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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Politics and Facebook

My latest, at the Star -- about politics and Facebook.

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on May 31, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Does the army discriminate against single soldiers?

The Globe's Gloria Galloway reports that when a married soldier dies in action, his family is awarded $250,000; but when a single soldier dies, only the funeral costs are covered. She speaks with the father of one such fallen soldier, who is pretty outraged about what he calls "discrimination of the basis of marital status".

But while $0.00 does sound like a blow, her story doesn't give any time to understanding the obvious logic behind the "discrimination". A single soldier doesn't get a quarter-million dollars for a simple reason: he's single. A married man could have a wife and children who depend on the soldier's income, and $250,000 will be used to compensate for the income they won't receive in future years. The money can help them pay the mortage, get the kids through school, and give some time for mother to make the necessary adjustments.

In normal circumstances, a single soldier doesn't have any dependants. No children to feed, no wife to pay the mortgage. Does it really make sense to give the parents of a 25-year old soldier $250,000?

It's easy to brush this aside and make it seem like the army just isn't being compassionate here, but a spokeman should have been consulted to give the reasons here.

Posted by Patrick McGee on May 31, 2007 in Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

This just in: Whites are racist


It might be news to say that black people need to face their role in racism ... but white people? The whole debate about racism centres around white people, and always has. So thanks Globe and Mail, for your useless story about a book coming out that appears to implicate whites as racist simply because they aren't "coloured".

It's because we're in fact so sensitive to the issue (ie, not racist), that even suggesting others are also racist would be seen as politically incorrect, no matter how many examples can be given.

Posted by Patrick McGee on May 31, 2007 in Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (57) | TrackBack

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Islam, Multiculturalism & West, a lesson from Europe

While browsing the internet for a class project, I came across an interesting article on Islam, European democracy and the role of multiculturalism in western societies by French philosopher Pascal Bruckner:

The Europeans took the wrong path and there are lessons in their experience for all of us here in North America. We must not repeat those mistakes. That's a must, if we really want to save our country, traditions and democratic values that are being constantly threatened by the menace of radical Islam at home and abroad.

Cross-posted

Posted by Winston on May 30, 2007 in Canadian Politics, Religion | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

No idea

For the life of me...I can't come up with an explanation as to why some torture pics make headlines in German media and others don't... Any ideas??

Posted by Rob Huck on May 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

What's good for the goose...

Hot on the heels of the news earlier this week, of an Australian ruling allowing a bar catering to homosexual men to ban heterosexuals, comes this story of a Quebec woman pressing a human-rights complaint against a gay bar that refused to serve her.

Any bets on whether she'll win her case?

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 30, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (35) | TrackBack

He can always defend the cockroaches

Notorious Canadian eco-terrorist Darren Thurston is the latest member of "The Family", an infamous cell of the Earth Liberation Front, to be locked up in the U.S. He'll spend 37 months in prison.

Read the news from Eugene, Oregon (more anarchists per square mile than anywhere in the U.S.!), here.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 30, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

At least we're not alone

As it turns out, Communist China has just as little concern for the folks who use its products inside its country as it has for those outside its country.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 30, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mullah Party

The 12th Imam party in Waterloo, Ontario was cancelled when a group of determined anti-Islamofascist individuals yelled non-stop at the conference organizers, the representative of 12th Imam and the rest of the lunatics.

This is great news but I am surprised why the government of PM Harper let these infamous figures in Canada in the first place. I just don't understand why they did. Any ways, this is great and will be a message to those who want to come to Canada and preach hatred that they're not welcome here.

Cross-posted

Posted by Winston on May 29, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (150) | TrackBack

Communist cadre in charge of food safety sentenced to death (for now) - UPDATED

Former cadre in charge of food safety sentenced to death: Zheng Xiaoyu, the Communist who formerly ran the the State Food and Drug Administration, "was convicted on charges of taking bribes and of dereliction of duty" (BBC) and sentenced to death. The execution, however, could be "reduced to life on appeal." No such reprieve was granted to the victims of the Communist's poisoned exports, which is leading to more calls to curtail imports from Communist China (Epoch Times and National Post). Meanwhile, the Communists are sticking to their traditional modus operandi: good words (Agence France Presse via Yahoo) undermined by bad deeds (Guardian).

Opening paragraph of today's News of the Day post.

UPDATE: We have a new poison sighting - the deadly tetrodoxin.  Kudos to the indefatigable Steve Janke for this, and his trademark directness: "Imports from China have killed, and continue to kill" (emphasis added).

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 29, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Monday, May 28, 2007

Walk and roll

Anyone interested in following the exploits of a some idealistic young folk, who left Vancouver on a cross-country walk last week, can read this useful on-line diary.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 28, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Through the Looking Glass

Bar bans heteros, lesbos:

In Australian hotel popular with gay men has won the right to refuse entry to heterosexuals and lesbians, officials and the owner said Monday.

The Peel Hotel in Melbourne won an exemption from the Equal Opportunity Act to prevent insults and abuse directed toward gays in its bars and nightclubs, owner Tom McFeely told AFP.

"The hotel predominantly markets itself towards homosexual males, towards gay men and we want to protect the integrity of the venue as well as continue to make the men feel comfortable," McFeely said.

"When large numbers of heterosexuals or even lesbians are in the hotel that changes the atmosphere and many gay men can feel uncomfortable."

The landmark decision by a civil tribunal gives the establishment -- which does not offer accommodation -- the right to refuse entry to people considered a threat to the safety and comfort of its patrons.

In other news, civil rights groups sic their lawyers to battle against this blatant act of discrimination.

Posted by Rob Huck on May 28, 2007 | Permalink | TrackBack

Vive Sarkozy

My lastest Face to Face column for the Tri-City News has now been posted, along with the other side of the debate from Mary Woo Sims.

My main point is that I find it hard to believe that radical-feminist Sims is so strongly opposed to Nichaolas Sarkozy's election as president of France. I think the fact, that a majority of French women voted for him over his female rival, indicates that his policies are actually more pro-woman than Sims is able to recognize.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 28, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

It was 20 years ago tomorrow...

Don't expect to see big retrospectives in this week's Vancouver Sun or Vancouver Province on the 20th anniversary of the historic Western Assembly that was held in Vancouver May 29-31, 1987. That's because neither of the city's two dailies even bothered covering the original gathering, which led directly to the founding of the Reform Party of Canada.

Then again, I'm wondering if anyone at all will notice the anniversary. Perhaps Brian Mulroney will.

Anyway, here's an early Happy Anniversary! to all you original Reformers, wherever you may be--whether toiling in a Calgary think tank, grinding out columns from your Edmonton home office, or sitting behind the big desk in the Prime Minister's Office.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 28, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBack

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Global Investment in Iran

A new American Enterprise Institute's project, "Global Investment in Iran: Interactive," documents major world business transactions with the Islamic regime of Iran between 2000 and 2007.

Canada included in the list with 4 major financial transactions, US is also there with 9, China with 27 and France with 66 major transactions. Incredible, isn't it?

Each penny invested in Iran will enable the Islamic regime to live one more day longer and prolongs the misery of milions of enslaved hostages the mullahs have kept inside that country since 1979...

Posted by Winston on May 27, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Can't trust them

I am sure you all have already heard about this ABC News blog report about the US covert operations inside of Iran against the mullahocratic regime...

First of all, I don't trust the mainstream media in the first place and believe they are making up these kinds of stories to wreck the image of America and president Bush at home and abroad. I mean, what the ABC blog says doesn't make sense at all. Why should CIA secrets be leaked at this time when the tensions are so high and increasing? Moreover, it sounds just like another fabricated story by a group of ignorant people who have no clue about Iran and the US intentions for that country.

Michael Ledeen has this to say about the phoney ABC report: The Plot

Posted by Winston on May 26, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Friday, May 25, 2007

Pentagon report on Communist Chinese military released

I mention the most alarming particulars here.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 25, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Student-centred education

A teenaged high school student in Miramichi refuses to get off his duff during the playing of O Canada, and so a well-respected, veteran teacher kicks him out of class and won't let him return until he apologizes.

Guess which one of them gets suspended from school? Answer is here.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 25, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (88) | TrackBack

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Get out your chequebooks

Quick -- and no googling now -- who is the chair of the Conservative Canada Fund?

Don't know? Well, if you're a past or current member of the Canadian Alliance or the Conservative Party of Canada, you're about to find out that the answer is "Irving R. Gerstein," because Mr. Gerstein is in the process of sending an "Election Readiness Alert", by email, to all the aforementioned conservative Canadians.

The email, which is soliciting donations to boost party coffers, ends with this declaration: "We are in a campaign readiness status right now. There could be an election very soon."

A summer election? Nah, it couldn't possibly be true.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 24, 2007 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink | Comments (46) | TrackBack

Is Justin Trudeau a sock puppet for the Paul Martin faction in the Liberal Party looking to come in from the cold?

I find it interesting that Justin Trudeau's contribution to the Liberal Party Renewal Commission appears to have been ghost-written by an Earnscliffe/Veraxis/Gandalf employee. It is doubly interesting that the report bearing Justin Trudeau's name has determined that Canadians want to go back to activist government. Is that a subtle reference to a Paul Martin legacy of universal childcare and same-sex marriage and Kyoto enforcement and such? Does this suggest that Justin Trudeau is being used by ex-Martinites to surreptitiously inject their influence back into the party?

Justin Trudeau is a bit long in the tooth to be considered a youth, but that didn't stop the Liberals from assigning him to write the report on Youth and Civil Engagement for the Renewal Commission after the Liberal Party loss in 2006.  As revealed by Terry O'Neill for the Western Standard, Trudeau didn't actually write the report:

The Task Force on Youth and Civil Engagement was one of several such study groups the Liberal party established in an attempt to "renew" itself, following its defeat by the Conservatives in January 2006. Two things are immediately evident about the task force's interim report, made public late last year. First, despite his name being on its cover page, Trudeau was not actually its primary author; a reader has to turn to the inside to discover the report's "lead writers" were actually two other individuals, Chris Holcroft and Danielle Kotras. Exactly how much work Trudeau did on the report is unclear.

