The father of the modern Left, Rousseau, was a highly paranoid neurotic whose personal life resembled the trajectory of a cannon ball through a salon. One of the most celebrated men of his age, he achieved prominence denouncing the artifice of civilization over the alleged purity of primitive "natural" man, and rejecting reason for emotional whim. In politics he was the first advocate of modern totalitarianism. His personal charm earned him many powerful friends, many of whom he then denounced:
The book opens with a memorable scene in London, on March 18, 1766, when the "quarrel" (a word that hardly does justice to that affair) erupted. Rousseau, a renowned exile from his own country (Emile had been pronounced heretical by the Archbishop of Paris), was living in England courtesy of Hume, who had escorted him from Paris three months earlier and had arranged accommodations for him in London. Now, Rousseau, tiring of London (another corrupt city, he decided, like Paris), was on his way, again through the efforts of Hume, to Wootton Hall, the estate of Hume's friend, Richard Davenport, in the north of England. He was spending the night in Hume's apartment when he realized that Davenport, wanting to spare him some of the expense of the trip, had secretly contributed to the coach fare.
Assuming that Hume knew of this subterfuge, Rousseau burst into the drawing room in a frenzy of indignation and outrage, accusing Hume of deceiving and humiliating him, treating him like a child or a "beggar on alms." Taken aback by the ferocity of the attack, Hume tried, in vain, to engage him in reasonable conversation. Rousseau was implacable until, after almost an hour, he suddenly leaped into Hume's lap, threw his arms around his neck, and covered his face with tears and kisses.
As always, Burke had Rousseau's number, even if his friend Hume - too good natured a man - did much too late:
This was the Rousseau that Edmund Burke, anticipating the Terror, saw as the evil genius of the Revolution. Burke also saw the relationship between Rousseau the man and Rousseau the philosopher. Reading Rousseau's admission in the Confessions that he had fathered five children, each of whom he had promptly turned over to the foundling hospital, Burke was moved to decry the philosopher who was so wanting in natural parental affection while professing the most exalted ideals. "Benevolence to the whole species, and want of feeling for every individual," "a lover of his kind, but a hatred of his kindred"--this, Burke said, was the "philosophic instructor," the "moral hero" of the Revolution, who counseled the "regeneration" of man while sacrificing the real man, the human being.
Ever wary of the floating abstractions, Burke saw that Rousseau's professions of love and virtue were simply that, empty rhetoric. A man who would abandon his own children to a foundling hospital - a kind of orphanage - was no friend of mankind. In the eighteenth century, leaving children with these "hospitals" was nearly a death sentence, given their very high infant mortality rate. Before abortion became medically safe - relatively speaking - the foundling hospital was a common manner of disposing of unwanted children. That most people pay greater attention to charming rhetoric and vague emotions, is in abundant evidence from the often hypocritical positions of celebrities and the election of the current US President. The hard headed approach earns few friends, until the slaughter and terror return.
I'm not always a fan of Rush, but he's on fire in this particular monologue. For the full effect, listen to the audio. Here's a partial transcript with some juicy bits:
When you vote for politicians who take from your back pocket to give to others, you think it's compassionate, you think it's caring? It's not. It's depriving the recipient of his own quest for self-interest. The brilliant writer and novelist, Ayn Rand, has written about this. Let me give you a couple quotes from Ayn Rand on this. "It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master." That is President Obama. "Where there is sacrifice, there's somebody collecting the sacrificial offerings." What does it mean? President Obama says, "We all need to sacrifice," for this reason or that reason. What it means is we all need to pay more; we need to have less affluent lives; we need to dial down our prosperity, and we need to give the money to him, not a charity. He's going to eliminate, for all intents and purposes, the tax deductibility, it's going to be 28 cents for every dollar, charitable donations. He wants to be the distributor of the charitable donations. He wants to be the distributor of the goods because he wants the glory.
Again, check out the audio. Perhaps Rush will become a libertarian someday! (No, not really.)
