Sunday, April 30, 2006

US blasts Canada on terrorism

From the Globe and Mail :
"Washington — Islamic terrorist cells continue to operate in Canada, according to a Bush administration report released yesterday that fingers a “liberal” immigration system for allowing terrorists to infiltrate the country.
“The principal threat to the close U.S.-Canadian co-operative relationship remains the fallout from the Arar case that prompted the Canadian government to review and restrict information-sharing arrangements with the United States,” it says.
“The Arar case underscores a greater concern for the United States: the presence in Canada of numerous suspected terrorists and terrorist supporters,” the report pointedly notes."

The Arar case. Maher Arar was the Syrian born Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport who was kidnapped by the US and sent to Syria - with Canadian government complicity - to be tortured for 10 months before being released.

And on what grounds was he kidnapped by the CIA and delivered to Syria?

"The Syrians believed that Arar might be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Why? Because a cousin of his mother's had been, nine years earlier, long after Arar moved to Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported that the lease on Arar's apartment had been witnessed by a Syrian- born Canadian who was believed to know an Egyptian Canadian whose brother was allegedly mentioned in an al Qaeda document."

That was it. That was what they had on him.
He knew some guy who was believed to know a guy whose brother might have been mentioned by bad guys.
And we were all ashamed for Canada's part in it.

I'll bet the Canadian government is really going to give them shit for having the temerity to bring up Arar as an example of terrorism. Let's keep reading :

"Foreign Affairs spokesman Rodney Moore said, “Canada's new government believes in maintaining a vigorous counterintelligence program to safeguard our national security.”
“The government does not tolerate inappropriate activities and will restore our reputation as a leader and dependable partner in defending freedom and democracy in the world,” he added."

So I guess we can now look forward to an uptick in new government-sponsored terrorism.
First they came for the...
You know the rest.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Cons' piracy theory

It's Friday, it's late, so get out those tin-foil hats and let's have us a conspiracy party.
I'll supply the half-baked Emerson rumours if you bring the popcorn and beer for the kids.

Ok. Wading right in to things I know nothing about...
We've all heard the many reasons why the soft wood lumber settlement is just so much soft wood, but what I'm interested in tonight is why it also has this creepy air about it, this feeling of us having been Conned.

Last year Emerson torpedoed an almost identical soft wood lumber deal when he was with the Libs.
So why is this same deal suddenly acceptable to him now that he's scuttled across the floor to join the Cons?
And what was so important about Emerson that Harper risked blowing his whole credibility in getting Emerson to cross the floor?
How far back does their association really go? Given that Emerson was Deputy Minister of Finance under Bennett and then Deputy Premier to Bill Vanderzalm, I'm guessing further back than two days after the last election.
So the real question is : Was Emerson a mole for the Cons? Did he deliberately hold up the Lib's deal in order to hand it over to Harper? Certainly this "success" will help the Cons considerably towards their goal of a majority government next time.

And how much did Bush help all this along by also holding out till the more amenable Cons got in?

Two days ago the provinces were absolutely freaking about this deal in the papers. Very harsh words were spoken. Now they're all onside. What happened?
Is this sudden conversion because it was explained to them that they would be the ones collecting and keeping the tariffs if the price of lumber should go down?
Plus, Emerson's old buddies at Canfor are free to export raw logs of BC beetle wood to Asia.

Everyone still got their tin-foil hats on?
Because this is what deep integration is supposed to look like.
The laws separating our countries are being scuttled in order to benefit shareholders in industry and the politicians who go through the revolving job door from government to industry and back again.

Now I know I don't have the background or the contacts to turn this conspiracy theory into real research.
A conspiracy theory after all is just a theory not sufficiently supported by the facts.
I'm hoping that someone more qualified is out there looking for those facts.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A day on the lake - Priceless

Rowed around the lake yesterday.
The leaves on the trees are still small and bleary against the still visible greys of winter. Here, these are called "weed trees".

From CBC, back in November, via Vive Le Canada :
"Canada's boreal forest provides clean water and a stable climate worth billions of dollars, says a report released Friday. The document estimates the annual value the forest creates through purifying water, regulating climate and generating oxygen is about $93.2 billion. That's twice the total market value of forestry, hydro and oil and natural gas activity, says the report commissioned by the Canadian Boreal Initiative.

Ignoring the value of Canada's boreal wealth to the well-being of the nation is akin to Exxon Mobil ignoring the volume of oil and gas reserves and annual production in its annual report," says the report. "

Is everyone else also getting this?

  • -Sensattional revolution in medcine!
  • -Enlarge your penis up to 10 cm or up to 5 inches!

I guess they're using some kind of new and improved Imperial inches here.

It's been said that the US is the only country in the world whose interest in the metric system does not extend beyond the nine millimeter handgun. Plus, you know, you're always having to lie to them about how sensattional they are.

Monday, April 24, 2006

"Hotter Than Hell" just got hotter

Back here I wrote about how climatologist Mark Tushingham got muzzled by his boss at Environment Canada for intending to discuss his novel, repeat - his novel, about global warming at a National Press Club luncheon. Despite the book jacket making no mention of his day job at Environment Canada, the press release did announce him as an "Ottawa environmental scientist", and this was reason enough for his boss Rona Ambrose to scuttle his appearance.
When asked to comment, Harper threw in an unattractive veiled threat about loyalty.

That was 11 days ago. Today via CBC his publisher announced that "Hotter Than Hell" has gone into an unexpected double-sized second printing due to public demand. Elsewhere a film deal has been mentioned.
(Smuggies : and didn't I predict that film deal? Why yes, yes I did.)

Despite almost no press coverage and author Mark Tushingham's refusal to make any public statement about it, this story never died down. And how do I know this? Because every single day since I wrote about it on April 13, my inconsequential little blog has continued to get dozens of hits a day from people typing "Mark Tushingham" into Google/MSN Search. Now imagine what the big blogs must get.

It bears remembering that the big progressive issues of the last century like feminism, equal rights, and the environment were actively suppressed by both government and industry until individual people collectively forced them to take note. In muzzling Tushingham, Rona Ambrose hoped to distance Environment Canada from any mention of global warming, even in a novel, and in so doing she also offended against free speech. People noticed that and they started buying the book. So now she has a free speech controversy and possibly a movie about global warming to deal with.

Rona, quite a lot more people go to movies and read controversial books than would ever have attended that luncheon.
See how this works now?

On hobbyhorses and horseshit

The rev kicks some conservatarian ass.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Empress of I Scream

For the second time this week, Ben & Jerry's has had to apologise for the name of one of their new ice cream flavours. The new flavour, a fungible hodgepodge of fudge and wingnuts, is widely available on the internet.
"Any reference on our part to any particular member of the right wing media was absolutely unintentional," said a B&J spokeperson.

What, you mean this 'old hat' ?

No, not photoshop.
Just a straight Reuters photo of Harper speaking at a business luncheon on Friday.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

"When the thing arises..."

On April 3, the very day that Parliament reopened, SoCon Senator Ann Cools convened a strategy meeting with 'REAL Women' VP Gwen Landolt, Charles McVety, president of the Canada Family Action Coalition, and Joseph Ben-Ami, executive director of the Institute for Canadian Values, a faith-based public policy think-tank.

Why? To figure out how to sell Harper's day care plan to Canadians.

"When the thing arises on the drawing board, we'll be there," said Gwen Landolt."And in the meantime, we're doing what we can to educate the public and to lay the groundwork for controversy to come when the bill is brought forward."

Because really, who better to represent Harper's ideas to Canadians than a coalition of anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-SSM religious bigots? I mean what could be more 'family' than that?


So only 10% of us are Pastafarians then?

An Ipsos Reid telephone poll reveals that 90% of Canadians will say just about anything to be allowed to get back to their dinners.
In a survey of 814 Canadians, 73% said they believe that Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected to eternal life, and another 17% said they believe in a freakin novel.

