Saturday, 29 December 2012

The End is a Beginning

This year I decided to return to the original Nordic, Germanic meaning of the festival we celebrate at this time of the year. This meaning is pure, real and scientific. And above all, it doesn't have a religious sentiment attached to it which in today's politically correct version would mean adding dozens of different names to the image.

And, more importantly, the days in question no longer have any religious meaning for the vast majority of people, particularly in the so-called first world. It's become nothing but an excuse for excessive, almost unbridled shopping and debt creation. And what, pray tell, does any of that have to do with "Christmas"?

So, let's celebrate the winter solstice, enjoy the days already getting longer, if not warmer, and think of friends and family. Oh, and let's hope for a much improved new year - 2013.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

America: Once upon a time, The Beautiful

And that's only handguns, not including assault guns and rifles and assorted other guns, all of which are legal in the US. Why? Isn't it time to declare the National Rifle Association a terrorist organization?

Saturday, 20 October 2012

It's been too long since I've posted anything here.

I'm sick to death of what the Harper dictatorship is doing to drag Canada back into mediocrity every day. So here are a few non-political pictures to put some distance between us and them.

There, don't you feel a bit better now?

Friday, 10 August 2012

What Harper really thinks about federalism

British Columbia “firewall” anyone?

Elizabeth May
The Island Tides
August 9, 2012

For anyone familiar with Stephen Harper’s role as a provincial rights advocate, the federal posturing on the Enbridge risky tanker and pipeline scheme is more than ironic. It is a 180 degree about face.

Back in January 2001, our future Prime Minister sent a letter to Premier Ralph Klein in which he called for Alberta to exercise its Constitutional provincial powers to “build firewalls around Alberta.” The letter was co-signed by Harper’s mentor from the University of Alberta Tom Flanagan, Ted Morton (at the time described as Alberta Senator-elect), the head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and other Alberta luminaries, including Ken Boessenkool, (described in the letter as former advisor to “Stockwell Day, Treasurer of Alberta,” who is currently none other than Premier Christy Clark’s Chief of Staff.) Stephen Harper, who claimed top spot in the list of signatories, was at the time President of the National Citizens’ Coalition.

The letter set out what the signatories believed to be Constitutionally allowed steps Alberta should take, including: withdrawal from the Canada Pension Plan, ending the provincial contract with the RCMP, a provincial take-over of health care decision-making, and collecting revenue for the province from income tax. The aim of this bullish use of provincial powers was “to limit the extent to which an aggressive and hostile federal government can encroach on legitimate provincial jurisdiction.”

What a difference a decade makes. Now Stephen Harper is so confident of the right of the federal government to insist on an over-land pipeline to a tanker route through the most treacherous waters on earth that he committed to the project’s approval and completion before the provincial government had so much as uttered a word on the project’s acceptability. (I leave it to Patrick Brown to set out the nature of Christy Clark’s rather belated demands, but at least she has asserted that British Columbia has something to say in the matter. I leave for another day that other Constitutional objection to the Enbridge project – the constitutionally protected inherent rights of First Nations.)

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Two days ago, in my driveway ...

Here's proof that life can still go on despite the ravages imposed on our society by neo-conservative politicians. So let us not give up hope, instead let us pray harder as I suggested in my last post.

Friday, 27 July 2012


I first posted this some time ago, but it really needs repeating as often as possible!
Losing Favourites ...

In church I heard a lady in the pew next to me saying a prayer. It was so sweet and sincere that I just had to share with you. 

Dear Lord, 
This has been a tough two or three years. 
You have taken my favourite actor Patrick Swayze. 
My favourite musician Michael Jackson. 
My favourite salesman Billy Mays. 
My favourite actress Elizabeth Taylor. 
And now my favourite singer Whitney Houston. 
I just wanted you to know that my favourite politician is Stephen Harper.

Friday, 20 July 2012


Today, 68 years ago, was the last of many unsuccessful attempts by courageous, patriotic Germans to remove Hitler from power by one way or another. These heroes who came from many areas of German society, from students and ordinary people to generals, diplomats, politicians, civil servants, clergy, artists and aristocrats, deserve our admiration. They risked imprisonment and death to rid their country and the world of evil. 

The last and best known of these heroes was Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, so I'm using his picture to stand in for them all. It doesn't matter that they didn't succeed, what matters is that they tried when most didn't or couldn't.

