Archive for June, 2006

Why I’m a mere blogger…

June 9th, 2006

and kate is a BLOGGER.

I saw the bourque page, and I completely missed the significance.

Five Stories. #1 Joe Volpe and the funding scandal. #2 Liberal Senator kicked out of caucus for misusing office resources. #3 Liberals running for the leadership race are using Parliamentary staff to do campaign work – this is illegal. #4 An editorial piece lamenting the lost Liberal party. #5 Stephen and Laureen Harper participating in the Ottawa Humane Society’?s Foster Program.

Who’s scary now?


Lett Freedom Reign post

June 9th, 2006
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Some of you may not know, I also post over at Let Freedom Reign (formerly the Cannuckistan Chronicles). Richard, who runs the site, is a Western boy, living in Alberta. One o fthe thing sI write there is periodic postcards from Ontario, just to fill Richard in on some news. It is toungue in cheek fun, when I often get a chance to poke a little fun at some newsworthy figures.

Bottom line is, I enjoy writing them, there fun. So I thought I would pass on the link of the lastest one, so any readers here could check it out if they wish.

Postcard From Ontario


Blogging Tories Site of the Week

June 9th, 2006
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Here’s the quickie update on the Blue Blogging Soapbox: Blogging Tories Site of the Week
for the last two weeks.

Week 20 is RootleWeb a seriously written and blog that covers the weighty topics: terrorism, polygamy &tc.


We Are Not Afraid

June 8th, 2006

Warren Kinsella had this idea:

The alleged terrorists apparently wanted to target the busy Skydome-CN Tower-Convention Centre area in downtown Toronto. That’s what terrorists want to do, naturally: scare people, and keep them from doing what is normal.

So here’s what I suggest: we all organize a trip to see a Jays game, and wave the flag, and wear a few T-shirts bearing a defiant message. Remember what we saw after the London bombings? WE ARE NOT AFRAID. Remember that? It was the right thing to do.

I say: let’s all go to a ball game – and show no one’s afraid.

And it was a good idea. And people agreed with it, and made new logos for it. And bought the web address (no content at present), and did the media rounds.

Look for a rally and Blue Jays game June 24th or 25th when the NY Mets are in town.

I love this idea and if I can free up the weekend, I’m going to see the Mets play.

UPDATE: A new blog is also up and running. I will add a sidebar later tonight or tommorow.


Floor Crossing Bad – Floor Crossing Law Worse

June 7th, 2006
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The opposition is adding, minusing and amending the Federal Accountability Act like the government they’re not. In their sights is removing the $1000 whistleblower reward, banning corporate donations from children and a law allowing the recall of politicians who cross the floor.

From the Sun:

By the end of a line-by-line review of Bill C-2, almost one in three of its 370 clauses are expected to be altered by an ad hoc committee dominated by the opposition parties.

Major amendments expected from the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois include the elimination of a proposed $1,000 reward for whistleblowers, stricter limits on political donations from minors, a ban on corporate loans for candidates, a floor-crossing law allowing for the recall of politicians and even altering the French title of the proposed law…

Liberal committee member Stephen Owen plans to introduce a floor-crossing amendment that would enable voters to recall their local MPs if they switch parties. A byelection would be called if a petition signed by half plus one of constituents who voted in the previous election was collected within 60 days.

Recall? I thought the Conservatives loved this idea, the opposition scoffed at it. But since Liberal Stephen Owen wants to create a law much like Stockwell ‘Doris’ Day’s much mocked idea, perhaps Rick Mercer will start a poll to have Owen change his name to Owen Nolan.

Or perhaps not.

But unlike most people it seems, I am not in favour of banning or attempting to control floor crossings. I think it’s extremely dangerous. MPs at present answer to their bosses, the party leaders and the party whips, regularly. When told to toe the party line, they must. They have very few options. Except one.

They can walk across the floor. Yes, they can sit as an independent, but that gives them virtually no voice in Parliament, so supporting cast, no help line and no one to dance on the tables with.

This may seem small, it isn’t necessarily so. It could save the democracy, it could be the difference between saving and losing our country. If some leader who controls a majority of Parliament wanted to have their own Reichstag fire, then start suspending democracy, the best chance to stop him would be for his party members to vote against him. But if they can’t cross the floor, and he throws them out, the chance that party members would be emboldened to do the right thing are lessened.

Scenario – and please note I do not think any current or immediately future leaders would start suspending democracy for any reason. I believe we are safe from this for a while yet. But at some indetermanent time in the future, some indetermanent PM…

The Liberals hold a majority. World War Three is breaking out. Iran has nuked Israel, Israel nuked back. China uses the opportunity to become expansionist, and Muslims in Europe are rising en mass to take over Denmark, France and Italy and turn them into Muslimic dictatorships. Sides must be taken. In Canada there are two positions, that Canada should be all in, and begin a draft immediately, or that Canada become isolationist, provide a support role as necessary, with no draft. The current PM is weighing these options, when the President of the United States (Jeb or Hillary, you decide) informs him that the war effort is guzzling fuel at an alarming rate and without a constant flow of reliable oil, all will be lost. The President would like Canada to hand over sovereign control of Alberta’s oil fields for the duration.

The Liberal Prime Minister wants to do this, the Conservatives are on board. The left wing of the Liberal party, the NDP and the Bloc are appalled by the suggestion. The only way to prevent it is for enough Liberal MPs to bolt to the NDP, who can then vote down the governing Liberals to stop handing sovereign Canadian land to the USA for their war effort.

Do you really want some archaic law about floor crossing to stand between the true will of Parliament at a time like this? Do you really want to test whether the MPs are prepared to sacrifice all to do what’s best?

There are many scenarios that can be ‘war gamed’ like this, but ultimately when Parliament must act in a way that may affect our country, or world in major ways, should the MPs really be silenced.

Floor crossing is, the one weapon, and the only weapon, back bench MPs have against the tyranny of the party, and I would like to see us think long and hard before messing with it.


Billy Preston 1946 – 2006

June 7th, 2006
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One of my favourite musical moments is that Beatles rooftop concert. I have the whole thing on DVD (as compared to the five minutes or so you get on the Let It Be Movie) and it’s magic. The guys who invented the sixties, in mohair coats, and Billy Preston’s big afro behind them. I love, amongst other things, Preston’s great Fender Rhodes solo on Get Back.

It is noted in many tributes today that he was known as the 5th Beatle. He was also a de-facto Stone when the Stone’s were making some of the greatest music ever: Exile On Main Street, It’s Only Rock and Roll and Goats Head Soup.

Dylan’s greatest piece of work, his unbelievable divorce album Blood on the Tracks, also lists Billy Preston in the credits.

Then there was some wonderful solo music, especially notable being Will It Go Round in Circles and co-writing credit for You Are So Beautiful. And for the trivia fans, he performed on the first Saturday Night Live.

Not a bad contribution.

Billy Preston
Rest in Peace
June 6, 2006


Surviving 666

June 6th, 2006

I woke up this morning a skeptic: It’s not even 666, its 6606, I mumbled to the moron DJ. Nothing is happening on 6606, it’s not in the bible, it’s not embroidered on Jimmy Page’s stage clothes, it is insignificant.

What a difference a day makes.

Tonight at work there was a shoving match between fellow workers. A match witnessed by the two guys I immediately work with and who had to, horror of horrors in a union shop, bear witness against a brother (and a friend). Then two lift trucks (which is what I do) went bump in the night, sending one of the guys I work with to the nurse. A third driver was taken from the plant in an ambulance, heart attack or panic attack is the word.

All this happened in an half- hour, fourty-five minute interval. Afterwards, we noticed the night got warmer as if the earth had opened up and let the fires of hell out upon us.

I rest my head tonight a wiser, mildly chastened agnostic. 6606 was not the day from hell, but Beelzubub certainly had some fun today, and the boys on the dock are not amused.


Nice Smear

June 6th, 2006

You have to admire good work when you see it, even if it is a cheap drive by smear; From Greg Weston, Ottawa Sun:

The joke going around the local Parliament Hill watering hole is that the Conservatives are limiting their entire legislative agenda to only five priorities so they can keep their other hand free to drink.

Whatever its advantages for the thirsty and arithmetically challenged, Stephen harpers tightly focused agenda is also proving to be smart politics.

Greg has taken the ‘feud’ thing worse than most, and has demonstrated a positively diaper-rashy whine over the whole thing. But this is a beauty. Note the smears; the Tories aren’t smart, and they drink. Nicely wrapped up in one sentence.

The problem is two fold:

One Stephen Harper has a masters degree in economics, he can do math. Believe it. How well he knows the difference between an adverb and a pronoun, active voice and passive voice, who knows. But he can do math.

Second, isn’t it a little rich to be passing along a joke about other peoples drinking that you heard in a bar? As he passes this story along as first hand information, it seems fair to assume Greg Weston himself heard this joke in ‘the local Parliament Hill watering hole’. Can we assume Mr Weston had a few drinks while there?

So sitting having drinks with his other reporter buddies, Greg Weston heard a good one about how the Tories like to drink, and passed it along like it was news.

Nice Smear – lousy journalism, but nice smear.


June 6, 1944 – Juno Beach

June 5th, 2006

0100: 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion is dropped behind enemy lines to support the eastern flank and prevent the Germans from bringing up reinforcements.

0745: The first elements of the 3rd Canadian division begin their assault on “Mike sector”

0800: Regina Rifles secure beachead at Coursuelles in Mike sector.

0830: High seas delay the Queen’s Own Rifles from landing at “Nan sector.” The will have to run 183 metres of open beach to reach the seawall. Only a few men of the first company survive.

1030: Canadian commander sends the message “Beach-head gained. Well on our way to our immediate objectives”

1800: 1st Hussars take control of the Caen-Bayeux Highway. They are the only Allied unit to capture its planned final objective that day.

Witihin 24 hours Canadian units have advanced farther into France than any other unit. They are ordered to pull back because they are going too fast for the support units.

In all, casualties amounted to 574 dead and 340 wounded.

Some people tend to forget or overlook the contributions Canadian troops made. I tend to remind them.


Olivia Chow in Elections Canada Controversy

June 5th, 2006

Is there is trouble brewing for NDP MP, and wife of NDP leader Jack Layton? The Ottawa Citizen is reporting this morning that the Liberals have filed a complaint with Elections Canada:

The Liberal party has filed a complaint with the federal elections commissioner over thousands of last-minute voter registrations in the Toronto riding won by NDP MP Olivia Chow in the January election.

Unfortunately, the rest of the story is behind password protection, and I haven’t read it. But this one could be interesting, and I’ll keep an eye on it.

h/t HarpoBizzaro

Update: I have read the article in question, it appears in today’s National Post as well. There is no official knowledge of the details of the complaint, but it appears to be procedural. There is no report of voter fraud.

The problem seems to stem from areas that have large voter turnover, specicifically around the University of Toronto. When someone appears at a polling station to be registered, there are party scrutineers who may verify those refistrations. It seems theLiberals were not allowed to at some polling stations.

Again, at this time there is a Liberal compliaint about last minute voter registrations in Olivia Chow’s riding of Trinity-Spadina. The complaint appears to be about procedural issues with the Liberal party scrutineers not being allowed to do their job the way they think they should. At this time there is no allegations of fraud.

As stated before, I will keep an eye on this story.


Bear Spotted in Hespeler

June 5th, 2006
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For those of you not in the area, there has been a story running around the past few weeks about a bear on the loose. Spotted in Ayr about two weeks ago, this bear has been popping up all over Waterloo region. Last week police and conservation authorities closed Cambridge’s largest park after a sighting. The bear was not found, nor was any evidence of the bear found.

It has been a week and there has been no official sightings since. However, here in Hespeler there was a fun run/walk on Saturday and there was an unofficial sighting. Photographic evidence was made available thanks to Hespeler News:

Update: God bless the internet! Researching this story I came across a local news site Cambridge Now, which has a picture from last weeks bear sighting at the park:

Hey, we take our danger in stride here in Cambridge, don’t we?


Singles Scene Updated

June 3rd, 2006
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The next installment of the singles search has been added to my Singles Scene blog:

Fergus: This month I go on another road trip. A friend in Owen Sound has just had a baby so we pack the kids into the Caravan and head for a fall colours tour of the Beaver Valley, before settling in Owen Sound for the evening. Fortunately, we haven’t had time to pick up a baby gift; that means a stop at the Fergus Market is in order…

There are four piles of records here, 50 maybe 75 records per pile; it’s hard to tell as small piles hold a deceptively large number of singles. I quickly find a Paul Anka section and toss the idea of tossing this idea. After (Your) Havin’ my Baby I am not sure I ever want to hear Paul Anka again. …


More Same Sex Marriage

June 3rd, 2006

With the decision to re-up the debate on same-sex marriage, I find myself disagreeing with the need to do this. First it needs to be said they are not re-opening the SSM legislation, but debating re-opening the legislation. In other words, they will be deliberating whether they should be cogitating about SSM. This tells you how committed Stephen Harper really is to re-opening it: not very! The way this is set up, those in favour of same sex marriage will have two kicks at the can to stop rolling back present legislation.

For those worried that the SSM legislation will be rolled back, don’t. It’s going nowhere. This has far more to do with appeasing a vocal portion of the Conservative base. Also, it closes the book on the SSM question, so the next election the Conservatives can say they re-visited the idea and found it wanting, no point in going there again, already been approved by Parliament twice &tc. Much like how Harper handled SSM during the election, this is a case of get the issue out of the way then keep it out of the way. It’s not gays going in the closet, but Conservative policy.

You have to wonder, though, what kind of havoc a fall vote is going to wreak in Liberal ranks. The Libs will be in the middle of a leadership campaign, and much like the Afghanistan debate, voting for SSM is going to throw a grenade into the debate. Now the Liberals can publicly spill blood over moral issues, much like the Conservatives have done the past 15 years – who’s scary now? This probably explains why Harper is waiting for the fall session. Figure on late in the session, mere weeks before the December 2 -3 leadership convention in Montreal.

However, I do think this comes with risk. While it may be fun to watch Liberal leadership candidates campaign around this question, it has a much better chance of creating a rift in Conservative circles. There has already been a movement to defeat Conservative MPs at the local level if they aren’t on board with SSM, and it is a debate that is far more polarizing in Conservative circles.

Whatever the result, Stephen Harper has pretty much guaranteed that the fall session of Parliament will have some life to it.


"Say It Aint So." Joe

June 2nd, 2006

They called in the law to shut down the Youth for Joe Volpe (Volpay) website, a great spoof camapign site. They called them in, they shut it down, and just as quick, it popped back up.

Sorry about that Joe.


Classic Rock News

June 2nd, 2006
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Grand Funk Railroad founder Mark Farner is releasing a new solo album: For The People.

Mark goes by the handle the rock and roll patriot and is a big supporter of the US troops. He has made a song available for download, Same Ol’ Feelin. The song will be available until July 24th, when the CD is released.