Archive for December, 2008

Six-Hundred Jobs Axed at Sun Media

December 16th, 2008

I know what it’s like to worry for your job, so I have sympathy for the people at Sun media today:

It didn’t take long for Pierre-Karl Péladeau to assert himself at Sun Media.

… the Quebecor president announced 600 people will be laid off…

The company said in a statement that the cuts represent 10 per cent of Sun Media’s workforce

According to Toronto Sun Family the layoffs in Toronto include:

Ernest Doroszuk, Dave Abel, Dave Ellis, Calvin Reynolds, Debbie Holloway, Ken Winlaw, Jane Stevenson, Amy Chung, Jenny Yuen, Brynn Weese, Don Peat and Jason Buckland.

I have complained bitterly about The Sun of late, swearing off buying it at inflated out-of-town prices and have even called it “a deteriorating product.” It is, and names that stand out as to why aren’t on the list above.

Memo to Pierre-Karl Péladeau: the reason your “current economic environment is deteriorating,” has nothing to do with Jane Stevenson or Debbie Holloway. You need to look further up the chain of command to names like Paul Berton and Rob Granatstein if you want to have a chance to staunch the bleeding.

Update: Pierre-Karl Peladeau, along with Erik Peladeau, Jean Neveu and Jean La Couture have resigned from the Quebecor board.

Further Update: I finally got this whole Quebecor thing figured out. There are two branches to Quebecor, Quebecor World Inc. and Quebecor Inc. Quebecor used to be one company, but they have split into two. Quebecor World is the printing side of the former company, Quebecor the newspaper side. Pierre-Karl Peladeau resigned from the board of the printing company, but remains on the board, and in charge, of the newspaper side of things. Erik Peladeau, Jean Neveu and Jean La Couture also resigned from Quebecor World Inc., the printing arm of the company.

The resignations have, as far as I can tell, no effect on the running of the Quebeecor Inc. newspaper holdings, including the Sun newspapers.

…ier: More names added to the list of employees gone from the Toronto Sun lineup, including
money editor Linda Leatherdale, entertainment desk editor Derek Tse and new music critic Jason MacNeil. Leatherdale in particular is a big name. Full list of Toronto Sun employees let go is here.

Nod to readers of the Toronto Sun Family Blog, which is doing a remarkable job of covering this story. For further updates on the bloodletting at the Sun, they are, far and away, the best source for news.

Media doesn't matter

The Story of EI and the Auto Industry.

December 16th, 2008

The last few weeks a couple of things have happened. One is that the Parliamentary opposition, including the Michael Ignatieff led Liberals, have screamed for stimulus, in large part to the auto industry. Another is the Supreme Court ruled that the Liberal run Government of Canada of the 2002, 2003 and 2005 illegally rolled Employment Insurance surpluses into general revenues.

The two stories are connected.

Many years ago the unions negotiated a benefit called Supplementary Unemployment Benefit (SUB). It is, in essence, a guaranteed income supplement, that promises the company will top up EI funds to 85% of the workers wage. Back when it was negotiated it meant a small weekly stipend for the company during lean times and they could maintain their work force for good times.

As an example, the first time I wound up on temporary lay-off, EI (or UIC as it was then called) sent me a cheque for something in the $400’s, SUB for less than $100 ($85 I think).

In the 90’s Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government revamped the Unemployment system, making it more expensive, harder to access and with a decrease in benefits. As an example, somebody who collects EI two years in a row must repay 15% the second, and every subsequent year. When announcing the changes to EI, Finance Minister Paul Martin talked about companies using EI to supplement their workforce.

The result is predictable and generally what was desired. If I get laid off now, the EI cheque is still in the $400’s, the SUB cheque for an amount greater than the EI cheque. Furthermore, it didn’t take long for the unions to argue that the 15% claw-back meant the employees were making less than 85%, and the companies began reimbursing it.

The result is that for the auto companies to temporarily lay-off their work force for re-tooling or inventory adjustment, it now costs them somewhere in the neighbourhood, and probably in excess of, 50% of the employees wage.

I don’t present this as evidence for or against the SUB plans. They are a reality in the automotive industry and the companies themselves used the plans to supplement their labour costs when cyclical demand for their product was low. Paul Martin balanced the budget in part by illegally using the Employment Insurance fund as a tax revenue, and he did so partly on the back of the auto companies, who every party now seems to agree need a bailout. When the companies you built policy on ten years ago can get an all party consensus that they need bailed-out a decade on, your legacy takes a hit.

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.

Auto Industry, CAW

A Christmas Story, in thirty seconds

December 16th, 2008

A Child’s Christmas in Wales

December 15th, 2008
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…by Dylan Thomas

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero’s garden, waiting for cats, with her son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their eyes. The wise cats never appeared.

We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows – eternal, ever since Wednesday – that we never heard Mrs. Prothero’s first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or, if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor’s polar cat. But soon the voice grew louder.
“Fire!” cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong.

And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room.

Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, “A fine Christmas!” and smacking at the smoke with a slipper.

“Call the fire brigade,” cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong.
“There won’t be there,” said Mr. Prothero, “it’s Christmas.”
There was no fire to be seen, only clouds of smoke and Mr. Prothero standing in the middle of them, waving his slipper as though he were conducting.
“Do something,” he said. And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke – I think we missed Mr. Prothero – and ran out of the house to the telephone box.
“Let’s call the police as well,” Jim said. “And the ambulance.” “And Ernie Jenkins, he likes fires.”

But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on. Nobody could have had a noisier Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim’s Aunt, Miss. Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said, “Would you like anything to read?”

Read the rest here


Whew! What a Week!

December 14th, 2008

It’s been a great week here at Home in Hespeler. Last Sunday I posted that I had finished writing the NaNoWriMo novel. It was my hope that writing the novel in a tight time frame would kick start some writing, and that this blog would be the beneficiary. It did, and it is.

On Monday I posted a three-year blogiversary post, which prompted he Mayor of Mitchieville to offer me a cabinet position. Being the good politician he is, he then put me on the back bench. No complaints here, though. I’m pleased to be included in such an illustrious list.

While writing the three year post, I noticed I had added the Picture of the Day feature just three days into starting the blog. So on Thursday, I wrote a post, Three Years in Pictures. I linked to many of the pictures of the day, and re-showed nine of them. One of them caught the attention of James Bow, of The Waterloo Wellington Bloggers Association, who wanted to post the picture as one of the Associations banner images. Pleased? I was downright chuffed, and still am. Here’s the picture in question, titled Walk in the Woods over at WWBA, but technically titled Bridge Over River Grand.

The same day, I began my push for a Senate seat, which is going very well, thank you very much. The Facebook group dedicated to the cause, Brian Gardiner for Senate, has over a dozen members, some not even family. Stop by and join, lets keep the movement going so Stephen Harper can’t ignore the populist candidate, who might be out of a job soon anyway.

Saturday at 10:21 AM, At Home in Hespeler passed the 50,000 visitor mark. Somewhat pathetic for a three year run, but with the numbers I’ve had this week, I could hit 100,000 in another six months. (click on image, right, for full size)

That’s a pretty good week, yet today I woke up to the highest honour I have ever received as a blogger. Late last night I sat penning the regular feature, The Freedom of Music. This weeks music was a couple of new Christmas songs, including Mark Steyn (yes that Mark Steyn) and Jessica Martin’s A Marshmallow World. I date stamped it for an 8:00AM posting, and crawled off to bed, visions of marshmallow dancing in my head (and lets be honest, what is a marshmallow but a cooked sugar plum). I woke this morning to find Mark Steyn had pulled a quote from me to promote the song. Mark Steyn linked here. I’ll make it a tourist attraction (Thank God I finally figured out how to spell his name). Here’s the quote:

In Boston WTKK’s Michael Graham calls the CD “terrific”, but Brian complains: “This song has infested my brain.”

It doesn’t get much better than that. What a week. Wonder if I can do it again next week?

Blog Administration

Picture of the Day: A Christmas Tradition: Humiliating the Dog

December 14th, 2008

The Freedom of Music: Novelty Christmas Circa 2008

December 14th, 2008
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.

Rush – Spirit of Radio.

Christmas always brings with it novelty songs. Whether it’s Irish Rovers singing about Grandmas and Reindeer, or Bruce Springsteen warning of Santa Claus’s imminent arrival. Corey Harts Rudolph phase or anybody and everybody going for a Sleigh Ride, Christmas is littered with music that would never get made otherwise. It is one of the things I love about Christmas.

This year is like any other with a plethora of new Christmas music, whether your taste runs to Melissa Etheridge, Faith Hill or Cheryl Crow there’s a Christmas CD for you. Sadly, this year seems to lack the heavy metal title to make it interesting, unlike 2006’s Twisted Sister entry into the canon.

This years more interesting Christmas music are of the single song variety. There are two, specifically, that have caught my attention this year. Two songs that sit at the opposite end of the musical spectrum, as different as the Pogues and Bing Crosby (although the Pogues probably did a song with Bing Crosby at some point; everyone else certainly seems to have done). In fact, my two favourites from 2008 are being compared to The Pogues/Kirsty Mccall and Bing Crosby.

The first I heard about on a gossip mailer I get called Popbitch. They referred to the new Cyndi Lauper and The Hives song, A Christmas Duel, thus:

This week we are listening to Xmas songs:

1. The Hives v Cyndi Lauper:
The new Kirsty MacColl/Pogues?

For those unfamiliar, The Pogues song being referred to it is Fairytale of New York, a wonderful song that blends wonderfully the romance of Christmas, New York City and those old Bing Crosby movies with punk sensibilities, a verse full of insults and an opening stanza that occurs in a drunk tank. A deft bit of writing and a magical performance have made it a Christmas favourite among the under 50 set.

The Hives v Cyndi Lauper on the other hand, is just a song of two people fighting. A load of insults, some sexual innuendo, an unapologetic drunk and a death threat finished off with a promise to “spend-spend-spend this Christmas together.” A different take on Christmas it certainly is; the best thing Cyndi Lauper has done since, well ever, very possibly (What is it with the Brits anyway? If you were a Minor celebrity once, 20 years ago, you’re a celebrity forever?); The new Kirsty MacColl/Pogues? Not a chance.

All that said, it’s listenable, it’s fun and it has one of the all time great lines in song:

So whatever you say, it’s all fine by me
Who the f@#k anyway wants a Christmas tree.

So I’ll take it, I’ll listen to it with a sly smile, and I’ll turn it off when my mother-in-law walks in the room. But it’s no Fairytale of New York.

The second song comes from a different world altogether. Canada’s Conservative savant, Mark Steyn has teamed up with comedienne Jessica Martin in a duet of A Marshmallow World. The 1949 song originally popularized by Bing Crosby has induced MacLean’s magazine to call Steyn, “the new Bing Crosby.” It’s a fun song, a catchy ditty and Steyn is an alright singer, for a writer. In truth, it’s enjoyable because of the spirit of the thing more so than the singing talents of Mark Steyn (Jessica Martin on the other hand is not a bad singer).

I offer fair warning, however. This song has infested my brain and it won’t shut up. If you want to go around between now and Dec 25th with Mark Steyn warbling “It’s a marshmallow wooooorld,” incessantly playing in your head, by all means blow $0.99 on the MP3. Although it has been noted I seem in an awfully good mood the past few days: don’t say you weren’t warned.

Christmas, The Freedom of Music, This Week on my I-Pod

That Pompous Igghead

December 13th, 2008
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In the news in the last week, the release of some tapes by the Nixon Library of conversations prior to a Dec 6, 1971 between then President Nixon and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. It is the same meeting after which Nixon famously (and perceptively) referred to Trudeau as a “pompous egghead.”

The same week, several commentators were comparing current Prime Minister Stephen Harper with Richard Nixon.

Finally, this week the Liberals anointed Michael Ignatieff to be their fearless one. Some have even go so far as to compare Ignatieff to Trudeau.

At Home in Hespeler looks forward to the day when Stephen Harper refers to Michael Ignatieff as a “pompous igghead.”

Pompous Igghead

Saturday Fluffernutter: Jennifer Aniston in nothing but a tie; Cherie Currie in bustier; Bettie Page (1923 – 2008)

December 13th, 2008
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Saturday Fluffernutter – all the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities.

I spent the better part of a week in the summer of 1977 in the back seat of a white Thunderbird with black vinyl roof going to Florida and back. For entertainment I had dad’s really lousy radio stations, and a Cream magazine. I read and re-read Lisa Robinson’s account of Led Zeppelin’s 1977 tour, a review on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers upcoming debut album, and a story on a hot new girl band, The Runaways. Joan Jett at 16 (remember, I was 14), Lita Ford, and the gorgeous Cherie Currie fronting the band in bustier and stockings. That was a long drive.

Now comes word that those Runaway days will be immortalized on celluloid with a 2009 movie adaptation of the bands success. Twilight star Kristen Stewart is slated to play Joan Jett, who is listed as an executive producer.

Jay Leno has agreed to do a show at 10:00 every weeknight after he stops hosting the Late Show next spring. This means NBC is out of the one-hour drama game, and into the sucking up to Jay game. It was announced previously that Conan O’Brien would replace Leno in the spring. Leno had previously announced his retirement, but has since decided that he would rather stick around. There were rumours that he was going to do a show for rival ABC. We’ll let Leno tell the rest:

Those were rumours started by a disgruntled employee – me.

Like I said, NBC is now officially in the sucking up to Jay game.

Jennifer Aniston, 40 and looking great, has appeared on the cover of this months GQ magazine wearing nothing but a tie. Let me repeat for the men: Nothing-But-A-Tie.

New Rule on the Britney Spears tour if your a back-up dancer – mandatory drug tests. That’s right, the constitutional right to drug test employees, which was once a point of debate for fire fighters, large equipment operators and others on whose job performance the lives of others depended, is now being applied to dancer: Britney Spears.

Because if a dancer falls doing a spin-a-rama, look out!

Bettie Page (1923 – 2008). Betty Page was an original it girl, a 1950’s sex bomb, pin up of the kind Jennifer Aniston aspires to be. She passed this week at the age of 85. For a true memorial from a real fan, my old friend Wonder Woman did a fabulous tribute. And the Bettie Page Memorial Site is a treasure trove for those who are interested.

Britney, Fluffernutter

My Bid For Senate

December 12th, 2008

What are the actual qualifications for Senate? you might ask. Here’s the list:

The Governor General appoints senators on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. To qualify for a summons to the Senate, the nominee must:

• be a Canadian citizen;

• be at least 30 years of age;

• own $4,000 of equity in land in the home province or territory;

• have a personal net worth of at least $4,000; and

• live in the home province or territory.

Canadian Citizen – check

At least 30 years of age – check and then some

Own $4,000 in equity of land in the home province – check

Net worth of $4,000 – check

Live in Province (Ontario) – check

Prime Minister, my bags are packed I am ready to serve at your leisure.

If you’re on facebook, join the group Brian Gardiner for Senate. I figure if I get 50 – 100 people the Prime Minister who swears he wants a democratically elected Senate can hardly ignore such an outcry from the people.

At Home in the senate

My Case for a Senate Seat

December 12th, 2008

Much like winning an Oscar or a Cy Young Award, to be considered for a Senate seat a person usually has to wage an internal campaign for their red velvet chair. With that in mind:

why should I be a senator?
Let me count the ways…

I have a degree in economics.

I earned my degree while working full-time, shift work. Over much of the time I was doing my university work, I was working 48 hours a week and had two infants/toddlers at home. I understand the struggle people have to get ahead and I’m not afraid of work.

On the other hand, if you think that makes me overqualified for Senate work, I’m a lazy autoworker.

I could play guitar, acoustic or electric, lead or rhythm, bass and/or mandolin in the Senate band.

The blogging community is under-represented in the Senate.

The government is about to hand billions of dollars to the auto industry, shouldn’t there be someone in some capacity within government who’s actually been on the floor of an auto assembly plant?

I can multi-task (see above)

The Senate is a chamber of sober second thought; upon sobering up I often have second thoughts.

I’m computer literate (everybody puts this on their resume).

It would drive Buzz Hargrove nuts seeing a CAW member not named Buzz get the job.


Update: Phantom Observer makes a point: excluding grammar (and speeling),  I have written nothing on this blog that is indefensible.  

Welcome to the race Chucker Canuck

At Home in the senate

The Toronto Sun’s Headlines…

December 12th, 2008
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Are apparently now being written by Achmed the Dead Terrorist.


At Home in Hespeler for Senate

December 11th, 2008

Prime Minister.

Since it looks like you are going to be appointing a number of Senators in the next month, I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring. You see, I work for Chrysler, so it seems likely I will need a job soon. Don’t think of it as patronage, think of it as one less auto worker on EI. But, of course you ask, why me?

Well, Mr. Harper…. Stephen… Good buddy…

First, consider it repaying a favour. You see, it was I who got you your present job in the first place. As I pointed out then:

Back in November when the election was called, you sat at 28%-30% in the polls, a full 10 points behind Mr. Martin. On December 8th, I began “At Home in Hespeler“, and soon thereafter your fortunes began to rise. … Stephen, Mr. Prime Minister, Sir, it wasn’t until I got in the game, and I got comfortable and found my blogging voice that your numbers improved. Today, you are the Right Honourable.

And then there’s all the advice I have provided:

Well since the CBC, Dalton Mcguinty, David Miller and a cabal of detractors feel entitled to give you advice, so shall I. If you are smart you would print it out, take it to the P.A.M.S. Coffee outlet in Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre. Throw in a couple of bucks and you’ll be good for a White Chocolate Mocha Latte, which is truly excellent on one of those cold Ottawa winter days.

I trust you enjoyed your coffee.

Lets not forget that we are old friends you and I. When we met, I didn’t bother you with pesky questions about policy, about Arctic Sovereignty or Free trade, I enquired about the family. (Took some heat for that too, but what am I supposed to ask in thirty seconds?)

Anyway Stephen… Steve. I might just need a job, and you might just have a job, seems like a good fit. I have worked 20 years in “the real world,” showing up for work rain or snow. I’ll not embarrass you by not coming to work. I even like Ottawa.

So Mr. Prime Minister, return a favour here, and consider At Home in Hespeler for a senate seat.

At Home in the senate

Human Rights Day in Canada

December 11th, 2008
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Mark Steyn had a piece yesterday on the UN’s Human Rights Day, and points out a bunch of human rights that Canadians celebrating this UN-est of days don’t want you to have:

Today is Human Rights Day, the day that commemorates the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights exactly 60 years ago – December 10th 1948. To be honest, I had no great interest in a day dedicated to human rights until agencies of the Canadian state started trying to deprive me of mine, and any professed respect in this space for the UN Declaration is, frankly, largely tactical…

Article 6
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Not in Canada. Chief Commissar Barbara Hall of the Ontario “Human Rights” Commission pronounced Maclean’s and me guilty without troubling herself to hear from the accused or to allow us to appear before her “court”.

Article 7
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

Not in Canada. Under Section 13, wealthy lawyers such as Richard Pieman and lavishly endowed lobby groups can sue penniless nonentities unable to afford any legal representation at all, while the plaintiffs get their tab picked up by the taxpayers.

Article 8
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Not in Canada. There is no “effective remedy” for Section 13’s sustained violation of the supposed constitutional right to free expression.

Article 10
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal…

Not in Canada. The “human rights” tribunal is not impartial but a de facto subsidiary of the “human rights” commission, which is why there has never been a single Section 13 case to come before the Canadian “Human Rights” Tribunal in which the defendant has been acquitted.

Article 11
1. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

Not in Canada. Under Section 13, there is no presumption of innocence. Indeed, there is a presumption of guilt, and truth is no defence. Nor has a defendant any of “the guarantees necessary for his defence”. There is no due process at all. The rules are arbitrary and, as I saw first-hand in Vancouver, improvised on the spot to favour the plaintiff.

Article 12
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Not in Canada. In Ontario, the law attacks your “honour and reputation”, as Commissar Hall did when, despite being too gutless to hold a trial, she declared me and Maclean’s to be racist and “Islamophobic”. Furthermore, under the new powers foolishly granted to her by the Government of Ontario, Commissar Hall’s stormtroopers have the right to enter your premises without a warrant, seize “any document or thing” (as the relevant legislation puts it), including correspondence, and hold it for as long as they want.

Article 18
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought…

Ha! Tell it to Reverend Stephen Boissoin, ordered by the Province of Alberta to make a public statement recanting his thoughts on homosexuality, and prevented by law from ever expressing them again even in private e-mails.

Article 19
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Not in Canada. You have the right to government-regulated opinion and expression, which isn’t the same thing at all.

Article 21
2. Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

Not in Canada. The Dominion’s “human rights” regimes service a select number of favoured “stakeholders” and ignore those who don’t meet their approved criteria. In effect, the CHRC runs a restricted admission country club.

Article 27
2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Not in Canada. At the British Columbia “Human Rights” Tribunal, not only does the law not protect the “moral and material interests” of the author, it puts them on trial and accords itself the right, if necessary, to criminalize his work.

Got all that? That’s 11 fundamental human rights that Canada doesn’t enjoy. And whoops, didn’t he miss one?:

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.

I’ve been bitching about this one since Paul Martin started ranting about cherry picking human rights, i.e. you couldn’t deny the newly invented human right of gays to be married, but you could deny the fundamental human right, according to the UN, of owning private property. Or as I put it at the time:

Rights are fundamental and cannot be cherry-picked or they are not. Property rights has been clearly spelled out in international law, so why are you against it? And even if you are against it, why have you not legislated it? Why is it not one of your priorities? Why are you cherry-picking this fundamental right?

I imagine celebrations of human rights day was somewhat muted in Canada!

human rights

Never Mind the Auto Industry…

December 11th, 2008

…how screwed up is the music biz?

Local sports fans are all knickery-twisty over some poor girl who sang the national anthem at last Sundays more money than brains bowl at the Rogers Centre, nee Skydome, nee the place where tax dollars go to die.

So who is this girl anthem butcher?

Rising Canadian pop star Kreesha Turner…

OK, hot young up and comer. Good. So what happened Sunday?

The 23-year-old Edmontonian… had never sang in front of a large crowd.

The singer, “Known for her hit song Don’t call Me Baby,” had never sang for a large crowd? How then did she become a “pop star?” No dues, no bashing it out in front of real audiences before somebody sank money into her career?

Next time the recording industry steps up to the whine bar over the trouble their industry is in, remember the name Kreesha Turner, an untested mediocrity who they packaged and branded as a star before she’s ever played in front of a large audience.