Monday, May 31, 2010

Gaza Gone Wild

I have been watching some of the furor unfold around the world over the Israeli boarding of a ship that attempted to run a naval blockade, and I have to say that the condemnation doesn't fit the "crime". It is ironic that Mansbridge interviewed Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu shortly before this international incident occurred. I suppose the biggest question that needs to be asked is should Israel have the right to blockade Gaza to prevent a constant stream of rocket fire into Jewish towns? It would seem to me that they should at least have the right to search ships bound for Gaza to ensure that there are no weapons or bomb making materials.

These ships departed from Cypress with the intention of running the blockade, and when the Israeli marines landed on the vessel they were attacked. The activists on board were obviously prepared to meet the Israelis with violence, a very poor decision that was obviously going to escalate the situation. Those soldiers did not land on the ship under orders to open fire. That order was only issued once the Israelis were under attack. If you don't believe that there should be a blockade, does that give you the right to run the blockade and attack the soldiers who attempt to stop you?

We will see how this plays out. I am interested to know if the Turkish government approved this ship to run the blockade, or if this was done independently.

Prime Minister Layton? No Chance.

I have heard some rumblings today that the coalition negotiations taking place between the Liberals and Dippers may produce a Jack Layton leadership bid, and all I have to say is that there is zero chance of that happening. The Liberal Party of Canada is not going to negotiate a partnership agreement with the NDP that does not put a Liberal in the Prime Minister's Office. They might be getting cold feet on their current impotent leader, but Prime Minister Layton will not happen. I don't think there is even a 1 in 100 chance. It is probably more likely that the NDP win more seats than the Liberals than it is to have the Libs abdicate leadership.

It is a fun little theory to muse about, but the LPC believes with every fabric of their being that they are entitled to run Canada. They aren't giving that up to a blowhard like Jack Layton. A Bob Rae coup is more likely than a Layton led coalition.

All-time Best Canadian TV Show

I would like to do a poll of the All-time best Canadian television show. I did some internet research and have compiled a list of nominees, but I would like to collect some feedback before I launch the poll. Should Hockey Night in Canada count as a TV Show? I think it should be scripted acted programs, drama or sitcom. Personally my all-time favourite Canadian show is the Trailer Park Boys, followed by Traders. I was a big fan of the Littlest Hobo when I was a kid. I don't mind Corner Gas, though the writing was pretty bad at times. The series that have spun off from Corner Gas are just stupid. They are the same characters in different circumstances on different shows.

Possible nominees:
SCTV
Kids in the Hall
Due South
Littlest Hobo
Corner Gas
Trailer Park Boys
Degrassi Junior High
Road to Avonlea
The Beachcombers
Street Legal
Kenny vs Spenny
Red Green Show
Dragon's Den
Traders

CTV News Channel, The Honeymoon Is Over

Once upon a time I was upset that the CRTC mandated CBC Newsworld's inclusion in my cable package, but CTV News Channel was not available. A few days ago CTV News Channel showed up on channel 17, and I was excited to have another 24 hour Canadian news option. Having watched it this weekend, it pains me to say that the CBC has a superior product. While Newsworld is mandated to be a non tax funded specialty network, they do benefit from being able to use significant content from the subsidized channels. The CBC may have a competitive advantage because of piggybacking content, but regardless CTV News Channel just sucks.

It isn't a matter of who is the most bias, or who hates Conservatives the most. CBC Newsworld is a better product with more content. CTV will just run a small number of stories in a repetitive loop, while the CBC offers more variety. And don't get me wrong, I would love to see Rupert Murdoch set up a Fox News Canada; I just don't expect it to happen anytime soon.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A complaint about the Blogging Tory website

I appreciate Stephen Taylor's attempt to integrate "new media" into the Blogging Tory platform, but the site has become so overloaded with java scripts and such that my browser freezes up when I try to access the site. I don't know if anyone else has experienced similar problems, or if my computer is just too old to handle the extra baggage, but it has gotten to the point where it has become too painstaking to visit. I first noticed the change when they put up all that Facebook crap, which ironically was done right before all the controversy over Facebook privacy settings. I don't know why you would want to tie Blogging into Facebook, as Facebook wants copyrights over any material you post on your page.

If I had a vote, I'd vote to remove the Facebook crap from the Blogging Tory website. It is slowing down the site's performance for little to no benefit.

Is Harper Preparing To Invade Toronto?

Remember when Paul Martin and Scott Reid warned us that Stephen Harper had a hidden agenda to send soldiers with guns onto the streets of Canadians cities? Well if you listen to some of the more extreme voices on the left hand side regarding this G20 Summit, you might very well be convinced of a spooky hidden agenda. Was moving the G20 to Toronto just a rouse for Harper to invade Toronto? Can we expect to see tanks rolling down Yonge Street? These are the kinds of questions that we need to be asking right now!

But on a more serious note, have you noticed the rising tension between the anarchists and the anti-globalizationists? They have strategically co-existed in the past under the "enemy of my enemy" mantra as a way to maximize the number of people who show up at a protest. I'm sure most anarchists are against globalization, but I'd say the majority of anti-globalizationists are not anarchists. One group wants no government and to live in a lawless society, while the other wants big government to buy them a house and subsidize their salary if they don't feel like getting a job (and no international commerce or consumption of fuel).

I attended the Opening Ceremony protest in Vancouver that featured a variety show of different protest groups. You had the anarchist clowns running around dressed up like Ninjas kicking over garbage cans and smashing windows, then you had the people dressed up like trees lobbying the government for more money and free houses. I was standing beside a group of tree people when a squad of anarchist ninjas ran by, and the tree people did not look impressed. You could cut the tension with a chainsaw. How are you supposed to get a free house and subsidized wages with no government? They are ideologically opposed to each other, unlike the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada and the Communist Party of Canada.

Alberta To The Rescue

I must admit that it was touching to see several Alberta firefighters boarding a plane to travel to Quebec to help them put out the wildfires threatening a number of communities. For all the animosity that exists between the two provinces, in a serious crisis we are all Canadians. I find it to be a confusing contradiction when Quebec politicians bloviate about shutting down the oil patch, when that same oil patch has produced billions of dollars of equalization money that Quebec politicians are all too eager to accept. Hopefully Jean Charest can suspend his Alberta hate long enough to say thank you to all those firefighters getting off the plane to help save those threatened rural communities.

Didn't it snow in Calgary yesterday? I don't think that Alberta is in any imminent danger from wildfires right now. The east however, is stuck in a heat wave. In Vancouver, it has been raining a lot, but what else is new?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Layton Wants Ignatieff To Bring The Heat

Lucky Jack had some tough words for Liberal leader Mike Ignatieff today, demanding that Iggy turn against the budget that he already agreed to support. Jack thinks this is a great time to extort a pound of flesh from the government, who are not going to want an election prior to the G8 and G20 summits. According to Jack it is time to pounce, and if we find ourselves in the middle of an election campaign when we host these international delegations, then so be it. Whether you call it opportunism or extortion, threatening an election at a time when it would look bad for the entire country to have one is not a mature method of conducting government business.

Jack Layton was also talking about a united opposition, so I'm sure he has already conducted his private negotiations with Duceppe. Personally I hope that Iggy accepts Jack's demands, because I'm sure if they collapse the government before the G8 and G20 while trying to extort a few NDP policies into budget legislation will help deliver a Tory Majority. It was a good thing that parliament wasn't sitting before the Olympics, because God knows what Layton and friends would have tried to extort prior to that international event.

CTV News Channel

In the past couple of days, the CTV News Channel has been added to my basic cable package. I am no longer forced to watch CBC Newsworld as my only Canadian 24 hour news option, and needless to say I'm very excited. Sure they might give Jane Taber more face time than she could possibly deserve and I have not had access to the channel long enough to have developed an opinion on most of their staff, but the CBC is so bad that this is really like any port in the storm. Taber is as Taber does, I just have reached my limit of Milewski, Manbridge, and Soloman. When you have a half wit child like Rosemary Barton breaking financial news and trying to explain economics, the risk of injury while diving for the mute button can't be ignored.

I'm sorry everyone, I know that have been acting as an unofficial monitor of the CBC for the Blogging Tories, watching it so you don't have to; but I can't take it anymore. I only ever watched that channel because I like 24 hour news and that was the only Canadian version that I had access to. I can't stomach CNN. They even have a 24 hour Joy Behar channel! The BBC is okay when there is an international crisis or a British election, but I do prefer to watch Canadian news because I blog about Canadian politics. I bid adieu to Terry Milewski, Julie Van Dussen, Margio Macdiaramdid, Kady O'Malley, Scott Reid, and so on and so forth. I am done with Newsworld, because now I have a choice. The freedom to choose what we watch is the greatest threat to the CBC, who maintain their right to present content that nobody cares about.

Bloc Vulnerable To Tories

When you hear Gilles Duceppe allege this week that Opus Dei has subjugated the Conservative party, it does help to understand his motives. Gilles is starring as Robert Langdon; a hero who is going to chase down all the clues in order to uncover a massive conspiracy that he hopes will frighten Quebecers. If you look at the electoral map and crunch the numbers, the Bloc is more vulnerable to the Tories than they are to the Liberals.

There are some Bloc MPs vulnerable to Liberal challengers in and around Montreal, but the further you get from Montreal, the greater the probability of a Tory winning a seat (with some exceptions). Back in September when the Liberals were blowing smoke signals about forcing an election, I did some Quebec electoral math. This was well before the by-election in Montmagny.

Gilles Duceppe: Friends and Enemies
September 5th, 2009

All this begs the question, if there are Quebec voters in play for a change of mind, in which of the following scenarios would the Bloc LOSE the most seats?

A) One fifth of Bloc votes switch to NDP?
B) One fifth of Bloc votes switch to Liberal?
C) One fifth of Bloc votes switch to Tory?
D) One fifth of Bloc votes switch to Green?

Answer

C) If one fifth of the Bloc crossed to Tory, the Bloc would lose 13 seats and the Conservatives win Richmond--Arthabaska, Drummond, Chicoutimi, Abitibi, Louis-Hébert, Québec, Montmagny

Question: If the Bloc were able to seduce voters from another party, under which scenario would they GAIN the most seats?

A) One fifth of NDP votes switch to Bloc?
B) One fifth of Liberal votes switch to Bloc?
C) One fifth of Tory votes switch to Bloc?
D) One fifth of Green votes switch to Bloc?

Answer

C) If one fifth of the Quebec Tory voters switched to the Bloc, the Bloc gains 5 seats and the Conservatives lose Jonquière--Alma, Roberval--Lac-Saint-Jean, Pontiac, Charlesbourg, and Beauport.

There you have it. The Bloc has the most to gain by converting Tory voters, and the most to lose by losing voters to the Tories. Given the Quebec-Only negotiating strategy deployed by the Bloc, how is this partnership supposed to prevail without the rest of the country paying a financial penalty for avoiding an unwanted election? The Majority-Question is, what would need to happen for a Bloc voter to vote Tory, and what would have to happen for a Tory voter to vote Bloc? That question, I do not have the answer to...

Sideshow Bob Rae, the Dipper Whisperer

It is time to cast your vote for your favourite Bob Rae nickname. There were some funny submissions, which I had to whittle down to 8 choices. Right now I am having some trouble making up my mind as to which I am going to vote for, but I am leaning towards Comrade Bob. It works on a few different levels, but so does Sideshow Bob and I like the creativity of the Dipper Whisperer.

Your choices are:

Darth Raeder
Boob Rae
Rainy Day Rae
Comrade Bob
Sponge Bob No-Pants
Sideshow Bob
The Dipper Whisperer
BoDipper

Friday, May 28, 2010

Seals eat fish, lots of fish

When I watch all these hypocritical celebrity activists protesting the Canadian seal hunt, I am abhorred by their lack of compassion for those most loveable of God's creatures, fish. Millions of innocent salmon and cod are murdered every year by seals, one of the ocean's most voracious predators. This callous malice by celebrity activists each year have helped drive down the demand for Canadian seal products. As demand has fallen, the fisheries stop harvesting seals. What happens? Seal populations suddenly explode, and fish stocks suddenly collapse. Well done celebrities, your lack of understanding for the balance of nature has thrown nature out of balance.

I remember when they scrapped the bear hunt in Ontario. Bear populations exploded and started spilling deeper into civilian centers. Instead of earning revenue selling licenses and allowing this economy to serve a place in nature, the government now has to spend more money to control these out of control populations. So we are going to give lady seals birth control? Why don't we staple their stomachs while we are at it so they stop killing so many innocent cod?

Bob Rae Nickname Contest

I feel as though Bob Rae, for all his long dark history in Canadian and Ontario politics, that a definitive nickname has never really stuck. Iggy is such a fun sounding moniker that it has come to define him. I got a kick out of the Prince of Prorogation a few months ago, but it doesn't roll off the tongue like Iggy pop. If I had to guess the most common moniker Bob has heard in his life would be "hey jackass"! I am interested to collect your suggestions for nicknames for Bob Rae. Thus far my own nominations are:

1) Bobby Marx
2) Darth Raeder
3) Rae of Plight
4) Raedon
5) Bob Wiley

Darth Rae, The Power Of The Dark Side

Bob Rae was one of the worst Premiers in the history of Canada, and his leadership is politically toxic in the vote rich Province of Ontario. So when Bobby muses that the NDP and Liberals should form a coalition like the one he participated in 25 years ago and people respond with concern; his response is "the Harperites have one way of practicing politics: it’s called ‘demonize and smear.’ It’s all a little silly". Mr. Rae, there were millions of people who strongly opposed your leadership long before they ever knew who Stephen Harper was. Just because millions of Canadians are fearful of Rae's ways, I hardly think that qualifies as "hysteria from the dark side."

And yet that was Bobby's retort in Taber's words today. I suppose the dark side reference should energize Bob's base who view Prime Minister Stephen Harper as being Chancellor Palpatine just waiting for a majority government to execute "order 66". I'm curious what qualifies someone as a "Harperite"? I support the Prime Minister and I think Bob Rae was the worst Premier in the history of Canada, so I suppose that makes me a Harperite? Where Bobby and I would disagree the most is what constitutes "the dark side". I lived in Bob Rae's Ontario. It was pretty f**king dark...

Obama, You've Got A Problem

When this oil spill crisis first became recognized as a crisis, President Obama quickly deferred clean-up and containment responsibility to the oil company that operated the rig. Instead of sealing off the broken pipe, they spent a month trying to salvage a way to harvest the oil. That failed, as thousands of barrels were pumped into the gulf coast on a daily basis for a month. Now that a month has passed, the oil company is finally shifted its strategy to sealing the leak instead of harvesting the oil. Sometimes what's best for the oil company isn't what's best for the millions of people who live along the gulf coast, where "tar bubbles" are now expected to float ashore with relative frequency for a generation.

Well done Mister President. As more and more people are calling this Obama's Katrina, finally today a month later he announced new measures and initiatives that are a month too late. The oil has already reached the shore, but a month later Obama is going to send hundreds of thousands of miles of boom nets to contain it? What does that do for the thousands of acres of fragile marsh lands and costal habitats that have already been contaminated? Maybe the people who made the mess should not have been the people who he abdicated responsibilities to at the beginning of the crisis.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

G8? G20? Both? Neither?

This evening's poll question, which international consortiums do you think should exist and meet on a repetitive basis? Should there be just a G8 or just a G20? Should both exist? Should neither exist? I listened to Adler interview McParland tonight on this matter, and the general consensus was that major breakthroughs are few and far between at these events. I would say that it is extremely difficult to accurately measure the exact global economic benefit of these summits on the global economies, but that many, many trillions of dollars flow between these 20 economies every year.

Even if the leaders just pose for pictures (remember Mr. Prime Minister, if you require a bathroom break, try holding it for a few minutes), I would argue that there is a benefit to all these bureaucrats and stakeholders meeting and speaking, I just have no idea what the dollar value of that benefit is. A billion dollars? I don't know. It should facilitate a more efficient flow of commerce between these vastly interconnected economies, but good luck calculating that number.

I suppose the next question is if we support the existence of one or more of these institutions, do you want to see Canada host one or both of their summits? I am trying two G20-G8 poll questions simultaneously. Which should exist, and which would you like to see Canada host. I think that the costs are too high and I agree with Ignatieff that Toronto is not a good host for any major international event. Assuming the costs are reasonable, there should be a net benefit.

The costs are as high as they are because we are hosting both the G8 and the G20, which in hindsight might have been too ambitious. What can the G8 do that the G20 can't? Isn't every G8 member also a G20 member? I vote to scrap the G8 and just have the G20. Would I support hosting the G20 knowing it would cost us over a billion dollars? No. Would I support hosting if it cost 200 million dollars? Yes.

May Polling, vol I

Here are the results from my first 15 polls in the month of May. To view an entire history of my poll results, click here. I would like to thank everyone for participating, and your feedback is always encouraged. I must disclose the disclaimer that I am a Tory blogger, and the majority of my visitors are also of the Conservative ilk.

WHICH CANADIAN CITY SHOULD GET THE NEXT NHL TEAM?

Winnipeg (50%)
Hamilton (23%)
6 teams is enough (13%)
Regina (4%)
2nd Toronto (4%)
Quebec City (2%)
Whitehorse (2%)


SHOULD A SITTING MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT ALSO BE EMPLOYED AS A LOBBYIST?

No (99%)
Yes (1%)
Undecided (0%)


DO YOU THINK CANADIAN TAXPAYERS SHOULD BAIL OUT THE GREEK GOVERNMENT?

No (99%)
Undecided (1%)
Yes (0%)


DO YOU THINK CANADA SHOULD SEEK A SEAT ON THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL?

Yes (59%)
No (33%)
Undecided (7%)


IF A FORMER LIBERAL COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR ENCOURAGES THE ASSASSINATION OF A SITTING PRIME MINISTER, WHAT SHOULD BE HIS COOLING OFF PERIOD BEFORE GAINING EMPLOYMENT WITH OUR NATIONAL BROADCASTER?

He should never get that job (95%)
No cooling necessary (4%)
3 years (1%)
1 year (0%)
2 years (0%)


WHO DO YOU THINK MOST BELONGS IN A PRISON CELL?

Karlheinz Shcreiber (86%)
Brian Mulroney (8%)
Neither (6%)


WHO DO YOU THINK WOULD BE THE MOST EFFECTIVE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA?

The Swedish Chef (94%)
Jack Layton (5%)
Mike Ignatieff (1%)


HAD THE GOVERNMENT COMMITTED WAR CRIMES AS ALLEGED, WOULD THEY COOPERATE AND SHARE ALL DOCUMENTS WITH THE OPPOSITION?

No (85%)
Undecided (8%)
Yes (7%)


IN THE LAST TEN YEARS, HOW MUCH MONEY HAVE YOU DONATED TO A POLITICAL PARTY?

$1 - $4,999 (62%)
$0 (30%)
$5,000 - $9,999 (5%)
Over $10,000 (1%)


DO YOU SUPPORT DEEP SEA OIL DRILLING?

Yes (76%)
No (16%)
Undecided (8%)


DO YOU THINK THAT CANADA SHOULD SEND A LARGE PEACEKEEPING FORCE TO THE CONGO?

No (93%)
Yes (5%)
Undecided (3%)


WHICH NEW DIPPER WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE RETIRE NEXT?

Pat Martin (43%)
Libby Davies (18%)
Thomas Mulcair (16%)
Jack Layton (14%)
Paul Dewar (6%)


WHO WILL BE THE NEXT PUNDIT BOOTED OFF THE CBC?

Kory Teneycke (54%)
Frank Graves (22%)
Kady O'Malley (10%)
Scott Reid (6%)
Evan Soloman (4%)
Terry Milewski (1%)

**note** the question was not who would you like to see, but rather who you think it will be. The theory is that the CBC will dump Teneycke for Conservative leanings, while O'Malley stays employed.


DO YOU THINK PARLIAMENT FINDING THE GOVERNMENT IN CONTEMPT REPRESENTS A MOTION OF NON CONFIDENCE?

Yes (78%)
No (20%)
Undecided (2%)


DO YOU THINK THAT PARLIAMENTARY PRECEDENCE FROM FOREIGN DEMOCRACIES SHOULD APPLY TO CANADIAN LAW?

No (82%)
Yes (11%)
Undecided (7%)

When Cyclists Attack

I have to admit that I have never in my driving career found myself in the situation where an angry cyclist jumped on the hood of my car with the intention of causing me harm. I would like to think that if I ever found myself in such an improbable situation, that I would have the right to get away. I always yield to pedestrians and am as courteous as I possibly can be, but if a driver is in a car with his wife on their anniversary and an enraged cyclist jumps on his hood, I don't suspect that courtesy is the natural reaction.

Michael Bryant's life is already devastated by this whole incident, even after the charges have been dropped. I listened to Charles Adler outline this incident last night on his radio show (6pm pacific on CKNW Newstalk 980), and the entire ordeal was entirely surreal. I'm sure if the police had all the details at the beginning, he would never have been charged. But now that they know the full story, the charges have been dropped. I suppose that it needs to be put to a poll question, considering this precedence. If a crazed cyclist or pedestrian jumps on the hood of your car, displaying intent to cause you physical harm, should you have the right to drive away? Or must you exit the vehicle and run away?

The I-Tony

Industry Minister Tony Clement has songs in his I-Pod that he didn't pay for. He should be removed from Cabinet right away while we call in the RCMP and hold a full public inquiry! He should be arrested and put to a civilian court to determine the appropriate prison sentence. And it shouldn't stop at Clement; I demand the search and seizure of every I-Pod owned by every MP in Parliament. Let's smoke 'em all out. Okay, I'm just kidding, if you didn't figure that out already.

For the record, I don't download illegal music anymore. I did in University when nearly every student was using Napster, but I reached a point where I realized that I don't have the right to free music. The old argument was always that you used to have to buy an entire album to acquire that one song you like. The CDs that I own, 90% of them only have one good song. Now with I-Tunes, I can buy that song for 99 cents instead of having to pay an additional $15 for the other 12 lousy songs. But I would like to pay artists for enjoying their songs, and I-Tunes now gives me the opportunity to do that.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Should New Orleans Be Abandoned?

You have to feel terrible for the people of New Orleans, as this oil spill has added catastrophe to injury in a city that hasn't yet recovered from one of the worst catastrophes in the history of North America. My friends and I were talking about it yesterday, and you have to ask what is left in the city of New Orleans for its people? After Katrina, the commercial fishing industry has been the life blood of their local economy, and now even that is being taken away from them. The city is too far under sea level, putting the residents at extreme risk with each new storm, and now its main economic output has been destroyed for a generation.

Many of the people evacuated from Katrina still have not returned to the city. Many of the people currently living in New Orleans are the people who couldn't afford to move. Between the unrepaired hurricane damage and their coastline now devastated, I can't understand why anyone would want to live there. I'm sure Mardi Gras is good wholesome fun, but it was a really bad idea to put a major city in a flood plain that far under sea level even if once upon a time it served a critical purpose. They still can't repair the oil leak! Why not just pour a 50 meter by 50 meter concrete block and drop it on top? Or is it that important to salvage the oil? Since Obama put BP in charge of the cleanup, every strategy they have tried includes harvesting the oil into a tanker. Just drop a giant block on it and seal it forever.

Invictus

Last evening I decided to rent the latest Clint Eastwood film (directed and produced, not acted) Invictus starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, and I thought that it was fantastic. I enjoyed the film a great deal, and I thought that Freeman's portrayal of Nelson Mandela has to rank among his best work. Shawshank Redemption was his mountain top, but I found this role to be very moving. It isn’t easy to write a compelling screenplay to a true story with a known ending, but they pulled it off.

I will say this, I played a lot of football in high school. I have never played rugby. For all the high speed collisions and physical violence in football, those rugby guys are hardcore. I wore a helmet and shoulder pads, they don't. I remember playing intramural contact hockey at University, and a guy from the varsity rugby team played on our squad. He played contact hockey without shoulder pads, but his shoulders were so big that the refs couldn't tell that he was violating intramural equipment rules. That guy was a wrecking ball on the ice, crashing into people at high speeds with no shoulder pads without so much as a scratch.

Of course I never told him that he had to put on shoulder pads (despite school regulations), because I knew if you put body armour on that guy and turned him loose, we would need paramedics on standby.

Ignatieff Slams Toronto

I know that he spent most of his life abroad and doesn't understand Canada, but surely somebody on his team has told the Liberal leader that the final urban strongholds of Liberal support are in Toronto and Montreal. Today Iggy was on TV slamming Toronto as host of the G20 summit coming this summer, these comments coming less than a week after he cursed the Montreal Canadiens magical playoff run by exploiting them to score cheap PR points. At this point he is risking the complete destruction of the Liberal Party of Canada by playing with fire where the majority of his caucus was elected from. Do the people of Etobicoke Lakeshore also think Toronto is a terrible choice to host an international conference?

I'm sure if we were able to do both summits in Huntsville it would have cost less, and I'd say a billion dollars for security is quite excessive. I know that there were enough security concerns at the Toronto venue that they cancelled the Blue Jays series with Philadelphia that was scheduled at the same time. Did the Feds have to pay for all those ticket refunds? I'm sure if specific security threats were received or a plot being monitored, that information would not be made public. Maybe we should have the G8 in Huntsville, and the G20 at Meech Lake?

We know Iggy thinks Toronto was a bad choice to host international dignitaries, and I might even agree with him. I just wonder about the wisdom of slamming the city that sent him to Ottawa.  If they can't host a 3 day Summit, how do they expect to host a Summer Olympics? Iggy may cost Toronto their next Olympic bid.  Best to vote him back to Boston next time through.

Harper - Chretien Happy Fun Time

I must confess that it was fun to watch the press conference yesterday with Jean Chretien and Stephen Harper, where they were having good natured fun with a few funny jokes exchanged. It was to unveil Chretien's deserved portrait in the Commons, and a little satire was a welcome change of pace. I doubt Chretien would ever have won 3 majorities without a divided right, but none the less he does deserve some form of credit for getting elected Prime Minister 3 times. Well done Stephen Harper for showing up in good spirits and making a contribution.

For the record, Jean Chretien was Prime Minister when I first became interested in politics as a youth, and I don't know that I have ever had anything nice to say about him. Nothing of what he said in this press conference made me laugh or impressed me. I like what the Prime Minister had to say.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Three Words to Describe Ignatieff

If you could choose three words to describe Liberal leader Mike Ignatieff, which would you pick? Something perhaps like "bad luck harbinger" or maybe "ignorance is bliss"? I would like to turn this question into a webpoll, but first I'd prefer to harvest some ideas. So far my own nominations include:

1) Foolhardy arrogance personified
2) Blind to Canada
3) Getting bad advice
4) Impudent dissent crusader

What say you?

Iggy's Montreal Loss

As I blogged after the game 4 loss to the Bell Center, Iggy using it as a platform for shameless self promotion in the face of bad karma may have cost Montreal their season. It is a theory. Just what consequences does he face for cursing the fabled franchise? The Liberals have 12 seats in the Greater Montreal Area (roughly 15% of their caucus). Note that I include rural ridings that touch Greater Montreal as being part of the GMA, because I assume that large portions of their populations are close to the metropolis. If you live 20 minutes outside of Montreal, you are probably still a Habs fan.

So let's pretend that 1 in 4 Montreal Liberals are pissed off that Iggy's little PR stunt cost their team a magical playoff run and defect to the Bloc. The Liberals would lose 5 seats, or 40% of their Montreal caucus. The guy is bad luck and Montreal's season is over. Will Ignatieff pay a price? I hope so, though the Tories have virtually no chance to win any of those seats. In the same city where they held their hapless thinkers conference no less...

Korean War Games

Now we know what South Korea and the United States will do in response to the North Korean sinking of a South Korean Navy vessel; they are going to hold war games to show off their military capabilities to Kim Jong Il. In addition they will toughen already tough sanctions, to try and serve some sort of punishment in addition to the military show deterrent. Will it make any difference? I have absolutely no idea how that nut will respond to this strategy. Part of what makes that little person so dangerous in this big world is that he is pathologically insane and completely unpredictable.

For Canada's part, we really don't engage in any trade with North Korea, so we don't really have anything to pull from the table. The best we can do is publicly support South Korea and condemn the actions. I did some recent polling on this matter, but I did not include war games as an option. There are a lot of nerves over a potential North Korean full scale attack on the South if there is a military retaliation. Perhaps the concerns are justified and this strategy will work, I just can't predict a rational response from an unpredictable despot.

What is the most appropriate response to North Korea sinking a South Korean navy ship?

Military Strike (64%)
Tougher Sanctions (20%)
Tough Diplomacy (9%)
Pretend it Never Happened (5%)

CBC Expense Scandal

This emerging scandal over CBC expenses is starting to build momentum. Now that the Prime Minister has decided to soften his position on the Auditor General reviewing the expenses of Members of Parliament, will the CBC do the same? They are currently in Federal Court protecting their right not to tell you how they spend your $1.2 billion dollars in tax money. The CBC tax intake is more than double that of Parliament. They spend twice as much of our money as our Members of Parliament, and they don't want you to know how they spend that money.

Hopefully now that it looks increasingly likely that Parliament will turn over their expenses, hopefully the CBC can follow suit and show some responsibility to the tax payers who pay for Milewski's expense account. I am excited to learn more about MP expenses because I'm sure we will find out very quickly who in Iggy's caucus was fighting this.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stephen Harper Leaving on a Private Jet Plane

Everybody sound their alarms of outrage, the Prime Minister does not fly commercial air! The sky is falling! To make matters worse, he actually flew around the country to promote our economic recovery and build confidence in Canadian industry. Oh the humanity! This kind of reminds me of the time that Stephen Harper tried to encourage investment in Canadian markets in a Manbridge interview, and Peter responded with horror. Investors were dumping stocks in a panic, and the Prime Minister did what a Prime Minister should do attempt to stop the bleeding. Time also proved out that the resiliency of the Canadian economy was stronger than most "experts" predicted.

I don't have a problem with the Prime Minister visiting communities in the country to promote the Canadian economy. If the outrage is that he doesn't fly commercial, well I'm sure a challenger jet is a hell of a lot cheaper than Air Force One. We can compare dollars and cents, but I trust the Prime Minister to be fiscally responsible. I don't think that fiscal responsibility includes our PM flying in coach.

The Teflon Tories?

The first year of Mike Ignatieff's leadership of the Liberal Party saw faux controversy after faux controversy hurled at the Harper Government in an attempt to make something stick, and it hasn't worked. For a moment it looked like Prorogate was going to damage Tory support, but that didn't last. If their "grassroots" opposition movement where they literally convinced tens of hundreds of partisans and party supports to protest in the streets of Canada, didn’t stick, what will? The polls shifted for a moment, but the country has returned to the steady state.

If all these controversies were unable to shift public opinion (in fact the only major shift has been in Ignatieff's disapproval numbers), then what's it gonna take to make a difference? Half the people who approved of Iggy a year ago no longer do. A wise TV commercial once said "you never get a second chance to make a first impression", so we will see how this plays out. I'll be curious to see what Iggy does over the summer to promote party policy. They got no bounce from Thinkapalooza, and neither Afghan detainees nor lobbyist former MPs have made no impact whatsoever on voter preference. Time to move on to the next subject. I know, fiscal policy is not nearly as exciting as bombastic stories of busty hookers.

Cleaning Up Oil: Above Obama's Pay Grade

The latest oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may have destroyed an entire ecosystem for a generation, but that's not Obama's problem. As Barak likes to say when deflecting tough questions, "that's above my pay grade". It is the oil company's responsibility to clean it up, not the American government. Or is it only the job of the Feds to save their soil from disasters if Republicans are in power? It is quite a common tactic of the Obama administration to blame other people for their problems. I'm sure they will even find a way to slam George Bush for their own response to the disaster.

I also thought it was a little rich to have Sarah Palin slam Obama's lack of response by accusing him of being too close to "big oil". As Governor of Alaska, Palin might have been closer to big oil than any Governor outside of Texas in the history of the country! I am not of the opinion that big oil is evil, and I would never have criticized Palin for doing so much business with big oil, I just find it to be a particularly opportunistic form hypocrisy. She is exploiting a disaster to score a few political points. It is not unlike Bob Rae protesting the Canadian government for proroguing Parliament, when as Premier Bobby prorogued nearly every year and for longer durations.

On the other hand, considering she quit her job after less than half of one single term, she didn't have enough time in office to fully exploit her own ties to big oil.

Who Is Earth's Most Evil Leader?

Who do you think is the most evil leader in the world? There are two metrics to consider, 1) total amount of evil, 2) capability of causing harm. As Conservatives we all agree that the world is going to be destroyed by an anti-Christ in the near future, so who is that ultimate bad guy most likely to be? Being a Conservative has nothing to do with personal freedoms and small government, it is about preparing everyone to die. I don't know about you, but that's why I'm a Conservative. (that's sarcasm by the way)...

Here is my starting list, am I forgetting anyone? I am looking for leaders currently leading a country. Obama doesn't count. I don't believe he's evil, just wrong.

1) Kim Jong Ill (North Korea)
2) The Ayatollah (Iran)
3) Hugo Chavez (Venezuela)
4) Vladimir Putin (Russia)
5) The Burmese Military junta
6) That guy in the Sudan
7) Qadaffy (Lybia)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My 10 Favourite Shows On Television

This evening I decided to make a list of my favourite shows on television, with the intention of asking you which of my favourite shows you like the most. I am probably going to have to rank South Park as my number one show on television. These past couple of seasons have risen to a whole new level, starting with Cartman as Dog the Bounty Hunter and their Lord of the Rings spoof. I have recently started watching My Name is Earl and Billy the Exterminator, and a CBC program even made my list, Dragon's Den. Let's be fair, Kevin O'Leary is the only reason to watch that show.

I tried to pick shows that are currently in production, but if one of these has ended, so be it.

1) South Park: The only show that I will go online to view the latest episode.

2) Dragon's Den: Other than Hockey Night in Canada, the only good show on the CBC.

3) My Name is Earl: Jason Lee is hilarious. The first one I watched was the "Sweet Johnny" episode, and I was instantly hooked.

4) Mythbusters: Eventually they have to run out of myths, right?

5) Entourage: It has gotten decidedly worse each season. Ari Gold and Johnny Drama make the show what it is.

6) Billy the Exterminator: A new show, but I love it.

7) NCIS: The LA version is brutal, but the one with Mark Harmon is fantastic.

8) The Office: I have never seen the British version.

9) Numb3rs: For a mathematician this show is brain candy.

10) Deadliest Warriors: Eventually they will run out of warriors, but it is a fascinating program.

It's the end of the World as we know it...

It is Apocalypse Day on the History Channel, and as a Conservative I am like a moth drawn to the proverbial lake of fire. We must set Government policy around the central theme of the end of the world. If you doubt me, just listen to the Nostradamus expert, he clearly knows more than you do and is never wrong. We need to pass a law mandating that all new homes built must have Apocalypse shelters. We need to offer Apocalypse tax credits to people who would like to retrofit their basements with Apocalypse shelters.

What other Apocalypse policies do we need to rush through the Senate? What about a state run Apocalypse Insurance program? We can garnish everyone's wages to pay for the building a massive bio dome deep in the Earth where we can gather the sheep, err I mean Canadians. Do we need to tax the wicked a little extra? The more evil you are, the higher your Apocalypse insurance premium should be. Or do we even try to save the wicked?

Evidently I have some work to do to convince the rest of my fellow Conservatives that the world is ending, based on my own recent polling data:

Do you believe that human civilization is coming to an end?

No (81%)
Yes (13%)
Undecided (5%)


PS: This post is completely and totally sarcastic in an attempt to make fun of a book recently written in Canada that claims Armageddon theorists have hijacked our government's policy. That was news to me as a news obsessed Tory pundit. When I tried to convince people that Sly Stallone personally took down the Soviet Union, that time I was being serious.

"Ignorance is bliss when it is folly to be wise"

-Jim Lahey, Trailer Park Supervisor

Did Ignatieff Curse Canada's Team?

Hockey players are quite often very superstitious people. Montreal Canadien players couldn't have been happy to see a politician exploiting his appearance at their crucial game 4 to try and salvage his own falling poll numbers. The night before the big game, Iggy was promoting his upcoming appearance at the Bell Center with former Habs great Ken Dryden on Twitter. During the big game, Iggy was Tweeting about the electricity surrounding him. The CBC enabled his egocentric PR stunt with several gratuitous photo ops, and they even brought Dryden into studio to talk about politics during the 2nd intermission with the team trailing 2-0. God forbid they talk about hockey!

The end result, the Canadiens lost and are now down 3 games to 1. I know that they have played their best hockey these playoffs when on the brink of elimination, but let's face reality here, when a team goes up 3-1 they win the series at least 90% of the time. The probability of one team erasing a 3-1 deficit twice in the same playoffs would be a tiny fraction of a single percentage point. If they are able to do it, they would likely be in a position to set a new record for wins in a playoffs when facing elimination (if they haven't already). There is room for a tiny glimmer of optimism, but regardless if this series goes back to Montreal for a game 6, team officials should not allow Iggy to even enter the building. His is the wrong kind of "electricity", the bad kind of "electricity"...

Scott Morrison of Hockey Night in Canada said it best when he Tweeted "Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff sitting behind the losing bench. Enough said." I am a new follower of Scott Morrison on Twitter. I don't know if Morrison is a Conservative, but this should at the very least qualify him for a Senate seat...

If Montreal loses the series, Ignatieff should accept responsibility and appologize to the people of Montreal for personally jinxing their magical playoff run. How many seats do you expect the Liberals to lose in Montreal next election over this controversy? The guy is just bad luck.

Sasquatch

With this recent incident of a dead otter/mink/chupacabra floating ashore in the far north of Ontario, I am interested in collecting some opinion on arguably the greatest rural legend the Sasquatch. Does anyone know anyone who claims to have seen one of these things? My own belief is that it is possible that this species once existed, but it is most likely extinct.

For the species to currently be alive, a number of things would have to be true like very long life spans, family groups burying the dead in remote locations, heightened senses and a fear of man, and a high degree of intelligence. There was a time about a million years ago where several different species of upward walking ape were roaming the world. When humans evolved into our current form, we drove all the other ape men into extinction.

So where do you stand on the Sasquatch?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Keeping Up With the Pauls

While I identify myself as a Libertarian and there are some issues where I strongly agree with Ron Paul, some of his policy ideas are pretty crazy. I only found out who his son was a few days ago, but as I heard on the Laura Ingraham Show, Rand Paul has dropped some of his father's more controversial foreign policies. Either he doesn't believe in them, or he realizes that the more extreme message doesn't settle well in the center, like dismantling the CIA. Ingraham said that Rand Paul was doing too many interviews and being too candid, and then suddenly he goes on TV and makes very controversial statements.

I get most of my American political opinion from Laura Ingraham and Dennis Miller. I have yet to form a definitive opinion of Rand Paul, and even as a Libertarian I am as skeptical as I am excited. I love that Ron Paul is in the Senate, but God help us if he ever became President. I know that my father and I agree on a lot politically, so I have to wonder how far Randy has fallen from the apple tree. Does he agree with daddy's views on the military or 9/11?

"I see national health care as being like the DMV with open wounds"

-Dennis Miller

If Ken Dryden is a Rock Star...

...then what does that make Ignatieff? During today's Montreal Canadiens loss, Iggy Tweeted "Walking with Ken Dryden in the Bell Centre was better than walking with a rock star! There is electricity in the air!" And for all the electricity that Ignatieff's attendance brought to the building, there sure wasn't much spark in the Habs offense as they lost 3-0. I was actually pleased to see Montreal lose, lest Iggy start Tweeting himself credit for the victory.

For some holiday weekend fun, I'd like to do a poll on what Iggy would be if Ken Dryden were a rock star. Would he be a roadie? A groupie? Someone in the entourage living off the celebrity of another? I would like to listen to a few suggestions before I launch the poll.

CBC Access to Information

The CBC is currently locked in a Federal Court battle to protect its programming costs from being released to the public. A few months ago I prepared an Access to Information Request because I want to look into what programs are burning through money for what reasons. I want to know how much Kady O'Malley spends on her public account that is kept private. I want to know how much Terry Milewski is spending as he follows our Prime Minister around the world. I want to know how much each program earns in revenue, ratings, and what they spend.

The problem is that if I send my Access to Information request to the CBC, I am wasting $5 because they will simply cite section 68.1 of the Access to Information Act which states: "This Act does not apply to any information that is under the control of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that relates to its journalistic, creative or programming activities, other than information that relates to its general administration."

I find it interesting that the above would even be included in the access to information act, when it is perfectly acceptable to want to investigate their spending practices, which are subsidized by tax payers to the tune of 1.2 billion dollars last year.  Milewski wants all documents outlining our active combat operations in Afghanistan made public, but his own expense account, that's off limits.  It is okay to compromise the safety and security of our Armed Forces, but we can't compromise Terry's journalistic "creativity".

Outraged At Senate Appointment!!! Arrgghh!!!

I am furious that Stephen Harper appointed a man who once endorsed Belinda Stronach financially to become the newest Canadian Senator. A Belinda supporter in the Senate? Is this madness? Other than his support of Belinda in the 2004 Tory Leadership Race, I have no problem with David Braley's Senate appointment. If you are of the opinion that appointing a Senator who previously donated money to your party is wrong, that's cool. In this case, Senator Braley has donated more money to charity than 99.9% of Canadians, to the tune ot tens of millions of dollars. He may have donated money to all the leadership candidates in 2004, but he donated 3 times as much to Belinda as now Prime Minister Harper.

Granted I don't see the Senate in its current status as a holly institution. Many of the people currently sitting were appointed for partisan reasons (not unlike Larry Campbell), so I don't see an open Tory as a threat to our democracy. I want an elected Senate. I believe that Stephen Harper will bring that to reality in the future. He tried before, but the then Liberal dominated Senate furiously filibustered that legislation. If it takes appointing some partisans to reform the Senate, then so be it, I support it.

To those of my "colleagues", those "Liberal hacks" who are up in arms, grow the fuck up. As I have asserted on several occasions, you are welcome to live in your political fantasy land, while the rest of us live in the real world. Bloggers who can't see reality through their ideology, I don't have time for. Whether it was declaring the Olympics a massive failure in November or chastising Harper's lack of "fiscal conservatism" in a minority government, some Blogging Tories can't grasp reality.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Sir John A MacDonald Day!

For my entire adult life, it has baffled me that we have a national holiday for a dead British Queen, but none for our country's first Prime Minister. Therefore for the last few years I have celebrated Victoria Day as Sir John A MacDonald Day, because in my opinion he did far more for Canada than the outdated Monarch. I have never been a fan of the British Crown, or the British for that matter, although my all-time favourite politician in the history of mankind is Winston Churchill. Any warm feelings that I feel today from the memory of British leadership is on the back of Winston Churchill.

One of my favourite Churchill quotes, and there are many, comes from when he was meeting the King of Saudi Arabia. I believe that the question asked of Sir Winston had to do on the question of alcohol consumption at the state dinner because the Saudi King doesn't drink, and his response; "my rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite - smoking cigars and also the drinking of fine Scotch before, after, and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them."

If this Canadian holiday weekend must celebrate British leadership, let it be Sir Winston Churchill Day if not Sir John A MacDonald Day. Where I come from in Northern Ontario, nobody calls it Victoria Day. It is "May 2-4" (in reference to the relative date of the event and the consumption of cases of beer).

Vancouver Tea Party

You have to question the sanity of a Premier who is introducing a new tax that 80%-90% of the Province opposes, so soon after he introduced a carbon tax that the majority of people disapproved of. Even the people who accept the talking points that the HST is going to be an economic benefit have to be angry at the way Gordon Campbell said specifically during an election campaign that he would not introduce the HST, and then flipped immediately after the election. Then we find out that the government had HST wheels in motion long before the election, and blatantly lied during the election when asked about it.

To make matters worse, the majority of the province was already furious about the carbon tax but voted Liberal anyway because the alternative was the NDP. Glen Clark and Ujjal Donsangh were two of the worst Premiers in the history of confederation. I know a lot of people want to vote for the fledgling BC Conservative Party, but they are afraid that switching may end up electing a NDP government if not enough make the migration. But now with a carbon tax and an increase in sales tax, this is a lame duck Premier. Three terms was a big accomplishment. The fall of Social Credit brought the NDP to power, the NDP brought BC to its knees, and Gordie had a free ride.

The BC Conservatives need to run a candidate in every riding in the next election. I might have voted for them last time had one run in my riding. People in Alberta complaining about Stelmach don't know how it feels to walk into a voting booth with 3 choices 1) Liberal, 2) NDP, 3) Green. It is enough to make your head explode. But BC votes roughly 40% Tory federally.

I know he won't do it, but Stephen Harper should pull the plug on the BC HST. The Prime Minister gave the Premier the option of not adding the new tax to previously untaxed goods, but Gord declined. At this point I don't know what power the feds would have to rescind the tax, as the HST legislation already passed through the Commons with Ignatieff's blessing.

Canada's Own Mystery "Monster"

Evidently a massive internet debate has broken out over the identity of an alleged "monster" that floated up on the shore of a Canadian lake in the far North of Ontario. Only photos exist, because when the photographers left the body washed up on shore and returned 2 days later, the "Chuppacabra" was gone. I am a wildlife enthusiast, and when I first saw the pictures I thought that it was quite clearly an otter. Short legs and a long slender body suggest an otter, where any muskrat I've ever seen was short and fat. Some suggest it is a wolverine, but I'm pretty sure that a wolverine has a longer snout.

I should put this to a poll question.  Tell me what species you think this mysterious creature actually is. I do not believe that it is a rare or undiscovered species.  I believe that it is just an otter with no fur on its face.

The Creature


An Otter


A Muskrat


A Bear Cub


A Wolverine


A Chupacabra


UPDATE: I just read an expert who says that it is a mink, which is very possible given that there is no reference for actual size in the photograph (one article says it was 20cm long, which suggests mink or young otter). Sadly I did not include the mink as an option in my poll, and to go back and change it would erase the votes of the people who have already voted. If you look at the feet of the creature in the picture, they most closely resemble the mink than the otter.


Iffy Flop Has a Lust For Strife

Is the culture war backfiring? Everyone was talking this past week about Iggy's poor approval numbers, and that in this past year half the people that approved of Iggy a year ago no longer support him. Even Frank Graves was prepared to throw Iffy Flop under the bus. Chantal Hebert is now speculating that Chretien is negotiating a new coalition treaty with Ed Broadbent (the kind of negotiation usually reserved for party leaders). It is increasingly clear that the Liberals need a coalition to have any chance to assume power, but will they campaign on it or thrust it upon us in the cover of night?

What everyone is saying is that Iggy has fallen below even Dion's ceiling. Just over one year ago the Liberals were at 37% in the polls. Since the culture war, they are down to 25%. Iggy has been bleeding support. I suppose that's what happens when you wage a public opinion war against our troops and turn every piece of news into a major controversy. The more you cry wolf, the less the townsfolk respond. Now they are stuck in a new abyss such that if a wolf actually comes and they find a winning issue, few outside Taber and O'Malley are likely to listen.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Graves Muses About Tory Majority

Frank Graves is still making regular appearances on the CBC, despite a number of controversies surrounding his political bias as a longtime Liberal financial donor. To his credit, he was as hard on the Liberal Party today as I have ever seen him, even musing that 34.4% to 25.1% could be majority territory considering voter turnout. It seems like he's trying to go a little out of his way to come across as bipartisan.

There was a point near the beginning that was amusing if you followed last week's news of a biased/leading poll question sent in by a Liberal candidate that was selected by EKOS for a major poll. Well today they had a question on oil drilling based on a viewer question, so Soloman put up the original which was a leading question; and Graves made a big point about how they had to change the viewer question to a new more ambiguous question. It seemed like a deliberate attempt to quash last week’s dust up.

Then, after everything he went on a rant about the Green Party, defending that he really believes they will get at least 12% of the popular vote in the next election. Then as evidence he presented his theory that environmental concern over the oil spill in the gulf has the Greens surging up to 12%. But EKOS had the Greens at almost 14% in January, long before the oil spill. Just thought I'd point that out Frank.

North Korean Act Of War?

If what the news is reporting is true and a North Korean submarine sank a South Korean navy ship, then that is an act of war. The question is will anybody even do anything about this? I would be shocked if Barak Obama responds with any action more forceful than a stern speech. I don't think anyone (other than maybe a few North Korean Generals) wants to see the resumption of war in the Korean peninsula, but how do you respond to acts of war with anything other than war? Are further sanctions beyond the ones already in place going to deter this kind of unprovoked violence? Is a really stern speech going to scare Kim Jong Ill?

I would like to see a military response, because frankly the tough diplomacy route has been tried in the past, sanctions have been tried in the past, and we still have North Korea attacking the South Korean navy! What else is there? Is there a bright idea out there that I haven't thought of yet?

London's New Loveable Olympic Cyclops

Yesterday London's Olympic organizers unveiled their mascots for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Ladies and Gentlemen please behold, your Olympic Cyclops. This is too much! Considering how critical the British media were of the Vancouver Olympics, which I was here for and were spectacular, this stumbling out of the gate is an ominous sign of things to come. Sure, the Vancouver mascot looked like Gumby mated with a pile of rocks, but at least the rock figures have a more positive history than the Cyclops. I have a funny feeling that these figures will frighten many a children before their Olympics are over. They have 2 Cyclopses, one for the regular Olympics and one for the Paralympics.

The "Iggy Flop"

The "Iggy Flop" seems to have become a common occurrence in Canadian politics. What did he say today, "I was against it until I supported it" or something like that? Mike Ignatieff seems to have changed his mind on releasing MP expenses, or at least it appears. Today he wasn't saying that MPs should open up the books, but instead that the Auditor General should talk to MPs. It was funny to watch Martha Hall Findlay make half a dozen references to Iggy's bold and brave leadership on the MP expenses issue. You could tell that she had nothing because she just kept repeating the same talking points over and over again.

Ultimately MP expenses should be made public. None of the parties want to, but there is strong pressure from the public from all sides of the political spectrum. It is a no brainer. I am waiting for an official government position on this issue. I’m sure they realize that the strong majority of their base want to see this happen. Iggy wants to be seen to embrace public opinion by having the AG speak to the committee, but there is also some strong dissent from within his own caucus to the bold and brave stand he appeared to take yesterday. The dissent is likely coming from those in his caucus who are either being sued or have abused their expense accounts.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Anarchy: Let The Punishment Fit The Crime

So anarchists are going to start firebombing Canadian banks in an attempt to encourage Canadians that life would be better without government or police? When we catch these criminals, I have a perfect plan for how to punish them. I have long been of the opinion that violent anarchists should be put on an airplane and air dropped into Mogadishu, so that they can experience for themselves life in a lawless society without government. Somehow I suspect that the romanticism with rampant criminality will burn out very quickly after they touch down in Somalia.

Somalia is the world's preeminent case study for Anarchy. If people want to complain about government that's fine and dandy and perfectly legal; but start smashing windows and firebombing banks, then you are nothing more than a common criminal who just wants to inflict harm on others.

Harper Lectures G20 on Fiscal Responsibility

In terms of economic recovery amid the latest recession, Canada is the envy of the Western World. It seems only fitting then that Prime Minister Stephen Harper should share a few words to our allies about how best to weather a storm. Canada is and should be a beacon of fiscal responsibility to the rest of the world. Granted we aren't perfect, CUPE still exists and we give the CBC a billion dollars per year, but that shouldn't stop us from saving the world from itself. We have arguably the best Finance Minister on the planet and a receptive audience around the world for sound fiscal order. Thank you Mr. Flaherty.

Conservative Party of Canada: Apocalypse Now?

Here I have spent all this time ardently supporting the Conservative Party of Canada in a public blog, blissfully unaware that I was supporting the Apocalypse Party. Right now in Ottawa, because one leftard wrote a book, Ottawa is a buzz with accusations that Tory MPs believe that the world is soon coming to an end and we are all going to die. Everything the Conservatives do is to prepare for the end of the world, allegedly. When I oppose tax funding of the CBC, allegedly it is only because I want the world to end. Apocalyptic theology allegedly drives my life. I never knew, but a left wing author asserts otherwise.

Personally I find these accusations to be insane, but that is just my humble opinion. Evan Soloman's audience believe that religious fundamentalists have hijacked the Conservative Party. I didn't even know.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Many Votes To Take All Liberal Seats?

Here is an interesting question, how many Liberal voters would the Tories need to convert to take every single seat that the grits have in the House of Commons? The smallest number required can be found by taking all Liberals seats, subtract the sum total of how many votes behind all the Tory candidates were, and you should have an answer. Remember, each vote flipped counts as 2 because when one goes down and the other goes up at the same time, that is a 2 vote swing (ie: if you are 100 votes behind, you only need to convert 51 voters to take the lead).

I will not share the answer until the end of my poll, but feel free to count at home if you are curious as to the smallest number of Canadian voters that must be converted to completely wipe out the Liberal Party from our House of Commons.

Maternal Death Statistics

The statistic that I am seeing often repeated is that 70,000 women die in the world every year from "botched abortions"; ergo Western nations need to pay for the building and operation of abortion clinics in every nation of the world so that we can start saving lives. Because after all, saving lives is why this maternal health debate matters. Saving the lives of mothers, 70,000 of them every year.

How many die from breast cancer every year? According to the World Health Organization, 476,000. Ovary cancer kills 134,000 every year. Traffic accidents kill 1.2 million people globally every year. 137,000 people die every year from iron deficiency. Childhood-cluster diseases kill over a million annually. 4 million people die from respiratory infections each year. Tuberculosis still claims 1.5 million yearly victims. Syphilis murders 157,000 per anum. Cardiovascular diseases kill over 16 million people in one earth revolution around the sun. We must do something to save the 873,000 who die every year from self inflicted injuries. Diarrhoeal diseases kill 1.8 million.

I don't know how many lives they expect to save for each dollar spent on safe abortion clinics in Africa, but if we focus our attention on the things that kill the greatest number of people then we can really maximize the life saving effectiveness of our aid dollars. We can save hundreds of thousands more lives if we set up safe Diarrhea clinics across the globe. Because this entire debate started by the Liberal Party of Canada is all about saving lives. Isn't it?

We Didn't Tank Iggy's Popularity. They Did.

See, anyone can talk like Ignatieff. Leadership polling numbers indicate that Ignatieff is by far the least popular political leader in the country. A whopping 26% of Canadians have a positive opinion of Iggy Pop. His act isn't earning him the trust of the country, where most people see him as a tourist who only moved back to Canada in an attempt to rise to power. Ian Davey went down to Harvard and convinced Mike that he could be elected Czar of all of Canada, and Iggy followed Ian all the way back to Etobicoke Lakeshore. Here we are a few years into the experiment, Iggy managed to attain leadership without a vote from the party membership, and the Liberal Party has hit a floor.

No matter how desperately or furiously they spin the tires; they just can't gain any traction. That begs the question, how far away is the Bob Rae era? Has anyone read the Liberal Party's constitution? I'd like to know how many different ways Bob Rae could possibly usurp Iggy. I am assuming there has to be a mechanism to at least trigger a leadership review, if not an actual convention. I know it irks a lot of Liberals that they never got to vote on Iggy as leader. Oh wait, my bad, they did get to vote. He lost to Stephane Dion. I wonder what was going through Iggy's mind at that leadership convention when he watched Bob Rae and Ralph Goodale lead a long march of high profile party members past Iggyland to Camp Dion? I'd pay a penny for those thoughts...

Ignatieff Accuses Tories of Starting a Culture War?

Yesterday Mike Ignatieff said at a fundraiser "but let’s be clear: we didn’t end the 25-year consensus on a woman’s right to choose. They did." What? There was no abortion debate until the Liberals started one. How can Ignatieff say "we didn’t divide rural and urban Canada over gun control. They did"; when rural Canada is widely against the long gun registry and the Tories want to scrap it? This doesn't make any sense! He is accusing the Tories of starting debates that Iggy himself initiated.

I'm sure it is not a coincidence that just as Ignatieff comes under fire for trying to start a culture war, he attempt to deflect fire by accusing the government of doing what Iggy actually did. It is not as though I should be surprised. Any opposition leader under fire for trying to divide the country will try to shift the blame to the Government. That is par for the course.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Tories try again to tar Ignatieff with coalition fear-mongering"

Thank you Jane Taber for capturing the words that describe how I feel. I would like to tar the Liberal leader with some random fear mongering, and what better subject than a possible coalition with a political party that wants to divide the country. Liberal acolytes have been trying to convince the Canadian public of the viability of a coalition with the Bloc since the failed coup attempt in December of 2008. I would very much like to know Ignatieff's position on coalitions. I know they often go to the "if necessary but not necessarily" card, and we are unlikely to get a straight answer before such time as the opposition is trying to collapse the government and assume power.

Would Mike take the Liberals into a power sharing coalition with the Bloc Quebecois? If yes, that's good to know. If no and the Liberals will only negotiate with the NDP, then you had best start planning to pull candidates in each other's ridings, because right now that's about the only probable way that the two of you will have at least 155 seats. Springing an NDP coalition on us after an election only works if you have majority control of the Commons, otherwise you need the Bloc.

I like how Jane says "the Liberals are laughing this off, pointing out that when Stephen Harper was in opposition in 2004 he asked then governor-general Adrienne Clarkson to consult with he and other opposition leaders if prime minister Paul Martin tried to dissolve his minority government" as if comparing a similar action absolves a current party from wrong doing. I remember when Bob Rae was protesting prorogation on the streets of Toronto before someone pointed out that Bobby prorogued nearly every year of his regime. When Conservatives tried to tar Bob Rae with his own hypocrisy, it was like tar off a duck's back. Yeah, bad joke, I get it.

Criticizing CBC "Buffoonish"

Thank you John Doyle for educating me on my opinion about the CBC "As for the allegations of Liberal bias, they are ridiculous. As Rick Salutin pointed out the other day, any viewer of the CBC-TV news these days sees an elaborate attempt to reflect the views of the right." Really??? ANY viewer of CBC television news sees an elaborate attempt to reflect the views of the right? Exactly what CBC news broadcast are you watching? He goes on to say "God only knows what the Conservative Party is up to in its buffoonish attacks."

Personally my beef with the CBC is not that they exist, but that they pay their employees too much and thus cannot survive financially without a billion dollars in government subsidies. If they are unable to survive in their current form, then they must be reformed. I don't listen to CBC radio because most of their content is boring and uninteresting. This journalistic license to talk about anything no matter how few people are interested in the name of art and culture doesn't hold water with most normal Canadians.  They should operate like any other business, by supply and demand.

The story in the Globe makes multiple mention of Kory Teneycke, and no mention of Scott Reid having the same gig. Maybe the Globe is still embarrassed about publishing the "kill him, kill him dead" editorial. Kory talks on CBC TV for all of 20 minutes per month. Evan Soloman gets 2 hours per day.

Where Do You Invest?

I am curious to know where people are investing for retirement these days. Do you own mutual funds with a commercial bank? Perhaps an ING Direct high interest savings account? Are you invested with the fast growing credit union sector? Or do you play the stock market yourself in your own time? We are heading into a period of market volatility, and I'd like to know where my readers are investing as I observe these daily fluctuations. I am studying to get my financial securities license, with the goal of becoming either a Financial Advisor or a Forensic Accountant (or both). I would love to be the guy to catch the next Bernie Madoff. Trust me; the next Bernie Madoff is already out there ripping people off waiting to get caught.

60% Support Funding Foreign Abortions???

I am going to have to disagree with Harris-Decima on this one. The article in the Globe and Mail makes no mention of what proportion of Canadians are pro choice or pro life, and that is a statistic that needs to be included. Let's say that 65% are pro choice (which includes myself), then would 92% of pro choicers support funding abortions in Africa? We can hardly even treat pneumonia in Africa!  I am pro choice, and do not support my tax dollars paying for foreign abortions. The Globe article also does not state the specific wording of Harris-Decima's question, which is suspicious. They present the result with a lengthy analysis, but they don't say what the question was.

I know as an amateur pollster that the wording of the question can vastly affect the outcome. So, this article in the Globe doesn't say what percentage of Canadians are pro choice or pro life, and it doesn't say what the question was. Those are two red flags on information that should be presented. If I am going to believe that the vast majority of pro choicers want to pay for abortions in the Congo, I'd like to know how they worded the question and what results other polling firms have polled on this specific issue.

What I do know is that the people on the left want to get pro life people making statements about baby killers, to start a "culture war", divide families, and create a wedge issue that they can exploit for political gain. They are saying that 30% of people support the government on their position, down from 48% in March? For that to be true, a large quantity of pro choice people decided in the last 2 months that they suddenly want their tax dollars to pay for foreign abortions? Really? Something doesn't add up.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Fall of Facebook

Great news to all, the social networking (and neuveau political activist) website Facebook is facing an increasing trend of people walking away from their accounts. I personally don't have a Facebook account because of copyright concerns, privacy concerns, and a number of technological glitches. When I learned that they wanted to own what I write a few years ago, I deleted my account. Now more and more people are following suit in greater number, as people learn how vulnerable their information is and how careless the Facebook community often is.

In recent months here in Canada, Facebook was heralded by the Globe, Star, and the CBC as a grassroots vehicle for political activism, where anti-Conservative partisans can gather to riff on Tories. The Canadians Against Prorogation group is still going strong, though its wall is now dominated by a very small group of intensely partisan people. Little to nothing is mentioned about prorogation, as it has now become what many of us originally thought it was a place for anti-conservative activists to gather to complain. It was never about grassroots fury. I think Jim Lahey said it best when he said "when you plant shit seeds, you get shit weeds."

I'm a little disappointed that the Blogging Tories have incorporated Facebook into their site, encouraging users to sign up. I would think that Bloggers would be concerned about the copyright rules, and yet here is the incentive to participate. It was it is. I'm sure it is no coincidence that South Park ripped Facebook amid these falling numbers.

Socialist Fundamentalists

On Friday Evan Soloman decided to dedicate half of his show to the day's burning question; do you think religious fundamentalists have too much influence in setting government policy? Ergo, have the scary religious people usurped the Conservative Party? 75% of Evan's audience thinks so. It is kind of like me asking do you think socialist fundamentalists have too much influence in setting Liberal policy? Therefore if this is what qualifies as professional journalism in Canada, I may as well ask the Tory equivalent.

Bob Rae and Ujjal Dosangh have risen for up the ranks of the Liberal caucus. The former NDP Premiers are now trusted in high profile portfolios, while one of them is considered the sure fire successor to the sitting leader. I think it is valid to ask if the Bolsheviks have usurped the Liberal Party. If Evan wants to do an hour on national television on religious fundamentalists, the least I can do is dedicate 2 paragraphs on a blog post to socialist fundamentalists. It seems only fair. Personally I'd rather live next door to a religious person than a radical atheist.

These poll questions by the way are authored by politics producer Ryan Hicks.

Tired Of Minority Parliament

Maybe you are like me and you are growing tired of the bitter partisanship and constant electioneering that we have been getting in the past 6 years of minority Canadian Parliament. In my opinion we are overdue for a majority. Which of the two main parties is the closest to forming a majority Government? The Conservatives need to add 11 seats, and the Liberals need to add 78 seats. Which do you think is more likely to happen? What's the Vegas split on that spread?

In the 11 weakest Liberal ridings were the Tories are the closest, they are a total of 15,079 votes behind. In the 78 Tory ridings where the Liberals are the closest to winning, they are a total of 741,502 votes away. The Tories need 15,079 votes for a majority, the Liberals need 741,502 votes. For each vote the Tories need, the Liberals need 49. The only other way that the Liberals can attain 155 votes in the House of Commons is in a left wing coalition, which Liberals refuse to talk about.

If you were betting on a Tory majority, you'd get maybe 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 odds. If you were betting on a Liberal majority, you'd probably be able to get 30 to 1 or 40 to 1 (assuming of course that you could find a legal casino taking bets on Canadian election outcomes).

Can You Cheer For Montreal?

I am faced with a difficult decision, can I cheer for a team that I have loathed my entire life just because they are Canada's remaining team in the playoffs? When Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa went on their recent runs to the finals, I cheered for all of them. Canada as a country has not won a Stanley Cup in nearly 20 years, which is likely our longest drought as a country in the history of the NHL. I suspect that many Canadians will have no problem jumping on the bandwagon, but I don't think that I will be able to do the same. Something about seeing Scott Reid wearing a Habs jersey on national television turned my stomach.

I was cheering for Washington and Pittsburgh in the first two rounds, and if I couldn't cheer for Cinderella against Goliath, I doubt I'll be able to do so when Cinderella plays Cinderella. Besides, those hooligans who trash their own city even after a victory cast shame on the fan base. Win, lose or draw, there will be riots. I know the good folks in Edmonton will be cheering against Chris Pronger, who has a way of showing up on teams who make deep playoff runs, and ripped Edmonton's heart out in 2006 when he demanded a trade right after the season. I really don't care who wins the western conference and am unlikely to watch any of that series.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pablo Is Not a Blowhard

Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez has been called many things, but blow-hard should not be one of them. He drank a "moderate" amount of alcohol, got behind the wheel of a car, got into a traffic accident, and when police arrived on the scene he was unable to blow into the breathalyzer machine with significant force to register a result. I don't drink and drive, and as such have never had to take a breathalyzer, but I can't imagine that you have to blow hard like the big bad wolf to get a reading.

Rahim Jaffer's mistake was actually blowing into the breathalyzer. What he should have done was pretend that he couldn't exhale, and maybe then he wouldn't have been searched. Thus far no details of Pablo's traffic accident have been released other than nobody was hurt including Mister Rodriguez. If I were to borrow a page from the archives of Mike Ignatieff, Pablo's traffic incident should immediately put into question the competency of Pablo's spouse and the party leader should consider removing him from caucus before or after a full public inquiry.

Liberals Afraid Of Being "Guergisized": Paul Szabo

A lot of people have been trying to make sense of the bipartisan decision by MPs to block their expenses from becoming public. By my own polling, at least 92% of respondents believe that MP expenses should be made public, but as Paul Szabo says "if they were opened to the auditor general and open to the public, all of a sudden people would jump to conclusions without having all the facts." Which is exactly what happened in the "Guergis Affair", when opposition members began making wild accusations on the floor of Parliament such as the former Minister possibly being a drug dealer. The Liberals jumped to all these ridiculous conclusions before they had all the facts. I suppose then that Liberals need to be protected from themselves.

I seem to recall Mike Ignatieff demanding that the PM release all the Guergis information to the public (before an investigation was complete), and blamed his not doing so for their childish behavior in Question Period. Szabo says that you can't make information on MP legal matters public because people will jump to conclusions before all the facts are known; and yet the Liberals boldly demanded Guergis allegations be made fully public before all the facts were known or could be known. The moral of the story is that Liberals wanted all facts about the junior cabinet Minister made public immediately, but when the shoes are reversed Liberals don't want the allegations made public because people might jump to conclusions. Well done! Their hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me.

9 Year Old Boy Survives Plane Crash

This story belongs in the file of news of the unbelievable; a plane crashed in Libya killing 103 people, but there was a sole survivor, a 9 year old boy. A miracle amid tragedy that even had the insane Libyan leader Muamar Gaddafi proclaiming the survival to be "Allah's miracle". Even with this astonishing survival, any rejoicing must be tempered by the somber news that this child's parents and brother died in the crash.

It is eerily similar to the movie Unbreakable with Bruce Willis, except that this wonder child did suffer injuries. I can't imagine how it would feel to go through life knowing that you survived a deadly crash that killed every other of the 103 souls on board. What is the long term psychological impact likely to be? He has to live with the pain of having lost his family, and yet appreciate how he overcame impossible odds to live to die another day. I wish little Ruben the best of luck, though luck may be the one things he has plenty of.

Detainee Deal Reached

I was very skeptical that this was going to happen, but I am pleased that it has to all's satisfaction. Each party will get to have one representative to review the documents; therefore if anything is leaked there will be a very short list of possible perpetrators. Do we yet know who will get to be privy to this information? Who do you think should be each party's rep? I don't expect much Tory support for Ujjal Dosangh or Bob Rae, who most centrists see as divisive figures. Ralph Goodale helped negotiate the deal, so will he be sitting on the new board? It won't be Ignatieff, as that would require him showing up to work.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Measuring CBC Bias

I hear that the CBC seeks to prove that it is unbiased, that they are fair and balanced. This is a subject that I have long pondered myself, as one of the few people who watch CBC Newsworld. If the CBC truly wishes to vet their own bias, I do have some ideas for empirical testing that they can do. For their online content, they should really focus on Kady O'Malley, because she basically dominates if not runs their website. Heather Mallick rarely writes for the CBC anymore, while Kady posts multiple times per day.

Measuring media bias empirically is not a simple venture. It is easy to spot the bias of someone like O'Malley because 90% of what she writes is critical of one party. She will even joke on the air about how she will never write anything nice about the government. Terry Milewski is also a very one sided journalist who can be quite venomous when they put him on opinion panels, but again trying to assign a number to his partisanship is going to very subjective under the best circumstances. To measure partisanship, you would ideally need a control group of a non partisan media organization. See which stories are ignored and which are hyped against the control group and this would be much easier. I just don't know if we have a truly non partisan media outlet in this country?

Obviously Kory Teneycke is a partisan. The difference between him and the majority of his colleagues is that he openly admits his bias so that you can filter what he says. Kady O'Malley pretends to be non partisan when she frequently writes partisan statements. While many people accuse the CBC of having Liberal bias, let me say that I suspect many of their television journalists are Dippers. I don't think it is accurate to say there is a Liberal bias, but instead a general anti-Conservative bias. I was going to put together an observational experiment in March, but I have postponed a number of personal projects until after I have moved.

Click here for information on where to send your complaints about the CBC.