Monday, December 30, 2013

Great line of the day

At The Galloping Beaver, Dave provides this excellent description of Harper:
I question Harper's intelligence at times but his competence is not up for debate. This is one of the least competent prime ministers Canada has ever endured.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Colorado high

In two days, marijuana in Colorado will be legal.  As Neil Steinberg writes:
... this Wednesday, Jan. 1, Colorado will become the first state in the nation, and one of the rare places in the world, where adults can freely purchase marijuana, no strings attached. You don't have to be sick. You don't need a prescription. You only need to be older than 21 and fork over the money....
"I have a feeling we'll be visiting a lot more often in the future," I deadpanned to my mother, who smiled, happy at the thought of more visits. Legalizing pot is the sort of shift that encourages humor. We went to see "Monty Python's Spamalot" at the Boulder Dinner Theatre Friday night — first rate singing, dancing and serving, by the way — and the obligatory insert-a-topical-local-reference-in-the-show segment of course referred to Colorado legalizing pot. "Not that anyone will notice a difference," said King Arthur, or words to that effect.
I suppose there are all sorts of somber, valid, good-public-policy reasons to be concerned, but at this point it just seems humorous, to see society open its arms to what is basically a low-level, self-indulgent method to disengage your brain from the world for a while. Compared to the huge swath of death and destruction, illness and heartbreak carved by alcohol, I just can't see getting worked up at this point about sweet old Mary Jane. Like gay marriage, the surprising thing will someday be that it was ever illegal.
Compared to alcohol, dope is nothing -- mild, benign, virtually harmless. Yes, its possible to get just as hooked on dope as on drink, but nobody ever got high and then started fights with their friends or threw up on their boss or stumbled home to beat up their wife and kids.
As long as you have enough cornflakes ...

Still thousands without power

Having our own furnace break down on the Sunday before Christmas, and anxiously awaiting the repairman at midnight as the temperature in the house dropped lower and lower, I could only imagine how much worse it would have been to be freezing in the dark for days on end.
So I have been very closely following the blackout story in Toronto over the last week.  What a terrible Christmas it has been for so many people.
And the state of Toronto politics didn't help.
Municipal leadership matters.  It will likely never be possible to precisely measure how badly the lack of municipal leadership in Toronto affected the planning and implementation of power restoration.  But both Toronto Hydro and the Province of Ontario would have had their own priorities during the crisis, and while they did their best, they could not focus only on Toronto, nor could they be responsible for deciding whose needs were most urgent.
Only municipal government can do that.  And in Toronto, the municipal leaders were instead jockeying around behind the scenes, avoiding each other, minimizing the problems and fighting about who should speak to whom.  As the Toronto Sun says,
...demands by various councillors that Ford declare an emergency were politically motivated, lest Ford get any credit for being front and centre during the emergency.
On the other hand, Ford’s claim that declaring an emergency would cause people to panic was silly. One reason Ford didn’t want to declare an emergency was that he would lose his remaining mayoral powers to Kelly.
It mattered -- without leadership, the Toronto citizens could not get a straight story. Instead, they got wishful thinking.
Toronto Hydro should have been more honest with the public from the start about the lengthy timelines it was facing for getting everyone who lost power back on the grid....
Stating at the outset that it might be more than a week until all power was restored would have given people the opportunity to make realistic plans from the start for staying or leaving their homes.
Without leadership, problems were minimized and people couldn't get the information they needed:
Berardinetti said the city hadn’t set up enough warming centres in hard-hit Scarborough, and urged people who had a generator to spare to contact her office so that it could be borrowed for another local home.
Gary Crawford, Southwest Scarborough’s other councillor, said Friday at least 12 streets in his ward still had significant outages, and many there felt forgotten.
“There’s a real sense of abandonment, that people just don’t care - which I don’t think is the case,” he said.
Some residents, isolated and elderly, stayed because they worried leaving would open their homes to thefts, said Crawford, while others hadn’t yet seen a Hydro truck nearby and just wanted information.
Paul Ainslie, a councillor for Scarborough East, counted three areas in his ward that were still dark.
“We’re not talking house by house, we’re talking streets,” he said, adding his distaste for an appearance Mayor Rob Ford had made at a local school.
The school had power and the mayor, Ainslie said, had for a “photo op” pulled a crew from Hydro Windsor away from their work reconnecting homes around it.
The only warming centre in his ward was at Toronto police’s 43 Division station, and its community room wasn’t big enough to sleep in, he said.
“I had a lot of low-income and elderly people who were freezing in their homes” because they couldn’t get to a centre where they could stay overnight, charged Ainslie.
And apparently nobody at City Hall even got around to ordering door-to-door checks -- it took the Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to get these underway.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Praying for peace

Pope Francis would have agreed with John Lennon (and Francis is likely the first pope since John XXIII who would have done so):
Pope Francis, celebrating his first Christmas as Roman Catholic leader, on Wednesday called on atheists to unite with believers of all religions and work for “a homemade peace” that can spread across the world.
Speaking to about 70,000 people from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, the same spot where he emerged to the world as pope when he was elected on March 13, Francis also made another appeal for the environment to be saved from “human greed and rapacity”.
The leader of the 1.2 billion-member Church wove his first “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and world) message around the theme of peace.
“Peace is a daily commitment. It is a homemade peace,” he said.
He said that people of other religions were also praying for peace, and – departing from his prepared text – he urged atheists to join forces with believers.
“I invite even non-believers to desire peace. (Join us) with your desire, a desire that widens the heart. Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire, but everyone, for peace,” he said, drawing sustained applause from the crowd.

Merry Christmas


And one more:

Monday, December 23, 2013

Playing politics while Toronto freezes in the dark

Toronto mayor-in-name-only Rob Ford is refusing to call what is happening in Toronto "an emergency":
Officials played down questions about why Toronto hadn’t declared a state of emergency. Mr. Ford said the damage didn’t warrant it. He has had some of his powers stripped after recent revelations about drug use, and some councillors questioned whether politics played a role in refusing to declare a state of emergency.
Almost 200,000 people are freezing in the dark, and Rob Ford won't call it an emergency because if he did, then he couldn't host any more press conferences.

Happy Festivus

Friday, December 20, 2013

Great line of the day

Dan Savage on the War on Christmas pity party:
Sarah Palin and Bill O'Reilly and Fox News and the Family Research Council and the woman who allegedly punched another woman outside Walmart earlier this week for saying "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas" managed to break me of the "merry Christmas" habit. I suspect I'm not alone. This constant bitching from the right about "happy holidays"—a perfectly lovely expression that embraces Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Pancha Ganapati, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, Hanukkah, the Epiphany, Saint Nicholas's Day, Hogmanay, Twelfth Night, and Kwanzaa—has made one thing clear. Not that there is now, or ever was, a war on Christmas. But that saying "merry Christmas" is an asshole move. Just as conservatives made patriotism toxic during the Vietnam War by conflating it with blind obedience to authority ("My country, right or wrong!"), modern conservatives have made "merry Christmas" toxic by associating it with Christian fundamentalism, religious intolerance, and the politics of imagined persecution.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Oh, so its for my own good, is it? How thoughtful of you!

Canada Post CEO Chopra thinks I'll be a happier, better person if I have to pick up my own mail.
“The seniors are telling me, ‘I want to be healthy. I want to be active in my life,’” Mr. Chopra told MPs. “They want to be living fuller lives.”
So that's what I've been missing to live a fuller, happier life -- a two block (at least) daily walk to pick up my mail.
Who knew?
And while we're at it, maybe the city can dig a community well at the mailboxes too, so it won't have to raise our taxes anymore to fix any deteriorating water lines.
Because after all, it's not a government's job to provide Canadians with actual services we need, like mail delivery. (Or to feed hungry children either.)  No, its the government's job to keep its services from becoming a burden on taxpayers.  And the easiest way to do that is to stop providing the services!
Simplicity itself.
And then I can get even healthier if I have to use my little red wagon to pick up our water every day while I'm getting the mail -- that's whole body exercise right there.
And firewood, don't forget firewood. Maybe we could pick that up, too.
Who needs natural gas heating at home when we can warm up by trudging through the rain or sleet or hail or snow to pick up everything we need, just like the pioneers did.
Maybe my husband and I can dig an outhouse in the back, and we could raise some chickens in the shed, too.
Thanks so much, Canada Post and Mr. Chopra, for giving Canadians the opportunity to experience the 18th century all over again.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Great line of the day

No More Mister Nice Blog is writing about the NSA scandal, and this is pretty much how I feel now too:
At first I was an Edward Snowden skeptic. But I learned to separate my feelings about Snowden and (especially) Glenn Greenwald from my feelings about what they've exposed -- NSA surveillance violates constitutional principles so blatantly that I've stopped caring about Snowden's motives or Greenwald's journalistic practices. There's too much here, as has been confirmed by journalists who've written about it and aren't named Greenwald.
Yes, exactly. The secret surveillance story has transcended its scribes. Which is why the right-wing attacks on Greenwald and the CBC over the G20 spy story fell so flat.

Trending tonight on twitter

Twitter / Carolyn_Bennett: We love this photo ... Ditto ...:
Embedded image permalink

Monday, December 16, 2013

Another great dog rescue from Eldad Hagar

A homeless dog living in a trash pile gets rescued, and then does something amazing! :

I have such admiration for the Hope for Paws organization and for the Hagars.

The difference between Canada and the United States

So we were watching the "fall finale" of Almost Human tonight.
 Now, I like this new show. But I realized part-way through this episode that even though it is filmed in Vancouver, it is totally "American" at its core.
The gee whiz its-the-future part of tonight's show was about how a corporation has invented a perfect artificial heart that works beautifully for people who need heart transplants.
But the basis of the plot was about how people were forced to buy the new hearts as recycled black-market transplants (from dead people!) because their health insurance was too crappy to pay for a real transplant.  The admin assistant in the corporate department that denied their insurance was the dastardly villain who had set up the black-market heart scheme.
And nobody thinks anything of it!
Nowhere in the episode does a single person complain or criticize or even question why people who need these beautiful new hearts are being sentenced to death due to inadequate insurance.
For a Canadian, this doesn't make any sense at all.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Peter O'Toole

Peter O'Toole has died.  He should have won the oscar for Lawrence of Arabia, except for his competition -- in retrospect, how could the Oscar for 1962 not have gone to Gregory Peck for To Kill a Mockingbird.  At least Lawrence of Arabia won best picture.  Here's one of the best scenes:


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Great line of the day

Andrew Sullivan writes about The Pope And The American Right and provides the best summary I have read lately about what has gone wrong with capitalism, American-style:
... the way in which market capitalism has become a good in itself on the American right is, well, perniciously wrong. As soon as a system ceases to be a means to a human good, and becomes an end in itself, it has become a false idol. Perhaps the apotheosis of that idol worship was the belief – brandished on the degenerate right in the past decade or two – that markets are self-regulating. Of course they’re not, as Adam Smith would have been the first to inform you. Another assumption embedded on the American right is that more wealth is always a good thing. The Church must say no. This is a lie. Wealth is a neutral thing above a certain basic level of non-drudgery. Above that, it can be an absolutely evil, deceptive thing, distorting human souls, warping their dignity, vulgarizing their character. An American right that worships at the altar of both free markets and material wealth, and that takes these two idols as their primary goods, is not just non-Catholic. It is anathema to Catholicism and to the Gospels.
This is, I think, what Occupy Wall Street was also trying to say, though not so clearly and so well.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Quid quo pro

  (Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)
Even the Star Phoenix finds the timing of the Canada Post announcement more than a little suspicious:
The Conservatives, after all, are leaving Ottawa with their ears still burning from the daily interrogation over the involvement of the Prime Minister's Office in the Senate scandal, and the humiliating and inept defence put up by their champion, Paul Calandra, parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister.
In spite of the Conservatives' repeated efforts to change the channel, nothing seemed to stick. Having the armslength Canada Post using its busiest season to announce a massive cut in service at least takes the heat off the government during the holidays when Canadians gather, and MPs don't have to field questions in Parliament.
Maybe they worked out a deal -- if Canada Post succeeds in distracting Canadians and parliament from the Senate scandal, then Treasury Board will let everybody keep their pensions.  Win-win.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Solidarity forever

My reaction to the news that Conrad Black says he might endorse Rob Ford for mayor is:
It takes one to know one.
Honestly, Toronto, haven't you reached your gag reflex with both of them?

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The creature that would not die!

The Senate expenses scandal is the Energizer bunny -- it keeps going and going.  Its Parliament Hill rock 'n roll -- it will never die.  Its a Canadian T-Bird -- we'll have fun, fun, fun until, well, until whenever.  And for the Harper Cons, its the Creature from the Black Lagoon -- it just won't go away!
Today, we find out that the Senate's pledge to give RCMP e-mails widens paper trail in expenses probe and that Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen apparently lied to the RCMP last June
Its all basically meaningless in the larger scheme of things, of course, but its very meaninglessness seems to be the reason why this story just won't quit.
When we've got a scandalous news story that isn't about anything that affects our daily lives -- like the economy, health care, or real estate -- then its just so much fun for the reporters to cover and for the people to read about, that nothing will stop it.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, America

You know what I'm not looking forward to?

It's about ten weeks until the Olympics begin.
And in that time, there will be ten thousand stories about how poorly prepared Russia is to host these games.
To be followed on Day 2 by the assembled world press expressing pleased and gratified surprise at how beautifully everything is going.
In other words, the usual Olympic narrative.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Riders win!

Roughriders top Ticats to win 101st Grey Cup at home

The Sgt Schultz defense

We're supposed to believe that not only did Harper know nothing about Wright's $90,000 cheque to Duffy, he also knew nothing about the previous plan to get the Conservative Party to pay Duffy's expenses and he knew nothing about the phone call to the auditors to try to stop the Duffy audit.

So what WAS Harper paying such attention to in February and March, 2013, that he didn't bother to ask anyone about the Duffy situation?  Well, the NHL lockout ended in January, the Brier was in March, and in April Justin Trudeau was elected Liberal leader.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I feel like Charlie Brown's football

1107charlie brown lucy football
Every time I start to think that maybe the Harper Cons aren't so bad, I find out that actually, they're worse.
When disaster strikes somewhere in the world, like now with the recent Philippines storm, our government routinely now announces it will match Canadian donations.  Pretty generous, I've thought.
Remarkably generous.
But now I find out that even though I am giving my donation to a charitable group, the Harper Cons are maybe not:
The Conservative government has severed long-standing ties with many of Canada’s largest and oldest aid organizations over the past few years, and instead focused its efforts on mining companies and other private sector actors.
Mining companies?
Yes it turns out to be true -- see here and here.
As usual, I'm the last to know.

Just shut up

Production costs?  Oh, give me a break.
Big City Lib suggests a secret statement and Montreal Simon says The Ford Nation is Dead !!!!  Mound of Sound suspects that Ottawa has sent the message now.
Yes, I think its pretty obvious what happened.
While initially welcoming the distraction from the Senate expenses scandal, the Harper Cons watched in horror as the Rob Ford story blew up into an international clusterf*ck that will tarnish Harper's own righteous image and endanger his crucial Toronto seats.
So sometime Sunday afternoon or Monday, somebody made an uncomfortable phone call to Sun News and told them to find some excuse to get the Ford family circus off the air.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Krusty and his brother will now be appearing on Sun News

Sun News thinks they're going to cash in big by giving the Ford brothers a weekly TV show?
They just destroyed their credibility as a news network.  Here's the twitter reaction:


I saw this on twitter -- a migrating pod of Beluga whales in Nunavut Inlet:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lest we forget? The Harper Cons have forgotten

Before any other kids sign up for the Canadian forces, I hope they (and their parents) realize that their service is no longer honoured by the Harper Cons.  If they are injured on duty, the Harper Cons will throw them away.
Mike Duffy can get more than $100,000 from the Harper Cons.  Canadian soldiers, not so much.
The Harper Cons will, of course, continue to show up for battle honours ceremonies and ribbon-cuttings at memorials. But when it comes to really supporting the troops -- giving them enough money to live on after their service to Canada has cost them their health and their capacity to work - the Harper Cons are nowhere to be found.
Barbara Kay's National Post column demonstrates that the Harper Cons have already forgotten Canada's soldiers:
Today there are more than 76,000 veterans suffering from lifelong disabilities springing directly from their military service, a casualty rate of more than 10%. ... less than 1% of Canada’s veterans are receiving any economic benefits from VAC. VAC recognizes only 1,428 veterans as eligible for economic support until age 65, a mere 0.2% of Canadian Forces veterans. It is estimated that fewer than half are receiving the seriously-injured allowance to which they are entitled.
Other federal actions also rankle. Reports suggest veterans are being discharged before they reach the 10-year limit at which they are eligible to receive a pension. And a fund to help pay burial costs for veterans only applies to the most hard-up of cases, excluding almost anyone short of abject poverty.
Rick Mercer's rant deserves repeating:

November 11 has become a shameful day.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Proof positive

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford blows a kiss to the media as he tooks pains to avoid them at city hall on Wednesday, a day after he admitted to having smoked crack cocaine.
Well there's one thing that the Rob Ford administration proves beyond a shadow of a doubt: any idiot can run the city of Toronto.
Mayor Rob Ford's own deputy mayor and council speaker publicly urged him to take a leave of absence, protesters outside city hall demanded his resignation, one of his longest-serving aides resigned, and an ex-wrestler showed up to yell things at him.
Ford’s response: a kiss, blown at the journalists to whom he said not a word. . . .
Ford promised Sunday to meet the media “anywhere” other than his home. But he has not yet made himself available to face any of the numerous questions he has not yet answered on the extent of his use of illegal drugs, his associations with criminals, and his secret meetings with an accused drug dealer now charged with extortion for allegedly attempting to obtain the video Ford said in May “doesn’t exist.”
His second press conference yesterday showed that Ford sees himself as the victim in all of this, unfairly persecuted for being a drunken lout who just luuuvvvves his city soooooo much.

The least of these

Why is it so startling to see true Christianity in action?
Pope Francis Kisses Severely Disfigured Man And Prays With Him  Francis saw the man from his car, stopped the motorcade, went and hugged him and prayed with him.

The pope then laid his hands on the man's head and began to pray.
The commenters at Buzzfeed said the man has Neurofibromatosis, tumors of the face, a very disfiguring and painful condition.

Monday, November 04, 2013

A thing of beauty

Watch this expert driver back a 50' trailer into a space that I might have trouble backing into with my car:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A question for Toronto

I have a question for the 380,000 people in Toronto who thought two years ago that Rob Ford would be a good mayor.  What possessed you to think that he was ever going to be anything but a loud-mouthed schnook?
What's that you say?  You thought he would rise to the occasion?  Based on what evidence?
Now Toronto is saying mea culpa mea culpa mea culpa mea culpa, along with "I told you so"
But its too late -- Ford won't resign, he doesn't have the capacity to do the right thing.
He'll just stay on and on, ineffective, bumbling around, drunk, coked-up, a national and international embarrassment.
Toronto Star columnist Royson James writes:
Rob Ford is our creation — all of us.
That includes media who coddled him and refused to follow his discreditable conduct with any vigour; and media who scoffed at Star reporters who reported what they had seen. As the Star reporter Robyn Doolittle said, “Journalism was on trial.”
What she didn’t say, but no doubt believes, is journalism was on trial and too many journalists testified in favour of the bad guys and against the public interest.
Too many city councillors looked the other way when it was clear the mayor had some kind of substance abuse problem.
Too many council colleagues joined forces with the mayor when they knew the proper thing to do was to shun him and insist he get help before sitting in his camp. They did so because of the intoxicating effects of power. They wanted to be players.
Too many citizens, hoping to save a few tax dollars, were willing to forgive the mayor of any and all indiscretions. They didn’t want to hear about the train wreck of his personal life. They were willing to sell out the city for a few dollars of perceived city hall “gravy.”
Through it all, Mayor Ford exercised poor judgment, showed no familiarity with the truth, blustered and prevaricated and did everything to disguise his true nature.
And we let him get away with it, despite evidence to the contrary.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ain't we havin' some fun now

Two cheques: Duffy says Conservative lawyer covered his $13,500 legal expenses:
Duffy tabled a document with the Senate that shows Arthur Hamilton, the Conservative party lawyer, signed off on a payment of $13,560 to Duffy's legal representative last April 3.. . . "That's right. One cheque from Nigel Wright? No, ladies and gentlemen, there were two cheques — at least two cheques."
An audible gasp went up from the gathered senators.
But wait, there's more:
He had said he suspected that the money to cover the cheque had come from the Conservative party—”the base’s money … to make this all go away.” He had said that Mr. Wright had objected to some action of Marjory LeBreton, government leader in the Senate at the time.
“But there is more,” he said.
He said his discussion with the Prime Minister and Mr. Wright on February 13 was not a casual encounter, but an arranged meeting. He repeated that Mr. Harper had told him the Senate’s rules were “inexplicable to our base.”
“Wait,” Mr. Duffy said. “There is even more.”
He recalled how he had said he took out a loan from the Royal Bank of Canada to cover the repayment of his expenses.
“That line about RBC was part of a script written for me and emailed to me by the PMO,” he declared.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Integrity is more than fear of looking bad

Finding myself agreeing with Andrew Coyne is an odd position to be in, and makes me doubt myself.
But anyway, I do find this part of his column interesting:
At the heart of it remains Wright’s mysterious decision to cut Duffy a cheque from his personal account: still unexplained, still inexplicable, and not only because of its apparent illegality.... Why risk so much for so seemingly little?... Somehow a number of people around the prime minister absorbed the idea that it was okay to break the law to make an embarrassing political problem go away. That’s deeply troubling, whatever he told them, or they him. 
And Tasha Kheiriddin also connects some of the dots:
And when the issue of integrity is at stake, they won’t hesitate to sacrifice one of their own. ... Maxime Bernier resigned from cabinet in disgrace in 2008 after leaving NATO documents at the home of his ex-girlfriend, who had been linked to organized-crime figures. ...Helena Guergis was turfed in 2010 on unspecified allegations regarding her conduct, fueled by news reports that her husband, former MP Rahim Jaffer, had consorted with con men and “busty hookers.” Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was hauled before a commission of inquiry in 2008 over his relationship with fraudster Karl-Heinz Schreiber.
Why did the Conservative government pick on these cases, while others [Bev Oda, Tony Clement] resulted in no penalties? Because while those matters involved errors in judgment, the Bernier/Guergis/Mulroney matters touched on seedy elements that some, at the time, alleged might involve criminal activity.
The Conservative base does not approve of seedy. No matter the guilt or innocence of those accused, the mere association with persons of ill repute is enough to tarnish their reputation.
. . . A threat to the party’s reputation in this area had to be neutralized — in this case (the story goes) by allegedly ordering Mr. Duffy to pay back money that the Senator originally was told he didn’t owe.
If the Harper Cons are actually so focused on how things look that they will do anything to avoid an appearance of dishonesty, then they are doomed.
Honesty is not based on a fear that someone is looking. Integrity is not something that can be achieved by purchase or persuasion. The Harper Cons cannot build an honourable government on a foundation of sand.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Harper told Duffy to do the right thing

In spite of all the tut-tutting in the press about how Harper is now directly involved in the Duffy scandal, what we've seen so far isn't going to stick.
Today's story is about Duffy telling the Senate that Harper ordered him to pay back the money.
Well, basically, what's wrong with that?
Duffy SHOULD have paid back the money willingly.
I don't care why Duffy ever thought it was perfectly OK for him to claim expenses for living in his own home -- anybody with a working brain should have known that wasn't acceptable.
To hear him tell it, Duffy thought it was honourable to resist what Harper wanted him to do.
I said I didn’t believe I’d broken the rules and that to repay would be an admission of guilt. Canadians know me as an honest guy. To pay back money I didn’t owe would destroy my reputation.
Yes, Duffy actually said that.  In February. To continue:
The PMO piled on the pressure. Some honourable senators called me in P.E.I. One senator in particular left several particularly nasty and menacing messages: Do what the prime minister wants. Do it for the PM and for the good of the party. I continued to resist. Finally, the message from the PMO became: Do what we want or else.
And what was the “else”? He said the Conservative majority on the steering committee of the Board of Internal Economy, Sen. Tkachuk and Sen. Stewart Olsen, would issue a press release declaring me unqualified to sit in the Senate. However, if you do what we want, the prime minister will publicly confirm that you’re entitled to sit as a senator from P.E.I. and you won’t lose your seat. Tkachuk and Stewart Olsen are ready to make that press release now. I said: They don’t have the power to do that. He said: Agree to what we want right now or else.
I made one last effort. I said: I don’t believe I owe anything, and besides which, I don’t have $90,000. Don’t worry, Nigel said, I’ll write the cheque. Let the lawyers handle the details; you just follow the plan and we’ll keep Carolyn Stewart Olsen and David Tkachuk at bay.
So Duffy was muscled and maneuvered into paying back the money.
If Harper had told Duffy just to keep the money and let the PMO cover it up, then that would have been malfeasance on Harper's part.
Instead, Harper told Duffy to pay it back. I can't see that Canadians will think there is a scandal in Harper doing that.

UPDATE:  Some good comments that questioned my dismissive tone -- while I still believe if the story stops here there will not be long-term repercussions on Harper, I also agree that there seems to have been a massive cover-up in the Prime Minister's Office about this (no emails, continued attempts to hide things, etc) which leads to the conclusion there is more going on here than just Harper telling Duffy to pay back the money.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Is anybody actually in favour of fracking?

So the meme was building yesterday was about what a huge mistake it was for the #elsipogtog protesters to have seized media cars and equipment and thus turned the media against them.
But what will keep everyone on the same side here  is this -- Aboriginal or white, urban or rural, media or protester, absolutely NOBODY wants fracking except the companies and governments that think they can make money doing it.
As the sign says, no fracking way.

Demonstrators rally against shale gas exploration in Halifax on Friday, Oct.18, 2013. The effort was in support of protesters, some of whom included members of the Elsipogtog First Nation, who rallied against SWN Resources and its possible plans to proceed with shale gas development in eastern New Brunswick. The director of Global New Brunswick says protesters seized one of the outlet’s vehicles and cameras on Oct. 19, 2013. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

And the anti-media meme is gone now:

Friday, October 18, 2013

As it happened on Thursday morning

A Twitter pic of the #Elsipogtog protest:
Embedded image permalink

And here are photos by Media Coop reporter Miles Howe:
War Chief Seven Bernard wasunarmed, outmanned and off the path of SWN's injunction. Was any of this necessary? [Photo: Miles Howe]

Grappling with a young Warrior. [Photo: Miles Howe]

Elsipogtog youth runs in fear as RCMP descend into madness. [Photo: Miles Howe]

Far from the Mi'kmaq's last stand. District War Chief Jason Augustine faces down the barrels of 20 pistols. [Photo: Miles Howe]
Howe, who was arrested at the protest, writes an astounding account of what happened Thursday morning in New Brunswick:
...In the far field, creeping towards the Warrior encampment - which was comprised of one trailer and about ten tents - were at least 35 more police officers. Many of these wore tactical blue and had pistols drawn. At least three officers were wearing full camouflage and had sniper rifles pointed at the amassing group. The Warriors, for their part, numbered about 15.
Through a police loudspeaker towards the highway 11 off-ramp, an officer began reading the injunction against the blocking of SWN's seismic equipment. This was all before dawn.
Still in the pre-dawn dark, about seven molotov cocktails flew out of the woods opposite the police line stationed in the ditch. I cannot verify who threw these cocktails. They were – if it matters - lobbed ineffectively at the line of police and merely splashed small lines of fire across the road. A lawn chair caught fire from one cocktail. Two camouflaged officers then pumped three rounds of rubber bullet shotgun blasts into the woods.
...About ten minutes later, with tensions now becoming highly escalated between the encroaching line of police in the field adjacent to the encampment and the Warriors now on a public dirt road, two officers approached Seven Bernard, chief of the Warrior Society. They attempted to serve Bernard with SWN's contentious injunction. Dozens of guns from all angles were pointed at all of us.
...I could hear the RCMP surrounding us speaking about someone having a gun. I did not see any Warrior carrying a firearm. I can say with certainty, however, that no live round was ever fired by the Warrior side. If, as the RCMP are now claiming, a single shot was discharged, it was not from this altercation.
...Mi'kmaq Warrior Suzanne Patles, in a last-ditch attempt to defuse a situation now spiralling into a screaming match with police guns pointing in every direction, ran into the middle of the field screaming: “We were given this tobacco last night!”
Now crying, in her hand she held a plug of tobacco, provided to her by RCMP negotiators wrapped in red cloth as a traditional token of peace the night before.
Skirmishes then broke out in every direction. From the highway side, District War Chief Jason Augustine was being chased by numerous police. In front of me, everywhere really, Warriors were being taken down by numerous RCMP officers in various clothes. Rubber bullet shots were fired by the RCMP, and both Jim Pictou and Aaron Francis both claim that they were hit – in the back and leg respectively.
I continued to try photographing what had quickly become a chaotic scene until one officer in camouflage and assault rifle pointed at me, saying: “He's with them. Take him out!”
I was taken to the ground and arrested.
...I say in no uncertain terms that it is miraculous that no one was seriously injured yesterday, indeed killed. The RCMP arrived with pistols drawn, dogs snapping, assault rifles trained on various targets, and busloads of RCMP waiting from across the province and beyond.
As an Ottawa Citizen op-ed points out:
The Mi’kmaq people of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, including the Elsipogtog First Nation, have never signed a treaty relinquishing authority to the land on which the Route 134 blockade stands today, or that on which SWN Resources is conducting exploratory testing. . . .  SWN Resources’ exploration permits aren’t legitimate. Nor was the court injunction criminalizing the blockade, and the police action was ridiculously illegitimate, not to mention unjust, unreasonable in its heavy-handedness, and terribly bad public relations for the RCMP.
Aboriginal people in Canada will remember this week after Thanksgiving, 2013.
First they hear a Throne Speech that insults them -- read what Doug Cuthand at the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix writes:
To say the speech from the throne was shallow and unfocused would be generous. From a First Nations' point of view, it was an insult.
Very little of substance was directed toward First Nations. There were several oblique stabs at aboriginal issues, but the speech opened with the same old self-congratulatory settler racism that, for many, represents Canada's foundation.
Then 200 RCMP stage this needlessly provocative attempt to disperse a group of anti-fracking protesters in middle-of-nowhereville, New Brunswick.
And today, as support for the Mi’kmaq rises across the nation, we're seeing the usual inflammatory and ridiculous stories about how the protestors were supposedly "armed to the teeth"  -- yeah, with three rifles and three hunting knives -- and the Harper PMO is rapidly deploying their cheerleaders in the media to promote the same message used against Theresa Spence's hunger strike last winter -- that they're all just a bunch of lazy undeserving welfare bums who waste millions of dollars of Canada's money.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This is very bad and its going to get worse

Embedded image permalink

The Mi'kmaw protest against hydro-fracking in New Brunswick has been going on for months. So why was it this morning that RCMP moved in?
Rabble says:
It is more than coincidental timing -- it was obviously strategically calculated with the completion of the Governor General's Speech from the Throne and the end of the United Nations Special Rapporteur James Anaya's visit to Canada. Yesterday morning, we awoke to reports from the Mi'kmaw of swarms of RCMP dispatched to Elsipogtog to enforce Harper's aggressive natural resource agenda. He has effectively declared war on the Mi'kmaw.
The Rabble article also describes what happened this morning:
Media reports 200 RCMP officers were dispatched, some of them from the riot squad, armed with shields, assault rifles, batons, tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray and snipers. Some of the RCMP, in full camo, hid in the woods, while the others formed a large barricade on the highway blocking any movement by protesters.
The Chief and Council were arrested, as well as numerous other protesters all while scrambling cell phone signals, cutting live video feeds and blocking media access to the site. Reports of RCMP pointing their assault rifles at elders and snipers aiming their scopes at children led to the burning of several RCMP cruisers.
Here's another photo from an earlier Krystalline Kraus article, also in Rabble:

Activist Communique: UPDATED: Emergency rallies in support of the Mi'kmaq and Elsipogtog First Nations

And more photos:

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Of the 11 photos in a Toronto Star photo gallery, seven of them were of the burning cars.  The media just LOVE burning cars, don't they.

No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up

So Emily Yoffe wrote an article warning young women that if they get falling-down drunk at a party they are risking being raped.
In one awful high-profile case after another—the U.S. Naval Academy; Steubenville, Ohio; now the allegations in Maryville, Mo.—we read about a young woman, sometimes only a girl, who goes to a party and ends up being raped. As soon as the school year begins, so do reports of female students sexually assaulted by their male classmates. A common denominator in these cases is alcohol, often copious amounts, enough to render the young woman incapacitated. But a misplaced fear of blaming the victim has made it somehow unacceptable to warn inexperienced young women that when they get wasted, they are putting themselves in potential peril...
Let’s be totally clear: Perpetrators are the ones responsible for committing their crimes, and they should be brought to justice. But we are failing to let women know that when they render themselves defenseless, terrible things can be done to them. Young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue.
She is, of course, absolutely correct.
But apparently some people went bonkers at the implication that its a woman's own fault if she gets raped when she is drunk.
While others said, No, that's not what Yoffe meant at all.
There's an interesting divide in this conversation — it seems that the older people are, the more they “get” what Yoffe was trying to say.
I’m not sure myself whether Yoffe is right or wrong, but I’m older myself, and I totally get her point.
Maybe its just that us older types have reached a certain level of cynicism or maturity or whatever you want to call it.
Simply put, we stop believing that society will change to what we want it to be.   We lose our courage or our capacity for outrage or just our energy to keep fighting the good fight, and we stop trying to change our "rape culture" into a feminist culture.  We accept society as it is and just try to deal.
So from the younger perspective, the Jezebel readers, Yoffe is enabling rape culture and all its horrible and demeaning attitudes toward women. From the older perspective — dare I call it, the Nancy perspective? — not getting shitfaced drunk is just a common sense precaution.
We don’t tug on superman’s cape, we don’t spit into the wind, we don’t pull the mask off the old lone ranger and we don’t mess around with Jim.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why should the world trust the US government?

Three weeks of utterly pointless stupidity are over
But right after Christmas, it might all start up again.  Republicans haven't learned a thing, and the media are still trying to blame "both sides".
The recent imbroglio is estimated to have cost $4.7 billion to the economy.  As Ross Douthat says
It was an irresponsible, dysfunctional and deeply pointless act, carried out by a party that on the evidence of the last few weeks shouldn’t be trusted with the management of a banana stand, let alone the House of Representatives.
How long will the dollar remain as the world's reserve currency, if this is the way they're going to act?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gallows humor

As the United States teeters on the cliff of debt limit default, for no reason other than that a bunch of stupid Republicans can't lead and don't follow and won't get out of anyone's way, the only thing to do is collect the witticisms of the blogosphere and laugh, gentlemen, laugh.

Open Letter

And here's something that isn't funny at all -- Reuter's Felix Salmon says the default threat is already harming the US economy
The US government, in one form or another, is a counterparty to every single financial player in the world. Its payments have to be certain, or else the whole house of cards risks collapsing — starting with the multi-trillion-dollar interest-rate derivatives market, and moving rapidly from there.
And here’s the problem: we’re already well past the point at which that certainty has been called into question. Fidelity, for instance, has no US debt coming due in October or early November, and neither does Reich & Tang . . . While debt default is undoubtedly the worst of all possible worlds, then, the bonkers level of Washington dysfunction on display right now is nearly as bad. Every day that goes past is a day where trust and faith in the US government is evaporating — and once it has evaporated, it will never return.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The heart of darkness

The Globe and Mail has five stories about the terrible, awful, no good, very bad few hours on Friday when Rogers phones weren't working:
“It came at such a horrible time for me. I needed to pick up my younger sister, and when I went to go get her I didn’t know when to go. So I called and texted and it didn’t work, so I left early and I had to waste an extra 20 minutes to get her home. She was freaking out because she couldn’t contact me, call or text. She was blaming her phone and she was scared, worried and upset. Then when I told her it was the system, she kind of calmed down.”
The horror! The horror!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Sports maps

Slate has published a map of sports in the United States:
Click on the map to see the interactive version.

And now a Deadspin commenter has published a Canadian version:
Canada map
It missed curling, but at least it shows our Riders!

Sunday, October 06, 2013


Idle No More is idle no more.
Tomorrow is a day of action around the world, using the hashtag #Oct7Proclaim.
October 7, 1763, marked the signing of the British Royal Proclamation, an historic document that legally mandated Canada to recognize Indigenous land rights. 250 years later, on October 7, 2013... Idle No More calls on all peoples to raise (y)our voices and take action in support of: -- Our Land -- Our Water -- Our Bodies -- Our Stories -- Our Future -- Indigenous Sovereignty! Oct 7 is also the day that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Professor James Anaya, will begin an official visit to Canada to examine the human rights situation of the indigenous peoples of the country. Proclaim the importance of Indigenous Sovereignty! Stand up and be heard this October 7, 2013!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Bada boom bada bing

Day by day, as more and more gets reported, Toronto is realizing it may have elected Tony Soprano as mayor.
The latest is the arrest of Ford's friend Alexander Lisi on various trafficking and criminal offences. In spite of the attempt to portray him as only an "occasional driver" of the mayor, it sounds like it was a little closer relationship than that:
... she often saw the mayor park his black Escalade in front of Lisi’s home on Madill Street in Etobicoke and make a quick phone call. Lisi would then come out of the house and lean in to the driver’s side window for a few minutes.
“There’s a side door on the Lisi residence and Lisi comes out, walks across, leans in and back he goes,” Peck, 75, told the Star.
“I’m out a lot walking on the street so you see a lot. You know, how often do you see one of these trucks, these Escalades? I hate to tell you, you can’t miss Rob Ford. The truck and him go hand-in-hand.”....
The Toronto Star also reports Rob Ford's reaction:
At a press conference at a gas station near his home later in the day, the mayor expressed surprise that Lisi had been arrested and charged with marijuana trafficking.
“He’s a good guy,” Ford said. “I don’t throw my friends under the bus.”
This was followed by brother Doug Ford throwing Lisi under the bus.
“I have no comment. I’ve never met this person. I don’t know him, never talked to him in my life, so I can’t comment.”
The story also reports:
Lisi has a lengthy record of interaction with police, including convictions for threatening and assaulting women. He has acted as an occasional driver and security guard for the mayor, showing up the morning the crack video scandal broke and shadowing the mayor as reporters sought comment.
He also drove the mayor to and from the Garrison Ball, an event where Ford was asked to leave because he appeared impaired.
And who holds a press conference at a gas station?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Pope says something sensible and kind

Yeah, I couldn't believe it either, but its true, he did:
Six months into his papacy, Pope Francis sent shock waves through the Roman Catholic church on Thursday with the publication of his remarks that the church had grown “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he had chosen not to talk about those issues despite recriminations from critics
.... “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.
“We have to find a new balance,” the pope continued, “otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”
The pope’s interview did not change church doctrine or policies, but it instantly changed its tone.
 And what are the chances he will withstand the absolute shitstorm about to rain down from the pearl clutchers and moral scolds?

Sunday, September 08, 2013

I'm shocked, SHOCKED!

"Y-O-U-N-G at UBC, we like 'em young, Y is for your sister, O is for oh so tight, U is for underage, N is for no consent, G is for go to jail."
So now the media finds out that teenagers at UBC are using the exact same Frosh Week chant as the St. Mary's students on the other side of the country.  Maybe they're all doing it.
What?  Teenagers saying stuff that is offensive to grown-ups?  And not just saying it, but shouting it at the top of their lungs?  
Maybe the media should stop clutching its pearls and we should all remember being 18 and how much fun it was to say something shocking.
Kids today have it harder because there's not much these days that will shock adults.
When I was 18, all I had to do was tell my parents I wanted to take a class at Berkley.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Sending a message

Daily Kos: And away we go:

I wonder if Obama backed off a unilateral strike against Syria at least partly because the usual gang of idiots jumped out of the blocks to support it?
So now he's taking the problem to Congress, and the right-wing is in a tizzy -- they don't want to support Obama but they don't want to say no to John McCain and Bill Kristol, either.
Oh well, they just found a photo of Kerry having dinner with Assad four years ago, so they can chatter about that for a while.
Juan Cole sums it up: Friday, Obama had painted himself into a box with repeated statements that he had to attack Syria because of the gas attack. But as he looked behind him, the troops he was leading had thinned out faster than Custer’s at the Little Bighorn....
Obama made a clever political calculation. The Tea Party and the GOP in general had been demanding that he submit the Syria file to them. So he obliged them. If they say ‘no,’ as the British parliament did, then Obama is off the hook. If they say ‘yes,’ then they are full partners in any failures that result. Either way, the issue is taken off the agenda of the 2016 election and Democrats are held harmless....
It is remarkable how important the Iraq experience has been in the debates on Syria, and how decisive. Even if the US goes ahead with the strike, it is likely to attempt to keep the action narrow and symbolic, and to avoid troops on the ground, and indeed, generally to stay out of the conflict thereafter as long as no more chemical attacks are launched. Whether it is possible to bomb Syria and then walk away like that isn’t clear; but it is the maximal Obama plan. The minimal one is to be able to blame the Tea Party for isolationism and cold disregard of the regime’s violation of international law.
I'm not sure whether you could call such a result "win-win", but perhaps its not "lose-lose" either.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

He's baaaak!

So first I read this headline:
Ottawa looking ‘very carefully’ at marijuana-ticket proposal, PM says
and I thought, WHAAT? Our Stevie? Actually considering doing something that everybody except his base wants the government to do? I must be living in Bizarro World!
Then I read this headline:
Stephen Harper says Justin Trudeau encouraging drug use
and the world snapped back into focus. There's the ridiculous hyperbolic smear of the Harper we all know and love.

Breaking Bad Canada-style

Breaking Bad is a Different Story With Universal Healthcare - Cheezburger:
Breaking Bad is a Different Story With Universal Healthcare

Using sarin gas to show rebels who is the boss

Whenever I wonder about what has been going on in the middle east, I check Juan Cole for the definitive word, and today is no exception:
Rush to Western Strike on Syria slows, but does not Stall | Informed Comment
US intelligence agencies released an intercept on Wednesday showing that after the attack, a ministry of defense official made outraged inquiries from a local commander as to what in the world he had done.
The intercept would be consistent with local Baath chem warfare units routinely mixing a little deadly sarin gas into crowd control gas, killing small numbers of rebels with each deployment, but in this case making an error and getting the mix wrong. Thus, around a thousand were killed instead of dozens. British intelligence seems to have come to a similar conclusion
Apparently there are new, Jordanian-trained, guerrilla forces in Rif Dimashq near the capital that account for the local commanders’ panic and desire to forcefully push them back.
The intercept does not prove that Bashar al-Assad knew about or ordered the chemical weapons attack. It does not, however, disprove that the Baath regime has a systematic policy of low level use of chemical weapons.
It does put paid to the crackpot conspiracy theory, advanced by the regime and the Russians, that the rebels gassed themselves.
So if Syria has been using Sarin gas routinely on its rebels, and then inadvertently used too much, then this is behaviour which the world needs to condemn.
Exactly how is still the question, of course, but the rationale is clearer now.
Oh, and Juan also says that there is not yet international support for missile strikes.   But it was news to me that Syria has been "routinely mixing a little deadline sarin gas into crowd control gas" -- and that's a war crime that demands some response
Or else everyone will start doing this.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Round up the usual suspects

At LGM, Scott Lemieux points out that the list of people who want to start a war against Syria are the usual gang of idiots -- Joe Lieberman, Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, Elliott Abrams, Dan Senor, Paul Bremer,, Gary Bauer, Norm Coleman and a bunch of other people who thought war with Iraq and Iran were great ideas, too.
As Lemieux puts it:
I’m not 100% sure that military intervention in Syria is wrong.
But it is true that
    1. al-Assad is terrible
    2. ?????
    3. Bomb lots of stuff!
is a terrible argument
At Daily Kos, Meteor Blades summarizes the problem:
People high and low across the political spectrum in the United States keep saying there are no good options in Syria. When that is the case, how is it that bombing gets moved to the head of the queue as one of those options?
A decade ago, Gary Kamiya wrote in Salon about the upcoming war in Iraq:
. . . we have gone from being in a political moment to a historical one.
I use the words somewhat eccentrically, to distinguish between events that are simple enough to be fully explicable ("political") and those that are too complex to be defined ("historical").
The war against Afghanistan took place in what I am calling the political realm: It had a clear, limited and achievable goal, one understood by all -- and widely supported around the world. The impending war against Iraq, on the other hand, is a historical event. It cannot be explained or defined. When it comes, it will simply exist, with the opacity of history. Its outcome is not foreseeable.
The distinction also has a moral dimension. To exist in history is to have passed beyond the pieties and slogans of the political. History is tragic: politics is not. History is glorious. It is also fatal.
. . . The lesson every government should have learned from the bloody 20th century, one written in blood across the tortured soil of old, very old Europe, is very simple: Avoid history at all costs. History is too big, too abstract, too dangerous. Avoid men with Big Ideas -- especially stupid men with Big Ideas. Take care of politics: let history take care of itself. In a word, don't play God.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Why are you persecuting me?

Amazing, isn't it?
We found out today that the Privy Council Office has been persecuted with 23 FOIA requests from journalists for its paperwork on the Duffy-Wallin scandal but not a word was committed to paper in the PCO about it!
Even though we also found out today that Duffy had to be jollied and threatened into paying back the money by Senator David Tkachuk (formerly chair of the Senate internal economy committee) and Senator Carolyn Stewart Olson:
Tkachuk allegedly told Duffy that if he went along with Wright’s bailout offer, the Senate committee would throw out the residency issue and go easy on him in the audit of his expenses.
But wait, there's more.
Another former member of Harper's office also got into the act.
Harper’s former director of communications, Angelo Persichilli, was also putting pressure on Duffy amid the growing Senate spending scandal.
While Persichilli was awaiting his appointment as a citizenship judge in Toronto, he called Duffy to tell him that the Conservative Party would turn against him if he didn’t repay the money.
Persichilli insisted he acted alone and as a friend when he made that call.
“I was urging him to give the money back, but as a friend,” he told CTV News. “Never, never was I told by anyone from the PMO that I had to talk to Mike Duffy.”
Admittedly, Persichilli had been a journalist and, unlike Wright, likely had been friendly with Duffy over the years.
So perish the thought that he was just following orders!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The press gallery should be embarassed

Dr. Dawg discusses all the pearl-clutching and tut-tutting about the Li Xue Jiang incident at Harper's press conference and also links to David Hill's lengthy piece which explains how the Harper press gallery works.
It's actually sort of embarrassing that grown men and women are acting this way:, the PM’s aides will tell us ahead of time how many questions he intends to take. If the number is four, the journalists who are present — be it outside Rideau Hall or at G8 Summit in Mexico or in a barn at a mine in Northern Quebec — will gather out of earshot of the PM’s aides and decide amongst themselves what topics we wish to quiz the PM about and then figure out who will do the quizzing.... most of the time, the press secretary calls on the names on the list. That did not happen on Friday in northern Quebec. Though the Chinese journalist’s name was on the list, the moderator, Julie Vaux, the deputy director of communications, did not call on that journalist. That was wrong of Vaux and not in keeping with the practice negotiated between journalists and the PMO over the last few years. But the reaction of the journalist – shoving Vaux or pushing any staff around — is also way out-of-bounds. As I mentioned, the tradition is, if you’re getting shut down by the PMO, just start hollering your questions. The PM will almost never answer anyway to a hollered-out question but you will have put your question on the record.
So the press gallery thinks that China People's Daily bureau chief should just have shouted out his question about Canada's policy on foreign investment?  And been ignored.
And that would have done what, exactly?  
As Dawg concludes:
Now the Canadian media are all about telling power to truth—and Li Xue Jiang found this out the hard way. It must have made him a little homesick.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Making prejudice into a Canadian "value"

The PQ "values charter" would enshrine religion as a justifiable reason to discriminate against people in Quebec:
it would promote religious segregation by stigmatizing the devoutly religious, explicitly exclude them from employment in the public sector and implicitly encourage discrimination against them in the private sector.
In the particular case of women from minority religious communities, it would promote not the integration into the workforce that would expose them to other values, but their isolation and impoverishment.
The Globe and Mail describes this as "Putinesque". Don MacPherson at the Montreal Gazette calls it as "sinister, ridiculous and pathetic." A Quebec mayor doesn't want the PQ government to "play petty politics on the backs of citizens".
Though in practice it would be virtually unenforceable -- and ultimately the Canadian Supreme Court would throw it out -- the whole country will be tainted by this idiotic charter, just like we were by the Quebec soccer turban ban mess last spring.
Merci beaucoup, Pauline.