Unfortunately political evil and dictatorship didn't end in 1945. It exists today all around us. China hasn't ever been governed democratically in its long history. Russia has only experienced a few years of  imperfect democracy and can't be called a democracy today. The Middle East (Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, to name a few of the more atrocious examples). Most countries on the African continent. And let us not forget the so-called advanced democratic countries of the "Western World". The only "super power" left, the United States, which demonstrates every day that its democratic institutions are almost bankrupt. 

And especially, let us think about our own country, Canada, which since 2006 has been run by a man and a party which is dedicated to undermining our democratic institutions and take us back to a time when the country was ruled for the benefit of a small, ignorant, racist, bigoted, white minority and doesn't see itself as being there to advance and protect all of us equally.

Fortunately, 30 years ago, we had a far-seeing prime minister who foresaw that there might be a future danger from the far right of our society to undermine our rights and freedoms. As a result, so far, it's proved difficult for our current government to encroach deeply into the values of our society. But, as the example of the heroes of July 20, 1944 shows us, we must remain ever vigilant so that we can prevent our freedoms from being encroached upon in the first place and thus not make it necessary to resort to the extreme measures that they had to.

Monday, 4 June 2012


Think about this: First he wants to put his whole legislative plan into one massive bill. What's next? No legislation at all, just orders? Heil Harper! 

The Emperor Has No Clothes

CAUTION: If you think you're an emperor, people will treat you like one!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Harper again: Prisoners should pay more for their incarceration

This is the latest of Harper's brain waves to keep his Reform Alliance cretins in line.

The vote on Power & Politics to the question: "Should prisoners pay more for their incarceration?" was 26% Yes, 71% No, 3% Not Sure. 26% is roughly the permanent jackass total on most questions in Canada, whether it's hard-core separatism in Quebec or loyal right-wing toryism.

My comment this time was: "Another typical Harper stunt to cause distraction from the real issues. The only way I'd support this kind of nonsense would be if all Tory MPs were housed in the Kingston Pen (after all Kingston is the Tories' historical shrine), double-bunked of course."

The result so far: Thumbs Up - 145, Down - 8

There's hope for Canada yet! ;-)

Friday, 4 May 2012

About HARPER et alia MISLEADING Canada about the F-35 Program

That was yesterday's subject of discussion on Power & Politics, the CBC's daily political discussion program. The F-35 program seems to be producing never-ending fodder for discussion because the Harpocritters continue to lie about the cost of the proposed procurement on an almost daily basis. Since they managed to obtain majority representation in the House of Commons with their 39% share of the vote last May (what does that say about democracy in Canada?), their communications strategy seems to have gone to hell, what with one disaster after another.

Thursday's question was: Did the government mislead taxpayers on the cost of F-35 jets?
The poll response was: 95% said YES, 5% said NO. So, even the Harper supporters who usually comment here, either said yes, or abstained. Of course, this is not scientific polling. So Canada's right-wing faction still has a secure 30% share of support.

My comment to the question was this:

"There is no question that Harper, his ministers and assorted political spokespersons lied about the currently assumed cost of the F-35 program. 

But consider Harper's record. If you've followed Harper's federal political career since he came to Ottawa as Preston Manning's assistant in the 80's as I have, one thing stands out. He has always lied about anything he didn't want Canadians to know, just as he's broken almost every political promise he's ever made. So why would anyone trust him to tell the truth now? 

You don't have to be a brain surgeon to figure this out, all you have to do is listen to him whenever he opens his mouth." 

The response (as of noon today) is this: THUMBS UP - 66, THUMBS DOWN - 1

Speaks for itself.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


No one could have predicted that Harper would one day sink so low as to tie a Canadian political party (in this case it's the NDP) to Hitler and the Nazis. Well, the day has come and here's the revenge.

And then there was the twitterverse's reaction:

The NDP refused to sign the Magna Carta.
The NDP fiddled while Rome burned.
The NDP were completely useless in the War of 1812.
The NDP faked the moon landing
The NDP refused to come to the aid of men when Mordor invaded Gondor.
It was really the NDP that helped organize the stampede that killed Mufasa in The Lion King. (Don't tell Simba)
The NDP fought the Rebel Alliance on the side of the Imperial Empire.
The NDP suggested the character of Jar Jar Binks to George Lucas
The NDP was Luke Skywalker's father
The NDP foiled every plan the Skipper, Gilligan and the Professor ever made to leave the island.
The NDP turned the power off at Jurassic Park.
The Grinch who stole Christmas was a former NDP leader
The NDP shot J.R.

and the list goes on...

Friday, 27 April 2012


Losing Favourites ...

In church I heard a lady in the pew next to me saying a prayer. It was so sweet and sincere that I just had to share with you. 

Dear Lord, 
This has been a tough two or three years. 
You have taken my favourite actor Patrick Swayze. 
My favourite musician Michael Jackson. 
My favourite salesman Billy Mays. 
My favourite actress Elizabeth Taylor. 
And now my favourite singer Whitney Houston. 

I just wanted you to know that my favourite politician is Stephen Harper.

Thursday, 19 April 2012


With breathless anticipation the crowd awaits

the unveiling of the Stephen Harper Statue.

More on the Conservatives' Election Fraud Scheme

Conservatives deny party focus of robocalls probe.

Postmedia report says Elections Canada investigating access to party's internal database.

Two weeks before the one-year anniversary of the May 2, 2011, election, an investigation into fraudulent robocalls has moved to Conservative headquarters, according to a media report.

Postmedia reported Monday night that Elections Canada investigators are looking at the Conservative Party's internal database to see who downloaded a list of non-supporters in Guelph. The report says the database seems to be missing entries that could identify who accessed the list."

This is the beginning of a story about the suspected Conservative Party election fraud strategy during May 2011 recently posted on the CBC News' Politics website pages.

Occasionally I comment on some of these stories, as you can see from earlier posts here.

My comment for this story was just three words:

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

Other readers then give a "thumbs up" or a "thumbs down" to judge your comments. My results for this comment are the greatest yet.

At last count they were: 226 for to 7 against. That's my record so far... There's hope for Canada yet! lol

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Fraudulent "Elections Canada" Calls in Saanich-Gulf Islands - My Riding

I wasn't aware of the extent of robocalling here because I don't bother answering my phone when I don't recognize the number on my call display, so some of this came as a surprise, especially the fact that fraudulent robocalls were made here as early as the 2008 election(see below) apparently as a trial run for 2011. I wonder if Pierre Poutine was then operating here before going to Guelph to work for the Harpocritters in Guelph?

Robocalls shock Canada

by Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party
MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands

On May 2, 2011, Election Day, we had reports and complaints throughout the day that some voters had received bogus phone calls claiming to be from Elections Canada. The calls conveyed the information that a polling station had been moved and that the voter should instead go to… (fill in the blank). Elections Canada was very helpful in issuing a statement to the press to deny that it had made any such calls. Hourly newscasts throughout the day urged voters to ignore any phone messages and to, instead, rely upon the voting card received from Elections Canada in the mail.

Clearly, the voters of Saanich-Gulf Islands persisted in finding the correct polling station. A very impressive 75% of voters got to the polls in our riding. Other than one small riding in PEI, we had the highest level of voting of any riding in Canada.

Nevertheless, for the people I talked to on Election Day, who were frustrated and angry about being sent on a wild goose chase for their polling station, the matter was serious. I certainly took it seriously. Someone or some organization had made an effort to thwart citizens’ right to vote. This is a criminal offence under the Elections Act. It strikes to the heart of our democracy.

Once the election was over, as leader of the Green Party, I received reports from all over the country. It was clear that the use of misleading phone messages had been used in ridings across Canada. On May 19, 2011, I wrote the head of Elections Canada to request a full, independent inquiry into efforts to obstruct full, fair and free elections.

Who knows how long it would have remained invisible as an issue of concern? Fortunately, Stephen Maher, an impressive journalist who had recently left the Halifax Chronicle Herald to work for Postmedia, did what so few reporters do these days. He dug and dug to get at the truth. His story on the ‘robocalls’ was published February 24 in the Ottawa Citizen. In it, he documented not only that many ridings had been affected, he also explained how it was done. A company that does a lot of work for the Conservative Party, RackNine, had used cell-phone technology to deliver the socalled ‘robocalls’ into Guelph. The Ottawa Citizen story identified over two dozen ridings in which the black ops robocalls had been used.

The Conservatives put forward a young staffer who had been part of the Guelph campaign. His efforts in Guelph included the attempt to grab a ballot box and run off with it at an advance poll on the university campus. He claimed the returning officer had no right to make it possible for students to vote on a special day on campus. That one biographical note certainly suggests he was not impressed with the nearly sacred right of citizens to vote, but it is impossible that one person could have orchestrated the obstruction of the vote in so many ridings across Canada.

The scheme needed more than money. It needed lists of voters likely to support Liberals, New Democrats and Greens. And it needed to invent semiplausible poll locations in hundreds (thousands?) of locations. The ritual sacrifice of a young Conservative will not work in this case.

Since the publication of the story, many more ridings have been identified as places where such ‘voter suppression’ techniques were used. As well, an employee of a call-centre in Thunder Bay came forward to share her Election Day story. She and her colleagues were given a script to phone into ridings to tell people their polling station had changed and to give them a new location. The response from those she called—anger, indignation, protestation—made her suspect the script was wrong. She went to her supervisor who told her to keep calling. She called the RCMP.

In Parliament on February 27, I made a motion for an emergency debate on the allegations of election fraud. I also made a public call for a full, open, transparent, independent inquiry. The Speaker ruled against my motion—and a similar one from Liberal Leader Bob Rae—for an emergency debate.

I believe it is critical to get to the bottom of these serious charges. And I think voters in Saanich-Gulf Islands have a particular interest in the matter. I also think Saanich-Gulf Islands may have been the pilot project for robocall election fraud.

Think back to the 2008 election. The night before the vote, NDP supporters received automated message calls urging them to get out and vote. Although the NDP candidate was no longer in the race (he had withdrawn during the writ period), his name was still on the ballot.

The margin by which Liberal candidate Briony Penn lost was less than the total number of votes for a non-existent NDP candidate. Many people filed complaints. The matter was pursued aggressively by local public interest groups. But the RCMP and Elections Canada never got to the bottom of it. While many have suspicions of who was responsible, without evidence, without proof, whoever did it got away with a criminal offence.

I am arguing to national media that the Saanich-Gulf Islands 2008 example illustrates why we must have a full, independent inquiry with the powers of investigation necessary to find out who organized the scheme, who paid for it, and who knew about it. This electoral fraud may have altered the results of the 2011 election from a Conservative minority to a majority.

Election fraud is far more serious than the Sponsorship Scandal. That was about stealing money; this may be about stealing an election. We have a right to know.

Monday, 5 March 2012

More About the Tory Robocall Scandal

Earlier today, on "Power and Politics", Dean del Mastro, Harper's latest Parliamentary Secretary, made the Tories look even worse than usual with the latest round of asinine robocall excuses.

I posted a comment online in answer to today's Ballot Box Question about who's behind the federal election scandal. This is it:

"Whenever I listen to (Dean) del Mastro on PnP (Power & Politics), I'm constantly being subjected to alternating ROFLMAO and vomiting. This guy is even worse than Harper's former disinformation assistant, Pierre Poilievre.

Thankfully he's only believable to the currently 39% neo-con believers, and I would be willing to bet at least some of these neolithic thinkers are now beginning to wake up and smell the (fill in your preferred smell here). Oh Canada!

So far, I've received 109 thumbs up to 3 thumbs down for this comment (my highest positive score yet)! Obviously this latest Tory dirty trick and attempt to undermine Canadian democracy is really resonating with Canadians. What's happened to Harper's machinery, they used to be so good at undermining everyone when they only had a minority? Ever since they got their sort-of majority, they've continually been shooting themselves in the foot. Yay!!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Government's Charter Violations? Let Me Count the Ways

by Irwin Cotler
MP, Mount Royal
reprinted from the Huffington Post (Feb. 22, 2012)

Last week, the Ontario Superior Court ruled that a mandatory minimum sentence imposed against a first time offender violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms' prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. In a strongly-worded judgment, Justice Malloy described the punishment as, "fundamentally unfair, outrageous, abhorrent, and intolerable."

Yet this decision is but the latest in a growing list of instances where the judiciary has found the Harper government's law and policy to contravene the Charter while ignoring the rule of law, all this in the year we celebrate the Charter's 30th anniversary.

Last Monday's decision comes on the heels of the Federal Court's decision in Goulet v Canada, in which the Court similarly chided the Harper government for ignoring the law, acting as if it were above the law, while showing disrespect for the rule of law as a whole. In the Goulet decision, the Federal Court reproached the Conservative Government for a lack of transparency in refusing to transfer Canadians in U.S. prisons back to Canada.

Justice Robert Barnes' ruling found that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews failed to provide adequate reasons for rejecting transfer in the case of Richard Goulet, a 42-year-old Canadian jailed in the U.S. While Correctional Services Canada's evidence-based report concluded that Goulet was unlikely to re-offend and was therefore a suitable candidate for transfer back to Canada, the Minister decided against this without giving adequate reasons.

Indeed, Justice Barnes remarked that the Minister gave little consideration to the significant evidence in favour of Goulet's transfer, describing the Minister's decision as a "bare conclusion that ran contrary to the overwhelming weight of evidence."

When viewed in the context of previous Federal Court judgments on this point, Minister Toews' decision is particularly troubling. Indeed, the Federal Court cited 12 decisions that it has issued over the past four years alone, all of which conclude that the government has a legal duty to provide adequate reasons when rendering decisions that affect the lives of Canadians.

Mr. Justice Barnes invoked the 1959 Supreme Court decision of Roncarelli v Duplessis, a landmark precedent that affirms the principle that all government officials are subject to the rule of law. Barnes reminded the Minister of the Roncarelli Court's conclusion that there is "no such thing as absolute and untrammeled discretion."

In other words, while Ministers enjoy a measure of discretion in decision making, transparency and accountability require them to justify their exercise of discretion. Only when Ministers provide reasons for their decisions, can it be demonstrated that they have not acted arbitrarily. Furthermore, as Monday's Ontario Superior Court case has demonstrated, such discretion can be limited by rights enshrined in the Charter.

Regrettably, Goulet's case bares troubling resemblance to that of Ronald Allen Smith, the only Canadian citizen currently on death row in the U.S. Despite Canada's international legal obligations and court rulings requiring the Government to seek clemency for citizens imprisoned abroad, the Harper government refused to seek clemency on Smith's behalf until it was forced by the Court, which deplored the lack of a clear, consistent policy from the government on the issue of clemency.

Goulet and Smith are among a growing number of Canadian citizens -- imprisoned, stranded, or detained abroad -- who have been arbitrarily denied the protection of the government. Another example is the case of Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen who was denied the government's protection when he was wrongfully imprisoned and stranded for six years in Sudan. The Federal Court ultimately compelled the Conservative government to return Abdelrazik to Canada, concluding that the government had violated his rights under the Charter.

Moreover, the Federal and Supreme Court had both found that, with respect to Omar Khadr, the government had failed to respect its Charter obligations, though the Justices stopped just short of requiring the Minister to demand Khadr's repatriation.

The government has also neglected its duties to Canadians citizens in a number of recent high profile domestic cases. As a result, the judiciary has been required to intervene to prevent the Conservatives from pursuing their agenda in disregard of the law of the land. Just this December, for example, Federal Court judge Douglas Campbell found the Conservative government broke the law in introducing legislation to end the Canadian Wheat Board.

In another recent example, the Supreme Court overturned the Minister of Health's decision with respect to Insite, a safe injection site on Vancouver's Downtown East Side. Despite overwhelming medical evidence that the facility reduces drug-related deaths and HIV infection rates, the government campaigned vigorously to shut down the site by refusing it a permit to continue operations. The Supreme Court found that such a decision was not possible, given it violated Section 7 of the Charter and its protection of "life, liberty, and security of the person."

Simply put, we are witness to an increasing need for the Courts to remind the Conservative government that it is not above the law and cannot act with impunity -- or immunity -- for its actions.

Indeed, these recent court rulings are important reminders of this, and the government would do well to heed their words.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

About Justin Trudeau's anti-Harper Rant

I totally agree with what Justin Trudeau said!

I grew up in a Quebec totally in the grips of an ultra-conservative and undemocratic political party and an ultra-conservative and undemocratic religious organization. I also lived there when the province freed itself of those mill stones around its society. Today Quebec has the most liberal and progressive society in the country.

Since 39% of Canadian burdened our once forward-looking and progressive society with a similar political and religious (albeit English-speaking) governing party, I've had similar thoughts to Justin Trudeau's from time to time, particularly right now as we're seeing the erosion of civil liberties in this country. If we can't rid ourselves of these ultra-right-wing zealots, what other option do we have than to separate ourselves by leaving (which can mean emigration or separation).

Oh, by the way, if you got this far - I'm most definitely not French-Canadian and I live in British Columbia. (It might be worthwhile remembering at this point that we got our basic principles from Britain, not the Republican Party.) Oh Canada!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Black Hole

The moral of the story: "haste makes waste" or "always read the instructions".

This short video has been viewed 11,000,000 times.