Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Toronto Star Losing It

OK I think the editorial writers over at the Toronto Star have officially lost it.

In today's editorial they denounce yesterday's announced tax cuts with the kind of over-the-top left-wing, class war rhetoric that went out of fashion about 100 years ago.

Check this comment: "It has been said that taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society. Yesterday the Conservatives made this country a little less civilized by killing the hope of the poorest in our midst for a fairer society in which everyone has a roof over their head and enough to eat."

Get that? The Star believes allowing Canadians to keep a little bit more of the money they earn will plunge Canada into barbarism!

Get a grip.

Even left wing Star columnist Thomas Walkom doesn't buy that loony spin.

Even stranger than the Star's Retro-Leftism, however, is its urging Liberal leader Stephane Dion to defeat the Conservative mini-budget and force an election over the issue.

Why bring down the government? Well, the Star writes:

"The reasons are clear. If these massive tax cuts are approved, then the Liberals would have to reverse them to be able to carry out a bold, progressive program of social, economic and environmental policies that Dion has promised if the Liberals are elected. And every politician knows that running on the need for tax hikes is a losing proposition."

Oh, I see running on the need for tax hikes is a losing proposition. But running on the need to cancel popular tax cuts is somehow a winning proposition.

Yeah that makes sense.

The Star's political advice would only make sense if they actually wanted Dion to lose.

And hey, maybe that's the answer.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Scary Squash

Need some last minute Halloween ideas?

Check out these extreme pumpkins.

Post on Flaherty's tax cuts

I get a mention in this National Post Editorial Board blog on Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's fiscal update.

They call me a "right wing political critic". Wonder if I should put that on my business card?

As far as Flaherty's tax cuts go, what can I say?

Maybe the Tories are finally listening to me.

But then again, maybe not.

As Paul Tuns so aptly puts it, "So after the tax cuts, the government will still be over-taxing us by nearly $12 billion. To my mind, there was room for another $12 billion in tax cuts."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Future of Freedom

Here's me speaking at the recent "Future of Freedom" conference, put on by the Canadian Constitution Foundation.
The other people on the panel are Michael Coren and Lorne Gunter.
It was a good event, you learn more about it here.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

More Spoke Stuff

Here's a photo of me debating Tom Flanagan, at the recent Fraser Institutes's Behind the Spin @the Spoke event.
And even though you can't tell from this picture, the place was absolutely jam-packed -- a sold out event.
Maybe Flanagan and I should take our show on the road!

The Right to Work

My recent posting on the court ruling which declared unions could not impose fines on employees who crossed picket lines, led to these questions from an anonymous reader:

"Does this mean teacher unions too? So when there's a strike those who want to teach their students can do so without consequence?"

John Mortimer of Labourwatch was kind enough to provide this answer:
To answer Anonymous re teachers working during a strike. Your right to work could be constrained if the employer refuses to open the workplace and let you work. Not all employers during strikes are prepared to open up to non-managers. Usually it is because they fear union violence and most police forces have policies of not enforcing all aspects of the criminal code during a strike.

The "desk drawers" of lawyers and security firms are full of video of police watching as strikers perpetrate violence, particularly to property. I have been advised that police actually swear oaths to uphold the law, not to keep the peace. In one province a sharp group of people have been assessing what to do about going after governments and the police that refuse to enforce and ensure the rule of law including whether or not these parties can be successfully sued.

Finally, Saskatchewan has Canada's only statute forcing union membership on almost all unionized workers. It also has Canada's only statute law (thank you "Conservative Premier Grant Devine") giving unions the right to fine union members (cannot fine the few who are able to avoid forced membership) who cross a picket line to do their jobs. A statute like this trumps the common law principle that protected the PSAC members - courts do not enforce penalties between private parties to a contract.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Watching Labour

A couple of postings ago, I noted how a court had dealt a blow to Canada's big union bosses, when it ruled the Public Service Alliance of Canada could not fine unionized employees who chose to cross picket lines.

The presiding judge called the fines “very unfair,” “extremely onerous” and “unconscionable in the circumstances."

And PSAC bosses must have known they would lose this case.

After all, according to LabourWatch, these bosses paid for a legal opinion back in 2004 which advised them that such fines were, in fact, illegal.

However, the unions chose to continue imposing these fines, obviously relying on the hope that most employees lacked the resources to hire a lawyer to fight for their rights in the courts.

Turns out that was a misplaced hope.

As LabourWatch president John Mortimer put it, "Now PSAC needs to drop its legal actions, and apologize to hundreds of dues paying members across Canada misled since the 2004 legal opinion, which unionized employees paid for”.

Now is also for the time for our governments to enact laws to protect the individual freedoms of employees in the work place.

You can learn more about this important case here.

By the way, LabourWatch is a tremendous organization, that does a lot of good when it comes to fighting for the rights of employees.

It's worthy of support.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Michael Coren Show and Me

I will be on the Michael Coren Show tonight on CTS at 8:00 PM to discuss federal politics.

Taped it this morning, and it was a good show -- lots of animated discussion.

Also on the panel were my friend John Capobianco and former Liberal leadership candidate Martha Hall Findlay.

Findlay, by the way, would have made a much better leader than Stephane Dion.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World Serious

Official World Series Prediction: Red Sox in five games.

WIMP Coalition

Check out my op-ed in the National Post today.

It's based on my debate last night with Professor Tom Flanagan at the Fraser Institute's "Behind the Spin @ the Spoke" event.

How did it go?

Well modesty forbids me from talking about winners and losers (I won) but I can say the audience seemed to enjoy the show.

And just to show there were no hard feelings, Flanagan signed my coyp of his book Harper's Team.

He wrote, "Keep up the pressure."

And I intend to.

Oh and one more good thing about last night, was I finally got to meet Wonder Woman.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I Get Letters...Unfortunately

In the days leading up to the Throne Speech, just about every political party was sabre-rattling about a possible federal election being just weeks away.

One reason for this posturing is money.

By creating a crisis situation -- "Oh my God, an election is almost here!!!"--- they can squeeze financial supporters for cash.

In fact, I just received such a letter from the Conservative Party. Ringing the election alarm bells, it implored me for a "special" contribution of $35, $55 or possibly $70.

What really struck me about this letter, however, was how poorly it was written.

Typical sentence: "The Liberals have an all or nothing plan. 'All' equals them getting back in government. If not back in government, the Liberals could care less what impact comes from their anger, personal attacks and obstructionism."

I think I know what this is supposed to mean, but it's just so painfully awkward.

And parts of the letter just don't make sense.

Take this line: "Stephane Dion may use threats and attacks in a shameless attempt to gain national support. Let's make sure his belligerent tactics in Parliament will be remembered in the next election."

Why would you want to "make sure" voters remember Dion's attacks in an election?

And naturally this letter does not contain one iota of conservative principle. No mention is made, for instance, about the need to make government smaller or to promote free enterprise.

Well at least they got my name spelled right.

The Sting of Battle

Sometimes when you want to get in the zone, when you are preparing for a contest of wills, it's a good idea to get some inspiration.

And who better to inspire you for a fight than General George S. Patton.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

TV Themes 2

Top 5 TV Themes which explain the show's premise:

5. Green Acres

4. The Addams Family

3. The Brady Bunch

2. The Beverly Hillbillies

1. Gilligan's Island

TV Themes

Top Ten Cop/Action Shows With the Best Theme Music:

10. Police Woman

9. Hill Street Blues

8. Starsky and Hutch

7. Law and Order

6. Dragnet

5. S.W.A.T.

4. The Rockford Files

3. Batman

2. Magnum PI

1. Hawaii 5-0

Friday, October 19, 2007

Me an Ideologue?

Check out this Fraser Institute news release promoting my upcoming steel cage match with Chief Tory Apologist Thomas Flanagan.

They describe me as the "outspoken, non-partisan ideologue who has been a thorn in the side of the federal conservatives since they started to move towards the political centre."

Unfortunately, the release failed to mention my boyish good looks.

Democracy in the Work Place

Every once in a while the courts make a decision which restores your faith in the system.

Case in point: yesterday an Ontario Superior Court ruled union bosses can't use the courts to enforce fines they impose on unionized employees who choose to work during a strike.

The case involved the Public Service Alliance of Canada which used fines to punish employees who had the audacity to cross picket lines so they could work for a living.

PSAC, clearly thinking it was some sort of parallel government, believed it could sue employees who didn't pay the fines.

Wrong, said the court.

In fact, in Canada employees have every right to cross a picket line.

Let's hope the next step is to stop union bosses from bullying employees who choose to cross a line.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Drew Carey Project

Did you know Drew Carey is a libertarian?

It's a fact.

Anyway, Carey and the folks over at the Reason Foundation are producing the Drew Carey Project, a series of short documentaries examining how big government threatens our liberties.

The first documentary wonders if the free market can help solve gridlock.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Facebook Pals

Writing in today's National Post, Barbara Kay suggests Facebook is a "stage for showcasing one's wit, charm and social worthiness and therefore inherently competitive. Friendship quality is irrelevant; quantity and self-promotion are all that count."

She is absolutely right.

I want all the Facebook friends I can get!

So if you are on Facebook I would be glad to be your friend.

The Libertarians and Me

I will be a guest speaker at the Ontario Libertarian Party's next Annual General Meeting, on November 3rd in Toronto.

My topic will be the recent Ontario election.

Here are the details of when, where, and how to register.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Me on TV

OK I made it CTV National News tonight, talking about the government's fiscal policies.

You can read about it here.

Waste Not Want

Speaking of Throne Speeches and the environment, did you hear about the International Toilet Summit?

Imitation and flattery

Hey, the CBC's Rick Mercer is stealing my bit!

In tonight's "Front Page" segment of the Mercer Report, Mercer jokes about a glass of water being "slightly more electable" than Stephane Dion.

Well didn't I just have a column in the Sun Media chain yesterday, claiming a carrot was more electable than Dion!?

OK, Mercer said glass of water and not carrot, but it's the same basic principle.

I should have got it copyrighted or something.

Poison Pills

Media pundits agree tonight's Throne Speech did not contain a "poison pill" to trigger an election.

But watching it was so boring, I desperately wanted to take a poison pill.

Hey at least, they are talking about cutting taxes -- what took them so long.


Taped an interview with CTV National News that's supposed to air tonight.

I say "supposed" to air, because you never know sometimes you end up on the cutting room floor.

Actually there is one part I do hope doesn't make the final cut.

For some reason, while answering a question I used the phrase, "political imperative".

Political imperative!

Where the heck did I get that from?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Carrot vs Rutabaga

Remember a few postings ago, I compared Liberal leader Stephane Dion to a carrot?

Well I turned that into a column for the Sun Media chain, and I think it's definitely my most intellectual piece yet.

Even more interesting is that former Liberal cabinet minister, Sheila Copps, writes a rebuttal piece -- except instead of defending Dion and arguing he would make a better leader than a carrot, she goes on the attack, accusing Prime Minister Stephen Harper of being like a rutabaga!!

This has all the makings of a vicious food fight!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Capitalist Acts Between Consenting Adults

Had the pleasure this weekend to speak at the Canadian Constitution Foundation's "Future of Freedom" conference.

It was an excellent event and my hat is off to CCF executive director John Carpay who put together a really first-rate show.

Other speakers at the conference included Michael Coren, Lorne Gunter, Stanley Hartt and Supreme Court Justice Marshall Rothstein.

The highlight for me, however, was Charles Fried's talk on "Is Liberty Possible?" Fried, a Harvard Law professor and former Solicitor General of the United States, eloquently praised the virtues of "capitalist acts between consenting adults."

Another highlight of the conference was meeting lots of friends: people like Dr. Roy, Janet Neilson, Matt Bufton and Peter Jaworski -- who heads up the Institute for Liberal Studies.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation is certainly an organization which deserves the support of Canadians who cherish freedom.

Ezra like the Tasmanian Devil

The Western Standard's demise has generated lots of commentary. But I think Rondi Adamson's recent column in the Toronto Star really hits the mark.

The best line is her description of Ezra Levant, who she says is like "the Tasmanian devil – forever in motion, incomprehensible to others though clearly focused on his own goals, scary from a distance, but up close, just a cute little devil."

Something tells me we haven't heard the last of the "Tasmanian Devil".

Saturday, October 13, 2007

MMP Compromise

Andrew Coyne is still making the case for mixed member proportional (MMP) electoral reform, even though only 37 percent of Ontarians supported the idea in Wednesday's referendum.

Me I was never really sold on the idea.

But maybe a good compromise would be to have MMP apply to only 37 percent of the province.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Corcoran on Red Toryism.

Financial Post columnist Terence Corcoran perfectly diagnoses the problem with Red Toryism.

Writing about the disastrous election results for the John Tory led Ontario Progressive Conservatives he writes, "the Tory Tories delivered nothing. The official platform was a relentless catalogue of more spending, special-interest cash drop offs, generalized waffles and copies of the latest conventional policy wisdom on anything and everything."

And says Corcoran, "there was nothing to Tory Conservatism that could not have been endorsed by any Liberal, and nothing to appeal to the bedrock conservatives who must be seen as the heart of the Conservative party. They want less government, lower taxes, reduced dependence on government, more frequent initiatives to change the direction of policy."

This would make excellent reading for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Media Alert

I am going to be on the Michael Coren Show tonight at 8:00 PM to help dissect the Ontario election results.

Red Tories = Dead Tories

OK now let's see, that's two back-to-back election losses for Red Tories in Ontario.

By contrast, small "c" Conservative Mike Harris won two back-to-back majorities in the same province.

Hmmm, I may not be a political scientist or anything, but I think there's a pattern emerging here.

I wonder if the Tory party will pick up on it?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Punditing the Ontario Election for Macleans

The folks at asked me to provide a little bit of commentary on the Ontario election.

You will find my pundit wizardry here.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sad News

The untimely demise of the Western Standard is sad news for Canada's conservative movement.

Now more than ever, the country needs a strong, principled conservative voice.

I hope someone soon emerges to help fill the void.

In the meantime, Terry O'Neill is posting his articles which would would have been in the magazine on the the Standard's Blog. Here's one on the judiciary which quotes me.

Media Alert

Yeah, this is a holiday, but I am still at work fighting for freedom.

Tonight, at approximately 10:00 PM EST, I will be on The World Tonight (CHQR Radio) to talk about the legacy of Brian Mulroney and other issues.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Fibber for Premier

If someone were to ask me who most impressed me so far during the Ontario election (and no one did) I would unhesitatingly answer: Fibber.

Fibber is the Canadian Taxpayers Federation mascot, (he who sort of looks like a famous long-nosed fairy tale character) who dogs Premier Dalton McGuinty on his campaign stops.
The idea is to remind Ontarians about all of the Premier's broken promises.

Why do I like Fibber?
Because he stays on message. He doesn't get bogged down in side issues or in irrelevant debates. He sticks to a winning theme.

Yes indeed, other politicians could learn a lot from Fibber.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sorry Fraser Institute: Mulroney No Free Market Champion

The Fraser Institute is holding a gala dinner in Montreal tonight to present former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney with the T.P. Boyle Founder’s Award.

This award, according to the Institute's webs site, is presented annually to recognize "excellence and accomplishment in the promotion of economic freedom and free market ideas. Past recipients include Lady Margaret Thatcher, Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, and the late Milton Friedman."

Now certainly Thatcher, Klaus and Friedman all deserve this award, but Mulroney?

No way.

Yes, I know he enacted the Free Trade Agreement and curbed some of the excesses of the previous Trudeau regime, but it's a real stretch to suggest he promoted economic freedom or free market ideas.

If anything, Mulroney was a classic Red Tory - more than willing to use socialist economic policies if he believed they would further his political career.

And let's not forget his unconservative pandering of Quebec nationalists, which simultaneously resulted in the emergence of the Reform Party in Western Canada and of the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec.

He was also the guy who introduced an election gag law and who appointed socialists to government posts.

So yeah, give him an award for implementing the free trade agreement if you want, but don't do so on the basis that he was some sort of free market champion.

He wasn't.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

School Daze

My son is graduating from high school on Friday.

And in order graduate, he not only had to pass his academic courses, he also had to complete a minimum of "40 hours of mandatory Community Involvement."

This is supposed to develop "a sense of civic responsibility and strong community values."

So civic responsibility, in other words, means forcing kids to work for no pay.

To me that sounds like slavery.

Paul Tuns gets it.

Harper and the Media

Prime Minister Stephen Harper did something unusual today: he held a news conference.

In fact, his news conference today was the first one he has held in the National Press Theatre since he became Prime Minister 19 months ago.

That might suprise some people, but not me.

Do you know how many news conferences Harper held during the four years he was president of the National Citizens Coalition?

Exactly one.

News conferences just aren't his bit.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

No to MMP Says Study

There's a new conservative-oriented group out there called the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies which is doing some interesting stuff.

And one of the interesting things they have done is release a study examining whether or not Ontarians should support a new electoral system -- otherwise known as Mixed Member Proportional Representation.

Their conclusion: Thumbs Down.

Here's some more debate on MMP.

Update 2:
Here's another study on MMP from the Work Research Foundation. They give it a Thumbs Up.

Property Rights Blues

"The system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not."

That quote is from Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, a book which the judges who sit on Manitoba's Court of Appeal clearly never read.

Otherwise they never would have rendered such an astonishingly bad ruling.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Spiders On Crack

This almost looks like a real CBC documentary.

To Boldly Analyze

When elections roll around a lot of people like to "crunch the numbers" in an effort to analyze possible voting outcomes.

But since the Ontario election is pretty, mind numbingly boring, I am looking for other number crunching studies.

For instance, I have come across this analysis examining the correlation between shirt colours and fatalities on the old Star Trek series.

Did you know red-shirted crew members on Star Trek tended to die in groups? Or that in 17 red-shirt fatality episodes, 8 were multiple incidents, 9 were single incidents?

Also, in a little less than 50% of the fatal red-shirt situations, multiple crewmen were vaporized?

Wow, that's just mind boggling.

Winning the War of Ideas

I have a little bit of work ahead of me.

The Democracy Institute has commissioned me to write an analysis of conservatism in Canada.

More specifically, they want me suggest ways in which Canadian conservatives can win the war of ideas in this country.

Sounds like fun!

I would like to give a special thanks to the John Dobson Foundation for its generous financial support which helped make this project happen.