Happy New Year!

Happy New year everyone! Good luck sticking to those resolutions. I didn't make any ;-)


Campaign Conduct: Liberal Style

Perhaps Paul Martin thinks Canadians aren't paying attention to politics over the holiday season. I can think of no other reason why he would defend Ralph Goodale's decision not to resign over the RCMP investigation of the Income Trust scandal during a political campaign. This is not how you get re-elected. This is not how you convince people you are cleaning up government.
The NDP and the Tories are, quite rightly, making Goodale's refusal to resign a campaign issue. Goodale's behaviour only feeds the opinion that the Liberal Party culture is one of entitlement. His defiance in the face of dishonour is not going to help convince anyone that the Martin Liberals are any different than the Chretien Liberals... the one card Martin has tried to play in the aftermath of the Sponsorship Scandal.
I'd like to see the Liberals get only one or two seats in the next election. I doubt this will happen, but you never know.

On Giving Birth

After giving birth in the back of an SUV, I am sure this mom will be able to handle anything.
Dion Lewis said the doctor in Princeton told them there was plenty of time to reach Penticton because the baby was still six hours away. "I'm pretty upset about it because they knew she was four centimetres dilated," he said. "Her water had already broke, and they're capable (at the Princeton hospital) of delivering babies.
The doctor told a woman who was four centimetres dilated that she was six hours away from delivery. According to the CBC story, the woman went from 4 centimeters to pushing in an hour which, quite frankly, sounds about right to me. Please also note that my entire birthing process, that is from my first real contraction (not my three weeks of cramps and pre-labour, the real thing) to the time Eden was out, was only six hours, if not slightly less. The excuse given was that the hospital in question hadn't done deliveries in a few years.
My mom had my brother at home, but that was after 6 kids. My dad delivered him because the doctor was late, but again six kids gives you lots of experience. A friend of mine had her first at home, but a midwife was present. This woman delivered (what sounds like her first, I could be wrong) in a SUV and a guy who obviously had no experience had to catch. Beat that!! I sure can't. She is living proof that you only need to be healthy to have a healthy birth. You don't necessarily need a lot of paraphenalia. Still, she is lucky. I hope they really stick it to the hospital.


The Downside of Political Blogging

Executive vice-president of the Liberal Party of Canada in Ontario Mike Klander successfully demonstrated the potential pitfalls of political blogging. It was a profoundly stupid move on his part, comparing Olivia Chow to a dog, not to mention his many other online misdemeanors.
Note to Klander: people can read what you write online. That is, in fact, the point of a blog!


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!
Hope you have a blessed holiday season!


Visitor 10,000... since May 2005

I have had my blog since May 2004.
I began keeping track of my blog statistics on May 24, 2005, right around the same time I joined the Blogging Tories. I am pleased to say that this morning I had my 10,000th visitor since I began counting.

I am Geekin' Out Over Here!

It's a twinge of excitement only true nerd can feel.
Tim Berners-Lee started a blog!

Scrooge Leads the Liberals

Mr. Martin, if Zwarte Piet doesn't get you this year, the three Christmas ghosts will.
...a campaign cost-cutting plan they have to allow campaign staff currently on unpaid leave return to their government jobs during Christmas week when the campaign slows down...A reporter pressed Martin on whether it was necessary to have the Liberals working in their government jobs that week, which is usually fairly slow.
"They're not really going to be working during the Christmas holidays, surely?" a reporter asked. "They better be," Martin said in response. "I'm going to tell you that's there's a lot of stuff that has to be done. And they better be working because I'm going to be working and I certainly expect to see them there."

Nice to see Martin wants his minions back at work.
Then of course there is the question of whether or not this is actually ethical.
Prime Minister Paul Martin was asked about whether the practice was ethical while campaigning in Nova Scotia Thursday... Martin said it is okay for Liberals to receive their government salaries as long as they are not doing campaign work for that week. However, the Liberal war room says that not all campaign staff that choose to end their leave of absence to return to government will be at their desks. Some of those who can return to the government could opt to use their vacation credits instead. "Some may use earned vacation credits," Ken Polk a spokesperson for the Liberal campaign told PoliticsWatch. "Others may work. The bottom line is that if they chose either of those options they cannot be on the campaign." The Liberals say they are not violating election-financing laws by using this practice.
Now, the minute I see that they are supposed not violating election laws, I begin to wonder.
...Shapiro stresses that ministerial staff that are still on the government payroll or are on vacation leave cannot be actively campaigning. "All individuals who work on behalf of a minister or a minister of state, and who become actively involved on a full-time basis in a federal election campaign are required to: take leave of absence without pay or resign their position, where these individuals are working in a minister's office (vacation leave or any other leave with pay is not permitted to be taken for election campaign purposes.." Shapiro wrote.
According to the law then, you may not campaign and also receive your regular paycheck. In order to save money, the Liberals are expected to return to their regular jobs next week. They may not campaign while at the office. They will receive their paycheck for that week out of our tax money as usual. That would be normal, except they are in the middle of a campaign. Presumably, this is how the Liberals will save a few bucks. They don't pay them; we do.
Am I understanding this correctly?
In any case, regardless of whether it is ethical or not, forcing your people back to work over the holidays just so you don't have to pay them out of the campaign budget is cheap. No one else is doing it! Take a break for crying out loud! It's Christmas... err, excuse me, the holiday season.


A Real Debate

After Martin refused Duceppe's challenge to a one-on-one debate, Harper stepped forward ready to stand in Martin's place.
It's an interesting move, going into a debate you are destined to lose. But then this time it's really not about winning against the Bloc, is it? It's about winning against Martin. It's about proving your manhood.
The Conservatives have not won a seat in Quebec in years, but Harper's offer of a one-on-one with Duceppe is aimed as much at impressing English-speaking voters in the rest of the country as it is at francophone Quebecers who have never warmed to the Tory leader. The point of the Conservative strategy is to steal the thunder of Martin, who has campaigned energetically on the national unity theme.
I approve.
As for the idea of a Conservative minority encouraging independence in Quebec, I am unconcerned at this point. Sovereignty happens at the provincial level, not at the federal level.


Say it With Feathers? What Were They Thinking?

White feather Christmas wreaths: nothing good can come of this, I assure you.
Ever watch Trading Spaces? Ever see the stuff Hilde comes up with? Well, this is something she would have invented. Don't believe me? Try watching the episode where she glues chicken feathers to the wall.
White Christmas: say it with feathers
A fluffy wreath. Similar materials can be used to make tree

Tree? You mean that thing is a tree and not a tassle?
And by the way, what exactly are you trying to say? We're here, we're queer? Merry Christmas... I mean, Season's Greetings? Or are we saying I'm 15 and have too much babysitting money and nothing useful to spend it one?
Project: White feathered square wreath
Hands-on time: Less than an hour.
Total time: Less than an hour.
Skill: Easy.

That should have been Skill: Optional.
Project cost: Less than $30, depending on the type of feathers you buy.
You could go with ostrich feathers, however, and end up with a $200-$300 dollar wreath. You'll be tacky AND expensive! (Trump will love it)
Feather wreaths are a huge trend in home decor, and they make stunning accessories for any season. They are absolutely spectacular poised on a fireplace mantel, centred over a large mirror, on a door or hooked casually over a chair. Festive feather wreaths are graceful yet quite easy to make.
This should have read:
Feather wreaths are Cher's favorite this year. They make stunning accessories for any season... no, really. Your friends won't know what to say. Put them atop your artificial fireplace or centre them over your vanity mirror leopard-print edging for a truly ghastly look. Hook it casually over the chair in your boudoir. Your "customers" will appreciate the effort.
A feathered wreath will last for years.
Uh huh.
A feathered wreath might make it to December 26th if you have no kids. This also assumes that feathered wreaths will be in fashion next year... which I doubt.
Each holiday, you can give it a fresh new look by just decorating it with a variety of different accessories.
Be sure to replace the feathers that fell out last year.
Leave the wreath plain or include assorted embellishments such as colourful miniature balls, fresh ivy, a feathered bird, berry clusters, bows and creative wire ornaments.
A feathered bird!!
Oh the sick irony of a tiny bluejay or cardinal perched amongst the feathers of its kin!
If you use feather wreaths outdoors...
Like some kind of moron...
...be sure to place them under a covered porch area to avoid direct sunlight or snow. You will want a feather wreath for every season, to hang over a door, on a wall or over a mirror. They make wonderful gifts, too.
In fact, I gave one to a friend this year. Funny how she hasn't been returning my calls.

Reports on Khadr

How a news outlet covers a story says a lot about them. While this sounds obvious, consider the recent coverage of Khadr's arrest and possible extradition to the US.
The CTV coverage is, I'm sorry to say, lazy. Better coverage of the story can be found at the Globe & Mail. The most in depth coverage of all is located at the National Post.
Consider the following:
Silver said the warrant contains no details about the U.S. government's allegations. The RCMP arrested Khadr on Saturday under something known as a provisional warrant. Such warrants are issued based on accusations from another government. In this case, the accusations come from the U.S.
That accusations come from the US in no way make them any less valid. The writer makes no attempt to explain a provisional warrant, and the wording suggests that this type of warrant is less valid.
Consider the view from the Globe.
Prosecutors say their information is unequivocal: "Khadr told FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force agents that he was asked to undertake those activities by his father, Ahmed Said Khadr, allegedly a colleague of Osama bin Laden." ... Mr. Khadr is to make another court appearance this morning and the complaint against him in Boston may be unsealed. Under Canada's Extradition Act, the United States has 60 days to produce its case against Mr. Khadr. Canada's Justice Department then has another month to review the case before proceeding.
Interesting. The view is not only more balanced, it also presents more information.
The National Post has this to say on the provisional warrant:
RCMP officers, acting on a provisional warrant issued by U.S. authorities, arrested Mr. Khadr on Saturday night at a McDonald's restaurant near his Scarborough apartment. He now faces possible extradition to Massachusetts, where prosecutors have charged him with possessing a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, and conspiracy to possess a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence. Both criminal charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine... None of the allegations has been proven in court. American prosecutors have 60 days to present evidence to the Canadian Department of Justice, which must now decide whether or not to extradite Mr. Khadr. Even if the government agrees, it will likely be months -- if not years -- before he ever steps foot in Massachusetts.
Again, interesting.
Like the Globe, the Post presents a more balanced report and provides the reader with more complete information.
I am sure I could go through a number of other media outlets and find similar instances of good or bad work. This illustrates the absolute need for a balanced approach to reading the news. The first thing you read, in my case it was the CTV report this morning, may not present the whole story. It may take several readings of several versions of the same story in order to get a clear picture of what exactly happened. While it sounds like obvious advice, it can be hard to remember. I can think of many times I have written something on the first report I read only to discover that what I read was either very biased or was missing important information.

And, innocent until proven guilty considered, I hope Khadr gets his bogey whooped!


Godless Government Day Off

Such a great post today by Monte Solberg.
Brilliant, in fact.
Anyway, forget all that stuff. Here is what I want to say. I know I am speaking on behalf of all Canadians when I say that I hope Paul and Sheila (who is truly a very nice and charming woman) are able to explain to the boys why Paul inexplicably refused to make them part of the future of Canada. After they patch things up and look at some windmills it really is my hope that they, and all my colleagues, and all who read this have a safe and Merry Christmas.
Quite frankly, I hope Martin gets coal in his stocking. He spent $240 on a wreath this year, so I'm sure he won't mind not getting any presents.
Actually, I just had an evil thought.
Who here knows anything about the Dutch Christmas? More specifically, do you know anything about Zwarte Piet? I only recently learned about this tradition, not being of Dutch decent myself.
Once upon a time, Saint Nicholas once liberated a young slave named Peter, who decided to serve Nicholas rather than enjoy liberty alone. Zwarte Piet, or Black Peter (or Sweaty Pete as my husband calls him) is Santa's Little Helper. No cute little elves for the Dutch! No sireee! Parents tell their children that if they have been good, Zwarte Piet will bring them gifts and sweets. If they have been bad, Piet will scoop them up, stuff them in his huge sack and spirit them away to Spain. And you thought that big bag carried only toys! They should have made the kids work for Santa in his shop without food. The irony would have been...
Pete carries a whip or scourge to chastise children who have been too naughty for presents. Giving coal is clearly for wussies.
So enjoy Christmas while you still can, Mr. Martin.
Zwarte Piet is definitely coming for you this year.

Funny Quote Of the Day

I've been to Canada, and I've always gotten the impression that I could take the country over in about two days.
Jon Stewart

I love the new RSS feeds in GMail, especially the one for funny quotes.

The Debates and The Apprentice

I watched the first half of the leadership debates last night. I fully agree with CTV's assessment:
Four federal political leaders preaching from four podiums is not a debate... the first debate was less about mental agility than the perfection of cadence, pacing and language that comes from working with a good speechwriter... as a test of leadership in the crucible it did little to illuminate the candidates for Canadian voters.
In short, what I saw was boring. Last years debate was much better.

And now for the Apprentice.
Rebecca and Randall were always my two favorites. Going into the last show, I was hoping Trump would hire both of them. It was exciting at the end; it honestly looked like he would.
And then Randall had to blow it!
What a window into his character! The inability to share glory is, in my opinion, a flaw. What does he care if Rebecca was also an Apprentice? She would have been working on a different project and it's not as though it would have taken away from him.
Oh well.
If Trump was smart, and I'm sure he is, he'd ignore Randall and hire her anyway. So the rest of the world doesn't hear about it; so what? I think many corporations would bend over backward for an employee like that.


Leadership Debates

The first of three leadership debates airs tonight at 8pm and will run for two hours.
This leaves me with a critical question: do I watch the debate or the season finale of the Apprentice?
Given that the format has changed since last year and that Randall and Rebecca are undoubtedly the best Apprentice candidates had so far, I suspect the debates will be the loser.
It's too bad the debate format was changed. Last year's debate was awesome. It really showed what a disaster Paul Martin was. I seem to recall writing about it here.
Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe said Wednesday that the Bloc was the only one of the three parties that wanted to keep the 2004 format.
"I'm there to debate," he said. "I was hoping that there would be interaction between the leaders. We were the only party asking to have interaction..."

Of course you were Duceppe. That's because you rocked last year.
NDP Leader Jack Layton said the 2004 format was "absurd" and "disrespectful."
"I prefer this format for the debate where we will be given an opportunity to express our views," he said.

Please. You sucked, Layton. You couldn't debate worth beans! All you did was advertise for the NDP!
I love the tips for Martin.
Martin should try to remain prime ministerial and not go on the attack too much. If he hasn't thought about it, he should be concerned about a question coming up from an average citizen out of nowhere - such as one about David Dingwall and his severance...
Must not do: The prime minister cannot look tired, act irritated, stammer and ramble on.

This is not happening.


Politics and Blogging

Be sure to read this article on politics and blogging posted at the Globe & Mail.
It's too bad the article doesn't member the various blogging communities (ahem, us) but it does mention that the Conservatives were the first to provide podcasts. It also mentions, yet again, that the writer oftheir blog is still anonymous.
I can't say as I agree with NDP Brad Lavigne's reason for not having a blog. It sounds like a cop out, if you ask me. It's an official blog of a political party; people are going to take it with a grain of salt no matter what it says.

Legalizing Prostitution

If there was ever a reason not to vote Liberal in this election, their plan to legalize prostitution is it.
My husband sent me this article at CTV and this article at the Edmonton Sun. Pay close attention to the last paragraph in the Sun article:
Before the Liberal government fell, a House of Commons committee was fine-tuning a report recommending Ottawa scrap all Criminal Code sections that deal with adult prostitution, according to a draft leaked to the media.
Fine tuning a report?
I wonder if they are referring to the last section of this plenary report available at the Liberal Party website or something else. I hope it's not something else that I have yet to see. Such a covert approach to a highly controversial subject would be...
typical, actually.
Some time ago, Shane posted a link to this insightful article on prostitution at the Tyee. The author makes a number of points against the legalization of prostitution, and I agree with her.
Experiments in full decriminalization in Australia and New Zealand have failed. There are four times as many illegal brothels than there are legal ones. Women still face the violence of prostitution, not just rapes, beatings and murders, but the harm prostitution itself causes, ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to HIV.
She could have added the Netherlands.
But what about what is already happening here in Canada?
The current laws are a mish mash. Prostitution is actually quasi-legal in Canada... the City of Vancouver collects licensing fees from strip clubs, massage parlours and escort agencies, which are in effect a form of legalized prostitution.
Really? Is it working?
Several women report that their welfare workers suggested, directly and indirectly, that they consider licensed escort agencies as a work option. If prostitution becomes legal, that makes it a fully viable job option. As rape crisis workers, the last thing we want is to see women escape violence, and come to our transition house, with two kids, no job, and no money, only to be told by their welfare worker there's an opening as a prostitute. These women could be denied welfare on the grounds that they are refusing to work. And of course single women could be considered even more eligible for the "occupation" of prostitution. This is what legalization looks like, and it's already happening in Vancouver.
This sounds like a great plan, doesn't it?
It just goes to show you how concerned the Liberals are with women's rights, and more specifically poor and abused women's rights. In an age where violence against women is a growing problem, it saddens me that any government would consider the legalization of prostitution a viable option.
The most shocking statistics in the report are these, however:
Three out of four women say they began prostituting before the age of 18... The average global age of women entering prostitution is thirteen.
If you have a daughter, ponder this issue carefully.
Do you want her growing up in a country where the sexual objectification of her body for the purposes of some deviants pleasure is not only legal, but encouraged?

Provincial Politics

I don't often talk about Ontario politics. Today we have important news however.
Ontario will have fixed election dates and online, real-time disclosure of political donations under a new law passed today.
This is good news. Ontario is only the second province besides BC to have fixed election dates.
The law sets the province's next election date for Oct. 4, 2007. Provincial elections will now be held on the first Thursday in October every four years.
It is my hope that the new federal government will follow this example and also give us fixed election dates.


The NDP Commercial

Has anyone else seen the NDP commercial? I just saw it five minutes ago for the first time this campaign season. It's quite brilliant actually. I love the boot.
Why didn't the Conservatives come up with an ad like this?

Manitoba Metis Federation vs. Clare Pieuk

November 30, 2005

WINNIPEG - The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) has brought suit against Clare Pieuk, the webmaster of CyberSmokeSignals, for allegations made in an online petition posted on the website in January 2004.

In its Statement of Claim, the Manitoba Metis Federation contends that the following allegations in the petition are defamatory:

"And whereas the Manitoba Metis Federation has been needlessly spending vast amounts of money for inappropriate travel and accommodation for David Chartrand, as well as, some Board Members;

"And whereas David Chartrand has already spent tens of thousands of dollars on pre-election campaigning [...];

"And whereas very large sums of money intended for appropriate purposes such as consulting with members on hunting and harvesting issues has already been spent by David Chartrand on campaigning;

"And whereas Metis people believe that MMF elections should be conducted fairly with all candidates having an equal opportunity;

"And whereas the Federation's Board has been illegally authorizing campaign spending for David Chartrand and unlawfully spending your public monies to pay his election court challenge fees;

"And whereas unnecessary Board travel has been authorized for public relations purposes to one candidate only, namely David Chartrand;

"And whereas Metis have no confidence that any extra funding provided to the Federation will be spent in a legal or appropriate manner but rather believe all
principles of fair play will be set aside by the Board of Directors approving campaign and public relations expenses for David Chartrand only;

"And whereas the Metis believe that any extra money provided to the MMF will be used in attempts to hinder and suppress the rights of the other candidates for the presidential election rather than providing them with an equal opportunity."

Jeff Niederhoffer, the lawyer for Mr. Pieuk, has already indicated to reporters that his client plans to fight. "We intend to vigorously defend the truth of each and every one of the allegations in the petition. My client is in possession of evidence to back up what's written in the petition, and we look forward to using it at trial," Niederhoffer has said. "We are going to show what we have to a jury and let them make up their own mind as to who is telling the truth."

The MMF has alleged that the documents and evidence in Mr. Pieuk's possession have in fact been stolen from its offices.

In an unprecedented pre-trial motion, the MMF has not only demanded that Mr. Pieuk turn over all material in his possession, but that he disclose how he came into
possession of it.

Niederhoffer confirms he plans to fight the MMF's motion when it comes up before the court. But Niederhoffer also indicates that the question of control of the documents may soon be academic. "Months ago, as a safeguard, we provided copies of everything
we have to the Auditor General's office, and we also took other steps to ensure that the contents of the documents will be public knowledge by the time this comes to trial."


Jeffrey J. Niederhoffer
Barrister and Solicitor
PO Box 48081 RPO Lakewood
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2J 4A3


I went to see The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe on Friday night. I've been meaning to put together a write up since then, but I just haven't gotten around to it until now.

What a fantastic movie!
I grew up on the Narnia books. If I read them once as a kid, I read them a thousand times. I also saw the BBC version and an old cartoon of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Narnia was my first introduction to the words of fantasy books. I don't think I could have been more pleased with what I saw last night. It was an extremely faithful rendition of a classic.
Tilda Swinton was truly powerful as the White Witch. It would have been easy to overact the part. Instead, she presents that perfect balance of barely contained rage and truly evil calm. As the warrior-queen leading her minions into battle, Swinton did an excellent job. I loved the use of the sword and wand.
And speaking of battle, the great battle scene towards the end of the movie exceeded my expectations. When I saw Aslan's army lined up, waiting for the Witch to charge, I expected a typical Frankish Charge. Let's face it: when a battle scene makes use of horses, the Frankish Charge would seem to be what all directors turn to. It's something easy for the audience to recognize. The great battle was more than just that, however. The use of griffons as bombers and a phoenix as an incendiary bomber was brilliant. It added just a touch of World War II.
The children who played the four Pevensies were well chosen, as were Tumnus and the voice of Aslan. The special effects were good and did not overpower the viewer, with the notable exception of the blue screen shot on the overpass. That was too obvious.
I am anxious to see the next installment of the series. To the best of my knowledge, only Prince Caspian is a guarantee at this point. However, I would not be surprised to see the other books make it to film.
And to those out there who were concerned about the overtly Christian content of the film or who were concerned that Peter had to kill the wolf (ahem, Globe & Mail), please familiarize yourself with more of Lewis' works before committing such stupid statements to print where everyone can read them.


Martin's Apology: A Freudian Slip?

I was reading the CTV account of Reid's ridiculous beer and popcorn comment. I couldn't help but notice the wording of Paul Martin's apology.
"There's no doubt in my mind that parents are going to use it for the benefit of their families. They're going to use that money in a way that I'm sure is responsible. Let there be no doubt about that."
Are going to use it?
They're going to use?
Did you mean to say it like that, Mr. Martin?
One might conclude that you think the Conservatives will win this election and we'll be getting our money.

Red Ensign Standard 33

The latest issue of the Red Ensign Standard is up. it is being hosted by Nicholas at Quotulatiousness.

What $100 a Month Can Cover

In light of Scott Reid's ignorant comment regarding the average Canadian's use of the proposed $100 a month for child care and John Duffy's even more ignorant agreement, I thought I'd provide a list of what $100 a month can actually buy for the average middle to low income family.

  • 1 bag of diapers a week... and I only go through a bag every two weeks

  • 2 large boxes of wipes a week from Costco ...mind you, the biggest box can last me a whole month

  • 4 or 5 outfits (if Eden actually needed clothes, which she doesn't)

  • 10 or 12 new burp cloths (I could finally give my sister in law back the ones she loaned me)

  • 1 new breast pump, with change left over

  • 15 boxes of breast pads (and I only need one box every two weeks)

  • 1 safety gate, 1 toilet trainer, 1 step stool and a child's toothbrush

  • 1 child's snowsuit and accompanying winter boots... this is Canada after all

  • 5 jumbo colouring books, two packages of construction paper, one large box of crayons, one pair of safety scissors and one glue stick

  • 1 complete grocery order

  • 2 oil changes ... mind you, we need less than one a month

  • 2 tanks of gas

  • the electricity and summer gas bill

  • the winter gas bill

  • the phone and cable bill

In three months, we'd have enough for a new cabinet from Walmart with doors for the TV room, to prevent our baby from pulling apart the dvd player, or pulling the TV down on top of her, or getting her hands all over our software, or tangling herself up on the cords that are currently being stored on the floor. In six months we'd have enough for a new bed for her room. We'll need it, because babies don't stay in cribs forever.
Considering the above list, please note that two of my sisters-in-law would be getting $300 a month. Had this money been available last year, one would have received $400 a month. I can think of several families that I personally know that would also receive $300 or more. Two friends of mine will receive $200 a month as of June next year. My cousin would receive $200 a month now. I am sure you don't need me to list what that much money can pay for.
Scott Reid and John Duffy either don't have children of their own, or they have been extremely lax fathers. To suggest that the average family would make popcorn and beer their first priority when there are so many other expenses, is utterly absurd. Paul MArtin can try to retract the comment as much as he wants, but it is too late. The damage is done and your parties anti-family stance has been revealed.
I will never send my child to one of your government funded daycares.

Party Website Rankings

Behold! My first non-partisan political post of the campaign! I examined party websites during the last election also. Today, I will put my usability background to use and rank them according to their aesthetic appeal.

  1. The Green Party

  2. The NDP

  3. The Conservative Party

  4. The Bloc

  5. The Christian Heritage Party

  6. The Liberal Party

  7. The Communist Party

I was surprised by how good the Green Party's website looked. It's clean, well laid out and makes excellent use of the party colours. I was also surprised by the NDP site. Green and orange can be difficult to use well. Take the Blogging Dipopers community, for example. That is a classic example of how not to use green and orange.
The Conservative website isn't bad. There just isn't anything that makes it really stand out. It doesn't make me go "Wow!"
The Bloc website isn't bad. It's about tied with the Conservative site, but perhaps slightly below. If I had been the designer, however, I think I would have selected a slightly smaller picter of Duceppe. Honestly, that thing is huge! Also, I can only find a French version of the site. If an English version is available, and I doubt there is, it's buried too deep for me to find. As an aside, I couldn't help but notice that Duceppe has jumped on the latest bandwagon to hit Canadian politics. He has a blog. For some reason, this struck me as being extremely funny.
The CHP site is ok. Again, it's not bad. It just doesn't make me go "Wow!" on first look. Digging deeper one can find pages that don't follow the template used for the rest of the site. This error should have been avoided.
The Liberal website is too red. The layout of the front page is good, but the rest of the site is substandard. When working with a colour that is as strong as red, you have to be careful not to overdo it. The banner at the top of the page is simply too grating. A better example of how to effectively use red can be found at the Liberal Underground.
By far, the Communist Party has the ugliest website. No one should use frames. Ever! There is simply no excuse for it.

Online Rights Canada

A new organization called Online Rights Canada was launched a week ago Friday. The group was founded as a reaction to a bill that increased the powers of the RCMP and CSIS. I wrote about the bill here. Fortunately, with the start of the election campaign, the bill died. However, the Globe & Mail is most likely correct when it suggests that this bill will most likely be revived.

I Am So Disappointed

My favorite station, Classical 96.3FM, has Jack Layton hosting this morning.
Well, at least it's not Paul Martin.


Out of the Mouths of Babes

I saw a link to this interview at Small Dead Animals.
Oh if only all our youth was this informed and had this much common sense! What a bright how there would be for Canada!

Chuck Strahl: Blogger

Conservative MP Chuck Strahl has started his own blog. This promises to be an interesting read (eventhough his main page could use a little work).
I first became aware of Mr. Strahl back in October when I saw him on Question Period. Craig Oliver was interviewing him about his recent cancer diagnosis. I posted about it here. Mr. Strahl is one of the few politicians (dare I say people) who had my respect the moment he opened his mouth. He took the oportunity given him in the interview to share his faith. It was great.

Old and Confused

The Liberal Party excels at hanging their friends out to dry. I couldn't help but feel for Gleberzon when I read in this article that the Finance Ministry's communications director, John Embury, said he was "old and confused." Apparently, Gleberzon didn't tell CTV what he was supposed to tell them. According to the National Post, Gleberzon is no longer taking calls on the subject.

Did you Know...?

Apparently, the Blogging Tories have an exclusion policy?
How strange.
I've been a BT member since sometimes early in the summer and this is the first I've heard about it. Get a load of our supposed "rules."
1. Established readership
2. Critical acclaimed in the blogging community
3. Enthusiasm for the Blogging Tories

Please note all that when I joined, I did not meet a single one of our supposed "criteria."
But, let me dissect this post further.
Should I be surprised to see the Blogging Tories purge bloggers from their rolls that have not posted in the past six weeks?

A possible rephrasing of this question could be "Should I be surprised to see the Blogging Tories engage in completely normal behaviour for any large (and steadily growing) blog community?"
Should I be surprised by the fact that this decision was announced on the same day as the no-confidence vote in the House?

I obviously missed this announcement. I can't find it anywhere on the BT site either. Craig? Stephen?
I'm also wondering, what could a non-existent announcement possibly have to do with the no-confidence vote. Or is this one of those "if you can't figure it out, I'm not going to tell you" things?
Should I be surprised by the fact that the Blogging Tories have a new policy that excludes new blogs from being added to their aggregator for a period of three months?

Still looking for this mythical policy.
Should I be surprised by the fact that the Blogging Tories exclude blogs from their ranks based on Conservative values?

This is the only point that makes sense. Of course a Conservative community is going to limit their membership to Conservatives. Why else would it be called Blogging Tories? I have to ask the author of this post, are you actively seeking Conservative bloggers for your community? If I wanted to join, would you let me?
Just like the Conservative Party, the Blogging Tories appear to have a policy of exclusion, when blogging is all about inclusion, not exclusion.
Blogging is all about writing. It has nothing to do with inclusion or exclusion. For some people, blogging is a chance to express themselves on political matters. For others, a blog is nothing more than an online diary. For others, blogging is a chance to improve their writing skills or compile research notes.
My favorite is this line:
If you're new (1), like a new immigrant, you're out of luck...
What does being an immigrant and established readership have to do with each other? (Let me make it easy for you: NOTHING) It is entirely possible that someone could be a citizen in Europe somewhere or Asia and have a blog. They could build up quite a readership and then move to Canada. That's why cyberspace is said to have no borders.
Or maybe you didn't know that.

Cool New Gmail Feature

Gmail has added a feature that allows you to add RSS feeds to the top of your mail page. It seems to be a bit buggy at the moment, but I think this is cool. I can add the feeds from all the blogs I regularly read.


How Stupid are These Guys?

Ah! The beginning of an election campaign. What better time to get caught in the act of insider trading. Since Martha Stewart was an American, surely no Canadian will remember that she did go to jail for the same thing.
Goodale's plan must have seemed foolproof at the time.
But, given that the Liberal Party is full of fools...


Ah, the Irony

In days of yore, feminism was a useful tool. It procured us the right to vote, equal pay for equal work and increased awareness regarding sexual harrassment.
Those days are gone.
Long gone, in fact.
Now, feminism provides us with this piece of stupidity. I got this one from Les.
Try not to laugh at the idiots. They're trying. Really.
The spokesman for a feminist-based environmental group accused men of being the biggest contributors to human-caused "global warming" and lamented that women are bearing the brunt of the negative climate consequences created by men...
"To give you an example from Germany, it is mostly men who are going by car. Women are going by public transport mostly," Rohr told Cybercast News Service. Rohr was standing in front of her booth, which featured a banner calling for "creative gender strategies" from "rural households to global scientific bodies."
"In most parts of the world, women are contributing less [to greenhouse gasses]," Rohr continued. But it is the women of the world who will feel the most heat from catastrophic global warming, she said.

I see. So, men are creating the problem and women are bearing the most siginificant consequences of it. Why is that?
Behold the answer (not to mention the irony of it).
...it is women who are more affected because they are more vulnerable...
Now, let this notion really sink in for a moment.
A feminist is saying that women have a harder time with climate change because they are more vulnerable.
I just have to ask, who could we possibly be more vulnerable then?
Surely not.
We're equals, aren't we?

The Great Canadian Vote Auction

According to PoliticsWatch, eBay recently had to shut down an auction to buy someone's vote at the upcoming election.
"This is a brand new vote for the January 23rd Canadian Federal Election !" the item proclaimed in its description.
"The actual Liberal government is buying votes through spending promises, why couldn't you buy a vote to help them or to get rid of them? This is a unique opportunity, express yourself twice (or more) .....Voting is fun, double your pleasure !"
The person selling his vote emphasized that it was not for sale to political parties.

Unlike the Liberal government of course, who only sold itself to other political parties.
Elections Canada said selling a vote violates Section 481. (1) of the Act, which states: "Every person is guilty of an offence who, during an election period, directly or indirectly offers a bribe to influence an elector to vote or refrain from voting or to vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate."
Subsection 2 on accepting a bribe states: "Every elector is guilty of an offence who, during an election period, accepts or agrees to accept a bribe that is offered in the circumstances described in subsection (1)."

Although, technically speaking, selling ones vote shouldn't count as a bribe if you are not planning to vote yourself. As for subsection 2, again we see a convenient example of the law applying to Joe-Average-Peon-Canadian, and not to the upper cruty Liberal Party.
Grewal anyone?

On Family

Before I begin my discussion (which will probably turn into a rant), I'd like to ask the same question Michael Coren asked the Liberal representative on his show last night, Martha Hall Finley. Her mother stayed at home to raise her and her five siblings.

Do you wish your mother had gone to work and left you in daycare?

Please note, there was the most enormous silence after this. My husband and I laughed. She eventually conceded that her mother had done an excellent job and never answered the question. Coren then said that mothers tend to be good at being mothers.

I started digging through my archives today and found surprisingly little on the urgent need for stay at home mom's and family man dad's. I thought I had written something, but obviously not. Time to address the issue.
I come from a traditional two parent family. So does my husband. There were six kids in my family, five girls and one boy, and four kids in his, two of each. Our immediate families are committed to the idea and practice of a stay at home mom.
I have a Master's degree in Computer Science. Had I not gotten married, I probably would have gone on to get a PhD (there's just something about calling myself Dr. Ruth). As it is, I probably will continue my education at some point in the future, but for the moment it is not my primary goal. I am not cut out for the corporate scene (two summers working at a bank ruined me for that), but if I were, with my skills and education I would have no trouble making an excellent wage. However, making big money is not my life's primary goal. In fact, it's not on my to do list at all.
My husband and I have a daughter. She is nearly three months old and I have decided to remain at home to take care of her. We hope to have more children. In fact, a large family (6+ kids) would be fantastic, albeit expensive. The more kids we have, the greater need there will be for me to remain at home and the greater the pinch there will be on the family wallet. Sending my child to daycare or paying for a live in nanny so I can go out to work, however, would be a tragedy. I would miss all the best parts of her early life. She will only take her first step once. Her first word will only be spoken once.
Sadly, I am the only one of any of the girls I graduated with (and there are precious few women in the computing industry) who has made the decision to stay at home and raise their families. Most opt for the money. My husband and I have decided to make do on his income. Should I manage to pick up contract work that I can do at home that would be wonderful, but my child is undoubtedly my first priority and I am not willing to sacrifice family for the sake of a career. Money, although it makes life more comfortable, cannot replace a child. At the end of your life, it will not give you grandchildren. You cannot walk money down the aisle. You cannot send money off to its first day at school or watch it graduate.
My husband is very much a family man. I became aware of this trait early on when we were dating. Both of his sisters have good sized families, and it was always a treat for me to watch him with his neices and nephews. It made him incredibly attractive, because I was keenly aware of how rare this behaviour is. Although my own father was also a family man, I knew that men of his type were in short supply. The ability to deal well with children is a learned skill, and not everyone is taught. It is more common in our church community of course, but as a percentage of the population, we are only a small group.
In our community, private education or homeschooling is preferred. I can think of many large families with 4+ children who are on a single income, making less than $50k a year and still manage to save $10k+ after taxes to send their childen to the local private school. These people are not up to their eyeballs in debt either. If they can do it on a modest income, then why do you need to abandon your children to daycare in order go out and make the really big money? Why can't you learn to do without the enormous house, SUV and brand name everything? Why is "stuff" more important than your family?
The Liberal plan to improve daycare does nothing for the people who are making a monetary sacrifice for the good of their family. It does nothing for those people who want to make the sacrifice, but due to social pressures do not. I can think of at least one example of someone (my cousin) who would love to permanently stay at home with her two children, but can't due to the pressure to live up to a certain social standard. It takes a lot of effort to balk the system, especially when there is no one encouraging you to do so.
If our future government does not invest in families, what will happen when we have to rely entirely on immigraiton in order for our population to grow? What will happen to the economy? Providing money to families, especially large ones, can only be a good thing for our country. It's an investment, not a waste.


Power to the Stay At Home Moms

Behold this CTV interview with a stay at home mom.
Notice what she says.
With her first child, she tried daycare. Her child, like so many, did not do well. Eventhough she made more money than her husband, they decided it would be better for the family if she stayed home to look after their child. She now has two more children.
I have no idea who the woman in the interview is. Lady, I salute you. I wish there were more women like you... like us... who make the unpopular decision to forego a career for the benefit of their family. It is an uphill battle agaist the stereotype of the "stupid" stay at home mom.

This was a Problem?

Where was I?
PoliticsWatch has an article indicating that there is no problem with political blogging during an election. This is the first time I heard there might be.
Blogging Tories is mentioned in the article, as are blogging groups for the Liberal and New Democrat Parties. I guess the Bloc is behind on this one.
Liberals could try to "use Elections Canada in an attempt to level the playing field" in the blogging community, which is dominated by conservatives, even in Canada.
Now that I think about it, such an anti-democratic move would not have surprised me at all. Given the leak about certain Gomery testimony, however, it's not likely it would have been successful. The recent decision by Elections Canada ensures that this will not be happening over the course of this campaign.


Comment Policy

I bit the bullet at last and posted a comment policy. It's too bad I had to do it, but quite frankly, there are too many people posting that don't understand what is acceptable behaviour.
If you wouldn't say it to a friend, your mom or even your enemy to his face, then don't say it here.

Comparing Criminal Stances

Canada.com has an article on the Conservative stance on crime.
We also have this tidbit, pointed out by CanadianPreacher.
If ever there was an election that will show where your priorities are, this is it. You can either choose to get tougher on crime, or you can legalize prostitution and marijuana use.
What a nightmare!
I don't understand how any woman with a grain of sense can possibly approve of such a law. No doubt the honourable Ms. Stronach and Ms. McLellan consider themselves to be great feminists. How the hell can they support a party that not only supports prostitution but is prepared to pass a law that will legalize it? Prostitutes are frequently victims of rape or abuse. They often have severe drug addictions. Women forced into the so called "sex trade" need help to get out. They don't need laws that encourage further victimization!! I do not want my daughter to grow up in such a country.
I am appalled that the Liberal Party would consider such a law. This is further proof that they do not have the moral authority to govern.

And Speaking of Children

CBC has this article on the Conservative Plan for Child Care.
As a stay-at-home mom, I am in favour of it.
The Conservatives' two-part plan includes money to help create child-care spaces as well as the $100 a month "choice in child-care allowance."
With the new allowance families would receive $1,200 a year for each child under the age of six.
"Parents can spend the money however they wish. You can choose the child-care option that best suits your family's needs," Harper said.
The new program would not replace any existing major benefit program, Harper said. It would be in addition to the current Canada Child Tax Benefit, the National Child Benefit Supplement and the child-care expense deduction.

So, I would get my tax credit and an extra $100. That would be incredibly useful.
Some child care advocates, however, say the Tory plan is based on old, outmoded thinking. "We've been trying to fund child care through benefits to families or parent subsidies for 30 years, and it hasn't worked," said Kira Heineck, executive director of the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. "We'd like to see investment directly in programs across the country."
What the heck do you know?
You think day care is the best way to go, which it isn't.
To those of us who wish to keep our kids at home during the crucial first five years of their life, pumping money into your programs is not useful at all.

What a Cute Picture!!!

Oh my gosh!!
If this picture (swiped from the Conservative website) doesn't bring in the mom vote, I don't know what will.

(My baby is cuter though.)


My Riding Info

Niagara West-Glanbrook
Vote for Dean everybody!
I do not have a sign yet. Hopefully, I'll get one soon.

I have one now.
I was in my pyjamas.
No, I'm not lazy. I have an excellent reason for being in my pyjamas at 2pm. I have a Christmas party to go to tonight, and anything I put right now on is only going to get puked on anyway, so why generate more laundry than is necessary?

New Look

Guess how I'm voting this election?


These Are Also Great

Both images were in the PowerPoint presentation I mentioned below. I didn't have room for them, so they got their own post.

Pirate Paul

How Paul Sees Himself

How Much is A Billion Dollars?

I recieved the following as a PowerPoint slideshow in my email the other day. It is so good that I decided to reproduce it as a blog entry. I have not included all the pictures, only my favorites.

How much is a billion dollars?

A billion here, a billion there. Just how much IS a billion dollars?
It's one thousand million - a number that is beyond comprehension.
If you have yet to celebrate your 32nd birthday, you have yet to live one billion seconds.
One billion minutes takes us back to the time of Christ.
If you were to stack money at the base of the CN Tower, you would hit a billion dollars at the observation deck using one thousand dollar bills! Not one thousand, one dollar bills... one thousand dollar bills.
A billion dollars spent at Canadian Tire would purchase 21 million trigger locks, 21 million long-gun carrying cases and 7 million lockable gun cabinets.
With a billion dollars, a reward of 1.8 million could have been offered toward solving each and every murder committed in Canada in 2002.
A billion dollars would cover the cost of running every single courtroom in Canada for a year and still leave enough money to purchase 20 brand new MRI machines for some lucky hospitals.
If you made a 1 year old child sit on the bathroom floor and drop loonies into the toilet at a rate of one every 2 seconds, 24 hours a day, he would be finished at age 65.
The Liberal government has spent two (not one, but two) billon on the gun registy so far.
They have also misplaced a billion in failing to track land claim settlements through Indian Affairs.
And over a billion in the HRDC scandal (remember that?)
Do not forget!
This was your money!
So, who was Finance Minister through all this?
The man who is now our Prime Minister, Paul Martin.
He claims he knows nothing about any of these scandals.
How can that be? He signed the cheques!
Could you vote for this crook or his cronies who seem to place themselves above the law?

Wow! What a List!

I found a link to this list at The High Places. It's a list of Martin's hidden agenda, a list of reasons to be angry, a list of reasons not to vote Liberal. I have reproduced it below.

Maybe it's because Paul Martin was in favour of ballistic missile defence, before he was against it.
Maybe it's because he was for the Iraq War, before he was against it.
Maybe it's because he was against same-sex marriage, before he was for it.
Maybe it's because he was against the Clarity Act, before he was for it.
Maybe it's because he was against free trade, before he was for it.
Maybe it's because he was against deficit reduction, before he was for it.
Maybe it's because he was against the GST, and then kept it in place.
Maybe it's because he rails against co-operation with the Bloc, when his Quebec lieutenant (yes, his top man in Quebec) is a frickin' co-founder of the Bloc himself.
Maybe it's because he demonized Tory tax cuts, before unveiling even bigger tax cuts himself.
Maybe it's because he presents himself as the saviour of public health care, when he gut it by the billions as Finance Minister.
Maybe it's because Sheila Copps said he wanted to scrap the Canada Health Act.
Maybe its because Sheila Copps said he wanted to scrap Old Age Pensions.
Maybe it's because he turns a blind eye to health care privatization in Quebec. Because he attends a private clinic himself.
Maybe it's because he declares an end to cronyism and patronage in Ottawa, and then appoints a disgraced guy like Art Eggleton to the Senate.
Maybe it's because he says he was "Mad as Hell" about Adscam, while he hands out no-bid contracts to buddies like David Herle and the Earnscliffe Strategy Group.
Maybe it's because he's presented three radically different budgets in the space of one year.
Maybe it's because he condemns terrorism with his lips, and then knowingly attends fundraisers for Tamil terrorists.
Maybe its because he deceived the Canadian public about the amount of federal money granted to his own company, Canada Steamship Lines, when he was Finance Minister. Only about $150 million by the way.
Maybe its because he talks about slaying the democratic deficit when he goes on appointing unelected Senators. Because he stops at nothing to shield his star candidates, and then leaves Chretienite nomination candidates like Sheila Copps to the wolves. Because he dictatorially rescheduled opposition days, filibustered his own budget and ignored more than one vote of confidence this spring. Because he sent his chief of staff to buy the floor crossing of the Grewals. Because he did buy the floor crossing of Belinda Stronach. Because he scheduled a confidence vote around the surgery of a Tory MP fighting cancer. Because, in the words of the Globe & Mail, he's had the gall to "spit in the face of the Commons and call it respect.”
Maybe it's because he's mused about using the notwithstanding clause on same-sex marriage, and then falsely accused the Conservatives of planning to do the very same.
Maybe it's because he's opposed minimum sentences for criminials since day one, and all of a sudden has proposed minimum sentences for gun crime, just weeks before an election.
Maybe it's because he paints himself as a patriotic Canadian, and yet has refused to fly our flag on his ships. All so he could violate Canadian labour law and pay third world wages of course.
Maybe it's because he attacks the Tories on the environment, when his ships dump dangerous waste into the Great Lakes.
Maybe it's because of these infamous words, that go to the to the heart of the trustworthyness of Paul Edgar Philippe Martin: "Screw the Red Book... Don't tell me what's in the Red Book. I wrote the goddamned thing. And I know that it's a lot of crap."
I could go on, but alas, I don't have all year. Suffice it to say that Martin's core beliefs, his principles, his priorities, his agenda, has been as consistent as the solid state of an ice cube in a scorching desert, and about as clear as mud.
In fact, he really has no core beliefs, no priorities. His is a government of endless improvisation, of expedience, of an endless obsession to stay in power.
His agenda is so hidden even he doesn't know what it is. He has to keep looking to the prevailing political winds to find out.


Boy Are They Begging to be Made Fun Of

So, I saw a link to this at SDA.
It's the Liberal Party of Canada Blog.
Not only is it retarded and doomed to spectacular failure, crap like this shows you just how out of touch the Liberals are with the common man.
Wow, look at me! I'm in "cyberspace,"
Now, what's truly hilarious about this beginning is that my husband and I say this whenever we come across a really bad website. You know the kind. They have lots of spinning things, or flaming torches, or bad midi music playing in the background.
The guy even defines a Blackberry. Just in case you've been living under a rock and didn't know, a Blackberry:
[is] a wireless handheld device (true)
enables political staffers to stay in touch, (because normal people don't use them... by the way, did my taxes pay for those?)
instantly communicate with the media (so that you can get that spin out before your opponents do)
and develop freakish, superstrong thumbs with which they can (do unmentionable things).
My favorite though, is the copyright at the bottom. This website is the property of the Liberal Party of Canada and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without express written permission.
I take it I am violating said copyright, then?

My Election Thoughts

I was going to write something deep and meaningful last night after the vote, but I forgot. Now, all I can think is "Finally! An election! Better call Dean Allison and get my sign for the lawn."


A New Look... Hmm

Canada.com has a new look. It's chic and modern, but when I looked at it this morning, I honestly thought I had the wrong place. The change is quite drastic and one cannot tell that this is where you go to find the National Post or Global News.
The designers really need a lesson in branding.

The Big Day

The government falls today. The vote will be at 6:30 EST this evening. I've turned CPAC on, and it will probably be on all day.


Another Comment

The original comment by Beryl Wajsman was posted here. I have reposted it below.

1411 rue Peel, édifice Marine, bureau 502, Montréal, Qc, H3A 1S5

22 April 2005

Institute Bulletin No. 291


"You have dishonoured this place by your contempt. You are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government. A pack of mercenary wretches. Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth? You have grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. Upon the peril of your souls depart from this place. You have sat here too long to be of any use. Go I say! In the name of God, go!"

~ Oliver Cromwell

This week we witnessed a singular act of courage in the Canadian political landscape. Perhaps born out of necessity, but no less brave for it, the former Director-General of the Liberal Party of Canada’s Quebec wing Benoit Corbeil, at great personal risk – admitting to mistakes committed - gave us an inside look at the attempted usurption of our country. If we have the courage to understand; the conscience to act; and the compassion to realize that even worthy efforts are not without shortcomings; we may still be able to take our country back.

The grave import of his revelations not only help to clarify many of the unanswered questions that leap out at us from the confusing and contradictory testimony we have witnessed at the Gomery Commission, but also bring into stark relief the suspicions held for many years on the political street regarding the internecine relations between Chrétien, Martin and “les hommes dans les ombres” and their influence over the compromise of Canadian consequence and the subversion of the sovereignty of the people’s suffrage.

Corbeil alleged that a relatively small group of highly influential political, corporate and legal mandarins had as their foundational, over-reaching purpose the "...acquisition of power over this country; the consolidation of that power; and most importantly the exploitation of that power..." And how that power was obtained and manipulated through control of the institutions of what he termed the "...réseau Libéral..." the Liberal network.

A network that operated at the national level using the various provincial wings as facades to conceal the real work of their machine. A machine whose core was the Federal Liberal Agency for Canada with the complicity of the party executive and the electoral commission. A machine that had its own fund-raising apparatus depositing in Ottawa; whose orders were to be strictly obeyed at the regional and local levels; and whose members included the highest ranking elected and operational representatives of both the Chrétien and Martin camps.

If Corbeil is correct about the aims of this group, that "...met behind the closed doors of the most powerful law firms in the land and decided judgeships, contracts, grants and mandates...", it would explain why Chrétien gave his fierce and bitter rival, Paul Martin, a man he personally detested, the control over the policies of the public purse. Arguably a job almost as important as his own. Were certain respected "eminences grises" involved in this "merger?"

Both men’s public links to certain members of the group Corbeil alludes to have been known for years. However, what has been generally known only to the professional political street are the private intimacies of these two men to that same circle. Names, of course, cannot be mentioned here because paper trails are scarce.

Corbeil’s allegations that all leaders at the top of the Liberal Party were aware of, and acquiesced in, all the strategies and tactics that led to the first Federalist win in Québec in the 2000 election in twelve years would make sense. For not only did Chretienites and Martinites realize they had no future without a country to govern, the mandarins who ran the machine realized that in order to continue to profit from the maintenance and manipulation of power over a country, they needed a country to maintain in order to manipulate.

It would also be fair to speculate that a decision was made to enlist the talents of both Chrétien and Martin to keep this momentum going. Chrétien for his considerable political skills in organizing and propagandizing, and Martin for his financial acumen at fine-tuning the budget priorities and ordering, or re-ordering, the necessary fiscal rules and regulations that would be of benefit to this group. One could be forgiven for concluding that a "cold" peace was imposed. Chrétien and Martin were necessary sides of the same coin.

A peace that produced two parallel and positive results for the men in the shadows. Chrétien accomplished his political task of maintaining political stability and nearly eviscerating the separatist option in Quebec. Martin pushed forth the money agenda so important to those who had invested so much of their treasure in this endeavour.

Retroactive tax changes for the movement of capital. More generous regulations for off-shore corporate havens. Transfers of surpluses from the Canada Pension Plan and the Unemployment Insurance funds coincidently coupled with the greatest growth in corporate welfare in the history of Canada. Export Development Guarantees for questionable deals for sick companies. Subsidizing the China trade to allow cheap labor pools for Canadian vested interests. Added fiscal advantages for wealthy Canadians. In short, generationally and foundationally systemic changes for the benefit of the privileged.

Compared to the gravity of the above, the deals that Chretienites and Martinites alledgedly benefited from through communications companies and contracts to consulting firms like Earnscliffe might be characterized as mere tips to keep the hired helps’ collective beaks wet. As pollster Allan Gregg once wrote in the Globe and Mail, the amount of money supposedly wasted according to Sheila Fraser would be equivalent to $15 lost in a $100,000 stock account. He calculated it at .015% of the Federal budget from 1995-2000.

So why all the fuss and bother and the $85 million spent so far on Gomery? What is becoming clear from many sources, Corbeil being just one, is that much of this was a tragedy of hubris.

It has been a source of speculation for some years that after the near disaster of the 1995 Referendum, leading businessmen began to take play a more intimate and active role in the operational and strategic decision-making of the Liberal Party. Particularly to assure that money would always be available in case of another sovereigntist challenge. It is well known that Mr. Chrétien had been quite shaken not just by the narrow outcome of that 1995 vote, but by the sorry financial state of the "NO" Committee some six weeks before the vote at the time of the famous 150,000 person rally in Montreal.

The men who rescued the situation came from the financial world. They had a comfort level with Martin that many have said did not exist with Chrétien. For them Martin seemed to be the steadier steward and, equally important, they understand each other’s cultural shorthand. As a result of all this, Martin’s position in the "concordat" with Chrétien was substantially strengthened.

The cold peace imposed on Chrétien and Martin seemed to reign until Martin starting pushing the envelope in 1999 to get Chrétien to quit, believing that the latter had reneged on a supposed promise to leave after two terms. The same conflict we are now seeing in Britain between Prime Minister Blair and Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown.

The Martinites sniping gained momentum amid the leaks aimed at Gagliano. They took advantage of the situation tin order to undermine Chrétien’s credibility. They piggy-backed on the attacks against the most caricaturistic member of Chrétien’s team. They had no real objections to Gagliano. In fact, most had heard that if Chrétien would leave, Gagliano would support Martin. They were friendly. But Gagliano was the soft underbelly of the Chrétien defenses. He was an easy target. And more importantly he was choice fodder for the press.

As matters escalated and spun out of control, Chrétien made the mistake of letting the new Public Works Minister Dan Boudria send the whole mess to the Auditor-General even though she had already twice investigated sponsorship and found the problems corrected. The press latched on to the small stuff of the story: the ad companies, the jobs for friends, because it was easy. They missed the big picture behind the scenes. Because for all the enmity behind the two camps, both Chrétien and Martin still realized they had residual common interests. And those interests demanded that the central vehicle of control, the Liberal Party, remain in tact and in power.

That was why Chrétien offered Martin to stay in office an extra few months and handle the fallout from Fraser’s report. It would be better for the party. But Martin wanted the office so badly he said no. But then he made his "Boudria" mistake. He listened to his junior political staffers and appointed the Gomery Commission thinking he’d score political points. What he forgot was how intertwined both camps were.

He never imagined that the Gomery blowback would expose the institutional intimacies between the two camps, as we saw from the fourth day of Jean Brault’s testimony, where Brault implicated half-a-dozen Martin intimates as alledgedly being in contact with, or benefiting from, the same big, bad agencies. And now we have the same House Accounts committee that Martin closed down in its investigation of the ad agencies, starting its own investigation of Martin’s relationship with Earnscliffe and the activities of his top aides.

The powers in council rooms apart threw up their hands at trying to herd these fighting cats together early in 2004. But as further proof of the institutional memory of Martin, he realized he had to do something to keep the core of the party in tact. He realized that just as Chrétien had offered to stay through Fraser, it was now time for Martin to be a good soldier. That is why at the end of the Ottawa phase of Gomery, Martin actually applauded Chrétien’s testimony to the Liberal caucus as "...a tremendous job for Canada..." punched the air with his fist and led the caucus in a standing ovation for the former Prime Minister.

And here is the heart of the Pandora’s Box that Benoit Corbeil has so boldly opened. It’s not about the money. As Allan Gregg wrote, the money is not the issue. Hewlett-Packard ripped off the Department of National Defense for more money than the ad agencies and in a shorter time. The gun registry was $1 billion over budget with no inquiries. Martin’s “mis-statement” on CSL receiving $167 million, not $167,000, in contracts on his watch was dismissed as an accounting oversight. When the Landry government suffered through the Oxygene Neuf scandal the Premier fired those responsible, after using the appropriate police and judicial procedures to ascertain guilt without ruin to reputations, and refused to call an inquiry because he rightly said "...public inquiries quickly become public inquisitions..."

Money is part of every aspect of life in liberal economic democracies, including politics, and shall always remain so. As I’ve said in speaking to social action groups, if you have the money to spend $100 on hockey tickets, get 1000 people together and get $25 from each and give it to the candidates of your choice. You’ll have clout. There is nothing wrong with using the tools of the powerful for the benefit of the vulnerable. We need not sink into the mire of false pieties.

The over-riding concern that Corbeil alludes to is of a different dimension entirely. An almost pre-meditated institutionalized plan to permanently subvert our state imperatives and priorities to the dictates of one willful group. And the arrogance of that mindset permeating our elected representatives as well. Ministers dictating directives to agencies of law enforcement; investigations set up apart from normal judicial procedures; curtailing of due process; engagements between elected representatives and corporations. In short, a Liberal Party that has nothing liberal about it. It is about as “liberal” as the Institutional Revolutionary Party that ruled Mexico for 70 years as the tool of the vested interests was "revolutionary." Words, images and circuses for the diversion of the masses.

Canada has been taken through the looking-glass. Black is White. White is Black. The risk, the great and agonizing danger we face today, is that relief from the prejudices already suffered; renewal of constitutional rights already abridged; restoration of rule of law already corrupted; and revival of the sovereignty of our suffrage already compromised, may come too late. The governance of our commonweal is becoming a mystery to the uninitiated and a snare to the unwary. The system of justice it is grounded in, a two edged sword of craft and oppression.

To call the bodyguards of lies that have led this nation to such levels of low limitation and narrow circumstance treasonous, may not be too harsh a judgment.

It is perhaps time to remember the words Oliver Cromwell spoke to Charles I and say to these men in the shadows and those they control,

"You have dishonoured this place by your contempt. You are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government. A pack of mercenary wretches. Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth? You have grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. Upon the peril of your souls depart from this place. You have sat here too long to be of any use. Go I say! In the name of God, go!"

Beryl P. Wajsman
Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal


An Amazing Comment

Everyone needs to read this copy of a letter that was left on my blog today. It is in response to a comment left by Beryl Wajsman. For those who don't feel like clicking, I will post the message in its entirety below.

Dear Beryl,
A copy of my correspondence to the PMO, some time ago June 1st, 2005. For your reflection:
Dear Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D. Governor General of Canada

A copy of my correspondence to the Prime Minister and Leaders of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition forwarded for your perusal.

I believe we are at the end of the democratic coil.

Yours truly,

Hans Rupprecht BGS, PDP, CFP


From: Hans Rupprecht CFP [mailto:hancor@msn.com]
Sent: June 1, 2005 9:55 AM
To: 'martin.p@parl.gc.ca'

Subject: State of Government


From: Hans Rupprecht CFP [mailto:hancor@msn.com]
Sent: June 1, 2005 9:45 AM
To: 'duceppe.g@parl.gc.ca'
Subject: State of Government

Dear Prime Minister Paul Martin,

Stephen Harper, Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition
Gilles Duceppe, Leader of the Bloc Quebecois
Jack Layton, Leader of New Democratic Party

It would appear that the learned Prime Minister Paul Martin is really a Tory in disguise. PM Paul Martin’s conversion to the Tory cause, is reminiscent of his namesake on the road to Damascus. Suddenly, we have Paul Martin the "Peeler" attempting to govern without significant confidence in the House of Parliament. The Prime Minister is doing a fine imitation of his 19th century counterpart PM Robert Peeler; albeit without a significant moral compass for his party.

We will have to do a little better than the equivocating compass of moral relativism, which suggests certain objects only have value when one chooses to place value on them. The offering of patronage from the PMO through use of "plausible deniability" and so called "same sex" marriage debate comes to mind. Now we have the bald faced deal brokering by the Gurmant Grewal tapes, subject to "public deniability" for all to see. I extend my salutations to the government for sinking to a new criminal low; in its efforts to hijack democracy. Moreover, seeing that marriage is a provincial power per S. 92(12) of the Constitution Act 1867 all promises against religious discrimination will be rendered a nullity. Perhaps the Prime Minister would like to consult with Pope Benedict XVI on the nullification of marriage, for he has clearly mislead on the issue of constitutional responsibilities. Are we the public to assume that there is no moral objectivity outside of oneself, save the lowest common denominator as expressed by the government?

To wit, one only need note the performance of Belinda Stronach newly minted Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. Belinda has single-handedly reinvigorated the 19th century "Bed-Chamber Crisis" by creating one of her own. Given that Ms. Stronach has yet to finish her degree; it would seem that she has some skills development to work on herself. As a starting point, if I may be so bold to suggest, be a little less strident in the placement of those stiletto Gucci heels, as they clearly have the capacity to cause significant pain. Please choose a better epitaph than the "Ministry of Silly Walks." An alternate interpretation, is to suggest we have government by the corporation, for the corporation; the hidden hand of federal politics.

Next we have the proposed legalization of marajuana. Of course I am delighted to contemplate that the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces may be “higher than a kite” as he decides whether we go to war or not. Given that our previous Prime Minister Jean Chretien has suggested he would be the first to light up after legalization gives me pause to wonder about the quality of advice given in the PMO. To contemplate a stoned Prime Minister involved in Ballistic Missile Defence... "Oh lets press the launch button!" Well thank God Almighty we have avoided this certain disaster given my previous writings on the BMD subject. We hardly need discover new and inventive ways in which to incinerate ourselves.

Further paralleling PM Robert Peel, the Irish Potatoe famine has as its corollary the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. Repeal of the Corn Laws is hardly the prescription of the past. Surely to God we are not, as part of the international community, going to let the planting season pass only to leave an estimated 2 million displaced to simply starve. This will only serve to add insult to the 180,000 lives already lost to blatant bloody mindedness. Our commitment as a nation, to the security of persons and human life, at home and abroad, has to be more significant than to suggest to Almighty God: "Return to Sender." While welcome, it will take more than underwriting funding for the African Union mission; some significant on the ground troop strength through the United Nations or other force combination has to make its way there in very short order. Using the existing African Union force to integrate new peacekeepers might be the place to start. 2700 soldiers spread out over a nation the size of France is not going to do the trick. The alternative is to add Sudan to the humanitarian disasters of Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, etc. If the western world nations don’t make a concerted effort in this regard, we are no better than the so called despot regimes we so often decry, for we have become in Burke’s words mere bystanders. Or to use the Irish phrase, we don’t "give a tinker’s damn." Given that Prime Minister Paul Martin has visited Darfur himself; he is no doubt aware of the grave consequences of not acting. It is quite one thing to condemn verbally a despotic regime; it is quite another to ignore the egregious errors this same regime manifestly commits. It means precious little to appeal to God for guidance in one’s throne speeches, when we studiously ignore our God given intelligence to provide solutions. One needs no Divine miracle, when the correct solution is to give governments a good collective kick in the backside to do it’s duty. Through systematic under funding of the military, a fact the Prime Minister himself has admitted to, we have created the inability to respond over the past decade. We as a nation should be loading planes of peacekeepers now; before it is too late. We quite simply need to place "boots on the ground," before the planting season window of opportunity irrevocably closes.

No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours, are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united cabals of ambitious citizens. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

The Constitution Act 1867 suggests that per s.91 that the House of Parliament has the power to make laws in respect of "Peace, Order and Good Government." One might reasonably make the case we have been delivered unto "War, Chaos and Bad Government."

Most recently we have had non-confidence motions passed which suggested that due to the lack of progress with Liberal Party and governmental corruption that "..the government should resign." This was subsequently reaffirmed in 3 motions to adjourn the House. What part of the statement "get ye gone" does the government have such great difficulty in understanding?

Evidently, we are rewriting Westminster Parliamentary tradition; now to be replaced by the dictum "Government will enjoy the Queen’s pleasure to govern; so long as it is politically convenient to delay, through whatever means necessary legal or not, until suitable defections are secured, from members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition." Ostensibly, this new precedent will be extended into the future by months and years. I congratulate the government on overthrowing Parliamentary convention, not to mention laws against bribery, and replacing it with, in the words of historian Michael Bliss, "proto-tyranny." The current Liberal Party, as practiced, has crossed the democratic version of the river Styx. Welcome to Hades, ladies and gentlemen, the temperature should be rising shortly.

Indeed, now we have president Chirac suggesting he will resist the democratic will of the people, in the event they vote "No," in a referendum on the European Constitution. How far will this poison to democracy spread? So this is democracy, only accepted when it accords with the will of the elite?

Moreover, we have the following announcement made on May 25th, 2005: The federal Liberals would consider ignoring a House of Commons defeat should they lose any of the several coming votes that are matters of confidence between now and the end of the spring session, Chief Government Whip Karen Redman says!!! We won’t be taking any lessons from the Parliamentary pedants who inhabit the government benches.

The aforementioned statement in effect suggests that we will inaugurate a period of "taxation without representation." I congratulate the Chief Government Whip for renewing and modernizing the 1837 Rebellion. Perhaps we should be loading our muskets with ball and shot right about now; given the government has departed the democratic mortal coil.

I gather we now have the rationale for the ill reputed gun registry.

Ms. Redman’s statement has to number among the most inflammatory and incendiary since the demagogues mounted the Bema on the Pynx, Acropolis.

But an attempt to turn the right of election into such a farce and mockery as a fictitious fine and recovery, will, I hope, have another fate; because the laws which give it are infinitely dear to us, and the evasion is infinitely contemptible.

...I see no other way for the preservation of a decent attention to public interest in the Representatives, but THE INTERPOSITION OF THE BODY OF THE PEOPLE ITSELF, whenever it shall appear, by some flagrant and notorious act, by some capital innovation, that these Representatives are going to over-leap the fences of the law, and to introduce an arbitrary power. This interposition is a most unpleasant remedy. But, if it be a legal remedy, it is intended on some occasion to be used; to be used then only, when it is evident that nothing else can hold the Constitution to its true principles. Edmund Burke, THOUGHTS ON THE PRESENT DISCONTENTS

This government has passed on! This government is no more! This government has ceased to be! This government is expired and gone to meet its maker! This government is a stiff. This government is bereft of life, this government rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed the government to the perch it would be pushing up the daisies! The government’s metabolic processes are now history! The government is off the twig! The government has kicked the bucket, the government has shuffled off it’s mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisibile!! This government has had its lot, it is no longer, it is expired, it has departed. THIS IS AN EX-GOVERNMENT!! (With apologies to Monty Python’s parrot sketch.)

Auguring the potential establishment of a dictatorship, per the residual power of the crown per S. 91(29) Constitution Act 1867 to suspend all Charter Rights per S.33 of the Constitution Act 1982 is hardly in keeping with the Westminster Parliamentary tradition. As the Queen and public might be want to say: "WE are not amused."

To paraphrase one Globe and Mail editorial: The government would spit in the face of the Queen, Parliament and the people and call it respect.

Edmund Burke might make this observation: "Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, can never willingly abandon it."

Some Internet bloggers, have even gone so far as to suggest: "Where is Guy Fawkes when you really need him?"

Perhaps a more apt description of our government is "Rump Parliament" harking back to Oliver Cromwell. The only difference being that now one must adhere to a corrupted secular rather than religious orthodoxy.

My family has over the course of five generations variously survived the machinations of Bismarck, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and Erich Honnecker. We will be taking no more lessons in despotism and blind stupidity, as we have completed our historical tour of duty. We have greater self respect than mere cannon fodder of ages past and have the medals to prove it.

Well if the unlearned government has passed into the self-styled role of the Philistines of Parliament; we will simply have to declare ourselves "freemen and freewomen" of Canada. So government now proposes taxation without representation; or rather simply theft of democracy itself. By the Chief Government Whip’s own statement to defy future confidence votes, we have become a stolen nation. But seeing as the government has been doing this on the sponsorship file it comes as no surprise. Quite frankly, you can take this proposition straight to Hell.

So let me recap my family’s experience of government under the Liberal Party rule:

1. They failed to provide funding for adequate health services for my mother, and required notice of supervised neglect before accepting her as a patient. (Year 2000)

2. The government through the offices of Canada Revenue Agency, has suggested by logical inference, that I kill my son to secure the Disability Tax Credit. (Year 2003) To date I still await an apology for CRA’s venture into criminality. Further CRA has again failed to approve the DTC for my son Nicolaas notwithstanding the recommendations 2.5 of the Technical Advisory Committee on Tax Measures for Persons with Disabilities and a $9-22.5 Billion spending spree to secure a "cats claws in the wooden panelling" margin in the House. (2005)

3. The government has allowed systematic corruption of the electoral process in my home province Quebec; bringing the spectre of the break up of the country, due to its fundamental inability to believe in a balanced federalism. (1994 – 2002) It has further tainted its authority by circumventing a free and fair electoral process.

4. The government has demonstrated that it was willing to entertain assisted suicide through offices of the Attorney General demonstrating it’s general low regard for the security of the person and or human life.

(Fall 2004)

5. The government has failed to pursue a substantive "boots on the ground" effort to avert a 2 million person human disaster in Darfur, Sudan. We have about two weeks to cobble something together, before it all just slips away. Planting season is not coming back. Despite my pleading back on December 10, 2004 and the urging of numerous others, such as David Kilgour MP to name but one, we have failed to adequately redress the appalling conditions present. Indeed, UN Secretrary General Kofi Annan has described conditions as “heart wrenching”. While funding is welcome, the time to act is now.

6. The government now proposes further undemocratic behaviour, with respect to further confidence votes under cutting the notion of democracy itself; advancing in effect the proposition of taxation without representation. So much for the promise of correcting the democratic deficit; it would appear to have rather significantly increased to the point of disenfranchisement.

7. The government through the office of the PMO has perniciously pursued patronage appointments in consideration of abstentions on the May 19th, 2005 confidence vote.

When the government comes to its senses please let me know. I await your considered reply.

One regrettably has to come to the conclusion, that we have been led by rogues and fools.

"You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!" Oliver Cromwell

Yours sincerely,
Hans Rupprecht BGS, PDP, CFP

Organized Crime: More Likely than Not

Thursday, Opposiiton Leader Stephen Harper made a comment on Liberal behaviour and organized crime. This has caused no small amount of debate.
However, I have been doing some reading. First, I looked at this article in the Toronto Sun and this comment left by Beryl Wajsman. I also recall hearing about mafia involvment that related somehow to Morselli and Gagliano, but as I can neither recall the link nor have a source, I will leave that alone for now.
I am not one to say whether or not Harper intended his comments the way they were interpreted. It is interesting, as PoliticsWatch points out, that none of the 11 Liberal MPs who participated in the debate that lasted all day in the House challenged the comments. Of course, this could always be due to general stupidity, but in light of the article on the possible hit on Martin, I am not so certain.
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