Friday, March 30, 2007

Modesty Forbids

This is one holiday I am definitely going to ignore.

American Frontrunners Slowing Down

For all you out there who are interested in American politics I just got a news release from McLaughlin and Associates, which details a recent poll they have conducted.

Here it is:

Upon comparison of our latest national poll results with the results of our November, 2006 post-election survey, it appears that the early start to the Presidential campaign has weakened the popularity of the presumed frontrunners.

-- Hillary Clinton now has a net unfavorable rating: 42%, favorable, 48% unfavorable.

-- John McCain’s net popularity has fallen 31 points from a favorable rating of 61% favorable, 21% unfavorable; to only 43% favorable while his unfavorable rating increased to 34%.

-- Rudy Giuliani has had similar popular decline where his net rating fell 35 points from a 63% favorable rating, 17% unfavorable rating; to 46% favorable, 35% unfavorable.

-- Although Mitt Romney is still not as well known, he has slipped from an overall positive rating to a net negative rating from favorable 17%, unfavorable 12%; to 20% favorable and 24% unfavorable.

-- In November we did not ask about Barack Obama’s favorable rating (although that poll did capture his close second place standing behind Senator Clinton on the ballot). Senator Obama appears to have the best ratio of positives to negatives among the current frontrunners: favorable 47%, unfavorable 23%.

Examining the decline of popularity among the frontrunners partisan polarization is the leading reason for the decline. However, there is also erosion within each candidate’s own political party. It seems that the early start to the primary campaign is already taking a toll on the frontrunners and there is currently opportunity for challengers.

In the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton retains her lead over Barack Obama:

Democrats and Independents: Hillary Clinton: 26% Barack Obama: 18% Al Gore: 11% John Edwards: 11%

Democrats only: Hillary Clinton: 31% Barack Obama: 20% Al Gore: 12% John Edwards: 12%
However, Senator Obama remains strong with liberal Democrats (Clinton 30%, Obama 24%) and has taken the lead among African-Americans (Obama 31%, Clinton 22%).

Since November, in the Republican primary for President, while John McCain has fallen, Rudy Giuliani has assumed the lead:

Republicans and Independents: Rudy Giuliani: 29% John McCain: 19% Newt Gingrich: 7% Fred Thompson: 6%
Mitt Romney: 5%

Republicans only: Rudy Giuliani: 30% John McCain: 20% Newt Gingrich: 10% Fred Thompson: 8%
Mitt Romney: 5%

However, among the conservative Republicans who account for nearly two-thirds of their party’s primary voters, there appears to be jockeying for a conservative challenger to emerge. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (11%), Senator Fred Thompson (9%), and Mitt Romney (7%) show significant support. It means that one strong conservative challenger could emerge to be a frontrunner.

Regarding the potential general election contests among the frontrunners, both Mayor Giuliani and Senator McCain, have fallen from decisive leads to much closer races against Hillary Clinton:

McCain: 44%
Clinton: 38%
Giuliani: 42%
Clinton: 40%
There is now a significant level of undecided voters. Against Barack Obama, the undecided vote is even larger.

McCain: 38%
Obama: 39%
Giuliani: 40%
Obama: 38%

No Spring Vote

The Quebec election results, the big-spending budget and some interesting polls have all fed speculation that an election is imminent

Well a few weeks ago, I said there would be no Spring election and I still stand by those words.

It would just be too much of a risk for the Tories to go right now.

Also, the government faces the problem engineering of its own downfall, which as journalist/author Paul Tuns notes is no easy task given the dynamics of the House these days.

Says Paul: "It just seems improbable that no matter how much Harper wants an election that the other parties would co-operate with his plan to attain a Conservative majority."

And if we don't have an election in the Spring, it's extremely unlikely there will be one in the Fall.

So my prediction: We go to the polls in Spring of '08.

Remember you heard it here first.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

What's Going on in Quebec?

Lots of analysis is going on in the media these days as to what's wrong with the Parti Quebecois and more generally with the separatist movement in Quebec.

My view?

Well it seems to me the problem with the separatist political movement in Quebec isn't that it's separatist, but that it's Marxist.

In other words, both the PQ and the Bloc Quebecois are pushing a tired, left-wing agenda that's falling out of touch with the realities of the modern world.

The Quebecois are ready to move on.

For another analysis on what the Quebec election results mean politically, check out this excellent column by Beryl Wajsman.

I met Beryl on a recent trip to Montreal and have had appeared on his radio show -- The Last Angry Man -- and I can tell you he is a savvy political thinker as well as a fascinating conversationalist.

On the Quebec election he writes:

"Dumont talked about the hopes of working people, the elderly and young families trying to make ends meet on constricting incomes and trying to make their dreams realities despite restrictive rule. The irony was not lost on the dozen or so reporters I was with. The 'left-wing' Boisclair played the exclusionary ethnic card of his cultural “uberclass”. The supposedly 'right-wing' Dumont championed the interests of an economic underclass. Dumont raised hopes he dare not betray."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bad Liberal Spin

Liberal leader Stephane Dion needs a new spin doctor.

I say that because the Liberal Party spin on the Quebec election is really lame.

Essentially, Dion is denouncing the "intrusion" of Prime Minister Stephen Harper into the campaign, saying the way he linked additional limitations on federal spending powers to the results of the election was "blackmail."

This intervention, says Dion, tightened the race and distanced the Liberal Party from majority support.

Is anybody really going to buy this nonsense?

Seems to me, the majority of Canadians are pretty happy with an election result which relegates the separatists to third place.

And if Harper's "intrusion" helped to bring this about, so much the better.

Perhaps all this is incomprehensible to Dion and the Liberals who seem to think everyone is rooting for Liberal majorities.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Blackout Ruling

I have a column in today's Calgary Herald, examining the Supreme Court's terrible ruling of a few weeks ago which upheld the election blackout law.

The Cost of Victory

A week before the Quebec election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper poured $3 billion into La Belle Province.

The PM says he did this to end the "fiscal imbalance" but many believe the real goal was to help Jean Charest's Liberals defeat the nasty separatists.

And if that was his goal, it worked --- the $3 billion ensured Charest won 48 seats, which works out to about $63 million per seat.

Good thing, Harper wasn't aiming for a Liberal majority -- that might have bankrupted the country.

Oh and please note, all you folks who think the Green movement is about to reshape our political culture.

The Quebec Green Party won a paltry four percent of the popular vote and no seats, in one of the most pro-environment province's in the country.

Watch for their federal cousins to suffer the same fate in the next national election.


I modified this posting into a Letter to the Editor, which is published in today's National Post.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Flaherty No Ronald Reagan

Check out a column I wrote, which appears in Sun Media papers today.

In it, I suggest the recent federal budget is a signal the Conservatives are heading down the wrong track.

And by that I mean, the Conservatives are ceasing to be conservatives.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Another 300 Comment

Last night my son went to see the movie 300.

He loved it giving it a 9.3 out of 10. (He's very precise with his reviews.)

I mention this because it gives me another excuse to talk about the crazy political debate surrounding this movie.

The left wing, politically correct crowd hate it not because it's conservative (which it isn't) but simply because it's not liberal.

Here's how the film's director Zack Snyder responded:

"When someone in a movie says, ‘We’re going to fight for freedom,’ that’s now a dirty word, Europeans totally feel that way. If you mention democracy or freedom, you’re an imperialist or a fascist. That’s crazy to me.”

It's crazy to me too.

H/T Libertas

Friday, March 23, 2007

Election Prediction

Here is my fearless prediction for Monday's Quebec election:

Quebec: $3 billion

Canadian Taxpayers: O

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Who's Tory Now?

If the federal Conservatives keep acting like Liberals, the next thing you know they will be creating their own Sponsorship Program.

Oh wait a minute . . . it seems they are creating their own Sponsorship Program!!


Thanks to Janet Neilson for the tip.

Ontario Budget Blues

Just got from doing a live interview on CHCH TV about the Ontario budget.

Ahh, live television -- is there anything worse?

First off I had to stand outside in the chilly wind for about an hour in one of those "remote" interviews where you stand staring at a lens, pretending you can see the host. And then the audio keeps going on and off, which makes for some awkard times.

Must have looked real bright standing on the TV screens with a quizzical look on my face.

Mind you, that look might have come from the Ontario budget itself --- which was kind of like a replay of the federal budget -- a few tax cuts sprinkled in with lots of left-wing spending.

The worst part: No tax cuts for the middle class.

I guess Premier Dalton needs the money in case he wants to give himself another big fat pay

Media Update: Will be talking about the Ontario budget on the Gary Doyle Show at about 12:05 PM EST.

Good Riddance to Bill 257

Well the House of Commons did something right for a change.

Last night MPs voted down Bill C-257, which would have made it a crime for companies to hire replacement workers during a strike.

Simply put this Bill was a terrible idea.

If passed it would have undermined Canada's economy, given more powers to union bosses to cripple key infrastructure industries and infringed on the individual rights of all unionized employees.

That's why the National Citizens Coalition ran a media ad campaign to oppose this disaster in the making.

It's a good victory for the NCC and a victory for Canada.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Blackout Ruling Skewered

Bob Tarantino, who happens to be a lawyer, has an excellent legal analysis of last's weeks horrid Supreme Court ruling on the election black out law.

Key quote: "The majority decision is so poorly reasoned it almost beggars belief."

More Budget talk

I'm going to be a guest on the Rogers Cable TV Show Money Line tonight at 7:30 PM to discuss the federal budget with Toronto Sun business editor Linda Leatherdale.

Oh and here's more evidence the federal budget was a train wreck: Sheila Copps liked it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Discussing the Budget with Duffy

Here's me on Mike Duffy Live this afternoon.

I was discussing the federal budget with Tasha Kheiriddin. She thinks it's a smart political budget; I hate it.

You can see the segment here.

(Click the tab marked "Are the Tories Moving Left?")

Budget Reaction (It's Bad)

Some reactions to the budget:

"The $200-billion in program spending Mr. Flaherty has budgeted for this year works out to about $5,800 for every man, woman and child in Canada. Even adjusting for inflation and increases in population, that’s more than Paul Martin spent in his frantic last hours. It is more than the Mulroney government spent in its last days. It is more than the Trudeau government spent in the depths of the early 1980s recession. All of these past benchmarks of out-of-control spending must now be retired. Jim Flaherty has outdone them all." -- Andrew Coyne, the National Post.

"This (the budget) is so Liberal, the Grits should sue for breach for copyright" --- John Ibbitson, the Globe and Mail

"The federal budget delivered Monday by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was conservative in name only. It increases the size and scope of activity undertaken by the federal government and relies largely on a host of activist economic policies rather than focusing on creating the right environment to encourage economic activity." -- Niels Veldhuis and Jason Clemens, the Fraser Institute.

Media Alert: I am going to appear on the Newsworld Program, Today this afternoon to discuss the budget.

Media Alert II: Will be on Mike Duffy Live to discuss the budget at 5:20 PM EST.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Budget Blues

Somebody remind me again, who is running the federal government, Conservatives or Liberals?

I have to ask because today's budget sure looks like something the Liberals or maybe even the NDP could have concocted.

Yes, there were some targeted tax cuts for families and a few tax changes to help business, but overall this budget was all about one thing: SPENDING.

Conservatives were supposed to CUT spending; not increase it.

You can see the NCC news release on the budget here.

But what really gets me about today's budget speech is Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's comment about providing more funding to the Canada Revenue Agency to ensure "every company pays its fair share of tax."

Since when do Conservatives want to increase the government's efficiency when it comes to collecting taxes?

They have a $13 billion surplus for Pete's sake, isn't that enough?!

Talk about greedy.

Maybe it's time the Tories forgot about the politics and re-focused on the ideology.

They certainly need a refresher course in Conservatism 101.


Financial Post editor Terence Corcoran has more.

Budget Fun

The best part about this afternoon's budget won't be the actual budget, but the Opposition Parties reaction to it.

The Opposition doesn't want an election right now, so there is no way they will vote against the government's fiscal plan, no matter how much they might hate it.

Consequently, the NDP, the Bloc, the Liberals will all have to pretend to like something -- anything -- in the budget.

The fun part will be watching them grit their teeth as they say nice things about the Tory plan.

This is where the spin doctors earn their money.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Me on CBC

I am scheduled to appear on the CBC Newsworld program Weekend Edition to talk about my recent oped column in the Globe and Mail.

That's the one where I take the Harper government to task for its recent massive spending binge.

They tell me my segment will be air sometime after Noon EST - so adjust your schedule accordingly.

Update: My appearance on Newsworld has been rescheduled to between 3:00 and 3:30 PM EST.

Update II: Now I am not sure if I will ever be on Newsworld -- I may have been bumped, which is real nice since I gave up a restful Sunday morning to be on the show!!!

Update III: OK time to relax. I was just on. Phew.

Persian Protests

Well it looks like a new "Danish Cartoon" controversy could be brewing.

This time some Iranians are upset with the depiction of ancient Persians in the blockbuster movie, 300.

An anti-300 website has even been set up which declares: "Driven by an admiration for arts, and united by a common concern about the barbaric and demonic portrayal of Persians in Frank Miller's graphic novel and the movie 300, we have come together to voice our objection in a uniquely artistic fashion".

Well before they get their "uniquely artistic" anger too far down the road, the anti-300 protesters should consider that most movie-goers probably have no clue that Iran was once called Persia.

Still I wonder if the Canadian and American establishment elites will soon be calling for this movie to be banned to show our cultural sensitivity.

Or maybe it's the fault of the movie's producers.

They should have followed the traditional Hollywood route and made a movie in which the Spartans were portrayed as imperialistic, war-mongers who slaughtered the innocent, peace-loving Persians simply to get their oil.

And if they could have blamed George Bush somehow that would have cinched at least a few academy award nominations.

Of course the movie is making buckets of money, which should offset any "uniquely artistic" objections.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Reaction to SCC Ruling

People are starting to react to yesterday's Supreme Court ruling upholding the election blackout law.

Mike Jenkinson, a Sun Media editor, notes in an editorial today: "The Supreme Court blew it yesterday, ruling against free speech and upholding an archaic law that is virtually unenforceable in our hi-tech world" and "The only thing this law will do is turn informed and techno-savvy Canadians into criminals. The Harper government should repeal this section of the Canada Elections Act immediately."

The Globe and Mail for its part says the chief effect of the ban is 'to stomp on the guarantee of free expression in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

And you can see some more of my comments in this Canwest News story.

The good news is Peter Van Loan, the Tory House leader in the Commons, has not shut the door on changing the law.

Said Van Loan, "it is open to Parliament to consider this. . . . We have the freedom to act if we decide to."

And the Tories should decide to act.


Andrew Coyne has a good take on the ruling as well.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Media Update

As might be expected, I was pretty busy today doing media interviews on the Supreme Court's ruling on the blackout law.

As far as TV is concerned I was on the BNN program Squeeze Play, on CTV National News and on CTV Newsnet. Also appeared on CH@5:30 Live where I sparred a bit with Sheila Copps.

Did some radio too on this: The Richard Cloutier Show (CJOB Winniepg), Dave Rutherford Show (CHQR radio Calgary), the Gary Doyle Show (570 AM, Kitchener), Focus 980 (CHPL London) and the Mike Stafford Show (640 Toronto).

Also tonight I will be on Nighthawk (CJOB Winnipeg) to talk about my column in today's Globe and Mail.

Blackout Ruling a Disgrace

When the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday to uphold the election blackout law (by a 5-4 margin) it took a stand that was both dangerous and ridiculous.

Dangerous because the Court (a body which exists to protect our freedoms) essentially ruled in favour of political censorship and ridiculous because it endorsed a law that's practically impossible to enforce.

Here's the background:

The law in question is Section 329 of the Canada Elections Act, which bans the "premature transmission" of election results.

Under this law it's an offence to transmit election results from parts of the country where the polls are closed to parts of the country where the polls are still open.

Computer software developer Paul Bryan thought it was a stupid law, that denied his right to free speech. So he challenged it in 2000 when he posted real time election results on his website.

Not long after, he was charged with violating the law and, with the financial support of the National Citizens Coalition, took his case to court.

And so after a six year legal battle, his case made it before the Supreme Court of Canada.

And unfortunately, he lost.

The court didn't apparently didn't care that section 329 infringed on free speech. Why? Because they believed it was a necessary infringement to safeguard what one Justice called "informational equality."

Yes apparently "informational equality" is an important right, more important even than the right to free speech, which just happens to be entrenched in the Charter.

Absolutely amazing.

Of course, what the Court was really saying was that Canadians need to be protected from political information. They need to be kept in the dark just in case voting results influence how they vote.

Never mind the fact, that there is no evidence to suggest allowing a free flow of political information on election night in any way causes any harm to our democratic process.

And if there is no harm, what's the justification for taking away a freedom?

The Court obviously sees itself not as the defender of Charter freedoms, but as a promoter of socialistic paternalism.

Very sad.

What also makes this ruling so insane, is that blackout laws are nearly impossible to enforce in this day and age of instantaneous communications.

Maybe it's a generational thing, but the Supreme Court Justices don't seem to understand the reach of the Internet, or blogs or satellite TV and radio.

People who want to get information on election night will find ways to get it no matter what the courts or the politicians say.

Unless of course, we want to move into the arena of China and Turkey where the Internet is tightly controlled and regulated.

Knowing this Court, that's entirely possible.

Mind you this is not the first time the Court has ruled against freedom. It also ruled in favour of election gag laws a few years ago.

It's part of a disturbing trend and one which should alarm all Canadians who cherish free speech.

Is the blackout fight over?

Well I hope the government will step up and do the right thing and repeal Section 329.

It might happen.

After all, when the NCC took on this case back in 2000 our president was none other than Stephen Harper.

Spending Spree Hypocrisy

I have a column in today's Globe and Mail, examining the hypocricsy of politicians when it comes to money and politics.

On the one hand they decry money's influence and enact gag laws to regulate what private citizens can spend on politicking, but on the other hand they spend billions of tax dollars in pre-election binges.

Unfortunately the column is not on their website, but I will have it posted on the National Citizens Coalition site soon.

Update: My column is now on the NCC site.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Supreme Court To Rule on Blackout Law

The Supreme Court of Canada will release its decision tomorrow morning at 9:45 am EST on Paul Bryan’s constitutional challenge to the federal government’s election “blackout” law.

Paul -- with the financial support of the National Citizens Coalition -- is challenging an archaic and undemocratic law which bans the transmission of voting results on election night.

Section 329 of the Canada Elections Act, makes it an offence to broadcast or otherwise transmit voting results from parts of the country where the polls are closed to parts of the country where the polls are still open.

I hope the Court rules in favour of freedom tomorrow and strikes down this law.

Simply put, there is no justification for this kind of blackout law in a free society. The government has no business banning the flow of political information.

Several media outlets including the CBC, CTV, CanWest News, Sun Media, Canadian Press and the Globe and Mail intervened in this case to support Bryan’s constitutional position.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association also intervened to support his stand.

United Left Isn't Right

There has been a lot of talk lately about “uniting the left.”

The idea being the only way to stop the "Evil, Neo-Con Harper Juggernaut" is for the Liberals and New Democrats to join forces.

Let's leave aside the fact that far from being a juggernaut, the Tory government has only a slight minority and no real prospects at a majority.

Does it really make sense for Canada's "progressives" to unite under a single banner.

I don't think so.

After all, in politics 2+2 often does not equal four.

In other words, combining the Liberals and the NDP into one party would not result in combining their vote totals.

Many NDPers are more populists than socialist and would likely bolt from such a party and many “Blue Liberal” voters might fear socialist influences and also bolt from such a party.

What’s more, for the Liberals having a separate left-wing party is a distinct advantage.

Unlike the Democrats in the US they don’t have to worry about a “loony left wing faction” since such voices are safely contained in the NDP.

Yet, when the Liberals need to court the “progressive” vote the NDP serves as sort of a holding tank.

What I think the Left really needs to do is modernize a bit: Drop the class warfare rhetoric, dump the link to union bosses, tone down the anti-American rhetoric.

In other words, the Left needs to be more Right.

Media Update:

I will be discussing this issue on Adler Online at about 3:00 PM EST.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Forget the Election Talk

More and more political pundits are coming to the conclusion that we will have a federal election either in late spring or early summer.

And certainly the signs are out there: the anti-Liberal attack ads, the "pre-election" spending spree, the Tory candidate "boot camp".

So I am going out on a limb, swimming against the tide, defying convetional wisdom, when I say confidently that there will not be a federal election in 2007 -- unless one is forced by the Opposition.

Why do I say that?

Because while Stephen Harper will take a calculated risk from time to time, he is most definitely not a gambler.

And holding an election this spring/summer would be a gamble.

Yes, Liberal leader Stephane Dion has been a bit of a bust, but the polling numbers do not yet indicate the Tories would win a majority.

So why risk a vote?

If Harper can only win another minority, his position will be weakened both inside and outside the party.

That's why he will hold off forcing an election until the cards are more in his favour.

So relax, it's going to be a calm summer.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Kyoto is just for Starters

At a pro-Kyoto rally yesterday, Greenpeace's David Martin made an interesting comment.

"Make no mistake about it -- global warming is a reality. The debate is over," Martin declared. "(Kyoto) will work. It has to work. Kyoto is just the beginning. We need much, much deeper reductions." (emphasis mine.)

Martin is essentially admitting that for him and his environmentalist cohorts simply enacting the Kyoto Accord won't be enough. That's only step one.

They are already clamouring for a Kyoto II, and then it will be a Kyoto III.
And this reflects the problem of environmentalism as a political movement: there is no end game, no point at which the environment will ever really be safe from the threat of industrial society.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Right Online Thinking

If you're in the market for some intelligent conservative opinion with an international slant, check out a new online journal called Righthinker.

Its billed as "an online journal of politics, policy and popular culture. Contributors come from around the globe and differ in many regards however all have a common belief. That belief is in the primacy of the individual and that freedom is a universal need for all not a luxury for a fortunate few."

Based in Australia, its publisher, Matt Marks, just happens to be the son-in-law of Preston Manning.

And here's the best part: It's free to register.

Maybe Xerxes is Supposed to be Bush

Well it looks like my boycotting the movie 300 hasn't hurt it at the Box Office.

It looks to be a blockbuster.

And this apparently has certain leftists up in arms.


Because 300 has the audacity to be just an entertaining action movie with no overt or hidden left-wing political message.

In other words, unlike virtually every other movie to come out of Hollywood over the past five years, it doesn't have an anti-American or anti-Bush subtext.

Almost makes me want to see it despite my squeamishness about the violence.

Or maybe I will do what a friend suggested: wait for the DVD and fast-forward through the gory bits.

Meanwhile here is another take on 300 from Libertas.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Liberals Should Have Listened to Me

It looks like Liberal leader Stephane Dion has finally figured out that moving to the left of the NDP is not such a good idea. .

Faced with declining poll numbers, Dion is now paddling in somewhat the opposite direction.

Recently he has taken some sensible stands such as calling for income tax cuts and saying he will personally oppose Bill C-257, which favours big union bosses at the expense of our economy.

Not sure if these moves will be enough. Might be a case of too little, too late.

Dion and company probably now wish they had listened to me last summer when I warned them about their misguided socialist course.

"Voters will not support a political party that promotes the interests of special interest groups ahead of the well-being of the country," I perceptively wrote. "They will not support a party that puts Canada at an economic disadvantage in the world, and they won’t support a party whose policies would undermine their standard of living."

I further cautioned:

"If the Liberals continue to head in that direction (to the left), which right now seems likely, it will only mean one thing: Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party will be in power for a long, long time."

It all goes to show the Liberals need to learn an important lesson: They don't call me one of the top five political minds in the country for nothing.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Go Tell the Spartans, I won't See This Movie

For months I was looking forward to seeing the action movie 300, which depicts the famous Spartan battle at Thermopylae.

But now reviewers are saying the movie contains extreme and gory violence -- and that's something I'm not really into.

I guess I will just have to content myself with getting the British documentary on Sparta from the library.

It doesn't have great special effects, but nobody gets their head hacked off either.

Taking out the Trash

Toronto's Ruling Soviet Council has moved swiftly and decisively to smash counter-revolutionary activity in the outlying region of York -- formerly the independent city of York.

What sort of activity?

Well, the residents of that region had contracted with -- horrors of horrors -- a private company to collect their garbage!!!

Needless to say this struck right to the heart of Comrade David Miller's Utopian socialist city state.

Imagine the embarrassment, for instance, a few years ago when Toronto's public garbage collectors went on strike. Trash was piling up everywhere, -- except in York, where the private company continued to collect the area's refuse.

Talk about sticking it to the Proletariat!

Well those bourgeois days are over.

Yesterday the City Council decreed the public sector will take over garbage collection in York.

The dangerous private sector experiment is over.

From now on, whenever there is a garbage strike the whole city will suffer equally. Now that's egalitarianism at its finest.

Long live the Miller revolution!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Talking Libertarianism in Montreal

Last week I had the honour and pleasure to attend a special dinner in Montreal, where a group of libertarian/conservative activists and thinkers convened to discuss lofty matters of principle.

There was a great exchange of ideas and opinions, and I must say I learned a lot.

Also in attendance was journalist Rondi Adamson, who has the lowdown on the other great thing about this dinner -- the meal itself.

The Lively Seven

Here's my latest column from Report Magzine.

It's about the Lively Seven, a group of courageous women who are fighting for the right not to be unionized.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Movie Posters

Ever wondered what the top 25 movie posters of all time were?

No me neither.

But somebody has.

Plato to NATO

Just finished reading the book, From Plato to NATO: The Idea of the West and its Opponents, and I certainly would recommend it.

Its author, David Gress, traces the evolution of democracy, capitalism and individual freedom -- all uniquely Western ideals -- from Ancient Greece to the modern day.

And it's not all just philosophy, there is some great political jabs in it too, as Gress dissects the faulty notions of fascism, Marxism and the welfare state.

One section of the book even looks at how the environmentalist movement threatens our freedoms.

Gress argues the Al Gores of the world are pushing the vision of a "Stone Age Soviet Union run by moralistic enforcers who have a monopoly of the means of coercion and propaganda; the very denial of liberalism and economic development, the only historically tested and reliable means of cleaner environment."

What's really great about this book, however, is the way it pieces together the wondrous story of Western civilization.

As Virgil said, "Happy he who comes to understand the cause of things."

Pork and Free Speech

One of the arguments used by those who favour election gag laws -- laws which severely restrict how much non-politicians can spend on political ads -- is they stop money from influencing elections.

Yes we can't have citizens spending their own money to express their own viewpoints. That would destroy democracy!

Yet it's apparently OK for politicians to spend billions of dollars of other people's money to influence voters.

Case in point, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced yesterday they would spend $4.5-billion on mass transit and road improvements for the Greater Toronto Area.

And, of course, we are supposed to believe it's just a coincidence that all this money is being spent in what could be an election year federally and what will certainly be an election year provincially.

Once upon a time, the National Citizens Coalition could have run ads during an election to condemn this type of pork-barrelling, but today that would be illegal.

We would be unfairly trying to "buy votes."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Lamb Chops

Hope Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty doesn't see this movie; it may lead him to ban sheep!

Quebec's Political Shift

A little while ago, when the Quebec "nation issue" was dominating the debate in the House of Commons, NDP leader Jack Layton came up with an interesting way to keep the country united.

He said since Quebec was generally a left wing province, the best way to keep it in Canada was for the rest of the country to adopt socialism.

Well there are a lot of things wrong with that line of thinking but here's one big problem: Quebec is actually moving to the right politically.

Consider: in the last federal election, Quebec elected ten Conservative MPs, Quebeckers are receptive to the idea of alternatives to government-run health care and two of the three main political provincial parties are to the right of centre.

If this trend keeps up, maybe Layton will next argue the best way to keep Quebec in Canada will be to adopt libertarianism.

No, he probably won't do that.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Dion's Tour

Liberal leader Stephane Dion is about to engage on a cross-country tour in a bid to boost his sagging poll numbers.

According to the press, his strategists are hoping "it will showcase the depth of the former academic’s intellect and the breadth of his vision."

Well if the Liberals are pinning their hopes on Dion's intellect, well they might as well enjoy their stay in the Opposition benches because they will be there for a while.

I'm not saying Dion isn't smart intellectually, I am sure he is. But he doesn't seem to be all that smart politically, which is what counts when it comes to winning elections.

It's not smart to go around telling Canadians that you might impose a carbon tax on gasoline.

It's not smart politics to openly muse about nationalizing Alberta's oil sands.

It's not smart politics to scrap anti-terrorist police powers.

Rather than going on a speaking tour, Dion would be better served to re-think his policies.

It's easier to get voters to agree with you than it is to get them to like you.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Great Man's Legacy

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of a great man's death.

His name was Colin M. Brown.

Maybe you never heard of him, but Colin was an important person in my life and an important person in Canadian history.

For one thing, he was the founder and first president of the National Citizens Coalition.

But that's not what made him so important.

What's important about Colin is the example he set for the rest of us who believe in freedom and who believe some values are worthing fighting for --- no matter what the odds.

Today, for instance, some of us are sometimes disillusioned and disappointed with the trends of the world. Some of us even think at times that we should give up the battle.

But just imagine what it was like for conservatives back in the late 1960s, when Canada was in the grip of Trudeaumania.

Socialism we were told then was the way of the future. Big government, went the conventional wisdom, was the answer to all our problems.

Anyone who believed otherwise was ostracized as a "dinosaur" or worse.

Colin didn't buy it.

To him Trudeau's vision was not only wrong, but also destroying the country he loved.

Yet he just didn't complain about what was happening to his country -- he did something about it.

Always a fighter, this World War II vet, took up his sword and declared war on Trudeau's Canada.

Using his own money he took out ads in newspapers speaking up for free markets and calling for less government.

This was heresy!

Politicians attacked him, leftists smeared him, the media tried to ignore him.

But undeterred, Colin fought on.

And before long something happened: thousands of Canadians rallied to Colin's side.

They saw in Colin a man who had the courage of his convictions, a man who was saying the things they longed to hear, a man who wasn't afraid to stand up for what was right.

So great was Colin's support that in 1975 he founded the NCC, as a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to fighting for a freer, better Canada. He called it a hobby that went berserk.

Did Colin and the NCC help to change Canada?

Well let's put it this way, back in 1975 I don't think even Colin would have dreamed that one of his successors as NCC president would one day become Prime Minister.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Gerry's Most UnExcellent Adventure

In this blog's last exciting episode I was in my Montreal hotel room anxiously checking flight schedules to see if the massive winter storm pounding the city would keep me from getting home.

Here's the rest of the story (warning some scenes are intended for mature audiences, viewer discretion is advised)

At about 10:00 AM after a pleasant sounding fellow from the airline assured me my 12:15 flight was still on time I bravely embarked on my journey.

Things got off to a bad start when immediately upon leaving the hotel, I sunk into a snow bank up to my chest.

But that was nothing, then came the cab ride.

You know how soldiers tell you war is long periods of tedium punctuated with brief moments of sheer terror.

Well that's what my cab ride was like.

It alternated between being a slow snail-like crawl along ice covered streets and a heart-pounding Disneyland ride designed by Satan.

After the death-defying cab ride it was the security check.

Just my luck some young guy was being trained to be a security guard and I guess I was his "test".

With three other older, mean-looking security guards looking on, this kid took me aside and treated me like I was Osama Bin Laden: I had to undo my belt buckle, take off my boots, and endure a "full metal scan" that was a little more invasive than I liked.

Let's just say he was very thorough and I am sure he passed with flying colours.

Next it was waiting in the terminal lounge -- my flight was delayed. What a shock!!

But finally after waiting for hours in the lounge, they allowed us to board the plane, where we waited for more hours.

Oh yeah, one of the passengers was an absolutely, stunningly gorgeous young lady, who I am certain was a professional model.

Did she sit next to me?

No, of course not. I sat next to a salesman from Manitoba, who kept saying, "Let's pray for a safe flight."

Anyway, after we deiced the plane's wings and after the runway was shoveled free of snow, we finally took off.

The flight itself was uneventful -- except for the aggravating "artist" behind me who kept prattling on about his "performance art".

Eventually we landed safe and sound in Toronto City Island airport.

And just to make the trip end on the right note: I got seasick crossing on the ferry.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Blizzard Blues

Well I am in Montreal right now and by the look of the massive winter storm raging outside my hotel window it looks like I might be here for a long time!

Just my luck, global warming decides to take a holiday on the very day I am visiting the city!

Anyway, was talking politics with some of the locals around here and one opinion making the rounds is that when all the election dust is settled on March 26th, Quebec might have something it has never had in its history: a minority government.

As if politics in this province weren't already wacky enough.

However, it's also a tradition in Quebec to elect back-to-back majority governments, so who knows.

All I care about right now is whether or not my plane is going to take off!