Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Scott Brison Exposed

And now we can add Scott Brison to the list of politicians and other public figures who have needlessly revealed their shortcomings:

Member of Parliament. Liberal leadership candidate. Scott Brison can now add nude model to the list.

The Kings-Hants MP has stripped down for a nude calendar to raise money for the fight against prostate and ovarian cancer.

Liberal leadership hopeful Scott Brison has stripped down for a nude calendar to raise money for the fight against prostate and ovarian cancer.

(CBC) Brison recently posed for "What Men Are Made Of," a calendar produced by the Women of Wolfville, a Nova Scotia theatre group.

But people who buy the calendar won't get to see too much of Brison. In the photo, he's standing behind a fridge door.

"You can see his right flank," said Wendy Elliot, who took the picture.

Elliot said Brison, who spends an hour in the gym every day, looks pretty buff in the picture, but she wouldn't say whether she saw him naked.

What exactly parading around in the buff does to raise awareness of prostate cancer, I have not yet determined. Brison's narcissism and exhbitionism know no bounds, however.

Source: CBC

Bare Justice

The Supreme Court of Canada has received much-deserved criticism and condemnation for its increasing arrogation of specific legislative power properly within the sphere of Parliament, especially in matters of social engineering.

But, to our knowledge, judicial arrogance has never been matched by judicial indecorum.

Until now:

Some Supreme Court judges seek relief from work stress in the comfort of their families. Others love nothing more than to curl up with a good book. And could it be, for at least one of them, a nude romp on the high seas was just the ticket?

The anonymous judge's alleged unconventional vacation choice -- a nude cruise -- came to light in a San Francisco Chronicle travel article in the spring. It quoted a co-owner of the Bare Necessities cruise line, Nancy Tiemann, as saying that its clientele include: "actors, bus drivers, Fortune 500 CEOs, soccer moms, doctors, teachers, priests and at least one Canadian Supreme Court justice."

The April 2 article said that 40,000 people have stripped down so far for Bare Necessities' 38 cruises, and that passengers "can choose to be nude anywhere -- in the pool, at the blackjack table, while singing karaoke -- with the exception of the formal dining room, where clothes are required."

Take a good look at the group photo of our nine learned Solomons. Try to imagine any of them on a nude cruise. And shudder.

But remember--they've already exposed their least attractive attributes for all to see in their decisions.

Source: Globe and Mail

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Dog Won't Hunt

Speaker Peter Milliken has wisely decided to let the matter of Peter MacKay, Belinda Stronach, and the dog that didn't bark, die of its own accord.

As best he should.

Those who have taken the measure of both the alleged insultor and insultee know that the insult was the least of what could have been said, yet still reflects more about the one who supposedly uttered it.

Source: Toronto Star

Doing The Honours

In Britain, the peerage has come to be awarded less to recognize the nobility of the person being so honoured and more for the honouree's service to the political party in power.

If you thought the Liberals were corrupt for selling government ad contracts to their pals for kickbacks, imagine if they'd been able to make Chuck Guite a lord:

LABOUR’S chief fundraiser has implicated Tony Blair as the key figure in the cash-for-honours scandal, a well-placed source has revealed.

Lord Levy, a close associate of the prime minister, told Scotland Yard detectives last month that he was acting on the direct orders of Blair when he secretly obtained £14m in loans from businessmen to fund the party.

He has been questioned twice in the past four months after it emerged that four businessmen who lent Labour money were also recommended by Blair for peerages. The honours were blocked by an official watchdog.

Levy’s potentially incriminating testimony could prove crucial to the decision to question Blair — the culmination of a seven-month inquiry. Police hope to interview the prime minister within the next five weeks.

A prosecution source said: “Levy told the police that everything he did was for the top man. It wasn’t for anybody else, just for Blair. That’s why the PM has to be interviewed.”

The Sunday Times, which exposed the scandal, has established that Blair hosted dinners and meetings with those who went on to lend money to Labour. He personally approved the controversial loan scheme.

The sale of honours brought down Lloyd George back in the day. Will it bring down Tony Blair too?

Source: Times Online

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Flushed With Outrage

In saner times, this unfortunate man who labours under the delusion that he's actually a woman would have been given much-needed psychiatric treatment, instead of being pumped full of estrogen, surgically mutilated, passed off as a facsimile of a woman, and otherwise allowed to live out his delusions.

Instead, he's been elected to the Italian Parliament, where tragedy and hilarity have ensued:

An Italian opposition MP and former showgirl has expressed outrage after meeting a transgender colleague in the parliament's ladies' toilets.
Elisabetta Gardini, spokeswoman for former PM Silvio Berlusconi's party, said she felt ill after the encounter during a break in Friday's session.

The incident led to heated debate about which toilet the transgender MP, known as Vladimir Luxuria, could use.

Ms Luxuria says she has been using ladies' toilets for years.

Using the men's would have created even bigger problems, she said.

The matter has now been passed to parliamentary procedural officials to resolve.

Ms Gardini said she had been horrified to find Ms Luxuria in the toilets.

"It never entered my mind that I'd find him in there", she said. "It felt like sexual violence - I really felt ill."

Centre-right MPs backed her call for the creation of a third "transgender" toilet, Reuters news agency said.

Surely the Italian parliament has more pressing matters to concern itself with than this? But again, the sane majority is expected to bow to the whims of the insane few.

Source: BBC

By The Company You Keep

The usual rent-a-crowds were out marching against the mission in Afghanistan yesterday. If you've seen one such protest, you've seen them all, which makes writing articles such as this largely superfluous.

But still a picture speaks a thousand words:

That's the NDP's next election campaign poster, right there. Jack Layton posing sombrely in a crowd of inflammatory nuts. And that's probably the mildest placard that was waved there.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

No Fair?

The World's Fair isn't the big show that it used to be, back in the day when man still believed that scientific and technical progress held all the answers to improving his lot, and when showcasing the world's wonders could be done without pandering to all manner of political sensitivities.

But in its quest to become the World Class City (tm) that Toronto feels it has to be, hosting one can't hurt, either.

Which is why the city fathers are panicking over the possibility that it won't go ahead in 2015, because Queen's Park won't pick up the bill:

Senior bureaucrats representing the city, province and Ottawa met yesterday with Expo officials to talk about how the bid could be paid for. Meanwhile, Toronto bid backers were discouraged last night to hear that Milan has entered the race for the 2015 Expo. Toronto's only declared competition for the fair prior to yesterday was Izmir, Turkey. But Toronto Councillor Brian Ashton, the city's chief Expo cheerleader, said last night that Milan jumped in after hearing of the squabbles that have wounded Toronto's bid.

After a day of intense negotiations by senior officials from Ottawa, Queen's Park and the City of Toronto, some officials said they felt they had made progress on the issue of who will financially backstop a Toronto bid. But you wouldn't have known it to hear Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara yesterday.

Speaking yesterday to the Star's editorial board, Sorbara said the province could post deficits of $5.1 billion over the next three years and that means Ontario can't guarantee Expo against deficits and overruns.

And thus Expo 2015 will disappear, along with the 2000 and 2008 Olympic bids.

So much the worse for the city's self-esteem, but so much the better for the taxpayer.

Source: Toronto Star

Bob's Your Uncle

As Bob Rae's momentum in the Liberal leadership race grows with each new endorsement and defector from other camps, one fact of Canadian political life has become ever clearer; who Power Corporation wants is who the Liberal Party gets:

Last week, Rae won the endorsement of Don Valley West MP John Godfrey, former minister of state. Yesterday, Rae snagged the support of a prominent GTA MP, who had left the Ignatieff camp.

"Bob Rae embodies all the qualities necessary to successfully lead the Liberal party and become the next prime minister — inclusive, principled, experienced, consistent and forward looking," Thornhill MP Susan Kadis said after joining Team Rae.

Until recently, Kadis was GTA co-chair for Ignatieff, the MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. She quit, writing an angry, public letter about her disappointment in the candidate after he referred, on Quebec TV, to the summer's Israeli bombing of Qana, Lebanon, as a "war crime." (Ignatieff later stressed both Israeli and Lebanese civilians were victims of war crimes and that a ruling on Qana would come from international organizations.)

Kadis went further yesterday. "Rae is ready for the rigours of leadership. Is Michael Ignatieff not ready? My opinion is that he is not. That's why I parted ways with him," she said.


Ignatieff's people may argue that high-profile converts — MPs Maurizio Bevilacqua (Vaughan), Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's) and Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre) — couldn't bring their supporters to Rae. They point out that Ignatieff already had far more parliamentary support than his opponents.

But it's the "cumulative effect" of the steady exodus to Rae that should worry the other camps. "It gives the impression Rae has the `Big Mo,'" said MacIvor.

Meanwhile, in this season of deal-making, Ignatieff appears to have been left out. The Toronto Star revealed the existence this week of talks about a potential alliance between the Dion and Kennedy camps. The idea appears to be that whoever trails after the second ballot — the former federal environment minister from Quebec or the former Ontario education minister — would drop out.

Other camps argue Ignatieff has little room to grow and that by supporting a resolution recognizing Quebec as a nation last weekend in Montreal, he further alienated other delegates.

It looks like Power Corp rope-a-doped Ignatieff into believing his own myth of being the great philosopher king reincarnate who could do no wrong, and let him shoot his mouth off in all directions in his hubris.

And fooled everyone else into believing that the Liberal Party was actually running a genuinely competitive leadership contest.

It's all over, folks, when Paul Desmarais gives the signal.

Bob Rae will be the next leader of the Liberal Party. And Michael Ignatieff will be back in Harvard Yard, wondering what happened.

Source: Toronto Star

Friday, October 27, 2006

Going Postal

Good old rural door-to-door delivery may be making a comeback, just in time for your friendly postman to refuse delivery of whatever he doesn't like.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Singularly Plural

I could almost hear John Lennon droning Imagine in the background somewhere when I read this press release disguised as a news story:

Canada's tolerant, multicultural values need to be adopted worldwide, the Aga Khan said yesterday as he and Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the creation of a new Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa.

Housed in the former war museum not far from the Prime Minister's residence, it will act as an international centre for promoting the concept that diverse ethnic, cultural, racial and religious groups can co-exist in harmony without compromising their identities.


The federal government has contributed $30 million and the Aga Khan Development Network, which is taking out a long-term lease from the government on the one-time war museum, will put in an equal amount to fund the centre and refurbish the museum.

Wonder why this didn't get noticed underneath all the brouhaha about the Court Challenges Program and Status of Women?

Source: Toronto Star

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Dog That Didn't Bark

It appears that parliamentary infighting is so fierce precisely because the stakes are so small:

First he was accused of making a sexist slur, now Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay is facing a far more serious allegation - lying to Parliament.

The latest charge from the Liberals came Wednesday after MacKay flatly denied referring to former girlfriend Belinda Stronach - a Liberal MP - as a dog in the House of Commons last week.

“I made no such gesture,” a defiant MacKay told the Commons. “I made no derogatory or discriminatory remark toward any member of this House.”

Last week, Speaker Peter Milliken said he couldn’t rule on the matter because the remark was not picked up by Hansard, the official record of the Commons. However, he agreed Wednesday to re-examine the issue after the Liberals said they had sworn affidavits from several MPs who insist they heard the remark.

The barely audible exchange in the Commons last week was caught on audio tape, with one MP asking “What about your dog?” and someone who sounded like MacKay responding: “You have her.”

Opposition MPs have said they saw MacKay gesture to Stronach’s empty seat as he made the comment.

Neither side of the fray is particularly appealling, with a slatternly flibbertigibbet seeking vindication of her honour against the bumptious cad who insulted it.

Shame on both of them for letting this drag on and wasting Parliament's precious time.

But shame especially on MacKay for demonstrating both his immaturity and political maladroitness. He could have defused with this with the typical non-apology apology that denies the remarks while expressing regret for the reaction. It would have been the sort of apology that the opposition would have settled for, and the story would have disappeared quickly.

By not doing so, and foolishly sticking to his story, he's now made himself a needless political liability.

In any event, he's now shown why he's unsuitable for leadership.

If not for his brief stint as the last PC leader, he wouldn't be where he is today. After the next election, let's hope he's not there either.

Source: National Post

Hoist By His Own Petard

Garth Turner's indiscreet blogging of caucus confidences led to his ouster from the Conservative caucus, so it's no surprise that his own indiscreet blogging about crossing the floor has just kept him from joining--and even hijacking--the Green Party:

Since National Newswatch first reported that Garth Turner would soon announce his decision to join the Green Party, sources tell us that he has been bombarded with emails from readers reminding him of something he wrote in the past. And that something?

See the two statements below, made by Turner on his blog when Mr. Emerson crossed the floor to join the Conservative Party:

"I am a democrat who believes everyone in the House of Commons, including the cabinet members who make up the government, should be elected. They should sit in Parliament as they were elected. If they decide to change parties, they should go and get re-elected".

"Anybody who switches parties should go back to the people. To do otherwise is to place politicians above the people when, actually, it’s the other way around".


National Newswatch has in its possession a recording of a radio interview that Garth Turner did early Tuesday with a relatively unknown talk show host in Atlantic Canada. During that interview, among other things, Turner was asked if he was going to join the Green Party. Turner responded by saying there were two major options, (Green and Independent) and pointed to thousands of emails he received from people all across Canada. Thousands of which had yet to be opened...

"The edge" on all of that, he said, was, "People asking me to really explore the opportunity of staying as an independent, at least for a period of time."

Turner then noted that he was very critical of Mr. Emerson when he crossed the floor to accept a cabinet position in the Conservative government. " I felt that he (David Emerson) snubbed democracy," Turner told CJCH radio host, Rick Howe.

Incredible. Garth Turner, now elevated by his own acclaim to conscience of the nation, shamed by his legions of e-mail votaries into sitting as just another independent beside Andre Arthur.

Perhaps the two of them could form their own party, but there's probably only room for one egotistical publicity hound.

Source: National Newswatch

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

East Of Eden

Cape Breton is now apparently East of Ordinary.

Now how's that for a vapid, meaningless tourism promotion slogan? Just imagine the hordes of tourists stampeding across the Canso Causeway, attracted by the promise thereof.

This slogan is just ripe for parody.

Hard Time

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling has been sentenced to 24 years in prison for various counts of fraud, insider trading and criminal conspiracy in connection with Enron's collapse.

He should have just killed someone in Canada: he'd be out by now.

Source: Globe and Mail

Monday, October 23, 2006

Green Light

National Newswatch is breaking the story: Garth Turner will definitely join the Green Party!

And why not?

As an independent MP, he'd disappear into the obscurity of the backbenches, kept alive in the news only by his blog and the occasional inflammatory press release.

As a Liberal, he would become a focus of resentment for other caucus members who felt that he was being advanced at their expense. And he might be a distraction during the leadership race, unwelcome by all camps, even Joe Volpe's.

But as the very first Green MP in Canada, he vaults to the top as the party's official spokesman in Parliament. He can claim to be giving the party the legitimacy it needs to be taken seriously as something other than a jumped-up third party.

And of course, the media opportunities will be even more plentiful than before.

Never mind that Turner would sit far to the right of the rest of the party: this is his ticket to political stardom!

You're In The Army Now

Surely this idea had to have come from some civilian bureaucrat at NDHQ who can't tell a destroyer from a tank. Because I can't believe someone in the forces could have come up with this fubar:

Throwing sailors or air force members into ground combat in Afghanistan would be a colossal mistake, military experts said yesterday.

The proposal from the Department of National Defence is an option offered to avoid sending major army units back to Kandahar for a second time. But the plan encountered nothing but hostile fire yesterday.

It could lower troops' morale, would take too long to implement, place too great a strain on navy and air force ranks and generally makes no sense, a variety of critics said.

"I just can't see how you turn a sailor into a soldier without taking as long to do it as it would take for you to take a recruit off the street," said David Bercuson, the University of Calgary professor who is one of Canada's leading military analysts.

"It's an act of desperation, there's no question about that," echoed Scott Taylor, editor of Esprit de Corps military magazine. "It's a whole different mentality, a different role, different everything from being a sailor to a combat arms soldier."

Canada has 2,300 army personnel on the ground in Afghanistan and has made a commitment to keep that presence until 2009. But the army is too small to fulfill that mission without calling some units for a second tour of duty, said Capt. Richard Langlois, a spokesman with DND.

The use of members from other services, known as "re-rolling," is being studied as the Forces seeks ways to avoid sending soldiers to Afghanistan more than once.

One might suggest, say, increasing the size of the army, but apparently that would take too long as well as being political suicide for a minority government.

Leave it to the bureaucrats to come up with a solution that looks great on paper, but nowhere else.

Source: Globe and Mail

Sunday, October 22, 2006

May Day

Green Party leader Elizabeth May is about to go down in flames in the upcoming London North Centre by-election.

That sound you just heard in the background is Garth Turner rubbing his hands with delight at the prospect of taking over the party.

Source: CBC

Saturday, October 21, 2006

PhD In Polymorphous Perversity

Fifty years ago, the study of sexual deviancy would have been properly left to the schools of psychology and psychiatry, with the express intention of finding ways to reduce it, contain it, or eliminate it.

