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Saturday, June 18, 2005

"Why Not Use A Tractor?" and other neat archival Canadian films

Yesterday's  Vancouver Sun has an interesting story on a new Library and Archives Canada project. Their Virtual Silver Screen website allows internet browsers to watch 25 silent Canadian film shorts, dating from 1903 to 1940, online.   

The archivists thought that these films (which include footage of Canadian troops at Vimy Ridge, a film on Ontario farming made in 1917, and a 1918 travelogue about Banff and Lake Louise) might be interesting to a wide audience. The story notes that they hope to put more films online as resources become available.

The website is here:


Posted by Rick Hiebert on June 18, 2005 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why does this only show up on a blog

At As I Please, Lorne Gunter notes, unlike any of his colleagues, this particular under-reported political phenomenon: "... all parties but the Conservatives voted to keep funding the gun registry, by a margin of 198 to 101. Yet no one in the press corps sniggered about a 'three-way' with the separatists."

Posted by Paul Tuns on June 18, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

"OK, so I shot 49 strokes in a nine hole round. I must explain that I had lost 4 balls in the muskeg...."

I'm wondering whether the Nunavut golfer behind the Tundra Golf weblog is being serious...

...but you may find it interesting to read any way.

(it's at http://crookedhole.blogspot.com/2005/06/49.html )

Posted by Rick Hiebert on June 18, 2005 in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

On Amnesty International

Jay Nordlinger wrote in his Impromptus column about Amnesty International and their comparisons of Gitmo to the Gulag, and liberal reaction to American conservatives who criticize that comparison but cite AI on Iran, China or Sudan (for examples). As Nordlinger relates, Rush Limbaugh answered this criticism by asking a caller why liberals cite approvingly the Gitmo-Gulag comparison but ignore AI's criticism of Iran, China and Sudan. (Actually, Rush used the example of pre-liberation Iraq.) Nordlinger comments:

"I’m still a little uneasy about citing Amnesty, ever, simply because of its political nonsense. It seems to want credit for 'evenhandedness,' and this means grouping the United States with genuine human-rights violators. It’s far wiser to rely on Freedom House, which actually knows the difference between Guantanamo Bay and the Gulag."

I agree, but with one caveat: quoting AI goes farther with both liberals and those are not self-conciously political. I think one of the great things that AI and Human Rights Watch both do is provide facts for conservatives that liberals have difficulty ignoring or debunking. While there is great, usually better studies at Freedom House and, often, the U.S. State Department, the Left and mushy middle will not acknowledge them as authorities. I dislike giving credence to organizations such as AI and HRW, but I'd rather use them to win an argument over human rights with some Red China-defending Lefty or average Joe skeptical of the wisdom of overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

(Cross-posted at Sobering Thoughts)

Posted by Paul Tuns on June 18, 2005 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Friday, June 17, 2005

Don't mess with Dianne Mitchell


I love every part of this story; I love the picture, I love the pep, I love this quote:

"I grabbed his legs and wouldn't let him go. I pulled him back. He wasn't going to get up out of here and tell everyone he robbed us. When he came in here, he knocked down a beehive and sent the bees flying all over."

And I feel sad, thinking: I don't know if we've got that kind of self-reliance, that kind of confidence, that strong idea of right and wrong, and the importance of doing something about it, left in our civic culture in Canada.

Posted by Ezra Levant on June 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

7 Things You Can't Say In Canada

Courtesy of Alder Nation comes the aforementioned article by Margaret Wente in Reader's Digest.

  1. Margaret Atwood writes some really awful books.
  2. Recycling is a waste of time and money.
  3. Only private enterprise can save public health care.
  4. David Suzuki is bad for the environment.
  5. A national daycare program won’t do a thing to help poor kids.
  6. Group of Seven artists are overexposed genre painters.
  7. The United States is the greatest force for good the world has ever known.

I disqualify myself from No. 1 and 6 'cause I am no artiste - I have never read an Atwood novel and can only name one of the Group of Seven and that is because he died in a canoe. I confess as well that I have never said No. 2, but I could do without it. No's 3, 4, 5 and 7? I am all over those ones. That is what is so great about blogging - it's not exactly polite company and I can say whatever I please. Caveat Videtor.

Cross-Posted to PoliticalStaples

Posted by Greg Staples on June 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (34) | TrackBack

Hey, Ho! Shapiro must go!

That's the chorus rising from the opposition benches, as the NDP leads the charge, with the Conservatives close behind, to have Ethics Commissioner Bernard Shapiro removed from his post on charges of being "a wet noodle".

