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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tension in Canada-Iran relation

Iranian politicians threatened to close the Canadian embassy in Tehran yesterday over what they called its involvement in espionage, National Post reports.

Islamic regime of Iran is angry at the government of Canada led by PM Harper which is trashing them on the world stage. This is great to see the regime's anger and frustration. And it is wonderful to see that Canada is confronting this rogue regime through UN & IAEA and any other possible diplomatic channels. Many of us appreciate what the Canadian government is doing.

Bravo Canada! Thank You PM Harper!

Posted by Winston on November 30, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

Ted rides again

It appears that Alberta publishing legend and Western Standard columnist Ted Byfield has managed to resurrect his Christian History Project. The publishing venture went broke almost a year ago after publishing the sixth volume in a series that was originally slated to be about two dozen long, but ended up aiming for a more modest dozen before going under.

Byfield has now sent a letter to buyers of the original series, informing them that a new non-profit organization, the Society to Explore and Record Christian History (SEARCH), has purchased the assets of the old company and is in the process of "raising sufficient funding to finish the job." He says the society is aiming to produce Volume 7 in November 2007, "and the last five books, one every five months thereafter."

Ted writes that he is remaining as general editor, "with much the same editorial staff" as the old project. Interestingly, when the old company went under, it owed a fair bit of money to at least one writer. I wonder if the old entity, which now presumably has some cash in its coffers thanks to the above-mentioned purchase of its assets, will pay off these old debts.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on November 30, 2006 in Books | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Blood on the tracks

Global blogger Warren Kinsella on the train to the Liberal convention in Montreal:

11:27 AM EDT - The loud delegates in the seats behind us - behind me and my friend and Hill Times colleague Angelo Persichilli - are for Stéphane Dion, Michael Ignatieff and undeclared. They have just started - very loudly - mocking Joe Volpe and Italians.

9:43:16 AM - Omar and I are on Via Rail, whistling our way to Montreal and Global National's convention coverage with a gaggle of Liberal delegates. A couple of them are talking, loudly, about what to do about "retards." Quote unquote.

h/t Canadian Christian Conservative at Blogging Tories

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 30, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (58) | TrackBack

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dean calls a spring election?

Did I hear that correctly? Howard Dean in his remarks to the Canadian Branch Plant Party of the American Democrats, also known as Liberals, (thanks Paul Wells) kept referring to an election in the spring. I was actually  away from the living room TV in the kitchen doing stuff, so someone correct me if I'm wrong. Did the date for the next Canadian election come from the House of Representatives or the Senate?

Update: I just checked the published speech released by the Liberals and didn't see a mention of what I thought I heard. Anyhoo, peeps can comment on the speech.

Update: CTV video link. No biggie, but I was right. Dean breaks off script after "Nor should we ever cede a single voter. Not a single one." And after applause, at moment 8:40 on the CTV tape he says, "I can tell you guys sure are going to win in spring, you are... we're going to win." At 16:04 Dean says, "Whenever there is a big election, and particularly one where there is a big power shift--the kind we had a few weeks ago, and the kind your Liberal Party is going to have in the spring elections..."

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 29, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (47) | TrackBack

Oh groovy baby... yeah...

As I wrote here on Nov. 18, "...it's 1968 all over again..." and right on cue we had Richard Gwyn yesterday in the Toronto Star: Liberals could party like it's 1968.

Best of all, and most un-Canadian of all, it had sex--the generalized, "Peace and Love" sexiness of the 1960s. The flamboyant sexiness of all the mini-skirted hostesses of most of the candidates, Trudeau of course having the sexiest hostesses. And the sheer raw sex appeal of Trudeau himself, cool, ironic, mocking, detached and teasing Canadians into getting into a mania about him.

He was our way of carrying on the sophistication and spirit of Expo '67, and also our way of having our own John F. Kennedy.

Sex was un-Canadian in 1968? I did not know that.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 29, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (39) | TrackBack

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Voting for the final three

I wonder how many readers of this site understand how the preferential ballot on the final vote for the PC Leadership for Alberta on Saturday, 2 December, will actually work. I sure didn’t until I spoke to a worker at the campaign office of one contender. Reading some of the responses to “And then there were three” makes me believe I was not the only one confused. Here is the explanation I received.

All first choice ballots will be sorted into three piles. The candidate with the fewest votes will be dropped. All the ballots cast for that candidate will then be checked for the second choices. Those second choice votes for candidate “A” will go to his pile, those for “B” to his pile. That process, in the unlikely event of a tie, will decide the winner. To put this into the actual scenario, for those favouring Morton the way to vote would be first choice Morton, second choice Stelmach. That second choice for Stelmach would only go to him if Morton had been relegated to third place on the first choice votes. That is how to mark your ballot if you want a Conservative Premier for Alberta.

Posted by Bob Wood on November 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

Pay Me In Singles

I got this message on my blackberry this afternoon


Thankfully the judge wouldn't tell anyone how to fix the problem, but he told them to start working on the problem within 10 days.

You know what else is unfair to blind people? Being blind...

Money in its present form is also unfair to the following;

  1. Quadraplegics
  2. Amputees
  3. People who can't count
  4. Lazy people
  5. Intellectually challenged people
  6. Psychlogically challenged people
  7. Poor people
  8. People who can't read English
  9. Atheists
  10. Muslims
  11. Foreign Tourists
  12. etc...

So until somebody tells me how to accomodate all those people, I will spend my American greenbacks in shame.

Posted by Mike The Greek on November 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (52) | TrackBack

The skinny on Van Loan, from an admittedly biased source

Anyone interested in some background on new intergovernmental affairs/sport minister Peter Van Loan can read my reminiscences here. Some highlights:

In a political universe increasingly dominated by so-called "stars" who frequently explode or turn into black holes, Peter is one of those brilliant, talented, quiet workhorses whose effort always exceeds their expectation of reward.

When people think of the Common Sense Revolutionaries of 1995, they usually conjure up names such as Tom Long, Leslie Noble and Guy Giorno, and rightly so. But the organizational and grunt work of people such as Peter were instrumental in getting those ballots into the boxes. Despite having supported Mike Harris's leadership opponent, Peter's knowledge, candour and skill in building the party made him a trusted figure.

When Peter MacKay and Stephen Harper made their historic agreement in October of 2003, Peter led the Yes! campaign to ensure the deal would be ratified overwhelmingly by the [PC] party. Never one to presume an easy victory, it was his idea to publish a full-page ad in the Globe and Mail listing several hundred recognizable names who supported the pact. This ensured that there was little reneging when the inevitable harping and second-guessing took place leading up to the December vote. When the results of the ratification vote were announced in Ottawa, Peter's hand was among the first to be shaken by Peter MacKay.

Posted by Joan Tintor.

Posted by joantintor on November 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

More American appreciation for Canada

I did happen to come across this in National Review Online's Corner Blog today; I thought it worthy enough to stick my head out of the shell and mention it (emphasis added):

MARA LIASSON: [T]he U.S. wants the European and other NATO countries to pony up more. That's, I think, been a perennial problem. You and I have covered a lot of summits where the Europeans talk big, they want to be a counterweight to the United States, but as you heard Nick Burns just say, they're not willing to spend the proportion of their GDP on defense the way we do.

KONDRACKE: The United States spends about 3.8 percent of GDP on defense, the whole rest of NATO spends 1.9 percent. . . . And our friends, the French, you know, have specifically refused to get involved in Afghanistan. They've got 20,000 men that they have on standby duty for use someplace, and when they were asked specifically to join up and go help out in Afghanistan, they said, "No, we're going to hold these back in case they're needed in Kosovo." You know, typically French.

