Friday, June 29, 2007

Indian land claims transparency?

Every time I turned on the news yesterday, coverage of the looming Indian "day of protest" seemed to consist of little more than soft commentary burbling good will to Indians and showing interviews only with people who sympathized unconditionally with Indian claims. Lots of choking smoke and very little light.

So thanks to Terence Corcoran for his front page article in today’s Post shedding some much needed light on the Deseronto Mohawk claim:

The Mohawks base their claim on their assessment of a 1837 transfer of 827 acres of land --known as the Culbertson Tract -- to a man named John Culbertson. Paid by Ottawa to research their own land entitlement history, the Mohawks said in a 1995 filing under Indian and Northern Affairs' cooked-up Specific Claims process that the 827 acres were given to Culbertson without authorization by the Mohawk community.
John Culbertson wasn't just another white guy ripping off the natives through political intrigue. He was the grandson of [Mohawk Chief] Captain John [Deserontyon] and by 1837 likely his sole heir. Now could it be that the transfer of land to John Culbertson was simply a grant within the Desorontyon family?

There’s much more in Mr. Corcoron’s article; but there’s a lot more we’ll never know. It seems that only the Indians have been allowed access to the government’s files on the case. And, all proceedings and negotiations to date have been conducted IN SECRET:

In 2003, after a secret review of the claim, and a secret legal opinion, Ottawa agreed. The Mohawks had a point, said Indian Affairs, and the claim was sent to negotiation, where it has been ever since.
So not even the current residents of the town of Deseronto, should they lose their land, will ever know why.

No doubt some of the 800 odd outstanding land claims are deserving of resolution and compensation. But if the Deseronto case represents the kind of "transparency" we can expect then we’ll never know whether there has been true justice or if our government merely capitulated.

Peace, order and, trust us, good government?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

NASCAR Conservatives

Since the Conservative Party announced its sponsorship of a NASCAR racing car there’s been sneering and mockery from certain ‘elites’. They’ve attempted to ridicule the Tories by suggesting racing imagery like crashes, driving in circles, knuckle-dragging, redneck fans, etc ("Yuk! Yuk!"). There has also been idiotic criticism by the environmentally ‘sensitive’ - but that’s another lame story.

So why did the Tories pick NASCAR as a means of promoting their brand? Perhaps some simple facts are in order, starting with:
Fan base: "NASCAR has a strong fan base in Canada with 5.8 million fans, representing one out of four Canadian adults. NASCAR is the No. 1 motorsport series on television in Canada. TSN recorded record ratings for its coverage of the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with a national average audience of 332,000 viewers, up 15 per cent from 2005." Assuming Canadian and American NASCAR fans are similarly composed, roughly 35% are women.
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series

Tracks: Nine tracks - Ontario (4), Quebec (2), Alberta (1), BC (1), Nova Scotia (1)

Schedule: Twelve races May thru Sept.

So, the Conservative NASCAR sponsorship is aimed at a very particular audience - a large audience that is relatively easy and inexpensive to reach.

The sneering opposition and others are not part of that audience - so they are, at best, irrelevant. Though, with their snotty, elitist mockery they risk offending a rather large group of voters. Remember that Liberal strategist, Scott Reid’s, "beer and popcorn" insult?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Afghanistan - Canadian gutlessness at home

PM Stephen Harper recently stated that the Canadian combat mission in southern Afghanistan would end in February 2009 if there were no consensus in parliament to extend it. He said he did not want to put Canadian troops in harm’s way "if the opposition at home is going to undercut the dangerous work they’re doing in the field".

Today, at ‘The Torch’, Mark Collins gives an excellent assessment of what this apparent capitulation means, highlighting the roles played by politicians and the media:

...the government has done a very poor job of explaining the mission. ...the Liberal Party is simply and irresponsibly playing politics with the mission. ...the NDP are sincere in their pacifism but fools; ...who cares about the Bloc? ....our media has: 1) an Oprah-like fixation on the death of troops; 2) a pattern of highlighting things that help discredit the mission (detainee abuse, civilian deaths); and, 3) a strong tendency to ignore either success in battle or in reconstruction.


...the 52 fatalities we have suffered in sixteen months of the Kandahar deployment ..... are what it has taken for the Taliban to defeat Canada. Not militarily, but psychologically and politically. We are indeed a weak horse, to use bin Laden's image.


...That will simply encourage more deadly violence by Islamic extremists everywhere. And smug, peace-loving Canadians will bear a degree of responsibility for those deaths.

As depressing as it is, it’s well worth reading the whole thing.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Victoria, world-class enabler

enabler: one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior (as substance abuse) by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior.

Victoria is a beautiful spot -- scenic, temperate climate and a city offering most amenities along with a laid-back life-style -- all the reasons I moved here a dozen years ago.

These are the same reasons most people are attracted to Victoria. But, as well as productive citizens it has also attracted a substantial underclass of alcoholics, drug addicts, panhandlers, vagrants, youthful able-bodied ‘free spirits’ - most if not all of whom are homeless. Over the years it’s been hard not to notice the growing numbers of chronically dysfunctional people inhabiting the down-town streets and parks and gathering around the many facilities aimed at 'helping' them.

And, while it’s difficult not to notice the growing underclass, it’s nearly impossible not to notice the growth of a ‘poverty’ industry that clamours for ever more ‘help’ for the poor souls on the street. It’s a rare day that there isn’t a headlined story in the newspaper, a radio or TV talk-show or other media event highlighting the problem and appealing for help. In today’s local paper there’s a full four page advertising section detailing the ‘Our Place Society’s programs and asking for donations. And to hear the mayor and council going on about it one gets the impression it’s the only issue on their agenda.

‘Help’ includes soup kitchens, food banks, street outreach, drop-in centres, shelters, needle exchanges and just this week it was announced that the BC Health Minister will recommend approval for three ‘safe’ injection sites in Victoria. Vancouver has one. Victoria needs three?

It seems logical that, as a basic rule of thumb, the easier you make it for people to lead a dysfunctional, parasitic life, the more dysfunctional, parasitic people there will be. More facilities for street denizens will lead to more people living on the street. So, you might ask, how’s it really working out in Victoria? What are the numbers? Is there objective evidence that the city’s strategy of enabling dysfunctional behaviour is yielding more of it?

Yes there is! In 2005 the Victoria Cool Aid Society did a comprehensive survey to find out how many street people or ‘homeless’ there were. The count was 668 region-wide. The survey was repeated in 2007. The new count was 1242. That’s an increase of 85% in just two years - and bear in mind that for Victoria these are economic boom times with very low unemployment and ‘now hiring’ signs plastered in the windows of many, many businesses.

Now don’t get me wrong. Many of these street people, especially the addicts and the otherwise mentally challenged, certainly need help (beginning with an attempt to help themselves). And the people trying to help them have their hearts in the right place:) But you sure have ask whether a strategy of enabling bad behaviour, a strategy that attracts ever more troubled people to the streets, is the right one.

Victoria is unlikely to change its approach any time soon. It's a world-class enabler. So I predict the Cool Aid Society’s 2009 homeless survey will yield another big jump in the numbers.

Is the hysteria beginning to wane?

This poll is encouraging.

Admittedly it’s a small sample so far, but encouraging nevertheless. Even the qualifying words with the 'No' response suggest a return to sanity.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Are Globe readers crypto-commies?

This poll today leads one to think so.

"...viable"? Define viable.
"...still ..viable "? It never was or ever can be. But the Globe seems to think so.

Canada’s best (worst?) example of the viability of socialism, state monopoly health-care, exhibits all the characteristics of typical socialist ‘enterprise’: shortages, long queues, multiple five-year plans and ‘fixes for a generation’, intense politicization, bureaucratic inertia and incipient collapse.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Poll - attitudes on immigration

There are lies, damn lies and statistics.
Then there are pollsters and polls.

A recent Ipsos-Reid poll surveyed Canadians on their attitudes to immigration. Different people found different results:

According to Jack Aubry - Canadians becoming more positive toward immigrants:
Canadians today seem more comfortable with granting immigrants equal rights
and opportunities.
...90 per cent of Canadians disagreed with the view that newcomers should go
back "to where they came from." [Hmmm! Harsh wording! But, any bets the other 10% were largely aboriginals?:]
According to Janice Tibbetts - majority want minorities to adapt culturally:
Canadian attitudes toward cultural differences have hardened slightly over the past nine years. ["hardened"?]
58 per cent -- believe minorities should try to fit the traditionally Canadian mould.
[A disappointingly low number. Or am I being too 'hard'?]
Older Canadians, Quebecers, and those without university degrees were most likely to believe in the concept of a cultural melting pot rather than a cultural mosaic.
[This is mostly a measure of heavy multi-culti indoctrination at universities. And perhaps Ipsos-Reid wanted to show what neanderthals those fans of the ‘melting pot’ are.]

Interesting, sort of, but I’d like to know what the poll questions were.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Jonathan Kay says Al Gore and Bono are “Cool”

Peter Foster says: "Jonathan Kay is an idiot"

Actually, that’s not exactly what Mr. Foster said - but it’s a close enough paraphrase.

In yesterday’s National Post Jonathan Kay wrote a mucho lamo column praising Al Gore for having "changed the world". In it he referred to "...conservatives ? obsessive critics who've wrapped themselves up in cranky, tiresome rebuttals."

Today Peter Foster delivered a great smackdown in his Post column entitled Egomaniacs aren't 'cool': present Mr. Gore as a single-combat warrior ignores the many billions of propaganda dollars that governments and NGOs have spent promoting environmental apocalypse. Mr. Gore is not exactly swimming upstream.
...the notion that we might congratulate individuals for shifting public opinion by doctoring facts, exploiting ignorance and demonizing opponents is hardly praiseworthy.
...we might remember that [certain named] tyrants had one thing in common with Mr. Gore: They firmly believed they were agents of "the truth" and that apostasy was unacceptable; it had to be the result either of class-based self-interest or mental disorder.
Of course, I'm probably just being cranky, but then the role of conservatives, unfortunately, is to stand in the way of grand Utopian schemes, however "popular" they may be.
Nor does [tradational conservatism] involve climbing on bandwagons or giving in to family and social pressures to get with the "religious experience" and sink into the warm feeling that dangerously simplistic egomaniacs are "pretty darn cool."


Praise for Canada from the U.S.A.

The crack young staff at THMQ is impressed with Stephen Harper's refusal to be a star f**ker at the G8 summit.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Scooter Libby and American ‘justice’

Today "Scooter" Libby was handed a sentence of two-and-a-half years for ‘lying’ about a ‘crime’ prosecutors couldn’t prove had been committed (‘outing’ CIA employee Valerie Plame) - a crime for which no one was ever charged. Seems a tad unjust.

However, there’s a remedy close at hand. As this NRO editorial concludes:

President Bush should pardon Libby, and do it now.
I have to agree. In general, though, Libby’s case does have a familiar ring to it:

- Martha Stewart convicted of lying to prosecutors in declaring her innocence of a crime (insider trading) for which she was never charged.

- Conrad Black now being pers-, er, prosecuted for a long list of ‘crimes’ for which there is, at best, dubious evidence.

The American justice system seems to be making a mockery of itself. Someone needs to take a closer look at how the special prosecutor does his job.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Global warming test

For an excellent summary of the facts, take this short Global Warming Test.

(via ICECAP via Jay Currie via SDA)

Lorne Gunter on lousy Tory polling numbers

You couldn’t ask for a much stronger supporter of conservatism than Lorne Gunter. Sadly, I have to agree with his analysis in this column today.

Many conservatives are willing to cut Canada’s ‘new’ government some slack in the current minority situation. But at this rate we’re in for a lot more minority government. And there’s not much slack left to cut.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Sensible words from NASA boss

This post by Bill at "A Dog Named Kyoto" deserves maximum exposure.

NASA chief Michael Griffin, in an NPR interview, made some refreshingly sensible remarks concerning climate change and NASA's role in climate research. Griffin's underling, NASA scientist and AGW alarmist, James Hansen is, predictably, not happy with his boss's comments. I think Hansen should either A) be fired or B) resign.

And don't miss Bill's link to the excellent E-WIRE press release covering support from scientists around the world for the NASA chief's "courageous" remarks. The University of Guelph's Ross McKitrick made an excellent point:
The fact that it took courage, however, points to the deeper problem that questioning the catastrophic propaganda we hear so much is now considered politically incorrect.

Friday, June 1, 2007

An assault on reason

In today’s National Post, Peter Foster applies his trademark sharp wit and logic to a review of Al Gore’s new book “The Assault on Reason”.

The title ... says it all. Illogicalities, non sequiturs, false analogies, fallacies, ad hominem ... arguments all tumble forth in profusion from its pages.

Apparently Gore is still fuming over his defeat in the 2000 election:
...but isn't piling on to George Bush a little like flogging a dead duck?
On Gore's bemoaning television as a “one-way” medium in the service of Bush’s evil agenda, Mr. Foster observes:

However, a newspaper seems pretty "one-way." As does -- come to think about it -- a book. Sure, you can scribble "BS!" in the margins, but you soon run out of lead with a book like this.


...presumably, you would never find Al Gore getting on, say, Jon Stewart or David Letterman. And you'd never find the publishing subsidiary of a giant corporation (say, Penguin) from publishing a book by him. OK, well maybe the theory falls down there.


...Gore's thesis of a massive threat to free speech is, well, crap...


The most stunning -- and frightening -- aspect of Gore's bipolar book is that he constantly calls for more discussion and public input, but when it comes to his obsession, man-made climate change, he declares the debate closed.


The suggestion that there can be no intellectually honest opposition to Mr. Gore's alarmism is disturbing, to say the least.


But the fact is that Mr. Gore does not want a debate; he wants a chorus. He is a much bigger threat to freedom than George W. Bush ever was, or ever could ever be. [my bold]

Thank you Peter. That’s one more book I won’t waste my time reading.