Monday, June 30, 2008

Dion and the Stampede

Apparently Liberal leader Stephane Dion will attend the Calgary Stampede this week so he can sell his "Carbon Tax Shift" scheme to Albertans.

And that makes sense.

After all, the Stampede is the perfect place to unload some political bull.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Record that May Last Forever

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's director of communications, Sandra Buckler, will soon resign her post.

This importance of this is obvious.

It means I am still the longest lasting communication director ever to work for Harper -- 1998-2001.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Joel and Gerry

My friend Joel Johannesen and I swapped emails today concerning my recent National Post "Full Comment" column which poked fun at Tory fundraising letters.

You can read our exchange here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Star Letter

I have a letter to the editor in today's Toronto Star -- based on a blog posting I did yesterday.

Liberty Summer Fun

If you really want to "Go Green" this summer, forget about the Liberal "tax shift" and think "Liberty Summer Seminar".

In case you haven't heard of it, the Liberty Summer Seminar brings together conservative/libertarian activists and thinkers from all across the country to discuss social and economic liberty.

But instead of taking place in some stodgy hotel, it's held on a gorgeous, wooded estate near Orono, Ontario.

I have been to a couple of these Seminars and I can tell you they are the highlight of the summer season. You hear fascinating speakers, meet interesting people, enjoy excellent barbecued meals and even get entertained by a live band.

How can you beat that?

So register right away. (You can save money if you register before July 1)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Media Alert

I am going to be a guest tonight on the World Tonight with Rob Breakenridge (CHQR Radio Calgary) at 9:35 PM EST.

Going to discuss a bunch of stuff: cabinet shuffles, summer politics and carbon taxes.

The Tories Like Me

As someone who once wrote fund raising letters for Stephen Harper, I just couldn't resist taking a jab at the Tories over a letter they recently sent me asking for donations.

So I did.

Check out my column now posted at the Full Comment section of the National Post.

Star laments lack of "serious" debate

Political columnist James Travers of the Toronto Star Liberal Party Newsletter raises an excellent point about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent low brow attack on Stephane Dion's Carbon Tax.

Responding to Harper's suggestion that Dion's tax would "screw everybody", Travers writes"it's the response of a schoolyard bully who would rather trade punches than compare ideas ...
Canadians deserve a leader who will debate serious issues seriously. They also deserve one who accepts the restraints on power that are part and parcel of a parliamentary democracy."

And yes, Travers is absolutely right. Up until Harper the bully came along Canadian politicians were world-renown for debating serious issues seriously.

Just check out the "serious" debates which dominate Question Period in the House of Commons; if you closed your eyes you would think you were hearing an Oxford Union debating club in action.

Or recall the famous time former Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau cleverly uttered a colourful Anglo Saxon word beginning with "F" in the House of Commons; or how about the time he revealed his sophisticated debating style by showing his middle finger to protesting farmers.

Pure oratorical brilliance!

More recently, former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien revealed his flair for Aristotelian logic when he actually throttled a protester.

Too bad the bully Harper can't match the lofty rhetorical standards of his Liberal predecessors.

But as Stephane Dion might say, "Shift Happens."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Media Alert

I am going to be a guest on the Michael Coren Show tonight -- CTS 8:00 PM EST.

Gairdner's New Book of Absolutes

Here's a little secret for the readers of this blog.

Bestselling conservative author Bill Gairdner has a new book coming out this fall called The Book of Absolutes: A Critique of Relativism and a Defence of Universals.

Bill calls The Book of Absolutes "an act of political and moral resistance that is going to have all leftists, progressives, and the self-satisfied gurus of moral relativism and political correctness tearing out their hair in handfuls."

But that's not the secret.

The secret is you can order an advance copy of this book now and receive a whopping 20 percent discount!

Go here to learn more about the book and this great offer.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What scares the Left

Here's a list of the top three things Left-wingers fear the most:

1. Capitalism

2. Free trade

3. Wal-Mart.

Well maybe it would allay their fears if they checked out Rossputin's blog, as it shows -- using actual facts -- that free trade, capitalism and Wal-Mart are really good things.

On second thought, it wouldn't allay their fears at all.

Facts seldom trump emotion.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hey, the media loves Dion -- again

Remember how when Stephane Dion was first elected Liberal leader the national media was fawning all over him?

He was the bespectacled, intellectual with the dog named Kyoto who would surely lead the Liberals back to power.

Then about one week later, after Dion revealed himself to be a political Edsel, the same national media began running stories along the lines of "How in the heck did this clown ever win the leadership"?

Well, now we have gone full circle: the media has once again fallen head over heels in love with Dion.

Susan Riley of the Ottawa Citizen, for instance has a column today about Dion's proposed carbon tax which is simply dripping with adulation for the man.

Here's some samples:

*"He (Dion) looked, at last, like a winner with a winning idea."

* "Dion is a different Liberal: more decisive than Paul Martin, greener than Jean Chr├ętien ever was."

* "The details of his plan matter, but Dion's ambition, tone and conviction are irreproachable -- and may prove more attractive than his rivals predict."

From reading this you would figure Dion is one part Al Gore, one part Martin Luther King and one part Jesus Christ.

Of course, aside from the fact that Riley is clearly angling for a job with the Liberal communications department, this sort of coverage reveals how the media loves the idea of a horse race.

With an election in the offing, it's in their interest to build up the Liberal brand name as this will make for a more interesting campaign.

This new carbon tax is the perfect excuse to get that operation in motion.

The fact, of course, is that Dion's plan is neither all that brave or all that innovative.

After declaring himself Mr. Green for the past two years Dion really had no choice but to implement some sort of eco-scheme.

In short, the Stephane Dion of today is the same Stephane Dion of a week ago: a weak, ineffectual, boring leader.

Welcome to Summer

Attention to all the Nichollettes out there.

Be sure to start reading the Women's Post -- "Your National Resource for Professional Women" -- as I will have a regular political column within its pages.

In the latest issue, I explain why summer and politics just don't mix.

Hint: It has something to do with our emotional state.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dion's Challenge

I wonder if Stephane Dion's proposed carbon tax grab ...oops I mean tax "shift" will be to the Liberals what John Tory's faith-based school idea was to the Ontario Tories?

By proposing such a tax Dion is clearly taking a massive gamble.

Selling his idea of higher energy taxes to skeptical Canadians will require excellent communication skills.

And that means the first thing Dion will have to do is learn how to speak English.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Media Alert

I am going to be on the Michael Coren Show tonight.

Now usually I am part of Michael's federal political panel, but this time I will be appearing with Marilyn Churley and David Menzies on the anything goes panel.

Should be fun.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Elections Canada keeping an eye on me

According to the Globe and Mail, the folks over at Elections Canada were obsessed with the media coverage surrounding their recent police raid of Tory party headquarters.

But it seems they ignored the hundreds of comments about the incident on the blogosphere -- with three exceptions.

Steve Janke, of Angry in the Great White North fame, says the internal Elections Canada documents noted a posting on his blog, they cited the comment on a Winnipeg Free Press blog and ... wait for it... they mentioned one of my postings.

What an honour!

Good to know I can still rattle some bureaucratic cages all by my lonesome.

The coal crisis

The current high oil prices have the doom and gloom sayers out in full force.

Oil is getting more costly, they say, because it's running out, the tank is almost empty.

And as oil gets scarcer, the price will just keeping higher and higher until only Bill Gates will be able to afford to drive a car.

Eventually our industrial civilization -- which runs on oil -- will grind to a halt and then everyone will have to dress like one of the Road Warriors.

And maybe this will all happen.

But then again, doom and gloom sayers have been wrong before.

Back in 1865, for instance, an English economist named William Jevons wrote a book called The Coal Question: An Inquiry Concerning the Progress of the Nation, and the Probable Exhaustion of Our Coal-Mines .

In this book, Jevons argued that's Britain's finite supply of coal was running out. This would drive up prices and ultimately destroy the country's prosperity.

Jevons glumly wrote, "it will appear that there is no reasonable prospect of any relief from a future want of the main agent of industry. We must lose that which constitutes our peculiar energy."

And he concludes: "after a time we must either sink down into poverty, adopting wholly new habits, or else witness a constant annual exodus of the youth of the country.

Of course, he was wrong.

What Jevons failed to take into account was that higher prices would inevitably lead the market to find alternatives to coal --ie oil.

So ignore the doom sayers and enjoy the summer.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Baseball heaven

If you are a baseball fan -- especially a baseball fan with a strong sense of nostalgia -- you might think this is pretty cool.

Last week the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves played a "1948 throwback" game.

The players wore retro 1948 uniforms and WGN broadcast the first two innings of the game in black and white using the same camera angles used in those days of yore.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pondering the future

I wonder if a hundred years from now a Canadian Prime Minister will apologize for the sins committed by the Human Rights Commissions of today.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Liberty Fund Getaway

I will be in Montreal over the weekend to participate in a Liberty Fund colloquium,

These are fantastic seminars which bring together about a dozen or so libertarian/conservative academics, activists and journalists for the purpose of discussing and debating liberty-related issues.

Preparing for this little get together requires that I read some pretty serious literature, which is what I have been doing for the past week or so.

When I get back expect me to be start quoting guys like Hayek and Von Mises.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Harper's phony apology

You know it's funny, I don't remember giving Prime Minister Stephen Harper permission to issue an apology on my behalf.

Yet it seems that's just what he is going to do on Wednesday in the House of Commons, issue an apology for past residential school abuses on behalf of all Canadians, including me.

Well, sorry Stephen, when it comes to residential schools I have nothing to apologize for.I didn't run, own or teach at a residential school, nor did I abuse any students in these schools. Mainly that's because all that stuff took place about 100 years before I was born!

Of course, some will argue there is such a thing as collective, historic guilt. In other words, I should feel guilty or remorseful for the alleged misdeeds of my ancestors.

But I don't.Just as I am sure modern day Italians don't feel remorseful or guilty about the fact that two thousand years ago their Roman ancestors fed Christians to the lions.

You see , as a conservative/libertarian I believe in personal responsibility. I am responsible for my own actions; not for the actions of others, especially if those others lived a hundred years ago.

That's not to say, politicians should never apologize.

In fact, I think there are lots of things politicians should be sorry for:

* They should regret not reforming our socialist health care system.

* They should apologize for taking nearly half of what Canadians earn in the form of taxes and using that money to finance an ever expanding and bloated government.

* They should rue the fact that their main concern is giving themselves super-rich pensions and big pay increases.

Will they ever apologize for any of this?

Nope.

Prime Minister Harper would rather offer insincere, phony baloney apologies designed to pander to Canada's left-wing set -- the same people who believe the Western world is responsible for everything that's bad in this world from global warming, to racism to erectile dysfunction.

And no doubt, this crowd will applaud Harper for his apology stunt.

Some groups may even issue news releases praising him. But when election day comes around, not one of them will vote for him.

Meanwhile true conservatives, seeing how Harper is slowly evolving into a politically correct, big government statist might just start to abandon his party.

And if that happens, Harper could lose the next election.

Then he would truly be sorry.

Yes I know this blog posting is really just a rant.

And for that I apologize.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Media Alert

I am scheduled to be a guest tonight on The Last Angry Man with Beryl Wajsman at approximately 6:15 PM EST.

Topic: election gag laws

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Mayor Miller's bold plan to disarm the hobbyists

I have a column in the Western Standard.ca examining Commissar David Miller's scheme to protect Toronto from crazed, gun-toting Olympians.

(Note - I originally pitched this column to the Toronto Star but they rejected it, implying it was in bad taste).

Friday, June 06, 2008

Theatre of politics

Here's a column I wrote which appears in The Women's Post.

It's about the art of politics.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The flying house of politics

OK I am a little late with this and I am copying other people, but still Hillary's demise demands I post this:

The lesson of Hillary's loss

Back in the days yonder I confidently predicted Hillary Clinton would easily win the Democratic nomination for president.

And why not?

Clinton seemed to have all the ingredients necessary for success: name recognition, tons of money, a built-in loyal fan base, establishment support and most importantly of all she had at her disposal one of the most ruthless political machines in American history.

So what happened?

Technology is changing politics, that's what happened. Thanks to the Internet and its tools -- email, Youtube, Facebook --- our political process is getting a lot more decentralized and democratized.

The party elites can no longer control the message or corner the market on donations. The grassroots has become empowered.And it's online grassroots efforts that propelled the candidacy of Barack Obama.

He used the Internet to get his message out; he used it to raise millions of dollars; he used it to amass a huge email mailing list of dedicated "true believers."

The old political machine, in other words, has been trumped by a new machine -- the personal computer.

And that's good for democracy.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Inequalities of equalization

Rebecca Walberg, an analyst with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, recently had an interesting piece in the Calgary Herald.

Rebecca examines one of the side-effects of equalization payments.

The Tories and Bill C-10

I am quoted in this WesternStandard.ca news article which looks at the Conservative Party's strategy behind Bill C-10, a proposed law which would deny tax credits to films deemed "offensive."

Monday, June 02, 2008

Taking on gag laws

Ready for a non-Julie Couillard related story?

If you are, check out a column I have in today's National Post.

It's the latest chapter in my one man crusade to oppose election gag laws and to protect free political speech.

In this case, I explain why gag laws are wrong for British Columbia and Alberta.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Tabletop Revolution

The new Microsoft surface technology looks really cool and futuristiciky.