Archive for the ‘The Media Following My Lead.’ Category

What, You Needed Me To Tell You That?

May 21st, 2012
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It’s a classic bully maneuver: taking the victims arm and punching the victim with his own hand, meanwhile saying, “why are you punching yourself?” As the middle boy of 3, I’ve been both victim and aggressor in this classic game of making you feel bad about yourself, all the while being able to legitimately say, “I never touched him.”

Last week I used the “punching yourself” motif to describe NDP leader Thomas Muclair, because it seemed apt. Why wasn’t that bully Stephen Harper beating up on Muclair, Warren Kinsella asked, so I answered.

Never beat on someone who’s beating on himself I suggested:

Perhaps they feel it’s better to let Muclair define himself his own image…

Just a few days later, that same Warren Kinsella has read, digested and seemingly agreed with me:

A few days ago, this writer questioned the whereabouts of the Conservative party’s anti-Mulcair attack ads…

Stephen Harper, looking down at his opponent as he hollers away on an Ottawa street corner, knows the answer.

“We don’t need any ads to scare voters away from this guy,” you can picture Harper musing. “He’s doing that all on his own.”

You don’t have to be Stephen Harper to know the answer, you just have to read the same people Stephen Harper reads.

The Media Following My Lead. , ,

Steyn (and me) on Bono

April 24th, 2009

Mark Steyn’s latest Maclean’s piece is about rocker Bono and his band U2’s decision to relocate business interests in the Netherlands.:

After playing the Obama inauguration a couple of months back, the pop star Bono flew back home to a rare barrage of hostile headlines. As you know, the global do-gooder wants us to send more of our money to Africa. So why is he sending his money to the Netherlands? From the Irish Times:

“Bono ‘Hurt’ By Criticism Of U2 Move To Netherlands To Cut Tax.”

As Steyn actually notes, U2 “… moved to the Netherlands a couple of years back, about 17 nanoseconds after the Irish finance minister removed the tax exemption on “artistic” income above 250,000 euros.” However, It’s only in the last few weeks that charities and NGOs and “justice groups” have decided to make an example of the unfortunate warbler.”

It’s only a story now, a couple of years later? Well everybody jump on my back, because I did this story back in the fall of 2006:


It’s an Irish term. Roughly translated gob means pile and sheit means excrement. As in you Pile of Sh*t. In common usage, it is preceded by the adjective fockin’. eg. “What are you doing with my wife, you fockin’ gobsheit?”

Which brings me to Bono, and his band of sullen men, U2:

After Ireland said it would scrap a break that lets musicians and artists avoid paying taxes on royalties, Bono and his fellow U2 band members this year moved their music publishing company to the Netherlands.

This would be the same Bono, of the same U2 that came to Canada to scold the Canadian government for not doing enough. Remember he was going to be Martin’s “biggest pain in the ass” if he didn’t follow through on his commitments.

The Dublin group, which Forbes estimates earned $110 million in 2005, will pay about 5% tax on their royalties, less than half the Irish rate.

The move is explained by U2 guitarist David Evans (The Edge) as a strictly business move:

“Our business is a very complex business,” Evans said Oct. 2 on the Dublin radio station Newstalk, breaking the band’s silence after weeks of public criticism. “Of course we’re trying to be tax-efficient. Who doesn’t want to be tax-efficient?”

Exactly! Tax efficient. That’s what I want to be too, except when I try, or when governments try on my behalf, busy body know it alls like Bono show up and spend the money on their own pet projects. They are, to paraphrase Mr. Evans, awfully tax efficient with my tax dollars.

I liked this line, however, from Jill Cassidy, presumably an ordinary citizen of Dublin:

“Among the wealthiest people, I suppose it’s the norm. In U2’s position, it does come across as quite hypocritical.”

Hypocritical indeed. Now, what was that poetic little Irish term?

Celebrities, Mark Steyn, The Media Following My Lead. , , , , ,

Why Stephen Harper Should Want Me in the Senate

December 17th, 2008
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Last night I posted that the effects changes to Employment Insurance in the mid-90’s had a dramatic cost on the auto Industry, the payments for which have now come due. Mere hours later, The National Post hit the street with a front page comment by John Ivison that expands on my thesis.

Significantly about federal government plans to add stimulus through the EI system, Ivison notes:

…he expects the government to create a more level playing field across the country when it comes to who qualifies for EI, so that an unemployed auto worker in Southern Ontario can access the same amount of benefit, for the same length of time, as an unemployed fisherman in Newfoundland. At the moment, Ontario workers are disadvantaged when it comes to coverage and benefit period.

Lets be clear, when Ivison talks about Ontario workers, he means the auto industry.

Now here’s what I had to say on EI, just last evening:

Paul Martin balanced the budget in part… on the back of the auto companies, who every party now seems to agree need a bailout…

When Stephen Harper sits down to sort out the EI mess that Paul Martin & The Supremes have just handed him, and Jack Layton calls him to ask what he’s doing about the auto jobs, he should look at the changes made to EI that affect the auto companies and consider undoing them.

So you see Mr. Harper, I write tomorrow’s headlines, today. The perfect candidate for team Harper up in Ottawa. Why would you give a red velvet seat to some Toronto Red Tory?

Auto Industry, National Post, The Media Following My Lead.

Manufacturing Crisis Has Roots in Federal Liberal Governments Failure

October 1st, 2008
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Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton like to suggest any economic woes happening in Canada is Stephen Harper’s fault: Harpernomics is an in play term at present. U.S. banks are failing: Harpernomics; Car plant shutting down: Harpernomics. According to Dalton McGuinty, however, that car plant shutting down is Jean Chrétien’s fault.

OK, that’s not really what he said or meant, but a logical deconstruction of his comments can come to no other conclusion:

“There’s no doubt that there’s some of our traditional manufacturing is being challenged.”

The premier said it was time for a great deal of humility. But he sounded positively chastened.

He said Ontario manufacturers, sheltering behind the low Canadian dollar, “hid from global economic realities” longer than did the U.S.

“We didn’t make the necessary productivity gains that we should have made. We weren’t necessarily as innovative as we could have been and should have been.”

He’s right, but only partly so. He suggests the low dollar masked a productivity problem, but as I’ve previously noted, the low dollar was not a mask, but an indicator. It indicated that companies were not investing in Canada:

…problem is the opposite, the low dollar of the Chrétien era. While exporters and the unions loved the low dollar, and claimed it was driving growth through the 90’s, it was really driving the present manufacturing contraction…

In the 90’s everybody was building like mad, but not investing. Canada’s manufacturing facilities have fallen behind the rest of the world. Changes to manufacturing have been drastic the last 20 years, and manufacturers have not been investing in Canada. The result: loss of jobs now.

If Jean Chrétien and his brilliant Finance Minister Paul Martin did not recognize this implication of the low dollar, they should have.

The current U.S. fiscal crisis has it’s roots in regulations and lending practises that occurred through the 1990’s (although certainly not exclusively). Conversely, at a time when manufacturing was soaring, credit was easy to get and a technological revolution was making factories built a mere 5 or 10 years earlier obsolete, nobody noticed that companies – manufacturers – were not investing in Canada. They were not building new plants and they weren’t updating the ones they had. Ten years later there’s a ‘crisis’ in the manufacturing sector, and everybody is surprised.

The only thing that should be surprising is that Dalton McGuinty was the second person to notice.

Economic Fundamentalism, The Media Following My Lead.

Dion Obama and Why Can’t the Media Read My Posts Correctly?

August 26th, 2008

Yesterday I pronounced on the reasons why the Conservative Party would want an early election. Three of them, said I: the Liberals are stalled on the Green Shift; a possible budget deficit; inflationary pressure causing possible interest rate increases.

Today the National Post ran an article in which James Cowan reiterates two of my three points:

The federal budget is back in the black, but who knows how long it will stay in the black, they [The Conservatives] may decide they want to pull the plug before interest rates rise.

Strangely it’ a story about Dion getting an Obama bounce. How Cowan got that from what I wrote I’ll never know, but I’ve rarely heard such preposterous ideas.

How any sane person thinks Canadians will look at Barack Obama and imagine Stéphane Dion I will never know. Obama is a handsome, well spoken, populist politician. Dion is a nerdy stumble-bum who’s one policy is a major new tax. Obama is the first African American Presidential candidate, Dion yet another in a too long line of Quebecer’s vying for the job of Prime Minister.

Of course when you use a source like Stephen Clarkson, former husband of Liberal appointed Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and author of The Big Red Machine: How the Liberal Party Dominates Canadian Politics, it is possible you will get a Liberal-tilt in your story.

I don’t buy any of it. Canadians elect based on Canadian candidates, not based on who’s on the U.S. ballot. If this logic applied in the real world how did the Liberals win a majority in Nov. 2000, just two weeks after George Bush squeaked out an electoral college victory? (Albeit losing the popular vote). Four years later in the Spring of 2004, the Liberals were reduced to a minority losing 3.2% of the popular vote. Meanwhile, that fall George Bush increased his popular vote by 2.8%. Other examples include 1980, when Republican Ronald Regan and Liberal Pierre Trudeau both won (PC Brian Mulroney won in 1984 and 1988, both Republican victories in the U.S.) Liberal Trudeau won in 1972 and 1968 while Republican Richard Nixon was winning Stateside.

The thesis just doesn’t hold water, but of course it was never meant to: it was meant to put Stéphane Dion’s name in the same sentence as Barack Obama.

At least James Cowan, however, got those other two points right.

I've Seen Barack Obama and Stéphane Dion is no Barack Obama, Stephane Dion, The Media Following My Lead.

National Post Singing From My Tibet Songbook

March 27th, 2008

Well, that didn’t take long. Yesterday I suggested instead of the athletes who have worked their tails off being told not to go to the games, the politicians should stay home and let the Chinese officials stand around talking to themselves:

No delegations of VIPs, no official visits, no junkets to Bejing. If all the leaders in the free world would do so, it would send a powerful message. I know it could be Stephen Harper’s only chance to take his kids to an Olympics, I know how important it is for our betters to see and be seen at these events, but there will be other junkets, other opportunities to hob-knob.

Today the National Post “came up with” the same idea, not once, but twice. In their main editorial, Punishing China, they actually go one step further:

In view of all this, Canada must find a meaningful way of communicating its disgust with Beijing’s actions. At the very least, Stephen Harper’s government should announce that Canada is boycotting the Games’ Aug. 8 opening ceremonies (an idea that is also being explored by several European countries). We should also announce that no federal officials will attend the Games. (emphasis mine).

I like the idea of boycotting the opening ceremonies, that’s a nice addition. As the Chinese are trying to tell the TV networks what they can and cannot broadcast, they too should refuse to broadcast the opening (they won’t, but they should).

The second article in question is Father Raymond J. De Souza’s This time, don’t look the other way. A very good article by one of my favourite Post writers, De Souza deconstructs why we shouldn’t be ignoring the Chinese actions in Tibet, why China is the most “Ghastly” nation on earth:

Is there a regime more ghastly than that of the People’s Republic of China?

Is any other government that so systematically suppresses all religious liberty, erecting religious bureaucracies to which believers are required to belong in order to worship? Is there any other regime that still imprisons and kills bishops, priests and monks who fail to swear loyalty to the state? Is there any other country where the entire population is subject to child-bearing control, with forced sterilization and abortions for those who decline to submit to state rules on family size? Is there any other regime that executes thousands of its citizens annually, the majority for the crime of challenging the ruling party? Is there any other country accused (by credible sources) of executing religious dissidents, harvesting their organs and selling them? Is there any other regime more dependable in its support of the worst kind of evil around the world (Darfur)?

Even the vile regimes in Saudi Arabia, Cuba, North Korea and Zimbabwe do not compare to China across the breadth of its human rights violations.

And De Souza’s solution? Not surprisingly:

The Prime Minister, preferably in joint action with opposition leaders, should announce that no federal political officials will attend the Beijing Games. (emphasis again mine).

Hmm, where have I heard that before? Although I confess De Souza does a far better job explaining why, and makes a far more convincing case than I did.

The Media Following My Lead., Tibet

Eco-arson nothing new

March 4th, 2008
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It’s hard to figure how a story takes life. Some self described eco-terrorists burn down some houses, it seems like a story. But two years ago At Home in Hespeler was reporting a similar story by the same group:

Local radio station News 570 is reporting that “Several Arsons in Guelph in the past months may be the work of an eco-terrorist organization.” This fire is one of the arsons started suspected of being started by a cell of eco-terrorists ELF (Earth Liberation Front)…

By all accounts ELF is a loose knit grouping who, according to their own literature have no leaders, members or official spokesman. They are none the less, highly interesting to the FBI.

What’s more it is being reported that 3 other fires may be related to ELF… These arsons are a pattern that has Guelph police very concerned, and citizens of Guelph should also be concerned. To date ELF does not seem to be responsible for any deaths, but when you go around lighting buildings on fire, sooner or later it’s going to happen. Citizens of Guelph should also be concerned, both that it is happening in their community, and that it is receiving virtually no coverage or getting the attention of the community.

Later the story was reported by the Western Standard, once again to great yawning indifference. It appears that Guelph Ontario is not as important as Seattle Washington in the Canadian blogosphere.

Going... Going... Gone Nuts For The Environment, The Media Following My Lead.

In Through The Out Box

January 17th, 2008
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My desk is piling up with a weeks worth of newspapers and articles that I meant to get to. Instead, I’m going to do a one off post on the stuff that caught my eye the past week or so:

Tuesday a week ago, I commented on an excerpt from David Frum’s book in which he called for a Pigovian carbon tax. I cited Terence Corcoran, specifically his No Pigou Club in the post.

Not surprisingly, Corcoran also replied to Frum’s assertion that a carbon tax is good conservative policy in an article last Friday, All Things To All People, which now appears on the No Pigou Club web site. Corcoran does a really nice job of pointing out the flaws in Frum’s argument:

That’s the miracle plan: Break the enemy’s back by taxing your own citizens. As for the details, well, like all miracles, it’s hard to figure them out.


Speaking of the No Pigou Club, it has moved. Financial Post has put their comment section online, at It features regular editorials and columns by the FP writers, Terence Corcoran, William Watson, Peter Foster and Lawrence Solomon. As well it is home to some feature items, such as the No Pigou Club, The Deniers and Junk Science. Links will be put on my sidebar in the very near future.

Best line I read in the last week comes from an FP article by Robert Sopuck, In Defence of a Big Juicy Steak. In it, “Sopuck argues that avoiding meat in favour of plant products will not ensure more efficient use of the Earth’s resources, as cattle critics contend.”

The line in question is in the second last paragraph:

As for the red-meat-is-bad-for-you argument, I take the view that if you give up fat (and sugar and alcohol, too, for that matter) you may not live longer; it will just seem that way.

I can’t wait to get on the summer BBQ circuit to use that line.

I’ve been waiting for the right moment to say this for a long time, but I really like Christopher Hitchens. That may be a bit heretical for a Tory and God knows I find his obsessive atheism a bit tiring, but the guy can flat out write. Whether I agree or disagree with him, and it’s usually a 50-50 thing, I always find his writing compelling. This week I happened to agree with him on an article called The Case Against Hillary Clinton: Why on earth would we choose to put the Clinton family drama at the center of our politics again?

Indifferent to truth, willing to use police-state tactics and vulgar libels against inconvenient witnesses, hopeless on health care, and flippant and fast and loose with national security: The case against Hillary Clinton for president is open-and-shut. Of course, against all these considerations you might prefer the newly fashionable and more media-weighty notion that if you don’t show her enough appreciation, and after all she’s done for us, she may cry.

And that’s just a portion the last paragraph. Hitchens rarely if ever pulls his punches, and it makes him a must read wherever he turns up.

Blog Administration, housecleaning, The Media Following My Lead.

William Watson: "What I Said"

October 25th, 2007
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Last week I mockingly suggested the National Post writers read At Home in Hespeler for their column ideas. As they have twice (maybe three times) turned down columns I have sent them, I would consider this bad form – but we’ll let that pass.

On Tuesday I wrote that Jim Flaherty, if he was serious about lowering prices in the retail sector, would “Remove the duty on goods consumers bring back into Canada upon leaving the country.” I hadn’t heard the suggestion before, or since. Until today. William Watson, writing in the Financial Post today, suggested the exact same thing:

…he [Flaherty] could raise the limits on Canadian travellers’ duty-free exemptions. Right now you can bring back a measly $50 duty-free if you’re out of the country 24 hours. A minister who really wanted to stand up for consumers and make Canadian retailers sit up and take notice would make that $1,000. Stay out a week, bring back $10,000 worth, no questions asked. That would close the price gap lickety-split.

Stand up, Mr. Flaherty!

Even the headline on the story says:

Tear down that border, Mr. Flaherty!
If he wants to eliminate Canada-U.S. price differences, he should start by hiking duty-free allowances

Meanwhile, here’s what I wrote:

I have an idea for Jim Flaherty: want to see the market kick into gear? Remove the duty on goods consumers bring back into Canada upon leaving the country. No need to be away 48 hours for a $400 duty free (or 7 and $750). One day in the U.S., bring back as much consumer goods as you please (booze and cigarettes subject to the usual rules, of course). This would create competition with American retailers, forcing Canadian retailers to bring their prices more in line with American prices.

This way, you see, I could get up Saturday and say, Hey! Let’s go shopping! Couple of hours later wee’re in Buffalo, buy a big screen TV, 5.5 Surround sound system for it, a HDDVD, and a bunch of DVD’s. Back at the border:

“How Long have you been out of the country?”
“Couple of Hours.”
“Anything to declare?”
“Four-thousand-five-hundred and seventy-two dollars worth of goods.”
“Any liquor or tobacco?”
“have a nice day, sir.”

Jim Flaherty says he wants the markets to work for Canadians. That’s how they would work, by adding competition, not by some busybody politicians harassing sellers.

Coincidence? You be the judge. I do, however, confess I didn’t use the word lickety-split, although I wish I did.

The Media Following My Lead.

What Blog Does The National Post Writers Read?

October 18th, 2007

It has been a while since I caught wind of the media reading At Home in Hesepeler, but today it appears not just are National Posties reading, it is requires reading down at 1450 Don Mills.

First up is Don Martin who, in an column on the Liberals response to the throne speech, Majority Rule in all but Name, had this to say:

A theme for this Parliament has now been set. Canada’s Official Opposition is but a government whack-a-mole game with Prime Minister Stephen Harper using the election hammer to knock them down every time they raise their heads.

Whack-a-mole? This very blog coined the term whack-a-mole politics back in April, I have even been using it as an entry label. (although, I believe the politically correct Canadian term is whack-a-prairie-dog politics).

It is a great term though, isn’t it Don?

Next up is Terence Corcoran from todays Financial Post, Dion Needs A New Dog. Further, Corcoran notes Kyoto is a “dead dog that no longer has relevance.”

Meanwhile, yesterday I wrote, and posted the following:

While Joanne is wondering where Stephane Dion is… The answer seems obvious to me: he’s mourning for his dog. Poor Kyoto.

Don Martin and Terence Corcoran, two of the best: Your welcome guys.

The Media Following My Lead., whack-a-mole politics

When is a Tax not a Tax?

June 8th, 2007
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Hmm, who’s thought was this one? Quebec is introducing a whopping 0.8c/litre carbon tax effective October 1. According to Claude Bechard, Quebec’s Natural resources Minister, the oil companies should pick up the tax:

We hope at 0.8 cents, the oil companies will be able to absorb it without passing on this royalty to consumers. Especially when you realize that refinery profit margins have gone in the last three, four months from 8 cents a litre to about 19, 20, 22 cents a litre.

Hey, where have I heard that before? Oh, I know, I said it Wednesday. Who would have thought a Quebec cabinet minster is trolling At Home in Hespeler for ideas. Of course, like a politician will, he got what I said all half-assed backwards; at 0.8c, there is no reason for oil companies to absorb the tax, and no way of knowing if they did. Gas in my part of the world jumps around more than 0.8c litre depending on the time of day. It is too small to affect demand, therefore, the gas companies can charge the tax, without affecting their profit. Once a tax is high enough to affect demand, then the oil guys have incentive to absorb the tax, but only then.

If that’s true, why does Mme. Bechard think the oil companies will eat the tax on your behalf?

Well, we count on the goodwill of the gas companies.

Oh, and if the gas companies do absorb the tax, what is the point of the tax. As Bechard himself notes, a carbon tax should be “user pay.” How is getting someone else to pick up your tax user pay? And is not a carbon tax designed to lower usage of carbon releasing goods? How does getting someone else to pick up the carbon tax reduce usage? It doesn’t, and this whole thing is a scam. Bechard could care less about reducing usage, and cares a whole pile about collecting extra revenue, designed as environmentalism.

Carbon Tax, Economic Fundamentalism, Going... Going... Gone Nuts For The Environment, The Media Following My Lead.

Cambridge, Home of the Nashville Predators?

May 24th, 2007
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Who said it first: Jim Balsillie will move his new NHL team to Cambridge?

If you guessed At Home in Hespeler, who said, way back in early October of last year,

Jim Balsillie, owner of RIM of Waterloo, is moving the Penguins to Cambridge…

This may sound crazy but… Cambridge is outside the 50 mile boundary from both Toronto and Buffalo, yet about 20 minutes from Hamilton.

give yourself ten points (sorry, no prizes. Who do you think I am, Jim Balsillie?)

Of course, if you don’t want to get your poop early, you can always read the CBC:

Waterloo? No rink. Yet. Interestingly, Research in Motion, the company for which Balsillie is the co-chief executive officer, recently bought a large parcel of land – more than 25 acres – in Cambridge. Draw your own conclusions.

It’s a funny world when my old jokes are todays news. I laughed all the way home today, as Kitchener’s News Talk 570 was running a news person from Townline Road and the 401, walking distance from my computer. I know what blog they finally got around to reading.

Oh, and of course, I still have the architects graphic for what the new Blackberry Arena will look like.

Hockey, The Media Following My Lead.

David Asper and Private Property Rights

May 1st, 2007
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David Asper has a piece today in the National Post about honouring international law. Entitled Our Hypocrisy on the World Stage, Asper does a nice piece on UN treaties rights ignored by Canada. What set Asper off was a piece in yesterdays post regarding the un-elected Senate’s recent report, Children: The Silenced Citizens.

What interested me was Asper’s part on Private Property Rights:

The granddaddy of them all is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. It was followed by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966. Canada has ratified both of these documents…

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for example, confers a right to own property. But property rights are not included in the Canadian Charter of Rights.

I have been on this issue before, back when Paul Martin was blathering on about people who cherry-pick rights”:

If you are talking rights, and things like ‘fundamental human rights’ we need to know what are human rights. Which leads us to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Note, this is from the UN’s Commision on Human Rights and has been in effect for 57 years now. Here’s a little something from the preamble:

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

‘Member States have pledged themselves to achieve…human rights and fundamental freedoms’…

Article 17.

    (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

    (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

… Rights are fundamental and cannot be cherry-picked or they are not. Property rights has been clearly spelled out in international law…

When people like myself, or maybe Gerry Nicholls‘ complain about the Conservatives not acting conservative, here’s what we mean. From the founding principles of the Conservative Party of Canada:

The Conservative Party will be guided in its constitutional framework and its policy basis by the following principles:

… A belief that the best guarantors of the prosperity and well-being of the people of Canada are:

• The freedom of individual Canadians to pursue their enlightened and legitimate self-interest within a competitive economy;

• The freedom of individual Canadians to enjoy the fruits of their labour to the greatest possible extent; and

• The right to own property;

It’s a UN right, it’s a conservative principle and, as Asper points out, it’s our obligation under international law. Further more, we are one of the few jurisdictions in the world that doesn’t guarantee property rights.

Why does nobody ever want to tackle this important issue in this country? Where is Canada’s John Locke?

Gerry Nicholls, human rights, property rights, Stephen Harper, The Media Following My Lead.