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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Obama resigns...from church

CNN is reporting that Barack Obama has resigned as a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

Obama is distancing himself from a YouTube video that shows Father Michael Pfleger mocking Hillary Clinton during a sermon at the church.

You can watch the video here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 31, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

The Democrats Count Every Vote

I’m watching the DNC Rules Committee’s hilarious farce of a hearing right now. The Democrats are tearing themselves apart before our very eyes. Right now, the members are listening to a proposal from the Michigan Democrats to… Well, it seems like they want to allocate the Michigan Delegates 69-59 Clinton, a number which they appear to have arrived at through the scientific method of pulling it out of one’s ass. Literally, I’m sitting here watching representatives of one of the supposedly great parties in the land trying to decide who wins by guessing who people might have voted for.

I’m not making this up. At this moment, the people who want to decide the Democratic Nomination are trying to surmise who write-in voters might have voted for, and trying to project results based on exit polls.

Speaking of “counting every vote”, a few other interesting tidbits.

As of now, if you count every single person who went and voted in a Democratic Primary or Caucus, more Democrats have voted for Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama. After all, is said and done, when you count every vote, Hillary Clinton is going to lead the popular vote among all Democrats by, oh, half a million votes or so.

Oh, I know, I know – that’s the rules and all of that. And I don’t have anything against that. But one wonders what happened to all of the Democrats in 2000 who were outraged, outraged at the idea of the person who got the most votes not winning the election. The rules weren’t the rules when they were making up new ways of count the Florida ballots eight years ago.

This is also interesting. Barack Obama, it seems, won his first election by having all of his opponents’ names thrown off of the ballot – with his primary challenger being removed for having some of the names on her nomination petitions printed rather than in cursive writing. And we all know that he won his Senate election by default. He’s winning this nomination here as a result of the bizarre rules of the Democrat Party. Has this man ever won a free and fair election?

Hilarious. These people can’t even run a nomination contest – does anyone really think that they can even marginally-competently run, let alone change, a country?

Remember, if you elect a Democrat as President, a lot of these ass-clowns are going to have actual power. God help us all.

P.S. – Now one of the Obama people is arguing that some percentage of the Clinton vote in Michigan should be counted for Obama or something.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on May 31, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Miller: Pro-life groups told to shut up

Ncln_advert_prolife

The Canadian Federation of Students is supporting York University's York Federation of Students' decision to block club status for pro-life groups. With most students out for the Summer, the YFS has managed to make life harder for pro-life student groups and clubs. The rationale? Pro-life groups are "anti-choice" and sexist.

Johanna Miller, President of the National Campus Life Network--a national pro-life organization--sums up the feelings of many in her opinion piece entitled "Pro-life groups told to shut up."

An excerpt:

"The time has come for Canadians to awaken to the reality of totalitarianism in our midst. Ironically, the CFS claims to represent students of differing ethnicities, creeds, ages, and sex; however, it has taken a stance contrary to tolerance and inclusivity. This recent decision demonstrates that the CFS has adopted a dogma of dictatorship. The Federation has employed rhetoric to defame pro-life students as “anti-choice,” and has made a sweeping motion at a time when students are not at school. This lack of transparency, and obvious restriction of the right to choose to be actively pro-life, is startling and unjust."

Read more...

Posted by westernstandard on May 31, 2008 in Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (34) | TrackBack

Friday, May 30, 2008

Government to launch inquiry into CHRC "investigative techniques"

Ezra Levant is reporting on his blog that...

The Conservative government has introduced a motion to Parliament's Justice Committee proposing an investigation into the abusive, corrupt practises of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The motion specifically refers to public "concerns" about the CHRC's "investigative techniques" and their "interpretation and application" of the section 13 thought crimes provision.

Read his complete post here.

This is a major triumph in the battle for free speech.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Common sense on campus

Memo to censorious left-wing activists: Universities are for teaching not politicallly correct preaching.

"We can only hope that student union officials such as these never become elected members of government, where they may be encouraged to promote legislation outlawing interest groups that don’t fit their narrow conception of the world."

See the full Maclean's online column here.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 30, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Maclean's on corporate welfare?

Check this out.

The Canadian Heritage Publications Assistance Program (PAP) gave Maclean's magazine a little over $3,000,000 in 2006-2007. PAP is designed to "offset the mailing costs of Canadian content magazines and non-daily newspapers mailed within Canada."

Sounds like a straightforward government subsidy program, right?

However, "Magazines or non-daily newspapers are not eligible for postal subsidies if...in the view of the Department of Canadian Heritage, [they] contain material considered to be hate propaganda, sexual exploitation, excessive or gratuitous violence, denigrating to an identifiable group or in any other way offensive."

There is some similarity between this part of PAP's eligibility criteria and Bill C-10, which would deny tax credits to films deemed "offensive" or "contrary to public policy."  As Matthew Johnston has pointed out, the fact that C-10 pertains to tax credits and not subsidies as we normally think of them may be a reason to object to the bill.

That difference does not apply to PAP, which simply hands money over to Maclean's and other magazines (although Maclean's seems to get much more funding from the program than all its other recipients.) Still, I wonder how someone could be for Bill C-10 and against PAP's eligibility criteria.

And, regardless of what we think of the criteria, there is a question about whether Maclean's actually meets it. If Maclean's loses its human rights case(s), if an human rights tribunal rules that it has published hateful and/or offensive material, could it also lose its subsidy?

Or perhaps there is no need to wait for the resolution of  the human rights complaints. Perhaps Maclean's has been offensive enough even now to justify the removal of the PAP subsidy, under that program's criteria.

A certain liberal blogger thinks so and is contacting the government about the matter. More below.

This blogger first brought PAP's subsidization of Maclean's and the program's eligibility criteria to my attention. Now the blogger -- Big City Lib -- is looking into filing a complaint with the Ministry of Heritage in an effort to have the magazine deemed ineligible for the subsidy. The offensive and/or hateful material at the center of his complaint seems to be Maclean's publication of the infamous excerpts from Mark Steyn's book, America Alone.

As Big City Lib put it,

While we might argue all day about whether the Human Rights complaints against Macleans are frivolous or substantial, it seems pretty clear that the magazine is both publishing offensive material and sucking off the tax-payer's titty. While we are all for Free Speech Heroes, we are also all against Corporate Welfare. No?

Well, are we, or are we not? I think this blogger has a point. Shouldn't we support the ending of subsidies to magazines just on principle?

UPDATE: As Terry O'Neill points out in the first comment, the Western Standard received a little over $130,000 in subsidies from PAP as well.

Matthew Johnston's excellent post on Bill C-10 is here. I meant to include a link originally and then forgot to do so.

Posted by Terrence Watson on May 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

Event Notice -- The People’s Republic of China: Foreign Policy Risks and Opportunities

The Canadian Coalition for Democracies (CCD) is hosting a one day symposium called “The People’s Republic of China: Foreign Policy Risks and Opportunities.”

Here are the details:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Room 200, West Block, Parliament Hill

Admission: Free, but space is limited. Media welcome.
Lunch will be provided

To register, email events@CanadianCoalition.com and provide you name and contact for verification at the security desk.

