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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Western Standard audio: 9-11 “truther” comes to the defence of former Liberal candidate Lesley Hughes

Former Liberal Party candidate Lesley Hughes was pushed out of her party for her scepticism of the official explanation of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Centre attack.

One of her American supporters contacted the Western Standard to let us know that Hughes is “absolutely right” to reject the official claim of what happened on that tragic day.

Here’s the rather unconventional viewpoint of Ernie Weaver from Baltimore Maryland on guns, food, race, Lesley Hughes and the truth behind 9-11 (if the widget doesn't work for you, you can click on this link):

I found it quite entertaining. I hope the sound quality is OK.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on September 30, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The Green Party's vicious reaction to critics

Tomorrow evening Elizabeth May will take the stage in the French-language leaders’ debate. This is her first appearance and it’s thanks largely to the efforts of bloggers and the users of social media sites like Facebook. 

But in spite of having benefited so greatly from the medium, the Green Party has a problematic relationship with bloggers. Or at least critical bloggers such as Saskatchewan’s Buckdog and bloggers such as myself at the ‘Dime a Dozen’ blog.

As regular readers of the Shotgun might know, about a week ago I came across a photo of Elizabeth May speaking at an anti-Israel protest. This quickly spread around the blogosphere and forced her to issue a response:

Contrary to rumours circulating on the internet, Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada did not appear at a Hezbollah event two years ago.

August 12, 2006, Ms. May did speak at a peace rally in Toronto along with Jewish and Arab Canadians to call for an end to the violence then raging in the Middle East...

I thought that the response mischaracterized the nature of the “rumours” and failed to address the issue at hand. Warren Kinsella thought the same. He issued a challenge to Ms. May:

May is playing games about her attendance at a pro-Hezbollah rally, and the smart guys at Western Standard have caught her. You know how to talk, Green leader: say, clearly, you denounce the terrorist organization called Hezbollah. Say it.

I took up that challenge and tried to meet Ms. May in person. When I failed to meet her, I decided to do the next best thing and poll the party’s candidates. It and the results were reported in the Standard a few days ago.

The responses were mixed. Some candidates came right out and called Hezbollah a terror organization.  Others weren’t so good. For instance, the Green candidate in Saskatoon-Humboldt, Jean-Pierre Ducasse said:

As per the Hezbollah and the Zionists. They are birds of the same feather. They both will get no respect from me.

While I was contacting their candidates I was also trying to spread the word and goad Elizabeth May into responding. As part of this I spoke to the Jewish Tribune.  This is a paper put out by B’nai Brith.  In an interview with their reporter, Attara Beck, she told me that the Green’s media rep, John Bennett, called my site a “right wing white supremacist” site – and by extension they called me a ‘white supremacist’.

I’m aboriginal, I have a Jewish partner - I have a reasonable track record of confronting racists on-line and in person. I was angry.  I immediately headed for a very good and very expensive libel lawyer. This is where I finally heard back from the Green Party’s media rep, John Bennett:

Mr. Jago

I spoke to the Tribune so I assume you are referring to me.

I did not say you were a white supremacist.

I said, “I had been told that the deliberate smear campaign against a women who has devoted her life to peace and protecting the environment was posted on a white supremacist site.” The reporter asked me to verify it so I investigated and later called her back and told her I had been misinformed and that it was posted on your site and the Western Standard.

I demonstrated more due diligence and journalistic professionalism than you. I note you made no effort to contact Ms. May to enable her to respond to your specious allegations before rushing to judgement. A decent journalist or campaigner or whatever you think of yourself as has a sense of fair play and hopefully some professionalism.

Your reaction to what you believed I said indicates you have some sensitivity to being falsely accused. How do you imagine Ms. May feels about the things you have published about her? Did she immediately threaten legal action?

Appointing yourself judge, jury and executioner makes it very difficult for you to now claim injury.

Shame on you.


I’d encourage you to read Bennett’s humiliating apology to Buckdog, and let you make a judgment about ‘professionalism’ on your own.

The Green Party isn't as warm and fuzzy as you might think. Threatening lawsuits against bloggers, attacking their character, these reactions to being asked legitimate questions betray a very dangerous vicious streak.   

FYI: I will be discussing this at length on the Rod Breckenridge show tomorrow evening at 8:30 Eastern Time on CHQR radio. The podcast for that show will be available here.

Posted by Robert Jago on September 30, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Did Stephen Harper plagiarize former Australian PM John Howard?

The Liberal Party is accusing Stephen Harper of plagiarizing former Australian prime minister John Howard. Even worse (according to the Liberals), it was a speech about sending Canadian troops to Iraq.

"How does a leader in Canada's Parliament, on such a crucial issue, end up giving almost the exact same speech as any another country's leader, let alone a leader who was a key member of George W. Bush's Coalition of the Willing?" said Mr. Rae.

"How can Canadians trust anything that Mr. Harper says now? The decision on whether to commit troops to join the War on Iraq was by far the greatest test leaders across the globe faced this decade. We now know when Mr. Harper faced that test, he not only made the wrong choice, but he made that choice so blindly and carelessly that he ended up delivering a word-for-word repetition of someone else's words and thoughts,” said Mr. Rae.

Here's a pretty damning YouTube of the accusation:

And here's a side-by-side comparison of the speeches.

Apparently, almost half the speech was lifted from former Australian prime minister John Howard. Warren Kinsella is calling this a huge gaffe. It might be, and not only because of the plagiarism issue. It allows the Liberals to rehash Harper's support for the Iraq War, an issue that could and did turn many away from him.

The London Free Press has a relevant article. In response to reporters' queries during an off-the-record teleconference, the Conservative campaign implied that a former speech writer is to blame for the plagiarism.

It's also clear the campaign really, really didn't want to discuss the issue.

UPDATE: For an example of Liberal plagiarism, the Western Standard reported on some a while back.

UPDATE2: Owen Lippert takes full blame for plagiarizing:

"In 2003, I worked in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition," Owen Lippert said in a statement released by the Conservative campaign Tuesday afternoon.

"I was tasked with - and wrote - a speech for the then leader of the Opposition. Pressed for time, I was overzealous in copying segments of another world leader's speech. Neither my superiors in the office of the leader of the Opposition nor the leader of the Opposition was aware that I had done so."

UPDATE3: Liberal Party is not buying the plagiarizing story. Here's their press release:


A former Conservative staffer, Owen Lippert, has taken responsibility for “copying segments” of a speech given by former Australian Prime Minister John Howard into a speech Stephen Harper gave just 35 hours later in the House of Commons.


The story does not add up, and took seven hours to concoct. Here are some “life experiences” that suggest that Mr. Lippert would likely be adverse to plagiarism:

  • Mr. Lippert is a former Fraser Institute Director who has published articles on intellectual property rights. For example in 1999, he wrote a book called, Competitive Strategies for the Protection of Intellectual Property. And in 2000, he edited and contributed to another book called, Competitive Strategies for Intellectual Property Protection (Fraser Institute, February 2000).
  • He has written articles that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, National Post, Globe and Mail, among others.
  • He was a former member of the Globe and Mail’s editorial board.
  • He also holds a PhD in European History from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana and a B.A. from Carleton College, Minnesota.
  • He is currently employed as Senior Policy Advisor at the Canadian International Development Agency.
  • He was supposedly Mr. Harper’s “trade and immigration policy advisor” at the time the speech took place. (Owen Sound Sun Times, May 29, 2004)

When asked directly if Owen Lippert plagiarized the essay on CTV Newsnet this evening, Conservative spokesperson Ken Bossenkool would not confirm the charge of plagiarism: “Well, like I said, the employee has released a statement. I think the statement stands for itself.” (CTV Newsnet, September 30, 2008)

Mr. Harper must take at least some responsibility for the very words that come out of his mouth.    

Posted by Terrence Watson on September 30, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

The last gasp

The CCP gets to manipulate the Bush Administration on Korean issues one last time, but they have too many worries to enjoy it.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on September 30, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, September 29, 2008

More policy semantics

Today the Tories reminded us - yet again - that elections are all about semantics.

According to some political parties, spending increases are conservative, so long as you call them tax breaks. As far as I'm concerned, tax cuts come when you get to keep your money - not when you file the right paperwork and the government sends you some of the money they've collected over the past year.

But even if you accept that this is a tax cut by some stretch, if you judge taxes on a relative scale, which you should in many (though not all) cases, you ought to be able to see why this isn't what we should want from our best shot, at this time anyway, at a mainstream small-government party. We don't need governments picking and choosing which citizens it prefers over others.

Call it politically expedient if you must, but please, don't call it a free market friendly or small government policy.

Posted by Janet Neilson on September 29, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Walter Block, Call Your Office

Martin Masse the publisher of the libertarian webzine Quebecois Libre has an article in The National Post:

"In his Communist Manifesto, published in 1848, Karl Marx proposed 10 measures to be implemented after the proletariat takes power, with the aim of centralizing all instruments of production in the hands of the state. Proposal Number Five was to bring about the “centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.”
If he were to rise from the dead today, Marx might be delighted to discover that most economists and financial commentators, including many who claim to favour the free market, agree with him...
Friedman — who, contrary to popular perception, was not a foe of monetary inflation, but simply wanted to keep it under better control in normal circumstances — was wrong about the Fed not intervening during the Depression. It tried repeatedly to inflate but credit still went down for various reasons. This is a key difference in interpretation between the Austrian and Chicago schools.
As Friedrich Hayek wrote in 1932, “Instead of furthering the inevitable liquidation of the maladjustments brought about by the boom during the last three years, all conceivable means have been used to prevent that readjustment from taking place; and one of these means, which has been repeatedly tried though without success, from the earliest to the most recent stages of depression, has been this deliberate policy of credit expansion. ... To combat the depression by a forced credit expansion is to attempt to cure the evil by the very means which brought it about ...”
The confusion of Chicago school economics on monetary issues is so profound as to lead its adherents today to support the largest government grab of private capital in world history. By adding their voices to those on the left, these confused free-marketeers are not helping to “save capitalism”, but contributing to its destruction."

Read the rest.

(h/t Jeffrey Tucker)

Posted by Kalim Kassam on September 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Steven Horwitz' open letter to his friends on the left

Dr. Steven Horwitz, an economist at St. Lawrence University, has written an excellent letter to those  on the left detailing why they ought not blame the free market for the current financial crisis in the U.S., and why they should reconsider demanding that the government "fix" it.

An excerpt that gets to the heart of the matter for naysayers who aren't convinced to read such a lengthy article (bolding is mine, italics are his):

One of the biggest confusions in the current mess is the claim that it is the result of greed. The problem with that explanation is that greed is always a feature of human interaction. It always has been. Why, all of a sudden, has greed produced so much harm? And why only in one sector of the economy? After all, isn't there plenty of greed elsewhere? Firms are indeed profit seekers. And they will seek after profit where the institutional     incentives are such that profit is available. In a free market, firms profit by providing     the goods that consumers want at prices they are willing to pay. (My friends, don't stop reading there even if     you disagree - now you know how I feel when you claim this mess is a failure of     free markets - at least finish this paragraph.) However, regulations and policies and even the rhetoric of powerful     political actors can change the incentives to profit. Regulations can make it harder for firms to     minimize their risk by requiring that they make loans to marginal     borrowers. Government institutions can     encourage banks to take on extra risk by offering an implicit government     guarantee if those risks fail. Policies     can direct self-interest into activities that only serve corporate profits, not     the public.

Many of you have rightly criticized the ethanol mandate, which made it profitable for corn growers to switch from growing corn for food to corn for fuel, leading to higher food prices worldwide. What's interesting is that you rightly blamed the policy and did not blame greed and the profit motive! The current financial mess is precisely analogous.

No free market economist thinks "greed is always good." What we think is good are institutions that     play to the self-interest of private actors by rewarding them for serving the     public, not just themselves. We believe     that's what genuinely free markets do. Market exchanges     are mutually beneficial. When the law messes up by either poorly defining the rules of the game or trying to override them through regulation, self-interested behavior is no longer economically mutually beneficial. The private sector then profits by serving narrow political ends rather than serving the public. In such cases, greed leads to bad consequences. But it's bad not because it's greed/self-interest rather because the institutional context within which it operates channels self-interest in socially unproductive ways.

This, my friends, is exactly what has brought us to the mess we are now in.

Horwitz hopes that the left will entertain this request:

Those of us who support free markets are not your enemies right now. The real problem here is the marriage of corporate and state power. That is the corporatism we both oppose. I ask of you only that you consider whether such corporatism isn't the real cause of this mess and that therefore you reconsider whether free markets are the cause and whether increased regulation is the solution.

You can read the rest of this excellently argued and written letter in its entirety here.

Posted by Janet Neilson on September 29, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

More on Lesley Hughes

I'd like to thank both Matthew and Peter for inviting me to blog here at the 'Shotgun'.

I am an academic and spend most of my time thinking about the 18th century, so it'll be nice to engage in a dialogue about issues that are a little more recent.

I posted yesterday about Warren Kinsella's equation of 9/11 'truther' Lesley Hughes with Ezra Levant.

And then I heard this little gem from former NDP Premier Howard Pauley on CBC's 'The House':

"The Lesley Hughes item disappoints me a great deal because she is not anti-semitic . . ." (at about the 28:00 minute mark on podcast version)

Poor Lesley Hughes, unfairly accused of anti-semitism when all she did was claim that Israeli businessmen knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance. Not to mention that the U.S. government was complicit in the murder of its own citizens.

Did the host, Kathleen Petty, or his fellow ex-politicos (Grant Devine and David Peterson) call him on it?

Nope. In fact, Devine, the conservative, though that by firing Hughes, the Liberals were being too "pure."

Strange days indeed.

Posted by Craig Yirush on September 29, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Michael Ignatieff: Worst Performance in the G8

It seems the newest Liberal talking point is that Canada is apparently the worst performing country in the G8.  At least that's what Michael Ignatieff told the Economic Club of Canada this morning [ed.: Here's Ignatieff's speech, courtesy of Kinsella]. 

I thought this was a pretty bold statement.  Particularly, because I don't know what numbers he's reading.  The numbers I'm reading come from Statistics Canada, the OECD, IMF, and UN Human Development organization.

So here's everything about the performance of the G8 countries that you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask:


It's hard to tell what measure Liberals are talking about when they say Canada went from best to worst.  Simply because, when you say "best economic performance," you can be talking about quite a few different things. 

For example, if you consider the country that is "performing best" as the country with the most growth, then your definition of "best" is the country which is relatively speaking, the country that is changing for the better, at the fastest rate.  If that's your measure, then you could say that India and China are the best performing economies in the world, because they both have double digit GDP growth year-over-year.

But few people would consider the quality of life in China or India comparable to the quality of life in any of the G8 countries.  So obviously, growth as the primary measure for performance is a bit shortsighted.  It's ignorant of the idea that basal economic activity is important to the entire picture.

If Iggy is using GDP growth as the primary measure by which to judge Canada's performance against the rest of the G8, is that even accurate? No.  Because Canada had only the third best GDP growth behind the United States and Russia.  And we are now the third worst, ahead of the United States and Italy.  However, this year's GDP growth is within 0.1% of the growth of France and Germany.

Both Germany and France have higher unemployment and less investment in their economy than Canada.

We should also note, that most global economists are projecting that Canada in fact, will be the number two performing economy in terms of growth in 2009 behind Russia.  At around 2% real GDP growth.

So when Harper accuses Dion and the Liberals of "talking down the economy" we can actually empirically verify the truthfulness of this.  From what I can see, the Liberals are simply grabbing at GDP numbers and using them to make a point.  Except any economist will tell you, that you can't look at any economic factor in isolation. And contrary to what the Liberals are saying about how bad Canada's economy is, most Canadian and international economists believe that Canada's economic fundamentals are the best in the G8.

Posted by Mike Brock on September 29, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The windmill falls

The Paulson Panic bailout went down in flames.

It could arise from the ashes tomorrow, but for now, the latest assault on economic freedom has been repulsed.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on September 29, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Pierre Lemieux: Crucial battle lost

"Your papers, please!" We hear this line or something like it at the border. In less free societies, government agents can make this demand at almost any time, with dire penalties for those unable or unwilling to offer up the required documentation.

Is our society moving in that direction? Pierre Lemieux thinks we might be. For example, the UK has unveiled a new national ID card for foreign nationals. Some think this is the first step toward requiring citizens to also carry some sort of standard identification card. In Canada, Bill C-31 requires people to bring government issued photo ID with them to the voting booth.

Thus, next time you vote, you may hear "Your papers, please!" And only those who have government-issued photo ID -- like a driver's license -- will be allowed to cast their ballots.

In his column this week, Lemieux examines some of the arguments that have been offered in support of national identification cards and relates programs. What these arguments miss, he claims, is the most powerful reason to resist a national ID card:

Just think of what the state is unable to do when it cannot rapidly and reliably identify peaceful individuals. Like a (diminishing) host of procedural and substantive restraints on the state, the absence of official ID papers increases the cost of enforcing laws that delve into people’s private affairs and invade private property. Thus, without official ID papers, such laws are less likely to be adopted. We should know because we lived in a free society a few decades ago.

We don't usually think that making it more expensive for the government to enforce the law is a good thing. Typically, the more efficient some process is, the better.

When it comes to the enforcement of the law, however, Lemieux may have a point. After all, one argument in favor of the individual right to bear arms (as enshrined in the Second Amendment to the American Constitution) is simply that tyranny becomes more costly to the tyrant when his potential subjects are armed.

Contra a certain left-wing straw-person, we don't even have to imagine a citizenry so well armed that it can defeat the government in battle. Rather, an armed citizenry can make tyranny so expensive to enforce -- think of government agents gunned down at every turn by citizens-turned-snipers -- that would-be tyrants have to rethink their plans.

In contrast, a national photo identification system, combined with modern biometric technology, makes it easier for tyrants to enforce most any law their minds might devise. Want to keep track of people's movements? As apartheid South Africa discovered, it's easy when everyone has to carry an ID card linked to a national database. Want to know what your citizens are spending money on? Again, it's easy when everyone has to present a national ID card before opening a bank account.

Want to know which of your citizens visit the Western Standard website a little too often? Make them present their ID card before getting Internet access.

If Lemieux's argument has a flaw, it's that it's already pretty easy for the government to know most of the things about its citizens we just discussed. A national ID card might make things a little worse, but not by much.

More excerpts from Lemieux's column are below the fold.

The argument for official ID papers is that they facilitate law enforcement, which is why conservatives are all excited. Any realistic appraisal of the world around us shows that this argument is exactly upside down: it actually runs against ID papers. For which law enforcement are we talking about? Laws against murder and theft were enforced long before official ID papers appeared. And after the state had introduced them, sophisticated criminals and terrorists obtained or falsified them. Nearly all the 9/11 terrorists had proper ID.

The crucial battle against official ID papers has, I fear, been lost. A formal ID card is being introduced in the U.K. In the U.S., the federal government is standardizing state drivers’ licences and transforming them into a de facto national ID card; the Canadian government is slavishly imitating this fraud.


Posted by Terrence Watson on September 29, 2008 in Western Standard | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dramatic terrorist attack exposed as a lie

No, not here; in occupied East Turkestan.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on September 29, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Make that Global 'Cooling'

National Review online reports today:

The four major agencies tracking Earth’s temperature, including NASA’s Goddard Institute, report that the Earth cooled 0.7 degree Celsius in 2007, the fastest decline in the age of instrumentation, putting us back to where the Earth was in 1930. The climate is changing, but not in the direction Al Gore thinks.

h/t: sda

Posted by Terry O'Neill on September 29, 2008 in Science | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Desperate dishonour

When exactly will Henry Morgentaler actually receive his Order of Canada pin from the G-G? I haven't heard, but I expect the justifiable controversy over the granting of the award to the notorious abortionist will spark another round of criticism.

Meantime, my Report Magazine cover story on the affair has now been posted at the publication's website.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on September 29, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The truth about immigration...

...is that costs exceed benefits. That's the conclusion reached in the Vancouver Sun's highlighted op-ed piece in today's edition.

The essay's author declares that there is incontrovertible evidence that: 1. immigration's only significant impact is to reduce the wages of native workers; 2. immigration does not provide the answer to an aging population; and 3. immigration is not linked to economic progress.

The author believes that Canada is taking in far too many immigrants, but that each of the three big parties in the current election is promising to open the doors even wider. He states: "The fact is there is no valid rationale. There is only one reason why our political parties push for high immigration intake and that is they see every new immigrant as a potential vote for their party.

"This is not only irresponsible it borders on culpable negligence."

Significantly, the author of this powerful piece is James Bissett, "a former executive director of the Canadian Immigration Service." Read his entire piece here.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on September 29, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (81) | TrackBack

Election financing rules and double standards

Election financing. We have regulated speech, not free speech, in Canada. This means that groups and individuals ("third parties") cannot spend as much money as they'd like for (or against) candidates in an election. (For more on Canada's gag law, this Calgary Herald editorial explains.)

This runs contrary to rules of free speech. I am against that law. But it still stands. And if Friends of Science and Barry Cooper can be charged, as the Herald piece explains, who else should be? 

Why am I asking these questions? Because I'm curious to know how much money pro-abortion groups are spending telling me not to vote for Harper? Has anyone asked that? Are they registered? Should they be?

Representatives from Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, Canadian Labour Congress, the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women, Federation du Quebec pour le planning des naissances and Action Canada for Population and Development (ACPD) held the press conference, describing themselves as a united front in the mobilization of women voters.

Does spending money telling voters who not to vote for (Harper) qualify under the Elections Spending Act?

Let me be very clear--I think those pro-abortion groups should be allowed to speak freely, and spend as much as they want. But what I'm not keen on is a double standard, whereby groups on the "wrong" side are charged (Friends of Science, National Citizens Coalition to name but two) and groups with elite support (pro-abortion groups) are not.

(Cross-posted to ProWomanProLife.)

Posted by Andrea Mrozek on September 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The end is near?

According to this story in the WaPo (Via Drudge), the balance of power in the U.S. is now shifting from New York to Washington, D.C. Truth be told, this has been happening for over six decades, but this bailout is really pushing into a European-socialism style of government. Before the bailout, Canada was one point ahead of the U.S. in the freedom index; this latest action will undoubtedly cement the results further. Not that Canada has much to brag about; it is a sad day (or time) for both of us.

Once the state gets involved in dictating the minute details of money and banking, the result is crony capitalism at its worst. Look no further than the developing world for examples of countries where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer; in other words, it is the end of the American dream.

Capitalism always meant the freedom of entry and the freedom of exit. But once there is no freedom of exit, there is no more freedom of entry. Say goodbye to the self-made "rags to riches" millionaires, and say hello to the government-sponsored politburo rich.

Those of you who have read Atlas Shrugged, will find the similarities eerie. When businessmen go to the state to beg for regulation, that is the sign of the end. The only question is: who is today's John Galt?

Posted by Moin A Yahya on September 29, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How to Handle Hate Crimes

Frankly, I hate the phrase "hate crime."  I don't like the idea that we ought to distinguish crimes from one another based, simply, upon the identity of the victim or, as a class, based upon the motivation for the crime.  Assaulting someone because you don't like their face seem to me to be morally equivalent to attacking them because you don't like their race.

Where motivations ought to come in, I would say, is in considering punishments.  That's one of the real tragedy of our justice system - is that judges don't have the freedom to impose creative punishments.

For example, in the case of this latest gay bashing in Vancouver, I think that one can make an ideal case for corporal punishment.

Let's face it - prisons don't really work.  People don't learn anything because they spend a brief amount of time locked up.  The way to deter this from happening in the future is to sentence the perpetrator to a public flogging on Davie Street.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on September 28, 2008 in Crime | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Warren Kinsella hits a nerve, Craig Yirush answers back

You know you’re out of line when you offend the mild mannered, gentlemanly Craig Yirush, a former Fraser Institute researcher and legal scholar.

In a submission to the Western Standard, Yirush offered his thoughts on a recent post by Warren Kinsella.

Here's the latest smear from Warren Kinsella, scourge of all the Canadian neo-Nazis currently living in their mothers' basements.

At the end of a post congratulating Dion for dumping 9/11 'truther' Lesley Hughes, Kinsella had this to say:

"And why is Ezra Levant, who defends Jim Keegstra and neo-Nazis, still an official Tory spokesman."

Let that one sink in for a second or two. Ezra defends the free speech rights of individuals he strongly disagrees with.

And what does that make him? Why a Nazi of course. As well as the moral equivalent of someone who thinks that those who died on 9/11 were murdered by their own governments, with, of course, the complicity of the 'Jews'.

Ezra doesn't need me to defend him from Kinsella, especially since nobody who cares about honesty or political principle takes the self-described 'ass-kicker' seriously anymore. But the flawed logic at the heart of Kinsella's argument illustrates how much work still needs to be done to defend free speech in Canada.

Thanks, Craig. Since you’re a pro-freedom blogger without a blog, why not join the Shotgun?

Posted by westernstandard on September 28, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dionomics is like magic

Time for another Liberal ad;

I love the implicit assumption that government creates jobs.  As if any government could wave a magic wand and declare the 'green' industry to be a success.  Really what Dion is proposing here is another collection of corporations that can only survive with government help (if they could survive on their own they would already exist).  Way to stick it to the little man and help big business there Dion. I also like the implied threat against one of Canada's most profitable industry.  That's Dionomics, destroy the profitable industries that already exist and use them to create new industries with tax dollars.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on September 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Defending William Whatcott: pro-life, anti-gay activist pushes freedom of expression to the limit

Censorship50leavesJohn Carpay, Executive Director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, is intervening in the William Whatcott appeal before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

In a Western Standard column published today, Carpay writes:

In 2001 and 2002, Mr. Whatcott peacefully distributed flyers in Regina and Saskatoon. His flyers expressed opposition to teaching children in public schools about homosexuality, and also expressed, in polemical language, his religious objections to homosexual behaviour and the gay lifestyle. Some of the flyers were photocopies of a page from the gay magazine Perceptions, which included a personal classified ad stating “searching for boys/men for pen pals, friendship, exchanging video, pics... Your age, look & nationality is not so relevant.” On the photocopied page, Mr. Whatcott wrote “Saskatchewan’s largest gay magazine allows ads for men seeking boys!”

In response to complaints from four individuals whose feelings were hurt by the flyers, Mr. Whatcott was prosecuted under Saskatchewan’s human rights law, ordered to pay $17,500 to the complainants, and ordered to refrain from distributing the same or similar flyers.

Carpay’s column -- “There’s no monopoly on truth” -- will mark the end of Free Speech & Expression Week at the Western Standard, but certainly not the end of our coverage of free speech and expression issues important to our readers.  (Don’t forget to help the Western Standard get free speech and expression on the national televised debate among the major party leaders. Find out how here.)

Those familiar with Whatcott’s activism will know it would take an act of God to stop him from opposing abortion and homosexuality. In fact, Whatcott provided supporters with an update today on this activism:

(Warning: If you are easily offended by "polemical language," or if you are a supporter of Conservative MP Laurie Hawn, you will not like what Whatcott has to write.)

1500 hard hitting flyers found their way into Calgary's mailboxes…on Friday, September 26, 2008. Generally my flyers do garner a lot of negative reactions as apathetic and perverted Canadians do not appreciate being reminded of the graphic realities of pre-born baby murder and sodomy (my sodomy pictures do have genitalia blacked out but the images still tell you enough to inform you our North American culture is on par with the depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah).


A disaffected Conservative who belongs to the Knights of Columbus sent me an unsolicited e-mail saying his $110.00 donation originally intended for the Conservative Party of Canada would go to me instead.

Upon receiving the unsolicited donation I got to work this weekend and made a special election flyer. 2000 of them will hit Laurie Hawn's Edmonton Centre riding this coming week. Laurie Hawn is fiscally conservative but he is no friend of social conservatives.


On sodomy and abortion Mr. Hawn is a sell out.

Whatcott’s language, while outrageous and offensive to some, is nothing compared to the images he includes in his pamphlets. Aborted foetuses, genital and anal warts, anal intercourse – there are no images too graphic for Whatcott, who intends to wake the public from its slumber whether they like it or not.

Defending the recidivist speech and expression offender Whatcott is as bold a defence of free speech as I have seen. But while Whatcott routinely violates good taste and judgement, his peaceful activism should not be considered a crime or an offence in a free society.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on September 28, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Endorsing Dion for Leader of the Opposition

There are a lot of Conservatives out there that are rubbing their chins in glee at the idea of the Liberals becoming a third place party. I'd rather groan in agony at the thought of the NDP becoming the official opposition. Why should it matter? If the NDP are the second party, chances are that the Conservatives have a majority government, the opposition can whistle to the wind after that, right?

People underestimate the power of the official opposition. They have power not in what they can do but in what they attack. Few would deny that Manning had an influence on Chretien's policies. Governments usually design their policy in a way that makes it difficult to attack. By doing so they often reach into the middle ground between the parties, and sometimes they reverse long standing policies to preempt an attack. Do you really want to see the NDP getting even this much influence?

The leader of the second party can set the tone of the debate in numerous ways. Most importantly, the leader of the second party can bring up issues and get more attention than the leaders of the smaller parties. What sort of issues will Jack Layton bring into federal politics? Higher corporate taxes and proportional representation are not things I want to see Parliament debating. With a Liberal official opposition it is not likely that these things will be seriously talked about. With a NDP official opposition they are almost certainly going to be issues.

The bottom line, be careful what you wish for.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on September 28, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Beaverhill Lake fire: exclusive Western Standard photos and interview

Alberta farmers between Vegreville and Tofield took a break from harvesting this afternoon to observe a growing grass fire on the edge of Beaverhill Lake, approximately 40 kilometres south-west of Vegreville.

In an interview with RCMP officers, on the scene to prevent drivers from crossing the fire line tape, the Western Standard learned that the fire was caused by quads driving in the tall grass on the dry lakebed.

A bulldozer and aerial firefighting water-bomber are expected to be on the scene shortly to suppress the fire which has spread into the surrounding bush.

Beaverhill Lake is a shallow lake that was once the second largest lake in Alberta. It has been declining in size and depth for 30 years and is now largely dry. The lake is home to the Beaverhill Bird Observatory, a shorebird and waterfowl natural area.

(Exclusive Western Standard photos can be found below the fold.)

Posted by Matthew Johnston


(RCMP enforce fire line to keep drivers from Beaver Hill Lake fire)


(Vegreville and Tofield area farmers take a break from harvesting to observe a grass fire on the edge of Beaver Hill Lake)


(Smoke billows from the Beaver Hill Lake grass fire) 

Posted by westernstandard on September 28, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Run Mercer! Run!

It sounds like what Rick Mercer fears more than a maniac on a stabbing rampage are women, minorities, and us gays being self-reliant and able to defend ourselves.

It was those crazy women and gays in that backwater village of Washington, D.C. that stood up as strong individuals to say that the city handgun ban in the nation’s capital put them at disproportionate risk of being victims of attacks. Instead of asking for some kind of handout, they demanded the freedom to stop being victims.

If this kind of freedom-talk just sounds like more “rage”, I will put it in a more compassionate language for the sensitive urbanite to digest: Women and gays, I'm told, love to shop. Concealed carry weapons laws would give them another wonderful accessory to shop for. Just think, women could have their sexy little subcompact Beretta Tomcat pistol for their Prada handbag, while us "homos" could add another dimension to our sexual innuendo-laced conversations. It would make a great theme for Toronto Fashion Week -- "Hick Meets Chic." And I can’t wait for all the conversations I’ll have after I get my .44 Magnum Colt Anaconda revolver -- talking about cocking action and ejector rods over martinis with friends.

As for the other deep-seated rage issues, thanks for setting me straight -- no pun intended. Supporting free enterprise (abolishing the CBC) and wanting to end native poverty (The Indian Act) aren’t actual policies to be discussed, as I wrongly thought. Thanks to you, Rick (and the mainstream media), I’ve learned they are in fact the first warning signs of that god-awful disease -- conservatism! 

Phew, it’s a good thing I was turfed before anyone else caught it. That being said, I would like to let Mercer know that liberalism has been diagnosed as a mental disorder by Dr. Lyle Rossiter, M.D.  The cure will be released as part of my platform when I run for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

So don’t worry Rick, while you’re running for the exit and screaming like a girl, those of us packing heat will make sure no maniacs are coming after you. Run, Mercer! Run!

Posted by Chris Reid on September 28, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Libertarian abortion compromise (safe, legal, rare...and de-insured) could be tough to implement

Libertarian Party leader Dennis Young provided Western Standard readers with a sneak peak at the party’s abortion policy -- and the response from pro-lifers has so far been positive but measured. The response from ardent pro-choice libertarians like Marc Emery has been negative but measured. In the end, the party may have struck exactly the right cord on this issue.

The policy is simple enough:

While the Libertarian Party supports safe, legal access to abortion, we also believe that the “freedom of conscience” of those who oppose abortion must be respected. The Libertarian Party will defend “freedom of conscience” and promote real choice by removing all federal government funding to the provinces for medically unnecessary abortions.

Young restated the policy in his CBC free air time address which will begin airing on Monday:

The Libertarian Party will fight to keep abortion safe and legal, but we also feel a compromise is needed to ensure that the deeply held views of pro-life Canadians are respected. If elected, I will work to protect the freedom of conscience of pro-life medical workers and taxpayers by getting the federal government out of the abortion business.

Young wants to “get the federal government out of the business of abortion,” whatever it might take as long as it is in keeping with libertarian principles.

While the policy is simple in principle, implementation may be a different story.

Joanne Byfield with Alberta Pro Life said “I applaud the Libertarian Party for having the courage to venture into this policy area,” but raised a number of challenges that might make the policy difficult to implement for any federal government.

Joanne Byfield:

When it comes to forcing taxpayers to pay for all abortions, that is a provincial decision. It may be that the money used by some provinces to pay for abortions is derived from federal government transfers, but provincial governments have the authority to decide what procedures will be considered ‘medically necessary’ and therefore covered under their provincial health act. Michael Kirby made this point in his Senate committee's interim report on health care:  ‘The determination of what services meet the requirement of medical necessity is made in each province by the provincial government in conjunction with the medical profession.’

Having said all that, I would still be thrilled to have an elected federal government clearly say that this is an issue for provinces to decide. Right now, provinces love to pass the buck and say that the courts have decided they have to pay or that the Canada Health Act requires them to pay. The CHA does not require that. There have been two fairly recent court cases in Canada, one in Manitoba and one in Quebec, in which provincial courts have said the province had to pay for abortions at private clinics but neither province appealed the decision. In both cases the provincial governments simply caved in and forced taxpayers to pick up the tab. It might help taxpayers to pressure their provincial governments if the federal government would remove any confusion about jurisdiction. The former Liberal government, under successive health ministers Alan Rock, Anne McLellan and Ujjal Dosanjh, all threatened provinces with penalties if they didn't pay for abortions.

I'm not a Libertarian but I am pro-life. When I look at my options in this federal election, I don't see a federal party with seats in the House of Commons that cares about my views. The Conservatives threw us overboard two weeks before calling the election just to be sure nobody could accuse them of having any social conservative policies. The irony is that they used a bill, C-484, that so clearly and explicitly said that legal abortions were not in any way threatened. It would have penalized people who injure or kill an unborn child in the course of an attack on a pregnant woman.  The pro-abortion crowd stampeded to abandon all those ‘willing mothers’ and ‘wanted children’ they like to talk about in order to kill the bill.

So does the Canada Health Act require the provinces to finance abortions? (Byfield says “no” but the courts have said otherwise.) Would the Libertarian Party policy then require an amendment to the Canada Health Act to prohibit the public funding of abortions? A federal Libertarian government could withhold federal transfer payments to provinces that fund abortion, but that would surely raise jurisdictional issues. Since small “l” libertarians traditionally support private healthcare, could privatization come incrementally by removing one insured service after another, starting with those that most divide Canadians, abortion being the best example.

Notwithstanding these policy challenges, Dr. Will Johnston, President of Canadian Physicians for Life, likes the idea Libertarian policy in principle:

"CPL finds it disturbing that there is a strong consensus for many uncontroversial health services that need far more funding while the taxpayer has no choice but to pay to cause harm through abortion.” 

Not everyone is applauding Young's decision to make abortion an issue in this election, however. Libertarian publisher and activist Marc Emery, who has endorsed Young and continues to support him, said:

"...this is a poor policy decision. I agree that those opposed to abortion should not be forced to fund it. But the reality is that taxpayers are forced to fund immoral wars, inoculations, the United Nations, corporate welfare, porno movies, CBC, hundreds of obscene government programs....This policy smacks of expediency."

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on September 28, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wheat Board wisdom from Manitoba farmer in New York Times

Jim Pallister, member of the advisory panel of Calgary-based private equity agriculture firm Agcapita Farmland Investment Partnership, was interviewed by the New York Times about his views on the government monopoly on marketing western Canadian wheat. Here’s what he had to say:

"The proof of the state monopoly's inefficiency”, said Jim Pallister, a farmer opponent, “is that American farmers rarely try to send their wheat north to get Canadian prices. You don't see people in Florida trying to take a rowboat to Havana”.   The majority of western farmers appear to be in favor of the Wheat Board's abolition and political pressure is building to remove its regulatory monopoly.  Jim Pallister is a high profile figure in the farming community and an articulate critic of the Wheat Board's monopoly position in the market.

Pallister is a Manitoba farmer and brother to Conservative MP Brian Pallister, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade and to the Minister of International Cooperation.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on September 27, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason wants to shut down a new healthcare facility in Calgary, but this may violate the Charter

Friends of Medicare are in the middle of a tour across Alberta to promote a new report the organization claims proves the Alberta public healthcare system can handle the rising cost of healthcare expected as the province’s population ages.

In a media statement released on September 23rd, Friends of Medicare wrote:

…it is well within our financial capacity to deal with the needs of our rising seniors' population. A comprehensive economic analysis by economist Greg Flanagan for the University of Alberta's Parkland Institute demonstrates that a modest annual health budget increase of 1.3 percent is enough to pay for health services as they are provided now, despite a projected doubling of our seniors' population in this province over the next 20 years.

This study contradicts the notion that health care spending is out of control, and that it will eat up public budgets in the coming decades. In fact, once population growth and inflation are factored in, our health care expenditures are quite affordable, and we certainly have both the capacity and the responsibility to do more to meet the future health care needs of our population than what we are doing at present.

David Eggen, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare, brought the “Sustainable Healthcare for Seniors” tour through Calgary on September 24th at a meeting held at the Unitarian Church.

In a speech introducing Dr. Flanagan, Eggen said “perhaps one of the most valuable things you own is the medical card that you have in your pocket.” I’ve been thinking about that comment and I suppose my Alberta healthcare card is one of the most valuable things I own. But its value comes in part from the fact that its grants me access to a single, monopoly healthcare provider – the Alberta government. By excluding competitors in the healthcare field, the Alberta government – and all provincial governments – has created an unhealthy, dependent relationship between public healthcare providers and consumers. The value of your government medical card is based in part on the ability of the government to exclude choice from the healthcare system.

(If the government nationalized food stores and excluded competition in the food industry, you can be sure food vouchers would be worth their weight in gold during times of rationing, and the Friends of Food Vouchers would be telling you that without government food vouchers you would be forced to deal with the cruel vagaries of the market and would likely starve.)

Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason was at the event and agreed to do an interview with the Western Standard.

I asked Mason what he thought about the Jacques Chaoulli Supreme Court decision. Western Standard editor Peter Jaworski reported in 2004 that “[Chaoulli,] the 52-year-old family physician[,] is arguing that Canada's health care system is in violation of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That section reads that Canadians have the right to ‘life, liberty, and security of the person.’ Waiting times for surgery in Canadian hospitals are so long, he argues, that they endanger our health. Because Canadians are prohibited from paying to get the care they need, the security of their person is compromised.” The Supreme Court agreed.

Mason is familiar with the Supreme Court decision but argued that the decision allows for private healthcare only in instances where the public system has failed to provide timely access: “If the public health insurance program, or the public health system, can not provide timely access to necessary care then the government can not exclude people from seeking care some place else, from a private delivery. That was the decision.”

He’s right, of course.

Mason also argued that “It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that everyone has timely access to care, and that’s not happening now.”

So Mason acknowledges that the Supreme Court ruling in the Chaoulli case makes it unconstitutional to prevent people from seeking private healthcare solutions if the government is not providing timely access to healthcare services. Then he acknowledges that the government is, in fact, not providing this timely access. The logical conclusion from here is to allow Albertans to access private care at least until such time as the province can find a way to provide the timely care that Mason is demanding in a sustainable fashion. But that’s not Mason’s view.

The Western Standard reported on September 22nd that Mason wants to shut down a newly opened private healthcare diagnostic facility in Calgary:

While the Copeman Healthcare Centre in Calgary could save lives, Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason said today that the facility breaches the Canada Health Act and should be shut down.

"This is queue jumping. The Copeman clinic checks your wallet before it checks your pulse and that's no way to run a health care system in Canada,” Mason said. "Copeman calls this the second phase of medicare but Albertans know two-tiered privatization when they see it.”

If Albertans aren’t getting access to the healthcare they need in a timely fashion, as Mason argues, the NDP should welcome the arrival of the Copeman Healthcare Centre.


(Picture: David Eggen, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare, speaks to an audience in Calgary on September 24th about “Sustainable Healthcare for Seniors”)

Posted by Matthew Johnston on September 27, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Libertarian Party leader uses free CBC airtime to take on Harper’s record

In accordance with the Canada Elections Act, the CBC offers candidates free time broadcasts. Libertarian Party leader Dennis Young was in the CBC studio in Calgary on Friday to produce two-minute and 30-second TV and radio spots. The spots will begin airing on Monday, but the Western Standard has received a copy of the scripts.

Young uses his TV and radio ads to take aim at Stephen Harper's record and says the Prime Minister is not a conservative.

Here's the two-minute script:

Dennis Young – Two Minute Script

I’m Dennis Young, leader of the Libertarian Party. I’m running against Stephen Harper in Calgary South West to contrast the Conservative record against our agenda for economic and personal liberty.

When Harper was a Reform MP, he fought against the over-regulation of safe, natural healthcare products. Now that he’s in power, he no longer cares about freedom of choice in healthcare, and instead introduced legislation that would put the government in control of herbal supplements.

Harper has ignored millions of average Canadians and even members of his own caucus who believe our marijuana laws are unjust, unfair and need changing. Harper’s plan for a Bush-style war on drugs will fill our prisons with non-violent marijuana users and escalate the violence on our streets.

Ignoring the advice of economists and tax experts, Harper has been tinkering with the GST. This is political opportunism, not good tax policy. The Libertarian Party would introduce a low, flat income and corporate tax that would make our tax system fairer, simpler and more efficient.

On April 5, 1995, Stephen Harper was the only Reform MP to support Bill C-68, the legislation that created the firearms registry. This legislation has made criminals out of thousands of law-abiding farmers and hunters. The registry must be scrapped, but can Harper really be trusted to do this?

The Libertarian Party will fight to keep abortion safe and legal, but we also feel a compromise is needed to ensure that the deeply held views of pro-life Canadians are respected. If elected, I will work to protect the freedom of conscience of pro-life medical workers and taxpayers by getting the federal government out of the abortion business.

The Libertarian Party believes Canadians can be trusted with economic and personal liberty. If you share our vision for Canada, vote for the Libertarian Party.

And here's the 30-second script:

Dennis Young - 30-second Script

I’m Dennis Young, leader of the Libertarian Party. As a former soldier and policeman, I bring real world experience and conservative values to my campaign against Stephen Harper in Calgary South West.

Harper broke his promise to seniors to not tax income trusts; he’s responsible for creating the biggest and most wasteful government in Canadian history; and he actually voted for the national firearms registry.

Stephen Harper is not a conservative.

Vote for economic and personal liberty. Vote for the Libertarian Party.


(Picture: Libertarian Party leader Dennis Young at the CBC studio in Calgary)

Posted by Matthew Johnston on September 27, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

The False Compassion of Liberalism

This random blogger, in responding to something that I wrote the other day, begins shedding crocodile tears for those allegedly martyred by de-regulation. 

Mike Harris destroyed Ontario's finances and managed to kill people with their drinking water. His incompetent finance minister went on to Ottawa where he's backed us up into a deficit situation while Canadians have been dying from eating contaminated meat.

I mean, folks, let's get real here - people with compromised immune systems die of all sorts of things all the time.  I'm constantly amazed that the left can get so worked up over micro-issues while they ignore the most obvious point, especially in the context of the recent Listeriosis outbreak - namely that the most obvious unnatural cause of death in this country is our atrocity of a health care system.

A lot of people die in this country every day because our socialized medical system is ponderously slow and generally incompetent.  Indeed, I daresay that a number of those recent tainted-meat deaths, given that much of this meat was served by various public institutions, can be attributed to slow and sloppy care and poor living conditions in hospitals and other facilities.

Most of you have seen the inside of some of these extended care facilities, haven't you?  My Grandmother ended her days in one (since my deadbeat Aunt - who later had the nerve to sue the Provincial Government over her poor standard of care - had stolen all of her money).  They're not places where people are likely to get the sort of timely care and attention needed to head off the progress of anything.

But, beyond that, let's cut to the cold hard truth - most of the people who died from this, given that they died from such a minor ailment, didn't have very much time left in any case.  What do they have to say to the countless others, who could have survived, who have died because they were forced, like prisoners on a grim death march, to worship at the altar of socialized medicine?

Liberals like to cry a lot about people who may or may not have died because of inadequate regulation (regardless of the other factors involved), but they have very little to say about the many needless and meaningless deaths that are directly caused by their religious devotion to socialism in health care.  How many people have died because they've had to wait too long for attention for their heart problems, or because their cancer wasn't detected early enough because it takes months to see the right specialist in this country?

Socialist medicine is an abomination.  It's a moral crime.  It's rooted in a false and forced idea of equal human worth.  We're all equal, they say, so therefore we should all have the exact same access to health care.

Though, of course, that's not the way it really ought to work.  We must all admit - even the most ardent socialist - that there are limits on the resources that a society can devote to health care.  Everyone, regardless of their political orientation, has a number where they're going to say "stop" because if you never did you would reach a point where there would be, literally, no money for anything else in the world.

Thus, we are faced with a basic problem of scarcity and distribution.  How do we divide a finite resource?  A simple equal division - what the left claims to want - is the least efficient method of dividing up a resource.  Though, in effect, medical socialism is literally - medical resources, in a socialized system, tend to be devoted to those with the greatest need.

In reality, that's a bad thing.  Because those with the greatest needs are those, in general, least likely to make effective use of the resource.  That is to say that those with the greatest medical needs consume resources disproportionate to their value.  A drug addict, for example, can have nearly unlimited medical needs and have very little to offer in return.  And, in a socialist system, because resources chase needs, the needs of that drug addict may mean that resources are allocated to cover their unlimited needs (since a socialist system is inherently inflexible) that could have instead cured three people of more utility - say a Police Officer and a mother of four.  If you're drawing from this  that a socialized medical system that effective practiced social triage would be efficient, you'd be right up until you consider how a leftist measures relative worth.

That's the beauty of a free-market system.  It distributes resources based upon, in the end, a person's worth - both financial and otherwise.  In an emergency I - hardly a person of unlimited means - could pay for quite substantial care for myself.  I have the family resources to, if necessary, pay several times that.  If we had a purely free-market system and hadn't been paying taxes for decades to support it, I (and those I could count on) would have far more than that.

At the same time, in a free-market system, others would have the same chance to access care based on their relative worth.  There are many people - at least a dozen - that I'd probably lend or give money to in a medical emergency based upon their personal value to me.  There are a select few who, when it came down to it, I'd probably liquidate every single thing I own to assist.  I'm sure that most of you feel the same way as well.

That's how a health care system should work - with people paying their own way, and met with genuine compassion.  Instead, we have a system where countless lives are destroyed by the maw of monstrous regulation, while the left pretends to be desperately worried because a few people got sick from some bad meat.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on September 27, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Friday, September 26, 2008

The First Act of a Tory Majority...

It's so obvious, I can't believe that no one has mentioned it.  The very first thing that a Conservative majority government should do is to repeal the Liberal election public financing law.

After all, from the looks of things, the Liberal Party will end the election effectively bankrupt.  Pulling out their finances right after the election would change "effectively" to officially.

Indeed, this idea is so good that perhaps a few of you might decide to forward it to vendors, television stations, and so forth who, after realizing that this is actually possible, might decide to demand payment from the Liberals up front - in cash.  Just a thought.

I mean, my friends, how often do we get to combine solid conservative principles (no public money for politicians) with good, old-fashioned vengeance?

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on September 26, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Commercial freedom of expression and the war on advertising

Censorship50leaves_3_2 In a Western Standard exclusive, John Luik takes a look a commercial freedom of expression as part of our Free Speech & Expression Week on the Shotgun blog:

Commercial freedom of expression has never been a particularly robust creature in Canada. The country’s courts, except for a few notable exceptions, as well as the chattering class have taken the condescending view that commercial speech deserves a much less protected status than, for instance, political speech, since it touches on interests that are supposedly peripheral rather than central to democratic life.

But what has really tipped the scales against commercial freedom of expression, particularly with the general public, has been the incessant attack on advertising by the public health community and its allied special interest groups opposed to smoking, drinking, gambling, and eating (sorry, only incorrect eating). While skepticism about the aims, methods and reach of advertising is at least as old as Vance Packard’s 1957 “classic” The Hidden Persuaders, worries about the effects of advertising have reached a new level due to the careful efforts of the public health paternalists.

Luik’s column on commercial free speech and advertising restrictions is timely as the Harper Conservatives have promised to further restrict tobacco advertising as well as ban flavoured cigarillos, all for the sake of children, of course.

Luik makes the case, however, that children are less susceptible to advertising than public health advocates would have us believe.

For one thing, the story’s claim about vulnerable children who are insufficiently skeptical about advertising and thus manipulated by it is simply untrue. Several recent studies, including one by David Buckingham for the UK’s regulatory authorities have found that children, even quite young children are surprisingly knowledgeable both about what advertising is about and also how it works. Equally important, there are significantly skeptical about its claims, understanding that it is designed to portray something in the best light in order to get them to buy it.

Luik argues that while the public health case against commercial free speech is weak, we shouldn’t expect politicians to reverse their policies.

But don’t expect those news hour announcements from health ministers about banning advertising for this product or that to stop any time soon. Advertising and commercial speech in general are just too convenient a villain for too many people. After all, without advertising as the bad guy, we might just have to address the real reasons that people and particularly kids did certain things.

Read “Commercial freedom of expression and the war on fun” by John Luik.

And don’t forget to help the Western Standard get free speech and expression on the national televised debate among the major party leaders. Find out how here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on September 26, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Paul McKeever: Freedom and the proper regulation of speech


In his contribution to the Western Standard's freedom of speech & expression week, Freedom Party of Canada leader Paul McKeever lays out the limits of protection of free speech to those laws which " prevent governments from outlawing speech that does not deprive an individual of control over his own life, liberty or property." McKeever uses a definition of freedom which will be familiar to those who have read the works of the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand:

"Freedom is control. Specifically, it is control over one's own liberty and property; over the pursuit of one's own survival and happiness. The role of government is to ensure that no other person causes you to lose that control; that no other person deprives you of your freedom.

A person can use physical force to cause you to lose control over your own life, liberty or property: he can use a gun to murder you, enslave you, or rob you of your cash. However, physical coercion is not the only method for denying you control over your life, liberty or property. It can be done with “speech”; with words."

Among these types of 'speech' which can deny freedom McKeever includes fraud, which eliminates control by undermining consent. He then takes aim at free speech 'absolutists' and goes further than many libertarians in defending prohibitions on defamation, likening it to fraud, as another case of:

"misrepresent[ing] the facts of reality so that others will draw an erroneous conclusion about his intended victim. He thereby may deprive the victim of those values -- whether material (e.g., lucrative contracts from clients) or spiritual (e.g., the admiration of another person) -- that the victim has or would otherwise have obtained."


Posted by Kalim Kassam on September 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

The Left Myth

Now that it's clear that the Liberal's do not have a chance in hell of overcoming the support deficit between themselves and the Conservatives, Liberals are just throwing in the towel and calling for all-out, strategic voting by the left.

This is particularly interesting for two reasons.

One, it's showing the ultimate breakdown of the Liberal Party's fundamental spine: loyalty to the party.  I mean, once a proud party like the Liberal Party of Canada starts begging Canadians to just, well... vote for anyone who can beat Stephen Harper, then you know it's all over.   The party is bereft of morale, lacking in ethics, and–as the final nail in the coffin–soon to be bankrupt financially, too.  Bye, bye, Liberal Party. 

Second, the idea that all Liberal Party voters would break for the NDP is one of the funniest things I've ever heard.  I live in Toronto, and one of the biggest Liberal voting blocks, quite honestly, is the Bay Street business crowd, the Rosedale dwellers. 

These people vote for the Liberal Party out of tradition, and believe in them as the moderate choice.  Do they really think that this block of support is going to break for the social democrats, who demonize how profitable their businesses are as a fundamental plank of their platform?

That being said, I would garner a guess that the Conservatives are the second choice to the Liberals for most Ontarians (and vice-versa), save a few particular working-class rydings that have a traditional allegiance to the NDP.

The Liberal Party is also going out full-tilt, and calling itself a "left-wing" party.  It's no longer calling itself a moderate party.  And I hate to say it, but they have played right into Stephen Harper's hands here.  They've set themselves on a course for the fringes.   Now their anger, hatred and resentment of Stephen Harper has them flagellating out of control to the point where there may be no return from the damage that's been done.

I don't think that most Canadians consider themselves left-wing.  Most consider themselves moderate.  Most Canadians see left and right as two extremes they want no part in.  And now, the Liberals have effectively made Stephen Harper the most moderate choice.

If it becomes clear that the NDP and Liberal Party are planning a coalition government to evict Stephen Harper from 24 Sussex, it would not surprise me if the Conservative Party support surged into the mid-to-high forties in the polls, and Harper returned a Mulroney-like majority.

Canadians are neither as left as the political left likes to believe, nor are they as right–as much to my chagrin–some of us on the right want them to be. 

What Stephen Harper has effectively done is completely appropriate this cozy middle, and now the Liberal Party is struggling to redefine itself in far off lefty-land.  And hey, good luck with that!

Posted by Mike Brock on September 26, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Irony alert: University Founded by Free Speech Advocate Punishes Prof for Criticizing Racial Slur in Class


You read it right. Brandeis University, named for Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis,  has reprimanded Donald Hindley for pointing out that the term "wet-back" was (and is) a perjorative term for Mexican immigrants. Hindley uttered the horrible word in his class on Latin American Politics. Ostensibly Hindley was criticizing the slur. However, an anonymous student complained and Hindley was accused of causing "emotional distress" to students by mentioning (again not using) the term.

It was determined that Hindley used discriminatory and defamatory language. His class was assigned a monitor and he was ordered to take a sensitivity training course. Hindley, as a sane man, refused.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has taken up the case. FIRE has written to 45 members of the Brandeis' board of trustees. They have recieved one reply. Free Speech crusader Nat Hentoff author of "Free Speech for Me and Not for Thee," personally called the president of the university:

"I left a message for Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz (781-736-3001) asking for his response. My call has not been returned. If Louis Brandeis were still here, I am sure he would call Reinharz instantly - and would get a response. How I would like to hear that conversation!"

Me too. Hentoff concludes his article on Worldnet daily with a quote from the justice who is the  namesake of Brandeis university , "It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears." Hentoff adds, "And from undereducated college administrators?"

It is my observation that universities like to do these sort of things in the dark. The only remedy is sunlight. Let everyone know what Brandeis is doing.

Posted by Jay Lafayette on September 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Was this McCain's finest hour?

When I first heard the whiffs of detail about the bailout deal among the Administration, the Democrats, and the Senate Republicans, I was seriously considering doing a health-care-in-reverse, and try to move all my investments north of the 49th (where, at least, not every financial firm is a Crown corporation).

Within hours, it was clear the House Republicans weren't willing to play ball, and had a much better (i.e., less government invasive) plan.  Morevoer, they wouldn't back down even in the face of Bush, Pelosi, Obama, and Reid at an afternoon meeting at the White House.

Notice a name missing?  There's a reason for that.

John McCain was at the meeting, too.  Like everyone else, I expected we would see the "bipartisan" John McCain, the "sensible" John McCain, the John McCain who has a strange glee stabbing limited-government supporters in the back.  That John McCain.

Well, after House Republican leader John Boehner stuck to his guns, someone asked McCain for his view.  They got this: "I support the principles that House Republicans are fighting for."

It hasn't been the best couple of weeks for McCain, but he's pulled himself out of the Paulson Panic, that's for certain.  If we're fortunate, McCain can get the plan moved closer to the House Republican version.  If we're luckier than the casion house playing Black Jack, we could get the House GOP plan passed.  Either way, a lot of people should be grateful to McCain for stopping a terrible plan from getting rammed through Congress.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on September 26, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A typical Beijing day

Troubling scnadl at home?  Pick a fight abroad.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on September 26, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Calgary medical marijuana activist to Harper: “repeal prohibition”

Medical marijuana activist Douglas Cluff has a message for Prime Minister Stephen Harper: “repeal prohibition.” Cluff, an MS sufferer and the founder of Calgary Medicinal Marijuana Counselling (CMMC), believes that only when marijuana is legal will medical users have reliable access to marijuana and research into its “far-reaching medical benefits.”

While medical marijuana is legal in Canada -- the government even grows and certifies its own supply – Cluff told the Libertarian Party candidate for Calgary Centre-North, Jason McNeil, and party leader Dennis Young in a meeting Thursday that access is still the primary concern for CMMC members.

First, medical marijuana is only available to people who suffer from diseases from which marijuana is known to Health Canada to provide relief. If you’ve got MS or rheumatoid arthritis, you can get access to medical marijuana. If you’ve got fibre myalgia, for instance, you’re out luck. Cluff thinks this practice of excluding certain diseases from the list found in the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations is discriminatory and would like to see Health Canada expand the number of eligible diseases that can be legally treated with marijuana.

Second, Cluff says doctors are reluctant to sign medical exemption forms for patients because they have been instructed by the Canadian Medical Association not to authorize the use of medical marijuana if they are unfamiliar with the benefits.

Third, Cluff says the regulations established through Marihuana Medical Access Regulations are too strict, including the obligation that patients renew their exemptions every year, even in those cases where an exemptee is suffering from an incurable disease. Also, medical marijuana users must be less than 100 kilometres from a licensed supplier, often making it difficult for users and growers to connect.

Until April of this year, Cluff admits to actively distributing marijuana to members of CMMC (even to those without medical exemptions) as a form of civil disobedience, but “retired” from the practice due to the “paranoia” he had with getting caught. (His wife didn’t like it either.) He has now shifted his focus from distribution to education and activism.


Picture: Libertarian Party candidate  for Calgary Centre-North, Jason McNeil, joins party leader Dennis Young in a meeting with medical marijuana activists Douglas Cluff with Calgary Medicinal Marijuana Counselling and Keith Fagin with Calgary 420 at The Next Level hemp store (from left to right)

Posted by Matthew Johnston on September 26, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (101) | TrackBack

Dion on Israel

Dion and his grasp of international complexity.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on September 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Liberals Start to Worry

Over at BigCityLib we can watch some of the left begin to squirm a little bit.

Frankly, they need not worry so.  As I've said before, the Prime Minister isn't going to take my advice - we might get a few things here and there, if we fight for them.  But, realistically, Harper's shown himself to be far too pragmatic to truly seize this revolutionary moment.

Which is a pity - as I've said before, this is a potentially transformative moment.  We're sleep-walking into a majority that we could use to change this country beyond all recognition. 

One of the commenters says that "it's hatred for Canada and it's citizens."  What they miss is that I - and many others - don't accept their terms.  "Choose Your Canada" said those awful Liberal ads in the last campaign.  Well I, for one, have done just that - and it's not their Canada.

Napoleon once wrote that he was born as his homeland was dying - and thus he was lead onto the road where he became a Frenchman instead of a Corsican.  Well, ladies and gentlemen, I was born after my homeland had already died.  The country that my ancestors fought and died for was murdered by the Liberals in the 1960's.  Like Claudius, the Liberals did away with the land of our fathers and seduced that of our mothers.

Well, we can choose our Canada.  Given my choices, I would make this a great nation.  A strong nation.  A rich one.  Yes, we can do it.

This is the most secure place in the world.  Our finances are in order.  We could, with enough control, turn this country into a little utopia.

We have tremendous resources, a strong population, and the best strategic position in the world.  If the Tories were to build upon that - and exploit the divisions in the left - they could build a new nation. 

Low, lower, lowest taxes.  The minimum degree of regulation.  Safe streets.  Efficient and minimal public services.  A strong and assertive military.  We could have it all.  Maybe we can have some of it.

So, it's not hatred for Canada.  It's hatred for your Canada.  The land defined by socialist mediocrity, empty ad agency-created symbols, and sickeningly sugary rhetoric.   

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on September 25, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Green Party plan for marijuana reform unworkable: Libertarian Party

Libertarian Party candidate Krista Zoobkoff today launched her campaign in the federal riding of Wild Rose with a press conference with party leader Dennis Young.

Zoobkoff and Young released the party’s strategy for marijuana policy reform at a Canmore hemp store owned by 29-year-old entrepreneur Zoobkoff, who also owns businesses in Banff and Airdrie.

The party’s three-part strategy for reforming Canada’s approach to marijuana policy includes:

Legalize the cultivation, sale and use of marijuana by adults

• After 80 years of prohibition, at least 10 million Canadians have still used marijuana. Legalizing the cultivation and sale of marijuana will ensure the safe, peaceful trade of a drug that is substantially less harmful than alcohol or tobacco.

Pardon and expunge the convictions of all non-violent marijuana law offenders

• 600,000 Canadians have criminal records for marijuana possession. These criminal records make international travel difficult or impossible and can limit employment opportunities. The Libertarian Party would pardon Canadians with non-violent marijuana convictions.

Stop the extradition of Canadian magazine publisher Marc Emery to the U.S.A.

• Canadian magazine publisher and political activist, Marc Emery, will spend the rest of his life in an American prison for selling marijuana seeds unless the Canadian governments asserts its sovereignty over drug policy and stops the politically motivated extradition trial against him by the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

“The prohibition of cannabis is more damaging to society than the plant itself,” Zoobkoff told reporters. “The war on drugs is a war on the Canadian people. It can’t be fully enforced, cost taxpayers too much, and breeds violence and organized crime,” she continued.

Party leader Dennis Young said “the Libertarian Party is the only party with a comprehensive strategy for ending marijuana prohibition and ending the organized crime associated with the trade in marijuana.” He was also critical of the Green Party plan for marijuana policy reform.

“Elizabeth May and the Green Party should be congratulated for not running from the important issue of marijuana policy reform, but her plan is unworkable. It will not take the organized crime out of the marijuana trade. Legalizing marijuana for personal use will do nothing to restore peaceful trade in the marijuana business. We must legalize the cultivation and sale of marijuana and take the violence out of the marijuana business once and for all,” said Young.

Young also called on May to publicly oppose the extradition of marijuana legalization activist Marc Emery, who faces an extradition hearing -- scheduled to take place between February 9 –17, 2009 -- that could land him in a US prison for the remainder of his life. The Minister of Justice is responsible for the implementation of the Extradition Act an has the authority to prevent Emery from being prosecuted in the US for selling marijuana seeds, or, alternatively, to charge Emery in Canada for the same offence, the penalty for which in Canada is only a small fine.

“May must commit to restoring Canadian sovereignty over drug policy by joining the Libertarian Party in working actively to prevent the extradition of Canadian publisher and activist Marc Emery to the US for selling marijuana seeds. Will Elizabeth May stop the extradition of Marc Emery? If she won’t, she is not serious about a made-in-Canada approach to drug policy,” said Young.

Young is calling his strategy an "adult" approach to drug policy, one that trusts adult Canadians with choice and is realistic and honest about the failure of marijuana prohibition.

“After 80 years of prohibition, at least 10 million Canadians have still used marijuana, and the number is probably higher. We need to be honest with ourselves. The war on marijuana has been lost, and, despite the best intentions of policy makers, it is doing more harm than good. We must legalize the cultivation, sale and use of marijuana in the interest of public safety, public health and personal liberty,” concluded Young.


(Picture: Libertarian Party candidate Krista Zoobkoff outside her Canmore hemp store)

Posted by Matthew Johnston on September 25, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (215) | TrackBack

Jason Cherniak Throws in the Towel

He ends off by saying "it's not too late yet" but this post from Jason Cherniak  basically marks him as throwing in the towel on this election.

I mean, really folks:

The hardest part about selling Mr. Dion was his English. Sometimes I argued that it wasn't as bad as people said, but that never really worked. The key to dealing with that complaint was simple - this is Canada. We don't vote against people because French is their first language! That is not the country we want to live in and our people on TV need to remind other Canadians of that on a regular basis.

This isn't desperation - this is just plain hilarious.  Especially coming from Liberals who regularly insisted that, to pick one example, Preston Manning was a non-starter as a national leader because he "only" spoke the language that 75% of Canadians speak.

"If you don't like the fact that our leader can barely make himself understood, you're a bigot" is an argument whose absurdity defies easy definition. 

As I've said elsewhere, I might not like a lot of the hesitancy shown by the Tories but, at this rate, Stephen Harper could spend the rest of the campaign sitting on his front porch and win in a landslide. 

Remember - I picked Dion to be the next Liberal leader far in advance.  The Liberals took him because he was French and because no one particularly hated him.  He didn't have any other real virtues then.  Now he only has one of those two.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on September 25, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

What Harper doesn't want to talk about

Campaign Life Coalition has finally got its election website up and running. The site has several good features, including an exhaustive look at where candidates stand on some controversial so-con issues, and a report card rating all the major (and one minor) federal leaders.

It's worth checking out, if only to confirm to the folks at the CLC that issues such as abortion and doctor-assisted suicide deserve to be raised during the campaign, not buried under a rug of political correctness.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on September 25, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack

Why Canadian conservatives don't irritate me (as much)

I have always been what you could call a "progressive, fiscal conservative", although I avoid the progressive moniker now, as it has been appropriated by the broader left to include big-government policy.  Over time I came to realize what I really am, is a libertarian. 

If I was living in the United States today, my head would have already exploded.  And I'd probably be a crazy Ron Paul fan.  I'd definitely vote for the Libertarian Party in the U.S., though.

Here in Canada, there is the Libertarian Party of Canada.  Unfortunately, in the last election, they failed to field a candidate in my riding to give me the opportunity to vote for them (I would have).

So the inevitable question would be: why am I a Blogging Tory? Why am I voting Conservative this time around?   The answer is simple:  I am a two issue voter this election:

Firstly, I am opposed to the continuance of the current Human Rights Commission racket. And in the closing days of the previous government, the Conservative Party promised reform, while the Liberals and NDP have promised the status quo.

Secondly, because I'm not a big believer in mass wealth redistribution. The Liberal Party has designed the "Green Shift", a half-assed version of the Green Party's "Great Tax Shift" and back-end loaded it into our current taxing regime, with focus as much on wealth redistribution as on pollution.

In fact, if the Liberal Party had put forward a more puritan version, which actually involved, removing tax on income and shifting it to consumption and pollution, I might actually take interest in the plan. Having CO2 as the principle basis for pollution tax is also a non-starter for me.

Truth be told, when the Conservatives announced the cut to the GST, I was pissed.  In fact, I am all for increasing the GST in tandem with a phase-out of income tax all together. To me, taxing consumption is far fairer than taxing income. 

Many economists believe an 18-21 per cent sales tax could more than make up for the revenue of our current income tax regime which often adds up to 50 per cent of income, when payroll taxes, excise taxes, property taxes, etc. are all factored in.

Ireland is currently the only country in the world which has pursued this taxation model, and by all accounts, it has been incredibly successful in terms of building wealth and growing their economy.

But all this is neither here nor there.

Even if the Conservatives really pissed me off to the point that I could not vote for them in good conscience, the only place I'd have to stick my vote would be the NDP. Which, to say the least, would be (and was) an extremely painful proposition.

The Liberal Party to me, is the Republican Party in the United States. The political positions are different, but the disease is the same. Large, institutionalized, patronage-awarding, corrupt, power hungry, and flowing with cronyism throughout.

And like the Republican Party, they wrap themselves in the nations flag and pretend to be the only party of the nation. They associate their party with the nation, and vice-versa. 

Liberal party supporters view the current situation as nothing more than an exile. They are not in opposition, rather they are the true government-in-waiting. This is not a defeat, it's an inconvenience. Could arrogance exist on a grander scale?

Take for example this guy, Scott Ross. He is convinced that the Liberals will turn around and win this election. No, really. And here's why:

The polls state the Conservatives are drastically ahead of the Liberals, that doesn't mean that they should be. What should be, is what is right, and what is right is a Liberal government. Stephane Dion will win this election not because of polls or because of graphs, he will win because he should win, he will win because it is right for him to win.

That's right. The only reason in his mind that the Liberals will win this, is because the Liberal Party is naturally endowed through some inherent trait of nature, to lead this country. The Conservatives winning is contrary to nature. If that's not a sign of somebody in need of psychotherapy, I don't know who is.

As for Jason Cherniak, the man who claims to be "as influential as the mainstream media", he is equally confounded by what he perceives as a violation of some fundamental law of nature:

At first glance, I don't understand the polls as they stand. It seems pretty obvious to me that Stephen Harper has had a horrible first two weeks in this election. There are more volunteers than ever in many of the Liberal ridings surrounding Toronto and our party is the only one putting forward a real plan for Canada. What am I missing?

Any objective observer might consider that what he's missing, is contained in the very words he just wrote. That he, like a myriad of other Liberals are incapable of perceiving a world in which the Liberal Party is not perceived as the natural choice for Canadians.

This is the beginning of the end of the Liberal Party, at least in it's current form. As it's adherents slowly jump ship, the party leaks money, and the Jason Cherniak's and Scott Ross' of the world slowly drown in their inability to perceive their own arrogance, life will start to go on for the rest of Canada.

Posted by Mike Brock on September 25, 2008 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

NOW!'s Susan G. Cole is on my left-wing “hit list”

I am sure left-wing feminists will be up in arms claiming I am advocating violence against NOW! magazine contributor, Susan G. Cole because of my term “hit list”... 

Susan G. Cole is a wonderful woman with whom I debated this morning on AM640’s John Oakley Show -- Media and the Message.  I just happen to completely disagree with her far-leftist views -- she is one to watch out for in Toronto.

When debating mainstream media (MSM) bias, especially their portrayal of me as a “gun-totin’ redneck” she actually defended the mainstream media’s skewing of facts, saying I was “whining,” and that I should have known better. Thank you Susan, as if I did not know the media was already biased! Nevertheless, the sheer fact that she defended the MSM pretense of being non-biased shows how far the left will go to influence peoples’ minds. At least NOW Magazine admits it advocates a certain view.

On the subject of arts funding, the enlightened socialist was able to claim how every Canadian supports the need of artists for taxpayer dollars. This is the left bully tactic -- to claim to be speaking for all Canadians, that “this” is what Canadians want, and anyone who disagrees is an extremist, un-Canadian, that should be shipped off to the U.S.  She did that mighty vocally.

The “artists” decrying the tiny $45 million cut that the Harper government made are piggies at the trough of taxpayer dollars. These aren’t artists or entrepreneurs. When they receive government money to make “art”, they are employees of the state who are rewarded for filling out government paperwork. The real artists are the ones out there being inventive, to create something for public consumption and want to be rewarded in a free market.

Posted by Chris Reid on September 25, 2008 in Media | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific

The CCP tries to pin the melamine fiasco on dairy farmers.

I'd love to see a political party try to get away with that over here.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on September 25, 2008 in International Politics | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Harper, Me and the NCC

Ever since the election campaign started the National Citizens Coalition has endured a lot of abuse.

Left-wingers and politicians and journalists have been saying all sorts of nasty things about the NCC as a way of attacking Stephen Harper, who led the group from 1998 to 2001.

And their insults have gone unchallenged -- until now.

Check out my column in today's Toronto Sun, in which I defend my old group and Harper's record as its president.

Posted by Gerry Nicholls on September 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

This Campaign is Over Already, Let’s Begin the Revolution

Forget the faint hope that the debates will turn things around for Mme. Dion (do you really think a man who can barely speak English is going to break through there?  That’s like expecting Preston Manning to pull off a win in 1997 based on his performance in the French debate).  Intrade puts the odds of a Tory win at 95%.  I would put them higher than that.  I would say that the odds of a Tory majority are, at this point, higher than 90%.

Indeed, if I were asked to guess where we’ll finish up at the end of the day, I would say that we’re looking at a very large majority.  I think that two hundred is a realistic figure to be talking about at the moment. 

Let’s look at the facts – the facts that I’ve mentioned repeatedly.  As things stand, the left-wing vote in this country (even though that group includes a majority of the electorate) is divided three ways in English Canada and four ways in Quebec.  What that means, as I outlined at the outset of this campaign, is that a “Great Silent Plurality” of small-c conservative voters can form a strong majority government that can hold onto the government in this country for as long as that split persists. 

The Liberals are done for.  No one wants to make Mme. Dion the Prime Minister (including, I would hazard, Dion based upon his dispirited performance so far).  And we’re not going to make Jack Layton the Prime Minister either.  That means that it’s Mr. Harper by default. 

I think that we could sharpen it – and put further tarnish on the Liberal brand – by pinning Dion to the ground and knocking him absolutely senseless but, in the end, a win is a win.

What the Prime Minister has to ask now – and he really does have to ask it now, since he won’t have very long to do it – is whether he wants to be another Brian Mulroney, a brief interlude between long-serving Liberal Prime Ministers, or whether he really wants to change this country decisively. 

A Conservative majority government, especially under a strong leader like Prime Minister Harper, offers a chance to transform this country beyond all recognition.  The Liberals have been so successful in this country over the last four decades because they remade it in their own image, right down to the flag.  They put their stamp on every institution in this country – a Maple Leaf-shaped boot stamping down across the Canadian face forever. 

With a strong majority government – one not vulnerable to a confidence vote – the Prime Minister has the power to weather minor storms of public outrage and to use his five years to change this country in ways which will prove both popular and nearly impossible to undo. 

In particular, I recommend that a Conservative government focus on the following:

1) Institutional demolition: The left-wing in this country relies upon government to keep itself running.  The Prime Minister has taken some vital first steps in this area by junking the Court challenges program and cutting funding to radical feminist groups but, with a majority, the best option would be to go much further.

Sell the CBC.  Junk most of the cultural subsides.  Get rid of the human rights Gestapo.  These, in the end, are “stroke of the pen, law of the land” sort of things.  If a Prime Minister with a majority government wishes them, they could be so.

Gut the CRTC.  Indeed, as I recommended before, the Prime Minister should forget his own copyright bill and instead pass the most liberal, progressive, and loose copyright bill in the Western world.  Yeah, that’ll hurt some people – but screw them, they’re not going to vote Tory anyways.

Do too much, rather than too little.  Don’t shift these things around. Burn them down and salt the Earth.  A future Liberal government won’t have the guts, the time, the wherewithal, or the money to recreate them all at once.  Sell the land and the buildings.  Shred the records. Disperse the staff.  It’s easier to destroy than it is to create.  A Tory government on a rampage could destroy in a couple of months what it took four decades to create – and what it would take another forty to recreate.

2) Base Creation: At the same time as well tear apart the old Liberal nation, we need to create new institutions to replace the old.  With the money we’ll save, we can go to work on a new grand and nation-defining enterprise – rebuilding the Canadian military and turning it into the national symbol that it should be.

This is important not only for nationalistic reasons, but for basic political reasons.  A large-scale buildup of the Armed Forces will do more than prepare Canada to fight in an increasingly-dangerous world, but it will also create a powerful military-industrial complex that a future Liberal government would be loathe to confront.

Set as a goal that military spending should be, oh, roughly 3.5% of the GDP.  On the ground, translate that into an active force of 200,000 or so men – with all of the associated family members and spin-off jobs that will be created.  Buy as much equipment internally as possible, even if that makes it more expensive, because it will build an industrial base that can become a powerful lobbying force. 

Build big things.  Canadians, for all that they claim to be a peace-loving people, want to love their country.  That’s why, in the absence of a more compelling national identity, they hold onto the things that they do.  Build a pair of Aircraft Carriers – giant, expensive, deadly, and useful symbols of Canadian pride that children can hang on their walls.  Name them after Wolfe and Montcalm or something like that.

Oh, and well you’re at it, recreate the old individual services. Because it’s appealing – and because it’s a good and simple exercise of power.

3) Crime, Crime, Crime: The Tories are campaigning on this a bit, but they should be doing it more – and they should do even more as a majority government.  Few things unify more Canadians than the conviction that our justice system is horribly soft. 

As I’ve said countless times, nothing is better than forcing your opponent to – out of conviction – defend people who everyone hates. The Liberals the left in general really believe in our horribly deformed justice system and many of them will go to the stake defending it.  What Harper needs is someone creatively evil to serve as the Justice Minister – or perhaps Deputy Minister (I’m not too busy!) to spend the next five years thinking up new ways of brutalize and humiliate criminals and which will send the left marching to the barricades time and time again to defend people who normal Canadians hate.


Of course, this is probably all a dream.  Stephen Harper has shown himself, in his time as both Tory leader and as Prime Minister, to be a cautious man.  The odds are that, winning a smashing majority; he will naturally conclude that he should go on doing exactly the same thing.

I'm sure that some Tories are reading this and saying to themselves, "for God's sake Yoshida, don't write anything like this - it'll scare people."  I wish, I wish.  Like I said - we're only going to get something like this, or even a tiny part of this, if we struggle for it and push for it. 

To the extent that we might see anything of this sort, we have to begin talking about it now, thinking about it now, floating these ideas now, because the window of time in which a new majority might act is pretty small - a year, I'd say.


He should watch out, though, because after Dion (and remember, it was me who first told many of you that it would be Dion) is the Second Coming.  Unless we burn Trudeautopia to the ground, the son will soon be here to reclaim the legacy of the father.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on September 25, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

Shut Up, Trudeau

Seriously, as I asked before, what at the Liberals thinking?

What were they snorting or injecting when they decided that arts funding was an issue that would resonate with the public?

What were they dropping when they came up with the "figure" quoted by M. Trudeau, that supposedly the "arts" account for $85 Billion a year?

To put the absurdity of that number in perspective, in 2007 - in total - Hollywood's film revenues came to roughly $42 Billion, or about half of that.

Just shut up, Justin.  You're an embarrassment even to your embarrassment of a family.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on September 25, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Al & Mike Show Episode 39 - Rage Against the Liberal Machine

Al MacDermid sits in again, Jay Currie joins us as usual. We talk about arts funding, the Liberal platform and assorted other stuff. Great show!

Listen Now

Subscribe to RSS: Click here for podcast RSS feed.

Subscribe in iTunes for your iPod: Click here (Must have iTunes installed)

Posted by Mike Brock on September 24, 2008 in WS Radio | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

McCain hiring ghost-writers to manufacture letters-to-the-editor?

I hope this is not normal practice in a political campaign. I really do. From Salon:

After a series of outings for Obama and a first mission as a phone banker for John McCain, I returned to McCain's headquarters in Arlington, Va. The offer was too alluring to delay -- they wanted to put me into action as a ghostwriter.

The assignment is simple: We are going to write letters to the editor and we are allowed to make up whatever we want -- as long as it adds to the campaign. After today we are supposed to use our free moments at home to create a flow of fictional fan mail for McCain. "Your letters," says Phil Tuchman, "will be sent to our campaign offices in battle states. Ohio. Pennsylvania. Virginia. New Hampshire. There we'll place them in local newspapers."

Margriet Oostveen, the author of the piece, describes a letter she wrote about Sarah Palin in which, like Palin, she claimed she had a son in Iraq.

Ms. Oostveen does not, of course, have a son in Iraq.

Ms. Oostveen's column was first published in a Dutch newspaper. The piece on Salon is a translation. Salon asked for "documentary proof" of Ms. Oostveen's claims, and she provided emails, sample letters the campaign reportedly provided to her, talking points, a set of guidelines from Phil Tuchman (a member of McCain's staff), and so on. You can see those on Salon here.

A spokeswoman for the McCain campaign has also confirmed that Ms. Oostveen worked for them, saying only that she didn't properly identify herself as a journalist before she was hired.

If this is a hoax, it's a very elaborate one. Is using a network of ghost-writers to manufacture phony letters-to-the-editor in support of a candidate a common campaign tactic?

(Evidence plus examples below the fold)



The worst of the letters Oostveen claims to have written:

Dear editor,

Being the on-in-a-million executive supermom is not even the biggest quality of Sarah Palin. Her biggest plus to me is that, being amazingly smart and qualified, she managed to remain a woman like us. She is the PTA running hockey moms. She is the working mothers of special needs children. She is every caring mother of a challenging teenager. And most of all, she is just like any mother of a child who deploys to Iraq in the service of this country.

My son too, is there.

And my heart needs him back safe so much.

But when I see him again, I also want to see his face glow with pride. Just like the day he told me he enlisted.

That is why Senator John McCain could count on my vote from day one.

With Sarah Palin, I have even more reason to trust in victory. She represents my heart.


- - - - - - - - - - - -

Posted by Terrence Watson on September 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack