Harper's Not Scary

Of all the "Harper's Not Scary" items posted at I AM (also) CANADIAN, by far this one is the best.

The Problem With Our Justice System Is...

The problem with our justice system is that as a nation, we have collectively lost our notion of what justice is.
Take this incident for example. A dad kills his epileptic 11 year old son because, in a fit of depression, he believes that his son will never live a normal life. He admits to killing his son and yet is found not guilty of murder.
Said Ontario Superior Court Justice Helen Rady, "He was clearly a devoted and caring parent who looked for opportunities for his son to excel."
He wasn't.
He was a perverted weirdo who killed his child because he thought he wasn't "normal." To be frank, I really couldn't care less about this man's depression. What he did was still wrong and it is a travesty of justice to declare him innocent. What message does it send to epileptics, and more specifically epileptic children, in our country? That their lives are not worth defending? That an insane parent who kills them is right to do so?
This is a truly horrible verdict.
I can't help but wonder what the mother of this poor boy must be feeling. Her sentiments are noticeably absent from the article.

Carol Jamieson: Blogger

Professional disturber Conservative MP Carol Jamieson has started a blog as a part of her effort to oust Stephen Harper.
Tuesday must have been a slow day for her. Four posts in one day and nothing before or after that.
She also has an exceedingly ugly website, with space provided by Sympatico.

Our Armed Forces

Read the article...
Our Armed forces receive a paltry $14.3 billion this year as their operating budget. We have a grand total of 62,000 uniformed men and women.
How in the world could we possibly defend ourselves if we were ever attacked? I admit, such a thing seems unlikely. Still 62,000 people couldn't even defend Toronto, much less our entire nation!


Dingwall's Defenders

PoliticsWatch has this article on Dingwall's resignation.
Apparently, the Treasury Board President thought Dingwall should have remained at his post. After all, he did an "excellent job." Those who pointed out the error of his ways were merely trying to "assassinate" his character.
(Mr. Alcock, need I remind you that one cannot assassinate something that does not exist?)
Our good Prime Minister is not much better.
In the House of Commons, the prime minister praised Dingwall's handling of the Mint when asked about the resignation. "May I just simply say that under his tutelage at the Mint, the Mint has now been returned to profit," the PM said.
Praised his handling?
So, in other words, as long as the Mint is profitable, that's all that matters?
The NDP and the Conservatives are in agreement over this issue, and that's a dangerous thing for the minority government.
"Why isn't the prime minister saying that this behavour ... is not acceptable?" Layton asked."Why can't the prime minister simply stand up and also say he's changing the rules so that this kind of thing can't happen again? It's not like it's the first time."
[Conservative MP] Pallister said he was "very surprised" by the PM's reaction and said he was taking a major risk by "becoming a defender and an apologist for this kind of abuse of spending practices.
"This happened under his watch. These kinds of abuses didn't happen during the Chretien era. They happened right under Paul Martin's nose. And I'm extremely disappointed that he wouldn't have taken responsibility for that today and that he wouldn't apologize for frankly the lack of proper governance and oversight practices."

The Liberals really need to be taken out of office. It is simply too dangerous for the average Canadian to have them remain. If they do, we shall turn around one day and discover that we are poor and uner the grip of a corrupt and criminal dictatorship.

And He's Not Even the Worst Offender

According to the news last night, Dingwall expensed a pack of gum...

Anyway, behold this article at the CBC.
Essentially, the article reads something like this:
Dingwall resigned because he spent a lot of money.
Election talk is in the air and blah blah blah.
The Opposition Parties are keen to remind the government of previous spending scandals and blah blah blah.
André Ouellet, former president of Canada Post who resigned in 2004 after an audit revealed that he had spent $2 million in travel and hospitality expenses...
$2million dollars in expenses in one year??
As my husband said, getting a government job (especially a high ranking one) is like winning the lottery. This is why my taxes keep going up. My money is paying for one guys airfare, another guy's dinner, and Dingwall's Dentyne.


Yet More Dingwall

If you have not read this bit by Stephen Taylor on the doings of David Dingwall, get thee hence and be appalled.
Dingwall's spendings have gone from $74,000 as reported by the Globe & Mail this morning to $740,000 as reported by the National Post to:
$92,682 for foreign travel including a one-day bill for over $13,000
$40,355 for domestic travel
$3,314 for foreign dining
$11,173 for domestic dining, including $5,953 for a single meal at a posh Ottawa restaurant
$5,297 for golf membership fees
$2,500 for domestic limousine service (despite having a government car at his disposal)
In fact Dingwall's 2004 expenses totalled $846,464 which is above and beyond his annual salary of $241,000.

This man spent more money in one year than I have in my entire life to date. His income in one year is more than the cost of my house.
And I have to pay more taxes this year.

Age of Consent

The motion to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16 years of age was defeated today in the House. The vote was 99 for and 167 against.
It's unfortunate, but I am not surprised the bill failed to pass. Our government cannot be expected to make moral decisions.

How Politicians Apologize

Read 'em and weep.
No, really.

Earlier today I sent a letter to thePrime Minister and to the Chairperson of the Board tendering my resignation as President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint.
During the summer months, I had a rare opportunity to take some time to
reflect on my career with my wife, my family, and some close friends. I told
them that I would more than likely be leaving my position as CEO some time
over the next number of months in order to pursue a number of projects. I am
fortunate that I have the health and quite a number of years left in me to
devote to a new chapter in my career.
Central to my decision was the achievement of the goals that I set out in
consultation with the Board of Directors and the Government of Canada. I have spent the past two-and-a-half years devoting many long hours to the challenges and responsibilities of turning around the Royal Canadian Mint, with a strong, dedicated team of executives and hard-working employees. Together we have accomplished many things:
- Early in my tenure, we were able to stablize the organization's financial situation;
- In 2004, we returned the Mint to profitability with a pre-tax profit of $15.9 million and paid a dividend to the Government of Canada of $1 million;
- We have significantly grown the business; in 2004, Mint revenues increased by $70 million. Moreover, year-to-date August 2005, revenues increased $35 million over the same period 2004;
- In 2004, we returned $64 million dollars in seigniorage to the shareholder, the Government of Canada;
- Through the adoption of lean enterprise, we have increased productivity and focused on our customers;
- And we have maintained an open dialogue and positive relationships with our two unions.
Recently, there have been some media stories regarding the work I undertook on behalf of two technology companies seeking investment from Technology Partnership Canada.
I will simply say that I worked very hard on each and every one of the contracts and did, to the best of my knowledge and ability, comply with all aspects of the Act governing the government relations business. If there was a registration problem or other technical compliance issue on one of the contracts, then that is entirely my responsibility.
With regard to the issue of my expenses, all of the expenses were related to my responsibilities and each of them were disclosed to the Board and will stand up to scrutiny as completely appropriate to my role as President of the Mint. I have asked the Board to strike an independent committee to review all of the expenses and I will abide by any findings the committee may have with regard to their appropriateness.
However, given the profile that these stories have, I certainly do not want to detract in any way from the important work of the Mint. So, rather than wait the few months to make the move to the next stage of my life, I am taking this opportunity to leave. I do so with pride in the work we have achieved together.
I will always cherish the friendships and the honour of serving the Government as the President of the Mint and I look forward to a new chapter in my life.

There is no point in asking this guy if he is sorry for wasting my money, or breaking the law. The answer is obviously no, he's not. If this speech is to be taken at face value, it's unlikely that the fact he has done wrong has even crossed Dingwall's mind.

Update: More on Dingwall

The article I linked to at the Globe & Mail indicated that Dingwall spent $74,000 last year of my tax money. (See An Honest Mistake)
This article at Canada,com inicates that he spent 10x that much, $740,000.
I have to agree with Harper. "I don't think it's going to end with a few firings. I think it's only going to end when we fire the government."

How We Know Polls Lie

I am sure most people have seen this article already.
Ottawa-based EKOS Research received more than $61 million since the Liberals took power. They were awarded more than 1,600 contracts for public opinion research.
Are these the same polls that tell us Canadians don't want an election?
I bet they are.
Better yet, these are probably the same polls that always show the Liberals in the lead.

In the words of my husband, we need good Dutch people in government. If you know a lot of Dutch people and then look at the money being spent on polls and flying around the world, you'll know why this is funny .

An "Honest Mistake"

Read this article in the Globe & Mail...
Former Liberal Cabinet Minister David Dingwall will be resigning as head of the Canadian Mint. He failed to register as a lobbyist for Bioniche Life Sciences Inc in 2000. With Dingwall's help, the company secured over $15 million in contracts.
They have to pay back $400,000.
In 2004 alone Mr. Dingwall billed $91,437 for trips around the world and he and his top aides billed for total expenses of more than $74,000 last year.
Apparently Dingwall's resignation fixes all of this. It was only a "clerical error," "and honest mistake" after all
Is it just me, or is there a lot of this sort of thievery going around lately?

How Roads Are Paid For

The next time you happen to see one of those "Adopt A Road Program" signs, just remember this: according to the PM, what we pay in gas tax is paying for those roads.
Yes, folks lowering gas taxes would be counterproductive.
50 per cent of those gas taxes are ultimately going to be going to municipalities across the country to pay for things like urban transit, to pay for sustainable development, to pay for good roads," the PM said.I hate to be a pill, but what about the other 50%? Where is that going? Instead, we have this diversionary tactic:
If what the honourable member is suggesting is that in fact that money going to the municipalities should be cut, I think it would be very, very counterproductive. If fact I think that those municipalities require that money, especially at this time."
I somehow doubt that is what the Opposition suggested.
The Liberal government doesn't seem to grasp the fact that just because lowering gas tax will only result in a drop of 2 or 3 cents, this doesn't mean they shouldn't do it. It's not their money; it's mine. In any case, their claim of only a few cents is not valid. The federal government collects 10 cents a litre in excise tax as well as GST. I am not sure how they are coming up with this 2 or 3 cents a litre. 10 - 13 cents a litre is a big deal when gas prices are over $1.

Our New Governor General

Monday saw the exodus of Adrienne Clarskon.
Tuesday saw the installation of Michaelle Jean.
Read all about Tuesday here.

I can't help but feel a bit cynical as I read some of these articles.
"Jean wore this nice black outfit. Very sophisticated. She cried over a song about the world. Her coat of arms features mermaids and symbols of liberation from slavery. We know she was never actually a slave and there has never been slavery in Canada, but it's just such a cool coat of arms. It's so feminine! Besides, mermaids represent the role of women in advancing social justice..."
(And yes, the Governor General's site does say that.)
Does anyone other than me think that perhaps the Governor General's role needs to be more about being the Queen's representative in Canada? This woman is now the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces! Scary thought, if you ask me.


Can We Expect Great Things?

As far as the first few weeks of Parliament goes, I am not expecting much more than general bickering and election posturing. It would appear that I am not alone in my opinion
The Hill Times has this to say, among other things.
...The House legislative agenda will be dominated by the next election call... But Public Policy Forum vice-president Graham Fox said the upcoming session won't have anything to do with legislative issues. "Gomery, Paul Martin's policy ideals, see how much of those make it into policy rather than as the Liberals' election platform," Mr. Fox told The Hill Times last week. "With a threat of election at any time, people are keeping the legislative stuff for their platform..." Other Parliamentary insiders agree. "There won't be any strong legislation coming forward this fall," said a source who did not want to be identified. "The government treats Parliament like a place where they survive, and then do things on the outside with other parties and provincial governments and they get their publicity that way. When they come back, they will be looking to just survive."
Vancouver News seems to initially point the finger at the Conservatives for the impending election with this opening comment:
MPs are converging on Parliament Hill for a session Conservatives are threatening to cut short by forcing a federal election.
However they also mention the fact that NDP House leader Libby Davies signalled that the Gomery report on AdScam expected in November could end the NDP's alliance with the Liberals.
As noted in the articles I point out earlier today, the PM is not interested in a fall election according to CTV. "If the opposition wants to force an early election, well then they have the capacity to do so. I don't believe that's what Canadians want and I hope the opposition will put progress ahead of politics," says the Prime Minister. However, with his government currently being propped up by the NDP who are unlikely to support the proposed corporate tax cuts, he should be directing his concerns to them and not the Conservatives.
Amidst all the haggling and political jockeying, a Conservative motion to force five Liberal ministers to appear before a Commons committee by Oct. 6 to explain their departments' responses to the rising cost of fuel has already been put forward. I don't expect this to immediately result in lower prices at the pump, but it will be interesting to watch nonetheless. The much debated legislation regarding marijuana legalization is also expected to be debated yet again and possibly passed. The CBC lockout, although Parliament will probably not have much to do with it, will also be a political focal point for the first few weeks of the session.

Back to Work Everybody

Parliament resumes today.
As expected, the PM is not interested in a fall election, although others may be. Despite the PM's request for peace and goodwill, this Parliamentary session is expected to be much like the last few weeks of the previous session.
"I think it's going to just continue along and I think it's going to pick up where it left off," Conservative House Jay Hill said in an interview with PoliticsWatch..."Politics is a highly competitive business at the best of times, but in the pre-election period it becomes much more so. I think it's going to be extremely raucous, you're going to see turmoil. I don't think you're going to see a lot of cooperation."
Mr. Hill, I could not agree more.


More on Gomery's First Report

Read the article...

Federal politicians are back to work on Monday. With Gomery's first report due November 1st, the pressing question is will there be an election sooner or later?
...the first Gomery report will be the big one, with the judge's conclusions on what went wrong and who's to blame. The final volume in February will be a list of recommended reforms - the kind of "administrative trivia" that doesn't move the average voter.
That is certainly true. However, as the article also points out, even if the report is released on schedule, it's not certain the Conservatives could use it to bring down Martin's minority government with a non-confidence motion in the House, and that is unfortunate. Worse yet, Conservatives do not seem sure they can win the next election. If this article is to be believed, their goal may have diminished to holding Martin to another minority government. They fear they could hand the Liberals a majority if they wait until next spring.
Say it isn't so.
What happened to the fire? The drive to whip the current government out of office? If they still do not possess the moral authority to govern, why assume they will win? To me, this sounds a bit defeatist, and I am disappointed.

What The Article Doesn't Say

Read this bit on a proposed increase in immigration at Canada.com.
immigration... as key to Canada's economic success in an era defined by low birth rates, an aging population and an ever-deepening shortage of skilled workers.
The article goes on to discuss the new immigration policy, its intended effect, and economic circumstances in certain areas. Increased immigration is the cure-all to our problems.
It may be true that increasing immigration may help Canada's economic situation. However, I can't help but feel that more should be done to fix the first problem mentioned: low birth rates. Until someone discovers the Fountain of Youth, there is nothing that can be done about the age of our population: people simply get old. Encouraging people to have larger families, well, in my opinion this is something that the government could do quite easily.
Large families are expensive.
To be fair, even small families are expensive.
If a woman chooses to stay at home to raise her kids, she and her husband know that they are going to have to do without some things. If they are committed to raising a family, then they simple learn to make do. Not everyone is willing to make do, however. They need an edge or an incentive.
It would be a simple thing for the government to divert some of the money it will be investing in the new day care program and give it to families. Incentives like the Canada Child Tax Credit also help of course and so does maternity leave. But these are not enough. I would like to see the government lower taxes for large, single income families.
By only looking at immigration as a solution to the economic problem, the government is looking at a quick fix solution only. They are ignoring the long term problems. The government needs to invest in families as a part of its long term economic strategy. If they do not, then this problem will only come up again.


Gas and Taxes: What the Liberals Won't be Doing

Time to harp on about the price of gas.
According to this bit at PoliticsWatch, the federal government has (of course) no plans to reduce taxes on gas.
Some groups have called on the federal government to stop charging GST on the total price of gas, which includes federal and provincial excise taxes. But Nadeau told the committee that the tax on the tax only amounts to two cents a litre in additional revenue and called the amount "relatively small."
Two cents a litre is relatively small, but hat's not really the point, is it? The government is taxing tax Nadeau, that is the issue. Or did you forget?
Why is there only a focus on the GST we pay on gas? What about the rest of it. Please recall the price breakdown provided here. Why is there no discussion on the 24 cents on the dollars worth of tax being paid by Joe Average Canadian? And by the way that amount is definitely NOT relatively small.
Earlier in the day, a number of oil industry representatives and executives appeared individually before the committee and blamed the rising gas costs on world oil price fluctuations driven mainly by increased demand from the developing economies of India and China. They also said refining capacity in Canada is a factor affecting supply. All said the only difference between Canadian prices and U.S. prices is the higher taxes charged in Canada.
I am not terribly surprised by that last comment.
In any case, with gas prices in some areas topping the $2 per litre mark, the government really does need to take action to lower the price as much as it can. Thankfully, I am not living in an area where prices are as high as $2, but they are still quite high. Should they rise we, like most others, will feel the strain. What's worse, acquaintances of ours who own landscaping businesses will really feel the pinch. At $2 a litre and two 50L tanks per vehicle a week with two vehicles necessary for such a business, it would cost close to $2000 a month in gas alone.

Worth Watching

The One Month Challenge begun by TorontoTory will be worth watching. It will be interesting to see just how many unethical relationships can be found. I suspect there will be quite a few.

Do Canadians Know What They Want?

According to this poll conducted by Angus Reid Consulting, 53% of Canadians would prefer an election 30 days after the Gomery Report. However, this same group of individuals also responded 45% in favour of the Opposition bringing down the government at an earlier date if possible.
So, do you wish to wait or charge full steam ahead?
And what about that continual mantra that "Canadians don't want an election right now?"

Meanwhile, Harper states what we already know: that Gomery's report will not hold anyone accountable. How can it? Under the terms of the Inquiry, Gomery cannot assign criminal culpability. Essentially, this has been nothing more than grand PR exercise.
"A culture of waste, mismanagement and corruption is not going to fix itself." I could not agree more. Criminals do not self-reform.
Harper pointed to the case of ad executive Paul Coffin, the first person to face criminal charges arising from the scandal, as proof of his assertion. "Somebody caught red-handed, stealing a million and a half dollars from the treasury, from the Canadian public, will not spend even a single day in jail. Do we really expect that the Liberals are going to fight aggressively to prosecute and punish crooks and fraud artists behind the sponsorship scandal -- the people in their own ranks?"
I don't, and neither do most Canadians. We are too cynical and have come to accept corruption from our leaders. Sadly, "most Canadians don't want an election right now," or so we are told, and so the status quo will prevail.

I did not realize that the report was going to be put out in two phases. According to the article at Canada.com, the first volume of the report is due November 1st. This portion will "outline [Gomery's] factual conclusions and assess who in government was to blame for the fiasco." The second portion, not to be released until February, will list recommended reforms to government practices. Martin's 30 election promise does not need to be kept until this report is released. It should also be noted that the trial judge for Guite and Brault has suggested that the first report be delayed until after their trials are over. I suspect that such a move could delay the second report, but that is only speculation.


By The Way

If you are a subscriber to the Christian Renewal, I encourage you to take a look at last month's issue (I know, I'm late mentioning this). There are some great articles on Christians and the Internet. Blogs and forums and a Christian's role in them are discussed. It was a great issue, and if you are technically minded (which I am sure most people reading this are) you will find it a interesting.

When the Left is Right

Tonight I was watching Michael Coren, as I do whenever I can. The discussion was on federal politics and the guests were Liberal activist Akaash Maharaj, Peter Van Loan Conservative MP, NDP organiser Chris Watson and Conservative analyst Megan Harris. I have seen some of these guests on the show before.
Let me be frank: I am not a huge fan of Akaash Maharaj. I find him annoying and the arguments he makes in defense of the Liberal party are usually pretty bad. He was quite willing tonight to bend over backwards to defend Volpe's and Pettigrew's spending indiscretions. He accused the NDP of trying to cling to power through whatever means possible, and it was truly the most laughable (albeit somewhat true) statement I have ever heard.
Hello Pot? This is Kettle...
However, he did say one thing that I thought was right on the money. To paraphrase, Maharaj commented on the fact that the lack of political involvement among the general public is a problem for our country. He mentioned that he was surprised that there was not more voter outrage over the current state of political affairs... please note, this is coming from a staunch Liberal supporter. Canada is a political federation and without political involvement from its citizens its institutions begin to fall apart.

I would be interested in discussing and then finding a practical cure for Canadian voter apathy. As I have mentioned before, blogging seems to be emerging as a possible method of increasing the involvement of the average individual. However, it is only one way and certainly not a cure-all. not everyone owns a computer and of those that do, not all are savvy enough to start a blog and get involved.
How could you make voters, especially young and undecided voters, care?
That's the million dollar question, isn't it?

This is a test...

So, did my feed make it in to the aggregator or what??
< goes to check Blogging Tories >
< sees post >

I have conquered.
Thanx Craig

And now to get this tags business sorted out.

The Summer in Review

CTV.ca has an interesting review of political action during the summer.
Suffice it to say, there has been very little.
The Liberals are still ahead, the Conservatives and the NDP are where they were, and the general population seems to care very little about the fact that the Gomery report will be delated by 6 weeks. Gas prices are up of course, and are expected to rise again. The PM can be expected to dodge that potential bullet too, despite the fact that his government has refused to cut gas taxes (please see What we Pay..., Yet More... and Gas.)
If the recent work of pollsters is to be believed, which is debatable, it would appear that the Liberals have magically increased their support. This is despite the fact that one of the individuals involved in the Sponsorship Scandal, Coffin, walked away with barely a slap for his crimes... 15 counts of fraud to be exact. The other two still need to be sentenced, but I have my doubts that their punishment will result in any more than a blip on the consciousness of the Canadian public.

I was watching Michael Coren last night, and one of the guests made an excellent point. To paraphrase, Canadians don't have to care that our country is lead by the corrupt because quite frankly it doesn't immediately affect us. Canada is still a pretty good place to live, relative to a lot of other countries in the world. Yes, we pay too much in taxes, but really, the majority of the population is not starving. Most people do not have the foresight to see where our government's behaviour could eventually lead us.
It's too bad.
Our affluence could eventually be our downfall.


League of Reformed Bloggers

I happened to find this interesting blogging community today. I have added their blogroll to the left.

I suspect a look update will soon be in order. That column on the right is simply getting too long...

Google and Blogs

Google Blog Search is a new tool from Google that will search for blogs. The tool is still in Beta.
Why make this?
Google is a strong believer in the self-publishing phenomenon represented by blogging, and we hope Blog Search will help our users to explore the blogging universe more effectively, and perhaps inspire many to join the revolution themselves.
I don't know how often I will actually use this, but it seems like a good idea.

What We Pay in Gas Tax

PoliticsWatch has this article on Federal MP's returning to Parliament early to discuss gas prices... which are expected to rise again.
Halfway down the page, I couldn't help but notice this shocking breakdown:
8.5 cents in federal gas tax
1.5 cents in federal deficit elimination tax
14.7 cents in Ontario fuel excise tax

That's 24.7 cents on the dollar per litre of gas. After that has been included in the total of whatever Joe Average Canadian pays for his gas, he THEN pays 7% GST. That's right; the GST is applied to both the price of gas AND the tax you pay.

A question:
How are taxes a good or a service?


Laughing All the Way to the Bank

According to this article printed in this morning's Globe & Mail, Paul Coffin will not be going to jail for his role in the sponsorship scandal even though he has been convicted of fraud.
Instead, "he will have to speak out publicly about business ethics and the story of his downfall," and pay back $1million of the $1.55million he stole.
The comments below the story are good. I particularly like this one:
If I were Martha Stewart, I would consider committing my next fraud in Canada. You not only get to keep most of the money, but you get the opportunity to tour Universities and tell students how you did it.
PoliticsWatch points out that Coffin was in fact found guilty of not one but 15 counts of fraud. How does someone guilty of 15 counts of fraud not get jail time? To me, this is unbelievable.
"Conservative MP John Williams, who chaired the public accounts committee that examined the sponsorship program, called Coffin's sentence a "slap on the wrist." "
I don't know if I would call it a slap on the wrist or a slap in the face to the Canadian public.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Party sits comforably at 40% in a recent poll. Are we suckers or what?


More Gomery and an Old Yet Familiar Tune

According to this story at Politics Watch, the Gomery report may be delayed for six weeks. It was supposed to be released in December.
It may not be released until early February.

I smell a rat.

Indeed, it smells rather familiar... I smelled a similar rat prior to summer break. With this extra time before the report is released, the budget will need to be reviewed again. More confidence votes will be held. In light of this, I am not at all surprised that Martin is daring the Conservatives to work with the Bloc to bring down the government.
Hey, it worked last time.
Who can blame the PM for trying?
Most Canadians are ignorant enough of politics (or don't care) that they will not keep firmly in mind that bringing down the government, or at least effectively balancing it, is exactly what the Opposition is supposed to do.
That's why they are called the Official Opposition.

I would not be at all surprised if we see history repeat itself when Parliament sits again... which should be soon if I am not mistaken. It will be like the summer break never even happened.

"Hello, Pot? This is Kettle..."

Prime Minister Martin took it upon himself to "chastise" the UN for its many inadequacies. Here is Canada.com's write up of the story and here is the one by the Globe & Mail.
"Make no mistake: the UN needs reform," saith the sage. Who needs satire? Real life is better. Martin needs to take a little of his own medicine, or at least give further consideration to his own behaviour before doling out advice.


It's a Girl!!

Eden Rachel was born on September 12th, at 7:30am.
She weighed 8lbs and was 21.5 inches long.
She is doing very well (so am I) and we were able to leave the hospital and go home that morning sometime after 10:30am.
The birth went pretty well I guess... at least, this is what I have been told ;-) It's hard to know when it's your first one and you have nothing to compare it to.
I went into labour at 1:30 am Monday morning. When I called the midwife and told her how close my contractions were, she said to wait until they were closer together (about 2 minutes). So I did. Then about 5:30 am, they were very close and when I called they told me to get to the hospital.
When I arrived (about 6am or slightly before, I'm not sure), I was fully dilated already and had to start pushing within the half hour. It was definitely hard work... but I love the results
She was delivered at 7:30 am, and I was free to go about 3 hours after that. We were home before 11am, and I have done most of my recovery here at home. It's been great.

I am so blessed.
Not only do I have a wonderful husband, but I also have a cute little girl.


A Blog Worth Reading

Spunky Homeschool is an excellent blog that you should take a look at, expecially if you are a Christian, a homeschooler or a woman. There is a great review of Pearl's book "Created to Be His HelpMate" that is definitely worth looking at. I am almost tempted to get a copy of the book just so I can laugh at the insanity of it.


Yet More Gas

I would be interested to see what questions the survey discussed here actually posed.
There is a lot that this article doesn't mention that it probably should.

Last week I watched an episode of Michael Coren and right at the end they discussed the rising gas prices. It's one of the first times I have heard him make a mistake, and I keep meaning to write to him. On his show, he said that the cost of producing oil and gas has not increased significantly in the past 20 years. This is in fact false. Productions costs have increased, and quite siginificantly at that.
However, costs have not increased proportionally to profits made by oil and gas companies.
The recent devestation caused by hurricane Katrina has cased a significant bottleneck in the production process. Several refineries are out of commission, and until they are rebuilt, gas prices can be expected to remain at a premium. They will not likely come down until some time next year.
Here in Canada, two major oil projects will soon be under way. One will be in the tar sands in Alberta, the other will be off the cost of Newfoundland. In the coming year, certain oil companies are even expected to double their production.
Of every group that profits from the oil and gas industries, the only one not doing anything for their share of the pie is the government. The government collects a 38% tax on the gas that we buy. When oil prices go up, because they are collecting a percentage, so does their profit. What many Canadians forget is that a significant portion of this gas tax is actually a deficit reduction tax that was introduced years ago. Since we have been running surplusses the past few years, it should no longer be necessary.
Recall my point made here. The government does nothing to assist in producing the gas we use. There is, as far as I am concerned, no legitimate reason whatsoever for them to tax us for it...Oil companies are not entirely innocent in this of course, but with increasing production costs it is not surprising that the price we pay should increase in order for them to cover their costs. That is, after all, what businesses do: make a profit. However, that is NOT what a government is supposed to do. They are supposed to facilitate the needs of the population.


Gomery Continues

According to articles in several newspapers (such as Globe & Mail and the National Post, the second phase of Gomery's Inquiry has begun. He is now interviewing various officials and experts in an attempt to find a way to prevent further scandals like the Sponsorship program.
To this end, he is also soliciting the opinions of average Canadian citizens. At the Gomery Website there is a short discussion on accountability and a few questions. Individuals are encouraged to submit their thoughts.
The questions are as follows:
1. Should government advertising and sponsorship programs be insulated from political influence?
2. What protections should be afforded to public servants who believe they have witnessed impropriety in the management of government programs ("whistleblowers")?
3. Ministerial responsibility requires that a minister be accountable to the House of Commons for the exercise of power. Should there be exceptions to the concept of full ministerial responsibility for all the actions of a department?
4. Accountability is the requirement to explain and accept responsibility for carrying out an assigned mandate in light of agreed upon expectations. What would you do to promote greater accountability for the management and use of public funds?
5. Should the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service be linked to specific responsibility and accountability processes to safeguard against wrongdoing? Should this be enshrined in legislation?
6. Is there anything else you would suggest to Justice Gomery in pursuing his mandate?


After receiving a number of completely bizarre, spam-like comments, I have decided to turn on comment verification.
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