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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Letter to President Bush

I hope and pray for the patience of the Canadian readership, but I know many Americans read this blog.  The North Korea Freedom Coalition wrote an open letter to President Bush in response to the Beijing Surrender; I have reprinted in full (with permission from the good folks at NKFC) here.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on February 28, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (47) | TrackBack

Canadians Taking Over the World

Okay, so that post title may be an overstatement. But CanWest, which of course owns the National Post and the Ottawa Citizen, among many other publications, has just bought complete control of The New Republic (TNR). TNR is a Washington mag extraordinarily difficult to get in Canada (in my native city, Toronto, I found only one newsstand which sold it. I haven't yet found one in Calgary). It's generally liberal, but the editor-in-chief, Martin Peretz, is as hawkish as they come. And TNR routinely publishes stories by conservatives such as Charles Krauthammer, Victor Davis Hanson (in this issue of the Standard), Robert Kagan, Ramesh Ponnuru, etc. It'll be interesting to see what direction CanWest takes it in. 

Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on February 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

That's one way to put it

Obviously no ideological cousin of Canadian Liberals, a Liberal MP in Australia has called a certain former U.S. vice-president's documentary about a certain supposed meteorlogical phenomenon, "bullshit from beginning to end." If it is, then maybe there's an extra bathroom somewhere in that documentarian's palatial and energy-gobbling manse in which said excrement can be flushed down the toilet.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 28, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Beijing surrender yesterday; Tehran surrender tomorrow?

Just as the mullahcracy of Iran begins to worry (see Winston's earlier post), who should come to their rescue?  The United States of America.  Be afraid; be very afraid.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on February 28, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Against cynicism in politics

(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).
Some who are the most cynical about politics and politicians are those who have little to no contact with either. Not that there aren't some politicians who are, well, "deficient." There are occasions where it really is a matter of "respecting the office" -- not necessarily the officeholder. But some of the most principled people I've met, I've become acquainted with through politics. Not that I've agreed with all of them, been in agreement on every issue with likeminded politicos, or shared a common approach to the doing of politics with those I do agree with on every important issue. But I can say this: many politicos -- elected officials, political staff, and organizers -- are people who really care . . . "true believers," even.

Then there's the folks who seem to think, "Wouldn't politics be great if it weren't for all those people I have to deal with!" These are the folks who seem to think it's all about the policy. Or, there are those who think it's "all about me," who don't appreciate that it takes a team and that everybody on the team has a role: candidates and elected officials, political staff, organizers, and volunteers. They don't "get it" that politics is a people-driven, personal, and social pursuit -- an intensely human activity.

Pat O'Brien, former Liberal and, then, Independent MP (1993-2006), writes about "50 things I love about politics" (Comment, 23 Feb 07), here, in a way that reflects all of this. And, he doesn't forget to talk about what is most important . . . marriage, family, and God.

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on February 28, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Brussels Journal

My latest at the Brussels Journal -- about Herouxville, Newmarket and reasonable accommodation.

Cross-posted at Wonkitties.

Posted by wonkitties on February 28, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What's Angelina Jolie's Position on Darfur?

I've asked myself that question so many times. Now we finally have an answer.

Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on February 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Iranian regime gets nervous

Islamic regime of Iran is getting nervous and they are doing weird stuff. Like forcing people to join military and increasing their military activities in the Persian gulf.

You can read about it here!

Posted by Winston on February 27, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (48) | TrackBack

Even where al Qaeda is concerned, Communist propaganda can trip an analyst up

It's taken me a few days to get a functioning URL of Martin Wayne's Asia Times piece on East Turkestan; mea culpa for that. However, I have now had the chance to examine Wayne's assertion that Communist China (a) has confronted al Qaeda, (b) has largely handled al Qaeda, and (c) its performance in "Xinjiang" can be a model for the rest of the world. Wayne is not only wrong on all counts, his assumptions come from the tragic mistake of largely taking what he hears at face value. Those of us who know better can see the flaws in his construct with almost disturbing ease.

Wayne beings with a description of the Communist "raid" on a supposed "terrorist facility " in East Turkestan: "According to reports, 18 terrorists were killed and 17 were captured, along with 22 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and material for thousands more. " Wayne seems to anticipate the arguments of skeptics like myself (and the Uyghur American Association), and innoculate himself from them with a throwaway line, but in the sentences that follow, he completely contradicts himself:

Chinese reportage on terrorism is notoriously problematic, at times imprecise or simply fabricated. For the skeptics, photos of a policeman killed in the raid were also released, showing emotional relatives amid a sea of People's Armed Police paying their final respects.

