1/31/2006

Look Update!

Since the campaign is now over, I have decided to modify my look.

Harper's New Government

The new Conservative government will be installed on February 6th. There has been much discussion as to who will make the new cabinet. Some speculate that, in an effort to woo Quebec, Harper will choose Lawrence Cannon and not Peter MacKay as his Deputy Prime Minister. I feel unsuited to the task of predicting who will make cabinet and who won't, but I have to be honest: I think it unlikely that Harper will slight MacKay in an effort to pander to Quebec.
The government's first task will be the new budget. The budget is expected to be introduced as early as March and is expected to include the widely popular GST cut. It is uncertain whether or not this budget will include the tax credit for families with children. I hope that it does.

1/30/2006

Hamas: How do We Deal With Them?

Someone posted an interesting comment in response to my post on the downside of democracy.
This election presents some very interesting issues and questions for the West. If Hamas is to be "ignored"; then on what basis? Are some voters better than others? Can the result of a fair election be ignored if we don't like them? If we can do that in this case, when do we do it again? Nope, this is not going to be dismissed with a wave of anybody's hand.

Can the results of a fair election be ignored? Well, it depends on what you mean by ignored. This is not a simple question. In fact, I am not so sure I would have asked it in this particular way. A better question is to ask "how should we deal with Hamas, now that they are the government?" The question is still not simple, but the assumption that anyone is ignoring them is now removed. We are left with a less biased question.

The rise of Hamas to power is not unlike that of the Nazis. During the Depression, the Germans were quite desperate. They laboured under the tough restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles. They were a socially humiliated and economically damaged people. The Nazis gained a majority government, and when they fell to a minority, Hitler was made Chancellor.
Now consider the conditions surrounding the election of Hamas. One could very easily argue that the Palestinians are a similarly humiliated and damaged group. Like the Germans, they are desperate. Unlike the Germans, they elected Hamas in a possible attempt to punish Fatah. However, both groups incorrectly felt that an extremist group was their best avenue to success as a nation (or potential nation). I could also point out that both extremist groups are profoundly anti-Semitic, but I am not so certain that this feature is particularly relevant to their inadequacy for government (Holocaust and hate for Israel notwithstanding).
In the case of the Nazis, we have the benefit of hindsight. Because we know what happened, it is easy to argue that they should never have been in power at all. Were we to live at the time, however, I am sure we would find ourselves faced with a very different reality. Europe, like most of the world today, was desperate for peace. They therefore collectively turned a blind eye to the obvious problems of the Nazi Party. By showing peace to someone who was clearly their enemy, war could be avoided.

Only a handful of people recognized the fact that someone who does not share your societal values, someone who does not want peace, someone who hates and resents your very existence, cannot be trusted. The overwhelming majority of people in Europe were fooled by the Nazis.

It is this critical misstep that I think should be considered when we deal with Hamas. Regardless of the fact they were elected, like the Nazi Party, Hamas does not desire peace. Their government is bent on the obliteration of their neighbour, Israel. They do not consider us their friend and will never do so, regardless of how many olive branches we extend. Israel is our friend and ally; if Hamas is set against her, then it is our duty as friend and ally to stand up for her. As our ally, she is our primary responsibility, not Hamas.
A democratic election, while it may create a new government, does not create a new friend. Allies are created by their actions and policies. If a government holds policies that are contrary to our own, then we are not obliged to ally ourselves with them. Countries, much like people, are not handed international respect on a silver platter. It must be earned. If Hamas desires the respect of Western nations, then they must turn from their terrorist ways and learn to negotiate in what I can only call a mature and professional manner.
Having said this, I would like to add that I think it is critical that we work with Hamas as long as we can. It is important that this government be encouraged as much as possible to put down their terrorist ways and embrace peace and diplomacy. It certainly can happen, eventhough I am sure it will take a lot of work on all sides. I cannot stress enough that I think the burden of proof rests with Hamas. Their policies are well known. For us to simply trust them to do the best thing would be incredibly naive.

1/27/2006

Hamas: The Downside of Democracy

In The Republic, Plato argues that democracy is the second worst form of government. It is only exceeded by tyranny. He goes on to demonstrate how a democracy can easily slip into a tyranny. Churchill was of a slightly different opinion, that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
The recent election of Hamas as the governing party of Palestine is a perfect illustration of potential prolems with democracy. Hamas won 76 seats out of 132.
But really, one has to ask, would Fatah have been a better choice?
Certainly one might try to argue that at least Fatah was not a terrorist organization. However it is a very corrupt party and Yasser Arafat, when he was alive, was hardly a man of peace (Nobel Prize notwithstanding.)
I support Bush, Harper, Olmert and any other leader when they say they will not deal with a terrorist government. Hamas has repeatedly called for the annihilation of Israel. They cannot be considered our ally unless they are willing to deal in a professional, non-violent manner. If they want to be treated like a nation, then they need to act like one.
I have to be quite frank; I have little if any sympathy for Palestinians in their so-called fight for independence. I have even less sympathy for them than I do the Bloc and the PQ, if such a thing is possible. When Israel was first established as a nation, the Arabs in the region were offered partition, a chance to form a nation of their own (nevermind the fact that they had already been given Jordan). This offer was flatly refused. Then, as now, the Arab world was more concerned with the destruction of Israel than it was with peace. It seems very convenient to me that they should now want a nation. Should they ever build a nation, I consider it extremely unlikely that this would be the end of the matter.

1/26/2006

The Palestinian Vote

According to the Elections Committee, voter turnout for the Palestinian election reached 73% by the time the polls closed.
A Bir Zeit University exit poll released earlier that evening had predicted Fatah holding a slim lead over Hamas, with Fatah projected to win 63 seats and Hamas taking 58. However, unofficial results indicate that Hamas won at least 75 seats in the 132-member parliament. Fatah has never lost, and it would appear that at least some of the votes for Hamas were punishment votes.
Still one has to wonder if selecting a terrorist organization to govern one's wannabe country is the best way to punish a political party. And yet, it's not as though Fatah was a particularly savoury choice, either.

1/25/2006

Stolen Election: Recount Requested

Stories like this one are disturbing, to say the least.
"We got reports of things like the Liberals driving around and threatening Natives that they wouldn't get their cheque if they didn't vote Liberal, reports we had from individuals of plans to stuff ballot boxes. "Even the last poll, somehow it took three-and-a-half hours to count the last poll and lo and behold, it was nearly 100 per cent turnout, all of which went Liberal, just enough votes to go over the top... there were problems with voters not receiving their identification cards or being directed to vote in the wrong area... the campaign only received the voting list a day before the election, not the three days stipulated by law, he added. Harrison added his campaign did not have scrutineers at all of the polling stations on the reserves because of the remote locations. Third-place finisher Anita Jackson of the NDP said her office also received complaints about Liberal tactics, and she supports a recount and an investigation. "These are things we need to check on. With so much at stake, people may engage in conduct that's not above board," Jackson said.
I sincerely hope this comes to nothing. It would be a tragedy if the Liberals have committed electoral fraud. Even if it is in only one riding, it would call into question our entire system. I consider this to be very, very serious. We should know by Thursday the results of the recount.

Palestinians Vote

To all of you who didn't vote on Monday and incessantly complain about how politicians will never do anything right for us no matter what party they are from, read these reports about the Palestinian election and feel ashamed. Canada's complacent attitude towards democracy does not do us any credit. We live in an affluent society where nothing much happens. It's making us lazy.
Meanwhile, as we are complaining, these guys get the joy of choosing between corruption and terrorist thugs.
Wonderful.
But you know what? They are getting out to vote anyway. There is security up to the eyeballs, but people are exercising their democratic right anyway. Shame on you if a higher percentage of their voting population gets out to do their duty.

1/24/2006

Bad Parenting

(h/t Dust My Broom)

An article in the Boston Globe tells of a woman who is threatening to sue police and fire officials for defamation of character after she locked her 23 month old son in her car by accident.
Police recordings of the call indicate Silverstein said that if the dispatcher sent police to watch her child, she could go home and get another key. The dispatcher told Silverstein that firefighters would break into the car, but Silverstein said she didn't want her window smashed. "Would you rather your child died?" the dispatcher asked.
Her answer better have been no!
How could she even have thought of her car, when her child was locked inside on a blazing hot day? More to the point, how did she manage to lock her child in the car in the first place? And how long had he been in the car before she realized what she'd done?
Her attorney, Matthew Maddox said Silverstein should not have been arrested after the July 25 incident. Maddox said police and fire officials should take the blame for any delay or difficulties extracting the boy. Thomas Cassone, director of legal affairs, said he will investigate. "It's a serious charge when you're charging the people who respond to save your child who you've locked in the car, that they've basically lied about her," he said. Police and fire officials have said Silverstein did not want firefighters to break the window of her 1999 Audi to extract her son, telling them she would drive to her home to get a spare key.
Unbelievable!
Blame the cops for saving your kid!
"What this is about is a panicked mother calling 911, then being blamed for an inadequate and failed 911 response," Maddox said. "I think someone early on, within moments of the 911 call, someone arbitrarily decided this would be a classist story about someone worried about an Audi's glass before her son's health. It's outrageous," Maddox said.
Classist?
Please! This is about a child! If you are worried more about an adult's hurt feelings than you are about potential harm done to a defenseless child, then you have no business being a lawyer.
One thing about this story I noticed: there is no comment from the child's father. I wonder what he has to say on the subject?

Belinda Stronach: Leader in Waiting

I've been saying it all morning!
Behold! (Click on "Belinda Stronach on her victory")

I'm just a power ho...

Chuck Strahl's Blog

I am a daily reader of MP Chuck Strahl's blog. Today, I read this unfortunate bit of news:
As for this blog, I'm unsure if I should continue it post-election. I plan to finish out the week, then pose the question about this well-used site: to blog, or not to blog, THAT is the question.
The answer is so obvious!
Blog!!
How can you even suggest that you might close it down?

My fellow Blogging Tories, I invite you to join me in emailing our fellow blogger. Encourage him to keep his blog open. Reading about the daily activities of Parliament and its politicians is our bread and butter.
Besides, who will Monte Solberg banter with, through his blog?
I will be sending an email today. I have no intention of waiting until the end of the week.

The Impending Liberal Leadership Race

Who will be the next leader of the Liberal Party, that is the million dollar question. Canada.com suggests that Frank McKenna is a likely candidate, should he be fired fromhis position as ambassador to the US. They also suggest John Manley, Brian Tobin, Maurizio Bevilacqua and Michael Ignatieff. I couldn't help but notice who they were missing.
Incredibly, CTV dubs her a "surprise candidate." That's right, I am referring to the divine Ms. Stronach.
How can they have missed it? The Globe didn't. They also suggest Scott Brison and Joe Volpe as possible candidates.
But surprise candidate?
Belinda?
Surely you jest.
This woman craves power.
I don't know if she will win, but I am certain she will at least be in the running. If I am wrong, I'll eat my hat. ;-)

Think of it.
Belinda Stronach: leader of the Official Opposition, leader of the Liberal Party.
What a feather in her cap that would be. Next stop: Prime Minister.

Arg!

StatCounter is down. Who knows why. It's been down since sometime yesterday. I was assured it would not only be back up "in a few hours," but that it was also keeping track of my visits. Both seem to be false (these guys must work for the Liberals.)
Anyway, I have moved to SiteMeter until the people at StatCounter get their act together. I could not believe it when I read they had no backups at all.
Nothing.
Like, who is in charge of this company?
It's a good thing I'm not a company paying for and relying on their service.

Election Results

The next sitting of Parliament will look like:
Conservatives: 124 seats
Liberals: 103 seats
Bloc Quebecois: 51 seats
NDP: 29 seats
Independent: 1 seat
Voter turnout was barely up. A mere 64.9% of the Canadian voting population bothered to vote. Of all things, this is the most disappointing. It goes to show you just how little people actually care about this country. I have been hoping for sometime that this is the one area where blogging may have had an effect; it would seem that I have been wrong.
Given the percentages of popular vote in this election, it seems clear to me that we need some form of electoral reform. It is unthinkable that the Bloc, who had only about 10% of the popular vote should have almost double the number of seats that the NDP had, and they garnered 17% of the vote.
These next few weeks and months will no doubt be interesting. They will provide plenty of blogging material, and I expect it to be good for traffic. With such a thin minority, one can't help but wonder how the Conservatives will manage to make it. I fully expect to see the Liberals full on the attack. Their desire for power will not die, that much is certain. Mike Duffy's source last night was clearly wrong. Paul Martin not only conceded defeat, he stepped down as leader of the Liberal Party. Happily, he isn't that desperate for power. It will be interesting to see who becomes the next leader. I expect to see Ms. Stronach in the running for his position.
What do I predict for the next Parliament? I doubt very much whether or not gay marriage will be revisited. The Tories simply do not have the numbers they need. Electoral reform could be on the menu though, as could fixed election dates and fixed opposition dates. I would like to see modification to the prostitution laws, but given that it wasn't an election issue at all, it's unlikely this will happen. A tax break would be nice, and hopefully I do see my $1,200. As for anything else, I had better keep my predictions to a minimum.
After all, I was hoping for a majority.

1/23/2006

Liberals Unwilling to Concede Defeat?

On CTV just now, Mike Duffy said that Paul Martin has said he is not ready to concede. Liberal MP's have not yet been given their speeches.
I am sure the hair on every journalist's head in that room must have stood on end at this announcement. I can't see how Martin could do this, unless he knows something about the Constitution that the rest of us don't.

Election Canada: Conservative Minority

At this rate, it would appear that the Conservatives will have a minority government. Of all the results I am most disappointed in, Paul Martin and Belinda Stronach are likely to be re-elected. On the plus side, Tony Valeri seems about to lose his seat.
The Conservative minority looks like it won't be a large one. Hmm. I was certainly hoping for something more. This next few months are going to be interesting.

Liberal Ad Hominem: "Cate's" Comment

An idiot decided to post the following comment here. Since there isn't so much as a single valid statement in the entire post, I have decided to put it here and then rip it to shreds.

Harper Wants to Take Away Rights
Notice the title of the comment.
Take away "rights".
Hmm. Nothing good can come of this.

Engulfed within the Conservative election platform is the promise that the Conservative government plans to remove the rights of prisoners to vote. It happens to fall under their "Stand Up For Security" heading.
Prisoner's should not be voting, as far as I am concerned. They lose their rights when they commit a crime. That's what being in prison is. I am sure there are people out there who disagree with that opinion, but that doesn't make me (or Harper) wrong.

Considering that Harper wantes to remove the right of women to have an abortion, same-sex couples to choose whether or not to get married, this comes as no shock. What the Conservative agenda stands for is removal of choice from persona who are already oppressed. I would't be surprized if he had the decision to include women definition of 'person' appealed on the grounds that they just shouldn't have to worry about silly little things like voting, opening bank accounts, chosing whether or not to wear pants, working outside the home, feeding their children or learning to read and write. Perhaps he'll start stoning women who get raped or have children out of wedlock.
As a woman, I am profoundly shocked and disturbed by the overwhelming stupidity of this paragraph. Not only is the first phrase false (Harper has clearly stated the Conservatives will not be pursuing abortion should they win) everything else is based on a paranoia and superstition.
Repealing a woman's right to vote?
Removing her from the definition of person?
Pants or not pants?
Stoning?
What planet are you living on?
What's more, do you honestly believe that a highly educated woman such as myself would ever vote for a party that would take away my ability to have a bank account? I look after the budget in our house. I am appalled at the lack of thought put into this argument. You are a disgrace to the empowered, thinking woman. You did not read anything in the Conservative party platform!
What's more, the Liberals are by far the most anti-woman party out there. They wish to regulate, decriminalize and legitimize prostitution. It is a part of their party policy and if you don't believe me, go and read it for yourself. Prostitution is arguably the most demeaning, violent line of work for a woman to be in. What's more, Human Resources and Development Canada was caught, under the Liberals no less, procuring strippers and prostitutes for the mob. Women were being imported from foreign countries and forced into what was no less than sexual slavery. If you are so concerned about women's rights, you should be looking into this little issue my dear, instead of unleashing your pathetic and uninformed venom on my blog.
As far as the "right " to "choose" to get married, I hate to break it to you "Cate," choice in marriage is not a right. That's why arranged marriages are not only legal in this country, but they also happen.
Or maybe you would like to remove the right of Hindu's to carry on their traditions?

What makes me laugh is that crime has risen in Canada as a result of Conservative funding cuts to social services. What makes me laugh even harder is that he figures that every person receiving income support is lazy and does not want to work. He neglects to take into account that women have not got equal access to the workforce, make $0.75 to every dollar that a man makes, and that many people receiving income support are not physically or mentally capable of holding a job.
Again we see not a single statement of fact.
And, if you are so serious about this, why are you laughing?
This "belief" is nowhere in the Conservative platform. Mr. Harper has never expressed this view regarding income support.
I categorically REJECT your notion that women do not have equal access to the workforce. They do have it. Whiners like yourself want to have everything handed to them on a silver platter like they are some sort of pampered princess.
You wanna make it in a man's world honey?
Then suck it up and do better work.
I never had any trouble.

What also makes me laugh is that he is a Christian. Now, is it not a tenement of Christian values to love your neighbour? I guess the only neighbours that count to Stephen Harper are the rich ones that are already privileged. What he doesn't get is that we are all people and none of us should have to be relegated into poverty and starvation. I like the fact that I can vote and run for political office. I like the fact that inmates can vote. I like the fact that my tax dollars go towards helping those who are not able to work for whatever reason. I would like to see more of my tax dollars paying parents for the work they do at home--money they have rightfully earned through their work that contributes to our economy.
More laughing.
We also have the time-honoured superstition that the Conservatives are the party of the rich. Clearly this explains why Paul Martin has a personal worth in excess of $225million dollars. A guy this rich can obviously identify with the poor. As far as being relegated into poverty and starvation goes, maybe you should talk to Paul and his cronies about that.
I mean, have you bothered to read up on where billions of tax payer dollars went this year? Or that criminals are getting energy rebates? Not to mention dead people.
The comment on tax payer dollars going to people for the work they do at home just kills me. What do you think the child care allowance is for? And do you think that when the Liberals dipped in to the EI fund they were at all concerned about the out of work poor?

Don't even pretend you understand Christian love. There isn't a drop of it in your shriveled, black heart.

Voting: A Chance to Speak Out Against Criminal Behaviour

I just read an article in the Toronto Sun that made me sad, depressed and angry. It also makes me hope the Liberals get their butts kicked today.
...$250 energy rebate cheques are being sent to criminals behind bars, who already got to cast their vote in the comfort of their cells, heated by our tax dollars.
What?
People who don't pay heating bills are getting an energy rebate. Les mentioned this before. The kicker here though is that the people getting the rebate are criminals.
One inmate had been at the detention centre... since December 2004... He has 23 convictions, including armed robbery and drug offences. This officer, who's worked for Ontario's ministry of correctional services for 16 years and asked not to be named for fear of being disciplined for speaking out, went on: "I'm delivering money to criminals that's been stolen from me and other hard-working taxpayers in Canada."
For fear of being disciplined!
Wow. What a "justice" system we have.
This isn't the first time, he said. In 2001, in another lamebrained Liberal scheme to help Canadians deal with skyrocketing home heating costs, many inmates received rebate cheques of $125 to $250. It was part of the botched $1.4-billion rebate program, whereby only $250 million went to low-income Canadians struggling with home heating costs. According to Canada's auditor general, most of the rest of the money went to dead people, inmates and Canadians who don't pay any heating bills at all.
Dead people?
They sent cheques to dead people?
What about me? I pay taxes. Why do the dead get my money?
It gets worse, if you can believe it.
Martin and... Ralph Goodale, announced they were again delivering their flawed rebate program, this time at cost of $2.4 billion. And now criminals are again getting cheques. The Liberals also voted to pump up their own gas allowances by 10%, with an MP now getting $500 for every 1,000 km he or she drives. "Many of my colleagues who work here are struggling with high gasoline prices, home heating costs and electricity bills. Yet, MPs and criminals are getting relief, and not us,"... Meanwhile... tax auditors are quick to come after hard-working, middle-class families. For example, the disgruntled officer said he was audited after claiming moving expenses to take a job north of Toronto. As well, a colleague he works with is being forced to pay back $86 in a GST credit given to his late mother-in-law, who passed away last year...Bottom line is it's not just energy rebate cheques making their way into our prisons. Inmates commonly receive GST credits, worker's compensation, tax refunds, and welfare cheques ...many a telemarketing scam and other frauds are carried out from inside prison walls. Yet our correctional officers are powerless to blow the whistle. My insider explained, "If I call up and say an inmate is committing fraud, I have violated the oath of secrecy I took as a peace officer."
I bet I can guess how this corrections officer is voting!
How frustrated they must be.

Voter Turnout

I just went and did my democratic duty. The polling clerk mentioned that there has been a steady flow of people all day. He seemed to think that voter turnout is higher so far this year than it was during the 2004 election. At least in my area, we have the weather to thank. It is a beautiful day out, and people have no excuse.

Voting Day!

I never thought I'd be excited about an election. Tomorrow, the government of Canada will be different. My hope is for a Conservative majority. Yesterday on Question Period, John Duffy claimed the Liberals would still win it. Liberal values are mainstream Canadian values.
What Canada is he living in?
After church yesterday, my husband and I went for coffee at his Oma and Opa's place. Despite being practically blind, Opa doesn't miss anything. Although he votes for the CHP, both he and Oma like to keep themselves aware of all the issues. They used to volunteer at the polling station near them in elections gone by. Opa asked me the all important question: why are people so afraid of the Conservatives? I explained to him about Liberal tactics and the fear people have of any sort of party that may have Christians in it and so on.
He didn't have much to say in response. To him it is clear that these are lies. Why would he listen to them? Years in war camp during WWII harden you against mindless propaganda, I am sure. They also reinforce your need to vote. Oma and Opa are both past 80, but they will be walking to their polling station today to make their voices heard.
I hope that the younger generations will do the same.
It is our democratic duty, after all.
And speaking of duty, Canada.com has an excellent article on voting and why your vote really does matter in this election. Here is what they have to say:
...the situation today is not the same as it was in 2004. Canada's political parties are offering very different visions. The campaign has been heated and full of fresh ideas. And across the country, races are expected to be so close that just a handful of votes could make the difference... In a whole range of areas, including defence policy, crime and foreign policy, and even on how best to accommodate regional aspirations within the federation, there are yawning differences between the parties. In light of this, if Canadian voters still conclude that none of the parties represents their views or values, then it is likely because they have none. As for the argument that votes don't count anyway, one need only consider the most recent poll results that show a large number of ridings still in play. Indeed, in many constituencies... there are tight three-way races. How these votes break down region by region tonight will decide which party will form the next government and whether that government will be a majority or a minority. If there is ever to be an election where an individual's vote will really count, this is it... Fundamentally, a sense of civic duty should be enough to compel people to vote. The struggle for political rights was conducted not over decades but over centuries, and on occasion that right has had to be fiercely defended at enormous cost. In nations such as Iraq and Afghanistan, that fight goes on. Just because our right to vote was won long ago does not make it any less precious today... If there are Canadians who choose not to vote today, it is not because the system is the problem, it is because they are the problem.
I could not have said it better myself. I once wrote about the importance of doing your democratic duty. I stand by my opinion that although our system has flaws, if people don't vote, the system can't work at all. We very quickly move from having a few kinks to having a total disaster. There is no reason for not going to the polls; there is no reason for not voting. You have a gift, a power that people under dictatorial regime's dream of. In Iraq, they face suicide bombers to do their duty.
What complaint can you possibly have?
Our forefathers fought and died for our rights.
Do not disappoint them.

1/21/2006

Red Ensign Standard #35



Red Ensign Standard #35


Blogging, Politics and the Media: Why We Matter

In the days leading up to the election, it has become apparent that bloggers have had some affect both in the political sphere and in the media. Our impact was most keenly felt this week, when the Blogging Tories came under attack by Carol Jamieson and Eugene Parks; both are well known for their antagonistic behaviour. Although not everyone in the Red Ensign is a member of this group, many of us are and all of us are at least aware of its existence. It is not surprising then that a significant portion of Red Ensign members had something to say on this allegation.
It was noted by a few that the mainstream media seems unable to cope with what they perceive to be "The Great Blogging Threat." Average individuals are now able to research a story and write about their findings. Many do this with greater professionalism and less bias than the media. The media has been challenged many times on their slanted coverage of a particular story. Bloggers also will often cover stories that are barely noticed by the media at all.
With respect to conservative bloggers, there would appear to be a growing fear that they are "pawns" of the Conservative Party. A similar fear is held regarding bloggers in the US, and unfortunately some believe that Canadian conservatives intellectually bow to their US counterparts, abandoning their reasoning for partisanship. This fear was evidenced in an extremely slanted story posted at Canada.com and its subsequent parroting by the Liberal Party. Free speech, it would seem, is not a Liberal value. Everyone forgot that Elections Canada decided, at the start of the election, that political blogging would not be in violation of the Elections Act and therefore it would not be hampered or stopped in anyway. In any case, both the Liberals and the NDP have blogging communities of their own. To suggest that one group is too partisan while ignoring the others is hypocrisy at its finest.
It is also mistakenly believed that the majority of conservative political bloggers are white men. There is an undying belief that women can't have conservative values, as we are visible minorities (ironic, since we make up about 50% of the population). This belief is, naturally, not shared by conservative women. There would appear to be no convincing the left, however.

In the dying days of the election campaign, the Liberals have begun to show their desperation. Their most infamous misstep was the release of a series of attack ads against the Conservatives. The worst ad was the since-pulled military ad. Red Ensign members expressed their opinion of these ads in a series of humourous ad parodies. The parodies were not limited to ads; there were also cartoons, Photoshops, Flash movies and other graphics. Derision is not an unusual response to Liberal antics, especially when they involve Paul Martin.

Some members wrote about local campaign issues and offered their elections predictions and analysis. Views on the campaign and election results were as varied as our group; some focused on particular ridings and others focused on the different parties.

It should be a matter of pride for all political bloggers that they have the power to influence events, to hold the media to account. All political bloggers should feel a need to strive for excellence in their writing; you, and not the media, are the voice of the common man. Unlike politicians, we do not write from an ivory tower. Your opinions are not only important, their are a reflection of the reality in which the average individual lives.

Previous Red Ensign Standards

  1. Castle Argghhh

  2. Raging Kraut

  3. The Last Amazon

  4. Bumfonline

  5. Tiger in Winter (now blogging at Tiger in Exile)

  6. Taylor and Company (no longer online)

  7. Myrick

  8. Bound By Gravity

  9. Dust My Broom

  10. Ravishing Light

  11. Babbling Brooks

  12. Musing

  13. Freeway to Serfdom

  14. Nathan’s Updates From Seoul

  15. Striving Against Opposition

  16. The Phantom Observer

  17. Abraca-Pocus!

  18. Tipperography

  19. Turning 30 and a half

  20. Canadian Comment

  21. London Fog

  22. The Monarchist

  23. West Coast Chaos

  24. A Chick Named Marzi

  25. Raging Kraut

  26. Robot Guy

  27. The High Places

  28. The Last Amazon

  29. Robot Guy

  30. Quotulatiousness

  31. RootleWeb

  32. Gen X at 40

  33. Quotulatiousness

  34. The High Places

1/20/2006

Conservative Rally in St. Catharines

Sadly, I missed it. I didn't find out about it in time to pump some milk and get a babysitter. (And there is no way I am taking a four-month old who's just had a shot to a crowded rally.)
But, my sister, her boyfriend and her boyfriend's brother (also my husband's friend) went.
It's too bad I missed it. From the sound of things it was a good time.

Friday Before the Election

Only the weekend stands in our way.
However, latest polling results show that Conservative support has dipped slightly. They now hold only a 9 point lead over the Liberals, instead of an 18 point lead. Martin is touting it as the great Liberal comeback. I consider this brave, in light of the fact he is in danger of losing his seat.
Still, something troubles me.
Prime Minister Paul Martin boldly predicted a Liberal victory in Monday's election while warning the alternative would be a Conservative government shifting Canada towards extreme right-wing U.S.-influenced ideology. "Never have we seen a major political party with such as conservative agenda as this one," Martin said in Toronto, portraying Tory Leader Stephen Harper as an enemy of the courts who sees judges as preventing him from attaining absolute power.
I heard about Martin's victory speech yesterday on the radio. What makes him so confident? Is it bravery in the face of imminent defeat, or something else? The idea of a Liberal victory is disturbing, to say the least. Their corruption would only increase. What will the average Canadian do?
The anti-American tactics preferred by the Liberals are also disturbing. This will only serve to alienate us from our nearest neighbour. There are so many reasons not to take this route during a campaign, not the least of which is the fact that we don't have enough of an army to defend ourselves and we have had to rely on the Americans during many of our peace-keeping missions.
It will be interesting to see what Monday brings. Although I hope for a Conservative majority, I confess, that possibility is looking less and less likely.

1/19/2006

Power to the Pregnant Lady

The Globe is running a story about Martin's potential seat loss in Montreal.
Although I knew it was a tight race, I had no idea his Bloc opponent, May Chiu, is pregnant. And she isn't just pregnant; she's PREGNANT! She's due to pop on Monday!
"My due date in on election day, January 23. But if I don't give birth this weekend, my doctors will induce me on Monday because of my age," Ms. Chiu said. "I hope to be celebrating my victory at riding headquarters with my baby on election night."
Good for her!

BT vs The Media

Stephen Taylor has a fantastic post here on blogging and the media's inability to catch up. Everyone should read this article.

Response From The Post Regarding My Letter

I received a response today from customer relations at Canada.com about the letter I sent to them, posted here. I am not sure if this is an automated response or not, but here is what they had to say:
Thank you for taking the time to share your comments. We're constantly updating our content and features, so from time-to-time we receive feedback from users like yours.
Your comments will be taken into consideration and reviewed by our editorial team. If we discover an inaccuracy in the information provided on the site, we'll make every effort to correct the information as soon as possible.

Thanks again for your feedback.

Osama Offers Truce

I rarely, if ever, write about international politics, particularly US politics.
But this story is too important to pass up.
From Al Jazeera (I know, I'm sorry, it's a rag, but I needed the quote).
"This message is about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how to end those wars," it began. "It was not my intention to talk to you about this, because those wars are definitely going our way... But what triggered my desire to talk to you is the continuous deliberate misinformation given by your President [George] Bush, when it comes to polls made in your home country which reveal that the majority of your people are willing to withdraw US forces from Iraq... The new operations of al-Qaida has not happened not because we could not penetrate the security measures. It is being prepared and you'll see it in your homeland very soon," the voice attributed to bin Laden said, apparently addressing Americans... "We do not mind establishing a long-term truce between us and you."
How would I respond, if I were an American?
Well, I think it would be something along the lines of "Screw you," or "Up yours!"
And yet, there will be a bunch of misguided, hippie, peace-nik, treehugging, commie pinkos who will actually take this offer as being genuine.
I can hear the CBC now. "And George Bush refused to negotiate with bin Laden, who only wants to end the war and resume peaceful relations. We go live to a tiny group of student holding a candlelight vigil outside the American embassy..."

1/18/2006

We're Nimblewad Shortcake

Wow.
I wish I was this good.

Liberal Attack Ad Parody: The BT Conspiracy

Time to resurrect a dead horse and beat it some more.

The blogosphere is only concerned with politics.
Everyone knows it.
You know what else everyone knows?
That the Blogging Tories was founded by the Conservative Party in December 2005.
We don't know how much they spent.
It could have been over $150,000.
They could have broken the Canada Elections Act.
We just don't know.
They just won't admit it.
We did not make this up.
Eugene Parks did.
Carol Jamieson helped him.

Blogging Tories: "Morally Bankrupt"

Get a load of what Robert McClelland has to say on our response to Jamieson and Parks' accusation, and the subsequent pick up by the Liberal Party.
...it would be easy to google up posts on their sites where they've talked about their interaction with the party and Monte Solberg's glowing endorsement of them wouldn't look too good right now in the face of these accusations. This is what the right would do, but from what I've seen, the left too thinks this charge is ridiculous because we have integrity.
Integrity?
Surely you must be joking.
The Liberals are "left," and they haven't a moral bone anywhere in the party. The NDP propped them up fo months, despite their many illegal doings.
No. The left thinks the charge is ridiculous because it was leveled against them. I would like to see how you would have reacted if someone proposed shutting down the Blogging Dippers, LibBlogs, Progressive Bloggers or that bastion of fairness and free speech, Rabble.
This just serves to show how morally bankrupt the right truly is. This issue is nothing more than an interparty squabble yet the right is bound and determined to blame the left for it.
Blame the left?
Gee, McClelland, maybe that's because they deserve the blame. Maybe it's because what they did was wrong.
...to the conservatives that simply doesn't matter since their brains have become so rotted by propaganda...
Hello, Pot? This is kettle...
And if you really want a blog war, bring it my friend. On the intellectual front, we've consistently smoked your hippie rears.

BT: The So-Called Conservative Initiative

With nary a brain cell among them, the Liberals are parrotting the Post story conveniently forgetting about their own Progressive Bloggers and LibBlogs.
Unbelievable!
No, wait. It's totally believable. In fact, I should have known this was coming. Anyone want to email the Liberals and ask them how much Progressive Bloggers and LibBlogs are "contributing" to their campaign?

Letter to the Post re: Article on Tory "Scheme"

Send your angry letters to feedback@canada.com.


I was extremely disappointed to read your story Alleged Tory Internet scheme sparks call for probe by Allan Woods, this morning. The story is not at all indicative of the professionalism that I have come to know and respect in the Post.
Quite the contrary.
This story is extremely biased and full of errors.
While you are certainly right to report on any investigations underway by Elections Canada, I feel I must point out that your story neglects to mention the fact that there are blogrolls for both NDP and Liberal supported (the Blogging Dippers and Progressive Bloggers respectively). There is also Rabble, not a blogroll but certainly a very partisan web community.
If, as your article sugests, Mr. Parks told you that "he was approached by senior Conservative MP Diane Ablonczy in December 2005 after a Tory caucus retreat in British Columbia and asked to head what he described as a pre-election initiative on behalf of the party" and that this initiative was the Blogging Tories blog roll, all I can tell you is that he blatantly lied.
I have been a Blogging Tories member since May 2005.
How would that be possible if the community was established in December, as he suggests in the above quote?
As journalists, you had a responsibility to examine the validity of his claim before printing it in an article. What's more, you also had a responsibility to contact the Blogging Tories founders before suggesting that they were in violation of the Elections Act, something you did not do. Such an unfounded accusation borders on libel, especially given that you did not provide the Blogging Tories founders an opportunity to defend themselves.
Your article goes on to suggest that the Blogging Tories could be in violation of "third-party election financing laws" which "state that it is illegal for a group to spend more than $150,000 during an election period related to a general election. It can also spend no more than $3,000 of that money "to promote or oppose the election of one or more candidates in a given electoral district.""
I have never spent a dime on my blog. Neither have a lot of people. The chances that the entire group has spent anything near $150k since the election campaign started is extremely unlikely. In any case, you did not provide even a shred of evidence for this accusation. Also, as we are spread all over Canada, it is equally unlikely that members have spent anything near $3k in a given area. Setting up a blog roll
is free. Anyone can do it. Just visit http://www.blogrolling.com and create an account.
In the interests of journalistic integrity, I respectfully request that you correct your article to reflect this new information.

Sincerely,
Ruth vanHooydonk

Letter Campaign to the National Post

I have decided to write a letter, expressing my outrage. Every BT member needs to do the same. That article was completely irresponsible and biased.
When I've finished writing, I'll post it here.

Elections Canada Investigates BT

I can't believe I am reading this.
"Alleged Tory Internet Scheme?"
What?!
Elections Canada has been asked to investigate the Conservatives after allegations that the party is overseeing a group that operates partisan on-line web logs. Canada's election watchdog received a complaint Tuesday morning from a disaffected party member who claims the Tories tried to sway political opinion in cyberspace in the leadup to, and during, the election by setting up the popular "Blogging Tories" website.
And did they receive any similar complaints about the Blogging Dippers or Progressive Bloggers (or whatever the Liberal stooges call themselves)? I bet not! And look at Parks' accusations!
it may have "unduly influenced the election coverage and potentially the outcome of this campaign...." "They're using a third-party agency to get elected..." the group was set up as a concerted effort by senior Conservatives to win the election... "They're trying to make it look like these are individuals rather than a party effort..."
And who do I see had a hand in this?
Carol Jamieson.
That figures.
I love this bit:
Third-party election financing laws state that it is illegal for a group to spend more than $150,000 during an election period related to a general election. It can also spend no more than $3,000 of that money "to promote or oppose the election of one or more candidates in a given electoral district."
First of all, the Blogging Tories are spread all over Canada. Secondly, a lot of us (like me) haven't spent a dime on our websites. So why bother mentioning this without also mentioning the fact that it is extremely unlikely that the BT collective have spent anywhere near $150k?
And what the heck is this supposed to mean?
Parks said in an interview Tuesday he was approached by senior Conservative MP Diane Ablonczy in December 2005 after a Tory caucus retreat in British Columbia and asked to head what he described as a pre-election initiative on behalf of the party.
Is Parks actually implying that he was asked by the Conservatives to head the Blogging Tories in December? Because if this is what he is trying to say, then he is lying through his teeth. Blogging Tories has been around for a while. I mean, I joined back in May!
I also love that neither Stephen or Craig (the site founders) were asked to comment. What kind of unbiased journalism is this supposed to be? I am so insulted!

The Government: Tuesday and Beyond

Given that after Monday I will no longer be able to complain about Liberal corruption, I have started thinking about what I will write about.
Tuesday will bring a discussion of the election results. This will be especially true if I am wrong and the Conservatives don't win. Beyond that, I think I will continue to follow politics as I have been doing. I'll be keeping an eye out for various important bits of legislation, election promise fulfillment, and in particular, any new law that I think is a bad idea.
I also plan to give some thought to possible changes to the prostitution laws in this country. There needs to be a way to get women off the streets. In light of the revelation last year that some women coming to this country were being forced to sell themselves, I think the laws are badly in need of changing.
It is my hope that a Conservative government will bring the kind of change our country needs. One thing is certain, if they win, they cannot screw up. In order to effect the kind of dramatic change we need, the Conservatives need to get at least two full terms in office in a row. If things go poorly and we have an election in less than two years from now, not only will the Conservatives will not be voted in again, the Liberals will not have had sufficient time to get their act together. We would see more of the same bad behaviour.

Has anyone stopped to wonder what the CBC is going to do? (Besides design new logos.)

1/17/2006

What Would Marriage Be?

There has been some discussion on polygamy, after the recent revelation that the Liberals commissioned a study into the subject, to fuel the same sex marriage debate.
Since last night, I have been pondering a fundamental question.
Should polygamy become legal in Canada, what would marriage be?
Consider first of all that it is extremely unlikely that polygamy would be allowed but polyandry forbidden. Women's rights groups would be up in arms. If men can do it, then women must also have the same "right." Under this new law, our marriage system would have to allow marriage between the following groups:
one man and one woman,
one man and one man,
one woman and one woman,
one man and multiple women,
one women and multiple men,
one woman and multiple women and
one man and multiple men.
This arrangement gives us seven different definitions for marriage instead of only one. In the future when someone says "I'm married," what will they mean? What significance will a wedding ring have? Unfortunately, I am afraid the answer will be "Marriage will mean nothing and a wedding ring is just a piece of jewellry with a bit of stone in it." That's too bad, because I happen to like my ring.
Last night on the Michael Coren show, guest Scott Piatkowski tried to argue that marriage is a fundamental right. Of course, we know it's not. His argument was largely based on the issue of choice. Everyone must have the freedom to marry whomever they choose. This is a particularly poor argument, since it invalidates arranged marriages. Just because the parents select the spouse in no way invalidates the marriage. Although I would not be in favour of such a thing for my own daughter when she comes of age, there are many cultures (Indian and Sri Lankan come to mind) where this is quite common.
Our society places far too much emphasis on the issue of choice. There is not enough discussion on benefits or detriments to a society as a whole. There is not enough long-term thinking. It concerns me, because whenever a society fiddles with their fundamental values, and like it or not marriage is a fundamental value, the destruction of that society is not far behind.
The Spartans come to mind.

Parodies on A Tuesday Morning: To Mr. Martin

Tow, Paul Martin
(sing to tune of Shake Senora/Jump in the Line by Harry Belafonte)

Tow tow tow Paul Martin, tow the party line
Tow tow tow Paul Martin, tow it all the time
Spin spin spin Paul Martin, spin that Liberal line
Spin spin spin Paul Martin, spin it all the time

That guy's name is Paul Martin. I tell you friends I can't stand him.
And when he's talking oh, brother!
He's a hurricane in all kinds of weather.

Jump in the line, spout their garbage in time.
O-kay! I believe you. (3 times)
Jump in the line, spout their garbage in time.
Oh!

Tow tow tow...etc.

You can talk about healthcare, taxes, laws or the army.
Paul Martin's guys have no platform,
They got no ideas and so they attack us

Jump in the line, spout their garbage in time.
O-kay! I believe you.
Jump in the line, spout their garbage in time.
Spout those falsehoods, Child!
Jump in the line, spout their garbage in time.
Somebody help us!
Jump in the line, spout their garbage in time..
Oh!

Tow tow tow...etc.

Paul Martin he's a sensation, the reason for our taxation.
And fellas you've got to watch it.
Though he feeds at the bottom, his hand's in your pocket.

Jump in the line... etc...

Tow tow tow...etc...

Parodies on Tuesday Morning: To Ms. Stronach

Just A Corporate Ho
(sing to tune of Just a Gigolo, by Louis Prima)

I'm just a corporate ho
And everywhere I go
People know the part I'm playin'

Yeah I wanted more
So I crossed the floor
Oh what their sayin'

But on this next Monday
When Liberals pass away
What will they say about me?

When the end comes I know
They'll say just a corporate ho
Life was all about me
(repeat)

Cause I just love my money
Oh and there's nobody that cares for me
There's nobody that votes for me

I'm so sad and lonely
Won't some sweet voter
Come and take a chance with me
Though I am so bad?

And I'll sell out, all my friends
All of the time
They will only be, only be
A blip bozadee bodzee bop le bop

I don't love nobody
Oh and there's nobody that cares for me
There's nobody that votes for me

etc...

1/16/2006

Mixing with the Mob: Strippers in Canada

This is apparently old news, but today is the first time I ever read the sorry details of just how bad the Liberals have been in power.
Officials at Citizenship and Immigration and other departments voiced strong objections to the blanket exemption, and recounted horror stories of exotic dancers being forced into sexual slavery in Canada. A senior government official said intimidation by organized crime in the adult entertainment business led HRDC to set up the fast-track program for foreign strippers. The program gave blanket permission for strip club owners to bring in foreign exotic dancers without having to show they could not find anyone to fill the job in Canada.
...
Attempts to determine why Mr. Pettigrew approved the special exemption were unsuccessful. His spokesman, Sebastien Theberge, referred all inquiries to Mr. Volpe's office. According to an April 14, 1998, memo, Bradley Pascoe, an Immigration Department official wrote the policy exemption change for exotic dancers had "indeed gone right to Minister Pettigrew's office" for approval. Before Mr. Volpe cancelled the program, Ms. Sgro had defended the stripper exemption despite her department's concerns. Ms. Sgro, whose chief of staff visited strip clubs to meet owners who wanted to bring in foreign dancers, feared ending the program could hurt the strip club business.

Let me get this straight.
Not only were the Liberals providing strippers for the mob, but, Judy Sgro, a woman was afraid of hurting the stripper business.
And the Liberals bill Harper as scarey? Are they kidding?
It gets better
Intimidation by organized crime and "bad guys" in the adult entertainment business led Human Resources Development Canada to establish a special fast-track entry program for foreign exotic dancers, according to a senior government official. Bureaucrats at HRDC and Citizen and Immigration have known for years that many foreign dancers, mainly from Romania and Eastern Europe, were being trafficked by criminal syndicates and forced into prostitution at strip clubs in Canada. Despite evidence from police and reputable organizations that the women were compelled into prostitution, HRDC officials would not shut down the labour-market program that exempted strip club owners from having to prove a scarcity of native-born dancers...
Now, please keep in mind everyone that a part of Liberal Party policy is the decriminalization and regulation of prostitution. In light of the fact that foreign women were being forced and compelled into this degrading lifestyle, how can any woman possibly believe that Liberals have their best interests at heart? How can anyone believe that the regulation of prostitution would be a good thing for this country?
Read the debate that took place in the Senate and notice the Liberal "argument."
Hon. Jack Austin (Leader of the Government): ...Honourable senators, I would suggest that neither that category nor any other category in the immigration system acts against equality of rights and the standing of women. The occupation in question is legal, and so long as it is performed legally, there can be no argument with respect to gender discrimination.
Senator Kinsella: Honourable senators, a lot of things are legal but not just. Canadian women have spoken very directly in saying that exotic dancing is not an area that speaks to the elevation of the status of women in Canada.
Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I thank the honourable senator for his comment. I should like to add that there is nothing inherently illegal or discriminatory in the category of a domestic servant or in the category of an exotic dancer. That there may be abuses in this category does not deal with the question of gender discrimination.

Are you kidding me?
There is nothing inherently discriminatory about the category of an exotic dancer? As long as it is legal it can't be discriminatory?
Slavery used to be legal in the US, Senator Austin. Did that make it non-discriminatory?
Tool!

Norwegian Law: 40% or You're Out

Last night I was watching Behind The Story on CTS. Towards the end of the show, the panel briefly discussed the new Norwegian law regarding women. All companies are required to have a board comprised of at least 40% women in two years time or the government will force them to close. Last night's panel hailed the new law as progressive, a good idea. Quota's are sure to solve the problem of inequality in the boardroom.
Let me begin by saying that I reject the flawed notion of "reality" presented above and substitute it with my own, which is much nearer the truth.
I do not for one moment believe that there is a "problem" of inequality in the boardroom, regardless of what percentages may tell you. In point of fact, there are less women in the workforce than men to begin with. I do not have the figures, but I can assure you it is not a 50-50 split. It's not even a 60-40 split, although that may be closer. Some women, shocking as this may sound, actually choose to stay home and look after their children. Others choose to be career moms and some choose to remain childless in order to pursue a full time career to the exclusion of all else. Career moms have to take maternity leave of some kind. It is impossible to go back to work the day after giving birth. I know this because I have given birth. How long a woman chooses to remain at home can vary, but let us assume that the average woman remains at home for the first year of her baby's life. The average family has only two or three kids, so any given woman in the workforce will be at least two or three years behind her male counter part in terms of hours worked (which, I know, I know, is only one way to measure fitness for a promotion). Couple this with the drive required to make it to the top of the pack. I don't have the link, but recall the much talked about study that said 70-80% of all working women would prefer to stay at home wih their children. These women are not going to work themselves into oblivion trying to make CEO. That leaves us with less than 30% of all working women who might be willing to fight the fight and "make it" in a "man's world" (another "reality" which I reject).
Hopefully this gives you an idea of the possible pool female board members are coming from. It's much smaller than the male pool.
As to the idea of quotas, I am against them. A quota is an insult to an individual's intelligence and abilities. If you are hired to fill a quota, essentially you are beiung told that you are filling a position because you have to be there, not because they want you there or because you are skilled enough to have earned the position on your own merits. This notion that women should be handed anything and everything on a silver platter solely on the basis of their GENDER is absolutely repugnant to me.
If you want to make it in your so-called "man's world" honey, then you better slug it out with the rest of them. Otherwise, you haven't made it. You've just had your way given to you, like some kind of whining brat.

Christians in Office

Conservative MP Chuck Strahl has an excellent post on Christians in office, particularly Conservative Christians.
...a journalistic genuis who was offering analysis on Bill Good's radio show was hyperventilating because Cindy is a Christian, and, well, you know how unfit for office they are. When someone pointed out that she attends the same church as Liberal incumbent Don Bell, there was an unhappy moment of silence. Thankfully he remembered that a Conservative Christian is far more worrisome than a Liberal one, and you could almost hear the sigh of relief over THAT. As one contented caller put it, "my son-in-law is a Christian, and I warn you, they never change their spots."
Too bad, cause what we need in politics is people who deny their faith, or better yet, denounce it. At least for their term of office! That way, we could have only athiests in Parliament, and Svend could lead everyone in a round of "Solidarity Forever" instead of an opening prayer.

So true.
And it's too bad there are so many people, whether they admit it or not, that actually feel this way.

Parody Problems

It was brought to my attention only today that the Imperial March does not play when you watch the Star Wars Parody power point that I created last week. It worked for me of course, but I forgot to embed the mp3 for everyone else.
Way to go me. I'm awesome.
Since the clip has probably lived the life it was destined to have by now, I'm not going to bother fixing it. You will just have to use your imagination.
Sorry.

Scandal #96 and 97: Dingwall's Expenses and His Pension Plan

In accordance with the suggestion posted at Conservative Life, I have decided to research Scandals #96 and #97: David Dingwall's expenses as head of Royal Canadian Mint and the Liberal plan to give him a severance package after his resignation. I confess, I selected these scandals because I had already written about them to some extent in September and October.

The Honourable David Charles Dingwall, PC , B.Comm , LL.B was born on June 29, 1952. He is a former Liberal Cabinet minister and civil servant. We know him better as the "entitlements guy who ran the Mint."
Dingwall was a career politician for the Liberal Party. This comes as no surprise, given his now-infamous statement on entitlements. He was first elected in 1980 as the Liberal MP for Cape Breton-East Richmond in Nova Scotia. He was re-elected in three subsequent elections, and served as Opposition House Leader from 1991 to 1993.
When the Liberals won the election in 1993, Dingwall was appointed to Cabinet. He held several positions over the course of his term, including Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Minister of Public Works, Minister of Supply and Services and Minister of Health. He lost his seat in 1997 to NDP candidate Michelle Dockrill. Upon the loss of his seat, Dingwall served as the president of a lobbying firm, Wallding International Inc., a firm which he owns. I could not help but notice his choice of firm name. Because of his position as Minister of Public Works, Dingwall was called to testify at the Gomery Inquiry into the Sponsorship Scandal. There has been some doubt cast as to the truth of his testimony, in particular as regards his relationship with Chuck Guite.
In September 2005, Dingwall came under scrutiny for a series of expensestotalingg in excess of $740,000 charged to the Royal Canadian Mint. The list of expenses was obtained by Conservative MP Brian Pallister under the Access to Information Act. Because the Royal Canadian Mint is a Crown Corporation, these expenses were at a cost to the taxpayer. Stephen Taylor posted a list of his expenses, as did Stephen Fletcher. Certainly, Dingwall's most outrageous expense was for a pack of gum. As serious as it was however, this particular expense drew a fair amount of derision from the general public. Perhaps that is because Dingwall's salary was in excess of $240,000 per year and the pack of gum in question cost only $1.29.
In what was likely an attempt to save face, on September 28th, 2005, David Dingwall stepped down from his position as head of the Royal Canadian Mint. He was now under scrutiny for his role as a lobbyist for Bioniche Life Sciences Inc in 2000. Under the Technology Partnerships Canada program, Dingwall secured the company more than $15 million in contracts, for which he received an finders fee of approximately $350,000. His behaviour was justified as a clerical error, an honest mistake, despite the fact that he had repeatedly refused to appear before the Commons Committee that was to investigate his lobbying activities. Later that day, Dingwall offered a limp excuse for his behaviour, and never actually apologized for what he did.
It was suggested that Dingwall had chosen to step down as a favour to Prime Minister Martin, a last-ditch attempt to save a Party that had clearly begun to implode under the weight of its own corruption. Indeed, when it became clear that the Liberal Party had considered giving Dingwall a severance package despite the fact that he had quit, some people wondered what it was that Dingwall knew, and the possibility of hush money was raised by Conservative leader Stephen Harper. The Minister of National Revenue John McCallum suggested that the government was required to pay Dingwall severance, but during Question Period he was unable to cite which laws would force the government to pay severance to any employee who voluntarily quit their job. In the end McCallum said that Dingwall would be paid only the minimum severance requirement, but failed to indicate exactly what this minimum requirement was. Many Liberal MP's were outraged by the suggestion of a possible severance package. Outrage only grew when Prime Minister Martin not only failed to condemn Dingwall's behaviour, but even went so far as to defend him.
It came as no surprise, especially to Conservative MP Brian Pallister, when an independent audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCooper cleared Dingwall of any wrong doing. Dingwall immediately claimed that his expenses had been falsely reported by Pallister, and even had the audacity to threaten the Conservative Party with a lawsuit. It is worth noting that the auditors were not permitted to determine whether or not the Mint's spending rules were legitimate. In fact, it could be argued that the Mint really did not have any rules limiting Dingwall's spending and therefore the auditors had no choice but to clear him. Some felt that Pallister should apologize for his accusations. In addition to the packet of gum, the audit found that Dingwall had submitted a receipt for a bottle of water, but these expenses were covered under his regular $20 per diem for incidentals.
According to the Hill Times, Dingwall was entitled to $9,615.38 in severance pay. There were $6,769 in recoverable and reimbursable expenses in the audit, and were these to be deducted, the resulting severance is only $2,846.38. It is unclear, however, whether or not this is the amount of severance pay that Dingwall actually received.
Dingwall's statement on entitlements came back to haunt him in the Conservative campaign ad called "Entitlements." His behaviour, indicative of the entire Liberal Party, is now a reminder to all Canadians of who they should not vote for on the 23rd.

1/15/2006

Criminal Voters: The Fine Print

I noticed this image at Stephen Taylor's blog. Click on it, and read the very fine print.

Now, consider the irony.
"We're all voting Liberal because we all want to keep our vote, we don't want to lose other rights, like maybe they (the Conservatives) are going to come in and we're going to start losing our TVs other stuff like that."
This guy, Jeff Power, is serving 6 1/2 years in prison for drug traficking and robbery.
And he's worried about what?
Losing his TV.

Liberal Attack Ads: A Response

Proud To Be Canadian has a great clip on the Liberal attack ads, and Paul Martin's responsibility, or lack thereof.
The Conservatives also have this great response to the now-infamous military ad.

Decision Canada: A Flock of Sheep or a Pride of Lions

I recieved this article the other day, and since I enjoyed it, it has been reprinted below.

Decision Canada: A Flock of Sheep or a Pride of Lions
by Beryl Wajsman

"A nation of sheep will produce a government of wolves."
~ Bertrand de Jouvenal

I was born in the former Soviet Union. Among my earliest memories was the sight of police and soldiers in long heavy brown coats, chests covered by criss-crossed bullet holsters standing at what seemed every street corner holding large rifles. Another memory was of an old, gnarled woman bent over a small desk at the end of our apartment hallway making notes on who came and went and when. When we moved to Poland I remember my mother always telling me to be quiet when we went to the park. "People," she said, "might be listening."
As I grew, and studied, and read, the explanations became clear. The statocratic tyrants of eastern Europe said that the policemen, the watchers and the listeners were all for our own good. All for the greater good. It would make us better citizens to surrender our natural birthrights of free speech, free assembly, free association and free choice for the greater benefit of society.
That "society" it turned out was not the people writ large, but the petty little world of state social engineers who "knew what was best for us." What they knew was how to imprison us in suffocating oversight the better to control us for the "leaders" who were the living embodiment of our "values."
Some leaders.
Some values.
My parents made the decision to leave the tyranny of the mindless. We waited almost two years for the proper papers to come to Canada. No que jumping. No refugee claims. Well-educated, between the two of them they had a modest grasp of French and English and spent those years improving it. After some time in Paris we flew into Montreal in the summer of 1959. They felt very much at home. To them Montreal was a "European" city and they loved it. Seeing this, I asked, in the innocent way children do, why we went through the bother of moving. Their answer is instructive to all Canadians who will go vote on January 23rd. To be free, they said. To be free.
Not just to be free from fear. But to be free to choose. To make their own decisions about how to live, where to work, and what to strive for. Free even to make mistakes. But most of all, free from the great all-seeing eye of the state and the suffocating dictates it sent out in the name of the "collective good."
Things were not easy in the first years. But I never saw either of them resort to any agencies of government for aid. That was what they ran away from. The object lesson in life they taught me was that for everything you take from the state, you give up a piece of yourself. And bit by bit you are no longer free. Bit by bit you mouth the platitudes of big brother in return for the crumbs he offers to "care" for you from cradle to grave.
But they knew that you aren’t really cared for. You are just given enough to have hope for more so that you toe the line. You are given just enough so that you convince yourself that you don’t really matter. You convince yourself that politicians who barely know what’s good for themselves, know what’s good for you. And saddest of all, you rationalize wrongs being right and drive yourself so senseless that you can no longer even recognize what’s true.
The Liberals have run this campaign on what they call Canadian "values." If these be values, than what be treason? Treason in the only definition that really matters. The abridgment and abrogation of freedom and truth. The Liberals would have us believe that their cornucopia of nanny-state policies represent our values. The fact is that if we have to live our lives weighing every action, every communication, every human contact, wondering what agents of the state might find out about it, how they would analyse it, judge it, tamper with it, and somehow use it to our detriment, we are not truly free. And that is the mindless intervention the Liberals demand we stand for in return for the "generosity" of their cheap pork-barrel vote-grabbing schemes.
Their recent attack ads tell the whole story of their hypocrisy. They attack Stephen Harper for lacking compassion. Was it compassionate of Paul Martin to cut $30 billion out of health care and rip-off the unemployment insurance surpluses? They accuse Stephen Harper of already running a financial deficit. What about the democratic deficit in the conduct of party and public affairs of this Prime Minister who runs roughshod over every aspect of due process and just consideration?
They accuse Stephen Harper’s support of aspects of American foreign policies as being against Canadian values. Is it "Canadian" to call Muammar Khaddafi, the "butcher of Lockerbie," a man with a "...philosophical bent of mind..." as Prime Minister Martin did when he went to Libya to pander for oil leases? They attack Stephen Harper for saying that America has been a "...light and an inspiration..." to people around the world. Is Canada inspiring anyone by its cowardly failure to recognize, and expand, our own responsibilities in the fight against tyranny and terror and let others carry the burden?
They scare Canadians into believing that "You won’t recognize Canada when Harper gets through with it." Do we recognize the Canada of today upon which the Martin Liberals have imposed laws that would overturn the presumption of innocence in certain criminal cases; give state security agents open access to our e-mails; the power of "preventive control measures" against unindicted "enemies of the state;" and the right of random search of cars for drugs, all without any protection of probable cause?
They denounce Harper for being uncaring while declaring "Paul Martin cares very much." What does he care for? $167,000,000 in contracts to CSL and retroactive off-shore tax haven rules that allowed him to have CSL companies transferred to Barbados to avoid Canadian taxes. Canadians don’t have to worry about the scurrilous military ad the Liberals pulled that suggested soldiers would be in our cities. We already have the Liberals gagging and pillaging the commonweal all by themselves.
Canadians don’t need lessons in values. We have them embodied in our boldness, our vision, our conscience, our blood, our voice and our courage. The boldness of Papineau. The vision of Lafontaine, Baldwin, MacDonald and Cartier. The conscience of D’Arcy McGee and Laurier. The blood of Vimy Ridge, Dieppe, Normandy, Sinai, Rwanda and the Balkans. Labour’s voice from Winnipeg to Lac Megantic. Political courage from Marchand to Douglas to Lesage to Levesque to Trudeau.
The golden thread of Canadian values has not been dollars or daycare. It has been the resolve to base radical transformations on the foundational principles of freedom, truth and the sovereignty of each and every individual. The determination to give each one of us the opportunity to realize our full potential. An opportunity that every human life deserves without debasement to state dictate.
Over the past twenty years Canada has become a place where merely speaking truth to power is a considered a revolutionary act. Over the past twenty years our people have come to dread liberty because it demands responsibility. When you go into the voting both on January 23rd it may well be the last, best hope to take our country back. All you have to do is remember that a nation of sheep will always produce governments of wolves.

1/14/2006

Spending Cuts

The Toronto Star is running an article on the price tag of spending promises. The headline reads: "With Ottawa awash in surpluses, all three parties are ready to spend." I'd like to point out that only the Tory spending (or not spending) policies are discussed.
The article makes a comment I'd like to address.
...the $22.7 billion surplus is almost entirely based on Conservative plans to hold back the growth in spending in most government departments...
Why is this a bad thing?
Are we really so used to the government throwing millions of dollars away on programs that don't suit our needs that we as Canadians have grown to accept it as normal? Consider the taxes we pay. Then consider the services we receive in exchange for those taxes. I must confess, every time I see an "adopt a road program" sign or I get a flier for a fundraiser for the hospital just up the road from me, I wonder why it is that extra money needs to be collected. The taxes I pay are already supposed to be going to this.
I would like to see our government make do with less. If I have to stretch a dollar to learn to get by, then they can learn to do the same.

1/13/2006

Liberals Misquote Angry

I would like to direct everyone's attention to the bottom of the Liberal "press release" regarding property rights and child labour. They "quote" Angry.
"[Harper’s proposal] impacts everything. People who have seen property values destroyed by environmental legislation limiting development without compensating landowners. Gun-owners who are faced with confiscation of their legally purchased weapons without any recourse... Intellectual property owners, such as pharmaceutical companies, being strong-armed by the government to hand over valuable patents so that the government can legislate, distribute, and profit from them."
They then say: Is this why Harper wants to include property rights in the Charter?
No.
It isn't.
If you had read the quote in its complete context, you would see that Angry clearly says: It seems so simple. Canadians would have a constitutional protection against the government taking away property without compensation, and against arbitrary legislation limiting their use of their property.

But, I have a question. Are the Liberals allowed to do this? Their quotation begins with the idea that Angry "lays out the potential implications of this idea", as though Angry suggested that Harper wants to enshrine property rights so that he can strip people of their other rights, not protect them.
But this is clearly NOT what Angry said at all. He said that Harper wants to PREVENT the government from taking patents, property and so on.

It would be great if we, as a community, could somehow force the Liberals to take back thier comment and apologize. There are enough of us that I am sure we could find a way.

Canadian Property Rights

When I first saw this, I have to admit I had no idea what Stephen was talking about.
Then I did some digging around and, of course, came upon this piece of lunacy at the Liberal Party website. Take a look at what it says:
Ottawa – Conservative Leader Stephen Harper wants to add property rights to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: "I think there should be property rights protection in our Charter," Mr. Harper said during Tuesday night’s Leaders’ Debate. Can he be serious? Mr. Harper’s radical proposal to include property rights in the Charter could be used to strike down laws that protect workers, children, unions and the environment. Mr. Harper’s proposal is a fundamental change to the Charter. It would necessitate a comprehensive round of constitutional negotiations with the provinces, and require the approval of seven provinces and 50 per cent of the population to be implemented. Mr. Harper’s proposal to "protect" property rights borrows heavily from radical right-wing conservatives today in the United States who want to use the "protection" of property rights to prevent the United States government from regulating. Led by Justice Clarence Thomas, the "Constitution-in-Exile" movement seeks to return the American legal landscape to the Lochner Era of the 1930s, where the Court struck down laws forbidding child labour, setting a minimum wage, establishing workplace safety standards, and promoting unionization, all in the name of "protecting" property rights. This period is widely discredited as one of the greatest mistakes in American legal history.
Let's sum up this long-winded piece of nonsense.
Canadians should not have rights to their own property.
You are free to do anything you want, so long as the government can take your land, money, patents and use them for their own ends.
Because Harper suggested the Charter should protect your right to own property, he must be an American in disguise. Why else would he want you to have the right to the property that you bought and paid for with your own money? He must also support child labour. Isn't it obvious?
Whatever.
As to this lucidrous notion of child labour, all I can say is that the Liberal Party really, REALLY needs to stop talking out of its ass. What do you think? That Canadians are stupid? No one is going to buy this completely insane argument, so stop making up stuff like this.
It's not the truth. In fact, it doesn't look like anything even remotely resembling the truth. It looks like desperation.

Edit: The piece that followed has been moved to different post.

Polygamy: Gay Marriage and the Slippery Slope Argument

Cast your memory back in time. Think of the infamous gay marriage bill and the arguments surrounding it. Do you recall anything similar to the following exchange?
"If we allow gay marriage, then it won't be long before we have to allow polygamy as well."
"Polygamy? Nonsense. You are clearly using a slippery slope argument."
"But, what would be the difference between allowing gay marriage and polygamous marriages?"
"Polygamy is clearly harmful to society, especially to women and children. Polygamous relationships often involve some degree of incest. There is a big difference between gay marriages and polygamous marriages."
"Really?"

Behold!
Put this in your pipe and smoke it!
I told you!! Too bad I didn't blog on it at the time.
And get a load of what they say at CTV! But the project was also intended to provide the Liberal government with ammunition to help defend its same-sex marriage bill last spring.
Unbelievable!
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