Now it's being studied as something to be celebrated and cherished, by those have constructed enter pseudo-academic interdisciplinary programs dedicated to justifying their own perversions.

And the University of Toronto is now about to offer graduate degrees in them:

An undergraduate program at Canada's august University of Toronto offers discussions on flogging, restraint, and role-play, as well as an arts course called "Queerly Canadian." But teachers and students insist it's a serious academic program that isn't simply about sex.

"It's not sexy sex sex, where we're talking about whips and chains, but we will talk about whips and chains," said graduating student Robbie Morgan, 33, who left her job teaching sex education in Chicago to attend the Sexual Diversity Studies program, one of the largest of its kind in North America.

"We'll talk about whips and chains in a political, social, cultural, religious context of sexuality and how that sexuality affects those institutions."

The Sexual Diversity program appears one of the edgier ones on offer at the university, which was founded in 1827 and is best known for its science and medical research. Alumni include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lester B. Pearson, insulin inventors Frederick Banting and Charles Best, author Margaret Atwood and film director David Cronenberg.

The program promises an academic approach to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual issues -- from history and law to the performance of sadomasochism.

"It's a very serious analytical exercise and it isn't what a lot of people think it is," director David Rayside told Reuters during a visit to the school, which is located in the original Romanesque-style University College building at U of T's leafy downtown campus.

The program, established eight years ago, got a C$1 million ($900,000) boost this week with a donation from Canadian winemaker Mark Bonham to expand the curriculum. There are plans for Canada's first undergraduate major in sexual diversity studies, and for master's and doctorate programs from 2008.

"This is a long-neglected area and Canada provides an ideal environment to take up these questions creatively," said Bonham in a statement.

Yep, you can now watch dirty movies, play with whips and chains and diddle any one you like, all in the supposed interests of advancing human knowledge. Come see every act and case study in the Psychopathia Sexualis carried out and justified under a smokescreen of academic jargon.

Just another in the series of progressivist political platforms dressed up as academic programs.

Source: Reuters

Another Canadian Achiever

The motto on Toronto's proposed new coat of arms is Diversity Our Strength.

Let's meet one of Toronto's strengths today, Mr. Abdullah Ali Afrah, who doubtless contributed greatly to the diversity of Toronto during his sojourn:

A former Toronto carpenter and shopkeeper who holds a key position in an armed Islamic group in Somalia defended the Taliban in an interview yesterday.

Abdullahi Ali Afrah, a Somali-Canadian now living in his homeland's devastated capital, Mogadishu, said the Taliban in Afghanistan was just trying to "enjoy Islam, the Islamic principles."

He also called his leader, the alleged founder of a Somali terrorist group that the Canadian government accuses of indiscriminate attacks on foreigners and opponents a "very nice person" and "a good Muslim."

The National Post revealed in an exclusive report this week that the Somali-Canadian had returned to his homeland and is now a senior advisor to the hardline Islamic Courts Union, which is sometimes called Africa's Taliban. With the backing of its armed militias, the Islamic Courts Union captured Mogadishu in June and now controls most of the country's south, but it has been accused of harbouring terrorists and imposing strict religious-based rule.

Asked what he thought of the label "African Taliban," Mr. Ali Afrah initially said it was "unjust and unfair," but then added that would depend on what was meant. "Even the name 'Taliban of Africa,' it depends on the way you see it because when people say 'Taliban of Africa,' if they mean they are good Muslims, want to have their Islamic faith and having their Islamic rule, on the other hand that is good."

And does he ever have the progressivist lingo down, to disarm those few brave liberal critics in advance:

In the interview, he recalled that gays and lesbians in Toronto hold an annual pride parade. "This means they have given [them] freedom right? Okay. So why not the Muslims in their own country, in their own way of life, in their own religion?"

If and when the Somalis force out the Islamic Courts--as in this lawless land, they just might--Mr. Ali Afrah will almost certainly return to Toronto, Canadian passport in hand, seeking all the protections that come with it.

But this time, experienced in the arts of totalitarian government and civil warfare, to pass along the benefits of his experience to others.

Source: National Post

Friday, October 20, 2006

Foolishness Unveiled

Only a concerted effort of strange bedfellows--hard-core feminists and social conservatives alike--prevented the Ontario government from permitting shari'a law tribunals from carrying out arbitration in the province.

And now it looks as if they'll have to get together again to drive some sense into Dalton McGuinty's head:

Ontario's premier stepped into a controversial debate raging in Europe over whether Muslim women should wear full-faced veils.

Premier Dalton McGuinty told reporters Thursday he doesn't share the same opinion as British and Italian prime ministers, who have said the full-face veils, or niqabs, worn by Muslim women make others uncomfortable.

McGuinty stated he has no problem with women wearing veils with openings only for the eyes as long as the women are comfortable with it.

"I have no difficulty with that whatsoever," he told reporters Thursday. "This is one of the strengths of this society that we are building together that we are respectful of one another's traditions and faiths."

McGuinty pointed to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code as the bottom line on the issue.

With this knee-jerk repetition of multicultural shibboleths, McGuinty has proven that he's learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

The veil isn't just another article of colourful ethnic dress; it has a whole political significance behind it, representing the separation of Islam's adherents from greater society, its hostility thereto, and its goal of conquest thereof.

Whether the women wear it by choice or by compulsion is irrelevant to the message it sends.

But don't expect McGuinty to reconsider his position. He and his party have too much staked on playing ethnic politics to alienate any voting bloc with even mild criticism.

Source: CBC

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Wearin' O' The Green

So Garth Turner is thinking of jumping to the Green Party.

Elizabeth May had better watch her back. Because Garth Turner will be able to say to her, "At least I got a seat in the House. Where's yours?", before he turns on her.

Blast From The Past

While we're all talking about loudmouthed mavericks who alienate all their colleagues, let's check in and see what's happening with a previous parliamentary enfant terrible:

Former MP Carolyn Parrish, now running for Mississauga City Council, yesterday added to accusations of dirty political tricks in the city's ward races, describing a mysterious phone call in which she says she was asked to bribe a rival candidate to drop out.

"I received a phone call, actually my husband answered it," Parrish told the Toronto Star yesterday. "It was a week before the nomination deadline (Sept. 29). I was told that Mr. Matanat Khan had been induced to move over to Ward 6. I was asked if I would be interested in offering money to stop him. I said, `Absolutely not.'"

Khan, host of the Pakistani-oriented radio show Sunshine Radio, dropped out of the Ward 10 race in August and re-registered in Ward 6, where Parrish is running.

Parrish said the voice was that of a man with a South Asian accent, but caller identification was blocked.

"I said, `How much do you have to pay to get somebody to move around like this?' He said it would be around $2,500. He offered to give me Mr. Khan's phone number. I said, `Absolutely not.'"

Khan yesterday flatly denied any link to the call and accused Parrish of spreading "rumours" adding to allegations of electoral irregularities swirling in northwest Mississauga.

A candidate in neighbouring Ward 10, Adnan Hashmi, is charged by police with intimidation and impersonating an officer after he was accused by rival candidate Ishrat Nasim of trying to force her out of the race. He has strongly denied the allegations, which won't be heard in court until after the Nov. 13 election. Hashmi told the Star yesterday that any suggestion that he was linked to the call to Parrish is unfounded.

"This is again an allegation; it's a fake allegation," he said. "She must have some proof. If she cannot give proof we will take legal action against anyone spreading these rumours."

Before we weep for seeing Ms. Parrish reduced to seeking a lowly city council seat, keep in mind that she's only parking herself there in the hopes that Mayor Hazel McCallion, the Strom Thurmond of the GTA, will either quit next time or die in office.

But also keep in mind that ethnic politics are increasingly being played by the rules set over in the homelands. Corruption is only going to grow as candidate adopt tactics acceptable in their native countries and the authorities do nothing for fear of being accused of racism.

Source: Toronto Star

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Shotgun Wedding

From Reuters today, a heartbreaking tragedy of a young man who killed himself in vain for love:

A Pakistani man has committed suicide outside his fiancee's home after he thought he accidentally killed her while trying to persuade her to get married early, police said Saturday.

The man, Ahmed Ashraf, was shooting a gun in the air outside his fiancee's home in the southern city of Karachi on Friday as part of his efforts to persuade her to get married two months early when a stray bullet accidently hit her, police said.

"He was so eager to get married he stood in front of his fiancee's house and started firing shots in the air to catch her attention," said investigating officer Ghulam Hussain.

The young woman was coming downstairs when a bullet ricocheted off a wall and hit her. She fell down screaming "I have been shot," Hussain said.

