Monday, September 30, 2013

They Are Appalled

A kind of follow-up to this post.  Anti-wind activists out in Adelaide have been asked by the provincial  MOE (Ministry of the Environment) to, if they are testifying re the allegedly deleterious health effects of wind-turbines, turn over ten years worth of health records, and to, if they are testifying re the allegedly deleterious effects of wind turbines on property values, turn over all relevant real estate records. 

The story, however, is in the tone of the piece itself, and in the comments.  Out there in Adelaide, they are shocked, shocked that the MOE would make such demands.  "Jack-booted government thugs" and yada yada yada.  Apparently, when you're trying to stop a wind development, the courts are supposed to take your claims at face value.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Note On A Poll Re Keystone XL

For the most part, its the same old.  More Americans than Canadians support the building of Keystone  XL to pipe tar-sands bitumen down to the Gulf .  Actually, I'm cheating a bit.  The new poll doesn't measure Canadian views, but other recent polls show from about a 50/50 split up here to about two-thirds against.  But whatever.  What interested me most was this bit:

But for all they had to say about pipelines and fracturing, the respondents were largely ignorant of an important trend in their country's energy sector. Survey results show that more than half are unaware of the American energy boom of recent years – and only 34% knew that it came from traditional energy sources.

I would guess this is because when most people think of the cost of energy they think of gas prices, and gas prices have lingered high for years now, even though the economy has been stuck in neutral. So if energy booms and nobody hears it, is it a boom worth the name?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Come Get Some, Bituman Cowboy

If Harper says that he will not take no for an answer from the U.S. on Keystone — a project over its future he ultimately has no real control — should one not conclude that he will also not accept that provinces such as British Columbia, Quebec or Ontario throw roadblocks in the way on the pipelines that are on the drawing board to bring Alberta’s oil to the East and West coasts? In those cases the Prime Minister actually has the power to walk his talk.

Chantal's a smart lady, but she doesn't understand the ROC so well, and less and less as you go farther West.  If Harper's remarks are supposed to be a threat aimed at B.C. should they resist the construction of Northern Gateway and Trans Mountain, then he will have something between riots and a civil war on his hands if he tries to follow-up.  Going East, I'm not so sure.  These projects seem to be re-purposing existing pipe-line rather digging new ditches.  But threats out of Albertans will do the opposite than pave the way for them.

If You Are Still Mad At David Gilmour...

Some very smart female women are yelling at him here and here.  I yelled at him a bit here, but these two gals have the amps cranked to 11.  Much more entertaining.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Secret Ontario Poll

Nick Kouvalis and his Campaign Research did it.  But it's behind this paywall.  Anyone know what it says? John Michael McGrath claims its good news for Ontario Liberals.
I think he's being ironic when he calls Kouvalis a Lib sycophant.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Do I Owe Lorne Gunter An Ice Cream Cone?

Maybe.  Got this email from officer Ian Shardlow this morning:

The estimates that I have received is that we destroyed approximately 3-4000 lbs of ammo and now have approximately 2-3000 lbs in our possession for destruction.  We had enough ammo in the first instance that we had to arrange for a temp magazine type storage facility because we could not store in the Detachment. 

 We had to large ammo burners going steady for several days, and have arranged for one to come back in the coming weeks.

All of this ammo was voluntarily turned in to the RCMP after the residents had returned home.


Although maybe not.  All this ammo was not, as per Gunter's implication, taken during the same sweep as the guns.  It was voluntarily given up for disposal afterwards.  Probably because it was water-damaged. So I will leave it to my readers: does Lorne Gunter get his ice-cream cone (should he claim his ice-cream cone. I'm obviously not buying one on-spec)?

And, seriously, does somebody up in High River own a cannon or two?

Click through link for background.

Ontario Anti-Wind Forces Claimed Turbines Caused Health Problems, Refused To Provide Medical Records

Stumbled across this is an article entitled "Wind turbine syndrome: farm hosts tell very different story":

In a 2012 Ontario legal case, complainants were asked to provide their medical records going back a decade before the local wind farm commenced operation. This would have provided relevant information about any pre-existing health problems. When they failed to so, their case failed.

I hadn't previously heard of this appeal (one of Eric Gillespie's cases), so I contacted author Simon Chapman and he was able to steer me towards some of the relevant documents.  In particular:

For instance, in an earlier REA appeal, Zephyr Farms, the Tribunal granted motions by the Director and the approval holder requiring the production of (i) the complete medical records of the appellant’s proposed witnesses who claimed serious health effects due to proximity to wind turbines and (ii) all real estate records of those witnesses who alleged that they were forced to sell or abandon their homes.38 The Tribunal denied the appellant’s request for a lengthy adjournment to gather the complete medical records for each witness, given the public interest in a fair and timely resolution of the appeal. The appellant knew of the time constraints on REA appeals when it filed its Notice of Appeal in November 2011 and it had provided no explanation to the Tribunal for its inability to obtain a single medical record for any of the witnesses it proposed to call.39 After the Tribunal’s ruling regarding medical evidence and required disclosures, the appellant in Zephyr Farms withdrew its appeal.

In other words, the appellants claimed turbines had made people sick but refused to offer proof.  What is really odd, though is that the Environmental Review Tribunal has been inconsistent in demanding "medical disclosure". You'd think that if you were trying to stop a development on the basis that it might harm people's health, you wold have to at least show evidence that other, similar developments had in fact harmed people's health.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Very Soon, I Think That Lorne Gunter Is Going To Look Stupid

He writes, of what happened up in High River , where RCMP officers took guns from homes abandoned after this summer's floods in Alberta:

Nearly a half hour into his grilling by residents, Shardlow was detailing how many hundreds of guns had been forcibly removed from homes and how many had already been returned.

During his enumeration, Shardlow stated matter-of-factly that in addition to firearms, Mounties had also “ burned approximately seven thousand, five hundred pounds of compromised ammunition.”

Upon hearing that, the first thing that occurred to me is that in the small boats and dinghies Mounties were using, it must have taken dozens of trips to collect nearly four tons of ammunition. That means that rather than searching for survivors, their door-stomping rampage must have been first and foremost about taking guns away from law-abiding citizens, otherwise they wouldn’t have devoted so much overtime pay and scarce equipment to the effort.

So, I am willing to bet that Shardlow meant or in fact said rounds rather than pounds, and that  Gunter is just too dumb or conspiracy-minded to see this.  I mean, that's the natural way to describe units of ammo.  And if I am proven wrong, I will buy Lorne Gunter an ice-cream cone.  But, as per usual, only one scoop.  For I am not made out of money.

PS.   All this talk of the wrong done by the RCMP up in High River is, as far as I'm concerned, pandering to gun nuts.  Gunter is either playing dumb to fan the flames,or he isn't playing.

Update here.

Life In Scarborough Ontario, Part Whatever

I visited my local Walmart the other night, shopping for a new desktop  PC.

There was a guy hanging out at the entertainment department the whole time I was there.  He had a cell-phone pressed to his ear.  He was  saying into it:

"MMMM....mmmm...MMMM...mmmm...MMMM...mmmm...MMMM...mmmm....MMMM... MMMM....mmmm...MMMM...mmmm...MMMM...mmmm...MMMM...mmmm....MMMM"  

Later he attempted to hump the 5$ movie bin.  The $5 movie bin is my favorite place at Walmart.  I've found all sorts of cool DVDs there: 300;  Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer; and Nun Munchers 3-D all come to mind.

 But this evening I was forced to stay away.  So my Walmart shopping experience was a disappointment.

That's what living in Scarborough is like, sometimes.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Guess Who's Gone From Sun TV HomePage?

David "The Menzoid" Menzies show has been "on summer hiatus" the last couple of months.   Now his pic is off their "full schedule page" and his twitter feed just redirects to his Facebook site.  They can't be thinking of putting him in Adler's spot, can they? Or did Kory not have the decency to fire him on his own show?

PS.  When you look at their schedule they've got repeats of "The Source" in part of his time-slot, repeats of "AM Agenda" in the other.  Though that may not be a recent development.

Another Reason To Kill The Baby Boomers And Melt Them Down Into Soylent Green

This guy says if you're a Millennial you are entitled and lazy.  But in reality, he is of a generation that is stealing the social safety net so they can get a diamond encrusted walker with a jet-pack attached to it, and the whole piece is a smirk against those coming after, a justification for leaving them with sweet FA.  And, as I've said many times before, the youth of today will never get their fair share unless they are ready to rise up and and kill for it.  But they probably won't.  That shitty, electric-guitarless music they listen to is a natural pacifier. And so in the end Grampa Boomer will putter off into the sunset, carrying three sacks of their money over his shoulder so he can have himself cryogenically frozen until the day science finds a cure for his bunyans.  And the kids will watch from behind the counter of the McDs they'll still be working at when they're fifty: "Would you like fries with that, sir?" Carve those words on the headstone of an entire generation.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BCNDP Should Keep Adrian Dix

The whole one-election-and-out-party-leader phenomenon has gotten entirely out of hand.  But if your in opposition it means that your guy, when it comes to an election campaign, is always going to be a rookie.  It's hard to win that way. Not impossible.  But its tying one hand behind your back.

Nobody listens to me.

On Intolerance In Quebec And Elsewhere

Bernie Farber has a nice piece on his Huffpo page.  From it:

In invoking this so-called "Charter of Quebec Values" the Quebec government has taken a dangerous step into poisonous territory for any institution that considers itself democratic. If this were to pass into law Quebec would become the first province in Canada to openly discriminate against its citizens on the basis of their faith.

And wile we are on the topic, a couple of writers have suggested comparable instances of intolerance in the ROC.  Martin Regg Cohn, for example, points to the 2007 Ontario election:

[PCPO Leader John] Tory knew firsthand the power of identity politics to tap into voters’ latent prejudices, having been pummelled in the previous election for his controversial proposal to fund faith-based schools within the Ontario curriculum. His Progressive Conservatives had added it to their 2007 platform in hopes of winning support among religious voters.

The Liberals pounced with a thinly veiled attack that implied Islamic schools were fundamentalist madrassas deviating from mainstream education. The counterattack by then-premier Dalton McGuinty, which also tapped into latent anti-Catholic sentiments, kept the PCs on the defensive and probably cost them the 2007 election.

Andrew Coyne has been peddling a similar line for years now.  But how true is it?

As far as I recall, the possibility of John Tory's proposal resulting in an outbreak of Islamic fundamentalism was raised one time by Dalton McGuinty during the September 20 leaders' debate.  I have also been informed by people who worked on the PCPO campaign that in the latter stages calls were going out to Conservative supporters raising the same issue, and that it was suspected these came from Ontario Liberal Party operatives.  Such a contention is unprovable this long after the fact, but it is certainly within the realm of possibility, and we can assume it true for the purposes of argument.

But Regg Cohn and Coyne and others overestimate the effect these actions had on the outcome of the 07 vote.  Tory's proposals had already crashed and burned, both among the general public and among the PCPO faithful, long before any OLP dirty tricks.  The first nail in the coffin was when Tory suggested his new plan would allow the teaching of Creationism in the class-room.  The second was when Tory back-tracked and claimed that his plan would not allow the teaching of Creationism in the private-school classroom, only the approved Ontario school curriculum.  At the time, the staunchly Conservative Lifesite wrote:

In order to receive [John Tory's] money , however, privately run schools would have to teach the Ontario curriculum, follow standardized testing and have accredited teachers. While it would be optional at first, Tory's proposed solution could eventually force all schools to comply with the Ontario curriculum sections that mandate such things as acceptance of feminism and homosexuality, graphic sex education, teaching of evolution as complete fact and other problematic topics for those from religions of traditional moral, family and other core principles.

In other words, Ontario Tories soured on the plan because it wouldn't allow them to bash gays in the classroom.

And all this had already happened by  September 7th, 2007.  That is, three days before the official election call, Tory's plan was already a disaster.  The OLP might have piled on towards the end of the campaign, but that is all.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Footnote In The Annals Of Oddity

Some might remember Hillbilly Heaven, a restaurant out in Hamiliton that became famous for decorating the place with Confederate flags, and posting "English Spoken Only" signs  and Help Wanted ads that trashed people on social assistance.  Turns out the place applied for a spot on Restaurant Takeover during the show's debut season.  RT is the Restaurant Makeover successor show.  In it a team of uppity Toronto chefs and designers approach a food establishment that's close to going under, and sneer for a half hour at the menu before slapping on a few tiles on the wall, making them offer a salad, and buggering off afterwards.

As you might have expected, Hillbilly Heaven was a dump, its food great lumps of shit, and its proprietor the jerk you would imagine him to be.  The vid through the link is a bit long, but there are some laughs to be had as the crew tries to explain to owner Cameron Bailey how simple doesn't have to mean crap.

PS.  Not sure their efforts paid off.  One of HH's two locations has since gone under.  I'm not sure whether its the one in the show or not.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

In Toronto Central...'s gonna be Freeland vs McQuaig--a "Toff-Off"!  Whoever wins the by-election...assuming their party takes power after 2015...they can be appointed the Minister From Toronto Charged With Pissing Off The Rest Of Canada With Their Uppity Arrogance.  My kind of folk, in other words.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Your Next Premier?

tim hudak randy hillier
Angry.  Crazy.  Union basher.  Green job destroyer.  This shot is from here, but it doesn't matter. There are so many of them.  Anyone remember that old classic attack ad "The Faces Of Joe Clark"? Well...

Friday, September 13, 2013

First Frog On The Moon

Most stories claim that "Frog-1" (as they are calling him) was just lounging about a pool used for the NASA launch-pad sprinkler system.  But I prefer to think that the little fellow was a stowaway--a  frog brave enough to pursue his crazy dream of becoming an astronaut. A frog who, when he was young, would look up at the heavens every night and wonder what was out there.  A frog who thought he might become great one day, who strove to be the best frog he could be.  So Go! Frog-1!  Today you have slipped the surly bounds of Earth! Today you belong to the stars!

Hudak Boots Hillier To Back-Bench! Will Randy Bolt?

TORONTO - It’s been a week for tough decisions for Tim Hudak.

Days after he was forced to drop Thornhill MPP Peter Shurman from the prestigious finance critic role, the PC leader has dumped controversial rural maverick Randy Hillier from his critic portfolio, moved him to the backbench and stripped him of his committee responsibilities.

Sources say Hudak was forced into the move because Hillier broke the cardinal rule of caucus secrecy, leaking inside information about what was discussed by Tory MPPs to the media.

Sounds like Tim thinks the leaked emails came from Hillier himself.  Most interesting bit is the suggestion that Hillier fed information to the OLP.  Almost treasonous, if this is in fact the case.  Least interesting bit is...

[Hillier's] website had no mention of his PC party affiliation Thursday.

...because I don't think it ever did.  Wayback machine suggests it never did, anyway.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How To Use The New Census Data

It involves holding your nose:

The only way Statscan was able to publish the 2011 NHS data was by remarkably dropping its quality standard by doubling the acceptable global non-response rate.

And accepting incomplete questionnaires:

What exactly did Statscan consider an acceptable response to the 2011 NHS questionnaire? Apparently, enumerators had been instructed to accept the long form with as few as 10 of 84 questions answered.  What the standard was for the 2011 NHS and how it differed from previous long-form Census are important questions that, to date, have not been answered. Given that StatsCan lowered the data quality standard by doubling the acceptable non-response rate, one suspects a similarly dramatic change to the acceptable questionnaire completeness rate for the 2011 NHS relative to prior year long-form Census.

And, as far as I know, we are still talking about data at the level of  Census subdivisions (CSDs). That is, municipalities.  At this level:

One way to demonstrate the dramatic difference this change in data quality’s had is by looking at the published 2011 NHS data for Census subdivisions (CSDs). Of 5252 CSDs in the 2011 NHS, data for 3439 was fit for release, while data for 1813 was suppressed, almost all for non-response, using the post-2011 NHS data quality standard.  However, using the pre-2011 NHS data quality standard, only 994 of those 5252 CSDs, or 19%, would have been fit for release, while 4258 would have been suppressed. By comparison, of 5418 CSDs in the 2006 long-form Census, data for 4534, or 84%, was fit for release, while data for only 884 was suppressed.

Below that, down to the tract/dissemination area level, data has still not been released.  

Gruending On The Quebec Charter Of Values

Nothing you haven't heard before, but nicely written as always:

And so, we are left with the odd spectacle of the Parti Quebecois, which has always claimed to be progressive and socially democratic, promoting policies resembling those of Canada’s Right.

Indeed, though to its credit a good portion of Canada't Right has grown beyond this kind of blatant immigrant bashing and decried the charter.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On The Quebec Values Charter

First, a statement from CIJA ( The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs):

There is no justification for the government's proposed legislation.  The government is rehashing old, out of context stories in order to generate support for this unwarranted attack on the basic rights and freedoms of Quebecers, all to find a solution to the so-called "reasonable accommodation crisis", which was largely recognized as fictitious.

The separation of Church and State has existed in Quebec for many years.  CIJA-Quebec sees no need at this time to bring forward new laws on the secular nature of the Quebec public sector.  The prohibition of wearing religious symbols in the public and para-public service is not justified, and would exclude a large number of Quebecers. The role of the state should be to bring people together, not to divide them.

Dr.Dawg thinks the charter was specifically designed to spare Christian symbols, and I think he's right.  In fact I would go further and suggest that the effected symbols from other religions are simply unfortunate collateral damage in Marois' attempt to get at hijab wearing Muslim women.  Tarak Fatah has argued similarly.

So it's interesting to note that the first response to the proposed charter (that I've heard) from Quebec's Catholic Church has been a big thumbs down.  Did Marois flub the balancing act?  Is it just too hard to discriminate against one religious group without either giving the show away or being forced into language so general that you inadvertently wind up hurting friendlies?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Margaret Wente's Latest Is A Revolting Piece Of Crap

Media Culpa's take-down is just what it deserves.  That is all.


The poll, by Innovative Research Group, has Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Grits at 37 per cent among decided voters, seven points ahead of the official opposition, Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives. The left-wing New Democrats under Andrea Horwath, meanwhile, trail at 22. The Green Party sits at 10 per cent support.

I have no real theory.  Gas Plant fatigue?  Tim Hudak's crummy performance?  Kathleen Wynne's pretty good performance?  Summertime warm and fuzzyness descending over the good people of Ontario? Whatever.

Hard to see Andrea Horwath pulling the plug with numbers like that.   Hudak, on the other hand, seems to have  a death wish.  He wants his one-at-out so he can get on with a life in the private sector,  maybe wrangle a slot on a  talk-radio station somewhere.  But Andrea still has a few cards to play.  I can see a deal being made, at least until spring.

Monday, September 09, 2013

CBSC Dings Ezra

Ottawa, September 9, 2013 - The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning comments made about “Gypsies” on Sun News Network.  During his program The Source, Ezra Levant made negative comments about that ethnic group.  The CBSC found the broadcast in violation of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code.

The CBSC did not, however, require that Sun News  announce this decision on air, having decided that the network had grovelled sufficiently via its previous apologies, which I wrote about here.

Ezra Attracts Another Defamation Suit?

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Its David Rose

So its best to ignore him when he writes on the issue of Global Warming or, really, on any issue, but this bit:

The continuing furore caused by The Mail on Sunday’s revelations – which will now be amplified by the return of the Arctic ice sheet – has forced the UN’s climate change body to hold a crisis meeting.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was due in October to start publishing its Fifth Assessment Report – a huge three-volume study issued every six or seven years. It will now hold a pre-summit in Stockholm later this month. pretty close to a straight-out falsehood, as Mr. Rose has already been told by one of the scientists he quotes in the article that, well...
But, again, its David Rose.  He has a long history of mis-hearing what he's been told.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Nova Scotia Is ON

I hardly ever write about Nova Scotia politics.  Who does?  But last time they had an election out there I was kinda the king maker.  This exclusive re then Premier Rodney MacDonald going and shaking his man boobs on a trampoline probably cost him the election.  And, while we're on the topic, these exclusives re the NS Liberals circulating topless photos of NDP candidate Lenore Zann probably kept them out of office.   I'm hoping for better behavior all around this time.  Can we have some issues, people?

Anyway, bottom line is don't fuck with BCLSB.  And, if anyone from team Trudeau is reading, this kind of stuff is why I deserve a Senate appointment, when you guys get in.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Harper's New Enviro Plan: Show Me The Money

...or, more precisely, the cuts in Carbon Emissions.  Simon Donner of UBC has it right:
...which is to say that a deal is doable, if whatever Keystone XL produces by way of carbon emissions can be offset elsewhere.  To embed Mr. Donner again:
We shall see.  But I should say I doubt this government's ability to whomp up a real CO2 reduction plan in the time available, especially if it needs buy-in from the provinces.  For example, to save the tar sands does Ontario's auto industry get thumped?

But, once again, in not impossible.

The Shorter Paul Wells

Prime Minister Harper plays Chess; his opponents, a broken Bolivian Armpit Flute.

He first wrote this column in 2007, and he's just changed up the words a bit since.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Tory MPP Peter Shurman: My Salary Is Not Enough

“Frankly, on the basis of … how we’re paid at the legislature, I can’t afford two houses,” he said in an interview. “I make $112,500 a year. Some people think that’s a lot of money. To do what I have to do, or any MPP has to do, it’s not very much at all.”

Apparently, when asked about the appropriateness of this, PCPO Leader Tim Hudak's office would not comment.  The reporter, however, could hear weeping in the background, and the sound of someone banging their head on a desk.

PS.  I know a fellow whose job is to run a printing press who owns three condo units around T.O.  He works hard and saves and invests.  Peter Shurman could learn a lesson from him.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

LPC Lead NOT Weed Fuelled!

Don't even think it.  The economy has been, and will likely remain, anemic.  Usually  governments pay for that, even conservative ones who like to style themselves good stewards of the nation's finances and etc. Because clearly they must be wrong if the economy remains in the tank.

Hot Air on Wind Power

From The Star:

[PPPO MPP Vic] Fedeli blamed wind power as a major culprit in driving up costs. Wind power is sometimes plentiful when demand is low, producing a gush of power when it’s least needed. That has occasionally forced the province to give away surplus power, or even pay some big industries and export customers to use it.

Now, "The Global Adjustment" mentioned in The Star piece is a charge that was added to Ontario electricity bills in 2005. Its been going up even while market rates have remained flat, so it's the main driver behind increases in energy bills over the past decade or so.  The graph below, from here, shows how each of the various power sources used in Ontario have contributed to it:

It looks better if you click on the image, but renewables (mostly wind and solar) are the blue line bouncing along the bottom. As of April 2012, the date on the Monitoring Report on the IESO-Administered Electricity Markets, they accounted for about six per cent of the adjustment (and therefore about three percent of your total bill), though that share was expected to increase over time.  Much of the adjustment, 45 per cent: attributable to the Bruce Power and OPG nuclear units. The major factors that led to the increase in 2009 were a significant decrease in the wholesale electricity price and a higher regulated price paid to OPG, both of which increased the spread between the contract prices and the HOEP. 

...which is to say that if you shut down the entire Ontario renewables sector your power bill would still be going up, though at an almost microscopically slower pace.

Hardly an occasion for the kind of outrage that Fideli and the various anti-wind groups profess to feel.

Monday, September 02, 2013

My Wife Loves Me

For a late 50th birthday present (Yeah I turned 50.  What?) my wife bought me a bath pillow, so I can sit in the tub at night--my office--with a beer in hand, and read in comfort.

You can't trade anything for a love like that.