Sunday, December 31, 2006
That's the letter -- written to help raise funds for a court challenge the NCC was helping to finance -- where Harper described Chief Electoral Officer Jean Pierre Kingsley as a "jackass".
Paul Wells broke this story on his blog and it has been picked up by the Toronto Star and other outlets.
This, of course, is supposed to prove that Harper had some sort of grudge against Kingsley.
Well, here on this blog I would like to make a confession.
Harper did not write that letter -- I did.
Yes it was the very first ever fund raiser I ever wrote for the NCC.
And yes, it was a little over the top, but I think it's pretty effective.
There glad I got that off my chest. Besides why should Harper get all the credit for calling Kingsley a jackass when it was really me!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
And no, I am not talking about Saddam Hussein.
I mean, I am pleased Jean Pierre Kingsley is stepping down as Chief Electoral Officer. In fact, I have a column in today's National Post on the subject, which you can read here.
I am also quoted in today's Toronto Star on this issue.
Friday, December 29, 2006
You can read my comments in this Globe and Mail piece and actually see and hear me in this CTV News item and you can read the National Citizens Coalition news release over at National Newswatch.
What a nice post-Christmas present.
Just did an interview on this on the Dave Rutherford Show.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
All I can say is --- good riddance.
Kingsley was far from a disinterested bureaucrat. He had an ideological axe to grind and used his power to go after groups he didn't like.
I should know -- he dragged the National Citizens Coalition through a costly and lengthy criminal court proceeding, simply because he hated the NCC.
What's more he actively intervened in our constitutional court challenge to the election gag law against us.
Oh and did I mention he was also incompetent.
Just did an interview on this with CTV National News.
After exhaustive research, I have come up with the top 5 best postings on my blog this year.
Here they are in descending order:
5. My blog on the TTC wildcat strike -- actually made the Toronto Sun's "Blog of the Day" feature.
4. My "Top Ten List of Candidates I would most like to see Lose in the 2006 election." People would actually come up to me at parties and tell me how much they enjoyed that list. Which goes to show you, I need to start going to better parties.
3. The "Is Gerry Nicholls one of the Top Five Political Minds" poll. Yes it was egomaniacal, but hey isn't that what blogging is all about?
2. My blog detailing the effort of some bureaucrat at the Department of National Defence who tried to shut down the National Citizens Coalition "Support our Troops" campaign. Luckily it had a happy ending.
1. Of course, my number one blog has to be the one which broke the "Harper Eats Babies" story. This made news not only across Canada but in the United States as well. I was even interviewed by the New York Times.
I hope 2007 will be as eventful.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Anyway here are five things I learned in 2006:
1. Finally accepted the fact that my hair will never grow back.
2. Objects in your car mirror really are closer than they appear.
3. 99 percent of everything on television is junk.
4. Dr. Phil's advice is really overrated.
5. I am a terrible speller
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
I mean it's terrible, you have to listen to the whole thing to truly appreciate the rottenness of it. And apparently it was a serious audition.
So what's the worst rendition of O Holy Night?
That's easy, whenever I sing it.
My first thought when I heard this was, "What's a hallow?" and my second thought was, what if Rowling wrote books on Canadian politics.
Here are some possible titles:
Stephen Harper and the Income Trust of Doom.
Jack Layton and the Party of Irrelevance
Gilles Duceppe and the Separatist's Millstone
Stephane Dion and the Prisoner of Kyoto
Not sure any of these would be bestsellers but I am sure they would all get government funding.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
But in this case, I will make an exception, since the National Post has made a letter I wrote to the paper "Letter of the Day".
It's essentially a re-working of a posting I wrote, yesterday, but since I can't think of anything else to post today, I will reprint it here:
Re: Dion Drafts Main Rivals for 'Dream Team,' Dec. 20.
Stephane Dion has supposedly put the federal Liberals on a pre-election footing with the formation of a "dream team." But what are the duties of each member? As far as I can figure, they are as follows:
- Michael Ignatieff: Try not to look like a sore loser.
- Gerard Kennedy: Patiently await the proper moment to undermine Dion's leadership.
- Martha Hall Findlay: Go around the country reminding everybody she is the woman on the dream team.
- Ken Dryden: Give as many speeches as possible so Dion looks charismatic by comparison.
- Scott Brison: Keep everybody else awake during Dryden's speeches.
- Bob Rae: Convince left-wing voters that Liberals can be socialists too.
Sheesh, with a "dream" like that who needs nightmares?
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Here is the team and their assigned duties:
Michael Ignatieff: Try and not look like a sore loser.
Gerrard Kennedy: Patiently await the proper moment to stab Dion in the back.
Martha Hall Findlay: Go around the country reminding everybody that she is a “woman” on the dream team.
Ken Dryden: Give as many speeches as possible so that Dion looks charismatic by comparison.
Scott Brison: Keep everybody else awake during Dryden speeches.
Bob Rae: Convince left-wing voters that the Liberals really will destroy Canada’s economy.
Sheesh, with a dream like that who needs nightmares?
Crossposted at the National Citizens Coalition Blog.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Of course, he will largely be remembered for helping to create such classic cartoons as The Flinstones, Scooby-Doo and The Jetsons.
But my favorite Barbera cartoon as a kid was Jonny Quest.
Every week teenager Jonny and his dad Dr. Benton Quest battled cool bad guys, giant robot spiders and monstrous pterodactyls.
Come to think of it, Dr. Quest wasn't much of a father to put his son in the path of bad guys, giant robot spiders and pterodactyls.
A about two weeks ago, I posted on this blog about how I wishing for a Christmas miracle, in the form of cash, to help me pay some bills I was facing.
Anyway, good old anonymous piped in the comments section with this opinion:
"Hmm, does that mean you want a handout Me thinkest thou should practice what thou preaches. Funny about you conservative types, when its about you, you want freebies or handouts when its the rest of the world you want conservative policies."
This got me thinking about what would happen if Christmas miracles really were government handouts.
This led to the oped "The Ministry of Christmas Miracles" which you can read here.
Thanks again to anonymous and Merry Christmas to you.
I will be discussing this topic Focus 980 on CFPL London at about 11:15 AM EST and on Newsline on CFAX Victoria at about noon EST.
Media Update 2
Will be talking about this on Adler Online on Wednesday at about 2:15 PM EST.
Doesn't make sense does it.
See my reaction to all this as reported in a Sun Media story.
Crossposted at the National Citizens Coalition Blog.
After all, the government is allowing a convicted killer to roam around as free as a bird.
Still it isn't all bad.
Don't forget all the hard work our judges are doing to protect us from the dangers of Christmas trees.
Crossposted in the National Citizens Coalition Blog.
Monday, December 18, 2006
That's quite an honour.
But let's face it Harper had a lot of help to achieve his success and it's only fair that we recognize the people who helped make it all possible:
* Buzz Hargrove -- Buzz's inept campaigning skills (in which he actually endorsed the separatist Bloc Quebecois) certainly helped Harper make it where he is today.
* Jean Chretien -- Could Harper have won without the Adscam Sponsorship Scandal which occurred under Chretien's watch?
* Paul Martin -- Great Finance Minister -- terrible Prime Minister -- horrible campaigner.
Crossposted at the National Citizens Coalition Blog
Sunday, December 17, 2006
The Bishop’s Wife (1947 version)
-- Angel Cary Grant lusts after Loretta Young.
- Most realistic depiction of Christmas ever filmed.
A Christmas Story
The Santa Clause
-- Best movie ever filmed in Oakville
-Shows that even innocence can be funny
-- Worth watching just to see John Candy
Babes in Toyland
-- Great scene with marching toy soldiers
-- Merry Christmas mother*****
-- Not really a Christmas movie, but Santa Claus does show up to pass out deadly weapons to the children.
I know this movie tops most "Top Ten Christmas Movies" lists, but not mine.
In fact, I don't like it at all.
First off, it's way too hokey and sentimental. Second of all, I hate the way the lead character, George Bailey, is always sacrificing his interests, his dreams and his happiness for the sake of others. (It's no wonder he is completely miserable.) And finally, be honest, wouldn't you rather live in Pottersville?
One Christmas special I do like is the politically incorrect and rarely seen Santa Vs. The Snowman.
Now that's holiday entertainment.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
If you read it, you will see there's no mention of the fact that he was president of the National Citizens Coalition from 1998 to 2001.
The closest the bio comes to acknowledging the NCC is the part where it says: "Mr. Harper has spent his political career standing up and speaking out for Canadians who work hard, pay their taxes and play by the rules."
Oh well, at least his enemies on the left keep reminding Canadians he was our president.
But there are Quebecois conservative/libertarians fighting the good fight and working to resist the statist tendencies of La Belle Province.
One of those is Claire Joly, who has set up an organization called Ligue des contribuables du Quebec or as we anglos would say The League of Quebec Taxpayers.
It's mission is to "keep a vigilant eye on politicians, inform citizens on where their tax dollars go and demand lower taxes."
Now that sounds good in any language.
So to better understand how this system works I asked the Prime Minister's Office to send me a backgrounder.
It didn't help.
Here's the explanation they sent me:
Under STV, voters will rank their preferred Senate nominees, beginning with their first preference (i.e. by marking the number “1” beside that nominee’s name) and then expressing consecutive preferences up to the number of “vacancies”* available (i.e. by marking the number “2” by their second choice, “3” by their third, and so on).Under the STV counting system, a Senate nominee must receive a number of votes equal to a pre-determined quota in order to be selected. This quota is determined by dividing the number of validly cast ballots in the province by the number of vacancies, plus one; one is added to the dividend; and the result is the quota. In other words, the quota is determined by the following formula:
Valid Votes Cast
Number of Vacancies +1
Therefore, for example, if there were five potential Senate appointments for a province, the quota for the province would be 1/6 of the total votes, plus 1.
To determine who has met the quota, all first preferences on the ballots are counted. Any nominee receiving enough first preference votes on this count are selected.
If a nominee receives more than the quota, then his or her “surplus votes” (that is, those in excess of the quota) are distributed to the second preferences indicated on those ballots. If on any count, no nominee reaches the quota, then the nominee with the fewest votes is eliminated and his or her votes are distributed to the continuing nominees. This process continues through subsequent preferences until the number of nominees equals the number of vacancies available.
This is what happens when you let government bureaucrats come up with an idea. Anybody else would have said, here's how you vote for a Senator -- put an "X" next to the name of the guy you like.
But for bureaucrats that unnecessarily simple.
Whenever they come up with an idea it's usually determined by the following formula:
Number of needlessly stupid ideas
Number of bureaucrats +1
Crossposted at the National Citizens Coalition Blog.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Most of it was pretty basic: voters will have a chance to vote in a plebiscite; elections will be administered by Elections Canada; standard spending limits in place, etc.
But when it came time to explain how candidates would win I was completely stumped.
Apparently it’s not just going to be a “first past the post” system but instead it will be STV — Single Transferable Vote.
Now it has something to do with something called “quotients”, but that’s all I got out of it.
Seems to me the only people who will understand the voting system will be physicists.
Here's what a STV ballot will look like:
Crossposted on the National Citizens Coalition Blog.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Having an unelected Senate is like a bald guy with a comb-over: it's an embarrassment that doesn't do any good.
The National Citizens Coalition is preparing a campaign on this issue.
I just did an interview on French CBC-TV on this issue and will be doing an interview on Adler Online at approximately 4:40 PM EST.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
And just in time for Christmas too.
Must be nice to be able vote yourself a pay hike.
And what did the MPPs do to deserve such a raise?
Are they working harder? Have they done an excellent job? Do they have more responsibilities?
They were just envious of federal MPs who made more money than they did.
Envious and greedy. Nice combination.
What gets me is that all these MPPs who are crying about how they are so underpaid, are the same MPPs who not too long ago were begging us for votes.
They knew what the pay package was when they ran. If they thought the pay was too low why didn't they say something then?
And then they wonder why voters hold them in such low regard.
I just did an interview on this on the Jim Richards Show (CFRB Radio in Toronto)Also I am quoted in this Canadian Press story.
The problem is I had to do two radio interviews before 8:00 AM, one on the John Oakley Show, to talk about MPP pay, and one on CHQR's The Morning News with Stirling Faux to discuss the Wheat Board.
Fortunately I have a secret on how to sound articulate while operating on 5 minutes sleep: long showers and gallons of coffee.
That should keep me going until around 3:00 PM when I expect to collapse.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Here's a couple of reasons why I am not so jolly these days:
- Recently had to endure my most hated of experiences: a trip to the dentist. What's worse, the radio station piped into the room was CBC news! Talk about double torture.
- Took my car into the garage to get it "winterized". Turned out it needed new brakes -- $1,200. Take that Christmas budget.
- Lost my December GO train pass. So my Christmas gift to some stranger is a month's worth of free rides between Toronto and Oakville.
I need is a visit from some kindly spirit just like on those corny Christmas movies!
It would especially be nice if that spirit had plenty of cash.
Friday, December 08, 2006
So why didn't Rae win the Liberal leadership race?
Was it because of his disastrous record as Ontario Premier? Was it because he was a big spender and taxer? Was it because he swam naked with Rick Mercer?
It now seems Rae's big drawback with many Liberals was that he married a Jewish woman!
According to media reports: "Bob Rae was apparently the target of anti-Semitic attacks and it may be one of the reasons the front runner failed to win his bid to take over as the party's new boss."
OK will somebody out there please explain to me how it is the Liberals can claim to be the party of tolerance?
This is the same Tobin who in 1999 called the Fraser Institute "the most right-wing, Looney Tune institute . . . ever set foot on the soil of Canada."
I guess Tobin is changing his looney tune.
Here are the final results of that poll:
Don't Know 5%
No but he does have boyish good looks 19%
What can I say, the people have spoken.
Why do they deserve a pay raise?
Is it because they are doing more work? Is it because they have more responsiblity? Is it because they are doing such a great job?
It's because Ontario MPs make more money than they do. Federal backbench MPs make about $147,000 a year, wheras provincial MPPs must make do with "only" $88,000.
And that's how political renumeration works. Your pay isn't decided on how well you do your job, it's based on how much money some other guy is getting.
MPs whined and cried that American Senators made more than they did, to justify giving themselves a pay raise. Then city councillors whined and cried that MPs made more than they did, to justify giving themselves pay raise and now MPPs are whining and crying that everybody gets more than they do, so they should have a raise.
Then, of course, American Senators will whine and cry that they should make more than Canadian MPs and so the vicious circle will continue.
What all these politicians forget is that they work for taxpayers. And since we are their bosses, maybe we should have a say in their pay.
Maybe we should hold a referendum everytime politicians want to give themselves a raise. Or another idea would be to allow politicians to give themselves a raise with the understanding that it will not take effect until after the next election.
That way at least taxpayers will have some say in the matter.
In the meantime, maybe our politicians should try and earn a pay raise.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
|What Kind of Reader Are You? |
Your Result: Literate Good Citizen
You read to inform or entertain yourself, but you're not nerdy about it. You've read most major classics (in school) and you have a favorite genre or two.
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H/T Matt Bufton
Will he oppose or support Bill C-257, a private member's bill that's making its way through the House of Commons?
This Bill would essentially make it illegal for federally-regulated companies to hire replacement workers during labour disputes.
The Bloc Quebecois and the NDP both support this Bill as have many Liberals.
And if that support continues Bill C-257 could become law, which would be bad news for Canada.
Simply put, such a law would drive away investment, kill jobs and infringe on the freedoms of Canadian employees, who may wish to work during a strike.
Traditionally, the Liberal Party has opposed these kinds of pro-union laws, but will they do so again?
Will Dion stand up for Canada's economy and reject Bill C-257 or will he side with socialists, separatists and big union bosses?
I guess we will find out if Buzz Hargrove is now calling the shots in the Liberal Party.
In the meantime, here's what the National Citizens Coalitions is doing to stop Bill C-257.
I debate David Rappaport of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union on this issue on CH Live at 5:30 PM EST and again at 11:30 PM EST. It gets a little heated.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Case in point is Brian who calls himself a "grudging CAW member".
Brian believes in things like free enterprise and individual freedom and he doesn't believe union bosses should use his forced dues to promote their propaganda.
Anyway, he recently wrote an essay for the Western Standard writing contest warning of the dangers of CAW boss Buzz Hargrove's radical agenda.
And although Brian didn't win, it's still a good piece. You can read it here.
By the way, I am not just recommending this essay because Brian mentions me in it, but it sure helps.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
Columnists and pundits from the leading dailies seem certain Dion will win the next federal election.
Mind you, many of these columnists and pundits were equally certain not so long ago that Stephen Harper would never win a federal election.
Media Update: I will be discussing Stephane Dion's victory tonight on The World Tonight with Michael Smyth on CKNW radio at approximately 10:00 PM EST.
By the way, there's still time to vote on my special online blog poll.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
That's how I would sum up the results of the Liberal leadership contest.
Stéphane Dion seems like a decent person, but I doubt he is the guy who will help restore the former glory of the Liberal Party.
Pierre Trudeau he aint.
I mean most Canadians are likely saying "Stephane who?"
And he isn't exactly a fiery campaigner.
What it all adds up to is he will probably not help the Liberals grow in the West nor I suspect will he help them break out much beyond their Ontario and Montreal strongholds.
So why did the Liberals pick him?
Simply because he was acceptable to both the Chretien and Martin factions, who fought each other to a standstill in this race.
They decided to call a truce and elect Dion as a kind of a place holder leader until they can resume their combat after the next election.
In my view, the candidate Harper should have feared the most was Bob Rae.
Yes he was a disaster as Ontario Premier, but he is an excellent campaigner, articulate, media savvy and experienced.
And politicians who have experienced both victory and defeat usually make the toughest opponents.
Fortunately for the country, the Liberals didn't figure this out.
Finally, there's poor Michael Ignatieff, who a friend of mine once described as a "prodigal, self-nominated matinee idol."
Remember how the media gushed over this ex-Harvard professor?
Well they forgot one thing: eggheads don't make good politicians. You don't win elections with appeals to the intellect; you win them with appeals to emotion.
Of course, over the next few months the Liberal-friendly media will try and convince us that by shunning the two front-runners and electing Dion, the Liberals have pulled off a masterstroke.
Don't buy it.
I expect Stephen Harper is pretty happy right now.
Gairdner, who was the former chairman of the National Citizens Coalition, examines the whole question of what federalism is supposed to mean.
He begins with an fascinating recounting of how Americans and Canadians tried to deal with the seeming paradoxical notion of "two sovereign authorities in the same state".
The Americans tried to check the power of the central government through a series of balances while Canadians opted to strictly outline the provincial powers in the BNA Act.
Neither approach worked.
As Gairdner writes: "the trend over time is always that the superior power will find ways, however devious, to slowly gobble up the subordinate ones."
And in both the U.S. and Canada the central power has, in fact, gobbled up the state/provincial powers.
Gairdner says this must change:
There must be a rebalancing, devolution, and restoration of assigned constitutional powers; a restoring of states rights, so to speak. Canada must be returned to something resembling its original constitutional framework by withdrawing federal powers from all places where they have never by right or by law belonged.
This is where the "nation" issue comes into play.
Gairdner argues Prime Minister Harper is taking the first step in restoring true federalism in Canada:
Harper is keenly aware that no one will now dare to deny Quebec its new “nation” status. He is also aware that Quebec will now likely support him for a majority government in the next election. And he knows that Quebec will continue to push for the powers appropriate for a nation. But he will hold them to what he said: Quebec will be considered a nation “within a united Canada.” And he will then slowly apply that condition to all other provinces that want it, because under our Constitution provinces were intended to have provincial sovereignty over their own list, and the feds were to meant to keep their hands off. To respect provincial sovereignty in a united Canada. Of course, the other provinces not so dominated by a single ethnic and linguistic group will not care if they are called a “nation,” but it will have to be by some label just as chummy. What they will insist upon is “equal” provincial rights and sovereignty. Thus, through a long process of reversing the workings of the monster – to include reducing taxes wherever possible, eliminating the national debt, removing nanny-state federal tentacles from all places in which they have never by right belonged, and of course by removing transfer payments – he will undertake to restore provincial constitutional rights. Harper has just commenced the deconstruction of our rusty welfare state.
I hope he is right.
This was an argument I made much less articulately a few days ago.
If Harper is in fact, using the "nation" strategy to give more power to all the provinces, then Canadians should support it.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Whose idea was it to make former Olympic swimming star Mark Tewksbury the emcee?
It must have been a Chretien supporter, because Tewksbury was awful. I was actually embarrassed for him. Somebody should have thrown him a life preserver!
And to think he is actually supposed to be a professional public speaker.
But then on second thought maybe Tewksbury was actually an inspired choice.
A friend of mine emailed me after it was over and wrote:
"I see Tewksbury as a metaphor for the Martin years -- the impressive resume, the high expectations, the bitter reality."
Thursday, November 30, 2006
That’s awfully nice.
But given that Martin was only Prime Minister for a short time, the Liberals might have trouble finding enough material to fill the two hour planned event.
So to help them along, I have come up with ten good things about Paul Martin. Here they are in no particular order:
1. He single-handedly helped to end years of one party rule in this country.
2. His election campaign helped to promote Canada’s Beer and Popcorn industry
3. Never compared a sitting MP to a domesticated animal.
4. Never throttled a single protester.
5. His election ads helped alert us of the dangers posed by armed Canadian soldiers in our streets
6. If nothing else, at least he banished Carolyn Parrish and Alfonso Gagliano.
7. Mr. Dithers is a cute nickname
8. Helped international brotherhood by flying foreign flags on many of his shipping line’s vessels – it had nothing to do with avoiding Canadian taxes.
9. Helped heal the divide between rich corporate bigwigs and the working class when he became bosom buddies with Buzz Hargrove
10. At least he’s better than Bob Rae
I will be appearing on he World Tonight with Rob Breakenridge tonight at approximately 10:05 PM EST to discuss Paul Martin and other issues.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
This weekend, Alberta Progressive Conservatives will be choosing a new leader for their party and a new Premier for their province.
It's a three-man race with Jim Dinning and Ted Morton the two front-runners.
Dinning is the Red Tory choice, while Morton is a conservative's conservative.
I had the pleasure of meeting Ted Morton at a National Citizens Coalition luncheon last June and he impressed me as a man of true principles.
So who is going to win?
These guys have a pretty good analysis.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Tasha is teaching what looks like a fantastic course at McGill University called "The Conservative Movement in Canada" which is probably the first of its kind in the country.
This course will examine the history and current state of the conservative movement in Canada, in three arenas: political, social and economic. It will explore the development of the Conservative party from Confederation until today, with a special focus on the current federal government. It will look at how conservatism in Canada has been shaped by that of the United States and Britain. It will examine where conservatives stand on the issue of national unity and will study the challenges conservatives face in influencing public debate.
Of course, Tasha, who co-authored Rescuing Canada's Right, a Blueprint for a Conservative Revolution, is the perfect person to teach such a course.
It's set to start in the January semester so anybody who would like to enroll should register right away.
I sure wish they had courses like this when I went to university --- maybe I would have graduated with better marks.
Monday, November 27, 2006
The email says:
"We've always believed in the wisdom of crowds—the idea that all of us together are smarter and wiser than any one of us. The survey will only take a few minutes of your time but your answers—along with the answers of all the other MoveOn members—will show the way forward."
Hmmm, all of us together are smarter and wiser than any one of us. Interesting notion.
I guess that's why angry mobs are so wise.
And that’s something all those people praising Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his “masterstroke” resolution seem to be forgetting.
Yes, Harper scored a skillful tactical victory with his “the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada” resolution and yes he did throw the Bloc Quebecois for a loop.
But what about the bigger picture?
Let’s face it, Harper had to introduce his resolution because he was afraid his own caucus members, including cabinet ministers, might support a similar Bloc resolution.
The Prime Minister also feared if his party voted against a resolution calling Quebec a nation they would lose votes in that province.
Also telling is the Prime Minister didn’t dare introduce a resolution saying something like, “Canada is the only nation for Canadians”, a resolution no Quebec politician from any party would have voted for.
What does that say about Quebec’s relationship with the rest of Canada?
To me it says the “Quebecois nation” has little or no emotional attachment to the nation-state we call Canada.
Is that a bad thing?
Not necessarily. In fact, in this day and age of multiculturalism and immigration, coupled with the emergence of new communication technology and globalization the nation-state as we know it is becoming less and less relevant.
Let’s not forget many western Canadians are also growing alienated with what’s going on in Ottawa these days.
I suppose we could call “Albertans a nation within a united Canada” or we could try something else.
For instance, why don’t we redefine federalism?
Instead of actively seeking to pander and appease Quebec nationalists with Parliamentary resolutions, let’s instead reduce the size and scope of the federal government.
That means handing over power to the provinces or to the regions or better yet it means privatizing federal operations that could be better run by the private sector – the CBC and the Post Office spring to mind.
Other institutions like the CRTC could simply be scrapped.
Some people might call this radical.
But I would call it creating a nation that could appeal to all Canadians: a free enterprise nation.
I am going to be on the show Richard Cloutier Reports at 12:30 EST to talk about this.
Our kids are too fat; we are too fat; our dogs and cats are too fat and only the all-knowing, all-wise state can save us from ourselves.
Only the state, we are told, can whip us all into shape -- perhaps with mandatory exercise regimes; perhaps with state mandated diets; perhaps by banning McDonald's.
Yet are we citizens really eating ourselves into a extra-large coffin? Do we really need to be saved from ourselves?
No says Patrick Basham of the Washington-based Democracy Institute. In fact, Basham contends the obesity epidemic is a "myth manufactured by public health officials in concert with assorted academics and special-interest lobbyists."
Actually he contends there are four myths out there concerning obesity: that we and our children are fat; that being fat is a certain recipe for early death; that our fatness stems from the manufacturing and marketing practices of the food industry.
Read all about it here.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Yes, he did outline a prudent fiscal agenda for the next few years, and yes he promised to eliminate the net debt (whatever that means) in 15 years, and yes he promised the interest savings on the lower debt would translate into income tax cuts.
But where was the boldness that this government likes to display when it comes to things like pandering to Quebec nationalists?
I was hoping for some grand announcement on tax cuts or on reductions to government spending.
But there was nothing.
As Terence Corcoran writes in today's Financial Post, "By creating this great smoke machine, Mr. Flaherty appears to be hiding the fact that Canada's New Government has the same old problem -- high taxes and spending levels that will remain high."
Thursday, November 23, 2006
The topic was "Beyond the Bottom Line:Instilling Values in Leadership".
It was probably good for my soul, as the room was packed with priests, ministers, rabbis and bishops; but not so good for my blood pressure.
In fact, a couple of the speakers, I think, represented the spiritual arm of the NDP in that they were preaching from the Gospel According to Marx.
When it comes to religion I think these guys are closer to the mark.
"Our position is clear. Do the Québécois form a nation within Canada? The answer is yes. Do the Québécois form an independent nation? The answer is no and the answer will always be no."
Now Andrew Coyne makes some interesting observations as to what all this means for Canada and I certainly won't try to top him.
But I do have a few questions of my own.
For instance, does this mean Canada is now officially nine provinces and one nation? Does this mean Quebec can now have a seat in the United Nations? Will Quebec soon have its own national anthem?
And most importantly of all, how in the heck can the House of Commons pass a resolution stating Quebec will never be an "independent nation"?
Never is a long time.
Do our MPs have access to a time machine or something?
And if they do have such a machine, I wish they would let me know when our federal political leaders will stop pandering to Quebec nationalists.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
According to the poll 17 per cent of Canadians cite the environment as the issue which most concerns them, the highest its been since 1989.
But the problem for environmentalists, says Allan Gregg of Strategic Counsel, is that "while they (Canadians) see the problem affecting them, they still don't see themselves as part of the solution."
In other words, as Ibbitson writes, "they aren't yet ready to make the environment a ballot question at an election, or to personally sacrifice their standard of living for the sake of the planet."
If all this sounds familiar to readers of this blog, it should.
I said the same thing a few days ago, without benefit of a costly poll.
And some people actually question my claim to being one of the top five political minds in the country!!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
But I love polling information and when John McLaughlin, head of the polling firm McLaughlin & Associates,provided me with more detailed analysis of a poll I mentioned a few weeks ago I decided to reproduce it here.
Here it is:
The media exit polls had women voting Democrat for Congress 55-43. Men Democrat 50-47. They did national exit polling in their usual fashion with a national sample of 13,251 with extensive state by state weighting. (Some exits were significantly off. I know I saw them while working for CBS radio that day and night.)
However, our election night postelection survey by phone of 1,000 actual voters had a different result Among men Democrats won 56-43. (s=486).While among women it was closer Democrat 52-47. (s=514).
The difference was negligible by party and gender except among Independents. Among Rep men it was Republican 86-13; Rep women 89-10. Among Dem men it was Democrat 94-5; among Dem women 93-6.So party was more important than gender by far.
However, among the Independent men we had (s=89 small) Democrats won big 61-37; among Independent women (s=66 smaller) Democrats won closer 52-46.
Bottom line was not so much gender, but that Republicanss lost BIG among Independents - regardless of gender.This was the real story.
Both our poll and the media poll had the Democrat vote for Congress winning 54-45 which can be tracked through actual vote tallies.
The media polls do not break the vote out by party and gender. However, they ask their party id a little different and they got Democrats 38%, Republicans 36% and Independents 26%. (Our poll asks party "affiliation" and was 42% Democrats, 39% Republicans and 19% Independents/Don't know/refused.). So theirs seems less partisan and more independent. Our poll probably got sorted more voters into a party.)
However, we had Independents voting Democrat for Congress 57-41. They had Independents voting Democrat for Congress 57-39. They must have had a very different gender break within Independents.
Also the media polls probably have a gender bias where the majority of Democrats are women and the majority of Republicans are men. I can't tell because they didn'[t release that. In our poll both parties were slightly more female than male. Independents were more more male. I think this reflects 2 facts that I'm hearing about now in certain race analyses: first, some men who may have been thinking of themselves and voting as Republicans, now think of themselves as Independents and voted Democratic; second, some Republicans, probably men did not vote. This will require further analysis and study.
The real story is the collapse of Republican voting among Independents and the fact that Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the voting sample for the first time since 2000.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Now I am not a lawyer so I can't comment on the legalities involved, but terrorism expert John Thompson of the Mackenzie Institute recently weighed in on this issue.
In his group's latest newsletter, he says much of international law derives from the efforts of nations to deal with the problems of pirates --- who were much like the terrorists of today.
Indeed the Romans dubbed pirates, Hostis Humani Generis – enemies of all mankind, which also fits terrorists of today.
And 18th Century legalist, Sir William Blackstone, wrote it was the duty of all governments to suppress piracy.
Anyway, here's John's final analysis of how legally we should treat terrorists:
Find them, eliminate them; find their bankrollers, bankrupt them; find their sponsors and punish them. Governments which are not part of the solution, are therefore part of the problem and deserve what they get.
Sounds good to me.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
That's according to the any two dates calculator I found online.
It doesn't make me feel any younger.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
I first met Dr. Pirie nearly 20 years ago when the National Citizens Coalition brought him over to Canada to speak on his specialty at the time -- privatization.
Nowadays he is pushing the idea of a flat tax, a concept he says which has been used quite successfully in Eastern Europe and which he predicts will sweep over the rest of Europe.
Dr. Pirie also praised the wealth-producing effects of freer trade and globalization.
In fact, he says thanks to freer trade, more people were lifted out of poverty last year than any time in human history.
Dr. Pirie also says if global wealth continues to be generated at the current rate by the year 2050 the average Canadian will have the standard of living of today's millionaires.
Also by 2050 the average citizens of India and China will have the standard of living enjoyed by the middle class of North America today.
His point is that you don't help poorer countries achieve prosperity by foreign aid; you do it by buying their stuff.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
His books Free to Choose and Capitalism and Freedom were major influences on my world outlook.
He was a leader in the fight for liberty and his ideas helped to change the world for the better.
That's a pretty good epitaph.
And that card of course, is Rae's disastrous record as Ontario Premier: "Bob remains," said Ignatieff, "enduringly weak in Ontario."
What's more he charged Rae would move the Liberal Party to the left. "That's fishing in the wrong pond. That's the wrong strategy," says Ignatieff.
Now isn't this the same Ignatieff who also proudly desecribes himself as a "left of centre liberal?"
So it looks like the Liberal Party is going to choose as its next leader either a left-winger or a really left-winger.
That's not much of an offering to Canadian voters.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I think that description also fits for most people who say they are concerned about the environment --- they believe in environmentalism so long as it's not inconsistent with their lifestyles of fun.
That's why all the pro-Kyoto Accord scientists and politicians and media-types like to downplay the cold hard reality of fighting "climate change": the only way to truly reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to drastically reduce our standard of living.
And nobody really wants that to happen.
Just like developing countries such as China and India won't want to put their plans to improve their standard of living on hold for about 40 years too.
As a story put out by the Reason Foundation puts it, you can't fight poverty and carbon reduction at the same time.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Now the Liberals in the Senate think we should register as lobbyists.
It's nice to see our Senators can take time out from taxpayer-funded junkets to Dubai to deal with "pressing" issues like this, but why must Liberals always seek to regulate citizens?
As a friend of mine put it, this latest assault on the NCC is "outrageous yet mundane."
Monday, November 13, 2006
Here's a news release the NCC sent out on Friday:
NCC: Allow Longer Phase In Period for Income Trust Changes
(November 10, 2006)The National Citizens Coalition says the Conservative government should change its proposed Income Trust legislation to allow for a longer phase in period.
“While we support the government’s attempts to fix potential long term problems in the Canadian economy, the proposed income trust changes will have a negative impact on the investment portfolios of seniors and other hard-working Canadians,” says NCC president Peter Coleman.
“That impact could be minimized by increasing the phase in period from four years to ten years, meaning no new taxation on existing income trusts until 2016.”
Coleman says such an increased phase in would not undermine what the government is trying to accomplish with its proposed income trust legislation in terms of preventing tax avoidance, but it would give income trust holders time to make appropriate financial adjustments.
“We hope Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will consider this recommendation before his scheduled November 23rd economic statement,” says Coleman.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
The Wizard of Oz was on TV tonight.
Of course, it's one of those movies everybody, including me, has seen about a trillion times.
But here's one thing I didn't know: Toto the dog wrote an autobiography, I Toto: The Autobiography of Terry, the Dog who was Toto.
Writes Toto: "I don't mean this to sound full of myself but this Wizard of Oz story? It's all about me!!! I'M IN ALMOST EVERY SCENE IN THE PICTURE!!!"
I wonder if any of the flying monkeys wrote a book?
Here's a site where you can find the box score plus the play by play for every major league game from 1957 until 2006!
OK so maybe you have to be a baseball nut to find it really cool.
But check this out, here's the box score of the very first game I ever saw in old Tigers Stadium on July 3, 1972. (Tigers got killed 15-3). Oh and here is the game where Nolan Ryan no-hit the Tigers in 1973.
I will probably waste a lot time with this.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Well, another part of the poll has even more interesting findings. Here's a press release the pollster just released which explains what I mean:
"It appears that the Republicans have lost their advantage on the philosophical issue of the size of government.
Among the people who voted in this past election, 59% favor a smaller government with fewer services, and only 28% favor a larger government with many services.
Among those who voted for a Republican for Congress, they favor smaller government by a 5-to-1 margin. However, the plurality of voters who voted Democratic also supports smaller government. In the past, these voters wouldn’t consider the Democratic Party an option.
Since the majority of voters voted Democrat and almost half of these Democratic voters prefer smaller government, it's crystal clear that the Republican party has lost their foundational message. They may have lost the middle, but it's a modest middle that wants smaller government.
The battleground for the 110th Congress will be among the independent and dissatisfied voters that had such an impact on the 2006 elections.
Majorities of independent voters (68%) and those who think the country is on the wrong track (52%) favor smaller government.
It will be up to the new Democratic leadership to show if they can back the centrist talk with centrist action. On the other hand, the Republican leadership must rediscover its core principles and remind voters which party will give them smaller government."
"In general, would you say you most favor a smaller government with fewer services, or a larger government with many services?"
(Percentages shown in the format "Smaller gov't / Larger gov't / Don't Know or Refused")
Vote GOP 76/12/12
Vote Dem 45/40/14
Right Direction 72/16/12
Wrong Track 52/35/14
So the lesson from this is clear: the Republicans alienated their own base. The Conservative Party in Canada should take heed.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
"The American people voted not to create change in Washington", says the pollster, "but to vent their frustration with a Republican leadership that has let them down. Key segments of the Republican coalition that has dominated for the past 6 years have left the party in 2006. Among our results":
-- Giuliani, McCain, Clinton, Obama lead in their parties 2008 primaries.
-- Both Giuliani & McCain beat Clinton in 2008 general match-ups.
-- Independents are more likely to vote like Democrats this year.
-- Congressional Republicans lost among moderates, rural voters and Evangelical men.
-- Congressional Republicans barely won churchgoers, tied in the suburbs.
-- Women are more likely to vote Republican than men.
-- Republicans had momentum in the final weeks, as they won among voters who make decisions in the last two weeks and on Election Day.
-- George W. Bush, Reid, Pelosi all have net-negative opinion ratings.
PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY AND GENERAL ELECTION TEST BALLOTS:
In a hypothetical 2008 Republican presidential primary, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani led the potential field, with Condoleezza Rice, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich filling out second and third tiers.
In the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton dominated all others by 12 points, followed by Barack Obama, Al Gore, John Kerry and John Edwards.
When Independents are added to the primary electorate, however, Clinton's lead over Obama is cut to only 6 points.
GOP Primary: John McCain 26%Rudy Giuliani 22%Condoleezza Rice 12%Mitt Romney 4%Newt Gingrich 4%
Dem Primary:Hillary Clinton 27%Barack Obama 21%Al Gore 9%John Kerry 8%John Edwards 7%
The two leading Republican presidential contenders have decisive leads over Hillary Clinton.
In these match-ups, John McCain does better among moderates than Rudy Giuliani.
John McCain 51%Hillary Clinton 35%Undecided 13% Rudy Giuliani 51%Hillary Clinton 37%Undecided 12%
For more detailed information and breakdowns from this interesting survey go here.
Be sure to tune in as the topic discussed is: "Why the State Inflates".
And yes I know the show is on opposite America's Next Top Model, but surely watching me discuss the evils of big government is more enticing then watching a bunch of beautiful models in skimpy outfits.
No doubt this is a time of great joy for the Michael Moores and the Dixie Chicks of the world.
And I hope they do enjoy themselves over the next few days because I reckon their happiness will soon be replaced by frustration at least when it comes to how to fight the "War on Terror".
Frustration because there is no way in the world the Democratic controlled legislatures will do much to reverse President George Bush's policies, policies which the left hate.
The Democrats won't vote to open the gates of Guantánamo Bay detainment camp, they won't undo Bush's laws on secret surveillance ; they won't call for a softer stance with Iran or North Korea.
After all, the Democrats are not suicidal.
They realize that even though Americans might be getting fed up with the war in Iraq, they stil place a high premium on national security.
Simply put if the Democrats look as though they are pandering to America's enemies or putting Americans at risk through lax security, well then the Republicans will be back into power faster than you can say Newt Gingrich.
David Frum makes this point in an excellent article in today's National Post (which I can't find on their site) and goes further to suggest the crafty Republicans will put the Democrats on the spot time and time again on this issue.
Writes Frum: "Much of the energy and cunning of the Republican party over the next two years will be devoted to thrusting on the Democrats decisions and votes intended to split the more hawkish class of 2006 away from the more traditional liberals in the safe blue-states."
In other words, politics in the U.S. is about to get a lot more interesting.
For more analysis of last night's election check here and here and here.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Here in Canada, the left also sees the impending Republican wipe out as a possibe harbinger of what will happen in the next Canadian federal election.
Michael Byers, for instance, has a piece in today's Toronto Star suggesting tonight's election will sound a death knell for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's own "neo-con" agenda.
Here in Canada, Harper, nostalgic for the past successes of Ronald Reagan and Bush, is still looking backwards. Today, as he glances south, will he see the early signs of his own political rip tide?
Or will ideology prevail over good sense, prompting our neo-conservative Prime Minister to maintain his grip on a failed president, whose only escape from a hostile Congress lies in his constitutionally unfettered capacity to use armed force abroad?
Sounds pretty serious, doesn't it?
Using Byer's logic, Harper's only hope would be to sign an anti-U.S. miltary pact with North Korea, endorse a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, call for the destruction of Israel and implement a environmental policy that would ban the internal combustion engine.
Oh wait, those are NDP policies.
So maybe Harper should try to do something else to avoid the mistakes of the GOP. And one of their mistakes is they didn't govern like true conservatives.
Did the Republicans work to cut back spending? Did they make cutting taxes a major priority? Did they reduce the size and scope of government?
By governing like Democrats when it comes to fiscal domestic policies the Republicans have essentially made the unpopular war in Iraq the key issue in 2006.
That's the lesson for Harper. To win the next election, he has to push a truly conservative vision for Canada, one that will distinguish his party from the increasingly left-wing Liberal party and the socialist NDP/Bloc Quebecois.
Here's a good analysis of what went wrong for the Republicans.
H/T Adam Daifallah
Monday, November 06, 2006
Essentially, Gunter makes the point that raising the tax on trusts was not the government’s only option.
“Equity could have been achieved,” writes Gunter, “by lowering the taxes on corporations rather than raising the taxes on trusts . . . rather than slashing billions from the value of trusts, it would have added billions to the value of corporations.”
Makes sense to me.
In fact, it made sense to Stephen Harper before he became Prime Minister.
Here’s what he wrote in a National Post op-ed on October 5, 2005, when the Liberals were thinking about taxing income trusts:
“The government claims that income trusts enjoy an unfair tax advantage over corporate dividends. If they believe this, then the answer is not to shut down a valuable investment vehicle, but to cut the double taxation of dividends. In short, level the playing field and let the market decide between income trusts and dividend-paying companies.”
Anyway, the Conservatives will now have to bear the consequences of their actions.
And among those consequences are blogs like this one.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has flown his chef to Egypt to "share recipes" and discuss culinary protocol with the chief cooks of 16 other national leaders at a meeting of what has been called "the most exclusive gastronomic club in the world.
"The precedent has been for the last 10 years that the prime ministers have sent their chefs," said a spokesperson with the Prime Minister's Office. It is a form of "professional development," the spokesperson added.
I think the Prime Minister's PR department is in need of some professional development too.
(Thanks to Steve and Marnee)
Thursday, November 02, 2006
This cartoon is clipped from a federal government propaganda piece called Superkids.
Note the scare tactics employed. If we don't stop "wasting" oil there won't be enough left to drive a car in ten years.
Well, here's the kicker. This particular Superkids comic was published way back in 1976! Now, I'm no math genius but by my calculation that means we must have run out of gas in 1986.
So much for government predictions.
Makes you wonder what all those doom and gloom predictions about global warming will look like 30 years from now.
H/T Janet Neilson
So why is Finance Minister Jim Flaherty justifying the government's move with weak left wing arguments that could have come straight out of the NDP or Liberal playbook?
Here's a couple Flaherty quotes to illustrate my point:
* "After all, someone has to pay the taxes for health care and education, all the good things we love as Canadians."
* "If corporations don't pay their fair share of taxes, this tax burden will shift ... This is simply not fair.''
Huh? I thought the Tories were about making taxes lower not fairer.
Sure the editorial board of the Toronto Star might applaud this approach, but when election day comes around they sure as heck won't be voting Tory.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
No me neither.
In fact, I thought it only went up to the Fifth Dimension.
But check out this cool site, which tries to explain the wonky concepts of quantum physics. (Click the link "Imagining the 10th dimension" on the left hand side of the screen.)
Full confession: I got completely lost after the ant and the newspaper analogy.