Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« Here comes 2008 | Main | The not-so-friendly skies... »

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Shilling for Moe and the Liberals

This is a bit like shooting ducks in a barrel, but it’s a holiday and I’m up for something easy, so here goes.

I'm reading this column by Michael Byers in the Toronto Star: From rogue nation to world leader and I'm wondering, why does this guy seem to be channeling Jean Chrétien and Maurice Strong?

"[Harper] has also picked unnecessary quarrels with China over human rights...

...Kyoto Protocol–arguably the most important treaty ever...

It's time to move NATO troops out, and UN peacekeepers in.

And then, let's get serious about the "responsibility to protect" where it's needed most: in Africa."

There's no little description at the bottom of the column telling me about this writer. Could he be this Michael Byers? Why, so he is. Byers works at the UBC's Liu Institute which opened in 2000. Maurice Strong, sinophile, father of the Kyoto Protocol, was the chair of the institute's International Advisory Council. You remember the Liu Institute because it was created as a place for former Liberal Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy to warm his butt while helping to plot scams like the climate change jiggery-pokery (successful) and global gun control (unsuccessful).

Byers ends his column with "This year, let's elect a government that shares this vision. Let's shake the "rogue state" label – before it sticks." (I wonder which 'government' that's supposed to be?) The rogue state label? Byers starts his column with a quote by some unnamed British wag: "So, how does it feel to be the citizen of a rogue state?" I mean, the guy could have been making a joke. And we're supposed to care?

Now, let’s go back to Byers’ sub-hed: “Nation needs to cast off neo-conservatism and lead on human rights and the environment.” And look back at the things I’ve clipped from the column; human rights in China, Kyoto Protocol, NATO. These are not exclusively neo-con issues. Human rights in China, a lot of people are concerned about those and Harper's approach isn't "neo-con." He's been confrontational, and that's not been to the liking of Beijing puppets like Maurice Strong and Jean Chretien, but so what? The merit of the Kyoto Protocol is a scientific debate--the misuse of shoddy science to push a political agenda in my opinion. And NATO in Afghanistan? The UN Security Council approved the mission in Afghanistan and Canada's then-Liberal government threw its support behind it. So it's neo-con thing? Byers, cut the bullsh-t. The "neo-con" label is a ruse being used by the Liberal supporters to try to tie everything to the difficult situation in Iraq. We all know that. Told you I was being lazy.

So I'll do a little background work.

FYI 1 The Liu Institute says it gets its name from Dr. Jieh Jow Liou (so why it's not called the Liou Institute, is umm a mystery). It was established with money from Dr. Liou and from The Liu Foundation. Here's a UBC bio (scroll down) of Taiwanese businessman Jieh Jow Liou. The Liu Foundation was set up by Chinese-American media mogul Arthur Liu of Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Inc. The foundation is run by his wife Yvonne out of New York. Lui you may recall was in the news being pummeled by Democrat supporters for pulling the plug on Air America back in 2004. MRBI owns Sinocast Radio in Canada. Looks like in 2000 Liu was supporting Liberal causes (the institute) in Canada and Republican causes in the US, so I'm guessing he's a business type who likes the winning side.

FYI 2 Another member of the founding Liu Institute board along with Strong back in 2000 was former University of Toronto president John Evans, chair, Torstar Corporation, owner of the Toronto Star.

[added: just noticed SDA has a thread on the column.]

Posted by Kevin Steel on January 1, 2008 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Shilling for Moe and the Liberals:


Thanks for the information. It'a amazing how all this crap keeps coming up with the same names at the maggot infested center.

Posted by: Pat | 2008-01-01 12:54:49 PM

Say it ain't so. This wouldn't be the same Michael Byers who was friends with Ignatieff while attending Harvard? Or the same Byers who raised the phony charges of 'detainee abuse' that Iggy ran with to smear the conservatives? No,it couldn't be.

Posted by: wallyj | 2008-01-01 1:09:55 PM

In the middle of this insane rant, the author calls for "a change of government in Zimbabwe". How is this to be accomplished?

Posted by: dp | 2008-01-01 1:24:02 PM


1. "Shilling?" I guess Byers is "shilling" for a political party just as much as the WS does. He is no more critical of the Conservatives in his column that the WS is of the Liberals and NDP. So it seems rather hypocritical of you to criticise him in this way.

2. The column is in the Toronto Star. This is a local publication that whatever its local circulation is still local and read by people who are already predominantly like-minded with the author on many of these issues. So I don't see why you think this is an article worth paying much attention to.

3. All your discussion about the institute he works for and the people who it is named after or connected with is all nonsense. The things the guy says should stand or fall on their own merit, not because of who said them or who is connected with a guy who is associated with a guy who wrote them. That's either an ad hominem attack or just a silly "guilt by association" ruse. Unless you think it is legitimate for anyone who is not already a conservative to dismiss any WS writers simply becuase the WS is a "conservative voice", your criticisms in this regard are hypocritical. And if you DO think such criticisms are acceptable, then you must think there is no point in political dialogue, since we can all dismiss a priori anyone who comes from a different POV as we do.

4. The Byers article is a hodge-podge, scatter-shot, "airing of grievances" that is more appropriate for a blog post than a newspaper column. Sort of like your reply.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-01-01 1:24:44 PM

Hey Fact Check,

What planet do you live on? So, you don't think that context is important? You say:

"All your [Kevin Steel's] discussion about the institute he works for and the people who it is named after or connected with is all nonsense. The things the guy says should stand or fall on their own merit, not because of who said them or who is connected with a guy who is associated with a guy who wrote them. That's either an ad hominem attack or just a silly 'guilt by association' ruse."

Ummm...I call the "silly 'guilt by association' ruse", in other words, this guy's connection to the Liu Institute, with connections to the Liberal Party, without any reference in the TorStar article of Byer's affiliation with said institutions, A CONFLICT OF INTEREST.

And you don't?

Posted by: 'been around the block | 2008-01-01 1:39:21 PM

Kevin should get a pat on the back for Journalistic excellence. It is a real pleasure to see a real Reporter and Journalist at work,in the tradition of Ralph Allan,Pierre Berton,Rene Levesque and Lionel Shapiro,as well as Peter Worthington and Ms.Blatchford. Canada has too many Puffy Duffys
Jane Tabers and the rest of the ATV,CBC Crowd that give air and print time to a fool like Byers
MacLeod still digging out -The Snow Gods got pissed off with Tiny Perfect Moncton NB

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2008-01-01 1:56:11 PM

'batb: "I call [this] A CONFLICT OF INTEREST. And you don't?"

No, I don't. What's the conflict supposed to be? This is an opinion piece by a non-journalist, so the conflict can't be with journalistic objectivity. So I see no conflict of any kind, just as I don't see any conflict with Shotgun thread-starting posters posting annonymously and without declaring all their associations.

BTW, Byers has written two previous opinion pieces (of a similar tenor) for the Star. Both of those state Byers' associations. You might just be making a mountain out of a simple mistaken failure to include it this time.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-01-01 1:58:37 PM

Jeez -the first hissy fit of 2008" and ya seen first on the old Shotgun. It's a "fact" Macleod

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2008-01-01 2:05:32 PM

There's no point critiquing the silly beggar, his Leftoiditis is terminal and he's preaching to the choir in that Loopy Left Tabloid.

Maybe he'll strike a nerve with Blatchford and she'll have at him, she'll be seeing 'red' when she reads that hog swill.

Posted by: Liz J | 2008-01-01 2:28:40 PM

Old school NDP/Liberals want to get right back to talking about issues rather than doing anything about issues like our current government does.

Nasty, nasty people - human rights is an important issue, even if those humans are Chinese cannot the Liberals/NDP see that they're dignity still matters?

PM Harper has also taken a bold stand internationally on the environment because he wants a deal that doesn't simply punish Canada, but actually includes everyone - how on earth do the radical leftists in the NDP/Liberals interpret that as a bad thing? Either they're very narrow minded or simply disingenuous.

Posted by: philanthropist | 2008-01-01 2:52:15 PM

Fact Check: "That's either an ad hominem attack or just a silly "guilt by association" ruse. . . And if you DO think such criticisms are acceptable, then you must think there is no point in political dialogue, since we can all dismiss a priori anyone who comes from a different POV as we do."

It's not "guilt by association". There should be no guilt for being associated with an institute. (Just to qualify that, however, I will say in general there could be hypothetical guilt in situations like this, I suppose, if funding to a public institute--favoured by a party in power--was given in exchange for unseen political favours or advantages in business; licenses or legislation. But no one is suggesting that here.)

I read the column and wondered, where is this guy coming from? He was in England, apparently talking to some professor who's calling us a rogue nation and that troubles him. I can't find out who the professor is from the column, but maybe I can find out about the writer. I didn't see that disclosed. Is he a staff writer? A British freelancer? And so I wondered; where was this guy from and why did he sound like these other people?

Look, if a guy from the Fraser Institute had written this, wouldn't you expect to see that disclosed at the bottom of the column?

Anyhoo, these kind of association attacks are made all the time. In the climate change debate, for instance, every critic of Kyoto gets labeled by those promoting it as a shill for big oil. Yeah, granted, it's not the best way to debate.

"Sort of like your reply."

Yeah, exactly.

Posted by: Kevin Steel | 2008-01-01 2:55:34 PM

Well, for starters his last sentence says it all:
"This year let's elect a government tat shares this vision. Let's shake the "rogue state" label before it sticks".

First we have to elect the Liberals and fast. The "rogue state" label will be used incessantly in an attempt to accomplish that.

That's about the most sickening column one could read to start off the new year. It also reeks of desperation.

Posted by: Liz J | 2008-01-01 3:16:04 PM

This article released by the publicly funded cbc is much more disturbing to me,http://www.cbc.ca/cp/media071224/X122413AU.html is the cbc response to a fundraising letter from the conservatives. The author vritivizes the party for being succesful at fund-raising,implying that the cbc is correct in pushing the liberal platform to even things out.

Posted by: wallyj | 2008-01-01 3:20:02 PM

It's too bad we won't have the Standard's "nutty professor" awards because this guy is seriously in the running for top prize.

It seems Byers thinks we should (1) not get in China's face about human rights and at the same time (2) destroy our own economy with extreme environmental legislation while the ChiComs build a new coal plant every week.

He also has the audacity to accuse Canada of "ignoring the pleas" of new Austrialian PM Rudd, who promptly flip-flopped on his Kyoto pledge:

"But three days into the UN gathering, Australia's electricity commission tells the new prime minister that his government's proposals will lead to a rise in electrical bills of at least 30%, perhaps more. Such an increase would almost surely stunt Australia's booming economy. So Mr. Rudd backs down. He announces his country will not agree to immediate cuts, but rather now favours cuts of 50-60% by 2050."
--Lorne Gunter, National Post, December 17


Posted by: Joan Tintor | 2008-01-01 3:22:40 PM

Sorry about the link above,and the spelling. This link should work,http://www.cbc/cp/media/071224/X122413AU.html

Posted by: wallyj | 2008-01-01 3:28:17 PM

I am bothered by the carbon footprint of the Toronto Star, particularly their Saturday Star.

Newsprint required wood pulp from carbon-absorbing trees .. they soak up CO2. I would personally like to see a substantial carbon tax placed on the humungous Toronto Star in keeping with Liberal Kyoto aspirations for Canada.

Perhaps the goebbelian Liberal Toronto Star might voluntarily reduce their use of newsprint by at least 50% .. if they are sincere Kyotans in the tradition of Mo Strong and Stephane Dion.

Posted by: Observant | 2008-01-01 3:31:30 PM

OK.one more try and I'm going back to bed. http:www.cbc.ca/cp/media/071224/X122413 AU.html ,

Posted by: wallyj | 2008-01-01 3:32:08 PM


This may only be January 1st 2008, but I will nominate your post as possibly the best of this coming year. If not, it will at least be in the top two.

Harper's government is doing everything I want it to do. Greatness has never been achieved by 'going along with'. Ask anyone who knows anything about the great Winston Churchill (voted man of the 20th century).

The clown, Michael Byers is the epitome of everything that has been wrong with Canada and a lot of the rest of the Western World. The operative word in that last sentence is 'has'. Things they are a changing.

Before the end of 2008, global warming will no longer be accepted as fact and Fat Albert Gore will be a laughing stock. His Nobel Prize will hold the same weight as that of Yassir Arafat's.

His academy award will have as much prestige as the one Denzel Washington got for his mediocre role in "Training Day" because it was a black man's turn to get the award. He is deserving of an award, but not for that role and certainly not when he was up against Tom Hanks in Cast Away. However, Hanks already held a couple and he is a white guy.

I don't mean to digress, but the point is that in the jejune world of the leftist it is their playground view of 'no fair' that guides them.

Byers is a dangerous loon. Thanks for exposing him.

Posted by: John West | 2008-01-01 3:42:31 PM

Once again, John West, you have said what I was planning to say; much more eloquently than I would have!

Your post is a masterpiece Kevin, thank-you for writing it for us to read. I am printing some copies for some friends I have who do not use the internet very often - and are missing the WS magazine.

Happy New Year everyone.

Posted by: jema54j | 2008-01-01 7:07:59 PM

I see Mr. Byers still believes in the happy fiction that the IPCC is actually a scientific body and not a policy one. It has as much credibility as the rest of the self serving crooks at the UN. Also, I'd really like to see him send a bunch of do gooder UN peace keepers into Afghanistan. They'd look like the 7th Calvary at the Little Bighorn just a bit less well armed.

Posted by: Free Thinker | 2008-01-01 9:57:29 PM

I beg forgiveness for the self-serving plug that will follow.

However, I've examined Byers' article at least, and discovered it to be wrought with factual errors and self-defeating logical fallacies.

I think we definitely need to start spreading the word on the foreign policy "expert" Michael Byers and the depth of his "expertise".

Posted by: Patrick Ross | 2008-01-02 12:22:19 AM

If the Tor Star can print that hog swill they can surely allow it to be rebutted. Let's have at him.

We have far too many self-proclaimed "experts" flying on agendas rather than "expertise".

Posted by: Liz J | 2008-01-02 6:27:37 AM

From Fact Check (1-Jan-08 1:58:37 PM): "BTW, Byers has written two previous opinion pieces (of a similar tenor) for the Star. Both of those state Byers' associations. You might just be making a mountain out of a simple mistaken failure to include it this time."

Fact Check: I don't read the Toronto Star, EVER. It's sloppy editorial practice (your assertion, "a simple mistaken failure") to assume that readers of this article have read other articles by the same writer.

Byers has a decidedly lib-left "pedigree," and a close association with dedicated opponents of our present government which, BTW, was duly elected in a democratic process by a majority of Canadians.

Failing to note Michael Byers' associatons with lib-left, anti-Harper/CPC institutions and rogue Canadians (Mo Strong for a very good start, hiding out in China, seemingly fearful of facing the music in North America for his role in the Oil for Food Scandal and standing to make another fortune in China's burgeoning and non-regulated economic boom) is a very great editorial faux pas not merely "a simple mistaken failure. "It's not my fault!" "I didn't do it!" is the wailed mantra of the Left.

Kevin Steel's investigative reporting here, exposing who this guy is, who he associates with, etc. makes it pretty clear that the TorStar knew what they were doing when they declined to tell the reading public the "bona fides" (sic) of this author.

Newspaper editors can't afford such oversights/mistaken failures. It's a blight on their journalistic integrity.

'See why I don't read the TorStar, EVER?

Posted by: batb | 2008-01-02 7:25:18 AM

My apologies for the multi posts. I kept getting the message that the the Internet Page was unavailable, or something like that. 'Had no idea my comment had posted once, let alone four times.

'Talk about an echo chamber. Sorry!!

Posted by: batb | 2008-01-02 7:35:02 AM

Have no fear, Byers clearly displayed his bent and the Star would be happy to indulge him.

For those unsuspecting readers the Red Rag should have had the scruples to inform readers of his "credentials".
That column was close enough to toxic to come with an opinion tag and it was obviously agenda driven.

Who is keeping that Toronto Star alive, nobody admits to reading the bloody thing?

Posted by: Liz J | 2008-01-02 8:34:49 AM

I would think big advertisers ie private business, could exert some editorial influence by spending more advertising $ at the Toronto Sun.

And advertisers respond well to consumer pressure. So steal a copy of the red rag (don't buy it for God's sake), look at who the major advertisers are, email them and tell them what you think.

In the same amount of time that you can gripe and whine here, you can at least do that.


Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-01-02 8:41:58 AM

At last a place where we can dump political correctness and give an honestly held opinion. I was in NY when Harper spoke saying that Canada was in Afghanistan under the mandate of the UN. I heard Americas murmur at that time. He is like Kennedy, whom they obviously admired. Strength of conviction is what Harper seems to have. When he took a stand with China it was an informed one and I believe the Chinese people also admire strength. The economic climate in Canada at present, is also reflective of that strength. I enjoyed the comment appearing in this well researched WS article.

Posted by: leanne jones | 2008-01-02 12:44:45 PM

Is this column really a column, or is it a political add? If it's a free political add, then aren't there equal time regulations in the media?

It seems to me that the Star has an obligation to allow a conservative counter to this add.

Posted by: dp | 2008-01-02 7:03:17 PM

A guest-post at "Daimnation!":

"A professor as pure propagandist"


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2008-01-03 6:40:31 PM

For the record I should like to note that, unlike Epsilon at 08:41 above, I am not in favour of theft, whether it is by the state, or by Epsilon.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2008-01-03 6:54:45 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.