"A Citizen"s Eye View"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Christmas Canon Rock

Merry Christmas to All

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stephen Harper treats Canadians like imbeciles.

Stephen Harper treats Canadians like imbeciles | The Vancouver Observer - News, Culture, Sports, Blogs in Vancouver, BC

Please read the above article by Daniel D. Veniez for the Vancouver Observer.

Mr. Veniez puts into words, far better then ever I could, the horrific lack of accomplishment and the loathsome debasement of Parliament that has occurred since Stephen Harper became Prime Minister in 2006.

The following is a quote from that article by political scientist Reg Whitaker who compared the minority governments of Lester B. Pearson and Stephen Harper.

He said: “Pearson employed his skills as a diplomat and conciliator to achieve major policy innovations out of parliamentary chaos: Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan and the Canadian flag are among his accomplishments. Harper will be remembered not for diplomacy but for his belligerent insistence on acting as if he wields an unchallenged majority. Twice he has simply shut down Parliament, first to avoid facing a vote of confidence he was cer­tain to lose, and again to put off a censure of his government by a parliamentary majority. Yet apart from damaging the fabric of parliamentary democracy, the Prime Minister has precious little to point to in the way of legislative accomplishments.”

It's high time we, as Canadians woke up to the fact that Mr. Harper is slowly destroying our system of democracy. Worse than that, he is making a twisted mockery of it. He is trying to reshape the country we love to reflect his moral agenda, which holds very few if any real Canadian values.

Don't be fooled by the name of the party he leads. "Conservative" is a name of convenience he managed to usurp with the help of the Machiavellian Peter MacKay from the old Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. There is no resemblance between the two what so ever. Harper is an Evangelical Reformist from Alberta, end of story. He cares not for Canada or our way of life.

But please good citizens. Read the article by Mr. Veniez. It tells the story much better.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Harper's new Senate appointment says being gay is a choice - Latest News Roundup

Yes folks, and this is just another example of the "good Christian right winged" folk the Evangelical Harper is appointing to the Senate. These are the people he will use to determine the country's direction, which includes you and me by the way. To hell with the Lower House, It's too much work. He just stacks the Upper house with his like-minded Cro-magnon Cronies and passes or kills any bill he wants to now.

And leave us not forget good Canadians, Senate reform was a central plank in Harper's previous election campaigns. He promised that he would never appoint a Senator to the House of Sober Second Thought. And he hasn't, he's appointed no less than 34 of his minions to that esteemed collection of statesmen. Few of whom deserve the accolade, being nothing more than Harper lackeys.

So he has reformed the Senate to be sure. He has made a twisted mockery of what was once considered an honourable institution. In so doing, watch for him to spin-doctor his heinous manoeuvrings into justification for future Senate reform, demonstrating how the current system doesn't work. And Canadians will believe his tales of myth and misfortune.

And our democracy slowly erodes into a theocracy. Our country governed by backward ideological rhetoric rather than traditional Canadian Social values. A country governed by fear and exclusion rather than hope and tolerance.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What if Dion had won in 2008?

I usually try not to deal with "what ifs" in terms of thinking about past events. You know, "what would of happened if I won a million dollars" ? or "what if I had met you first"? or "What if the Leafs had won the Stanley cup last year"?

There have been some fairly entertaining  examples of "What Ifs".  Harry Turtledove has authored several novels regarding "alternate history", asking such questions as: "What if the South had won the Civil War"? What if The Byzantine Empire had never fallen"?"What if the Nazi's had won the Second world war"? But while fun to think about, they have absolutely no bearing on the "here and now", unless you're Harry Turtledove. So to dwell on them is to deprive yourself of the opportunity to make the best of the circumstances life has provided you with. And to dwell on them is to ignore the lessons that history has to teach you. 

Today though, I am allowing myself to indulge in a "What If". The time is 2008, early autumn. Then Prime Minister Stephen Harper has broken his own rule about fixed "American Style" election dates and called a snap federal election. He craves a majority in the House of Commons so he may rule unfettered. The polls are in his favour and he has done a very thorough job of defining his opponent, Stephan Dion, painting him as a lilly-livered, stumbling, bumbling, limp wristed Frenchman who can barely speak English and is easily frustrated by language barriers in the House. He decides it is the time to strike, before Dion has a chance to recover and actually begin to appeal to Canadians.

So my self-indulgent "What if" is, what if Dion had won that election in 2008 and not Stephen harper?

For the sake of argument, we shall assume that in terms of numbers of seats in the House, the Liberals and Conservatives have just switched places. It is most likely that if the Liberals had won the election, it would have been with a minority anyway. 

Dion knew he could count on the support of the New Democrats for some of his proposed plans. But the NDP did not hold the balance of power. So in order for the Liberals to achieve any of their goals, they would need to have the support of either the Conservatives or the Bloc. Neither of which, would have been a very desirable scenario but, Dion would have been determined to make work.

When the House reconvened after the election, Harper and his Conservatives would likely have come out on the attack, probably as aggressive as he had ever been. He would know his political career was at steak. He would have done everything in his power, ethical or otherwise, to discredit Dion and to find that one smoking gun, like the Sponsorship scandal, that could spell Dion's immediate downfall and a guarantee of a Harper Con majority in the election that would result from a vote of non-confidence.

The Bloc would be no fans of the Liberal Leader also. As Separatists, they would still be smarting from the fierceness with which Dion attacked the National Unity issue in Quebec while one or Jean Chretien's Cabinet Ministers. But being the pragmatists that they are, the Bloc would be willing to make deals with Dion if they felt it was in the best interest of Quebec. And Dion would be willing to play that game if he had to. 

So in December of 2008, The Liberals with the support of the Bloc would maintain their status as ruling party through to the end of that particular sitting of the House of Commons, meaning that there would have been no vote of confidence as a result of threats to remove federal funding for federal parties (Harpers attempt at eliminating any and all opposition if you'll recall), so there would have been no prorogation of Parliament.

Early in 2009, the Conservatives would have had a leadership review and Harper would have been tossed from office. His bullish, brutish "Damn the Torpedoes" attitude would have been deemed to have failed and the party would have divested itself of the would-be tyrant. It isn't likely that Peter MacKay would be his successor. Too many of the party members recall MacKay's promise when he was head of the Progressive Conservatives that he would not make a deal with the Reform/Alliance Party. He won the PC's party leadership on the strength of that promise, but he turned around and betrayed his party by forging a deal with Harper. No, The Conservatives would not be lead by a liar and a cheat.

It is far more likely that someone such as Jim Prentice would have emerged victorious. The extremest Reform rhetoric would have been dialled down and they would be seen as moving a little closer to Centre in an effort to reclaim some of those lost Conservative seats. But the "P" for Progressive would not be restored to the party name. 

This newer model Conservative party would have created some newer possibilities for Dion as well. It would have meant that he might have been able to forge temporary alliances  with them,long enough to have accomplished some of his goals. If nothing else, Dion would have had the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to collaborate with the other parties in an effort to make Parliament work. Let's not forget that if there was no threat of a confidence vote late in 2008, there would have been no coalition. 

Dion's "Green Shift" plan would not have come to fruition. Alberta, with it's joined at the hip relationship with the Oil Sands, would have fought it tooth and nail. The Conservatives would have rejected it out of hand and the Bloc would have demanded certain concessions before supporting any kind of a climate change plan. Canada would have likely ended up with a "Cap and trade" system and some emissions targets that, while still above Kyoto proposed levels, would be an improvement on what Canada is doing today. 

Dion would have wanted the environment to have been the centre piece of his party's policies, but the world wide economic down turn would have scuttled that. As a result, Dion would have had to wander into a mind field he was not prepared for. He had policies and answers for every other conceivable issue, but not for this. And it may, or may not have been his eventual downfall.

But getting back to the big "What If" picture, what else might we have seen if the Liberals had survived the economic crisis? Well for one, Canada would never have been seen as the Fossils of the year at any of the Climate Change conferences such as Copenhagen. In Fact, Canada would be seen as a world leader in this regard with high profile people such as Dion and Elizabeth May both working night and day to create a pact among all industrialized nations that may have established some meaningful targets. And with May's connections to Bill Clinton, there might have been the possibility of bringing the Americans into the fold. 

Canada would have ceased combat missions in Afghanistan. Likely for the last two years. We would have already switched from that to a training/peace keeping mission, utilizing our international reputation for impartiality and fairness. Who knows where that war might be, but rather than fighting a war, Canada would be working for peace.

Canada would have maintained it's arm's length alliance with Israel but continued with it's impartial participation in the Middle East peace process.

Canada would have recognized Aids as the world wide epidemic that it is. Aid to African Nations would not only have been maintained, but increased. A deal would be made in the House that would have allowed for cheaper distribution of Aids medicines to that troubled continent. Foreign  aid to developing nations would not have been tied to whether or not those nations perform abortions. Oh, and Canada would now have a temporary seat on the UN Security Council. 

Dion might not have survived the Detainee issue in the late stages of 2009 as he would not have prorogued the House to avoid accounting for it. The Conservatives would have tried to make the Detainee issue their "smoking gun". But whether or not it resulted in a vote of non confidence remains to be seen. 

Among some of the other big ticket "What Ifs" of course would be: the F-35 issue, which likely would not have occurred, the stacking of the Senate in an effort to circumvent the democratic process would not have occurred,  We would be on better terms with developing new super-economies like China and India and there certainly wouldn't be this new found paranoia regarding Russia and it's intentions in the Arctic.

The list could go on and on. But again, a Dion victory isn't what really transpired in 2008. We have what we have in terms of political leadership. And perhaps this dark chapter in the history of Canada will eventually result in Canadians remembering what is important to us, our freedom, our democracy, our tolerance of others and a fair and just society for all not just the privileged few. And maybe we will eventually emerge as a nation more unified than we were before Harper's divisive reign of fear and terror. We might just emerge as a Nation that we can all be proud of again.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

So why is Stephen Harper being allowed to completely undermine Democracy in Canada?

I've done my share of railing against Stephen Harper and his Merry band of Reform Conservatives over the past few months. And I've watched and commented as Harper has become bolder and bolder and become more and more extreme is his efforts to cling to power as our 22nd.Prime Minister. I've seen history in the making as I've watched Harper go to lengths never before seen in a Commonwealth nation to bend the rules, both written and otherwise in order to achieve his own agenda. He has, even gone so far, as to dispense with democracy all together. 

I have wondered aloud more than once, how, in a Democratic nation, this could possibly happen? The man has a minority government, he possesses little more than 30% of the popular vote. Yet he runs the county with all the abandon of a man with a sound majority backing him up. The fact of the matter is, there really is no one party or single entity strong enough to challenge this savvy politician with the Napoleonic Complex. (I am now convinced that as a kid, Harper was always the last person picked for neighborhood road hockey games).

He first of all succeeded in uniting the political parties to the right of center, then he annexed the name "Conservative" thanks to the Machiavellian mind set of Peter MacKay. The name "Conservative" meant nothing to Harper, but it's acquisition created the illusion of respectability. And that was all he needed to gain support east of Manitoba for the first time. Though duplicitous to say the least, this crafty Reformist from Alberta had set the wheels in motion for his ascendancy. 

But his timing was right as well. The country had gone through more than a decade of majority Liberal governments and as has been the pattern with the electorate, Canadians were sensing an environment of entitlement from the Grits, a wholly un-Canadian frame of mind. So a change was quite predictable. The fact that the Sponsorship scandal occurred just as Jean Chretien was nearing the end of his tenure as Prime Minister, thus leaving the Liberals a divided party, played quite well into Harper's hand. 

But the fact remains that the Liberals remain a divided party. They are somewhat more solidified than when lead by Stephan Dion or Paul Martin, but they have yet to return to their truly dominant form. And Harper, with his highly unethical tactics of spin-doctoring, character assassination, fear mongering , divisiveness, and out-right lies has ensured that the Liberals have remained that way. He has also done his utmost to ensure that wedges remain firmly in place so as to keep the Liberals, Bloc and NDP well separated and constantly squabbling among themselves.

In 2008, the majority of M.P.s attempted to form a coalition to overthrow the emerging tyrant Harper, but in a never before seen move to stave off a vote of non-confidence, Harper had the House of Commons Prorogued. The nominated leader of the Coalition, Stephan Dion was subsequently tossed from office as leader of the Liberals as a result of their buying into the Conservative spin-doctoring. And when Parliament resumed after a brief absence, there was a new Liberal Sheriff in town, Michael Ignatieff, and he wanted nothing to do with any kind of coalition. And the NDP, quite deservedly, felt betrayed and have had very little regard for the Grits ever since. The Bloc of course, will swing which ever way the wind blows if it suits their purpose. 

So Harper realized early on that Stephan Dion was a real threat to his power, that he may have been the only person on the other side of the floor capable of leading a palace coup and quite masterfully had him eliminated. And now, Harper rules seemingly unopposed.

But still I wonder, sometimes aloud, sometimes not, why this man is being allowed to systematically disassemble the democratic system in our country. The splintered left seems to be more fearful of the public opinion polls than of Harper himself, and are thus paralyzed in a perpetual state of inactivity. The Grits and the NDP both talk a good game in Question Period, but neither seems to have either the wherewithal or the  cojones to do what needs to be done to stop this megalomaniac Harper. 

It seems that both Ignatieff and Jack Layton see themselves as a possible Heirs Apparent as  Prime Minister and are thus as politically at odds with each other as they are with Harper. And Harper has seen to it that Canadians would look disfavorably on any kind of coalition of the left.  So his manipulation and lies have led to the virtual elimination of any competition in the House of commons. Both the Upper and the Lower Chambers are his, unchallenged, and he knows it.

And so it seems that the only possible Saviors of Democracy in Canada are the electorate itself. We gave this man the mandate to rule with a minority and he has transgressed, lied, cheated and manipulated his way into absolute power with nary a percentage point lost in the polls. Collectively, we as Canadian citizens have been content to fiddle as our system of Democracy burns. So either Canadians don't care about becoming a Totalitarian state, or far too many of us have sipped of  "Harper's cool-aid" and have been conned into believing his rhetoric. 

So next election Canadians, it's up to us. If we wish to see Canada remain a Democracy, we must collectively vote Harper and his collection of goons off the face of the Earth. Harper and his Reform/Conservatives should cease to exist as a political entity. And then Mr. Harper should be taken to task for his myriad indiscretions and out-right violations of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I can't guarantee that the next Prime Minister will be the greatest of all time, but he or she will know that they are accountable to the people of the Nation.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So why is Canada being asked to remain in Afghanistan?


So as the story goes, The United States, England and an unspecified few NATO allies launched a clandestine mission to have Canada keep troops in Afghanistan past 2011. 

Well I guess it's nice to be wanted. And a little sweet-talking seems to be able to go a long way with this perpetually embattled Conservative government. 

The question remains however, how long ago did the Canadian Government know about out Allies desires to have our troops remain "in country" and how long have these negotiations been going on? According to the Canadian press:

"Documents obtained by The Canadian Press under access to information laws show military planners have long been skeptical about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's pledge to pull Canadian soldiers out of Afghanistan entirely by 2011.
"It was recognized that a residual CF elements may remain in Afghanistan in a non-combat role post-2011," said a mission analysis briefing for the country's Ottawa-based overseas commander, Lt.-Gen. Marc Lessard.
It urged planners to be flexible because the drawdown to "zero" forces might not happen.
"What does zero mean?" said one slide presentation, which went on to joke that at CEFCOM, Canada's central military command in Ottawa, "there is some thought that zero is an imaginary number."
The report went on to note the "uncertain" planning climate and that "zero may not mean zero."
Nonetheless, in a recent interview with The Canadian Press, Lessard said he was instructed by the country's top military commander to do "no planning for a follow-on mission."

So it seems that, either Harper really didn't know ahead of time what was going to happen with the Canadian troop  deployment, in which case his commanders knew better than he the dynamics of the situation, as they should. In which case, the Harper Government was negligent in telling Canadian Commanders to do "nothing" in the way of planning for a full withdraw of all Canadian Forces.

Or it could be that Harper knew all along that a residual contingent would need to remain in Afghanistan. Which would make it equally negligent on his part as he was impeding the ability of his Commanding Officers to adequately plan  ahead for the new Troop Deployment for purely political reasons. He didn't want to look bad for having gone back on his promise that all Canadian Forces troops would be out of Afghanistan by 2011.

So he was either lying to us yet again, which people have come to expect now from the Harper Cons, or he was just plain stupid. Neither of which  is a particularly good scenario. And as an aside here, I have to wonder out loud why 1/3 of all Canadians would still vote for Harper tomorrow according to the latest polls.

But I also have to wonder aloud, if, as we have been told, it is so vital for a NATO contingent to remain in Afghanistan in a training capacity, Why us? Yes according to Canadian Press, American Officers have claimed that we were a very "significant presence" in Kandahar Province. There are now 15, 000 American Troops doing what it took 3,000 Canadian troops to do for the past eight years. And I am a little taken aback now by this "3,000" figure. I thought all along the number of Canadian Combatants in Afghanistan was 2,000. This is the figure I have seen in print repeatedly over the past few years. Was that a lie also?

But we are now looking at about 1,000 Canadian Soldiers remaining for this training mission. Considering the Americans once had 100,000 troops deployed in Iraq, it would seem that designating an additional 1,000 as trainers would be a mere drop in the bucket for them. Are the Americans saying that our forces are better trainers than theirs? Hardly. Same with the British. And there were any number of other NATO allies who were willing to be in Afghanistan in Non-combat rolls, especially when our forces were streched to the max and punching far above their weight. 

So where are they now? It would be extremely presumptuous of us to assume that our forces are better than the French, German Spanish or Dutch.  I'm sure anyone of those countries would have jumped at the opportunity for this supposedly safe, non combat mission. But there is no word from the EU on further European troop deployments.

There could be a legitimate answer for this rather odd puzzle. No one for example, with the possible exception of the British, is as well acquainted with the Afghan conflict as us. We've been there for eight long years trying to help rebuild the province with one hand while using the other to fight the ever increasing Taliban forces to a perpetual draw. We know the enemy, we know their tactics and most of all, we used our natural "peace keeping" instincts to build bridges between the Afghans, various factions and ourselves. 

In the eyes of the Afghans at all levels, we have earned their respect and trust much more so than say, France which is becoming decidedly anti-Muslim or the U.S. who has the appearance of becoming anti-Muslim, mostly due to the rise of the "Tea-Party" and the radical right-wing conservatives in the States.

And despite the influence of the Harper Cons, the average Canadian unit on the ground has the reputation for being one of the most level headed and effective "Peace Keeping" forces in the world. We invented it and no one does peace keeping like us. And this requires having a good rapport with the locals, which again, aside from the British, no one else has. 

So on the one hand, I would like to think that our NATO allies have come to understand and also respect our connection and understanding of the Afghan situation. That quite possibly, because of our Peace Keeping nature, no one else is as equipped to fulfill the roll required of a NATO training force in Afghanistan.

This is what my patriotic side would like to believe. But I also have this damn skeptical side as well, thanks to the current political climate in Canada. I doubt there is a single solitary move made by this current Reform Conservative Government that isn't calculated to in some way, paint them in the best possible light, or at the very least, discredit the Liberals and the evil coalition.  So what is to be gained here for Harper and his Zealots?

Of course I don't have the real answers. We won't know that until someone gains the right documents from the Federal Government under the Freedom of Information Act. But because the extreme secretiveness of this government, that isn't likely to happen until The Harperites are long gone. 

But lets not forget that the 2011 withdraw date was set in 2008. And what was happening then? Yup, Harper was  doing his best to discredit Stephan Dion in a federal election, and to keep Mr. Dion from successfully staging a "Palace Coup" thereafter. So it was politically expedient for Harper to come up with an "End Date" at the time. And let us also not forget that this was at the same time that Canada's appeals to it's NATO allies for more support were falling on deaf ears, so this seemed like the "'get tough" thing to do. 

So extending the end date by three more years to 2011 seemed like the right thing. Give NATO and the U.S. enough time to get things done in Afghanistan and still sound like he was supporting the U.S, but appearing to be "tough" with regards to the length of our presence in that war-torn country. It was certainly enough to keep the highly combative NDP down on the farm. 

But Harper probably knew soon thereafter, with the advent of Barrack Obama in the United States and his shift in focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, that 2011 wasn't an attainable goal. But be that as it may, it highly probably that Harper knew well before we were told about the mission being extended yet again. Take a look for example, at the "Camp Mirage" fiasco. 

Why, after all these years of free use of The UAE as a staging ground would our Persian Gulf allies suddenly and arbitrarily want "pay back" in the form of greater access to Canadian Air Space? Could it be that Canada was attempting to renegotiate the deal for Camp Mirage, to extend it's free use of the land for an additional three years past what had previously been agreed  upon? Quite possible say's this writer.

The timing then may have been all wrong for the beans to have be spilled about an extension of the mission. But The Americans and our NATO allies gave Harper the face saving "we need you badly" scenario. It gave Harper a way to weasel out of his 2011 promise and the optics of it may have been payback from the allies for staying the course in the worst Province in the most war-torn country in the world for the past three years.

So it goes with out saying that Canada has gone over and above when it comes to our efforts in Afghanistan. We stayed the course at the behest of our allies when no one else was willing to step up. We kept the peace and fought the good fight, practically all by our selves in the most volatile province in Afghanistan. No one could have given more than Canada was asked to give. But whether or not we continue to give, long after we have met all that could reasonably be expected of our tiny army, because no one else can do what we do, based on our experience, or because it is the politically expedient thing to do, is anybody's guess. A question that will only be answered long after the last Canadian Soldier has left Afghanistan.


The End of Unlimited Internet?


The CRTC, Canada’s media regulator, has decided to allow Bell Canada, Rogers, Shaw and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to impose usage-based billing on independent internet service providers (indie ISPs) and YOU. These Big Telecom companies are obviously trying to gouge consumers, control the Internet market, and ensure that consumers continue to subscribe to their television services.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Courtesy of Mike Moffat via Twitter

Two of the most insightful comments about Canadian Politics I've read  today are courtesy of Mike Moffat via Twitter. I doubt anyone has summed up the climate on Parliament Hill more succinctly.

"Canadian politics is devolved into pure tribalism, 'Red Tory' has less inherent meaning than 'Crip' or 'Blood' ".

"Canadian Politics is no different than pro wrestling. Next election I'll run as a heel. Debate strategy: Insult the audience, hit opponent with folding chair". 

Mr. Moffat's Twitter-dress is:  http://twitter.com/#!/MikePMoffatt

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Keith Martin knows he can accomplish more "off the hill".


I found it interesting timing that this article surfaced so close to the posting of my last story about how dysfunctional The House of Commons is. Don't get me wrong, I don't delude my self in the least that my blog post was at all related, but it was certainly a timely coincidence.  

So here is first hand evidence of how dysfunctional Parliament has become due to the rabid partisan politics that exist on the "Hill" now. And Mr.Martin has pinpointed 2006 as the year when things started to go bad. And can we remember what happened in 2006? Yes, that's right, that's the Year the Reform Conservatives under Lord Volde-Harper came to power with a minority government. 

Mr. Martin originally came to politics under the Reform Banner (now there's an irony) because of his respect for Preston Manning, but he left in 2004 as he could not stand Harper's "one man band" style of leadership. The Progressive Conservative party had been betrayed by Peter MacKay by this point and subsequently usurped by the Carnivorous Reform/Alliance Party, so Mr. Martin chose to join the Liberal Party.

But now, Martin claims that under the current climate, The Canadian Government is not able to make any real changes in the world, or at home for that matter. Real change he contends will have to come from the private sector and in that regard, the Government is in danger of lagging far behind. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Question Period. Wouldn't it be nice if MPs asked genuine questions and the Government gave genuine answers?

I guess the saying goes, "when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade".

I've been absent from the internet in general and the blogosphere in particular for over two weeks now due to a computer malfunction. My old reliable lap top crashed. Or more precisely, I killed it. I asked to much of the old girl and her poor silicone heart just gave out.  So obviously, my first response was one of pure panic. My life had just ended. What on earth was I going to do with out access to my email, my blogs, Twitter, Face book, Google search, Wikipedia etc. Life would be empty, a complete void with out being able to gain entry to the cyber-world and all it's glorious digitized data. I was doomed to become a wandering, stumbling, vacuous, zombie, looking to feed off the souls of the living.

I had the TV portion of my internet package canceled during the summer, mostly because I could not afford both TV and Internet service. The choice of which one to keep was obvious at the time. But once my old Acer died, I couldn't even find solace in empty TV tripe. I was lost, my brain  was rapidly  melting, hastening my transformation into one of the undead. In desperation, I switched on the tube and started clicking through TV channels. "information, information, my psyche craved information". Nothing but white noise and snow. But miraculously, I reached channel 71, and there, low and behold was a signal. A bright, clear, colourful TV signal. And the station, was CPAC.

I felt it appropriate at that time to look skyward and to say a few words of thanks to the cyber-gods for delivering me from zombiedome. I immediately immersed my self in the real life, real time political world. Committees, Question Period, analysis, interviews. I soaked up every mega-byte of information like an empty, eagerly waiting data DVD. I was saved.

Eventually though, I found Question Period most troubling.  I listened closely to the questions being asked by the Opposition parties- the Liberals, Bloc and NDP.  They seemed legitimate questions to me, most of them anyway. It seemed to me that they were doing their jobs, attempting to hold the current Harper quasi-Conservative party accountable. And by the sounds of things,, there were plenty of things for the Reformists to account for: The security, dollar value and human rights issues around the G8/20 summits, purchase of the new F-35 fighter aircraft, seemingly with no competitive bids being tendered, same with the purchase of new helicopters for the military, the ethics or lack thereof surrounding construction contracts for restoration work to the Parliament Buildings West Block. And the list was far more extensive than this. 

Not that these issues bothered me in particular, it seemed to me at first to be the normal, logical "give and take" in Question Period. But the first disturbing thing that hit me was the consistency of the Reformist/Conservative answers to the myriad questions posed to them.  There was, and remains, a distinct pattern. It usually involved a lot of meaningless words (how many words depending on how serious the Government took the issue) delivered in a tone that quite distinctly sends the message that the Government was telling the rest of Canada's elected officials to "F#*% off and mind their own business". So in essence, there were no real answers at all.  

But then I began to notice that the tone of the actual questions were no better. Irate MPs would take to their feet and deliver stinging indictments of the Government in tones and ferocity that would have been worthy of  a Southern Evangelical Baptist Preacher. 

It was then that I realized that the whole damn process was nothing more than a verbal boxing match. Each side taking jabs at the other, both trying to see who can open up a wound and score the most political points. Both seeming to be looking for an opening in which to score the ever illusive one punch knock out. 

So in reality, Question Period really  has Nothing to do with Questions OR answers. It is completely adversarial. There is nothing collaborative what so ever in the process. It has nothing to do with running the country and everything to do with John Bairde claiming at the top of his lungs that the Liberals "suck", or even worse, that the Un-holy trinity, the dreaded Bloc-Liberal-NDP alliance was out to "kill us all". Mean while, the Opposition parties continue to go in search of conspiracy theories (not that they have far to look) in an attempt to connect Harper with the shooter on the grassy knoll.

So I have to wonder at which point, our elected officials will stop fighting with each other and start looking out for the best interests of the country....together!  It is indeed a miracle that the country hasn't gone to hell in a hand basket during all of this internecine squabbling, though the rest of the world, as reflected in our failure to gain a seat at the UN Security Council clearly seems to think we already have. 

Perhaps then, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the Federalist Bureaucrats who have kept the wheels turning while the eyes of the elected representatives have been on each others jugulars. No wait, that can't be it either, they've all been summarily executed.

So just who the heck is running the country then?  Now that is a rather scary question as I can't begin to make an educated guess, even a sarcastic off handed one. Perhaps like The International Space Station, Canada continues to spiral around of it's own accord, held in place by inertia and gravity. But let us hope that someone soon awakes from this pugilistic, pugnacious nightmare to take the helm before we all begin to spiral to our doom. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

CBC News - Canada - Khadr plea talks involve Clinton: report

CBC News - Canada - Khadr plea talks involve Clinton: report

So if the Americans have no trouble with admitting that a deal is in the works, and can assign a high powered official such as Ms. Clinton to the negotiations, why is it Canada must continue to deny that any talks are taking place at all? But I guess we're talking about the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Cannon here, the same one who immediately blamed the leader of the opposition when Canada failed to get a seat on the UN Security Council. So in light of the fact that very credible American sources are claiming that a deal is in the works for Khadr's return to Canada and Cannons penchant for spouting party dogma, one has to wonder if it is possible to believe a word any one from this government says.

Another example of this is Current Minister of Natural Resources Christian Paradis. Information came to light that when he was Minister of Public Works, he had discussed a contract for work on the Parliament Buildings at a party fundraiser, thrown by the contractor who was eventually awarded the job. Paradis denied this accusation repeatedly but when the proof became irrefutable, he admitted the conversation had in fact taken place.

So just who can you trust in this government of Reform Conservatives. It appears that when challenged at all on anything that may reflect poorly on them or run contrary to party policy, the government strategy is to blame, deflect or outright lie. Now we aren't just talking about unkept campaign promises here, we are talking about credibility, trust integrity and honor, values that all seem to be lacking in this motley crew of ideologues that call themselves the Canadian Government. Yet Mr. Harper dares speak of Canadian values and principles as the reason Canada failed to gain a Security Council seat. Perhaps he is confusing Canadian Values for his own, which seem to be sadly lacking.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Khadr has never renounced jihad, says expert on evil

Dangerous "Quasi Science. He has developed a "Depravity Scale" and a Standardization for Evil. Has this man any clue as to what real evil is? Could it be cloaking hatred and intolerance in the guise of Science? And what prey tell qualifies this man to define that which only God himself is capable of defining, "Evil".

Khadr has never renounced jihad, says expert on evil

Khadr saga is far from over

Khadr saga is far from over

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Government of Harper spent $3 million to NOT repatriate Khadr

It seemed rather timely that, in light of yesterdays failed bid to gain a non permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (a seat that was ours to lose by the way) that I came across this little tid-bit in Wikipedia. In this particular instance, it appears that Canada has defied the pleas of both UNICEF and Amnesty International to repatriate Child-Soldier Omar Khadr and are also knowingly in breach of this boy's rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Why this is, is anybody's guess, but more than likely, the Reform Conservatives would prefer to see Khadr  face a military tribunal in the States and what ever consequences there may be for the alleged killing of a U.S. Special Forces soldier in combat. According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children, operational protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict: 
(Art 4, Optional Protocol.) Likewise, under the Optional Protocol states are required to demobilize children within their jurisdiction who have been recruited or used in hostilities, and to provide assistance for their physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration. (Art 6(3) Optional Protocol.). 
15 year old Khadr as he was found by US Special Forces
Guess they figured he was still a threat so promptly
put two bullets in his back. 
So it appears that both the United States AND Canada are complicit under United Nations protocol in not observing the rights of this boy who was found by American Combat troops covered with rubble from an aerial bombing sortie and shrapnel in his left eye and despite this, felt the need to pump two rounds into his already tattered body. In addition, the Canadian Government has spent over Three million dollars to deliberately deny Khadr his rights under both Canadian and International conventions. 
And we wonder why we didn't get a seat on the Security Council. 

Omar Ahmed Khadr: (born September 19, 1986)

   * Khadr was captured on July 27, 2002 by American forces at the age of 15 following a four-hour firefight with militants in the village of Ayub Kheyl, Afghanistan.  He has spent seven years in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps accused of war crimes and providing support to terrorism after allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a US soldier.
A Canadian citizen born in Toronto, he is the youngest prisoner held in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp by the United States and has been frequently referred to as a child soldier. The only Western citizen remaining in Guantanamo, Khadr is unique in that Canada has refused to seek extradition or repatriation despite the urgings of Amnesty International, UNICEF, the Canadian Bar Association and other prominent organizations In 2009, it was revealed that the Canadian government had spent over $3 million to ensure Khadr remained in Guantanamo..
A 2009 review determined that the Canadian Cabinet had failed Khadr, by refusing to acknowledge his juvenile status or his repeated claims of being abused. In April 2009, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms made it obligatory for the government to immediately demand Khadr's return. After a hearing before the Court of Appeals produced the same result, the government announced they would argue their case before the Supreme Court of Canada. In January 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that Khadr's constitutional rights had clearly been violated, but it stopped short of ordering the government to seek his return to Canada.  
Khadr was the only person charged under the 2006 Military Commissions Act who did not boycott the Guantanamo proceedings. Canadian authorities also determined that Khadr had little knowledge of his father's alleged activities, since "he was out playing or simply not interested".

* Courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"How dare the opposition do their jobs"!

They’re all out to get us
by Aaron Wherry on Friday, October 8, 2010 8:14pm - 12 Comments
The Prime Minister explains opposition concerns to the F-35 purchase during a radio interview today, a transcript of which was distributed to the press gallery this afternoon by the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Liberals know full well that they endorse this approach, and now to satisfy their allies in the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois, they are doing something that simply is not in the interest of Canadian taxpayers, not in the interests of Canadian industry, and certainly not in the interest of the men and women in the Canadian Air Force…
Everything they do is to appeal, in this case, to the anti-military types that are in the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois. It’s all part of the coalition that they want to put together, hopefully … in their mind, hopefully after the next election, and it is just a blatant attempt to appeal to that element of the Canadian spectrum, and do it in a way that is simply not in the interests of Canada.
The above is a blog post from MacLean’s.ca. As Mr. Wherry explains, the Prime Minister is addressing the issue of Canada purchasing sixty-five Lockheed F-35 stealth fighter jets at a cost of Nine billion dollars.

At issue, is the fact that all three opposition parties have been criticizing the Government for this purchase because there was no competition for the contract. Apparently, no other aircraft were even considered. Apparently, various Canadian companies will benefit from the contract but it does not appear at the moment that there was anything untoward in this. Mr. Harper claims the F-35s are necessary to replace Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18 jets and that they are essential for Canada’s defense of the Far North.

So what the opposition parties, specifically the Liberal Party have been doing, is attempting to hold the Harper government accountable for the unusual behaviour of not seeking bids for the replacement aircraft and why the F-35 specifically was chosen. In addition, they want to know why Parliament was not consulted around this major purchase. So essentially, they are doing their jobs.

But judging by the above on-air tirade from the Prime Minister, it seems he has little interest in accounting for his government’s actions. So apparently, contrary to popular belief, the Government isn’t accountable to Parliament and the Canadian people after all. But he did take pause  to share with us just how damned “Un-Canadian” it was of Mister Ignatieff and the Liberals to question the government on it’s new Nine Billion Dollar purchase and about what exactly happened to Mr. Harper’s election promises about transparency in government.  “Shame on you Mr. Ignatieff, shame on you for doing your job”!

And as the P.M. seems to be in pre-election mode, he took the opportunity to once again talk about the bogus boogie-man known as “The Coalition” . Even though this phantom coalition has been entirely dismissed, Mr. Harper and his cronies persist in trying to convince Canadians that the “Coalition” that caused Harper’s heinous undemocratic prorogation of Parliament in 2008 is alive and well. So either the specter of an actual Majority of MPs forming a government scared him, or he figured that if his rhetoric worked then, why not now. Allegedly, Finance Minister Jim Flarety caused much eye-rolling as he referred to the dreaded coalition no less than 14 times in a speech to a group of Montreal businessmen recently. Apparently, the philosophy being that if you say something often enough, whether it’s true or not, it will magically become truth. But failing that, as long as they can peddle their “snake-oil” to enough Canadians, “who cares” about the truth.

So it seems like business as usual for Mr. Harper and his hired rabble of Reform Conservatives. Mr. Harper is the boss, period! And let no man woman or Phantom Coalition dare question him on whatever decisions he decides to inflict upon an unsuspecting country, regardless of how lacking in logic they may seem to be. For Harper is the boss and the boss is accountable only to god himself. And anyone who thinks otherwise, is just plain un-Canadian. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pierre Trudeau and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Here was a man who had a vision for a united Canada. It was all inclusive. There was room for everybody, regardless of race, colour creed, gender or sexual persuasion. He was a man who was a strong federalist and loved his country. And more than anything else, he dreamed of equality. Where every citizen has the same rights to exist, to be happy and to be a contributing member of Canadian society.

Does this sound like Canada today? How did we get here from there? And more importantly, how do we get back? 

Friday, September 10, 2010

I somehow don't think this was what Gandhi meant

It may be a good thing that practically no one reads this blog.

I first started this admittedly “snobbish” blog as a means of venting my frustration with what I call the “unethical and sophomoric” behaviour in Canadian Politics today. I tried, and failed, to be relatively balanced in my commentary. But because I’ve become rather accustom to the lush green fields here on the Left of Centre, and have taken on the belief that the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere, say, on the other side of the dividing line, my rather firm non-conservative, or more specifically, anti Stephen Harper opinions have very quickly surfaced.

I really don’t know the man. I’ve never met him. He might be an absolute “barrel of laughs” at a party. I just don’t know that. But the actions of this very “public” figure have led me to decide that he most definitely would not be at the top of my list of invitees for my next combination 60s revival theme party and Luau. However, I would dearly love to put a: “Have you hugged a Muslim Today” sticker on the back of his car. As a gift I mean.

As everyone knows, the “P” was dropped years ago from the front of the “Progressive Conservative Party of Canada”. It has been replaced by an invisible but firmly implied “R” for Reform. That would be the old “Reform Party of Alber….I mean….of Canada”. During it’s time, even the other “Right of Centre” folk thought that the Reformists were playing a little “too deep in the outfield” for their liking. So the former Reformers changed their name to the Alliance Party and introduced Stockwell Day on a Jet-Ski. Didn’t help their street cred much. But with the help of their Alberta power base, The Reformist/ Alliance party gobbled up the Conservatives with a “P” party and took over sole possession of Right Field.

So the “P”-less Conservatives now play very deep in the outfield. And they dance quite unabashedly on the Right Field Foul Line. And whenever the umpire turns to look at them, they take a firm step to the left and look skyward to see if God is watching. And all the Canadian citizens in the stands twitter and snicker at the charade because it’s so outlandish, like something from the movie “Major League”.

But I’ll mercifully end the baseball analogy there. Heck, I could stretch that out for ever. But my point here in all this is, that our Current P.M., Mr. Harper, was one of the founding fathers of the old “Reform Party”. Yes, that far right, extremist, intolerant and socially red-neck bunch from Alberta. But now he and his minions, the Grass roots Reformists, feel themselves legitimatized because they have inherited the party name “Conservative” along with the nick name “Tories”, and all the “Right of Centre” folk in the country. But what’s in a name anyway? I’m sure John Diefenbaker and “Honest Bob” Stanfield are rolling over in their respective Graves.

So now I’ve identified for you the roots of my mistrust for our 22nd Prime Minister, and he’s done little to alter that perception since taking office. He’s embarrassed us on the world stage, using his deep right field vantage point to interfere with global targets for climate change, alienate countries that Canada has worked hard at establishing mutually beneficial trade agreements with, come out strong in favour of other countries with which Canada has taken a neutral stance with, played petty partisan politics in front of the world media, and let’s not even talk about the shadowy specter of Afghan Detainees being tortured. That would be just plain “Un-Canadian”.  Never mind our responsibilities as a signatory of the Geneva Convention.

And domestic performance has been worse. The occasional racially intolerant comment still comes from out of the party’s back rooms, reminding us of the skeletons in those old Reform Party closets. Under Mr. Harper’s watch, issues of concern are no longer about ideals, but about how badly an opponent can be smeared in the media. Collaboration is an unknown word within the Reform/Conservative party. Instead, the focus is on petty politics and divisiveness. Priorities have shifted from what’s good for the country to what’s good for the party or for the Grass roots supporters. Even within his own ranks, there is no collaboration. It is Harper’s way or no way at all. And anyone who will not be assimilated get’s the “Borg” treatment (reference to Star Trek NG there, The Borg were nasty aliens who would vaporize you if you did not cooperate)

But also under Mr. H’s watch, the extent to which party strategists and collaborators have stooped in order to deal with legitimate issues and honorable people who may cross them,  has reached never before witnessed depths of deception and duplicity. Not to mention hostility and all around bad taste. Dirty tricks and half truths (or some times, outright lies) have become the order of the day. Methods that used to be considered out of bounds and “ungentlemanly” are now accepted ways of doing business. Not that our friends from the Left Field are entirely innocent. Those vicious attack adds run by Paul Martin’s Liberals at the end of the 2006 federal election were no better, even if they were true. They had no place in a Federal Election. And the Canadian people knew it…..then. But our Conservative party without the “P” seems to have perfected these tactics and they have been allowed to flourish.  

Now it appears the divisiveness and hostility with which the Harper regime has managed to perpetuate it's rather tenuous hold in Parliament is no longer exclusively it's domain. It seems that the media has been enlisted to fight a rather dirty war by proxy, thereby allowing the Conservatives without a “P” to distance themselves from the actual nasty business. 

Yes, I’m referring to this whole sordid Avaaz affair. What seemed like a perfectly honorable and democratic bit of activism, namely the Avaaz Initiated petition against Quebecor’s TV  license application, has degenerated into a nasty bit of mudslinging and libelous name calling. And that’s between Journalists and bloggers. The actual politicians have wisely stayed out of this bit of ugliness.

Well you all know what happened to Margaret Atwood when she came out on “Twitter” in favour of the petition.  She was promptly attacked and her integrity laid siege to. Mr. Kory Teneycke, Mr. H’s former Communications guru and current person of influence with Sun Media, came out swinging. And thus began the nastiness. Not long after Mr. Teneycke’s somewhat inflammatory  editorial regarding Avaaz, he had to humbly admit that someone in his office had tampered with the Avaaz petition in a misguided effort to discredit it. Now if this sounds like standard Conservative Party with an “R”  tactics, consider Mr. T’s previous communications job with Mr. Harper. Kind of makes you say “Hmmmm”!

Last Saturday evening, I witnessed Sun columnist Ezra Levant taking a shellacking from what appeared to be an on-line Twitter swarming. Mr. Levant however, proved to be the last man standing at that event. But what evolved out of that slugfest, was an ongoing rant from Mr. Levant regarding Avaaz being an American far Left Wing anti free-speech puppet organization belonging to American Billionaire George Soros. And to make matters worse, Mr. Levant produced tenuous evidence of Soros being a Nazi collaborator during the Holocaust. As it turns out, Mr. Soros was 14 at the time and was more of an observer to history rather than an actual participant.  

As this week wore on, names like “Anti-Semite”, “Nazi sympathizer”, “Jew hater” were seen regularly on Twitter (Mostly from Ezra Levant of course). Mr. Levant went public with his findings about Mr. Soros in his Tuesday Column of the Sun. And since then, Levant has been treated to similar name calling  and personality denigration, though more from bloggers it would seem than from actual fellow Journalists, (though some have been none too  subtle in expressing their opinions of Levant).

It would seem to me that Mr. Levant has done his job. Because of Mr. Teneycke still being so closely linked to the Prime Minister, and his connection, whatever it may be, to the tampering of the Avaaz Petition it was politically necessary for him to back away from the heat. Into the breach steps Mr. Levant who successfully diverted attention away from the Sun Media application and his boss Mr.” T”. Instead he heaped pressure onto Avaaz regarding the credibility of their petition, questioned their motives and right to tamper with Canadian TV and even went so far as to connect them with George Soros, you know, the 14 year old Nazi collaborator. No one seems to be asking this week about Kory Teneycke nor about the P.M.’s involvement in all of this. In fact, the only attention Stevie Harper has been attracting this week, is around building an Arena in Quebec City.

Mr. Levant is a very intelligent and very passionate man. But I don’t much like his methods. He is the very model of the new unethical political tactics that have been perfected by the Conservative Party with an “R”. His combativeness, finger pointing, libelous accusations, and tenuous connections with the truth are, in my opinion, certainly not in keeping with good ethical journalism. But in response, he’s received similar treatment. Perhaps not as blatant as his frontal assaults on his colleagues, but certainly the uproar from  “Deep” Left Field Bloggers has been just as caustic.

So it would seem that, at least for this week , on Twitter anyway, The story hasn’t been about the politicians. The real story, that has been a constant thread throughout the entire week, has been the behaviour of Journalists and Bloggers in a public domain. Instead of being unbiased reporters of the news, they became the news.

Now it should be noted that most legitimate journalists  rolled their eyes at these escapades and stayed out of the fracas, for which I am quite grateful. But there was still a decided change in behaviour and tone while following events on Twitter this week. Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see”. I somehow don't think this was what Gandhi meant.

Until next time


Friday, September 3, 2010

"Avaaz Me Hearties"!

Well it has been a bit of a whirl-wind, and a rather eye-opening one to boot.

It started two evenings ago when I received an on line petition about a very Canadian issue that I was completely unaware of. The petition was from Avaaz.org, an international on line organization that promotes various charitable and social conscious endeavors worldwide including promotion of democracy, especially in developing nations.

Now I had become an Avaaz member a little over two years ago at the encouragement of a social conscious friend of mine. The particular issue that caused me to join escapes me now (I think it was another on-line petition) but I haven’t read a single Avaaz news letter since. Until Tuesday evening.

The issue as I understand it, is regarding our Prime Minister, Mr. Stephan Harper, attempting to lobby for a mainstream News station, similar to Fox News in the U.S., in order to spread the good news from the land to the right of centre.

The facts according to Avaaz are: Mr. Harper met not long ago with the top dogs at Fox news. Mr. H brought along an underling, Kory Teneycke to that unannounced confab. Now it appears that Mr. Teneycke has left Mr. Harper’s employ and is now heading up political coverage at Sun Media, which is owned by Quebecor who are the operators vying for the new right of centre news station here in Canada. Mr. Harper (presumably through his old employee) appears to be lobbying for this new station to be granted main stream status, much like CBC News World or CTV News Net. In the process, Harper is advocating for this station to be funded by regular cable user fees. The head of the Canadian Radio Television Commission,(CRTC, Canada’s independent regulator of the air waves) Konrad von Finckenstein has denied this license based on the application contravening CRTC policy. Now it appears that Mr. Harper wants Mr. Finckenstein pink-slipped, like every other civil servant who has gotten in the way of his agenda.

What this all means is that Mr. Harper, the self imposed gate keeper of the right, not only wants to control his message, he also wants to control his media. Since he was first elected Prime Minister, Harper has accused the Canadian media of being biased and has since shut them out. He does not allow media into large Conservative party conventions and planning sessions, unlike Michael Ignatieff who not only invited media types to the just recently wrapped up Liberal Convention in Nova Scotia, but fed them Lobster as well.

So Harper now will only allow a hand full of his selected minions to speak to the media and when he has a news release, he tends to invite only those journalists who he feels are somewhat sympathetic to his agenda.

But if there was a main stream news station out there, run by his old Communications advisor, Harper would have unfettered access to the airwaves to frame or reframe his messages however he wants and with just the right amount of “English” on them.

What, you ask, is the problem with this? Why, in a free and democratic country such as Canada would we ever think to have issue with a right wing style news channel? Wouldn’t that be freedom of speech? Well for one thing, it presumes that all the other news outlets in the country are left leaning and are thus “biased” in their reporting. But what is more cause for concern, at least according to Avaaz anyway, is the style of news broad cast. The petitioners point to some of the more bizarre extreme right-wing fear mongering that frequently emanates from Fox News. One Fox broad caster has apparently stated that “Canada is lucky that the U.S. allows it to exist on the same continent”. You get the picture.

Former CBC Ottawa Bureau Chief, Don Newman claimed that “In the U.S., Fox News has been hugely polarizing. It specializes in drive-by attacks and misrepresentations, and is positively Orwellian at times, claiming to be "fair and balanced" while implying that its competitors aren't”.

Well there is nothing of course that says that Fox North will be at all like what Avaaz is insinuating. But given the optics of the whole affair, and the fact that “Mr. Autocrat” himself is behind this scheme, it really isn’t that much of a stretch to assume that there will be some real divisive destructive and decidedly “Un-Canadian” concepts tossed out to us, the TV viewing citizens. One only has to look to some of the smear campaigns Mr. Harper has been able to perpetrate on main stream TV to get the impression that, given unfettered access to his own news station, the subsequent messages would be absolutely dreadful. As Mr. Newman so eloquently put it, “positively Orwellian”.

Well as soon as I saw this particular news letter/petition from Avaaz, I signed it without question. I am, if nothing else, a democratic kind of guy despite my obvious tilt to the left. I then forwarded it to everyone I knew and then posted it, all nice and compacted, as a “tweet” on twitter. A few minutes later, I saw that noted Canadian author, Margaret Atwood also signed the petition, which of course, allowed me to feel that I had done the right thing.

Well then the “Brew-ha-ha” erupted within the “twitterverse”
Ms. Atwood was being attacked as being against free speech and noted journalists from Sun Media were crying foul, objecting to the notion that they would spread messages of hate. Journalists from both sides of centre entered into the fray. All of a sudden, it appeared that Ms. Atwood was left to fend for herself and her own honour…..there’s that word again, you know, that one that seems to be missing from Canadian Politics of late?

As if that wasn’t enough (though dare I say, it was all quite entertaining), the next day, Ms. Atwood was appearing in the media and being represented as though she was in cahoots with Avaaz to spread the word against Fox North. All the poor woman did was sign a petition. Then out came the scribes from Sun Media who proceeded to demonize Ms Atwood and her obvious affiliation with Avaaz. They took a vicious two handed swing at Avaaz itself claiming it to be an extreme left wing organization funded by American Billionaire George Soros. Their contention being that this was a matter of American interests medaling in decidedly Canadian affairs. “Obviously, Avaaz and Mr. Soros are anti free speech”.

Now I can’t say I blame the scribes at Sun Media for taking offence to the contention that they will become nothing but a bunch of hate mongers. Admittedly, there are some very fine individuals employed by that media outlet, and they hadn’t written a single hateful word themselves.  But let us not forget who currently controls the message emanating from Sun Media, remember little Kory Teneycke, Harper’s former right….no wait a minute, Mr. H has no right hand man… left hand media man?  

As to be expected, The Sun came out all claws and fangs, taking vicious swipe after vicious swipe at Avaaz and anyone who backed them at all, especially The Globe and Mail’s Lawrence Martin. His journalistic integrity wasn’t attacked, it was murdered in this piece by the Sun….which for some reason, leads me to believe that Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Newman may not be too far off the mark when they speak of hate mongering coming from an all news Sun media channel.

So as if all this snarling and fuming wasn’t enough, apparently, a number of well respected political journalists began receiving emails from Avaaz, thanking them for signing the petition…..when in fact, none of them actually had. There appeared to be no way to prove whether or not those signatures were on the actual petition, but the journalists in question, were obviously and quite deservedly, becoming irate at the prospect of their names being taken in vain.

It appears now that these media folk were being “spammed”, possibly someone’s email list had been absconded with. And it just doesn’t do well to tick off journalists. Was this simply a case of Avaaz electronically mass mailing people? They certainly have the technology and know how to use it. Was it deliberate??? And if it was, were the offending emails generated by Avaaz? Or could they have originated from someone from the right side of the fence, seeking to discredit the Avaaz initiative?

I would like to think that no one from either side of the political spectrum would stoop to trying to deliberately manipulate the press. But given what I’ve seen from Canadian politics recently, either scenario is likely. Do you remember all those young and eager techie guys who so successfully launched internet smear campaigns in the last election? Like the seagull pooping on Mr. Dion’s head? They all got fired didn’t they? 

And that’s the problem now. We can no longer look to the south and say our way of politics is civil and ethical compared to theirs. It isn’t anymore. Anything seems to be possible now, including manipulation of the media. And many of these tactics are not only, dare I say, undemocratic, but I suspect, highly illegal.

So when I hear men like former Deputy Prime Minister John Manley call for a new approach to politics, I sit up and take notice. I thank god that someone of some repute has decided to shoulder the burden of initiating political reform in our country. Perhaps there is yet hope, that there can be a return to politics that can be trusted and politicians that possess honour and ideals instead of greed and self preservation.

But hey, this is just a citizen’s eye view of things political. My own opinions only. I just hope that our representatives are fully aware of the kind of impression many of them are making on the citizens of this country.

Until next time,