Saturday, September 29, 2007

Proportional representation sucks (more than FPTP)

The closer the Ontario referendum looms the more frantically Andrew Coyne pumps out columns slamming FPTP and praising PR. You’d think his life depended on it.

Father Raymond J. De Souza argued in a recent column that the while the FPTP system is broken, PR isn’t the fix.

Today Coyne has yet another column - this one with a headline referring to PR opponents as "fear mongers".

George Jonas summarizes and, adding an argument, takes sides :

[My bold]
Be it resolved that our current first-past-the-post-system sucks. There was
never a clearer, better argued and more convincing case made out for any resolution than that offered by the mighty pen of Coyne. It carried the day -- until next morning it collided with the mighty pen of de Souza.

Now, at the risk of sounding like a CBC commentator, I think that one man's free election is another man's coup d'etat. How to decide? Let's see which countries use mixed-member proportional representation (PR.) That should tell us which country Ontario might come to resemble if we replaced its present system.

Germany? Hmm. Italy? Hmm. Mexico? Hmm squared. Bolivia? Hmm cubed. Hungary? You must be kidding. That's where I came from.

Lesotho? Er, refresh my memory. Ah, Africa, OK.

What? You can't be serious. Vene-bloodyzuela has PR?

Thank you, Andrew. Not today.

Al Gore in Victoria today

And this poll suggests, "who cares?"
One supposes those $200 tickets will help Big Fat Al maintain his big fat carbon footprint.
Update: The local rag reports: "Concerned about global warming since his days at Harvard, Gore directed many of his comments to students...".
Gore's days at Harvard were in the 1970s (studying English and government). Wasn't that when global cooling was all the rage?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Kissing off Kyoto - Bravo to Harper

There’s another fine column by Peter Foster in today’s Post praising Prime Minister Harper for aligning Canada with the Asia-Pacific Partnership on climate change:

...Harper is being roundly criticized by the usual suspects -- political opponents, radical environmentalists and Olympian editorialists...

... he didn't even mention the "K" word. other words Anything But Kyoto.

...for Canada to continue to embrace Kyoto is like a swimmer embracing lead weights.

The central nonsense of Kyoto has always been the radical disconnect between its draconian political ambitions, its economic costs and its predicted climate results....

...It cannot be stressed enough that the protocol, even if all the signatories had met their targets, would have produced a minuscule impact on global temperatures by the year 2100.

Not to mention,
...the micro-minuscule impact of even the most draconian action that Canada might take.
As Mr. Foster said, there was predictable derision for Harper. CTV quoted some know-it-all (is there any other kind?) teenager claiming he had been "embarrassed" by the Prime Minister. Following along on this theme, an editorial in my local rag said Harper "shames Canada". Well, the clowns can speak for themselves. I’m with Foster and Harper.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Good news from UVic - military ban reversed

Yesterday, SDA reported that radical anti-war students at the University of Victoria had influenced the Student Society board to ban the military from the Student Union Building.

It took my local newspaper another day to catch up on the story (also reported here.)

The good news, again reported by SDA, is that the SS decision was reversed today pending the outcome of a student vote later in the year.

Graham Noyes, a third year UVic Poli-sci/History student (and SDA reader), deserves kudos for his role in getting the reversal and the reporting. He and fellow students who organized the protest against SS board ruling give some cause for optimism that everything hasn’t yet gone completely to hell in a handbasket on university campuses.

And chalk up another one for the blogosphere over the MSM.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

“40 million Americans without health insurance” - Yeah, right!

Speaking of anti-Americanism, one of the favorite ‘facts’ that proponents of Canuckian Soviet-style healthcare love to trot out is the ‘40 million uninsured’ Americans.

Well, Mark Steyn conveniently breaks that number down for us in the OC Register today. The U.S. Census Bureau claims 45 million uninsured, of which:

9 million aren’t American, they’re foreign nationals;
9 million are insured through Medicare;
18 million in the 18-34 age group are healthy and opt to ‘risk it’;
Leaving 9 million, many of whom are uninsured only temporarily - while changing jobs, for example.

Furthermore, CB stats show that a large chunk of the 45 million "uninsured" is quite well-to-do - not the struggling, poverty stricken lot that the universal-healthcare-pushers try to portray:
37% earn more than $50,000 a year; and
19% more than $75,000.
So the next time Jack Layton, Roy Romanow, the nurses union or the CBC invokes the alarming spectre of "40 million uninsured" Americans, yell ‘BULLSH*T!’ with confidence.

More idiocy at Maclean’s - Bush as the new Saddam

Maclean’s Magazine’s idiotic October 1st cover depicting George W. Bush as Saddam Hussein is one more reminder of why I don’t subscribe to the rag. When Ken Whyte took over as editor and started carrying Mark Steyn I took out a subscription. But then after one too many dopey ‘Maclean’s 100' list I started to get cranky just seeing the damn thing in my mailbox so I didn’t renew.

Mark Steyn defends Maclean’s here on the grounds that it’s edited by Whyte and carries his and Barbara Amiel’s columns. True, but that’s not enough. And one might ask Mark why, if Ken Whyte is such a fine editor, does Maclean’s persist in putting up such asininely juvenile cover pages? No doubt it’s to pump sales by pandering to Canuck anti-Bush/anti-American sentiment but this is unbecoming of Canada’s one and only national news magazine.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What a farce! Mexican “refugees” from the U.S.A.

According to this sob story, illegal Mexican immigrant to the U.S.A., Manuel Ortega, is one of many heading for the Canadian border. We’re told that Ortega and his family, "for 15 years was living ...the American Dream in Florida ."

Now, thanks to a Florida crackdown on illegal immigrants, they’re in Canada claiming "refugee" status and soaking up social services, health services, legal services and any other service the ‘Y’, ‘Sally Ann’ or government agency can think to point them to. All very expensive for the taxpayer.

No one can blame the Ortegas for taking advantage of the gullible Canadian refugee system. But they have NO credible claim as "refugees", NONE, and should therefore be refused entry at the border. Fat chance! They’re welcomed with open arms, apparently few questions asked:
When they told the border guard they were seeking refugee status, the
Ortegas were given a list of social services organizations to contact for
Our idiotic "refugee" system seems to guarantee every claimant, no matter how flimsy the claim, the benefit of the doubt pending their case being heard by a refugee board. This is followed by 48 appeals, followed (maybe) by a deportation order, followed by sanctuary in a church basement, followed by a bleeding heart rally, followed by permanent residence in Canada.

To castigate the federal politicians in charge write here, here and here.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

“Make the students pay”

That’s the title of William Watson’s excellent Financial Post column on university tuition. Of course this flies in the face of socialist received wisdom and NDP policy on the subject but what else is new?

Mr. Watson’s main argument is that a university education is actually a very good investment with annualized returns for many disciplines in the double digits (detailed figures for Canada here). Some, like women’s MBA’s in business and commerce, come in at a whopping 25.8% rate of return and female B.Eng’s in mining, metal and petroleum engineering at 20%. Why should taxpayers subsidize students’ lucrative investments in themselves?

Another compelling argument is that fewer than a third of Canadians attend university. So, the more than two thirds who do not attend, subsidize the others’ investment in education.

And there are many other considerations beyond the purely financial that argue in favour of students paying their own way. People value things they pay for more than those that are "free". A fully government subsidized system, like healthcare, would soon become starved for cash, stifled by bureaucracy and limited in choice. Students, like patients, would become liabilities instead of assets - and treated accordingly. ...

Make the students pay - its good for them, and us.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dion in deep doo-doo. Is Michael Ignatief drooling?

Following the Liberal disaster in yesterday’s by-elections Stéphane Dion bravely asserted (quoting from memory): "...the Liberal Party is in a strong position to move forward..." [translation: "from here there’s no where to go but up."]

Naturally, there was a lot of analysis of results and what they meant for Dion’s future. Joanne captures the flavour, pointing to the angst of various Liberal bloggers, Paul Wells, Warren Kinsella, etc who in turn point to many others.

Also, naturally, there was much speculation about who would succeed Dion and when. Lawrence Martin even stokes a conspiracy involving Michael Ignatief.

Speaking of Ignatief - one of the above threads led to this Huffington Post item with American liberal David Rees’ hilarious deconstruction of Ignatief’s (in)famous NYT Iraq "mea culpa":

I expected a no-holds barred, personal excoriation. In fact, I assumed the first, last, and only sentence of the essay would be: "Please, for the love of God, don't ever listen to me again."

However....The first nine-tenths of Ignatieff's essay, far from being an honest self-examination, is a collection of vague aphorisms and bong-poster koans.... I refuse to believe this section was actually written by a member of the Canadian government, because that would mean Canada is even more "fuxxor3d" than America.

[Quoting Ignatief’s essay] "An intellectual's responsibility for his ideas is to follow their consequences wherever they may lead. A politician's responsibility is to master those consequences and prevent them from doing harm. . . ."

Right off the bat, he's saying: "It was right for me to support the Iraq war when I was an academic, because academics live in outer space on Planet Zinfandel, and play with ideas all day. But now, as a politician in a country that opposed the war, I'll admit I screwed up..."

........[and on and on].

Hilarious, and worth recalling should Ignatief manage to take the Liberal helm one day.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Support for the troops in Hull

This full page ad was placed in a Gatineau-Hull French language newspaper by Hull auto dealer André Dupont.

En anglais:

Be proud of our Canadian military.

Nobody is in favour of War

No one is in favour of war for the sake of war.

But when our country mobilizes to defend people’s freedom, democracy and peace, we have the duty to support our soldiers, to acknowledge their courage and to honour them.

We should be proud of these men and women who put their lives on the line every day in the name of defending our institutions and our freedom.

Our prayers go out to our soldiers deployed in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world, and there is a special place in our heart for those who fall on the battlefield and give their lives carrying out their mission. To their families, their wives and their husbands and their children we offer our most profound sympathies.

Would that their sacrifice serve as an example to all of us, and their example inspire the next generation.

Andre Dupont

(from, via)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A sterling performance with one small blemish

Harper’s address to Australia’s parliament

Stephen Harper’s historic address to the Aussie national assembly on September 11th was very well received at home and abroad. Bruce Cheadle summarizes highlights of the address and a subsequent news conference:

He excoriated Canada's appointed Senate, tipped his hat to the "Quebecois nation," praised the middle class and tax cuts and even managed to shoe-horn in a reference to hockey.

But his main message was a ringing call for Canada and Australia to keep doing the kind of tough military work that has marked the two countries' long shared history.

However, in an otherwise sterling performance, one unfortunate statement - a thoroughly debunked bit of ‘root causes’ junk - found its way into the PM’s address:

"Because as 9-11 showed," Harper told the national assembly, "if we abandon our fellow human beings to lives of poverty, brutality and ignorance, in today's global village their misery will eventually and inevitably become ours."

This caught the attention of Jules Crittendon of the Boston Herald. And he wasn’t happy:

Let’s move past the warmed-over "why they hate us" bullshit in Harper’s statement, a shocking insult though it may be on our national day of mourning, and examine his statement on its merits......
The detailed "examination" that follows is well worth the read.

Nevertheless, overall the PM deserves high praise for his performance. And, because I’m a Harper fan, I’m willing to overlook that ‘blemish’ in his address. Because, though I know that 9/11 had zip to do with poverty, brutality and ignorance certainly played a role.


Friday, September 7, 2007

Marxist infestation at the CBC

Brian Lemon wonders when the CBC bias will end:

Likely when the CBC does.

Today, driving home I got to enjoy CBC promoting marxist Naomo Klein's
latest piece of marxist propaganda.You know Naomi Klein... She's married to marxist Avi Lewis who has his own marxist promoting show on CBC. Who is the son of marxist Stephen Lewis who is the son of marxist David Lewis. He's also the son of marxist Michelle Landsberg.

Then I got home in time to listen to Clare Demerse, marxist representative of the marxist "Pembina Institute".

No bias at CBC nope.

Marxism may be a dead-end philosphy but, like the cockroach and the CBC, nearly impossible to stamp out.

The most narcissistic G-G in Canadian history?

In the first short section of this address by Michaëlle Jean printed in today’s Post there are no fewer than 25 self references ("I", "my", etc). Anyone who hadn’t turned off before the first dozen, would have by the next.

And while she was at it Jean just had to get in this bit of hogwash identifying herself with that other oppressed minority:

My African ancestors...just as thousands of First Nations people in this
part of the world were forced to be slaves on their own land.

Whenever I see press coverage involving our G-G - a trip to Africa or Haiti or whatever - I can’t escape the feeling that she sees her office primarily as a way of pursuing her personal genealogy project (in grand style) and relating her personal ‘story’.

Thank you Paul Martin, you a*se h*le fool!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Negotiating with the Taliban

Charles Adler, in Tuesday's 'Full Comment' blog, lets us know how he feels about Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom supporting Jack Layton's enthusiasm for negotiating with the Taliban:

Taliban Jack is no doubt a happy camper. His foolishness has received respectability from the Liberal newspaper of choice. And to think that all it took to meet the Toronto Star's price for respectability were a few dollops of kidnapping, rape, murder and blackmail.
Good post and the comments are well worth a read too.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Allied bombing campaign - war museum controversy

By now everybody and his dog has weighed in on the National War Museum exhibit’s implicit hand-wringing over the allied bombing campaign during WWII. U of T professor Randall Hansen thinks the museum was mistaken in acceding to veterans’ demands that the exhibit be altered.

Naturally, as a right-wing war monger, I’m with the vets. This letter from a WWII RAF bomber pilot makes some excellent points much better than I ever could:

Letter published: Saturday, September 01, 2007
Re: The War Museum's Great Mistake, Randall Hansen, Aug. 31.

From his comfortable chair at the University of Toronto, Randall Hansen declares that objection to the objectionable plaque in the Canadian War Museum is "a national embarrassment."

He laments the fate of Dresden, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Hanover, Darmstadt, Pforzheim and other German cities bombed during the Second World War, and raises the inflammatory spectre of women, children and old men being burned, boiled and asphyxiated while cowering in cellars.

Prof. Hansen's should know that the rules for aerial bombardment were laid down by Hitler, when the Luftwaffe savaged Warsaw in the war's early days. In May, 1940, long before the 1945 attack on Dresden, Rotterdam felt the brunt of the German's aerial assault. Next, London was set ablaze, Coventry was reduced to rubble, along with Birmingham, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Bournemouth. The list goes on.

We simply followed the rules that the Germans themselves had established, but in the end, we did it more effectively. Had we not, the campus at U of T would now be patrolled by the Gestapo. They would no doubt be applauding Randall Hensen's distorted view of history, but some among us consider it a national disgrace.

Les Morrison, Lancaster bomber pilot, Burlington, Ont.

Thank you Mr. Morrison! PoMo moralizers and hand-wringers like Randall Hansen and his ilk at the War Museum should drop dead. Churchill and the other leaders did what they thought at the time was necessary to defeat unarguably evil and brutal enemies. Trying to second-guess and pass moral judgement on their decisions sixty years after the fact is, at best, a waste of time.