Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Finally, NDP Begins To Question Jack Layton's Leadership

...on Bill C-391:

Manitoba NDP MP Jim Maloway said he was not consulted by Layton or anyone else on the proposed bill.
"I got a heads-up on Saturday that there would be announcement by the leader Monday morning on the gun registry," said Maloway.

Regardless, said Maloway, he still plans to vote with Hoeppner.

"Nothing there changes my view on the long-gun registry," said Maloway.

He also said Layton's proposal is too little too late.

"This bill just went through committee last spring," said Maloway. "Where were all these amendments at the committee?"

If you read closely here, it sounds as though Maloway is admitting that Layton's new bill will not derail the vote on C-391. Furthermore, read between the lines and it sounds like Maloway is saying that he will not co-operate in the bringing forward of Jack's new "compromise" bill. Looks like the NDP leader has lost control of the debate and his own caucus.

So, is his gun registry stance Jack Layton's worst political mistake in a career that hasn't seen too many of them?

Iggy's Been Working Out

I've written once or twice about how Iggy should exit his summer tour physically: should he sport an Alberta beer gut, thus appealing to Der Volk and maybe making inroads into the Tory strongholds out West, or remain lean and efficient like the Eastern Liberal Hawk that seems to be his default setting?

And I'm proud to announce that it looks like Iggy's managed a classic Liberal compromise: nobody would dare call the man a scrawny elitist, but there's obviously a rowing machine at the back of that bus.

And he's been filing his fangs back a little, so as not to hurt anyone when he's baby-kissing. That too is good.

Victory will surely be ours.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Da Wymman O' Canada: We Supported Jack Layton

...and all we got was this lousy ribbon.

Pity when your legacy on gun control winds up being a half's penny worth of cheap fabric.

Jack's Latest Feint

Mr. Layton is in a difficult spot: 12 of his MPs from rural ridings have told their constituents that they will oppose the registry. The votes of those 12 MP, when added to those of the 144 members of the Conservative caucus plus the two independents who normally vote along Conservative lines, would spell the failure of the motion to kill Ms. Hoeppner’s bill.

But Mr. Layton, who represents a downtown Toronto riding, personally supports the registry, as do other members of his caucus from urban constituencies. So he is proposing to introduce his own legislation – possibly in the form of a private-member’s bill – to address rural concerns.

You're kidding? A new bill wouldn't come up for a vote until the registry was dead and gone, so its useless. A private member's bill might never come up, so is less than useless. And, please, can we dispense with this silly argument about how Jack's being "brave" in allowing his back-benchers to "vote their conscience"? What a load of BS; the NDP knows how to march in lock step as well as any party in the Western word. Pretending that they've suddenly discovered the principle of local democracy is just too rich.

Update: Its to be a private member's bill. I've no idea how this is supposed to "stave off" a final vote on Bill C-391, and presumably neither does Jack or anyone else. Is the vote on C-391 supposed to be postponed until Jack's private member's bill slowly rises to the top of the parliamentary queue?

Update 2: Here's how:

Layton was pressed by reporters on how he expects this bill to become a reality, when Hoeppner's bill is lined up for a vote so soon after Parliament resumes. He suggested that if all parties come onside, they could use the bill as a basis to reach a solution — presumably meaning that Hoeppner's bill would either be amended or would die.

So Jack's compromise would require the Tories to *cough cough* dump bill C-391.

Monday Morning Quick Hits

Tories abandon non-whites: Alberta base puts kibosh on ethnic outreach.


NDP abandons cities: gun registry cowardice will hurt candidates in T.O. and Vancouver.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Victoria Park Bus Shooting, Update

National Post runs a short piece, quoting me. Toronto Star says the man is dead, and has a witness saying there were two bursts of shots adding up to five, which is quite possible although not how I remember it (I thought there were four shots fired in two bursts, 3+1).

Police Shooting On Victoria Park Bus (24)

So, you will read about this tomorrow.

1) Incident on Victoria Park Bus 24 going South. Fellow pulls knife on bus.

2) Apparently, bus driver calls police. Looks like the bus has been cleared of other passengers by the time they show (or at least by the time the shooting starts).

3) I am just coming out of Value Village at Vic Park and Eglinton, have purchased 0 books, and hear a pattern of three, silence, and then one, shots (as they turn out to be--or it might have been two shots and then two more, as one of the folks at the scene suggested).

4) I am jogging that way anyway, and when I arrive, about three more police cars have joined the four or five that already surrounded the pulled-over bus. More keep coming; I think nearly a dozen are involved by the time I've passed the area going North. As I noted earlier, it doesn;t look like anyone is left on the bus.

5) Several people there tell me the white (?) guy carrying the knife got off the bus, did NOT heed police calls to drop his weapon, and was shot. He's laying on the other side of the bus, apparently, though I didn't see him.

6) Police tape is right now going up around the scene, and vic Park has a police presence almost up to Lawrence.

All this happened at just around 3:00 PM.

Update: First MSM story here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Some Investments Are Better Than Others

Despite the shrieking from Fox News North, having T.O. buy 450 Pape Ave. bestows heritage status on one of the city's more notable houses, something that the Harris family, descendants of previous owners, having been lobbying for for years. Also, though the word "subsidized" gets thrown around alot in Warmington's story, the building will be sub-divided into 19 studio/apartment units that will sell for $100,000 apiece, which will recoup most of the city's costs.

And starving artists are a pretty good economic investment in any event. It took the cost of a gestetner(*) to launch Margaret Atwood's career, and now she's a huge economic plus for the nation.

On the other hand, 10 mill for a flag-pole that reminds all the middle-aged men on council of a giant penis--that seems a waste of money.

PS. Guess which project mayoral candidate Rob Ford supports?

(*) That's what some of Canada's government supported, 60s era Lit Mags were printed with.

National Post Brings The Shame

The article Corporate Welfare Not Repaid — bureaucrats unrepentant, published on Full comment.com on August 23, 2010, wrongly suggested that J.D. Irving, Limited was a recipient of Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency (ACOA) funds that were used to produce Royale brand bath tissue and that were not repaid. In fact, J.D. Irving, Limited began receiving an ACOA grant in 2005 for a research project involving naturally occurring spore in trees that is a natural immunization against budworm infestation. The research project involves respected scientists and shows great potential to reduce pesticide spraying, with positive environmental benefits.

The original piece is gone, but the folks at NP haven't bothered trying to remove the google cache version, which isn't as difficult as you might think.

As for corrections, looks like the rumour I noted yesterday--about Conservative talk-show ranter Lowell Green showing up for the INDU meeting on the long-form census--turned out to be incorrect. Fortunately, Lawrie McFarlane brought more than enough crazy to make up.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why Did The Tamil Cross The Sea (Again)?

Bryan Weese keeps up the Fox News North drumbeat o' fear, but his story does contain, way down at the bottom, some new and useful information. Remember the non-scientific non-survey of Tamil refugees that Brian Lilley wrote about last week? He used some of the figures in it to conclude:

...the majority of successful Tamil refugees travel back to Sri Lanka, raising questions about the legitimacy of their refugee status.

Actually, it didn't really raise such questions, and Lilley only thought it did because he ain't too handy with numbers. His case relied on the assumption that the Tamils who went home both arrived in Canada and returned to Sri Lanka in 2009 (read through the link above for details).

However, from Weese' story we find out that this is almost certainly not what transpired:

The Canadian Tamil Congress said many of those trips were likely taken during the four-year ceasefire in the civil war from 2002 to 2006.

Booyah! Hack on hack violence.

OT: This guy is also tracking the decline and fall of FNN. Worth a read.

A Few Average Men, Redux

The Tories have scared up a few, in fact precisely two, "regular guys" to come talk up their changes to the census at the INDU meeting this morning. Or at least I am assuming that talk radio ranter and Fox News North wannabe David Ruthorford will be on-side. In addition, Lawrie McFarlane, editorial writer for the Times-Colonist, has made his feelings clear. And that seems to be it from the schedule that I can see. Even the gal from B.C. civil liberties seems pro-long form.

Update: Looks like the Tories have found another talk show guy; Lowell Green will be appearing.

Update: Tories also found James Henderson, whose bitches turned out to be with the still mandatory agricultural census, and Joseph Lam, the vice-president of the Canada First Community Organization, to speak on behalf of regular folk.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dear Mr. Layton: Please Take Note

Letters to the Editor
Ottawa Sun

Last Updated: August 25, 2010 2:00am

Layton under the gun

Jack Layton is trying to bury his head in the sand. He refuses to acknowledge the responsibility he and his party will bear if the gun registry is dismantled.

I am the mother of Polytechnique victim Anne-Marie Edward and have been involved in the gun control issue for 20 years now.

Layton is hiding behind the claim that the bill to repeal the registry is a private member’s bill, in spite of the evidence that it is a government bill. Before the last vote, he instructed his caucus members to say: ‘This’ if you support the Conservatives ... and ‘that’ if you oppose the Conservatives. The result: 12 NDP and eight Liberals voted with the Tories.

The Liberals have come to their senses and will whip the vote. If the gun registry goes down the drain for lack of Jack Layton’s leadership, the Canadian people will remember him, not as the founder of the White Ribbon Campaign, but as the man who let the victims of Polytechnique and the women of Canada down when we needed him most.

Of course, dismantling the gun registry is a Conservative initiative. Don’t worry, women will remember that as well. But Layton is in a position to stop them. You cannot side with the devil and pretend you are an angel.

Suzanne Laplante Edward
Pierrefonds, Que.

He Ain't Got The Funk

So far the only picture I've seen that shows the PM actually dancing, and I use that term loosely, on his arctic tour.

More Math From Fox News North

And we're talking billions upon billions in oil and natural gas that will feed the world's energy demands into the next millennium.

A pretty ambitious claim, given that the next millennium is 990 years off.

PS. You don't need to read the editorial through the link. Believe me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Brian Lilley: Innumerate Cad

As you may recall, on the 22nd Fox News North published a story entitled Refugees go home for holidays: based on the results of a "secret government survey", FNN reporter Brian Lilley wrote that

...the majority of successful Tamil refugees travel back to Sri Lanka, raising questions about the legitimacy of their refugee status.

Of course, it turned out the number of people interviewed for the survey was a whopping 50. Furthermore, as CBC's Kady O'Malley soon discovered, the secret goverment survey was not a secret government survey at all,

...but a review of a sampling of files from Sri Lankan nationals, some of whom were formerly found to be Convention refugees, who now want to sponsor family members to come to Canada.

...and the government agency behind it, the The Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA), was quick to point out that

...[we have] no ability to state that this sample is statistically representative of any pattern that may or may not exist beyond this sample. Rather, these numbers are solely indicative of an observed pattern within the small sample reviewed.

Ah , but while the actual stats people who conducted this "file review" cautioned against generalizing beyond their sample, this hasn't stopped Mr. Lilley from generalizing beyond their sample. Employing special math techniques taught to him by Kory Teneycke, he continues to cast aspersions upon Tamil immigrants:

While the government survey of files in their Colombo office was only 50, that same office approved only 611 visas last year. So 50 out of that (8% of the total) is indeed significant.

Last year only 392 people from Sri Lanka arrived at a Canadian port of entry and claimed refugee status. When dealing with numbers in the hundreds a sampling of 50 is significant number.

But, of course, Lilley has no way of knowing that any of the 50 Tamils in the sample were among the 611/392 that came over "last year". As the CBSA email suggests, many of them could have been in Canada for considerably longer. All of which makes Lilley's percentages in the above far less "significant" than advertised.

Worse than Lilley's foray into bullshit mathematics, however, is his totally gratuitous shot at Kady O'Malley for calling him out on the matter:

The left in Canada, it seems, would rather ignore the issue than take the government to task. Over at the CBC, blogger in residence Kady O’Malley took issue with our numbers for not being statistically valid.

But of course we know they weren't statisically valid and, as I pointed out above, they still aren't. So: two displays of innumeracy sandwiching a cheap shot. The nerve of this man.

Frankly, I would travel to Ottawa and box his ears myself, but its really a long drive, and I've had a bum knee since 'Nam. And there's my trick elbow. Luckily, Kady is more than able to protect her own honour. I've met her and, while really very tiny, she's got a nasty bite.

The Toronto G20, Boiled Down

Because can somebody tell me what else was actually accomplished?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Yo Chris Selley! Raheel Raza is a CHICK!

Honestly, dude its been hours since you wrote this, and still no correction. Besides you oughtta know who Raheel is--she's one of them moderate Muslims that hangs with Tarek Fatah. If you don't know that by now-- if the NP is going forward on this sloppy a basis--how is Post Media going to position themselves to the Left of Fox News North as Canada's responsible or at least non-Kooky Conservative media outlet? Which is what you guys seem to be trying to do lately. Pity, though, eh? Sucks when you have to grow up.

Julian Fantino--Federal Tory Candidate In Vaughan?

Becoming an MP sounds like having negative momentum, career wise (unless he was quickly made minister of something), but WK knows what WK knows.

Iggy Gives A Twitch

...on Global Warming. Not much. Just a twitch. Of course its difficult to make the connection between individual weather events and climate change, but...

Monday, August 23, 2010

On Mongering In Fear

From an unsigned piece in The Interim:

A pro-life stance requires a willingness to make sacrifices to create a home for a stranger. Making a place for an unexpected child can involve huge changes in one’s life. The willingness to do so is choked off by an attitude which says that your only concern should be your own welfare and safety, that since no one is looking out for you, you had better look out for yourself.

Powerful forces are aligned behind the fear-mongering Media outlets, security companies, various politicians and police forces stand to benefit by the public being convinced that crime is out of control. The fear created has implications which extend far beyond the issue of crime. We need to think and discuss as a society what all those implications are. The evils which such fear breeds will in the end be far greater than any crime problem we presently have. The victims, I believe, will include the unborn.

CRU Hack: Sifting Through The Ashes

Frank Bi has got hold of notes from the meeting between the Muir Russell inquiry and CRU's IT personnel, and has some comments re the nature of the CRU Hack.

For me, the most interesting bit of information from the notes is:

JCF – hackers were in from Oct (we believe they offered info to BBC in early October) and again mid Nov. Not sure if they were continuously hacking in the meantime.

The BBC writer referenced above is almost certainly Paul Hudson; it seems likely that, after Hudson's piece --"Whatever Happened To Global Warming"-- generated a series of negative e-mail comments from CRU staff, the hackers shopped these emails to Hudson in hopes that he might take offense and write another story along the same lines as his original. When this did not occur, the hackers gathered further material and looked around for a place to dump it.

So it looks as though their plans evolved significantly over the course of the ongoing crime.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Guns In The GTA

The T.O Star has produced the map above of GTA firearm licence holders as a percentage of the population, by postal area. The numbers for Stouffville are so high because--so I hear at least--the farmers out there need fire arms to guard their crops. Steve Earle explains.

Caddy In The News

Some time during September, the Discovery Channel will air brand new footage of no less than a dozen swimming specimens of Cadborosaurus willsi, B.C.s 2nd best known (after Sasquatch) cryptid, and the one with the best claim to reality:

The footage was obtained by a Washington state fishing boat captain (his name is known to myself and other cryptozoological investigators who have looked at the footage) who fishes in Alaskan waters in the summer. He and his two sons were on the deck of their boat when they noticed a herd of dark coloured creatures with serrated backs being chased down a channel by a pod of beluga whales. They were stunned to see these animals as they resembled no known animal they had ever seen in their years of fishing.

This is from an account by cryptozoologist John Kirk, who has seen the footage in question:

As the creatures pull level with the boat one is able to see two larger ones protecting what looks like a juvenile from the pursuing belugas. The serrated backs are clearly visible at times. Then one the creatures turns to look in the general direction of the camera and I must say I was stunned because it looked like a living breathing version of the famed Naden Harbour carcass obtained in 1937.

A picture of that carcass can be seen here.

So far, no footage of the animals has emerged, nor any stills. And I must say Mr. Kirk's conclusion comes of as more than a little bit lame:

If these are whales, moose, otters or other known creatures then they are subtypes that no one has ever seen before.

All this excitment over a swimming moose?

In any case, more information here.

And if that wasn't enough cryptozoology for one Sunday morning, here's Darren Naish's latest on the Ozenkadnook Tiger.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

CHRC Against Census Changes

Not that this will change minds among the recalcitrants. But worth noting anyway.

Wind 2.0

Each "stalk" doesn't generate a lot of power, but you can put more per square whatever. They look pretty from ground level, and I imagine they're easier on the local avian population.

Jack Layton Doesn't Want The Responsibility

...for letting the gun registry die, even though it will live or die based on his decision.

This is a watershed moment for the NDP. At the federal level, they've played the also rans for as long as I've been alive. And in some ways, its been a plus for them. They could say anything and take any stand knowing that it the end it meant nothing, because the final call was always in the hands of the big-boys. All that was left for them was to rake up the fruit of discontent--a seat here, a seat there.

Now they are getting a taste of what being a potential governing party is all about. You have to make choices; you have to take stands. And you have to accept the consequences.

If Jack lets the gun-registry die in the night while talking it up before the cameras, this will tell you something about him and the party he purports to lead. Specifically, that neither is ready to govern.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fox News North Poll Is Piece Of Shit

What you need to know:

The online survey of 1,500 Canadians over the age of 18 was conducted between Aug. 2 and Aug. 4 and is accurate to ±2.5%.

And released today, presumably on orders from the Vampire Teneycke, who has just risen from three weeks slumber. Notice how they haven't been able to poach any newsies from the other media outlets recently? Those folk recognize the stench of the grave.

Modelling An Arctic War

Interesting timing.

On the same day that the Tories make negotiating Arctic boundary disputes its top foreign-policy priority in the Far North, the government also put out a "notice of proposal" on Merx for a Synthetic Environment For Arctic.

What the hell is that, you ask?

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) an agency of the Department of National Defence (DND) requires services related to developing state-of-the-art in modeling arctic phenomena for scenarios. The intent of the Work to be performed is to develop a real-time, immersive, interactive, three-dimensional synthetic environment for the Canadian North which enables exploration oft he common operating picture and course-of-action analysis.

Outside of the core project, there are several optional "work packages", one being:

Optional Work Package 2 (Task Authorized Support Option): Thiswill consist of one (1) option period of one (1) year for theprovision of task authorized support services to DRDC. Services may be used to perform additional user trials, training, furtherd evelopment of uncovered Modelling and Simulation (M&S)limitations and/or execute a series of virtual war-games.Support services will be provided on an as and when requested basis.

Synthetic environments are Internet simulations that represent activities at a high level of realism, from simulations of theaters of war to factories and manufacturing processes. Here's a bit from the wiki article on synthetic natural environments, which is what DRDC is looking for:

A Synthetic natural environment (SNE) is the representation in a synthetic environment of the physical world within which all models of military systems exist and interact (i.e. climate, weather, terrain, oceans, space, etc.). It includes both data and models representing the elements of the environment, their effects on military systems, and models of the impact of military systems on environmental variables (e.g. contrails, dust clouds from moving vehicles, spoil from combat engineering).

A honking big (price tag: up to $150,000) virtual Frozen North to play war games on. Because I guess negotiations sometimes fail!

Damn! I want one!

Tom Flanagan On The Census Long-Form

In which he walks back some of his previous criticism of the government's policy, but not really that much:

We need some rational debate, maybe even a government task force, on the proper shape of the census in the electronic age. Statistics Canada still relies on 20th-century technology (mailed questionnaires) as well as 19th-century technology (interviewers at the door) to gather information. How about some 21st-century technology? If we can create an electronic voters list, can we not carry out at least part of the census electronically?

Fine. We do need a rational debate. Even maybe a task force. But until we get all that, can we keep an unemasculated version of the long form? Oh, and lets have that task force look at the cost of census products. How come when I visit U.S. statistics sites I encounter data, but at Statscan I immediately start running into price lists?

Several European countries have abolished the traditional census. They have systems of compulsory registration and personal ID cards that can effectively substitute for the census but are politically unacceptable in North America. Yet, Britain’s coalition government plans to abolish its registry and ID cards immediately, and the census in 2021; at the very least, we should be watching to learn from this experiment.

Yeah. Watch the British experiment closely. They were going to a European style system, but rejected a European style ID card. Plans for the new regime were to have been ratified almost a month ago. But so far...nothing. I'm speculating, but the U.K. coalition may be finding it a bit hard to square that circle.

Not The Response They Were Hoping For

The Tories take their anti-gun-registry crusade to Thompson Manitoba and find that the local population does not share their zealotry. Or possibly the chicken sucked.

Meanwhile Joe Comartin frets and worries but over the registry but misses the obvious solution: C-391 is really a government bill--PM Harper has admitted as much--so have Jack Layton whip the vote.

Or pay the price: you think people don't see through this silly charade?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Jaworskis: Definitely Neighbor Troubles

Kevin Libin tries to spin it as a case of Big Brother crushing the freedom-loving, but the guts of his story (which I've bolded) supports the case I made yesterday:

What’s happened since could be a case study for libertarian scholars on the pernicious effects of regulation on society, its power to threaten the well-being of individuals in the name of collective rights, to curtail enterprise, and to turn neighbour against neighbour as locals accuse each other of siccing state authority on each other in envy.

The Jaworskis aren’t sure why inspectors, after years of summer seminars, suddenly showed up on the property to itemize violations. There was a “complaint,” they were told, though they insist neighbours always seemed fine with the event, which drew 72 people this year, each paying $125 each ($75 for students). They recently turned their home into a bed and breakfast to make ends meet, marketing their pastoral property as a perfect spot for wedding planners. They suspect another hospitality business in the municipality of Clarington turned them in. They have no proof, but they have grown suspicious others are exploiting government to hurt them.

Furthermore, the Jaworski's aren't the only B&B in Clarington who've been subject to this kind of treatment:

Nancy Mallette runs Bloom Field Garden Centre in Clarington. Her website advertises that her property “is legally zoned … to hold your wedding ceremony and tented reception” so, she says, planners know they won’t have their events suddenly cancelled by regulators, as sometimes happens with unlicensed establishments. After trying to erect a tent on her picturesque property for her son’s wedding, someone complained. She spent 15 months and more than $100,000 to get proper zoning, including digging a new well and building new bathrooms.


She’s heard, too, that businesses have been reporting on each other to make trouble with regulators. Not her, she says. She thinks the region would prosper if everyone in the hospitality business were free to compete at their best.

In any case, I'm not sure I see the problem here as being the heavy hand of government. Neighbors using local by-law officers to diddle one another is an old story. I, for example, rented part of a house with a guy who was harassed by a neighbor via frivolous complaints made to the city (your lawn is unmowed, and so forth). This went on until the guy in my house figured out who was doing the complaining and began filing his own set of frivolous complaints (your tree hangs over my property). In this whole affair, the person with the best claim to "victimhood" was probably the by-law officer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Jaworskis, By-Law Officers, And Asshole Neighbors

So: I've swapped a couple of emails with Peter Jaworsksi, which I'll summarize here. Firstly it looks like my previous post contained an error. The services offered by the Jaworski's B&B have changed since they bought the rights to Willow Pond Bed and Breakfast in March of this year, and redubbed their old B&B, Hillside Estates , with the new name. Specifically, the kinds of corporate meeting events that might lead someone to think they were using the place as a "commercial conference center" have not taken place on the new property (at least until the LLS meet-up). The Jaworski's did advertise wedding events at the facility--and indeed did offer weddings at Hillside Estates--but stopped the adverts when informed in May that they were breaking by-laws by so doing. However, while the physical location of Willow Pond and the services it provided changed, its old website remained the same. Hence my confusion.

However, it does appear from Peter's emails that there have been several anonymous complaints levelled against the B&B in the last couple of months over wedding tents allegedly being up on the grounds, and these bogus complaints (there were no such tents) seem to have been what drove the municipal by-law officer to the property again and again. Since (I believe) by-law officers must respond to such complaints, I am more inclined to blame asshole neighbors for the Jaworski's troubles rather than over-zealous municipal officials, especially since the Js might have been out of compliance for a time under the old B&B name, which would give the officer a reason to be suspicious.

Save The Willow Pond Bed and Breakfast?

Dawg and a few others have written about the sad plight of the Willow Pond Bed and Breakfast, owned by the Jaworski's, parents of the Western Standard's Peter Jaworski. The official version of the story runs as follows:

Orono, ON: Due to an anonymous zoning complaint filed with the local municipality, husband and wife bed-and-breakfast proprietors Marta & Lech Jaworski may be forced to pay as much as $50,000 in fines for permitting their son, Peter, to use his family’s property to host the Liberty Summer Seminar, an annual seminar in support of liberty.


The Liberty Summer Seminar is a non-profit event for like-minded students and individuals hosted by the Institute for Liberal Studies, a registered charity in Canada.

Over the weekend of July 25, the LSS celebrated its tenth anniversary with a two-day event on the Orono property. On Sunday afternoon, as the event was wrapping up, a municipal law enforcement official arrived without notice in the car parking area. He quizzed a passing LSS participant about the event, asking him what had been served for lunch, as well as the cost of the registration fee, and the number of port-a-potties available. After a few minutes, the official left without attempting to speak to the Jaworski family

On August 12th, Marta and Lech Jaworski were each served with a summons to appear in court on the grounds that they had “allowed the use of land in an agricultural zone for a use other than a permitted residential use; namely for a commercial conference centre,” which is contrary to Clarington by-laws.* A first offence carries a maximum penalty of $25,000 upon conviction.

“The municipality tells me that they work on a complaint basis,” said Peter Jaworski, “although I don’t believe any of our immediate neighbours complained, since we’ve been doing this for nine years without a single complaint or problem, and being very public about it.”

A sad tale of bureaucracy gone mad and jack-booted thugs and etc. The Star gives the Jaworski's some sympathy. Dawg too thinks that something must be done.

OK, but I'm not there yet. For one thing, the Liberty Summer Seminar was not like a casual get-together of bloggers--it was, in particular, not a one off. Willow Pond offers to host events of a similar size on an on-going basis. Here's a screen-cap of the relevant page:
So, while the Liberty Summer Seminar may have triggered this particular complaint, it looks like you could make a good argument that, between April and October 15 of every year, the facility is indeed being operated as a "commercial conference center", contrary to local by-laws.

So, again, for the moment I am suspending my outrage.

Update: Here.

If These Clowns Tried To "Lock And Load" They'd Get Their Thumb Stuck

Teneycke's editorial from yesterday. That is all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fox News North: Tits And Analysis 2:0

And I didn't think of that one: from J-Source. Highlights:

1) Teneycke likes being thought of as Fox News North (but perhaps not the National Post of the Airwaves), will concentrate on covering Victoria's Secret events, swears just like a tough-guy newsie.

2) His Blackness...back?

Like children playing in the rubble, as far as I'm concerned.


A Few Average Men...

Mr. Clement has already dismissed the controversy as one that only occupiessome of the elites in our country.” His party appears ready to continue this theme in committee, with a string of appearances from average Canadians.

Actually, if you look at the latest polling data on the census--it tells you what a wonderful country this is: 50% of Canadians are in the elite!

Mark His Words

Inky Mark signs off. On the role of the PM:

He believes another problem with the parliamentary system is that too much power lies in the hands of one individual who determines the fate of the country.

On his style of politics:

Mark has long been known as an independent thinker who wouldn't hesitate to vote against his own party if he felt it was in his riding's best interest. Most notably, he objected to the Harper government's plan to eliminate the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly. He spoke out against the move and voted against a private members' bill on the subject in 2006.

Mark said Monday he never believed he had to support his leader on everything. "My style of doing politics is putting the people first," he said.

He also thinks the only reason he was not disciplined is because of his popularity in the riding and the unlikely chance the Conservatives would have won the riding if he was running against them as an independent.

"If they didn't need this seat I would have gotten the boot from the party a long time ago," he said.

The government caucus' man to sheep ratio has markedly decreased with Marky's resignation

Monday, August 16, 2010

Need Enema?

If your answer was "no", you shouldda averted your eyes.

Your Daily Nazi: More Paul Fromm In The News

Good story, Joe Brean. No, no! You don't have to thank me. My fate is to labour in obscurity. I accept that.

PS. ARC challenges the notion that Fromm and the term "genteel" should be used in the same sentence.

Because There Is Such A Thing As Truth

George Jonas' latest on the census long-form plumbs the depths of innumeracy:

At least, that’s the mantra. Self-selection skews data. No one explains why coercion doesn’t skew data the other way, or why doesn’t it bother statisticians if it does, or why data can’t be adjusted for self-selection when it can for most other things.

The answer to the last bit, about adjusting for self-selection, is of course that data can be adjusted for self-selection where you have census data to correct it with.

But its the first part that's most interesting. Jonas is suggesting, obliquely, that there is nothing but skew--skew this way, skew that way, the further implication being that these directions are "left" and "right", politically, and that statisticians tend towards socialism.

But of course that's not accurate: to any question about the demographics of an area, there is a correct answer, and you get that answer when you have managed to extract (via the mandatory long-form) a truly random sample from within that area (ie a sample that is unskewed). Underlying Jonas' argument, then, is an appeal to truth relativism.

Which, you would think, is weird coming from a Conservative, but perhaps more common than you might think.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nice To See That "The Left" Can Do Astroturf Too

That is all.

Your Daily Nazi: Shame On CTV

There are many points you can argue over Canada's response to the Tamil migrants. But you really shouldn't, as CTV did, put Paul Fromm on national television (see vid through link) and let him spout off like he's a normal person. He isn't; here is what he is. And, more specifically, here's a nice little story from just a few days ago about Paul's protesting the arrival of the Sun Sea, with the freakin' Aryan Guard, in front of Jason Kenney's office, no less.

CTV has really screwed up on this one: at least some background on the man behind "Canada First" should have been provided; it isn't like he's an unknown quantity.

Tony Clement Denies

Perhaps he mis-spoke. Perhaps he spoke too true. In any case, the minister is walking back his statement, made yesterday morning on The Hour, that Canada has a voluntary short form in its future.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

As We Move To a Voluntary Short Form Census

...says Tony Clement on The House this morning towards the end of his interview here (about the 7 minute mark, I think). Don't know why fact that Tony Clement admitted this morning that the Gov. is moving towards a voluntary short form as well as a voluntary long-form didn't make the CBC story re his interview, unless they just assumed he was gibbering (which is plausible enough).

The Short Form Is Next

It isn' touched on here, but listening to Clement on The House this morning, it seems to me that he pretty clearly stated that the move to eliminate penalties on all StatsCan surveys was a step down the road to a voluntary short form. Again, the CBC's story on the interview doesn't mention this, but I am sure of what I heard.

Make of it what you will.

Greg Rickford Retracts And Retreats

His website today, after he's been politically corrected.
You know, I'd never heard of this guy until last night, but it really does tell you that Stephen Harper is up there on Parliament Hill by himself as the one working brain among CPoC cheese-heads. He must get very lonely sometimes.

Friday, August 13, 2010

More Doubts On Pollstra Poll

Expressed here. Very small sample size, for one thing. This post updated from this one.

Its my birthday, by the way. 47 years old on Friday the 13th. Turned 13 on Friday the 13th, too. So I am being lazy. Luckily, I am more a dispenser of bad luck than a recipient. I'm surprised there hasn't been an earthquake or rain of frogs today, killing everyone around me but leaving me to go through their wallets.

If you're thinking of coming into T.O. this evening, don't. If you live here, go to your cottage.

Who Paid For It?

This poll, that puts Toronto Mayoral candidate Rob Ford way ahead of the competition? Pollstra, the company that did the work, operates out of the second floor of a Hamilton strip plaza that also houses a UPS store and a no frills; they're pretty obscure in other words, although past clients include Gerard Kennedy and Frank Valeriote (actually, these were clients of their "sister company", Prime Contact, which shares a phone number and office).

Some speculation Smitherman might have commissioned it, to scare a few center/leftish votes his way. He sure won't win 'em with charm. Even his friends don't like him.

Quicky Update: More on Prime Contact here: essentially, it's a company that sells campaign services.

And another: Whoopsie! Global story now says Hamilton address is just for a post office box.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In Which My Suspicions Are Confirmed

Yesterday, I asked of the Tories census mini climbdown:

Will it be enough to deflect the court challenge? Does the FCFA ( La Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne) need just the three new questions to feel comfortable it can serve its members? Dunno.

And today we get the answer: nope. Which seems to make sense, because if you are in the business of supporting Canada's francophone community it's not enough to know who they are, but how they're doing with respect to the ethnic groups around them. All of which requires the long-form remaining mandatory.

Meanwhile, David Olive attempts to rally the business community to the pro-mandatory long-form cause. Although, frankly, I think the business community is already on side. Tony Clement's already admitting he's passing costs onto them by ditching the mandatory long-form. Isn't that like a tax on Capitalists?

David Hull And The CRU Emails

Philosopher of Biology/Science David Hull passed away today after a long illness. His book Science as a Process, which covered the "clade wars" that raged within evolutionary theory during the 1970s/1980s, should be made mandatory reading for any of the science writers who looked at the CRU emails and were actually surprised at the pettiness, the back-biting, and the rude behaviour occasionally displayed by the scientists behind these emails.

Put bluntly: the debates in climate science are a slappy-fest compared to the epic displays of general assholishness taxonomists got up to a few decades back.

And yet the system worked! From a comment at biologos:

As for scientists being “advocates” in terms of lobbying for their pet theory, sometimes irrationally - sure, in some ways that’s a problem—but in other ways, this very thing is what drives science forward! Other scientists say “that yahoo can’t be right” and try to shoot him down. The emotions, the quest for fame, the desire to be right, etc., are all part of the process. The process is very competitive, and might well work better when it is metaphorically “red in tooth and claw” like this, than when everyone is completely circumspect about every last thing. Read David Hull’s classic “Science as a Process,” for goodness sake.

But, you might say (like Judith Curry, for example): there is too much at stake policy-wise for this kind of thing to go on within climatology. It must change! However, as noted above (in a more general context) to force this kind of change might actually impede the progress of the field. Science can, like many human endeavours, be crippled by an excess of civility. Best let the girls fight it out and let the weak fall by the road-side.

No Pressure, Mr Bruinooge

Stacey Campbell, a Kelowna BC based Christian speaker and teacher who has a reputation for “prophetic” skill, says:

….there’s a massively prophetic generation [of Christians] arising, that will prophesy in different forms. They will be prophets and prophetesses like Faytene [Kryskow], like Rod Bruinooge, that will, you know be prophets for justice like the Old Testament prophets were. They will be prophets that like, you know, the Apostle Paul, in the body, out of the body, just revelation and visitations {of the Holy Spirit] and those kind. There’s gonna be all kinds of them. That’s what we wanna see.

The next CPoC leader? Harper won't be around forever, after all. Faytene Kryskow, by the way, is the gal that compared revivalists to the Hitler Youth--but in a good way.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Not Sure It Helps

Quick thoughts on the census mini climbdown.

1) Will it be enough to deflect the court challenge? Does the FCFA need just the three new questions to feel comfortable it can serve its members? Dunno.

2) Sure looks like the Tories are admitting a) a voluntary long form won't collect accurate enough information to satisfy the needs of the Canadian Francophone community and, by extension, everyone else; and b) their original changes were illegal.

3) Sure, remove the jail provision for the short-form and etc., while keeping them mandatory with punishment for non-compliance via fines or some such thing presumably. At least I'm assuming that's what the change amounts to and they're not saying they'll make the short-form voluntary. But then, why not make this change across the board? Remove the jail provision for the long-form, but keep it mandatory. Hey presto! Compromise!

4) The only thing this move accomplishes for sure is to keep the issue on the front pages for a bunch more news cycles. From government perspective, that's bone-headed.

Anyway, that's all I can think of now. More later, for sure.

A Good Point

Mickflyuk is the guy behind the youtube video allegedly showing a gang of veiled Muslim women crashing Air Canada security in Montreal. Generally speaking, the guy has issues with Muslims, but on the other hand, if this kind of thing is a real problem, and his video is absolutely the only evidence that it might be, then his lament has some currency:

John Baird, you said, on TV that you will get to the facts, so why has no-one contacted me from your office?

That's from four days ago.

Is this another one of those issues where determining what the facts are is unimportant to the government?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Veiled Flyers = Veiled Voters Redux!

Kady's live-blogging the Public Safety Committee meetings on that bogus QMI story re gangs of veiled Muslim women attempting to board our decent, Christian Canadian Aeroplanes:

Oh, goodness. It seems that Volpe is here to do more than just fill us in on what *his* committee has been doing -- his staffer just handed out copies of the current federal identity screening regulations -- SOR/2007-82 -- which are available on the Justice website, and which appear to show that there *is* no requirement that the gate security match the face to the photo identification, but the name on the boarding pass to the name on the id -- one government-issued photo id, or two government-issued ids that include name, date of birth and gender. Yeah, this is veiled voting all over again. Someone alert Chris Selley so he can mentally prepare himself for the semantic distortions that lie ahead.

...which kind of makes you wonder about all the anonymous airport staffers that told Brian Lilley's they were forced to ignore regs out of political correctness, especially since the reg they were told to ignore appears to be imaginary.

Here's the real reg here.

PS. And any attempt to change the reg will run up against the problem of non-Muslim men/women who turn up at an airport with no photo ID.

Something I Approve Of

When Stephen Harper BBQs, he BBQs these:

Sop says Bourque. And who am I to dispute him? I still wouldn't vote for the guy, but I might try to crash his BBQ.

IFPS Leader Faces Racism Charges

Lars Hedegaard, a frequent & prominent commentator in the right wing Danish newspapers, also serves as director of the International Free Press Society (IFPS).

And, if you recall, it was the Canadian-wing of the IFPS that arranged the infamous "Ann Coulter in Canada" tour, which I have written about on numerous occasions.

In fact, the IFPS-Canada's Ezra Levant (he is on their Board of Advisers) was there with Ann during her disastrous appearance at the University of Ottawa, when organizers failed to secure an appropriately sized venue, bungled the process of registering and admitting attendees, and then blamed "The Left" when things got out of hand and they were forced to cancel the speech.

In any case, Mr. Hedegaard is, as they say, in dutch with Danish authorities:

The chairman of the Freedom of the Press Society, Lars Hedegaard, has been charged with making racist remarks by the Public Prosecutor for Copenhagen.

The charge comes after Hedegaard on the blog site Snaphanen in December 2009 described rape as common in Muslim families, especially girls by their uncles, cousins or fathers.

The Copenhagen Post notes that numerous prominent members have abandoned the IFPS in the wake of Hedegaard's remarks; we'll see if the Canadian contingent is up to a similar display of class.

Incidentally, also on the Board of Advisers for the IFPS are Mark Steyn, and our own Kathy Shaidle, whose attempts to organize Canadian tea-baggers in London was similarly unsuccessful.

C'mon folks: step up and denounce!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Canada Is BACK!!!

Seriously, though, its a really nice aquarium. But wasn't there an obscure back-bencher around somewhere that could have handled this? Shouldn't the PM being back in Ottawa fighting off socialist coalitions, or something?

Update: Looks like the PM brought Senator Duffy along with him. Looks like Duff's lost weight.

A Metaphor For So Many Things

According to Bourque, one of the hearses in this derby is being driven by Tory MP Stephen Blaney--the winner, in fact (there's a second part to the clip viewable at Youtube). What's this tell us about our current government? That its best at driving around backwards in a death-car, smashing stuff?

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Paul Martin At Tim Horton's: Why's He So Sad?

He's anticipating the cup of caffeinated plonk he's about to get.


BBC Apologises To University Of East Anglia

Late is better than never, I suppose, but the damage has been done. In any case, the climbdown over rash positioning re the CRU emails continues. Act in haste, repent at leisure, and all that.

Go Read Steve V

...because I'm too lazy to do much writing today:

Harper's chief advantage is evaporating before our eyes. The Conservatives are voluntarily eroding their own fiscal image, while simultaneously providing the Liberals with a free pass, to check off a few big ticket items of their own. Then the question becomes, just what expenditures are most important to Canadians. Planes and prisons, hardly a compelling "kitchen table" consideration, allowing for an interesting contrast. Neutered on the "big spending" front, obscure and distant on the allocation front, I'd say thanks for the massive opening if I'm a Liberal strategist

Arguably, we need some new planes, but yeah I can see how 10 Billion for invisible criminals could easily be repurposed to a more useful end.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Danger--Man Shovelling!

David Warren: Even His Retractions Need Retracting

Even as Media culpa sucks one admission of gross error from him, another bung-up is cited.

Ontario Land Owners (OLO) Threatening Local Politicians With "Force"

The Ontario Land Owners (OLO) are a rural lobby group set-up to"... preserve and protect the rights of property owners and to enshrine property rights within the Constitution of Canada and the laws of the Province of Ontario." On the provincial level, MPP Randy Hillier is a founding member; federally, they are associated with Tory MP for Lanarck Scott Reid. Lately, the group has become quite taken with the concept of land grants, or letters patent , which they seem to feel give a landowner possessing one of these contracts some kind of absolute property rights to their land:

"There is not one piece of legislation, there is not one order in council that can overrule your contract with the Crown because it is based on contract law."

In any case, the OLO recently wrote to a number of Ottawa-region politicians extolling the virtues of these land patents, often delivering these letters to their private residences. The response has been negative:

Article from the Renfrew Mercury Thursday July 29-2010

‘Scary’ OLA letter received for information only

Ontario Landowners Association is distributing personal letters to local heads of council that have some councillors concerned.

At council’s July 22 regular meeting, Admaston-Bromley Councillor Sandra Crozier described the letter – which was delivered to Mayor Raye-Anne Briscoe’s home in an envelope labelled ‘private and confidential’ – as “just too scary.”


The OLA held a meeting in Eganville recently on the patents issue. More meetings are expected to be held in other communities to inform the public about their property rights. The OLA letter advises council that any violation of the Crown Land Patent Act “will be met with as much force as necessary to affect our purpose of upholding and enforcing those laws, rights and privileges.”

This is not, incidentally, the first time folks within the landowners movment have threatened violence.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Bjørn Lomborg, Jim Skea Quit E&E Over Global Warming

Of course, Energy and Environment is the publication of last-resort for climate change deniers: if you can't place your paper anywhere else, they'll amost certainly take it--peer-reviewed, or not, depending on your preference. Jim Skea is Research Director of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC); Bjorn Lomborg is, well, Bjorn Lomborg , author of "Cool it" and other works sceptical of the claims behind AGW.

Not sceptical enough for E&E, though; it turns out both Lomborg and Skea have recanted their associations with the magazine. From Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen of the Climatesceptics mailing-list:

Two of my editorial board have resigned over E&E taking too strong a position on the climate science debate (Lomborg and Skea, both with much public exposure...

That message was from back in July. It was confirmed by this slightly more cryptic message from yesterday:

Lomborg has resigned from his (inactive) role as an editorial board member of E&E and explained that he could be closely associated with the sceptics. As far as I know, remembering his old ideas, he represents no real challenge to anybody since his alternative policies neither threaten or encourage anybody..the money is just not forthcoming as there are few links from his policy suggestions to the profit motive, or technological innovation, or political power.

I think this should read "could NOT be closely associated", but the message is clear in any case. Lomborg (and, I suppose, Skea) don't want to be associated with the denialist crowd anymore.

So there you have it.

Galactus Guest Post: Mea Culpa

Dear Newt,

As per your instructions, I have disintegrated Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, I struck a bit wild to the South and disintegrated everything down to Springfield as well. Tee Hee. My bad.


Galactus, Eater of Worlds
(also cup-cakes)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Signs O' The Times

Environment Canada is forced to invent a new symbol to describe the B.C. fire situation:
The text version includes the phrase "Local smoke", which usually has other connotations out here on the West Coast.

Hamlet On The Don

Frankly, John Tory's act has worn thin. Another bout of reconsidering will be met with derisive laughter. So its over for him and, alas, I am stuck trying to choose between two bald guys

What's Behind The Liberal Rebound?

Is it the census debacle? Maybe a little, in that its provided the Tories nothing but a month of bad news. Is it Iggy's summer tour? Maybe a little, in that the tour has provided Iggy with probably the most positive media coverage he's had since he became leader, and its always nice to have a captive bus-load of reporters before which to denounce the government's stupidity of the day.

But I think this

...is the elephant in the room, especially the last couple of data points where the line stops pointing up. Economic growth has not only slowed since March, its done so quite a bit faster than the Bank of Canada predicted. Now, our job numbers have been pretty good, but these tend to lag other indicators. Probably a fair whack of them were added on the assumption that the U.S. economy would pick up and we'd need those bodies to build stuff to sell to them. That assumption has not panned out. So who knows how long before they start being reversed? Maybe as soon as the employment report tomorrow. If not, then eventually: a more or less flat economy does not generate full-time positions for very long.

Anyway, I suspect people have looked around and discovered that things haven't got much better in the past six months or so.

Latest EKOS result here.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Some Anonymous E-Mailer Tells Brian Lilley Muslims Were Up To Something

It starts with a youtube clip, obviously diddled with, and it ends with a Yankee special forces dude telling Brian Lilley how he saved us politically correct Canucks from gangs of veiled Muslim women...in an anonymous email.

Brian Lilley, I'm telling you straight out: your stories are bullshit, and you a blind bullshitter. When Fox News North fails and I see you frying burgers next to Jonathon Kay at a McD's, I'm going to hassle you mercilessly.

A Brief Note From The Climate Wars: Klaus Heiss Dies

Klaus P. Heiss, of The High Frontier, has passed away:

Klass was a true believer in the cause of commercial space and had worked hard to create a commercial shuttle capability.

In recent years, Heiss also took up the cause of climate change denial, and wound up on Inhofe's list, although one of his pet projects was a lunar based solar power system that might serve as the "low emission generation technology of the future". He was also a director at the SEPP, a denialist group founded by Fred Singer.

Never Seen A Figure He Couldn't Misquote

Media Culpa continues its ritual humiliation of Ottawa Citizen columnist David Warren.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Stockwell Day On Unreported Crime Stats

As Kady suggests, Stock must have been referencing the 2004 National Victimization Survey, part of the General Social Survey, which is conducted every five years, when he argued this morning that Canada had seen an "alarming" increase in "unreported crime". Forget that the latest report dates from 2004 and tells you nothing about what's happened since. Here's what it says in one of the fact sheets for the General Social Survey. They're referring to "violent crimes":

Police reporting rates remain stable

Rates of reporting violent incidents to the police remained stable between 1999 and 2004. In 1999, 31% of violent incidents were reported to the police, compared with 33% of incidents in 2004. This difference was not statistically significant.

Mind you, when it comes to overall reporting, Stock isn't entirely off his nut:

The GSS reveals that a large proportion of Canadians never reported criminal incidents to police. In all, only about 34% of criminal incidents came to the attention of police in 2004, down from 37% in 1999. Household victimization incidents were most likely to be reported (37%), while thefts of personal property were the least likely (31%).

I'll leave it to the reader to decide whether or not a three per cent drop in reported criminal incidents is "alarming".

This Is Gibberish

Stockwell Day on the Census:

"Some basic is data is need. We haven’t run into people or groups or agencies who have a concern with some very basic data,” [Mr. Day] said. “The mandatory nature of criminalizing Canadians for not wanting to give the more extensive data in the long form is simply not tenable and that’s why we are doing away with it.”

Apparently, the news conference did not go well.

More Pro-Census Communism

Ottawa’s plans to change Canada’s mandatory census long-form could impact future construction decisions, says the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO).

“As our society becomes more complex it is important that detailed questionnaires be maintained so that a range of comparative and trend analyses can be done,” said Andy Manahan, executive director of RCCAO.

And Alex Carrick, chief economist for CanaData, puts his finger on the real Census scandal:

...Canadians still deserve freer and easier access to StatsCan and CANSIM information, especially as the world moves more to an information based economy. He did say that a lot of construction activity can take place based on the finer details collected through the census.

...which is that you have to pay through the nose for the information. You start looking around for data products on the StatsCan website and you keep tripping over price lists. Blame Mulroney for that. In any case, corresponding material the U.S. is much less expensive, and hence American web entrepreneurs have been able to do all sorts of interesting things with their census data that are us too damn expensive to attempt up here.