Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Break And Enter

A burglary. Yeah, that's it. A burglary:

A brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden, who is wanted in the Philippines for alleged terror financing, was killed in Madagascar in what appeared to be a burglary, the victim's brother said Wednesday.

Jamal Khalifa, who was married to a sister of the al-Qaida leader, was killed when gunmen broke into his house in a Madagascan village on Tuesday, his brother Malek Khalifa said in a phone interview from his home in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.

Malek, who was distraught when recounting his brother's death, said between 25 and 30 armed men broke into Jamal's house "while he was sleeping," and killed him. "They stole everything -- his computer, all of his things," he said.

Naturally. Don't burglars usually travel in packs of a couple dozen or more?

Kudos to whoever ordered this son-of-a-bitch whacked, though, even if the cover story didn't work.

Source: CTV

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Cuban Party

When Fidel Castro finally dies, progressives around the world will be in deep mourning for the man whose tyrannical power they wish they could have exercised against their own enemies in the free world.

Miami, however, will throw a party:

The city commission earlier this month appointed a committee — whose official job is to "Discuss an event at the Orange Bowl in case expected events occur in Cuba" — to plan the party. Such a gathering has long been part of the city's Castro death plan, but firming up the specifics has become more urgent since Castro became ill last summer and turned over power to his brother, Raul.

City Commissioner Tomas Regalado, a Cuban American, came up with the idea of using the venue for an event timed to Castro's demise. The Orange Bowl was the site of a speech by President Kennedy in 1961 promising a free Cuba and in the 1980s it served as a camp for refugees from the Mariel boatlift.

Castro "represents everything bad that has happened to the people of Cuba for 48 years," Regalado said. "There is something to celebrate, regardless of what happens next. ... We get rid of the guy."

The same people who no doubt broke open the champagne when Ronald Reagan died (and who cheered when George W. Bush was shot in Death of a President ) will be condemning the Cuban community in Miami for doing the same thing.

Source: Fox News

Political Climate Change

A mild first couple weeks of winter out East and a few bad storms knocking down trees in Stanley Park, combined with a heavy dose of media hysteria, have suddenly pushed the issue of climate change to the top of everyone's agenda.

And with that change, the sudden strange bedfellowship of the Conservative government with the NDP, who are now clinging to each other for survival:

Signs of an alliance between Conservatives and New Democrats emerged Monday as MPs launched into a rewrite of the government's central climate-change legislation.

Members of Parliament returned to Ottawa Monday morning after a six-week recess, where they were greeted by a sunbathing Greenpeace activist in a polar-bear suit.

The environmental protests outside and the heated exchanges in Question Period over global warming made it abundantly clear that climate change will be the dominant issue of this winter session.


What is not clear, however, is if the Tory-NDP co-operation is limited to details, or whether it includes a compromise on much larger policy issues such as the Kyoto Protocol.

Mr. Baird, who wore a green tie for his first Question Period as Environment Minister, was offering few details Monday as to what changes he is prepared to live with.

The NDP's environment critic, Mr. Cullen, denied that he has struck an alliance with the Conservatives. He said he attempted to create working relationships with the Liberals and Bloc Québécois, but they weren't interested.

Throughout the 2½-hour meeting, the Tories and NDP made various proposals to fast-track the committee's workload, but faced persistent opposition from the Liberals.

So we will have the Kyoto accord in Canada, complete with complex carbon trading schemes and Rick Mercer hectoring us to meet the one-ton challenge.

What we will not have is serious adherence to the Kyoto accord. Everyone involved knows that it is an imposture not intended to be acted upon seriously. The world's industrial economies are not rushing headlong to revert to pre-industrial economies to stop the emission of greenhouse gases; the emerging industrial powers are not reversing course and heading back to agrarianism.

Kyoto is an incantation to be uttered in the hopes of appeasing the weather gods--the white man's rain dance, if you will.

Man never leaves behind superstition; he merely exchanges one for another.

Source: Globe and Mail

Monday, January 29, 2007

A Bridge Too Far

The Bloor Street Viaduct used to be the most popular place in Toronto for the suicidal to jump off and end it all.

Until the city fathers had an ugly fence built around its sides to spoil the view, on the basis that the bridge, and not the mental state of the unfortunates who jumped off it, was the problem.

Now people are getting electric shocks just walking across it.

Electric shock therapy is still an effective treatment for severe depression.

If the city had known that, they could have saved themselves millions just by turning up the power at night. By the time the suicidal folk got halfway across, they wouldn't want to jump anymore.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pre-Emptive Strike

The Tories have learned a valuable lesson from the mau-mauing of Stockwell Day in 2000: attack the new leader early and often during his honeymoon and pull the rug out from under him before he can find his footing again:

The Conservatives have unveiled three new television ads directly attacking newly minted Liberal Leader Stephane Dion.

The English-language ads, which begin airing immediately and will be followed by a second series of French ads, assert that Dion is a weak leader who would take the country back to the past.

They also assert that he was a flop as environment minister, charging that greenhouse gas emissions went up and air quality went down under Dion's watch.

The ads use footage from last fall's Liberal leadership debates, including clips of Michael Ignatieff, now Dion's deputy leader, and Ken Dryden admitting that the Liberals failed to meet the Kyoto targets for emission reductions.

People deplore negative advertising in much the same way that they deplore gossip: condemn it to your face, relish it behind your back.

Now is the time to force Dion on the defensive when he has an actual record to be defensive about.

Source: CTV

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Maitres Chez Nous

The Quebecois may be allegedly more racist than the rest of us in English Canada. Or maybe they care more for the preservation of their identity than we do, as the village council in Herouxville has demonstrated:

The Quebec village of Hérouxville, 1300 inhabitants, has formally banned this week the stoning of women, face veils, female genital mutilation, or throwing acid at unveiled women’s faces, reports Montreal daily La Presse.


The nature of the Hérouxville bans suggests however that local politicians had Quebec Muslims in mind, though not a single Muslim or member of any religious or ethnic minority calls Hérouxville home. But referring to Quebec’s policy of encouraging immigrants to settle outside Montreal, Drouin says it was important to inform potential immigrants of the villages cultural norms: "We must ensure that people who come here want to live as we do", he told La Presse, "The Muslims who wanted to impose Sharia, had they known that we do not stone women here, maybe they would not have come".

In one sense, this resolution is not unlike the resolutions that municipal councils used to pass declaring their jurisdictions nuclear-free zones. Quite naive, and certainly legally unenforcable, but they did express the genuine concern people had about nuclear armageddon.

In another, however, it is a clear signal that people outside Montreal do not want to be flooded by immigrants hostile to their way of life, and will not be bullied by their supposed intellectual superiors into letting it happen.

It does not say that they can't come. It does, however, say that they can't come and turn Quebec into Qatar.

Nobody ever asked the Canadian people if they wanted to be replaced by another people. The good folk of Herouxville, however, will be roundly condemned for their impertinence soon enough.

Source: Judeoscope

Friday, January 26, 2007

Still Grounded

Canada's newest millionaire will not be flying down to Vegas any time soon to beat the house:

Maher Arar’s personal associations and travel history are enough to keep him on a U.S. security watch list, says a senior State Department official.

While Washington concedes these points may not warrant Arar’s presence on a Canadian security roster, they meet the threshold for the American list, the official told The Canadian Press.

The source, who asked not to be identified, stressed the information about Arar does not justify his 2002 deportation to Syria, where he was tortured into false confessions of involvement with the al-Qaida terrorist network.

But it provides some insight into why the United States has resisted pressure from Canada to expunge Arar’s name from its lookout and no-fly lists.


American officials recently gave Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day a look at the information they say warrants Arar’s continued presence on U.S. watch lists.

Day insisted there was nothing to suggest Arar is a security risk.

U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins said it was presumptuous of Day to tell the United States who is allowed into its country. Wilkins was under orders from Washington to deliver the retort, said the State Department official.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised Friday to continue to press the Americans on the file. “We will not drop the matter,” he said.

The Americans could simply be stubbornly refusing to admit making a mistake on their end--if for no other reason than to avoid getting caught up in a similar payout. Buying off terror suspects, even exonerated ones, won't play well in the press or electorate there.

Or maybe, just maybe, there's still good reason to keep an eye on him.

Being not guilty of X doesn't mean being innocent of Y.

Source: National Post

Ten Million Dollar Man

If Maher Arar is truly innocent of having links to Al-Qaeda, $10 million will hardly compensate him for the torture he suffered in Syria.

If, however, he is guilty of some other dirty business, then he just hit the jackpot.

But lost in all the controversy about Arar's treatment in Syria is that his experience demonstrates the downside of dual citizenship.

If Arar had not been holding Syrian citizenship, the Americans wouldn't have been able to decide that it was better to deport him to Syria for a little rough justice than to let him run loose in Canada.

Dual citizenship isn't always a free ride out of trouble. It can be a free ride into it.

Source: CTV

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Monsieur Dithers?

Stephane Dion was for the budget before he was against it. Now he's against bringing back one of the main Adscam players after he was for it:

Stéphane Dion was forced to backtrack yesterday from a controversial comment that he would allow back into the party a senior organizer who was banned for life over sponsorship-scandal misdeeds.

Mr. Dion told the Quebec City newspaper Le Soleil that he would not object to the lifting of the ban on senior organizer Marc-Yvan Côté, who admitted he distributed $120,000 in cash to Liberal candidates during the 1997 election campaign -- money diverted from the sponsorship program.

Mr. Dion's gaffe brought back a whiff of the scandal that the Liberals had hoped was behind them. Opponents seized on the remark as evidence that the new Liberal Leader has a lax attitude toward the improprieties members of his party committed.


Yesterday, Mr. Dion backtracked, insisting that he would have no involvement in reinstating Mr. Côté and suggesting it probably will not occur.

"I am not seeking to reopen that issue and there's not an application [from Mr. Côté] as far as I know. There is a procedure we follow," Mr. Dion said, asserting that party officials would handle any such case. "I'm not recommending anything."

Surely Dion knows better than to go digging up the Adscam past in Quebec, even if only to answer a hypothetical question.

Or maybe he doesn't. Maybe he still hasn't shed some of his old academic habits of floating every trial balloon in the knowledge that they will be punctured without affecting anything in reality.

If so, we can expect more off-the-cuff pontifications on the campaign trail, which will make derailing the Liberal campaign even easier than it was the last time.

Except on Kyoto.

He will not budge one inch in defence of the faith.

Source: Globe and Mail

PS: And neither will TVO, for that matter. The modern-day Lysenkoists aren't even pretending to be scientific any more.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


That's German for "law to strengthen competition"--in this case, in the health care sector.

Yet while German politicians can pronounce Wettbewerbsstärkungsgesetz with the greatest of ease, ours can only mumble "medicare reform" with great difficulty.

Source: National Center for Policy Analysis

Masters Of The Obvious

Experts say complex trials take time.

And an expert is just a guy from out of town.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Happy Birthday

Look how far we've come.

Look how much farther we have to go.

Royal Pain

The woman who would be the next president of France channels the spirit of Charles de Gaulle:

Following a 15-minute meeting in Paris yesterday with Parti Québécois Leader André Boisclair, Ségolène Royal was asked by reporters what affinity she felt toward Quebec sovereignty.

"It goes with our common values, which are Quebec's sovereignty and freedom," she replied.

"I think that Quebec's influence and its place in the hearts of the French people support that."

Quebec never had much of a place in the hearts of the French when it was a colony--"quelques arpents de neige," to quote Voltaire--and for 200 years afterward, it had no place at all.

France only reached out to Quebec after its own colonial empire disappeared collapsed in the 1960s and it needed the assurance that ir was still a world power.

If France wants to meddle in Canada's internal affairs, perhaps Stephen Harper could express some support for the national aspirations of the Bretons, Corsicans and Basques?

Source: Globe and Mail

Monday, January 22, 2007

Budget Blink

The plan to buy Quebec votes include resource revenues in equalization payment calculations might just be enough to buy the one Quebecker's vote who needs to be bought right now:

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion says his party is open to supporting the upcoming Conservative budget if it doesn't "compromise" Liberal values, a decision that could extend the life of the minority government until the fall or perhaps even 2008.

"When you come to a situation to say, `Well, this budget is not as good as what we would have done but, you know, under the circumstances, we did our best to improve what Mr. Harper wanted to do and we may vote for it,'" the Liberal leader said on CTV's Question Period.

He noted that it was Bloc Québécois MPs who supported the first Conservative budget, unveiled last May.

"This year, will it be us? Will it be the Bloc? Will it be the NDP? Nobody knows," Dion said.


But the Conservatives face trouble on another issue – a rejigging of the equalization formula that could violate their campaign pledge to exempt resource revenues from the calculations.

The new formula could pump $1 billion more into Quebec but would cost Saskatchewan up to $800 million, leading to an angry charge that Harper is trying to "buy" votes in Quebec.

It's usually no problem for a minority government to get one budget passed, unless that government happens to be Joe Clark's. Two budgets requires a fair amount of political adroitness.

But who knows? Stephane Dion is withering already under the media spotlight. His post-convention bounce, like all such bounces, has stopped cold after a few weeks. The Liberals still are trying to find a way to get ordinary members to donate in large enough numbers to offset the caps on corporate donations.

All of this could change, of course, but it won't change before March 20.

There will be no election fought on this budget.

Count on it.

Source: Toronto Star

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Crossing Jordan

As Peter MacKay travels through the Middle East to meet with very important people and make very important statements about the very important need for peace, remind him that Queen Noor is attractive, available, and loaded.

Source: CTV

Saturday, January 20, 2007

You Don't Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way Your Mind Blows

Percy Saltzman was more than just a mild-mannered, bow-tied TV weatherman. Much, much, more:

Percy Saltzman, the much-loved TV weatherman, had a dark side. He was a rowdy blogger.

His Internet journal — — was little known until after his death Monday at the age of 91, at which point, as word got around, the number of hits on the site mushroomed to thousands daily from a handful.

His two sons, Paul and Earl, who acquired the intellectual copyright to the material after their father died, almost immediately had the more salacious bits removed, including Mr. Saltzman's rather detailed description of his interest in bare female bodies and his sexual difficulties with their mother, Mr. Saltzman's late first wife.

Also removed was his raging criticism of granddaughter Devyani Saltzman's 2005 book, Shooting Water: A Memoir Of Second Chances, Family, And Filmmaking, which he characterized as "riddled with gross distortions," "a farrago of misinformation," gratuitous, snide, and presumptuous rot that left his reputation "forever splattered" with "mud."


Interestingly, what is left on the site is Mr. Saltzman's disparaging comments about Toronto civil rights lawyer Clayton Ruby, a friend of Paul's.

Mr. Saltzman wrote in his blog that "Ruby is a booby" and that the lawyer treated him for years as a "non-existent, non-human, non-presence," repeatedly refusing to shake his hand and cutting him dead whenever the two men were introduced.

Perhaps Saltzman was just another crotchety old fogey raging against the dying of the night. Perhaps his inhibitions were starting to go under the first strains of dementia. Or perhaps he was just a real human character underneath the public persona of the corny weatherman.

PS: What was in the stuff his sons took down?

Source: Globe and Mail

Friday, January 19, 2007

Our Man Khan

The de facto foreign affairs minister, Wajid Khan, is off to Afghanistan and Pakistan on another fact-finding mission.

These are the facts he will find:

1. It's a troubled situation over there.
2. A lot of them over there have family living in Toronto.
3. We need their votes.

Perhaps the most important fact of all is that Peter MacKay, whose portfolio Khan is supposedly helping him with, has apparently been cut out of the loop on Middle East policy. A sure sign that Stephen Harper places as little faith in MacKay's abilities as I do.

Source: Globe and Mail

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hostile Climate

Meet the 21st century American Lysenkoists:

The Weather Channel’s most prominent climatologist is advocating that broadcast meteorologists be stripped of their scientific certification if they express skepticism about predictions of manmade catastrophic global warming. This latest call to silence skeptics follows a year (2006) in which skeptics were compared to "Holocaust Deniers" and Nuremberg-style war crimes trials were advocated by several climate alarmists.

The Weather Channel’s (TWC) Heidi Cullen, who hosts the weekly global warming program "The Climate Code," is advocating that the American Meteorological Society (AMS) revoke their "Seal of Approval" for any television weatherman who expresses skepticism that human activity is creating a climate catastrophe.

Coming up next: dissent from the political orthodoxy regarding anthropogenic global warming as a hate crime. Why not? If anthropogenic global warming is expected to kill off much of mankind, and Kyoto is the solution thereto, then opposition to Kyoto must perforce have a genocidal intent.

Source: Small Dead Animals

Khan Job

When Stephen Harper appointed then-Liberal MP Wajid Khan as special adviser on Middle East matters, while many of us praised the appointment as an act of bipartisan statesmanship, we also had to wonder what the value of Khan's particular advice was going to be.

We know now:

Wajid Khan, the Prime Minister's special adviser on the Middle East, has expressed support for an Arab initiative that would see Israel return to its pre-1967 borders.

The Arab Peace Initiative would go further than any position publicly stated by the Prime Minister. Indeed, Stephen Harper, as opposition leader, told the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy during last year's election campaign that it was impractical to demand Israel hand back all land it took after the 1967 war.

The comments from Mr. Khan are in an interview the then-Liberal MP gave to the Ramallah-based daily newspaper, Al-Hayat al-Jadida (The New Life), last fall.

They offer another glimpse into the tone and content of the Mississauga-Streetsville MP's meetings during an 18-day tour of the Middle East last fall.

The report from Mr. Khan's trip has been kept under wraps by the Prime Minister's Office, feeding speculation it may contain recommendations that differ from present Canadian policy in the region, and fuelling calls for its release after Mr. Khan's defection to the Conservative Party earlier this month.

In the interview, which was translated into Arabic, Mr. Khan said his report to the Prime Minister would be used as a basis for future "political and economic" dealings, and said that Canada would welcome the formation of a Palestinian unity government.

Did Stephen Harper expect a former Pakistan air force officer from a riding full of Muslim voters to make recommendations favourable to Israel? Almost certainly not.

Did he expect Khan to say one thing to him in English and another to his fellow Muslims in Urdu or Arabic? If not, he's got a lot to learn about taqiyya .

Khan has put Harper on the horns of a dilemma. If he releases the report, it looks like the government is doing a complete reversal of its Middle East policy as the price of getting Khan to cross the floor. Much more costly than a mere cabinet appointment.

If he doesn't, he only confirms that the report is so completely contradictory to current policy that releasing it would look like another flip-flop.

Perhaps Wajid Khan is becoming our own Belinda Stronach: worse for us inside the tent than outside.

Source: Globe and Mail

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Quebec In The Balance

You know there's an election in the offing when the government of the day bribes Quebec with the rest of Canada's money:

The federal government is facing a backlash from some provinces over a report it plans to change the formula for equalization payments, with Saskatchewan's finance minister calling it an "absolute betrayal" of a Tory campaign promise.

In the last two election campaigns, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives pledged to exclude natural resource revenue from the federal program that gives to poorer provinces to help narrow the gap between "have" and "have-not" regions.

But the CBC's French-language network reports the government will renege on that pledge in its next federal budget, expected in March. Radio-Canada said Harper instead plans to follow the recommendation of a federal task force by including 50 per cent of the natural resource revenue when calculating a province's wealth.

If Harper makes the move, it would mean big losses in equalization payments to provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan.


Saskatchewan Finance Minister Andrew Thomson said his oil-producing province stands to lose up to $800 million next year under this plan.

"It's clear what they are trying to do is buy Quebec votes with Western oil. And I think that is a very dangerous game to be playing. This is not the way that Confederation should work," Thomson said.

The Ottawa syndrome strikes everyone there, even Stephen Harper. When you can see Quebec from for your office window, its parochial concerns take on exaggerated importance.

People in Ottawa seem to forget that the political equation that balanced Confederation for so long no longer applies. The Bloc Quebecois is now firmly entrenched as the party of Quebec, and the Tories and Grits can do no more than pick around the edges of its support.

The West, on the other hand, has shown an incredible political volatility as the incubator of protest parties. Stephen Harper, of all people, should know that.

It is no longer possible to buy a majority government in Quebec. But it is possible to lose a minority government in the West.

It would be a shame to see the equalization plan become this government's version of the CF-18 contract to Canadair.

Source: CBC

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

X Rated

Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows--all bound to offend Wahhabi Islamists somehow. Doesn't everything? Take the latest source of outrage to the mad mullahs of Saudi Arabia:

A group of Islamic clergy in Saudi Arabia has condemned the letter "X” because of its similarity to a hated banned symbol – the cross.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which has the ultimate say in all legal, civil and governance matters in the kingdom, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, against the "X.” It came in response to a Ministry of Trade query about whether a Saudi businessman could be granted trademark protection for a new service with the English name "Explorer.”

The request from the businessman, Amru Mohammad Faisal, was turned down.

"Experts who examined the English word ‘explorer’ were struck by how suspicious that ‘X’ appeared,” Youssef Ibrahim writes in the New York Sun.

"In a kingdom where Friday preachers routinely refer to Christians as pigs and infidel crusaders, even a twisted cross ranks as an abomination.”

Lest we be tempted merely to laugh this off as typical Islamic obscurantism, remember that much of the Islamic world turns to this group of clerics for inspiration.

The good folk at St. Francis Xavier University, for example, might want to keep a closer eye on this professor during the X ring ceremony.

Exxon might want to watch its refineries in Saudi Arabia too.

Ditto for U.S. Steel everywhere.

No doubt dhimmified liberals will suggest taking X out of the alphabet so as not to cause offence, even if it ruins their beloved seksual freedom.

The jihad against the evil X begins!

Source: NewsMax


The tyrant is always immortal until the day he dies. Dictators can never admit to being mortally ill, lest their underlings take the opportunity to hasten their passing:

Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro is in “very grave” condition after three failed operations and complications from the intestinal infection diverticulitis, a Spanish newspaper reported Tuesday.

The newspaper El Pais cited two unnamed sources from the Gregorio Maranon hospital in the Spanish capital of Madrid. The facility employs surgeon Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, who flew to Cuba in December to treat the 80-year-old Mr. Castro.

In a report published on its website, El Pais said, “A grave infection in the large intestine, at least three failed operations and various complications have left the Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, laid up with a very grave prognosis.”

El Pais said that in December, when Dr. Sabrido visited, Mr. Castro had an abdominal wound that was leaking more than half a litre of fluids a day, causing “a severe loss of nutrients.” The Cuban leader was being fed intravenously, the report said.

Diverticulitis is an especially unpleasant illness, which is no doubt why Castro would not entrust his care to the tender mercies of the Cuban health care system that his regime's apologists endlessly praise.

Castro's guts have finally failed him.

The partying will begin in Miami three seconds after his underlings think it's safe to announce his death.

Source: Globe and Mail

Monday, January 15, 2007

Least Wanted Man

How unpopular was this terror-supporting imam? So unpopular that even Canada, France and Iran wouldn't take him in:

The former imam of Ohio's largest mosque became a man without a country.

Fawaz Damra, now jailed by Israeli authorities, for months sought a nation to accept him following his 2004 conviction for concealing ties to terrorist groups.

But 72 rejected him, leaving him with no choice but to be deported to his native West Bank, which led to his arrest on Jan. 4. His ties to the militant Palestinian group Islamic Jihad, responsible for numerous suicide bombings and other attacks on Israelis, made it impossible for Damra to find a new start.

Damra, 46, a Palestinian from the West Bank city of Nablus, was the spiritual leader of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, raising three American-born daughters with his wife in suburban Strongsville, when terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.


In 2004, he was tried and convicted of concealing ties to terrorist organizations on his citizenship application 10 years earlier.

Stripped of his U.S. citizenship and facing deportation, Damra entered a deal with federal authorities to self-deport, his attorney, Mo Abdrabboh said.

"The reason he agreed to that is he thought he could go to Jordan," Abdrabboh said. "It wasn't taken into account that self-deportation is harder than it seems."

No country would take him. Even Jordan, where he holds citizenship, refused. After his time to self-deport elapsed, he was taken into custody in November 2005, then spent a year in a Michigan jail.

Let that be a lesson to terrorist sympathizers everywhere. The more notorious your support, the more the infidel nations will exclude you, and the less your brother Muslims will want you around to attract attention.

Source: Cincinnati Post

Losing Your Head

Saddam Hussein's co-defendants have been hanged.

Unfortunately, his half-brother had to lose his head over it:

Saddam Hussein's half-brother, Barzan al-Tikriti, was decapitated as he was hanged.

He and Awad Hamad al-Bandar, a top judge under Saddam, were convicted over the killing of 148 Shias in the 1980s.

The country's president Jalal Talabani had urged their executions be delayed.

Government officials said the decapitation of Barzan was not abnormal, although it was rare for the head to be severed during hanging. One described it as "an act of God".

One of those present, public prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi, told the BBC that when the trap door opened, he could only see the rope dangling.

"I thought the convict Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti had escaped the noose. I shouted that he's escaped the noose, go down and look for him. I went down a few steps ahead of the others to see: I found out that his head had separated from his body."

Death penalty opponents have taken a different approach in recent years, by playing up every mishandling of an execution in which the condemned suffers a little more pain than is necessary as proof of the barbaric nature of the penalty.

Decapitation during a hanging, however, is not proof of the inhumanity of the death penalty any more than breaking one's leg skiing is proof of the inhumanity of skiing.

Both arise out of unfortunate accident or technical incompetence. The lesson to be drawn is not to give up the death penalty, but to improve on technique.

Source: BBC

Sunday, January 14, 2007

No Fly Zone

It's time for civil libertarians to scare the public with the threat of the all-encompassing police state reaching out for them. If not with a knock on the door in the middle of the night, then with a tap on the shoulder at the local airport:

Soon, this could happen to you: You're flying to another Canadian city and despite a confirmed reservation, the airport kiosk won't print your boarding pass.

You wait while an agent checks something in her computer. She disappears to make a call to a Transport Canada hotline. When she returns, you learn Transport Canada has refused you permission to board. Police might even appear and take you into custody.

You've just found out the hard way that your name is on Canada's new "specified persons list" better known as the no-fly list.

Until now, there has been no official list prohibiting people from flying into or within Canada.

That will soon change. The no-fly list, a key part of a program known as Passenger Protect, was announced in 2005 by the former Liberal government. Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette last October and the 75-day period for public comment expired this week. The program will come into force after Transport Canada publishes final regulations in March.

The no-fly list's imminent introduction has raised numerous concerns, ranging from its impact on privacy, civil liberties and constitutionally guaranteed mobility rights to fears it will disproportionately target Muslims and further entrench security integration with the Americans.

To go along with the quasi-criminal offence of "driving while black," we will now have the quasi-criminal offence of "flying while Muslim." The press will be filled with stories of ordinary Moes hauled off in handcuffs, kept from visiting their mothers' deathbeds in Syria because they share a name with some Hezbollah operative.

Alan Borovoy and Mohammed Elmasry will hold press conferences to denounce this latest anti-freedom, anti-Muslim initiative of the Republican lapdog government in Ottawa.

Of course, we will never hear of the rationale for screening certain people ever again after this:

Using intelligence provided by the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, an advisory group led by Transport Canada will assess individuals who may pose an immediate threat to aviation safety.

After reviewing the intelligence, the advisory group, which includes senior officers from CSIS and the RCMP, will make recommendations to the minister of transport, infrastructure and communities about whom to include on the no-fly list.

According to published guidelines, candidates fall into three categories:

- Those who are or have been involved in a terrorist group;

- Those who have been convicted of serious, life-threatening crimes against aviation security;

- And those who have been convicted of serious offences and who "may attack or harm an air carrier, passengers or crew members."

So you've got to have a pretty nasty background in the first place to be grounded. A fact that will never be mentioned in the hysterical media reports to come, except with plenty of ironic "quotes".

What is the likelihood that your name is on the list?

And given the generally porous state of law enforcement information handling, even if it should be, quite possibly it isn't.


Fatal Coincidence

One Italian couple from Woodbridge killed in Mexico under suspicious circumstances is a tragedy.

Another Italian from Woodbridge killed in Mexico under suspicious circumstances is a coincidence.

We think.

The first thought that came to my mind when thinking of the two incidents was "mob hit." I bet it was a lot of people's first thought, too. It only goes to show the power of stereotype.

Source: National Post

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Is It Safe?

Life imitates art: in this case, Marathon Man:

A dentist who pulled out an elderly woman’s teeth without anaesthetic “to teach her a lesson” has been struck off.

David Quelch left the retired nurse, who was 87, with blood pouring from her mouth from two extractions after she had complained to her doctor about the quality of previous treatment by the dentist.

After a three-day hearing the General Dental Council found Mr Quelch, 54, guilty of serious professional misconduct and ordered his name to be removed from the register.

The woman, referred to as Patient A, gave her evidence via a video link. She said: “Mr Quelch told me to sit in the chair and raised my feet above my head. I told him I had pain and he told me he was going to extract my teeth. I objected. I didn’t think it was necessary. He ignored my remarks and pulled out the tooth. I was bleeding profusely.

“He lowered my head and pushed my chest and proceeded to extract the other tooth against my will. I was very upset and alarmed.”

She said that she asked to spit blood into a bowl at the side of the dental chair but Mr Quelch had refused and said: “No, don’t spit in the bowl, you might have Aids.”

She added: “I said I didn’t want my tooth removed — he pushed me back, pushing me hard across my chest and extracted the second tooth. All I wanted was a filling.”

Given the general state of British dental health, I'm surprised she had two teeth to lose at her age.

But seriously folks:

A dentist or doctor doesn't suddenly turn into a sadist overnight. He didn't just snap; pulling teeth as a form of revenge is not an impulsive act like throwing a chair or a random punch.

This fellow was likely deliberately inflicting needless injury on his patients long before: not pulling their teeth, of course, but there are other, less blatant methods.

You wonder sometimes whether the ability to inflict pain motivates some people to enter these professions.

Source: Times Online

Friday, January 12, 2007

If Wishes Were Horses

I'd like to see world peace and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow too, but no matter how much I want it, it ain't gonna happen:

Federal Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion is touring Alberta, telling supporters that he wants to make significant gains in the province during the next federal election.

"It's a scandal for me as a Liberal that out of 28 ridings in Alberta we have zero seats," Dion said Thursday from Edmonton, on his first visit to the province since winning the Liberal leadership last month.

Dion spoke at the University of Alberta, met with Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, and held a town hall meeting in Edmonton that drew about 500 people before hopping on a plane to Calgary Thursday night.


There are more than $100 billion worth of new energy projects either approved or planned in Alberta. The scope of the activity has prompted some conservationists and community leaders to call for an inquiry into their cumulative impact on people and the environment.

A Dion-led government would set out strict environmental regulations, review the oil and natural gas tax regime, and provide incentives to bolster research into finding ways of dealing with the environmental consequences of energy development, he said.

Can you say National Energy Program? I knew you could.

Source: CBC

It's Not A Small World After All: Part II

For almost forty years now, the unofficial motto of Canada has been "Diversity Our Strength." To suggest otherwise has been considered an embarrassing faux pas at best, downright evil at worst.

Now some courageous academics have decided to attack the underlying the basis of our multicultural myth:

Visible-minority immigrants are slower to integrate into Canadian society than their white, European counterparts, and feel less Canadian, suggesting multiculturalism doesn't work as well for non-whites, according to a landmark report.

The study, based on an analysis of 2002 Statistics Canada data, found that the children of visible-minority immigrants exhibited a more profound sense of exclusion than their parents.

Visible-minority newcomers, and their offspring, identify themselves less as Canadians, trust their fellow citizens less and are less likely to vote than white immigrants from Europe.

The findings suggest that multiculturalism, Canada's official policy on interethnic relations since 1971, is not working as well for newer immigrants or for their children, who hail largely from China, South Asia and the Caribbean, conclude co-authors Jeffrey Reitz, a University of Toronto sociologist, and Rupa Banerjee, a doctoral candidate.

Despite all the denigration and downplaying of Canadian history and culture, Canada is still a Western country, and immigrants from non-Western countries are naturally going to find it harder to integrate.

Think about it in reverse.

If you emigrated from Canada, would you find Germany less of a culture shock than Pakistan?

Source: Globe and Mail

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Baghdad USA

When will the left demand an immediate withdrawal from the Detroit quagmire?

The vandalization of two Shiite mosques and five Shiite-owned businesses in Detroit, Michigan, has raised the specter of sectarian clashes in the United States.

While police have not yet determined who threw rocks and bricks through the windows of the mosques and businesses, many in the community believe it was an attack by Sunnis, said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The vandalism came a week after the execution in Iraq of Saddam Hussein. Many Sunnis were offended by the way in which local Shiites celebrated his death, Walid said.

The owner of one of the restaurants targeted received a threatening phone call Saturday from a man speaking in Arabic and English who noted that he was a Shiite and said, “You’re going to get yours . . . what goes around comes around,” Walid said.

This almost makes me nostalgic for the days when Detroit's worst problems were race riots. Almost.

Source: Manila Times

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ciad Mile Failte

Congratulations to Visitor X from Pilot Butte, Saskatchewan, who stumbled onto this site whilst googling for information about RCMP uniforms.

At 9:47:01 Eastern Standard Time today, you became the 100,000th recorded visitor to Dissonance And Disrespect.

You win absolutely nothing except the unique recognition of being visitor 100,000 to this site. That's something you can't auction on eBay.

Big Of Him

What this man is doing is a crime today.

Tomorrow, it will be his court-given Charter right:

A Missouri mother is desperately trying to stop her newly married 39-year-old daughter from joining her bigamist husband here in Toronto.

Oliver Killeen, 70, who has been married at least 19 times, moved to Toronto in June 2005 after being freed from jail in England for his illegal 19th marriage. He boasted to the Star in October that he was a "conman" with "at least six girlfriends" in the city, and that he was able to "hypnotize" them. Seventeen of his marriages have been illegal.

Gina Lascuola, a hard-working single mom of a disabled child, met Killeen through a Catholic singles website in March and married him in Niagara Falls on Dec. 28, according to her mother, Debbie Lascuola.

She believes her daughter learned of Killeen's past before she married him, but married him anyway after spending only a few days with him on two visits to Canada in December.

Gina insists "she loves Oliver and we're not going to stop her from being with him. That's pretty much how all of her conversations have gone – that he is a changed man," says Debbie Lascuola. "We don't believe it."

Read more about this charming spalpeen here.

Such a shame for the progressives at the Toronto Star to take a censorious attitude towards a man whose only crime is that he loves more than one woman at the same time. If he were homosexual, the Star would be demanding the courts let him take several "husbands" (wives? spouses? tops? bottoms?) at once.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Dion Fights The Second Coming

Bonnie Prince Justin has made it clear that he wants to be the Liberal candidate for Outremont, where Jean Lapierre will not be reoffering.

The prospect will delight many an aging baby boomer hoping to relive their lost youth with Trudeaumania II, just as they tried (and failed) at Woodstock II.

Stephane Dion, however, is less than enthusiastic:

La Presse reports that Liberal leader Stephane Dion was planning on reserving the riding for high-profile candidates who could help the rebuild the party's support in Quebec.

According to the newspaper, Dion has made it clear to some Liberals that the 35-year-old Trudeau is not the star candidate he was seeking.

Well, of course not. The Young Pretender will outshine the Old Contender on the hustings at every turn: the cameras will follow his every move with the hacks in tow to gush over his every utterance.

Dion is not about to give Trudeau a springboard from which to launch his inevitable leadership coup. Watch for him to appoint a woman in Outremont instead so he can block Trudeau and help fulfil his promise to have women fill one-third of all Liberal candidacies in the next election.

Of course, since three-quarters of the world's population will die in the next five years because of global warming, Trudeau's leadership ambitions and Dion's rearguard action against them will hardly matter.

Source: CTV

Kinsella's Regrets

Warren Kinsella will probably sue me for saying this, but the evidence bears it out: he is a litigious jackass.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Jack In The Box

Courtesy of Wajid Khan's defection, Jack Layton will now be writing Tory environmental policy:

The NDP will use its new sway with the government to get the Conservatives to shift gear on an "issue-by-issue" basis, just as the party did to get concessions with the former minority Liberal government, NDP Leader Jack Layton told CBC News on Monday.

But it's unlikely the party would be a political ally for a Tory agenda, Layton said.

Since the defection of Liberal MP Wajid Khan to the Conservatives, Jack Layton and the NDP have held the balance of power.
(CBC) "It would be pretty hard to see how that could happen, and we have no inclination to do that," Layton said, adding he would need to see "dramatic" changes in direction before the NDP supports the Tories on issues such as emissions regulations.

Never mind that carbon dioxide emissions, natural and manmade, are only one element in determining global climate, and one which appears to have had little direct correlation with global warming and cooling in the past.

Never mind that Earth's climate has never been static, and has undergone rapid warmings and coolings even during Man's relatively brief civilized period.

The NDP will enforce the Kyoto orthodoxy on this government because there's no way to overcome the entrenched half-truths that the public has been brought to believe about climate change as the coming apocalypse during a snap election campaign.

Source: CBC

ACTRA Strikes Out

That’s right. You’ll have a national philosopher’s strike on your hands.

Who will that inconvenience?

Never you mind who it’ll inconvenience you box of black legging binary bits! It’ll hurt, buster! It’ll hurt!

The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Here Speeching English

Ah, those inscrutable Chinese:

Visitors to China's capital can stroll through "Racist Park," enjoy a plate of "Crap in the Grass" and stop by a Starbucks franchise for a cup for "Christmas Bland" coffee.

Now the Beijing government is trying to clean up such mistranslations and sloppy editing (including the inversion of "a" and "r" in "carp" on menus) before an expected 500,000 foreigners arrive for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

"Some of the translations in China aren't clear or even polite," said Liu Yang, director general of the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages program. "The government realized that if they weren't changed, the city would lose face."

What would we do without Chinglish?

The Chinese should be aware and take notice of safe: the slippery are very crafty.

Source: Arizona Daily Star

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Use Your Noodle

So rarely do we know the names of men who have laboured to provide the most ingenious of everyday items. Ever more rarely do we note their passing.

Let starving students and others too poor or too lazy to cook a decent meal take a moment to remember a man whose invention has kept millions round the world fed:

The inventor of instant noodles, Momofuku Ando, has died in Japan, aged 96, of a heart attack.

Mr Ando was born in Taiwan in 1910 and moved to Japan in 1933, founding Nissin Food Products Co after World War II to provide cheap food for the masses.

His most famous product, Cup Noodle, was released in 1971.

Its taste and ease of preparation - adding hot water to dried noodles in a waterproof polystyrene container - have made it popular around the world.

Mr Ando said the inspiration for his product came when he saw people lining up to buy bowls of hot ramen noodle soup at a black market stall during the food shortages after World War II.

A lesson to us all: privation is oft one of man's greatest inspirations.

Source: BBC

It's Not A Small World After All

Ivy League professors who question the received orthodoxies of academe are uncomfortably aware that even tenure is no sure protection against outrage from their colleagues and political partisans.

The hasty departure of Harvard president Lawrence Summers following the outcry against his musings about biological reasons why fewer women study the hard sciences and engineering is a demonstration thereof.

Another Harvard professor may soon find himself in the same predicament for suggesting that the world really doesn't operate like a Benetton ad:

While in Sweden to receive a $50,000 academic prize as political science professor of the year, Harvard’s Robert D. Putnam, a former Carter administration official who made his reputation writing about the decline of social trust in America in his bestseller Bowling Alone, confessed to Financial Times columnist John Lloyd that his latest research discovery—that ethnic diversity decreases trust and co-operation in communities—was so explosive that for the last half decade he hadn’t dared announce it “until he could develop proposals to compensate for the negative effects of diversity, saying it ‘would have been irresponsible to publish without that.’”

In a column headlined “Harvard study paints bleak picture of ethnic diversity,” Lloyd summarized the results of the largest study ever of “civic engagement,” a survey of 26,200 people in 40 American communities:

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.’

Lloyd noted, “Prof Putnam found trust was lowest in Los Angeles, ‘the most diverse human habitation in human history.’

Professor Putnam could have found the same results in Toronto as well. Our civic leaders regularly bemoan the absence of a common civic identity and cooperation in Toronto, at the same time that they praise Toronto for being the most multicultural city in the world.

There isn't a city here in Toronto, merely an agglomeration of ethnic and economic enclaves.

And while that brings us a plethora of ethnic restaurants and cultural festivals, it doesn't encourage civic cooperation.

Source: American Conservative

Friday, January 05, 2007

Leaving The Scene

Provincial cabinet minister has a little too much to drink, hits a car with a couple of journalists in it, then runs, while a professional photographer records the event.

You'd almost think it was a setup, if it weren't just an incredible run of bad luck.

Read the rest here.

Baird The Beard

Giggling schoolgirl reporterette Jane Taber gushes about Environment Minister John Baird, the up-and-comer in the Harper cabinet:

John Baird is the other man in Laureen Harper's life, often called upon to button up his tux and escort Mrs. Harper around town when her husband, the Prime Minister, is away.

"I love John," Mrs. Harper said yesterday. "He is a great guy, he is fun to be around, he looks good in a tux and he is a great date. He is also a lover of felines."

Well, of course Baird is the perfect escort for the PM's wife. Harper never has to worry about him trying to make a pass at her.

More Taberesque fluff here.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Shuffle Demons

The lineup:

Rob Nicholson: Justice. A promotion from House Leader and Democratic Reform.

Monte Solberg: Human Resouces & Social Development. A definite step-up from Immigration & Citizenship, where his strengths as an economic critic were never put into serious play.

Vic Toews: Justice to Treasury Board. A sideways move in reality, if an unfortuante capitulation to the liberal elites who didn't want a social conservative in the job.

Rona Ambrose: Environment to Intergovernmental Affairs (for the Constitution and fiscal imbalance related questions to blow up in her face); Western Economic Diversification (to hand out the pork to the starving masses of Saskatchewan) and President of the Queen's Privy Council (a sinecure to hide her away in for a while).

Diane Finley: Citizenship & Immigration. Switching jobs with Solberg. A step down to a portfolio no Conservative can ever look good in.

John Baird: Environment. Big, big, step up for one of Harper's most trusted lieutenants. All of Ambrose's positives (young, energetic, telegenic, intelligent) without a big negative (Albertan too close to the oilpatch to buy into Kyoto.)

Peter Van Loan: Government House Leader & Democratic Reform. Of course, he was just keeping the seat warm at Intergovernmental Affairs for Rona.

No less important is who didn't move: Jim Flaherty, Maxime Bernier, Stockwell Day, Tony Clement and (inexplicably) Peter MacKay. We know now, a year into the government, who's trusted to manage their departments without PMO hovering over their shoulders.

And if she wasn't from Calgary, Diane Ablonczy would be in Cabinet by now. She's just too talented not to be. But then, considerations of regional balance ensure that some weaklings get in and some capable folk get left out.

Wrath For Khan

By now, the only people who haven't heard about the upcoming federal cabinet shuffle are the comatose and nomads wandering in the Gobi Desert.

So let's discuss some related news: the fate of Liberal MP/special Middle East affairs adviser Wajid Khan:

The strange, dual-political citizenship of Wajid Khan – the Liberal MP serving since last summer as "special adviser" to the Conservative prime minister on the Middle East and Afghanistan – may be coming to an end this week.

But whether Khan intends to stay as a Liberal or cross the floor to the Conservatives became more of a mystery yesterday when neither he nor the Prime Minister's Office wanted to answer any questions about the political future of the MP for Mississauga-Streetsville.


The mystery may not be allowed to last for too long, though. New Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion is due to sit down with Khan by the end of this week.

A spokesperson for Dion said yesterday that the discussion would include questions about the MP's future political allegiance.

"He is scheduled to come in and meet Stéphane later on this week. ... I'm sure it's something that will be addressed when they meet," said André Fortin, Dion's spokesperson.

Khan was named last August to be Harper's special adviser on the Middle East and Afghanistan, even though he reportedly made clear he'd serve the Tory PM while remaining part of the Liberal caucus.

Tapping the unique expertise of an opposition MP on a sensitive issue would seem to be a statesmanlike act; haven't we all been told ad nauseam that we want Parliament to play fewer partisan political games?

Apparently the Liberals haven't grasped the concept of MP as more than a mere partisan.

And so they're about to lose him to a party that does.

And a Muslim MP at that, in Al-Mississauga.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Spanish Fly

Apologist for Fidel Castro's regime never tire of reminding us that Cuba has the world's finest public health care system.

So fine is it, that in his dying days, Castro has decided to go to Spain for his palliative care:

Fidel Castro was rumoured to be having hospital treatment in Spain.

According to internet reports, the Cuban dictator is staying in a restricted wing of the Gregorio Maranon Hospital in Madrid.

He is said to have arrived on the same plane as the Spanish surgeon who flew to Cuba last week to treat him at the request of the island's authorities.

Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, who works at Gregorio Maranon has denied reports that Castro, 80, is suffering from cancer.

The surgeon said he was recovering well from stomach surgery to repair a problem with his digestive system.

Details of Castro's health problems remain a closely-guarded secret although Cuban authorities have denied he has terminal cancer, as U.S. intelligence officials have claimed.

Sceptics may point to actual photographic and anecdotal evidence to demonstrate why Castro has suddenly decided not to trust his life to the system that he built. But of course, we all know that it's propaganda produced by CIA-backed Miami-based exiles, and that Castro's trip to Spain is simply for a holiday change in scenery.

(Incidentally, Baltazar Garzon hasn't popped up to slap an arrest warrant on Castro while he's in the country. But we're sure that it is simply an oversight on the good judge's part.)

Source: Daily Mail

Come A Copper

Bring me the head of Taras Shevchenko:

A Burlington recycling plant says it paid less than $1,000 for the head of the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko.

Halton Regional Police found the bronze at Thomson Metals and Disposal yesterday. The statue, valued at more than $350,000, was reported missing over the weekend from the Shevchenko Memorial Park in Oakville.

The monument, which had been crudely cut off at the ankles, was stolen for its copper content.


Statue thefts in an age of high copper prices are becoming increasingly common, said Arnold Knapp, consultant with Canadian Copper and Brass Development Association, yesterday. He said the bronze used in statues normally contains about 85% copper alloy. Once that bronze is melted down for resale, he said, it can never be turned into pure copper but can still be a valuable product to use in other castings.

"We have a large number of copper thefts in the region," said Halton Detective Greg Sullivan yesterday. "On Christmas Eve there was a break-in at a factory in Oakville where a bunch of different metals were stolen."

The statue of Taras Shevchenko was a gift from the Soviet Union to mark the 60th anniversary of Ukrainian immigration to Canada. Shevchenko is considered by some to be the Ukrainian equivalent to Shakespeare. As a 19th century poet, he produced more than one thousand literary works.

When the statue was erected in 1951, tens of thousands attended its unveiling. At the time, the monument was the centrepiece of a Ukrainian children's summer camp. While the camp closed in 1998, many still visit the park to see the historical figure.

Copper theft is the in thing in theft these days, with copper prices having doubled over the past few years.

Fortunately (or not), it has its own built-in deterrent: electrocution. Copper thieves have been frying themselves on power poles and substations trying to strip copper from power cable with an almost alarming regularity.

Until demand for copper falls off enough as consumers switch to cheaper substitutes where possible, expect no man's eavestroughs or power lines to be safe.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Passport To Safety

If, for some inexplicable reason, Somalia were as hot a vacation spot as Lebanon, these two fine upstanding Canadian passport holders would have been the first lined up for a cruise ship home:

As many as two Somali Islamic fighters who claim to be Canadian were among 10 fighters arrested by Kenyan police, according to separate reports Tuesday.

The 10 were arrested on Monday at the Liboi border crossing in Kenya as they tried to flee Somalia, the Kenya Daily Nation reported.

Two were reportedly carrying Canadian passports, while the remaining eight were said to have Eritrean passports. According to the newspaper, all 10 militants were being detained in the Kenyan town of Garissa. It is not known whether they have been charged.

A Canadian Press report, however, said only one man with a Canadian passport had been detained. The report quotes Kenya police spokesman Gideon Kibunja.

"It's difficult to judge if they are Islamic Courts fighters, but a number of them were Eritrean and one had a Canadian passport," Kibunja said.

Foreign Affairs officials in Canada told CBC News on Tuesday that they were aware of the Kenya Daily Nation report, but they would not comment until they had more information.

How committed to the cause of Islamic rule they must be to be holding on to an infidel nation's passport, in case Allah's cause fails. Not exactly the kind of citizens either country would really want!

Source: CBC

Ottawa Shuffle

Barring any last-minute surprises, Stephen Harper will shuffle the cabinet before Parliament reconvenes later this month.

It's no secret that Rona Ambrose will be out of Environment. Her inability to sell the Clean Air Act in the face of miltant Kyoto orthodoxy, and the need to counter Stephane Dion's clean green image, helped force this shuffle.

But what to do about Peter MacKay?

It may now be safe politically for Harper to dump one of the weakest links in Cabinet, or if not to punt him from Cabinet, to shuffle him somewhere where he can do less harm than in Foreign Affairs.

Three years on from the merger, it is no longer necessary to keep MacKay in a position of prominence simply because of his past role as the last leader of the old PC party. People have stopped thinking of themselves as members of one of the old legacy parties; party factions have realigned along different lines now.

MacKay has proven himself to be an inept, or at least indifferent, handler of the foreign affairs portfolio. The position can't afford a lightweight. Get someone in there with a little heft.

Source: National Post

Monday, January 01, 2007

Selling The Honours

In days of old, receiving the Order of Canada used to require significant life-long contribution to the betterment of Canadian society. Or failing that, significant life-long contribution to the betterment of the Liberal Party.

Now you can cut straight to the chase and get one on Ebay:

A click of the mouse and deep pockets are all that's separating online bidders from a chance to own a rare piece of Canadian history that ranks among the country's most prestigious honours: one of the earliest Order of Canada medals.

The medal, awarded to noted Quebec historian Gustave Lanctot nearly 40 years ago, surfaced eight days ago on eBay. Mr. Lanctot died in 1975.

The Order of Canada recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the country.

As of 5 p.m. ET Friday, nine bids had been registered on the popular auction site for the sterling silver medal, with the highest bid posted at $590. Bidding is slated to end Jan. 6 at 12 p.m. ET.


Mr. Lanctot was awarded the Order of Canada's medal of service just five days after the order was established on July 1, 1967.

The medal of service was only handed out between 1967 and 1972. The name of the award has since been changed to officer of the Order of Canada.

"It's quite scarce," said Christopher McCreery, author of "The Order of Canada: Its Origins, History and Development."

"There are only 389 awarded, of which there are only about 125 that are still in existence because the remainder were exchanged for the officer insignia and melted by the Royal Canadian Mint."

Selling such medals has always seemed distasteful; what has been given as an honour by a grateful nation should not be the subject of mere commerce.

Source: Globe and Mail