Posted by Steve Janke on June 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Taking the fun out of bribery

Ontario MP Helena Guergis has a neat idea that might make any would-be Betraying Belindas think twice in the future:

Guergis Wants By-election When MP Changes Party

Ottawa – To protect the best interests and intentions of constituents, a by-election should be held soon after a Member of Parliament crosses the floor to join another party, says Simcoe-Grey MP Helena  Guergis.

Today in the House of Commons, Guergis and co-sponsor Joe Preston, MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London, tabled a Private Members Bill that if passed, would result in a by-election being called 35 days after an MP has switched parties.

“This Bill is about making politicians accountable to their constituents,” said Guergis.
“If an MP switches sides of the House mid-term, the constituents of that riding should have the opportunity to express their opinion.”

The Bill would require an MP to sit as an independent for 35 days after leaving the political party to which that member belonged when elected to the House of Commons. After that time the seat shall be vacated and a by-election called with the vacating member able to run under the name of a different party or as an independent.

This would make it more risky for MPs taking bribes to switch parties since, as we saw last election, most floorcrossers end up being defeated once constituents get the opportunity to punish them for their betrayal. The idea makes a lot of sense. Which of course means it'll never pass.

Posted by Kevin Libin on June 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack

One more reason to dump on Morgentaler and the UWO

You want another reason to dump on Morgentaler and the UWO?  How about this?

His speech was awful!

Compare it to what the kids graduating from the University of Southern California were treated to and you'll see why.

Posted by Steve Janke on June 17, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Hanson On China

But the real question is how both China and India, nuclear and arming, will translate their newfound economic clout and cash into a geopolitical role. If internal politics and protocols are any barometer of foreign policy, it should be an interesting show. We mostly welcome the new India - nuclear, law-abiding, and English-speaking - onto the world stage. It deserves a permanent seat on the Security Council and a close alliance with the United States.

China, however, is a very different story - a soon-to-be grasping Soviet Union-like superpower without any pretense of Marxist egalitarianism. Despite massive cash reserves and ongoing trade surpluses, it violates almost every international commercial protocol from copyright law to patents. It won't discuss Tibet, and it uses staged domestic unrest to send warnings to Taiwan and Japan that their regional options will increasingly be limited by Beijing.

China could rein in Kim Jong Il tomorrow. But it derives psychological satisfaction from watching Pyongyang's nuclear roguery stymie Japan and the United States. China's foreign policy in the Middle East, Central and South America, and Southeast Asia is governed by realpolitik of the 19th-century American stripe, without much concern for the type of government or the very means necessary to supply its insatiable hunger for resources. The government that killed 50 million of its own has not really been repudiated and its present successor follows the same old practice of jailing dissidents and stamping out freedom. When and how its hyper-capitalist economy will mandate the end of a Communist directorate is not known.

The world has been recently flooded with media accounts that U.S. soldiers may have dropped or at least gotten wet a few Korans. Guantanamo, we are told, is like the Soviet gulag - the death camp of millions. Americans are routinely pilloried abroad because they liberated Iraq, poured billions into the reconstruction, and jumpstarted democracy there - but were unable to do so without force and the loss of civilian life.

This hysteria that the world's hyper-power must be perfect or it is no good is in dire contrast to the treatment given to China. Yet Pavlovian anti-Americanism may soon begin to die down as the Chinese increasingly flex their muscles on the global stage and the world learns better their methods of operation.

So far they have been given a pass on three grounds: the old Third World romance accorded to Mao's Marxist legacy; the Chinese role as a counterweight to the envied power of the United States; and the silent admission that the Chinese, unlike the Americans, are a little crazy and thus unpredictable in their response to moral lecturing. Americans apologize and scurry about when an EU or U.N. official remonstrates; in contrast, a Chinese functionary is apt to talk about sending off a missile or two if they don't shut up.


Posted by Kate McMillan on June 17, 2005 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Meanwhile, on page A36

Turns out that Richard Evans' comment that the Gurmant Grewal airport incident was a non-story, was right after all.

But, as the Liberals that fed the talking points to the MSM on this story well know, there's no such thing as unassassinating someone's character.

Posted by Kevin Libin on June 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Retire A Refugee!

Via Frost Hits The Rhubarb

"I also found it interesting that the federal government provides a single refugee with a monthly allowance of $1,890 and each can also get an additional $580 in social assistance for a total of $2,470. This compares "very well" to a single pensioner who after contributing to the growth and development of Canada for 40 years can only receive a monthly maximum of $1,012 in old age pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement. "

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Andrew Scheer interview online

Check out the interview (in two parts) of MP Andrew Scheer. Kudos to Stephen Taylor. His access to the Conservative Party is something we all appreciate.

Part 1
Part 2

Posted by Steve Janke on June 17, 2005 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Knock me over with a feather, but they're not blaming Harper!

It seems that Stephen Harper gets blamed for everything that the left wing in this country doesn't like.  Yet in a situation in which Harper is on record as taking full credit for messing up their plans by delaying bill C-38, they're blaming Paul Martin instead.

Will the wonders never cease?

Posted by Steve Janke on June 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A dumb and hurtful decision by the UWO

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of abortion, you can't deny that the decision by the University of Western Ontario to confer a degree on Dr. Morgentaler ended up tainting, if not ruining, this most special day for graduates and their families.  That this should have been entirely predictable and thus completely avoidable makes it even worse.

Shame on the UWO for crass insensitivity.  Hard working students deserve better than to have their moment in the spotlight overshadowed by Morgentaler and his preening fans in the UWO leadership.

Posted by Steve Janke on June 17, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Muslim Sensitivity

Bono gets a lesson in sensitivity.

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Angry . . . but not at us

A belated welcome aboard to Angry in the Great White North, the newest member 0f the Shotgun family.

Be sure to catch the insightful commentary at Angry's own blog—guaranteed to get even the most placid reader at least a little bit worked up—as well as here at the Western Standard.

Happy to have you here, Angry.

Posted by Kevin Libin on June 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Morgentaler's better society

Today, upon receiving his honourary doctorate at the University of Western Ontario, abortionist Henry Morgentaler said that he personally has made Canada safer and more caring. (Except, of course, for those still in the womb.)  In its essence, his theory is that if unwanted children are not aborted they would be mistreated by their parent(s) and consequently would be more likely to commit crimes. Put aside (if you can) the morality of pre-emptive capital punishment, this theory, at least in the American context, has been debunked by Steve Sailer. And even if crime statistics were not so easily manipulated, as Sailer demonstrates, correlation is not causation.

Posted by Paul Tuns on June 16, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

Delay On C 38: Liberal Initiated

I've had two private emails now that indicate that the media chatter about the Conservatives trying to orchestrate a delay for the passage of the SSM bill C 38 in exchange for supporting the NDP-Buzz Hargrove budget Bill C 48 is in fact, wrong.
Not just a little wrong. Backwards, upside-down wrong.

In fact, after the (34 in total?) Liberal MP's met with Martin on Monday to implore him to postpone the vote on the C-38, the Liberals approached the Conservatives and asked to negotiate (as any minority government should?). The Liberals proposed that if the Conservatives would agree to push through the vote on the Liberal-NDP Budget Bill (C-48) without further debate - even though the Conservatives would vote against this C-48 (as will the Bloc), the Liberals in turn would ensure that the Bill C-38 (redefining the traditional definition of marriage) is put off until more debate and consideration over the summer (...re: protection of institutions that would elect not to perform same-sex marriages, etc.).  The Conservatives were considering this negotiation in good faith - then the Liberals leaked it to the media yesterday.

How many times do they need to be screwed over before the Conservatives stop negotiating with Paul Martin?

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 16, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

"Oh yeah? Well...well...you're fat!" -- Prime Minister of Canada, 2005

Sometimes what passes for debate is this country surprises me by plumbing new depths of crappitude.

Posted by Steve Janke on June 16, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Animal Rescue

PETA style...

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 16, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Annie McNixon: "Now, More Than Ever"

Credit: Bourque

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 16, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack


Some amazing things turn up on the net....


Via Shaken, who has more, as does this item further explaining the significance of Sidewinder.

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 16, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wouldn't Be The First Time

Is Reuters paying al-Qaeda photographers for propaganda photos?

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 16, 2005 in Media | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Librano Position On Chinese Espionage: "It's A Free Country"

Breaking from continuing coverage of Stephen Harper is scary and needs to be replaced by a proper Liberal!! we take you to this item courtesy of China e-Lobby (See the original post for active links);

Canada is beginning to recognize the depth of Communist China's espionage in the Great White North. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) mostly rehashed the accounts of Chen Yonglin and Hao Fengjun regarding Communist overseas spy networks, but added that Hao "says Canada has more spies operating in it than any other country." Jillian Ye, a resident of Scarborough, Ontario, certainly believes that, after seeing one of the documents Hao smuggled out with him "detailed Ye's plans to start a communications company" (Epoch Times). No fewer than four members of the opposition Conservative Party, including foreign affairs critic Stockwell Day, deputy leader Peter MacKay (Hansard) Jason Kenney (Hansard) and Helena Guergis (Hansard), pressed the governing Liberals on this issue in Parliament. Meanwhile, the editors of the British Columbian Asian-Pacific Post demanded to know why the Canadian firm Nortel is helping the cadres' crackdown on cyberdissidents.

