Thursday, July 31, 2008

Self-Promotion Alert

Got a couple of notable mentions.

First, my Dion in Debt column got a plug in the Maclean's online "Megapundit" column. So I now officially consider myself a megapundit -- whatever that is.

Second and more importantly, my friend Wonder Woman calls me "boyishly handsome."

It's about time somebody noticed that.

Dion's Debt Dilemma

Here's my latest Sun Media column; I explain why the Liberals are having such a hard time paying off Dion's debt.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Arnie and the Bard

As noted in an earlier post, I recently went to see Hamlet on stage.

While it was a good production, it wasn't nearly as cool as this version by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Media Alert

As noted earlier, I debated Marc Emery at the Liberty Summer Seminar over the question of what is the best way to advance the cause of freedom.

Well, we will be at it again, only this time on the radio.

Tonight at 9:05 PM EST, it's One of the Top Five Political Minds Vs. the Prince of Pot, on The World Tonight.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More LSS Stuff

Here's another shot of me at the Liberty Summer Seminar. The fellow to my right is Marc "The Prince of Pot"Emery; the two of us were debating the question, "What's the best way to promote freedom."

It was a spirited discussion.

And let me tell you, anybody who thinks I'm an egomaniac (and I know you're out there) should get a load of Emery.

By comparison I'm a shrinking violet.

Thanks to Dr. Roy for the photo.

Making Spending Transparent

In a bid to make government spending more transparent, some U.S. states are actually posting every cheque they write online.

This empowers citizens to keep an eye on where their money is going.

It's the kind of idea we should implement here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Me at the LSS

Here's me looking pensive at the Liberty Summer Seminar.

Thanks to Alex Taylor for the photo.

Media Alert

I will be on the Dave Rutherford Show today at 11:30 AM to talk about the government subsidizing flying bananas.

The Art of Politics

Talks show host Charles Adler has some advice for American Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

Adler says McCain has to do something to offset his Democratic rival's strategy: "First we take Manhattan. Then Berlin."

The answer is to follow the advice of Sun Tzu.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Taking Tories to Task

Pierre Lemieux has an excellent column detailing the disappointment that is the Conservative Party of Canada.

Key quote: "The Conservatives have brought their own building blocks to the construction of the Police State while dismantling nothing of what the Liberals had built before them."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Going Shakespeare

Went to Stratford last week to see a production of Hamlet.

And that got me into a Shakespearean mood, been doing some reading on the Elizabethan theater times.

Did you know William Shakespeare invented more than 1,700 words such as: countless, champion, epileptic, fixture, hint, generous and rant.

He also invented the word "zany" which is extremely important because without that word we would be unable to describe our politicians.

Also, here's a list of the top Shakespeare movies, which oddly includes, Ten Things I Hate About You and Strange Brew.

Oh well, to be, or not to be: that is the question.

Friends of Freedom

Last week I attended an Atlas Foundation conference in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

It was a wonderful event; I met many fascinating people and learned all kinds of interesting stuff.

And one of the things I learned is that there are a lot of exciting groups out there fighting for freedom all over the world.

Here are some of them:

Students for a Free Economy -- (it produces T-shirts which say, "I shot the tariff, but I did not shoot the subsidy")

The State Policy Network

The Prometheus Institute

The Lion Rock Institute (which promotes economic freedom in Hong Kong)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Culture Clash

I received an interesting email today from someone who took exception to my column in the Sun Media today.

It's the column where I poke some fun at the fact that the Canada Council for the Arts gave a $50,000 grant to an artist creating a giant flying banana.

Anyway, here's an excerpt from the complainer's message:

"Canada Council grants for art are always juried by a well regarded jury of artists. You can choose to call it a 'flying banana', but do you believe that you know more about art than the jury?

On what basis?

If you believe the answer to this is 'no', then you have to admit that you're missing the artistic intent of the piece...

... if it's an issue of 'bang for buck' I will alert you to any one of the numerous studies put forth on the cultural industries.

As a multi-billion dollar industry in this country, for every $1 put towards artistic ventures, the government revenues $1.6 back. How? When an artist receives funds, they often hire crew and designers, pay for materials and travel, and of course, are taxed back on it."

Here's my reply:

"Thanks for your insightful comments. And yes, I freely admit that I am a TV-watching, french fry-eating, cultural barbarian who does not see the "artistic merit" of a giant flying banana.

However, my artistic sensibilities (or lack thereof) are not the issue.

What is the issue, is that it's wrong and undemocratic to give a bunch a self-appointed, elitist, snobbish culturecrats the power to make artistic decisions on my behalf.

And your argument about the revenue generated from government pouring money into art doesn't cut much ice.

If the government money that went to art, were instead invested by the private sector in non-flying banana-related ventures, the rate of return for the economy would certainly be much higher.

So you see, giving my money to create a flying banana isn't a good idea no matter how you peel it."

Oh by the way, in case you don't believe the story about the giant flying banana, check out this website.

Going Bananas

Here's my latest column from the Sun Media chain.

In it, I ask the timeless question: Should taxpayers be forced to pay for flying fruit?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Me vs the "Prince of Pot"

Looking for a reason to attend this year's Liberty Summer Seminar?

Well how about this: I will at the Seminar as part of a panel to debate Marc "The Prince of Pot"

The question up for debate, is "What's the best way to advance the cause of liberty?"

My old-fashioned view, is that the best way to fight for freedom is to do it through think tanks and advocacy groups.

Marc, on the other hand, says the best way to get liberty is to break unjust laws in a transparent, non-violent, and public way.

We have already squared off in an "email debate" which you can read here.

Hope to see you at the LSS.

Williamson on Tory Big Spenders

John Williamson, the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, has an excellent piece in the National Post today pointing out just how bad the Conservative government has been when it comes to spending.

How bad?

Writes Williamson: "The Conservatives have controlled the government purse strings since early 2006; After their first two years, Ottawa had grown another 14.8%. This is higher than Mr. Martin's appalling record."

Oh and remember how the bad, old Liberals used to funnel tax dollars into ridings as a way of bribing voters.

Well. says Williamson, the Tories are doing the same thing:

"For example, Ottawa confirmed that Quebec-based Bombardier will receive$350-million to build a plane with no confirmed buyers. Nova Scotia, the lone Maritime battleground province, will receive an additional $867-million in energy royalties."

It's good to see Williamson has the courage to state the obvious.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bob Bexon RIP

I lost a friend recently.

His name was Bob Bexon and a few days ago he was killed, aged 56, in a biking accident.

It's a sad loss.

Bob was not only a successful businessman and entrepreneur, but also a firm believer in freedom.

What I liked most about him was his insatiable intellectual curiosity. He was especially intrigued about the concepts of libertarianism.

He would always ask, "Well those libertarian ideas might sound good in theory, but how would they work in the real world?"

And to help answer that question, Bob would sponsor special "Freedom Dinners" in Montreal, to which he would invite libertarian/conservative thinkers, scholars, journalists and activists from across the country to debate and discuss the philosophy of freedom.

I was lucky enough to attend several Freedom dinners, where I met fascinating people and engaged in some of the most interesting conversations of my life.

It was always Bob's hope, that these discussions would in some way, help to spread and foster the ideas of liberty.

He will be missed.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Making Polar Bears Cry

Feeling a little green fatigued, I decided someone had to take a stand against nagging environmentalists and politicians.

So I did, with this column which appears in today's Sun Media chain.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mystery Photo

Check out this parched and lifeless land surface.

It's either a photo of Mars or my backyard.

Enjoying an Atlas Experience

This weekend I will have the pleasure of attending an Atlas Economic Research Foundation conference.

Typically, when I go to conferences like this it means flying somewhere on an airplane -- which I hate to do.

Happily, this one is taking place just down the road from me in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

Who knows I might even venture into Niagara Falls and check out the "House of Horrors Wax Museum".

I understand its latest exhibit features a wax Stephane Dion imposing a carbon tax -- or maybe it's the real Dion, it's hard to tell.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Media Matters

Here's my latest column from Report magazine.

It's about dealing with the media.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

G is for G8

I have a column in the Sun Media chain today on the G-8 Summit.

In it, I offer the G-8 leaders a little constructive criticism when it comes to their communication strategy.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

With friends like these ....

Watch what happens when NBC's Chris Mathews asks a Barack Obama supporter to list some of Obama's legislative accomplishments

Start spreading the news

Here's some exciting news.

The Quebec government says it will no longer ban the sale of yellow margarine.

This is an important step towards more freedom and butter government.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Ban Cowboy hats for Politicians

I make it a habit never to agree with Warren Kinsella, but in this case I am making an exception.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Legal Eagle

I am a bit of a rarity in the Canadian political scene today: I am not suing anyone and no one is suing me.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Liberty Sites

As noted in an earlier post, I recently attended a Liberty Fund seminar.

Met some fascinating people and also learned about a couple of interesting websites.

First, there's the Cafe Hayek, a blog written by two of economists working out of George Mason University. It has some great lessons about free market economics.

Second there's the website for the Bastiat Society, an organization committed to increasing the influence of liberty in the world of business.

Check them out.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Gerry Nicholls for Hire

How bad is TV these days?

It's so bad, I actually get more pleasure listening to the "old radio dramas" a local radio station broadcasts each night than I do watching modern TV shows.

And one of my favorite radio dramas is Pat Novak For Hire, a detective show from 1948-49 starring a pre-Dragnet Jack Webb.

What I like about this show isn't so much the plot; it's the dialogue, which features fantastic Raymond Chandleresque one liners.

Here's a sampling:

* "She sauntered in, moving slowly from side to side like 118 pounds of warm smoke."

* "When he wound up and hit the floor, every window in the house rattled, and I figure the Berkley seismograph got a cheap thrill."

* "We tried to follow the car, but it would have been easier to win the Kentucky Derby on a pogo stick."

* "When she started walking towards you, you felt like a shovel full of scrap iron around a Pittsburgh blast furnace."

* "It was enough to tell me that she was as safe as a tap dancer on a floor full of dynamite caps."

* "She was at least 50, because you can't get that ugly without years of practice."

Anyway, this got me thinking; maybe I could start writing this way when I write a political column.

Maybe something like this: "When he arrived in Calgary, Liberal leader Stephane Dion looked as about as pathetic as a Blue Jay hitter at the plate with runners in scoring position."

Or maybe not.

Friday, July 04, 2008


The folks over at the Western Standard online magazine asked me to write a short essay on the American Revolution as part of their "Reflections on American Independence Day" feature.

You can read it here.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

What an Awesome History

Given that Canada Day was this week, I decided to recount this country's recent history.

My effort was published as a column in today's Sun Media chain.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Union Bosses Finally Taking on Gag Laws

Union bosses in British Columbia are going to court to take on Premier Gordon Campbell's election gag law.

So I wrote a column which appears in today's Vancouver Sun, to ask them: What took you guys so long?

Gag laws, after all, have been around at the federal level for a long time.

Up until now, however, union bosses and other leftist-leaning types thought they were a good idea because they supposedly stopped the "rich" from buying elections.

But in BC, Campbell's law will stifle union bosses, so suddenly gag laws are a bad thing and must be stopped.

I suspect other left-wing groups will also realize gag laws are bad thing when the next federal election rolls around and they are prevented from speaking out against the Harper government.

Too bad their ideological blinkers prevented them from seeing the dangers of these laws when they were first enacted.

Sign of the Apocalypse?

I am sorry the world just doesn't make sense any more.

Here we are just a few weeks away from the All-Star game, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are in first place!!

Something is terribly wrong.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

So Canada

Since this is Canada Day, I thought I would share some "fun" Canadian facts:

* Prince Edward Island with its long name and small mass is the most difficult place in the world to label on a map.

* Licence plates in Quebec feature the motto "Je me souviens" which roughly translates as "We don't celebrate Canada Day."

* Recent breakthroughs in astrophysics confirm not only that Toronto is indeed the "Centre of the Universe" but that Mayor David Miller's budget is a black hole.

* Alberta has some 175 billion barrels of bitumen in its oil sands, making it a magnet for entrepreneurs, energy analysts and Liberal taxes.

Have a Happy Canada Day everybody!