Albert Shimoon, based in Ottawa, often referred to expenses he incurred in Iraq and the high cost of doing business there, and Mr Joyce said he did not think that might have involved illicit payments.
"It did not occur to me that they were illicit ... that didn't cross my mind," he said.
"I regarded all of that carry on of Shimoon as exactly that – carry on." Mr Joyce admitted he never did any checks on Mr Shimoon's company, AS International Enterprise.
"The reality is that Albert's a one man band and he probably has a number of companies floating around," he told the inquiry.
How many floating around in Canada? How many Oil-for-Food connections can one country have and still not hold a public inquiry? Note to new Canadian government...
Our Flayed and Dismembered Morality
I had a conversation with my hairdresser, yesterday. It was not the kind of conversation you would have expected from the ultra-femme setting and a couple of girls in full preen mode. It was about movies…and torture. Not in that order, but together. One of the other girls had just seen the new Tarantino flick “Hostel”, while I had just read a review of the movie in the latest issue of The Western Standard, and had decided that I was never going to.
For background, I would like to clarify that I have never been particularly squeamish about gore or fright. In the house where I grew up, staying up to watch the latest cheesy horror flick was a much-coveted, and all too frequent occurrence. I was one of the few girls in my science class, who did not react with a squeal of disgust, at the prospect of dissection. In fact, it was one of the few projects that I thoroughly enjoyed and did well on. The macabre has always held a grim fascination, for me, and I have been known to occasionally engage in light exploration of the fringe elements of gothic culture. In short, I am neither prudish with regards to sadism, nor squeamish in the face of violence.
Despite all this, the latest trend which has transformed the horror film, into a sadistic bloodbath, is one I will not be indulging in.
Firstly, it is wholly unnecessary to try to inject as much graphic content into a movie, as the celluloid will hold. In the past, the really good horror movies were the ones that could give you weeks of nightmares, without spilling a single drop of blood on camera. Bone chilling terror was inflicted through the use of strategic lighting and camera angles, and enough ambiguity to let the viewer’s imagination take hold, and run free. However, in today’s new bastardized genre of horror, the art form of palpable suspense has been eschewed for gratuitous on-camera mutilation and a concerted effort to make the bone saw sound more realistic. The result inspires sickness, where terror once resided. Perhaps this is the goal. I suspect as much – Especially with authors like Quentin Tarantino, who has made a career of celebrating the most debase aspects of human behavior. Which leads me to my second point…
Much has been made, in recent days, of the moral implications surrounding torture, and the use of violence. Opinions vary on what constitutes torture, and under what circumstances, if any, it is allowable. But most people who engage in the debate agree – it’s a BAD thing.
What strikes me as odd, is that so many of us will take a vociferous moral stand against the use of torture or violence, in any form…and then proceed to go out for a night of dramatized gratuitous violence. All the while, few if any, will be aware of the inherent incongruity of these two actions. This is not to say that everyone who takes a moral stand against torture, likes Tarantino movies…I’m sure many don’t. But in the bigger picture, a culture that reveres the dramatization of sadistic torture and murder, as entertainment, is profoundly hypocritical to then denounce such activity when it occurs in the real world.
This hypocrisy is magnified, when taken in the context of the moral condemnations, coming from the Hollywood elite whom have made an entire industry out of the same measure of violence that, from behind the camera, they denounce so resoundingly. They are either incapable of, or unwilling to realize that those who glorify fictional violence help make it more acceptable in reality.
But what does it tell them, when we are willing, as a society, to not only allow such displays of gratuitous violence to see the light of day, but we are also willing to shell out large portions of our meager earnings, to see them? Could it be that for many of us, our revulsion to torture is merely skin deep, and that our collective condemnation of such actions is more politically motivated, and less grounded in morality?
I would hope not, but that is precisely what gore-merchants like Tarantino are banking on, and we are making him a very rich man, in proving him right.
My decision to exclude such films from my repertoire of must-sees is not due to a lack of intestinal fortitude. It is a rejection of and moral abhorrence to the glorification of such behavior. Until there are more of us, who are willing to understand our moral premises, and enforce their application on even our most seemingly benign activities, people like Quentin Tarantino will have no reason to believe that there is anything wrong with his assessment of our hypocrisy…and neither will those who use torture for their ends, in real life.
*For factual clarification, as has been pointed out by a few readers, this is NOT a Quentin Tarantino film, but is merely presented with him as co-producer. However, I think it fair to point out, that the creators of the film would not have his name in the top billing position, if they didn't want him associated with it.
Breaking Down The Quebec Vote
On December 3 I identifited 12 vulnerable Quebec Liberal ridings in this article. 9 of the 12 ended up going either BQ or CPC, the exceptions being Honoré-Mercier, Hull-Aylmer and Outremont. Le blog de Polyscopique has an excellent article up noting among other things that in 5 of 6 of the seats the BQ took from the Liberals the BQ actually dropped in support compared to the 2004 election. The CPC took eight seats from the Bloc and two from the Liberals.
