Sunday, November 29, 2009

An excellent outfit to wear to the grey cup today.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Rider Song

China joins Canada on the environmental high ground

I seem to recall that the environmentalists panned the Canadian government for so much as daring to suggest that intensity targets might be a step in the goal of reducing "greenhouse gases".

Huh. I guess that now that China has reopened this avenue for discussion. After all, if the largest emitter of those very same gases can promise intensity targets instead of real reductions, then I guess that means everybody should be allowed to do the same. Especially when China is heavily investing in emitting industries outside of their borders.


Or maybe not.

Seriously, did these people completely miss the part where last weekend the Climate Research Unit`s computers were hacked, leading to the release of thousands of emails and bytes of data which contradict this position? Actually, I suppose given the amount of main stream coverage, I'm not surprised that they missed it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

RE: Define Failure

Honestly… Why do I have to hear every news break that Mr. Lingenfelter thinks he needs 2 more weeks (8 more Legislature days) when it’s not even important enough to be a news story on their website?

Further to that… Why, when “Link” has known for months already that potash revenues are off, and when the government really didn’t make any change to their budget measures for the year, does he need another 2 weeks to “study” it.

Perhaps Link should propose what HE thinks is a solution. Is it that the Wall gov’t spent too much? If so, then where would he like cuts? Should we have forgone federal stimulus matching dollars when every other jurisdiction in North America was getting on the band wagon just to avoid spending? Maybe we should cut the number of nurses and lay off all the nice Fillipinos that we imported. Perhaps we should delay the retention tax cuts, or cut funding to universities.

Long story short, Link is more likely to waste the extra time hammering away at the gov’t and offering no real alternatives. Why should he get the extra time? Maybe he wants his mud to stick before the economy recovers early next year and the final results for fiscal 09/10 come in better than what they look like now.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Okay, so now we know where the priority is...

Children, pregnant women, high risk individuals, and criminals first.

Got it.

Wait, what?

Yes, that's right. Whereas in Saskatchewan, regular everyday folk that have jobs, contribute to the community and pay their taxes don't get to see a flu vaccine until it's too late to do any good, and whereas otherwise healthy individuals in Toronto who wouldn't qualify for the shot are dying, the 3000 inmates in BC's penal system are getting priority for no apparent reason other than that they are in close proximity to each other.

Well ZIPITTY DO DA. This is health care rationing, folks. Can you stomach the choices that they're making on your behalf?

At what point?

At what point will China and India be expected to start cutting emissions?

The article from Treehugger reports that Australia is the largest per capita emitter, followed by the United States and Canada.

As SDA points out, we're comparing Australia, where the average temperature for the year is room temperature, with Canada, where the average temperature is substantially closer to freezing. Each of these places have their own special needs.

The article then goes on to point out that China and India each emit about 1/10 of the per capita emissions of those three. The article then attempts to make the case that this 1/10 is the reason why China and India should be exempt from emissions requirements.

Except that it's faulty logic. China and India's total emissions are each top ten in the world. This in itself makes them part of the ongoing problem. Given that these two countries encompass 1/3 of the world's population, they must be included in any climate targets, even if their targets involve intensity targets and not absolute caps.

But there's another perspective on this - one that the author tries to skirt by blaming the rich in countries such as Canada, Australia and the United States. What the author fails to mention, is how much of the emissions from China and India come from their upper and middle classes or as a result of the development of their middle classes. In China alone, 90% of the population live in poverty and emit no more than as much as a candle and a cow emit in a year. This has the effect of severely diluting their numbers to make them look better than they actually are. This also has the effect of allowing them to abdicate responsibility by hiding behind misleading numbers.

If China and India truly want to hide behind their development to avoid responsibility for their emissions, that's fine with me, but by the same token, I object to their being held up as environmental leaders simply because of their massive numbers in poverty.

Now excuse me while I go turn up the thermostat.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thank God I don't have any Grandparents left...

That was the first thought that went through my mind when I read this piece from the National Post Editorial Board.

Then I remembered something. Dad's already receiving CPP. Has been for years. This benefits him. Might have to take another look at it again.

So let's see if I understand this correctly... Jack Layton, a man who is almost eligible to receive CPP himself, is proposing to increase CPP benefits to people who have not contributed historically to the CPP system, and doing so by increasing the contribution rate paid by workers and business owners.

So ummmm Jack? What happened to working families? Honestly? I listened to your ads during the last election, espousing how you are there for working families and the working man. Problem is that you're looking to take FROM the working people to give to people who didn't pay enough tax when they were creating a bunch of entitlements, including the CPP program, during the 60's and 70's.

Well, here's the deal Jack. If you push for this. If you somehow get someone responsible who holds the actual seat of power to implement this. Then 3 things will happen:

1) The $300 a month that I'm personally paying to my father? Gets cut off. There goes one vote for you.
2) I would personally not vote for you, but that's really not any difference anyways - you've never had my vote anyways.
3) I would do everything in my power to make sure that myself and everyone I know (and quite frankly, Jack, that's a lot of people) pay as little into the CPP system as possible over their lifetimes.

After all Jack, if I'm not going to benefit from paying in, then why should I cheerfully hand over any money to the job-killing monster that you're proposing?

And for any self-employed people reading this? Give me a call, I'd love to help you save thousands of dollars per year.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What if the Coyote actually caught the Roadrunner?

This just in... Wall Government tramples on the downtrodden... again

Now given that headline, one would think that I disagree with what he is doing in the case of a cap on needle exchange needles handed out.

But I really don't, and here's why.

In 2008, Saskatchewan recorded 174 new cases of HIV compared to Alberta's 225 new cases. Clearly less cases.

But let me repeat that in contextual language - something that drives home the point.

In 2008, Saskatchewan (pop 1,030,000, 4.5 million needles handed out) recorded 174 new cases of HIV compared to Alberta's (pop 3.5 million, 1 million needles handed out) 225 new cases.

And yet, the AIDS Saskatoon Executive Coordinator Nicole White says that we're not handing out enough needles.

Well, I have news for you, Ms. White. It's not that we're handing out not enough needles, it's that we have a problem with injection drug users in Saskatchewan. Our per capita incidence of new HIV cases is three times that of Alberta's. Coincidentally enough, we hand out roughly three times the number of needles that Alberta does. Is it possible that this is correlated? Is it also possible that you are advocating more needles be handed out in order to justify your position?

To be honest, Ms. White, injection drug users don't need more needles. They need more people counselling them to get off the stuff. Maybe then can this needle exchange funding be allocated to more pressing things, like special education initiatives for children who have no choice but to live life as they are.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ruby Dhalla and the culture of entitlement

When I first heard this on talk radio last week, it sounded reasonable that if there is an inherent racism engrained in the Old Age Security act as stated in Ruby Dhalla's presser from last June (and was stated on the radio last week), then of course it should be addressed.

Then, I went back and read the bill that she and Bob Rae have co-sponsored I learned something. THERE WAS NO RACISM IN THE BILLS.

I'm going to say that again, just so that it is absolutely apparent. The Old Age Security Act Sections 2 and 3 do not make any mention of the place that an immigrant comes from, it only sets out the rules for receiving a pension.

Now realistically, someone who receives an old age security pension based on 3 years of residence in Canada after immigration, would be eligible for about $35 per month. Not a lot. Certainly not enough to make a big fuss about it, except that there's another thing to remember - there is no residency test for the Old Age Supplement, meaning that an elderly immigrant receiving OAS would also receive Supplement to the tune of $7200 a year in addition to regular welfare and "social safety net" payments. Total cost to us of this bill? approximately $50,000 in new entitlements for a group of people who has done nothing to contribute to the growth and prosperity of Canada.

Now, it could be argued that by giving additional money to these people makes it easier for their children to make ends meet and get established in Canada. The problem is that there are already supports in place to do just that, and so creating another entitlement for an entire group of people would overlap and remove incentive to look after oneself.

But back to the original point of the post. Ruby says that the bill was inherently racist and that her bill addresses that racism. I say that Ruby doesn't know what racism is.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quebec and backwards thinking

Political science "experts" are warning that Quebec won't much like it if the federal government goes through with a plan to add parliamentary seats in suburban Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. Notice anything missing? That's right, Quebec.

So MY question is twofold - what did they expect Quebec to think, and what does Quebec expect will eventually happen, seriously.

The fact of the matter is that Quebec's population has largely been outgrown by other areas of Canada, in the past 5 years gaining an average of 1/2% per year of population while Ontario (.8% per year), BC (1.1% per year) and Alberta (2.1% per year). This in itself lends to Ontario, BC and Alberta being underrepresented in Parliament. It also shows that the "West of Canada" is growing much faster than Quebec is, meaning that if this trend continues, the West SHOULD gain more political strength and voice to the detriment to Quebec and Atlantic Canada (which also is overrepresented and has largely shown negative growth over the past 5 years). This shouldn't be surprising to Quebec that it will lose power if it loses ground to the rest of Canada in population growth.

The second question is largely a political one. This country was ruled by a Quebec native for the better part of 4 decades. It has pandered to Quebec separatists, it has given Quebec everything it asked for and then some. For my entire lifetime, the prevailing opinion was that all majorities included a substantial contingent from Quebec. If this plan goes through, then it makes it much easier for a majority government to be formed without substantial representation from Quebec, and that will surely scare the hell out of Quebecors and the Bloc Quebecois the first time they find out that they have become irrelevant, not because they aren't a substantial caucus in Parliament, but because they aren't represented in a majority government.

The day that Quebec does not have substantial representation in a federal government will spell the death knell for the Bloc Quebecois. Think of it. A prime minister who can tell Quebec to "get bent" the first time that they cry for more, more, and yet more. Mr Harper has tried to appease Quebec. He has tried to win them over, but the fact of the matter is that they aren't buying what he's selling, and as such this plan will allow him to make decisions for the good of Canada without having to worry about what Quebec thinks. They've largely brought this on themselves.

Obama becomes Harper Lite?

If President Obama comes around to Prime Minister Harper's way of thinking on foreign policy with respect to Iran, then does that make him Harper Lite?

It's very simple - for some people in the world, many of them leaders of their respective countries - endless platitudes just embolden them rather than deterring them. For these people, interventions may be necessary if they abuse and murder their own people, or those of another country without provocation. I sincerely hope an intervention isn't necessary in Iran's case, but I would support our decision to intervene if necessary.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Define "racist"

Anybody winning an argument with a “progressive” or a “liberal”.

Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States, says that all people protesting Barack Obama’s policies are racist. He says that people are protesting not because they don’t agree with his policies and are scared of the direction that the United States is being pushed by Mr. Obama, but because they are scared of the color of his skin and don't want to follow a black man.

Personally, I could care less about the color of his skin, so let's play a little game... close your eyes and imagine that anything that Mr. Obama has said was said by Mr. Carter. "We need to pass this $787 billion stimulus package right now lest the unemployment rate go about 8% (despite the fact that the majority of the stimulus package won't be spent until years 2, 3 and beyond)." Yeah, no, I would have to disagree with him. "We have to pass this budget with a 2 Trillion dollar deficit right now, with no reading the bill." Ummm nope disagree there too (the fiscal year end for the US federal government is October 31, meaning that they had a full 6 months to comfortably pass the bill, and it still didn't need to have a 2 trillion dollar deficit). "I'm going to hire 32 people to top advisory 'czar' positions without having them vetted by congress or even my own people". Ummm yeah Jimmy, batting Oh-for still. How about Health Care? "I want congress to draft legislation overhauling the health care system, include a public option, ignore tort reform because that would anger our base, exempt union health benefits from the proposed tax on health benefits from work provided plans (because that would anger our base), and ultimately effect the state takeover of one-sixth of the American economy. Hmmmm nope, still disagree.

Sorry Jimmy, this isn't about race, it's about policies. Maybe you should just wander back to your peanut farm and stay there for a while, 'cause you're sure not helping the debate out here.

Clean energy outside of Nuke or Hydro?

A couple days after the Uranium Development Partnership released it's public consultation report, and all of the Greenies are crying out in victory for their particular favourites - "renewable energy" - things like wind and solar - energy which, while being clean, is definitely not "renewable".

The problem with these forms of energy until now has been that they are not suitable for base load power - because the sun doesn't necessarily shine all the time, because the wind doesn't necessarily blow all the time, the output of these sources of energy would fluctuate too radically to ensure that the base load power would be covered with just these forms, meaning that they can not reliably replace ANY of the existing plants.

Until now.

I was reminded of an article I read in the National Post approximately a month ago about an advance in battery technology which might solve the problems with installing wind and solar as baseload power. The advance makes use of the element Vanadium, and seems to be a promising way to not only store energy, but also to use in electric vehicles and other applications.

Sounds great, right? There is one problem - Vanadium is not found in large quantities on it's own, and the processes which produce and purify the element aren't things that the Greenies would like - steel smelting, processing uranium and burning fossil fuels.

So, given this choice, which do you think the Greens would embrace, the nuclear option, or the use of a highly toxic element to create batteries to allow for their "clean" energy options to be installed as baseload?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pint sized ripoff?

I learned something a few years ago - that a pint in the bar isn't actually like a pint in the real world. The bar in which I learned this served an 18 oz pint, not quite the full one, but apparently more than the average pint served in a bar.

What I find funny is why the provincial government in British Columbia felt the need to ensure that a pint isn't actually a pint.

Can we really be surprised?

Today was the day when the Uranium Development Partnership was to release it's findings on the public consultation process which took place during the spring and early summer.

Given the way that the consultation was to be conducted, I can't say that I'm really surprised at the result which was produced and released today. In reading through the notes from each of the sessions, there are a couple things which stood out:

1) that the vast majority of the comments made at the public consultations were negative, and
2) that the vast majority of the comments made at the public consultations were misinformed.

What it comes down to, is that the pro-nuclear people didn't bother to show up at the meetings and relied on their various groups and associations to make intelligent submissions on their behalf. The anti-nuclear people took every opportunity to lodge their objections.

If there's one thing that the report was correct on though, it was that the government needs to embark on a program to educate the people about the modern realities of nuclear energy. That and to move slowly and cautiously on anything they do.

I think that a plebiscite is in order to prove that the conclusion reached in this report ACTUALLY reflects the will of the people, and not the will of the squeaky wheel.

Friday, September 11, 2009

... And another blast from the past

I remember watching these on farmer vision back in the day between Mr. Dressup, The Friendly Giant and Sesame Street.

A blast from the past

What a classic

May we never forget that day...

And a link to a memorial site for the Canadians who died that terrible day.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy Monkey Friday

In honor of Monkey Fridays, which is planned to be a regular feature here at Oxygentax, here's the story of a man who may or may not deserve to pay the Oxygen tax....

A couple of good billboards...

In Winnipeg...

Meanwhile in Edmonton...

An anniversary all but forgotten

It was on this day 70 years ago that Canada truly affirmed its independance on the world stage.

Happy Anniversary Canada. God knows nobody else is saying it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A motto I can believe in...

Mostly because it's based on conservative values - not that the people who put it together would necessarily understand it:

Today I pledge to be the best possible me

No matter how good I am, I know that I can become better.

Today I pledge to build On the work of yesterday

Which will lead me into the rewards of tomorrow.

h/t Neo

I can't believe a judge is even looking at this

Actually, I can believe that a judge is looking at the issue of whether Mr. Harper broke his fixed election law.

The simple answer here is "no" though. In fact, it's easy to judge the simple answer because of the fact that Democracy Watch isn't even arguing on the letter of the law, they're arguing the spirit of the law. That's a big determinant that you're arguing from the wrong side when you can't argue factually rather than spiritually in the case.

Now, I do agree with them that the law is there to stop a prime minister from prematurely calling an election. By setting the fixed election date, this also removes one of Democracy Watch's proposals - that being that there should be a 60-90 day cooling off period before an election writ is dropped.

My question for Democracy Watch is whether they would argue as vehemently if the opposition parties were to force the Prime Minister to the Governor General before the next fixed election date? Would that violate the spirit of the law as well?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Safeway, Lucerne and the strike of the lazy

After reading stories like this one, it's no wonder that I don't like unions.

The union and the employer came to an agreement at the end of August. The settled deal included increases of approx. $2.65 per hour (13%) over 3 years and an increase to the work week of 3 hours per week to 40.

The proposal was rejected by workers, not because of the money, but because of the extra hours.

Now, the explanation seems to make a little bit of fear mongering sense - that if workers work 3 extra hours, then some layoffs may come (personally, I think that it may be more about reducing part time employees in favour of full time ones, but that's just me). Of course, if they stay out on strike for a long one chances are likely that the whole distribution centre gets shut down and EVERYBODY loses their jobs.

Which brings us full circle back to why I don't like unions. It's not that they aren't good for the safety of some classes of workers, because they are. It's because unions figured out many years ago that they could push a company around for more, more, always more... and they use that sledgehammer every chance they get to interfere with the efficient management of a company.

Like it or not, companies sometimes need to downsize operations, adjust their workforce or even move operations to a place where it makes more sense to operate. None of these are evil, except for the people who are affected by the changes.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Revisionism as a tool

Revisionism was always part of the old Bolshevik plan to remake the world, but it has been the order of the day in Russia since Mr. Putin, a former KGB agent and then-president, delivered a State of the Nation address in 2005 in which he declared the collapse of the Soviet Union "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century."
This from a story here about the exclusion of Stalin's many evil deeds from the record, or the repackaging of those deeds, not as evil murderous dictatorial actions, but instead as necessary means to justify the end result.

As I read that line, though, something else came to mind. Something that Bob Rae said on the Rutherford show (link to more on that here). Mr. Rae is engaging in a similar revisionism, denying that the Liberal party had a coalition with the Bloc and the NDP. This, of course, was disingenuous hair splitting by the former NDP premier of Ontario. He's right - the Liberals didn't have a "coalition" with the Bloc, they just signed a deal ensuring that the Bloc would support their coalition government for 2 & 1/2 years.

Another case of the ends justifying the means?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The politically incorrect mayor

Amidst having a Prime Minister and Provincial government that needs to seem as if they care about everyone and everything, I find myself wanting to have this guy (Daily mail, Telegraph) running government, if just for a year.

I will be clear though that I think Mr. Wall is the closest we'll come to a guy like this in Saskatchewan, and Mr. Harper (after he gets a majority) is the closest Canada will come to having a guy like this... not that there's anything wrong with that.

h/t SDA

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

White South African gets refugee status

I'm going to be a little politically incorrect this morning, call it inspiration from the last post.

When you think of a refugee, one normally doesn't think of a white person. One thinks of someone from a war torn region of the world, like the middle east, southeast Asia, or the interior parts of Africa. One would assume, as evidenced by this article, that whites are dominant the world over, and would (should?) never be considered disadvantaged.

The fact is that there ARE some regions, and indeed, some countries in the world where whites are in the minority, and their rights are being trod upon by the ruling majority. South Africa is one of those countries.

Founded as a colony of the Dutch, and later given over to British rule in the 19th Century, whites in South Africa did enjoy first world status under racial segregation and apartheid. Since the early 1990s when apartheid was abolished however, racial equity policies have increasingly forced whites into poverty while bringing some blacks into the middle class. It is these policies which emphasize race rather than ability, which remove your freedom to hire the most qualified which make me believe this refugee claim, and many others who have immigrated here from South Africa through the proper channels.

I'm going to be clear however. I don't agree with discrimination, regardless of who is doing the discrimination. I don't agree with a "preference" policy with respect to hiring unless two candidates are fully equal but for one being from a disadvantaged background. When I hire in my business, I don't hire based on race - that doesn't even enter into my mind when I'm interviewing - I hire based on whether the person I see can do the job I need them to do. Simple as that. I think that if we truly want to lift up the disadvantaged, we should do things to eliminate training and qualification differences rather than saying "you're not quite as good as that guy, but I'm going to hire you anyways because of your race". By eliminating the gap, you increase competition for jobs and make it harder for an employer to discriminate on their own.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What is an essential service?

Reading this story I started questioning, "What, in this current society, is an essential service? What can't we get along without?"

This all has to do with 2 bills which were passed by the Saskatchewan Legislature last year, barely a 6 months into the Saskatchewan Party's term in office. One of those bills forces management and union to discuss, compromise and agree on a list of essential workers who can not strike (Bill C-5). The second is a bill amending the trade union act to force secret ballot votes and to raise the threshold required to begin the unionization of a workplace from 25% to 40%(Bill C-6). Now, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand why unions might be upset about these two bills. That doesn't mean that the bills are fundamentally wrong and should not have been passed.

What it means is that unions now find themselves having to justify why someone is NOT essential before they can even negotiate the new contract.

So who is essential? I guess it depends on many different circumstances. The time of the year. The job they do. The department they work in. A highway maintenance worker in the summer time is not essential - we'll just drive around the potholes like we usually do. A highway maintenance worker in the winter time IS essential because of the prevalence of winter storms and the danger of letting snow, slush and ice pile up on highways. A nurse on a ward may not be as essential as the cook in the kitchen, getting meals out for all the patients in a hospital.

What it comes down to, though, is that unions have had some power taken from them with those two bills. They no longer get to dictate terms because an employer could, now, designate enough of a skeleton staff to leave strikers out much longer than before, thereby taking the economic reasoning for striking.

Perhaps this should be a signal to unions that they can no longer take a combative stance with their employers. Perhaps it's a signal to employees that unions are no longer as powerful or as important as before. Either way, it is good that more power has accrued back to the risk takers of the world.

The end of summer, and you know what that means...

"We're tired of propping up a minority Conservative government. We want the NDP and Bloc to prop up a minority Liberal government instead."

Less than 11 months after Stephane Dion's Liberal party got pasted in an election, less than 9 months after the Coalition of the Unintended results was overturned and rejected, 4 months after Micheal Ignatieff ascended to the top job in the Liberal party, and he wants an election?

Wow, that took less time than I thought it would.

Then again, the question I have is "are we REALLY going to go to the polls this fall"?

Let's examine. The Liberal Party is on a high after drastically improving their fundraising in the second quarter of this year, but what happened during that second quarter? A Liberal Leadership Convention in which all 3000 people in attendance had to have paid an entrance fee of approximately $1000 (which was the the same as in 2006). Of COURSE their fundraising is going to be higher. What interests me is whether that fundraising "machine" drops back to normal during the third and subsequent quarters. THAT will be the true test of whether the Liberals are going to make a game of the next election.

The Liberals are also "tired of propping up the Conservatives", and I can understand the point. Of the three opposition parties, the Liberals are the only party which agree with the Conservatives on anything resembling policies... at least until they're trying to get votes. But the understanding is that in our system, the two largest caucuses should be fighting, not agreeing, and that puts a minority Conservative government in tough when they need something important passed.

Finally, let's look at something Ignatieff and his finance critic have attacked on... finances:

Earlier Tuesday, Liberal finance critic John McCallum said that his party isn't satisfied with the Conservative government's management of the economic crisis, saying the Tories were too slow at getting fiscal stimulus money out the door this summer.
So let's see. They complained last December when the Conservatives decided not to do anything further to stimulate the economy, having already decreased taxes over the previous year and a half. They then complained more when the Conservatives relented and spent money on stimulus projects, causing a huge deficit. Now they're complaining because the stimulus money hasn't gone out the door fast enough?

My prediction? The Liberals HAVE to go now, because if they don't, the economy recovers and they have no chance in the next election. Either way, good luck to the people viewed as causing the election. Hopefully it's not only about EI.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Monkey Day!!!

Just a little present of monkeys to brighten up your day.

h/t SDA

Thursday, August 27, 2009

An editorial I can believe in...

Never has a sports league fought so long and so hard to keep someone out of their ranks than Gary Bettman is doing to keep Jim Balsillie out of the NHL Owners ranks.

Frankly, I can't see what the problem is with Mr. Balsillie. I really can't. The man has money. He has a plan. The only thing that I can see that the NHL doesn't like is the fact that Mr. Balsillie wants to move the team to a market where he actually has a chance to make money and build a fan base. Holy Christ!!!! Get the Pitchforks!!!!!

A new owner of a team actually WANTS THAT TEAM TO SUCCEED. Imagine that.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Which is it Don?

When I read this column by Don Martin, I got to thinking...

Really Don, is this something to complain about? Really?

I mean, when I go back to the Senate pages, the Prime Minister was only doing what the Senate asked for, to whit:

In the 39th Parliament, a topical debate was the growing number of vacant seats in the Senate. It began with Senator Tommy Banks’ spring 2007 inquiry into the Prime Minister’s intention not to make new Senate appointments without electoral consultations by the provinces. Senator Banks and other opposition senators argued that the Prime Minister’s position contravened the Constitution. In particular, shrinking numbers in the Senate reduces the representation of certain regions in Parliament — representation that is those regions’ constitutional right.

On June 7, 2007, and again in the second session on October 23, Senator Wilfred Moore moved a motion urging the governor general to appoint senators without waiting for the prime minister’s advice. Another motion, moved by Senator Banks, encouraged the government to call a meeting with provincial first ministers on the future of Parliament. It was adopted by the Senate on February 13, 2008.

On December 13, 2007, Senator Moore took the further step of introducing Bill S-224. In part, it proposed a deadline for the sitting prime minister’s advice to the governor general on Senate appointments — 180 days after a seat becomes vacant, similar to by-elections. The bill was debated in the winter of 2008 and referred to the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in March.

So, let me see if I have this straight... And please, correct me if I'm wrong here - the senators themselves were complaining that Mr. Harper WASN'T filling seats in the senate, preferring to wait until the provinces elect their own senators, and now you're complaining that he's actually filling those seats in a timely manner, and in an identical manner to his predecessors?

I'm sorry to say, Don, but you can't have it both ways. Either you accept the reality that a Conservative Prime Minister will fill vacant seats with Conservative senators (and this Conservative Prime Minister has done so during 44 months of MINORITY rule no less), or you don't. Either way, it just looks like partisan Liberal whining if you complain about it.

At least there's a bonus to it, Don. If it convinces just one more person to consider reforming the Senate to a Triple "E" senate, then it's a good thing.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A good read

Tom McLaughlin reflects on a lifetime of teaching children about 20th Century American History.

Definitely a good read.

"Things would have been different if I were white"

When I heard the story of Suaad Hagi Mohamud, I just knew that at some point the Ceeb would find a way to exploit it to disparage the Conservative government.

Then, when I read this article, I just had one reaction, and apparently it's a reaction shared by many of the commenters on the CBC story:

What colour was the skin of the person who first detained you? Yes, it matters.

I'm going to be quite frank - the headline is misleading and the article was misleading because it attempts to smear the government with a perceived racism where none existed. It wasn't our government who stopped her from getting on the flight.

I'm not going to say that our government is pristine in all this, but what I am going to say is that the blame for her missed flight first lies with Kenyan security personnel, and secondly with the consular officials who made a judgment call in agreeing with Kenyan security that she wasn't the person in her passport photo.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Heatley thoughts

I am not normally given to getting worked up over professional athletes. In my opinion, not enough of them are stand-up, down to earth guys that I've seen. So when I heard about Danny Heatley's "meet the press" conference, I was mildly interested until I heard this quote:

“I know hockey fans in Canada are passionate. I love that about Canadian hockey fans, I love playing for Canada, I love playing in Canada. Again it has nothing to do with Edmonton, it has everything to do with options. That’s the bottom line, to this date there has only been one option and I know there’s other teams out there.”

Question: But, why not Edmonton?

“Again, it was because it was the only option. It comes back to the start. I don’t feel I can make the right decision until there are a few options and I can make the proper decision for myself and my career.”

Now, I understand that he thinks he's a pretty good hockey player - I don't think that many people will dispute that. I can understand that he asked for a trade because he wasn't happy in the role that he had been pushed towards by his current team. Here's the rub though - he seems to think that EVERYONE wants him, and I can't see where that's the case.

He speaks about options, but in reality, few teams wanted his contract and thought they could fit it into their salary budget for the coming years. As it sits right now, unless he does something drastic, like sitting out training camp and some of the season, he has TWO options - he can go to the Oilers, or he can stay with the Senators, play his role, and shut the hell up. He forgot about that second option.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A true control freak

If Stephen Harper exercised this kind of control over an event, he wouldn't be Prime Minister today.

For all the bitching from the parliamentary press gallery about Harper and his "control freak" tendencies, this is TRUE control freak behaviour.

Lockerbie bomber goes home

Call me crazy, call me insane, but I almost hope his plane blows up en route to Libya.

Nuff said.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Why the small business tax must stay"

Jack Mintz in his article at Full Comment applauds the NDP for not bringing a resolution to eliminate small business taxes to the conference floor. He goes so far to state:

So give the NDP credit. At its recent national convention, the NDP smartly refused to consider eliminating corporate taxes on small businesses by not bringing the resolution to the floor. The delegates got it right, since this destructive policy not only leads to tax avoidance by many high-income taxpayers but also fails to generate growth. Those pushing to eliminate small business taxation altogether, among them Manitoba’s NDP government, should think more carefully about this non-virtuous tax policy.

The unfortunate thing is the Mr. Mintz entirely attributes the wrong idea of why the NDP delegates chose not even to consider this resolution - that the policy is destructive and fails to generate growth. In actuality, the delegates didn't bring the resolution to the floor because they are anti-growth and anti-corporation of any size. To put it another way, they are against doing anything to help businesses of any size, believing instead that the government or the workers should be the ones to control the business.

He then shows that he hasn't been in business for himself by not understanding the benefits of a reduced tax rate on any corporation.

Notwithstanding the fact that there are studies showing that as corporate tax rates decrease, payrolls and averages wages increase. Notwithstanding that as corporate taxes decrease, both as a marginal rate and as an absolute rate, the ability of the corporation to repay it's obligations increases given an equivalent revenue level between the two scenarios. Given the ability to split income between family members and an ability to smooth income over time in order to maximize money left within a corporate structure to invest in further capital and expansion.

These are all attributes to a small business corporate tax rate which help to fuel job growth, and indeed growth in small business as a whole. What Mr. Mintz misses is that a small business corporate tax rate isn't ONLY to fuel job growth, but to fuel ECONOMIC GROWTH, and to fuel PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH, things which don't necessarily increase payroll numbers. Mr. Mintz cites that only 12% of small businesses increase their payrolls after incorporating, however he misses the statistic that small businesses make up 85% of the economy and it's economic growth.

I do agree with one thing that Mr. Mintz says though - all corporations should pay a low tax rate, possibly as low as the 16% combined rate he cites as the average rate across Canada. By doing so, Canada would become a low tax haven and attract corporate headquarters from many other countries, including the United States which would fuel economic growth for years to come.

Venezuela should be Canada's model for democracy?

Or so Judy Rebick thinks. I was all prepared to write a smack down of why it ISN'T a model that Canada should follow, but Kelly McParland of the National Post already did that. I think his article speaks for itself.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The first question I have...

Isn't why was this man left alone in the park to die of heat stroke, it's where was his family to help him that day?

If he truly was ridiculed by fire and ambulance personnel as they attempted to save his life, then yes, I can understand some anguish over that part of his death. I'm sorry to say though, that to expect passersby to step in and do something for a homeless person without specifically knowing he was in distress or how long he was sitting there is expecting too much for the average tourist or park visitor who are just there for a good time.

I doubt that a caucasian, black or asian homeless person would necessarily have fared any better with parkgoers that day.

I wonder...

Did these guys get funding from the Marquee Tourism Events program too, or are the Conservatives against goths too?

Monday, August 3, 2009

He's absolutely right

After reading Mark Steyn's post at the Corner, and listening to the "Libertarian Propaganda Channel" (FoxNews), a thought came to my mind.

Canada's legislation isn't even close to the length of the bills that the United States legislative branch have contemplated the last 7 months. I'm pretty sure that a Canadian bill, short of the budget ones, don't go over 100 pages. Does this mean that the United States' problems are 10 times greater than Canada's? Or is it a case that because of the way that things get done in a parliamentary democracy, there's less compromise and thus less special deals for each and every special interest or legislator that votes for the deal.

All I know is one thing, best said by Steyn:

If a bill is too big to read, it's a good sign you shouldn't be passing it. Rule by anonymous technocrats is a form of tyranny, however benign.
h/t SDA

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bye Karlheinz! Don't forget to write!!

It`s been a decade in coming, and quite frankly, I'm not sure what took so long.

This is a man who wasted the time of several courts, forcing one to go to work on a Sunday no less, wasted the time of government and the media for a DECADE. And for what? A $300,000 business deal that went sour.

That's all it was. Actually, I'm giving Schreiber the benefit of the doubt that he wasn't lying about the amount as he's allegedly lied about enough other stuff to get indicted and extradited to Germany to face charges of tax cheating and fraud.

In the process, he's cost the federal government $14million for the Oliphant Inquiry, an inquiry into private business dealings between two private citizens.

The only real question I have now that it's all over, is to whom to send the bill? Schreiber? the Media? or the Liberal Party of Canada? I say split it in 3.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Maybe it's time for a TRUE debate on Health Care?

Shona Holmes is being pilloried in Canada. She's receiving death threats for speaking out about the state of Canadian health care. She spoke out so that the United States doesn't adopt our system.

They are saying that she didn't have a brain tumour, that she had a cyst instead. I don't know which is which, and I'm willing to bet that none of the people linked to above knows the difference either. The concept is clear though:

There was something physically wrong in her brain. It was causing a deteriorating condition. She was told that to see a specialist would take months. The diagnosis she brought back from the Mayo clinic (a highly regarded, world-renowned institution) was disregarded and she was thrown back into the system for months more waiting and deteriorating.

Put in that situation, I wouldn't care if it was a cyst or a tumour, I would care more about getting it fixed as fast as possible. I would take the same route that she did.

The United States is having the same health care debate that Canada SHOULD be having but are too afraid to do. The problem in the United States is that the poster child for the Obamacare proposed system is a politician who would GET front of the line service, while the posterchild for the naysayers is Shona.

I would humbly suggest to my American cousins, that they would be better served to listen to the experiences of the most average people in Canada regarding our health care system rather than listening to one of our elitists.

From listening to the Roy Green show this afternoon, the stat is put out that the Ontario government spent $100 million on pre-approved medical travel to the United States. Assuming that Ontario doesn't spend a disproportionate amount on medical travel out of country, this would mean that provincial governments spend $250 million in medical travel out of country. $250 million that does not stay to improve the health care system in this country. $250 million that could be going to private clinics in this country that would be happy to provide services and pay taxes here, but can't because they are illegal.

$250 million could go a long way towards hiring more doctors. Could go a long way towards training more doctors each year. Could go a long ways towards helping this country out.

If only there were the political will for a DEBATE, not just 5 political parties scared so spitless of being against a "single payer one-tier" health care system that they won't say anything.

Calling John Galt - Chavez limits free speech

After reading this news story, I have a couple of questions in my mind...

The first question is, "Who does Hugo think he's kidding?"

The second question is "Does a government count as a media owner if it broadcasts, or fails to broadcast, all the facts in a case?"

To the first question, I think Hugo knows exactly what he's doing, and I think that by controlling the media in his country, he'll be able to control the message, given that Venezuela isn't exactly the most advanced in the spread of internet access at 24.5% of their population compared to 84.3% of Canada's population with access and 72.5% in the United States. In that country, they who controls the airwaves controls the message.

To the second question, I would hope that the government counts, but the problem is finding an independent prosecutor and judge who would be willing to try the case. Not something that would happen in that country.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Employment insurance hours

After reading this article, I have to agree with the Conservatives. That probably doesn't shock a lot of readers. As a libertarian, I tend to do that on a lot of issues. That doesn't mean that they are or I am wrong.

It is absolutely absurd that a person could conceivably, under the rules proposed and pushed by the opposition parties, work for 9 weeks and receive a full year of benefits. Quite frankly, it promotes dependence on the government, and promotes the idea of sitting on one's duff if they can't find the perfect job. Further, I believe that it's disingenuous to use the specter of a recession such as we've had to push a policy which won't help any person who has lost their job as a result of the recession.

I will agree with the opposition parties on one point though. The number of hours should be standardized across the country, however, I would suggest moving up the number of hours to something close to, I don't know, maybe 1600 hours in the year. If you work 40 weeks of the year, you should be entitled to full benefits for a year. Or perhaps move towards a model whereby the number of insurable weeks you work full time determines the number of weeks of benefits - to a maximum of 52 weeks for 2 years of service. The effect of this change will force more labour mobility whereby people have no choice to move back into the labour market, either by moving to a new place for a job, or by taking a lower paying steady job in order to keep eating and paying the bills.

No idea is perfect. Every idea will yield someone who it doesn't work for. The trick is to find something that is workable for the country as a whole.

It's funny, 'cause it's true

I don't think that anything more need be said.

Gadget Nut

I admit it, I am completely a gadget nut. I constantly look for new things to improve my life. A few years ago, (I know this is old news for some technogeeks out there) I became a huge fan of XBMC. I love this program. It works almost flawlessly, and is the best home theater pc app out there, bar none. I've tried many different ones out there, and this is it.

Now, this is a few years later, and after upgrading my TV, I'm starting to stare down the 1080p arena. XBMC with the proper cables will do 1080i, which is absolutely amazing for a piece of hardware that is already going on 8 years old. (Xbox)

I am a huge advocate for power saving. I run low power consumption servers, NAS devices, network devices, etc. When I'm looking at building my own HTPC to do Bluray and 1080P, low power consumption is near top of my list.

I've been very impressed with the simplicity and speed of the Intel Atom processors. One year ago, I picked up a N270, which is a 1.6Ghz box. That little box ran my server for a year straight, barely hitting 35 to 40w of power consumption. This ran my email/web server flawlessly. I recently upgraded to the dual core atom. Again, this is a great box that is low power.

So, having said that these are my goals for an HTPC:

  1. 1080p with HDMI
  2. Low power consumption
  3. Price (keep it low as possible)
  4. Up to 7.1 Dolby Digital with Optical out
  5. One PCI slot to record Standard Def tv for my kids' TV shows.
  6. Remote
So, this is what I think I'm looking at for hardware.
  1. Zotac Atom Motherboard (link)
  2. 2GB of Memory
  3. Case (note: I'm not big into the fancy HTPC cases. I just want something that isn't ugly)
  4. 7.1 is taken care of on the motherboard.
  5. The remote is tricky. I don't have a solid solution for that yet. I'd like to use the Xbox remote, as it works very effectively for what I want.
  6. Bluray Player
NOTE: The Zotac doesn't have a PCI slot, it has a PCI-E slot. This might be ok though, as I can always go to a USB Hauppauge.

I'm hoping to build this sometime in the next couple of months. By then, there might be some new hardware, but I honestly can't wait to do this.

One other thing I'm looking at doing, is making everything boot off of a compact flash. Why? Silent, low power, and they are cheap.

If anyone has some other options for me, especially for a remote, let me know.

This amuses me...


Apparently the city of Boston needs some help copying/pasting/proofing before publishing!

Stay low to the ground while online.

Interesting new Real Estate Scam

Nigerian scammers find homes listed for sale on these public search sites, copy the pictures and listings verbatim, and then post the information onto Craigslist.

After the posting is listed, unsuspecting individuals contact the poster (fraudster), for more information on the "rental." The fraudster will state that they had to leave the country very quickly to do missionary or contract work in Africa and were unable to rent their house before leaving, therefore they have to take care of this remotely. The "homeowner" sends the prospective renter an application and tells them to send them first and last month's rent to the fraudster via Western Union. The prospective renter is further told If they "qualify," they will send them the keys for their house. Once the money is wired to the fraudster, they show up at the house, see the home is actually for sale, are unable to access the property, and their money is gone.


Ok, in this day and age, everyone needs to be that little bit more paranoid. I mean, come on, wire them the first and last months rent without even getting into the building? Personally, you deserve to lose your money then.

Star Trek technology becoming a reality

Add another idea to the list of Star Trek ideas becoming a reality.

Researchers have used at high intensity laser to create transparent aluminum. It seems that the future is closer than we thought.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wasn't he supposed to be deported???

Karlheinz Schreiber is still in Canada. My question is "Why"?

The Mulroney-Schreiber hearings are done. It's all over but the final report. The man was arrested 10 years ago under the Extradition Act, so my question is, why is he still here? Why should we still allow him to stay in Canada when he has charges to face in Germany? Why can't he be sitting in a nice, comfortable jail cell in Germany while he awaits trial for those charges?

Ted Nugent on the right to defend yourself

I'll be honest, I can't really disagree with Ted. There are studies that show that in states with a concealed carry law, the general crime rate is down. There are also arguments that some people might make that the type of "vigilanteism" that Mr. Nugent is suggesting does not allow the courts to work, and could lead to a disconnect between the severity of the crime and the severity of the punishment.

I don't think that's what Ted is saying. There is no doubt that he advocates gun ownership and carrying as a way to reduce crime. What he is also advocating here is that the person carrying the gun can use their god-given brains to assess the situation, and use that carried weapon to resolve the situation without necessarily killing the aggressor.

The reason why concealed carry may reduce crime is because it promotes insecurity in the criminal. If the criminal is unsure how many weapons are in the room, he is less likely to commit a crime, especially if the consequences are more severe. Had someone like Megan Howse had a weapon, she might be living in her house at this time.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It all comes down to one question...

How much do you want done at the point of a gun?

It's been my experience, since I started understanding the Libertarian point of view, that very few people understand what a true Libertarian stands for.

In short, they stand for that exact phrase I started with. How much do you want done at the point of a gun?

Once you understand that everything that government does is funded by forcible confiscation of your property in varying degrees, depending on your "ability to pay", you begin to loath more and more government intervention.

Mr. Campbell makes the point:

"For all the rest, the true believers if you will, the question remains: would a coalition with conservatives where there aren’t any abortions in the country and marriages were respected as the legal contracts they are, but there are concrete property laws, unmitigated free speech, and yes, the occasional marijuana coffee shop be such a bad place to live in? Surely if libertarians are willing to entertain the party of Mr. Dithers, there’s room for compromise with social conservatives…"

as if Libertarians are incompatible with all aspects of social conservatism, but realistically, the opposite is true. I am not a social conservative, but I am not afraid to say that I would argue convincingly Mr. Nicholls' right to refuse to perform certain marriage ceremonies, as long as he reasonably tried to accommodate those he refused. Social conservatives may not like abortions, but as long as they are not forced to pay for the abortions, they may not vehemently argue for abortion laws, again, a compatibility with Libertarians. With drugs, the same is true - social conservatives would not be so vehemently against drugs if there weren't social problems associated with them, and realistically, the most vehement Libertarian would agree that basic laws of civility should be adhered to regardless of your state of intoxication.

In all other things, Libertarians care more about low taxes and non-governmental solutions to problems than they care about the intrusions in those relatively limited areas. The problem is that few people understand this. I've seen many people claim to be Libertarians - Socialist Libertarians, Big Government Libertarians, people who are, quite frankly, socialists who don't want to embrace that term.

It was back in February of this year, that Rush Limbaugh made a speech to CPAC (a conservative movement in the United States). At that time, Rush made a comment that really hit home because it describes everything that a Libertarian believes:

Let me tell you who we conservatives are: We love people. [Applause] When we look out over the United States of America, when we are anywhere, when we see a group of people, such as this or anywhere, we see Americans. We see human beings. We don't see groups. We don't see victims. We don't see people we want to exploit. What we see -- what we see is potential. We do not look out across the country and see the average American, the person that makes this country work. We do not see that person with contempt. We don't think that person doesn't have what it takes. We believe that person can be the best he or she wants to be if certain things are just removed from their path like onerous taxes, regulations and too much government. [Applause]

We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. [Applause] We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. [Applause] Liberty, Freedom. [Applause] And the pursuit of happiness. [Applause] Those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault.

When I heard that portion of the speech, I felt sure that any party that could staunchly espouse those very same views would be the party to dominate politics over a great many years.

Let's hope that that party shows up soon.

Canada lost in Africa?

Or is it a case of Canada making changes to foreign aid to ensure that it effectively goes where it needs to go and not into the pockets of corrupt governments?

While reading this editorial, I was shocked... SHOCKED I tell you, that Canadian foreign aid was being shifted away from Africa. I mean, we've been giving aid to Africa for 40 years, how dare we stop it now.

Then I researched further and found THIS editorial listing the 3 African countries who are losing aid. Cameroon, Zambia and The Congo (doesn't say which one, because there're 2, but it really doesn't matter which one). Cameroon has a stable but corrupt government. Zambia has made some economic reforms, but 60% of the population still remains below the UN poverty line of $1.25 per day (average is almost $4 per day). The Congo? Both still see extensive fighting and neither one sees much development.

Who got more money? Countries in Latin America who have stable, democratic governments that are taking the aid money and developing their economies.

Hmmmm, so let's think about this... less money for poor corrupt African countries, more money for poor, less corrupt Latin American countries.

Nope, not seeing a problem here. There is a school of thought that we should stop development aid to Africa altogether. That the aid was hindering more than helping, and by sending aid (and increasing aid year in and year out), you not only increase dependance, but reduce the recipient country's need to develop an economy. It is also pointed out that increased developmental aid tempts many heads of state and government bureaucrats to steal from the pot, thus reducing the amount of aid that actually is used for development.

Some people say stop right now. I would say, stop it in 10 years. Give a timeframe that allows the recipients to make a conscious effort to reform their economies with a set time when the aid is phased out. This may make the aid more effective, but even if it doesn't, it allows us to stop giving aid that doesn't get used for the proper purpose.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Free Market health care?

While reading this opinion piece, and especially the title, I thought, as a libertarian would, that it can`t be right. There can`t possibly be an industry where the market doesn`t work.

And to some extent, I`m right - even in health care in the States, if you don`t like how you`re being treated, you can always go somewhere else. It doesn`t happen often, and more often than not the patient isn`t going to move from hospital to hospital because there is an element of trust involved - you have to trust the person who is going to put you to sleep and do something potentially life threatening. You have to trust that the pills you are being given are going to fix what`s wrong and ONLY what`s wrong, and not cause any new, serious problems. For this reason, there is some trust involved. You also may not be able to easily exercise the option to move to another hospital, especially in a place like Saskatchewan where hospitals are an hour or more apart.

One thing that I note though, is that the author of the opinion piece, while assuming that all of the problems of the current system (those being that insurance companies will always seek to deny your claim - those lousy good for nothing rich corporations) can be fixed by turning everything over to a single payer system where an insurance company won`t be seeking to deny your claim, but instead a government bureaucrat. In fact, he rails about insurance companies calling health payouts "costs" to the insurance company, while conveniently leaving out the fact that they would also be a "cost" to a government as well - a highly publicized and political "cost".

In the mean time, there are some very good ideas which aren't being discussed in the United States' debate, things which still retain an element of market based economics (which ensures that patients aren't treated poorly) while improving the system (the main problem being "cost"). Things like health care savings accounts and having the funding following the patient.

There is no perfect system of health care, regardless of who is paying. There are always improvements which can be made in all systems. I have no doubt though that Canada could stand to adopt some features of the US system, and that the US would be making a mistake to wholly adopt a system such as ours.

Friday, July 24, 2009

More stimulus?????

Okay, so after reading this article, courtesy of the Globe and Mail, I have to ask...

Does Mr. Ignatieff even know WHAT he wants any more? Seriously.

He and his party are the same people who pushed the Conservatives into spending a bunch of money on "stimulus" projects. Thankfully the Conservatives went the true stimulus route and only spent on infrastructure and not long term program expansions. Too bad they didn't just do billions in tax cuts instead, but that's a different thought altogether.

Then they started decrying the horribly large deficits that the country was racking up due to the stimulus spending being done in May and June.

NOW he's saying that there should be MORE stimulus spending to be done? Newsflash Mr. Ignatieff: Bank of Canada says that the "recession" is over. I don't know if you realize what that means, but for the normal person who's actually paid tax in this country for the last 3 decades or so, that usually means that you turn off the taps and STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY.

Just a thought. Perhaps you should fire your strategists while you're at it. Apparently they have no clue.

Say hellooooooo to privatization...

Now, regardless of how you feel about unions, there are some situations when what you're doing is counter-productive.

This is one of them.


“We wanted to conclude negotiations last March, but the city refused to budge from its concessionary demands,” he said.

is where the union is blaming the management negotiators for not caving in last March and saving the union from making concessions in "the worst economic collapse since the great depression" (not their words, compiled from all the fear-mongering in March).

And this:

Asked what he meant by “we are finished,” Mr. Ferguson said his union would stop negotiating and stay on strike until the city presents a deal the union finds fair.

is where they pick up their ball and leave the court until the city of Toronto management comes to them, cap in hand, apologizes for playing to win, and offers to buy ice cream.

And you know what? They will. That's the sad part. And life will go on for the 416, even if an arbitrator SHOULD have been appointed and used.

Newsflash 4... Conservatives hate Mustard too

Just a shot in the dark here, but I'm betting that THIS festival didn't receive any funding from the Marquee Tourism Events program either.

I think that this is proof positive that the Conservative Party of Canada hates mustard too.

In other news, Diane Ablonczy the National Post speaks out in the National Post today. Definitely a must read.

The Star turns over a new leaf

I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I read a story in the Toronto Star about the good that Canadian troops are enabling and performing in Afghanistan. I honestly didn't expect to see something like that from the Star.

Of course, I wasn't surprised to see that there were few comments on the story this morning, and even less so to see that comments have been closed and that the last one posted 4 hours after the story was posted.

I can't imagine how many comments were rejected from their readers to make them shut down comments that quickly, but I would have to assume it was quite a few.

In other news... a recession has been on...

Hot on the heels of what many people have been fear-mongering as "the worst recession since the Great Depression, quite possibly EVER", comes news that the PSA pension plan was down 22% in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009.

In the words of Iaggo from Alladin: "I'm gonna have a heart attack... and die... from THAT surprise."

Now, I have to admit, when you put it in real terms, it sounds like a lot... "we lost 9.8 BILLION dollars", but considering the markets were down as much as 40% up to March, I don't think their hit is so bad.

As for the other poke where the PSA is wanting some of their own people as part of the management of the fund, I just have 2 questions: 1 - what can your people do that a PROFESSIONAL MONEY MANAGER YOU ARE PAYING TO DO THE JOB can't, and 2 - Oh? You have people that have time to oversee this? Hmmm. Apparently there's some fat to cut.

I'm not unsympathetic to their concerns - their pension plan HAS taken a hit, thankfully for them not at a time when it needs to be utilized, and also thankfully not as deeply as, say, MY investments which were down 4o% at one point. It's all in perspective I guess.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Newsflash 3 - I can't believe I get to do another update...

But it appears as though something I said in the last post was more true than I realized. I, of course, assumed that nobody would dare confirm it in writing:

Despite official denials of any such thing, it is, sadly, reasonable to suspect that the Conservative government is pandering to its redneck base at Montreal's expense by denying funding to the local Divers/Cité gay pride festival.

Sadly, I also find out from reading the comments at the Small Dead Animals post on the subject that there were also concerns raised over no funding from the federal government for the Canada Day parade either.

Kinda gives strength to the "official reason" now doesn't it?

Toward a Child-Friendly Saskatoon?

Or the stroller nazis strike again.

First off, I'm going to make a couple things clear. I'm going to annoy my fellow contributor by espousing my point of view here. I'm also going to make clear that I have no problems with people with kids who want to take their kids out of the house.

What I do have a problem with is people who assume that nothing changes after you have kids. Not only that, that they are ENTITLED to do everything that they want to do regardless of circumstances. I'm entitled to take my stroller into that ice cream shop, even though it barely fits in the door and doesn't allow for a clear path out of the store for anybody. I'm ENTITLED to take my kids to any restaurant I want, even if the restaurant wants to create a nice, quiet, intimate atmosphere. I'm ENTITLED to never be put out because of my choice to have kids.

But here's the thing, and I believe that Gormley was right in this case - some places just aren't meant for strollers or kids. It's not that you're being discriminated against, it's that you're forcing not just the business, but other patrons to make accommodations and concessions for you. Those patrons may not WANT to make that concession to you, and I'm betting that there are more of THEM than there are of you in any given place.

Rather than trying to FORCE people to adapt to your wants and needs, realize that sometimes you have to adapt because of the choices you made. Whether it's a kid-unfriendly restaurant, or a too small ice cream shop, sometimes the business just isn't interested in serving your needs, but remember that in 10 or 20 years, you will be happy that that same business is applying those same rules which allow you to have a quiet dinner with your spouse without reminder of your child rearing years.

A splash of common sense

... dashed on one of the biggest hoaxes of the year.

That article is some straight talk from an epidemiologist regarding the Swine Flu "Pandemic" which has been declared in the world. One of his answers is something to take particular note of:

SPIEGEL: Do you think the WHO declared a pandemic prematurely?

Jefferson: Don't you think there's something noteworthy about the fact that the WHO has changed its definition of pandemic? The old definition was a new virus, which went around quickly, for which you didn't have immunity, and which created a high morbidity and mortality rate. Now the last two have been dropped, and that's how swine flu has been categorized as a pandemic.

Particularly telling and just part of a great read.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Newsflash Part2

...and in other news, I called the correct reason why the conservatives won't fund a Gay & Lesbian festival in Montreal this year.

Could it also be that Montreal is already receiving half of the Marquee Events dollars that are going to Quebec?

People are going to believe what they want. Those pre-disposed to believing that all conservatives are bigots (and sneeringly questioning why the Calgary Stampede received $2 million under the same program) will keep on believing that the reason was that the Conservatives are so ideologically blind that they will do anything (especially self-destructive stuff) to appease their base.

Those people should look in the mirror.

Newsflash, Tories aren't funding another Gay and Lesbian Festival

Okay, so that may seem like a no brainer. Of COURSE the Tories aren't funding a Gay and Lesbian festival in Montreal. They don't like any of those kind of people, right? RIGHT????

Or at least, so this article attempts to insinuate. So the question is, is there maybe another reason why they won't fund this particular Quebec based festival? Anyone? Anyone?

When you look deeper into the issue, we go straight to the Canadian Tourism Industry website - the government website which shows who has received funding under the same program this festival applied.

Quick addition says that there are approximately $27,500,000 in funding currently allocated on this 24 month, $100,000,000 program. Of this 27.5 million allocated, approximately 11.150 million has been allocated to festivals in Quebec. That's something like 40% OF THE ALLOCATED FUNDING IS ALREADY GOING TO QUEBEC.

Now, knowing that there will never be enough funding to go around for something like this, is it really surprising that additional Quebec festivals aren't being funded? Is it surprising that the government would hold off funding more festivals in Quebec to ensure that there is proportional funding for other festivals or projects in other provinces?

Perhaps the Conservatives aren't so anti-gay after all.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

... but of course, the opposite is all right...

Nicolas Sarkozy is in hot water because the media are publishing the same polls that he is commissioning. Well, I guess that's one way to bail out the newspaper industry.

Of course, the opposite is true in North America, and perhaps that's why the media here is losing money hand over fist - they're spending money on stuff that the government could be doing for them for free.

Oops, maybe I shouldn't have given them the idea.

It's been a long time...

We're back after a long absence. Unfortunately life got in the way for quite some time as I've pursued other goals and other things.

This blog was originally set up to expose the ignorant things that I've come across in my news travels, and to point out the obvious - that there is another point of view that doesn't always come through on a news story.

There are some changes with this incarnation of the blog. We are no longer hosting the blog ourselves - given that Blogger does an admirable on so many others, this is the platform we've chosen - we hope that you will notice the usual Blogger stuff as little as possible. We have another contributor to the blog, and hopefully he fills in the space when I'm busy with other things. Finally, we're moderating comments - not to censor opinions (because god knows that's where half of the oxygentax-base comes from) but to ensure that there aren't any spamming comments.

So without further ado, on to the show...