Thursday, January 29, 2009

Future News

Love this news clip from 1981.

It's all about how one day soon we may all be reading the news on a home computer.

Imagine that.

h/t Kalim

Spending not the answer

My friend Joseph Ben-Ami from the Centre for Policy Studies has an excellent audio commentary explaining why governments can't spend their way out of recession.

Loyal to the Core: Excerpt

As you may have heard, I have a book due to come out at the end of February called Loyal to the Core: Harper, me and the NCC.

It's part memoir, part political history and part cautionary tale for Canada's conservative movement.

Anyway, today the Toronto Sun is carrying a excerpt from my book. And if you read it, you will see it's more than a little ironic in light of Tuesday's budget.

You can pre-order Loyal to the Core here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Harper's new friend

As readers of this blog know, I am not that happy with the latest Conservative budget.

But in the interest of fairness, I will admit there are those who disagree with me.

One former provincial cabinet minister, for instance, recently praised the Harper budget, saying it was "on the right track."

Who said that?

Why it was none other than Floyd Laughren, the finance minister when Bob Rae ruled Ontario!

Coalition dead but victorious

Well the NDP-Liberal-Bloc Coalition is now officially dead.

Wow, that's a relief.

I mean, if that collection of big government leftists had managed to seize control of the government they would surely have gone on a reckless spending splurge, racked up massive deficits and .... oh wait a minute.

Never mind.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Mug's Life

One of the perks of guesting on the Michael Coren Show is that you get to keep the mugs. (Something I just discovered today.)


Well now it's official.

The Conservative Party is conservative in name only.

Makes me yearn for the days when we had relatively fiscally conservative leaders, like Jean Chretien.

Media Alert V

I am scheduled to be on the radio show Windsor Now (CKLW) at approximately 4:48 PM to talk about the budget.

Media Alert IV

I will be on the Michael Coren Show tonight at 8:00 PM on the CTS network.

The topic of discussion will be .... no not today's budget. Instead I will be part of a panel examining the question "Are unions relevant?"

Media Alert III

Did a radio interview on The Bill Carroll Show this morning at 6:35 AM to discuss today's budget.

My main goal during that talk was to sound awake.

Also I am quoted in Barbara Yaffe's latest column.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Media Alert II

I am quoted in this Canadian Press story on tomorrow's budget.

Key line: "This (budget) is going to be a disaster for Stephen Harper," said Gerry Nicholls, who worked with Harper at the National Citizens Coalition.

Media Alert

I am scheduled to be on the Newsworld program Politics this afternoon at approximately 5:30 PM EST.

Topic: Tomorrow's budget

Conservatives must speak out

More evidence the conservative movement is getting fed up with the Tory march to left is Joseph Ben-Ami's excellent column.

Writes Ben-Ami:

So now, finally, all is revealed. It seems that the critiques were right after all; the federal Conservatives under the leadership of Stephen Harper really did have a “hidden” agenda – just not the one everyone thought. Instead of being the committed conservatives that some people feared, but that just as many people hoped for, it turns out that the Harper Conservatives were actually big-borrowing, big-spending liberals in the style of Brian Mulroney and Joe Clark.

Let's hope more conservatives make their voices heard over the next few days and weeks.

What have you done to the real Stephen Harper?

I am quoted in a Toronto Star article today, where once again I make the point about Prime Minister Harper betraying his principles.

Here's the relevant passage:

"Absolutely he has abandoned his principles ... I don't even recognize this person who is the Prime Minister of Canada," said Gerry Nicholls, who worked with Harper at the National Citizens Coalition.

Harper is a one-time head of the coalition, a non-partisan organization for the "defence and promotion of free enterprise, free speech" and accountable government. "He was a principled small-c conservative who believed that ... conservative politicians should stick by their principles," Nicholls said. "I think he began to care more about public-opinion polls than his principles."

Of course, I have been singing this song for awhile, but what's interesting is now other conservatives are finally losing patience with the Tory government.

Even long-time Harper apologist Tom Flanagan is growing disillusioned, albeit for different reasons than me.

In the same Star article where I am quoted, Flanagan complains that Harper has transformed from a conservative ideologue to a political survivor.

Says Flanagan: "He (Harper) lost the initiative by provoking the other parties into this potential coalition against him ... and now he finds himself having to put together a budget which is really a coalition budget ... the government's hand is fairly weak right now."

So much for incrementalism.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Defenceless City

So I'm in Vancouver this weekend attending a Liberty Fund seminar and I see this street sign.

It said: "Welcome to Vancouver, a nuclear weapons free zone."

And that kind of surprised me.

I would have thought that besides doing stuff like collecting garbage and cleaning streets, citizens would expect their municipal government to provide a credible nuclear deterrent.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Media Alert

I will be a guest on the Rob Breakenridge Show tonight at 9:30 PM EST.

Topic: The deficit ... oops I mean the budget.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reformers of the World Arise

Here's my latest column from Report Magazine.

I make the case that it's time for Reformers to take their party back.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Digging Holes

Nick Gillespie, from Reason Magazine, has a couple of ideas to stimulate the economy.

So long conservatism

Media-types are speculating the upcoming federal budget will feature a deficit in the $40 billion range.

I don't believe it.

My sense is Conservative spin doctors are leaking massive numbers like that to heighten the fear effect, so that when the actual budget deficit comes in at say $20 billion, we will all wipe our brows and say, "Well that wasn't so bad."

Of course, it still will be bad and unconservative.

In fact, after the budget comes down we will no longer debate the question of whether or not the Harper government is conservative enough.

The only question remaining will be how socialist will it get.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Black Death Vs the Terrorists

It seems like Al Qaida faces a threat just as deadly as American bombers: The bubonic plague.

According to this news report, the plague swept through a terrorist training camp in Algeria and killed at least 40 trainees. What's more, the disease might also be spreading to other terrorist camps around the world.

The story quotes one security expert as saying, “This is the deadliest weapon yet in the war against terror. Most of the terrorists do not have the basic medical supplies needed to treat the disease."

Somehow it seems appropriate that a group espousing a Medieval view of the world would be afflicted with a sickness that once ravaged the Medieval world.

H/T Wonder Woman

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Enough with the celebrities

If there is one thing I hate worse than "reality" shows, it's reality shows with "celebrities."

And when it came to this genre, I used to think the nadir was Hulk Hogan Celebrity Championship Wrestling

But then I discovered there's a show called Celebrity Rehab!

What's next?

My guess is: Celebrities Who Love Barack Obama Too Much.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tribute to a border runner

Rolf Penner is a pro-free market farmer who has been a consistent and outspoken opponent of Canada's Wheat Board monopoly.

And at a recent wheat growers' event, he paid tribute to Jim Chatney, another farmer who in an act of defiance took a bag of wheat across to the US and donated it to a 4-h club. For that he was jailed.

Here's part of Penner's tribute:

"All of those farmers who ran the border made a very important contribution to the cause of freedom and Liberty in Canada. Until they did it the Wheat Board could always pretend that it was a benevolent organization. It was implied that if you sold your grain to someone else you would go to jail but until it happened nobody really took it seriously. What the border runners did, is they took what was implicit and they made it explicit. There was no longer any doubt that it was a crime in western Canada to sell your own wheat and barley."

Read the rest here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Free Advice for the PM

In a column in today's Toronto Sun, my friend Marnee Stern offers some free advice to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Basically, says Marnee, the upcoming Conservative budget should be ... well fiscally conservative.

She writes:
Harper must stay true to his conservative principles. Some things are more important than victory at any cost. Great leaders do not compromise on great issues. Harper should take a reasoned, principled stand.

Why would Harper allow the opposition to write his budget?

You must write it, prime minister. Give us a small "c" conservative budget, as we elected you to do.

Reward hard-working taxpayers and we will reward you come election day. Sensible Canadians don't spend more than they make and they stop digging when they find themselves in a hole.

I hope somebody is listening.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

You gotta love robots!

Ok the upcoming Terminator movie looks like it's going to be the blockbuster of the year.

How can it not be?

This movie has it all: motorcycles, explosions, babes and most of all it features a giant cool robot!

Environmental Policy Seminar

With most of the country in the grip of a deep freeze, I for one would welcome a little global warming.

In fact, this is a great time to reconsider environmental policy from a free market perspective.

That's why I would encourage everybody to attend the Institute for Liberal Studies upcoming Environmental Policy Seminar.

It's a one day event to be held in Mississauga on February 7.

And it's only $25 for admission. (Free for students.)

Speakers include:

* Ben Dachis, from the CD Howe Institute

* Professor Pierre Desrochers, University of Toronto

* Karol Boudreaux, Enterprise Africa

I met Karol Boudreaux at a Liberty Fund event last year, and she is doing some impressive and interesting stuff in Africa.

So sign up today.

Why a "stimulus" is a bad idea

Will a government "stimulus" really help the economy?

No say Niels Veldhuis and Charles Lammam of the Fraser Institute.

They explain why in a must-read column in today's Ottawa Citizen.

Here's an excerpt:

The unfortunate economic reality however is that "stimulus" spending simply does not work. If the federal government is truly interested in doing what is best for the economy (and Canadians), the solution is reduced government spending and permanent tax cuts.

For starters, a fiscal stimulus package will require increased government borrowing, meaning that the government will take money from some Canadians (who will have less to spend) in order to give to others. The end result is more redistribution rather than more economic activity.

Sounds good to me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

CTF Rings the Alarm Bell

As the Conservative government madly rushes to jump into a sea of red ink, only one group is trying to hold it back.

I am talking about the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

In an excellent column in today's National Post, CTF spokesman Kevin Gaudet explains why racking up massive deficits is a bad, bad, idea.

As Gaudet writes:
While Mr. Harper and Mr. Flaherty prepare the budget, it is clear the voices of today are gaining their attention; many of whom want the government to continue its high-spending ways. However, the government would be wise to listen to the voices of the past and future. Those of the past know the harm caused by systemic government deficits. Those of the future surely don't want to pay for yesterday's and today's financial imprudence. The Harper government should proceed down its current path with extreme caution.

By the way, while the CTF is busy standing up for fiscal sanity, another conservative group, which shall go nameless, has yet to utter a single word protesting the impending government spending splurge.

I wonder why?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Blogger off to Afghanistan

Damian Brooks is making a little history.

He is the first blogger ever to get an invitation from the Canadian Forces to blog in Afghanistan.

Talk about being in the heart of the action!

Anyway, while Damian is excited about making this trip, he is also a little concerned about his personal expenses.

And so he is asking for some financial help from the blogosphere.

If you want to assist Damian so that he can fill us all in as to what's really happening with our troops over there I would urge you to make a donation.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Union Dues and Don'ts

The National Post carries a story today examining how union bosses use forced dues to finance their pet political causes, ie Sid Ryan.

What caught my attention in the story was the reference it makes to Merv Lavigne. As the story rightly notes, Merv was a community college teacher who went to court to the mid-1980s in an effort to stop union bosses from using dues for politicking.

What the story does not note, is that Merv could only launch his court challenge because he had the financial support of the National Citizens Coalition.

In fact, the Merv case was the first-ever NCC campaign I worked on.

Anyway, in the article Larry Haiven, a management professor at St. Mary's University, says forcing unionized employees to support causes against their will is not a big deal.

"Unions are fairly democratic organizations, believe it or not," he said. "If the membership doesn't like what the union is doing, they can remove the person that is doing it, vote against the action ... members get a say and they get a chance to raise hell."

This misses the point.

Even if 51 percent of CUPE members, for instance, supported Ryan's position on Israel, it's still wrong to force the other 49 percent to financially support a cause they don't believe in.

In a true democracy, the rights of the minority must be protected. And that includes the right to associate which also means the right not to associate.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Harper and Censorship

I remember a time when Stephen Harper actually believed in free expression.

Back in 1999, while we worked together at the National Citizens Coalition, here's what he said about the way Human Rights Commissions were censoring speech:

"Human Rights Commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society ... It is in fact totalitarianism. I find this is very scary stuff."

But now he is singing a different tune.

Here's what he recently told Macleans magazine when asked if the government planned to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to prevent interferences with free expression:

"The government has no plans to do so. We’re certainly aware of the issue. My understanding—we’ve been monitoring this closely—I think you’ll actually see there’s been some modification of behaviour on the part of the Canadian human rights commissions. The most egregious cases right now are mostly at the provincial level. And it is a very tricky issue of public policy because obviously, as we’ve seen, some of these powers can be abused. But they do exist for valid reasons, which is obviously to prevent public airwaves from being used to disseminate hate against vulnerable members of our society. That’s a valid objective. It’s probably the case that we haven’t got the balance right, but I’m not sure the government today has any answer on what an appropriate balance would be."

So now Harper believes censoring speech is a "valid objective."

Mind you, Harper also at one time believed our election black out rules were wrong. Has he done anything to change them. Nope.

He also believed election gag laws were wrong. Has he done anything to change or reform them? Has he even spoken out against gag laws? Nope and Nope.

You can read more about my opinion on this matter here.

Suffice to say, free speech advocates have few friends in Ottawa these days.

H/T Janet

Why the Liberals need the NDP

CUPE leader Sid Ryan's anti-Israeli ravings serve to remind us how important the existence of the NDP is to the Liberals.

After all, if the NDP wasn't around and if we had a two party system, Conservative vs. Liberal, then Ryan would likely be a supporter of the Liberal Party, just as union bosses in the United States support the Democratic Party.

And if that were the case, just imagine how embarrassing it would be for Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff to have a looney-tunes, loose cannon like Ryan in his camp.

That's why it's lucky for the Liberals that the NDP is around to attract Ryan and other wacky leftists.

The NDP, in other words, is like a holding tank for the Liberals; they can keep their distance from the NDP's radical elements, but they can also dip into it whenever they are in need of "progressive" votes.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Toronto Sun with No Linda Leatherdale!

I was sad to learn my friend Linda Leatherdale recently lost her job with the Toronto Sun.

The paper just won't be the same without her.

However, the good news is that Linda is still writing and still fighting the good fight.

Only now she is doing it cyberspace-style on her new website.

Check it out.

Good luck Linda!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Liberty List

The folks who run the Western Standard online magazine have put together some they call "Liberty 100,” which is "a list of 100 Canadians who distinguished themselves in 2008, or over a lifetime, in the defence of liberty."

And guess what?

I came in at # 26.

Next year I hope to crack the top 25.

Who was #1 overall you ask?

None other than Ezra Levant.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Commies in Cuba

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Fidel Castro's taking power in Cuba.
That's cause for a Communist party.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Tuns of Laughs

Hey that Paul Tuns has some suggestions as to who should play me in the movie version of my book.

He's a real laugh riot that Tuns.

Book Reaction

I am getting two types of reactions to my forthcoming book, Loyal to the Core.

Some people are saying they can't wait to read it; others are saying they can't wait not to read it.

The funniest reaction was the anonymous wag who said it should be called Bitter to the Core.

Anyway, I am now waiting for Hollywood to contact me for the movie rights.

Who should play me?

Well I am leaning towards Tom Cruise.