The popular vote broke down 42% BQ, 24% CPC, 20% Liberal, with the Bloc taking 51 seats, the Liberals 13, the CPC 10, and one Independent. Here's a closer look at what happened in the ridings that were in play, my pre-election comments in italics:
Ahuntsic: Liberal incumbent Eleni Bakopanos took 21234 votes to BQ candidate Maria Mourani's 20020 in 2004. Look for Mourani to take the rematch in this Greek-flavoured riding.
Mouriani took it by less than a thousand votes in this working class north island riding. This was not one of the CPC's better showings.
Maria Mourani BQ 19428 38.94% X
Eleni Bakopanos LIB 18594 37.27%
Étienne Morin CON 6089 12.2%
Honoré-Mercier: BQ candidate Gérard Labelle has good chance to knock off sitting Liberal Pablo Rodriguez; this riding is not especially separatist but I suspect some Liberal support will go to the CPC here.
Rodriguez ended up winning by almost 2,000 votes. From CBC: "According to the 2001 census, 61 per cent have French as a mother tongue, while almost 19 per cent cited Italian as their ethnic origin, third highest in Canada. The total immigrant population is almost 23 per cent."
Pablo Rodriguez LIB 19632 38.39% X
Gérard Labelle BQ 17693 34.6%
Angelo M. Marino CON 8950 17.5%
Jeanne-Le Ber: Liza Frulla won this by only 72 votes in 2004; I can't see how this tainted cabinet minister will get re-elected in this working class, largely French-speaking riding.
Frulla did not come close to getting re-elected here:
Thierry St-Cyr BQ 20229 40.23% X
Liza Frulla LIB 17116 34.04%
Pierre-Olivier Brunelle CON 5936 11.8%
Outremont: BQ star candidate former MNA Jacques Léonard and NDP "economist" Léo-Paul Lauzon are vying to unseat Jean Lapierre. This will be a battle, like one of those Nordiques-Habs playoff games of yesteryear.
I think Lauzon sucked a ton of votes from the BQ which allowed for the easy Liberal win here:
Jean-C. Lapierre LIB 14281 35.13% X
Jacques Léonard BQ 11714 28.81%
Léo-Paul Lauzon NDP 6965 17.13%
Daniel Fournier CON 5218 12.84%
Papineau: Pierre Pettigrew only won this by 468 seats last time and stands a real chance at losing his seat to BQ candidate Vivian Barbot, a Hatian-Canadian and ex-Vice-présidente de la Fédération des femmes du Québec.
I'll bet Pettigrew is seriously ticked at Paul Martin for blocking his bid to become OAS honcho. The OAS is similar to the UN, only more bureaucratic and not as effective, so it wouldn't break my heart to see him end up there.
Vivian Barbot BQ 17775 40.77% X
Pierre Pettigrew LIB 16785 38.5%
Mustaque A. Sarker CON 3628 8.32%
Gatineau: Another narrow Liberal win in 2004, I think this will go BQ. Incumbent Françoise Boivin squares off against colourful BQ candidate Richard Nadeau.
This was an easy win for the BQ in a riding within sight of the Peace Tower. Puzzling, since "In the 1995 referendum, 72 per cent of this riding voted against sovereignty." I think a heavyweight CPC candidate could take this riding in the future.
Richard Nadeau BQ 21093 39.25% X
Françoise Boivin LIB 16826 31.31%
Patrick Robert CON 9014 16.77%
Hull-Aylmer: Flyboy BQ candidate Alain Charette has a chance to take this riding, which lays across the river from the House of Commons. The CPC is fielding an exceptional candidate here in Gilles Poirier.
The Liberals held this one but it was close. CBC says "In the 1995 referendum, 75 per cent in this riding opposed sovereignty for Quebec."
Marcel Proulx LIB 17573 32.69% X
Alain Charette BQ 15788 29.37%
Gilles Poirier CON 9247 17.2%
Pontiac: Paint it blue. Experienced CPC candidate Lawrence Cannon should knock off Liberal incumbent David "Abotech" Smith.
Cannon wins this one easily and the Liberal incumbent finished 3rd with 24% of the vote:
Lawrence Cannon CON 16067 33.63% X
Christine Émond Lapointe BQ 13790 28.87%
David Smith LIB 11539 24.15%
Louis-Saint-Laurent: Paint it blue. in addition to being sssssmoking hot, CPC candidate Josée Verner is an experienced policy wonk who finished a strong second to BQ incumbent Bernard Cleary in 2004.
She won in a landslide. There was one report that 7 Quebec City Liberal candidates were sharing one campaign office, and looking at the 6.41% Liberal vote here I can't say I blame them.
Josée Verner CON 28606 57.68% X
Bernard Cleary BQ 11977 24.15%
Isa Gros-Louis LIB 3180 6.41%
Beauce: Liberal incumbent Claude Drouin is not seeking re-election; if BQ candidate Patrice Moore can swing a few disaffected votes his way in this relatively federalist riding then chalk up another Liberal loss. UPDATE: I just noticed Maxime "Son of former Beauce Tory MP Gilles" Bernier is running for the Conservatives; this will be a good race.