To view the full program, click here.

CCD is pleased to present the following speakers:

Clive Ansley, Lawyer, Human Rights Campaigner, and Past President, Canada China Business Council (Shanghai)

Honorable C. Richard D’Amato, Commissioner and former Chairman, US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (http://www.uscc.gov)

John Fraser, Author, Journalist, and Academic, Principal at Massey College, University of Toronto and Chair, Canadian Journalism Foundation

Alastair Gordon, President, Canadian Coalition for Democracies

Cindy Gu, Publisher, Epoch Times

David Harris, President, Democracy House, Lawyer, and Specialist in Security and Terrorism

Honourable David Kilgour, former MP and Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific

Brian McAdam, former Diplomat; China Specialist

David Van Praagh, Author and Professor of Journalism, Carleton University

John Robson, Author, Columnist Ottawa Citizen, and Commentator, CFRA Radio

Sheng Xue, Chinese Democracy Activist

Dr. Shiyu Zhou, Global Internet Freedom Consortium; Professor, Rutgers University; Exec VP New Tang Dynasty TV 

For more information contact the Canadian Coalition for Democracies at (416) 963-8998 or events@CanadianCoalition.com.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Animal lovers' orgy

Can a chimp be a person? And, if so, what are the consequences? I explore this and more in an op-ed in today's National Post.

UPDATE: I'll be interviewed on this subject at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time Saturday on a legal-issues show on Radio CINQ 102.3 FM. (Cable 88.3, www.radiocentrevile.com) in Montreal.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 30, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Beijing prostitutes--one, Sex in the City characters--zero

Last night I flipped back and forth on television between two things. One, a CBC documentary on the rise of prostitution in Communist China. It’s something Communist nations typically have a stranglehold over—being totalitarian and all--but the Communist regime there is turning a blind eye because of the rising numbers of single men. CBC did not mention this is because of sex selection abortion and the one-child policy.

The program went on to say that these young girls are lured from the rural countryside into the cities, and they know nothing about “safe sex.”

The other program I watched was a “documentary” on how Sex in the City came to be a program. Lots of men talking about how they realized that there had never been a show about women’s attitudes toward sex. And wouldn’t that be so interesting. To have men decide what women’s attitudes on sex are. And how avant-garde it all was, and how they weren’t even sure if they could call it Sex in the City…And could they convince Kim Cattrall? The tension was enormous, as you can imagine.

And I was left thinking two things. One, the women on Sex in the City don’t know anything about safe sex either. But still, the girls in China are one up on them. For at least they are getting paid. The characters in Sex in the City give it all up, over and over—sex, dignity, you name it—for free. Very avant-garde, indeed.

(cross-posted to ProWomanProLife)

Posted by Andrea Mrozek on May 30, 2008 in Film | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

If you thought leaving a briefing book at the ex's apartment was bad . . .

. . . take a look at this.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 30, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Is Bob Barr a threat to John McCain?

Bob_barr_2008 There have been countless articles on newly elected Libertarian Party leader Bob Barr, but there is something uniquely authoritative about the Economist that makes it worth citing:

On May 25th a dysfunctional minor party picked a grumpy ex-Republican as its presidential candidate. This may be just another quirk in the quirky history of the Libertarian Party. But it just might be something more than this: a further sign that the Republican coalition is splintering under John McCain's feet.

Of course, next to the Economist, I trust the insights of Western Standard writers. Read what Marc Emery, Peter Jaworski and Kalim Kassam have said about the Bob Barr.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 29, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Register your discontent with B.C.’s Bill 42

A group of British Columbia unions headed by the BC Federation of Labour have a simple and sleek website called “Just Shut Up BC” which makes it very easy for you to voice your opposition to the new election gag law Bill 42.

In less than two minutes you can send a pre-written or personal message to Attorney-General Wally Oppal, Premier Gordon Campbell, Leader of the Opposition Carole James and your MLA asking them to withdraw Bill 42 here.

Public outcry already led the Liberals to shorten the gag period on third-party spending before elections in their May 27th amendments, but the essence of the bill and its attack on free speech remain unchanged. Amending the bill to soften it is not sufficient, the entire thing must be scrapped.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on May 29, 2008 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Monte Solberg brings home the bacon

Solbergcp10168261What happened to the Tory promise to scrap corporate welfare?

Tomorrow morning Conservative MP Monte Solberg is announcing additional funding for a publicly traded agri-business called Flexible Solutions International (FSI).

The company received a $1 million, zero-interest loan in February for a pilot project facility in Taber, Alberta. The plant will produce a chemical product that enhances agriculture yields. It sounds like a great idea, especially given the recent interest in agriculture investing. In fact, the company had a great first quarter in 2008.

But if things are so good, why the government money?  FSI’s chief executive officer Dan O’Brien says he took advantage of the loan to avoid diluting shareholders with a new stock issuing. It's an honest answer, and a smart move on his part.

But what’s in it for taxpayers? Very little, I'm afraid.

You can read this Western Standard news exclusive here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 29, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another espionage arrest in the US

The probe into a spy ring giving information about US-Taiwan arms deals to the Communists scores another guilty plea.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 29, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Canadians support RCMP probe into Bernier controversy: Poll

Maxime_bernier_3 If someone you cared about left an important document at your house, would you make immediate arrangements to return it?

That’s the question I’d like to ask Canadians in the context of the Maxime Bernier controversy.

Why would Bernier’s girlfriend, Julie Couillard, keep a confidential government document and use it as a weapon to destroy his political career?

Unfortunately, my question wasn’t put to Canadians. Instead, here are the key findings of an Angus Reid poll released today on this matter:

» 57% think an RCMP investigation into the security breach is warranted
» 53% think the Bernier situation raises questions about the Prime Minister’s judgment
» 33% agree with David Emerson's interim appointment; 50% are not sure

You can read the complete poll results here:

Download 2008_05_29_bernier.pdf

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Women's rights versus freedom of speech

In the Post, today, a report about the ban of pro-life groups on campus. Again. Says Gilary Massa, vice-president of the York Federation of Students:

"Is this an issue of free speech? No, this is an issue of women's rights."

Broken record alert: It is no one's right to have an abortion. Abortion is not now, never was a right. The Supreme Court of Canada never said that. And if you take away freedom of speech, you sure don't enhance women's rights. Repeating this is getting tiring, but then again, I'm not the one initiating thought bans at major universities. 

Cross-posted to ProWomanProLife

Posted by Andrea Mrozek on May 29, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (50) | TrackBack

Leave it to Cleavage

Check out a column I wrote for the Toronto Sun where, in the name of political journalism, I take a long look at Julie Couillard's cleavage and explain what it means for the future of our beloved Confederation.

Posted by Gerry Nicholls on May 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What can be done?

A fascinating look into the world of Jihadism from The New York Times of all places.

In summary: this woman, the widow of the murderer of  Ahmed Shah Masood, is one of the most prominent online supporters of al-Qaeda.  She lives off of welfare in Belgium, but has yet to spend a single day in jail in spite of being connected to numerous terrorist plots.

She knows that she has little to fear from the police - and she's right.  And, in any case, as the article points out, if the authorities find a way to put her in prison, she said: “That would be great. They would make me a living martyr.”

She's right.  I don't know what, exactly, a modern court in the West would convict her of and, even if they did, she would be a symbol for the Jihadist movement from prison.  Yet, without any doubt, she's an enemy of our civilization.

So, what can be done about it?  I have a few ideas.  Alas, in this country, voicing them would probably get me dragged before a Human Rights Inquisition.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on May 28, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Canadians welcome Saskatchewan’s proposal to elect Senators: Poll

I don’t share the view that more elected members of parliament will enhance the freedom and prosperity of average Canadians. In fact, in my opinion, the last thing we need is more politicians busying themselves with so-called nation building. That puts me in the minority of people who would abolish the Senate. (I might even be convinced to support the status quo, given the good work the Senate is doing on Bill C-10.)

A national poll released today by Angus Reid shows that 60% of Canadians would like to directly elect their senators and 53% agree with Saskatchewan’s plan to hold elections to the Senate, with the PM appointing the winners. 32% would vote to abolish the Senate altogether, which is down from previous polls, perhaps evidence that action on Senate reform from the federal Tories and the provinces is converting sceptics and detractors.

You can find the complete Angus Reid poll results here:

Download saskatchewan_senate_reform_poll.pdf

If Senate reform is your thing, here’s something from the Western Standard archive: In “Red chamber, red light,” reporter Cyril Doll concludes that neither Harper's good intentions nor Bert Brown's appointment make Senate reform more likely.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 28, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Hussein-Obama: Gaffe Machine?

Consider, for a moment, how much the media and the popular culture has ridiculed President Bush - and before him Vice-President Quayle - for their occassional verbal mis-steps.  Indeed, there are whole books and calenders dedicated to minor slips by the President.  What do you think that the left would say if the President said something like this:

"On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes – and I see many of them in the audience here today – our sense of patriotism is particularly strong."

Though, in full fairness to the man, perhaps he's seeing ghosts from some of the extra seven states he's aware of.

It's just one of a series of gaffes by Obama - whether demanding more Arabic translators in Afghanistan (where they don't speak Arabic), or claiming that ten thousand people had died in a tornado that actually killed twelve, or claiming that his uncle participated in the liberation of Auschwitz.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on May 28, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

If David Emerson becomes permanent Foreign Minister, then a leadership challenge is in order (UPDATED)

I know few, if any, will care what an American says, but if what I read this morning is correct, I'll have no choice but to withdraw my support for Harper and call for a leadership challenge - even if no one will listen to me.

UPDATE:  I suppose it has been a while since I offered my original objections to Emerson (apologies to the confused readers and commenters).  In the two years since, he has done nothing to assuage (and, in fact, much to exacerbate) my frustration over his friendliness to the ChiComs.  If this appointment becomes permanent (and that is an "if"), it would tell me that Harper is no longer interested in pursing the anti-Communist policies that led me to support him in the first place.  That's why I would call for a leadership challenge, because the Conservatives are the only genuine anti-Communist party up there, and it would be the only place from which a decent alternative to Harper would be found.

Of course, if Harper appoints, say, Jason Kenney, I'll gladly take my serving of crow.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 28, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

David Miller is a buffoon

From the Toronto Star:

Mayor David Miller wants to close recreational shooting ranges in Toronto, along with giving the city power to block gun manufacturers and wholesalers from opening new plants or warehouses.

"Nobody can deny that hobby directly results in people being shot and killed on the streets of our city," Miller said of sport shooting yesterday.

...

"After John O'Keefe's tragic killing, I don't think there's any defence for sports shooters any more," Miller said, referring to the man shot in January by a stray bullet. The gun was legally owned by the man charged in the killing.

"It's a hobby that creates danger to others. Guns are stolen routinely from so-called legal owners. It's time that we got those guns out of Toronto," he said.

...

City staff released a report calling for a bylaw that would allow the city to restrict or prohibit the making and wholesaling of firearms in Toronto.

Only police and the military should be allowed to operate firing ranges, the report says, calling for an end to the gun club leases.

The Star quotes Canadian Olympic pistol shooter Avianna Chao, who trains in Toronto. She claims, plausibly enough, that Miller's proposed ban would drastically affect her ability to prepare for the upcoming Beijing Olympics, without improving public safety.

According to Chao, "this is the politicians just trying to say they did something, even though it will have no impact on actual gun violence."

Couldn't have said it better myself. David Miller is and probably always will be a buffoon.

Posted by Terrence Watson on May 27, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (70) | TrackBack

WS Radio: Boris Dingin audio

On Monday's "Political Animals," we interviewed Boris Dingin, the former Soviet naval officer who was on the submarine that the movie "The Hunt for Red October" was based on. We also talked about "purity balls," and chimps getting human rights. You can listen to the whole show by clicking here.

Posted by westernstandard on May 27, 2008 in WS Radio | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dennett on "Expelled"

By now, many of you will have heard about the new Ben Stein documentary entitled "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." The documentary, receiving very poor reviews, is about the lack of discussion in academic circles about Intelligent Design. The movie contends that the theory of evolution is dogma; that questioning the dogma leads to being an outcast; and that the leading evolutionary theorists--biologist Richard Dawkins and philosopher Daniel Dennett (both are also pretty fierce atheists, who call themselves "brights"), amongst others--encourage condemnation with religious fervour.

Prior to the release of the movie, I had an opportunity to ask Daniel Dennett a few questions about the movie. Here's the email exchange:

Dennett Peter Jaworski: What do you think of the upcoming movie, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed"? (I hope you are familiar enough with the premise and some of the subject-matter to offer a comment).

Daniel Dennett: I know a little about the movie. For instance, they interviewed me for it in Venice, and after I got suspicious of their motives and realized they could quote me out of context, I rescinded my permission to use the material.

I don't know if the final movie uses anything of me (the trailer does, briefly). If so, it is without my permission. This is just a bit of evidence that this is stealth propaganda for "intelligent design," not an honest look at evolution.

PJ: What do you think of the debate about evolution? Is there one?

DD: No, there really isn't a debate, but these people are trying to create the illusion of one. There are always a few kooks around who will disagree with anything (flat-earthers come to mind, and global-warming-deniers, and holocaust-deniers), and mostly these people are harmless, however obnoxious.

If these people wanted a real debate they should try writing some serious scientific papers that purport to explain phenomena in nature that evolutionary biology can't explain. That would get the respectful attention of scientists. Otherwise, they're just banging on pots and pans and creating a distraction.

PJ: What do you think of the framing of this debate as a battle for free speech?

DD: I think it is ludicrous. I have no direct or inside knowledge, and haven't seen the film, of course, so I can't comment on the cases they say they will highlight. We'll have to look closely at them. If what they say in the trailer is true, and not just half the truth, then some bad decisions may have been made.

But if your opinions willfully ignore the evidence, then expressing them in class or in publications isn't a free speech issue at all. It's a matter of incompetence. Imagine the damage that could be done to our schools and universities if every incompetent teacher or researcher could simply start  declaring that the earth is flat, and then complain that his free speech was violated when he was fired.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on May 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (90) | TrackBack

Pro-life in the banlieue

Some results from a May 23rd Gallup poll investigating views on moral issues in the Western countries and among Muslims in European cities:

080523morals2_irnc0934j_5

On various social issues religious Americans hold views much closer to European Muslims than to their compatriots or the Western European public. Steven Ertelt, Editor and CEO of Lifenews.com says that "members of the Islamic faith in various European nations are more pro-life than religious Americans" and further suggested that: "the results show pro-life groups in both the United States and Europe should consider a greater outreach to members of the Islamic faith to encourage them to get involved in the battle to protect unborn children. Muslims may also be a voting block receptive to the pro-life message from political candidates who strongly oppose abortion."

This strategy  has not been extensively explored in North America, but before pro-life activists start attending their local masjid for Friday prayer, I am curious to see polling data from American and Canadian Muslims to see if they would be similar. The cultural, economic and educational make-up of the Muslim community in North America is quite different from that in Europe. The significant differences in opinion between the Muslims of Berlin, Paris and London may have something to do with the different cultural background of each city's Muslim populations which originate primarily from Turkey, North Africa, and South Asia respectively.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on May 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Canadians would like to see Obama become President

A new poll by Angus Reid Strategies has found that Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are more popular among Canadians than Republican presidential candidate John McCain. And between Obama and Clinton, Obama is the clear favourite.

Here are the key findings:

» 43% want Barack Obama to win the U.S. presidential election, 29% choose Hillary Rodham Clinton, 12% pick John McCain

» Favourable views: Obama 66%, Americans in General 62%, Rodham Clinton 56%, McCain 29%. U.S. Government 22%, George W. Bush 10%

» Bill Clinton seen as Canada's greatest friend in the White House since 1969 (31%); George W. Bush regarded as Canada's worst friend (48%).

You can get the complete results here:

Download angus_reid_presidential_candidates.pdf

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (40) | TrackBack

B.C. Liberal 'compromise'

The Alberta Conservative government has been getting a lot of flak for its proposed cap on third party spending come election time. But the B.C. Liberals are playing the same tune. Their bill would even have capped third party spending for four months before an election (a provision made possible by the fact B.C. has a fixed election date).

However, due to widespread public and pundit criticism, the Campbell crowd is now toning down its bill just a bit. Here's their just-issued press release:

NEWS RELEASE   
For Immediate Release
2008AG0026-000822
May 27, 2008

Ministry of Attorney General

ELECTION ACT AMENDMENTS RESPOND TO PUBLIC FEEDBACK

VICTORIA - Attorney General Wally Oppal has today tabled amendments to
Bill 42, the Election Amendment Act 2008, that respond to public
feedback about the length of time election spending is regulated during
set date elections.

The amendments shorten the time period that will limit spending by
political parties, candidates and third parties; and will lower the
amount political parties can spend in the pre-writ period. The time
period limiting third-party advertising spending will be cut from 120 to
60 days, prior to the start of the campaign, plus the 28-day campaign
period itself, while the time limits regulating spending for political
parties and candidates will also be cut in half from 120 to 60 days
prior to the writ being dropped.

Although there will be no changes in the amount third parties and
candidates can spend within those time limits, the amendments will
reduce the amount political parties can spend in the pre-writ period
from $2.2 to $1.1 million. This change is aimed at reducing the gap
between what political parties can spend and what third parties are able
to spend.

"With these two changes, the government is balancing concerns that have
been raised about Bill 42 with the need to ensure fair elections for all
and to ensure everyone's voice is heard. The limits are consistent with
the principles articulated by the Supreme Court of Canada that are aimed
at ensuring the voice of any citizen is not drowned out by those who
have the resources to engage in expensive election campaigns," said
Oppal. "We saw in the last election third parties spending millions of
dollars leading up to the election and at least $3 million more during
the campaign period itself. These changes are aimed at preventing our
system from drifting towards an American-style election system that
demands expensive advertising campaigns in order to effectively engage
in democratic discourse."

The chief electoral officer in his March 2006 report also noted that set
election dates raise some concerns that "the effectiveness of election
expense limits and rules regarding the identification of election
advertising sponsors may be compromised." He suggested that amending the
campaign period for fixed date events could address these concerns and
cited March 1 as a possible starting date for an extended campaign
period. As amended, Bill 42 will ensure the rules are clear and binding
for everyone from 60 days before the writ is dropped until election day.

Government has already, as a matter of policy, banned non-essential
advertising four months prior to the election day, one month longer than
what applies to third party advertising. For greater certainty,
amendments will also clarify that nothing in the act prevents government
or MLAs from carrying out their proper functions and official duties.

All other amendments proposed to the Election Act under Bill 42 would
remain the same.

-30-

Media
contact:

Dave Townsend
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Attorney General
250 387-4962
250 889-5945 (cell)

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 27, 2008 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ron Paul's salute to veterans

"Most of my efforts on Capitol Hill are focused on reducing the federal government’s size and scope, but I make an exception for a very important group of people. Our nation’s men and women in uniform commit a selfless act of patriotism when they take up arms in defense of our country. As a veteran myself, I salute all those currently serving, or who have served in our armed forces. Our nation owes them a debt of gratitude for their sacrifices, their courage, their time away from friends and family, and the dangers they undertake. This Memorial Day we honor our soldiers and vets, we remember those who never came home, or who have since passed on. Above all, we acknowledge our respect for all who have served in the military."

You can read the full article here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 27, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

If I may make a recommendation . . .

Jason Kenney for Foreign Minister.

h/t to Steve Janke, as I got the idea from him.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 27, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Maxime Bernier’s final act: Canada-Ukraine joint statement

Maxime Bernier, while still Minister of Foreign Affairs, and his Ukrainian counterpart, foreign minister Volodymyr Ohryzko, issued a joint statement yesterday recognizing that Canada and Ukraine are committed to developing and expanding their “Special Partnership.”

The statement was issued on the occasion of the visit to Canada of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko – and only hours before Bernier was forced to resign for mishandling classified information regarding a recent NATO summit in Romania.

Here are a few key points found in the joint statement:

1. Canada is hoping for an additional contribution from Ukraine to the Afghanistan mission, especially an increase in ISAF air-lift capabilities.

2. Ukraine intends to open a Consulate-General of Ukraine in Edmonton, Alberta...a nice consolation, perhaps, for being overlooked in Yushchenko’s brief tour.

3. Canada supports recognition of the Great Famine (Holodomor) of 1932-33 in Ukraine and specific recognition that the “cruel actions and policies of the totalitarian Stalinist regime caused the death of millions of Ukrainians.” Conservative MP James Bezan has a Private Members Bill before parliament that would do exactly this.

The full text of the joint statement can be found here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 27, 2008 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ooops... Liz on Obama

I won't comment on this video (I'll leave that to you, dear reader).

Liz Trotta, Fox News commentator, openly jokes about "knocking off" Obama:

She later apologized for the comments:

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on May 26, 2008 in Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Maxime Bernier resigns - PMO press release

Press Release

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement:

“Earlier this evening, I accepted the resignation of Maxime Bernier as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Last night, Maxime Bernier became aware that he had left classified government documents at a private residence earlier this spring.  I became aware of this security breach late this afternoon.

The documents in question have been returned to the Government of Canada and Mr. Bernier deeply regrets this error.

I have asked Minister David Emerson to take on additional duties as Minister of Foreign Affairs on an interim basis.  I have also asked Minister Josée Verner to take on additional duties for La Francophonie.”

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Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Maxime Bernier resigns - letter of resignation

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister
Room 313-S, Centre Block
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Prime Minister,

This is to inform you that I am resigning my post as Minister of Foreign Affairs, effective immediately.

I informed you late this afternoon that last night I became aware that I had left behind classified government documents at a private residence.

Prime Minister, the security breach that occurred was my fault and my fault alone and I take full responsibility for my actions.

I have asked the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to conduct a thorough review of the situation.

Thank you for the trust you have shown in me. I will do everything I can to serve the government well in my capacity as Member of Parliament.

Yours truly,

Maxime Bernier

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

See no evil

LifeCanada/VieCanada

310 – 376 Churchill Avenue N.

Ottawa ON  K1Z 5C3                                                                

Tel: 1-866-780-5433  Fax: 613-722-2201
Email: lifecanada@bellnet.ca

_____________________________________________________   

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 26, 2008

Advertising group says ads are “deceptive”

In a bizarre ruling last week, Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) rejected evidence from Statistics Canada and declared that pro-life billboards which said abortions are allowed in Canada throughout all nine months of pregnancy were “deceptive.”

Joanne Byfield, president of LifeCanada, the group behind the billboards, said the decision was “unbelievable. Our ads simply state the reality in Canada that there is no law restricting abortion at any stage of pregnancy. This ruling says it is ‘deceptive’ to tell Canadians that.”

ASC is a self-regulating body of Canada’s advertising industry. It oversees the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards. The Appeal Panel, a group of unnamed members of ASC, upheld an earlier decision by another unnamed Council, supporting the complaints of three anonymous people. Two of them in identically worded complaints said the ads were “neither factual nor true.” The third said they were “false, misleading and offensive.”

The ads, which ran in over 50 communities, show a pregnant woman with the words: “Nine months. The length of time abortion is allowed in Canada. Abortion: Have we gone too far? www.AbortionInCanada.ca.” The website includes details on the history, statistics, methods and other relevant information. The educational campaign coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Morgentaler Supreme Court decision and intense media coverage. “We wanted to ensure Canadians heard all the perspectives on the results of that decision,” said Byfield.

The Appeal Panel said the billboards were deceptive because they did not mention access issues, which the Panel seemed to assume involved medical reasons after the first trimester.  “We have no idea where that notion came from,” said Byfield. “We showed them that private abortion clinics advertise abortions up to 20 weeks and some up to 24 weeks without referrals. But in a closed hearing, who knows what ‘evidence’ they consider?”

The Panel criticized the inclusion of “bare numbers” (Statistics Canada charts showing abortions performed after 20 weeks) because they did not “elucidate the reasons why the referred-to abortions were requested or granted or performed.” Statistics Canada’s explanatory notes, stating that since the 1988 decision no medical reason is required for an abortion at any stage, was “confusing” to the Panel so they ignored it, said Byfield.

“With this decision, ASC is playing a censorship role, silencing information some people may not want to hear,” said Byfield. “Our ads are true and quite frankly, most of this country’s print and broadcast media, all of whom are members of ASC, were talking about the lack of legal restrictions on abortion during the same period our ads were running. Some of them are now campaigning against restrictions on free speech. We hope they see this decision for what it is: an attempt to silence the pro-life voice from public discussion.”

- 30 -

For more information, contact Joanne Byfield at 780-939-6365 (cell - 780-445-0344) or LifeCanada at 613-722-1552.

***

And here's a link to Lifesite's story on this news.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 26, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

WS Radio: Liberty, liberty, liberty

Wsradio_header

Listen live (QuickTime), Mondays, 4 - 6 p.m. EST

"Political Animals"--the flagship radio show of Western Standard radio--is a weekly political talk show on 88.1 WBGUFM hosted by Jay Lafayette, Peter Jaworski, and Terrence Watson.

On today's show, we'll spend a little bit of time talking about and analyzing the U.S. and Canadian Libertarian Party choices for leader. In the U.S., that means former congressman Bob Barr, while in Canada that means former military and police man Dennis Young. Will either of these two leaders pose a threat to the main parties?

We'll also chat a little about Clinton vs. Obama (will it ever end? And will the Democrats be able to rebuild after such a long and anger-fueled primary?).

Our phone-in guests will be Rick Perlstein, author of "Nixonland," and Boris Gindin, former Soviet navy officer on a submarine that defected during the Cold War--the inspiration for the movie "The Hunt for Red October."

Political Animals is on every Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, broadcast out of 88.1 FM in the Bowling Green, Ohio area, and on www.wbgufm.com worldwide. To listen to a direct stream, click here (QuickTime). To participate in the discussion, you can call 888-7-WBGUFM, or send us an email at politicalanimals-at-wbgufm-dot-com.

Posted by westernstandard on May 26, 2008 in WS Radio | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Lemieux: Support Native resistance

When the law is unjust, people need to be willing to break it to defend our traditional liberties. In Canada, Natives have been fighting against paper crimes and unjust laws, which is why Pierre Lemieux, in his latest column, is asking liberty-lovers to "Support Native resistance."

An excerpt:

"In the world as it is, Canadian Native resistance helps protect our liberties, for it keeps the state from becoming a total, uncontested authority. It is thanks to the Natives that five or ten per cent of the population can purchase affordable cigarettes and that the smokers of legal cigarettes are not taxed even more. To the extent that they are involved in other peaceful black market activities — drugs for example — the Natives are helping to satisfy other consumer demands. And some honest citizens may soon have to rely on them to find guns or light bulbs or whatever. Granted that lot of damage is done in the process, but the totalitarian alternative is even worse."

Read More...

Posted by westernstandard on May 26, 2008 in Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Ukraine President Victor Yushchenko addressed parliament

Press Release: Ottawa – Prime Minister Stephen Harper today met with Ukraine President Victor Yushchenko as the latter began a three day official visit to Canada. After their meeting, the President delivered an historic address to a joint session of Parliament. 

“I wish to thank President Yushchenko for his informative and inspiring address and also for his warm and candid discussion during our meetings,” Prime Minister Harper said. “The President’s visit provides the opportunity to renew and strengthen the deep bonds of friendship between Canada and Ukraine.” 

The two leaders discussed a range of bilateral and international issues, including:

• the further development of political and commercial ties between the two nations;
• Ukraine's future in NATO and Canada’s firm support for her bid for a Membership Action Plan;
• and cooperation in the UN Mission in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Harper added that Ukraine can expect Canada’s full support as it continues its post-Communist evolution into a free and democratic nation. 

- 30 -

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

John Williamson to leave the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Williamson_2 The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) announced today that federal director John Williamson is leaving in September for graduate studies at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Williamson joined the CTF in September 2002 as Ontario director tasked with opening a Toronto office and establishing a full-time presence in Canada's largest province. He was promoted to federal director in January 2004 and will fill this roll in Ottawa until September 2008.

"John never failed to ensure the concerns of CTF supporters were clearly, and loudly, articulated in Ottawa. He has been a key ingredient to building the CTF's reputation and presence on the national stage. He will not be easy to replace," said CTF National Communications Director Troy Lanigan. "The CTF will launch a search for a new federal director in June."

Before joining the CTF, Williamson was a National Post editorial writer and founding member of the paper’s editorial board.

Western Standard readers who met Williamson on our cruise will know him to be a gentleman, a scholar and a very natty dresser.  I wish him success at LSE and know his future will be bright wherever he ends up.

Good luck, John!

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 26, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Family taxation fun

Should you find yourself in the Ottawa area today at, oh say 4 pm, Jack Mintz, professor of public policy at the University of Calgary, will discuss family taxation on the Hill for my group, the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada. (event details online, here.)

                

A couple of months ago Jonathan Kesselman wrote a paper suggesting family taxation or income splitting is not a good idea for Canadians. But Mintz is suggesting this is the most equitable way of taxing families with the same earning power. Let the battle of ideas flourish.

            

Ultimately, this is about ensuring that families are not penalized for having kids and raising them. Family taxation is not a cure-all—it’s one step to help parents--and incidentally, if done in the same manner as France, helps single parents, too. And ultimately, the signal family taxation sends is important: families matter, taking care of your kids matters, and the state should make it easier for all of us to do just that. They shouldn’t create barriers, in any event.

      

Posted by Andrea Mrozek on May 26, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Axe the NDP's vote tax

In “Axe the NDP's vote tax,” Colin Craig, Manitoba Provincial Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, writes:

Manitoba now has a 'vote tax'. Yes, just when you thought the NDP government had taxed everything, they have decided to tax us when we vote.

The NDP government has introduced a bill that would give political parties $1.25 for each vote received in the 2007 provincial election.

Read the entire article here.

Federal political parties also get vote “allowances.”

A registered party that obtains at least 2% of the vote in a general election or at least 5% in any electoral district is eligible for an annual allowance of $1.75 per vote.

At the Libertarian Party convention in Edmonton over the Victoria Day weekend, the Party debated whether or not to accept this money should they reach the vote thresholds.

The Party reaffirmed its opposition to this campaign finance policy, but decided that they would take the money until they were in a position to repeal the law.
 
It was hotly debated, but in the end the Party members thought they needed a level playing field and that since the avenues for private fundraising are shrinking, they couldn’t afford to handicap the Party by refusing to take the money.

I asked Colin Craig if he thought the Party had made the right decision. Here’s his answer:
 
“Your question is an interesting one as it’s difficult for one party to fight another one that is backing up the truck and filling it with government money.  However, I will note that over the last 18 years the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has served as an effective advocacy organization without a single cent of government money.  Political parties should be able to do the same."

However, he also said: "I would always be more critical of those that bring forward such ridiculous schemes than those that accept the [money] to fight on a 'level playing field'.”

What do Western Standard readers think?

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Suzuki & the Kids

I don't know why this commercial offends me as deeply as it does. Especially since I don't get easily offended. Something about throwing a bunch of kids together to denounce their parents makes me a little uneasy.

Okay, very uneasy. What the hell do these kids know about anything anyways? Why use them for political purposes? Where is your sense of shame?


Posted by P.M. Jaworski on May 25, 2008 in WStv | Permalink | Comments (28) | TrackBack

Steve Kubby’s Canadian adventure

Steve Kubby is making news this weekend as a candidate for leader of the Libertarian Party of the United States, a contest that was settled only hours ago at the Party’s annual convention in Denver. Former Republican congressman Bob Barr won a very close sixth ballot decision, edging out author and libertarian activist Mary Ruwart.

Kubby was forced out of the race after coming last on the second ballot -- and, in his consolation speech, he mentioned his “return from Canada”:

"It has been such an honour and such a pleasure to return from Canada to the warm embrace of fellow libertarians...."

So what was Kubby doing in Canada? Well, he was on the run from Johnny Law.

I met Kubby in Vancouver in 2003. He was a so-called drug war refugee from the US seeking a safe haven in Canada with the support of Cannabis Culture magazine publisher and marijuana legalization activist Marc Emery.

I was an executive with a polling company at the time and wanted to measure Canadian attitudes toward drug war refugees like Kubby, an issue the Western Standard has covered in the Renee Boje case in 2005 and the Marc Emery case in 2007.

Here’s the polling question:

Steve Kubby is an American businessman who uses medical marijuana to treat a rare and deadly form of adrenal cancer. He came to Canada three years ago to avoid marijuana related charges in the United States. He is now one of hundreds of people in Canada for whom it is legal to grow and use marijuana for medical reasons - a right he would not have if he was forced to return to the US. The Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board must now decide whether or not to send Steve Kubby back to the United States to face marijuana related charges. Should the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board send Steve Kubby back to the United States to face marijuana related charges or should they allow him to continue to stay in Canada where he has legal access to medical marijuana?

It’s a bit of a loaded question, but here are the results, never before released, compiled by pollster Dr. Faron Ellis:

28.7 per cent responded that we should “send him back” to the US to face charges. 58.9 per cent responded that we should “let him stay” in Canada, and 12.4 per cent were undecided.

You can get the complete results here:

Download jmck_polling_steve_kubby_poll_august_2003.pdf .

Almost 60 per cent of Canadians opposed the extradition of Steve Kubby. So what happened?

After numerous appeals, Kubby was forced to leave Canada in January 2006 and, after arriving in the US, was incarcerated in San Mateo County Jail in Redwood City, California. According to Wikipedia, Kubby was allowed access to a drug called Marinol, a THC synthetic which, while lacking the cannabinoids found in marijuana, did keep him healthy until his release on March 6, 2006.

And that’s the story of Steve Kubby’s Canadian adventure.

-----------------------

Oh, and here's another attempt at a Canadian angle on this convention coverage. Before the convention began, I asked the Chairman of the Party what he thought of Marc Emery's possible extradition, to which he replied:

Mr. Johnston:  The Libertarian Party of the United States does not have a formally adopted position on this case, but I assure you that nearly all--and probably all--Libertarians would be adamantly opposed to Mr. Emery's extradition to the United States. 

William Redpath
Chairman
Libertarian Party of the United States

No surprise here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 25, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Creating a 'censorship' bogeyman

Here's my bottom line in the ongoing debate over the Conservatives' plan to give the heritage minister some discretionary power in the financial support of privately produced films: A government's refusal to give a filmmaker some grant money from the public purse does not constitute censorship. Filmmakers have no right to expect or receive a penny of government support for anything they produce.

Read my full Tri-City News column on the subject here. Read that of Mary Woo Sims, my debating partner in the ongoing Face to Face series, here.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 25, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

LP Convention -- Live

3:17 (EST): C-SPAN is covering the LP Convention in Denver (so is Reason's Hit & Run, the American Spectator blog, LewRockwell.com, and many others). The first ballot of voting just passed. The results are as follows:

Bob Barr - 153
Mary Ruwart - 152
Wayne Allyn Root - 123
Mike Gravel - 71
George Philies - 49
Steve Kubby - 41
Mike Jingozian - 23
Christine Smith - 6
NOTA - 2
(the LP has a policy of including NOTA in all of its votes)

Mike Jingozian and Christine Smith did not get the required five per cent to get on to the second ballot.

UPDATE 1: Jingozian endorses Mike Gravel. "Let's put together a ticket that can make history," he said.

UPDATE 2: Smith bashes Barr. Big-time. Says he at the top of the ballot doesn't represent Libertarians: "You conservatives say you believe in liberty and small government, but you rubberstamp medicare, medicaid, and vote for the war and Bob Barr is not a libertarian, we don't trust you!" (To heckles and boos from the floor).

UPDATE 3: Smith carries on talking to the C-SPAN people claiming that she got lots of phone calls from Libertarians saying they want nothing to do with Bob Barr, and that they will leave the LP if Bob Barr is at the top of the ticket. "This man has a lot to prove before he becomes the standard bearer for the Libertarian Party.

3:40: UPDATE 4: Here comes the SECOND BALLOT...

Bob Barr - 188
Mary Ruwart - 162
Wayne Allyn Root - 138
Mike Gravel - 73
George Philies - 36
Steve Kubby - 32

...still no majority. It's going to a third ballot. Steve Kubby is out.

3:46: UPDATE 5: Steve Kubby is giving his speech to loud applause. "It has been such an honour and such a pleasure to return from Canada to the warm embrace of fellow libertarians... Now comes the time for me to say good bye, and to turn my support to a candidate I have known for over a decade, to a candidate who I know will transmit the purest and clearest message to fellow libertarians... and so, my fellow libertarians, I endorse Mary Ruwart."

4:11: THIRD BALLOT

Bob Barr - 186
Mary Ruwart - 186

Wayne Allyn Root -  146
Mike Gravel - 78
George Philies - 31

Philies is off the ballot. Ruwart and Barr are tied, with Root in a close third. Hard to know where Root supporters will know if it gets that far (and it looks like it will. I don't think the Ruwart supporters will budge, and neither will Barr's). (The LP is now putting up the results on their website).

Philies gives his speech. He won't speak ill of any of his fellow Libertarian candidates, he says, and then goes on to say nice things about all of the candidates. To rousing applause (and probably because of the anger generated by the Ruwart-Barr fight), Philies says, "The enemy is not in here, it is out there!"... "The enemy is the far-left Hilary Clinton, and the far-right John McCain. And let's get it right for once, the enemy is Lyndon LaRouche [LaRouche gets called out? Good lord...]"

4:25: I didn't know this (because I haven't really been following the ins-and-outs of this presidential primary), but Hit & Run (David Weigel) points out that, in spite of the nice things said by Philies in his speech to all of the candidates, Philies was busy angrily denouncing both Ruwart and Barr in prior events and speeches. Turns out Philies has strong support from the LGBT community, and clearly that group isn't over-the-moon about Barr (or, I guess, Ruwart). What does this mean? It means that Philies supporters are unlikely to break toward either Ruwart or Barr, and might get behind Wayne Allyn Root.

4:34: FOURTH BALLOT:

Bob Barr - 202
Mary Ruwart - 202

Wayne Allyn Root -  149
Mike Gravel - 76

Yikes. Mike Gravel is off the ballot. Philies supporters appear to have broken for both Ruwart and Barr. So just ignore what I wrote a little earlier.

4:48: Mike Gravel gets pigeonholed by a couple of Libertarians, and they're wondering who Gravel supports. He told them he voted for Wayne Allyn Root, even though he won't officially endorse him. And he won't give a speech, saying that his political career is now over. He says he's a writer, and he'll write.

4:55: FIFTH BALLOT:

Here we go... FIFTH BALLOT:

Bob Barr - 223
Mary Ruwart - 229
Wayne Allyn Root - 165

Ruwart is in the lead for the first time, but not by much. It all hangs on Root supporters now.

Root's speech (Weigel says he'll endorse Bob Barr): "I've got news for you. It's not over, it's just starting. With your help, it's just starting. I'm going to need your help, because I would like to be part of a Barr-Root ticket in 2008. Bang! Here it is, plain and simple: You gave me the votes... I'd like to spend the next four years beside Bob Barr learning [politics], and then I want to lead this party in 2012."

Weigel had the inside track. There are boos here and there, and now a crowd is chanting "Mary!" But I predict it will be to no avail. Root supporters are probably going to go for Barr, and Bob Barr will be the Presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party. (Okay, it's not over yet, and strange things might still happen. But Barr looks to have a lock on it).

5:05: Barr and Root shake hands and hug. They give the peace sign. They stand next to one another, while the crowd chants "Barr-Root, Barr-Root..." I'm not sure if Barr was expecting this. He looks a little blustered--did Root just make himself the vice-presidential candidate without Barr's knowledge?

Clarification: The LP will vote for a VP nominee as well, so it's not up to Barr to choose a VP. That means Ruwart supporters could still make her the VP.

5:17: Will be interesting to see how the culturally left wing of the LP react to a Barr win, and a Root VP spot (if that comes to pass). Barr and Root represent the culturally right wing of the LP. Will there be an organized walk-out? That's what the comments at Reason suggest, and all evidence points to some sort of a scene should Barr win.

5:22: Weigel says Ruwart will endorse Steve Kubby for VP.

5:32: Here it is the SIXTH BALLOT:

Bob Barr - 324 (54%)
Mary Ruwart - 276 (46%)

Bob Barr will represent the LP in 2008. It's official.

5:40: What a squeaker... Bob Barr is about to speak, but it looks like he has a lot of work to do to bring the Party together and to struggle for that roughly five per cent national vote total he may get in the next general election.

8:02: Wayne Allyn Root is, indeed, the VP candidate for the Libertarian Party.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on May 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Libertarian Party nominees' philosophical groundings

I haven't said anything about the convention: for that coverage go here, here, here and here. But this answer from the live-cast C-SPAN LP presidential debate that told me a lot more about the candidates than all the other profiles I have read:

Q: Who is the philosopher who most influenced you?

Bob Barr: Ayn Rand

Mike Gravel: Solon

George Phillies: 1st. Marcus Tullius Cicero, 2nd. Barry Goldwater

Marc Jingozian: Benjamin Franklin

Mary Ruwart: Ayn Rand, (introduced Ruwart to libertarianism, but had serious flaws)

Steve Kubby: David Nolan (others including Lao Tsu)

Wayne Allen Root: Yogi Berra

To catch the rest of the debate watch live here.

This is a much more interesting convention than 2004, the caliber of candidates, level of media attention and potential for impact in the race are all much higher. It looks like the Radical Caucus and their Anti-Barr allies will succeed in making Mary Ruwart the candidate instead of Bob Barr. My own opinion is that many of the radical libertarians aren't supporting the right candidate.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on May 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mass detention of religious minorities in Iran - First Bahai's and now Christians

I've been busy dealing with the fundraising stuff recently but it doesn't mean that the important news should be ignored or set aside. Unfortunately, Tehran's Amir-Kabir University independent news website informs us (in Persian) that as many as 10 newly Christian converts have been detained in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz where a suspicious blast killed several people in a mosque. The Amir-Kabir Univ's website mentions that the Islamic regime of Iran is now trying to tie these ex-Muslims to that bombing and prosecute them. As you know the penalty for either of those two so-called crimes in Iran is death.

The Iranian regime's recent detention of Bahai's leadership also demonstrates the evil nature of this Islamofascist establishment that has hijacked and abused a once proud nation since 1979.

Posted by Winston on May 23, 2008 in Crime, Current Affairs, Religion | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The LP and conservatism

The U.S. Libertarian Party is in the midst of their annual convention in Denver. There, on May 25th, they will select their next presidential candidate. The odds seem to favour former Republican congressman Bob Barr, but Wayne Allyn Root is a very real and credible challenger (you can look at the field of candidates here).

While the convention is buzzing, the Wall Street Journal issues back-to-back editorials that may be at least partially inspired by the threat this third party poses to Republicans in the next general election. The threat is not that the LP will win, but that it will widdle away enough votes in certain states to make a McCain-led White House terribly difficult to achieve. In Georgia, for instance, Bob Barr is polling at eight per cent, which may be enough to give the nod to the Democratic challenger, whether Clinton or Obama.

In "Does the Libertarian Party Matter?" Bruce Bartlett argues that libertarians shouldn't really bother with the Libertarian Party but should, instead, focus their efforts on special interest groups like the National Rifle Association:

"Although this may turn out to be a banner year for the Libertarian Party, the LP is not a real alternative to the Republicans and Democrats. Because of the Electoral College, restrictions on ballot access and onerous campaign finance laws, third parties simply aren't viable for actually electing candidates. Nor do they pull the major parties toward their position: Ron Paul's success did not encourage other Republican presidential candidates to even pay lip service to his ideas.

"I believe that libertarian ideas would be better promoted by an interest group such as the National Rifle Association than through the Libertarian Party. Such a group could use the limited resources available for libertarian ideas far more effectively by establishing a political action committee, lobbying and advertising than by a political party running futile campaigns for public office. Nevertheless, the Libertarian Party may be an interesting force this year."

Meanwhile, today, former Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson tries to make the case that conservatism is not dead in "The Death of Conservatism is Greatly Exaggerated." Thompson wants conservatives to recall their "first principles," which overlap with libertarian first principles (the foreign policy issue divides libertarians; even if a majority of libertarians are non-interventionists, a libertarian case for intervention abroad can and has been made by people like Boston University law professor Randy Barnett. See, for instance, "Libertarians and the War.")

Here are those basic principles and convictions, according to Thompson:

"...Conservatives should stay true to their principles and remember:

"- Congress cannot repeal the laws of economics. There are no short-term fixes without longer term consequences.

"- In a free and dynamic country with social mobility, there will be great opportunity but also economic disparity, especially if the country has liberal immigration policies and a high divorce rate.

"- An education system cannot overcome the breakdown of the family, and the social fabric that surrounds children daily.

"- Free markets, not an expanding and more powerful government, are the solution to today's problems. Many of these problems, such as health-care costs, energy dependency and the subprime mortgage crisis, were caused in large part by government policies."

His appeal appears to be an attempt to re-meld the libertarian and social conservative elements that have, in the past, dominated the Republican Party. Free market economics, small government, plus an emphasis on the family, equals success for Republicans. That's a simple message--family and free markets--that is bound, if taken up by the Republican leadership, to lead to greater success for the GOP.

The main hurdle the Republicans have to overcome is their credibility on small government issues. If the Libertarian Party grows (as, I think, it is bound to do under Barr), it will be in large part because small government conservatives no longer believe that Republicans mean it when they say they will defend the free market, and shrink the size and scope of government. To many, the election of John McCain signals that the only conservative leg of the conservative "three-legged stool" the Republicans will defend is foreign policy conservatism. Upholding the values found in strong families (the social conservative leg), fiercely defending the free and open market, and actually shrinking the size and scope of the federal government (the fiscal conservative leg) are not issues that McCain can speak to without generating skepticism on the part of conservatives who have paid attention to his record, and the record of the GOP over the Bush years.

Would a loss for the Republicans in the next general election be a bad thing? For many, it would. Just one Clinton or Obama administration can do an awful lot of damage. The growth in the federal government will be astronomical, they insist. Divorce rates may climb, and social liberalism will be on the ascendancy. Still, evangelicals, other so-cons, and small government libertarians & conservatives would get a full and proper hearing from the GOP establishment should they lose the election. And maybe, just maybe, a candidate in the mold of Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan will emerge to challenge the Democrats. Would four years in the wilderness be worth a candidate like that? At least maybe.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on May 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko to visit Canada

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko will arrive in Canada for a state visit from May 26 to 28.

The two leaders will have the opportunity to discuss bilateral and international issues, including the further development of our political and commercial ties, Ukraine's future in NATO, and cooperation on Afghanistan.

President Yushchenko will be accompanied by several ministers, including Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko, and his wife, Kateryna Yushchenko.

On May 26, he will address Parliament and meet with the speakers of the Senate and of the House of Commons.  President Yushchenko’s visit to Canada will also include stops in Winnipeg and Toronto.

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I’ll be sure to get my hair done.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Ezra Levant to speak at Fraser Institute luncheon

Media Advisory: Former Western Standard Publisher Ezra Levant to Discuss Freedom of Speech in Canada at Fraser Institute Luncheon

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 23, 2008) - Former Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant's refusal to toe the line of political correctness and his decision in 2006 to print the controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in his magazine landed him before the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Join Levant for an update on his case and hear his thoughts on the importance of protecting freedom of speech in Canada during a Fraser Institute luncheon in Vancouver on Tuesday, May 27.

Levant appears regularly on TV and radio as a political pundit and is the author of several books. Before founding the Western Standard, he worked in Ottawa for several opposition leaders and as a lawyer in Calgary.

Interested media are invited to attend.

Date:      Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Time:      12:15 pm-1:30 pm

(Levant will speak from 12:15 pm-1:00 pm, followed by 30 minutes of questions)

Location:
Fraser Institute Boardroom
4th Floor, 1770 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC

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As you would expect, this event is almost sold out. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org for more details.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on May 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Huseyin Celil letter smuggled out

There are fewer peoples more politically star-crossed than the Uighurs of occupied East Turkestan (called "Xinjiang" by the Chinese Communist Party).  Their occupiers and tormentors actually do what the nutroots accuses President Bush of doing - creating a "terrorist" threat out of thin air.  However, because Bush has had to take those ridiculous slings and arrows over and over again, the Communists get a pass due to intellectual exhaustion and the reverse of guilt-by-association - i.e., if the Communists are accused as Bush has been, it must be as unjust an accusation as those facing Bush.  In the case of the Beijing cadres, the charges are not unjust.

One of the victims of the Communist persecution, Uighur-Canadian Huseyin Celil, managed to get a letter out to his family.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on May 23, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack