Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri Schiavo Dies

Starved to death by order of the judiciary for being "a useless eater".

Survived by the notion of survival of the fittest.

Predeceased by the notion of respect for humanity.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Your Tax Dollars At Play

Go out for a night on the town with the boys. Take in the game, have a few beer, order the buffalo wings.

Bitch about work for a few minutes. Go to work tomorrow and ask A/P to expense it back.

Result: A/P laughs it off, at best. You clean out your desk, at worst.

If you run a PR firm working on the sponsorship file, the above rules don't apply. Boy, don't they apply.

See today's Globe and Mail for details:

The federal government paid the head of an ad agency and his employees to attend hockey games, concerts and even an evening of professional wrestling at a corporate box in Ottawa's Corel Centre as part of the sponsorship program, the Gomery inquiry heard yesterday.


Mr. Justice John Gomery, who heads the inquiry, was told that for the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons, the government paid at least $133,000 for the use of corporate boxes at the Corel Centre, plus $27,000 a year for catering.

The payments were part of a two-year, $600,000 sponsorship with the Ottawa Senators that ended up costing taxpayers more than $1-million once all additional expenses were included.

The sponsorship was handled by the Ottawa PR firm of Gilles-André Gosselin, whose employees and relatives charged the government for 3,414 hours of work, mostly to attend events at the Corel Centre.

These included Ottawa Senators hockey games; concerts by country singer Alan Jackson, the Backstreet Boys, Shania Twain and crooner Neil Diamond; a Lord of the Dance show and a World Wrestling Federation event.

A Backstreet Boys concert? How many 14-year old girls were working the sponsorship file?

There's No Whore Like An Old Whore

NDP MPP Peter Kormos wins best line of the week for this gem about the proposed parliamentary whirlwind tour of Europe's brothels:

We're talking about five federal members on a junket touring European whorehouses at a cost of $40,000 each," Kormos said yesterday. "I can take anyone of them down to Bridge St. in Niagara Falls and get them laid for less than $50."

Read the rest on Canoe .

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Offshore, Offside

The Liberals have one consistent strategy to fall back on when all else fails against the Tories: patronize the East, demonize the West.

That's exactly what tacking the Newfoundland-Nova Scotia offshore revenue deal and the Kyoto carbon tax on to the budget will let them do.

Patronize the East with promises of riches, and demonize the West for denying them.

And here comes Geoff Regan to deliver the message.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Don't Throw Me Into That Briar Patch

The Globe and Mail reports that Transport Minister Jean Lapierre fears a spring election because of the Gomery inquiry:

"Obviously, I wouldn't want to go to the polls at this time," Transport Minister Jean Lapierre said on CTV's Question Period yesterday. "This is no time to go to the polls, when you're in the middle of this."


(Lapierre) said the televised Gomery inquiry is harming the party significantly in Quebec. The probe moved to Montreal from Ottawa a few weeks ago, and has garnered substantial television ratings since then.

"I told everybody months ago it was going to become a soap opera," he said. "It's going to be a rough ride. This is not a very great moment to be in federal politics because, you know, people are judging us with a lot of cynicism and I can understand them."

Two points:

Liberal fortunes have little further to fall in Quebec, no matter how bad the Gomery inquiry news gets. They have 21 seats; 15 of those are rock-solid Montreal and Outaouais seats whose demographics assure Liberal landslides every time. Lapierre's Outremont seat, however, is not of them.

The Gomery inquiry fallout will be heaviest when it tables its report in the fall and blame officially gets laid. Some of it will fall on Paul Martin because of his lax oversight of the public treasury. His entire political reputation to date has rested on his performance as finance minister, balancer of budgets and scourge of spendthrifts everywhere.

If the Grits want an election, what better time and issue to have one than to be defeated on the Kyoto carbon tax?

Mr. Lapierre made his comments after Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said Thursday that a Kyoto environmental provision in the government's budget implementation bill is tantamount to a carbon tax and that the Tories would oppose it. Spending items are considered confidence motions and a loss would bring down the government.

The carbon tax is a sufficiently obscure issue that the Grits can blame the Tories for forcing an election on a pointless ideological issue.

But at the same time, they can say: Hey, the Tories want our kids to choke on smog to save their corporate pals a few dollars of tax. Their American corporate pals driving the war machine in Iraq. Those aren't Canadian values. Clean air is a Canadian value. Canadian values are all about protecting rights. They're all about taking rights away. Just like they want to take a woman's right to choose away. And the right of gays to marry.