"He thought he had killed her and within seconds shot himself. The girl is fine," Hussain said.

"It is a tragic accident. They were engaged to be married with their parents' consent on December 25. He was insisting they get married earlier."

Ashraf had told his fiancee, Naureen, he would do something drastic if she didn't agree to get married straight away. The woman insisted the marriage date had already been set and there was no need to hurry, Hussain said.

As Kathy is wont to remind us, they invented chess, you know.

Party Of One

There's not much more I can add to the chorus of bloggers who have been commenting about Garth Turner's suspension from the Conservative caucus, except to make two quick observations:

1. I thought this should have happened much sooner than now.

2. Better that the suspension come at the hands of his fellow caucus members than the prime minister. It's a decision of his colleagues, who've worked with him and had to worry about what confidences he might break to make a headline, instead of one man imposing rigid party discipline from the top.

The Loan Arranger

Doesn't it seem fitting somehow that the predatory payday loan sharks would pick a former Liberal cabinet minister to represent their interests?

Next Year In Jerusalem

Michael Ignatieff will not be making his penitential pilgrimage/prime ministerial photo-op to Israel any time soon, after all. Somebody just realized that it might have been--gasp!--political:

Michael Ignatieff's plan to travel to Israel to counter the controversy stemming from his assertion that the country committed a war crime in Lebanon has been cancelled by the group organizing the trip, over fears the mission will be overshadowed by leadership politicking.

The Canada-Israel Committee said yesterday that it cancelled the three-day trip for MPs after Liberal leadership candidate Mr. Ignatieff decided to go because they were concerned its purpose of educating parliamentarians would be derailed by a "highly-charged political environment."

The move means the leadership front-runner's gesture to demonstrate his ties to Israel is called off -- but it spares him from a risky plan that worried key supporters, including several MPs who feared it would only rehash the controversy.

"We're going to wait until this round of politics dies down," said CIC chair Marc Gold. "These trips are educational in nature. It's a chance for parliamentarians to be exposed to a range of issues. And that purpose would be compromised, or wouldn't be served, to the extent that it would be focused on who's saying what."

Mr. Ignatieff issued a statement yesterday saying he was "disappointed" that the trip was postponed. He said he will go when it is re-scheduled after the leadership convention.

Calling Israel and the Liberal Party "highly-charged political environments" is like calling Antarctica slightly chilly. Only one of them is the place for Iggy to pretend that he is the great statesman, Pearson and Trudeau reincarnate together.

Iggy in Israel would have been a media frenzy to create the prime ministerial image Ignatieff needs and the media wants for him.

Source: Globe and Mail

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lord Of The Flies

Before the Young Offenders Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act, children as young as seven could be held criminally responsible for their actions, because it was understood that at that age, they could genuinely tell right from wrong, and have a sufficient grasp of the concept of actions and consequences.

In light of this horrific event in Winnipeg, and many others involving young delinquents, perhaps it is time to return to that old wisdom about seven as the age of reason:

It was early evening in the Gilbert Park public housing complex in Winnipeg's north end, and smoke from fires set by neighbourhood kids curled among the two-storey concrete townhouses. Brian McKay, a soft-spoken teen with wire-rimmed glasses and a pronounced limp, was drawn to the flames.

Within minutes, he had been shoved inside a burning wood shed by four girls and a boy, all younger than 12. They barred the door with a stick, and laughed and danced outside as the flames started to eat away the plywood structure. Brian was trapped inside.

Brian, 14, stands 4 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 95 pounds. He wears braces on his legs because he was born with spina bifida. Other children have always picked on him because of his size, he says.

He had moved to his grandmother's house in the housing complex only a week earlier, and was still getting to know the local kids. It was during the past weekend that he saw a group of young girls and a boy lighting cardboard and trying to shove it under the storage shed of the neighbourhood daycare, and wandered over to see what was going on.

I saw somebody was lighting a fire under the shed, and then they pushed me in there,” he said, remembering the incident while sitting at his grandmother's kitchen table Monday.

He recalled trying to kick at the door, but his legs, withered by his condition, are barely two inches thick.

“It was too hard,” he said.

“I was banging on the door but the smoke kept coming on. I was scared and I panicked. I kept breathing faster and then I fell to the ground because I didn't know what to do. I couldn't breathe at all.”

Brian was still coughing Monday, and complained of shortness of breath. He said he was in the shed for five minutes while it burned. He called for help, “But no one was trying to help me.”

The children who tried to kill Brian surely knew that what they were doing was deadly; their own reactions suggest that they took delight in causing another's death.

If that is not enough to demonstrate their ability to understand action and consequence, and therefore to be held responsible for their crime, what is?

Source: Globe and Mail

Monday, October 16, 2006

Lister Sinclair, 1921-2006

And that's all for Ideas.

Istanbul, Not Constantinople

Given the historical relationship between the papacy and the Turks, I'd say that Benedict XVI's planned visit takes more than ordinary courage.

Especially when the country's best-selling novel is titled Who Will Kill The Pope in Istanbul? Doesn't sound more like a challenge to the readers than a rhetorical question?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Your Money's No Good Here

Allahu akbar! The free market is trying to make a buck off Muslim investors whose scruples about paying interest do not extend as far as taking advantage of infidel profiteers willing to assuage same:

When Caribou Coffee went public last year, sharp-eyed investors noticed some unusual promises in its prospectus.

Caribou, the second-largest coffeehouse chain in the U.S., said it would never sell pork or porn. It wouldn't charge or receive interest, either.

By following financial rules that are part of the Islamic code called Shariah, Caribou is among a small but growing list of Western businesses looking to make themselves as attractive as possible to Muslim investors.

Some, like Caribou, are motivated by principle, while others see Muslim investors as an attractive new source of money.

Middle Eastern investors flush with oil profits are looking for new places to invest, and American Muslims are looking to invest in a way that doesn't conflict with their faith.

"There's a bunch of Islamic investors who are prohibited from a lot of regular investments, so a lot of money is sitting in cash not earning anything at all," said Khalid Howladar, a vice-president for Middle Eastern and Islamic Structured Finance with Moody's Investors Service in London.

Lenin wasn't far wrong when he said the capitalists would sell their enemies the rope with which to hang themselves. Only he never thought they'd sell it to the Mohammedans.

Source: Yahoo Finance

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Mogadishu Express

The case of the terrorist Khadr family appears now only to be exceptional by the amount of public attention it has received. Because Somali-born and Somali-descended Canadian citizens are now taking up arms on the side of the Islamic terrorists who are slowly but surely seizing control of this lawless land:

A number of young Somali-Canadians have returned to their homeland and joined a hardline Islamic militia that some call Africa's Taliban, sources have told the National Post.

The Shabbab, a Somali youth militia whose leader is believed to have been trained by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, includes several Canadians in its ranks, the sources said.

Somali-Canadians are also said to be serving in other militias, as well as in senior positions in Somalia's interim government and its opponent, the Islamic Courts Union.

The Canadians are described as refugees who moved to Toronto and Ottawa in the 1990s, some of them university students, who have returned to Somalia over the past two to three years.

"Some of the militia members of the Shabbab are young diaspora members who returned to Somalia from Canada," a leading Somalia expert, who asked not to be identified, told the Post this week.

"The Somalis who are here, and others who have recently been in, confirm that quite a few of the Shabbab are in fact diaspora members, not just from Canada but quite a few have come back from places like Pakistan."

Some analysts believe Somalia is on the verge of becoming the next big destination for young extremist Muslims who want to participate in armed jihad.

The participation of a significant number of Canadians in the conflict has raised alarms in Ottawa, which fears Somali militia members will escalate to terrorism or return to Canada and radicalize a new wave of extremists.

It was just such a scenario that unfolded after the Soviet War in Afghanistan, when foreign volunteers became the first generation of al-Qaeda terrorists. Others returned to the West and began recruiting others into terrorism.

Their numbers may be small now, but do not be deceived: it only takes a handful with influence to attract a much larger number to the cause.

More disturbingly, they might be coming back schooled in urban warfare and guerrilla techniques, and looking for recruits not to fight on the streets of Mogadishu, but of Toronto.

If they go, don't let them back, Canadian citizens or otherwise. They've shown where their loyalties lie.

Source: National Post

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

If Michael Ignatieff were a Hollywood star, he would have blamed the bottle for his recent outburst, checked into rehab, then hit the grovelling apology tour to show off how remorseful he is in his presumed repentance.

Well, he's going to skip the 12-step part and go right to the thirteeth step:

Liberal leadership front-runner Michael Ignatieff says he'll travel to the Middle East next month in the wake of comments that have enraged Canada's Jewish community and members of his own party.
"We will be meeting with the Israeli prime minister and Palestinian leaders to discuss peace, long-term solutions and how Canada can help the parties get back on the path to peace," Ignatieff said today during a speech at the University of Toronto.

Ignatieff has been fiercely criticized for describing Israel’s bombing of a Lebanese village as a "war crime" during an interview earlier this week on a Quebec radio show.

Today, the self-described "life-long friend and supporter of Israel" noted that both Israeli and Lebanese citizens had suffered in a conflict "provoked by Hezbollah and its backers to lure Israel into a wider war."

Yes, this trip is Iggy performing public penance. But it is also Iggy performing the prime ministerial role as the great statesman going off to make peace. This is the best photo op he's had yet, full of solemnity and gravitas, and he will milk it for all it's worth.

Lo, another saviour comes forth in the Holy Land!

Source: Toronto Star

Friday, October 13, 2006

The School For Scoundrels

Since certain amendments to the Criminal Code have now made it illegal even to make the suggestion obliquely, I will leave it to the reader to make it in the privacy of his own thoughts. If he is legally permitted even to do that:

In what is likely a final chapter in the decades-long saga of sexual abuse at Toronto's prestigious Upper Canada College, a retired science instructor who was once honoured for his innovative teaching methods was convicted yesterday on two counts of sexual assault.

The charges against Lorne Cook stemmed in large part from simulated kidney-transplant exercises he devised for his adolescent students -- experiments that in 1993 helped him secure the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence, rewarding achievements in education.

Yesterday, Mr. Cook's career ended in disgrace.

Free on bail since his arrest in 2004 on charges of fondling five former pupils, three of whom testified against him at trial, he stared grimly as Mr. Justice Brian Trafford read out a lengthy judgment that graphically described Mr. Cook's use of an imitation catheter in one of the mock kidney transplant sessions.


Mr. Cook's verdict is the latest in a string of old child-sex criminal cases at UCC. Last year, former teacher Douglas Brown, now 56, was sentenced to three years imprisonment for sexually assaulting six students during the mid-1970s.

In 2004, onetime teaching assistant Ashley Chivers, now 30, was convicted of possessing child pornography. Arrested a year earlier while still on staff, he initially escaped incarceration, in lieu of a conditional 18-month sentence, but was subsequently jailed for violating his terms of house arrest.

And there were other scandals.

Teacher Clark Noble left UCC in 1971 after a 17-year-old boy accused him of sodomizing him after getting him drunk at a private club. Rather than being prosecuted, Mr. Noble was allowed to leave quietly. He taught elsewhere and in 1997, was convicted of an assault on a boy at Appleby College in Oakville.

Most recently, in December, a 70-year-old former UCC house master was acquitted on six charges of assaulting a student under his care during the 1980s. The judge made plain he did not believe the former student's testimony.

As we have been reminded ad nauseum in the media, these scandals would not have occurred if the teachers had only been allowed to marry.

Source: Globe and Mail

Liberals: Some Of Our Best Friends Are Jews

If there were no truth to the charge that the Liberal Party's leadership candidates are anti-Israel, or at least pandering to the strong anti-Israel currents within party ranks, the candidates would have felt no need to dignify it with comment.

But now that everyone is scrambling to deny it, we know now that it's true:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday accused the Liberal Party of an anti-Israeli bias, charging that Michael Ignatieff's comment that Israel committed a war crime against Lebanon this summer reflects the leanings of most Liberal leadership candidates.

All the major contenders for the Liberal leadership quickly criticized Mr. Harper for lobbing "insults" and "lies." Beyond the anti-Conservative solidarity, murmurs were growing within the party about whether Mr. Ignatieff's style might prove a liability if he leads the Liberals in an election.

"This is consistent with the anti-Israeli position that has been taken by virtually all of the candidates for the Liberal leadership," the Prime Minister said about Mr. Ignatieff's remarks that an Israeli strike on the Lebanese village of Qana that killed 28 civilians was a war crime. "I don't think it's helpful or useful."


A visibly angry Bob Rae, noting that his wife and children are Jewish, said he has been associated with the Jewish community his entire life and likened Mr. Harper's comments to accusing an opponent of being anti-Catholic. He said it is dangerous "to suggest there is a pro-Israel party in Canada and an anti-Israel party in Canada."

"It's untrue. It's a big lie. It's a big smear. And it isn't going to work on me. And if he thinks he can get away with it, he's sadly mistaken," Mr. Rae said.

Ah, Bob, isn't that just a new spin on the old "some of my best friends are Jewish" line?

Continue reading further sputterings of outrage here.

One question that hasn't been raised in all this mess is whether the increasingly anti-Israeli, if not anti-Jewish, sentiments in the Liberal Party might have to do with the Grits' own dependence on manipulating ethnic blocs; specifically, whether they've become so beholden to the Muslim vote in the big cities that they have to throw their Jewish supporters overboard.

They can read demographics as well as anyone: Muslims overtook Jews in the 2001 decennial census for the first time in Canada, and their numbers continue to grow.

And maybe Michael Ignatieff's comments were geared not just towards nailing down his vulnerable left flank, but also proving his academic bona fides in case he loses and needs to bolt back to Harvard.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hail To The Chief

The Ontario Provincial Police has been in desperate need of a credible commissioner ever since Gwen Boniface bungled the Caledonia situation, and now it's about to get the most credible one it can find:

Former London and Toronto police chief Julian Fantino will become the new commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, replacing Gwen Boniface.

Government sources said Premier Dalton McGuinty would announce Fantino's appointment as the new head of the force by the end of this week.

Fantino's record speaks for itself; crime dropped in Toronto under his command, and he also stands by his men. He's about to get the last laugh on the Toronto leftists who used the drug squad scandal to force him out.

Source: London Free Press

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Iggy Pops Off

Calling the bombing of a village in southern Lebanon an Israeli war crime might help put Michael Ignatieff back in the good books of the Said & Chomsky crowd (and certain GTA ridings) as well as letting him show his face around Harvard again should plans not work out here.

But it doesn't help around Thorn Aviv Thornhill, which is why his Toronto campaign co-chair has quit:

Thornhill MP Susan Kadis withdrew her support for Ignatieff on Wednesday, after he accused Israel of committing a “war crime” during its bombardment of Lebanon last summer.

“Michael is an intelligent person and I would think that he would have a better handle on the Middle East given his years of experience on human rights and international law,” Kadis said in a written statement.

Kadis was reacting to Ignatieff’s appearance on a French-language television program Sunday, in which he said that Israel’s bombing of the Lebanese village of Qana was a war crime. Dozens of civilians died in the attack.

Ironically, the controversy erupted as Ignatieff was attempting to explain a previous gaffe about Qana.

Last summer, Ignatieff told the Toronto Star that he was “not losing sleep” over the civilian deaths in Qana — an insensitive remark which he later admitted was a mistake.

In an apparent bid to over-compensate for that initial gaffe, Ignatieff said Sunday that he should have shown more compassion for the Qana victims.

“I was a professor of human rights and I am also a professor of the laws of war and what happened in Qana was a war crime and I should have said that. That’s clear,” he told the popular Radio-Canada program, Tout le monde en parle.

Dr. Ignatieff is learning to trim and shade without shame, whether his own previous words can contradict him or not.

But that he feels the need to do so on this issue is also indicative not only of his own newfound political flexibility, but also of the drift of hard-core anti-Israeli sentiment from the periphery to the centre of the Liberal Party.

Losing a campaign co-chair is not a great loss to the Ignatieff campaign. Every leadership campaign has more chairs than Ikea, to make sure that every interest group in the party is represented.

But it does show that Ignatieff is trying to nail down his left flank before one of the other three amigos marches right around it.

Source: Toronto Star

Career Killer

How fitting:

An ex-wrestler whose ring nickname was The Career Killer won’t be eligible for parole for 15 years after ke killed a 16-year-old girl.

Kurt Lauder pleaded guilty this summer to killing Shanna Poissant in July 2005 and was automatically handed a life sentence.

In announcing the 15-year parole eligibility today, Justice James Brunton of Quebec Superior Court agreed with what the Crown had asked for.

Defence lawyer Marc Labelle had argued 10 years was standard in second-degree murder cases.

Lauder killed Poissant by striking her on the head at least five times with a heavy metal bar.

He then buried her body in a shallow grave in woods south of Montreal.

Let's see how he fares where they don't fake their moves.