You can do your part by buying a copy of the book today. If you use the links on this site when shopping at Amazon, the Western Standard will get a small percentage of the total price of your purchases.
Gay, but not meaning happy...coming to a human rights tribunal near you
I must confess that I am somewhat puzzled by a story in the current Xtra West newspaper. It notes that B.C. so-con activist Kari Simpson has launched a B.C. human rights complaint against B.C.'s education ministry, the B.C. Teacher's Federation, and gay education activist Murray Corren.
What does she want the human rights tribunal to do? Well, her reasoning is that there are thousands of gay students in B.C. schools who would be much happier if they were counselled and helped to be heterosexual. The remedy would be ordering the education ministry to set up a committee, chaired by Mrs. Simpson, to develop a resource guide for schools to promote a neutral "scientific and therapeutic understanding" of homosexuality.
Some background. Mr. Corren is named because a few years ago, he took the provincial government to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal on the grounds that there wasn't gay-positive materials to combat possible "homophobia" in schools . In 2006, fearing the Tribunal's wrath, the provincial government folded faster than Superman on laundry day.
Wikipedia has a good summary:
"...as the hearing approached in 2006, the provincial government negotiated a settlement with the Correns by which the province committed itself to review the inclusivity of school curricula and would introduce a new elective course on social justice that would include sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and gender issues. The agreement stipulated that the Correns would be consulted about the section of the new course on sexual orientation and more broadly about the presentation of gays in the broader school curriculum. It also stipulates that the government must solicit feedback directly from organization or groups, identified by the Correns, "with expertise in sexual orientation, homophobia, and other issues of inclusion and diversity in the curriculum". One controversial feature of the agreement is that the provision of "Alternative Delivery", which allows parents to opt their children out of parts of the curriculum, will be limited to specific courses. This means that students will be unable to avoid LGBT topics in all classes."
My educated guess is that Mrs. Simpson hopes to put this genie back in the bottle. If she wins, she's happy. If she wins, she could say that the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that its unfair that those with a vested interested in gay-positive education in B.C. schools--read the Correns--should have veto power over such a potentially loaded topic. Instead, a neutral panel should advise the government.
She could also be playing to lose. It would be fair to say that the Tribunal's staff is probably fairly gay positive. Perhaps she sees this as the lance that will pierce the heart of the BCHRT's perceived neutrality, and that there is a majority of the B.C. Liberal caucus waiting for a good reason to eliminate or scale back the powers of the BCHRT and she wants to give them an excuse--this ruling--to do so.
I empathize with Mrs. Simpson. But I fear she is banging her head against a brick wall here, which is neither fun, nor profitable. I doubt that she can win, and I doubt that she has enough sympathizers in the B.C. Liberal party who are looking for an excuse to crack down on either the BCHRT or the B.C. education ministry.
I also remember a point made at the end of Ezra Levant's new book, where Ezra argues that conservatives filing cases on their own against the left is a bad idea because "human rights councils" have turned into such a Frankenstein monster that granting them credence legitimizes their powers to abuse as well.
I certainly agree with Mrs. Simpson that the situation with gay-positive education in B.C. schools is very unbalanced. But isn't there a better, more effective way to address it?
Your revolution is over, Stalin; land reform may finally come to Ukraine
In his state of the nation address, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko demanded that parliament lift the moratorium on the sale of farmland.
It’s estimated that Joseph Stalin murdered 7 million Ukrainians in his scheme to collectivize the Soviet Union’s farmland...a scheme that lead to the deliberate starvation of displaced farmers and rural people. The 75th anniversary of the Holodomor, the official name for this 1932–33 famine-genocide, was marked last year in the Ukraine, and recognized by the Canadian government.
On March 29th, the PC Party website announced that Frank Klees was running for leader. The website made no mention of Randy Hillier announcing on March 30th. In fact, there are two news releases from March 30th and one of them mentions a policy proposal from Tim Hudak.
