Friday, April 30, 2010

Move To Repeal Section 13 Dead

Last fall there were hearings by the House of Commons Justice Committee to review the section with a mind to revise or repeal. This week Chief Commissioner Jennifer Lynch told me that the committee is no longer reviewing that matter and no other body in the federal government is taking it up. There is “an inquiry” in the Senate but one Senator tells me that amounts to nothing more than speeches and no matter how good the speeches are, nothing will come of it.

Ezra's response:

Although, frankly, I think that's his response to everything he doesn't like. As for the Senate thing, Senator Doug Finley was waiting for the "Right To Speak" petition to gather 100,000 signatures before moving on it. Total after about 2 weeks: 352.

And here's another picture of Ezra, just to be mean:

In The Next Election, The Tories Will Run Against EKOS

Demands for an overarching narrative behind a government/opposition party's actions have always seemed misplaced to me: usually pols toss whatever stones are close at hand. But if the Tories are going to make bashing Frank Graves this central to their rhetoric, it must mean they're running out of the good stuff. I mean...Frank who? Outside maybe 2,000 blogging nerds in the Cdn. politics ghetto of the blogging nerdosphere, whose ever heard of the guy?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

In The Realm Of The Non-Surprising

Offshore Oil Safety Awards Luncheon Postponed The Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) announced today that the 2010 Annual Industry SAFE Awards Luncheon scheduled for May 3, 2010 at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas has been postponed.

The ongoing situation with the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling accident has caused the MMS to dedicate considerable resources to the successful resolution of this event, which will conflict with holding this ceremony next week.

It is perhaps ironic that last year's winners included BP America Inc [who own Transocean Deepwater Horizon]...for their outstanding dedication and leadership in promoting improved medical care and evacuation capabilities for offshore facilities.
Meanwhile, to help out BP America, the U.S. government prepares to burn the ocean in order to save it.

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Says Novelty Cheques Not In Contravention, But Not Good

MPs' using novelty cheques with personal or party identifiers on them to enhance their profiles and improve their electoral prospects is not covered by the concept of "private interest" as outlined in the conflict of interest code for MPs:

3(2) do[oes] not extend to cover the type of interests alleged to have been furthered in the requests under consideration. Those interests, namely the enhancement of the Members’ profiles and the improvement of their electoral prospects, are partisan political interests.

So all those Tories who used giant novelty cheques with their name on them are in the clear.

Nevertheless, Ms. Dawson finds the increasing employment of "partisan or personal identifiers in making government announcements raises concerns that should be addressed." Helpful hints as to a means of doing so are provided by way of reference to Ontario's Government Advertising Act and Alberta's Government of Alberta Communications Policy.

So there you have it.

Another Machetegate Update

From the Gatineau police, translated by Dr. Dawg:

Gatineau Police Services are continuing their investigation into the case of an armed assault committed last April 5 outside a bar on the Promenade du Portage. Investigators now possess information about potential suspects, thanks to numerous details collected after the encounter from several persons in the days following the event.

Recall that three men had been surrounded by ten or so individuals outside a Promenade du Portage bar as they were leaving to return to their vehicle, and were the victims of an assault. A few minutes later, trying to leave the location, the three victims were spotted again and pursued by one of the assailants with a machete.

Release in French can be found here.

Hmm. The odds of me owing somebody money may have gone up bit. Background here. Although my French isn't really good enough to determine whether or not the actual release is still talking in terms of an "alleged assault". It still speaks of "potential" suspects (l’information sur des suspects potentiels), though.

Emergency Physicians On The Long Gun Registry

Dr. Alan Drummond from the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians and an assistant coroner in Perth, Ontario:

"As a rural emergency physician and coroner, I can safely say that I've never seen a handgun injury. I have however seen my share of injuries and deaths inflicted by rifles and shotguns. I have felt the pain of investigating a double murder-suicide as a result of escalating domestic violence. Suicide, contrary to public opinion, is often an impulsive gesture. Keeping guns away from depressed people is essential. In the assaults and murders I have seen that have involved guns, the perpetrators acted on impulse and the unsafely stored long gun was readily available. Gun-related injury is not just a Toronto problem that involves gangs. It has occurred in my small idyllic rural community and involved people that would otherwise seem quite normal. Registration of firearms is important to ensure accountability and compliance with safe storage."

Full release through the link.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wise Talk

...about the next couple of weeks from Steve V:

Let's keep it real, the tough guys are facing the most likely scenario of a reduced mandate, worst case an outright loss. Not ignoring the Liberal challenges in the polls, we're hardly facing a Conservative juggernaut, that should strike fear in the opposition.


...I don't care what the Conservatives say, nor do I buy this idea that this is the excuse Harper is looking for to go to the polls. Harper has one more crack, anything but a majority and the united Conservative veneer will evaporate. The Conservatives want to choose the timing, and they desperately want a managed campaign, wherein they set the election parameters. If would submit, the idea of kicking of a campaign, faced with thwarting the will of Parliament, supported by our constitutional "referee" is the least desirable scenario imaginable.

I'd add a couple of points. The immediate time-frame we're looking at is from now to mid-May, and I suspect the Guergis thing still won't be out of the news by then. Furthermore, the "A-word" is back in play because of the upcoming G-8 meeting and Bruinooge's divisive but go-nowhere Bill C-510.

And I can't see what other hot-button the gov. can press to offset all this stuff. Bill C-232 has had very little coverage, despite the attempt to use it to rile up the base. And an anti-CBC campaign? Please.

Finally, I really doubt caving on detainee docs will harm the Tories any more than engineering an election over the issue would. Remember, some of the mud is likely to splatter on the Paul Martin government. So why not?

Canadian Forest Loss Worse Than Brazil's?

There is a little bit of stats parsing going on here: Looking at the seven nations which have more than one million square kilometers of forest still remaining--that's Brazil, Canada, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Russia, and the United States--Brazil still led the pack in terms of area cleared, with about 33,000 square kilometers of both rainforest and tropical dry forest cleared per year, for a total of 165,000 square kilometers lost. That represents 3.6% of it's total forest cover at the start of the period examined.

However, though Canada and the United States lost less forest cover by area (160,000 and 120,000 square kilometers, respectively), in percentage terms Canada lost 5.2% of it's total and the US lost 6% of total forest cover.

Keep in mind, the global average for the time period was 3.5%.

More here.

Did Noah Wrap His Animals In Packing Foam, Or Is It All Bullshit?

Apparently, a bunch of Chinese and American Evangelical scientists have found Noah's Ark on Ararat. You can read the story and see some video through the link. The problem I have with it is that the "snow" inside the Ark looks quite a lot like Styrofoam beads. You can see it at about the 1:45-2:05 point on the video, but there's a still below. The white spheres are supposed to be ice/snow. Note especially on the vid where the "researcher" runs his hands through them. They don't deform or crumble at all.

And here's what I think they look like:

Note that Styrofoam snow is an old standby in Xmas tree decorating.

And here's a good explanation of what the "Ararat Anomaly" really is.

PS. Or the snow might be this stuff.

Update: Here's the vid. Look at the way the "snow" inside the "ark" behaves when the guy runs his hand through it just short of the two minute mark.

PPS. Can't see anyone's breath in the video either, even though they're on the cold slopes of Ararat. That's also how you can tell how the winter scenes were shot on an indoor set in old movies.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tory Senators Will NOT Support Bill C-232

...which would force the government to appoint bilingual Supreme Court Justices. Here is Manitoba Senator Donald Neil Plett, a Harper appointee:

I am very proud to say that our Government is guided by the principles of merit and legal excellence in the selection and appointment of judges to Canada’s superior and federal courts. Therefore, we will not support Mr. Godin’s Bill.

Bill C-232 would hinder regional representation by reducing the pool of highly qualified candidates from regions where fewer individuals are capable of hearing a case in both official languages.

Notice the use of "we"; I am assuming this means that the Tory Senators will be voting as a bloc, and not that Mr. Plett prefers the majestic plural.

A Poll For The Freeping

Do you think Canada should fund abortion services as part of a G8 initiative to improve the health of mothers in poor countries?

Sure its a pointless on-line poll. And, sure, if you rush over there and vote now, and the Globe reports the result as through it had really done a scientific sample, then you will have advanced a political agenda by aiding the spread of an untruth. So? Life's funny that way! What, did you trust fall off the back of a turnip truck?

PS. Doesn't look like you can vote twice just by deleting cookie files. Good thing, because that would be wrong.

Sea Monsters!

More On Gun Registry Poll

Yesterday, I wrote a brief post on a new Leger & Leger poll, conducted for the Coalition for Gun Control , showing widespread support for maintaining the gun registry. This survey seems contra results from earlier polls on the topic, and several readers expressed skepticism, especially over the Alberta subtotals, which had support in that province being much higher than one would expect. I got in touch the CGC's Wendy Cukier, and she responded by email as follows:

Here is another poll showing more albertans support the registry than oppose it....

The opposition is very vocal and often intimidates supporters, particularly in smaller communities so the public discourse is not generally reflective of public opinion. The gender split is significant (as we noted, if you add up the gun owners who support the registry with the people who live with gun owners and support the registry, they pretty much cancel out the gun owners who oppose the registry and the people living with gun owners who oppose the registry).
The polls also show that the debate is not between people who would allow guns to be owned with fewer restrictions and those who support the registry. Rather recent polls have shown that most Canadians would support much more stringent controls, half would ban firearms outright.

The results of polls also depend on how you ask the questions and the sequencing...We made an effort to outline the arguments in the questions.

Do let me know if you want anything else. If you surf the net you will find the results of specific polls diverge dramatically but generally speaking there are two gun control supporters for every opponent, however you define the issue.


So there you have it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Poll On Gun Registry

Twice as many Canadians (59 per cent) say the registration of rifles and shotguns should be maintained compared to those who say it should be scrapped (27 per cent). In every province but Manitoba and Saskatchewan more people support the registry than oppose it. The poll also shows that women support the gun registry (66 per cent) compared to men (51 per cent). More people living with gun owners (47 per cent) support the registry than oppose it (36 per cent) and a substantial proportion of gun owners (36 per cent) actually support the registry (versus 59 per cent opposed). The opponents may be louder and better financed, but among households with guns in Canada, votes are almost evenly split. Many politicians from rural areas seem to forget that women vote too.

All right, the Coalition for Gun Control commissioned the poll, but the detailed results are here, and to these non-expert eyes the questions don't look like they've been torqued. Its also a pretty big (1,506) sample. Maybe, as D-Day gets draws closer (bill C-391 may be up for a June vote), minds are beginning to focus, and change.

Food for thought, anyhow.

A Bit O' Farm Policy

Iggy appeals to rural Canada:

Canada needs a national food policy that emphasizes locally grown products and healthier food for children, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said Monday.

And from the press release:

Environmental farmland stewardship, by strengthening Environmental Farm Plans, improving fertilizer and pesticide management, and rewarding farmers for their role in clean energy production and protecting wildlife habitat;

Not really an area where I have much expertise, but it seems to me that the appeal to buying locally, insofar as it has any appeal to farmers, would appeal primarily to small farmers. For a 1,000 acre outfit growing wheat and etc., selling to the local market would presumably be an negligible part of their business. Which perhaps means appealing to the kind of hobby farmers we have here in rural Ontario, or perhaps Que. or B.C., but not the big guys on the prairies.

As to "rewarding farmers for their role in clean energy production", I hope this doesn't mean more ethanol subsidies.

PS. From the details doc:

Further, as part of the Liberal commitment to quadruple Canada’s clean energy production, a Liberal government will invest significantly in the development of clean energy from Canadian farms – biomass, wind, solar and geothermal energy.

So a bit more than ethanol subsidies.

Ezra Levant: In Flames And Engorged!

I really don't know what he's up to in this picture, but it looks like he's doing one of those orgasmic operatic howls Pavoratti might unleash when he's singing that part of Der Ring des Nibelungen where Frika blows Wotan.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

NDP Feeling Heat Over Gun Registry?

As Imp notices, Jack Layton is no longer "ruling out" whipping the New Democrat caucus over the final vote on Bill C-391. Hardly definitive language, but encouraging. Now that the NDP no longer has dissident Liberal MPs to hide behind, the hot potato lands in their lap, and I think they will look awful (at least to the progressive voters they share with the Libs.) if they allow Harper and Co. to pass this measure.

Which is why I think Iggy's laying the discipline on his own gang is good politics, even if the registry is repealed in the end. And even if you're a gun registry opponent that otherwise supports the LPoC: I mean, personal feelings aside, why would you not want somebody else to take the blame for its demise?

Bill 232 Pot Pourri

Bill C-232, An Act to amend the Supreme Court Act (understanding the official languages), would in Lorne Gunter's words:

...amend the Supreme Court Act to insist that all future appointees to our highest court be fluently bilingual, and not just fluent in conversational French and English, but in both official legalistic languages. It will make it a prerequisite for justices to be able to hear all cases without the aid of translation.

Forget whether the bill is a good or bad thing for a moment (although more on that towards the end), Gunter makes note of something interesting:

There is almost no chance of stopping Bill C-232. It passed the House of Commons late last month with all three opposition caucuses voting for it. Only the Tories voted against, but even they didn't kick up much of a fuss, so most Canadians were unaware the bill was even being discussed.

He's quite right: looking through the Open Parliament references , you find a whole three pages worth of MP debate on this bill, extending from about May of 2009 until the end of March 2010. Of the Tory Caucus, only Terence Young, James Lunney, Ed Fast, Jacques Gourde, and Steven Blaney bother to raise the government's objections. Furthermore, their arguments come slathered in rhetorical goo touting the Conservatives commitment to official bilingualism. This is an interesting contrast to the response from grassroots conservatives, which has veered towards the apocalyptic. So what's going on? Clearly, the government is walking on egg-shells over C-232.

One possibility, that Gunter raises but seems to discount, is that the Tory strategy is to let the bill die in the Senate. With a government plurality in the upper chamber, that seems a likely outcome, especially since the new Senators tend to vote like CPoC back-benchers, and since independent Senator Elaine McCoy has expressed her disapproval of the bill in fairly strong language.

Beyond that, there is some question as to how onerous the new requirement would actually be. Max Yalden writes that

[Dan] Gardner is not altogether accurate when he says that the proposed bill would "bar anyone who is not fully fluent" in the two languages from appointment to the Supreme Court. What it says is that a person may be appointed who "understands French and English without the assistance of an interpreter" which is a quite different, and less demanding, criterion.

This point gets expanded upon in Ms. McCoy's comments section:

Drastically less demanding. And I'm sure you know that simply understanding speech is quite different from the requirement to be fully bilingual, or be able to speak or write fluently. And you are too canny to confuse the difference between interpreters and translators. The bill has the very mild aim that the Supreme Court meet the same basic standard as all other courts, the Federal Court, Tax Court, Court of Appeal, etc., which have all had the same requirement for years now, with no noticeable problem. It is a standard the Supreme Court has itself approved and advanced, for all other Federal courts and institutions. And eight of the nine current Supreme Court justices currently meet that mild criterion of oral understanding, and it was nine of nine until recently, and I know of no-one that has accused those courts' composition as evidence of lower legal standards...

In any case, the line of defense being taken by some opponents of C-232--that it will exclude Westerners and/or Conservatives--from the bench (because appointees will now come disproportionately from the Liberal hotbed of central Canada) seems misguided. In so far as it seems like a demand for affirmative action on behalf of monolingual Albertans. The obvious response seems to be that if Westerners and/or Conservatives want to have their representatives on the Supreme Court, they should get up off their asses and learn French.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Helena Ascendant: Busty Hookers Rule OK!

Because when the next election is called, who wants to talk about those stinky issue thingys? Now I won't have to!

More Steyn Bashing

I am not an agent for the CJC (Canadian Jewish Congress); its just that somebody has to put the boots to Mark Steyn and his editors at Macleans, who have turned an icon of Canadian publishing into a rag, and Bernie Farber has been going after them with both feet lately. Quite justifiably, too. Here is a letter from him that will be appearing in their print edition, and this my favorite bit:

I would also note this statement from the CJC website:

Mr. Steyn has neither apologized nor even acknowledged his error and continues to post the fallacious column, without any clarification, on his private website.

Oh well! The Ceej must think they're special! Steyn never apologizes, no matter how big the screwup. For example, this column still remains on the Macleans website. In it, Steyn accuses CHRC investigator Dean Steacy of illegal acts, based on the say-so of a couple of Neo-Nazis. When the RCMP cleared Mr. Steacy, what did we get out of Macleans or Mr. Steyn? Nada.

And speaking of illegal acts, it look Shaidle's husband, in the context of his endless Muslim bashing, is down to publishing kiddy-porn. I'm not going to link to him, but it seems to me that he has gone to a very dark place, and then decided it wasn't dark enough.

Titus Andronicus: My New Favorite Band

Like punks playing Springsteen, with a bit of the Pogues thrown in, and more guitars than Lynerd Skynerd.

Although I would advise Mr. Stickles, who just might just be a Rawwk genius, to lose the beard. Beards and Rawwk don't mix. Jim Morrison died after he grew a beard. Think about it, son.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Facebook Threats Harming Sikhs

The World Sikh Organization (WSO) Chimes In Re Facebook Threats Against MP Ujjal Dosanjh,
claims Sikhs don't need this shit.

Doug Christie Gets Dinged

The lawyer to Canada's far right is out about $22,000. Most interesting bit from the decision: His [Christie's] average pre-tax income over the preceding five-year period was slightly over $50,000.

Anti-Dosanjh Facebook Site Still Up

It's called Ujjal Dosanjh is a Sikh traitor and, at this moment, its still there. The administrator (or perhaps ex-administrator, for under "Admins" it says "There are no admins left in this group!") has asked that no messages advocating violence be posted, and indeed the one demanding that Ujjal be shot ASAP seems to have disappeared. The police know and are monitoring. Get a look before it goes down the memory hole.

PS. I may update this over the course of the day.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Status Of Women Gettin' Lower

Once again Canadian women are faced with the Harper Conservatives' disregard for human rights, women's rights and workers' rights.

The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity was informed this week it had been refused project funding from the Status of Women Canada.

And, incidentally, the changes in legislation being complained about here:

The Public Service Alliance of Canada has felt a similar assault but at a federal level through the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act. This Act restricts the application of pay equity and allows for pay equity to be bargained away. It compels women to file complaints alone, without the support of their union and without the protection of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

...were introduced as part of the Tories ill-fated 2008 economic update, and one of the few changes they did not bother to recant, and which the opposition parties, Libs included, let pass (with the Libs excuse being that they would rescind the changes when they were back in office).

Andrew Weaver Strikes Back

Back in the Climategate's early days, before it was shown to be a crock drummed up by the right-wing noise machine, a number of MSM outlets thought they could print any lies they wanted about what Climate Scientists had said re the CRU hack and the subsequent controversies around the IPCC. In the UK this attitude resulted in Rosegate, and Leakegate. In Canada, naturally enough, the morally as well as financially bankrupt National Post was worst among offenders.

In the case of UVIC climatologist Andrew Weaver the NP said, among many, many other things, that Weaver had called for the resignation of IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, when he had not.

But now, Mr. Weaver has indicated that he will strike back!

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - April 21, 2010) - University of Victoria Professor Andrew Weaver, the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis, launched a lawsuit today in BC Supreme Court against three writers at The National Post (and the newspaper as a whole), over a series of unjustified libels based on grossly irresponsible falsehoods that have gone viral on the Internet.

First off, get 'em good, Mr. Weaver! And don't be gentle! With a few exceptions, the "journalists" at the Natty Post are godless, crud-eating vermin and the flaming death spiral that their profession is in, plus their paper's many, many unique management misteps, have rendered them starved of both ethics and lucre. Stomp 'em, baby! Stomp 'em! Help me realize my dream of sitting in a MacDonald's and beaning Jonathon Kay in the head with french-fries from the plastic clam-shell he just served me!

And, here's some possibly useful semi-legal advice, because The Post has already caved to this kind of thing before and because you note in your news release that your suit:

...also seeks an unprecedented Court order requiring the newspaper to assist Dr. Weaver in removing the defamatory National Post articles from the many other Internet sites where they have been re-posted.

Demand the copyright to the story they lied about you in!(*) Richard Warman, in his effort to fight the various slanders against him, has apparently been able to negotiate this from NP as part of their settlement. He has used his ownership of the slanderous piece to successfully demand that Free Dominon, for example, pull their version of it from their website on the basis of copyright law and, with much whining and complaining, FreeD have indicated that they will comply.

And remember: generally, when you sue the National Post, you win win. This guy even managed to wring a six-figure settlement out of them.

And, if you need donations to fund your suit, there's a Cdn $5 in my pocket! More if you can use my wife's points card!

Mr. Weaver's writ of summons can be found here.


(*) They have done this already, and I missed it: see par. 72, h) and i) in the writ of summons.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tim Uppal Finally Speaks Out

...condemning the implicit threats threats aimed at Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh or provincial Liberal MLA Dave Hayer in advance of the annual Vaisakhi Parade in Surrey, B.C.:

Mr. Speaker, last week marked the Sikh celebration of Vaisakhi, which is the celebration of the birth of Sikhism as a collective faith.

Thousands of Canadians are celebrating throughout the country. For Sikhs it is an opportunity not only for celebration but for community service, which is a foundational principle of the faith. Sikhs have a long and proud history of contributing to the community and to this country, such as Sikh Canadian soldiers serving in our armed forces and in Afghanistan.

Sikhism preaches remembrance of God, truthful living and selfless service.

It is therefore extremely saddening that a handful of individuals have tainted this celebration by indicating possible violence and glorifying some of Canada's listed terrorist organizations. This is not the proper way to convey a message.

This government stands with the Canadian Sikh community in condemning those individuals who have overshadowed this celebration of shared Canadian and Sikh values of equality, humanity and justice for all.

Good to see, if a bit late in coming.

And from the parade organizers, something resembling an apology.

Robberies Since The Advent Of The Long Gun Registry

The green line represents the date it came into effect. From here.

Although, to be fair, what % of robberies are committed with a long gun?

PS. Most recent stats on this can be found here.

Still Batting Under .500

So retired police officer Frank Chauvin has finally returned his snow-flake to protest Henry Morgentaler being named to the Order of Canada two years ago. He'd originally promised to do this back in 2008, but then seemed to have a change of heart. Yesterday, though, Chauvin made it official, and the GG accepted his resignation.

For anyone whose counting, nine recipients of the award have threatened to return their award over the Morgentaler appointment. Mr. Chauvin is only the fourth to have actually done so.

PS and possible whoopsy! This story adds a couple more to my list of resigners. Tough nuts; I'm not changing the header.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Garry Breitkreuz: Iggy Needs A Beating

His call to physical violence can be found here. Get your screen-shots now.

“The government prorogued Parliament to realign the Senate committees so our party could finally pass some legislation,” explains Breitkreuz. “Now that it’s finally possible to garner Senate support to scrap the registry, the Liberal leader is trying to completely change the game in the House of Commons. It’s an act of desperation that insults the intellect of Canadians. His true colours are showing, and if his caucus has any integrity, those colours should be black and blue.”

And also, according to Garry, the cops can be bought:

Pro-registry groups such as the Coalition for Gun Control and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) are politically-motivated lobby groups that derive financial support from pro-registry sources.

“Their positions are tainted and suspect in my view, because their endorsement can be bought,” says Breitkreuz. “CGI Group is a major registry software contractor, and a major contributor to the CACP coffers. Could it be that CACP support for the registry is financially motivated?

Damn. This guy must be one of those principled conservatives = crazy.

I've Never Understood Baseball

It seems to have changed since I used to watch it.

NDP On The Gun Registry

Now that the Liberal caucus seems unified around Iggy's proposed reforms of the long-gun registry, that still leaves the opposition parties a few votes shy of what they need to keep the thing alive. Will these come from the NDP, who lost a full dozen MPs to the government position last time around?

From Taber in The Globe:

NDP Leader Jack Layton had allowed his MPs to vote their conscience on this issue – 12 of them did just that last November. Yesterday, however, he would not commit to allowing a free vote again when the Hoeppner bill comes back to the House.

“Well that’s a big if. I’ll address it then,” he told reporters when asked if the NDP MPs who voted against it were not satisfied with the changes to the registry that he wants to bring in.

More slippery stuff in the NP:

NDP leader Jack Layton said his party will propose amendments to Ms. Hoeppner's bill, but he would not comment on whether he will whip his MPs to vote against the bill.

Meanwhile, NDP MP Peter Stoffer, who voted with the government last time out, tells his leader to get boned.

Not much hope from that direction, I'm afraid.

Name That Jewish Blogger

Bernie Farber tees off on...well...someone...during his Sabbath address at Shaar shalom synagogue. His topic is Tolerance and the Jewish concept of slander (known as motsi ra), and more specifically the incidents in the wake of Machetegate, including the blogosphere response to comments made on the topic by the CJC's Ontario regional director Len Rudman:

While Len was not misquoted, his comment was not placed in the clearest context, and this provided a certain blogger with the opportunity to engage in a vicious exercise of motsi ra. According to this blogger, Len and CJC were so intent on riding our censorship hobby-horse that we were incapable of seeing this for what it was: a physical attack on two students. Our view of the universe was so limited that all we could do was talk about the connection between words and actions. Len was, in the loud and proud words of this blogger, “too stupid to be a Jew”. He had other things to say as well, including derisive comments on a perceived physical disability that he wrongly claimed Len had.

Did I mention that the blogger in question is Jewish? Is this the way that one member of the community publicly speaks of another? By engaging in ad hominem attacks? By insulting another person’s intelligence, by referring to physical characteristics? This is the sort of thing one expects to find in the schoolyard. The behaviour is no less acceptable because the practitioner is in his 40s rather than 14. Indeed this was not a “one-off”. This same Jewish blogger who upholds the rights of neo-Nazis to malign Jews, has referred to other Jewish professionals as “liars, cowards, moochers” and has made consistent references to me as a “Nazi book-burner.”

And here comes the big windup:

He is not the only one. The blogosphere is sadly replete with bullies, jerks, racists, homophobes and bigots. But here my friends is the kicker, these same racist, bigots and misogynists all “love” Israel and as a result there are those in our community who will tolerate them even accept them. Accepting those who engage in motsi ra can never be OK….ever!

Again, no names are mentioned in the sermon, but I suspect the guy Bernie is referencing looks something like this.

PS. There's also a nice little shot at Israeli drivers. I thought they'd got better over the years, but maybe not.

Oxburgh Panel And David Hand Apologize To Michael Mann

That's not spoken anywhere in the Oxburgh report's newly added addendum, but if you look at how stats specialist David Hand's words were torqued, for example here (and this is a fairly mild example):

Hockey stick' graph was exaggerated


[Hand] said the [hockey stick] graph, that showed global temperature records going back 1,000 years, was exaggerated - although any reproduction using improved techniques is likely to also show a sharp rise in global warming. He agreed the graph would be more like a field hockey stick than the ice hockey blade it was originally compared to.

...then it the best interpretation of this:

Addendum to report, 19 April 2010

For the avoidance of misunderstanding in the light of various press stories, it is important to be clear that the neither the panel report nor the press briefing intended to imply that any research group in the field of climate change had been deliberately misleading in any of their analyses or intentionally exaggerated their findings. Rather, the aim was to draw attention to the complexity of statistics in this field, and the need to use the best possible methods.

Nice to see that the Oxburgh bunch is not willing to let its message get spun.

And, by the way, Michael Mann is not to be fucked with. If someone attacks his work (on, say, Fox News), he defends it in real time, within a news cycle or two. Other climate scientists sit there and endure it.

Other climate scientists should be more like Mike. It would be easier on us non-scientists trying to help them out.


Monday, April 19, 2010

A Whipped Lib. Vote On The Gun Registry?

“Let me be perfectly clear: the Liberal Party opposes the Conservative government’s effort to scrap the gun registry altogether and we will vote against the Hoeppner bill at third reading in the House of Commons,” said Mr. Ignatieff. “Instead, we’re proposing sensible changes that address the legitimate concerns of our rural caucus, while upholding the integrity of the gun registry.”

If this means that the Lib caucus will be made to show up for the vote, and made to vote no on C-391, then kudos. If it means less than that, then I call Bullshit.

As for the proposed reforms, which involve streamlining the system, decrimalizing first time offences, and waiving fees--they're all fine and hopefully will appease the concerns of Liberals from rural ridings. But at the end of the day there has to be a registry there to reform.

Update: CTV interprets this statement to mean that the Lib. caucus will be required to vote against C-391.

The Next Manouver In The Speechy Wars

So I listened to the Roadkill Radio interview with Senator Doug Finlay to get a glimpse what his plans were going forward with respect to the Senate Inquiry into Section 13 of the CHRA. I discovered that, once this petition gathers 100,000 signatures, the Senator will present it to parliament and Rob Nicholson will either introduce a government bill in the house repealing S.13, or Finlay will introduce a private member's bill in the Senate.

Thus far, after a little under a week in existence, the "Right to Speak" has gathered 287 signatories, including Galactus, and the Facebook site a whole 76 members.

If the revolution is coming, its coming awful slow.

PS. Don't bother with Roadkill Radio. Those are brain cells you won't get back.

Uppal Gone AWOL

Big talk from the Tory MP on Israeli Apartheid week, but when Sikh militants parade around Surrey and actually threaten Canadian politicians...the sounds of silence.

Time to step up and testify, brother!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yokel-Hoop's Effect On Carbon Emissions

O/T Michael Tobis, and some caveats from his comment section:

Some of it is saved, much is merely postponed. Some will cancel vacations and business trips, but the people stuck away from home will ultimately go back and many vacationers and business travelers will still fly at a later date. They may be on flights with higher load factors, they may choose alternate modes of transport, but I'd like to see an estimate of the net emissions permanently avoided.

I hear Europe's high-speed trains are packed, which would presumably result in an overall decrease in emissions, although John Cleese isn't helping. And here's a cool picture of "Yokel Hoop" (read Tobis for the ref.)

The Most Important Part

...of Mark Steyn's latest, True North strong not free, was not actually written by Mark. It's this bit added at the end by an appalled (one would hope) editor:

Editor’s Note: In this column, “True North strong not free,” (April 12, 2010), quotes were attributed to the Canadian Jewish Congress that came from The Mississauga News. The CJC had posted the quotes on their website under the heading ‘Articles of Interest.’ Subsequent commentary and satire in the column was linked to those quotes. Maclean’s regrets any confusion they might have caused by attributing certain positions directly to the CJC.

The Mississauga News article, if you want to read the whole thing, is here. Steyn's reference came through Scaramouche, who was operating under the assumption that if the CJC posted something on their website, they must be in agreement with it. Steyn either accepted that assessment or, more likely, didn't give a shit. One wonders, though, what Macleans thinks of its editorial staff having to follow this guy around like a dog owner with gloves and a baggy.

In any case, you don't really need to read the Steyn piece. Its his typical Muslims blah blah, political correctness blah blah blah, with a bit of trash talking re the CJC thrown in for good measure. He really needs to find a new minority groups to bash; his schtick is getting tired.

And while we're on the topic of Mark Steyn, the folks at Media Culpa have turned uncovering the man's many instances of self-plagiarism into a cottage industry:

Whatever it’s called, there are more identical or similar (and apparently interchangeable) paragraphs. You can be chugging along through the same 500 words or so, and bump into Lloyd Axworthy in one version, and Bill Gates in the other.


And copyright? It’s nice that his publishers are willing to share (and maybe pay twice), but isn’t all this communal property stuff a bit - well, leftist?

Finally, a bit OT (but not much), I swapped a few emails this week with Isabelle, Poirier of the Gatineau police. It turns out I was right: there was indeed a third person with Nick Bergamini and Mark Klibanov the night they were allegedly attacked by a mob of machete wielding Arabs outside Le Volt. As of Friday, though, there was no more further information on the incident to be had. Updates, when they become available, should appear here but perhaps, since the "attack" seems to already have passed into the realm of legend, they don't matter.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

If Saskatchewan Does Away With Its Human Rights Tribunal'll force victims of discrimination to pay far more than most potential claims would be worth in order to get their complaints heard by anybody who can make a binding order.

And that isn't an unintended consequence, its the intended one.

An Interesting Thought

Considering the turmoil in Quebec politics right now, Bernier could be setting himself up for a departure from federal politics to the provincial scene? Certainly the ADQ could use a new leader and a much higher profile.

If you remember, back in Feb. 2009 I managed to break a small story about how a couple of ADQers had launched a drive to recruit Maxime for party leader. Everyone thought this was some kind of crackpot thing or an outright hoax, but it turned out to be true. Could, one year later, Maxime be reconsidering his options and eyeing a jump into Quebec politics?

If so--talk about planning ahead. Gérard Deltell was installed not six months ago, and the next provincial election won't be held until 2012. Usually, in the ROC at least, you give a new leader at least two elections before you pitch him, so Maxime's turn would probably not come until the mid 20-teens. Is he capable of playing "the long game" for this long?

Your Daily Nazi: Marc Lemire = FdaJEWS

As the moves to cripple human rights commissions and/or repeal section 13 of the Canadian Rights Act kind of burble along, and Marc Lemire makes his occasional appearance in the media spot-light, its useful to remind people that he is less a free speech hero and more the guy that took over the white power group Heritage Front after Wolfgang Droege retired.

And today this reminder comes in the form of transcripts of an Internet chat session from Sept. 2001 between Lemire and Tri-City Skins member James Richardson. Its entertaining and enlightening stuff, and well worth a read. But I have just one question--what did Lemire's Internet handle--"FdaJews"--mean? Did he want to "free" them?

Anyway, here it is.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Warning! Self-Loathing Frenchy!

Maxime Bernier launches CPoC leadership bid by appealing to Alberta Rednecks, trashing own province!

If you think equalization payments=welfare=a sign of cultural inferiority, Maxime is your guy!

Maternal Health Compromise Emerges

Minister of International Cooperation Bev Oda told reporters, according to the Vancouver Sun, that Canada does not expect the other G8 countries to follow Canada's approach to promoting maternal health. "I've just told my colleagues that every country has experience, and we're asking them all to focus within a framework," she said. "However, they will be free and flexible to choose the best way that they will contribute to the effort."

So, in the end, both access to safe abortions and access to contraceptive measures will be in the G-8 plan; Canada will be allowed to direct its particular funds towards some other part of the "framework". This is the political equivalent of a fig-leaf. I've explained how little it actually means here.

Missed Him By That Much...

In which Tory MP Peter Goldring tells how he foiled an attempt by the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (CAPPD) to recruit him into its ranks and then snap a picture of him actually performing an abortion!!!

Luckily, he saw it coming and ran away screaming.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rod Bruinooge Will Get His Abortion Debate

The text for Rod Bruinooge's Bill C-510 is now available here. One possible issue: could "coerce" apply to what abortion providers tell their patients. In other words, is the bill an attempt to intimidate abortion providers?

Well, it's definition of "coercion" is:

“coercion”, in respect of an abortion, means conduct that, directly or indirectly, causes a female person to consent to an abortion that she would otherwise have refused. A person coerces an abortion if he or she knows of or suspects the pregnancy of a female person and engages, or conspires with another to engage in, conduct that is intentionally and purposely aimed at directing the female person who has not chosen to have an abortion to have an abortion, including but not limited to the following conduct:

(a) committing, attempting to commit, or threatening to commit physical harm to the female person, the child or another person;

(b) committing, attempting to commit or threatening to commit any act prohibited by any provincial or federal law;

(c) denying or removing, or making a threat to deny or remove, financial support or housing from a person who is financially dependent on the person engaging in the conduct; and

(d) attempting to compel by pressure or intimidation including argumentative and rancorous badgering or importunity;

but does not include speech that is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

And he's 2nd on the List for the Consideration of Private Members’ Business so I suspect that, despite Mr. Harper's pledge not reopen the debate over abortion rights, we will in fact be arguing over this legislation at some length before the end of 2010.

Thank you Mr. Bruinooge. Come taste the wedge.

Another New Thing That Is Out There Rod Bruinooge's Bill C-510 ("Roxanne's Law"), which would would give pregnant women the ability to press charges when someone is trying to coerce them into having an unwanted abortion. Another go nowhere private member's bill which, if ever passed, would tinker around the edges of the abortion issue but in reality is there to show the Tories SoCon true believers that the gov. hasn't entirely abandoned its principles (just shipped them off to Winnipeg South)

A New Thing That Is Out There

A "new organization" is launching a petition to appeal Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. They're keeping their identities a secret for the time being, probably because they could be exposed as far-right whack jobs if and when they "come out". So far, petition signers include "wild" Bill Whatcott, one A. Gretsky, and the same old crew from FreeD. Apparently, they've found an MP that will formally introduce their petition if they get enough names.

PS. Or the folks behind it could be Alexandra Hutton (former Conservative party employee) and a group of students.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Buckets, P.I.?

Last night, I came across this cryptic post from Buckets:

My guess?

Fingerprints on the cocaine baggy.

But it all made sense this morning:

The mysterious third party who uncovered serious allegations that led Prime Minister Stephen Harper to toss MP Helena Guergis out of caucus is a private investigator, CTV News has learned.

Police sources say the licensed private eye contacted a Conservative Party lawyer in Toronto, and expressed concern about a potential threat of blackmail arising from allegations about the purchase and use of drugs.

It has not been confirmed who may have purchased or used the drugs in question, or who may have been prone to blackmail.

In the absence of confirmation, lets apply reasoning. Rahim's relationship to the white powder is already in the public domain, so how he would be prone to blackmail is mysterious. Hmmm.


Gerard Kennedy's Hair Re-Achieves Transfinite Sexxxiness!

Gerard's hair is in fine form these days. I'm thrilled he's letting it grow out a bit. The weird thing is, I think he's starting to look like me, if I ever got that tooth fixed.

CRU Cleared Again

Story about Lord Oxburgh's inquiry into CRU practices here. Some excerpts:

The scientists at the centre of the row over the hacked climate emails have been cleared of any deliberate malpractice by the second of three inquiries into their conduct.


The report concluded: "We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal."


The panel was not tasked specifically with looking at the way CRU handled access to its data and Freedom of Information requests from members of the public but it commented that there were "a host of important unresolved questions" arising from the application of FoI to academic research. "We agree with the CRU view that the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties should stay with those who collected it," the report said. It did criticised the government's policy of charging for access to data. "This is unfortunate and seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in government."

So, this puts Oxburgh's panel at odds with the Parliamentary Inquiry, which seems to want the data handed out willy-nilly. Furthermore, a number of climate scientists have noted and expanded upon the issue raised in this last couple of (bolded) sentences, including James Annan:

Let me introduce you to the NERC policy on Intellectual Property. Short version: "Who owns the intellectual property? We do." The UK Ministry of Defence (who run UK Met Office and therefore the Hadley Centre) is orders of magnitude worse in its defensive and bean-counting approach to the supply of, well, just about anything that they have and anyone else wants. The bottom line is (or certainly was, when I worked there) that NERC employees are under pressure to sell anything that can be sold. And if someone asks for something, that means it must surely be worth something, right? Of course this is an attitude that the scientists - who know that they can't really get any significant price for their work - have always implacably opposed, but we don't really count for much when the politicians are demanding budget cuts and percentage returns on investment.

There were some complaints about CRU's statistical practices:

The panel did raise doubts about the statistical input into scientific papers authored by researchers at CRU. "We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians," it concluded.

...which the University of East Anglia responds to as follows:

The Report points out where things might have been done better. One is to engage more with professional statisticians in the analysis of data. Another, related, point is that more efficacious statistical techniques might have been employed in some instances (although it was pointed out that different methods may not have produced different results). Specialists in many areas of research acquire and develop the statistical skills pertinent to their own particular data analysis requirements. However, we do see the sense in engaging more fully with the wider statistics community to ensure that the most effective and up-to-date statistical techniques are adopted and will now consider further how best to achieve this.

But otherwise, a clean bill of health. Of course, the UEA commissioned this inquiry itself, so there will be cries of "white-wash" from the usual suspects who are, at this very moment (taking into account the Penn State investigation of Mann), batting 0-for-3. That will be nothing but sour grapes on their part.

The entire report can be read here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spot Helena!

The further to the right, the further "back" in the back-benches you are. The real plan is here.

No Word On The Number Of Busty Hookers...

...but one salad

roasted tomato with lollo rosso bouquet, tomato vinaigrette, manchego frico, avocado mousse and sherry gastrique Sassafraz restaurant, where Helena Guergis dined with Nazim Gillani, the financier at the centre of the Jaffer affair, will run you $14. And the "rare Bluefin Tuna" costs you $35. Sweet. Eating a threatened species.

I wonder who wound up footing the bill?

Loyalty Over Talent

Impolitical chronicles the adventures of Dimitri Soudas, Harper's new "communications director", and a sad tale of public relations bungling it is.

To gloat a bit, I was the guy to figure out that Dimitri had mistaken Iggy for Gordon Smith at the G8 summit in Italy. But, in any case, if your purpose in life is to make fun of the Harper government--and mine is--your job just got a little easier.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

They Get By With A Little Help From their Friends

The pollster nobody believes in the papers nobody reads.

We all know how Ipsos-Reid works--CanWest's paid samplers, hence the CPoC's paid samplers.

Just ignore them

The Green Party/Tory Connection

Several polls over the past few years (but none that I can find right now, sorry) have suggested that a fair percentage of Torys would make the Green Party their second voting choice after the CPoC or provincial counterpart. I've always wondered about the logic behind that choice.

Now, Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner makes it all make sense:

Schreiner says even though Simcoe Grey has pretty much always been blue, 11.4 percent of the vote in 2007 in the riding was for the Greens.

He tells us many people in the riding have been receptive to the Green Party's pledge to support small businesses and family farmers as well as promote local food.

Indeed, Schriener's creds as an entrepreneur all involve bringing Ontario farm products from their rural producers to urban consumers. A little bit blue, a little bit green. Reminds me a bit of David Orchard who, if you will remember, wound up an LPoC member towards the end of his political career.

...which is to say that there's nothing in Mr. Schreiner's shtick that couldn't be co-opted by a federal or provincial Liberal party. Hint hint.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bill Murdoch On What's Wrong With Toronto...

...and why he would kick it out of Tim Hudak's Ontario:

Q How does the Toronto mentality differ from, say, the Ottawa mentality?

A I think a lot of the cities like Ottawa and London have been settled with people from rural Ontario. Toronto's been settled by people from out of Canada. So it's a whole different, multicultural city

I think what Bill means is that he came to town once and seen hisself a neegro. But maybe I'm over-analysing.

And on the capital city of the new Ontario:

One guy wrote it up, here in my own riding, that we'd have it in Bognor. That's where I live ... and we have a new bridge.... We didn't have a bridge for a long time and we argued and fought about it and finally they built us one.

So, in conclusion, if Hillier retires the PCPO has a substitute redneck to come in off the bench.

Canadian Bar Association on Section 13

Here is their submission to the Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in regards to Section 13 (the hate speech provision) of the Canadian Human Rights Act. All common-sense stuff, and not particularly surprising; 13 itself is okay, but they recommend removing section 54(1)c and (1.1) (the penalty provisions) from the act, which seems to be the legal consensus as far as one exists.

Don't know if they've already presented this to the committee, but my understanding is that its already moved on to other issues, so maybe they won't get a chance. One interesting bit:

The Special Report recommends that the Act be amended to permit cost awards in cases where the Tribunal is of the opinion that a party has abused the Canadian Human Rights tribunal process. The CBA endorses this recommendation and recent experience suggests it is overdue. In its submission to the Canadian Human Rights Act Review, the CBA advocated that the Act be amended to empower the CHRT “to award costs in exceptional circumstances, which would include claims or defences found to be frivolous.”27 The power to award costs is a discretionary one and would be exercised only after all the circumstances of a particular case are taken into account.

The CHRT already has the "residual power" to award costs under such circumstances--and indeed some of its provincial counterparts have occasionally employed such powers--but the CBA would make it explicit.

America's Fiercist Climate Blogger Reams Canadian Oil Company

That's Joe Romm from Climate Progress for the uninitiated, on Husky Energy, who are sticking the following advert on Canadian gas pumps:
Here’s how “Mother Nature” makes her fuel...

First, you take some heavy oil or tar sands from Canada. If you’re a Canadian oil producer, you call tar sands “oil sands” (see Memo to all: They ain’t “oil sands”). Everyone else can call it the “biggest global warming crime ever seen.” See also Canadian bishop challenges the “moral legitimacy” of tar sands production.

Then you refine it into gasoline and add “up to 10% ethanol.” Of course, this is the not ethanol from low-carbon, sustainably grown cellulosic biomass:

Cough! [Bullshi!t] Cough! It’s made from the most environmentally-destructive form of oil known to humankind with a little environmentally-questionable food-based biofuel thrown in.

Mother Nature needs to hire a good attorney.

Joe's got a new book out, by the way.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Well, There's Irony For You

Ann Coulter flees, but Doug Christie, "partially funded" by Paul Fromm, slips into U-of-O unnoticed. Unlike Coulter's organizers, I suppose, Mr. Fromm is smart enough to successfully rent a room.

And, come to think of it, Doug Christie sounds a little more coherent than Ann.

Out, Out Cursed Logo!

Twenty-four hours later, the CPoC logo is still in the address bar on Rahim Jaffer's website. It's so hard to let go sometimes.

What Were All Those Other Reporters Doing?

Interesting stuff from Jonathan Stray of the Nieman Journalism Lab. These are the people who gave us that nifty research on "The Meme Tracker", which revealed the "shape" of the news cycle and the back-&-forth between between blogs and MSM:

Jonathan Stray did a very smart analysis for Nieman Journalism Lab, looking at a universe of 800 stories about the alleged involvement of two Chinese universities in hacking attacks on Google. His findings were striking: 800 stories = 121 non-identical stories = 13 stories with original quotes = 7 fully independent stories.

Stray coded the 121 non-identical stories that had been clustered together by Google (the clustering algorithms are good, but not perfect – nine stories were unrelated to the specific case of these two universities) and looked for the appearance of novel quotes, which he considered the “bare minimum” standard for original reporting. (Interesting – it’s the same logic that led Jure Leskovec to track quotes to track media flow in MemeTracker.) Only 13 of the stories contained quotes not taken from another media source’s report. The essence of Stray’s piece is the question, “What were those other 100 reporters doing?” The answer, unfortunately, is that they were rewriting everyone else’s stories.

Stray's actual study can be found here.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Rahim Jaffer's Website Up And Down Like The Drawers Of A Busty Hooker

Right now its down. Who knows when it shall erect itself next? I wonder what content is being erased, expunged, and ret-conned even as we speak?

SEE Rahim's Busty Hookers!

The women were supplied by 23-year-old Jasmine of high class escort agency Cachet Ladies.

Jasmine herself seems to be this one, but there are plenty of others. For a laugh, readers with art talents might want to "shop" their three favorite, or perhaps the three bustiest (although which three are bustiest in this context might be difficult to determine) into the photo of Rahim below:

H/T Jimbobby, who's right: I'm losing a step.

Oh Joy! More On The Younger Dryas

As an offshoot of my interest in Anthropogenic Global Warming, I have gradually developed an interest in the Younger Dryas Event, when something 13,000 years ago threw a slowly warming Northern Hemisphere back into glacial conditions for another thousand years. This, as an aside, is the event that served as model for the "climate tipping point" that causes so much trouble in The Day After Tomorrow. I've been particularly interested in the Younger Dryas Impact theory, which suggests that a comet exploding over the Laurentide ice sheet triggered the event. Although this theory seems to have been fairly thoroughly refuted.

In any case, the most common explanation of the event is that, as the ice-sheets retreated North, ice-dams holding in the Eastern edge of pro-glacial Lake Agazziz gave way and spewed vast amounts of cold water through the St. Lawrence river, where it caused a shut-down of the North Atlantic thermocline (sometimes called the great ocean conveyor) which carries warm water Northward via the Gulf Stream. This in turn caused Northern Hemisphere temperatures to plunge, glaciers to advance again, and so on and so forth.

Now, however, a new theory suggests a quite different route for this pulse of cold water. Instead of running East,

...geologists now believe they have found traces of this flood, revealing that cold water from North America's dwindling ice sheet poured into the Arctic Ocean, from where it ultimately disrupted climate-warming currents in the Atlantic.

In any case, you can read the whole thing through the link. As an aside, Nature, the magazine in which this new research was published, has just moved its news site outside of its pay wall. Lotsa fun there.

Machetegate: A Quick Update

As of this moment, we have 40 MSM stories on the adventures of Nick Bergamini and Mark Klibanov and no new information. There is, however, this mysterious post on Mr. Klibanov's Facebook page:
The knife vs. machete distinction is not so important--but a three on three fight? Where did the third guy come from suddenly? He's definitely talking about the same incident; his link goes to Bergamini's original account.

PS. Tim Hudak has denounced the alleged attack, and the Jewish Defense League (JDL) is off to Ottawa to knock some heads together.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Canadian Coalition For Democracies...RIP?

One of my favorites sources of Conservative crazy, the Canadian Coalition For Democracies (CCD) appears to have gone T.U. Its website is dead, and not too long ago (around late 2009, if I'm reading the history of edits page correctly) its wiki entry shifted from present to past tense.

All hail the CCD. Once supported by the likes of Tony Clement (formerly the head of CCD's Advisory Board) and Peter Kent, it was very, very good to this blogger.

All Hail The Northern Sierra Madre Forest Monitor Lizard!

A new, six foot monitor lizard discovered in The Philippines. It lives in trees and eats fruit, and is apparently itself good eating.

Another news story with more pics here. More BCLSB Monitor Lizard action here.

On Martin's Fix

Well, let's get one thing straight. This is not, contra National Post writer John Ivison, the Liberals' problem. It is the government's; as of this moment, the Harper Tories have a maternal health plan that does not include family planning measures, and this summer they will attempt to foist it upon the other seven members the G8. Given the U.K. and American response thus far, the odds are very much tilted against their finding success.

Here's where MP Keith Martin's "fix", first reported last week in The Mark, comes in:

Mr. Martin appears to have found the solution. He said Stephen Harper should embrace the World Health Organization’s position of supporting women’s access to safe abortions in those countries where it is legal. Yet he recognized many members of the Conservative government have their own opinions that have to be respected. He suggested Mr. Harper could square his opposition to abortion while still implementing a maternal health plan by proposing each G8 country take the lead on one of the treatments.

“For example, Canada could be the lead nation on training healthcare workers and micronutrients, another country could focus on providing medications, another on access to family planning and safe abortions etc. This would enable Mr. Harper to move forward with an effective plan of action while being sensitive to the views on abortion of some of his members,” he said.

This, as I wrote at the time, is the solution employed by the George Bush II administration under similar circumstances--ie under similar pressures from its own political right flank.

Aside from problems of implementation--another state would have to come forward and offer to pay for third world abortions, which may not be so easy given the domestic political pressures within various G8 countries--there is a larger issue at stake: contra Ivison, and with all due respect to Mr. Martin, Martin's Fix is not a commonsense solution or a reasonable compromise. It constitutes an accounting gimmick, a butt covering exercise.

The G8's situation today might be visualized as follows: everyone throws their maternal care money into one big pot, and it is spent willy-nilly on the various "treatments" Martin specifies. Under the Martin proposal, each country would throw its money into one of several little pots, labelled "medications" or "family planning" or etc., and their money would be spent just on that one medical option.

Well, for one thing, how is it possible to ensure that, once the money have been turned over to the G8, it remains in its particular pot? How is it possible to determine if, for example, a dollar from Canada has wound up paying for a box of condoms in Kinshasa? It seems to me that it isn't. And, more importantly, in the end Canada's initiative still winds up paying for abortions in foreign lands, despite Harper's insistence that it not do so. Martin's plan, that is, simply provides a fig-leaf for a government climb-down.

Now, for progressives like myself, that's fine. Canadian policy as practised by several government's, both Tory and Liberal, does not change. The problem for Harper will come from his own political base, from the true believers for whom abortion is a make or break issue.

Will they allow themselves to be fooled by Martin's gimmick, which essentially gives them nothing?