Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Well, At Least Albertans Are Normal In THAT Respect

From The Lifesite:

EDMONTON, Alberta, February 27, 2007 ( - More than one-third of young teenage boys aged 13-14 report viewing pornographic DVDs or videos “too many times to count”, a new study from the University of Alberta found, with boys living in rural areas the most likely to access porn.


Nearly half the boys from rural regions said they had viewed pornographic videos or DVDs at least once, compared to children from urban areas who reported a one-in-three rate of exposure to pornographic videos.

I guess cow-tipping gets a bit stale after awhile. Whereas city kids can always go to the opera. Sonya Thompson, lead researcher on the study, went on to comment:

“If you’re 13 and you can’t put a number on the times [you’ve viewed porn], that’s a little frightening.”

It's also a terrible indictment of the Alberta educational system, and an opportunity for Kevin Taft and the Alberta Liberal Party. I see a slogan: Vote Lib., And Your Kid Will Be At Least Know How Many Times They've Masturbated.

Gangs Of College Students Hunting Illegal Immigrants In New York City!

A lady I know recently visited New York City (and Newark) to tend to a sick relative. Around the water cooler the other day she was telling me and some others about her visit.

She told us how college students down there now were being offered bounties for "catching immigrants". In fact, she had heard while visiting, that gangs had formed that were rounding up and, in some cases, beating immigrants to death. As a non-American of Spanish extraction, this had a mildly negative effect on her time in the city.

I kind of took all this with a grain of salt until I found this item via the Drudge Report last evening:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- National Democrats on Tuesday urged Republican Party chairman Mel Martinez to stop the independent College Republicans from holding "Catch an Illegal Immigrant" events around the country.


The game is a variation of hide and seek, with one player posing as an illegal immigrant and everyone else trying to find the person. The winner usually gets a prize.


The DNC noted that the game was recently played at New York University and drew several hundred students. Students at other colleges also have played the game.

So Let's hear it for the college Republicans! They've managed to create an intensely negative urban legend about barbaric racist practices in the United States because, hey!, the legend's about halfway true!

These young Republicans are such an insular, ignorant bunch. They don't realize, or don't care, that this stuff gets over their borders and can, quite literally, damage the image of the nation.

You Want An Extremist? Here's A TRUE (Tory) Extremist!

The Conservatives are claiming that they have the right to get away with slander because Liberals have called them "extremists" in the past. Well, that's because they deserved the term. Lest anyone forget what the real article looks and sounds like, here's links to video of 2006 Tory candidate for Ajax Pickering, Rondo Thomas. In less than five minutes, Rondo argues that:

1) The Earth is 6,000 years old.
2) Marriage is only for procreation
2) The Facts are wrong.

Find a guy like this on the Liberal side of the fence, and we'll talk? Okay? Otherwise, prepare your lawyers and prepare to say sorry.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Blame America

Four percent of the world's population; over 30 percent of its greenhouse emissions. Plus a long but extremely lucid piece from Frontline, India's National Magazine, on the topic of global warming in general and what the 1st world owes the 3rd world in particular.

How Much Is That Headline On The Website?

Yesterday, Jason Cherniak might have got Bourqued!* In the midst of a post offering "Constructive Criticism" of Stephane Dion and his Liberal team, Jason suggested that Michael Ignatieff should "stop asking the PM questions" during question period. Whether this is good advice or not is beside the point (I disagree with it, but won't argue that here). Suddenly, however, comments were appearing on this blog and elsewhere to the effect that Jason had ignited a Liberal Civil War! Even better, a headline appeared on Bourque's Newswatch: DION BACKER [ie. Cherniak], RIDING PREZ CALLS FOR IGGY QUESTION BAN!

Since Bourque is best known for selling headlines, the news value of his site is dubious at best. In fact, the only interesting thing to ask about this particular header is: did someone pay for it, and if so who, and (most importantly) if so, for how much?

Because if you can't beat him, why not join him? I'd pay money to have selected headlines appear on Bourque's Newswatch. How about something like "Harper Enters Third Trimester".
* Bourqued: to be the subject of a bought, usually negative headline on Pierre Bourque's website

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ontario In The Bag For McGuinty?

Maybe, according to Ipsos Reid:

The Ipsos-Reid poll, done for Canwest News Service and Global TV, shows 38 per cent of decided voters support Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberals, putting them five points ahead of John's Tory's Conservatives.

Howard Hampton and the New Democrats attracted the backing of 17 per cent while nine per cent said they would vote for the Green party.

The political lesson? Bland still works in Ontario and you can break as many promises as you like as long as you say your sorry.
The Ontario Conservatives biggest problem? Their leader. Seriously, I have lived in Ontario for 20 years, and run a blog devoted to Canadian/Provincial politics, and I couldn't pick the man out of a police line-up.
John Tory, Undated Photo

His Finest Moment

The performance we will remember him by.
By Theo Moudakis for The Star.

Galactus And The Young Liberal Petition

From Vijay's Site:

The Young Liberals of Canada have put together a petition demanding that Stephen Harper apologize for the slanderous and inappropriate comments he made in the house regarding Honourable Navdeep Bains and his family.

The link to the petition is below.

I personally don't sign these things. They are, as Warren Kinsella once learned to his great chagrin, too easy to prank, and therefore meaningless. However, as I support the intent behind this one, and as I like to encourage the young people of today in any activity that goes beyond smoking crack and firing off their gats and nines, I will put in a good word with my buddy Galactus.

Keep your nose clean, young Liberals, and The Eater of Worlds himself may show up and sign your petition! And his signature is worth a hundred signatures from any pathetic human.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

So, Like, Jesus DIDN'T Rise Up?

Not according to Canadian film-maker Simcha Jacobovici and James Tabor, chair of religious studies at the University of North Carolina. According to their upcoming documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus, Jesus plotzed it like a regular joe and was buried in a box on the family property:

Jacobovici says there is nothing in the documentary that should offend devout Christians, since he does not argue that Jesus did not ascend to heaven, at least spiritually, as told in the Bible.

"People who believe in a physical ascension — that he took his body to heaven — those people obviously will say, wait a minute," he said, adding he hopes the film sparks more scientific study of the tomb and the ossuaries found inside.