BARNES: [T]he Germans, the Italians and the Spanish, even when they come, they have a rule. No combat. They don't want to fight. So it's left to the Americans, the Canadians, and the Dutch, actually, are pretty good. And then the Australians, who aren't even members of NATO are the ones who are actually doing the fighting. And the Canadians have lost 34 soldiers in recent months, so they've really done a good job.

Look, the Europeans have been free-riders now for 60 years. It's going to are hard to get them off the dole, it really is. And it'll almost be small amounts of money, percentage-wise.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on November 28, 2006 in Canadian Politics, International Affairs, Military | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack

It's Not Racist

... but it does seem like overkill.

"The officer who had followed the group on foot was apparently the first to open fire, Kelly said. One 12-year veteran fired his weapon 31 times, emptying two full magazines, Kelly said. "

Now having never been a cop or anything near similar in my life, I cannot for certain tell you how I would act. However, if you are being threatened by a suspect using an automobile as a weapon, I can see a cop firing some shots to disable the driver.

However, if this officer did indeed fire 31 shots and actually had reload, this is a bit unsettling. That does sound like excessive force.

That being said, the usual suspect, one Rev. Al Sharpton is at the forefront of the media denouncing this as racist. With two black, one Hispanic and two white cops all firing away, it isn't. So Al do us all a favour, and shut up.

The police have countered by saying the three suspect in the car had lengthy criminal records. Unless they knew all the identities of those in the vehicle beforehand (which I doubt) and then fired, that doesn't explain the shooting.

This has more to do with tactics  and competence than racism.

Posted by Mike The Greek on November 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Why I'll be in a shell until Monday

About 36 hours ago, my mother lost her fight with cancer; she was 58.  As one would expect, this hasn't been an easy time for me.  Beyond the obvious, it was Mom who instilled in me the ambition to be aware of the world around me, and do what I can to change it for the better.  She lit the spark that, fueled by my admittedly obsessive nature, became the now six-year-running China e-Lobby.  As we Americans of Irish descent tend to take our time in remembering late relatives, I'll be out of pocket (actually, in a mourning shell is more like it) for the rest of the week.  However, I'll be back with regular posts starting on Monday, December 4.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on November 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Monday, November 27, 2006

Canada's David Duke

The Canadian Islamic Congress is campaigning for the Liberals in the London, Ontario byelection. Great -- participating in a democratic, multi-party election is the Canadian way, unlike say, in Egypt, from whence the CIC"s boss, Mohamed Elmasry, hails.

It looks like Elmasry is bringing a bit of Egyptian flair to the London campaign -- anti-Semitic campaign literature.

That's no surprise; the CIC's website regularly publishes material from Greg Felton, a prolific anti-Semite who also writes for a neo-Nazi magazine.

I don't think it should be a crime to be a Jew-hater. I don't think it should be a crime to distribute Jew-hating literature. That's part of freedom -- it's a little bit messy, and sometimes people say offensive things.

What I am against, though, is that Elmasry's anti-Semitism is ignored by the mainstream press -- who would crucify any WASP for saying and doing the things that he does. Because he's Muslim, brown-skinned, from Egypt and speaks with an accent, his David Duke act has been given a pass by a press corps that would normally be apoplectic. This is the same guy who told Michael Coren's TV show that any Jew 18 years or older in Israel is fair game for a terrorist attack.

It's not just the media -- even the federal government's grotesque Trudeau Foundation, stacked with Liberal hacks from Marc Lalonde to Alexandre Trudeau, is sponsoring a speech by Elmasry.

Here's an Op-Ed I wrote about Elmasry earlier this year, in the National Post.

A Muslim leader worth ignoring
National Post
Friday, June 16, 2006
Page: A15
Section: Issues & Ideas
Ezra Levant
Source: National Post

Last Sunday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper met privately with a select group of 20 Muslim leaders in Toronto. The purpose was

Which is why the PM's invitation list had to be carefully crafted: By choosing with whom the government would and wouldn't meet, it was drawing an important moral distinction.

Muslim leaders who received invitations included a mix of secular activists such as Tarek Fatah and religious leaders such as Maulana Naseem Mahdi of the Ahmadiyya sect. The Federation of Muslim Women and the Canadian Council of Muslim Women both received invitations, as did a range of Muslim leaders representing expat Muslims from Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

Pointedly missing from this spectrum were Mohamed Elmasry and his ambitiously named Canadian Islamic Congress. Elmasry's exclusion was no accident, and it is a welcome sign that the government -- if not yet the Canadian media -- is becoming more discriminating about the politics of the Muslim leaders it deals with.

Elmasry should have been persona non grata in polite Canadian company after his appearance on a Toronto-area talk show in 2004. On live TV, Elmasry argued that any Jew aged 18 or up in Israel is a legitimate target for terrorists, because they are "not innocent."

The statement was so shocking that Elmasry's employer, the University of Waterloo, felt obligated to issue a statement calling his comments "unacceptable" and "abhorrent." Elmasry apologized to Waterloo and promised not to repeat his terrorist cheerleading.

But he hasn't kept his promise. A quick tour through his organization's Web site shows an obsession with Jews, a running apologia for terrorist groups such as Hamas and cheerleading for Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his nuclear program. There are dozens of pages of anti-Israel propaganda, including essays by notorious anti-Semites such as Greg Felton, who writes for the neo-Nazi publication National Vanguard.

Elmasry accuses the Jews of ethnic cleansing, of apartheid and of being the instigators behind the invasion of Iraq. One of the site's specialties is rooting out the Jewish "cabal" that runs the Canadian government.

I sat on a panel with Elmasry at the Canadian Association of Journalists meeting in Halifax last month, and was subjected to a lengthy rant against the "zhoos" who control the media, the "zhoos" who are "on top" of the world and keep the Muslims on "the bottom," and about how my own comments were suspect because I, too, was a "zhoo."

It was unsettling but not surprising. What was surprising was the nonchalance with which the assembled journalists listened. Why did otherwise touchy-feely, liberal journalists sit through -- applaud, actually -- an illiberal, bigoted rant?

Two reasons. First, political correctness: Elmasry is a foreigner, a Muslim from Egypt whose skin isn't white, who speaks with an accent. That's a full house in politically correct poker, enough to trump any actual argument put forward by the guilty, white, liberal journalists in the room.

The second reason is the soft bigotry of low expectations that many in the media apply to Muslims. Those who argue that Muslims and Arabs overseas can't handle democracy or freedom are likely the same who argue that Muslims and Arabs in Canada shouldn't be held to Canadian standards of civil discourse. In 1995 when Jacques Parizeau made much more modest comments about "money and the ethnic vote" -- codeword for Jews -- he became a political pariah. Why is Elmasry still interviewed regularly by journalists and invited on august panels, such as the CAJ's, without a mention, even an asterisk, about his jihadism?

By treating Elmasry as a legitimate participant in our national discussion, the media shores up radical Muslim voices like his. It's a relief to know that our Prime Minister has set a higher standard.

- Ezra Levant is publisher of the Western Standard.

Posted by Ezra Levant on November 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack

How busy a weekend was it?

Here's how busy: Canada put forth a policy to put foreign acquisitions of domestic assets (read: natural resources) under the national security microscope, and it's the ninth item.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on November 27, 2006 in Canadian Politics, International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The whole reason we have elected officials is so we don't have to think all the time

Stupid hurricanes wrecking global warming predictions:

With cataclysmic predictions that hurricanes would swarm from the tropics like termites, no one thought 2006 would be the most tranquil season in a decade.