Look at this freaking huge landslide. More voters voted for Maxime Bernier - a CPC candidate in Quebec - than Monte Solberg.
Maxime Bernier CON 36915 67.01% X
Patrice Moore BQ 10997 19.96%
Jacques Lussier LIB 4364 7.92%
Brome-Missisquoi:Shady Liberal incument Denis Paradis won by just over 1000 votes in 2004. This could be a good one: BQ candidate Christian Ouellet lists "Professeur, Université de Montréal, école d’architecture" among other things on is CV. CPC candidate David Marler is an award winning expert in international law and would make an excellent MP.
The Bloc took this one easily:
Christian Ouellet BQ 18600 38.31% X
Denis Paradis LIB 13572 27.95%
David Marler CON 9879 20.35%
Brossard-La Prairie: Liberal incumbent Jacques Saada took this riding by ~2500 votes in 2004. BQ candidate Marcel Lussier is an engineer and an experienced campaigner. Whoa, what is this??? Here is a guy to watch: CPC candidate Tenzin Dargyal Khangsar
Goodbye former president of the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada Jacques Saada:
Marcel Lussier BQ 21433 37.11% X
Jacques Saada LIB 20190 34.96%
Tenzin D. Khangsar CON 9749 16.88%
It is a great day to be a Conservative in Quebec, where support is broad if not deep; as Polyscopique astutely observed:
...the Conservative candidate finished in second place in 40 Québec ridings compared with 14 second places for the Liberals. In other words, only in 25 Québec ridings has the Conservative candidate finished in third place or behind whereas the Liberals finished in third place or worse in 48 or almost two-thirds of Québec's ridings.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
The Charter's other 'notwithstanding' clause
The January/February issue of The Atlantic contains a telling letter (on page 28) from a Canadian reader who suggests she was shocked when she read, in a November article by Emily Bazelon, a reference to Canada's having laws that "limit free speech." The reader, Sharon Coulter Nichol, seeks elaboration, and concludes, "I would not like to continue to voice my opinions so openly if I am contravening legal statutes."
Whether or not Nichol is being sarcastic in her final declaration is not known. But what is apparent is that she was truly surprised at Bazelon's assessment of the status of speech rights in this country. I suspect a great many somnambulent Canadians would be similarly taken aback.
Here is Bazelon's factually-correct answer to Nichol's letter:
'Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms treats as "fundamental" the rights to free speech and freedom of the press. But the charter makes these rights subject to "such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society." In other words, Canadian free-speech rights have a built-in check.
In some contexts the country’s courts have interpreted the charter to allow for more suppression of speech than American law permits. In 1990 Canada’s supreme court upheld a law barring hate speech. In 1992 the court adopted a relatively broad definition of obscenity, including material that exploits sex in a "degrading or dehumanizing" manner.
And in 2002 a lower court outraged some civil libertarians by finding a man guilty of violating Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Code after he placed an advertisement in a local newspaper. The ad was for a bumper sticker. It cited (without quoting) biblical passages that condemn some homosexual acts and showed two male stick figures holding hands, standing in a circle with a slash through it.'
The latter case involves Hugh Owens, to whom I have just now talked, seeking an update on his case. He says the province's appeal court heard an appeal of the ruling against him several months ago, and he's still awaiting a decision.
Uh, yeah, right.
So the word "heil" on the screen, as in "heil Hitler", was a typo on a CBC story about Stephen Harper. Yeah, right.
Dark Days or Much Needed Light Shed on the Situation?
Hamas has won a clear victory in the Palestinian elections:
Hours after unofficial results indicated Hamas' clear victory in the Palestinian elections, Hamas supporters poured into the Palestinian parliament amid clashes with Fatah loyalists.
The Hamas supporters then raised the Hamas flag over the building.
My initial reaction is horror. And yes, it's horrifying. However, since democratic elections let us know what the people want, it is now clear what the majority of Palestinians want. So I hope Israel keeps that barrier up, and maybe makes it longer. And I hope the rest of the world gets a clue (but I won't hold my breath).
This should make the Israeli elections even more interesting and vital -- for voters, candidates and those of us watching.
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
"The beast is on the leash and at some point it will want to be freed from that leash," says Egale Canada's executive director Gilles Marchildon. Can you guess who he's talking about? The answer is here.
Harping on Harper
From the Calgary Herald:
Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore has accused the oil industry of financially backing the Tories and their "ultra-conservative leader" to protect its stake in Alberta's lucrative oilsands.
Canadians, Gore said, should vigilantly keep watch over prime minister-designate Stephen Harper because he has a pro-oil agenda and wants to pull out of the Kyoto accord -- an international agreement to combat climate change.
So Albert Gore wants his fans in the eco-movement to maintian vigilant watch on the "ultra-conservative leader". Being an amateur study of classical mythology, I could not help but be reminded of figures from Greek mythology who were also tasked to maintain a watchful eye.
They were the Harpies, grotesque creatures that merge man and beast, in this case, a hideous woman's head and torso with the wings and lower half of a vicious bird.
Funny how so many of the awful creatures in classical Greek mythology were beings that were as humans that had somehow lost too much of their humanity to nature.
But back to the Harpies.
Their job? To punish Phineas by maintaining a watch over him as he was forced to sit in front of a mouth-watering buffet. When Phineas would reach for the food, a Harpy would sweep in and steal it away, befouling the plate with its own waste.
Seems appropos to me. Ever notice how liberals befoul any discussion of importance, any attempt at rational debate, any attempt to weigh the pros and cons of a decision with serious consequences, with their own verbal waste? Whether it Al Gore labeling Stephen Harper as an "ultra-conservative", or Paul Martin insisting that Stephen Harper will be a pawn of George W Bush, or the cruder works of leftist bloggers and their fans tossing out the Nazi label, the result is always the same.
The sumptious banquet of honest debate is ruined beyond recovery. Like poor Phineas, surrounded by screeching Harpies, we are left wondering what it would have been like.
Set your VCRs – Joe Clark on CTV February 4th
The other day someone on the Shotgun was inquiring, perhaps only rhetorically, as to the whereabouts of the Right Hon. Charles Joseph Clark, last seen endorsing the Martin Liberals in the lead-up to the 2004 federal election.
I believe the comments thread on the Shotgun were inconclusive, but according to Shinan Govani in the National Post today [subscription required], Joe is scheduled to appear with fellow Right Honourables Brian Mulroney, John Turner and Kim Campbell on something called “The Next Great Prime Minister” on February 4th. Turns out that, when you scratch the surface, the contest is yet another thinly-disguised attempt by the Magnauts to insinuate themselves into Canadian politics. Sorry, “make a difference,” I should say.
Govani helpfully notes that Kim Campbell may be in for a bit of an on-air egging, based on her December prognostication that Harper didn’t have a hope of becoming PM:
As it turned out, she was just asking for it when, back in December, she openly opined that Harper had no chance of getting elected. Speaking at a seminar at the London School of Economics, the Right Honourable-ness told students: "Their [the Conservative party's] positions are too socially conservative, I think, to form a government in Canada ... People may like their fiscal policies but they're frightened by their social conservatism ..."
I hope someone sticks it to Joe too, based on this nugget from William Johnson’s biography of Harper, which reminds us of Joe’s unique talent for combining bravado with obtuseness:
Just before Harper won the [Canadian Alliance] leadership, Clark had said “As for Stephen Harper, if you want to form a debating club, go with Stephen. They will be exciting, wonderful debates, but they won’t elect anyone.”
Breaking Down The Ontario Vote
Let's take a closer look at what happened in Ontario on election night. On the whole the Liberals took 54 seats, the Tories 40, and the NDP 12. The Liberals dropped from nearly 45% of the vote in the 2004 election to 39%, the Tories only climbed marginally to 35%, and the NDP took 19%. One short analysis is that a buncha social conservatives just joined the CPC Ontario caucus. Good. Another is that the Liberals have largely been isolated to the GTA and that Toronto is shut out from power. Voter turnout was 73% in Ottawa and the Tories did very well in Eastern Ontario.
I'm going to riff off my article "How The Liberals Will Lose Ontario", written three and a half months ago, to see how the 27 vulnerable Liberal ridings I identified turned out, my predictions are in italics. All vote breakdowns and riding profiles from the very excellent CBC Canada Votes 2006 website.
Beaches-East York: Maria Minna vs. Marilyn Churley vs. Green leader Jim Harris. Give Minna the edge here but this will be a good fight.
Minna took it down by a comfortable margin. But WTF is up with Green Party leader Jim Harris only winning 6% here? There are lots of enviroweenies in this riding; a piece of tofu could run for the Greens here and get 6%.
Maria Minna LIB 20675 40.36% X
Marilyn Churley NDP 17943 35.02%
Peter Conroy CON 9235 18.03%
Jim Harris GRN 3107 6.06%
Barrie: Lib incumbent Aileen "Too Rye Aye" Carroll won by only 1200 votes in 2004 and is vulnerable to colourful CPC retread candidate Patrick Brown.
I’m glad Brown won here but if he ever puts out another Liberal/progressive style press release like this I'd start looking for another candidate.
Patrick Brown CON 23999 41.86% X
Aileen Carroll LIB22476 39.2%
Peter Bursztyn NDP 6984 12.18%
Etobicoke-Lakeshore: Incumbent Jean Augustine may retire, Tory support is relatively strong here for a 416 riding.
Torture Boy ended up winning by nearly 5000 votes. I suppose this is good in that he will be an endless source of amusement to those of us to find him a pseud.
Michael Ignatieff LIB 24641 43.88% X
John Capobianco CON 19651 34.99%
Liam McHugh-Russell NDP 8710 15.51%
Parkdale-High Park: Looks like Lib incumbent Sarmite (Sam) Bulte will be defeated by Dipper Peggy Nash.
Thank goodness Ms. Copyright Nazi didn’t get re-elected, welcome to Ottawa, Peggy Nash!
Peggy Nash NDP 20690 40.31% X
Sarmite Sam Bulte LIB 18489 36.02%
Jurij Klufas CON 8767 17.08%
Chatham-Kent-Essex: The Tories lost this one by only 400 votes in 2004; paint it blue.
I am especially happy to see DVK win large here, he’s a good social conservative. We – the people who still have a shred of moral decency - are behind you 100%, old chap.
Dave Van Kesteren CON 20818 42.88% X
Jim Comiskey LIB15131 31.17%
Kathleen Kevany NDP 10865 22.38%
Kenora: This rural riding was a 3 way race last time and could go any way. Not a safe Liberal seat in any case.
It did turn out to be a true 3 way race but the bad guys won:
R oger Valley LIB 9465 35.47% X
Bill Brown CON 8429 31.59%
Susan Barclay NDP 8109 30.39%
Nickel Belt: Lib incumbent Ray Bonin seems to be popular here, but this is union country and The Dippers are my favourites here. Paint it orange.
Turns out he was more popular than I thought. Here is CBC’s take on this riding: “The riding has a strong francophone presence. In the 2001 census, 43 per cent listed French as their mother tongue. More than two per cent of the population are aboriginal. Natural resources, especially mining, play an important part in the economy. Average family income is $60,237 and unemployment is a high 10 per cent.“
Raymond Bonin LIB 19775 43.14% X
Claude Gravelle NDP 17668 38.55%
Margaret Schwartzentruber CON 5822 12.7%
Nipissing-Timiskaming: Paint this one Blue; a great opportinity for the CPC to pick up a seat in Mike Harris country.
Whoops, I missed this one too. I’m sorry to see Chirico emerge nonvictorous here. As some have pointed out, Harris vote does not equal CPC vote and the CPC needs to figure out why that is and fix it. Rota must be one hell of an MP, that’s all I gotta say.
Anthony Rota LIB 21393 44.69% X
Peter Chirico CON 16511 34.49%
Dave Fluri NDP 8268 17.27%
Ottawa Orleans: Former Liberal Royal Galipeau is running for the CPC this time; carpetbagging Anglo Walter Robinson nearly won this fairly french riding for the CPC last time.
This is a sweet win for the CPC, I mean really sweet. Long story short: if Royal doesn’t bring home the bacon to a riding that can fairly be described as neglected for two decades then this riding goes back to Red.
Royal Galipeau CON 25414 41.04% X
Marc Godbout LIB 24215 39.11%
Mark Andrew Leahy NDP 9339 15.08%
Ottawa South: Former Tory MP Barry Turner is running against Dalton's little brother. Give the edge to the Liberals, but don't be surprised if Gorbachev buddy Turner pulls a rabbit out of his ass here.
I’m disappointed as hell about this. I hope the CPC can find good use for a good man, Allan Cutler, who knows a thing or two about the public service. Those McGuinty boys are ferocious campaigners.
David McGuinty LIB 27162 44.15% X
Allan Cutler CON 23038 37.45%
Henri Sader NDP 81381 3.23%
Ottawa West-Nepean: Johnny Baird is going to paint this one blue, book it.
Consider it booked:
John Baird CON 25607 43.13% X
Lee Farnworth LIB 20244 34.09%
Marlene Rivier NDP 9569 16.12%
Neil Adair GRN 2932 4.94%
John Pacheco IND 905 1.52%
A good portion of those 905 votes won by marriage advocate John Pacheco would’ve gone Tory under different circumstances, and Farnworth did surprisingly well against such a high profile candidate. Baird needs to perform or this riding could go back to the Liberals.
St. Catharines: CPC candidate Rick "Lenny" Dykstra has a good chance to knock off Liberal incumbent "Walt Lastewka" as there appears to be a good Tory base here.
This ranks with Ottawa-Orleans as the sweetest of CPC wins in Ontario and it came down to 244 votes.
Rick Dykstra CON 2166837.46% X
Walt Lastewka LIB21424 37.04%
Jeff Burch NDP11849 20.48%
Whitby-Oshawa: Jim Flaherty has a good chance to take this one from Lib incumbent "Judi Longfield."
Welcome to Ottawa, Jim! This will drive the statists nuts.
Jim Flaherty CON 29293 43.86% X
Judi Longfield LIB 25882 38.75%
Maret Sadem-Thompson NDP 8720 13.06%
Glengarry-Prescott-Russell: Don Boudria is gone, though I think the Libs may pull this one out.
Holy moley! I did not think the Tories would win this one. Lt. Col (ret.) Pierre is a good social conservative, good family man, and a professional engineer; future cabinet material? I’d like to see him there.
Pierre Lemieux CON 22996 41.59% X
René Berthiaume LIB 22786 41.21%
Jo-Ann Fennessey NDP 7010 12.68%
Northumberland-Quinte West: Libs won this very rural riding by only 300 votes last time, paint it Blue.
Yes! Norlock The Narc is in the house! Rick is a retired cop, a democrat, a social conservative, and somebody I’m happy to see in parliament representing George Hees country. The CPC defence policy and guarantees to CFB Trenton sealed this one, I think. In reviewing the Liberals MPs I found Paul Macklin was one of the better ones, so he can hold his head high.
Rick Norlock CON 25841 41.27% X
Paul Macklin LIB 22563 36.04%
Russ Christianson NDP 11265 17.99%
squeeze Olivia Chow only lost this by 800 votes last time to former
Black Sabbath guitarist Tommy Iommi. NDP candidate is undeclared at
this point, but go ahead and paint this one orange.
Notice the high voter turnout:
Olivia Chow NDP 28753 46.02% X
Tony Ianno LIB 25086 40.15%
Sam Goldstein CON 5629 9.01%
Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale: A rematch of the last election which saw Liberal Russ Powers get 21935 votes to David Sweet's 19135. It won't take much of a swing for this to go Tory.
And it didn’t. My Canada includes Christians, particularly ones with morals, so I’m especially happy to see David Sweet win here.
David Sweet CON 24523 39.12% X
Russ Powers LIB 21630 34.5%
Gordon Guyatt NDP 13359 21.31%
Burlington: Another rematch, this one between Lib Paddy Torsney (27423) and CPC Mike Wallace (23389). Libs are probably a slight favourite, but the CPC needs only a small swing to win this one.
Attaboy, Mike! According to the CBC riding profile “The economy is highly dependent on manufacturing industries. Many residents commute to Toronto or Hamilton to work.”
Mike Wallace CON 27984 43.09% X
Paddy Torsney LIB 25414 39.13%
David Laird NDP 8081 12.44%
Halton: Garth Turner takes this one, book it.
This one was close, but the crafty hardworking pro took it. I wonder if the 4026 Green voters know that Mr. Turner is on the Board of Directors of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund?
Garth Turner CON 30578 44.18% X
Gary Carr LIB 28498 41.17%
Anwar Naqvi NDP 6110 8.83%
Kyle Grice GRN 4026 5.82%
Hamilton East-Stoney Creek: Tony Valeri won this by less than a thousand votes last time out. Dipper support seems strong here and this riding is a good opportunity for the NDP to pick up a seat.
Given that Valeri only lost by 400 seats here give some credit to the bloggers.
Wayne Marston NDP 19271 35.87% X
Tony Valeri LIB 18878 35.13%
Frank Rukavina CON 13578 25.27%
Hamilton Mountain: Another Hamilton riding the Libs won by less than a thousand votes. Incumbent Beth Phinney isn't running, this one is up for grabs.
And the NDP grabbed it, though I’m surprised the Tories did relatively well here.
Chris Charlton NDP 21869 37.33% X
Bill Kelly LIB18697 31.92%
Don Graves CON 15915 27.17%
When The Pope drops new science I suggest reading it straight from the Vatican website. Consider the following conflicting (and in some cases misleading) headlines:
Pope writes: Sex without love deceives
Pope: Church must influence political leaders (note: this headline is simply false; the Pope said the exact opposite.)
Pope defends marriage while eschewing politics (he actually avoided the marriage debate in this encyclical.)
Pope: Church must help the poor
Church must fight injustice through charity, pope writes
The point being that people of varying degrees of cognitive capabilities from a broad spectrum of morality will interpret the Pope's message in different ways. His message is too important to be filtered through the media. Without further adieu, fresh Pope:
"3. That love between man and woman which is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings, was called eros by the ancient Greeks. Let us note straight away that the Greek Old Testament uses the word eros only twice, while the New Testament does not use it at all: of the three Greek words for love, eros, philia (the love of friendship) and agape, New Testament writers prefer the last, which occurs rather infrequently in Greek usage. As for the term philia,
the love of friendship, it is used with added depth of meaning in Saint
John's Gospel in order to express the relationship between Jesus and
The tendency to avoid the word eros, together with the new vision of love expressed through the word agape, clearly point to something new and distinct about the Christian understanding of love. In the critique of Christianity which began with the Enlightenment and grew progressively more radical, this new element was seen as something thoroughly negative. According to Friedrich Nietzsche, Christianity had poisoned eros, which for its part, while not completely succumbing, gradually degenerated into vice.
Here the German philosopher was expressing a widely-held perception: doesn't the Church, with all her commandments and prohibitions, turn to bitterness the most precious thing in life? Doesn't she blow the whistle just when the joy which is the Creator's gift offers us a happiness which is itself a certain foretaste of the Divine?
4. But is this the case? Did Christianity really destroy eros? Let us take a look at the pre- Christian world..."
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Memo to Tribune officers
"Shoving liberalism down your readers' throats is not a good business straetgy."
Stupidity in a bottle
The most recent bureaucratic gut-shot happened just two days before the restaurant's Jan. 18 opening. A representative from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (the body that oversees the regulation of liquor licences) deemed Le Sélect's wine collection unsellable.
The problem, the partners learned, was that all alcohol owned by a restaurant needs to have been purchased with an active liquor licence. But its 12,000-bottle cellar had been purchased under the Queen St. liquor licence, not the new Wellington one. To sell wine purchased with a defunct licence, according to the law, is essentially bootlegging.
