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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The First Moonbat

The father of the modern Left, Rousseau, was a highly paranoid neurotic whose personal life resembled the trajectory of a cannon ball through a salon.  One of the most celebrated men of his age, he achieved prominence denouncing the artifice of civilization over the alleged purity of primitive "natural" man, and rejecting reason for emotional whim.  In politics he was the first advocate of modern totalitarianism.  His personal charm earned him many powerful friends, many of whom he then denounced:

The book opens with a memorable scene in London, on March 18, 1766, when the "quarrel" (a word that hardly does justice to that affair) erupted. Rousseau, a renowned exile from his own country (Emile had been pronounced heretical by the Archbishop of Paris), was living in England courtesy of Hume, who had escorted him from Paris three months earlier and had arranged accommodations for him in London. Now, Rousseau, tiring of London (another corrupt city, he decided, like Paris), was on his way, again through the efforts of Hume, to Wootton Hall, the estate of Hume's friend, Richard Davenport, in the north of England. He was spending the night in Hume's apartment when he realized that Davenport, wanting to spare him some of the expense of the trip, had secretly contributed to the coach fare.

Assuming that Hume knew of this subterfuge, Rousseau burst into the drawing room in a frenzy of indignation and outrage, accusing Hume of deceiving and humiliating him, treating him like a child or a "beggar on alms." Taken aback by the ferocity of the attack, Hume tried, in vain, to engage him in reasonable conversation. Rousseau was implacable until, after almost an hour, he suddenly leaped into Hume's lap, threw his arms around his neck, and covered his face with tears and kisses.

As always, Burke had Rousseau's number, even if his friend Hume - too good natured a man - did much too late:

This was the Rousseau that Edmund Burke, anticipating the Terror, saw as the evil genius of the Revolution. Burke also saw the relationship between Rousseau the man and Rousseau the philosopher. Reading Rousseau's admission in the Confessions that he had fathered five children, each of whom he had promptly turned over to the foundling hospital, Burke was moved to decry the philosopher who was so wanting in natural parental affection while professing the most exalted ideals. "Benevolence to the whole species, and want of feeling for every individual," "a lover of his kind, but a hatred of his kindred"--this, Burke said, was the "philosophic instructor," the "moral hero" of the Revolution, who counseled the "regeneration" of man while sacrificing the real man, the human being.

Ever wary of the floating abstractions, Burke saw that Rousseau's professions of love and virtue were simply that, empty rhetoric.  A man who would abandon his own children to a foundling hospital - a kind of orphanage - was no friend of mankind.   In the eighteenth century, leaving children with these "hospitals"  was nearly a death sentence, given their very high infant mortality rate.  Before abortion became medically safe - relatively speaking - the foundling hospital was a common manner of disposing of unwanted children.  That most people pay greater attention to charming rhetoric and vague emotions, is in abundant evidence from the often hypocritical positions of celebrities and the election of the current US President.  The hard headed approach earns few friends, until the slaughter and terror return.

Posted by Richard Anderson on March 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (16)

Rush Limbaugh quoting Ayn Rand

I'm not always a fan of Rush, but he's on fire in this particular monologue. For the full effect, listen to the audio. Here's a partial transcript with some juicy bits:

When you vote for politicians who take from your back pocket to give to others, you think it's compassionate, you think it's caring? It's not. It's depriving the recipient of his own quest for self-interest. The brilliant writer and novelist, Ayn Rand, has written about this. Let me give you a couple quotes from Ayn Rand on this. "It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master." That is President Obama. "Where there is sacrifice, there's somebody collecting the sacrificial offerings." What does it mean? President Obama says, "We all need to sacrifice," for this reason or that reason. What it means is we all need to pay more; we need to have less affluent lives; we need to dial down our prosperity, and we need to give the money to him, not a charity. He's going to eliminate, for all intents and purposes, the tax deductibility, it's going to be 28 cents for every dollar, charitable donations. He wants to be the distributor of the charitable donations. He wants to be the distributor of the goods because he wants the glory.

Again, check out the audio. Perhaps Rush will become a libertarian someday! (No, not really.)

Posted by Terrence Watson on March 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (7)

Gerry Porter is doing his part for free speech

Gerry Porter over at The Redwing Report is doing his part for free speech by promoting Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights by Ezra Levant.

You can do your part by buying a copy of the book today. If you use the links on this site when shopping at Amazon, the Western Standard will get a small percentage of the total price of your purchases.


Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on March 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gay, but not meaning happy...coming to a human rights tribunal near you

I must confess that I am somewhat puzzled by a story in the current Xtra West newspaper. It notes that B.C. so-con activist Kari Simpson has launched a B.C. human rights complaint against B.C.'s education ministry, the B.C. Teacher's Federation, and gay education activist Murray Corren.

What does she want the human rights tribunal to do? Well, her reasoning is that there are thousands of gay students in B.C. schools who would be much happier if they were counselled and helped to be heterosexual. The remedy would be ordering the education ministry to set up a committee, chaired by Mrs. Simpson, to develop a resource guide for schools to promote a neutral "scientific and therapeutic understanding" of homosexuality.

Some background. Mr. Corren is named because a few years ago, he took the provincial government to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal on the grounds that there wasn't gay-positive materials to combat possible "homophobia" in schools . In 2006, fearing the Tribunal's wrath, the provincial government folded faster than Superman on laundry day.

Wikipedia has a good summary:

"...as the hearing approached in 2006, the provincial government negotiated a settlement with the Correns by which the province committed itself to review the inclusivity of school curricula and would introduce a new elective course on social justice that would include sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and gender issues. The agreement stipulated that the Correns would be consulted about the section of the new course on sexual orientation and more broadly about the presentation of gays in the broader school curriculum. It also stipulates that the government must solicit feedback directly from organization or groups, identified by the Correns, "with expertise in sexual orientation, homophobia, and other issues of inclusion and diversity in the curriculum". One controversial feature of the agreement is that the provision of "Alternative Delivery", which allows parents to opt their children out of parts of the curriculum, will be limited to specific courses. This means that students will be unable to avoid LGBT topics in all classes."  

My educated guess is that Mrs. Simpson hopes to put this genie back in the bottle. If she wins, she's happy. If she wins, she could say that the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that its unfair that those with a vested interested in gay-positive education in B.C. schools--read the Correns--should have veto power over such a potentially loaded topic. Instead, a neutral panel should advise the government. 

She could also be playing to lose. It would be fair to say that the Tribunal's staff is probably fairly gay positive. Perhaps she sees this as the lance that will pierce the heart of the BCHRT's perceived neutrality, and that there is a majority of the B.C. Liberal caucus waiting for a good reason to eliminate or scale back the powers of the BCHRT and she wants to give them an excuse--this ruling--to do so.

I empathize with Mrs. Simpson. But I fear she is banging her head against a brick wall here, which is neither fun, nor profitable. I doubt that she can win, and I doubt that she has enough sympathizers in the B.C. Liberal party who are looking for an excuse to crack down on either the BCHRT or the B.C. education ministry.

I also remember a point made at the end of Ezra Levant's new book, where Ezra argues that conservatives filing cases on their own against the left is a bad idea because "human rights councils" have turned into such a Frankenstein monster that granting them credence legitimizes their powers to abuse as well.

I certainly agree with Mrs. Simpson that the situation with gay-positive education in B.C. schools is very unbalanced. But isn't there a better, more effective way to address it?  

Posted by Rick Hiebert on March 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (9)

Your revolution is over, Stalin; land reform may finally come to Ukraine

In his state of the nation address, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko demanded that parliament lift the moratorium on the sale of farmland.

It’s estimated that Joseph Stalin murdered 7 million Ukrainians in his scheme to collectivize the Soviet Union’s farmland...a scheme that lead to the deliberate starvation of displaced farmers and rural people. The 75th anniversary of the Holodomor, the official name for this 1932–33 famine-genocide, was marked last year in the Ukraine, and recognized by the Canadian government.

The privatization of 60 million hectares of farmland is genuine land reform that will allow Ukraine to castoff the last remnants of Stalin’s state agriculture policies.

Is it too much to hope that Yushchenko might inspire Alberta premeir Ed Stelmach to eliminate the foreign ownership restrictions on Alberta farmland?

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on March 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (8)

Anti-Hillier bias at the PC Party website?

On March 29th, the PC Party website announced that Frank Klees was running for leader. The website made no mention of Randy Hillier announcing on March 30th. In fact, there are two news releases from March 30th and one of them mentions a policy proposal from Tim Hudak.

I am left wondering why Tim Hudak and Frank Klees get special treatment; or is it Randy Hillier that is getting the special treatment?

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on March 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (9)

Robert Nozick and Aldous Huxley on death, and the passing of Ivor Dent

In his book, “Examined Life: Philosophical Meditations,” the late Robert Nozick, Harvard professor and author of a definitive and important libertarian classic, “Anarchy, State, And Utopia,” wrote this about his ailing father:

"Mingled with concern for my father is the thought that he is blazing a trail for me.”

I don’t have a copy of the book at my office, from which to quote, but Nozick goes on to argue that people don’t give much thought to their own mortality until a parent dies, the assumption being that death will respect a natural queue. Parents die before their children. That’s nature’s way.

Having lost my own father last year, it suddenly occurred to me, as Nozick predicted it would, that I’m getting closer to the front of death’s line. Despite how this may read, it’s not a morose realization, just a mature and realistic one from a man in his thirties.

In fact, it is remarkable how irrelevant death – at least one's own looming death – is to daily life. “Brave New World” author Aldous Huxley wrote that “...the knowledge that every ambition is doomed to frustration at the hands of a skeleton [has] never prevented the majority of human beings from behaving as though death were no more than an unfounded rumor.”

Death, for me, is no longer an unfounded rumour. I no longer enjoy that blissful ignorance. But other than the almost unimportant personal realization that I'm next in line, I’m unchanged by the death of my father; except that I now take the time to read death notices. It now seems important...or at least more important to note the passing of a biographical life.

This brings me to today’s frustrated victim of time and decay, a man who leaves behind tearful friends and family who perhaps have the same unspoken fear that a trail to death’s door has been blazed for them.

In a statement to the media, Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason expressed his sorrow and condolences to the family of former Edmonton mayor Ivor Dent, who recently passed away:

“It is with great sadness that our party mourns the recent passing of Ivor Dent,” Mason said.  “As a member of the Order of Canada, first president of the Alberta NDP, and former mayor of this great city, Ivor worked tirelessly to protect the interests of his community and the principles of social democracy. He will be greatly missed.”

If Dent were still alive, and I had the opportunity, I’d lend him my copy of “Anarchy, State and Utopia” or even “Brave New World” to see if I might convince him that centralized political authority is dangerous. But he’s not. So I too will simply express my condolences to his family and friends and go on examining my own life.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on March 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Creating controversy on Roadkill Radio

Kari Simpson and I are back behind the microphones again tonight, with our fifth episode of Roadkill Radio. You can catch the webcast live from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific at www.roadkillradio.com, or listen to the archived show at your convenience.

Tonight's lineup includes an interview with Walt Ruloff, executive producer of the Ben Stein-hosted documentary Expelled, which chronicles conflicts between Darwinism and intelligence design (aka, evolution vs. creationism). I watched the movie recently and found it to be a powerful piece of propaganda--an assessment that takes into account the many detailed critiques of the movie that I have read. It'll be interesting to see how Ruloff, a B.C. resident, answers some of those questions.

We'll also be talking to Alberta human-rights-commission victim Rev. Stephen Boissoin, whose Kafkaesque case is a recounted in Ezra Levant's new book, Shakedown, which has received so much publicity this week in the National Post and Maclean's. Not to be left out of the fun, Kari and I will be interviewing Ezra next week.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 31, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (7)

Wheels of justice grind slowly

Without referencing the merits of the case, I still think that, in principle, it is good to see evidence that judges can be held accountable for their actions, even if it takes an amazing five full years from the time the investigation into his alleged misconduct was announced until today's initial finding.

And, by the way, in the Globe's account of this (the first link), I'm pretty sure that, if the judge had been a former Tory MP instead of an ex-Grit cabinet minister, the paper would have clearly noted his political affiliation.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 31, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5)

Does George Galloway have an "inside voice"? Scenes and discussion from the live videocast

As Peter mentioned, last night I was in attendance at the Metropolitan United Church in Toronto to witness a real spectacle. After George Galloway, an antiwar socialist MP from the UK, was barred from entering Canada on the grounds that he was a "security threat" because he had given aid to the Hamas government of Palestine (classified as a terrorist organization by the government of Canada) following the December 2008-January 2009 Israeli attack on Gaza, he made his scheduled speech by videocast from New York.

Here's what I heard and saw--and posted from my iPhone, with minimal editting for accuracy and clarity:


kalimkassam: #roft Who's going to see #Galloway telecast speech at Met United Church on Queen E #Toronto? I'm not yet decided whether I'll go...

kalimkassam: James Clark introducing Minister John Joseph at #Galloway telecast at Metropolitan United Church. Full house, 1000 people in attendance.

kalimkassam: Joseph: "Genesis: the land of Israel was given to all the children of Abraham." #Galloway

kalimkassam: Clark: "We thought: given Kenney and the CPC govt position on free speech, wouldn't it be funny if they banned George #Galloway"

kalimkassam: Clark "thank you to Jason Kenney for the free publicity" #Galloway

kalimkassam: Kenney, harper, livni, and Netanyahu get mentions. No Lieberman? #Galloway

kalimkassam: "Galloway was banned for breaking the siege on Gaza" "the Cdn govt were first to withdraw aid from Gaza" #Galloway

kalimkassam: "why would a poster like this be banned on two Cdn Uni campus... It simply shows the truth" #Galloway

kalimkassam: "We will not be scared, we have a right to criticize Israel. It is not anti-Semitic. It is just a State, like any other State."

Click through below the break for my tweets from the rest of the evening, some feedback from readers, and finally a friendly little post-event debate about the government's decision to prohibit George Galloway from entering Canada.

If you're interested in getting more snippets (like these, but far less numerous) of my incredible intellect and implacable wit on a daily basis, go to my twitter page and sign up to follow updates.

Previous coverage on The Shotgun Blog on Galloway here, here and here.

kalimkassam: Jewish Code Pink member: "in my temple school I teach that 'never again means never again' for any people, for any genocide" #Galloway

kalimkassam: Amin osman York fed students prez: why is it Jason kenney's place to shame the U of Ottawa?

kalimkassam: Osman: Jason Kenney likes to talk about Taliban's restriction on free speech, but doesn't defend that here in Canada. #Galloway

kalimkassam: Watch live RT @yeeguan: Watching George Galloway on rabble.ca. http://rabble.ca/rabbletv

kalimkassam: #Galloway all speakers but Osman mentioned god or religion.

kalimkassam: #Galloway Does the toronto coalition to stop war have any non-left member groups?

brockm: @kalimkassam No. But the organizer of this event, is the same organizer of: Marxism: A Festival of Resistence. I know him.

brockm: @kalimkassam i think it was silly they didn't let him in. But I can't watch the guy. He drives me nuts.

kalimkassam: Rabble.ca up on screen we can see and hear #Galloway. "Stephen Harper has failed, 1000 x the people will hear this message, bcuz of him"

kalimkassam: #Galloway, challenging Harper to a debate http://twitpic.com/2mce9

kalimkassam: @brockm #Galloway 's accent and speaking style help make him tolerable for me

kalimkassam: #Galloway: Canada was a loved country in the world, but ur govt seems determined to join the axis of ... Washington, London, Tel Aviv.

kalimkassam: #Galloway: "it just not credible for Kenney to call me a security threat while I'm touring the United States"

kalimkassam: #Galloway defending restricting of holocaust denial and banning Le Pen from UK.

kalimkassam: #Galloway "nobody believes that freedom of speech is absolute. I do not defend the right to shout Fire in crowded theatre."

kalimkassam: #Galloway "does giving nappies to babies sound like terrorism" "I am not a supporter of Hamas, I have never been a supporter if Hamas.

kalimkassam: #Galloway "when I arrived in Gaza, to whom should I have given the aid to?" "I gave aid to the elected authorities of Gaza"

kalimkassam: #Galloway talking about the "Zionist occupation government" maybe he's a right-wing conspiratorialist populist.

kshaidle: @brockm @kalimkassam someone should've run the tape of Galloway on Celebrity Big Brother instead, crawling on all fours !

kalimkassam: #Galloway says our govt is engaged in an Orwellian project to redefine "terrorism"

UnionSt: Enjoying reading @kalimkassam from @westernstandard live tweeting Galloway. Also watching it live at http://rabble.ca/rabbletv

kalimkassam: @UnionSt thx. Nice to now my furious iPhone tapping is appreciated.

kalimkassam: #Galloway y'all should go travel and give aid to gaza, and fly Canadian flags whether kenney likes it or not

kalimkassam: #Galloway 100s o thousands of foreign troops are turning the great people of Iraq agaisnt each other. They will eventually leave like Vtnm.

kalimkassam: #Galloway "Noone has ever succesuflly occpied afghanstan, not even alex the great. You, Jason Kenney, are no Alexander!" "realize that now"

kalimkassam: #Galloway "the alqaeda binladenists want to strike targets around the world. The Afghanis just want their country back"

kalimkassam: #Galloway listing people once listed as banned terrorists, Jomo Kenyatta...nelson Mandela...

kalimkassam: #Galloway gives a mention to the "hard right wing govt of netanyahu and Lieberman" and the "so-called Jewish socalled defense league"

kalimkassam: #Galloway 's audio stream lagged for a moment, audience "awwwwwwwed". Stream working now.

kalimkassam: #Galloway "the tv was telling us that Israelis were dropping leaflets to getout of the way, but get out 2 where? Gaza is tny, nowhere 2 run

kalimkassam: #Galloway " even Israeli soldiers are telling of illegal orders given to attack civilians, destroy civilian infrastructure. "

kalimkassam: #galloway. "gazans have no army, navy, antiaircraft msils. Thy r sitting ducks, msscred to the applause of Stephen Harper & Jason Kenney"

kalimkassam: #Galloway talking about canada's tradition of peace and "peacekeeping"... "do not go qwtly into the nite. Stand up and fight"

kalimkassam: #gaLloway: "I pray..." ... More godtalk

kalimkassam: #Galloway "let us break the siege. Salam u alaikum"

kalimkassam: Crowd gives standin 0 and goes wild as #Galloway listens on phone.

kalimkassam: Kudos to Rabble for making #Galloway telecast possible.

kalimkassam: #Galloway will do q&a by cell phone.

kalimkassam: #Galloway Clark: "we reject categorically that humanitarian aid is giving comfort to terrorists."

kalimkassam: Anyone in the rabble chatroom for #Galloway? Any interesting discussion?

kalimkassam: #Galloway : "14 years since Oslo was signed. In that time the psblty of 2state slution has all but dissapeared". Argues for 1 dmcrtc state

RoseBlue: @kalimkassam Sure, one democratic state where Jews will really get kicked in the A. #Galloway

kalimkassam: #galloway compares Jewish Israel to White "orange free state"

RoseBlue: @kalimkassam Sure. Like there was a worldwide Black conspiracy to destroy the South African State. FAIL #galloway

frankyw: RT @kalimkassam: Kudos to Rabble for making #Galloway telecast possible.

kalimkassam: #Galloway and others never mntiond Somalia, Haiti, other outposts of western imperialism. Now a qustion about wthr Yugoslav cld b reconsttd

kalimkassam: Whateve one might say, #Galloway is an good debater- even by in phone.

kalimkassam: Does george #Galloway have an inside voice?

kalimkassam: #Galloway "do u think whn thy voted for Netanyahu and Lieberman they were voting for a 2state solution."

kalimkassam: Apparently George #Galloway thinks a 1 world gov't would be peaceful. If he has read Orwell, he didn't understand it.

kalimkassam: In line to ask a question about peacekeeping to #Galloway.

kalimkassam: Dang, last question for #Galloway .. I was two ppl away.

kalimkassam: My Q 4 #galloway: u speak highly of peackeepers and ur rhetoric about "spreading peace" mirrors the neocons. Cont'd...

kalimkassam: Part2 of my Q 4 #Galloway: Y, given the coruption of all gvts and record of western imperialism, do you have ne confidence in this approach?

kalimkassam: Is it just me, or does the lowercase 'r' rabble logo on the screen at #Galloway telecast look like reason magazine's logo?

kerawall: @kalimkassam Um, yeah. Rabble is CLEARLY a libertarian front organization. Where have you been?

kalimkassam: @kerawall it's a white on reddish lowercase 'r' -- both must be fronts for the Rosicrucians.

kalimkassam: #galloway: A real friend takes the key away from a drunk friend. By encurging Netanyahu, the gv't of Canada is an accmplice--didn't catch rest

kalimkassam: #Galloway will be on CBC 'The Hour' tinight. CBC is not a galloway-approved channel like presstv or aljazeera, incidentally.

Merelilly: @kalimkassam excellent question.

kalimkassam: @Merelilly maybe someone in Mississauga will ask that question to #Galloway tmrw night. Hint, hint.

kalimkassam: #Galloway fnished, church emptying. Picking up Marxist lit "defending the Cuban revolution" and discussing many topics w/ some Trotskyites

kalimkassam: Me after #Galloway, I spent $1 on that button http://twitpic.com/2mgzc
jchatterton: @kalimkassam #Galloway Why, oh, WHY would you ever want to put yourself through that? That's 3 hrs of your life you'll never get back...

kalimkassam: @jchatterton I had fun, good experience. Chatted with the organizer, he said hi to @brockm.

brockm: @kalimkassam what bothers me is that he's such a nice person. But he's like a revolutionary communist.

kalimkassam: @brockm For that I can cut him some slack, weren't we all lefty idealists once?

brockm: @kalimkassam no. I was brought up socon until I reached the age of reason.

kalimkassam: @brockm If you attended Ontario public schools and avoided left-liberal/democratic-socialist indoctrination, I'm a little impressed w/ you.

kalimkassam: @Merelilly dang again. Mississauga will be a rebroadcast, no q&a. Organizers promised to forward my question to #Galloway.

kalimkassam: I'm littering on a public gov't sidewalk, according to walter block I'm a libertarian hero.

kalimkassam: @UnionSt thanks for the mention. Clever blog name.

UnionSt: @kalimkassam It was great to see someone from WS at the Galloway event. Good luck reconciling that 'libertarian/conservative' thing. ;)

kalimkassam: @UnionSt do you think that it might be difficult to reconcile libertarianism & conservatism or to reconcile either with opposition to war?

kalimkassam: Wondring y there wasn't any anarchist lit at the #Galloway telcast-even the left-anrchists ought 2 B antiwar. Trotskyist PR > anarchist PR.

kalimkassam: Just realized #ttc tokens are a great inflation hedge, maybe risk-free. Is there a resale market?

Dan_L: @kalimkassam not a bad idea but u'd prob have 2 hold them looong term &might only be able to sell em 2 friend & fam (counterfeit worries)

kalimkassam: @Dan_L apart from counterfeit worries, do you know if resale of #TTC tokens is even legal? Where can I find the price history of tokens?

Dan_L: @kalimkassam dunno bout legality but theres a limited amt of tokens check canada.com post from 10/03/2007 http://tinyurl.com/cy2nk4

Dan_L: @kalimkassam ps if i find out anything about the pricing history ill let u know

Dan_L: @kalimkassam Apparently they were into'd in 1953 according to http://www.toronto.ca/ttc/history.htm

Dan_L: wondering if @pmharper is actually the PM or just someone from his office

kalimkassam: @Dan_L Either our Prime Minister has absolutely zero personality or we have a ghost twitter on our hands @pmharper: http://bit.ly/2SE8VR

Dan_L: @kalimkassam lol met b4 he won #PM hes got a great personality ∴ probly a ghost Re #ttc c http://tinyurl.com/dh9cxb if AdultTix$=Token$

kalimkassam: @Dan_L sry, a little preoccupied w/ other tasks, U're doing all the legwork on #ttc. I'll check out the links & let U know wht I find out.

kalimkassam: @Dan_L I figured out who @pmharper 's ghost twitter is: it's Data from Star Trek. #roft

Dan_L: @kalimkassam lol on #ttc no worries just cut me in ;) Datas dead didnt u c ST:Nemesis?

kalimkassam: @Dan_L Gah, I've been proven wrong. The first ever negative consequence I've suffered from not being a trekkie. #roft

Dan_L: @kalimkassam i c y WS posted #galloway vid but disagree if in #canada he would have FoS but FoS doesnt= Freedom2Enter

kalimkassam: @Dan_L I agree with you, and disagree with @petermjaworski, likely blogging my thoughts soon @westernstandard #galloway #canada

Dan_L: @kalimkassam also granted govt #canada used terrorist support rule 2 try 2 shut #galloway up & its a technicality but thats how #law works

kalimkassam: @Dan_L Main problems re: #galloway: terrible optics, sheisty, anti-openliberal society, ++ risk of terrorism as #canada bcms assoc w/ Israel

Dan_L: @kalimkassam all true but recall E. Burke "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"

kalimkassam: @Dan_L agree #galloway is not an issue of freedom of speech or "rights" but prudence, Burke would think so too.

kalimkassam: @Dan_L The most ironic thing about #galloway is that denying entry to this "terrorist" is more likely to increase risk of Cdns to terrorism

Dan_L: @kalimkassam if #canada doesnt stand up 2 supporters of terrorism then they've won thru aquesencence = encouragement 4 terrorism it works

kalimkassam: @Dan_L What hasn't worked to combat Islamic terrorism is whatever US and Israel have been trying for the last decades.

kalimkassam: @Dan_L but what reasonable definition is George #Galloway a terrorist and Benjamin Netanyahu is not? The latter can visit Canada.

sheeplescareme: @kalimkassam The JDL likes Netanyahu? :P #Galloway

Dan_L: @kalimkassam dont recall #Netanyahu supporting any banned terrorist groups - never said #Galloway was himself a terrorist\

Dan_L: @kalimkassam methinks this is a 2 long a discussion than can b had thru tweets would love 2 continue it u seem like a pretty smart guy

kalimkassam: @Dan_L You're also a fantastic interlocutor. That comment was sloppy, I msrprsnted ur view, sry. DM me to decide how to continue the discssn

kalimkassam: @Dan_L I'll take th last wrd: that the standrd 4 entry s related 2 which org's on wht poltclly motivatd gov't list = unreasonable+legalistic

Dan_L: @kalimkassam last wrd urs - just want 2 say i enjoyed the tweet-discourse (tweetcourse?) u r a most worthy verbal sparring opponent

For the curious, my new friend Dan_L and I have arranged to meet and continue the discussion over coffee or beer.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on March 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (11)

Monday, March 30, 2009

George Galloway's speech, live now

British MP George Galloway has been banned from Canada, but that hasn't stopped him from speaking his mind, or reaching Canadians. Here's the live video from Rabble.TV:

[Note: We may not support what Galloway has to say, but we do support his freedom of speech. His being barred from Canada is part of the reason why we are posting this video. It has become significant news. Whereas, had Galloway just been permitted to come into Canada, it would have been a minor story.

Meanwhile, general manager Kalim Kassam is at a church in Toronto where the telecast is being broadcast live. He will report back to us later tonight, or early tomorrow.]

UPDATE: Our coverage of the banning of George Galloway: Lorne Gunter on Galloway, NDP press release on Galloway, BC Civil Liberties Association on the banning of Galloway.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on March 30, 2009 in Freedom of expression | Permalink | Comments (38)

VIDEO: Ron Paul and his band of revolutionaries

An interesting trailer for a forthcoming documentary film For Liberty, about the 2008 campaign for the Republican Party's presidential nomination by outsider libertarian Congressman Ron Paul and the internet and grassroots phenomenon, termed the "Ron Paul Revolution," which sustained it:

In January 2008, Western Standard editor-in-chief Peter Jaworski profiled Ron Paul's Canadian supporters.

More recently I speculated about one possibility for the future impact of the Revolution in a 2012 presidential campaign by South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Western Standard publisher Matthew Johnston argued that there was a need for "a polite, principled and public resistance movement within the Conservative Party [of Canada]" pushing for increased individual liberty, along the lines of Paul's.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on March 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Greens squirm on life issues

It's long been my position that most hard-core environmentalists are hypocrites when it comes to living a "natural" life. No, I'm not talking about the obvious Al-Gore-lights-a-blazing-in-mansion type of hypocrisy, but am, instead, centring on something more personal: life issues.

To me, it's the height of hypocrisy to, on one hand, preach that natural forces should be allowed to unfold in the biosphere or ecosystem (or whatever else the greens are calling Earth these days) while, on the other hand, advocate on behalf of a woman's right to rip a living child out of her womb--a most unnatural procedure, to be sure.

Yet, the vast majority of deep greens are also hard-core feminists who support abortion. That's why I was so pleasantly surprised a few years ago when Green Party leader Elizabeth May declared that she thought a woman should not have "a frivolous right to choose" abortion. But I was also not surprised that the remark got her into trouble with her party.

A similar "whoops, did I really suggest that I'm pro-life" comment has now landed another Green in hot water in B.C. Read the latest here.

I've no doubt that if the Greens were truly devoted to the advancement of natural, life-affirming forces, they'd be completely opposed to abortion--and, in doing so, might forge a very interesting new political coalition.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 30, 2009 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (21)

Highlights of Randy Hillier's speech

As mentioned by other posters of the Western Standard here, here, and here, Randy Hillier has announced his candidacy for leader of the PC Party. He made what has to be the best speech I have heard from a Canadian politician in years. Here are the highlights and greatest quotes:

“Our economy has gone from first place to last place in Confederation and we have a government that behaves and believes that its only role is to spend more, tax more, regulate more. They do not realize that when you’re deep in a hole, you ought to stop digging the hole deeper.

“Every society known to mankind is comprised of individuals. It’s evident that if individuals are responsible, self-reliant and independent, their society will also be responsible and self-reliant.”

“We are no longer responsible for our actions when we allow ourselves to blame others for our actions.”

“The proper and honest role of government is not every role. It has a role to insure that freedom and justice is found throughout the land.”

“It has become a legal system that preys on the financial weakness and ignorance or common people. It’s now a never-ending system of little justice where a guilty plea is less costly than a strong defence of innocence.”

“It is said by many that politics is the art of compromise. I believe this statement to be untrue. The true art of politics ought to be honesty. That requires principles and convictions, not compromise.”

“Spin is the omission of relevant facts and pertinent information. Political spin shields politicians from their actions and disguises poor policies with fancy words. The day of spin must come to an end.”

“The PC Party cannot simply disguise itself as a Liberal Party lookalike, holding a different coloured shovel while digging the same hole and expect Ontarians to choose us and not the Liberals.”

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on March 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Cap the Corp.

Mary Woo Sims and I are now into our fourth year of writing our weekly debate column, Face to Face, for the Tri-City News. You might think we'd begin to converge on some of our ideas, but we've never been more sharply divided on just about every subject, from school curriculum to armed intervention. About the only thing we always seem to agree on is our dislike of the BC Liberal government -- but, of course, I think Gordon Campbell and his gang have gone far left, while she continues to think they're not nearly progressive enough.

Anyway, our most recent debate is on funding the CBC. I say let the Corp. stand on its own two feet. Ms. Sims, ever the statist, says taxpayers should be proud to fund the Corp. 'til it hurts

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 30, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (2)

Burton S. Blumert, 1929-2009

Picture 3 Eric Garris, the webmaster for LewRockwell.com and Antiwar.com reports some sad news about Burt Blumert,  proprietor of Camino Coins, publisher of LewRockwell.com, and a giant of the freedom movement:

A dear friend died this morning.

Burt Blumert was not only an old and close personal friend, he was an important friend to Antiwar.com.

In 1999, when Antiwar.com started really taking off, Burt took us under his wing by making us a part of the nonprofit Center for Libertarian Studies, giving us the ability to substantially expand. I don’t think we would be even a shadow of what we are today without Burt.

I met Burt in 1975, during my early involvement with the Libertarian Party. Burt was well-known as a successful businessman and and a very successful fund-raiser for libertarian causes. He was a good friend and early promoter of Murray Rothbard, forming the Center for Libertarian Studies to publish his works. He was a good friend and advisor to Congressman Ron Paul, and served as Ron’s national finance chair in his 1988 run for the White House. Burt was also a very close friend of Lew Rockwell, and was the publisher of LewRockwell.com. Burt was a radical, antiwar and anti-state to the core.

Over the next 34 years, Burt was always there, helping me with both my political endeavors and my personal problems. He always had great advice, just the right connections, and a loose wallet to help with seed money. And Justin Raimondo told me he doesn’t think he’d be alive without Burt’s help. [...]

Burt recently retired from his successful coin dealership, Camino Coins. Only months after he retired, Burt was diagnosed with cancer. He spent the next year battling the cancer while still keeping active to the end. Just last month, Burt cooked me a delicious feast. The way he waited on me, you would have thought I was the sick one. Burt turned 80 a few weeks ago.

In a review of Burt's recent book, a collection of essays, written in his characteristic comedic style called Bagels, Barry Bonds, and Rotten Politicians, Doug French wrote:

Burt Blumert has been fighting that good fight for decades, all the while poking fun at the government thugs, societal decay, political correctness, the medical-industrial complex, the persecution of Barry Bonds, and anything else that has slid under his skin. Burt's the kind of guy who seems like he was born wise. Thus, it's no surprise that, as David Gordon writes, "He knew almost everyone important in the libertarian movement, as well as in the hard money community of which he was a leading member." Up until Lew Rockwell persuaded Burt to put his views of the world on LewRockwell.com, only Burt's friends and customers benefited from his keen and funny insights.

Our thoughts today are with Burt's family, friends and community in Burlingame, California. Like them, his customers and the larger freedom movement have suffered a great loss; a man of immovable principle, incredible wit and generous spirit is no longer with us.

UPDATE 3: Brian Doherty, the documenter of the American libertarian movement adds:

Like many involved in the movement who were more backers than active contributors to writing and activism, he downplayed his own accomplishments and importance. But such sponsorship and patronage of intellectual movements are of course vital to the survival and spread of ideas.

UPDATE 2: From Mises.org, a life in pictures (and one reason why Ron Paul should be impeached):

UPDATE: Lew Rockwell has a beautiful tribute to Burt, excerpts below the fold.

[Picture: Burt Blumert with his close friend Texas Congressman Ron Paul]

In every age, the idea of liberty needs benefactors, far-seeing people willing to make personal sacrifices so that each new generation is taught not to take freedom for granted, but rather to fight for it in every field of life. That is necessary because the idea of liberty isn't really a product that can be provided either by private enterprise or, of course, its enemy the state. It must be provided as a gift to civilization.

These are points taught to me by the life and work of Burton Samuel Blumert, one of liberty's great benefactors. He died at age 80 on the morning of March 30, 2009, after a long battle with cancer. He would deny it, but his name deserves to go down in history as a person who served as a champion of freedom during his long life. [...]

He saw politicians as predictable in their scammery and racketeering. He saw the state as no more than a massive drain on society, something we could do well without. War he regarded as a massive and destructive diversion of social resources. Welfare he saw as a perverse system for rewarding bad behavior and punishing virtue. Regulations on business he saw as interventions that benefited the well-connected at the expense of the true heroes of society who were pursuing enterprise with an eye to independence and profitability.

His main enemy was the inflationary state, and one reason he got into the business of precious metals was to battle paper money. As a lifetime observer of the business cycle, he knew that paper money and artificial credit creation lead to illusions that would eventually dissipate. So it was no surprise that he saw that the latest bust coming early on. As a resident of the Bay Area in Northern California, he was surrounded by illusions, but his knowledge of Austrian business cycle theory permitted him to see through the fog. [...]

So in his death, let us say what is true about him, simply because he would never let anyone say it about him in life. Through his daily life and good works, his loyalty and indefatigability, he showed us a path forward, the very model of how a successful businessman can achieve greatness in a lifetime. His legacy can be found in many of the books you read and in the massive growth of libertarianism in our times. Signs of his works are all around us. These were his gift to the world. And for those of us who knew him, Burt's wonderful life and outlook are gifts to us of inestimable value.

We will miss him every day, but no day will ever pass when we are not inspired by his example. May his great soul rest in peace.

Read the rest.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on March 30, 2009 in Libertarianism | Permalink | Comments (5)

Hillier vs. Harper on freedom

During Harper's speech at the Manning Centre a few weeks ago, many libertarians and fiscal conservatives were upset over his three F's: Freedom, family, and faith. The basic point being that family and faith, as government policy, seem to be contradictory to freedom.

Now if we contrast that to what Randy Hillier has as his three planks to his Ontario PC leadership run: Freedom, Justice & Democracy. So what does Hillier say about freedom? He says during his speech, "Freedom strengthens commerce, creativity, industry, education, and the most important element of our society – the family." Randy Hillier says that families are strengthened by freedom, which I completely agree with. This is exactly the type of campaign that libertarians, fiscal conservatives and social conservatives alike can get behind.

Posted by William Joseph on March 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (21)

What does Randy Hillier stand for?

Unless Frank Klees has also unexpectedly dropped his policy planks on everyone's lap and I just didn't notice, Randy Hillier is the first to release the principles on which his campaign will be founded. They've been posted on his official leadership campaign website, which I assume was launched when he announced this morning. (The Shotgun covered Hillier's announcement here.)

HIllier's picked three "Common Sense" (calling all Harrisites!) planks to hang his suspenders on - freedom of association, freedom of speech and senate elections in Ontario. The policy pages are fairly content-rich, answering questions that potential supporters might have about each proposal for the "Randy Revolution." (I laughed, but in a good way.)

Hillier proposes provincial legislation to protect medical professionals and marriage commissioners from having to perform acts that they are morally opposed to. It's hard to argue against this policy from a libertarian perspective. It's a smart way to reach out to the so-cons in the PCPO.

Shotgun readers will be happy to hear that Hillier is proposing abolishing the Ontario Human Rights Commission and moving human rights cases to civil courts to help preserve due process and, one can only assume, reduce the number of frivolous human rights complaints. I predict that Hillier will need to skirt any attempts to paint him as opposed to protecting human rights in Ontario by both forces outside the party and probably also his opponents in the leadership race.

Finally, Hillier would enact legislation to start elections for Ontario's senators, something he has proposed before in a Western Standard article--following Alberta's lead by using a single transferable vote ballot to choose Ontario's candidates for the Senate.

It's not quite what I was expecting, but there you have it. Hopefully the other candidates will offer some substantive policy planks for PCPOers to dig their teeth into.

Two candidates officially in--let the games begin.

Posted by Janet Neilson on March 30, 2009 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink | Comments (6)

Randy Hillier announces bid for leadership of Ontario Progressive Conservative Party

Randy Hillier, the suspender-wearing, private property supporting, eccentric Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario has announced that he is running to become the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. The slogan for his campaign? "A Conservative leader for a Conservative Party."

In his speech, published here at the Western Standard under the title "Freedom, Justice & Democracy," Hillier announced his intentions to produce policies that will strengthen individual liberty. Concrete proposals include "abolishing" the Ontario Human Rights Commission by introducing legislation to place human rights complaints under the jurisdiction of "real" courts (rather than the kangaroo courts we've so often written about); introducing legislation to provide for an elected Senate in Ontario; and introduction of the "Freedom of Conscience and Association Act" which will be "an act to protect the rights of the individual to not be compelled or coerced into actions or associations they find objectionable."

Here are a few excerpts from Hillier's speech:

We have passed countless laws that diminish the individual’s responsibility, removes their good judgment and places it into the hands of a regulatory body.

We have become a “nanny-state” of dependence.

We are no longer responsible for our actions when we allow ourselves to blame others for our actions.

We now have over half a million provincial regulations.

Many of them diminish individual responsibility.

Many others blur the line between private and public property, and allow government to intrude where it has no business.

These regulations must be repealed.

The proper and honest role of government is not every role.

It has a role to insure that freedom and justice is found throughout the land.

We were a province that used to boast the strongest and most diverse economy in our country.

Now it shuts down small businesses and farms under the weight of over-regulation.

The cost of doing business in this province drives business out.

It’s not that our businesses can’t compete.

Rather, our government prevents them from being competitive with costly red tape...

We have built a regime of countless review boards and commissions through which faceless bureaucrats dressed in quasi-legal robes hand down “kangaroo” verdicts that suffocate our natural rights as individuals, and extend false privileges to collective bodies.

Our legal system must prevent injustice not create injustice...

The PC Party cannot simply disguise itself as a Liberal Party lookalike, holding a different coloured shovel while digging the same hole and expect Ontarians to choose us and not the Liberals...

My campaign will be driven by ideas and ideals, while being anchored by the three central principles of Freedom, Justice, and Democracy.

Freedom strengthens commerce, creativity, industry, education, and the most important element of our society -– the family.

When the rights of government overtake the rights of the farmer, the worker, the doctor, or the parent, all of society suffers.

As Premier I will immediately introduce the Freedom of Association & Conscience Act, an act to protect the rights of the individual to not be compelled or coerced into actions or associations that that they find objectionable.

We’ve created private monopolized and special interest governments such as the Ontario Medical Association and Law Society of Upper Canada.

We compel people to join business and industry associations that collect dues but do not represent them, and we provide no protection for freedom of conscience.

Justice is only just when it is truly blind.

When the law is applied unequally -– and absent of due process -– the law can become an instrument of harm rather than justice.

One of the worst examples of this has been the Ontario Human Rights Commission and other quasi-tribunals.

As Premier, I’ll make sure those violating human rights appear before real judges in real courts, where civil rights and due process are not distorted by the balance of probabilities.

The Human Rights Commission and other quasi-tribunals will be rendered redundant under my government...

Read the whole speech.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on March 30, 2009 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink | Comments (17)

Today's political grab bag

The "homeless cons" make the news, spurring more talk of a fracture in the Conservative Party, but with Harper at the helm and in the PMO it's all premature if you ask me.

Pollsters and Buzz Hargrove interpret a returning of the Liberal base to their party after the disaster that was Stephane Dion as weakness on the NDP's, and more specifically Jack Layton's part.

Pierre Poilievre noticed that Google Street View exists and threw the hissy fit that everyone else got out of their system a few years ago.

And Frank Klees did a cannonball into the Ontario PC leadership race while we were all facing the other way waiting to watch Hudak, Hillier and Elliott dive in. For more on this one read Hugh's post yesterday, since he was reporting from the ground.

UPDATE: It seems like it belongs here - pollsters have, I think for the first time, found that Canadians think Iggy is the leader best suited to handle the economic crisis. I know it's a poll. I know you can make them say almost anything. But they do provide some indication of public opinion, and they haven't said this before, so it's noteworthy anyway.

Posted by Janet Neilson on March 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (5)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Frank Klees to enter the PCPO leadership race

Yesterday I attended the founding of a PC Youth Association in Hamilton and was somewhat surprised to see Frank Klees, the provincial member from Newmarket-Auroa, also attending the founding meeting. There has been a rumour that Frank Klees would run for the leadership ever since John Tory stepped down. After listening to him speak, I am now willing to give credence to those rumours. He did not mention the leadership race directly but he made a leadership like speech, claiming that the next leader of the party will be the next premier.

After the meeting I called a few friends who I thought might know more, and they confirmed my suspicion. I am now willing to assert with a high level of certainty that Tim Hudak, Christian Elliott, Randy Hillier, and now Frank Klees are going to be the leadership contenders.

Though I have not yet decided who to support, I welcome Frank Klees to the race. In the last leadership contest he was bold enough to propose healthcare reform in the direction of two tier health care. I expect and hope that Frank Klees will once again contribute to a positive debate on policy. It is that sort of debate that this party needs to rebuild and reenergise.

I fear that this leadership race may be a missed opportunity for the PC Party to rebuild and rebrand itself. After two disastrous leaders we need a leadership race that will bring as all together in a grand debate about the future of the party. Though sadly we don’t have enough time to do it properly, the more candidates that participate the greater the party renewal shall be.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on March 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Calgary West Tory MP Rob Anders loses key battle in nomination fight

Long-time Calgary West Conservative MP Rob Anders is facing a nomination challenge from Donna Kennedy-Glans.

CALGARY — Even with no federal election in sight, an outspoken and controversial member of Parliament is being challenged within his own party in his own riding.

On Saturday, more than 600 people stood outside for as long as 90 minutes to get into the annual general meeting of the Calgary West Conservative party.

MP Rob Anders has won the riding five times but corporate lawyer Donna Kennedy-Glans wants to replace him. She took a first step toward that Saturday by getting her supporters in the riding to vote in a new board of directors, which oversees nominations.

"It was democracy," said Kennedy-Glans. "It was very exciting."

She said the federal party has ruled that the only way incumbent members of Parliament can be ousted is if two-thirds of members in the riding vote to hold a nomination contest.

Putting that into motion will take a couple of months, she said.

The Enlightened Savage reports on his blog that Ms. Kennedy-Glans' slate of candidates for Board of Directors swept the well-run riding election last night. 

The upshot? Rob Anders' days as a Member of Parliament are now numbered.

Update: Title and background modified to better reflect the status of the nomination challenge. Thanks commenters.

(h/t Dr. Dawg)

Posted by Kalim Kassam on March 29, 2009 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (17)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

B.C. Supreme Court strikes down gag law

British Columbia's Supreme Court struck down some of the province's laws limiting third-party spending on advertising outside of the writ period.

Justice Frank Cole told lawyers involved in the case Friday he will release a written ruling on Monday that will lift all restrictions from third-party advertisers from now until the writs of election are issued on April 14.

Between April 14 and election day May 12, third-party advertisers are expected still to be allowed to spend up to $150,000 each.

The so-called gag law "was found unconstitutional," said lawyer Joe Arvay, who challenged the law on behalf of a group of labour unions.

It's very unfortunate that the restrictions weren't lifted during the writ period. These laws are an affront to freedom of speech in Canada. This is why Stephen Harper took on Canada back in the day to fight the national election gag law brought in by Chretien. He won in 2000 but lost in 2004, and unfortunately his government hasn't moved to scrap or alter a law that gives politicians the only real voice during an election campaign.

Still, a victory is a victory, even if it's incomplete. B.C. residents have reason to celebrate today.

Posted by Janet Neilson on March 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Canada won't throw more money at stimulus

Or at least the government won't commit to doing so.

That's good news. Let's hope they stick to it.

Posted by Janet Neilson on March 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (7)

Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!

New York will be repealing many of the Rockefeller drug laws implemented in the 1970s, including mandatory minimum sentencing for minor drug offenses. New York Governor David Paterson and state legislators say the laws have been discredited:

After 35 years of stuffing prisons with minor drug felons, state legislators have judged the law's mandatory sentencing provisions as expensive and ineffective.

It's part of a reassessment of "tough on crime and sentencing" laws taking place across the United States, which has the highest incarceration rate in the developed world. Canada, ironically, is bucking that trend.

"Canadian policy-makers have picked up the cudgel of minimum mandatory sentences at the same time as Americans are trying to extricate themselves from them because they have proven to be so destructive," says Craig Jones, director of the John Howard Society, which reintegrates inmates in the community.

So why is Canada starting to bringing in these very same "expensive and ineffective" policies?

Canada's Conservative government last year increased the minimum prison time judges must impose for gun crimes. Last month, it reintroduced a bill that imposed minimum sentences for a long list of drug crimes. It includes a six-month sentence for someone caught growing even one marijuana plant for trafficking.

The toughest minimum sentence under the proposed drug law is three years for anyone creating a public safety hazard in a residential area by producing Schedule 1 drugs – such as cocaine, heroine or methamphetamine.

Micheal Cust wrote some time ago about the fact that tougher enforcement of prohibition may actually lead to more violence in the drug war. At a time of national reassessment of a failed experiment in drug policy in the United States, it's baffling to see our government shutting its eyes, plugging its ears and shouting "tough on crime!" to convince Canadians it's doing something to make them safer.

Read the full article here.

Posted by Janet Neilson on March 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (34)

Mr. Friel hits the nail on Mr. Bentley's head

Todd Bentley, shamed Candian evangelist, seems to have friends who want him to return to ministry as soon as possible. His mentor, U.S. charismatic evangelist Rick Joyner, is putting several videos on his site per week about Mr. Bentley's "restoration process", not just the one video per week that was promised.

Todd Friel, an American apologetics expert with a weekly radio and TV show, analyzed parts of the videos this week on his radio program. If you are interested in his critique, I think he makes some very good points. His audio comments are below the fold of this post.

[For my part, I am puttering on several posts that may move the story forward. I think I am detecting the underlying logic of the argument that Mr. Bentley and his friends are advancing, and it's not good. But more later, as needed...]

Posted by Rick Hiebert on March 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)

We might be contradictory, but at least we're not backpeddling!

At a time when Ontario PCs are ramping up for a leadership race (that's about to start in earnest on Monday) in an attempt to make themselves something resembling relevant again, members are (or should be) paying attention to where their likely leadership contenders stand on the issues.

It might be a bit confusing for some to see Tim Hudak, the perceived front runner in the race, coming out against further minimum wage increases (and rightly so when Ontario jobs are already disappearing) but insisting that they must be implemented if they were announced in this week's budget.

Ontario Progressive Conservative finance critic Tim Hudak, whose party doesn't support an increase to the minimum wage, said he expects the government to stick by the budget they present.

Minimum wage has increased in Ontario extremely quickly since McGuinty became Premier in 2003. It wouldn't be politically difficult to consistently oppose this job-killing policy, even if it is in the Liberal budget.

Posted by Janet Neilson on March 28, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (6)

Friday, March 27, 2009

How do Washington's brilliant central economic planners do it?

South Park reveals all:

(h/t Andrew Sullivan)

Posted by Kalim Kassam on March 27, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (14)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

2009 Ontario budget includes tax cuts.

OK, so there are some pretty bad parts of Ontario's 2009 budget - namely the fact that they are spending billions and billions of dollars more than they have. $57 billion more than they have over 7 years, which, like the federal budget, is likely an underestimation of their deficits.

But there are a few things to be happy about - namely, income tax cuts. Dwight Duncan has raised the personal exemption on Ontario's income tax cuts, and corporate taxes are being cut to 10% by 2013.

I don't feel that strongly about the harmonized sales tax, but there are plenty of economists who do and are going to be very happy about it. I think it would have made a lot more sense to shave a few points off the sales tax than to start sending out cheques, but hey, it is Dalton McGuinty we're talking about, here.

Posted by Janet Neilson on March 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (13)

Lisa MacLeod's endorsement makes me less likely to support Tim Hudak

If there is someone out there who is a big fan of Lisa MacLeod MPP, it wouldn’t be me. She is my least favourite member of caucus. She has in the past demanded that the legislature move to half days, that the taxpayers pay to take care of her kids, and she said some of the dumbest things during the leadership review. So imagine my lack of enthusiasm when I found out that she was supporting Tim Hudak.

I liked Tim Hudak, but I have become increasingly concerned about the number of former John Tory hacks that have lined up in his camp. John Tory alone was not the problem. It was in large part the people he surrounded himself with. The PC Party of Ontario needs renewal and I’m no longer convinced that Mr. Hudak is that man to do that.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on March 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

PC executive member defends the decision to have June leadership election

My blogging partner posted his criticism of the voting rules for the PCPO leadership race. Then one of the executives actually responded. The response was silly enough that I am devoting a whole post to it. The stuff in brackets is my commentary.

M. Wensley, Regional VP (GTA-W) said...

Not very sure of yourself, are you. (I’m pretty sure he was sure of himself.) Sitting behind an faceless anonymous blog bitching and complaining that you don't like the decisions made. (I’m not anonymous and my partner has published his real name, ‘Ken.’ Some people may not know who he is but many people do. So you can hardly call him anonymous.)

Did you stop to think that the executive carefully weighed a number of factors before making the decision? (The issue was that they made the wrong decision not how they arrived at that decision) Did you stop to think that just maybe we have the best interest of the Party at heart, not the best interest of any one candidate (I would buy that if someone could provide a real argument for having it in June. I have yet to hear one.) or any faceless bitch and moan artist? (Personal attacks? From a member of the executive? How very usual.)

The idea of the Markham convention is a new one (no it’s not) put forth by the Party President in an effort to generate some interest in the media and the average voter. (Not sure exactly how watching people wave signs around and yelling would hold people’s interests. Last time it was a bit of a bust. Besides, making policy based on earning a couple days of news is idiotic.) I have every confidence that anyone connected to a campaign will want to ensure that the hall is packed with people that wish to enthusiastically greet the new Leader and show the voters of Ontario that we are a dynamic Party that has what it take so form a government. (How do people shouting slogans prove that a party can form a government?) From your comments I assume that you have no intention of helping the Party put on a good face to the public. (How can you assume that? Because he thinks you are wrong suddenly he is against the party?)

Now, if you think that sitting on the couch by yourself and posting drivel on the internet is really helpful to the cause of electing a PC government in 2011, (hang on...isn’t that exactly what you are doing?) I can tell you right now that you are the reason that we did not win in '07. (Ken was the Track Right chair of his local campaign. How exactly did he contribute to the defeat in 2007?)

As for not supporting members of the executive that supported June, I guess you don't like any of us, (yep) because there were damn few hands that went up to choose a date other than June. (I like the people who put their hands up for that. In fact want to thank them for bravely going against the rest of the executive.)

Like it or not, many of the rank and file members that executive members spoke with prior to the meeting told us that they either wanted June or did not care. (How does this prove that it wasn’t stupid to have it in June? How would this prove it even if anecdotal evidence wasn’t meaningless?)

Making a decision not to your liking does not make us incompetent, (nope making incompetent decisions make you incompetent) nor does it mean that we are trying to help any one leadership candidate over another.

(All in all Mr. Wensley, I will be encouraging everyone I know in the GTA West Region not to re-elect you.)

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on March 25, 2009 in Canadian Provincial Politics | Permalink | Comments (3)

Ezra Levant on the Michael Coren show, talking about Shakedown

Here are the clips of Ezra Levant chatting with Michael Coren. The conversation is about Ezra's brand-new book entitled Shakedown: How our government is undermining democracy in the name of human rights.

I haven't had a chance to pick up Ezra's new book, but Matthew Johnston, our publisher, tells me that it's "incredible." Matthew says he picked it up to read one morning, and didn't stop until he was finished. That's very high praise.

You can pick up Ezra's book by clicking on the image below. For U.S. customers, use this link: Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights

Part 1 (the rest below the fold)

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

h/t: Ezra, of course

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on March 25, 2009 in Freedom of expression | Permalink | Comments (9)

Keeping up with Ric Dolphin

I visited my erstwhile partner/employer CFF in his rambling Riverbend house a couple of Saturday nights ago and asked him the when's-it-gonna-be-over question that has economists and politicians all over the world all over the place. CFF considers himself something of a scholar in boom/bust cycles, having made his fortune during the 25 years he was buying apartment buildings at bargain rates during recessions, renovating them, then enjoying increased rents and improved occupancies when the economies boomed back. He figures the current recession will last four to five years, based on his experience. He also claims to have predicted this one - but that's a bit revisionist of him...

To read more about the Crazy F--ing Frenchman, visit my blog.

By the way, I have still have copies of The Book of Ted, the greatest hits of Ted Byfield, available for sale. They're hardbound, navy blue with gold letters, and contain all of Old Man Byfield's best columns. Here's an excerpt from a classic 1996 column that simultaneously espouses the benefits of the St. John's School for Boys that Ted founded (still going strong east of Edmonton), and takes the opportunity (and none should be missed) to trash that menopausal feminist bitch of a network, the CBC:

The same scene was repeated hundreds of times: the parent or parents whose urgency of voice betrayed sheer desperation; their indolent, 13- or 14-year-old, striving to affect boredom but exuding anxiety.  His school work, it seemed, was steadily declining; three words - “Could Do Better” - appeared on every report card; he had become lazy, disobedient, mean to his siblings; every parental suggestion brought a sneer; he had acquired decidedly unsavoury associates.  Could “St John’s” be the answer?

St. John’s was a church boys’ school near Winnipeg, named for the Anglican cathedral out of whose youth program it has emerged.  I was one of a half-dozen lay people who had established it in 1962 in an abandoned Indian hospital.  Everything about it was what could be called “traditional.”  Mathematics was taught from pre-Second World War textbooks which advanced from arithmetic to calculus, relentlessly testing progress with pass-or-fail rigour.  English grammar was drawn from texts even more venerable, requiring detailed examination of sentences with six or more subordinate clauses.  History required hundreds of pages of reading from Thomas Costain to Francis Parkman.  The school taught its own French course, developed from French-Canadian history and reinforced orally by various requirements.  If you wanted to watch the hockey game, for instance, you had to do it on the French channel.

The outdoor program also echoed the past.  Every winter, to make real the hypothetical values implicit in the academic curriculum, there were weekly snowshoe treks of 25 miles or so across the windswept, trackless prairie.  Summer expeditions in big seven-man canoes traced the old routes of the fur trade, following its regimen: up at 4:30, break camp at 6:00; lunch stop at noon; make camp at 8:00; fifty- or sixty-pound packs on the portages; out three to four weeks; distances covered, anywhere up to 1,300 miles.

Most traditional of all was the discipline.  Rules were enforced with a flat stick across the seat of the pants - failure to complete an assignment, four swats; late for a work detail, three swats; caught smoking, six swats.  Compared with what would follow over the next three decades, it was barbarous.  Compared with what had gone before, over the previous two to three millennia of human history, it was unremarkable.  

So they came, and you watched the change.  Not always, but nearly always.  First the shock.  Rules were rules; assignments were assignments; chores were chores.  You could have your opinions, but no one was interested in them.  Realization rapidly dawned that here was reality, and it wasn’t so bad.  You might fail, but could try again.  You could work without shame.  You could trust the guy beside you as never before  Soon the eyes would clear.  The head would lift.  The boy, by realizing himself to be a boy, had begun the process of becoming a man.

They came and they left - some after a year, some after two, some after three or four.  Did it work?  By the changes we saw, we were persuaded it did.  And when they returned as men, they almost always reassured us that St. John’s was the best thing that ever happened to them.  Without it, goodness knows where they would have wound up.  But how much of this, you had to wonder, was true, and how much simply generosity?

Probably the only detailed study was provided by, of all people, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  About seven years ago the CBC at Winnipeg, understandably suspicious that here might be yet another church residential school scandal, exhaustively interviewed about sixty St. John’s alumni for evidence of “sexual abuse.”  They failed to discover a single instance of it. 

They found instead that all but one of the interviewees supported the school program with varying degrees of enthusiasm, many extravagantly.  So the CBC had a story: “Victims” of “barbarous” school overwhelmingly endorse and recommend it.  But this was not the story they wanted - it backed the wrong case.  If the CBC were operated by journalists, of course, they would have run it anyway.  Since our government network is in fact operated by propagandists, however, they put a different spin on it.  By judicious editing they produced a supposed “controversy.”  The sole critic was juxtaposed against the myriad of defenders, so that a 59-1 verdict was made to appear closer to 30-30.  Exhibitions like this have endeared the CBC to a whole generation of Canadians - which is why they now quietly cheer as the government cuts it to pieces ...

To find out how to buy The Book of Ted and read more, visit my blog and go to the end of the current (Mar 24) posting.

Posted by Ric Dolphin on March 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (10)

Freedom Watch, today on Fox News streaming

Freedom Watch is a great show hosted by Judge Andrew Napolitano, available online-only at the moment, showcasing some of the freedom movement's brightest stars. Here's the lineup for today's show, which will stream live at 2 p.m. EST (direct link here, indirect link here):

2:00-2:10 Glenn Beck and Shepard Smith start the show.

2:10 - 2:30 Peter Schiff (in studio) with Lew Rockwell (phone) including a special 10 minute segment from Schiff entitled “Protecting Your Assets, what you need to know about your money and investments.”

2:30 - 3:00 Ron Paul (from DC), Peter Schiff, and David Boaz (live from CATO)

Possibly other last minute guests as well.

The topics for the week will be: U.S. power to seize firms, possible 15 year depression, discussion of Austrian School of Economics, preview of Campaign for Liberty, St. Louis conference and much, much more.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on March 25, 2009 in Libertarianism | Permalink | Comments (2)

CBC to make major job cuts today

Seeing people lose their jobs is always awful. But there is a bright light at the end of the "serious" cuts at the CBC tunnel -- a slightly greater possibility that our government-provided news and other entertainment will finally, finally be cut loose from government altogether.

This afternoon, CBC types will get together for a town hall, and will announce major layoffs. That's according to Prince Edward Island's The Guardian. Up to 1,200 employees may see their jobs go the way of auto sector jobs:

Brendan Elliott, president of the Canadian Media Guild’s Prince Edward Island local, describes the impending layoff as a “disaster.”

“There is no question we’re looking at a major reduction in the workforce,” said Elliott, who is also a political reporter for CBC Radio in Charlottetown.

“It’s going to be serious. Instead of cutting off fingers, we’re cutting off arms. This is a serious cut coming.”

I want to be clear; it's bad news that these people are going to lose their jobs. What's good news is that these folks can move from being civil service entertainers and journalists, to full-fledged, honest-to-goodness entertainers and journalists. What's good news is that maybe, just maybe, this portends of a step away from a ridiculous model of news delivery where the primary funder of the news is the government.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on March 25, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (19)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Understanding the business cycle (or is it the interventionist cycle?)

In a column published here, investment advisor Justin Charbonneau with McLean & Partners offers his thoughts on the business cycle, the stock market cycle, and what he calls the emotional cycle.

Here’s an excerpt:

Still thinking of investing in the stock market, even with the current turmoil?

That's good, because there are opportunities. There are three important cycles, however -- the business cycle, the stock market cycle, and the emotional cycle -- you should pay attention to so as to better manage your stock portfolio.

A business cycle is divided into phases, each describing economic activity as it moves from a peak to a trough and back again. Each phase describes the behavior of a variety of economic indicators which reflect basic business conditions. Always remember, however, that the government's role in establishing such conditions must also be measured concurrently. Business cycles normally last between 3.5 to seven years.

What’s interesting here is the comment by Charbonneau that “the government's role in establishing such conditions must also be measured” when trying to understand, and profit from, the business cycle.

In a column in Liberty magazine entitle "Peak and Trough," Fred Foldvary argues that the government’s role in establishing such conditions is considerable. In fact, he calls the business cycle the “intervention” or “economic distortion” cycle.

Here’s an excerpt (not found online):

The reason there has not been a consensus on the “business” cycle is that there are several types of fluctuations that run concurrently, making the ups and downs look random, but if we separate out the major and the minor patterns, we can see a regularly occurring major cycle that has gone on for 200 years. An analysis of major cycles shows that the cause of booms and subsequent downturns is government intervention. A pure free market is not inherently unstable. The major booms and recessions should be accurately called “the intervention cycle” or “the economic distortion cycle.”

According to Foldvary, a free market is not inherently unstable, and neither is a free society, although Western Standard blogger Mike Cust argues otherwise here.

Western Standard readers who long for the feel of a dead-tree format may want to subscribe to Liberty magazine. If you use the link here, the Western Standard will get a small commission. 

You can learn more about Liberty magazine here and here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on March 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (6)

Daniel Hannan MEP, hands Gordon Brown's ass to him in the European Parliament

A friend of mine from the UK sent this to me, and I couldn't help but post it here. I don't really know anything about Daniel Hannan, but this is three and a half minutes of awesome.

Posted by Mike Brock on March 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (14)

Marijuana: Legalization, decriminalization or status quo?

We're at it again tonight. Kari Simpson and I will host Episode 4 of Roadkill Radio this evening from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Pacific. You can tune in and listen/watch at www.roadkillradio.com.

Another strong line-up for tonight's show. We'll start with a look at drugs and gangs, and ask if legalization of marijuana would solve or worsen the problem. Joining Kari and me in-studio will be John Conroy Q.C. John’s expertise is in criminal law and his clients include Marc Emery and the B.C. Compassion Club Society.

Next, we'll look at child pornography, and ask whether Canada is doing enough to fight this noxious plague. Joining us in person will be Doug Stead, a well-known and outspoken advocate for increasing the protection of children.

And, of course, we'll announce our weekly Roadkill Radio Warrior of the Week, and add another installment to our Tales from Van-Kook-er.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on March 24, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (44)

Beware religious dogma in Africa

And when I say religious dogma, I mean the secular kind. Recall the controversy over the Pope's comments on AIDS and condoms? At least one Harvard academic is saying the immortal gods of science prove the Pope right:

A senior Harvard research scientist confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI, who endured heavy criticism for declaring that condom distribution programs worsen the AIDS epidemic in Africa, was actually correct. Dr. Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, told National Review Online last week that despite AIDS activists and media outlets pounding the pope for downplaying the effectiveness of condoms, the science actually supports the Catholic leader's claim.

(cross-posted to ProWomanProLife)

Posted by Andrea Mrozek on March 24, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (25)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Andrew Coyne vs. Tom Flanagan on polygamy

Apparently there is some sort of court challenge to polygamy laws going on and two heavyweights in small-government thought have weighed in on the topic.

Tom Flanagan favours keeping polygamy illegal by striking down the court challenge of Winston Blackmore and James Oler from Bountiful, British Columbia. According to Flanagan, the Charter shouldn't be a problem.

[...] the Charter also says all rights are subject "to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."

Many other "free and democratic" societies, including the United States and many European countries, have criminalized polygamy, and their courts have always upheld such laws against legal challenge. What the U.S. Supreme Court said in its 1878 Reynolds decision is still compelling: Religious freedom means the state cannot punish people for religious opinions, but it can certainly regulate secular institutions such as marriage.

(Emphasis mine. Take note, all those who don't want to see churches forced to perform same-sex marriages. This isn't good for anyone.)

Flanagan believes that decriminalizing polygamy would lead to something resembling complete havoc, including the breakdown of democratic society, the undermining of equality, the overwhelming of the immigration system and the creation of an even slipperier slope than gay marriage could conjure up for the expansion of legal rights to another group of people. (Oh noes.)

I have more faith than Flanagan apparently does in the persistence of democracy and equality, and I don't think that "but the U.S. does it that way!" is much in the way of justification, but hey, if everyone agreed with me this blog would be boring.

Andrew Coyne, on the other hand, can't figure out why, exactly, polygamy ought to be a criminal activity.

It isn’t the discriminatory impact of Sect. 293 that condemns it, but simply that it is overkill. We don’t need to criminalize polygamy, not because we think it’s right or even acceptable, but because it is not the sort of behaviour properly addressed by the criminal law, and because we have other, less intrusive means of registering society’s abhorrence. And if we don’t need to criminalize a thing, we probably shouldn’t.

[...] consider the kinds of things that are not prohibited between consenting adults. A man may have sex with as many women (or men) as he likes, serially or coincidentally, individually or all at once. He may father children with any or all of them. He can marry one of them, and have sex with the rest. He can live together with all of them and their children, so long as they don’t marry or have sex. All of these things he can do without being charged with a crime. The only thing the law prohibits him from doing is marrying (or living in “conjugal union” with) more than one woman at the same time.

Coyne points out an (unfortunately) rare point - if we don't like polygamy, that's no reason to criminalize it. We can, for one thing, refuse to recognize it. We can also shun, roundly condemn and scowl at those rascally polygamists without spending the time or resources to put them in jail.

What on Coyne's laundry list of non-criminal activities is so different from polygamy? And assuming the husband and all the wives (or all the husbands... do people do that?) entered into their marriage (or marriages? I'm clearly not up to speed on polygamist lingo) willingly, where's the victim?

We can, and should, go after anyone who forces someone into marriage or sex or takes advantage of a child. Mixing this up with criminalizing polygamy more generally encourages polygamists to live in compound-like communities without outside influence - something I can only see increasing the chances of those sorts of abhorrent and legitimately criminal behaviour taking place.

Besides, woudln't we all rather the police spend their time investigating, arresting and prosecuting one murderer than a thousand polygamists? If nothing else, this should be a matter of priorities.

Full Flanagan and Coyne articles at the links.

h/t Ker for sending me another great Coyne piece.

Posted by Janet Neilson on March 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (82)

Cannabis Culture magazine to go online only

According to Marc Emery's facebook status, Cannabis Culture, the pre-eminent libertarian marijuana-focused magazine, will follow the Western Standard and shut off its printing presses in favour of an online-only publication.

Here is his status, as well as his comments on the status thread:

"Marc Scott Emery has decided to no longer publish Cannabis Culture Magazine on paper because each issues loses about $40,000 and advertising & circulation is falling off."

I'm not that sad. The store has to sell so much to pay for the losses every issue. We printed 62,000 of issue #73. Then Anderson News went out of business. They handle 25% of our magazines. Because they went under last month, our distributor ordered 9,000 less for #75 and the distribution will be chaotic and our sales on newstands will be much lower, raising losses even more. Of the 62,000 printed, 38,000 sold, meaning 24,000 got destroyed each issue. Now our potential sales would drop to 30,000 - 35,000. The circulation revenue for that is a disappointing $38,000 per issue. Advertising is only providing $30,000 per issue. It costs $56,000 to print 62,000, another $10,000 to ship to distributors, stores and subscribers. Those costs are covered by revenue, but the cost of producing the magazine is $16,000 for material (writers and photographers), $32,000 to produce the magazine, $4,000 an issue in promotion, posters, cards, and much more. Losses are approx. $42,000 to $55,000 per issue...

And magazines don't have the impact they once did. All information is available faster and free online. If we put the effort into our online presence, we can raise revenue there and lose much less and be more efficient and competitive with information. We are always being quoted, but the quotes come from our online web material, our videos, movies, TV interviews and multi-media. Our magazine is rarely quoted because people had difficulty finding it, the media don't quote magazines anymore and our feedback has dropped from readers...

So our energy is being put into a revamped online presence. Our cannabisculture.com got 24 million hits last month from 300,000 individuals so thats where we should put all this effort. And that's the future for all magazines and newspapers. Many magazines you are currently familiar with will go out of business by the end of the year, including The National Post, Sports Illustrated, Maxim, and so many others. Check out the latest Sports Illustatred, it has only 10.5 pages of advertising in the entire issue. Time Magazine has only 8 pages of advertising. It will save alot of trees but many forestry workers and pulp mill workers will be laid off permanently...

Unfortunately, subscriptions never made money, and we never had more than 1,400 at any one time. Each magazine cost about $2 each to produce, plus 60 cents to ship in Canada, $1.50 to ship to USA, $3.00 abroad. Envelopes and packing took another 25 cents per issue. Then we sent a free copy to all Canadian MPs and Senators, and a copy to all newspapers in Canada and many in the USA, which was all cost and no revenue...

Ultimately, all subscribers will get goods they want or their money refunded.

This is a shame. Cannabis Culture was much loved amongst those of us who believe in liberty, and think the war on drugs is a disaster.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on March 23, 2009 in Media | Permalink | Comments (34)

Conservative unity post-Harper?

Shotgun blogger and political pundit Gerry Nicholls is openly musing about a potential rift in the Conservative Party after current prime minister Stephen Harper steps down as leader.

Says Gerry: "I think as long as Harper is the leader, there's going to be a unity there, but I think there is definitely a schism in the party between the old Progressive Conservative wing and the Canadian Alliance/Reform wing. The day Stephen Harper steps down as leader, you're going to see that become a real issue because I don't see anybody as a possible successor to Stephen, who could appeal to both wings."

My friend, and co-author of Rescuing Canada's Right, Adam Daifallah thinks something similar. He is quoted in the same piece as saying, "When you're in power most people are content and that tends to cover up any sort of splits that might be there laying underneath the surface. But once things start to look more grim, and obviously the economic situation is dire, those fissures start appearing a bit more, and a bit more in public... I don't see a lot of it right now, but if things get worse I think we'll definitely see it in the weeks and months to come."

The reason for the possible divide? At the moment, there is no Conservative politician that can bridge both the former Reform/Alliance wing, as well as the former Progressive Conservative wing of the Conservative Party.

We can split these hairs even further. Whatever their number, and I think the number is much higher than most people tend to concede, libertarians in the Conservative Party are as upset as fiscal conservatives are with the current Conservative government. Whether or not they will stick around before Harper steps down, it will be difficult for any new leader to have the same kind of fiscal conservative credibility that Harper had. And he had it in spades.

Fiscal conservatism was a rallying cry for both the PCs and the Reformers. You might argue that it was the sole unifying bond between the two parties. Reformers were, generally, socially conservative, while the PCs were more likely to be socially liberal. Reformers were more hawkish when it comes to foreign policy, while PCs were more likely to be non-interventionists.

With what is beginning to look like an outright abandonment of fiscal conservatism, it's hard to see what the reason for unity might be. What issue might rally people to want to stay together? Partisanship is a stupid reason, and one that only appeals to the politics-as-a-sports-game types, and while there are plenty of those (witness the comment section here on the Shotgun, where no matter what Harper does he's still the bestest and most gloriestest prime minister since the dawn of mankind!), there's just not enough of them. The desire to defeat Liberals because they are more awful is surely not enough either. And, with Ignatieff rather than Dion at the helm, it's hard to credibly make the case that they would really be that much more awful.

So what, if anything, will keep the party together, unified, and on an upward trajectory? It's hard to know, but it isn't as if Harper is done unveiling policy. There is still the possibility of a return to fiscal conservatism. It's slim, but it is possible.

Pushing for small government really might be the only thing that can give enough Tories reason to remain united, and Tory. Here's hoping Harper has a change of heart. Soon.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on March 23, 2009 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink | Comments (11)

We have no reason to bar George Galloway: Lorne Gunter

On Sunday, in his regular column published in The Edmonton Journal, Lorne Gunter joined the debate on whether or not British MP George Galloway should be allowed to enter Canada to speak to anti-war audiences this month.

Gunter wrote:

I don't like George Galloway. I don't like his politics. His tactics are too showy and deliberately designed to provoke authorities and offend ordinary people whose views are opposed to his own. He gives aid and comfort to terrorists and is not shy about supporting their causes.

Still, I would not bar him from Canada for a speaking tour he has planned later this month.

Galloway is an elected British MP. That doesn't excuse him if his purpose is to break Canada's anti-terror laws. But until he has broken them, until he has stood on a podium in this country and asked, directly, for donations to Hamas or Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad, we have no reason to bar him from entering the country.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the NDP have also come out against the decision to bar Galloway from entering Canada.

Gunter is #20 on the Western Standard’s Liberty 100.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on March 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (14)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

PCPO Leadership election will be too soon

The date for the leadership race has been set for June 27th. This is very unfortunate. The party is in shambles with fewer than 5,000 members around the province. We need a longer leadership race to engage the base and to sell memberships. You simply cannot rebuild a party with a rushed leadership race. There is no reason to be in this much of a hurry.

PCPO president Ken Zeise said, “This is an exciting time of renewal for our Party. People are engaged in the process and are looking forward to working with the new Leader to defeat Dalton McGuinty in 2011.” Indeed this is an exciting time and a chance to reverse a steady decline. But if the executive was really interested in engaging people they would allow for more time to become engaged.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on March 22, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Harper's hypocrisy on families

In last weekend's speech to the Manning Centre conference in Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that his brand of conservatism is founded on freedom, faith, and family. I'll leave it to others to discuss the merits of his advocacy of the first two. Here I'd like to comment on the Conservative government's record of promoting families. In short, it has no record to speak of.

The biggest threat to families in Canada does not come from gay marriage, or abortion, or any of the other traditional social-conservative hobby-horses. It comes from divorce, or more generally, separation, which affects almost half of the children in Canada at some point in their lives. Specifically, the threat comes from how our courts routinely mishandle custody disputes upon separation.

Courts of law have become the most destructive influence on families for one simple reason: judges have a fulsome disrespect for the value of fatherhood. That's why, in the vast majority of cases that come before them, they automatically relegate fathers to the status of visitors in their children's lives. They typically grant children access to their fathers every other weekend, and staunchly refuse to enforce even that trifling amount of contact when mothers abroate it. If mothers wish to relocate with the children to an inconvenient distance, judges eagerly oblige.

What does Prime Minister Harper propose to do about this atrocious state of affairs? Absolutely nothing! For eleven years, the Parliamentary report "For the Sake of the Child," which advocates a legal presumption of equal shared parenting after separation, has sat in the gorgeous Parliamentary Library collecting dust. Anyone who had hoped a Conservative government might pick it up and use it to promote a family-friendly agenda has been sadly disappointed.

But now we have a genuine alternative. In his book The Rights Revolution, Michael Ignatieff had this to say about restoring sanity to our family-dispute system:

...this crisis is too complex to be blithely blamed on “deadbeat dads” alone. In hearings before a parliamentary committee in Canada in 1998, groups of fathers bitterly complained that they were bearing the brunt of public blame for what has happened to the family. In fact, they claimed that they were discriminated against. Courts were favouring mothers over fathers in custody disputes, and the divorce process was being abused by lawyers despoiling working men of their assets. These groups demanded that the “custody and access” regime created by the Divorce Act of 1985 be replaced with a “shared parenting” regime in which both parents were given equal rights to bring up their children. These are sensible and overdue suggestions, and the fact that they’re being made shows that men and women are struggling to correct the rights revolution, so that equality works for everyone. [pp. 105-6; footnote omitted, emphasis added]

And further:

Families that divorce need help so that parenting responsibilities can be genuinely shared, not reluctantly conceded in rigid custody-and-access schemes that end up dividing children from their parents. We need to create new cheap and efficient institutions that mediate family conflict instead of impoverishing families with exorbitant legal costs. [p. 110]

On the campaign trail last fall, one shared parenting advocate asked Mr. Ignatieff if he still believed those words. He said he did. If Liberal Leader Ignatieff were to commit to implementing that change in his first term of office, he would do more to fix what ails Canada than anyone since Brian Mulroney negotiated free trade.

Now that Stephen Harper has abandoned the field, Ignatieff deserves a chance.

Posted by Grant Brown on March 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (40)

Entrepreneurial civil rights

Peter, to give you (and anyone else who makes it to the ILS seminar in Windsor) a taste of what to expect tomorrow, here's Damon Root reviewing David Beito's book on the entrepreneurial civil rights leader T.R.M. Howard in Reason:

Howard “consistently pushed an agenda of self-help, black business, and political equality whenever opportunities arose,” write David T. Beito, a professor of history at the University of Alabama, and his wife Linda Royster Beito, a professor of social sciences at Stillman College, in their captivating and vividly detailed new biography, Black Maverick: T.R.M. Howard’s Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power. Born in 1908 in the small tobacco town of Murray, Kentucky, T.R.M. Howard came to the Mississippi Delta in 1941 to serve as chief surgeon of the Taborian Hospital, an institution catering to poor and middle-class blacks. It was run by the International Order of Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor, a 50,000-member African-American fraternal society dedicated to “Christianity, education, morality and temperance and the art of governing, self reliance, and true manhood and womanhood.” [...]

In 1951, when Howard was already one of the wealthiest and most successful African Americans in Mississippi, he founded the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL), a pioneering civil rights outfit that, among other projects, organized economic boycotts (“Don’t Buy Gas Where You Can’t Use the Restroom”) and hounded state and local officials to meet their legal obligations to fund black and white facilities equally. In 1954, when segregationists started pressuring banks and retailers to freeze civil rights activists’ credit, Howard convinced the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as well as various black churches and other affected groups, to deposit their money in the black-owned Tri-State Bank of Memphis (where Howard was a board member), allowing African Americans to flex some of their growing economic muscle in the fight against Jim Crow. [...]

Unlike other prominent civil rights leaders, though, Howard had little patience for the utopian schemes of the far left, declaring at one point that he wished “one bomb could be fashioned that would blow every Communist in America right back to Russia where they belong.” In a similar vein, he maintained, “There is not a thing wrong with Mississippi today that real Jeffersonian democracy and the religion of Jesus Christ cannot solve.”

Read the rest.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on March 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2)

David Beito to speak at Institute for Liberal Studies' Social Policy Seminar tomorrow

The Institute for Liberal Studies, where I work as a director, is hosting a social policy seminar tomorrow at the University of Windsor. Here are the details:

Social Policy Seminar
University of Windsor (Dillon Hall 352)
Saturday, March 21

This seminar will provide participants with the chance to hear from three speakers who have studied various aspects of government social policy. There will be time for attendees to question the speakers and engage in discussion with their peers. This event is free for students and university faculty, there will be a $20 charge for general registration. Lunch is included. You can register here.


David Beito (University of Alabama) - Black Maverick: T. R. M. Howard's Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power

Daniel Rothschild (Mercatus Center) - Gulf Coast Recovery After Hurricane Katrina

John Murray (University of Toledo) - Small mutual insurance funds in the history of American and European health insurance

Myself, and shotgun blogger Janet Neilson (who is also a director of the ILS) will be on-hand as well. Hope to see you there.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on March 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Stephen Harper vs. libertarians, the continuing saga

Mike Brock, Janet Neilson, and Gerry Nicholls all commented on Stephen Harper's recent speech at the Manning Centre conservative get-together. They are, like most libertarians, upset with Harper for calling out libertarians, insisting that Harper-style conservatism is significantly different from libertarianism, and then getting a whole bunch of stuff wrong about the libertarian view of the relationship between personal responsibility and liberty.

I might add a few other complaints.

For one, it's surprising that Harper would categorize his conservatism as an amalgam of three fundamental "pillars" -- Freedom, Faith, and Family. It's surprising because it's not clear exactly what Harper means by these three pillars. Are they intended to be sources of influence for public policy? If so, it's hard to see how Harper's Conservatives have kept in line with those three pillars. Just what policies have the Harper Tories pushed that promote any of those three?

Are they specifically political pillars, or is Harper mixing political principles with cultural principles? If they're intended as a mixture, then I just don't see what his beef is with libertarians. Libertarianism is not a cultural view, it's a specifically political philosophy. It does not tell us what sort of culture we ought to have beyond a culture of freedom. What it tells us is that the government ought to be small, and its functions severely limited. It does not tell us whether or not we ought to have large or small families, prefer Mozart to Beethoven, or be Catholic or Protestant.

Broader cultural views are captured not by a political philosophy, but by a social philosophy. It may turn out to be the case that conservatism, as Harper understands it, is simultaneously a view about culture and a view about political institutions, but there is no conflict between a libertarian who endorses Harper's social planks, while insisting that the best way to accomplish those cultural goals -- the goals of encouraging and promoting faith and family -- is through a libertarian government, a government restricted to protecting our lives, liberties, and property.

I've met a sizable group of people who endorse libertarian institutions because they believe that those institutions will bolster faith and family. And small wonder. The seeming job of governments has been, in the West, and over the last 30 or 40 years, to get busy with social engineering. More often than not, churches and families have had to fight governments and government policies. Private religious schools have all sorts of problems, as do churches or religious organizations who do not want to have to rent out their property to groups they disagree with. And if you want to express a religiously-informed point of view, keep one eye on the Human Rights Commissions.

In short, there are those who realize that government is no friend to the religious, that it is no friend to families, that it is no friend to the goals of social conservatism. Matthew Johnston, our publisher, is a perfect example of a libertarian who endorses strong families, tight-knit communities, and public decency. Shotgun blogger Isaac Morehouse is another example of a socially conservative libertarian.

Indeed, the Acton Institute is a perfect example of a U.S.-based libertarian public policy think tank that focuses on faith and family. Its full name is the Acton Institute for the study of religion and liberty. Take a look at their core principles here, especially these three:

Social Nature of the Person - Although persons find ultimate fulfillment only in communion with God, one essential aspect of the development of persons is our social nature and capacity to act for disinterested ends. The person is fulfilled by interacting with other persons and by participating in moral goods. There are voluntary relations of exchange, such as market transactions that realize economic value. These transactions may give rise to moral value as well. There are also voluntary relations of mutual dependence, such as promises, friendships, marriages, and the family, which are moral goods. These, too, may have other sorts of value, such as religious, economic, aesthetic, and so on.

Sin: Although human beings in their created nature are good, in their current state, they are fallen and corrupted by sin. The reality of sin makes the state necessary to restrain evil. The ubiquity of sin, however, requires that the state be limited in its power and jurisdiction. The persistent reality of sin requires that we be skeptical of all utopian "solutions" to social ills such as poverty and injustice.

Priority of Culture - Liberty flourishes in a society supported by a moral culture that embraces the truth about the transcendent origin and destiny of the human person. This moral culture leads to harmony and to the proper ordering of society. While the various institutions within the political, economic, and other spheres are important, the family is the primary inculcator of the moral culture in a society.

Which just goes to show you that Harper is terribly confused, muddled, and, well, just plain wrong. Is Harper under the impression that individual liberty will lead to a mass abandonment of churches, a mass disintegration of society, the end of the nuclear family? Does he believe that we need government programs to ensure warm bodies in pews, the continuation of two parent families and so on? What does it say about certain institutions if they can't make it without government support? And what does it tell us about Harper's support for "Faith" and "Family"?

Libertarians are angry with Harper because he hasn't made the government smaller, hasn't cut taxes aggressively enough, and has seen fit to spend a boatload of money on a "stimulus" package that conservatives in the U.S. are decrying. Libertarians have been angry with Harper for the same reasons that fiscal conservatives have been angry with Harper. Why single out the libertarians? Why not just say, "the modern Conservative Party does not have room for fiscal conservatives who prefer Hayek and Friedman to John Maynard Keynes"?

It's true that libertarians would also like the government to stop the useless, wasteful, and socialist war on drugs. But this has never been the primary complaint of libertarians. The primary complaint has been economic, not social. And it has more to do with insisting that Harper live up to what he used to say he believed (he told me at a National Citizens Coalition dinner honouring him with the Colin M. Brown Medal of Freedom that he considered himself a "classical liberal," which is just a synonym for libertarian).

Andrew Coyne was right. We have very good reason to despise politics, and to hate what it does to people who become politicians. Stephen Harper used to be a libertarian. But, without explanation, he's decided he isn't one any longer, and he's decided to pick a fight with libertarians. So be it, I guess. But, at the very least, we can ask Harper to get libertarianism right, rather than attack the strawman he's set up for himself.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on March 20, 2009 in Libertarianism | Permalink | Comments (9)

BC Civil Liberties Association decries “shameful banning” of anti-war British MP on national security grounds

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) is joining the NDP in calling on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to immediately overturn the decision by the Canadian Border Services Agency to ban British MP George Galloway from Canada for his anti-war views. 

According to the BCCLA, British media reported that Galloway has been deemed inadmissible to Canada on national security grounds under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.  Government spokespersons have apparently declined to cite what precise “threat to national security” is posed by Galloway who was scheduled to speak at a public forum entitled Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar, hosted by the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War. 

In a statement made today, BCCLA Policy Director, Micheal Vonn said:

“This is shameful conduct from our government.  We could not agree more with Mr. Galloway that this is a dismal reflection on Canada.  It strikes at the core of the essence of our democratic rights.  If the government or some border agent is allowed to determine what speech Canadians get to hear, one of our most precious freedoms will be shredded.  This decision is clearly ideologically motivated and has nothing whatsoever to do with national security.  It is yet another in the seemingly endless list of abuses and violation of our fundamental freedoms that the rhetoric of national security has spawned.” 

The Western Standard reported in 2008 that the BCCLA spoke out against the possibility of Canadian Border Services preventing an American anti-gay group from entering Canada in order to protest. 

“It doesn’t matter what end of the political spectrum the expression comes from and it doesn’t matter if it is the most profound wisdom or the most piebald idiocy, Canadian Border Services Agency should not be in the business of screening what viewpoints are presented to Canadians in Canada.  Full stop,” said Vonn.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on March 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (29)

Anti-war British MP banned from entering Canada: NDP

In a press released issued today, New Democrat Immigration Critic Olivia Chow is alleging that the Conservative government has banned British MP George Galloway from entering Canada because of his anti-war views. Galloway was schedule to deliver an anti-war talk on the war in Afghanistan.

“Harper's Conservatives are wrong to bar MP George Galloway,” said Chow.  “The Minister of Immigration is becoming the ‘Minister of Censorship’. This bunker mentality indicates a government afraid of hearing contradictory points of view."

Chow argues that Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s reasons for denying George Galloway entry to Canada are “an affront to freedom of speech” and reveal that the Harper government is reluctant to allow a full and open debate on the war in Afghanistan. According to Chow, a spokesperson for the Minister shockingly said Galloway is inadmissible to Canada due to his opposition to the deployment of NATO troops in Afghanistan.

“By the Minister’s own twisted logic anyone who opposed the war in Afghanistan should be barred entry to Canada,” continued Chow.  “Would the Minister do the same to veteran British Conservative MP Sir Peter Tapsell, who called the war ‘unwinnable’ and once said it was ‘widely understood’ that the Taliban were ‘not international terrorists’?”

"Canadians are able to make their own judgement on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and freedom of speech is critical in a democratic country,” said Chow.

In October 2007, US Peacemakers Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink, and retired Colonel Ann Wright were barred from speaking at a Toronto peace conference, according to NDP research.

Western Standard editor Peter Jaworski called Galloway a "leftwing nutbag" but "one of the most entertaining public speakers." I guess Canadians will not get to judge either statement for themselves.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on March 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (22)