Conservatives and Canada
A while ago when I was bloggless, there was a bit of a flurry of accusations by the more Liberal blogs that "Conservatives" hated Canada. Of course the Conservative blogsphere responded "do not." There were some intelligent posts in response to the charge, but the accusation that Conservatives are all a lot of Canada haters who wish they lived in the US is fairly silly. I'm not entirely certain that the accusation deserves a reply, as one could simply state that "Liberals and Ndpers are a bunch of hippies who hate Canada and desperately wish they were part of the EU".
However, given that at the political level Liberals decide to accuse Conservatives of being too American and we don't respond with something equally childish by accusing them of being too European perhaps responding is warranted.
Firstly, as Harper pointed out on the campaign trail "you don't have to be a Liberal to be a Canadian." The tendency among Liberals to identify their own personal political beliefs as the country is rather fradulent. The current political direction of the country isn't the country given that it can be reversed and altered. A country has to be seen in a more corporate fashion as it really is a mixture of present, past and future. If one looks only at the now and the nost so distant past your examining a snap shot in the life of a country and gaining a distorted picture.
Secondly, wrapping yourself in the flag really isn't a very convincing argument. If you disagree with someone's policies say why and offer a counter argument. Simply stating that's their "too American" and "unCanadian" really doesn't do that. Its a jingoistic response to a proposed policy. If politics is a war of ideas simply attempting to smear the otherside as unpatriotic is intellectually bankrupt and vulgar.
Thirdly, what are Conservatives proposing that is "American"? Is being more active and credible in our foreign policy exclusively an American notion? Have not the British, the Australians and any other influential nation done as much? Are freer markets an exclusively American notion? It certainly wasn't developed by Americans, rather by Italians, the French, and Scottish and English enlightenment figures. Perhaps its the Conservatives support of Israel in the middle east - is that "American"? I would hope failing to support anti-Semetism is not an exclusively American virtue.
Policy preferences transcend nationality, you can't simply label them as being associated with any one nation. Nor is relatively free markets, internalional intervention or individualism exclusively "American" ideas or policies.
Furthermore, Conservatives obviously care a great deal about the country. We toil away at trying to make this country what we consider to be a better place. That alone implies some measure of concern for the nation as a whole. We disagree with the government quite frequently, but on the other hand you can disaprove of the actions or some aspects of many people and things you care about. If you buy a car intent on restoring it, you obviously don't hate the car but care for it enough to wish to restore it from a broken down form. Similarly parents don't hate their child if they attempt to urge them to mend their ways when they are lazing about living in their basement and doing nothing but smoking pot.
Premier Danny Williams' war on Ottawa
I think Klein has officially lost the "Ottawa Hating Crown". Danny Williams seems to have blossomed into the role of principal voice of regional angst quite nicely. In the last several monthes Williams has stormed out of a meeting with the premiers, angrily denounced Martin for not returning a phone call, and all but called Martin a liar outright.
In his latest move Williams has ordered all the Canadian flags on provincial government buildings in the province to be run down, given what he considers to be Ottawa's profound bad faith in negotiating over the offshore oil agreements. The mayors of Newfoundland's major cities have similairly removed Canadian flags from municipal buildings in a show of solidarity. This has to be the most open show of quasi-seperatism seen outside Quebec in a 100 years.
My reaction is twofold- firstly, I can't help but react initially along the lines of "my god that Williams has got a pair hasn't he?" Not only is he taking a run at the federal government but he's attacking its symbols and people are rallying around it.
Secondly, I have to marvel at how badly Martin has handled this entire scenario. Although I marvel with a great degree of glee at watching what is something of a tremendous failure. Martin really was goaded into making his pledge to Williams because Harper made the pledge first. If Martin hadn't Harper could have beat him over the head with his lack of concern about the future of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and picked up a number of more seats.
Since then Martin has gone on and on about how its all a big misunderstanding, and floated the notion of how it would really be unfair for the rest of Canada if he went along with Newfoundland. However, he back pedaled on the later evidently he wasn't ready to sacrifice a large number of seats in that region.
Its actually rather fascinating to watch this squabble over the revenues over offshore oil. It could very well be that the regional hinterland angst that Preston Manning was looking for in Atlantic Cananda more than a decade ago is starting to bubble to the surface. Certainly they do not seem as ready to believe that the Liberal Party of Canada is looking after their best interests. If nothing else there is an opportunity and a wave which can be road here. The Conservative Party in the next election with this rather unseemly and public bit of feuding ill have an opportunity to make some serious inroads.
It would be terribly ironic if in the next election it was possible for Harper to play the national unity card - given that the Liberals are driving the country appart. Were that the case I think Conservatives across the country would be dining on schaucenfreud for along time to come. Although I'm sure the Liberals would miss the irony of being hoisted upon their own petard.
In praise of Don Cherry
I've heard many people deride the Pontifex Maximus of Hockey as being crass, boorish and a knuckle dragger. Of course the people whom tend to offer these particular assessments are rarely those whom watch the game with any frequency as they haven't a very high opinion of a sport as "violent" as hockey itself. Hockey is our national sport and remains one aspect of our society which is muscular and agressive, a bastion of manhood admist the rampant feminized pacivity that dominates our culture.
Don Cherry, save his occasional xenophobic statements, is one of the most positive figures on national television. From his bully pulpit of Coach's Corner, his message is one of pride and patriotism. Cherry is always proud and eager to where the flag on his sleave, hat, tie and as a pattern on his suit for that matter. Few are the people whom express their love of country so frequently and openly.
He also offers a message of decency and responsibility to the children he knows watch him on television. He counsels them to respect their oponnents and play fair, but to play hard. They should stand up for themselves and for their teammates. I can't imagine a more honourable message than that, nor one more needed for young minds. Love your country, contribute to your team, do you best, play fair and respect yourself enough to defend yourself and your team. I can't think of a message any more Canadian.
Yushchenko Declares Victory
Yushchenko is declaring victory in the Ukraine on the basis of a 17 point lead in the counted polls, and a 56.5 to 41.3 lead in exit polls. This 15% or so lead is fiarly consistent with polling that's been conducted in the Ukraine over the last several weeks. Yushchenko's victory is a victory for democracy over the forces of oligarchy and opression. Its an indication that democracy can take root in those countries where it hasn't deep historical roots. Democracy can work anywhere, because men desire to be free and freedom is best expressed through democracy. Democracy is not just a greco-roman/anglo-saxon phenomena but that form of government most natural to all men, regardless of their geography, ethnicity or skin colour. Seeing the people of a country stand up for those fundamental rights which are their own against the elite of their country and those of a neighbouring power and achieving victory has been an inspiring sight to behold.
I salute all those brave Ukrainians who took to the streets in defense of their freedom, and I congradulate them on their victory. This may be a turning point in the history of Eastern Europe where the changes wrought in the 1980s begin to run their course and take full effect. Whatever the ultimate impact of this election in the Ukraine, it has been a good day for democracy.
Signs of the comming Apocalypse - I agree with the NDP on something
In seriousness, I consider this to be a decent and honourable thing to be doing in order to ensure that our nation's rich history is preserved for future generations. I hope all parties will support the private members bill that's being proposed here. I give credit where credit is due and Peter Stoffer has risen in my estimation.
On the other hand I'm reminded of the line from Starsky and Hutch where Huggy Bear says "you've risen a notch, that puts you at one."
Dead veterans' medals not for sale, says Nova Scotia MP
New Democrat MP Peter Stoffer was inspired by the incident and on Wednesday was due to unveil his proposed bill to prohibit the sale of war medals.
"Those medals could be sold by your next of kin or estate. I just think that's wrong," Stoffer told a local radio show.
"You can't place a value on that. It's something that should stay within the family to pass on and keep the memory alive," said Pointon.
The Diplomad slams Cultural Marxism
is fascinating blog by (you guessed it) diplomats of a republican bent in the US state department. They do tend to come across as more republican than diplomat in their posting, but their ridiculing of all things leftist in their blog is likely their chance to "tell us how they really feel" rather than smiling and nodding to various hippy, international law loving, scum.
The USSR's end forced the envious, resentful, and fearful and their leaders to adapt, transform, fracture and downgrade a belief system that had "explained" everything into less-satisfying sub-sets, each focused on a particular topic: most prominently, feminism, environmentalism and the rapidly growing one of "international law." Despite their seemingly different concerns, all these sub-sets shared much in common, to wit, at their core lay anti-capitalist, anti-American and increasingly anti-Semitic emotions disguised as analytical constructs. Over the past fifteen or so years, we have seen these different strands re-meld into what we now call the Anti-Globalization Movement (AGM). While it doesn't have the military force behind it of the old Marxism, nor has it yet formulated a clear vision of the world with which it seeks to replace the current world (there is no AGM Das Kapital), it shares with old-time Marxism a reliance on pseudo-science and a vanguard elite. Also from Marxism come much of its language and tactics, as well as the goals of disrupting economic development of the capitalist kind and bringing down the United States and the global order it dominates.
They also had a few interesting comments about the "pro-aboriginal" activists who seek to protect the lifestyle of natural cultures extra. There comments are wholly applicable to our situation with our aboriginal people in Canada, and highlight the glaring error in our entire strategy in dealing with them.
Having served and visited extensively in Central and South American countries with large "indigenous" populations, I can freely state that the region's "indigenous" cultures largely ceased to exist hundreds of years ago; "indigenous" culture today means rural poverty. As the saying goes, "I was born at night, but not last night," so even I understand, therefore, that calling to protect "indigenous culture" really means seeking to preserve rural poverty; to keep people poor, sick, illiterate, and isolated from the great and small wonders of our age. It means helping condemn them to half lives consumed with superstition, disease, and of watching their puny children struggle to live past the age of five. It's a call to keep certain people as either an ethnic curio on the shelf for the enjoyment of European and North American anthropologists or, equally vile, as exploitable pawns for the use of political activists.
This segues to one of the great and evil myths promulgated by activists, i.e., the Native Americans' love for the land. As one activist (from Minnesota) told me, "they would rather die than give up their contact with Mother Earth." Really? You can believe that if you want, but everywhere I've gone in Latin America, rural people seek to head for the city, or, even better, the USA. They want medicine, Coca-Cola, TVs, cars, motorcycles, corn flakes, and indoor plumbing -- they want to live like the activists do in Minnesota. Those who stay on the land, in particular the men, do not radiate any particular love for the land, the flora, the fauna, or for each other. They fish with dynamite and mercury; burn or cut huge tracts of forest; treat their "sacred lakes" as sewers; drink themselves stupid; and engage in often lethal fights and horrendous cruelty towards women, children and animals. In other words, they behave as uneducated, poor people have throughout all history and in all cultures. Note to activists: the "indigenous" are human.
This is absolutely the case. Aboriginal people are people like any other with the same wants and needs. They would be far better off if we actually did something to enhance their economic status rather than simply making empty token gestures by trotting them out to have a "purification ceremoney" and a "pow wow" any time "progessive" people wanted to have warm fuzzy multicultural feelings or to entertain foreigners. I think the notion that "its the economy stupid" should apply to our aboriginal people every bit as much as the rest of our countries policy, rather than this tedious and unproductive multicultural fiction of the noble savage.
I'm tired of Liberals accusing anyone who disagrees with gay marriage of being some sort of bigoted homophobe.
I was on Blogscanda
a few moments ago and read through a thread about gay marriage, which was a seeming echo chamber for "Conservatives are bad, backwards, discriminatory etc.."Of course, myself and 61% of the Canadian population seem to disagree with our "moral betters". I had the following to say in response:
Its profoundly dishonest to categorize everyone who disagrees with gay marriage as a "bigot" and a homophobe. Firstly, that would make 61% of Canadians bigots and homophobes, apparantly making our suposed "tolerance" as a country mythical.
Secondly, as the prior poster mentioned you can't redifine a term and practice which has occurred for several thousand years and not expect resistance to doing so. A great many people are of the belief, and quite rightly so, that if marriage has been between a man and a woman there is probably a good reason for that.
Thirdly, the process that was undertaken to rewrite the definition of marriage has been absolutely repellant. Attempting to litigate a change in a social institution based on some misguided notion of "right" is a deplorable practice in and of itself. If this was a widely suported initiative it would simply have been raised directly in Parliament.
Fourthly, its provided another case of judicial activism and undermined democracy. There is no provision for "sexual orientation" in the Charter of Rights and freedom to begin with. Hence we have an extrapolation of an extrapolation. Not only that but there is some rather dodgy logic being employed in comming to that decision. The notion that "marriage" is somehow a right rather than a social institution doesn't seem to be a logical characterization. Nor is there anything to suggest that the institution of marriage was any more descriminatory than Unemployment Insurance is to those whom are employed.
Fifthly, the lack of any sound argument for gay marriage has been absolutely appalling. All the proponents of gay marriage have had to offer is that "who are we to judge on the relationship of two people who love each other", "its in the charter" when if you can read it quite frankly it isn't. Neither of these arguments are all that convincing given that if we aren't allowed to stand in judgement of other people's relationships then incest, and polygamy shouldn't be judged either.
Sixthly, the burden of proof for rewriting thousands of years of tradition and practice is really on those suggesting a change and it hasn't been met. All there has been is an emotion response and nihilistic comments about the inability of rational people to judge.
Seventhly, hysterically accusing anyone who dissagrees with you of being some sort of nuckle dragging, bible thumbing bigot isn't exactly winning alot of people over to the idea. Eigthly, the dishonest manner people have been hiding behind the Courts and the Charter is appalling in and of itself. The Liberal attempt to stickhandle the manner and leave the matter solely in the court's lap so they could gain plausible deniability is disgusting. If you believe something at least say so and act on it.
Additionally, its getting tiresome to hear the false analogies of interacial marriages and slavery used. Interacial marriages offered no difference between the two people involved aside from skin colour. Furthermore, interacial marriages were hardly a new concept and had been occuring since man stepped out of his cave and began carrying off women. They could still have a family etc and really weren't any different than any other family. Slavery is an even worse analogy as it compares the suggestion that failing to allow homosexuals to access the word "marriage" is somehow depriving them of all there rights. This is such a gross exaggeration its really quite laughable.
Marriage as defined as being between one man and one woman isn't descriminatory to begin with. Every man and every woman regardless of any of there personal characteristics is entitled to be considered married to one member of the opposite sex if they so choose. Homosexuals choose not to access the institution. Its effectively the same as being employed your entire life and not acessing unemployment insurance.
Finally, very few people dispute that there are genuine grievances regarding penison benefits and things of that nature. Most people, including Conservatives such as myself have no problems with alternate arrangements be made to acknowledge the existance of homosexual relationships for that purpose. However, the term marriage has a good deal of history associated with it. Its the foundation of the family which is the core building block of our society and as such deserves to be distinguished.
I'm not a social conservative, but the left has pushed the envelope way too far on this particular issue. And before anyone goes off into the "how does it affect you" and "who are you to judge" reflexive rhetoric, I have my own rhetorical question to pose - "how arrogant do you have to be to assume you can alter the elemental foundations of society at a whim?"
Colby Cosh demolishes the "polygamy isn't next" argument
, whom many including my self feel was robbed for having not been included in the list of Wizbang's candidates for best blog of the year, has been making the slippery slope argument regarding same sex marriage for some time now. He's rightly pointed out that once you've decided that there is nothing all that special about a man and a woman it becomes fairly difficult to say there is anything special about the number two. He's taken umbrage with Chris Selley's post at Tart Cider
, and rather systematically destroyed Selley's response to his argument. Being a touch sadistic I rather enjoyed seeing the smack laid down upon Selley.
It goes on at length but I think the most telling portion of it is the following:
There is also some confusion here about the exact legal status of polygamy in this country: yes, it is a crime to enter formally into a new polygamous family relationship on Canadian soil--for the moment--but polygamous matrimonial relationships concluded outside Canada are already recognized as valid under, at the very least, the law of Ontario. (You'll want to check s.1(2) of your Family Law Act.) The tension between this proviso and the Criminal Code is exactly the sort of oddity that minorities have been using to explode retrograde social norms in the Western world for 150 years or more.
And, of course, supporters of polygamy are already--for better or worse, but certainly wisely--following the strategy of gays and lesbians; first make it legal, then make it equal. Ontario Muslims are fighting to establish the principle that their communities can make family law for themselves contractually, within a traditionalist Muslim framework under sharia. Legal polygamy may or may not be a direct result of the ongoing struggle, but either way I'm not confident that the criminal law can stand up to a good shove from a hard case. The cops in B.C. aren't either, which is why they've refused to round up the openly practicing polygamists in Bountiful. Tart Cider pins this on the B.C. government (presumably meaning both the Liberals and their NDP predecessors--right?), but of course it's the police who made the original decision that such a roundup wouldn't survive a Charter challenge for a picosecond. They've certainly had enough experience of appeal courts busting their chops to have developed instincts about this stuff.
Family law, sharia law and the nature of the charter do seem to indicate the polygamy could very well be in the pipes. As a somewhat bitter conservative who dislikes the fact that the majority opinion is being trampled on in the gay marriage debate my reaction is "good". If your going to trample the last few thousand years of human history regarding marriage being between a man and a woman, because "we have no right to judge the loving relationship between two people" then we shouldn't have any right to render judgement between "the loving relationship of three, four, five or six people". There is plenty of historical prescendence for it and since marriage is a "right" now rather than a privelege", whom are we to "impress our prejudices upon other people".
From an economic perspective think of the money making potential of holding multiple weddings for the same person. It will be good for the economy. Plus it could motivate people to work harder and earn more money so they could afford a second spouse. I for one know that if I ever became as obscenely rich as Hugh Heffner and had 8 or 9 girlfriends living and sleeping with me, I'd want to do the decent thing and marry them all. And really, haven't we all had the fantasy of meeting a pair of Swedish bikini models who share everything? Why should we deny some lucky guy the possibility of marrying them both if it ever happens huh?
How would polygamy affect your life or marriage? Its none of your business you moralizing bigot!
The Ukrainian Election
If you've been following the news at all of late, there has been a fascinating sage ongoing in the Ukraine as freedom and democracy strive to express themselves in the face of mass corruption and intimidation. The resilience that has been displayed by the Ukrainian people during the entire scenario has been absolutely inspiring. I'm normally sympathetic to people taking to the streets, as the causes that this is normally done on behalf of are the realms of paranoia, conspiracy theory, anarchy and the odds and ends of leftist drivel which doesn't fit into the first three categories proffered.
I've been following this story more closely than some perhaps, given that its a country I'm only two generations removed from. Although perhaps quintoxicly its one I know very little about given that our country was once far more integrationist than it is now. But the Ukraine and many other countries in that region of the old East Bloc have been making the transition to democracy and the free market in fits. The problems have partially arisen to the corruption that was endemic in the old Soviet system, where "everyone was equal, but some people were more equal than others". That particular status was transferred to the new system through the sale of state assets and some former party insiders had the connections to secure these assets for themselves and to become "oligarchs" in the new system. The amount of blatant cronyism in these countries would make even the worst patronage and partisan ship in Canada pale. In Russia, the Ukraine and all the former East Bloc countries corruption is seen to be rampant.
These problems with the transfer to a Western style economic and political system have been overcome for the most part in Poland and the Czech Republic and Slovakia, whom had a far better method of distribution for former state assets in their country. That has avoided some of the problems now seen in Russia.
The Ukrainian election which was first held several weeks ago was subject to rampant fraud. The dead found there way onto the voters list and voted, ballots were uncounted, voters were left off the voters list, ballot boxes were stuffed, some people voted more than once and various other irregularities have been reported. In a way its fairly standard stuff for the way democracy operated more than a hundred years ago. Bribery, bussing people in to vote from other districts and even the United States, patronage and intimidating people you knew didn't mean to vote for you were standard practice in Canada's early elections. The United States was no better, and the 'election' shown in Gangs of New York serves as a good example of such practices. All democracies experience their growing pains.
To briefly recap the election thus far the two Victors are the candidates seeking offices, Yushchenko and Yanukovych. (Or as I like to think of them good Victor and bad Victor) Yushchenko is the populist candidate in the election, he's taken a pro-democracy, pro-west stance and means to clean up the government to some degree. While Yanukovych is the oligarchs candidate in this particular race and he's taken a pro-Russian position. Putin has been actively backing Yanukovych during the entire election. Both candidates were reportedly within several percentage points of each other during the first round of the election, given that there were a number of other parties running candidates. However, the runoff election showed Yanukovych winning by a few percentage points and there were widespread reports of fraud such as those described above.
The state election office announcing that Yanukovych was winning brought, thousands of people into the streets of the capital Kiev. Its estimated 200,000 people or so took to the streets to protest that decision. People stayed in the streets for a number of weeks, peacefully protesting in downtown Kiev, demonstrating but occasionally blockading state buildings. Given Yushchenko's campaign colour was orange it was a veritable sea of orange there for several weeks.
Several foreign governments have condemned the run-off vote, thankfully Canada's voice was among those expressing the unacceptable practices that occurred during the election. In the Ukraine a plurality of the parliament there swore in Yushchenko unofficially as President. The Supreme Court in the Ukraine heard arguments about the election and eventually mandated a new election on the 26th of December. Canada currently has 600 observers in place to monitor the election, being lead by former prime minister John Turner.
The scandal of the whole affair has been that Yushchenko was poisoned with dioxen. A poison that has long been thought to be extremely poisonous. However, its potency has been rather mythical as unless its utilized in ridiculously large dosages is not fatal. However, he did suffer significant scaring to his face as a result of the poisoning. I hope for his speeding recovery. During the entire campaign the media coverage was decidedly pro Yanukyovch, as the media there is controlled by the oligarchs. However, during the protests thereafter much of the media announced that they were going to begin fair and honest coverage of the matter.
Recent polls have given Yushchenko a 15% point lead over Yanukyovch, 53 to 38% respectively, with a small number of undecided and a few who disliked both candidates. Reportedly all the momentum is on Yushchenko's side indicating his success may well be imminent in the next few days.
Discoshaman is in the Ukraine and has been providing excellent coverage of the entire Orange Revolution since late November. Check out his blog for all the details this somewhat brief post hasn't covered.
Judge sentences drug dealer to "zzzz..."
John Moore of Court of Queen's Bench, age 73, fell asleep during sentencing on December 1st. If this isn't an argument for lowering the manditory retirement age for judges I'm not sure what is...
Mark Steyn on the "Christmas haters"
But every time some sensitive flower pulls off a legal victory over the school board, who really wins? For the answer to that, look no further than last month's election results. Forty years of effort by the American Civil Liberties Union to eliminate God from the public square have led to a resurgent, evangelical and politicised Christianity in America. By "politicised", I don't mean that anyone who feels his kid should be allowed to sing Silent Night if he wants to is perforce a Republican, but only that year in, year out it becomes harder for such folks to support a secular Democratic Party closely allied with the anti-Christmas militants. American liberals need to rethink their priorities: what's more important? Winning a victory over the kindergarten teacher's holiday concert, or winning back Congress and the White House?
The elevation of the right not to be offended into the bedrock principle of democratic society will, in the end, tear it apart. That goes for atheists threatening suits against New Jersey schools and for Muslim lobby groups threatening fatwas against The Telegraph. On which cheery note, Merry Christmas to all.
Just let people enjoy their time of good cheer and back off. Its a religious/commercial celebration, and its called Christmas "not winter holiday". If you can't admit we just don't have a holiday around that time for no apparant reason and that people obviously wish to celebrate it your delusional. Furthermore, the language police needs to stop comming up with euphamisms for Christmas. Its not just "the season", or the "holidays" its the "Christmas season" and "Christmas hollidays". A five year old could inform you of the nature of the holidays in such a respect. Why must we tolerate these irrational Christmas haters who simply won't allow other people to enjoy themselves?
Leadership Speculation - Mostly Idle Speculation from Question Period
Ctv Question Period
"New Federal Leadership"
Despite the fact that both the leaders of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party are fairly new and reasonably well entrenched pundits feel like speculating about whom will replace them. I supose if Martin were to lose the next election the knives would be out for him. If Harper loses his support would likely whane somewhat although he does not have any obvious sucessor at this point so it would be unlikely that there would be a strong movement to unseat him.
Now the Liberal party analyst on the show said that "lots of Tories" are wanting Harper to leave and for Jean Charest to take over the party? Lots of Tories? Where? Who? Name one? Taking a look around the blogsphere there is a degree of angst regarding the direction of the Conservative Party but the angst has been directed towards the party becoming too Liberal!
I haven't heard any member of the party whom I've spoken too say "the party really isn't moving far enough into the centre". Nor have I heard anyone say "You know who we really need - Jean Charest. A former PC leader, turned Liberal - why not Conservative again?" That would be something of a political karmasutra as he seems to have tacted fairly far left in Quebec in recent times.
Now I don't want my sentiment to be misunderstood. I like Jean Charest as far as politicians go. Were it 1997 I would be of the opinion that he should be leader of a unified Conservative Party. At the time I judged him to be the most eloquent and dynamic of the leaders running for Prime Minister. However, the situation in the party right now is that "moderation" is seen as "drifting too far left" and bringing in a Liberal would only seem to confirm the "Liberal lite" that some people are using to scorn Harper's current approach. For that reason I just don't think he would be credible even presuming he wanted to lead the party.
They also mentioned Peter MacKay as being a candidate for the conservative leadership. Although on this point I had to agree with the Liberal commentator. Peter is going to have credibility problems for a long time, breaking that deal with Orchard while it was the right thing to do had absolutely horrible optics. He's damaged goods as a leadership candidate. Although he is a wonderful MP and he would be an exceedingly good cabinet minister in a Conservative government, I think he's fallen into a John Reynolds type role of "always the lieutenant never the leader."
Of course they raised Belinda Stronach as a possibility. This may be the snobbery of a university student but if you can't even hold one degree why do you think your qualified to run the country? I too could be a sucessful CEO of a multi-billion dollar company if my father had one to let me run. Belinda is likable but unfortunately she doesn't strike me as being all that in touch with policy or to possess the gravitas required for a leader.
Finally they floated New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord as a candidate. Lord would be a relatively credible leader for the party. He's personable, eloquent and seems to have a good grasp on public policy. Furthermore, he does not bring any major baggage with him from prior associations. Unfortunately he looked a much better candidate when he was at the head of a commanding majority government as opposed to leading one with a razor thin majority which would likely fall should he leave. This has made him an improbable candidate and reduced his shine as a candidate as well.
Scott Brison - a likeable and energetic guy. He's bright, young and has a lot of ideas on policy. In rebuttal I give you Cicero. The greatest orator of all time had this comment "No wise man ever thought that a traitor should be trusted."
Martin Couchon - formerly Chrietien's minister of Justice and the man who brought us such things as decriminalized pot, and gay marriage. He's generally on the left wing of the Liberal party. I would love to see Couchon as Liberal leader simply because it would allow the CPC to slide into the centre and pick up scores of seats in Ontario and the Maritimes. Couchon's main selling point is "he's French and we alternate" and while Paul Martin is a Quebecer he's still an anglo.
Maurice Beliquava - apparantly he's unhappy with Paul Martin and not afraid to say so. Although I really don't know too much about the guy or if he has much of a fan club. I really don't think he's a serious contender even if he's mentioned.
Industry Minister David Emerson - apparantly he's impressing in his new role as Industry minister and he would be the perfect man to keep up the Liberal's incestous relationship with publicly funding big business.
Frank McKenna - former Premier of New Brunswick now heading up CanWest Global's operations in Toronto. He's been out of politics for a while and that's too his disadvantage, he's also from the Maritimes and I don't believe the liberals have ever had a lead whom was from any Maritime province. However, he remains a popular public figure and certainly he's considered an intellectual and an excellent public speaker. If a race did manifest he's been one of the early leaders.
John Manely - I believe Manely is working with Nortel and with a few international organizations. Among liberals he's well liked, especially on the more right wing side of the party. Hence if there was a need to change leaders soon he would be their go too man. He's keeping himself visible as a talking head on television and is remebered as Chretien's "minister of everything" who could somehow get along with the Bush people. He would be the go to guy for the right of the party if they needed to replace Paul Martin asap.
However, i think what we are seeing in the liberals is the "well Paul Martin won't be here forever campaign", and really Martin who campaigned for the job for 15 years before getting it really isn't in much of a position to condemn them.
In a related international story - The "sitzpinkler" movement
The Star Newspapers
The "sitzpinkler" movement, which started in Sweden a few years ago, has moved to Australia and Germany.
I won't go into detail. You can figure it out for yourself. "Sitzpinkler" is German for a man who sits in the restroom even when he doesn't have to. Otherwise, by demonstrating his "dominance" over women, he risks excommunication by the Left.
A newspaper called The Australian quoted a young woman named Jessica, a biologist, from the Swedish city of Uppsala: "All my friends demand that their husbands or boyfriends sit down," said Jessica."I think it shows respect for the women who clean.
"My brother, for example, would not dream of standing up. Among the young, leftish intelligentsia, there is also a view that to stand up is a nasty macho gesture."
Somewhere in the afterlife Orwell just blinked, started roaring with laughter, and then began to cry. The very act of relieving yourself has been politicized and now there is a pc way to pee. I think I'm going to outrage some European lefty right now and "stand" in solidarity with right wing males the world over.
(via Andrew Sullivan
Attention Jack Layton - Model "Socialist Utopia" Falling Appart
Paradise Lost: Swedish, European Economy Muddled in Mediocrity
By Dale HurdCBN News Sr. Reporter
December 6, 2004
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- The good times just keep rolling along in Sweden's social-democratic paradise. Welcome to a veritable welfare wonderland, where everyone is taken care of from the cradle to grave; where alcoholics can retire on government pensions; where the average worker calls in sick one day a week, even if he or she is not sick; where drug addicts get disability checks and the where the real unemployment rate is close to 25 percent. If all this sounds like a recipe for disaster, congratulations for grasping some basic economic principles that most Swedes, and in fact, most Europeans, still haven't figured out.
If Sweden ever was an economic paradise, welcome to what is turning into paradise lost. Economists here seem to think that all that is needed are a few tweaks. But this bloated welfare state needs more than a tweak. That's not likely, because most Swedes, and most of the world, assume Sweden has found a combination of socialism and capitalism that works. But does it work?
Right this whole nanny state idea works just fine doesn't it Jack?
“Sweden is much poorer today in comparison to other countries than say 10, 20, 30 years ago,” Erixon continues. “The GDP (gross domestic product) growth has been declining for a number of decades.”
What? Noooooo! Our shining socialist utopia makes everyone better off. This simply can't be!
Yes, Virginia economics is real and capitalism is much more efficient than bloated socialist states.
Sweden's official unemployment rate is six percent, but that figure is "cooked", to use an economic expression. Because it doesn't include another six percent on sick leave, at least 10 percent on disability, and a significant chunk of the nation's high school and college graduates are well, just loafing.
This according to top Swedish Economist Stefan Folster: “If one adds all that together, it's probably fair to say that one in four people is not in work but could be,” Folster says.
One in four people aren't working. Essentially 25% of the population is simply leaching off the rest of the country. I'm sure tolerating all that dead weight is very "progressive" and will lead to everyone being better off, or to an economic collapse - one or the other.
Says Rojas, "Because the welfare state needs people paying taxes, working, behaving in a moral, responsible way. But people say, ‘I don't need to go work. I have too much. I'm tired. My children need me.’ And the state's going to pay."
And Sweden's problem is Europe's problem: high taxes, low growth, huge welfare payouts, and a shrinking population.
Just another reason why Canada obviously needs to continue to follow the European example. It obviously works so well. After all convincing people that the state somehow magically produces money and things like work and entrepreneural spirit are antiquated and silly American notions is working so well for Sweden isn't it?
And the verdict from Economics 101 is - “Uh, No,” comments Frederik Erixon. “It's quite simple. No, it doesn't work.”
(via Free Dominion
Carter trade update - Raptors beat Nets
While Vince wasn't playing against them. The Raptors did rack up alot of points on their way to a 110 - 99 victory. This could be one of those instances where a big trade shakes up a team in a good way.
In Sporting News - Vince Carter Traded
This is a few days old but but late than never. Vince Carter was traded to the New Jersey nets for Alonzo Mourning, Eric Williams and Aaron Williams. They also obtained two first round draft picks, Philly's pick this year, and Denver's next year. Is this a good trade?
Yes and no. Yes, this is a good trade if you believe Vince Carter for the last two years has been a major disapointment whom has floated around on the court and seemed a mere shadow of his former self. Not to mention the fact that he has been injury riddled and seemingly devoid of any sort of competitive spirit.
The man once called "Half man, half amazing" by commentators after he dazzled us all with feats of athleticism, displaying great touch on his shots and amazing air, has for all intents and purposes "half man, half hype. All dissapointment." When you are averaging 16 points a game and are making 12.6 million dollars a year, you are definately not delivering. Given that there was no reason to believe he was going to turn things around this year liquidating him was likely the best idea, he'd also requested a trade.
Seeming to compound manners there are currently rumors he threw a game against the Sonics a month ago. Evidently in the dying minutes of the game he announced their play to the other team. Now many people have accused Vince of not wanting to win before but sabotaging the game? Three sonics players seem to be saying he was trying too. (CBC Sports
On the other hand if you believe Vince Carter is going to somehow break free from his seeming listlessness and become the franchise player he was in 2001, and 2002 then this is an absolutely horrible trade. The raptors acquired Alonzo Mourning, who probably won't join the team as he's having kidney problems, as well as knee and hand problems. He's also 34. Aaron and Eric Williams are also both in their early 30s. Neither player is considered to be exceptional, but they do bring some size which has been lacking to the team. Hence the Raptors basically recieved two draft picks and freed up some room under the salary cap to go after a free agent. Thus in return for what was arguably their best player all they recieved were a couple of bench players, an injured and unlikely to play former all star and a speculative investment.
This trade will likely seem wise or incredibly stupid, depending on whether Carter ever snaps out of his funk and the degree to which the Raptors either use his cap space to land a major free agent or draft well.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
The government of Iran is evil. There is no other way to describe it which wholly characterizes its cruelty, malevolence and its wholly repulsive behaviour. I will not simply say "who are we to judge", I as a moral agent, a rational human being with cognative powers can and will judge. I dare anyone to read the following article found in the Telegraph and dispute the first sentence of my entry here. I know and have lived in the same building as a number of Iranians, they are honest and decent people. Their government does not represent them, and I do not wish to give the impression that I regard Iranians and the government of Iran as one and the same. Given the theocratic regime in power, that distinction is not difficult to make. Iran is not a democracy and the manner in which its ruling theocracy conducts itself is simply barbaric.
Under Iran's 'divinely ordained justice', girls as young as nine are charged with 'moral crimes'. The best that they can hope for is to die by hanging (emphasis mine) (Filed: 19/12/2004)
As one young woman awaits sentence and another faces death this week, Alasdair Palmer reveals the Iranian legal system's shocking barbarity towards children
"My mother doesn't visit me in prison. If you see her, tell her she promised to bring me cheese curls and chocolate. And she shouldn't forget to bring my red dress."
Those pathetic words may be among the last utterances of a 19-year-old girl, identified only as Leila M, who has been condemned to death in Iran for "acts incompatible with chastity".
According to Amnesty International, Leila has a mental age of eight. What evidence there is of her life so far records an existence of unrelieved misery and brutality.
She was sold into prostitution at the age of eight by her parents. She recalls the experience of when her mother "first took me to a man's house" as "a horrible night. I cried a lot … but then my mum came the next day and took me home. She brought me chocolate and cheese curls."
Forced by beatings and threats to continue "visiting men" from that night onwards, she became pregnant and had twins when she was 14. She was punished with 100 lashes by the Iranian courts for giving birth to illegitimate children.
Leila was bullied back into her degrading and demeaning work. Earlier this year, she confessed to the authorities that she had been working as a prostitute since she was a child – perhaps because she thought that they might help her escape her miserable existence.
The courts did respond by pulling Leila out of prostitution, but they also imprisoned her and used her confession to convict her of "moral crimes", for which the judges have decided the appropriate penalty is death
They dismissed evidence from doctors and social workers that she has a severe mental handicap. This week, Iran's Supreme Court, which by law must confirm every death sentence imposed by the lower courts, will rule on whether to uphold her execution
I'm already sickened by the fact child abuse occured and the the Iranian court's answer? Kill the messenger - literally.
"In the case of Hajieh Esmailvand, a young woman found guilty of adultery with an unnamed 17-year-old boy, the Supreme Court has not only confirmed the death sentence imposed by the lower court, but changed the means of death from hanging to execution by stoning."
Apparantly they contemplated a shift that would leave them only two or three centuries behind the rest of the world but decided against it.
Hajieh's original sentence had been for five years' imprisonment followed by death by hanging. A month ago, the Supreme Court annulled her jail sentence – but only so that Hajieh could be stoned before December 21, and with the recommendation that she should be.
In the next two days, it seems likely that Hajieh will die from wounds caused by stones thrown by "executioners". The Iranian Penal Code states that women should be buried up to their breasts before being stoned. Article 104 is specific about the type of stones that should be used when a woman is to be punished for adultery. They "should not be large enough to kill the woman by one or two strikes, nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones". Hajieh will die slowly, in agony, buried in sand, as officials lob correctly sized stones at her head.
Right, we wouldn't want our good old fashioned stoning to be over with too quickly. So we can't use the big rocks, and we really shouldn't use those that are too tiny not to hurt alot. We need the "special stonin' rocks".
"The barbarity towards children of the Iranian legal system is all the more surprising in that it contradicts the international legal obligations on the treatment of children, which the Iranian government has adopted. Iran is a signatory both to the International Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which explicitly forbid the execution of minors - let alone their killing by stoning."
What you mean they dare ignore treaties signed at the UN? Shocking..its almost like pledges at the UN are worth exactly the cost of the paper they are printed on and not a penny more. Oh wait that seems to characterize the UN's influence in the world fairly accurately.
Many Iranians are revolted by the brutality and injustice of their judges' attitude to children. Shadi Sadr, an extremely brave lawyer who represents Atefeh Rajabi's family, has filed a suit against the judiciary for wrongful execution, and is preparing a murder charge against the judge who hanged her.
While fundamentalist mullahs still hold on to power in Iran, her suit is unlikely to succeed. Indeed, those who are disgusted by judicial decisions cannot even safely express their condemnation of a system that not only hangs children, but beats them to death in public: Kaveh Habibi-Nejad, a 14-year-old boy, suffered this fate on November 12 for eating on the streets during Ramadan. A witnesses said that they thought he died because "the metal cable being used to flog him hit his head".
As I wrote above, I believe Iranians and people of every country in the world are fundamentally decent people at heart. Although I won't content that they are wholly good, I take a more Hobbesian view of the matter that we are all imbued with both good and evil. I don't blame Iranians for this, save those whom are supporters of the fundamentalist mullahs who strive to terrorive within and without their countries borders.The European Union has said that it is ready to "intensify" political and economic ties with Iran if the Iranian government takes steps to allay international concerns over its involvement in terrorism and the abuse of human rights. But the Islamic administration seems to care more about protecting what many of the religious hierarchy regard as "divinely ordained justice" than achieving fresh political and economic concessions from the EU
We have a country which victemizes its own population, publicly funds terrorism, and in its state newspapers publishes its plans to destroy Anglo-Saxon civilization. Oh and by the way they are building a nuclear arsenal. The obvious European solution is to bring them to a table and work out some sort of compromise. You know if they only built "small" nuclear weapons, executed children more "humanely" then we could all get along right? I think I heard something in England - Edmund Burke rolling in his grave.
At this moment I have to say I thoroughly despise the Neville Chamberlains of the world. You cannot reason and accomodate with what amounts to thoroughly immoral and evil people. At this hour I'm inclined to urge our blood thirsty imperialist neighbours to the south, whom as a Canadian I'm fond of farming out all our dirty work too - please move onwards to Tehran at the first available opportunity.
For Hajieh Esmailvand and Zhila Izadyar, the prospects are bleak. The best they can hope for is to die by hanging rather than being stoned. As for the mentally retarded Leila M - she seems likely to hang in public before Christmas.
My hopes for "peace on earth and goodwill to men" does not extend towards the theocratic regime of Iran. I wish them nothing more than them to fade into history as their outdated barbaric conduct did in the majority of the world more than 500 years ago.
If your not reading Victor Davis Hanson you should be.
Victor Davis Hanson
is probably the most compelling voice on the right in the media. Mark Steyn
is the only other journalist whose prose tends to reach the same level of eloquence when expounding upon issues both foreign and domestic. Happily enough they both cover a wide range of subjects. One of Hanson's latest pieces comes on the heels of the ruminating among Democrats in the United States concerning their loss in the recent election. Although Hanson is an American and his piece concerns American politics, the leftist ideology that he takes umbrage with is fairly "international" in its flavour. Hence it seems well worth visiting here.
Cracked Icons: Why the Left has lost credibility
" the problems are fundamental flaws in their own thinking — such as the ends of good intentions justifying the means of expediency and untruth, and forced equality being a higher moral good than individual liberty and freedom. Whether we call such notions “political correctness” or “progressivism,” the practice of privileging race, class, and gender over basic ethical considerations has earned the moralists of the Left not merely hypocrisy, but virtual incoherence. "
If the expediency tenant of leftwing ideology isn't firmly rooted in Canada I don't know what is. A certain domestic situation regarding a minor little historical anomally like marriage comes to mind. Where its obviously too important to strike a "progressive" position, and to push the issue through the courts rather than dealing with something so tedious and ethical like "democracy".
"If in the 1950s rightists were criticized as cynical Cold Warriors who never met a right-wing thug they wouldn’t support, as long as he mouthed a few anti-Soviet platitudes, then in the last two decades almost any thug from Latin America to the Middle East who professed concern for “the people” — from Castro and the Noriega Brothers to Yasser Arafat and the Iranian mullahs — was likely to earn a pass from the American and European cultural elite and media. To regain credibility, the Left must start to apply the same standard of moral outrage to a number of its favorite causes that it does to the United States government, the corporations, and the Christian Right."
Ah yes, the left and its love of thugs whom are willing to strike up the chant of "solidarity forever", of course while living a live of luxury. After all aren't these men of the people entitled to a palace or 50? The willingness of the left to advocate on behalf of some truely dispicable people is almost mind boggling. Orwell clearly saw it when he wrote "Animal Farm". Now its strange to consider that Orwell was a socialist given that for the most part he's fetted by the right and libertarians especially. However, he was something of a voice in the wilderness among socialists as apparantly he thought governments which were suposed to be "for the people" really should be. One of my political theory professors considered himself an Orwellian Socialist, and he was rather fond of stating that "Far too much of the left is always looking for a dictator to defend." Yes, those lovely people like Arafat, Saddam, and Castro. Let's forget that they murdered scores of people, kept their citizens in abject poverty and were thoroughly disinterested in "peace" - they were 'revolutionaries' and "leftists". The same professor noted that "the same people defending Saddam today, would have been defending Stalin 40 years ago."
"So both here and abroad, the Western public believes that there is a double standard in the moral judgment of our left-leaning media, universities, and politicians — that we are not to supposed to ask how Christians are treated in Muslim societies, only how free Islamists in Western mosques are to damn their hosts; or that we are to think beheading, suicide murdering, and car bombing moral equivalents to the sexual humiliation and roguery of Abu Ghraib — apparently because the former involves post-colonial victims and the latter privileged, exploitive Americans. Most sane people, however, privately disagree, and distinguish between a civilian’s head rolling on the ground and a snap shot of an American guard pointing at the genitalia of her terrorist ward."
I truly find it disturbing how a number of people are willing to make the argument that because the US military isn't absolutely perfect that that somehow puts them on the same level as the terrorists. The lack of differentiation between an obvious abberation and standard practice is terribly dishonest and I think it betrays some sense of self-loathing towards the patrimony of Western Civilization and its succes. The fact that most news outlets are not willing to stand up and call a terrorist a terrorist but hide behind the PC labels of "guerrilla", "insurgent" or "militant" is the worse sort of moral cowardice. I share the concern of many conservatives about the drift of the papers now operated by CanWest but they move up one notch in my estimation by being willing to call a terrorist a terrorist.
Although in the words of Huggy Bear "You've moved up one notch in my mind, that puts you at one."
"Moreover, few of any note in the Arab Middle East speak out against the racial hatred of Jews. Almost no major Islamic religious figure castigates extreme Muslim clerics for their Dark-age misogyny, anti-Semitism, and venom against the West; and no Arab government admonishes its citizenry to look to itself for solutions rather than falling prey to conspiracy theories and ago-old superstitions. It would be as if the a state-subsidized Ku Klux Klan or the American Nazi party were to be tolerated for purportedly voicing the frustrations of poor working-class whites who “suffered” under a number of supposed grievances."
To some statements you really can't do more than really state "I whole heartedly agree." But I'll add "Preach it Victor" to that. Quite frankly the intense hatred in the Middle East towards the Jews which is disguised as "anti-zionism" is horribly unseemly and evidently the world's left have reverted to their old form and decided "the Jews" were just a little too "burgeois" to qualify for victem status any longer. Hence the poor opressed Palestinians who strap bombs to their chest and target women and children, and any unarmed civilian they can find failing that are the "real victems". I really can't help but snicker at the comparison to the KKK, given that the only group of people that are automatically disqualified for victemhood are white males, unless they're gay.
VDH goes on the skewer the "blood for oil" crowd in a rather thorough manner and return to the previously discussed point of the left's seeming fondness for dictators. Its really worth reading the whole thing. I however, have to get back to studying.
Fortune smiles upon our first effort - Virgil
I've developed a fascination with the growing proliferation of blogs throughout the internet. Its amazing to watch information springing forth from so many different founts, and the all but instantaneous analysis available from a plethora of perspectives. I also have to note that reading blogs is rather addicting and its highly likely to cause you to wish to begin your own blog. *cough* To a certain degree wading into the political discourse that has become a characteristic of the blogsphere is an exercise in vanity, as it presumes you have an opinion compelling enough that other people should pay attention to it. However, moderate doses of narcisism have not yet been found to be fatal.
Given that this blog will trace my commentary on various issues, some disclosure of whom I am seems appropriate. I'm currently a law student at the U of A in Edmonton, AB. I formerly studied Economics and Political Science at the University of Manitoba. I've drifted westward having caught the tune of the siren song of prosperity and I'm relatively content with my location for the moment, despite the occasionally nostalgic desire to see rolling fields of canola and wheat as you drive along the highway.
I'm a card carrying member of the Conservative Party of Canada, although such a disclosure probably won't become all that necessary given the tone and substance of following posts. Some people might find the label "conservative" vague as it tends to cover a wide range of ideological positions. But while we're looking at other labels I tend to accept right wing as covering my perspective for the most part. Small - c conservative is generally appropriate as well, given that I'm not particularly inclined to be a social crusader. Blue Tory might be an equally appropriate factional label. I'm not adverse to stating my position as that of a classical liberal as I generally endorse the views and scholarship of John Locke, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Fredrick Hayek et all. I have my libertarian moments, although that's really not all that different from classical liberalism - I'm a fan of Robert Nozick although I think he takes his point way too far. On the other hand I'm quite fond of Edmund Burke and would urge everyone to rediscover his wisdom and eloquence, and I must admit a certain fondness for Nietzsche as well.
Aside from these political matters in the nature of hobbies I fence and somehow was roped into playing rugby earlier in the year. Its a strange juxtaposition to say the sport where you weld a sword seems by far safer. My music tastes tend to run in the line of rock, alternative, punk and metal but with an appreciation for classical music in opposition to the strict regiment of heavy guitar rifts. I enjoy reading but school tends to stifle the desire to read when you have a goodly number of textbooks inflicted upon you!
This not so brief introduction has now rambled its way to a conclusion and actual content shall begin to appear soon.
And so it begins...