1/29/2007

Censorship

This just in from Ezra Levant at the Calgary Sun:
Ask a thousand Canadians what a "telecaster" is, and 99% would probably think it was a 1950s word for a newfangled TV set. But Telecaster is actually the name of the agency that screens TV ads.
Instead of advertisers having to get approval from every single TV station in the country, Telecaster is their one-stop shop. Canadian TV stations outsource their judgment to Telecaster, which is in charge of basic standards -- no profanity, for example.
Telecaster approves political ads, too. And so, what is a rubber stamp when it comes to toothpaste and shampoo ads becomes a powerful political censor when it comes election campaigns.
If Telecaster's decision-makers were normal people -- if they cared more about toothpaste and shampoo than politics -- this wouldn't be a problem.
But Telecaster's boss, James Patterson, cares enormously about politics.
Over the last three years, according to Elections Canada data dug up by blogger Stephen Taylor, Patterson made a whopping 17 donations to the Liberal Party, totalling more than $4,300.
That's more than most MPs give to their own parties. That's an extreme partisan.
One of the donations was even made in January 2006, just days before the last election. That's important, because Patterson was in charge of censoring TV ads that very moment. And censor he did.
That was when the Liberals rolled out their attack ads, claiming Stephen Harper was going to put "soldiers in our streets". It was absurd, and it backfired.
The point is Telecaster, run by Jim Patterson, didn't censor them, even though they used images of Stephen Harper without his permission.
But when the Conservatives produced a response to those attack ads -- showing video clips of Liberal MPs admitting their own attack ads had gone too far -- Telecaster censored the ads. Telecaster ordered the Conservative ads off the air.
The story gets worse: Telecaster yanked the ads after a complaint from the CBC, because it was their footage that captured the MPs making those statements. The CBC actively intervened to knock Conservative ads off the air. And the Telecaster censor, who just happened to be a major Liberal donor, was happy to comply.
Isn't that a cosy little family?
Has the CBC ever complained about the Liberals using images of Conservative politicians taken from CBC cameras? Don't be ridiculous. The CBC is a wing of the Liberal Party -- the left wing.
When it's not busy trying to yank Conservative ads off the air, it's running Liberal propaganda using tax dollars -- long infomercials, thinly disguised as political talk shows or "documentaries."
All this came out in the open last week when Telecaster refused to allow the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association to run a TV ad briefly showing Harper's own image -- even though the CRFA owned the footage themselves. Telecaster told the CRFA that they couldn't show a picture of Harper without his permission -- a ridiculous requirement that Harper does not want.
We know where this is going.
Patterson, the big Liberal donor, is getting ready to block Tory ads in the upcoming campaign. He knows thin-skinned Stephane Dion, the new Liberal leader, won't grant permission to the Tories to use footage of him saying foolish things.
So he's trying to set a new rule, a new precedent, to protect Dion.
In a free society, politicians have to live with the consequences of what they say. Patterson, the Telecaster censor, wants to change that. We know the CBC is on side with him. What about the rest of Canada's media?

Words fail me. It has been fairly obvious for some time that the media is run by the liberal elite, but not even I expected it to be this bad.

1/27/2007

Legalizing Prostitution: Not on Our Watch

This from canada.com
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday he and all Canadians are feeling both horror and revulsion as they watch the Robert "Willie" Pickton murder trial unfold in B.C., but he said the case does not convince him Canada needs to legalize prostitution.
The New Democratic Party, citing evidence presented before a parliamentary committee that reported its findings last month, called on Parliament at the start of Pickton's trial Monday to consider decriminalizing the sex trade.
"In terms of the events that are on trial in the Pickton trial, I think all Canadians experience just unbelievable horror and outrage at the acts that have been committed. And I don't think there's a person in this country (who) cannot react with extreme revulsion to the events that are on trial there," Harper said at a news conference.
"In terms of legalization of prostitution I can just tell you that obviously that's something that this government doesn't favour. I think that's a separate debate."
Pickton is on trial in New Westminster, B.C. for six of the 26 counts of murder in connection with women, mostly drug-addicted prostitutes, who went missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. His trial on the other 20 counts will take place at a later date.
NDP House leader Libby Davies, whose Vancouver East riding includes the Downtown Eastside, issued a statement Monday saying sex-trade workers are endangered by Canada's law prohibiting communication for the purposes of engaging in prostitution.

And this is exactly one of the reasons I voted Conservative. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: decriminalizing and regulating prostitution is a really bad idea. It will not solve anything and only make matters worse.

1/19/2007

Secular Ontario

No, I am not referring to the moral state of my home province.
In fact, I am referring to the advocacy group that believes it is within its rights to enforce secular practices on everyone.
Municipal councils across Ontario are defying a call for them to stop reciting the Lord's Prayer before their meetings.
An advocacy group called Secular Ontario sent letters to 18 municipal councils in November claiming the recitation of the prayer violated a 1999 Ontario Court of Appeal ruling. Since then, only Middlesex County has abolished the prayer. Meanwhile, many others -- including Durham Region, Oshawa, Peterborough and Grey County -- have either ignored Secular Ontario's warning or voted to maintain their current practice.
"I'm really quite surprised we stirred up such a hornet's nest," said Secular Ontario president Henry Beissel. "I thought that once government officials discovered they were breaking the law they would hasten to correct it -- but that doesn't seem to be the case."
Mr. Beissel said the continued recitation of the prayer goes against "fundamental" principles of Canadian society.
"You cannot privilege one faith without creating forms of oppression or discrimination at least," Mr. Beissel said.
Durham Region is poised to become the latest municipality to reject Mr. Beissel's contention. On Wednesday, the region's finance and administration committee voted to continue opening meetings with the Lord's Prayer.
Oshawa Mayor John Gray, who sits on Durham's council along with his own city council, argued there is nothing wrong with the custom.
"It's good that we say a prayer, ask for guidance from above in all the decisions that we make," Mr. Gray said. "I don't think there's anything there that's threatening to anyone, especially to those of other faiths. I've spoken to some and they've told me they have no problem with the Lord's Prayer."
St. Thomas Mayor Cliff Bardwick said his council will also maintain the tradition. "If we had an elected member of the council who was not of the Christian faith, we would certainly come to some resolution so that everyone would be satisfied," Mr. Bardwick said.
Mr. Gray contends recitation of the prayer does not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because no one is compelled to participate. "Everybody cites the constitution," Mr. Gray said. "But when you read the constitution, it doesn't say we have freedom from religion, it says we have freedom of religion. And sadly, the constitution is being used to erode some of the things we've held near and dear over the many years."
Secular Ontario believes the continued use of the Lord's Prayer violates a 1996 court ruling against the town of Penetanguishene. In that case, Henry Freitag, a 70-year-old Holocaust survivor, sued the municipality, saying he felt intimidated and uncomfortable because of the recitation of the Lord's Prayer at meetings. The court agreed the practice imposed "a Christian moral tone on the deliberations of council" and violated Mr. Freitag's Charter rights.

I love how these people go so far as to accuse praying council members of breaking the law. And people wonder why it is the so-called religious right gets its panties in a bundle. When you have groups like Secular Ontario out there, depriving people of their right to pray, enforcing their secular "morality" on everyone, it's a wonder more people don't get angry. To suggest that prayer goes against the "fundamentals" of Canadian society shows you just how depraved some people are.
Frankly, I am thrilled most municipal councils have ignored these guys. If someone has an issue with saying the Lord's Prayer, they have the right to speak up or remove themselves from the room. No one needs a bunch of interfering secular extremists poking their nose where it doesn't belong.

1/12/2007

Worth a Thousand Words...

(ht: Proud To Be Canadian)

The Incredible Shrinking Party

As our good Prime Minister said, "I watch... exits from the Liberal party with interest."
Mark Persaud, Former head of the Liberals' Multiculturalism Committee, has left the Liberal Party and joined the Conservatives.
I almost feel sorry for Dion.
Almost.
Not quite.

Assisted Human Reproduction

I happened to come across this interesting article at PoliticsWatch.com. It's about the reaction of this American to the appointment of members to the Board of Directors of Assisted Human Reproduction Canada.
First of all, let me just say that I didn't even know such a thing existed. It really hasn't been in the news at all. According to the website, Assisted Human Reproduction Canada (AHRC), was established under the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, and received Royal Assent on March 29, 2004. This was in response to the 1993 Report of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies.
The American in question is Sigrid Fry-Revere, Director of Bioethics Studies at The Cato Institute. His opinion is that:
Once again politics is mucking up potentially ground breaking research. In 1993 the Royal Commission on Reproductive Technologies recommended banning all assisted reproduction involving commercialized arrangements, experimental procedures, and other potentially unethical and/or unsafe treatments, Canada has been on whatever one might call the opposite of being at the forefront of reproductive technologies.
Since 1995 there has been a "voluntary" moratorium on the use of many reproductive technologies, including embryonic stem cell research, cloning, and genetic engineering of all kinds. In 2004, almost ten years later, the Assisted Human Reproduction Act passed with the Royal Commission's blessing and now Canada's Health Minister Tony Clement has closed out 2006 with the appointment of a board to implement the Act.
That ten member board consists of policy, bioethics, and religious experts. They are the ones who will manage the new agency (The Assisted Human Reproduction Canada) created by the Act to license, monitor, evaluate, activities controlled by the Act. There is no one on the board with a history of advocating either for those in need of reproductive technologies or embryonic stem cell research. It is likely, given the composition of the board, that the regulations promised for nineteen months from now will have little to offer those in need of new reproductive technologies or embryonic stem cell therapies.
There isn't much hope on the horizon for new reproductive technologies and embryonic stem cell research in Canada, but in the U.S. both available treatments and research way surpass developments to the north. There even are several therapeutic protocols in the U.S. for infertility treatment using embryonic stem cells. So, unless politics stymies scientific advancements in the U.S. as well, Canadians will still have the option of looking to their neighbors for help.

Liberal MP's Ruby Dhalla and Carolyn Bennett would apparently agree with him. They say that "We end up with a rabbi and a nun (on the board), we end up with all this sort of religious, ethical stuff swirling around and we have left out the people affected... and it's distracting in this particular topic." Supposedly the government has "stacked" the board "with members who actually overtly oppose stem-cell research and the use of assisted reproductive technologies."
So, the Director at Cato must have a point, right?
Wrong.
Dhalla and Bennett are also wrong.
First of all, if you read the article at PoliticsWatch and also check the AHR website, you will note that the Board will consist of 13 members. Right now, there are only 10. The Agency will not be operational until all 13 members are appointed. It is premature to comment on the structure of the Board until all members have been selected.
Secondly, the two primary objectives of the AHR are:
* to protect and promote the health and safety, and the human dignity and human rights, of Canadians in relation to AHR; and

* to foster the application of ethical principles in relation to AHR.

Since the question of ethics is a part of the primary objectives of the organization, people of religion must be included in the Board. It would be inappropriate in the extreme for the government to exclude peoples of faith on any question of ethics. Religion (or lack thereof) is probably one of the most important components of an individuals ethics. The question of life and when does it begin is also very important to many religious groups. There is a wide variety of opinion and a Board like this must include as many voices as it can. Even if a true consensus cannot be fully obtained, there must at least be an opportunity for diverse views to be heard.
Also, I disagree with Fry-Revere's implicit assumption that a government should not ban unethical medical procedures. As far as I am concerned, that is their job. You simply cannot give carte blanche approval to any and all forms of research. Recall that the Nazis also performed medical research. Who did they use?
That's right. Innocent victims holed up in concentration camps.
To say that a government should never ban unethical research and should never be involved in controlling what can and can't be done in the name of research opens the door to a scenario like that. Certainly, this is not what the good doctor intended. Still, you have to be careful what you advocate.
Given Fry-Revere's argument, it also seems likely that he is unaware of the legal situation in Canada with regards to abortion. When it comes to the topic of stem cell research, abortion is never too far behind. It must be noted that unlike the US, Canada has absolutely no abortion laws whatsoever. I discovered this last month when I did some reading on the issue (I was intrigued by the reaction to Elizabeth May's comments.) Due to our lack of law, some very extreme scenarios are possible.
For example, a woman has little to no legal recourse if she is forced to have an abortion. A woman can have an abortion right up until delivery if she so chooses. A woman has little or no legal recourse if someone shoots her in the stomach and kills her baby but she survives. The list goes on. There is nothing, so far as I can tell, that might prevent an unethical doctor from harvesting stem cells from pregnant women by performing an abortion without her consent if she does not yet know she is pregnant. (If you can cite a law to the contrary, please do so, as I am continuously looking for more info on this subject. The "no one would ever do that" argument does NOT count.)
In closing, I'd like to add that I really don't care what a doctor from the US, who hasn't bothered to fully inform himself of the situation, has to say on how we deal with our ethical research issues. The laws in Canada are not the same as the US. The political situation is not the same. If anything should come up that might involve Charter Rights (and it probably will), then things will proceed slowly and carefully... as they should. Quite frankly, he should have withheld judgment until he had an opportunity to see final composition of the Board and how it functions.

1/11/2007

Don't Let the Door Hit You In the Butt...

So, a few days after Khan leaves the Liberals to join the Tories, Liberal MP Jean Lapierre announces that he too is leaving the Liberals. He wants to be on TV instead. Harper comments "I watch... exits from the Liberal party with interest."
Yeah. Don't we all.
As many have heard by now, Justin Trudeau is planning to enter politics... as a Liberal of course. It will be interesting to see if he actually runs or not. If he does, I will watch the next election with great interest. I can imagine nothing worse for the Liberal Party than Justin Trudeau. Young voters won't care unless they are already Liberal and older voters will only be disgusted by this blatant act of opportunism.
Part of me wonders if more Liberals will flee what appears to be a sinking ship. If the future holds more resignations, we could see a Conservative majority in the next election. Truth be told, I think it would do the Liberal Party the world of good to be out of power for a while. They need to rebuild themselves, much in the way the Conservatives did after Mulroney.

1/05/2007

The Wrath of Khan

Ok, so he probably isn't all that angry. Still, how could I resist? ;-)

The circumstances surrounding former Liberal MP Wajid Khan's decision to cross the floor illustrates perfectly why floor crossing must remain in our political system. True, there are the Stronach's and Emerson's of the political sphere. There always will be. But when a party leader objects to a member helping the government, when he objects to an MP working for the good of the country, then that MP has no choice but to leave.
Khan unquestionably made the right decision.
Dion, on the other hand, unquestionably made a catastrophic mistake. That friends of Khan's feel that the immigrant vote is being taken for granted by the Liberals only supports my view. To suggest that an Opposition MP should not be working with the government on important issues is arrogance. To then state that your party is willing to co-operate with the government after you have forbidden a member from doing so is blatant hypocrisy.
Whenever the next election happens, if even one Liberal stands up to accuse the Conservative party of "blind partisanship," I hope someone brings up this incident. It is yet another perfect illustration of why the Liberals should not be given power until they can clean up their act. Nothing has changed. They are still the same old myopic and pitifully corrupt organization.

Welcome to a New Year

The holidays were great. My husband had the whole week off, plus the holiday Monday of course. It was incredibly relaxing. Now it's back to the old grind.
So far the New Year has brought us the right to life as a value of the left (at some point I plan to blog on the impact Elizabeth May's statements have had) and not just the socially conservative right, the hanging of Saddam, a crazed psycho crashing her car into the Prime Ministers house, a boy with two moms and a dad (this is what gay marriage gets you) a Conservative Cabinet shuffle and Liberal MP Wajid Khan being given an ultimatum by Dion: you're either with us or against us. This ultimatum lead to his crossing the floor and joining the Conservative party.
This promises to be an interesting year.
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