Friday, August 12, 2016

LOSING OUR RIGHT TO ACT UPON OUR CONSCIENCE

I believe there is a problem that has reached Colombia, but which has not originated here. It has to do with the lie that those who wish to have certain "rights" recognized only want respect for themselves and their ability to live their lives peacefully.

This is a falsehood.

Those behind the fight for recognition of  same-sex marriage do not want just that.

Those fight for the "right to choose (abortion)" do not want just that.

Those who lead to fight for the right to "die with dignity" do not just want that.

And those who insist upon the right to “self-identify” as to gender, do not want just that.

They want...indeed DEMAND…that those who disagree with these ideas to not only go along and comply with their views, but to actively participate in the violation of their personal consciences.

This is why same-sex marriage activists seek out bakers/photographers who, for reasons of conscience, do not wish to participate in such ceremonies, and force them to do so (even though there would be many others available who would be happy to participate), or be run out of business.

This is why doctors, nurses and institutions who oppose abortions are being forced to actively participate in them. In the US, the federal government seeks to force nuns to provide abortifacient drugs to their employees. In Colombia a decision protected nurses from being forced to participate in abortions, but why?  Because the “pro-choicers” have been trying to force them to do so. Forced compliance.

This is why doctors and health care facilities who conscientiously disagree with euthanasia are being forced to participate actively in providing and procuring euthanasia under threat of losing their licenses (this is what Canadian doctors, for example, are now faced with).

And now, if my 17 year old daughter joins a gym in Canada or the US and tries to take a shower, some guy can “self-identify” as a female and go in the shower with her. And if I have the temerity to object, I am supposedly the bigot.

I deny that I am a bigot.

But people are being frightened into compliance and participation against their consciences.  We are seeing tactics that are not only horrific but totalitarian. We see lawfare applied against dissenters, so that people buckle-under under the threat of economically unsustainable litigation.  We are seeing the criminalization of dissent in many countries. For example, in my former life as a lawyer I defended people against state-sponsored lawfare of the most obscene kind.

Worse, we see the Orwellian distortion of language and redefinition of words to create weapons against conscience. To me the most striking today  is that "dissent” has now come to be re-defined as “hate”. If you dissent, you are a “hater”.

I deny that if I dissent, or if I am worried for my daughter's safety, I am a hater.

Rather I am a free man in a free country with not only the right to hold views based upon my conscience, but to act upon my conscience. And I deny to anyone…individual, group or state...to inquire into, or opine upon, how or why my conscience was formed. If it is based upon religion, lack of religion, history, genetics or the roll of a die it is no one’s business but my own.

So, those who call for respect for opposing views make a valid plea but I am very afraid that the situation is devolving to the point that we need to do more to protect our right to a conscience than just beg for respect. Some resistance, such as the march the other day, may become necessary.


Otherwise, I am not sure for how much longer I will be able to say “I am a free man in a free country.”

Friday, May 20, 2016

JUSTIN "HAYSTACKS CALHOUN" TRUDEAU

I wrote this in response to a friend's post on Facebook. Facebook seems to not want me to publish it, so I will post it here.

I read your post and I would like to respond, in my usual calm reasoned way.

In looking at the media reports the “analysis” has followed the usual pattern…partisans are pro or con Trudeau’s actions depending upon their partisan inclinations. So, you think it is much ado about nothing, while Mulcair and his minions engage in performance art by wandering into Parliament wearing neck braces. How witty.

But there is a lot more to this than the trivializing that everyone has been doing. My starting point is with Jean Chretien. There is a saying about absolute power corrupting absolutely, and Chretien’s government showed that. I was infuriated with him, though I always voted for him, due to how he cut the power of MP’s and concentrated power in the Prime Minister’s Office. He was able to do that because the Opposition had fragmented. The Conservatives and Reform parties split the vote so that the Liberals were always able to “go up the middle” and for about 10 years won huge majorities. In the absence of opposition in Parliament, Chretien, and his handlers, were able to do anything and everything they wanted, and one of the things he wanted was to weaken the role of MP’s. The wanted to move to an Executive government model, at the expense of a Parliamentary model. And they did it in spades. This extended down through the Liberal Party structure so that constituency organizations were weakened and rendered more and more irrelevant. In the end, their role in candidate selection, for example, became little more than rubber-stamping the Leader’s choice, rather than finding a local person to represent the area in the government. In those days I was deeply involved in fighting to preserve the role of constituency organizations.

This leads to my huge disappointment with Harper. Nobody remembers his positions in the days of the Reform, Alliance and Conservative opposition years. He was very strong and adamant about strengthening the power of individual MP’s. He talked a lot about more Private Member’s bills and reducing the number of confidence votes so that MP’s would be freer to vote against their party. He also talked about having the Senate elected, something I support very strongly. I did not vote for him, but I had great hopes for him in this regard once he came into office.

Yet, when he came to power, Harper became, in many ways, far more authoritarian than Chretien. He REDUCED MP’s powers, and even made it impossible for Cabinet Members to speak freely and openly about their portfolios.  I remember you yourself complaining about Harper’s dictatorial tendencies.

So along came Justin “Government In The Sunshine” Trudeau. This guy campaigned on the excesses of Harper’s anti-democratic tendencies and promised much more openness and freedom for our MP’s. He promised a return to better recognition of their representative function. It was going to be all sweetness and light.

Except now we see Motion 6.  It reduces even further the ability of Parliamentarians to participate in debate and to dissent from government policy. The role of the Official Opposition (a supremely important role…it is their DUTY to oppose) was/is to be even more marginalized so their ability to resist a majority is more truncated than ever. So, over the years, what I have seen is more and more power concentration in the hands of the PMO and the Prime Minister himself (and really his handlers since I have my doubts how much Justin himself understands what is going on…but that’s another rant. He just has no depth. As Meathead once said to Archie Bunker “Deep down, you’re shallow.” That is how I see Trudeau).

And so, it is in this context that we see what happened in Parliament the other day. Like every other spoiled little leftist, Justin Trudeau wanted his way. NOW!!! And when he didn’t get it he pushed and shoved. He apologized, of course, but it is in his reactions at the moment that we see his true self, and the left in general.

This is where I part ways with you about the incident. You say that there must be passion about any reform and that is what people say who want to bring about change, so OK. But Parliament is not the place for that, at least insofar as it involves physical force. Parliament is a place for debate and words and arguments...passionate angry, but not vulgar. And if you cannot swear, you sure enough cannot make physical contact. It’s not a hockey rink (…more like curling, actually). One of my great heroes is the late Spanish Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez. He was the first democratic Prime Minister after Franco and was faced with an attempted coup by the Guardia Civil. The coup leader stormed into the Cortes (Parliament) with his machine gun. All the MPs dove into hiding…except one. Adolfo Suarez. He stood in his place, not yelling, crying, pleading…nothing. Stoically standing there on the dignity of Parliament. And at that moment he saved Spanish democracy.

For sure Suarez was more provoked than Justin Trudeau, yet he stood on the dignity and decorum of the place, rather than falling into petulance and shoving opposition dissenters.

So there is the first thing…Trudeau has no deep understanding about the nature and traditions of Parliament, and the importance of decorum and civil conduct. This is the first time in my memory that I can recall a member of the Canadian Parliament physically contacting another MP…and he did twice. It doesn’t matter if the second one was an accident because it arose out of his first act.

Answer truthfully, Nikki…what would you have said if Harper had done this? We both know. Yet Harper never assaulted anyone (apart from his assault on good taste, when he wore a utility vest to that Summit in Mexico. That felt like a punch to the gut).

Another thing that Trudeau forgets is that Parliament is a “PARLIAMENT”. He is nothing more or less than just another MP himself. Every one there is an MP, equal, and every one there is elected by Canadians. So he cannot just push around another MP because he does not like how he chooses to dissent from the government programme. Those people are elected….Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and PQ…they are the representatives of constituents who have chosen them in an election and they are entitled to respect. Opposition is especially entitled to respect because, in obstructing, they are complying with a constitutional duty and obligation. Moreso, when the guy they are opposing is in on 39.5% (more on that later).

You might argue that “But but but Trudeau is the Prime Minister. He has a majority. The government has a right to get things done and those yecchhy Conservatives cannot just try to hold things up!!”

But the Grits have not exactly arrived on the wings of Golden Eagles...they got 39.5% of the vote. It works out that they got a majority of the seats but Justin doesn’t speak ex cathedra. And if he doesn’t like the opposition’s tactics, he can appeal to the Speaker…who is from his party (and, incidentally, a former hockey teammate of mine, bye the bye).

What Trudeau did is not a minor thing because it reflects a fundamental lack of understanding and respect for the institution which he is so fortunate to be a part of.

And that leads to the third point, which was the subject of the debate in the House of Commons at the moment in question. As you say, the assisted killing bill is a really important matter. I agree with that and I suspect that a majority of Canadians also agree with that. The thing is you cannot pretend that everyone who thinks it is important shares the same views as you. This is an extremely difficult issue and involves many many different points of view. It may force doctors who are against it to choose between giving up their careers or their souls. (I myself am not sure how I feel…it may surprise you…I have imagined that being in a permanent coma might be a lot like being buried alive…knowing what is going on but being able to do nothing… and I am not sure I would want that). There are a lot of people who agree with the basics but are horrified at how far down the slippery slope the Dutch and Belgians have gone…people being euthanized just because they are tired of living, children being euthanized (I think we should now call it Youthanized) based on PARENTAL consent.  Some say the Liberal model is more restrictive than the Europeans, but I am old enough to remember how restrictive Justin’s father’s abortion bill was and now we are the only industrialized country in which the state of the law allows babies to be killed right up until they stick their heads out into the delivery room (actually, in some provinces, it seems they can kill the babies up into the 4th trimester). There are those who say that we simply cannot legalize allowing some people to kill others, and they have a valid point that needs to be heard. This is not a closed debate, no matter how much the left wants it to be, and the public and their elected representatives have a right to be heard.

And Mr 39.5% has no right to shut that down.

And the point is that this is a real DEBATE that has not been decided by the people. This legislation was forced into existence by the decision of 9 unelected judges-self designated masterminds who have taken it upon themselves to overturn a long standing statute passed by elected representatives of the people. I defy anyone to find assisted dying in the Charter of Rights and I am pretty sure Chretien and Trudeau (Pierre) didn’t think it was there when they put it forward. Yet unelected judges discovered this right and now we are faced with this situation.

And so this is what we have: a Liberal government, with a majority elected with 39.5% of the vote (which Trudeau himself thinks has questionable legitimacy…otherwise why would he be trying to change our First Past The Post electoral system?) dealing with an issue that neither the public nor their representatives have really had a hearing on. Trudeau tries to cut off debate on this serious, deep and moral issue that many people feel strongly about, and to ram it through using Parliamentary tricks…a la Harper.. and when one representative has the temerity to try to slow things down…to salvage a role for Parliament in this important issue…Justin Trudeau takes it upon himself to shove and push and pull him…just the fact of laying hands on him is enough…and swears at him (like his Dad) and then hits, carelessly or accidentally or otherwise (who knows what was in his hot head at that moment?)  another, female, MP. So, Trudeau on this important issue, ruled on by 9 unelected judges tries to ram it through Parliament with a majority based on a 39.5% vote (that is with 60.5% voting AGAINST him. Do the math) and when faced with an iota of resistance loses his temper and shoves and swears at those having the temerity to dissent. Typical leftist.

No. It’s not trivial. It is a symptom of the increasing and unending arrogance of government, of all parties. The people, and their non-Cabinet representatives, in the view of our “betters” are nothing more than tools and sock-puppets.

In my opinion, this was bad. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

RHODEN FAMILY MASSACRE: QUESTIONS AND THOUGHTS

On the morning of Friday, 22 April 2016 news reports of a massacre in rural Pike County, Ohio were appearing in headlines. Eventually it was learned that eight members of the Rhoden family had been murdered "execution-style" sometime, it was assumed, over the previous Thursday night-Friday morning. One woman, killed in her sleep, was found with her four day old baby alive beside her. It was implied that others had been killed in their sleep as well. In fact a total of three children ranging from four days to three years were left alive. A sixteen year old boy was, however, among those murdered. 

The killings took place over four different properties, spread over a number of miles in and around the area of Piketon and Peebles Ohio. These are towns having populations of around 1000-1500 people (the entire county has under 30,000 people) so we are looking at small, close-knit communities where people know each other and a lot about each other's business. 

It was clear, despite the early reports providing few details, that this was a well planned out operation aimed at executing a family...yet not their very young children, Hmmmm.

Though little was being said, it was obvious that this had to be about something more than just a "normal" crime of passion. Drugs, family disputes, revenge were all possible motives.

This past weekend we finally got a big clue. The Ohio Attorney-General disclosed that law enforcement had discovered a sophistcated marijuana grow-operation, spread around three of the four crime scene properties. So now we are getting somewhere. 

Although, officially, law enforcement is not confirming a link to drugs, a large sophisticated drug-grow operation sets alarm bells ringing, no? 

Here is a list of thoughts, questions, concerns and ideas that have come to me after only a modest amount of thought. 

Imagine what more the professionals in law enforcement could add to the list.



·       WHICH FAMILY MEMBERS WERE INVOLVED?

(a)    ARE OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS IN THE TRADE?

(b)   HOW COULD PEOPLE NOT KNOW WITHIN FAMILY SINCE THE OPERATION IS DESCRIBED AS “SOPHISTICATED”

(c)    WERE INNOCENTS KILLED?

(d)   ARE PARTICIPANTS IN BUSINESS STILL ALIVE?

(e)   IF SO WILL THEY TALK TO LAW ENFORCEMENT?

(f)     ARE THERE OTHER RHODEN PROPERTIES?
·        
HOW LONG IN BUSINESS?


(a)    REAL QUESTION IS HOW DID THEY ENTER BUSINESS?

(b)   WHO DID THEY SELL TO?

(c)    DID THEY TAKE OVER SOMEONE ELSE’S MARKET?

(d)   IS THERE SOMEONE WHOSE MARKET THEY TOOK OVER?

(e)   HOW MUCH MONEY DID THEY MAKE?

(f)     WHO TOOK MOST MONEY?

(g)    WHO WAS PAID (PARTNERS/EMPLOYEES ETC)?

(h)   WHO PAID-OFF?

(i)      SOMEONE KICKED OUT OF THE FAMILY BUSINESS MAY HAVE TALKED?

·       
  WHERE DID THEY MARKET?


(a)    LOCAL

(b)   OHIO

(c)    EXPORT?

(d)   IF EXPORT A LOT OF QUESTIONS:

1.       TO WHERE?
2.       TO WHOM?
3.       HOW MARKETED?
4.       TRANSPORTATION ISSUES

(e)   HOW PICKED UP AND TRANSPORTED?

(f)     STORAGE AND DRYING?

·       
  WHO DID THEY SELL TO?

· DID THEY INVADE SOMEONE’S MARKET?

(a)    IS THERE SOME ORGANIZED CRIME IN THE PICTURE?
(b)   MAFIA
(c)    MEXICANS (MEXICANS ARE EXPANDING NORTHWARD AND THIS IS SIMILAR TO THEIR M/O)
(d)   CENTRAL AMERICAN GANGS

· WAS SOMEONE TRYING TO ENTER THEIR MARKET?

(a)    SIMILAR QUESTIONS TO ONES ABOVE

· SETTLING OF ACCOUNTS?

(a)    SOMEBODY OWED MONEY?
(b)   ON DEBT?
(c)    ON SALE?
(d)   WHO EXECUTES A FAMILY FOR MONEY? MARKET? (BACK TO MEXICANS?)

· WHO ARE BIG NAMES IN LOCAL/REGIONAL DRUG TRADE?

· WHERE DID THEY GET EQUIPMENT?

(a)    PARTICULAR EQUIPMENT NEEDED.
(b)   ESPECIALLY IF INDOOR, LIGHTS, IRRIGATION, VENTILATION, SMELL SUPPRESSION ETC
(c)    IF OUTSIDE, GREENHOUSE (OHIO HAS WINTER!!!)

· HOW COULD NO ONE HAVE NOTICED?

(a)    ODOUR
(b)   COMING AND GOING OF PEOPLE FROM GROW-OP. (THEY WOULD ALSO SMELL)
(c)    UTILITIES. HYDRO, WATER BILLS WOULD GO UP SUDDENLY
(d)   OWNERS WORKING?
(e)   IF WORKING, WHERE? INCOME? VEHICLES REFLECT WORK?
(f)     CHRISTOPHER SR. HAD TWO PROPERTIES CLOSE BY.

1.       WHEN ACQUIRED?
2.       HOW PAID FOR?
3.       WHO OCCUPIED PREMISES?

(g)    TAX ASSESSORS?

(h)   ROUTINE POLICE PATROL

(i)      DOGS


· WHAT ABOUT POLICE?

(a)    WHY THIS OPERATION NOT ON POLICE RADAR?
(b)   POLICE SAY FAMILY NOT KNOWN TO POLICE IN CRIMINAL CONTEXT
(c)    HOW IS IT POSSIBLE FOR NON-CRIMINAL PEOPLE TO GET INVOLVED IN EXTENSIVE, COMPLICATED DRUG GROW OPERATION? NEED CONTACTS ETC.
(d)   THE COMMENT THAT POLICE DID NOT KNOW FAMILY FROM CRIMINAL INVOLVEMENT IS DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND GIVEN HOW EXTENSIVE THEIR DRUG GROW OPERATION IN AND HOW SMALL IS THE COMMUNITY. MAKES NO SENSE.

· HOW DID KILLERS GET INTELLIGENCE ON FAMILY? (WHO LIVED/WORKED WHERE?  HOURS OF COMINGS AND GOINGS?)

(a)    PIKETON, PEEBLES,PIKE COUNTY SMALL AND RURAL

(b)   LOW POPULATION

(c)    SMALL  SCHOOL DISTRICT

(d)   SAME NAMES EVERYWHERE

(e)   SEEMS INFORMATION WOULD HAVE TO COME FROM LOCALS

(f)     BUT IF OUTSIDER CAME IN ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT WHO LIVED WHERE, WOULD BE NOTICED?

(g)    WHO LOCAL WOULD KNOW?

1.       OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS
2.       GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
3.       LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT

(h)   BUT IF QUESTIONS START BEING ASKED ATTENTION WOULD BE DRAWN. SO WHO WOULD NOT ASK QUESTIONS?

1.       LOCAL PERSON(S) INVOLVED IN PLOT


· WHO LOCAL COULD BE INVOLVED?

(a)    SOMEONE WANTING TO GET IN ON BUSINESS

(b)   SOMEONE EXCLUDED FROM BUSINESS

(c)    SOMEONE BRIBED?

1.       LOCAL GOVERNMENT
2.       LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
3.       LAWYER HIRED TO DO RESEARCH

(d)   YOUNG PEOPLE ON SOCIAL MEDIA???

(e)   LAWYER HIRED TO DO RESEARCH

(f)     PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR…BUT AGAIN QUESTIONS DRAW QUESTIONS: EYEBROWS WOULD BE RAISED AND TONGUES WOULD WAG.


· ARE FAMILY MEMBERS STILL INVOLVED?






Tuesday, January 19, 2016

VALID REACTION TO CHARLIE HEBDO VULGARITY SHOULD NOT LEAD US TO IGNORE SERIOUS ISSUES


The first point I want to make is that the CBC (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/charlie-hebdo-alan-kurdi-cartoon-1.3403085 )reaction and the reaction of others to this cartoon is exactly the right one. Disgust and denunciation. We need to rely on people’s sense of decency to react properly to this type of screed. I oppose censorship, and blowing up the publisher because freedom of expression is a fundamental value, but freedom to express does not include the obligation to listen. Turn off or don’t purchase is a valid manifestation of OUR free expression.

That said, the comment that only 18 arrests took place in Cologne requires some examination and honest assessment. First I disagree with the expression “only” 18…that is a lot. I remember that Ontario Hydro boor outside a Toronto Soccer game last year being vilified. He was just one guy, but he was rightly excoriated as was the entire vulgar subculture he represented.

But the real problem is that it wasn’t “only 18”, or even “only 21” (the new number). The actual statistics in Cologne are astonishing. The latest number of complaints in that city is 809, of which 521 are sexual assaults including at least 3 rapes.

On that one night.

In that one city.

But Cologne was not the only city where this happened. In Germany, it happened as well in Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Frankfurt. It happened in Helsinki, Finland. It happened in Salzburg, France. It happened in Vienna, Austria and in multiple places in Sweden (more comment on Sweden below).

The technique used was the same in all these places. Large groups of Middle Eastern men (Germany has now admitted that the vast majority of these were refugee claimants, so far as they can tell) would break off into groups and surround the women. They formed a ring around the women and the men on the inside would molest, grope and otherwise assault the women, while the men on the outside of the ring prevented anyone from coming to the aid of the women, including police. The number of attacks overwhelmed the Cologne police such that they could not address the attacks and protect the public. Because the women were so terrified and the other witnesses were the participants, there are virtually no witnesses who can come forward and identify the individual attackers.

This is why there have been so few arrests in the face of this mob of sexual assaults.

You might recall this same technique was suffered by CBS news reported Lara Logan, who was raped in Cairo when covering the Arab Spring. Her account of what happened to her mirrors what the women of Europe suffered on New Year’s Eve.

Another casualty of this horrific even is the truth. Originally Cologne’s police were ordered to cover this up and avoid mention of refugee participation in this (this order ended up costing Cologne’s police chief his job). Interestingly, in Sweden last summer something similar happened. A swarm of sexual assaults by Middle Eastern men occurred during a five-day music festival in Stockholm. Again the police covered up the attacks and who did it.

I recall many years ago some would say that women, if they didn’t want to be harassed (or worse) by men, they should wear less revealing clothes. Feminists screamed that this was blaming the victim. (to be clear, I support the mini). Yet, today we hear that the Mayor of Cologne is now telling women to travel in groups and not alone, and to be careful where they go and who they find themselves close to. The Viennese police chief has said something similar and been attacked.

So, in order to be politically correct, we are supposed to immediately abandon our values? I have always hated political correctness (which is, to me, a soft way of saying fascism). I think it can kill us in the end.

One German politician has stated that the New Year ’s Eve attacks must have been coordinated. Maybe. It might be easier to believe this than to think that it is ingrained in Middle Eastern culture (though I keep thinking of what happened to Lara Logan, and the general treatment of women all around the middle east).

But let me worry about something. If there IS a cultural component, and since we know that over 70% of the refugees are able bodied young men, is it realistic to assume that this cultural component will disappear the minute they cross some border?

I don’t know.


I do know that I hate the kind of vulgarity represented in the Charlie Hebdo cartoon reproduced. But that does not mean that we must be completely politically correct and ignore real questions that can arise out of a clash of cultures. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

CRIMSON TIDE

Pride. Go Justin!!

PRIDE, in big red letters, I think, is the emotion I am feeling as I read this headline, and contemplate our new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. How better to manifest what it is to be Canadian than, as his first act in international affairs, to tell the Yazhidi, Kurdish, Arab, Christian, Shi’ite men, women and children facing ISIS that, so far as Canada is concerned, “You’re on your own”?

 Bravo!! Go Justin!!

This is exactly what we needed as Canadians, a true way to leave our strong Canadian footprint (albeit facing backwards) on the international stage. Here we will show our strength of character. No more will we be bullied by bullies committing crimes against humanity. "Leave them to it" is what Justin says, and how can any true Canadian disagree? Let’s get on with legalizing marijuana…that is a priority which will define us as true Canadians.

I cannot imagine a move that will more forcefully assert Canadian honour and independence than this courageous move to cut loose these targets of ISIS. Why should we lose our heads over these people…ha ha.

Really, what IS a Yazhidi anyway?

And Christians? Not OUR problem, eh? Anyway they have been there for 2000 years…they are soooo last millennium. The sixth century is where it’s at, don’t you know. Today is "Back to the Future" day, right? So, let’s recognize that it’s time for a new “Back To The Future” and that ISIS’ sixth century values are the wave of the future.

And imagine when Justin Trudeau finally meets Vladimir Putin and “tells him to his face” that…well, whatever it was he was going to tell him to his face…how impressed and nervous the Russian dictator will be. I bet Justin will be so firm he might even stomp his foot FIRMLY in his firm firmness.

I just bet that he will emphasize how firm he is with Putin that to show his disagreement with Russia occupying Syria, Iraq, Eastern Ukraine, Crimea, North-Eastern Georgia he will lift sanctions. FIRMLY! That will show Putin who is boss!

I bet when Putin, as he shakes in his jackboots, asks just how far Justin is prepared to go in withdrawing from defending the weak and raising sanctions, Justin, like his late father did as he stood up to FLQ terrorists, will reply “Just watch me!.” I get shivers of anticipation just thinking about it.

And I can’t wait to see him defend our Arctic…this is going to be great! No need to ask for international support or backing for our international law position, of course. After all the Trudeau Doctrine is now set in granite…Canada doesn’t help defend the weak, so expects no help in return. I’m excited…aren’t you?

Really, he’s a hero. How can we not trust his judgment? I mean…DAMN! He’s good looking! Look at that smile. Those eyes.  The jaunty curl to his perfectly coiffed hair. How can someone who looks like this…DAMN, he’s handsome!...not know how to deal with that runt Putin?

Then, bring on the Chinese…it’ll be a cake-walk with this hero at the helm! Okay, okay...I know Harper told the Chinese to their faces to stop violating human rights, and that was roundly criticized by the Canadian media and political class. With no domestic support he had to back down. But that was Harper. His hair is awful and he wears utility vests. Justin is THE MAN! They will listen to Justin…who couldn’t….when he tells them “Go ahead! Seize the South and East China Seas!! Take that President Xi!!”

So, the pride…red lettered pride… I felt as I watched the “Crimson Tide” roll across the Maritimes, through central and western Canada was a thrill. I am sure pretty soon we will see Justin’s Crimson Tide extend through Iraq and Syria as we withdraw our forces. Of course that red will be from blood spurting from the necks of the decapitated heads of Yazhidi, Kurdish, Shi’ite and Christian men women and children, but no biggie.

Let’s all just get high…pass the Doritos.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34589250

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

CANADIAN POLITICIANS BETRAY DEMOCRACY

A fair number of people have been posting on Facebook about the anti-democratic nature of Prime Minister Harper. While it is difficult to disagree with them, they have made me think about the real lack of historical context that the media provides to not only new Canadians, but new voters. As I will explain, I feel a bit betrayed by Harper, though I never supported his party, but his betrayal arises from a more generalized rot of our representative democracy among all our parties.

My perspective is from the viewpoint of a Liberal, the party I have always supported. When I first became involved, the structure of the party was based on the constituency. Each constituency, or riding, association would nominate a candidate. The candidate was nominated by association members; whichever candidate was elected represented the riding in Parliament (or in the provincial legislature, as the case may be). These MP’s had real independence in parliament and power. Their opinions were relevant and people who aspired to a political career could imagine an active role in public affairs. This local democracy was, I believed, an excellent system.

In the 1980’s we began to see a shift away from local democracy to a centralized party structure within the Liberal Party. I have always believed the root of the problem was campaign finance limits…since local candidates were limited in the amount they could spend locally, the bulk of costs were borne by the main party. Thus, the main party needed money. To get the money, they began to require that membership cards be bought. This generated revenue. In order to force purchase of cards, only card holders could vote for candidates at local nomination meetings. This led to contested nomination meetings in which local aspirants to the nomination could be displaced by preferred candidates from the central party, while the mass sale of membership cards raised lots of cash.

There was local resistance to this but, during the Chretien government, the central party exerted greater and greater control over local riding activities. One problem with this was that the central party operatives had no local knowledge but pushed the local people around.

At the same time, the Parliamentary role of MP’s was vastly diminished. Chretien enjoyed a long period of majority government (due to fragmentation in the main opposition party plus the arrival of separatist MP’s who further split the vote which allowed more Liberals to win seats) and during that period he concentrated parliamentary power in the Prime Minister’s Office. Private members bills went nowhere, free votes were unheard of and any hope of advancing a political career within the Liberal party required slavish adherence to the PMO’s rules.

One of the most embarrassing, and eye-opening, reports I ever read was an OECD report during the 1990’s that called Canada the least democratic country in the OECD.

With the virtually unrestrained power of the Chretien government came a smug arrogance. It was not just the suppression of dissent within the parliamentary caucus, and even its discouragement in the party at large, there was something that I thought was much uglier…the attitude of Liberals towards western Canadians. I used to hate the way Toronto suits used to call Albertans a bunch of red-necks. (personally, I have always considered “red-neck” a compliment. Red-neck refers to the sun-burned necks experienced by those people, such as cowboys, farmers and oil rig workers, who work long hot days outside in the summer sun. My dad was a red-neck and many years, I am proud to say, so was I.) The smug Bay Street (Toronto), or Hollis Street (Halifax) Liberal operatives used the term as a diminutive comment…red-neck meant backward, simple and uneducated…basically everyone in Alberta and most of Saskatchewan. So here we were, the party that was supposed to be the party of Canadian unity, disparaging our fellow Canadians as idiots. Is it any wonder we could never win a seat west of Manitoba?

Into this appeared Stephen Harper. My first recollection of him is as an economist and spokes-robot for the National Citizen’s Coalition. He was involved in the Reform Party and Alliance “rump” that emerged after the Progressive Conservatives disintegrated. Even then he rarely smiled in public. He was as aggressive against the Liberals as the Liberals were against him and, from that time forward, he has been vilified by the Liberals and their media supporters, such as the CBC and Toronto Star. Of course, a lot of the criticism was richly deserved, but it always seemed to me that the attacks were much more personal than on policy.

However, as he campaigned for leadership of the re-formed Conservative Party, Harper advanced two main ideas that I strongly agreed with him on.

The first was Senate reform, specifically the election of the Senate. I agree strongly with reforming the Senate, and keeping it. I strongly believe that its role as a protector of provincial interests at the centre of the federal government is important and fundamental to the federal structure of our country. The mutation into a sinecure for Federal appointees is a form of rot of the system, but this can be fixed…not by elimination (which would effectively turn the smaller provinces into colonies of the more populous ones) but by making it either more democratic (elected) or perhaps more representative of the region they are to represent (for example by appointment of Senators by the provincial legislatures). Harper backed an elected Senate (even appointing an elected Senator from Alberta) but ultimately bailed out on Senate reform after a few years in office.

The second big idea which I supported (actually, I was enthusiastic about this) was making the Parliament more MP “friendly”. There would be more free votes, less party discipline and private members bills would have a chance to be voted on. (The MP Gordon Wong has done a lot of work on these things). On all this Mr. Harper has completely backtracked and betrayed everyone who hoped for a more democratic, more representative, Parliament in Ottawa. Instead, Mr. Harper has become an authoritarian figure who keeps his MPs in line through rigid rules.

So where does this leave us? Those who argue that Harper is anti-democratic have, in my view, a very good point. But this does not end the story. The Liberals are also an authoritarian party, going back to Chretien, who have abandoned their local roots and given control over to central party “apparatchiks”. Put another way; do not delude yourself that an authoritarian Harper will be displaced by a democratic Trudeau. Meanwhile, the NDP is anti-democratic: it is the plaything of unions and special interests and, truthfully, as socialists, their whole concept is against the individual in favour of the group, or collective.

Obviously, I do not feel “betrayed” by the NDP as I have never had any hope, or use, for them. Harper’s “bait and switch” is a betrayal of those who saw his election as signifying greater democracy and better representative government for those of us living in our constituencies.

Perhaps the greatest betrayal is that of Justin Trudeau who has shamelessly and callously turned over the party to his Ontario handlers and created two classes of Liberals. Under his version, even his own father might not have been able to be a candidate.  The careless way in which he discards the strongly held beliefs of longtime members, and forces those who wish to run as Liberals is a disgrace. Those Liberals who “sign the pledge”, or who support the party despite their consciences, must be ashamed when they see those Middle East Christians choosing beheading by ISIS rather than the renunciation of their faith. That Justin Trudeau’s policies have led to this anti-democratic choice within the Liberal Party is the greatest betrayal of all. (See my article below for an explanation of that).


So, again I ask, where does this leave us? Screwed, blued and tattooed.

http://www.capebretonpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/2014-05-23/article-3736014/Justin-Trudeau-doesnt-get-this-Cape-Bretoners-soul/1


Friday, October 02, 2015

Let’s Go Blue Jays!!

For the first time since 1993 the Blue Jays have qualified for the MLB playoffs, and they start their divisional series next Thursday.  What a team! What a line-up!

Behold:

Jose “Joey Bats” Bautista (RF), Russell Martin (C), Kevin “Spider Man” Pillar (CF), Josh “Bringer of Rain” Donaldson (3B and likely MVP), Ryan “Go Go” Goins (2B), Troy “Tulo” Tulowitski (SS), Ben Revere (LF), Edwin “EE” Encarnacion (DH/1B/Walker of Parrots), Chris Colabello (1B/DH), Justin “Smokie” Smoak (1B),Dioner Navarro (C),Cliff Pennington (2B/SS), Ezekiel  “Zeke” Carrera (LF/RF/CF), and a pitching staff including starters David Price (Cy Young candidate), Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey, Mark Buerhle, Marco Estrada, Drew Hutchison, and relief corps including Brett Cecil, Roberto Osuna, Aaron Sanchez, LaTroy Hawkins, Mark Lowe, Liam Hendricks, Ryan Tepera, Bo Schultz, Russ Francis. And they are managed by John Gibbons, with help from Bench Coach DeMarlo Hale, Pitching Coach Pete Walker, Hitting Coach Brook Jacoby, 1B and infield coach Tim Lieper, 3B coach Luis Rivera.

On paper a wonderful team, but the game must be won on the field. Still, as General Manager Alex Anthopolous said on Wednesday night “This is the team you want to go to war with.”

So, the quest for the 2015 World Series begins Thursday, 8 October 2015.

Let’s Go Blue Jays!!

The video below is a great video of the Blue Jays players in action. Enjoy it!