The AGCO said this could be remedied by packing up the wine, shipping it to the LCBO, selling it to the LCBO, buying it back again under the new licence, and shipping it back to the Wellington St. cellar.
"Our concern is that we don't want someone bringing in wine to a licensed establishment that may have been made in someone's cellar or an illegal manufacturing operation," says [AGCO spokesperson Av] Campion. "That's our public safety and consumer protection measure."
And they accomplish that goal by forcing a respected 30-year-old restaurant to account for its entire wine cellar. When it moves. If it had stayed on Queen Street, after all, there would have been zero chance of the proprietors fermenting grape juice behind a radiator and siphoning it into Château Latour bottles. This is bureaucracy run so amok that it sounds like it should be an urban legend.
And I realize this isn't quite the same thing as my endless grievances with the LCBO, but it is certainly indicative of this province's criminally weird attitude towards alcohol. (From Jacob Richler's article on the same subject: " 'she [the AGCO inspector] kept referring to it as "liquor," ' says [Le Sélect proprietor] Mr. Geisweiller, with a distaste that can only be successfully communicated with a French accent.")
Oh, and I love this:
He [Av Campion] believes this dispute can be solved if Le Sélect and the LCBO work together to account for the older vintages.
Or, Av, if that is your real name, you could just bugger off and leave these good people alone.
(Cross-posted to Tart Cider.)
Liberal leadership race
Taking stock of Stock
The China Support Network through China eLobby wades into Canadian politics again with: Advice to Mr. Harper: Stockwell Day for Foreign Minister. The upshot is that the view most Canadians have of Day is pretty much frozen in time and does not take into account the esteem he has gained in his critic's post:
Most Canadians, including many Conservatives, might be surprised to read that, since Day was best known for his admittedly sub-par performance as leader of the Canadian Alliance from 2000 to 2002. However, since 2002, he has served ably as the CA/Conservative Foreign Affairs critic. In fact, he has become one of the most knowledgeable and eloquent Canadians on the horrific tyranny that is the Chinese Communist Party, as he showed in a speech given last year at the University of Toronto (which I now recommend for the fourth time at least).
A Jan. 23 editorial in The Panama News is asking questions about alleged Oil-for-Food briber Tongsun Park. They want to know why Park was headed to Panama and did it have anything to do with the expansion of the canal:
...some good investigative work by La Prensa journalists Mónica Palm and Betty Brannan Jaén has uncovered the fact that Vice President Samuel Lewis Navarro and Panama Canal administrator Alberto Alemán Zubieta did indeed meet in Korea with Tongsun Park to discuss the Panama Canal expansion project.
Whether the canal ought to be modernized is one question. Most Panamanians think that it ought to be. But then how to do it, whether we can do it in an economically advantageous manner, and whether we can trust the current Panamanian authorities to do the job without turning it into a ruinous orgy of corruption are also questions that need to be answered...
The editorial also notes that Canadians want to know what Park was doing in Canada.
He was nabbed using an Interpol warrant on a stopover in Mexico while flying from Canada to Panama. From the editorial:
How, why and for how long had he been in Canada? Many Canadian voters want to know, given that elections are coming there and their country’s embattled Prime Minister Paul Martin also happens to be a shareholder in one of Park’s companies.
I have tried to find out what Canadian airport Park departed from but so far have been unsuccessful--spent a morning trying to reach--and then talking to--authorities at the international airport in Mexico City and got the real run-around. The FBI and the prosecutor's office for the Southern District of New York have clammed up on the matter as well.
The company referred to in the editorial--Cordex Petroleum Inc.--was run by Kenneth Strong, son of Canadian Maurice Strong, special advisor to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. Park took nearly $1 million of Saddam Hussein's money and handed it over to Maurice, who then used the money to discharge an obligation to a Cordex shareholder. Considering Tongsun Park's past and reputation (Koreagate, lobbyist for Panamanian general Noriega, etc.) a lot of people have wondered why Maurice Strong would get himself involved with the Korean.
I have written a piece for the Western Standard on the arrest of Park. For that article I read through parts of Gifts of Deceit: Sun Myung Moon, Tongsun Park and the Koreagate Scandal. The book was published in 1980 so of course there was no answer to the question about why Strong would associate with Park. But the book did provide an answer to another question; what type of people did Park like to hang out with? In the chapter titled "Tongsun and His Congressmen" (page 105) it refers to New Jersey congressman Neil Gallagher:
However, Tongsun said his first meeting with Gallagher was a kind of "love at first sight." Gallagher had a basic view of reality that Tongsun liked: he could be bought.
This cannot stand
Louisiana-style vote-counting in Saskatchewan.
The machinery of forming a government officially kicks into gear
Why Tories Rocked Quebec
"The French guys were always on a higher level, on a different level; don't ask me why, that's the way it was" - The Right Honourable Martin Brian Mulroney.
One plausible theory which explains why the CPC did so well in Quebec is that their media is less negatively predisposed towards the Conservatives. For the record, I think the english Canadian mainstream media is rancid, worse than in many developing nations. I suspect virtually all Canadians outside of Quebec just don't have a clue what's happening there, primarily due to the language barrier, which would explain why we were all so wrong in predicting the outcome.