I am left wondering why Tim Hudak and Frank Klees get special treatment; or is it Randy Hillier that is getting the special treatment?
"Mingled with concern for my father is the thought that he is blazing a trail for me.”
I don’t have a copy of the book at my office, from which to quote, but Nozick goes on to argue that people don’t give much thought to their own mortality until a parent dies, the assumption being that death will respect a natural queue. Parents die before their children. That’s nature’s way.
Having lost my own father last year, it suddenly occurred to me, as Nozick predicted it would, that I’m getting closer to the front of death’s line. Despite how this may read, it’s not a morose realization, just a mature and realistic one from a man in his thirties.
In fact, it is remarkable how irrelevant death – at least one's own looming death – is to daily life. “Brave New World” author Aldous Huxley wrote that “...the knowledge that every ambition is doomed to frustration at the hands of a skeleton [has] never prevented the majority of human beings from behaving as though death were no more than an unfounded rumor.”
Death, for me, is no longer an unfounded rumour. I no longer enjoy that blissful ignorance. But other than the almost unimportant personal realization that I'm next in line, I’m unchanged by the death of my father; except that I now take the time to read death notices. It now seems important...or at least more important to note the passing of a biographical life.
This brings me to today’s frustrated victim of time and decay, a man who leaves behind tearful friends and family who perhaps have the same unspoken fear that a trail to death’s door has been blazed for them.
In a statement to the media, Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason expressed his sorrow and condolences to the family of former Edmonton mayor Ivor Dent, who recently passed away:
“It is with great sadness that our party mourns the recent passing of Ivor Dent,” Mason said. “As a member of the Order of Canada, first president of the Alberta NDP, and former mayor of this great city, Ivor worked tirelessly to protect the interests of his community and the principles of social democracy. He will be greatly missed.”
If Dent were still alive, and I had the opportunity, I’d lend him my copy of “Anarchy, State and Utopia” or even “Brave New World” to see if I might convince him that centralized political authority is dangerous. But he’s not. So I too will simply express my condolences to his family and friends and go on examining my own life.
Kari Simpson and I are back behind the microphones again tonight, with our fifth episode of Roadkill Radio. You can catch the webcast live from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific at www.roadkillradio.com, or listen to the archived show at your convenience.
Tonight's lineup includes an interview with Walt Ruloff, executive producer of the Ben Stein-hosted documentary Expelled, which chronicles conflicts between Darwinism and intelligence design (aka, evolution vs. creationism). I watched the movie recently and found it to be a powerful piece of propaganda--an assessment that takes into account the many detailed critiques of the movie that I have read. It'll be interesting to see how Ruloff, a B.C. resident, answers some of those questions.
We'll also be talking to Alberta human-rights-commission victim Rev. Stephen Boissoin, whose Kafkaesque case is a recounted in Ezra Levant's new book, Shakedown, which has received so much publicity this week in the National Post and Maclean's. Not to be left out of the fun, Kari and I will be interviewing Ezra next week.
And, by the way, in the Globe's account of this (the first link), I'm pretty sure that, if the judge had been a former Tory MP instead of an ex-Grit cabinet minister, the paper would have clearly noted his political affiliation.
Does George Galloway have an "inside voice"? Scenes and discussion from the live videocast
As Peter mentioned, last night I was in attendance at the Metropolitan United Church in Toronto to witness a real spectacle. After George Galloway, an antiwar socialist MP from the UK, was barred from entering Canada on the grounds that he was a "security threat" because he had given aid to the Hamas government of Palestine (classified as a terrorist organization by the government of Canada) following the December 2008-January 2009 Israeli attack on Gaza, he made his scheduled speech by videocast from New York.
Here's what I heard and saw--and posted from my iPhone, with minimal editting for accuracy and clarity:
Click through below the break for my tweets from the rest of the evening, some feedback from readers, and finally a friendly little post-event debate about the government's decision to prohibit George Galloway from entering Canada.
If you're interested in getting more snippets (like these, but far less numerous) of my incredible intellect and implacable wit on a daily basis, go to my twitter page and sign up to follow updates.
Previous coverage on The Shotgun Blog on Galloway here, here and here.
kalimkassam: Jewish Code Pink member: "in my temple school I teach that 'never again means never again' for any people, for any genocide" #Galloway
kalimkassam: Amin osman York fed students prez: why is it Jason kenney's place to shame the U of Ottawa?
kalimkassam: Osman: Jason Kenney likes to talk about Taliban's restriction on free speech, but doesn't defend that here in Canada. #Galloway
British MP George Galloway has been banned from Canada, but that hasn't stopped him from speaking his mind, or reaching Canadians. Here's the live video from Rabble.TV:
[Note: We may not support what Galloway has to say, but we do support his freedom of speech. His being barred from Canada is part of the reason why we are posting this video. It has become significant news. Whereas, had Galloway just been permitted to come into Canada, it would have been a minor story.
Meanwhile, general manager Kalim Kassam is at a church in Toronto where the telecast is being broadcast live. He will report back to us later tonight, or early tomorrow.]
An interesting trailer for a forthcoming documentary film For Liberty, about the 2008 campaign for the Republican Party's presidential nomination by outsider libertarian Congressman Ron Paul and the internet and grassroots phenomenon, termed the "Ron Paul Revolution," which sustained it:
More recently I speculated about one possibility for the future impact of the Revolution in a 2012 presidential campaign by South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Western Standard publisher Matthew Johnston argued that there was a need for "a polite, principled and public resistance movement within the Conservative Party [of Canada]" pushing for increased individual liberty, along the lines of Paul's.
It's long been my position that most hard-core environmentalists are hypocrites when it comes to living a "natural" life. No, I'm not talking about the obvious Al-Gore-lights-a-blazing-in-mansion type of hypocrisy, but am, instead, centring on something more personal: life issues.
To me, it's the height of hypocrisy to, on one hand, preach that natural forces should be allowed to unfold in the biosphere or ecosystem (or whatever else the greens are calling Earth these days) while, on the other hand, advocate on behalf of a woman's right to rip a living child out of her womb--a most unnatural procedure, to be sure.
A similar "whoops, did I really suggest that I'm pro-life" comment has now landed another Green in hot water in B.C. Read the latest here.
I've no doubt that if the Greens were truly devoted to the advancement of natural, life-affirming forces, they'd be completely opposed to abortion--and, in doing so, might forge a very interesting new political coalition.
As mentioned by other posters of the Western Standard here, here, and here,
Randy Hillier has announced his candidacy for leader of the PC Party.
He made what has to be the best speech I have heard from a Canadian
politician in years. Here are the highlights and greatest quotes:
economy has gone from first place to last place in Confederation and we
have a government that behaves and believes that its only role is to
spend more, tax more, regulate more. They do not realize that when
you’re deep in a hole, you ought to stop digging the hole deeper.”
society known to mankind is comprised of individuals. It’s evident that
if individuals are responsible, self-reliant and independent, their
society will also be responsible and self-reliant.”
“We are no longer responsible for our actions when we allow ourselves to blame others for our actions.”
proper and honest role of government is not every role. It has a role
to insure that freedom and justice is found throughout the land.”
has become a legal system that preys on the financial weakness and
ignorance or common people. It’s now a never-ending system of little
justice where a guilty plea is less costly than a strong defence of
“It is said by many that politics is the art of
compromise. I believe this statement to be untrue. The true art of
politics ought to be honesty. That requires principles and convictions,
“Spin is the omission of relevant facts and
pertinent information. Political spin shields politicians from their
actions and disguises poor policies with fancy words. The day of spin
must come to an end.”
“The PC Party cannot simply disguise
itself as a Liberal Party lookalike, holding a different coloured
shovel while digging the same hole and expect Ontarians to choose us
and not the Liberals.”
Mary Woo Sims and I are now into our fourth year of writing our weekly debate column, Face to Face, for the Tri-City News. You might think we'd begin to converge on some of our ideas, but we've never been more sharply divided on just about every subject, from school curriculum to armed intervention. About the only thing we always seem to agree on is our dislike of the BC Liberal government -- but, of course, I think Gordon Campbell and his gang have gone far left, while she continues to think they're not nearly progressive enough.
Burt Blumert was not only an old and close personal friend, he was an important friend to Antiwar.com.
In 1999, when Antiwar.com started really taking off, Burt took us
under his wing by making us a part of the nonprofit Center for
Libertarian Studies, giving us the ability to substantially expand. I
don’t think we would be even a shadow of what we are today without Burt.
I met Burt in 1975, during my early involvement with the Libertarian
Party. Burt was well-known as a successful businessman and and a very
successful fund-raiser for libertarian causes. He was a good friend and
early promoter of Murray Rothbard, forming the Center for Libertarian
Studies to publish his works. He was a good friend and advisor to
Congressman Ron Paul, and served as Ron’s national finance chair in his
1988 run for the White House. Burt was also a very close friend of Lew
Rockwell, and was the publisher of LewRockwell.com. Burt was a radical, antiwar and anti-state to the core.
Over the next 34 years, Burt was always there, helping me with both
my political endeavors and my personal problems. He always had great
advice, just the right connections, and a loose wallet to help with
seed money. And Justin Raimondo told me he doesn’t think he’d be alive
without Burt’s help. [...]
Burt recently retired from his successful coin dealership, Camino
Coins. Only months after he retired, Burt was diagnosed with cancer. He
spent the next year battling the cancer while still keeping active to
the end. Just last month, Burt cooked me a delicious feast. The way he
waited on me, you would have thought I was the sick one. Burt turned 80
a few weeks ago.
Burt Blumert has been fighting that good fight for decades, all the
while poking fun at the government thugs, societal decay, political
correctness, the medical-industrial complex, the persecution of Barry
Bonds, and anything else that has slid under his skin. Burt's the kind
of guy who seems like he was born wise. Thus, it's no surprise that, as
David Gordon writes, "He knew almost everyone important in the
libertarian movement, as well as in the hard money community of which
he was a leading member." Up until Lew Rockwell persuaded Burt to put
his views of the world on LewRockwell.com, only Burt's friends and
customers benefited from his keen and funny insights.
Our thoughts today are with Burt's family, friends and community in Burlingame, California. Like them, his customers and the larger freedom movement have suffered a great loss; a man of immovable principle, incredible wit and generous spirit is no longer with us.
Like many involved in the movement who were more backers than active
contributors to writing and activism, he downplayed his own
accomplishments and importance. But such sponsorship and patronage of
intellectual movements are of course vital to the survival and spread
UPDATE 2: From Mises.org, a life in pictures (and one reason why Ron Paul should be impeached):
[Picture: Burt Blumert with his close friend Texas Congressman Ron Paul]
In every age, the idea of liberty needs benefactors, far-seeing people willing to make personal sacrifices so that each new generation is taught not to take freedom for granted, but rather to fight for it in every field of life. That is necessary because the idea of liberty isn't really a product that can be provided either by private enterprise or, of course, its enemy the state. It must be provided as a gift to civilization.
These are points taught to me by the life and work of Burton Samuel Blumert, one of liberty's great benefactors. He died at age 80 on the morning of March 30, 2009, after a long battle with cancer. He would deny it, but his name deserves to go down in history as a person who served as a champion of freedom during his long life. [...]
He saw politicians as predictable in their scammery and racketeering. He saw the state as no more than a massive drain on society, something we could do well without. War he regarded as a massive and destructive diversion of social resources. Welfare he saw as a perverse system for rewarding bad behavior and punishing virtue. Regulations on business he saw as interventions that benefited the well-connected at the expense of the true heroes of society who were pursuing enterprise with an eye to independence and profitability.
His main enemy was the inflationary state, and one reason he got into the business of precious metals was to battle paper money. As a lifetime observer of the business cycle, he knew that paper money and artificial credit creation lead to illusions that would eventually dissipate. So it was no surprise that he saw that the latest bust coming early on. As a resident of the Bay Area in Northern California, he was surrounded by illusions, but his knowledge of Austrian business cycle theory permitted him to see through the fog. [...]
So in his death, let us say what is true about him, simply because he would never let anyone say it about him in life. Through his daily life and good works, his loyalty and indefatigability, he showed us a path forward, the very model of how a successful businessman can achieve greatness in a lifetime. His legacy can be found in many of the books you read and in the massive growth of libertarianism in our times. Signs of his works are all around us. These were his gift to the world. And for those of us who knew him, Burt's wonderful life and outlook are gifts to us of inestimable value.
We will miss him every day, but no day will ever pass when we are not inspired by his example. May his great soul rest in peace.
During Harper's speech at the Manning Centre a few weeks ago, many libertarians and fiscal conservatives were upset over his three F's: Freedom, family, and faith. The basic point being that family and faith, as government policy, seem to be contradictory to freedom.
Now if we contrast that to what Randy Hillier has as his three planks to his Ontario PC leadership run: Freedom, Justice & Democracy. So what does Hillier say about freedom? He says during his speech, "Freedom strengthens commerce, creativity, industry, education, and the most important element of our society – the family." Randy Hillier says that families are strengthened by freedom, which I completely agree with. This is exactly the type of campaign that libertarians, fiscal conservatives and social conservatives alike can get behind.
HIllier's picked three "Common Sense" (calling all Harrisites!) planks to hang his suspenders on - freedom of association, freedom of speech and senate elections in Ontario. The policy pages are fairly content-rich, answering questions that potential supporters might have about each proposal for the "Randy Revolution." (I laughed, but in a good way.)
Hillier proposes provincial legislation to protect medical professionals and marriage commissioners from having to perform acts that they are morally opposed to. It's hard to argue against this policy from a libertarian perspective. It's a smart way to reach out to the so-cons in the PCPO.
Shotgun readers will be happy to hear that Hillier is proposing abolishing the Ontario Human Rights Commission and moving human rights cases to civil courts to help preserve due process and, one can only assume, reduce the number of frivolous human rights complaints. I predict that Hillier will need to skirt any attempts to paint him as opposed to protecting human rights in Ontario by both forces outside the party and probably also his opponents in the leadership race.
Randy Hillier announces bid for leadership of Ontario Progressive Conservative Party
Randy Hillier, the suspender-wearing, private property supporting, eccentric Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario has announced that he is running to become the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. The slogan for his campaign? "A Conservative leader for a Conservative Party."
In his speech, published here at the Western Standard under the title "Freedom, Justice & Democracy," Hillier announced his intentions to produce policies that will strengthen individual liberty. Concrete proposals include "abolishing" the Ontario Human Rights Commission by introducing legislation to place human rights complaints under the jurisdiction of "real" courts (rather than the kangaroo courts we've so often written about); introducing legislation to provide for an elected Senate in Ontario; and introduction of the "Freedom of Conscience and Association Act" which will be "an act to protect the rights of the individual to not be compelled or coerced into actions or associations they find objectionable."
We have passed countless laws that diminish the individual’s responsibility, removes their good judgment and places it into the hands of a regulatory body.
We have become a “nanny-state” of dependence.
We are no longer responsible for our actions when we allow ourselves to blame others for our actions.
We now have over half a million provincial regulations.
Many of them diminish individual responsibility.
Many others blur the line between private and public property, and allow government to intrude where it has no business.
These regulations must be repealed.
The proper and honest role of government is not every role.
It has a role to insure that freedom and justice is found throughout the land.