From Hansard (via Newsbeat 1)
Mr. Stockwell Day (Okanagan--Coquihalla, CPC): Mr. Speaker, a few months ago, when we raised the possibility of Chinese espionage in Canada, the government did not seem concerned in the least. Now a second Chinese defector is claiming that there is an operational network on Canadian soil.

Has the government called on Chinese officials here in Canada to get a full explanation, yes or no?

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are always in touch with Chinese officials in the capital. We discuss a number of issues relating to the respect for human rights and the right of Canadian citizens to express themselves in the way they want. This is a free country. We will always insist that people are free to do so in this country. This is what we have been expressing to the Chinese officials. [emphasis mine]

Mr. Stockwell Day (Okanagan--Coquihalla, CPC): There was no answer there, Mr. Speaker.

Well, actually - yes, there was. You just have to listen more closely, Stock.

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 16, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Free Taiwan

Here's something that has received very little attention but could be quite important:

Lawmakers will soon vote on a private member's bill that, if passed, could have serious ramifications for Canadian relations with China.

Introduced by Conservative MP Jim Abbott in April, the so-called Taiwan Affairs Act would upgrade Canada's relations with Taiwan.

The bill also opposes China's use of military force or economic sanctions against Taiwan. That policy would directly contradict Beijing, which earlier this year passed a law specifically authorizing the use of force to stop Taiwan from pursuing formal independence.

Although it stops short of calling Taiwan a state, the bill calls for improved economic, cultural, scientific and legal ties. It would also open the door to Taiwan officials to once again start visiting Canada.

The article speculates that because of support from the  Bloc and some Liberals, the bill could actually pass. Jim Abbott should be lauded for bringing this forward. Nice to see some people -- although very few -- are willing to stand up to the Chinese reds.

(Via Ben Sharma)


Posted by Adam Daifallah on June 16, 2005 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Gomery Taking Martin To Court

National Post

Gomery is annoyed that the Martin government had a secret exchange of letters with Chretien's lawyers acknowledging that even as the former prime minister dropped his court case alleging Gomery's bias against him, he could make the same accusations later after the release of the judge's findings.

Gomery didn't know about the letter. He read about it in the papers. And he's furious. The Martin government professes to support him, but it looks as if it was undermining him.

The May 30 letter was signed by federal government lawyer Brian Saunders, but as far as the Gomery Commission is concerned, it was approved by the Clerk of the Privy Council, Alex Himelfarb. Mere government lawyers, acting on their own, don't make deals on behalf of one prime minister with another.

By coincidence, or not, May 30 was the same day Chretien's lawyers withdrew his case, removing a very inconvenient obstacle from the Martin government's path to political recovery.

"Secret deal between Martin and Chretien" went the banner headline in La Presse on Monday, as it broke the story that has dominated Question Period all week. "The newspaper added a telling overline: "Ex Prime Minister has the green light to re-attack Judge Gomery's credibility."

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 16, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Moral Equivalency In Pictures

Markos Moulitsas 'Kos' Zunigas;

"The torture that was so bad under Saddam, is equally bad under U.S. command. And Dick Durbin had the balls to say it so on the Senate floor."


Posted by Kate McMillan on June 16, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Morgentaler and Canada' 'tolerance'

Regardless of what one thinks about the University of Western Ontario’s awarding of an honorary degree to abortionist Henry Morgentaler, any clear-thinking person should experience a degree of nausea upon learning what UWO vice-president Greg Moran said about the abortionist. Here’s how the Globe is reporting this morning’s big event:

University vice-president Greg Moran, introducing Dr. Morgentaler, reminded those in the audience that debate is a key element in a liberal education and important to the formation of a strong society.

"Canada is quickly becoming one of the world's most diverse and pluralistic countries, with disparate, sometimes conflicting, traditions associated with many ethnic, religious and political practices," he said.

"If we are to sustain and evolve a humane, caring and tolerant society within such diversity, we will rely on open, courageous, respectful and civil debate. We could ask for no better example of the practice and success of such methods."

Moran’s statement suggests that he believes Morgentaler’s courage, respectful manner and civil debating style led to the "success" of pro-choice movement, which is proof the country can "evolve" into a humane, caring and tolerant society. Give me a break. The abortion wars of the 1980s were harsh and divisive, and the wounds are still raw today. Despite what Jean Chretien said, there is no "social peace" on abortion.

What’s also galling is the fact that, in the name of "choice," tolerance for the pro-life point of view is disappearing. Protesters from one end of the country to the other are severely restricted by bubble-zone laws and injunctions. The mainstream media ignore their big rallies. And I’ve even heard pro-choicers argue that anti-abortionists are, by definition, anti-female, and, therefore, should be subject to human-rights prosecutions on the grounds they discriminate against women.

So much for Canada’s evolution into a tolerant society.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 16, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBack

Tapes to be released soon, I'm sure

Apparently, no offer was made:

Belinda Stronach was handed a plum cabinet job only after deciding to join the Liberals, says a spokesman for the prime minister.

Scott Reid, Paul Martin's director of communications, says negotiations over Stronach's responsibilities in a Liberal government weren't launched until she had made up her mind to leave the Conservatives.

But Reid said former Ontario premier David Peterson didn't have to exert too much pressure on Martin to secure a cabinet post.

"In Belinda Stronach's case, her talents are exceptional and obvious," Reid said of the millionaire auto-parts heiress.

This is a remarkable piece of news. I'm sure Scott Reid will be releasing tapes, pristine and unaltered, of the conversations with Belinda Stronach to back these statements up.

Posted by Steve Janke on June 16, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Hell has frozen over

I almost did a spit take with my coffee this morning when listening to CBC Radio's 8 a.m. major news. The cause of my surprise was the fact that the major source, in an item by Mike Hornbrook about the CRTC, was none other than Mr. Free Market, Mr. Deregulation himself, the Post's Terence Corcoran. And, no, Hornbrook did not use Corcoran as a foil; rather, he centred his story around Corcoran's critical analysis of the CRTC.

Too bad Hornbrook didn't ask Corcoran about his views on the CBC's coverage of global warming.


Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 16, 2005 in Media | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Gun Registry Audit: What the media forgot to mention

There is a report today about an "audit" released to a Conservative MP through Access to Information that shows the Gun Registry spiraling out of control.

Been there, done that, right?

Well, this story has an interesting twist that the media has not mentioned.  The firm that prepared this "audit" or "financial report" (both terms are used) is actually a "reputation management" firm.

They're spin doctors.

And even they couldn't spin the registry into something that didn't stink.  Instead, they did their job by listing all the ways that the registry could blow up in the government's face.  These "areas of concern" were blacked out in the report released to the MP, so we still don't know what they are.

Looks like the Liberals were shopping around for someone to tell them good news, but when they didn't hear it, they buried it.

Check out the full story at Angry in the Great White North.

By the way, Anne McLellan says everything is fine.

Posted by Steve Janke on June 16, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

When is a justice minister not a justice minister?

When the justice minister stops being invited to meetings concerning justice ministry bills, that's when.

And when the justice minister's opinion on justice issues is no longer welcome, you have to wonder why he's even the justice minister any more.

Posted by Steve Janke on June 16, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem now sees Canada

Angry in the Great White North has been the site of a home grown ranking of Canadian blogs driven by data extracted from the Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem.  Well, all this time, he's been keeping a secret -- in creating the Canadian rankings, he discovered that the Ecosystem was undergoing a major evolutionary change, including the ability to create subordinate ecosystems.  The price of keeping this under wraps was to be allowed to create and administer the Canadian ecosystem.

Go read the full announcement, and if you are a Canadian blogger, get yourself listed right away.

Posted by Steve Janke on June 16, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Monte Solberg Interview

Monte Solberg, MP for Medicine Hat, and a blogger himself, was interviewed by fellow blogger Stephen Taylor.  That wide-ranging conversation is available in three parts plus a bonus as pod casts.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Posted by Steve Janke on June 15, 2005 in Canadian Conservative Politics, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

A View From Iraq

Austin Bay* is back in Bahgdad.

Of course, Omar has been there all along;

Ten days ago I was contacted by someone called Sarah Brown from the BBC; she had explained to me their team's desire to interview me via phone and e mail as part of a program they were producing. The program was named "One Day in Iraq" which I thought would really represent a day in Iraq.

So, after several e mails were exchanged to confirm a date and time for the interview, they asked me to do another interview for a side program about Iraqi blogs.

On the 7th of June I received a phone call from them and we started doing the interview. The line was bad so we had to try several times before we were able to get a good line.

I was asked about what was my day like and I told them the story of that day from the time I woke up at 7am till the moment I picked up the phone. As a matter of fact, my day wasn't a special one; I took the bus to central Baghdad then changed buses to get to the clinic where I work at in a southern suburb of Baghdad then after doing the usual daily work at the clinic I went with 2 of my friends and Mohammed to have drinks and lunch in one of our favorite restaurants.

The BBC chose not to use their interview with Omar for their feature item titled"One Day in Iraq", in favour of an Iraqi blogger who they interviewed in the US.

*Via Instapundit

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 15, 2005 in Military | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

While The Media Directs Our Attention To Harper's "BBQ Circuit"

The Libranos are busy behind the scenes ridding themselves of pesky Information CommissionerJohn Reid to ensure that unfortunate events like the uncovering of Adscam are never repeated. Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Regina--Lumsden--Lake Centre, CPC) - June 14, 2005;

We on the access to information committee recognize that. When I say "we", I mean all opposition members on the committee voted in favour of extending the appointment of Mr. Reid for another year. The only members of the committee who opposed the motion to extend Mr. Reid's appointment were the members of the Liberal Party of Canada.

It is fascinating to me, when a former Liberal cabinet minister, someone who served for six consecutive elections and for close to 20 years in this place with great distinction, that members of his own party would be the only ones on the access to information committee to oppose his extension for one year.

We all have to ask ourselves why the Liberal members of the committee oppose such an extension. It cannot be because of his qualifications. He has served this Parliament well for seven years. It cannot be because of lack of experience. He probably has more experience as a parliamentary officer than anyone else. In addition, he has extensive experience in the field of access to information. His lack of experience just does not hold true. It has to be something else.

The only thing I can think of is that Mr. Reid has categorically stated that what he would like to see in new access to information legislation would be the increased level of information that would be available to all Canadians upon request.

Mr. Reid has stated that if his vision of a new act comes into being, we could probably safely say that incidents, such as the sponsorship scandal, would not have happened in the first place. Individuals, whether they be members of this place, members of the media or individual Canadians, would have the ability to receive information from government departments that would have triggered the fact that the sponsorship scandal was in full bloom.

Via Newsbeat 1, where there's a lengthier exerpt and link to Hansard.

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 15, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

My Lloyd, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

First Coyne is sued by Tim Murphy, now the Libranos are targeting David Frum;

By that definition, Canadian politics these days might seem very comical indeed. But I am counting on Americans to be less callous than the mordant Brooks--and to recognize that the events now occurring in Canada are serious, even sinister. There is though one warning I'd better immediately deliver to readers: Along with at least four other public commentators, I have recently been served with libel papers by a leading figure in this story. Because National Review is distributed in Canada, and therefore can potentially be reached by Canada's more restrictive libel law, I have to be a little circumspect in what I say here.

In any sane democratic country, a slap suit against an opinion columnist by a government operative would provoke outrage and non-stop editorials in the mainstream press. The item would be leading the newscasts, with punditry convening soberly on our TV screens. Reporter scrums would pepper government leaders to explain their actions in curtailling that most hallowed (in their eyes) of all freedoms - freedom of the press.

But of course, this is Canada - a nation of "natural governing" one-party rule in which a "living" constitution permits such limits on speech as are consistant with a Liberal Kleptocracy.

So, as the Liberals draft laws that push more and more areas of government operation outside the reach of Freedom of Information requests, weaken protections for whistleblowers, when they brazenly refuse to acknowledge the defeat of their government in non-confidence motions and ignore the Auditor Generals concerns about billions of tax dollars being funneled into unaccountable foundations - the Lloyd Robertsons and Peter Mansbridges busy themselves studiously studying Stephen Harper's facial expressions and providing Canadians "Better News Through Polling" .

They remain virtually silent on the assaults on members of their own profession - silent, because for the most part, the majority of mainstream media in Canada functions as nothing short of a communications arm of the Liberal Party. In other words, they see themselves as nothing less than an unelected arm of government.

So, when the most compelling critics of the Liberal Party they hold dear face libel actions for doing no less than speaking the truth, the majority of Canadian political punditry breathe a collective grunt of approval, and commission another poll to create new opinions to feed back to the electorate who ensure they stay near the top of all the right invitation lists.

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 15, 2005 in Media | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack


For those of you unfamiliar with Lileks, you're in for a treat;

"Teachers, students, school boards and schools all over the USA received this open letter. Please help spread the word. Flag Day (6-14) is a good day to remove the flag from schools."

Goes without saying. And let's burn some forests on Arbor Day, too. And what better day to commit suicide than your birthday.

All that and the disquieting introduction of puppet shows as an instrument of Rumsfeldian Torture in Bush's Gulag, too.

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 15, 2005 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

100% Customer Satisfaction

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, an abortion-rights advocate, vetoed the measure, saying medical professionals - not legislators - should set standards. "

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 15, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Concede: It's a Gulag

While I previously thought that the facility for holding terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba was not worthy of all the fuss the left was making, including Amnestry International comparing it to the Soviet gulags, I have to admit I have changed my tune.

I do not believe that having an attractive female interrogate suspects is torture (they should count themselves lucky!), and as we know, the hoopla about the Koran was just creative newsmaking on the part of Newsweek.

But this is unforgivable, and I feel that the UN should probably send a detachment in to put a stop to it:

An extract of the document published by Time Magazine says the prisoner, Mohammad al-Kahtani, is a Saudi citizen whom many US investigators believe was the missing "20th hijacker" of 9/11.

On other occasions, water was poured on his head and Cristina Aguilera music blasted to keep him awake in midnight sessions.

I also think that while they're at it, they should probably do something about MTV. We're not all criminals, and we shouldn't be subjected to such torture. No one deserves that kind of punishment.

Posted by RightGirl on June 15, 2005 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The dangers of patronage

Franco Pillarella was Canada's ambassador to Syria for three years. You'd figure he'd, you know, have a bit of a feel for the place. Read up a bit on some of the issues of the day, that sort of thing.

You'd figure. But when Pillarella was asked today at the Maher Arar inquiry about why he'd believe the word of a Syrian general over that of a Canadian citizen who claimed he had been tortured, Pillarella said it was because he could never imagine Syria would engage in such practices.

He also claimed that as far as he knew, Syria has no record of human rights violations. Not had but has—as in, he still believes this to be the case.

Guess he's fallen a bit behind on his reading.

Posted by Kevin Libin on June 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Sudan sets up war crime court

Voice of America reports that one week after the ICC announced that it would investigate war crimes in Darfur, Khartoum has created a new court this week to try suspects accused of committing war crimes in Darfur. Rabia Abdel Attie of the Sudan News Agency told VOA that the Nyala, Darfur-based court would hear more than 100 cases: "It is from the jurisdiction and the authority of the government, and according to Sudan laws, to investigate any crimes committed against citizens ... This is the responsibility of Sudan government." Of course it was the responsibility of the Sudanese government to not aid and abet genocide in both the south and Darfur over the past couple of years. Khartoum setting up war crimes courts for Darfur is a lot like O.J. Simpson looking for Ron and Nicole's murderer.

Posted by Paul Tuns on June 14, 2005 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

PST (Pesky Sales Tax)

Pulse 24, a Toronto news channel, reported yesterday on the complicated nature of the PST (provincial sales tax):

"If you have a guy repair your washing machine, it's taxable because it's free standing. But if the same man comes to fix an installed dishwasher that's part of your counter, it's not.

Magazines or newspapers purchased through a subscription avoids the tax. Buy the exact same publication at your local newsstand, and they'll ding you for the extra cash.

You don't have to pay the tax to go to a show if the admission is under $4, or it's 90 percent Canadian talent and there are more than 1,300 seats in the area. Otherwise you do.

You can get your dry cleaning with no tax, but have them hem the garment and you've altered it, making it taxable."

Only the bureaucrats who determined that  tailoring services are taxable but that dry cleaning is not could decide that prepared food for less than $4, boarding services for pets, children's clothes, shoes under $30, candy under 21 cents, accomodations under one month, feminine hygiene products, car washes and carpet cleaning are not subject to the PST.

That's not complicated, its capricious. And while some serve obvious public policy goals -- food is generally not PSTable, but snacks and candies are or various goods for the disabled -- there are many that do not. An enterprising journalist might look at the industries that contributed heavily to the party in power when specific rules were written to see if there is any correlation.

Posted by Paul Tuns on June 14, 2005 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Kofi Annan And The Smoking Memo

Uh oh.

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fort Whoop Up Reopening

One would think that with all the newly announced billions and billions of funding for the RCMP and other security enhancements from the Libranos, that there might be an actual strengthening of policing in border areas of the western prairies - where it is possible to cross virtually anywhere by virtue of miles of unfenced fields, unarmed customs agents and a sparse rural population.

Today a letter has been leaked that the Calvert NDP (no doubt smarting from the electoral smackdown the rural region delivered in the last election) have approved RCMP detachment closures in Climax, Eastend and eventually, other small rural towns and RM's in the Southwest and elsewhere. Buildings and offices will be closed and personnel will be redeployed and transferred elsewhere. (info via Rawlco radio)

The history that began with the NorthWest Mounted Police has come full circle. So, if you're thinking of smuggling arms and other prohibited whatnot into Canada, the historic route to Fort Whoop Up has just been re-opened.

Liveblogging : Frank Quennell, Sask Justice Minister is now being interviewed - the reason for the closures is due to the primary concern of the RCMP for officer safety and unavailability of backup in one-person detachments in rural Saskatchewan. See the earlier comment about the disconnect between announced funding and staffing levels.

That's reassuring for the people who live there, I'm sure.

He finally admits that his office gave approval to the RCMP request without any advance notice or discussion with any of the communities impacted. In other words, Saskatchewan Justice was planning to let the RCMP break the news locally.

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Taxation With Representation

This Calgary Herald editorial
argues that gay activists have "tipped their hand";

One might suppose gay marriage extremists would wait for the Liberals' contentious same-sex legislation to pass before uttering triumphalist comments about the next round in their battle with the churches.

Apparently, some can't, and Toronto gay rights activist Kevin Bourassa has confirmed the suspicions of religious opponents to same-sex marriage. A partner in one of Canada's first same-sex wedding ceremonies, he said churches opposing same-sex marriage -- while free to be "promoting bigotry" -- should lose their tax exemption.

"If you're at the public trough, if you are collecting taxpayers' money, you should be following taxpayers' laws."

It is curious to think of tax exemption as a gift from taxpayers. In any case, churches have been equal opportunity promoters of bigotry against adulterers, thieves and bearers of false witness for thousands of years. Why should the gays complain?

The editorial also notes something that didn't get much mention in our oh-so-sophisticated media last week - that Paul Martin is again making promises he's not empowered to keep.
Prime Minister Paul Martin last week promised dissident Liberal MPs increased religious protections in Bill C- 38.

But, he promises what he cannot deliver. No politician can control how courts or commissions will rule in the future. Gay advocates are well aware of that. That's what enables Bourassa to boldly articulate what amounts to an anti-church strategy, without even the reasonable caution of waiting for Martin's bill to pass.

I suspect that activists like Bourassa are making a tactical error when working to remove tax-exempt status from churches. Although they proceed under a theory that such a change would result in weakening church finances, and by extension, religious opposition to their agenda - in practice, a tax-exempt church is a politically hobbled church.

There's a saying about being careful what one wishes for.

Removing tax exempt status would untether organized religions to fully engage in the political process - and in so doing, the ability of churches to raise money to fund their new, more powerful position in the public policy debate would expand exponentially.

In today's current political climate, it could be the best thing that ever happened to them.

Posted by Kate McMillan on June 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Thinking outside the box

Today’s National Post story, about Finance Minister Ralph Goodale’s alarm over Canada’s lagging productivity (page A5), gives me a good reason to put on the record an idea that my 18-year-old son, David, came up with the other day.

The young man--who, to give you an idea of his late-night entertainment habits, is currently listening to 30-hour audio lecture series on the history of the Roman Empire—wondered why provincial representation in the Canadian Senate couldn’t be linked a province’s share of the national GNP. If a province accounts for 20 percent of the country’s GNP, then it gets 20 percent of the seats. The share could be re-balanced every five years or so.

Senate representation is such a mess now, he reasoned, that something has to be done. Making it into a rep-by-pop house would be redundant, and the provincial-equality thing (10 seats for PEI, 10 for Ontario) will never fly. Why not, therefore, link it to something that is essential to national well-being, the GNP.

Not only would such a system reward provinces that are economic dynamos, by giving them more say over the affairs of the nation, but it would also encourage chronic under-achievers to start pulling their weight.

The system would have the added benefit of rewarding "have" provinces that, through the country’s vaunted "equalization" system, are forced to subsidize the "have-nots."

My son realizes the idea is rough in the extreme, but it’s something he thinks is worth discussing. So, here it is: an outside-the-box idea from a member in good standing of the generation which will inherit this (fill in your own adjective here) country of ours. He’d be interested in knowing what other people think of it.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 14, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Q: Why so little Iraq news lately?

A: Because it's been good news.

Posted by Ezra Levant on June 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (38) | TrackBack

The Dance Continues

The ladies of the Cotillion have delivered up this week's dish, piping hot and full of opinions. I am co-hosting over at Girl on the Right, along with Darleen's Place, and Who Tend's the Fires.

Stop by. I'll save a dance for you.

Posted by RightGirl on June 14, 2005 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack