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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

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100,000 Iraqi, no

The survey for the UN Development Programme, entitled Iraq Living Conditions Survey 2004, questioned more than 21,600 households this time last year. Its findings, released by the Ministry of Planning yesterday, could finally resolve the debate over how many Iraqis were killed in the war that overthrew the regime of Saddam Hussein in April 2003.

The 370-page report said that it was 95 per cent confident that the toll during the war and the first year of occupation was 24,000, but could have been between 18,000 and 29,000. About 12 per cent of those were under 18.

The figure is far lower than the 98,000 deaths estimated in The Lancet last October, which said that it had interviewed nearly 1,000 households. But it is far higher than other figures.
times via Tim Blair
More evidence that the widely cited Lancet study was nothing more than a politcally inflated guesstimate designed to embarass the Bush administration before the election....This is still far too many deaths; but at least it looks a bit more statistically plausible than the bogus Lancet piece.

Tim Worstall blogs about the surprising lack of media attention this new report is getting:
Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m way off base or something, actually wanting attention paid to this new report, perhaps the same amount of attention as was paid to the one that came out just before a US Presidential election. It would, of course, be way way to cynical to think that that might actually be the reason why there is not, as yet, such attention being paid.
tim worstall
I was shocked by this so I quickly checked the front page of The Guardian, The New York Times, The Huffington Post....Nada, squat, no mention at all. Can't imagine why; something to do with news cycles I bet.

I was pretty sure Single Malt didn't just taste good...

A medical conference in Scotland was recently told that, thanks to high levels of a powerful antioxidant that kills cancer cells, single malt whiskey can beat the threat of cancer.

Independent consultant to the global drinks industry, Jim Swan has stated that according to research, single malt whiskey contains "more ellagic acid than red wine. So, whether you indulge in the odd tipple, or you are a serious connoisseur, whiskey can protect you from cancer—and science proves it."
double agent
Well, okay, consultant to the drinks industry rather bursts the bubble....


The three main parties are at a standstill in terms of voter support. The BC Liberals lead the NDP by a margin of 47% to 39% among decided voters, with the Greens trailing at 11% support. These results are basically unchanged from Ipsos-Reid polls taken early in the campaign (46% Libs, 39% NDP, 13% Green) and in March (46% Libs, 39% NDP, 12% Green). Three percent (up 1 point) of decided British Columbians say they will vote for "some other party". These results exclude the 10% (down 2 points) of voters who are undecided or express no party preference.

The usual regional and gender gaps are still apparent in the vote result. The Liberals have a 15-point lead (unchanged) in the Lower Mainland (51% Lib vs. 36% NDP), while the two main contenders are tied (42% Lib vs. 42% NDP) in the rest of the province (formerly a 4 point NDP lead).
There is not much question that Carole James and her increasingly Blairite NDP will pick up seats in the coming BC election. Perhaps as many as 30 from their current 2.

What will be more interesting is to see the NDP infighting following the election. James is pretty much a pragmatist with little time for her "brothers and sisters" in the trade union movement. Nor has she shown any notable fondness for the public service unions which make up a huge section of that movement. She is far from being a doctrinaire socialist. All of which will drive party activists around the twist if she wins more than a handful of seats.

But the election itself is unlikely to change much.

On thing which is interesting is the Liberal lead in the Lower Mainland...I have no polling data to back this up but my sense is that the nearly 50% Chinese population in Vancouver and over 50% Chinese population in Richmond are not going to vote NDP. If anyone does have ethnic polling numbers I'd be interested.

Of course I will regret this post if Campbell loses...but I don't think there is much chance of that happening.)

I forget how good Caterina Fake really is

With all the new politcal bloggers coming online it is worth taking a look at a brilliant long time blogger (and co-inventor of flickr): Caterina Fake.

Thank God this is Cleared Up

Gwen Stefani’s "Hollaback Girl" is one of the most baffling pieces of music of the modern age. It’s got something to do with cheerleaders—that much is clear, judging from the chanting and the marching band that’s honking and tooting in the background.
oc weekly
I somehow caught the video of this song. I was baffled. Fortunately Greg Stacy explains it all...


Done like Dinner

"This government is finished," a senior member of the cabinet confided.

"Of course we'll lose the vote," a junior cabinet member told Reuters. If the Liberals fall next Thursday it would open the way to a June 27 election.
So what's the point?

Martin needs to take a walk in whatever snow he can find and discover that the universe is unfolding just fine without this Liberal government. Then go and see the GG and resign.

The farce has gone on long enough.

Moan...Me Too, Me Too!

Canada's official opposition Conservative party will honor a Liberal government deal to help Bombardier Inc. build a new airline if it takes power, Conservative leader Stephen Harper said on Friday.

"It's clear. We're Conservatives. We respect contracts," he told reporters.
Andrew Coyne remarks,
Even those the Liberals had no constitutional authority to sign?
andrew coyne
And for what? I mean it is not as if Quebec is suddenly going to vote Tory...

Blocing the CPC

Assuming for the moment that Broadbent's willingness to be a gentleman (in the true sense of that term) pretty much ensures that the goverment will fall on my birthday...What of the election?

At this point a CPC rout is unlikely. They are not going to win seats in Quebec, they are going to be even in the Maritimes, they should pick up some seats in Ontario, a few on the Praries and a couple in BC. My bet is 130-140. Which means they will be reliant on the Bloc to govern.

I think this is a mixed blessing. On the upside the Bloc will simply laugh at them if they attempt to roll back SSM. On the downside the Bloc will not countance the necessary rapproachment with our American friends.

But the Bloc is going to demand, and get, a fundamental restructuring of Canada. They'll get it because the Western wing of the CPC will be happy to give it to them provided that the same deal is offered to the rest of Canada.

The beauty of this is that the legacy of Trudeau and the pygmies who walked in his footsteps, the very idea that Canda needs or wants a "strong central government" is off to the ashcan of history. Remember that Harper was one of the Albertans who thought a firewall was a good idea. A firewall against what?

Here are the bullet points:

* Withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan to create an Alberta Pension Plan offering the same benefits at lower cost while giving Alberta control over the investment fund. Pensions are a provincial responsibility under section 94A of the Constitution Act. 1867; and the legislation setting up the Canada Pension Plan permits a province to run its own plan, as Quebec has done from the beginning. If Quebec can do it, why not Alberta?

* Collect our own revenue from personal income tax, as we already do for corporate income tax. Now that your government has made the historic innovation of the single-rate personal income tax, there is no reason to have Ottawa collect our revenue. Any incremental cost of collecting our own personal income tax would be far outweighed by the policy flexibility that Alberta would gain, as Quebec’s experience has shown.

* Start preparing now to let the contract with the RCMP run out in 2012 and create an Alberta Provincial Police Force. Alberta is a major province. Like the other major provinces of Ontario and Quebec, we should have our own provincial police force. We have no doubt that Alberta can run a more efficient and effective police force than Ottawa can – one that will not be misused as a laboratory for experiments in social engineering.

* Resume provincial responsibility for health-care policy. If Ottawa objects to provincial policy, fight in the courts. If we lose, we can afford the financial penalties that Ottawa may try to impose under the Canada Health Act. Albertans deserve better than the long waiting periods and technological backwardness that are rapidly coming to characterize Canadian medicine. Alberta should also argue that each province should raise its own revenue for health care – i.e., replace Canada Health and Social Transfer cash with tax points as Quebec has argued for many years. Poorer provinces would continue to rely on Equalization to ensure they have adequate revenues.

* Use section 88 of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Quebec Secession Reference to force Senate reform back onto the national agenda. Our reading of that decision is that the federal government and other provinces must seriously consider a proposal for constitutional reform endorsed by “a clear majority on a clear question” in a provincial referendum. You acted decisively once before to hold a senatorial election. Now is the time to drive the issue further.
There is not a single point here that the Bloc would object to. Nor would most Western Canadians.

To govern, the CPC is going to have to reach an accomodation with the Bloc. The "firewall" letter may provide the basis for such an accomodation.

It will mean a radically different, and I believe better, Canada. It may even mean a Canada in which Quebec will feel at home. Or not...Up to them.

Cancer...Great Poltical Tool!

Having worked for Minister Herb Dhaliwal, and been privy to much of the dirty and underhanded techniques used against him by the Martinite crowd, TDH Strategies agrees with the validity of citing the fact that cancer, or any other illness for that matter, has never mattered to those surrounding the Prime Minister.

Manipulation in terms of voting? Ensuring certain members of the other side aren't present? Bending the rules to work in their favour? Naw, none of us that have been in the Liberal party for many years have ever witnessed that...

If you're going to stand on your record, then you must be ready for it to bite you right in the ass. This is one of those occasions.
tdh strategies
And, as Kevin at Tilting at Windmills points out,
Ed Broadbent reminds us yet again why we'll miss him:

A report in the Canadian Press says New Democrat MP Ed Broadbent has volunteered to not vote in order to help a sick MP.

"We're not losing anything," Broadbent told CP. "What we're doing is failing to take advantage of a very sick MP."
tilting at windmills
Not that there was any need for more reasons not to vote Liberal; but if there is any truth to the story that the slime were phoning around to try and determine when Stimson was set to have surgery it would be evidence that they are personally as well as politically dispicable.

Lorne Gunther, As I Please

I like reading Lorne Gunther simply because he consistently reflects a degree of intelligent, hardcore, conservatism and a level of human understanding. He is one of the people that the CPC should be looking to for ideas.

The National Post is sponsoring his blog, As I Please. The posts are a tiny bit long and there are no comments...but it is good to see this up in time for the election.

The Word is Lose,,,

The headline at the National Post reads "Liberals survive another vote". In fact the Liberals lost the vote to adjourn the House of Commons 138-57.

If yu can't get the National Post to report the news accurately you know just how far gone the MSM in Canada is in its unstinting and unthinking support for the Liberal Party.


What the GG Can do

Via Andrew Coyne, here is Tom Cerber at The Politic

4) power to dissolve parliament and call elections. “This is another case where Governors General normally follow whatever advice is given them by their prime minister. Yet there have been occasions when the GG has refused such advice. In 1926, PM Mackenzie King, realizing that his minority government was about ot be defeated on a motion censuring the government for corruption [does anything change? -ed.], asked the Governor General, Lord Byng, to dissolve parliament and call new elections. Byng refused, and instead called upon Arthur Meighen, the Conservative leader, to form a new ministry.”

So the GG has the reserve power to dissolve Martin, regardless of Martin’s “advice.” Moreover, she has the power to appoint Harper PM. I doubt she’d do that, however. While the Byng-King affair is Canada’s most famous precedent, a more likely and more recent precedent would likely be the dismissal of Prime Minister Whitlam in Australia in 1974 (HT: Andrew Coyne). You can read the summary at Politics Watch.
the politic
The GG is not going to dismiss Martin...this week. However, if for some reason, such as the debate on the Budget not being finished on the 19th - which Monte Solberg points out is quite possible - the confidence vote is not held then it is difficult to see what else she could do.

The only reason we have a Governor General is to act as the final arbiter in those Parliamentary situations where the question of who enjoys the confidence of the House really is in issue.

So, propose that Dithers finds an excuse not to have the confidence vote...

At that point the Governor General would have to act. However, before she did she would almost certainly take the advice of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. (As well as assorted constitutional experts, lawyers, judges and members of the Privy Council.) She could then, if Harper told her he believed he had the confidence of the House, dismiss Dithers and ask Harper to meet the House and seek a vote of confidence. Or she could decide that, on the numbers, neither Leader enjoyed the confidence of the House and another election was required.

At that point, on her own authority, she would issue the Writ. As the Writ to call an election, is, like all other enactments in Canada, in the Queen's name, the GG has the right to issue such a Writ when she believes it is necessary.

Yo, Elections BC

Kate over at Shotgun mentions:

That's not sitting well with bloggers like Mike Culpepper of Nelson, whose website advocates the "no" side of the referendum on the single transferable vote. He says Elections B.C.'s definition of blogs as advertising is akin to calling a letter to the editor advertising. And he says that going after bloggers sends a chill over the right to free speech. "If you start looking on each person as an advertiser, then you begin to suppress political debate."

In the meantime, Culpepper says other bloggers who have asked Elections B.C. for guidelines are being told to register as advertisers - so he's decided not to ask.
I'm not going to register either.

But, so as to make the point, I'm voting for Campbell and urge other to vote Liberal this time round. I am also voting against the STV.

I will be forwarding a copy of this post to Elections BC.

How Conservatives Win

successful conservatives don’t move towards the ‘political centre’. They move the political centre towards them. That’s what Thatcher and Reagan both did. Whereas if you move towards the political centre, all you do is move the centre.
mark steyn, the spectator
Before the CPC is a real political party it will have to recognize the truth of this statement and stop chasing the center.
Conservatives win when they champion ideas. They win in two ways: sometimes they get elected; but, even if they don’t, their sheer creative energy forces an ever more intellectually bankrupt Left to grab whatever right-wing ideas they figure they can slip past their own base.
mark steyn, the spectator
Other than being against SSM for no particularily good reason, it is difficult if not impossible to think of a single genuinely new CPC position, much less, "idea".

No Blood for Votes II

David Kilgour praised the millions in aid dollars but he criticized the size of the troop deployment, saying the killing and raping must be stopped before humanitarian aid can be effective.

The Independent MP wants Canada to send a force of at least 500 troops, as recommended by Human Rights Watch, saying he's not satisfied with 100 soldiers.

Several dozen troops "can't do much to stop a genocide in an area the size of France," he said. "I don't see how that stops mass murder and mass rape."
I completely agree with Kilgour on the need for action, real action, in Darfur. But there is no way that a single MP whould be determining our willingness to risk our troops - 100 or 500 - lives no matter how worthy the cause.

Imagine if Carolyn Parrish suddenly got the bit between her teeth - no, on second thoughts don't, it is too awful to contemplate.

The craven dysfunction of Dithers and his gang cannot be more exactly underlined...Election. Now.

Thanks Rex

But from this moment on until whatever hour the lights officially go out on this Parliament, its only true real remaining function is to choose the moment of its own extinction.

The Liberals have scheduled their vote for the 19th, but whatever the vote, whatever the issue, the budget, non-confidence, a committee report, it's all ornament and window dressing, a designed occasion for the election to come.

In other words, the only reason why this House continues is to squeeze the last possible ounce of tactical advantage out of it and set the best possible terms for whichever party finally brings it down.

Canada 2.0

I posted a version of this in the comments section of BlogsCanada,

I wonder if a Bloc/CPC deal would not be exactly what Canada needs.

For most of my life I have watched assorted so-called "federalist" politicians explicitly and implicitly buying off Quebec. It has not worked.

It is unlikely ever to work simply because the people and culture of Quebec are not so easily bought.

It may be time to begin to think about Canada 2.0: a radically decentralized confederation in which the federal government loses most of its power and the provinces are recognized as rather closer to their electorates than the folks in Ottawa ever can be.

A radical rethinking of Canada is never going to happen with the Liberal Party in place. Essentially the Liberal Party is the Microsoft of Canadian politics: deeply committed to defending a legacy model which no longer works and, in places, actually gets in the way. To stretch the computing metaphor a bit further: think of the CPC as Apple and the Bloc as Google. (The NDP on this model is an IBM Selectric.)

Canada is in need of a profound change. It is not just Adscam - it is the whole disfunctional apparatus of transfer payments, one size fits all health and education policy, excessive taxation and a bundle of other structural issues.

I don't think the CPC is equiped to make the changes needed. In order to appear "unscary" it has had to compromise on far too many issues. However, with the yeast of the Bloc always demanding greater autonomy for Quebec, there is a chance for a wave of decentralization which could fundamentally limit the federal government's intrusion into Canadians' lives.

Canadian politcal cultural has, since F.R. Scott fought Duplessis, been profoundly sceptical about the legitimacy of the devolution of power to the provinces. However, given the ongoing mess in Ottawa and the sheer lack of imagination displayed by federal governments of both Conservative and Liberal hue, it is likely time to shift power back to the provinces.

A Bloc/CPC coalition in the next election may very well signal the end of the Liberal Canadian orthodoxy. An end to the vision of Ottawa as the center of the Canadian polity. And an end to the vision of FR Scott's star pupil, Pierre Trudeau.

Which is not a bug, it's a feature.


Shizuka Gu, 53, said that early on, a community leader sent her a letter reprimanding her for not writing her identification number on the bag with a "thick felt-tip pen." She was chided for using a pen that was "too thin."

"It was a big shock to be told that I had done something wrong," Ms. Gu said. "So I couldn't bring myself to take out the trash here and asked my husband to take it to his office. We did that for one month."
The Japanese have gone recycling mad...In some towns there are no less than 44 categories for garbage. And the NYT article describes the busybodies who enforce this madness.

No question that the programs have reduced the amount of garbarge which is burned; but at what cost? The underlying assuption of garbage recycling programs is that it is a minor imposition on a person's time to sort garbage. Which, when it comes to dividing glass from newspaper, it is. But once you get to, say, ten categories, time does become an issue.

In Japan, where land is scarce, landfills are not used. Garbage is burned. And burning has cash and enviornmental costs. (As do landfills but on a much lower scale.) So garbage sorting so long as it keeps the volume of incinerated garbage in check, has some economic value. However, at the point where rules such as:
Lipstick goes into burnables; lipstick tubes, "after the contents have been used up," into "small metals" or plastics. Take out your tape measure before tossing a kettle: under 12 inches, it goes into small metals, but over that it goes into bulky refuse.

Socks? If only one, it is burnable; a pair goes into used cloth, though only if the socks "are not torn, and the left and right sock match." Throw neckties into used cloth, but only after they have been "washed and dried."
there has to be some value placed on the time of the poor folks forced to sort. So long as that value is not nothing there is a level of sorting categorization which is entirely self defeating.



SES asked the question - was Paul Martin aware that the sponsorship money was going to Liberal associated ad agencies - 67% said Dithers was aware. They allow that Dithers was not personally involved in the death threats and so on - well 48% of them.

You can't fool all of the people all of the time.

Not Next Week, Now!

Chatters also referred to his cancer, saying that out of respect for the House, he went against his doctors' wishes to attend Tuesday night's motion calling on the government to resign. He said Martin should respect the outcome of the motion.

The Band of Guesses

Consensus is not science. Consensus tends to the politically correct. Consensus is not the sort of thing on which sensible people put their money.
Garth Paltridge, techcentralstation
If you want to learn a little more about how actual scientists think about the analysis underlying climate models go read this article. We need much better sceince before we embrace Kyoto.

Coyne in a very few words

The gist of it is this: it doesn't matter what procedural niceties you dress it up in, it's the intent of the Commons that matters. And the House has clearly signalled it wants the government gone.
andrew coyne
If Adrienne Clarkson had the slightest clue she would summon Dithers to "discuss Canada's options" and tell him that if he did not call a vote of confidence within 24 hours she would ask the CPC to attempt to form a government.

As if...

More Creativity from Microsoft

Microsoft has come up with a unique solution to the legendary 'blue screen of death' in the next version of its Windows operating system. With the release of Longhorn, the Redmond behemoth has added a red screen to face users when their system crashes.
That will make it ever so much better when your computer crashes.

Not Quite Pearson...

Prime Minister Paul Martin has set May 19 for a vote on the federal budget that will also decide the fate of his Liberal minority government.

Martin made the announcement on Wednesday after holding an emergency meeting with his cabinet.
From which it follows that the vote last night was indeed more than a procedural motion otherwise there would be no emergency...

But the Grits are so contemptuous of Parliament that they are willing to ignore the Peasonian precedent and hold the confidence vote immediately. A point Harper gets,
Harper rejected Martin's commitment to a May 19 budget vote, challenging the prime minister to stop delaying and have the vote Wednesday.

"If the government wishes to have a confidence vote, it can do so today, immediately."
What is weird about the Liberal's antics is it is not obvious how they are going to help the party. The Labrador bye-election is not until the 24th. So the Liberals know they are going down. Why postpone?? Do they really think that the Goodale/Layton/Hargrove budget is that exciting?



Between this and rumours that Longhorn is really just OS X it is difficult to see just what value all those Microsoft folks are adding...It is certainly not design: that's being done by Apple.


A Liberal Option

More relevant to the present case is that of the February 1968 defeat of the minority Pearson government at third reading of a tax bill. Pearson chose not to regard this a confidence vote, since the bill had been passed twice before, but immediately introduced the following motion:

That this House does not regard its vote on February 19th ... as a vote of non-confidence in the Government.

No other business was attended to until this motion had been decided. The Liberals won, and that was the end of the matter.

If the amendment to the concurrence motion passes, the Martin government's only option to immediate resignation is a motion like Pearson's. But that will only delay the inevitable. If he does neither, than he should expect a call from the Governor-General.

FURTHER: One thing that ought to be mentioned is that the amendment instructs the committee to do something. I don't think it has the option of refusing without being in contempt of the House. This negates the Liberal's whole "2-stage" approach to the question.
the observant astronomer
Just a straightforward exposition of the constitutional history surrounding confidence votes...Impress your friends and know what the King/Byng crisis was all about.

Mader gets it

The current gang of crooked SOBs and sorry worthless yes-men who sit in the House of Commons under the Liberal banner do not enjoy the confidence and support of a majority of the House of Commons. Any claim to govern in the aftermath of today's vote represents a direct assault on the notion of parliamentary democracy. Parliamentary democracy stands and falls on the deference its participants give to tradition and principle. Today, the Liberal Party of Canada, through its Members of Parliament, has cast aside tradition and principle. Today, parliamentary democracy in Canada has been rendered a sham.

See what we have now: a collection of MPs representing a minority of the House of Commons continue to exercise executive power - spending money, passing Orders-in-Council, representing the nation abroad - despite being unable to pass basic legislation. In some countries that's called a coup.
david mader, mader blog

It's not non-confidence, we weren't really trying

The absence of two Liberal Cabinet Ministers from the confidence vote is being cited by some commentators as support for the idea that this was not actually a vote of confidence.

Why Irving Cotter and another were absent is a bit of a mystery; but no matter. The fact was that the Liberals lost a vote which was a direct measure of the will of the Commons. The "not really trying" argument is simply grasping at straws.

The confidence of the House of Commons can be tried at any time on any vote: if the government of the day cannot win that vote it follows that, so long as the issue of confidence is embodied in the motion before the House, the government has lost the confidence of the House.

If the Liberals insist on fighting the hook it will simply demonstrate how arrogant this nomenklatura has become and how necessary it is to throw them out on the street where, with luck, they will be disposed of by the garbageman of history.

Professor Heard on Confidence

It should not matter what procedural context a vote of confidence occurs in. The fundamental basis of a confidence vote is that the elected members of the legislature express their collective view of the government. If that view conveys a loss of confidence or states that the government should resign, then the government must either resign or call an election.

The current motion is strikingly similar, in procedural terms, to that proposed by H.H Stevens on June 26, 1926. That motion also recommended that a committee report be amended and precipitated the whole King-Byng crisis, when the Governor General refused a dissolution to King on the grounds that he should not avoid a confidence motion then before the House but not voted on; this was the Stevens' motion. For information on those motions, see: House of Commons Debates, 1926, Vol.V, p.4832 and p.4933.
andrew heard
It has been at least a decade since I paid much attention to constitutional law and Parliamentary procedure. Heard teaches the stuff for a living and knows of which he speaks.

Perhaps whistles and white scarves in front of the Revenue Canada Office here in Victoria...

A Parliamentary First

Am blogging from my blackberry in the House where I have just voted for our non-confidence motion. The Libs are trying hard to play this down. They have two cabinet ministers out, Efford and Cotler. We'll win, but they'll claim it's non confidence.

Pretty unhappy campers over there! They can't believe that there iron grip on power and pocketnooks might be loosed. Kilgour just voted with the Libs. Hmmm. 153 to 150. We win!
monte solberg from the House of Commons
This is likely the first time in British Parliamentary history that a sitting member has published from the floor of the House of Commons as a government clutches, illegitimately, to power. The spelling can be cleaned up later...

(Hattip: Ben at the Tiger)

A reader sends me my friend Professor Andrew Heard's more learned take on the nature of confidence votes which can be read here.

Time for the whistles, noise makers and white scarves

The House passed a motion that opposition parties claim should topple the government – but the Liberals have dismissed it as nothing more than a procedural matter.

The motion passed by 153 votes to 150 on Tuesday night.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper votes on the motion in the House of Commons Tuesday.

All 99 Conservative and 54 Bloc Québécois MPs voted for the motion calling on the public accounts committee "to recommend that the government resign."
The House of Commons has clearly expressed its lack of confidence in the Liberal Government. When a government loses the confidence of the House it resigns.

If it does not resign it is up to the Queen - or her representative - to either disolve Parliament or call on a leader who might enjoy the confidence of the House to form a government.

If, as I suspect will be the case in this instance, the GG declines to do either it is finally up to the people to throw the arrogant swine out.

Further proof of the Liberal Party's unfitness to govern is surely unnecessary.

Standup Guy

I had my eye on Liberal Colin Hansen, who was remarkably at ease in the hot seat. Boy was he heckled. He got props just for showing up.
I've known Colin for years and he is simply too decent a guy for hecklers or anyone else to lay a glove on him. Most importantly, I can't imagine him not showing up. Something which the Liberals in BC should be paying attention to. Half of life is, after all, showing up.


So a tired, corrupt, oldline government clings to power in the face of a democratic vote demanding its resignation. Greg Staples allusion to the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine is not an exact parallel; but it is suggestive.

However, what the Tories have to do, and what they do not seem to have the stomach for, is to actually get out and campaign to force the government's resignation. The CPC is so afraid of scaring Ontario voters that it seems incapable of seriously challenging the Liberal's right to govern. And that is what it is going to take - a vote and then some clear action which underscores the complete illegitimacy of the Liberal Party and the Dithers government.

One means would be to boycott Parliament until the next Opposition day, which the Commissars are promising for, more or less, the end of May. Go out and campaign and simply refuse to engage an illegitimate government in any activity other than votes of confidence.


A Bloc MP said the government should simply resign to avert what he called a crisis.

"Will the prime minister respect this democratic vote - or is he going to put Canada into a constitutional crisis?" said Michel Gauthier.

We Need a Better Colour!

I have seen the "smoke-blowing" of Orange Scarves on Parliament again. What would it take to organize something like this. I am beginning to think this is the only thing that will make this government do the right thing.

I am thinking a protest organized for May 20th might be a good idea. People can take the day of on the Friday and make a weekend protest out of it. Then see where it snowballs from there.
political staples
So if the Liberals refuse to resign after losing the confidence of the House of Commons what are our alternatives??

Whistles, noisemakers, mockery and orange, make that white scarves and armbands. It worked in the Ukraine...

Could Harper Buy a Clue

If the Liberals don't treat the motion as a confidence vote, the Conservatives have said they'll come to work as usual and look for other opportunities to force an election.
I feel as though I am watching an episode of Blackadder. It is next to impossible to imagine anyone forcing a resolution calling for the Government to resign and then, when, surprise, the Government doesn't, being lame enough to shrug and move on.

Why bother Steve? I mean seriously, what's the point? This is exactly the sort of goofiness which had the Tories rush to announce their support for the Budget only to start backing off a couple of weeks latter.


UpDate: Sean seems to be thinking along, er, the same lines...

Election, What Election?

According to the Calgary Herald’s Grant Robertson, since Paul Martin’s address to the nation on April 21 (just eighteen days ago), the Liberals have announced over $22 billion in spending initiatives. That’s $1.24 billion a day. Ministers are being paraded around the country; there’s no press conference too small, no photo op too dull for the Grits these days. If little Timmy wants a new bike, no need to wait until Christmas, just ask the federal government. He’ll get the fire-engine-red twelve-speed, plus a visit from Transportation Minister Jean Lapierre—with a promise to spend $2.5 billion on bike-path infrastructure starting in 2012.
Jonathan Montpetit, mediascout, Maisonneuve Magazine
One of the pleasures of my day is Jonathan Montpetit's email news roundup. Montpetit often irritates me; but that is a good thing.


More Kyoto Unmasking

Over at TechCentralStation I read,

the EU is almost certain to miss its collective targets for the first Kyoto period. While the EU as a whole is committed to an eight percent reduction in emissions (on 1990 levels), the EU itself admits that policies currently in place (other policies are unlikely to be adopted) will lead to a reduction of only 1 percent in 2010. The implications of this are huge.

The EU's collective target is there because they put in place a burden-sharing agreement, hoping to take advantage of the inbuilt advantages of the UK, France and Germany in reducing emissions on 1990 levels -- the politically-driven phase-out of coal, heavy use of nuclear energy and the closing of East German smokestack industries respectively. By taking account of these advantages, other countries would not have to be as severe in their emissions policies as they would be under the original Kyoto agreement.

However, those other countries have for the most part massively increased their emissions from 1990 levels, wiping out the big nations' reductions. If the EU does not meet its collective target, as seems almost certain, then under Article 4 of the Kyoto Protocol itself, each individual country becomes responsible for a reduction of eight percent. At least 12 of the 15 EU countries concerned are on target to breach this target, nine of them spectacularly (having emissions increases of between 20 and 77 percent).
Quick, call Rick Mercer...

Lest We forget what all the Spinning is about

But it was hard to change the party culture. Black was white, white was black. Liberals had for too long allowed the sovereignty of subservience to privilege reign over the duty of service to people. That was the low estate to which the party of Trudeau liberalism had sunk.
Beryl Wajsman at Captains Quarters
A cynic might suggest that Wajsman is simply setting up his own Gomery testimony. But he certainly has an excellent description of the Liberal Party. His only error is to have put it in the past tense. Nothing has changed.

(Thanks Debbye)

Lost the confidence of the House...Who, Us??

It is a nice question as to what happens when a government fails to defeat a motion calling for it to resign.

At that point it is pretty clear that government has lost the confidence of the House. Any government which respected the traditions of Parliament would, of course, resign. The Liberals, having shown their contempt for Parliament will hang on.

Ms. Clarkson really will have a dilemma...even a tougher call than coming back from Europe for Louise Hole's funeral...

It's not Easy Being Green

Kevin Brennan over at Tilting at Windmills suggests that, in his view, the Tories are not ready to govern. It is a view that I, reluctantly and for somewhat different reasons, have come to hold as well. He then goes on,

As for me--well, I'm not sure. It may depend on the choices in my riding--the Liberals are likely to win it no matter what, but the NDP is probably going to come in second unless a star candidate pops up. But my personal political leanings aren't all that compatible with the NDP. Ironically, the commenters on the left have been pointing me towards a new possible political home, one that's already attracted a lot of people whose opinions I respect. No, I haven't made a final decision, but it's quite possible that when the next election rolls around, I too will be voting Green.

Oh sure, they won't win. But there's a reason that my blog was called Tilting at Windmills...
tilting at windmills
Part of what really annoys me about the current political landscape is the lack of a party I can vote for. Sitting at home is unattractive. So, perhaps, a protest vote pure and simple is what is needed. Nothing tells the old parties "We're not going to take it any longer." more effectively than a protest vote. If nothing else it means that the Greens will get a bit more of the election funding lolly and the old line parties will get a bit less. No bad thing that.

Death of 100,000 (in $100s) Cuts

The former director of the Quebec wing of the federal Liberal party testified at the Gomery inquiry Monday that he paid nine party staff members and officials $50,000 in cash stuffed in envelopes shortly before the 2000 federal election.

Benoit Corbeil's story corroborates Groupaction president Jean Brault's testimony that he paid the party $100,000 in cash and through fake invoices shortly before the 2000 federal election campaign was called.
politics watch
Which confirms Brault's testimony. Now I wonder if the Grits are going to trot out poor, dumb, Scott Brisson or not so dumb Irving Cotter, to say these are all just "allegations".

TV is sooo Slow!

Over at Tech Central Station Glenn Reynolds writes up the Nashville Bloggers Conference. He talks about making money from blogs, which is slowly happening (mine makes at least a quarter a day). But he also suggests that video may be the way to go.

So I downloaded the video interviews Glen did. Here's the problem: video is so linear. You have to wait for people to say things. No skipping ahead.

One of the key advantages of the internet - and blogging in particular - is that you get tons of infomation instantly in a non-linear fashion. If you have read this far you are actually interested in this entry...but, if you are not you have long since skipped to another entery or another blog.

The ever clever Moses Znaimer of MuchMusic/Bravo....fame, once pointed out that information has now become a flow. Linear information has been replace with an ongoing flash flood.

Video, even cleverly consturcted and edited video, requires the user to sit through the whole thing. My sense is that this is exactly what the internet was designed not to do.


Freud's Jokes and the Unconscious is famous for being bereft of even a single funny joke. But Freud had nothing on the earnest poster at Feministe who "deconstructs" a rather tame male/female joke. The phrase "lighten up" springs to mind.


No Blood for Votes!

Canada is finally and belatedly doing the right thing with regard to Sudan. There can be no doubt that the events in Sudan constitute genocide. I've argued previously that Canada has a Duty to Protect an inescapable moral obligation to defend the innocents of Darfur.

The fact that we're sending soldiers into combat to secure the vote of David Kilgour, and in so doing, increase the chances of survival for the Martin regime, is obscene.
joel fleming
I stole the headline from one of Joel's commentors. Frankly it made sense to send Canadians about a year ago. If we had something by way of a serious rapid deployment Special Forces regiment the Sudan would have been a great place to send them. But to send even one Canadian soldier into harms way to prop up the corrupt Liberal government is, as Joel puts it, obscene.

Partisan, Non-Partisan

Rather like an association of anarchists the idea of a non-partisan blog alliance may be a contradiction in terms. However, I have to admit that I have been politically homeless for years and when James Bow set up the Blogging Alliance of Non-Partisan CanadiansI figured I'd sign up.

Most of the members so far are people who I disagree with at various levels. This seems to me to be a good thing. While the CPC bloggers are often fun to read and the Progressive Bloggers entertaining if anly to see how they can manage to spin the latest bit of Liberal pandering, both groups seem to ignore the critical need to avoid the echo chamber when blogging. While I am always delighted when people see the light and agree with every word I say, I don't learn very much always reading people I agree with.

So good for James Bow for setting this up.

Me Too!

The worst part is, there's no opposition to any of this. Martin shells out $5.75-billion to Ontario to shut McGuinty up for a few weeks about the "$23-billion gap"? Harper's hardly likely to object, having sided with the premier himself. $5-billion for daycare? The Conservatives have promised at least a much. Another $5-billion for the cities? The Tories aren't promising quite the same deal, but will honour any agreements the Liberals strike. $2.8-billon more in equalization payments to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia? They're down with that. Meaningless health care accords, with billions and billions out the door to the provinces in exchange for six magic beans? No problemo. A budget that, even before the recent goldrush, projects a $12-billion increase in spending over the next two years, on top of the $17-billion increase recorded last year? The Tories abstained.
andrew coyne
In the rush to pander to the toronto Star dazed Ontario voter, the Liberals are willing to promise the Earth and the Moon and the Stars and the best the CPC can do is run about yelping "Us too, with a cherry on top."

What I would love to see is Harper come out with a program to end all equalization payments within, say, five years. Basically say to the sportsfishermen of Newfoundland and the hobby farmers of Quebec: "In five years all equalization will end. Once we have paid off the debt we will be giving back the tax room the federal government has taken from the provinces."

Instead we are engaged in a goofy, intellectually empty, bidding war.