When Looking for Directions...

I was recently shown this bit of Internet oddity.

1. Go to maps.google.com
2. Click on Directions
3. In the From field, type "New York"
4. In the To field, type "London"
5. Scroll down to #23.


Banning the Incandescent Bulb

In an effort to "Go Green," the Tories have announced a potential ban on the incandescent light bulb by 2012 as a part of their new plan for the environment. The ban will save Canadians money, save on electricity and help reduce greenhouse emissions.
To be frank, I am not sure how I feel about this. To be sure, fluorescent bulbs do cut energy use. They also last longer than incandescents. Our house has a little more than 50% fluorescent lights, and I did notice that our electricity bill went down. But really, is banning incandescent bulbs the most important thing a government can do? It ranks nowhere at all on my personal list of priorities a government should have. There are so many significant social ills that the Conservatives could be working on. Banning a certain type of light bulb seems somehow puerile, stupid, a waste of my time and valuable tax dollars.
I did not vote Conservative so I could watch them diddle away at peanut issues. There are bigger problems in this country than incandescent light bulbs.

Unlikely Allies

From Canada.com:
The motion [to withdraw from Afghanistan], which called upon the government to notify NATO allies immediately that Canada’s combat operations in southern Afghanistan will conclude in February 2009, was defeated 150-134 later in the day by Conservative and New Democratic Party MPs.

I find it very interesting that the NDP decided to support the government, given their opposition to the war. The article doesn't go into detail on the reason for their decision. However, I would be willing to bet that the NDP weighed the value of leaving Afghanistan and not rebuilding the country versus continuing the both the war and the rebuilding effort. They made the right decision as far as I am concerned.

Update @ 2:43pm: It would appear that my praise for the NDP was unwarranted. They supported the government because they want the troops out now and feel the Liberal motion does not go far enough. I should have known that weighing the importance of staying the course would not be something the NDP would do.


Tories Right About Prostitution

From Canada.com:
Decriminalizing prostitution would lead to the exploitation of women and it is, therefore, off the table for the current Conservative government, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says in a report.
"This government condemns any conduct that results in exploitation or abuse and, accordingly, does not support any reforms, such as decriminalization, that would facilitate such exploitation," Nicholson wrote the House of Commons justice committee. "For these reasons, this government continues to address prostitution by focusing on reducing its prevalence..."
Nicholson said the government considers prostitution to be "degrading and dehumanizing" and that it is "often committed and controlled by coercive individuals against those who are frequently powerless to protect themselves from abuse and exploitation..."
The majority [of the committee] said that literature shows criminalizing prostitution-related activities in Canada jeopardizes the safety of prostitutes and impedes their access to health and social services...
The two Conservative MPs on the committee refused to sign on with the majority.
Art Hanger, one of the Tory members, told reporters at the time that decriminalizing prostitution would make it "open season" on women and cause cheering among "pimps, drug pushers and organized criminals..."
Nicholson, in his response, concurred that "those involved in prostitution are at a significantly greater risk of abuse and exploitation."
He added that education, awareness programs, helping people leave lives of prostitution, and consistent enforcement of the law are tantamount to safety. He stopped short of accepting a committee recommendation to develop educational programs about the costs and risks of getting into prostitution. He listed several initiatives already in place across Canada.
The committee was asked under the former Liberal government to study prostitution laws amid rising concern over the disappearance and killing of prostitutes in western Canada, particularly in Vancouver.

I am happy that the Conservatives are sticking to their guns on this one. This is one instance where the majority in the committee is wrong. Decriminalized prostitution is not a good thing for Canada. It furthers the exploitation and objectification of women. The government must commit itself to helping the powerless. I would like to see the government develop better programs to help women leave a life prostitution. I would also like to see tougher sentences on pimps, johns and anyone else involved in the exploitation side of the so-called "sex-industry."


Still Not Queen

Last week Belinda Stronach announced she would not seek re-election. Instead, she will return to Magna and take up the position of executive vice-president.
I briefly considered writing the Very Secret Diary of Belinda Stronach. I am sure it would look something like this:
Day 1: Joined Conservative Party. Am sure this is the fastest way to becoming queen... er, PM. Am definitely the prettiest.
Day 95: Suspect Peter MacKay may be hotter than me. Wonder if he would like me if I was queen?
Day 96: Found way to make Peter like me. Go me.
Day 124: Nominated for leader of Conservative Party. Still the prettiest. Still not queen though.
Day 252: Lost leadership to nerdy westerner named Harper. Plans for queendom not looking promising. Met a hockey player from the Maple Leafs today though.
Day 364: Election day tomorrow. Bought snappy outfit and new pink pumps. Want to look my best.
Day 365: We won. Perhaps plans for queendom will work out after all.
Day 366: What? Relegated to the back bench? The nerve! Stupid Harper.
Day 367: Concocted vengeful plan. Will be joining other side in the near future. Decided not to tell Peter. Well, hockey player is more manly anyway... even if he is married.
Day 452: Crossed floor to Liberals. Red more my colour anyway. Was put in cabinet. Go me.
Day 493: Was called a dog by ex. As if! Sore loser.
Day 550: Created the Pink Book. Am v/ proud of my masterpiece. Definitely the prettiest. Not sure why I received 7 dozen Capitol Hill Barbies though.

To be frank, it's hard to feel sorry for her. Stronach has opportunities that most women do not, and yet she claims to be able to speak for the average woman. If she was really concerned with the problems of Jane-Average-Canadian, she'd show a little stick-with-itness. What she knows is that there is no chance now for her to become Prime Minister and there won't be for a very long time. So, she is no longer interested. I am not surprised she dropped out.


The Best Candidate for Prime Minister

Christian Conservative has this interesting post.
A new SES poll was just relased today, this time, on Leadership, and who would make the best Prime Minister. (remember how "reliable" all our Liblog friends thought SES was last week?)
"Who would make the best Prime Minister?"
Stephen Harper - 42%
Stephane Dion - 17%

That's quite the margin.
If you look at party support however, as pointed out by the article at CTV, the margin is not so wide.
* Conservatives - 36 per cent
* Liberals - 33 per cent
* NDP - 16 per cent
* Bloc Quebecois - 10 per cent
* Green Party - 6 per cent

It's hard to know what the results would be if an election were held tomorrow. Would Liberal voters turn on their party and elect a Conservative because they felt he was more competent? It's hard to say.

Charter Hits 25: Only Lefties Care

The Evil Conservative Party has decided not to celebrate the Charter's 25th birthday. There will be no cake or presents. The Liberals are very disappointed, and decided to throw their own bash. Chretien clapped himself so hard on the back he nearly fell over.
The Harper government is giving a miss to a major Ottawa conference marking the 25th anniversary of the Charter of Rights, with the prime minister and three cabinet ministers turning down invitations to speak.
In fact, the milestone anniversary will be a muted affair within the government ranks, unlike the hoopla surrounding the 20th anniversary when the Liberals were in power five years ago.
The charter anniversary on April 17 is viewed as a major event in legal academia and the opposition Liberals, sometimes referred to as the "charter party" because they were the architects of the document, are making hay of the celebrations.

Of course. Liberals never miss an opportunity to toot their on horn on the taxpayer dime.
Former prime minister Jean Chretien, who was justice minister in the Trudeau cabinet when the charter was adopted, is addressing audiences in Montreal and Ottawa.
The current Liberal leader, Stephane Dion, who initially turned down an invitation to speak at the University of Ottawa conference, has had a change of heart, said Jack Jedwab, one of the conference organizers.

No doubt the Liberals will spin this as some sort of great show of leadership on the part of Dion. I am expecting something to the effect of "A true PM would have given a speech lauding the Charter. Vote for Dion next time."
Bruce Ryder, a law professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, said declining invitations to speak is a "symbolic" move from a government that he said has never championed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"It says something about the priorities of the government," he said. "Since the government has not shown a commitment to charter rights and making them accessible to Canadians, it’s disappointing to see their failure to use the anniversary as an opportunity to affirm the importance of charter rights."

See what I mean? I don't even have to get to the end of the article to find someone hinting that Harper is less than a good leader for not giving a banal speech about how wonderful the Charter is and how it changed Canadian society and so forth.
The 1982 Charter of Rights codified rights for Canadians, such as freedom of religion, expression, and association, the legal right to life, liberty and security of the person, and the right against unreasonable search and seizure. Equality guarantees, including freedom from discrimination based on age, sex, race, or disability, came into effect in 1985.

Well, I would disagree that the Charter guarantees a right to life. It doesn't We abort over a hundred thousand babies every year. That's not what I would call a right to life. I would also disagree that it guarantees freedom of religion, since it has already been ruled by the courts that sexual orientation trumps religion.
On the same day, Chretien led a special tribute at the National Arts Centre in which he lauded the charter as the most profoundly democratic document in our history.

And that would be false. It's not a profoundly democratic document. The courts are free to interpret and reinterpret the Charter as they see fit, thereby making law. We the people do not elect our judges. How could this possibly be an example of democracy?
As far as the Charter goes, I do not see it as being a good thing for Canadian society. It doesn't do what it was supposed to do. It didn't give us more rights. If anything, it's affect has been to severely limit us. Courts and Human Rights Tribunals have too much unrestrained power.
So, at 25 years, what's there to celebrate about the Charter?


Happy Easter

21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:21-26


More on the Budget

Tories won't establish national child-care standards bemoans the news.
And they shouldn't.
It is not the government's place to dictate how we raise our kids or how daycares operate.
Solberg was unapologetic about dumping the Liberal plan in favour of putting more money into direct support for families.
This includes a taxable $100-a-month allowance for all children under the age of six that dates back to July 2006, and a refundable tax credit of $2000 for each child under the age of 18 contained in the latest budget.

The article from CTV that I blogged on earlier missed that point. $2k per child under 18 tax credit! Yes! That's awesome. Finally, something that doesn't screw the single-income, multiple child family. Even better, the more kids you have (for example, one of my sister-in-law has five kids and the other will have five in July) the more this helps you.
"There is a huge philosophical difference (with the Liberals), and we think we're right," [Solberg] declared. "We think that parents are the best place to make judgments about what's right for their family at any given time."

And he's absolutely right. Parents do know what's best for their families. They do not need a heavy-handed government telling them what to do with regards to raising their children and managing the day-to-day of their lives.
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