Tuesday, May 31, 2011

George Lepp Strikes Back

...seeks penis story retraction from T.O. Sun:
Whatever keeps this story in the news is OK by me.

PS.  This is the statement on his Facebook page.  No accompanying graphics, unfortunately.

= BOOM!!!

... Tory Majority + NDP opposition.

Mark my words.

Although maybe me and my wife can load up our Cavalier and make a dash for the The Free Republic of British Columbia, if the Trans Canada hasn't been blockaded by then. Kill me if we run out of gas in Mushaboo, though, or in Calgary where they haven't mastered the concept of a two-way street. And d'you know how many prairie place names, like "Winnipeg" for example, were originally First Nation's words meaning "frozen tundra" or "ain't nothing here but blackflies"?  Many, many of them.

On the other hand, maybe we could stay put and join the new nation of Que-ntario, where we pay for their social programs and in turn get physical access to their blonde chicks, especially Mitsou. My wife wouldn't be too happy with that, but apparently they've also got cheese.

In any case, I'm planning for major changes ahead. These two are like kids playing with dynamite. They have no clue.  Bad shit is on the way.  Prepare to duck.

Warman Vs. Free Dominion: A Few Threads Tied Up

As part of his on-going legal action against the on-line forum Free Dominion, Ottawa human rights lawyer Richard Warman has been trying to get IP addresses and other information from the site owners in order to determine the identities of the remaining anonymous posters that he has accused of defaming him. The first time this particular motion went before a judge Mr. Warman was victorious. A second judge, however, ruled that the first had not adequately addressed the free speech/privacy issues involved, and asked that Mr. Warman show a prima facie case for defamation before ordering the site owners Mark and Connie Fournier to turn over the relevant documentation. Well, a third judge has spoken, and guess what? Your right to post anonymously is not absolute:
And since these postings were prima facie defamatory:
I'm not going to publish the entire decision, as it contains the defamatory statements at issue.  I've read it through, though, and there's nothing particular surprising in the reasoning as far as I can tell.  If you anonymously libel someone on-line, don't expect to make privacy and free speech your defence.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Not His Honorable Member

That's what PCPO candidate George Lepp is saying now. Yesterday, his story seemed different: Lepp claimed that he had indeed accidentally shot his dick, after which time someone had stolen his blackberry "curve" and advertised the family jewels on Lepp's twitter account.  This morning, apparently without having even seen a picture of the dick, Mr. Lepp has disowned it.  Apparently, after his blackberry was "pick-pocketed" (by attendees of the Anime North convention, it has been suggested), the thief took pictures of his own dick and posted them to Lepp's twitter account. 

Believe it or not, I think this new version is the more believable.

Once More With Senate Reform

They're at it again, so I will say it again:

1) All I've heard suggests that the provinces will be asked elect a Senate candidate who the PM promises to then appoint. In other words, the actual appointment will still be in the hands of the PM, who the provinces (and candidates) are being asked to trust.  But I personally would not trust PM Harper to appoint a Senator whose views do not coincide with his own.  As a practical matter, I think any potential Senate candidate with LPoC or NDP leanings would be disinclined to spend any money on a campaign where their appointment is not assured even should they win.  But if the end result is to stuff the Senate with Torys, why not just stuff the Senate with Torys?  Why the elaborate charade?

2)  Any attempt to introduce term-limits for Senators will have to overcome opposition from the five Tory Senators who have come out against the idea, and any others who have not yet spoken up.  Its hardly just the Libs in the upper-chamber who have opposed the idea.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mr. Lepp's Penis

(Warning!  Graphic image below!)

You know, you get emails sometimes.  And late today I got one with this attached:

...purporting to show the penis of PCPO candidate for Niagara-on-the-Lake George Lepp.  I thought, yeah right.  Considering the proximity to this incident, which also involved twitter and yfrog, I figured that at most people might have figured out how to hack these social networking services and post naughty pictures from the accounts of political candidates.

But tonight I see this:

Alan Sakach, communications director for the Ontario Conservatives, said the photo was inadvertently taken by Lepp’s BlackBerry when it was in his front pocket. The photo was posted after someone took it from the candidate for the riding of Niagara Falls, according to Sakach.

I don't want to spend too much time on the likeliness of Mr. Lepp's account.  I would just point out that, however strange it might seem, the alternative is considerably worse.  Back in my day, the best "fun" you could have at Conservative conventions was when they buried the live chickens in sand, and everyone got drunk on rot-gut and tried to shoot their heads off.  If Mr. Lepp is not being honest here, then believe it or not the Tories have learned how to throw a better party.

Tim Hudak Asks: Is Our Children Learning?

The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario wanted Mike Harris Light; they got George W. dumber.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Coming To A Neighborhood Near You

One thing about Tim Hudak's call for chain-gangs  is that its a good reason to listen to Sam Cooke (who taught Rod Stewart to sing, incidentally).  You can play it while you're reading the rest:

My favorite bit of Tory policy wonkery with respect to the chain gang proposal so far:

Details on whether inmates would be manacled together to prevent escape have yet to worked out, [Hudak] said.

Personally, I think Hudak has to come clean on the manacles/no-manacles issue before he can be taken seriously.  I would obviously prefer a "no-manacle" policy, but as a typical Canadian compromise I would be able to accept manacles if they were offered in a series of attractive colours, and if the sex offenders and low level drug-dealers on the work crew filling pot-holes in downtown Markham were allowed to choose the colour of their own set of manacles.  There's more opportunity for self-realization that way, in my opinion.  But I'm a Liberal--I'm soft.
PS.  It's hard to know how faithfully Conservative bloggers represent the Conservative rank & file, but this guy has an interesting take.

Ontario Torys Incoherent On Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs)

Tim Hudak is vowing to scrap 'em, but MPP Randy Hillier has managed to work through his local LHIN to help get a Acquired Brain Injury and Rehab Home built out in Napanee:

Georgina Thompson, chairperson of the Southeast LHIN's board of directors, attended the meeting Friday, and told the Finlay family they now have the LHIN's support.

The meeting was set up by MPP Randy Hillier and was the third in a series of meetings the Progressive Conservative representative for Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington has orchestrated. It took place at the former Lenadco building on Bridge Street, which is the proposed site for the brain injury facility.

Randy's even proud enough of his efforts that he's touting them on his own website.  These LHIN thingys  can't be all bad, then, eh Timmy?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tim Hudak's Government In Waiting?

Seen outside the PCPO convention.  Escapees from one of Hudak's chain gangs?  His shadow cabinet?
Apparently not:
The Ontario Provincial Conservative party will be having a conference at the Toronto Congress Center on the same weekend as Anime North. They will be in the North building, which is completely separate from the South building where Anime North is. They even have separate parking lots. There is not expected to be any problems with these events going on concurrently.

Former Defence Minister Paul Hellyer Speaks

...on a possible Liberal-NDP merger:

It is with a heavy heart that I have come to the conclusion that the Liberal and New Democratic Parties should merge and become one entity known as the Liberal Democratic Party of Canada. I am convinced that it would be in the best long-term interests of both parties but, far more important, it would be in the best interests of Canada. Canadians deserve a clear choice when they next vote.

On little green men from outer space:

I wish I were in a mood for good humour, but I am not. We are hell-bent in the direction of destroying our planet, and we appear to be doing precious little about it. Decades ago visitors from other planets warned us about where we were headed, and offered to help. But instead, we, or at least some of us, interpreted their visits as a threat, and decided to shoot first and ask questions afterward. The inevitable result was that some of our planes were lost; but how many were due to retaliation, and how many were a result of our own stupidity is a moot point.

Not that I have an issue with NDP/merger discussions, though they ain't gonna happen any time soon.  Just sayin'.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

WK Explains

...why the Steve Paiken puff-piece in the G&M is crap.  A couple of points I would add.

1) Kathy Shaidle is not a conservative.  She's a racist.  The evidence for that is overwhelming.  Mr Paiken and the writers at the G&M do conservatives no favours by eliding the distinction.

2) I have no problem with anyone attempting to deny Ms. Shaidle a pay-cheque or a soap-box, and  I'd like to think I've got her tossed out of a venue or two in my time.  My taxes pay Mr. Paiken's salary, and it appalls me that he would use them to promote trash on TVO.

3)  WK is talking about taking this case to the Ontario Press Council.  I say do it.  Pigs don't regulate themselves.

Randy Hillier Gets Soft On Crime

 "Our legal system is increasingly being seen as a means to generate revenue by government, and less as a means to prevent injustice.” said Hillier.

You stay crazy, Mr. Hillier.

Mike Harris Redux: Tim Hudak Will Bring Back Worker Intimidation

He tells the TCA (Toronto Construction Association), a group representing employers, that he will kill the card-based certification of unions, just like Mike Harris did back in the day. He also wants to close the Ontario College of Trades.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Prediction

In 18 to 24 months, having surveyed the other potentials, the LPoC will beg him to stay on. Seriously. I'll bet all comers a $2-ny.

What Happened To Liblogs?

The link goes nowhere, but I am told the site is still supposed to be functioning.  What's going on?

Jason Cherniak writes:

There's a problem with the domain that I'm trying to fix. It may still take a day or two. I'd appreciate it if you could post this as an update to your post.

NDP Day 1: Populist Bullshit, But Otherwise Not Bad

As Canadians, we all desire that every single senior be lifted out of poverty, just as we wish mothers to be free...everywhere...even in M'banqui.  Of course, as leader of the official opposition, Jack Layton can't do diddley about either of these problems.  But suggesting concrete action on a manageable issue was never the point.  What was the point?  Ms. O'Malley had it pegged correctly:
...which is to say Jack and Co. are taking this "government in waiting" thing right over the top.  Its all bluster, and the notion that the NDP can, for example, choose or not choose an occasion to "bring down" the Harper government, as Mr. Layton has suggested on a previous occasion, is pure madness.  But the rhetoric isn't aimed at the cynical or the knowledgeable; its meant to appear in bits and pieces on the tv screens of the nation and make folks who are otherwise more interested in the hockey game think for one brief instant that this Jack Layton fellow might be PM material after all.  And as crude theater, I suspect it will be effective.

But not for very long.  As soon as the wheels of parliament start turning, as soon as legislation begins to pass, the limits of NDP influence will become swiftly apparent.  Presumably, Mr. Layton will have a speech for that occasion as well.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Tory Senate Reform Proposal Is A Sham

"We can do it by appointing elected senators,” says Jason Kenny, but if senate candidates still, once elected, must be appointed, then the PM can ignore the result of any plebiscite where the result goes against him.  Think what is likely to happen if a candidate with known NDP connections were to run and win.  What assurance would they have that the Harper government would not simply pass them over?

And, that being the case, why would anyone not onside with the Harper government even choose to run? 

Although perhaps that is the point.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Canadian Shooting Sports Association Thinks Members Too Dumb To Lobby Harper Gov.

Their message to their Members:

We hope that gun owners will recognize that an ad hoc writing campaign to MPs could cause more confusion than clarity. The CSSA is hoping that sport shooters will use the collective voices of their advocacy associations to negotiate with the Harper government. The CSSA has strong representation on the Firearms Advisory Committee to the Minister of Public Safety, and we believe, as do the 26 organizations in the Canadian Outdoors Network, that more can be achieved through that conduit than through a letter writing campaign that seeks disparate demands, at this time.

We urge firearms owners to resist the temptation to tell MPs what they are seeking from this government, as not all gun owners are of one mind. This will result in mixed messaging, which can do our cause more harm than good.
CSSA Member
The CSSA may have a point.


Because There Can Be No Price Below $0.00

... it’s time to buy Quebecor stocks:

“We do not expect particularly strong first-quarter results on May 26, but the recent relative weakness in QBR.B shares gives us confidence that expectations are sufficiently low heading into the quarter, so we are not waiting for the results to upgrade the stock..."

A ringing endorsement!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Signs Of The Times

In strange times, Canadians return to the old ways...


Your Daily Nazi: Fox News North Has A Fan!

John Beattie,  founder leader of the Canadian Nazi Party, now leader of the British People’s League, lauds the Network for "sticking up for white rights".  Brian Lilley and Ezra come in for special praise.

As a side note, it looks like SunTV has run a piece on the Fourniers in connection with another of the many, many defamation cases proceding against Free Dominion.  In addition,  since April a good dozen Blogging Tories have made an appearance, for one reason or another.  If the station lasts three months they'll have interviewed their entire prime-time audience.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Snakes Alive!

The consensus is that this has not been photo-shopped, although whether it was shot outside of Morganza, Louisiana is unclear.  Some have argued that is sugarcane being cultivated in the background, which they do in Louisiana.

Deb Madill Stepped Down From Landowners Ass. Due To Illness

It was not a coup.

That is all.

Harper Vs. Caligula

When I think of those new Senate appointments, I am reminded of I Claudius. In that book, the Roman elite were allowed to sodomize and assassinate one another and sleep with animals and, frankly, the people didn't care. In fact, they didn't even care when the Emperor Caligula appointed a horse to the Senate, so clearly, Harper has a fair bit of leeway. Unless he's done that already. I don't remember.

Anyway, it was only when the finances of the Empire got so screwed up that Caligula was forced to raise taxes that people got ugly.

Make of it what you will.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How Many Attended Canada March for Life?

As per usual, Buckets brings the science.  His estimate: 8,000, a bit above CBC's but way below the march organizers.  As per usual, a post that is both educational and entertaining.  Read it and derive a recipe for estimating crowd sizes from aerial photos. 

And when you have absorbed it thoroughly, you'll understand why Stephen Harper doesn't want to reopen the abortion debate.

Or, for an alternative reading, though, go here.

Moore Stays...

...at Heritage, CBC stays funded, Ezra stays pissed. Life remains good (or at least half-decent).

Even Now Tim Hudak Is Killing Investment In The Province Of Ontario

Green energy manufacturers have been streaming into Ontario. Now:

...they have...indicated they will wait until after the provincial election in October before making a decision.

And what's Tim Hudak's answer to the province's burgeoning energy needs?  Well, he's muttered a bit about nukes because, apparently, its a "proven technology".  He's not saying near which town he'll put any new reactors, though.  Not before the election.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NDP: Official Opposition Or Parliamentary Dinner Theatre?

But that’s not what he really wanted to talk about. Mr. Angus wanted to introduce three rookie NDP MPs whose backgrounds are in arts and culture: Andrew Cash, a Juno award-winning musician from Toronto-Davenport who has played in a punk band with Mr. Angus; Longueil–Pierre Boucher MP Pierre Nantel, the a former artistic director for Cirque du Soleil Musique; and Tyrone Benskin, the new MP for Jeanne–Le Ber and former ACTRA national vice-president.

Actually, I am expecting the NDP to infuse the role of Official Opposition with the boundless creativity of youth.  Or we could get four years of this kind of thing

Although I must say the notion that a party promoting art as business and getting appalled looks from the Ottawa press corps is more than a little disturbing.  Capitalism, Ms. Taber, is about more than assembling widgets and shovelling pig-shit.

Fox News North Vs. Bell Canada EXPLAINED!

Quebecor Media Inc. has reduced the carriage price of its new Sun News Network to “zero” by broadcasting it free over-the-air and streaming online, Mirko Bibic, senior vice-president of regulatory affairs at Bell Canada, says.

Like your mom used to say: nobody will buy the milk if you give it away for free.  Naturally, Bell Canada doesn't want to pay.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Deb Madill...

...didn't last too long at the Ontario Landowners Association. Tom Black has been named interim president.  No idea what brought about Ms. Madill's resignation.

Wegman Paper Retracted For Plagiarism

I've written quite a bit about Edward Wegman and The Wegman Report(WR), which has been used by AGW deniers to suggest collusion and misconduct among climate scientists.  Specifically, I've written about how John Mashey and the people behind Deep Climate discovered evidence of wholesale plagiarism in that report, and how several experts contacted by USA Today took a look and decided that, yes, Wegman and Co. seemed "guilty as charged". Well, finally, one of the papers that grew out of the WR, which discussed "social networking" among scientists, has been formally retracted by the journal that originally published it. If you at the image above, the social networking material that appeared in the WR itself and later made its way (in part) into Social Networks of Author–Coauthor Relationships, the retracted paper, is shown left.  The source documents, which including Wikipedia material and work by De Nooy, Mrvar and Batagelj, are shown right.  The blue stuff marked material has been cut and pasted. 

Not much question, in my mind, or the mind of the folks Computational Statistics and Data Analysis  (CSDA), where Wegman's paper first appeared.

An interesting side-note is that Wegman has laid all blame at the feet of a student who, while not actually listed as a co-author of the paper, appears to have written about 15 per cent of it!  Strange practices indeed from people who have been willing to accuse climate scientists of questionable ethics.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Levant Coughs Up

Richard Warman notes:

Congratulations to Giacomo Vigna whom I understand has now completed collection of his $57,500 in libel damages and costs. The appeal?

Hudak On Human Rights...Approaching Coherence, Or No?

Walker Morrow, "The Kid", supplies us with a Youtube of Tim Hudak's address to the Nepean Chamber of Congress, and a transcript of the moment (at about the12:30 minute mark on the clip) when Hudak backs down from his promise to eliminate the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. 

Hudy says:

"We will empower the Tribunal to dismiss frivolous applications at a preliminary stage, by restoring the provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code that were taken out. We will create new standards for the Human Rights Tribunal, so the process follows clear rules similar to those used in the courts, and we will consult with experts who will work in the system to develop ways to improve the quality and the legal expertise of Tribunal adjudicators. And finally, we will review the Commission and Tribunal to ensure the efficient use of your tax dollars, the same process each and every government agency, board, and commission will be subjected to under a PC government, and ensure those dollars are used to support the most vulnerable in our society."

The provisions that Hudak refers to were changed in 2008, when it was decided that any complaints should go straight to the tribunal rather than through the intermediary of  the Ontario Human Rights Commission.  This move was controversial at the time, but  billed as a time-saving maneuver:  cases would be resolved more quickly by removing a step in the process.  So while there is an argument to be made for returning to the old ways, claiming (as Hudak has also  done) that it will help clear up the back-log of 4,000 unresolved complaints is ridiculous.  If anything, his proposed reforms will have the opposite effect.

And of course this is not the kind of change Randy Hillier supporters wanted when they threw their support to Hudak at the 2009 PCPO leadership convention.  They wanted the Tribunal axed.  Assuming you believe Hudak will do no more he says he will, his plan amounts to mere tinkering around the edges. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

On "Opening Up" The Liberal Leadership Process

Steve V has a nice post up on how the LPoC might "open up" its leadership selection process.  He's expanding on earlier columns by Silver and Ibbitson where such "radical" proposals as an open primary for the national leadership, or at least for choosing candidates at the riding level, are discussed.

All these authors argue, essentially: what does the LPoC have to lose?

Well, while all these people at least acknowledge the possibility of a "take-over" of the party by hostile ideological interests, nobody spends much time over it.  Therefore it might be worth noting that in 1998 the Progressive Conservative national  leadership race was indeed targeted by interlopers, who were able to exert a measurable effect upon the outcome. 

Two things happened that year.  Firstly, the PCs opened up their own leadership selection process: $10 and anyone could join the party and cast a ballot for leader.  Secondly, David Orchard decided that he was going  to become a Tory and run in that leadership race.

A couple months in advance of the October vote, emails started going around a number of leftish mailing lists suggesting that people prank the PCs by signing up and backing Orchard.  The point was to throw sand in the gears of the PC machine: if no candidate received 50 per cent plus one of the vote, the whole race would go to an expensive second round, to be held weeks later.  Its hard to tell with these things, but I suspect several hundreds of people joined up for just this purpose.  Several thousands promised to, and since the price to get involved was just two fivers and a walk to your local highschool (I don't think e-voting had been invented yet), I suspect many followed through.  I certainly did.

So here is the October 1998 vote result.  Joe Clark missed the victory mark (but read though the link--this is in points not absolute votes) by less than two percent.  Hey presto, an attempt to "open" a major Canadian political party had been successfully hijacked.

But was the attempt a failure

Hard to say, really.  Orchard himself was sincere enough.  He brought a new crowd into the party with him, and some of those stuck around at least up to its final dissolution.  Orchard himself fought for the PCs existence right to the last stand.  As for the pranksters?  Well, in my own case I continued to read the PC Lit that  I was sent quite dutifully. I might have voted for them one day, as I had voted for the Clark PCs in his first go-round as leader. 

Anyway, before going towards anything as unknown as an open primary, the LPoC might want to look at this old PC model.  Perhaps set the party membership price a little higher to scare off mischief-makers.  Also, the concept of counting "points" over raw votes might be useful.  As far as I can tell, it is meant to insure that ridings with very few party members can still influence the final decision, and so people in those areas have a reason to join up in the first place.  I remember someone (Jeff Jedras I think) telling me that if the LPoC went with a strictly 1 Member 1 vote system, none of the leadership candidates would bother to campaign outside of Toronto.

What Is Wrong With This Picture?

The guys at Fox News North don't seem to know.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Somebody Got Suckered

Short version of this story: Iggy refused to to deal with Tamil protesters because of their possible connections to the LTTE. The NDP had no such compunctions, and harvested the Tamil vote.

And the CPoC? They unleashed the hounds on any politician appearing next to anyone with even vague connections to The Tigers, which seems to have freaked out Iggy and co. and guided their response to the issue.

And then the CPoC turned around and quite shamelessly ran people with LTTE connections.

I'm shitty at poker, but one day before I die I would like to play poker with Iggy.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Jewish Defense League Gets Around

They did the parking for Geert Wilders Toronto appearance,  "clad in suits and wrap-around sunglasses".

The Speechy Bowl! Court Date Set in Warman Vs. Lemire!

December 13 and 14, 2011
Federal Court of Canada
180 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario

Warman  and the CHRC  vs. Marc Lemire hits the court on that date.  I've written tons about this legal battle. Marc Lemire is the white supremacist that Ottawa human rights lawyer Richard Warman brought before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for violating Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act--its hate-speech provision.  The case will have important implications for fighting the spread of hate-speech in Canada. 

Here's what the guys on CHRC side will argue:

The Supreme Court of Canada clearly ruled that s. 13 was constitutional long before the penalty provisions were added to it. As such, Mr. Hadjis should have simply ignored the penalty provisions and applied the appropriate cease and desist order against Mr. Lemire," [Joel Richler, CJC National Honourary Legal Counsel] added.

"This action is known as the doctrine of 'reading out' - a well-established practice endorsed by the Supreme Court of Canada under which the portion of a law that may be unconstitutional is edited out but the remaining constitutional elements are applied. Mr. Hadjis should have 'read out' of section 13(1) the penalty provisions and preserved the rest of the section. Mr. Hadjis failed to consider this option, even though the Supreme Court of Canada has been clear that section 13(1) is perfectly constitutional," Richler explained.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The First Test

...of Tory moderation, now that they've got their majority, will involve the reintroduction of Bill C-49 (or whatever new name it is given):

The Conservatives intend to reintroduce their controversial anti-human smuggling bill when Parliament resumes, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said on Wednesday.

Now, the previous version was a mixture of decent law--cracking down the actual human smugglers behind operations like the  MV Sun Sea--and pointless gestures at toughness like detaining refugees who arrive by  ship in particular for periods of time beyond that of typical refugees.

And one of the strange things about the bill is that, on October 22nd when news of it was first made public, Jason Kenny and others in the government were quick to tout the support it had recieved from within the Tamil community, especially from the Peel Tamil Community Centre, a mysterious organization that did not seem to exist until October 22nd

In subsequent interviews,  Balan Ratnarajah, the man behind the P.T.C.C, claimed  that he had met with CPoC representatives and told them that his support for the bill hinged on these more extreme elements being removed from the final product.  And indeed he was assured that they would be.  In fact, word of Mr. Ratnarajah's deal with the Harper government circulated widely in the local Sri Lanken news outlets.  Here is probably the most thorough account of his meeting with Jason Kenny.  A brief extract:

“A member of our government in exile [LTTE] visited to Malaysia recently and reported to us that the situation on refugees in Malaysia is worst. Although UNHCR granted refugee status to those 4,000 to 5,000 Tamil people the Malaysian government has not provided anything to them yet. So we addressed this issue to the Canadian Government and we have been assured that it will be taken care of. "

So: will Mr. Ratnarajah have his demands honoured, and will those portions of the bill that penalize boat-people over-and-above other migrants be pulled from the legislation?  Or, on the other hand, now that those "very ethnic" voters have cast their ballots, will their concerns be ignored going forward?

As an aside, you might note that the "government in exile" that Mr. Ratnarajah claims to represent is glossed in the above passage as the LTTE, which is of course an abbreviation for the Tamil Tigers .  This is an interpolation on the part of whoever wrote up the transcript of Mr. R.s account of his meeting with Kenney.  More precisely, Mr. Ratnarajah ran and was elected to the first Transnational Constituent Assembly of Tamil Eelam (PTGTE) for district 3 (Western Ontario), and while some have  suggested a connection between the Transnational Assembly and the Tigers, this doesn't seem to have been particularly well established.

Michael Geist On Linking To Hate Speech

He too thinks thinks that the hate-speech/anonymity provisions in C-51 are not where the main problems with the legislation lie. The main problems with the legislation are, according to Geist:

...it has never been subject to committee review, it would mandate disclosure of some personal information without court oversight, it would establish a massive ISP regulatory process (including employee background checks), it would install broad new surveillance technologies, and it would cost millions (without a sense of who actually pays).

As for the hyperlinking issue in particular, Geist seems to think that the legislative summary is mis-describing what in the actual legislation.  It turns on the change definition of the term "communicating" from the old to new hate-crime provisions:

The revised definition is obviously designed to broaden the scope of the public incitement of hatred provision by making it technology neutral. Whereas the current provision is potentially limited to certain technologies, the new provision would cover any form of communication. It does not specifically reference hyperlinking.

I recognize that one could make an argument that a link could be included within communicating by any means or making available, but that strikes me a big stretch.

He then goes on to use the very same case I talked of here to argue that "merely linking to another site does not make that person a publisher of the material found at that site".  Now, Michael Geist is the world famous tech-law guy, and I am just me, but as I noted earlier the judge in the Crookes case also spells out circumstances where linking to defamation can be defamation, and it would strike me as odd if C-51 was not intended to bring linking to hate speech into the hate-speech provisions under roughly the same circumstances.  After all, hyper-linking to sources of hate speech is the premier means of spreading the stuff these days.

On Linking To Hate Speech

This story, about the draconian effects of Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act, begin in the frenzied depths of the mind of Free Dominion's Mark Fournier,  and has spreadfrom their  to more reputable quarters.  The specific claim is that the act, which reads in part

Clause 5 of the bill provides that the offences of public incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred may be committed… by creating a hyperlink that directs web surfers to a website where hate material is posted.

...will making hyper-linking an activity fraught with peril, and might in the end "make the Internet itself illegal".  The problem is that, by analogous arguments, you could argue that current Canadian law already makes the "Internet illegal".  That is, Canadian defamation law has already spoken: linking to defamatory may be (not is, necessarily) defamatory.  For example, the judge in the Crookes case--in which green party activist Wayne Crookes attempted to, as the story goes, "sue the Internet"-- laid down several clarifying markers:

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

Now, I am not a lawyer, but I know a few, and what this passage implies is that if you write something in support of the defamatory material at the other end of the link then you can get in trouble, but merely linking to, and perhaps even describing the content on a page carrying defamatory material, is not necessarily enough to be defamatory.

In any case, merely linking to defamatory material under Canuck law can be libel.  That's already settled.  Bill C-51 merely extends this to the matter of hate-speech.  So it doesn't strike me as a particularly big deal if you aren't already a hard-core Speechy (free speech absolutist).  The Internet is no more or less safe for linking than it was.

Don't get me wrong:  C-51 is bad law. At its core it seems to demand that Canadian ISPs beef up and redesign their networks in order to spy on their customers when the police or government demand it, and demands that they do this without financial assistance from the government.  I just don't clause 5 is where the really awful parts of the law are set out.

Media Culpa: Margaret Wente Sucks Even Worse Than You Think!

George Monbiot is a serious thinker. Too bad the Globe and Mail only has Margaret Wente. It’s remarkable how many words one can take from another writer, and still manage to distort them.

My advice to Ms. Wente is to straighten up and fly right.  When the gal from Media Culpa gets on your case, you lose.  Ask David Warren.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Was Racist Geert Wilders Booked Into The National Arts Centre Under False Pretenses?

When asked why the centre would give someone like Mr. Wilders a podium, spokeswoman Rosemary Thompson said the NAC was unaware of who would be gracing its stage when the event was booked.

“The way this started was that the International Free Press Society called the catering department about a month ago and said that they had a Dutch MP coming to Canada for a speaking tour and that it was part of the Tulip Festival,” Ms. Thompson said, stressing the centre was not sponsoring the event

Suffice to say, the "Bleached Führer" is not on the Tulip Fest schedule.  I think the IFPS guys just bullshitted to ease things along, but I've emailed the festival for a confirmation.

On The Harper Majority

I ditto the following remarks:

You say that he’s not the guy who opposed universal health care or that once wanted to build a wall around Alberta. He’s the guy that governed carefully from the centre.

No, the guy that governed carefully from the centre was the guy that had no choice.

You say he steered us through the recession. We made it through despite him, not because of him. You at least gave Paul Martin credit for the surpluses that have since been squandered. You might also have mentioned that Martin prevented deregulation of the banks, something that Harper would have dearly loved to have done had he had the majority necessary to do so.

Now we'll see the true Harper, the majority Harper, Harper unchained, unfettered by a pesky opposition.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Notes On Choosing An Interim Leader

1) Sorry, Stéphane Dion won't do.  LPoC Members seem compelled  to weave a new narrative going forward, and a part of that narrative is maybe how Dion's idealism shouldn't have been so roughly tossed aside, and how by choosing him now for Interim Leader maybe some of those sins of pragmatism can be atoned for, and etc. 

But the Interim leader has to be the face and voice of the party going forward and, to put it bluntly, Dion's English sucks.  Not that he has not been capable of turning a good phrase in the language of 3/4 of the nation.  In fact, I have heard him say things in English that were prenaturally coherent.  But, lets face it, and as the 2008 campaign revealed most painfully, his English usually has to be translated into English.  If the Liberal grass-roots want to appoint some guy who needs to be sub-titled, go ahead.  Its of a piece with the self-flagellation that seems to be going around.

2) Whether Bob Rae is appointed Interim Leader, or is not, is perhaps irrelevant.  But I find that the strain of thinking among some LPoC supporters to the effect that it would be madness to appoint him Interim Leader, and madness to think that if appointed interim leader he should be allowed to run for the permanent position, is  a sick symptom of the kind of arrogance that has sapped the Federal Liberals over the past ten years and has brought them to their current state of political loserdom.

Lets break it down.  Bob Rae is fluently bilingual; he knows every file he has ever been assigned dead to rights; he has the "common touch" in the way the last three LPoC leaders have not; and he has served the LPoC cause faithfully and with no attempt to undermine whatever leader he served under.  He also, I would argue, kept the LPoC flag flying in Toronto when other candidates were going down around him like flies. 

And, of course, if he had not, out of conviction, converted to LPoC from NDP, he would be elevated now--maybe in Stornoway.  But instead he chose to ride in the vehicle Michael Ignatieff crashed into the snow- fence of political  ignominy, with the rest of you losers (I'm speaking as someone who hasn't joined up, mind you).

In short, I find it a bit sick that Bob Rae should still be considered (IMHO) at the fringes of the party, especially when you think of the greasy wad of candidates the Libs have always been willing to consider family within the 416 (naming no names!). 

Remember this, LPoC grassroots.  You owe him far more than he owes you.

Canada's First Tamil MP

...is really hot.  That is all.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The "Bleached Führer" In Ottawa Tomorrow

That's what they call Geert Wilders in The Netherlands. He's in the national capital tomorrow, welcomed by none other than Ezra Levant.

For The Record

Wayne Janes of the T.O. Sun Defends the Jack Layton rub'n tug story on The Sun Family Blog (TSF):

Gotta respond, TSF. It was a tab story. TSF knows as much as anyone and more than most that a tab can't ignore a tab story. No argument it was dirty politics, but the reality is the news business is just that — a business — and politics is dirty now. To pass the story up to let other media outlets have it would have been bad business, not to mention bad journalism. Layton needed to be asked about this once it came to light and he needed his side to be told. All that was done and done properly.

Many people asked, What if it was Harper? Wouldn't everybody jump on it with glee? What if it WAS Harper, and we DID ignore the story, citing "ethics?" What would people think of the Sun then?

A story is a story is a story.

Not sure I agree, especially since the information was provided anonymously, and the "retired police officer" that supplied it has not been subject to the same kind of press scrutiny that Mr. Layton was forced to undergo.  But at least a coherent response.

Margaret Wente: Laziness Or Plagiarism?

My pal from Media culpa calls out another journalist for, well, bad journalism.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

They Don't Understand The Consequences Of Their Intents: Tory MPP Randy Hillier Trashes Federal Internet Crime Bill

...at about the eight minute mark. 

A fabulously confused conversation.  Just afterwards Hillier agrees that Tim Hudak's proposed revamp of Ontario human rights legislation will make "truth a defense" when it comes to adjudicating potential hate speech.  And yet about three minutes previously he had noted, quite correctly, that that same legislation doesn't let the OHRC/OHRT adjudicate hate-speech in the first place. 

And they're calling it hard news.

Also, try to watch the whole clip from the beginning. The first four minutes are Brian Lilley babbling against a garish back-drop.  You can feel the sleep coming on.

The Pope Weighs In: Climate Change, The Himalayas, And Everything

The Vatican, more particularly the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, has issued a new report on global warming entitled Fate of Mountain Glaciers in the Anthropocene: A Report by the Working Group Commissioned by the Pontifical Academy of Science.  It strikes me as rather well done. Not so much for the original scientific content--what's happening to the world's glaciers under AGW has been pretty thoroughly documented.  However, as a vehicle designed to communicate that knowledge, and to promote an action plan based on that knowledge, it is exemplary, and should be read  by anyone who has spent time engaging in the often tedious back and forth re "How should scientists speak to the public about Climate Change?".  Well, here's how.  Look and learn.

From the introduction:

We call on all people and nations to recognise the serious and potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and by changes in forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other land uses. We appeal to all nations to develop and implement, without delay, effective and fair policies to reduce the causes and impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems, including mountain glaciers and their watersheds, aware that we all live in the same home. By acting now, in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibility, we accept our duty to one another and to the stewardship of a planet blessed with the gift of life.

I encourage people to read the whole thing. A couple of particularly good things about it.

1) It seems to me that the focus on mountain glaciers is a brilliant move, rhetorically.  The Alps wind their way across much of Europe; runoff from the rapidly shrinking Himalayan glaciers supply water to significant parts of Asia; North and South American glaciers are also in retreat.  And everywhere their decline is likely to bring deleterious consequences. If you are issuing a call for global collective action, and that's what the Pontifical Academy's report appears to be doing, then you want to find an effect of AGW that is truly global in nature.  For example, Tornados, Pine Beetle infestations (assuming the Vatican even has expertise in these areas) have effects too regionalized to serve the report's symbolic requirements.  Glaciers work wonderfully.  I do not think the specific subject matter of the document, upon which it hangs its more general conclusions and recommendations, was chosen randomly.

2) The report contains beautifully written scientific prose (or at least has been translated into such).  Francis Bacon, who invented the style, would have nodded in approval.  The writing is austere, authoritative, and yet not terribly difficult to parse.  In other words, if you've got half a brain in your head, you can understand it.  This bit outlines states quite elegantly the breakdown in responsibility for the AGW  problem as it applies to developed vs. developing countries:

By acting now, in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibility, we accept our duty to one another and to the stewardship of a planet blessed with the gift of life.

If you want to call the Pope a socialist bent on transferring first world wealth to the third world, go ahead, but you will seem diminished in the face of such fine writing.

3)  One interesting feature of the report is the employment of the phrase  "The Anthropocene Age", which is

...a recent and informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth's ecosystems.

Some have argued that this is a misappropriation of the vocabulary of "ages" for what is in geological terms a short-term event.  But I am more interested in the fact that the report is not afraid of this kind of openly rhetorical flourish (as noted in the wiki article above, the term is not a formal part of the geological vocabulary).  In fact, I would argue that it stomps royally all over the  framework of roles and poses, designed to separate explanations of science from science advocacy, laid out by  Roger Pielke Jr. in his Honest Broker.  Which suggests to me that such anatomies of good vs. bad scientific discourse are pointless abstractions that are simply not relevant to any actual debate at the interface of climate science and climate policy.  In other words: feel free to ignore Roger Pielke Jr.  The Pope does.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Not With A Bang, But A Whimper...

...the Speechy conflict comes to an end. Tim Hudak ditches his plan to abolish the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, and Randy Hillier--whose idea it was originally--bows to his leader.

PS. Warren thinks Hudak's lying. I don't think it matters. Timmy has to choose one variety of poision or another. It looks like he's chosen to enrage the party's Libertarian wing. It will be interesting to see what Jack MacLaren , Hillier's successor at the Landowners association, says about this latest development.

Maude Barlow Puts Her Finger On It

After listening to a bunch of SoCons demand that Harper reopen the abortion debate, kill the CHRC, and abolish the wheat board, Maude Barlow

...chair of the Council of Canadians, said “this is Stephen Harper’s true constituency,” but insists that Harper has no choice but to keep a lid on the religious right and social conservatives in the Conservative caucus.

“I think we know where he is going with this right-wing (economic) agenda … and I think he will not want to jeopardize that by taking a sharp-right turn on something like abortion,” Barlow said.

Thus was it ever.  The SoCon grassroots provide the movement's energy and muscle; the Conservative government that results pays them back in the form of tax cuts to business and...by strengthening hate speech laws!  Talk about irony.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Gift To Israel?

There's been some chatter today about the Tories now suddenly passable Bill C-51: Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act.  Most of it has been over this bit strengthening Canada's hate speech laws:

Clause 5 of the bill provides that the offences of public incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred may be committed by any means of communication and include making hate material available, by creating a hyperlink that directs web surfers to a website where hate material is posted, for example.

However, the clause I find more interesting is 4, which "adds “national origin” to the definition of “identifiable group”--that is adds that phrase  “national origin” to subsection 318(4) of the criminal code, which currently reads:

...any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.

Maybe I am being overly suspicious, but I find it very difficult to believe that anyone would be arsed enough to press charges against someone trashing Iranians.  But could criticism of Israel be taken as hate speech against Canadian Israelis? Would this therefore make a statement of the Israel = Apartheid State analogy a criminal offence?

Dude From Ipsos Prognosticates

 Yesterday, while working to make the world a better place for Canadian small businessmen, I managed to catch part of a presentation by Ipsos Senior Vice President John Wright.  A couple of highlights:

1) He's predicting at  least two consecutively Harper majorities, due to the "chaos" on the political Left which will take "years" to sort out.  He talked mostly about how the NDP MPs from Quebec had no real connection to the federal party's ideology, and how it would all end badly.  Which might be prescient, or a statement of the obvious.  But either way there is also some simple math involved: the distance between 34 LPoC seats and 155 will be difficult to cross in a single election.

2) Regarding the upcoming election in Ontario, Mr. Wright figured that Ms. Horwath would wheel out Jack Layton but it might  not help much (memories of Bob Rae); that Tim Hudak (if I remember this correctly) was saving up his dough for after the upcoming PCPO convention and that the Ontario Tory ad blasts would not start until then; and that a "Bill Davis-style" minority gov. for either Hudak or McGuinty was a distinct possibility.

So there you have it.

PS. Won't be around much today either.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Fire Alfred Apps

That is all.

PS. Kinsella has reasons. I'm too tired for reasons right now. My gut says he sucks.

PPS. I didn't always think that Alfred Apps sucked.  Guts can change.

Election 41 Explained

...in fact all of Canada explained, by this guy. Who wants to hoard all his digital copyrights--but does he vote NDP???--so I can't reproduce his helpful chart here. But believe me, he understands the nation.

This will probably be it for me for today.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Bell TV, Fox News North Part Ways

TORONTO – Quebecor’s Sun News was removed from the Bell TV satellite lineup at 10 a.m. this morning (Tuesday, May 3).

While the channel slot itself remains, the feed has been replaced with text telling customers that the channel “has been taken down at the request of the owners of Sun News."

Go through the link for details.

That's Going To Be A REAL Interesting Official Opposition

Whoopsie!  Looks like somebody has whomped up a fake Facebook account.  The first message there is only from about 12 hours ago.   My apologies to Ms. Brosseau.  That is illegal, incidentally, even as a joke.

Fake site here.

All That Stands Between Harper And Senate Reform

...a topic much discussed this morning in the wake of the Harper victory, are Conservative Senators Nancy Greene Rain, Don Plett, Richard Neufeld, Pierre Claude Nolin and Jacque Demers.  Still not there yet, I'm afraid, CPoC majority or no.

A Silver Lining

Joe Volpe went down to defeat. Apparently the dead wouldn't rise up to vote for him this time.  You want LPoC renewal, having him gone is a start.

Oh, and Lizzie May's another flash of sunlight in the gloom.  Frankly, I don't trust the NDP to treat enviro issues as anything but a frill.

Otherwise a crap night and one the Libs brought on themselves.  I am, incidentally, thinking about finally taking out a membership (I never have, though I've donated once or twice), if only to get close enough to bite a few people.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Blogging Tories Goes Off-Line

Afraid of Tory Rebs illegally spilling results?

PS. My psychic senses detect only a small NDP surge in the Maritimes. But I can speak no more about it!

Gruending On Blakeney

He was a remarkably good premier even though the hand-pumping side of politics did not come easily to him. Although he liked people and was genial and quick witted in private, his public persona was one of someone buttoned up and cautious. He told me in an interview after he left politics that when he was premier he kept in mind the image of a giant reel-to-reel tape that was always recording. He did not want to commit any embarrassing bloopers that would threaten his government and its social democratic projects.

A nice reminder that politicians are human too.

Fox News North Covers The Death Of bin Laden

As chronicled by the avid fans at FreeDominion:

9:15 PM: SunTV is showing a repeat of 'The Source'.

9:17 PM: CBC just broke with the story...and SunTV has an Adler rerun from Friday.

9:19: Sun TV is replaying stuff they broadcasted earlier. Don't they have any live staff there at night

9:49 PM: No I think the weekends are mostly reruns.

 9:52 PM: There are probably about 3 TVs tuned to Sun TV right now and each has someone who has fallen asleep in front of it.
I am informed they finally woke someone up in time for Obama's presser. 

The perils of doing news on the cheap: something  myself and others have warned about previously.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Get Out The Tar And Feathers

I was never an Ignatieff fan, even though I once argued that, under the circumstance, appointing him in 2009 was the best/cheapest option available at the time. Since I also don't like the recent LPoC habit of trashing their leaders after a single election loss, I've also wondered about what the minimum seat count would be for Iggy to stay on.  But if this poll is right...in fact, if any of the recent polls are right...then Iggy, baby, this just ain't gonna work.

What is the way forward for the federal Liberals?  I don't know.  Appoint Bob Rae as (interim(?)) leader?  Assuming another minority government, is there time for anything more fancy? 

But putting the party (and therefore the nation) at risk to take down a government that was entirely incapable of passing any deleterious legislation--which is what Michael Ignatieff did in allowing this election to go forward-- is NOT the kind of behavior that should be rewarded.


Keep Talking...

Layton "rub and tug" scandal explodes in Conservative blogosphere, Tory momentum reversed.

Or its all random twitchings in the body of the electorate.  Which still means Canadians are assigning this incident the significance it deserves = 0.

PS.  Looks like NANOS will put out one more poll this evening.

Wikileaks Made Searchable


A handy tool.