Danielle Kotras is an employee at the Gandalf Group (formerly Veraxis, formerly Earnscliffe).  Gandalf is David Herle's operation, Herle being the campaign chair for the Liberal Party during the 2006 election.  One of the consequences of that election was the Renewal Commission for which Kotras seems to have contributed so much (but with Justin Trudeau in the limelight).

One of the findings of that report was to have determined via interviews with young Canadians (polling being the prime business of the Gandalf Group) that young Canadians wanted a return to "activist government".

So a report with Justin Trudeau's not inconsiderable name on it, but written by an employee of a firm that has strong ties with the Martin faction of the Liberal Party, concludes that young Canadians want big government with big spending and big programs.

Do you think Justin Trudeau was being used by Martinites as a way of injecting themselves into the Liberal Party debate despite being relegated to the wilderness after the election loss of 2006?

[For a full post including more cross references, go to Angry in the Great White North]

Posted by Steve Janke on May 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Communist China becomes more agressive with nuclear weapons

The Communist military is shifting its nuclear strategy - from deterent to use in battle against Americans - according to a new report I mention today.  Not to cause undue alarm (then again, no alarm could possibly be "undue" here), but when the Iranian mullahcracy's closest ally is growing more comfortable with Americans being nuked . . .

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 24, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Two Stories

Two recent stories: One at Righthinker, about taxpayer-funded nonsense, and one at the Calgary Herald about, er, something else.

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on May 23, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Campbell to be pilliored by progressives?

Premier Gordon Campbell said Wednesday he will never meet with the anti-Olympic protesters who trashed government offices in Vancouver.

But what if a CTV-Globe poll finds that two-thirds of Canadians want him to negotiate (see "The question is the question," below)?

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 23, 2007 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Keeping those B.C. murals

My weekly debate with Mary Woo Sims has now been posted on the Tri-City News' website. Our topic this week centres on those controversial murals at the B.C. Legislature.

Surprisingly, Mary Woo agrees with me that the murals should remain in place. But at that point we diverge. She argues that the murals could to serve as an educational tool, reminding people, she suggests, of the horrors of Western imperialism, etc. I, on the other hand, advance what I think is a more sensible reason for keeping the murals in place.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 23, 2007 in Aboriginal Issues | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

The question is the question

small dead animals:

Charles Adler: Canadians are telling his firm that they think that it's a good idea to negotiate with Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents as a way to end the violence. this poll was conducted for CTV and the Globe&Mail and there was almost two to one support....

[...]

I know some people would object to the question, but let me ask the question anyways - does everyone know who the Taliban is? [...] Were any of the people participating in this poll told that the Taliban have been known to chop people's heads off?

Tim Wollstencroft, Strategic Counsel: That would be ..ah ah.. that would be provactive and would probably be viewed as a biased question.

CA: My guess is that it would be informative, you see my guess is that if Canadians knew that the Taliban engaged in this kind of thing, they would think they're not the kinds of people who you can negotiate with.

TW: ah ...that might be that these are tough guys, but in the end these people are going to have to be talked to or dealt with in a diplomatic manner.

CA: You're saying you the pollster have decided that's what ought to be done and then you ask the question, is that the point?

Ouch.



UPDATE: More here.

Posted by Rob Huck on May 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

What went wrong

In light of the results of the Manitoban election, I can now safely say that words are a meal for red wine.  In the meantime, the beginning of the Manitoba PC post-mortem must address this point by Tom Brodbeck (Winnipeg Sun): "Incredibly, the Tories completely ignored the Crocus Investment Fund scandal."

"Incredibly" is right.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 23, 2007 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

They just don't get it

Is the Bush Administration really holding talks with Communist China on trade policy without mentioning poisoned food, cough medicine, and toothpaste?  That's what appears to be happening down here.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 23, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

The Globies Media Bias Award!

Is there no media bias this week, people? I'm sure there is!

As you read it on the web, submit the most bias journalism to www.globies.ca and be sure to vote on the other articles as well!

Posted by Patrick McGee on May 23, 2007 in Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Good morning, Kandahar

A fairly regimented media day here at the base in Kandahar, but not for general reporters; media pool stuff mostly, so I got a chance to wander around after the PM gave his speech this morning, do a bit of shopping. The local hats are really cheap. The traditional roll-up like this was only five bucks.

Last night before bed, I was speaking informally with a young soldier from Kingston outside the tents. He’s with a communications unit and getting ready to go back after a six-month tour, his third, if I remember correctly. I asked his opinion about troop morale (someone has scrawled “Take this job and shove it!” on the entrance to the tent where I had been billeted, not a great sign). Pretty good, he said, though he qualified his answer by adding that morale is really high with his unit because they’re getting ready to go back. A few of his colleagues stopped by and much of the conversation then turned to whether they would make it back in time for any of the Stanley Cup finals—inconclusive, maybe, if it goes to seven games.

What surprised and impressed me about this young guy was how level-headed and realistic he was regarding the overall mission here in Afghanistan. Without prompting, he put it in context of other long missions Canadians have accomplished, Bosnia, Cyprus, etc. He didn’t sound like he was just regurgitating stuff he’d been told.

Harper_address1_2 As for the PM’s speech this morning, here’s a pic just to give you a general idea of the circumstance: you’ll be hearing clips on the TV news no doubt this evening. Here is the text as it was given to me. Download speech_to_troops_final.doc

The speech was delivered at 8:15 AM to about 300 troops gathered in an outdoor asphalt hockey area in a corner of what is known around here as “the boardwalk,” a large wooden walking area surrounding about a quarter section--most of the middle is used for games (American troops were playing tag football there this morning). On the outside edge of the boardwalk are trailers housing fast food joints, like Pizza Hut and Burger King. Right by the hockey area is a Tim Horton’s, and it was from the Tim Horton’s that the PM entered to give his speech.

Harper_hockey_ball_2 Just after delivering his talk, Harper presented a street hockey ball to a corporal. I have a rather nice pic of that, so here it is. And after the hockey interlude, the PM mingled with the troops, posing for photos with various groups. I’ll toss in a shot I managed to click off in an unguarded moment during that photo-op session simply because I love pictures like this--where you photograph a group and only one person notices you are taking the picture, in this case the pretty blonde soldier, and you the photographer don’t notice them noticing you until you see the picture later.Harper_posing_with_troops

Lots of other cool stuff happening that I can’t write about at the moment, but should be able to discuss in full later. I can say we had a couple really good briefings this morning, including one from the Provincial Reconstruction Team management. As an aside, I should mention it was critical here for the media that the Canadian ambassador, bureaucrats from CIDA, military personnel and RCMP all sat at one table, spoke on the record and took questions. Yesterday at the palace, there was a bit of a verbal tussle between the Canadian media and the Conservative politicos about getting bureaucrats (in that particular case, from CIDA) to talk on the record and take questions. It wasn’t so much that the Conservatives didn’t want the CIDA bureaucrat to talk directly to us as it was the bureaucrat herself. Today that whole issue seemed to be resolved, somewhat at least, in favour of the media and as a result with all these people going on the record and answering questions, it should make it a little easier for us journos to explain what it is Canada is actually doing around here with regards to redevelopment.

Posted by Kevin Steel on May 23, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We've made the fish gay

Obviously this explains the prevalence of gay marriage, metrosexuals, and Colin & Justin.

Back in the summer of 2001, a team of Canadian and U.S. researchers spiked a lake in Northwestern Ontario with traces of synthetic estrogen used in human birth control pills. They then repeated the unusual treatment for the next two years and sat back and watched what happened to minnows living in the lake.

The results were nothing short of frightening. Exposing fish to tiny doses of the active ingredient in the pill, amounts little more than a whiff of estrogen, started turning male fish into females. Instead of sperm, they started developing eggs. Instead of looking like males, they became indistinguishable from females. Within a year of exposure, the minnow population began to crash. Within a few years, the fish, which at one time teemed in the lake, had practically vanished.

Ok, but what do these fish have to do with Colin & Justin, you ask? Fair question. It seems that the test samples of estrogen were meant to mimic the type and quantity of estrogen that makes it through waste water purification. Which means I - on the Pill - take a piss. It gets cleansed and purified, and your son drinks it. Next thing you know he's talking about his feelings, writing poetry, and making moon-eyes at the boy next door.

It's not known what effect, if any, human exposure to estrogen in drinking water might have, although Dr. Kidd said it is an area that should be a research priority. Reproductive problems in human males, such as declining sperm counts and testicular cancer, have been rising in recent decades, and the causes are not known.

"When we see these kinds of responses in fish, it raises a red flag for what these compounds are doing to humans," she said.

Dear God, what have we done? We take the Pill to avoid having children, and it emasculates our men to virtually ensure that we'll never have children. Obviously I can't cast the first stone here, but I definitely think it's worth further study.

Posted by RightGirl on May 22, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Cyril and the walkers

Kevin Steel may be in Afghanistan (see below), but another Western Standard writer is on a bit of an adventure of his own this summer. Cyril Doll has taken a leave of absence to lead some college and university students on a cross-Canada walk in support of the pro-life cause.

The trek was originally supposed to begin May 19 in Vancouver, but it apparently didn't start until today. On Saturday, though, two young pro-lifers, Etienne O'Toole, 20, of Coquitlam, B.C., and Jeremy Fraser, 21, of High River, Alta., led a small group of well-wishers on a promotional walk around a section of the Stanley Park sea wall in Vancouver. (My wife and I attended and hoped to give Cyril our best wishes, but he was at the airport picking up a fellow walker.)

Cyril, Etienne, Jeremy and others are scheduled to finish their trek in Ottawa on August 11. Yes, it's not truly cross-Canada, but the walk's destination is appropriate.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 22, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

We're on the road with the PM

For understandable security reasons, we haven't been able to tell readers until now that, over the weekend, we'd flown Western Standard Senior Writer Kevin Steel from his home in B.C. to Ottawa, where he joined the small media group accompanying Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his staff on the PM's secret visit to Afghanistan.

