Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Democratic Reforms

Yesterday the federal government announced a democratic reform package.

Here are my thoughts:

Fixed Election Dates: Probably a good idea, although it might not fit in a Parliamentary system whereby the government must have the confidence of the legislature. Still knowing ahead of time when an election is coming will certainly make it easier for us at the National Citizens Coalition to plot electoral strategy.

Fixed Terms for Senators: A good step in the right direction. I hope this will trigger some much needed debate on the future of the Upper House. The status quo is no longer acceptable. For the sake of the country’s democratic integrity, the Senate must be either reformed or abolished.

Here is my disappointment:

The government made no mention of scrapping the notorious election gag law.

The election gag law, which was enacted six years ago, makes it a crime for citizens or groups to freely and effectively express ideas or opinions during federal elections.

Without free speech you don’t have free elections and if you don’t have free elections you don’t have democracy.

It seems to me any true democratic reform package would have to include restoring free political speech to Canadians.

But hey maybe that’s just me.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Questions About the TTC Strike

I liked the Toronto Sun’s editorial today on Monday’s illegal transit strike.

Here’s a snippet:

Premier Dalton McGuinty, Mayor David Miller and TTC Chairman Howard Moscoe have all said that TTC workers went on an illegal strike yesterday morning.

Ok, since according to all three of them, laws were broken, we have five simple questions:

Who’s going to jail?
Who’s going to be fired?
Who’s going to be demoted?
Who’s going to be fined?
Who’s going to pay?
The Sun asks the right questions, but unfortunately it won’t get any answers.

The fact is we let public sector union bosses get away with this sort of stuff all the time and it’s always taxpayers who end up suffering.

That’s why we need to do one of two things: either open up public sector services to competition so that unions can no longer hold the public hostage or we ban public sector strikes and aggressively enforce the law.

Taxpayers deserve to get the services they pay for.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The BetterWay?

Toronto transit riders got a surprise this morning.

No buses. No subways. No streetcars. No nothing.

Thanks to what the Toronto Transit Commission is calling an “illegal job action” the whole transit system shut down between 4 and 5 AM.

This means about 700,000 people had to find alternate ways to get to work.

Isn’t public sector service wonderful? Isn’t it great that a couple of public sector union bosses can throw an entire city into chaos?

Of course, this wouldn’t happen if we allowed private competition to government services.

But Toronto’s NDP mayor David Miller wouldn’t think of such a thing.

And why should he? He probably rides a bike into work.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Baseball Dilemma

Once a long, long time ago, I was a devoted Detroit Tigers fan.

I adored guys like Al Kaline and Mickey Lolich; cheered when the Tigers won the Worlds Series in 1968 (yes I am that old) and in 1984; I loved to watch games at grand old Tigers Stadium.

However, years of living in Toronto caused me to lose touch with my beloved Tigers, and slowly but surely I began to root for the Toronto Blue Jays, a process helped along by the great Toronto teams of the early 1990s.

And yes, I must admit it was hard to root for a Detroit team that had become absolutely horrendous by the mid-90s.

But now suddenly the Tigers are the hottest team in baseball. They are currently on an eight game winning streak, and boast the best record in the Major Leagues.

So now I face a dilemma: Should I stick with the Jays or go back to my original love – the Tigers.

Maybe I should ask Dr. Phil

Friday, May 26, 2006

Finding the "Inner Conservative"

The federal Conservative Party is surging in the polls these days.

But why?

George Koch and John Weissenberger have an interesting column in the National Post today, which offers one possible explanation.

Koch and Weissenberger essentially argue that a large number of Canadians have always held “conservative views” but for a variety of reasons never connected to the Conservative Party.

This, they say, is now changing.

Canadians are warming up to the Conservatives because now Prime Minister Stephen Harper is doing a better job of packaging conservative ideas on issues like day care, defence and taxes to the public.

In other words, instead of shifting the party to the left as the Red Tories have always wanted, Harper is helping Canadians discover their “Inner Conservative”.

This is similar to an argument I made last year.

I have always believed conservatives do well when they act like conservatives instead of like liberals.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

End the Wheat Monopoly

The National Citizens Coalition is running a campaign opposing the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly.

For those who are not aware of how this monopoly operates think of it as a “Little Kremlin on the Prairie.”

Under the law, western farmers are forced to sell their crop to the Wheat Board even if they can get a better price elsewhere.

Some farmers have even been jailed for the “crime” of selling their wheat across the border.

The bottom line is the Wheat Board monopoly denies farmers their right to economic choice.

It’s time to shut it down.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Capitalism Vs. Terrorism

One of my theories concerning the war against terrorism is that the best way to beat the Osama Bin Laden’s of the world isn’t with missiles or tanks but with a far more potent weapon: decadent capitalism.

If we can get the people in the Middle East more interested in making money in this world maybe they will have less interest in blowing themselves to smithereens so they can get rewarded in the next world.

American author P. J. O’Rourke picked up on this theme in a speech he recently gave to a CATO Institute seminar, entitled "Conquering Terrorism with Capitalism".

As O’Rourke says, “Once people get rich, they just don’t like to fight as much anymore.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dentist Blues

I just endured my most hated of experiences: a trip to the dentist.

Since it usually takes me a while to get over such a trauma, I really can’t come with anything meaningful in my blog today.

So in the meantime, check out this great piece on anti-Americanism by noted academic and author Victor Davis Hanson.

If there’s anything I hate worse than going to the dentist, it’s mindless anti-Americanism.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Howard Vs. Union Bosses

Yesterday some union bosses decided to do what they do best: protest.

This time they were protesting the visit to Canada of Australian Prime Minister John Howard.


Well, Prime Minister Howard had the temerity to modernize and reform Australia’s labour laws, making them more flexible and granting more choice to employees.

Needless to say such moves are an anathema to Canada’s union establishment, which is still stuck in a class-war mentality.

Also needless to say, Canada’s labour laws need reforming as well. And Prime Minister Stephen Harper would do well to emulate his Aussie counter-part in this area.

For more on this check out John Mortimer’s piece which appeared yesterday in the Financial Post. John heads up a fantastic group called Labour Watch.

Have a great long weekend everybody!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Howard and Harper

Australian Prime Minister John Howard is in Ottawa today visiting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Now I am no expert in international relations, but I do know Howard is one of the world’s most successful conservative politicians and that he has provided principled and courageous leadership in the war on terrorism.

And that little bit of knowledge came in handy a couple of days ago when an Australian reporter called me up to get my opinion on Howard’s visit.

You can read the resulting article here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Clipping Canadian Content

In a column in Sun media newspapers, radio talk show host Charles Adler does a magnificent job skewering one of my pet peeves: Canadian content laws.

Writes Adler:

The rogue's gallery of groups lining up to line their pockets with your money is diverse. The most shameless are those representing Canadian recording artists, and their fellow travellers, who claim to represent public broadcasting. These groups won't admit they are trying to enhance their prestige, power and portfolios. Instead, they wrap themselves in the Maple Leaf and portray themselves as fighting for Canadian culture. You are supposed to believe that the Canadian recording industry is Hans Solo, making the Canadian private broadcasting industry Darth Vader.
And Adler has more good stuff:

The so-called artists who want to get their work on the radio have zero confidence in the free market. They don't trust you to make your own buying and downloading decisions. They feel that the only way you will support their music is to be attacked with it over and over and over again for long periods of time by radio stations. They accuse the radio station ownership of putting profits before people. But the people they are talking about are not consumers.

They are the small handful of people who want their records played. Just because the consumer buys all those products advertised on the radio doesn't mean that they are entitled to have their favourite tunes played. That sense of entitlement belongs exclusively to the phoney flag wavers who call themselves artists.


That’s why it’s time we scrap these dopey Canadian content laws and let consumers rule the airwaves.

Scrap the Gun Registry

Here’s a news release I sent out yesterday following the Auditor-General’s report:

NCC Says Scrap the Gun Registry
(May 16, 2006)The National Citizens Coalition says today’s Auditor-General report should sound the death knell for the gun registry program.

“On top of all the other massive problems associated with the gun registry, the auditor-general now reveals the Liberals tried to hide the true costs of this program,” says NCC vice president Gerry Nicholls.

Nicholls says this should be the final straw.

“It’s time to stop throwing good money after bad. It’s time to scrap the gun registry.”

Nicholls says the money used to pay for a poorly managed gun registry program could be better spent elsewhere.

“Rather than financing a poorly managed registry, that money could be used to toughen border security or to hire more police, or to improve anti-terrorism intelligence,” says Nicholls.

Nicholls says the government should act soon on this matter.

“Canadians need to know their money is being used wisely,” says Nicholls. “And they need to know the government is acting to truly protect their security.”

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bruce Willis and Capitalism

A while back I attended a libertarian-oriented conference and the question came up as to whether or not capitalism would survive.

To me it was the wrong question.

It isn’t will capitalism survive; it’s can capitalism be destroyed.

I wrote a column on this which appeared in Report magazine.

You can read it here.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Bush and Conservatives

It’s been well reported that U.S. President George Bush is having a hard time in the polls these days.

Less reported, however, is the growing disillusionment among American conservatives with Bush’s leadership.

This editorial from the Washington Examiner helps to explain what’s going on and why the Republicans should be concerned.

The Canadian Conservative Party should also take heed.
(H/T Powerlineblog)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Guns and Freedom

The Auditor-General will release her report next week on the much-maligned gun registry program.

The media buzz is that it will be another Ad Scam-like bombshell.

But the problem with the registry goes beyond just excessive cost and waste.

There are also important principles involved.

My friend Pierre Lemieux – a libertarian’s libertarian – has written extensively on this subject.

He makes a good case for freedom.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Union Facts

In 2004 American unions faced a total of 6,917 allegations of wrongdoing and more than 80 percent of those charges alleged illegal restraint and coercion of employees.

That’s just one item gleaned from a great site called, which is the project of an American group called The Center for Union Facts.

The Center gathers a wealth of information about the size, scope, political activities, and criminal activity of the labor movement in the United States of America and then publicizes them through the internet and through some great ad campaigns.

It also provides information for workers so they understand their rights when it comes to American labour laws.

The Center says it has 12.5 million facts union officials want to keep secret.

I wonder how many secrets Canadian union bosses have.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Freedom and Democracy

Political philosopher and author William Gairdner has some interesting commentary on the speech I gave on Sunday regarding the NCC’s fight against the election gag law.

Gairdner raises some interesting points about the nature of freedom and democracy.

Check it out.

By the way, I have come up with a new name for my blog. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Conservative Groups

What is it about conservative organizations that get left-wingers into such a tizzy?

During the last federal election, union boss Buzz Hargrove called my group, the National Citizens Coalition, a “secret society,” and now the Civitas Society is getting the same treatment.

Maybe they think we are all hatching some sort of “hidden agenda.”

Or maybe they don’t like the fact that conservative organizations tend to rely on voluntary contributions and grassroots support.

By contrast, many left-wing organizations subsist on either government subsidies or big union hand outs.

That means conservative groups are more independent, more representative of their members and more likely to come up with good ideas.

Monday, May 08, 2006

More Civitas Stuff

Here's me at the Civitas conference speaking with a former National Citizens Coalition employee. That's Al Gordon from the Canadian Coalition for Democracies in the middle.

(Thanks to Rondi for this photo.)

Post Civitas

Had a great time at the Civitas conference this weekend.

Some of the topics covered during the sessions included private property rights, the morality of war, electoral reform and the role of courts.

They were all quite interesting.

But of course, the best thing about meetings like this is that you get a chance to meet old friends and to make new ones.

I also had a chance to chat with several bloggers such as Russ Kuykendall, Stephen Taylor, Rondi Adamson, and Adam Daifallah.

On Sunday morning, despite operating on about two hours sleep, I gave a talk on the NCC’s fight against the election gag law. You can read it here.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Conservatve Movies

I always thought the term “conservative movie” was an oxymoron.

After all, it seems just about everything Hollywood churns out these days has some sort of left-wing message.

Yet, while attending the Civitas convention I met Govindini Murty who has set something up called The Liberty Film Festival, which is “liberating Hollywood one film at a time.”

The festival celebrates classic films, such as John Wayne’s The Searchers, while also giving an audience to conservative-themed documentaries and short subjects.

Murty says anyone with a digital video camera can make a documentary or movie and she encourages all conservatives to go out there and start filming.

That’s a great idea, and you know I always thought I kind of looked like Tom Cruise anyway.

You can also check out Murty’s blog here.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Harper Eating Baby Case Cracked?

Blogger Steve Janke says he may have cracked the “Harper Eats Babies” case.

Check his blog for all the exciting details.

Civitas Meeting

I am off to Ottawa today to attend the 10th annual Civitas Society meeting this weekend.

The Civitas Society’s official goal is to “promote and deepen understanding through the exchange of a wide range of political, economic, social, religious, cultural and philosophical ideas concerning the principles and traditions of a free and ordered society.”

I will be speaking at one session about the National Citizen Coalition’s fight against election gag laws.

If anybody out there reading this blog is also attending this meeting be sure to say hello.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Magna and the Unions

It’s not getting a lot of media attention but Magna International chairman Frank Stronach is holding discussions with major unions.

For Magna, which is a non-union business, this is quite a major development.

According to press reports, Stronach told a recent Magna meeting that “unions fulfill a very important role” and they balance the naked profit motive of corporations and promote social justice and fairness.

Bet the shareholders just loved that kind of talk.

I wonder why Stronach is suddenly so enamored with unions?

Could it have something to do with the fact that union boss Buzz Hargrove was in Aurora during the last election campaigning for his daughter Belinda?

Nah, that’s just a coincidence I’m sure.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

NCC Welcomes Tax Relief in Budget

Here's a news release I sent out today on the federal budget:

(May 2, 2006)The National Citizens Coalition says the Conservative government deserves credit for keeping its election promise to provide tax relief for Canadian families.

“The government as promised cut the GST, cut corporate taxes and provided other tax credits to Canadians,” says NCC vice president Gerry Nicholls. “This is good news for over-burdened taxpayers.”

However, the NCC vice president says he was disappointed the government did not go further in cutting income taxes.

“I hope if government surpluses continue to mount, the Conservatives will provide more income tax relief for Canadians,” says Nicholls.

Nicholls also praised the government for pumping more money into Canada’s military.

“For far too long, governments have under funded Canada’s military,” says Nicholls. “In this dangerous world, boosting our defence must be a priority.”

Baby Blog Breakthrough

I finally did it.

My blog broke a story before the MSN, the dream of all bloggers.

I am talking, of course, about the “Harper Eating Babies” story which I first blogged about on Friday.

It’s now front page news in both the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.

And the Toronto Sun featured it in their “Best of the Blogs” section, writing:

“When Gerry Nicholls, VP of the National Citizens Coalition noticed a strange message on the advertising screens on the Go Train on Thursday, he didn’t just sit there, he asked questions. Turns out a hacker put up the phrase, “Stephen Harper Eats Babies” on the screens where it ran for four days. Nicholls broke the story and mainstream media picked it up yesterday.”

Of course, I had lots of help from Steve Janke over at Angry in the Great White North and it’s not exactly on the same level as the Rathergate/Bush National Guard story, but heck it’s still pretty good.

I wonder if I could win a Pulitzer for this?

Media Update:

I will talking about Harper's dietary tastes on Adler Online at about 2:05 PM EST and on the Gary Doyle Show (570 News Kitchener)

Also check out this story on CTV News and on the CBC website, 640 News and Reuters.

My friend Joel over at Proud to Be Canadian also has some insights on this.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Baby Eating Update

More news on the “Harper Baby Eating” front.

Earlier this afternoon I got an email from Exclusive Advertising, the folks in charge of advertising on the Go Trains.

Here’s what they have to say:

“We would like to take this opportunity to advise the public that these ads are the result of a hacker who has unlawfully tampered with the LED sign boards displayed by GO Trains. This message was in no way authorized by Exclusive Advertising or GO Transit, and is not condoned. We have taken measures to rectify this matter and are in the process of enhancing security.”

You can read the whole thing on their website. Look for the line: Stephen Harper LED Message.

I hope they do rectify this matter. The last thing I need to look at on the way home is socialist propaganda.

More on Harper and Babies

Steve Janke over at Angry in the Great White North has picked up my story about the “Stephen Harper Eats Babies” on the Go Transit ad and run with it.

You can check out his posting here. Among other things Janke dug around and found out the ads are put up by a company called Exclusive Advertising.

As for me, well I am too lazy to do any digging but my wife isn’t. She called Go Transit and they told her the Harper message was a result of somebody hacking into the computer system.


But it would be nice if Go Transit apologized publicly for this incident through a news release or something.

And the ad company should be apologizing as well.

As Janke writes: “Exclusive Advertising should be concerned. GO Transit is their only customer, and if they can't control what goes up on those boards . . .”

Media Alert:

I will talking about this incident on the Roy Green Show (CHML Hamilton) at 11:33 EST


For all you out there who doubted my story, I just got the following email from Go Transit:

Reference No: 2006002535
Mr. Gerry
Dear Mr. Nicholls:
Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding your experience while travelling on the Lakeshore West Rail service.
Please be assured that GO Transit is aware of the electronic signage and is in the process of rectifying the situation. GO Transit does not endorse the expressed opinion.
Thank you for your concerns.
Sincerely,Trudy Taylor-SteeleCustomer Service Representative