An Explosion Of Evil

Andrew Coyne reminds us again of the lesson we all have to periodically relearn at great cost and pain because we simply will not remember it; doing nothing against the megalomaniacal tyrants of the world only encourages them:

Monday's apparently successful nuclear test by the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-Il does not, as claimed, mark the dawn of a new age of nuclear proliferation. The North Koreans had already boasted of having developed a nuclear weapon, and no one has ever doubted, whatever the truth of these claims, that they would in time. North Korean scientists have already been sharing their technological secrets with their Iranian counterparts, as earlier Pakistan had helped them. Nuclear proliferation is already here, and will accelerate. The current crisis is only a signpost along the road to inevitability.

Its worst effect, rather, will be to confirm what might until now not have been apparent: that we -- the world, the West, the United States -- are simply unable to come to terms with the threat that now confronts us.

The world's worst dictators, it is now clear, may acquire the world's most destructive weapons with impunity -- even as a new breed of macro-terrorists advertise themselves as potential after-market customers. Either we do not recognize this for the existential threat that it is, or we cannot summon the nerve, collectively or individually, to take the steps required to save ourselves.

Kim Jong-Il just ceased to be a run-of-the-mill Stalinist dictator, or a pathetic caricature of same, with this successful nuclear test.

The whole balance of power just shifted in Asia heavily to China's favour, because it is in China's interest to keep Kim's regime propped up by all means so that it doesn't have to dump its resources into stabilizing it upon its collapse.

South Korea's likely response, suicidal though it be, will be to blame the U.S., even though China holds all the influence over Kim. Expect the cries for a complete U.S. withdrawal to grow louder.

And expect Japan to finally amend its constitution to permit it to send its army overseas in an offensive manner, and to develop its own nukes.

And this could have been stopped, if the West had had the courage to stand up to both North Korea and China. It did not. And Seoul, or Tokyo, or even Los Angeles, will pay the price one day.

ADDENDUM: The Atlantic Monthly has a thorough and excellent analysis of what might happen as North Korea's situation deteriorates, bomb or not.

ADDENDUM TO THE ADDENDUM: Apparently a couple dozen Iranian scientists were honoured guests at the testing of North Korea's first nuclear bomb. I don't need to tell you what that means.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Out Of One, Many

Even the security of tenure will not protect a Harvard professor against the rampaging mobs of humanities professors and graduate students who will descend upon Harvard Yard screaming for the heretic to be drawn and quartered

For he has blasphemed against the holy doctrine of multicultural diversity, and must be brought to judgment:

A bleak picture of the corrosive effects of ethnic diversity has been revealed in research by Harvard University’s Robert Putnam, one of the world’s most influential political scientists.

His research shows that the more diverse a community is, the less likely its inhabitants are to trust anyone – from their next-door neighbour to the mayor.

This is a contentious finding in the current climate of concern about the benefits of immigration. Professor Putnam told the Financial Times he had delayed publishing his research until he could develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity, saying it “would have been irresponsible to publish without that”.

The core message of the research was that, “in the presence of diversity, we hunker down”, he said. “We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us.”


When the data were adjusted for class, income and other factors, they showed that the more people of different races lived in the same community, the greater the loss of trust. “They don’t trust the local mayor, they don’t trust the local paper, they don’t trust other people and they don’t trust institutions,” said Prof Putnam. “The only thing there’s more of is protest marches and TV watching.”

Anyone who lives in Toronto will understand Dr. Putnam's thesis instinctively. The general unfriendliness, the common incivility, the self-segregation into enclaves--all of these facts give the lie to all the propaganda of Toronto as the model city of multicultural tolerance and acceptance.

Some degree of alienation from one's neighbours is perhaps an unavoidable consequence of urbanization. But when you don't even share basic cultural assumptions with the people next door, how can you really trust them?

Source: Financial Times

Sunrise, Sunset

As GM and Ford continue their inexorable spiral downwards towards Chapter 11, we fret and fear for the future of Windsor and Oshawa, while small towns throughout southern Ontario are booming right along with the Japanese market share:

They are classic Ontario small towns -- main streets, stately homes and not much more -- named after a British general or a prominent prime minister.

But Arthur and Palmerston and Shelburne and other communities are harbouring a secret -- their auto parts plants are booming while cities a couple of hours south and west watch as factories close and jobs disappear.

At TG Minto Corp. in tiny Palmerston -- there isn't even a Tim Hortons -- employment is up to 340 people and construction is under way on a 50,000-square-foot expansion.

A half-hour east along the old Highway 9, Musashi Auto Parts Canada Inc. now has two plants up and running in Arthur, one of the main stops along the Butter Tart Trail.

Northeast of Arthur, in Shelburne, KTH Shelburne Mfg. Inc. has expanded three times since it opened in 1998. That plant and Setex Canada GP employ about 650 people between them in a town perhaps better known as the site of the annual Canadian Open Old Time Fiddle Championship.

These and other Japan-based companies are subtly changing the geography of the auto parts industry in Ontario. While several parts plants in Windsor, Brantford and Toronto are preparing to shut their doors or have already done so, those operated by Japan-based companies are thriving in a region that has always been on the fringe of Canada's manufacturing heartland.

There will a painful crash, even a recession, in southern Ontario when Ford and GM finally seek bankruptcy protection. But the growth of the Japanese manufacturers' in Canada, providing well-paid, technically-advanced manufacturing work without the CAW and UAW holding the bosses to ransom, shows a bright spot and disproves the claim that manufacturing is all being sent to the Third World and China for a fraction of a percentage point more profit margin.

Far better than leaving an empty rust belt.

Source: Globe and Mail

Mother Nature's Child

The Toronto Star can always find a way to blame lack of goverment money as the cause of all the world's evils, including, it seems, childhood stupidity:

Whales in Lake Simcoe?

That's what a group of Grade 4s expected to see during a trip to an outdoor centre there last week.

"It shows how disconnected they are with nature," said teacher Jennifer Baron, who runs the Sibbald Point Outdoor Education centre on Lake Simcoe.

For most of the 7,000 York Region students who visit the centre, the five hours they spend with Baron in the woods isn't nearly enough to counteract an education system that has all but abandoned environmental content.

Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller has joined a growing chorus of teachers and environmentalists alarmed that Ontario is turning out a generation of ecological illiterates.

No, you fools, our children are ignorant of nature because their overprotective parents won't let them run around in the woods or fields by themselves for a bit because they might get attacked by a predator, human or animal.

What's more, they're being taught a whole load of rubbish about the great outdoors being as naturally pristine and antiseptic as a well-kept house. Clean and green isn't, and never was.

Let your kids run around the park with other kids unsupervised for a while. Let them discover the joys of the great outdoors without worrying about broken bones and creeping creatures, on two legs or four.

They'll manage just fine.

And they'll be able to tell a fish from a mammal.

Source: Toronto Star

Monday, October 09, 2006

Keeping Abreast Of Science

Once again, the media sets aside the fact that correlation does not necessarily equal causation when there's a catchy headline and lead to be had:

Women with breast implants and those who've had plastic surgeries have lower rates of cancer than the general population, but higher rates of suicide, a new Canadian study suggests.

Although the researchers offered no definitive explanation for the higher suicide rates, they suggest greater attention be paid to the psychiatric state of cosmetic surgery patients.

"Serious consideration should be given to providing consultation for patients who are considered by the plastic surgeon to be at high risk of psychiatric disorder or suicide," says an article on the study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

On the other hand, people who go in for elective cosmetic surgery are usually pretty unhappy with what God gave them.

What would be interesting to find is a correlation between higher suicide rates and the number of tattoos and piercings, especially on women. I've always thought that people who mutilate themselves in such a fashion are simply displaying their own self-hatred to the world.

Because there is nothing even remotely attractive or aesthetically pleasing about riddling oneself with bits of metal and scrawls of ink.

Source: Ottawa Sun

Take A Load Off Us

Canada is learning the painful lesson that our American and British allies have had to learn at great cost in blood and treasure; our friends on the Continent will always be first to critcize and last to help:

Canada's Defence Minister is confronting those NATO countries with troops deployed in relatively stable parts of Afghanistan — including Germany, France, Spain and Italy — saying they must lift the restrictions that prevent their soldiers from taking on the more dangerous tasks being shouldered by Canadians.

It's a problem that one former Canadian military leader says threatens the future of the 57-year-old North Atlantic Treaty Organization — an alliance founded on the principle that an attack against one of its members is an attack against all.

Canadian troops are paying the ultimate price with a frequency that has caused many at home to question Canada's involvement in Afghanistan. Trooper Mark Andrew Wilson, killed in a roadside bomb explosion this weekend, was the 40th Canadian soldier to die in the conflict.

But some of the large European countries with troops in the safer northern and western regions will not allow their soldiers to move into the danger zones when they are needed, even on a temporary basis. And some are not permitted to fight at night.

Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said Sunday that he has raised Canada's concerns about those restrictions — called caveats — with the countries that have imposed them. Although he did not name them directly, it was clear Mr. O'Connor was referring primarily to Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

If you want to see the modern peacekeeping ethos at work, look no further than our Continental allies. Their forces are essentially acting as neutral policemen, holding down already secure areas while the diplomats and aid teams do their work. They get the easier duty (not easy duty, to be fair) and the credit while we fight the battles and get the blame for "aggravating" the situation.

This is what the loyal opposition thinks is the proper Canadian tradition: sitting back and letting someone else fight for us.

Looks like our allies will be always be there when they need us.

Source: Globe and Mail

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Vox Clamantis In Urbe

Hear the voice of a real Canadian dissident who has seen how the rights revolution has inverted itself into an increasingly totalitarian movement.


Before the Blogging Tories starts seeing its members disappear into the night and fog.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Greatest Hits Of The Millennium!

K-Tel lives!

Yes, in this era of iTunes, iPod and filesharing, it's a relief to know that the people who brought you 24 Original Hits in 24 Minutes From 24 Stars is still out there peddling its wares.

For only $9.99! $9.99! $9.99!

Sorry, Wrong Numbers

Why did they shut down the child abuse hotline in Iran? Because it was getting too many how-to calls!

The 1-800 hotline established to help Ontario's addicted gamblers is being inundated with thousands of calls from people looking for winning lottery numbers, prompting the government to rethink the way it advertises the telephone number.

Figures obtained by the Citizen show that the number of "misdirected" phone calls to Ontario's Problem Gambling Helpline has skyrocketed since its inception in 1997, going from zero that year to 13,024 (of 17,808 total) last year.

"By far, most of those calls are people looking for winning lottery numbers," said Brad Davey, executive director of ConnexOntario, the non-profit government agency that runs the helpline. "Or sometimes it's hours of casinos or things like that. It's usually related to gambling, but (the callers are) on the 'I'm gambling' side rather than the 'I think I have a problem with gambling.' Those are the misdirected ones."


"It's a common issue with problem gambling helplines," he said, adding he views the misdirected calls as a "marketing opportunity."

"Many times when the person has called in looking for the winning numbers and our operators explain what it is we do, the person then says, 'Well, I am concerned with the number of tickets I'm buying every week,' " he said.

I remain rather sceptical about the claim that excessive gambling can be considered an addiction, akin to alcoholism or narcotic abuse. To my knowledge, there is no interaction of chemicals that alters the proper functioning of the body and brain when you plunk down hundreds of dollars on the roulette wheel or down the slot machine; just sheer, simple, ordinary human greed.

And if they steal to gamble, that should make them more culpable, not less.

Their moral senses don't cease to operate; they just ignore them.

But there's no 12-step program to restore a dulled conscience.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Friday, October 06, 2006

Paralegal Aid

Some paralegals can do a very good job with the routine work of law practice where giving a legal opinion usually isn't needed.

But some of them are real fly-by-night operators who know nothing of law except how to bill. And bill. And bill. Leaving their clients worse off than before, their rights prejudiced and in need of a real lawyer to clean up the mess, if it can be cleaned up.

Hopefully, those jerks will be put out of business, and soon, in Ontario:

Attorney General Michael Bryant says the public needs to be protected from the hordes of untrained and unlicensed people hanging out shingles and calling themselves paralegals.

Final debate began yesterday on Bill 14, which will regulate paralegals for the first time in Canada. It is expected to pass next week.

"The regulation of paralegals would increase access to justice by giving consumers a choice in qualified legal services while protecting people who get legal advice from non-lawyers," Bryant said.

"Not surprisingly, some paralegals don't want regulation, but that's perhaps because they don't want the rules, the oversight and the accountability that comes with it," he said in the Legislature during second reading of the bill.

"Paralegals found to have engaged in misconduct would be subject to the same types of penalties lawyers face, including the loss of their licence," he said.

The Law Society of Upper Canada, the governing body for Ontario lawyers, will be responsible for regulating paralegals.

Paralegals will be required to complete an approved college program and pass a licensing exam. Those who have been working in the field for some time will only have to pass the exam.

Paralegals will be limited to working in small claims court, tribunals and on things like traffic cases and workers' compensation claims, said law society spokesperson Roy Thomas.

Paralegals won't be allowed to do things like land transfers, divorces or other family court matters, he said.

About time, too. Paralegals do have a place in the profession, just not as pretend lawyers.

Source: Toronto Star

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mr. Harper's Neighbourhood

People who live in big cities might not even know their next door neighbour's name. Or if they do, they've never had any real opportunity to meet.

The good folks at the Toronto Star should know this phenomenon of urban alienation quite well, but suddenly it's become newsworthy when two particular Ottawa neighbours have been ignoring each other:

She's the elegant arts lover, a former journalist who charms with her smile and grace. He's the hockey dad across the street, a serious guy who likes to do things his way.

So what does it mean for Canada that these two don't meet regularly? A neighbourly tiff? A constitutional crisis?

News that Governor General Michaƫlle Jean and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have not had a formal, sit-down meeting since March, not long after he was sworn in, has raised eyebrows and questions whether there's trouble afoot.

"One formal meeting in nine months seems low by historical standard," said Scott Reid, former director of communications for prime minister Paul Martin.

"If anything, in a minority Parliament, one expects more routine discussion between the governor general and the prime minister because of the possibility that the government's program might fail."

Over beer and popcorn, no doubt.

The Prime Minister has likely taken the measure of the Governor General and found her as trivial and insubstantial as the predecessor government that appointed her just to check off a few boxes on the diversity scorecard.

In that sense, he has revived a tradition that dates back to the appointment of equally trivial and insubstantial vice-regents just to make use of mediocre nobles.

Give them the honour due their office, then ignore them when serious work is to be done.

Source: Toronto Star

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tory's Suicide Mission

As support for the Ontario PCs in Toronto remains flatlined, John Tory has decided to run next election in Don Valley West.

The riding fits Tory's personal profile perfectly: rich, smug, and liberal right through.

Kathleen Wynne should have little difficulty defeating him. A real Liberal (and a lesbian at that) will always beat the faux Conservative white guy.

And we can get on to replacing him in 2008.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Fat Of The Land

New horrors at the American concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay are being revealled every day: the inmates are being fattened for slaughter!

A high-calorie diet combined with life in the cell block — almost around the clock in some cases — is making detainees at Guantanamo Bay fat.

Meals totaling a whopping 4,200 calories per day are brought to their cells, well above the 2,000 to 3,000 calories recommended for weight maintenance by U.S. government dietary guidelines. And some inmates are eating everything on the menu.

One detainee has almost doubled in weight, to 410 pounds, said Navy Cmdr. Robert Durand, spokesman for the detention facilities at Guantanamo, a U.S. Navy station in southeast Cuba.

Human rights groups attribute the weight gain to lack of exercise. They cite accounts of released detainees who complained they were allowed to exercise fewer than three times a week outside their small cells.

But Durand said detainees are simply served a wide variety of food and are expected to choose what appeals to them.

"The detainees are advised that they are offered more food than necessary, to provide choice and variety, and that consuming all the food they are offered will result in weight gain," he said.

Most of the prisoners at Guantanamo picked up in Afghanistan and other conflict zones were slightly underweight when they arrived. Since then, they've gained an average of 20 pounds, and most are now "normal to mildly overweight or mildly obese," according to the most recent measurements, he said.

That's the evil plan of the American war machine: kill the enemy with trans fats!

But seriously folks, if the prisoners at Gitmo were languishing under gulag-style conditions, shouldn't they have been dropping dead of malnutrition?

Source: SF Gate

Unwashed Masses

If I don't shower and shave today, my co-workers will give me dirty looks, but the only offence committed will be against common etiquette.

If a prisoner doesn't shower and shave today, it's a breach of international law:

Something smelled foul about the case of Regina v. Savane Jones, but it wasn't the quality of the evidence.

It was Mr. Jones.

In an unusual ruling, Mr. Justice Casey Hill of the Ontario Superior Court took the administrators of Maplehurst Correctional Complex to task for depriving Mr. Jones of a shower and a hot meal following his return every day from his sexual-assault trial.

To expect a defendant to be at his best when he is hungry and smells rank works against everything from simple logic to United Nations Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, Judge Hill said.

"There is no reasonable excuse for the failure of the correctional authorities to permit Savane Jones to shave and shower daily when it was known he was appearing in court," the judge said. "That failure delayed the trial, inconvenienced jurors and others, and put a fair trial at risk."

