Friday, March 30, 2007

The Undoing of the McGuinty Liberals

Howard Hampton: Minister, for a week now, you've been trying to tell those innocent people across Ontario who were cheated in your lottery that you knew nothing. I have news for you: No one believes you. A woman who wrote to us today said, "I can only say I am sickened by the lack of respect, morality and integrity shown by the government." Another person writes, "I strongly believe that David Caplan should resign from his position."

We also heard from another courageous older gentleman who says he can't understand how you could be unaware of the problems at the OLG. His name is Bob Edmonds. Minister, why do you think Bob Edmonds doesn't believe you?


Hon. Mr. Caplan: I have certainly apologized to Mr. Edmonds for the hardship that he was placed under. His case began in 2001. Mr. Hudak, the member from Erie-Lincoln, was the minister at those times, and I cannot provide any insight into what actions were ordered, what was asked to be done. I do know that the Ombudsman comments on this matter quite directly, and I would quote the Ombudsman from his press conference on Monday for the member opposite. He says:

"I conclude that they"-the OLG-"put profits ahead of public service. I think there was a point, a crossroads, in 2002.... At that point, the OLG could have gone two ways. It could have said, `We'll apply the law and take the measures to act diligently.' One month later, Bob Edmonds surfaced, and they pretended that binding law from the Supreme Court didn't apply." Then it became a slippery slope.

I agree with the Ombudsman, with his assessment and with his conclusions and recommendations. That's why action has been taken to make sure that this kind of situation does not happen again.


Mr. Hampton: Minister, I'll tell you why Bob Edmonds doesn't believe you. Under your watch, you spent $200,000 trying to silence him and keep his story out of the media. And then, when his story did break in the media, you went out and engaged two Liberal hacks, the Premier's former communications person and Warren Kinsella, to try to discredit him. That's why he doesn't believe you. Mr. Edmonds's lawyer says, "Unless Mr. Caplan is suggesting that no one from the government reads the newspapers or watches TV, I don't see how he can credibly say the government wasn't aware of Mr. Edmonds's claim."

Minister, there is a way that you can clear this up. You can turn over your e-mails, your records and your briefing books from the time you became minister. That would clear this up. Will you do that?


Hon. Mr. Caplan: I would say to the member that an all-party legislative committee has taken a look at the OLG, and the Ombudsman has done the most sweeping and thorough investigation of this matter. He is an independent officer of this Legislature, unbiased and non-partisan. I have ordered that all of the files that the Ombudsman reviewed be turned over to the Ontario Provincial Police for their review. I trust the Ontario Provincial Police to do the right thing, to make the right determination, to understand and to determine what the next steps ought to be. I have tremendous confidence in the Ontario Provincial Police.

But I would also say to the member opposite that there is a change to a higher standard right across the country. In Nova Scotia, we have a government investigating its lottery corporation. In New Brunswick, the Ombudsman there is looking into it and investigating. In British Columbia, the Ombudsman too has launched an investigation.


Mr. Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): We've got a crooked minister.

The Speaker: I would ask the member for Niagara Centre to withdraw.

Mr. Kormos: I withdraw.

The Speaker: New question.

Mr. Hampton: To the minister responsible for the lottery corporation: Innocent people across Ontario who were defrauded, innocent people who work hard and play by the rules every day, simply do not believe you. Bob Edmonds doesn't believe you did your job.

You became minister responsible for the lottery corporation in June 2005. Just before that, Bob Edmonds's case of lottery fraud was settled. You know what, Minister? These are some of the newspapers that covered it: CanWest, the National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, the Guelph Daily Mercury, the Brantford Expositor, the Sarnia Observer, Canada Press Newswire, CTV National News, the Hamilton Spectator, the Sault Ste. Marie Star, the Peterborough Examiner. Minister, if you really didn't know what was going on, why won't you release your own briefing books, e-mails and records? That way, we would know whether you were in the dark or-


The Speaker: The question has been asked. Minister.

Hon. Mr. Caplan: In fact, the Ombudsman spoke quite clearly in his press conference, where he talked about the government and the actions that have taken place. "Of course, we all know," he says, "that things began to happen quickly once the Edmonds case became public, and we have now seen some initiatives that have been implemented, such as a lowering of the insider win policy from $50,000 to $10,000."

In fact, there has been a great deal more than that which has ensued. Of the recommendations of both the Ombudsman and KPMG-more than 60 in total have come up-17 have already been implemented; 25 are under way and will be complete by the end of June. The remaining 18 are under way and working along.

For example, as the Ombudsman recommended, a public statement has been posted on the website. The KPMG report has been made available. As well, an action plan to implement all 40 of them has-sorry-


The Speaker: Supplementary.

1440


Mr. Hampton: Minister, it was covered in the Globe and Mail, it was covered in the Montreal Gazette, it was covered in the Halifax newspapers, the Regina newspaper, the Saskatoon newspaper, the Edmonton newspaper-It was covered by virtually every newspaper and radio network in Ontario. That's why Bob Edmonds doesn't believe you. He doesn't believe you could be that totally oblivious, that clued out.

There is no greater fraud than a government defrauding the public, and there's a way for you to clear this up. What are you trying to hide, Minister? Why won't you release your own e-mails, your own briefing books and your own records so that we can see? Either you were totally in the dark and didn't know what was going on or someone's not telling the truth.