Pas grande chose. The good news is that there is a good chunk of Canada with 75 seats where the media doesn't appear to be hostile to the Tories. Imagine if next election Harper were to take even half of those seats. What say you, old chap?
The best Canadian anti-statist work I've ever seen is "The Barbarian Invasions" by Denys Arcand. Which, of course, was funded by not only the Canadian government but also the French government. No matter; it is still a masterpiece, a damning indictiment of nihilsm and statism, and the first sequel ever to win the Best Foreign Language Film Award at the Oscars. I wonder how well this film resonated with the Quebec people but if it is any indication of le zeitgeist Québécois then this bodes well for the Tories.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
It appears that in their haste to return reports on the Canadian election to an eagerly awaiting German public, some writers and commentators merely translated Liberal press releases.
And, best of all:
Germans are now just as scared as people living in Eglinton-Lawrence, pressing concern for Kyoto and recycling (Gruene Punkt, as the German like to call it) now at risk of diminishing.
On the plus side, this is yet another display of Germans’ terribly comfortable fluency with English.
Iran So Far Away
One of my former students in Istanbul sent me a link to an Asia Times article which seems to indicate that Turkey may be willing to play a role in dealing with Iran:
But as a Muslim (albeit strictly secular), non-Arab country, Turkey can offer Tehran advice in a way that the EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany) can no longer lay claim to. In the event that talks fail, Turkey is the only country in Iran's vicinity on which the US has prepositioned tactical nuclear weapons (an estimated 90) that it could deploy against Iranian facilities.
The veritable who's who of US and Israeli officials who processed through Turkey in recent weeks for consultations may be a reflection of this.
First came US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, followed by Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Robert Mueller. Porter Goss, the new head of the Central Intelligence Agency, also visited, just days before the arrival of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization secretary general, Jaap De Hoop Scheffer.
Finally, Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff Dan Halutz held discussions with the head of the Turkish military, General Hilmi Ozkok, and Turkish President Ahmed Necdet Sezer. The leading left-nationalist daily, the Cumhuriyet, reported that talks centered on how to deal with Iran.
The Turkish Weekly journal claimed further revelations. In a December 27 article it said Halutz had asked permission for training Israeli commandos in Turkey's Bolu and Hakkari mountains. The magazine speculated that the Israeli request had to do with preparations for operations in northwestern Iran's mountainous territory.
Interesting stuff, and a tad bit heartening. Read the whole thing.
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
Mrs. Layton Goes to Ottawa
Those Ignorant Americans
I am looking out the window of my hotel room; it looks vaguely down toward the Texas State Capitol, a very beautiful building...My guess is the spirit of Dubya there has at least a small smile on now, if he cares a wit about the sillinesses of current-day Canada.
This evening, he made this observation:
The Austin American-Statesman...had a front-page story on the Canadian election with a nice picture of Stephen Harper. I found this utterly remarkable - perhaps the smile of the spirit of George Bush infected their newsroom.
A question struck me. Texas has a population over 20 million, so as a political entity is not far off the significance of Canada. Would a diligent reader of The Globe and Mail have any idea who is the governor of Texas? Or have seen his picture on the front page? Of course, Canadians are far better-informed about the rest of the world than Americans.
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).
It's being alleged in that northern Saskatchewan riding formerly held by Jeremy Harrison that there has been, um, bloc voting in three polls such that every last voter registered in those polls voted Liberal.
Story developing . . .
A post-election post
(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).
I've been a LITTLE busy over the past eight weeks with the election. Here are some of my observations and lessons learned . . .
- I said here and here that politics should be about talking policy, not "process" . . . that smart politicians DO strategy, they don't talk about it. Mr. Harper and his team did that with a tightly scripted, policy/issue du jour campaign that told Canadians where Conservatives stood, and offered them a clear choice. As they say in la belle province: Bravo!
- Despite my earlier posts here and here, I observe that Mr. Harper and his team exercised a laudable level of discipline over the impetus to exhibit hubris and to celebrate before the fact. By doing so, they earned the right to govern. Kudos, again;
usual bugaboos to past Reform, Canadian Alliance, and Conservative
campaigns -- BOTH libertarians and social conservatives -- exercised
considerable discipline while pushing their issues forward. Social
conservatives moved the marriage issue forward. Libertarians made
head-way on such issues as the gun registry. Are social conservatives
and libertarians achieving some political maturity? I hope so;
- GOTV. It wins marginal seats. As I put it last
Thursday evening to the volunteers I was training for GOTV, campaigns
that were winning the election in opinion polls, have lost on election
day. By 7:45 p.m. on January 23rd, the GOTV team I had the privilege of
leading got out the vote our campaign had identified a full hour and
three quarters before the polls closed at 9:30 p.m. Kudos to them; and
- GOTV. It wins seats. See above.
And, finally, to my old friends Stephen and Laureen Harper, my sincere congratulations. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your children as you shoulder the responsibilities we Canadians have no right to ask you to take on. May God bless you and keep you.