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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Harper remaking Conservative Party into Liberal Party II

In his Financial Post column today, Terence Corcoran criticizes the ineffective and principle-less leadership of Stephen Harper. Corcoran writes:

"Since then, the Conservatives have drifted perceptively to the left -- and ever further away from the core conservative values that once seemed to animate Mr. Harper and the party he had helped create.

After five months as leader of the opposition, Mr. Harper has stacked the party hierarchy with old Tory operatives and transformed himself into what from this distance looks like another red Tory. Would Joe Clark have said anything different on Quebec language issues than Mr. Harper said over the weekend?"

Corcoran catalogues other sins against the conservative cause, most notably becoming "major cheerleaders for the Liberals' massive cash transfer to the provinces," defending corporate welfare and backtracking on missile defense. Corcoran concludes:

"The Conservative party is abandoning conservative values as part of a deliberate strategy orchestrated by party insiders, including some of Mr. Harper's old brain trust. Disappointed at their election loss, hungry to be in on power, they have come to believe that victory will only come to a party that shifts toward the centre and beyond. They have polls to back their strategy, showing Canadians might not want less government, lower taxes and greater individual freedom.

If true, why bother? If Mr. Harper and his conservative supporters seek a new and better Canada, what will they do if they ever get into power? It's a hypothetical question, now more than ever."

So is anyone interested in beginning a draft Terry  Corcoran for leader campaign?

Posted by Paul Tuns on November 30, 2004 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Hello, 911?

best. agribition. party. ever.

Posted by Kate McMillan on November 30, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Quick Thanks

I just wanted to drop a short note thanking Ezra for asking Bob and myself to participate in The Shotgun.

It's quite an honour to be asked to write with people who can... well, let's be honest, write. Regardless, we appreciate the invitation and we'll do our best which is all we can promise to do.

crossposted at canadiancomment

Posted by Dana on November 30, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Battle of Seattle, Five Years Later

It was five years ago today that latte-sipping hippies and anarchists descended upon the Emerald City, wreaking havoc and disrupting the WTO meetings there. Property was destroyed, police authority undermined, and the protestors upheld the greatest of hypocrisies by violently attempting to block the WTO meeting, which was itself a peaceful gathering.

Such vile acts of self-proclaimed "civil disobedience" has done little, except to denigate peaceful activism and overshadow serious debate. These people have done more to discredit their own arguments and radicalize political discourse than their "Bushitler" bogeyman. As a lamenting libertarian non-violent activist observed:

Network news reports, which frequently stressed how well organized the "so-called anarchists" were, showed scenes of protesters breaking windows, looting several stores, smashing up a Nike store sign, occupying one under-renovation building, setting big nighttime bonfires in the middle of the street. Television network news video shows activists throwing a bottle at a police officer standing on top of an armored vehicle; he shoots back rubber bullets. Demonstrators block an entrance and exchange blows with an Asian delegate trying to get in. Other activists throw unidentified objects at police. Networks also repeatedly showed video of the June, 1999 Eugene riot where young people jumped on passenger cars and smashed at them with chains.

The ACME Collective, an anarchist group consisting of the most extreme violent protestors, would later brag of their challenge to civil authority and direct attack on democracy:

Those attacked by federal thugs [note: in reality Seattle Police] were un-arrested by quick-thinking and organized members of the black bloc.
(Emphasis mine.)

And hey, this was back in the Clinton presidency!

The Battle of Seattle was the beginning of a strange new age, when "the people" conspired to keep regular folks from going to their jobs in the city and their "message" was sent through vandalism and destruction. Their insanity peaked in the prologue to the Iraq War, when anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism became the only two forms of "politically correct" bigotry. The question is how long will the damage from 1999 last.

Posted by Kelvin on November 30, 2004 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Now he apologizes

I'm sure you remember the media hysteria over farmed salmon a while back. Well, the scientist responsible for that particular piece of junk science hype is now apologizing for the losses he caused. Somehow I doubt this will get the media coverage that the original cancer scare got, but kudos to this Sottish paper for digging into the militant green background that funded that hit piece:

We discovered that, far from being an independent, un­committed organisation, Pew worked as publicists and financers for militant “green” groupings across the world. In January, it was the turn of the Scottish fish farming industry to be on the receiving end of their black propaganda.

Since then our revelations and our scepticism about Pew have been thoroughly vindicated. The level of incompetence involved in the research process was awesome — they did not know, it transpires, where the salmon they were testing came from. They did not even know whether it was wild or farmed.

Dr David Carpenter himself has admitted that Pew Charitable Trust were on a mission. “There may be some legitimacy,” he said, “in saying the reason they chose to fund this study was that they had another ­agenda well beyond the health effects.”

I wish the media had half the skepticism for militant green organizations that they have for private companies.

Posted by Kevin Jaeger on November 30, 2004 in Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pierre Berton dead at 84

He died of heart failure in Toronto earlier today.   Whatever you think of his political views, the man did a lot to get Canadians insterested in their history, and for that he deserves our thanks.

Posted by Damian Penny on November 30, 2004 in Books | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Bush = Hitler

Is there any doubt that during George W. Bush's visit to Canada this week, that some moron protester will be parading around with a Bush = Hitler sign. Of course that person is free to make any comparison they wish, but do they actually realize how foolish it is to compare Bush to Hitler. In my opinion, any person carrying such a sign immediately discredits themselves from any relevant position that they may be protesting about. So what's the point?

Surely, no matter how much this type of person hates President Bush, they must know how absurd this comparison is, and must be doing it just to grab a little bit of the protest's spotlight for themselves. I would hope that is the case anyway, otherwise it would be scary to think that an individual could be that much in the dark about history and current affairs.

Some of the Bush = Hitler crowd even have the gall to ramble off a couple of vague references about how Hitler, pre 1939, and Bush are so much alike. But couldn't anybody do a little research and come up with a couple of similarities between most leaders and/or countries through out history.

It just doesn't make sense to me. Do you see conservatives marching about in Ottawa with Paul Martin = Stalin signs? Sure many of us disagree with some of the things that our Prime Minister does, but we seem to have better sense then some of the ones on the political left do. For some reason we don't feel the need to indulge in protests for show, where we must act foolish to get noticed by the media.

Whatever short comings Paul Martin or George W. Bush have, they don't deserve to be compared to two of the biggest mass murders of all time. So why do it? That is what baffles me about some of these protesters, how they can't comprehend the stupidity of their actions. Please tell me I'm not the only one.

crossposted to canadiancomment

Posted by Bob Matheson on November 30, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

John Manley's future

Walter Robinson interviewed former Mr. Everything in Ottawa John Manley last week and concludes his Ottawa Sun column with this exchange:

Q: Will we see a return of John Manley to public life?

"Well I never say never, but we'll see what the future holds. For now, I'm enjoying my life away from politics."

Was there ever any doubt that Manley might return to public life? And while it is obvious that Manley wouldn't mind coming back, are there many in the Liberal Party who would want him as leader? (While it is possible that Manley could return in some other capacity, it is doubtful he would want to.) There is no shortage of Liberal leader wannabes to succeed Paul Martin and I find it unlikely that a pro-business former Finance Minister who gives lip service to the importance of the Canada-US relationship is what the party will be looking for -- again.

Posted by Paul Tuns on November 30, 2004 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Winning the war on terror vs. having won the war

German journalist Dirk Laabs writes in the Los Angeles Times that the threat posed by al-Qaeda is exaggerated. Noting that "Al Qaeda was once centralized, structured and powerful ...  before before the U.S. pulverized its camps and leadership in Afghanistan," Laabs suggests that "this battle in the war on terror might already be over." I have no doubt that al-Qaeda is weakened, that their strength and scope might be exaggerated and that their ability to hit the United States is severely diminished. But all of that is because the Bush administration and the Coalition of the Willing has al-Qaeda on the run and has scared away al-Qaeda's state sponsors. It is difficult to be centralized, structured and powerful when you have to continuously move camps, when you can't operate freely because the whole world is watching what happens in the shadows and when your operatives and top leaders are being arrested or shot dead/blown up. The battle is not over, but it is being won. That victory will be snatched from the United States and its allies if it succombs to Laabs' way of thinking that the terrorist enemies no longer need to be dealt with.

Posted by Paul Tuns on November 30, 2004 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


We're bringing in a couple of new bloggers to the Shotgun from Canadian Comment. Blast away, Dana and Bob, and welcome.

Posted by westernstandard on November 30, 2004 in Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hockey game breaks out?

Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News asked me to write a quick something re: Bush's visit. He just emailed me to say thanks and "By the way: fight between protestors and police in Ottawa. Clubs flying. Turn on CNN!"

I'm not near a tv, and the CNN site was no help. Anybody know what's happening??

Posted by Kathy Shaidle on November 30, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Being Kofi

Kofi Annan is at his best today saying that he was 'disappointed and surprised' to learn that his son was receiving payments from a company involved in the oil-for-food program.

So if Kofi is 'disappointed and surprised' about the actions of his son what words would describe his feelings toward a person who willingly stood by and did nothing while a couple hundred thousand people were murdered by a brutal tyrant?

Just curious.

crossposted to canadiancomment

Posted by Dana on November 30, 2004 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The importance of January 30

The headline on the Los Angeles Times lead editorial reads "Ballots, the Insurgents' Enemy." No, no, no, no, no. Ballots are the terrorists' enemy. But other than that, it was a good editorial, beginning: "Elections in Iraq should proceed toward a Jan. 30 vote, despite continued fighting and calls from a coalition of 17 Iraqi political parties to push them back. Expectations about what the elections could accomplish keep diminishing, but a delay would only worsen matters, giving insurgents the decisive voice in when — if ever — balloting is held." Okay, there's that insurgents thing again. But the central point is true: if the Iraqi elections are postponed because of the violence of some malcontents, then  the insurgents terrorists win. As the editorial explains, the terrorists do not want a legitimate government chosen by the Iraqi people. Postponing the election is a terrorist goal; they cannot be permitted to be successful.

Posted by Paul Tuns on November 30, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Press Review

From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR, where the articles are hotlinked.

The New York Times leads with Red Cross allegations of torture at Guantanamo. On the West Coast, Ukraine leads. The Washington Post features Iran’s nukes.

In the U K, Tony Blair is defending a promiscuous cabinet minister and there’s new hope in Northern Ireland.

In France, the two Iraq hostages are back in the news after a long period of silence; the country has a new finance minister to squeeze out the golden egg without killing the goose.

At home, Tommy Douglas is the Greatest Canadian. This proves, according to CBC producer Mark Starowicz, that there’s no Darwinism in Canada.

Though the CBC went to great lengths last evening to prove the self-evident truth that we’re different from Americans, I would caution visiting US reporters not to interpret this to mean we’re a bunch of creationists up here.

Also, notwithstanding that we ended up siding with France on Iraq at the UN, I would hope no American concludes that we’re like them, speaking either of our official languages.

Come to think of it, even Canadian CBC viewers might be unaware of our differences--so light has been the coverage of l’Héxagone's distinctiveness.

In France, abortions are banned past the 12th week, gay marriage is illegal though civil unions were legalized by the previous (Socialist) government and neo-Nazis are on the rise.

Arabs live in slums that rival Harlem of the 1960s, the President’s salary is an undisclosed state secret and, were it not for immunity laws, Jacques Chirac would have been prosecuted for corruption. Oh, and an ex-foreign minister and an ex-prime minister were tried and convicted.

Today, Canadians’ eyes will be on Ottawa, yet there’s no news of the Bush visit in the Washington Post or in either coast’s Times. But, boy, are our papers ever full of it.

(From Ottawa, here’s Greg Weston’s report on the White House briefing, though you wouldn’t know it from Tim Harper’s report, and he’s in Washington.)

Only, the Wall Street Journal editorial board looks at Canada-US relations on the eve of the Bush visit (which it predicts will be stormy):

“Despite occasional disagreements, the two countries have a better relationship than any other border states in the world -- starting with the $1.2 billion in trade that crosses the border every day. Many Americans would be surprised to learn that Canada -- not Saudi Arabia -- is the biggest oil exporter to the U.S.

The U.S.-Canada relationship has been strained in recent years by disputes over Canadian exports of softwood lumber and beef and by Canada 's decision not to participate in the war on Iraq . It didn't help that until a year ago Canada had a prime minister who was openly scornful of America . But now there's a new PM, a new attitude and a new commitment to improving ties with the U.S….

There's one question on the Friends of America poll where we think the respondents got it wrong. Asked about Americans' views of Canada , only 33% of our friends to the North thought they were positive. Take it from us, the real number is far higher.”

In commentary, Joe Trippi says the Deaniacs can save the Democrat. Brendan Miniter is onto Iran.

The New York Times’ editorial board weighs in on Ukraine, whistle-blowers and drug research tests.

David Brooks explains what makes Evangelicals tick. Robert Malley and Joost Hiltermann are onto Iraq elections.

The Washington Post’s editorial board says the elections should not be postponed.

George Will is onto Putinism, David Ignatius looks at the housecleaning at the CIA.

E. J. Dionne Jr. weighs in on social security, David Broder says there may be other surprises in Bush’s second term.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board also looks at the Iraq elections, along with the marijuana case.

Robert Scheer looks at television. Dirk Laabs says the al-Qa’ida threat is overblown.

Back in the Great White North, the Globe and Mail fronts the Bush buzz in Ottawa and those whose noses are out of joint—along with Ukraine, the fax according to CIBC, and Christie Blatchford on a very lucky 11-year old girl, Tamara Carter.

Inside, Jane Taber has all the poop from Ottawa, the goat has the rest of the gossip.

Stephanie Nolen reports on fighting AIDS in Africa, and on a new radio station in Congo.

Jeff Simpson looks at two peas in a pod:

“The government of Paul Martin should give U.S. President George W. Bush a warm welcome today — by insisting that both Canada and the United States take seriously the matter of global warming.

But, of course, such a conversation wouldn't do much good, because Mr. Bush has wax ears about the problem, and Canada's own record is no roaring hell. So, even if climate change/global warming did arise in the Bush-Martin conversations, it would be a brief, platitudinous conversation. …

That's the way it is in Canada on climate change: lots of talk, plenty of position papers, endless roundtables, high-flying rhetoric but few concrete deeds. At least the serial refuseniks in the Bush administration are honest. They talk little and act less.”

Margaret Wente considers the Sgro affair:

“The worst revelation of the stripper scandal is not that Judy Sgro fast-tracked certain lucky people into Canada , or that her chief of staff held a meeting in a strip joint. It's the news that our government is complicit in human trafficking.

We give work permits to young Romanian women to do a job Canadian women don't want to do. And this job? It's to gyrate virtually naked in front of aroused men, to simulate sex while sitting in their laps, to put on lesbian sex shows, to whip the patrons' buttocks with belts, and to entice them into private VIP “champagne rooms,” where the assignment is to bump and grind (and more) against them until the men obtain sexual release or run out of money, whichever occurs first. That's not dancing, folks. It's not entertainment. It's hooking.

Strip clubs aren't really in the exotic dancing business. They're in the “ejaculation business.” That's a candid quote from Terry Koumoudouros, the strip-club owner who persuaded Ms. Sgro's chief of staff to drop by to discuss his immigration needs — after making a handsome donation to the Liberal Party. (He claims his own club is blameless.)”

Hugh Winsor is also onto Sgro:

“Maybe she and her staff are in over their heads in Ottawa . A more effective politician would have dealt with the both the dancer and ministerial permit issues head-on instead of trying to hide behind an 11th-hour reference to the Ethics Commissioner. Ms. Sgro, if she survives, has a lot to learn.”

John Ibbitson reports that the striped-pants set are disappointed that Canada may end up with no role in Iraq’s elections—we’re too late to train them and it’s too dangerous to observe them voting.

Naomi Klein says Canada should put teeth into its opposition to the US:

“If Mr. Hinzman is granted refugee status, it could well be the last straw, opening the floodgates to other U.S. soldiers who don't want to fight.

During the Vietnam War, 50,000 draft-age Americans came to Canada; a fraction of that could break the back of the war. If Canada once again became a haven for war resisters, it would mean that we were not just quietly opting out of the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. We would be helping to end it.”

The editorial board pans Canada’s spooks:

“the scope of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service's bungling in the days and weeks before the Air-India disaster on June 23, 1985, is staggering…. Two questions. First, why did CSIS keep the full extent of its shoddy work secret for nearly 20 years? Second, has the agency changed its procedures and training to prevent a recurrence?”

Another editorialist weighs in on Ukraine:

“It is vital for the future of a democratic Ukraine that the electoral mess be sorted out peacefully. The best way to do that is to hold a new runoff election carefully monitored by neutral observers, one that is as transparent and free of taint as possible and in which both candidates have reasonable access to the national media. Once Ukrainians have confidence that their democratic rights are being protected, they should be willing to accept the results, regardless of which candidate prevails.”

The Toronto Star fronts Ukraine, Tamara, the battle for DVD supremacy and today's top story--on the Bush visit.

Inside, Mitch Potter reports Hamas is offering a hudna, which he like most everyone else mistranslates as a “ceasefire.” (It’s actually a temporary truce, and is rich in Islamic tradition, which I’ve written about in this book.)

Back in Canada, Jim Travers serves up a fine column on the truth, lies and videotape summit in Ottawa . The editorial board says Paul Martin must put his money where his mouth is if he wants to be a world player.

Tom Walkom defends the same US deserter Naomi Klein defends--and he's old enough to know something about the Vietnam war. Hans Blix says the UN can survive the US. Roy Romanow encourages Ontario to stand up to the doctors.

The National Post and Ottawa Citizen editorial boards welcome George Bush; in Edmonton , they have a beef with Bush. In Montréal, the tall foreheads support higher university tuition.

The Post fronts the Toronto shooting victim, panic attacks, Ukraine and a CanWest report of a new Canada-US weather forecasting agreement.

The Citizen fronts Rod Bryden’s financial woes and Ukraine, along with Bush and more Bush. You’d almost think Ottawans were having a panic attack.

Inside the Citizen, Robert Sibley issues an extraordinary apology for past plagiarism; we’re told he’s been re-assigned from the editorial board.

Charles Gordon weighs in on the US relationship:

“It means a lot to us, nothing to them, and the less it matters to them the more it matters to us.

Canadians are capable of the most thoughtless and vicious form of anti-Americanism. Under certain situations, such as the presence on our soil of the president -- or at least this president -- it is almost automatic.

Yet Canadians are capable of the warmest and most generous feelings of friendship toward the United States . No one could have avoided being moved by the huge rally on Parliament Hill three days after the Sept. 11 attacks. One hundred thousand people were there and their sorrow was genuine.”

In Post commentary, Premier Danny Williams blames everyone but any Newfoundlander for lousy resource deals in the past, and pleads for support in the offshore negotiations with Ottawa .

Terence Corcoran says Stephen Harper is killing conservatism. Claire Hoy says Paul Martin should appoint Alberta ’s elected senators. Paul Wells thinks otherwise, and here’s my take.

Don Martin stamps his feet and says Canada is important to the US. In a front-page column, David Frum knows what he’s writing about:

“The President is not coming to Canada to argue with Canadians about the differences that have divided the two governments in recent years. His private meetings with Prime Minister Martin and others will deal with those disagreements -- and the need to work past them. He will go to Halifax for a very different purpose: to thank the kind people of Atlantic Canada who took stranded American passengers into their homes in the days after 9/11 -- and to showcase the gallant contributions of the Canadian Forces to the military campaigns in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf ….

The methods Bush is testing on this visit will, if successful, soon go global.

Bush is working on the assumption that many allied governments feel that they have allowed their disagreements with the United States to go too far….

Bush seems to have decided that allied anger over the decision to go to war in Iraq has subsided. Whether the allies liked the initial decision or not, they seem to agree that now that the decision has been made, Iraq cannot be allowed to fail. This may explain why -- after a year of trying -- the Bush administration last week succeeded in persuading the European allies and Russia to write off 80% of Iraq 's debt.

He is gambling too that he can reconnect with the broad sensible political middle of public opinion in these countries.”

In the Toronto Sun Peter Worthington is onto missile defence. Christina Blizzard looks at health care, as does Tom Brodbeck in Winnipeg.

In Ottawa, Walter Robinson sat down with John Manley. In Calgary, Paul Jackson poops on Alberta PCs.


Leaders to sign deal on ending disputes

The Toronto Star’s SUSAN DELACOURT reports:

“Prime Minister Paul Martin and President George W. Bush are expected to sign a deal today touting a "new partnership" between Canada and the United States — complete with a timetable for resolving issues such as the beef ban.”

Posted by Norman Spector on November 30, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Monday, November 29, 2004

Once more, with feeling

Jerry Falwell has announced plans to start a new version of The Moral Majority.

The details are here:


Posted by Rick Hiebert on November 29, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

At least it wasn't Trudeau

Tommy Douglas has won that "Greatest Canadian" poll, proving that maintaining a feeling of smug superiority over those uncouth Yanks is our one and only national characteristic.  (P.E.T. came third.  Don Cherry was seventh.)

T.C. (Tommy) Douglas, former Saskatchewan premier, former leader of the federal New Democratic Party and touted as the father of the country's universal health-care system, has been voted The Greatest Canadian.


Speaking prior to learning the outcome of the voting, Jeffrey said if Douglas won it was because of the symbolism of his chief accomplishment in health care.

"He gets the visionary side of this, of coming up with the idea, at least at a political level," said Jeffrey. "You can't blame Tommy Douglas for the health-care crisis."

She said that was expressed when, during the Sunday debate, the late politician's official advocate, George Stroumboulopoulos, whipped out his red-and-white plastic health card and waved it about.

To delirious cheers, Stroumboulopoulos dramatically argued that if Douglas, who died in 1986, were removed from the national equation "you remove the caring, sharing legacy of everything that we value . . . you remove this, and this is our most treasured, treasured national characteristic!"


[Executive producer Mark Starowicz] said that as far as he was concerned, it didn't matter in the slightest who won, that what was important was that Canadians got engaged on the issue of what values they wished to treasure in their country.

"Unity, diversity, compassion, caring for each other. I mean this is not an American list. There's nothing Darwinian in this room. I was a very generous list."

The best response to this self-righteous nonsense came in the Washington Post article linked immediately below:

Part of what's irksome about Canadian anti-Americanism and the obsession with the United States is that it seems so corrosive to Canada. Any country that defines itself through a negative ("Canada: We're not the United States") is doomed to an endless and repetitive cycle of hand-wringing and angst. For example, Canadians often point to their system of universal health care as the best example of what it means to be Canadian (because the United States doesn't provide it), but this means that any effort to adjust or reform that system (which is not perfect) precipitates a national identity crisis: To wit, instituting co-payments or private MRI clinics will make Canada too much like the United States.

Posted by Damian Penny on November 29, 2004 in Media | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

"Not All Beer And Donuts"

With four years as a Canadian resident behind her, Norma Jacobson has some advice fo Americans considering a move to the Great White North - don't.

Although I enjoy my work and have made good friends here, I've found life as an American expatriate in Canada difficult, frustrating and even painful in ways that have surprised me. As attractive as living here may be in theory, the reality's something else. For me, it's been one of almost daily confrontation with a powerful anti-Americanism that pervades many aspects of life. When I've mentioned this phenomenon to Canadian friends, they've furrowed their brows sympathetically and said, "Yes, Canadian anti-Americanism can be very subtle." My response is, there's nothing subtle about it.

The anti-Americanism I experience generally takes this form: Canadians bring up "the States" or "Americans" to make comparisons or evaluations that mix a kind of smug contempt with a wariness that alternates between the paranoid and the absurd.

Thus, Canadian media discussion of President Bush's upcoming official visit on Tuesday focuses on the snub implied by his not having visited earlier. It's reported that when he does come, he will not speak to a Parliament that's so hostile it can't be trusted to receive him politely. Coverage of a Canadian athlete caught doping devolves into complaints about how Americans always get away with cheating. The "Blame Canada" song from the "South Park" movie is taken as documentary evidence of Americans' real attitudes toward this country. The ongoing U.S. ban on importing Canadian cattle (after a case of mad cow disease was traced to Alberta) is interpreted as a form of political persecution. A six o'clock news show introduces a group of parents and children who are convinced that the reason Canadian textbooks give short shrift to America's failed attempts to invade the Canadian territories in the War of 1812 is to avoid antagonizing the Americans -- who are just waiting for an excuse to give it another try.


Part of what's irksome about Canadian anti-Americanism and the obsession with the United States is that it seems so corrosive to Canada. Any country that defines itself through a negative ("Canada: We're not the United States") is doomed to an endless and repetitive cycle of hand-wringing and angst. For example, Canadians often point to their system of universal health care as the best example of what it means to be Canadian (because the United States doesn't provide it), but this means that any effort to adjust or reform that system (which is not perfect) precipitates a national identity crisis: To wit, instituting co-payments or private MRI clinics will make Canada too much like the United States.

She has seen us as we are. Read it all.

crossposted to SDA with hat tip to Cosh.

Posted by Kate McMillan on November 29, 2004 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Obesity Tourism

Times Online reports on efforts to solve Zimbabwe's food crisis :

The so-called Obesity Tourism Strategy was reported last week in The Herald, a government organ whose contents are approved by President Robert Mugabe's powerful information minister, Jonathan Moyo.

Pointing out that more than 1.2 billion people worldwide are officially deemed to be overweight, the article exhorted Zimbabweans to "tap this potential".

"Tourists can provide labour for farms in the hope of shedding weight while enjoying the tourism experience," it said, adding that Americans spent $6 billion a year on "useless" dieting aids.
"Tour organisers may promote this programme internationally and bring in tourists, while agriculturalists can employ the tourists as free farm labour. "

"The tourists can then top it all by flaunting their slim bodies on a sun-downer cruise on the Zambezi or surveying the majestic Great Zimbabwe ruins."

I can't believe Scott Ott hasn't thought of this.

Posted by Kate McMillan on November 29, 2004 in Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Victor & Wretchard Give Two Thumbs Down

Victor Davis Hanson reviews Alexander and is so much better at it than the usual suspects.

[S]ince Stone omitted the controversial and key issues of Alexander's career, what do we get instead for at least over two thirds of the movie? Mostly sit-com drama, with gay and bi- subplots, in various bedrooms and banquet halls. Olympias was something out of a teen- aged vampire movie, not the sophisticated and conniving royal we read about in the sources. It is the old Dallas or Falcon Crest glossy pulp in Macedonian drag.


There is also irony here. If we remember the embarrassing Troy, we are beginning to see, that all for all the protestations of artistic excellence and craftsmanship, Hollywood has become mostly a place of mediocrity, talentless actors and writers who spout off about politics in lieu of having any real accomplishment in their own field. I've heard so many inane things mouthed by Stone that I would like someone at last to address this question- why would supposedly smart insiders turn over $160 million to someone of such meager talent to make such an embarrassing film?

Then, Wretchard gets in on the act.

Posted by Kate McMillan on November 29, 2004 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Press Review

From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR, where the articles are hotlinked.

US papers lead with Ukraine or Iran or George Bush’s new economic team.

In the UK, an immigration queue-jumping sex scandal--much juicier than our political peccadillo--has not abated.

In France, Gaullists have a new leader who’s interested in the country’s top job.

The New York Times’ editorial board weighs in on medical marijuana.

Bill Safire is onto the oil-for-food scandal and Kofi Annan. Harvard’s Joseph Ney looks at student visas—a problem for many but an opportunity for Canadians.

The Washington Post’s editorial board looks at Black enrolment, and the diamond trade. Sebastian Mallaby is onto medical migration.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board weighs in on oil-for-food. David Baltimore says science is fleeing the US . Greg Critser looks at Big Pharma.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board says the US can’t devalue its way to prosperity. Bret Stephens looks at cabinet-making.

Pete du Pont explains why the Democrats are in the dumpster. John Fund suspects they’re trying to steal an election.

At home, dog companions protested in Ottawa but the city is preparing for the real thing tomorrow. Meanwhile, Downsview resembled Detroit yesterday.

The Prime Minister is back in town after asymmetricaling with Jean Charest at La Francophonie on Iraq, Ivory Coast and the Mideast—which until now you might not have known were areas of concurrent jurisdiction under Canada’s constitution.

Both are pleased with the results, though for different reasons. Toronto Star and Globe and Mail readers will miss most of the byplay covered in detail here yesterday.

In their absence, Stephen Harper was doing his best to make inroads, proposing an expanded international role for Quebec.

With the Quebec wing's position on abortion, subsidies to Bombardier and young offenders, the Conservatives will be able to sell tickets to the March policy conference, which should be the best show in Montreal. 

Yesterday’s statement by Harper about bilingualism in Canada and French in Québec--our top story (reported by the Gazette)--has not been picked up by other media or the Liberals.

Tomorrow, Charest and all the premiers will get face time to express their respective beefs or lay the lumber on George Bush.

Today, the Martinis cock a pre-emptive snoot at Bush in the Star and on the front page of La Presse.

Yesterday, Bush and Condi Rice's local paper carried this piece by an American living in our midst.

Aside from the pre-visit spin, the Star fronts the L. A. Times story on Ukraine, a shoot-out in Toronto and Canadian soldiers crying in Kabul.

Carol Goar is onto the voluntary sector. Tony Clarke says big business is trying to set the Canada-US agenda.

The editorial board adds its voice to last week's call by the  National Post’s call for Judy Sgro to step aside, and weighs in on cancer care and TB.

The National Post fronts Bush, the Toronto gunfire, Ukraine and a poll showing that Canadians think the US is our closest friend.

Inside, business is brisk in Vancouver. Lorne Gunter says terrorism is not born out of poverty.

Finn Poschmann and Jack Granatstein support Canadian participation in missile defence. George Jonas is onto Ukraine.

The editorial board weighs in on freedom of the press, and says the marketplace should determine which languages are needed in the sky.

Elsewhere in the CanWest corral, the Vancouver Sun editorial board weighs in on mental health. Their counterparts in Calgary support the autism decision.

In Victoria, a Palestinian family is considering returning to Gaza. The Montréal Gazette fronts Bush, Ukraine and violence against women.

The Gaz editorial board pans Judy Sgro’s performance, and Irwin Cotler for hinting at a separate aboriginal justice system. L. Ian MacDonald says “the hurried and improvised nature of Bush's visit means nothing of importance is going to be achieved.”

The Ottawa Citizen fronts Ukraine, the RCMP and Maher Arar, city contractors going through a reporter’s trash for them, and Tom Axworthy saying Canada has lost the US’ respect. Susan Riley weighs in somewhat less intelligently on the Bush visit:

“So what is the point of his two-day visit to Canada this week? Are these "summits" anything more than a waste of money, time and energy? Of course they are. They give protesters something to protest and riot police a raison d'etre. They generate footage for the evening news and send a welcome jolt of lightning through the senior ranks of the federal bureaucracy. They create a frisson among diplomats and tagalong dignitaries -- at least among the 700 who will attend the Bush-Martin dinner at the Museum of Civilization Tuesday night. They give everyone involved the illusion that something momentous is happening.

But, if past such events are any indication and we are lucky, nothing momentous will. Nothing important will happen because there is nothing seriously wrong with the relationship between Canada and the United States. Serious compared, say, to the relationship between India and Pakistan, or Israel and its neighbours.”

The editorial board is onto music and copyright, and wants the GG’s budget cut reversed.

In the Winnipeg Sun, Gordon MacFarlane would disagree. In Toronto, Peter Worthington weighs in on the Bush visit. In Calgary, Ezra Levant poops on Ralph Klein and stamps his feet for elected Senators.

The Globe and Mail fronts Bush and beef, Arctic oil drilling, CSIS fumbling and Ukraine.

Inside, Mark MacKinnon reports from Donetsk, Stephanie Nolen from Congo and Geoffrey York from Beijing on a coal mine explosion.

Roy MacGregor says Canada-US relations have been worse—in 1812. Yours truly weighs in on the same subject.

Scotty Greenwood—a former US diplomat in Ottawa --says Canada should use Maria Schriver’s line about supporting Ahh-nold, “We’ve got your back”:

“Canada has been using a trifecta slogan when talking to Americans that is a bit out of date. The slogan goes something like this: “We're your best friend, closest ally, and largest trading partner.” While historically accurate, and a valuable perspective, that particular description of the relationship no longer rings completely true to most Americans, and certainly not to our President.

Good friend, of course; but best friend? Today, most Americans would say Australia is our best friend.

Important ally, yes; but closest ally? If forced to choose, we would probably pick the United Kingdom.

Largest trading partner? Well, yes, but not for long; soon Mexico will have that claim.”

Also in commentary, Lysiane Gagnon is onto assisted-suicide. William Thorsell reviews Daniel Libeskind’s autobiography.

Deborah Yedlin says Husky might really be taken over this time. Bruce Little serves up some fascinating numbers:

“Here's some good news about Canada 's provinces. The gap between the best and worst economic performers narrowed dramatically in the past four decades, mainly because of gains by the poorest.

In the early 1960s, average earnings of people in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador were just over half the national level. By 2003, PEI was at 76 per cent of the Canadian average and Newfoundland was close to 74 per cent. …

Ontario lost ground in the 1960s and 1970s, while Alberta made big gains, but both simply held steady in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2001-03, Ontario was 9 per cent above the national average (down from 20 per cent above four decades earlier), while Alberta was 19 per cent above (compared with slightly below average in the early 1960s).

British Columbia recorded the biggest slide — to 5 per cent below the national average lately from about 10 per cent above in the early 1960s and 1980s. Quebec gained some ground, while Manitoba and Saskatchewan slipped back.”

While the poorest made steady gains, the richest turned in showings that were consistently 10 per cent to 20 per cent above the Canadian figure. The result is that the gap between the top and bottom narrowed — to about 45 percentage points from 68 points.

John Doyle serves up the winners of his unique competition:

“The final standings in the Most Irritating Canadian (television-related) competition are as follows: 1) The Canadian Tire guy and Ben Mulroney; 2) Shelagh Rogers; 3) Gordon Pape; 4) Paul Martin; 5) Jian Ghomeshi; 6) Sheila Copps; 7) Ralph Klein; 8) The Lakota commercial guy; 9) Don Cherry; 10) Rex Murphy.”

The editorial board examines the case of Sergio Arana Martinez, who remained in Canada though ordered deported and eventually abducted and sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl:

“It would be a shame if Canada squandered the good feelings much of the country has toward immigration because it allowed problems to fester. Immigrants contribute to this country's economic growth and dynamism. Canada needs tough immigration standards because it believes in immigration.”

A second editorialist dumps on Chief Julian Fantino:

“If [the police] insist on publicizing the names of those arrested, they must give equal weight to the dropping of charges or to court acquittals. Society has a powerful interest in suppressing child pornography, but not at the expense of destroying innocent lives.”

Posted by Norman Spector on November 29, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Tuns on Linda McQuaig's latest book

My review of It's the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil, and the Fight for the Planet by Linda McQuaig appeared in today's Halifax Herald. It begins:

Linda McQuaig, a Toronto Star columnist, has a new book, It's the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil, and the Fight for the Planet, in which she makes the links that connects the war to North Americans' alleged addiction to oil. McQuaig connects the dots to make a persuasive case that George Bush fought a war in Iraq under the false pretense of fighting a war on terror to help Big Oil get its hands on the crude under the Middle East.

Persuasive but wrong. McQuaig is able to draw the picture she does because she is selective on which dots to connect and sometimes even draws in a few of her own to flesh it out a bit. The end result is a book that bears little impression to reality but looks a lot like the world that those on the left, such as McQuaig, think exist.

There are two great untruths McQuaig depends upon in her narrative, both of which are examples of her ignoring the existing dots and drawing new ones to complete her picture.

The problem for liberals, especially when it comes to the war for Iraq and the reason President George W. Bush may have been inclined to liberate the country, is that reality is, for them, optional. It shouldn't be, however, for publishers; shame on Doubleday Canada for releasing this piece of trash.

Posted by Paul Tuns on November 29, 2004 in Books | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sunday, November 28, 2004

The problem with blogs is the idiots who read them

If you read the comments to my earlier post (Bush visit to Canada) you will come across a pair of "Scott's" rants about Ontario which include such gems as:

"Ontario people do this so they can send their kids to Upper Canada College and other elite, priviledged schools. "

"If you're white and native-born to Ontario, you are guaranteed a rich, easy life. Free education, free medical care, low taxes, high incomes. It's like you won the lottery."

"Ontario people use their fictious homeless problem to distract people from criticizing. There is no actual poverty in Ontario ..."

"Places like Upper Canada College and the University of Toronto are symbols of privilege, power and wealth - closed to non-whites and non-Ontarians. "

Wow, where does one start? A brief, dismissive rebuttal to each point, in order.

1) What is the population of Ontario and how many students go to UCC?

2) Depends on what your definition of rich is but there are certainly white, native-born Ontarians who are living miserable lives compared to their fellow Canadians. Also, rich depends on more than free education and healthcare and many Ontarians would debate your claim that we have low taxes -- according to the Fraser Institute, we have the third longest wait for Tax Freedom Day. And if many of the dwellings of poor whites in Parkdale is any indication, I'd rather not win the lottery.

3) "No actual poverty" is a broad statement. And while one could reasonably argue that the homelessness problem has been exaggerated, to claim it is fictious is just silly. Were the more than 30,000 people who spent a least one night in a Toronto homeless shelter, to say nothing about those who use shelters in other communities, tourists? Admittedly, there is a difference between chronic homelessness and being without shelter for a few nights, but I've seen the same men sleeping on the same downtown sidewalks for years -- unless you are counting the concrete in front of the TD building a home?

4) The University of Toronto "closed to non-whites and non-Ontarians"? I've heard people jokingly refer to UofT as the University of Tokyo. But beyond the anectodal, there are statistics to prove Scott is wrong. Unless they are lying, the University of Toronto has more than 4,400 foreign students, the majority of which are from Asia. Of course, one need not look at the university's statistics to know that UofT is not a whites only school when a stroll through the campus grounds would confirm the ethnic diversity of that post-secondary institution.

I hope that other Albertans are not as misinformed about Ontario, a province that has its problems, yes, as Scott. And we'll ignore the threat implied by his advice to Earl Williams that if he comes to Alberta to wear a "bullet proof vest -- you will need it."

Posted by Paul Tuns on November 28, 2004 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Blogpulse Data

Blogpulse has a comprehensive roundup on the rankings and "buzz" of blogs during the US election campaign. (It might be worth noting that links to Oliver Willis blogs for the purpose of ridicule will produce an equal "link value" to one intended for thoughtful reflection or endorsement.)

Posted by Kate McMillan on November 28, 2004 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush visit to Canada

CBC interviewed me on Thursday for a segment on CBC News Sunday, available today on both Newsworld (in the morning) and the mother channel (in the evening). Check the CBC website for times. It will be a 7-8 minute piece on Canada-U.S. relations and from me they wanted to know how different we really are on moral and cultural issues. My main point was that English Canada and the United States is not as different as the media story line has it, that Canadians have not recently had the opportunity to discuss moral and cultural issues (although the topic is brought up during elections, the issue is never truly explored) and that the primary difference is that Americans are not affraid to debate these issues while Canadians never discuss them. We'll see if that comes through in the sound bites the show's producers choose.

Posted by Paul Tuns on November 28, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Sad commentary on the state of our military

From Ottawa Citizen columnist John Robson's five strangest stories of the week Saturday feature: "The Canadian navy hires civilian American helicopters for logistical support in a training exercise to avoid overstraining the frail, antique Sea Kings in which, the brass insists, they have full confidence for less strenuous activities - such as war." As Harold Bloom says, we live in an age in which satire is not possible.

Posted by Paul Tuns on November 28, 2004 in Military | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Press Review

From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR, where the articles are hotlinked.

US papers lead with Ukraine or Iraq elections.

In the UK, drugs are cheap. Though it’s a nanny not a stripper who jumped the queue, in the mother country, too, there’s plenty of sex and power and a brewing scandal to boot in the mix.

At home, the Prime Minister was abroad--celebrating our other mother country and asymmetricaling with Jean Charest.

He’s standing by Sgro and one can predict the questions in the Commons tomorrow.

While Martin's been on the road, the Opposition have been thinking of new ways to show we effectively have no government in Ottawa.

In Québec, the Laval Red and Gold won the Vanier cup again, while Jack Layton and Stephen Harper were showing their colours. The Gazette will not be amused and I can’t wait to see how Paul Martin handles the Québec language issue.

Back in the US, nothing about the Bush visit beyond yesterday’s pieces in the Post and the Times. However, from Toronto, Nora Jacobson counsels fellow Americans not to join her. I'll be wading in on these issues in tomorrow's Globe and Mail.

Today, the Times’ editorial board considers the filibuster in Washington and freedom of the press under Putin. Tom Friedman is onto Iraq.

Maureen Dowd writes about her family’s Thanksgiving. Edward Luttwak explains why George Bush must now change course in foreign policy.

The Washington Post’s editorial board looks at the Boeing deal. No, not Airbus, though the rumour mill has it that more interesting details are coming out in the courtroom.

George Will outs leftie academics. David Broder says cities were the big loser in the election. Jim Hoagland reports on the cameraman who shot the Marine shooting a wounded Iraqi.

Lally Weymouth interviews Abu Mazen and Ariel Sharon. Nora Jacobson counsels fellow Americans not to join her in Toronto.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board is onto abortion. Michael Kinsley weighs in on values, Matthew Spence on Ukraine.

The Toronto Star fronts research in Toronto, the Washington Post story on Ukraine and, from Washington, Tim Harper describing George Bush’s diplomatic skills as Ralph Klein portrayed Jean Chrétien’s with the premiers.

Jennifer Wells is onto AIDS. Martin Regg-Cohn reports from a Bhopal-in-the-making. Mitch Potter didn’t actually interview Abu Mazen, but he reports he’s speaking softly about peace.

David Marples opines on Ukraine , and Richard Gwyn says the West is making all the right noises.

Rick Anderson weighs in on the Bush visit. Linda McQuaig must still think he’ll be pushing us on missile defence.

The editorial board says Canadian journalists are under siege; in its lead editorial, it says the Martin-Bush talks should be candid.

I doubt, however, they’d want Bush to be candid about Canada ’s view that “the ‘war on terror’ [is] chiefly a police matter.” Come to think of it, I can’t recall Paul Martin ever saying that, though several Toronto Star editorialists and columnists have.

The Ottawa Sun has today’s best correction. In the Toronto Sun, Christina Blizzard looks at internet scams, Linda Williamson at internet luring and Eric Margolis at Ukraine.

Peter Worthington reviews Ontario ’s health policy, John Crosbie poetically pans various Liberals and lefties. In Winnipeg, Tom Brodbeck looks at Manitoba heath care.

In Calgary, Licia Corbella considers hate speech laws, Bishop Fred Henry, the situation of Iraqi Christians. Paul Jackson says the party’s over for Alberta Tories.

In Edmonton, Neil Waugh looks at the EI surplus, Paul Stanway at the Alberta election, Mindelle Jacobs at aboriginal education.

From Ottawa, Greg Weston sets up the Bush visit. Doug Fisher poops on Sheila Fraser and praises Beverley McLachlin; I think both judgments are about right.

The Ottawa Citizen fronts the CanWest Ukraine story, a religious renaissance, women genetically programmed to cheat, the top ten threats to Ottawa and Paul Martin lifting the public service hiring freeze.

Elsewhere in the CanWest corral, the Calgary Herald supports single-tier justice. In Edmonton, Lorne Gunter weighs in on the Alberta election.

(Yesterday, the Windsor Star fronted a grisly murder I missed. In Saskatoon, there was new money for the vet college.)

Today, the Montréal Gazette fronts Ukraine, college football and lax controls on sex offenders. The editorial board pans Ottawa 's aboriginal programs.

After virtually ignoring the Sgro stripper story all week, the Gaz re-prints Susan Riley’s allegations that it’s all a sexist lynching. However, the paper redeems itself by serving up a rarity--today’s top story:


Harper flings open doors to Quebec francophones

Posted by Norman Spector on November 28, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Rather retirement is not about memogate

The Economist's Lexington column this week is about Dan Rather stepping down and it naturally turns to the role of bloggers. The column is correct to note that "bloggers have often been at their most devastating when they have been criticising the old media for bias. " Bias and mis-reporting would be more accurate, but we shouldn't quibble when we have old media praising new media.

After the New York Times, The Economist points out, CBS is a favourite target of bloggers. But "Why, the bloggers are now demanding, is Mr Rather being allowed to keep a full-time job working for '60 Minutes,' the very programme whose reputation he has besmirched? 'This is not a victory,' proclaims Rathergate.com, before declaring its intention to keep attacking CBS."

Many in the blogosphere have been patting themselves on the back for their supposed role in Rather's retirement. But it is just that -- retirement. Come March, the 73-year-old Rather will have served as a news reader at the network for 24 years; he was long rumoured to be contemplating relinquishing his anchor duties. (For more than a year now, Toronto media has been talking about former Much Music VJ John Roberts replacing Rather.) If Rather was pressured into resigning because of his use of forged documents, his 60 Minutes gig would be a thing of the past too  instead of a continuing past-time for him in his post-anchor days. Sorry fellow bloggers but whether this old media dog was exposed as a fraud and liar or not by new media is irrelevant to the fact that he will soon be gone from the evening broadcasts.

Posted by Paul Tuns on November 27, 2004 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ukraine state TV in revolt

If only the CBC would say it had had enough of "telling the government's lies." But then all they are afraid of losing is their budget and their jobs should they hold eternal Liberal government to account. Maybe people get braver when they have something more important to defend.

Journalists on Ukraine's state-owned channel - which had previously given unswerving support to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych - have joined the opposition, saying they have had enough of "telling the government's lies".

Journalists on another strongly pro-government TV station have also promised an end to the bias in their reporting. The turnaround in news coverage, after years of toeing the government line, is a big setback for Mr Yanukovych.

Journalists in Ukraine seem to have responded to the call by opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko for them to reject government censorship.

(Feeling snarky at Ghost of a flea.)

Posted by Ghost of a flea on November 27, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Letter from Fallujah

Mike is an Army officer serving in Task Force 2-7 CAV.

After 12 hours of massive air strikes, Task Force 2-7 got the green light and was the first unit to enter the city. There is a big train station on the city's northern limit, so the engineers cleared a path with some serious explosives and our tanks led the way. While this was happening, my intelligence shop was flying our own UAV to determine where the enemy was. It is a very small plane that is launched by being thrown into the air. We flew it for 6 hours and reported grids to the tanks and bradleys of where we saw insurgents on the roof and moving in the street---so our soldiers knew where the enemy was, before they even got to the location.

We crossed the train station just before midnight and led the way for the Marines by killing everything we could in our way. It took our tanks and brads until 10 am the next day to get 2 miles into the city. They killed about 200 insurgents in the process and softened the enemy for the Marines. 5 of our soldiers were wounded in this first 10 hours, but we accomplished our part of the plan.

The Marines' mission was to follow TF 2-7 and fight the enemy by clearing from building to building. A lot of the insurgents saw the armored vehicles and hid. They waited for the Marines to come and took their chances by fighting them since the Marines weren't protected by armor like we were. In that first day of fighting, the Marines took 5 x KIA and many more wounded, but they also did their job very well. Along the way, they found HUGE caches of weapons, suicide vests, and many foreign fighters. They also found unbelievable amounts of drugs, mostly heroin, speed, and cocaine. It turns out, the enemy drugged themselves up to give them the "courage" and stupidity to stay and fight.

The enemy tried to fight us in "the city of mosques" as dirty as they could. They fired from the steeples of the mosques and the mosques themselves. They faked being hurt and then threw grenades at soldiers when they approached to give medical treatment. They waived surrender flags, only to shoot at our forces 20 seconds later when they approached to accept their surrender.


In Fallujah, the enemy had a military-type planning system going on. Some of the fighters were wearing body armor and kevlars, just like we do. Soldiers took fire from heavy machine guns (.50 cal) and came across the dead bodies of fighters from Chechnya, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Afghanistan, and so on...no, this was not just a city of pissed off Iraqis, mad at the Coalition for forcing Saddam out of power. It was a city full of people from all over the Middle East whose sole mission in life was to kill Americans. Problem for them is that they were in the wrong city in November 2004.

The regular citizens of Fallujah are getting financial assistance to help rebuild damaged homes or lost possessions, and 100 million has been set aside to help in the general reconstruction.
The intelligence value alone is already paying huge dividends. Some of the 900 detainees are telling everything they know about other insurgents. And the enemy never expected such a large or powerful attack and they were so overwhelmed that they left behind all kinds of things, including books with names of other foreign fighters, where their money and weapons come from, etc.

Read the whole thing.

crossposted to sda

Posted by Kate McMillan on November 27, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Press Review

From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR, where the articles are hotlinked.

US papers lead with a called-for delay in Iraq’s elections.

UK papers serve up lots of news from Zimbabwe.

The French are closely watching the man who might be their next President.

The incumbent is with Paul Martin at La Francophonie. Like Stephen Harper this weekend, the PM is saying one thing for ears and another for oreilles. The Mayor of Quebec is po'd at him in any language.

Back in Ottawa, some in the parliamentary press gallery are pooh-pooing the Judy Sgro story. However, the queue-jumping stripper continues to play big across Canada, with the notable exception of the Montreal Gazette--where feministas have been running the show in the absence of the Editor.

The New York Times sets up George Bush’s visit. The editorial board looks at drug regulation and global warming.

Meanwhile, federal officials are scrambling to get ready for the Pres. (Here's my take.)

Nicholas Kristof explains why the US should stay in Iraq. David Brooks has good news about poverty.

The Washington Post also sets up the Bush visit. The editorial board is onto Afghanistan ’s drugs and freedom of the press, while their counterparts in Los Angeles look at stem cell research and wolves.

The Globe and Mail fronts Maher Arar, more fax on CIBC, Ukraine and strippers.

Inside, Campbell Clark reports on La Francophonie, Mark MacKinnon on Ukrainian media.

The editorial board looks at Paul Martin promotion of “the responsibility to protect,” which is getting a cool reception because it

“clashes with one of the oldest and strongest tenets of international affairs. For generations, it has been assumed that as long as one nation did not attack or invade another, it could do more or less what it wanted within its borders…. Intervention is a tricky business, and the world is feeling its way forward on this issue. That is why it is so important for Canada to keep talking up the responsibility to protect. For all the doubts and objections, it is an idea whose time has come. Canada is just the country to push it forward.”

That's BS: Martin is getting a cool reception because his interlocutors know that Canada would do very little of the protecting.

In commentary, Rex Murphy obviously knows nothing about music (“It is impossible to understand the popularity of some ancient bands and singers…without allowing for considerable numbing of the brain, and a benign stupor that buried their dreadful lyrics beneath the radar of any self-regarding consciousness. The entire fame and popularity of Bob Dylan is only explicable on a similar subtraction of critical response.”).

However, he makes an interesting point on the differing treatment of tobacco and grass:

“I think what we're seeing here is another illustration of that wonderful irony that goes under the rubric of The Law of Unintended Consequences Peer pressure and remorseless rudeness (driving smokers out of doors) has whittled away at the cohort that looked to tobacco for a friendly lift during each day's many mortifications. But vague signals of approval toward marijuana as an alternate solace, its much-hyped value as a “medicinal” tool (remember the tired line from every party, “I only drink for medicinal purposes”), and the official moves to decriminalize pot, have worked to celebrate the mellowing weed.”

Jeff Simpson supports the Blair/Bush emphasis on democracy and says Canada should get on side:

“For the foreseeable future, U.S. foreign policy's principal focus will be the arc of crisis from Morocco to Pakistan. Within that arc lie four of the world's most potentially or actually dangerous states: Pakistan, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Countries that want a hearing in Washington will be accorded one, in part, by what they have to say about, and contribute to, stability in that arc. For Canada , that obviously does not mean military muscle; indeed, the United States ' proclivity to use military means to solve political problems, as in Iraq , sometimes makes everything worse.

What Canada can contribute is the means to promote democracy, law and civil society in the countries within this arc, as part of a larger effort extending to a number of countries. Such an effort would not make headlines. It would not produce miracles. There would be setbacks and heartbreaks, as in today's Ukraine.

But it is work Canada can and should do on a much greater scale, provided the proper institutions are in place and with adequate budgets, neither of which applies today. Indeed, the whole effort to promote democracy, law and civil society abroad appears to be going backward, courtesy of the Martin government's foreign-policy review, now in the PM's office.

Unless Paul Martin himself, or a group of ministers, intervenes at the 11th hour, what emerges from the foreign-policy review will be worse than the status quo.

What is needed is an agency at arm's length from the government that can work with all sectors of Canadian society (labour, universities, political parties, bar associations), be non-partisan, encourage and co-ordinate the existing, valuable efforts being made by scattered groups, but have the capacity to act itself.

Call it Democracy Canada, proudly bearing a Maple Leaf, to augment, not replace, what is already being done, because the problem with existing methods is that they lack profile, money, co-ordination and focus.”

Margaret Wente visits Linda Sams’ BC salmon farm and trashes,

“the David Suzuki Foundation, one of the chief opponents of farmed salmon, is well funded by U.S. organizations such as the Packard Foundation. Its message is also supported enthusiastically by the government of Alaska , which wants to keep B.C. out of the farmed-salmon business to protect its own wild-salmon market.

For the Kitasoo First Nation, salmon farming has been a spectacular success. Four years ago, their remote community of Klemtu survived on welfare. Then they teamed up with Marine Harvest. Now every household has a job in salmon farming or processing, and the people have new skills. The Kitasoo retain final say over anything that could affect the environment in their traditional territory. “If it was doing damage to the environment, we wouldn't hesitate a minute to shut it down,” says band chief Percy Starr. …

Linda Sams has complicated feelings about Mr. Suzuki. Unlike him, she's not an absolutist. “You can probably find many good things in his work,” she says. Recently her son's class was assigned to write stories about environmental heroes, and the teacher suggested David Suzuki. “To many, many children he's a hero,” says Ms. Sams. “But for people in our industry. . .” She sighs. “He's a very, very powerful man.”

Heather Mallick is no fan of George Bush but admires a colleague at the Toronto Star who, like her, is a rabble.ca regular:

“The decent thing to do with U.S. President George W. Bush is, as political commentator Thomas Walkom has suggested, to charge the man with war crimes the minute he puts a boot on our soil. Violation of Nuremberg laws and UN rules, use of torture, planned civilian catastrophes, where to start with his shameless evil is the real problem.

But Canadians won't be decent. We'll be realistic. We are not going to arrest him or even photograph his irises as he crosses the border. Our PM is going to put on that eternal jovial look that works only for men in his weight class, say “How ya doing, George?” and hand over the store.”

Today, the Star stuffs Maher Arar and fronts Bhopal twenty years after, gay survivor benefits, a new offer to Ontario doctors and tolerance/intolerance in Holland.

In the Toronto Sun, Christina Blizzard is onto Ontario doctors; Michael Coren is onto US deserters.

Inside the Star, Graham Fraser is with the PM at La Francophonie. Susan Delacourt and Jim Travers set up next week’s Bush visit. Ralph, too, wants a say.

Peter Calamai weighs in on research spending. Lynda Hurst looks at the ticking Doomsday clock.

Mitch Potter reports on the decision of Marwan Barghouti (“a self-proclaimed architect of the four-year Palestinian uprising jailed for his role in planning attacks against Israel”) not to contest the presidential election; you wouldn’t know the chap murdered a Greek Orthodox monk, among others.

Ian Urquhart says the Ontario Grits are losing union allies. Daniel Girard reports on the aftermath of the Alberta election.

Ombudsman Don Sellar says the Star must correct its errors more quickly. I’ll say.The editorial board weighs in on childcare in Ontario and Tinseltown North.

The National Post fronts Ukraine, Judy Sgro and a big divorce award to an unfaithful wife. Yikes, it sure ain't easy being rich.

Inside the Post, entrepreneur Rod Bryden is on the brink. Andrew Coyne weighs in on the immorality of corporate subsidies.

Adam Radwanski is onto gay-ed in Toronto . Robert Fulford looks at a new book by David Horowitz, who crossed from the Left to the Right many years ago:

“Horowitz's new book, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left (Regnery), describes the latest blind alley down which the left has stampeded. Put plainly, American leftists responded to 9/11 by going over to the side of the enemy, radical Islam. They are captives of what Horowitz calls "neo-communism," a combination of romantic yearning for the Soviet empire and unreasoning hatred of capitalism and U.S. power. In practice, this means they sympathize with any force Washington opposes.

After 9/11, when the Americans began fighting the Taliban, leftist demonstrators declared the war in Afghanistan "racist." As Horowitz says, "Within weeks of the most heinous attack on America in its history, radicals had turned their own country into villains."

The editorial board sees progress in Iraq, and says Sgro must go, at least temporarily.

Elsewhere in CanWest land, the Montréal Gazette stuffs Sgro and fronts an RCMP raid, seniors’ housing and Ukraine. The editorial board weighs in on a new hospital proposal.

The Ottawa Citizen fronts Arar, Ukraine, life in an Iranian prison and emergency preparedness, or the lack thereof.

The editorial board pans Paul Martin’s international performance; their counterparts at the Calgary Herald poop on Alberta ’s lobbyist rules.

Posted by Norman Spector on November 27, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, November 26, 2004

Yushchenko Poisoned II

I found the following that adds some clarity to Yushchekno poisoning story Kate McMillan posted eariler this week.  An expert on Ukraine, Anders Aslund of the Carnegie Endowment for Int'l Peace was interviewed on C-SPAN this morning (I assume he is an expert, otherwise why would he be interviewed)  and he said the following:

Interviewer: With regards to Yushchenko, I wanted to point this out, I read something where he had been poisoned. You can see the results there on his face. What happened and was that a political attack.

Anders Aslund: On the 6th of September Viktor Yushchenko had a dinner with the chairman of the security police in Ukraine. After this he was severally poisoned and it took a couple of days before they realized what had happened and they took him them to Austria. The Austrian medical staff told him that if had come 24 hours later he would have been permanently paralyzed for life [sic] and he had after this five different viruses and some chemical poison in his body.

I: Did they ever discover what it was? Who did it?

AA: It was, he was treated to late, so that they could not see fully where it came from but of course the full suspicion is on this dinner with the chairmen of the security police but it can’t be proven.

I: Why was he having that dinner?

AA: That we don’t know.

Posted by Greg Staples on November 26, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Tommy Gun

There appears to be quite a campaign going on to ensure Tommy Douglas wins the CBC's Greatest Canadain contest to judge by the opening paragraph of this article by Michelle Langlois: Why I didn't vote for Tommy on Rabble [italics mine]:

I didn't vote for anyone at all in the Greatest Canadian contest. Despite the endless e-mail entreaties and the online discussion group exhortations I've been pummelled with for the last six weeks by well-intentioned fellow lefties to vote early and vote often for Tommy Douglas, I didn't vote, not even once. At five votes per week, per telephone number (work and home), plus one vote per week from each of my thirteen (or so) e-mail addresses, I guess that means I wasted 138 votes.

There has been some mention of a Don Cherry campaign on this blog. I've voted, though I must confess, I've never received one email on the subject and there hasn't been much pummelling here that I've seen.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 26, 2004 in Media | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Irony, profound, blah blah

More stupid stuff from the bully babies in the town that once banned The Barenaked Ladies. From The Globe and Mail: Ontario to intensify tobacco crackdown. "The McGuinty government" (as they like to begin all their press releases in a comical attempt to conjure up a cult of personality around a dork) and its march towards lifestyle tyranny can put this in the victory column beside mandatory bicycle helmets. Here I would like to refer to a column yesterday by Toronto Star whiner Vinay Menon about American censorship: Prudish scolds impose their values on us all. He ends with "It's a shame the crackpot moralists don't see the profound irony in all of this." Why they heck should they see it? Mr. Menon doesn't seem to notice it in his own backyard.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 26, 2004 in Music | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Press Review

From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR, where the articles are hotlinked.

US papers lead with Ukraine and off-lead Iran or Iraq. (Here’s a handy chart on the situation.)

The New York Times’ editorial board considers Iraq after the international conference in Egypt. The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board looks at China’s economy.

JoAnn Wypijewski is onto hate crimes, Jonathan Chait writes about potential Democratic candidates and Todd Boyd looks at the NBA brawl.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board reflects on the ACLU and Boy Scouts. The Washington Post’s editorial board looks at drug regulation.

Thomas Ricks re-read Lawrence of Arabia. Charles Krauthammer says the US should not be involved in Iraq ’s civil war. David Ignatius is onto Iran.

In the UK, too, Ukraine is big, along with a host of domestic issues and cricket news from Zimbabwe.

In France, abortion was back on the agenda, and an assisted-suicide debate broke out while Jacques Chirac was en route to la Francophonie.

At home, our PM is also away on his way to la Francophonie, and it increasingly looks as though no one will be running the country when he returns.

With Martin not yet having arrived, Jean Charest had a wide open field in Ouagadougou.

In a TV-5 interview, he put forward his positions on such provincial issues as Côte d'Ivoire, Haïti, George Bush, and the need for multilateralism in the international system—a subject he says he discussed recently with French President Jacques Chirac.

Yesterday, in the Commons, the Opposition—or, at least, the MPs who had not been intimidated--had another go at Judy Sgro, and they ganged up to cut the GG’s budget for good measure.   

On Newsworld for the past couple of days, it's been Don Newman for the Liberals against various Conservatives on whether a stripper jumping the immigration queue is a big deal.

In Ottawa, everyone is anxious about the visitor visiting next week. Meanwhile, at the Gomery Inquiry, Canadians got another peek at the way the town really works.

In Québec, René Lévesque is the Greatest Quebecer; he’s # 67 on the CBC’s list. You probably won’t find that news either in your morning newspaper today, though it moved on the CP wire.

The Globe and Mail fronts just the fax on CIBC and the revolts in Ukraine and the Commons, along with a tobacco crackdown in Ontario and China shopping in Canada.

Inside, Mark MacKinnon profiles Viktor Yushchenko and the scene in Kyiv. From London, Doug Saunders looks at the geo-politics of the revolt.

John Ibbitson isn’t sure whether Canada and the US are converging or diverging and has social scientists to back up both sides of his confusion, but it all seems academic to me.

Rick Salutin takes a side swipe at Margaret Wente’s review of “The Incredibles,” after welcoming George Bush with an essay on missile defence which is not on the President’s agenda.

In contrast to Salutin, Tom Axworthy--who completed his PhD and has some real-world experience to top it off--serves up some practical advice for the visit:

“the key to a successful summit will be if there is a win-win issue that meets both partners' priorities. Canadian assistance in running Iraq 's election might do it, but my suggestion is to make Canada 's commitment to Afghanistan such an issue. The Prime Minister should inform the President that Canada will play a leading role in that far-away land as our major contribution to world security.”

Jeff Simpson is full of testosterone on Ukraine:

“After so much transatlantic stress, with more coming over how to handle Iran , it's crucial for democratic countries to co-ordinate their approach and, if necessary, impose the necessary diplomatic and economic sanctions.

Canada , with its huge Ukrainian diaspora (about one million people), can't remain immune from what's happening. What Canada could do, apart from co-ordinating its efforts with other democracies, is think about and even suggest how to help organize — this time internationally — another election, should this become necessary.

The UN might be the place for a resolution requiring a new election and establishing procedures for its organization. The Russians, of course, might veto such a resolution, but then the whole world would at least know what's really gone on — the Russians have massively interfered in the Ukrainian election, signalling their desire to see in power Mr. Yanukovich, the pro-Russian candidate with support in eastern Ukraine.“

Christie Blatchford has her go at Sgro:

“What a country: A federal Immigration Department, which on the one hand tops up the supply of local naked dancers with foreign imports and on the other cannot rouse itself to deport a genuine thug.

Alina Balaican is one of the former, a stripper — one of 552 Romanians who came to Canada last year as part of our fairly farcical exotic-dancer program — and whose work on Immigration Minister Judy Sgro's election campaign is alleged to have engendered gratitude such that Ms. Sgro gave Ms. Balaican special permission to stay here.

Sergio Arana Martinez is the latter, the common criminal.

Having achieved the distinction of being the first person to be charged under a recent law against Internet luring, the 35-year-old native of Nicaragua was convicted of the offence this week and also of abducting and sexual interfering with the 11-year-old girl he courted in a chat room for teens.”

The editorial board agrees that Martinez should be booted out of the country and that his sentence should be appealed to boot. Another editorialist says the courts are the right place for Ukrainians to work out their electoral impasse.

A third pans Mohammed Abbas for insisting on a Palestinian right of return to Israe :

“The whole basis of a future deal between Israelis and Palestinians is the division of the Holy Land into two countries, one primarily Jewish, one primarily Arab. Israelis believe that by insisting on the right of return, the Palestinians are rejecting the very idea of partition and signalling that their real agenda is to overwhelm Israel and rule all of the Holy Land themselves. Given what Palestinian leaders have said and done over the years, that is not just a conspiracy theory.”

The Toronto Star fronts wire copy from Ukraine, medical tourism and some local stories. Inside, Mitch Potter reports from Ramallah.

Former US ambassador Gordon Giffin serves up advice on Canada-US relations. Martin Knelman profiles the new head of Telefilm.

The editorial board praises Mayor Miller and Prime Minister Martin but dodges on David Dodge.

Carol Goar is onto mental health. Chantal Hébert says the Alberta election result is good news for federal leaders.

The Vancouver Sun fronts a huge provincial budget surplus. The editorial board pans Paul Martin's international pretensions.

Yours truly wades in on the Bush visit. Vancouver's Mayor may split with his party.

The National Post and Ottawa Citizen front Ukraine and cardiac patients dying in ER’s. The Post also features a crackdown on immigrant sponsors and more on Sgro.

The Citizen adds David Anderson threatening to cross the floor and become the first Green MP.

Inside the Post, the editorial board chastises Jean Charest for playing the nationalist card. Another editorialist doesn’t trust Iran.

Don Martin says no one’s noticed about Saskatchewan what the Globe editorial board noticed last week:

“But that's not the point. This reputed sad sack province on the Prairies, which still lists David Letterman's famed 15-minuter Dick Assman as one of the province's most famous citizens, has completed a stunning fiscal turnaround even though nobody's noticed. And amid high hopes British Columbia will return to "have" status next year, it forms a powerful western axis of Canada 's most prudent provinces.”

Inside the Citizen, the editorial board weighs in on arming prison guards, and on Ukraine . Susan Riley says the “frat boys” on the Conservative side are engaged in a “cockfight” to bring down Judy Sgro.

In the Toronto Sun, Christina Blizzard poops on Ontario ’s daycare plan. In Ottawa, Michael Harris defends journalists.

In Edmonton, Neil Waugh is onto softwood lumber. In Calgary, Link Byfield is waiting but raring to fight for his Senate seat.

Posted by Norman Spector on November 26, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Um, what's a square root again?

The Spectator reminds us of how far we've fallen, with this 19th century test for grade six students (unregistered users can find it here).

To be fair, I'd bet that any 11-year-old today could kick any Victorian preteen's butt in a Halo 2 deathmatch.

Posted by Kevin Libin on November 25, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

When Sgro goes

Immigration Minister Judy Sgro will be toast, in part because she has little if any support among her caucus mates, in part because every backbencher is eyeing a jump into the cabinet if Sgro is dumped. My prediction is that Ruby Dhalla (Brampton-Springdale) could get the post, or at least the junior portfolio that now belongs to whoever is promoted to replace Sgro. Dhalla is a young, female and a visible minority from the GTA and Prime Minister Paul Martin would love to have her cabinet. Many political observers were shocked to see her missing from the post-election cabinet.

Posted by Paul Tuns on November 25, 2004 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Obviously, the course of history must be changed

Well, even The Star is finally at a loss for words on aboriginal policy. Under an editorial titled Ottawa fumbling First Nations file they outline the usual litany of problems that underline the total failure of the paternalistic Trudeaupian catastrophe that they've been living under and then come up with this startling admission:

The problem is not the classroom, nor is it drug controls. It is a sense of hopelessness rooted in almost every government program and policy applied to Canada's aboriginal peoples over many years. It is systemic and its solutions cannot be found in any auditor's report. That is not to suggest we know of solutions. We don't.

Translation - for decades every time this issue has come up we've thundered for the government to throw money, welfare, social workers at them and embrace them in the crushing paternalistic Big Government hug while hurling charges of racism at any dissenters. And the government listened, followed our advice completely and now decades later even we realize it was an utter disaster and don't know what to do. Well if Liberal policies have been proven not to work, I suggest we give conservative policies a try. Tom Flanagan has outlined an excellent starting point in his book First Nations, Second Thoughts:

Over the last thirty years Canadian policy on Aboriginal issues has come to be dominated by an ideology that sees Aboriginal peoples as "nations" entitled to specific rights. Indians and Inuit now enjoy a cornucopia of legal privileges, including rights to self-government beyond federal and provincial jurisdiction, immunity from taxation, court decisions reopening treaty issues settled long ago, the right to hunt and fish without legal limits, and free housing, education, and medical care as well as other economic benefits [...] In First Nations? Second Thoughts Flanagan combines conceptual analysis with historical and empirical information to show that the Aboriginal orthodoxy is both unworkable and ultimately destructive to the people it is supposed to help.

So how about stop calling him a racist, read the book and start putting the policies into place. For that matter Jean Chretien's 1969 White Paper was probably his finest piece of work of forty years in public service. Too bad it was abandoned, it would have at least broken the pattern of sticking to policy proven to be a disaster. Thrity-five years later I don't think there's any need to change a single word from the introduction:

To be an Indian is to be a man, with all a man's needs and abilities.

To be an Indian is also to be different. It is to speak different languages, draw different pictures, tell different tales and to rely on a set of values developed in a different world. Canada is richer for its Indian component, although there have been times when diversity seemed of little value to many Canadians. But to be a Canadian Indian today is to be someone different in another way. It is to be someone apart - apart in law, apart in the provision of government services and, too often apart in social contacts. To be an Indian is to lack power - the power to act as owner of your lands, the power to spend your own money and, too often, the power to change your own condition.

Not always, but too often, to be an Indian, is to be without - without a job, a good house, or running water; without knowledge, training or technical skill and, above all, without those feelings of dignity and self-confidence that a man must have if he is to walk with his head held high. All these conditions of the Indians are the product of history and have nothing to do with their abilities and capacities. Indian relations with other Canadians began with special treatment by government and society, and special treatment has been the rule since Europeans first settled in Canada. Special treatment has made of the Indians a community disadvantaged and apart.

Obviously, the course of history must be changed.

To be an Indian must be to be free - free to develop Indian cultures in an environment of legal, social and economic equality with other Canadians.

I say we try it.

Posted by Kevin Jaeger on November 25, 2004 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

There is no word for "wait" in American healthcare

Toronto Sun today: "Windsor doctor Albert Schumacher believes it's his ethical and moral responsibility to tell patients they can cross the border for faster tests. The president of the Canadian Medical Association said the country's doctors have no choice when waiting times get unhealthy for their patients."

Mark Steyn in the November 22 Western Standard: "What's the defining characteristic of a government health service? It's one word, a word that, in its medical context, doesn't exist south of the border -- 'waiting,' as in 'waiting list,' 'waiting times,' waiting, waiting, waiting."

Posted by Paul Tuns on November 25, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

One small step for campus freedom

A couple of weeks back I noted the story of Dennis Crawford, a courageous Queen's University student who challenged the university's mandatory student fee in support of the school's pro-choice Sexual Health Resource Centre (SHRC).

Crawford recently lost an appeal with the student government to allow pro-life students to opt-out of the fee.

But, in what can only be described as a stunning development, Queen's University's nortoriously leftwing Human Rights Office has ruled that pro-life students can choose to direct the 85¢ annual fee elsewhere.

According to an email I received from Crawford:

I went to talk to the Human Rights Office (HRO) ... The HRO actually agreed with me and told the AMS that they have a "duty to accomodate" students of faith. This means that the AMS is obliged, if you ask them, to re-direct your $0.85 fee from the SHRC to another part of the AMS. This is a huge victory for pro-life students on campus!! Having this decision by Human Rights come right after the JComm decision is kind of like losing the battle but winning the war. Students who are pro-life no longer have to, against their convictions, support something that is detestable to them!!

I am totally astounded by this. This is a huge victory for freedom on campus. The only downsides are that the money will go towards funding some other aspect of the student government, and that students who do not want the 85¢ going to the SHRC must go to the SHRC themselves to make the request.

Nevertheless, this could have serious ramifications for the future of mandatory student fees. Well done, Mr. Crawford, and good show, Human Rights Office!

Posted by Adam Daifallah on November 25, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bush chickens out

[originally posted to Daimnation!]

The Leader of the Free World has, sadly, decided the risk of getting heckled by the likes of Carolyn Parrish is too great for him to address Parliament:

President George W. Bush will avoid a potentially hostile reception in Parliament and travel to Halifax next week after his first official trip to Ottawa, White House sources said yesterday. Bush's side trip to thank Canadians who helped out after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks will come after a working visit Tuesday with Prime Minister Paul Martin and a dinner reception with hundreds of prominent Canadians.

American officials involved in planning the trip were worried about a cranky audience on Parliament Hill, sources said.

"We didn't see the need and, frankly, we didn't want to be booed. There are other, better venues," said one U.S. official.

Last week, the White House brushed off the latest anti-American outburst of MP Carolyn Parrish, who appeared on a comedy show stomping on a Bush doll before Martin turfed her from the Liberal caucus.

Her antics didn't directly contribute to the decision to avoid Parliament, sources said.

But Bush wanted to avoid another embarrassing incident like the one in Australia last year, when he was shouted down by Green party senators while trying to address the parliament in the capital, Canberra.

And U.S. officials noted during planning discussions that Ronald Reagan was heckled by New Democrats opposed to his missile defence scheme during that president's 1987 state visit to Canada.

Bush's critics say he lives in a bubble, shielded from criticism and bad news, and this story makes me think they has a point.  Did Winston Churchill shy away from all but the most stage-managed public events, for fear that someone might say something nasty about him?  Canadians hated Reagan in 1987 almost as much as they hate Bush today, but he still took his message to Parliament - and when Svend Robinson heckled him, Reagan put him in his place with a well-timed one-liner.  ("Is there an echo in here?") 

Bush, alas, is no Reagan.  (And while we're at it, does he realize Halifax is the home of "This Hour Has 22 Minutes"?  Does he think the cast of that reliably anti-American satire show isn't going to try something while he's in town?)

Posted by Damian Penny on November 25, 2004 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Calvert's Cuba - A Theme Park

As Eastern Europe struggles out from under the economic policies of Marxism, and China races towards free market capitalism, while old Europe staggers towards reform under the increasing burden of welfare state entitlements and "red state" voter blocks in the US grow with increasing middle-class prosperity... Saskatchewan finds itself presented with a unique opportunity.

We can become a world leader in Econo Tourism. Think theme park.

First, we must request our status as a Canadian province be revoked, and ask for new designation as a World Heritage Site - a "living museum" for failed political experiments. With fewer and fewer regimes to use as educational tools for the business and political leaders of the future, .Saskatchewan can fill a need.

For $15 a head, "econo-tourists" can board authentic government-owned STC buses and delight in the province's features ... "to your left, ladies and gentlemen, is a defunct government potato company, and scene of a multi-million dollar lawsuit and settlement ... the remnants of a small shovel mark the spot of an ethanol plant never built ... there, on the horizon, is an oil "pump jack". The government demonstrated for decades - against all odds - how to keep this commodity from being pumped to the surface. There is more uranium than any other jurisdiction on the planet, but the NDP have successfully prevented its transformation into electrical energy.. the cars that are meeting us on this trail are heading to Alberta. Saskatchewan's top export are future business leaders and educated young professionals."

With the leadership of Lorne Calvert and the Saskatchewan Government Employees Union, Saskatchewan can play a unique role in the world. Benign, well behaved, absent a military - we pose no threat to our neighbors - the ideal political science exhibit for others to study and learn from.

The latest step in this eventual transformation - the Calvert government is considering a prohibition on hiring of new part time employees, through forced implementation of seniority rules for all private business. This really shouldn't come a surprise. The NDP is not a party in the usual sense of the word - it's the political wing of organized labour.

Saskatoon Star Phoenix:

Province considers part-time seniority rule

Saskatchewan is once again considering regulations that would mandate employers to give any extra hours of work to the part-timer with the highest seniority level.

But Larry Seiferling, a labour lawyer with the Chamber of Commerce, doesn't like the idea. He says if it is adopted, Saskatchewan would be the only jurisdiction in North America to have such a regulation and companies would leave.

Labour Minister Deb Higgins says she hopes to have a set of workable regulations ready for discussion by the end of the year. 

An idea whose time has come.


Are you listening, Lorne Calvert? Let's get Sask Tourism on this project.

Posted by Kate McMillan on November 25, 2004 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

So there, take that!

Antonia Zerbisias in the Toronto Star: The pajamahadeens are digging their own graves.

But, just like trigger happy celebrants in the Middle East, who have yet to figure out that what goes up must come down, they can't see that, by firing up at us, they will also kill themselves.

Oh no. It's raining bullets. We're killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Pretty soon there won't be any news at all. No way I'll be caught dead digging my own grave. Wait, that doesn't make sense. Anyway, that's it; I'm giving up the Internet. Who's with me? C'mon.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 25, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Return of the Friday document dump

As Mr. Spector notes below, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has brought back his old friend and advisor Rod Love as chief of staff. (Here's The Globe version and the CP version.)

Local political folklore has it that Mr. Love in heyday was the person who instituted the Friday Document Dump. This political tactic involved burying any bad or controversial news in a truckload of faxed press releases sent out Friday afternoon in the hope that journalists--rushing out the door to get to the nearest watering hole--would miss it; if the news was discovered months later, the government could claim it was being open and above-board.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 25, 2004 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Ah, good ol' Pravda. Nice to have you back in the Soviet mode. I'm getting a little misty-eyed here.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 25, 2004 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sir, I disagree: BOOM!

dis·si·dent -  . . .  Etymology: Latin dissident-, dissidens, present participle of dissidEre to sit apart, disagree, from dis- + sedEre to sit--more at SIT

I still can't get used to this farcical, "non-judgmental" (not to mention incorrect) cowardly, journalistic notion of never using the word "terrorists." AP: British Dismantle Belfast Firebomb as IRA Dissidents Raise Pre-Christmas Threat. There is something passive about sedere, to sit, that doesn't quite fit with the idea of blowing people to smithereens. Oh well, call me old-fashioned...

UPDATE AND CORRECTION: Excuse me, but I guess it is possible to use the word "terrorised" when referring to female stalkers, as in this story about George Michael. Note: no bombs involved, a subtle distinction from the above-mentioned story.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 25, 2004 in Media | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"Should Canada Indict Bush?"

Citing the Tom Walkom question in the Star, the writers at the Diplomad say "yes".

Diplomad HQS received a report from one of our Diplomads on a Sunday (today) brunch conversation with a Canadian diplomat who seemed absolutely smitten with the idea. This Canadian relished the thought of having Bush "served" a bill of indictment or arrest warrant during the President's visit to Ottawa o/a November 30. He thought this an incredibly clever idea, and spit out the reasons for indicting Bush for "crimes against humanity" -- basically the ones contained in the Walkom column and the Kasich interview, e.g., aggressive war, no UNSC approval, mistreatment of POWs and civilian populations, etc. Fortunately our Diplomad had the presence of mind -- which neither Kasich nor Walkom showed -- of asking, "What do you think the US reaction would be?" Our northern "friend" seemed taken aback by the thought, and confused, said that, well perhaps, we would protest and file something or another in Canadian court, or invoke Bush's sovereign immunity, but that in the end we would have to deal with the issue in court, presumably in a Canadian court. Oh, really?


So with regret, The Diplomad must conclude that it would indeed be a good thing for Canada to indict George W. Bush as a war criminal. The ensuing US reaction should provide a lesson in reality to Canada's politicians (the same who send Canadian sailors to die in rusty, smoke-filled second-hand subs) and its increasingly insane Ottawa - Toronto - Vancouver chattering "elite" classes.

A good one to add to your blogrolls.

Posted by Kate McMillan on November 25, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Press Review

From today's edition of NORMAN'S SPECTATOR, where the articles are hotlinked.

US papers lead with Ukraine or Iraq; in France and the UK, it’s mostly Ukraine.

At home, Love has returned to Ralph Klein’s office, but there was not much in evidence on the floor of the House of Commons yesterday.

An informal applause-meter suggests there was unanimity on Ukraine however; on the other hand, George Bush will not be taking any chances.

The CBC reported on rumours of love at Rideau Hall behind yesterday’s National Post correction.

The Toronto Star corrected last week’s howler about the sub procurement.

The National served up new poop on the seared sub last night.

It’s a holiday in the US, and the Washington Post’s editorial board looks at Thanksgiving, and at Ukraine. Jim Hoagland looks at Ivory Coast, David Broder at the Republicans.

The New York Times’ editorial board gives thanks and focuses on China in Latin America. Tom Friedman thanks US troops, as does Max Boot in Los Angeles.

The Times’ editorial board looks at Ukraine, and at big rear ends. Margaret Carlson touts Hillary for President. Andrew Gumbel poops on his Prince and our future King.

The Toronto Star editorial board weighs in on Hep-C and car-free days; the lead editorial confesses to not having the solution, but pans Ottawa’s performance on the aboriginal file nevertheless.

The Star fronts fat Ontarians, Mayor Miller’s broom, Canada slamming Ukraine and the Bush visit. Inside, Mitch Potter reports on a Canadian going to prison in Israel.

Frank Iacobucci explains why the Rae review is important. Jim Travers describes the mess in Ottawa on the eve of the Bush visit.

The Globe and Mail fronts mutual funds, Mayor Miller, Ralph Klein, George Bush, Ukraine along with a view from the Russian side.

Inside, Shawn McCarthy reports on new global architecture. André Picard analyzes the SCC’s autism decision.

John Doyle says network news is dying and it’s time to re-think the role of the three white guys in suits. Here are the latest standings in his Most Irritating Canadian contest:

“1) The Canadian Tire guy; 2) Ben Mulroney; 3) Tanya Kim; 4) Gordon Pape; 5) Paul Martin; 6) Shelagh Rogers; 7) Sheila Copps; 8) Ralph Klein; 9) The Lakota commercial guy; 10) Cheryl Hickey.”

Inside, John Ibbitson weighs in on Judy Sgro:

“It could take a month or more for Mr. Shapiro to complete his report. The question for Mr. Martin is whether he can afford to wait that long, with the government being pummelled daily in the House, or whether he will need to take more immediate action. It's an uncomfortable choice.

Meanwhile, if you should find your day is going badly, take comfort in this thought: It could be worse. You could be Judy Sgro.”

Lawrence Martin sets up next week’s Bush visit:

“Mr. Martin has an ace card in his deck. His plan for a G20 or L20, a new multilateral body to act as sort of an interim league of nations, has growing appeal. The world won't accept U.S. unilateralism; UN multilateralism is dysfunctional. The Martin plan is a classic Canadian compromise. Its potential creation is something he can dangle over the President's head — a multilateral reminder.

Mr. Bush is unlikely to give such a proposal his blessing — yet. We wouldn't join his war. Why would he join our peace? But at some point he will be more sensitive to his international image, to his shattering of America 's reputation abroad, to the need for consensus and compromise. Mr. Martin's idea provides the potential vehicle for a direction change. For Mr. Bush, a new image of consensus-builder could be born.”

The editorial board weighs in on the offshore negotiations:

“Mr. Martin made a promise, and even at $55 a barrel, a pledge is a pledge. Newfoundland should receive its full share of offshore oil proceeds, without time limit or cap. …At the same time, as Premier Williams has acknowledged, there should be no double-dipping. If Newfoundland 's basic fiscal capacity rises to the point that it is no longer eligible for equalization, those payments should stop as they would for any other province.

And Mr. Williams should acknowledge Mr. Martin's potential difficulties with other provinces by pledging to dedicate a good portion of the oil revenues to paying down the debt — a conservative fiscal goal that might soften opposition elsewhere. … But as the Premier said at another point in Monday's debate, “What we are trying to do is wrap a package for the federal government, so that they can live with their commitment.” In the process, Mr. Martin may learn not to make impulsive phone calls.”

The National Post editorial board is onto Ukraine, Terence Corcoran writes about the Byrd amendment.

The paper fronts George Bush and pot use, chases yesterday’s Toronto Sun story on Judy Sgro and carries New York Times copy on Ukraine —along with Don Martin on Ralph Klein’s latest move:

“Love's return is great news for the deflated morale of Ralph's World. The 2004 election found a Premier caged, controlled and cranky. His greatest strength, the ability to speak his mind candidly, was gagged by a group of timid advisors.

Love, perhaps more than anyone else, understands the secret to the Alberta Premier's success: Let Ralph be Ralph. If that happens, Klein's amazing story may yet have a happy ending.”

Elsewhere in CanWest land, the Montréal Gazette fronts property taxes, Ukraine and anti-Jewish slogans encrypted in the LCC yearbook. The editorial board is onto Ukraine.

The Ottawa Citizen fronts greedy local councillors, Bush, Ukraine and pot.

In the Toronto Sun, Bob MacDonald is onto Ukraine. From Ottawa, Greg Weston looks at helicopters.

In Winnipeg, Tom Brodbeck wades in on child poverty. In Edmonton, Paul Stanway writes about the return of Love. In Calgary, Rick Bell writes about demotions.

Posted by Norman Spector on November 25, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

PLO investment in Canada

The Advertiser cites Austrian business magazine Format in reporting a portion of Yasser Arafat's dubious fortune has been channelled through a Canadian pharmaceutical company (via Belmont Club).

Quoting a Central Intelligence Agency report, it said yesterday the CIA had conducted inquiries after receiving information that a holding company of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation had invested $11.6 million in a small pharmaceutical company in the Canadian town of Belleville, Ontario.

Format said investigators had "stepped on an anthill" when they uncovered the stake held by the Palestinian Commercial Service Corporation in Bioniche Life Sciences.

Posted by Ghost of a flea on November 24, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Does bin Laden really have a kidney problem?

Richard Miniter (author of Shadow War, the untold story of how Bush is winning the war on terror) was interviewed on C-Span’s Washington Journal this morning(RealPlayer required) and there was an interesting exchange at the end regarding the health of Osama bin Laden.

Interviewer: Let’s close on Osama bin Laden. I will suggest that viewers consult your book to learn the scheme he use fro hiding out. How close do your sources say we’ve been? And what are the prospects for killing or capturing him?

Richard Miniter: Well the people involved in the hunt for bin Laden, both in our government and among our allies always think that bin Laden is just over the horizon, we’re just about to get him. I used to discount that much more than I do. A few weeks before we got Saddam Hussein I was talking to a senior US military official in Iraq who said we are on the verge of getting Saddam and I had been hearing that for weeks and I said yeah sure. I didn’t believe him. I turned out to be wrong a few weeks later. Now these same guys are saying we are on the verge of getting bin Laden. They have been saying that for a year. They might be saying that for another one year, another five years, who knows? My thinking about manhunts is that we never know we are about to get someone until we get them; people slip away. Bin Laden is very disciplined, very good about staying off of his satellite phone, about limiting who he communicates with, by communicating only by courier, because he knows that the NSA and other spy satellites are watching him. He’s very good at hiding. Let’s remember that manhunts, evern in our own country, are very difficult. Eric Rudolph his in national forests, inside the United States, for more than ten years. The uni-bomber was on the FBI’s most wanted listed for more than twenty years.

I: The difference between those two people is they don’t need daily dialyses.

RM: Neither does bin Laden.

I: How often does he need the treatment? RM: He doesn’t. He doesn’t need it all.

I: Well how come I keep reading that?

RM: I don’t know. The US government captured bin Laden’s personal doctor, they held him in Guantomino, they released him to Canada, where he gave an interview to Canadian press and he said he couldn’t understand why the Americans kept asking about dialyses treatment. People in dialyses have telltale signs that doctors can recognize; changing of the joints, yellowing of the skin and so on. In Laden has none of that. He said, his personal doctor, who treated him for six years in Afghanistan said he had dehydration, he had problems sleeping and so on, but he never had a kidney problem. This apparently something put forward in the late Clinton years by Pakistani intelligence, hoping to persuade the US not to topple the Taliban because remember the Taliban were the allies of Pakistan. And say, don’t worry about him, he needs dialyses, his is going to die anyway.

Cross-posted to PoliticalStaples

Posted by Greg Staples on November 24, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A little more "whiff"

First, let's go back to last week's CP story by Bruce Cheadle; Unproven rumours and innuendo trailed Gagliano throughout years in office (which hilariously has many identical paragraphs taken from Cheadle's own January 10, 2002 story: Gagliano has long history of staring down critics. What is this? "Quick, cut and paste the Gagliano apologist 'graphs!")

The whiff of scandal kept him out of cabinet when Chretien's Liberals swept to power in September 1993 and the RCMP began doing routine security checks on potential ministers.

It turned out Gagliano, a certified general accountant, personally handled bookkeeping for companies owned by a reputed Sicilian Mafia member from the 1970s through to Gagliano's election in 1984. After that, Gagliano's firm handled the accounts.

But as we are all starting to realize, it was a little more than "Whoops and golly! Look what we found!" as the CP reporter tries to portray it. Thanks to Robert_a in our Comments section who found this excellent 1997 article in Transnational Organized Crime. We can add two more names to Gagliano-mob connection list, Dima Messina and Filippo Vaccarello. (Lovely quote from Chretien.) And I guess this puts to rest any doubt about the RCMP being onto this, going back as far at least to 1985. If Paul Martin and the Liberals don't release the RCMP security briefing to Jean Chretien, I guess Canadians are free to assume the worst. Here is part of the section Robert referred to:

"Nor was Agostino Cuntrera the only client of Gagliano. Another was Dima Messina, the financial aid of Montreal Mafia-boss Vito Rizzuto. An RCMP investigation showed that Messina laundered 22 million Canadian dollars for Rizzuto in 1986-88. Rizzuto's Ferrari Testarossa (a 250,000 dollar Italian sports car) was registered under Messina's name.

During the controlled delivery of 58 kilos of heroin to Montreal in 1985-–the RCMP and British Customs were aware of the traffic and closely watched the transactions-–one of the traffickers, Filippo Vaccarello, and an unidentified person, were observed entering the office of Mr Gagliano before the heroin arrived. After leaving the office Vaccarello proceeded with a tour of notorious bars well-known as selling points for heroin.

Bookkeeping proves to be a sensitive business for a politician. When the matter was discussed in Parliament after "La Presse" disclosed the facts, Premier Chrétien declared: ""This Parliament would be much better off if we had more Gagliano's".

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 24, 2004 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack