Friday, October 30, 2009

Vaccination blues

It seems the H1N1 mass vaccination effort has been marked by shortages, long line ups and incompetence.

In other words, it's your typical government program.

In the grip of madness

Lawrence Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education, recently wrote a brilliant column which exposes the fallacies behind the "big government can solve our economic woes" argument.

He was kind enough to give me permission to put it up on the Libertas Post.

You can read it here.

Speaking to Libertarians

On November 7th, I will be speaking at the Ontario Libertarian Party's Annual General Meeting.

Also speaking at the event will be Fred McMahon of the Fraser Institute.

Should be an interesting gathering.

To get more details about the meeting go here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Scary stories

It's nearly Halloween, a time for scary, spooky stories.

So be sure and check out my Top Five Stories Guaranteed to Scare Conservatives.

Be warned these tales are not for the faint of heart.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ontario politics gets interesting

Something strange is going on in the world of Ontario politics.

Ontarians are suddenly getting passionate.

And this is a big change; for years political passion of any kind was lacking in Ontario.

Simply put, nobody seemed to care what was happening at the provincial government level.

This in turn translated into a political dynamic where there was no desire to keep the governing Liberals in power and no desire to drive them out. The Liberals were just there, unloved but also unhated.

This state of affairs, by the way, suited Premier Dalton McGuinty just fine.

In fact, his mind-numbing governing style seemed designed to keep Ontario voters in a catatonic state.

He stayed away from controversial or sweeping changes and settled down to mainly banning things – he banned using cell phones while driving, he banned pit bulls, he banned smoking in cars, and in the process tried to ban any sense of personality responsibility.

And it worked.

McGuinty and his boring, banning Liberals won a landslide majority in the last election and since then had maintained a huge lead in public opinion polls --- until now.

Things are changing. All of a sudden, Ontarians are turning on the Liberals.

According to a recent Environics Poll Liberal support now stands at 32 percent of decided voters which is down a whopping 12 points since June. Meanwhile the usually sad-sack Opposition Progressive Conservatives have surged ahead of the Liberals and stand at 37 per cent support.

What happened?

Well the McGuinty Liberals have taken some real hits lately: the ehealth scandal, ministerial resignations, the mushrooming provincial deficit, embarrassing Auditor-General reports, an unpopular HST and then there’s the millstone of his unpopular federal Liberal cousins.

All of this, of course, helps to explain McGuinty’s poor poll numbers.

But maybe something else is at work. Maybe Ontarians are just waking up and recognizing their leader for what he truly is: a lacklustre politician, who wants to make government bigger and more costly, who wants to make taxes higher and who consistently meddles in people's lives.

If this keeps up and if the polls continue to show a drop in Liberal support, Premier McGuinty will have only one choice, he will have to ban opinion polls.

Crossposted at the Libertas Post.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Media Alert

I am scheduled to be on the Charles Adler Show this afternoon at 4:35 PM to discuss my (unpublished) letter to the Toronto Star on taxes.

What's wrong with the Liberals?

Over at Sobering Thoughts, Paul Tuns ponders the dark times now facing the Liberal Party.

He writes:

It seems that Canadians have come to accept/tolerate Stephen Harper and his Conservatives or have turned their back on the Liberals. Or a bit of both. Furthermore, this is not necessarily a new phenomenon. It is time to recast the narrative of Liberal defeat in 2008. It wasn't all about Stephane Dion and his incompetence. To some degree, it was about Canadians turning their back on the Liberal Party, not just the party leader.

This leads to an interesting question: What's wrong with the Liberals?

If you have an answer check out the latest Libertas Post survey which asks that very question.

Four-year-olds and government

Hugh Mackenzie of the left-wing leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives wrote a column in the Toronto Star citing the need for high taxes.

I responded with this letter to the editor:

Dear Sir/Madam:

Hugh Mackenzie likes to look at economic policy through the eyes of a 4-year-old. “Can we have an adult conversation about taxes?” October 26.

And he seems to think a 4-year-old would see the need for high taxes.

Maybe that’s so.

But an adult would understand that lower taxes would allow Canadians to keep more of the money they earn. This in turn would promote risk-taking and innovation and encourage entrepreneurs to do what they do best: create jobs.

An adult would also understand that if government was more careful with its spending, it could make do with less.

In fact, when it comes to spending, government is less sensible than even a 4-year-old.

As Ronald Reagan once put it “Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”

Crossposted at the Libertas Post.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Speaking to Landowners

I had a marvelous time on Saturday meeting the people behind the Ontario Landowners Assocation.

This is an organization dedicated to promoting and protecting one of our most basic freedoms: the right to own private property.

Anyway, they asked me to give a little talk at their annual general meeting held near Shelburne Ontario -- a charming little town.

Here's the text of my talk.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Historic Canadian blunders

The blogger who writes Gods of the Copybook Headings, who knows Canadian history a lot better than I do, decided my Top Five Worst Political Blunders lacked proper historic context.

So he came up with his own "pre-Joe Clark" Canadian political blunders.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Harper's Inner self

Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently declared:

"I actually do think we are in a rare period, one that as an economist I didn't think we would see again in my lifetime, where deficits are not only necessary but actually advised".

And somewhere buried deep inside him, a little Hayekian Harper was screaming "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!"

Victory for freedom in Quebec

The Supreme Court of Canada got it right today when it ruled unconstitutional a Quebec law which barred certain students from attending English-language schools.

This ruling is a victory for freedom.

The Court unanimously ruled that Section 104, which closed a loophole in its French-language charter that had enabled some students who weren't eligible to attend English schools to gain that right, was “excessive.”

Essentially prior to the passage of 104, students who gained access to unsubsidized private English-language schools, could become eligible to attend English-public schools.

By striking down this law the court is restoring freedom to Quebec parents who may wish to have their children educated in English.

Special congratulations must also go to Brent Tyler, the crusading lawyer who led the legal challenge to 104.

Tyler has been a tireless opponent to Quebec’s oppressive anti-English language laws.

It’s good to see him score a victory.

Crossposted at Libertas Post

Speaking to Landowners

This weekend I will be giving a speech to the Ontario Landowners Association's Annual General Meeting.

Topic: Fighting for freedom.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Loyal Review

Paul Tuns has a review for my book Loyal to the Core.

Check it out.

Also Loyal to the Core is now out in paperback so what are you waiting for?

Order your copy today.

Media Alert

I am doing a radio interview this morning at 11:30 AM EST on the Tom Young Show to talk about the top five dumbest political mistakes in Canadian political history.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Libertas Post in the news

Here's a good article on one of my favourite topics -- The Libertas Post.

Canada's Top Five Political Blunders

Ever wondered what were the worst political blunders in Canadian history.

Well wonder no more -- here's the official list.

Writing right

I have some advice for my friends over at the National Citizens Coalition: hire a writer.

Simply put, whoever writes the NCC's blog postings must have skipped all his or her grade school grammar classes.

Here's an actual, cringe-inducing sentence from the latest NCC posting: "First of all, the so-called ‘logo-gate’ scandal has received far too much outcry from the Liberals as Prime Minister Jean Chretien and his party was masters at it when they were in power and made no apologies for it."


I am not saying the NCC blog posts should read like Hemingway or anything, just that they should contain coherent sentences.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Our best buddy Mao

Former Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien reportedly is bemoaning about how Canada is no longer communist China’s best friend.

And it’s true.

Once upon a time Canada and China were the best of friends.

We would hang around at the malls together, go out on double-dates and every once in a while we would pull the odd prank at the United Nations.

But then Stephen Harper became Prime Minister and things started turning sour. For one thing, Harper -- spoiled sport that he is --- started talking about “serious” stuff, such as human rights abuses.

So naturally this put off our formerly best buddies, the Chinese who can be very sensitive when it comes to how they torture, murder and imprison people.

They were used to Liberal leaders like the late Pierre Trudeau who realized that while Chinese dictators such as Mao Tse Tung might have slaughtered several million people, it was all really done with the best of intentions.

Hey, you can’t make a communist utopia without breaking a few eggs.

Hopefully current Liberal Michael Ignatieff can help restore our “special” relationship with China.

A good start would be for Ignatieff to film his next political ad in Tiananmen Square.

(After, of course, he got permission from the Chinese political censors)

Crossposted at the Libertas Post.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Libertas Post Update

Some interesting stuff recently added to the Libertas Post.

* Radio host Rob Breakenridge says it's time for the Nanny State to butt out.

* Martin Masse, of Le Quebecois Libre, wonders if all the hysteria about H1N1 is just another example of somebody crying wolf.

* Wendy Stewart worries about voter apathy.

National Post slams Tory hubris

The National Post has an excellent editorial today which goes after the Conservative government's blatant use of tax dollars for partisan self-promotion.

Here's a sampling:

The latest uproar, over the government's propensity for including its party logo on giant ceremonial cheques used to distribute stimulus money, could be dismissed as just more of the same, were it not for the brazenness of the Tory reaction.

The Prime Minister's Office sent out a memo to MPs advising that logos were not allowed, but chief spokesman Dimitri Soudas assured local MPs there was nothing to stop them putting their own names on the cheques, and defended their right to claim credit for successfully funneling public money to benefit their ridings.

That's an attitude we've seen before, from haughty and complacent Liberal regimes so accustomed to power they came to treat it as a right. After less than four years in office, the Harper government appears to have similarly lost sight of the fact the money it spreads around so enthusiastically belongs to Canadians, not to Conservatives.

The aim of stimulus money is to offset the worst effects of a re-cessionary economy, not to win votes for the local Tory MP.

This government spends heavily on promoting itself. Canadians have become accustomed to TV ads presenting its economic program as a Conservative good deed, paid for with taxes that could have been put to better use elsewhere. When Conservative MPs hand over money, they not only put their own name on the cheque, the do their best to prevent MPs from any other party showing up to share in the credit.

Mr. Harper is fortunate for the moment in facing a disorganized and ineffective opposition, but Michael Ignatieff may yet figure out how to offer a viable alternative.

Hypocrisy and hubris lost the Liberals the support of Canadians, and cost them their hold on power.

They could do the same for the Conservatives if they continue disregard the principles they were elected on.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Media Alert

I am scheduled to be a guest on the The Afternoon News with Tom Young at 11:10 AM EST to discuss my National Post column on "logo-gate."

Canada's balloon boy

All the recent drama concerning that "balloon boy" kid, reminded me a of a column I wrote a little while ago about Canada's very own balloon boy, an artist who managed to get a very large government cheque.

Check it out over at the Libertas Post..

Why "logo-gate" is bad for democracy

Poor Gerald Keddy.

He's the Tory MP taking all the heat because he plastered a Conservative Party logo on one of those oversized novelty cheques.

But really, Keddy is just a sympton of a larger problem. After all, since the summer Tory MPs have handed out enough oversized cheques to wallpaper the Great Wall of China.

And that's bad for democracy.

I explain why in this column which appears in today's National Post.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Media Alert

I am scheduled to be a guest on the World Tonight with Rob Breakenridge (CHQR Calgary) this evening at 10:00 PM EST.

Topic: Logos, as in the Conservative logo appearing on government cheques.

Responding to a left-wing columnist on taxes

I sent the following letter to the Winnipeg Free Press in response to a column by the left-wing writer Frances Russell:

Dear Sir/Madam:

Frances Russell must secretly be yearning for a Conservative majority victory in the next election.

Why else would she suggest that Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff adopt a pro-tax agenda?
“Liberals could fight Tories on taxes” October 14.

Surely Russell understands that Canadians are fed up with paying taxes that are already too high and burdensome.

The last thing voters want to hear is a politician promising to make that burden even harder to bear.

What Canadians really want is for politicians to make more efficient use of the tax dollars they already have.

It’s time, in other words, for government to provide the services we deserve at a price we can afford.

Crossposted at the Libertas Post.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bailout Redux

With all this talk about oversized cheques and stimulus spending, I thought it might be a good time to revisit a column I wrote last July entitled, Bailout Bozos.

It still stands up.

Stop the logo abuse

I want to talk about an issue that’s suddenly at the forefront of our national consciousness and which threatens to explode into a national scandal, and that issue, of course, is logos.

Or more properly, the issue is logo abuse.

You probably know what I am talking about.

It’s all over the news about how the Conservative Party is slapping its logo everywhere with reckless abandon.

The party logo --- a stylized “c” gulping down a red maple leaf ---is showing up on everything from Olympic team jackets to over sized, cardboard “economic stimulus” cheques.

Anything it seems associated with government is in danger of being “logoized.”

Word even has it that the Tories are actually planning to tattoo their logo on Peter Mansbridge’s forehead.

(Ironically about the only place you can’t see the Tory logo is on their TV attack ads.)

Clearly, this has got to stop.

Political logos are designed to appear in only certain special settings, such as those polling graphs seen on TV.

To use political logos for any other purpose violates the all-important, constitutional ideal normally referred to as the separation of state and trademark.

Raising taxes not the answer

In response to this column which appeared in the Metro News, I sent the following letter to the editor which appeared in today's paper.

Dear Sir/Madam:

Charles Davies suggests that to reduce the national deficit, the federal government will likely have to raise taxes. (“Higher taxes may be the only solution”, October 13)

Certainly that will be the likely solution of politicians, which serves to remind us that today’s deficits are really tomorrow’s taxes

Of course, raising taxes is not the only way to trim the deficit.

A better way is for the government to cut its spending, not ours.

As former US president Ronald Reagan, once put it, “The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.”

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Forbes stands up for free markets

Capitalism is under heavy attack these days.

But fortunately, the free market also has its defenders, people like Steve Forbes who has written a fantastic article called Capitalism: A True Love Story.

Forbes makes the case for the morality of free markets.

Here's a sampling:
This is how wealth is produced in society: Countless individuals seek to meet their own needs by meeting the needs and wants of others. That's indeed the moral basis of capitalism. It is the antithesis of greed. Forming networks of cooperation, individuals create businesses that produce innovations--not just pencils but inventions ranging from laptops to washing machines. In the process of providing for themselves, people generate the capital and innovations that yield economic growth, improving living standards and enabling society to advance.

Talking liberty

Here's three interesting articles recently posted over at the Libertas Post:

Joseph Ben Ami, a conservative commentator and writer, says the time has come for the Conservative Party to make a choice -- are they true conservatives or not.

Tim Mak, a reporter for, exposes the serious (and scary) inefficiency plaguing the US Census Bureau.

Blogger Raphael Alexander worries about our eroding liberties.

Gaudet vs Kenney

One of the good things about Twitter is you get to eavesdrop on conversations.

For instance, last week I noticed an interesting exchange between the current head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Kevin Gaudet, and Jason Kenney, a former president of the CTF who today serves as the Conservative Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

It began when Kenney “tweeted” about the federal government’s stimulus package thusly: “The Libs say our infrastructure projects are only going to CPC ridings. Really? I've announced 2 projects in opposition ridings in 2 days.”

This led Gaudet to reply: “@MinJK You wouldn't have bragged of this when you were a fiscal conservative.”

To which Kenney countered “@KevinGaudet I'm proud to belong to a conservative government that has cut taxes by $190 billion, to their lowest level in 4 decades.”

In other words, Kenney was essentially saying, “don’t worry we are still fiscal conservatives because we are cutting taxes.”

The problem with that argument is the Conservatives are actually raising taxes not cutting them.

It’s just that their tax hikes have been put off into the future.

After all, the Tories have burdened the country with a $56 billion deficit. Sooner or later that will have to be paid, either through massive spending cuts or through tax increases or both.

I just hope they don’t put a tax on tweets!

Crossposted at the Libertas Post.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Adler gives dramatic reading to Libertas Post letter

One of Canada's top radio hosts, Charles Adler, read my letter to the Nobel Prize Committee on the air.

It's a beautiful reading!

Listen for it aout 28 seconds in.

Crossposted at the Libertas Post.

Media Alert

I am scheduled to be a guest on the Ryan Doyle Show (News 1010 Toronto) tonight at 7:45 PM to talk about Obama's Nobel prize.

How to win a Nobel Prize

I just sent the following letter to Norway:

Dear Nobel Prize Committee:

I believe in peace and fervently hope that all nations can be really nice and kind to each other.

I dream of a world where lunatic Iranian leaders will make Israelis their Facebook friends, where demented, egomaniacal dictators will use their nuclear reactors to power Ferris Wheels instead of bombs and where Al Qaeda terrorists will exchange their box-cutters for X-Boxes.

And I pray every night for sunshine and rainbows

Now that you know where I stand, when can I collect my Nobel Prize?

Yours truly,

Gerry Nicholls

Crossposted at the Libertas Post

Me on the

Did an interview on The

We discussed politics, the Libertas Post and of course, The Office.

Check it out.

Poetic injustice

Yesterday Marni Soupcoff had a column in the National Post which revealed Toronto had hired a left-wing activist to serve as the city's "poet laureate."

This led me to write the following letter to the editor, which was published in today's paper:

Poetic injustice

Re: A Job No Outspoken Poet Would Want, Marni Soupcoff, Oct. 8.

So Toronto is paying Marxist and militant feminist Dionne Brand a cool $30,000 to act as the city's "poet laureate."

It's news like this which makes me wish I could hire a poet laureate of my own.

I need somebody to help me find a phrase which rhymes with "ridiculous waste."

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Libertas Post

As some of you may know, I am working on an exciting new website called Libertas Post.

“Libertas” is Latin for “freedom” And freedom is what I want this site to be about.

More specifically, I want to provide a conservative voice for Canadians who cherish things like free markets, smaller government and individual freedom.

My hope is that this site will not only provide a conservative perspective on political events, but that it will also energize the conservative community into helping make this country a freer better place.

Fighting for freedom isn’t new for me. For 22 years I worked with the National Citizens Coalition, overseeing that group’s communication and media campaigns.

Now I want to continue fighting the good fight through the Libertas Post.

I encourage everybody out there to check it out. I also encourage everybody to post blogs, to leave comments, to fill out our surveys and to subscribe to our free newsletter.

And if these words don't stir you to action, just get a load of my first-ever video:

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Party's Over

According to a Canadian Press report "Michael Ignatieff is preparing to embark on a politically risky 'adult conversation' with Canadians about the painful measures necessary to eliminate the country's ballooning deficit - including the possibility of tax hikes."


This idea is to political strategy what Kamikaze pilots are to World War II.


Here are my predictions for the MLB divisional series:

Bronx Bombers over Twinkies.

Bosox over Halos.

Rocks over Phils.

Dodgers over Red Birds.

Update: Paul Tuns has a slightly more detailed analysis of three division playoff battles.

Media Alert

I am scheduled to be a guest on the Joe Easingwood Show (CFAX Victoria, B.C.) at 12:30 PM EST to talk turkey.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

List of Cannots

The source of this quote is unknown but it rings true.

The Ten "Cannots" of Political Economy:

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.

You cannot help the wage-earner by tearing down the wage-payer.

You cannot further the brotherhood of mankind by encouraging class hatred.

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.

You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative.

You cannot help man permanently by doing for them what they could do and should do for themselves.

Source: Libertarian quotes.

How to trigger an election

Things are looking good for Prime Minister Stephen Harper these days; he’s riding high in the polls, the economy is looking better and he is a serious contender for a Grammy nomination, in the “Best vocals by a world leader” category.

Yup, this would be a good time for Prime Minister Harper to call an election. Except there’s one slight problem: for the past few months he’s been telling everyone who would listen that this would be a bad time for an election.

So what he needs is a little strategy. He has to somehow force the Opposition parties into voting against his government so that it will fall.

But this is easier said than done because, after all, the other parties aren’t crazy, the last thing they want to do right now is go to the polls.

This means the Conservatives must employ the old “poison pill” tactic, put some measure before the House which the other parties would find so offensive or repugnant they would have no choice but to vote against it.

Right now, no doubt, the Tories are crafting just such a pill.

To help them out, I am offering a few suggestions:

* To get Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff going introduce the following resolution in the House of Commons: “Be it resolved that Yale’s debating team could trounce Harvard’s debating team any day of the week.”

* Propose legislation which would require CUPE union boss Sid Ryan to actually make sense. There’s no way the NDP could support such a bill.

* And to get the Bloc Quebecois to vote against the government appoint as the Official Languages Commissioner, Don Cherry.

Now if none of this works, the government still has one option, which is certain to trigger an election call: end the welfare for politicians scheme, under which taxpayers subsidize political parties.

Recall the last time the government tried this it led to a near political mutiny.

Indeed, the Opposition leaders would probably rather swallow a real poison pill than get kicked off the dole.

Of course, I might be wrong about the government wanting an election. The Prime Minister might want to hold off, at least until after the Grammy awards.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Political Turkeys

Thanksgiving is nearly here, which of course means it's time for my annual "Top Political Turkey" list, which appears in today's Sun media.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Canada's Political Idol

In a stunning political move, Prime Minister Stephen Harper scored a “game changer” on Saturday night when he wowed a National Arts Centre gala by playing the piano and belting out a Beatles tune.

When the surprising performance was over, the crowd, made up of artists who are typically hostile towards the Prime Minister, stood up in unison and chanted. “We want a grant, we want a grant.”

A senior Conservative strategist later told the media, “We wanted to show the country that the Prime Minister wasn’t just a policy wonk, but a policy wonk who could play a musical instrument.”

Caught off guard by the new Conservative strategy, the other parties are now scrambling to play catch up.

Word has it that Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff will stand up in Question Period tomorrow, slip on a fedora, and croon the Leonard Cohen hit “Closing Time.”

Meanwhile, NDP leader Jack Layton and the Bloc Quebecois’s Gilles Duceppe have joined forces to create a rock band called “The New Coalition.”

“We are primarily going to be a Rolling Stones cover band,” explained Layton. “We will not allow the Prime Minister to corner the market on golden oldies. If anyone should represent 1960s attitudes it’s us.”

In a related development, Elections Canada recently announced that Simon Cowell will determine the winner of the next Canadian election.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Time for a new Liberal leader?

A consensus seems to be emerging that Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is a dud, a Stephane Dion 2.0.

Yet, even as Ignatieff continues to drop in the polls, his loyal Liberal MPs are rallying around their beleaguered leader, as this makes it easier to stab him in the back.

All of this has led me to “jump the gun” a bit and to ponder who the Liberals could get to succeed Ignatieff.

And so after an exhaustive 10 seconds of research, I have come up with a list of five potential Liberal leaders along with their “pros” and “cons.”

Here it is:

Bob Rae
Pros – Rae is media savvy, smart, tough, and as former Ontario Premier he has tons of political experience.

Cons – Voters remember Rae’s handing of the Ontario economy, the way military historians remember General Custer’s handling of Indian relations or the way boating enthusiasts remember the Titanic’s handling of ice bergs.

Ken Dryden
Pros – As a former NHL hockey star Dryden enjoys fantastic name recognition.

Cons – Zzzzzzzzzzzz …. Oops sorry guess I dozed off there for a second

Dominic Leblanc
Pros – This New Brunswick MP is young, bright and telegenic.

Cons – Who?

Justin Trudeau
Pros – Let’s face it, he is blessed with a magic and legendary political name – Justin. Also his father was kind of famous and he can count on the endorsement of family friend Fidel Castro.

Cons – To use the correct political science term, Trudeau is a "flake".

Roman Polanksi
Pros – A famous Hollywood director, Polanski would win the support of the trendy and hip culture crowd.

Cons – He will soon be a con.

That's my list.

I hope in some small way it is helpful to the Liberal Party, which these days needs all the help it can get.