Let's see what said United Nations rules have to say:

13. Adequate bathing and shower installations shall be provided so that every prisoner may be enabled and required to have a bath or shower, at a temperature suitable to the climate, as frequently as necessary for general hygiene according to season and geographical region, but at least once a week in a temperate climate.


16. In order that prisoners may maintain a good appearance compatible with their self-respect, facilities shall be provided for the proper care of the hair and beard, and men shall be enabled to shave regularly.

So as long as he's getting a shower once a week and a shave at least twice, the United Nations should be happy, so why isn't Justice Hill?

Provided that the prisoners are not a threat to the health and safety of themselves and others, they can skip a shower and a shave once in a while.

Source: Globe and Mail

Hey Big Spender

People often latch on to the money spent by politicians on travel and hospitality because they're expenses that, unlike so many other in government, we've run up ourselves and can more easily judge the reasonableness thereof.

Thus also with journalists.

And they'll make a story of profligact or frugality, either way:

Industry Minister Maxime Bernier is proving to be the big spender in a federal Conservative cabinet that is frugal to a fault.

For the second quarter in a row, Bernier's penchant for $175 working dinners-for-two at some of Ottawa's finer restaurants was the exception to the rule, according to newly released travel and hospitality expenses.

A number of Conservative ministers recorded zero hospitality in the three-month summer quarter, including Public Works Minister Michael Fortier, Loyola Hearn at Fisheries and House Leader Rob Nicholson.

When they sat in opposition, the Tories dined out on tales of then-immigration minister Joe Volpe's $138 pizzas, and former Mint president David Dingwall's $800 dinners for two.

Now that they're in government, the Conservatives are actually raising hackles with their frugality.

Ralph Goodale, the former Liberal finance minister who instituted the quarterly reporting requirement in 2004, said Monday he finds the latest posted results odd.

"I think there are some questions to be asked here about whether the reporting process is being followed exactly as it is intended to be followed, and whether the government is giving Canadians the whole story and the straight goods."

Each department appeared to wait until the last possible moment to post their minister's travel expenses - 30 days after the end of the June 1-Aug. 31 quarter.


Bernier and Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay were almost in a Tory class of their own when it came to hospitality spending.

Bernier spent $1,253 on seven working meals in the latest quarter - including a $176 dinner for two and a $498 dinner for five - after chalking up almost $1,500 in the previous quarter. The lawyer and businessman from Quebec's Beauce riding also posted $17,375 in travel expenses this summer.

MacKay, as might be expected of a foreign minister, racked up $53,643 in travel through two quarters and $2,604 in hospitality, although with none of Bernier's pricey dinners for two.

MacKay's travel expenses for half a year eclipse the full 2005 total for his Liberal predecessor, Pierre Pettigrew, who spent $41,311 on travel last year.

Both Bernier and MacKay are on pace to challenge Pettigrew's 2005 hospitality tab of $5,429.

But they are the exceptions in Harper's cabinet.

When you think about it, even Bernier's apparent big spending isn't all that big. Probably because of whom he is entertaining in his portfolio, and because he doesn't appear to have gone way overboard the way Joe Volpe did with his $138 pizzas.

And Peter MacKay has been travelling a fair bit on the job, as he must. And unlike Pettigrew, without a chauffeur for undisclosed special services.

In the great scheme of government expenditure, ministers' travel and hospitality is a drop in the bucket. But it's a drop anyone can measure. Thus the annual stories about ministers at the trough.

Source: Canoe

Monday, October 02, 2006

Paging Lawrence Metherel

One would expect the homosexual lobby to rush to the defence of a politician who invited teenage boys to experience the joys of the alternative lifestyle.

But since he sits on the wrong side of the political fence, as far as they're concerned, he can go bugger himself:

Florida GOP leaders are scrambling to name a replacement candidate to replace disgraced former House Representative Mark Foley.

Foley resigned Friday under a building amount of damaging evidence against him.

The FBI says it's looking into former Congressman Mark Foley's online exhanges with teenagers to see if he violated federal law. The exchanges have proven to be too graphic for broadcast networks to mention or even quote.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert asked the Justice Department to look into Foley's sexually suggestive messages and also asked Governor Bush to have the state Department of Law Enforcement look into the former congressman's conduct.

The White House and Democratic leaders in Congress also called today for a criminal probe. White House counselor Dan Bartlett calls the allegations against Foley shocking. But he says President Bush didn't learn of Foley's inappropriate e-mails to a 16-year-old boy and instant messages to other boys before the news broke last week.


He is accused of sending inappropriate e-mail and instant messages to a Congressional page, who at the time was 16 years old. The resignation rocked the Capitol, and especially Foley's GOP colleagues, as lawmakers were rushing to adjourn for at least six weeks for the finaly push to election day in November.

House Majority Leader John A. Boehner told The Washington Post over the weekend that he had learned during the spring of 2006 of inappropriate "contact" between Foley and a 16-year-old page. Boehner said he then told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).

Had this scandal happened in Canada, elite opinion would immediately rush to the defence of the offending politician. We would all be told that the impugned politician was a victim of a "homophobic witchhunt" and that he was merely "counselling confused young men."

Unless he was Conservative, of course. Then he'd have been a "pedophiliac pervert" to be run out of office post-haste.

The people who swear up and down that there's no connection between homosexuality and chickenhawking will be the first ones to scream "Dirty faggot!" when one of their own political adversaries is caught demonstrating it.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Paint By Numbers

With just over half of the Liberal leadership delegate selection meetings having reported, Michael Ignatieff maintains a strong but not insurmountable lead, with Bob Rae second, Stephane Dion a surprisingly strong third with Gerard Kennedy just in back of him.

The Blogging Tories' favourite, Joe Volpe, is languishing in sixth place, just behind Ken Dryden, but gratifyingly ahead of Scott Brison.

Martha Hall Findlay, not surprisingly, is dead last, but kudos to her for finally winning more support and respect in the party than Belinda Stronach.

Can Joe Volpe vault past Ken Dryden and at least claim a moral victory of sorts? It is clear now that even the kingmaker's role has been denied him.

Will Scott Brison blame anti-homosexual bigotry for his poor showing?

Who will be the final anybody-but-Iggy candidate?

Stay tuned.

Abortion: The Practical Consequences

There have been almost three million abortions performed in Canada since the legalization thereof in 1969.

If you accept the premise of our cultural elites that this is a settled issue, of no particular moral or practical importance for reflection or reconsideration, then that number is an irrelevant statistic.

But we're not here to accept their premises at face value.

If the moral questions trouble you, consider the practical questions first.

Three million native-born Canadians were not born who could have been. Most of them now would be productive citizens, contributing their talents and labour to Canadian society. Many of them in turn would now have had children of their own.

To replace them, we have had to import millions of immigrants who otherwise could be contributing to their own native lands. Many of these immigrants have been lured here using a cruel bait and switch, with promises of ready work in their professional fields, only to have their qualifications rejected and able to find only unskilled or menial work--the kind of work that supposedly is too good for native-born Canadians to do.

Many of these same people have been actively discouraged from assimilating into the broader Canadian culture in favour of remaining segregated from Canadian society as separate tiles on our multicultural mosaic. Indeed, our education system and popular culture teaches them to denigrate the history and traditions of their host nation, where they are not simply ignored.

The demographic effects on our society have become too obvious to ignore, though our cultural elites strive mightily to ignore them.

Would the divisive ethnic politics played so often in this country be as frequently or as damagingly played, if we had not had to take in so many immigrants in the first place?

Would we have raised a generation of Canadians whose only connection to the country is an accident of birth, who remain loyal only to old tribal and sectarian loyalties, and who consider Canada a safe staging area for fighting old battles and a possible theatre for new ones?

Think also of the economic consequences.

Millions of productive citizens, creating economic prosperity and contributing tax revenue to the public treasury, are not in the economy who could have been.

Again, we have had to import cheap foreign labour and depend increasingly on women working outside the home in their prime childbearing years, with the knock-on effects of driving real wages down and also driving down tax revenue as well.

The children who were not born, and the children who were of course not born to them, could have sustained the social safety net on which Canadians pride themselves, without fears of impending collapse under the weight of obligations for which there are not taxpayers to help meet.

We are now setting up the foundations of a generational conflict in which the younger will see the older as an insupportable economic burden. As the older generation liquidated much of the younger out of self-interest, so the younger will liquidate the surviving older out of self-interest, as the unspoken but instinctual revenge for the hecatomb imposed on it.

Legalized unrestricted abortion has created a fundamental breach in the social contract between generations. Every child today knows that his parents could have had him killed as a matter of convenience; every parent now fears that they may face the same fate in their senescene.

No people can survive a war of parents against their children.