We were a province that used to boast the strongest and most diverse economy in our country.
Now it shuts down small businesses and farms under the weight of over-regulation.
The cost of doing business in this province drives business out.
It’s not that our businesses can’t compete.
Rather, our government prevents them from being competitive with costly red tape...
We have built a regime of countless review boards and commissions through which faceless bureaucrats dressed in quasi-legal robes hand down “kangaroo” verdicts that suffocate our natural rights as individuals, and extend false privileges to collective bodies.
Our legal system must prevent injustice not create injustice...
The PC Party cannot simply disguise itself as a Liberal Party lookalike, holding a different coloured shovel while digging the same hole and expect Ontarians to choose us and not the Liberals...
My campaign will be driven by ideas and ideals, while being anchored by the three central principles of Freedom, Justice, and Democracy.
Freedom strengthens commerce, creativity, industry, education, and the most important element of our society -– the family.
When the rights of government overtake the rights of the farmer, the worker, the doctor, or the parent, all of society suffers.
As Premier I will immediately introduce the Freedom of Association & Conscience Act, an act to protect the rights of the individual to not be compelled or coerced into actions or associations that that they find objectionable.
We’ve created private monopolized and special interest governments such as the Ontario Medical Association and Law Society of Upper Canada.
We compel people to join business and industry associations that collect dues but do not represent them, and we provide no protection for freedom of conscience.
Justice is only just when it is truly blind.
When the law is applied unequally -– and absent of due process -– the law can become an instrument of harm rather than justice.
One of the worst examples of this has been the Ontario Human Rights Commission and other quasi-tribunals.
As Premier, I’ll make sure those violating human rights appear before real judges in real courts, where civil rights and due process are not distorted by the balance of probabilities.
The Human Rights Commission and other quasi-tribunals will be rendered redundant under my government...
UPDATE: It seems like it belongs here - pollsters have, I think for the first time, found that Canadians think Iggy is the leader best suited to handle the economic crisis. I know it's a poll. I know you can make them say almost anything. But they do provide some indication of public opinion, and they haven't said this before, so it's noteworthy anyway.
Yesterday I attended the founding of a PC Youth Association in Hamilton
and was somewhat surprised to see Frank Klees, the provincial member
from Newmarket-Auroa, also attending the founding meeting. There has
been a rumour that Frank Klees would run for the leadership ever since
John Tory stepped down. After listening to him speak, I am now willing
to give credence to those rumours. He did not mention the leadership
race directly but he made a leadership like speech, claiming that the
next leader of the party will be the next premier.
meeting I called a few friends who I thought might know more, and they
confirmed my suspicion. I am now willing to assert with a high level of
certainty that Tim Hudak, Christian Elliott, Randy Hillier, and now
Frank Klees are going to be the leadership contenders.
have not yet decided who to support, I welcome Frank Klees to the race.
In the last leadership contest he was bold enough to propose healthcare
reform in the direction of two tier health care. I expect and hope that
Frank Klees will once again contribute to a positive debate on policy.
It is that sort of debate that this party needs to rebuild and
I fear that this leadership race may be a missed
opportunity for the PC Party to rebuild and rebrand itself. After two
disastrous leaders we need a leadership race that will bring as all
together in a grand debate about the future of the party. Though sadly we don’t have enough time to do it properly, the more candidates that participate the greater the party renewal shall be.
CALGARY — Even with no federal election in sight, an outspoken and controversial member of Parliament is being challenged within his own party in his own riding.
On Saturday, more than 600 people stood outside for as long as 90 minutes to get into the annual general meeting of the Calgary West Conservative party.
MP Rob Anders has won the riding five times but corporate lawyer Donna Kennedy-Glans wants to replace him. She took a first step toward that Saturday by getting her supporters in the riding to vote in a new board of directors, which oversees nominations.
"It was democracy," said Kennedy-Glans. "It was very exciting."
She said the federal party has ruled that the only way incumbent members of Parliament can be ousted is if two-thirds of members in the riding vote to hold a nomination contest.
Putting that into motion will take a couple of months, she said.
The Enlightened Savage reports on his blog that Ms. Kennedy-Glans' slate of candidates for Board of Directors swept the well-run riding election last night.
The upshot? Rob Anders' days as a Member of Parliament are now numbered.
Update: Title and background modified to better reflect the status of the nomination challenge. Thanks commenters.
Justice Frank Cole told lawyers involved in the case Friday he will release a written ruling on Monday that will lift all restrictions from third-party advertisers from now until the writs of election are issued on April 14.
Between April 14 and election day May 12, third-party advertisers are expected still to be allowed to spend up to $150,000 each.
The so-called gag law "was found unconstitutional," said lawyer Joe Arvay, who challenged the law on behalf of a group of labour unions.
It's very unfortunate that the restrictions weren't lifted during the writ period. These laws are an affront to freedom of speech in Canada. This is why Stephen Harper took on Canada back in the day to fight the national election gag law brought in by Chretien. He won in 2000 but lost in 2004, and unfortunately his government hasn't moved to scrap or alter a law that gives politicians the only real voice during an election campaign.
Still, a victory is a victory, even if it's incomplete. B.C. residents have reason to celebrate today.
After 35 years of stuffing prisons with minor drug felons, state legislators have judged the law's mandatory sentencing provisions as expensive and ineffective.
It's part of a reassessment of "tough on crime and sentencing" laws taking place across the United States, which has the highest incarceration rate in the developed world. Canada, ironically, is bucking that trend.
"Canadian policy-makers have picked up the cudgel of minimum mandatory sentences at the same time as Americans are trying to extricate themselves from them because they have proven to be so destructive," says Craig Jones, director of the John Howard Society, which reintegrates inmates in the community.
So why is Canada starting to bringing in these very same "expensive and ineffective" policies?
Canada's Conservative government last year increased the minimum prison time judges must impose for gun crimes. Last month, it reintroduced a bill that imposed minimum sentences for a long list of drug crimes. It includes a six-month sentence for someone caught growing even one marijuana plant for trafficking.
The toughest minimum sentence under the proposed drug law is three years for anyone creating a public safety hazard in a residential area by producing Schedule 1 drugs – such as cocaine, heroine or methamphetamine.
Micheal Cust wrote some time ago about the fact that tougher enforcement of prohibition may actually lead to more violence in the drug war. At a time of national reassessment of a failed experiment in drug policy in the United States, it's baffling to see our government shutting its eyes, plugging its ears and shouting "tough on crime!" to convince Canadians it's doing something to make them safer.
Todd Bentley, shamed Candian evangelist, seems to have friends who want him to return to ministry as soon as possible. His mentor, U.S. charismatic evangelist Rick Joyner, is putting several videos on his site per week about Mr. Bentley's "restoration process", not just the one video per week that was promised.
Todd Friel, an American apologetics expert with a weekly radio and TV show, analyzed parts of the videos this week on his radio program. If you are interested in his critique, I think he makes some very good points. His audio comments are below the fold of this post.
[For my part, I am puttering on several posts that may move the story forward. I think I am detecting the underlying logic of the argument that Mr. Bentley and his friends are advancing, and it's not good. But more later, as needed...]
We might be contradictory, but at least we're not backpeddling!
At a time when Ontario PCs are ramping up for a leadership race (that's about to start in earnest on Monday) in an attempt to make themselves something resembling relevant again, members are (or should be) paying attention to where their likely leadership contenders stand on the issues.
Ontario Progressive Conservative finance critic Tim Hudak, whose party doesn't support an increase to the minimum wage, said he expects the government to stick by the budget they present.
Minimum wage has increased in Ontario extremely quickly since McGuinty became Premier in 2003. It wouldn't be politically difficult to consistently oppose this job-killing policy, even if it is in the Liberal budget.