The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Good news and bad news on taxes
The good news...
570 News is reporting that CCRA (they’re still calling it Revenue Canada) has extended the deadline for online tax return filings to May 6. But anyone owing money still has to file by (correction: has to submit the money by) midnight tonight to avoid paying penalties.
Now the bad news...
The Fraser Institute is reporting that the total tax bill of the average Canadian family has increased by more than 1,700 per cent since 1961. (You can find this information in Tax Facts 15.) Add the cost of regulatory compliance (12% of GDP) and monetary inflation (currently also at 12% annually) to the mix, and it’s no wonder Canadian families can’t get ahead.
Have libertarians abandoned free trade?
Mike Sturko rolled out another speaker today for the Saturday, May 17th Freedom Fair in Edmonton. Sturko is organizing this non-partisan event to coincide with the Libertarian Party of Canada’s annual convention which takes place primarily on Sunday.
Today it was announced that Prof. Paul Geddes will be presenting on the topic “Have libertarians abandoned free trade?”
Geddes and other libertarians and free market conservatives see opposition to trade agreements as a troubling trend in the libertarian movement. (Republican presidential candidate and libertarian Ron Paul, in particular, is hostile to NAFTA and other trade agreements.)
While free trade agreements come with provisions governing labour, the environment and taxation that compromise national sovereignty and violate the spirit of laissez faire capitalism, Geddes says trade agreements like NAFTA, while flawed, are worth supporting. Why? You’ll have to attend the Freedom Fair to find out.
Holiday Inn Express
10010 – 104 Street
Saturday, May 17, 2008
The event will take place from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM, but Geddes will be speaking from 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM. Admission is only $10 for the day.
Geddes is a leading libertarian activist and regular political candidate in British Columbia. He has been an instructor of economics at Columbia College for twenty five years. He is married with two daughters.
Congress did WHAT?!?!?!
I can't believe I didn't notice this earlier, but the U.S. Congress essentially barred the federal government from using Albertan oil. This is nothing less than a kick in the groin to our best friends in Canada.
I'm appalled and embarrassed.
The geniuses who came up with this are Congressmen Henry Waxman (think David Suzuki with less hair) and Tom Davis (take your typical Red Tory and give him a really weak Dixie drawl).
I don't know how many Albertans are aware of this, but they should be outraged. Rest assured any Canadian who gives these two clowns the rhetorical two-by-four they deserve will be thanked by us Americans.
The CIC's Insulting Offer
Here's the Canadian Islamic Congress' insulting offer to Maclean's.
In exchange for Maclean's publishing a mutually acceptable response to the Steyn article from an agreed upon author, we would be prepared to settle this matter
What garbage. Since when do pressure groups get to select an author and have an article published in someone else's magazine? This is absurd. If they want to publish an article, then they should buy or start their own general-interest magazine. The only proper response to this "offer" is to tell them to go to Hell.
Indeed - the proper response to this offer would be something like the following:
Dear Mr. Jospeh,
I'll leave you to fill in the blank yourself. As I like to say - two words, seven letters.
That's all that these morons deserve. There's no point in attempting to conduct a reasoned discussion with would-be censors. There should be no negotiation, no discussion, no compromise, no niceness. These people don't deserve to be treated with kindness or politeness. When you attempt, as these people have, to strange free expression - especially when you attempt to do so on behalf of those waging war against our civilization - you deserve nothing more than the absolute contempt of free people everywhere.
I believe that it was, by way of Churchill, Alexander the Great who once said that the peoples of Asia were slaves because they had not learned to pronounce the word, "no." I put it to you that, in the age of commissions and commissars, the best defense available to us is the doctrine of (again, fill in the blank) "XXXX You." There's no cause for debate here - because these are issues that free peoples don't have to debate. I am free and will continue to be so for as long as I live, and if you don't like it... Well, you can guess the rest.
Deconstructing polling: Asking the right questions and pricing opinions
Web- and email-based polling has allowed companies like Angus Reid Strategies to pump out timely surveys on current affairs. It’s cheap, fast and likely as accurate as traditional telephone polling, so we can expect to be flooded by survey data on issues like polygamy and the “in-and-out” controversy.
This is great. Polling data is valuable to policy makers and opinion leaders, and interesting to the media and anyone who pays attention to social, political and economic trends.
But readers should always treat polling data with scepticism. (Western Standard readers likely already approach polls with scepticism.) Below are the results of a traditional phone interview poll conducted by pollster Dr. Faron Ellis some time ago. I was an executive with the company at the time and wrote the questions to test a theory: You can get radically different results when the same issue is probed using radically different, but equally fair, language.
Here’s my experiment, never before released, in the form of four survey questions on economic protectionism. In general, I wanted to learn if Canadians were protectionist. In particular, I wanted to know what Canadians might think about anti-dumping duties on Chinese bicycles, which was news at the time.
1. Should Canadian consumers pay more for goods and services in order to protect the profits of Canadian manufacturers?
Less than 20% of respondents support protectionism when consumers would be expected to pay more to protect the profits of Canadian manufacturers. That’s good news for free traders.
2. Should Canadian consumers pay more for goods and services in order to protect Canadian manufacturers against foreign competition?
When you make reference to “foreign competition,” the number of respondents who support protectionism moves from 19% to 28%. (You can call this additional 10% a nationalist or xenophobic demographic depending on your perspective.) But support for protectionism is still under 30%.
3. Should the government of Canada protect Canadian businesses against foreign competition?
When you shift the burden of protectionism from consumers to the government, you get a strong protectionist response. Respondents are saying “I don’t want to pay more to protect Canadian businesses, but the government should.” Of course, when the government takes on this burden, consumers pay a hidden cost through their taxes and higher cost goods and services. There’s a "Public Choice" economic lesson here:
The costs of such inefficient policy are dispersed over all citizens, and therefore unnoticeable to each individual. On the other hand, the benefits are shared by a small special-interest group with a strong incentive to perpetuate the policy by further lobbying. The vast majority of voters will be unaware of the effort due to rational ignorance. Therefore, theorists expect that numerous special interests will be able to successfully lobby for various inefficient policies. In public choice theory, such scenarios of inefficient government policies are referred to as government failure — a term akin to market failure from earlier theoretical welfare economics.
4. Should the government of Canada protect Canadian jobs against foreign competition?
When the question is changed from protecting companies to protecting jobs, you see a 10% increase in the protectionist sentiment, bringing it to almost 70%. How do you protect jobs without protecting the companies that create those jobs?
While each question in this poll measures attitudes toward protectionism, the responses range from strongly anti-protectionist to strongly pro-protectionist depending on the wording of each question.
So what’s the conclusion of my experiment?
First, polls may be an accurate measure of the questions asked, but how the questions are worded has a huge impact on results. (This also reminds us that the words we chose have a huge impact on the effectiveness of our communication. If you want to advocate against protectionism, you’ll have more success reminding consumers that they will ultimately be paying more to protect corporate profits.) On this point, the Penn & Teller: Bullshit! TV show on Showtime took at look at how Republican pollster Frank Luntz “manipulates” polls. (In my mind, Luntz understands polling better than almost anyone in the business. He sees polls primarily as a way to test the impact of political language.)
Second, opinion polling is often meaningless as respondents will support virtually any government “feel good” initiative as long as these initiatives are seen as having no direct costs. The costs, of course, are hidden and widely disperse in the form of taxes and/or slightly higher costs associated with uncompetitive markets. When respondents are asked to pay directly for their positions, they give more honest answers.
So the next time you read a poll, ask yourself if a differently worded question would get an opposite result. Then ask yourself if respondents are being asked to directly internalize the cost of whatever it is they are supporting.
Or you can take Penn & Teller’s advice and just yell “Fuck you, Frank!” every time you see a poll. (Those boys are so zany.)
You can read the complete results of this experimental poll here: Download jmck_polling_economic_protectionism_august_2003.pdf
Oh the irony
Guangdong factory caught making Free Tibet flags.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
The Inevitable End of the Khadr Fiasco
"A smiling Omar Khadr greeted his family today at Toronto's Pearson Airport..."
It's inevitable. Face it. Of course they're going to let him go. Our leaders - and indeed, too many in the United States as well - are moral cowards. They lack the courage to render the final judgement upon the human refuse that is Omar Khadr. He might well be convicted by a military tribunal. But someday a Canadian government will prevail upon the United States to let him go, as every other foreign detainee has been let go. Perhaps not under this government or this Administration - but it will happen. Our leaders are too weak to do what just men must.
Someday - probably sooner rather than later - Omar Khadr will have a Facebook page, just like his brother does. The thought of him as a free man makes me sick to my stomach. If it was up to me, he - and all of his compatriots - would have suffered the fate traditionally accorded to illegal combatants: summary execution on the battlefield. Indeed, if it were really up to me he wouldn't have even been accorded the dignity of that. The terrorists don't take prisoners - and they don't treat the wounded. I see no reason why we should not respond in kind. This war should be fought with no quarter asked for or given. Prisoners, unless they prove willing to collaborate, should be exploited for their intelligence value and then disposed of. But, of course, that is really too much to ask of a culture as weak as ours.
His lawyer is going around Parliament Hill calling for him to be brought to Canada. He's backed by the Opposition in this request. That alone is reason why all of the parties of the opposition are totally unfit to govern any civilized nation. That such effort should, in wartime, be expended in the defense of a terrorist is despicable and disgusting.
If we are to survive, we must purge from ourselves any trace of compassion for such sub-human garbage as this terrorist. We are stepping into a long night of battle and unless we harden ourselves we won't still be here in the morning.
Our Leaders: Bed-Wetting Pansies
How did it ever come to be that we would find ourselves in a position which our government, charged with the defense of the public, would tolerate - for two long years - disruptive and illegal "protests" which cripple a community, as we have seen in Caledonia, Ontario? How did any group of Canadians, even Ontarians, ever find themselves governed by such abject cowards that they refuse even to break off endless (and seemingly pointless) negotiations with criminals who shut down a whole community in order to protest the arrested another criminal?
This is unacceptable. No negotiation is possible with the Indians of Caledonia because there is nothing to negotiate. They have no legal or moral claim to the land. All that they have going for them are the politics of racist extortion. They plainly have nothing better to do with their time. They will wait forever, until the government (actually all of the governments involved) capitulate because, in the end, they always were. No one, in the modern age, has ever lost when they've bet that our leaders are mostly bed-wetting pansies.
Terrorism - for that is what this is - can only be defeated with violence. If the government of Ontario - or the Federal Government for that matter - had any balls they would assemble a force of armed men - either police, military, or whatever - and demand that these terrorists end their despicable practise of using force and coercion in any effort to steal the property of others. And - if they did not immediately disperse - they would open fire on them, as a just God wills.
It won't happen, of course. This country doesn't belong to us anymore. It no longer belongs to the ordinary citizens. It no longer belongs to the people whose roots are here. This is a land under the rule of the elites and the loudest and most menacing fringe interests. The elites, even those who still sympathize with what the nation once was, would never dare to use force in its defense because they know that they would be vilified and quite possibly criminally tried for it. Any ordinary citizen who attempted to exercise their own right to self-defense of themselves and their property would surely be arrested and subjected to abuse by the whole of the nation's press.
Hope? What's that? There's no hope that we can save this country - not so long as we have leaders who are unwilling to use force to defend our basic values. Not so long as we have leaders who refuse even to blush to acknowledge our history and our heritage. The best lack all conviction and the worst are filled with passionate intensity.
Canada post workers may refuse to handle mail to/from Israel in solidarity with terrorists!?!
I think I might go ahead and send a few nice postcards to the IDF HQ in Israel thanking them for taking out the Syrian nukes a few months ago. (Just to make the Canadian Postal workers' union ticked off).
A strategic retreat?
The Canadian Islamic Congress and that notorious "group of law students" are holding a press conference Wednesday morning in Toronto to present some sort of public offer to settle their human-rights beef with Maclean's.
Ha! If I were the editor-publisher of Maclean's (are you reading this, Ken?), I'd reject whatever tail-between-the-legs offer these rascals are serving up, and see the thing through to the end--the better to expose the myriad injustices of human rights commissions.
Fun with words
The Audacity of Hype has more problems with his
spiritual mentor pastor.
To recap, what Obama says now:
He was never my quote unquote, spiritual adviser, my quote unquote spiritual mentor, he was my pastor.
What Obama said last month:
The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Lower, simpler, flatter: The CTF approach to taxes
Majority of Canadians prefer "trip to the dentist" over preparing "income tax return by hand"
• CTF opinion poll also finds taxpayers believe federal income taxes are too high and the tax system is too complicated and unfair
OTTAWA - The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released results today of a public opinion poll in advance of Wednesday's midnight deadline for Canadians to file their 2007 income tax returns. The survey was conducted by Praxicus Public Strategies Inc., among 1,000 Canadian adults 18 years-of-age and older. The results are considered accurate to within +/-3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The results are available below or online: http://www.taxpayer.com/pdf/DentistPollResults2008.pdf
When taxpayers were asked "what would you prefer to do" a majority (52%) of those surveyed responded "take a trip to the dentist" and 42% said "complete your own income tax return by hand." The remaining 6% "don't know/refused."
The CTF-commissioned public opinion survey also found:
• 65% of Canadians say federal personal income tax rates are somewhat too high (33%) or much too high (32%);
• 63% of Canadians believe the federal income tax system is too complicated; and
• 57% of Canadians deem the income tax system somewhat unfair (40%) or very unfair (17%).
"This poll indicates Canadians understand the tax code is too complicated, and the system unfair. They also realize income taxes are too high, indeed Canada has the highest personal income tax burden of any G-7 nation, more than even the French and Italians," said CTF federal director John Williamson. "Even when taxes are cut, governments can impose other kinds of burdens. The Conservatives, for example, enacted a series of boutique tax cuts in the 2006 and 2007 budgets. These changes eased the income tax burden for some, but they require taxpayers to tick the appropriate box on the tax form and collect receipts. Failure to do either means paying more tax, hence the need for professional help and additional tax bureaucrats, not to mention a super-size shoebox for all the paperwork."
Williamson concluded, "The purpose of paying taxes is to fund government programs, not support an army of tax collectors. Canadians are required by law to pay taxes. This obligation should not require citizens to pay a professional to determine how much is owed to the taxman. The Conservative government should reform the tax code and move to two federal income tax rates of 15% and 25% as a way to make the system fairer and less complicated. The system should be lower, simpler and flatter."
The case for a socially conservative culture in the libertarian movement
Dr. Wagner will be speaking on a panel from 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM on “The case for a socially conservative culture in the libertarian movement.” Wagner will look at the Canadian Christian right in the context of Lew Rockwell's famous 1990 article, "The case for paleolibertarianism."
Wagner is the author of Standing on Guard for Thee: The Past, Present, and Future of Canada’s Christian Right. He is a freelance writer and homeschooling father with a BA (Honours) and MA in Political Science from the University of Calgary, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Alberta. He lives in Edmonton with his wife and nine children.
The Freedom Fair is a public event being held at the Holiday Inn Express in Edmonton on 10010 – 104 Street. The event will include presentations throughout the day from prominent academics, journalists and authors from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
Admission for non-Libertarian Party members is $10 and tickets can be purchased at the door.
Could Canada have prevented the recent North Korea debacle?
The reaction to the deal the Bush Administration made with Kim Jong-il continues to grow (and it is still all negative). I have commented before in this space about the possibility of this nonsense being avoided had Mr. Harper had a role in the nuclear talks (Canada is the only northern Pacific nation that was not part of the six-party talks).
Now, this deal basically sand-bagged the Japanese, but for years, Japan was the only nation other than the U.S. that was willing to show any backbone (now, they're the only one). I wonder if, perhaps, Canadian participation would have kept Bush's State Department from being worn down by Beijing, Pyongyang, Moscow, and (until recently) Seoul.
In reality, though, that question was made moot by the election of 2000. Once Jean Chretien won his third term, it was pretty clear Canada and the United States wouldn't be cooperating on much. By the time Chretien left the scene, the six-party format was already in place (and neither North Korea nor Communist China would have been happy adding another U.S. ally - especially after Harper replaced Paul Martin). Had Canada elected the Canadian Alliance, however (remember them?), Bush probably would have felt a lot better about having them at the table - and he would likely be hearing two voices telling him to hang tough, rather than just one.
While there are certainly a bunch of other factors involved (including weakness in the American State Department especially), one has to ask: Could this debacle have been prevented by Prime Minister Stockwell Day?
Monday, April 28, 2008
WS radio: Political Animals and a special, action-packed show
Tune in today at 4pm Eastern time for Political Animals. This is going to be an awesome show. We have three(!) guests lined up, in no particular order:
One: Mark Steyn
We all know and love Mark Steyn, the author of "America Alone: The End of the World as we Know It." Steyn's work is published in so many newspapers and magazines that I'm not even going to try to list them. We're going to talk about the thesis of his book and the state of free speech in Canada. Is liberal democracy willing to defend itself against the forces that oppose it? What will the future look like, in Canada and elsewhere? Is Europe destined to become Eurabia? You'll have to tune in to find out!
Two: Guy Sorman
A former professor of economics, adviser to the Prime Minister of France, and a leading French intellectual, Guy Sorman is the author of "The Empire of Lies: The Truth About China in the 21st Century." An expert on China, the thesis of Sorman's book is that China's success is a mostly an illusion, one based on the brutal suppression of human rights activists and religious leaders. Sorman has spent decades visiting China and speaking with those who have been crushed in China in the name of progress.
As the jacket of his book states, "The Empire of Lies is perhaps the only book on China that lets the Chinese people speak for themselves."
Three: Jason Talley
As the former chief of Bureaucrash and a libertarian activist, Talley is a genuine freedom fighter (he's on the left; check out the t-shirt: you can get one just like it from Bureaucrash!) Along with other activists, he attended the recent "silent dance" at the Jefferson Memorial in celebration of the Founding Father's birthday. During that event, authorities unjustifiably arrested one of the dancers, and since then her cause has been taken up all over the libertarian (and non-libertarian) blogosphere. To learn more about this injustice, listen to Political Animals today, and check out "Free the Jefferson 1", the website Talley and others started to raise awareness of the issue.
As we said, an action-packed show! Please tune in at 4 pm Eastern time to listen. You can listen live, over the Internet, at this link. As always, feel free to phone in and ask questions. The toll-free number is 1-888-7-WBGUFM. You can also email questions to us at email@example.com.
The "holy shit!" moment of my weekend came when reading Mark Steyn's column in the May 5 Maclean's, in which he reveals that the Ontario Human Rights Commission's new mandate (coming into effect July 1) will define a "hate incident" as an act or an omission.
An explanation of this concept is provided on the OHRC website by writer Frances Henry (who, as Steyn points out, "cites the thinking of 'modern neo-Marxist theorists.'"):
"The denial of racism used by so many whites in positions of authority ranging from the supervisor in a work place to the chief of Police and ministers of government must be understood for what it is: an example of White hegemonic power of those considered 'other.'"
In other words, guilty of being white.
Putting on a show
Boycott the Olympics? Boycott the opening ceremonies? Give me a break.
On the other hand, my ever-earnest debating partner at the Tri-City News thinks a little public hand wringing by Canada will send a message to the butchers in Beijing. Right.
Wall Street, Run Amok
The great Ben Stein explains the "heads I win, tails you lose" self-regulation fiasco that is directly linked to the sub-prime mortgage credit crisis.
Bob Rae, the gift that keeps on giving
Rob Anders caused a bit of a stir with his comments on the Communist Olympiad. Now, I happen to agree with Rob, but even those who don't probably felt more sympathetic to him when the Grits brought out their foil for him - Bob Rae (details on reaction here, scroll down to the Canada File).
Never mind that when the Grits spout their "engagement" nonsense, they remind NDP and Bloc voters of an issue on which they are closer to Harper than Dion et al. The mere fact that Ontarians get to be reminded over and over again that Bob Rae - that Bob Rae - is now on the Grits' team is worth more to the Tories than all the "in-and-out" money one could count.
In fact, if I were Harper, I'd zero out the Ontario campaign budget and just talk about foreign policy for the entire 36-day period, to give maximum exposure to Rae.
You know, whenever Rae's boss ever gets around to forcing an election . . .
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Deport This Man, Today
Why is he still here?
While this nation is at war, he posts a banner on his Facebook page encouraging support for the Taliban and al-Qaeda. He says that Osama Bin Laden is a “hero.” He says that the reason that he’s here is because he’s free here to preach the Jihadist creed in a way that he wouldn’t be in most of the Moslem world.
Why is he still here?
The man is of no value to this country. Given that he is unemployed, he is a drain on the Treasury. He is worthless. He is scum. If we were a culture with the self-confidence to do what is morally right we would… Well, I’ll stop there – lest I draw the scrutiny of the self-appointed defenders of the “rights” of our murderous enemies.
If you want to know why I have so little regard for this nation’s government, even under the present Administration, take a look at this man. A nation so degraded, so enervated, that it cannot properly dispose of as odious a “man” as this isn’t worthy of respect. A nation whose people so happily accept such a state of affairs is, in the words of Alexander Hamilton, “prepared for a master – and deserves one.”
So, I’m issuing a challenge to the Immigration Minister, Diane Finley. One that I am hoping that others will pick up and echo: deport this man, today.
I realize that government doesn’t normally move at that pace. But, of course, if can – if the appropriate fire is lit. I am calling on the Immigration Minister – and for that matter the Prime Minister – to make people jump. Go. Arrest this man. Put him on a plane. Send him back to Pakistan. There are other courses of action which would also be morally right and emotionally satisfying, but this one happens to be legal, so I’ll settle for that.
Prove me wrong. Show me that this is still a country. Tell the world that this is something more than an international flop-house for terrorists, criminals, the shiftless, and other assorted miscreants. Honour those who do come here to make better lives by removing from their presence – as well as ours – such a wretched creature.
Not that I believe that they will. As I have said before, this country is too far-gone for that. Even under this, supposedly right-wing government, we don’t have the guts to face down the left. Even if they did summon the courage to do something, he’d probably win in some damned court and be back here in a few years with $25 Million and an apology.
Speaking of odious individuals with a Facebook page, have you ever wondered what happened to Abdulkareem Khadr, the member of the famed Khadr al-Qaeda family who was badly wounded in a shoot-out with Pakistani forces where his father, a senior member of al-Qaeda, was killed?
Yes, for the record, the man I linked to is one and the same. I corresponded with him briefly in the past, before he, if I were to guess, probably Googled my name and guessed that my intentions towards him were other-than-benign. This member of the self-proclaimed al-Qaeda family, wounded while on the other side of the war that we are fighting, would seem to have spent the last few years enjoying the full benefits of my tax dollars – recovering his health through our health care system. He attends Birchmount Park Collegiate in Toronto, where he is scheduled to graduate in a few months. I’ll note that it’s a public school, as well. Given his family’s unique background and that his father is dead, one wonders how they support themselves. It wouldn’t be shocking to find that the boy is a leech on the taxpaying public in a third way as well.
He would seem to have friends. One supposes that they’re ignorant or – given his notoriety it seems difficult to believe that they would be – they, like to many people in this country, view being on the other side as simply another lifestyle choice. I thought about going up and down the list and asking the people if they know that they’re linked with Canada’s al-Qaeda family but, in the end, that would seem to be an empty exercise. In all probability those people are lost just as this country is lost.
If no one in this country could rouse themselves to act against him – and the rest of his family – than Khan is probably perfectly safe. One more step towards all of our graves.
As I have said before, leftism is AIDS for civilization. All of that touchy-feely nonsense, all of those false doctrines – none of them is fatal in and of themselves. Socialism is difficult to counter because, on the surface, the proposals are not directly harmful. But, like HIV/AIDS, leftism attacks the immune system and wrecked the ability of the body to defend itself from what, under normal circumstances, would be minor irritants.
Can this country be saved? Not, I think, without a drastic change. If our leaders – if our Conservative leaders – cannot rise to such a simple and obvious challenge, than how shall we ever save ourselves? We’ll just continue our long process of bleeding out under the Liberals being alternated with the tourniquet of the Conservatives.
Indeed, we lack even the hope of other endangered lands – such as France – that we might, in an hour of supreme emergency, turn back to other, darker traditions. We are already too weak and divided for that. Instead, our hopes must rest upon events – that some event or individual will bring about an awakening in this country which may once again give us the hope of brighter days.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Poll shows majority believe the criminal offence of polygamy trumps freedom of religion
An Angus Reid poll released today shows that a strong majority of Canadians would welcome legal action against the Bountiful, British Columbia polygamous community. The highest levels of support for prosecuting the community came from BC residents, women and older Canadians. Here are the key findings:
» 62% believe the residents of Bountiful should face prosecution because bigamy is a criminal offence in Canada
» 19% think the residents of Bountiful are free to practice their beliefs under the terms of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
In a press release, Angus Reid explains that...
Earlier this month, British Columbia Attorney-General Wally Oppal said he'll decide "soon" what to do about the polygamous community of Bountiful. A report by special prosecutor Leonard Doust recommended referring the issue to the B.C. Court of Appeal, to decide whether Canada's laws restricting polygamy could endure a court challenge on the grounds of religious freedom.
Western Standard blogger Adam T. Yoshida has his own thoughts on this case. Read his post “How long before polygamy (formally) comes to Canada?” here.
UPDATE – April 27, 2008
You can also read Terry O’Neill’s article “Counting on polygamy” from the Western Standard archive. O'Neill asks the question “Will redefining marriage open the door to polygamy?” It looks like we’re getting closer to an answer.
Poll shows 'in-and-out' scandal has hurt Tory credibility
A Toronto Star / Angus Reid poll released today shows “the ongoing dispute between Elections Canada and the Conservative Party has had a negative effect on the current minority administration.”
58 percent of respondents think the so-called “in-and-out” scandal has damaged the credibility of the Conservative government. Here are the key findings:
» 58% think the dispute between Elections Canada and the Conservative Party has damaged the credibility of the Conservative government
» 47% say the Conservative Party won the 2006 federal election in a fair manner
» Respondents are almost evenly split on whether political parties should be allowed to channel funds for advertising from the national campaign to local campaigns
» 52% believe the Conservative government should not resign over this matter
Is the bad international publicity reason enough to call off Canada's seal hunt?
Marni Soupcoff and Michael Coren debate this question in “Face-off: Sealing our fate.” Soupcoff says “yes” and Coren says “no.”
If the seal hunt ever does succumb to political and economic pressure, it won’t just be the sealers who lose. Jamie Tarrant reports for the Western Standard that the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) rakes in roughly US$16 million in annual donations from its anti-sealing campaigns.
In “Seal protest makes a killing,” Cyril Doll also reports for the Western Standard that Canada's $30-million per year seal industry is a great fundraising event for animal rights groups.
If that’s not enough seal hunt news, you can watch sealer Wayne Dickson on YouTube. Dickson pulls no punches as he blames Paul Watson and other anti-seal hunt activists for the deaths of four sealers in the "Tragedy of the L'Acadien II."
Friday, April 25, 2008
Should the U.S. arm rebels in Zimbabwe?
The title of the column is simple and to the point: Arm Zimbabwe's Opposition. Kirchick points out that even after (probably) losing in recent elections, Robert Mugabe, the current president of Zimbabwe, seems unwilling to give up power. Not only is Mugabe trying to rig the election results, but he's also persecuting just about everyone who opposes him.
Kirchick cites a report by Human Rights Watch claiming that Mugabe has constructed "torture camps" for those who support the opposition. According to CNN, farmers are being attacked for not voting for Mugabe in the recent elections. In addition, Mugabe's agricultural reforms have plunged the country into famine.
The Chinese are trying to send weapons to Mugabe and have probably armed him before. At least two shipments of guns, RPGs, and other munitions from China -- the first in South Africa last week, and the second in Angola on Friday -- have been intercepted and will not make it into the hands of Mugabe and his band of thugs.
In his column, Kirchick is not proposing that the U.S. or anyone else invade Zimbabwe, but he does advocate arming the opposition. Is this the kind of thing a libertarian should condone? I try to answer the question myself below the fold.
Libertarians typically think most government expenditure is illegitimate because the government's revenue is taken from people by force. Roads, police, courts, and national defense are sometimes considered legitimate government projects, often because it is believed that these are goods the free market is not able to provide on its own. But, outside these exceptions, libertarians typically hold that there is no moral justification for other government projects and programs.
Thus, for these reasons among others, many libertarians will believe it would simply be illegitimate for the government to arm the opposition in Zimbabwe. I'm going to set that argument aside: not because I think it is a bad argument, but because it provides no specific reason to reject arming the opposition. I can think that everything the government does is bad, while maintaining that some of the things it could do would be worse than others.
Would arming the opposition be especially bad, bad in a way all the other illegitimate stuff the government does is not? Or, in contrast, would arming be the opposition be slightly more acceptable than expanding SCHIP, the state children's health insurance program? What are the relevant variables that make some of what the government does better than some of the other things it does -- even if none of those factors add up to a wholesale justification of the government's activities?
The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal strikes again
According to its website, Kitchener-based Christian Horizons is "Ontario's largest provider of developmental services." The Kitchener-Waterloo Record reports that the evangelical non-profit required its employees to sign a contract promising they would not have homosexual relationships.
When she was first hired by Christian Horizons, Connie Heintz, now 39, signed the contract like all other employees. However, after five years of employment, Heintz discovered she was a lesbian. The Human Rights Tribunal claims that after Christian Horizons found this out, they "required" her to leave the organization. The Record states that she left voluntarily, after negative reactions from other employees and supervisors.
Heintz complained to the Human Rights Tribunal, which ruled just recently that Christian Horizons could not require its employees to sign the statement. According to the Tribunal, "the prohibition on homosexual relationships was not a legitimate job requirement for providing quality care and support to disabled residents."
From the Tribunal's press release:
In addition to awarding Ms. Heintz lost wages, general damages and damages for mental anguish, the decision sets out that Christian Horizons will: no longer require employees to sign a lifestyle and morality statement; develop anti-discrimination policies; provide training to all employees and managers; and review all of its employment policies to ensure that they are in compliance with the Code.
While on the surface this may appear to be another case in which the government is telling a private organization how to run its affairs, the Record claims that Christian Horizons receives $75 million annually from the province.
I suppose this is a question for libertarians, mainly: does the fact that an organization receives public funding give the government greater latitude in regulating that organization's hiring policies? And, if so, to what extent?
Different takes on conservatism
Rebecca Walberg, who works as a policy analyst at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, has an excellent column in the Sun media chain today discussing some of the ideas I put forward in my manifesto, The Trudeau Empire Has Fallen and it Can't Get up.
Status of Women versus Women
There's women's views, and then there's the Status of Women view. It bears repeating that these are not one and the same. If there's one agency that needs to be defunded pronto, it'd be them. I'd argue this by starting simple, with their name. "Status of Women" Whose status? Which women? And we could move on from there.
(cross-posted to ProWomanProLife)
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Action star Wesley Snipes will spend three years in jail for misdemeanour tax charges
Federal prosecutors wanted to make an example of Snipes in looking for the maximum penalty for misdemeanour tax charges.
From 1999 to 2004, Snipes earned $38 million from playing staring roles in movies including the popular Blade series.
Snipes paid no taxes on this money. He claims he got tax advice that he didn’t have to pay. This advice came primarily from tax denier and protester Eddie Ray Kahn.
Kahn is part of the growing tax protest movement in the US that claims either that income tax is unconstitutional or that the 16th Amendment, which grants Congress the power to tax, was never properly ratified. These claims have never held up in court.
A hero in this tax denier movement is the late Aaron Russo. Russo, who died last year, produced a documentary on the subject called America: Freedom to Fascism. He is also advisor emeritus to Jews for Ron Paul.
In the movie series Blade, Snipes plays the character Blade, a half-man, half-vampire superhero who hunts vampires to protect humankind. But it’s one thing to take on fictitious bloodsucking vampires; it’s quite another thing to take on the IRS.
Al & Mike Show Episode 22
We talk about the RCMP raid on Conservative Party HQ, Earth Day, and more on the Human Rights Commissions.
Subscribe to RSS: Click here for podcast RSS feed.
Subscribe in iTunes for your iPod: Click here (Must have iTunes installed)
I wonder if they will thank me?
I don't like to brag.
But I would be remiss if I didn't point out an interesting fact: I am doing a better job of defending Prime Minister Harper over this Elections Canada mess than is the Junior Kindergarten class now operating the Prime Minister's Office.
By contrast, I have been in the media on an almost daily basis: in the National Post, in the Globe and Mail, on Newsworld, on Newsnet, on Global TV and on the radio, hammering home the point that Elections Canada might be carrying out a vendetta to hurt Stephen Harper.
And now, thanks to my almost single-handed efforts, the press is beginning to pick up on this theme.
Oh and if you guys at the PMO are reading this, put down your crayons because I have some free advice for you.
Use this battle with Elections Canada to mobilize your base. Shoot out a letter/email to your supporters explaining how unelected, biased bureaucrats are unfairly using their power to undermine the Prime Minister just so they can settle an old score.
If you need help writing it, just let me know.
And you think Harper's gone soft?
I can understand how so many right-wing Canadians are miffed at the leftward drift of this government. We don't have that problem down here in the good ol' US of A - no worries about our President throwing in the towel to an outlaw regime that was caught just last year trying to help Bashar Assad become a nuclear power.
Oh, wait . . .
. . . never mind.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Iraq - Like Every Other American War
The Wall Street Journal hits on a point that's been rattling around in my head for some time.
But like Lincoln in the Civil War and FDR in World War II, Mr. Bush eventually found the right men and the right strategy in Iraq.
Indeed, this is a recurring pattern in the wars of the English-speaking peoples. As Churchill (Peace Be Upon Him) himself once said:
The late M. Venizelos observed that in all her wars England -- he should have said Britain, of course -- always wins one battle -- the last.
The military establishments which exist in peacetime are ill-suited for war-fighting. They tend to promote bureaucrats and time-servers to the highest ranks. Indeed, the lack of absolute commitment to the war has, in this particular case, impeded the necessary house-cleaning in a number of departments and areas but, in the most critical - the forces in the field in Iraq - it seems to have occurred.
Penis panic in Congo
The Internet is abuzz about a wave of so-called penis panic in Congo.
Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure.
"It's real. Just yesterday here, there was a man who was a victim. We saw. What was left was tiny," said 29-year-old Alain Kalala, who sells phone credits near a Kinshasa police station.
According to the article, the rumors started last week and were quickly spread on talk radio programs.
Call me culturally insensitive, I don't care: there's something kind of funny about the idea of sorcerers going around shrinking men's penises with their magic. But there's nothing funny about the lynchings and deaths that penis panics have caused in the past.
In one of his older colums, Mark Steyn wrote about the significance of penis panics that occurred in Sudan, back in 2003. In that case, evil foreign magicians were stealing the manhoods of Sudanese men just by shaking their hands.
As Steyn is wont to do, he uses the penis panic as a starting point for a broader analysis of world affairs. From the column:
Tales of the vanishing penises ran rampant round the city, spread by cell phones and text messages. Sudan's Attorney General Salah Abu Zayed declared that all complaints about the missing penises would be brought before a special investigative committee, though doctors had determined that the first plaintiff was "perfectly healthy."
It is, in that sense, the perfect emblematic tale of Islamic victimhood: The foreigners have made us impotent! It doesn't matter that the foreigners didn't do anything except shake hands. It doesn't matter whether you are, in fact, impotent. You feel impotent, just as — so we're told — millions of Muslims from Algerian Islamists to the Bali bombers feel "humiliated" by the Palestinian situation. Whether or not there is a rational basis for their sense of humiliation is irrelevant.
Steyn's column is surprisingly harsh (not unreasonably so.) But the overall thesis of the piece is still worth considering:
A handshake-fearing guy with a cell phone is one thing; what happens when the handshake-fearers have cell phones and a suitcase nuke? It's at the intersection of apparently indestructible ancient ignorance and cheap, widely available western technology that the dark imponderables of the future lie.
Alberta budget shows Tories have lost conservative agenda
In its 2008 budget released yesterday, Alberta Finance Minister Iris Evans announced the government will eliminate health care premiums by 2009. Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), Scott Hennig, is applauding this decision:
"Undoubtedly, taxpayers will be pleased to see the hated health care premium eliminated ahead of schedule. The CTF has long campaigned for their elimination and it's certainly satisfying to know Albertans will be saving hundreds and thousands of dollars each year starting in 2009."
(Western Standard readers may recall the discussion with Hennig on this blog about heath care premiums titled “Are health care premiums a ‘good’ tax?”.)
The CTF was less impressed by the government’s spending announcements. Overall spending has increased by 12 percent from the last budget.
“This is now four budgets in a row where the Alberta government has had a double-digit increase in program spending," continued Hennig. "This rate of spending increase is simply not sustainable."
Part of the spending increase included $12 million in additional funding for arts and culture.
The province also committed $100 million to create the Alberta Free Enterprise Corporation. (After releasing a $37 billion annual budget, the largest in Alberta’s history, the Tories announce $100 million in government spending for a free enterprise-focused crown corporation? The Tories may have misplaced their conservative agenda, but not their sense of irony.)
The CTF points out that provincial revenues are growing by only 2 percent.
With this lacklustre budget, Stelmach is wasting his unexpected super-majority. Is anyone surprised?
Good news from Argentina
According to the Cato Institute's blog, a federal court in Argentina just decriminalized the personal consumption of drugs. I can't read the original source article the blog links to, but this sounds like great news.
The court ruled that the punishment of drug users “creates an avalanche of cases targeting consumers without climbing up in the ladder of [drug] trafficking.” Indeed.
Meanwhile, in Venezuela, "Government-set prices have hardly risen since they were introduced in 2003, leading many producers, who are unable to operate at a profit, to close down plants and reduce production levels. This drop in production has led to shortages of many basic food products including milk, eggs, meat, chicken and wheat flour."
Here's a picture of where price controls on food inevitably lead:
Good job, Hugo!
Wheat is the staff of life (and a nice place to poop)
In Pay Dirt, I look at what these high food prices will mean to agri-business. (Things have never looked better for farmers.)
In The Hunger Opportunity, Western Standard blogger Adam Yoshida writes about the global food crisis, and the opportunities it presents.
But despite our comprehensive coverage of global food shortages, we missed something -- kitty litter. If you’re troubled by what Fidel Castro calls the “sinister idea of turning foodstuffs into fuel,” you might be equally troubled by a product that turns food into kitty litter.
Swheat Scoop® cat litter is made from wheat, and is being promoted as an environmentally friendly product.
Environmentally friendly? Where have we heard that before?
Don't get me wrong. I haven't lost my trust in the free market. Swheat Scoop has every right to buy wheat for cat litter. I'll feel better, though, when high food prices realign our priorities when it comes to the uses of food. (Let's just hope global governments don't interfere with this market process.)
Until then, I'm going to teach my cat to use a composting toilet.
Is this Hillary Clinton's only shot?
The short answer is No.
The longer answer is here.
"Just because Anders says it doesn't make it wrong"
Rob Breakenridge says what I've been thinking in the Calgary Herald. I continue to be amazed that the Liberal Party continues to push the "engagement" nonsense, thus ensuring Dippers and Blocquisites have enough reason to stay clear of any future "stop Harper" plans.
Let's face it, voters are clever
I have a column in the Sun Media chain today examining the election laws which are in the news so much thanks to the Stephen Harper -- Elections Canada vendetta.
My point is that these laws which essentially stifle free speech are bad for democracy and should be scrapped.
Crossposted at Making Sense with Nicholls
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Canadian woman 'devastated' by guilty verdict from Mexican judge
570 News is reporting that...
GUADALAJARA, Mexico - Brenda Martin, already distraught over her imprisonment in Mexico, was "devastated" Tuesday when a judge found her guilty of involvement in a scam operated by her former boss, and immediately began making arrangements to be taken to Canada, her lawyer said.
Despite the conviction, everyone from Liberal MP Dan McTeague to Federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney want to see her retuned to Canada and released as quickly as possible.
Who Was that Medal of Honor Winner?
In her speech, Senator Clinton mentioned a Medal of Honor winner’s daughter who gave her a picture of her father accepting the Medal from President Truman, with the winner’s words – in shaky handwriting – encouraging her to go on.
So, that begs the question: who was it?
There are only thirty living winners of the Medal of Honor from World War Two. Some of them are out:
1) Vernon Baker – Didn’t actually receive the Medal until 1997, from President Clinton.
2) Van Barfoot – Received the Medal in the field in 1944.
3) Walter D. Ehlers – Received Medal in 1944.
4) John William Finn – Received the Medal from FDR.
5) Barney F. Hajiro – Received Medal from President Clinton.
6) Daniel Inouye – Democratic U.S. Senator.
7) Alton W. Knappenberger – Received Medal in 1944.
8) Robert D. Maxwell – Awarded medal during Roosevelt Administration.
9) Everett P. Pope – Received Medal from FDR.
10) George T. Sakato – Received Medal from President Clinton in 2000.
11) James E. Swett – Received Medal from FDR.
That leaves nineteen possible contenders:
1) Melvin Biddle – Received the Medal in October of 1945.
2) Mike Colalillo – Received the Medal in early 1946.
3) Charles H. Coolidge – Received the Medal in July of 1945.
4) Francis S. Currey – Received the Medal in August of 1945
5) Michael J. Daly – Received the Medal in September 1945.
6) Russell E. Dunham – Received Medal in 1945.
7) Nathan Green Gordon – Date of Medal unknown (former Lt. Gov. of Arkansas).
8) John D. Hawk – Received Medal in 1945.
9) Arthur J. Jackson – Received Medal in 1945.
10) Jacklyn H. Lucas – Received Medal in 1945.
11) Vernon McGarity – Received Medal in 1946.
12) Charles P. Murray, Jr. – Received Medal in 1945.
13) Robert B. Nett – Received Medal in 1946.
14) Nicholas Oresko – Received Medal in 1945.
15) Wilburn K. Ross – Received Medal in 1945
16) Alejandro R. Ruiz – Received Medal in 1946.
17) George Edward Wahlen –Received Medal in 1945.
18) Paul J. Wiedorfer – Received Medal in 1945.
19) Hershel W. Williams – Received Medal in 1945.
Perhaps someone better placed than I might ask the Clinton campaign which of those men it was? I wonder because she didn’t mention a name. If I was going to guess, the former Democratic Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas is the most obvious choice. But, still, it immediately struck me that she didn’t name whoever it was.
UPDATE: Her exact words:
Not long ago a woman handed me a photograph of her father as a young soldier. He was receiving the Medal of Honor from President Truman at the White House. During World War II, he had risked his life on a daring mission to drive back the enemy and protect his fellow soldiers. In the corner of that photo, in shaky handwriting, this American hero had simply written: "To Hillary Clinton, keep fighting for us." And that is what I'm going to do because America is worth fighting for. You are worth fighting for.
Interesting. Reading it closely, I suppose that might well rule out some of the people I listed - I'm going to look into that. Basically, as I see it, her description would rule out anyone not on the ground.
Will Pennsylvania Be the End? (Hillary Wins - But By How Much?)
I'm going to be sporadically liveblogging the results from Pennsylvania. You can follow them with me here.
Fox has some execrable thing on about how "Millennial" voters are strongly for Obama. This is a phenomenon that is easily explained - being a member of that generation myself: Millennials are, on average, astoundingly stupid and have spent an average of twenty years being indoctrinated in the Soviet-style factory of ideological conformity known as the "public education system."
Of course they love Obama - he represents everything that they've been raised to admire - cowardice, effeminacy, and treason. No wonder I hate the man so. I've spent so many years struggling against this movement that would destroy our civilization. He - and his supporters - represent everything that is evil and wrong with the world. If given the chance to wield power, they would destroy us through their moral weakness.
They are not Barbarians come to destroy - far from it. They are the sons and daughters of luxury who will moan with idle pleasure as the barbarians ride up and over the seventh hill.
Continued below, until I get bored and decide to watch "Boston Legal."
The polls are closed. Fox says too close to call. I think that Hillary wins by six or seven points - but not enough. Not nearly enough.
There are two factors here. First of all, I don't think that Ayers and Bittergate are particularly large factors here with Obama - for leftist Democrats (Obama's base) being associated with terrorists and despising God are a plus.
As well, I'd say that the Democrats must be eager to get this thing over with.
UPDATE: Still no results. Once again, they're reporting that the exit polls and the actual vote totals for Obama don't synch up. The Wilder effect in action, one supposes. It's interesting in this context, as others have mentioned, that McCain consistently does better in the Rasmussen robo-poll than in human-based polls.
UPDATEX2: Fox calls it for Hillary. But, by how much?
Cool heads over hot air
Just in time for Earth Day, more than 76,000 people have now signed an online petition opposing climate alarmism.
And, oh yes, there was frost in Greater Vancouver this morning.
Another Communist killer export
Remember the Communist export scare? Well, it's back, and then some; blood thinner exported from Communist China caused "hundreds of serious adverse reactions and scores of deaths among patients."
UPDATE: I explore this a little further here.
Monday, April 21, 2008
The War on Fun (and ornamental balls)
Maryland Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr. has a bill before the General Assembly to ban the oversized plastic testicles that truckers dangle from the trailer hitches of their pickups.
This a fairly common sight in Alberta.
So what’s next? A ban on gun racks...empty gun racks?
This sounds like another volley in the war on fun, which brings me to our special Western Standard offer. Every donation over $20 made this week to the Western Standard will come with a free copy of Ezra Levant's book The War on Fun.
Thanks in advance for your support.
H/T to Reason magazine
Today on Political Animals
It's that time again. Today Political Animals will talk about (in no particular order):
- Hugo Chavez stealing the sugar
- Barack Obama's chances in PA.
- A Yale art project in which the student repeatedly induced abortions in herself and then filmed the results (ick.)
- The Pope's visit to the United States
- An "anti-feminist bake sale" that took place here in Bowling Green just last week
- An Ohio teacher who got into trouble for keeping a Bible on his desk, and
- Lots and lots of other stuff.
Tune in at 4 pm Eastern time for Political Animals. Live Internet feed for audio is here.
Please call us at 1-888-7WBGUFM to chat and suggest other topics for discussion. Hope to hear from you soon!
The Political Animals
Harper's Red Populist Nationalist Alliance
I have a column published in the "Web Exclusive" comment section of the Globe and Mail today.
In it, I explain how and why Prime Minister Stephen Harper is trying to create a new political coalition, a coalition I like to call the Red Populist Nationalist Alliance.
It's an alliance that has room for everybody, everybody that is except for free market conservatives.
Crossposted at Making Sense with Nicholls
Am I the only person . . .
. . . who thinks David Miller is ridiculous?
Dissenters from the drug war: a 420 tribute
Marijuana legalization rallies and smoke-ins were organized across the globe today to mark this occasion. But since placards, protests and pot are not normally part of my weekend, I thought I would show my personal solidarity by sharing this Western Standard exclusive by Pierre Lemieux.
In "Dissenters from the drug war,” Lemieux writes...
Journalist H.L. Mencken characterized Puritanism as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."
Whether some drugs help or hinder happiness should be for each individual to decide for himself. Nineteenth-century economist and philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, "Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign." Who are the statocrats to decide that alcohol, tobacco, this or that drug, sex, or whatever, is good or bad for me, and to arrest me if I don't agree?
Read the entire article here.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
RCMP raid targeted alleged Tory campaign spending scheme
Tomorrow’s (Monday's) Globe and Mail is reporting that...
The RCMP raid on Conservative headquarters last week was initiated to obtain information related to an alleged scheme to exceed spending limits during the 2006 federal election, documents released yesterday [Sunday] confirm....
“Funds were transferred into and out of each of the bank accounts of the 67 campaigns identified as having participated in the alleged scheme, entirely under the control of and at the direction of officials of the Conservative Fund Canada and/or Conservative Party of Canada,” CTV reported, quoting Mr. Lamothe's affidavit....
[Ronald Lamothe is the assistant chief investigator of the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections.]
Essentially, Mr. Lamothe said, the party was trying to get around the election spending limit of $18,278,278.64 by getting local candidates to pay for national ads – and then asking Elections Canada to reimburse the candidates for those costs.
CTV is also reporting that Conservative Party officials spoke privately Sunday night to a select group of reporters saying “the party did nothing wrong and that they had followed all regulations in election spending” and that “other parties had acted in a similar way during federal elections.”
The only good that can come out of this mess is perhaps a broad realization that campaign finance laws unjustly restrict free political speech and have the real potential to create a whole new class of "paper criminals," to borrow a phrase from Pierre Lemieux.