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Friday, August 31, 2007

The Victim-Beggar Complex

There are several reasons why I voted for Steven Harper, most having to do with fiscal issues and disappointment in Paul Martin’s leadership. However one not mentioned within my immediate blogging circle is that most conservative governments temporarily disrupt the victim-beggar complex. The socialist equivalent of the military-industrial complex, the victim beggar complex essentially writes its own tickets by proclaiming impending doom for specific minority groups in hopes of obtaining government money. They claim to exist because of injustice and to not fund them would be to perpetuate the injustice.

Complaints from social activists are typically grounded in fact – most native reserves are in terrible shape, domestic abuse is unacceptably common (I say this as someone who has had family work with Women’s House and the Children’s Aid Society – so many stories …), many black children grow up in an unhealthy environment while many Canadians outside the chic urban centers aren’t exactly “enlightened” about gay rights.

However, social activists exploit these injustices by brow-beating politicians and society into funding high-level “projects”. Most activists seem to follow the same template when shaking down the government –

Shock & Awe Drama

Activists must first make their mark with ostentatious displays of melodrama. Techniques include ambushing politicians during televised events, blocking public communication and staging inflammatory rallies. It’s no mistake that such methods were also used by some of the greatest revolutionaries in history, from Gandhi to Martin Luther King Jr. So what’s the distinction? That’s a bit of a grey area – as the saying goes, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter (Earlier this year, I got into a nasty argument on Jack’s Newswatch with some anti-Mandela supporters of MP Rob Anders). Ultimately, the distinction can be made in hindsight – if the activists follow the path of events described below then they probably aren’t Gandhi material.

Demonstrate Historical Injustice

Provide impromptu history lessons (real and imagined) showcasing the irrefutable nobility of the target group before the “mainstream” destroyed everything. Again, much of the ad-hoc history is grounded in fact so the trick is to simply edit out the grey areas. For instance, it is permissible to discuss how, until 1960, natives were not even allowed suffrage without sacrificing their treaty claims. European-led genocides like the extinction of the Beothuk tribe (killed by both attrition and disease) in Newfoundland are also fair game. However, the conquest of natives by natives, like the Huron’s decimation by the Iroquois, is strictly off limits. One group must be absolute victims for the victim-beggar complex to work.

Silence the Opposition

Dissident voices from outside the target groups are simply dismissed as homophobes, sexists, racists, or whatever accusation fits. Inevitably, some of the opposition to the activism will be rooted in disdain for the target group, but far more often the dissidence is against the activists themselves and the way they choose to frame the issue. Blurring this distinction is essential to making sure non-sympathetic outsiders don’t spoil the scheme.

This approach can be applied even when the community group isn’t purely political.  Last year, Toronto City Council.  stripped the Caribbean Cultural Committee (CCC) of their yearly funding for Caribana, citing that the CCC –ritually plagued by financial difficulties- did not file proper financial statements for 2005. Despite the fact that the funding was awarded to another Caribbean planning committee (and one with a strong track record) community activists affiliated with the CCC nonetheless attacked city council and its liason, Joe Mihevc, as racists who supported black exploitation.

Internal dissidence leads to accusations of “self-hatred”, in that to oppose the activist group is to oppose the entire demographic of its clients. Much like a mad preacher presents his authority as being congruent with God’s will, the mad activist claims to speak for all natives/gays/etc. Of course, none of these leaders are democratically elected outside the confines of their groups, but this fact is disregarded. Those gays who don’t want to flamboyantly march in the streets are dismissed self-hating gays who want to stay in the closet. Blacks who don’t want young criminals on the streets and extended welfare programs are accused of wanting to be white. Women who don’t agree with the more radical tenets of feminism are condemned as old fashioned. In all cases, the internal dissidents aren’t considered “real” representatives of their group.

Apply for the Program

No matter that the question was, the answer is always “more government money”. The details are window dressing. Free market be damned. Never mind self-reliance.

Administer the Program

Administration is the fun part. Once the government transfers huge sums of money, the bureaucracy starts to take shape. First an internal structure is solidified within the group and then office space is setup. The amount of actual progress made for the client group varies greatly but one can always be sure that the bureaucracy is well fed. An outside observer would quickly note that the Jane-Finch corridor is still a hell-hole of high unemployment, drug addiction among natives is still epidemic and open homophobia is still pervasive. The typical activist response amounts to “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and this is true – however Government money is often dispensed without any concrete targets.

For instance, a community group may receive $500,000 to setup a job program but neither the group nor the government provides any benchmark to determine whether funding should continue (e.g. 30 or more clients obtaining full time employment after the first 6 months of operation). Meanwhile, less scrupulous members in the group “expense” the money away on dinners, entertaining and even getting their nails done (yes, I actually came across the latter while investigating one community group).

Of course, the victim-beggar complex operates cyclically rather than sequentially. There mere existence of injustice is used as justification for the group to exist, which provides extra incentive for ineffectiveness once the funding is obtained. Thus, the juggernaut of social “correction” rolls on, daring anyone to challenge its legitimacy …

…. Until a conservative government comes into power. Although, not always hostile to community concerns, conservative governments are nonetheless branded as 100% redneck and hostile to activist schemes (as mentioned before, this will be spun into an accusation of overall bigotry). While some good works may fall by the wayside (and I have not encountered any evidence of this happening with the current government) the rest of the country gets a much-needed break and a government committed to strengthening the economy for the benefit of all rather than funneling tax dollars to the loudest few.

Cross-posted at Cynics Unlimited

Posted by Cynapse on August 31, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Gandhi would weep

Hi folks. I appreciate the invitation and since I'm up to my eyeballs in a couple of projects (anyone else have a honeydew list?) I don't have time to write up a brand new piece so I'm "borrowing" one of my older piece from my blog but it's one I enjoyed writing and received positive comments on. I hope you enjoy it too.

Gandhi would weep...

I’ve been thinking about protests, in part because of remarks on a thread at Jack’s Newswatch where Lindsay said Canada isn’t accustomed to protests. In my reply to Lindsay, I said that I didn’t have a problem with protests but I did have a problem with violent, disruptive, vandalism type protests. That seemed an incomplete answer to me and thus my thoughts.

Are Canadians unaccustomed to protests? I wouldn’t say so. If anything, we’re sick and tired of protests. After all, we’ve been putting up with the antics of protesters for decades. Where did GreenPeace, the granddaddy of enviro-activist groups, start off? Why, in Vancouver, of course, back in 1971. By my count, that’s more than three decades of protests.

Quick quiz #1.... why did Patrick Moore, one of the founding members of Greenpeace and it’s president for nine years, abandon Greenpeace in 1986?

We’ve had numerous protests over the years, up to and including several violent protests which attracted international attention... like the 1997 APEC Summit in Vancouver and the 2001 Summit of the Americas in Quebec. Then there’s the always popular native blockades, like Oka (1990), Gustafson Lake, Ipperwash and Burnt Church (1995) and, of course, Caledonia (2006 and still going).

Quick quiz #2... how many people died as a result of the native blockades at Oka? How many of you actually know the answer without using the Internet to find out?

Protests supposedly serve to get attention. That’s the whole purpose- to highlight whatever particular problem or perceived injustice. It is not, contrary to popular rumour, a way to find a solution and most protesters really don’t want a solution. They protest for attention so if they get a solution, they would have to find something else to protest.

The two tenets of cynicism are this:

1) No matter what they tell you, they’re not telling you the whole truth.
2) No matter what they’re talking about, they’re talking about money.

Use these two statements like a filter to cut through all the bullshit.

What is the purpose of getting attention? Simple: as an aid to fundraising.

Why do I object to outrageous protests? Well, it’s like this... if someone is legitimately seeking a solution to injustice, they don’t want to upset the very people who they’re lobbying for solutions. They don’t seek to embarrass anyone. They don’t destroy things. They make their points passively, intellectually and adamantly.

