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Monday, December 31, 2007

Here comes 2008


Happy new year and best of luck to the Shotgun readers, bloggers and staff.

Posted by Winston on December 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Predictions for 2008

Well, it seems to be the thing to do today, so I’m going to give it a go:

1) Canadian Politics:

There will not be a General Election in 2008.  Instead, Stephane Dion will continue to die a slow death, withering away in front of our very eyes.  Both parties will fail to gain traction in the polls, absent some outside defining issue.  The Liberals will be afraid to go, the Tories will be afraid to go – fear of the unknown will keep everything frozen for another year.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will again confound conventional political wisdom by agreeing to a request that Canada increase the size of its mission in Afghanistan as, with Iraq fading from the news and Pakistan spiralling into chaos, international support coalesces for emulating the Iraqi “surge” strategy in Afghanistan and possibly even northern Pakistan.

My MP, James Moore, will finally become a member of the Cabinet.

Carole Taylor will run for and win the job of Mayor of Vancouver and, quite promptly, discover what she should have already known: that it’s an incredibly frustrating job in which doing anything of value is pretty much impossible.

The other BC Carole, Carole James, will be forced out by a panicked BC NDP in the summer/fall when they see the 2009 Election coming and no chance of her beating Gordon Campbell.  Coming full circle, she will be replaced by Adrian Dix.

With it broadly expected that Gordon Campbell will retire sometime after the 2010 Olympics, a number of people will begin manoeuvring for the Premier’s job in earnest.  Despite her “exit” from Provincial politics, Carole Taylor will be the early front-runner, if she can avoid being dragged down by the Vancouver Mayor’s job and if she can avoid a conservative revolt.  She will probably be successful on the first count – and unsuccessful on the second.  With the end of Campbell’s tenure in sight, MLA’s from the old Reform/Social Credit wing of the BC Liberal Party will begin to express their concerns about the party’s leftward drift more openly.  Will they find a champion?  Probably.

The one name missing from the list of people lining up to be Premier of British Columbia will be former Deputy Premier and current CKNW Radio Personality Christy Clark (full disclosure: once upon a time, I was a member of her riding association).  She’s a smart woman and both a provincial and Federal liberal.  Whatever her husband’s current job, she’ll know that there are going to be two Liberal leaderships opening up in the next few years.  She’ll also know that there’s an appetite among the estrogen-heavy Liberal membership for a woman leader.  After all – lack of Federal experience seems to be no bar to the job.  Gerard Kennedy nearly won the job last time and his principal accomplishment in life up until that point (prior, I suppose, to being Education Minister of Ontario) was running a Food Bank.  But for the timing of her ill-fated run for Mayor of Vancouver, she could have been a formidable candidate last time around.  This time…

Forget what the polls say: Ed Stelmach will call a General Election in Alberta and he will either lose or nearly lose.  The Alberta PC’s have the stench, even across Provincial borders, given off by all decaying and defeated regimes. 

2) World Politics:

There will be no General Election in Britain in 2008.  Like James Callaghan three decades ago, Gordon Brown will hold on and pray for a miracle.  He might wait all the way into 2010 looking to change things around.  It probably won’t work.  But, mind you, David Cameron is no Maggie.

After nearly a decade in the wilderness, Benjamin Netanyahu will return to power as the Prime Minister of Israel.  However, his return to power will be no cause for celebration…

…because his return to power will be triggered by Iran’s public declaration – a surprise to no honest person with an IQ higher than room temperature – that it either has deployed or will soon deploy nuclear weapons.  With that Olmert’s government will come tumbling down and, like Britain in the terrible spring of 1940; Israel will turn to the man who turns out to have been right all along.

Contrary to expectations, the Beijing Olympics will prove to be an embarrassment for the Chinese regime.  They will be disrupted by activists.  Frantic efforts will be unable to hide the terrible state of the Chinese environment, which will injure the health of some of the athletes.  Entering the country en masse after years of stories about China’s rise, the international media will prove very eager to tell the contrarian story of how China is blighted by extreme poverty and generally filthy conditions.

Pakistan will continue to teeter on the brink.  It may fall over.  If it does – if, for example, something terrible happens to Musharaff and an Islamist takeover beckons – the world will be treated to the most frightening days since September 11th, or possibly the Cuban missile crisis, as an alarmed India threatens war and the U.S. Armed Forces launch a desperate operation to either capture or disable Pakistan’s nuclear weapons before they fall into the wrong hands.

Iraq continues to improve.  The momentum there towards a fairly decent civil society is becoming irreversible.  As this happens, the smarter Democrats try and claim credit for forcing the course change.

3) American Politics:

The world will be treated to the most confusing American Presidential election – and perhaps the most critical – since 1860.  Barak Obama will win the Democratic nomination for President – after surprising Hillary Clinton in the early primaries and winning the endorsement of John Edwards.

John McCain will be the Republican nominee for President, after Mitt Romney defeats Huckabee in Iowa, but by a small enough margin to fail to get a bounce.  McCain wins New Hampshire thereafter, as the many, many Republicans who despite Mitt Romney but merely dislike McCain gather around the latter.

In March, Ron Paul will be defeated for re-nomination in his own House seat by local City Councilman Chris Peden.  His devoted followers will blame this on “neocons” or, when they think people aren’t looking, simply on “the Jews.”  Shortly thereafter, Paul will announce an independent campaign for the Presidency.

At roughly the same time, Michael Bloomberg also declares for the Presidency as an Independent, putting a billion dollars behind his campaign. 

Thus, we’re going to left with a four-way race for the Presidency, with three candidates who can potentially win the Presidency – and probably with all four polling high enough to make it into the debates.

The race will be ugly and chaotic.  Indeed, I would not be at all shocked if it was the first Presidential race in a very long time to be marred by actual violence.

Bloomberg will take either Chuck Hagel or Sam Nunn as his running mate.  Obama, looking to burnish his foreign policy credentials, will follow the model of inexperienced candidates for the Presidency in recent years and choose a gray-haired insider as his running mate.  Chris Dodd or Joe Biden both seem plausible.  Depending on the environment, John McCain can go four ways.  He can reach out to Evangelicals by taking Huckabee as his running mate.  He can choose the best-polling Republican and take Giuliani.  He can try to mollify movement conservatives and take someone like Fred Thompson, John Kyl, or South Carolina Mark Sanford.  Or, recognizing that the race is out-of-control he could make a bold decision and attempt a fusion ticket of sorts by taking Joe Lieberman as his Vice President.  I happen to prefer the final option, simply because it enjoy the idea of the 2000 Democratic Vice Presidential candidate being elected as a Republican in 2008.

In the end, despite erratic polling, John McCain is elected as the 44th President of the United States.  He wins only a plurality of the popular vote, but a smashing Electoral College majority.  Democrats spend the next four years pointing out that a majority of Americans voted for candidates on the left of the spectrum.

Democrats keep the Congress.  They hold the House by a very narrow margin – but pick up one seat in the Senate (the Republicans, though, partially offset their losses by electing John Kennedy to the Senate in Louisiana).

4) Everything Else:

The Writer’s strike drags on longer than anyone expected.  This is one of those unfortunate cases where justice is on both sides – the writers deserve to be paid for all of their work, but the studios don’t have more money to give.  This disrupts the pilot season, resulting in the renewal and even the revival of many on-the-brink shows.

Further, studios put a number of remakes and the like into production – in addition to scripts coming off the shelf after many years.

Reflecting the mood of the day, “No Country for Old Men” wins the Oscar for Best Picture.  In a divided verdict, Paul Thomas Anderson wins Best Director for “There Will be Blood.”  Meanwhile, Ellen Page wins Best Actress for “Juno” and Daniel Day Lewis wins Best Actor for “There Will be Blood.”

Tom Kratman’s novel “Caliphate”, due to be published by Baen in a few months, causes a stir on the blogosphere and draws a human rights complaint against Indigo/Chapters for carrying it in Canada.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on December 31, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Ignoring the problem won't make it go away

American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Ledeen in his recent article:

Ignoring the real problem (mullahs), won't make it go away. Some body must take some serious actions against the clerical establishment of Iran.

And also related article on Iranian strategy in Iraq by Michael Rubin

Understanding Iranian Strategy in Afghanistan by Michael Rubin

Posted by Winston on December 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Iowa predictions

Well, now we get to see just how bad I am at predicting elections . . .

Based on the latest poll I have seen (which also is the must trustworthy, IMHO, because it's Mason-Dixon), here's how I see the Iowa caucuses shaking out (I go into more detail, including my very hazy ideas for what this means in New Hampshire, here):


  1. John Edwards
  2. Hillary Clinton
  3. Barack Obama
  4. I don't care
  5. They don't care
  6. You won't care
  7. Dennis Kucinich
  8. Mike Gravel


  1. Mike Huckabee
  2. Mitt Romney
  3. Fred Thompson
  4. John McCain
  5. Ron Paul
  6. Rudy Giuliani
  7. Duncan Hunter
  8. Alan Keyes

Now, you'll probably noticed I switched the order a bit on the Republican side.  I did that mainly because of the evangelical Christian voters, who tend to be more loyal and show up more often that the rest of the GOP electorate.  They usually add an unseen (and un-polled) boost to their preferred candidates.  I'm guessing they'll be enough to push Huckabee into first (but not by much) and Paul into fifth.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on December 31, 2007 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Bravery & Sacrifice

Our thoughts, sympathies and respect go to the family and friends of Jonathan Dion, a gunner from Val d'Or, Quebec, a brave soldier, who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and our freedom when his light armored personnel carrier hit an IED 12 miles west of Kandahar, Afghanistan. PM Harper released the following statement regarding this incident:

RIP Soldier...

Posted by Winston on December 31, 2007 in Current Affairs, Military | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Alberta Alliance Party & Wildrose Party May Unite

December 30, 2007

Notice of Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Alberta Alliance Party.

Dear Alliance Party Members,

During the month of December the Provincial Council has been in negotiations with the Wildrose Party of Alberta to unite the parties.  After several weeks of negotiations the Alberta Alliance Provincial Council has approved the following terms to a merger, subject to the approval of our members at a Special General meeting, to be held in Calgary , AB on Saturday January 19th 2008. We invite you to attend this meeting and ask that you pre-register by January 12th to insure we have adequate space for each attendee. You must be a current Alberta Alliance member.

The decision to merge the parties is entirely up to you. The following six resolutions will be submitted for consideration by all Alberta Alliance members in attendance.

Be it resolved that;

1)      the Alliance changes the name of the “Alberta Alliance Party” to the “Wildrose Alliance Party of Alberta”.
2)      the Wildrose Alliance adopt new Bylaws substantially the same as those of the “Wildrose Party of Alberta ”.
3)      the Wildrose Alliance immediately conduct election of officers.
4)      the Wildrose Alliance call and provide notice of an Annual General Meeting to be held by May 1, 2008.
5)      the Wildrose Alliance accept all the assets and liabilities of the “Wildrose Party of Alberta”; following the acceptance of the merger by members of both the Alberta Alliance and the Wildrose Party at their respective Special General Meetings.
6)      the Wildrose Alliance allow all members of the “Wildrose Party of Alberta ” to exchange their membership in the Wildrose Party for a membership in the “Wildrose Alliance” for the unexpired term.

Both parties will have conducted due diligence examinations of the other, prior to the January 19th 2008 SGM.

If the merger is approved, the Wildrose Alliance will reimburse candidates for expenses already incurred for election material that bears the Alberta Alliance name to facilitate the transition to new name. (Candidates will have to provide documentation of the original expenses to be reimbursed.)

If the union is approved, a meeting of the new Provincial Executive shall follow the SGM, to establish by-laws for candidate selection and constituency formation.

Members of the “Wildrose Party of Alberta ” have been invited to attend. If members of the Alberta Alliance approve the above resolutions, Wildrose Party members will then be recognized as voting participants at the SGM.

I hope you can join us for this important meeting.


Jane Morgan, CFO
On behalf of the President & the AAP Provincial Council

Posted by Matthew Johnston on December 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (39) | TrackBack

American foreign policy in the middle east

A discussion panel by the Jewish Policy Center about the role and importance of the American foreign policy in the middle-east. Worth of the time (almost 2 hours) to pay attention.

Posted by Winston on December 30, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Maybe he can take it...

To the Afghani Human Rights Commission.

    -- KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- A key Taliban commander reportedly kicked out of the militia believes the dismissal order is a conspiracy against him and has not been signed off by Taliban leader Mullah Omar, his spokesman said Sunday.


Posted by Neo Conservative on December 30, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Raving Leftist Steals iPod, Leaves Note

Maybe it's because I'm tired, but I almost fell out of the chair after reading this story.

In summary, a girl opened her iPod box on Christmas to find a note denouncing "capitalist garbage" and encouraging her, instead, to go and read a book.

What happened to the iPod isn't mentioned but, if I was asked to bet, I would guess that whichever freakish doped-up left-wing "culture jammer" decided that it was good enough for me but not for thee.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on December 29, 2007 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Stay in Afghanistan, US Ambassador urges Canada

US ambassador to Canada David Wilkins urges Canada to stay the course in Afghanistan beyond 2009:

I think Canada is the best friend and ally that the Americans have got in Afghanistan since no body else (except the British) is doing what we're doing there and here comes the word of praise for Canadian troops:

It's the English speaking world that is taking care of the business again.


Posted by Winston on December 29, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (38) | TrackBack

Friday, December 28, 2007

Passport fee

On the sentencing of Emmanuel Villarceau which happened back on Nov. 20,  the Ottawa Citizen today: Passport fraud lands ex-public servant two-year prison term

"The court documents do not indicate how the people who obtained passports using falsified information came in contact with Mr. Villarceau, nor what Mr. Villarceau received for providing the passports."

Back on May 16, the CBC ran this piece; "Former government worker forged passports" which has these details;

"Villarceau, who worked as an examination officer at the passport office in Gatineau, Que., sold the fake passports between December 2003 and June 2004 to Canadians living overseas, RCMP Sgt. Monique Beauchamp said.

The buyers allegedly paid up to $10,000 for the bogus passport, which bore a false name."

The next day, May 17, the Citizen had this: Passport officer admits to document scam. It contains these soothing words from the RCMP;

"Sgt. Beauchamp said the RCMP has discovered no evidence that the passports have fallen into the hands of known terrorist groups or criminal organizations."

Okay, if the recent story is true and the court documents don't tell us "what Mr. Villarceau received for providing the passports", and the CBC story is true, that "buyers allegedly paid up to $10,000 for the bogus passport" then somehow that detail didn't wind up in the court documents. In stories I read, the other detail of how these people "came in contact with Mr. Villarceau" is missing. That is curious and I'm glad the recent Citizen story pointed out it's missing in the court documents. So who would, or could, blow $10,000 on a false passport? Why would they do that? How did 14 people willing to spend $10,000 on a passport manage to get in contact with this one guy in the main office of Passport Canada-Foreign Affairs and International Trade? (btw just to be clear, the Passport Office changed its name to Passport Canada in Feb. 2005, right around the time Villarceau got caught and was fired--March 2005--probably, you know, to confuse criminals.)

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 28, 2007 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack

Someone inform the lefties: the world is not Europe

Amidst the hand-wringing down here by the usual suspects on how Bush is to blame for the Bhutto assassination (no, I'm not kidding), we're headed for the usual Bush-has-made-America-hated nonsense that passes for "analysis" down here and up there.

Amazingly, even as we are discussing a Pakistani assassination, there is almost no mention of India (save Jonah Goldberg at National Review On line), which just happens to be both the largest democracy on Earth and a place where President Bush is quite popular.

Given that India has a larger population than all of Europe, wouldn't it make sense to include it in any conversation about Bush's popularity worldwide?

Then again, such data would be unfathomable to the sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on December 28, 2007 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (49) | TrackBack

Weakness for power

Dec. 26, CP: Canada--Limping into 2008

"When the year began, Harper's Conservatives were sitting at 34 per cent in public opinion approval, according to Harris-Decima, just ahead of the Liberals at 31 per cent. The NDP was at 15 and the Green party at eight per cent.

As 2007 draws to a close, Harris-Decima's rolling three-week averages had the Tories hovering around 34 per cent, the Liberals at 29, the NDP at 15 and the Greens polling 11 per cent."

Michael Den Tandt in the Owen Sound Sun Times: Fearless predictions (and why Harper, and I, got it wrong)

"What better way to set those fears to rest, get ahead of a rising global political wave and severely undercut the Liberals than to go Green? It couldn't fail.

But it did."

And then Den Tandt goes into the technicalities of policy. I'm sorry, I just don't buy it. Canadians I believe don't pay that much attention to the technical aspects of policy.

The only lesson here is apparently you gain nothing by bowing down to people like Gore and Suzuki. Give an inch and they'll just keep bashing. They don't have to compromise because they're not running for office. They can't give an inch because that would p-ss off their core constituency  which wants control, power, and hates you for a whole lot of other reasons. And in passing, you alienate the people who did vote for you. Back to waiting for the wave.

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 28, 2007 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Real Pakistan

I really have nothing much to say about the Pakistani PM Bhutto assassination earlier today but there is that constant thought with me that Pakistan has always been a quasi-nation state where Islam as a religion triumphs any thing else and the Pakistani people have no national identity and they mostly identify themselves with the radical form of Islam. This great piece at NRO caught my attention today and reaffirmed what I've always thought of that country:

The article is a must read.

Posted by Winston on December 27, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Freedom Farmer

Pastured_broilers  Joel Salatin may be to farming what Jacques Chaoulli is to medicine.

I spent Christmas at our family farm and came across Salatin’s name after picking up a copy of the Western Producer. He’s the author of Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front. Salatin is a self-described Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist (there is something in that description to please and/or offend everyone on this blog).

On Dec. 4, he was in Brandon, Man., giving a speech to the Manitoba Grazing School. (I hear their Delta Phi house is off the hook.) I can’t link to the Western Producer article because their online content requires a paid subscription, so let me summarize:

Joel Salatin is leading an army. His soldiers are farmers. His tactics are subversive. His goal is to liberate the family farm. And his sworn enemies in this war are the food safety regulations he thinks favour potentially dangerous industrial farming operations by denying market access to safe, local food producers.

In his book, Salatin tells the real life stories of guerrilla farmers like himself, those who employ subterfuge to get around food rules. When the government told one dairy farmer he couldn’t sell his unpasteurized cheese, he gave it away and asked his loyal customers for “donations.”  Some local food producers mislabel their products as pet food to avoid costly regulations that would put them out of business; their customers know what they are getting because they trust the local source and so regulators are thwarted. A lady in the U.S. rents her property by the square metre. In her state, Michigan, you can butcher an animal for your own use as long as it’s done on land you own or rent. This sneaky strategy, all within the law, allows her to expand farm gate sales of fresh, safe meat.

Will all small farmers become sneaks to serve their customers? Will big government force enterprising farmers into a life of crime? It’s hard to say. Farmers can be a powerful political force, but so is fear. Tainted food imports from China have put the normally complacent North American consumer in no mood to support Joel Salatin’s campaign for deregulation.

And politicians? Much the same. The federal government announced on December 20, 2007 that it is spending $5 million in tax dollars to establish an animal health and food safety vaccine production facility at the Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. campus in Belleville, Ontario. The project will create as many as 135 new government jobs.

Farmers like Salatin are arguing that small farms and decentralized, small-scale food production will do more to make food safer than $5 million in vaccine production and 135 more food safety bureaucrats. In other words, relaxing food safety regulations for small farmers may be exactly what’s needed to secure a safe, local food supply, though the idea may not be popular with the consumer at the moment.

In his address, Salatin said “Folks, it’s not about food safety. It’s about market access. We can raise kids on Twinkies and bon-bons, but we can’t give them raw milk.”

Come on, Salatin. We can give our kids raw milk. We just have it label it “cat food.”

By Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on December 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

The Income Trust 300

According to a Dec. 24 email update from Richard Schechter with the NAFTA Trust Claims group, over 300 U.S. investors have now come forward to join a potential $6.5 billion NAFTA claim against the Government of Canada. That’s about 298 more than the group started with when it was founded last spring.

The 300 investors are preparing to seek compensation for the Canadian government’s flip flop on income trusts. In a surprise move on Halloween 2006, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the Conservative government’s intention to eliminate tax benefits in the Canadian oil and gas income trust model. The announcement shocked everyone because the Conservative Party promised during the Jan. 2006 election campaign not to tax the trusts.

In the wake of Flaherty’s announcement, stock prices plunged. American investors lost an estimated $5 billion.

This ad hoc group lead by US investor Marvin Gottlieb claims NAFTA protects foreign investors in signatory countries from the impact of costly broken policy promises.

They cite NAFTA’s Chapter 11 which, in their interpretation (on their website www.naftatrustclaims.com), "allows investors from one NAFTA country to sue the government of another NAFTA country for actions which hurt them or their investments." While a NAFTA Tribunal cannot order the Canadian government to repeal its Tax Fairness Plan (which changed the income trust tax structure) it can order the government to compensate U.S. and Mexican investors for losses resulting from the new tax plan.

Chicago-based Gottlieb and his wife filed the initial NAFTA Notice of Intent against the Government of Canada on October 30, 2007. A full claim could be filed as soon as February 2008.

In a letter to Flaherty on November 5, 2007, Gottlieb maintains he is bringing the claim forward in the interest of "fair play" and not for the money he hopes to recovery. He also insists he's not working with the Liberals to keep the income trust issue in the news as a way to embarrass Harper's Conservatives.

I ask you:

Did the Conservative government hurt its international trade reputation with its decision to eliminate the oil and gas income trust model?

Should US investors be compensated for their losses?

Or is this evidence that NAFTA is a threat to Canadian sovereignty?

By Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on December 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (61) | TrackBack

Bhutto assassination was an al Qaeda hit

According to Bill Roggio, Ayman al-Zawahiri ordered it himself.

FWIW, I whipped up a quick primer on recent Pakistani history (complete with Mark Steyn quote).

Posted by D.J. McGuire on December 27, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Bhutto Assassination

Breaking, CTV: Bhutto killed following attack in Pakistan

Reuters India: Facts on Pakistan's ex-PM Benazir Bhutto

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 27, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Canada's New Year's resolution: Get Tough With Rights Abusers

Canada's New Year Resolution for 2008 according to Diane Francis of the National Post newspaper:

1- A disclosure law requiring countries that abuse human rights, according to our definition, to disclose all their existing holdings in our economies, including stock market stakes, bonds or any ownership in private companies, hedge, mutual or private-equity funds.

2- Canada should impose investment bans against Saudis, Iranians and others, barring them from ownership in our economies until they reform.

3- A ban against immigration, visa work, tourism or students from these abusing countries.

Posted by Winston on December 26, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Afghan Insurgency

Defense minister Peter MacKay says "Afghan insurgents are getting weapons from Iran" :

Posted by Winston on December 25, 2007 in Military | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Merry Christmas


Wishing every body, friend or foe, a very merry Christmas. Let's not forget those who are not fortunate enough to celebrate this holiday season as they please. And allow me to wish the brave Canadian soldiers overseas, wherever they are, a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. I'd like to wish them well and tell them how proud we're for things they do. We're all indebted to them and appreciate their service.

Merry Christmas Every Body!

Posted by Winston on December 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Monday, December 24, 2007

Early morning music

Here's a Christmas nostalgia pill, a classic for certain people of a certain age; on YouTube, on vinyl at 33 RPM, the 1958 version of The Little Drummer Boy performed by The Harry Simeone Chorale.

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 24, 2007 in Media | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Sunday, December 23, 2007

On my apology to Syed Soharwardy

Dear Western Standard readers,

On the matter of my apology to Syed Soharwardy, I plan to privately respond to every comment made directly to me about this. 

In the interim, let me start by saying that I purchased the Western Standard website when no other buyers appeared. I did this to ensure that our independent voice would not disappear entirely when the magazine was forced to shut down.

I hired an editor who was a senior writer with the Alberta Report and the Western Standard. I did this so that the conservative voice of the Western Standard would not be lost during this ownership and format change.

I was a co-founder of the Western Standard and I want this product to survive and succeed with its independent, conservative editorial voice intact. I believe this conservative voice can, and did, exist alongside a classical liberal one.

The comments that prompted the human rights complaint appeared on an un-moderated blog, posted anonymously by someone who was not a Western Standard staffer or freelancer. I removed the comments when they were brought to my attention as they were offensive and did nothing to advance genuine discussion or enhance the reputation of the Western Standard. And I apologized to Syed Soharwardy as I am ultimately responsible for comments made on this forum, and, again, those comments were indefensible.

Just as the Western Standard magazine content was edited, the Western Standard website content will be edited. We simply want to provide our readers and advertisers with the best product we can.

Moderating the comments on our website will also protect the Western Standard from unfair attacks. For example, as online reader "OBC" noted, tonight we were forced to ban an IP address with 6 user names. This individual was actively working to discredit the Western Standard with anti-Semitic and racists comments that would never have come from any of the thousands of thoughtful readers who visit us online. I removed the comments and reported the IP address to our webmaster.

I’ll defend Western Standard editorial decisions, but not the unmoderated comments intended to hurt the Western Standard and unfairly discredit our editorial agenda.

For those worried that this new oversight is a slippery slope toward further self-censorship, I’m counting on your participation on this website to keep us on track and fiercely independent.

If you have any questions about my decision, feel free to post a comment or email me at [email protected].


Matthew Johnston
Western Standard

Posted by westernstandard on December 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (43) | TrackBack

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Syed Soharwardy will withdraw complaint from AHRCC

Date:  December 21, 2007

Press Release

Western Standard Apologised to the Muslim Community

Syed Soharwardy will Withdraw Complaint from AHRCC

Today’s Protest at the City Hall Has Been Cancelled

Calgary - Yesterday, the National President of Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, Imam Syed Soharwardy received a phone call from Mr. Matthew Johnston, the new owner of the Western Standard. Mr. Johnston expressed his regrets and apologised to Imam Syed Soharwardy and the Muslim Community for allowing the hateful statements against Muslims on the Western Standard blog.  Mr. Johnston followed up with an email. In his email Mr. Johnston wrote:

“……………… In short, we will not allow the high quality of our online discussions to be compromised by a few insensitive and offensive comments that do nothing to further the important debates that take place on our site. While we have independently determined that we must address the problems we inherited when we purchased the lively and un-moderated Western Standard blog, your recent human rights complaint has brought all of our existing concerns about the website into sharp focus – and we will act on our plan.

I apologize to you and the Calgary Muslims who took offence to the comments found on our website.  I took offence to these comments as well, as did the vast majority of our readers. On January 15, 2008, the new Western Standard website will be launched. I invite you to judge our commitment to fostering respectful debate at that time.  In the future, please contact us directly with any concerns you might have about our content. You’ll find us to be very responsive”.

In the spirit of Eid al Adh-ha and Christmas, Imam Syed Soharwardy has decided to withdraw his complaint from the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Ottawa.  Moreover, ISCC has decided to cancel today’s protest in front of Calgary City Hall. However, ISCC requests Calgary Police to continue their investigation and find out who posted the hateful statements on Western Standard’s blog.

Imam Syed Soharwardy thanked Mr. Johnston for his courage and offered his cooperation to Western Standard.  Imam Syed Soharwardy has also invited Mr. Matthew Johnston to visit Al Madinah Calgary Islamic Centre and talk to the Muslim community on any Friday. Mr. Johnston has accepted the invitation.

- 30 -

Posted by Matthew Johnston on December 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is 'Glorifying Terrorism' a Crime?

In Britain, it is--now. Canada's still taking stock

Jordan Michael Smith - May 7, 2007

Mizanur Rahman, a radical Muslim who led a protest in London, England, last February against Danish cartoons of Mohammed by holding up signs saying, "Behead those who insult Islam" and calling for a "9/11 all over Europe," has been convicted of promoting racial hatred.

At the same protest, Umran Javed shouted through a megaphone, "Denmark, you will pay with your blood," and warned non-Muslims to learn "the lessons of Theo Van Gogh," the Dutch filmmaker murdered in 2004 by an Islamic radical. Rahman was convicted in November, and Javed was convicted this January of inciting murder and racial hatred.

No charges similar to those faced by Javed and Rahman have been laid against any Canadian citizens, and not necessarily because Islamic radicals are absent here. "We don't have legislation as substantial as the U.K. has," says Craig Forcese, a lawyer at the University of Ottawa who is working on a book about Canada's national security policy.

Read the entire article here:


Posted by Matthew Johnston on December 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (89) | TrackBack

Faceoff: Watch Your Mouth

Should freedom of speech extend to those who spread hatred?

Michael Coren and Karen Selick - September 17, 2007

From: Michael Coren
To: Karen Selick
Date: July 30, 2007 9:32 AM
Subject: Is hate speech still free speech?

Bobby James Wilkinson, the creator of the Canadian Nazi Party website, has been fined $4,000 by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and ordered to cease and desist spreading hateful messages. Seems about right to me.

Read the Coren vs Selick debate on freedom of speech here:


Posted by Matthew Johnston on December 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Friday, December 21, 2007

Political madness

Changes to Alberta’s Mental Health Act could endanger civil liberties

Matthew Johnston - December 21, 2007

Imagine a world in which, despite having committed no crime, the state can arrest and imprison you indefinitely without the benefit of legal council or a trial. In this nightmare world, agents of the state can even force you into psychological treatment and drug you against your will. Yet, this isn’t the plot outline for some dystopian novel like Brave New World where prenatal psychological conditioning and universal, state-sponsored psychotropic drug use are part of the scientifically engineered social order. It’s the real world power contained in Alberta’s Mental Health Act (MHA). And in the coming year, the MHA will become an even more powerful tool for the state and government healthcare workers.

Read the complete article here:


Posted by Matthew Johnston on December 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Dozed off?

Quebec has fallen off the screen in the West

Dr. Roger Gibbins - December 21, 2007

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in an Ottawa conference on the changing face of Canadian federalism. The event drove home the realization that the longstanding debate over the place of Quebec in Canada, a debate that is alive and well in Quebec, has died in the western part of the country.

Western Canadians have left the building.

Evidence for this conclusion appeared in last year’s indifference to the parliamentary recognition of the Québecois as a nation within Canada. In the past, even the hint of such recognition would have had western Canadians reaching under the bed for their muskets.

Read the entire editorial by Dr. Gibbins here:


Posted by Matthew Johnston on December 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack


For four years my personal website, www.ezralevant.com, has pointed to the Western Standard's website. Now that the Standard has ceased publishing its print edition, and Matthew Johnston and his energetic team have bought the Standard's online assets (including this blog), it makes sense for me to fire up my own site again.

I'm sure I'll still cross-post most of my items over here, too -- including news about my looming meeting with the Alberta human rights commission.

Even though the print magazine is deceased, and the name Western Standard and its websites are sold, the corporate entity that published the Western Standard with the Danish cartoons nearly two years ago still exists, and is still being "investigated" by the commission. I am still president of that company, and I intend to meet these complaints and beat them. Keep watching this page, or my own, for updates. My first hearing is scheduled for January 11th.

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Canada Praised

US President Bush and Secretary of State Rice both praised Canada's role in the ongoing struggle against terrorism in Afghanistan:

The Foreign Affairs ministry web site has more on that.

Posted by Winston on December 21, 2007 in International Affairs, Military | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Hugh Hewitt takes up for Mark Steyn: Buy Maclean's, Boycott Canada?

Sholo_hewitt210x174Hugh Hewitt, a syndicated California-based talk radio host with a daily audience averaging over 300,000 coast-to-coast, had Mark Steyn on for a weekly chat yesterday, and they kicked off by discussing the Human Rights Jihad against Mark and Maclean's. A highly-entertaining listen, as Hugh moves off his boycott of Canada, and promotes Maclean's subscriptions to his U.S. listeners:

Hugh Hewitt and Mark Steyn on The Hugh Hewitt Show - December 20, 2007

Posted by Neil Flagg on December 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Scientists Dispute Man-Made Global Warming Claims

The new report by the US Senate on Global Warming is getting zero coverage in big dinosaur media:

Read for yourself

Posted by Winston on December 21, 2007 in Current Affairs, Science | Permalink | Comments (40) | TrackBack

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Italian Imam Guilty of Terrorism Links

An Islamic cleric who preaches hate at his mosque in Milan has been found convicted on terror charges by an Italian court:

This type of punishment can happen when Imams preach hatred and encourage the muslims to go on Jihad in free western countries.

Posted by Winston on December 20, 2007 in Current Affairs, Religion | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack


In news that will gladden the heart of every member of Gen X and Y, the C.D. Howe Institute reported today that Canadian governments are unprepared for $1.4 trillion in extra spending related to the aging of Baby Boomers.

Further, the young ones that one day Boomers will be shouting at to get off their lawn will face taxes the kind of which have never been seen by Canadians in the past. Whenever I tell my mother how bad it will be for future generations forced to pay for her cohort's retirement she laughs and says that it won't be that bad. No, not for her. Ain't a generational ponzi scheme a great thing?

Read on. (PDF)

Posted by Steve Martinovich on December 20, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Another nine miles

Rachel Marsden is back in the news again--National Post: Conservative pundit's latest controversy. Another bad break-up. How bad? Involving the RCMP and national secrets and naked pictures and… what else? Oh, yeah, a pile of personal emails released to the public on her website. In 2005, I wrote a story about Ms. Marsden after she was hired by the National Post. In that piece I quoted Sun chain co-founder Peter Worthington--before the Sun hired her--as saying; "She's good-looking, she's articulate, but she's nine miles of bad road," he says. "You might want to live dangerously, and they seem to have decided they want to do that."

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Featured on Reuters

This is mostly a shameless self-promotion of my recent post on the Iranian regime incursion in Latin America that has been featured by the Reuters news agency web site.

Posted by Winston on December 20, 2007 in Current Affairs, Media, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Glimmer of hope

Here's today's Calgary Herald story about the latest human rights complaint against the website. I see a glimmer of hope in it:

Civil liberties lawyer Stephen Jenuth said pitting freedom of speech against hate crimes can be uncomfortable.

"It's a matter of where do you draw the line," said Jenuth. "As a society, we have to protect ourselves against such things as people advocating genocide. But our society also has to be strong enough to accept that freedom of speech requires us to hear things we might not want to hear."

Jenuth is a leftist lawyer, a Liberal party riding president usually quoted as a pro-criminal and pro-accused voice in law and order issues. But he's also the president of Alberta's Civil Liberties association. His comment, above, is a glimmer of hope that there are still some true, classical liberals out there who understand that freedom of speech includes speech that we sometimes don't like to hear. He's not as full-throated about it as his B.C. and federal counterparts, but it's a start.

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (41) | TrackBack

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bringing Saudi values to Canada, one human rights complaint at a time

Syed Soharwardy, the Saudi-trained imam now preaching in Calgary, is at it again.

Back in 2006, Soharwardy filed a complaint with the Alberta human rights commission because the Western Standard published the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. You simply have to read his hand-scrawled complaint -- my favourite part was that those cartoons violated his rights because he was a direct descendant of Mohammed. Uh, I'm not sure if that's considered a legal cause of action back in Saudi Arabia, let alone in Canada. You really have to check it out, here. Our response is here; though I was tempted to make the compelling legal argument that I am a descendant of Moses, I refrained. (I also used a spell-check.)

Soharwardy's first stop was the Calgary Police Service, who gently reminded him that he wasn't back in Saudi anymore, and that police don't settle political differences over here. So he went to the AHRCC, who are much less liberal than gun-toting cops.

Now Soharwardy is mad again -- this time because of some public comments posted to the Western Standard blog on December 2nd, ironically in response to a post by me about radical Muslims using human rights commissions as censors.

Soharwardy says he felt scared by those public comments -- but not scared enough to, say, contact the Western Standard to even ask for them to be taken down. As usual, his first stop was the police who, as usual, turned him away. So off to the human rights commission he goes. Soharwardy's press conference today? Well, we all know that's what genuinely scared people do.

Here's Matthew Johnston's official response on behalf of the new Western Standard.

Rob Breakenridge has a good question: if Soharwardy's own website contains the scary, hateful words that he is complaining to the human rights commission about, is he not "promoting hatred" against Muslims himself? Soharwardy might argue -- if Soharwardy deigned to argue -- that he repeated those bad words only to rebut them. But that's exactly what happened on the Western Standard site -- they were promptly rebutted by another public commenter.

Soharwardy is a lot like Mohamed Elmasry. They each claim to represent enormous numbers of people -- Soharwardy has the "Islamic Supreme Council" and Elmasry has the "Canadian Islamic Congress". But both are actually part-timers (Soharwardy works for IBM; Elmasry is a professor at Waterloo) who have never shown more than a handful of followers -- not that that's ever stopped the media from quoting them obsequiously.

Elmasry and Soharwardy have both said bone-headed, even bigoted, things in the press. Elmasry said any Jew 18 or older in Israel is fair game for a terrorist attack. Soharwardy -- an advocate for bringing sharia law to Canada -- is just plain nutty:

In a newspaper article in 2000, Soharwardy wrote that what the Israelis have done to the Palestinians "is worse than the Holocaust of World War II."

In an interview with the Calgary Herald in August, he termed the Israeli bombings of Lebanon an act of genocide. In the past, he's also accused the United States of committing genocide in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In January 2005, after the devastating tsunami, Soharwardy accused Christian missionaries of kidnapping Muslim children in Indonesia. Last year, he called for a boycott of The Da Vinci Code, calling the film blasphemous.

I blame... the media. Seriously: I blame them for the soft bigotry of low expectations. If Soharwardy and Elmasry were WASPs, the media would ridicule them for their thin skin, and would attack their views as the reactionary fascism that it is. But because they're foreign-born, dark-skinned Muslims who speak with an accent, the media shut off their natural skepticism and forget all of their ideals about free speech -- and their judgment -- because they want to be gentle.

They're not doing Muslims any favours. The media -- and all polite society -- should marginalize the fascists and the radicals, and build up the moderates, like Toronto's outstanding Tarek Fatah, or others like Irshad Manji and Salim Mansur.

Elmasry and Soharwardy actual retard the integration and progress of any Muslims who follow them -- thankfully, a small number. For, instead of teaching them true civics -- such as how to participate in the cut-and-thrust of democratic debate without running to the government -- they teach them to be professional complainers and think of themselves as victims.

Thought experiment: Do you think that Canadian attitudes towards Muslims are enhanced or damaged by the Elmasry-Soharwardy recipe of two parts whining and one part bullying? You don't have to guess -- this Nanos poll has the answer.

Elmasry and Soharwardy are media-hungry radicals -- which is why only the human rights commissions of the world (and doe-eyed journalists) will give them any credit. Constructive Muslim leaders would teach their flock the essence of Western liberal civics -- how to debate and participate, not how to whine, censor and bully. In other words, they should teach Canadian values, and leave the Saudi values behind.

UPDATE: Here's a short video clip from CTV. h/t ZP

Posted by Ezra Levant on December 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (97) | TrackBack

Media Announcement

Western Standard responds to new human rights complaint

Today Syed Soharwardy, the Saudi trained Imam, announced his intention to take the Western Standard, once again, to the human rights commission. Last time it was because Soharwardy didn't like that the Western Standard published cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. This time it's because Soharwardy thinks some of the public comments on the Western Standard's website are in poor taste.

That's the nature of free speech: there are going to be occasional offensive comments. The proper Canadian response is to engage in debate, which is exactly what happened on the Western Standard website. On December 2nd, when commenter "obc" wrote something offensive about Muslims, commenter "holographic" quickly refuted him, calling "obc" an extremist and denouncing his comments.

That's how things work in a free country like Canada. Every time our feelings are hurt, we don't call the police and we don't go running to government censors.

When we purchased the Western Standard name and websites last month, we inherited a very lively and un-moderated discussion forum that we intend to improve. We have hired a full-time online editor, and expect a relaunch of our site by January 15, 2008.

These improvements will include restricting gratuitously rude and insensitive comments, including profanity, and restricting anonymous postings -- a higher standard of editing than is used on comment threads at the Globe and Mail and the National Post. These changes will not limit the range of topics discussed on the blog, nor will they limit the points of view that can be expressed on those topics. The changes will simply bring in a new standard of netiquette -- not a standard of political correctness.

Our editorial commitment is to the classical liberal values of personal freedom, economic cooperation and peace. What we choose to publish will be decided by us -- not by special interest groups or human rights commissions.

Posted by westernstandard on December 19, 2007 in Media | Permalink | Comments (49) | TrackBack

British Couple Forced to Take in Criminal

This is government at it's finest.

In summary, a British  couple - both of whom have "learning disabilities" and are under the care of social workers - have been forced to take a criminal into their home upon the order of a court because, when he was given house arrest, he wrote down their address as his own (allegedly because he had the permission of the couple's sixteen year-old daughter to do so).  Neither they, nor the police, can get rid of him, because he's been confined to these people's house by the court.

As a side note, for a couple under state care, they seem to have a fairly nice TV.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on December 19, 2007 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

John Edwards' Love Child?

While, obviously, we can't take everything we read in supermarket tabloids at face value, this report from the National Enquirer seems to be pretty thoroughly done.

When ENQUIRER reporters contacted Young in person at his home on Dec. 12, he became furious — and denied he was Andrew Young.

He also denied knowing "any Rielle Hunter," yelling at the top of his voice: "You don't even know who I am!" But when his wife called him "Andrew," he shot her a dirty look.

An enraged Young called police, demanding our reporters be arrested for trespassing. Officers from the Chatham County (N.C.) Sheriff's Department responded, questioned everyone and made no arrests.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on December 19, 2007 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

The State of Play (Part Two)

This continues to be the closest and most interesting Presidential race in living memory.

What's the state of play today?  Well, looking at the reports, we see the following trends.

1) Huckabee's Support is Peaking.

Rasmussen has him in the lead nationally - at 22%.  These numbers are likely to be reflected elsewhere.  This may well place him in first, nationally, but it doesn't seem likely that he's going to pick up much more support beyond that.  Indeed, most reports show his negatives going up.

Huckabee is a charming guy and a brilliant campaigner - but, the more Republicans learn about his economic and foreign policies, the less traction he's going to get.  I just don't see a path for Huckabee to win the nomination.

2) Mitt Romney is in Trouble.

Romney's path to the nomination depended heavily upon the well-trod path of previous years.  Win Iowa, win New Hampshire, and then take the nomination from there.  But, as of today, he's behind in Iowa and bleeding in New Hampshire.  Romney's biggest problem is that his appeal, really, is as a choice acceptable to pretty much all factions in the Republican Party without any real downside and with a clear path to the nomination, but...

3) John McCain Has a Clear Path to the Nomination:

It would seem that John McCain is pretty much everyone's second or third choice - and perhaps more (in the interest of full disclosure, as my Facebook friends already know, I've endorsed McCain).  With Rasmussen showing him - without organization or ads - in a strong third in Iowa, that path is becoming all-the-more-clear.

McCain overperforms in Iowa, while Huckabee wins.  McCain wins New Hampshire.  That knocks Romney out of the race.  Thompson drops and endorses McCain.  That leaves, heading into February 5th, McCain, Huckabee, and Giuliani still standing - of those three, there's only one who doesn't threaten to tear the GOP coalition apart.

4) Giuliani is in Trouble:

As Rich Lowry said the other day - he needs a miracle.  In retrospect, the problem of the Giuliani candidacy is that it asks too much of supporters - it asks that not only they have faith that a social liberal can win the GOP nomination, but that they sit and wait for a month while that same liberal loses primaries, keeping faith that they'll win the big Republican primaries.

Indeed, that's not even all that solid an arguement.  How liberal is the GOP Primary electorate in, say, California?  After all, they prefered Bill Simon to Dick Riordan for Governor in 2002.

5) Hillary Clinton's Chances are Fading:

The problem may well be that, in all reality, the Clintons haven't had to face a tough campaign since 1992.  After all - with Dole in 1996, the Republicans pretty much gave the election away.  The media has been absolutely on their side throughout the years.  All she's faced since then are two Senate races - in New York - one of which was a gimmie anyways.

The problem with Clinton is, as I've said before, that for all of the money and organization and marketing - in the end, the Dogs just don't like the food.  People don't like her - and they don't want her to be Presdent.  Further, it seems that the inner circle of Clinton advisors is as thoroughly dysfunctional as the Clinton marriage.

6) Obama is George McGovern:

Let's get real, folks - the American people aren't going to elect a black ultra-liberal named Barak Hussein Obama as the President of the United States.  This is a truth so obvious that it will seem self-evident even to the left, in retrospect.  Indeed, for many liberals it's probably a secret source of psychological comfort - when they lose, they can blame it on racism rather than liberalism.

Obama is a candidate without experience.  He has an ultra-liberal record.  He has an interesting past - including his youthful Islamic education and possible faith - which will be fully explored during a general election campaign.  He won't win - and I'm sure that the Democratic brass knows it.  But, as in 1972, they might be forced into a disasterous choice by the unhinged faithful.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on December 19, 2007 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Over/Under-reported 2007

Presser: Influence Communication releases a summary of the most important news stories of 2007

"Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq dominate the news in Canada in 2007

Montreal, December 19, 2007 - Influence Communication today released its overview of the news in Canada in 2007.

Review of Canadian News (2207) recalls and ranks in order of media predominance the news stories and events that made their way in broadcast, print and internet news over the last 12-month period.

Over the course of 2007, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq topped the list of the most important news stories in Canadian media. For the most part, news reporting centered around politicians and government officials touring war zones and Canadian casualties.

The report also takes a look back at media predominance of federal politicians, key environmental issues, provincial party leaders (outside their own province) and major Canadian companies.

The annual compilation includes the results of a brief comparative analysis of the referencing of major national media (newspapers and television networks) by other media across Canada.

The report also presents a ranking of the top Canadian news stories that caught the attention of international media over the past 12-month period. Within this category, Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan, the Pickton trial and the Alberta oil sands occupied the first three (3) positions.

The report features a list of the top international news stories of 2007. International news was dominated by the war in Iraq (1st place) and the upcoming U.S. elections (2nd place). Among the 15 biggest news stories in the world in 2007 were the release of the final instalment in the Harry Potter series, the launch of the iPhone, the incarceration of Paris Hilton and Madonna’s challenges in adopting a child."

You can find the full report here:

What do Western Standard readers think are the important stories that didn’t get widespread media coverage in 2007?

In my opinion, there was no bigger story in 2007 than the human rights commission complaints against the Western Standard, Maclean's magazine and Mark Steyn.  A primary pillar of a free society--freedom of the press--is at risk. It’s hard to overstate the importance of that.

--Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on December 19, 2007 in Media | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Benevolent Saudis Pardon Rape Victim

We all remember this story. A Saudi Woman and her male companion were kidnapped by seven men and the woman was raped. If that wasn't bad enough, the Saudi "justice" system sentenced the woman to 200 lashings and six months in prison for appearing in public  with a man she wasn't related too.

Well today King Abdullah  pardoned the woman and the man she was with stating that, "the woman and the man in her company have experienced enough torture which should be enough punishment for them and a lesson to learn from."

From CNN

Posted by Leah Dowe on December 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Uh, Winston, let's NOT defend Mike Huckabee please?

Normally, I wouldn't respond to a post with another post (in fact, I don't think I'm supposed to do so), but I feel I have to do it because Winston's post has repercussions I don't even think he anticipates.

Winston obviously has a problem with Dr. Paul, in no small part because Dr. Paul doesn't believe the Iranian people's struggle against tyranny is any business of the Western world.  Personally, I'm with Winston on that one; Dr. Paul is terribly wrong.  However, Winston is very wrong in assuming that Paul was slamming all Christians as fascists.  Perhaps some context might help here (Jim Geraghty at National Review Online):

Ron Paul Charges Huck Implies He's The Only Christian

Hot Air has the video; here's the transcript, of Ron Paul's reaction to Mike Huckabee's Christmas ad, given a short while ago on Fox News: 

STEVE DOOCY: Mike Huckabee has started running an ad in Iowa, where you're at right now, also in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and in the back, it's a windowpane but it also looks a lot like a cross. And, and, we had a guest a little while ago who said it was inappropriate to be using religion for political purposes. Congressman, I'm just curious what you think?

RON PAUL: Well, I haven't thought about it completely, but you know, it reminds me of what Sinclair, uh, Lewis once said, he said 'when Fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.' I don't know whether that's a fair assessment or not, but you wonder about using a cross like he is the only Christian, or implying that subtly. So, uh, I don't think I would ever use anything like that.

It's abundantly clear that Paul's beef (and note: he did not apply the fascist label to anyone, he just dropped the Sinclair quote) is with Mike Huckabee, not Christians in general.

Why do I think that is important enough for a post? Because IMHO, every single person who blogs in this space should have a problem with Mike Huckabee (apologies to Yoshi, who seems to know this already).  He is every limited-government conservative's worst nightmare.  Again, Jim Geraghty says it best:

What it is enormously frustrating to the true anti-Huck folks like Ace of Spades and Dan Riehl is that the evangelicals will vote for, as Fred Thompson put it, a "pro-life liberal." These guys look at Huckabee and see conservatism on one area - social issues - and see not much elsewhere: populism on economics, a thin resume on foreign policy, some squishiness on crime, and an open-hearted view toward illegal immigrants that they conclude amounts to amnesty.

Now, I'll admit, I've dedicated an entire website to exposing this guy for what he is (and "pro-life liberal" is about as precise a description as they come).  So perhaps I'm a little oversensitive here, but I do not want anyone north of the 49th thinking Huckabee is some conventional Republican that Paul just decided to put in his crosshairs today.  Huckabee (or as we call him, Mike Dukakabee) is a real problem.

Oh, and Winston, here's Dukakabee's view on Iran (Townhall):

Before we put boots on the ground in the future, we’d better have a few wingtips there first. And when President Bush included Iran in the axis of evil, everything went downhill pretty fast. As the only presidential candidate with a theology degree, along with several years of political experience, I know that theology is black and white, politics is not. My enemy today on one issue may be my friend tomorrow on another. Bottom line is this, Iran is a regional threat to the balance of power in the middle and near East. Al Qaeda is an existential threat to the United States. I know that we cannot live with al Qaeda, but there is a chance we can live with a domesticated Iran.

Here was Michael Rubin's response: "I would put him in the Jimmy Carter school of foreign policy."

Posted by D.J. McGuire on December 19, 2007 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Now let me introduce to you...

A heads up: The Political Animals radio show is on today from 2-4 p.m. EST. Check back here for the links and a preview in a couple of hours. If you haven't tuned in before you should because it's a hoot. (Last week they culled from the news some great items on the War on Santa and adult warning labels on Sesame Street videos, which I found particularly amusing.)

The hosts, all living in and broadcasting from Ohio, represent a nice mix of conservative and libertarian views. Here’s a quick introduction;

Jay Lafayette is a Christian. A philosophy teacher with a theology degree, he's married and recently became a father of a bouncing baby boy.

Peter "Jaws" Jaworski is a libertarian. From Canada, Peter's a philosophy student working on his Ph.D at Bowling Green State University. (He's an alumnus of the Western Standard and has the distinction of being its first prize winner, receiving the 2004/2005 Felix Morley Award for his Oct. 11, 2004 cover story on Dr. Jacques Chaoulli.)

In the middle of the mix is Terrence C. Watson. From his blog we see he's also "a graduate student in philosophy at Bowling Green State University, former Koch fellow, and sometimes reluctant libertarian."

P.S. Thanks, guys, for plugging the Western Standard on your show. I don't know how many readers we have in Ohio, and even though you're not in the West and not in Canada... oh whatever! We like it.

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 19, 2007 in Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Christmas gifts for troops

Christmas is a week away and gifts are flooding the Canadian military bases in Afghanistan.

One thing that soldiers always love is to get a pack or a letter from the home front. Canada Post is now delivering packs and letters to the troops for free until January 11th, 2008. Why not sending our brave men and women in uniform some care packages? If you know one, please send him/her care packs or a suitable gift. I'm sure they'll appreciate it.

Posted by Winston on December 19, 2007 in Canadian Politics, Current Affairs, Military | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ron Paul: Christians are Fascists

(h/t Craig @ Blogging Tories)

Can this presidential candidate get any more weird?

Posted by Winston on December 18, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (32) | TrackBack

The good fight

Up here on the north side of the 49th, the National Post's Lorne Gunter is one of three recipients of the 2007 Taxfighter Award, given out by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation to “individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the cause of taxpayer emancipation.” Here's a [pdf] CTF backgrounder with bios of the three winners. The bit about Lorne doesn't mention that he was a guest on the last Western Standard cruise but, in the public interest of promoting ourselves, we take this opportunity to remind you (so we can surf on his glory). Winnipeg Sun columnist Tom Brodbeck and ragin' senior Patricia Ehli are co-recipients.

Posted by Kevin Steel on December 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Taxman and the two-income family

Down here on the south side of the 49th, social conservative is a much larger political force.  For that reason, I'm not all that surprised that social issues aren't discussed much here, but I am curious as to the reaction up there to a hypothesis I have long held about the great danger we face here in the 21st century: the atomization of the family.

I'm sure most of you have seen and heard the same back and forth we have about it: the right focuses on emphasizing moral values so society can, in effect, fill in for parents unable or unwilling to impart such values on their children; while the left emphasizes child-care programs and other communal things outside of values that would "give parents a hand." I'm also guessing the argument from the right is far more muted in part because social conservatives are far fewer in Canada.

I mention all this because, in truth, I think everyone is missing the point.

Here in America, for example, the biggest problem facing parents today is that, for the most part, neither one of them can be home.  The dual-income family is not only the norm in large parts of my country, it's practically a necessity.  Why is that?  Over the last 50 years, only one major piece of the cost of living has risen dramatically without market fluctuation: the cost of government.

Today, the average American couple pays $14,000 more in taxes than their grandparents did (Americans for Tax Reform).  This has made it almost impossible for American couples to feed their children and their governments on one income.  As a consequence, not only are American children deprived of time with their parents, but single-parent households are practically doomed to become wards of the state - whether the parent wants it or not.

I go into greater detail about this here and here (note: both are framed in the context of my current Governor's proposed budget), but what I'd like to know is this: does this sound familiar to you folks up there?  Do you find the average Canadian family suffers the same reality as the American one, summed up by Bob Dole eleven years ago?

Dole's words were these: "one spouse works full time to support the family, while the other works full time to support the Government."  Is that the reality in Canada, too?

Posted by D.J. McGuire on December 18, 2007 in Canadian Conservative Politics, Canadian Politics, International Politics | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack