Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

Last night I rented the film Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey and Jude Law, and I must say that it was an entertaining experience. The script was clearly designed to set up future films and if Downey is signed on, I will be renting the sequels. I won't say anything that reveals the plot, other than the basic premise of CSI merging with 19 century England. I was not pleased with the choice of villain in this film, who despite a strong acting performance was used to set up the more compelling villain in the next movie. Passing on the optimal villain shows that obviously they intend to make this into at least a Trilogy.

I do recall from my own childhood; when a person would state an overtly obvious fact, the required response would be "no shit Sherlock!" which I confess to using myself on several occasions. And on the subject of police drama, NCIS Los Angeles is brutally awful. The person who cast LL Cool J as a crime scene investigator should not be employed in the business of casting decisions. I much prefer CSI: 19th century London. The special effects are fantastic, Downey is always good, but I was mildly disappointed in the story.


The United States set to begin funding foreign abortions?

Newsflash to the United States, according to the Liberal Party of Canada, Hillary Clinton has now promised to include funding of foreign abortions into future G8 policy initiatives. Today Canadian Liberals are claiming vindication for their failed foreign abortion initiative because Hillary Clinton made a statement about family planning; and leader Mike Ignatieff seems to have reclaimed his righteousness to demand our tax dollars fund foreign abortions. Even if Hillary personally believes that we should be paying for African abortions, she never said that was going to become American foreign policy. Canadian Liberals and Evan Soloman disagree.

It is one thing to say that maternal health should include abortion, but it is a bridge entirely too far to say that we should pay for them abroad. That will never become American foreign policy, so how in the hell is the statement she made vindication for Liberal demands that we fund foreign abortions? Soloman interviewed Bev Oda today, and he completely misrepresented Clinton's statements. Solo was representing that this is something that the United States intends to do through a G8 initiative rather than just Hillary stating her own beliefs. If you watch her statement she was smiling and in great spirits until the question was asked, then she looked down, her face went dark, and she stated her belief.

As Kory Teneycke asked on the Soloman Show, it will be interesting to see if and how quickly backlash from this spills over the border into the United States. I'm sure the country will be really excited to start paying for African abortions. Curbing African population growth likely excites many Liberals, but it's not something I expect to get much traction in the center. What would it say about a country if they were to adopt a more aggressive abortion policy abroad than it has at home?

Canadian: Not being allowed to say "I'm sorry"

Today's oddball quote of the day comes from none other than Mr. Ignatieff who while talking about the latest Helena Guergis controversy said that Canadians don't get to say we're sorry. He then proceeded to accuse her of lying about having no knowledge of her staffers writing Dear Abby letters; despite there as of yet being no evidence that she did have knowledge. There may be reasonable grounds to suspect that she knew about or possibly ordered the letters to the editor (which is not a criminal offense), but inferring guilt before evidence of it exists is not very Canadian.

I think that Helena should step down as cabinet minister (which I have said for weeks), but the impromptu presser that Iggy brutally over-acted was just absurd. He was trying to do his exaggerated outrage while also smiling; or what I have come to know as his "I'm so mad it's funny" face. Then he tried to imply that Canadians are outraged at the Minister because Canadians don't get to say "I'm sorry". That's news to me. I would agree that the more you have to say you're sorry, that does indicate a greater propensity to make mistakes. There's a reason that there is never any controversy swirling around Tony Clement, because he is a highly competent minister.

Even if she ordered the staffers to write the letters, I'm sure no Liberal staffer has ever written a letter to an editor or called a talk radio show pretending to be a random concerned citizen, not disclosing their conflict of interest. I'm sure that never happens, ever, ever. I'm sure no Liberal staffer has ever been sent to a line for swine flu vaccine and told to begin trying to incite public hysteria over a possible vaccine shortage (despite Canada having one of the largest per capita stockpiles in the world). That kind of thing never happens.

"Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid."

-The Far Side

Helena of Troy


Helena, it's time to abdicate your ministry. There was once a mythical beauty whose face launched a thousand ships, but today's Canadian political incarnation has launched a thousand headaches. I am not advocating her expulsion from caucus, but with the distractions in her personal life she should resign from cabinet. I am not simply coming to this conclusion now, as I have seen the writing on this wall for a number of weeks.

This latest controversy that her staffers wrote letters to editors to support their boss feels like it came from an episode of Saved by the Bell. If they did it because they support their boss and the minister truly had no knowledge of it, then no infraction has been committed. If she ordered the action, then that is not conduct becoming of a cabinet minister. In either case, she has endured a very difficult ordeal in her personal life and she should abdicate her responsibilities until the dust settles.  Either the Prime Minister should step in and do it for her, or she must do it herself.  It's time.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

There's Nothing About Hillary...

...that I agree with these days. Hillary Clinton's recent foray into Canadian politics is growing tiresome and I am excited she's leaving my country. According to Terry Milewski, Hillary has re-opened the abortion debate in Canada by saying that she believes that safe abortion should be part of maternal health plans. What Terry didn't focus on was how she said that funding foreign abortions should not be Government foreign policy. Terry says that even if you thought the debate ended with the Liberal Opposition Day debacle, well Hillary has opened it up yet again. This despite the fact that she was not promoting funding foreign abortions, which was the whole point of the Liberal O-Day motion!

She also criticized our planned exit from combat operations in Afghanistan as a means of attempting to bully us to extend our presence. If I personally had a vote on the matter I would choose to extend our mission, though I would have our forces moved back up to Kabul. But I don't think being critical of Canada is going to win any hearts and minds, and getting tough talk from Hillary makes me less likely to want to assist our ally in their endeavour. What she should have done was talk about how fantastic our military is and how they won't be able to get by without us. That would have been more effective than being hyper-critical.

Of course she started off her visit by "blasting" our Government for not inviting more countries to the G8 foreign minister's meeting. I counted 8 foreign ministers at the big table. To be fair, should we just invite representatives from every country in the world to attend G8 meetings? Is that why they happen, so the whole world can be here? I would agree that the G20 should take higher priority than the G8, but how often are hosts of G8 foreign ministers meetings criticized for not inviting more countries? I can't imagine that happens a whole lot. Next time let’s not invite Hillary and see how she takes it.

Jean Charest the Taxman

Today the Liberal Government of Quebec announced several new taxes to be dumped on their citizenry to pay for large Government programs. The sales tax alone is going to rise to nearly 10% by 2012. When the people of Quebec are paying the highest sales tax in the country, I'm sure the federal Liberal Party idea of raising the GST will be very popular in la belle province. But it doesn't stop with just the sales tax; there will be increases in the gas tax, healthcare fees, tuition fees, and costlier electricity rates. I'm REALLY glad that I don't live in Quebec.

I think this is nuts and the Charest Government has lost its mind. That is my opinion, which Chantal Hebert would likely qualify as "Quebec bashing". Perhaps you recall in when Charest introduced a massive new fee of up to $5000 on cars that don't meet the toughest emissions standards in North America. A very small proportion of automobile manufacturers produce models who meet those standards, ergo the large majority of Quebecers who buy a new car will have to pay a thousand dollar fine to the Provincial Government. Jim Prentice came out and said that Quebecers may not appreciate paying these lofty fines, and Chantal vehemently decried the Environment Minister's statement as "Quebec bashing".

With Ignatieff all but saying he is going to have to raise taxes to pay for his field of dreams, each new tax that Charest dumps on his people will make the federal Liberal platform less palatable in those 75 affected ridings. This begs the question, which provincial premier is the most out of control?

"The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that carries any reward."

-John Maynard Keynes

A Thinker's Bounce?

Yesterday in an interview with the CBC, Mr. Ignatieff boldly proclaimed that his pie in the sky Thinkapalooza was "a game changer" (if you don’t think so, just ask him). Yes, gathering a few dozen elites in a Liberal stronghold to make obscene spending promises to be paid for by reversing a tax cut that hasn't happened yet evidently constitutes a transformative breakthrough in Liberal policy. National daycare; boldly going where no Liberal leader has gone before...err maybe I should check my sources. We also need the HRDC to start paying for unemployed workers to get training! I can't believe that we don't do this already, it makes so much sense!...What's that you say? The HRDC already pays for workers to get training? Here I thought that it was one of Iggy's bold new ideas…

It will be interesting to follow the next set of opinion polls to see if the Libs do indeed get a bounce from Thinkstock. I know the CBC likes to imply that if a bounce does not occur after an instance of the Tories performing admirably, this represents either a failure or even a loss of support. We may as well apply the same standards to the Liberal Party. If there is "a bounce" it isn't even good news because you expected it. But it does become bad news when the hypothetical expectation does not occur as you predicted it would.

Strombolopolis Lands Clinton Interview?

I am no fan of the CBC, but I would like to think that when foreign dignitaries come to town that they have better talent to interview the likes of Hillary Clinton than Strombo. Seriously? Clinton's people call the CBC for an interview, and the powers that be selected Strombo for this task? He's a rodeo clown! Should our diplomats be interviewed by misfits on American television like Sinbad or Danny Bonaduce? I don't mind the man having a job on television, but when I watch him interview the Secretary of State of the United States of America, I bow my head in shame. I'm not ashamed of Canada, just our tax funded public broadcaster for yet another bonehead decision.

That Hillary had just finished "blasting" Canada earlier in the day only contributes to my shame. I suppose it is possible that she was assigned Strombo in RESPONSE to her harsh statements. Like she was going to get Manbridge, the CBC decision makers saw the comments and decided "screw it, give her Strombo". It's possible.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ignatieff Must Raise Taxes to Pay for "Big Ideas"

This weekend's policy bender in Montreal saw the Liberals wealthiest elites make a number of large program spending promises while also promising to reduce the deficit by 2/3 in 2 years. But what was not being webcast to riding associations across Toronto was how on Earth they would ever be able to afford paying for such lofty ambitions. They were reluctant to discuss raising taxes, and the only real tax policy that emerged from Thinkapalooza was withdrawing support for a tax cut that hasn't happened yet; money that is not yet affecting current tax revenue accounts. Cancelling something that hasn't happened isn't going to suddenly pay for billions of dollars of increased program spending.

Ignatieff can't come out and say that he is going to raise taxes, because then nobody will vote for him. Running an election platform on raising taxes is not a winning strategy. He won't come out and lie like Dalton McGuinty and tell us that he won't raise taxes when clearly that's the only way to pay for overly ambitious spending packages; then immediately after winning an election do a complete reversal and announce massive new taxation.

Instead Iggy is just saying that the deficit is not his fault and he'll do what he "needs" to do, whatever that might be. Iggy may want to be careful how often he says that he had nothing to do with the deficit. I seem to recall video of him in January 2009 demanding a large multi billion stimulus package or else he would not support the budget in our minority Parliament.

I think you did have something to do with the deficit Mike, because the Tories had not made any commitment to a stimulus (which is responsible for most of the deficit) until after the opposition demanded it. I also recall several Liberal MPs running around Ottawa saying "a coalition if necessary, but necessarily a coalition" and some Libdippers wanted the budget voted down to continue with the coup they had attempted a few weeks earlier! Short is the memory of he who today can't remember the loud demand that he had made himself just 14 months earlier.

How long before Iggy re-launches the "Green Shift"? How long before Iggy promises to jump a football field on a motorcycle?

Publishing Military Documents on the Internets

Last week the Government released 2,500 pages of military documents to the opposition in response to their demands for more information. In a matter of days, all of these documents were posted on CBC.ca with "journalists" like Kady O'Malley encouraging her dozens and dozens of minions to read through every last page for any tidbit of incriminating information that she might have missed. How quickly do you think it took for those 2500 pages to hit the press at Taliban HQ? Yes, even the Taliban have access to the internets.

Personally I do not put much trust in our "sacred" public broadcaster to handle this issue appropriately. The day after the documents were released, CBC reporter Terry Milewski went on TV and said that there is nothing in the blacked out portion that could threaten national security or the safety of our troops in the field; despite the fact that he had not read any of the censored information! Terry read one page with a statement and used that to conclude that the whole 2500 pages of redaction was about hiding "national embarrassment, not national security". He had no idea what was blacked out, but presumed to draw lofty conclusions based on a tiny sample.

Personally, I don't want detailed information about our military operations released on the internet while we are at war. Our young men and women are over there fighting these people right now. If you assume that the people we are fighting will find this information, the more they know about our combat operations, the more effective they will be at launching attacks against our forces. Honestly I don't think that is of grave concern to Ujjal Dosangh who wants to put everything on the table WHILE we are at war. Canada is set to end combat operations in 2011.

The Blind Side

Last night I watched the movie "the Blind Side" with Sandra Bullock, and I have to say that it is hands down my favourite movie of the year. Having played high school football, I am more partial to this genre of film than most people, but you don't need to know anything about the sport to enjoy the movie. The concept revolves around the offensive line (specifically the left tackle) being responsible for protecting the "blind side" of the quarterback, and Sandra Bullock guiding a disadvantaged youth through this life. The plot focuses more on the kid's life than on the game of football, as there is very little of the sport in the first half of the movie.

While I certainly identified with the football experience in the movie, my own life experience was far different from the protagonist. I also played offensive line, which is a position unique in sport for how your sole responsibility is to protect your teammates and make sure they don't get hit. It is also a thankless position, as most people watching a football game can't tell when the O-Line does its job, but everyone can see when they don't.

But I digress. If you are looking to a rent a feel good film with some sports action, I strongly recommend The Blind Side.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Red Book 2.0

After watching as much of this weekend's Liberal Thinkstock as I could stomach, I am now trying to look forward to Liberal Red Book 2.0, the inevitable policy platform that will emerge from this weekend's gathering. It could be the need for two tier healthcare, it could be colonizing Afghanistan, abandoning Israel, or not pursuing a seat on the UN Security Council because allegedly everybody hates us. There are so many goodies to choose from. I know many of you out there at least watched bits and pieces, and I would like to assemble a list of the most ridiculous proposals to be the subject of a poll question.

I confess that I was amused watching Ignatieff deliver a bland, over-dramatasized closing speech to a room full of 30 people that were either hung-over, half asleep, or both. If you watch the faces in the crowd when they cut to the audience, half the people look like they are about to vomit. Don Newman seems to have come out of retirement, and he certainly seemed like a pig in slop at Thinkapalooza. During Iggy's last words, he made reference to how he would dramatically reduce the deficit and yet provided absolutely no indication of how this might be accomplished. He doubled down on nationalized daycare, making several promises to dramatically increase spending while offering no "big ideas" on where to find the money (other than freezing a tax cut that hasn't even happened yet).

Then he encouraged our skilled workers to leave the country to live abroad ahead of our demographic time bomb. That's what we need, when the baby boomers retire all their replacement workers are on assignment in the Sudan.

What I really want to know is what takes the cake as the dumbest big idea this weekend passed? Though I will say, I support two tier health care. I am only making the statement that it is ridiculous from a Liberal perspective if you remember the 2000, 2004, and 2006 election campaigns.

Canada at 150: Stop Pandering to Jewish Votes

In this the final day of Thinkapalooza, the Liberal Party of Canada is putting the finishing touches on its future policy platform. For example; Canada is a global embarrassment. We only support Israel to pander to Canadian Jewish votes. The Taliban are going to win the war in Afghanistan and there is nothing anyone can do about it (unless we make it a colony). Canada should not have a seat at the UN Security Council because we are an embarrassment and nobody likes us. Our foreign policy is only written to pander to other ethnic votes, beyond just Israel.

This all came from the former Foreign Policy Advisor to Pierre Trudeau. Though this diplomat (one of Canada's longest serving), did make a very apt statement about the Liberal Party, "they will endorse anything and everything which might return them to power." At this rate, Red Book 2.0 should have a chapter about Israeli Apartheid and pandering to ethnic votes over doing the right thing. But the chapter on how we need two tier healthcare to survive economically in the future will come first, but don't tell Paul Martin or Scott Reid or they could blow a gasket.

Ignatieff: "more Canadians should leave Canada"

It took a year, but Mr Ignatieff has finally conjured up a counter to the Tory "just visiting" commercials. He is proud of the 30 years he spent living abroad, and he thinks more of us should do the same. He would like to fast track the "brain drain" and export more of our precious young talent to foreign countries. As leader, he will make this happen. I hold a Mathematical Economics degree from a Canadian university, but the Canadian economy doesn't need me. My skill set would be far more valuable in the Congo.

Really, we need to bring "the Michael Ignatieff Experience" to more Canadians. We need more Canadians who upon graduating from high school or university pack up and leave Canada for their entire adult lives contributing all their skills to a foreign country, returning 30 years later to run for Prime Minister. If every young person in Canada lived their entire adult lives abroad, who would be left to take over for the soon to retire baby boomers?

You may want to be careful with this line of rebuttal Mike. With our pending "demographic time bomb", we should be encouraging our educated young people to stay in Canada. Boston is a lovely place that I have visited twice myself, but please let’s not export our future to Massachusetts. We could do far more good by returning Iggy to Harvard.

Canada at 150: Strong Job Growth

Saturday at Drinkerpalooza...err Thinkapalooza...I watched the Liberal Party applaud Canada's fantastic job growth in early 2010. Wait, sorry, allow me to correct myself, I actually saw that in the Globe and Mail:

"The Canadian economy has caught fire much quicker than expected, with home building, hiring and even car buying surpassing the most optimistic forecasts.

While observers were once predicting 2010 would be a year of slow growth and high unemployment, the past few weeks have seen better-than-expected indicators on almost every economic front."

I suppose this news was lost on Thinkstock; "thinkers" too preoccupied with two tier healthcare in 2017 to see fantastic economic news in 2010. I thought Ralph Goodale just said that we are on the wrong track...so would terrible economic news be considered the right track for his political career? I'm sure that's what he meant to say by the wrong track, that we are on the wrong track for Liberal short term election vote maximization. Liberals often speak in code, and it is not until you find that decoder ring in the cereal box that you can "see the matrix".

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Canada at 150: Two Tier Healthcare

I have been following Thinkapalooza today, and I must confess that I would never have predicted the critical importance of embracing two tier healthcare making policy headlines at the Liberal Thinkers Conference. I had been under the impression (thanks to the ghosts of election campaigns past) that the Liberals saw the move towards two tier healthcare as some evil threat being implied in the Tory platform. They tried their best to convince me that it is evil and wrong, yet now it is the talk of the town at Thinkfest?

Or can the Liberals pass off this apparent hypocrisy on Obama? Five years ago two tier healthcare was framed as the “Americanization" of Canadian Healthcare, but now that Obama is trying to Canadianize the American system, two tier healthcare is okay? I doubt Iggy will place this delicious morsel in Red Book 2.0. I need to start thinking of ways to parody Red Book 2.0. There are lots of opportunities for humour. Perhaps Canadiansense can do a video juxtapositioning Thinkapalooza with Sesame Street? Can you tell me how to get to Thinkapalooza?

I never understood Martin attacking the Tories on allegations of two tier healthcare. We already have it, and it proliferated through a dozen years of Liberal rule. They were trying to attack the Tories for something they had already done. That would seem to be a constant theme these days…

Great Ball of Fire in the Sky

I am starting to get confused between Earth Hour, Earth Day, Earth Second, Earth Week, and especially Earth Millennium. There are things that I do for the environment every day of my life. I don't litter, I recycle, and I endeavour to keep my own ecosystem clean. But I don't believe that carbon is "pollution", and that in fact it is plant food. By driving my car, I am feeding hungry plants who in turn give me oxygen. I don't appreciate alarmists like David Suzuki and Al Gore trying to scare people into believing them. They are trying to frighten our nation's children into indoctrination. David Suzuki makes a lot less money if Global Warming ceases to exist. Now he has started to dump his excuses into "acid oceans", where all aquatic life will be dead in a few years.

Today's blog post was brought to you by Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire. Whatever Barry was thinking when he wrote it, I enjoy the song as a parody of the apocalypse. Below I dug out my blog post from last year's Earth Day.

"there'll be no one to save with the world in her grave,
take a look around you boy, it's bound to scare you boy!"

-Barry McGuire

Fire in the Sky
Wednesday, April 22, 2009, posted by The Iceman

Happy Earth Day! I did not do anything noteworthy to celebrate today, other than driving my car around needlessly and flushing the toilet a lot. I did see an interesting story in the news this evening regarding the Sun emitting less heat than previously recorded. Satellites have confirmed that there has been a recent lull in solar flares in recent years. I did take Introductory Astronomy in my freshman year at University, but I was unaware that solar flares operate cyclically. When I first saw this story break, my initial reaction was that it was going to be used to explain why global warming has stopped despite Co2 levels continuously rising. Anyone who experienced this past winter in the Northern Hemisphere knows what I'm talking about. In Vancouver, spring came 3 weeks late this year (thus trees are cranking out pollen at an accelerated rate, and my allergies are going bananas). Lest we forget that Al Gore won a Nobel Prize convincing us that there was a direct linear relationship between Co2 in the atmosphere and temperature, where global average temperature has not increased since 1998.

Who could have guessed that there exists a relationship between temperature on the Earth and the amount of "cosmic magma" that our great ball of fire in the sky shoots in our direction? The Sun fires star-matter at us and it gets hot, it stops and it gets cold. Fantastic, where's my Nobel Prize? Am I suggesting that the Global Warming movement has been debunked, and anyone who advocates their position is misguided? No. What I am saying is that the debate is not over. We need healthy skepticism on both sides of the aisle to discuss healthy and constructive solutions to real problems.

For example, I would like to stop buying oil from the Middle East and Russia. Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and other mischievous potentially destructive regimes are almost solely dependent on oil exports to fund their governments. I would like to cut off their source of money. In order to break the dependence on crude oil, we need an alternative source of energy. In the near term, that has to be electricity. However, if we want to put an electric car in every driveway, we need to dramatically increase our capacity to produce electricity. If the demand for electricity grows exponentially faster than our ability to produce it, the price of it will go through the roof. I support an "all of the above" strategy on electricity. More nuclear, more wind turbines, more solar panels, more everything. As it stands, Canada benefits greatly from the sale of oil, but we also have a lot of uranium. Pound for pound, exploding atoms are the most efficient means of producing energy that we currently can produce. Let’s produce more. That concludes what I have to say on Earth Day…

Can you tell me how to get to Thinkapalooza?

Despite their initial snub from setting party policy, several Liberal MPs decided to attend Thinkapalooza after a last minute emergency e-mail from Donolo. Evidently ticket sales weren't very strong, and they needed bums to fill the empty seats (triple pun score). I saw on the CBC coverage that cocktails started very early in the afternoon, which is great to know that alcohol will leave its lasting fingerprints on Red Book 2.0.

Breaking news from Saturday morning is that the Liberal Party is going to cure Alzheimer’s. I'm sure that is a great relief to all you aging boomers out there concerned about this illness. Why didn't anyone think of trying to cure Alzheimer’s before? The question is, will Ignatieff find a cure in time to help John McCallum, or has Johnny passed the point of no return? I suppose it happens that the disease is sometimes misdiagnosed with just natural stupidity. To all you Liberal partygoers hitting the cocktail parties in the early afternoon, you should be weary of the John McCallum hospitality suite. I hear terrible tales from the Crypt Keeper.

Soon spontaneous Liberal Thinkers Conferences will start springing up all over the country...

Sour Earth Hour

I always look forward to Earth Hour every year, as an opportunity to burn as much electricity and fossil fuels as possible. Use extra toilet paper on every wipe, leave my car idling in the driveway, crank Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire on the stereo, flush the toilet as much as possible even when not necessary, and so on and so forth. If other people are going to be slacking off, the rest of us need to pick up our work boots and make up the difference. Have you been putting off a home improvement project that requires the frequent use of several different power tools? Try Earth Hour! What appliances do you have that consume the most electricity? Wait until Earth Hour to cook dinner, and cook something in the oven that takes a long time to cook. There are lots of ideas out there, harness your imagination!

If there are people out there that are going to do this whole blackout routine, then the rest of us need to pull up the slack. We need to make up the difference, such that when the eggheads review the results from the power grid, there is no measurable impact. Otherwise, they are going to use this as evidence for pushing policy, and the last thing we want is Elizabeth May running around telling us to live in the dark all day every day. People, turn on the lights. There is a reason for opposition beyond symbolism. We don't want to give them provable quantifiable results, to back up whatever misguided hypothesis they had in the first place!

Friday, March 26, 2010

David Suzuki is losing his mind

I grew up watching the Nature of Things, and so it bothers to see someone I once respected a great deal fly off his rocker into a cloud of delusional anger. Watching him lose it today on the Soloman Show was sad, but I suppose that's what happens to intellectuals who go all in on a losing bet. Once your whole reputation is staked on it, going back and saying that you were mistaken isn't going to sell many books.  I should qualify that I'm not just coming to this conclusion now, as Suzu began to show the symptoms of early onset activist rabies over ten years ago.  It has been a slow process, but it is now at the point where I just can't watch him at all.  The reason it has become so pronounced recently is because the Global Warming scam is being flipped on its head.  Suzuki invested too much of himself in junk science.

It was an Old Yeller moment.



John McCallum was invited...

It was nice to see camera footage from Day 1 of Thinkstock 2010 where the few dozen people who could afford a ticket to see Ignatieff speak included none other than the profound thinker John McCallum. When all the other MPs were ordered to go back to Toronto for the weekend, MC Johnny is where he needs to be, setting Liberal policy. Personally I am relieved. As a Conservative, I am very excited to have John McCallum there on the ground determining the future of their party. This is excellent news for Tories.

It is also comforting to see Ralph Goodale in attendance. He's really my go to guy on "neo con social engineering", and I'm glad his fingerprints will be on the next Red Book. Speaking of influencing Liberal policy, I also noticed from the CBC coverage that "Happy Hour" was starting REALLY early in the afternoon. You know what that means; let's get lots of cameras to that convention lickity split! The CPC should hire a camera man to follow McCallum around all weekend. That would make great television!

Back to Ralph, I watched an interview with him on the Soloman Show (it was either him or a life size Goodale bobblehead doll) and he was railing the standard fluff about how the Tories have us on the wrong path. Meanwhile today even more data was released showing that our economy is exceeding even the most optimistic estimates. Consumer confidence is very strong, and the amount of money that the Treasury receives from corporations is up 73%.

Things are looking really good right now.

All eyes on Milliken

With the botched Liberal abortion fiasco behind us, the next big shoe to drop will be from the Speaker of the House, who has the responsibility of determining whether or not the Government is in contempt of Parliament. If he says no, then Justice Yacobucci can go full steam ahead; if he says yes, then we could have a possible confidence vote to affirm his decision. The opposition can then vote in favour of contempt and vote non confidence, or if they are afraid of an election they could skip the vote to affirm their original motion. Liberals are very skilled at skipping important votes in the House of Commons, as we all know.

The opposition is getting frustrated with the Speaker. They are demanding that he speed things up, and make a quick decision. Meanwhile on Thursday the Government released 2500 pages of documents for them to read while they wait. They are complaining that parts are blacked out, but what did they expect? The Tories wanted to give the opposition something to chew on, but they still need Justice Yacobucci to read the blacked out parts and determine what is or is not a threat to our soldiers in the field.

Had the Government provided the original documents yesterday, they would have been going against what they have been saying along, that they contain sensitive military information. Some of that information also includes intelligence reports from our NATO allies. I'm sure the Brits would love for their top secret reports to be put in the hands of Ujjal Dosanjh...

The Problem with Libertarians

In reading public opinion from some of my fellow Libertarians in the past week(s), I am growing ashamed to identify myself as one. I understand the desire to reduce government spending, and while I do not generally support economic stimulus (which I have long described as administering morphine to a patient in critical condition); I am pragmatic enough to realize that when you are just returning to work after an attempted coup, you have to make compromises. Sometimes you need to be realistic instead of idealistic.

Now I see Libertarians and fiscal Conservatives throwing Stephen Harper under the bus for doing what the majority of parliament demanded. So if the PM had snubbed the opposition and they voted against the 2009 budget, would we have been better off under a Liberal coalition with the NDP and Bloc? Absolutely not! Should we have stood up for fiscal conservatism when the big tax and spenders were at the precipice of forming government? And do I need to come out and say this every fucking week? Be frustrated if that's what suits you, but attacking the Prime Minister for doing what he had to do is ridiculous.

Which gets me to the Fraser Institute. I have supported them in the past, and I will not debate their assertions on the effectiveness of the Economic Action Plan (which they were against from the beginning, now finding data to back-up their initial claim) until I have had a chance to review the data. But regardless, our economic recovery has been one of the best in the world and our GDP growth is smashing expectations. What exactly are we complaining about? “Sure our recovery has been fantastic compared to the rest of the world, but here's what I would have done differently?” Maybe we would have been even better off without the stimulus, but our recovery has been success. That's like a hockey fan watching his team win 4-2 and saying "we should have won 7-2".

Come on Libertarians, where is the realism? We have a minority parliament and a borderline bipolar opposition that control a majority of the seats in our legislature. If you think Jack Layton or Bob Rae would have done better as Minister of Finance, then may God have mercy on your soul (if he exists)...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Liberal Policy Convention Without the Rank and File


Some of you may remember that a year ago, Liberal MPs gathered with rank and file members from across Canada in Vancouver for the coronation of Mister Ignatieff. Originally it was supposed to be a leadership convention, which was not required after Ignatieff and Rae struck a capitulation deal. Rumours then started to spread that it could instead become a policy convention, where Liberals from across the country could vote on policy matters (like say perhaps funding foreign abortions). But once Iggy rose to power, he quickly quashed the idea of party members voting on policy. The convention instead became one big celebration gala for the coronation of an American professor who failed in the only leadership convention in which he had ever participated.

Friday the Liberals will meet for a policy convention in Montreal, except at this convention what you will not have are all those rank and file members from riding associations across Canada. Hell, not even Liberal members parliament are invited. It gets better, not only are they not invited, they were told not to attend and to go home instead! It appears that Ignatieff wants some hand picked bourgeois intellectuals to set the future of the party, not party membership. This does not surprise me. I'm sure Iggy doesn't want the rank and file to get in his way. The last time he gathered with them to vote on the party's future, the anointed one lost to Stephane Dion!

Stephane Dion, or Mike Ignatieff? The people have already spoken...

What does Iggy mean by "Internal Discipline"?

When Ignatieff says that his minions who were running against the whip on Tuesday will face "internal discipline", what kind of capital punishment do you expect him to wield? Will he bend them each over his knee and spank them? Will they be expelled from caucus? Unfortunately for McTeague, Szabo, and McKay, Ignatieff is on the record condoning torture, so be careful guys. They need to make an example of the dissenters. Given Iggy's romanticism with his Czarist ancestry, it should be noted that many of the Czars were infamous for the forceful and brutal means by which they silenced dissent.

Or perhaps the cruelest and most inhumane means of disciplinary retribution would be to force them all to attend the Thinkers Conference. Could you imagine being forced to actually sit through that malaise of overly ambitious but not pragmatically practical brainstorming? I would rather be waterboarded.

So what do you think Ignatieff intends to do to discipline his dissenting MPs?

Obama to request Canada extend Afghanistan mission?

In the aftermath of the Liberal failed maternal health motion, the subject in Question Period today was back to Afghanistan. I know that several members of the opposition are opposed to our war in Afghanistan, but what happens when Prophet Obama asks Canada to extend our mission with our allies? Ignatieff admits to being one of Obama's biggest fans, so how will he respond to such a request? Today in Question Period Iggy wanted to know if we would be extending our mission, though I did not hear him state whether or not he would like to grant Obama's request. This isn't George Bush's war anymore; it is now Obama's war.

Thomas Mulcair appeared to have downed too many cans of Red Bull before his questions in the House today, as he screamed at the government to give him a yes or a no. The answer, military operations will cease in 2011 and the US State Department has yet to file any request. This entire conversation stems from an article in the Globe and Mail. According to Ibbitson:

The U.S. government will ask Canada to keep as many as 500 to 600 troops in Afghanistan after this country’s military deployment in Kandahar ends in 2011.

Sources inside and outside the government say the formal request is expected toward the end of this year through NATO. The troops would act as military trainers and would most likely be located in Kabul. The deployment would not involve putting Canadian troops in harm’s way, but could nonetheless set off a rancorous national debate among Canadians and especially within the Liberal Party.

No specific request has been raised in meetings between Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Defence Minister Peter MacKay. But officials in the departments of State and Defence have advised their Canadian counterparts that an “ask” is coming.

My own preference is to stay in Afghanistan with our NATO allies until Osama Bin Laden is captured or killed. To pull out before we defeat the force that attacked us does not to me feel like a victory. Yet if public opinion has shifted against our participation, then who am I to argue with consensus? Okay, I may argue, but I will not oppose ending our combat role in 2011 as has always been the Government's position.

What do you think Liberal MPs will be doing during Iggy's Thinkers Conference?

While all the Liberal big boys are in Montreal this weekend thinking up party policy, what should all the juvenile non-thinker Liberal MPs be doing this weekend? They have been ordered to stay away from their own big policy convention, so what should they do instead? Should they go fishing? Should they hit the golf course, or should they be picking sides in the next Liberal leadership conference? Should they enroll in some night classes to make themselves worthy of attendance in the next Thinkers Conference?

We need think up some big ideas for non-thinking Liberals MPs to do this weekend, and I would like to harvest some ideas before launching a poll question. Thus far my own big ideas are:

1) Fishing
2) Golf
3) Choose a leader who can make priorities
4) Enroll in some night classes to upgrade their "thinker acuity"
5) Try to sell foreign abortion funding to their constituents

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Liberal Abortion Motion Fiasco: Conspiracy or Incompetence?

In my last post I introduced the idea that perhaps Bob Rae was set-up by Iggy's team to be the one to read a Liberal motion that was defeated by fellow Liberals in humiliating fashion. I may as well ask the poll question, do you think there is a conspiracy, or was yesterday's comedy of errors just an example of pure incompetence?

When you think it through, it would almost be more comforting to Liberal supporters if the whole fiasco was done with purpose. Every Liberal MP knew it was their opposition day when their party was going to have the floor to introduce legislation. It is not as though this vote came out of nowhere with no warning. It was the Liberal's opposition day! How far in advance did some of these MPs decide to skip work? Isn't parliament the sovereign? I would really hope that Liberal members of parliament representing Canadian people who elected them to vote on their behalf in the legislature would mark down their opposition days on their calendar. That's an important day.

If this was not done by Iggy trying to embarrass Bob Rae (who introduced the motion but didn't write it), or visa versa, then at least that scenario is more palatable then they missed the vote because they are negligent in the duties they were elected to perform. Seriously people, can you imagine if we put this particular cast of clowns in charge of a budget??? I shudder to think how badly those stooges would boggle that responsibility! They can't even pass a symbolic motion to guarantee abortions to the whole world, how are they supposed to run the Government?

Was Bob Rae Set-up?

It would appear that the breaking news coming out of today's Liberal caucus meeting is that the failed motion that Bob Rae introduced was not written by the former NDP premier. According to Rosemary Barton "it was not even his idea", and yet he was given a doomed piece of Liberal legislation to read aloud that was defeated in the House of Commons by fellow Liberals. The party whip suddenly forgets how to do his job? I understand the difficulty that their whip faces on a daily basis, because getting Liberals to show up to work isn't easy. I also heard a demand on the Soloman Show that Ralph Goodale should resign as House Leader because he shares responsible for whipping the vote.

The question is, was Bob Rae set up? The whip was aware that 4 Liberal MPs would not be able to make it, and still neglected to crack his whip. Is it possible that somebody in the LPC party hierarchy wanted this legislation defeated before it was ever voted on? It is possible, if not probable. Though it is even more likely that the party is just incompetent and messed the whole thing up not on purpose, but because they are completely bereft of parliamentary talent.  God help us if this current group ever gets their greasy hands on the real power.

What a great lead into their thinkers conference. All these humiliated and angry MPs are being sent home to their ridings while the big boys decide the future of their party. What plans has Bob Rae made for this weekend, and does he feel betrayed? Does anyone have the video from the Liberal leadership convention when the Rae camp collapsed, and several big name MPs (led by Ralph Goodale) walked past Ignatieff to Stephane Dion/ House leader Ralph Goodale. I feel like watching that video again.

Maybe Ignatieff read my blog last week?

Michael, "Beware the Ides of March"
Monday, March 15, 2010, posted by The Iceman

On this day 2,054 years ago Julius Caesar was slain by his old friend Brutus; who once before had challenged Caesar for power but was defeated and later welcomed into his council. Today, Mr. Ignatieff abandons the sitting legislature to embark on what can only be described as a Hypocrisy Tour. Will Bob Rae be making the trip with him, or will he get to sit in the big chair in his absence? Just as a soothsayer told Caesar before the incident, "beware the ides of March" (advice that was not heeded), Mike sure picked an auspicious historical day to ditch work.

Why is this so hypocritical? One of the reasons the Conservatives gave for proroguing Parliament was for MPs to consult their constituents for thoughts and feedback. The Liberals cried foul, saying that it was necessary for them to be working in the legislature. After just two short weeks back to work, Iggy is ditching work to go on the road and collect feedback from constituents! It is a classic example of do as I say, not as I do. While Mike is blinded by Canada at 150, I’d like to take a moment to remind him about Brutus at 2054.

"If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it."

Gaius Julius Caesar (13 July 100BC – 15 March 44 BC)

The Stoning of Ann Coulter

I own books by Ann Coulter. She has made me laugh out loud, she has made me think, and she has provoked disagreement. It is fine when Chris Rock proclaims George Bush the first retarded President, okay when Janine Garafoolo states that anyone opposed to Obama has to be a racist, but Ann Coulter is hate speech? Her speaking event at the University of Ottawa was cancelled because hundreds of hooligans showed up making threats of violence and pulling fire alarms?  This is nuts! Even though I know she uses a lot of satire and says things that I profoundly disagree with, I still bought my mother "How to talk to a Liberal" for Christmas.

If it is Islam specifically that we need to touch with kid gloves, I did once watch Russell Peters on stage saying "I don't do any Arab jokes in my act. It's not that I don't think you're funny, I think you're hilarious. You know what it is, I don't want to die." Implying that he will be killed for making humour about their people.  The left wingers who aggressively lined up to protest her speech need to grow up. I don't take Stewart or Colbert literally, they do what they do to increase viewership and make money. Coulter is no different. Step off your hypocritical stools and allow freedom of speech. I'm sure Ann Coulter while complaining and playing the victim card, as to be happy on the inside. I would be interested to see just how big a spike in book sales she has received from this publicity.

Stick it to the lefties, click on one of the links below and buy an Ann Coulter book. If Democrats had any brains, they'd be Republicans is my personal favourite, and how to talk to a Liberal is what I bought my mother for Christmas.

Gilles Duceppe's "My Struggle"

A wise philosopher once said "it's not easy being green", a life lesson not lost on the leader of the Bloc Quebecois who recently compared Quebec separatism with the French resistance to the Nazi occupation. It's not easy being a separatist, is it Gilles? Does that mean that the rest of Canada is Nazi Germany? Gilles and Iggy want to downplay the statement as not serious, as though comparing Canada to Nazi Germany is no big deal. Personally I am not comfortable with the leader of the "Quebecois resistance" insinuating that my country is comparable to one of the most horrific and evil regimes in the history of the planet.

If he wanted to compare Quebec sovereignty to the French Revolution, then at least the "evil overlord" would have been a French monarchy. At least that would constitute comparing Canada to an incompetent French regime instead of one of the most brutally savage in the history of man. Gilles, there are many historical figures who share your struggle to overthrow their nation's leadership be it Robespierre, Trotsky, Mao, or failed Austrian artists. Whoever your inspiration is, your statement was stupid and I'm sure if you could have it to do over again you wouldn't say it.

Leave allegory and symbolism to the writers and bloggers. Politicians should revert, wherever possible, to pragmatism.

Maximilien Fran├žois Marie Isidore de Robespierre (6 May 1758 – 28 July 1794) is one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. He largely dominated the Committee of Public Safety and was instrumental in the period of the Revolution commonly known as the Reign of Terror, which ended with his arrest and execution in 1794.

Robespierre was influenced by 18th century Enlightenment philosophes such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Montesquieu, and he was a capable articulator of the beliefs of the left-wing bourgeoisie. He was described as physically unimposing and immaculate in attire and personal manners. His supporters called him "The Incorruptible", while his adversaries called him the "Tyrant" and dictateur sanguinaire (bloodthirsty dictator).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Liberal Unity Showing Cracks?

With members of the Liberal Party now defying Ignatieff's "pillowy soft" whip on a Liberal opposition day motion, will the unity cracks start to show in the Liberal caucus? Today we witnessed the first pebble in the windshield, and this weekend Iggy departs for his Thinkers Conference for which his caucus was not deemed worthy. I'm sure all those MPs appreciate the slight of not being considered thinkers, especially when the stated purpose of the conference is to build party policy! Where's the party? They are holding a policy convention without the rank and file. That's awesome!

So my latest poll question is a list of ten Liberal MPs in either vulnerable seats, or palatable for membership in the Tory family. You may select multiple answers. With today's defiance of the whip, are we going to start seeing more MPs speak out about their frustration with how Dosangh and Rae have handled the Afghanistan file? When they caught him for a scrum in the Commons, Iggy was embarrassed and snarky. Then when hit with questions from the French media about whether or not it was embarrassing, Iggy Pop muddled through a nonsensical answer before quickly spinning around and high tailing it out of the foyer.

I gotta say, today was a great day and I have a lust for life! The Liberal caucus is running against the whip.

Liberal Maternal Health Motion Defeated by Liberals

You have to love it when the Liberals try to force the Government to fund foreign abortions (under the guise of maternal health), only to have their motion defeated by Liberal MPs abstaining from the vote! Thus far the only Liberals Rosemary Barton has confirmed that skipped the vote are Paul Szabo (who is vulnerable to the Tory candidate in his riding), Dan McTeague, and John McKay. Although the legislation would not have been legally binding, at least now the Government doesn't need to "symbolically" introduce the idea of funding foreign abortions at the G8.

The Liberals attempted to drive a wedge into the Conservative Party, and not only did they fail to divide Tories, they succeeded in dividing themselves! How awesome is that? As Kory Teneycke just said, "they had the numbers to win and didn't win". Might I say by the way that if Mr. Teneycke, former Stephen Harper communications director and newest panelist on the Soloman Show has a fan club, I would consider joining it. He almost makes the Soloman Show worth watching. In fact, Kory should be the host of Power and Politics, because Evan hosting a show by such a name is a flagrant oxymoron.

The question now is will the Liberals keep pushing this? Just yesterday Scott Reid was on the Soloman Show saying it is brilliant strategy and they should do it indefinitely until the Tories split into two parties leading to another decade of unopposed Liberal rule. You may remember Scott from such strategy recommendations as Stephen Harper "kill him kill him dead!" I guess Scott never considered the possibility that it might divide his own party more than it divides the Tories. Sometimes Scotty can tell you what is really behind Liberal "policy", like how you need national daycare because otherwise parents will spend their babysitting money on beer and popcorn. Everybody knows this motion was about politics, and Scott admitted as much.

Which Liberal would make the best Conservative?

I understand that the Liberal caucus has to be feeling alienated from their leadership for not being considered "thinkers" worthy of setting party policy, and I would like to extend an olive branch to those Libs who have had enough. You have options. I know there have to be a lot of Liberals who are not the least bit comfortable with the loud voice with which the failed former NDP Premiers have been bloviating. They may clap in question period, but they aren't clapping on the inside...

The Keith Martin story has always befuddled me. He was a Reform MP in the Conservative right, and he was so upset at the merging with the Tory left that he jumped even further left than the party he objected to merging with. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I don't think he's very comfortable over there these days, especially with a major Armed Forces base in his riding. He can't like how failed former NDP Premiers are usurping the Liberal Party with accusation of our military committing war crimes.

So the question is; are you interested in any possible Liberal MPs joining the Conservative Party? Gerry Byrne wants PETA declared a terrorist organization. He shouldn't have a problem making friends in the Tory caucus. None of the above will be an option when this becomes a poll question, for those of you against floor crossing in principle. But I would like to ask you if there is any lost soul on the other side of the aisle that you would welcome into the Tory family? Or is the talent pool too shallow?

Liberal Defections
Tuesday, October 6, 2009, posted by The Iceman

With the rumours today (thank you CBC for letting me know about it) that some Liberal MPs are considering crossing the floor, I decided to look at which individual Liberal MPs are at the greatest risk of losing their seats (based on recent regional polling data). I would welcome a majority without having to fight an election. So here is my list of MPs who have the most to gain by switching parties, or at least the most to lose by staying put. They are ranked in order of vulnerability. 18 seats I have possibly flipping Tory based on the recent Strategic Counsel data.

1. Borys Wrzesnewskyj
2. Bryon Wilfert
3. Mike Ignatieff (somehow I doubt he will defect, but funny his name made the list)
4. Bonnie Crombie
5. Gurbax S. Malhi
6. Anthony Rota
7. Mark Holland
8. Rob Oliphant
9. Paul Szabo
10. Joseph Volpe (the Liberals can keep him)
11. Ken Dryden
12. Michelle Simson
13. Ruby Dhalla
14. Andrew Kania
15. Peter Milliken (he'd make a great Tory)
16. Glen Pearson
17. Keith Martin (I feel like he should be a Tory)
18. Frank Valeriote

PS: The_Iceman said...

Ujal Dosange was left off the list intentionally because I would not accept him into the Conservative party under any circumstances...

Why is the CBC freaked out about the latest CRTC decision?

Television, you have a problem. People are turning off their televisions and turning on the internets for entertainment and news content. Under the current system, the networks are bleeding money, jeopardizing their very existence. Today's CRTC decision allows for networks and cable providers to negotiate over what content is included in user cable packages, which the CBC is alleging will raise costs to consumers (people won't pay for what they don't want to watch). I watched CBC Newsworld as this decision was made public, and what I saw was panic.

Scott Reid thinks the decision is fantastic because he calls it a lose-lose for the governing Tories. I fail to see how allowing our national television networks more flexibility in the cable packages they provide, allowing for greater consumer choice represents a lose-lose (for comparison, Scotty also said that the Liberal foreign abortion funding demand is fantastic strategy). I challenge the notion that it will be more expensive for consumers to provide them with greater choice. Given TVs loss of audience to the internets, they can't afford to make it more expensive. They have no choice but to give you greater choice at a lower cost, and if they do otherwise they will cease to exist. This will allow more eyeballs to watch the television programming those eyeballs want to watch. Given that few eyeballs want to pay for the CBC as part of their cable package, their collective fear makes pragmatic sense.

CTV supports the decision, and I would suggest that is in some part to their desire to sell their 24 hour news channel into more cable packages, where CBC Newsworld is mandated to be included in all basic digital cable packages. At first I did not know what to make of this CRTC decision, but when I saw how pissed off Evan Soloman was, I became immediately comfortable that this is what is best for Canadians. Making Canadians buy the Soloman Show is not where Canada needs to be, greater choice is.

This decision still has to pass through the Canadian courts, so the final language of the ruling is not yet known. Whether or not the final ruling allows for greater choice remains to be seen. I will keep my fingers crossed...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Big Liberal Ideas

The stated purpose of the upcoming thinker's conference is to harvest big ideas from academian Elites (rank and file Libs need not attend), and I would like to try and predict some of these big ideas before they happen. What ideas will Iggy produce to usher Canada into the future? We want to save lives in the 3rd world by offering a full gamut of health services, so how do we start exporting prostate exams? We need ideas! Hover cars, are they the future? We need ideas!

I jotted down some of the big ideas you might expect to see emerge from Montreal this week. Somehow I expect to turn this into a webpoll, and I would encourage your suggestions. What "big ideas" do you expect? Sarcasm strongly recommended.

1) Reduce wait time by cryogenically freezing patients.

2) Guarantee all 6 billion people on the Earth access to the "full gamut" of Canadian Health Services. Why stop at abortion? How many Africans die from botched appendectomies each year? How many die from botched tonsil removal? How many die from botched prostate exams? Let's save lives, let's guarantee all Canadian health services to all the world's people!

3) Hover cars

4) Minimum guaranteed incomes

5) Build a giant ecobubbledome over the country in order to control our own environment to a constant temperature with no natural variance.

6) Have former Soviet states absorbed back into Greater Russia (this I expect to come from the Czar himself).

7) One world government, preferably led by a Great Russian (see #6)

8) Build a second giant bubbledome over Alberta, but inside the Great Canadian Bubbledome. We want Alberta's money, not your air.

9) Invent cold fusion

10) Trying to avoid your own demise at the hands of Bolshevicks, a family journey (hosted of course by Iggy)

11) Turning food into gasoline, what could possibly go wrong?

Obamacare 2010: The Day After Yesterday...

The day after yesterday's passing of Obamacare, author Mark Steyn wants to wish everyone in the world a Happy Dependence Day! I just finished listening to his interview today on the Dennis Miller Show, and be warned that the outlook is grim. Mark is convinced that this will be fatal and cannot be repealed, so don't listen if you are looking for a good mood booster. However if you want a breakdown of what happened yesterday, I recommend listening to the Steyn and Krauthammer interviews on the Dennis Miller Show. You can download for free on iTunes, or visit Miller's website.

In this new era of bipartisan politics promised to us by Barak Obama, we have now witnessed the passage of one of the largest social reform packages in the history of America; and not only did zero Republicans vote for the bill, but 34 Democrats voted against it. David Frum is calling it a massive defeat for Republicans, but I'm trying to think what else they could have done. Not only did they all vote in unison, but 34 Dems voted with Republicans against the bill! Just because Obama and Pelosi had the audacity to go forward with an unpopular plan, that doesn't mean conservatives failed. In fact the pundits were successful in shifting public opinion significantly away from this policy.

The American people didn't vote this up in a referendum; the Democrats just went ahead even if it split their own party. Can it be repealed? I don't know. Do I think this plan is going to be a catastrophic financial disaster? Absolutely. Do I know what is going to happen next? Absolutely not. That debate is out of my hands.  I just know that in Canada health care consumes an enormous amount of our budget, we have to wait a long time for treatment, and if you get cancer your probability of mortality is much higher in Canada.

Why was the Liberal caucus not invited to Ignatieff's Thinker's Conference?

Ignatieff, the gift that keeps on giving! First he pulls 40% of his caucus from showing up to work on budget vote day, then he himself skips out for a week while his MPs attempt to defeat the Government, and now he is hosting a Thinker's Conference without his caucus! It does make sense though, because if they were invited it would not be appropriate to call it a thinker's conference. Those backbenches are not very deep with what I would call "talent". They are trying to sell tickets at $700 each, so I am not expecting a packed house. I expect to see Donolo outside desperately trying to scalp front row seats at $20 a pop.

I am concerned that if the Liberals ever elect a responsible and pragmatic leader that my blogging career could be in jeopardy, but that is at least an election away and I don't see any strength in their leadership pipeline. I have at least another year of Iggy jokes before I have to start ringing Hell's Bells about Bob Rae. In the meantime, today's poll question will be asking why was the Liberal caucus not invited to Ignatieff's Thinkers Conference? I will leave the nomination process open this afternoon and launch the poll this evening. Below are my early suggestions, and your feedback is strongly encouraged.

1. There are no thinkers in the Liberal caucus
2. Most current MPs likely to be voted out of Parliament by 2017
3. Party desperate for the $700 a head
4. Coup paranoia
5. If they attended, you could not call it a thinkers conference

Tiger Woods on South Park

I just finished watching the most recent episode of South Park, and it might be the most that I have ever laughed in a 30 minute comedy program. The write-up for the episode is "the nation's top scientists come together to put a stop to the recent phenomenon of rich, successful men who suddenly want to have sex with many, many women" featuring Elin channeling the Swedish Chef. Over the top? Perhaps, but even just the scene with the experiment with the chimps is well worth your time. This is yet another reason that I love South Park and it is consistent with my initial assessment of this Tiger Woods saga back on December 3rd.

The best part is that you can watch the episode for free on Comedy Central's website.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Canadian Parliament: The Week Ahead

This upcoming week in Canadian politics should be interesting. First we have the Speaker deciding whether to grant the "contempt for parliament" claim passed by the opposition. We have the opposition set to table a new motion attempt to force the Government (if even just symbolically) to introduce a plan for a full slate of maternal health programs to be provided to the Third World by western tax payers (which may or may not include abortion). Again, it is unlikely to be legally binding, but it allows the opposition to bang their drums in a futile attempt to create divisions within the Conservative Party.

Finally the weekend will see the unveiling of the "Liberal Thinkers Conference" in Montreal, to discuss their "big ideas". Will actual tangible policy emerge from this conference? Don't count it, but at least it will be interesting to hear what some of the talking heads are saying. I am willing to bet that there will be many "big ideas" that are either completely impractical or likely to be unpopular. Just because Iggy thinks it, that does not make it so.

Wednesday everyone is having their caucus meetings. I suspect that there is not consensus enthusiasm for this thinkers conference scheme Iggy's been promoting for over a year. At a time when party finances are tight, is this really something that they should be spending money on? Why not a policy convention? This makes about as much sense as having a convention to anoint Iggy instead of a democratic process to allow Liberals to choose their leader. These gala events that Iggy is so magically in love with cost money, which is not something the Liberals have in spades.

Beware of Avalanches

The BC interior has now had 3 significant avalanches in the better part of a week. The first two were caused by a snowmobile contest activity known as "high marking", where individuals attempt to leave the highest altitude trail on a given mountain. This is an incredibly high risk activity, and the search and rescue bill was over a million dollars. The third avalanche was caused by a helicopter ski group.

Last week, the day after the Big Iron Shootout avalanche, I was watching video clips of "high marking" and blogged about the insanity of the activity. That post received about 2000 hits through Google searches, and I was on the receiving end of some fury by the snowmobiling community. I had to clarify that my condemnation of the Big Iron Shootout had nothing to do with standard back country recreational snowmobiling, but rather speeding them up the side of a steep snow packed mountain amid an extreme avalanche warning. Now here we are with a million dollar bill for search and rescue, and who pays for it? The people who participate in the high risk activity, or the taxpayers who watch these stunts on the evening news?