Bottom line: The carbon tax will protect equal marriage for gays.

It's the Charter, stupid!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter Sunday

Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, thinking that it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him: and I will take him away.

Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master).

Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me: for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God.
--John 20:15-17

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Who's Sorry Now?

OTTAWA (CP) - Deputy Conservative leader Peter MacKay didn't apologize to caucus on Wednesday for what some have called his over-the-top behaviour at the party's policy convention last weekend.

Nobody brought it up during the weekly session and no apology was offered, he said.

"There was no discussion about that."


MacKay chose one of the most trivial issues possible over which to throw a public conniption fit and threaten to blow up the party, creating all sorts of bad press when we need it least, and everybody in caucus just said, "Gee, nothing much to talk about here"?

The Nova Scotia MP described his relations with Conservative Leader Stephen Harper as "hunky-dory, everything's great - that's a good Maritime phrase."

For how long, though? Does Stephen Harper really need to keep Peter MacKay as deputy leader for much longer? The PC's who were going to leave because of the merger, have long since left already. The political necessity of promoting former PC's to top jobs will disappear as people keep working together and cease to think of each other as former members of the PC's or Alliance.

MacKay was upset last weekend in Montreal by an attempt to give some ridings more voting delegates at conventions, calling it a betrayal of an equality promise in the merger talks between the Alliance and Tories that led to the new Conservative party.

Harper was seen at the convention kicking a chair after MacKay's outburst refocused attention on a perceived split within the party.

Party insiders had said they thought it would be best if MacKay were to apologize for his behaviour and move on.

MacKay has already shown a propensity to shoot from the hip and run off the reservation. Astute observers will recall his threat to personally violate C-68 as an act of civil disobedience--somewhat unseemly coming from a lawyer. Or his outburst about C-250. His devil's deal with David Orchard. Etc. etc.

Had one of the so-called so-con wingnuts been equally as vocal last weekend about "betrayal", we'd never have heard the end of it in the MSM. The MSM has not called MacKay to task for threatening to split the party, of course, because the MSM would have loved nothing better.

Stephen Harper doesn't need to worry about his right flank next time out. MacKay will almost certainly open fire from the left. Dump him now before he loses us the next election.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Gender Equity

According to CBC News ,Oxfam has discovered that the Indian Ocean tsunami may have killed up to four times as many women as men:

Oxfam's report, due to be officially released Saturday, says up to 80 per cent of the people killed in some villages were women, primarily because men were either working inland or fishing far enough offshore to be safe when the series of waves hit.

It also says men were more likely to be able to swim, climb trees and hold on to poles and building beams when the powerful surge washed over them.

Anecdotal reports from the disaster have indicated that scores of women were swept away because they were holding on to children or lost their grip on trees and poles.

Lorenzo Berardinetti, call your office.

Good Friday

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our sins, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed.--Isaias 53:5

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Jetsgo, Jetsgoing, Jetsgone, Jetsback?

CTV reports that bargain-basement airline Jetsgo, Michel Leblanc's fourth airline to go bust, may take flight again if a court approves a restructuring plan. But its creditors aren't buying:

However, the plan may be a tough sell to creditors who are owed more than $100 million.

This total does not include money owed to employees or companies that leased 14 aircraft to the airline....

"I'm dumbfounded. I can't believe they'd be suggesting that," John Weerdenburg, vice-president and chief executive officer of Ottawa's Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority, told the Star. "Who ultimately would end up trusting the son of Jetsgo?"

Weerdenburg said his airport is owed $220,000 by Jetsgo and he suspects several airports will want their money up front.

Meanwhile, media reports suggested that at least a couple of Jetsgo creditors are seeking to seize grounded aircraft as remuneration for the $7 million that they are allegedly owed by the discount airline.

NAV Canada and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority have petitioned Quebec's Superior Court to lift a stay in proceedings and allow them to seize part of the grounded fleet in the aftermath of Jetsgo's downfall.

And the airports who got hosed for Jetsgo's landing, terminal and airport improvement fees (one of those nasty little taxes the airlines pass on to us) want those planes, damn it. Whoever gets them first, gets 100 cents on the dollar. Sit back and watch the creditors stampede.

