Monday, January 31, 2011
Sooooo... Let's see if I have this right.
The military wants these jets. They have gone through all of their due diligence over the past 12 years to ensure that this jet has all of the capabilities it needs to replace the F-18 Hornets and perform the tasks these jets will be asked to perform over the next 30-40 years (the first ones roll off the assembly line sometime around about 2017).
So why then would we deny the military the equipment that it asks for? What possible purpose would serve us to delay the replacement of equipment before it passes its useful life?
The military asked for heavy-lift helicopter replacements in the late 80s and early 90s. Mulroney gave them, Chretien took them away. We still haven't replaced them, and it is arguable that the lack of heavy lift capability lead to higher casualty and mortality rates in Afghanistan among other peace-keeping operations.
The military asked for submarines, and Chretien gave them 4. Total cost of the submarines purchased in 1998 was $976 million. Estimates were that it cost that again to refurbish them so that their design flaws were corrected.
So now the military is asking for replacement fighter jets. Some would question why we need fighters at all. After all, can't our allies just pick up that part of a military operation, leaving us to fill in the gap in other areas where we are well equipped? My answer would be "no".
It's not enough that we have some military, like these people are just some guys to go out and break up bar fights in Egypt, Cyprus, Darfur or Rwanda. No. That's not their purpose. Their purpose is to be ready to defend our soil or our ideals where ever they are deployed.
I'm going to say that again. Their purpose is to be ready to defend our soil or our ideals where ever they are deployed.
Our military needs to be properly equipped for any task they are asked to do. This isn't about specializing in tasks and expecting our allies to fill in the gaps. This is about being able to perform any task required of them with the proper equipment when they are called on. Be it being resupplied via heavy-lift choppers, or patrolling the coast with ships and submarines. Be it patrolling the skies in fighter jets, or on the land in tanks or LAVs. Regardless of the task being asked, our military should be able to perform it to the best of their ability and with the proper equipment for the task.
And to be quite frank, there should be no political interference. No other country in the world allows a politician to interfere in the procurement process as much as Canada does. NO OTHER COUNTRY.
As part of Mr. Bernier's proposal to limit spending in the federal government, I would humbly make one suggestion. Currently the Canadian Forces budget encompasses less than 10% of the federal budget. I would propose to increase that allocation to at least 10% and make them responsible for their own procurement. Remove the politics from military procurement and allow the military to choose their own equipment. If they can't spend it all, let them build up a fund to pay cash for future procurements. It's only right, after all, there are lives at stake, and a properly equipped force is an effective force.
Friday, January 28, 2011
I have to admit, I actually was siding with the owner/operator of the shelter on the seizure of the animals, right up until I read this:
Now, let's be clear - Doris doesn't think that she's a "cat-hoarder". And that may very well be the case. I, however, have trouble believing that when she is attempting to appeal this decision.
“Upon entering the premises, I was overcome with the odour and I had to move outside where I had dry heaves,” the officer later wrote in a sworn affidavit. “I would describe the conditions inside the premises as horrid and unsanitary. . . . The floors were covered in cat feces and litter boxes were overflowing with cat feces.”
Some 42 cats were found inside, and 20 more were outside in a shed attached to the home, along with the dog. The dog had no access to water and a dead cat was also found in a cage outside, says an affidavit from the veterinarian.
The house’s ventilation was not enough to deal with “damaging levels of ammonia,” she wrote. The iguana’s mouth was ulcerated and the unsanitary conditions were compromising its health, as well as the health of the turtles, which had lesions and indications of impending “shell rot,” the veterinarian said.
The conditions at LaPlante’s home were “totally unacceptable,” Dovell noted in her decision.
To be frank, I am a cat-lover at heart. But here's what it comes down to - she filed an injunction to ensure that the SPCA couldn't adopt out or euthanize the pets while the case was in court. She's filing an appeal to the original decision to get the animals back in time to ensure that the injunction still bars adopting or euthanizing the animals. If she TRULY just wanted to find shelters for each of those animals without the threat of euthanasia, and if she were TRULY not a cat hoarder, then she would be happy that the animals (assuming not her own pets) are being given good homes and she wouldn't be attempting to get them back. If she truly isn't a hoarder, then she would only object to any animals being euthanized while allowing the animals to be adopted out to good homes. The fact that she wants them back means that either she is a hoarder or she doesn't have the right mindset to operate a shelter.
Hopefully it's the latter, but I suspect it's the former.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
And, while the national equalization program does send $8 billion to Quebec from other provinces every single year, the Bloc is unhappy with changes to the formula that have favoured Ontario.
As a matter of fact, the Bloc actually calculates its list of demands for Quebec at $16 billion — but it will settle for only one-third that amount in the upcoming budget.
"The next budget will be a veritable test for Stephen Harper," Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe said in a statement.
"If the Harper government refuses to do justice to Quebecers, the Bloc will vote against this budget. If this causes a federal election, we're ready for it.
"As always, the Bloc Quebecois will be standing up (for Quebec)."
And that's what it's all about. The Bloc will take everything it can get, and really, who can blame them? The problem is that there is no way that the government is going to listen or do anything about it.
Simple as that. You can bet that Mr. Harper has already done the math that he can't spend enough in Quebec to get his majority there, and so he'll call Mr. Duceppe's bluff.
If I were Mr. Harper, though, I would not only leave absolutely no impression that Mr. Duceppe was listened to or that any part of his demands were being met, and then in the resultant campaign, make it clear to Quebec that the only way ANY requests in the future would be met is if they were funneled through a Conservative (government) MP. I would also make sure that there are spending cuts in the budget - and deep ones - and then point out on the campaign trail that in the midst of fiscal austerity, all the Bloc could think of was to demand more. That in the midst of a bout of federal belt tightening, the demands of the Bloc were not only going to be ignored, but they were out of line with any plans the Conservatives would have.
The point here is simple. The Conservatives aren't going to lose government by saying "no" to Quebec, especially if they return to the same measures they were taking in the fall of 2008. The Conservatives MAY have a lot to gain by not only saying no, but putting Canada on a plan to reach surpluses faster than previously projected.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
A 53% majority of those surveyed call that analysis mostly an attempt to use the tragedy to make conservatives look bad. About a third, 35%, say it is a legitimate point about how dangerous language can be.on the other hand:
And there is little sense that stricter gun control laws in Arizona might have averted the tragedy. Only one in five say they would have prevented the shooting; 72% say tighter controls wouldn't have prevented it.Common sense seems to reign supreme in the United States.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
"The decision confirms that people have their religious beliefs, and they may entertain that -- there's complete freedom of religious beliefs," said Robertson in an interview. "It's only when your conduct, on doing something, might have an effect on somebody else, which has a discriminatory effect on them."
Monday, January 10, 2011
DUPNIK: But I think it’s irresponsible for us not at some point to address this kind of behavior and try to put a stop to it. There’s no doubt in my mind that there are consequences to this kind of behavior. When, when people, allegedly credible people who get up in front of cameras and microphones and say things that are not true and try to inflame the public. When millions of dollars are filtered into this country to buy very vitriolic ads, and they don’t have to be identified, the countries that they’re coming from or the people who are donating them, I think it’s time we take a look at it. I think free speech is free speech, but it’s not without consequences.
"Compliance with the labeling requirement does not ensure that the responsible parties have not made prohibited sales."
So essentially, what the EPA is saying there is that no gas stations should carry E15 or higher for fear of accidental prohibited sale and resulting lawsuits.
Way to go for an Environmental Agency to hold back a supposed environmental product in that way.
Of course, it's worthwhile to note the disclaimer that E15 fuel will result in lower mileage, but that's beside the point.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011