Sunday, July 31, 2005


Try this word association test:

A) Parade
B) Steel drums
C) Jerk chicken
D) Reggae
E) Shootings
F) All of the above

There have been three more fatal shootings this weekend in Toronto to coincide with Caribana, following the head start to the festivities earlier last week with seven shootings in one day.

Canadian Press hints at the connection, but dares not make it explicitly, lest cries of media racism be brought down on their heads. Yet it's a running joke about the annual Caribana shootings--so much so that when nobody gets shot during Caribana weekend, the same media acts pleasantly surprised.

Taste of the Danforth and the CNE aren't far off, but no one will be expecting shootings as part of either annual Toronto event.


If you've flown Air Canada recently and wonder why your flight was cancelled without notice, it might have been because the pilots maxed out their contracted flying time.

Air Canada is cancelling some flights because its pilots have reached the limit of their monthly flying time, spokeswoman Laura Cooke told CBC Newsworld on Sunday.

"We do apologize," she said.

But "today should be the end of it" because the airline starts a new block of time – the August quota – at midnight, she said.

It's not clear exactly how many flights or passengers are affected.

Cooke blamed the problem on a 70 per cent increase in cancelled flights in July because of the weather.

When a flight is cancelled or delayed, the pilot may still be on duty, sitting in the plane and eating up his flying time.

It's even worse if a pilot is held over in one city, because then the airline may have to find a replacement for him at his intended destination for his next flight.

Air Canada had 177 flights cancelled in Halifax in July, and electrical storms in Manitoba and the northest U.S. raised the total, Cooke said.

The airline has reserve pilots, but they also "have reached their max," she said.

Yet another reason not to fly Air Canada, if you can avoid it. WestJet and Canjet don't seem to have these problems on their domestic flights; then again, their pilots aren't unionized.

Air Canada is still functioning with a pre-deregulation, pre-privatization business model that has already sent it to bankruptcy protection once, and with it, the same bad service and needless delays that make air travel increasingly annoying.

You couldn't get me into an Air Canada flight at gunpoint these days.

Source: CBC

Saturday, July 30, 2005

No Return Of The Prodigal Daughter

Carolyn Parrish is staying out in the cold.

Insulting our next-door neighbour, largest trading partner and providers of our national defence: patriotic.

Insulting our own armed forces: principled.

Insulting Paul Martin: unforgivable.

Source: Globe and Mail


Wendy's is spinning off Tim Horton's in an IPO that's expected to allow it to concentrate on the core burger business that almost unexpectedly got swallowed up by the donut shop chain that kept growing and growing.

Now there's a Canadian business success story that even the most anti-American, anti-corporate of Canadians can take pride in: Tim Horton's kept Wendy's afloat.

Now can we roll up the rim to win stock options?

Read the rest in today's Globe and Mail

Friday, July 29, 2005

Dithers Meets The Imams

Paul Martin met with a group of imams yesterday in Toronto and praised them for making a public statement denouncing terrorism, a day late and a dollar short though it was.

What the media has not asked is the question that it should be asking: what did Martin promise them in return during the meeting?

Had he met with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops or a group of leading evangelical Protestant ministers over any other issue, the press would have been screaming about mixing religion with politics.

But never with Islam. Never, never, with Islam.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Words Retain Me

Our country's educrats, full of theories from education professors who know nothing about children but empty of common sense, apparently believe that children are so fragile that the merest hint of negativity will make them collapse into blubbering masses of self-loathing.

Thus the trend towards euphemisms that disguise failure and error:

Instead of marking an "X" when a student makes a mistake on an assignment, teachers are opting for the less abrasive circle. Red ink is virtually banned in favour of softer colours such as green or purple that don't carry negative baggage.

And remember the dreaded F on the report card? That's been retired in Canada, along with the word "fail" for students who are held back a grade.

"They're definitely trying to focus on being more positive," Kathy Piotrowski, an elementary teacher in Toronto, said of the new, sometimes controversial marking methods adopted to avoid seeming too harsh.


Like schools all across Canada, Edmonton schools rarely fail kids, even if they don't meet the standards. Research indicates holding back elementary students is particularly traumatic for older kids, who are more likely to drop out of school if they don't move along with their peer group, Ms. Mulgrew saids.

Some districts, like Ottawa public schools, use the term "placement" instead of "promotion" when they bump students up a grade even when the children's overall achievement indicates they are not ready to meet the expectations at the next grade level.

In Toronto public schools, children can be "transferred," rather than promoted to the next grade, if they fail to meet program expectations. If a child is held back, the term used is "retained," as is the case in Ottawa and Edmonton.

"We call it 'retention.' In the good old days, it was 'failure,' " Ms. Mulgrew said.

Children are not complete idiots, whatever the educrats might think otherwise. They can tell when they're being flim-flammed by grown-ups. They know full well if they don't get to go to the next grade with their friends, that they've failed, euphemisms to the contrary.

Moreover, the same language that masks failure also masks success. There is no success without failure, and children who are taught they will never fail, will never strive to succeed.

If there are no winners and losers, why make the effort in the first place?

That's no lesson to teach children who need to make it in the real world of winners and losers, eventually.

Source: National Post

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bomb Scare

This morning's bomb scare on the Toronto subway was just a hoax.

Apparently some idiot didn't get the memo from Dr. Abdelhaleem about not threatening us if we don't threaten them.

When the real thing hits, will we have to listen to David Miller blame the Americans or Carolyn Parrish blame Anne McLellan for taunting the terrorists?

The one thing I dread more than innocent people being killed by these scum in Canada is the inevitably inane responses of our chattering classes and impotent response of our government.


The NHLPA has just shown head honcho Bob Goodenow the door.

What else could they do? Goodenow's intransigence over the salary cap led to the players accepting a worse deal than they could have gotten six months ago and salvaged the 04-05 season.

Had his successor, Ted Saskin, been running the show, they'd have had a better deal in place long ago.

Source: Yahoo

A Farewell to Arms

The Irish Republican Army has announced that it will lay down its arms for good as of today.

Whether this is a sincere gesture or not, one can't help but thinking that the recent terror attacks in London might have influenced their decision.

Source: Toronto Star

Parrish the Thought(lessness)

No sooner has Carolyn Parrish hit bottom with her slurs against Gen. Rick Hillier and the Armed Forces than she's begun to dig:

Independent MP Carolyn Parrish lashed out again at the Liberal government yesterday-- this time criticizing Defence Minister Bill Graham for sending combat troops to Afghanistan and Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan for making "taunting" remarks about Canadians being potential terrorist targets.

Ms. Parrish is furious that Canadians and their politicians have not been consulted about what she calls the new role Canadian soldiers are being asked to carry out in Afghanistan, a role that includes killing, which is not the traditional job of peacekeeping. She warns there will be outrage when Canadians in uniform return home "in body bags."

Ms. Parrish, who was booted out of the Liberal caucus last year after she criticized the government of U.S. President George W. Bush as "bastards" and "idiots," also said she is interested in returning to the Liberal fold, but only if she receives a personal invitation from the prime minister that has no strings attached.

Meanwhile, the opinionated MP spoke harshly about Canada's new role in Afghanistan.

"We're sending in armed troops to kill people (in Afghanistan). This is a drastic change in direction. I don't think anybody has consulted with the Canadian public. The first time Canadian soldiers come back in body bags, you just wait for the outcry," said Ms. Parrish, who was elected as a Liberal in 1993 but has been sitting in the backbenches as an independent MP since last year.

"If this thing gets any deeper in (Afghanistan) and we get a couple of dead Canadians back, I'll vote to bring the government down the first opportunity I got."

Ms. Parrish helped prop up the fragile minority government when she voted with the Liberals on a number of confidence votes, including the budget and same-sex marriage legislation. Since then, some of her colleagues have been speaking to her about rejoining the caucus.

But she remains as outspoken as ever, criticizing Liberal cabinet ministers.

"Anne McLellan's not helping," added Ms. Parrish. "Every time I have the TV on there's a comment from her (that) 'we're not safe, we could be next.' What are we doing taunting people?"

If Carolyn Parrish had been in Parliament during either World War II, no doubt she'd have been screaming about the testosterone-filled Mountbatten sending Canadians to die at Dieppe, inflammatory remarks about Adolf Hitler and the Nazis being scoundrels and monsters, the casualties on Juno Beach and Ortona and Mackenzie King's taunts about U-boat attacks off Nova Scotia.

If and when Islamic terrorists attack, Carolyn Parrish will not have the shame or decency to shut up and eat crow, but will instead be the first one to the microphones to blame it on Paul Martin for sending troops to Afghanistan.

Martin would be a damn fool to take this viper back into his nest, which is why I hope he does at the earliest opportunity.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Another Veiled Threat

The slightest suggestion that Canada might just be a terror target has got the esteemed Dr. Tariq Abdelhaleem, director of the Dar Al-Arqam Islamic Centre in Mississauga all in a huff. And he's letting our esteemed Prime Minister know just how outraged he is.

His Appeal to the Prime Minister can be boiled down to three salient points:

1. Terrorism is all the Americans' fault;
2. Canada hasn't been attacked because it's stayed out of Iraq;
3. Don't fight us and we won't fight you.

Is the Canadian government going to let the likes of this pissant and his fellow-travellers blackmail us into not defending our freedoms against Islamic terrorism?

Sadly, yes.

POSTSCRIPT: You can sign up for the Centre's Diploma in Sharia Law program if you have a high school diploma. Tell 'em Marion Boyd sent you.

Drink Up

Boozehounds rejoice: the LCBO is not going on strike!

Bowling for College Street

Toronto Mayor David Miller has solved the case of the seven shootings in one day: American gun laws are to blame!

Mayor David Miller told reporters he was "very concerned" about the shootings, adding, "The fact that our crime rates are dropping isn't enough."

The Mayor blamed lax gun laws in the United States for some of Toronto's violence, saying half the firearms in the city originated in America.

"It really is time to establish an effective strategy, working with the United States, to stop the easy access for guns that people are going to bring to Canada," Mr. Miller said.

"It's a huge problem and it's just not acceptable."

Does Mayor Miller have any stats on the origin of handguns in Toronto or did he just pull that number out of thin air? No matter, it's easier to play to naive urban voters' prejudices than to actually address the problem.

Torontonians fear guns as though they were talismans capable of turning peaceful, law-abiding men into bloodthirsty killers. They fear the United States almost as much as well.

He's just created an urban legend which will be as enduring in the Toronto psyche as the one about the most wife-beating incidents taking place on Super Bowl Sunday.

Source: National Post

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Stop It Or You'll Go Blind

Health Canada reports that Viagra is making some men go blind:

The Canadian regulator is investigating two possible cases in Canada among men who were using Viagra, but has not confirmed the drugs were related to the medical problems.

In May, the U.S Food and Drug Administration issued a similar warning for users of Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, which are used to treat impotence and erectile dysfunction.

The vision loss, called nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), occurs when blood flow to the optic nerve is blocked.

The condition can cause sudden and painless loss of some or all vision in one or both eyes.

Source: CBC

There have been no confirmed reports of excess hair growth on users' hands, however.

Long Dry Summer

The dog days of August will be long and dry ones if LCBO employees go on strike later this week.

A strike by Ontario's liquor-store workers could be disastrous for some businesses in an industry that has weathered one crisis after another over the past five years, says the head of the province's restaurant association.

Restaurants, bars and hotels have been hard hit by SARS, the NHL strike and travel fears that followed the terrrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, said Terry Mundell, president of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association.

"We finally get to the stage where business is coming back, people are out and around, tourism numbers are up, and our major supplier of alcohol is about to go on strike," he said.

"People are pretty darn nervous out there, that's for sure."


According to the OHRA, the province's restaurant, pub, bar, tavern and hotel operators buy over $1 million worth of alcohol a day, a figure which accounts for almost 12 per cent of LCBO sales. For the province's more than 17,000 licensed establishments, the prime time for drinking customers comes during the summer months.

"This could cause some layoffs in our industry, and there's no doubt it will cause stress to our employees," Mundell said.

Privatization would mean the province's hospitality industry wouldn't have to be held hostage to the LCBO employees' union, but apparently that didn't occur to Greg Sorbara when he turned thumbs-down to selling the LCBO.

People joke about the liquor store going on strike, but thousands of jobs hang in the balance when you can't get a forty.

Source: Canoe

Fighting Words

Carolyn Parrish, the shrieking virago who misrepresents the good folk of Mississauga-Erindale in the House of Commons, wants CDS Gen. Rick Hillier silenced because he used a little rough language to describe Islamic terrorists.

The hypocrisy is breathtaking, coming from the same woman who publicly declared her hatred for those "American bastards" and stomped on a doll of George W. Bush on TV.

But what's more amazing is the utter ignorance of basic military affairs she displays:

True to form, Ms. Parrish couldn't resist a little demonstration of her outspokenness in yesterday's interview, criticizing Canada's new Chief of the Defence Staff, General Rick Hillier, for some of his recent comments.

She called him "dangerous" and a "testosterone-filled general," and added that "somebody should put a clamp on his mouth."

Ms. Parrish, a self-described "peacenik," said she was particularly offended by Gen. Hillier's aggressive comments this month that the job of Canadian soldiers is "to be able to kill people."

He had been speaking to reporters about the Canadian troop deployment to Kandahar, where the troops will target terrorist "murderers and scumbags."

"They talk about me being outspoken," she said. "I'm speaking on my own behalf. This man is purporting to speak on behalf of the government, and I think he's dangerous.

"I'm totally offended by him. . . . We are also not a country that is going to easily throw away 100 years of peacekeeping reputation and noble reputation in the world by a testosterone-filled general, and I think somebody should put a clamp on his mouth."

Let's set Ms. Parrish straight:

1. Killing people is what soldiers are trained to do, ultimately. What the hell do they spend their time in boot camp and field exercises learning to do? Bake cookies?

2. Terrorists are murderers and scumbags, by definition.

3. We couldn't possibly have a 100-year peacekeeping reputation, since the modern peacekeeping system didn't exist before Lester Pearson created it in response to the 1956 Suez crisis. We do, however, have a 250-year history of warfare, from the Seven Years War to Afghanistan.

4. Gen. Hillier should be testosterone-laden. Command of fighting men is not a job for wimps and women.

What would she have thought of Gen. George Patton's famous address to the men of the U.S. Third Army?

Men, this stuff we hear about America wanting to stay out of the war, not wanting to fight, is a lot of bullshit. Americans love to fight - traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle.

When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble player; the fastest runner; the big league ball players; the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win - all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost, not ever will lose a war, for the very thought of losing is hateful to an American.

You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you here today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared. Every man is frightened at first in battle. If he says he isn't, he's a goddamn liar. Some men are cowards, yes! But they fight just the same, or get the hell shamed out of them watching men who do fight who are just as scared.

The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some get over their fright in a minute under fire, some take an hour. For some it takes days. But the real man never lets fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to this country and his innate manhood.

All through your army career you men have bitched about "This chickenshit drilling." That is all for a purpose. Drilling and discipline must be maintained in any army if for only one reason -- INSTANT OBEDIENCE TO ORDERS AND TO CREATE CONSTANT ALERTNESS. I don't give a damn for a man who is not always on his toes. You men are veterans or you wouldn't be here. You are ready. A man to continue breathing must be alert at all times. If not, sometime a German son-of-a-bitch will sneak up behind him and beat him to death with a sock full of shit.

There are 400 neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily all because one man went to sleep on his job -- but they were German graves for we caught the bastard asleep before his officers did. An Army is a team. Lives, sleeps, eats, fights as a team.

This individual heroic stuff is a lot of crap. The bilious bastards who wrote that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don't know any more about real fighting, under fire, than they do about fucking. We have the best food, the finest equipment, the best spirit and the best fighting men in the world. Why, by God, I actually pity these poor sons-of-bitches we are going up against. By God, I do!

My men don't surrender. I don't want to hear of any soldier under my command being captured unless he is hit. Even if you are hit, you can still fight. That's not just bullshit, either. The kind of man I want under me is like the lieutenant in Libya, who, with a Lugar against his chest, jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside with one hand and busted hell out of the Boche with the helmet. Then he jumped on the gun and went out and killed another German: All this with a bullet through his lung. That's a man for you.

All real heroes are not story book combat fighters either. Every man in the army plays a vital part. Every little job is essential. Don't ever let down, thinking your role is unimportant. Every man has a job to do. Every man is a link in the great chain. What if every truck driver decided that he didn't like the whine of the shells overhead, turned yellow and jumped headlong into the ditch? He could say to himself, "They won't miss me -- just one in thousands." What if every man said that? Where in hell would we be now? No, thank God, Americans don't say that! Every man does his job; every man serves the whole. Every department, every unit, is important to the vast scheme of things. The Ordnance men are needed to supply the guns, the Quartermaster to bring up the food and clothes to us -- for where we're going there isn't a hell of a lot to steal. Every last man in the mess hall, even the one who heats the water to keep us from getting the GI shits has a job to do. Even the chaplain is important, for if we get killed and if he is not there to bury us we'd all go to hell.

Each man must not only think of himself, but of his buddy fighting beside him. We don't want yellow cowards in this army. They should all be killed off like flies. If not they will go back home after the war and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed brave men. Kill off the goddamn cowards and we'll have a nation of brave men.