Barring a last-second surprise from the tropics, the season will end Thursday with nine named storms, and only five of those hurricanes. This year is the first season since 1997 that only one storm nudged its way into the Gulf of Mexico.

While I'm not hot on Kyoto, I am willing to admit that global warming will occur before RFK Jr makes a retraction.

Posted by Rob Huck on November 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

And then there were three

Here's my Sun column on Alberta's Tory leadership contest.

It's stunning that Jim Dinning -- the heir apparent, a household name, a former cabinet minister, who has been campaign for this job for ten years, who outspent all of his competitors combined, who has Ralph Klein's former team behind him, edged out Ted Morton, a neophyte in the party, by just a few thousand votes.

I'm betting on Morton. That's my prediction, and since he's the only true conservative in the race, it's my hope as well.

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

Oil-for-food catch-up

Good round-up of the oil-for-food scandal charges in The Australian: Around the world, heads are rolling. Here's something that I missed on the wire services:

In Paris, Total oil group No.2 Christophe de Margerie, due to become chief executive next year, was charged last month with paying illegal commissions to obtain favours for the oil group in Iraq between 1996 and 2002. A former senior Total executive, Bernard de Combret, who left the group in 2002, has been charged with similar offences. Both are expected to go on trial next year.

For a little more on this, go here.

For those who have been following the scandal and international wheat marketing politics, on Friday Australia's Cole Inquiry report was released, Herald Sun: Criminal probe on AWB chiefs. Here's a link to the massive report.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 27, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Anti-Semites are up Early This Sunday!

My latest, at the Star.

And here's the first email of the day about it, sent pre-dawn:

"There is no convincing reason any (...) group deserves exceptional
status." Except for the Jews, perhaps?

I didn't realize the Jewish community had special status in Canada. And since I'm a member of the World Jewish Conspiracy, you'd figure I'd know that.

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on November 26, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Same sex marriage debate in one week's time?

So-cons in Ottawa are sending out mobilization e-mails this afternoon. This is due to a report, based on the usual anonymous leak from a "reliable source", that the Conservatives will be bringing forth their motion on revoking or changing same-sex marriage December 4 "or thereabouts".

If (and this is a big if) this is true, it may be an indication that the government wants to use the Chrismas break to pressure MP's to decide quickly so they can go home for the holiday.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on November 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (75) | TrackBack

Like we didn't know it

TIME magazine reports that "Iran and Syria Helping Hizballah Rearm".

Didn't we already know this? Iranian regime has Syria and Lebanon as its colonies and uses them to influence the region and spread the disease of Islamic revolution through out the middle east.

There is no way to stop the mullahs of Iran other than a democratic regime change. It's the only way to stop this cycle of violence that is taking place through the mideast region by Islamic groups backed by Islamofascist regime of Iran.

Posted by Winston on November 25, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thank you Canada

UPDATE: this post has been changed only to remove the doubling of the first two paragraphs.

As most of you probably know, yesterday was Thanksgiving for those of us south of the 49th parallel.  As the name implies, it was a time to give thanks for the things we have, and the friends we made.  It was at this point that I was thinking of the men and women who were serving America in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those few countries that were willing to come to our aid in either of them; that was the inspiration for this post.

Down here, the entire foreign policy debate is centered around Iraq.  Very, very few politicians or pundits disagree with the American commitment to Afghanistan.  For that reason, a lot of Americans naively assume the rest of the world shares that same commitment.  I now better than that.  I see the European writers who rip the Afghanistan mission, and talk of Iraq and Afghanistan as "crimes."  Unfortunately, this means the few countries willing to step up to the plate in Afghanistan (rather than phone it in with a token contingent) do not get the recognition they deserve, including Canada.

As the lone American poster on the Shotgun, I have repeatedly been honored and deeply moved to see so many Canadians who appreciate the role my country plays in the world, yet few Americans recognize Canada's commitment, her cost, and her pain in Afghanistan.

Many Canadians understand the mission in Afghanistan will protect them from terrorism as much as it will us, but that doesn't change these facts: my country was attacked on 9/11; Canada had three choices - fold up its arms and do nothing, put in a token force and pretend it was helping, and put in a real force to slug it out with the terrorists who attacked America.  Canada chose the last - and most honorable - of the three options.  chose to come to our aid when they did not have to do so; and they have chosen to stay and fight when many others have cut and run.

So to all of my Canadian friends, for continuing to stand with us in our hour of need, on behalf of my fellow Americans . . .

Thank you Canada.  Thank you and God Bless.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on November 24, 2006 in Canadian Politics, International Affairs, Military | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Quebecker or Quebecois?

As a follow-up to my well-commented-upon posting of a few days ago, on the issue of Quebecois nationhood, please allow me to point out an interesting discrepancy in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's official statements on the issue.

In his Nov. 22 statement in the House of Commons, Harper used the terms "Quebecois" or "Quebeckers" a total of 14 times. He seemed to use the terms interchangeably in English. The terms also appear in roughly equal number in the parts of the speech that were translated from French to English.

However, in the text of the statement that appears on the PM's official Web site (a statement that, confusingly, is dated Nov. 23), the term Quebecois is used exclusively all 14 times.

This is interesting, because I think the term Quebecois better reflects what Mr. Harper was actually meaning to say when he talked about the sociological reality of Quebecois nationhood. To my way of thinking, the description of a person as a Quebecois is similar, but not the quite the same, as describing him or her as a French Canadian, whereas using the term Quebecker to describe someone ends up directly rooting that person in Quebec. A Quebecois, on the other hand, may live in northern Ontario or St. Boniface, Manitoba, for example.

It is quite possible that Harper's use of the term Quebecois is a deliberate attempt to make a clear distinction between the ethnic identity of the Quebecois and the political jurisdiction in which the majority of people of that heritage are living, thus further diffusing the separatist initiative.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on November 24, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Bride_in_a_garden The Western Standard website may be blocked in China by meddling government officials censoring the Internet, but that doesn't stop our people from winning contests there. WS senior writer Terry O'Neill traveled to China in August, and reports that he has received notice that a photo of a bride and groom (posted here) he took while on his journey has won third prize in the Beijing--An Olympic City contest. He receives about $200, a certificate, and the photo will go on display in Beijing. Congrats, Terry.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 23, 2006 in Travel | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Nations within nations

My thinking has been evolving on this subject, but it's hard for me to get too worked up about Stephen Harper's recognition of the Quebecois "nation" within Canada. After all, it appears the Tory position refers to the sociological or ethnic body that is the Quebecois, not the political entity that is the province of Quebec. That being the case, the recognition doesn't necessarily mean that Quebec is entitled to special rights based on any alleged nationhood.

Anyway, if one really wants to get hot under the collar about the whole concept of nations within nations, then a much better target of inquiry would be the scores of "First Nations" in B.C. that are in the process of receiving special rights within Canada.


Posted by Terry O'Neill on November 22, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (115) | TrackBack

Iranian regime denounces Canada for rights violations

The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution sponsored by Canada condemning human rights violations in Islamic Iran. And Islamic regime, in return, denounces Canada for human rights violations. Iranian regime has hit back by drafting a resolution accusing Canada of mistreating its aboriginals and immigrants to Canada.

What the hell?

The funny thing is that thousands of Iranians flee their ruined country and come to Canada as either refugees or immigrants. I bet the regime has gone blind to see that its own citizens are escaping the country in masses. Iranian regime's official figures state that around 150,000 people leave Iran every year on political or social grounds. Brain drain has become a major problem since the Islamic regime seized power in 1979 and scores of Iranians just don't want to live in that land any more and they resort to any means to get out.