I would also like to correct myself from my original "Big Iron Shootout" post. I was under the impression that it was a race, but the winner is not first to the top or bottom, it highest tread marks. Though the participants require a significant amount of velocity to reach the highest altitudes.

A Salute to Grandparents

I would like to dedicate my Sunday morning post to grandparents, all of you great people who have spawned our next generation and whose high voter participation keeps our democracy running. I am sad to announce the passing of my last remaining grandfather, and I thought that the best tribute would be a salute to all grandparents. My Papa had been very ill for the last few years and he lived past standard life expectancy, so on one hand it is a relief that his suffering is over, but a sad event nonetheless. He left the planet with half a dozen breeding age grandchildren, making his life an unquestioned evolutionary success.

His stories and his experiences will live on through his children and grandchildren, but you wonder what stories slipped through the cracks and are gone forever? To those of you out there fortunate enough to have living grandparents, be sure not to take them for granted because once they're gone, a lifetime of wisdom goes with them. Our nation's elders are an incredible resource of knowledge that should be harnessed by our nation's youth. Grandparents are good for more than just free babysitting.

Sadly it is not until they pass that we tend to fully appreciate the lives they lived and what they had to teach us. Today I wanted to do a public service announcement that we should all appreciate our grandparents because as the song goes "you don't know what you've got until it's gone." So today I ask the question, how many of your grandparents are alive? I would encourage people reading this to share your own experiences with your grandparents in the comment section below, and what you think the grandparent-parent-grandchild relationship means to our culture.

For all the dedicated contribution that my grandparents made to my life, I do have one piece of cautious advice to those of you putting your grandchildren to bed with the Lord's prayer; the words "if I die before I wake, pray the Lord my soul to take" can very much frighten a toddler. I did spend many a sleepless night in that old house wondering how if there was a risk of me being killed in my sleep, what the hell is living in the closet??? Sometimes the gift of imagination is the greatest curse of all.

I will say this about my own grandfather, he was on a first name basis with virtually every Tim Horton’s patron within a 500 mile radius of his home, and he was a beloved member of his community. He was a church going man who has a one way ticket to heaven, whereas my heretic self my have to argue in purgatory for a while before I am granted passage. But if I am lucky, 3 of my grandparents will be up there arguing my case for entry before my time expires…

PS: With regards to my poll question, note that roughly 60% of my visitors are over the age of 50. I likely have more visitors who are grandparents than have living grandparents.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tories Opening up a Lead, Ipsos and Ekos Agree

Any pundit calling current polling "statistically tied" is mistaken and must be corrected. Both Ipsos and Ekos are reporting virtually identical post budget numbers with Conservatives at 34%, Liberals at 28%, the NDP at 18%, and the Greens at 10%. Ipsos is accused of being right wing, Ekos of being left wing, and right now they're saying the same thing. For seat counts, that translates to roughly 128 Tory, 90 Liberal, 41 NDP, 48 Bloc, plus one or two independents. The Tories would lose one or two big names, but the bulk of the team would remain intact. We are dangerously close to the threshold where Liberal + NDP = more votes than Tories. The Bloc could abstain and confidence motions could be defeated with two parties.

By far the largest disparity between Ekos and Ipsos is British Columbia. In the 2008 Election the Tories scored 44% of the popular vote. Ipsos has them currently at 43%, Ekos has them at 32%. That is a discrepancy of roughly 200,000 votes! Over a month ago I blogged about the impossibility of some of Ekos regional breakdowns, such as how they had the Tories down 14% in BC, but only 8% in Vancouver where half the votes are. For it to be true there would have to be a catastrophic collapse in the interior, the probability of which is extremely low considering some of our safest BC seats reside there.

And to the Liberals bragging about recent poll numbers, note that neither Ekos nor Ipsos has the Liberals above 28.9%. If the Tories are down the votes are not going to the Liberal party; and while they would never admit it publicly, that is a big problem. Do you really think that the one in ten Tory voters who told the telephone machine they were voting Green instead of Tory are there to stay? I can guarantee you those votes are very elastic.

Latest Facebook Controversy

I don't know if this qualifies as a "controversy" but it was worthy of being reported on by the CBC, if that standard of measure qualifies a story as important. A comedian that I had never heard of "infoman" created a phony Facebook account with the name of a man wanted by police. He then sent a friend request to PMO spokesman Dmitri Soudas who unwittingly clicked on "accept". Evidently his greatest crime is that he forgot to do a criminal background check before accepting a friend request on a social networking site. Oh the humanity.

The story broke as PMO aide accepts friend request from wanted arsonist. Granted, there were no sensitive Government documents on his page. The infoman was only given access to pictures of Dmitri's friends and family, which certainly does not represent any breach of national security. To be fair, even Kady O'Malley came out to defend Mr. Soudas, as she admits that she accepts friend requests from people she doesn't know. It is actually quite common in Facebook. The number of "friends" that one has in that virtual universe is considered by many of its loyal users as a status symbol.

I would advise people out there to be careful which friend or group requests they accept. I know that a lot of people will click to accept invitations to join groups without doing proper research into the nature of the group that they are joining. I deleted my Facebook account back when they announced they wanted copyright over my material.

The only Facebook group that I trust is Canadians Against Liberals Not Doing Their Jobs.

Should Contempt of Parliament be a Confidence Motion?

It would seem as though the Liberal Party has set Canada on a crash course in unchartered constitutional waters. For all the talk of "contempt of parliament" coming from the CBC, I'm not hearing past examples where these types of motions were used and interpreted. Can anyone tell me the historical context? How exactly can you interpret parliament declaring Government's contempt for it as anything other than a confidence motion?

The experts say that the motion, however you interpret it, is not legally binding. Hence why the Liberals would even introduce such a motion. Create a controversy, introduce a lack of confidence motion, but don't legally enforce that lack of confidence. It makes sense, whether I agree with the tactic or not.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Sarah Palin Reality Show

I saw on the news today that Sarah Palin is considering hosting her own reality television show based in Alaska, which begs the question what do you think it should be about? Will it be similar to the Apprentice, where she tests applicants, terminating one each episode until the last Alaskan standing is granted an internship in her political campaign? Instead of "are you smarter than a 5th grader" they could do "are you smarter than a Palin".

What do you think would be the best possible reality show for her? I will be accepting both serious and satirical submissions for a possible poll question. I think she has a fantastic future in television and I really really hope that this works out for her and that she has a LONG prosperous career hosting entertainment programs.

The World Cup of Soccer

I am interested to know how many Canadians are excited for the upcoming World Cup of Soccer in South Africa. Globally this is a bigger sporting tournament than the Olympics, though I have long maintained that soccer is just an outdated relic of European colonialism. Hockey is by far the more entertaining sport but because of capital costs for entry and participation, the sport is exclusive. To play soccer all you need is something round. Personally I can't stand soccer, but I pay attention to it during the World Cup because it means so much to so many people across the planet.

This blog post was released to the World Wide Web while I was enjoying life on the golf course!

O'Malley Blasts Ignatieff!

The leader of the opposition was annihilated today on Kady O'Malley's CBC blog. After being uncharacteristically kind to the governing Tories, Kady finishes off her daily rant with a seldom seen shot at the Liberal Party of Canada, or at least their leader. She must be in the Bob Rae camp, and I think a lot of them are. I know who Mercer yearns for. It does signal that there is strong opposition to Iggy's decision to skip out on Parliament this week for his Hypocrisy Tour within the Liberal rank and file.

Kady writes:

"Finally, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is in Burnaby, British Columbia for a town hall on issues facing new Canadians. Will he manage to wend his way back to the Hill in time for the speaker's ruling on parliamentary privilege? Stay tuned! (No, honestly, I have no idea, but you'd think he could at least squeeze an Ottawa stopover into his lecture-and-listen circuit."


This shot is certainly more reserved than "having his legs sliced out from under him by the swift and deadly double-G-monogrammed scythe of PMO" or the "increasingly hapless-seeming Lawrence Cannon" but for all the softballs and lollipops that Kady tosses at the Liberals, the above quotation is just about as negative as it gets. By her own standards, this qualifies as "blasting Ignatieff". She generally holds back her most descriptive adjectives for her descriptions of Tories.

PS: When I used the words "uncharacteristically kind to the governing Tories" in the first paragraph, that was intended as sarcasm. It is Friday and I am preparing for a round of golf.

Ignatieff's Dishonourable Intentions

When Ignatieff ditched work in the House of Commons for a cross Canada hypocrisy Tour, what standing orders do you think he left for his MPs? Did he tap Derek Lee to attempt defeating the government while he was away, such that he could claim plausible deniability if this tactic blew up in the Liberals faces? Iggy takes off, his own MPs force what could be interpreted as a motion of non confidence in our minority Parliament, and we are to believe that this is a coincidence? Either Iggy didn't want his fingerprints on the candlestick, or he has no control over his caucus.

These contempt of parliament motions by the Liberal Party are happening in the Liberal leader's absence. You'd think that this is the kind of thing that a party leader should be present for, but that requires pragmatic policy. If Iggy respected the will of parliament, he'd be there right now.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Who Should be President of the IPCC?

If you could select the next President of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who do you think would be the best selection? I got the idea for this poll question after listening to Lord Christopher Monkton on the Laura Ingraham Show. This man is the bane of Al Gore's existence, and I think it would be fantastic if he became the President of the IPCC. Granted there are other candidates who would also make excellent Presidents, be it Mark Steyn, Roy Green, or Glenn Beck. Even Bjorn Lomborg would be an improvement.

Sure, I could have should have included some left wing choices, but they rarely get support in these circles and I am looking to reduce needless clutter from my site...

Contempt of Parliament

With the Speaker of the House now set to make a decision on whether or not the Government is in contempt of Parliament for not immediately producing documents which may possibly endanger our Armed Forces deployed in the field, the rest of us are left waiting. If the Speaker grants today's motion, it opens the door for criminal prosecution of government ministers, or so Rosemary Barton tells me. At the very least, it will be "hugely symbolic and embarassing for the Government", or so Rosemary Barton tells me.

So the opposition is introducing motions that could lead to criminal prosecution of government officials, and where is Ignatieff? Aruba? Jamaica? Basically he takes off and allows the inmates (Rae, Dosanjh, and Lee) to take over the asylum, and if it turns out poorly for the Liberals, Iggy can plead that if wasn't actually there, then it never really happened. That is what qualifies as strong leadership in Liberal circles.

Abortion Saves Lives?

Had I not been watching the CBC today, I would not have learned that abortion saves the lives of babies in the third world (thank you Rosemary Barton and Carole McNeil). I am pro choice, and I think that statement is ridiculous. Why is the opposition bringing this up on an almost daily basis? Other than their motive of reducing the world's population of poor people (neo lib social engineering), they are relentlessly trying to ignite a divisive debate in Canada because they believe that they can emerge victorious from this scorched earth strategy.

Where this strategy is failing is that they are trying to ignite a debate on abortions in Canada by demanding the tax payer funding of abortions outside Canada. You don't have to be pro life to disagree with funding foreign abortions, and I have yet to meet a Canadian who wanted their tax dollars spent for that purpose. And yet every day it seems that I turn on my television, some CBC journalist or opposition politician is demanding that the Canadian tax payer fund foreign abortions. Then the pundits on that side of the aisle use the fact that the opposition chose to introduce this debate as evidence that Canadian people are actually talking about this!

When these insane demands were first made by Ignatieff a month ago, I ran a poll on this issue.

WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR TAX DOLLARS SPENT ON FOREIGN ABORTIONS IN AN ECONOMIC RECESSION?

No (98%)
Yes (2%)

Layton's Prorogation Motion

On Wednesday the NDP passed a motion in their opposition day to put new limits on the ability of a Prime Minister to prorogue Parliament. While the leader of the opposition did not deem the legislation important enough for his attendance, neither did the Government make an attempt to whip their vote into defeating it (which they had the votes to do). We can debate whether or not the vote should be legally binding, which it isn't, but I would have thought with the "success" of CAPP that the opposition should want the PMO to try it again. Is the reason that the PMO didn't see the need to whip the vote because he doesn't intend to prorogue again? If the opposition wants to go nuts, why postpone sitting days in the legislature?

So what do people think? What should my poll question be? Should it be legally binding, or is it all moot?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Irish and Scottish

Tonight's Saint Patrick's Day poll question is do you think there is any significant difference between the Scottish and the Irish; be they born across the pond or ancestors of those who crossed it? My Scottish forefathers made the boat trip quite a long time ago so I am more Canadian than Scottish, but the blood still pumps through my veins. I can remember celebrating Saint Patrick's Day (most especially in University), and even though Patty was the patron saint of Ireland, it is a day where as a Scot you feel like honorary Irish.

I spent most of my life not ever really thinking about my Scottish genealogy, until I saw the movie Braveheart. After Braveheart, I was much more proud of my history. Too bad Mel turned out to be a nut. I also know from introducing my genealogy to people in related conversations who do not hail from the British Isles, they generally do not distinguish a difference between the Celtic peoples. If you have an opinion on this issue, what do you think is the biggest difference between Scots and Irish? Today I was out on the golf course with my friend and we had this discussion in light of the occasion. The best difference I had was that the Scottish invented economics and the Irish invented beer, though both races are well known for their alcohol consumption.

I did quote Dennis Leary today.

Should Sledge Hockey be a Paralympic Sport?

I remember during the Olympics several media pundits were debating whether or not women's hockey should be an Olympic sport because Canada is so dominant at it. The debate goes, we are so much better than everyone else in this sport that it is not fair to hold a competition. I have been watching sledge hockey the past few days at the Paralympics, and Canada has been completely dominating. You have to ask if it is fair to other parathletes to be humiliated by our ability to kick their ass at hockey on a sled.

In all seriousness, I hope more people are watching the Paralympics. There are some great stories being told. I have a tremendous amount of respect for our sledgers, and I would encourage more Canadians to cheer for our parathletes.

Of Liberals and Dippers

One has to wonder if there is some tension between the Liberals and the NDP. Prior to the budget vote when the opposition was allowed to table amendments to this critically important legislation, the Liberals voted with the Tories against the Dippers proposal to raise business taxes. It is very curious why an opposition united in its lack of confidence in the governing party would not at least attempt to amend the budget. Not even a symbolic gesture to protect public sector pensions?

Many of us have speculated that Ignatieff has already made a deal with Jack Layton, but what if the real deal is between Layton and Rae? You have to wonder what agreement Bobby made with his NDP brethren before joining the Liberal Party. They had to talk about it, and you know that it is every Liberal's wet dream to absorb the NDP. Bob Rae has to be the most likely candidate to accomplish that objective.

Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq

I would like to take a moment to say that I was very impressed with the Minister of Health in Question Period on Tuesday. Ever since she defeated the swine flu, she now speaks in the House of Commons with much more confidence. Perhaps if I had crushed a global pandemic as she did, I would have that level of confidence in my blog posts. Ujjal Dosanjh went on the attack, and she responded admirably. I will admit that I was skeptical of her appointment in cabinet at the beginning, but her ability to thwart viral hysteria has won me over.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Signs of the Apocalypse

Tonight I ask the question, what would be the strongest possible signal that the apocalypse is nigh? One political appointment that if you saw it, you'd soon be convinced that the world may be coming to an end. For example if Bob Rae became Minister of Finance, that is the kind of tragic incident where everyone would remember where they were when it happened. I could only imagine the horror and desperation that I would feel if Jack Layton were ever named to cabinet.

If you would like to make suggestions for nominations for my next poll question, I am leaning towards; "in the event that the Liberals, the NDP, and the Bloc were to merge into a single federal party, what would you expect its new name to be?" Tonight Gimbol suggested "if they united I always thought they could be called the Liberal Separatist Democratic Party, or LSD for short." I like that idea, and I would like suggestions.

Keep an eye on Hezbollah

When I watched Joe Biden last week flip on Israel like a guest on the Jerry Springer Show, I was immediately concerned. Islamic paramilitary groups like Hamas and Hezbollah feed on weakness, and perceived tension between Israel and the United States certainly qualifies. Sure enough this week we see Hamas organizing large scale violent protests of the Jewish state, and while the IDF is knee deep in an uprising I would be very weary of Iran's proxy on the northern border. The last time Hezbollah conducted a major paramilitary operation in Northern Israel was in the aftermath of Ariel Sharon falling into a coma. In 2006 Hamas started hostilities with Israel, and they were soon followed by their northern allies.

If Hezbollah sees an opportunity, there is an increased probability of them escalating hostilities with Israel. History suggests that the most likely scenarios are 1) begin frequent rocket fire at Haifa, 2) conduct an operation over the border to abduct an Israeli soldier, 3) deploy suicide bombers. What is the current status of the Syrian army? I seriously doubt that Syria would want to declare open war against Israel, but it does remain a remote possibility and Hezbollah does receive a lot of support from Damascus. If they ever intend to conquer the Golan Heights, they will not be able to do that by proxy.

I think tonight I will buy a bottle of Israeli wine to go with my supper. Make a small financial donation to the Holy land.

"You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war"

-Albert Einstein

When the Czar has gone away, the Bolshevicks come out to play!

It was comforting to see that while Mr. Ignatieff has abandoned the legislature to consult with constituents (which he had ample opportunity to do from December to March) he has left the Liberal Party he leads in the "capable hands" of the former NDP Premiers Bob Rae and Ujjal Dosanjh who did all the talking in Question Period today. Bob did seem a little nervous to be sitting in the big chair, and Ujjal was sure to use the oft-spoken "in Reform/Alliance circles this means..."

Has Iggy decided to shift his focus from winning the center where the greatest plurality of votes are in favour of trying to outflank Layton on the left? I seem to recall a similar strategy used by Stephane Dion. If you can't win the center, why not try to appeal to the lunatic fringe? It makes perfect sense right? How else can you logically explain this much face time going to Dosanjh? Ujjal was a spectacular failure in provincial politics and is so toxic in his own city that he could not win his own riding while he was the sitting Premier!

I remember Ujjal running campaign commercials on local radio calling Iraq “Harper’s war”. I wonder if we can get him on record calling it “Ignatieff’s war”?