Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Earnscliffe hiring?

Babble on.

From the Washington Post, hardly a strong supporter of the current White House, some advice for Paul Martin after his anti-American attack ads failed to deliver an election victory:

As for Mr. Martin, perhaps he will be tempted again by the example of Mr. Schroeder, who has taken a job as an agent for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Does Hugo Chavez need another lobbyist?

Ouch. I bet they've never even heard of Earnscliffe, and they still manage to hit the nail on the head.

In fact, maybe Paul could bury the hatchet and call Jean for help getting the inside track.

Babble off.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Babble on.

I'm not normally one to tell other people what they should or should not write about on their own sites. It's none of my business, and I'd get my nose out of joint if they tried it with me.

But since a number of folks don't seem to be able to keep away from an open debate about exactly how courageous MCpl Franklin's recent actions in Afghanistan were, I'm going to go out on a limb here.

Both groups - for awarding him the VC, and against - are misguided. Those for the award sound like a bunch of cheerleaders, with little understanding of or respect for the standards applicable to the Victoria Cross. Those against the award, no matter the strength of their arguments, don't seem to grasp that when their point boils down to "He's brave, but not that brave," they sound churlish.

In my humble opinion, there are precisely two groups of people who have any credibility discussing this issue in public: those who have been decorated for bravery themselves, and those on the Canadian Decorations Advisory Committee who have the unenviable task of deciding which decorations go to whom. You'll notice that both groups have remained entirely silent in this unseemly debate.

Ask yourself why that might be. And then take their hint, applaud MCpl Franklin's bravery, and keep your opinions on exactly which medal he should or should not receive to yourself.

Babble off.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Much better when he stays away from Canadian politics

Babble on.

Like the Instaman actually gives a flying french seal what I think of his editorial opinions on the Canadian election.

Anyhow, this is pretty much how I feel about both GWB and Wal-Mart myself. Except Reynolds says it much better than I ever could. *sigh*

You know, to me Wal-Mart is a lot like George W. Bush. It's not that I'm that big a fan in the abstract, really, it's just that the viciousness and stupidity revealed in its enemies tends to make me view it more favorably than I otherwise would.

'Heh' or 'Indeed'? I'm never quite sure which to use in a situation like this.

Babble off.

Fast movers and rotorheads

Babble on.

Canadian troops.

Protecting Americans.

In stadiums.

In their cities.

I'm not making this up.

Babble off.

Update: More here.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Quit ye like men...

Babble on.

Those are the opening words of my high-school's motto (or at least the english translation of it): Quit ye like men, be strong.

These two "old boys" certainly didn't uphold that tradition.

Cab driver Tahir Khan had just dropped off his last fare and was headed south on Mount Pleasant Rd. It was 10:20 p.m.

Racing north were two Mercedes driven by 18-year-olds, each pushing 140 km/h in a 50 km/h zone, police say. Next to one driver was the popular video game Need For Speed.

As the Mercedes rounded a bend, the taxi made a left turn on to Whitehall Rd. A loud crash shattered the still of Tuesday night.

One of the Mercedes, a silver 1999 model, T-boned the taxi, drilling it into a utility pole, police say.

Khan, 46, died instantly, and the driver of the mangled Mercedes escaped with just a few scratches. The driver of the other car fled, returning to the scene after ditching his car a few blocks away, posing as a bystander, police say.


The accused are university students — believed to be studying at Ryerson and York — and both had attended St. Andrew's College, a prestigious private school in Aurora, graduating in June 2004. One played on St. Andrew's football team, and both were average students who never got in trouble, said head football coach Courtney Shrimpton. One of them lives in a tony neighbourhood just north of the Bridle Path.

Criminally bad judgement isn't limited to kids with money. But in my experience, a privileged upbringing can certainly facilitate it.

And speaking of criminality, this quote bears comment:

Outside the courtroom where the two teens made a brief appearance at bail court in College Park yesterday, the aunt of one described them as "really good boys."

"It's tragic, it's horrible what happened. Now I am going to be worried about him staying in jail with criminals."

Not to put too fine a point on it: that woman's nephew is one of those criminals she doesn't want him associating with. He ended a man's life for the sake of some immature thrill-seeking. Where better than jail to have him stay?

Babble off.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Six figures

Babble on.

At the various blogger bashes I've attended (next one this Friday!), the one thing all of us agree on is that any blogger who tells you they don't care about traffic is flat out lying to you.

So I'm going to come clean and say thanks to Kate at small dead animals for sending me my 100,000th visitor earlier this morning.

Thanks too, to the other 99,999 of you who have dropped by since Babbling Brooks crawled from the primordial soup a year and a half back.

As I discovered late last year that quitting this silly hobby wasn't really an option for me, I hope to regale you with evidence of my continuing ineptitude for the forseeable future. Don't all clap at once.

Babble off.


Babble on.

My favourite beer-guzzling beer-sampling quirky lefty lawyer, Alan McFlintstone, has put up a post on the retirement of Mario Lemieux.

My favourite player of all time is Gretzky, but the post-1987 Lemieux ranks right up there. Mario has said himself that that stellar Canada Cup is where he really learned what it takes to win. Lemieux always had magic hands, but after that, he was magic with steel and presence. In my opinion, that was when he truly became Le Magnifique.

There are many moments to choose from to exemplify Mario's greatness, and I suspect mine might not make everyone's list. It was the play during the gold-medal game in Salt Lake City where he let Chris Pronger's pass go right through his legs to Paul Kariya for a Canadian goal. Who else would have even thought to try that?

I find it absolutely amazing that I remember him for a goal he created - and let there be no doubt he made it happen - where he doesn't even show up on the scoresheet. In fact, I remember it precisely because it doesn't show up on the scoresheet.

Not only was Lemieux a brilliant talent on the ice, he was a soft-spoken example of hockey class off it. What a great ambassador for the game, and what a great example for those wanting to follow in his footsteps.

Best of luck, Mario. And thanks for the many memories.

Babble off.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Restraint, but no constraint

Babble on.

When I saw the headline "FRAGILE MINORITY" in bold on the front page of the Toronto Star, I wasn't surprised. Low expectations of anything coming out of that newsroom, and all that.

But Jay Currie is generally more insightful. That's why I'm disappointed to see him write this:

For Harper to govern he is going to have to develop a series of coalitions on particular issues. In effect Harper is in the same position as the Dumpling was. The main difference being that he does not have the baggage.

I think Jay and the Star are both missing an essential point here.

Yes, the Conservatives have less seats now than the Liberals did in the previous Parliament. But there's an essential difference. What kept the Martin government in check was the threat - from Day One with the Throne Speech - that the Opposition would topple his government and force another election.

The Conservatives will suffer no such limitation for at least the first year of their mandate. Their finances are in better shape than any other party. Their main rival has no leader to take them into another election until a successor to Paul Martin is chosen. And having been through two elections in two years, the Canadian public is in no mood for another anytime soon.

The Conservatives know this, and more importantly, so does the Opposition. I hope Harper doesn't push his agenda without making some concessions to the views of the other parties, because I think such tactics would come back to bite him in the long run.

But I don't see how anyone could realistically stop him if he decided to.

He has at least a year, and more likely a year and a half, implement policy without a credible threat of defeat. Let's hope he uses that time wisely.

Babble off.

The elephant in the blogosphere

Babble on.

Well, it's about time somebody said it, and I might as well be first: when it comes to Canadian politics, Glenn Reynolds doesn't know his back end from a hole in the ground:

And Capt. Ed Morrissey -- who can claim a major role in this development with his breaking of the publication ban on the Gomery investigation...

OK, Glenn, how about this: find a single prominent Canadian blogger who agrees that Captain Ed "can claim a major role" in producing a Conservative government. Come on, big guy, put your money where your mouth is on this.


Y'know Professor, I want blogging to gain credibility with the masses as much as you do. The difference is that I'm not willing to sacrifice my integrity to push that agenda.

What a disgraceful performance on the part of the world's leading conservative blogger.

Babble off.

Update: Well, on the one hand you have Tarantino, Selley, Staples, Flea, Russon and even a keen American watcher of all things Canadian, Donovan weighing in on the sane side.

On the other hand, you have Janke and Wild Duck, praising Captain Ed, but with enough provisos and caveats to make a lawyer cry.

And neither of them mentions how Captain Ed convinced Jack Layton to finally throw in the towel on his support for Martin's government - you know, the one he propped up after the Brault testimony.

Updater: Kate, as usual, doesn't pull any punches. Read her assessment in full, because not only does she support my basic premise, but she rounds it out by giving credit where it's due:

His role was important, but it is more appropriate to credit him with exposing the Canadian blogosphere to a broader Canadian audience, through the controversy created when he published the (briefly) banned testimony. A good many SDA readers discovered each other by following the link from Captains Quarters back to here.

That was an extremely useful development for conservatives, and the furthering of a conservative agenda in Canada, and it's going to be exciting to see how that develops in coming months - and provincial elections, where a strong blogosphere might have far more influence than it does on the national debate.

I wish I'd written that. Here's what I did write prior to this post:

I enjoy reading every single one of the American sites I reference above. But I exhort each of these pundits to please, please, please stop saying a blogger was responsible for anything the Canadian Parliament or the Canadian voter did this year. You're doing your American readers a disservice by misinforming them, and you're hurting your own credibility with Canadian readers.

Losers more clear than winners

Babble on.

Martin loses his government and abdicates his leadership. The night's biggest loser.

Duceppe loses both popular vote and seats. Sucks to be Bloc.

Harper wins, but not as big as he hoped. A mixed result. The big question is whether this will be a Joe Clark minority or a John Diefenbaker minority. My bet is on the latter.

Layton wins too, but at what cost? Ten more seats, but he brought down a Liberal government and replaced it with a Conservative one. How that will play with his NDP base remains yet to be seen.

The biggest loser is clear. The biggest winner remains uncertain. This isn't the finish line, it's the starting gun. Pitter patter, les boys.

Babble off.

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

Babble on.

The man thanks his wife for her support and tells his kids how much he misses them because of his political vocation. Class. How do people not like this guy?

He congratulates and thanks Paul Martin for his years of public service, and the crowd in Calgary applauds. Class. Class. Class.

Mentioning the Canadian Armed Forces defending our freedom. Hear, hear!

Citing the Macdonald-Cartier coalition in french. Canada: Strong, United, Independent, and Free. This is GOLD.

I want to find the exact words he said, but it was about our pride and identity not flowing from a government or program. Yes!

Preston Manning standing in applause for the Conservative Prime Minister he could never be. Class, yet again.

Accountability. "Shuffling the deck is not good enough." Can we not all agree the man's speech-writers deserve a raise?

"The West wanted in; the West is in now, and Canada will work for all of us." This isn't about supremacy, it's about equality.

Resources for Atlantic Canada. No bitterness, no recriminations. Class.

"A strong Canada requires a strong Ontario." Honey, not vinegar. The next campaign starts now.

Soldiers again! BZ, sir! *rifle butts clattering on the parade square*

"I've never been so proud of our country, and I'm honoured to be asked to lead it." How exactly is this scary?

The man rocks. Time to get to work.

Babble off.

The most insightful thing you'll read all night

Babble on.

Chris Selley has the floor:

Martin's concession speech was more heartfelt, more sincere, and more principled than his entire term in office put together and multiplied by five. Which confirms the weird feeling I've always had about him, namely, that he wanted to be Prime Minister far less than he wanted to become Prime Minister.

Mission accomplished.

I don't always agree with Tart Cider, but Chris has hit the proverbial nail on the head with this one.

Babble off.

B'bye Annie, hello Garth

Babble on.

Lawrie Hawn finally sends Anne McLellan packing. To the front, SALUTE! Per Ardua ad Astra, LCol Hawn.

And Garth Turner wins in Halton!

Babble off.

Paul Martin, political failure

Babble on.

Paul Martin is conceding.

Did he vanquish Western alienation? Did he abolish the horrid conditions in which Aboriginal Canadians live?

His government, by his own standards, was a complete and utter failure.

Time for the long knives to come out. This is what he inherited from the rudderless Jean Chretien. This is what he has earned on his own merits. Not much of an electoral record, is it?

And now, he has just stepped away from the Liberal leadership. Well, it was either that, or grow a knife hilt out of his back.

On positive note, that certainly extends the life of the Conservative minority as the Liberals retool. Time to push the agenda, Stephen.

Babble off.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Let the door hit you in the ass, if that turns your crank

Babble on.

Svend is done. We get Fried Hedy instead. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Would the people of Vancouver Centre please nominate some real candidates next time around.

St. Paul's is the example to follow. Carolyn Bennett, one of the best of the current crop of Liberals. Peter Kent, an intelligent and worldly former journalist for the Conservatives. And Paul Sommerville, a Bay Street economist for the NDP. While I would have hoped for a Kent surprise win here, any of these candidates would have raised the level of debate in Parliament.

Vancouver Centre needs to rise to that challenge. Toronto shouldn't be running a better race than you.

Babble off.

Lui Who?

Babble on.

I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a huge disappointment to have Lui Who? re-elected as the Liberal incumbent in my riding of Oak Ridges-Markham tonight.

Bob Callow is far more than the cardboard cutout I've seen described on leftist websites during this election. I knocked on doors with the man this past Friday, and we warmed up with a beer at a local watering hole afterwards. I told him how much the Conservative child care allowance would mean to my family, where we struggle to have my wife stay home to raise our children. He captivated all of us with stories about how he and his wonderful wife scrimped and saved when he was just starting his business.

They were so tight for money that they could only afford powdered milk. They used to make it at night before they went to bed, because while it was awful warm, it was bearable after a night in the refrigerator.

This is an honest man, a hard-working man, an honourable man. I wish him all the best.

To Lui, I have only these words: tick, tick, tick... One day the voters of this riding will awake from their slumber, and your free ride will come to a crashing halt.

Babble off.

The bobble-head has a microphone in front of her face

Babble on.

Is it just me, or did Barbie Stronach forego red signs for Liberal pink?

She's now reading her spontaneous remarks. What a twit. She'd be out of her depth in a puddle.

"Thanks to my father, who did everything in his power to get me elected, including threatening to fire any Magna employee who voted against me." OK, I made the last part of that sentence up. But if you've seen the Magna campus in Aurora (about five minutes north of my house), it's not that much of a stretch.

Yeah, Belinda, Paul Martin is a leader of great vision. He has led you right back into Opposition. Looks good on you.

Babble off.

Two gloats and a silver lining

Babble on.

I hope Sheila Copps isn't watching the election in public tonight, because with Tony Valeri - the man who not only put Paul Martin's knife in her back, but twisted it between her ribs - going down hard, I'm guessing she's going to be quaffing back a bottle of champagne or two. That won't be pretty.

Pierre "The Hair" Pettigrew is going to be spending a lot more time in his flat in Paris. Good riddance.

Unfortunately, it looks like Paul Martin's bobble-head has been re-elected in Aurora-Newmarket. On a positive note, there's a certain irony in her having to plant her Armani-clad tush on Opposition benches once again.

Babble off.

How 'bout a nice warm cup of SHUT THE HELL UP

Babble on.

I'd like to remind some of my...more enthusiastic...Conservative compatriots that calling our fellow Canadians from the Maritimes nasty names for continuing to vote Liberal in greater numbers than we would have hoped is counterproductive.

More flies with honey than vinegar, if you can't say something nice, etc.

So sayeth me, your wise old mum, and every single Conservative who wants to win against a Liberal in the next election.

Think it through, then bite your frickin' tongue, 'kay?

Babble off.

Discretion being the better part, etc.

Babble on.

Brian Mulroney being inteviewed on CTV, asked if he had any advice for Mr. Harper:

"One thing I learned when I was Prime Minister: if you're going to give advice to a Prime Minister, you ought to keep it to yourself and him."

Good on you, Brian.

Babble off.

Enough already

Babble on.

I spend far more time defending our American cousins from the more unenlightened here north of the border than I do criticizing them, so I feel I've earned the right to say this to our blogging friends in the U.S.: enough with the unjustified bragging, already.

As Michelle points out, Ed Morrissey is the hero in this. Morrissey should win a journalism award. While cynics may be justified in saying that Morrissey won’t get anything but a cold shoulder from press prize committees (ie, he didn’t “get Nixon,” he’s helped get a Liberal) this bias may be fading. Many Canadians know what Morrissey accomplished by insisting on the truth and by providing a forum for discussion and genuine dissent.

With all due respect to Glenn Reynolds, Michelle Malkin, Austin Bay, and Captain Ed Morrissey, Captain’s Quarters did not bring down the Canadian government.

What I said back in November bears repeating:

Let's start with the overblown idea that putting Gomery inquiry testimony out in the public sphere a few days early way back in April triggered the election this week. As I mentioned at the time, the publication ban was a temporary one - if Gomery has really and truly wanted to bury it, he would have heard the testimony in camera. And that was eight months ago. Since that time, Gomery's inital report has been published (the fact-finding portion - a second report with recommendations to prevent a recurrance of this sort of abuse of power will be forthcoming in the early spring), and it actually exonerated Paul Martin. Much of the information was already available back when another non-confidence vote was taken, and the Liberals won that one (although they shouldn't have been allowed to - they lost the confidence of the House of Commons a week before the vote, and only survived it by bribing a defector from the Conservatives with a juicy Cabinet post).

If the government's defeat had been precipitated by Adscam testimony, it would have gone down long before now.

In fact, it's not the scandal that triggered the election at all. Jack Layton's nineteen-seat NDP party propped up the Liberal government in exchange for $4.6 billion in budget concessions back in June. They tried to extort even more out of the government earlier this month, and when they were rejected, they decided to pull the plug...

I enjoy reading every single one of the American sites I reference above. But I exhort each of these pundits to please, please, please stop saying a blogger was responsible for anything the Canadian Parliament or the Canadian voter did this year. You're doing your American readers a disservice by misinforming them, and you're hurting your own credibility with Canadian readers.

Get this straight: if the Liberals had caved in to NDP demands in November of this year, we'd still have a Liberal government tomorrow.

Nothing Captain Ed or anyone else said about AdScam would have made the slightest difference. It's about time everyone stopped saying it would have.

Babble off.

A heartwarming break from the political

Babble on.

Here's a simple story of mutual gratitude, offered to warm your heart as it did mine:

Canadians need to know that their support, however small, makes a difference to the morale of our soldiers in Afghanistan.

I am in the Canadian army, and in late August I was assigned to go into that theatre for a number of tasks. Two days before leaving, I was trying to sort out my mother's telephone problems at her apartment. I ended up speaking with a very helpful Bell Canada representative (by the name of Sarah), whose only requirement was that I be at the apartment when the Bell Canada technician arrived the following week.

I explained my predicament, which immediately led to a discussion centred on this lady's appreciation of what our soldiers are doing in Afghanistan. She asked what she could do to show her support for them. At the end of our conversation, I said I would do what I could to have a patrol named after her, and let the soldiers know why this was being done.

I am from the Royal Canadian Regiment and have served with the Second Battalion and it just so happened that the soldiers on this rotation were from 2 RCR. So it was easy to accomplish my mission, and on the Sept. 12 patrol, 12 Charlie was renamed patrol Sarah One, and left just after last light for its task in the area of Kabul. The 12th was chosen because that is the date of Sarah's birthday.

The soldiers were all briefed beforehand on the reasons for the patrol name change, and were genuinely gratified that someone in Canada cared that much. As I watched them leave, their smiles were shining highlights amongst all their paraphernalia of war.

I took their photo while it was still light and attempted to send the photo, story and patrol report to Sarah at Bell Canada, but was unable to do so because of Bell Canada's privacy regulations. So Sarah, wherever you are, you made a difference. Thanks from the soldiers.

Lt.-Col. A.F. Robertson,


BZ, LCol Robertson. And well done, Sarah. Thanks to you both for reminding the rest of us of our own best instincts, and providing us with an example of our own potential for goodness.

Babble off.

Update: In comments, keaner21 steps up where I should have and provides a link to a DND webpage that lets you write messages of support to Canadian troops. I'd encourage you to do just that.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Values, indeed

Babble on.

The question of values has been raised once again by Paul Martin and the Liberals. They say Stephen Harper's values aren't Canadian values.

The truth about values in this campaign is that Stephen Harper actually has some and Paul Martin does not.

Worried about abortion? About judicial activism? About same-sex marriage?

Ben Sharma lays out the two leaders' positions. Not just in this campaign, not just what you read on the front page of the Toronto Star, mind you, but their actual words over the course of the past dozen years.

"I am personally against abortion on demand, but I believe it is very clear that there must be legislation brought in that will deal with what is becoming simply a mish-mash of approaches" - Paul Martin (Halifax Daily News, July 20, 1989)

Further, according to the same edition of the Halifax Daily News:

"Martin said the prime minister must immediately recall parliament to introduce new abortion legislation"

and finally, Paul Martin on abortion laws and judicial activism:

"It's very clear that we are going to have 10 different [abortion] laws and that we are going to have these laws made by judges" (Halifax Chronicle-Herald, July 20, 1989)


...Johnson pointed to a 1994 Reform Party convention, where Harper opposed a resolution by party members to define marriage strictly as a heterosexual union -- a definition which would deny gay and lesbian couples equal access to spousal and family benefits.

"Eighty-seven per cent voted for it," said Johnson Thursday on CTV's Canada AM. "But Harper stood out and he said: 'these are not party issues ... they're issues of conscience.'" Harper has held steadfast to this belief, said Johnson.

Read it all, and decide whose values merit your respect. Ask yourself if honesty is a value required of a Prime Minister. Then ask yourself which leader deserves your vote.

Babble off.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Gut check

Babble on.

I hope it is becoming clear to even the casual observer that the radical Islamist movement is counting on Western nations losing their nerve, and doing everything in their power to ensure we cut and run.

Osama Bin Laden follows the polls:

"In response to the substance of the polls in the U.S., which indicate that Americans do not want to fight Muslims on Muslim land, nor do they want Muslims to fight them on their land, we do not mind offering a long-term truce based on just conditions that we will stick to."

The essence of terror as a psy-op above all else isn't lost on him. While the amount of formal coordination between Al Qaeda and the remnants of the Taliban is unclear, what remains certain is that they get Bin Laden's message: step up your attacks whenever the Coalition looks wobbly.

Hence the augmented threat of serious IED attacks:

The car contained a dozen artillery shells and about 120 kilograms of explosives -- enough to kill anyone within 75 metres of where it blew up.

There has been no indication who might be behind the explosives-laden vehicle, said McClure.

The apparent discovery of the massive explosive device comes just days after a suicide car bombing killed Canadian diplomat Glyn Berry, 59. The explosives found Thursday were far more powerful than those used in the bombing that claimed the life of Berry, said McClure.

That's why when Jack!, a man educated well beyond his intelligence, spouts off about not conducting offensive operations in Afghanistan, he comes across as a foreign-affairs lightweight. Because people intimately familiar with the situation on the ground - people who are no toadies of the U.S. - think offensive operations to wipe out the last vestiges of the Taliban are exactly what's required.

This worsening situation is not likely to improve until NATO forces move into the south in force. The Taliban need to be defeated on the ground, and Pakistan needs to do more to destroy their sanctuaries and logistic hubs across the border. But NATO troops also need to provide more of the security and support to aid agencies to win the battle for reconstruction. That is precisely what Glyn Berry was doing in Kandahar and what he laid down his life for.

The Taliban are prepared for a long war of attrition that will continue until NATO forces show their staying power. Any weakness shown by the Western alliance now will only bolster the Taliban's morale and claim more Afghan lives. A resurgence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in southern Afghanistan will only help create more recruits for Islamic extremist groups right across the region, and that will ultimately strengthen such groups in Europe and the Americas. (Babbler's bold)

Canadian troops are good at this. Better than the Americans, in fact. During Operation Apollo, we billeted sub-units with the Afghan Army - the Americans wouldn't. We ran joint patrols with local forces, the Americans didn't. In fact, we ran dismounted patrols while the U.S. forces stayed exclusively in their vehicles. As a result, we obtained far more human intelligence (HUMINT) than the U.S. military in the Coalition did.

That's the sort of approach that allows us to discover massive roadside bombs before they kill anyone. That's part of what will make Canada's 3D strategy (Defence, Diplomacy, and Development) successful in Afghanistan.

The 3D approach, including a robust Defence element is not perfect. Despite our best efforts, it never will be. But fighting the terrorists while rebuilding failed and failing states is better than any other alternative we can name.

It's gut-check time, and Canada needs to remain resolute.

Babble off.


Babble on.

You've got to be a bit of a geek to laugh at political humour. Fortunately, in the blogosphere, geek is the norm.

Anyhoo...here's a geek-tastic chuckler I found in my inbox this morning:

Martin, Harper and Layton are flying on the Executive Airbus to a gathering in British Columbia when Martin turns to Harper and says, chuckling, "You know, I could throw a $1,000 bill out the window right now and make someone very happy."

Harper shrugs and replies, "Well, I could throw ten $100 bills out the window and make ten people happy."

Not to be outdone, Layton says, "Well I could throw a hundred $10 bills out the window and make a hundred people happy."

The pilot rolls his eyes and says to his co-pilot, "Such arrogant asses back there. Hell, I could throw all three of them out the window and make 32 million people happy."

Funny though it may be, I'm not so sure that's entirely true. I have a mental image of a tear-streaked Scott Reid and John Duffy holding hands as they prepare to leap from one of the gargoyles on the Peace Tower. "Who will catch Paul's farts in the afterlife if we're not there?"

Babble off.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Even the Toronto Star admits Paul Martin is full of crap

Babble on.

Both Liberal shills and left-of-centre pundits expressed their shock and dismay that Stephen Harper would even suggest earlier this week that our current system of judicial appointments is politicized and that our judges might exhibit an ideological leaning that reflects the views of the party that appointed them.

While Stephen Harper has softened the tone of his remarks, Andrew Coyne has done a commendable job of backing up the assertion. But Coyne's predisposition to small-c conservatism is well-known, and so his support isn't particularly surprising.

What is surprising is that the Toronto Star has just publicly recognized our judiciary leans to the left:

In a near-concession that his Liberals face possible defeat, the prime minister said the country is closer than ever to having its courts become the focus of an ideological tug of war.

“This is no abstract issue; we have a vacancy to be filled on the Supreme Court bench,” Martin told a news conference.

“(The courts) stand between (the Conservatives) and the most socially conservative agenda that has ever been this close to forming a government. . . Never have we seen a major political party with such a conservative agenda as this one — an agenda really drawn from the extreme right in the United States.”
But a more conservative Supreme Court could be one way to enact such changes while elected politicians avoid the debate. It would be the exact opposite of socially liberal court appointments and rulings in the last 20 years that paved the way to today’s status quo on abortion and gay rights. (Babbler's emphasis)

So not only has Paul Martin admitted the vaunted changes to his appointment process leave the door wide open to partisan appointments, but his biggest media supporter has admitted that partisan appointments are exactly what has occurred over the past twenty years.

Keep talking Paul. Keep right on talking.

Babble off.

Update: More on this issue at Occam's Carbuncle, GenX at 40, and in comments at Calgary Grit.

Why I support the Conservatives on Defence

Babble on.

I don't like rabid dogs of any political stripe commenting on my site. Some I delete. Others I simply denigrate. But the converse is also true: I welcome dissenting opinions, as long as those opinions are reasonably expressed.

So I was pleased that a fellow like Mike felt comfortable stepping up in comments to defend the NDP's stance on national defence. I was pleased partly because it made me realize I haven't done a comprehensive review of each of the major national parties' defence policies yet on this blog, and that's something I really should do. Thanks Mike.

First up, the NDP (head to page 44 of the pdf). Actually, the policy is brief enough that I can excerpt it in its entirety below:

Jack Layton and the NDP would establish two clear priorities for Canada’s defence policies: the assertion and protection of Canadian sovereignty, including the protection of Canada’s offshore resources; and the promotion and protection of international peace and security through participation in peacekeeping, peacemaking and humanitarian and environmental support operations. Our foreign and defence policies must reflect Canadian values, rather than becoming an interchangeable part with the U.S. military.

Jack Layton and the NDP will:
  • Insist Parliament review important defence agreements such as the 2006 NORAD renewal agreement and Canadian Forces’ integration with the United States military.

  • Reorient Canada’s defence procurement to support the priorities of peacekeeping,
    peacemaking, humanitarian and environmental support operations. Total defence spending would not be reduced. Good pay, family support, and good basic equipment are priorities.

  • Commit Canadian troops to overseas operations only under the auspices of international peace and security organizations.

  • Speed up the identification, location and cleanup of all DND chemical dumpsites (both on land and at sea).

  • Speed up the investigation and compensation of military and civilian personnel exposed to Agent Orange/Agent Purple.

First of all, on a macro level, this isn't a governing platform, this is a platform for a party that believes it will be in opposition. Insisting Parliament review defence agreements such as NATO is a worthy plank, but it raises the question: what is the NDP position on the usefulness of NATO? Talking about environmental cleanup and compensation for Agent Orange for 40% of the platform shows just how serious a party they are on defence issues. In fact, making environmental support one of four core missions for your military is an even better indication they don't have the slightest idea what purpose a military should serve in both foreign and domestic policy.

This comes through yet again with the NDP commitment to "commit Canadian troops to overseas operations only under the auspices of international peace and security organizations." Canadians don't elect a government to abdicate decisions on international affairs to supranational committees. They elect a government to pursue Canada's interests in the international sphere. Much of the time, that requires cooperation with other nations. But we should have the courage to do what we need to regardless of what the international community thinks. How many Rwandas, how many Darfurs do the NDP have to witness before they realize the consensus of the international community isn't infallible?

For me, the predictable use of the U.S. military as a negative point of reference is the last straw, reinforcing an already low opinion of the NDP position. I struggle to find anything positive to say.

Next up, the Liberals (go to page 74 of the pdf). I'm not going to list each point here because, as usual, the Liberals go on and on without saying too much.

Luckily for me, I've already written my say on their policy, since it hasn't changed from the Defence Policy Statement put out earlier this year.

To summarize, it was a deeply flawed baby-step in the right direction. My original post on the subject identifies five main gaps in the Liberal policy: arctic operations, armour, airlift, sealift, and trust. With the exception of one, those concerns remain.

Interestingly, my concerns with the Conservative platform (page 23 of the pdf, but 45 of the policy book) are exactly the opposite to those I harbour about the Liberal plan. While the Liberals have communicated a vision with mediocre details and follow-through, the Conservatives have laid out significant detail without an overarching policy. Perhaps the Tories assume the policy status quo holds unless contradicted, but I would have liked to have seen that affirmed in their platform. Because, as I've said before, without a cohesive policy thread to hold it all together, their platform is just a series of spending announcements. Welcome and needed spending announcements, mind you, but hardly a defence policy.

Having said that, the Conservatives address many of the issues facing our country that require military action as part of the solution with focus and detail.

For decades, successive Liberal governments have undermined and under funded Canada’s armed forces. We need to strengthen Canada’s independent capacity to defend our national sovereignty and security. In an increasingly dangerous world this “Canada First” vision is required to defend our vast territory and three ocean areas. Greater strength at home will also lead to greater confidence abroad within Canada’s longstanding global role. Achieving this vision willrequire large-scale investments in every region of the country to strengthen Canada’s multi-role, combat-capable defence force.

The plan - A Conservative government will:
  • Complete the transformation of military operations and defence administration.

  • Recruit 13,000 additional regular forces and 10,000 additional reserve forces personnel.

  • Increase spending on the Canadian Forces by $5.3 billion over the next five years, beyond the currently projected levels of defence spending.

  • Expand recruiting and training, reduce rank structure overhead, review civilian and military HQ functions, and increase front-line personnel.

  • Increase investment in base infrastructure and housing for our forces.

  • Acquire equipment needed to support a multi-role, combat-capable maritime, land, and air force. Fundamental capability requirements are national surveillance and control, counter-terrorism, air and sea deployability, and logistics supportability.

  • Increase the Canadian Forces’ capacity to protect Canada’s Arctic sovereignty and security.

  • Restore the regular army presence in British Columbia.

  • Treat Canada’s veterans with the respect and honour that they deserve, and ensure better responsiveness to veterans with a Veterans’ Bill of Rights and a Veterans’ Ombudsman.

This alone is more substantive than anything on offer from the other parties, but it's actually just a summary of what has been announced. I've covered those announcements here, here, here, here, and here. Instead of rehashing those posts, it might be best to simply point out what the Conservatives would do that the Liberals would not.

First, the Conservatives would add 13,000 troops to our manned strength as opposed to the Liberals' 8,000. The Tories have even broken down much of their manning increase - so many for the Pacific Fleet, so many for territorial battalions, etc. - whereas the Liberals have just called them "peacekeepers." Don't even get me started on that - peacekeeping is a task, soldiering is a vocation, and Paul Martin is a self-important twit...let's cut the digression off right there.

The Liberals have a big, fat hole in their program called the Arctic. The Conservative plan doesn't go as far in plugging that hole as some observers would like (under-ice capabilities for our subs, please), but between underwater listening equipment, UAV patrols, armed icebreakers, more Rangers, a permanent Arctic training facility, and a mandate for a full air-deployable battalion to respond rapidly to emergencies in the area, it goes a long way.

Neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives have proposed to replace our heavy armour, but from what I'm reading about the Stryker platform, my concerns might be overblown. We shall see.

The Liberals have approved replacement of our ancient and overworked tactical airlift fleet. The Conservatives see that replacement, and raise them a strat-lift capability. Useful for getting our heavier stuff to places without land or sea access from Canada - like Afghanistan. No more sitting around on our duffs if we can't rent an Antonov when we need one.

The Liberals have pushed the Joint Supply Ship project forward, but the Conservatives have split off replenishment from transport in their proposal, which is a better way to approach each capability. They're also going to upgrade our subs and frigates, and start a for-real process of replacing our destroyers - a key piece of our Navy's contribution to international operations with our allies.

There are other details that favour the Conservatives: putting a regular Army presence back in BC, upgrading the CF-18's so they're deployable once again, putting territorial battalions in or near major urban centres, etc.

But the single biggest advantage the Conservatives have over the Liberals on the defence portfolio is trust. Gordon O'Connor and the Tory defence thinkers care about the military and show a grasp of how it should be equipped and employed to Canada's best advantage. The Liberals have had years and years in power to prove to Canadians they also understand how to cultivate and utilize a military, and they have failed miserably.

The politicians in blue might yet disappoint me as the politicians in red have over the years. But I doubt it. So as you might have already guessed, I believe defence policy is one of the best reasons to vote Conservative on Monday. Stand up for Canada, and give our men and women in uniform the mission and resources to stand up for us.

Babble off.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Swirl, swirl

Babble on.

I wrote a couple of days ago that "watching [Paul Martin] scratch and claw at the porcelain as he swirls around the bowl for the next week is going to be ugly."

I was right (ht: the other Damian):

Canadian Auto Workers president [ed: and ardent Paul Martin groupie] Buzz Hargrove used a campaign stop in nearby Strathroy to call Conservative Leader Stephen Harper a separatist whose Alberta-born political principles place him outside mainstream Canadian values.

He seemed to agree with questioners that Quebecers vote for the Bloc Quebecois over the Conservatives.

Doubleplusungood indeed.

But here's the real money quote from Martin in his frantic scramble to pull out of this latest media death-spin:

“I have large differences with Stephen Harper but I have never doubted his patriotism,” Martin said at a news conference in London.

*scraping jaw off desk*

Never? Really Paul?

Gilles Duceppe and Stephen Harper worked together to bring down the government. Lots of late night secret meetings. Apparently they're quite a team. Which is great. Because if Harper wins this election? He'll need to work very, very closely with Duceppe. Unfortunately, their unity won't do much for Canada's unity. Choose your Canada.

What exactly is the point of this Liberal attack-ad if not to question Harper's patriotism?

Of course, there is one absolutely tickling irony in the cheap and insulting smear job above. When Martin says "Because if Harper wins this election? He'll need to work very, very closely with Duceppe." his dishonest scaremongering is actually pushing disgusted voters more and more towards an electoral result that would ensure Harper doesn't have to work with anyone other than his own caucus.

Five more days. Keep clawing at the inside of that toilet bowl, Junior. The more you talk, the better Harper looks.

Babble off.

He was doing so well until he opened his mouth

Babble on.

Jack Layton and the NDP have absolutely no clue how a nation's military functions - both internally, and as a tool of foreign policy. If they did, Jack wouldn't be spouting such utter nonsense to national reporters:

"We're very concerned that we could be heading down a path into a longer term war in Afghanistan as opposed to the role that was initially established, which was a peacekeeping role," he said.

"Our view is that the peacekeeping role is one that Canadians support. Offensive roles are not roles that Canadians support, and certainly our party does not support."

Now this isn't the first time I've commented on Moustache Man's ignorance as to Canada's recent military history in Afghanistan. But let's put aside his convenient memory lapse when it comes to Op's Anaconda and Harpoon. Let's disregard his willful ignorance of JTF2 and its ongoing use in offensive missions.

Let's ingest the appropriate hallucinogens and take a short vacation in Jackland. Let's pretend he's right, that there was a peace to keep in 2002 when we first sent troops over, and that our mission in Afghanistan was purely peacekeeping.

How do you keep the peace? In a country struggling to establish a democratic system of government, do you let armed anti-democratic factions retain control of neighbourhoods, provinces, whole sections of the countryside? Do you stay holed up in your base and hope they don't lob mortar shells down on to your barracks? Do you allow them to terrorize the general populace, stone women in the streets, shoot unbearded men?

Most folks with a smidgen of sense can see what a dismal plan that would be. Unfortunately, Jack's not one of them. Offensive operations are essential in a situation like this. It's not Cyprus, where we're monitoring a ceasefire. We need to create a peace before we can keep it, and that means flipping over rocks and stomping hard on whatever comes scurrying out.

Until the NDP can get a grip - a credible and serious grip - on issues of national security and the use of military force as an integral tool of foreign policy, they will continue to be rightly dismissed by sensible Canadians to permanent opposition.

Jack needs some better advice on military matters. Because a man who was properly prepared to step in as Canada's next Prime Minister wouldn't say what he just did.

Babble off.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Forestalling the appearance of conflict at Defence

Babble on.

I'm a big fan of the CPC defence platform. Oh, I'd have liked to see an overarching strategy or philosophy attached to it, but it goes much farther in substantive detail than the other parties' plans. It follows that I'm appreciative of the efforts of Gordon O'Connor, the CPC Defence Critic, in putting that portion of the platform together.

Having said that, and given that Mr. O'Connor is most likely our next Minister of National Defence, this story concerns me:

Mr. O'Connor said a Tory government would examine programs already initiated by the Liberals such as the Hercules replacement.

"Everything will be reviewed," said the former general who wrote the party's defence platform.

"But I want a legitimate competition."

Before the election, Mr. O'Connor alleged in the House of Commons that Defence Minister Bill Graham "fixed the requirements" for the Hercules replacement project to favour the Lockheed C-130J. He noted the budget and the set number of aircraft outlined in the equipment program would stop the giant Boeing C-17 aircraft from being considered.

In addition, Mr. O'Connor said the government's requirement the plane be certified at the time the contract is signed in 2007 would prevent the A400M aircraft, built by a European consortium, from entering the competition. The A400M is not scheduled to be flying until 2008.

But some defence and aerospace officials noted Mr. O'Connor was once a lobbyist for Airbus, the consortium behind the A400M. Others have voiced concerns about the close links between Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier and a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin. (Babbler's italics)

Read back a little further into the public record, and the picture becomes even more worrisome:

The chief of defence staff, Gen. Rick Hillier, requested meetings with opposition defence critics before question period in the House of Commons, assuring them the process [to procure replacements for the Hercules fleet] will be competitive and the planes are needed.

But only the NDP's Bill Blaikie and Bloc Quebecois critic Claude Bachand showed up.

The Conservative critic, retired general Gordon O'Connor, said he didn't need to attend the meeting. Acknowledging the need for air transport, he said the government will do what it's going to do, with or without him.

"Nothing of any consequence is going to happen in the next two months," O'Connor predicted. "If the Liberals return, they will continue with their process. If we return, we'll look at where it is."

Reasonable people can disagree on which equipment will best meet the needs of the CF going forward. And it would be irresponsible stewardship for a new Minister not to review existing programs to be sure they conform to the new government's plans and standards.

Even so, while I don't want to impugn the motives of Mr. O'Connor, these stories raise some legitimate concerns.

Firstly, how will Mr. O'Connor's history - as both a retired officer, and a lobbyist - with the current leadership at DND affect his ability to work with them as minister? Does he have a problem with the current CDS or others in positions of influence at DND? Refusing to attend a simple meeting on such an important procurement issue suggests he might.

If anyone at DND has personal knowledge of tensions between Mr. O'Connor and either the civilian or military leadership at the Department, or equally if anyone can put these concerns to rest, they're invited to drop me an e-mail in complete confidence (damian dot brooks NO SPAM at gmail dot com).

Secondly, how will Mr. O'Connor overcome the appearance of a conflict of interest when it comes to military procurement issues if he is appointed MND? Because while Airbus is the focus of this discussion, it was hardly his only client when he worked for Hill and Knowlton Canada.

Western Star, one former O'Connor client, was in the initial running for the Iltis replacement. That procurement was hardly without controversy: the G-Wagen won by default when every other competitor withdrew from the bidding process.

General Dynamics Canada, another former O'Connor client, is one of the big kids on the defence contractor block. They were part of the successful Sikorsky bid on the Maritime Helicopter Project to replace the CF's Sea Kings.

BAE Systems, another ex-client of O'Connor's, recently won one of the CF-18 modernization contracts.

I bring these up not to suggest any impropriety - far from it - but to point out to Mr. O'Connor and the CPC that they will have to deal with some significant challenges should he become the Defence Minister in a Conservative government.

First off, the opposition and the press will dig like mad to show favouritism to 'corporate cronies' in any future procurement decision. This shouldn't come as news to anyone. I expect they will not find anything amiss, but the digging will public, and insinuation is almost as damaging to public opinion as proof.

More importantly, given the relatively small pool of defence contractors, and the extensive list of Mr. O'Connor's former clients, it will be almost impossible for him to avoid dealing with these companies in future procurement decisions. Which brings us back to allegations of favouratism, founded or not.

My proposal to Mr. Harper and the CPC follows accordingly: majority or minority, strengthen the role of the Commons Defence Committee. In matters relating to procurement, especially involving companies with which Mr. O'Connor has had business dealings in the past, defer to the recommendations of the Committee as much as possible.

Coming on the heels of the Martin-Earnscliffe PMO, and running on a strong platform of accountability and transparency in government, the Conservatives need to stay as far away from even the appearance of conflict of interest as possible.

Babble off.

Monday, January 16, 2006

What an embarrassment

Babble on.

Listening to Paul Martin being interviewed on As It Happens during my commute home tonight was painful. To his credit, the CBC Radio interviewer asked some tough questions. I liked one in particular that dealt with Martin's ridiculous Notwithstanding Clause promise, and how it seems like evidence that he will say or do anything to stay in power.

Martin's response to this was astoundingly dishonest. He said he'd believed in this convoluted position for a long time, and that he was offended that people would imply that this was sheer grandstanding on his part. Offended.

Hey Paul - and let me be perfectly clear here - if it wasn't grandstanding, if it was fundamentally something you believe very, very strongly about, then why isn't it mentioned in the latest Book of Empty Promises Red Book?

Canada is a proud nation, and with good reason. We have our issues, but at our core, we're a strong and competent country. To have such a spineless and pathetic man as our Prime Minister is a national embarrassment.

It's long past time to flush Paul Martin and the rest of his stinking Liberal offal back down into the sewer that spawned them. But watching him scratch and claw at the porcelain as he swirls around the bowl for the next week is going to be ugly.

Offended. What an asswipe.

Babble off.

Puppets need not apply

Babble on.

Steve at AGWN has an interesting post up about the Canadian VRWC blogospheric reaction to a Conservative government, should we be lucky enough to get one a week from now.

Interesting question, and not the first time I've heard it or pondered it. Look to the US for an example. Clearly their man is in office. So what are the bloggers doing?

For one, keeping George W Bush honest. When he nominated Harriet Myers to the Supreme Court, the outrage was immediate. Conservative bloggers are not the lapdogs of the Republicans, nor will they be the pawns of the Conservative Party in Canada.

With the obvious caveat that those who have been partisan hacks on each side of the fence all along will continue to be partisan hacks, I'd agree with Angry on this, and offer this up as further example:

We are bloggers with boatloads of opinions, and none of us come close to agreeing with any other one of us all of the time. But we do agree on this: The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.

Tip of the fedora to one of those who has signed this manifesto, The Armorer.

Babble off.


Babble on.

My first thought learning about the attack on Canadians in Afghanistan was to salute the courage of our wounded men, and recognize the ultimate sacrifice of our diplomat.

Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery to Private Salikin, Corporal Bailey and Master Corporal Franklin. I honour their individual sacrifices in the line of duty.

Heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Glyn Berry. He was, by all accounts, a man of deep conviction and integrity, a diplomat of whom all Canadians could be proud.

Mr. Berry knew that after nearly three decades in the foreign service, he could have had a much cushier overseas posting or a sleepy assignment back in Ottawa. But there was no place in the world Mr. Berry wanted to be more than with Canadian troops in southeastern Afghanistan.

Mr. Berry was an ardent supporter of Canada's difficult mission there. He had volunteered for a one-year tour with the Canadian Forces' Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kandahar because he firmly believed Canada could make a difference in the lives of the people there.
"I talked about it with my wife and we agreed that I would never be able to live with myself if I didn't do this because it is so important and so interesting," he said in a curious accent that recalled his British roots.

My second thought was how MCpl Franklin is one of those 'Soldiers. In our cities. In Canada.' that were so shamefully disparaged by the politicians that currently form their government.

With part of his leg blown off, Master Cpl. Paul Franklin wrapped a tourniquet around his thigh, then went to help three other wounded passengers after a suicide bomber destroyed the military vehicle he was driving.

"He's a medic, so he had the wherewithal to do that," Audra Franklin said from her home in Edmonton, proudly describing her husband's heroic actions yesterday in Kandahar.

Canadians in uniform and out of it are doing dangerous work on our behalf around the world. In Haiti. In the Balkans. In Afghanistan. We should support them wherever that important work takes them.

Babble off.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Your donations, your trust

Babble on.

Canadianna made a very insightful point over at Dissonance and Disrespect. He was talking about the Liberal attack ads, and particularly the insulting military slur, and she left the following comment:

What all Liberal donors should realise is that they helped pay for the crafting of that ad.

I donate to the Conservatives. I know people who donate to the NDP. All of us who donate our time and money to one political party or another trust that they won't misuse our donation.

I guess that's today's Liberal Party in a nutshell: breaking faith with those who trusted them - their donors, their volunteers, our men and women in uniform, Canadians in danger abroad like Zahra Kazemi, environmentalists who expected them to live up to Kyoto, institutional childcare advocates who trusted them to live up to their Red Book promise for a national progam years ago, immigrants whose qualifications weren't recognized or valued, and others too numerous to name. The perfidity of the Liberal party crosses all ideological boundaries, stinging Conservative and Social Democrat alike.

Most importantly, they've broken faith with the Canadian people. Bad policy can be tolerated and endured, but bad faith? That's another matter entirely.

Babble off.

If it was a mistake, why are you repeating it in french?

Babble on.

You know how the Liberals pulled the military-bashing ad once it became obvious it was offensive? Well, they still don't think the sentiment is offensive in french. In fact, I'm pretty sure they think it's a winner, which is why it's still in their "Pour Contre" ad on their website.

You heard correctly: the presumably negative line "pour la presence de l'armee dans toutes nos villes" is being flashed up on the screen right between a negative about a woman's right to choose, and a negative about same-sex marriage.

The only conclusion that can be reached is that the Liberals don't think the sentiment is offensive, they just don't think it's a winner in english Canada.

It's revolting. And Catprint in the Mash has just the solution:

I present to you a list of (cue drums) 'Ridings...with Soldiers...with Liberals'

I encourage all Canadian Forces members past and present to vote out these Military hating Liberal Members of Parliament. Show them that you are proud of our record, proud of our history, proud of the Canadian Armed Forces.

BZ, Catprint. Pitter patter, let's get at 'er.

Babble off.

Harper and Reynolds need to give their heads a shake

Babble on.

I don't often chat politics with neighbours and co-workers. But when I do, one of the most common objections to a Conservative government is that "they'll be just as corrupt as the Liberals." I've always thought this was incredibly unfair, and counterproductive too - if we start with the presumption that all politicians are crooks, we'll be paralyzed by cynicism. I've replied to these people that I think the Tories probably won't be ethically perfect, but they'll fix problems quickly and thoroughly.

Now we have news that a Conservative candidate in BC failed to disclose to the party that he has been charged with a smuggling offence alleged to have occurred in 2004.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency alleges Zeisman tried to smuggle a 1989 Mercedes-Benz as well as 112 bottles of liquor in July 2004 from the U.S. into Canada. He's also accused of lying to customs officers about the incident.

If convicted, Zeisman could be fined up to $50,000 and face six months in jail.

Zeisman, who is to appear in court next month, did not tell his party about the charges, which he called "unjustified." He said the information was leaked by someone in the government who had a grudge against him.

Here's what should have happened. When the Conservative Party found out that Zeisman was less than forthcoming with his entire history, he should have been asked to withdraw from the race. Failing a voluntary withdrawl, he should have had his CPC candidacy revoked.

Here's what actually happened:

John Reynolds, the Tory campaign chairman, says the party intends to stand by Zeisman and the charges against him were only "administrative" in nature.

"He will go to court, and he is still an innocent man until he goes through this process," Reynolds told the Vancouver Province. "But even at that point, it's not a criminal offence."

Of course, Reynolds is perfectly correct: this man is innocent until proven guilty. I have no idea if the charges were trumped up or not. And all that is entirely beside the point.

Since when is the standard for ethical behaviour in MY Conservative Party criminality? This man failed to disclose what he should have, and the appearance of impropriety has refected poorly on MY party. This is EXACTLY the type of situation that Harper has said he would deal with decisively in a Conservative government.

It's not too late. In fact, the opportunity exists for an "I told you I would, and I am, even though it hurts our political chances" moment.

You're not just another politician, Stephen, promising and promising but not delivering when the going gets tough. Now's the time to prove it.

Babble off.

Update: Well, it looks like my faith is not entirely misplaced:

In a news conference in Halifax on Thursday morning, Tory Leader Stephen Harper said it's too late to legally withdraw Zeisman as a candidate for the riding.

But Harper added: "I will say today that this candidate, Mr. Zeisman, will not be sitting as a Conservative should he be elected" on Jan. 23.

Harper said his party did a criminal background check on Zeisman, but that "this matter did not appear."

He said Zeisman should have revealed his legal problems before seeking the nomination. Harper stressed that this is not a criminal matter; "it is, however, a serious matter." (Babbler's emphasis)

Quick and decisive, and doing the right thing.

Soldiers. In our cities. Thank God.

Babble on.


In our cities.

In Canada.

There for us...

...when we need them most.

Thank God. And be sure to thank a soldier too.

Babble off.

Update: Catprint in the Mash has proposed a worthwhile response to the Liberal disdain for our men and women in uniform:

I present to you a list of (cue drums) 'Ridings...with Soldiers...with Liberals'

I encourage all Canadian Forces members past and present to vote out these Military hating Liberal Members of Parliament. Show them that you are proud of our record, proud of our history, proud of the Canadian Armed Forces.

BZ, Catprint. Pitter patter, let's get at 'er.

Updater: I've bumped Catprint's worthy project to a new post above.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

On a blog. In Canada. We're not making this up.

Babble on.

I've been wandering around the Canadian blogosphere reading Liberal ad spoofs and have come to the conclusion that this much mockery requires a permanent index. I'm hoping to eventually make a coffee-table book and get fabulously rich on it and retire with my family to a private island in the South Pacific. We'll have beer and popcorn on the beach every night...

But back to the merciless flaying of the Liberal limp-noodle attacks.

Paul Wells:

Just now at the Subway on Bank St. I was buying my lunch and there... in line... standing in front of me... was a soldier.

In our cities.

In Canada.

A soldier.

He seemed to be ordering the six-inch ham and turkey.

With chipotle sauce.

In Canada.

We're not making this stuff up.

Brian Mertens:

Stephen Harper spoke to a secret, ultra right-wing American think tank.

The first rule of secret, ultra right-wing American think tanks is - you do not talk about secret, ultra right-wing American think tanks.

In a Montreal hotel, off-limits to press and public, he said:

Montreal? Hotel? Off-limits? I see where this is going: debauchery. Exotic dancers, poutine, Labatt 50…

"Your conservative movement is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world."

Whaa!? That’s it? He gave a speech, and complimented his audience?

No, we did not make that up. We're not allowed to make stuff up.

Stephen Harper: Can you trust a man this boring to be Prime Minister?

Andrew Coyne:

My favourite line: "We're not allowed to make stuff up." Not only do the ads make stuff up quite freely...but the very claim that "we're not allowed to make stuff up" is itself made up.

David Janes (where you can make your own!):

Every time you vote Conservative, Stephen Harper kills a kitten. [ed: go see the graphic]

Plato's Stepchild at Andrew Coyne's place:

Stephen Harper drinks Merlot. With a lamb entree. In our cities. In Canada.

From the same comments thread:









...and another:

Whooops, we accidentally:

developed a story board,
wrote the piece,
hired actors,
produced the piece,
filmed it,
reviewed it,
focused group it,
placed the Liberal brand on it,
put the piece on the web site,
delivered copies of it to news outlets for distribution,

and discovered the "accident" coincidentally after the public became outraged.

We're not making this up.

...and even a nice blogging inside-baseball slam:

Jason Cherniak is becoming disallusioned with the Liberals.

Jason Cherniak.


With the Liberals.

In Canada.

I'm not making this up.

Calgary Grit:

Courtesy of the Liberal mole, I've received a draft of the province-by-province slogans the Liberal party plans to unveil this weekend:

Newfoundland: "Just like Danny Williams, Paul isn't very big on flying the Canadian flag either."

Nova Scotia: (I could not obtain a copy of this slogan since the original one has been rejected and will not be used. However, it may still make an appearance on the Liberal website early next week.)

PEI: "We are firmly committed to delivering...what? There are only four seats? Screw this."

New Brunswick: "A Harper defeat is the only way for you to get rid of Bernard Lord as your Premier."

Quebec: "You wouldn't even have the Bloc if it wasn't for Jean Lapierre; show the man some respect."

Ontario: "Stephen Harper! BOGETY BOGETY BOO!"

Manitoba: "Remember Louis..."

Saskatchewan: "Ralph Goodale: The Finance Minister of choice for 7 out of 10 income trust traders."

Alberta: "Bite Me!"

British Columbia: "Dude, we've promised to decriminalize pot for three years. Yeah, we haven't got around to it, but you know how hard it is to remember to do stuff."

Territories: "Yeah, our Kyoto plan is a joke. But can you honestly say you're against global warming?"

Finally, the biggest and baddest of them all, Damian Penny:

Stephen Harper has a dog.

You know who else had a dog?


Adolf Hitler.

That's who.

Did Stephen Harper train his dog to attack racial minorities on command?

We don't know.

He's not saying.

Choose Your Canada.

If you find any more, let me know in comments or e-mail me at damian dot brooks at NO SPAM gmail dot com (you can't be too careful these days). I might even mention you in the book, in between sips of beer and handfuls of popcorn.

Eaten in the city.

A Canadian city.

In Canada.

I'm completely making this up.

Babble off.

Update: A contest! [ed: seems to be some confusion - it's not my contest, follow the link in "A contest!"]

Here’s the rules. You post your ad’s text in the comment area. It MUST be about Paul Martin, not Stephen Harper, and it must make me laugh. The two entries I judge the best (and you can attempt to sway the judge by giving your opinion in the comments) will be made into actual, funny as hell, why does my belly hurt so much from laughing videos that I will release on this site.

Contest ends Friday, so get the entries in now.

Uppitydate: Monte Solberg is too funny to have a numbers portfolio like Finance. Then again, is there a funny portfolio? And I'm not talking 'comedy of errors' stuff, like HRDC or Heritage. Anyone? Bueller? Finance it is, then. Stephen, have your people call my people and make it happen.

Where was I? Ah yes, the full Monte (heh, bet he hasn't heard that one before):

The Lib attack ads are so scary I'm going to have to sleep tonight with the light on. I mean what if Stephen Harper is hiding under my bed and then smothers me with a drycleaning bag and steals my remaining Burnt Almond to give to an ultra-conservative Bush Republican, who packs a pistol AND a Bible. No, even better, it's a Bible machine gun. Yep, fires two hundred rounds a minute, and plays Amazing Grace at the same time. Perfect for huntin' varmints, and personal protection.

Upyoursdate: Alan's is funny, but Anshu's comment is priceless.

Upwherewebelongdate: Welcome CBC online readers. My dream for nationwide dominance of the coffee-table-book publishing business continues. Bora Bora, here I come with a case of Keiths and a bucket of Orville Redenbacher.

Laurent (completement bilingue, asti):

The Liberals have released new ads. That Le Devoir called lying ads.
Everybody is making fun of them.

In our blogs.

In Canada.

We're not making this up.

Choose your Canada.

For great justice.

Classic Quarters:

Stephen Harper has a sweet tooth.
He likes donuts.
That's right.
Sometimes covered in sprinkles,
or plain.
Sometimes jelly-filled or glazed.
Does he also order coffee?
From donutshops?
In Canadian towns & cities?
From across your Canada?
We don't know.
On January 23rd, buy yourself a donut.
(they're fresher in the morning)
We don't know for sure.
Your Choice.


The Liberal party launched the most vicious, largest set of personal attack ads in Canadian history.

They end the ads with "We aren't making this up."

Where did the heck did they get that from?

Dave Barry's catchphrase?

George Bush last week?

I'm not making this up.

Well, Don, actually you are. We all are. In fact...

Let's all keep making these up.

Just like the Liberals.

In their ads.

On TV.

In Canada.

Choose to see through this crap.

Our Neighbour, Our Nation, Our Dink of a PM

Babble on.

I'm with Tarantino on this. Paul Martin's latest attempte to play the anti-American card results in a decidedly poor slogan: "Mr. Harper, the United States is Our Neighbour, Not Our Nation".

I'm quite sure none of our political leaders, least of all Stephen Harper, would confuse the U.S. with our nation - especially after this year's World Juniors. But when it comes to nations, I can understand why Martin might be confused.

Duceppe:...I'd like him to say Quebec is a nation. I never heard something from him on that point, on that issue.
Martin: First of all, I've never had any difficulty with the word "nation." We've talked about the Metis nation. I've never had any difficulty with it in terms of the Acadians. I normally referred to Quebec as a (speaking french) -- I've had no problem in making a reference in the way we're talking about...I have no problem describing what Quebec is all about. I have no problem using the word nation. I've always used that...

Besides, the Liberal slogan hardly describes the full and complicated relationship between our two countries. For example, read this piece:

Canadian soldiers deploying next month to Afghanistan will be relying on the United States for air cover after a proposal to send Canadian fighter-bombers to the region was scrapped at the last minute, the Post has learned.

Military sources said six CF-18 jets were to have been included in Task Force Aegis, the 2,200-member Canadian battle group that is moving into restive southern Afghanistan in February.

But the air force had to change plans because of the high cost of getting the six upgraded fighters from 4 Wing in CFB Cold Lake, Alta., to Afghanistan and the technical difficulties involved in basing high-tech aircraft halfway around the world.

"It was a bridge too far," said one air force officer, speaking on condition of anonymity. "They just couldn't get the maintainers [and] all their equipment there and keep them there for six months."

Now don't you think Paul Martin could score some much needed honesty-points with the average voting Canadian by using this slogan instead?

"Mr. Harper, the United States is Our Soldiers' Protector Because I Refused to Properly Support Our Men and Women In Uniform, But That Doesn't Mean it Can't Be My Rhetorical Punching Bag. Yes, I Really Am That Much of a Dink, But I Think Canadians Are Stupid Enough to Vote For Me Anyhow."

Babble off.

Soldiers with guns

Babble on.

Stephen Harper actually
announced he wants to increase
military presence in our cities.

Canadian cities.

Soldiers with guns.

In our cities.

In Canada.

We're not making this up.

Choose your Canada.

(This message has been authorized by the
registered agent for the Federal Liberal Party of Canada.)

Damned right. Choose your Canada.



Babble off.

Update: Good on the Dippers! (ht:AGWN)

While the Liberals are mired in controversy about their ad that claims the Conservatives will send "soldiers with guns" into Canadian cities, one fact has been overlooked.

Soldiers will soon be in the streets of Winnipeg. And that's a good thing.

"More than 500 army troops, backed by helicopters, armoured vehicles and artillery will turn Winnipeg into an Armed camp..."

"Exercise 'Charging Bison' will unfold for seven days and nights beginning April 30 ...."
- Winnipeg Free Press (December 27, 2005, page A1)

"Charging Bison" is a Canadian Forces training exercise to help our soldiers prepare for the tough, complex and dangerous jobs they will be facing in places like Afghanistan.

But if other parties were like the Liberals, there would be ominous ads threatening that a Liberal victory would mean "soldiers in the streets of Winnipeg. With guns."

But we're not Liberals, so we don't manipulate the truth to scare Canadians - or insult the brave men and women in our armed forces.

And one final point - the last time we saw large numbers of soldiers in the streets of Winnipeg, it was another election year - 1997. They were helping to save the city from flooding.

I'll take an honest NDP over a crooked and soulless Liberal any day of the week.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

My poor caffeinated keyboard and shirt

Babble on.

I'm amazed my keyboard is still functioning sufficiently to type this, what with being Shift-key deep in coffee snorked out of every single one of my facial orifices after reading the single funniest line written about last night's debate:

"I watched a bit of the debate replay last night. The winner was...not the viewer. A terribly boring affair. The monotony was interrupted only briefly when Martin actually bent over and manually extracted a constitutional amendment from his ass. Riveting stuff, that."

Thanks Occam, you bastard. My dry-cleaning bill will be arriving in your mailbox shortly.

Babble off.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Shoulda, woulda, coulda...

Babble on.

When first started making sales presentations in front of groups of people, one of my trainers gave me this little gem: "There are three speeches every salesman makes - the one he's going to make, the one he makes, and the one he makes to his steering wheel on the way home. Most times, the last one is the best."

Watching the debate, I'm struck by some of the "steering wheel" lines - the lines that weren't used:

  • Jack Layton complaining about for-profit healthcare.

    Stephen Harper: "I find it disturbing that the other leaders seem to think the words 'for profit' are profane when it comes to our universal health care system. At the end of the day, all health care is 'for profit' - do you think the doctors, nurses, janitors and technicians are working all those hours in such difficult conditions just to break even?"

  • Paul Martin talking about our tax system and the poor.

    Stephen Harper: "It's very easy for Paul Martin - whose personal wealth is worth far more than the rest of us on this stage combined - to talk about our 'redistributive tax system' since he's done so well under it. And since CSL has all but avoided it."

  • Paul Martin saying a GST cut is regressive and his Liberal income tax measures are best for Canada's poor.

    Stephen Harper: "For Paul Martin to say his half-hearted income tax cuts will be of more benefit to this country's poor than a cut in the GST is absolutely astounding. He'll have to explain his math here: how does an income tax cut help the poorest third of Canadian families who already don't pay any income tax? How can those families pay less than zero?"

  • Paul Martin promising a chicken in every pot. Or at least in every Liberal pot. And by chicken, I mean wads of cash in brown paper envelopes. But I digress...

    Stephen Harper: "Paul Martin is talking about health care, agricultural policy, tax relief, childcare, and every other aspect of government as if he hasn't been in power for the past thirteen years. Was he a bystander all this time? Nothing but an observer collecting a Ministerial salary? If he truly wanted to implement these policies, hasn't he had ample time and opportunity to do so?"

  • Paul Martin ducking - pick your own infuriating moment.

    Stephen Harper: "This is just like Question Period - Mr. Martin talking at length but not answering the question."

  • Paul Martin: "The fact is that we kept all our promises."

    Stephen Harper: Pffffffttttt! *spewing his drink out his nose in incredulity*

  • Paul Martin wondering what would have happened if PM Sr., Lester Pearson, and Tommy Douglas had given Canadians a buck a day and called it healthcare.

    Stephen Harper: "Do we really want a childcare system that thirty years from now is in as deep a crisis as healthcare is today?"

Oh, I know Harper couldn't have said some of the stuff I'm fantasizing about here. The truth is that he did just fine. He talked mostly about his own policies. When he attacked, it was appropriate and fairly restrained. And his self-deprecating line during his closing remarks about not being fiery or passionate - "...but you already know that" - was perfect.

Duceppe was a spoiler. Layton was ignored. Martin was desperate. Harper won.

Babble off.