So please cut the crap, Iran. All of us know what is really going on there. 

Posted by Winston on November 22, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (44) | TrackBack

We cannot let Iraq become the next Sudetenland

When the liberation of Iraq began in March of 2003, it was obvious to anyone who spent a substantial amount of time in the anti-Communist, pro-China-democracy community that the war would split the movement like a ripe melon. As someone who co-founded the China e-Lobby specifically to bring anti-Communists of all political stripes together, I dutifully avoided the subject as much as I could within the C e-L confines (outside the confines was another story). While it pains me to abandon that now, and effectively force the entire pro-democracy community to focus on this divisive issue, I feel I have no choice. The events of the last few weeks have made it abundantly clear to me: the pro-China-democracy community must come out in favor of the mission to build a democratic Iraq, and the China e-Lobby is now doing just that.

I write this knowing full well democracy in Iraq (or to be more precise, a republican form of government there) seems more elusive and less likely now than at any time in the last three-and-a-half years. However, I fell like I have no choice; the alternatives to a genuinely free Iraq would be disastrous for those of us who wish to see China freed from the Communist regime that currently imprisons it. Here are the reasons why.

Iran and Syria: Since "realism" seems to be in vogue these days, let's not forget one very important reality - the mullahcracy of Iran wouldn't be anywhere near as powerful as it is today with support from Communist China. Likewise, Syria's ties to Tehran and Beijing easily pre-date the current Iraq war. At present, the Bush Administration has been content to ignore the ties these two regimes have with both the Communists and the terrorists who are killing Americans in Iraq (second and fifth items), but we can't. The fact is, an Iraq under the thumbs of Iran and Syria is a de facto Communist Chinese proxy via remote control.

We cannot abandon the Iraqi people twice in two decades without repercussions: In 1991, as the Iraqi people rose up against Saddam Hussein, then-President George H. W. Bush publicly blessed the rebellion, than refused to do anything to help it. Millions of Iraqis remember the ensuing carnage bitterly. Letting the mullahs of Iran and the Ba'athists of Syria take the lead in bringing "stability" to Iraq will curse the Iraqi people once more. How would other allies respond to this kind of weakness from America, particularly our most important potential friends, the peoples of captive nations? The dictators of those nations will see, too, and they can tell their people America no longer cares for the oppressed peoples of the world. The effect in Communist China could be devastating. Millions of Chinese desperate to be free of their Communist overlords will be told - explicitly by the Communists and implicitly by the the U.S. itself - that America no longer cares what happens to them.

Contempt for the value of democracy outside of Europe will flourish: As more Americans try to determine what tactical mistake were made in the liberation of Iraq, some are coming to the conclusion that the Iraqi people themselves are the problem (Charles Krauthammer in the Manchester Union-Leader, Ralph Peters - as cited by John Podhoretz in the New York Post - and John Derbyshire in National Review Online). As I mentioned above, "realism" is on the rise, and underlying much of it is the notion that self-government is just not possible or preferable among the Arabs. It doesn't take much to see where this is heading: the same people who denigrate the prospects for democracy in the Middle East will be just as cynical toward the Chinese people; in fact, one pundit - Arnaud de Borchgrave (fourth item) - is already saying that. So, in addition to being told the U.S. has no interest in helping them, the Chinese people will be told they are politically inferior to Americans. Is that the message we really want to send?

A defeat is a defeat is a defeat: No dressing-up a withdrawal from Iraq will change the fact that Iran and Syria will have won, and we will have lost. Communist China will certainly look to build upon the victory of its Middle Eastern proxies. The regime will also likely continue to build its ties to al Qaeda, which will certainly claim its part in the terrorist victory.

Now, I'm not saying a pro-democracy activist in China will suddenly decide it's time to look for the Party card; the Chinese people have too much pride in themselves for that. However, the pro-democracy movement in China will be dealt a crippling blow to morale if it sees America unwilling to persevere in Iraq. This could lead them to lower their sets, reduce their demands, and otherwise postpone the day when Communism ends in China. That means the regime will have more time to continue arming terrorists who wish to kill as many Americans and others from the democratic world as they can find.

I know many in the anti-Communist community opposed the liberation of Iraq, and many still do. I believe, however, that this is based on the errant notion that the fate of democracy in Iraq and the fate of democracy in China are separate and unrelated. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Instead of leaving the nascent Iraqi democracy to the terrorist wolves, the United States should make clear to Iran and Syria that we will never leave Iraq until after they do. This will probably require taking action to liberate Iran and Syria, much like taking action against the Nicaraguan Communists was required to get them out of El Salvador in the 1980s (National Review Online).

I know I'm asking a great deal of the anti-Communist, pro-democracy community from a political perspective, but I feel I have no choice. The end of Iraqi democracy will set back the cause of freedom around the world, including and especially in China, and the democratic world will never be secure until China is free. We cannot and must not allow the Iraqi people to be abandoned.

Therefore, I hereby beg my fellow anti-Communists to join me in supporting the continuing effort to liberate Iraq, and demanding the Bush Administration not abandon the Iraqi people.

Cross-posted (albeit with a different title) to China e-Lobby

Posted by D.J. McGuire on November 22, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stephen Harper played the China card and won the pot. Why are his opponents still going all in?

I have been relatively silent about Stephen Harper standing up to Communist China this month, in part because so may have been willing to stick up for him (second and second items), and also in part because my schedule this week has been thoroughly wrecked. This has allowed me a chance to explore one of the lesser discussed aspects of this issue: the political consequences for Harper and his government in the (expected) 2007 elections.

Now, I should make clear, this corner has been with the Conservatives since the last election campaign, largely in anticipation of things like Harper's show of political strength on Communist China. One other aspect of the Conservative government that has gone widely underreported is its crackdown against both Communist espionage and Beijing's overseas intimidation of Chinese-Canadians (third item). So, one would expect me to think this issue is a political winner for Harper. I'm just confused why almost no one else seems to see it that way, especially the supposedly hyper-rational, ultra-pragmatic Liberals.

From my perspective (admittedly, 1500 miles south of the nearest Canadian), the Liberals and their Bay Street "engagement" allies are in a politically dangerous (for them) feedback loop. When Harper first began to make clear he would treat Communist China very differently from previous PMs, the Canadian business community went into anti-Harper overdrive. Those of us who see Wall Street in action whenever Communist China comes up were not surprised by this. However, Bay Street went way overboard from a political perspective, going so far as to criticize attempts to build relations with Taiwan, and even being dismissive of the Dalai Lama, who remains the most prolific recruiter of anti-Communism in the democratic world's collective left wing.

More importantly, Bay Street doesn't seem to understand just how much it has helped Harper by ripping him.

Harper has now run for Prime Minister under the Conservative banner twice, in 2004 and 2006. Both times, Harper "underperformed" on election day. Upon closer examination, there were at least three major factors that prevented Harper from defeating Martin in 2004, and achieving a majority government in 2006.

One: In the West, Reform and later Canadian Alliance voters concerned over the old PC "backroom boys" and their Bay Street money sources taking over the new Conservative party stayed home or went to other parties. This was most obvious in British Columbia, where the Conservatives actually have less than half the MPs.

Two: In Ontario and the Atlantic provinces, large numbers of traditional NDP voters were convinced to vote Liberal as the lesser of two evils. Thus the Liberals managed to win a majority of MPs in every English speaking province east of Manitoba.