Hon. Mr. Caplan: In fact, if I could expand on the earlier answer that I was providing, 8,800 self-checking devices have been made available and will be fully rolled out by the end of June. To date, 4,000 have already been installed. As I mentioned, the OLG insider-win policy threshold is down from $50,000 to $10,000. OLG escalates all insider-wins to corporate security and surveillance. Insider win investigations include interviews with retailers to verify purchasing information and previous playing patterns. Only when the investigation is complete and the claim proved to be valid is the prize paid out. If the OLG believes there's a serious concern with the retailer lottery prize claim, the appropriate police authorities are contacted immediately. All instant ticket processes have been detailed, and formal documentation is under way. Additionally, I am working with my colleague Minister Phillips to implement the oversight and the regulatory regime.

Ontarians can have every confidence that when they spend that toonie or that loonie on a game at Ontario Lottery and Gaming, it is a fair one and it is one they can have trust-


The Speaker: Thank you. Final supplementary.

Mr. Hampton: You know what, Minister? None of these things that you talk about is going to do anything for the hundreds and possibly thousands of people who were defrauded out of money in a fraudulent lottery under your watch. It won't do one stitch.

Bob Edmonds doesn't believe you, because he settled out of court and it was covered in no less than 81 different news outlets just as you became minister. You say you were totally oblivious; you had no clue what was going on. Well, Minister, Bob Edmonds doesn't believe you. But there is one way you can convince him. You can do what you have ordered the lottery corporation to do. You ordered them to turn over their records. Will you, Minister, turn over your records, your briefing books, your e-mails so that Bob Edmonds will know whether you're telling the truth or you were totally in the dark?


Hon. Mr. Caplan: I know that Mr. Edmonds has accepted the apology, certainly from myself and from the former president and CEO of the lottery corporation, Mr. Brown, when they spoke directly.

As soon as I did become aware, I acted quickly by ordering a third party review, the KPMG report, which forms a big part of the Ombudsman's recommendations, 40 of which are implemented. And when the Ombudsman said in his press conference that he felt there were-and made-some very serious allegations, immediate action ensued to deal with the matter that the member has raised here. I instructed Ontario Lottery and Gaming to ensure that all files and all other relevant information would be turned over to the Ontario Provincial Police for their review. In fact, the Ontario Provincial Police will make the determination about what the next steps are. I have faith and confidence in them to be able to get to the bottom of the matter.


The Speaker: New question. The Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Tory: A question to the minister for lotteries. Clearly, the whole situation with respect to what you did, what you knew, what your office knew, what the Premier's office knew, what their involvement is, is a big issue here. It's a big issue with the public. The leader of the third party, the leader of the NDP, says that there are people out there who don't believe you. There are lots of them. We see them talking on television every night. It's a big issue in here. There are people who don't believe we're getting to the bottom of this.

No one has looked at these files so far. For all the investigations you point to that have been done, no one has looked at your files, your briefing books, your memos, your appointment calendar and so on. So if you're so strongly of the belief that you want to be open and transparent, if you're not trying to hide anything, if you're not trying to cover up and you really want to help the people who got bilked to understand what went on here, will you make those documents public? Will you make those documents subject to being reviewed so we can see exactly what you did and when?


Hon. Mr. Caplan: I understand the nature of this place. Members opposite engage in partisan activities and partisan views, and that's perfectly acceptable within this chamber. But we do have legislative officers who are independent, who are unbiased, who are non-partisan. The Ombudsman conducted the most sweeping investigation of this matter, and in fact, he says, "I commend the minister and the government for its openness and responsiveness to my report and recommendations and for their immediate and resolute commitment to ensuring change."

That is in stark contrast to the way these matters were dealt with previously by ministers like Sterling, Hudak and others who swept these matters under the carpet, who put it in a closet and locked it away. It took this government to welcome the Ombudsman's investigation, to bring in KPMG, to refer the matter to the police, to shine the light of day on these matters and to take quick and decisive action to protect the public interest.


Mr. Tory: The Ombudsman's letter of yesterday makes it very clear that he has not at any time commented on what you did or, more precisely, did not do prior to October 2006. The answer is, there's not much for him to comment on. He would have reached the same conclusion as everybody else: You sat on your duff and you did nothing while people had millions of dollars stolen from them.

While we're at it, in terms of all the things you won't turn over to anybody to look at because you're trying to cover them up and keep them secret, we do have the evidence of the political fixers being sent in to cover this up and to concoct some story to mislead the public and the press. The Premier and you said yesterday that the lottery corporation hired Mr. Kinsella. We'll know how much Mr. Warren makes from the sunshine list that will come out tomorrow. Will you come here-in addition to your books, your memos, your calendars, your briefing notes, will you table Mr. Kinsella's contract, showing us how much he made and who signed the contract? Will you do that?


Hon. Mr. Caplan: As the Premier indicated yesterday, Ontario Lottery and Gaming, independently and on their own, makes the day-to-day decisions and did choose to hire Bob Reid, a very well-known gentleman to you. Their information is available under freedom of information, as are others.

The member knows full well from his colleagues who have served in the capacity that certainly a minister does not make the day-to-day operational decisions at Ontario Lottery and Gaming, nor the personnel decisions that are made there. I can tell you, though, that this government, unlike the previous, is committed to the highest standard of accountability and transparency. That's why, in fact, we've had a standing committee of the Legislature take a look at Ontario Lottery and Gaming and other agencies, where a previous government absolutely refused to do so. That's why we welcomed the Ombudsman and his investigation. We've embraced his report, accepted his recommendations and have begun implementing them. That's why, in the spirit, and directed because of the comments of the Ombudsman that the files be turned-

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Today's Dionspeak

Question:
Do the Liberals have anything to fear from this inquiry since the Conservatives say it happened under Anne McLellan's watch?

The Hon. Stéphane Dion:
I think it's a shame that they are accusing this way. You see, because the same answer to, to your colleague. Otherwise, we'll have to accuse Mr. Day of something since he received a request December 7th to have a public inquiry and we are in March and he did nothing. Well I, I'm not accusing of a cover up, he should not do that to former colleagues himself. It is unacceptable. Why this government is unable to stop to be so, so low in partisan politics when, when, when an institution so key for Canadians is in crisis.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

How Dumont Got the Womens' Vote



And the votes of fishermen, too.

Meanwhile, back in Hell

Someone's life has taken a turn for the worse.

When your number is up


Anyone who thinks Dalton McGuinty's not worried about revelations of corruption at the Ontario Lottery Corporation should read this story by my old friend Sam Pazzano. The issue wasn't making the lottery honest, but discrediting the news report:



Wed, March 28, 2007

How the Grits tried to spin a scandal
Emphasis was on attacking story rather than lottery probe

By SAM PAZZANO, SUN MEDIA


Top Liberal political advisers plotted damage control in the wake of a startling TV broadcast exposing an insider win scandal at the Ontario Lottery Corp., according to documents obtained by Sun Media.

Warren Kinsella, Jim Warren and others met four days after the Oct. 25, 2006, Fifth Estate program which revealed the story of Bob Edmonds, a 78-year-old lottery customer and cancer survivor who was ripped off of his $250,000 prize by a lottery ticket retailer, the documents show.

The broadcast also detailed an unusually high number of major lottery wins by ticket sellers and their employees. Edmonds had to wage a three-year battle against the lottery corporation and settled in 2005.

But Edmonds' battle revealed the agency's measures guarding against retailer fraud were "woefully inadequate," Ombudsman Andre Marin noted in a scathing report this week.

The meeting of Liberal strategists days after the Edmonds' story focused on hiring experts to counter the view of a CBC mathematician that a disproportionate number of insiders were claiming major prizes, due to the fact that this group spends almost three times as much as the ordinary consumer.


$5GS SURVEY

The lottery corporation spent $5,000 for a survey of retailer spending and $44,250 for the views of stats experts.

The PR brain trust wanted to convince people that insiders won more frequently only because they played more often.

"As soon as the 'insider win' scandal was exposed, the (OLG) took action -- but instead of investigating what went wrong ... it reacted like a business facing a public relations nightmare, it hired experts to dispute the CBC's findings, even though as our investigators discovered, it knew full well that Mr. Edmonds was far from alone," Marin said.

At the meeting were: Kinsella, a top Grit strategist; Warren, a lottery corporation executive formerly with Premier Dalton McGuinty's office, and reps of two large public relations firms.

Kinsella was not available for comment

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

We only listen to what we want to hear

Whether you agree with him or not (and I do happen to agree), the head of United Nations Watch likely deserved better than this when he tried to make a case of bias in the United Nations Council on Human Rights.
Rather than deal with any of Hillel Neuer's accusations, the president of the council simply told Neuer that he would be censored if he tried to make the same case again:
See the fairly short YouTube clip.

Hat tip to Small Dead Animals

Canada?

I suspect this may be the year -- the fiscal one, I suppose -- when we lost Canada.
The first, and most damaging, mistake was the Harper government's decision to recognize Quebec as a nation. Now that Parliament has done so, most of the work of Quebec nationalists is complete. It is only a matter of ironing out the details.
Last night's election started the process.
The vast majority of seats were won by statist and neo-Marxist nationalists (the Parti Quebecois) and corporatist nationalists (the ADQ). The latter party represents a return to pre-1960 Duplessis-era fascism. I chose that word very carefully, and by it I mean the Salazar, deGaulle, Franco and Peron-style of fascism. It's a movement based around a charismatic leader that uses triumphalist historic references, xenophobia, race fears and nationalism as major tools of public persuasion, and has very little regard for the liberty of minorities and individuals. It appeals to the most narrow-minded, frightened and angry individuals and to, in this case, the Francophone business elite that has profited so well from the decisions of the Quebec and federal governments since the mid-1960s.
Quebec's choice of direction is now completely and obviously at odds with that of the rest of the country. The narrative of Toronto and Vancouver of a rights-respecting, pluralist and capitalist society that looks to the future has very little in common with Quebec City and Montreal's domination by a mindset that looks backwards, inwards and is afraid of the future.
Contrast Quebec City with Calgary, and the gap is even wider. They are in the same country only in name.
There probably is no way to bridge the gap.
So, I think, it really is all just a matter of details.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Today's great moments in Parliament

As Bloc MP Maka Moto -- the only black MP who spoke to commemorate the the 200th anniversary of Britain's abolition of the transatlantic slave trade -- rose to speak, Stephan Dion walked out of the chamber.
Several other white MPs had just spoken. Dion was there for them.
I know Dion is a true believer in a multicultural Canada. I guess Dion had other things to do. But anyone who thinks this guy has any political instincts is going to be very disappointed.

Why Israel

I just read Warren Kinsella's speach he made to a Jewish group this weekend. Most of it was "vote Liberal" dreck, but he did say this, which I agree with entirely:

There are others like me – many, many others, and they're all a lot smarter, too. There are others like me, who admire Israel for being a beacon of democracy in a sea full of tyranny. For its generosity, for its wisdom. There are others like me, who see Israel's continued existence as a precondition to a safer, saner world.

Now, remember last summer, when Israel fought Hezbollah. Where was Stephan Dion? Where was the Liberal Party? Waffling, at best.
Where was Stephen Harper? Four-square behind Israel.
If Israel was threatened by massive conventional forces or by nuclear weapons, where would Stephan Dion be? Maybe a Liberal government would open the Canadian border to Israeli refugees (something it wouldn't do when Hitler was persecuting and killing jews).
If Israel or a western ally took action to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons program, do you think Dion would support that move? Somehow, I doubt it.
If the issue was Israel, and Israel alone, Harper would certainly win my vote.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lakehead Living

Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Joe Comuzzi is no longer a Liberal. He's voting for Stephen Harper's budget because it has about $15 million in research money for Lakehead University.
Fair enough, I suppose. However, Thunder Bay has a lot more problems than $15 million for a medical research centre will fix. The port is dead. Grain shipments that used to go through the Seaway have dried up. The European and Russian markets are flooded with subsidized EU grain, and our wheat goes to China and Japan.
The timber business is also ruined. Logging practices in Northern Ontario were never particularly good, and now, between a lack of available good pine, competition from US pulp producers, the softwood lumber deal and the high dollar, the industry is on its last legs.
Rail transportation is in the crapper. Via no longer runs to Thunder Bay. Freight traffic is now handled by smaller rail crews as CN and CPR have squeezed payrolls and moved white-collar jobs out of the region. WestJet no longer flies to Thunder Bay.
Big box stores have drained the commerce from the downtowns. A "charity casino" has replaced the old Eaton's store, which was the anchor of downtown Port Arthur. Money flows out, not into Thunder Bay.
Thunder Bay's non-Native population is declining. The gap is being made up by Natives moving into the city from the dismal reserves farther north. There are no jobs for the newly-arrived people.
So, as I said, $14 million will make little difference.
This is Thunder Bay . I doubt Joe Comuzzi's actions, no matter what they are, will help. Thunder Bay needs real interest from Ottawa and Queen's Park. It needs ways to create an entrepreneurial culture. Now, the good jobs are leaving. They're being partly replaced with some civil service jobs like the Ontario birth certificate office, and employment for people who provide social services for Natives.
The answer is in real business jobs: sustainable and competitive forestry and mining; creative tourism; and re-development of the ports.


UPDATE:
Unfortunately, YouTube has yanked the video, probably because (as usual), there's some kind of copyright violation. Anyway, the clip was a seven-minute tour of downtown Port Arthur, Fort William and Westfort, showing all the boarded-up stores. There were quite a few. Probably the music score was the problem.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Chinese justice

Our major Asian trading partner and the world's emerging superpower has no time for uppity web posters.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Budget summary

A nip there, a tuck there, a little bit for everyone.
Proof, I think, that the Tories don't want an election. The reaction from the other parties suggests that everyone else wants minority government to work for another year.
The CBC radio maroon hosting the round table said, shortly after 5:00 Eastern that this is the last budget before the next election. Wanna bet?

She seemed very quiet

and she didn't say no to the bag of peanuts...

Friday, March 16, 2007

What can an old, fat, gay psychopath do in jail?

Probably run the place, though Richard Hatch, the first person to win Survivor, and then didn't pay taxes on his million, isn't enjoying his 51 months in stir.

Natural vs. CO2- Induced Climate Change

This is a BBC documentary that you'll never see on The Nature of Things. Go to the second segment, watch the Al Gore pitch on the correlation between C02 levels in the Vostok ice core air samples, then continue through the discussion on those levels.
Then run the clip back and watch the Gore clip again.
I guarantee:
(a) you'll see the CO2 increases follow the rise in temperatures, rather than lead them (the left-right axis of the Al Gore graph representing time, the up-down axis representing C02 levels and mean global air temperature); and
(b) some level of doubt regarding the orthodox media/political take on C02-induced climate change will creep into your mind.
I'm not some kind of right-wing dinosaur, nor am I a shill for an oil company. I am a student of history and paleontology and it's clear to me that climate does change, often very dramatically and very quickly. What is not clear to me is the mechanism for the change: whether it's one thing, a combination of things, and how human activity fits in.
Keeping the third world poor and in political bondage by transferring wealth to third-world elites who sell carbon credits based on their pledge to keep the vast mass of the population in its current level of non-industrialization strikes me as bad politics and bad economics. It is immoral and it is not likely feasible, no matter how much force the elites of the third world use in their attempts to make it work.
And, quite frankly, I'm very leery of anything Maurice Strong supports, whether it's "oil for food", aid to North Korea, or Paul Martin and Bob Rae.
I've lived through the "New Ice Age", "Population Bomb" and other fear-inducing political-media scenarios. All of them make the same demands on the West: de-industrialize and end the consumer-driven economies. They make the same demands on the poor parts of the world: forget about industrializing, remain in poverty, and die; we can't afford your desires to live longer or better, to have kids, and to develop your nation into a place where the best and brightest stay, rather than emigrate.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A big loss for Parliament

Railway brakeman, United Church minister, MP respected by all parties: Bill Blaikie, longest-serving MP and still a fairly young man, is packing it in. The guy was the best debater in the NDP benches and one of the strongest voices of reason in the House. His departure will leave a big hole in the NDP, no matter how many Dippers are elected next time ot.

It takes a village idiot...

Hopefully, this guy's belief in his own racial superiority is something he'll later regret, not because of what the courts say, but because he's realized how evil this type of crime is.

Sounds like BS to me.

Liberal War Room genius? Gunman on the grassy knoll? Charles Manson's mastermind? Jack the Ripper?
Sometimes a guy can confess to too much.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Creeping Fascism

Were I a political philosopher, I'd be spending a lot of time parsing out the use of fascist constructs and imagery in movies and videogames. Prof. Ephraim Lytle of U of T doesn't take things that far in his recent Toronto Star piece, but his discussion of the movie 300 heads in that direction.
Action movies have used the "superman" construct for years: the superior man who sees things clearly and has the right to use extra-legal means to defeat forces that he identifies as threatening to society. Issues are reduced to "black and white", "with me (and entitled to survive) or against me (deserving to die)". It makes for simplicity in movie plots, but it also creates a mindframe that is open to Soviet "Communist", Fascist and Nazi concepts of race and class demonization. Politics is also becoming much more of a black and white, "us vs them" game in which truth and civility play no important part. Power, especially its aquisition, and the spoils that come with it, is what the game's about. It's the perfect situation for psychopaths to rise to positions of authority and power in politics and the media.
I think if students of history look at the sins of the Nixon Administration -- the voter manipulation, lobbyist dominance, dirty tricks, attempted cover-ups and construction of "deniability" -- most of them would no longer seem as wicked as they did in 1974. We've grown to accept corruption, lies, manipulation, and demonization in "democratic" poilitics.

March break

Posting's going to be thin this week because I'm in charge of the kids this week.

Now, does anyone out there know where Ross Munro's papers are kept? I'm looking for stuff regarding his World War II war correspondence and a speech he gave in Montreal sometime around the Dieppe attack.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Comments policy

We have one troll who haunts this blog. He either adds comments to any post that mentions Warren Kinsella, or mentions Warren Kinsella in his comments.
Invariably, he is anonymous or posts under a fake name. His IP invariably traces to the same two addresses: a midtown Toronto office or a Beaches-area house.
I do not want people coming here to talk about Warren Kinsella. He is yesterday's news. This is primarily a blog about federal politics, and Kinsella has no role in Ottawa and appears to be unwelcome in this city. So if you have something to say about Kinsella, take it to his blog or send him an e-mail. Just take your business elsewhere.
When things get really weird, I'll enable comments moderation. For now, though, I'll just trash the crazy comments.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The realities of middle age

My wife got this from one of her friends and decided the pass it on:

When I was married 30 years, I took a look at my wife one day and said, "Honey, 30 years ago, we had a cheap apartment, a cheap car, slept on a Sofa bed and watched a 10-inch black and white TV, but I got to sleep every night with a hot 25 year old blonde.

Now, we have a nice house, nice car, big bed and plasma screen TV, but I'm sleeping with a 60 year old woman. It seems to me that you are not holding up your side of things."

My wife is a very reasonable woman. She told me to go out and find a hot 25 year old blonde, and she would make sure that I would once again be living in a cheap apartment, driving a cheap car, sleeping on a sofa bed, and watching a 10-inch black and white TV.

Aren't older women great? They really know how to solve your mid-life crisis...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Today's question

Will Toronto's city government -- along with the services it provides -- collapse in the next decade under a weight of debt, olr will Toronto, because of its size, political clout and importance to Canada, be forever bailed out by the province and the feds?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wikipidiots

This are very funny and not at all unexpected. Wikipedia is a forum and soapbox for phoneys and cowards, especially leftists with axes to grind and the type of sneaky little nerds that go into political ratfucking.
The "Essjay" case, topic of the link, is classic. He did some 16,000 edits while claiming to be a tenured professor of religious studies in Kentucky who held a PhD in theology and a doctorate in canon law. He also rose to be one of the most senior administrators and arbitrators on Wikipedia, with the power to delete articles and to ban users. He liked to write letters to real professors who dared criticise Wikipedia.
Turns out "essjay" was a 24-year-old Bluegrass Community College dropout. No one seemed to notice that he couldn't use the word "it's" properly. Still, he was able to fish the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of this piece in the New Yorker.
Now, it's evident that Wikipedia guru/cult leader "Jimbo" Wales knew this guy was a liar and a fraud and not only allowed him to maintain the charade, but also gave him a paying job (which is amazing, considering thousands of Wikipedia cultists work day and night for free).
The scam was finally exposed by Wikipedia critic Daniel Brandt, who tipped the New Yorker magazine (what the Wikipedia cultists would normally dismiss with a sneer as "mainstream media"), which retracted the essjay lies. The moral of the story, for reporters, is pretty clear.
We have a creepy little Wikipedia honcho in Ottawa, a second-rate former history student in his mid-20s who, last I heard, had moved back home after attending university and was living in his parents' basement while editing Wikipedia, for free, all day. He did have a job working on the computer system of failed Ottawa mayoralty candidate, leftist Alex Cullen. Some people just live stereotypes.
The most noxious Canadian Wikipidiot is a MacMaster University troll, who, in his cowardly way, calls himself Bucketsofg. He also runs a blog called Bucketsofgrewal, which "analyzed" material relating to former Tory MP Germant Grewal's apparent attempt to shake down the Paul Martin PMO for a cushy job in return for crossing the floor. It was a brief non-event in Canadian history, one that this blogger obsessed on and tried to build a reputation on. But, of course, it really could do him no good because he never had the guts to sign his name.
Now, I have no complaint, or praise for that matter, for the research on Germant Grewal. I don't know enough about the Grewal case to determine whether the negative material posted on the blog was accurate or not. What I do have problem with is the fact that this guy did the work anonymously. Some people at Mac knew who he was and what he was doing, but they shielded him. To me, that's utter cowardice. The same people who would praise him as a hero would denounce anyone in the mainstream media who wrote anonymous negative articles on Jack Layton or David Suzuki.
This guy is a sleaze. He went onto Wikipedia to continue his attacks on Grewal, then went on to write vicious articles about anyone connected with him. Bucketsofgrewal did -- and still does -- his hatchet jobs in secret, anonymously. I think this will come back to haunt MacMaster. I certainly will do my part to ensure that it does. Academics who indulge in character assassination and anonymous dirty dealings in the blogosphere and Wikipedia should be held to account by the academy. I'm not against knock-down debates and even verbal brawls, but there's a big difference between arguing with other people and setting out, anonymously, to destroy people's reputations.
Wikipedia is not an online encyclopedia. It is a cult. Wales makes the preposterous Messianic claim that he's trying to put the collective wisdom of the world into the hands of anyone with Internet access, when, in fact, he's simply publishing the drivel of second-rate grad students and 24-year-old kids who claim to have PhDs.
I have had my own fights with Wikipedia. People have posted crap about me on the Wikipedia entry about me (one that I do not want and that I am, by Wikipedia rules, forbidden to edit. No one can edit a Wikipedia entry on themselves). I fought to protect the reputation of a friend libeled by bucketsofg, with the connivance of other Canadian Wikipedia cultists, and found myself banned for doing so. People (likely sleazy political operatives) have sometimes impersonated me, and many others, to make libelous Wikipedia entries. It is a creepy business, one that appears to be coming unglued very quickly.
None too soon, I say.

Are they still around?



I borrowed this from another blogger (feel free to ask for it back, chum). It was shot by a "floater" at a Toronto Maple Leafs game.
Doesn't the grisly creep look old these days? And Madame... could she look any happier? Life outside 24 Sucxes sure seems to be agreeing with her, dontcha think?
I wonder if they're enjoying being jammed in with the Liddle Peoples? I don't know who the fat guy is, but he may be the person responsible for Madame's sulk.
I really do believe the worst thing about being a succcessful pol, especially one like Jean Chretien, who enjoyed waxing fat on the public teet, is having to rejoin honest society afterwards.





Now, I've always preferred this picture, the one that will be in all the high school history books in about thirty years. Chretien looks so much younger and fresher, and it's one of the few shots that catches him without the fake shit-eater. I wonder if he sent his victim, anti-poverty Bill Clennett any dough to help him in his campaign to become MNA from Pontiac, Quebec? Just a reminder, too, that Clennett was ruthlessly prosecuted for throwing water-soluable red dye on the Langevin Block, Chretien's old office building, while the old Shawinigate/Sponsorship crook was never tried for anything, including this obvious assault on a lawful protester.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Support Lord Black

So www.supportlordblack.com was a hoax created by Frank Magazine. How about that?
I supposed they have phished some e-mails and pledges of support from people. They may be embarassing to those who were willing to privately support Black while having a neutral or even anti-Black public face.
I'm a historian. I think I have a fair grasp on how history will treat Black. And I think it will look somewhat kindly on him for the books he wrote, for his improvements to several important newspapers (which have, for the most part, been stricken with decay since he sold them), and for his bold gamble with the National Post. Black has been a little too faux-patrician for my liking, but, when all is weighed and measured, we're better off for having him.
Now, I wish I could say the same for Frank. It is guilty of all the sins Black laid at the feet of Canadian journalism. Frank exists to prove to any doubters that the tall poppy syndrome is alive and well in Canada. Its editor, Michael Bate, is a scumbag. Its staff writer, Streve Collins, is a vicious little failure, damaged goods in so many ways. Collin's anaemic-looking girlfriend, Kathryn Howitt, who likely writes for the rag, is a bile-filled wanna-be writer crone who hates anyone who's actually had anything published. Greg Wells, another contributing writer, simply can't find honest work. Jaffe, the cartoonist, is the only bright light. The magazine exists for only one reason: to keep Bate in the lifestyle he's come to enjoy. It's all about supporting the overdog, paying for Tuscan vacations and a big house in the Glebe for Bate. And if anyone thinks the magazine treats anyone fairly, just look at its impoverished present and former writers. Anyone who thinks Bank is a decent guy should talk to Collins and to Bate's former employees. I suspect Black's valet sees him in much more heroic terms than Glen MacGregor, Mike Waloschuk, and so many other screwed-over former Frank employees see Michael Bate.
At least Collins can make some money shopping Frank's subscription list and sources around to the highest bidder. That might help top up the pay packet.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Robert McClelland

I hate to see Robert McClelland in trouble. He was one of the first people to step forward and support me when I was SLAPP-sued by Warren Kinsella. And I didn't see Jason Cherniak around.
That said, I just don't get his stuff about "the jews". I know he feels he has been targetted by Warnout, who's awfuly quick to play the "racist" card. Robert, however, should give some thought to why it's as wrong -- and inaccurate -- to talk about "the jews" as it is to talk about "the blacks", "the French", "the poor", "the Mexicans". That's far too wide a brush.
Jewish people have a long history of being smacked around. In the case of the recent posts that McClelland is caught up in, some fool was going on about Jewish controls of the levers of power in Canadian society. And that's absurd. One Jewish family controls a media chain, and it gets the butt of anti-Jewish racism in this country. No one points out the race or religion of the Thomson family, the Desmarais, the Peladeaus, the Honderichs and Hindmarshes, or the Siftons. Jews are relatively rare in Canadian politics. Their lock on the levers of society are far more imagined than real.
I wish I could read something other than racism in McCleland's quotes, but, I'm afraid, his critics are right. As Kate says at smalldeadanimals.com, this type of racism is becoming more common among the left. It's especially popular among so-called "progressives" in Europe who, in the name of supporting Palestinians, are engaging in some brutal Jew-baiting. They see the Israel lobby, disagree with its stance, then lapse into a form of racism that's similar to the attitudes of France in the Dreyfus trial. It is really quite sickening.
Robert, you can't have it both ways. You can't be in favour of civil rights and equality, then knock an entire race of people. Step away, think it through, and don't offer yourself up to creeps and self-proclaimed ratfuckers like Kinsella to be a punching bag.
In an entirely unrelated vein, the psychopaths and psychotics have shown up, so anonymous comments are disabled. If you have something to say, you'll have to sign your name. That takes courage, something that is lacking in the trolls who watch this blog like a hawk.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

CSI Vimy Ridge

My friend Maj. Jim McKillip, MSM, is quoted in today's Toronto Star about the identification of a Canadian soldier of World War I found near Vimy Rdige. It's a neat story.
Now, take a look at the numbers in this story. Our young soldier died in a long-forgotten side-show of Vimy. Some 3,000 Canadians fought in this raid. Thirty-eight died.
That's more soldiers in one raid than are deployed in Afghanistan. The casualty numbers from this one attack are close to Canada's total number of killed in Afghanistan since 2002. Remember that next time you hear people talking about "the war" and "quagmire".

Friday, March 02, 2007

Suzuki update

My 12-year-old daughter's class is supposed to go to Elgin Street Public School today to hear David Suzuki talk about climate change, but the session has been cancelled because of the snow and sleet storm.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Today's Stoopidity

MP Cheryl Gallant (CON, Somewhere Up the Ottawa Valley) embarasses Canada at Tuesday's meeting of the Commons Committee on National Defence. She's questioning James Appathurai, Spokesman, NATO International Staff, North Atlantic Treaty Organization:

Mrs. Cheryl Gallant: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

For these questions any that you send back to the committee if you could provide them to all members of committee. I'm going to start off with a question that I know will be of interest to my colleague from Quebec, one of many Quebeckers who form a nation within united Canada who also sits on the parliamentary committee for NATO.

Now Mr. Alexander you told us the may wonderful infrastructure projects that have gone on and the benefits to Afghans as a result of our being there. Mr. Appathurai you mentioned original reason you alluded to the fact that terrorism is why we are in Afghanistan to begin with.

Now I want to talk about NATO. When NATO was first formed as you know the countries grouped together in response to the Cold War. We're more at the ready steadfast reactionary group and it's only in the fairly recent past that we've become an expeditionary force. As you also mentioned we have casualities and the greatest of sacrifices are being paid by all coalition countries, as well as countries who aren't apart of NATO. We have Jordanian soldiers which we saw over there and countries who wish to form NATO, but every time we have a casualty come back to Canada in a flagged draped casket political hay is made out of this and a movement about to take our troops out of Afghanistan.

My first question is if NATO were to leave Afghanistan before the mission is complete what impact would that have on NATO as a whole and its future? We know that the European Union has its force so there could be things competing there. I'm curious as to the caveats that France has. That's really important here in Canada because the leader of the opposition currently has dual citizenship, and anything can happen in politics.

Hon. Denis Coderre: On a point of order. That's a disgrace. That's pathetic.

Mrs. Cheryl Gallant: If as part of his citizenship be in France I would like to know what sort of background and position that country is taking.

Lastly, the Senlis Council they presented before a committee and they showed slides and they depicted actual Taliban and their families being feed. I'm wondering what---

L'hon. Denis Coderre: A point of order please.

The Chair: On a point of order please.

Hon. Denis Coderre: The issue of dual citizenship is against something that's totally out of order on the issue. I want you to ask her to

[Français]

de retirer ses paroles, de faire de la petite politique comme cela est inacceptable. Cela n'a pas sa place. On a trop de questions sérieuses à poser. Si elle ne peut poser de questions sérieuses, on lui en dira, mais je lui demande de retirer ses paroles sur la question de la double citoyenneté.

[English]

The Chair: That's not a point of order, Mr. Coderre, as you probably realize.

Mrs. Cheryl Gallant: The Senlis Council depicted them handing out food to the Taliban. I'm wonder how that impacts on the work that you are doing in Afghanistan .

The Chair: Ms. Gallant, your time is up.

This week's City Journal column

Before I moved to Ottawa, I had never met anyone from Nepean or Kanata or Orleans.
Everyone who came from this part of the world said they were from “Ottawa”. And that makes sense. Ottawa is the capital of Canada, one of the country’s major cities, a showplace of the country’s culture, and a very good place to live.
Yet, when it’s time to pay for the roads, the transit system, the police, and the sewers, people all of a sudden claim to be citizens of some other place.
Without Ottawa – downtown Ottawa – there would be no city. There wouldn’t be a Barrhaven, a Gloucester or a Rockcliffe. If Queen Victoria hadn’t chosen Ottawa to be capital of Canada, with all of the benefits and baggage that came with the decision, Bytown would be a place of 5,000 where people worried whether the main industry, the local paper mill, had a future.
This little town would look with envy on its rivals, Smiths Falls and Arnprior.
But Queen Victoria did choose Ottawa. This city – every job, whether in the public sector, the private sector, the tech companies, the universities – exists because Parliament Hill lies at its core and the bureaucracy is clustered nearby.
That’s why I agree with what councilor Clive Doucet said in these pages last week about the irrational lack of community in this city. The suburbs try to pass themselves off as real municipalities, supposedly cut down in fill flower and dragged into amalgamation. Suburbanites refuse to accept responsibility for the entire city, and, instead, talk as though their enclave is somehow self-sustaining.
It’s not like Ottawans – all of us, downtown and in the burbs – are saddled with onerous burdens. Indeed, why don’t we admit we’re the biggest freeloaders in Canada? And not for the federal jobs and the spin-offs that come with being a national capital. For the sake of argument, let’s say every bureaucrat puts in a full day’s work, every day.
But pay for a major art gallery? Why should we, when we have the National Gallery? How about a concert hall? No need to raise money for one, like Toronto did (several times, in fact). We get the NAC, free.
Parks? The best ones covered by the National Capital Commission. As is the Canal’s much-used skating rink. Museums? Yup, we put out a few bucks for some tiny ones around town, but the really big ones belong to all the people of Canada.
Library? Well, we have a small main branch and some little ones around town, but, if you really need to research something, you go to the National Library.
Conservation areas? Well, we locals pay for some, none of which are particularly well-developed like the ones in Southern Ontario. Why should we bother when we have Gatineau Park?
And yet we’re hardly a model city. Our transit system is falling apart, charges ridiculously high fares and still loses money. Our garbage disposal system is twenty years behind the times, and our “landfill”, Carp Mountain, will soon be visible from Vanier. The roads downtown are obstacle courses, the major suburban roads are thick with ugly strip malls.
But the big problem is the lack of community, which manifests itself every morning on local talk radio, in the quest for tax freezes, and in pining for the days when Nepean was “debt free”, i.e. freeloading on the feds, the province, and the city of Ottawa.
Maybe someday people in the ‘burbs will realize the arts groups, the community health centers, and the renewal of the city core are things that make the entire city great. And the panhandlers, graffiti artists and creepy kids hanging around the Rideau Centre are as likely to come from the suburbs as they are from downtown.
Think of that, suburbanites, next time you’re on vacation and someone asks you where you’re from.

Young love

I like to travel with my family and I stay faithful to my wife, but I know there are guys who like to get a strange piece of ass when they're out of town. Lifestyle choice, I suppose.

Ht to Frank H.

Kinsellaworld

This from the National Post today:


Brian Mulroney
National Post
Published: Thursday, March 01, 2007
In the column "Don't Ignore this Scandal" by Warren Kinsella (Feb. 1), some of the testimony of former prime minister Brian Mulroney in his libel action against the government of Canada in 1996 was quoted. The column did not set the full context of a quote from the transcript where Mr. Mulroney said he had not had any dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber. The column did not report that Mr. Mulroney was answering a question about the purchase by the federal government of the Airbus product and stated that he had no dealings with Mr. Schreiber in that context. Elsewhere in the examination, Mr. Mulroney testified about conversations and meetings he had with Schreiber after Mr. Mulroney was out of the prime minister's office. The National Post sincerely regrets any false impression it created about the testimony of Mr. Mulroney and apologizes to him for any embarrassment or concern it has caused.


This from Kinsella's masturbatory blog yesterday:


February 2007
February 28, 2007 - I am told there will be a statement about a certain former Prime Minister in the paper tomorrow, in relation to this. The statement, I am told, expresses regret for any false impression that MAY have been created, but does not necessarily say that a false impression WAS created. On such heads do lawyers, and angels, dance.

Unless you are a former employee of said Prime Minister, you will note that the fellow named Warren Kinsella is not expressing regret to anyone about any of this. Full stop.

Where's The Fifth Estate when you need 'em, eh?


Let the lawyers feast.