Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bob MacDonald RIP

When Sun columnist Bob MacDonald passed away on the weekend, Canada lost a true champion of freedom.

Back in the late 1970s most of the Canadian media was enthralled with the left-wing vision of Pierre Trudeau, but not MacDonald.

With the tenacity of a bulldog, MacDonald blasted Trudeau’s socialist policies and especially his appeasement of the Soviet Union.

It was a view that very much reflected the opinions of Colin M. Brown, the late founder of the National Citizens Coalition.

In fact, one time Colin ran a NCC newspaper ad that simply reproduced one of MacDonald’s more biting columns headlined: “Trudeau, Communist Comrade.”

And while Bob’s passing is sad, at least he lived long enough to see the collapse of the Soviet Empire he detested so much.

It was Bob, not Trudeau who was on the right side of history.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Where's the Duke when you need him

Have you heard about this movie Valley of the Wolves?

It’s a Turkish made film that makes the American military in Iraq out to be the bad guys.

Nothing so unusual about that I suppose.

But what is strange is that the movie stars two Americans --- Billy Zane and Gary Busey.

Zane plays a villainous and sadistic U.S. military officer, while Busey plays a Jewish doctor who harvests the organs of Arabs which he then sells on the black market.

Even Michael Moore might think that’s a stretch.

Apparently this movie is doing great business in Turkey and in Germany, so Hollywood probably won’t be far behind with a copycat.

How about Passion of the Osma Bin Laden?

Somewhere John Wayne is turning over in his grave.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Court Rules Against Freedom In Workplace

It looks like union bosses are cracking the whip when it comes to disciplining workers who choose to cross picket lines.

That’s not so shocking.

What is shocking is that the courts are helping them do it.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice Small Claims is ordering four members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada to pay the union thousands of dollars in fines.

PSAC imposed the fines because the workers dared to cross the picket line during a 2004 federal strike.

This is the first time a union in Ontario has levied such a fine.

And it likely won’t be the last.

It’s all pretty depressing.

It’s bad enough workers are forcibly unionized and compelled to pay union dues against their will, but now the courts are saying they don’t even have the right to cross a picket line.

Whatever happened to notions like democracy and freedom?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Double Monopoly No Game

So it looks like public sector union boss Sid Ryan isn’t going to hit Ontario with an illegal strike.

He probably finally realized that Ontarians wouldn’t look too kindly on him for pulling the plug on government services over an issue that is convoluted at best.

Yet his posturing is another timely reminder as to why we need to change the system.

And when I say “change the system”, I mean we need to end the “Double Monopoly” which gives union bosses like Ryan so much power.

And when I say “Double Monopoly” I mean the government has a monopoly on certain public services and public sector unions have a monopoly on the supply of labour for those services.

Hence every time a public union wants to pick a fight with the government they have the power to hold Ontarians hostage.

The solution is to end the monopoly.

That means whenever possible, government services should be contracted out or privatized.

It’s the only way to stop the Sid Ryans of the world from abusing their power.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Free the Lively Seven

The National Citizens Coalition has placed a large ad in the Sudbury Star today to help raise awareness about the plight of seven female employees who work at a bank in Lively Ontario.

The women, dubbed The Lively Seven, are fighting against an attempt by the United Steelworkers of America to unionize them against their will.

The Lively Seven also believe the unionization drive was marked by questionable union high-pressure tactics.

Originally they thought the Canadian Industrial Relations Board would help them.

But no.

The CIRB sided with the union bosses and approved the forced unionization without even giving the Lively Seven a reason.

So, with the help of the NCC, The Lively Seven are taking their battle for free association to court.

This is a fight about democracy and freedom in the workplace.

You can learn more about their courageous battle here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Post-Election Musings

I just got back from a Board of Trade “Special Breakfast” meeting.

Now I usually just attend these things for the breakfast, but sometimes you can get some interesting tidbits of political information.

Like today, for instance, Greg Lyle from the Innovative Research Group gave a presentation on the current political scene in Canada.

Lyle has been doing some post-election polling and he says the number one thing Canadians expected from the new Conservative government was a more ethical approach to government.

Then came the Emerson affair. Oops.

But actually according to Lyle the Emerson floor crossing didn’t hurt the Tories too much. In fact, Lyle’s poll shows the Tories with the support of 35 percent of Canadians, which is pretty much where they were on election night.

After the first two weeks in office 30 percent of Canadians, says the Lyle poll, think the Tories are dong worse than expected, 11 percent think they are doing better than expected and 40 percent think they are doing exactly as expected, while 17 percent think it’s too early to tell.

Lyle says if the Tories want to get any traction over the next few weeks they should stick to issues which play to their strength: improving relations with the US; cutting the GST; battling crime.

And speaking of the Liberals, Lyle says the people who poll best for their next leader – McKenna, Tobin, Rock – aren’t running.

Of those who might run, Michael Ignatieff has the best numbers but they are not that great.

There was a bunch of other stuff discussed but that’s about all I was able to comprehend so early in the morning.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Unsure Leads Liberal Race

According to a recent SES poll of Ontario voters here are the leading contenders to take over the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada:

Unsure 28%

Ken Dryden 14%

Bob Rae 12%

Michael Ignatieff 12%

Belinda Stronach 11%

Frank McKenna 7%

Brian Tobin 7%

Anne McLellan 4%

Joe Volpe 3%

Martin Cauchon 1%

Other 2%

To me this list makes perfect sense --Unsure should be the leading candidate by a wide margin.

After all the Liberals are unsure about how to make government honest; they are unsure about how to repair relations with the United States; they are unsure about how they are going to win votes in Quebec.

So Unsure should win the leadership race in a walk.

But watch out for the dark horse candidate: Other.

Choice for Parents

Up until grade eight, I attended Catholic schools.

That means in addition to learning the three R’s I also learned how to be a good Catholic.

I learned how to practice the seven sacraments, I learned the importance of going to Mass and I learned how to feel guilty when I didn’t practice the sacraments or go to Mass.

Of course, the only reason I could get this important religious instruction is that Ontario has a separate government-funded school system for Catholics.

But other religions don’t have such a choice. Parents from other faiths have to either send their kids to public schools or pay for private religious schools.

And that never seemed right to me.

Why are Catholics so special, other than the fact that we invented meatless Fridays, St. Patrick’s Day and the Inquisition?

Well now things might be changing.

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives are promising to offer fiscal help to parents who send their kids to religious schools – perhaps in the form of a direct subsidy.

This is, I think, a good move. It’s a fair move.

But no doubt it will raise howls of outrage from the Liberal government and from the teachers’ unions who all hate the idea of giving parents a little more choice.

It’s the old “popcorn and beer” argument: “Parents can’t make the right decisions for their kids. Only union bosses and politicians know what’s right.”

Well Canadians are becoming less and less convinced that union bosses and politicians do have all the answers. Whether it’s in health care or education or what they watch on TV, Canadians want more power to make their own decisions.

That’s why the Ontario Tories are on the right track.

I only wish they would extend their subsidy plan to include all independent schools.

The more choice the better.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Hayek vs. Hayek

In two weeks time I will be attending a Liberty Fund seminar in Vancouver.

It’s going to be a pretty highbrow get together. One of the things we will be discussing at this event, for instance, is the works of Friederich Hayek, noted Austrian free-market economic thinker.

Now I am reluctant to admit this, but I have never read any of Hayek’s works. It’s not that I have anything against Hayek, it’s just that I’m not really into this philosophic stuff.

Or to put it another way, I’m not smart enough to understand any of it.

Luckily wonkitties has come to the rescue and pointed me to a site that might help me to understand this great man better.

Or maybe not.

Let's Get Productive

I wasn’t feeling particularly productive yesterday, so I decided to check out a Fraser Institute lecture on productivity.

And I’m glad I went, as Jason Clemens from the Institute gave an interesting talk on a subject that needs a whole lot more discussing.

Clemens notes that unless we improve our productivity – we seriously lag behind the United States and several other countries in this department – Canada’s standard of living will fall.

And that’s something that should concern all Canadians of all political stripes – including socialists.

After all, if our productivity continues to drop, it means we won’t be able to pay for all those wonderful social programs so near and dear to the left.

So how can we improve productivity?

Well, says Clemens, we can do one of two things: work harder or work smarter.

Working harder means putting in more overtime, which is not that appealing to me at least.

Working smarter, on the other hand, means the government must cut taxes – especially those taxes which inhibit investment and risk taking: income taxes, capital gains taxes, corporate taxes.

By the way, Clemens was not crazy about the Conservative government’s plan to cut the GST because he says it won’t increase productivity.

Maybe not.

But it should make me a bit more productive when I go shopping.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Reason for Hope

Sometimes it’s pretty hard to stay cheery.

Especially these days with all that’s going on in the world around us.

* Murderous mobs are on the rampage because of cartoons.

* A Hitler wannabe in Iran is about to arm himself with nuclear weapons.

* Killer chickens are spreading a pandemic all over the globe.

* Brad and Jen will likely never get together again.

To make matters worse we are smack dab in the middle of February the dreariest winter month of them all.

That’s why God in his infinite wisdom invented the concept of Major League Spring Training.

It’s His way of telling us that no matter how gloomy or sad we may be today, baseball and spring are just around the corner.

And that’s got to give all a little bit of hope.

Except for Cubs fans of course.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hope for the Liberals?

A tip of the hat to Adam Daifallah for pointing out some comments made by newly elected Liberal MP Michael Ignatieff.

Ignatieff says it’s time for the Liberals to drop their favorite ploy: Anti-Americanism.

“We’ve got to stop this trite and shallow anti-Americanism”, says Ignatieff.

He also called the Liberal election ads an “insult to the intelligence of the Canadian voter.”

Wow.

Originally I didn’t much care for Ignatieff because of my own bias against intellectuals.

But maybe I was wrong.

Of course, I’m not going to endorse him to be Liberal leader or anything; for a Liberal that would be the kiss of death.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentines Day

I would like to wish my beautiful wife Patti a Happy Valentines Day!!

For some reason she has put up with me for 18 years for which I am eternally grateful and happy.

Now if only I can get her to like my blog site as much as she likes Andrew Coyne’s.

Me on STIMedia

Greg Staples over at Political Staples has come up with a new website called STIMedia which stands for Staples Internet Media.

It’s a great site that features Greg’s podcast commentaries as well as interviews with pundits and newsmakers.

In fact, I was honoured when Greg asked me to be his first interviewee.

You can hear it here.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Buzz Sawed

Well it looks like Buzz Hargrove is now a man without a party.

The NDP pulled an angry housewife routine and kicked Buzz out of the socialist house on the weekend to punish him for flirting with the Liberal Party during the last election.

Poor Buzz, what’s he going to do now?

Well it seems the answer is obvious: he should run for the leadership of the Liberal Party.

No seriously, if Buzz became Liberal leader it would be a win for everybody.

Buzz would get a new Party; the Liberals would solidify the move to the Left they have been making for the past year; and the Conservatives would enjoy uninterrupted rule for the next 100 years.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Prof Takes On Gag Law

Professor Filip Palda (H/T Paul Tuns) masterfully dissects the federal election gag law in the latest Fraser Forum.

He puts the whole question in economic terms, arguing that gag laws “restrict competition and enshrine the power of existing parties in ways that free market aspirants to monopoly can only dream about.”

To Palda this hits at the very core of our democratic system.

“Canada’s future,” he writes, “is not a matter we must delegate to parties. Canada’s future is a question which all citizens must be allowed to debate.”

Let’s hope the new Conservative government is listening.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Don't Offend Me

The MSM in Canada has collectively decided not to reprint certain controversial cartoons for fear of offending certain people.

Well in the interest of fairness it seems to me the media should also refrain from taking actions which I happen to find offensive.

After all, while I don’t go around burning down embassies or threatening to behead people or anything, I also have feelings.

So to all you media people out there, here is a list of things I want banned:

* Anything done by filmmaker Michael Moore

* Linda McQuaig’s columns

* Stories that refer to “terrorists” as “militants”.

* Any “reality” TV show

* The CBC

* Depictions of free market philosophy as “scary” or “extremist”

* Blatant anti-Americanism

* Blatant anti-Semitism disguised as blatant anti-Americanism

* TV shows where the bad guy is inevitably a “greedy land developer”

* Toronto Star editorials

And please don't say I’m advocating censorship; I’m just echoing Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay who said “Freedom of expression is a legally enshrined principle in Canada, but it must be exercised responsibly.”

And apparently that means you can’t offend anybody, and I’m definitely an anybody.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Free Advice for Tories

Attention all you deep thinkers in the Conservative Party (Yes I know you read this blog)

You need to know that some of your antics --- Emerson, canceling a privatization in BC, wimping out on Islamic violence – are alienating your base.

Remember your base?

They are the people who stuck by you all those years when you were wandering around the political wilderness. They are the people who voted for you and helped you win the election.

And right now they are angry.

In fact, here at the National Citizens Coalition our phones are ringing off the hook. Our supporters are upset, confused and disillusioned. They want to know what the Conservatives think they are doing.

Here’s an email I got from an NCC supporter in response to a blog I wrote where I wondered if I was too hard on Stephen Harper for all this:

“No I don't think you were too hard on Stephen Harper. His debut was inauspicious at best. Then we read that he abandoned the notion of privatizing some northern Crown corporation at the advice of David Emerson. Then we get Peter MacKay's silly imitation of Pettigrew with his lame and coy defence of free speech while urging tolerance for the intolerant amongst us. Whatever happened to our Stephen of NCC days?”
Ok Harper has been PM for less than a week. So maybe we are all over-reacting a bit. Maybe we should cut him some slack and see where he goes in the next few weeks and months.

But one thing the Tories need to understand is this: they can’t take the conservative vote for granted.

Canadian conservatives want change not more of the same and they won’t tolerate a betrayal of their principles.

If you Deep Conservative Party thinkers don’t learn this quickly, your party will end up less popular than the Danish ambassador at a Jihadist convention.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cabinet Misses

Since the federal Conservative cabinet is apparently open to non-Conservatives and to unelected appointees, I wonder how the Prime Minister missed naming these obvious candidates:

NDP leader Jack Layton – He certainly has enough experience to be in cabinet. In fact, he ran the last government.

Union boss Buzz Hargrove – Buzz did so much for the Conservatives in the election he deserved the reward.

Former PM Jean Chr├ętien – Being in cabinet might have eased the withdrawal pains he’s no doubt experiencing now that he can no longer dip into the public trough.

Liberal MP Belinda Stronach – Hey with what’s going on in Ottawa these days, why not?

Toronto Star columnist Linda McQuaig – Not only would her appointment increase the number of women in cabinet it would also relieve me from having to read her columns.

Of course these people missed out this time but hey there’s always the next cabinet shuffle.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

High Expectations

Maybe I was being too hard on Stephen Harper and the Conservatives for the whole David Emerson turn-coat routine.

Yesterday I thought Emerson’s defection to the Tories was an act of gross political opportunism.

But on sober second thought maybe the government is just giving the people what they want.

The voters, after all, had no problem returning famous floor-crossers Belinda Stronach and Scott Brison to Parliament.

And other smart political observers whom I respect are making good cases as to why the Emerson switch is not such a big deal.

See here and here.

What’s more the whole thing will probably blow over in a few weeks when the media begins to focus on other crucial issues such as whether or not Jen and Brad will ever get back together again.

So maybe the problem is me and my goofy high expectations.

All I know is that the Tories had better start introducing some strong policies to make government more accountable and more honest.

Then maybe I will forgive them for this faltering start.

Update:

I am going to be on Mike Duffy Live, tonight at about 5:25 PM EST to discuss Senate reform.

Update:

Mike Duffy just cancelled me!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Political Tragedy

Well it didn’t take long for the game of musical political chairs to begin.

David Emerson, who a few weeks ago was ardently determined to stop Stephen Harper and his “scary” agenda, is now happily sitting in the Harper cabinet!

I guess Harper wasn’t so scary after all.

It just goes to show how politics has become like theatre and our politicians like actors.

As Shakespeare might say they strut and fret their hour upon the political stage, all sound and fury but in the end signifying nothing -- nothing but political opportunism.

Of course, I understand why the Harper Tories were willing to take Emerson in.

They now have a Vancouver MP in government; they bolster their minority in the House; they have a proven and experienced cabinet member.

But the Tories were supposed to put political principle ahead of political expediency.

What a shame.

This has all the makings of a Shakespearian tragedy.

Harper as PM

Watching Stephen Harper’s swearing in ceremony today is going to be a bit strange for me.

I mean here’s a guy I used to work for, a guy I used to have lunch with, a guy I used to have raging debates with about which was the best Star Trek episode, becoming Prime Minister of Canada.

Maybe I will scour the National Citizens Coalition office looking for pens, mugs and staplers he used while he was our president, so I can sell them off as souvenirs.

But seriously, this is a great day for Harper and for the NCC.

I wonder what our founder, the late Colin M. Brown, would have thought about what’s happening today?

He’s probably smiling somewhere.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

One Last Liberal Outrage

Well it looks like David Dingwall got the entitlements he says he was entitled to.

As one of his last official acts as Prime Minister, Paul Martin is giving Dingwall a whopping $418,000 severance package.

Oh and it turns out Dingwall was actually fired, which was a little fact Martin never let us taxpayers in on.

Just like he never let us know about Dingwall’s golden parachute during the election when it was actually approved.

I guess Martin just wanted it all to be a surprise going away gift to Canadians.

But we shouldn’t be surprised of course.

This act is no more arrogant, no more outrageous than any other example of Liberal greed.

The good news is these guys are finally out of power.

Now the Conservative will have a chance to shut the trough.

Friday, February 03, 2006

NCC Billboard

The National Citizens Coalition put up a new billboard to give the new Parliament a message.












I hope it's not too subtle.

Liberal Conspiracy Theory

A few days ago, I noted how David Frum was concerned the Liberals might try to bring down the Conservative government fast in the hopes they could win a snap election.

Well the more I think about this scenario the more sense it makes.

Consider the following bits of evidence:

* Liberal stars – Brian Tobin, Frank McKenna, John Manley, Alan Rock – have ruled out running for the leadership of the party, this despite the fact that being Liberal leader has been, in the past at least, a sure ticket to the Prime Minister’s Office. Has somebody filled them in on the plan?

* Paul Martin has broken his promise to step down as party leader. He now says he will stay on as formal head of the party until a successor is chosen. Well that’s convenient.

* Finally the Prime Minister’s residence 24 Sussex Drive is undergoing mysterious “renovations” which will delay Stephen Harper’s taking possession of the house.

All the pieces of the puzzle are coming together.

Oh what am I saying? This is a crazy idea.

Only a completely desperate, morally bankrupt and intellectually barren political party would even consider such an outrageous scheme.

Hmmm.

Expect an election in May.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Those Darned Yankees

Diehard Yankees fan Paul Tuns takes exception to my post comparing the current Liberal Party to a declining New York Yankees team of the mid-1960s.

Writes Paul:

“The Yanks had great characters and likeable players (Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, to name just a few) during their dynastic run. Who'd the Liberals have that you could like, let alone admire?”

He has a point.

But let’s face it, Paul is really upset with me because I had the audacity to remind him that there actually was a period in baseball history when the Yanks didn’t rule the roost.

Of course, I can’t blame him for being a tad stressed out.

I mean it’s been a whole five years since the Bronx Bombers last won a championship.

For Yankee fans that’s an eternity.

Time for some Magnum Force

The whole Gomery Report thing has been a bit of anti-climax.

Don’t get me wrong.

I think Justice Gomery has done a good job. And I’m sure he has come up with a fine list of recommendations to make government better, but what I really want is what all fair and decent taxpayers want: vengeance.

I want somebody blamed. I want somebody punished. I want somebody put in jail.

After all, this is personal; that was my money that got stolen.

Maybe we need to set up a new inquiry to get real justice.

And who should head this new inquiry? Dirty Harry, that’s who.

Feel lucky adscam punk.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

When Dynasties End

The Liberal Party of Canada – once the colossus of Canadian politics --- suddenly looks second-rate.

It reminds of me of what happened to the New York Yankees back in 1965.

The Yankees of that era, like the Liberals, were seemingly an invincible dynasty.

Indeed, from 1923 to 1964 the Yanks won 20 World Series and 27 American League Pennants.

Then in 1965 the bottom suddenly fell out. Their stars became old; their farm system dried up.

The once mighty Yankees were relegated to second division status.

It took the Yanks 11 years to win another pennant.

The Liberals might not have to wait that long to win again, but sources tell me that privately Liberal insiders are admitting that Stephen Harper will be the Prime Minister for at least the next six years.

And for Liberals who are used to governing, that’s an eternity.