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Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas -- not Seasons Greetings

What on Earth does "Seasons Greetings" mean? Welcome to winter? We don't say "Happy Autumn" do we?

I now make it policy to correct people who say that to me -- 95% of whom say it reflexively, not because they're worried about wishing Merry Christmas to a Jew. They're just afraid to say Christmas lest they be condemned as intolerant. But, of course, it was Christian tolerance that opened up this Christian country to non-Christian immigrants in the first place. Surely the same courtesy ought to be extended by newcomers to Christians.

Permit me to link my Sun column on the subject.

This part:

This year, an agent of Revenue Canada telephoned Calgary's bishop, Fred Henry, and threatened that if the priest dared to criticize the Liberal government's policies on moral issues, he'd risk having the church's charitable status removed -- and thus subjected to massive taxes. The prime minister's spokesman called the bishop a liar. Really? I know who I believe.

would result in an investigation or a resignation in a country still governed by the notion of political responsibility. In Canada, it generates a yawn.

Merry Christmas.

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 24, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack

Autopen da fe

There may be no sassier a writer than Ann Coulter. Her latest:

Since the attack of 9-11, we've won two wars, liberated millions of people from monstrous regimes, presided over one election in Afghanistan and are about to see elections in Iraq and among the Palestinian people. Focusing like a laser beam on the big picture, liberals are upset that, during this period, the secretary of defense used an autopen.

She revs up the right and appalls the left -- I'd call her a right wing Michael Moore, other than the fact that she actually does her research and isn't, uh, hygienically challenged.

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 24, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack


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

It’s Christmas Day tomorrow and our papers serve up Saturday papers today.

Canadian troops in Afghanistan will get a head start on the celebration. Jean Chrétien’s friends are getting out front on his sponsorships testimony.

In Central Canada, the weather sucks, but Toronto ’s Christmas will be white this year.

Montrealers, hardier folks who’ve never been known to call on the army to clear the snow, are taking it all in stride.

Ottawa, a town MPs have fled for their two—oops, seven—week Christmas break, also got a big dump. I won’t begin to tell you what it’s like out here.

In Newfoundland and Labrador—which has the worst weather in the country and a few other problems to boot--Premier Danny Millions had the Maple Leaf removed from provincial buildings. From away, came Paul Martin’s blast.

In the UK, new doubts are being raised about community care, after the latest stabbing. Cancer patients are being hit with a shortage of drugs.

Reports are surfacing about Special Branch involvement in the Omagh atrocity.

Other reports indicate that Tony Blair has the worst voting record of any modern British prime minister. The US is warning the EU about selling arms to China .

The French continue to celebrate the release of two hostages from Iraq. One is telling his story. Libération has gotten its hands on a UN report detailing human rights violations in Ivory Coast.

In the US, the Los Angeles Times’ editorial board admires a new French bridge. It and the New York Times lead with the President’s plans for judicial nominations.

New York off-leads Fallujah. The later deadline on the west coast catches Don Rumsfeld’s drop-in visit to the troops in Mosul.

The Washington Post leads with a blockbuster—Colin Powell warning George Bush and Tony Blair that more troops are needed in Iraq.

The New York Times’ editorial board pans the new prime minister of Kosovo.

The Washington Post’s editorial board looks at the US economy, and the Pinochet trial.

In the LA Times, Margaret Carlson says the film, “Hotel Rwanda,” should make people think about the genocide in Darfur .

In the Wall Street Journal, James Q. Wilson explains the strength of religion in the US. Daniel Henninger looks at charitable giving.

Here at home, the Toronto Star fronts philanthropy and a family tragedy. Inside, we learn that charity is genetic.

Jim Travers reviews Paul Martin’s year, and Ian Urquhart does the honours for Dalton McGuinty. Ombudsman Don Sellar makes the case against a press shield law.

Graham Fraser is onto Canadians going to Ukraine. Sandro Contenta is already in Kyiv. Mitch Potter is in Bethlehem.

The editorial board wishes readers Merry Christmas, as does yours truly in today's Vancouver Sun.

The Globe and Mail fronts the election in Ukraine and the Maple Leaf in Newfoundland.

Inside, John Ibbitson signs off on 2004:

“The year ahead will provide infinite opportunity for journalists to criticize, protest and blame. It's our job and we love it.

But remember this if you can: Despite it all, as we reach the end of 2004, we live in a mostly successful country in the best available world.”

Jeff Simpson also signs off, but looks ahead to next year:

“All of 2005 will be dominated, therefore, by efforts to monitor, cajole, entice, threaten and otherwise attempt to influence Iran 's behaviour, while outsiders and domestic reformers hope, perhaps against hope, that in due course the country's economic stagnation and stifling politics will embolden the citizenry to demand changes in the country's government.”

Margaret Wente signs off with some good news stories, but saves the personal for last:

“My husband: What a honey

This chronicle would not be complete without a mention of my husband, who recently took up the gentle art of beekeeping. After a disastrous start to the season (something about non-performing queens), he triumphed with a ninth-place finish in the fiercely fought honey competition at the Royal Winter Fair. He and his fellow drones will never be the same again. They beat out literally tens of entries from all over the province, and are now taking turns wearing their prize ribbon, which is a peculiar shade of orange. They're already plotting how to annihilate the competition next year. Maybe you think apiarists are rather sweet. But actually, they're ruthless.”

Rex Murphy is onto Paul Martin’s travels:

“Those who hold power in government during minority administrations have one task: to redefine their too-slender relationship with the voters. On the domestic front, Mr. Martin's initiatives are meagre, or forced upon him (Danny Williams and the offshore file) or potentially divisive (same-sex marriage).

All Mr. Martin's energy and creativity seems to be channelled to external causes. While some are worthy (Darfur), and others potentially of benefit ( Latin America ), and the latest mysterious (Mr. Gadhafi), they create the impression of a Prime Minister more at home away from home.

Yet, as his attendance at Mr. O'Brien's funeral signifies, there is a dimension to Paul Martin at once very appealing and grounded. If he is to face the new year, and the next session of the House, there will have to be some foregrounding of the appeal that is known to those close to him; they must tie whatever energy and creativity he possesses to an at-home agenda.”

Rick Salutin compares wars past and present:

“The U.S. went to war in Europe in the Second World War reluctantly, which is easier to appreciate now, in the light of their rush to war in Iraq . They hesitated for more than two years after war broke out, until Pearl Harbour when their reasons and goals were clear. They were welcomed in Britain , where they were based, and in the countries they helped liberate, which had all previously been invaded and occupied by a brutal foreign army. In Iraq , by contrast, the U.S. forced a war that no one was clamouring for, and fabricated claims to justify it. They are the sole significant occupier, no matter how you assess their motives.”

The National Post editorial board says Danny Williams has gone too far. Sheila Copps poops on shari’a tribunals, but the Ottawa Citizen's editorial board supports them.

In the Post, Bob Fulford pans Paul Martin:

“No matter how bizarre the events in Paul Martin's political life, he manages to make them sound ordinary. No matter what happens, he finds a way to convince us that nothing is happening. Our Prime Minister is a poet of the humdrum, a virtuoso of ennui. He apparently believes he should never say anything memorable -- because, after all, someone might remember it.

That's his style, and while it puts many of us to sleep it may be sound politics. Long ago it worked for Mackenzie King. It may work again.”

In the Calgary Sun, Link Byfield is still angling for a referendum on same-sex marriage; it just ain’t gonna happen.

In the Post, a collective of law students responds to yesterday’s missive by professors on same-sex marriage:

“It isn't Stephen Harper who is being dishonest with Canadians with regard to same-sex marriage, it is the self-selected constitutional "experts" who penned Thursday's letter. They shake their heads and wag their fingers, haughtily scolding Mr. Harper for "playing politics with the Supreme Court and the Charter." How absurd. The Charter is a political document, created by politicians, interpreted by judges appointed by politicians, who invariably base their judgments in part on the political landscape of the nation.

After so many years stuck in ivory towers, these "experts" might actually believe their own visions of the judiciary as a Higher Power untainted by politics, of the Supreme Court justices as Gods among men, of court opinions as gospel delivered from above. But these images are belied by the true nature of our democratic system of governance, our constitutional structure and the study and practice of constitutional law itself.”

Posted by Norman Spector on December 24, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

We, The Undersigned

"The Maple Leaf is the flag of all Canadians including every single Newfoundlander and Labradorian. It should not be treated as a tool for partisan politics."
Danny Williams Canadian Flag Petition is here.

Posted by Kate McMillan on December 24, 2004 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Thursday, December 23, 2004

It is peace, not piece keeping

Home-made pornographic videos shot by a United Nations logistics expert in the Democratic Republic of Congo have sparked a sex scandal that threatens to become the UN’s Abu Ghraib.

