Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mein Kat

OK here's a site that might give even the most ardent cat lovers pause (or is that paws?)

Top Political Minds

My friend Matt Bufton has started his own blog, which I urge everyone to check out.

If you do check it out you will notice that his profile claims "Matt is #3 on Gerry Nicholls' list of Canada's Top 5 Political Minds."

I will neither confirm nor deny Matt's ranking as my list is a closely guarded secret.

However, I will say that Matt did show extraodinary political judgement when he invited me in the Spring to speak at the Windsor Liberty Seminar which he organized.

Oh and he is from Windsor which also gives him bonus points.

End the Wheat Board Monopoly

A government task force is recommending the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly be phased out.

All I can say is, what took them so long!

The National Citizens Coalition has been pushing for an end to the Wheat Board monopoly for more than 10 years.

What it boils down to isn't economics or wheat or trade. It's about individual freedom.

Simply put, western grain farmers should have the freedom to market their own crops to customers of their own choice.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Discretion is the Better Part of Valour

The House of Commons Justice Committee is going to study the federal government's decision to axe the Court Challenge Program, and I was invited to give my perspective on the matter at one of its hearings.

I refused.

OK, I know what you're thinking.

"Gerry you're one of the top five political minds in the country. It's your duty to appear at these hearings and give the MPs the benefit of your political wisdom."

But take it from me. These hearings usually degenerate into anti-NCC smear attacks.

Here's what would have happened, had I agreed to appear before the Justice Committee:

Me: Well, Mr. Chairman this is why I think the Court Challenges Program is a waste . . .

Some outraged MP: Excuse me Mr. Nicholls, before you go on, can you please tell us why the National Citizens Coalition is a super-secret, right wing group that wants to overthrow the government.

Me: The NCC is ....

Some Other Outraged MP: And isn't the NCC the group that ran newspaper ads comparing me to a fat ugly pig!!!

Me: Well to be fair it was actually a cute litte pig but . .

Outraged MPs: Arrest him!

Me: !!

Yeah, it's much better if I pass on these type of affairs.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Real Scary game kids!

Here's a little Halloween game that's fun for the whole family, that is if you don't mind sarcastic skeletons!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Tigers Lose! Say it Aint So

Well my Tigers played like kittens in the World Series.

It's hard to take, but I will get over it . . . by April.

There is also something wrong with a World Champion only winning 83 games in the regular season.

Still I'm sure the Tigers will win the next time they make it to the Series in 2026.


As usual Paul Tuns has some insightful analysis of the World Series.

Friday, October 27, 2006

We Told Bob So

Liberal leadership candidate Bob Rae now admits his fiscal policies as NDP Premier of Ontario -- high taxes, huge budgetary deficits -- were wrong.

I guess that's another way of him admitting the National Citizens Coalition was right!

After all, during his disastrous term as Premier, the NCC -- through its project group Ontarians for Responsible Government -- hammered away at his ruinous economic agenda.

He didn't listen, of course, and got swept out of power.

Now I hate to be the guy who says, "I told you so", but we did in fact tell Rae so.

It would be nice of him to now acknowledge the NCC's wisdom.

Lively Seven Going to Court

The Lively Seven's fight for workplace freedom is about to proceed to the next level.

Who are The Lively Seven and what is their fight about?

They are seven female bank employees who live and work in Lively, Ontario, which is near Sudbury.

About a year ago, the United Steel Workers of America unionized them against their will.

These women don't want to be unionized, they don't want to be forced to pay union dues.

In fact, during the certification drive, they sought intervenor status with the Canadian Industrial Relations Board to make their voices heard.

But the Board didn't give them a chance to have their say.

So now, with the help of the National Citizens Coalition, they are taking their case to a federal court, arguing, among other things, that their right to due process was denied.

To learn more about this important fight for work place democracy go here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Harper, Gag Laws and the Wheat Board

The Winnipeg Free Press quotes me in a story concerning Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Canadian Wheat Board.

Part of the story concerned Prime Minister Harper's move to prevent the Wheat Board from spending money on advertising to defend its monopoly.

The reporter, Paul Samyn, asked me if I thought such a move was hypocritical given that Harper opposed election gag laws when he was president of the National Citizens Coalition.

Here's how the Free Press reported my answer:

But Nicholls said there is no inconsistency between Harper's concerns about advertising limits during the CWB elections and those his government has now imposed on the CWB. Nicholls said what Harper was upset about while at the NCC was advertising restrictions that made it a crime for people to spend their own money to influence the board elections. By comparison, Nicholls said, the cabinet order is only there to ensure the CWB doesn't use its own resources to advance its own agenda.

But that's only half of my answer.

I also told Samyn the big difference is the election gag law prevents citizens or groups from spending their own money to promote their own political ideas.

The CWB, on the other, hand was spending other people's money to promote its agenda, an agenda many Western grain farmers oppose.

When he was our President, Stephen Harper always opposed forcing citizens to finance political agendas they opposed -- he opposed, for instance, using forced union dues for politics.

In other words, Harper's stance regarding the Wheat Boards and gag laws is perfectly consistent.

Happy St. Crispin's Day

Today marks the 591st anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt.

The National Post features an excellent article to commemorate this milestone called "Day of the Longbow".

Check it out.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ontarians Want Change?

There's an interesting poll on the Ontario political scene that seems to contradict itself.

The poll says the Ontario Liberals have a sizable lead (41-34) over the Progressive Conservatives but that 47 percent of Ontarians also believe it's time for a change in government.

How can this be?

Well the short answer is Ontario voters do want a change, but they don't see PC leader John Tory as representing change.

And no wonder.

Tory has done little to distinguish his party from the Dalton McGuinty Liberals in terms of policies.

So the voters are likely saying, if we have to choose between a real Liberal Party and a pseudo-Liberal Party, might as well choose the real deal.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Revamped NCC Site

We have jazzed up the National Citizens Coalition website.

You can check it out here.

And for future reference the URL for our website is now www.nationalcitizens.ca

We also have a new ad campaign, which you can check out here.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Things I Just Learned

My wife injured her back recently and me being a good husband picked up the slack around the house.

And in doing so, I learned many things.

For instance:

* When doing laundry you should always make sure to separate the dark clothes from the white ones.

* When cooking a meat loaf always resist the temptation to press buttons on the stove just because you want to see what will happen.

* You need a masters degree in engineering to figure out how to open the lids on certain cleansers.

* The container for laundry detergent looks an awful lot like the container for orange juice.

I also learned that it's better for me not to do too much around the house.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Heartless Need

Just to let everyone know, I am currently writing a trashy novel called Heartless Need.

It’s all about a government secret agent named Dirk Warren who with the help of beautiful scientist Arlene Julia, seeks to stop Geneshare, an evil high-tech company which is selling the toxic drug Zitrel to terrorists.

Ok none of the above is true.

I just found a cool website called Name-O-Rama which generates names for companies, novels, bands, drugs and boys and girls, and I was just fooling around with it.

But you know, now that I think about it maybe Heartless Need would make a good novel.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Devil's Dictionary

Came across this online version of the Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary. Even though it was written 100 years ago, it's definitions still ring true today.

Here are some examples:

* APOLOGIZE, v. To lay the foundation for a future offense.

* CONGRATULATION, n. The civility of envy.

* CYNIC, n, A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.

* CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

* BORE, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen.

* COMFORT, n. A state of mind produced by contemplation of a neighbor's uneasiness.

* PATIENCE, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.

* PEACE, n. In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.

* POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.

* SELF-ESTEEM, n. An erroneous appraisement.

* ULTIMATUM, n. In diplomacy, a last demand before resorting to concessions.

* VOTE, n. A freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

Going Green?

These are heady days for the Green Party of Canada.

The media is fawning all over Elizabeth May, the party’s new leader, rumours abound that suspended Tory Garth Turner will become its first MP, and a new poll shows that 28 percent of Canadians agreed with the statement: “I would vote for the Green party even if they can’t win.”

Yet the one sticking point for the Greens is that no one really knows what they stand for other than they are “pro-environment.”

And when you look at their platform, it quickly becomes apparent that the Greens are actually pretty red.

One example, is their cultural program. It’s just old-fashioned cultural protectionism mixed in with statist elitism.

Here’s what they call for:

* Increase support for community arts programs and facilities across Canada by establishing stable base-funding at a set percentage of the federal budget.

* Establish stable base-funding for young artists.

* Protect Canada's cultural identity during trade negotiations.

* Expand support for regional arts festivals that bring new Canadian art to a wider audience.

* Provide stable base-funding for the CBC to provide quality television and radio programming in both official languages.

* Direct the CRTC to reserve more bandwidth for independent and non-profit stations.

* Introduce a law mandating cinemas and video chains to have 20 per cent Canadian content.

In other words, it looks like the Greens don’t care about polluting our environment with “art” no one wants to see.

1968 Redux

I was glad to see the St. Louis Cardinals win the National League pennant, because it sets up a rematch of the 1968 World Series, which in my humble opinion was one of the best on record.

But that's just my bias, because the '68 World Series is one of my earliest memories of baseball.

And it was a classic that featured the Tigers coming back from a 3-1 deficit to take the Crown.

Game 7 pitted fireballer Bob Gibson of the Cardinals against Mickey Lolich a portly southpaw in a dramatic showdown.

In those days, World Series games were played during the day and I was lucky my school principle permitted a TV to be set up in the gym.

Oh the Tigers and Cardinals also met in the 1934 World Series which also went 7 games, but even I am not old enough to remember that one.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Curing American Health Care

One book on my "Must Read" list, is The Cure: How Captialism Can Save American Health Care.

The title alone makes it worth reading, but the real appeal is the author: Dr. David Gratzer.

Dr. Grazter is one of Canada's most articulate and intelligent critics of the socialist health care model and a man whom I greatly respect.

It will be interesting to see his comments on the American health care system.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Bryan Media Update

For some media coverage on the Paul Bryan constitutional challenge see here.

I will also be appearing on the Dave Rutherford Show on Wednesday at about 12:30 PM EST to discuss this case.

Debate Kit

The hotel I am staying at in Ottawa provides complimentary ear plugs to help you sleep.

It occurs to me, they would also help you endure the Liberal leadership debates!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bryan in Court

Just got back from the Supreme Court of Canada, wich today heard Paul Bryan's challenge to the election blackout law.

Paul's lawyer did a great job in making his case as did the lawyers who argued on behalf of the media and Canadian Civil Liberties Association who were interveners.

At least, their arguments made sense to me: the censorship law violates free speech and is unenforcable in this day and age of the Internet.

Now we wait.

It could take the Supreme Court of Canada up to six months to make a ruling, but they might come down with a snap ruling should an election be called.

Until that ruling comes, I will only say nice things about the Supreme Court.

Except for this -- In the lobby of the Court building they have little known facts about the Supreme Court's history.

Did you know that in 1879 some MPs wanted to abolish the Court to save money?

Now those were cost conscious politicians!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Year One Complete

This marks the first Blogiversary of Making Sense with Nicholls.

Yup, it has been 365 days since I started posting my thoughts, opinions and other oddities on this cyberspace journal.

And I think I am getting better at it, thanks to my keen political sense, my brilliant writing ability, but thanks most of all to my shameless willingness to rip off other people's ideas.

Is this blog making a difference in the world?

Not a bit.

But it's like the old saying goes, against stupidity the blogs themselves contend in vain.

Friday, October 13, 2006

David Suzuki Must Love North Korea

This satellite image of the two Koreas at night is getting lots of media play.

The bad news is the North Koreans don't have much electricity.

The good news is they have more than met the Kyoto One Tonne Challenge.

Blackout Law

I have an op-ed in today's Globe and Mail web edition, on Paul Bryan's historic battle against the election blackout law.

That's the law which makes it a crime to transmit voting results from regions where the polls are closed to regions where the polls are still open.

Paul, who believes this law is an infringement on free speech, has been battling this law for six years.

And the National Citizens Coalition has been there all along the way to help.

As I say in my Globe article, this blackout law is not only undemocratic, it's also archaic.


I will be talking about this case with Stirling Faux on The CHQR Morning News at about 10:45 EST.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Principled Foreign Policy

The Canadian Coalition for Democracies placed a full page ad in the Globe and Mail and other papers today outlining a "principled foreign policy" for Canada.

And by principled foreign policy, the CCD means doing something other than bashing the Americans at every opportunity.

It's good stuff.

If you missed the ad you can read it here.

Wheat Board and Politics

The federal government recently moved to stop the Canadian Wheat Board from running ads pomoting its monopoly.

It's a good move.

Here's a news release I sent out today on the subject:

NCC Applauds Government Move to Stop CWB Political Advertising

(October 12, 2006)The National Citizens Coalition says the federal government was right to stop the Canadian Wheat Board from engaging in political advocacy.

“The Canadian Wheat Board has no business using its resources to promote its own political agenda,” says NCC vice president Gerry Nicholls. “It is supposed to market grain not peddle propaganda.”

The Conservative government ordered the CWB not to directly or indirectly spend money on advertising that would also promote its monopoly.

“Many of the CWB’s ads promoting the monopoly were also thinly disguised endorsements for the Liberal Party,” says Nicholls. “A government agency should not take partisan stands.”

Nicholls also rejected arguments that the government move was “anti-democratic”.

“What was anti-democratic was the Wheat Board’s political advertising,” says the NCC vice president. “It’s anti-democratic to force western farmers to finance a political agenda they may not support. And many farmers do not support the monopoly.”

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Battle of Thermopylae

One of my favorite battle movies when I was a kid was The 300 Spartans.

It's based on the true story of the battle of Thermopylae where a small ancient Greek force heroically took on a much larger army of invading Persians.

And while I enjoyed the movie, it did suffer from a limited budget.

So I am delighted to see that an updated version is coming out next spring called 300.

Of course, I am always wary that Hollywood will screw up the story, but Victor Davis Hanson gives it good review.

I can't wait.

All Politics is Local

It’s municipal election season in Ontario meaning I must give some serious thought to the various local candidates.

And after much pondering, I’ve decided two of my town’s mayoralty candidates have the snappiest slogans.

Janice Wright, for instance, has “Wright4Mayor” plastered on her signs.

Pretty clever eh?

The other one I like comes from the Chris Stoate campaign --- “Vote for Stoate”.

Sure it’s not fancy, but it’s short, to the point and easy to remember.

Plus I like Stoate because he’s against a stupid tree by-law I also opposed.

Of course, if I ever run for Mayor I have a slogan all ready to go: Save Dollars with Nicholls.

Now that will get me elected.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Harper, the NCC and Democracy Watch

It’s time to set the record straight when it comes to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Court Challenges Program and Democracy Watch.

Left-wing critics have been trying to make the case that the Prime Minister scrapped the Court Challenges Program out of some sort vindictive desire to settle an old score.

Linda McQuaig, for instance, tried to weave such a conspiracy theory in a recent column.

Writes McQuaig:

One of the perks of being prime minister is getting to use your power to settle old scores and crush opponents.

This sort of vindictive motivation appears to lie behind the announcement by Stephen Harper's government last week that it's cutting the $5 million funding of the Court Challenges Program.

The program played a crucial role in defeating a legal case launched by Harper himself in 2000.
Harper was then head of the National Citizens Coalition (NCC), an ultra-right, business-funded group. The NCC wanted to strike down a federal law limiting spending by groups like itself during election campaigns.

Democracy Watch, a citizens' advocacy group, wanted to preserve the law, seeing spending limits as crucial in preventing well-heeled groups like the NCC from unduly influencing elections. But Democracy Watch lacked the resources to fight Harper's rich business group.

Enter the Court Challenges Program, which was set up to counterbalance the advantage the wealthy enjoy in being able to finance costly legal battles.

The program provided funding to Democracy Watch and the National Anti-Poverty Organization, thereby empowering these groups representing ordinary citizens to challenge Harper's rich business coalition in court.

The case, which went all the way to the Supreme Court, became known as “Harper vs. Canada“ — a prophetic name if ever there was one. In the end, the citizens groups, with funding from the Court Challenges Program, scored a stunning victory over Harper's business crowd.

Last week was apparently payback time.

I’ll ignore the ridiculous smear attack on the NCC and focus instead on the real problem with McQuaig’s argument.

She makes it seem as if the gag law legal fight consisted of only two sides, the big, bad, NCC against Democracy Watch a small “citizens’ advocacy group” that relied on government funds.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, if anybody was the underdog it was the NCC!

Yes we faced off against Democracy Watch in the gag law court battle, but that group was not our real opponent.

Our real opponent was really the political establishment. Arrayed against us in the Supreme Court of Canada was not only the federal government but also the provincial governments of Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario.

For every dollar we spent in this case our government opponents could spend many thousands.

In other words, Democracy Watch did not score a “stunning victory”. If anything it was a minor player in the legal drama. The NCC lost to the state.

So it’s absurd to think Harper would hold any sort of grudge against the CCP because of the gag law fight. Never at any time, did we think Democracy Watch was the real enemy, a nuisance yes, but not a threat.

Indeed, until a few weeks ago, we didn’t even know the CCP had funded Democracy Watch in this case.

My advice to McQuaig and her other left-wing cohorts, is to go back to the drawing board.

I hope the next time they need to come up with an anti-Harper theory, that at least come up with something that's slightly rooted in reality.

Monday, October 09, 2006

How to Stop Worrying About the Korean Bomb

Seismologists recorded an earthquake in North Korea yesterday that measured 4.2 on the Richter Scale.

Analysts say this quake can only mean one of two things: either Michael Moore is visiting Pyongyang or socialist lunatic Kim Jong-il has tested a nuclear bomb.

If it’s the latter, then this is a serious matter with immense geo-political implications.

We can expect, therefore, the following actions:

* The United Nations will study the matter and quickly pass a strongly worded resolution denouncing the lack of parking spaces in New York City.

* CUPE union boss Sid Ryan will blame it all on Zionism and endorse yet another boycott of Israel.

* NDP leader Jack Layton will call upon his buddies in the Taliban to negotiate with the North Korean leadership to ensure the bomb is used only for peaceful purposes.

* The CBC will air frightening documentaries on how North Korean bomb pales into significance when compared to the real threat to our civilization: Wal Mart stores.

* Toronto Mayor David Miller will send an emissary to North Korea for pointers on how to run a Stalinist economy.

There now don’t you feel safer?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My Tigers Win

Well my future as a baseball prognosticator, is finished but I mean who would have predicted the Detroit Tigers would beat the Best Team in the History of Baseball™?

Anyway, now it's official, I have seen the error of my ways, after 19 years, I am jumping back on on the Tiger Bandwagon.

And I will stay on that wagon forever ... or at least until the Jays start winning.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Beware the Candy Tax

Yet another letter about me in the Globe and Mail today concerning my health.

Randal Heide writes:

Gerry Nicholls understandably doesn't want his tax dollars used for a ParticipAction ad campaign (Couch Potatoes Defended -- letter, Oct. 5), and Dr. John A. Carmichael (Selfish Couch Potatoes -- letter, Oct. 4) says Mr. Nicholls should either get off his couch or be prepared to pay for his own angioplasty.

There's an obvious way out of this dilemma -- it's time to take another look at a health tax on unhealthy food.

Surely we can find a way to apply an additional tax on candy, soft drinks, chips, or anything containing trans fats, regardless of where they're sold. After all, we've found a way to exempt "grocery" items from sales taxes.

While we're at it, we could look at taxes on other non-essential products that contribute to a sedentary lifestyle or drive up health-care costs in some way: lawn chemicals, video games, barbecue grills, Teflon-coated pans, etc.

I really hope Mr. Heide is being sarcastic. I mean a "tax on candy" come on!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Government Turkeys

Now that Thanksgiving is almost upon us, it’s natural to start thinking about turkeys.

Well we at the National Citizens Coalition are thinking about turkeys too – but not the gobbling, feathered kind.

We are talking about what might be called “Government Turkeys” that is government policies or programs that just don’t make sense.

And, in fact, we have come up with the Top Ten Government Turkeys.

Here they are in no particular order:

* The unelected Senate is definitely a turkey. This is the 21st century. Democracy is no longer considered a radical experiment. It’s now considered a good thing. So why not democratize the Senate?

* Turkeys, of course, are found on the farm which is exactly where you will find the negative effects of the Wheat Board monopoly, which denies farmers an economic choice. Allow dual-choice when it comes to marketing. End this turkey of a monopoly.

* Turkeys are fowl, but the government’s monopoly on health care is just plain foul. Waiting lists are too long; costs are too high; equipment is too scarce. It’s time to reform our health care system so that Canadians have more choice.

* Turkeys can’t fly and neither can a broadcast regulation agency like the CRTC. In this day and age of the Internet, satellite TV and wireless communication, the CRTC is archaic. Let Canadians can watch what they want to watch.

* Turkeys can’t speak of course. But if they did speak they should have the right to speak English or French. Yet in Quebec, ridiculous and discriminatory language laws infringe on the rights of English-speakers.

* Any law that denies Canadians the right to election speech must be a turkey. And that’s the case with the “Election Gag Law” which makes it a crime for citizens to effectively express political opinions during elections. Axe this turkey.

* Turkeys like to gobble and politicians like to gobbledygook. They certainly use a lot of gobbledygook to justify the “Welfare for Politicians” plan. That’s the plan where taxpayers are forced to subsidize political parties to the tune of millions of dollars every year.

* You will also find turkeys in our labour laws. For instance, it’s legal in Canada for union bosses to force unionized employees to finance political causes against their will. That’s wrong.

* Of course, you can’t talk turkey without mentioning the CBC. Why is it we need a state-run network? Let’s privatize the CBC, a network fewer and fewer Canadians even watch.

* Finally it would be nice if the government cut our taxes cold turkey. Canadians are overtaxed and could use the extra money to buy a bigger turkey at Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

Media Update:

I am scheduled to discuss my "Government Turkey" list on Adler Online at 4:15 PM this afternoon, on Nightline BC at 10:00 PM this evening, on London in the Morning CJBK at 7:47 AM Monday and on John Moore Show CFRB on Monday at 3:10 PM.

Note all times are Eastern because I can't figure out how to make the conversions.

Whose Life is it anyway?

OK I know I said I wasn't going to talk about my Participaction debates anymore, but that was a fib.

In today's Globe and Mail, Perry Kendall, provincial health officer for the British Columbia Ministry of Health, takes me to task for suggesting government PR campaigns designed to get people to alter their lifestyles never work.

Kendall says I am wrong about governments being able to alter lifestyles.

He writes I am, "100 percent wrong in concluding from this that people's behaviours cannot be changed. For evidence of behavioural change as result of co-ordinated campaigns that include education, social marketing, environmental and regulatory restraints along with fiscal inducements or barriers."

Yes, I guess Perry is right if you used the full power of the state you can alter lifestyles.

The question is, do we want to live in a country where government bureaucrats tell us how to live?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

CBC Woes

Toronto Sun entertainment columnist Bill Brioux has a great column today on the CBC.

He notes that CBC may soon lose its most popular progam -- Hockey Night in Canada -- to its archrival CTV.


Because says Brioux Canadians simply aren't watching the CBC.

"It's that so many Canadians have stopped watching CBC that the NHL almost has no alternative. After all, you wouldn't play hockey in a dark rink."

Brioux also notes that many of the CBC's other heavily hyped programs -- Hockey: A People's History, the Rene Levesque mini-series, The One -- have all been disastrous duds.

So how is the CBC reacting to all this bad news?

Like they always do: they want the government to give them more money.

I say it's time to put the CBC out of its misery: sell it.

Couch Potatoes of the World Unite Part 2

Okay, final word on the whole Participaction controversy that I have become embroiled in.

Yesterday a Dr. Carmichael had a letter in the Globe and Mail criticizing my stand on this government program.

Here's my retort, which was published in today's paper.

In his letter (“Selfish Couch Potatoes”, October 4), Dr. John Carmichael disparages my sedentary lifestyle, says I am close to having a heart attack, and implies I should pay for my own angioplasty.


Because I believe it would be a mistake for the government to spend millions of tax dollars on a PR campaign urging Canadians to get fit.

Dr. Carmichael argues such a program will get me off “my butt” and into the gym, thus ensuring his tax dollars won’t pay for my imminent heart operation.

But he’s wrong.

These kinds of programs are never successful in getting people to alter their lifestyles – anybody remember the One Tonne Challenge?

And although Dr. Carmichael might not like it, as long as we have a publicly-funded health care system, taxpayers will have to pay for other people’s unhealthy lifestyle choices.

In the meantime, the government should worry more about cutting its fat, not mine.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Couch Potatoes of the World Unite

You wouldn't ever expect that a gynaecologist would care about my health.

But apparently at least one does, sort of.

Professor John A. Carmichael, professor emeritus, Oncology, Obstretics and Gynaecology, at Queen's University wrote a letter to the Globe and Mail yesterday to take issue with my disparaging comments concerning Participaction.

Here's what he wrote:

Gerry Nicholls, vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition states: I don't think the state has a role in telling Canadians how to run their lives. If I want to be a couch potato and watch television all day long, that's my business. I don't think my tax dollars should be used to hector me, to nag me, into exercising."

Mr. Nicholls is dead wrong.

By choosing to be a "couch potato", he is, without question, dramatically increasing his chances of developing early-onset coronary-artery disease and other significant and expensive problems, the cost of which will be borne by the taxpayer.

I, and I am sure many others, would be quite prepared to support with our taxes a program that would encourage Mr. Nicholls to get off his butt to try and avoid these significant medical costs unless of course he is prepared to pay for his own agnioplasty or coronary bypass, and that aint cheap.

Of course I am touch by Dr. Carmichael's concern about my heart. But he misses my point. Government-run PR programs will never get me or my fellow Couch Potato collegues to get off our "butts".

They are a waste of money.

Secondly, yes maybe I would exercise if I had to pay for my own agnioplasty, but the fact is I won't.

We have a public health care system in this country and that means, like it or not, we have to subsidize the unhealthy lifestyles of our fellow countrymen -- including me.

Maybe, instead of worrying about my habits, Dr. Carmichael should worry more about the health care system.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

To Boldly Sing

This is most definitely not logical.

Baseball Predictions

I was going to wait for Paul Tuns to make his baseball playoff predictions and then copy those, but since he has not got around to making any predictions, I guess I'm on my own.

Here goes:

American League:

divisional Playoffs
Oakland beats Minnesota 3-2, New York sweeps Detroit 3-0.

League Championship
New York over Oakland 4-1.

National League:
Does it really matter?


Paul Tuns now has his baseball predictions online. I think you will find them slightly more detailed and insightful than mine.

Oh and Tuns comments on my predictions, writing "it must kill Gerry to predict the Yankees over the Tigers considering he grew up cheering for the likes of Al Kaline and Denny McLain and he fondly remembers the '68 Tigers. Heck, he can even name the entire lineup of the Tigers from when they last won in 1984 and made the post-season in '87."

Here's a secret Paul -- I'm so old I can even name the lineup for the 1968 Tigers.

Getting Fit

I am quoted in today’s Globe and Mail, in a story regarding the possible return of Participaction, a government run “fitness awareness” program.

I don’t think it’s a good idea.

Here’s the quote:

“On the other hand, there are those who say the government should not be spending tax revenues to preach to taxpayers.

Gerry Nicholls, vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, a free-market lobby group that was once headed by Stephen Harper, said he was "surprised and disappointed" to learn that the Conservative government was even considering revising Participaction.

"I don't think the state has a role in telling Canadians how to run their lives. If I want to be a couch potato and watch television all day long, that's my business. I don't think my tax dollars should be used to hector me, to nag me, into exercising."

Not everyone agrees. In fact, I've been getting some emails asking me to reconsider my position.

Here's one from my friend John Thompson of the Mackenzie Institute:

However, we do need much more physical education for the kids, and spending money on bike trails and walking paths, more public gymnasiums and pools, more on classes for them as what wants 'em isn't a bad idea.

Yeah, you may be subsidizing somebody else's lifestyle and the only way to get your share of the money back is to use the same facilities.

Thinking on a strategic level, we need our citizens to be healthier longer into their lives (to be productive for longer and to be more likely to stay out of those intensive care facilities), and we will need a lot of fit soldiers and police soon.

So let's get the kids off the Nintendos and outside playing hide and seek and running, as the days of route marching and fieldcraft for real are coming.

I get John's point about needing fit soldiers.

But when the day ever comes that I am forced off the couch and into a gym, well that's the day the terrorists win!

By the way, I will be discussing Participaction today at 3:00 PM EST on CJAD's Kevin and Trudie Show and at 4:15 PM EST on Adler Online.

Online Commentary

What's better than reading an excellent online political journal?

Reading an excellent online political journal for free!

So I was quite excited to learn that Commentary magazine is making much of its online material accessible this month for non-suscribers.

Check it out. It's not called "America's premier monthly magazine of opinion" for nothing.

H/T Powerline