How the hell did they phrase the question?
"Hello, this is God speaking. Which ending did you like best? The one where He dies or the one where He gets married and moves to France?"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Tale of Two Tent Cities

The Coalition To Save the Eagleridge Bluffs has set up a tent city to prevent the government from logging and blasting through the Eagleridge Bluffs in West Vancouver as part of the new four lane 2010 Olympics highway to Whistler. Fifty well-to-do West Vancouverites say they intend to stay in those tents until they are carted off to jail.

"...We did not seek and celebrate the successful Olympic bid in order to discover that our own home ground was to be violated in such an egregious manner."
-- Wade Davis, National Geographic Ethno botanist.

Apart from the 'seeking' and the 'celebrating' and the apparent surprise at this turn of events, I'm with ya all the way here, Wade.
But whose home ground could be expected "to be violated in such an egregious manner" by the Five Ring Circus shenanigans?
Well that would probably be these guys :

From Tom Sandburn at the Tyee :
"On March 30, Vancouver Fire Department inspectors visited the Burns Block, a SRO hotel at 18 W. Hastings. By mid afternoon, the department's inspectors had ordered all tenants to leave the building and find alternate shelter. (SRO means single room occupancy, the bottom end of market housing and, often enough, the only shelter available to low income tenants)."

It appears the hotel owner declared his intention not to comply with fire regulations to the Fire Department who were then under a legal obligation to evict the tenants. According to Deputy Chief, Fire Protection Les Szikai, the owner also stated his intention to sell the hotel.
How handy for him that it will now be vacant and what an appalling use of the Fire Dept.
Residents at the Astoria Hotel, the Pender Hotel, and the Lucky Lodge face similar evictions.

From David Eby of the Pivot Legal Society :

"I think the City of Vancouver is under a lot of pressure with the Olympics upcoming, and I think that the response has been currently to shut down what they identify as troubled hotels, which is a fine policy to have as long as people have somewhere else to live.
"But the city also has a policy that resulted in no additional affordable housing being built in Southeast False Creek. So when you are closing down affordable housing, and not building new affordable housing, there is only one thing that is going to result, and that is homelessness."

The affordable housing in Southeast False Creek was also part of the "green and sustainable" Olympic bid but the city later abondoned it as too expensive.

All of which reminds me of Expo '86.
Then Alderman Gordon Campbell voted against a motion before Vancouver council for no-eviction legislation. The legislation was time-limited to Expo and was intended to prevent hotel owners from evicting their tenants in order to convert their rooming houses into "boutique hotels" for Expo visitors. Some of the tenants had lived in the same place for 25 years. The average resident was white, single, elderly, male, and handicapped.

Jimmy Pattison, then President of Expo Corp, said evictions were not a problem and that the legislation would be "an unfair intervention in the marketplace".
Premier Bill Bennett said, "The removal of slum areas are the government priorities."
Minister of Municiopal Affairs Bill Ritchie said, "Despite hardship of individuals, development must take place."

Following Expo '86, then Mayor Mike Harcourt estimated 2000 rooms in 80 rooming houses had been shut down.

But that was then, right?
Wouldn't happen again now that Alderman Gordon Campbell is Premier Gordon Campbell, right?

(edited for spelling)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Jesus Christ on a cracker

Now with Pimento!
Although I've often heard people say 'Jesus Christ on a cracker', I'd never actually seen it before tonight when I got up to have a midnight snack and fool around on my computer. Naturally this miracle's going straight to eBay, where it will be available in either the Original Great Taste! or the No Salt Low Fat! version.
And for connoisseurs with a taste for something slightly more filling, I'm also offering Jesus on Wheat Toast, cheese and antipasto extra.

I'm sorry ... what was that? Unlikely miraculous appearances that are available in three completely different versions seem somewhat less than authentic to you?
Please. That's a whole two less than the five completely different versions of the Resurrection found in the Bible.

So act now while supplies last.
Any resemblance to persons neither living nor dead is ridiculous.
Some local religious statues may apply.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Canada is going to the dogs

Following his walkies in Afghanistan, Harper came home to muzzle the press and his own MPs, demanding absolute obedience and threatening severe discipline for those members who stray off message.
Yesterday top general Rick Hillier was also put on a short leash.

Minister of Trade David Emerson announced that due to conflicts of interest, he will be begging off participation in some aspects of the softwood lumber dispute, which we all know we're going to have to roll over on anyway.
Last week Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Mackay widdled off the paper when he met Condi Rice, and next week Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, who is barking mad, is due to have his turn drooling on the shoes of his US counterpart Chertoff.
Environment Minister Rona Ambrose plays dead about global warming while Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn bitches about seal hunt protesters.

And all the while, inspired by Grover Norquist, the Cons are aiming at neutering the powers of the federal government.

Canada is definitely going to the dogs.

Friday, April 14, 2006

He's coming...

I've had this image for a long long time.
I'm sorry not to be able to credit the artist.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Fahrenheit Hotter Than Hell

"Hotter Than Hell" is a science fiction novel set in the future in which global warming causes water shortages that result in the US invasion of Canada. All week the National Press Club website has been advertising the book launch at noon at which author Mark Tushingham was scheduled to speak.
Today Environment Minister Rona Ambrose cancelled the author's appearance.
Why? Because Mark Tushingham's day job is as a scientist at Environment Canada.

Go read about it at CBC Arts. I'll wait.

I loved this bit :

"Stephen Harper says he was not aware of the details, but his government was elected on a platform that included developing a new plan to deal with climate change."

Yeah we heard about some of this new plan today in the Globe and Mail : "The Conservatives will cut 80 per cent of programs aimed at curbing global warming at Environment Canada. Budgets in other government departments aimed at climate change will be slashed by 40 per cent."

Back to the Harper quote :

"And I not only hope, but expect, that all elements of the bureaucracy will be working with us to achieve our objectives," he said."

You arrogant ass. Did you get the part where the big issue here is a science fiction novel? Plus isn't it illegal in Canada to dictate how an employee spends his spare time? But knowing how ridiculous it would have looked to ask said employee to state at his own book launch that the plot of his science fiction novel was not the official opinion of Environment Canada or the Government of Canada, you opted instead to shut the whole thing down.

I'd never heard of the book before but now I'm guessing this publicity will result in it being turned into a movie before the end of the year. It might even gain the status of Fahrenheit 451. Remember that one, Harper? The rest of us do. Written by Ray Bradbury in 1953, it's about book burning and government censorship and suppression of thoughts and ideas.

In the meantime, let's see how far up the charts we can send Tushingham's book. You can order it here.

Anschluss Watch 3, in which MacKay loses all feeling in his lower jaw

Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay had his first ever session with Condi Rice today.
According to Canadian Press, here is what he had to say :

" "I'm delighted to be here. I've always been a fan of yours,'' he told Rice at a joint news conference in an ornate department ballroom.

"And much of our discussion today confirmed what I already knew about you from having followed your career.''

"We're very grateful and I personally extend my thanks to you for your generous and very kind invitation to be with you,'' he said as Rice smiled politely.

He noted Rice's "warmth, her intelligence on so many of these issues in which Canada has a deep and abiding interest.'' "

Jesus Christ, I sure hope he doesn't forget his 'safe word'.

My theory that I have, that is to say, which is mine, is mine

Say goodbye to Liberal income tax cuts and hello instead to a Conservative GST reduction, to be introduced in the upcoming federal budget, Stephen Harper suggested Wednesday.
The minority Conservative government intends to stick to its own tax-reduction plan rather than worry about keeping Liberal income tax cuts introduced late last year, Harper said.

"The measures we'll be proceeding with will be our own measures," Harper said. "Our program will be different than the Liberals."
He then marked out his territory by spraying the end of the couch before disappearing out the cat door.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Harper harpy

This one's for you, Scout.

The Great Parliamentary Afghanistan Debate

Harper wasn't there. Neither was Duceppe.
Not only was there no vote, there was no debate either.

Out of a possible 308 MPs:
58 Conservative MPs, dropping to 14 after O'Connor finished
21 Liberals but dropped to 10
2 Bloc Quebecois
8 NDP, rising to 20

Fucking shameful.
Especially as Canadians are divided about 50/50 over whether we should be there at all.

Here is one reason we are just a bit concerned:

"Canadian soldiers could be charged with war crimes in the International Criminal Court because of an agreement the government approved on the handling of detainees captured in Afghanistan," warns UBC international law professor Michael Byers.
University of Ottawa Prof. Amir Attaran, a constitutional human rights law specialist, agrees. Under international law Canada has an obligation to ensure any detainee is protected against torture, not only when they are transferred into Afghan custody but if they are sent onwards to a third nation, such as the U.S.
Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said last week he is satisfied with the pact, as is Opposition leader Bill Graham, who was the Liberal's defence minister when the agreement was signed in Kabul in December.
Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier signed the agreement even though the Afghan government's own human rights commission warned in 2004 that the torture of prisoners is "routine."
So far, more than 100 detainees from Iraq and Afghanistan have died in U.S. custody.

Canadian military officers, however, have continually said they are confident any detainees turned over to the U.S. would be treated humanely."

Here's another reason, from the Government of Canada National Defense website :

"On November 29, 2005, Camp Julien, which was the Canadian base of operations in Kabul, officially closed. Canadian Forces personnel in Afghanistan, were relocated to Kandahar in the southern region of Afghanistan as part of the United States-led campaign against terrorism known as OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM ( OEF )."
And Defense Minister Gordon O'Connor had the unmitigated gall to open the proceedings with Bush's "Fly-paper" analogy :

"Fighting terrorists in Afghanistan is better than waiting until they show up in vancouver, Montreal or Ottawa, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor told the Commons on Monday.
"Canada is in Afghanistan because it is in our national interest,'' he said. "Our security begins very far from our borders. "

Monday, April 10, 2006

Blackberry squelch

From The Hill Times :
"The Conservatives have banned MPs, Cabinet ministers, and Senators from carrying cellphones and BlackBerries into the new government's weekly caucus meetings on Parliament Hill for "security and confidentiality reasons" and they've barred political staffers from attending the meetings as well.
[The national caucus chair] denied that it had anything to do with minimizing the risk of caucus leaks to the national media every Wednesday."

Next week I imagine they will also ban MPs, Cabinet ministers, and Senators from the weekly caucus meetings.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday Christcapades

From National Geographic News :
"A freak cold spell that covered parts of a lake with ice could explain the biblical tale about Jesus walking on water, says a team of U.S. and Israeli scientists."

Jesus : Hey look at me! I waxed the bottom of my sandals this time.
Mark : Seen it , Jesus.
Matthew : Quit kidding around - you're scaring all the fish.
John : If he falls in again, I'm not fishing him out this time.
Jesus : And now - for the first time anywhere - on one foot only!
Mark : You know, he is really hauling ass out there. Maybe we could market that crap he puts on the bottom of his shoes, get out of this fishing racket for good.
Matthew : Market it as what exactly?
Mark : I dunno - a water repellent? A leather preservative?
Matthew : That could work. We'll need a name and some kind of really catchy slogan...
John : How about "Jesus!". "Jesus! saves soles".
Matthew : Why not "Matthew!" and "Matthew! saves soles"?
Mark : Oh so now you want to be the idiot everyone sees skating around in circles out here all the time?
John : Right - "Jesus! saves soles" it is then. Ah there he goes - right into the drink.
Matthew : We're coming, Jesus. And guess what? We're going to make you famous!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Proportional representation of a different kind

Campaign donations to BC's top three parties 1996- Oct 2004 :

BC Liberals $41,735,398
Corporate and business share..............69%
Individual donations share..................28%
Labour donations share........................--

BC NDP $27,260,960
Corporate and business share................3%
Individual donations share...................87%
Labour donations share........................9.5%

BC Greens $665,517
Corporate and business share.................2.5%
Individual donations share....................97%
Labour donations share.........................---

List of donors and their contributions at

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Fossil Called Missing Link From Sea to Land Animals

Discovered in Nunavut, the 375 million year old fossil is five to nine feet long and has the fins and scales of a fish but the ribs, neck, head and wrist bones of an animal capable of hauling itself onto land.
Dr. Shubin, the evolutionary biologist who made the find, said, "It's a really amazing, remarkable intermediate fossil. It's like, holy cow."

But not everyone was thrilled.
"Duane T. Gish, a retired official of the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego, said, "This alleged transitional fish will have to be evaluated carefully." But he added that he still found evolution "questionable because paleontologists have yet to discover any transitional fossils between complex invertebrates and fish, and this destroys the whole evolutionary story."

Also missing is any transitional evidence between plankton and pineapples, or between creationists and science.

Obviously the only fossil discovery which would satisfy creationists would need to be 5000 years old and look something like this :

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Big Box Government

I didn't see the president of Home Depot climbing around the ruins at Cancun but evidently she was there :

Bush, Harper, and Fox "also announced the establishment of a North American Competitiveness Council. The council will comprise representatives of business and the three governments and will have a say in targeting projects and ideas aimed at creating a more creative market environment.
One business leader who joined in a meeting with the three leaders over the new council said she feels considerable urgency among governments to get at the smart-card issue.
"I don't know the technicalities of it, but I do know that the intent of governments are to get together and come up with something that is technologically easy," said Annette Verschuren, president of Home Depot Canada. "We just don't want to slow down the movement of products and people."

Say, didn't Tom Ridge retire as US Homeland Security Secretary to join the board of Home Depot?
Why yes he did :
"We are honored to have Ridge join our board, where we expect that his unique global experience and perspective will make a profound contribution to our company and our shareholders," said Home Depot Chief Executive Bob Nardelli.
Ridge is quite familiar with home-improvement projects. He was instrumental in a short-lived run on duct tape in early 2003, when he encouraged Americans to turn to the sticky substance and plastic sheeting as protection against terrorists using chemical and/or biological agents.
The move, which drew criticism from many corners, motivated many across the country to stock up -- to the extent that some retailers reported widespread shortages.
Home Depot, in fact, went so far as to set up special Homeland Security displays near its entrances to tout sales of duct tape, plastic sheeting, batteries and bottled water, among other safe-room supplies.
At the time, Ridge had just upped the color-coded security threat advisory to orange, the second highest level."

Government and business, working together.

OK back to the future at the Glib and Mall :

"Our three countries are facing unprecedented competition from large developing economies such as China and India," said Thomas d'Aquino, president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. "A positive and constructive tone at the top is essential if our three countries are to move forward in defining a new and stronger North America."

He elaborates further on this new North American Competiveness Council at the Council of Chief Executives website where he adds :

"We would restate our view that it is in Canada’s interest to participate in the ballistic missile defence program."

Government and business working together.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Bootlicking on the Ground

"Canadian Troops in Kandahar
Boots on the Ground
U.S.-Canada Relations: Security is our Business"

This is the banner sponsored by the Canadian Embassy that was posted in Washington DC Metro stations.
Note the insert with the conflated US and Canadian flags, and also the plug for the website.

Under the familiar Government of Canada logo, Canadian Ally explains their mandate:
" is an electronic newsletter maintained by the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, designed specifically for an American audience. The intent is to give American citizens a better sense of the scope of Canada's role in North American and Global Security and the War on Terror."

I see the Saddam Hussein Ally, Mujahideen Ally, and Taliban Ally websites have been down for some time now.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Resolve :
1) a carpet cleaner/stain remover
2) a noun meaning ‘determination’
3) a verb meaning ‘to deal with or settle on by deliberate choice’

While reading Canadian Cynic’s rant earlier today about the ridiculous misuse of the word ‘resolve’ to describe what’s not happening with the soft wood lumber dispute, I was also listening to the news on CBC. They were reporting that Bush – he of the ‘steely resolve’ – refuses to budge on his decision that Canadians will soon need a passport or national ID card of some kind to visit the US, and that Stockwell Day is already taking the necessary steps to comply.
In closing, CBC stated it was not certain how the issue would be resolved.
I must have missed the 'deliberate choice' part.

So. When applied to Bush, ‘resolve’ means a steely determination.
When applied to Canada, it must mean a carpet cleaner.

April Fools Day

and I got nothin'.
Because every single day since the election has brought us just a boatload of pranks.
For a more indepth analysis of why this is so, go see havril.

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