Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Callted "Research," Michael...

Research! You would think, perhaps, that iPolitics' Michael Harris would have heard of it?

Well, if you read his most recent column with a careful eye, you may be forced to conclude that, no. He hasn't heard of it.

In something of a desperate bid to confuse the Harper governments Economic Action Plan ads for the Liberal Party's own Adscam, Harris winds up making some rather scurrilous comments about the ads:

"No one is better at giving himself straight As than this PM. The new explanation went something like this: The ads were worth it because after seeing their key message — that Canada was doing better than any other developed country in tough economic times — Canadians would burst with pride at what a good government they had.

Setting aside the neck-snapping shift in the justification, there was another problem with the ads.  They weren’t true either. Canada does not have the highest growth rate in the G7 — the United States does. Outside the G7, the economies of Australia and some Scandinavian countries also grew faster than Canada’s did."

Looking back on 2012, we can quickly see that Harris' claims here are tacitly false. The United States GDP outgrew Canada's... in the third quarter. Through the entirety of 2012, the GDP of Canada and the United States each grew at 2.1%. It took an unexpected third quarter for the US to pull even with Canada in 2012, but the shine wore off through the final quarter.

It's especially worth noting that Canada out-performed the United States in per-capita GDP growth, widely considered to be a better predictor of overall economic growth.

So in other words, Harris would have to make a single quarter a microcosm for the entirety of 2012's comparative growth, ignoring all other quarters, for Harris' claims to even seem true.

It certainly also helps that Harris is using current economic numbers -- the US has once again had a strong third quarter -- when the numbers used in the ads, aired during the 2013 NHL playoffs, were most likely from the first quarter of 2013. Canada's GDP numbers blew the US away in quarter number one. Talk about shifting the goalposts in truly epic fashion.

It's enough to make you wonder about the editing that takes place in the iPolitics offices. This is far from the first time Michael Harris has thrown caution to the wind and committed a savage burn on his oblivious readership. It's actually become quite routine.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Open Letter to Olivia Cole

Hi, Olivia.

Allow me to begin this letter by doing something I suspect is unthinkable to you: I honestly don't give a rat's ass if you're white. That you would begin your "open letter to the three white students who filed a discrimination complaint against their black teacher" by mentioning that only doubles my contempt for you.

Does it stun you to hear that one white person can feel contempt for another? Well, you'd better get used to it.

In a sense, I almost feel sorry for you. You must really think that white people walk around all day wearing invisible knapsacks and high-fiving each other for being white. All the while, hiring all sorts of people solely because they're white. And apparently all the more ready to listen to your "white privilege" tripe because apparently we take things more seriously coming from other white people.

These assumptions about how other people think about race speaks volumes about how you think about race. Who the hell was ever taught that "white is always right?" Were you taught that? Really? Really?

Now, I know these are trying times for you. The push-back against your extreme and socially-corrosive ideology is growing. The more you and the people who share your ideas have attempted to tighten your oppressive fists around the minds of others, the more minds have slipped through your fingers. It's not going to go away any time soon.

Perhaps what stuns even more than your obvious lack of self-knowledge is the sheer extent of your condescension. You have the nerve to lecture these students about their lessons in what you believe the "true" history of the United States is without bothering to acquaint yourself with the fact that Shannon Gibney is supposed to be teaching an English course.

Or perhaps even your assertion that Gibney is trying to make them "better." "Better" than who? "Better" ...like you?

Here's the truly stunning thing. And seeing as how you've revealed that you take what you hear more seriously when it comes from a white person (right?), I'm sure you'll take it seriously indeed.

The people who stuffed your too-empty-by-half mind with this nonsense are oppressing you. And you've internalized your own oppression. And if that makes you feel good about yourself, then so be it. But the least you can do is stop demanding that other people submit to the same oppression to which you've submitted.

If you want to internalize your own oppression, that's fine. Stop demanding the rest of us do the same.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

When Passive Aggression Meets "Microagression"

Ralph Haddad's recent column in the McGill Daily is more than just a reminder that dumb people also go to university; it's also essentially the nadir of anti-oppression ideology.

Haddad penned more than 1,000 words denouncing the Movember campaign -- in which men grow moustaches in order to fundraise to fight prostate cancer, but his column can essentially be summed up in two words: fucking stupid.

Haddad insists that Movember is "sexist, racist, transphobic and misinformed." In order to back this up he falls back on some of the most comically-flawed counter-logic to ever make it to newsprint in a Canadian newspaper, even in a student newspaper.

For example: he claims that Movember is sexist because it doesn't include women, who tend to not like growing moustaches.

And while this is certainly dumb, it doesn't even begin to match the sheer stupidity of his racism argument. Prostate cancer affects black men at a disproportionate rate. Yet it tends to be mostly white men who participate in Movember. So get this: all those white guys fundraising to help cure a disease that disproportionately affects black men? Racist.

It's the kind of logic that has become far too common among those indoctrinated into anti-oppression ideology. The flimsiness of it is actually reinforced among those who share this ideology by the need to denounce anything and everything heterosexual white males do as oppressive. And even if the evidence doesn't fit this -- even if Haddad's own evidence actually contradicts it -- then it must be warped and twisted until Haddad can at least say it supports his argument. Which he would have said no matter what. And he did.

It's enough to make you hope that this spurred one of Haddad's professors in the English and Cultural Studies department to roll up this issue of the McGill Daily and gave him a good, hard smack in the nose with it. It isn't as if Haddad hasn't embarrassed his department and his university as well as himself.

I imagine the past week has been rather tough on Ralph Haddad, but it's hard to feel sorry for him. For example, if his father is alive I imagine he has some 'splainin' to do about how he actually tried to take cover behind his battle with prostrate cancer. But that's just for starters. In writing -- and then actually publishing -- this column, he has metaphorically magnetized his own crotch and then distributed steel toed boots. Not wise in the slightest.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Justin Trudeau is >Not< Qualified to be Prime Minister

Come 2015, if the Conservative Party hasn't adopted new leadership -- and it certainly looks that they won't, as talks of replacing Prime Minister Stephen Harper are not even on the party's radar screen -- a good number of people who have lost confidence in him will likely hold their nose and vote Conservative anyway

I know that I certainly will.

Neither of the party's principle competitors offer anything even resembling an alternative. Thomas Mulcair would be an absolute disaster as Prime Minister, but at least he possesses some experience that could be considered as qualification for the role.

Not only does Liberal leader Justin Trudeau not possess any experience that would qualify him to be Prime Minister, during the past week he managed to actively disqualify himself.

This came on the back of a question asked by a wannabe political maven trying far too hard to be anything more than what she really is. At the #AskJustin "ladies night" event that has been nothing short of a complete disaster for Trudeau and the Liberal Party, Amanda Alvaro asked what she must have imagined was a real substantive question: which foreign political administration he admires the most.

Trudeau's answer has reverberated disturbingly across Canadian politics, despite the Canadian media's best efforts to not report on it. "There's a level of admiration I actually have for China," Trudeau quipped. "Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime."

Wow.

Trudeau admires China's dictatorship for the things it can do because it's a dictatorship. Which means, in short, that he admires China's dicatorship FOR being a dictatorship.

The CBC's Terry Milewski fell all over himself trying to pretend that Harper had said anything even remotely similar. As close as it gets is Harper lauding China for specific economic achievements. Not quite the same thing as admiring a dictatorship's dictatorial powers.

It's really not so stunning. Justin Trudeau's dad was very much the same way.

For anyone who aspires to leadership of a democratic country to publicly express admiration for a dictatorship very much immediately disqualifies them for such leadership. Not that this will matter much to the no-information voters currently planning to vote Liberal in 2015.

Monday, November 11, 2013

So Exactly What Was it All For?

So, Prime Minister Stephen Harper got his way. Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau have been suspended without pay, presumably because they allegedly violated Senate spending rules -- although Canadians still don't know for certain whether or not they did.

And now that they have been suspended, what do we find? That Senator Brazeau won't have to pay a dime on his alleged expense bill for the duration of his two-year suspension.

Presumably he won't be alone to this end. Which once again provokes a very serious question:

What exactly has all of this been for?

It obviously wasn't to get to the bottom to the entire affair. In fact, the suspension of Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau seems to have been calculated to avoid the sort of due process that would lead to a definitive answer to just what, if anything, these three have actually done wrong.

And it very clearly wasn't to prompt Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau to get the money repaid. Duffy paid -- part of an ethically-dubious deal hatched with the PMO -- despite the conclusions of a Deloitte audit that found his total ineligible expenses was much lower than the $90,000 Nigel Wright gave him to repay. And on top of all this, we now have the revelation that Brazeau won't have to pay for quite a while because of his suspension.

The Senate scandal has been a textbook case of how the actions taken to head off an embarrassing incident can balloon into an embarrassment far greater than that, and in time grow into a quite-genuine scandal.

In the wake of this revelation, Stephen Harper owes Canadians a damn good explanation. What was the rush to suspend Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau really for? At this point only Harper really knows for certain.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Stephen's Chosen, But the Hope of the Party Remains

As I recently noted on this blog, I've lost confidence in Stephen Harper as Prime Minister and as Conservative Party leader. His refusal to rein in the secretive backroom behaviour in the Prime Minister's Office, and his determination to double down on that by circumventing due process have become an utterly untenable position for anyone who values democracy.

That being said, I'm not pulling a sonakent. What I mean by this is that, unlike some, I never supported or joined the Conservative Party merely as a means to gain political prominence. Rather, I supported and joined the party because I cherish the values for which it stands, and principles upon which it was built.

To allow the political destiny of Canada to be dictated by unelected officials in a backroom of the PMO flies in the very face of that. It's the reason why then-Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay turned his back on the demands David Orchard made in such a backroom and put the destiny of that party before its membership.

Stephen Harper should know this very well. In the end, he was a beneficiary of that decision. It allowed him to negotiate the merger of the PC and Canadian Alliance parties. The events that followed culminated with him becoming Prime Minister of Canada. He seems to have forgotten this. But I haven't.

Today, rank-and-file delegates at the party convention voted to tighten party rules regarding financial reporting. It's an imperfect means to discourage -- if not outright prevent -- unilateral decisions to use party funds for questionable purposes, but it does serve to one very specific, and important, end: it reminds party brass that they are not to simply use party funds for any purpose they deem fit, up to and including making potentially-embarrassing episodes go away.

Interestingly enough, a number of labour unions in Canada -- those who donated funds to help Pat Martin fight a defamation lawsuit that he eventually settled -- have a very similar issue of their own to plumb. I'm not aware of any of these unions holding a convention since these donations became public knowledge, but whether or not rank-and-file union members try to head off such actions in the future will be interesting to see. As it will be interesting to see how hard their leaders may resist such rule-tightening.

The Stephen Harpers and Nigel Wrights of the party brass need to take note of the message rank-and-file members have sent today: we expect that party officials will take their direction from party members, and that unelected bureaucrats will take their directions from elected officials, not vise versa. Any of you who cannot abide this had best vacate your positions.

As for myself, I will not turn my back on the party and on my fellow party members; not so long as they continue to stand for the values and principles for which this party -- and this country -- stand.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What Stephen Harper Should Have Done Right

Apparently, my last blogpost here was something of a bombshell. I think I've made it quite clear what I think Prime Minister Stephen Harper is doing wrong.

But I haven't yet made it clear how Harper should have handled the matter.

There's one thing Harper isn't wrong about: perception matters. Which is actually why, in making the decision to harangue Senator Mike Duffy -- a Senator he himself appointed to the upper chamber -- into repaying allegedly-ineligible expenses, he committed more than a simple error.

It's because perception matters that issues such as the one confronting Harper over Duffy and his colleagues Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau should have been handled in the open through due process, and should have been seen handled in the open via due process. The only role Harper should have had any point in this entire sad affair was calling a public inquiry to sort through the allegations against Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau and sort through the explanations each has -- none of which I find to be tacitly incredible, one way or the other.

That's exactly how the PMO should have handled the entire matter as well. And while Nigel Wright may or may not have acted without Harper's knowledge -- my opinion is that he likely did --  he was acting within Harper's stated wishes. It was Harper's desire that this go away quietly instead of the requisite questions being answered through due process that drove Wright to act as he did.

No one can argue that Harper isn't responsible for the actions of the PMO. Even if he didn't know what was going on -- the absolute least of which was Wright's cheque -- he should have. After issuing a directive that the Senate scandal be made to go away quietly, he should have checked up on exactly what was being done to make it happen. Of course, even this never should have happened, because Harper never should have even been so involved.

And now that Harper has been so involved he's attempting to roll on everyone else involved. He's changed his story on Wright so many times in so many ways that it's nearly impossible to keep track of it all.

He did it to himself, seemingly out of nothing more than a disdain for letting the matter be handled through due process out of the fear -- the mere fear -- of due process. And it may now be too late for him to turn back.

\Over this one comparatively inconsequential issue he's managed to lend fire to one of the left-wing Twitterverse's most impotent slogans; for the first time, Prime Minister Harper must resign.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Stephen's Chosen

Some may recall a blogpost entitled "Stephen's Choice." It was written very shortly after Brent Rathgeber left the Conservative Party caucus over the unacceptable gutting of his public service transparency bill.

In case you don't want to read the entire post again to get the gist of it, the message was fairly simple: that the Conservative Party of Canada, as Harper has built it, would either live or die based on the direction Harper took it in a party leader. If the party returned to its principles of open government by elected officials, the party, as Harper has built it, would live. If he allowed the trend of important decisions being made in back rooms by non-elected officials the party, as Harper has built it, would die.

Harper has made his choice. The party, as Harper has built it, has died.

A motion to suspend three former Conservative Senators without pay is an odd funeral. And yet here we are. And the same nonsense that has been going on ever since the allegations of impropriety against Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau arose seems to have flowed right out of the nonsense that surrounded Rathgeber's departure from caucus.

Today, Senator Patrick Brazeau reported that the government leader in the Senate, Claude Carignan, offered him what amounted to a backroom deal: if Brazeau agreed to apologize to Canadians for allegedly filing fraudulent expense claims, the punishment would be less severe.

"At approximately 10:20 am this morning, I was outside this chamber in the back and the leader of the Senate, the leader of the government in the Senate, took me aside. And I'll be very careful about my words here, but I was essentially offered a backroom deal," Brazeau explained. "And the backroom deal was that if I stood in this chamber, apologized to Canadians and took responsibility for my actions, that my punishment would be lesser than what is being proposed."

For his own part, Senator Carignan insists that he didn't intend to unduly threaten Brazeau, and that his words to Breazeau were meant as advice to a friend. Carignan insists Brazeau misinterpreted him. But given some of the interactions between Senator Duffy and the PMO, as well as some of his fellow Senators, I personally find that difficult to believe.

Whether phrased to Brazeau as an explicit offer/threat or not, Carignan was continuing a trend that allowed this affair to blow up as it has in the first place. Keep in mind that none of the allegations against Duffy, Wallun or Brazeau have ever been proven using anything even resembling due process -- something that Wallin noted when speaking in the Senate. There have been numerous audits that have supported, in turn, both the claims of impropriety and the defenses offered against them. This matter is far from settled in the mind of any fair-minded Canadian, one way or the other.

In the end, this is what the motion to suspend Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau is: an end-run around that due process; a desperate attempt to try to make this entire affair go away without the allegations ever being raised and sorted in a public forum of any sort. As Peter Goldring pointed out today, this is wrong and arguably a violation of the accused Senators' Charter Rights.

All of this when the best way to deal with all of this was, for better or worse, to deal with the entire mess out in the open, and to be seen dealing with the whole mess right out in the open. Where everyone can see what is happening, judge the evidence against Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau for themselves, and judge the government for its response to it.

Now the third of these three things is taking place, and because of the government's refusal to deal with it out in the open, that judgement has been overwhelmingly negative.

Inexplicably, Harper doubled down on this today. In an interview with John Tory, Harper insisted that the facts against the Senators were crystal clear. Given that some of the audits -- particularly those regarding Duffy's expenses -- actually support Duffy's claims, that Wallin and Brazeau each claim to have received approval from the Senate for the expenses they claimed, the only thing that is crystal clear is that nothing about this is crystal clear. At least not for those who haven't pre-judged the entire affair.

So in Harper's hands, the Conservative Party, as he promised all Canadians it would conduct itself in government, has died. There may now be no resuscitating it.

The form of this death should not be mistaken for the death that opponents of the party crave. The party exists, will continue to exist, and even though Harper's stubbornness and carelessness is currently dividing this party, there are still those within the party who can unite it again.

I'm by no means withdrawing my support for the Conservative Party. But I have withdrawn my confidence in the leadership of Stephen Harper. There's still time for the party to be revitalized and reunited under new leadership, provided that Harper can find it in himself to offer his resignation.

Keep in mind that the only viable alternatives to Stephen Harper as Prime Minister are within the Conservative Party. His principal opponents, Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair, are fools who have no business even imagining governing this country, let alone ever actually doing it.

Stephen Harper has made his choice. Now he has to live with it. But the very least he can do is allow the party to find new life with new leadership.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Asian Privilege: I'll Bet You Never Heard of THAT Before

White privilege exists. Or so critical race theorists and those in their thrall would have you believe.

To make you believe it, they're frequently keen to bombard you with half-cooked statistics combined with half-baked logic. Here's one that recently came to my attention: in schools operated by the Toronto and District School Board, black and aboriginal students are suspended most often.

That's bad.

But here's something from the Toronto Star's take on it that really stands out:

"Black students make up only about 12 per cent of high school students in the Toronto public board — about 32,000 — yet account for more than 31 per cent of all suspensions. White students account for some 29 per cent of suspensions, but make up nearly one-third of the entire student body."

So black students are statistically overrepresented in their share of suspensions. But at 31% of students, white students account for 29% of suspensions. There's a pretty good chance that two percent is within the study's margin of error. For all practical purposes, white students are neither overrepresented nor underrepresented in suspensions.

The only way this is possible is if some other racial/ethnic group is underrepresented among student suspensions. And as it turns out, one is: Asian students.

The comparison in suspensions between white and black students is the kind of thing that critical race theorists frequently point to in order to prop up their claims that white privilege exists. But if privilege accounts for the rates of suspension, it would seem that it isn't white students who are privileged at all, but rather Asian students.

Of course, you never hear about "Asian privilege". (At the risk of uttering a racial slur, would "yellow privilege" be a more appropriate term?) As a racial minority, critical race theorists hold that Asians cannot be privileged, their own standard of evidence to the contrary.

Of course, there's a better reason why you don't hear about "Asian privilege." Because like "white privilege," it doesn't exist.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Squishy Reasoning Behind Opposition to Mandatory Minmum Sentencing

The soft-on-crime crowd are applauding Justice John Menzies today for indulging himself in a little judicial activism today.

Menzies has suggested that mandatory minimum sentencing laws for gun crimes shouldn't apply to the case of a Manitoba man who fired six shots into the home of someone who he claimed had been bullying him. Two people were home at the time, although fortunately for everyone involved -- most of all for the perp -- no one was hurt.

But perhaps most appalling is the sponge-like logic that Menzies applied to the case. As highlighted by Aaron Wherry:

"Mandatory minimum sentences give an unfair advantage to the Crown by making it more likely for the accused to plead guilty to a lesser offence for fear of risking a long prison sentence, Menzies said. There is also more reluctance on the part of the court to convict an accused facing a lengthy sentence, he said."


Menzies' logic is clearly speculatory. So as long as we're speculating, let's walk this through:

1.) Menzies has argued that accused criminals may be more likely to plea bargain rather than risk facing a long sentence. And yet,

2.) Judges and juries may be less likely to convict based on the likelihood of a long sentence.

The logic simply doesn't hold. If judges and juries are less likely to issue convictions given the likelihood of long sentences, then there's actually less reason for accused criminals to seek plea bargains, and more reason for them to roll the dice in court, particularly if they are guilty.

No one -- especially not Wherry -- seems to have taken notice of this clear lapse in reasoning. Which is just another reminder of just what is wrong with the media discourse on crime in Canada.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Michael Bolen Lowers the Bar on Raising the Debt Ceiling

Apparently, Huffington Post Canada news editor Michael Bolen wants a piece of Anthony Furey. And he got it.

But in Bolen's appearance on Byline, Furey really was far too gentle with Bolen than his drivel warrants.

Essentially, Bolen's column shakes out as such: Canada should not have a debt ceiling because it would prevent Canada from taking on more debt. Government debt, Bolen maintains, is a good thing, and because governments can print and issue their own money, as well as inflate and deflate currency at will -- which is actually untrue -- it's OK.

Bolen writes:

"Governments are not like families or businesses. Families and businesses can't print currency and are not tasked with managing the money supply for the purpose of encouraging economic growth and curbing inflation. Deficit spending is an essential tool used by every reasonable government on Earth and growth is the best way to reduce debt. Not cuts."

This paragraph couldn't possibly be any more fiscally- or economically-illiterate.

First off, in Canada and the United States, governments do not print money or manage the money supply. Central banks do that, and they are arms-length institutions. Central banks print currency, set the interest rate, and while their governors may be appointed by the government, they operate as separate institutions.

Secondly, Bolen draws a link between economic growth and deficit spending that is spurious at best. It's true that properly-managed stimulus spending can help a government mitigate the effects of an economic downturn. The extent to which it can do that, and the extent to which it has, are very much subject to debate. But even upon accepting this to be true, in the case of the United States we aren't talking about periodic deficit spending during a recession; we're talking about continuous and uninterrupted deficit spending over the span of decades.

Unlike Prime Minister Stephen Harper, American Presidents -- Democrat and Republican alike -- have failed to balance their deficits against economic growth and shrink them as a percentage of GDP. When it comes to these failures, Obama has led the pack on a previously-unthinkable scale. Which is basically what this entire issue is about.

And perhaps Europe has been experiencing a rough ride under austerity. This is to be expected. But it wasn't austerity that was a disaster in places like Greece: it was unrestrained socialism.

Bolen is certainly right about one thing: the debt ceiling hasn't worked in the United States, for two reasons:

First, the American congress made a grievous error by setting the debt ceiling as a dollar figure, as opposed to a percentage of GDP. Should they have had the wisdom to set a limit on that -- say, limiting debt to 50% of GDP -- congress would have had to handle the deficit long before the debt reached 100% of GDP, as it did this past year.

Second, the current US congress has found itself working under the administration of a President who seems to have very little interest in governing and a great deal of interest in casting blame. It doesn't help that the Republican establishment seems very terrified of taking the blame for anything, even forcing the President to finally negotiate with his congress and actually passing a budget.

Other than that, Michael Bolen's column never manages to raise above the level of empty, economically-illiterate demagoguery.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Linda McQuaig Must Be Defeated

Apparently, the by-election in Toronto Centre is effectively set. Liberal candidate Chrystia Freeland will contest the riding against NDP nominee Linda McQuaig.

The two-horse-race is apparently so much so that whoever the Conservative nominee in the riding might end up being, they haven't warranted so much as a mention in coverage so far.

Freeland is far from a perfect candidate. But as seldom as I endorse a Liberal candidate, I can certainly say that she's the far better of the two candidates: the "lesser of two evils," as it were.

The reason for this actually boils entirely down to McQuaig. She is what NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has insisted that his party doesn't represent: she's very much a "class war" candidate, bent on winning support from the poor by not only demonizing the wealthy, but promising re-distribution of wealth on a stunning scale. And while this may play well to voters in Regent Park, it's actually the reason why, for the good of the country, Linda McQuaig absolutely must be defeated.

It all comes down to her economic theories:

1. They're vindictive - McQuaig doesn't like millionaires. She really doesn't like billionaires. And so she has consistently advocated for policies that would wipe out every fortune in Canada. This is, of course, the dark side of McQuaig's equality crusade: her quest to force equality of result -- as opposed to equality of opportunity -- on Canadian society requires that she take the things people have earned for them, mostly just for the sake of taking it.

That's not the kind of attitude that ends itself to strong government.

2. They're tyrannical -There's something about a person who thinks that she should be able to decide what you should be able to earn, and what you should be able to leave to your children. Think about that: not only does she want to confiscate any excess if she thinks you've managed to earn too much, but if even if someone were to find their way around that and earn a fortune, she wants to confiscate it upon your passing.

She apparently thinks herself fit to decide what your children can have when you're gone. That's a staggering amount of power she thinks herself fit to wield.

3. They're reckless - McQuaig eyes up the wealthy as a source of revenue from which the government can fund the laundry list of social programs she envisions -- and those that she hasn't even thought up yet.

So imagine that McQuaig gets what she wants. Presumably everything's fine so long as their are fortunes to snatch.

What happens when there aren't?

McQuaig's policies would saddle Canada with extravagant social programming under on the basis that pilfered fortunes could be used to pay for them. And then her policies actively and deliberately set out to destroy the source of that revenue. It would be enough to transform Canada into Greece within a single generation. A competent economist would know better.

4. They're irrational - A competent economist would know better. Yet somehow Linda McQuaig doesn't.

How could this be? She may not necessarily be an economist, but she considers herself well-versed in economics. Yet her theories reject not only any remote semblance of economic orthodoxy -- in itself not necessarily a bad thing -- but also reject decades worth of economic history. She's the kind of theorist who not only clings to her model for years after the observed results contradicts them, but actually doubles down.

It doesn't seem unfair to suggest that running to be an MP is McQuaig's way of doubling down on her own disproven economic fantasies. McQuaig's theories wouldn't bring an embrace of evidence-based governance to Parliament, but rather a rejection of it.

Farbeit to say that electing McQuaig is guaranteed to bring economic ruin to Canada. After all, she would be but one MP, and her party has absolutely no chance of ever governing the country. But should McQuaig be elected, it would show that Canadians very much could be wooed by petty divisiveness and pure ideological fervour.

That should never be allowed to happen. Linda McQuaig must be defeated in Toronto-Centre.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Who Edits Michael Harris' Columns, Anyway?

Recently, iPolitics columnist Michael Harris took some valuable iPolitics webspace to pout over a scathing letter to the editor by Peter MacKay. It was well-earned by Harris, who had bought into Amir Attaran's bizarre attempt to single-handedly re-write Canadian drug law. Whichever iPolitics editor decided it was a good idea to give Harris space to publicly mope over the tongue-lashing ought to have their heads examined.

Doubly so for his most recent work.

It's everything that Harris has managed to distinguish his work as: lazy, amateurish, and steeped in a Twitter-ized narrative that doesn't hold up to very basic scrutiny. It's less a coherent work of political journalism and more a list of complaints. But even as Harris piles on the complaints, he also manages to pile on the factual errors. To whit:

"During the Idle No More protests in Ottawa, PM Harper was as aloof as Louis the 14th, refusing to meet certain native leaders who were tired of the federal runaround on land claims and treaty rights. They learned that Stephen Harper doesn’t make time for nobodies.

The government attempted to humiliate Chief Theresa Spence during her protest by leaking an audit about her lack of managerial skills on her home reserve. That tactic was put in perspective when the Treasury Board later lost $3.2 billion in taxpayers money, but said that was okay because no one was alleging any misspending."

This is the kind of disaster that ensues when a would-be journalist takes their directions from social media.

First off, Prime Minister Stephen Harper didn't refuse to meet with First Nations leaders as Harris claims. Harper did in fact meet with Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo. Other First Nations leaders -- many of whom backed Spence's demand for such a meeting -- refused to attend such a meeting, and even threatend Atleo with political repercussions if he did attend. In fact, Spence herself attempted to emotionally blackmail Atleo.

Secondly, the Deloitte audit of Attawapiskat's finances was released at the time it had been scheduled to be released. Spence was fully aware of this, and decided to grandstand against Harper -- by faking a hunger strike -- anyway.

Then there's the biggest whopper of all: claiming that the $3.2 billion was "lost" only after the release of this audit, when in fact the money in question was budgeted between 2001-09. Which means that for approximately five years, that money was either spent or not spent -- the audit in question couldn't actually tell which -- under a Liberal Party government. (Update - the treasury board has tracked the $3.2 billion. Not a penny of it was misspent, misappropriated, or lost -- something Harris seems to have very little to say about.)

That's three staggering factual errors in just two paragraphs. It's enough to beg the question of just who does the editing at iPolitics -- or if Harris' work is subjected to any kind of editing at all.

One thing is for certain: if Michael Harris won't check his own facts -- and it seems clear that he won't -- someone needs to do it for him. Unfortunately for iPolitics, it was me.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Profiles in Courage

This story is actually a couple months old. But I think it's worth bringing up ever so briefly.

Meet Malala Yousafzai. In July, she spoke to a UN youth assembly -- at which General Secretary Ban-Ki Moon was present -- about her experiences being shot by the Taliban for the "crime" of going to school. By the grace of God she survived the ordeal, and is not backing down from her oppressors:
On the other hand, meet Brigette DePape. She's the attention-seeking human bobblehead who held up a "Stop Harper" sign while the Governor General. And she's been quite pleased with any amount of attention she's gotten since.
So let's compare these two young women: Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban, yet she still stands up to them. She was doing nothing to court or provoke them, she did nothing to seek attention. DePape, on the other hand, goes out of her way to attract attention. She is never harmed -- although she is fired for deliberately violating the terms of her employment. Moreover, she does this in a room full of people who are duty-bound to not harm her.

One of these things is not like the other. One of these two young women has courage. But regardless of what the Council of Canadians would have you believe, it isn't DePape.

Perhaps Brigette DePape has what the soft, comfortable Canadian far-left considers courage. But compared to the courage possessed by Malala Yousafzai, it becomes clear that isn't courage at all. It is, at best, naked opportunism not-so-convincingly disguised as courage.

Fortunately, only the soft, comfortable, opportunistic far-left fell for this one.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

NDP Support, Low-Effort Thinking Linked in New Study

So, stop me if you've heard this one: left-wingers are smarter than conservatives. There are even studies that prove it.

Right? Right?

Well, not so much, really. Pretty much none of those studies show what their authors say they do. Each of these studies is crippled by incredibly flawed methodology.In some cases, the authors have even had to refer to political conservatism as a "latent" variable -- which means that it is actually unobserved.

But in particular, perhaps the most flawed study was one that linked conservative political beliefs to "low-effort thinking." It's a favourite among left-wingers. To start with, the study conflated casual, distracted, or even disinterested thinking as "low-effort thinking," and seemed to preclude the idea that whatever beliefs expressed by study participants -- whether in the bar or in the laboratory -- had been decided, through careful deliberation, before the study was ever conducted. After all, Arkansas -- where the study was conducted -- is a so-called red state.

For just a moment, let's set aside the flaws in the study and consider merely its conclusion: low-effort thinking leads to conservative political beliefs. If this were true, shouldn't it be said that left-wing political beliefs don't result from low-effort thinking?

Well, a readership poll conducted by Poletical might give cause to think about that.

The poll zeroed in on the ultimate form of low-effort thinking: prejudice. The poll examined reader beliefs about conservatism and homosexuality, and they found some remarkable things:

Only 7 percent of NDP-supporting Poletical readers thought being gay and conservative is not a contradiction. 88 percent of Conservative-supporting Poletical readers thought that being gay and conservative is not a contradiction.

So the prejudicial thinking in the study essentially shaped up like this: if you're gay, NDP supporters think you shouldn't be conservative. Apparently to be so is to be a hypocrite. Conversely, Conservative supporters think that if you're gay you can be conservative if that's what you believe in. Or to put it another way, if you're conservative you can still be gay. It's OK, you were born that way.

I would say that it takes a good deal more thought to be a member of a party and movement perceived by some (NDP supporters mostly) to be oppressive to homosexuals and instead open your party and your movement up to homosexuals and welcome them into it than to tell someone they should hold your political beliefs based on that particular detail. I'd say we can extrapolate from this poll that NDP supporters are low-effort thinkers.

For bonus giggles, 73 percent of NDP supporters told Poletical that conservatives "lack intelligence."

There's some irony in this as well. If conservatives really lacked intelligence, and left-wingers were really more intelligent, they certainly wouldn't feel so much pressure to trump up junk science in order to "prove" it. They would have better ideas and arguments, and would be content to allow their intelligence to be self-evident according to the hypothetical superiority of those ideas and arguments.

That instead they rely on the aforementioned trumped-up junk science is very much a sign of the hollowing out of the left-wing intellect. But really, what else can be expected from such low-effort thinkers?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Attawapiskat: Everything the Left Feared Harper Would Be

So, imagine this: a people living in poverty, while a fortunate elite grows richer and richer. Police powers are used to suppress dissent, the media is strictly controlled, and elections are rigged.

This is what Canada's left has spent years insisting Canada would become under the leadership of Stephen Harper. Harper has been Prime Minister for seven years. It hasn't happened yet, no matter how hard various individuals have worked to make it seem as if it is.

But as it turns out, there is a place within Canada that fits this description perfectly. It just happens to be the First Nations reserve of Attawapiskat. And the left has had nary a word to say about it.

There's some irony in this. Not so much as a year ago, Attawapiskat's Chief, Theresa Spence, became a cause celibre for the Canadian left. She moved into a teepee on an island within sight of Parliament Hill and told anyone and everyone who would listen that she was on a hunger strike until Harper met with her. Among the dignitaries that met with her were then-Liberal leader Bob Rae, and now-Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

So far as the Canadian left was concerned, what's not to love? Spence was going to bring Harper to heel.

Of course, it became public knowledge in very short order that Spence wasn't on a hunger strike at all. She was eating fish broth at a prolific enough rate to somehow manage to not lose any weight while on hunger strike.

Then funny things began to happen. When media showed up in Attawapiskat to interview residents there about a scathing audit that found that the band couldn't account for how it was spending millions of dollars in taxpayer funds, they were escorted off-reserve by band police. The orders came from Spence, who also ordered Attawapiskat residents not to speak to the media.

Flash forward to a couple of days ago: Spence was narrowly reelected as Chief in an election in which  percent of band members -- those living off-reserve -- were denied the opportunity to cast a ballot.

Under Spence, Attawapiskat is everything the left says Canada is becoming under Harper (even though we can see it is not). Yet most of those who so vociferously applauded Theresa Spence when she was faking a hunger strike now have so little to say when she fakes an election.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Pothead's Case Against Legalization; the Libertarian's Argument For Decriminalization

If you believe pollsters -- or wingnuts like Michael Harris -- Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's sole policy proposal since becoming Liberal leader is paying dividends. Apparently, this idea of legalizing pot is a popular one.

Two million Canadians have admitted they regularly smoke marijuana, gaining Trudeau what Harris has implied is the Trudeau constituency. Perhaps it was to be expected that legalizing pot would be extremely popular amongst potheads: but only so long as they don't understand what legalization of pot would actually entail. It doesn't entail what they think it does. Not by a longshot.

While the pothead's case for legalization may seem obvious -- they like pot -- the pothead's case against legalizing pot is one that the 4/20 crowd ought to pay some attention to.

So what is the case against the legalization of marijuana? It actually happens to be closely tied to the libertarian's case for decriminalization.

First off, legalizing marijuana won't make the supply any cheaper. While it may eliminate the risk premium charged by dealers, it will undoubtedly also drastically reduce the number of producers. Reducing suppliers tends to mean reducing supply. Reducing supply inevitably increases price.

Perhaps you're the kind of user who grows their own. Certainly this won't affect you, right? Wrong.The legalization of pot would inevitably lead to the requirement that growers be licensed. The trade in seeds -- for which "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery is currently in prison -- would inevitably be the first thing cracked down on under a legalized pot regime.

Next, suppose that you enjoy pot that is stronger, with higher THC content. Well, one of the arguments in favour of legalization happens to be that legalization -- and the granted of limited and competitive monopolies in production -- will allow the government to regulate this. Better get used to weaker bud, bud.

Legalization will also affect the quantities in which you'll be able to buy your pot. Keep in mind that it's illegal to sell individual cigarettes. Expect the same with marijuana.

Last but not least, consider the core argument big-government types like Justin Trudeau use to support the idea of legalizing pot: that legalization allows it to be taxed. Consider it very carefully: it's basically campaigning for your vote on the back of a promise to tax you. Not that they'll tell it to you like this.

Now before you say anything, I know what you're thinking: Amerstam, right? Well, as it turns out Amsterdam is not a model of legalization. Pot is freely sold and consumed within the city's Red Light District, which is another way of saying "limited decriminalization."

The libertarian argument for decriminalization takes all of this off of the table, and merely suggests that the law not punish you for practicing the right to put whatever you want into your body so long as you're not harming anyone else while you're doing it. Canadian chiefs of police have come out in favour of this option, and with pretty good reason.

Sadly, this much can be said for Canada's pot smokers: to this point they haven't thought very deeply about what Trudeau has suggested. Some of them simply won't because they don't possess that kind of intellectual acumen. But for those who do, Justin Trudeau's gambit will inevitably be seen for precisely what it is: at best a Trojan Horse, and at worst a hollow promise calculated to dupe a bunch of dopes out of their votes.

Either way, don't fall for it.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Grain crime no! Grass crime yes!

David Climenhaga. The name alone is enough to induce giggling among almost anyone who isn't, like Climenhaga, a complete and total hack.

There's a reason for this. And it is embodied in a recent blogpost Climenhaga published at Rabble.ca, entitled "Grass crime no! Grain crime yes!" Wherein Climenhaga attempts to play the role of Mighty Casey, going to bat for Justin Trudeau, only to strike out. There is no joy in mudville.

In typically hackish fashion, Climenhaga attempts to shill for Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, amidst the single, solitary policy point his has offered during his time as Liberal leader: the legalization of marijuana. It shouldn't be said that there isn't a case to made for this, just as it shouldn't be said that there's a case to be made against this.

But Climenhaga attempts neither case, and instead attempts to transform it into an ill-fitting microcosm of the issue that is almost certainly Climenhaga's #1 beef with the Conservative government Prime Minister Stephen Harper leads: the decline of statism under the Harper government.

As it turns out, Climenhaga is still nurturing quite the grudge over the Harper government's decision to pardon a group of Alberta farmers who had the nerve -- the utter gall! -- to sell their own grain outside of the Canadian Wheat Board's now-abolished monopoly.

"Unmentioned in the coverage of this brouhaha, however, has been Harper's inconsistency when dealing with lawbreakers whose misdemeanours involve other vegetative materials. Indeed, his hypocritical rallying cry seems to be: 'Grass crime no! Grain crime yes!'

I speak, of course, of the PM's admiration, affection and support for the 14 farmers -- one of whom is now an Alberta legislator himself -- who in 2002 openly broke the laws governing how to export wheat and barley to the United States. A dozen of them were eventually found guilty of willfully breaking several laws and served time in jail.

If you are a lawbreaker who takes a couple of tokes at home and admits it, apparently you earn a curled lip and Harper's undying contempt.

But if you are a lawbreaker who rolls past the Canada Border Services Agency's agents in a truck loaded with grain to sell illegally in the United States, and do it with sufficient defiance to calculatedly get a jail term, you earn a photo opportunity with the same prime minister, his unstinting praise, and the co-operation of Parliament to overturn the law you ignored. What's more, you get a prime ministerial pardon!

If you then decide want to run for public office yourself, you can count on the support of the prime minister's party apparatus -- as was the case with Rick Strankman, who is now the Wildrose MLA for Drumheller-Stettler.

Alert readers will recall that Strankman spent a week in jail for taking part in just such a shenanigan back in 2002 when he and a group of a dozen other market-fundamentalist farmers drove their trucks across the Canada-U.S. border at Coutts, Alta., and illegally sold grain to a US. broker to protest against the collective bargaining role that was then the responsibility of the Canadian Wheat Board.

Canadian farmers will undoubtedly suffer as a result of the eventual demise of the Wheat Board in 2011 -- indeed, it is already happening -- and taxpayers in all parts of Canada, rural and urban alike, will be asked to bail them out. But the farmers who took part in the willful violation of the Customs Act were certainly entitled to fight for their economic beliefs, however misinformed."

This is all giggle-inducing for a number of reasons.

First off, "journalism teacher" David Climenhaga apparently doesn't consider himself above using a press release from the Canadian Wheat Board Alliance to make the case that grain farmers are suffering under the open market that grain farmers themselves spent decades demanding. If Climenhaga had done any amount of independent research -- instead of simply parroting his statist bosom buddies -- he would have learned that the reduced premiums for high-protein wheat are being driven by an increase in abundance of high-protein wheat, particularly outside of Canada where the CWB has absolutely never had any say in what those prices will be.

Awkward.

Not to mention that the grievous crime of defying the statism that Climenhaga so cherishes pales in comparison to the kind of crime -- property crime and violent crime -- that swirls around the drug trade. Marijuana is not exempt.

Which, all things considered, is enough to demonstrate that, as far as wedge issues go, David Climenhaga could have picked a better slogan than "grain crime no! Grass crime yes!"

There is no joy in mudville.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Behold: the Yutziest, Most Narcissistic Anti-Climate Change Campaign Ever

I discovered this on Twitter today. And the more of it I see, the more amazed I am; for the wrong reasons.

Apparently, Rob Shirkey is going to change the world. I mean, the whole world. And how's he going to do it? I'm glad you asked. Apparently, the following video explains it:


Yup. Warning labels.Warning labels are going to change the world.

Apparently, if Shirkey can get a warning label put on every gas nozzle in the country -- nay, the world! -- then everyone who picks up a gas nozzle to fuel their vehicle is going to look at it and exclaim "holy shit! Climate change!"

Then they will promptly grow a beard, don skinny jeans and devote themselves to never, ever using fossil fuels again. Which means that they will promptly stop driving -- in fact, they'll cease any travel of nearly any kind -- they'll stop using electricity, and they'll stop consuming any products transported using fossil fuels. Which basically means they'll stop eating.

Their reward? Apparently, a shiny bauble that declares them to be a "climate change champion." Sure, it's a fantastic way to manipulate children, but that's just what climate change activists do.


But enough about other people. As so many left-wing activists' campaigns are now, Shirkey's campaign is basically about Shirkey. So maybe it's a good time to discuss what's in it for you.

And if you donate to the campaign, just look at some of the things you can get!

That's right. An autographed warning label! Because apparently Rob Shirkey is kind of a big deal, and despite the fact that you've never heard of him, you would want that. Apparently.

Personally, I don't know what's sadder: that Shirkey would think to offer people autographed warning labels -- apparently just presuming that people would actually want them -- or that, as of the writing of this, nine people have actually jumped at that.

But enough ridicule. Could this campaign actually work? Sure it could, in the sense that it could actually get municipal governments to pass bylaws requiring these warning labels. But will the warnings work? Probably not.

Shirkey himself notes that warning labels on tobacco packages have been shown to work. And sure they can. But, then again, no one needs to smoke. People may be addicted to nicotine, but this is not the same as needing to smoke. As a favourite LW troll realized recently, people need fossil fuels, in one way or another. People need to get around. They need to get groceries. They need to heat their homes.

Perhaps the labels could -- at best -- convince some wealthy urbanite hipster to start feeling really guilty and buy a Prius. Which still runs on fossil fuels, BTW.

Other than that, this campaign has about as much chance of stopping climate change as a Toyotra Prius does surviving a head-on collision with a semi-truck. Which almost makes me feel sorry for the yutz behind it all.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Media Coop Pays Greg Renouf a Compliment

If you were to believe the slander peddled by various far-left activists in Canada, you would think that Greg "Genuine Witty" Renouf is a dastardly man. Dangerous even.

Obviously Daniel Johnson of the Media Coop thinks so. He even wrote a recent blogpost entitled "This Man is STILL Dangerous." Based entirely on the facetious accusations of over-defensive far-left activists and the findings of what passed for a tribunal in the Occupy movement -- the orchestrators of which have openly boasted about denying Renouf an opportunity to defend himself at -- the post really one makes one thing clear: that far-left activists are increasingly unable to defend their actions with facts or logic, and so resort to character assassination. It's what they do. It's who they are.

If you read Johnson's version of the events regarding Renouf at Occupy Toronto and Occupy Vancouver, and never bothered to seek out any additional information -- otherwise known as Renouf's side of the story -- you may be at risk of taking it seriously.

Of course, if you did seek any additional information, you would discover -- as I did -- that the accusations of "sexual harassment" have been trumped up to a positively comical degree, and that the so-called "stalking" of "young female activists" was in fact challenging aspiring far-left leaders over their frequently-thuggish tactics.

This is where I actually came in. See, in 2011 I put together a YouTube video entitled "In their own words: Harsha Walia." In the video No One is Illegal's Harsha Walia expresses open support for the violent tactics of Black Bloc protesters. She even admitted to knowing who the organizers of this thuggery was. Which makes her oddly complicit in the terrorist activity of the Black Bloc.
That was Walia in her own words.

 Now, if you're the kind of person who cherishes peacefulness as a political virtue, this would be the kind of thing that would alarm you. So Renouf -- being this kind of person -- began to ask Walia questions. She declined to give any clear answers. Renouf quite rightly declined to take her dissembling for an answer.

Renouf's relentless questioning of Walia -- who aspires to a position of leadership in far-left circles, and thus is obligated to answer such questions -- set off a chain of events that led not only to the kangaroo-court-style expulsion of Renouf from Occupy Toronto, but also Renouf being repeatedly physically intimidated by Black Bloc ringleader Alex Hundert and even being assaulted.

So really, aside from aggressively seeking the truth about Walia's position on political violence, is Renouf guilty of? Well, it turns out that he's committed a cardinal sin according to Walia: publicly questioning and criticizing those who would otherwise be his compatriots. See, Walia has expressed the view that, out of solidarity, far-left activists are strictly verboten from publicly criticizing their "allies." Think of it as something of a left-wing omerta. Apparently among their other strategic uses, the Black Bloc are the de facto enforcers of this code.

 But Renouf refuses to abide by this code of silence. And so they assault him, threaten him, and slander him at every turn. You can tell the comparative courage of a far-left activist by which tactic they adopt. I say comparative courage because, in fact, none of them are ever truly courageous. Even when they come to assault him, they lack the stones to do it one-on-one, despite the fact that Renouf is not a physically imposing individual.

Yet despite having been assaulted in Kensington Market by a pack of thugs bearing a flagpole, Renouf continues. Despite being intimidated whenever he shows up to document what they do in public, Renouf continues. Despite all the slander, Renouf continues. That is true courage, and his detractors would do well to find some of their own.

As it turns out, Daniel Johnson and the Media Coop have paid Renouf the highest compliment one can be paid: to be called "dangerous" by villains. I can personally think of none higher.


BTW - If Daniel Johnson is going to blather about Greg Renouf being dangerous, the least he can do is not encourage people to tamper with rail lines. Makes sense to me, right?

Monday, June 17, 2013

So What?

Apparently, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's sense of entitlement has finally landed him in water hot enough that he's felt himself starting to cook just a little.

Right now the story is the hottest thing in Canadian politics: a New Brunswick-based charity, the Grace Foundation, recently asked Trudeau to return the $20,000 (!) speaking fee he charged them to appear at a fundraiser. Trudeau walked away with $20K in his pocket. The charity lost money.

Conversely, Trudeau's supporters think that they've found their retort to the controversy: that Judith Baxter, a member of the Grace Foundation's board of directors, has connections to the Conservative Party. She's even been photographed in the Prime Minister's office.

As it turns out, each camp in this debate -- those criticizing Trudeau, and those alleging a nefarious conspiracy between the Conservative Party and the Grace Foundation -- have to answer a key question:

So what?

This question can easily be mistaken for one of dismissal, and it's frequently used that way. But in reality, when we hear stories like this one, it's the very first question we should ask ourselves. So what? As in, so what does all of this actually add up to?

Let's start with Trudeau. Justin Trudeau, son of the late former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Old-money trust-fund kid. Charges thousands of dollars to appear at speaking events, frequently as fundraisers for charity. He actually doubles his speaking fee after being elected as a Member of Parliament. Many of these charities lose money on the events for which Trudeau was ostensibly supposed to be a major draw. Trudeau is asked to return his fee. At first he refuses.

So what?

Well, there are obviously some serious questions to be asked about just how genuinely Trudeau believes in public service. Sure, his time is worth money. Everyone's is. But Trudeau's an old-money millionaire. He doesn't need it. The charity, meanwhile, works for a very good cause. And they could use the money far more desperately than Trudeau could.

Not to mention the very serious question of Trudeau's approach to charitable giving. Does he believe in it or not? What claim does Trudeau have to a party that frequently promotes itself as a force of generosity in Canadian society if he, himself, profits from charitable causes at their expense rather than giving even his time to them? Just what would the prospects for Canadian charities be under a Trudeau government?

That's my personal answer to the "so what" question regarding Trudeau. Other people's may differ.

Now on to Judith Baxter. Her visit to the Prime Minister's Office. She received a Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal from Heritage Minister James Moore. Her husband sits on the board of Moore's Riding Association.

So what?

Perhaps in a social media environment, where the desire to draw nefarious conclusions constantly overrides the need for anything resembling actual evidence, this is sufficient to draw that conclusion. But so far those peddling this theory have cited no evidence of any actual wrongdoing. Their sole scrap of evidence is that of association. So if Judith Baxter -- who is only one member of the Grace Foundation board -- is guilty of aynthing, it's mere association.

That's not a very conclusive answer to the "so what?" question. In fact, it's the kind of answer that turns the "what if?" question from one that can be extremely revelatory to one that is, by default, dismissive.

If only Justin Trudeau were so fortunate. These questions leave him looking far less like the innocent victim of a conspiracy and far more like Ebenezer Scrooge.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Stephen's Choice

In the wake of the tale swirling around Edmonton-St Albert MP Brent Rathgeber, one thing is becoming crystal-clear:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has a choice to make: the Conservative Party of Canada -- his very own creation -- can live or it can die. And he has to make that choice pretty much right now. Yes, it is that simple.

The story is alarming: Rathgeber had a private member's bill before Parliament that would require the government to publicly list any federal government employee who earns $144,000 or more. Seven Conservative MPs voted in committee to bump that threshold up to $400,000. There wouldn't be very many public servatns on that list. In terms of determining what it costs to pay the wages of Canada's public service it wouldn't be spectacularly useful information.

So Rathgeber decided to resign from the Conservative Party caucus. He insisted that the seven MPs who voted to gut his bill did so under instructions from the Prime Minister's Office. But apparently the Prime Minister himself may never have been involved. The directions -- effectively orders followed by seven elected Members of Parliament -- are said to have come from appointed PMO staffers.

That is so backward it isn't even funny. Since its inception as a country Canada has ostensibly been a democracy. That means that appointed staffers in the office of the head of government should, if anything, take their direction from elected officials. Not the other way around. Otherwise, it isn't democracy.

That's a big part of the principles that the modern Conservative Party was supposed to have been founded on. And if Prime Minister Stephen Harper cannot find it in himself to -- as hinself an elected official -- set this balance of power right, he will have so thoroughly lost sight of the most fundamental principle that justified his leadership not only of his party, but of this country. And if that's happened there's not a single reason for any Conservative MP who continues to cherish the principles on which this party was founded to continue following him.

Can the Conservative Party survive in its current form without Stephen Harper's leadership? At this current time, I don't think so. Even if Harper were no longer party leader his leadership -- in some form -- would still be integral to the party's continuing ability to function. If Harper undermines his own credibility, he will be undermining the party's prospects of survival.

So Harper has a choice: he will either work this issue with Brent Rathgeber out, restoring the balance of democratic power, or he won't. In doing so he will choose whether the Conservative Party, in its current form, will live or if it will die.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Why Rob Ford Wasn't Wrong to Call the Media "Maggots"

Media outlets have made quite a bit out of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford calling journalists "maggots." Some of them even made that remark the headline of their stories about Ford addressing the public via radio -- which reminds you what the media think this story is really about.

Perhaps it's not hard to see what they're so upset about. After all, calling the media maggots isn't very nice. Why, the media aren't maggots at all. They're human beings, right? Right?

Actually, I'm not so sure they are human. At least in any meaningful sense. To explain why, I'm going to pick on Cjenk Uygur.

The reason why I'm going to pick on Uygur is pretty much the following: he calls his YouTube channel "The Young Turks" but it just so happens he is not young. He's 43 years old. He's got old balls. And while his YouTube channel does, from time to time, feature younger commentators, he's the only one I've ever seen there who's actually Turkish. I'd say that Uygur has an integrity problem. I'd also question whether he's meaningfully human.

So let's take a ride in the not-so-wayback machine and watch one of Uygur's segments on the so-called "crack scandal":
For a moment, let's set aside the fact that Uygur doesn't mention even a single so-called "crack" that couldn't easily be explained away with just a little logical thinking. For a moment, let's put ourselves in Uygur's shoes.

Okay. You at least aspire to journalistic credibility. You'd like to think of yourself as a journalist. You even once landed yourself a gig working as a substitute commentator on MSNBC (although that didn't work out). You think of yourself a journalist. You'd even like to be a journalist.

Now: you're on your inaccurately-branded YouTube channel talking about potentially career-ending allegations for which, it turns out, there is actually no evidence. There is actually more evidence for the existence of sasquatch or UFOs than there is for the allegations you're reporting on. Do you:

A.) Adopt a sombre tone, considering that you're reporting on unproven and -- more importantly -- unsupported allegations?

Or do you:

B.) Grin widely and laugh a lot, relishing every alleged sordid detail of these allegations, despite the fact that they're unproven and -- more importantly -- unsupported?

Why, as it turns out, Uygur opted for the latter. He clearly took very profound pleasure in reporting on this story, despite the fact that there is to date -- and will seemingly remain -- not an iota of evidence to demonstrate that there actually is a story. Toronto's left still prays that this story will destroy Ford's political career and force him out of the office that he won fair and square. And maggots like Cjenk Uygur are enjoying every second of it.

Uygur even went so far as to snicker when Ford skipped over any questions regarding the alleged crack video, which allegedly exists and is allegedly of him, by asking "anything else." I can't imagine how Uygur himself would feel if it were he who was falsely being accused of using crack. Perhaps he'd take a little less pleasure in that particular scenario. But it didn't prevent him from taking an almost-psychopathic degree of pleasure in Rob Ford's situation.

Gee. It's almost enough to wonder why a growing segment of people around the world -- 49 percent in Toronto alone -- don't trust the media anymore.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Keeping Justin Trudeau in Context

 So today the Justin Trudeau bots took to social media to harp about his comments in Vancouver. They actually insisted that these comments were to eliminate the "misconception" that Trudeau has no substance.

Quite the contrary: Trudeau revealed the nature of his substance long, long ago: when he revealled to Canadians something that most of those who support him have yet to admit to themselves: that if you don't live in Quebec, he's just not in this for you. If anything, he's preoccupied with maintaining Quebec's unfair advantage in the Senate. In the past he also inferred that only Quebecers should be allowed to run Canada.

"We all serve the same people," Trudeau declared today. But in context of Trudeau's past remarks allow me to amend his comments to reflect what Trudeau is really all about.

"We all serve the same people. I serve the people of Quebec and I intend to maintain every advantage they have over provinces like Alberta and British Columbia. And because Quebecers are better than non-Quebecers, and because Canada belongs to Quebec, you're expected to serve Quebecers, too."

Think this is unfair? Keep in mind that Trudeau has said all of these things himself, although never all at the same time.

It should remind every Liberal Party supporter outside of Quebec of a simple, undeniable reality: if you live outside of Quebec and you plan to vote Liberal, you're an idiot. And if you're that big an idiot, bend over. It's going to be a rough ride.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I Have Acquired the Rob Ford Crack Video

Brace yourselves, Gawker and Toronto Star. You done got scooped. By none other than yours truly.

I'll be the first to admit that when I first heard about the allegations of a video on which Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoked crack and called Liberal leader Justin Trudeau a "faggot" -- words I've heard bandied about on Twitter, not my own. (With experience I've come to despise that word, personally. No joke.) Even putting myself in the shoes of a person who hates Ford, I couldn't overlook some very common wisdom: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

But as it turns out, the video is real. I've managed to acquire it, and for a far cry short of the $200,000 that drug-dealer-fundraising-for Gawker managed to cobble together.

The video is below. Brace yourself, Fordnation. I am about to rock your world.
Psyche.

Of course it isn't Fordnation's whose world has just been rocked. It's Fordhaternation. And they don't even know it.

Of course that video wasn't of someone who is allegedly Rob Ford allegedly smoking something that is allegedly crack. It's in fact very famous purported footage of sasquatch caught on film. But as it turns out, for all practical purposes this very much is the Ford crack video.

Think about what the story is to date: two Toronto Star reporters and a Gawker reporter claim they've seen a video of Rob Ford smoking crack. Unlike Roger Paterson, they don't even have the footage to "prove" what they've seen. But they insist that it exists. And they continue to insist that it exists despite the fact that some Toronto drug dealer apparently won't come out to claim the $200,000 all the drug-dealer-fundraising-for lefties of Toronto have scraped together for him.

A little fishy, no?

So this is the story that the Star thinks they have. Of course, they don't have the video, which means that they don't actually have the story, even as they plaster "crack scandal" all over any news coverage of Ford that they happen  to publish. (All of which focuses in on this alleged scandal, because that's all they're willing to ask Ford about; it's a professionally undignified means of creating their own news.)

This is what they have to substantiate it: a hypothetical, as-yet unseen and unverified video. A dark, shaky, low-rez and quite-likely-fake video. Not a damn bit different from what all sorts of people used as "evidence" that Big Foot is real. Except that odds are you've at least seen the Paterson film at least once. And keep in mind there's more than just one sasquatch video.

And all of this is what the psychotic denizens of the Toronto far-left -- and the Canadian far-left as well -- have bought hook, line and sinker.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Is This the Racialization of Class? Or the Class-ization of Race?

This weekend's White Privilege Conference in Seattle, Washington has presented a unique opportunity to peer behind the curtain erected by many "anti-oppression" activists around their ideology of choice.

I personally think of this ideology as new-age racism: essentially the belief that discriminating against specific racial groups (more specifically white people) is a mark of some form of "enlightenment."

The ideology falls flat on its face by attributing complex patterns of inequality and disparity to race, gender, and sexuality. It refuses to acknowledge any effect that the internal dysfunctions of any number of identifiable groups may have on such disparity and inequality. And its obsession with race can lead it into some very strange places. The following is an actual excerpt from a study discussed at the White Privilege Conference:
 
For the record, the paper is entitled "Can 'Baby Bonds' Eliminate the Wealth Gap in Putative Post-Racial America." Its authors are Derrick Hamilton and William Darity Jr. And whether out of intent or mere prosaic clumsiness, the authors seem to have raised a very pointed question about the motivations of so-called "anti-oppression" activists.

The paper speaks of the apparent impossibility of race-based wealth redistribution -- taking wealth out of the hands of a particular racial group (say, white people) and putting it into the hands of another racial group (everyone else). In light of this practical impossibility, the authors suggest that re-distributing wealth along the lines of the amount of wealth that an individual already has is the next-best thing.

It almost seems like an admission that the activists participating in the White Privilege Conference could literally not give a crap about impoverished white people, and only advocate for measures that they think could alleviate their poverty because alleviating all poverty is the only practical way to alleviate the poverty of poor non-whites.

This provokes three key questions:

First off, if it were possible to simply re-distribute wealth from whites to non-whites until there are no more poor non-whites remaining, haven't you at best left behind the existing poor whites and at worst created additional poor whites while further impoverishing those who were already poor?

Second, what would this have created other than simply another form of race-based privilege?

Third, does the second-best solution suggested by Hamilton and Darity racialize class? Or does it class-ize race?

Either way Derrick Hamilton and William Darity Jr have missed the forest for the trees.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hacktastic! David Climenhaga Accuses Colin Craig Of Throwing A "Tantrum"

There's something about the idea of transparency that seems to shake David Climenhaga very, very deeply. Transparency for labour unions: he opposes it. Transparency for First Nations bands: he opposes that, too.

But when Pam Palmater and some Idle No More protesters barged into a press conference by Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Bernard Valcourt and disrupted it, Climenhaga waited until Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation turned the tables on Palmater to lose his mind. "Craig's intervention bordered on the bizarre, and wasn't typical of the pronouncements of the usually slick CTF. But you likely didn't think much more about it when the media rapidly moved on to other stories," he droned.

This, presumably after watching the video. On that note, let's roll that beautiful bean footage:
So let's talk about bizarre, shall we? Colin Craig calls out Palmater on sticking up for self-indulgent chiefs who pay themselves more than the Prime Minister of Canada is paid. In response to that, Palmater turns to Craig and bellows about what corporate CEOs are paid. She then says that is the issue.

Ooooookay. So then shouldn't she and the zombified remnants of Idle No More have burst into a corporate board room somewhere? What does the publicly-disclosed salaries of corporate CEOs have to do with the non-disclosed and secretive salaries of First Nations chiefs, many of whom pay themselves handsomely to ineffectually govern crushingly-impoverished reserves?

If you answered "absolutely nothing" you were entirely correct. If you added "it's a distraction tactic," give yourself bonus points. If you added "it's actually kind of pathetic" give yourself some bonus points. Hopefully you got them all.

Yet David Climenhaga thinks it's Colin Craig's confrontation of Pam Palmater that's bizarre? Sorry, but that's just plain bizarre.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Personal Response to Nina Waste

Nina Waste isn't exactly a household name in Canada. She's one of the co-founders of the Idle No More "movement."

In the realization that the "movement" she started is dying, she recently issued this plea via Facebook:

"I know it has been a long hard four months...but we need you...we need the messengers...the ones who love this land and water, and want it safe and clean and pure....the farmers, the unions, the educators, the poets, the writers, the singers, the artists, environmentalists, the settlers, and all allies....we need you....i know it is so very hard to understand our differences, our divides, the hurtful and shameful legacies....we have both been fooled and we have been used....as weapons against one another....at this time we need you, as we have never needed you before....to speak up....to tell the world, that we are in deep crisis...that the Indigenous people are real ppl, with real lives, real loves for our generations coming, ...we are not our statistics, we are not our violence, our poverty, we are not invisible....your silence...is your consent....to the demise of a people...."

 Unlike far too many Idle No More activists I can't pretend to speak for anyone other than myself, so I won't even pretend to. The following response is from my self and myself alone, and it is as follows:

"Hello, Nina. Guess what? Idle No More is over. It's dead. And if you really want to know what killed it, it's this:

You insisted on trying to build Idle No More as an Occupy-esque movement, effectively with no leadership. As a movement, Idle No More failed to put down any foundations. It allowed any and every douchebag with an axe to grind to come along and speak as a member of the movement, and speak on its behalf. And in doing so it allowed a lot of people to hijack it.

Which doesn't actually undermine what the movement could stand for if those hijacking it were willing to allow it to. Aboriginal peoples in Canada face a lot of problems, and it would probably stun a lot of those associating themselves with Idle No More to learn that we want to see those problems solved. We want to see a better life for aboriginal people in Canada.

Here's the problem: Idle No More has gone out of its way to ensure that there can be absolutely no dialogue regarding how these problems can be solved. They seem to insist on a monologue: on solutions dictated by them. Which would be one thing entirely, if we all didn't have to live side-by-side as neighbours. But we do.

No one wants to see the demise of Canada's First Nations. But there are plenty of people who want to see the suffering continue, not out of malice per se, but simply because the suffering of your people gives them a soapbox they can stand on which they otherwise would not have. They pretend to be your allies, but the only power they have is in ensuring that the suffering of your people continues indefinitely. And they are the loudest voices opposing the necessary dialogue. Like any good villain, they simply want to monologue.

To conclude, what I'm saying is this: talk to us. Don't talk at us. Have a conversation with us. so we can find these solutions together. Until you can find it in yourselves to do that there can be no solutions."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Peter Penashue -- Doing What Ruth-Ellen Brosseau Wouldn't

If you've taken note of what the left-wing is saying about the resignation of Intergovernmental Affairs Minister and Labrador MP Peter Penashue today, my advice is: don't.

But if you must, keep this in mind. amidst all of the howls of "scandal" is a little detail that the left -- particularly the NDP -- don't want you to realize. That detail being that Penashue's resignation in light of the apparent improper donation actually puts him on an ethical plateau lightyears above and beyond anything that the left -- particularly the NDP have themselves attained.

Indeed, Penashue has resigned as Labrador MP. The donation accepted by a campaign volunteer apparently should not have been accepted, and he's doing the right thing. He's also standing in a by-election for reelection. (This also has the left infuriated.) And in doing this he's only doing what the left -- especially the NDP -- themselves would not do.

Let\s rewind the clock a little bit to the days immediately following the 2011 federal election, when Berthier--Maskinongé MP Ruth-Ellen Brosseau made headlines for two reasons: first, she somehow managed to get elected despite spending most of the election in Las Vegas. Secondly -- and far more importantly -- the nomination papers her campaign submitted to Elections Canada featured falsified signatures.

It's illegal to submit any kind of false document to Elections Canada. But not only did Brosseau see fit to take her seat in Parliament rather than do what Penashue did and resign to stand in a by-election, but the NDP caucus gave her a standing ovation for doing so. That is just how untroubled the NDP was abut the chicanery surrounding her campaign.

Like Penashue, Brosseau herself was not responsible. This was the fault of a campaign volunteer. And while the acceptance of this apparently-improper donation can still be chalked up to a volunteer who didn't know the rules -- although the question must be raised about just why such a volunteer would be allowed anywhere near the fundraising arm of the campaign -- there is absolutely no question that the falsification of the fabricated signatures on Brosseau's nomination papers was deliberate. None whatsoever.

So the left may crow about the resignation of Peter Penashue as much as they want. It doesn't change the fact that all he's done is what the left themselves will never do: actually take responsibility for a mistake, be it his or someone else's.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tom Flanagan Shows Why Idle No More Will Be the Death of Anything It Touches

Is Idle No More really still a thing? Really?

For the moment, let's take their word for it and pretend that it is -- even though this so-called "movement" is obviously dead as a door nail. Anyone who encounters an Idle No More activist in nearly any context ought to tread very, very carefully. Idle No More has been out to be the death of anything or anyone it touches. If you need any proof of this, look no further than Tom Flanagan.

In an understandably-combative interview with Macleans magazine, Flanagan manages to do something quite remarkable. It doesn't seem like he really means to, but he actually manages to pinpoint just why the Idle No More movement is so utterly toxic, not only to race relations in Canada, but to anything and anyone it reaches out and touches.

To whit:

"I was posing a question. And that was the wrong way to go about it in that forum. But in the classroom, I would pose the question the same way again. I’d say, 'What’s the harm?' And the student would say, 'You’re building a market for it.' And I’d say, 'Yeah, that’s a harm,' and dialectically, we’d go somewhere together."

Therein lies the rub. From actually watching the video of the interaction, one thing becomes crystal clear: this particular individual was unequivocally not trying to go anywhere with Flanagan, dialectically or otherwise. Regardless of whether or not Flanagan's detractors are willing to admit to it -- and it's clear that the sheer bombast of their malicious triumphalism has backed them into a corner where can't afford to admit to it -- it very much was a trap. The individual in question was trying to draw Flanagan into saying something that could be used to destroy him. Then they attempted precisely that feat. Whether or not they actually succeeded remains to be seen.

Later in the interview, Flanagan notes that the response to his comments has already worried many academics across the country. Suddenly, the prospect of an angry student attempting to tear them down by similarly trapping them may well become a more enticing idea, now that it's already been done. The chill, as it were, is in.

This is where it becomes necessary to consider the petty triumphalism of certain Idle No More-linked "academics." Suddenly, the apparent disgrace of Flanagan has spared them the hard work of having to lock horns with him over ideas. Ever eager to take such shortcuts -- and desperately in need of them because they aren't capable of it -- such individuals have apparently not spared a single thought for what such an academic chill might mean for them.

There are certainly various reasons for it. They've seemingly managed to convince themselves that their fringe ideas are in vogue in academia, and so no statement they could make, regardless of how outrageous -- and frequently racially-charged -- could be seen as so.

But really that's neither the long nor short of it. In reality, these individuals are not real academics at all. They're bullies who have donned the guise of the professional egghead. They see academia as nothing more than another schoolyard, and even if Idle No More were able to destroy academia as a whole, as opposed to merely diminishing it, they'd just find themselves another playground to rampage in.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hey Rabblers and Babblers: Lookie What I Found

Who doesn't love a good pile-on? I'm not sure I have the answer to that question. But I'll tell you who does love a good pile-on: Rabble.ca.

In the days since Tom Flanagan's outrageous comments on child pornography, many Rabble commentators have taken it upon themselves to gloat about it. Flanagan has since explained his comments -- an explanation that I find satisfactory only to degrees -- something that the pile-on artists at Rabble will certainly ignore.

You would almost think that on the subject of child pornography Rabble.ca was pure as the driven snow. If you actually believed this, you might have been stunned to stumble upon this on their "Babble" forum, as I did:
It's hard to say what's more stunning about this: the paranoid idea that legislating against child pornography is a means of indirectly targeting the LGBT community, or the tacit suggestion in these comments that it's a-OK for the LGBT community to depict children sexually, even if that were something especially prevalent within that community. Personally, I severely doubt that it is.

Certainly, it could be argued that Rabble isn't responsible for everything posted on its forums. Personally, I wouldn't accept that argument -- it's well-known that Rabble moderators can be downright stormtrooper-ish when expunging anyone who doesn't slavishly share their personal views.

So is Rabble soft on child pornography? Soft on producers? Based on the comments above, it may seem that it depends on who they think is producing it.