See Brent Jang's Globe and Mail article for details.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Of State and Nation

According to recent projections from Statistics Canada, the population of visible minorities (a polite euphemism for non-white) in Canada is expected to double by 2017, the sesquicentennial of Confederation.

Jill Mahoney's article in today's Globe and Mail is full of numbers but barely even hints at the questions our changing demographic picture raises.

Western Europe is now coming face to face with the effects of a rapidly shrinking native European birth rate combined with a rising influx of Islamic immigrants with higher birth rates. The flourishing of radical Islam in Western Europe has belied the hopes of politicians that its "guest workers" from Turkey and Algeria would become good Frenchmen, Dutchmen and Germans.

Hopes, it might be added, that were held alongside the creed of multiculturalism and cultural equality in an incredible display of cognitive dissonance--all cultures are equal, but naturally people will choose Western culture.

But those who defend and study the official Canadian policy of multiculturalism assure us that there is nothing to be concerned about:

Jeffrey Reitz, head of the ethnic studies program at the University of Toronto, noted that immigration policy has "produced constant demographic change over time," as waves of people have arrived in Canada from every corner of the world.

"At each phase, people have expressed concern that increasing diversity was changing Canadian identity and producing potentially disruptive consequences and yet here we are."

"And so you could say that this is just more of the same, and in fact that the Canadian identity can't be changed by increasing diversity because that's what the Canadian identity is."

Read that last sentence again:

The Canadian identity can't be changed by increasing diversity because that's what the Canadian identity is.

Nations tend to identify themselves around a common blood or common creed, religious or secular. Where there is no common blood (as in Quebec, or Poland, or Sweden), a common civic creed will do just as well (as in the United States or Switzerland). Indeed, a common civic creed can encompass all manner of people as long as they agree to adhere to it, hence the United States' incredible success in assimilating people from all four corners of the earth and making them American.

But where there is no common blood or creed, states need to rely on their own force to hold together disparate groups, a force that relies on people's acceptance of the current situation, often for no better reason than that all of the other alternatives are worse. Think of the Austrian Empire in this regard.

But what defines the Canadian identity?

Put another way: if the Canadian state ceased to exist in its current form, would Canada continue to exist?

Poland lost her independence and suffered the ignominy of partition amongst three rival empires as hostile towards Poland as to themselves. Yet the Polish people themselves did not, would not, disappear into their conquerors.

A common language, history, culture, traditions--all of these ensured the survival of the Polish nation.

Does Canada exist in the hearts of its people in the same way that Poland does?

I am not so sure.

Liberal governments have socially engineered away respect for our history and traditions prior to about 1965, and substituted in its stead something called "Canadian values"--values that remain defined by a political party's policy, and thus shift with the winds.

These values find their expression in our social welfare state, through the existence of certain government programs. It matters not that these programs are often economically inefficient and deliver inferior services. If they cease to exist, it is argued, Canada itself ceases to exist.

Thus the incredible zealotry in the defence of the current system of medicare. Its most fanatical defenders know that it doesn't work, but it has become as sacred to Canada as Jerusalem to Israel.

In the absence of a strong sense of our own identity, it is also easier to define ourselves by what we are not. Thus the reflexive anti-Americanism, out of fear that our own cultural defences are just not that strong enough to assert themselves against the most powerful cultural force in human history.

Again, if America did not exist, had never existed, how would we define ourselves as Canadians?

A nation does not exist because a state exists; a nation exists in its people's hearts and minds. Take away the Canadian state, and do we have a Canadian nation?

I return to the example of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which, in its final form, arose out of the Ausgleich (compromise) of 1867. As long as the Habsburgs could enforce their writ, and as long as it remained to Europe's advantage to let them do so, the Empire could exist despite the forces of a dozen nationalities pulling against it. There never was, in any sense, an Austro-Hungarian nation, merely a state.

But when it could not hold its own in World War I, the Habsburgs were forced to abdicate, and the Empire dissolved into dust.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire had a great unity in diversity, but that unity rested on the strength of the Habsburg dynasty. So too does our unity in diversity rest on the current state ideology and apparatus. Take it away, and there may be nothing else to hold the Canadian state together.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Killing the Golden Goose

Mark Steyn's Daily Telegraph column offers a practical suggestion for frustrated pro-lifers looking for fisc-con support: Tell them abortion kills future taxpayers.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Content of our Character

To the modern progressive, as with the ancient Pharisee, it matters less whether one is doing right as long as one is being seen to do right.

In this same spirit, the federal government has announced that it will be spending $56 million on a five-year program "to eliminate racism from Canadian society.

There is a rather Stalinesque air about five-year programs to rid the land of some great social evil, as though eradicating sin and evil were a project like building a steel mill or draining the Aral Sea.

That aside, there are some troublesome elements to this program. It will, among other things:

Set up a tip line to collect information on internet-based hate crime.

Well-intentioned folk might think this was aimed only at the purveyors of the vile trash associated with Ernst Zundel or the Ku Klux Klan. But given the highly flexible definition of "hate" favoured by our governing classes, web sites critical of, say, the massacre of white farmers in Zimbabwe or Palestinian suicide bombers killing Israeli schoolchildren, might find themselves targets of anonymous callers to this snitch line.

Strengthen the connections between federal institutions and ethnic groups.

In light of the sponsorship scandal--it too a product of a program to strengthen connections between federal institutions and a discontented ethnic group--I can't help but picture this as a way for the Liberals to keep the immigrant vote bought.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Pro-Life Tories Self-Aborting?

No one is more frustrated with the incredible political incompetence of the Canadian pro-life movement than pro-lifers such as I.

A lady friend of mine who has been quite active with Campaign Life Coalition in the past has said that the pro-life movement in Canada, as an organization, keeps failing because of its passive-aggressive tendencies.

The darling little old ladies, as she calls them, shy away from the rough political horse-trading and shock tactics with potential supporters and against their opponents, whereas they will turn quite viciously against their own supporters whenever they suggest changing the overly polite tactics that have failed time and again for the past thirty years.

Think of the campaign (the name of which eludes me) that goes around to university campuses and other public venues showing full-colour pictures of aborted unborn children?

Upsetting? Divisive? Yes. But the shock value has forced people to see what abortion's ultimate effects are. It provokes thought and debate. Yet the Canadian pro-life movement shies away from such tactics, as a whole. And thus the graphic reality of abortion disappears under a fog of euphemisms, and the whole bloody business carries on unimpeded.

Perhaps the best examples of the passive-aggressive tendencies that bedevil the pro-life movement in Canada are being played out on Free Dominion , where it seems that vocal pro-lifers are threatening to abandon the Conservative Party of Canada en masse following the passage of P-93, expressing a vitriol that they should be saving for their opponents.

To go where, exactly?

Do they seriously think that the Liberal Party will be any more receptive to their views? The Liberal Party began appointing candidates by the truckload, from the '93 election onward, simply to prevent pro-life candidates from being nominated through irs own democratic process. The Liberal Party has castrated its own pro-life caucus quite nicely, keeping a few around for window-dressing, as long as they don't actually express their opinions within or without.

What of the Christian Heritage Party? An evangelical Protestant party seems a rather incongruous place for a movement dominated by Catholics. (See for yourself at the CHP website ; a more accurate name would be the Dutch Reformed Heritage Party.)

To abandon the public square entirely? The entire pro-abortion movement, from Dr. Henry Morgentaler to LEAF, would love nothing more. If anything, it would embolden the pro-aborts to push for its ultimate aim: the legalization of forced abortion on whatever spurious medical or eugenic grounds it can find.

P-93 is a disappointment, but it is not cast in stone forever. There is still a significant pro-life base in the party that can be built on. Public opinion, though not pro-life in the main, is decidedly against the current absence of any law on abortion. The "social peace" that currently exists on the issue is an artificial one that will not endure forever, perhaps not for much longer, as medical science and biotechnology raise new issues that keep touching on the definition of human life.

To abandon the field now is not an act of conscience.

It is cowardice.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Nothing About Much Ado

The great controversy surrounding C-11 has just fizzled out with its overwhelming defeat.

Peter MacKay now looks foolish for running around yelling that the sky was falling.

The media looks even more foolish for running front-page stories about the impending collapse of the party into another good old-fashioned Tory bloodbath.

But hey, it gave them something else to bitch about other than those scary, evil social conservatives.

Half a Loaf

The Conservative Party has come out decisively in favour of upholding the traditional definition of marriage by a three-to-one margin. At the same time, the delegates voted 55-45 against bringing forward any abortion legislation.

The former, besides being very good news for social conservatives, just makes good political sense. A clear stance makes it that much harder for the Liberals' media lapdogs to bark about a "hidden agenda" or "homophobic bigotry," unless they would like to paint most Canadians as bigots. (Sadly, the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal media snobs like nothing more than to look down upon the plebs from their luxury condos.)

The latter, although a disappointment, should be put in perspective. The resolution does not force the party into an unequivocal pro-abortion stance, nor does it prevent private members' legislation from going forth (although that, too, is unlikely for the forseeable future). Moreover, the vigorous debate on the issue and closeness of the vote demonstrates that only the Conservative Party will accept debate on the matter and broach the false "social peace".

As deplorable and disgusting as the current legislative vacuum is, we will probably have more success reviving the debate by tying it to other issues, such as delisting elective medical procedures than by a full-frontal approach.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Weighty Matters

CPAC is gleefully reporting the latest deep, stark division within the Conservative Party, pitting hard-line radical Alliance populists against moderate, mainstream Progressive Conservatives.

C-11 has just passed in the constitutional workshop, which would slightly change the way in which convention delegates are selected.

As part of the original merger deal back in '03, the old PC model of giving each riding the same number of delegates was adopted.

This way, a big Alberta riding with 3,000+ members would get 10 delegates, as would a Quebec riding whose entire membership could meet in my living room.

C-11 would grant ridings with fewer than 100 members one delegate per member (if 40 members, 4 delegates), while all others get 10.

Now this would seem to be a rather recondite point upon which to paint a portrait of a party falling into the same internecine bloodbaths that marked the predecessor parties. It doesn't even remotely approach the emotional power that social issues generates.

But here comes Peter MacKay, venting his outrage that Scott Reid has betrayed the merger agreement by promoting what amounts to a minor modification on the original PC model. And CPAC is pumping up the rhetoric: "family feud", "open wound", "fracturing party", etc. etc.

But really, this is much ado about nothing, and I'd advise Peter to keep his mouth shut.

If a few moribund EDA's lose a few delegates, so be it. Almost all EDA's, even many in Quebec, have more than 100 members anyway. Those that don't, can always find a way to sell enough memberships to assure a full slate of delegates. (Especially in Quebec, where thousands rose from the cemeteries of the Gaspe to back Tom Long's failed CA leadership bid.)

This actually provides an incentive for the weak sisters among the EDA's to get off their butts and actually work on building EDA's that can fight an election.

But the media will shoot at any target it can find. If the party didn't have a vigorous debate on contentious issues, they'd play up the "Mr. Muzzle" and "hidden agenda" themes. And if it did, they'd go on about "extremism" and "deep divisions between so-cons and moderates."

Jane, You Ignorant Hack

One of the Globe and Mail's more annoyingly smug scribes, Jane Taber, angles for a gig with People Magazine with this gushing tabloid gossip column passing for legitimate convention coverage:

But they (the Harpers) were just the warm-up act for that other Conservative couple -- Peter MacKay and Belinda Stronach.

Several hours after the Harpers' arrival, Ms. Stronach strode into the convention hallway dressed head-to-toe in St. Patrick's Day green, smiling, greeting and shaking hands with delegates.

In green leather jacket, striped green pants, beige shoes with a hint of green and even green eye shadow, Ms. Stronach, who last year ran unsuccessfully against Mr. Harper for the Conservative leadership and is rumoured to have plans to run again, could not be missed.

No fear! Our intrepid reporterette doesn't forget to regurgitate the Liberal party talking points, faxed fresh every morning to newsrooms around the country:

Not only have they added some star quality to a rather bland party, the couple pose a legitimate threat to Mr. Harper's leadership....

Although Mr. MacKay spoke at the convention last night, Ms. Stronach has a lower profile. There were rumours that she was deliberately left off the speakers' list by Mr. Harper because of her leadership ambitions.

Some convention delegates detect an undercurrent of leadership politics.
Belinda, Peter, Prentice (Calgary Tory MP Jim Prentice) are positioning themselves, no question," said one Winnipeg delegate, who didn't want to give his name.

Ah yes, the usual drive-by innuendo from the unnamed source.

The MSM has been working overtime to sow enough doubt and uncertainty in people's minds to force a leadership review.

In the MSM's curious calculations, if only ONE delegate votes in favour of a leadership review, next day's headlines will read: HARPER WINS LEADERSHIP VOTE 1,999-1 BUT TORIES REMAIN DEEPLY DIVIDED ON HARPER.


Sense of Proportion

I have CPAC playing on my Windows Media Player, live from Workshop A as I type this. They've just rejected P-7 for electoral reform by 107-93.

Still seems that people believe a lot of the myths about proportional representation: endless unstable minority governments, not voting for people but parties, an explosion of minor radical parties, etc. etc.

Currently discussing P-8 on a citizens' assembly to discuss electoral reform, like they had in B.C.

UPDATE: P-8 passed 130-95. Effectively a vote to kick the can down the road to a citizens' assembly. The sort of compromise to make the populist Reform/Alliance types happy and appease the Red Tories who consider our current dysfunctional electoral arrangements carved in stone.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Polls Apart

The latest Compas poll brings the Conservative Party somewhat better news than appears in the raw numbers:

Liberal 35%, down 7% from February 1
Conservative 30%, up 2%
New Democratic 19%, up 1%
Bloc Quebecois 13%, up 3%

The real story is in the report, subtitled A Good Product with Ineffective Marketing and Sales.

After noting that the Grits outperform the Tories in advertising and style, Compas notes that the Tories are actually seen as closer to public opinion on policy matters than the Liberals:

To quote: (all italicized emphasis mine)

On tougher sentencing, the CPC is seen as decidedly softer than the public but decidedly tougher than the Liberal party;

On marriage, the CPC is seen as closer to the public than the Liberal party, albeit fractionally more traditionalist than the public itself;

On freedom of medical choice, the CPC are seen as much closer to the public than the Liberal party but less pro free-market than the public itself.;

On government corruption, the CPC is seen as far less interested in cleaning up corruption than the public but definitely more than the Liberals;

On tax cuts, the public perceives the CPC as less free-market oriented than the public but more than the Liberal party;

A similar pattern likewise emerges with respect to size of government;

On missile defence, the CPC is seen as fractionally closer to where the public stands than the Liberal party with the CPC being more pro-missile than the public and with the Liberals being more anti-missile;

The two parties are perceive (sic) as similar on healthcare spending with the public wanting more money for health than either party is seen as advocating;

On social programs, the CPC is seen as less willing to spend than the Liberals, who are seen as less willing to spend than the public itself;

On the "need for more socialism", the CPC is seen as less supportive of such directions than the public and the Liberal party, which is seen as nominally more so than the public.

I emphasize health care reform and marriage because the mainstream media commentators have been trying to scare Tories into believing that having a Liberal policies on both is the only hope we have of winning enough votes to form government.

As for health care reform, it would behoove the CPC to take a bolder stand on this issue and stand for real freedom of choice. The support is there for it.

The Liberal Party would have you believe that suggesting the slightest change to our medicare monopoly is un-Canadian, downright treasonous in fact. Let the people know that the Liberals think it's your patriotic duty to die for your country on a waiting list to protect medicare.

As for marriage, it shows that a clearly articulated stand on social issues will not only trump the Liberals' trump card of "a hidden agenda", but will also not scare off voters. (Side note: how many pro-SSM grassroots rallies have you seen lately?)

Bottom line: The public prefers most of what we have to offer. This is no time to let the Red Tories and their MSM friends frighten us. Take this report to the policy convention and act on it.

Sandbox Follies

Those crazy Young Liberals are at it again, folks!

The same people who brought you the puerile and offensive "It's the Charter, Stupid!" buttons and Christmas cards with kissing lesbians to promote their crusade for homosexual "marriage" have presented another reason why political parties should abolish youth wings:

Muzzlegate , with its cheap layout and cheesy Flash animation of Tory MP's flapping their jaws (ha ha ha), belies the intemperate and amateurish efforts of young folk full of piss and vinegar but lacking in judgment and finesse.

The only people who will be convinced by this website are those who already believe that if Stephen Harper walked on water, he'd only do so to hide that he couldn't swim.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Big City Cheap

Prudent folk like to keep a little cash on hand to meet unforeseen emergencies--the transmission breaks down on the 401, the heating oil runs out on a 30-below night, Cousin Jimmy needs to make bail, etc.

So too did the prudent folk who ran the sponsorship fund, according to CP and the Globe & Mail:

An Italian community group received $5,000 from a sponsorship slush fund after making a written request to former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano, the sponsorship inquiry was told on Tuesday.

In the August 1998 letter to Mr. Gagliano at his Montreal office, the Casa D'Italia requested his "generous contribution in the form of sponsorship for our annual fundraising campaign."

They asked for $5,000, which included the cost of having Mr. Gagliano's picture inserted into the event's official program, according to the letter.

Two months later, the group received exactly the amount it was seeking from Mr. Gagliano's department. Documents show the money came from a $500,000 special annual fund for "unforeseen" sponsored events.

But it only became clear this week that a slush fund existed and that many of the events that received money from the fund were in Mr. Gagliano's riding and the central Quebec riding held for decades by former prime minister Jean Chrétien.

The Casa D'Italia benefit dinner was among three Italian community events that received a total of $25,000 from the special fund in 1998.

Amazing how these annual events, planned months in advance, held every year at the same time and place like clockwork, publicized all over the community to interested persons, just happen to be unforeseen?

Amazing also, that all these emergencies kept cropping up just in those two ridings?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Crash And Burn, Stet And Repeat

Last week's sudden demise of discount airline Jetsgo took almost everyone by surprise, from employees left jobless to passengers left stranded.

Those who know Jetsgo's founder, Michel Leblanc, probably were not.

As Katherine Macklem points out in her Maclean's article:

Leblanc's aviation career took off in 1986, when he and two partners took over Quebecair, which had been put on the block by the Quebec government. Canadian Airlines (taken over later by Air Canada in 2000) bought a 31 per cent share in the regional carrier, but refused to go along with a scheme to expand into the Toronto-Montreal corridor. Leblanc and his partners then bought Canadian out, moved into that highly coveted market, and in 1991, drove the 1,000-employee airline to near collapse. He resigned.

Within the year, though, Leblanc was back. He launched Royal Aviation Inc. as a charter for vacation travellers. It grew quickly in the high-flying '90s, and in the spring of 2001, was sold to Canada 3000, another now-defunct airline. That deal included $84 million in shares for Leblanc and made him vice-chairman, a job he didn't hold long. Just months later, Leblanc was fired and sued by Canada 3000 for inaccurate profit projections. The allegations against Leblanc were never proven in court.

Never proven, because the lawsuit died with Canada 3000, and Leblanc used profits from the sale of his Canada 3000 shares to finance Jetsgo, of which he owned 90% of the shares when it went bust.

Without them, he might never have been able to gets Jetsgo off the ground. What knowledgable investor, seeing the airline industry tanking after September 11, would have invested one cent of equity in a new airline run by a man who crashed three of them in 10 years?


"The government will not tolerate statements that create dissonance in our society and disrespect for others."--Hon. Jean Augustine, P.C., M.P., former Minister of State for Multiculturalism

This statement, made by a minister of the Crown in addressing a public controversy, should have alarmed Canadians and raised a great public outcry when it was made more than a year ago.

It did not.

It should have.

This statement reflects a dangerous attitude that has infected the current government and many of its supporters in the media, academe, judiciary and the public service.

It is founded in a principle that represents a far greater threat to our liberties and free society than any external force.

This principle has sustained despots, relatively benign or grossly malignant, since man first organized government.

It has taken many forms and served many different aims, yet it is as ancient as civilization, and has manifested itself in all civilizations.

The master's will is the only law.

It matters not how benign the master, nor how noble his intentions. Men, being wilful, seek to impose their will with as much force as they can muster. Yet men will not live forever in constant fear of each other's power, unless they are prepared to meet each other only with force.

Thus the rule of law, a recognition that all men must submit to a higher authority than their own wills for their individual good, and for the good of society as a whole.

Yet for the rule of law to function, the law itself must have meaning, and be derived from an authority independent of the will of those who enforce it. Traditionally, that authority has been God, first in Christian theism, later in Enlightenment deism, and in a looser relation, the natural law and inherent dignity of man.

The limitations of state power against individuals have been expressed in terms of rights deriving from that external authority, which no state, however powerful, can alter or abrogate.

Today, the notion of an external authority or an absolute truth is ignored, even actively opposed, by those who espouse post-modern philosophies of relative truth and competing truths.

To them, law is itself only a construct of those who hold power. Thus has law come to mean, in effect, only what the state's enforcers and interpreters say that it means. And thus rights themselves have no existence except by the grace and favour of the state.

We have returned, through a process that has led us through the Code of Hammurabi to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to that ancient principle of absolute power:

The master's will is the only law.

If you want to know why our courts and legislatures believe that that they can alter our basic social institutions at will and suppress opposition thereto, in the name of freedom, that is why.