So, 16-year old younger sister of Britney, Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. The father is her 19 year old boyfriend WHO SHE'S BEEN LIVING WITH.
You've got to give it to the Spears family. They stick together. When one implodes, they ALL implode!
There's a small part of me that feels bad about this.
Unfortunately, the rest of me is laughing too loudly to hear that part of me.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
So, 16-year old younger sister of Britney, Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. The father is her 19 year old boyfriend WHO SHE'S BEEN LIVING WITH.
So, not only did they appoint a party loyalist to head up AECL, they hired him against the advice of not one, but TWO independent hiring panels!!!
Apparently, under Paul Martin, an independent panel recommended that the AECL's acting Chair (Jean-Pierre Soublière) be given the position permanently (well, not PERMANENTLY, but on a non-interim basis... you know what I mean). However, it never went through because of the 2006 election. Now, once the Tories were in power they didn't want to take the advice of Martin's independent panel (and for the sake of full disclosure Soublière does have connections to the Liberals, and worked on John Manley's leadership campaign). So, fair enough, the Tories launched a SECOND independent head-hunting process (which, again, is TOTALLY their perogative, so I don't have a big problem with that). The SECOND independent panel (set up by the Tories) recommended the position be given to... acting Chair Jean-Pierre Soublière.
So, who did the Tories give the appointment to?
Former Canadian Alliance fundraiser Michael Burns.
At this point, I choose to believe that the Tories appointed Burns to head up AECL simply because they thought it would be a hoot for AECL to be headed up by "Mr. Burns". I know by doing so I'm ignoring the blatant hypocrisy of the Tories' move (given their baseless attacks on CNSC Chair Linda Keen for no sin greater than being "Liberal-appointed", and doing her job) and I'm turning a blind eye to reality.
But frankly, reality makes me throw up in my mouth a little, so I'll stick with the Simpsons angle.
Update: Accidental Deliberations points out Tony Clement's sudden reversal in his explanation of the reasons for Burns' resignation. On Sunday, Clement claimed it was just coincidence that Burns quit right in the middle of a major scandal in which a 50 year old AECL reactor was found to be operating for 17 months without all of the safety features required by their license (and which they had told nuclear regulators that they had installed). "Some times coincidences happen in politics," Clement said. "There was some indication that this might be coming up down the road." On Monday (a whole day later!) Clement claimed in a T.V. interview that the resignation was related to the Chalk River shutdown. “I think it's fair to say it confirmed our impression that there has to be new management, there has to be better management, at AECL.”
Day one: "Nothing to see here, total coincidence!"
Day Two: "Look at us, fixing these terrible mistakes!" (of the guy we appointed against the advise of two independent panels).
I understand why he needed to change his tune, as the "it's totally a coincidence that he resigned in the middle of a well-publicized crisis" line was so laughable one could barely be moved to laugh! That he changed his tune so quickly though, on such an important issue, needs to get a lot more attention, imho. 'Cause to me, it's an important question. Are they incompetent, or just stupid?
Friday, December 14, 2007
If you guessed "Liberal-appointed" CNSC head Linda Keen, you guessed WRONG.
Turns out, it's CONSERVATIVE-appointed (something I might not have emphasized had the PM not spent the last week trying to smear Keen with the "Liberal-appointed" tag!) AECL Chair Michael Burns.
I've got to say, more and more this looks like an AECL-orchestrated "crisis" (and dare I ask if the Tory government was in on it?) to try to tarnish the CNSC and shunt Keen to the side (given her annoying tenancy to not put nuclear safety aside to allow AECL's market value to increase so the government can get a good price when they sell large portions of AECL to GE) and it looks like it may have blown up in AECL (and possibly the Tories') face.
I think maybe there's a reason the Liberals have been relatively quiet on this issue up 'til now. Maybe they knew another shoe had yet to drop!
I have to say, I thought the idea that AECL manufactured this crisis to get rid of a pesky nuclear regulator who was finally standing up to the industry was a little sketchy at first. Now? Not so much!
I'm sure the Tories are going to try to still blame this all on Keen, but I have a feeling passing that buck just got a LOT harder!
OK, so right now the Globe and Mail's online poll is "Whose testimony to the Commons ethics committee do you find more credible? Karlheinz Schreiber's or Brian Mulroney's.
At the moment, 81% find Schreiber to be more credible, and 19% find our former Prime Minister to be more credible.
Why such a huge gap (given that Schreiber is OBVIOUSLY so credibility challenged)?
I think it's this.
Schreiber's testimony is basically:
"I'm a slimy rich guy who spreads around money (other people's and my own) in order to maintain influence with my many "friends" in positions of power and influence around the world. I take pains not to create paper trails of these payments (which could be "misinterpreted") and, frankly, I give out so much money to so many influential politicians without ever keeping good track of it (deliberately) that my stories sometime fluctuate a bit.
Mulroney's testimony is basically:
"Scehreiber is a slimy rich guy who spreads around money (other people's and his own) in order to maintain influence with his many 'friends'. He's a well-established briber of public officials who is under indictment for influence peddling, and he's a shady character with no real credibility at all who's stories are constantly shifting...
...Oh, and that $225,000 he gave to me, in cash, and which I hid away in private safes and safety deposit boxes (studiously avoiding creating my OWN paper trail) and which I didn't disclose to anyone until right after Schreiber was arrested? That was, like, TOTALLY for legitimate work."
As an addition to the Galloping Beaver's great post on Chalk River and the isotope fiasco, check out this article from the Toronto Star from yesterday!!!
What surprised me was the end of the article, which points out that the safety deficiency at Chalk River wasn't found by the nuclear watch dog group CNSC, but by AECL themselves!
"This supply was cut off when AECL shut down Chalk River three weeks ago, after suddenly "discovering" during a four-day maintenance shutdown it had been running the reactor for almost two years without safety upgrades required under the operating licence issued by the nuclear safety commission.
At a hearing last week before the nuclear safety commission, AECL vice-president Brian McGee said the company had voluntarily shut down the reactor because safety was the highest priority, despite disruption to world isotope supply."I have to admit, the idea of this being a manufactured crisis designed to make life hard on CNSC (who have been holding up plans by AECL to open two NEW reators - which don't meet safety regulations yet - and therefore jeopardizing the sale of major parts of AECL to GE) did seem too horrible to believe.
Until, that is, I realized that AECL shut down the reactor THEMSELVES, and then blamed CNSC for not letting them restart it without actually doing any of the safety upgrades (one week, "safety was the highest priority" the next, CNSC was endangering the world's isotope supply, and THAT was the highest priority).
The Prime Minister's right, someone DOES need to be held accountable for this mess. But I don't think it's CNSC that should be worried!!!Recommend this Post
Wow! So, the Tories want to sell off AECL after shutting down Chalk River, and CNSC is making that harder?!?!?
Well, good thing the nuclear safety regulator is under fire day after day! How fortuitous for the government that this crisis has arisen! Things couldn't have worked out better if they'd have PLANNED this!
Galloping Beaver has a great story on the Chalk River/Isotope fiasco which detalis information, and raises questions that I haven't heard about before!
Here are the top three paragraphs, imho (though, by all means go read the whole post!!!):
The Chalk River reactor and AECL have been getting a long, hard look from the Harper regime. Natural Resources minister, Gary Lunn has been in negotiations with General Electric in an effort to sell off a large chunk of AECL. The sudden and unexpected shut-down of Chalk River, not to mention the fact that two MAPLE reactors, (owned by medical isotope supplier MDS Nordion), are not yet commissioned, would give GE a moment of pause when considering a purchase.
Until AECL can get the MAPLE reactors running safely (they appear to have a problem with that), the only medical radioisotope supplier is the NRU facility at Chalk River. Once (if?) the MAPLE reactors are commissioned, AECL has every intention of shutting down the NRU Chalk River reactor permanently. When the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission demanded a safety upgrade it probably ran afoul of AECL's plans - and the plans of the Harper government to sell off AECL. The CNSC was calling for a fairly expensive upgrade to a reactor AECL would rather not be operating. The same regulator will not issue licenses for the MAPLE reactors until safety concerns with them are rectified.
How do you reassure a prospective buyer that the regulator will not be a problem? Push the regulator out of the way.
There is every possibility this is a manufactured crisis. If it isn't the Harperites don't have their eye on the ball and have tried to cover their own incompetence at not knowing what's going on in their own departments.
I wonder how many polls the Tories will commission to find out if this will hurt them.
As Impolitical ponders just how bad are things for the CPC when they can't even count on a hand-picked former separatist to help them smear the Liberals!!! (Also, H/T to Impolitical for providing H/T's to all the other bloggers blogging about this. Check them out too!)
Man. People in glass houses should really buy curtains, eh?
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Apparently, the American-entertainment-industry-driven / Canadian-citizen-blasting Canadian DMCA is about to rear it's ugly head again after it wasn't tabled in the House on Tuesday!!!
Online Rights Canada has a SUPER SIMPLE tool for you to write to your MP, and the Ministers of Industry and Heritage to express your displeasure! Use their suggested text or, better yet, personalize it and then send it off!
Also, consider printing out the email, and sending it via snail mail (you can write to your MP or any Ministers for free if you write to their Ottawa parliamentary office).
Furthermore, if you're on Facebook, join the over 21,000 of us in Professor Michael Geist's "Fair Copyright for Canada" Facebook Group. Also, consider adding the Fair Copyright for Canada Newsfeed application and display up-to-date recent news on the fight to stop the Canadian DMCA prominantly on your Facebook Profile.
You CAN make a difference. Speak up, and voice your opposition to a copyright law that favours industries over educators and lobbyists over librarians. Make sure the Tories are standing ALONE (and try to get sane Tory MPs to abandon ship!) if they try to pass this potentially damaging legislation through a minority parliament.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Apparently, the Tories won't table their industry-loving / citizen-attacking Copyright Bill today after all. The fight's probably not nearly over (and it's still at least possible the bill will be tabled later in the week) but I don't think that's likely!
Hat tips all around to:
Also, keep informed about efforts to infringe on your rights to use content you've legally paid for. Cliff at Rusty Idols points out that the Recording Industry Association of America (or, "NAMBLA") is arguing that "it is illegal for someone to copy CDs they've paid for to their computers or mp3 players".
Also, a once-removed H/T to "Recording Industry vs. the People" from whom Cliff gets the RIAA story.
Monday, December 03, 2007
News story #1: Quebec to stand up for Kyoto even if Ottawa won't.
News story #2: Tories turn to ex-PQ Premier for Bali talks.
Gee, there couldn't be a connection there, could there?
Quebec's legislature promises (unanimously no less) to stand up to the Tories at the Bali Conference, and suddenly the Tories announce they're sending an ex Parti Quebecois Premier to Bali as their mouthpiece!
I hope Pierre-Marc Johnson is up to the humiliation of being reminded, AGAIN AND AGAIN, that he does NOT represent the wishes of Quebecers at Bali, and that he's basically abandoned the province in favour of the feds by agreeing to speak for a position opposed by the vast majority of Quebecers, and all parties in the Quebec legislature.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Here's another way to look at last nights Election and Referendum results.
42% of votes cast supported the Liberals -a pretty massive victory for Dalton McGuinty.
37% of votes cast supported MMP - a pretty massive defeat for electoral reform.
On a bright note, apparently (and to me, unsurprisingly) 67% of voters aged 18-34 voted for MMP in the Referendum. I just have that number second hand right now, but I'll link to something official when I find it (and adjust accordingly, of course, if it's inaccurate). If that's right (and I think it is, based on being in that age bracket myself and only knowing ONE person who voted for FPTP) I hope that this will mean electoral reform will not die, and that the future is with electoral reform.
Then again, perhaps after last night 67% of young voters decided the whole system is just too broken to be fixed, and that inertia and apathy can't be overcome, and so they'll join the almost 4 million voters who couldn't be bothered. Let's hope not!
Number of Ontarians who voted to keep our current electoral system: 2,683,921
Number of Ontarians who couldn't be bothered to vote: 3,967,563
Ahhhh the status quo. I look forward to 4 more years of Liberal "majority" government.
After all, 22% of eligible voters can't be wrong!
Well, voter turnout was DISGUSTINGLY low yesterday in the Ontario Election/Referendum. I'm ashamed for the province, and I wish I thought that the 3,973,806 voters in Ontario who couldn't be bothered to vote on any of the 14 days they could have taken 5 minutes to do it were ashamed of themseleves, but who are we kidding? Anyway, it's sickening, and I was thinking about what that means.
Well, first, it means that the Ontario Liberal party will be in charge for the next four years with 66% of the seats in the Legislature. Now, what percentage of eligible Ontario voters voted for the Liberals to give them this great power? 22%.
That's right, the Liberals got 22% of eligible voters to cast a vote for them yesterday and they'll now be able to do pretty much what they like for the next 4 years.
There are 8,308,702 eligible voters in Ontario. Dalton Mcguinty needed the support of less than 2 million of them to win a comfortable 4 year "majority" government (1,859,710 votes at last count).
Sadly, the Referendum on electoral reform was also "SOUNDLY" defeated yesterday. A whopping 31% of eligible voters chose to keep our current electoral system, so we're keeping our current electoral system (and hey, what could be wrong with that? I know 1,859,710 eligible voters who today probably think our current system works just fine, thank you very much!!!).
I thought things were pretty broken on October 10th. Now that it's October 11th, I question whether they can ever be fixed.
Sadly, I'm even starting to ask "why bother trying?".
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
OK, so now John Tory is pretty openly whining that the people of Ontario don't know what they want, and that we're all about to vote against our own interests.
Tory's not only saying that politics in Ontario is horrible, and unfair, and dishonest (and mean! whahhh!) but that he's "not sure people really want to change it".
Where did this whiner come from, and what happened to the John Tory I used to respect? And by "used to" I mean, like, TWO WEEKS AGO!!!
Anyway, I really don't see how pointing out that things are supposedly TERRIBLE and yet people STILL don't want to vote for you is supposed to be a vote-getter. To me, it just comes off childish and petulant. Tory knows he's not going to get what he wants, and now he's stamping his feet about it, and yelling about how much he hates mommy and daddy, and how unfair everything is.
I say we pull the car over and kick him out.
Well, with just 21 hours and 30 minutes until the polls open, here's a last reminder to get out and vote, and VOTE FOR MMP!!!
For more information, the National Post (of all places) has a great little "MMP Explained: Q & A" that is definitely worth checking out if you haven't made up your mind yet!
Friday, October 05, 2007
So, with recent polls suggesting MMP will not pass in the upcoming Referendum, I decided to go check out the two official Facebook campaign groups for the Referendum on the premise that it would make me feel better because Facebook skews young, and therefore is probably more reflective of attitudes in the future towards electoral reform.
Right now, the Vote for MMP Facebook Group has 3695 members.
The No MMP Ontario Facebook Group has 826 members.
So, in the universe of Facebook, it's MMP 82% and FPTP 18%.
Under FPTP rules, that's MMP 100%, FPTP 0%.
It's nice to know the future's with me, but it still didn't make me feel much better.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
As you may have heard, a large number of Student Unions across the province have endorsed MMP in the upcoming Ontario Election.
What you may be less familiar with is the website from the Ontario branch of the Canadian Federation of Students urging students to vote for MMP and CHANGE THE SYSTEM.
I'm hoping youth turnout on October 10th will set records, and students in particular will help us take back our political system, and establish a new era of legislatures that actually reflect the will of the people of Ontario.
Vote for democracy.
Vote for MMP!
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
I'm very excited about the latest installment of "Vote for MMP!!!" here at LKO.
Andrew Coyne continues to do a great public service by debunking myths and setting the record straight on Ontario's Referendum.
Thank God for that man!
Today's column: MMP does not mean appointed by party hacks.
Finally, now I can stop explaining that over and over (and over) and just point to Mr. Coyne's post!
Monday, October 01, 2007
Here's a fascinating poll of John Tory's riding of Don Valley West:
Conservative John Tory: 37%
Liberal Kathleen Wynne: 52%
That couldn't be why Tory is suddenly no longer so enthusiastic about holding a whipped vote on faith-based schools, could it!?!?!? I wonder, if "Leadership Matters" what does Tory think his 15 point deficit in DVW says about his leadership???
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Andrew Coyne takes on the fear mongers in his latest post on the Ontario Referendum.
It's almost as though he knew the Star was going to come out with an endorsement of FPTP filled with lies and distortions about MMP.
Stay tuned for Mr. Coyne's next column, which promises to take on even more of the lies and half-truths perpetuated by the Anti-MMP crowd.
I can't wait.
So, the International team will lose the President's Cup in Montreal today, but the good news is that Mike Weir went head-to-head with Tiger Woods and beat him (1 Up)!!!
I expect all the Weir bashers to stfu now.
Friday, September 28, 2007
When I read Chantal Hebert's column today (Confidence in Dion reaches crisis level) at first I thought perhaps she was overstating things a bit (though just a bit... when Chantal speaks, I listen). In part, she wrote about a feeling in Liberal ranks that now might be a time for an election (i.e. go now and get killed rather than wait a year and get SLAUGHTERED). Chantal writes:
Leaving aside the fact that a campaign is likely a prerequisite to any successful attempt to dump Dion as leader, most Quebec Liberals feel that an immediate fight against the Conservatives would ultimately wreak less damage on the party than six more months of corrosive internal unrest.
For the latter is what awaits the federal Liberals in the absence of a fall trip to the polls.
Between next month's Speech from the Throne and an election-setting Conservative budget in the spring, Dion can realistically expect no improvement in his prospects in Quebec.
On that score, suffice it to say that most Liberal incumbents figure that their chances of holding on to their seats are actually better now than they might be next year.
Because they have so little left to lose in the province, other Liberals may be tempted to whistle past their Quebec graveyard.
I say that at first I thought she might be overstating things a bit because then I read this from Paul Wells: "Chantal's right . She may actually be understating things".
That's Paul "Ain't Dion Dreamy" Wells people.
When Paul Wells says that not only is Chantal Hebert correct in her assessment of what a terrible hash Dion and his team have made of things, but that furthermore she may be underestimating how bad it really is, the party (if not "the Party") is over.
I was always a big fan of Dion, but I'm suddenly concerned that a quick election now may be the only way to PREVENT a Tory majority.
Someone asked after the Outrement loss if it was time to hit the panic button. I wasn't sure then, but now? Slam that button with a closed fist.
It's time to panic.
Scott Feschuk has a great take on yesterday's federal surplus announcement that I hope he will forgive me reproducing in full here:
In announcing today that the federal surplus has unexpectedly soared to $14-billion, way above government estimates, Stephen Harper issued the following statement:
“I would like to apologize, sincerely and without reservation, to members of the previous Liberal government for my reflexive, unrelenting criticism of their fiscal management acumen. As I’m sure you recall, I routinely mocked the Liberals as incompetent buffoons for failing to accurately forecast the size of the surplus. But, whoa, turns out it’s not so easy! I mean, take a look at the size of this thing – it’s huuuuge!"
“Seriously though," the Prime Minister continued, “if only I were trained as an economist, I probably would have known that predicting revenues in a modern economy is, at the best of times, an inexact pursuit. What’s that you say? I am an economist? Really? Well then I guess I was just being a big fat jerk about it all. Sorry."
The Prime Minister’s statement was released early this afternoon in my imagination.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Quick, somebody go join the Vote for MMP Facebook Group! It's at 2,999 members.
For those of you wondering, No MMP Ontario is at 659 members.
That's 82% for Vote for MMP versus 18% for No MMP Ontario.
Or, as supporters of first-past-the-post would write it:
Vote for MMP: 100%
No MMP Ontario: 0%
So, Andrew Coyne's excellent column savaging the first-past-the-post, winner take all system we use for elections in Canada reminded me of some election results that truly illustrate how crazy FPTP is, and how terribly it works in giving us legislatures that represent the expressed will of the people, or in making sure people's votes count equally across the province or country.
Here are some numbers from the 1993 federal election:
In the '93 federal election the Progressive Conservatives earned the votes of 2,186,422 Canadians. The Reform party did slightly better, garnering 2,559,245. However, lest you think this was the actual RESULT of the election (a 2.6% difference between the two parties) think again. Because as we all know, the Tories 2.1 million votes was a DEVASTATING result, and they were reduced to just 2 seats in Ottawa. Meanwhile, Reform's 2.5 million votes was a TERRIFIC result, giving them 52 seats on Parliament Hill.
The Tories got one seat for every 1,093,211 votes they received.
The Reformers got one seat for every 49,216 votes they received.
In simplified terms, a voter who voted Reform had a vote that was for all practical purposes 22 times more powerful than the vote of a voter who marked their ballot for the Tories.
Another great example comes to us from the 2004 federal election. In that election, the NDP got a respectable 15.7% of the vote, with 2,116,536 votes. The Bloc Quebecois meanwhile were over 3% (and over 440,000 votes) behind with just 1,672,874 votes. What did FPTP do with these numbers? Well, it gave the NDP and their 2.1 million voters 19 seats in Parliament. Meanwhile, the 1.6 million Bloc voters got 54 seats in Parliament. NDP voters got one seat in Parliament for every 111,397 votes they cast, while Bloc voters received one seat for every 30,979 votes. Does that sound like democracy to anyone?
As Mr. Coyne points out, the majority of Quebecers have voted federalist in every federal election since 1993. Does anything about our Parliament, or our recent history, reflect that reality?
It's long past time for a change.
Vote for MMP in Ontario, and get the ball rolling.
Andrew Coyne savages first past the post in a new column from today!
Go Andrew Go!
ETA: Here's a great quote!
"In 26 federal elections since 1921, there have been 16 majority governments elected, but only two that actually commanded a majority of the vote. The rest were minorities posing as majorities, wielding undivided power though as many as five voters in eight voted against them. Supporters of the status quo cite its tendency to produce stable majority governments. But these aren’t majority governments. They’re legalized coup d’etats".
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I've got to say, I'd be really nervous about having to arrest Jack Bauer!
Those officers are lucky to be alive to tell the story!
I've also got to say that I'm shocked they didn't let him off with a warning! After all that man's done for the country, to get arrested for DUI!!! Who did they think he was, Tony Almeda???
Monday, September 24, 2007
So, someone actually tried to say in a comment to my last Kyoto post that only two countries are close to meeting their Kyoto protocol targets (how they thought I was going to buy that is beyond me, given that many countries have ALREADY exceeded their targets, but whatever...).
So, FYI, here's a recent report on Kyoto progress.
The EU (the original member states signed on to a collective target for all 15 states, and then negotiated how they would share that burden amongst themselves) is on track to reduce their emissions by 9.3% by 2010, well ahead of their collective Kyoto target of an 8% reduction.
Individually within this group, the U.K. has already surpassed its target of a 12.5% reduction,and is now on track for a 23-35% reduction by 2010. (The U.K. is also committed to reducing it's emissions by 60% - not Harper's 50% - by 2050).
France has also surpassed it's target of staying at 1990 levels, and has reduced their emissions by 2%.
Sweden was actually permitted a targeted increase of 4% under the burden sharing agreement, however they have instead also reduced their emissions by 2% below 1990 levels. They've also committed to a Sweden free of fossil fuels by 2020.
Germany's reductions of 18.5% below 1990 levels meanwhile put it easily on target for their obligatory 21% reduction target.
In Eastern Europe meanwhile, (outside the E.U. Kyoto group) the ten Eastern European countries have reduced emissions by 32% below 1990 levels, well below their collective target of reducing their emissions by 7.7%. Pretty much every country in Eastern Europe (that's 10 countries remember) has already passed their individual Kyoto targets.
Iceland meanwhile, actually permitted a 10% increase under Kyoto, has also reduced their emissions below 1990 levels (obviously, SHATTERING their Kyoto target).
New Zealand is also on track to meet their 2010 targets.
To me, Iceland is the most shocking indictment of Canada's failure. Under Kyoto, Iceland was actually permitted to INCREASE their emissions to 10% above their 1990 emissions, while Canada committed to a reduction to 6% below our 1990 emissions. Since then, Iceland has reduced their emissions to 2% below their 1990 levels, while Canada's emissions have increased to more than 30% above 1990 levels. So, Iceland's target was 10% ABOVE 1990, ours was 6% BELOW 1990, and Iceland is currently WAY closer to hitting OUR target, than we are to hitting theirs!!!
We've increased our emissions beyond the targeted levels of the countries that were actually permitted to increase their emissions under the agreement. Meanwhile, several of those countries that , unlike us, were actually ALLOWED to have increases, have made reductions. It's pathetic, but true.
I'd be much less angry about the Prime Minister's lack of leadership on Climate Change if he wasn't out there PRETENDING to lead on Climate Change.
The notion that "Kyoto's not realistic, we need to move on from Kyoto" doesn't really fly with the many countries that have met or exceeded their Kyoto obligations. Perhaps Kyoto is unrealistic for CANADA now, because we sat on our hands for 13 years, but that's not the message we should be using to convince countries that MET their Kyoto obligations (or never signed on to Kyoto) to follow the plan of a country that didn't (or rather, won't) live up to their treaty obligations going forward.
Sure, plenty of countries besides Canada think it'd be a good idea to reduce GHG emmissions by half by 2050. However many, many of those countries will be starting from their post-Kyoto totals, and reducing THOSE by half. Meanwhile, Canada would be starting from a position WAY ABOVE our Kyoto targets, and reducing THAT by half. Hell, we'll be starting from a position WAY ABOVE where our actual emmissions were when the Kyoto targets were agreed to, and reducing that by half!!! This is not just Harper's fault, but it is reality.
None of the countries that are already AHEAD OF US are going to "follow our lead". It's as though we've arrived for a 26 mile marathon an hour too late and we're asking the countries an hour ahead of us to run a full 26 miles beginning from where they are currently in the race, while we run the 26 miles fresh from the start line (and actually, what's REALLY going on is that we're asking them to run 26 miles from where they currently are an hour into the race, while we run 15 miles!!!). We just hope (against hope) that none of them figure out that they will have ended up running more than twice as far as we have!
I'd be less concerned about the Prime Minister not leading on this issue (given where he had to start, thanks to the Liberals) if he wasn't out there PRETENDING to be a leader on this issue (and making himself, and by extension the country look foolish in the process). None of the countries that meet their Kyoto obligations are going to be at all impressed that Canada manages to reduce it's inflated pre-Kyoto emmissions by half by 2050 while they all reduce their POST-Kyoto emmissions by half. And they CERTAINLY won't view us as leaders!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
So, here's a totally unscientific, statistically insignificant, meaningless observation.
Currently, there are two "official" Ontario Electoral Reform Campaign groups on Facebook. One for No MMP Ontario, and the other for Vote for MMP! In total, there are 3190 people in the two groups.
So how are the two sides doing? Well, Vote for MMP has 2651 members, while No MMP Ontario has 539.
Vote For MMP: 83%
No MMP Ontario: 17%
Or, as advocates of first-past the post would express it:
Vote for MMP: 100%
No MMP Ontario: 0%
Saturday, September 22, 2007
In another excellent post on electoral reform, Andrew Coyne sums up a "conservative case" for proportional representation.
However, in many ways, it's not just a "conservative" case, but a "logical" case. As Mr. Coyne argues, electoral reform isn't about whether the "left", or the "right" is advantaged by a system such as MMP, it's about whether the VOTER is advantaged. And they clearly are. Under "First Past the Post" (and as Mr. Coyne points out, it would be more accurate to call FPTP "Winner take all") the votes of hundreds of thousands of voters are wasted every election, and those voters aren't just on the left, but on the right as well. Electoral reform shakes EVERYTHING up, and gives us a whole new way of choosing those who represent us in government.
About damned time, if you ask me.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
So, of course, everyone supporting MMP should join the Facebook Vote for MMP Group!
However, may I also suggest considering changing your Facebook profile picture (either now, or closer to Referendum day (less than 20 days away!!!)) to one of the images available at the Vote for MPP website.
Not only will everyone visiting your profile see the Vote for MMP logo, but if you use one of those images as your profile pic, it will appear as your profile pic EVERYWHERE in Facebook where your profile pic appears (where you're listed in your friends' lists of friends... next to every posting you've written on anyone's wall... where you appear as a member of a group... EVERYWHERE!).
It's a great and easy way to spread the Vote for MMP message to a great number of people, including people you've never even met!
So Vote for MMP has a list of prominent Canadians who endorse MMP in the upcoming October 10th Referendum! Check it out.
Names that might hold some particular sway with me (were I not already on board!):
Rick Anderson, Director, Fireweed Democracy Project, former advisor to Preston Manning
Ed Broadbent, former MP & leader of New Democratic Party
Elinor Caplan, Former Liberal federal and provincial cabinet minister
Stompin' Tom Connors, recording artist and entertainer ('cause I mean c'mon, it's STOMPIN' TOM!!!)
Andrew Coyne, journalist
Janet Ecker, Former Ontario cabinet minister
Stephen Lewis, Former Ambassador to United Nations
Clayton Ruby, barrister and solicitor
Senator Hugh Segal, Senator
David Suzuki, environmentalist
Mr. Walter Robinson, Former Federal Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation
I mean c'mon.
Parity is SOOOO 11:00. It's the afternoon now.
Time to start thinking about a loonie worth USD 1.05!!!
And if oil goes over $100? Can I hear $1.10!?!?!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Is it just me? Anybody else getting the German treatment from Blogger (occasionally, and randomly, for no apparent reason!).
'Cause it's starting to freak me out!
Again, thank God SOMEONE is paying attention to what's actually going on, and not just to what everyone seems to be SAYING is going on!!!
Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells. Single-handedly doing the job of the entire MSM!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
So, we all tied ourselves in knots over whether Muslim women wearing veils should be forced to lift their veils before being allowed to vote (not that any of them need to be "forced" mind you, as no Muslim woman has EVER been recorded as having refused such a request, but moving on...) and a Parliamentary Committee went so far as to demand that the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada use his "emergency powers" to ignore the written laws of Canada and impose their will (because, GASP! there were three Quebec by-elections coming up!!!).
Now, the day after the by-elections, not a word.
Could it be, as I've heard, that not a single veiled Muslim showed up to the polls, and that the less than half dozen people who DID show up to the polls veiled were PROTESTERS, protesting that the non-existent veil-wearing Muslims wouldn't be forced, against the written law of Canada, to do something they would be perfectly willing to do voluntarily anyway (if they existed that is!).
No, it couldn't be that could it!?!?
from the Macleans live election blog suggesting it's not exactly Dion's fault the Liberals have lost Outrement:
Here are the numbers for Martin Cauchon in Outremont under Jean Chretien:
Enter Paul Martin and Mr. Lapierre.
Somewhere Paul Wells is nodding ruefully.
So, apparently (though who can be certain if this is serious... anyone else have a news source???) with all the HUGE controversy over veiled voting in the Quebec by-elections, and (idiotic) calls for the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada to use his emergency powers to overturn the laws of Canada.... FIVE PEOPLE SHOWED UP WEARING VEILS (Live Blogging: Philippe at 8:55)
Even better? They weren't Muslims, but people protesting the decision to allow Muslims to wear veils!
If that report is remotely accurate? Classic.
Monday, September 17, 2007
So, it's early, but Thomas Mulcair of the NDP currently has 49% of the vote in Outrement! (16% of polls reporting, still quite early...)
Getting beat isn't great for the Liberals. Getting beat by 20 points though? Wow.
Meanwhile, Conservative Denis Lebel is at 59% (43.9% reporting), and CTV is already calling Roberval--Lac-Saint-Jean for the Tories. (BQ 26.7%, Liberals 9.7%).
In Saint-Hyacinthe--Bagot, Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac has 43.8% for the BQ. The Tories are at 35.4%, the NDP are at 7.8% and the Liberals are at 7.1%.
Friday, September 14, 2007
So, looks like talk of parity is back! That was a quick turn around.
Word is the Canadian dollar is expected to hit 98 cents by the end of next week. Well, if that's true, now I'm really starting to believe that parity could (even probably WILL) happen. The Canadian dollar's been at parity with the greenback in my lifetime, however, the last time it happened I was 13 months old!
This doesn't indicate things are uncompromisingly GREAT in Canada, but things are clearly pretty good. The bigger effect is that sadly things in the U.S. are still pretty bad.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Recommend this Post
Plus, the City is forced to pay for social services that no other city in the world would ever have to pay for. Services the City doesn't even run. There are literally hundreds of millions of dollars in cheques that City Hall has to send to the province every year to pay for programs the province used to pay for, and that the City has no control over. We just have to pay for them because the province wrote a law that says "Toronto has to pay for this now... because we say so."
Lukiwski held up his left hand, its back towards Mayrand, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.
'How many fingers am I holding up, Marc?'
'And if the Committee says that it is not four but five -- then how many?'
The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial had shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all over Mayrand's body....
'How many fingers, Marc?'
The needle went up to sixty.
'How many fingers, Marc?'
'Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!'
'You are a slow learner, Marc,' said Lukiwski gently.
'How can I help it?' he blubbered. 'How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.'
'Sometimes, Marc. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.'
Thank God Parliamentary Committees can't use PHYSICAL torture, eh? They just drive us mad with their stupidity.
H/T to Dr. Dawg for reminding me of this scene from 1984.
Apologies to George Orwell for messing with it.
I can't believe that happened today! A Parliamentary Committee tried to get the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada to ignore the written law of the nation and do what they told him to do. The Committee basically pointed to our electoral law and said "THAT'S not the law... WE'RE the law!!!".
Mayrand stuck to his guns and told the Committee ".. we must rely on the will of Parliament as expressed by Parliament."
Then, Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski actually said (I swear he said this, I'm not making it up to make him look stupid!) "So the will of this committee is not the will of Parliament?" NO you ninny, it's not. I'm so sorry to tell you this, but your Committee doesn't have the power to instruct a civil servant to ignore a law as passed by Parliament. Don't you think your Committee would be a bit busier if it had the power to tell government workers what parts of the written law they should follow, and what parts they can ignore!!! If the will of your Committee were the will of Parliament why would we keep paying the rest of those bozos???
I swear, this whole sad story has taken me from thinking that our MPs don't read the legislation they pass to suspecting many of them may actually be incapable of rational thought.
Here is how our current first-past-the-post system of elections has distributed the seats in the Ontario Legislature (i.e. power) to the various political parties based upon their success in winning votes for the past five Ontario Elections:
So, Cherniak has a crazy and convoluted conspiracy theory about how the NDP and "Labour" could manipulate an MMP electoral system to get more seats in the Legislature than they would be entitled to based upon their combined votes.
It's such an inane notion that it is hardly worth commenting on, except for this. Under Jason's scary conspiracy theory, a mythical combination of the NDP and "Labour" mess with the system to get 27% of the seats in the legislature, with only 20% of the vote (HORROR!!!).
What Jason fails to mention is that in the real world, under the system we have in place today, the Liberals have 70% of the seats in the legislature with only 47% of the vote!!!
Gee, that couldn't be why Cherniak's against MMP, could it!?!?!
Anyway, buy into Jason's conspiracy if you wish, but keep in mind that in his fantasy world the NDP have to cooperate with a party that doesn't exist, and get the assistance of voters who are willing to go along with their conspiracy en masse, all to make the system give them 7% more seats than they get votes. Meanwhile, in the real world, the Liberals don't have to do anything special at all to get 23% more seats than they get votes under first past the post.
Here, for your information, is a comparison of the votes cast in the last 5 Ontario Elections to the seats given to the parties in the legislature under our current First Past the Post electoral system.
The results for the party that formed the government are in bold (all "majority" governments, all with less than 50% of the votes) and what I see as the most egregious examples of the skewing of the Legislature by FPTP are in red (Governments which had more than 60% of the power with less than 50% of the vote, or more than 50% of the power with less than 40% of the vote!!!).
Interestingly (and I was surprised!) the current Liberal government was actually helped MORE by FPTP than Bob Rae's 37.6% "majority" in 1990. Despite not being able to get 50% of the vote, McGuinty's Liberals have 70% of the seats at Queen's Park (well, 69.9, but you'll forgive my rounding!). As you're probably aware, despite Ontario's tradition of "majority" governments, the last time a single party actually won a TRUE majority (i.e. actually had more than 50% of the votes) was in 1937. And, TECHNICALLY, that 1937 majority (with 51.6% of the votes) was actually a combination of the votes of the Liberal Party, the Liberal-Progressive Party, and the United Farmers. Making the 1934 election the last time a TRULY single party won a majority of the votes in Ontario.
ETA: The 1987 Liberal government should be in red too! (47.3% of the vote, 73% of the power!), but I can't be bothered to edit the image now!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
It seems the editorial writers at the Toronto Star have done something remarkable.
They actually READ the election law passed by Parliament!!!
This puts them ahead of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Official Opposition, and as far as I can tell, EVERY OTHER MP IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
So now, TWO people in Canada have read the law that Parliament passed. Marc Mayrand, and the guy who wrote that editorial. Now if we could just get our elected officials to read their own legislation, maybe we'd be getting somewhere!!!!
... because someone has to read Parliamentarians the election law they passed!!!
It's pretty clear now that virtually none of our elected officials have actually READ the legislation they enacted!!!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Conservative MP Joe Preston of Elections Canada Chief Marc Mayrand:
“I'd love for him to come here and try to explain to us what he doesn't understand about photo ID.”
Well, I'd love to ask Joe Preston what he doesn't understand about the fact that the law he helped pass doesn't require voters to show photo ID.
I get the feeling he, and MANY of his colleagues from across the political spectrum haven't even read the law they passed!!!
this would all be different!
The biggest issue in the latest veiled voting "controversy" is that our law makers appear to have not read the law they passed.
Nothing in Canadian elections law requires voters to show their faces at the polling station.
More importantly, nothing in Canadian election law requires voter to show photo identification before voting.
Now, that second part is VERY important.
Many of our politicians (led by the Prime Minister, but including members of other parties as well, including Dion and Duceppe) seem to be trying to convince the public that Elections Canada is trying to thwart the will of Parliament by not requiring Muslim women who cover their faces for religious reasons to remove their veils for identification purposes before voting.
Now, the first important point is that nothing in the new election law requires someone to show their face before voting. That's a fact.
However, I certainly concede that if the law required showing photo ID before voting then it probably WOULD be "thwarting the will of Parliament" for Elections Canada to allow women to vote without removing their veil. After all, if you are required to show PHOTO identification, then it seems obvious, even if it were not written explicitly, that that requirement would be meaningless if people were simply allowed to show photo ID, while their faces remained covered! A requirement that voters show photo identification would implicitly require women with veils to remove them, as VISUAL identification would be the obvious motive of such a requirement.
However, very importantly, Canadian election law does NOT require you to show photo identification before voting. That is, it's true, ONE of the ways you can establish your identity under the law passed by Parliament, but you can also show TWO pieces of acceptable ID WITHOUT photos. Or, you can show NO ID, and swear an oath confirming that you are who you say you are, confirmed by another resident of your riding who has had THEIR identity confirmed by either one piece of photo identification OR two pieces of non-photo identification. NOWEHERE is there a requirement, explicit or implied, that a voter be VISUALLY identified before being allowed to vote. All Elections Canada is saying is that the will not "read in" a requirement that Parliament has left out of the law.
So, there is no requirement that voters have uncovered faces when voting (which one might not actually expect to seee explicitly required) but there is ALSO no requirement to show any visual (i.e. photo) identification. So if you don't need to show photo ID, why should Elections Canada be expected to "read in" that you must remove your face veil??? WHY??? It's not in the law, and given that voters are NOT required to provide a photo card that poll workers could compare their face to, what possible reason would there be to require voters to show their faces???
Parliament wrote an election law with a hole big enough to drive a truck through. It's not Elections Canada's responsibility to throw up a roadblock after the fact. In fact, they specifically SHOULD NOT be doing so. Elections Canada FOLLOWS the law, they don't write it, and it's the fault of Parliamentarians if they wrote a law that doesn't actually do what they (they now claim, after the fact) apparently wanted it to.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
...he's just so mentally incompetent that he shouldn't be allowed out of the house without legal representation!!!
If you can believe it, Senator Larry Craig is considering trying to challenge his guilty plea, and go back in time to fight his recent conviction. In Minnesota, you can challenge a plea after the fact on the grounds of either coercion (which this wasn't) or incompetence.
So, apparently, a sitting U.S. Senator may be about to argue that he should be allowed to withdraw a guilty plea because he was too incompetent to have legally pled guilty to an everyday misdemeanor several weeks after the incident (in case you thought he pled guilty right there in the airport to get out of an uncomfortable situation, he didn't; he was arrested June 11th, and pled guilty in August 1st).
I swear, the Democrats must be thanking God for this guy.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Good news everyone!
Seems the WAR on Drugs (TM) is getting back on track in Canada!
I haven't seen Tony Clement in so long that I had naturally assumed that he had died. Turns out though that he's actually still Minister of Health, and he's determined to teach us all the evils of drugs!
This ought to go well.
Mr. Clement "decried the fact that, in Canada, there are nearly as many people who smoke marijuana as ones who smoke tobacco, and blamed vague, ambiguous messaging from politicians and public-health officials". So apparently, Canadians smoke pot because our politicians and public-health officials forgot to tell us not to!
It's humourous to me that Clement thinks that rates of pot-smoking are high because the anti-drug message hasn't gotten out. It seems to have never occured to him that the anti-drug message has gotten out, and that when it comes to pot, people aren't dumb enough to fall for its disingenuous arguments. It's not that Clement's message isn't out there, it's just that no one's falling for it. It also never seems to have occured to the Minister that politicians haven't been making anti-marijuana arguments because the people don't want them to make anti-marijuana arguments. In this area of public policy, the public thinks X, and the Minister thinks Y. The Minister's entitled to try to change the public's mind of course, but I sure will miss having a government that follows the will of the people on this file.
I can't believe that 35 years after the LeDain Commission people like Clement are still trying to peddle this silliness. Well, I too am concerned that "there are nearly as many people who smoke marijuana as ones who smoke tobacco" but my concern lies with the fact that there are still so many people smoking the much more harmful tobacco.
If the Health Minister wants to focus on priorities that are totally different from those of the Canadian people, that's fine. I do wish at the very least he'd choose something that's a priority to SOMEONE.
After 18 months of being AWOL, I don't want to hear from the Minister of Health that he's going to crack down on illegal drug use, with advertising. It's depressing, because it makes me think that not only does he have no idea what's going on, but that he doesn't even really CARE that he has no idea what's going on.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Learn more about the Mixed Member Proportional electoral system proposed for use in Ontario elections and up for vote in the October 10th referendum from these YouTube videos!
Also, learn all about the process followed by the Ontario Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform from their own video. (Stick with it. It starts off a bit dry. These people are great CITIZENS, not great ACTORS!!!!).
Your fellow citizens put a lot of effort into learning about various electoral systems in order to find a system that will be a great improvement for the people of Ontario.
Don't let their work be in vain!
Vote for MMP!
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
I've been very busy lately with little time to blog (though as some know, and no doubt lament, still time to comment) but I wanted to write a quick post encouraging everyone in Ontario to vote for MMP in the October 10th election/referendum. It's about time we improve our electoral system, and while MMP may not be perfect, it's clearly a move in the right direction. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good (H/T to Voltaire).
I hope to blog more about this in the future, but for now:
Learn more at http://voteformmp.ca/
Thursday, June 28, 2007
When Gary Bettman left the NBA for the NHL a lot of people said that the reason David Stern let him go was that the NHL was (then) competing pretty aggresssively with the NBA, and Stern needed a Trojan horse to bring the hockey league to its knees.
It seemed a silly joke at the time, but wow, it seems more and more plausible every day doesn't it?
Word is Craig Leipold has "decided" (i.e. been brow-beaten by Bettman et al) to take $50 million LESS for the Nashville Predators than offered recently by Jim Balsillie of Research in Motion fame. That's right, it seems an owner whose been hemorraging money for years on this ill-advised adventure in Music City is going to leave $50 million on the table.
"To keep them in Nashville?", you ask (incredulously, I'm sure). No. Seems the powers that be have decided that one NHL team failing in Kansas City wasn't enough, and they'd like to see another team go down in flames there rather than send a team somewhere where it will, you know, SUCCEED. (Do you even remeber the Kansas City Scouts??? Exactly.)
The NHL would, it appears, rather see a long-suffering owner (whose done his bit to try to make hockey succeed in a market that doesn't care) lose out on $50 million so that another owner can experience the joy of failing in a market that doesn't care about hockey. All to keep a team out of Southern Ontario. We now live in a world where Florida and California have 5 NHL teams and Ontario and Quebec have three, and it seems clear that the powers that be would rather run the league into the ground trying to sell hockey to people who don't care, rather than giving hockey to people who are salivating to hand over their hard-earned money for it. All out of some delusion that a half empty rink of bored spectators in the U.S. is somehow better for the NHL than a sold out rink of excited hockey fans that happens to be North of a line on the map. As though the potential (unrealized for DECADES) of 10,000 spectators a night and no corporate sponsorship in a 300 million person country with huge corporations will EVER be better than the reality of 20,000 fans and ACTUAL corporate support in a country of 33 million. The Stanley Cup finals can't even outdraw Gold Cup soccer in the U.S. (SOCCER people) even when the hockey is on NBC broadcast in English and the soccer is on Univision broadcast in Spanish. Bettman is clearly living in some fantasy world in which somehow decades of declining interest and increasing national ridicule in the U.S. is going to be turned around by moving the league back to cities that rejected the sport years ago (Bettman's motto: "If at first you don't succeed, stay the course." To Gary, it's the universe that's wrong, not him, and he's more than willing to wait for the universe to change, dammit).
Now, kvetching about Bettman is damn near our third national sport, and who doesn't LOVE seeing the guy booed everywhere he goes (the only credit I DO give Bettman is that he is generally pretty good-natured in public about the fact that everyone who cares about hockey hates him). However, now it's not even funny anymore. The man needs to be stopped. Someone has to save hockey from these people, and I think we need to start having a national discussion about what we can all do to help.
Maybe someone should start by suing Bettman for collusion with Stern to bring down the NHL. It wouldn't fly (it really is just a joke) but maybe the optics alone would be enough to finally run the guy out of town. I'd also like to investigate ways to ban Bettman from entering Canada. A message needs to be sent, and I'd love to hear your suggestions on how to send it!
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Friday, May 11, 2007
Well, this will shake things up I'd bet (just how though I'm not sure anyone can say yet).
Very interesting times we live in.
Too bad we can't hold a snap election. I'm too afraid of a Tory majority, but I wouldn't mind a renewed Tory minority mandate if we could devestate the Bloc while we were at it.
Maybe that would go over so horribly in Quebec as a "kick 'em while they're down" move that it would backfire, but still, it'd be fun to decimate the Bloc's position in Ottawa.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of that regardless.
Yesterday, a professor from the University of Alberta was testifying at a committee hearing on the "Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), a 2005 accord by the U.S., Canada and Mexico to streamline economic and security rules across the continent". The professor testified that "the deal, which calls North American “energy security” a priority, commits Canada to ensuring American energy supplies even though Canada itself — unlike most industrialized nations — has no national plan or reserves to protect its own supplies."
So, what happened when the professor testified that the SPP could endanger Canada's energy security by committing us to safeguarding American energy supplies before stockpiling for our own emergencies? The Tory Chair of the committee (Leon Benoit) ordered him to stop testifying, and declared his testimony "irrelevant".
The rest of the committee, realising that the potential effects of the SPP on Canada's energy (and therefore national) security certainly IS relevant to a hearing on the SPP (because they're not idiots) voted to overrule the Benoit's ruling, which they did.
Benoit's reaction? He threw down his pen, unilaterally declared "The meeting is adjourned." and stormed out with three of the panel's four conservatives.
Perhaps realizing that the Chair of a Parliamentary Committee can't just arbitrarily and unilaterally declare a meeting of the committe adjourned ("at press time, parliamentary procedure experts still hadn’t figured out whether he had the right to adjourn the meeting unilaterally") the Opposition members of the Committee continued the meeting (with the lone remaining Tory) and allowed Professor Laxer to continue his testimony into the potential national security implications of the SPP plan.
Canada's New Government: I'm too depressed to even come up with a humourously ironic catch phrase.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
A quote regarding NATO operations in Afghanistan:
"Civilian deaths and arbitrary decisions to search people's houses have reached an unacceptable level, and Afghans cannot put up with it any longer... It is becoming a heavy burden and we are not happy about it... I hope the international community will find with us, with our relevant ministries, a mechanism that will bring an end to collateral damage, to damage to civilians".
Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan.
Friday, April 27, 2007
I support the mission in Afghanistan, but I wanted to mention that I think there's a great slogan out there for those who don't.
Harper wants to take us out of Kyoto, and keep us in Afghanistan.
Try winning seats in Quebec with THAT plastered everywhere.
So, I know the NDP, Liberals and Greens don't necessarily totally agree on the environment. They all have different ideas, and different assumptions about how important the issue is, and what needs to be done. However, they also all know that the Tories' plans are essentially a farce.
I believe the opposition parties all basically agree on the amended Clean Air Act, so I wonder if it would be possible, for the sake of the environment, for the opposition parties to advance ONE UNIFIED ENVIRONMENTAL PLATFORM (perhaps the new CAA, or a negotiated platform based on that) for the sole purpose of stopping the Tories? I'm a big fan of cooperation between the opposition parties to bring down the Tories (which I know not everyone is) but even if they didn't all cooperate on everything, is THIS something they could agree on?
It seems to me, if the opposition parties are all over the map, the Tories might end up looking "reasonable" even though in reality, we all know that's crazy talk. But if the choice (on the environment) is the plan supported by the Tories, or the plan supported by absolutely everyone else in Parliament (and the Greens), that's a pretty stunning repudiation, and shows just how horrible the Tories' plans really are, doesn't it?
Is it possible we could get unified opposition on this issue, for the sake of the environment?
If not, how am I supposed to believe ANY of them really think this is a serious issue? If you're willing to sit back and let the Tories do what they're about to do, don't come telling me you care about the environment. If you let the Tories get away with this, your rhetoric is BS. What's more, you know it. Either we fight out the environment issue now, or we wait until things are so bad even conservatives can't deny the problem anymore.
And given Tory abilities to deny the obvious, I'm just not willing to wait that long.
Either stop the Tories, or admit you're giving up on the environment, but don't come telling me how dire things are if you're going to let this stand. I'll still believe it's vitally important, but none of these politicians will be able to convince me they're sincere about it if they don't act now.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Where's the Canadian report on human rights in prisons in Afghanistan?
Government response to Ottawa Professor's access to information request on January 29th: Silence.
Government response to the G&M March 7th: "There's no Canadian Report on human right issues in prisons in Afghanistan".
Government response to a G&M reporter March 22nd "I'm telling you, no such report exists! Here, I'll write that down for you."
Government response to access to Information request from January, after Ottawa professor complains to Information Commissioner that the 30 day waiting period is well past and he hasn't heard anything: "Fine, here's the report (although we've censored lines like "military, intelligence and police forces have been accused of involvement in arbitrary arrest, kidnapping extortion, torture and extrajudicial killing.")
Globe and Mail's response: "Good thing we got the uncensored report from an anonymous source, so we can tell Canadians what the report that doesn't exits (accept that it does) actually says.
Now, I support the mission in Afghanistan, but the shenanigan's above?
We'll have to see if tomorrow's announcement clears things up, but Andrew Coyne has an interesting theory about what the wording of Baird's announcement of a 20% reduction in GHG emissions from today's levels by 2020 actually means.
The long and the short of it is that Cayne suspects that what Baird might have said was NOT that the plan calls for emissions to be 20% lower than they are today by 2020, but that the plan calls for a reduction of 20% of today's levels (a 150 Mt reduction) to the level that emissions are PROJECTED to be at in 2020. So, not 20% lower than today's level 13 years from now, but lower 13 years from now (by 20% of today's levels) than what the levels would be if we did nothing. Coyne points out that a "reduction" calculated this way could (almost certainly WOULD) actually mean HIGHER emissions in 2020 than we have today.
I can't imagine this is so, but we'll see. (Can the Tories be that stupid???)
If the announcement means that emissions will be 20% lower than today by 2020, then the Tories have committed to getting our emissions down to basically 600Mt by 2020. If it means emissions will be lowered by an amount equal to 20% of today's emissions, from where they'd be otherwise, emissions are almost certain to be ABOVE today's level (of 750Mt) in 2020. Kyoto, basically calls for Canada to reduce emissions to 563Mt over the average of 2008-2012.
I look forward to tomorrow's announcement. I think getting to 600Mt by 2020 might actually sway some voters versus Kyoto's (simplified) 563Mt by 2012. Kyoto's been damaged enough PR-wise that I think a lot of people might think a reduction from 750Mt to 600Mt by 2020 is good enough, compared to a reduction from 750Mt to 563Mt by 2012, given all the scare tactics surrounding what implementing Kyoto would supposedly cost.
If Coyne's right about what the announcement really means though, then I don't know how the Tories can spin this.
"750 to 600 by 2020" sounds somewhat reasonable next to "750 to 563 by 2012".
"750 to (750+X) -150 by 2020" most certainly does not. Especially since "X" is almost certainly more than 150.