Many protesters refer to Mahatma Gandhi as their inspiration. Gandhi said "Civil disobedience is the inherent right of a citizen to be civil, implies discipline, thought, care, attention and sacrifice." Truth be told, Gandhi would quickly disavow himself from today’s protesters who defile the principles which Gandhi espoused. The problem is most protesters don’t know anything more about Gandhi than his name and most aren’t smart enough to spell that. They seize upon the expression “civil disobedience” and use it to justify their excesses.

Gandhi had specific principles which he adhered to strictly in his protest for the independence of his nation. Can you imagine the protesters of our generations adhering to such principles?

1. A civil resister (or satyagrahi) will harbour no anger.

2. He will suffer the anger of the opponent.

3. In so doing, he will endure assaults from the opponent, but must never retaliate; but he will not submit, out of fear of punishment or the like, to any order given in anger.

4. When any person in authority seeks to arrest a civil resister, he will voluntarily submit to the arrest, and he will not resist the attachment or removal of his own property, if any, when it is sought to be confiscated by authorities.

5. If a civil resister has any property in his possession as a trustee, he will refuse to surrender it, even though in defending it he might lose his life. He will, however, never retaliate.

6. Retaliation includes swearing and cursing.

7. Therefore a civil resister will never insult his opponent, and therefore also not take part in many of the newly coined cries which are contrary to the spirit of ahimsa.

8. A civil resister will not salute the Union Flag, nor will he insult it or officials, English or Indian.

9. In the course of the struggle if anyone insults an official or commits an assault upon him, a civil resister will protect such official or officials from the insult or attack even at the risk of his life.

Read through these principles and think of almost any of today’s protests. Are today’s protesters honouring Gandhi? I don’t think so.

During a recent pre-Olympic event, APC protesters disrupted a children’s choir by chanting and cursing before rushing and attacking police. Prior to the event, the police seized a bag filled with bottles which they observed a male dropping into a garbage can. Some were filled with paint. Others were filled with urine. The APC denied knowledge of same.

Gandhi would weep.


#1 Moore says Greenpeace had achieved most of it’s original goals and had evolved into a fund raising platform than an environmental concern.

#2 Three... One police officer (31-year-old Corporal Marcel Lemay of SQ) and two indirectly attributed to the crisis (one from a heart attack after confrontation and other supposedly from reaction to tear gas).

Posted by Enigmac on August 31, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (26) | TrackBack

Every breath you take

Found via the Drudge Report, SanLuisObispo.com: FBI surveillance: It's come a long way

"As with most information systems, the greatest threat to the DCS 3000 would come from the inside," the FBI said. "Since they have access to the system at various levels, users could damage, alter or erase data and destroy system hardware and software. They could also use the information gathered by it for profit by passing on the collected information or by alerting those being monitored.

That's not too reassuring. A more in depth article on the surveillance, Wired via MediaChannel: Point, Click… Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates

I wonder what CSIS is using? Browsing around, I ended up at the Security Intelligence Review Committee's website, watchdog of CSIS. In this (pdf) 2005-06 annual report on page 15, there's a chapter called "Review of CSIS’s electronic-surveillance and information-gathering techniques" that wasn't particularly helpful on this question. Maybe there's a CSIS agent out there who can fill me in via Comments. (Note: on all it's web pages, SIRC has added a link on the bottom of the left hand column that takes you to a variation of its site where you can read it translated into Canada's other official language, Arabic. I can't help but wonder if Devanagari readers feel left out.)

As noted at the top, I found the SanLuisObispo.com link at Drudge. Here's a profile of Matt the Hat in New York Mag: Watching Matt Drudge

It’s late Sunday night, and I turn on his weekly radio show in the room. Drudge is on his favorite theme, surveillance cameras everywhere, his belief that Google wants to spy on us and pass it all on to the government.

Have a great long weekend. And remember, I'll be watching you.

Posted by Kevin Steel on August 31, 2007 in Media | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Murderers Hiding in Canada?

It looks like Canada has become a destination for accused genocide masterminds. Five men are currently wanted for events related to the Rwandan genocide. Rwandan prosecutors, however, believe  that as many as hundreds  of people who were involved in the genocide could be living in Canada.  It is believed that they entered the country using false names and claiming to be refugees.

Federal officials (of course) declined to comment on the accusations.

Posted by Leah Dowe on August 31, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Diana: heroine or celebrity?

As we are reading the adoring press coverage about the late  Princess  Diana  this weekend, it would be good to consider how much of a heroine she really was.

Shortly after Diana's death, Ted Byfield wrote a column in the Report magazines that remains well worth considering when thinking of Diana's legacy.  Snippets of the column, which I couldn't find complete online, offer some food for thought:

....Answering the question of did Diana deserve to be idolised, Byfield points out that the Pope had hugged AIDS victims long before Diana appeared. Byfield comments, after listing what she did, that "lending your name to various politically correct causes and being photographed in support of them does not really make you into a Joan of Arc. Dying in a booze-caused car wreck after dining at the Ritz with an international playboy lover does not quite equate with being burned at the stake. . . There must be better explanations for the idolisation of Diana".

Byfield makes a comment which echoes that of other perceptive Christian-oriented commentators
"People need heroes and the 'me' generation isn't very good at producing them. So they have to settle for celebrities instead, a very different phenomenon. Diana is not another Madam Curie or an Edith Cavell: she is another Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe, revered not for what they actually did but for what they stood for, chiefly defiance of convention and moral authority."  ....


Posted by Rick Hiebert on August 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Choose Your Poision on October 10!

Ontario will go to the polls on October 10, and voters will get the opportunity to choose how much we would like to increase government waste.  Unfortunately, there just doesn’t seem to be any conservatives running in this election.  It appears every candidate for Premier is proposing to increase spending and government size, and the choice given to voters is simply a matter of degree.

The Ontario Green Party

First, we have Frank de Jong of the Green Party.  They’ve got some crazy policy platforms that really make your head spin.  Most notable and nutty has to be their proposal to make capital gains on the sale of your residence taxable; basically removing the only tax free gain we Canadians have left!  That would sure put the breaks on our housing market and the general mobility of the population.

Home equity — he calls it capital gains — that individuals build up on homes would revert to the community to pay for services, he says.  [de Jong] says his house has appreciated in value by $100,000 over 10 years.  That’s money he says belongs to the community.

Imagine you purchased your home 10 years ago for $200,000, and today it has appreciated to $300,000.  A fairly typical scenario to be sure.  Due to a change in circumstances, you need to relocate and would like to purchase a similar house in a different town.  Unfortunately, de Jong won’t let you trade your $300K house for another, since you need to cough up the capital gains taxes on the $100K so-called “profit” you made on your current house.

Vote Green?  Not a chance!

The Ontario NDP

That brings us to Howard Hampton and the NDP.  Surf on over to their party’s Ontario website, and you won’t find the words “tax cut” anywhere.  What you will find are all sorts of policy statements that sound rather expensive, with no mention of how they plan to pay for them.  Of course, I think I can guess how they plan to pay for them!

The NDP will invest in schools, health care, municipalities and just about everything else you can possibly think of.  If it costs money, the NDP plans to support it.  The problem is it’s our money they plan to spend to do it!

Vote NDP?  You’ve got to be kidding!

The Ontario Liberal Party

Up next, is Dalton “I won’t raise your taxes” McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals.  Say, whatever happened to that no tax increase promise he made in the last election campaign anyway?

The Liberals haven’t released their official platform for the coming election yet, so we don’t know exactly what their plans are.  However, McGuinty set the world record for promise breaking the last time out, so would it really matter what he said his plans are?

If his recent actions are any indication of his future behaviour, McGuinty plans to spend our tax dollars like a drunken sailor.  Whether it’s funding every special interest group under the sun, or shovelling out grant money to groups who don’t even ask for it, Dalton can be seen wherever tax dollars are being wasted.

Vote Liberal?  Yeah, right!

Ontario Progressive Conservative Party

Finally, we have John Tory of the Ontario PC Party.  To listen to the Liberals describe John Tory, you would think he was a cross between Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch.  They’re working hard to brand John Tory as the second coming of Mike Harris!  It’s ironic that John Tory is nothing like Mike Harris, and would probably do better in the coming election if acted more like the character the Liberals are making him out to be.

Today, John Tory released his platform for the coming election.  He talks about plans to scrap McGuinty’s health tax over the coming years, and he talks about finding efficiencies in the Government bureaucracy.  That’s all well and good, but the numbers he proposed in his fiscal plan still call for some significant increases in government spending over the coming years.

Vote PC?  I guess.  I suppose it’s better than the other options.

No matter who wins on October 10, Ontarians shouldn’t expect to see much tax relief over the next four years.  All things considered, Tory will likely waste less of my hard-earned tax dollars than the other choices available.  Unlike McGuinty, at least Tory hasn’t been proven to be an untrustworthy liar.

On October 10th, I’m voting for John Tory.  But I’m not particularly thrilled about it!

Cross-posted at www.exactlyright.ca.

Posted by Dave Hodson on August 30, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (41) | TrackBack

Free-market guys

CP: Liberals half-way to election victory but need more substance: party pollster

Liberals can win the next federal election, but only if they come up with clear policy alternatives, some fresh ideas, new faces and a simple message, the party's pollster said Thursday.

So that's what they need! I couldn't put my finger on it so, many thanks to Michael Marzolini. Let's put a positive spin on Marzolini's interpretation;

the Liberals have no clear policy alternatives, no fresh ideas, the same old faces, and a confusing message. Here's part of that confusing message: Toronto Star: Liberals eye economy as election issue:

Less than a year ago, the federal Liberals believed they would be fighting the next election on the environment, but many now say the economy could be the sleeper issue, particularly in Ontario.

. . . "I see nothing in these free-market guys," Ignatieff said. "For them, the government is always the problem. And Canadians have always thought that government can be the solution."

So, Michael, you're going to fight the Conservatives . . . attacking Dalton McGuinty? Maybe by pointing out the negative economic impact of fighting climate change? You're going to nail Harper on all the manufacturing jobs lost, mostly to China which are in part the result of pro-China policies that have primarily benefited high profile Liberal Party supporters? What are you government guys going to do to kick start the economy? Start another war? How does the government make money or create wealth, Michael? Expand the civil service? Raise taxes?

Posted by Kevin Steel on August 30, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

The dominant dominion of 'deniers'

An exhaustive survey of scientific papers has concluded that less than half of all scientists support the "consensus" theory of man-made global warming.

Why isn't this page-one news around the world?

Let us hope that Drudge's link to the story sparks worldwide interest. And a re-evaluation of expensive, wasteful and ultimately destructive government policies.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 30, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack

Abandoned to death

Criminal charges of child abandonment have been laid in the case of a baby boy who was born in a Wal-Mart bathroom in Prince Albert and then left to die, face down in a toilet.

Child abandonment? Child abandonment is when you leave your swaddled baby on the doorstep of someone's house or inside a hospital waiting room. The Wal-Mart incident, on the other hand, seems more like an act of attempted infanticide.

Another sad day for the Canadian justice system.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 30, 2007 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (37) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

To What Extent Should Ignorant People Be Protected From Themselves?

Phil Miller recently linked to this story in the Mankato, Minnesota, Free Press telling of some people who visited Mankato, hoping to see pyramids and do some whale-watching. They had been duped or misled by this website, which was created by a Mankato professor, purportedly to illustrate to his students that they should not accept as truth everything they see on the internet. For me, it's just plain funny to read about the Mankato Hot Springs, the underwater world, and deep-sea fishing on the Minnesota River.

But it isn't quite so funny to people who don't know any better. From The Free Press story,

Rosaura Prada stood in tears Tuesday morning after several frustrating hours of trying to find someone to give her answers about a fake Web site that led her to Mankato.

Prada, of Edinburg, Texas, brought her mother, Maria Alcantar, of Garden City, Kan., on vacation to Mankato Monday to see the underwater city, the pyramid and maybe do some whale watching. But when they arrived at their motel, they found no one knew about these and dozens of other attractions that the Web site...

Apparently it has happened before, too. The site has existed for over a decade and has received mention in the NYtimes and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

There were some questions about whether the disclaimer on the site is adequate, but I have to wonder why such a site should need any disclaimers at all. At some point we have to tell people that spoofs exist and they, themselves, have the responsibility to check things out more thoroughly before spending money on vacations like these. And perhaps examples like this will help illustrate the importance of paying attention in geography and science classes in grade school.

I'm thinking of starting a similar page for Clinton, Ontario. If it weren't for all the schools located here, we'd be a dying or dead community, and we could use the injections of tourism dollars into our local economy.

Posted by EclectEcon on August 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack


I recently took a trip to Taiwan sponsored by the Taiwanese Government Information Office in the company of some 11 other journalists from around the world. Larry Luxner, news editor of the Washington Diplomat, was the U.S. contingent. Larry also runs his own photo service and has just posted some pictures from that trip online. You can view them here.

It’s kind of fun for me to look at the pics because Larry’s used a few of his fellow travelers as models. For instance, this picture features the Beijing correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald. And modeling here is a staff editor for The Japan Times. (Oh look, here’s a senior writer for the Western Standard checking out souvenir scarves.)

Yoko_galisha_and_natalia_ju_ming_mu I might as well post another one of my photos from that journey, just for fun. Following Larry’s style of captioning I’ll label this picture “(l to r) A Japanese journalist with The Japan Times, a Taiwanese Government Information Office intern, and Indonesian journalist with the Sinar Harapan Daily stand outside the Juming Museum in northern Taiwan.”

Koo_and_luxner_outside_taipei_101_a Here’s a picture of Larry--the guy by the tripod--that I took while he was taking a group shot of us on the front steps of Taipei 101. The other guy with the smaller camera is a journalist from Korea, one of us.

At some point during our travels, I was speaking with Larry and he was telling me about the various ambassadors who have been profiled in his paper. “There’s only one ambassador that we’ve never been able to interview. His office always refuses. You’ll never guess which one,” said Larry.

Caught up in the here and now, considering where we were and all the discussions we had been hearing, I took a stab at it. “China?” I guessed.

A big smile broke across Larry’s face. “No, Canada. Your country,” he said. I asked him why this was, and he replied he had no idea, but apparently this has been the situation going back for some while, through several ambassadors--always turning down their interview request. I told Larry I'd mention it on our blog some day. Done.

Posted by Kevin Steel on August 29, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dealing with the devil

South Korean surrender monkeys, anyone?

That country's deal with the Taliban, to ensure the release of 12 of 19 missionaries who were taken hostage in July, sets an extremely dangerous precedent. "One has to say that this release under these conditions will make our difficulties in Afghanistan even bigger," Afghanistan's Commerce Minister Amin Farhang said. "We fear that this decision could become a precedent. The Taliban will continue trying to take hostages to attain their aims in Afghanistan."


Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 29, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (32) | TrackBack

Love those lists

Ya gotta have a top-10 list if you're gonna make a media splash these days, so even the very-conservative Institute of Marriage and Family Canada has produced a double-digit ranking of the summer's noteable family-related news items. Here it is.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 29, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

War Museum Controversy

War museum to re-word controversial WWII display:

Posted by Winston on August 28, 2007 in Canadian Politics, Current Affairs, Military | Permalink | Comments (84) | TrackBack

Little regard for Little Mosque

The Gemini Award nominations are out now, and the big news from the Toronto Star's perspective is that the CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie has been given the cold shoulder. This is a surprise? I tried to watch this sit-com twice, and I found it to be so insultingly stupid, so moronically myopic, and so alarmingly naive that I didn't even make it to a commercial break. It was, in short, excruciatingly bad.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 28, 2007 in Media | Permalink | Comments (50) | TrackBack

The nuclear north

It doesn't make much long-term sense to burn natural gas or coal to generate electricity for the power-hungry Alberta oilsands. What does make sense is using nuclear energy to produce that electricity, and so it's good to see that the first step has now been taken towards construction of Alberta's first nuclear power generating facility, to be located 30 kilometres west of Peace River. The $6-billion facility isn't specifically being built for the oilsands, but the success of this project will likely make it easier to build more reactors in the province's north.

UPDATE: This morning's news reports suggest that the prime customer for this proposed nuclear-energy plant will, indeed, be a company doing business in the oilsands.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 28, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

So who really killed Lynne Harper?

An Ontario court has finally closed the book on the Steven Truscott case, ruling today that his original conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 28, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

Not Trusted

Michael Rubin has argued for far too long that the diplomatic engagement with Tehran is futile because the Iranian regime cannot be trusted at all.

Posted by Winston on August 28, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Monday, August 27, 2007

Some uncomfortable questions about abortion

One of my sons has just dawn my attention to this thought-provoking, six-minute-long YouTube posting, featuring a polite, off-screen interviewer asking anti-abortion activists at a demonstration in the U.S. earlier this summer a very good set of questions, which can be summed up as:

1. Do you think abortion should be illegal? (The answer was invariably Yes).

2. OK, then, if abortion becomes illegal, what do you think the penalty should be for a woman who has an abortion?

It's a logical and pertinent question, but not a single one of the demonstrators had a well-thought-out answer. Most of them initially suggested that the woman would have to answer to God, but then later displayed some discomfort when the interviewer pointed out that if abortion were simply a matter between a woman and God, then there was no reason to make it illegal.

It should be noted that one of the demonstrators suggested that the interviewer talk to the event's organizer for a detailed policy response. Either the interviewer failed to do so or he chose to omit the interview from the posting.

The demonstrators showed admirable honesty and also displayed commendable empathy for women who find themselves in so deep a personal crisis that they choose to abort their children. Nevertheless, I was taken aback by the obvious gap in the pro-life platform when it comes to sentencing. Indeed, I cannot recall hearing the issue discussed in Canada, for example, in the decade and a half since the Senate killed the Mulroney government's abortion-regulation bill. And I have to admit I personally haven't given it much thought.

So, are pro-lifers hypocrites for, on one hand, calling abortion "murder," but on the other hand appearing to not have the fortitude to demand murder-like sentences for women who abort their unborn children? If so, does this signify that the abortion question is really a moral one, not a legal one?

Is the more culpable criminal in an abortion actually the abortionist? If so, is the mother really another victim?

I'll be discussing this with pro-life activists in the weeks and months ahead. For now, I'd like to hear what Shotgunners think.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 27, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (162) | TrackBack

Trojan horse

Yet another way the Chinese are trying to work their way into the very heart of Canadian institutions.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 27, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

I spy with my PLA eye

More news about our 2008 Olympic Games host;

London Times: China accused of hacking into heart of Merkel administration. (See also Der Spiegel):

China has hacked into the computers of Angela Merkel’s Chancellery and three other German ministries in an extraordinary economic espionage operation that threatens to blight the German leader’s already delicate trip to Beijing this week.

. . . The information was being siphoned off almost daily by hackers in Lanzhou, northern China, in Canton province and in Beijing. The scale and the nature of the data being stolen suggest, the investigators say, that the operation must have been steered by the State and, in particular, the People’s Liberation Army.

I'm sure CSIS has read this. Background: CanWest, April 16, 2006: Government vows to curb Chinese spying on Canada.

Posted by Kevin Steel on August 27, 2007 in Media | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Only martial law will get us out of this war

When I first saw this, I thought the fine folks at the Onion had outdone themselves:

General Pace - you have the power to fulfill your responsibility to protect the troops under your command. Indeed you have an obligation to do so.

You can relieve the President of his command.

Not of his Presidency. But of his military role as Commander-In-Chief.

You simply invoke the Uniform Code Of Military Justice.

Alas, the truth is, as it often tends to be, much more bizarre: a left-wing publication openly advocating for overturning the constitution by asking for the military leadership to assume supreme authority over itself.

Then again, with the ever-growing melding of the extreme fringes of political discourse, this development was inevitable. Tim Blair must be proud.

Posted by Rob Huck on August 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 26, 2007

In defense of Michael Vick

May Dog forgive me.

Let me be clear: I think dog fighting is reprehensible, and that in a mob-justice system, Michael Vick would be disemboweled. But to my knowledge, last time I looked we didn't have a vigilante justice system. And when it comes to the "beautiful people", like rock stars, actors, socialites and sports icons, we barely have any type of justice at all.

Michael Vick endangered the lives of dogs - man's best friend. We get all warm and squishy when we think of our childhood pal Fido or Rover (or in my case, Valentine). And our anger at a "monster" like Vick becomes palpable.

Vick has been suspended indefinitely from the Atlanta Falcons, disgraced. Dog lovers and animal rights groups would like to kill him. His co-defendants copped a plea, and he will now plead guilty himself. And he'd better hope the judge doesn't have a dog.

Am I the only one who thinks this "kill Vick" mentality is a little overblown? Where were these activists and outraged do-gooders when Kobe Bryant was on trial for rape? Or when Mike Tyson was beating the snot out of Robin Givens or chewing on Hollyfield's ear? Heck, Barry Bonds probably didn't even know he was in the ballpark when he hit his history-making homer. What makes the pit bulls more important than a rape victim? Have we really sunk so low that we place the lives of dogs before the lives of humans?

I'm not saying - like some celebrities in past days have done - that Vick should get away with what he has done. I'm just suggesting that perhaps we should try to have a little perspective. We cry rivers of grief when gang-banging rappers are shot in the street - we never stop to ask what they did to deserve it. Why are we so quick to condemn Vick?

Cut the guy a little slack - he wasn't a drug pusher, he didn't rape or kill anyone. He hurt and killed some dogs. Disgusting and criminal? Yes. Worth all this misplaced fury? No way.

Posted by RightGirl on August 26, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (105) | TrackBack

Osoyoos: the model reserve

When I was on CBC's "Next Great PM" in March, one segment was dedicated to Aboriginal issues. Unfortunately, CBC only aired a fragment of that debate, and completely axed my statements on the issue. I told the former PMs that Canada must work with First Nations people to help them become less dependent on the government. I pointed to the example of the Osoyoos reserve in BC's interior as a model for how reserves should operate. The reserve is featured in this week's Maclean's and is worth a read.

Some highlights:

When Chief Clarence Louie was elected 23 years ago, at the age of 24, the Osoyoos were bankrupt. The reserve was plagued with your typical fare of problems: welfare dependency, corruption, violence - everything except tainted water. Today, the reserve pumps $40 million into BC's economy; owns nine businesses, including an award-winning winery; and is the biggest employer in the south Okanagan. In fact, they have such a high demand for labour that they've employed a good number of people off the reserve.

I recall seeing a documentary on Chief Louie several months back, and was very impressed with him. He preaches his ways to Aboriginal leaders and does so with brutal honesty, telling his colleagues that if they want to turn their reserves around, they have to do it on their own and stop expecting that others (read government) to do it for them. Nancy Macdonald summarizes his sermon quite nicely:

Blaming government? That time is over,he tells cross-country audiences. Join the real world. Get off welfare. Quit your sniffling. If your life sucks it's because you suck. Our ancestors worked for a living; so should you.

How refreshing.

Posted by Joseph Lavoie on August 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

Don’t Let Jack Layton Manage Your Family Finances

Due to a stronger than expected economy, the federal budget surplus is estimated to be over $6 Billion.  In other words, we have collectively been overtaxed by over $6 Billion.

That surplus is our money.  But do not fear, Jack Layton has a plan to manage our money!

Layton says hardworking Canadian taxpayers are responsible for the surplus, yet many are struggling to support their families.

Fair enough, Jack.  I can agree with that simple statement of fact.  However, this next statement is where we part ways.

He believes the surplus should be spent on foreign aid, affordable housing, public transit and keeping post-secondary education fees down.

If Jack acknowledges that the surplus was provided by hardworking taxpayers, many of whom are struggling to support their families, why not call for a tax reduction for those hardworking taxpayers?  Instead, he lists foreign aid as the first item to spend the money on?

I would like to know how spending some of our budget surplus on foreign aid is supposed to help those hardworking taxpayers who are struggling to support their families?

Jack Layton’s plan aside, my personal opinion (for whatever that’s worth) is we should use the budget surplus for a mix of debt repayment and tax reductions.  The last budget, which increased government spending to record levels, gave us more than enough social spending.

The economy is good now, but it will not always be good.  Spending at levels tied to today’s hot economy is not sustainable.  Let’s spend at a level that can be maintained for the long term, and repay debt when times are good.  When the economy eventually turns bad, we’ll be in a much better position.

It may not be as much fun as blowing the cash on a Layton-style spending spree, but it’s the responsible thing to do.

Cross-posted at www.exactlyright.ca.

Posted by Dave Hodson on August 26, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What’s Wrong With Undercover Surveilance?

Many in the media and other left-leaning organizations have been critical of the Sûreté du Québec for planting undercover officers inside a demonstration at last week’s meeting of Canadian, US and Mexican leaders in Montebello, Québec.  They accuse the police of intentionally trying to incite violence and of infringing on our right to peacefully protest.

To be sure, the Sûreté du Québec did a poor job with their undercover operation.  The fact that the planted officers stood out in the crowd and had their cover blown certainly speaks to that.  But to hear people saying the police are intentionally provoking violence or that they simply should not be using undercover officers at protests is ludicrous.

Why shouldn’t police plant undercover operatives at events that have a potential to turn violent?  It provides another opportunity to observe behaviour to control violent developments before they arise and perhaps offers a better chance to apprehend the offenders.  If the officers are only there to blend in and take action when events go beyond being a peaceful protest, then how are any rights to peaceful protest being curtailed?  Nobody has a right to conduct illegal violent protests, which are the ones that undercover police are trying to prevent.

Undercover operations are used all the time, and they range from simple local operations to catch petty thieves, all the way up to organized crime rings.  Department stores hire security guards to blend in with other shoppers to identify suspicious behaviour and catch suspected shoplifters.  Police forces use undercover officers over a period of many years infiltrate the highest levels of crime families.  It is a valuable tool that police forces must use to help protect the public, and it can and should be used at public gatherings that have potential to turn violent.

In today’s editorial in the ever-comical Toronto Star, they call for a probe into Québec police behaviour.  They ask stupid questions like “why did one of the officers have a rock in his hand in the first place?”  Perhaps the Star’s editors don’t understand that undercover operations require you to blend in with the crowd around you?  If some protesters carry rocks, so should some of the officers.

The act of conducting undercover operations should be expected, not investigated.  If the police are to be investigated, it should be for doing a poor job of going undercover.

Cross-posted at www.exactlyright.ca.

Posted by Dave Hodson on August 25, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (169) | TrackBack

No Good Options

While some people on the left side of the aisle believe they can live with a nuclear armed Iran, this piece "A nuclear-armed Iran would not be good" reminds us that it is not okay to tolerate a nuke-armed theocratic regime in the region:

Posted by Winston on August 25, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (47) | TrackBack

Friday, August 24, 2007

We'll turn your kids into eco-activists!

Check out the cheap-shot ad on page 7 of the Sept. 3 issue ("Putin the Terrible") of Maclean's. The half-page blurb is supposed to promote enrolment at Bishop Strachan School for girls. It shows an aerial photo of an unidentified logging operation in which the trees are being mechanically harvested. The copy reads: "Send your daughter to B.S.S.  The world needs her."

Needs her to do what, exactly? Become a logger? I don't think so. I think we are supposed to believe that the world needs her to become an environmental activist, so that the sort of logging pictured can be stopped.

What a fly-by smear. Not only is logging one of the country's most important natural-resource industries (providing employment for tens of thousands of Canadians), but there is ample  evidence that logging in this country is now being carried out with much greater regard for the environment than it used to be. About the only ones griping about it these days are eco-zealots who believe that all logging in the "boreal forest" should grind to a halt.

Founded in 1867, B.S.S. bills itself as "Canada's oldest day and boarding school for girls." Perhaps it's getting senile.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 24, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack

More Thoughts on Iran

Winston, I appreciate the thoughtful response. You make some important points, let me tackle them one-by-one. I should say, though, that this that idea of being a US ally means "helping it all the way" is mistaken. On the contrary, restraining America from pursuing its worst policies is the best help of all. Had Tony Blair not joined the US in making the case for war with Iraq, he would have been doing the US a much bigger favor than encouraging them in their futile, destructive war. Moreoever, alliances work two ways--should they not be "helping us all the way" in avoiding war with Iran? Why is it only Canada that has to accommodate?

1) The negotiations between the EU and Iran have never, ever included the United States. After September 11, Iran helped in Afghanistan and made overtures towards the US. Bush, flush from toppling the Taliban, ruined this with his disastrous axis-of-evil speech, which ranks with the worst addresses any sitting American president has ever given. In that speech, Bush openly declared that regime change in Iran was the policy of the US, which, at the time, appeared strong and determined. If you were Iran, wouldn't you try and get the bomb? It offers the best chance of survival, doesn't it?

2) "what will de-legitimize the US and other western powers in the eyes of freedom loving people of the world is these useless "negotiations with evil people." How do negotiations with anybody de-legitimize the US? Did negotiations with the Soviet Union throughout the Cold war do so? Or did they make the US look peaceful and well-intentioned, and make the Soviet Union look stubborn and violent? Winston Churchill, FDR, Harry Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, Nixon, Ronald Reagan--these men were no softies. But they never, ever refused to meet with the "evil empire," a far, far more poweful, threatening power than Iran.

3) Yes, even if the grand bargain doesn't work, I am ready to accept a nuclear-armed Iran, as I said in my post. You say "we simply can't risk" it, because it has vowed to wipe Israel off the map, uses cranes to hang its own people,  and wants Islam to rule the world. Of course, the Soviet Union and China killed millions of their own people between them, and we risked living with them (a strategy that proved correct). If we start bombing everyone who kills their own people, we have about 100 countries on our list. About Iran's calls to destroy Israel: these are very worrisome, I do not take them lightly. But what matter is what a country actually does, not what it says. And Iran has not invaded its neighbors (Iraq launched the Iran-Iraq war, not the other way around) nor sheltered Al-Qaeda members in large numbers. What it has done is help establish Hezbollah, which is terrible, but is not worth going to war over. It is, for them, a low-cost way to shore up their revolutionary credentials (see Daniel Byman's Deadly Connections on this), without fighting a war they are not prepared to fight.

4) Iran is not the "world banker of terrorism." The chief terrorist organization in the world, Al-Qaeda, has no state sponsor, which is why it is so difficult to destroy. Iran certainly supports terrorist organizations, but not ones that are trying to, and are remotely close to having the capabilities to, attack the United States. Moreover, your strategies to overthrow the regime from within are pure fantasy. Iran is not 1980s-era Poland. Because of the total lack of US credibility in the region, any Western attempts to reach the Iranian people over the heads of the government are futile. Witness, for example, no-takers for the US's $75 million earmarked for democratic groups within Iran. Finally, " the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran is a serious threat to the threat to the existence of the Western civilization in which Canada is a prime member" (my italics)? Now Iran threatens the existence of all the West? Everybody? Sweden, Greenland, Switzerland? This shows an inability to distinguish between groups like Al-Qaeda, that are willing to risk suicide to attack the US, and those that aren't. It is threat inflation. It is apocalypic. The combined power of Western countries so dwarfs that of Iran (which isn't even the most powerful country in the weak region) it boggles the mind how one can be scared of it. It is like a giant being terrified of a mosquito.

5) "A free and nuclear-free Iran ensures a peaceful and prosperous middle east where terrorists won't be bred to fight the infidels with the Iranian money." First, if one strikes Iran, one is ensuring that Iran won't be free for at least the next 30 years. An attack by outsiders will rally Iranians around their government, as most nations do when they are attacked. It gives the regime an excuse to clamp down even harder (a lot harder) on its people. Elections? Forget about them. Secondly, a peaceful and prosperous middle east? Now the entire region will be rich if we just bomb some nuclear facilities? Suddenly the whole region is developed, capitalist and wealthy? And the whole region is peaceful? No more Palestinians fighting Israelis, no more civil war in Iraq, no more Syria sheltering Hamas members, no anything? Just a utopian peace? All we have to do is kill a few thousand people by bombing them. This is dangerous utopian thinking, and, like all utopian thinking that promises to bring world peace by killing some people, it will end in failure and bloodshed.

Winston, I appreciate your desire for freedom. But idealism must always be tempered by reality and a respect for the limitation of one's power. Al-Qaeda is our main enemy, and we should focus on them.

Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on August 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (83) | TrackBack

Re: Iran and Canada

Jordan's Piece on Iran made me write the following response which I believe was necessary since the WS readers need to know more about things they read and hear and it helps form a healthy debate over critical issues...

First of all, it is really disappointing to see that a US ally such as Canada let the US go down its "destructive path" instead of helping it all the way. But the issue is not there, the core of Jordan's argument is that "a grand bargain" will somehow stop the Iranian regime in its hot pursuit of weapon related nuclear technology but he fails to tell us how he'd like to address the fact that Iranian regime's ultimate survival is going to be solely depended on nuclear weapons since it is facing several threats from the outside world, mainly US and other western powers and also from inside where majority of people are increasingly anti-regime and pro-freedom. A regime, as Jordan Michael Smith put it, is "weak, fearful and defensive" will not give up because if it does so, it will lose its iron-fist gained legitimacy among its own unhappy people more than ever. And it is also naive to think that they will be convinced to give up their nuclear ambitions since the mullahs know they can not match the conventional power of the coalition forces and therefore nuclear weapons will be the only answer to that growing threat.

I'd like to address some of the issues raised in Jordan's piece:

1- European union has been trying hard on the so-called "grand bargain" with the Iranians since 1997 through a process the EU dubbed "Critical Negotiations" and these negotiations collapsed in 2005 when the regime decided to go on with its nuclear program disregarding the demands of EU and IAEA to halt its enrichment program. FYI, Iran has already disregarded two serious UNSC resolutions to halt its nuke program which resulted in somewhat light sanctions against the regime and its cronies. Iran is going to step in Saddam's path to destruction and war by ignoring the UN resolutions. [+]

2- Jordan seems to be worried about the US losing its legitimacy further around the world if they would go to war with Iran. I disagree with that notion and I'd like to mention that, what will de-legitimize the US and other western powers in the eyes of freedom loving people of the world is these useless "negotiations with evil people". Indeed what the Iranian people love about Canada and the US is that these two governments have been doing their best not to trade with the regime and isolate that wicked regime at the international level.

3- Unlike Soviet Union and China, Iran doesn't have a powerful conventional military might that would protect its regime and also be a "MAD" (Mutually Assured Destruction) factor. This means, as I mentioned above, that the Iranians have no option but to opt for nuclear weapons as a deterrent. Now, are we ready to accept a nuke-armed Iran? A regime that has, in many occasions, vowed to wipe Israel (an ally of Canada and the US) off the map. Ask yourself whether we're willing to let the mullahs do that thing once they have the bomb? One may argue that Soviets had vowed to do the same and they never did, but my response is that a regime that easily uses the cranes to hang people and calls on the world to convert to its own version of radical Islam should not be given that opportunity to begin with. We simply can't risk...

4- Instead of letting America go down in its fight against the world banker of terrorism, i.e Iran, we in Canada must help the Americans in their efforts against that tyrannical regime. One of the best ways to counter the Iranian threat is to help the people of Iran through any possible means. But if it ever comes down to "tactical strikes" against the regime, Canada must stand behind the United States since the threat of a nuclear armed Iran is a serious threat to the existence of the western civilization in which Canada is a prime member. But like I said, the best viable option to deal with the mullahs is to help embolden the people of Iran. Canada can help, for instance, by setting up a Persian language radio broadcast into Iran or by setting up funds helping the striking workers' families. Canada has a lot of potentials in helping free that country from tyranny. We haven't tried our options yet....

As someone who has lived all of his life in that country and seen the brutality of the regime first hand, I urge all westerners to realize that the threat posed by the Iranian theocracy is serious and dangerous and any negligence in dealing with this growing cancer will be catastrophic. A free and nuclear free Iran ensures a peaceful and prosperous middle-east where terrorists won't be bred to fight the infidels with the Iranian money. Iranian sponsored terrorism has been in motion since 1979 and it can be stopped if the west showed some resolve.


Posted by Winston on August 24, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (89) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Top three national disasters

The "101 People Who Are Screwing Up Canada" roll-call is now complete with the addition of the final three names to the list. They are: #3  Maurice Strong, #2 David Suzuki, and #1 Henry Morgentaler. What, no Michael Buble?!

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 23, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (58) | TrackBack

Bones bounced

CORRECTION-UPDATE: Early media reports identified the expelled diplomat as Alan Bones. Today, we learn the person kicked out Sudan was actually Nuala Lawlor.

What exactly Alan Bones, Canada's top diplomat in Sudan, said or did to get himself kicked out of the African country is still a mystery. The official reason is "meddling in affairs," but no specifics have been offered.

I have just finished scouring Infomart news sources for the past decade, and came up with only one hit dealing with Bones and Darfur. The diplomat told CTV news on July 9, 2006:  "People in Darfur are still suffering. It is one of the largest United Nations humanitarian efforts in the world at the moment, and that is not going to end until security is re-established so the people in the camps in Darfur feel comfortable going home."

Outside of the normal news sources, I found some other mentions, including this quote of his from the Legion Magazine in March 2006: "We're dealing with a very complicated situation here. There was a longstanding and truly horrible civil war that had devastating consequences for the south. I mean, it's devoid of infrastructure and several generations have lost their livelihoods, their education, their families. And so it's really important for the international community to be seen to be consolidating the peace now that the parties have agreed to put down their arms."

There doesn't appear to be anything controversial in either utterance. So, whatever Bones said or did, it was clearly out of the public eye. Here's hoping he saved some lives in the process.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 23, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Taiwanese, Hakka and the kowtow

Vancouver Sun: Taiwanese stars take the stage

I love this headline. Why? Because according to Beijing's barbarians in business suits--the Chinese Communist Party--there is no such thing as a "Taiwanese." So the Sun has either purposefully or inadvertently committed a very political act in defense of democracy by using "Taiwanese." From Chapter 2 of Forbidden Nation: A History of Taiwan by Jonathan Manthorpe;

Mainland China's rulers like to consider their "Taiwan compatriots," as they are usually called in the Beijing-controlled official media, as merely wayward sons and daughters of China, cast into the wilderness by a quirk of history and now misguided and deceived by nefarious, self-seeking rulers. There is therefore no such thing as "Taiwanese" in Beijing's view.

The Sun story talks about the ethnic Hakka.

[The Hakka] worked very hard -- especially the women, says Wu, gaining a reputation and spirit of "hard-neckedness" and earned a foothold in the economy. But their culture almost disappeared under martial law, only kept alive in private homes by people like Lo's grandmother.

In the same chapter [2] of Forbidden Nation, there is a good paragraph on the Hakka, which should fill in a few of the gaps for you.

The Hakka, whose name means "guests" and who were treated as an untouchable caste, came originally from northern Henan province. They were driven south in a pogrom around 419 A.D., and sought temporary sanctuary in the mountains of Fujian and Guangdong provinces. But they were forbidden to own land and their sons were prohibited from taking the imperial examinations that were the route to advancement for other Chinese families. It is understandable, then, that the Hakka were in the forefront of the substantial overseas Chinese migration in Southeast Asia during the period of civil chaos and famine in the twelfth century. The Hakka’s second class status—evident in China and on Taiwan to this day—has created a fiercely independent and ambitious community. Some mainstream Han Chinese note ruefully that in the early 1990s the three predominantly ethnic Chinese states—China, Taiwan and Singapore—were all led by Hakka. There was Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader of China, Le K’uan Yew, the founding father and in retirement the hidden guiding hand of Singapore; and Lee Teng-hui, the president of Taiwan.

And approximately two pages later in Forbidden Nation, there is another paragraph which I consider a good description of the "kowtow," which Canada still performs today by accepting the One China policy, though it is slightly less enthusiastically performed by the Harper government than it was by the Liberals under Chretien and Martin;

Some historians argue that the vassal state system was profoundly different from the aggressive imperialism then beginning to reach out from Europe. Rather it was an expression of Chinese cultural certainty. In order to benefit from the patronage of the Middle Kingdom, foreign potentates had to accept and acknowledge the universal supremacy of the emperor of China. Vassals were required to pay tribute and perform the kowtow—kneeling three times and prostrating themselves nine times before the emperor or his empty throne—in order to receive the blessings of trade and diplomatic relations. Today, Communist Party cadres in tailored suits have superceded mandarins in costumes of imperial silk, and the ceremonies of supplication have moved from the Forbidden City across the road to Mao Zedong’s Great Hall of the People, but little else has changed. The foreign diplomats, investors, merchants, bankers, and opportunistic carpetbaggers  who now flock to Beijing are presented with the same choice. Accept China’s terms or be frozen out of its market and future potential. Now, of course, an essential tribute to Beijing exacts concerns Taiwan. Diplomatic relations with Beijing, and all they promise, will not be accepted from any nation that maintains formal ties with Taiwan. Over the last half-century few nations and no internationally significant ones have balked at making that kowtow.

Vancouver Sun, no kowtow. Kewl.

Posted by Kevin Steel on August 23, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Sad Day

Unfortunately two other Van-Doos troopers have been killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan.

Our thoughts and prayers with the family and friends of these selfless individuals who sacrificed their lives to make our world a better one.

Posted by Winston on August 22, 2007 in Current Affairs, Military | Permalink | Comments (104) | TrackBack

Quebec intellectuals: Tell Yvonne Ridley to piss off

An open letter from a variety of Quebec thinkers asking the Islamic Congress of Canada (lead by All Israeli’s over the age of 18 are valid terrorist targets Mohamed Elmasry) to dissociate themselves with radical islamist Yvonne Ridley:

“Yvonne Ridley is coming to Montreal and Toronto this September at the invitation of the Islamic Congress of Canada. A British journalist captured by the Taliban in 2001, Yvonne Ridley converted to Islam and took up the faith and cause of her abductors. Her case is strangely evocative of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’.

“A commentator for Britain’s Islam Channel, where she is responsible for political issues, she is a founder and frequent candidate for the Respect Party, a deviant coalition of leftists, fundamentalist Muslims and Islamists. Yvonne Ridley supports, in its essence and entirety, the ideological program of radical Islam and defends even today the very Taliban against which the Canadian Forces is fighting a just and necessary combat.

“Ridley is also the London correspondent for a new television channel created by the Iranian regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Press TV. The channel offers, according to Ridley, ‘…a different perspective from conventional media”. The Internet site of this channel has a section called “Analyses,” where one can find insinuations that the British government orchestrated the recent car bomb attacks on London and Glasgow in order to tarnish the image of Muslims in Great Britain. Ridley claims that she can say what she wants on Press TV.

“Why do the Iranian governmental authorities not stop her from lionizing Abu Hamza al-Masri, the openly Jihadist Imam at London’s Finsbury Park Mosque who Ridley called ‘quite sweet really’. Al-Masri is a fervent partisan of Al-Qaeda and has been detained by British police.

“Why do the Iranian authorities not reprimand her for calling on the British Muslim community to stop co-operating with the police in any security investigation? Why don’t they reproach her for having called Chechan Shamil Basayev, who perpetrated the horrific Beslan school massacre, a ‘martyr’?

“Why do the Iranians not oppose her eulogies to suicide bombers? Why are they not vexed that this ‘journalist’ expresses open sympathy for notorious terrorists, like Jordanian Abu Musad al-Zarqawi?

“Why? Because Yvonne Ridley plays the game for the enemies of the West and the friends of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad!

“We, the undersigned demand that the Islamic Congress of Canada publicly disassociate itself from Yvonne Ridley and manifest clearly to the Canadian and Quebec public its refusal to offer any form of support — direct or indirect — for Islamist terrorism.” (The Suburban)

Yvonne Ridley was here in Canada before speaking at the Muslim youth conference held in Calgary this past May. She has noted on the broom that her trips to Canada have always been productive and worthwhile. So Yvonne if you come around again take note that I’m not the only Canadian around who thinks you suck.

(c/p Dust my Broom)

Posted by Darcey on August 22, 2007 in Religion | Permalink | Comments (65) | TrackBack

Forget Viagra

Daily Mail: World's oldest father has 21st child at 90. So what's your secret, Nanu Ram Jogi?

Mr Jogi, who attributes his remarkable virility to daily walks and plenty of meat, said: "I eat all kinds of meat-- rabbits, lamb, chicken and wild animals."

What's that collective gulp I hear? Nothing, just PETA members swallowing their tongues. Okay everybody, conga line! "You don't win friends with salad! You don't win friends with salad!"

Posted by Kevin Steel on August 22, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Just keep repeating...

...that Canada has the best health care in the world.

Posted by Ezra Levant on August 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (48) | TrackBack

Ammo against amnio

This is important: Lifesite reports today that a new study by a British doctor finds that pregnant women's use of amniocentesis results in the death by miscarriage of three healthy babies for every case of Down Syndrome detected (cases which invariably up with an abortion, of course). In other words, three healthy unborn babies die so that one unhealthy unborn baby can be killed.

There's always been something powerfully repellent about the "search-and-destroy" nature of amnio. Now, the stink is even worse.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 22, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (35) | TrackBack

Muffin man at the UN

Claudia Rosett in NRO: Ban the Old Ways--U.N. ethics test. about the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Quite simply, the UNDP is, for most practical purposes, morphing from a development agency into a species of highly privileged rogue state — operating, it seems, outside any jurisdiction.

Okay, all that scandal stuff aside, I know what you're thinking after reading Rosett's article: the Ethics Director of the United Nations is a Canadian? Why, er, yes, Robert Benson, or Robert F. Benson if you prefer. He was deputy ethics commissioner, working under Liberal lapdog Howard Wilson and then Bernie Shapiro, briefly keeping the seat of commissioner warm after Shapiro shuffled off. You're forgiven for not knowing about Benson's appointment at the UN on May 7. I can't seem to find a single story in the Canadian media mentioning it. Who appointed him? I can't figure that out either. Was it Ban Ki-moon? How did Benson come to the UN's attention? What is known about him? Well, let me cite an April 3 column in the Ottawa Citizen by Deirdre McMurdy, written after Benson temporarily succeeded Sharpiro, entitled: "Do you know the muffin man? Interim ethics czar a man of few receipts"

Fortunately, Robert Benson, a 29-year legal veteran of the federal government who's been the deputy ethics commissioner since 2004, was on hand to step into the breach.

None of us know terribly much about Mr. Benson except for the fact he doesn't seem to have much of a taste for baked goods: In 2005-06, he filed an expense report for an exceedingly modest $5 for a "meeting with client" at Treats Bakery, which means they probably had to split the tea biscuit in half and share the cup of coffee.

It's only worrisome because, as we all know, muffins and ethics go hand-in-hand.

Posted by Kevin Steel on August 22, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Parking solutions

Bourque links to this story, about a system that provides motorists real-time information on available parking spaces. My wife and I were in Geneva recently, and we noticed that the city has just such a system in place, using electronic reader boards at various locations to list available spots at four (as I recall) downtown parkades. Just thought I'd mention it.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 22, 2007 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Stelmach's big slide

The Globe and Mail reports today that support for the Stelmach government in Alberta has fallen 22 points since January. No wonder the folks at the new Wildrose Party of Alberta are so upbeat about their prospects.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 22, 2007 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (74) | TrackBack

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Iran and Canada

Is the US going to bomb Iran? This is a question I think most people should be asking. I happen to think George Bush will not bomb Iran, but that if Rudy Guliani is elected president, he will. This is all conjecture; nobody outside of the administration is sure what is going inside Bush's head, obviously. But Canada must still prepare for the possible. So: what should, and what will, Canada do if the US bombs Iran?

Interviewing David Harris of the Canadian Coalition of Democracies for an article I wrote a few months ago on why Canada should up the sanctions against Iran, I asked him his opinion. He was very clear: the West must stand together, and Canada should support the US in any attack on Iran.

I couldn't disagree more. I think any attack on Iran would have catastrophic, perhaps permanent, effects on America's legitimacy as a leader in the eyes of the world. Why should the US care what the world thinks? Well, because it needs the support of allies to give its actions legitimacy and bear some of its burden (think of France, Germany and Russia teaming up to block UN approval of the Iraq invasion). The more people hate the US, the harder this is to get.

More importantly, I think Iran is weak, fearful, defensive, and can be convinced, in a grand bargain, to give up its quest for nuclear weapons. But, even failing that, I think the world can live with a nuclear Iran. People might ask themselves how such a thing is possible. To that question I would say: look back on the debates over Mao's China (who threatened to use Nukes on America) and the Soviet Union being permitted to get nuclear weapons. The arguments are almost identical. And in both cases, China and the Soviet Union were contained (the latter doesn't even exist anymore). If those massive powers can be contained, a third-rate, poor, internally divided country like Iran can be, too. Canada should let America go down its own, destructive path if it comes to it. Let's hope it doesn't.

Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on August 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (133) | TrackBack

Details, details

Today's Victoria Times Colonist reports: "Two Victoria women are exploring the possibility of opening a co-operative brothel whose profits would help fund programs for addicted and impoverished women selling sex on city streets."

But, of course, there's just one little problem with the idea: brothels are illegal-- a fact the story finally points out in paragraph seven. Other than that trifling matter, I'm sure the community will rally 'round this fabulous idea [inject sarcasm here].

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 21, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (51) | TrackBack

Bush-Harper; A Quick Overview


President Bush met with PM Harper:

Posted by Winston on August 21, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (81) | TrackBack

The son also philosophizes

His brother Justin is in politics now, but Alexandre Trudeau also apparently wants some of the spotlight, and so has written a new foreword to his famous father Pierre's 1960 book, Two Innocents in China. As the Calgary Sun's Paul Jackson sees it today, Alexandre shows himself to be a worthy member of the Trudeau temple of moral relativism, naivety, and outright stupidity.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 21, 2007 in Books | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sacrifice & Valor

Our thoughts and prayers with the family and friends of Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment's Pte. Simon Longtin who was unfortunately killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb planted by Taliban.

And his comrades want the public to learn more about what they do in that corner of the world.

Posted by Winston on August 20, 2007 in Canadian Politics, Current Affairs, Military | Permalink | Comments (44) | TrackBack

Garbage in, garbage out

Don't you just love the intelligent, thoughtful questions that pollsters pose?

Angus Reid's latest on-line poll question asks whether I will vote for Stephen Harper in the next federal election.

Well, Angus, thanks for asking, but even though I may vote for the Conservative Party of Canada's candidate in my suburban Vancouver riding, I will assuredly not be voting for Mr. Harper, who will be seeking election in a seat several hundred miles east of where I live.

So, my truthful and accurate answer to your question would be to click the NO box -- an answer that you will no doubt interpret as being anti-Conservative. And then, of course, you'll be wrong. Garbage in, garbage out.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 20, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (32) | TrackBack

Poverty equals violence?

There's something deeply disturbing about this particular story, which tells of a six-year-old aboriginal boy who was drowned by three other aboriginal youngsters at the Pauingassi reserve in Manitoba. And it's not just the tragic tale which is at the heart of the story.

The problem is evident in this paragraph: "We allow kids to grow up in extreme poverty," says Elsie Flett, head of the First Nations of Southern Manitoba Child and Family Services Authority. "Why are we then surprised when these kids become violent? Society has really been very violent towards them."

Not so fast, Ms. Flett. First, there's your disheartening and demeaning assumption that a life of poverty will automatically lead to a life of violence. This is determinist claptrap. Second, there's your assertion that "society" is inflicting violence on the children, presumably by keeping them impoverished.

This is such an ill-defined accusation that it's difficult to examine. Does she mean society as represented by the band structure? By the reserve system? By aboriginal society in general? Or, perhaps, by the outside world? Regardless of which entity she is blaming, she is stretching the definition of violence in the same way that Marxist class warriors, for example, do in asserting that capitalism inflicts violence on the working class.

So what is Flett's solution? More personal responsibility? Better parenting? Fewer one-parent families? Band-governance reform? An end to the welfare mentality that has so many reserves in its thrall? Tougher controls on drugs and alcohol? Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, and nope. Flett's answer is, not surprisingly, to shirk personal responsibility and to look to Ottawa for all the answers:  "Who is interviewing Stephen Harper and his government?" Flett asked in an interview. "Who is saying, 'What are you doing about Pauingassi'?"

I say: Who is interviewing band leaders and asking them, "What are you doing about Pauingassi?"

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 20, 2007 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (63) | TrackBack

The continuing Kyoto crisis, part X

Via Kate and the National Review comes news of this new and rigorous scientific study that concludes the earth's climate is only about one-third as sensitive to carbon dioxide as the IPCC has claimed.

Message to Al Gore: Your movie has now been completely, absolutely and thoroughly debunked. Do the responsible thing and pull it from circulation.

Message to the msm: It's now officially OK for you to start covering the other side of the climate-change story. Go ahead. Do it. It won't hurt.

Message to all climate-change hysterics: Shut up.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on August 20, 2007 in Science | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Any Comments, Questions?!?

Islamist2_2 Islamist1_2

These two photos were taken in Dundas Sq. Toronto on 18th of August 07. I have seen these people doing this several times and they may have the right to do so and their right to preach Islam is probably protected by freedom of speech. But I have a few questions for those of you who may know the answer:

Who is paying for these free Korans? Who may tell them to go out and preach about the Wahhabi sect of Islam in the heart of the city of Toronto? What are they pursuing by trying to "advertise" for the religion of peace?

I am curious to know. Ain't you?


Posted by Winston on August 19, 2007 in Canadian Politics, Current Affairs, Religion | Permalink | Comments (128) | TrackBack