A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

I'm a rarity among Newfoundlanders: I can't say I have any great love for Danny Williams. To be honest, I think he's the most competent premier Newfoundland has ever had, but then again that's not really saying much with the likes of these.

Newfoundlanders love Mr. Williams - in fact, they love him so much that he's enjoying sky-high approval ratings of 78%, something most politicians would kill for. I'm not hopping on the Danny bandwagon, however - and here's why: aside from the Atlantic Accord, what else has he done for Newfoundland and Labrador? Tough talk with the feds? Sure, it's a nice change - but while it might have worked when Paul Martin held the reigns of ditherdom, Stephen Harper is not a man that can be cowed by a blustery millionaire. Huffing and Puffing on the brick house of Herper's confederation benefits only two people - Danny Williams, and his public approval rating. There had better be a carrot to follow that stick, Danny.

I admire the leadership of the Prime Minister because I feel he's principled and honest. I can't say anywhere near the same for Mr. Williams. In the summer of 2005, when Harbour Breton's future was on the line (admittedly, it had already been decided), Mr. Williams said he supporetd the community wholeheartedly. Then he allowed a "free vote" on the issue, instead of applying the whip to his caucus, a tactic that showed a demonstrable care for his own hide at the expense of the people.

Despite this, I do not cast doubt on the love Mr. Williams holds for this province or its people. The simple fact is, he's a patriot and it is high time this province had an intelligent, hard-working leader who would aggressively defend the interests of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. All of these qualities can be aptly ascribed to Mr. Williams. Still, all of this is no substitute for a solid plan to place Newfoundland and labrador on solid economic footing. The Atlantic Accord is a good start, but it's just that: a start. I'm still waiting for the rest of the plan to be revealed to me.

Because when five thousand people line up looking for work in Alberta, the question is begged to Mr. Danny Williams: what have you done for me lately?

"I think we've probably heard the end of it"

I guess they've milked it for all they can now:

While the 'dog' controversy involving MPs Belinda Stronach and Foreign Minister Peter MacKay is regrettable, Speaker Peter Milliken said he now considers the matter closed.

And in making his ruling on Monday, Milliken told the assembled MPs that better decorum in the House of Commons would be welcome. He asked them to "avoid personal attacks on other members, so they do not bring themselves and this House into disrepute."

Milliken said the official record conflicts with unofficial observations as to what was said and gestured back on Oct. 19.....


"The remarks may or may not have been said, but it is not for the speaker to decide where the truth lies," Milliken said. "I regret that the chair can offer no remedy to the House. ... I must now consider the matter closed."

He refused to refer the matter to a committee for further study.

"I think we've probably heard the end of it," The Globe and Mail's Jane Taber told CTV Newsnet. (h/t CTV)

We should have heard the end of it 2 weeks ago. The media has spent an inordinate amount of time over something that should have gone down as a blurb on CTV's running ticker. Had Taber et al. decided to report on some news of actual importance, we might have heard more about the liberal's disasterous and divisive 'Nation' resolution, the fate of the Wheat Board, or Scott Brison posing nude for a calendar. I'm sorry if I just made you gag a little, but I guarantee you're awake now - who needs coffee? (Happy Halloween!)


Anyone Who hasn't seen this, Should.

H/t Darcey

If you haven't seen this post yet, you need to check it out now. It's a perfect example of moonbattery gone to the extreme. A personal Kudos to Mike for his excellent points raised in debating with Gil Warren, moonbat extraordinaire!
(Be sure to click on the links and listen to the mp3 recordings of his conversation!)


Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm a Nice Fellow

Walking through the library to get some information out of The Manual of Clinical Microbiology I noticed a gentleman coming behind me with a camera on a tripod, and a lady behind him with a microphone. Both were inscribed with the CBC emblem.

Never let it be said that I let politics get in the way of human kindness. Of course I held the door for them so they could get in easily. Why should it matter what their politics were (in any event, who's to say they held leftist views in the first place)? I do wonder, however, what would have happened if I had've been wearing a "Support our Troops" shirt and a socialist fanatic was holding the door. Some of those folks can get pretty nasty.

Oddly enough, I find that I'm friends with a number of leftist individuals who write for my university's student newspaper. In most of these cases, I'm just following through with my friendly nature - you might think someone's political views are more or less the result of reverse-coprophagy, but you'll feel a lot better about yourself (and a lot less irritated) if you hold the moral high ground of being respectful. In one particularly interesting case, a fellow I've known for quite some time holds the most appalling leftist views - of course, being the son of a CBC employee and an "alternative-newspaper" publisher, this comes to me as no surprise. Conversely, he probably harbours similar thoughts about myself, albeit from an opposite point of view. However, we both get along outstandingly well, because we acknowledge that our political views are only part of who we are, and not the whole of who we are.

There is a lesson to take from this - don't let the fact that you abhor someone's political views cause you to treat them poorly.

After all, why settle on hating someone over politics when there's a million other reasons to think they're a jerk?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Can you Blame them?

Sorry for the short posts today, but I'm a running behind schedule and I'm a little Busy. Reader tips are welcome!

Some judges are so repulsed by Internet child pornography that they refuse to view images seized from offenders prior to sentencing them, according to a senior Ontario Crown attorney.

Prosecutor Alex Smith told a conference of crime victims that while this squeamishness is understandable, many prosecutors believe that these judges pass sentences that are too lax for such a horrendous crime.

"There is no substitute for actually viewing the images," Mr. Smith, the head of the Ministry of the Attorney-General's Internet abuse section, told a Canadian Association for Victim Assistance conference. "You don't realize how bad this stuff is until you have been exposed to it.

"I don't want to be critical of the judicial system, but police are generally disappointed with the sentences meted out in many of these cases," he said. "Certainly, many Crowns are disappointed in the sentences meted out."

Mr. Smith said prosecutors will have to become "more persistent that judges view the images. It is kind of a touchy issue. Viewing this stuff is different from viewing other stuff. I haven't done a child pornography case in six years, but I can still remember some of the images. They stick with you and they haunt you."

His remarks came during a panel session at which Mr. Smith and Ontario Provincial Police Detective-Inspector Angie Howe unveiled a province-wide Internet child pornography strategy they helped develop over the past two years and which is to be launched next week.

The $5-million strategy will feature central co-ordinators who will pool information, resources and investigators from 15 police forces across Ontario. The strategy will replace a hodgepodge of individual police child pornography units that had few resources and precious little ability to share information with one another.

"The offices doing this locally were underequipped," Det.-Insp. Howe said. "There was one poor officer in Hamilton doing this who had to buy his own equipment."

Det.-Insp. Howe and Mr. Smith said the strategy, which has been two years in the making, will feature:

A victim identification unit to collate Internet images of sexually abused children and use the latest techniques in image analysis in order to find and rescue child victims.

Standardized training for all police officers on Internet abuses against children.

A province-wide tip line for children who suspect, or know of, a possible offender.

Training for an initial crop of 20 prosecutors to provide sound advice to police well before they lay charges to make sure they obtain proper evidence.

Links between police and prosecutors, and other government and non-governmental agencies.

An "on-line undercover luring team" that will patrol the Internet, seeking to detect and obtain evidence against offenders.

Det.-Insp. Howe said the ubiquity of the crime and the anonymity of its perpetrators make Internet child pornography offences unique: "It is doctors, it's lawyers, it's cops, it's Crowns, and it's guys who live in their mother's basement and love Star Trek," she said.

While one might expect that offenders will begin taking steps to avoid having any identifying features and locations in their child porn videos, Det.-Insp. Howe said, they will be loathe to do so because the "story lines" they create -- a child who romps naked on the beach or is violated in a bathtub -- are essential to their product.

"By and large, the judicial system isn't very good at recognizing there are victims," Mr. Smith said. "It is often seen as a victimless offence."

Det.-Insp. Howe said that society, including the judiciary, must understand that because of its unique ingredients, Internet child porn is not a complete criminal act, but is rather "a crime in progress."

She described a 14-year-old victim she dealt with who had been persuaded by her 18-year-old boyfriend to pose naked for some photographs. The girl split up with her boyfriend soon afterward, and he created an Internet website devoted to the photographs.

The girl arrived at her school one day to find photocopies of the picture taped to all the lockers, Det.-Insp. Howe said. The mortified victim was plunged into depression and has since abandoned her goal of becoming a schoolteacher, since the photographs can, and probably will, reappear for the rest of her life.

Perpetrators circulate images around the world, Det.-Insp. Howe said, collecting and seeking out specific, horrendous images of rape and other abuse as if they were baseball cards. "They talk to each other, saying things like: 'I'll give you my whole Jordan series if you give me that Isabel picture,' " she said. "The Internet has given them a forum where they can normalize their interest. And this is in the same sandbox where your kids are trading audio clips."

Det.-Insp. Howe said that according to one survey of victims, 76 per cent of them reported that they first encountered the perpetrator in an Internet chat-room. Eighty per cent of perpetrators openly brought up sexual topics, and 70 per cent of them did not lie about their age. Sixty per cent of victims said that they felt "love" for the offenders, Det.-Insp. Howe added.

Part of the blame for inadequate sentences lies with prosecutors who are inexperienced in Internet child porn cases, Mr. Smith said. "We occasionally have Crown attorneys who pick up one of these files for the first time with insufficient guidance," he said. "Often, they do a good job. Sometimes, they don't."

Mr. Smith and Det.-Insp. Howe said that one of the key elements of the provincial strategy will be to educate parents that their children face a serious risk of falling prey to child abusers every time they log onto a chat-line.

"Once a pornographic image of your child is out there, there is no recall button," Mr. Smith said. "And once it has gone to one pervert out there, it gets traded to others. It is always going to be there. It is totally different from any other offence.

"These offences don't occur out there in the cruel world," he said. "They occur in your study or downstairs basement. I don't think the vast majority of parents whose children are being exploited have the foggiest notion until their child has been approached or there are photographs of the child on the Internet. . . . In a sense, it occurs in your child's bedroom, but in another sense, it is occurring in the whole world."


Free Speech Triumphs in Denmark

Via the CBC:

"A court in Denmark has dismissed a lawsuit against the Danish newspaper that first published the Prophet Muhammad cartoons that sparked a firestorm of protest around the world.

The City Court in Aarhus dismissed the defamation lawsuit against Jyllands-Posten on Thursday, explaining its decision by saying that while the cartoons had offended some, there was no reason to believe the dozen drawings were intended to insult Muslims.

"It cannot be ruled out that the drawings have offended some Muslims' honour, but there is no basis to assume that the drawings are, or were conceived as, insulting or that the purpose of the drawings was to present opinions that can belittle Muslims," the court said.

Jyllands-Posten officials called Thursday's decision a victory for freedom of the press, while the Muslim groups who jointly filed the lawsuit say they plan to launch an appeal."

Thankfully, This ruling has now set a precedent for striking down future challenges to legitimate social commentary. Maybe Europe isn't lost after all.

In This Post, I Predict the Future

- UPDATE1 - When I'm right, I'm right.

Don't worry that the opposition is gutting, stalling, or blocking every attempt by the government to pass important legislation. Yes, that's what I said. Be angry about it. Demand that they do what's right for Canada. Call, e-mail and yell at Liberal MP's to stop holding Canada back from important legislation it needs. But Don't worry about it.

In their obstinacy, they are giving the Conservatives the greatest electoral gift they could possibly deliver. During the next election, look for the Conservatives to hammer away at a constant theme: Here's what we could have done were it not for the Liberals. The Conservatives have already passed the most popular of their election promises: tax cuts, a GST cut, and the Childcare plan. They can trot out and crow about these accomplishments come the next election, which will work favorably with the Canadian public.

But what they can also do is point to a list of the legislation that could have been passed were it not due to the obstructionist tactics of the liberals: A federal appointments watchdog who would have worked for a dollar a year, a justice act that would see dangerous offenders put behind bars where they belong, and most importantly, the Federal Accountability act - an act that has at this writing, been stalled by Liberal senators for 127 days.

Like I said, don't worry - it's a gift.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fallow Field Legislation

Last week, Newfoundland Danny Premier Williams made the national news when he very publicly chewed out the Prime Minister over Harper's opposition to "fallow field legislation." It's grated on me ever since. On the one hand is my belief in Canadian conservatism, and on the other is my love of my province. The trouble is, I can't support one without contributing to the detriment of the other.

For those of you who've been busy with other things, let me briefly explain to you what the situation is: in case you haven't noticed, Newfoundland and Labrador isn't the wealthiest province in Canada. This is despite overwhelming oil and gas resources in an energy based world economy (and a fishery that, until 1992, was the richest and most productive in the world). The province has so much potential to be wealthy, and yet remains economically stagnant. A contributing factor to this problem is constraints put upon the province by the federal government.

In an effort to end this economic stagnation, the province is actively pursuing oil and gas production. But there are several obstacles in our way: first, the federal government currently claws back through equalization almost all natural resource revenues the province generates. Equalization was not meant to be a zero-sum game; the aim is for provinces to pull themselves out of stagnation and get moving again. The current system makes this impossible for a resource-based economy like that of Newfoundland and Labrador. The second is the fact that by federal law, Newfoundland and Labrador is not allowed to build a refinery to process its own oil. I'm not making this up.

That's why the Atlantic Accord was so important to us, and that's why most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians stood by the regrettable (but unfortunately necessary) decision to pull down Canadian flags over the issue. The fact of the matter is that Martin left the province with no other choice. Oil is a non-renewable resource - Newfoundland cannot afford to have it sold for the benefit of the federal government while it stuggles along trying to provide basic services for its citizens.

Enter the current conflict over fallow field legislation. For those of you who aren't aware of the concept, it means that if oil companies purchase the rights to drill for oil in an area, they must essentially use it or lose it. As it stands, the development of the Hebron Oil field is indefinitely on hold. Why? Because a foreign oil company with its mind on its already fat and bloated bottom line doesn't like the idea that it should pay a fair royalty regime to the province from which it generates its oil. And so the field sits, undeveloped, while the province stagnates economically. This begs the question: why should a province with four massive known oil fields be poor?

Compounding the problem is that, despite bringing them into confederation, Newfoundland has no control or ownership of its offshore oil. Unlike Alberta, which has direct control over its oil and gas resources because they are land-based, Newfoundland and Labrador has no control over these resources because the oil reserves are based offshore - an offshore it has owned for over 500 years, and yet is now under federal jurisdiction. For this reason, the federal government has an 8.5% share in the royalties of the Hibernia offshore oil field - and yet, a simple 4.5% royalty share is too much for already rich oil companies like Chevron. The feds have already recouped their investment in Hibernia - so why not deliver the share into the hands of an economically struggling Newfoundland? The move can only benefit the nation as a whole. And still, the feds refuse.

The Prime Minister refuses to support fallow field legislation. His argument is that supporting fallow field legislation is harmful to Canada's business interests. I say the interests of Canadian citizens take priority. Should we allow already rich companies to benefit off the backs of a struggling people? Is this morally right? Harper's argument that this sets a dangerous precedent rings all the more hollow when one realizes that Alberta has similar fallow field legislation that mandates oil companies begin to develop an oil field within five years or lose the rights.

The bottom line is this: Newfoundland can't afford to wait around while Chevron refuses to develop an oil field in the hopes that oil prices will rise and that it can get an even more lopsided deal. Harper can only lose in Newfoundland by refusing to support this legislation. Why he will not is beyond me.

Judge: Terrorism is not Terrorism

This one takes the cake:

Ottawa — A judge has struck down what he calls an “essential element” of Canada's legal definition of terrorism, saying it infringes on freedom of religion, thought and association guaranteed in the Charter of Rights...Justice Rutherford, in a 32-page written decision, zeroed in on the provision that makes proof of terrorism dependent on showing a religious, political or ideological motive for the criminal activity. He wrote that this definition is “an essential element that is not only novel in Canadian law, but the impact of which constitutes an infringement of certain fundamental freedoms . . . including those of religion, thought, belief, opinion, expression and association.” Such an infringement, said Justice Rutherford, “cannot be justified in a free and democratic society.”

Got that? Terrorism isn't terrorism. If you attack the people of a nation because of your political, religious or ideological beliefs, you aren't committing terrorism.

Someone should send this judge a dictionary. Or Google, even:

Definitions of terrorism on the Web:

  • is defined by the US Department of Defense as "the unlawful use of -- or threatened use of -- force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives."
  • The FBI defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
  • Any act including, but not limited to, the use of force or violence and/or threat thereof of any person or group(s) of persons whether acting alone or on behalf of, or in connection with, any organisation(s) or government(s) committed for political, religions, ideological or similar purposes, including the intention to influence any government and/or to put the public or any section of the public in fear.
  • Terrorist activities are illegal and involve the use of coercion including the use of force, intended to intimidate or coerce, and committed in support of political or social objectives.
  • the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear
  • Terrorism is a controversial and subjective term with multiple definitions. One definition means a violent action targetting civilians exclusively. Another definition is the use or threatened use of violence for the purpose of creating fear in order to achieve a political, economic, religious, or ideological goal. ...

  • H/T National Newswatch. Yeesh.

    Monday, October 23, 2006

    Letter to My University

    This will be appearing (hopefully) in this week's edition of my university's student newspaper. It's a modified form of a letter that was published in The St. John's Telegram (The Telegram to Newfoundlanders) over the summer.

    This week, the university was host to the shameful scene of students actively supporting the abandonment of the people of Afghanistan to their violent former oppressors. These students are very likely the same activists who every other day claim to be the champions of human rights - but apparently, only when it’s easy. The very groups these people regularly claim to protect – gays and lesbians, oppressed women, religious minorities – are the very same people who would endure unbearable suffering were the Taliban return to power in Afghanistan.

    Under the Taliban, women were beaten and murdered for showing the slightest of skin on their ankles, and were considered nothing more than chattel. Gays and lesbians were brutally crushed to death by having walls bulldozed on top of them. Little girls were denied the right to go to school, and changing your religion was punishable by a violent death. How can these students nonchalantly support a course of action that would see these horrifying human rights violations committed once more upon innocent people? Are they not moved by the piteous tears of the oppressed? Do they even care?

    Our role in Afghanistan has always been two-fold since day one: fight those who would kill innocent women and children indiscriminately, and help rebuild a nation shattered by decades of war and oppression. But we cannot do the latter without accomplishing the former. As long as men who believe that changing your religion merits a death sentence and that women are nothing more than property threaten the peace and lives of innocent people, Canada will be there to say "no!" and to stand firm against these violent thugs. We must not sacrifice our reputation as an international defender of human rights.

    But according to the blind ideology of these “protestors,” we should. They say we should scurry like frightened rats and abandon the people that we, as a nation, made a commitment to - a people that express their gratitude to our wonderful troops every day for saving them from the Taliban.

    Many of you will remember the image of a smiling Afghan woman, her liberated fingers stretched in a peace sign and stained purple from her first time ever voting.

    You'd better hold on to that memory, because if people like these protestors get their way, that's all it will ever be.

    A Few Choice Turner Quotes

    "Everybody who makes up the government should be elected. They should be elected as members of the party that forms the government. Anybody who switches parties should go back to the people. To do otherwise is to place politicians above the people when, actually, it's the other way around."

    "Turner announced earlier this week that he hopes to push ahead with legislation that would deter future David Emersons and Belinda Stronachs from switching political parties..."

    "The irony is that I'’ve been a Conservative longer than most people who call themselves that these days and my beliefs have not changed. I did not leave my party, or my convictions, at the caucus room door..."

    And finally:

    "And after stating many a time that Belinda Stronach should have sought a by-election after her defection, how could I not say the same obvious thing now?"

    Just in case you've forgotten your principles, Garth. Whether you were turfed out of caucus is irrelevant. If you should indeed decide to join the Green Party, put your money where your mouth is and face the voters of Halton.

    It's Not Easy Being Green

    National Newswatch is reporting that sources suggest Garth Turner has joined the Green Party and will make an announcement to that effect early this week. When asked for comment, Turner had this to say:

    "I am a democrat who believes everyone in the House of Commons, including the cabinet members who make up the government, should be elected. They should sit in Parliament as they were elected. If they decide to change parties, they should go and get re-elected."

    Members of the Blogging Tories, the official talking point distributor for the Conservative Party, could not be reached for comment, save for one blogger who rolled his eyes and said "Yeesh!"

    Get Well Soon, Brandon!

    There's an update on Brandon Langhjelm's condition over at his blog, The Langhjelm Letter. As many of you may know, Brandon ran into some heart complications recently, caused by his Marfan's Syndrome. Swing on by The Langhjelm Letter and wish him the best when you get the chance. I'm sure it would mean a lot to Brandon and his family.

    Standing up for Human Rights in Afghanistan

    So far, I haven't noticed that much of an anti-war sentiment on my campus. In fact, I was gleeful when I noticed that the staff at the library wore red "Support our Troops" t-shirts every friday.

    But I did notice a booth on Friday set up outside the campus pharmacy in the university centre, behind which were posters that had "Bring our troops home" written on them. I think they were handing out propaganda information to passers-by.

    Now I'm not a confrontational man. I like my peace and quiet, and normally nothing can disturb that. But something came over me as I walked by the two guys at the booth. It occurred to me that they were advocating a course of action that would see Afghan women back in burqas, reduced to mere chattel. While they prattled on about "human rights" at the home-front, they'd leave gays and lesbians in Afghanistan to be crushed under a wall by theocratic despots. Defeatist and morally equivalent socialism at the home-front is far more of a threat to innocents in Afghanistan than the Taliban are.

    I couldn't let that stand. So I pointed straight at them inn the middle of a crowded university centre and projected firmly and with all of my conviction, "No! Keep the troops in Afghanistan and support human rights in Afghanistan!" The fools at the booth were left speechless. You should have seen their faces. I'm sure they didn't expect to be challenged, but by God they hadn't reckoned on running into me that day. As I kept walking, I had my gaze fixed on them with a look of disgust. "How can you say you support human rights?" I said, dismissing them with a wave of my hand. Then I shook my head and walked on.

    They were speechless. Dumbstruck. This was, after all, a crowded university centre, where leftist-thought is the law of the land. Surely they thought to themselves, "I thought everyone agreed with us!"

    Now they know otherwise.

    Sunday, October 22, 2006

    Harper Sets Byelections

    Aren't these the same Liberals who set the June 2004 election just after Stephen Harper won the Conservative leadership race, and before the party had even held a policy convention?

    As many are wont to say: turnabout is fair play.

    "There is more than a slab of bacon talking there"

    I know everybody has pretty much talked the MacKay-Stronach-dog story to death over the past few days, but it reminded me of a similar incident that occurred almost a decade ago with the Hon. Deborah Grey, MP for Beaver River. Deb rose in the house on February 18th, 1997 to criticize CPP premiums, and used the Pensions received by MP's to drive her point home. As per hansard:

    Miss Deborah Grey (Beaver River, Ref.):
    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary said that the CPP premiums are not a tax but a contribution to a public pension plan. Let us just look for a moment or two at a private pension plan, the MP pension plan, the most obscene in the country.

    Canadians are now paying twice as much of their salary for a paltry $9,000 a year in CPP. Thanks to the government, parliamentary porkers like the member for Sherbrooke and the Deputy Prime Minister are going to pocket five to six times that amount. That is scandalous.

    How can the Prime Minister justify asking Canadians to pay 70 per cent more of their meagre pensions when he and his Liberal colleagues are just going to lap up the lavish MP pension plan?

    An hon. member: There is more than a slab of bacon talking there.


    I can recall there being a fuss over what was said to Deborah, but I don't believe the ruckus was anywhere near the stink kicked up over MacKay's dog comment (even though this particular comment was far nastier and far more personal). Furthermore, I don't recall there being any comments about how this sort of thing 'prevents women from getting involved in politics'.

    Is there a double standard in play here? Almost certainly. Female Conservative MP's have been the target of as much inappropriate behaviour in the house as their liberal, Bloc and NDP counterparts. The CPC's recent press release mentions but a few examples of such remarks; Yet these cases hardly received any attention nationwide. I chalk that up to an indolent media interested only in soundbites that reinforce easily-believable stereotypes: conservatives are intolerant, sexist, and homophobic.

    Deb Grey didn't sit back down and whimper about the ramifications those comments would have on females entering politics; She stood right back up and gave as good as she got:

    Miss Deborah Grey (Beaver River, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, it may be that I am a porker but I opted out of that pension plan and the taxpayer does not owe me one single penny for that.

    Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

    Miss Grey: A pension porker I am not. I opt out; Sheila copped out.

    This leads into an important point I want to make. Politics isn't a 'nice' racket to be in. If you plan on getting involved, you better have thick skin or get some quick. It requires tough individuals who have the personal strength and courage to rise above criticism on all sides to get things done. If you don't have those qualifications, then I don't want you as my MP, standing up in the house to represent me. I take offense to every suggestion by Liberal, Bloc or NDP MP's that we need to change the political climate in Ottawa because women can't hack it. That in itself is a patently sexist idea, and it tells me who in this country really believes women and men are equal (and it ain't the left). Women can hack it; Deb Grey could hack it, Rona Ambrose can hack it, and Belinda Stronach damn well should be able to. Trying to make cheap political points by saying this is indicative of some sort of anti-women stance by the conservatives is horse rubbish. Deb Grey's principled response to Douglas Young's comments do far more to encourage women's participation in the political arena than Belinda's hurt feelings ever will.

    Don't get me wrong here; I'm not defending what MacKay said in the house. Regardless of what mean-spirited comments were directed towards him about a very personal (and very public) moment in his life, MacKay could have, and should have taken the high road and kept his mouth shut. As a government minister, he is obliged to remain above petty banter. His comments were both immature and inappropriate. I offer this criticism as someone who has had the opportunity to talk with Mr. MacKay on several occasions and (usually) thinks very highly of him, so I do not make it lightly. MacKay should offer a simple, straightforward and brief apology in the house and let the furor die off on its own, as it should.

    Friday, October 20, 2006

    "Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"

    - EDIT1 - A comment sent to Garth highlights the hypocrisy of his stance on David Emerson and his current predicament:

    "I voted for you as a Conservative. Is your ego so big that you can’t get along with the other members of your party? I didn’t vote for you as an independent. You should resign and run again."

    Looks like the people of Halton may actually have meant Green Party when they marked a ballot for their Conservative candidate. Of course, it's different when David Emerson did it.


    So, if Garth Turner is opposed to switching political parties for "personal gain," how is he going to reconcile a decision to join the Green party, should he do so?

    I make no secret of my disdain for Turner, who has all the trappings of a self-infatuated glory hog. His ridiculous claims of being forced to side with his constituents in a conflict between what they want and what his party wants would be a lot more believable were they not so flimsy and constructed. If the Conservatives had tabled a policy that would eliminate thousands of jobs in Turner's riding, that would be a valid reason to stand up for one's constituents and go against the party line. But what has Turner come up with as his hill to die on? A moral objection to a member of parliament leaving one party and joining another - the exact same move Turner may indeed himself make? There's a switch, and believe me, the pun is every bit intended.

    Garth likes being the centre of attention. Like a hyperactive child, he knows that the teacher will give him the attention he craves if he misbehaves. I'm loathe to even write this, knowing that this is exactly what Garth wants from people. As we all know, the golden rule for dealing with trolls is that if you ignore them, you take their power away.

    Garth, you got sacked because you couldn't keep your mouth shut and follow the golden rule about caucus meetings: what goes on in there stays in there. It's not a difficult concept. Believe me, I know firsthand - when I worked as a summer student for a member of parliament last year, I swore to keep confidential all of the information that passed my way, whether it be the concerns of constituents or information that pertained to discussion in the house. The difference between you and me is that I kept my word and my honour, while you sold out both so you could get called a "maverick" in the Globe one more time while you played for the cameras.

    As irritating it is to lose an MP, the Conservatives are better off without this self-aggrandizing buffooon stabbing them in the back 24/7. Good riddance.

    Monday, October 16, 2006

    It's Been A While...

    So for old time's sake: Yeesh!

    (Must be the same people who serve me when I go out to restaurants)

    - h/t National Newswatch -

    Sunday, October 15, 2006

    Joe Volpe: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

    Volpe, who has now become a caricature of himself, is in hot water again - this time, for allegedly using taxpayer money to unlawfully fund his leadership campaign (seems to be a favorite Liberal election strategy).

    My favorite line from the story:

    "There was a clear and legal plan in place that we would be paying these people for their services."

    -Corey Hobbs, Volpe spokesman

    I find it wonderful how he has to stress that the plan was legal. Good strategy there, Corey!

    Two Canadians Killed in Afghanistan

    Friday, October 13, 2006

    MCAT Results

    As some of you may know, I wrote the MCAT along with my brother this past August. Well, after two months of waiting the results are finally back.

    And let me tell you, I'm tickled pink. Med School, here I come.

    President of Thornhill Young Liberals Resigns Over Ignatieff Remarks

    Michelle Oliel of "Michelle's World" has resigned as head of the Thornhill Young Liberals over remarks made by Michael Ignatieff that referred to the tragic accident at Qana as a "war crime." Michelle was the director of the 2004 election's "Opposition Watch" (which, I guess will by now have changed it's name to "Government Watch").

    It's always nice to see a political opponent go against their party over important issues such as these - although it's something I always keep in mind, it reminds one that the people on the other end aren't always stolid ideologues.

    Paul Magee, Rest in Peace

    Veteran broadcaster, husband, father and all around wonderful man Paul Magee passed away last night after a lengthy battle with cancer:

    The Steele Communications family is in mourning today. Veteran broadcaster, colleague and friend, Paul Magee has succumbed to cancer. Paul Magee was originally from Saint John, New Brunswick but moved to Newfoundland in 1990 to become part of the NewCap team. Paul's talents are well known, from hosting the VOCM Morning Show, to the popular Cabin Party, and fundraisers, radiothons and telethons. His face was familiar on the Janeway Telethon, a cause he was associated with annually. But he was also part of activities for Multiple Sclerosis, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Police Officer of the Year Awards. In recent months, Paul could be seen telling anyone who would listen about his battle with cancer, his unquestioning faith, and love for his family. Paul leaves to mourn his wife Annette and children Peter, Tia and Mark. VOCM

    I found out today at lunchtime from the daughter of one of his closest friends that this absolutely outstanding man had passed away last night. Paul was a kind, warm and caring individual, who always had a smile at the ready.

    What I will remember most about Paul is a chat we had this summer after mass at my church, where I'm a cantor and Paul was a lector. Although I didn't know him that well, he walked right over to me and complimented me on the job that I had done songleading. I joked in kind that it was always nice to have a radio voice like his doing the readings from the Old Testament.

    We chatted for a while about how things were going, and he told me about his wife and three kids. Paul was undergoing harsh cancer treatments at the time and was facing death, and yet I was astounded by his optimism. Despite his affliction, Paul's faith in God never wavered, even to the end. His incredible courage in the face of his battle with cancer is a model for how we should all face adversity in life.

    He will be missed.

    I Could Be a TV Pundit

    Scott Reid (on Jane Taber's Show): "I look forward to fighting the next election with a strong and principled leader."

    Me (at home): "You'll have to find one, first."

    Thursday, October 05, 2006

    Raise Your Hand if you Saw This Coming....

    I Did.

    SANTA ROSA, Calif. - A judge dismissed child pornography charges Thursday against former JonBenet Ramsey murder suspect John Mark Karr after prosecutors said they didn't have enough evidence to take the case to trial.

    Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Rene Chouteau ordered Karr released immediately, bringing an end to his two-month odyssey in the U.S. criminal justice system after he was extradited from Thailand on suspicion of killing the 6-year-old beauty queen.

    John Karr was either very lucky or very smart. Karr skips out on sex charges in Thailand, knowing full well he'd never be prosecuted for a murder in Boulder, Co. that he didn't commit. Even though he knew he was wanted for crimes in California, it's a sure bet he also knew that he'd rather do time in a U.S. prison than a Thai one.

    However unlikely, It's also possible he knew that the charges in California would be dropped. There are unsubstantiated theories that he was somehow tipped off that the evidence was missing. It's also possible that he just got lucky, and this is icing on the cake for him.

    Either way, the real losers here are the American people and the U.S. Criminal Justic system. Karr is free to roam the streets and kidnap/rape/murder any child he wishes. He has already been looked at as a suspect in a 1997 rape and muder case of a 12-year-old girl in California, which led to the discovery of his cache of child porn.

    I hope they keep a good watch on this guy.

    It's Not Scientific...

    ...But I'd say it's pretty darn clear.

    Vote over at CTV

    I Told You So

    The Canadian soldiers who were killed two days ago were on guard duty, protecting workers who were constructing a new road.

    Here's a flashback to a post I wrote in September regarding the difficulties of building something while being shot at.

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    Hillary Clinton Has No Answers.

    As some of you have probably already noticed, in a recent post I mentioned that Hillary Clinton has just recently opened a Yahoo! Answers account. Yahoo! Answers is a service which enables users post questions, which other users can attempt to answer. The quality of the answers can then be rated by the users who ask the initial question. It's kind've a lot like politics, when you think about it.

    And just like in Politics....

    Quite an apt metaphor for today's Democratic party...


    They're already here.

    LONDON (Reuters) - Imagine being able to check instantly whether or not statements made by politicians were correct. That is the sort of service Google Inc. boss Eric Schmidt believes the Internet will offer within five years.

    Politicians have yet to appreciate the impact of the online world, which will also affect the outcome of elections, Schmidt said in an interview with the Financial Times published on Wednesday.

    He predicted that "truth predictor" software would, within five years, "hold politicians to account." People would be able to use programs to check seemingly factual statements against historical data to see to see if they were correct.”


    "The Internet has largely filled a role of funding for politicians ... but it has not yet affected elections. It clearly will," Schmidt said.


    Truth Detectors that can hold politicians to account? They're already here. And here. And here. And here.

    Who needs google for the truth when you have bloggers?

    (h/t: Drudge)

    Sorry for the repeated edits, I was having problems with blogger. Text should be fine now.

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    Deaths in Afghanistan

    Today, two more brave men fell for democracy in Afghanistan, so Afghan children could go to school and men and women could vote and live in freedom. Rest in peace, noble heroes.

    With that said: I support the mission in Afghanistan unequivocally. But Canadians have no stomach for a fight, in part due to decades of peace and prosperity. If we keep losing troops like this, it's going to haunt the Tories come next election. It's about time our NATO partners stepped up and started bearing some of the load here.

    Monday, October 02, 2006

    I Personally Liked the Canadian Tire Guy

    I never quite understood why people hated 'The Canadian Tire Guy.'

    Personally, I always liked the guy. Maybe it's because he looks almost exactly like a friend of the family, but I enjoyed those Canadian Tire commercials. Where else could I hear someone extol the glories of the Simoniz Pressure Washer?

    Okay, okay, so maybe he was a little annoying. I wonder if Ted Simonett ever gets trash thrown at him as he walks down Toronto's streets. For those of you who share my deep rooted sadness at the loss of this Canadian Icon, take heart; You're not alone.

    The rest of you can go here and indulge in a little revenge for all of those 'annoying' commercials!

    EDIT: The 'Canadian Tire Guy?' I never hated the character. It's that damn "I'll Start With You" jingle that grinds my gears. - Danté

    Hillary Clinton Asks: How Can we Prevent Breast Cancer?

    Dear Mrs. Clinton;

    Let Your Husband perform breast examinations on America's women.

    I gather he's rather experienced at it.

    All my love,


    For some serious (and not vomit-inducing) information on how to help Canada's women beat cancer, visit:

    The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

    The Canadian Breast Cancer Network

    The Breast Cancer Society of Canada

    I Made My Choice

    But if I had my time back, I would have picked Maude Barlow instead. Maybe.


    Sometime yesterday, we hit the 30,000 mark for visitors. Seeing as how we started officially recording site hits a full four months after Uncommon Truths was launched, I'd say the actual number of hits is most definitely quite higher. I'd like to take a moment to thank you all for stopping by our little corner of the web. It's been a pleasure having you along for the ride!

    Woman Arrested for Hamster Neglect

    Full disclosure: I have two hamsters (I adopted one of them, rescuing the little fella from certain death at the end of my Comparative Animal Physiology Lab).

    Police arrested a woman for neglecting hamsters at her home after her roommate called authorities, police said Sunday. Sgt. Rick Larson said police arrested the 23-year-old on 39 counts each of two charges: failing to provide food and drink and failing to provide proper shelter to animals. The Rock County Humane Society removed 33 live and six dead hamsters. AP

    Although I'm often one to criticize those who place animal rights above the rights of humans, permit me a moment of blatant inconsistency. Lock her up and toss away the keys!

    Seriously, how could anyone neglect the cute little fuzzballs?


    (H/T to Drudge)

    Sunday, October 01, 2006

    And Speaking of Polls...

    Where's the "I could care less" option?

    (check the poll on the side!)

    On Abortion

    This is my contribution to Suzanne's pro-life blogburst over at "Big Blue Wave." Excellent idea, Suzanne.

    I am opposed to abortion. While in other areas of social policy (i.e. same sex marriage) I can consider myself a moderate, it is this stand that will always cause people to place me in the "social conservative" column. Fair enough. So here we go.

    The only incidences in which I believe abortion should be considered are those where the mother's life is truly in danger. That being said, the percentage of abortions actually performed to save the lives of mothers is miniscule.

    Why women have abortions
    1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient). *

    As it stands, the facts themselves show that almost all abortions are performed "out of convenience." This shatters the "what about rape?" and "what about if the woman's life is in danger?" arguments used by pro-abortion groups. My answer to those questions is simple - fine. That still leaves us with a figure of 93% abortions that are entirely unnecessary. (I don't believe in killing children for the sins of their fathers, and that applies to rape. That, however, is a topic for another time).

    Just think about that shocking number. 93% of abortions that take place could have been prevented simply by the use of a piece of latex that can be bought at your local drugstore. And yet, due to the complete lack of responsibility exercised by those engaging in unprotected sex, millions are sentenced to death each year, simply because they are "inconvenient." That same argument has been used to justify genocide over and over again down through the years. It saddens me to think that even in the twenty-first century, we have not yet learned to value human life.

    Many oppose abortion on religious grounds. The vast majority of those who oppose abortion on these grounds do it because they know that it is morally wrong, not because "Jesus said so." Unfortunately, religion tends to be the frame through which the abortion debate is viewed, and for this reason it is imperative that religious groups opposed to abortion approach the issue from a secular viewpoint. It comes down to this: people understand that there are a multitude of religions out there. They also understand that, according to modern secular thought, no one religion is "right." As a result of this, many people view the pro-life viewpoint as a religious belief and not as a critical viewpoint based on hard facts. While I value the overwhelming support of pro-life religious organizations, I get a little irritated when they start singing psalms and hymns at pro-life rallies (I say this as a practicing Catholic, no less). It simply muddles our argument for the protection and care of human life.

    I oppose abortion from a secular and scientific viewpoint. I say this as someone completing his final year of a bachelor of science degree and majoring in Biology. Any first year biology textbook defines a life cycle as beginning at fertilization and ending at reproduction/death. The moment a haploid gamete fuses with another haploid gamete to form a diploid embryo, that new organism is alive, and no arts major "abortion-rights" activist has any business lecturing me on the science involved.

    Look at it logically, even. I'm alive now. However, if my parents had "aborted" me, I would not be here writing this right now. I would not be alive. I submit to you that logically, the opposite of life is death. It follows therefore that my parents would have had to have done something to cause my death. And what would that something have been? Abortion. Case closed.

    There will be no convincing so called "abortion-rights" activists of the horror of what they advocate. All pro-life individuals can continue to do is to inform people of the reality of what abortion is, and hope that sensible people will take note.