12/22/2006

Merry Christmas

It is unlikely that I will blog over the holidays.
Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year.
May you experience the richest of God's blessings during this holiday season.

12/18/2006

War is Not the Answer: Merry Christmas and Parking

(ht: Proud To Be Canadian)
This one is for my husband.
He really loves driving.
Really.

Merry Christmas

I got this one from my sister.

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make this country great (not to imply that this country is a country you are part of, nor that it is necessarily greater than any other country, or is indeed the only "your country" worth referring to), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual reference of the wishee. By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Sex Workers to Sue

Prostitutes should not be referred to as sex workers. Prostitution should not be referred to as the "sex trade" or the "sex industry." There is nothing empowering about prostitution. Decriminalizing it will NOT make it safe. Without exception, every country in the world that has trade it has failed miserably. Prostitutes end up in worse situations than they were before.
But really, I don't expect people to listen to my common sense. I expect them to believe garbage like this.
OTTAWA -- A leading advocacy group for decriminalizing prostitution in Canada is planning to take the federal government to court over laws that it says endanger the lives of sex workers across the country.
Valerie Scott, executive director of Sex Professionals of Canada, says the legal action will go ahead in January.
"The communicating and bawdy house laws are arbitrary," Scott said in an interview from Toronto.
"They do more harm than good, and we'll be filing in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. We're hoping to get a judgement from them within two years. Then we'll go to the Supreme Court of Canada with it."
The common bawdy house laws can evict women from their homes, since landlords receive a notice of their alleged activities, said Wendy Babcock, spokeswoman for the Sex Professionals of Canada.
Scott, who expects to be one of the plaintiffs in the court case, says the group will challenge the country's solicitation laws on constitutional grounds.

Constitutional grounds?
What? You want to argue that the law should protect your "right" to be treated like an object? You want the law to abandon all pretense of protecting the weak and helpless who get dragged into this life of depravity?

The sex trade in Canada falls into a legal grey area because, while prostitution itself is not illegal, activities related to it are. Individuals who communicate for the purpose of prostitution or who sell sexual services can be charged under the Criminal Code.
"It's really unfortunate that our profession is one of the few professions that doesn't have any legal protection to it," Babcock said. "Making it illegal is just forcing women into dangerous situations."

It's not a profession!! Stop calling it that. You are there at the beck and call of men who don't give a rats ass about what happens to you. Rape and abuse are rampant. Decriminalization will only encourage this.
News of violence against sex trade workers has garnered headlines in recent weeks. The slayings of five women in Ipswitch, England, triggered warnings for prostitutes there to stay off the streets.
In Canada, a seven-months-pregnant mother of three was stabbed to death in Gatineau, Que., after an alleged "bad date." And jurors have just been selected for the trial of Robert Picton, the alleged serial killer of at least 26 sex workers from Vancouver's notorious Downtown Eastside.
A 2006 Statistics Canada report said women in the sex trade are extremely vulnerable to violence which "often goes unnoticed."
"According to police reports submitted to Statistics Canada, between 1991 and 2004, 171 female prostitutes were killed and 45 per cent of these homicides remain unsolved," the report said.
Statistics on the homicide rate of sex workers are "almost certainly lower than the real figures," according to a report issued this month by a Commons subcommittee. Three-quarters of the homicides reported to the panel took place in Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton, Toronto, Winnipeg and Ottawa-Gatineau.

But none of these things are good arguments for decriminalizing prostitution. If anything, they are arguments for stiffer penalties for pimps and johns. The men who commit these crimes need to pay. They do NOT need an environment which will encourage their bad behaviour. If you remove all penalties for their crimes, their behaviour will only get worse. They will still rape and abuse you. They will still kill you.
Only now, they will be doing it in a "safe" environment.
Safe for who?
Not you, the prostitute.
Safe for them, the deviant.

McGuinty Gets a Raise

I meant to blog on this last week. McGuinty decided that he and his fellow MPP's need a raise of over $22,000. He called it the hard way out; not giving himself a raise would have been the easy thing to do.
Yeah, right.
In this article at Canada.com, a professor from the University of Toronto tries to argue that MPP's are underpaid.
"If we use public sector standards, MPPs are dramatically underpaid," Wiseman said.
"An increase of even 50 per cent would not be outrageous when you take into account that the budget of the province is $90 billion a year. You are dealing with small change here."

This has to be the worst argument I have ever seen. Raises are often based on performance. It would be hard to argue that this government has performed well. The Caledonia situation is unresolved as yet and McGuinty introduced a tax intended to fund the health system and then cut a bunch of nursing jobs. If I sat and thought about it, I could probably come up with more examples of poor performance on the part of this government.
The worst part of the argument is the provincial budget. The budget is not $90 billion because it needs to be that high. It's $90 billion because of the colossal amount of waste. A few weeks ago we heard about how Children's Aid wasted money on fancy hotel rooms, meals and the like. They are not the only department wasting money like that.
The Opposition is supporting the wage increase. To be frank, I am not really surprised. Who is going to turn down free money? I would like to see someone really take the hard road and turn down a pay hike.

12/13/2006

Senate Reform: Update

According to Canada.com:
The proposed change will not see voters elect Senators directly, it would allow for a plebiscite to choose candidates and the government would still make appointments. A plurality voting system may be used at first, later moving to a preferential system of proportional representation, the prime minister said.

It would seem I was over-hasty in my joy. We will not be able to elect our senators directly immediately. Instead, the bill will allow Canadians to choose who would represent them, and the Prime Ministers would make appointments from that list. Although not as good as moving straight to an elected Senate, this is still an important first step.

Senate Reform

I just heard it on the news this morning. The Conservatives will be introducing a bill to reform the Senate. We will finally get to elect our senators.
It's about time!!

12/07/2006

Disturbing Trends: Don't Talk About It

Recently, the Carleton University Student's Association passed a motion banning all pro-life organizations. If you want to be a pro-life group, do not expect to receive student union money and do not meet on campus at Carleton. The incident that prompted this motion was nothing extreme. A pro-life group was not shooting campus nurses performing abortions. They were not staging sit-ins at an on-campus abortion clinic. They were not distributing fliers of any type.
All they wanted to do was have a debate on abortion.
An on-campus women's group decided that a debate constituted discrimination against women and their choice to have an abortion.
Please read that sentence again.
A debate constituted discrimination.
There was no injury inflicted, no harassment, no protests. One group on campus wanted to debate.
A debate constituted discrimination.
Today, the motion to reopen the debate on same-sex marriage was voted down. Parliament, having passed a law through the most unethical of means, in its almighty wisdom decided that Canadians want to move on to another subject. Same-sex marriage is a right. To bring such a serious subject up for debate or discussion in the House again constitutes discrimination.
Again, a debate constitutes discrimination.
It would appear that "rights" and "choice" are becoming two very dangerous words. They have more power to silence the masses than any two words should have.
If a debate within a university is considered discrimination, if a debate within the House of Commons is considered discrimination, as Canadians we should be concerned not only about the quality of education being delivered in this country but also about the future direction our country may take. If debates regarding serious issues with moral implications are no longer socially acceptable for fear of "discrimination" (and I use that word lightly), then the ability to objectively question anything will disappear. Objective facts no longer have any relevance to a discussion because there simply will be no discussion. Freedom of speech will no longer have any meaning because no one will be talking about anything of significance. Instead, the will of an elite group will be imposed on all. Superstition and misinformation will abound.
Moral issues, and especially the positions people take on moral issues, will always cause divisions of some sort. It is unrealistic to expect everyone to agree. However, to silence discussion on a moral issue because one group uses the word "discrimination" is unwise. Moral issues always have some social impact. Despite what some will claim, it is not possible to abstract a person from their moral, ethical and religious beliefs. They all affect how a person behaves as an individual and within society. As such, any issue that has a moral aspect must be properly discussed and examined. The society as a whole, not just its lawmakers, should carefully consider what future impact a moral (or, in this case immoral) behaviour will have.
The unfortunate thing about immoral behaviours is that they lend themselves to slippery slopes. Without help, people do not naturally tend to become less depraved; instead they only become more depraved. Negative behaviours are more quickly assimilated and mimicked than positive ones. This is especially true with children.
Historically, enforced silence has never been a good thing. With the recent decisions of Carleton University Student's Association and the House of Commons, it is my fear that we may be voluntarily progressing towards it. Self-censure on issues that are so important is bad enough. Neither of these cases qualify as self-censure however. The order "Don't talk about it" has been given. What is worse is that the media, whose job it is to expose such serious issues, is over-joyed to be moving on! This is especially true with the same sex marriage debate.
It is now more important than ever that we keep ourselves fully informed of social issues. We must also keep our children informed. Where debates are silenced, enforced acceptance and indoctrination quickly follow. This is not a problem only for Christians; it is a problem for anyone who may have a differing view than what is socially accepted. We must learn how to tackle tough issues without fear. We must effectively spot group think and stand up for what we believe.
Most of all, we must not back down when the words "rights," "choice," and "discrimination" are inappropriately used.

12/05/2006

W.A.A. waa waa

Real life is better than any movie. I couldn't make stuff like this up.

The Liberal Environment "Plan"

There is an interesting article in the National Post today about Dion's plan for the environment.
Now I know the Liberal's can't possibly win the next election.
I sat around the Cabinet table from [Stephane Dion] and I can tell you, he couldn't balance a cheque book." That was the view of one former Liberal minister who is now professing undying devotion to his party's new leader.
Dion's victory is inevitably going to mean much greater scrutiny of the man and his abilities by a media and Conservative party playing catch-up. Michael Fortier, the Public Works Minister, said on Saturday it means his party will have to explain more clearly Dion's record as environment minister.
Already we have seen the Tories wheel out the recent Environment Commissioner's report, which suggests Canada will be 35% over its Kyoto target by 2012.

So, the Conservatives who are apparently so anti-environment, will actually be 35% OVER their target in less than a mere 6 years. Interesting. I wonder what the Liberal plan could be, since it must be so much better.
"On the whole, the [Liberal] government's response to climate change is not a good story," said Johanne Gelinas, Commissioner of the Environment, pointing out that Liberals allocated more than $6-billion in funding for initiatives without any method of accounting for performance or results.
It's only a matter of time -- say, right now -- before someone asks why Dion is so keen to bring back comedian Rick Mercer's One Tonne Challenge but has taken a pass on the only measure that has proven effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- investment in more nuclear energy. Emissions from Ontario's coal plants dropped 12 million tonnes between 2000 and 2004, entirely because four laid-up nuclear reactors were returned to service, by far the biggest reduction since Canada signed on to Kyoto. Dion's position is to instead invest in alternative and renewable energy sources.

Bring back Rick Mercer? That's their big plan? Hmmm. There must be more.
But perhaps the biggest worry should Dion ever become prime minister is an apparent blind spot for the workings of the market. The new Liberal leader holds a doctorate in sociology but has never held an economic portfolio. Judging by the sections of his environmental plan that touch on the economy, it's just as well for Canada.
Dion's plan -- a recycled and updated version of the Liberals' Project Green -- envisages an emissions trading market, where companies are allocated a cap on their emission levels by the government. If they exceed their limit, they can offset those emissions by buying credits from the government for $15 a tonne. This market would be in place until 2012, when the price would float.

Maybe I am missing something here.
Comapanies will be given an emissions cap. They may not exceed this cap. If they do, instead of being fined or forced to close, they may simply buy credits to increase this cap. The credits will cost $15 per tonne. I am curious to know how much power and emissions that actually is in practice. Still, I don't see how allowing companies to buy credits is going to solve an emissions problem. Wouldn't larger, and likely more polluting, companies simply be able to buy as much as they want and make no change at all in their behaviour... which I thought was supposed to be the point of an environment plan?
Dion has stuck with this plan, even though the Liberal government's own consultants warned that major emitters would hoard the credits

Yes. That is what I thought.
and wait until the price rose, at which point they'd make a killing at the expense of the taxpayer.

And this is precisely the problem with most Liberal plans. Instead of fixing anything, the Liberals simply dump the problem onto the lap of the taxpayer. This means I'd have to shell out yet more money to pay for a problem that I didn't create and have nothing to do with. The rich wankers who own these big, polluting companies are entirely unaffected. This is yet more proof that the Liberal Party is the party of the rich. They have no care or concern for the common citizen.
But Dion's tin ear for market realities goes further. Under his plan, not only does the government play a role allocating the quota of emissions credits and act as the seller of those credits, it is also the biggest buyer in the market, through the establishment of the Climate Fund. Dion billed this $6-billion pool of taxpayer cash as "the cornerstone" of his carbon market, buying "carbon equity" in emerging green technologies proposed by companies. "In effect, the Climate Fund will become Canada's carbon bank," says Dion's leadership campaign platform.
The new Liberal leader's office maintains that the government's role as the setter of price, supply and demand was only meant to help launch a carbon market and provide liquidity in its early years.

Hmm. This doesn't sound totally legal to me. In any case, it certainly isn't completley kosher. What would be in place to prevent the Liberals from benefiting their rich, polluting-business owning friends?
But critics contend that this level of intrusion would distort a carbon emissions market beyond feasibility. "It's a completely unmanageable conflict of interest," said Aldyen Donnelly, a consultant who advises companies on how to respond to government regulation.
"The government would be the Bank of Canada, the Royal Bank, and the Royal Bank's biggest customer all at once."

So, the answer to my question would appear to be "Nothing. Nothing at all. In fact, that is exactly what is likely to happen under the proposed plan."
The only saving grace with this arrangement is that the Competition Bureau would probably have intervened and jailed all involved for indulging in anti-competitive behaviour.

I thought it sounded illegal.
That is being facetious -- just. But it does not bode well for what Dion would do to the rest of the economy were he ever to become prime minister.

No kidding.
Like I said already, Dion is indicative of everything that is wrong with the Liberal Party.

Thoughts on Stephane Dion

Not surprisingly, the media has been abuzz with news of the recent election of Stephane Dion as head of the Liberal Party. To be honest, I didn't really know too much about him as a candidate, so I needed to mull things over before posting my thoughts.
A few things have struck me. First of all, I did not hear much about Dion during the leadership campaign. Much of the media attention was focused on Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff. Despite the fact that many Conservatives feared the election of Bob Rae, not only did I expect Ignatieff to win, I think he would have been a much tougher opponent. While it is true he did make several political gaffes during the course of the campaign, most of his mistakes were focused on by the media and not the general public. Ignatieff sat slightly to the right on many issues, despite being a lefty and this would make him palatable to those who are more centrist and not definitively left or right. His election would also signified a new direction within the Liberal Party; he was definitely not a member of either the Chretien or Martin camps. Ignatieff would have had the ability to rebuild the Liberal Party much in the same way the Conservatives were rebuilt.
Instead, Dion was elected.
Dion, in my opinion, represents everything that is wrong with the Liberal Party. He is the "old way." He was solidly backed by Chretien and was Chretien's chief man in Quebec. Despite what Carolyn Parrish had to say last night on the Michael Coren Show, I do not for a minute believe that a man who had such a heavy hand in the Clarity Act could possibly have been kept uninformed about what was going on with regards to the Sponsorship Programme. The only options in his case are that he either knew or is an incredibly naive individual and therefore incapable of leading the country. There is no middle ground. It will be interesting to see what turns up when more eager minds than mine start digging around.
Dion is not well liked in his home province of Quebec. This is definitely a problem for the Liberal Party. They lost seats in the last election. By choosing Dion, the Liberals will most likely lose more seats the next time around. They may find that there are no seats in Quebec left to them at all. The Bloc and the Conservatives could very well clean house. He will have to work hard to "win friends and influence people."
Dion's platform was primarily the environment and Kyoto. However, Dion was formerly the Environment minister. The Liberals have a dismal record in this regard. While some have complained that the Conservatives haven't done enough, they are at least doing something. The Liberals did nothing at all. If it comes to an election and the Liberals try to run with the environment as their main platform, they will lose.
It has been mentioned by some that despite being an intellectual, Dion lacks charisma. He also has no patience for the media. As far as I am concerned, the media has been pampered. I don't consider it a bad thing that Dion doesn't like them. It will be interesting to watch the media grovel to him for attention though. Instead of bemoaning his disdain (as they do when shunned by Harper) I fully expect the media to bend over backwards for the new Liberal leader.
The biggest problem with Dion is arguably his dual citizenship. As most are aware by now, as well as being a Canadian Dion holds citizenship in France. He should be forced to give it up if he wants to be Prime Minister. How can he expect the Canadian public to believe that he wouldn't be unduly influenced by his loyalties overseas? Worse, what would happen if we had to go to war but were on the opposite side of France? It would be nothing short of disaster!
It has been commented here that the race was fixed back in October. While I am still looking for solid proof of this, there does seem to some evidence to support the notion that the race was at least a little bit fixed. Martha Hall-Findley received mostly sympathy votes so that it wouldn't "look bad," so that it wouldn't look like an old boys club where women were unable to compete. I find this interesting, since the Liberals claim to be the great advocates of women's rights. Also, there does seem to have been at least some backroom deal going on with regards to people moving into Dion's camp as they dropped off the ballot and not Ignatieff's. I also wonder about the fact that the Liberal Party voted down the motion to convert their voting system to one member-one vote; instead they stuck with their delegate system. The delegate system favours those who are already a part of the current power structure, which Dion definitely was and Ignatieff definitely was not. (As an aside, it was truly laughable to hear the CTV news staff refer to the election as "democracy in action.")
Despite media "warnings" that the Conservatives should not underestimate Dion and the Liberals, I wonder if the Liberals haven't underestimated not only the Conservatives but the Canadian public. It would not surprise me. By choosing a member of the old guard, the Liberals have sent a very clear signal that their party is not about to change. This is arrogant, and the implications are clear enough. I expect the Liberals to be in Opposition for a while. It may be the best thing for them. If they were to lose the next two elections, especially if at least one of those resulted in a majority for the Conservatives, the Liberals would have their desperately needed opportunity to reshape themselves into something more like a governing body and less like the mafia.

12/02/2006

Liberal Leader: Stephane Dion

So, Stephane Dion is the new leader of the Liberal Party. To be honest, I was not expecting that. I was expecting it to come down to Rae vs. Ignatieff. It will be interesting to see what happens. For now, I don't have too many thoughts on the matter.
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