...The prospect of the pornographic videos and photographs — now on sale in Congo — becoming public worries senior UN officials, who fear a UN version of the scandal at the American-run Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq. “It would be a pretty big problem for the UN if these pictures come out,” one senior official said. Investigations have already turned up 150 allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers and UN staff despite the UN’s official policy of “zero-tolerance”. One found 68 allegations of misconduct in the town of Bunia alone.

Link to Times UK via Drudge Report

Posted by Greg Staples on December 23, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

"The World Tonight"

I just found out that I'll be a guest for about 20 minutes on The World Tonight, this evening, on CHQR Calgary talk radio. (630 AM in Edmonton)

The interview is scheduled for 7:30 pm Alberta time, after they warm up my audience with an appearance by some guy named Glenn Reynolds. There's a live feed on the website. The topic is blogging, of course.

I'll try to get in a plug for my fellow Shotgunners, providing the comments below carry the appropriate level of congratulatory flattery. Or flatulent conflagration. Whatever.

Posted by Kate McMillan on December 23, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack


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

In France, the Socialist Party is digging in on the 35-hour work week and the governing UMP is still divided over Turkey.

However, most French eyes are still on the two hostages who’ve returned alive from Iraq.

In the UK, this year’s must have Christmas present is a goat. A high-profile woman lost a sex-harassment case and the government plans to do something about it.

Tony Blair is making progress on Mideast peace—today’s top international story.

A rise in asthma is being linked to household chemicals. Officials are busily shredding documents in preparation for FOI legislation.

In Europe, new details are emerging on the Yukos sale. Vladimir Putin is defending it.

In the US, the Democrats are considering a change in their abortion position.

However, US papers lead with news that a suicide bomber perpetrated yesterday’s Mosul attack. Most papers also front the Administration’s new forestry rules.

The New York Times reports that China is coming after Canada’s oil, and on the Canadian role in Iraq ’s elections.

The Washington Post reports the Chinese are in Sudan, too--and that it’s all about oil. Imagine.

The Los Angeles Times’ Column One reviews the woes of modern Santas—and it ain’t no easier in Canada, it seems.

The New York Times’ editorial board says the US is a piker on foreign aid.

Tom Friedman says the US may lose in Iraq. Maureen Dowd says Bush is beginning to tell the truth about the situation there, but has a long way to go.

The Washington Post’s editorial board says the US has committed war crimes. George Will poops on global warming.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board looks at the burden on US troops and conflicts of interest at the National Institutes of Health.

In the Wall Street Journal, Interim PM Ayad Allawi weighs in on Iraq’s elections. The editorial board dumps on Fidel Castro:

“It wasn't the Santa Clauses and candy canes decking the halls of the U.S. diplomatic office in Havana that prompted Fidel Castro to order the Christmas decorations dismantled there. It was the light display forming the number 75.

That's how many political dissidents Castro rounded up in March 2003 and threw into Cuban jails. At their trials, these librarians, journalists and peaceful political activists received sentences of up to 28 years. Now a loosely connected international movement of librarians is refusing to forget their Cuban colleagues.”

At home, the US ambassador says Canada should get tougher with his country--today’s top story.

However, the really big news today is that Canadian web-heads are more likely to search for Pamela Anderson and Avril Lavigne than the blog you are now reading. Hard to believe.

Yesterday, Todd Bertuzzi copped a plea. Premier Danny Millions walked out—again.

Christmas is coming to Canada and Christians are leaving the Mideast. Margaret Wente says there’s no place for shari’a law in Ontario.

The man who has a good chance to be the next President of France arrives in Québec today; three guesses on whom he’ll be visiting (you’ll need to scroll down).

Karlheinz Schreiber has been ordered to leave us; this could get interesting before it’s over.

The Ottawa Citizen reports that January 14 is decision day on whether there will be an NHL season; La Presse reports it’s all over but the death certificate.

The Toronto Star fronts Bertuzzi and changes to rent control in Ontario. Inside, Jim Travers says information is power in Ottawa.

The editorial board serves up confused ramblings about Iraq’s election, says yesterday was a sad day for hockey and that respectability killed Frank magazine.

The Globe and Mail also fronts Bertuzzi—with Roy MacGregor on the victim—and the Mosul attack, language politics in Ukraine and a Canadian family trying to recover a plundered art collection.

Geoff York reports from Beijing ’s Silk Alley. Barrie McKenna says Canada ’s G-7 membership is being questioned. From Kiev, Carolynne Wheeler reports the Canadians are coming.

Inside, Lawrence Martin is onto Canada’s defence spending; I read it three times and can’t figure out whether he thinks we should be spending more or not—though it’s clear he believes the US is spending too much and that we should not participate in missile defence.

Margaret Wente poops on shari’a tribunals:

“Pinch me, quick. What century is this, anyway? I thought the case against sharia courts was so obvious that this wretched idea would quickly expire. But I was wrong. This week a former NDP politician named Marion Boyd recommended that the province go ahead with them. She told us not to worry, because this is really all about “protecting choice.” And since Ms. Boyd has impeccable feminist credentials, Muslim courts must be a good thing for Muslim women.

Alia Hogben thinks not. She is president of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women. She thinks Ms. Boyd is being naive. Perhaps that's because Ms. Hogben knows a great deal more about Muslim women than Ms. Boyd does. “We're all for religious rights,” she says. “But we want a balance between religious rights and women's equality rights.”

John Ibbitson says the provinces are leading in electoral reform, and PEI is the leader of the pack:

“Premier Pat Binns announced that Islanders will vote in a referendum next November on another proposed form of mixed-member PR. If the answer is yes, the first election under the new system will occur as early as 2006.”

The editorial board weighs in on the Bertuzzi case:

“Mr. Bertuzzi harmed the game of hockey, but that is secondary. By his brutal act, he harmed another human being. Hockey is not beyond the law, and the Crown should have fought harder to make that point.”

Another editorialist supports Tony Blair’s Mideast conference, sans Israel:

“The international community cannot do much right now to solve the big disputes between Israel and the Palestinians about how and if a Palestinian state will emerge. What it can do, with aid, advice and expertise, is help the Palestinians get their act together. Onward to London.”

A third editorialist says Donald Rumsfeld’s credibility is shot and George Bush should fire him; imagine if the editorial board applied the same standards to our cabinet.

In CanWest land, the National Post fronts Bertuzzi and wins today’s award for best “clarification”:

“A story in Tuesday's National Post about a judge who apologized this week for falling asleep during a sentencing hearing failed to specify that he was Mr. Justice John Moore of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. The Post regrets any embarrassment to a judge of the same name who sits on the Ontario Court of Justice.”

In commentary, Terence Corcoran defends Judy Sgro and disses his paper’s coverage of the story.

A collective of law profs and lawyers who can predict the future with certainty write to Stephen Harper:

“If Parliament were to adopt your proposal and define marriage to exclude same sex couples, this legislation would very quickly end up in court, and be struck down as unconstitutional. However, the Charter allows Parliament to have the last word on many issues of fundamental rights, through the notwithstanding clause. Frankly, we do not think this is an appropriate case for the use of this extraordinary provision. However, if you believe that same-sex couples should be prohibited from getting married, you should propose legislative amendments that include a notwithstanding provision.

The fact that you want Parliament to enact clearly unconstitutional legislation and adopt the traditional definition of marriage without using the notwithstanding clause leads us to suspect that you are playing politics with the Supreme Court and the Charter. You should either invoke the use of the notwithstanding clause and justify this decision to Canadians, who overwhelmingly support their Charter, or concede that same-sex marriage is now part of Canada 's legal landscape.

If you intend to override Canadians' constitutional rights, you at least owe it to them to say this openly and directly. Canadians deserve better.”

The Ottawa Citizen fronts Mosul and Bertuzzi and the NHL season. The Calgary Herald editorial board says the NHL should get tough with Bertuzzi.

The tall foreheads at the Montréal Gazette say Ukraine is a beacon of hope. Don MacPherson sums up Jean Charest’s 2004:

“Politically, it was a lost year for the Liberals, one whose close sees them only slightly less unpopular than at its beginning - and one year closer to defeat in the next election.”

In the Calgary Herald, Don Martin’s column includes a grade left our of the version published in yesterday's National Post; I wonder why:

“Paul Martin: C+

First, the good news. The prime minister is a great guy. Compassionate, intellectually curious and seemingly incapable of holding a grudge, he's someone the average Canadian would probably enjoy spending a few cocktail hours with, particularly if he brings along charismatic wife Sheila. He's also a very good tourist, even if all his worldly travels deliver are photo-ops of him with reformed terrorists and off-handed musings about territories becoming provinces.

Now, the bad news. His leadership is vacuous, his policy drift aimless and his main accomplishment, the September health accord, merely a money-for-nothing peace treaty with the provinces. If anything, who you know in the PMO is more important today than it was two years ago under Jean Chretien. There is, to put it mildly, considerable room for improvement in 2005.”


