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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bombs away!

Shotgun readers may be pleased to learn that that anti-Bush mockumentary Death of a President will probably be a flop.

What do I base that on? The fact that when I went to go see it on Saturday evening in Vancouver, on the second day of release, there were only 47 people in the theatre. (I counted.) When said theatre seats over 600 people, I think that the film will be pulled quickly.

The film is wrongheaded on so many levels.

(Warning...possible spoilers in continuation of post)

The film makers have tried to make the point that they are trying to make some serious points about American politics. That said, the structure of the film, with its dramatization of the sitting of the current U.S. president, leads me to think that the filmmakers were sympathizing with their character who says in the film that President Bush deserves to die as a war criminal. Or that they are trying to save on advertising by creating a needless controversy that draws people to the theatres.

I'll put on my "left-wing filmmaker hat" for a moment. It's said that the 2008 Presidential  elections will be the most wide-open in years. Had I been a Michael Moore type, I would have set the film in 2010 and made the fictional sitting President who gets shot an anti-war Democrat who is replaced, after he dies, by a fictional Vice-President who intensifies the Middle East conflict. That way, I would concentrate on the Very Important Liberal Points to be made about the militarization of the U.S. and such, and thus avoid having people think that I just want to daydream about a President that I hate being blown away.

Death of A President already uses computer manipulated news footage. Why not spend a bit more money and insert two fictional politicians into the footage, and thereby deflect criticism that the film is just anti-Bush?   

(I also found it hard to believe that the convicted suspect in the film could attend an al-Quaeda traing camp in Afghanistan, and treat it afterwards like a visit to a glorified summer  camp. ("Hello Muddah. Hello Faddah. Here I am at...Camp Al-Quaeda!")) 

Posted by Rick Hiebert on October 31, 2006 in Film | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Shameless Self-Promotion

My latest, at the Star. I've been getting a number of messages, claiming that I said, in this story, that Saddam was behind 9-11. I said no such thing. What I wrote/said, was that I believe Iraq to be part of the broader War on Terror, and because of that -- and for other reasons -- I don't want to see it abandoned.

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on October 31, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Duncan Hunter for President

Earlier this year, I did a weeklong review of possible 2008 Presidential candidates. At the time, neither I nor anyone else knew that Congressman Duncan Hunter would join the field (sixth item); in fact, my political radar missed him entirely. Had I known then what I know now, I would have placed him at the top of the list. As it is, Hunter's decision to enter the race is the best political news for anti-Communists this side of the recent Canadian election.

Duncan Hunter has served in the United States House of Representatives for over a quarter-century; and for the last few years he has been Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. During his tenure in Washington, he has been one of the loudest anti-Communist voices in town. He was a leading opponent of PNTR for Communist China (Newsmax), and an original co-sponsor of the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act. He even authored a bill to revoke PNTR after the Hainan outrage, and is an original co-sponsor of the House version of the currency corrective tariff.

Thus, Hunter has a long and detailed record of being not merely and anti-Communist vote in Congress, but an anti-Communist leader in Congress. Moreover, his tenure as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee gives him immediate credibility on other national security issues. He is also a Vietnam War veteran - the only veteran in the Republican field besides John McCain.

His biggest drawback is the fact that, outside of Washington and San Diego, he is a near-complete unknown. However, in the current political environment, that is not as much of a problem as it would normally be. The 2008 presidential race is still one of the most wide-open in recent memory, especially on the Republican side. Additionally, Hunter would be the most reliable candidate for "social conservatives," and shares Congressman Tom Tancredo's views on illegal immigration (without much of the baggage inflicted on Tancredo because he, Hunter, has approached the issue more exclusively on security grounds). In fact, given Tancredo's previous statements that he would only run "if no one else will take up" the illegal immigration issue (Parapundit), there is a good chance he might support Hunter himself (or perhaps that's wishful thinking on my part).

In any event, if Hunter can get enough recognition and traction, he could very well establish himself as a leading 2008 candidate (i.e., the alternative to John McCain), at which point, anything can happen. As for the general election, Hunter will likely be underestimated, and thus begin as the underdog. However, his record of service, coupled with his prescient views on Communist China and America's terrorist enemies, will make him a much more compelling general election candidate than most people in Washington realize. Moreover, as a Californian, he would at worst force the Democrats to expend resources and time in that state; at best, he could very well flip it into the Republican column, which would all but ensure his election.

In other words, President Duncan Hunter is not as far-fetched as it sounds.

More to the point, we will not see a more principled, venerated, and thoughtful anti-Communist in the race than we have in Duncan Hunter.

For that reason, I hereby endorse Duncan Hunter for President without reservation.

Cross-posted to the China e-Lobby

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 31, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Ottawa goes Green for a day

If you're near Leishman Books at the Westgate shopping centre in Ottawa from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday*, you can get your copy of How the granola-crunching, tree-hugging, thug huggers are wrecking our country! signed by the author Lowell Green. But if you can't make it to the mall, the publisher would be happy to have the author sign one and send it to you. (Gee, I wonder what the book is about? You certainly can't tell by that enigmatic title.)

*Note: I initially wrote that the book signing was tomorrow (Wed.). A source in Ottawa now informs me that it is to occur on Saturday. My apologies.

Posted by Kevin Steel on October 31, 2006 in Media | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Seeing through Communist China's anti-terrorist costume

When it comes to tricking the world into thinking they oppose terrorism, every day is Halloween for the Chinese Communists.  Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for us), more people are noticing that Beijing is tricking the West and treating the terorrists.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 31, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nothing conservative here

So this is where the other shoe will drop. After federal Labour Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn told a Vancouver audience over the summer that it was time for Canada to take the "second step" on employment equity, his office denied he had any plans to extend federal employment-equity legislation. But I smelled a rat, and wrote a story, headlined "Affirmative Conservatives," for the Western Standard about my suspicions.

My story focused on racial discrimination, but today we learn from John Ivison of the National Post that Blackburn's second step would involve employment-equity police, whose primary job would be to ensure there's no gender-based wage discrimination in private- and public-sector businesses that fall under federal regulation. We're supposedly talking 90 "labour inspectors" here.

Thankfully, there's division in caucus over what will undoubtedly be an expensive, intrusive, anti-market and pro-big-government operation. One can only hope the dissenters win the day, and that this idea ends up on the bottom of the Ottawa River.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 31, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

So Much For Balanced Reporting; Doesn't Anyone in the Mainstream Media See Any Problems with the Stern Review?

One of the big complaints my colleagues and I have often had about the media is that they search out crackpots to provide "balanced" opposition to mainstream economics analysis. Media editors have defended this practice saying that they must remain unbiased, and they try to present all sides of a story.

Why don't they do this when they cover global warming issues?

Here is just one example of the recent coverage of the Stern Review from the United Kingdom. The Stern Review, itself, provides no hint that there are people who question whether global warming is happening. It also provides no idea that there are people who question whether, if it is happening, it is due to the burning of carbon-based fuels. And yet there is considerable and mounting evidence that questions these "facts" as presented by both the Stern Review and GlobalTV News are under substantial attack by reasonable scholars.

Where are the interviews with, say, Chris Essex or Ross McKittrick? What about the sources listed in State of Fear? How has global warming become such an accepted fact when maybe it isn't?

So much for balanced and unbiased reporting.

Stephen Pollard is also skeptical. And I guess this should not surprise us at all.


Let me reiterate: I don't know that global warming is not happening or is not caused by carbon-based fuels. My major concern is that there are clearly some criticisms of the received doctrine, and these criticisms should receive more coverage by a balanced media.

Posted by EclectEcon on October 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (30) | TrackBack

Monday, October 30, 2006

Where are the evangelical voices in media?

Tonight, there was an extended debate on Michael Coren Live about whether or not the CBC is an objective voice.

Yes, really.

In the days of the Reform Party, inviting a Reform representative for a panel or a "double-ender" was an occasion for showing the Reformer to be a rube.  Even before Reform, though, there was a similar approach taken with PC Party politicians, whether "blue" or "Red" -- from Robert Stanfield's famous football fumble to the apocryphal story of a couple reporters' colluding at the Press Club bar to take Joe Clark down because they could.  Both Stanfield and Clark came from the Red Tory wing with the most in common with Trudeau Liberals, at least on social and fiscal policy, but it didn't seem to matter.  What mattered was that they weren't Liberals.

When the mainstream media do include an evangelical voice, they seem to go for the most "stereotypical" example they can find.  You know how it goes:  evangelicals subscribe to a misogynistic, pre-scientific, and mindlessly fundamentalistic and pre-Enlightenment view of the world.

But, even among media outlets that do offer an alternative voice, there's almost no, if any, evangelical voices.  And I've often run into the point of view from Christians of other traditions that there is no such person as an "evangelical intellectual."  This, even though some of the best educated people I've met in politics are evangelicals.

Consider:  there's somewhere between 10% to 15% of the Canadian population who identify as evangelical -- closer to 15% than to 10%.  Now, I don't point that out to advocate for a form of affirmative action.  But it does raise a certain question.

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on October 30, 2006 in Media | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

A bevy of blather

In the Toronto Star by Beverly Akerman: Is Canada's gun lobby an offshoot of the NRA? No evidence of this is presented btw. And I love this line;

"We've tried it their way, the gun lobby's way, long enough."

What on earth is she talking about? That's completely backwards. Earth to Bev, the gun lobby opposed the federal registry and lost. We've been trying it your way, the gun control lobby's way, long enough.

Hmmm. I see by the bio at the bottom of this page

Beverly Akerman is a freelance non-fiction and corporate writer. She spent over two decades in molecular genetics research, learning more and more about less and less. She also submits her fiction widely in order, she's become convinced, to appease her inner masochist.

My advice, stick to torturing yourself.

Posted by Kevin Steel on October 30, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Picnic at Tora Bora!

Pack your basket--Ananova: Tora Bora tourist resort

Former warlord Gul Agha Sherazi, now a local governor, said: "Tora Bora is world famous--but we want it to be known for tourism, not terrorism.

"It was known as a picnic spot long before anyone had heard of Osama Bin Laden."

One question: Do you take Visa? Another question, a serious one this time; Why is this item in Ananova Quirkies? Why do we laugh? Is it because we cannot seriously believe that this guy--or any Afghani, he or she, for that matter--will ever be able to live in a peaceful country where business can be conducted and the world invited?

Posted by Kevin Steel on October 30, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Mayo spreads the news

The Mayo Clinic has finally gotten around to publishing a news release about the groundbreaking article it published a few weeks ago about the link between breast cancer and birth-control pills. I'll be interested in seeing how the mainstream media, now duly alerted, cover this important medical news.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 30, 2006 in Science | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

As we worry about Iran's nuclear program, the mullahs are killing Americans in Iraq

One of the dirty little secrets of the Iraq liberation war (which, for the record, I still support) is that America is not fighting just Ba'athists and al-Qaedists.  We are also fighting a proxy war with the Iranian regime. Sadly, as Michael Ledeen laments (fourth item), not even President Bush seems willing to face that truth.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 30, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Canadian Armed Forces Stretched, Reduce Standards for New Recruits
Join the Army, Not a Gym!"

The Canadian Armed Forces are in a bind. Canada has made a strong commitment to take on quite a bit in Afghanistan, but does not seem to be able to recruit enough soldiers to do the job. And, as happens in all walks of life, the Armed Forces has had to choose whether to offer a more attractive package or to lower its quality threshold. The Forces appear to have chosen the latter.

A minimum level of fitness is no longer required of those who wish to join the Canadian Forces.

A notice posted in the recruiting section of Canada's military website says that, as of Oct. 1, the regular test to determine physical capabilities that has traditionally been demanded of all new applicants has been eliminated.

It's a change that comes as the Forces, stretched to the limit with deployment of more than 2,200 soldiers in Afghanistan, tries to increase its ranks by 8,000 members over the next five years even as attrition is depleting them.

After joining the Forces, however, recruits will still be subject to a medical examination — and those who can't meet the grade physically will be turned over to trainers who will try to get them into the kind of condition required to begin their life in the military, the notice on the website says.

This could turn into a great recruiting tool. Instead of making it look as if they are lowering their standards, the Forces could spin it to look like a sweeter offer to new recruits:

Why pay to join a gym or fitness club, when the Forces will pay you to get in shape?
And you will be serving your country at the same time!

What puzzles me about this shortage of recruits is that there are lots of us old farts wandering around who might be pretty good soldiers for many tasks, but the Forces do not seem interested in us. A lot of us could pass the physical without any preparation (20 situps, 20 pushups, and 2.5kms in 12 minutes), but even if we couldn't, there are lots of things we could be doing in the Canadian forces.

Last week I sent their recruiting website a simple question, "What is the maximum age for someone to join the forces?" and you know what? They have not bothered to reply. If they are so desperate for new recruits, why don't they answer their mail? Maybe they could take on old-fart new recruits to do that for them at the very least.

Posted by EclectEcon on October 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Terrorist media relations

Why is the Western media more critical and skeptical of our own democratic governments than they are of terrorist groups? I ask that and other questions in my Sun column today. What do you think?

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Mark Steyn at the White House

Mark Steyn was on Hugh Hewitt radio show on Thursday talking about his recent meeting with President Bush in the White House and the fact that he asked Mark to sign the book for him was really interesting.

Many great journalists including Charles Krauthammer of Weekly Standard and Michael Barone of US News & World Report were also in this special meeting. You can read about it and the audio of the Q & A session can be found here at Michael Barone's blog.

Transcript of the meeting is also here.


Posted by Winston on October 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Any cure to this disease?

A Must See for non-believers and those who deny that jihadists exist. Actually it terrifies me and makes me wonder what the long-term solution to this Islamic virus is. I'm, literally, scared of these Islamofascists but am willing to take up weapons to fight them if need be.

Like I've always believed, radical Islam is the deadliest virus of our age and Islamofascists are patients of this virus. There's no cure other than spreading freedom and hope and keeping up the fight against terrorists wherever they are.

Cross-posted @ The Spirit of Man with minor changes

Posted by Winston on October 29, 2006 in Current Affairs, Media, Religion | Permalink | Comments (69) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 28, 2006

More interesting than Alexa

A keen-eyed friend sent us this video clip. Fast-forward to 29:00 minutes in, when Alexa McDonough stands up in Question Period. Look at the MP in front of her -- Steven Fletcher. He's reading the last issue of the Western Standard -- the one with our Afghanistan cover story.

Definitely more interesting than listening to Alexa!

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

Swimming with sharks

This CP story--Edmonton businessman Michael Ritter pleads guilty to international fraud--updates the Western Standard June 19, 2006 cover story The mandarin, the mogul and the missing millions.

Posted by Kevin Steel on October 28, 2006 in Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Friday, October 27, 2006

Will Canada follow Danish court ruling?

A Danish court dismisses the Islamists' lawsuit against the brave paper which published the prophet Muhammad cartoons back in September 2005.

Right now I'm wondering if Alberta Human Rights & Citizenship Commission would, too, follow this ruling and dismiss the lawsuit against the Western Standard?

Posted by Winston on October 27, 2006 in Religion, Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBack



Liberal leadership candidate Bob Rae now admits his fiscal policies as NDP Premier of Ontario-- high taxes, huge budgetary deficits -- were wrong.

I guess that's another way of him admitting the National Citizens Coalition was right!

After all, during his disastrous term as Premier, the NCC -- through its project group Ontarians for Responsible Government -- hammered away at his ruinous economic agenda.

He didn't listen, of course, and got swept out of power.

Now I hate to be the guy who says, "I told you so", but we did in fact tell Rae so.

It would be nice of him to now acknowledge the NCC's wisdom.

Crossposted at Making Sense with Nicholls

Posted by Gerrynicholls on October 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (85) | TrackBack

About that unborn child

The Vancouver Sun's page-one story today, on the shocking murder of a pregnant school teacher,  is headlined with the following question, "Who murdered Manjit and her unborn child?"

An interesting choice of words, because the Sun has long contended on its editorial pages that an "unborn child" is not a person and, therefore, cannot be murdered.

Perhaps the editors can ask staff philosopher Peter McKnight to explain their thinking on this one.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 27, 2006 in Media | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Does the elephant in the room have to step on them to get noticed?

American pundits from left and right continue to sound the alarms on Stalinist North Korea and mullahcractic Iran (third item).  Yet they share something in common - a complete inability to notice Tehran and Pyongyang's common benefactor.


Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 27, 2006 in International Affairs, Media | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

The 4:34 Dance and Spousal Abuse:
"Beat them lightly... It's in the Koran."

From last Sunday's Washington Post [h/t to Scoop]:

When dealing with a "disobedient wife," a Muslim man has a number of options. First, he should remind her of "the importance of following the instructions of the husband in Islam." If that doesn't work, he can "leave the wife's bed." Finally, he may "beat" her, though it must be without "hurting, breaking a bone, leaving blue or black marks on the body and avoiding hitting the face, at any cost."

Such appalling recommendations, drawn from the book "Woman in the Shade of Islam" by Saudi scholar Abdul Rahman al-Sheha, are inspired by as authoritative a source as any Muslim could hope to find: a literal reading of the 34th verse of the fourth chapter of the Koran, An-Nisa , or Women. "[A]nd (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them," reads one widely accepted translation.

The notion of using physical punishment as a "disciplinary action," as Sheha suggests, especially for "controlling or mastering women" or others who "enjoy being beaten," is common throughout the Muslim world. Indeed, I first encountered Sheha's work at my Morgantown mosque, where a Muslim student group handed it out to male worshipers after Friday prayers one day a few years ago.

Verse 4:34 retains a strong following, even among many who say that women must be treated as equals under Islam. Indeed, Muslim scholars and leaders have long been doing what I call "the 4:34 dance" — they reject outright violence against women but accept a level of aggression that fits contemporary definitions of domestic violence.

Western leaders, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, have recently focused on Muslim women's veils as an obstacle to integration in the West. But to me, it is 4:34 that poses the much deeper challenge of integration. How the Muslim world interprets this passage will reveal whether Islam can be compatible with life in the 21st century. As Hadayai Majeed, an African American Muslim who had opened a shelter in Atlanta to serve Muslim women, put it, "If it's okay for me to be a savage in my home, it's okay for me to be a savage in the world."

Not long after I picked up the free Saudi book, Mahmoud Shalash, an imam from Lexington, Ky., stood at the pulpit of my mosque and offered marital advice to the 100 or so men sitting before him. He repeated the three-step plan, with "beat them" as his final suggestion. Upstairs, in the women's balcony, sat a Muslim friend who had recently left her husband, who she said had abused her; her spouse sat among the men in the main hall.

At the sermon's end, I approached Shalash. "This is America," I protested. "How can you tell men to beat their wives?"

"They should beat them lightly," he explained. "It's in the Koran."

He was doing the dance.

... Meanwhile, shelters created for Muslim women in Chicago and New York have begun to preach zero tolerance regarding the "disciplining" of women — a position that should be universal by now. And some Muslim men appear to grasp the gravity of this issue. In Northern Virginia, for instance, an imam organized a group called Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence — though it still endorses the "tapping" of a wife as a "friendly" reminder, an organizer said.

Yet even these small advances, if we can call them such, face an uphill battle against the Saudi oil money propagating literalist interpretations of the Koran here in the United States and worldwide.

Posted by EclectEcon on October 27, 2006 in Religion | Permalink | Comments (38) | TrackBack

Ottawa jumps the shark

So it appears some bureaucrat in Ottawa has decided (s)he doesn't like an ad by Tennessee Senate Republican candidate Bob Corker.  Perhaps if (s)he had actually seen the ad, (s)he would have avoided putting his/her foot on their mouth.

The ad's context is abundantly clear, the fellow spouting "Canada can take care of North Korea. They’re not busy" is a moron whose ignorance reflects on his supposed candidate of choice - Corker's opponent Harold Ford.

But rather than actually look at the ad and have a chuckle at the dumb redneck character, the Ottowa paper-pusher saw a chance to play the old anti-American game and lodge a protest.  Next thing we know, Canadian conventional wisdom holds that the Republican Party thinks Canada is a "freeloader."

Sad, just sad.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 27, 2006 in Canadian Politics, International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Looks like I'm not the only one who watches CSI

CALGARY/AM770CHQR -     Three men have been arrested following a vicious beating that left a 61-year-old Airdrie man clinging to life.

RCMP arrested two of the suspects early Thursday at homes in Airdrie, while the third person was arrested on Tuesday. 21-year-old Brad Ellis has been charged with aggravated assault.

The other two suspects are also in their twenties. Initially, RCMP had said upwards of five men, some as young as 15, were involved in the attack.

Police say Ken Valgardson suffered multiple skull fractures after his head was kicked and stomped on by a group of males early Saturday in a parking lot in Airdrie.

Investigators allege he was the target of a revenge attack and the suspects and victim knew eachother through drugs.

It was initially thought teens were involved in the attack, but police now say that was not the case.

While random attacks by groups of teenagers may be occuring within Airdrie and the greater Calgary area, we were led to believe that, in this case, the beaten man involved was innocent because, well, I'm not sure why. I want to know why this attack was attributed first to teenagers beating innocent people at random, as I had posted here earlier, even though there was no proof at the time, and I want to know what good was to come out of speculating on the case in the realm of the public media.

So, now the question is, How much of the original report was due to the tendency of the media to report the most sensational news, news which happened to be speculative rather than factual? More specifically, Why did RCMP Sgt. Patrick Webb, who was the original source cited in this article, assume the attack was simply random before anyone knew the facts of the case?

Pretty weak.

Posted by Rob Huck on October 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Whose side is Pakistan on again?

Of course, the real answer is Communist China, but if the only choices are the free world and the Taliban, here's more evidence that the answer is the latter.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 26, 2006 in Canadian Politics, International Affairs, Military | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

In the Senators Defense

The Senate Committee on National Security and Defence has been taking a drubbing lately over the cost of their recent trip to Dubai. I take the position that this trip was well-intended and ended up being inadvertently sidetracked by the then-ongoing Operation Medusa. Sure, hammer away at the expense, but let's not lose sight of the larger issue and the greater expense. The Senators were trying to get to Afghanistan to find out what the h-ll is going on with our foreign aid.

The problem is with CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency). Since May, the committee has been trying to get information from CIDA about where the money is going (go here and skim down to the bottom, or use "Find" in your browser and search for CIDA officials "Phillip Baker" or "Hau Sing Tse").

Here is quote from Chairman Colin Kenny at the May 29 hearing;

The Chairman: We have been making inquiries of CIDA for a number of weeks to provide this kind of information so as to make this a more productive meeting. Thus far, we have been unable to obtain this information. Perhaps we are asking at the wrong place and you would be good enough to tell us where we should make our inquiries, or perhaps this is new information in the last week or so?

This morning before the sun came up on my western province (BC), I called Senator Tommy Banks in Ottawa. I had been waiting for a couple of days for Senator Kenny to get back to me, but failed to make contact. (Quotes from Senator Banks will be included in the story that I'm writing for the next issue of the magazine.)

At the beginning of our conversation, I told Senator Banks I didn't want to talk about Dubai, but more about the reasons for their travel, (I had read the Senators' Oct. 20 press release). Before we got started, Senator Banks asked for my email and said he would send a personal commentary he had just written.

After receiving the commentary moments after our conversation ended, I realized it was almost on point with what we discussed. In particular, I highlight this;

Our Committee has a collective suspicion that the Development piece of the effort is not being properly-funded; that the development efforts are not being pursued as assiduously as would be prudent; and that there might be some sort of bureaucratic entanglement that is contributing to that problem.  In Afghanistan, Canada is operating in and has had a special responsibility for the Province of Kandahar.  We have repeatedly asked the Government to tell us how much Canadian development money is being spent in Kandahar.  They have told us how much money is being spent in Afghanistan.  “That”, we said, “is not the question. How much Canadian development money is being spent IN KANDAHAR please?”.

We cannot get an answer.

So, unable to get a straight answer in Canada from CIDA, the Senators tried to go to Afghanistan to see for themselves what is going on. To me, this should be a non-partisan issue. Our troops are over there fighting the good fight and some of them are coming back in body bags. Bureaucratic entanglements, for whatever reason, should not undermine that sacrifice and effort.

Below I've pasted Senator Banks' commentary in full, reproduced with his permission.


This is a personal comment on a current issue.


The essential fact that was entirely missed by those initial news reports about “Seven Days in Dubai” is the reason for which the Standing Committee on National Security and Defence went to Dubai; a reason, workplan, and budget that were approved unanimously by the Committee, then unanimously by the Budget Subcommittee of the Committee on Internal Economy (which is chaired by Senator Stratton); then unanimously by the entire Committee on Internal Economy; and then, after debate, by the Senate itself, unanimously, and all in a public meeting.  These respective approvals were done and made public in June of 2006. 

The reason for going to Dubai is that Dubai has built, literally from nothing, the fourth-largest port in the world.  It is owned and operated by a company called Dubai Ports World, which in turn is owned by the Emirate.  The success of this enterprise has led to the purchase by Dubai Ports World of worldwide terminal operations previously owned by Pacific and Orient (P & O), the venerable British company. 

You may recall that the United States Congress (in a move that we regard as a mistake) disallowed the operation by Dubai Ports World of the P & O terminal facilities along the U.S. northeastern seaboard, simply and only because the proprietors are Arabs.  The congressional nay-sayers mistakenly characterized their objection as being about the operation of U.S. port facilities by foreigners.  But P & O, a British company, had been operating in these self-same ports for years.

Meanwhile, Dubai Ports World has purchased the P & O operation of terminal facilities literally all over the world, including in the Port of Vancouver, and is now operating them.  The most senior management of this company has further told us directly that, particularly since they have for the moment been frozen out of port operations on the eastern seaboard, they are very interested in acquiring facilities in Halifax.

Our committee is the Standing Committee on National Security and Defence – not just the “Defence Committee” as it is often characterized.  We have for the past four years turned our attention to the unsatisfactory state of port security in Canada.  We have found and reported that some Canadian ports are rife with crime and criminals, and in all cases are susceptible of very serious terrorist actions.  We have made this case in successive Reports over past years, to which Reports I commend your attention.  Policing in Canadian ports is, in our view, not anywhere near sufficient to the task.  And the task is nothing less than the protection of Canadian security. 

On our recent trip, after we met in London with MI5, with the Special Branch of Scotland Yard, with the Transport Police, and with the Cabinet Office (specifically on the control of terrorism with a particular view to underground and train bombing) we went to Rotterdam, the second-largest port in the world, to examine the state of security operations there.

They are a model for some of the policies we will again recommend for Canada. 

We then went to Dubai to meet with Dubai Ports World for the clearly-stated and approved purpose of examining their port operations and particularly the security aspects of those operations.

Because it is a staging-place for travel to Afghanistan, and our Committee has in the past sent members there, Dubai was familiar to some members.  But we had never gone there for the purpose of examining port security, and seeing firsthand how they handle it.

On the first full day in Dubai (Sunday 10 September), we met first with officials from the Canadian Embassy, the Head of Consulate and Senior Trade Commissioner and the military attaché, so that we could understand the general landscape; the nature of the Dubai Ports operation as they understood it; and the nature of the relationships between our countries.  We then spent about three hours working on the drafts of our forthcoming Report Managing Turmoil.   

We began the second day (Monday 11 September) at 8:30AM with a meeting of our Committee and staff to determine exactly how we would proceed with both the obvious and the potentially-indelicate questions of the people we would meet from noon on, and for further work throughout the morning on the drafts of our Report.

Beginning at noon we met with executives and officials of Dubai Ports World including:

          ^ Mr. Mohammad Sharaf, Chief Executive Officer

          ^ Mr. Anil Wats, Executive Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer

          ^ Mr. David Fairnie, HART Security/Security Consultant,

and with:

          ^ Dubai Customs Officials

          ^ Dubai Ports Police

          ^ Officers of the Dubai Coastguard

          ^ The head and deputy-head of Dubai Ports Intelligence

We went on an extensive and useful tour of the port facility itself, including an examination of the crane operations (essential to port security); container-handling, etc., etc.

We then traveled to a different part of Dubai to meet with Mr. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman of the Board of Dubai World, one of the Emirate’s principal corporate players, of which Dubai Ports World is a part.  That meeting concluded at about 7:30PM. 

It is important that somebody from Canada understand this operation, since this company is already operating in our country, and aspires to more such operations.  We need to understand their attitude, their approach, and their overall intentions, as well as their capacity to carry out those intentions.

It happens that this falls precisely within the job description of the Committee on National Security and Defence.  I haven’t heard of anybody else paying the slightest attention to this question.  I don’t believe anybody else knows anything to speak of about this question.  We now do, because it’s part of our job.

By the way, we believe that Dubai Ports World are very good operators.  They aren’t perfect, but they’re very good. 


It happens that we are also the Committee of the Senate charged with looking into defence matters.  It also happens that Dubai is a good jumping-off place for travel to Afghanistan.  It made eminent sense and good economic sense, if we wanted to go to Afghanistan (which we did, for the purpose, among others, of trying to see where and how Canadian aid dollars are being spent in Kandahar), that we should do so in geographic conjunction with our terrorism/ports security agenda.

Our concerns in Afghanistan have to do with the (correct, in our view) position of the Government that we are not there simply and only fighting bad guys.  It is now a conventional wisdom in fact, that if we (whoever that is) do not succeed in changing the living conditions and expectations of the Afghani peoples, all the fighting in the world will not result in anything that can be called a victory.  That is why “Development” is such an important part of what the Government (this one and the previous one too) gives as the reason for our being there.
Our Committee has a collective suspicion that the Development piece of the effort is not being properly-funded; that the development efforts are not being pursued as assiduously as would be prudent; and that there might be some sort of bureaucratic entanglement that is contributing to that problem.  In Afghanistan, Canada is operating in and has had a special responsibility for the Province of Kandahar.  We have repeatedly asked the Government to tell us how much Canadian development money is being spent in Kandahar.  They have told us how much money is being spent in Afghanistan.  “That”, we said, “is not the question.  How much Canadian development money is being spent IN KANDAHAR please?”.

We cannot get an answer.  I refer you to a copy of a letter from the responsible Minister which is reproduced in our most recent Report entitled Managing Turmoil.  That is why we wanted to go to Kandahar.  Not as tourists, but to go directly to the coal-face, so to speak, to see for ourselves whether the development pillar of our effort there is working.  We suspect that it is not, at least not properly or to the best effect or as well as it could. 

We were scheduled, and approved, to travel from Dubai to Kandahar on Tuesday 12 September, and to be there until and including Friday 15 September, (four days) at which point we were scheduled to return to Dubai, check into the hotel again, spend the day there, and leave the next evening for the airport, where our homeward-bound flight would leave at 1:45AM on Sunday, 17 September. 

Friday September 15, the day on which we returned to Dubai from Kandahar, was to be our fourth day in the hotel in Dubai. 

That was the plan up until June 2006.  It was approved by the various committees.  It was approved by the Senate.  It was approved by the Canadian Forces.  It was approved by everybody in sight.


On Saturday 2 September, the day that many of our group left for London to begin the trip in question, our Chairman, Senator Kenny, met with senior military officers in his Ottawa office, and was told by them that because of Operation Medusa, travel by civilians to Kandahar was not possible.  The Chairman asked whether that situation was long-term, or whether the situation might improve in the next week or so, while we were in London, Rotterdam, and Dubai.  The response from those officers on that Saturday, according to Senator Kenny at the time and according to what he has said subsequently, was that the situation in Kandahar was “in flux”.  These developments were duly reported by the Chair to Committee members and staff who were in London on Sunday 3 September.

The Committee met on this question on Tuesday 5 September in London and determined to instruct the Chairman to call General Hillier, the Chief of the Defence Staff, to put forward to the General the Committee’s three choices in the circumstances.  The end decision in this question is General Hillier’s since our only way in to Kandahar is on military transport.  That call was completed on the following day.   


The first and preferred option proposed to General Hillier on the telephone on Wednesday 6 September was that, if things that were “in flux” should quiet down in Operation Medusa in time for inclusion while we were in the area, we should be allowed to execute Plan A, and go to the places in Kandahar where we would see evidence of Development operations. 

Our second-best option and request was that we should be flown in to the Kandahar airport, a relatively-safer site; and that even though we would not be able to see directly with our own eyes the things that we need to see (or the absence of them), the people we needed to talk to could pretty easily come to see us.

The third and much-less desirable option was that, since we were in Dubai anyway on another matter; and since Dubai is easy to reach from Kandahar; representatives of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) including members of the RCMP, CIDA, DFAIT, and the military, would fly to Dubai to meet with us there.

General Hillier replied directly, on Wednesday 6 September, that the first two options were not possible in the circumstances.  That is the first time and place in which we had unequivocal word that there was no way we were going to get into Kandahar on this trip.   

General Hillier said though, that the third option was okay with him, provided the people we wanted to talk to could be freed up for the time to meet with us.

At that point and on that day our staff people immediately began to send messages to the respective members of the PRT to try to arrange for meetings in Dubai, following our examination of port security there.  Those efforts continued during the rest of our time in London, and during our days in Rotterdam. 


We arrived in Dubai at about 11:40PM on Saturday 9 September.  Late on the evening of Monday 11 September, we learned from them, one at a time, that none of the PRT members were able or prepared or available to come to Dubai on any day to meet with us.   This could of course be the direct result of the difficulty of operations in Kandahar. 

Immediately we learned this, our staff began to try to make arrangements for our earlier-than-scheduled departure from Dubai.  By Wednesday 13 September, we learned that there were no such earlier flights available on any airline on which our Star-Alliance tickets would be honoured.  This was the week leading up to certain Ramadan celebrations which are approximately as important in that part of the world as Christmas is in this country.  It is not analogous in any way excepting its relative importance in the religious calendar.

The only way, it appeared, that I was going to leave Dubai before my scheduled departure on Sunday 17 September, was on foot across the desert, or on a dhow bound across the Arabian Gulf for Iran.   

Earlier flights were available on non-Star-Alliance airlines, but at new and additional costs that were, at minimum, many hundreds of dollars, and in some cases several thousands of dollars.  Our Star-Alliance tickets were not useable on those airlines.    Simple arithmetic showed that we would spend very substantially fewer public dollars by staying where we were, as unpalatable a prospect as that was.

I say “unpalatable” because we were not staying in a luxury hotel.  There are certainly luxury hotels in Dubai – most of them on the beach – but even downtown, there are hotels such as the Fairmont and the Hilton that are in fact quite luxurious. But the Renaissance, in which we stayed, is not by any measure, including any Canadian measure, a luxury hotel.  The standard rooms in which we stayed cost about $275.00USD, not $500.00USD as reported by CTV News.  In Dubai, $275.00USD is not the cost of luxury. The hotel room displayed in the initial CTV News reports about our profligacy (and then repeated and reported upon elsewhere) may have been somewhere in that hotel, but not anywhere near where we stayed.  The Renaissance, which is  pleasant but not luxurious, is situated in a not-very-attractive and dusty downtown area, surrounded by shopping malls, ordinary shops, and quite loud traffic.  As remarkable and interesting a city as it is, none of us had the slightest interest in staying in Dubai any longer than necessary.  Nobody came back from Dubai with a suntan.

As it happens, the Herculean efforts of our clerks, the Senate travel people in Ottawa, and (I must immodestly say) my personal travel agent and Air Canada assistance, we were able to leave very early in the morning of Saturday 16 September, a day earlier than I had originally been scheduled to leave. 
So, if you count the day we arrived just before midnight at 11:40PM as a full day; and if you count the day we left at 1:45AM as a full day, we were in fact in Dubai for eight days.  But counting all of those as “days spent in Dubai” is, I think, questionable.   

I had originally been scheduled and approved to spend four hotel nights in Dubai; three on arrival including the after-midnight arrival of the first day, plus one night on the return from Afghanistan.  In the event, I spent five full days and seven hotel nights in Dubai.   So I was in a hotel in Dubai for THREE NIGHTS more than originally-scheduled.  We all would much rather not have done so.  But while we were there, we did the same work that we would have done had we been in Ottawa; we continued the finishing and editing of our current Report. 

We have been charged with irresponsibility in spending these public funds.  I believe that what would in fact have been irresponsible would be to have said “I don’t care what the additional cost is – I want to go home NOW!”   In my case the additional and unforeseeable cost would have been in the thousands rather than in the hundreds.  My additional and unforeseen hotel costs in Dubai were about (three days x approx. $275.00) $825.00USD, plus whatever I ate.   My additional airfare costs would have been several times that amount. 

I very much wish that everyone concerned had bothered to check their sources, check their facts, and perhaps asked questions of someone – anyone - who was there, or who knew the full story.  The use of the terms “leak” and “revealed” are, given even a grazing understanding of the true facts, preposterous.  Those true facts could easily have been obtained by the simple asking of a couple of questions.  Relying on a whispered slur, or on the contents of a plain brown envelope under the door, without checking the source and veracity of their content; and then reporting those things as “news”, is a perfect illustration of shoddy reportage.      

Tommy Banks

Posted by Kevin Steel on October 26, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Do as I say, not as I do

What a great little story. Sort of like Al Gore.

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

In Case You Missed This at SDA

This is the ONLY kind of message the men and women of our armed forces should be hearing coming from Canada. Beccy Cole

Posted by Mike The Greek on October 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Dick Morris: will he never learn?

Another one falls for the "China good, North Korea bad" routine (Ignorant Comment of the Day).

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Saved at what cost?

It is a heartbreaking story.

A desperate mother grasping at a last-ditch chance to save her 2 children from a long, slow, painful illness and certain early death.   A ray of hope in a far off place and a desperate plea for the compassionate help of charitable citizens.  Being a mother to 3 children of my own and a step mom to 3 more, I certainly can empathize with her plight, even though I am unlikely to understand the depth of pain and suffering associated with watching your own children slowly decline into a state of living decay unto death.  I should only hope I never will.

Perhaps if I were in her place, I too would grasp at any hope, any chance, any measure, in the quest to relieve my children's suffering and give them a better life.  Maybe.

But for now, I am appalled and saddened by her campaign to raise money for a procedure which flies in the face of the very principle she is fighting for, as an advocate for her children's lives.

Stem cell surgery, in China.

There are conflicting opinions regarding whether stem cell surgery even does what it is purported to do, so I will not argue regarding its effectiveness.  To me this is secondary, if not wholly irrelevant to the more major issue of the nature of the procedure itself, as well as the place where that procedure is being practised.

The controversial debate over the morality of a procedure which requires the elimination of one life, for the sake of another has been ongoing in the civilized world for some time now.  However in China -- where debate is not a part of the political landscape -- they have been quietly cultivating an ever-burgeoning market for the spoils of murdered humans, and they have been profiting enormously, from people like Lori Keeping, who are desperate for solutions and none too concerned with the ramifications of supporting a system which murders for profit.

Perhaps she doesn't realize that she will be providing remuneration to a medical system which - if her children were born into it - would likely have euthanized them at the first sign of their illness.  That is of course, if she would even have been permitted to have more than one child.  As well, every dollar she spends on this procedure goes towards funding a medical establishment which routinely murders people, to harvest their organs in order to feed the other profitable international market for organ donations.

And that is to say nothing of the glowing PR her family - in conjunction with The Sun - is giving to this reprehensible practise, in this murderous, oppressive state.  How many other desperate families will consider this option, where they may have been unaware of it before? 

There used to be a time when fascists paid for their own propaganda campaigns.  Now we get terminally ill children and their desperate families to do it for them.

I feel for the Keepings.  Truly, I do.  And who knows…maybe if I were in their position, all of these principles would fade in my consideration.  But I have to ask myself honestly…Would I ever be able to look in the eyes of my children again, if I knew that their lives came at the cost of so many others?

Posted by Wonder Woman on October 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

You can pry away my duck from my cold dead hands

I see my friend Will Goodon is back in the news:

A Métis hunter resumed his legal battle with the Manitoba government Tuesday over the right of the Métis to hunt without a provincial licence.

Will Goodon was charged two years ago, after he shot a duck without a provincial licence. He possessed a Métis “harvester” card, which was issued by the Manitoba Métis Federation, but the province has refused to recognize those cards. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, alleging that hunting is his birthright. (CBC)

I’ve written about him before:

In the end it doesn’t really matter if the court rules against it. The metis will still continue hunting like they always have - just a little more out of sight. (also see Cockroaches of Society)

Will and his family have been hunting in the same area for a hundred years and have strong cultural ties to the land unlike myself who was transplanted at a young age to northern Manitoba where of course I was never able to experience the same thing.

Now here is where I confess…

In some greater sense the metis are the ultimate Canadian libertarians or in a smaller form carry in their blood themes of anarchy. The purest and untinged by the hand-me-out attitude adopted by metis lobby groups such as the Manitoba Metis Federation don’t care what the government and their laws stipulate. I can’t help it if I come across as the blogosphere’s greatest hypocrite because it is simply in the blood to defy government and defy any outside form of authority outside of the typical catholicism (see Riel - Prophet of the New World).

We don’t care but… we need to fit in and because of that we assimilate under the light. We stop at stop signs like everyone else and we go when the light turns green. We fit into ’society’ fairly well but the f-u stuff we typically keep it to ourselves. Some elements of the culture are underground and don’t surface up into mainstream society.

Now here is where I confess some more…

When I fish, I fish without a licence because I don’t see it as wrong and have always done it. When I hunt, I hunt without a license because I don’t see it as wrong and have always done it. The government element introduced into the metis culture tells us that this is wrong and we know it. I know it. Will Goodon knew it.

Why? I don’t have the words to explain it. I don’t know why we carry on this way in defiance of modern law. I sometimes see it as a game. Come on government entities, come and and get me. Catch me if you can. Note to government - I’ll die running before you ever lay a hand on me. You’ll have to pry away my duck from my cold dead hands prior to taking it away from me.

The duck doesn’t mean much but defying you does. I don’t know why that is but let us just say that it is so.

Will Goodon made some mistakes. First of is that he wasn’t caught. He volunteered his duck to the government entities and challenged them. Broken rule - when you have a dead duck you hide it.

Second is that the challenge towed along by the Manitoba Metis Federation seeks to impose cultural laws and engages the government entities to seek further rights for a historically important, but of course the encyclopedia dying minority (They don’t see us as the cockroaches we are). Of course the government entities (and as much as you wish it doesn’t matter what government entities) will pass it on to the next.

A battle that will be passed on in perpetuity and will eventually accomplish nothing other than the government entities now realize that most if not all metis hunt without government approval. The all seeing eye gets wider and now somebody has to run a little faster next time.

Will Goodon my good friend - You should have taken the goddamn duck straight home and ate it. (c/p)

Posted by Darcey on October 24, 2006 in Aboriginal Issues | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

The Column the London Free Press Would Not Print

My friend, Rory Leishman, is a social conservative. Given my libertarian tendencies, it isn't surprising we clash on many topics having to do with censorship. My own view is basically that consenting adults should be free to do what they want. His is.... considerably different, and yet we remain friends.

Rory writes a column that is published bi-weekly in the London Free Press and many other papers in Canada. They declined to publish his latest, however. Here is a message he sent to his friends, along with the column itself. I don't think I will want to see the show he mentions, but I am happy to have the Grand Theatre try whatever it wants, so long as paying customers have some idea of what they are in for and so long as they don't try to get me to pay for it through my taxes (hah!). Rory disagrees.

Dear All:

The London Free Press has decided not to run the following column that was slated for publication on Tuesday, October 24. I have received the following explanation from an acting editorial-page editor at the paper:

"In consultation with (Free Press Editor in Chief) Paul Berton, we've held your column for Tuesday. It would appear from your brief description that you hadn't gone to the play, and must have been relying on the reports, reviews etc that Sonja Smits was "naked" on stage - which she was. However, having talked to people who did go and weren't scandalized, comparing that to the goings on in a strip club is simply over the top."

It's true that I did not attend the play. Indeed, I have no wish to do so, but I disagree with the editor's judgment in refusing to run the column. Let me know what you think.


Here is the censored column:

Following the tawdry example of theatres in England and the United States, London’s Grand Theatre is luring customers with a play featuring a lead actress who appears stark naked on the stage. Count this as another sign of the escalating degradation of our Judeo-Christian civilization.

Just a few years ago, such a shameless performance would not have occurred even in one of the city’s seedier strip clubs, because the offending actress and the club’s managers would have been liable to be charged under section 167 of the Criminal Code with presenting “an immoral, indecent or obscene performance, entertainment or representation in a theatre” – an indictable offence punishable by up to two years in prison.

What has happened in the meantime? Has Parliament repealed section 167 of the Criminal Code? Not at all. The law is still on the books. The problem in this as in so many other instances is that the Supreme Court of Canada has decided not to uphold the law as enacted and originally understood.

That’s fine with the management of the Grand Theatre. One wonders what they might stoop to next. Perhaps some day soon, they will strew the stage with mattresses and invite naked volunteers from the audience to engage in group sex.

That’s inconceivable, you say? Alas, no. In last December’s ruling in Labaye, the Supreme Court of Canada decreed that notwithstanding the law on indecency in the Criminal Code, there is nothing inherently illegal about the presentation of group sex in a public theatre provided only that the audience receives fair warning of what to expect.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote the reasons for the judgment of the Court in Labaye. In describing the sexual antics at issue in this case, she related that people lay on mattresses scattered about the floor and engaged “in acts of cunnilingus, masturbation, fellatio and penetration. On several occasions observed by the police (undercover officers), a single woman engaged in sex with several men, while other men watched and masturbated.”

McLachlin and the majority of her colleagues held that there is nothing “immoral, indecent or obscene” about such conduct within the meaning of the law, because the presentation of an orgy of group sex before a willing audience is not of a nature that “causes harm or presents a significant risk of harm to individuals or society by predisposing others to anti-social behaviour that is incompatible with the proper functioning of society.”

This ruling was entirely unprecedented. It had no basis in either the plain language of the Criminal Code or the previous judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada. In effect, McLachlin and her colleagues proceeded on their own in Labaye to overturn the law on indecency in Canada.

That’s fine with libertarians. They argue that people who are offended by obscene displays of nudity on television or in movies and the theatre should change the channel and boycott the offending movies and theatrical performances.

There might be something to be said for this argument, if there were reason to believe that the public display of lewd behaviour has no adverse effects other than to demean and degrade those who engage and witness such spectacles.

But that, plainly, is not the case. Ever more flagrant exhibitions of sexual promiscuity have coarsened our entire culture to the point that many husbands and wives who would not have dreamed of entering a relatively tame strip club 30 years ago now sit complacently through a far more graphic presentation of lewd conduct in the Grand Theatre.

And that’s not the worst of it. Only the naïve can suppose that there is no connection between a rising tolerance for obscenity and the epidemic of fornication, adultery and divorce that has undermined the stability of that most fundamental of social institutions, the natural family.

What can be done? There is one obvious remedy: Decent citizens can make a more concerted effort to support principled politicians who combine a sincere and enlightened compassion for all their constituents with a clear understanding of the difference between right and wrong, and a firm determination to combat the usurpation of legislative power by the amoral and transgressive elitists who predominate on the Supreme Court of Canada.

Digression: What is it about so much nudity, that it seems to involve females? Are we still living is such a male-dominated society, or is it just that female bodies make for better art than do male bodies?

For more information about Rory Leishman's views on judicial activism, see his book.

Posted by EclectEcon on October 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

A little comic relief...

Given all the brouhahah surrounding the wearing o' the veil, I have decided that from now on, when I leave the house, I shall wear this mask. You see, as ridiculous as this seems, and even though it is not required by any religion, it is a matter of personal choice. And I will not allow you to tell me otherwise. If you try to make me stop wearing my mask - at work, shopping, at church - then I will have all the men of my village riot and burn your cars. I will, I swear I will.

I am woman - see me hide.

Posted by RightGirl on October 24, 2006 in Current Affairs, Religion | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

Choosing Your Belonging

There are some things about which concerned citizens must speak up, and here comes one of them.

In a recent speech attempting to lure Quebec voters, liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff said “The great achievement of Canada, and I think we’re already there, is in Canada you’re free to choose your belonging” (National Post, Oct. 14).

By “already there” he meant that his modern liberal vision of citizenship has already been realized. For he went on to say “You can be Quebecer first and Canadian second, or Canadian first and Quebecer second,” and then added - and this is what struck me – “in the order that suits you.” If what we are choosing is our citizenship – the basis of our national loyalty - then Ignatieff is a spokesman for the bizarre idea that the basis of national citizenship is self-chosen.

If I am not mistaken, the last time the Canadian nation as a whole decided to confront the international peril of totalitarianism on the European continent by defending Britain and the British Commonwealth of nations - the source of our political system, our freedoms, our common-law, and the dominant culture of the Canadian nation - this sort of “choosing your belonging” was vigorously manifested by many thousands of young male Quebecers who, though they were born here and cheerfully accepted all the rights and benefits of Canadian citizenship, chose to decline the responsibility of fighting alongside their Canadian brethren to defend those rights and benefits. What they were choosing really, was that it was okay for us to die for them, but they refused to die for us. By the time this trial balloon for “choosing your belonging” ended, and Quebecers indeed were conscripted to fight alongside us, we were all Canadians, all one, and they proved to be great fighters.

But what this illustrated was that “choosing your own belonging” is not a sound basis for citizenship or nationhood. For any nation worth the name must decide from the very start what it stands for, who is to qualify as a citizen, and how the nation as a whole will control and defend its territory and its national character and long term ambitions. To suggest, as Ignatieff has done that the provinces or states of which a federation is composed may compete with the unity of the federation as a whole for the primary loyalty of citizens is to argue that there is no federation worth the name. Canada may defend itself this week, but not with Quebec-Canadians, or Albertan-Canadians, or Ontarian-Canadians. Next week, however - if oil, say, is threatened - Canada may defend itself with all the latter, but not with Newfoundland-Canadians who have their own oil. It’s everyone’s choice.

Now what is the origin of this idea? It is, I believe, a desperate response to the reality that Canada as a determined nation – I mean a nation determined to define itself culturally, morally, religiously, and politically, has lost its way. Canada has no national will to self-determine. We do not ask ourselves what we want to be. But what is the point of maintaining a nation that has no way, that is blown hither and thither by the winds like a ship at sea with no course or destination? To put this question in perspective, let us imagine we are to start over tomorrow to form ourselves into a new nation. We would have to choose between all available systems of government on offer, choose a dominant language for business and government, a core religious tradition, a legal system, a set of core customs and traditions, and the like. And I believe that if all such choices were laid before us, we would very likely choose a parliamentary system much as we now have, with English as our dominant language. We would include the ancient common-law traditions and customs we have enjoyed for so long, and we would also opt for the Christian religion as the source of our moral code and the underlying foundation of our civil, legal, and political understandings such as the value of persons and property, habeas corpus, and so on. We would also likely insist that immigrants to our new country should share and defend these aspects of nationhood, or seek their happiness in some other land. We would not allow them to choose “what suits them” as a basis for their national loyalty. But what is Canada actually doing?

Another Post item (October 18) tells us that the expected “supertanker” of Chinese immigrants (meaning the flow of immigrants from China) has in fact turned back because “China’s interest in Canada as a place to live is on the decline.” So we are informed without emotion or comment that “Canada’s racial face is about to change.” Notice the passive sense used here. The item does not say that we as a nation, a people with control of our own destiny have decided to change our racial face (here, for race, you can substitute national language, religion, legal system, and so on), but that some force outside Canada – a “demographic shift” – will decide this for us. We learn that the “foreign springboard” of China, will soon launch a majority from India instead, who will bounce into Canada, where the Indian community “with all its domestic political resources” will “continue to widen the flow.” Seems the springboard is to become a Ganges river pouring over our land. What are Canadians to make of this demographic shift? Who has made this decision to alter the very fabric of our nation in this way? A Ms. Wilson, speaking for Citizenship and Immigration Canada was careful to stress that it is not we, the people who have willed or expressed a wish for this change. She informs us – again without emotion or commentary – that the federal government’s immigration program is “demand driven,” and “We don’t tweak it in any way, or impose quotas.”

What this means is that the type, speed, and direction of alterations to the fundamental fabric of the Canadian nation and its people – its legal, religious, linguistic, cultural and moral profile and institutions as we go forward into the future - is being decided by non-Canadians. By which non-Canadians, you may ask? Holding what beliefs? Willing to defend what traditions, laws and customs? It doesn’t seem to matter. As a nation and a people we seem content to remain undefined, undetermined, with no concern about what we become. We are being led into the future by strangers.

If that is what we want, then fine. Let’s openly and proudly choose not to choose what suits us. But I don’t think anyone in recent memory has asked us, and at any rate, whatever it is we think we belong to now will soon not likely be here. Whatever. As long as it suits someone.   

Posted by williamgairdner on October 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Communist China isn't part of the solution on North Korea; it's part of the problem

Anyone who has seen a police drama - from Dragnet to Law and Order and anything in between - has seen the "good cop, bad cop" routine. One officer antagonizes the suspect, while the other plays it cool, pretends that his partner is "out of control," and extracts the confession. Well, "good cop, bad cop" works in international politics, too, and there's no better example of that than Communist China and its third item). Sadly, even some in the Korean and Chinese democracy movements (Epoch Times: Chinese) have fallen for the routine. I remain unconvinced; there's far more reason to believe Communist China sees the nuclear test as an opportunity rather than a headache.

Prior to the nuclear test, anti-Communism was slowly gaining currency in Washington. The Defense Department issued a report highlighting Communist China's military buildup and geopolitical antics. Less than two months later, Canadians David Kilgour and David Matas released a damning report on Communist organ harvesting. Communist espionage operations were getting enough attention to inspire a Congressional investigation. Last but hardly least, news leaked out - complete with videotape - on a horrific outrage in occupied Tibet where Communist border guards used fleeing Tibetans for target practice.

Then, on October 9, North Korea re-arranges part of the Earth's surface, and the ensuing political earthquake levels all of the above.

Am I saying Zhongnanhai knew what was coming before the twenty-minute heads-up from Pyongyang? Not necessarily. The cadres are smart enough to ensure "plausible deniability" - especially in the modern media environment where they can't prevent their invasion plans for Taiwan from hitting the front page of the Epoch Times. More to the point, Communist China didn't need to know the exact timeline of the NK nuclear program to use it as a card against the United States.

However, given the whispers that the test "embarrassed" the Chinese Communist Part in the middle of its latest plenum, it should be noted that the timeline was in fact quite fortuitous for a regime eager to keep its cold-blooded Tibet murder off the political radar. Moreover, if one is prone to track specific timelines, the fact that North Korea's earlier missile test came one day after Mr. Kilgour's announcement of what was in his and Mr. Mata's report and two days before the report's release cannot escape one's attention.

In reality, what matters here is not the exact timing of North Korea's tests. Rather, it's the events that have occurred after it. While the United Nations Security Council has spoken, it has hardly acted. In fact, only Japan has taken concrete action directly resulting from the test. The United States, by contrast, has merely been building upon its already active (and praiseworthy) program to interdict North Korean shipping - better known as the Proliferation Security Initiative. Communist China, by contrast, hasn't lifted a finger (second item).

The reason for this is simple: Communist China does not have the same interests as the democratic world. The free world wants to prevent North Korea from harassing its neighbors and arming terrorists with nuclear weaponry. Communist China, by contrast, is already doing both of these things, so having Kim Jong-il do them on its behalf allows it to accomplish its objectives without any consequences.

So what can we expect from Communist China? We can expect more of the same: more boilerplate rhetoric, more visits to Pyongyang, more messages from Kim Jong-il through Beijing, and more stories about how much the cadres want nothing to do with the Stalinist regime's antics, written by people who really should know better.

In the long term, the democratic world is playing into Communist China's hands. Already, the "academic community" in Beijing is dropping hints that northern Korea was once "Chinese" territory (third item); similar hints were dropped regarding Tibet before the Communists removed it from the fraternity of independent nations. For a regime using radical nationalism to distract the attention of ordinary Chinese from rampant corruption, constant land seizures, and nearly six decades of brutality, annexing northern Korea - with the requisite payoffs to Kim Jong-il and his cronies - is a lot easier than taking on Taiwan, especially if the regime has managed to convince the rest of the world that Kim et al are dangerous loners.

As Kevin Spacey's character from The Usual Suspects put it: "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist" - and just like Kaiser Soze, Communist China is convincing the world the devil is actually someone else. Kim Jong-il's regime lives or dies only on Communist China's sufferance. It is in Beijing, not Pyongyang, where the epicenter of evil resides, and it must be rooted out. The free world will never be secure until China is free.

Cross-posted to the China e-Lobby

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 24, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Will they never learn?

Some people are still not getting the memo: Communist China is not part of the North Korea solution; it's part of the North Korea problem.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 24, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sign of the times?

AIRDRIE -- Family of a 61-year-old man beaten nearly to death by a group of youths are voicing disgust over the attack.

Kenny Valgardson was still unconscious and listed in critical condition yesterday after being swarmed by up to five youths early Saturday, an assault rekindling debate on a proposed teen curfew in the city.

Sure, curfews are okay, but I don't think we should rule out canings yet, either.

There was an interesting CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode a couple of weeks ago where a bunch of young people would go out on the town for a night of "fanny smackin'", meaning they would attack unsuspecting tourists in Las Vegas for kicks. In the end, it was revealed that this gang was a nihilistic bunch of otherwise "normal" kids who had a complete disregard for human life and decency, and members of the CSI team had different answers to this problem. A couple of guys were saying that this was the parents' fault, that if they were disciplined properly, they might have a higher regard for their fellow man. Another pops into the conversation and mentions that these kids have an individual responsibility not to act in this sort of behavior. A third member of the team takes the over-arching theme of the episode--"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"--and points out that in a society where personal responsibility is taken out of the equation, there is less reason for people to act in a responsible manner.

For once, Hollywood raised an interesting dilemma occuring within our society which actually questions our present lack of moral decency and responsibility. Las Vegas isn't the only city where cowardly thugs pick on defenseless and innocent victims for no discernable reason, and this recent attack in Airdrie--where the man was simply beaten and not robbed--is a perfect example.

While a teen curfew might help out during the dark hours of morning or at night, it does not address the underlying issue. Yes, parents are part of the problem if their kids do not appreciate the values of our society, and, yes, individuals are ultimately responsibile for their actions. However, we as a society have done a poor job as of late in expressing what is important to us, what our values are, and what the consequences should be if these values and responsibilities are disregarded. If we do not have confidence and respect for our own culture, individuals will decide on their own which values to respect and which ones they might disregard.

And, if there is no consequences for this sort of action, if our young citizens do not get rewarded for proper behavior and are not punished for poor performance, then there is no incentive for doing the right thing.

Prisons and corporal punishment are not the answer in themselves, but if they are no longer taken to be a consequence of very bad behavior, we are not doing ourselves nor our children any favours once they realize their limits, or lack thereof.

It is a sad state, however, that we even have to talk about setting new laws and curfews simply because individuals, parents and society as a whole have no wish to take the role of raising children into model citizens seriously.

Posted by Rob Huck on October 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (94) | TrackBack

Care to Venture a Guess?

According to Bob Rae; 

"Mr. Rae has said that will not run in this by-election......as he will be focussing on the leadership race at hand. He will seek to run in the next election as a Liberal candidate either way."

In politics, there are two reasons for everything; The reason that sounds good, and the real reason.

What do you suppose the real reason is that Bob Rae isn't running in London?

Posted by Mike The Greek on October 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Ferberize Garth Turner

In today's Sun, I offer my scholarly opinion that the best way to deal with Garth Turner is what Robert DeNiro's character in Meet the Fockers would suggest: Ferberize him.

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Shameless Self-Promotion: Dead Kyoto Edition

My latest, at the Star.

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on October 22, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (62) | TrackBack

Canadian Values - Part Two

Bill Graham...

"On Friday, interim Liberal leader Bill Graham urged Prime Minister Stephen Harper to censure MacKay for his "disgraceful" comments in the House of Commons and asked MacKay to apologize.

"The minister's remarks are an insult to the office he holds, as well as to the values and principles of the Canadian people," Graham said."

In a previous post, I lamented about the ad nauseum use of the term "Canadian values" (read - anything not Conservative) by "progressives" to describe their own policies, or to attack the current government.

Since Canada has one of the highest concentrations of the Internet in the home, and since I believe that relatively smart people visit news sites, drawn there by both right wing and left wing blogs and the MSM themselves, let's review some of the results in the past week.  From CTV

What do you think of the latest MacKay Stronach dust-up?

Apologize. Sexist behaviour which must be addressed. 6311 votes    (32 %)
Ignore it. Typical of workplace romance gone bad. 13123 votes    (68 %)
Total Votes: 19434

Evidently most Canadian's don't think this "issue" is reflective of the way the Conservatives feel about women, or that, as Ralph Goodale suggested "...after depicting a woman as his dog, how can the minister of foreign affairs pretend to promote women's rights in Afghanistan or anywhere else?”  (Ralph, you're starting to become an embarassment to those of us in SK that actually thought you were a decent person and a politician).

This issue is typical of how out of touch Parlimentarians are with the common people. Should Petey have made the remark? No. Have worse things been said by all sides during QP? Absolutely. Has Belinda, in her personal and political life, acted in a manner that could be regarded as being less that decent? Yes... Should this issue have brought Parliment to a screeching halt while Canadian soldiers are putting their lives on the line defending the rights and freedoms of the much less fortunate in Afghanistan? No f***ing way! (BTW, is this the type of parlimentary decorum we want to export?)

Canadian Value #1 - Get all your asses back to work and deal with the real issues this country is facing.

Poll Question #2

Garth Turner was kicked out of the Tory caucus, a direct result of his blog postings. What do you think?

Turner was asking for trouble    7334 votes  (70 %)

He was unfairly ejected                 3129 votes  (30 %)

Total Votes: 10463

From the moment Turner was elected, he has been a thorn in the side of the Conservative party. He obviously needed the Conservative party to help him get elected.

This man knows the confines of party politics. The idea of sitting in a caucas is not new to him. And part of that deal is that you are a good soldier, not a man who can casually criticize the leader and policies in public as he sees fit. That's part of the gig for all political parties. (And please take that idealisitic BS "well, it shouldn't be that way" somewhere else...) That said, Canadians rightly made their assessment of Turner.

Canadian Value #2 - If you act like an untrustworthy petulant child, expect what you inevitably get.

In summation, if the MSM or political parties really want to know what Canadian values are, just ask us.

We are usually right on the mark.

And Mr. Graham, take your assessment of MY values and stick them you know where...

Posted by Mike The Greek on October 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack


Coca-Cola and probably Pepsi are going to be banned in Iran soon, the Sunday Times of Ireland reports, because they support Israel and America.

But the irony is that you never hear the regime banning French or German products since they are Israel's allies as well. All you hear is that American goods get banned there because they are Americans and therefore the profits will go to support the Zionists.

It tells me some thing, if the mullahs of Iran are genuine in their concerns about the never existed people of Palestine then why they don't boycotte their European trade partners too.

This is just going to show us how Iran is run under the rule of these criminal clerics. It is now being colonized by Europeans, Chinese and Russians.

Posted by Winston on October 22, 2006 in Food and Drink, International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The media's lunatic fringe

It's not only political parties that have a lunatic fringe. The media does, too, and regrettably, the fringe is a rather large faction. But since the media claim for themselves the role as the arbiters of normal, it takes courage to point out their deviance for fear of running afoul of peer pressure.

I refer to the media nuttiness over Peter MacKay's off-hand insult to Belinda Stronach. It wasn't a particularly witty remark nor was it particularly cutting. But the reaction to it has been absurd. Some papers, such as my beloved Sun, simply took a great opportunity for punny headlines -- "dog fight", etc. -- and a chance to mix some exciting romantic battles in with their political stories.

Others -- especially the Globe and Mail -- have actually managed to muster vein-popping outrage over this non-event.

Jack Layton, coming several days late to the fiesta, felt the need to trump everyone and call upon MacKay to resign his position as foreign minister over the matter. Yes, that would be proportionate, wouldn't it?

MacKay is not the strongest cabinet minister in Harper's government, but he has held firm to the party's conservative line on foreign affairs, acquitting himself well if not as a leader of Canada's foreign policy, at least as a faithful explainer of it.

Stronach has sunk lower and lower since the zenith of her political career -- switching parties (and simultaneously dumping MacKay as her lover) to prop up Paul Martin's scandalous Liberals, in return for a cabinet seat. Since then, her chief accomplishment has been to be simutaneously the chair of the Liberal "women's caucus" and the  "other woman" who caused the divorce of Tie and Leanne Domi.

Stronach complains that she is not taken seriously in Parliament, but she offers nothing other than a vanity and self-love that is rivalled only by Garth Turner. MacKay has some of those same attributes -- they were in many ways a perfect couple -- but he has gone on to head the foreign ministry with some success. He generally earns headlines by talking about and making policy. She only earns headlines today by wringing her personal life for tittilating gossip.

But, really, the prize for perfidy here cannot go to anyone other than Layton. Should MacKay really resign for muttering, under his breath, on the spur of the moment, that his treacherous ex-girlfriend was a "dog"? Is that a sufficient anti-feminist crime to have a minister of the crown resign? If that is Layton's standard, should he -- Taliban Jack -- not resign from the House of Commons entirely for his proposal to negotiate a surrender of Afghanistan and its women to the misogynist terrorists who for years denied women the right to go to school, let alone the right to appear in public without first putting on a one-woman prison called a burka?

Posted by Ezra Levant on October 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (49) | TrackBack

Friday, October 20, 2006

Time for you to meet Fenris

I've been guilty of hiding him from you:

In the vanguard of activism are the people, animals, and Plant-Canadians that re-educate our Youth into politically correct members of a caring, feeling, and tax-giving society. One need look no further than the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education to find a role model of our Perfect Future Society, filled with happy Global Village People, singing and dancing around the dried dung fire after a vegetarian feast of bran mush, tree bark, and beetles. But this Utopian Paradise is under attack by budget cutbacks, masterminded by angry white males, bent on an agenda of war crimes, third hand cigarette smoke, heteronormativist racism, and inadequate vegetarian buffets.

Read more if you dare

Posted by Darcey on October 20, 2006 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Dog day Afternoon

Maybe what I should do, he thinks, is stand up in the House, say I'm going to apologize, mouth the words, and say the apology was in a high-pitched frequency that only Ms. Stronach can hear.

Oh what a wonderful day!

Posted by Darcey on October 20, 2006 in Humour | Permalink | Comments (35) | TrackBack

Their due

Steve Janke does an excellent job giving credit where it is due to James Heath, who is giving credit where it's due: Former NDP spokesman takes environmentalists to task for being unfair to Stephen Harper. And along the way, Janke draws distinctions between liberals and conservatives. Well written.

Posted by Kevin Steel on October 20, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack


The dog puns have started in Mackay/Stronach thing. Globe and Mail: Fur flies in 'dog' debate. Allow me to add mine; maybe Peter should just throw Belinda a bone and apologize. But then again, that would end the absolutely incredible bombast of the Liberals, which is very amusing. (Pretty much the only tactic they employ as Official Irresponsible Opposition seems to be throwing as much sh-t at the Conservatives as possible and see what sticks.) Let's quote David McGuinty;

“For the sake of my wife, my two daughters and all women in this country, this is a transgression that's over the line,” Mr. McGuinty said after Question Period. “Where is the prime minister? Why hasn't he disciplined his Minister of Foreign Affairs? Why has no single member of the Conservative caucus stood up today in the House of Commons and put this issue to rest by apologizing? It's outrageous.”

"Outrageous," silly man. If Mackay did indeed say it, it was disrepectful towards Stronach, and any reasonable adult could see that and make up their own minds as to whether they think she deserves it. And how about this:

The Liberals repeatedly spoke against the “terribly offensive insult” from the previous day's Question Period, saying it was disrespectful towards women and compounded the difficulty experienced by women entering politics.

Come to think of it, I've heard women call men rats, snakes, tigers, bulldogs... and have yet to hear of any man not entering politics because of these labels. I've heard men call women foxes, mutts, etc.--I could go on and on, (or I could just link to the Chinese zodiac). I think the notion that Mackay calling Stronach a dog "compounded the difficulty experienced by women entering politics" is idiotic and insulting to women. And what about McGuinty's stupid question that started this, "Don't you love your dog?" Outrageous I say, and will certainly compound the difficulty dog owners experience when trying to enter politics...

Update: Dog Day Afternoon (how could I resist?)--CP and CBC waste a lot of space on the story wherein Belinda demands an apology.

Posted by Kevin Steel on October 20, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Beijing pulls the wool over people's eyes

For years, Communist China has played "good cop" to North Korea's "bad cop," and pundits have eaten it up.  Sadly, the silliness continues (fourth item).

Posted by D.J. McGuire on October 20, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A link that can't be denied

Good to see that former Western Standard bearer Andrea Mrozek, now working in Ottawa with the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, is continuing to keep her journalistic skills sharp. The National Post has published a big op-ed by Ms. M, in which she points out that a new meta-study, conducted by the Mayo Clinic, has shown that the use of birth-control pills increases by 44% the risk of breast cancer in pre-menopausal women who have not had a child.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to those of us who have followed the subject for years, but it likely will come as news to the vast majority of Canadian woman. This newsworthiness raises an important question: why hasn't a single Canadian media outlet carried news of this important finding until now? Well, it might have something to do with the fact the Mayo Clinic itself appears to have done little to publicize its finding. In fact, the Clinic's web site still carries an entry, on the Pill and breast cancer, saying evidence of the link is inconclusive.

Here's a link to the full Mayo Clinic report.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on October 20, 2006 in Science | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack