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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where is Global Warming when you need it?

Calendar year 2008 was the coolest year since 2000, according to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies analysis of surface air temperature measurements. In their analysis, 2008 is the ninth warmest year in the period of instrumental measurements, which extends back to 1880.

According to the report, the ten warmest years all occur within the 12-year period 1997-2008. The two-standard-deviation (95% confidence) uncertainty in comparing recent years is estimated as 0.05°C, so the report concluded that 2008 was somewhere within the range from 7th to 10th warmest year in the record.

All good news to me. While I do get upset with the level of pollution on our planet and in the atmosphere, I just can’t get too worked up over global warming—I see it as a natural phase the planet goes through from time to time. I look forward to really mild Canadian winters and the North West Passage being used year round.

Thirty thousand years ago the world was in an Ice Age and 30,000 years from now this area will probably be back in an Ice Age and covered by three miles of ice. That’s the way of the world.

Queen’s Park’s conflicting message

The local MPP for Burlington, Ontario is Joyce Savoline. Ms. Savoline was formerly the chairperson for Halton Region, a post now held by former MPP and MP Gary Carr. I’m pleased to read that Ms. Savoline is championing Ted Kindos’s cause as he battles with two separate arms of the Ontario Government to save his restaurant and his means of earning a living.


Minister Ted McMeekin replied to my [Savoline’s] question in the legislature saying that ‘this government is determined to find a way to support Ted (Kindos)’ and yet he is being taken before the Human Rights Commission for following one of the latest McGuinty regulations—the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

Back on Feb. 10 I wrote about Kindos’s dilemma: Two separate Ontario Government departments are demanding the Burlington businessman follow their mutually exclusive rules, while his legal bills pile up. Ms. Savoline is trying to get some action at Queens Park.

It is bewildering how ineffective this Liberal Government at Queens Park continues to be after more than five years in office. With very few exceptions, they are truly a pathetic bunch.

You can read Ms. Savoline’s column in the Post here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tory mounting come-back

The Leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, John Tory, seems to be making a come-back, at least, within the party itself. The PCs just held a three-day 160_TO_tory_080327party convention at Niagara Falls that attracted more than 1,000  people—an impressive number reminding us of the good old days when Mike Harris was leader.

Apparently, there is an air of optimism circulating among PC attendees. With 30 months until the October 2011 election, many see Premier McGuinty’s prospects growing gloomier as Ontario’s economic outlook declines—recessions seldom favour incumbent governments—and many PCs smell blood.

quote-left-red-grey-bgLet's face it, leaving Dalton McGuinty in charge of the economy is like leaving your dog on vacation with the taxidermist.quote-right-red-grey-bg

- John Tory

In an indication that Tory’s hold on the party leadership has improved, party members defeated a proposed amendment to the PC constitution that would have required the leader to have a seat in the Legislature within a year of taking the helm or losing a riding in an election. Some believe the initiative was meant to embarrass Tory.

During a luncheon speech, federal Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney recommended courting the multicultural vote as a key in many urban ridings—victory in 2011 could well depend on this. We also need a strong, visionary platform à la The Common Sense Revolution.

Now, if Mr. Tory can win his March 5 by-election, and if he can then begin to seize the initiative at Queen’s Park and hold Dalton McGuinty’s toes to the fire, we may have a chance in 2011.smleaf

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dust up at TVO: Kinsella’s bully-boy tactics fizzle out

One of my favourite television shows is The Agenda on The Ontario Educational Communications Authority’s, TVO channel. The show is expertly hosted by veteran broadcaster, Steve Paikin, and generally speaking has intelligent, well-informed panelists who discuss and debate a wide range of topics.

The Agenda is on opposite another good show with similar topics, the Michael Coren Show on CTS television. However, Paikin does a better job as host and guest panelists are generally of higher quality in the sense of being better informed and more articulate.

This is high praise for The Agenda and its host, as the Michael Coren Show is generally well regarded and I believe gets a pretty good audience share.

quote-left-red-grey-bgLater that same day, I received another email from Warren informing me that he was emailing the Minister of Education to ask her to pressure us to ‘unbook’ Kathy Shaidle, and that if we didn’t, there would be significant consequences for TVO and The Agenda. He did, indeed, email the Minister.quote-right-red-grey-bg

- Steve Paikin

Now I read that a Liberal Party operative and well-known blogger with a love for controversy, Warren Kinsella, has tried to further his animosity towards www.fivefeetoffury.com’s Kathy Shaidle by having her barred from appearing on a recent episode of The Agenda. I guess when Mr. Kinsella is not ticking off the Chinese community he has time to try to bully Steve Paikin into kicking panelists who Mr. Kinsella does not like off The Agenda.

I find some of Ms. Shaidle’s comments on the Web to be offensive—I am never quite sure whether they truly reflect her beliefs or are made as attention-getters. Regardless, she is as suitable to be a guest panelist on The Agenda as is Mr. Kinsella himself, who seems to me to be little more than a shill for the Liberal Party and who at times makes equally offensive comments.

What intellectual stimulation are we likely to experience if we make sure that only those of whom we approve will appear on the TV shows we watch?

The Agenda has a terrific track record, and I believe its producers should be left to chose its panelists without political interference. When a known senior Liberal Party political operative writes to a Liberal Party cabinet minister to “unbook” a TV guest—for any reason—it has a chilling effect on anyone who treasures freedom of expression. And claiming, as Mr. Kinsella does, that he was writing as a “citizen” does little to warm that chill.

For how much longer will Mr. Ignatieff put up with this nonsense, I wonder?smleaf

Time to update our tired old government institutions

The recent visit of President Obama and his meeting with Governor General Michaëlle Jean got me thinking about how confusing our government structure must be to Obama-Jean visiting heads of state. Here is the U.S. president discussing the situation in Haiti with the Governor General who represents the Crown in Canada and carries out the duties of Head of State. Two heads of state discussing the problems and challenges of a third nation. How nice.

But President Obama might as well have spoken to the average Haitian immigrant on the streets of Toronto or Montreal. Our GG has little more real political power than they do.

Canada has a sovereign and Head of State with no real powers and virtually no ceremonial responsibilities. And because she is a foreigner and lives thousands of miles awayqueen, we have her local representative, the Governor General who, at least, is a Canadian, but also has very little real power—hers is almost entirely a ceremonial role.

It’s time to retire this archaic, confusing institution.

Many Canadians adamantly claim we have separation of church and state, even though our Charter of Rights and Freedoms begins with the statement,

quote-left-red-beige-bgWhereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God [Emphasis added] and the rule of law…quote-right-red-beige-bg

senateAnd the Queen, our Head of State, is the “Supreme Governor of the Church of England” signifying her titular leadership over that Church. So much for separation of church and state, eh?   

Then we have the senate. If Canada is to have a bicameral parliamentary system (and I think it should), isn’t it time we had an upper house that is accountable to the people and has real powers? A significant proportion of our population does not even know what this place does. Was not the Senate supposed to be comprised of economic and social elites who would act as a check on the “commoners” or “lower classes,” of the democratically elected House of Commons. How relevant is this in 2009? gg Jean

Governor General Michaëlle Jean is Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces for Pete’s sake. This is ridiculously absurd.

How many figureheads and meaningless, obsolete government institutions does one country need? At what point do we cut our ridicously outdated ties with our foreign Queen?

Surely we are confident and mature enough as a nation to have made-in-Canada institutions that mean something and are accountable to us the people of Canada.smleaf

Friday, February 20, 2009

No special review for Omar Khadr

The fate of Omar Khadr, the only Canadian imprisoned in the U.S. detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, was deemed so important by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff that he used valuable face-time with President Barack Obama yesterday to broach the issue of the man’s situation in U.S. custody.

Obama-Ignatieff
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

National Post: U.S. President Barack Obama with Liberal Party Leader Michael Ignatieff at Ottawa, Feb. 19, 2009.

Ever since there has been a Canada, Canadians have committed crimes on foreign soil and faced whatever justice system was in place there. I can see no reason why we should break with this long-standing tradition.

Mr. Khadr and members of his family fought in a war against Canada and its allies and allegedly killed one of our ally’s soldiers. We owe him nothing.

And yet, Mr. Ignatieff and his fellow opposition leaders are lobbying the U.S. president to allow Mr. Khadr to be returned to Canada so that our legal system can deal with him. What nonsense.

According to the National Post:

quote-left-red-beige-bgMr. Ignatieff, who had written to Mr. Obama with the other opposition leaders seeking Khadr’s immediate release, said the president told him all the Guantanamo prisoners are being categorized based on their level of danger, and indicated there will be no ‘imminent’ decisions.

‘He said that all of the cases were under review; it would take some time,’ Mr. Ignatieff said.quote-right-red-beige-bg

Mr. Khadr is charged with, among other things, killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan during a firefight. At the time of the incident, the U.S. and Canada were allies in a war against the Taliban and foreign terrorists in Afghanistan. Traditionally, killing an allied soldier in wartime is akin to killing one of our own, making, I suppose, Mr. Khadr’s alleged actions treasonous. So I suppose we could charge him here in Canada, but why bother?

International law does not prohibit the prosecution of children who commit war crimes, but the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child does limit the punishment that a child can receive.

Opposition members and their left-leaning MSM allies have often told Canadians that Mr. Khadr is the only citizen of a Western country still imprisoned at Guantanamo. Yet, according to the National Post,

quote-left-red-beige-bgOn Friday, the U.S. Foreign Office announced that Binyam Mohamed, a British resident held at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay for the past five years, is to be returned to Britain.

‘The UK and U.S. governments have reached agreement on the transfer of Mr. Binyam Mohamed from Guantanamo Bay to the UK,’ it said in a statement. ‘He will be returned as soon as the practical arrangements can be made’.quote-right-red-beige-bg

Apparently, Mr. Khadr’s situation has not been as unique as has been repeatedly reported.

At any point in time, dozens—perhaps hundreds—of Canadians are dealt with by the American legal system with nary a word from our opposition leaders. On behalf of how many of these did Mr. Ignatieff plead when he met with the president? I think we know the answer—none.

So what’s Iggy and the rest of his Coalition up to? Just a lot of smoke and mirrors to grab as many headlines from a sympathetic press and news media anxious to make a buck and pander to ultra-liberal big-city (Toronto/Montreal/Vancouver) Canadians. Never mind that to suggest to President Obama that his country cannot deal fairly with Mr. Khadr could be interpreted as a gross insult to a country which justifiably prides itself on having one of the fairest legal systems in the world.smleaf

Obama Day in Ottawa + 1

Well, President Barack Obama’s visit is now just a memory, and yet the MSM is still loaded with stories about it. A whole lot of fawning over this mainly Obama2unproven foreign politician, balanced by the almost daily gratuitous, petty put-downs by the likes of television host Michael Coren. I find neither of these extremes helpful.

Based on the almost all-day coverage we saw yesterday, I’d rate the visit as moderately successful. What it lacked in substance, it made up for in goodwill between our countries. And how can we lose by being viewed favourably by the leader of the free world and chief representative of the most powerful nation on earth?

I’m still not fully persuaded that we Canadians should not be worried by the U.S. Congress’ buy American biases. What does seem to be clear, however, is that Canada’s special relationship vis-à-vis the United States is better appreciated by President Obama than it was throughout former president, George W. Bush’s first term in the White House. And that’s a good thing. Hopefully, both Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff were able to reinforce this point in their meeting with the President.

One thing puzzles me: why do most people refer to President Obama a being “black,” as in “…first black president.”? He is of African American descent, of course, but how is he black? Isn’t this old fashioned American (and perhaps Canadian) racism whereby a single drop of “black” blood makes a person black. Since the man is equally black and white, why doesn’t he qualify equally to be referred to as either black or white. Yet, I’ve not heard a single person refer to him as “white.” Clearly he is biracial and not black.

Perhaps this is hair splitting on my part, but the “one-drop rule” of racial classification has always seemed bigoted to me. It is, after all, only really used to describe people with some black African ancestry. And it does not help at all that many African Americans use the rule—it does not make it any less racist.

President Obama is privileged to straddle that great racial divide that is America. He has dual perspectives and will perhaps be a better president and commander in chief for it.smleaf

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Obama Day in Ottawa

The president of the United States is visiting Ottawa today in a return to a tradition of Canada being the first official foreign visit of a new American president. Several hundred Canadians assembled on Parliament Hill to welcome President Barack Obama and thousands of eyes are glued to TV screens from coast to coast.

20090219__Obama

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The feelings of goodwill towards President Obama are palpable. Not since the late John Kennedy can I remember an American president being so popular on this side of the border. Even the NDP and Liberals have shut up about warning us how dangerous and immoral it is for us to get too close to the Yanks—a refreshing break from their normal anti-Americanism.

Apparently, Obama comes bearing a pro-trade message to assuage Canadian concerns over protectionism; a promise of a new strategy in Afghanistan; and talk of clean-energy cooperation as controversy in the United States hangs over Canada’s oil sands.

The president’s six-hour stopover will include a welcome by Governor General the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, a working lunch and a joint press conference with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as well as a meeting between the president and Michael Ignatieff.

We’ll wait until tomorrow to read how successful the visit is.smleaf

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Obama’s trip to Ottawa tomorrow

I view U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Ottawa tomorrow as a significant opportunity on the part of the United States and our government to repair the damage to Canada-U.S. bi-lateral relations that was so thoughtlessly inflicted Obama by former president George W. Bush and past Liberal  governments.

Canada-U.S. relations got off to a poor start under the Bush administration when that president chose Mexico as his first foreign visit. Many Canadians saw this as a deliberate slight, though is was probably more like benign neglect or, at worst, a minor diplomatic snub.

But then, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bush thanked 20 or more countries for their support, but failed to acknowledge Canadians for providing safe harbor to passengers on more than 200 transcontinental flights who were left stranded when the U.S. closed its airspace. And President Bush never publicly refuted false claims made by members of his own administration and other well-known conservatives that some of the 9/11 terrorists had entered the U.S. from Canada. All this was topped off by Bush repeatedly referring to the United Kingdom as the United States’ closest ally.

Later, President Bush added fuel the flames of mounting anti-Americanism here in Canada, when, in 2002, he showed little or no remorse after four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan were killed by a bomb dropped from a U.S. F-16.

None of this was helped by trade disputes, former prime ministers Jean Chrétien’s and Paul Martin’s unseemly eagerness to poke a stick in the eye of America and when Liberal MP, Carolyn Parrish was reported as saying, “Damn Americans, I hate the bastards.” And when, in a skit on a CBC comedy, Parrish stomped on a Bush doll and performed voodoo on its head, where, she said, “it would do the least damage.” Or, in 2002, when Françoise Ducros, one of Chrétien’s top aides, referred to Bush as “a moron.”

George W. did eventually reach out to us when, in late 2004, he visited this country and travelled to Halifax to thank those communities that had welcomed the diverted passengers in the hours right after the 9/11 attacks. But, by this time, many of us who see ourselves as moderate and secular were questioning whether we still had much left in common with our American friends and business partners.

Now, with Liberal Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff practically being an American himself, and PM Stephen Harper’s lack of the sort of animosity towards the United States we saw with Chrétien and Martin, perhaps President Obama’s visit will be a step towards rebuilding strong bi-lateral relationships.smleaf

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Burlington restaurateur offered Morton’s Fork by Ontario Human Rights Commission

Ted Kindos faces two choices: Continue to be called a bigot or break the law. A classical Morton’s Fork—that is, he’s caught between a rock and a hard place.

Four years ago, Mr. Kindos, who owns Gator Ted’s Tap & Grill here in Burlington, asked a marijuana smoker, Steve Gibson, to step away from his front door. The medically licensed Mr. Gibson complained to the Ontario Human Rights Commission of bias against a disabled person, and he won.

Now here’s Mr. Gibson’s dilemma as reported by thestar.com:

quote-left-red-beige-bgKindos was about to pay the fine and post obligatory signs saying, ‘We accommodate medicinal marijuana smokers,’ when a different government agency told him he could lose his liquor licence. Serving anybody possessing a controlled substance—prescribed or not—is against the law.quote-right-red-beige-bg [My emphasis added]

By what sort of damned silly-ass rules are we being governed?

Apparently Mr. Kindos’s legal costs have already amounted to some $40,000 and will likely go higher—the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal will hear the case this summer.

Not surprisingly, the one-term, ex-mayor of Toronto, Barbara Hall, is the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. This OHRC decision stinks, and is just about what one has come to expect from any organization headed by Ms. Hall. Her ultra-liberal social agenda is fine with me so long as it is not imposed upon the rest of us by this sort of coercion.

Unless one has very deep pockets, the OHRC is almost impossible to fight. As Mr. Kindos is reported to have said about the OHRC’s decision, “Heads I win, tails you lose.” Unfortunately for Mr. Kindos, he’s on the losing side of that coin toss.

Ms. Hall was appointed Chief Commissioner in November 2005—let’s hope this is not a lifetime appointment.smleaf

John Tory on TVO’s The Agenda tonight

The leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, John Tory, is scheduled to appear on TVO’s The Agenda television program hosted by Steve Paikin. toryMain

According to The Agenda web site, Mr. Tory will discuss the future of the PC Party and its policies.

I suspect we’ll be seeing and hearing much more of Mr. Tory—pictured at right (Image credit: Raina Kirn and Wilson Barry)—now that he’s finally decided to contest a seat in the Legislature.

Mr. Tory will make his bid for a seat on March 5, when a by-election will be held in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock—all thanks to PC MP Laurie Scott, who vacated her seat so that Mr. Tory could run.smleaf

Andrea Calver makes ass of herself on Michael Coren Show

Last night on the Michael Coren Show on CTS Television, self-styled “activist” Andrea Calver made a total ass of herself when she accused fellow panelist—Conservative writer and former publisher of the Canadian magazine the Western Standard—Ezra Levant of the “vilification of Muslims.”

This remark was appalling, especially since Ms. Calver was unable to back-up her slur. Oh, she hemmed and hawed and claimed she was referring to Mr. Levant’s reprinting of the controversial Muhammad cartoons that originally appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

The content of Coren’s TV show has been slipping badly for some time now. We still get debate from across the political spectrum—and that’s nice to see, but the quality of the panelists is so poor at times, the debates can be banal, to say the least. Seldom are the panelists anything but spokespersons for their left- or right-wing causes. Open debate by people with closed minds is not entertaining.

Regular panelists Andrea Calver and Marilyn Churley are among the weakest the show has to offer. What it is that “qualifies” these two to offer opinions on a wide variety of news stories is a mystery. They seldom have a good grasp of the stories, unless there is a feminist or political correctness angle of some sort for them to exploit. The show could also do without the closed/narrow mindedness of occasional panelists Dr. Charles McVety, president of Canada Christian College in Toronto and Harry Kopyto, another self-styled “activist,” but that’s another story.

I thought Coren was ineffectual in his hosting duties as he let Calver “get away” with not justifying her unsavory and inaccurate portrayal of Mr. Levant’s decision to reprint the Danish cartoons. On a previous show, when a regular panelist insulted NDP leader Jack Layton, Coren was quick to make a fuss over it and demand an apology before he would allow the show to continue. To be sure, last night Coren did challenge Ms. Calver and gave Mr. Levant the opportunity to defend himself, but Coren did little to censure the uncalled-for personal attack. Here’s a clip from the show, you can decide for yourselves.

smleaf

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Separatists in a lather

Parti Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois and Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe have worked themselves Duceppe into quite a lather over French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s remarks  about Canadian unity. A pox on both their houses.

These smalltime politicians have puffed themselves up and have sent a letter challenging President Sarkozy’s remarks that the sovereignty movement is inward-looking and based in sectarianism.

The French president said:

quote-left-red-beige-bgDo you really believe that the world, with the unprecedented crisis that it is going through, needs division, needs hatred?

Those who do not understand that, I don't think they have understood the message of the Francophonie, the universal values we hold in Quebec as in France—the rejection of bigotry, the rejection of division, the rejection of self-confinement, the refusal to define one’s identity through fierce opposition to another.quote-right-red-beige-bg

Fair comment, I’d say.

The separatist leaders bleat and bray in response. What a bunch of petty whiners.smleaf

Liberal mouthpiece Kinsella smears blogging Tories

One of the Liberal party’s loudest mouthpieces, Warren Kinsella, has smeared Conservative bloggers, and apparently—at least in the case of Blogging Tory Stephen Taylor’s donation—does not have his facts right.

Mr. Kinsella seems to love controversy; he wallows in it. Never mind that he doesn’t always get his facts right when engaging in one of his mass smears.

And never mind that he sometimes has to eat humble pie and apologize publicly for insulting entire communities. That’s an occupational hazard. His is a shotgun approach, and he doesn’t seem to give a damn who gets hurt by his slurs—an innocent restaurant here, an ethnic community there.

It seems that in the Ivory Tower world of senior Liberals and their mouthpieces, small donations—the sizes that don’t make it onto Elections Canada’s lists—are of no consequence: Kinsella counts them as $0. No wonder the Liberal Party is almost broke if they only want the $1,000+ contributions.

And how about this cowardly innuendo in his post:

quote-left-red-beige-bg At least two of those people [Conservative bloggers] receives monies from the Conservative Party; more than one of them get material/research sent to them straight from the Prime Minister's Office and/or CPC.quote-right-red-beige-bg

The cheapest of gutless of tricks: smear the nameless in the hope some mud will stick.

What I want to know is: if Mr. Ignatieff is a significant donor to the Liberal Party—even if through the  Laurier Club—why is his name not on the Elections Canada 2008 list? How many names of large donors do not appear on the list? Is this another Liberal party financing boondoggle?

And my biggest question of all: why does Michael Ignatieff want to sully his own reputation by bothering to associate with Kinsella?smleaf

New Senator Mike acquits himself rather well

David Akin has a nice post about Senator Michael Duffy’s maiden  speech in the Senate. As might have been expected, Senator mike3Duffy—has a nice ring, eh—acquitted himself rather well, mixing humour with serious commentary.

During his long career as one of Canada’s premier journalists, Senator Duffy demonstrated an abundance of intelligence, decency and integrity—journalistic and personal. In 1994, he was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

quote-left-red-grey-bg…one cannot be a successful leader without sound political judgment and the courage to make tough decisions despite determined opposition.quote-right-red-grey-bg

– Senator Michael Duffy

As a regular watcher of his Mike Duffy Live television show on CTV Newsnet, I miss seeing Mike on a regular basis. Though I have to say that Tom Clark shows early promise in his Power Play with Tom Clark replacement program.

I believe the Senator will prove himself to be an excellent addition to our much maligned upper house. Look for him to enliven proceedings there.smleaf

Tory goes to the polls March 5

Apparently, our intrepid Ontario Progressive Conservative leader, John Tory, will make his bid for a seat in the legislature on March 5, when a by-election will be held in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock—all thanks to PC MP Laurie Scott, who vacated her seat so that Mr. Tory could run.

jtory Local school board chairman, Rick Johnson, will be contesting the seat for the Liberals. And one of three New Democrats—Lynne Boldt, Lyn Edwards and Stephen Woof, who are vying for their party’s nomination—will also oppose Mr. Tory.

This is none too soon considering that Mr. Tory lost his seat in his ill-fated bid for the Toronto riding held by Liberal Education Minister Kathleen Wynne in the Oct. 2007 general election. Though apparently not unprecedented, this does seem an inordinately long time for a leader of the official opposition to be out of the house, and provides yet another basis for criticism of Mr. Tory’s leadership.

I wish Mr. Tory well—God knows the Ontario PCs need all the help they can get.smleaf

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Why is giving offence such a sin?

The well-known Liberal apologist and political “hit man,” Warren Kinsella, several days ago made a tasteless joke—which many are interpreting as an ethnic slur: that Chinese Canadians eat cat meat and serve it in Chinese restaurants. Many in the Chinese-Canadian community and elsewhere took offence, and the story has spread to Canadian newspapers, television and radio talk shows and the Internet, both in Canada and apparently in China itself.

As tasteless as his remark might have been, I can’t help feeling that the reaction has been over the top. Silly stereotyping is just that: silly. But is it such a social sin that Mr. Kinsella should be categorized as a racist? When it comes to stereotyping are we all so innocent that we can so cheerfully cast stones?

Political correctness in language in Canada has gone beyond the bounds of sanity. Giving verbal offence seems now to be tantamount to physical assault and battery, and I for one consider this ludicrous.

So Mr. Kinsella made a bad joke. So what—grimace and move on. Grow up and get over it. Get a life. Get offended and outraged at something that really matters, if you must.

Even now that he has ap0logized publically, some refuse to let it go. Of course, Mr. Kinsella is well known for his Tory-bashing and many on the political right feel they have a score to settle with him. That’s fine, but I wish they’d drop the pretence of being so offended by his words. Some of the offence must be genuine I suppose, but much of it is mock outrage to score points against a political adversary.

I have no particular sympathy for Mr. Kinsella—he has given his share of un-deserved offence, but, to the extent that the reaction to his words advances the cause of political correctness, I find the whole thing tiresome in the extreme.smleaf

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Few Grits bet their money on their party

According to the Edmonton Sun, in the last quarter of 2008, the Tories collected more contributions—$6.3 ignatieffmillion—than the Grits raised for the entire year.  Figures released by Elections Canada show Stephen Harper’s Conservatives raised almost $21.2 million last year, more than three times the $6.2 million collected by the Stéphane Dion/Michael Ignatieff/Bob Ray Liberals. The NDP took in almost $5.5 million.

DION PRIORITIESIn 2008, the Conservatives had 174,558 contributors; the Liberals had 52,310. Can you believe that the Liberal brand was so unappealing in 2008—Stéphane Dion’s rein—that only some 52,000 individuals chose to contribute money to them? And this is a political party that claims national support. For goodness  sake, they should have, at least, this number of “real” members in Ontario alone. I consider “real” members to be the ones who contribute money to party coffers.

Listening to how they preach to us and how often they tell us what Canadians need and what Canadians want, I’d have thought they had membership numbers of, at least, six digits. And this is the party that has put the Tories on probation?

What a joke. The Liberal party is a big joke.smleaf

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