One of the bravest men I ever saw in the African campaign was the fellow I saw on top of a telegraph pole in the midst of furious fire while we were plowing toward Tunis. I stopped and asked what the hell he was doing up there at that time. He answered, "Fixing the wire, sir." "Isn't it a little unhealthy right now?," I asked. "Yes sir, but this goddamn wire's got to be fixed." There was a real soldier. There was a man who devoted all he had to his duty, no matter how great the odds, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty might appear at the time.

You should have seen those trucks on the road to Gabes. The drivers were magnificent. All day and all night they rolled over those son-of-a-bitching roads, never stopping, never faltering from their course, with shells bursting around them all the time. We got through on good old American guts. Many of these men drove over forty consecutive hours. These weren't combat men. But they were soldiers with a job to do. They did it -- and in a whale of a way they did it. They were part of a team. Without them the fight would have been lost. All the links in the chain pulled together and that chain became unbreakable.

Don't forget, you don't know I'm here. No word of the fact is to be mentioned in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell became of me. I'm not supposed to be commanding this Army. I'm not even supposed to be in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the goddamn Germans. Someday I want them to raise up on their hind legs and howl, "Jesus Christ, it's the goddamn Third Army and that son-of-a-bitch Patton again."

We want to get the hell over there. We want to get over there and clear the goddamn thing up. You can't win a war lying down. The quicker we clean up this goddamn mess, the quicker we can take a jaunt against the purple pissing Japs an clean their nest out too, before the Marines get all the goddamn credit.

Sure, we all want to be home. We want this thing over with. The quickest way to get it over is to get the bastards. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin. When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all day, a Boche will get him eventually, and the hell with that idea. The hell with taking it. My men don't dig foxholes. I don't want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don't give the enemy time to dig one. We'll win this war but we'll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans we've got more guts than they have.

There is one great thing you men will all be able to say when you go home. You may thank God for it. Thank God, that at least, thirty years from now, when you are sitting around the fireside with your grandson on your knees, and he asks you what you did in the great war, you won't have to cough and say, "I shoveled shit in Louisiana."

Source: The Globe and Mail

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Definitive Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage

The priest who came up with An Aesthetic Argument Against Same-Sex Marriage could have single-handedly changed Canadian history had he written it a month earlier.

You won't find a better one. Trust me.

Russian Spammer Killfiled

This should be a warning to spammers everywhere: the more spam you send, the more likely it is you'll piss off somebody who can do something nasty about it.

Vardan Kushnir, notorious for sending spam to each and every citizen of Russia who appeared to have an e-mail, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head.

Kushnir, 35, headed the English learning centers the Center for American English, the New York English Centre and the Centre for Spoken English, all known to have aggressive Internet advertising policies in which millions of e-mails were sent every day.

In the past angry Internet users have targeted the American English centre by publishing the Center’s telephone numbers anywhere on the Web to provoke telephone calls. The Center’s telephone was advertised as a contact number for cheap sex services, or bargain real estate sales.

Source: Moscow News

Is That A Threat?

A Toronto imam has just told Anne McLellan to watch her back if the government takes one more step against Muslims.

"If you try to cross the line I can't guarantee what is going to happen. Our young people, we can't control," Aly Hindy, the head of Scarborough's Salaheddin Islamic Centre, recalls telling the minister at the May meeting she held in Toronto with dozens of Muslim leaders.

The meeting was part of an effort by Ms. McLellan to reach out to Canadian Muslims amid complaints that the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service are engaging in racial profiling.

The minister and her officials have been meeting community leaders to explain they are not targeting Muslims generally, only individuals with possible terrorist links


Mr. Hindy, who has long complained that CSIS is spying on him, his family and his mosque, told Ms. McLellan that a young Muslim woman complained to him she was roughed up by Canadian spies while her husband was away at prayers. This allegation could spur reprisals because "our women are the most valuable thing to us" and "for a Muslim, honour is more important than his life," Mr. Hindy said in a recent interview.

He made the point to the minister. Several people who attended shrugged off the imam's remarks, but some Muslims and government agents later approached Mr. Hindy asking him to explain himself.

"The police came to me and said, 'This is a kind of threat,' and I said yes," he said. "But it's for the good of this country.

"And they said, 'Do you know some of the names of those people you expect to cause some problems?' And I said, 'You just open the telephone directory.' "

Them's fighting words, where I come from. That should have bought Hindy a lifetime of being one of the usual suspects rounded up whenever RCMP or CSIS gets wind of a terror threat, at the very least.

Threatening a minister of the Crown is no laughing matter, even if this particular minister is, because it's a threat directed against the peace, order and good government of Canada.

That last sentence shouldn't just be shrugged off as hyperbole, either. Hindy believes that he can raise up the entire Islamic population against the government. I wouldn't doubt that if the choice is between loyalty to Islam and to Canada, they'll choose Islam every time.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Not So Gay Adventures Abroad

The federal government is warning same-sex couples that not everybody in the world will be as happy with them as Canada is:

Same-sex marriage may be legal in Canada, but Ottawa is warning gay and lesbian couples to be aware of cultural – and legal – differences abroad.

"We cannot take for granted that rights that are recognized in Canada will be recognized or accepted abroad," Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew said in a statement Sunday.

"We must also acknowledge that many countries still do not permit such marriages," he said.

"Whether visiting or moving to another country, Canadians should always take the time to learn about the laws of the country for which they are destined before leaving home."

Our social engineers have blithely ignored centuries of customary international law in their haste to legalize homosexual marriage, and in so doing, have set these couples up for real trouble overseas.

A couple that moves to a jurisdiction that doesn't recognize homosexual marriage will not have any of the protections afforded to legally married couples. Pensions, benefits, inheritance, divorce, custody--all of these privileges will be gone.

What might be a marriage in Canada, could be a civil union in another country, and a capital crime in a third.

We're all bound by the laws of the jurisdiction we're travelling through, and if the local police in Iran decide to make an example of a Canadian homosexual couple, the Canadian government will not bail them out if they've broken Iranian law.

In less extreme but more likely cases, if one of the partners moves to a jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is not recognized following a divorce, support or custody claims might not be enforceable through the various conventions governing reciprocal enforcement of foreign judgments.

All countries have recognized each other's marriages since time immemorial, since we all shared a common definition of marriage. With that gone, we enter into the realm of legal confusion and farce.

Source: CBC

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Pot Shots At Scotland Yard

London Metropolitan Police are defending their shoot-to-kill policy to prevent terrorist attacks, even though the man they shot Thursday was not an Islamic extremist from Saudi Arabia but a Catholic electrician from Brazil.

"This is a tragedy,"[Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian] Blair said Sunday of the shooting. "The Metropolitan Police accepts full responsibility for this. To the family I can only express my deep regrets."

He also defended the shoot-to-kill policy, saying such action only applied when lives were believed to be at risk.

"I am very aware that minority communities are talking about a shoot-to-kill policy," he said. "It's only a shoot-to-kill-in-order-to-protect policy."

Blair said British police have drawn from the experiences of other countries, including Sri Lanka, that have dealt with suicide attackers.

"The only way to deal with this is to shoot to the head," Blair said. "There is no point in shooting at someone's chest because that is where the bomb is likely to be."

Blair spoke of the problem his officers faced.

"What we have got to recognize is that people are taking incredibly difficult fast-time decisions in life-threatening situations," he said. "What's most important to recognize is that it's still happening out there. There are still officers out there having to make those calls as we speak."

Police said Menezes attracted police attention because he left a building that was under surveillance after Thursday's attacks. They said he was then followed by surveillance officers to the station, and his clothing and behaviour at the station added to their suspicions. Menezes was wearing a heavy coat while temperatures were above 21 C.

One of the sad facts of the war against Islamic terrorism, as with any other war, is that innocent people get caught in the crossfire.

The decision to shoot isn't an easy one to make, but it has to be made quickly based on the most probable outcome of the evidence at hand.

It's easy to second guess the police in hindsight, but there's no time for them to second guess themselves. If they do, they're of no use to us.

Had they held their fire and Menezes turned out to be carrying a bomb, the same people who complain about one innocent man dying because of an honest mistake would complain about dozens dying because of police incompetence.

Menezes' death is a tragedy, but the greater tragedy is the need for a shoot-to-kill policy.

Source: Toronto Star

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Wanted For Killing The Wanted

Following the murder of Edmonton woman Liana White and her unborn child, Tory MP Maurice Vellacott has introduced a private member's bill which would killing an unborn child a criminal offence.

And, true to form, the feminist lobby is screaming against this blasphemy against their holy sacrament of abortion:

"The bizarre thing about the situation in Canada is that you can have a greater sanction against someone who has created some cruelty on an animal," he said. "You kill a cat and it's punishable, but as it stands now, a mother can be killed all the way up to nine months' pregnancy, and short of that baby coming out the birth canal, there is no punishment."

Vellacott, who is a member of the pro-life parliamentary caucus, said the bill must be framed in way that would not infringe upon abortion rights. The goal, he said, is to provide protection for unborn children wanted by the expectant mother.

But the National Action Committee on the Status of Women accused social conservatives like Vellacott of exploiting the tragedy of White's death to "deceptively" re-open the debate on abortion rights through the back door. The focus of public discussion should be on curbing violence against women, said NAC vice-president Kripa Sekhar.

Vellacott's proposed bill does raise a troublesome question; how is the law to define a wanted child as opposed to an unwanted child?

In the absence of any law regulating or restricting abortion, all unborn children can theoretically be unwanted children, as they may be legally aborted right up until the moment of birth.

Would there be a rebuttable presumption that the unborn child was wanted? If so, how does that square with the current legal vacuum on abortion? How would the accused rebut such a presumption except by putting the mother's intent at the time of the unborn child's death into evidence?

If the mother is also dead, how does one demonstrate her intent at the time of her death?

Unless abortions are banned after a certain number of weeks, trials of this crime would be reduced to a battle of duelling psychological and psychiatric experts trying to read the mother's mind.

Vellacott's proposal is noble and necessary, but it's putting the cart before the horse.

Source: Ottawa Sun

The Trouble With Journalism Schools

Mike Duffy's recent comments about media bias towards Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party confirm what we've all been saying for years.

“I’ve just been speaking to a couple of young journalists and I was shocked,” he said.

“One young journalist in New Brunswick said to me, ‘when I see Stephen Harper I see the enemy.’ It’s not journalists’ place to have enemies.”

Angry in the Great White North thinks that part of the problem might lie with the journalism schools from which most journalists come these days.

I agree. I'm a journalism school graduate myself who has never worked as a professional journalist. Four years of journalism school killed any desire I might have had to be one.

One mantra repeated by my professors--several of whom had been long-time CBC employees--was that our role as journalists was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Who the comfortable and the afflicted were, of course, were always defined in leftist terms.

Groupthink caught on quite early, and I was considered something of an outsider for having outspoken and articulate right-of-centre political convictions.

But the real problem with journalism schools is that the students who attend them are usually just not that well-educated themselves. It's entirely possible to go through an honours journalism program without taking electives in courses you'd think journalists need--political science, history and economics--in order to allow them to report knowledgably on public events.

In the absence of that basic knowledge, they fall back on groupthink. And because all of their colleagues think the same way, it must be right, and they don't generally question what they've been told.

Anyone can be taught to write in the inverted pyramid style or produce a 70 second cart. But that's not what journalists need to know, most of all.

They need to know what they're reporting on. And in the main, they don't.

Source: Charlottetown Guardian

Hands Off Hans

In a stern gesture of defiance against Danish imperialist aggression, Defence Minister Bill Graham set foot on the sacred soil of Hans Island this week, vowing to fight to the death to defend our home and native land against the depredations of the Danes!

Well, no, not exactly:

I'm not unaware of the fact that, obviously, this island is the subject matter of discussions,” said Mr. Graham, who was accompanied by a helicopter crew and a few other officials. Mr. Graham said he was in the Far North touring Canadian installations and doing other work when he decided to stop off.

“[But] I don't see it as a kind of big statement in terms of Canada-Danish relationships. I see it as part of the fact that we've always said this is Canada and it was perfectly normal for me being in the region to go by and see what the troops had done when they'd been there the week before.

“Our position has consistently been that it's Canadian.”


The two nations failed to settle the ownership of the island when borders were drawn between Canada and Greenland, a part of Denmark, in 1973. Mr. Graham explained that the island lies near what would be the boundary between the two nations. The island and about 1,000 metres around it are in dispute. The waters could include important fish stocks and have been the subject of dispute between native peoples from Canada and Greenland.Canada's claims to sovereignty were put into some question in 2003 after crew members from a Danish frigate landed on the island and placed a Danish flag there.

The Danes who visited had planted other flags on the island in previous years, while Canadian geologists flew to it four years ago.

Canadian energy companies have also made surveys on and around the island.

Hans Island may be a worthless barren rock, but it's our worthless barren rock. The first duty of our armed forces is to defend the sovereignty of our territory, not to be social workers with guns in some third-world hellhole. We should be able to station a handful of soldiers up there to assert our rightful sovereignty over Hans Island and keep them provisioned.

If we can't do that for Hans Island, then what can we do to protect ourselves against real threats to our sovereignty and national security?

Source: The Globe and Mail

Background: The Return of the Vikings by Dr. Rob Huebert

Inspiration: Danegeld by Rudyard Kipling

Friday, July 22, 2005

Judging SSM

A Spanish judge who has refused to marry a lesbian couple is taking her challenge to Spain's new same-sex marriage law to the Spanish Constitutional Court:

Judge Laura Alabau of the city of Denia in southwestern Spain is challenging the constitutionality of the new law, saying it violates article 32 of the country's Constitution, which says, "Men and women have the right to contract marriage with full juridical equality."

This phrase was identical to a statute in the Civil Code, which after the recent changes now reads, "Marriage shall have the same requirements and effects whether both parties are of the same or of the opposite sex."

Alabau is the first judge in Spain to refuse to preside at gay marriages. She has based her right to refuse on article 163 of the Spanish Constitution, which allows judges to file constitutional challenges.

The leading opposition party in Spain, the Partido Popular, is also considering a challenge to the new law's constitutionality.

We've heard a lot about marriage commissioners resigning or being forced out of office because they do not want to perform same-sex marriages.

To date, no Canadian judge has refused to preside over such a marriage, but no doubt one will. Then what happens?

Federally appointed judges can only be removed by both houses of Parliament, following a recommendation to the Attorney General of Canada by the Canadian Judicial Council. Parliament has never removed a federally appointed judge. Would it do so to uphold same-sex marriage?

Would a provincial legislature or cabinet do the same to a provincial court judge who declined to marry a homosexual couple?

Not all judges are cut from the same liberal-left activist cloth, despite the persistent conservative stereotype that has emerged. But they'll all defend their judicial independence and prerogatives to the death.

Source: Catholic World News

Board to Bomb, Shoot to Kill

The London Metropolitan Police are taking no chances with suspected suicide bombers; the new policy is shoot to kill, as one would-be suicide bomber learned the hard way today.

Naturally, this aggrieves the Muslim Council of Britain, whose response has been to complain that Muslims are again being singled out for unfair treatment:

But MCB has urged the police to explain why the man - said to be of Asian appearance - was shot dead.

Spokesman Inayat Bunglawala said Muslims he had spoken to this morning were "jumpy and nervous".

"I have just had one phone call saying, 'what if I was carrying a rucksack?'.

"There may well be reasons why the police felt it necessary to unload five shots into the man and shoot him dead, but they need to make those reasons clear," he said.

"We are getting phone calls from quite a lot of Muslims who are distressed about what may be a shoot to kill policy."

I'm fed up with the continual whining about unfair treatment and racial profiling that Muslim leaders resort to every time one of their own gets stopped at airport security.

They're obviously unable or unwilling to deal with the young men who become terrorists in their ranks, so law enforcement will have to do it for them.

Just once, I would like to hear these Muslim leaders make an unequivocal denunciation of terrorism. Not a backhanded one full of condemnation of police investigations, American foreign policy or the lack of opportunities in their communities.

Just one denunciation of terrorism for the evil it is, and nothing else.

They'll never make it, of course.

Source: BBC

I Now Pronounce You

Man and wife? Spouse and spouse? Top and bottom?

Prince Edward Island can't figure out what to call homosexual "spouses" on marriage licences, now that SSM is the law of the land, so they're not issuing licences until then.

Why not husband and wife? Homosexual coupling apes the normal male-female relationship by having one partner take the dominant, "male" role and the other the submissive, "female" role.

In a backhanded way, that's recognition of the necessity of male and female in marriage.

So let them be husband and wife, and figure out for themselves which is which.

Let us return farce for farce.

Source: CBC

Rae Days Ahead For The Grits?

Part of the Liberal Party's traditional electoral success can be attributed to its system of anointing heirs apparent to the leadership years in advance of their actual succession.

John Turner had been Trudeau's heir apparent since the mid-70s. Likewise, Jean Chretien was so declared when Turner won the leadership in 1984, and Paul Martin was leader-in-waiting right from the 1990 convention that selected Chretien.

That system has broken down, in large part because of the nature of Paul Martin's takeover of the Liberal Party machine. In squeezing out all of his rivals, he also made it virtually impossible for the party to settle on an heir apparent.

Now former Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae's name has surfaced as a potential successor to Martin.

When people talk about who are potential leaders, Bob Rae's name does make the list," said Senator Terry Mercer, a onetime national director of the party and an ally of former Prime Minister Jean Chretien. "It's been speculation more than (anything). There's been no one come and say look, 'I've been thinking of supporting Bob Rae for leader, what do you think?'"

Nevertheless, Mr. Mercer said the 56-year-old former MP's name first surfaced as a potential candidate six months ago. It has not disappeared since.

In recent years, Mr. Rae has made clear his disillusionment with some aspects of the political left. During his hiatus from party politics, he has had virtually nothing to do with the NDP, party insiders say, with the exception of personal donations.

He has surprised some people with his hawkish views on security. In a notorious 2002 National Post article, he lambasted the federal NDP's foreign policy (embodied by the "histrionic crank" Svend Robinson).

"The NDP opposes the World Trade Organization, sits on its hands when (British Prime Minister) Tony Blair praises the advantages of markets, and denounces any military action against terrorism, whether by the United States, Canada or Israel," he wrote. "This is not a vision of social democracy worthy of support."

Furthermore, Mr. Mercer and other former Chretien loyalists pointed to Mr. Rae's friendship with many senior Liberals, including his brother John, a powerful backroom player who chaired three Chretien election campaigns and two leadership contests.


In the 10 years since his party was trounced at the polls at the hands of Mike Harris's Conservatives (the NDP fell from 74 seats to just 17), Mr. Rae has undertaken what he has termed a "public rehabilitation" of his image.

He has had a hand in weighty issues (co-authoring a recent report on Ontario's postsecondary education) and served as peacemaker for others (mediating the aboriginal fishing dispute in Burnt Church, N.B., and was named special adviser to deputy prime minister Anne McLellan on the Air India fallout).

"Ten years later, he seems to have been reinvented as an elder statesman," says Conservative pollster Greg Lyle, president of Innovative ResearchGroup.

Mr. Lyle says Mr. Rae's pragmatic politics would easily fit into the Liberal party. He cites former B.C. New Democrat Premier Ujjal Dosanjh as an example.

"Coming from the left basically means people trust your motivation on social issues," he says. "I think he's a very plausible candidate.

"Ask yourself: Where are the Chretienites, the left of the Liberal party, going to go? They have no candidate except maybe (former justice minister) Martin Cauchon. And he doesn't really have a strong base in English Canada."

It looks as though the Michael Ignatieff trial balloon has been shot down; even if hardcore left Liberals could support a socially liberal security hawk, there's no way a Harvard professor who hasn't lived here in 25 years could be sold to the Canadian public.

Bob Rae's premiership destroyed the Ontario NDP beyond repair, but unlike Ignatieff, at least he lives here.

The Chretien-Martin civil war and the sponsopship scandal have also destroyed the Liberal Party in Quebec, so that the long-standing principle of alternance between anglophone and francophone leaders has broken down. Martin Cauchon is a question mark, at best, and Denis Coderre also has no national profile.

Since the Liberal Party of Canada has essentially become an Ontario regional party, it makes sense for the next leader to come from Ontario. In the absence of a strong Ontario cabinet minister, Bob Rae makes as much sense as anyone.

But have Ontarians forgiven and forgotten?

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Thursday, July 21, 2005

London Underground Bombed Again

Fox News reports that four more bombs have gone off in the London subway and on another London bus, two weeks after the attacks that killed 56 people.

Fortunately, only one person has been reported injured, meaning that the persons responsible were probably much less skilled than the original suicide bombers.

Doesn't make them any less dangerous, though. Somebody out there--probably another group of angry young Muslims--is engaging in freelance terrorism. Whether it's the C-team or the A-team, their victims will be just as dead.

POSTSCRIPT: Anne McLellan reminds us all once again not to panic, because they haven't gotten any specific threats.

Neither did the London transit authority.

Micmac Logging Cut Down

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Micmac Indians don't have the treaty right to conduct commercial logging operations because, well, commercial logging wasn't a treaty right back in the 1760's.

Canada's top court unanimously found that the Mi'kmaq have a right to harvest and sell only "items traditionally traded in 1760-1761," when they signed peace treaties with the British government.

The decision is a devastating blow to Mi'kmaq aspirations for a piece of the province's forestry industry.

The Mi'kmaq had argued that the 1999 Marshall ruling should be interpreted to include the right to harvest wood.

The top court ruled then that Donald Marshall Jr. had the treaty right to earn a "moderate livelihood" by catching and selling eels, a decision that has been interpreted to include the right to gather and sell other fish species, such as lobster and crab.

On Wednesday, the court defined the scope of that treaty right, finding that it only applies to items the Mi'kmaq gathered and traded in the 1760s, such as fish, furs and berries.

Back then, the Mi'kmaq traded in wood products like snowshoes, baskets and canoes but they didn't sell trees, the court found.

"Logging was not a traditional Mi'kmaq activity," Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote. "Rather it was a European activity, in which the Mi'kmaq began to participate only decades after the treaties of 1760-61. If anything, the evidence suggests that logging was inimical to the Mi'kmaq's traditional way of life, interfering with fishing which, as found in Marshall 1, was a traditional activity."

The court found that provincial court Judge Patrick Curran was right in 2001 when he convicted Stephen Marshall Jr. and 34 other Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq loggers of violating provincial law by cutting on Crown land in 1998 and 1999.

Canadians of European descent, in the main, don't live as their ancestors did 250 years ago. Do these Indian treaties, with their generous grants of rights to hunt and fish on public year-round, make sense in a time when very few people, even Indians, live solely by subsistence hunting and fishing?

Source: Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Time Is Of The Essence

Congress has just passed a bill extending daylight saving time by two months, from the start of March to the end of November, and Canadian business leaders want us to follow suit:

"There is potential for huge confusion here, and we need to be vigilant, to look at the range of implications," said Len Crispino, president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The change, expected to take effect this fall, would mean clocks in Canada and the United States would be out of sync in March and November, causing scheduling headaches for travellers and TV viewers.

And should Canada decide to follow the American lead, farmers and rural schoolchildren, who already get up in the dark, would face even gloomier mornings.

But as things now stand, the implications for business are serious because the economies of the two countries are so integrated, said Crispino.

Businesses such as airlines, transportation and even Ontario's auto sector could be affected, since many automotive manufacturers use "just in time" delivery systems to get car parts to plants, Crispino said. And the Toronto Stock Exchange, for instance, would open and close one hour after New York's markets.


Although Ontario's Attorney General Michael Bryant is said to be looking into a possible response by the province, the Prime Minister's Office was still trying to figure out yesterday which department or minister would be most concerned about the time discrepancy.

In fact, though many Canadians may think we're overgoverned, the potentially significant matter of who goes along with daylight time — moving the clock ahead an hour in the spring and back an hour in the fall — is largely left up to individual provinces, even to local municipalities, mostly on a voluntary basis. Saskatchewan, for instance, has always been a daylight time holdout, as have several communities in British Columbia and northern Quebec.

Before the railway age forced the standardization of time, local time was literally local time, based on the movement of the sun alone; when it was noon in one town, it could be 12:10 a couple hundred miles away. The confusion wrought by competing local times led Sir Sandford Fleming to propose the division of the world into 24 time zones, a division that, with some changes, we've been using since 1885.

Time is one matter where everybody should be in sync because of its effects on everything from flight schedules to assembly lines. Since weights and measures already fall under federal jurisdiction, should not the most crucial measure of our economic system--time--be left there as well?

Extending daylight saving time by two months might be a daft idea in practice--Newfoundland's own experiment with double daylight saving time (90 minutes ahead of Atlantic time instead of 30) inconvenienced business so much that it was scrapped after one year. But given our integration with the U.S. economy, we won't have a practical choice but to follow along.

Unless the government wants to invoke Sir Sandford Fleming's vision of standard time as a Canadian value to be cherished and defended against all American incursions. (No two-tier time?)

Source: CBC

Fact: The National Research Council's official time signal is CBC's longest-running broadcast feature, having aired every day since November 5, 1939.

"And now for the National Research Council official time signal. At the start of the long dash which follows ten seconds silence, it will be 2:00 Atlantic time." I can't believe I can recite that from memory.

Go visit our timekeepers at the Institute for National Measurement Standards.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Toronto Takes No Pride in Miss Universe

This is not an activity that degrades men or women through sexual stereotyping, or exploits the bodies of men, women, boys or girls solely for the purpose of attracting attention.

This is.


Source: CBC

Air Canada Strands PEI

Air Canada has cancelled its Toronto-Charlottetown service because the PEI government has offered WestJet a $500,000 subsidy for a summer-only Toronto-Charlottetown service.

The reason? Air Canada's miffed at the suggestion that its planes don't offer enough legroom:

PEI Premier Pat Binns lashed out yesterday at Air Canada's decision to scrub its Toronto-Charlottetown flights this fall, accusing the airline of mistreating his province by using small planes that cramp the style of tourists.

Mr. Binns defended his government's subsidies for rival WestJet Airlines Ltd., saying the discount carrier's 166-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft carries passengers in greater comfort than Air Canada's 50-seat Bombardier CRJ-200s.

