More than a few Tory hearts were broken this morning when they went onto Google News and saw this screen. Note the poll shot next to the headline "Political Winds of Change". Unfortunately when you click on the link for the poll it refers to the numbers of the British Tory party viz Labour. Cruel, cruel Google News, taunting Tories that way and on New Years Eve, too.
I guess one could ask why Google news would provide a picture of a poll that looks like a Canadian poll on a page supposedly about Canadian politics. Conspiracy theorists could say they were trying to fool the casual observer into thinking the Canadian Tory party was actually ahead in the polls, but I am not a conspiracy theorist.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
More than a few Tory hearts were broken this morning when they went onto Google News and saw this screen. Note the poll shot next to the headline "Political Winds of Change". Unfortunately when you click on the link for the poll it refers to the numbers of the British Tory party viz Labour. Cruel, cruel Google News, taunting Tories that way and on New Years Eve, too.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
56. This is the context in which to place the problem of the death penalty. On this matter there is a growing tendency, both in the Church and in civil society, to demand that it be applied in a very limited way or even that it be abolished completely. The problem must be viewed in the context of a system of penal justice ever more in line with human dignity and thus, in the end, with God's plan for man and society. The primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is "to redress the disorder caused by the offence".46 Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom. In this way authority also fulfils the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people's safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated. 47I always thought that it was crazy that a church which defended life from natural conception to natural death alway made an exception for one group -- even if it is the most vile group imaginable. So, I am glad the Church is being consistent and is speaking out against this barbaric practice. Recommend this Post
It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.
In any event, the principle set forth in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church remains valid: "If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person".48 (From Evangelium vitae)
Friday, December 29, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Political scientist Roger Gibbins, head of the Calgary-based Canada West Foundation, said he doesn't think Mr. Harper has a lot to gain from implementing the anti-abortion or anti-gay-marriage agenda.The Tory Party is laughing at you. I can hear them now. "Go ahead, be mad. Who cares? It's not like you are going anywhere." They are almost as predictable as they think you are. Prove them wrong. Don't be chumps. Recommend this Post
As a matter of fact, he believes that Mr. Harper has effectively put an end to the gay marriage issue by holding a free vote on it earlier this fall.
Although skeptical at the outset, Prof. Gibbins now believes the vote will effectively put an end to arguments that the government plans to go back to the old definition of marriage at a later date.
He also believes the Prime Minister doesn't necessarily have to start delivering victories to the Christian right because those voters typically have no other party to go to, at least not now.
Btw, my favorite part of the official Tory defence comes in this line:
The Conservative Party of Canada does not believe that delegate fees paid to cover the basic costs of a convention should be subsidized by taxpayers through the political tax credit system," says a letter accompanying the receipts.It's like me saying, "While I don't believe that driving drunk with my pants down is a crime, this policeman disagrees". Recommend this Post
"However, we have recently been advised that Elections Canada takes the position that the amount of a convention fee paid by a delegate, less the value of certain `tangible benefits' received such as meals, are to be treated as a political contribution by that delegate."
Friday, December 22, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
"I think you identify yourself. It's an identity, not a legal definition," he said.So, I could be Quebecois too, or maybe not. How 'bout my cat? Recommend this Post
"Being a Canadian carries a legal definition - you're a citizen or you're not.
"But the idea of a Quebec nation is strictly a matter of identity and you can't define it for everyone."
He said the concept implies ties to the French language and the territory of Quebec.
"Obviously this idea is linked to the French language. For that reason, if you're speaking of a Quebecois nation you're speaking of French," he said.
"You're speaking of the Quebecois, not Quebecers."
He was asked: does that mean anglophone Quebecers aren't part of the Quebecois nation?
"I think some anglophones and some ethnic groups identify with the Quebecois nation. Maybe some don't," he said.
"I don't think it's possible to put precise terms to it."
If the main criterion is an attachment to the French language, then does that mean all French-Canadians - even those outside Quebec - belong to the Quebecois nation?
"I'm not sure," Harper said, speaking in French.
David Newman, an analyst who follows agribusiness at National Bank Financial, said the removal of Mr. Measner suggests the government is serious about fixing what many observers feel is a flaw at the Wheat Board.Sure and why do we give average "hobby citizens" the right to vote in federal elections, when restricting the vote to the great and good would be much more efficient? That's a "flaw" in democracy I'm sure the Tories will get around to fixing eventually. Recommend this Post
As it stands, Western farmers get to elect 10 of the 15 members of the agency’s board of directors, and so far they have been choosing mostly pro-monopoly candidates. But Mr. Newman says that’s because votes are skewed in favour of small growers under the current one-farmer, one-vote system.
“You shouldn’t be giving a hobby farmer the same weight as a as a large-scale corporate farmer,” Mr. Newman said. “There should be a fair vote.” If large-scale farmers were better represented, the Wheat Board would likely not have a monopoly on wheat pricing, he said.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
"We have to point out why the environment is a priority for the public,'' he said in French.Stupid Canadians. Give 'em real problems to worry about and we can forget about all this environment bullshit. Recommend this Post
"Because there are no more scandals, there are no more threats against national unity, there is no longer a government that never acts, there is a strong economy . . .
"Things are going well for Canada and for Quebec. It's not the same for the environment.
Indeed, I am surprised there aren’t special interest groups out there protesting the lack of a National Miracle Program.It goes on (and on) from there, but you get the idea. I wonder if Quebecers appreciate the humour in this piece? I wonder if Steve thinks it is a hoot, too? Recommend this Post
But would we really want to nationalize the miracle business? Would it really be in the best interests of the population to set up, say, a Ministry of Christmas Miracles in Ottawa?
I don’t think so. In fact, in the spirit of ideologically tainting Christmas, here is what I think miracles would be like if they were run by the Canadian government.
Miracles would be marketed by ad companies associated with the Liberal party.
There would be about 10 times as many angels as required to do the job.
Every other year the miracle-givers would go on strike to get a richer pension.
A disproportionately large share of the miracles would end up being performed in Quebec.
Monday, December 18, 2006
With Liberal morale low and the official opposition distracted by a marathon-style leadership campaign, NDP Leader Jack Layton was presented with a unique opportunity to step up to the plate as main critic of the Harper government.Ms. Hebert kindly lets Jack off the hook a bit (in a backhanded way), by going on to say the NDP is too minor to make much difference. The point is, Harper failed by moving off the centre (his five points were brilliant). Layton has failed by keeping his focus off Harper's failure and chasing after a party that has been out of power for a year. Recommend this Post
But Layton ended up spending too much time re-fighting his last wars against the Liberals and not enough time defining new terms of engagement against the Conservatives.
If Harper had consistently stuck to the middle-of-the-road approach to policy that had ensured his election victory, the NDP strategy of equating past Liberal failings to present Conservative ones might have worked. (emphasis mine)
But with the government regularly reverting to its Reform roots this fall, many voters quickly started worrying more about a future under a Harper government than about the recent Liberal past. Far from sinking Liberals further, the NDP approach ended up creating a convenient vacuum for its resurgent Liberal opponents.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
What do I think? Well, I'm actually with Kathy -- there is no constitutional right to a cheese sandwich at Woolworth's.It is an interesting argument, but I think he undercuts himself at the end. I ask you , what is this "higher justice", of which Ben speaks? It is quite obviously, the protection of the natural right of all individuals in a free society to be treated like everybody else. No more, no less. That overarching natural right trumps all other considerations. It certainly has primacy over freedom of commerce and property rights, Ben admits that by admitting there is a "higher justice" at stake. Therefore, since we both agree that natural rights are paramount, our only disagreement is whether a person needs to be arrested in order to point out the offense against natural rights. I think it an unnecessary obstacle to a just society for all. Recommend this Post
Saying that I have a right to someone else's services is just plain silly, and those students could have been arrested for what they did. (And often were.)
That being so, however, sometimes one has to break the law to make a higher point. And that point is, of course, that those people in exercising their property rights and freedom of commerce were behaving like racist assholes, and making the lives of their fellow citizens a seemingly endless train of humiliations.
And the other point made there was that the system of everyday humiliations that was the private side of Jim Crow was only possible as long as those who were being stomped on implicitly tolerated it.
That still doesn't create a right to a cheese sandwich -- it just means it was worth breaking the law and getting arrested to make a point about higher justice.(emphasis mine)
Friday, December 15, 2006
Now maybe some of you understand why some conservatives were worried about the Civil Rights Movement back in the 1960s.Um, yes. Yes they do. The Declaration of Independence declares "all men are created equal" and this is backed up by the ninth amendment to the Constitution. So all people are entitled to eat at Woolworth's and to a seat on a bus, private or not. It's called treating people like a human beings, Kathy. You should try it some time. Recommend this Post
Yes, it is very brave and noble to refuse to give up your seat on the bus (an incident that was planned in advance, just like this one) or at thelunchcounter . Those people had real guts. I sympathize with their feelings and can't begin to imagine how humiliating and frustrating their lives must have been at the time.
But does anyone really have a Constitutional right to eat a cheese sandwich at Woolworth's, or even to this or that seat on a bus owned by a private company? (emphasis Kathy's)
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The problem isn't your or my interpretation of the Koran. It is the interpretation of the Koran on the part of people who will kill us. You may have noticed that no Christian or Jew in the last 2000 years has actually carried out the capital punishment verses of Leviticus (emphasis Kathy's), but every day, Muslims around the world carry out violent injunctions in the Koran. That is why we have to be more worried about them.That (Kathy's emphasised section) may be the case (although she offers no proof of this blanket pardon and there is evidence that she is, in fact, quite incorrect), but the Christian Church certainly followed the advice of the book preceding Leviticus until relatively recently.
Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.I should remind Kathy too, that Christians cheerfully slaughtered each other over competing interpretations of the Bible, into the 21st century (Northern Ireland anyone?). When religion is introduced into the mix, excuses for carrying out "capital punishment" for offenses, real or imagined, are almost limitless. This is an issue of extremists doing what they do, killing in the name of their "truth". It is not an issue confined to Islam. Extremism is a human burden. I guess Kathy's consuming paranoia (the last "challenge" is especially disturbing in its bile) about Muslims caused her to miss another passage from the Bible, this one from the New Testament.
Matthew 7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?Recommend this Post
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
"You bury the issue by having the thing defeated and it looks like it will be," a senior Tory campaigner said. "I'm not saying you deliberately try to lose the vote . . . You try your best, but the reality of the vote being defeated is it makes it very hard for the opponents of the Conservative Party to attack the Conservatives for a lack of moderation."So, I guess raising the issue from the dead in order to mollify your reactionary wing won't tip people off that you may have some less than progressive elements in your party, then? The drugs they are passing around Conservative Party headquarters must be really, really, good. Recommend this Post
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
If Ezra needs a hint as to how he can pretzel his way out of this, he should look at Jack Layton's comments:
"I would prefer that a leader of a party hold only Canadian citizenship, because one represents many Canadians, and for me that means that it's better to remain the citizen of one country," Layton told The Canadian Press.ie Dual citizenship is ok for voters (and presumably columnists), but not for party leaders. What nonsense. Recommend this Post
"But for a person that isn't in a position of representing others, holding dual citizenship is fine with us."
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Proudly co-presented with Joey (Accordion Guy) deVilla and Jason Cherniak, please join us on Friday, December 8, 2006 at Toronto's Fiddler's Green, 27 Wellesley Street East - right across from Wellesley subway station on the Yonge line (so don't be a dumbass and drink and drive - but if you are driving, there's a paid parking lot right next to the bar) for the latest blogstravaganza, a gathering of the tribes of bloggers, readers, friends and enemies.It is slated to get under way at around 8ish. Sadly, I won't be there this year, as I am expected to be at my employer's less exciting event. Sigh, the lonely road of the middle manager. As much as that will break some hearts (not!), I don't want to discourage anyone who was thinking of going. This is going to be a fabulous event and who knows you might see a celebrity there (Greg Staples, perhaps). Recommend this Post
Monday, December 04, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
If I was working at Liberal Party headquarters, I would put extra locks and the doors and hire the best security in the world. Any party that would try to manipulate democracy like the Harper Tories have, would not think twice about using other "unusual" methods to achieve their ends. Recommend this Post
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Update: 3:20 pm. One more ballot to see if my crystal ball needs cleaning. What did I say about the "Anybody but Rae" movement? Bye, bye Bob. Enjoy your retirement, bud.
Update 2: 6:30 pm. Good to know the crystal ball still works. Now to go look up what Jack said about Dion at the policy convention a couple of months back. Recommend this Post
Friday, December 01, 2006
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Since the Parliament of Canada now seems to be in the business of designating groups as nations, I have started a petition to bestow that status on a real nation. I am of course talking about the "Colbert Nation", the true fans of the greatest television journalist working today, Stephen Colbert. Sign the petition. We are a nation, proud and strong. Let's get the government to recognize the truthiness of our uniqueness.
Update: Read the Colbert Nation Covenant. It is truly awe inspiring.
Update 2: For those who believe such resolutions are meaningless, read this. The Premier of Quebec is floating the idea that he will use the "Quebecois as nation" resolution as an argument for more power for Quebec, before the courts -- and HE IS A FEDERALIST! Imagine what a separatist premier would do with it. Recommend this Post
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Hon. Lawrence Cannon: No, it doesn't. It doesn't. Let's be clear on this. Four hundred years ago, four hundred years ago when Champlain stepped off and onto the shores in Quebec City he of course spoke about les Canadiens. Then as the debate went on on parlait des Canadiens français. Et au Québec on parle des Québécois maintenant qui occupent cette terre-là, Amérique. Il est fort possible — non seulement il est fort possible, il est tout à fait évident qu'il y ait des Canadiens français qui demeurent à l'extérieur du Québec, qui demeurent en Ontario, qui demeurent au Nouveau-Brunswick, qui demeurent partout au pays. Et donc dans ce sens-là nous on a répliqué à la motion que le Bloc québécois a mise de l'avant, une motion qui a dit singulièrement les Québécois et les Québécoises forment une nation. On dit, oui, ils forment une nation et à deux reprises, plus à quatre occasions, à l'occasion d'élections ils ont manifesté leur attachement au Canada. Ce soir, cette résolution-là, après 40 ans, est en train de reconnaître les décisions qui ont été entérinées à plusieurs occasions par des Québécois et des Québécoises de dire nous on fait partie du Canada. Nous on continue de construire le Canada. Et c'est ce que cette résolution-là formellement dit ce soir.
Question: Je ne suis pas une descendante de monsieur Champlain et tous ceux qui n'ont pas des noms canadiens-français ne sont pas des Québécois selon votre définition.
L'hon. Lawrence Cannon: Non, pas du tout, madame Buzzetti.
Question: Il y a plein de gens qui sont arrivés (inaudible).
L'hon. Lawrence Cannon: Non, non, mais pas — et moi aussi parce que ma famille est débarquée en 1795. Est-ce que je me considère comme étant un Québécois? Oui, je me considère comme étant un Québécois et ceux qui se considèrent comme étant des Québécois ils peuvent bien le porter. Mais je ne pense pas qu'il y ait question de forcer quelqu'un qui ne se sent pas comme étant un Québécois qui doit être nécessairement lié à cette chose-là et ça c'est le dilemme dans lequel le Bloc québécois s'est toujours trouvé. D'une part faire reconnaître par l'Assemblée nationale l'intégrité du territoire et d'autre part dire que les Québécois ou les Quebecers comme vous dites font partie de ce territoire-là c'est faux parce qu'il y a des gens qui fondamentalement ont opté pour le Canada et c'est ce que nous reconnaissons ce soir. Quand on a demandé au Bloc québécois d'accepter cette chose-là c'est ce qu'ils acceptent tacitement, que les Québécois font partie de la nation canadienne dans un effort d'unité nationale et c'est ce qu'on reconnaît.
I love the way he answers the question "Does it include every resident of Quebec regardless of which boat their ancestors came over on?" With "No,it doesn't" and then he denies saying just that later on.
Question: (Inaudible) Montrealers why they're not Québécois.
Hon. Lawrence Cannon: I didn't say that.
Question: Well, you said that it doesn't — you said it doesn't apply to people that aren't French.
Hon. Lawrence Cannon: I didn't say that they're not Québécois.
Man, this is the most fucked up government I have ever seen. They should resign en masse. The problem is, why would anyone want to vote for any of the parties? They are all lower than toejam. Recommend this Post
Declaration Chambre des communes
Quebec as a Nation - Speech in the House
This feels wrong to me.
It felt wrong when the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party passed its resolution.
It felt wrong when passionate, worried debate rose up across the country.
It began to feel even more wrong when last week the Bloc presented its motion.
It didn't feel less wrong, but it felt more hopeful, as if the worst might pass, when the Government then presented its counter-motion.
It began to feel fundamentally, irredeemably wrong when the Bloc announced it would support the Government's motion, saying that "Canada will become the first country to officially recognize the Quebec nation," and that "there will be many other countries that will recognize the nation of Quebec and the country of Quebec."
My country is more than this.
Canada is centuries and centuries of aboriginal peoples, their respectful relationship to the land, their culture and history.
Canada is French and English, struggling to survive a hard, new world, to make a life for themselves; different in language, culture, religion and law, struggling to live with each other. And making it.
Canada is people from almost everywhere, coming here, changing us and themselves in ways exciting and unknown.
Canada is immense resources, unimaginable possibilities - our future still in the making, still in the becoming.
Canada is a great global experiment. A true global society that works in the only way our global world of the future can work.
Canada matters. It matters to me, it matters to us, it matters to the world.
So when we deal with constitutional change, with things that lay out what we are and shape our future, it matters. It matters a lot. Meech Lake and Charlottetown, agree with them or not, we examined, we debated, we took time. Meech Lake and Charlottetown felt serious.
This feels wrong because it doesn't feel as serious as it must be.
It feels like games - bad, manipulative, opportunistic games. Political games. Box somebody into a corner so they say or do something they don't want to say or do just to get out of the corner. Just to save face. For them to box the other guy into saying and doing the same. So we all save face, and all get into a bigger box - a bigger box called "the future." Except that box is somebody else's.
And all of these games, these manipulations aren't really about now. They are about creating the slippery slope for later.
And the public has learned to accept most things political, but not this. The stakes are too high. "This is my country," the public says. "You have gotten yourself into this, but why should I join you. And why should I let you do this to me. This is my country."
This is pure politics. All this started with the ludicrous concept of having a debate fundamental to the country based on different understandings of the word "nation." In the last few days, it has deteriorated into the ludicrous reality of such a debate in practice.
To those who want to engage the debate honestly, seeking definitional clarity - forget it. Other parties to the debate want none of it. They want to say "nation" means whatever they want it to mean, now and to change definition whenever they decide they want it to mean something different. So they can go to the public and argue and spin, and try to achieve by misunderstanding what they can't by understanding.
When I first arrived in Montreal, it was the pride of Quebecers that struck me. The whole world's being taken over by the English language, American culture; Quebecers had no chance. But they said no, not me, not here. I know what I am. And that's who I'm going to be. Forever.
And Quebecers know who they are. They've had to. They couldn't have made it if they didn't. They don't need any official definers to tell them. And some day we, all Canadians, will get down on paper what Canada really is, what Quebec really is, what together we have made ourselves to be. But it won't happen this way. It can't happen this way.
Does the Bloc really want to engage Canadians outside Quebec so they will agree that "Quebec is a nation"? Not at all. They want the process to be so inappropriate that all such Canadians will reject the question. To grease that slippery slope, so that Canadians inside Quebec will reject those outside Quebec, and the Bloc's cause of independence will be advanced.
The pawn in this game is the public. As Canadians, we feel deeply about our country. Politicians and political advocates for decades have been playing games with our emotions, manipulating them for their/our own purposes. They/we have completely poisoned the well of discussion and debate on this question. No side trusts any other, no citizen trusts any politician.
Though it doesn't seem this way, the problem isn't really the language of French and English - it is the language of spin and manipulation and bigger agendas. Neither the Government's motion nor the resolution of the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party will do anything except create greater division and distrust.
My country, Canada, is more than this.
For me: no precise language, no precise understandings, no time and mechanism to work this through, no clarity - no support.
The Government motion should be defeated
Hat tip to Warren K. Recommend this Post
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Dear Premier Klein:Update: Wanted: One federal party that believes in one Canada. Recommend this Post
During and since the recent federal election, we have been among a large number of Albertans discussing the future of our province. We are not dismayed by the outcome of the election so much as by the strategy employed by the current federal government to secure its re-election. In our view, the Chretien government undertook a series of attacks not merely designed to defeat its partisan opponents, but to marginalize Alberta and Albertans within Canada’s political system. One well-documented incident was the attack against Alberta’s health care system. To your credit, you vehemently protested the unprecedented attack ads that the federal government launched against Alberta’s policies – policies the Prime Minister had previously found no fault with.
However, while your protest was necessary and appreciated by Albertans, we believe that it is not enough to respond only with protests. If the government in Ottawa concludes that Alberta is a soft target, we will be subjected to much worse than dishonest television ads. The Prime Minister has already signaled as much by announcing his so called “tough love” campaign for the West. We believe the time has come for Albertans to take greater charge of our own future. This means resuming control of the powers that we possess under the constitution of Canada but that we have allowed the federal government to exercise. Intelligent use of these powers will help Alberta build a prosperous future in spite of a misguided and increasingly hostile government in Ottawa.
Under the heading of the “Alberta Agenda,” we propose that our province move forward on the following fronts:
• Withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan to create an Alberta Pension Plan offering the same benefits at lower cost while giving Alberta control over the investment fund. Pensions are a provincial responsibility under section 94A of the Constitution Act. 1867; and the legislation setting up the Canada Pension Plan permits a province to run its own plan, as Quebec has done from the beginning. If Quebec can do it, why not Alberta?
• Collect our own revenue from personal income tax, as we already do for corporate income tax. Now that your government has made the historic innovation of the single-rate personal income tax, there is no reason to have Ottawa collect our revenue. Any incremental cost of collecting our own personal income tax would be far outweighed by the policy flexibility that Alberta would gain, as Quebec’s experience has shown.
• Start preparing now to let the contract with the RCMP run out in 2012 and create an Alberta Provincial Police Force. Alberta is a major province. Like the other major provinces of Ontario and Quebec, we should have our own provincial police force. We have no doubt that Alberta can run a more efficient and effective police force than Ottawa can – one that will not be misused as a laboratory for experiments in social engineering.
• Resume provincial responsibility for health-care policy. If Ottawa objects to provincial policy, fight in the courts. If we lose, we can afford the financial penalties that Ottawa may try to impose under the Canada Health Act. Albertans deserve better than the long waiting periods and technological backwardness that are rapidly coming to characterize Canadian medicine. Alberta should also argue that each province should raise its own revenue for health care – i.e., replace Canada Health and Social Transfer cash with tax points as Quebec has argued for many years. Poorer provinces would continue to rely on Equalization to ensure they have adequate revenues.
• Use section 88 of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Quebec Secession Reference to force Senate reform back onto the national agenda. Our reading of that decision is that the federal government and other provinces must seriously consider a proposal for constitutional reform endorsed by “a clear majority on a clear question” in a provincial referendum. You acted decisively once before to hold a senatorial election. Now is the time to drive the issue further.
All of these steps can be taken using the constitutional powers that Alberta now possesses. In addition, we believe it is imperative for you to take all possible political and legal measures to reduce the financial drain on Alberta caused by Canada’s tax-and-transfer system. The most recent Alberta Treasury estimates are that Albertans transfer $2,600 per capita annually to other Canadians, for a total outflow from our province approaching $8 billion a year. The same federal politicians who accuse us of not sharing their “Canadian values” have no compunction about appropriating our Canadian dollars to buy votes elsewhere in the country.
Mr. Premier, we acknowledge the constructive reforms that your government made in the 1990s – balancing the budget, paying down the provincial debt, privatizing government services, getting Albertans off welfare and into jobs, introducing a single-rate tax, pulling government out of the business of subsidizing business, and many other beneficial changes. But no government can rest on its laurels. An economic slowdown, and perhaps even recession, threatens North America, the government in Ottawa will be tempted to take advantage of Alberta’s prosperity, to redistribute income from Alberta to residents of other provinces in order to keep itself in power. It is imperative to take the initiative, to build firewalls around Alberta, to limit the extent to which an aggressive and hostile federal government can encroach upon legitimate provincial jurisdiction.
Once Alberta’s position is secured, only our imagination will limit the prospects for extending the reform agenda that your government undertook eight years ago. To cite only a few examples, lower taxes will unleash the energies of the private sector, easing conditions for Charter Schools will help individual freedom and improve public education, and greater use of the referendum and initiative will bring Albertans into closer touch with their own government.
The precondition for the success of this Alberta Agenda is the exercise of all our legitimate provincial jurisdictions under the constitution of Canada. Starting to act now will secure the future for all Albertans.
Stephen HARPER, President, National Citizens’ Coalition;
Tom FLANAGAN, professor of political science and former Director of Research, Reform Party of Canada;
Ted MORTON, professor of political science and Alberta Senator-elect;
Rainer KNOPFF, professor of political science;
Andrew CROOKS, chairman, Canadian Taxpayers Federation;
Ken BOESSENKOOL, former policy adviser to Stockwell Day, Treasurer of Alberta.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
"We are being drawn willy-nilly into the dead end of constitutional negotiations."From Michael Bliss:
Oh, come on Bliss. Lighten up. Who cares if political games are being played here. Does it really matter? No one's proposing to reopen the constitution. No one's proposing to give Quebec special status. It's all just symbolism. It doesn't mean anything in the real world. If it keeps the Quebecers quiet and happy, why worry? Isn't Stephen Harper clever?My God, I couldn't have said it better myself, if I sat here and typed for a hundred years. Neither of these gentlemen writes anything that should be a surprise to anyone who was around for Meech and Charltottetown. What they are predicting is as plain to see as day following night. We are heading down a brightly lit, familiar tunnel, but a tunnel none the less. Recommend this Post
The near-criminal recklessness of this position lies in everything we have known about separatist/nationalist politics in Quebec over the last 40 years. Are Quebecers going to be happy to be recognized as a nation within Canada if that recognition doesn't mean anything? If it doesn't confer anything? If it's meaningless?
Of course they aren't. Remember the hypocrisies of Meech Lake and Charlottetown? What the rest of Canada will be told is meaningless symbolism, will be sold in Quebec as profoundly significant. Significant because it gives Quebec special recognition within Canada. Every Quebec premier will use the recognition of "nationhood" to argue for special status, special powers, and, in the case of separatists, to insist upon logical consequence of ethnic/civic nationhood, which is the right of self-determination leading to independence.
Friday, November 24, 2006
As Andrew Coyne put it in Thursday's National Post, Harper's speech in the House of Commons marked the final "hollowing out of the national idea," the death of "a vision of Canada as a coherent national entity, capable of acting with a single national purpose."The "single national purpose dumpster". There you have it. The idea of a Canadian nation is now viewed as worthy of the dumpster. Think that the idea of "nation" will be meaningless and confined to Quebec? Think again. Be prepared for the provinces to begin lining up for more power and money as befits the nations that make up the geographic space that was Canada.
Yeah, so? I have never been keen on the idea that Canada and its parts should think and speak as one unified, centralized whole. And I have never understood how those who insist our strength lies in cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity cannot accept that it lies in our regional diversity, too. One-size-fits-all national standards and social programs simply cannot work in a country as large and dispersed as Canada.
If Harper's Wednesday motion killed this "national project" view of Canada, so be it.
Instead, what bothers me (obviously) is the way setting Quebec above or apart from the rest of the provinces frees it to act on its own, while all the rest of us remain consigned to the "single national purpose" dumpster.(emphasis mine)
Mr. Harper is getting a lot of advice from Brian Mulroney. With this motion that advice is showing through. We are headed for Meech/Charlottetown 3. Recommend this Post
Thursday, November 23, 2006
I keep hearing that what Harper (and let's face it the whole political class in Canada) has done is no big deal. "Calling Quebec a nation doesn't mean anything anyway", is the common refrain. Well why do it then? Do you think Quebecers are stupid? Do you think they (or more importantly their politicians) will accept a meaningless motion? No, this will be used as a club wielded by provincial politicians who want more power. For this is about power, in the long run and who has it.
This also about competing visions of Canada. One is the traditional view of Canada as one nation, with a strong central government, made up of diverse regions. The other is one based on a smaller Canada, a mute Canada, a Canada that is nothing more than a loose collection of semi-autonomous "nations", a United Nations of a country if you will. I for one don't want to live in the Untied Nations. I want to live in Canada. One nation. The greatest nation and country in the world. Recommend this Post
The Canadian ideal which we have tried to live, with varying degrees of success and failure for a hundred years, is really an act of defiance against the history of mankind. Had this country been founded upon a less noble vision, or had our forefathers surrendered to the difficulties of building this nation, Canada would have been torn apart long ago. It should not surprise us, therefore, that even now we sometimes feel the pull of those old reflexes of mutual fear and distrust.We are about to embrace that "less noble vision". We are unilaterally "surrendering to the difficulties of building this nation". Recommend this Post
I have to admit, I have been very uneasy about the NDP's drift in the direction of supporting this concept over the past few years. It is based on the idea that the party can make gains in Quebec by swallowing their vision for a "national" enclave in Canada. My agreement with the party over a myriad of other issues kept my unease in check. No longer. I find myself, for the first time in my life, party-less. There is no party in Canada that represents a progressive worldview with a dedication to civic nationalism. There is no party that speaks for me, or Coyne or the good folks at the Star. We are orphans in a "country" that is not a real "nation". I guess Lucien Bouchard was right all along. Pity.
Update: Oh yeah, what Wells said, too.
It is telling that only one nation was discussed in the House of Commons today, and it was the nation most Canadians don't live in. Apparently most of us don't deserve a nation. Certainly we don't seem to deserve a prime minister who names our nation for us. And if you don't like today's events in the Commons, you pretty much have to lump it, don't you: Vote Tory, NDP or Liberal, it's all pretty much of a muchness, because none of them can name a nation worth defending except QuebecRecommend this Post
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Is income-splitting unfair to singles? A couple earns $100,000. A single person earns $100,000. Income-splitting would benefit one but not the other. Shouldn’t they pay the same of tax? No, of course not. Horizontal equity requires that we treat like as like. But a single person and a couple aren’t in similar circumstances. The couple has $100,000 to spend between them. The single gets to spend it all on himself. He thus has more discretionary income -- the amount left over after basic living expenses -- out of which to pay his taxes. It’s only fair he pays more.What about a single father paying child support, which would be a much more common occurance given our divorce rates? It seems to me that people in that position would cry foul. Look, I don't want to dismiss this idea out of hand, because there is some merit to it. However, it is a very expensive proposition and I haven't noticed the Canadian people crying for $5 billion in cuts to federal spending. What we need is a rational discussion about this (what about caps or making this move toward fairness revenue neutral?). What we don't need is more propaganda. Recommend this Post
Monday, November 20, 2006
Mr. Harper, however, was unapologetic about the state of affairs and indicated that a more engaged relationship under the Liberals didn't help much in opening doors to Canadian business.O..K.., I guess the best way to address our trade deficit with China is to attack them publicly on human rights. I think that's what he was saying. Or, he may have meant he didn't care about hurting our relationship with China because we will never improve our trade position anyway, so why try? I call this "Steve's Kyoto Strategy".
"Presently, we run a massive trade deficit with China. The fact of the matter is that neglecting human rights hasn't opened a lot of doors either, so obviously we don't think you get anywhere by short-changing your values."
Look, I have no problem with Steve talking to the Chinese about human rights. Steve's sin, for all his supposed "strategic brilliance", is to telegraph it ahead of time, and in public. I am sure it makes Steve feel like "a real man", but if it does nothing to acheive Canadian foreign and trade policies (whatever they are these days), let alone human rights in China, it is merely an autoerotic exercise on Harper's part. Grow up Steve. You are in the big leagues now, pal.
Update (the Foreign Minister weighs in): Peter MacKay, bringing all the interpersonal relations skills that has made his personal life so successful, commented:
"They need us," Mr. MacKay said. "They are very interested in doing business in this country."Translation: "I treats countries like I treats women. Tough love man, the ladies just love it. They always crawl back for more sweet, sweet, Petie". Recommend this Post
Sunday, November 19, 2006
We at the Sinister News Service have obtained the transcript of the meeting:
Harper: Hey You!
Hu: Wong, who is this?
Wong: It is Stephen Harper of Canada, the one they call "Psycho Steve".
Harper: You wanna fight, you slanty eyed cocksucker? You got one of my boys locked up and I want him now. Ha, we tossed one of yours out the country. What do you think of that? Eh, eh?
Hu: Wong, tell Mr. Harper he is holding up the buffet line and to kindly move. Oh, and tell him to have a good day. Recommend this Post
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Update: Meanwhile, no matter who Psycho Steve is trying to provoke this week, he always knows who his true enemies are. Recommend this Post
Friday, November 17, 2006
The elite of the liberal consensus may well get their way; they usually do. But here's a thing. Money and power and people are flowing steadily westward and the decline of deference continues to drain power out of the common rooms and into the commons.I will not dispute Albertans' right to "chafe" at the "liberal" elite consensus, but I have a hard time believing they sit around thinking they are oppressed by liberal elites and can't wait until their time for revenge has come. Real people in Alberta (as opposed to John Ibbitson, apparently) have lives after all. Recommend this Post
One day, not that far off, the West will choose the song, and the masses will elect whom they please, and the elite of the liberal consensus will find themselves talking only to each other, and being listened to by no one at all.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Update: Paul Wells, as usual, describes the situation with precision. Recommend this Post
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
To Quote Saint George himself from 1984:
"The Party said the Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as four years ago. But, where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -- if all records told the same tale -- then the lie passed into history and became truth."One thing conservative readers should understand, George was condemning the practice, not recommending it. Recommend this Post
Sunday, November 12, 2006
"We're on track to meet all of our obligations under the Kyoto Protocol but not the target...."Rona Ambrose using the brilliant mind melting techniques pioneered by Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew, in the classic Star Trek Episode, "I Mudd".
Next she'll be telling us we are all millionaires, except for the money. Fucking brilliant, except Canadians are people, not androids -- although I have my doubts about our Prime Minister. Recommend this Post
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Under Harper, the message has changed from "love the veterans, remember their sacrifice, work to avoid war", to "love the veterans, remember their sacrifice, glorify war as an enterprise". I get the sense, when I watch Harper, that he revels in his role as chief cheerleader for the concept of war. It's like he sees war as a means for a country to assert its collective manhood and show the world it isn't gay. It is a fetishization of war and the military and it is deeply disturbing to me. War is a sad failure, and is nothing to be glorified. Harper's love affair with the idea of war, has injected a creepy eroticism into Remembrance Day (even going so far as to say that Remembrance Week will "climax" on Remembrance Day) and it makes me feel dirty.
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Friday, November 10, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
It could be that voters have replaced a Liberal government that had made a practice of sending misleading and contradictory signals to the American administration with one that does the same to the rest of the planet.Change the "could be" to "is certain" and I would agree totally with Ms. Hebert. Recommend this Post
Update: Not to kill my own buzz, but this outcome will be a decidedly mixed blessing for Canada. Still, I am happy the Dems wiped the smirk off those fucking frat-boy, asshole, Republican, faces. Pricks. Recommend this Post
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve been warring against it all of my adult life. For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach.Wow, have you ever read anything more self hating in your whole life? This is what fundamentalism does to people. I am sure Ted could have had a nice life if he had been allowed to accept his true self in a community of caring people. Instead he hid his sexuality under a cloak of religious piety, among people who consider homosexuality a sin.
As a result, Ted felt dirty about himself and bitter and angry at those who had been able to escape the expectations of "normal" society and live as themselves. Haggard used his fundamentalism as a cover for his orientation and as a stick with which to club other gays. Haggard needs to sit down and truly look at his life with honesty and compassion toward himself and others. I have grave doubts he will. Recommend this Post
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Wonder what the ted kennedys, nancy pelosi, john kerry, taliban jack supporters will say when the islamofacists come for them. Bush is right, fight them there or fight them in the usa. They are already here and just waiting. Pullling out of Iraq will not stop muslims from killing muslims. How many of the supposed 500,000 killed were killed by muslims. I look at those numbers and think, thank GOD, they will no longer be able to reproduce. (emphasis mine)Can't wait for Curics sign off to be, good night, allah be willing.I bet Mary would be singing along with Borat, too. Although, I suspect outraged denials on that score. These days, in polite Borat conservative circles, genocidal hatred is reserved only for Muslims (unless, like Borat, you get them into a sing along). But, it isn't at all a stretch to believe that in another time and place, Borat conservatives would be flocking to the theatres to see the Eternal Jew. The same naked hatred is on display. Only the target has changed. Recommend this Post
What will it take for the leftist idiots to wake up.
Now: Stephen Harper has surprised and annoyed European Union leaders by cancelling a planned Canada-EU summit, where he was going to be criticized for abandoning this country's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Recommend this Post
Friday, November 03, 2006
People often accuse the Tories of pandering to their core supporters. The Tippers of Edmonton aren't feeling particularly pandered to today.Oh, they're pandering to their base, all right. The Tippers' mistake was in thinking they were part of it. Recommend this Post
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Update: Yes that would be the same fellow who can be seen below denouncing gays.
Update 2: It just goes to show you, the old proverb is right. Men plan and God laughs. Recommend this Post
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
And now consider that we are still in the shadow of September 11. The Taliban have been toppled and, as critics of the Iraq war would have it, the Americans have kept their "focus" on Afghanistan. That doesn't mean they've caught Osama bin Laden -- the escape from Tora Bora was in 2001, long before the Iraq "distraction" -- but it may well mean he and his followers are in need of a new hideout. We know that they were in continual contact with Saddam, even if Duelfer found that this did not amount to a "relationship." Where in this world would they find a regime more willing to defy the Americans, then at the height of their power? What might they have achieved, within the shelter of a nuclear-armed Iraq?You have to admire the audacity of someone who uses air quotes on "relationship" (as if by doing so it leaves open the possibility that they did in fact have an as yet "undiscovered super-secret" one), when there is absolutely no credible evidence that Hussein and Bin Laden were working together. In fact, the evidence shows that while they talked, their interests were so divergent they could never find common ground.
To suggest, as Coyne does, that Bin Laden was ever going to end up in Baghdad as an honored guest of Hussein, is just a flight of wingnut fantasy. Yes, yes, it is possible that it might have happened (though as Coyne himself points out, Bin Laden was chased out of Afghanistan long before Saddam was toppled, and did not go to Iraq) as Coyne theorizes, just as it is possible that Stephen Harper will admit his love for Jack Layton, but it is highly, highly, improbable. So improbable, that Coyne has left the realm of journalism and has entered the realm of alternative history.
I know it hurts to have Hans Blix say that Iraqis had it better under Hussein, but sometimes you just have to stand there and take the truth for the team. Giving the world yet another "King Lear yelling at the wind" denial of reality only makes Coyne look like a loon. Recommend this Post
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Update: I guess the thought of having to support this government on a vote of non-confidence would make me look like I swallowed something bitter too. Nice move by Jack. Too bad it will only result in discomfort for the Liberals rather than any concrete movement on GHG's. Still, tip of the hat to Jack. Recommend this Post
Monday, October 30, 2006
Needless to say, I really never had much cause to agree with the editorial content of the Free Press which tended to be the voice of the west end, Anglican, Tories (since I was an east end Catholic socialist). To see such a paper publish this editorial gave me some pause. It tells me that the old anglo-establishment are disturbed by Stephen Harper. He is clearly seen as "not of the club" and definitely not a gentleman. This is an interesting development and bodes ill for the new and improved "Conservative" party going forward. If the old establishment turns on it, full force, the CPC will have a hard time expanding the vote beyond the Frank Miller/Mike Harris wing of the party in places like London, where they need seats. Recommend this Post
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
"It's not the responsibility of the Official Opposition to support the entire program of the government. Two-thirds of Canadians did not vote for this government. The Liberal party can't expect to walk in and simply propose its own program that only one-third of Canadians supported and expect that everybody's going to vote for it."Our psychotic PM today:
"This is not what Canadians voted for, it is not what Canadians want . . . I call upon the opposition to stop stalling and watering down legislation and do as they promised they would do in the election: pass the legislation and get tough on crime in this country."You have to hand it to Psycho Steve, he doesn't let continuity of thought get in his way. Recommend this Post
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Friday, October 27, 2006
Layton needs to be Belinda slapped for about 20 minutes………..Get it? Belinda. Bitch. Funny eh? Recommend this Post
At a news conference yesterday, Mr. Harper castigated the Liberal-dominated Senate for proposing amendments to the Accountability Act.
"The behaviour of the Liberal Party is arrogant and anti-democratic," Mr. Harper told reporters after a meeting with Mexican president-elect Felipe Calderon. "That's really the problem. They haven't accepted the decision of the electorate."You mean the decision of the electorate to give your party a minority of the seats in the House? I think the opposition has accepted that reality very well. You, on the other hand and your party, are becoming more and more divorced from that reality every day. Recommend this Post
May I also suggest to Mr. Ibbitson that voting in a "majority" government with 40% of the vote can have more serious repercussions for a province than instituting PR. All one has to do is look at the consequences to Ontario of electing "majority" Conservative governments between 1995 to 2003 for proof of that theory. When you allow a group of radicals take over the levers of power in a province, to grant them near dictatorial power, without the benefit of having earned the votes of a majority of the population of a province, you are in for trouble. You get a government that doesn't care about anyone but its core block of voters and knows if it keeps that block happy, it can safely ignore everyone else (imagine what Stephen Harper would do with 40% of the vote and 60% of the seats in Parliament) -- even if everyone else constitutes the majority of the population.
Mr. Ibbitson never addresses this little problem. Why should he? He is a partisan of a party that benefits, from time to time, in the status quo. The promise of unhindered power for a minority "majority" is just too great a temptation for a weak minded fellow like John Ibbitson. The man writes about a "consensus", but what he really is protecting is unlimited power for the few over the many. That's why we need PR, to cut such people off from total power. Recommend this Post