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Saturday, December 18, 2004

Political Escapism--Further Thoughts

I suppose you could call Kathy Shaidle's last posting "Canadian content."

However, I suspect that, like me, she read it yesterday in James Taranto's best of the web.

Like Kathy, I found it very amusing. However, Taranto has a larger objective in mind than to make us chuckle.

Taranto is anti-Kyoto, and he makes his point to an American audience by showing the stupidity of this woman.

Canadians who are anti-Kyoto, and who want to do Canadian politics, would be better off staying away from material like this.

As you can see from the comments today, it leads to the regurgitation of arguments that play well south of the border, but have not carried the day in Canada.

Besides, Canadians who are anti-Kyoto have hit the motherlode today.

In the Montreal Gazette, Environment Minister Stephane Dion acknowledges that Kyoto makes no sense, is a lousy deal for Canada and he's looking for an alternative.

You'd think Canadian conservatives would be all over this statement, but I've not seen any comments on the Shotgun site.

Kathy, perhaps it's your position on abortion that has taken you out of the Canadian political arena. It would be great if you didn't try so so hard to take others with you. We need them here.

Posted by Norman Spector on December 18, 2004 | Permalink


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Tracked on 2005-01-29 10:47:28 PM


I won't guess where Kathy read the item, but I blogged it on the evening of the 15th, and got it as an email tip from Craig Brett at Blue Cicada
- who wrote about it that morning.

I didn't view it as a Kyoto related item at all. I saw yet another example of the general uselessness of these committees and symposiums and another reason for eradicating any form of tax support for them. They're little more than elaborate, high priced welfare schemes for faux intellectuals like Ms. Daze.

It just happened to be Kyoto this week. Next week, it will be Louise Arbour or some other professional pontificator making an ass of herself on some topic of Global Urgency[tm].

But regarding Stephane Dion, I don't read the Montreal Gazette, but I did have CBC radio on almost all afternoon (waiting for the DNTO apology) and didn't hear a word about it.

You know, we don't get paid for this. Why would you hold amateur Shotgun bloggers to a higher standard than the Peoples Network?

And why the bizarre tangential swipe at Kathy Shaidle's abortion views?

Posted by: Kate | 2004-12-18 8:05:21 PM

Where is Judy? Has Judy resigned? Will PM PM shove her out of cabinet? Who wants her job? Any backbench names in circulation?
The member for Kicking Horse Pass is willing to serve.

Posted by: gg | 2004-12-18 8:49:57 PM

Like Kate I couldn't find the Kyoto story either. Its not on CBC, CTV online, canada.com, or canoe.ca. How would anyone know?? In any case the Liberals are gearing up for the next election and while most resistance to gay marriage will come from Alberta, and most damage from Kyoto will be felt in Alberta, this anti-Kyoto stance is a sop to Ralphie. What they are saying is give us gay marriage and we take away the pain of Kyoto. The Liberals are bastards. With Ralph, when it comes to Ottawa, he has backed down so often, who knows what he will do.

Also like Kate I am wondering whats with that last paragraph??

Posted by: MikeP | 2004-12-18 9:38:54 PM

"Environment Minister Stephane Dion acknowledges that Kyoto makes no sense, is a lousy deal for Canada and he's looking for an alternative."

Sounds like Dion will be gone soon. Remember John Manley a couple of years ago, when he kept wondering aloud where the money would come from to pay for all the loopy new programs his colleagues were proposing? A dead man talking.

On the basis of the evidence before me I find Stephane Dion guilty of the crime of giving legitimacy to debating points which lie outside of Liberal orthodoxy, and I hereby sentence him to serve a term of not less than five years as Canadian Ambassador or High Commissioner to some place that is as humiliating as possible for him to serve in, without actually alienating to any unnecessary degree the inhabitants of said place. Since he is French, this court recommends that he serve his sentence in some place where the Ambassador of the Republic of Quebec holds the real power.

If on the other hand, you could find us a quote of Paul Martin saying something like, "It is very, very clear to me that Kyoto is an extremely necessary plan and this government remains fully committed to honoring its principles", then I would know that Kyoto is about to be killed by the Liberal cabinet.

Posted by: Justzumgai | 2004-12-18 11:14:52 PM

Well, I'd jump all over this, but I can't find anything, maybe an actual quote from the article would make it easier to find.

Posted by: RobertL | 2004-12-19 12:08:37 AM

Excerpts from the Gazette article are linked on my site, as are all the references in the press review. I thought that was understood by Shotgunners.

You didn't hear this item on CBC, because it doesn't fit their Kyoto agenda. That's what makes the Dion quotes so fascinating.

It's not that I hold Shotgunners to a higher standard, it's just that I assume most people here are trying to change the CBC/Toronto Star Canada.

Finally, I think abortion is relevant to the discussion of political escapism. For, as I posted last week, it seems to me that anyone not prepared to compromise on abortion has effectively taken themselves out of practical politics in Canada.

Posted by: Norman Spector | 2004-12-19 1:36:12 AM

From the viewpoint of an outsider looking in, I was mildly amused to read that anyone would be questioning why conservatives might not be all over the recent Liberal verbal spillage on Kyoto.
There are times in my opinion when it the best political tactic is just to shut the hell up. I would liken this recent situation much like filling a ballon full of water. If you keep filling, sooner or later it coming apart at the seams and unless you stand way back, you going to get wet right along with the sucker pouring it in.
Much like was the joke goes about if you see a bomb defuser running, try to keep up with him.
Self destruction is very messy, stand clear or you could be an innocent bystander.
This should not however apply to anyone who would compormise on killing babies, celebrating Christ's bithday (Happy holiday, my ass) and thinking the gay marraige issue is a done deal.
Yes I agree, anyone willing to compormise in such important social issues should not only remove themselves from the political arena but should also step way back from the social arena as well.
In my opinion, history will prove such deviant "progessive' social engineering will pull us down the sewer like so many civilizations before us.

Posted by: Lyle | 2004-12-19 6:09:49 AM

Hey Norm, go screw yourself. If being in the mainstream means supporting the murder of innocent people, than the mainstream can go screw itself too. Bite me.

Posted by: Kathy | 2004-12-19 7:12:14 AM

And if you'd clicked on the link to the story you would have seen where I got it from. But since you don't seem to understand the whole concept of hyperlinks, I guess that would be too hard for you to figure out.

Mark Steyn's piece about "moving the centre" must have gone right over your head. I plan, like him, to stay right where I am and convince others to move towards my position. I can't speak for Steyn, but I'm frankly not interested in winning some g.d. election in some half-a**ed country -- I'm interested in maybe, just maybe, getting to heaven some day and taking as many people as possible with me. I'm a conservative, not a Conservative.

He and I are better writers than you are, so maybe we're on to something, eh?

Posted by: Kathy | 2004-12-19 7:20:30 AM

Well, Kathy, I certainly seem to have hit a raw nerve.

In addition to explaining conservatives' political escapism from this "half-assed country," your views on killing "innocent people" explain, in part, why Canada has no criminal sanction on abortion at any stage of a pregnancy.

That's the reality here on Earth, where we'll all be spending a few more years, including the purists among us who eschew practical politics, in favour of another country and another life.

Interestingly, Canada is one of the few countries in the world without any abortion law. You and your ilk-along with militant pro-choicers-are responsible for that distinction.

I don't know whether any late-term foetuses have been aborted in Canada as a result and, if so, whether it will harm your chances of entering heaven. I'll leave that judgement to others, as I will your rather uncharitable expletive about whom I should be screwing.

Posted by: Norman Spector | 2004-12-19 7:50:56 AM

Well, I tried. I checked the press review for both today, and yesterday, and I cannot find the Dion comments for the life of me. I did find comments from him in yesterdays press review from an Ottawa Citizen article, but nothing from the Gazette with the juicy comment featured in this Political Escapism piece.

P.S. Yes, I knew the press review on your site was all linked up.

Posted by: RobertL | 2004-12-19 7:58:50 AM

Rule of thumb for Mr. Singleton: when you refer to anyone's "last posting," please link to it. You might also try for specificity in your subject. American mind-reading skill isn't such that we who are south of your border know what you find amusing, even if whatever that is also amuses James Taranto.

You seem to have a fetish for arguments that have "carried the day" in Canadian politics. Are you always this pragmatic? I think Kathy is right to stand on principle.

Posted by: Patrick O'Hannigan | 2004-12-19 8:14:41 AM

Robert L

My apologies--the Dion quotes are from the Citizen.

Posted by: Norman Spector | 2004-12-19 8:40:14 AM

I should also apologize to Kathy for assuming she found the link in Taranto, who had it in his blog four days earlier.

I guess I gave her credit for being a quicker and more nimble political escapist than she actually is.

Posted by: Norman Spector | 2004-12-19 9:17:37 AM

Is the post in question that you are criticizing this one?


It actually seems to be Kathy who has poked one of your raw nerves, because I can't understand what else your problem with the post is.

And I don't see how someone who has a dissenting view on abortion has rendered themselves unable to comment on modern politics either. It's called "disagreement," Mr. Spector, and it occurs quite commonly in Western-style political discussion.

(I only backed through about ten posts here, so excuse me if the offending post by Miss Shaidle was one posted earlier than that, or elsewhere -- as Mr. O'Hannigan pointed out, Americans tend to lack superior Canadian psychic skills.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris | 2004-12-19 9:34:50 AM

Ok, that helped, now I can find multiple references to the environment ministers comments, but they are all tucked safely behind the canwest subscription service.

Thanks for clearing that up though.

Posted by: RobertL | 2004-12-19 9:54:04 AM

"I seem to have hit a nerve..." Typically juvenile response from a man bested by a woman. And I love it when unbelievers chide Christians for being "uncharitable". Soooo terribly clever. Next you'll be telling me to "lighten up." Believe me, I've heard 'em all.

Actually, Norm, your use of scare quotes for "innocent people" pretty much illuminates your morally bankrupt realpolitik viewpoint.

You singled me out, by name, in your original comments about how this blog is supposedly going to hell in a handcart:

Now you have the nerve to reach for the smelling salts when I bite back?

Your primary concern seems to be changing enough "CBC/Toronto Star" type minds to one day bring the Conservatives to power. Fair enough. You say people like me are making this goal harder for you to achieve. This is where you lose me.

Isn't it just as possible that people like you, who talk about watering down principles in order to become "electable", are the real problem?

Isn't it funny how some of those 'off the wall' socially Conservative MPs who opened their big mouths during the last election actually got re-elected? Funny, that.

If you're so worried that people will be lured away from your idea of Canadian conservatism if I keep talking and writing about MY ideas-- and you must be, since you keep posting about me -- maybe I"M the one who's struck a nerve with YOU?

After all, those are you words: that I'm drawing readers away from the oh so important goal of getting into power. Well, so what she explained? I guess those folks find my ideas more appealing than yours.

In any case, you aren't the boss of me, or this blog. Don't presume to tell me what to post here.

Posted by: Kathy | 2004-12-19 9:56:05 AM


Of course you've "bested" me. After all, as a writer you're in the league of Mark Steyn.

That said, "electability" is your word, not mine.

What interests me is why conservatives spend so much time on US issues and so little on Canadian.

Someone in an earlier post mentioned Daifallah's thesis, and I think there's much to it.

But you've confirmed my hunch that part of the reason is that, for some, Canada is a half-assed country.

Posted by: Norman Spector | 2004-12-19 10:32:03 AM

I agree with Norman on the need for a Canadian focus. Unlike almost everyone here, I am not a writer. I am a parent of two teenage boys and want a future for them in this country. I love the United States, but I am Canadian, and would like my kids to stay here and not feel that, like so many others, they must secure their future in the U.S. Who has given the Toronto Stat/CBC the right to define who or what is Canadian? How can that be changed?

Posted by: Jeff Eirich | 2004-12-19 10:57:12 AM

Mr Spector perhaps one of the problems with Canadian Conservatism is that it's only fiscal in nature most of the time. IMHO, we should dig our heels in more when it comes to promoting and defending Social Conservatism. Let's face it, The Liberals, though corrupt pork-barrelers, are more or less conservative in financial matters.

I voted for Harper mostly because of his social positions and not because of his financial platform. It was the 'society issues, that served to distinguish him from Martin. If we don't, won't or can't discuss these topics openly, if we have to conceal and dissimulate and soften our stand on issues like abortion etc, then how are we any different from the CBC/Toronto Star crowd?

It takes a lot more than just the prospect of a few tax reductions to get and keep Canadians interested in the political process. Canadians are carnivores, they're no longer buying into the simulated-liberal,'vegan-lite' discourse.

Posted by: John Palubiski | 2004-12-19 11:02:22 AM

John Palubiski is spot-on.

Social conservatives have a vital place at the table. Nor should anyone have to check their beliefs at the door.

That said, politics is about building coalitions with people of diverse origins and beliefs. They must be persuaded by reason, not faith.

Sometimes in politics one has to settle for half a loaf or, as on abortion, you end up with nothing.

Politics is about changing public opinion, which is very hard work. It's easy to understand why some might choose the easier path of escapism.

The first pre-requisite is understanding one's country and compatriots.

One thing is certain: one does not change public opinion by showing contempt for them.

Finally, politics is about improving life in our little corner of this world, not about saving souls in the next.

Posted by: Norman Spector | 2004-12-19 11:30:36 AM

No Norm you didn't use the exact word "electability"--don't be so childish. If you're entire point isn't 'we won't get elected in this country unless we conservatives do XYZ', then what is/was it??

*Not everyone changes their mind based on "reason", however. Many change positions based on gut feelings and yes, faith.

*It seems to me the liberal establishment got where it is today precisesly via the use of contempt, by mercilessly mocking traditional 'middle class' values through its movies and music and academic papers and books, etc. In their panic about being left out or ending up on the wrong side of history, millions of ordinary people adopted liberal beliefs, with tragic results.

If contempt doesn't work as a political tool, why do they pay Warren Kinsella the big bucks to play with Barney dolls? That clearly worked, right?

*Clearly you and I live in very different Canadas. Mine has a dissipated army with broken equipment, a billion dollar gun registry, an utterly ruined health care system that no one is willing to even admit is broken, etc. If that isn't "half-assed" what is?

You are interested in politics and compromise and yes, getting elected. I'm more interested in larger issues. Perhaps my views aren't popular. Neither were Barry Goldwater's, at first.

Judging by your ham-fisted attempts to steer this blog in a particular direction, you seem threatened by such talk, and that, I'd submit, is just a variation on typically Canadian cowardice and small mindedness. Do these posts exemplify your abilities as a compromiser and bridge builder, I wonder?

Posted by: Kathy | 2004-12-19 1:22:23 PM

The only direction in which I've been trying to steer this blog is toward what you call a half-assed country.

Posted by: Norman Spector | 2004-12-19 2:09:15 PM

And you were assigned this nobel duty by who exactly, Norman? What if I or someone else wants to steer it in another direction, or in no direction in particular?

Posted by: Kathy | 2004-12-19 3:20:38 PM


Obviously you are are and have been free to steer the Shotgun away from this half-assed country, as you describe it.

Posted by: Norman Spector | 2004-12-19 3:43:30 PM

We all have disagreements on priorities, and it seems this is what the problem is here. We have conservatives or traditionalists (like myself) disagreeing as to whether abortion trumps nations and culture.

Are we talking about whether German soldiers should have fallen on their swords to protest the murder of various classes of people from 1933-1945, all of which was suppressed by the only media that existed at the time? No. Can anyone think of the terror these people faced. Saddam Hussein's subjects are an example.

I think some anti-abortionists, such as myself, are outraged (but somewhat callous because of frustration) over the rampant murder occurring around us; yet we wonder how to stop it. That is why we are arguing here.

Norman agrees with Kathy on the evil, but he disagrees with how to combat it. Fine. The problem is he disagrees in a most objectional way, and I urge him to concede the point and walk away.

Posted by: Paul Henrí | 2004-12-19 5:07:10 PM

I apologize for sticking my two cents into a Canadian discussion, but something should be considered.

We either have to hang together or hang separately. For years the conservative movement in the United States has been the hope of the world. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the orientation of free market, democratic, religious countries has been on the decline.

Thank God the US has persisted in a direction counter to Socialism and deconstruction of traditional society. Conservatives around the world depend on the American conservative movement to keep the flame of our values alive.

However, with the Soviet Union long evaporated, look what has happened to American initiatives internationally. In the UN, nothing but so-called democratic countries, including Canada, lined up against us. It was a juncture when Canada could actually have used its international influence to help America with European opinion. But Canada went with the French-German axis.

My point? The day has come when American conservatives need allies. We're big and strong and enduring, but we may not be able to fight off the darkness forever by ourselves. We need other conservative-oriented countries to make it clear that as a generalization they are in agreement with our overall direction. We need a united North American front against the incessant call for a centralized authority, high taxation, and erosion of traditional society.

Today it needs to be understood that conservatism is a global movement, and we need to help each other.

Posted by: Greg in Dallas | 2004-12-19 5:26:10 PM

I agree my American two cents is worth nothing to Canadians, generally. I am extremely lucky to live in such a wonderful country, and from my view, Canadians are extremely lucky to live in their country. But conservatives and traditionalists from all nations need to support one another, to encourage one another. Do any of us traditionalists want to take over another country? No. Do liberals? Yes, because they believe we are all equal in every way, while we traditionalists believe we are equal in the eyes of God but in no other way.

So what do we do? First, perhaps, recall George Orwell’s 1984, in which everyone had to adhere to one and only one point of view or else be executed. George Orwell was screaming out against liberalism in no uncertain terms. I was lucky to have been required to read 1984 in the 9th grade at my Catholic high school. Many people have not been so lucky, as we all know. I read this important novel as a sensitive but moronic jock—meaning I was thoughtful but totally engrossed in girls and athletics when I read it.

The earlier Edmund O’Brien movie 1984 was better, but George Lucas’ THX 1138 is superb and perhaps plagiarism if Lucas did not cite Orwell. Still, what artist has not borrowed from another artist?

Posted by: Paul Henrí | 2004-12-19 8:20:04 PM

Norman, haven't had time to check this since this morning, but if nothing else, you certainly did hit a nerve with me.
Canada a half assed country? More like half hearted or more to the point, weak hearted.
Firstly there seems, in my opinion, to be some confusion in your mind as to what a "conservative" is. Conservatives in my simplest terms care first and foremost about our fellow man (persons?). We don't tax, ax or gouge'em. Conservatives want it to stop and stop NOW.
Why you might ask do we seem to be so enthralled with our fellow southern conservatives. It is because we see the glimmer of hope, (HOPE in capital letters). We saw the social conscience of several million americans stand up on their hind legs and fight back against leftist social engineering. We see the hope in people fighting back against the court enforced removal of the Ten Commandments, Nativity scenes from public places and telling government where they can stick their "WE Wish You a Happy Holiday" cards. We saw a slam dunk on gay marriage. We see hope in a President who stood before American at "No" to abortion. We see promises made and kept.
Why do we not have an abortion law in Canada?
Let's put the blame where it really belongs Norman. More than a dozen years of gutless Liberal leadership. Definitely not because conservatives continue to fight and hold out for hope, but because some people who pretend to understand conservatism would compormise and settle for what, only killing half the babies. Which ones Norman, the girls only, maybe the boys with dark hair? How about none Norman? None until what is right is passed into law.
Kathy is so right it should stun most Canadians. During the election smearing prior to the election, I felt a glimmer of hope with Ms. Gallant and Mr. White standing up on their hind legs. I cheered. Did they get smeared? Yes. Did they get elected? Yes. So why then did the Liberals keep control. Simply because of watered down weak kneed, hard to grasp conservatism that makes road kill out of free speech and free votes. Half assed politics for a weak hearted country. That's Canadian reality today.

Posted by: Lyle | 2004-12-19 10:12:09 PM

Christ on a banana-peel. Look at this rubbish.

"Well, Kathy, I certainly seem to have hit a raw nerve."

It's remarkable to me that people who write those exact words (I've seen a million of 'em in my time online) never realize their abject confession of vandalism. It's the only way that what have always been known as "trolls" identify themselves as the selves they are.

"Typically juvenile response from a man bested by a woman."

(cackle) No, Drearie. It's far more universal than that, but I've never seen a concept get in a woman's way when she's about to throw a frying-pan across the room.

You people are bloody twits, and you deserve each other.

Have an ice day.

Posted by: Billy Beck | 2004-12-20 7:36:55 AM

Far be it from me to deny anyone the right to express their views but the opinions of self appointed censors, guardians or whatever in hell Norman Spector calls himself should be taken with a grain of salt. His seems deeply concerned with pleasing Ottawa,the CBC and God forbid the Toronto Star. Hmmm maybe we should coin a new term to describe his type of Politically Correct psuedo conservatism- I know a CBC Con!

Posted by: allan amberson | 2005-01-04 8:05:25 AM

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