Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Today's Dionspeak

Monsieur Dion, Mr. Harper said you have taken an extremist position on the anti-terror provision. How do you respond?

Stéphane Dion:
And then I understand that the clear majority of the House of Commons of Canada is extremist? No. Come on! I think Mr. Harper is trying to scare the people in order to create conditions for an election, but it will not work. People will understand that he is doing that for partisan reasons. We had a difficult issue to solve. It is always difficult to know how can we be very very strong and strong against terrorism and at the same time, to protect human rights.
This decision has been made and it is for the government to come back with a holistic approach to come with changes. The Senate requested 40 changes. So it is for the government to do its homework and to stop to play politics with the security of Canadians.

Hill talk

I'm up at the Hill today, voting in the Press Gallery executive election, picking up mail and some books, watching Question Period and listening to many, many people -- especially Liberals -- tell me there's going to be an election this spring, perhaps the weekend after Victoria Day.
Harper hasn't been able to get the core of his legislative agenda through, it's true. On the other hand, the bills are moving through Parliament, and an election would kill a large number of criminal law bills. Still, a majority would solve that problem.
But would Harper be able to pull off a majority? Hard to say. The Tories won the last election largely because they ran such a good campaign. A divided Liberal party, taking Stephan Dion out on the road, could lose enough support for Harper to make his magic number.
Yet the Liberals are certain Harper won't be able to take seats in Ontario. They think, with the far left vote split between the NDP and the Greens, they can even pick up a few seats in Toronto and BC.
But this is also the same Liberal elite that once spoke of Canada being a one-party state, a friendly dictatorship. They believe Canadian values are Liberal values, and vice versa. Perhaps they read the Toronto Star and the Globe too much, and have faith in the CBC.
I think a spring election would be anyone's game to win, but I would put my money on Harper. The Tories have incumbency and leadership on their side, and they have a lot of cash on hand.
I prefer minority parliaments, and this one has a lot going for it. A Harper majority woluld put too much power back into the Prime Minister's hands. A Liberal majority would be a return to the drift of the Chretien years.
I don't think we should give either party a majority until they have a reason to need one. Now is not that time.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Slow day

Not much to blog today. I'm working my way through a pile of mid-terms to be marked. Then I have a magazine article to write. After that, I have some historical consulting work to finish. That should probably eat up the week.
I doubt much will happen this week. The House has lost a lot of steam. I think the environment debate is becoming tiresome to politicians and the public. I suspect the agenda might change quickly if the Taliban follow through with claims to be gearing up for an offensive.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Wanna see what $10,000 worth of trilobites looks like?
A newly-prepped piece saved from a gravel quarry near Kingston. We had three hours of daylight to salvage what we could from this kill zone. This is one of about half-a-dozen slabs that were pulled from a blast pile. There had to be much, much more, but the next day, a Monday, the pile went into the crusher and is now likely part of the road bed of Highway 401.
I know this is a political blog but, hey, I like big dead bugs. This group is about 450 million years old.

Justin Time

I have some mixed feelings about Justin Trudeau running for the Liberals. I know I wouldn't be blogging about this if it were Justin Tremblay or Justin Laframbois going for a Liberal nomination in a Quebec riding. But, for all intents and purposes, it might as well be, since I know nothing about Justin Trudeau's politics.
I know he's articulate, far more so than most MPs. He's a federalist, which, to me, is a good thing. He's bilingual. Plus there, too.
He's also saddled with the fact that he's the son of one of Canada's most troubling, and, some might argue, most destructive Prime Ministers. The country has never healed the wounds that Trudeau inflicted on Canada, not just on Quebec-Ottawa relations, but also his near-deliberate alienation of the West. Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and Stephen Harper became Prime Minister in large part because of the shockwaves caused by Trudeau.
It's wrong to blame Justin Trudeau for any of that. He was a kid when his father left office.
But, as Trudeau himself says, the family name carries baggage. Others might say it's a sign of membership in the lucky sperm club, as Canada (and the U.S.) becomes more and more of an oligarchy, dominated by a political aristocracy. Ottawa is now filled with the sons and daughters of the famous: Paul Martin, Peter MacKay, Belinda Stronach, Stephan Dion, Gilles Duceppe, Jack Layton, Michael Ignatieff, and Bob Rae are children of former cabinet ministers or senior bureaucrats, or, in Stronach's case, a flambouyant multi-millionaire, and, in Duceppe's, a famous Quebec actor.
The media loves nepotism and familiar names. That's no surprise, since the family hand-up is one of the defining aspects of Canadian media culture. Ask Graham Fraser, David Frum, Danielle Crittenden, Leah Maclaren, Colin Mackenzie, David Halton, John Honderich, Paul Berton, Jane Taber, and so many others.
I finding it amazing that Justin Trudeau has chosen politics. The scrutiny will be brutal, the expectations, both positive and negative, will be unrealistic, and the chance of crushing failure will be very high. I expect this will also be a strain for his mother. Were I his friend, I would have tried to talk him out of it.
And I expect the entry of Trudeau into politics and the fawning over him by the CBC and its dial-a-quote hacks will antagonize Westerners and soft nationalists in Quebec.
It will be hard for Liberals and liberals to realize, and truly come to grips with, the fact that Justin Trudeau is not Pierre Trudeau. Justin Trudeau does not have his father's academic training, such as it was. He has not been toughened, as his father was in Quebec politics, before entering Parliament. He seems very, very young.
I wish him luck. Certainly, he'd make a better MP for Papineau than the Bloc incumbent. Still, Quebec voters have a way of trashing Liberal star candidates, no matter how smart and successful they are.
Just ask Marc Garneau.

Will Work for Cruise Tickets...

My old friend Mike Mouland at Key Porter once told me the book publishing industry in this country is a hobby, not a business. Seems the mag trade is a volunteer enterprise, too. This e-mail comes from a friend who would never, on the most boring day in Hell, volunteer to work for these guys:

From: "Western Standard"
Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2007 10:03:47
Subject: Volunteer at the Western Standard!

Dear Western Standard reader,

Have you ever thought of volunteering for the Western Standard? Now's the time to do it!

We've got a bustling little office in Calgary, and we're looking for a few volunteer helpers in every department. Whether you're a young person looking to build your resume or whether you're retired and looking to stay active, we could be the place for you.

We're looking to fill part-time positions, including:

* Assistant to the publisher – help with special projects, ranging from investor relations to organizing our Publisher's Circle events
* Office assistant – help keep our office ship-shape, from dealing with couriers to filling orders for Western Standard merchandise and other odd jobs
* Ads assistant – keep the Western Standard financially strong by helping write and edit our advertising features on subjects from real estate to resource investing. And help with the scheduling and production of our exciting radio shows!
* Assistant bookkeeper – help us keep track of our accounts, and even help out with gift subscriptions!

All volunteers would work right in our Calgary office, with our energetic young team. It's a fun place to work – and you'll help us make a difference!

Please submit resumes to:

I hope you'll consider joining our team as a volunteer!

Yours truly,

Ezra Levant
Publisher and Editor

Ottawa City Journal column

Bourrie column
Feb. 16, 2007

This is Reading Week at most universities, a time when undergrads spend nine days doing laundry, rummaging through their parents’ fridges, or hanging around in Florida contributing to Girls Gone Wild – doing anything, in fact, except reading.
If you are the parent of a college-age kid, indulge them. If you are a university student watching ESPN instead of reading another chapter of Introductory Microeconomics, don’t torture yourself with guilt.
For the past five and a half months, students have been hammering away, some doing well, some not. At the same time, they’ve taken a lot of guff from people who claim this generation of university students is illiterate, unskilled in academics, coddled by woolly-headed profs, unprepared for the work world.
It was always thus. If you’re a parent, let me calm your worries: the kids are doing fine. If you’re a student, I say: “don’t worry.”
I work part-time as a teaching assistant for the University of Ottawa. I went to university in 1975, when I was just a kid. I quit to take a newspaper job, finished my BA by correspondence in 1990, got a diploma in public administration in 1994, my Master’s in 2004, and I should finish my Ph.D. in a couple of months.
I’ve been around students through four decades. The students of this generation are as good, or better, than any I’ve seen.
But there are differences.
First, there are so many more university students. Numbers are up despite the gutting of the student loan and grant systems and the doubling, in constant dollars, of tuition fees since the 1970s. People come up with the money because a BA is now the minimum requirement for most white-collar jobs.
Second, students come to university with much firmer plans about what they want to take and how they plan to apply it to their careers. It’s an attitude I don’t agree with. I think young people need to take more risks, travel more, and have a better grasp of the world before they settle into university.
They’re younger. Now that Gr. 13 has finally been done away with, many students are going to university when they’re 17. I think that’s too young, especially for young men, but most adapt during first year.
And the students come to university with better academic skills than they did 30 years ago. Yes, you read it right. Better.
There has always been a top tier of students who could handle any type of assignment and could thrive in any university. They could write bibliographies, essays, book reviews and reports without breaking too much of a sweat.
Then there’s been the great mass of students who struggle with organizing a paper, chasing down sources, and can’t string words together well.
What I’ve seen, the past few years, is a marked increase in the number, and percentage, of students who can, in their first year, write a very good paper, and a greater percentage who have strong basic skills. Despite the huge class sizes, only a few students crash and burn. This is a big improvement over a few years ago.
Students also have far better access to research material, such as computer search engines linked on university library sites that make it easy to hunt down books and journal articles. Those who get into the habit of using these resources tend to do very well.
There’s a seriousness among students that seems to deepen every year. Smoking in classrooms, a common student demand in the 1970s, is long gone, of course. But so, it seems, is the once-common practice of smoking a joint before class, along with mid-week binges and the use of heavy drugs.
If anything, the kids are too serious. If you can’t have fun in college, when will you? The working world is hardly a big party. That’s why I’m in favour of a lost year, what the Aussies call a walk-about. See the country, see America, go overseas, do some volunteer work abroad.
But, this week, put your feet up. Read for pleasure. And, if your kid is down in the basement with a stack of DVDs, don’t worry. The kids are alright.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Today's thought

Anyone who thinks Harper made a mistake by going after the Liberals for their stance on terrorism, and asking whether it's been softened because of bloc voting by New Canadian delegates at last fall's Liberal convention, is wrong, wrong, wrong. Some Canadians, especially in Vancouver and the lower mainland, want to know why the Liberals are getting soft on measures that they, themselves, passed into law. Yes, most of them are draconian and I have some real qualms with them. Still, I also want to see the Air India bombers convicted, and I want to see terrorists who are sheltered in Canada brought to justice. I also want to see dome real discussion on the issue, but, instead, Dion is whipping his MPs to tow his line that the anti-terrorism law should go.
Harper may lose support in the Beaches, but he's nailing down the 905 belt and southwestern Ontario, and, quite possibly, some of the NDP seats in Vancouver, by asking the questions about the people behind the massive Sikh block vote that put Dion into the Liberal leadership.
As well, if the terrorism law is killed by the Liberals and Canada is hit witha terrorist attack, who will be blamed?

Canada's newspaper business has been cured of its Dose...

but the slow and painful death of paid-circulation print mass media continues.

While millions of fruit flies die from global warming

...Canada's greatest living Canadian tours the country on a filth-spewing diesel bus. Public transportation? That's for the little people.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

These stakes are too high

Quebec premier Jean Charest says the future of Quebec rides on this election. He claims the province will be ruined if the PQ take power. I agree that PQ governments are disasters for Quebec. I'd also make the point thta Robert Bourassa's policies were just about as bad. Quebec stagnated under Levesque, Bourassa and Parizeau, and has shown some signs of life under Charest. However, some day the Liberals will lose power. That's a fact of life in Quebec politics. In Charest's view, that means the end of Quebec as a province, a claim that, I think, is dangerous and probably self-fulfilling.

Beerhound threatens blogger

Golly geez. Was it just a year since I was served with trash by Canada's self-styled Pince o' Darkness?
Maybe it's something about February's tides or the ions in the air, but the threats are flying again, this time against an Ottawa Sun sports desker who writes an independent blog on his own time..
Neate Sager seems like a great guy, and he's handled this well. First, he saw the threat for what it was. Then he parried it well.
My advice: Don't sweat it. That's what they want. And keep on doing what you're doing.
Litigation, as I'm finding out, is a tedious and time-consuming project. Sometimes, as in my case with Kinsella, it simply must be done. In other cases, a simple "screw off" is enough.

Now Kinsella stooge Jason Cherniak is being threatened by IPSOS.

I'm spending tomorrow playing with my new washing machne.

Frank Magazine

What's up with Frank Magazine selling its e-Frank subscription list and, I hear, its print sub list, too? I just hope they're not shopping it around to the newsrooms and cubicle warrens of the nation. It seemed strange when they started burning their sources of gossip in the post-Fabrice era, something I blame on Michael Bate spending too much time in Tuscany while his $400-a-week "reporter" took up the slack and began settling his personal scores in Ottawa. Seems a lot of people who were sending anonymous tips were, in fact, getting torched.
Me, I've always resisted Bate's urgings to sell out my friends. That never stopped anyone from saying I was. Now I'm glad that I resisted Bate's invitations.
So, just a word to the wise: beware.
If you want to buy Frank, get it anonymously in a mag shop, or, better yet, leaf through it in the store or borrow it from someone dumb enough to shell out the outlandish $5 price tag.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Today's Dionspeak

There's just so much today!

Mr. Dion, there is a lot of dissatisfaction, the poll is showing that your leadership is faltering. The caucus is complaining about it. You have got (inaudible) on your hands on this preventative arrests on the security bill. What do you have to say about this?

Stéphane Dion:
Well that is quite an exaggeration about everything that you said. I think we are going very well. We have progress to make. We are a very united team. There is a lot of enthusiasm and we will come with a lot of good policy for Canadians.

How can you be...

Stéphane Dion:
A great vision.

Your caucus is split on the renewal of the anti-terrorist bill?

Stéphane Dion:
Well, we had a good debate and we make our decision. It was not an easy decision. It is a difficult choice to make, but we are comfortable that we have made the best decision for Canadians.

Mr. Dion, what did you think about the AIDS announcement earlier today?

Stéphane Dion:
Well, it is a good new to have a building, but we need to have more funding for the science and I think the prime minister received the message already. So where he was in Toronto last summer? We need more help for the science.

Sorry, what happens if your MPs, some of them don't support (Dion's opposition to renewing the anti-terrorism legislation)?

Stéphane Dion:
You know what is the rule. When we make a decision, we vote with discipline and beyond that, it is a matter for international discussion in the caucus.

Do you support the back-to-work legislation if the government (inaudible)?

Stéphane Dion:
We will discuss that in the coming hours with the caucus but let me say that I'm surprised that the government yesterday chose a mediator and today, is announcing a back-to-work legislation. I don't understand why they came so speedily and they are contradicting themselves in their decisions. But this being said, it is not possible that we will support this legislation. We are just surprised that the government announced a mediator yesterday and they didn't have the time to take a coffee together, that already the government is looking for a back-to-work legislation.

Dion's failings

Norman Spector explains very clearly how the Liberals ended up in their present mess. They picked a leader who is not bilingual and who carries the baggage of the most corrupt regime in Canadian history.

Don't forget your Glock

Happy Mardi Gras!

Monday, February 19, 2007


Only laurels today. No darts.

Congrats to my wife Marion for being awarded the Lebreton-Holmes Scholarship for her work in public policy law. Marion was given the scholarship partly for her work on Ottawa's new court geared to helping people with mental illness, and for her advocacy of drug treatment policies while a member of the board of the Somerset West Community Health Centre. The scholarship was established to commemorate Linda LeBreton-Holmes, who, with her son Brian Holmes, was killed by a drunk driver in 1996. I covered the sentencing of the driver, Matt Brownlee and sat with Marjorie LeBreton, Linda's mother. It was one of the most emotionally-charged days of my life.

And a pat on the back to my friend of 35 years, Maj. Jim McKillip, for being awarded the meritorious service medal, one of this country's highest honours. Jim has risked his neck for Canada in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, the Sinai, and Mozambique, among other places. Lately, he's been helping organize commemorations of Canadian military actions in Normany, the Netherlands and Vimy Ridge.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Steyn on climate change

Mark Steyn shows the science on climate change is not settled. Quite likely, there is climate change in many parts of the world. Is it man-made? How much will the climate change? Is it permanent? Can people adapt? Is transferring wealth to the third world, thereby increasing their demand for consumer goods and their ability to industrialize, the answer to whatever man-made climate change exists, or would the money be better spent on improving our own clean energy technology and infrastructure?

Climate change: 1315

I'm reading, in my spare time, a book called The Hollow Crown, by medieval scholar Miri Rubin. The book starts with a vivid description of the six-year weather anomoly that manifested itself in wet, cold summers. The crops rotted, cattle and sheep were stricken with mold and fungus diseases, and between 10 and 15 per cent of the people died. It must have been incredibly depressing: the sky never cleared, fields were flooded, and the weakened survivors had to wallow in mud to dig graves for people and livestock. The famine is now fairly obscure. The Black Death, which arrived a generation later, gets far more ink in the texts.
The 1315-21 weather pattern signalled a change in climate from a relatively warm period to the Little Ice Age that ended in 1850. It's as major a weather disaster as the 1920s-1930s Dust Bowl on the Great Plains.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Today's question to the Mounties

Here's what I'd like the Mounties -- the police force that found no senior politicians involved in Airbus kickbacks, Shawinigan hotel deals, Quebec ad kickbacks, and so many other scandals.
"Was the amount of trading in income trusts by one bureaucrat in suburban Ottawa large enough to create the "spike" in income trust activity that prompted the RCMP investigation that was launched with so much public fanfare in the middle of the 2005-2006 election campaign?"
I'd ask the same question to the Ontario Securities Commission, another organization that couldn't find its ass with a mirror, a map and a GPS.

Free Money For ALL!!!

Olivia Chow wants all immigrants, even if they've just arrived in Canada, to collect the Old Age Pension. Under the present system, you must live in the country ten years before you're eligible. You don't have to be a citizen, nor do you have to contribute any premiums. In Chow's world, seniors in reunited families would get Canadian pensions as soon as they arrive, along with medical coverage and all other social services, whether or not they've contributed a dime in taxes. My questions: How do people immigrate to Canada so late in life that they can't survive for ten years without government money? And if, as she said earlier today in Parliament, it's an issue of family unification, why aren't families helping keep their elderly relatives out of poverty? Is there any country in the world that gives seniors life-long old age security pensions and no co-pay medicare as soon as they arrive? Are the governments of the immigrants' countries of origin off the hook for the cost of supporting emigrants in their retirement years?

Ms. Olivia Chow (Trinity—Spadina, NDP) :
Mr. Speaker, thousands and thousands of immigrant seniors are forced to live in isolation with barely the means to support themselves.

The situation is dire for far too many. They must choose between medication and rent payments, and despite the recommendations of the Immigrant Seniors Advocacy Network, there is still a cruel 10 years residency requirement on the old age security.

Will the minister finally provide fairness for seniors and will he implement the excellent and humane recommendations from the network?

* * *

Mrs. Lynne Yelich (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, CPC) :
Mr. Speaker, we are addressing that in Bill C-36, and I would recommend that the position we are taking will work very well for the seniors the hon. member is speaking about.

This particular provision will ensure that we do not compromise our immigration.

* * *

Ms. Olivia Chow (Trinity—Spadina, NDP) :
Mr. Speaker, that was not much of an answer. The government is turning its back on Canadian seniors.
The Immigrant Seniors Advocacy Network represents thousands of Canadians and they are telling the government that the restrictions on sponsoring elderly relatives are too tight, that they cannot access old age security and that without assistance for public transport, seniors are isolated and lonely.

Will the minister listen to the voice of experience and the wisdom that comes with age and will the government meet directly with our immigrant seniors?

* * *

Mrs. Lynne Yelich (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, CPC) :
Mr. Speaker, I encourage the member to help us pass Bill C-36.
The wonderful thing about old age security is that there is a residency provision. We do not discriminate. People can be non-Canadians or Canadians. Old age security is offered universally to anybody who has had residency in Canada.

I encourage the member to please help us pass Bill C-36 as quickly as possible so that some of her fears can be alleviated.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rogue's Gallery

Every loser in Canada who's ever had a soapbox has a place here, along with a very, very few winners.
Can you separate the sheep from the goats?

The Liberals' Kyoto bill

Anyone who thinks the passage of a bill by the House of Commons results in that bill becoming law had better hit the textbooks. Even passage by the Senate doesn't make the bill into a law. it must receive -- at the government's request -- Royal Assent. Then it must be published in the Canada Gazette and officially proclaimed. Can that be done without the consent of the government?
Can the other parties make the government proclaim and gazette a bill?
The opposition parties have only one real power: to combine and defeat the government on a money bill, thereby forcing an election. They can use that power to push compromises onto the government, but they can't make law.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dawn of a new era?

Headline du jour.

Fun with Wikipedia

I'd be the last one to encourage anyone to vandalize Wikipedia (even though I think it's a cult, right up there with Scientology, but one for lefties, third-rate students and failed writers). Still, this is light-hearted enough to be funny (check the photo caption). Of course, it was quickly caught and reverted, unlike so many vicious posts about centrist and centre-right politicians, writers and journalists.

Tory ads for Quebec

The federal Tories believe they can tear Dion down by tying him, and his policies, to the malodorous Chretien administration. You don't have to speak French to understand this ad. The Quebecois are ensuring that Chretien's place in history is far different from the free ride given to him by the anglophone media (myself included, I'll admit) when he was in power.

Twenty minutes that will change your life

Do you really know what's happening in Africa and Asia? Do you want to have your views on the "developing world" and the "developed world" shaken up? Do you want some proof that honest government, domestic peace and fre enterprise makes people's lives better? If so, click here.

Hat tip to 8Ace.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fear and loathing in Ottawa

We were running late tonight, so the whole family -- me, Marion and the kids, went to McDonald's on Bronson. We were halfway through our meal when seem gangsta-type teens began a ruckus. One little shit started punching a girl in the face, quicly splitting her lip.
I got out of my seat and yelled at them to stop. The group -- half a dozen black boys, including the hitter, and three black girls, moved toward a door. The little shit kept taking swings at her. I went toward them and kept telling the kid to stop. His friends thought the whole thing was funny. One took pictures with a cell phone.
The manager, a kid in his early twenties, tried to get the teenagers to leave. Once in a while, the little hitter took another swing at the girl. I told him to keep his hands to himself and yelld for someone to call the cops. No one did.
A rather large fellow who I mentally tagged "Fat Albert" told me to shut up and not get involved. Many people know that's something that I'm rarely inclined to do. I said I'd talk if I wanted to. He said he and his friends would be waiting for me outside. Then they left.
The rest of the meal was rather tense. Ian, my seven-year-old, was, as usual, all questions. My 12-year-old daughter was scared. My wife was pretty calm.
I figure, even on the edge of 50, I can still handle myself. I grew up in a part of the Ontario countryside where brawling was normal, and I was a provincial-level fencer in high school, but it's been more than thirty years since I've had to protect myself or use parrying moves. Just before I left, I bought one of McDonald's notoriously hot coffees and planted my car key in my fingers. But, as I expectewd, Fat Albert, his piece-of-shit friend and the rest of them weren't outside. We got in the van and went home.
When I was a teenager, I knew some really bad kids. I knew guys who would punch you for looking at them the wrong way. But they -- at least in public, I suppose -- didn't punch girls. Their friends wouldn't have stood around laughing and taking pictures. People in restaurants wouldn't have sat, skulking, and the staff would have called the cops.
But that was then and this is now.

Quip of the day

Reporter's question:
So I just wanted, yes, I wanted to ask you...

Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice:
My goodness, in front of all your friends!

Pork, pork, pork...

Gilles Duceppe takes us to a place in Hog Heaven that I've never seen before: a scheme to make Montreal the site of a market for Kyoto carbon credit trading. Now, doesn't that sound like a whole new generation, an evolutionary leap, in federal-provincial hog farming? Here's Duceppe outside the Commons today:

In our motion, we are asking that the Kyoto targets be - that they should be recognized. We are asking for a territorial approach, we are asking for a trade market based in Montreal and so on. So we have to look at all of that, but I'm very happy that at least, that amount of money, they are giving it. It means that a minority government maybe is more sensible when questions like this happen.


The entire family is recovering from flu. I feel like I've been worked over by the Hell's Angels.
Fortunately, nothing much is happening in Ottawa. I'll post when anything major happens.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Today's most lame-ass piece of journalism

The Toronto Star, beaten by the Sun and the Quebec press on the Homolka baby story, turns to dial-a-quote lawyer Tim Danson and Liberal provincial attorney general Michael Bryant. They raise the complete non-issue of Homolka returning to Ontario, something she apparently says she doesn't want to do. I believe her on this, since in Montreal, unlike in Ontario, she can live anonymously. Next, the Star team scalps a Quebec tabloid story for the actual details of the Homolka baby story, lards the mess up with some background, and slaps three bylines on the story.

Friday, February 09, 2007

What doesn't kill you makes you strong

London's Financial Times looks at the federal Conservatives' wooing of ethnic voters.
What the story misses: (1) Mike Harris very successfully wooed the same voters in suburban Toronto, which is very heavily first and second generation vizmin. (2) Most new Canadians do not come from India and Pakistan. The Brit writer projected his country's demographics onto ours. Migrants from China and south Asia are amenable to the Tory message: they work hard, understand how governments can screw up their lives, and feel no need at all to coddle Quebec.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Rosemary's bebe?

Kate at Small Dead Animals says Killer Karla has given birth. (Check the comments while she updates).
Canwest has also moved a short item.
Yesterday, while I was off nursing a sick wife and beavering away on a writing project, everyone was trashing this story. Today, it's been nailed down as true.

"I think that... I... I mean..."

Mark Holland tries to shake his foot out of his mouth after hinting he'd like to see a new NEP-like environment strategy in the oil sands:

Reporter's Question in the foyer of the Commons:
And this was a discussion you had on a program on Monday, was it?

Mark Holland:
I can't recall the date.

OK. Because I know you've said that there's been a lot of twisting.

Mark Holland:
There's been an enormous amount of manipulation of this, including from the Premier of Alberta, and it's very... and it's very political. I mean, what they're trying to do is to get it so that no one can even talk about limiting the oil sands expansion. But look, if we're serious about climate change, then we're going to have to talk about the oil sands, and we're going to have to talk about all large final(?) emitters. And the reality is unfettered growth in the oil sands, unfettered growth of any large industry, is unacceptable. And let's also take a look at what Albertans are saying. They don't have the infrastructure. They have labour shortages. They're concerned about water quality.
They're concerned about environmental degradation. And if there's a five-time increase in the oil sands expansion, just imagine where those issues are. So Albertans themselves are concerned about this, and we all have a responsibility to manage and utilize our resources responsibly.

Hang on. Unfettered access. So that means...

Mark Holland:
Unfettered growth.

Yeah. So that means you believe in fettered growth. Is that right?

Mark Holland:
No, I think that... I... I mean...

You want to limit the growth in the oil sands?

Mark Holland:
No, what I think we need to do is to take, as we've said with all large final emitters, that we need to have caps. And the Prime Minister himself has talked about this, and there hasn't been an outrageous reaction to that. That there has to be grow... caps in terms of the degree of emissions that can be pumped into the atmosphere. And that multiplying the oil sands times 4.6 times, the Finance Minister said in China, or as Gary Lunn has said, the Minister of Natural Resources, four to five times expansion, by 2015, would blast apart all of our greenhouse gas emissions. And that all large final emitters have a responsibility to ensure that the emissions that they are putting out there do not destroy our ability to reduce emissions.

Do you want to cap growth in the oil sands?

Mark Holland:
No, what we're doing right now is we have the... the... the Natural Resources Committee making a series of recommendations on how to deal with the oil sands specifically, and we have C-30 to deal with the... the issue more broadly of... of how to regulate emissions for large final emitters. What I would like to see is for large final emitters, and for the oil sands, recommendations to be brought forward
concurrently. But certainly me taking a formal position in advance of that committee having the opportunity to put forward its proposals would be premature. What I am saying is that five times expansion of the oil sands is inappropriate and would blast apart all of our emissions targets, in fact would put us in a position where we would se by 2010 no ability to really reduce greenhouse gases. And what we have to ask is that it's incredibly disingenuous of the Prime Minister, on the one hand, to say that he cares about climate change, and on the other hand to talk about expanding the oil sands by five times when we know if he does that it makes it absolutely impossible, even by 2020, to have any reductions of any kind.

Mark (inaudible) five times expansion of the auto industry in Ontario?

Mark Holland:
Absolutely. I would say the same thing of the five times expansion of just about any industry, unless they were going to be willing to put technologies in place to control their emissions. Look, every industry in Canada, I don't care where it is or what it's doing, has a responsibility to ensure that their growth is appropriate, it's managed, and that we don't have emissions pouring out from those industries
that are going to blast apart our ability to meet our international commitments.

Do you think that growth in the oil sands is inappropriate?

Mark Holland:
I think that... that growth in the oil sands that would result in greenhouse gas emissions that would negate our ability to meet our international commitments is not acceptable. Clearly...

(Inaudible) any growth in the oil sands is going to increase the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

Mark Holland:

So what do you want to do then?

Mark Holland:
Well, I think that what we need to do is to have targets. And we have targets under Kyoto, but we need to have targets beyond 2012. And we need to ensure that we have... we have an appropriate level of greenhouse gas emissions that are... are deemed to be acceptable for all industry, to say that you can't go past this point. Because if you do, then our targets are absolutely obliterated. Now, what those are
and how we exactly implement them is the source of what we're dealing with in committee right now. But I think that there is a growing recognition among Canadians that simply being able to dump into the atmosphere whatever greenhouse gas emissions you want to is unacceptable, just as it's unacceptable to dump your garbage on the street.

How popular do you think this position will make you in Alberta?

Mark Holland:
I think the position will be very popular because I think that Albertans want to make sure that their resource is managed appropriately. I'm hearing from a lot of Albertans who are very concerned about water quality, who are concerned about lack of infrastructure, who are concerned about environmental degradation, and... and concerned about the rate at which that resource is utilized, wanting to make sure that it's there for a long time. So there's a lot of Albertans who share these concerns, and I think that they're asking the question of why. Why would anybody talk about multiplying this by five times, or 4.6 times?
And they recognize as well that all industries, whether or not it's in Ontario in the auto sector, or whether or not it's in Alberta in the oil sands, that every industry has a responsibility to ensure that their greenhouse gas emissions do not obliterate our international commitments on climate change.

Can you spell out what you mean by consequences now? You said (inaudible) would be consequences.

Mark Holland:
Well, I think that... I think that if there's a refusal by any large industry to... to work with us, we're going to have to take a look at that. And that's what our committee is doing now, in terms of saying what we would establish as... as mechanisms to ensure - whether or not that's a cap in trade system, where if you go over you have to... you have to buy credits somewhere else, or whether or not that's some other mechanism, I don't know. I trust that right now the process we're working on in our Natural Resources Committee will be a fruitful one and that we'll have concrete recommendations in the next few weeks on that.

Your comments made a lot of people out west nervous. Are you willing to say now that you did or did not mean nationalizing the oil industry?

Mark Holland:
I absolutely didn't mean that, and that's a complete... a complete twist and perversion of what I said. What I said was that everybody has to be part of the solution here. And I... I'm talking about industry in Ontario, I'm talking about industry in Quebec, I'm talking about industry in Alberta, that we all need to be part of the solution and work collaboratively. And any attempts to mischaracterize that is... are... are crass and political.

Have you had any discussions with the McGuinty government, who are opposing tough regulations on the auto industry, about... about going through with that?

Mark Holland:
No, I haven't at this point. OK?

Oh, for those naive 1990s

Listening to CHEZ FM while I recover from the stomach flu that hit my kids earlier in the week. CHEZ just played "Right Here, Right Now", one of the great anthems to the end of the Cold War. The song came out in 1990, just after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism in eastern Europe. "Right here, right now, there is no place I'd rather be/Right here, right now, watching the world wake up from history."
Guys, little did you know. Saddam was just another tyrant. Osama was between jobs, having spent part of the previous decade fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. It was one time -- perhaps the only time -- of real optimism since 1914.

Golly, the government can't even sell gold properly

Inspired by Tim Naumetz' Ottawa Citizen story today about a proposed $1 million gold coin, I went web shopping to see what gold dealers say about the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, the mint's one-ounce gold coin.
Nothing good, I'm afraid.

Up with the angels

Len Hopkins, the Liberal who once owned the backwoods of the upper Ottawa Valley and represented Renfrew-Nippissing-Pembroke in Parliament for 32 years, has been promoted to glory.

One recession away from the jobbers

CanWest is looking to buy back units of CanWest MediaWorks, its poorly-performing Canadian income trust. They just got taken to the cleaners on the Alliance-Atlantis deal and the newspaper business is not exactly thriving. This company is so over-leveraged that, I believe, the next spike in interest rates should cause the wheels to come off:

"The income trust currently has about $791-million in debt, and a market value of $421-million, according to yesterday's trading price. That means CanWest could be adding more than $1.2-billion worth of debt at the parent level if it took the trust private without selling the Australian assets."

Zero for Three

Ontario's Liberal Party is always hot in the polls until election day. Just ask David Peterson and Lynn Mcleod. Looks like they'll lose three byelections tomorrow night. Not the interesting stuff about McGuinty that slipped out of the campaign of the Liberal candidate in York South Weston.
Coming on top of the ass-kicking they got in High Park, when they tried to smear a United Church minister as a drug pusher, this should make them four-time losers, with the emphasis on losers.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The map doesn't lie

Would have. Should have. Could have.
Truscott's still as guilty as he was fifty years ago.
To believe he's innocent, you have to buy the idea that he drove Lynn Harper up a gravel country road to a highway, where he dropped her off. Persons unknown travelling on the highway then picked her up, drove away and returned her to the very same gravel road, the one place that people would be looking for her. With Lake Huron not far away, wooded river valleys all over that part of the countryside, and a huge sandpit just up the road, Harper's killers return to murder her at the one place where searchers were bound to begin looking. And that's if you can get past all the testimony that shows Truscott wanted to take a girl -- any girl -- to that particular woodlot. The night's events involve Highway 8, Vanastra Road and the little streets about a mile south of the highway. That's the old Clinton airforce base. The murder happened on the east side of Vanastra Road between the river and the airbase school, which is in the group of small streets at the south end of Vanastra Road. Use the map and satellite settings to see how many accessible wooded places there are in the area for a body dump, and why it's ludicrous to think anyone would, after they picked up Lynn Harper at Vanastra Road and Highway 8, do anything but drive down the highway.

City Journal and Law Times stuff

You can find my local columns here

My Law Times piece on the Arar negotiations is here.

I should have a piece in the next Ottawa magazine. I'm not sure it will be posted on their web site. These days, I'm not taking on much new journalism work because of teaching obligations, litigation I'm involved in, an increased parenting role as my wife's in school, and work on academic papers that I'm mining from my thesis. I should be back at it with a vengeance by May -- at least for the summer.

Funny money

Didn't they just do this?

Free the Chicago One

He's been stripped of the newspapers, like the Daily Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post, that he raised from the gutter. He's been vilified in the press, snubbed by many of the people he's enriched, and mocked by the Canadian liberal media and political elites.
Conrad Black lived large. That was no secret to anyone who bought stocks in his companies. When you bought Hollinger, you bought a piece of Conrad Black, of Barbara Amiel, of the glamour, the lifestyle and the love of great newspapers. Those who claim otherwise are opportunists who hoped, by bringing Black down, they could make big capital gains. Have they? No.
Now the papers are in the hands of lesser people. Invariably, they suck. They don't make much money. There is no likelihood of expansion, of another National Post, of the re-creation of those times when Black stood journalism in Canada and the UK on its ear.
Should he go to jail? No.

Fun with Figgers

You thought Mexico was dangerous?
Scaremongers have crunched the numbers and declared Australia unsafe.
Look at those numbers carefully. Car accidents. Heart attacks. Other natural causes.
Some drownings. One freak death caused by a jellyfish sting. Crikey!
There's talk of crocs eating tourists. How many examples of tourists actually crunched by crocs? None. Crikey!
And, by the way, Koala bears can give you a nasty bite or scratch.
"A wombat can knock you over." Crikey!
Small wonder people don't take journalists seriously anymore.
Aussie park rangers seem pretty silly, too.

Yea, right out the friggin' door

David McGuinty has an interesting take on Garth Turner's blogging, which got Turner turfed from the Tory party:

David McGuinty:
He's pursued a very, very unique communications strategy with his constituents, one I think that many MPs are looking to as a model to follow.

Sure. I bet. We'll see if Garth blogs from the Liberal caucus meetings...

Today's Question Period: Baird crushes Dion

Hon. Stéphane Dion (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.) :
Mr. Speaker, there is no reason to postpone the regulations that should have been done a year ago.
Goldman Sachs said worldwide green investment opportunities have increased sevenfold, by 700% over the past three years. Canadians need to get our full share of this growing, multibillion dollar market.

Instead of deprecating the global fight against climate change as a job-killing, economy-destroying, money-sucking, socialist plot, will the Prime Minister now concede that smart, prompt action on climate change must become a positive driver of Canadian economic growth and competitiveness?

* * *

Hon. John Baird (Minister of the Environment, CPC) :
Mr. Speaker, I think that was an excellent description of the previous Liberal government. Let me say to the Leader of the Opposition, he says we should have acted one year ago, I say he should have acted 10 years ago.

The Leader of the Opposition can quote Goldman Sachs. I can quote someone speaking about Canada's environmental role in the world:Canada once again is providing leadership in the world, fighting above its weight class and showing moral authority to the rest of the world. That is what Canada is known for.

Who said that yesterday? Al Gore.

Cheapening the news

The Toronto Star has launched a price war by offering its Saturday and Sunday papers at half the cover price ($2 Saturday; $1 Sunday) to home subscribers.
Should be interesting to see if a price war in Toronto ends up with the same kind of fallout as the Times-Telegraph brawl in London five years ago.
Meanwhile, in the city that gave the world the first freebie dailes, the world's oldest newspaper ditches its print edition.

Health care? That's provincial.

Long ago and far away, the quality of health care was Canada's Number One Priority. It was top of all the polls. And it was a major issue in two federal elections.
Stephen Harper made it one of his Top Five Priorities. Arguably, it was the only priority the government never dealt with. Now there are new polls and new priorites. At the Canadian Club meeting today in Ottawa, condensed in a PMO press release, Harper outlines the five priorities of 2007:

Further tax reductions as part of a comprehensive economic agenda;

Continued steps to tackle crime;

Further strengthening Canada’s global image and rebuilding the Canadian Forces;

Strengthening the federation by addressing Senate reform and fiscal balance with the provinces; and

Clear, decisive steps to protect our environment.

During his speech, Prime Minister Harper announced the government’s intention to legislate a ‘tax back’ guarantee. “In the future, as the federal government pays down national debt, it will be required to use the interest savings to cut personal taxes for hardworking Canadians,” he said.

The Prime Minister also told the audience that Canada’s New Government will continue its efforts to develop a pragmatic and effective policy to protect and improve the environment. “The fundamental challenge of our time is to make real progress on environmental protection while preserving jobs and standards of living,” the Prime Minister stated.

Try not to get sick this year, folks.

Look what the cat dragged in

My old boss Garth Turner makes some new "friends".
Note to the Tory, Dipper and Bloc research departments: Garth has said some choice things about the Libs and all of their major policies, from taxation to medicare to energy policy, over the years. Some very choice things.
Now, how many ex-Tory leadership candidates do the Liberals have in their caucus? Let's count, shall we? Stronach, Bryson, Keith Martin, and now Garth (Class of '93).
Should be time for a little cross-traffic, say Iggy and Volpe to the Tories.
Or not.

Holo, er, Climate Change Denier

Silly me. I thought it was an original, Canadian smear. I was wrong.

Lobbing powderpuffs

Jack Layton gets an intense grilling from the Parliamentary Press Gallery, in a scrum outside the Commons Monday:

Reporter's question:
Do you, in your wildest dreams, do you envision a scenario whereby Stephen Harper actually embraces Kyoto and wraps himself in Kyoto? Is that...

Jack Layton:
Well, I'm not going to think about it in terms of some of the metaphors that you have suggested. What I'm hoping he will do is to realize that the climate change crisis requires dramatic action, that Canada has to honor its obligations under Kyoto. We have a signature of the government of Canada, for the people of Canada on that document and besides, we have got to engage with the whole world on this issue and let's hope that the minister's trip to Paris has shaken him up a little bit and that he can convince his prime minister that we have got to get moving.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Today's Dionspeak

Dion reacts to a UN report on climate change released last Friday:

Well, I think it will create an additional pressure on the government to do the right thing because the Kyoto commitment is an incentive to do the right thing, in order to have a momentum for 2012 and to go further for the environment and the economy because this is the future in which we will be. Carbon will be a constraint in the economy in which we are and Canada must be a winner in this.

Black History Month

The Toronto Star's Royston James plays very fast and loose with Canadian history while decrying the lack of celebration of Black History Month.
A few errors and misleading statements, just off the top:
* the first black slave in Canada was not owned by Jesuit Paul Lejuene. He was a boy purchased by the Hebert family from English sailors occupying Quebec. Lejeune, on the return of the French, took the boy in and educated him.
* black slaves were not widely, if ever, used as field hands in Canada under either the French or British regimes. Some slaves were kept as domestic labour, although the practice was very rare. James' claim that black slaves were kept to do jobs that Canadiens would not do is simply inaccurate and unfair to Canada's French settlers, who, by insinuation, were lazy oppressors. James should spend some time examining the brutality of the fur trade and the rigours of Quebec farm life during the Iroquois Wars.
* almost all slaves held in Ontario before Emancipation came with United Empire Loyalists from the U.S. and were quite uncommom in Ontario. Iroquois chief Joseph Brant was a slave owner. However, the vast majority of blacks who settled in Canada before Emancipation were freedmen. British policy, touched on by James, was to pressure slave-owners to free their slaves.
* free black men, former slaves in the 13 Colonies who sided with the British and settled in Canada, fought alongside the British in the War of 1812, especially in the Navy.
* very, very few of the hundreds of thousands of black people in Canada are descended from slaves kept in Canada. Their descendents married into white, Native and post-emancipation black immigrants. Most lived in rural Ontario, on the edge of the frontier of the time, in the Owen Sound and Orillia areas.
* Canada was not an active participant in the slave trade, had no industries or agriculture dependent on slavery, had nothing resembling the slave markets of the U.S. South, and did not have governments that encouraged slavery.

I don't fault James for wanting some sort of recognition for African-Canadian history. It's an important part of the history of the settlement of Canada, although, until the 1960s, blacks were a relatively small percentage of the Canadian population. Africa's role in the slave trade -- a trade which has never stopped -- also needs to be recognized, as does Islam's. Royce does his cause a disservice by grossly distorting the history of the people that he claims to champion and by twisting the facts about many of the founding people of this country, of all colours.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Real Dion

Some interesting and very believable stuff about Paul Martin, Stephane Dion and former Environment minister David Anderson, an undeniably sincere environmentalist who was dumped by Martin and replaced with Dion, has come out in the Victoria Times Colonist and CTV.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Ottawa's first murder of '07

A 33-year-old guy was killed on Elgin Street. Homicide in the city's entertainment district has become distressingly common. Elgin Street, Rideau Street and the transit system account for a very large percentage of the city's murders. Invariably, a fight that, years ago, would be settled with a punch in the head, ends with a young man dead from stab wounds.


People use dope in Alberta.
People have dope in BC.
People are bringing BC drugs to Alberta.
At least Canada is self-sufficient in something.

Sticking to the talking point: Holo, er, Climate Change Denier (again)

Dion does it again, this time in the National Post.
Dont't let his wimpiness fool you. Dion is one of the meanest politicians ever to lead a national party in this country -- and, in Canada, the land of Dief, Trudeau, and Chretien, that's saying a lot.

Everyone has a price

Now, why is the public cynical about political reporters?

Mark Holland and the Oil Sands

Here's a lesson in electoral politics:

The battle, in the election campaign that's now underway, is not for Alberta's seats. The Liberals can't win any of them. The Tories can't win any more of them.
It's not for the seats of rural BC. The Liberals can't win those, either.
It's not for seats in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. There aren't very many of them, and few will change hands in the next election.
Nor is it for rural Quebec. The Bloc Quebecois has a lock on those.
The seats in the Maritimes are unlikely to make a difference, either.
What's left?
Seats in urban Quebec.
Seats in Toronto, its suburbs and southwestern Ontario.
To the Liberals, these are the only seats that count.
People in those ridings do not work in the oil industry. They do drive cars.
They, for the moment, worry about the environment.
They support a centralized Canada and see Ottawa as their vehicle to govern the entire country.
They believe Albertans are making big money with very little risk and work. They think Westerners, in general, are whiners and outsiders. The large visible minority (in some ridings, majorities) in many of these ridings have an underlying suspicion that Albertans are white racists, a view that's been drummed into them by Liberals and the media.
Now, put Holland's comments in that context.
Make sense now?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Marsden Watch Part II

Rachel has ended up here:

Ex-Stuff Editor Gutfield to Host Fox's Red Eye

Anthony Crupi

FEBRUARY 02, 2007 -

Former Maxim UK and Stuff editor Greg Gutfeld is expanding his role at Fox News Channel, taking on host duties for the network’s new late-night chat show.

Beginning Feb. 6 at 2 a.m., Gutfeld will take the reins of Red Eye, a one-hour program focused on politics and pop culture. Joining Gutfeld at the Red Eye roundtable are regular FNC contributors Rachel Marsden and Bill Schulz.

Gutfeld, who also earns a regular paycheck as a satirical columnist for The Huffington Post, first joined in November as a sometime video blogger. He left Maxim in the spring of 2006 after Dennis Publishing opted not to renew his contract.

Count Iggy on Carbon Taxes

Can you remind me, is the party in favour of a carbon tax?

Michael Ignatieff:
Can you remind me? (Laughter.) I love when you do faux naive. It's so charming.

We'll take one final question.

That's a good one.

Michael Ignatieff:
The party is in my view committed to serious and substantial action on climate change and intensity-based targets won't get the job done.

What about a carbon tax?

Michael Ignatieff:
Thank you.

Question: Would that help?

Holocaust den, er, Climate Change Denier, Part III

In a press release, the Liberal leader uses the phrase "climate chnage denier" again. Being a Holocaust denier is illegal, and for a good reason: the Holocaust was real, and denying it provides the under-pinning for anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism. Climate change is real, too, but, despite whaty Dion says, the jury is still out on whether it's completely man-made and if the Kyoto Accords offer an efficient and effective solution. People like Dion want to stifle that debate and fling mud, rather than use Parliament constructively.

Date: February 2, 2007

For Release: Immediate

More Proof Prime Minister Harper is a Climate Change Denier

Ottawa - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's history is one of leading a
crusade against the Kyoto Accord.

The Liberal Opposition today released another salvo in what Prime
Minister Harper called the "Battle of Kyoto," which saw the then-leader of
the Canadian Alliance launch a fundraising campaign against the science
of climate change.

Attached is a copy of a speech Mr. Harper delivered to Conservatives on
November 20, 2002, denouncing the Kyoto Accord.

"As economic policy the Kyoto Accord is a disaster. As environmental
policy it is a fraud," Mr. Harper said in the speech.

Specifically, Mr. Harper expresses concerns about the impact of Kyoto
on the development of the oil sands.

The speech was part of the same campaign in which Mr. Harper issued a
fundraising letter to raise money to "block the job-killing,
economy-destroying Kyoto Accord."

Jack Layton's plan

Jack Layton has a plan for destroying the economy, er, fixing global warming. It all sounds great, but Jack (who, with his wife, pull in upwards of $300K a year in tax dollars) is really suggesting the dismantling of the oil industry and the killing-off of what's left of Canadian industry:

Jack Layton:
Well, the first thing we need to do is honor our Kyoto obligations and then we have got to get to work on achieving them and we should start, we should begin by canceling the $1.4 billion we are shoveling into the coffers of the most profitable and most polluting companies in the world and that is a place to start because it would then give us resources to invest in solutions like renovating people's homes, like bringing renewable energy and helping everybody to burn less. We also need the kinds of rules and regulations in place that will stop the biggest polluters from their polluting ways. That means fuel efficiency standards for automobiles, that means limits and caps on the pollutants from the major industrial polluters and these are the steps we have laid out. We are going to bring them forward to the special committee and what we wish the other parties would do is stop dragging their feet there and get to work.

Meanwhile, at Caesar's Palace,

One of the world's great creapshows continues.

Col. Mercer's Blitzkreig

This has been a good week for people named Mercer. If you've ever wondered what it looks like when someone has their ass handed to them, click here.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Marsden Watch

Rachel Marsden's new show on Fox will be announced tomorrow.
The good news: she's landed on her feet after years of abuse heaped on her by the likes of Frank magazine (is it still in business?).
The bad news: the show's on after midnight, starting Monday, and I don't usually stay up that late.
I guess I can learn how the timeshift feature on my TV system works.

Great Moments in Unreality: If you read it in the Globe, it's so...

Jack Layton says the Globe says the Tory-Dipper deal is really just a "deal", hence, no deal:
Jack Layton:
Well, there is no deal. So only some Liberal that's claiming it. It was even in quotations in the Globe and Mail, so that shows you that it really wasn't something that was true, it was just something the Liberals were inventing.

Today's Dionspeak

Stéphane Dion ansers a reporter's question in the foyer of the House of Commons:

I, I will need, I will need a strong green budget in 2007 to prepare the grounds. Otherwise, 2012 will come too fast.
It's what I have said and you have said, you have seen how much dishonest the Prime Minister when he misquotes me again and again and again in those areas. As much as you what I had said, but he continues to pretend that I said that we'll not reach Kyoto when I said in 2008 after one additional year of Conservative paralysis.

The story that won't die

The National Post had the story in 2003 and spiked it. Still, it doesn't die, having a healthy run in the CBC, the Globe and Mail, and even on this blog. And it gets a little oomph today: KarlHeinz Schreiber, who, apparently, would like to cut a deal in Canada and sing like a little birdie about certain, er, disbursements to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and others, still has no takers.
Looks like he may just end up telling his stories in a German courtroom, unless he wants to spend the rest of his life in jail. The Supreme Court of Canada today pulled the plug on Schreiber's challenge to Canada's extradition treaty with Germany. Will the National Post send a reporter to Germany to cover the case? Hmm, budgets are tight, ya know.

My local column

My take on local Ottawa issues is here.
Today's column is here, along with some back issues.

Today's Gossip Part II

"Binder Boy" Don Boudria is running his son (Notepad Boy?) for the Liberal nomination in Prescott-Russell-Glengarry. Boudria, who somehow managed to dodge a bullet in the Sponsorship Scandal, is now a lobby weasel in Ottawa. His old riding is, by a fluke, in the hands of the Tories. The Liberal nominee in 2006 was an undertaker who was too creepy even for the Liberals of the lower Ottawa Valley. This time, barring an incredible and yet-unseen wave of Harpermania, the riding should move back into the Liberal column. The Liberal nomination meeting will determine the next MP for this heavily-Francophone riding, and Boudria(s) wants it as quickly as possible.

Today's Hill Gossip

Paul Wells moving from Ottawa to Paris to be Maclean's European main man?
The upside of the gossip:
Wells has always shown a lot of interest in eyesplitters like "Whither the EU Constitution?". It's a huge chance for Wells to show his talents and to break into the big leagues of international journalism and land somewhere like the Economist.
The down side:
Maclean's loses its marquee capital columnist. Maclean's editor in chief Ken Whyte might be dumb enough to assign someone like Scott Feschuk to write cute columns from Ottawa or have one of his rich Tory friends hold that real estate, rather than have the weighty and sometimes too-liberal tomes of Wells.

Auditing the untouchables

Months after allegations -- made by fellow Mohawks, as well as by non-Mohawk authorities -- of missing money, unaccounted sidearms, and favoritism at the Kanesatake Mohawk Police Service, the federal government is going to sic auditors on the sick police force. And, as a sort of afterthought, they've called in the Mounties.
Cut through the bumpf about the misdeeds happening under the Liberals, and the silly "Canada's New Goverment" sloganeering, and you'll see that this is a ballsy move that could stir up a lot of trouble in a place where trouble is a way of life:

Minister Day announces forensic audit of the Kanesatake Mohawk Police Service
OTTAWA, February 1, 2007

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, today announced that Canada ’s New Government will conduct a forensic audit of the Kanesatake Mohawk Police Service in order to shed light on the allegations of mismanagement of funds, which occurred under the previous government.
“Canada ’s New Government will not tolerate mismanagement of Canadian taxpayers’ money. Unlike the previous government, any allegation of mismanagement is a matter that our government takes seriously,” said Minister Day. “That’s why a forensic audit will take place as soon as possible,” he added.
The forensic audit will follow up on the observations made by auditors working on a financial audit regarding the management of financial activities in Kanesatake between April 2003 and March 2005, as well as the expenses incurred by the Kanesatake Mohawk Police Service.
The government decided to proceed with a forensic audit following discussions between Public Safety and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada as well as the Office of the Comptroller General of Canada . The Office of the Auditor General of Canada has been informed of this decision.
A Request for Proposal was sent to Public Works and Government Services Canada on January 24, 2007 to select the third party who will manage the forensic audit.
Minister Day also indicated that this matter has been referred to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.