Air Canada is angry at the PEI government for providing nearly $500,000 in marketing and revenue incentives to lure WestJet to launch summer-only flights between Toronto and Charlottetown. Air Canada will be cancelling flights between the two cities for six months each year starting this October, opting to operate the route only in the spring and summer.

In the bad old days before deregulation and privatization, Air Canada would have had to keep this route, no matter what. But then, Air Canada had to serve a different function as a Crown corporation to guarantee affordable service to all parts of the country much as Canada Post does.

As much as I don't like seeing PEI get the shaft from a bunch of Upper Canadian airline bigshots, Pat Binns has no one to blame but himself.

For a little extra tourist legroom, he's forcing Islanders to pay more to fly through Halifax. He's introduced an unnecessary distortion into the situation and Air Canada is doing the economically responsible thing.

WestJet would likely have come anyway, with or without the subsidy, as it's still a profitable tourist run. Now the whole Island has to pay.

Source: The Globe & Mail

Alexa Bails Out

Syrian Hassan Almrei has spent four years in solitary confinement on a national security certificate in a Toronto jail while the feds figure out whether he's a terrorist threat.

At the heart of the feds' dithering are moral qualms about sending him back to Syria, where he might well face torture under the same suspicions.

Now he's got Alexa McDonough coughing up a C-note from her share of the Shaw Brick fortune along with some other notable leftists to post bond for Almrei.

On the one hand, habeus corpus is one of the fundamental principles in our common law system--and four years in solitary while the government hems and haws is a prima facie violation thereof.

Yet no one wants to take responsibility for letting him go, if he gets caught blowing up a school bus six months later.

And no one wants to carry out the unpleasant but probably only expedient resolution: send him back to Syria so they can deal with their own.

For the gang of lefies who have embraced Almrei's cause, there's no downside. If he's given bond and skips out, they're only out petty cash. If he's let out and does nothing--or more likely, just disappears--they can claim vindication of his innocence. If he isn't released, they've all made a public stand on principle.

And if he's released and turns out to be an active terrorist, they can always find some way to absolve themselves of blame.

Read more about Almrei at World Crisis Web.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Drunk With Power

Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara has confirmed that the province will not put the LCBO up for sale.

The report from the Beverage Alcohol System Review panel called for the province to get out of the booze business and to allow grocers and other large retailers to sell alcohol.


While alcohol sales generate about $1.5 billion annually for the province, the panel said another $200 million could be generated annually through the issuance of liquor sales licences.

If I understand Sorbara's thinking: selling the LCBO opens the door to competition, competition leads to lower prices, lower prices leads to less tax revenue.

Unless the government wants to encourage people to drink more. Not that I need more encouragement.

Source: CBC

Hello, Kathy!

Relapsed Catholic Kathy Shaidle has joined the Blogging Tories.

All I can say is, wow! Kathy was blogging before anybody called it blogging. Having her join is like having Little Green Footballs or Powerline or Instapundit joining a similar grassroots Republican blogroll.

She's also a genuine devout Catholic lady whose blog avoids the saccharine sentimentality that afflicts too many Catholic lady bloggers.

Welcome aboard, Kathy!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Winnipeg: Where Men Are Men!

Congratulations to Winnipeg on being voted the most heterosexual city in Canada!

I always thought that Montreal and Vancouver were a bit light in the loafers, anyway.

Crackpottery Barn

We often denounce the looney leftists at Rabble and Democratic Underground for having lost all sense of reason and reality.

But that is to overstate the case.

There are crackpots on the Web whose delusions are far, far more unimaginably insane than Rabble and DU's denizens could ever be.

For today's instalment (if I continue the series), I submit for your reading pleasure
Kevyan Nourhaghighi, late of the Iranian Air Force, and Harold C. Funk, disbarred lawyer and noted Ottawa sidewalk pamphleteer.

Charter Challenged

If you read no other Blogging Tory post today, read The War Room's post on how same-sex marriage has destroyed the validity of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Then read the Canadian Bill of Rights and ask yourself whether our country would be in its current sad state had it, and not the Charter, been entrenched in the Constitution.

None of the Above for PM

If the latest Strategic Counsel poll is to be believed, given a choice between Paul Martin and Stephen Harper, Canadians would choose none of the above:

Stephen Harper moved yesterday to revive his political fortunes in the electoral heartland of Ontario even as a new poll shows that 59 per cent of Canadians want him replaced, including more than one-third of his own supporters.

The poll also found that the difficulties of the just-completed sitting of the House of Commons have left Canadians with an increasingly negative image of Mr. Harper, with 41 per cent saying their opinion of the Conservative Leader has worsened. But the survey, conducted for The Globe and Mail/CTV by the Strategic Counsel, also finds that popularity difficulties plague Prime Minister Paul Martin, with 52 per cent of voters saying he should be replaced.

"Clearly, Harper's numbers have moved starkly to the negative," said Tim Woolstencroft, managing partner with the company. "And Martin's looking like his negatives are starting to soften, although it's important to note that they're no different than Harper's."

As always, the Globe leads with the bad news about Stephen Harper and puts the most negative spin they can on it, while burying the bad news about Paul Martin and softening it as much as possible.

Stephen Harper has been subjected to the most concentrated media onslaught against any Tory leader since Brian Mulroney, a campaign informally orchestrated by the PMO. The press faithfully drove home the Liberal message that Canadians did not want an election this spring, and made sure that Canadians believed that they didn't want one.

Not that most people had given the matter much thought, but don't underestimate the power of suggestion--if they think that's what the majority believes, they'll believe it.

On every conceivable issue--the unconstitutional refusal to resign over a non-confidence vote, the unconscionable budget deal with the NDP, the Gomery Commission revelations of systemic corruption, the unseemly haste to legalize homosexual marriage--the Liberals were clearly on the side of the devils.

But they have the media on side, and whoever wins the propaganda wars, wins the public mind.

Despite this, however, Paul Martin still has not risen in public esteem. He has only been able to prolong his political death long enough to give the Liberals time to rally around a saviour.

But who that saviour would be, no one knows.

The Liberal Party has no clear successor to Martin, just as the Conservative Party has no one single heir apparent to Harper.

Which makes these numbers especially worrisome:

Although Mr. Harper's leadership has not been widely questioned internally, the poll found unease among Canadians generally. It also found that 37 per cent of those who consider themselves Conservative voters believe there should be a change at the top.

For Mr. Martin's part, only 20 per cent of Liberals said their leader should be replaced, compared with 52 per cent across the political spectrum.

Are we succumbing to the old Tory habit of cannibalizing our leaders when they fail to be supermen? I hope not.

One of the tests of our party's ability to govern will be how we weather the storms of political crisis. Throwing Stephen Harper overboard whenever the seas get a little rough will only confirm in people's minds that the Conservative Party is unfit to govern. If we can't stand behind our leader in opposition, we sure as hell won't when he's Prime Minister and the media attacks are infinitely worse.

The Liberals are standing behind Paul Martin for now, not out of loyalty, but because they don't know who they'd replace him with. The current crop of Cabinet ministers is especially weak, John Manley is uninspiring, Frank McKenna's and Brian Tobin's times are passing, and the collapse of the Liberal Party in Quebec leaves no strong Francophone successor with a national profile.

We do have several potential leaders-in-waiting, but the media would savage them as quickly and brutally as they have been Mr. Harper.

In any event, he has done far more than had been thought possible even two years ago. He has, unlike Mr. Martin, shown himself able to respond to well-considered criticism and suggestions from the grassroots, as demonstrated by his recent summer tour, gradual release of the party platform, and firing of his communications team.

Without Stephen Harper, there would still be two weak regional parties, stubbornly refusing to join forces against the Liberals even as they continued to collapse.

Without Stephen Harper, Liberal arrogance would be unchecked by a massive majority government facing a regionally fragmented opposition.

Without Stephen Harper, we would be despairing of ever forming government again.

I stand behind Stephen Harper.

Do you?

Source: The Globe & Mail

Friday, July 15, 2005

They Don't Shoot Soldiers, Do They?

Believe it or not, Canadian soldiers run the risk of dying in combat.

You'd be surprised how many people believe otherwise, as it seems that every time our soldiers die on some foreign battlefield, there are always demands to bring them home right away.

The hysterics following the friendly-fire death of four members of the Princess Patricias in Afghanistan highlights this strange idea that our soldiers shouldn't have to risk death, ever.

Which explains why Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier had to break the news gently to the Canadian people about our latest mission to Afghanistan:

Canadians need to prepare psychologically for the strong possibility some of their soldiers will be killed in a new military operation in southern Afghanistan, says the head of the armed forces.

"Is there a probability that we're going to take casualties? Yes, of course," Gen. Rick Hillier said Thursday.

"Can I give you a number of what we're going to take? Absolutely not."

Canada is sending a team of about 250 soldiers, along with Foreign Affairs officials, development workers and Mounties, to Afghanistan's volatile Kandahar province.

One wonders how this country ever got through two world wars.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Who Speaks For Canada?

Since Canadian foreign policy seems to consist largely of empty moralizing combined with knee-jerk anti-Americanism and a naive faith in the United Nations, our provincial premiers have decided to step into the void, in defence of their provinces' trade interests:

Premiers are expected to discuss moves next month aimed at increasing their muscle on the international scene, including the possibility of provincially organized trade missions now that Paul Martin has discontinued the traditional Team Canada exercise.

The proposal, which officials hope to put on the agenda at the premiers annual meeting in Banff, Alta., arose as provincial and territorial leaders examine ways to strengthen the role of the Council of the Federation. The idea follows a decision by the western premiers this spring to co-ordinate their own mission to Washington, and to organize a promotional business effort on Asia. It also comes on the heels of a recent joint visit to Texas by New Brunswick's Bernard Lord and Manitoba's Gary Doer.

The move is expected to be put on the portion of the premiers' agenda that deals with international issues and relations with the United States. It would almost certainly tweak the Prime Minister's nose.

More influence in international trade issues could enhance the premiers' capability to comment on federal initiatives. Recently, for example, a Conservative MP unveiled a private member's bill designed to upgrade Canadian relations with Taiwan, which some provincial officials have found wanting.

On the surface, this initiative doesn't look like much more than a typical trade promotion junket. But what it reflects is an increasing disenchantment with our federal government's ability to promote and defend the entire country's interests.

As much as I support provincial power, foreign affairs and trade is rightly the domain of the federal government. Only the federal government can speak as an equal with other foreign states. There should only be one voice when Canada speaks on the world stage.

Provincial governments do have legitimate foreign interests, but those interests should be expressed through the federal government, not through the provinces which may be at cross purposes with the feds and with each other.

Source: The Globe and Mail

What More Proof Do You Need?

Despite the chattering classes' insistence that Canada is not a target for Islamic terrorism, the Islamic terrorists themselves keep insisting otherwise.

And at least one of them is naming names:

One piece of intelligence to support Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan's recent warning that Canada may already be in the crosshairs of terrorist groups comes from Morocco.

On May 16, 2003, five bombs exploded in the Moroccan capital of Casablanca, killing 45 people. An organization known as the Moroccan Combatant Group was blamed for the attacks, and subsequently, for engineering a March 11, 2004, terror attack in Madrid, in which 10 bombs shredded rush hour trains, killing 191 people.

According to recent reports, one of the group's captured leaders, Nouredine Nfia, has told Moroccan authorities the organization had sleeper cells prepared to mount synchronized attacks in Britain, France, Italy, Belgium and Canada.

Nfia allegedly told Moroccan authorities that agents were in place in Ottawa and Montreal.

The information attributed to Nfia first surfaced last year in the Moroccan newspaper, Le Maroc. It reported that Nfia, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the Casablanca bombings, had offered authorities a detailed picture of the workings of the Moroccan Combatants Group.

Nfia allegedly told Moroccan officials that the group had sleeper cells in Britain, Belgium, France, Italy and Canada.

According to the newspaper, Nfia identified the Ottawa sleeper only as "Abdeslam the Canadian." The Montreal sleeper agent was identified as Adil Charkaoui, a Montreal university student and Moroccan immigrant who was arrested in May 2003 on the strength of a national security certificate. According to information supplied by Nfia, and published by Le Maroc, Charkaoui was in charge of logistics for the Canadian cell.

The Moroccan authorities think Nfia's claims are credible (even if they had to beat the information out of him). CSIS thinks Nfia is telling the truth, too.

But our chattering classes, who pride themselves on their cosmopolitanism, suddenly develop the most parochial worldview when ever it's suggested that maybe not everybody loves us as much as we love ourselves.

Does Al-Qaeda have to bomb The Annex and Outremont before they get the picture?

Source: The Windsor Star

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Horror! The Horror!

FreeRepublic is having a blast with the latest reports of inhumane treatment, if not outright torture, at Guantanamo Bay prison camp:

UNITED States interrogators at Guantanamo Bay subjected a suspected terrorist to abusive and degrading treatment, forcing him to wear a bra, dance with another man and behave like a dog, military investigators said yesterday.

They recommended that Major-General Geoffrey Miller be reprimanded for failing to oversee his interrogation of the 9/11 suspect at the base in Cuba.

But General Bantz Craddock, commander of US Southern Command, said he overruled their recommendation and will instead refer the matter to the army's inspector general.

Gen Craddock concluded that Gen Miller did not violate any US laws or policies, according to officials familiar with the report.

Investigators described their findings before the Senate armed services committee yesterday. They were looking into allegations by FBI agents who say they witnessed abusive interrogation techniques at the Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorist suspects.

One suspect was Mohamed al-Qahtani, a Saudi who tried to enter the US in August 2001, but was turned away at Orlando airport.

Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the 11 September hijackers, was in the airport at the same time.

The committee heard that interrogators told him his mother and sisters were prostitutes, forced him to wear a bra, forced him to wear a thong on his head, told him he was homosexual and said that other prisoners knew it.

If that's torture, why isn't Amnesty International protesting hazing in frat houses or junior hockey locker rooms? Hell, that last paragraph reminds me of grade nine.

Fraud Doesn't Pay In The USA

Former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers is going down for 25 years of federal time for masterminding the accounting fraud that bankrupted the company. 25 years of real time, too:

If Ebbers loses his appeal, he would not be eligible for parole under stiff federal sentencing guidelines for white-collar crimes.

"This is effectively a life and a death sentence both," said attorney Scott Fredericksen, a former federal prosecutor who is now a partner at Foley & Lardner LLP. "A 63-year-old man is unlikely to survive this."

The next time someone gets on their high horse about American corporate greed vs. Canadian altruism, remind them of what happened to Bernard Ebbers.

We don't even give most murderers 25 years.

Source: MarketWatch

Game On!

The NHL owners had to break the NHLPA to do it, but there will be hockey in October!

According to CBC, it looks like a union-busting deal:

Although the union and league are not commenting on the deal, the agreement reportedly includes:

--the union holding the right to re-open negotiations on the six-year contract after the fourth year.

--a 24 per-cent salary rollback on all existing player contracts.

--a team-by-team salary cap with a payroll of range of $21.5 million to $39 million US (in the first year), based on projected revenues of $1.8 billion.

--no player can earn more than 20 per cent of the team cap. For 2005-06, this means no player can earn more than $7.4 million.

--the league's total expenditure on player costs can't exceed 54 per cent of defined hockey-related revenue. Also, the salary cap and payroll range will increase or decrease as revenues rise or fall each year of the deal.

--a percentage of salaries will be put into escrow until the new salary cap can be calculated at the end of each season.

--an entry-level system with a rookie salary cap of $850,000 US. Players entering the league will now qualify for unrestricted free agency after seven years.

--the age of unrestricted free agency remains 31 but will brought down to 27 by the end of 2007-2008 season.

--teams will be able to buy players out of their contracts at two thirds of their value if they need help to fit under the cap. Clubs, however, won't be able to re-sign those players.

--a revenue-sharing scheme where the top 10 money-making clubs contribute to a fund shared by the bottom 10 teams.

--two-way salary arbitration where the players and owners both have the power to go to arbitration. Only the players had that right in the previous deal.

--NHL participation at the 2006 Torino Olympics.

The union couldn't hold against a salary cap forever, and they could have had one in January or February at $42-$45 million. Now they're stuck with $39 million. Without U.S. TV revenues after ESPN bailed out on them, and lagging ticket sales in the weakest U.S. markets, that 54% is going to come out of much small revenues.

The rookie salary cap of $850,000 has everyone asking if Sidney Crosby will take off for a multi-million European contract. For that matter, how many European players might also decide an immediate 24% rollback and a floating cap might make the NHL not worth their while?

If European leagues up the salary ante and talent leaves the NHL, it'll redefine European hockey as no longer being the poor cousin to the NHL. The NHL will just be one top league among several, as exists in soccer.

It's going to be a very different league in October.


Homegrown Terror

Britons may be surprised to learn that the four men suspected of carrying out the London bombings, although Muslim, were all born and bred in Yorkshire.

They shouldn't, if they remember their recent history.

Totalitarian ideology cuts across borders and ethnicities and finds its supporters everywhere. However, it tends to draw its agents from the ranks of the educated and well-fed.

Despite all the blather about poverty as a root cause of terrorism, the Islamic terrorists have almost, to a man, come from well-off families. The poor are too concerned with feeding and sheltering themselves to play around with political ideologies. And illiterate, monoglot Arabs would be of no use to terrorist groups trying to pull off sophisticated plans in Western cities.

Britain's Communist traitors were, also to a man, native-born Britons, educated at the best schools and holding responsible positions in government. They were at home in the very establishment they were pledged to destroy. The Soviets would have had little use for real workers--Yorkshire steelworkers and Welsh coal miners--who would have been in no position to join the establishment and pass on useful information to the KGB.

If and when a similar terrorist attack takes place in Canada, its culprits will not be poor and uneducated foreigners but native-born or naturalized Canadians, well-educated and middle-class, who have the requisite knowledge of Canadian ways to pass unnoticed in Toronto crowds.

For more information about the London bombing suspects, check out The Sun

Would You Like Fries With That?

Albertans will be allowed to buy ''enhanced'' surgeries like high-tech hip operations under provincial medicare reforms announced yesterday -- a plan critics said creates a new tier of health care for the wealthy.

Premier Ralph Klein and Health Minister Iris Evans unveiled their much-touted third way reforms, including changes allowing patients to pay for extras such as first-class hospital rooms or the so-called Birmingham hip procedure.

Mr. Klein said the plan, which comes into effect this fall, likely doesn't violate the Canada Health Act since all medically necessary surgeries, such as traditional hip replacements, would remain publicly funded.

''This will be controversial,'' conceded the premier, at a press conference in Calgary.

''I don't know if it violates the Canada Health Act, but I don't think it will.''

Far from being a bold root-and-branch reform of the current health care system or even the first step towards the "two-tier" bogeyman, this reform is actually quite mild.

It would do nothing, in itself, to shorten waiting lists for crucial procedures or relieve the financial strain on the publicly-funded system. It would simply allow people to top up their public health care with a few extras paid for by private insurance.

It's the health care equivalent of supersizing your fries and Coke at McDonald's.

Source: National Post

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Get Ready For Terror: McLellan

Canada's public safety czarina, Anne McLellan, is warning Canadians to face reality: not everybody in the world loves Canada as much as Canadians love themselves.

Canadians need to abandon the notion that their country is invulnerable to terrorism in order to be better prepared for an attack like the one that struck London last week, federal Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan said Monday.

The efforts in recent years of police and the Canada Security Intelligence Service make it clear Canada is a terrorist target, but Canadians still seem oblivious to the danger, McLellan told an international conference on disaster management.

"CSIS and the RCMP, among other law enforcement agencies, have made it plain that there exists in this country those who might very well choose, either themselves or with others, to do harm," McLellan said.

I do not believe that Canadians are as psychologically prepared for a terrorist attack as I think probably we all should be," McLellan said. Nor is Canada immune to attacks just because it didn't participate in the Iraq war, she added.

"I think we have perhaps for too long thought that these were things that happen somewhere else . . . the self-image we may have of ourselves, it may be accurate, but completely irrelevant in the world in which we live."

However inadvertently, Ms. McLellan has stumbled upon a painful truth that lies at the heart of the Canadian psyche; our collective national narcissism could be a threat to our national security.

Canadians are told every day, in the press, in academe, by government, that not only are we the most wonderfully tolerant, diverse and fantastic country in the world, but also that everybody else thinks that way about Canada too.

You can see it in the self-congratulation whenever the United Nations puts us at the top of its bogus human development index. It's the lead story for days.

It's even more apparent in the myth that American tourists sew Canadian flags on their backpacks so they won't get insulted or attacked overseas.

This narcissistic theme is drummed into us in school from an early age, in social studies textbooks that praise modern-day Canada as the most advanced of all nations (while, of course, denigrating its history prior to about 1965).

We have the best of everything--the best healthcare, the best peacekeepers, the best education system, the freest government, the best human rights record, etc. etc., and the world loves us for it.

This self-apotheosis goes far beyond normal and healthy expressions of patriotic pride; it is as though Canada exists solely to be praised by others, and in reality, is a sign of deep insecurity about our own national identity.

A terrorist attack would be a death blow to that narcissism. It would leave us wondering why we were attacked. Is it possible that not everybody loves Canada?

Our chattering classes would be struck dumb, for once, by the force of the failure of their own rhetoric.

Mature nations, secure in their national identity, don't need every nation's love and affection, and know that many will hate them for who and what they represent. The Americans, British and Australians don't waste time with this sort of navel-gazing; neither should we.

Source: National Post

The Love Boat Comes To Halifax

Noted lesbian actress and talk-show hostess Rosie O'Donnell is coming ashore at Halifax with some of her friends to preside over a bunch of big gay weddings.

The cruise organizers - Rosie's wife, Kelli, and Kelli's business partner, Gregg Kaminsky - chose Halifax because same-sex marriage is legal here and because the city is known as gay-friendly.

Ten couples from the ship will get married at Pier 21 today, starting at 8:30 a.m.

"We heard that the trip was coming, and one of our members said we should offer to facilitate some marriages while they're here," said Bob Fougere, a co-ordinator with the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project.

Mr. Fougere wouldn't say how much, but the Rainbow Project did charge the couples a fee, which includes the marriage licence and registration, flowers, photos, someone to officiate and a venue.


Mr. Fougere couldn't say if Rosie would attend the weddings, and cruise organizers aboard ship couldn't be reached Monday.

Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly will host a private reception for Rosie at the Halifax Citadel just before noon.

Rumours she'll fire the noon gun from the Citadel couldn't be verified.


I never thought of Halifax as being particularly "gay-friendly", but Halifax has been changing over the years as come-from-aways, mostly from Upper Canada, have flooded the universities and other fine Halifax establishments and stayed. The city's morphing into an NDP stronghold demonstrates just how far removed it has become from the rest of Nova Scotia.

It is strangely appropriate, however, to have Rosie and company fire the noon gun on the Citadel. It would be even more appropriate if they fired it at midnight, since Citadel Hill has been the centre of homosexual prostitution in Halifax since forever.

It is disquieting, however, to hold such an event at Pier 21. Pier 21 is Canada's own Ellis Island, the gateway through with hundreds of thousands of new Canadians entered. It has special meaning to Halifax's and Canada's history that should not
be cheapened with this vulgar, Vegas wedding-chapel style display.

In any event, this article is laden with tasteless joke material. Please feel free to litter my comment box with them.

Source: Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Monday, July 11, 2005

Changing Places

A British Columbia hockey mum thinks that it's discriminatory to require her 14-year old daughter to change in separate changing rooms from the boys before and after the game. So she's going to the B.C. Kangaroo Court Human Rights Commission so that her daughter can be ogled or groped by her horny teenage teammates.

Jane Emlyn says female minor hockey players' rights are violated when they're forced to use separate changing rooms.

She's presenting her case to a mediator from the Human Rights Tribunal this morning, facing off against representatives from the B.C. amateur hockey association and the Lumby Minor Hockey Association at the Vernon courthouse.

"There's a lot of girls that play, and I think the majority of them see this as discrimination," Ms. Emlyn said.

According to Al Berg, a member of the B.C. association'- coaching committee, the policy was introduced in January 2001 by Hockey Canada, after a Human Rights Commission mediation session in Ontario. It states players over the age of 11 of different gender are not allowed to change in the same room at the same time. The policy came as a result of increased female participation on integrated teams.


Fourteen-year-old Jewel Emlyn, who plays on the Lumby Stars with two other girls, says being kept out of the changing room before and after games or practice means they miss out on a lot of team camaraderie.

"It's fun in the changing room. You get to talk and socialize with all the kids and talk about the game, and talk about the practices and just discuss hockey. And if you're in a changing room with three people, and there's another team there, it's a little awkward and not fun," she said.

Her mother adds that, while girls are allowed in the room 15 minutes before game time, much of the coaching goes on while players are changing. Female coaches are also banned from the room except during those 15 minutes.

Randy Barton, president of Lumby Minor Hockey, says his association has been fairly relaxed about enforcing the policy. But Ms. Emlyn says she's seen girls forced to change in boiler rooms and storage spaces, sometimes with members of the opposing team.

Ms. Emlyn would prefer shared changing rooms, with a dress code requiring all girls to have a minimum of shorts and T-shirt on, and boys to wear at least boxers. The minority gender would have to leave the room before members of the opposite sex shower.

Unlike this blogger, Ms. Emlyn has never been a 14-year old boy. Equally unlike this blogger, she is completely devoid of common sense. Which is why she probably thinks that matters of high moral principle drive the support of her daughter's teammates quest to share a locker room with the boys.

Ms. Emlyn said most of the youngsters on the team say they're fine with mixed changing rooms, but she has received several anonymous e-mails condemning her petition.

No doubt Ms. Emlyn will win her case. If our governing classes think that gender is irrelevant to the fundamental institutions such as marriage, why should it matter for locker rooms?

And her daughter's complaint sounds not unlike that of homosexuals about marriage--I feel excluded, it hurts my pride to feel left out, and nothing matters more soothing my feelings of exclusion.

Source: Ottawa Citizen (with a hat tip to Warwick )