Not to be rude here, but a photo of a funeral is hardly an indication of that the deceased was killed in a raid of some kind, let alone the kind the Communists claim occurred. Now, that may sound like nitpicking, but one can understand my concern when added to the following stretch from Wayne:

In late December, al-Qaeda's No 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called for action against "occupation" governments ruling over Muslims, including reference to the plight of Uighurs in western China. Yet despite this commitment of resources and rhetorical energy. . .

Commitment of resources and rhetorical energy? I took a look at the transcript of al-Zawahiri's December rant (via the Institute for Counter-Terrorism). The al Qaeda lieutenant spent over 8,100 words on Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Chechnya. How many words did al-Zawahiri dedicate to East Turkestan? Four. Contrary to Wayne's assertion, East Turkistan is, at most, a throwaway line to al Qaeda.

Of course, Wayne also notes that al Qaeda "reportedly trained more than 1,000 Uighurs . . . in camps in Afghanistan prior to September 11, 2001" (emphasis added). Of course, "reportedly" means as reported by the Communists themselves. To date, the United States military has captured or been handed less than two dozen Uighurs, and has cleared over half of them (United Press Int'l via Washington Times).

Wayne also slips up on the "riot" of Yining, and while he did get right al Qaeda's hopes for the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, he neglects to mention the numerous sources that make clear ETIM never actually made it to East Turkestan before it crashed and burned (though perhaps he is not aware of them).

Yet, it is in his discussion on Communist China's supposed political actions in the region where the deepest flaw in his theory is revealed (emphasis added):

The central government purged separatist sympathizers from local governments and attempted to remove political dissent from religious worship. At the same time, availability of Uighur-language education was broadened and Beijing sought to expand economic development in Xinjiang, which was viewed as the key to success. Uighurs in Xinjiang repeatedly explained in interviews that these changes made participation in the Chinese state more attractive, despite perceptions that economic opportunities primarily benefited ethnic Chinese.

This is a common pitfall whenever anyone investigates matters in Communist China, and Wayne falls right in. There is no excuse for assuming anyone interviewed in "Xinjiang" - Uighur, Han, or otherwise, is able to speak freely. Rather than accept at face value what he hears, he should be trying to dig for the truth outside of his or his subjects' Communist watchers. Otherwise, all he hears is Communist propaganda regurgitated.

Thus, it suddenly makes sense that Wayne is so willing to detach from reality when talking about how "China has created a path for young Uighurs - one achieved through participation in the system rather than fighting it" despite the reports of nearly every outside analyst and Uighur exiles like Rebiya Kadeer (fifth, second, eleventh, last, second, and fourth items) and, until he was imprisoned by Uzbekistan, Huseyincan Celil.

Thus, one is no longer surprised when Wayne refers to "Zawahiri's call to arms in late December," when in fact, the al Qaeda lieutenant's complete verbage on East Turkestan was hardly a whisper. Also, Wayne's insistence that Communist China's "primary concern is still internal security" is also understandable - no Communist source would dare tell him about the regime's ties to al Qaeda, the Iranian mullahcracy, and Saddam Hussein.

Wayne's credits cite his "extensive field work in Xinjiang." Unfortunately, his column makes clear the "extensive field work" was almost certainly done in cooperation with the Communist regime. Tragically, if my assumption is correct, he probably ended his "field work" as unaware of the truth as he was when he began.

Cross-posted to the China e-Lobby

Posted by D.J. McGuire on February 27, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (43) | TrackBack

The Role of the Legislature

Senator Thune (R-SD) recently commented, on the floor on the United States Senate, that he can not believe that the Democrat Party actually wants the congress to micromanage the war in Iraq.

Why not?

What about this is so hard to believe?

Liberal politicians have spent a century telling civilians that they are incapable of managing their lives by themselves, and that they need pointy-headed bureaucrats to make decisions for them. Indeed, the laws and regulations everywhere grow by a countless number of volumes every year.

The big shock thus seems to be that the Democrat party has waited until now (with the exception of Vietnam) to attempt to micromanage the armed forces; not that they are trying to do it now.

The solution is not simply to maintain the status quo, and to keep the military free of burdensome nanny-state regulations. It is to make all of our society free of burdensome nanny-state regulations.

Posted by Jonathan Goldfarb on February 27, 2007 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Right on, Rafe

Rafe Mair, writing in B.C's online, left-wing magaine, the Tyee, on why Ernst Zundel and David Irving should not be in jail. It's a welcome but too-rare defence of free speech.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 27, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Kyoto "cap and trade": A very 21st-century Ponzi scheme?

As the 1920s began, Charles Ponzi offered customers returns on their investments of 20% in a matter of weeks.  He managed to pay out the promised returns by financing it with the capital from new investors . . . for awhile, till it all came crashing down.

As I understand it, the Kyoto cap and trade system puts "caps" or ceilings on each country's greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, H2O, CH4, and others -- "GHG").  Countries whose GHG emissions don't reach their cap can claim "credits" based on how far below the cap their emissions are.  Those countries can sell their credits to countries whose GHG emissions exceed their caps or targets -- country to country "trading" (cash for credits).  Markets have been created for the trading -- selling -- of GHG credits between companies:  the European Trading Scheme (mandatory in the EU) and the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX).

The World Bank estimated the market in carbon trading totalled about US$10 billion in 2005.  In a recent speech, Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank President, speculated that carbon trading transactions could soon total US$200 billion a year, half of which could flow to developing countries, compared with US$84 billion a year currently flowing in the form of foreign aid.

So, one way of looking at cash for credits is as a new way of doing foreign aid -- a giant redistribution of wealth from rich countries to poor countries.  The difficulty with this is that for all the complaints about accountability on foreign aid, what would happen to accountability under foreign aid done as cash for credits, er, carbon trading?  And what happens as a poor country increases its economic output?  Economic output is accompanied by increased GHG emissions -- compare Canada's GHG emissions during the recession of the 1980s with its GHG emissions in the high-growth years of the 1990s.  As poor countries increase their output, they will tend to eat up their GHG credits with GHG emissions.  As poor countries' economies become dependent on cash for credits -- carbon trading, this could-will become a disincentive to economic growth and productivity in those countries.

But it's more of a problem than just accountability for foreign aid framed as carbon trading.  'Cause carbon trading isn't like trade as we ordinarily understand it.  It really is cash for credits.  Are GHG credits fungible assets?  I leave that to those with better heads for finance than mine.

GHG emissions are produced by oxidizing fuel -- burning it.  That's true whether it's burning wood, coal, heating oil, gasoline and diesel,  jet fuel, propane, butane, natural gas (methane), cattle's digesting grass or grain, converting corn or garbage to biodiesel or other biofuels, or burning those biofuels.  As economies grow and create wealth, they tend to move away from high-carbon, low-hydrogen fuels to lower-carbon, higher-hydrogen fuels (Jesse Ausubel, Rockefeller Institute).

In Canada, we started out heating our homes by burning wood.  Then we moved to burning coal.  Then, heating oil.  And now, increasingly, natural gas.  That is, over the last 100 years or so, to heat their homes Canadians have moved away from high-carbon, low-hydrogen fuels toward low-carbon, high-hydrogen fuels.

"High carbon-low hydrogen:  bad."  "Low carbon-high hydrogen:  good."  The more carbon, the more CO2 produced by burning the fuel.  The more hydrogen, the more H2O -- water vapor -- produced by burning the fuel.  Yes, yes, I know.  Water vapor is a GHG.  But which would you rather breathe in?

So, these are my questions . . . (for more of "Kyoto "cap and trade":  A very 21st-century Ponzi scheme?" go to Burkean Canuck).

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on February 27, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Best Conservative Books of the 20th Century

I stumbled upon this list from National Review. It's a few years old and, since NR is an American mag, Canadians, let alone Western Canadians, aren't well-represented. Still, good for a list of conservative classics. 

Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on February 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

CBC conspiracy theory

CBC's The Fifth Estate—sorry, the fifth estate—is to air a disturbing documentary on the nefarious activities of global warming deniers:

Call them sceptics, deniers, or naysayers. They are scientists that see themselves as keepers of the truth about global warming: that it is a theory only, not a scientific fact, some even call it a hoax. Who are they? They may be small in number, but they have rich and powerful allies—the oil industry and the U.S. government.

Call them hypocrites, fascists or crushers of free debate. They are J-school graduates that see themselves as arbiters of all scientific matters in which they have no expertise: that anyone who disagrees with them deserves to be shunned, that those in relative denial could possibly be spawned from Lucifer himself. Who are they? They may be bloated in bureaucracy, but they have rich and powerful allies—Al Gore, David Suzuki and the whole of Hollywood.

In an act even more heinous to contemplate, the fifth estate will do all it can to deny global warming skeptics any publicity by—dum, dum, DUM!!!—secretly burying the doc in a broadcast schedule to ensure it receives the lowest audience share possible:

There are probably more Canadians who complain about CBC television than actually watch it.

The public network, which was already in ratings free fall before its month-long 2005 staff lockout, has seen its viewership numbers drop even faster since. On a typical evening, under 700,000 Canadians tune into the Ceeb for any part of prime time, down from about 900,000 prelockout and over 1.5 million a decade ago.

Ratings both for original CBC programming and programs bought from abroad are pathetic.

I'm on to you, you bastards!

Posted by Rob Huck on February 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

U.S was worried about North Korea aiding Iran

This apparently was part of the reason for the Beijing surrender.  Sadly, but predictably, when it comes to Iran's nuclear benefactors, the Bush Administration is looking at the wrong problem.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on February 27, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, February 26, 2007

IMF Official Denied Entry to United States

Alex Segura, a Spanish IMF official, was recently denied entry to the United States.

Perhaps international organizations should stop claiming to be holier than though and infallible

Posted by Jonathan Goldfarb on February 26, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


There's a terrific debate going on at Sight and Sound about Europe's multiculturalism. And what goes for Europe goes for here.

Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on February 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Stephane Dion: A timeline of inaction

In a further review of the history of bromine-laced PBDE fire retardants in Canada, I've created a timeline that shows how soon after Canadian government scientists made recommendations based on their studies to ban PBDEs, the bromine industry hired a high-powered Liberal Party strategist, John Duffy, as their lobbyist.  Then nothing happens on the file for four years, despite a major Globe and Mail report on PBDEs in food. 

In 2006, the Liberals are turfed from office, and within nine months, PBDEs are banned.

This article from 2005 The Walrus report on PBDEs, "Everyday Poisons", makes the inference explicit:

Government scientists made their results known when they recommended the government move to restrict the use of two pbde mixtures, largely used in polyurethane foams and rigid plastics in consumer appliances. And they suggested more research be done on the third mixture, known as deca-bde, just as production of deca-bde is being ramped up around the world in response to the bans against penta-bde and octa-bde.

Even so, in the face of a stiff industry lobby, no one is sure when, or if, Environment Minister Stéphane Dion will move to implement the advice of his own scientists and ban the penta-bde and octa-bde formulations from the market, let alone sharply limit the use of deca-bde.

The timeline is too long and detailed to reproduce here.  Review it yourself and ask just who was setting priorities while Stephane Dion was environment minister.

Posted by Steve Janke on February 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Independent Lieberman

Joe Lieberman is a good man and I like him because he is a decent political opponent and is often good on foreign policy and about how America should conduct itself in this dangerous world. I draw your attention to what he has written on the Wall Street Journal today:

I do believe he must join the GOP in the US Senate and stop pretending to be a Democrat. He ain't a leftie in most cases, especially foreign policy. Plus what he says can be true in case of Canada. Just put Afghanistan instead of Iraq and Canada instead of America in the text and then it will apply to Canadians that are involved in Afghanistan.


Posted by Winston on February 26, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Busy weekend for China watchers

There was enough this weekend for Canada to have its own category today, just a couple of items below Condoleezza Rice's naive hope that Communist China will be helpful in reining in its Iranian allies.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on February 26, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The size medium is the message

A Toronto t-shirt company has agreed to stop selling a shirt carrying the offensive, crude, vulgar, politicallly incorrect and therefore sure-to-appeal-to-young-male-adults words, "No means have aNOther drink." Instead, the company will develop a new line of t-shirts in collaboration with the Canadian Federation of Students, which is claiming credit for the anti-date-rape slogan "No Means No".

Given the hard-left, preciously progressive nature of the CFS, we're expecting a new line of edgy shirts with such sayings as, "David Suzuki for God," "Higher taxes mean a better Canada" and "Stop arguing and just give the unions what they want."


Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 26, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Thai Cooking

Today's bombings in Thailand remind us that this is not a struggle between Islamism and the West. It's a struggle between Islamism and everybody. Thailand, India, Russia, China--all these countries face terrorism from radical Muslims. This is evidence that it is not U.S. foreign policy or Western imperialism that is at the root of Islamism. Certainly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Guantanamo Bay help deliver recruits to the Islamist cause. But Islamism as an ideology goes far beyond grievances with George W. Bush.

Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on February 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (30) | TrackBack

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Canada Makes the Right Choice

Standard readers will likely disagree, but I think the Supreme Court made the right decision in striking down Canada's indefinite-detention law. I'm all for stronger government powers against Islamists--no softie here. But that's the thing: the imprisoned men haven't been proven to be Islamists. They haven't been proven to be anything. Once they have been shown in a court of law to have consorted with known terrorists, throw them in prison for the rest of their lives. Good by me. But until they've actually been charged with something, I can't support locking individuals up indefinitely. Then there's this:

"'The Supreme Court, by 9 to 0, has said no to Guantánamo North in Canada,' said Mr. Charkaoui, who is under tightly controlled, electronically monitored house arrest" (my italics).

This strikes me as a good compromise. If the man is thought to be associating with terrorists, or thought to be a terrorist himself, keeping him under house arrest and monitoring him, rather than detaining him, is a way to keep him under control.

Look at it this way: conservatives think government screws up everything, right? Government screws up the budget, government screws up taxation, government screws up Alberta's economy. Why won't it screw up the intelligence involved in national security? 

Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on February 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (47) | TrackBack

Is David Suzuki inflating the numbers to look environmentally important?

A metaphor for the issue of environmentalism.

David Suzuki rents a monster tour bus and goes on a month-long tour of Canada.  His people somberly pronounce that the bus will generate 20 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, but their sense of responsibility compels them to pay $35 per tonne to offset it.

David Suzuki rents a monster tour bus and goes on a month-long tour of Canada.  I look at the distances, the mileage expected, the EPA measure of the amount of greenhouse gas created by diesel fuel, and pronounce with some confusion that it would appear that the expected emissions would amount to about 1 tonne of greenhouse gas, and that you can pay as little as $5 per tonne to offset it.

Seven hundred bucks?  Or change you find in your pocket?

Certainly the environmentalists would prefer the larger number.  It makes the issue bigger.  In this case, two orders of magnitude bigger.

But the math doesn't add up.

Or maybe I've made a mistake.  Check out the calculations at Angry in the Great White North.

Posted by Steve Janke on February 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (45) | TrackBack

Friday, February 23, 2007

Park plaque?

SMH: Korean gets jail over oil-for-food role

"You acted out of greed, acted to profit from what was supposed to be a humanitarian program," the judge said.

That quote would look pretty good on a bronze plaque placed beside the entrance to the UN offices in NY. Should we pass the hat?

Posted by Kevin Steel on February 23, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Ayaan Hirsi Ali in Toronto

My favorite infidel Ayaan Hirsi Ali will be here in Toronto next wednesday 28th of Feb. 2007, at Indigo books and music store at Bay & Bloor.

Posted by Winston on February 23, 2007 in Books, Religion | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Get ready for Arnold

It now appears that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger definitely will be visiting Canada this year. Looking to boost his eco-credentials, Prime Minister Stephen Harper extended the invitation to green convert Schwarzenegger in January, at which time it was reported that the governor was "hoping" to lead a trade mission to Canada "soon."

I followed up this news by sending a letter to the governor's office in Sacramento, requesting an interview with Schwarzenegger should he come to Canada. I received my answer yesterday from Sheryl Main in the Office of the Governor. She writes, in part: "The Governor has plans to travel to Canada this year but dates have not yet been confirmed...."

So his trip to Canada, which is bound to be one of the biggest political events of the year (barring another federal election, of course), has gone from a diffuse "hope" to a more definite "plan." Stay tuned for more details.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 23, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Socialists to the rescue

A B.C. New Democrat, MLA John Horgan, is introducing a private member's bill in the legislature today which, if passed (highly unlikely) would regulate gasoline prices in B.C. and require the government to launch a public inquiry into allegedly high gasoline prices in the province. (The story is behind a subscriber-only wall in today's Vancouver Sun.)

But surely, Mr. Horgan is aware that not a single one of these sort of public inquiries, that have been held in recent years throughout Canada, has found evidence of collusion or gouging. Even the federal competition bureau says the similarity of prices in any region is not evidence of collusion.

Still, Horgan thinks British Columbians are being "gouged" on the price of gas. At around $1 a litre, gasoline is marginally more expensive in B.C. than in most other parts of the country, but that's certainly not proof of gouging. Horgan's unsubstantiated allegation is, however, proof of grandstanding.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 23, 2007 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Top Lib Admits They Lied on Kyoto

Jean Chretien's advisor Eddie Goldenberg admits what everyone knew all along: there was no way the Liberals were going to meet Kyoto's commitments. His reasoning?

"The signing of the Kyoto Accord in the face of vigorous opposition served to galvanize public opinion to bring it to where it is today in Canada. In the long run that will be far more important than whether we can meet all the short-term deadlines in the accord."

I'm not so sure. Aside from being astonishingly cynical, signing international treaties one has no intention of honoring can undermine the public's confidence in government's ability to act honestly and effectively. Couldn't the Chretien govenment have made the case that greenhouse gases are a problem, but that Kyoto isn't the answer? That could have galvanized public opinion and would have had the added benefit of being true.

Of course, what Goldenberg doesn't say is that Kyoto is a great stick with which the Liberals can beat both the Americans and the Conservative party.   

Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on February 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (69) | TrackBack

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Canada on Iranian Nukes

Statement by Foreign Minister Mackay on Iran's Non-compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1737:

    “Canada once again strongly urges Iran immediately to suspend all of its enrichment, reprocessing and heavy water-related activities and to extend full cooperation to the IAEA. We also urge all UN member states to implement fully and expeditiously the measures contained in Resolution 1737.”

Posted by Winston on February 22, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Best news I've read all day

So the Wheat Board, the Trudeau Foundation, and other secretive, off-the-books government agencies are now subject to access to information requests -- or they will be in a month. I bet the paper shredders are working overtime there.

I wonder how much the annual honoraria are at the Trudeau Foundation. I wonder if that foundation is being used as a pension for out-of-office Liberals. I wonder what the expense claims are like. Those are just the trivial questions. Let's look at their plans, their budgets, the rest of it.

Posted by Ezra Levant on February 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Sully Likes Steyny! Sully Likes Steyny!

Andrew Sullivan, my favorite British-American gay Catholic conservative writer, tells Western Standard columnist Mark Steyn he thinks Steyn's beard looks hot. Methinks Steyn will be offended rather than flattered. Too bad.

Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on February 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Expand the oilsands

Here is a debate I did today on expanding the oilsands. Mark Holland, the Liberal Natural Resources Critic who called for government intervention in the oilsands, bowed out of the debate mere minutes before we started. I don't blame him.

Posted by Ezra Levant on February 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Europe: A Coalmine Full of Dead Canaries

Europe today, still embracing socialist mercantilism, is engaging in elegant decay. A full description of Europe is a far larger issue than a small blog post, but Airbus is acting as a European microcosm and collapsing.

Posted by Jonathan Goldfarb on February 22, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

War, What Liberals are Good For

I've always believed that muddled Canadian support for the war in Afghanistan has to do, partly, with the fact that it's a Conservative advocating the mission. That is, if the Liberals were governing, Canadians would be more likely to back their government's policies when it is at war.  When Conservatives go to war, it looks like sucking up to the Yanks and war-mongering. When Liberals go to war, however, they're thought to be less trigger-happy and more prudent.

Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on February 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Beijing reveals its true colors

One of the widely believed myths here in the Washington area is the notion that Communist China is growing tired of the antics from its North Korean ally.  Usually, its based on diplomatic boilerplate from Communist mouthpieces badly misinterpreted by analysts who should know better.

However, some of it may have been based on the words of Li Bin, the Communists' Ambassador to South Korea for four years.  Li was apparently whispering information to his hosts in order "to adversely impact the long-term relationship between China and North Korea."

Before anyone get their hopes up, the cadres arrested Li this week.  Something to keep in mind when one hears about the cadres growing "tired" of North Korea, or for that matter, their other nuclearly-inclined ally - Iran.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on February 22, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

That old time green religion

I just can't get enough of the global-warming issue. It's the subject of my latest debate in the Tri-City News. Here's my side of the debate, and here's Mary Woo Sims'.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 22, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

Responsible reform

The Toronto Star's big page-one story today on electoral reform in Ontario is topped by the headline, "Radical voting proposal gains steam." Radical? A mix-member proportional system, as recommended by Ontario's citizens' assembly, is without a doubt the tamest (other than the status quo, of course) of all the possibilities. "Under MMP, citizens would cast two votes - one for a local representative, another for the party of their choice."

For something truly radical, try the complicated "single transferrable vote," which B.C.'s original citizens' assembly recommended in 2004. The system was promoted as being as "easy as 1, 2, 3", but was anything but. Voters narrowly rejected the scheme, but they'll get another chance to vote on reform, during the 2009 provincial election.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 22, 2007 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

David Suzuki: an ad hominem

I do not usually like ad hominem arguments.

Actually, to be honest, I usually do like them when they attack people with whom I disagree, but I do not find them persuasive. And sometimes they are just too much fun to resist. Here is a great one, attacking the integrity of noted Canadian geneticist and environmentalist, David Suzuki.

... Suzuki dismisses questions about the scientific integrity of Kyoto, characterizing as "a lot of baloney" [interviewer, John] Oakley’s observation that "a lot of scientists feel they're intimidated from speaking out…"

"2,500 scientists signed the IPCC (Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change) Report on February 2!" Suzuki exclaims. (To hear the audio clip click here.)

... I decided to check this out for myself – and discovered that, in fact, only 51 individuals signed the IPCC Report released on February 2.

... After Suzuki insinuates that scientists who disagree with him are "shilling" for big corporations, Oakley asks him where he gets his funding. Suzuki replies that his foundation takes no money from governments and complains that “corporations have not been interested in funding us."

... Actually, the David Suzuki Foundation’s annual report for 2005/2006 lists at least 52 corporate donors including: Bell Canada, Toyota, IBM, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Microsoft, Scotia Capital, Warner Brothers, RBC, Canon and Bank of Montreal.

The David Suzuki Foundation also received donations from EnCana Corporation, a world leader in natural gas production and oil sands development, ATCO Gas, Alberta’s principle distributor of natural gas, and a number of pension funds including the OPG (Ontario Power Generation) Employees’ and Pensioners’ Charity Trust. OPG is one of the largest suppliers of electricity in the world operating 5 fossil fuel-burning generation plants and 3 nuclear plants... which begs the question – is Suzuki now pro-nuclear power?

This is a man who has his own television show on a network sponsored by Canadian taxpayers and then claims that he takes no money from gubmnt. Yeah, sure.


Posted by EclectEcon on February 22, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Jimmy Carter's Bonfire of the Vanities

I have read many criticisms of Carter's book that accuses Israel of apartheid. Some have pointed out that even though he said he wrote the book to promote/provoke discussion, he steadfastly refuses to discuss the book in public with those who are experts, like Alan Dershowitz.

Here, though, is the very best substantive criticism of Carter's book I have read so far, with the title I used for this posting [h/t to Judith]. Excerpts:

Carter argues that because Israel has built a security barrier between Israel and the occupied West Bank, this amounts to building an “apartheid wall” to subjugate the Palestinians.

Carter totally ignores the fact that the barrier does not separate Jews from Arabs, and that Israel does not practise racial segregation. There are 1.4 million Arabs living in Israel, where they enjoy full political rights – there are 13 Arabs in the Knesset, one in the current cabinet, and one on the Supreme Court bench. Is this apartheid?

In fact the West Bank barrier was built only as a measure of last resort to stem the wave of homicidal bombings directed at Israel from the Palestinian territories. If there had been no campaign of bombings, there would be no barrier. Carter rails against the “apartheid wall,” but calls the suicide bombings “unfortunate for the peace process.”

Describing the calculated murder of over a thousand Israeli civilians by suicide bombers as “unfortunate,” while comparing Israel’s defensive measures against this campaign as “apartheid,” shows a serious moral blindness, not to mention complete lack of sympathy for Israel and its people.

... [T]he fundamental fact which Carter ignores is that the Palestinian leadership, backed by Syria and Iran, still aims to destroy the state of Israel . [emphasis added]

Posted by EclectEcon on February 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Pressure builds on Liberals who might vote with the Tories on the anti-terror bill

Stephane Dion has a problem on his hands.  He wants to mess with the Conservatives, and so is leading the Liberal Party to vote against extending two provisions of Canada's anti-terror legislation, legislation that was developed by Jean Chretien's Liberal government.  But not all of his MPs are on his side.  For many, include some very senior ones like Irwin Cotler, this is just too important for partisan shenanigans.  They are threatening to vote for the provisions in defiance of Stephane Dion.

Stephane Dion cannot afford to have his leadership weakened any further than it already has, so he has to put a stop to this.  What punishment will he mete out to rebels?  Mike Duffy of CTV News suggested that Dion would not sign nomination papers.

But the MPs who are waffling have to deal with even more pressure, as the Canadian Coalition Against Terror has sent a letter to all MPs in support of extending the provisions, but clearly targeting the Liberals.  The letter reads in part:

We urge all MPs to approach this vote with the security of Canadians in mind. Canada should not be removing these tools for fighting terrorism while terrorists are busy sharpening their tools for use against Canadians and other innocent victims. The Conservative government is correct in requesting the extension of the provisions, and we hope that Liberal MPs will join fellow Liberals Marlene Jennings, Irwin Cotler, Roy Cullen, John Manley, Anne McLellan, Bob Rae and others in supporting such an extension. While these measures can always be revisited at a later date, the lives shattered by a future terrorist attack that may have been prevented by utilizing these tools cannot be reconstituted by any act of Parliament. So please – keep the ATA intact, and do not allow the sun to set on Canada’s security.

On the one hand, threats from an increasingly autocratic Stephane Dion.  On the other, bad optics from the C-CAT that will only reinforce the view that only the Conservatives are serious about law, order, and security.

It'll be an interesting vote. 

[You can read the whole letter at Angry in the Great White North.]

Posted by Steve Janke on February 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Is Carter Smarter?

Terry's mention of Jimmy Carter reminds me of something that raised my ire. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has a pair of columns (behind firewall) lauding the former president for his development work. Fair enough: Carter has undeniably done impressive and important work in this field, and he should be commended as such.

But Kristof goes beyond complimenting Carter's commitment to Africa and comes up with this:

At the end of the day, this one-term president who left office a pariah in his own party will transform the lives of more people in more places over a longer period of time than any other recent president.

There was a reason Ronald Reagan was nicknamed "The Great Liberator"--the man is a hero to most East Europeans. When Reagan died in 2004, the Economist conservatively estimated that the Soviet Empire would have survived for another 20 years had he not stared them down. The Poles are erecting a statue of him. Lech Walesa, the leader of Solidarity, said that Poles "owe him our liberty." All the development work Carter will ever do won't touch Reagan's assistance to Eastern Europe. And he didn't wait until he was out of office to do good work.


Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on February 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Fiscal imbalance: Ontario says, "Me too!"

Here.  Can Alberta and British Columbia be far behind?

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on February 21, 2007 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Dion the doomster

The National Post's Don Martin writes today that Stephane Dion's rapidly-sinking popularity reminds him of Stockwell Day's tenure as leader of the Canadian Alliance.

I've been thinking about Dion alot these days too, especially after having seen him in "action" in late January at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon here in Coquitlam. There were some lines in his altogether boring speech that reminded me of someone, and it wasn't Stockwell Day. Here are the lines:

“The issue of the century is that the planet cannot hold all of us. The planet has difficulty to follow six billion human beings, nine billions in 2050, human beings that are more and more involved in the industrial world, human beings that are polluting, that are creating a lot of waste, indeed. And then the development of the human kind is not sustainable any more.”

You know who those words reminded me of? Mr. "Malaise" himself, the great doomster, Jimmy Carter.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 21, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

North Korea can make 4 to 8 nuclear warheads

More evidence North Korea and its Communist Chinese ally took us to the cleaners: the Stalinists have "between 101 and 141 pounds of plutonium, of which between 62 and 110 pounds is estimated to be usable for weapons - enough to make four to eight crude warheads."  The Stalinists are under no obligation to destroy this material under what some of us down here call the Beijing Surrender.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on February 21, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bromines, Ozone and the Greenhouse Effect, Lobbyists, and Liberals

Conservatives take every opportunity to ask the Liberals just why they could not accomplish anything whatsoever on the environment file during the 13 years they were in power.

Even some Liberals ask.  Senior Liberal Party strategist John Duffy asks too, writing for his new website, climateliberal.ca, a pro-Liberal, pro-Stephane-Dion website that argues that the Liberal Party is the only party for the environmentalists.

Here's a possible explanation for that lack of action.  Perhaps lobbyists were working hard to keep the Liberals from achieving their goals.   Perhaps we could ask these lobbyists just how they managed it.

We could ask John Duffy himself.  For many years Duffy was a lobbyist for the bromine industry  Bromine is toxic, depletes the ozone, and traps atmospheric heat.

Then he has the gall to criticize the party.  Nice job.

See all the details at Angry in the Great White North.

Posted by Steve Janke on February 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Green Giant

One of the best unnoticed developments for the Conservative party over the last decade has been the gradual emergence of the Green Party as a national contender (if a modest one). A new Decima poll has them at 11%. The NDP, meanwhile, is at 15%.

Most Green voters, I think it's fair to assume, would opt for the NDP were the Greens not an option. But splitting the vote among these two keeps the Left divided.

Any Canadian progressive can choose between the Greens, the NDP, and the Libs.  For any Conservative, however, the Tories remain the only choice.   

Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on February 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (32) | TrackBack

Four ways to act against Ahmadinejad

Irwin Cotler, a former law professor who served as Canada's attorney general and minister of justice until last year, outlines four options to bring Iranian president Ahmadinejad to justice.

Posted by Winston on February 20, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Democrat Party Undermines Security

As the United States congress votes to embarrass the coalition forces in Iraq, the results of the troop surge are beginning to come in. Additional American and Kurdish brigades in Baghdad have seen terrorist attacks fall by 80% during the first week of the surge, mostly at the expense of the Mahdi Army.

As Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha, and Harry Reid fight for a terrorist victory in Iraq the American, Iraqi, and other coalition militaries are successfully fighting against the terrorists.

Posted by Jonathan Goldfarb on February 20, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Missing the Cold War

Yale historian Paul Kennedy had a terrific column in Sunday's Los Angeles Times, slamming Cold War nostalgia. The threat of Islamism is dire, certainly. But the geo-political situation was much, much more dangerous in 1948 than it is now. Our fathers and grandfathers faced down their challenges: we can face down ours.

Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on February 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack