Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Canadian Human Rights Commision: Section 13 Still Constitutional, Will Still Pursue Hate Messaging Cases

An email from CHRC attorney Daniel Poulin, expanding on this earlier email:

Dear Tribunal and Parties,

We write further to the correspondence that has been exchanged by the parties in regards to the impact of the Warman v Lemire decision recently rendered by the Tribunal.

It is the position of the Commission submits that the Tribunal should proceed on hearing the matter pending before it in the present case. Consequently, the matter should neither be adjourned sine die or simply dismissed.

In Warman v. Lemire, the Tribunal found that the penalty provision in s. 54(1)(c) was not a reasonable limit on freedom of expression under the Charter. In the instant case, the Commission will no longer be seeking a penalty under 54(1)(c) of the Act as was originally included in its Statement of Particulars. The Commission therefore respectfully submits that the Tribunal ought to proceed with a hearing of the Complaint to determine if section 13 has been infringed, and if so, to exercise its discretion under s. 54(1)(a).

Yours truly, Daniel Poulin

Legal Counsel

Canadian Human Rights Commission

..which tells us what the CHRC wants to do in Abrams V. Topham, and may do in future S 13 cases, at least until Warman V. Lemire issues are hashed out: simply drop all requests for penalties under section 54 and continue to ask for a determination as to whether S13 has been infringed.

S.13 being the hate messages provision in the CHRA.

So: the CHRC will still (for the time being) process complaints re hate messaging. It will treat section 13 as constitutionally okay, and drop appeals to section 54. Which is what most people, including me, expected. The core of the law is 13; 54 is a frill.

Bernier Admits Defeat

I take this to mean that the Tories will not support watering down Bill C-32, which is an amendment to the tobacco act that would prohibit the sale of flavoured cigarette products in Canada (esp. candy-flavored cigarillos, which are allegedly marketed towards children).

Interesting to see if this has any effect on the Senate, which has independent reasons for treating the bill with caution. Interesting too to see what happens in Quebec, where Rothmans, Benson & Hedges has threatened to close down a tobacco factory near Quebec City if the Bill goes through unamended.

Lastly, Bernier's statement concludes:

Unfortunately, the debate within our party has led to a decision which is contrary to the one I have supported. In politics, one sometimes wins battles, sometimes loses others. As a team player, I have chosen to rally the large consensus within my team, though without repudiating the principles that I have defended.

Could someone show that to Denis Coderre?

This Poison Pill Pretty Tasty To NDP

The Conservative government plans to bring in legislation connected to the harmonized sales tax in the coming months, giving it the tool to bring about its own demise should Prime Minister Stephen Harper wish to capitalize on the Liberals' current misfortunes.

As I have argued previously, of the three parties with a presence in the ROC, GST/PST harmonization as an issue in any upcoming federal election probably works to the advantage of the NDP, with both the LPoC and CPoC suffering a bit because of their association, on either the federal or provincial level, with the process. So if Harper is willing to trade a little weakness on his own squad for a stronger NDP and a Liberal party that is weaker still, this would be a smart move tactically.

I would therefore suggest that the Libs think of a way to support such legislation, especially if (as the article referenced above would suggest) it is introduced as a stand-alone bill. There are a couple of justifications for this stance (other than the ones that involve the stench of terror).

1) The policy Ignatieff has settled upon is to do nothing to hinder any federal/provincial harmonization deal, and although this position was taken hypothetically and dependent upon the existence of an Ignatieff-led Liberal government, I see no particular reason there should be a different position as opposition. Why get in the way of a deal struck by the (quite popular) McGuinty Liberals?

2) I find that this "voting blindly against" allegation sticks in the craw a little bit. It seemed silly of the NDP to take a stand against every little piece of legislation without even having seen it, and now the Libs risk getting stuck in the same situation. Given that Thursdays' non-confidence motion will fail, if this legislation comes forward between now and the next opposition stay and, as a stand-alone, is acceptable, then it should be supported.

Of course who knows what the Bloc will do? They don't have a stake in this game policy-wise, having harmonized their sales tax years ago. Tactically, given CROP's latest result, I would think they'd be inclined to support.

Warman V. Lemire: Appeal Decision Today?

An email from CHRC lawyer Daniel Poulin, addressed to Doug Christie, and reproduced at FreeDominion:


Date: September 29, 2009 1:11:57 PM PDT (CA)

To: , ,

Subject: Re: Abrams and BBC v. Topham and Radical Press

Mr Christie,

Thank you for your correspondence of today. I fully understand the situation you are in about keeping these dates open since I am exactly in the same position. It would be surprising that I could be 'inconsiderate' towards myself (if your comment was directed at myself or the Commission of course - which is very likely since you refer to a government salary).

It is my intention to provide the Commission's position by tomorrow.

Daniel Poulin
Legal Counsel
Canadian Human Rights Commission

'Doug Christie Law Office' 9/29/2009 :40:23 PM
Canadian Free Speech League
P.O. Box 101, 255 Menzies Street
Victoria, B.C. V8V 2G6
Fax: 250-479-3294 Tel: 250-888-3410

Mr. Poulin was asked to comment on the status of the Abrams and BBC v. Topham and Radical Press case, which is the last (I think) section 13 case in the CHRC pipeline, in light of Warman v. Lemire. The date on the email is yesterday, so I presume we will be hearing his response sometime today.

I suspect the CHRC will appeal, but we shall see.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mulroney vs. Harper

According to Joseph C. Ben-Ami, Mulroney was

...more Conservative on abortion:

When the Supreme Court struck down the Trudeau abortion laws in 1988, it invited Parliament to draft new abortion legislation to rectify the deficiencies that led its decision. Not only did the Progressive Conservatives under Brian Mulroney take up the challenge by introducing a government bill in 1989, Mr. Mulroney forced his cabinet to support the bill, allowing a free vote for everyone else in his caucus.

...on Capital Punishment:

Similarly with capital punishment, the Mulroney government facilitated a free vote in the House of Commons in 1987 on a motion to restore the measure – abolished in 1976 – to the Criminal Code. Unlike the abortion bill which passed the House of Commons before stalling in the Senate, the motion to restore capital punishment was voted down. At least it was voted on though.

...on all matters fiscal:

Under Mr. Mulroney, federal program spending climbed from approximately $84.2 billion in 1984-1985 to approximately $122.2 billion in 1992-1993, an average increase of 5 percent per year. Under Mr. Harper, program spending grew from approximately $175.2 billion in 2005-2006, to a projected $206.8 billion in 2008-2009, an average annual increase of 4.5 percent.

When it comes to spending, this seems to confirm that Mr. Harper’s government has been more restrained than Mr. Mulroney’s was, but consider that Mr. Mulroney’s government had to contend with an average annual rate of inflation of 4.1 percent and an average unemployment rate of 9.5 percent during it’s time in office. In contrast to this, the current government has been blessed with average annual rates of inflation and unemployment of 2.4 and 6.1 percent respectively.

The bottom line:

...taking all of the objective facts into account, one is forced to conclude that the federal Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney was, both fiscally and socially, far more conservative than the present Conservative government of Stephen Harper.

Well, not really. In Harper's case, most of the social issues mentioned were already off the table when he came to power, and there is no politically survivable way he could put them back on (the most he can do is tolerate things like M. Vellacott's latest side-show, which of course will go nowhere and accomplish nothing).

On the other hand, Mulroney is the guy who got them off the table in the 1st place.

PS. Ben's article draws this response from Bill Donaldson, formerly president of the Nepean-Carleton riding association--2004-2006--and Pierre Poilievre's very first campaign manager:

Being of libertarian mind I was attracted to the Reform Party and the Alliance because in their screeds were explicit elements of libertarianism and what those entailed for individual rights, freedom, smaller government, rational economics, etc. Even with my eyes shut tightly and my nose held hard, it's clear to me that the CPC is steaming well away from any of those ideas. I'm on the verge of doing other things with my time.

Holy shit, its like they're in perfect disarray!

Gordon Landon:

...I was pushed.

Conservative MP Paul Calandra, from the neighbouring riding of Oak Ridges-Markham: You were not.

Mr. Landon does, though, blames himself and the media for twisting his innocent words. He still wants to be a Tory something or other, apparently.

A Line In The Rock

You think you've heard the story of brave dash to Newfoundland to intercept Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, but you haven't heard it until you've heard it told by Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Coquihalla and Minister of International Trade in the federal Conservative government Stockwell Day. All boldings are mine; to get the feel of the piece, try snarling those words:

Three areas to cover in this week's report. First, a few weeks ago, the world bore witness to a spectacle which was as nauseating as it was despicable. The convicted Lockerbie Bomber, the mass murderer of innocent children, women and men, was set free after serving only a fraction of his time in a Scottish jail.
The Libyan terrorist, released supposedly on humanitarian grounds, received a hero's welcome in his Libyan homeland. I won't take the time or the frustration to reflect on the grotesque and ominous message of encouragement his release sends to up-and-coming terrorist murderers everywhere.
Compounding the obvious sense of violation which is felt by all civilized people is the helplessness we feel as we realize there is little we can do. It is with some quantum of pride therefore that I appreciate Canada's response.
(Note: I think this last sentence is ungrammatical, or nonsensical, or something. Can one appreciate something...a burger, lets say...with pride. Maybe, but it sounds weird. Can someone page Rex Murphy and get a ruling on this?)
Muammar Gadhafi, the thuggish dictator of Libya, decided to have his plane make a pit stop in Newfoundland on his way home from 'enlightening' the United Nations. As a free nation and signatory to international air agreements we have no grounds to refuse the refueling of the plane. However, we made a decision to show our collective repulsion towards Mr. Gadhafi.
In an extraordinary display of diplomatic disapproval we announced his plane would be met by our Minister of Foreign Affairs to deliver a clear message. Telling a brutish violator of human freedoms that we don't like what he does may still seem to fall short in the eyes of some.
(Note: Of course the message was never actually delivered, but rumor has it Mr. Cannon intended to stand by the side of the runway with a sign that read "Piss Off Moammer!". In any event:)
However, most citizens understand our limitations in the light of international jurisprudence. In that context, no matter how the plan went, I felt some satisfaction that we had made a decision to show the world that we still uphold basic human values which we have always stood for, and fought for, as Canadians (at the time of writing this column Col. Gadhafi appeared to have got word of our plans and changed his).
And then its on to French Fries!
McCain's opened a french-fry and vegetarian patty factory in Gujarat. They started with teaching one farmer on one hectare of land how to grow quality product in an environmentally sustainable way. Now, with a contract from Macdonald's, they are contracting with over a thousand growers!
As an aside, after reading the contents of Ahmadinejad's U.N. speech, I can see the reasoning behind the Harper gov's walkout last week. In this case, however, I'm with Spector; the blame here lies with U.K. PM Gordon Brown, who was willing to sell justice for Libyan oil.
And, yeah, the picture appears with Stockwell's column.

Monday, September 28, 2009

...He Said With A Smile, The Blood Dripping From His Fangs

Jack Layton: If I Am Elected I Promise There Will Be Garbage Strikes All Across This Great Land

Just kidding.

But Jack is holding up T.O mayor David Miller as an example of how the NDP might govern.

Actually, I have noticed a certain softening in attitudes towards Mr. Miller since he announced that he would be stepping down at the end of his 2nd term. My wife, for example, no longer refers to him as "Mayor Asshole".

And I think you can probably make an argument that, during his first four years at least, he made notable improvements to the City's environmental policies, and gave public transit the respect and financial support it deserved. Furthermore, it is difficult to imagine a radically different end to the T.O. garbage strike no matter who was in the mayor's chair.

But this kind of thing, where an accounting screw-up puts the city 200 extra million in the red, and is not revealed to council or the people of the city until months after its discovery, smacks of either duplicity or managerial incompetence. So Miller hardly the best example Mr. Layton might single-out as a paradigm of NDP governance.

This guy might be, except that nobody knows where Manitoba is.

Why The Fraser Institute Gets More Play Than Real Academics

1) Tax Freedom Day is a great gimmick
2) CanWest is on-board.
3) They create their stuff for the media, not academia:

Ultimately, the Fraser Institute deserves much of the credit for its own success in penetrating the Sun. The institute is a factory of numbers and words, issuing press releases and reports almost daily. They craft their documents to make them easy for editors to accommodate. They know how to create events.

Iggy Not Catching On, Harper Not Taking Off

And I'm starting to think I'm stuck in the movie Groundhog Day:

An exclusive Leger Marketing poll for Sun Media reveals 36% of Canadians would vote for the Conservatives, down almost two percentage points from the last election. Only 30% would vote for the Liberals, but that represents a gain of 4% since the Liberals won 26% of the popular vote in the last election. The NDP is at 17% support, down 1%.

But of course there won't be an election since the Layton NDP will be propping up Mr. Harper's Tories.

...which is fine for now. The main point of withdrawing support was to pass off the hot potato that is the charge of maintaining this government in power to the NDP. Let them deal with it awhile. From the Liberals, I would hope, we get more stuff like Gerard Kennedy's analysis of patterns in the government's stimulus spending, which was almost universally praised by the MSM.

Substantive criticism, in other words...and hints of policy.

By the way, AA's (widely repeated) argument is bogus, in fact proves Iggy's larger point about the disconnect between stimulus spending and actual need: why would you fund a project that isn't supposed to happen until 7 years out to fight this recession?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Next Week, Jack And Gilles Will Receive Their Poison Pill

...and it will be a suppository.

Liberals stay strong. It is the job of the official opposition to oppose. Besides, Jack will almost certainly prove most suppliant.

Or Gilles will. I like these pictures of Gilles. They show him recieving earlier poison pills.

Your Daily Nazi: Nazis Online And On Radio

The adaptive use of new technology was central to this achievement. The Nazis pioneered voice amplification at rallies, the distribution of recorded speeches and the sophisticated targeting of poster art toward groups and regions.

But it was radio that proved the most powerful tool. The Nazis worked with radio manufacturers to provide Germans with free or low-cost "people's receivers." This new technology was disorienting, taking the public sphere, for the first time, into private places -- homes, schools and factories. "If you tuned in," says Steve Luckert, curator of the exhibit, "you heard strangers' voices all the time. The style had a heavy emphasis on emotion, tapping into a mass psychology. You were bombarded by information that you were unable to verify or critically evaluate. It was the Internet of its time."

A terrific piece by Michael Gerson, which concludes:

This comparison to the Internet is apt. The Nazis would have found much to admire in the adaptation of their message on neo-Nazi, white supremacist and Holocaust-denial Web sites.

Not much to add to it, as a matter of fact. As I am feeling profoundly lazy this afternoon.

What Are The London Teabaggers Hiding?

Since yesterday, their guest list has disappeared from the facebook page: Given that Shaidle is the main draw, I can see how attendees, especially ones who might have ambitions to elected office, might not want to have their presence at the event made known.

On the other hand, given how many high-profile Conservatives have decided to bathe their pet hamster that day, maybe that's what they're trying to cover-up.

Update: Tory Rebellion in Alta. Not On?

The smooth operation of the Tory colossus has been a lifelong passion for thousands of Albertans. They run the riding associations, staff the campaigns, party together, marry each other, go crazy with joy when they win again.

Every Tory MLA is supported by a group like that. Leaving the gang that helped you get elected is an incredibly difficult thing to do.


The PC party will only be in real trouble, and MLAs could leave more readily, if riding workers themselves start sliding over to the Wildrose Alliance.

Braid considers it far more likely that rank and filers would abandon the Tory leader rather than the Tory party. The event to watch, therefore, is November's vote on Stelmach's performance as head of the Alberta Conservatives, not October's Wildrose Alliance Party leadership convention, which will (presumably) result in a victory by Danielle Smith.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

London Teabaggers Bag A Few Superstars

So far, the announced speakers are FCI employee and conservative activist Andrew Lawton, former Tory candidate and FCI board member Mary Lou Ambrogio...

And that's in addition to Shaidle!

Mary Lou Ambrogio finished 2nd last time out in the riding of London-Fanshawe with about 31% of the vote. Looks like she isn't running again.

Andrew Lawton was at one time Southwestern Ontario District Chair, Ontario PC Youth Association (and may still be for all I know), and is on the Board of the London West Conservative Association.

Heavy hitters, in other words. Confirmed attendence so far is 23 white people and one young black guy in a suit. Probably a teenage libertarian. Ezra will not be there, nor will Peter Kent or Gerry Nicholls or Michael Coren. They'll apparently be playing mini golf that day.

Step Aside Archaeopteryx

This baby is being touted as the oldest known proto-bird.

Wonderful in-depth discussion at the Dinosaur Mailing List Archive, including this bit by the incomparable Greg Paul:

It does not look like the authors of the new Anchiornis paper are pushing the idea that it was some sort of protoglider. In fact, its anatomy suggests it was not a protoflier, but more likely was in the early stages of loss of flight from an ancestor better developed for flight, a trend that would become better developed in later flightless troodonts. What are these features? Am not going to say because Iâm thinking of submitting a note (although I discuss the basic features expected in early neoglightless dinobirds in DA). Will tell science correspondents who are interested

GS Paul

...which implies there must have been fully flight capable bird ancestors at least 10,000,000 years before Archy.

What Free Speech Warriors Do In Their Spare Time

They pose as CHRC moles, slag off gays, greeks, name it.

Here's more on the story of Marc Lemire (the guy suspected of being behind The Fairness Fairy) sockpuppeting his own wiki entry, mentioned at the ARC post above.

PS. They slag off jews too. Got a screen cap of that one.

And it looks like, whoever the Fairness Fairy is, he's been posting to StormFront frequently and recently. (Don't worry, link goes to google-search result).

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wildrose Alliance Set To Become Alta. Offiical Opposition?

Up to 10 Stelmach MLAs ready to defect if Smith wins leadership?

Now wouldn't that be exciting.

If The HST Becomes A Federal Issue

...this is how it will most likely break down for the major parties:

Even if Michael Ignatieff had wanted to reverse decades of pro-harmonization party policy to avoid getting caught in the HST crossfire, he could not have done so without declaring war on two influential Liberal premiers. But Harper's Conservatives are also in an awkward position. Their role in the matter is playing havoc with their anti-tax mantra and placing them at odds with their provincial cousins in Ontario and with some of their natural constituencies in British Columbia.

On the other hand, though, the HST debate dovetails nicely with the grievance-based rhetoric of the Bloc Québécois and the NDP quest for a populist wedge issue to distinguish itself from the competition in Ontario and Western Canada.

But I am not sure that it will become a federal issue, at least not in Ontario. While opposition to the tax here is high

TORONTO — Polling conducted in the spring by the Ontario government found nearly 70 per cent of respondents were opposed to the province's tax harmonization plan. seems muted, and certainly played no role in the recent St. Paul's by election, where Hudak's Tories strove mightily to make the vote a referendum on the HST, and failed. This could change, I suppose, and I'm not sure why it is in the 1st place.

One thing though is that the business community itself is split over Harmonization. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has come out in favour of the measure, but other groups have taken an opposing stance. It seems too that there will be splits within various business groupings. So for example, if you employ commissioned sales people, you will save on administrative costs. If you are a commissioned sales-person, forced to pay tax where none existed before, you will either have to eat it or pass it on to your customer. Have fun with that, sucker.

In any case, a good portion of the natural leadership behind any kind of tax revolt will not be suiting up for combat.

Another Problem Solved?

Pierrefonds/Dollard's long-time federal Liberal MP Bernard Patry said any rumours about his not running again in the riding or being on the 'outs' with the Grits' Quebec-area lieutenant Denis Coderre should be taken with a grain of salt.


"He must not forget that I have received a letter from my leader, Michael Ignatieff, saying that I am a candidate," he added

I am also told that Ignatieff has endorsed Dion for St. Laurent, but cannot find any reference in either English or French language press.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Problem Solved

From D. Coderre on Facebook:

Sur ma recommandation et celle de notre equipe du Quebec. Michael Ignatieff a offert la circonscription de Jeanne-LeBer a Martin Cauchon. A suivre.

And translated by Babelfish:

On my recommendation and that of our team of Quebec. Michael Ignatieff offered the district of Jeanne-LeBer has Martin Cauchon. To follow.


PS. I know 0 about Que. politics, but definitely not an automatic win. Which perhaps is fair enough.

PPS. Can anyone confirm? I can't find it at this site.

Confirmed here, although their take on it is a bit bummerish.

PPPS. Cauchon will likely decline. Hey man, when you retire, you're back to square one. If he isn't willing to fight, fuck im.

Tory Turmoil Over Tobacco Bill

Rothmans, Benson & Hedges is threatening to close a tobacco factory near Quebec City over Bill C-32, which is an amendment to the tobacco act that would prohibit the sale of flavoured cigarette products in Canada. The legislation is an attempt to ban those candy flavoured cigarillos that tobacco companies market to children. But the problem is that--so R,B&H allege--the same flavours are used in certain brands of cigarette targeted to adults, and banning them would in effect ban the manufacture of these cigarettes.

Since Quebec City counts as the CPoC's base in that province, a number of Tory MPs have spoken out against Bill C-32 in its present form, including Julie Coulliard's ex Maxime Bernier (and in fact the entire Quebec CPoC Caucus).

What's interesting is the cognitive dissonance between Bernier and Co. and those Torys still in support of C-32. On the one hand, Bernier blames Health Canada for (deliberately?) writing the law too broadly: drafted by Health Canada bureaucrats, the text of the bill has a reach that is so broad that it would also forbid the use of hundreds of other ingredients, in particular those used in the production of American blended cigarettes. This blend contains among other things Burley tobacco, and the ingredients added to it are only used to modify in an imperceptible way the bitter taste of this type of tobacco without giving it a specific aroma like that of fruits or candy.

On the other hand, Conservative supporters of the Bill are implying that they approved the current language for a purpose:

"The goal of Bill C-32 is to make tobacco products less affordable, less accessible and less appealing to the most vulnerable segment of our population -- young people," wrote Josee Bellemare, press secretary to Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq in an email to the National Post yesterday.

Assistant deputy minister Paul Glover conceded before the Senate committee that he realizes additives to American blend cigarettes "are not meant to be a distinguishing flavour." But, they make bitter tobacco smoother. And "a product that is easier to smoke and less harsh is easier for youth to start." Any attempt to exempt American cigarettes would create a "loophole," he argued, through which child-luring tobacco peddlers might slink.

Any bets on which way this one will settle? I'm going with the "blame the faceless bureaucrats" line winning out.

Deniers On Tour!

Lord Christopher Monckton's Canadian tour touches down at the Economic Club Of Canada later this month. Sponsored by the (CPoC connected and thoroughly discredited) Friends of Science, Monckton will be playing two luncheon dates at the International and Westin Hotels. Monckton will speak on "Apocalypse Cancelled: The Overheated Hype Behind Global Warming" and perform all of his hits, including "I Only Have Eyes For You (And That Guy Just Off To Your Right)".

Get your tickets now, for only...79 bucks a pop? You gotta be kidding me! I can get front row to U2 for that kind of money.

Government Inaction?

OTTAWA–Liberal research suggests only 12 per cent of the $4 billion set aside for immediate job-creating infrastructure projects has actually flowed so far – a far cry from the Harper government's claim that 80 per cent of its economic stimulus plan is being implemented.


Liberals were able to directly contact people involved in 946 of those projects. Of those, he said they found construction has actually started on only 224 projects.

Extrapolating those results over the other projects they weren't able to contact, Kennedy said they concluded that only 12 per cent of the $4 billion fund has flowed.

As I wrote yesterday, there are all sorts of legitimate reasons that projects might be delayed. It takes time to spend money, after all. But of course lying about how much of the money has been spent is a different thing entirely.

And I don't understand the government's reasoning here:

The average Conservative riding got 13 times as much money as the average opposition riding in British Columbia, 2.7 times as much in Quebec. In Ontario, Conservative ridings got 11 per cent more than opposition ridings.

After all, in a minority government situation, this necessarily means that most of the money is going to under 50% of the ridings, and furthermore, going to ridings the Tories already have locked up.
Aren't you supposed to bribe the people who wouldn't otherwise vote for you?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

He'll Be Eating Donuts, Thank You

Harper Denounces Iranian President's 'repugnant' views from behind a Tim's counter.

Probably clever as a populist stunt, but a stunt nevertheless.

Although, if you listen to Fife here, regarding Harper's itinerary yesterday at the U.N. summit on climate change, you will note that he skipped all the hard stuff but showed up for dinner.

There's a theme running through these events.

Troubles With Stimulus Spending

The data in Adapx's new Federal Stimulus Survey Report is all from the U.S., but I would suspect the same issues apply North of the border. The respondents were in public and private utilities, construction, engineering, survey, public works, state and local governments.

Many teams are finding that building compelling cases for stimulus money requires a resource investment to accurately document and justify their needs for stimulus money.
At a time when teams need to invest in building compelling cases for stimulus money, many are struggling to even keep up with current workloads due to reductions in personnel or pressures to increases output with their existing staff and resources.
The resource constraints and productivity pressure not only impact the ability of organizations to make their cases for stimulus money, but they also have an impact on organization’s ability to start fully spending the stimulus money once it’s granted. 82% of teams reported obstacles that would prevent them from immediately starting to spend stimulus money.
The results suggest that rather than giving an immediate jolt to the economy, stimulus spending will be delayed as most respondents don’t have the immediate resources to complete their proposed projects. Hardly an argument against stimulus spending, but pretty clearly a good sum of the money intended to be spent during the actual recession will be spent during the recover. Not a bad thing if your recovery is slow and painful, as this one seems likely to be.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

May I Fondle Your Lobster?

HALIFAX — Maritime lobster fishermen in need of financial help are getting a lift of another kind.

A toll-free hotline number announced today by federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea for fishermen is actually a sex line.

I'm not sure the Liberal Party of Canada can do better than that.

Only In Canada, You Say?

The teabaggers are coming to Canada (London, Ont. to be precise), on October 3rd, led by the inimitable Five Foot. Be sure to apply the Shaidle deflation factor to any attendance figures she provides (ie divide by two).

Given the invite list on their Facebook page, looks like this one's going to top out at three dozen rebels, Max.

How Bad Is It At CanWest?

They're renting space to CBC. One rumor is that, in the episode being filmed, Erica travels backwards in time to when the National Post didn't suck. But that would be, like, a journey to NoWhen.

Nannies At Loose Ends

Four months later, a complaint against Ruby Dhalla has been filed with Jason Kenney, who passed it on the relevant department and forgot about it. Nobody knows where it is in the process, if it is indeed in the process and not in some wastebasket somewhere. According to Dhalla's lawyer, Howard Levitt:

...the issue is over and done with and that the allegations of mistreatment were dismissed when the MP testified at the public hearing in Ottawa in May.

Back in June, as this thing wound down, the G&M published an editorial in which they said:

If Michael Ignatieff is serious about improving the representation of women in the Liberal Party of Canada and ultimately in Parliament, he should start by restoring Ruby Dhalla to his shadow cabinet.

So what about it, Iggy?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dawg Gone Wild

There's a $5 with your name on it, if you need help covering legal bills, Dawg.

More if you take Canadian Tire money.

PS. His name's Adrien? For real? That's even dorkier than Raphael.

Hinman Off Hook; Hehr In Dutch

...for campaigning outside of a polling station, which elections Alberta tells us is legal. The video was taken by the Alberta Liberal Party, and the gentleman in the wheel-chair referring to Elections Alberta as "shitty" is Kent Hehr.

First, You Must Kill Warren Kinsella...

...if you (the LPoC) want to get back the Evangelical vote.

From "Canadian Evangelical Voting Trends by Region, 1996–2008", on why Evangelical voters have trended Tory:

First, when the Canadian Alliance was formed in 2000, it elected Stockwell Day, an evangelical Christian, as its leader. During the 2000 general election campaign, Liberal Party representative Warren Kinsella appeared on Canada AM, a popular national television program, with a Barney the Dinosaur doll and mocked Stockwell Day’s creationist beliefs, saying, “I just want to remind Mr. Day that The Flintstones was not a documentary.”13 Kinsella would go on to boast, “Of all the things I have done in politics, over many, many years, probably nothing has had the impact of those few seconds on Canada AM.”14 While Evangelicals hold various views on Creation, most understood this as an attempt to denigrate their faith.

While this and other explanations offered in the paper seem a list of the authors' personal set of bitches, whines, and complaints, the fact that Evangelicals have trended Tory over the past ten years seems unassailable. Gruending, for example, has made the same point from a different perspective.

IMHO, the real questions are:

1) are there enough Evangelicals out there to justify a special attempt at outreach?

2) Have the Libs abandoned Evangelicals, or vice versa? Stockwell Day/Preston Manning sold their Evangelicalism as part of the political package you would get out of Reform if you voted that way. Most were unimpressed, but some bought into a point on the ideological spectrum that was not, if I am remembering correctly, previously on offer in Canada, at least not federally. To me, that explains most of the shift (and why, with Evangelicals now firmly in their camp, the Tories cannot break the 40% majority level).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How Many Teabags?

From a blog post entitled "Tea party photo shows huge crowd — at different event":

There’s another problem with the photograph: It doesn’t include the National Museum of the American Indian, a building located at the corner of Fourth Street and Independence Avenue that opened on Sept. 14, 2004. (Looking at the photograph, the building should be in the upper right hand corner of the National Mall, next to the Air and Space Museum.) That means the picture was taken before the museum opened exactly five years ago. So clearly the photo doesn’t show the “tea party” crowd from the Sept. 12 protest.
Also worth noting are the cranes in front of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. According to Randall Kremer, the museum’s director of public affairs, “The last time cranes were in front was in the 1990s when the IMAX theater was being built.”
It appears that the photo was actually taken in 1997 at a rally for Promise Keepers, a group for Christian men. According to the group’s Web site, nearly 1 million people attended the event. Photos of the Oct. 4, 1997, event that were posted on various Web sites in 2003, 2008 and earlier this year show either the same picture or a similar photo that has identical tents and what appear to be TV screens in the same locations.
On a perhaps related note, Obama's ratings are back to their July levels and the Dems are up nearly 4% in the generic congressional:

PS. Yeah I had doubts about the numbers. I even wondered about the photos. Is there any kind of photo matching site out there that you can run a photo through and it will tell you if it matches/resembles one already on the Net? I've heard rumours of such a thing...

WAP Leadership Wannabe Endorsed By Rural Separatist

Mark Dyrholm is one of the two candidates left in the race for leader of the upstart Wildrose Alliance Party, who may or may not be set to upend politics as usual in Alberta. I have noted his ties to Western Separatist organizations here and elsewhere.

Randy Hillier is an Ontario MPP in Tim Hudak's PCPO opposition, and one-time leadership Candidate for the PCPO. He has advocated in the past that rural Ontario should secede from the urban South. He also has a thing for creepy red suspenders. Now these two......are together at last.

I doubt I have many Alberta readers in the 1st place, and far be it for me to advise any WAP supporters on who their leader should be, but for gawd sake pick the blonde chick.

h/t WS.

Tories On Senate Reform

Stockwell Day on Senate Reform, August 31st, 2009:

To deal with the problem of it being a life-long position the Prime Minister takes an innovative approach. Whomever the Prime Minister appoints must vow to step down after 8 years, no exceptions, no excuses. So each person he recently appointed, along with the ones he appointed earlier, will be done in 8 years. That's a major change.

Newly minted Tory Senator Jacques Demers, September 19th, 2009:

Demers expects to spend the next 10 years in the Senate, and wants to learn from his colleagues while keeping his own opinions.

Either Mr. Demers has already broken his vow, or was exempted from it. Or the very existence of the "vow" is a bunch of hoo-hah meant to con Tory supporters who care about this kind of stuff.

Stockwell Day on Senate Reform, August 31st, 2009:

One more thing about the latest round of Senate appointees, each one has agreed to work hard from inside the Senate to push for reform. That means when the next federal election is called we may see senators stepping down from the Red Chamber and running for office.

Newly minted Tory Senator Jacque Demers, September 19th, 2009:

"I just did not see myself going in different places shaking hands. I am not a politician." That's why, Demers said, he won't run for office if senators are elected.

Senate Reform--a poor joke at best.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Analysis: Sue-Ann Levy Was Too Gay For Toronto

A perspective I have not heard elsewhere, from Tristan Emmanuel (I think--he is not sole author at NA), Randy Hillier's PCPO leadership campaign manager:

In Ontario, pro-family and pro-faith advocates are questioning the Tory decision to run lesbian columnist Sue-Ann Levy. In a sharp defeat yesterday, Levy lost to Liberal candidate Dr. Eric Hoskins in the urban Toronto St. Paul’s riding. The question for both the Alberta and Ontario Tories is whether electoral success is really secured through a softening and moderation of traditional party policy principles or a return to principled, grassroots conservatism.

In my mind I see Dalton celebrating his 10th consecutive majority...

Guergis To Be Dumped, Gallant In?

Until about 7:00 AM this morning, Bourque was reporting this as "inside info" from one of his government sources: the Tories might dump Minister of State for the Status of Women Helena Guergis from cabinet over her husband's legal problems, and replace her with Cheryl Gallant. Gallant's qualifications--and I am working from memory here--were that she was "female, rural, blonde, and from Ontario".

Now its gone from B's front page and I have no screen capture. Don't know what happened there, but some party insiders have indeed suggested moving Ms. Guergis out of the limelight until the hubby's legal issues are resolved. So far, the google cache of the page doesn't show that bit of text. Any idea how often it updates?

Screenshot here, thanks to Buckets.

Conrad Black Must Have Time Aplenty crank out stuff like this, which is notable not only for the inherent oddness of the ramblings contained therein:

Even Hitler and Stalin were not atheists. Hitler was a pagan who detested Christianity. Indeed, what he considered the Jews' botch of the disposition of Christ, the ignorance of the Sanhedrin and the mindless barbarity of the Jewish mobs, chanting 'Crucify him!' and 'Give us Barabbas', to which he imputed the rise of Christianity, is one of the few slightly plausible explanations of his otherwise inexplicable anti-Semitism."


I had no difficulty discarding the scientific claims of people like Bertrand Russell, that there was a finite amount of knowledge in the universe, and that every day we more closely approached a plenitude of knowledge.

It seemed to me that the greatest discoveries, remarkable as they were, did just the opposite. The revolution of the earth around the sun, like the process of evolution, diminished us, as less prominent in the universe and descended from a lower order of animals.

...but because it illustrates the fact that, no matter what the literary venue these days, Lord Black of Crossharbour can't seem to compose anything of less than 12,000 words. Clearly his PC has a porn filter, but could we not all chip in and maybe buy him a used copy of Castle Wolfenstein?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Peter Braid: Libs Vote Against Most Popular Thing In 4,000,000,000 Years

Peter Braid (peterbraid) on Twitter: "watched from across the floor today as the Libs voted against one of the most popular govt initiatives since the beginning of time #waterloo"

Holy Crap, are we're evil or what?

(PS. If Mr. Braid is referring to the history of the entire Universe, rather than just our planet, then my apologies. In that case, the Libs have voted against the most popular thing in 13,000,000,000 years. Quite a difference!)

She Turned Out To Be By Far The Angriest Person In The Room

Nice piece on the trouncing of Sue Ann Levy:

For people familiar with her writing, this was not entirely surprising, inordinate expressions of outrage being something of a staple for her. Levy's one-note campaign failed to inspire and failed to offer a nuanced vision of both her electoral district and her province, preferring to only to tear down rather than suggest where she might build up.

Frankly, I thought it would be a lot closer than the 19% blowout it turned out to be. But, on the other hand, I have personally experienced very little in the way of outrage over the HST.

The Anonymous Dude That's Been Sending Me Home Made Attack Ads

...has hit one out the park.

As of this morning, the glitch has been fixed, although Puffy does seem to be sneering a bit when he speaks the name "Mohammed".

Criticize LifesiteNews -> Death Threats

TORONTO - Salt+Light Television CEO Fr. Tom Rosica has reacted to daily threats against his life, reputation and ministry, blaming LifeSiteNews for stirring up “division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence.”

Rosica said his office phone messages have included threats and violent language. He called them “vile, vile phone calls.”

If you are wondering about what prompted all this, apparently Fr. Rosica refused to instigate a protest down in Boston at the funeral of Ted Kennedy:

Prior to the funeral, we received numerous calls from a pocket of people who claim to be pro-life, some of them acting in good faith, but uninformed faith, and they asked us to invite or incite a protest at the Chancery of Boston so that the Cardinal would not proceed with the funeral. These same voices are the ones who are contacting us, in Canada, asking us to incite people to stir up the pot in the United States - which doesn’t need any stirring up, it is already stirred up.

Especially interesting bit from the Catholic Register article:

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has scheduled a closed-door session on independent blogs and web sites claiming to be Catholic at its October plenary. Rosica said he also hopes the Pontifical Council on Social Communication takes up the issue.

Sounds like they want to lasso their whackjobs before anything crazy happens. You listening, Flanders?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Crookes Loses: Linking To Defamatory Material Not Necessarily Defamatory

The decision is here. For anyone that doesn't know, Green Party activist Wayne Crookes sued a number of people, including Michael Geist for linking to material he considered defamatory. It was not too far from the truth to say he was trying to "sue the entire internet". Luckily, at least one of the judges in one of the cases decided that this would not stand.

I haven't read the whole decision, but from this:

[84] I agree, as well, that the circumstances of a case may add more so as to demonstrate that a particular hyperlink is an invitation or encouragement to view the impugned site, or adoption of all or a portion of its contents. For example, in Hird v. Wood (1894), 38 S.J. 234 (C.A.), referred to in Carter, evidence of the defendant pointing to a placard with content was held to be sufficient evidence of publication to demonstrate that a particular hyperlink is an invitation or encouragement to view the impugned site, or adoption of all or a portion of its contents. For example, in Hird v. Wood (1894), 38 S.J. 234 (C.A.), referred to in Carter, evidence of the defendant pointing to a placard with content was held to be sufficient evidence of publication to go to a jury. So a statement to the effect “N is described at [hyper link]” may itself incorporate a libel so as to be defamatory.

...suggests that if you say something in support of the defamatory material at the other end of the link then you could be in trouble, but merely linking to, and perhaps even describing the content on, a page carrying defamatory material, is not enough.

Hopefully this has positive implication for the case against Mark of Section 15.

PS. There is very little here that is pertinant to the Warman defamation suits.


Shorter Aglukkaq

I will find a bureaucrat to blame immediately

Update: They got dozens of body bags?

Wasagamack First Nation got 30 for a population of 1,397.

God's Lake First Nation got 20 for a population of 2,140.

Wildrose Alliance Membership Race Down To A Pair

Suddenly, this shit may actually matter.

The Wildrose Alliance Leadership is down to two contestants now that writer Jeff Willerton (who?) has pulled out and thrown his support behind chiropractor Mark Dyrholm (who?). Some speculation here as to whether the move was prearranged between the Willerton/Dyrholm camps, presumably to show that the momentum is behind Dyrholm.

Of course these things are decided by the party membership, and there are rumors floating around about how many the two remaining candidates, Dyrholm and front-runner Danielle Smith (who?), may actually have. There is also a rumor floating around that the Dyrholm campaign team has hidden at least 2000 new memberships from the party's leadership committee as "insurance".

The whippet-thin Dan Arnold has a good big-picture overview of what it all means.

And here's a series of posts I wrote earlier on the Dyrholm campaign's connections to the separatist WTBA, featuring a surprise appearance by Mark's Coalition/Outreach guy, Craig Chandler.

Head Tory Blogger: Guergis' Husband In Trouble, Let's Dump On Her

His wife is Helena Guergis, is the Minister of State for the Status of Women, and so assists Minister James Moore (Canadian Heritage). Given the seriousness of the charges, the distraction of dealing with the situation, and of course, the importance of avoiding any appearance of a conflict of interest anywhere near the cabinet table, I think careful consideration has to be given to relieving Guergis of any duties above and beyond that of an MP.

Kind of like when I stub my toe and yell at my wife. But the whole CPoC seems to have that mind set. Anyway, I wonder who they would replace her with? Maybe Brad Trost is ready for the big-time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kinsella Will Be Displeased

Warren gave me crap once for suggesting that Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Tobacco Act, which would prohibit the sale of flavoured tobacco products in Canada, was light-weight stuff in the grand scheme of Politics. Now, my favorite Tory Senator, Elaine McCoy, has expressed more substantive doubts over the legislation:

As to cigarillo consumption, specifically, Health Canada only has two years of data and therefore trend lines cannot be reliably discerned as yet. However, the latest survey clearly demonstrates that most Canadians who buy and consume flavoured tobacco products are of legal age to do so. The other incontrovertible fact that CTUMS reveals is that 12,100 fewer children smoked cigarillos in 2008 as compared to 2007. And although cigarillo consumption increased overall, the only age cohort which escalated its usage in this time period was young adults between the ages of 20 and 24.

On the other hand, I find myself in general agreement with this analysis from her comment section:

...not so much wrong as based on a hypothesis or two (for which they don't YET have data): that big tobacco MAY use ads to target young people, which would INCREASE smoking rates, and THUS to prevent this, the legislation is required.

I think these hypotheses are not completely unfounded; evidence LIKELY exists (I'm guessing here, not having looked into this) that sweet, fruity alcoholic drinks (fizzy drinks) had similar studies/issues raised about them.

The "precautionary principle" is likely hard at work here (where Health Canada is concerned).

So the real debate may be more about whether one feels the precaution is worth the curtailing of rights. I'm fine with it, myself.

Mind you, its still small-bore stuff.

Alberta Rebels Off To Poor Start

Bottom line: he still wins, but might face a fine of up to $500.

State Of The Nation, Sept. 2009

British Columbia Lights Big Spliff, Eats Mushrooms, Awaits End Of Recession, say RBC Economists

Economists Report Alberta Still Filled With Assholes, But Now They're Poor Assholes

RBC Economists: Saskatchewan Remains Knee Deep In The Cowshit

Manitoba Inuit Word For "Frozen Tundra", Economists Claim, Is Probably Not Even Real

Ontario, Noble Ontario, Rises Up And Extends Hand To Nation Full Of Unworthy Dickheads, Reports RBC Economics Unit

Economic Report: Quebec Fornicates Way Through Recession, Is Tired But Happy

RBC: Atlantic Canada So Far Down It Looks Like Up To Them, Can't Afford New Boots

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Harris Decima Poll Shows New Ipsos Poll At Least 100% Bullshit

When it comes to polls, Steve V. Sees All, Knows All

The latest Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey finds the Conservatives maintaining a slight lead in popular support, with 34 per cent to the Liberals' 30 per cent. The NDP are at 15 per cent, the Bloc Quebecois at nine and the Greens at 10.

A little worse that last week's version for the Libs, but certainly nothing to suggest (as Ipsos does) that NDP support is cratering.

LifeSiteNews Trashed: Catholic On Catholic Violence!

Meet Fr. Tom Rosica's:

"We have an agency in Canada functioning called LifeSite. It purports itself to be a news service for the areas and issues of life. I will say very publicly to those listening - it is not credible, it does not speak for the Church, it is not ethical, it is not honest."

"I encourage people to know that this is not an authentic instrument at the service of unity and at the service of the Church. It is causing division."

"For the one-tenth of kernel of truth that they purport to uncover (and there is truth in what they do) nine-tenths is exaggeration. It is bombastic, it is derisive and it is divisive."

"I think we have to be very clear and say that part of the work of Satan is to divide - to pit people against each other and they are succeeding quite well."

I am so glad someone within The Church has summoned up the Nads to take a swing at these people. They don't seem to understand anything but rhetorical overkill.

Anyway, here's Gruending's angle on Lifesite, from back in July.

The End Of The Canadian Lighthouse Keeper?

Since at least the late 1980s, every couple of years whatever government is in power floats a plan to save money by automating Canada's remaining manned lighthouses, and sending Canada's last few dozen lightkeepers into retirement. Harper's Torys are behind the latest attempt.

Now, there are economic arguments to be made on the government's side--you don't have to pay wages to an automated lighthouse--and safety issues on the side of the lightkeepers: in an emergency, a real human being can be much more useful than a flashing light. But my own views on the matter are shaped as much by nostalgia as anything else. You see, my father served as lightkeeper at the East Point Lighthouse on Saturna Island, which is off the Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

When dad left the armed forces in the mid-1970s, he spent a couple of years going from job to job before he could gather enough of a modern education to start his new career in the civilian work-force. One of those jobs was to serve in the capacity of temporary keeper at East Point, during about a six month period between the time the previous keeper retired and the time his permanent replacement arrived to take over. My brother and I lived most of one summer in that house in the top right-hand quarter of the picture above.

I'd like to say it was one of the highlights of my childhood, but for the most part that was a pretty boring summer. The town of Saturna is about ten miles across the island, and since I arrived after the school year and was too young to drive, I never really got a chance to meet any other island kids.

But there were interesting moments. For example, isolation had driven dad's predecessors to study the island around them in minute detail, and they had made large and thorough collections of the local butterfly species, of beetles, snail-shells, pine-cones, and so on, and arranged them all in glass display cases. They also had a very extensive collection of books on the local wild-life. I spent many hours poring through these, and many more tramping around that end of the island, looking for the animals in the pictures.

Not only that, time and solitude had turned one of the early lightkeepers towards folk-art. Down by the shoreline (at the very top end of the picture) you could find relief chiselings of killer whales in the soft sandstone that is unique to the place. These were crafted in iconic fashion, as though meant to represent the spirit of East Point, and there were a dozen of so of them carved here and there among the rocks, in hidden places as though the artist had intended them to remain a secret. Since the lighthouse was built in 1888, I am sure these carvings are over a century old by now.

And if you stayed at East Point long enough, you came to understand why the old lightkeeper would have chosen to represent this particular creature. As I say, that end of Saturna Island is all sandstone, and easily eroded by ocean currents. So the "shore" is a really just a rock shelf, maybe three inches thick, that juts straight out over water more than 600 feet deep. And every week or so a pod of Orcas would swim past, sometimes not 10 feet away from the ledge you were standing on, so close that you could see their eyes under the water, watching you, so close that you could have jumped right onto their backs. It made me feel dizzy when I first saw them.

And I remember on one occasion several oceanographers motored past just behind a family of whales in an inflatable, looking ridiculously fragile among animals three times the length of their boat. They yelled over to me and made me write down a phone-number; later I dialled it and told the voice at the other end that "J Pod" was heading North at East Point.

Another thing: if you look at the picture above, the lighthouse proper has been replaced by a metal skeleton. But when my dad kept East Point, the original structure still stood (as left). In fact, given the dates I've found here, I imagine I am one of the last people to have been inside the old tower. Once again, I'd like to say that this was a fascinating experience, but in fact the tower was a plain, off-white building that contained very little beyond a generator room, a winding staircase, and the light room up top. The only thing that really made an impression on me was the light-house keepers log, which contained page after page of coded short-hand that seemed quite magical even after you realized that all it symbolized was the state of the equipment and names of the occasional tanker that would steam past.

Anyway, it must have been an incredibly lonely existence for the permanent keepers. I remember the 2nd time we arrived on the island, near midnight one evening after taking the day's last car ferry. When we drove up to East Point we could hear my dad having an intense conversation with two of the dogs that came with the place. Needless to say, he was happy to see us.

So I kind of hope that this latest effort to automate our last manned lighthouses goes the way of the rest of the others. I don't particularly care if they aren't the most economically efficient devices on the planet. I just like them.

PS. Yes I've recycled this post from an earlier one I did back in 2007. So what? I like it and nobody was reading this blog back then?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Heads Up! Another Bogus Ipsos Poll!

The pollsters nobody trusts in the paper nobody reads!

Here's what people said last time an Ipsos poll came out.

Demers Might Bail After Two Years?

I like and admire Jacque Demers. But the notion that you might bail out of your Senate seat after just 24 months if things don't go your way seems more than a little bizarre to me. Seems he's taking the whole appointment-to-the-upper-chamber thing rather lightly.

A Personal Lament

So, I've been having trouble with my old Cavalier lately. The rear, driver-side door was flying open for no reason, after which it would become impossible to close properly. I was informed this morning that the lock mechanism is shot out, but for the past couple of weeks I've been managing with copious WD40 applications.

Until yesterday when, out in the 905, the mechanism gave its last and I wound up driving around with my wife in the back holding the door shut. We got to the mall we were looking for, and while she went inside to shop, I began to fiddle around with the door.

And with none of my usual techniques working, I came up with a scheme that involved string, WD40, and a seat-belt cutter. Had it succeeded, my scheme would have been like an episode from McGyver, but instead I wound up stabbing myself with the seat-belt cutter, looking at the wound and thinking "Damn! That goes right down to the bone!"

So the rest of my afternoon was spent at the walk-in clinic at Branson, waiting for my turn in "the laceration room". There were a couple of guys from a tow-truck company in front of me, and the injured one looked professionally embarrassed by the fact he had cut himself up on the job. As for the fellow one bed over, I think they were picking bits of metal out of his ass. I never got the details, though. BBQ accident?

In the end: 2 stitches. It was the wife's birthday too, so she wasn't terribly pleased. But it could have been worse. One inch in another direction and I might have been forced to rename myself "9 Fingered Lib".

On The New Head Of The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C. Q. C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the appointment of Shirish P. Chotalia, Q.C., as Chair of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

Ms. Chotalia is an fascinating choice, given the current state of the Speechy conflict. For one thing, in 2003 she was one of the three member CHRT panel that oversaw Richard Warman's very first Section 13 complaint (Richard Warman and the CHRC vs. Fred Kyburz), which resulted in Warman's being awarded $30,000 for death threats made against him by the respondent. (As an aside, one of the witnesses called during proceedings was Karen Mock, a lawyer for B'nai Brith--among other things--and these days the Liberal Party candidate for Thornhill.) And in 2007, Ms. Chotalia attempted to convince Alberta's Attorney General to press hate incitement charges against the diplomats at the Calgary Chinese Consulate for distributing anti-Falun Gong propaganda.

BUT: she has also spoke before the Chumir Ethics Foundation, who currently stand in opposition to section 13 and its provincial counterparts, although they have done so in a manner far more responsible than Ezra and the rest of his crew. And earlier, as a member of the Alberta's Civil Liberties Association, she demanded "a clearer definition of what the RCMP can and cannot do during its investigations".

An interesting resume, and proof I suppose that a real human life can straddle all sides of an issue.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Justin Is A Great Canadian (And BCL Rules OK In The Soo)

"Someone should give Justin Tetreault - who filmed Harper's speech in the Soo and who used to blog as the Northern Ontario Liberal - the Order of Canada," adds Toronto blogger M.J. Murphy. "He may have saved his nation from four more years of Conservative rule."

I stand by this comment. JT exposed the Tory government's great lie--that they are really moderates, not just faking it for the newscasts. How can you do that if you can't show film of them in their natural habitat? In any case, there was apparently no "no camera" rule in place.

And I'll tell you what, the remarks by editorialists David Root and Mac Headrick are baloney. If Satan himself had walked up to these two and handed them the tape on the end of his pitchfork--and then said: "Hey fellas, let's get something straight, I am indeed Satan."--they would, as journalists, have accepted the tape and run with the story. Guarenteed.

Of course they would probably have bitched about Satan afterwards, behind his back.

How Many Teabags

...does it take to march on Washington?

estimated... at 1.5 million, but that was unlikely
300,000 expected excess of 75,000
50,000 attendees at about 10 a.m.
...approximately 60,000 to 70,000 people flooded Pennsylvania Ave
...25000 to 50000 demonstrators are expected to gather*

(*)Note that this last figure is based on organizers expectations as of September 9th. The idea that they would underestimate their own people by even a factor of five or ten is pretty unlikely.

And 50,000 to 75,000 is what U2 would play at a typical concert.

Harper Government Prepares To Hike Payroll Tax

Because that's what "overcollecting" the payroll tax amounts to. Certainly the effect is identical to a tax hike:

“If they're looking at reducing the deficit by increasing the will slow down the hiring process,” Mr. [Jason] Myers [president of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters] said.

In fact, it appears that Jim Flaherty will rely almost entirely on an increase in EI premiums to bring the country out of its current deficit position. That's it. There's nothing else in Thursdays economic update that could be accurately described as an element in some deficit reduction plan.

Interesting to see the NDP response to this going forward. Jack Layton seems willing to wear the purple sweater, to "make parliament work", as they say, in exchange for some tiny little political bone related to changes in the EI system. An increase to the payroll tax was precisely not what he had in mind.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dinner With Rob Anders

Looks like Rob Anders has attempted a little fence-mending, after trashing Calgary's Muslim community in one of his 10 per centers.

Anders attended a ramadan dinner at the Calgary Islamic Centre Friday night to try and defend his actions.

On the other hand, there was free food involved....

Bjørn Lomborg To Lose State Funding?

Conservative Party climate spokesman Per Ørum Jørgensen said the government should consider if it was paying for Lomborg to go to Greenland and tell people there that it was fine not to support a climate agreement at the conference in Copenhagen.

Jørgensen was referring to Lomborg’s trip to Greenland in August when he praised the country’s stance that if a climate deal did not allow developing nations to advance industrially it would not support it.

Lomborg has been providing the Denialist community with pseudo-science talking points for years now. My favorite is probably here, where he claims that things will work out fine for the polar bear if it only learns to to evolve backwards.

Wow That Was Quick!

The anonymous dude with the private basement war-room has already forged Stephen Harper's "Hidden Agenda Speech" into an attack ad:

Looks like the anonymous dude has managed to steal some half decent editing software, because the production values on this one are are definitely good enough for TIFF. But for me there's something missing. For me, any ad about Stephen Harper should include this portrait, in which his face is illuminated by the very flames of Hell itself, from which place he emerged so many years ago.
Get with it, anonymous dude.