Three: Rural francophone voters, whatever they thought of the Liberals, were just not comfortable with the Conservative Party, so they stuck with the Bloc Quebecois. This was not so noticeable in 2006 because the Quebec City suburbs were comfortable enough with the Conservatives to elect them as MPs in all 4 of their ridings.

These three problems are not exactly a surprise. Conventional wisdom has been talking about them for years, with many worried about how Harper could ever solve them. I would humbly submit that Bay Street did it for him. Here's how.

One: How many old guard Reformers are looking at Bay Street's carping of Harper and thinking, "Well, I guess this isn't a Mulroney redux after all"? The answer to that question may not be known until Election Day 2007, but it could very well mean a half-dozen BC ridings going from red/orange to blue.

Two: If the MPs are any indication, the ChiCom issue is one where the Liberals are isolated, not the Conservatives. So long as this remains an issue in 2007 (given the matter of Canadian aid to Communist China, that can be a sure bet come budget time) and the Conservatives stick with their anti-Communist stance (I'd call this a safe bet), would-be NDP voters hearing the "Conservatives are too scary" mantra over and over again will wonder why the richest men in Canada seem to like the Liberals and the bloodthirsty Beijing regime so much. Some of them may even decide the Conservatives are the lesser of two evils, though probably not enough to make a difference in a riding. More importantly, these voters will be more likely to decide the Conservatives can't be that bad (and the Liberals can't be that "safe") and stick with the NDP. The impact on Ontarian and some Atlantic Liberal MPs could be devastating.

Three: The impact may not be so strong with Quebec voters, but a foreign policy issue where they are more likely to agree with Harper over the Liberals can't hurt.

So why can't Bay Street see they're probably creating more voters for Harper than converting people away from him?

Here's where the "feedback loop" comes in. If I have Canada's relatively new campaign finance laws right, corporate contributions are out of bounds - except in leadership campaigns. Even if I am wrong on that (and please, let me know if I am), the fact is Canada's richest businessmen and executives have been hearing a lot more Liberals begging for money than Conservatives, since the former is in the middle of a leadership race. Thus, the politicians that have Bay Street's ear these days are mostly all Liberals, who just happen to agree with the business community's support for "engagement" with Communist China. Since none of the other three parties have leadership issues, they're spending a lot less time in financial centers of power, creating the unusual situation where the three parties who reflect the anti-Communist-China majority in Canada (Conservatives, NDP, and Bloc) are heard far less often than the one party with the minority view, the Liberals. So whenever Bay Street goes after Harper, the politicians begging them for money encourage them - and since they're not paying attention to anyone else, they actually assume the Liberals speak for the country.

The problem for Bay Street is that the Liberals don't speak for Canada on the issue of Communist China; the Conservatives do. As Bay Street keeeps reminding Canadian voters of this, Harper becomes more popular, and the prevailing headwinds he faced in 2004 and 2006 become far less powerful.

How long this will continue depends on Bay Street; it may come to its senses and settle down. Until then - for Harper and those who support him - with enemies like these . . .

Cross-posted to the China e-Lobby

Posted by D.J. McGuire on November 22, 2006 in Canadian Politics, International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

How do you spell Sudetenland? I-R-A-Q

There is so much that is, in my view, important in the News of the Weekend (in no small part because it took me so long to post it): Communist China subverting UN sanctions against Stalinist North Korea, more reaction to Stephen Harper's strength in regards to the ChiComs, a disturbing report on how the Communist navy is not trying to catch up to the United States but is actually succeeding, and much, much more.

However, the one that jumps out at me, still, is the fourth item: the all-but-certain Syrian hit job on Lebanese Minister Pierre Gemayel.  This comes just as the Syrian regime is taking in praise and pleas for "help on Iraq" from pundits all over the U.S.

One would think that brazen acts such as this might wake the American chattering class out of its stupor.  One will likely be proven wrong.  After all, if we're so determined to let Syria and Iran carve up Iraq, no one should expect us to raise too much of a stink if the other Middle Eastern nation trying to build itself into an anti-terrorist democracy is snuffed out by Damascus.

I've heard numerous reference to 1938; I've usually found them problematic.  I'm not so sure anymore.  If anything, November 2006 has shown us "Iraq" is actually Arabic for "Sudetenland."

Posted by D.J. McGuire on November 22, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Not just a photo


A picture's worth a thousand words!

This is not just a photo op of two 3rd world leaders. It goes beyond that. It's a picture of two ruthless dictators who have no respect for human rights, rule of law and dignity of their own citizens. Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe was in Tehran meeting with Iranian dictatorship leaders according to VOA News and the above picture is taken from Mugabe's meeting with Ali Khamenei of Iran.

Regime's ISNA reports:

Cross-posted @ The Spirit of Man

Posted by Winston on November 21, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Milton Friedman

What a beautiful remembrance by David Warren.

Here's a wonderful passage from it:

I spent an afternoon with Milton Friedman, and his wife Rose, and Michael Walker (the founder of the Fraser Institute), in a tea shop in Whistler, B.C., almost a decade ago. The pair of them -- diminutive octogenarians from Chicago -- were like a couple of fresh-fallen teen-aged lovers, doting and inseparable, often holding hands. Even in their mid-eighties, they left an impression of guileless youth. Both were economists, both passionate, seemingly naive idealists for free markets and free men. But with a wonderful ability to pull paradoxical ideas out of the air, that followed from the simple ones they started with...

...When I would come up with one of my more fanciful suggestions for turning the world inside out, they would praise it before charitably ripping it to pieces, quoting statistics by the yard. They would make excuses for their worst enemies; they would explain the intellectual milieux from which each idiot had emerged; and always accept the idiot's right to an opinion. They were just the most cheerful, decent people you could imagine, tingling with alert intelligence.

Posted by Ezra Levant on November 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Calling China's bluff

I'm glad that Stephen Harper looked Beijing's bullies in the eye and refused to blink. Here's my Sun column on the subject from yesterday. I had an error in it -- Harper calls his policy "principled engagement", not "constructive engagement", as I had written.

An excerpt:

"There are a few lessons here.

First: China, like any bully, respects strength more than weakness.

Second, China has more to lose than we do from a deterioration in relations -- we'll never run out of people who want to buy our oil.

Third, Harper is making Canada relevant again in foreign affairs. Not only are we no longer apologists for dictators, but we are actually moral leaders.

Finally, Harper is putting into action the empty Liberal slogans about human rights and Canadian values."

What do you think?

Posted by Ezra Levant on November 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (39) | TrackBack

The song

Editorial in the Toronto Sun: Globe sees the light at last!

...Globe and Mail Ottawa columnist John Ibbitson has helped to answer those questions in a remarkably blunt column last Friday. Headlined "Bob Rae and the China syndrome" Ibbitson said the fears of many westerners (and other conservatives) that Canada is run by an eastern liberal elite are valid.

btw in case you missed it here's how the Ibbitson column ends:

One day, not that far off, the West will choose the song, and the masses will elect whom they please, and the elite of the liberal consensus will find themselves talking only to each other, and being listened to by no one at all.

h/t Joanne's Journey via Blogging Tories

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

Sickness and broken bones

For anyone wondering, a combination of personal illness and familial maladies (in particular my son's broken ankle), have kept me away from the keyboard. With luck, I'll have a News of the Weekend by tonight or tomorrow.

Cross-posted to China e-Lobby

Posted by D.J. McGuire on November 21, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, November 20, 2006

Michael Richards Loses It...

Or does he? You decide...

As of the time of this post, there have been over 1100 comments on the TMZ website discussing (?) this little meltdown.

Let me give you a brief summary of all the posts in four easy points....

  1. Richards has lost his mind.
  2. It's freedom of speech, and he should be allowed to say what he wants.
  3. If blacks can say the "N" word, what's the problem with white guys saying it
  4. Richards is da man, f*** all the n*****s and (for some reason) the jews.

I'm not sure if Richards was doing a Lenny Bruce, cutting edge, one for the ages comedy act, but I don't think he was.

I don't understand the whole idea of celebrities being able to say what they want, whenever they want. Three cases come immediately to mind; this one, Mel Gibson and his Jewish conspiracy tirade, and Paris Hilton, when referring to Lindsay Lohan's private parts.

Could it be that celebrities are surrounded with "yes men" and from that take a sense of they can do no wrong?

I believe this is more a symptom of arrogance, than of stupidity. Now what will be the excuse for this behavior on the Barbara Walter's special?

  1. I was drunk (or on drugs)
  2. I was going through a depression
  3. Richards hates black people and thinks it's OK to say so...

I'm going for excuse #2...

UPDATE - Richards apologizes tonight on Letterman. Check your local listings...

Posted by Mike The Greek on November 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (64) | TrackBack

I coudln't agree more...

"it is time for the Muslim community to start looking in the mirror"

The 24th annual conference of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women convened in Gatineau on Saturday to discuss the image of Islam in the media.

"I'm tired of all our complaints about the media," she said, smiling. (Pazira works for CBC's The National.) "We do not make it easy for the media to cover us."

Besides being silenced by fears regarding their portrayal, the Muslim community has also, ironically, hobbled its own image by its emphasis on careers in science leaving too few representatives in the social sciences.

"We do not have a lot of experts who can talk eloquently about issues relating to Muslims," she said. The result, said Pazira, is unfortunate.

"We are Canadian, and we are Muslims but that image of Muslim Canadians is completely missing from the media."

We have been crying out for the so-called moderates of Islam to speak out and stand up for themselves and their religion. What we've heard, with the exception of a few lonely voices, is merely crickets chirping. This leads people - like myself - to completely give up on the idea of Islam as a legitimate religion.  It will take many voices, and not just paid shills speaking on behalf of CAIR and other dodgy organizations, to change my mind and the minds of millions of others around the world.

Will this Council of Muslim Women be able to change the course of history? Who knows - it's worth a shot.

Posted by RightGirl on November 20, 2006 in Religion | Permalink | Comments (56) | TrackBack

Mair's muddle

The once-powerful Rafe Mair, whose daily talk-radio editorials used to be so influential in B.C., hasn't had a radio pulpit for some time now, but still gets his voice heard on a small Fraser Valley TV station three times a week and writes weekly for the Tyee.com online magazine. This week's Tyee offering makes a few interesting points about politics and justice, but Mair makes a big mistake about one of the major events around which the column pivots.

Mair asserts that then-justice critic Vic Toews was responsible for the Conservatives' disastrous "soft of child porn" attack against the Liberals during the 2004 election. In fact, the attack was generated by the Tory war room, and fronted by Stephen Harper. Here's a bit of the National Post's page-one story on the affair:

Harper, PM spar over child porn: Martin demands apology after Tory release asks if he 'supports' it
Saturday, June 19, 2004
RICHMOND, Que. - Child pornography became a central issue in the federal election campaign yesterday after Stephen Harper accused Paul Martin of failing to crack down on its producers and the Liberals suggested the Tories were simply exploiting the sensitive subject for political gain.

A day after the killer of 10-year-old Holly Jones told a Toronto courtroom he was driven to commit the crime after viewing sexual images of children on the Internet, the Conservative party war room issued news releases stating that Mr. Martin and NDP MPs had voted down repeated Tory attempts to prohibit the creation and promotion of child pornography.

Perhaps this will refresh Mair's memory.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on November 20, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The human right to look busy

Two articles in two days have mentioned that the Chretien government established the Canada-China Joint Committee on Human Rights in 1997, citing this as evidence that the previous Liberal governments were very active on the issue of human rights in China. Today we have Alan Woods in the National Post: PM snipes at Liberals over China and yesterday there was Jennifer Ditichburn's CP piece: Harper declares his government has a gutsier style on the world stage (which I mentioned in a post yesterday) and. But for years, human rights groups and China critics have been telling me that entities like this committee are more an attempt to contain the issue rather than examine it. In other words, it's a way of looking busy while not really doing anything.

Now that it's being brought up I thought it would be interesting to examine the news coverage of that committee over the last ten years. So I started searching databases. The results were even more hilarious than I had anticipated. When I began I assumed there would be a hundred or so stories, and I guessed--based on what I had been told--that most them would be rather lame. I didn't think I would be able to actually list the pieces in a small amount of space. But lo, here they are, a mere total of 7 in ten years. As you read the list, keep in mind that the committee was established by then-Foreign Affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy.

April 22, 1997 editorial in Montreal Gazette by Lloyd Axworthy: Canada still pushing for rights in China

April 24, 1997 letter to the editor in The Financial Post by Lloyd Axworthy: China decision a difficult one

April 28, 1997 letter to the editor in the Toronto Star by Lloyd Axworthy: Canada got unprecedented human rights deal with China

April 28, 1997 letter to the editor in the Calgary Herald by Lloyd Axworthy: Canada pursues different route with China

November 29, 1997 editorial in the The Financial Post: China relationship worth cultivating

December 28, 1999 editorial in the Ottawa Citizen: ... and other foreign policy compromises

November 3, 2005 CP story in the Sudbury Star: Human rights focus of Canada-China dialogue

I searched the Infomart database using several variations of terms, and then Proquest. Maybe there were a lot more stories and I couldn’t find them. Maybe that committee was busy doing something behind the scenes, but it doesn’t appear to have generated much public discussion throughout the last decade. And my guess is that is exactly what the Chinese wanted.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 20, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Canada, Kyoto, Rona

My latest, at the Star.

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on November 19, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Mr. Dithers and the Dalai Lama

In the CP coverage of the Harper visit to Southeast Asia; Harper declares his government has a gutsier style on the world stage, the writer make a comparison between the Harper government's approach to relations with China and that of the previous Paul Martin Liberal government.

Still, it was the Liberal government under Prime Minister Jean Chretien in 1997 that created the Canada-China Joint Dialogue on Human Rights, which has met every year except this one.

Chretien successor, Paul Martin, was the first Canadian prime minister to meet with the Dalai Lama.

That line reminding us of the April 23, 2004 meeting with the Dalai Lama is instructive because reviewing that event helps to illustrate the differences between Martin and Harper.

The visit by the Dalai Lama to Ottawa was announced in Dec. 2003. At that time, 126 MPs were lobbying the PM to meet with him. Still, Martin refused to say whether he would, worried about relations with China. By the beginning of April 2004 the story had reached international proportions and many commentators had pointed out that other international leaders had met with the Dalai Lama and suffered no penalty of trade with China. Finally, on April 13, ten days before the Dalai Lama was set to arrive, the PMO announced there would be a meeting between the two, though it was in no way an official visit, and only "spiritual matters" would be discussed. It was not a one-on-one, and was held at the home of Rev. Marcel Gervais, Roman Catholic archbishop of Ottawa with many others present. From the Ottawa Citizen, April 16, 2003: "Martin's aides have said once China understands the limited scope of the meeting, all will be forgiven."

