Friday, June 30, 2006
Happy Whatever Day
I would love to but I can’t. I can’t because I just absolutely hate the name “Canada Day” for our national holiday.
It’s so boring, so generic, so blandly politically correct.
David Menzies makes a case in today’s National Post for bringing back the name “Dominion Day” which the Trudeau government scrapped in 1982.
He notes: "Dominion is synonymous with independence, freedom and free association."
You can even contact David and order “Dominion Day” or “anti-Canada Day” buttons for $10.00 a pair.
However, I don’t think Dominion Day will ever make a comeback because the vast majority of Canadians probably don’t even have a clue that Canada really is a Dominion or what Dominion means.
Maybe instead we could rename the July 1 holiday to something like “Confederation Day”. At least that has some sense of historic significance.
Oh well, no matter what you call it, I hope everybody has a nice long weekend.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Liberty Summer Seminar: Fun, Sun and Libertarianism
If you have never heard of the Liberty Summer Seminar just think Ayn Rand Meets Survivor and you will get idea as to what it’s all about.
First off the seminars take place in the wilderness. Well not really. Actually they are held on a beautiful 40-acre farmland property near Orono, Ontario, a property that includes a swimming pond, walking trails and tons and tons of trees.
And if you’re not a fan of trees don’t worry ---the real attraction isn’t the bucolic splendor; it’s the fact that Peter brings together prominent libertarian/conservative speakers with an energetic, enthusiastic audience.
The result: everybody has a great time.
I had the pleasure of speaking at last year’s seminar and I had a blast. It’s not often you get a chance to spend quality time with a bunch of like-minded friends, in such a gorgeous environment. (The meals were quite good too.)
So if you want to have outdoor fun while getting energized about your libertarianism, I recommend you register for this year’s get-together.
You will thank me later.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Attack of the Killer Mailboxes
In fact, Canada Post says it is suspending delivery to Roy Paterson, a, 81 year old Windsor man because it deemed his mailbox to be too dangerous.
Apparently it’s too high.
Mind you, Paterson says he has had the same mailbox at the same height for the past 46 years.
Not that he cares.
“I just say keep your damn mail,” Paterson recently told the media. “We’ve got e-mail, we got telephone, we pay our bills through the Internet. I don’t need Canada Post anymore.”
All this shows the difference between the public and private sectors.
Private sector companies seek ways to woo customers; public sector companies seek ways to alienate them.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
U.S. Court Strikes Down Limits
Well, now it looks like I have some company: the United States Supreme Court.
Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Vermont’s campaign finance scheme, which included low contribution limits and mandatory expenditure limits, was unconstitutional.
The court ruled Vermont’s contribution limits --- $200-$400 – per election cycle were so low they prevented candidates from amassing the resources necessary to mount effective campaigns and only served to help incumbents.
The court also ruled the expenditure limits infringed on the right to free political speech.
Maybe it’s time somebody here in Canada challenged the federal government’s political contribution limits.
Monday, June 26, 2006
But so far, if the Liberal leadership race is any indication, all these financing laws do is encourage politicians to find inventive ways to seek loopholes.
A lot of media attention, for instance, has focused on Joe Volpe’s little loophole, wherein 11 year old children, supposedly so enthralled with his vision, broke open their piggy banks and cut him $5,400 cheques.
But less attention is being paid to another possible loophole – loans.
Aside from Volpe, every Liberal candidate is taking out huge loans to help finance their campaigns: Scott Brison -- $200,000; Michael Ignatieff -- $125,000; Bob Rae -- $100,000, Ken Dryden, $100,000.
And interestingly out of all the Liberal hopefuls, only Carolyn Bennett, who borrowed $35,000, is taking a loan out from a bank. All the rest are borrowing the money from relatives, friends or from corporate executives.
Here’s an even more interesting point: Elections Canada says the lenders can “write off” any loan 18 months after the Liberal convention if they determine the loan is “truly uncollectible.”
NDP MP Pat Martin calls this a “loophole you can drive a Brinks truck through.”
He has a point.
What’s to stop a relative or a close friend from saying, “Well, I can’t collect the money so let’s just forget the whole thing.”
Wouldn’t that make the “loan” really a contribution?
Clearly, the system of finance laws is only serving to twist and contort the system, forcing our politicians to spend more time figuring out how to raise money than on coming up with policy ideas.
Why not scrap them? Why not let politicians compete for contribution dollars on an even playing field with no limits?
As long as the system is transparent it would work better than the system we have now.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Turns out I was wrong.
There is another National Citizens’ Coalition operating in the African country of Zambia. It’s a political party that isn’t doing too well – in the last election its presidential candidate only got 2.2 percent of the vote.
I just hope our chairman never gets wind of this Zambian NCC. Who knows he may decide to transfer me there.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
CBC and Reality TV
It’s about the CBC:
So the CBC will bump The National to make room for an American reality program.
Has it really come to this? Is the self-proclaimed guardian of our culture going to scrap its dignity in a mad grab for ratings?
If so, then I have a suggestion for the next CBC reality show.
It would be called The People's Network and it would feature a bunch of CBC brass going around explaining how they squander millions of taxpayer dollars to produce shows nobody wants to watch. In the final episode, the host would point to them and declare: "You're privatized!"
Now that would be must watch TV.
I also did interviews regarding the CBC on Adler Online and on Calgary’s The World Tonight. Will be doing an interview on it tomorrow on 570 News.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Better Sorry than Safe
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will get up in the House of Commons this week and apologize for a head tax imposed on Chinese immigrants from between 1885 and 1923.
Now I don’t think Prime Minister Harper had anything to do with that head tax, so I am not sure why he feels the need to apologize.
But as along as he is in an apologizing mood, maybe he should also express regret over other government misdeeds.
Here, in no particular order, is a list of things I would like a Prime Ministerial apology for:
The whole Trudeau era of the 1970’s.
Any CBC Show that starred Ralph Benmergui
The Participaction Program
The National Energy Program
Health Care Waiting Lists
Almost every Supreme Court of Canada decision
The Gun Registry
The Wheat Board monopoly
Election gag laws
Anything supported by the Canada Arts Council
Changing the name of the July 1st holiday from Dominion Day to Canada Day
The Durham Report
Now this is just the beginning of my list. The government, after all, has lots of reasons to be sorry for lots of things.
Maybe they should name a new Cabinet Minister in charge of apologies.
Just a thought.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will get up in the House of Commons this week and apologize for a head tax imposed on Chinese immigrants from between 1885 and 1923.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Welfare for Politicians
But they do.
They all want to jump into the government trough and get public subsidies from Canadian taxpayers.
In fact, all those parties will be in court today to argue that Canada’s political finance laws discriminate against them.
And in a sense they do.
Under the law, a political party gets $1.75 in public money for every vote they receive in the most recent federal election.
That means the Conservatives and the Liberals will pull in millions of dollars every year.
But here’s the catch: The funding is restricted to parties that obtain at least 2 per cent of the national vote or 5 per cent of the vote in the ridings where they ran candidates.
This clearly discriminates against the smaller fringe parties.
So I can understand why these parties are fighting this law in the courts.
Yet it’s a lose, lose situation.
If the smaller parties win this case it will cost taxpayers more money; but if the smaller parties lose, it will mean they will be discriminated against.
The answer, of course, is to abolish the public subsidy, which is really nothing more than a welfare plan for political parties.
No taxpayer should be forced to finance a political party, whether large or small. Political parties should rely on voluntary contributions. That’s the only system that’s fair for all parties.
For more on the “Welfare for Politicians” plan see this article I wrote which appeared recently in Report magazine.
Monday, June 19, 2006
World Cup Lessons
Things I have learned about soccer from watching the World Cup:
* The game time clock goes in the wrong direction.
* BBC play-by-play men sound more like English professors than sports announcers
* Soccer uniforms are really boring
* Every team in the World Cup has at least one guy with a weird hair-do.
* Where are all the hooligans?
Friday, June 16, 2006
Forced Dues Blues
The Ontario CUPE boss, of course, was behind an anti-Israeli resolution that calls upon his union to boycott Israel.
This has led a University of Toronto teaching assistant to launch a lawsuit against CUPE Ontario, because he wants the courts to clarify how much money unions can spend on issues which are “irrelevant” to its members’ interests.
That’s an issue for lots of unionized employees both here and in the United States.
Indeed check out this fantastic ad, that the group Union Facts is running south of the border.
Apparently union bosses aren’t too happy about them.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Progressive being the word, of course, that left-wingers like to use when describing themselves as if high taxes, bigger government and less freedom is somehow progress.
Anyway, one of the organizers of this conference had an op-ed in the Globe and Mail yesterday explaining what progressives need to do to win back power.
I replied with a letter to the editor which was published today.
Here it is:
If Matt Browne and Eugene Lang really want to see a “progressive” comeback in Canada, they will have to rethink the role of government.
Maybe self-styled “progressives” still see government as a “force for good in society” but an increasing number of Canadians see government as a force for something else, namely inefficiency, waste and corruption.
You won’t make inroads among these Canadians by continuing to trumpet the glories of big government.
Instead the Liberals should embrace the idea of giving Canadians the option of relying on the private sector when government isn’t working.
Why not, for instance, permit Canadians a private sector alternative to the failing government heath care monopoly?
Now that would truly be progressive.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Satire Site Punctures the Left
So that’s why I was delighted to discover the Iconoclast, a web site that features some brilliant satiric jabs at the left.
The Iconoclast’s “Top Headlines”, for instance, feature particularly biting attacks.
Here’s one hilarious item from that section which caught my eye:
GRIEVING CANADIAN LABOR UNION SENDS REPRESENTATIVE TO AL ZARQAWI FUNERAL
by Marni Malarkey for Iconoclast
TORONTO -- CUPE Ontario, the provincial branch of Canada's largest labour union that recently encouraged a boycott of Israeli goods in Canada, has announced plans to send representatives to Abu Musab al Zarqawi's funeral. "We were heartbroken to hear of his murder by Crusader forces," said Sid Ryan, CUPE Ontario's president, to reporters outside his office. Abu was a freedom-fighter, a man of the people, a man of peace. If it hadn't been for American imperialism, he would never have had to harm a fly." Ryan broke down in tears, describing the Zarqawi he knew and loved. "He sent me a telegram of encouragement, just last week, when I was receiving so much criticism for our boycott of Israel. That's the kind of guy he was. It didn't matter how busy he was. He never forgot his friends."
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Union Bashes NCC
The union leadership is telling striking workers at Ekati mines (300 kilometers north of Yellowknife) that they will be fined if they cross picket lines.
However, as the NCC ad explains, that’s an empty threat.
Anyway, we must have had an impact because a couple of days ago, the union bosses responded with a full page ad of their own, that’s essentially a smear attack against the NCC.
Here’s how I responded in a letter to the editor:
A couple of union bosses recently placed a large ad in your paper to smear the National Citizens Coalition.
To set the record straight, the NCC is a grassroots organization that stands for free enterprise, better government and individual freedom.
We also believe in defending democratic rights and freedoms in the workplace.
That’s why we ran an ad of our own a few weeks ago, an ad that offset PSAC propaganda concerning union “fines.”
In a classic case of misinformation, PSAC is threatening striking workers at Ekati mines with “fines” if they crossed the picket line.
The NCC ad let employees know the truth: Canadian law covering Ekati employees does not allow the union to use Canada’s courts to enforce the collection of its fines.
And so the union leaders are attacking the NCC through expensive ads paid for with the forced dues of employees.
Of course, the union ad does not challenge the NCC’s point about the legality of their “fines”.
Because they know the NCC is right.
Instead of smearing private organizations, the union bosses should admit the truth to the employees they are supposed to represent.
It’s time to stop the misinformation. It’s time to stop the intimidation.
Not sure if the Yellowknifer printed my letter, but if they do we can probably expect another full page union ad.
Monday, June 12, 2006
This makes perfect sense.
Like Rae, Dosanjh is a former NDP Premier. Like Rae, Dosanjh lost his job as Premier in a landslide loss. Like Rae, Dosanjh defected to the federal Liberal Party.
Hmmm, in fact, come to think of it maybe there are too many coincidences here.
Maybe Rae and Dosanjh are part of some sinister and secret NDP plot to undermine the Liberals from the inside.
After all, what better way to doom the Liberal Party than by having it choose Rae as its leader?
Think about it.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Malkin Celebrates Psycho's Termination
Fox News’ Bill O'Reilly makes a cameo appearance
Friday, June 09, 2006
Harper the Moderate
The story was about then Reform Party MP, Stephen Harper dropping out of partisan politics and joining the employ of the National Citizens Coalition.
At one point in the article it says, “Harper, widely known as a Reform caucus moderate, was one of the early players in building Reform from a Western protest movement to a national party…” (Emphasis mine)
Did you get that?
Back in 1997, Harper was “widely” viewed as a moderate.
So why is it during the last election the Liberals and large segments of the media were tripping all over themselves in their attempts to portray Harper as some sort of scary, right-wing extremist?
I mean Harper was pretty much the same guy in 2006 as he was in 1997.
Maybe people just have short memories.
World Cup Prediction
But I am not one of them.
Yes I will watch some of the games, but I must confess the appeal of this sport has always puzzled me.
Because even though I have no idea as to who will win the 2006 tournament here’s one thing I do know: the final score will be 1-0.
Update: Wonkitties tells why we should root for Iran to lose.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Alls Well that ends well
Yesterday I did interviews on the Bill Carroll Show (CFRB, Toronto), the Dave Rutherford Show, (CHQR, Calgary), the World Tonight (CKNW, Vancovuer), Adler Online (Corus Radio),
Kevin and Trudie Show, (CJAD, Montreal), Windsor Now (CKLW, Windsor).
Plus I have intereviews later today on London in the Morning (CJBK, London) and the Afternoon Edition, (CFRA, Ottawa).
Kerry Diotte of the Edmonton Sun also has a terrific column on this.
Also officials in the Canadian military have contacted us and promisedtheir complete co-operation for our plan to aid military families.
So a very happy end to this story.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
DND Now Says NCC "Support our Troops" Campaign OK
It should have said this:
Here is a message I got from a DND spokesman regarding the NCC "Support the Troops" campaign:
Acting Chief of Defence Staff of Canadian Forces has apologized to Mr. Peter Coleman, President of the National Citizens Coalition and has indicated that we are very pleased to see Canadians supporting our troops and that we strongly support the kind of private endeavour for our men and women in uniform.
Lower level staff with the legal section of the Department developed a position that was communicated to the National Citizens Coalition.
Regretfully this was done prior to approval being received from higher command.
Senior officials reviewed the circumstances of this case and have informed the NCC that we support this particular campaign.
The Department will communicate in writing to Mr. Coleman. This communication will indicate the Department does not have issues with billboards, magnetic ribbons or the campaign to support Canadian forces personnel.
In addition, Chief Military Personnel will be calling Mr. Coleman to find ways we can work together on this project.”
I am quite glad this situation has been resolved. After all, we are on the military’s side.
This is also a victory for free speech.
Anyone wishing to contribute to the special trust fund the NCC is setting up to help the military families of fallen soldiers go here.
Patriotism is a Crime!
This is absolutely insane.
The Department of National Defence is ordering us (the National Citizens Coalition) to take down a “Support our Troops” billboard we put up in downtown Toronto.
The DND is also telling us to remove any reference to “Support our Troops” from our website and to stop handing out “Support our Troops” car magnets.
Because of some stupid and vague law.
Section 291 of the National Defence Acts states:
1) Every person who uses
(a) the words "Canadian Forces" or "Canadian Armed Forces" or the name of any component, unit or other element thereof or any abbreviation thereof or any words or letters likely to be mistaken therefore,
(b) any picture or other representation of a member of the Canadian Forces, or
(c) any uniform, mark, badge or insignia in use in the Canadian Forces,
in any advertising or in any trade or service, having been requested in writing by the Minister to cease that usage, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
In other words, says the DND, it’s a crime for us to express gratitude to the men and women who are risking their lives to defend our freedoms!!
Something is very wrong here.
I can understand a law prohibiting improper use of military symbols for advertising, but citizens should be permitted to make what are essentially patriotic statements.
Could you imagine such a law being enforced in the United States??
What makes all this worse, is that the NCC was using these “Support our Troop” ads to raise awareness about a special trust fund we were setting up to aid the families of soldiers killed in action.
Either the government has got to stop enforcing this law so zealously or they should change the law.
Canadians should have the right to express thanks to our troops!
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Betting the Numbers
If I was a betting man I would go to the race track tonight and place a $600 bet on horse number six in the sixth race.
But with my luck, my horse would probably end up finishing 6th!
Rabble Rousing Ryan
According to media reports, the leaders of five CUPE locals are demanding the union’s national leadership rescind an anti-Israeli resolution Ryan supports.
The ridiculous resolution, which was passed by CUPE’s Ontario division, calls for a boycott of Israeli goods and likens Israeli policies to “apartheid”.
This has upset the leaders of CUPE locals who represent workers at Jewish social-service agencies, so they sent a five-page letter of protest to CUPE’s national president.
Part of the letter reads:
"Mr. Ryan is not behaving as a brother, but rather as an indignant, self-serving rabble-rouser. He has become an embarrassment to the dignity, equality, respect and goodwill associated with the CUPE name."
Of course, there’s nothing new about that.
Ryan has been a self-serving rabble-rouser for years. What’s worse, the law says he can use forced dues to finance his rabble-rousing.
It’s time to change the rules so that the Ryan’s of the world can’t use other people’s money to finance their extreme views.
Monday, June 05, 2006
That’s the good news. The bad news is we still don’t know if the planned attack was just a local scheme concocted by local nutcases, or part of some wider global Al Qaeda-inspired scheme.
Cuanas, quoted in The Belmont Club, argues for the latter scenario.
A week back the FBI and the Justice Dept announced that they were conducting "urgent" investigations into terror cells across the US, and in particular in NYC. The next day, British intelligence made a similar announcement.Let’s hope he’s wrong.
Then, we had the London raid and the Toronto raid. Clearly, something massive is in the works, spanning at least three major Western countries.
But, if Canada is a target, why not France, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Germany?
My guess is they are also targets. An early report out of London also said that police had ordered a five mile no fly zone around the site of the bust. This might also indicate they suspect rocket launchers.
And even if he is wrong, however, his point still helps to remind us that like it or not, a group of dedicated fanatics is targeting not just Canada but Western civilization.
As Lorne Gunter wrote in today’s National Post,
“We are their (the Jihadis) targets not we have been insufficiently tolerant of Islam, but rather because in their minds we have been far too tolerant of non-Muslims. They are not at war just with Christianity and Judaism. So Canada cannot indemnify itself against attack by expunging its religious roots. Pluralism and secularism upset them just as much because those "isms," too, are an impediment to the creation of a worldwide Islamic empire.”
In other words Canada is at war.
And it’s a war we must start planning to win.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Friday, June 02, 2006
Volpe Shows Folly of Contribution Limits
For one thing they make our politicians act like idiots.
Take Volpe, for example.
He actually wants us to believe that two 11 year olds and a 14 year old each contributed $5,400 to his leadership campaign.
“Apparently,” Volpe told the media with a straight face, “I had seen the kids when I went to their school and gave a talk during the (federal election) campaign. They went back home and said `that’s a guy we want to help, we want to support.’ The parents told them there would be a good time to do that and here is the time.”
And he got back up from Steve MacKinnon, the national Liberal Party director, who also with a straight face declared, “Affluent families often have children who possess that kind of resource” to contribute to political parties.
Sorry guys that doesn’t even pass the giggle test. Do they really think anybody is going to believe that dopey story?
Apparently not because now they are returning some of the donations.
Of course, everybody knows what happened in this case.
Some rich guy is using a legal loophole to get around individual campaign contribution limits ie his wife and kids are making contributions.
And in a way you can’t really blame Volpe for taking the money.
After all, running a leadership campaign takes money – lots of money. But unfortunately, political contribution limits will make it more difficult to raise that money – much more difficult.
Something has got to give.
Right now, politicians and their backers are making use of loopholes but when they get plugged they might resort to less legal means.
And that’s the problem with campaign contribution limits. Rather than making government more honest, they make our political system more corrupt.
Check an article I wrote on this which appeared in the Globe and Mail web site a few weeks ago.
Media Update -- Will be discussing this issue on Charles Adler online at 2:15 PM Eastern time.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Here’s what the writer pointed out:
Your ABOUT ME says, "He's one of the top five political minds in the country."
You think that doesn't come across as maybe just a little, oh, I don't know, conceited?
Now, if someone ELSE (preferably someone independent of your organization) is calling you one of the top five political minds in the country, then by all means you should give the attribution. It can only lend strength to the assessment, because then it will actually mean something.
Clearly this person has problems with arbitrary claims.
So I wonder if he takes offence with Disneyland’s claim to be “the happiest place on earth.”
I mean has this ever been verified by “someone independent” of the Disney Corporation?
Of course not.
So until someone sues Mickey Mouse, I won’t change my ranking among the top five political minds.
Right to Earn a Living
Public Service Alliance of Canada officials are threatening employees of Ekati mines (300 kilometers north of Yellowknife) with fines if they cross picket lines.
That’s quite a threat; except for one thing: Canadian law covering Ekati employees does not allow the union to use Canada’s courts to enforce the collection of its fines.
In other words, PSAC is using misinformation and scare tactics to stop employees from working during the strike.
What’s worse, PSAC knows its threat is legally meaningless.
A past PSAC official wrote a memo stating: “PSAC has a legal opinion that clearly and without ambiguity concludes that we have no legal ability to enforce the collection of fines.”
To help set the record straight and to help employees get the real facts, the NCC ran a full page newspaper ad in the Yellowknifer newspaper under the headline, “Here’s what PSAC Union Bosses Don’t Want Ekati Employees to Know”
You can read it here.
The bottom line is that PSAC has a right to call a strike, but employees should also have the right to work during a strike without threats or intimidation.
That’s how free and democratic societies are supposed to work.