Sanctions may be only way to sway Congress: Cellucci

Posted by Norman Spector on December 23, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Economic Growth on PEI

For years the government of Prince Edward Island has attempted to encourage economic growth in the province by building facilities and/or giving money to businesses so that they'll move their operations to PEI. This policy has only wasted the taxpayer's money, as most companies bribed into coming to the province only stay until the government money runs out, usually moving to another province after a few years.

For the longest time I couldn't get over the stupidity of such a system, but it seemed most of the Atlantic provinces were doing it to one another, with the taxpayer losing out in the end. But the government of PEI may have finally come to their senses. They have decided to reduce the risk to the taxpayer by rewarding established and successful businesses with tax breaks and incentives, instead of paying them in advance.

Instead of paying cold hard cash right out of the treasury, as before, the province decided to give up some future tax revenue instead. This way only successful businesses get rewarded; government money will not be sprinkled on just any dumbass idea now. Makes sense, don't you think?

My only question is, why did it take some long for the government to realize that it made sense to reward successful businesses only, instead of them all? A government can't decide for us whether a business will succeed or not, the marketplace dictates that, so PEI's decision to stand back and let the people decide looks like a good one.

crossposted to canadiancomment

Posted by Bob Matheson on December 22, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Lone Deranger

Oh, good. Our Supreme Court is being asked to hear an appeal by the Nova Scotia human rights commission as to whether the word "kemosabe" is illegally racist.

Avid followers of human rights commissions will already know that:

The board of inquiry spent one day looking at old Lone Ranger shows, eventually concluding that the term was never used in a derogatory way and that Tonto and the Lone Ranger treated each other with respect.

This being Canada, it's not enough that we've already spent millions taking this through to the Court of Appeal. Let's let the Supremes weigh in on this one.

Um, everybody knows it was just a TV show, right?

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 22, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


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

The French are celebrating the liberation of two hostages in Iraq.

US papers lead with the deadly attack on their base in Mosul (here’s the only eye-witness account I could find), and front the resignations of the top dogs at Fannie Mae.

In the UK, violent Sikh drama critics take a back seat to Tony Blair's surprise cameo appearance in Baghdad yesterday.

Notwithstanding the mayhem that coincided with his visit, he’s predicting the elections will go ahead next month.

Meanwhile, a committee of MPs is predicting that British forces will be in Iraq ten more years. David Blunkett is in limbo after tabling of an independent report on nannygate.

The Financial Times reports Ministers will now re-think ways in which they can help constituents. Canadians, groomed on Jean Chrétien’s Auberge, will appreciate the question.

Speaking of which, there was a huge armed heist yesterday in Belfast. The Fonz is threatening to de-rail the sponsorship inquiry.

Also back home, Bill Graham was talking big bucks tough. Taxpayers will be getting a lump of coal, and RCM policepersons are angry about their pay increase.

In Ottawa, Montréal and Toronto, the deep freeze has snapped but another is on the way.

The Prime Minister is away--in Morocco--on a vacation that somehow morphed into a business trip.

With the cat away the mice can play--more than usual. The Justice Minister is playing foreign minister in the Mideast . Who thinks up these “business” trips?

Back in the US, aside from Mosul , the New York Times serves up the latest on drug imports from Canada. (Here it is in the Globe.)

The editorial board weighs in on the situation in Iraq.Nicholas Kristof lists a number of issues on which the Right is right.

Bill Safire says he was wrong on how long it would take in Iraq , but the good guys are winning the wider war. (In The Wall Street Journal, the infamous Ahmed Chalabi weighs in on Iraq ’s elections.)

The Washington Post, which yesterday bought Bill Gates’ webzine Slate, has more poop today on prisoner abuse. The editorial board looks at baseball in Washington and the explosion in Mosul.

Jim Hoagland wades in on US-Russia relations, Robert Samuelson on the US economy.

The Los Angeles Times has the skinny on Michael Moore’s next target, and reports that a major US contractor is pulling out of Iraq.

The editorial board weighs in on the Bush-Putin relationship and the Mosul attack.

Former Guardian correspondent David Hirst says the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is the root of Arab anger, though he concedes that Saddam and Osama had other things on their mind.

In the Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee argues this is the oldest excuse for lack of reform in the Arab world:

“Part of their anger may spring from bitterness over the plight of the Palestinians. They may also feel angry at the policies of the United States . But in a democratic country, these feelings would have a natural outlet in politics. In countries that deny their people democratic expression, frustrate their material ambitions and deliberately whip up their anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment, they boil over. We all pay the price.”

The Globe and Mail fronts Mosul, a rescue on a reserve, yet another risky painkiller, our new international ski star and a hockey star who’s about to cop a plea.

Inside, we hear from the victim of the assault. And from an imam who’s issued a fatwa on a weekend conference at the SkyDome.

In Vancouver, Mark Hume misses the federal Liberal connection to the charges laid yesterday against three BC officials. (You'll find the poop here.)

In Jerusalem, Matthew Kalman interviews Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, who says our Charter of Rights can help solve the Mideast conflict.

Personally, I doubt same-sex  marriage would go down well in that part of the world. As for same-sex divorce—today’s offering--he should fuggedahboutit in Faradis.

From Beijing, Geoff York reports our embassy is behind a new barrier. From Tripoli, Doug Saunders wraps up Paul Martin’s visit to Libya.

Jeff Simpson asks whether anyone is listening to the plateful of advice he dishes up today:

“In the global world of tomorrow, the winning countries will be those that put their policies and money into human capital development. That's why Canada should stop pouring money into its bottomless health-care system while its higher-education system remains underfinanced. That's why the country needs not more dawdling treaty negotiations with aboriginals, but a domestic Marshall Plan to develop their skills in the modern economy.

That's why businesses should be called on the carpet and asked why they do such a lousy job training employees. Let them improve their performance in this area, and then get corporate tax breaks.

That's why the unemployment insurance plan should contain provisions for employees who have paid into the plan to take courses to upgrade or change skill sets.

This is tomorrow's agenda, and immigration is central to it. The agenda is very, very far from the focus of the Martinites, let alone the apparently brain-dead Conservatives.

If Canada is to be among tomorrow's winning countries, a cities agenda — not a diluted “communities” agenda — should be about human capital development, not handing over federal cash without accountability to mayors and municipal councils.

Ottawa brings in the immigrants, then dumps their problems on the cities and school boards. Those problems ought to be Ottawa's urban focus.”

The editorial board weighs in on the Arar inquiry:

“Mr. Bindman's statement that the blacked-out passages are “injurious to national security and international relations” must also be weighed against Judge O'Connor's statement that some of the passages concern matters already on the public record, in newspaper articles or in other federal reports.

The Federal Court has been asked to do this weighing. If Judge O'Connor is right, the court should remind the government that protection of national security and relief from potential shaming are not the same thing. Mr. Arar deserves better from his country.”

Another editorialist weighs in on shari’a tribunals:

“It would be the worst form of prior restraint to bar Muslims from doing something everyone else can do, based on the actions of other Muslims for which they are in no way responsible. Because Ms. Boyd refused to do this to the Muslim community, Marilou McPhedran, a lawyer representing the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, called her naive and told her that she had betrayed women.

Nonsense. The trend in Ontario law is to encourage alternatives to solving disputes in the court.”

In Le Devoir, editorialist Josée Boileau gives the tribunals a scathing thumbs down, because of the potential impact on women. In the Toronto Sun, Peter Worthington slams shari’a.

The Toronto Star fronts Mosul , apartment rents and vacancies and patients being denied costly surgery.

Inside, Tom Walkom says the Arar Inquiry should be allowed to do its job. Graham Fraser reports on the mission to monitor the Ukrainian election.

The editorial board says Ontario is ignoring gambling addiction, which the Star has been writing about this week.

Another editorialist says “yes, with conditions” to shari’a tribunals.

Carol Goar sets up the review of Canada ’s anti-terrorism law. Richard Gwyn says most Canadians would go for France ’s civil unions over same-sex marriage.

(I agree; here’s the first of several columns I've written on that model, this one back in 2001.)

The National Post and Ottawa Citizen front Mosul and the risky painkiller.

The Citizen adds a muscular Bill Graham on defence. The editorial board weighs in on Walkerton.

The Post adds Québec’s liquor strike, which made the front page in Montréal yesterday.

Today, Greeks calling sex lines lead in the Gaz, and the editorial board pans Ottawa ’s performance in the strippergate affair.

The Edmonton Journal leads with Canada's new ski hero, a local boy. The editorial board is confused about our role in Iraq's election.

The Vancouver Sun leads with criminal charges against Liberal political aides. The editorial board poops on Pierre Pettigrew's stripper visas. The Times-Colonist plays the connection to federal Liberals higher up in the report.

Inside the Post, Peter Foster weighs in on Yukos. Honestreporting’s Dov Silver wants the CBC to give Neil MacDonald and his biases the boot.

David Frum says Canada has a low birth-rate problem.

The editorial board says Paul Martin should not be propping up Muammar Ghaddafi. Another editorialist dumps on the Walkerton plea bargain.

Inside the Citizen, Susan Riley chooses a subject I confess to knowing absolutely nothing about, so you’ll have to be the judge of whether she makes any sense:

“Our problem is that we have become so accustomed to dressing for someone else's climate that most of us don't think to ask what was wrong with fur, or wool, or goose down. They kept our ancestors alive. Unlike Gore-tex, they even kept them warm. True, they can be bulky and itchy, and a return to fur would not be good news for our four-legged friends. But ask yourself: If your car breaks down far from civilization (in the parking lot of the SuperLoblaws in Westboro, for example), would you rather have an old fur coat in the trunk or a nice bolt of "polar" fleece?

In fact, we have invented clothes that suit our climate: Sorel boots, Arctic parkas, goofy sheepskin hats with ear flaps, and snowmobile gloves the size of oven mitts. But we are loath to wear these homely items in our official lives, to the office, to social functions. We want to be warm, but we want to be cool more. And it has been decreed in foreign capitals that haystack hair, pillowy coats and boots the size of army tanks are not cool.

It is the survival of the hippest now, and we Canadians are determined to be hip -- or freeze to death trying.”

In the Calgary Sun, Licia Corbella says time is on Stephen Harper’s side, in Edmonton Paul Stanway defends Ralph but, in the National Post, Barry Cooper says Alberta ’s Premier is one of Stephen Harper’s problems:

“Two explanations have been offered for the Premier's strange provocations of the federal Tories. The first is that Stephen Harper has become a major problem for him. According to this view, criticism of Harper is payback for Harper having earlier signed the famous "firewall" letter, implicitly criticizing Klein's leadership. In addition, Klein's newly restored right-hand man Rod Love seemed to prefer Belinda Stronach to Harper during the leadership campaign. By this account it's entirely personal.

A second and less baroque explanation of why the Premier has been offering the Liberals aid and comfort is that in his mind there can be but one conservative spokesperson from Alberta , and it's him. Certainly over the past few years the Premier has developed the bad habit of making life difficult for federal Conservative leaders from Alberta. Just ask Joe, Preston and Stock.

Whatever the explanation, many Albertans have concluded it's time for Ralph to stop hurting his federal allies. There's room for more than one political leader from this province.”

Posted by Norman Spector on December 22, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Get The Western Standard

I was going to post this anyway but I feel compelled to do after Colby Cosh criticized my mentioning of The American Spectator earlier. Adam Daifallah has been talking about building a conservative infrastructure in this country (including in The Western Standard). That needs to be done. But not everyone has millions to donate to that cause -- foundations, think tanks, publications, etc...

What can you do about the lack of a conservative infrastructure right now? Support what's already in place and that includes The Western Standard. Get a subscription for yourself if you don't already have one or as a gift. (What lady friend would want perfume or jewelry when she can get the gift that comes 25 times a year?) For just $75 + GST, you can support the premier un-hyphenated conservative publication in Canada; in other words, its a small investment in the conservative infrastructure.  And as publisher Ezra Levant says, "It's a great way to help our country -- and the Western Standard! By buying a gift subscription for yourself or a family member or friend, you'll help spread the word about important news stories and opinions that don't normally get a voice in the media." You can subscribe by calling 1-866-520-5222, ext 244 or clicking here.

I hope this makes up for mentioning another magazine on this website -- and an American magazine at that. I was going to do it anyway because I think TWS is a phenomenal magazine; I devour it as soon as it gets into the house. I subscribe to a lot of magazines and it is one of only two I can say that about.

Posted by Paul Tuns on December 21, 2004 in Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Paul Tuns is apparently ladling out high-octane cruelty for the Christmas season: the guy plugs The American Spectator's big holiday issue on the Standard's weblog (surely a faux pas to begin with), and he doesn't even find space to mention my two-page piece on Howard Stern right smack in the middle of the issue. What does a guy have to do...?

If you have room in your budget for a magazine that's not the Standard, the December/January TAS would be an excellent choice, not just because of the book recommendations and the delicious Colby Coshery, but also for Tom Bethell's superb pantsing of the Nobel committee and an excellent, wide-ranging interview with Tom Wolfe. Here endeth the inappropriate promo.

Posted by Colby Cosh on December 21, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Books for Christmas

The American Spectator dead tree) has its annual Books for Christmas lists featuring conservatives (for the most part) advising various books to give to this Christmas season. Here is my list.

Michael Howard's War and the Liberal Conscience (Oxford, 1978). This short, excellent volume examines the delusions under which liberals operate when it comes to their thinking about war.

The Liberty Fund's three-volume set of Edmund Burke's work (1999). If you can't purchase the complete works of Burke, this will do nicely. (Vol. 1 - "Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents" and "The Two Speeches", Vol. 2 - "Reflections on the Revolution in France", Vol. 3 - "Letters on the Regicide Peace.") Liberty Fund also has a nice edition of "A Vindication of Natural Society" (1982) which every true conservative should read.

I return every couple of years to Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot (1953 and six editions since), a splendid intellecutal history of conservatism that demonstrates that there is more to conservatism than tax cuts.

Another fine book, which Robert Novak commends in TAS is Whittaker Chambers' Witness: An Autobiography (1952) which Novak describes as "a memoir, a spy story, and account of the epochal struggle between communism and freedom, between those who accept and those who reject God." I could not agree more with Novak who concludes that "Reading this book is an essential act for young people unfamiliar with the most important conflict in history."

Only two books from the past year come to mind that really stand out: William F. Buckley's literary autobiography Miles Gone By (which Milton Friedman said in TAS was a "resurrection of pieces published during more than half a century" -- I like that: resurrection) and John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge's The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America. Despite minor flaws, it is the most comprehensive history of the conservative movement and conservative politics by anyone outside the movement and it benefits from the disinterest of its authors. It also recognizes that conservatives had to win the battle of ideas before winning office was meaningful.

And I would be remiss if I did not include my own Jean Chretien: A Legacy of Scandal. (Americans can order it through Barnes and Noble.)

(Cross-posted at Sobering Thoughts)

Posted by Paul Tuns on December 21, 2004 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


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

In France, casino workers are planning to strike. Yesterday's grisly murder investigation continues.

In the UK, Sikh violence has shut down a play. A national ID is coming to town. Private schools are getting a tax break.

The Brits had better get used to spending cuts. And they want David Blunkett back--despite the ID card and notwithstanding the philandering.

US papers lead with President Bush’s less-than-newsy news conference; Iraq dominates the headlines. (Here’s the transcript.)

The New York Times fronts more on prisoner abuse. The Washington Post fronts more bad news about painkillers.

The Post stuffs a new poll showing that, for the first time, a majority of Americans believe the Iraq war was a mistake.

And, through American eyes, the Post looks at Canada’s role in the Iraq election.

At home, most papers myth the Canadian role by a mile, with the notable exception of the Toronto Star, which serves up a realistic report.

In Ottawa, it’s freezing cold and the politicians are away for their two—oops seven—week Christmas break.

The Prime Minister has returned to sunnier climes from Newfoundland on what suddenly turned into a business trip. Was it the itty-bitty criticism about using the Challenger?

I’d be more concerned about that goofy photo in the Globe, which lacked only a career-ending football or banana.

Yesterday, yours truly received several nasty e-mails about a brief reference to the sighting of snowdrops in Victoria.

I want to assure a certain Globe columnist who can write like stink that MPs will be back at work before our annual flower count begins.

Back in the USA, the New York Times’ editorial board weighs in on the Pentagon’s intelligence designs, and Google’s latest intelligent idea.

David Brooks says George Bush has been right all along on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Washington Post’s editorial board poops on Bush for not pooping on Putin, and is unimpressed with its President’s social security ideas.

David Ignatius says Rummy’s being made a scapegoat. Fareed Zakaria sees signs of hope in the Arab world. E. J. Dionne Jr wades into the Christmas wars.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board adds its two cents on use of the C-word. Tariq Ramadan is onto being turned down for a visa.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board defends Rumsfeld. (Here’s the man himself.)

Brendan Miniter says US soldiers are doing the Lord’s work. Contributing editor Gary Kasparov slams Vladimir Putin and,

“Western leaders keep their mouths shut and Western banks keep their wallets open for Mr. Putin. Plans continue for a G-7 meeting in Moscow in 2006 that will transform the group into the G-8, something that will stand as an insult to democratic nations around the world. This meeting will be the final nail in the coffin of Russian democracy.

Those who think they can influence Mr. Putin's course by supporting him will see that accommodation won't be any more successful here than giving the Olympic Games to Berlin was in 1936. Treating dictators kindly doesn't soften a regime; it only makes it more arrogant and aggressive.

Perhaps Western leaders agree with last week's New York Times editorial that made the stunning assertion that "a fascist Russia is a much better thing than a Communist Russia." I hope I am allowed to order something not on that menu. I am not ready to throw up my hands and surrender to the Putin dictatorship. It is still possible to stand up to the dictator and to fight for democracy.”

The Toronto Star editorial board wraps Walkerton and the paper fronts Walkerton—along with shari’a law in Ontario and Canada’s far out role in Iraq.

In commentary, Tom Walkom rounds on Libya and on Canada continuing to cuddle up.

From Ottawa, Jim Travers says Frank McKenna will be our next ambassador to Washington . From the UN, Stephen Handleman says Canada is cooling on Kyoto.

The Globe and Mail also fronts Walkerton—along with Maher Arar, pain relief and BC pine beetles. See, it’s not all roses out here.

From Moscow, Mark MacKinnon reports on the Yukos takeover. From Washington, Paul Koring reports on Bush’s press conference.

Stephanie Nolen has the latest grim news on life and death in Africa.

In commentary, Margaret Wente says Paul Martin looked like a guy who had just had a colonoscopy; it gets worse:

“Unlike Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien, Mr. Martin lacks political instincts. Instead of street smarts, he has street dumbs. Maybe this is the result of being earmarked at an early age for high office instead of having to claw your way up. But what puzzles me is how he ever managed to run a successful company. Since he's been in charge, nothing much has gotten done. He reminds me of a boss I once had who used to make us go on long retreats so that we could think big thoughts about the future, when meantime the wheels were falling off the business.

Plenty of people wish Mr. Martin would forget about transformation and simply keep the wheels from falling off.”

Jeff Simpson, having given up on baseball, brings his analytical skills to the game of hockey:

“Everything the league is doing — from its negotiating strategy to fining owners — is designed to keep open the NLRB/replacement players/ bust-the-union option.

The owners know themselves — their greed, incompetence and past history. If they negotiated a deal with a strong union, they could not trust at least some of their members not to act as stupidly as they did after the 1994 agreement.

So the owners want an agreement that protects them from their own stupidity — and a weakened union. Or, preferably, both.

John Ibbitson weighs in on Walkerton:

“If the Koebels had done their jobs properly, or at least admitted their incompetence, many of the infections could have been prevented.

The Koebels weren't the only ones Judge O'Connor found responsible. Cutbacks to the Ministry of the Environment begun by the NDP government of Bob Rae and accelerated by the Conservative government of Mike Harris left the ministry hard-pressed to carry out its responsibilities.

Far worse, in its obsession to cut red tape, the Harris government refused to institute a rule requiring private labs to warn provincial officials of any tests that showed water contamination, even though Mr. Harris's own minister of health had personally pleaded for the regulation. For that reason, more than any other, the former Conservative government and its premier bear indirect responsibility for the calamity.

Mike Harris never recovered politically from Walkerton; a year later he announced he was leaving. A year after that, the Conservatives were gone too.

Now, finally, the state is finished with the Koebels. A year in jail. Nine months' house arrest.

Stan Koebel “is a man of moral fibre, and during that period of time there was a blip in it, but I don't think anyone would doubt that he's ethical,” his lawyer told reporters yesterday.


The editorial board supports putting Pinochet on trial, and says Bush should get tougher with Putin.

As to Canada, the board supports a role abroad for CSIS:

“we owe it to our allies to spend more on security — ours and theirs. However Canadians may feel about the policies of U.S. President George W. Bush, or the war in Iraq , Ottawa and Washington are close allies in the broader war on terror. Canada frequently shares intelligence with Washington and London . Information is the currency of the relationship, and Canada should not go begging.

Second, it's naive to think this country faces no serious direct foreign threats of its own. Many Canadians may like to differentiate themselves from Americans, but al-Qaeda makes no such distinctions. In a 2002 audiotape attributed to Osama bin Laden, the terrorist leader himself named Canada as a potential target of terrorist attacks. Forewarned is forearmed.

A broader role for CSIS, subject to the usual parliamentary oversights and constraints, would be good for Canada.”

The National Post fronts Bob Fife with the latest on strippergate--today's top story.

Bruce Garvey disses Macleans and Time for spotlighting Maher Arar and Chantal Peticlerc:

“They make an unlikely pair, but these two do have one thing in common and one that seems to be emerging as a prime consideration in the determination of these year-end tributes, and indeed in the very psyche of this country. Victimhood.

They are both victims. Ms. Petitclerc, of an unimaginably cruel disability. Mr. Arar, he claims, of a brutal imprisonment and torture for which he is seeking millions in compensation.”

Inside the Post, the editorial board seconds Garvey’s scepticism. Terence Corcoran is back on climate change. Don Martin grades Liberal cabinet ministers:


Elsewhere in CanWest land, the Montréal Gazette fronts a Québec show-biz mogul sentenced for sexually assaulting two minors.

The editorial board says blue-collar unions are getting away with blue murder.

The Ottawa Citizen stuffs the National Post’s strippers and fronts Maher Arar making more news--along with freezing cold weather and Canada ’s role in Iraq ’s election.

The Vancouver Sun fronts the Pickton trial. The Edmonton Journal serves up Ukrainian-Canadians thinking of returning to the mother country.

The editorial board wonders about Paul Martin in the Libyan tent.

In Windsor, a woman found two shivering beagles. In Victoria, a cat has been saved but I'm sure it was never cold.

The editorial board says MPs must have a say on aboriginal self-government. In Calgary, the editorial board says Ottawa is already mismanaging native affairs.

In the Toronto Sun, Peter Worthington weighs in on Walkerton. From Ottawa, Val Sears serves up an American who says our Supremes are better than theirs.

Posted by Norman Spector on December 21, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Monday, December 20, 2004

Prophesy Self-Fulfillment

Arthur Chrenkoff, in today's Opinion Journal

The latest poll of 5,000 people in and around Baghdad suggests that an overwhelming majority are prepared to make a clean break with the past and pursue democracy--now. Some of the specific results:

What will you base your vote on?

Political agenda - 65%
Factional origin - 14%
Party Affiliation - 4%
National Background - 12%
Other reasons - 5%

Do you support dialog with the deposed Baathists?
Yes - 15%
No - 84%
Do not know - 1%

Do you support postponing the election?
Yes - 18%
No - 80%
Do not know - 2%

Do you think the elections will take place as scheduled?
Yes - 83%
No - 13%
Do not know - 4%

The long and detailed report is more than encouraging - it is a staggering indictment of a politically motivated mainstream media, intent on burying every sign of progress with "rising death tolls" (as if fatality statistics have the ability to drop) and "car bomb o'the day" coverage. There can be little remaining doubt that there is a determination to adhere to a "we told you so" agenda until the bitter end, even if it means taking an active hand in prophesy self-fulfillment.

I don't know which makes me angrier, as a Canadian - the prospect of seeing the day in which a free and democratic Iraq looks to my country and asks "Where were you when we needed you most?", or the sobering fact that there are substancial numbers of my fellow citizens who are not-so-secretly hoping they fail.

Posted by Kate McMillan on December 20, 2004 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Accidentally, On Purpose

This must read from Wretchard.

Even with today's proliferation of compact photographic equipment, a legitimate photojournalist rarely gets the opportunity to capture an execution. Apart from the beheadings which are purposely recorded on video by the jihadis and from gun camera film, most footage of people actually being shot are taken by photographers in company with combatants who are ready to film an ambush. Those individuals are combat cameramen for their armies or embedded reporters. The most famous analogue to the Associated Press sequence of photographs is probably the Eddie Adams photo of the execution of Vietcong Captain Bay Lop by South Vietnamese General Nguyen Ngoc Loan. Adams owed that opportunity to General Loan himself, who brought Adams along to cover what he believed to be a justifiable summary execution. Adams depressed the shutter at exactly the moment Loan fired and photo analysis actually shows the impact of the bullet on Bay Lop's skull.

It may have been pure luck, but it was surely the longest of odds that would have brought an Associated Press cameraman to the site of a surprise attack on two Iraqi electoral workers. As it was, the AP photograph was unable to capture the actual execution, only the moments shortly before and after the Iraqis were killed. Although the Eddie Adams photograph was widely used to illustrate the 'brutality' of the Saigon government, the photos taken by the Associated Press are unlikely to reflect badly on the electoral worker's killers. Press reports highlight the confidence and boldness of the insurgents. "Both of the victims shown in the sequence wore traditional Arab headscarfs. In contrast, the attackers were bareheaded and apparently unafraid to show their faces", suggesting that 'collaborators' must conceal their faces while the Ba'athists stride with impunity through the light of day. It was fortunate for the AP that their photographer was accidentally there.

A similar thing happened during the murder and desecration of the 4 contract workers in Fallujah. Though it was an Arab news outlet, the cameras were there and rolling. The ambush was carefully set up for media consumption.

They learned from the best. I don't know what was more outrageous - the admission by Eason Jordan that CNN had been functioning as the Western propoganda wing of Saddam Hussein's information ministry - or the mild mumble of disapproval that the rest of the MSM reacted with.

How long are we going to tolerate media outlets who accept invitations from terorist regimes and organizations, in order to capture a few drops of bloody propoganda on film? At what point do their actions cross the line from observer to participant? I can honestly say that I'd sleep better tonight knowing the AP photographer who panted along behind these thugs like an adrenaline-intoxicated puppy was behind bars under terrorist conspiracy or accessory to murder charges.

It's bad enough that news consumers have to do their own fact checking, and bring in their own document experts to verify the information being presented as "truth". Now we have to worry that the RPG triggerman who has selected our restaurant, our bus, our airplane for random anhilation has a goddamn AP cameraman in tow.

Posted by Kate McMillan on December 20, 2004 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bring on d'escapism, bring on da funk!

Who needs practical politics when you've got a naked, drug addled marionette passed out beside a toilet?

All part of my master plan to take as many of you with me as possible! Bwaaa haaaa haa!!

Posted by Kathy Shaidle on December 20, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

With friends like these

The idea that our Prime Minister feels the need to meet Muammar Gaddafi is strange at best.  How PM Martin thought he could pull it off and not look the fool is even more strange.  Somewhere in all of this I see a great attack ad (quotes courtesy the National Post):

...‘‘On a personal level, we have gained a quite personal friendship. We are friends not just because he is the Prime Minister of Canada but we shall always be friends, even if he is not the Prime Minister,’’ said Mr. Gaddafi, wrapped in a brown wool robe and wearing a traditional black Libyan cap. He said Canadians are ‘‘lucky’’ to have ‘‘His Excellency, the Prime Minister’’ as their leader. Mr. Gaddafi even joked about Mr. Martin leading a revolution someday just like he did.
‘‘Pretty soon I expect Canada to be a jamahiriya,’’ he said in reference to his own socialist revolutionary state.

...Mr. Martin called Mr. Gaddafi a ‘‘philosophical man with a sense of history’’

Or are Mr. Gaddafi's connections more important?

Mr. Martin said increasing trade is a ‘‘major encouragement’’ to sounder human rights in Libya. He said business ventures such as the $1-billion deal he witnessed yesterday between SNC-Lavalin of Montreal and the Libyan government to extend a pipeline in the Great Manmade River Project to bring water from the Sahara Desert to the populated coastal cities is good for both countries. It creates jobs in Canada and improves the quality of life in Libya.

Posted by Greg Staples on December 20, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

End the "Mad Cow" madness

It's good to see this article by Iain Murray, a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. It is certainly useful for Canadians to lobby the U.S. government to open the border but seeing influential free market American think tanks taking up the position is much better:

On his first official visit to Canada, President Bush promised to end the madness: the United States' ban on Canadian beef. Such a move is long overdue. The ban has hurt producers and consumers in both countries -- for no public health gain. [...]

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has long -- and rightly -- argued that the border closure provides no economic or public health benefit. But the agency's efforts to reopen the border were frustrated by an adverse court decision that found USDA rushed through proposals to open the border without giving adequate response to public health and other issues. USDA can easily overcome the court's objections by quickly preparing a more detailed case for re-opening the border. [...]

The Bush administration needs to make good on its good intentions by hastening USDA's work. Every day of delay hurts cattle ranchers, consumers, and America's relations with Canada, its biggest trading partner. It's long past time to end the "mad cow" madness.

Posted by Kevin Jaeger on December 20, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


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

In France, there’s a shortage of psychiatrists in the public health system. A grisly double-murder in a hospital has shocked the nation.

In the UK, Sikhs stormed a controversial play. (In Vancouver, moderates are winning.)

Tony Blair's Government is bulling ahead with a national ID. Conservative MPs are revolting.

Tony Blair is accused of withholding legal advice. Brits are flocking from private to public pensions.

In the US, where President Bush wants to take pensions in the other direction, most papers lead with a very violent day in Iraq, which is front-page in The Independent in London.

In addition to Iraq, the New York Times off-leads the sale of Yukos to a mystery bidder, which is big news around the world.

Below the fold, the Washington Post goes with President Bush’s problems in Congress, the Los Angeles Times features unsustainable medicare.

The editorial board poops on missile defence, and sees parallels between social security reform and Bush’s build-up to the war in Iraq.

In the Wall Street Journal, Kenneth Cain says Kofi Annan should go because of genocide, not oil for food. Raja Mohan says Indians are celebrating Bush’s victory.

The editorial board urges the “U.S. [to] try again to get some foreign Islamic troops to help with security before, during and after the January 30 Iraq elections.” It suggests Pakistan, Indonesia and Turkey as the best bets.

The New York Times’ editorial board says the US election system must be improved, Turkey-EU talks speeded up and the judicial system stop harassing journalists.

In the Washington Post, Sebastian Mallaby looks at the morality of social security privatization. Jackson Diehl says democracy is being sidestepped in the Palestinian elections.

The editorial board pans China’s foreign policy, and US sub-contracting of prisoner detention to Saudi Arabia.

At home, a Canadian with first-hand experience of the Syrian subsidiary was chosen Time Magazine’s newsmaker of the year. The Man of the Year is an election-winner, George Bush.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister who won but didn’t win his election in June was off visiting Muammar Ghadaffi in Libya before heading to Morocco for a vacation.

The Globe and Mail’s Doug Saunders serves up a marvelous report on his midnight at the oasis. 

Back home, Ottawa was in a deep-freeze. Here in Victoria, the snow-drops are already peeking out of the soil, but I hear it’s also very cold in Toronto and Montréal.

The Globe also fronts Mark MacKinnon in Moscow on the Yukos sale and more murders in Detroit —oops, Toronto. Lisa Priest reports that Canadians are shunning flu shots.

Someone will have to explain, though, why the iPod, which Paul Wells has been writing about in Macleans for at least a year, is front-page news in a with-it paper like the Globe.

Inside, from New York, Shawn McCarthy reports on aggressive Chinese multinationals. Hugh Winsor attended the Grits’ Christmas party:

“For certain, the mood was better than the mood at last year's gathering, held just a couple of days before the switchover of power and the swearing in of Mr. Martin and his cabinet. …But other than a perfunctory standing ovation when he concluded his remarks, there did not seem to be burning enthusiasm at this year's gathering for Mr. Martin and his government, either. Contrast that with the high expectations party members had for their Dauphin a year ago.

In many conversations in the corridors and at the bar, one dominant theme emerged: anxiety, and fear of another election any time soon. Most of the party-goers were the people who have to raise the funds and fight elections at the riding level. Overwhelmingly, they know they are not ready for another fight and they believe another election any time soon would produce similar results to the outcome of June 28, a recognition that their leader and his government have gone nowhere in the past six months. There is also a consensus the new electoral financing restrictions — Mr. Chrétien's parting gift — are hurting and they want them changed.”

Gordon Gibson says the Supreme Court should have answered the Government’s fourth question about same-sex marriage. Osgoode Hall’s Allan C. Hutchinson has long been a Charter sceptic, and he’s even more so today:

“The fact that the Supreme Court has accorded constitutional status to tobacco corporations and denied it to autistic children should cause everyone to question the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There can be no starker evidence that we have gone wildly astray in our efforts to protect and advance ordinary people's rights.”

CAW economist Jim Stanford says a minority Parliament is a great opportunity for fulfilling Labour’s Christmas wish-list, including public child care, union recognition rights, pension protection and fixing employment insurance.

The editorial board comments on nanny scandals in Canada, the US and the UK:

“Once upon a time, British prime minister Margaret Thatcher denounced Big Government as “the nanny state.” These days, it seems, the state and the nanny are as incompatible as oil and water.”

In a more serious vein, the editorial board weighs in on EU-Turkey negotiations:

“Admitting Turkey would send a message of inclusion not just to Turkey but to the whole Islamic world. If Turkey under EU guidance can become a fully democratic, modern country with an open economy and the rule of law, it will neatly refute the argument that “Western” democracy is unsuited to the Islamic world. As British Prime Minister Tony Blair put it, the decision to begin negotiations with Turkey shows “that those who believe there is a fundamental clash of civilizations between Christians and Muslims are actually wrong; that they can work together; that we can co-operate together.”

Turkey straddles the Dardanelles and the Bosporus, the straits separating Europe and Asia. As the only Muslim member of the EU, it could become a bridge between East and West. The EU was right to put hope before fear and invite Turkey to the table.”

The Toronto Star fronts a Canadian angle to the Iraq violence, Martin/Ghaddaffi and asks whether Vince Carter is a snitch. (Here’s the story, tab-style.)

Rosie’s back with a fine piece on marriage and there’s more on gambling to boot.

From Washington, Tim Harper reviews the candidates for the next Homeland Security Director. Carol Goar serves up a positive review of Paul Martin’s first  year.

John Manley—remember him?--dishes up a fine piece on micro-credit. Ian Urquhart is on the Christmas card list of all three Ontario leaders.

The editorial board trashes Tasers and wants the Prime Minister to take on China, now that he’s straightened out Muammar Ghaddaffi on human rights.

The National Post and The Ottawa Citizen front a great lead on the Libya meeting:

“Sitting in a tent surrounded by camels and goats, Paul Martin found common ground with Muammar Gaddafi yesterday, celebrating the first anniversary of the Libyan strongman's renunciation of weapons of mass destruction.”

The Post also fronts, via the London Telly and an Israeli tabloid, George Bush promising Mideast peace by 2009.

A Canadian is a champion skier. And bus service in Iqualuit is kaput. Who would have known?

The Citizen adds to the front-page mix MPs being shut out of aboriginal self-government (as does the Vancouver Sun), and news that men prefer thin women who eat a lot. Women can be so illogical, don’t you think?

Inside the Post, George Jonas says they’re not gentler either. Buzz Hargrove trolls for Bombardier subsidies.

Charles Krauthammer’s says let Christmas be Christmas, which he said in the Washington Post last Friday. (Ezra Levant makes the same point in the Calgary Sun today.)

Lorne Gunter bids farewell to Kyoto. If you missed Saturday’s edition of this press review, check out Stéphane Dion’s explosive remarks about Kyoto in the Ottawa Citizen. While you’re there, check out Andrew Coyne’s column on a book mainstream media and journalists don't want you to know about.   

(This weekend, yours truly has been fighting the good fight against a Cheryl Gallant clone who, in her words, thinks Canada is a half-assed country and that politics is about saving souls and does not give a god-damn about elections--here and here.)

The editorial board says Judy Sgro’s successor must clean up the Immigration department. The Citizen’s editorial board says Canada needs more nurses. Susan Riley weighs in on the new Stephen Harper:

“What if Harper isn't sincere -- does it matter? Yes, if he runs on a moderate agenda and wins, then sets about enacting a program that would make Mike Harris look milquetoast. Harper wouldn't be the first prime minister to take actions directly contrary to what he promised. Even though Harper is arguably the most ideological leader in recent history, he is behaving these days more like the despicable and successful pragmatists -- Brian Mulroney, Robert Bourassa, Jean Chretien -- for whom principles were an obstacle.

Harper is a shrewd tactician; he has already proven that. To win over Canadians, however, he needs to prove he has sincerely moderated his views. That will be a harder sell. He may end up courting enmity on the always fractious right, and not winning over one Quebec or Ontario vote. He doesn't look like a man who changes his mind.”

The Windsor Star fronts volunteers sacrificing for Ukraine democracy and Paul Martin in Libya. The Calgary Herald editorial board reminds Bombardier-booster David Emerson that he's a British Columbian. Their Vancouver counterparts tout a lottery to deal with the French immersion frenzy.

The Montréal Gazette stuffs Martin and the goats and fronts the sentencing of a media mogul on child sex charges, failed liquor negotiations and a spitting match among the powerful over the location of a proposed super-hospital. (Here’s Le Devoir’s editorial.)

Inside the Gaz, L. Ian MacDonald says Stephen Harper could win an election on same-sex marriage. The editorial board defends John Gomery:

“But who can pretend that this particular assertion from the judge was anything except painfully obvious? He might as well have said the sky is blue. The inquiry's real work is yet to come. It has already exposed the structural skeleton of a system which secretively short-circuited all the usual safeguards on federal spending, while maximizing political control. This is obviously a recipe for abuse.”

Posted by Norman Spector on December 20, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The problems of Canadian conservatives

From today's exchange with Kathy Shaidle--and from some of the comments it's generated on the Shotgun site--I conclude:

-some conservatives have contempt for Canada and Canadians or, as she put it, for this half-assed country.

-some conservatives believe it's more important to save souls than to win a god-damn election, also in her terms.

-some conservatives, who believe that any abortion equates to killing an "innocent person," do not understand the failure of their political tactics; specifically, they do not accept their partial responsibility--along with extreme pro-choicers--for the lack of any criminal sanction on abortion at any stage of a pregnancy in Canada.

-some conservatives--assuming that there's been at least one late-term abortion in Canada in this legislative vacuum--refuse to accept any moral responsibility for not having saved that one life.

I'll leave it to others with the appropriate qualifications to judge whether this harms a person's chances of getting into heaven.

As to the political implications, there's no doubt in my mind that social conservatives have a vital place at the conservative table.

Nor should anyone be expected to check any of their beliefs at the door.

That said, politics is about compromise; anyone who is not prepared to take half a loaf--no matter how important the issue to them--has effectively taken themselves out of practical politics.

Politics is about improving life in this world, particularly in our little corner, not about saving souls in the next.

Politics is about building coalitions with people of diverse origins and beliefs. In a democracy, they must be persuaded, which means changing public opinion.

Changing public opinion is very hard work. It's easy to understand why some might choose the easier path of escapism to another country's politics where things are easier for conservatives, or to considerations of another life.

I'm heartened from the exchange that not all Canadian conservatives--I hope the majority--have been infected with this political escapism.

Posted by Norman Spector on December 20, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (26) | TrackBack

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The problem with Canadian conservatism - A response

Ever since I read Richard A. Viguerie and David Franke's America's Right Turn: How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to Take Power this past summer I've been thinking a lot about why the Canadian conservative movement has failed to gain traction despite all of the work of the past decade. Although conservative parties have managed to raise their support each and every federal election, we seem to be no closer than we were a decade ago when Preston Manning was our saviour with the western-based Reform Party. We are not even defining the issues, sometimes more important then winning elections.

In the November 8 issue of The Western Standard Adam Daifallah and Tasha Kheiriddin argued that one of the biggest things holding back conservatism in Canada was a lack of money. Unlike the U.S. (as America's Right Turn documented) we don't have the same access to money. We only have a few think tanks and the wealthy tend not to support conservative groups. Actually, their money is chasing the Liberal Party.

At any rate, in a letter to Adam and Tasha I argued that the biggest problem was really the lack of a grassroots -- a few key leaders among the people who proselytized, did the ground work and threw themselves completely in advancing the conservative cause. The people who served as the hubs of their social and political circle, who motivated others to get involved. Money was certainly important in the nascent modern American conservative movement in the 1950s and 60s but I've always felt that there was a pseudo-spontaneous rise of a new class of conservative activists, ones who proselytized on behalf of the movement without being directly tied to an organization or reliant on funding. We have no similar class in this country and I don't see one arising any time soon.

Sure, we have a bit of one on the web. The folks over at Free Dominion do a great job. The Western Standard promises to carry the banner on newsstands. We have hundreds of hard-core conservatives who email, post and dissect online. These things are valuable but it's the flag waving in the real world that's necessary.

I guess it's almost chicken-egg. Do we need a thriving grassroots community before the money comes, or if the money is there the community will arise. I personally think it's the former but that's just my opinion.  I was going to pitch this story to the wise crew of  the magazine. If they're still interested in my thoughts I could formalize my wool gathering.

Dana attacks it from the third side of the triangle -- policy and the lack of a clear agenda by our conservative political representatives. The problem I have with this -- though I agree with Dana in principle, we certainly do need a clear and effective agenda we can harp on  -- is that it assumes that a top down approach is needed to move the conservative agenda forward. I disagree as I maintain that we need a grassroots commitment -- the base is more important than the elite -- to fight for conservative change. I think a simple agenda is a good start, but it is nowhere near enough to kick start Canadian conservatism.

We have to figure out a way to inspire our potential recruits to serve as those hubs.  Money is nice --  if our think tanks, researchers, writers and activist groups weren't starved of resources the job would be easier. A clear agenda is good for communicating with the public, assuming they really listen in off-election years. The grassroots, however, is the one that lights the fires in the brush.

Cross posted with some modification at ESR's Musings.

Posted by Steve Martinovich on December 19, 2004 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack

The Librano



Open Gate.

Posted by Kate McMillan on December 19, 2004 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Problem With Canadian Conservatism

There has been a long running debate over the last decade trying to explain and resolve the problem with conservatism here in Canada. Greg Staples has been trying to stir the debate. As has Mark Steyn.

As Mark and Greg point out, conservatives in Canada can't come to terms with each other and create an agenda. Preston Manning was able to do this. Deficit reductions are his legacy. He framed the debate and never relented until his goals were met.

Who plays this role in conservative circles today? I like Stephen Harper as a politician but he does not fill this role. I'm not sure if that is because of a choice he has made or otherwise. That is another debate though.

Canadian conservatism needs to define a small set of goals and harp on them constantly until they are met. Canadian conservatism does nothing but complain about... everything. I personally consider myself to be conservative and I'll be the first to admit that we do nothing but complain. Read through the postings here at The Shotgun or any of the other Canadian conservative/libertarian sites and there is nothing but complaining. There is no plan.

Conservative politicians refuse to define the agenda and because of this get clobbered in the press galleries. Conservatives have allowed themselves to be defined as the 'radicals' when it comes to the gay-marriage debate. How is this possible? Radical for preferring the status-quo? This is a failure of Canadian conservatives and no one else.

So what is my solution to all of this? Simple... define 3 or 4 issues that must be addressed based on conservative/libertarian principles. All else is off the table. End of freaking story. And what if the national media doesn't want to discuss these 3 or 4 issues? Then take them to the local media. If you have 80 conservative MPs discussing an issue on their local news broadcasts it won't be long before it becomes a national concern.

So what should these 3 or 4 issues be. Well naturally I've got those too:

1) Lower taxes for the middle class.
2) A parallel private health care system.
3) Regional control over resources.

Why did I pick these? I picked them because I personally feel very strongly about them. But as well, I think these issues can be clearly defined so that they appeal to individual voters.

Go into any coffee shop and discuss these issues with people and you'll see what I mean. Ask them about the tax take on their last paycheck. What do you think their response will be? Huh? Ask Maritimers what they think of the federal governments involvement in the fisheries? Albertans and oil? Prairie folks and their farms? What kind of response will you get?

Ask people what they think knowing that only Canada and Cuba allow a government monopoly over health care. The response? Come on, this is easy.

Conservatives of all stripes, both politicians and average folk, need to force these issues onto the national agenda. Writing letters to newspapers. Politicians giving press conferences. Getting the issues in the local paper.

A non-stop marketing blitz pushed by thousands. Liberals do it. The NDP do it as well.

So why can't conservatives?

Anyways, my choices for top issues are mine alone. The opinions of others may differ. Regardless, key issues must be defined and everyone will have to get behind this clunker and start pushing.

It's either that or we all continue to be stuck here.

Update @ 9:23pm

I was going to leave the post at that but I've decided I have a little project for everyone. That project is to select the three issues that should define the Canadian conservative agenda for the next couple of years. The rules to the game are simple:

1) The issue must not be a guaranteed loser.
2) The issue must not split conservative and libertarian opinion.

Two rules. That's it. NOW GET TO IT!

Update @ 10:04pm

Apparently Greg's post was in response to a big fuss here between Norman Spector and Kathy Straidle. Bob has the roundup here. It's amazing how much a person can miss by being 'off-line' for a few days.

crossposted at canadiancomment

Posted by Dana on December 19, 2004 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack

In this corner...

I must say I am shocked by what is going on here.  This whole debate of "political escapism" has gone to ridiculous extremes and if I contributed to it all with my post then all parties have my apologies. While I agree with Norman Spector that we could be more Canada-centric at the Shotgun this is out of line:

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.

It is frustrating to me that you can be a pro-life NDPer, BQist or Liberal and not catch any slack from the CBC/Star et al, but it absolutely unacceptable to be a pro-life Conservative because that is somehow extreme. It is even more frustrating that descent on the issue is unacceptable to Mr. Spector on the Shotgun. If we can't have intelligent debate on the subject there, where can we?

This slanting of the so-con versus fisc-con debate brings Animal Farm to mind:


And just in case you forget how the book ends:

There was the same hearty cheering as before, and the mugs were emptied to the dregs. But as the animals outside gazed at the scene, it seemed to them that some strange thing was happening. What was it that had altered in the faces of the pigs? Clover's old dim eyes flitted from one face to another. Some of them had five chins, some had four, some had three. But what was it that seemed to be melting and changing? Then, the applause having come to an end, the company took up their cards and continued the game that had been interrupted, and the animals crept silently away.

But they had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. An uproar of voices was coming from the farmhouse. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington had each played an ace of spades simultaneously.

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

This may be an exaggeration of the situation in Canada but that is how satire works. My concern, as with Mark Steyn as I posted before, if the CPC ditches the so-cons and moves sharply to the centre will any of us be able to tell the Conservatives and Liberals apart?

I guess to move this forward, can we answer the question I posed previously? What hills are we prepared to die on?

Cross-posted to PoliticalStaples

Posted by Greg Staples on December 19, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Top Media Scares of 2004

Courtesy of the really most sincerely NOT affiliated-with-America-in-any-way organziation, CanStats.

Posted by Kathy Shaidle on December 19, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Man of the Year

Time magazine chose President George W. Bush as its Man of the Year. What I found interesting (for two reasons) is this line: "An ordinary politician tells swing voters what they want to hear; Bush invited them to vote for him because he refused to. " Reason #1) I am surprised that Time recognized this fact (albeit it fits the paragraph it leads which paints Bush as a paradoxical politician). Reason #2) I am sure there is a lesson for Canadian Conservatives and conservatives (read:  Stephen Harper and certain elements of the The Shotgun) in there somewhere.

Posted by Paul Tuns on December 19, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Connecting The Dots

Charles Johnson connects the dots and finds they lead from Saddam Hussein to who else?

LONDON (AFP) - Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is preparing a legal challenge in the United States to his trial for war crimes, a newspaper reports, citing leaked papers prepared by his defense team.

Clive Stafford Smith, a British human rights lawyer, has prepared a 50-page brief which contains advice to take the case to US courts to ensure he receives a fair trial, the Sunday Times reported after saying it had seen the document.

The action is to ensure that Saddam receives the basic legal rights given to those tried in the United States, such as full access to his defense team and an independent judge and jury, the newspaper said.

It said the leaked brief is entitled "The Iraqi Special Tribunal as Victors' Justice - the Inherent Illegality and Bias of the Whole Process."

George Soros.

Via Powerline

Posted by Kate McMillan on December 19, 2004 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Time's "Blog Of The Year"

From Time (on newstands tomorrow);

The story of how three amateur journalists working in a homegrown online medium challenged a network news legend and won has many, many game-changing angles to it. One of the strangest and most radical is that the key information in "The 61st Minute" came from Power Line's readers, not its ostensible writers. The Power Liners are quick, even eager, to point this out. "What this story shows more than anything is the power of the medium," Hinderaker says. "The world is full of smart people who have information about every imaginable topic, and until the Internet came along, there wasn't any practical way to put it together."

Now there is.

Congratulations to Powerline!

Posted by Kate McMillan on December 19, 2004 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Press Review

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

It’s Sunday before Christmas and the gruel is thin.

Macleans has named Chantal Peticlerc Canadian of the year.

In the UK, the papers can’t resist serving up more on the Blunkett affair.

US papers lead with local stories, except for the New York Times, which leads with the Pentagon seeking to increase its intelligence role.

The Times stuffs Canadian MPs divided on same-sex marriage.

The Los Angeles Times leads with conflict of interest allegations against Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and fronts the Administration looking to cut the Pentagon budget.

The Washington Post fronts the first in a three-part series on murdered pregnant women and goes below the fold with FDA screw-ups and the Airbus-Boeing story.

The Post stuffs Canada ’s anti-terrorism law. Jim Hoagland looks at the upcoming elections in Iraq. David Broder says we’ll see more diplomacy from the US.

The editorial board says George Bush is BS’ing on social security and American students aren’t doing well in math.

By the way, Ontario and Québec students were tested this year, and I haven’t seen the results reported anywhere.

The New York Times’ editorial board says draws lessons for the Administration from Britain ’s limping anti-terrorism law and Bernard Kerik’s downfall. Tom Friedman is onto Iraq.

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board is not thrilled at the prospect of cell-phones on airplanes, and pans George Bush for not speaking out on prisoner abuse.

Dennis Prager reports on Hanukkah at the White House. Michael Kinsley says the future belongs to bloggers.

The Toronto Star editorial board says Dalton McGuinty is re-building trust, and pans mutual funds that have done the opposite.

The Star fronts Libya on the eve of Paul Martin’s visit, Toronto teen homicide and ethnic gambling.

Miro Cernetig reports Québecers are drinking Ontario wine—as does La Presse, in a distinct way. The Gazette fronts the bad news that Québecers must remit taxes to the Government; I’ll bet.

Linda McQuaig is thrilled that the Inuit are challenging the US on global warming. She seems to have forgotten that Bill Clinton indicated that the US would not ratify Kyoto.

Richard Gwyn is pleased that the EU will be talking Turkey.

Aside from flubbing the year when the Turks reached Vienna, Gwyn is behind the curve on Franco-German relations and blows the caveats put on eventual Turkish membership, as readers of this press review will appreciate.

Graham Fraser says the Americans are onto Paul Martin’s missile-defence dithering, and that he's hung Bill Graham out to dry.

Law professor Kent Roach compares Canadian and British anti-terror legislation. Antonia Zerbisias says it’s been the year of the blog, including one where you may very well be reading this press review.

In CanWest land, the Montréal Gazette editorial board nixes shari’a in Québec.

In the Toronto Sun, Bob MacDonald says the public wants tougher laws. Eric Margolis blames the British and Yanks for Saddam Hussein’s atrocities.

Peter Worthington wonders what Paul Martin will be doing in Libya .

From Ottawa, Doug Fisher sees tough sledding ahead for Paul Martin. Greg Weston serves up gift ideas for politicians.

In Edmonton, Kerry Diotte says Ralph is an embarrassment. In Calgary, Rick Bell reports on his chinwag with the Premier.

Ted Byfield rounds on Reg Stackhouse for his op-ed in the Globe supporting same-sex marriage. Paul Jackson says Stephen Harper is turning pink.

Posted by Norman Spector on December 19, 2004 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack