Saturday, December 06, 2008

Remembering Dec. 6, 1989: May they rest in eternal peace

Geneviève Bergeron (1968-1989)
Hélène Colgan (1966-1989)
Nathalie Croteau (1966-1989)
Barbara Daigneault (1967-1989)
Anne-Marie Edward (1968-1989)
Maud Haviernick (1960-1989)
Maryse Laganière (1964-1989)
Maryse Leclair (1966-1989)
Anne-Marie Lemay (1967-1989)
Sonia Pelletier (1961-1989)
Michèle Richard (1968-1989)
Annie St-Arneault (1966-1989)
Annie Turcotte (1969-1989)
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (1958-1989)

"Je Souviens" came to mean something more to me on this day than whatever the original intent of using it as the line on our license plates. I am so grateful to have the chance to raise two boys of my own to understand that we need to build a world without violence - towards women or anyone for that matter.

It's the least I can do in their memory. That and to keep singing:

Each time I feel like this inside
There's one thing I want to know
What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Shorter Peevey Stevie: Bloc votes are only legit when aligned with the CPC

I guess Peevey Stevie feels better when he vents his spleen in public and tells us what he really thinks of the Bloc Québecois caucus that represents the majority of Quebec ridings:
“Mr. Speaker, not a single member of the House, not even a member of the Bloc, received a mandate to have a government in which the separatists would be part of the coalition,” Harper shot back
This attitude is not new. I recall similar feelings of disgust I felt towards Harper when he cavalierly dismissed the votes of the BQ that helped pass legislation legalizing gay marriage back in 2005 when he was Opposition Leader:
"Because it's being passed with the support of the Bloc, I think it will lack legitimacy with most Canadians," Mr. Harper said on Monday. "The truth is most federalist MPs oppose this."
Contrast that with his government's record of recognizing BQ votes with no hint of disapproval over the last three years, and you have yet another wonderful example of how full of shit he continues to be. As aptly pointed out by G&M columnist Jeffrey Simpson, Harper is clearly willing to bring on a completely unnecessary and avoidable unity crisis to save his own political skin (and at a time of great economic uneasiness, to boot).
It is therefore fair to speculate that in addition to an economic bungle, a political mess and possible constitutional crisis, Mr. Harper's miscalculations, and subsequent attempts to save himself, might produce a national unity problem, too.
It's never a good idea to tell the voters what they were or weren't voting for - as if anyone could get inside their millions of heads. In the end, you have to respect the members' will; otherwise you are disrespecting the voters who put them there and in the numbers present.

So Stephen Harper is again proving he is more Fascist than democrat. Can't say we weren't warned.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Advice to the GG: if asked to Prorogue, Make him Sweat!

I see that to top it off, Harper has embarrassingly inconvenienced the office of the Governor-General of Canada. With Michaëlle Jean forced to cancel her trip and fly home early, I suspect Harper will pull out all the stops and ask her to prorogue Parliament before the Opposition benches have a chance to vote in line with their oft and clearly stated position that his government has lost the confidence of a majority of the MPs.

If he does request a prorogation, one suspects that he will hold out as long as possible first while he shores up support for this action among his caucus and grassroots, in order to minimize the negative reaction to "pulling the fire alarm" in this way.

Now, I am no constitutional scholar, and I don't suppose Jean would be very comfortable in not granting a prorogation should Harper request it; but here is an interesting idea to let the G-G off the hook (at least partially):

What is to stop her from deciding to consult with her advisors and take say, a few days' deliberations before making her decision on whether to grant the request? That could even take her as much as a week, perhaps. And if the Opposition acts on the floor of the House to formally declare non-confidence in the meantime, then would not the prorogation request itself be prorogued (or negated?)

Call it the "Let me get back to you when I get back to you" option.

You're quite welcome, your Excellency

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Dion Misunderestimated Again

The strategy of the emerging Liberal/NDP coalition government is evidently designed to drive Peevey Stevie so insanely enraged that his head explodes before the afternoon is out.
The goal is to inform Ms. Jean that a viable alternative to the current government exists within the current Parliament, in the form of a coalition between the Liberal Party and the NDP. The Bloc is expected to promise to support the coalition to survive for at least a year, which would allow for the passage of two budgets.

"We've decided that the only person and the best person to lead and form a coalition government is the elected leader of our party ... Stéphane Dion," said leadership hopeful Dominic LeBlanc.

"We are comfortable with that, we support that and we think that's right."
I, for one, can't wait for Harper to blow up.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mike Duffy, you are a tool

And Harper is a fool for taking the bait. Here is The National Post's Don Martin on Harper's comment of the whole incident:
To use his first spontaneous media appearance of the campaign to declare Mr. Dion the most unworthy of the two candidates for prime minister based on a minute of misunderstanding is not the most flattering reaction for the prime minister.

In the end the incident they hoped to use to define Mr. Dion as a confused ditherer may actually provide more telling insight into the character of Stephen Harper.
This tempest in a teapot is rather eloquently summed up here. And kudos to Mr. Comartin for his unfailing decency. I hope he gets re-elected on Tuesday.

As for Mr. Duffy? Heck, this isn't even the first time this week he's been a total jerk, and Ms. Elizabeth May was stellar in calling him on it:

CTV has some better assets at their disposal than Duffy. If there was ever a time for fresh blood, it's now. Duffy, I know you're not reading this, but let me tell you something: I studied journalism under Lindsay Crysler, Enn Raudsepp, Rod McDonnell and a host of other painstakingly ethical professors at Concordia University in the 80s and early 90s. This sort of thing would have given me a failed grade and censure from the department. You have a national audience. Canada deserves better than this from its biggest commercial television network.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Tank By Tuesday!! (new CPC slogan)

If that's not the new slogan, it sure appears to be their new modus operandi. I am starting to put things together here. Seems the SHITs* have lost all the non-Harper backroom assets normally at their disposal.

Michael Fortier and Peter MacKay (the latter of which is a complete dumb-ass anyway) are both fighting tooth-and-nail just for their own ridings. Fortier also has the added burden of covering for many Montreal area candidates' media requests (not entirely surprising, given that some can't even answer a simple question in french). Fortier was key to the strategy behind the 2006 campaign, so that's one major brain that isn't nearly as available to the national campaign as they would surely like.

Back in March, Peevey Stevie's braintrust, Ian Brodie became a liability he could no longer be seen talking to - particularly now that the candidacy he was attempting to sandbag is now clearly heading for the White House. So that's a second "brains behind the operation" gone.

Then they lost number 3 in week one of the campaign when Ryan Sparrow had to be given the boot over Puffin-Poop Peccadillo and his public dumping on the father of a Canadian soldier that had been killed in action in Afghanistan.

So his behind-the-scenes team was already bleeding out profusely by the time he had to dismiss his longtime aide, Owen Lippert, who dutifully fell on his sword over the John Howard speech plagiarism scandal last week.

With his cupboard bare, Harper now has to rely on his own tin ear to lurch along through the rest of the campaign. And all he can do is revel in his own perceived brilliance, and speak over the heads of these silly Canadian voters, directly to his true constituents: the Neo-Con masters such as Karl Rove.

So spread the word: the new mantra is for the Conservatives is "TBT", or

"Tank By Tuesday"

Can they do it? Tune in this time next week to find out!

- 30 -

(Tip 'o the Hat to Cyberwanderer for that last link.)

*For the uninitiated: that's the Secret Harper Imitation Tories.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Dion's got his mojo back

When asked how he expects Stephen Harper to respond to the news that "more than 230 economists teaching in Canadian universities (were collectively) calling for economically coherent action on climate change and putting a price on carbon", Stephane Dion responded:
"He will, Stephen Harper, say that they are crazy, they are insane," Dion said. "There is only one economist who is disagreeing with them and he's still prime minister, but hopefully, won't be by next Tuesday."

Yeeeeeah, baby!

What was that about corporate greed and corruption?

Just in case you missed it at the congressional hearings into the AIG collapse, here is a sweet little tidbit:
House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., also said that even as losses were engulfing the company, AIG executives depleted AIG's capital through stock buybacks and higher dividends.
Pretty much sums up a sick and twisted situation for you. Looks like things are going to get ugly, and we have barely scratched the surface.

For more blood-boiling AIG outrages - even post-bailout! - see this stuff over at dailykos.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

No Depression?

Oh joy:
The word “recession” wouldn’t describe the deep structural problems affecting everything from the U.S. housing sector to the Canadian oil industry, said Bank of Nova Scotia chief economist Warren Jestin.

“You have to invent a new word to describe what we’re in now,” he said after the banks presented their perspectives at the Economic Club today.
How about: Global Economic Shitstorm?

But please, no depression. (Apologies to Uncle Tupelo).

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Tories' record of blood on their hands

From the CBC: fresh allegations the Secret Harper Imitation Tories turned the CFIA from inspectors to mere paperwork auditors.
"We might not have had anybody dead [if company officials were still obligated to report positive listeria findings]. It's terrible. My dad eats this stuff all the time. I eat it," the inspector said.


"Before, you had authority, you were like a cop. We were the meat police. Now, you're just looking at the paperwork," the Toronto-area inspector said.
Gilles Duceppe had it right yesterday, calling Harper out for having no moral compass.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rae puts Peevey Stevie off-script

Up there on the platform
He is speaking to the people
The people are responding
With clapping and a cheering
But the meaning of the message
Not revealed to those assembled
They're taken for a ride
Taken in his stride

When the generals talk
You better listen to him
When the generals talk
You better do what he say

--from "When the Generals Talk", by Midnight Oil

That really sets the table for the debates, eh? Harper is going to be on the defensive, while his deputy leader is stuck spending extra time trying to save his own riding (that's the real power play behind the Dion/May agreement). Harper has so few other mouthpieces than himself that he trusts. Now here he is shown up as someone who isn't his own man. So what other speeches has he had imported? And was this even Howard's own speech to begin with? Or possibly something prepared in Washington or London?

Here's another from the Oils: "US Forces"

And while we're at it: "Short Memory"

HELP! I can't stop!!

In case you're wondering, the singer of these songs is today Australia's Right Honourable Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, and as such, a member of the government that succeeded Howard's late last year.

As Peter Garrett sang in "US Forces" back in 1982:
"Sing me songs of no denying
Seems to me too many dying"


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Friday, September 19, 2008

Too Phoquen Phunny

Tip o' the hat to Paul Wells.

My Kingdom for a Vested Sweater® Take-off

It's not exactly Mayor Tommy Shanks but it may be even funnier:

Tip o' the Hat to impolitical.

Gerry Ritz and the Sorry (Excuse for) Tories

Dear Mr. Ritz,

I am a father. I have a 4-year old and a 14-month old, and they both have voracious appetites. I used to make grilled-cheese sandwiches with hungarian salami tucked inside for the oldest one. I'd give him a slice of salami while he was waiting for his lunch.

I'd also give the younger one some tiny pieces of meat. He laps that stuff up like nothing else.

Well, I guess he's lucky to be alive. Some other people's babies aren't so lucky.

And you found it possible to joke about "...death by a thousand cuts, or should I say: 'cold-cuts'?". I think I know what was going through your head at the time. It wasn't guilt, or anguish over the unnecessary illnesses and deaths your actions led to. Instead, you were concerned about the political fallout for your useless party's government, weren't you?

Weren't you?!?

You rhetorically asked if one of the tragic deaths caused by the recent listeria outbreak might be your political opponent. Tell me something: what if it had been your political opponent who'd died as a result of this negligence? Not so funny anymore, eh?

Is that what it would take for you to understand what a disgusting and dishonourable jackass you are?

Let me remind you of something. You are supposed to be "responsible". You are supposed to be in charge of making sure government oversight of the meat packing industry is in place and effective.

You, Gerry Ritz, have blood on your hands.

You, Gerry Ritz, should accept responsibility and step down immediately.

Your government's inattentiveness speaks volumes.

Instead of issuing (and re-issuing - for better photo-ops) lame apologies dripping with faux sincerity, you can start to exercise your sworn responsibilities by reversing this.

Then you might regain a glimmer of whatever humanity you checked at the door when you signed your Conservative Party nomination papers.

- 30 -

Monday, September 15, 2008

Papineau candidates debate from this a.m. (podcast)

For those who missed it, the most*-candidates debate broadcast this morning on Daybreak - CBC Radio One Montreal - is available for a limited time on the CBC site as a podcast. Ingrid did a fine job showcasing the depth of Green Party policy on several issues: from tackling poverty as a long-term strategy toward public security, to the economic and trade benefits we can realize by promoting our culture internationally, (instead of eliminating the program outright, as the Harper government did just recently). Click here to download the whole debate.

*The Conservative party's nominee, Mustaque Saker, was absent; in his place sat the much higher profile Michael Fortier, Minister of International Trade, even though Fortier is running in the off-island riding of Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hein vs. Fortier, Barbot and Trudeau in Papineau riding debate this morning

Papineau riding's Green Party of Canada nominee, Ingrid Hein and her riding rivals will be participating in a debate on culture and law & order (the real stuff; not the TV show) on Daybreak, CBC Radio One, Montreal (98.5 FM) today, September 15th, at 7:40 am (EDT).

Host Mike Finnerty and the gang will be broadcasting from a popular local eaterie with the candidates. As of last Friday, the Conservatives were planning to send Minister of International Trade Michael Fortier in to pinch-hit for Mustaque Sarker, effectively denying listeners the chance to hear their actual CPC candidate go toe to toe with his rivals on english radio.

Since that's the case, I wonder: Will the Liberals' Justin Trudeau impress us avec ses abilites to change back et en avance dans la same sentence jusqu'au le point of headache-inducing distraction? Will the Bloq's Vivian Barbot and the NDP's Costa Zapirofolous show up? Tune in to Daybreak, 98.5 FM and find out.

Well Ingrid Hein will certainly be there. Listen in on the live feed here.

Should be interesting.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Harper and Layton CAVE: the day belongs to May

Victory for democracy!

Mother May I? The answer is now yes. From here on in Canada, May Day may now be celebrated on 10 September. Thank you Mr. Layton, and Mr. Harper, for putting an end to this silliness and respecting the will of the vox populi (as well as good ol' common decency).

Dare we hope that this might become a trend?

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Harper's Worst Nightmare?

What a bother this representational,... what do they call it? demogra...? demma? democracy? Yeah, democracy stuff is. 308 bloody candidates - all with ...freakish skeletons in their closets ...and mouths! Mouths that might say words that can't be controlled, not like robots can. That's it. GET ME ROBOTS!! LIKE IN THAT SECOND BORING STAR WARS MOVIE!!!

At least until I can get my majority, and then sell this god-forsaken socialist backwater country to the United States where is belongs! Now let me look at that notaleader site. WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT'S NOT FINISHED YET?!? Well, show me what you've got. Did they get the puffin in yet? Let me see... THAT'S CRAP!! I TOLD YOU - I WANT THE PUFFIN TO CRAP ON HIS SHOULDER!!! HIS SHOULDER, MORONS!! GET IT RIGHT!

Great, so first I have to tell the media I'm some kind of fruit, and now I've got a puffin that isn't pooping where I want it to? THIS IS NOT HAPPENING TO ME!!!


Okay, I'm good now... Hey, who's that? Come out where I can see you! Is that a microphone? GET BACK HERE YOU! DON'T STICK YOUR TONGUE OUT AT ME!!

This was SUPPOSED to be a SAFE ROOM!! Now I'll have to sue somebody to shut them up and make up some crap about doctored recordings again.

Where's Emerson? EMERSON!!!

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G&M interview with May: on her exclusion from the televised debates

Right on, Lizzie!
"I think it's in the public interest to have a woman political leader on the stage, if for no other reason that it gives young girls, young women a role model. Not that I want to be their role model in all things, but if you don't ever see a woman on the stage in a federal televised leaders' debate, the message to young women is that they don't belong on that stage, that women aren't in politics."
The whole thing it definitely worth a read.

Mother May I? Layton ties himself in knots, while Harper clams up

You won't have to try hard to read between the lines of this CP report on Layton's appearance, wherein he proves that he has the requisite two sides of one mouth to live up to our current Prime Minister's standard.
REGINA - Jack Layton says the NDP's reputation for fighting the establishment and championing the underdog is intact despite his refusal to allow the Green Party a podium at the televised debates.

The New Democrat leader is on the defensive over the decision to exclude Green Party Leader Elizabeth May from the Oct. 1 event.

At a Regina coffee house, Layton told a breakfast crowd of cheering supporters that the NDP won't "let the old interests and powerful sectors" stand in the party's way.

But later, he defended excluding May by saying she had already endorsed Liberal Leader Stephane Dion for prime minister.

Layton also tried to shift responsibility for the decision to the television networks that will host the event.

Some NDP supporters at a Monday night rally in Vancouver expressed shock at the party's stand.
No kidding they expressed shock. Enough that Layton figured he couldn't keep running for cover any longer, evidently.

As for Peevey Stevie, after whining on and on yesterday about how unfair it would be to have to face May, he's evidently decided that's not the right side of the issue to be on after all, and today is shutting his yap on the matter (looks like he already winded himself apologizing for his pooping puffin problems).

And we thought the American election was entertaining? Heck, we've even got "Scandalpedia" now (courtesy of the Grits).

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Why This Site is temporarily Green-texted

I have changed my blogger template to use html colour code 006600 for the text. This is going to stay that way until common sense prevails and this gets reversed, or the date for the debate passes (or I can't stand looking at it anymore... whatever comes first).

Thanks to Gauntlet for the idea!

Nothing funnier than Scott Feschuk at election time

Just be careful about coffee spewing out on your keyboard as you read and guffaw.

Meanwhile, Harper's launched his latest campaign theme:

The New Negative!

Pounding away mercilessly at wounded political animals with psychotic glee - the only thing the Harper Imitation Tories really excel at!

Layton, Harper taking cues from McCain more than Obama

It's really sad how NDP leader Jack Layton has reacted to the Mother May I? question. Here is a guy who has huge posters put up (see the corner of St-Laurent and Jean-Talon in Montreal) with just his own name and mustachioed grin. He daily stands at a podium with only his name emblazoned upon it. He is flying in a campaign plane with only his name on the side in giant letters. Yet he wouldn't take ownership of his decision to deny Elizabeth May's voice at the upcoming televised leadership debates by speaking to the media about it himself. Instead, he sent his spokesperson to explain it, and belied his claim to strong leadership himself by meekly choosing to duck reporters' questions.
Layton was hustled away by handlers when reporters tried to clarify if he had said he would pull out.

"I'm looking forward to debating the prime minister," was his only comment.

Before Lavigne spoke, another NDP official speaking off record said that a negotiator for Layton had told network organizers that he would have to "reconsider" his participation but had not threatened to boycott.
And then the NDP spokesperson couldn't resist promoting the entirely false meme (that may have been true two elections ago) of the Green Party being a one-issue party. Seems to me that if your actions do not jibe with your rhetoric, you are not doing anything to gain the trust of voters who have been skeptical of your party for decades. It reminds me of a line from Obama's incredible DNC acceptance speech: "He just doesn't get it." Of course the 'he' Obama was referring to was his Republican counterpart, John McCain, but it surely applies to Mr. Layton on this day.

For the record, the Vision Green is a 160-page tome in pdf, and covers the economy, taxation, public security, Afghanistan and just about everything in the federal realm and beyond:
Vision Green presents leading-edge thinking and rational, realistic solutions for all the issues facing Canadians. It was developed by a 31-member Green Shadow Cabinet and was informed by experts, activists and citizens who participated in policy workshops held across Canada. All the proposals are based on policies approved by the membership of the Green Party.

Green Party solutions are rational because the Green Party, unlike other parties, understands the scientifically verified limits to growth set by the carrying capacity of our planet. We must work within these limits. Otherwise, we will exhaust resources, degrade our environment and put our economy, health and children’s future at risk.

Our solutions are realistic because they follow “best practices” already in place in parts of Canada or other countries. These practices are cost-effective, deliver results and benefit people, the economy and the environment.

The Green Party’s down-to-earth solutions will work in Canada because they have worked around the world. Many have been successfully applied in Europe, where Greens are elected at all political levels, including the European Union and national parliaments. Countries where Greens have served in government are the countries creating new high-paying jobs while simultaneously meeting targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are the countries where the gap between rich and poor is small and the standard of living is high. These countries don’t trade off the environment for the economy. Their economies and environmental laws are both strong.

Many people find it hard to position the Green Party on the old political spectrum. We believe in sound fiscal management and strengthening our economy while ensuring that it is sustainable. Does that mean we are “right wing”? We believe that government must provide needed social services while protecting our environment and the rights of women, minorities and disadvantaged people. Does that make us “left wing”? We don’t think so. More and more people are simply thinking of the Green Party as the party of the future.

The Green Party is different from other parties in another important way. We will never place the pursuit of power above principle. We will not allow partisan politics to get in the way of good ideas and needed action. We agree with Canadians who say it’s time for parties in parliament to stop bickering and get on with the job of combating climate change and taking better care of our environment, our health and our economy.
Let's not forget Harper's atrocious behaviour in this matter - he was the first one to spread lies and threaten to boycott the whole affair if the Green Party leader was given a seat, perhaps to protect the shaky seat held by his lil buddy, Junior MacKay, against whom May is running herself.
Why not just, guys? Or are you enjoying this media storm that's taking you all off-message?

- 30 -

Easy for You Guys to Say Dept.

Four former Canadian Prime Ministers (comprising what? four or five years' experience in the PM chair among the lot?) all agree they ignored a serious issue while in power and now want to get on the right side of history by wagging their fingers at today's party leaders with a report calling for immediate action to fight global warming.
The report calls for a $30-a-tonne price tag on emissions, and says a "staggering" investment in green technologies is required.

The document has been signed by four former prime ministers, Joe Clark and Kim Campbell, both Progressive Conservatives, and Liberals Paul Martin and John Turner.

The names of Jean Chrétien and Brian Mulroney are conspicuously absent from the document, even though both were contacted by the group, Roy told the Globe and Mail.
I find it a bit rich for Martin in particular to be on board here. He, more than anyone else in this lot, is responsible for Canada being slow to enact meaningful measures that could've made a difference on his watch. I guess it's better late than never, eh?

- 30 -

Monday, September 08, 2008

BREAKING: Mother May I? Duceppe says he never said no

The BQ says: Don't look at us. Their spin is they told the consortium they preferred if it were limited to four debaters, but never ever EVER said they'd boycott unless Elizabeth May was shut out.

Go read more from Andrew Coyne. Especially this:
I have a feeling this is backfiring badly on all concerned. Have a look at the CBC story on this sordid business: there are more than 600 comments attached. (This Globe story: 430 comments) A firestorm, in other words. I wonder who will be the next member of the Gang of Three to buckle?

- 30 -

Strong Leader too scared to Face May

"You can fight for democracy at home
And not in some foreign land"
--Billy Bragg, from the song:
"Help Save the Youth of America"

Shorter Peevey Stevie: Oh the horrifying injustice of it all! Oh boo hoo... Oh it's so unfair what those Big Bad Green Meanies want to do to me... Don't they know I'm a very strong, strong leader? Oh why must they be so unfair?!?

And then the media "Consortium" humbly bows down to His Mightiness and grants the sulky power-tripping democracy-hating Strongman his wish. Disgusting.

What a sad day for democracy in Canada. Here's May's reaction (per the Globe and Mail):
Ms. May claimed Mr. Harper is concerned that Greens are stealing votes from Conservatives, pointing to the riding of Guelph where their party polls show the Greens are up at the expense of the Tory candidate.

When asked directly about Mr. Harper's prediction that she will endorse Mr. Dion, Ms. May replied: “We know he's had a stylist who also is billed as a clairvoyant working for him, I wonder if that's what he's basing this on,” she said. “I don't know how to respond to something so absurd.”

Fight, Elizabeth May, fight.

4:40 PM UPDATE: I see from the CBC story that Layton and Duceppe also vetoed the debates if May was going to be there. What is this? An old-boys club mentality? Is there collusion going on here? Doubtful. But this just shows how powerful a good idea can be when the men on top of their little kingdoms feel it's more convenient to silence their critics than to face them. And they will make their platitudes about the great democratic institutions of this country while doing so. Count on it.

You call yourselves leaders? That's just

Utterly Pathetic.


5:00 PM UPDATE JimBobby Sez is equally outraged, and sez so rather succinctly:

Nevermind that polls have consistently shown that 77% of Canadians want the Green leader in the debates. Nevermind that 660,000 Canadians voted Green in 2006. Nevermind that the Green Party is one of only parties to receive federal funding. Nevermind that Canadian taxpayers shell out over $1 million a year to the Greens. Nevermind that the Greens run candidates in all provinces.

Nevermind democracy, you wimp chickenshit bastards.

Today is a dark day for Canadian democracy. The blame goes squarely to Harper, Layton and Duceppe. I will not watch the debates between these tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumbasses. Craven cowards who used their collective might to thwart democratic debate. Bastards! Dirty, rotten, chickenshit bastards!
And her party isn't agitating for Quebec separation either I might add...

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Ingrid Hein up against Justin Trudeau, Vivian Barbot in Papineau

I humbly ask you to consider the words of Papineau riding's GPC nominee, Ingrid Hein:
With a six-month old on my hip, I take on this challenge because I believe she deserves a better future, as does my 3-year old son.

How will we answer (our children) when they ask why, why did we let the planet become so sick? What will we tell them? I used glass baby bottles and sippy-cups, we will tell them. I had a compost. I tried to buy local and organic when I could afford to, we will say. Okay, alright. But this is only the beginning. The whole planet needs to think green, and it has to start at the government level. In North America, it can start with the Canadian government.
Hein and her riding rivals will be participating in a debate on culture and law & order (the real stuff; not the TV show) on CBC Radio One, Montreal (98.5 FM) on Monday, September 15th, at 7:40 am (EDT).

P.S.: Speaking as the newly minted GPC Financial officer for Papineau, we are currently graciously accepting donations; and volunteers sporting any combination of political savvy, campaign sign affixing wherewithal and baby wrangling know-how (some experience in that regard preferred, however one-on-one training will be provided). Contact me, Scott Murray, at the Randboro email address, or through the riding email address.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Harper channels John Candy

I finally saw this sickening ad and was instantly reminded of:
Mayor Tommy Shanks (John Candy) is Melonville's "easygoing" (corrupt) mayor who is prone to sudden fits of rage and physical violence, yet gives regular fireside chats on SCTV while a stuffed dog sits motionless by his side. Throwing out one non-sequitur after another, Shanks manages to convey absolutely nothing of relevance during his broadcasts. Eventually, Shanks succumbs to mental illness and is institutionalized. While still in the institution, he runs for re-election with the campaign slogan "Get me outta here!" and wins by a landslide.
Too bad much searching on both youtube and google photos has not turned up anything else, but I trust true SCTV fans will know what I'm talking about here.

- 30 -

Finally: NDP giving furniture its rightful political voice

Oh Jack. I'm sorry but this featured message is just plain lame!
Unlike Stephen Harper, I'll act on the priorities of the kitchen table, not the boardroom table
Right now, my kitchen table is demanding more frequent wet scrubs and a 50% reduction in mail clutter.

And it thanks you, Jack, from the bottom of its, er, legs,... for giving voice to its concerns.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Afghanistan and the cost to Canada in fighting there

This post copied - and expanded on - from a comment I made on John Waugh's blog post: NDP Pathetic on Afghan war
What this adds up to is pretty simple. During this campaign Layton will leave the war on the back burner. He will not make opposition to the war a central plank in his campaign platform. He will not repeat his party's opposition to the war unless he has to. He will not fight for the withdrawal of Canadian forces from Afghanistan.

Progressive Canadians have no party, they have no leader.

In defending the NDP as the party best representing those like me who feel Canada has no business participating in ISAF (the NATO-led combat mission in Afghanistan), leftdog has a point with his comment that the NDP have been the loudest political voice in opposition to our combat role there. But at the same time, it's telling that he had to go back eight months to find any mention of the NDP stance being put forward by the party machinery on Canada's role within the ISAF mission.

I think what this says (and John Waugh was astute to pick up on it) is that the NDP don't see this issue as even cracking the top ten list for them - on the eve of an election campaign to boot.

This cuts to the heart of the matter for a lot of us who may have previously defended/supported the NDP and share much of their worldview; but have found it just as partisanly unwelcome a home as the Martin Liberals had been.

But there is another party with ideas on the subject. I am talking of course about the Green Party.

On page 104 of the Vision Green policy document (updated just last month) you may note on pages 103-104 the GPC maintains the NATO-led mission is wrong and that Canada should withdraw our troops from the effort by this coming February at the latest.
...Despite this disheartening situation, there is also a very high risk that the immediate removal of all foreign troops would lead to the outbreak of a full-scale civil war and a humanitarian catastrophe. Accordingly, the Green Party believes we need to shift as rapidly as possible away from the current US-led NATO command mission, to a more ethnically balanced and regionally represented United Nations command effort and a greater security role for the Afghan National Army. This mission redesign improves the probability that over time the conditions will emerge for a viable political solution to the conflict...
Will this become a central plank in the campaign? I certainly hope I can influence this from within the party. While global warming and its potential for devastation is perhaps the most important issue for humanity right now, the wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere must not be dumped out of the discussion merely for politically strategic reasons.

As John rightly points out, this is our biggest international commitment currently, and it sucked up all the resources we had previously spent 35 years building up as world leaders in peacekeeping activities - a shameful about-pace for which the Liberals and Conservatives need to be held to account, and which (one would hope) the NDP, Bloq Québecois and GPC would not let up on.

3:00 p.m. Update: It seems I was even timelier in posting this than anticipated.
OTTAWA — A majority of Canadians still view their soldiers as peacekeepers and would rather see them helping disaster victims than fighting, an internal poll prepared for National Defence suggests.

The results of the exhaustive survey, obtained by The Canadian Press, come despite the best efforts of both the Conservative government and the military to rebrand the Canadian Forces as a combat outfit.

“The image of the Canadian peacekeeper is one that has taken hold in the Canadian national psyche in the decades since the Korean War,” said the Ipsos Reid study, which is expected to be released Monday.

“Recent attempts at repositioning this traditional role toward one that emphasizes a more activist approach which includes the use of force have met with relatively little interest and still less acceptance.”
Why am I not surprised?

- 30 -

Look! Baby's Tagless Jammies are Burning her Skin

I have to pass this on from Nature Moms blog. Any parents out there with tagless kids' clothes take notice:
these labels may be made with “PVC blended into a Phthalate” or ink with “small levels of formaldehyde”. It was even stated that “residual phthalate from not fully fused ink is what is most likely causing the reaction.” And the reactions are horrible. Read this description of a reaction to Carter’s tagless clothes and look at these pictures.
This reminds me of my visit to my local Pharmaprix (that's the brand Shopper's Drug Mart goes by in La Belle Province) a few months ago in search of a good teething ring for my baby boy. It was in the middle of one of those toy recalls and I was specifically hoping to find something not made in China, since it would be in and out of his little mouth constantly, and I had lost confidence in any product from China living up to its printed-in-Canada assurances of safety. Anyway, of eight products to choose from, not one was manufactured anywhere but China.

Parenting in the modern age, eh? In the end it was decided to go with non-plastic alternatives.

NOTE: my own two sons have shown zero reaction to tagless clothes themselves, despite wearing them continually. What I linked to here is admittedly an unconfirmed report, but a quick check on found no urban legends reported on tagless clothes burns. That and the severity of the reaction shown in those pictures led me to want to pass it on just in case.

- 30 -

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Palin's no Truman either

Dave over at the Galloping Beaver really does a bravura job of picking apart the conceit written into Republican VP Candidate Sarah Palin's speech to the RNC last night that tried to equate her candidacy with that of one Harry S. Truman:
By the time a person is selected as the possible successor for the prospective holder of the nuclear launch codes, offering one's membership on an elementary school PTA simply does not cut it as a valid credential and certainly doesn't compare to the route taken by a much more substantial and skilled politician.
Dave, hats off to you. Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Fighting Greens vs. the Panicky Tories

It's really quite astounding - the lengths we in the Green Party of Canada have to go to to get the mass media to include our leader in the nationally televised debates for the upcoming election.

Not only did we register a domain name ages ago as a rallying point for democracy loving Canadians to help us petition the TV bigwigs for a seat at the table...

Not only did we field a full slate of 308 candidates in the 2006 federal election...

Not only did we embrace a previously independent sitting MP into the party fold to prove GPC representation in the House of Commons...

Now we are taking the unprecedented step of hiring a lawyer to press the case to the CRTC.
Former party leader Jim Harris said the Greens won't hesitate to resort to court action if current leader Elizabeth May isn't allowed to participate.

"We're going to allow the broadcasters the chance to do the right thing," Harris said at a news conference.

"This is pre-emptive, to say, 'If you do not do as you should, then there will be legal consequences."'

If the group of major broadcasters that organize the debates refuse to give May a spot, Harris said the party will file a complaint to the CRTC.

Should the federal broadcast regulator rule against the Green party, a judicial review of the decision will be sought, he said.

The party said the broadcast consortium - which includes CBC Radio Canada, CTV, Global Television and TVA - exercises "carte blanche control" over who participates in the debates, but lacks clear criteria for inclusion.

Harris said it would be a "very good thing" to have laws spelling out the rules for inclusion in the debates.

"We should have criteria such as major support in polls across the country, such as running in all ridings, these are pretty simple criteria, objective criteria, and yes, we should have them," said Harris.
And how do the Harper Conservatives respond? By their own novel (read:"twisted") logic, the GPC's Elizabeth May cannot be present alongside the Liberals' Stephane Dion since they don't hate each other as badly as the Conservatives would like. From the CBC report:
The federal Conservatives are seeking to block May from the debates, citing a deal struck by May and Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion where they agreed not to run candidates against each other in their respective ridings.

"You can't have one leader onstage that has already endorsed the candidacy of another and signed an electoral co-operation agreement," Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas said.

"When it comes to the debate, they can have May or they can have Dion," he said. "But they can't have both."

It has been a normal practice in the past for political parties to occasionally not run candidates against rival parties' leaders.
To present such a laughably ridiculous argument must mean the Cons are really scared of what might become of a truly formidable opponent like May taking Harper on in front of a live TV audience.

Here's another good reason to include the Green Party of Canada: how many other parties grew their support by 100% since receiving 4.5% of the votes tallied in 2006?

And how's this for a good reason to include Elizabeth May: as the only female leader of a national party, maybe it would be nice to see some diversity up there, eh?

Or can't four white guys handle it?

If you think they can, why don't you make your opinion known to all the major Canadian TV media by signing our petition and helping us fight for democracy in this country. After all, we know that's what most Canadians want to see!

And if you're interested in making your voice heard over at the CRTC, here's where you can do that.

My fellow Canadians, I thank you.

- 30 -

Friday, August 29, 2008

Arctic Ice gone by 2013?

Do I hear 2080?

Do I hear 2050?

Do I hear 2030?

Do I hear 2013?

This is almost like listening to an auctioneer. Even though the average global air temperature has declined from last year, we still appear to be on our way to an historic low of arctic sea ice:
Most of the cover consists of relatively thin ice that formed within a single winter and melts more easily than ice that accumulated over many years.

Irrespective of whether the 2007 record falls in the next few weeks, the long-term trend is obvious, scientists said; the ice is declining more sharply than even a decade ago, and the Arctic region will progressively turn to open water in summers.

A few years ago, scientists were predicting ice-free Arctic summers by about 2080.

Then computer models started projecting earlier dates, around 2030 to 2050; and some researchers now believe it could happen within five years.
(emphasis mine)

No wonder we're seeing signs of Tories and extraction industries licking their lips, eh? Elizabeth May knows the score and she's calling them out: The Tories don't want to fight global warming. They're ready to welcome it in fact. It might be good in the short term for the Canadian bottom line, but just ask Westmount-Ville-Marie Green Party candidate Claude William Genest why the consequences of unchecked global warming are being deemed a crisis.

- 30 -

Monday, August 25, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

TORIES = DEFICITS: on track for $3 Billion

Just three months ago, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was brushing aside Bay Street worries that we might be in a deficit situation within two years. Well, Bay St. was wrong - it was already happening! Yes indeedy. It turns out the government of the Secret Harper Imitation Tories (SHITs) have engineered the first budgetary deficit in over 10 years.
On Friday, the government said it posted a deficit of $517-million for April and May, the first two months of the fiscal year, as income from corporate and sales taxes fell sharply.
Yes, it's a good thing they reduced the GST to 5% at the beginning of last January. We sure would hate to see headlines like this coming back to remind us of what you get with a prudent government, eh?

At this rate, we will have a $3 billion deficit for this fiscal year.

Oh yes, I think we're going to have a Fall election kiddies.

Mr. Dion, you have been given a gift better than any scandal. Just repeat after me:

$3 billion deficit

$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit
$3 billion deficit

You get my drift right?

- 30 -

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Original Song #26: Sitting Like Hippies

Sitting Like Hippies

Meet me down at Dusty's for seven o'clock
Open call auditions snaring hopeful hearts
Get in line, get a number, outside we wait
Finding four-leaf clovers like it was fate

Performance junkies congregate
When I open my guitar case

Sitting like hippies in the park
Playing Brown Eyed Girl on my guitar
Sitting with your eyes closed, side to side you sway
I could live like this every day

Steve made the trip in from Halifax
Sang for five seconds and no call back
Rebecca's going to do Amazing Grace
Me? I'm going to fall flat on my face

Wave hello to the Pulstar van, get my
Fifteen minutes any way I can

Sitting like hippies in the park
Playing Brown Eyed Girl on my guitar
Sitting with your eyes closed, side to side you sway
I could live like this every day

Yeah, we're gonna eat what hippies eat
Yeah, we're gonna blink like hippies blink
Yeah, we're gonna stink like hippies stink

Doesn't matter; we've got April sun
Four-leaf clovers for everyone!

Sitting like hippies in the park
Strumming Brown Eyed Girl on my guitar
Sitting with your eyes closed, side to side you sway
I could live like this every day

- 30 -

Friday, June 27, 2008

Canada: Part of the Global Warming Problem

Greenpeace has done a lovely job creating a fake Alberta tourism site to educate us (through cutting humour) on the massive environmental toll being paid for the benefit of getting at all that juicy tar-sands oil. From the government-sanctioned and wanton destruction of pristine boreale forest, to the ghastly and toxic "Tailing ponds" left in their wake, this surely will count as one of the most shameful pillagings of mother nature in human history.

And that's not even taking into account the cumulative effect on greenhouse gas content in the atmosphere. Burning fossil fuels to get at other fossil fuels that will eventually be burned (and require more fossil fuels to transport them to and from refineries using fossil fuels via fossil fuel burning trucks on tarmac roads made in part from fossil-oil products...) And whoops, our heads are spinning wildly before we even consider the effect of losing all that good carbon-trapping forest!

We really have to find a better way to deal with our collective hunger for energy. There is probably no greater effect we can have than to change our mindset of what is normal behaviour.

For example, I recently discovered that I can walk all the way to and from work (if I set aside 40-45 minutes to do so). And it is an enjoyable walk at that, coming with the health benefit of getting a degree of exercise. Previously, I would take a 15-20 minute bus trip at rush hour, having waited anywhere between 2 and 20 minutes for the bus to arrive, then be sandwiched-in uncomfortably while the bus jerked and heaved to deal with Montreal traffic.

Weather permitting, my wife bikes the kids to daycare, which is conveniently only a half-kilometre away from home, and around the corner from the studio where she works. We also chose to live in a neighbourhood where it is often possible to shop on foot - except for the big haul grocery buys. Our home is insulated and heated with electricity, but certainly could be more energy-efficient, and that's something to be investigated soon.

That's partly because I am in a neighbourhood that was designed to be more energy-efficient - back in the 1920's. But some of our friends live in the suburbs, designed post-WWII - with three times the living space to heat or cool (completely detached), huge lawns to tend, long commutes to work and no option to walk to the pharmacy or dentist, etc. While I am proud to be living more energy-efficiently, I can't say I'm not jealous of the space they have, but at least I live near a huge park for the kids to play in.

If we stop building communities on the premise of having cheap and abundant energy, and go back to tighter quarters and smaller-scale neighbourhoods the way we used to between the wars, this would go a very long way towards decreasing our energy thirst, at least in high-density population areas.

Now that energy prices are moving towards being value-costed, the North American lifestyle might just revert, especially if more people start thinking and living the way we do. And I sense this is already beginning to be reflected in the growing market value of the properties in densely-built older urban communities such as my own.

Now if only we can go back to rail transport as the primary means of moving goods around! (More on that in a future post.)

- 30 -

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Nothing but dumb hope left for us Habs fans

Might as well hope for an Asexuals reunion while we're at it. (Hats off to DomPompeo). Exile From Floontown was an LP - that's right; an LP - that was spinning just about constantly on my turntable - yeah, that's right; TURNTABLE, okay? Some of us are in our late 30s here, see? - during that magical '93 Cup win.

And we all know the Flyers are a no-class organization. Who wants to see an "all Pennsylvania" match-up for the Eastern final anyway? Ugh.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Runnin' Countries for Dummies

I see the Super Secret Harper Imitation Tories had their headquarters combed by the RCMP yesterday.

Seems they were gathering evidence for Elections Canada (this is in regards to their rather loose interpretation of campaign finance spending laws in place during the 2006 election that brought them to power.)

Seriously, Peevey Stevie, having party headquarters become the subject of a criminal investigation is SOOOOOO George W. Bush! Do you really need to follow every page of the Bushco playbook? This idolatry may be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder you know.

What's next? Will Peter Mackay blast a hunting buddy in the face with buckshot?

- 30 -

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What St. Patrick's Day means in Montreal

I blog with Irish whiskey (Jamie's) in my veins tonight.

This is St. Patrick's Day weekend in Montreal, and I imagine for Boston and New York as well. For those who haven't experienced it firsthand, it is perhaps best understood by its singularly unvarnished portrayal in a noteworthy Simpsons episode.

Montreal parade uninterrupted since 1824

Unlike the other two cities' parades, Montreal parade organizers have managed not to skip a year in nearly two centuries - this despite Quebec's penchant for long unforgiving winters. I used to routinely participate with vigor myself (once, even playing mandolin on a float, with painfully cold fingers).

What is special about the Montreal version is the extraordinary cultural openness of the parade. I don't know about the other two cities, but here the event multi tasks as both a festival of Spring and of multiculturalism - in the sense that the Irish were the first immigrants that could be deemed "them" by the existing "us" community; and therefore, stand as the flag-bearers for immigrants of all races and creeds that have seen fit to settle here. To their credit, the parade organizers have maintained an open-minded (and decidedly apolitical) atmosphere for the event, always welcoming to their parade, any community group that wished to participate as "Irish for a day" in the fun-loving spirit of the thing.

The result is a scene of humanity at its very best. Not just Scots, Brits and Quebecois de souche; but Italians, Greeks, Portuguese, Spanish, Jamaican, Haitian, Russian, African, Arab, Jewish and others, all participate in this annual rite of Montreal Spring. We wear cheesey green plastic hats and drink green-tinted Labatt's Blue (among other beverages) and copulate fiercely on Ste. Catherines Street. Well, maybe fiercely isn't the best word, and perhaps copulation is rarely engaged-in (in view of the young'uns), but it's not terribly far away, what with all that booze flowing...

To what end this ramble, you ask?

Well, when I was still in my twenties, I used to work at the Peel Street McDonald's, just around the corner from the middle of the parade route. We would typically double our usual business for a Sunday in March, and we would have a couple of extra multi-gallon coffee decanters at the ready.

Thus, for ten years, I was witness to the parade and the joviality of its participants first-hand. I recall one year in the early 90's where a major blizzard had dumped 30+ centimetres of snow in the preceding 48 hours. That didn't stop the city from scrambling to clear the snow, and managing to still paint the traditional green hash marks down the center of the parade route. Nor did it stop the usual thousands of Montrealers from coming out to watch.

Another year, (perhaps the late 80's?) the parade day temperature was somewhere between frigid and colder than Stephen Harper's heart. I recall us repairing to the Mad Hatter's Pub by 12:30 pm to escape the cold, where we watched the parade on TV while sipping our pints.

During yet another year in those early nineties, I was a part of a celtic band called Killick's Claw, and we played at Buster Keaton's, followed by an evening gig at the Olde Orchard Pub, where we absolutely killed (bear in mind: the sobriety of our audiences was definitely questionable).

Most Unforgiving winter since the '98 Ice Storm

With that in mind, let me just say that this has undoubtedly been the toughest winter I have ever experienced in 38 years living in la Belle Province (with the possible exception of the one featuring the Ice Storm of 1998). Adding to the fun this year, I have a young family, and Montreal's snow removal capacity has been tested to such an extent that as of this writing, the sidewalk in front of my home has been unnavigable by poussette (baby stroller) for six days now.

So suffice it to say, if there was ever a year the city was really relying on its famous St. Patrick's Day parade to let loose and give winter the royal send-off it so rightfully deserves, it's the 2008 version.

And with that, I leave you with this snippet: is there any better metaphor for the promise of the New World than what this parade means for the diverse social patois of Montreal? Where we shed all the cultural and political baggage of our fore bearers to show solidarity of purpose with our fellow immigrant clans in carving out a niche for this generation and those to follow; one that is blessedly unhindered by the divisiveness of the squabbles and internecine battles that we - or our ancestors - chose to relieve ourselves of by emigrating from these places of never-ending conflict and heart-wrenching sorrow?

Bienvenue, welcome and Happy St. Patrick's Day

So to my fellow Montrealers - one of which is a new co-worker and dual Canadian-Lebanese citizen who moved to Montreal to escape the Israeli bombing campaign of 2006 - let me welcome you to the 2008 St. Patrick's Day Parade with open arms and a slug of Irish whiskey.

To you and all other arrivals, recent or otherwise: do come as you are, but not necessarily as you were.

Smile, sing and dance in the street. It is important to respect tradition, you know.

Most of all, welcome to your new home and new future. I know you will make the most of it, and I hope we entrenched Canadians don't disappoint. In the meantime, just

Cheers to you

- 30 -

Friday, March 14, 2008

Why I'm proud to be Green

Elizabeth May asks all the right questions.

CALGARY – Green Party Leader Elizabeth May today called on the Harper government to stop stalling and cooperate with the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC).

“There is no credible reason of security or strategy in blocking access to documents about the treatment of prisoners. Defense Minister Peter MacKay and Prime Minister Stephen Harper apparently want a cover up, not an inquiry,” she noted.

The hypothetical of how evidence of treatment of prisoners could possible be a security issue is mooted by the fact the MPCC is itself an arm of government with full security clearance.

For more than a year the complaints commission has been unable to access key evidence due to obstruction by the government.

“Canadians want the truth. The allegation that detainees were tortured needs to be thoroughly investigated. What does this government have to hide?”

This used to be a country the world could look up to as an example of what it looks like to have respect for Human Rights. Not so under the Super Secret Harper Imitation Tories regime.

What I don't understand, is why we don't hold these Prisoners of War ourselves? And you can call them "detainees" to try and skirt the UN declaration all you want - the distinction is merely mealy-mouthed posturing. The fact is: you're in a war zone. You take prisoners. They're prisoners of war, okay?

It's disgusting to me that my country is failing to live up to its responsibilities to the world, and it's a damn shame this practice is unfairly tarnishing the reputation of our fighting men and women who are forced to carry out these orders.

- 30 -

Geeks in Uproar over Bill Clinton's comments

PHILADELPHIA--Saying he was "way out of his solar quadrant" in declaring that Sen. Barack Obama's slim, goofy-guy personae has benefited him in attracting the geek vote, leading geeks were united in their scorn for former President Bill Clinton's comment during a campaign stop in support of his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton and her Democratic nomination bid.

Clinton's remark, made before a steelworkers union in Allentown yesterday, was: "All I'm saying is that he sure is lucky he was born a geeky, funny-looking character because he's sure got the Trekkie-vote sewn up but good."

"That's not even phasers on stun anymore," declared Sidney R. Khozhang, editor of Mac World. "Just singling us out as some political force in this way - while it does seem kind of exciting - is very racist, and not at all becoming of a former leader of all free humanoids; more like what you'd expect of a Sith Lord."

Another prominent geek, Martin Cohen, editor of Battlestar Gallactikosher, which tags itself as "the highest circulation Jewish Battlestar Gallactica fanzine in the lower twelve states", was equally unimpressed.

"What rankles is that we geeks have been working to have better representation in U.S. politics for decades," Cohen said in a telephone interview. "Finally, this guy with the geekiest name, the geekiest smile and the geekiest frame you've ever seen is (gasp) less than a parsec away from the White House. This (publicity) is the last thing we need. But I think there will be a backlash. Like in that Battlestar Gallactica episode from Season 2, where..." at which point this reporter felt the urge to retch and could not continue the interview.

While Senator Clinton was quick to distance herself from her husband's remarks, calling them "regrettable" and noting it remains to be seen "what the definition of 'is' is," she stopped short of firing her husband from the campaign (not that anyone is surprised), but did mention she intends to refrain from administering him any "num-nums" for the foreseeable future.

For his part, Sen. Obama was quick to pounce on the perceived faux pas, stating at a rally in Pittsburgh: "Geeks built this country - or at least its interactive gaming sites."

"I know I'm no linebacker. Sure, when the wind is blowing at 20-plus miles an hour, I know enough to stay inside and not get blown over. But that doesn't excuse these remarks, and I anxiously await a response from the Senator from New York, on how she intends to respond to this insult to geeks across this great nation. That's not the kind of politics Americans want."

- 30 -

Monday, March 10, 2008


Well I believe in this
And it's been tested by research
He who fucks nuns
Will later join the church
    --The Clash (from "Death or Glory")

I guess it's pretty comfortable in Stornaway, eh Stephane?
OTTAWA — The Liberals have refused to bring down the minority Conservative government over its alleged failure to combat climate change.

Only 11 Liberals voted for an NDP non-confidence motion condemning the government for failing to respect international climate agreements and for its refusal to adopt opposition-approved legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Other Liberals MPs were present but didn't vote.
With oppositions like this, who needs electoral majorities? Certainly not the Super Secret Harper Imitation Tories, who themselves introduced measures to reduce carbon emissions amounting to a sell-out of the environment:
The Harper government unveiled measures on Monday that would force new oilsands projects to capture and store greenhouse gas emissions and ban construction of new dirty coal plants beginning in 2012.
Note how they slipped the word "new" in there twice, so that conveniently leaves all existing oilsands projects and coal plants completely off the hook. Some of our federal leaders took issue with the new measures:
In Ottawa, politicians panned the new measures. NDP Leader Jack Layton said the plan was "a licence to pollute."

Green party Leader Elizabeth May criticized the capturing techniques as expensive and unproven.

"Right now, it's not cost-effective and there are far more cost-effective ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions — improving the efficiency with which we use energy and shifting to other energy sources beyond coal and oil," she said at a news conference.

The government has admitted that the technology likely won't be up and running until 2018.
Notice which major federal party leader had nothing to say? Uh-huh. The one who ran for his party's leadership as the candidate focused on sustainable development and making sure Canada lives up to its Kyoto commitments because climate change was too vital not to act immediately.

Around these parts, that's known as a sell-out.

- 30 -

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Spring anyone?

Big storm still happening here. Definitely the biggest blizzard in what has to be called the toughest winter in living memory. I opened my front door this morning to find six inches of snow up against it, and level with my front walk (which is down three steps from the porch). That's a first.

Up and down my street none of the cars are distinguishable from one another except possibly by their side-view mirrors; they are merely igloo-sized white blobs. The sidewalk plowers evidently gave up on our street some time yesterday evening - they wouldn't be able to get through right now if they wanted to, because the banks on either side are too bulked-up with heavy dense snow. There is a narrow amount of passable street, but it certainly is not a good day for a drive.

CBC radio news is reporting:
- several highway closures and tens of thousands in the Quebec City region without power;
- the Societe de Transport de Montreal (STM) left the Metro stations open all night (without the trains running, however), just for shelter. They had numerous bus routes unable to run, what with four of their seven bus garages unable to open this morning, and lots of drivers and mechanics unable to get in to work (no kidding), meaning public transport is barely functioning.
- not much activity at any airports in the Northeast.

CTV says 40 cm fell on Montreal, which sounds about right.

And there is still some snow falling - or at least I think so, because the wind hasn't died down much.

But the Habs are #1 with a two-point cushion over the Sens, both our goalies are hot, and our balanced offensive attack has racked up more goals than all but one other team in the NHL, so it's a good day nonetheless!

Be strong, fellow Montrealers. This isn't Narnia; this can't go on forever, and the NHL playoffs should be fun this year!

- 30 -

Saturday, March 08, 2008

If you want to say NO to violence against women...

Guess I'm #198,776. Put your name down here, (that's the United Nations Development Fund for Women) if you want to add your voice to the chorus. Tip 'o the hat to April Reign for putting this out there.

This is why we must never let up, and part of the reason I will always refer to myself as a proud feminist.

And while you're at it, don't forget to inform yourself on how close we are to having anti-abortion legislation enacted by Parliament (there is still time for it to get the kibosh in committee or on third reading in the HoC).

The Green Party of Canada - the only national party led by a woman - weighs in on where women stand today in terms of equality.

Happy International Women's Day (if a day late).

- 30 -

RESP bill unpopular with SSHITs - Senate less so

To despise or not to despise Senate activism - that is the Peevey Stevie question...

From the CBC (emphasis mine):
The Conservative government wants the Senate to help it defeat a private member's bill that would make contributions to registered education savings plans tax deductible.

The bill, which was first put forward by Liberal MP Dan McTeague two years ago, passed the House of Commons on Wednesday night with a narrow margin of 34 votes.

Because the bill doesn't call on the government to spend money, it was ruled appropriate for private member's bill, but Conservatives say its fiscal implications are steep enough that it should be blocked.

If passed by the Senate, the government predicts the changes would reduce federal revenues by $900 million and provincial governments will lose $450 million.
Seems to me it's a little late to complain about procedure - especially given how painstakingly the SSHITs have worked to effectively shut down the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (gory details on display here, thanks to Kady).

Besides that, it wasn't too long ago that the Super-Secret Harper Imitation Tories were harping loudly about this same Senate thwarting the will of the HoC with its foot-dragging on the anti-crime omnibus bill.

So stomp your feet, hold your breath, cry to the teacher, pick up your ball and go home. Is that your brand of leadership, Peevey Stevie?


- 30 -

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Disappointed in You, Dion

Please tell me either Bill C-484 will die in committee, or that you will whip the vote if it comes up for a third reading - even (or especially) if it's a confidence vote. Readers: please get all the details about this cloaked anti-abortion bill from Cathie, and carefully study the list of who voted which way. Wondering who's been all over this while we've been busy fussing over Cadman? Check out Unrepentant Old Hippie.
As for you, Mr. Dion...

Please tell me this sort of publicity is a brilliant part of fighting back against the Harper attack ads questioning your leadership.

Please tell me how this is in any way productive?

Hate to throw your own words back at you, but you deserve it:

What was the Leader of the Opposition THINKING?!?

I know what I'm thinking. Although I've never been a Liberal and only once voted that way federally, it's about time for the Green Party and me to get to know each other a whole lot better.

In the meantime, Dion, instead of focusing on the bit players, please train your attack at the top.

Thank you

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UPDATE: Best line of the day on this goes to Dave: "I have a better idea. All of you go to the pub, order a table-full of beer and weep in it. It'll have the same effect."

Mar. 6, 4:00 PM (EST) UPDATE: Thanks to Jennifer Smith for providing the link to the official list, with the undisputedly correct MPs' votes, updated now.

I am so sorry for my sorry-ass Canadian government

(note: this has been cross-posted from my diary on Dailykos)

Dear Americans,

You deserve much better from your northern neighbor. Please accept my sincere apology for my stupid government (I've taken to calling them the SSHITs). As the Globe & Mail has very recently made clear, our Prime Minister's Chief of Staff can't be trusted not to blab confidential information to the media from our allies - or at least the Democratic ones.

I don't blame you if you are upset. If the tables were turned, surely Canadians would be up in arms at any whiff of American influence on our political process.

Of course, it doesn't help when our idiot newsroom at CTV can't keep the facts straight:
The Canadian Press cited an unnamed source last night as saying that several people overheard the remark.

The news agency quoted that source as saying that Mr. Brodie said that someone from Ms. Clinton's campaign called and was "telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt."

The story was followed by CTV's Washington bureau chief, Tom Clark, who reported that the Obama campaign, not the Clinton's, had reassured Canadian diplomats.

Mr. Clark cited unnamed Canadian sources in his initial report.

There was no explanation last night for why Mr. Brodie was said to have referred to the Clinton campaign but the news report was about the Obama campaign. Robert Hurst, president of CTV News, declined to comment.

The Prime Minister's communications director, Sandra Buckler, has said that Mr. Brodie "does not recall" discussing the issue.
(By the way, both CTV and the Globe and Mail are owned by these people, although under separate editorial control.) Given the results in Ohio and Texas, and the way Clinton made political hay with the story to her advantage, you must all be pretty damn livid right now (I know I am - for multiple reasons).

So please accept my apologies, but also understand that the current government is very moronically neo-con in their thinking, and not at all aligned with the majority of Canadians.

As for the source of the leak, Ian Brodie, here's what one magazine journalist observed in an article published just two months ago:
(Ian Brodie is) 100% the single most influential figure in Harper's inner circle. There are others who have as much impact on policy, or image-making, or managing critical files, or on keeping an eye on the next election. But nobody else brings all those concerns together as Brodie does.


He has more direct daily access to Harper than any other senior official, typically starting when he and top bureaucrat Kevin Lynch deliver a morning briefing to the Prime Minister at about 9 a.m
Again, my sincere and humble apologies. We will try very hard to rectify the situation, but first our opposition Liberals will need to find a backbone.

Please bear with us; the outrage over this particular fiasco is by no means ready to peter out on this side of the border. We must have hope.

With Respect,
Scott in Montreal

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

All the crap the SSHITs can dish in just one week

Aside from all the hot & heavy excitement over the Cadman bribery scandal, there has been more than the usual slew of Peevey Stevie outrages to lose one's breakfast over in recent days. To whit:

Bill C-10
Seems the SSHITs have been busy helping out their Freaky Fundie pal Charles McVety work his self-righteous beliefs into Bill C-10. Now, if you happen to be on that facebook site, you never know, it might make a difference to join over 22,600 others in the Group: Keep your Censoring Hands Off of Canadian Film and TV! No to Bill C-10. Just something to consider, because that seems like a pretty large number for a Facebook group that has only been around for less than a week.

And if you're not on Facebook, then at least check out Rick Mercer's fertile imagination let loose in the screening rooms of the censoring Super-Secret Harper Imitation Tories. Belly laughs.

Kissingerian Mischief in the U.S. election campaign
You may have heard of this "leak" from the Canadian embassy that seemed custom-made to undermine the most progressive candidate in the U.S. race, Barack Obama, and help out the Rethuglicans. As I puzzled over earlier this year (til my puzzler was sore like the Grinch), it doesn't make a whole lot of political sense for the SSHITs to spurn one party for another south of the border - especially when the side they are taking is going down in flames magnificently. But war-mongering wouldn't be as high on the agenda in an Obama presidency (he says he'll pull out of Iraq completely), so maybe that's the gist of it.

Budget? What budget?
And if you want to see a real run-down on the "nothing" budget, Paul Wells was kind enough to go through it for all of us (God bless 'im for not nodding off in the process), and show that there is plenty for a rigorous opposition to pick at - if they were so inclined.

Sen. Michael Fortier being his usual arrogant self
He was going to suggest "Let Them Eat Cake" but didn't find it was insulting enough to the electorate (that would be sods like me, whom he refuses to face). Fascist.

All in all, it inspired me to drag out the acoustic guitar and belt out the song I wrote two years ago: Emerson & Fortier, which I might as well reprint now, since so much of it's apparently coming to light. Now if only Dion would pull the plug on these assholes so we could have an election and turf 'em good.

Cheers, all

Emerson & Fortier (Democracy on the Shelf)
They voted for
The man who said
He'd be Harper's
Worst nightmare
And when he won
I thought we had
One more MP
Who'd keep those guys in check

So Gilles, give 'em hell
Don't you let them throw our liberties out as well
Give 'em hell
Stand up in the House and scream and shout and yell
Give 'em hell
Let the boys wed the boys and the girls the girls as well
Give 'em hell
Don't you let them put our freedoms on the shelf

Some volunteered
And gave their time
Worked the phones
At Christmastime
They took their ballots
They marked an X
Next to the one
Who was not a Conservative

So Jack, give 'em hell
Shine a light on their hypocrisy and quell
Any bill
Meant to eat away what Tommy Douglas built
Give 'em hell
The far-right Christian Fundies have to be repelled
Give 'em hell
They've already put our democracy on the shelf

I take my lessons
From those who earned my respect
"If you don't vote, don't bitch"
As Steve Earle said
I did my bit
At the polytheque
Now they've betrayed all that
To sit in Cabinet
With the perks and the limos and all the rest

So Bill, give 'em hell
Don't you let them take our rights away pell-mell
Give 'em hell
Stand up in the House and scream and shout and yell
Give 'em hell
Or they'll ban abortions, starve the arts and sell
Us all out
They've already put our democracy on the shelf

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It's the Tape, Stupid

As Don Martin says: Time for an answer, Mr. Harper. Here is a good point, brought up by Stéphane Dion in the HoC yesterday (quote below translated from the original French - where it was quite effective - on the Liberal party website):
Mr. Dion asked the Prime Minister why he would make such comments if, as he is now claiming, he had no knowledge that such an offer was being made by officials representing the Conservative Party of Canada.

“In that recording, when the author of the book asks the Prime Minister: ‘do you know anything about the insurance policy for a million dollars?’, anybody who didn't know what was going on would have said: ‘what are you talking about?” said Mr. Dion. “But Mr. Harper said: ‘I don't know the details.’”
Ken Dryden also was damned effective, and when challenged by the CPC to repeat his call for Harper's resignation if the allegations prove true, repeated it outside of the chamber.

Ball's in your court, Peevey Stevie.

P.S. to the Libs: you've talked the talk; now walk the walk. I'm sick of this song and dance routine.

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