Jacobovici and Tabor also claim that Jesus had a kid named Jude with Mary Magdalene. Naughty naughty savior boy!

For some reason, James Cameron is involved in this whole deal. I'm not sure whether that's a good sign or not.

What Was Kim Bolan's Role In The Smear?

Kim Bolan, the Vancouver Sun reporter who broke the story that Stephen Harper used to smear Liberal MP Navdeep Bains with, as well as the whole Liberal Party and Mr. Bains' family, has come out strongly in her own defense, claiming that, basically, she was not being employed as a useful idiot by the CPoC when she wrote her now infamous piece.

Quite possibly. Bolan said in a comment on The Gazetteer:

I wrote the story and there was no leak. It was very apparent from sitting through 19 months of the Air India trial who would be the obvious choices for investigative hearings - all the names came out during the evidence at the trial.


I have covered this story since 1985 so there are few mysteries or secrets.

No mysteries or secrets, maybe, but I think the question Ms. Bolan needs to answer before anyone can determine whether her reporting was irresponsible or within the bounds of sound journalistic practice, is: was there a list with Darshan Singh Saini's name on it (Mr. Saini is Navdeep Bain's father-in-law)? She writes in the original Sun story that:

The Vancouver Sun has learned that Bains's father-in-law, Darshan Singh Saini, is on the RCMP's potential list of witnesses at investigative hearings designed to advance the Air India criminal probe.

Okay, Ms. Bolan, is it a potential list of witnesses or a list of potential witnesses?

In the first case, which is the way the wording goes in your story, you are claiming that Mr. Saini is on a list that is merely "potential". In other words, he may be on a non-actual list. In other words, there may be no list at all. This interpretation is supported by the claim in the first paragraph of your comment in the Gazetteer: those people who are "obvious choices for investigative hearings" would be "apparent" to someone who has been covering the story as long as you, whether or not you were privy to any list.

But then you are being grossly misleading. Though your story may not yet be "false". Indeed, it would seem difficult to determine the truth or falsity of a statement concerning an non-existent object.

Or, in the second case, there is a real RCMP list and Mr. Saini's name is really on it. In which case, how do you know about it, did you get a look at it, and if so who showed it to you (or just told you about it)? A probe may indeed be in order to determine these matters.

So which of these two scenarios is the right one?

(PS. I have never seen one of these "probes". I hear they are like the kind they use for an endoscopy. Enjoy yourself, Kim!)

Update: Red Tory makes similar but not identical points here.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Conservatives Smear Conservative Supporter In Attempt To Justify Previous Smear

The CPoC is now questioning the integrity of Professor Errol Mendes, a University of Ottawa human-rights and constitutional expert, who has argued that Stephen Harper's revealing the contents of this Vancouver Sun story in the HOC on Friday, February 23rd, in itself constituted a breach of one of the very anti-terror provisions Harper is fighting to preserve:

Goodale had not even mentioned Mendes's name when [Conservative House leader Peter] Van Loan replied by naming Mendes, "who of course has been a very significant contributor to the Liberal party over the years."

A spokesman for Van Loan later said Mendes' contributions to the Liberal party, listed on the Elections Canada website, were checked after his comments were published Friday. Van Loan was armed with the information in notes for question period.

However, there is a certain irony to this, because Mendes is, by his own admission: of the few constitutional and human rights professors who support the government's wish to extend the investigative hearings and prevents arrest provisions that expire next Thursday unless the Commons and Senate vote for an extension.

Man, these Tories can't smear worth spit! Hint: Try saying sorry, it hurts less than you think.

Two New Polls Indicate No Spring Election (And Maybe No 2007 Federal Election)

The New Ipsos-Reid puts Tories/Libs in a statistical dead heat:

The survey, conducted by Ipsos-Reid for CanWest News Service and Global National, says the Conservatives have the support of 36% of the population, compared to 34% for the Liberals.


The survey said the NDP held at 13%, the Bloc held at 9% and the Green party grew to 8%, up three points from the January poll.

The Tories "appear" to have momentum, says Ipsos-Reid President Darrell Bricker, but they don't appear to have much and in any case the Ontario/Quebec numbers are still pretty much where they've been for several months:

In Quebec, the Bloc had 38% support, compared with 25% for the Liberals, and 21% for the Conservatives.

In Ontario, the Liberals were ahead of the Conservatives by 41% to 38%, but the margin shrank to three points from six points in January.

Meanwhile, from Paul Wells we have a CROP Poll of the federal parties in Quebec:

But enough about that crap. You want to hear about the new CROP poll, don't you. Philistines. All right, all right. It ain't pretty: Bloc stable at 36%, a few points below anything it's ever got in an election but still no longer falling. Conservatives at 22%, also fairly stable, 3 points below their 2006 election score in Quebec. Liberals at 26%, a measurable dip. We've surely put to rest any idea that Quebecers harbour any particular animosity toward Stéphane Dion. But they need convincing just like anywhere else, and right now, they ain't convinced.

So everyone is where they've been but the Greens, who are on a definite upward trend. Therefore I think we can pretty much put aside the notion of a snap election called in late March. As Bricker says:

"The fundamentals, particularly on the issue of leadership, are definitely in the right direction for the Conservatives," Bricker said. "But they're not going to pull the plug in the midst of a Quebec election, and they are going to have a wait for at least a couple of months after that to see how things are going to shake out on a federal vote.

"So it's difficult for me to see how they end up calling an election this spring with any degree of certainty."

Furthermore, bill C-288 (the Kyoto Implementation Act), the obvious "trigger" of an election call, if you believe Conservative partisans, will not emerge from the Senate until April/May (according to Lib Leaders in the Senate), and could not therefore spark any kind of action until July/August at the earliest, which would mean a vote would come in September/October.

Of course, we will be having an Ontario election in October, and maybe an Alberta election also some time later this year.

So I am beginning to wonder if an '07 federal vote is at all likely.

In addition, it is difficult to see C-288 providing a plausible election trigger, in my opinion, for it does not seem to bind the government to unreachable targets, as so many have argued. Or at least, as Stephane Dion describes it in his Friday Star op-ed:

This bill requires the Conservatives to propose a plan to meet the challenge set by the Kyoto targets or to provide an accounting to the House on why those targets will not be met.

So, provide a plan or tell us why you've failed. It seems that, contrary to the CW, its the opposition parties who have trapped the Tories.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Jim Peterson Leaving Politics

From The Star, at the very end of the article about Justin Trudeau:

Yet another one of the former leadership candidates, Toronto lawyer Martha Hall Findlay, is expected to soon announce that she's looking for the seat in Willowdale when Jim Peterson signals he's leaving elected politics.

One of the few of the current crop of Liberal MPS I've met and actually spoken to, Jim always struck me as almost being too nice for politics.

Done It To Annoy Andrew Coyne?

Andrew, who has blogging extensively on the topic in recent weeks, seems to think that every time a kid gets killed on the snow its just an excuse for politicians to try and ram Commie-style helmet laws down his democracy-loving throat. Sorry, Andy, but you're being called to the ramparts yet again.

Some might call you crazy, or a blithering idiot, for treating helmet laws like a Soviet Invasion. I say this nation needs more freedom fighters of your caliber!

Did Harper Break His Own Anti-Terror Provision?

This guy thinks so:

University of Ottawa professor Errol Mendes said Harper's identification of a man reportedly on an RCMP witness list goes against a confidentiality requirement under Anti-Terrorism Act powers he wants to maintain.

"The prime minister is blowing to pieces the integrity of these provisions," said Mendes.

Of course, Mr. Dain's name had already surfaced in the Vancouver Sun article, but the difference between its appearing in a local tabloid and getting blasted out to the national media during Question Period by the PM himself is considerable.

Lets just quickly review this, shall we? The Liberals are being accused of opposing anti-terrorism provisions because the father-in-law of one of their MPs was "potentially" on a confidential list of witnesses to be interviewed in the ongoing (for over 20 years) criminal investigation of the Air India disaster. A list which, on the other hand, may not exist. Pretty thin stuff.

Mr. Navdeep Bains, the MP in question, seems to be a class act and will not pursue an apology from Harper any further. Others should not be so accommodating.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

NZ Fishermen Haul In Colossal 40 Foot Squid (With Pics)

From Yahoo News:

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A fishing crew has caught a colossal squid [Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni] that could weigh a half-ton and prove to be the biggest specimen ever landed, a fisheries official said Thursday.

The squid, weighing an estimated 990 lbs and about 39 feet long, took two hours to land in Antarctic waters, New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said.

The fishermen were catching Patagonian toothfish, sold under the name Chilean sea bass, south of New Zealand "and the squid was eating a hooked toothfish when it was hauled from the deep," Anderton said.

And how much Calarami would this beastie make?

I can assure you that this is going to draw phenomenal interest. It is truly amazing," said Dr. Steve O'Shea, a squid expert at the Auckland University of Technology. If calamari rings were made from the squid they would be the size of tractor tires, he added.

Charest Has Slim Lead. Is He Losing Ground?

Reproduced here from the Reuters Story:

A CROP poll published in the Montreal newspaper La Presse put the support for the Liberals at 35 percent, with 32 percent ready to back the Parti Quebecois, and 18 percent backing the right-wing Action Democratique du Quebec.

Too close to call, which makes me wonder about Charest doing silly stuff like explicitly mentioning Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair's past cocaine use. Under the circumstances this comes off as a gratuitous, Harper-style smear, and once again I have no idea why a Premier (any more than a PM) would stoop to hurling this kind of mud themselves. That's what you have people like Ezra Levant for (or whoever functions as his Quebec equivalent).

It is pretty clear that Harper had a say in the timing of this particular Quebec vote. I wonder if his team is not dictating some of the tactics as well. I say this because Tory-made plans have a tendency to fly off the rails and end in disaster.

Universal Condemnation?

Almost, it seems, from this quick Google News search for "Navdeep Bains", the Ontario MP that Stephen Harper smeared in the House yesterday by linking him and his family to Sikh terrorism. Nothing from the Sun Chain, as far as I can tell, but the event occurred mid-afternoon and I assume their people had all filed by that time and were out roaming the booze cans.

(And, oh yeah, the folks at Judeoscope are fine with the smear)

But the best, and least surprising part is, as the Natty Post's Don Martin notes:

Mr. Harper should apologize and distance himself from the unseemly linkage quickly. But he won't. When his dark side seeps into the spotlight, being this Tory means never having to say you're sorry.

...which means the story will be around for the next week or so. So let the bloggers blog, and let the Lib Lawyers ride out!

And I think a denunciation is in order.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Harper Links Lib MP To Terrorism

The harsh, mean-spirited Stephen Harper is BACK! Today in Question Period he tried to suggest that the Liberal position re controversial Anti-Terror Act provisions is being determined by the fact that the father-in-law of Ontario MP Navdeep Bains was once, 25 years ago, an adviser to a Sikh militant. From CTV:

The RCMP would interview [Bains father-in-law, Darshan Singh] Saini through investigative hearings made possible by the Anti-Terror Act.

On March 1, that provision of the act will die. The Liberals are opposed to a three-year extension of that provision, along with one that allows for preventative detention for 72 hours.

So the implied charge is that the Libs are against these two provisions because they are secretly harboring Sikh extremists/terrorists in their ranks. Not mentioned is the fact that Saini has agreed to testify irregardless of whether or not the provisions are in place:

Saini, former Ontario spokesman for the terrorist Babbar Khalsa Panthak, said in an interview that if he is called to the investigative hearing, he will testify.

When the shock of seeing your Prime Minister behave like a garbologist for some sleazy right-wing candidate for dog-catcher wears off, consider how utterly stupid this behavior is, and how quickly it is likely to backfire. For Machiavelli wrote that the Prince should never be the one to wield the knife; the dirty business was to be left to the underlings. Our Prime Minister, on the other hand, likes being covered in slime.

Watch them poll numbers start fallin'. So close to that Majority, and yet so far.

Oil Company Chief: Kyoto Won't Hurt Us

From The Vancouver Sun:

OTTAWA --Kyoto protocol targets won't cause economic turmoil in the Alberta oilsands, a senior Canadian petroleum executive said Monday as he urged the minority Conservative government not to punish his industry with excessive regulations to reduce the pollution that causes global warming.

Will the fear mongering stop? Or will Gordon Lambert, vice-president for sustainable development at Suncor, be accused of having supped with Suzuki?

h/t to Desmogblog.

Not A Bad Compromise

...considering our guys are effectively stuck there until 2009 anyway:

Split between hawks and doves, Stéphane Dion's opposition party has hammered out its long-promised common-ground position that includes signalling to allies that Canada will give up the leadership of the Kandahar-based NATO mission at the end of its current tour, two years from now.

An agreement is an agreement, even if its a bad one, and to leave beforehand would be, as Mr. Dion has said, dishonorable.

Also, it seems that, as Mr. Bush sees Iraq go down the crapper and desperately casts about for some kind of positive legacy, he is recommitting to the Afghanistan mission. I doubt that 3,000 extra bodies will have any lasting effect, but at least it doesn't look so much like America is fobbing off this particular disaster on its NATO allies, Canada included, and heading for the hills.

And, finally, this story merits watching.

$1 A Barrel To Green The Tar Sands

Matthew Bramley, climate change director at the Pembina Institute, an environmental think-tank, claims that the oil industry could meet Kyoto targets in Alberta's oil sands at a cost of about $1 a barrel.


A spokesperson for Suncor Energy, a major oil sands producer, did not contradict the $1-a-barrel estimate, but said he would need more time to study the Pembina figures.

"The devil is in the details," said Gord Lambert, Suncor's vice-president of sustainable development.

Probably won't be writing much else today. Too much running around to do. Have a good one.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Dalton Goes Green

Yeah its an election year, and Dalton is rolling out the environmental promises again:

STRATFORD, Ont. -- Ontario will soon unveil an "aggressive'' plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions that Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday will not come at the cost of the province's struggling auto industry.

Last time around it was Dalton's promises on the environment that went overboard first, and I would like to know what will prevent him from breaking my heart a second.

...although the Ontario Green Belt was a bonafide accomplishment on the Ontario Liberal's part, one they should be proud of and haven't got alot of credit for.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley: My Eye Condition Makes Me Sensitive To Economy Vehicles

So what else could she do but wrack up a $861.35 bill to have a Limo drive her to a luncheon meeting?

Man, she must really dig the taste of rubber chicken.

h/t to Michelle.

Tories Still Mired In Minority Territory

And yet the latest SC numbers seem to have Liberal hearts all in a tizzy.

Remember, S. Dion has faced a wave of mud re. attack ads and bad press in Conservative newspapers, but this wave seems to have crested. Furthermore, the Libs seem to be hitting back on some of these issues, like the income trust non-scandal, with some success.

However, this hitting back has come a bit late, esp. with bill C-288 (Kyoto Implementation Bill). The Tories have managed with to paint this as an economy killer, and most of this success has been due to a lack of effort/arguments on the part of the Liberal Party to point out why it is not. Not that there are not good arguments for the bill, its just that nobody within the party seems to have bothered to make them.

In any case, C-288 is now in the Senate and can be kept there, given the makeup of that body (Lib dominated), as long as is necessary. And if you do the math, even with no delay it will not come out until about April/May, which means it cannot, as far as I can see, serve as a trigger to a SPRING election.

In any case, the Tories ability to muddy the waters with respect to environmental issues will end once their Clean Air Act emerges from committee. If this is toothless, it will be seen to be despite any efforts by the Natty Post. If it is not, it can be passed (and the passage of C-288 can be credited with giving it some teeth). The NDP and especially Green Party response will be key.

As for the party "split" over anti-terror measures, I don't think there is any way past principled differences of opinion, but the party should have foreseen the effect of cancelling some of the provisions in question might have on the Air India investigation.

Finally, remember that a lot of what we are seeing in response to this poll is merely CPC chest-pounding. 34 per cent is a long, long way from a majority. Millions of dollars and several weeks of mudslinging, borderline illegal, and often plainly dishonorable behavior have bought Harper three points and brought him to within sight of his last election total. He would be a fool to call another one on the basis of these numbers.

The best advice for the Libs right now comes from Tom Axworthy, who says to forget the euphoria of the convention and get on with things.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Peter MacKay: Where The Hell Am I?

At the East Coast Music Awards (in Halifax), where MacKay:

...was booed when he mistakenly referred to Halifax as Toronto.

Must have been dreaming of his sweet neo-con.

Clash Of Civilizations? Canadians Don't Buy It (And Neither Does Anyone Else)

While NeoCons like Mark Steyn, who backed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, have been urging a broader war against Islam ever since rather than face the consequences of their own disastrous, ideologically driven decision, Canadians in general hold views which, quite frankly, make me proud of my country:

OTTAWA - Most Canadians reject the notion the Islamic and western worlds are engaged in a clash of civilizations based on culture and religion, according to a new international poll.

The GlobeScan survey found a majority, 56 per cent, of Canadians regard the conflict between Islam and the West to be primarily about "political power and interests."

In fact, Steyn-type cultural war-mongering seemed to have found very little purchase worldwide:

...52 per cent, of those polled said the current tension between Islam and the West is primarily due to conflicting political interests. Most, 58 per cent, blamed intolerant minorities [on both sides]- rather than fundamental cultural differences - for exacerbating the situation.

Even the United States seems far less racist in this regard than Steyn might hope:

While 49 per cent of U.S. respondents said the conflict was primarily about political power and interests, 38 per cent also said differences in religion and culture were at the root of the problem.

And Canadians are downright optimistic, with a full 73 per cent feeling a peaceful accommodation between Islam and Western society is possible.

Again, given the amount of NeoCon poison in the air over the issue, these numbers are cause for rejoicing.

Fury Grows Over Tory Smear Job

The Tory attacks on Ralph Goodale over the Income Trust non-scandal seem to have backfired. From Susan Riley in today's Ottawa Citizen:

...sometimes the prime minister's refusal to concede an inch just looks petulant. Example: his response to the vindication of Ralph Goodale last week. After 14 months, the RCMP finally concluded its investigation into an alleged leak from Goodale's office right after the former Liberal finance minister decided not to abolish income trusts. The RCMP laid one charge against a senior Finance Department bureaucrat with no ties to the Liberal party.

Instead of pulling French-language Tory attack ads that continue to link Goodale to what is no longer a political scandal, Harper reacted belligerently. He even had the audacity to claim that "Goodale owes Canadians an apology" for insisting no one in his office, or department, had done anything wrong -- as if Goodale could have known about one errant public servant. If, that is, anyone did err.

That is another troubling thing about Harper's response: The assumption that because the RCMP has charged someone, a crime has been committed. The Arar affair should have taught us to be circumspect about RCMP investigations -- especially this one, which sank an already badly listing Liberal ship when it was announced mid-election campaign.

And, even more startling, an editorial from today's Vancouver Sun:

But the Conservatives certainly should issue an apology and cease running the ad. After all, the scandal regarding the allegations likely had a significant impact on the last election since the RCMP investigation was announced during the middle of the campaign, and came on the heels of the sponsorship scandal. To keep this issue alive in case of another election, even after the RCMP has determined no criminal wrongdoing on the part of Liberal politicians, amounts to dirty politics.

Further, one certainly can't assume that the RCMP is somehow protecting the Liberals by failing to lay any other charges. After all, the Conservatives have cultivated a strong relationship with the RCMP -- so strong that the timing of the announcement of the criminal investigation led to a complaint being lodged with the RCMP commission for public complaints.

At this point, if the Conservatives fail to take the RCMP's word for it that it's not appropriate to charge any Liberal politicians, then the Conservatives are essentially saying they distrust the RCMP. This is certainly not a message the Conservatives want to send.

Make no mistake, the Sun and the Citizen are Conservative, not to say Ultra Conservative, newspapers. If they are advising Harper to dial back the venom, this is not from the goodness of their hearts. Rather, they see those cursed epithets coming back: scary...harsh... mean-spirited.

All of which makes me pretty blase about the Conservative Party financial advantage. To paraphrase Churchill: never has so much money spent by so many dummies to so little effect.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sheila Copps On Kyoto Implementation

Her opinion echoes my own:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's vaunted political antennae must have been turned off last week when his party got trapped in the Liberal private member's bill on Kyoto.


What we witnessed last week was a government that's given up trying. Instead of embracing the Kyoto timelines and focusing on achieving them, the government seems committed to fight Kyoto tooth and nail.

As I've repeated on several occasions, C-288 (the Kyoto Implementation Act) is all about making a good faith effort.

And it fails as a handy early election trigger for the Tories because 1) its path through the Senate can be as long and winding, or as swift, as the Lib majority deigns appropriate, and 2) it gives the government 60 days to produce a plan: it would look awful were they to throw up their hands, planless, before the 60 days is up. So if the idea (as rumor has it) is to drop the writ within the next couple of weeks this cannot be justified with reference to C-288.

Hence those immortal words of abject surrender from Stephen Harper: "I will obey this law."

Nevertheless, the bill is not entirely toothless, because it is or shall become the law of the land. The Libs (and, more generally, all three opposition parties) can hold it over the head of Harper et al in order to put some teeth into the Clean Air Act, or cudgel him with it if the Clean Air Act turns out to be nothing but piffle.

Tory MP Links Clean Air To Increased Wife Beating

From CanWest:

OTTAWA -- Opposition MPs and environmentalists are baffled and outraged by warnings from a Conservatives MP that aggressive action to fight climate change and air pollution could lead to an increase in domestic violence and suicides.

The remarks were made Thursday by Tory member of Parliament Jeff Watson at a parliamentary committee studying the minority government's proposed "clean air" legislation.

"With short-term transition toward medium- and long-term targets, there's potential for a lot of dislocation, which is a term for some very painful costs along the way: job loss, anxiety, depression, bankruptcy, domestic violence, costs to employment insurance or retraining, loss of charitable dollars in communities for people who used to have high paying jobs but don't anymore and the social services that are funded by those, and in rare instances, suicide," said Watson, the MP for the Windsor, Ont. riding of Essex .

This is the same Jeff Watson whose ex-campaign manager was recently acquitted of uttering death threats against him in the midst of a fairly tawdry sex scandal. I am not sure how these two events are linked, but they're a good way of bringing the terms "Tory fear-mongering" and "Tory sex scandal" into the same post.

In any case, Martin is being challenged by several other Tories for the nomination in Windsor/Essex, and apparently his challengers (Jeff Lappan, Craig Ball) are fairly hopeless cases. It is therefore incumbent upon all good Liberals to point out that Jeff Martin is not the sharpest knife in the drawer either, and encourage their Conservative brethren out in Windsor to take a flyer on a second string wing-nut when nomination time rolls around.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Stephen Harper: 3rd Class Act

Just when you start worrying that the constant stream of Tory money and vitriol might be having an effect on the general electorate, Stephen Harper conducts himself in a manner so gratuitously oafish it makes you realize that this man, and his party, simply do not understand the nature of the Canadian people. I'm sorry, but whatever the real flaws of the Liberal Party (and they are many), you do not go around smearing them for their role in fictitious scandals (like the income trust "scandal").

As Mr. Ralph Goodale, the man Harper smeared, says:

“If the Prime Minister of this country does not have the intestinal fortitude to be an honourable person, Canadians will judge him and he will pay a price for that.”


In fact, if I were Mr. Goodale and the Liberal Party, and if the CPC did not immediately pull its Quebec ads and issue an apology for running them, I would be looking at pursuing legal action.

If the Tories are willing to put their name to falsehoods, let 'em. And then sue 'em. See how the Canadian people react.

Harry Potter...NEKKID! (WARNING: Graphic Content)


Friday, February 16, 2007

Looks Like A Polish Moose-Gun

Apparently, blogger/reporter Michael Yon found this sucker under a barn in Mosul, Iraq circa 2005, and now everyone is wondering what it is.

To me the thing looks like a polish moose-gun. You make 'em by taping a bunch of tin-cans end to end after removing the tops and bottoms. You leave the base on the last can, and punch a couple of holes in it. Fill the thing with lighter fluid, stuff a potato down the barrel, and hold a match to the hole. Either the potato gets launched a good hundred feet at speeds in excess of 40 mph, or your arm catches fire from dripping lighter-fluid.

The scope on this one seems a bit excessive, but maybe the insurgents were using special anti-tank potatoes and didn't want to waste any.

Fishing For Women In The NDP Pond?

From The Natty Post:

OTTAWA -- The federal Liberal party is attempting to increase its contingent of female candidates by trying to poach elected or formerly elected politicians from Jack Layton’s New Democratic Party, The Vancouver Sun has learned.

A Liberal official confirmed Thursday that former B.C. NDP premier Ujjal Dosanjh was dispatched to find out if two high-profile West Coast female New Democrats, Dawn Black and Penny Priddy, would bolt to the official Opposition.

It's The Post so this might be entirely bullshit. If not, though, I'm not sure how I feel about it. After Belinda and Scott and David and Wajid and Garth, I find that my ideals are sufficiently shredded that the idea no longer seems particularly offensive. On the other hand, if it was supposed to be a kind of "dark op" and Ujjal got caught, the Libs look a bit ham-fisted.

C-288, A Triumph For The Opposition

I never thought that bill C-288 (The Kyoto Implementation Act) would turn out as badly as some progressives thought, and many Tories hoped. So when Harper caved last night and said he would "obey" the new measure, I felt quite vindicated.

Why did he do it? Well, it was clear from the Libs Senate Leader, Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette, that C-288 would not necessarily be fast-tracked through the upper-house, which meant that the timing of its passage would remain in Liberal hands. This would make it impossible for Harper to use the bill as a trigger for a March election call. And any other response (for example, doing nothing and waiting for lawsuits) would have looked like more Tory stalling.

So what is our situation now? As Antonio over at Fuddle Duddle notes, the opposition has just written the environmental law of the land:

Yesterday was already a non-confidence motion. The Liberals, BQ, and NDP already agree on enough things like Child Care, Kelowna, Status of Women Canada, etc., that they can pass legislating mandating the government to do something about it.

Technically, they cant spend any money, but they can get all kinds of bills through parliament and make the Conservative budget contradict parliament’s will.

I think this is hilarious and John McCallum should begin drafting a budget which should also be another Private Members’ Bill. I think we still have the old platform somewhere. The NDP and the Bloc have seen the poll numbers, neither wants an election. After seeing our numbers I wouldn’t want one either. Who needs an election anyway?

Well, exactly. I don't know why the three opposition parties don't just seize control of the Clean Air Act, for example, rewrite it with teeth, pass it over Conservative opposition and tell Stephen Harper to go squeal like a pig. Certainly, they can pass new regulations.

I might even suggest writing legislation proclaiming Same Sex Marriage compulsory in Alberta. Make the Tories beg for an election.

Also, I would just second Antonio's words to the effect that Pablo Rodriguez, the Liberal MP behind C-288, is an extraordinarily sexxxy guy.

In fact, Antonio himself is pretty damn sexxxy. Between these two fellas and Mitsou, is it any wonder that federal governments of all political stripes feel the need to give Quebec money whenever it pouts?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

LifeSite News Flash: Number of Anti-Darwinian Scientists Nears 0.0003% Of American Total!

From The LifeSite:

SEATTLE, February 14, 2007 ( - Another 100 scientists have joined the ranks of scientists from around the world publicly stating their doubts about the adequacy of Darwin's theory of evolution.

This brings the number to 700! Of course, since there are 2,650,000 working scientists in the U.S. alone (2001 figures), the Creationists still have alot of work to do.

Yes, I know mocking the LifeSite is like kicking a puppy. But its a slow news day.

No Leaks From Stockwell

Mr. Day's Western Penticton News column this week is a bunch of vacuous slop about the "soft-hearted" Tory government. He does suggest to his male readers that if they "vacate the couch long enough" to buy a Valentine's Day card for their wives/girlfriends, they might just get laid, but that's as controversial as it gets.

Overall, a disappointment.

Still Waiting, Tom

Dear Tom Harris,

I see you have had time to fire off a letter asking that the Senate block Bill C-288 (the Kyoto Implementation Act), but you still haven't answered my challenge.

Specifically, you claimed that:

The vast majority of the [600 scientists involved in the IPCC report]...would not have...endorsed, the executive summary.

And I have asked you to produce at least names, or even better, statements from this "vast majority" of doubters. You have not thus far replied.

Now, some of the folks at have suggested Chris Landsea and Roger Pielke on your behalf, and it is true these two men have in the past had difficulties with the process of writing the IPCC report. However, neither questions the IPCC consensus and, more importantly, neither has been involved with the organization for over a year.

So they don't count and we are still stuck at zero.

I truly hope that you are using all this time to marshal your evidence, for it seems to me that neither the Canadian Senate nor the 1,300 media figures you claim to have sent your release to will be impressed if all your doubting scientists turn out to be invisible scientists who will speak only with you.

So come on, Tom, present your case or retract your statement! Are you a Man of Science, or a Girly-Man of Science?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day Newsflash: Antony And Cleopatra Were BOTH Ugly!

That's Cleo on the ancient coin to the left and, on the basis of the same coin's flip-side, Tony is described as having "bulging eyes, a hook nose and a thick neck."

Cleo possessed nothing in the way of hooters, apparently. I guess they both drank lots of beer before having sex.

Finkwell Day Ponders Rat Line For "Unstable" Gun Owners

From The Ottawa Citizen:

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day says changes to Canada's gun laws could include a system to give those close to a gun owner a channel to express concerns about that person's mental health.

The system could be used if "either their friends or family or a doctor notices, or is concerned, that a person is becoming unbalanced," Day said Tuesday.

Let's listen in on a typical call:

"Yeah, Hello? Rat Line? My good buddy Bob up in #412 has been acting real crazy lately. You better come take away his shotgun, and his rifle, and all his other unregistered guns. And his homemade bombs. You better come in blastin', just to be on the safe side.

My name? My name is Heywood J. Blome."

Tom Harris Questions The Concensus

The NRSP is an Alberta-based anti-global warming astroturf group. Their leader, Tom Harris, hangs out occasionally at Free Dominion, where he fundraises and throws raw meat to the Trogs. Yesterday, he wrote:

Only 600 scientists (of the tens of thousands of climate and climate related scientists who COULD have been involved) were involved in writing parts of the technical report (namely the 1500 page main science document), a document we will not see until May. Among those 600, only 30 were involved in writing the draft of the executive summary, the final version of which (i.e. the SPM released on Feb 2) being assembled by government bureaucrats and representatives of industry and environmental organizations. The vast majority of those 600, many of whom disagree with each other on various significant science elements of the issue (as we will see for sure in May but as we have seen in all past technical reports), would not have seen, let alone endorsed, the executive summary. Among the thousands of scientists who reviewed the IPCC documents, many disagree with them entirely (let alone the summary which would be even more flawed in their opinion, I am sure).

From all I can tell, there is no consensus about the causes of the past century’s modest warming or future climate change, cooling and warming, either within the small fraction of world climate-related scientists who actually take part in the IPCC’s work, or in the general body of scientists who work in the field. The IPCC is an exclusive club that pre-selects its participants and then screens the input these participants give. The notion of consensus in this field is a myth.

So lets end the speculation, shall we Tom? I challenge you to produce names and/or, even better, statements by any among the group of 600 scientists involved in writing the technical report, or the 30 involved in writing its executive summary, who would be willing to challenge the overall conclusions in either.

Yours (anxiously waiting),


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Turn That Frown Upside Down, Liberals!

Because all you've heard about the Liberal collapse appears to be crap! From the latest Decima:

The Decima survey, provided to The Canadian Press, gives the Liberals a one percentage point lead nationally – 33 per cent to 32 per cent – which is within the 3.1 percentage point margin of error.

The survey puts the NDP at 15 per cent, the Bloc Quebecois at nine, and the Green party at eight.

Kiss My Ass, Paul Wells! And you Blogging Tories! You kiss my ass too. Hey, Prairie Wrangler? Guess What? Kiss my ass TWICE!

Front Group For Brian Mulroney Praises Stephen Harper

Red Tory wonders why the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association is running ads promiting ethanol as a green fuel and at the same time providing "free advertising", as RT says, for the Harper government. Well, Red, that's because, as you say, the CRFA is a "consortium of leviathan agri-business" like Archer Daniels Midland, and if you look at ADM's BOD, you find the name M(artin) Brian Mulroney. Does that name sound familiar?

GM To Build Hybrids In Canada

GM, reeling from losses in market share, will begin building hybrid versions of its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks at its Oshawa plant as early as next year. By 2010 they will start building hybrid SUVs at the same facility.

About time. Its much harder to make people (especially the people who buy trucks and SUVs) switch to smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles than it is to make the vehicles they prefer more fuel efficient.

And Hybrids are the most likely route to environmental salvation, as far as I'm concerned. The new Chevy Volt gets, potentially, hundreds of MPG. If you don't ever need to drive more than 40 miles at a time you could conceivably never buy gasoline again (it plugs into a wall socket). They're even starting to build some pretty sweet looking hybrid sports cars.

Better than driving one of these sawed-off bugs around and looking hopelessly nerdy.

Smart But Nerdy

Stephen Taylor Says French Anti-Dion Ads Land Today

So I imagine it will happen. He is speculating that the ads might mention Dion's comments on the "adscam liberals" being invited back into the party. If so, very smart, since that is Mr. D's only major screw-up as Lib Leader thus far.

Update: And here is the CTV story on them.

Charest Out In Front

According to a new Leger poll reported in The Gazette:

The survey, conducted between Feb. 7 and 10 by Leger Marketing and made public today, indicates support for Jean Charest's Liberals was at 36 per cent, up from 34 per cent in a Leger poll two weeks earlier.

Andre Boisclair's PQ was at 31 per cent, down from 32 per cent. Mario Dumont's ADQ was at 21 per cent, down from 24 per cent.

However, given the province's demographics, this is still not necessarily enough to win, because:

Liberals remain far behind the PQ among francophones, a crucial electorate because their votes are spread across Quebec, while non-francophones, who tend to vote Liberal, are concentrated in Montreal. Francophones decide the vote in 80 of Quebec's 125 ridings.

Among francophones, Boisclair was supported by 36 per cent of respondents and Charest by 28 per cent. Dumont was at 22 per cent. To win, the Liberals would have to be supported by 35 per cent of francophones, Leger said.

Given the ADQ's current support (21%), there is a distinct possibility of a minority government, which means a March election is still a risky call for Mr. Charest.

And the environment is up to second place in the ranking of issues importance to Quebecers.

Monday, February 12, 2007

More Evidence That Tory Attack Ads Have Failed

The Latest Angus-Reid Poll shows that Dion still has a significant advantage over Harper when it comes to environmental issues:

In the survey, 31 per cent of respondents believe Liberal leader Stéphane Dion cares the most about the issue, while 13 per cent select Conservative leader and prime minister Stephen Harper. However, 28 per cent of respondents pick neither politician, and 27 per cent are not sure.

The poll also, I would argue, shows that the Fear-mongering on this issue from the Tories and their media allies has also failed, for two-thirds of Canadians support having the Federal government enact "laws that force individuals and companies in Canada to curb global warming", which, according to Mr. Harper et al, would be "economic suicide".

Full poll results can be found here. H/t to Eugene, whose take on the numbers is somewhat different than mine.

Tories Are Bringing Scary Back

Heather Stillwell is is a school trustee in Surrey, British Columbia, well known for her conservative opinions on homosexuality, abortion, and sex education. One of the founders of the Christian Heritage Party, she believes Canada should be run on Christian principles, which means no abortion, no gays, no porn, and Canadian soldiers dying in Iraq.

In an attempt to present a more moderate face to the Canadian public, the Harper Tories have been quietly smothering attempts by SoCons like Ms. Stillwell to run for Conservative Party nominations. However, in her case news got out and onto The LifeSite, and as a result of their expose, Heather is, so to speak, back on the menu:

"I just wanted to thank you for that fabulous story and I think that it moved something forward here because I've had a call and they are going to let me run," Stilwell told Saturday. "I've had a lot of response from people who were reading LifeSiteNews, so good on you guys."

Can't remember if the one of the Christian Heritage Party planks was a repeal of the metric system, and I don't know if Heather has personally resigned herself to measuring things in Satanic units, but I personally was just getting used to thinking of 32 degrees as being "hot", so I'd rather not throw the whole thing out the window.

Seperated At Birth: The Power Edition

One plays drums for The Police. One polices players for the LPC.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Tories Are Like A Plate of Fried Veggies: Green On The Outside, Oily On The Inside

The Industrial/Commercial version of the Federal Energuide Program is called the Commercial Building Incentive Program (CBIP). It encourages:

...the design and construction of new, energy-efficient commercial, institutional and multi-unit residential buildings and facilities [...and...] provides design assistance and funding of up to $60,000 for eligible organizations based on building energy savings.

And of course, The Tories are letting the program die:

Last July, the CBIP program received funding for continued activities until March 31, 2007. On its web site, Natural Resources Canada said “a high volume of submissions” were received, resulting in the program being fully subscribed.

“The program is not accepting any new submissions for funding,” it said.

Canadian Architects are pissed:

"A radical statement so early in the year. Even more stunning considering recent announcements," said [Royal Architectural Institute of Canada] President Vivian Manasc. "Canada's architects are disappointed. The built environment accounts for almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions. Considering that architects across Canada have between $40 to $50 billion worth of projects 'on the Boards,' and that buildings last for 50 to 100 years, the government's lack of real commitment is appalling. We think it is time they got serious and raised rather than eliminated incentives to increasing energy efficiency."

And people have the gall to question The Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act (C-288). As long as the Tories are in power, the only route to action will be through bills passed by the three opposition parties acting in concert. This one should be supported.

Margaret Atwood Makes Me Smirk So Hard

Margaret Atwood makes the business case for promoting Canadian artists abroad, and laments Tory funding cutbacks. She also reams 'em good. A master of English prose, when you read this piece you will find the very language of it causes your facial features to curl into a Liberal Smirk, and by the last paragraph you will literally ooze contempt.
But, people ask me, is it right to smirk? Frankly, I see the smirk as a useful piece of social evolution. A smirk is a snarl with a few less teeth on display. When you smirk, Conservatives quiver inside.

Classic Smirk

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Thank You Mark Holland

You See, an Eastern Liberal goes West and gives 'em shit, and suddenly the oil path discovers a way to clean up its act:

Major players in the oil sands, under political pressure to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, have quietly formed an industry-wide consortium to explore using heat in the Earth's crust as a clean alternative to natural gas.

This might be it for today. I was out last night with some of TO's finest bloggers (like JimBobby, BCer in Toronto, CC and etc.) and, unfortunately, over-medicated. I remember paying the bill (at The Secret TO Pub, which had fine wings, but rather small), and getting out before the police arrived. Not much afterwards. Had a great time, and hope to do it again soon. At the next event, however, someone should stop me at pint number 8.

Friday, February 09, 2007

A National Carbon Trading Market?

No carbon tax, international carbon trading, Baird says:

But Baird said he is moving toward a carbon trading market in Canada. This would allow a company in one part of the country to invest in green projects somewhere else in Canada and be given credit for reducing its emissions.

Its safe to assume this is just empty gesticulation on Baird's part.

Because if an international carbon trading market proves unacceptable to Canada as a whole, a nation-wide market will almost certainly prove unacceptable to Albertans.

For, as the CIBC's Rick Rubin makes clear, under the initial conditions of any type of carbon regulation scheme, oil sands producers will have to be huge purchasers of emission credits. And these will have to be purchased from companies in other provinces. So there will be a "huge"outflow of money from Alberta to, if this map of Canadian emissions is accurate, places like Quebec and maybe even Ontario.

Sell that to Ed Stelmach.


Looks like Mr. Day might have predicted well when he said that the government could face a non-confidence vote in the very near future (like next week).

From today's National Post:

OTTAWA - A Liberal-sponsored bill that would legally require the Conservative government to abide by the Kyoto protocol's short-term targets will be debated for the final time in the House of Commons today, before going to a vote next week when it is all but guaranteed to pass.

Constitutional experts say the implications of passing the bill could see Prime Minister Stephen Harper forced to choose between implementing measures to meet Kyoto targets he has called unrealistic or calling a general election.

Assuming the The Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act (Bill-C288) passes, Harper has 60 days to figure out what to do and, of course, one of his options will be to call an election right around budget time (March/April). In fact, it is rumoured to be his preferred choice.

Today's polls aside, this seems fool-hardy to me. But in any case, another reason to book-mark The Western Penticton News, which publishes Stockwell's weekly column. This guy's better than Garth for Tory leaks.

h/t to anon 9:02 pm for calling this one correctly.

Update: And here's the first in a series of predictable responses by Blogging Tories! "Oh how irresponsible! Harper needs a majority!" However, she's right in that the following is not a particularly cutting response to Tory complaints:

[Liberal MP Pablo] Rodriguez said he is not suggesting how the Conservatives should meet the Kyoto targets. "They are in power. They wanted to run the country, so they have to take the responsibility," he said.

A Not So Good News Polll

From the Calgary Sun:

MONTREAL -- A recent poll suggests the Conservatives have a slight lead over the Liberals.

The Leger Marketing survey gives the Tories 38% support, the Liberals 31%, the NDP 14% and the Bloc Quebecois 8%.

In Quebec, the Liberals (32%) and the Bloc (31%) are in a battle and are followed by the Conservatives at 24%.

In Ontario, the Tories are at 40%, compared to the Liberals' 35%.

The poll of 1,500 Canadians was conducted from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4, shortly after the Conservatives unveiled ads critical of Liberal Leader Stephane Dion.

Good Quebec news but, as Paul Wells notes, the infamous anti-Dion ads have not yet run in Quebec. We shall see whether this is a blip or something longer lasting. Baird's performance yesterday suggests the former.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Explore Climate Change With Google Earth

The United Nations has teamed up with Google Earth to upload their "Atlas of Our Changing World". Google Earth users can now:

...zoom in and fly over virtual environmental "hotspots" like the explosion of shrimp farms on Thailand's west coast, China's massive Three Gorges Dam or the vanishing snows of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

A new use for one of my favorite computer toys.