Kevin has now filed his first report on the trip, below. And he'll write a complete story about the trip for an upcoming edition of the Western Standard.

Although Mr. Harper said he wasn't making the trip "because of the polls," I'm betting the visit will surely boost the PM's rating among core Conservative voters who might have been sliding away because of the Tory government's ongoing rush to the political centre. Harper's principled foreign policy and pro-Canadian Forces stance is one of his biggest strengths, and he is wise to play it up.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 22, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Hello from Kandahar

Kandahar1 Here’s a pic of PM Harper getting off the plane in Kandahar. It’s not the best and I apologize for the quality. I was running about trying to get a good shot over the shoulders of the media pool cameras. There’ll be better ones coming in a few moments when my colleagues from CBC, CTV, CP, Globe, etc. manage to get their stuff in. They’re busy working around me in the media tent here at the base.

Mostly they’ll be reporting on the press conference we all attended in Kabul around 1 PM local time at the Afghan palace. There President Hamid Karzai and Harper, after meeting together for about an hour, came out to speak to the local and Canadian media. You’ve no doubt heard the news already because a few members of the Canadian media managed to file from the palace grounds, moments after the media embargo was lifted. No new policy announcements from the PM. We were given a progress report on development in this land torn up by 30 years of war and strife.

I’m not sure how it will all come out. We’ve been up and on the move since 2 AM—it’s now 7:30 PM local—and only moments ago we discovered the coffee in the mess tent. Analysis might be light. After the press conference, I asked one of my colleagues if he noticed much that was new because I didn’t. He said it was significant that Karzai sent his personal guarantee to the Canadian people that there was no torturing of prisoners in his country. Actually, he prefaced that remark by saying he there was some doubt about whether those who were making torture claims were even in the custody of Afghani authorities. He also pointed out that the whole purpose of his government is to eliminate tactics like torture, which have been used by previous Afghani governments to brutalize his people. The issue of torture seemed to be a big one among my colleagues and why not--if it bleeds, it leads, and in the 24 hour news cycle, even if it says it bleeds, it leads. But I must confess it is not that big a deal for me. Just about every terrorism expert will tell you that all terrorist operatives are all taught to claim torture. I don’t believe we should be dismissive of all torture claims, but a high degree of skepticism is in order when dealing with the enemy. As I pointed out in my story about Maher Arar, there are protocols established to investigate torture claims.

A couple of interesting side notes. Mid-day, before we went to the palace, we stopped at the Canadian embassy. Turns out the World Bank is right next door; I mean, right next door—they share a wall. As one embassy official put it, “We can just jump over the fence and go talk to them.” The UN and the IMF are across the street. The American embassy is a few blocks away. I found the proximity of the Canadian Embassy to these international bodies interesting, no doubt more than symbolic.

The other interesting note; an embassy official told me that suicide bombing is a morning phenomenon. It usually occurs between 8 AM and 10 AM, though there haven't been very many lately. As we drove through Kabul in a motorcade of heavy bullet proof van (borrowed from the Americans, as were the drivers of these vans), the official and the media guys around me were speculating as to why. Probably because it’s a task you don’t want to be thinking about all day—“today I’m going to die.” That’s sounded plausible to me, but I didn’t say what I was thinking, what you no doubt are thinking now; here in Afghanistan we’re eight and a half hours ahead of North America. A morning bombing here will probably make the evening news back in Canada.

I'll try to get a post in tomorrow. Right now I'm exhausted. Actually, I must commend the members of the Canadian media who go on these grueling junkets to bring you the news and the pictures from abroad. It's difficult work.

Posted by Kevin Steel on May 22, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Guangxi Province in open revolt against forced abortions

Scroll down today's post - past the FDA fingering Communist China as the biggest contaminator of exports and the accounts of torture by North Korean refugees captured and sent back by Communist China - to read about farmers and peasants in Guangxi who have had enough of forced abortions and the other outrages of Communist China's hideous "one child" policy.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 22, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bitching 'bout boxing

The TV hosts and reporters display the requisite fretting, gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands, but -- really -- this "helmet boxing" stuff looks like a pretty safe way for teenaged boys to blow off a little steam. In fact, put 'em on skates, and you'll see virtually the same thing hundreds of times every weekend in Canada.

Anyway, it's certainly better than knife fights among 13- and 14-year-olds.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 21, 2007 in Sports | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

The brave new world of lighting includes . . . mercury poisoning?

So Queen's Park and 24 Sussex want Canadians to move put the old light bulbs in the past and enter the wonderful age of compact fluorescent lightbulbs.  After all, the CFLs bring efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction, and a much greater risk of mercury poisoning if you accidentally break the bulb(Washington Times via Rightside VA):

The DEP (ed. note: Department of Environmental Protection) sent a specialist to Mrs. Bridges' house to test for mercury contamination. The specialist found mercury levels in the bedroom in excess of 6 times the state's "safe" level for mercury contamination of 300 billionths of a gram per cubic meter.

. . .

Given that there are about 4 billion lightbulb sockets in American households, we're looking at the possibility of creating billions of hazardous wastes sites like the Bridges' bedroom. Usually, environmentalists want hazardous materials out of, not in, our homes.

Yikes!

Of course, we must include the usual hypocrisy that goes with all things "green":

Greenpeace also recommends CFLs, while simultaneously bemoaning contamination caused by a mercury thermometer factory in India. But where are mercury-containing CFLs made? Not in the U.S., under strict environmental regulation but in India and China, where environmental standards are virtually nonexistent.

Talk about your inconvenient truths!

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 21, 2007 in Canadian Politics, Canadian Provincial Politics, International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (26) | TrackBack

PACOM: Spirit of Cooperation

As part of my PACOM series (other posts here and here), I'd like to introduce you to Major Paul Young, of the Canadian Air Force. That's right folks, there's a Canuck on Oahu, and he isn't just there to golf.

He stands apart from his American counterparts, with his darker green digitized uniform (apparently the basis for much teasing from his paler-green desk mates), soft-featured, friendly face and spectacles. Originally from the Maritimes, Major Young had been based in Winnipeg for the longest time before becoming part of the exchange program, moving his family to Oahu (there are worse postings to have to convince your wife of, I'm sure). There are currently 12 Canadians in various parts of the US Military machine (Canada offers just one spot for an American - currently vacant).

The exchange gives our Canadian soldiers an opportunity to work with bigger machines, better toys, and - in the case of Major Young, who works in Logistics - larger amounts of money and personnel. When I asked him, not totally understanding his role there, what he worked on, he said "American things. I work for the US Military. I don't sit at that desk working on anything Canadian." It's actually a very strange working relationship, since he will sit in his little cubicle, next to the Americans; together they will discuss various problems and solutions throughout the day, yet he is restricted from accessing certain areas of the very computer programs and databases he's meant to be working on. He is, after all, a foreign national.

Unfortunately I was only able to spend a few minutes with Major Young, but I could see he was happy with his role at PACOM. When I spoke with LTC Upson, who works with Major Young, he had only good things to say. Major Young is a well liked and respected colleague - one of their own.

Posted by RightGirl on May 21, 2007 in Military | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Everything you thought you knew about American politics has been wrong since Thursday

Last Thursday evening, President George W. Bush had his Brian Mulroney moment: he alienated his base like no North American politician I have seen since the former PM blew up his own political coalition.

I really don't know how the comprehensive immigration "compromise" looks from outside the United States, but down here, the die-hard, true-blue (well, true-red, but that's another story), rock-ribbed Republicans are furious at Bush over this.  The measures to ensure a secure border and crackdown on illegal immigrants are full of loopholes that are nowhere to be found in the measure making it easier for said illegals to legalize themselves.  Given that a similar political deal in 1986 led to amnesty for illegals without any move on the enforcement front, the Republicans are in a very foul mood these days.

Now, don't expect a Reform equivalent to pop up down here.  The 2008 presidential race is in full swing, and it looks like half the field of Republican candidates has come out against the plan.  In fact, it's not even a guarantee this will become law.

That said, if I were Stephen Harper, I would take note.  I am not nearly as disappointed as many Canadian conservatives appear to be with Harper (in large part because as an American I obviously have a different order of priorities, and Harper has largely been good on what matters to me most), but the wholesale abandonment of the President by his previously staunchest supporters should teach Harper two very important lessons: 1) Just because voters will agree with you on Afghanistan doesn't necessarily mean they'll stick with you through thick and thin (most, if not all, of the angriest Republicans are one with the President on our equivalent issue - Iraq), and 2) Never, ever, take the base for granted.  Again, I'm not quite sure Harper has done that yet (what he faces in Parliament is unprecedented for any PM, minority or majority, but I'll get to that point later), but he needs to be careful.  Even if Canadian conservatives don't take the Reform-redux option, they may look at our 2008 race and go for the Canadian equivalent - a leadership challenge.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 21, 2007 in Canadian Politics, International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

12th Imam coming to Canada

Persian language news outlet "Iran Press News" has reported that University of Waterloo has invited the radical Iranian cleric Ayatollah Mesbah, who is known for his radical views, for a lecture on the subject of dialogue between Islam & Christianity from 27th to 30th of May 2007.  Ayatollah Mesbah is one of the supporters of the idealogy of bringing back the 12th Shia Imam thru maximum violence across the globe.

Toronto Star has more on this:

I am not really surprised after all that I have seen here in Canadian universities, especially at University of Waterloo, but if the government of PM Harper issues entry visas for these people, then I will be really surprised. It must not happen!

Cross-posted

Posted by Winston on May 21, 2007 in Current Affairs, Religion | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack

Talibanization of Pakistan?

As reported, here, and from a correspondent in Pakistan, unedited:

About 500 Pakistani Christians in Charsadda, a town in the North  West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, received letters earlier  this month by pro-Taliban militants, telling them to close their  churches and convert to Islam by May 20, 2007 or face violence and be  the target of "bomb explosions." Several Christians, a tiny minority  in the predominantly Muslim country, have fled town and others are  living in fear. Police is not taking the threat seriously. Police  says someone is joking with us by writing these letters. The  local Christian leaders said "They have deployed only two policemen at  our churches ... this is the kind of security we are getting now."  The provincial government, which is controlled by a coalition  of pro-Taliban religious parties, would bear blame for attacks after  the deadline.

Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and other religious minorities  make up about 3 percent of Pakistan's 170 million residents. Most live  peacefully alongside the Muslim majority, although the groups have been  targeted repeatedly in attacks blamed on extremists since the country  allied itself with the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001,  attacks. Islamic radicals trying to impose Taliban-style social edicts  in northwestern Pakistan are growing bolder, bombing shops selling Western  films, threatening barbers for trimming beards and warning hotels to remove  televisions from guest rooms. The government is doing too little to counter  the "Talibanization" of growing swaths of the country. We have urged Muslim  religious scholars to condemn the threats and have asked the federal  government should take "concrete steps to provide protection" to Christians.

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on May 21, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Busy weekend over at the China e-Lobby

We have a new contributor (Curry Kenworthy), a mention in the WS (thanks to Cyril Doll), and an excellent piece by Willy Lam highlighting the internal crisis in the Chinese Communist Party.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 21, 2007 in Canadian Politics, International Affairs, Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Conclusion

Back from a short trip to Europe and I've written a summarized conclusion of what I saw and heard there. There are great lessons in Europe for North America and we should not repeat their mistakes.

Europe is the sad example of letting "Liberals" running the place for far too long. Let's not follow their path...

Posted by Winston on May 20, 2007 in Current Affairs, Religion, Travel, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bring Sohail Qureshi Home

Members of Calgary’s Muslim community are calling on the Canadian government to bring home the alleged Canadian Taliban from Afghanistan to face a possible trial here. Sohail Qureshi was captured in Kabul last week and there is already a growing tide of impatience in Calgary’s 60,000 strong Muslim community or at least from the chair of the Muslim Council of Calgary - Nagah Hage.

I agree, after intelligence is done with him to find out what the hell he was doing over there in the first place and if he is connected with the jihad movement to possibly kill Canadian soldiers then he should be brought back to face trial here. If not, put him back on his bus in Kabul.

In regards to the idea that Sohail Qureshi’s expedition overseas has cast a shadow over Calgary’s Muslim community Nagah Hage is slightly defensive:

“It happened, so big deal … it doesn’t mean the faith has to be hijacked. …”

It actually is a big deal and if the allegations prove out Nagah Hage should take note that maybe his faith has been hijacked and he should know better.

After 1,000 pro-Palestinian demonstrators–”angry and chanting,” according to the Calgary Sun–”surged” towards the Harry Hays federal building and then the U.S. Consulate April 5, march organizer Nagah Hage pleaded with them. “Islam means peace,” he said. But “Islam” does not mean “peace,” and it was reported that the mob chanted “Death to the Jews.”

In addition, his own Imam (featured by the media as pleading with Sohail not to go Jihading) and anti-terrorism counselor, Alaa Elsayed is on record as referring to Israel’s attack against the terrrorist regime Hezbollah as a junior Holocaust and a new-age genocide (#).

It is a big deal.

(c/p Dust my Broom)

Posted by Darcey on May 19, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (59) | TrackBack

Mr. Bateman is learning quickly. Unfortunately.

I like Jordan Bateman. He's a first-term Langley Township municipal councillor out here in B.C. and his blog, Langley Politics, offers very thoughtful commentary on municipal and regional issues. Yet, a recent column, which he turned into a post on his blog,  shows that Mr. Bateman may be picking up a bad mindset shared by many politicians.

Mr. Bateman notes that municipal governments are having to fund more and more services as Canada's population grows. Municipal governments, moreover, have to primarily rely on property taxes and Mr. Bateman well knows that taxpayers are extremely sensitive to property tax increases.

Mr. Bateman's solution...

(which he shares at http://www.langleypolitics.com/2007/05/save-our-cities.html)

...is to have the federal government dole out large chunks of its budget surplus to  local governments.  It's  a easy  solution,  but  the wrong one.

It would be far better to have massive federal tax cuts and then have the provinces and municipalities increase taxes and user fees as needed. Otherwise, if we merely redirect the federal surplus, you will have municipal politicians  looking like they can wave a magic wand and provide goods and services, while the bad old federal government keeps taxes unnecessarily high. Irresponsible spending might thrive.

If municipal governments had to raise enough money to directly pay for the goods and services they provide, taxpayers might gradually become open to private enterprise solutions to local needs and  problems. The prospect of this should make usually conservative local  politicians, such as Mr. Bateman, smile.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on May 19, 2007 in Municipal Politics | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Pope's real message

The mainstream media's coverage of Pope Benedict's observations on economic issues, made during his recent trip to Brazil, were spectacularly wrong in their reports that the pontiff had condemned capitalism, according to Fr. Robert Sirico, the brilliant free-market economist and moralist who heads the Acton Institute. Rather, Fr. Sirico suggests the pontiff was condemning any world view that put materialism at its centre, and, as Fr. Sirico points out, the Pope had especially harsh words for socialism, which he said "produces economic and ecological destruction."

You can read Fr. Sirico's op-ed on the subject, published in today's Wall Street Journal, here.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 18, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Trudeau can run (for office) but he can't hide

I'm pleased to see the National Post taking Justin Trudeau to task today over the neo-Marxist platitudes he's continuing to spread. What saddens me is that Trudeau has gotten away with spewing just such idiocy for too long now, without being challenged.

In reporting for the recent cover story that I wrote on Trudeau, I  had fully intended to ask him some tough questions about his ideas on the economy, wealth creation and the role of government. But the little Trud cancelled a promised interview at the last minute, saying he had been advised by his handlers to stick to riding-level issues for the time being.

How convenient: out of politics the year previous, he was given a free pass by the news media; then, once declaring his intention to seek a nomination, he gave himself a free pass.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 18, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack

The court of public opinion

Peter Worthington's assessment, in today's Toronto Sun, of the case against Conrad Black, now that David Radler's testimony has concluded, is typically to the point: "So far, the prosecution has fallen on its face -- not necessarily its fault, but it has no case."

But perhaps the most interesting part of the column is Worthington's reporting on what the great celebrity-court-observer himself, Dominick Dunne, had to say on CNN about the talents of a certain Canadian lawyer.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 18, 2007 in Media | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBack

Taxi Driver II

Does it have to get stranger and more mysterious? Does this give the Laval Police an excuse to shut down any investigation of the deaths of Wright and Kraynak? Pittsburgh Herald Standard: Possible figure in Kraynak probe found dead in apparent suicide:

According to Natalie Lorrain, a constable at the Laval Police Department, investigators are not certain it was the same cab driver, but officials are exploring several leads in the suicide which point toward that conclusion.

. . . The suicide appears to be linked to the deaths of Mark Kraynak, 23, of Uniontown and Steven Wright, 20, of Guernville, Calif., in August 2005.

Background WS November 14, 2005 - Dancing with death. See also this blog Oct. 4, 2005, Taxi Driver

Posted by Kevin Steel on May 18, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, May 17, 2007

110,000 abortions per year in Canada

The Globe reported today that teen pregnancies are down and abortions are declining; it was a decent article, but the last line caught me off guard:
"In Canada, there are about 330,000 lives birth each year, and about 110,000 abortions."

I admit, I had no idea the numbers were so high. I mean, that's fully one-quarter of all potential births in Canada!

Personally I take Giuliani's position on abortion -- that's its disgusting and I would never even consider it in my own peronsal life, nor recommend it as an option, but the government shouldn't intervene -- but c'mon, people, if you're pro-choice, can you start making the "choice" to have your baby and stop making the rest of us look so bad?

Posted by Patrick McGee on May 17, 2007 in Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (97) | TrackBack

This just in: Benedict XVI is Catholic!

Enroute to Brazil, Benedict XVI was asked whether or not he supported the bishops of Mexico's refusing communion to elected officials who support abortion.  Benedict's pointing out that this is consistent Canon Law touched off "a firestorm" of controversy.  The Mexican legislators had voted to make abortion legal (HT:  Paul Tuns).

The "firestorm" has even singed the Canadian body politic, with Christina Blizzard's congratulating Premier Dalton McGuinty's response to Benedict's upholding Canon Law, here:

"I have a different constituency than does the Pope," McGuinty said when asked in a scrum about the Pope's statement last week.

"I am responsible for representing all kinds of people from all kinds of different backgrounds, different faiths, different cultures, different traditions," he said.

Absolutely. And in a multi-faith, multicultural province such as this, the very notion that a politician should have to check with the Vatican before making a pronouncement is scary.

And the Pope's threat -- and that's just what it is -- means that Catholics in this country would have to excuse themselves from public life. While we don't have the same separation of church and state that there is in the U.S. Constitution, it is a fairly well established tradition here that the church does not meddle in the politics of the nation. Well, it doesn't meddle much.

It is, frankly, shocking, the Pope would make such a provocative statement in this day and age.

What place does a medieval organization like the Vatican have in a modern multicultural society? What the Pope is actually proposing is that politicians be elected along religious rather than political lines. And that's pure poppycock.

A Catholic politician may not personally support abortion for themselves or their family. But you can't impose that view on public policy, which affects people of all faiths.

What's next? Will the Pope also excommunicate Catholic politicians in jurisdictions that allow gay marriage?

Now, I'm not Catholic, er, "Roman Catholic," as we Protestants are wont to say.  But it strikes me that Blizzard is criticizing Benedict XVI for daring to insist that Catholic politicians be, well, "Catholic."  That they act according to Canon Law if they are to avoid disqualifying themselves under Canon Law from receiving communion.

But let's push Mr. McGuinty's analysis which Ms. Blizzard has so blithely adopted as her own . . . (For more of "This just in," go to Burkean Canuck, here).

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on May 17, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (41) | TrackBack