Saturday, July 30, 2011

Left losing race to find legitimate equivalency between radical Islamists and Christian fundamentalists

Canadian leftists have long awaited a terrorist with a Christian fundamentalist background, especially one who has an affiliation with far-right organizations or publications. They tell us all religions have extremists and seek to show equivalency between radical Islamists and Christian fundamentalist. Until this week, when leftists are pressed to name a single modern-day Christian fundamentalist terrorist, Timothy James McVeigh’s name is usually offered—McVeigh was convicted as the Oklahoma City Bomber.

I’m not sure why McVeigh gets described as a Christian fundamentalist, or even a Christian, though he did seem to be right of centre in his political beliefs. He sought revenge on the U.S. government for what he believed it’s agencies did at Waco and Ruby Ridge. His motivations for the bombing, however, seem to have no basis in his religious beliefs—to the extent he had any at all.

Let’s examine some of those religious beliefs.

As a child, McVeigh, apparently, was raised as a Roman Catholic and attended Mass regularly with his father. Later he was confirmed at the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church at Pendleton, New York. That was in 1985. Some eleven years later, McVeigh told Time magazine that he believed in “a God”, but said he had “sort of lost touch with” Catholicism and “… never really picked it up, however I [McVeigh] do maintain core beliefs.” In the 2001 book American Terrorist, McVeigh stated that he did not believe in Hell and that science is his religion. In June, 2001, a day before his execution, McVeigh wrote a letter to the Buffalo News claiming to be an agnostic.

So, with McVeigh not really fitting the mold of Christian fundamentalist, some of our friends on the left are looking to the latest mass murder by a non-Muslim to prove their claims of equivalency and show us it isn’t just some followers of the Muslim religion who slaughter innocents during acts of terror.

In early reports about the Norway massacre, CBC news anchors repeatedly referred to Anders Behring Breivik—Norway’s confessed mass murderer—as a “Christian fundamentalist.” How disappointed the state broadcaster must be that the label isn’t sticking, at least, not with those that think for themselves. The evidence just isn’t there.

So it seems Canadian leftists will just have to wait, and wait and wait to find some other terrorist on whom to pin that label.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Friday, July 29, 2011

CBC shows its disdain for Tory’s position on immigration

The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has broken new ground by calling on Canadians to help our law enforcement agencies locate 30 individuals who are suspected war criminals living in Canada. And, apparently, Canadians are only too eager to help.

“Every single one of these individuals has had the benefit of due process in Canada’s extraordinarily fair legal system.”

–  Jason Kenney
Immigration Minister

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews should be commended for his decision to release the identity of 30 suspects Canada wants to deport, and Canadians should be grateful for his common sense and concern for our safety. Since publishing the wanted list on the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) web site, five individuals have been apprehended.

One would think that, in a democracy, citizens would believe they have an obligation to assist in any way they can to keep their country safe and free from foreigners who might have violated human or international rights elsewhere. And I suspect most Canadians would see this obligation as reasonable.

Not our national broadcaster, however. Inexplicably, the CBC has decided not to show the released names and photos of the wanted men. According to the Toronto Sun, “a CBC spokesman has said the state broadcaster will not release the names and faces because of their journalistic standards.” And “Evan Solomon from CBC’s Power and Politics show said there is not enough known about these individuals to release their identities.”


The CBC is being disingenuous and engaging in crass politics, for we all know that news agencies across Canada, including the CBC, routinely release the identities of people wanted by police for serious offences.

As the Sun’s Brian Lilley wrote today:

“The men on this list are not random people selected because of where they come from or due to a political vendetta. They are men who are accused of serious crimes, deemed inadmissible to Canada and ordered out.”

The CBC’s decision to treat these undesirables as victims of what the CBC seems to believe is, in Lilley’s words, “a mean-spirited government” suggests to me that the state broadcaster has crossed the line in joining the political opposition to challenge and obstruct Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government and it’s policies purely for political reasons.

I watch Evan Solomon on the CBC’s Power and Politics show most weekdays. It was laughable watching him yesterday trying to drum up support for the CBC’s decision from the NDP MP for Windsor-Tecumseh, Joe Comartin. Neither Solomon nor Comartin could attack the government’s decision on its merits, so they chose to amble off on tangents and talk about how many of the suspects might already have left the country and how under-funded the CBSA was.

Truly pathetic as neither gave a convincing argument to support the politics being played by the CBC.

Some on the Power and Politics panel even tried to denigrate our law enforcement agencies, criticizing their ability to find the wanted men on their own, without the public’s help. Does the CBC and the opposition parties really believe the public’s help should never be sought by law enforcement? I doubt that.

What these folks don’t like is seeing the Conservative government and ministers Kenney and Toews getting it right and receiving credit for doing so. To Solomon, Comartin and their leftist friends, it’s like being forced to chew chalk.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Jane McKenna gets Burlington PC nod

Flushed with defeat in the 2010 municipal election, Jane McKenna recently put her name up for nomination as the Progressive Conservative Party’s candidate in the upcoming provincial election. And at Tuesday’s nomination meeting, Ms. McKenna—the only candidate—was acclaimed as the PC candidate for the Burlington riding.

Burlington members of the Liberals and the NDP must be heartened by the PC’s choice, for after several decades of trying unsuccessfully to take the riding from the Tories, those parties now have a real shot to do just that.

How Ms. McKenna ever got the nomination is a mystery to me. It certainly wasn’t her political skill for she placed a poor fifth in the 2010 municipal election when she ran against eventual winner, Rick Craven, and three others. It’s not that I believe a loss to a popular incumbent should disqualify anyone from seeking political office elsewhere. But surely the PCs could have done better than a candidate that could only garner 565 votes for a fifth place finish in the Ward 1 race. The winner of Ward 1, Rick Craven, got 4,575 votes and the other three candidates, Mary Dilly, Scott Dobson and Saulis Zemaitis, received 1,673, 830, 641 votes respectively.

Ms. McKenna is described by as “a longtime Burlington resident,” so one could imagine she has many friends and family members in the city. With their votes in her pocket, she couldn’t have convinced many other residents to support her candidacy for a seat on city council. Surely our local PC Riding Association could have found someone with greater potential.

PC leader Tim Hudak reportedly said in a release, “As part of an Ontario PC government, Jane will make life more affordable for families and make government work for the people who pay the bills.”

Jane will do that? Really? Well, good luck with that.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

On rats and ratting

Turmel_Mulcair Photo credit – © House of Commons

Yesterday, NDP leader Nycole Turmel was pressed to explain whether one of her party’s deputy leaders, Outremont MP Thomas Mulcair, considered joining the Conservative Party of Canada before he joined the NDP in 2007—according to the Ottawa Sun, a Mulcair spokeswoman refused to deny Tory claims that negotiations between them and Mulcair involved a cabinet position.

Readers may remember that before he entered federal politics, Thomas Mulcair was a prominent Liberal cabinet minister under Premier Jean Charest. He resigned from that cabinet in 2006, and resurfaced in federal politics, winning the only NDP seat in Quebec in a 2007 federal by-election.

To me, it’s a tossup to decide who looks worst in this:

On the one hand, we have the federal Tories seemingly prepared to offer a Quebec Liberal a cabinet post—so much for long-suffering Tory back-bench MPs. Some might see that as rather crass politics on the part of the Conservatives.

On the other hand, we have Mulcair “shopping” for a federal party—so much for principal and political philosophy or what some might see as crass politics on the part of Mr. Mulcair.

Changing political parties is always dicey, notwithstanding the fact some political icons have done so successfully. The practice is held in such low esteem in the United Kingdom that it’s called “ratting”. Sir Winston Churchill ratted in 1904 by crossing the floor from Conservative to Liberal and returned to Conservative ranks in 1924, after a short stint as an independent. Churchill famously quipped: “anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat.”

Thomas Mulcair is no Winston Churchill, however, and this news does warrant asking just how committed this man is to anything other than his own political ambition. But, still, I can’t shake the unease I feel when I think the Tories were, apparently, prepared to give him a cabinet seat [shudder].



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© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
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The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bye, bye Libby, hello Nycole?

NDP Davies_Turmel
Photo credit – © House of Commons

As 68-year-old Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel takes centre stage in Ottawa as leader of the official opposition, I can hardly wait for the new parliamentary session to begin in September. It won’t be long before the Conservative government confronts the federal public service as it seeks to lower the deficit by downsizing government, and Turmel will undoubtedly be called upon by the NDP to give voice to its contrary position.

Former union boss Turmel can take much of the credit for the fact that wages and benefits of Public Service Alliance of Canada’s members have far outstripped that available in the private sector. (The Public Service Alliance of Canada is the country’s main union of federal employees and Turmel served as its president for six years, until 2006, after nine years as vice-president.) Having her in the House defending the union’s position against the broader interests of ordinary Canadians should provide some excellent political theatre.

Nycole Turmel’s elevation to the New Democrats top job—albeit temporarily—should put paid to any ambitions Vancouver East MP Libby Davies has to ever lead that party. And that’s a good thing.

A little over a year ago, there were calls for Davies to step down as deputy leader of her party after she suggested Israel has been occupying territory since the country came into existence in 1948. At that time, the then Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae denounced Davies’ comments, writing in a statement:

“To deny the state of Israel’s right to exist and to propose an international campaign of boycotts, divestments and sanctions against a legitimate member of the world community for over 60 years is to reveal a level of hostility and ignorance that is truly breathtaking.”

Later, in a media scrum, Mr. Rae argued that Davies’ comments were not simply a slip of the tongue and called for her to step down as deputy leader. Prime Minister Stephen Harper also called for Davies’ resignation as the NDP’s deputy leader. NDP Leader Jack Layton defended Davies, but described her statements as a “serious mistake.” And he, apparently, called the Israeli ambassador to clarify his party’s position.

Readers may also remember that in June 2008 Davies delivered a Parliamentary Petition in the House of Commons demanding a new 9/11 investigation. The petitioners asserted, in part, that:

“…elements within the US government were complicit in the murder of thousands of people on 9/11/2001. This event brought Canada into the so-called ‘War on Terror,’ it changed our domestic and foreign policies for the worse, and it will continue to have negative consequences for us all if we refuse to look at the facts.”

It remains an open question whether Libby Davies actually believes such absurdity or if her rabid anti-Americanism just got the better of her judgment.

When earlier this summer Jack Layton named his other deputy leader, Tom Mulcair, to the post of NDP House Leader, he shuffled Libby Davies over to health critic to make room. I expect that the rise of Nycole Turmel will further diminish Davies’ role and give less opportunity for her to spout her absurd and offensive leftist views, which include hard-edged anti-Israel and anti-American sentiments.

As Turmel’s star rises so Davies’ will set—if we are so lucky.



Contents, except photograph,
© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
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The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

China boosts naval power with carrier program

Isn’t it interesting that whenever a politician or military analyst/pundit suggests Canada needs an aircraft carrier, leftists in Ottawa jump all over the suggestion, ridiculing it and telling us how old-fashioned the idea is. Yet today we get news from Reuters that China—the ultimate leftist nation—is building two aircraft carriers as part of a military modernization program—this in addition to another carrier, a former Soviet vessel, which it bought from Ukraine in 1998.

The arguments against Canada having such a vessel (regardless of what we call it) are almost always made by civilians with little or no real knowledge of our armed forces or naval requirements—for example, Liberal and NDP politicians. The United States, don’t you know, has a responsibility to protect us—I only hope someone has told them that.

What would someone like Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie know about such things? In a speech back in 2003, the retired Canadian general told a conference on world conflict and the military, “we need two small aircraft carriers. … Think Ark Royal, like in the U.K., carrying vertical, short take-off aircraft.” Or how about Stephen Saunders, editor of Janes Fighting Ships, who has said that several small nations are thinking of buying carriers.

Eleven of the world’s navies operate, or are about to operate, various classes of aircraft carriers—Brazil, China, France, India, Italy, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, U.K and U.S. And according to reports, Australia has plans to purchase a carrier.

So what does China know that our home-grown leftist have missed?



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cancer sidelines Jack Layton

Aaron Lynett  National Post Photo credit: National Post

I was shocked by NDP leader Jack Layton’s gaunt appearance and weak voice at his news conference yesterday. He was a shadow of the man he was only a few weeks ago, when last I saw him on television. How quickly a life can change when fate intervenes.

“We can look after each other better than we do today. We can have a fiscally responsible government. We can have a strong economy, greater equality, a clean environment.”

– Jack Layton
July 25, 2011

Mr. Layton said in his statement that his battle against prostate cancer “is going very well,” however, tests he undertook at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto have revealed “a new, non-prostate cancer.” And so he will “be taking a temporary leave of absence as leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada” so he can “fight this cancer.”

According to his statement, Mr. Layton intends to resume his duties when Parliament meets on September 19.

I hope most, if not all, my readers will join me in wishing Mr. Layton all the best for a quick and full recovery.

* * *

Jack Layton has nominated 68-year-old Hull-Aylmer MP Nycole Turmel as his choice for interim leader during his absence. Ms. Turmel—former leader of the labour union, Public Service Alliance of Canada—is the national chair of the NDP’s parliamentary caucus. She does, however, lack the political seasoning of either of that party’s deputy leaders: Outremont MP Thomas Mulcair and Vancouver East MP Libby Davies. While I doubt anyone sees Ms. Davies as leadership material for this Quebec-dominated caucus, surely Thomas Mulcair must feel slighted that he was passed over. Apparently, Mr. Layton wants a Quebecer with no leadership ambitions to head the party in his absence.

Ms. Turmel is reported to have endorsed Quebec sovereigntist parties in past elections: the Bloc Québécois in 2006 and the provincial Québec solidaire in 2007. But she has said that she simply wrote letters to Ottawa newspapers in 2006 and 2007 supporting progressive policies of those parties, but not their independence goals. “I am not a sovereigntist…," Ms. Turmel said in an April 5 statement made during the last federal election.

It beats me how any Canadian can support a separatist party of any political stripe. It simply goes against the grain because I owe too much to this country. I guess I’m just not as sophisticated as the progressive labour unionist Ms. Turmel.



Contents, except photograph,
© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Monday, July 18, 2011

U.K. phone hacking scandal: the cancer spreads

Update: John Yates, Scotland Yard’s Assistant Commissioner and top counter terrorism officer resigned today. He quit over the scandal at the now defunct News of the World.

The fallout from the News of the World phone hacking scandal is creeping up the corporate food chain and poisoning the careers of those it has touched. With the resignation of the United Kingdom’s Paul Stephenson as Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) Commissioner and the likely suspension of one of the Yard’s most senior officers, John Yates, mere association with former editors at the scandal sheet is proving toxic.

Both men had links to Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World who was arrested on suspicion of phone hacking. Paul Stephenson employed Wallis as a PR adviser. John Yates, who is Assistant Commissioner and is in charge of Scotland Yard’s anti-terror unit, is reported to be the official “tasked with carrying out due diligence before the Yard awarded a contract to the firm” operated by Mr Wallis.

Moreover, John Yates is the senior police officer who twice made the decision not to reopen the inquiry into the telephone hacking.

It’s cannot be lost on opposition MPs that Paul Stephenson has resigned over his involvement with the appointment of the deputy editor of the News of the World, Neil Wallis, whereas Prime Minister David Cameron still refuses to recognize his misjudgment in the appointment of the editor of the News of the World, Andy Coulson, at the time of the initial phone hacking investigation.

Surely a growing number of people are wondering why different rules apply for the Prime Minister and Scotland Yard, especially when, as Mr. Stephenson said himself, unlike Andy Coulson, Neil Wallis had not been forced to resign from the News of the World.

Mr. Coulson resigned as the editor of the News of the World in 2007, following the conviction of one of his reporters in relation to illegal phone-hacking. In other words, the hacking occurred on his watch. He then joined David Cameron’s staff as communications director. After David Cameron became prime minister in May 2010, he appointed Coulson as Director of Communications for the government, a position he relinquished in January 2011 when his involvement in the phone-hacking affair became the focus of media speculation and allegations.

So, was PM Cameron too close to those who are up to their necks in this tawdry and illegal affair? It seems clear to me he was. It’s only speculation on my part, of course, but similar speculation by those in positions of authority should help to intensify scrutiny on the all too cozy relationship between the U.K.’s politicians and its media, especially the press. And that’s a good thing.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What’s happened to American exceptionalism?

Has American exceptionalism been superseded by incalcitrance of an especially egregious nature—at least, at the highest political levels? So it would seem when judging from daily/hourly media reports on the current U.S. debt-spending crisis.

What sort of mentality, I wonder, does it take to play an adolescent game of “chicken” with the world’s and U.S.’s economies? What part of “this is lunacy” don’t these folks understand? When the House of Representatives shot down the initial TARP bill in late 2008, the U.S.-based Dow average fell 777 points. Four days later, the House passed the bill—and, even then, with only 57 members switched their votes. That’s scary.

What will it take this time?

Will it take another stock-market free-fall to convince lawmakers to find a compromise which includes tax reform and spending reductions? Don’t look now, folks, but the eleventh hour has arrived.

As an outsider who’d suffer from a post-Aug. 2 fallout of the continued bullheadedness of American lawmakers, it looks to me like they’ve invited Checkers players to a Chess tournament.

Have these people really lost the knack of getting things done?



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Brian Heagle exits nomination race as the Ontario PC Party candidate in Burlington

In a stunning announcement, local lawyer and 2009 Citizen of the Year, Brian Heagle formally withdrew from the Burlington Progressive Conservative (PC) nomination race today. For his media release, Mr. Heagle said:

“When I stepped forward as a candidate earlier this year, and after Rene Papin withdrew from the race in early May, I never expected the nomination process would still be going on nine weeks later in July.”

To date, a nomination meeting has yet to be scheduled by the Burlington PC Riding Association executive—or, if it has, it’s a closely guarded secret. Though, one can never know for sure with that group. Their Internet home page still features an invitation to a reception (fundraiser) held on May 24. Only about three months before the general election, and an old ad for a fundraiser held one and a half months ago is the best they can do on their website.

Mr. Heagle obviously wanted to represent Burlington PCs, but couldn’t wait indefinitely for a nomination meeting that could have been held several weeks ago. One can sense his disappointment when he says:

“I would love the privilege and opportunity to be the Ontario PC Party candidate and represent Burlington as its next MPP. Regrettably, timing and circumstances have changed.

“I have to make firm commitments now to my family, partners and clients which no longer fit with this political process, including the short lead up to the October 6 election.”

In my view, Mr. Heagle has been treated shabbily by the Burlington PC Riding Association and/or by the executive of the PC Party of Ontario. He entered the nomination race as one of two approved candidates in March 2011—that’s over three months ago. Sure, the federal election did delay things, but that vote took place May 2, some six weeks ago.

Mr. Heagle’s is the third withdrawal from the nomination race. What’s going on and why have two previously approved candidates withdrawn from the race? René Papin, a former president of the riding association was an approved candidate but withdrew some week ago, saying:

“I have been advised that my candidacy, at this time, does not fit the strategic direction of the party, and that it would be in the best interests of the party if I were to withdraw.”

Will the Burlington PC Riding Association’s board of directors or the PC Party executive continue to delay holding a nomination meeting until someone of their choosing puts their name up?

This sort of thing sours many old-time PC supporters who have helped keep Burlington riding Tory-blue for decades. Continued behind-the-scenes maneuvering might just be enough to keep us at home on October 6. Just saying.

I met Brian Heagle for the first time after he announced he’d be running for the nomination. I took and instant liking for the man—he came across as sincere, personable and capable. It’s just too darn bad he never got a chance to showcase himself to the voters of Burlington—I think he would have won.

Good luck with future endeavors, Brian.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Murdoch Drops British BSkyB takeover Bid


The latest development in the growing scandal surrounding its British newspaper operations has Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation announcing that it is dropping its $12 billion bid for the shares it does not already own in British Sky Broadcasting, also known as BSkyB.

This latest development shows how damaging the phone hacking scandal at Mr. Murdoch’s British newspaper chain has been to his company and his cozy and influential relationship with the British establishment, including prominent politicians. Scarcely hours before, British prime minister David Cameron sought to distance himself from Mr. Murdoch, urging him to drop his bid for BSkyB, and the British Parliament seemed about to approve a call for Mr. Murdoch to abandon his takeover of the lucrative satellite broadcaster.

Moreover, Mr. Cameron offered details today of a public inquiry. He said the inquiry would be led by a senior judge and would examine the ethics and culture of the British media. Accusations of phone hacking at The News of the World, which underlie the scandal, will also be examined, and reasons/explanations sought as to why the initial police inquiry did not reveal the extent of the scandal. Mr. Cameron claimed he wanted the inquiry to be:

“as robust as possible, one that can get to the truth fastest and get to work the quickest, and one that commands the full confidence of the public.”

Don’t count on this, folks. This whole mess stinks.

Until recently, Mr. Cameron had a close working relationship with Andy Coulson, a former editor of the recently defunct News of the World who became Cameron’s director of communications.  Mr. Coulson was forced to resign from the tabloid when the phone hacking scandal was heating up, and was one of three men arrested as part of a police investigation into the scandal and corruption allegations.

Why would the prime minister ever have hired a senior staffer from a newspaper with such a sordid reputation? Mr. Cameron’s outrage does not impress me in the least—I believe it’s feigned, at least, for the most part.

There’s also the question of complicity of Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International and former editor of the News of the World. She has told lawmakers she had “no knowledge whatsoever” of any phone hacking while she was editor, according to a letter published by Britain’s home affairs select committee on Saturday. An experienced newspaper person like her, not questioning the sources of her paper’s stories? I don’t believe her.

Ms. Brooks was a friend of former prime minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie. Her 2009 wedding was reportedly attended by another former prime minister, Gordon Brown, and by Prime Minister David Cameron, who has socialized with Brooks on other occasions—apparently, they have homes near each other in Oxfordshire, have gone horse riding together, and have had dinner at each others’ homes. Birds of a feather?

Even if Rebekah Brooks and her boss Rupert Murdoch did not know the details of their papers’ intrusion into personal lives, they should have known and should be held responsible for the damage done.

There’s an odour from this affair that clings to media baron Rupert Murdoch and David Cameron alike. Their close association with people from the gutter press brings into question their personal morality and ethical standards. And I doubt even a public inquiry will be enough to clear the air.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jane McKenna enters Burlington PC nomination race

Jane McKenna has entered the nomination race to become the Progressive Conservative (PC) party’s candidate for Burlington in the Oct. 6 Ontario provincial election. Ms. McKenna, an advertising executive, self-describes as “a creative consensus-builder with a proven ability to negotiate solutions.” She’ll be opposed by local lawyer Brian Heagle at a nomination meeting still to be scheduled.

Jane McKenna, photo courtesy of 

This is an important choice for PC party members in Burlington, for the odds favour our party beating the Dalton McGuinty Liberals in the upcoming general election. And wouldn’t it be nice to replace retiring incumbent MPP Joyce Savoline with another PC, continuing the riding’s PC tradition for another four years.

As far as I can tell, Ms. McKenna has no previous political experience other than losing in the 2010 municipal election—she ran as a candidate for Ward 1 City Councillor against winner, Rick Craven—not unlike her rival, Brian Heagle’s, unsuccessful run for the Ward 4 seat in the same election.

Two other candidates had previously declared their intention to seek the nomination before dropping out of the race with very little explanation. This contributed to speculation the Progressive Conservative Party was “anointing” so-called star candidates and squeezing out others interested in running. Here’s a clip from the Toronto Star back in May 2011:

René Papin, a Burlington businessman, withdrew his nomination for the Tories in the riding of Burlington after being told he didn’t “fit the strategic direction of the party, and that it would be in the best interests of the party if I [Papin] were to withdraw.”

A surprising development, to be sure, since Mr. Papin was a former president of the Burlington Riding Association. In an earlier article (here), I wrote:

“For goodness sake, if a recent president of the riding association—the local face of the PC party—does ‘not fit the strategic direction of the party,’ who the heck would? Mr. Papin was a serious candidate, at least, that was the definite impression I got after I accepted his invitation a few weeks ago to have a chat over a cup of coffee. Now he’s out of the race?”

So, one is left to wonder whether Ms. McKenna’s name will stand long enough to make the yet to be scheduled nomination meeting. Which begs another question. How much longer must we wait for that nomination meeting? I was told the federal election held it up, but that was more than a month ago.

Although I have not made a final decision, I like the other candidate, Brian Heagle, and want to see him treated fairly. Had the nomination meeting been held earlier, Mr. Heagle—as the only candidate—would have been nominated. Could it be that certain influential PC riding association members still have doubts whether Mr. Heagle is Tory-blue enough for them? And could it be they’ve used their influence to delay the nomination meeting until a pure laine candidate could be found?

Just asking.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Friday, July 8, 2011

McGuinty’s shameful folly: more money wasted at Caledonia

Another good news story today. The National Post’s Christie Blatchford reports that “Beleaguered homeowners and businesses in Caledonia [Ontario] finally have won some compensation for the often-violent native occupation in their small town south of Hamilton.”

In a deal approved by Superior Court Judge David Crane, the Ontario government agreed today to a compensation fund of $20-million to settle a five- year-old class action over claims arising from the illegal occupation of Caledonia’s Douglas Creek Estates by natives from the nearby Six Nations reserve.

Ms. Blatchford reminds us of the weeks and months of widespread lawlessness that accompanied the native occupation. She writes:

It included the destruction of a hydro tower (which caused a three-day blackout to the area), the torching of a bridge, the hijacking of a police car with officers inside it and unprovoked assaults by natives upon a local builder, who suffered a permanent brain injury, an elderly couple whose offence was to drive by the site and a Hamilton TV crew who dared try to video that.

Can you readers imagine what it must have been like for local residents when, as Ms. Blatchford writes, “At the height of the tensions, residents living near the site had to show native-issued ‘passports’ even to get to and from their homes and were subjected to native-imposed curfews and arbitrary search and seizure.”?

It is good news that Caledonia residents are finally receiving a degree of justice. But the affair has been a total disgrace, and an expensive one for the taxpayers of Ontario. And all the while Premier Dalton McGuinty stood by with his proverbial thumb up his you-know-where and seemed to have ordered the local provincial police to do likewise.

This is only the latest expense we taxpayers will have to absorb from this sordid affair. McGuinty has already paid $15.8-million to the developers of the site to buy the disputed land. Add that to an undisclosed amount he paid to a couple who lived immediately adjacent to the site—in a secret deal, of course.

After all this, the end of our financial liability is still not in sight, as a number of area residents, who opted out of the class action, are also pursuing lawsuits against the government.

And, at the end of the day, nothing really has changed: the illegal occupation by natives persists, though, at a less stressful level. We the people of Ontario own the land—as stated above, we paid $15.8-million for it. However, only natives are allowed on the site. No official, legal settlement has been reached, but natives are already the de facto masters of the site. Isn’t this a perfect recipe to ensure a repeat of such illegal occupations?


Only in McGuinty’s Ontario, eh? Another good and valid reason to rid ourselves of the ineffective McGuinty Liberals this coming October.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

UN report: Israel blockade of Gaza is legal

With much satisfaction, many of us are able to say today, I told you so! According to the National Post, a UN Inquiry into the May 31, 2010 Gaza flotilla raid and boarding of the Turkish ship, the MV Mavi Marmara, “found that Israel’s blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza is legal and the Israeli government owes no apology or reparation to Turkey.”

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, set up the commission of inquiry last year with his expressed hope that the panel would serve to prevent similar incidents in the future, and improve deteriorating relations between Israel and Turkey. The UN commission was headed by Geoffrey Palmer, a former New Zealand prime minister.

The committee slaps Israel’s wrist for the military operation claiming, among other things, that it was “premature” and used “excessive force.” For this, Israel is only asked to express regret and not to apologize to Turkey.

The same UN committee criticizes Turkey for not doing enough to stop the flotilla when it set sail in May 2010 and for its weak investigation into the events that followed. This is in sharp contrast to the UN committee’s conclusion that Israel’s official investigation by its Turkel Commission was conducted in a professional and independent manner.

Israel’s Turkel Commission was led by a retired Supreme Court Judge Jacob Turkel and overseen by two International observers: Northern Irish former First Minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner William David Trimble and Canadian Forces former Judge Advocate General, Ken Watkin QC.

Turkey is a NATO ally and shows signs of being a modern democratic state. Its uneven and, even, duplicitous role in the events of May 2010, however, casts doubt on any valid claim it might have had to membership in the European Union.

Although the UN report vindicates Israel and exposes that many versions of events spread by last year’s flotilla activists were false, there are anti-Israeli activists who are unlikely to accept it. In this group, I fear, are many Canadians who choose to accept Hamas’ lies and deceit, including labour union leaders and NDP supporters, who will not rest until Israel ceases its legal sea blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza.

Canadian leftists, including a substantial proportion of NDP members, have been insisting for years that the sea blockade violates international law. Well, clearly, it does not, and I hope they will soon stop their blind disapproval all Israeli actions. Though, I won’t hold my breath while waiting.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Toronto school board accommodating religion back into schools

I was shocked to learn recently that Friday Muslim prayer sessions have been held regularly inside a cafeteria at Valley Park Middle School in Toronto’s Flemingdon Park for the last three years. It wasn’t too long ago that controversial decisions to ban prayers in Ontario public schools was defended by local public school boards—school-directed prayer has been outlawed in Ontario for nearly 30 years.

That was then. Now the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) says it is meeting its obligation to accommodate students’ religious beliefs by allowing an imam to lead students in prayer on school property. According to a Globe and Mail report, Jim Spyropoulos, a superintendent with the TDSB said:

“In a school where there is such a high concentration of Muslim students, this [Friday prayer sessions] was the best solution that avoided compromising instructional time.”

Religious “accommodation” seems to be all the rage these days.

A non-denominational Christian morning prayer could not be “accommodated” 30 years ago, but the school board allows a local imam to use school infrastructure to engage in Muslim religious services. And, apparently, similar arrangements have been made for Muslim students at other schools in Ontario.

There’s been a whole lot of “accommodation” going on in recent years. The TDSB accommodates “modesty requirements” in gym class, along with fasting and dietary requirements. It never seems, though, that “accommodations” stretch to include Canadian Christians or their traditions such as Christmas and Easter— you know, the renamed “holiday seasons.”

I was baptized and confirmed an Anglican, but have not been a practicing Christian for several decades. I thought that Canadians had more or less agreed to keep religion as a private matter and to keep it away from our schools. But, apparently, some would have us “accommodate” one particular religion right back in.

There is perhaps a single Muslim country, Turkey, with anything truly resembling a liberal democracy with religious freedom. And virtually all Muslim countries that self-describe as Islamic states, persecute Christians and Jews mercilessly. Yet those who have been willing participants in those cultures come to Canada and demand accommodation?

As Ron Banerjee, director of Canadian Hindu Advocacy, said in a recent interview:

“Pretty soon, we’re going to have 50 different ethnicities and religions asking for different accommodations.”

I agree with Mr. Banerjee that Islamic groups are “imposing their view and trying to change the rules, regulations, norms and values to accommodate themselves, and in the long-term, to spread their ideology.”

I want this to stop.

For those who want to see how this story ends if not stopped, they’ve only got to look to Europe, especially the United Kingdom. Today is July 7—remember what occurred in Britain on July 7, 2005? Look it up and see where we in Canada are heading if we do not stop “accommodating.”



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

British tabloid, News of the World, brought down by phone hacking scandal

The popular and infamous British tabloid News of the World will publish its last edition this Sunday, and revenue from the last issue will be given to charity. The closure of the 168-year-old paper comes as allegations threaten to overwhelm Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.

Among the allegations are that News of the World’s staff and agents hacked into the voice mails of murder victims and their families, including an accusation that the tabloid intercepted the phone messages of Milly Dowler, a British teenager found dead in 2002. The scandal has forced British Prime Minister David Cameron to concede that a public inquiry is necessary.

The decision to close the scandal sheet came from the highest level, with Chairman James Murdoch of its parent company, News International (a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp), saying the paper has been “sullied” by bad behaviour, and that its actions were “inhuman” if the allegations are true.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Kevin Newman to co-host CTV’s Question Period

The president of CTV News, Wendy Freeman, announced today that Kevin Newman joins her network as the co-host of Question Period and as the Digital News Evangelist for Bell Media. In his new role, Newman replaces kevin_newman Jane Taber who co-hosted Question Period with Craig Oliver, Chief Political Correspondent for CTV News.

In 30 years as a journalist, Newman has worked at ABC News in the United States and, here in Canada, he has spent time at all three Canadian national news networks. About a year ago, Newman ended a 10-year run as national news anchor and executive editor at Global Television.

Newman has won two Gemini Awards for Best News Anchor (2005 & 2006), adding to his two Emmy Awards and a distinguished Peabody Award he won while in the U.S. His time as anchor of Global National earned him Best Anchor Awards and nominations from the B.C. Film Institute and Canada’s Radio-Television News Directors Association.

I see this as a terrific move by CTV. Let’s hope it also finds a way to upgrade its daily politics show, Power Play, where host Don Martin has been struggling in his attempt to look anything like a professional host of a what once was a first-rate network program.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Canadian anti-Israel leftists sailing to the aid of Hamas

Greece’s blocking of a ship carrying Canadian activists, the Tahrir, from sailing for Gaza has the anti-Israel crowd up in arms, with protests planned for the Greek embassy in Ottawa and its consulates across the country. Apparently, no arrests were made, though, the Greek coast guard did attempt to arrest a Canadian, Sandra Rush, who refused to hand over the boat’s registration papers.

According to

“[Canadian] Organizers are hoping to sail the Tahrir among a flotilla of nine Greek and foreign-flagged ships carrying humanitarian aid supplies to Palestinians in Gaza, in contravention of a blockade Israel says is needed to prevent weapons from reaching the Hamas militants who control the territory. …

“On Friday, Hamas issued a statement denouncing Greece’s ban on ships sailing to Gaza. According to Agence France-Press news agency, Hamas said the decision was ‘inhumane’ and was made because Athens was bowing down to Israeli political pressure.”

The current Israeli blockade was imposed in 2007 in response to the Iran-backed Hamas terrorist group taking control from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. The Israeli government believed the blockade was needed to stem the flow of arms and military material to Gaza.

Leftist groups—like the Canadian organizers working with the flotilla now trying to reach Gaza and break the blockade—claim the blockade contravenes international law. And readers will remember that last year, nine blockade-runners were killed and seven Israeli soldiers were injured when the MV Mavi Marmara, attempted to break the Israeli blockade.

The real purpose of these flotillas, which are supposed to be carrying humanitarian aid and supplies to Hamas in Gaza, is two-fold: (a) provoke Israeli reaction that can be used later as propaganda against the Jewish state; and (b) break the blockade so Hamas and residents of Gaza can receive a free-flow of goods from the outside, including military supplies to be used against the Israeli people.

The Government of Canada considers Hamas an organization associated with terrorism. In March 2006, then Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said “not a red cent” would go to Hamas, which he called a “terrorist organization.” Hamas had recently formed the Palestinian government after winning parliamentary elections earlier—by the way, not a single element of Hamas’s subsequent rule of the Palestinian territory and Gaza can even in the slightest be considered to resemble democracy in any way whatsoever.

It seems clear to me that the Government of Canada intends contact between Canadians and Hamas—or its backer, Iran—to be severely limited, and with good and valid reasons. Both Iran and Hamas hold near-pariah status with most civilized countries, because of their use of terrorism as a tool to further their political aims. Canadian leftists and labour union leaders seem to believe they know better, but, by any reasonable standard, they should not be associating themselves, in any way, with Hamas and, by extension, the rogue state, Iran.

We elected our federal government to set foreign policy, not some leftist group who allows itself to be useful idiots of the Hamas terrorists.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sun TV: Caldwell’s out, Coren’s in

Apparently, Sun TV host and author Theo Caldwell has left that network and will be replaced in August with Michael Coren, who’ll move over from the CTS where he hosted The Michael Coren Show for 12 years—and did a great job of it.

I like Caldwell and enjoyed him as a guest on talk shows and as a panelist. I was not at all impressed, however, with his shows on Sun TV—he seemed very preachy, as though he were “instructing” his viewers, rather than “informing” them. He’s a very bright guy, though, and very well informed so I’m sure he’ll do just fine.

Caldwell’s replacement, Michael Coren, is a veteran of the Toronto-area radio and television scene. His nightly show on CTS was a must-watch for those who enjoy discussions on current affairs and politics. Several of the show’s  panelists were light-weight and not particularly insightful or informative, but Coren held the show together and teased out the best he could from his guests, often playing the devil’s advocate to do so.

I’m not sure of the format of Coren’s new show which will air nightly at 7:00 p.m., but his website states:

“The show will stress international coverage - particularly the Middle East, the US and Europe - but also take on social, moral, and religious issues and Canadian life and politics. Some of the best guests from the Michael Coren Show, both left and right and those who agree and disagree with the host, will be joining Michael on Coren Tonight.”

I liked the format of his old show and would like to see it continued, but with stronger panelists.

Good luck to both Coren and Caldwell.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.