It was not a gutsy move. Domestic and international exposure were making Paul Martin look ridiculous. The waffling over this meeting contributed greatly to the perception of the PM as Mr. Dithers. As Don Martin wrote in the Calgary Herald on April 9, 2004:

Martin's office continues to fudge and fidget on the delicate question of granting the Dalai Lama the courtesy of a coffee break when he visits Ottawa later this month...

Never mind that the leaders of most world powers have chatted with the Dalai Lama in his spiritual capacity or as winner of a Nobel Peace Prize and never suffered a retaliatory loss of business.

Fact is, the year following the Dalai Lama's chat with U.S. President George W. Bush, U.S. trade with China grew considerably faster than Canada-China commerce.

And, besides, who our prime minister meets or greets is entirely his decision and not subject to a foreign power's veto.

But what's even more alarming is how the government's foot-dragging on this innocuous invitation is symptomatic of Martin's chronic failure to show decisive leadership.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I Cassandra

Andrew Coyne in the National Post asks, Who is Bob Rae? I know who Bob Rae is. Bob Rae is the Power Corp Proxy and he is going to win the Liberal leadership because the Power Corp Proxy always wins.

The leadership race will be great theatre. It has to be. Nobody wants a frickin' boring coronation like the previous Liberal leadership race. However, like all theatre, the end of the script is known.

Putting that aside for a moment, let’s have some fun with the opening Greek chorus, the Deanster. Howard Dean will be funny. As he steps up to the microphone, the screaming young folk at the front will cajole him into doing "the scream" and that will be self-deprecating and hilarious and he’s really a great guy "but seriously folks Stephen Harper equals George Bush blah blah and Canada needs its Bill Clinton like Trudeau was your Kennedy blah blah"

And then the vote. In a dramatic come from behind second ballot victory, the party choses--omigod!--Bob Rae! "This is a dramatic turn of events," Peter Mansbridge will say to the camera like he believes it. And then Peter will turn to Jim Travers of the Toronto Star and ask him, "Is that how you see it, Jim?" And Jim, red-faced because he knows the Canadian political landscape but can only speak about a tenth of what he knows if he knows what good for him, will say "Well Peter, I think the signs were there..."

The Raester will be hoisted on shoulders and carried up to the stage where he will make a spontaneous speech out of string of meaningless platitudes and clichés starting with "Now is the time to come together." And come together they will, pretending it is a new day for the Liberal Party, it's 1968 all over again, Trudeaumania. Those were the days my friend we'd thought they'd never end.

Following the convention, calling it Rae's honeymoon period, the media will gush as if Bob has just dropped in from Mars and nobody had ever heard of him before. Bob, your father was a distinguished diplomat. What was it like growing up in that atmosphere? Bob, the Globe and Mail's Jeffrey Simpson once called you "the first Jewish premier of Ontario" though your wife calls you Chai Anglican ho ho ho. Does that mean you could become Canada's first Jewish Prime Minister? Bob, you were also quite the scholar as a young man, and you seem to have developed a real social conscience early on. Was that a heavy burden? Bob, you led Ontario through a difficult recession. How did you and your family handle all the personal criticism?

And male journos like Don Martin and Thomas Walkom will be impressed with the remarkably frank and open Bob Rae, saying he has real gravitas, and female journos like Susan Delacourt and Jane Taber will put on the blush-and-swoon like aged groupies at a Vegas fat Elvis concert in the '70s.

Here's a Cassandra side note. Cloak of Green Party leader Elizabeth May will try to consolidate as much of the uninformed environmental vote as possible targeting urban Starbucks latte slurpers and earnest young college students frightfully worried that the world is about to end because the older generation "screwed up." In the next federal election, using the old Liberal playbook--repeating the line “There’s nothing scarier than a Stephen Harper majority”--in key ridings she will lead that vote over to the Liberals. I believe she is there to siphon off the Green vote from the NDP and lead it back to the natural governing party.

Of course I could be wrong about all of the above. After all, the real prize is foreign affairs, control of the China file and CIDA. From the November 6, 2006 Hill Times:

Increasingly, it seems clear that while Dion would serve happily in a Rae government, and Rae would be a comfortable foreign affairs minister to Prime Minister Dion...

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 18, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (57) | TrackBack

And We Wonder...

why Islamic terrorists want to destroy us...

"Ben Lovatt and Victor Moukhortov waited in line for two days to buy a new PlayStation 3 only to take it to Dundas Square and smash it to bits with a sledge hammer.

"I did it for the thrill and to see people's expression," Moukhortov, a 17-year-old part-time student said yesterday after the public smashing of the PS3 he bought from the downtown Best Buy.

I cannot begin to start saying what was wrong with the whole PS3 thing. From e-bay, to the line-ups in freezing weather, to the cost of the units, to the people getting robbed and shot in line, to the limited release strategy and now this.


Posted by Mike The Greek on November 18, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Friday, November 17, 2006

Note to the Grits: This is what real leadership looks like

Or, to put it another way, keep criticizing Stephen Harper for standing up to the Communists and you'll be on the opposition benches for a looooong time.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on November 17, 2006 in Canadian Politics, International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (26) | TrackBack

Keeping mumb

The Language Log posts The Spell against Spelling;

...I know they're there. I know where the beggars are,
With their flash cards looking like prescriptions for the catarrh
And their mnemnmonics, blast 'em. They go too farrh.
I do not stoop to impugn, indict, or condemn;
But I know how to get back at the likes of thegm...

h/t Language Hat

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 17, 2006 in Media | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

A media heritage moment

From blogger Dissonance And Disrespect: Communication Breakdown, a look-see at a Globe article about PM commmunications director Sandra Buckler attempting to assess the communication skills of various ministers:

But the media has a vested interest in portraying the Harper government as keeping everybody within it muzzled--a variation on the old "hidden agenda" theme.

The Globe article does contain this somewhat balanced turnaround;

But one communications expert said yesterday that there may be merit in assessing the communications abilities of cabinet ministers and providing help to those whose skills are found to be lacking.

Now, having given a nod to journalistic balance, I do find this "may be merit in assessing" a little amusing. I'd say if one of your ministers is hopping through the halls of the House of Commons on one foot because the other is constantly stuck in his mouth, this is something you'd definitely want to assess and fix, if you can. And it does seem odd that the article takes what appears to be an initiative aimed at improving communication and turns it into a story about limiting communication. Galloway uses the word "secretly" twice but doesn't explain what was secret. Perhaps Buckler assured communications staff their assessments of their bosses would be kept confidential so their bosses couldn't hold it against them. Perhaps it was a Top Secret mission to ferret out butt kissers. Who knows? As for Disrespect's judgment about the article having the feel of the "hidden agenda" bs that the media assailed the Canadian public with over the last decade, it should be pointed out that this type of thing goes back much further than that. I refer you to Dr. J and Mr. K's Oct. 25 entry: New developments in autojournalism.

Here are some newspaper headlines which many readers will find familiar:

"PM tries to curb information flow…"
"Tories secretive despite promises"
"PM orders curb on ministry leaks"
"Civil servants’ gag rules to be released on Friday"
"Ottawa invokes secrecy rules on cabinet ministers’ flight"
"Gag on public employees loosened/PM says remarks must be on record"
"'Stick to channels in advising minister,' bureaucrats told”

They echo comments repeated today in the House of Commons suggesting that the Prime Minister and the government are not open to inquiry and not giving ready access to government information. Fairly common fare.

Too bad these headlines are more than 20 years old!

The theme of Conservative governments "keeping everybody within it muzzled" is a pretty standard MSN template. Let us celebrate our shared Canadian heritage.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 17, 2006 in Media | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Liberal Double Standard?

Where is Belinda, and the federal Liberal Party, the great defenders of women's honour?

"If he doesn’t hear from federal Environment Minister Rona Ambrose by week’s end, Liberal MP Mark Eyking says he’ll "corner her to see what the department is doing" about an environmental assessment at a Point Aconi strip mine site." (emphasis mine)

Near as I figure, that comment could be seen as exceptionally threatening to a woman, let alone a federal minister. It could also be framed as misogynist.

In light of Rovergate, where are the women's rights groups screaming about the phallocentric system of politics we have in this country and that a comment made like that is a threat to all women? Where is Belinda and the Liberal Party decrying that this is another example of why women won't enter politics?

Or is this another example of she's not on the left, and she's the enemy so we'll let this one slide?

Seems to me that there is double standard on what is acceptable behavior towards women by "progressives". If it's being done to a Conservative (or if you live under the Taliban regime) then evidently it's OK to treat some women by a different standard.

Posted by Mike The Greek on November 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (53) | TrackBack

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Steyn nails it

As always. Here's his recent National Review column, ending with this chilling line:

We cannot state who we are, what we believe, why we fight.

Of course you can read his 65 archived Western Standard columns here, and buy his best-selling book here.

Posted by Ezra Levant on November 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

What liberal media bias?

Last year, Liberal Environment Minister Stephane Dion was given the "fossil of the day" award for not doing enough for the environment. Number of news stories in Canada on this embarrassment? Zero.

This year, Conservative Environment Minister Rona Ambrose was given the "fossil of the day" award by for not doing enough for the environment. Number of news stories in Canada on this embarrassment? 193.

What liberal media bias?

h/t Stephen Taylor

Posted by Ezra Levant on November 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

A fine Canadian Press mess

I honestly can't tell what the heck is going on with China or for that matter with our news service Canadian Press. Yesterday you read about how that country had canceled a pre-APEC meeting with Prime Minister Harper. If you followed it on the web, you would have watched this story go through a multitude of updates and rewrites. I first encountered it on the CBC site early in the west coast morning, and noticed CBC was relying on a Canadian Press story by Jennifer Ditchburn. When I went to the original Ditchburn piece I found myself getting slightly annoyed because she was relying on unnamed “Chinese officials” and had somehow come up with the idea that Canada was being "snubbed" but I couldn't figure out if this was Ditchburn's interpretation, or if she had got it from somebody. From yesterday;

OTTAWA (CP) -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not have an official meeting with his Chinese counterpart during this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation conference in Vietnam, in an apparent snub by Beijing over the Conservative government's emphasis on human rights.

The two countries had been trying to negotiate a bilateral meeting to take place prior to the APEC leaders forum between Harper and President Hu Jintao. Chinese officials said Canada had approached them for a meeting in Hanoi, while Canadian officials said it was the other way around.

But by late Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Harper said there would be no meeting.

"China approached us about a meeting. We said yes. We have since learned that the meeting offer has now been declined," said Sandra Buckler, Harper's director of communications.

Buckler stated there was no given reason for the cancellation, so it is difficult to say where Ditchburn came up with this “apparent snub by Beijing over the Conservative government's emphasis on human rights.” Various experts were then introduced in various versions of the story--depending on where the piece appeared and who did additional reporting--about how the Harper government was messing up our trade relationship with China over such a silly thing as human rights. Btw, none of these stories mentioned the huge trade imbalance with China shipping way more stuff over here than we send over there: perhaps this would screw up the premise of the potential danger of insulting the Chinese because it would be apparent to readers that on balance China needed us as a customer more than we needed them, much like we need the US as a customer more than they need us.

The Globe offered their own piece that gave no source for the "snub" interpretation, but noting--an important note to my mind--that Chinese embassy officials were not speaking. Okay, so who were the unnamed “Chinese officials” in the original CP story? Did they give out this idea of a “snub” by a Beijing displeased over human rights? Was someone attempting to embarrass the Harper government?

By the end of the day Liberal MP Keith Martin had produced a press release "Conservatives Failing Canada with Foreign Affairs Flubs" counting the oh-so-many-ways the Conservatives had failed on the foreign policy front and leading off with the "snub":

The recent snub of Prime Minister Stephen Harper by the President of China is the latest in a long line of diplomatic blunders by the Conservative Government, Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Dr. Keith Martin said today.

But the story had already moved past Martin. First, foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay stated something like "no big deal" (which today we see was correct). Then Harper in Anchorage on his way to Hanoi was asked about the "snub." He managed to turn a crisis into an opportunity by saying Canada will not trade human rights concerns for cash. Touché.

CTV today has a story today with something of a climb-down, though it is hard to tell if this unnamed source of CP's, as told to us in the CTV story, is the same as the unnamed Chinese officials in the first story;

But a source in Ottawa familiar with the details told the Canadian Press that China had simply asked whether the Harper government would be interested in meeting with Hu -- a subtle overture that's customary practice with some Asian countries.

Today we have another Ditchburn story that relies on the comments of the PM reacting to her original story, China, Canada still in awkward dance over potential meeting. Again we have her quoting unnamed "Chinese officials". There appears to be a subtle attempt by CP to put the blame on Harper for the original story (italics mine);

Chinese officials also denied that they had ever withdrawn an offer to meet with Harper. That version of events was at odds with what Harper himself recounted to reporters on his way to Hanoi...

But yesterday in the timeline as I saw it, Harper was merely reacting to the original Ditchburn story. Anyway, from a publicity point of view, if--as Ditchburn implies today--the story originated with Harper, then I guess it worked out quite well for him. He got to make a strong statement on Canadian values and the pre-APEC meeting is still a go... I think. If there was some kind of loose plan by "Chinese officials" or their friends in the Liberal Party to embarrass the Harper government, it appears to have backfired.

Posted by Kevin Steel on November 16, 2006 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Canada kicks out Communist envoy for espionage and intimidation

Kudos to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government for finding out what Communist Embassy official Wang Pengfei was doing - i.e., "compiling information on Canadians who practice Falun Gong and inciting students to help him" (third item) - and kicking him out of the country for it.  This won't get anywhere near the coverage it should, but it was a powerful signal to the Chinese-Canadian community that Ottawa will no longer tolerate Beijing's floozies intimidating them into silence.  Well done.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on November 16, 2006 in Canadian Politics, International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Perceived Wisdom"

The overwhelming item of “Perceived Wisdom” being foisted on the Canadian public, since the US midterm elections, has switched from “Bush and all his doings are bad” to “Global warming caused by anthropomorphic (man caused) production of greenhouse gases is reaching catastrophic proportions”. I liken “Perceived Wisdom” to what Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, is reputed to have said: “A big lie repeated loudly and often enough becomes the truth”. What is the recent history of perceived truths? One example is “The Cooling World” as epitomized by a Newsweek article of that title dated April 28, 1975 which stated in part (referring to this cooling): “The evidence in support of these predictions has begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it”. Except for the direction that the temperature is supposed to be traveling, does this not sound eerily similar to what we are hearing today? Has anyone checked Goebbel’s grave lately? On another subject, but relevant when referring to “Perceived Wisdom”, the glitterati lightweights of the MSM solemnly proclaimed right up to election night that Stephen Harper did not have it in him to become Prime Minister. I believe “Perceived Wisdom” is seldom wise and almost invariably wrong.


Posted by Bob Wood on November 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBack


I know, I know, I swore I wouldn't say another word about Garth Turner. But this website, designed by a friend, is worth breaking my vow of silence!

Posted by Ezra Levant on November 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack