Tuesday, January 31, 2006

From Fair Vote Canada :

"Had the same votes been cast under a proportional voting system, Fair Vote Canada projected that the seats allocation would have been approximately as follows:
  • Conservatives - 36.3% of the popular vote: 113 seats (not 124)
  • Liberals - 30.1% of the popular vote: 93 seats (not 103)
  • NDP - 17.5% of the popular vote: 59 seats (not 29)
  • Bloc - 10.5% of the popular vote: 31 seats (not 51)
  • Greens - 4.5% of the popular vote: 12 seats (not 0)

However, Smith emphasized that speculation should be tempered. "With a different voting system, people would have voted differently," he said. "There would have been no need for strategic voting. We would likely have seen higher voter turnout. We would have had different candidates - more women, and more diversity of all kinds. We would have had more real choices."

"The voting system really matters a lot and the system we have is simply not acceptable in a modern democracy." "

Mudwrestling at the Forum

Come on, guys, you're so obviously being set up here.
Newbie "Michael Bloomberg" uses his very first post to ask where on the island Harrison Ford lives, and 52 posts later, half from the mischievous "Michael" himself, a free speech vs right to privacy debate has escalated into the cops being called in.
Now someone has posted an Entertainment Tonight report that HF has indeed bought a house here. Again.
So tomorrow on the Forum, everyone who was so outraged that a part-time islander like "Michael" (read : not one of us) would have the nerve to invade HF's privacy will be invited yet again to speculate endlessly on just which house HF has bought.
Think about how stupid you want to look.

On the lighter side, given that mud wrestling is primarily a spectator's sport, I was pleased to see the return of local poet Terry who lobbed one of his blank verses into the fray. To wit :

"Topics spill onto this digital navel
like random shaky spoonfuls of warm soup.
The pH of all local flavours rarely rises above 2."

Now why can't I write like that?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Human density transfer

From the Undercurrent :

"One of the fun activities that came from Ft. St. John was the walk to Whistler. They actually had the whole community come out one day and walk together; they added up their mileage and had the 1300 kms it would take to walk to Whistler from Fort St. John."

Wait for it...

"Well, obviously the distance from Bowen to Whistler is a little shorter, so the parks and rec. girls have decided to change the challenge slightly. For the week of Feb 3 to Feb 10, you add your mileage up to the 101 kms it is to Whistler. That's a long distance for most people to complete individually so you may form a group and add your miles together."

Yes, it's the human density transfer principle.

So why the fuck would we sign on to this dense idea?
Well apparently the "2010 Legacies Now" committee want us to start up some winter traditions now so that we'll be in the mood by 2010 because :

"The Olympics are not just about the actual competitions anymore. A very important aspect of having the Olympics in the lower mainland is the legacies that will be left long after the Olympics are done."

Ah, yes, legacies. In one of the original pitches for having the 2010 Olympics here, the council of Salt Lake City was quoted as saying they would definitely host the Olympics a second time if they got the chance. When I wrote to Salt Lake City council asking for more details, they wrote back to explain that hosting the Olympics a second time was the only possible way for Salt Lake City to recoup their losses from the first time.

I would suggest that rather than join the "Walk to Whistler" campaign, if you really want to show your support for Olympics 2010, a more fitting tribute would be to just park your car in your driveway and leave the engine running for 45 minutes or so.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Brian Jungen at the VAG

A whale skeleton made from plastic lawn chairs.

A native mask made from running shoes.

Proportional representation, anyone?

In the riding next door, 63% of the voters chose Lib, NDP, or Green.
63% of the total votes were "wasted" under the 'first past the post' system.
Think any of these libs, greens, or dippers are happy about being represented by a conservative?
One argument against "prop rep" is that it might allow a "fringe" candidate to get elected.
Under first past the post, 63% of this riding got fringed.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Attention shoppers!

The following are not recorded at Elections Canada as protest votes:

  • "I'm really just not into the whole political thing."
  • World of Warcraft addiction
  • sleeping it off - all day
  • "I wish it would stop raining."
  • not feeling 'included in the system'
  • Auto Antiques Roadshow marathon
  • your Trailblazer is blocking your Pathfinder in the driveway
  • "Only politicians are running"

Onward Christian litigants

Our Lady of Fatima Shrine Catholic Church in Scarborough Ont was the scene of a small tax-exempt political brawl right after Sunday Mass yesterday morning.

The Conservative candidate for Scarborough South West took a swing at a campaign worker handing out endorsements for Liberal MP Tom Wappel and a scuffle ensued in which one of the campaigners was knocked down. The campaign workers in question, LifeSiteNews director Steve Jalsevac together with his wife and four children, were distributing a “pro-life pro-family” leaflet endorsing Liberal MP Wappel, one of 32 liberals who voted against Same Sex Marriage and Bill 6.
The Conservative candidate had evidently declined to answer a Campaign Life Coalition ‘Vote for Life and Family!' questionnaire and so did not win their endorsement. The LifeSiteNews director made an audio recording of the scuffle which you can hear here and has said he intends to press charges.

I have to question the wisdom of the repeated use of the term 'bastard' in this exchange. Wasn't Jesus technically a bastard?
And remember, every time the six o'clock news runs a story of so-cons duking it out on the church steps after Mass, the baby Jesus cries.
Thanks to Politics from the Heartlands for this lovely gift of schadenfreude.
Rick also has links up to get some early election results.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Scraping the 'compassionate' off the 'conservative'

John Weston finally gets down to it in his final campaign mail-out before the election.
It's all about the stuff.
Getting more stuff and keeping everyone else off your stuff.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A vote For George Harper is a vote for Stephen Bush

"Conservative leader vows to end anti-U.S. rhetoric
By Levon SevuntsTHE WASHINGTON TIMESJanuary 21, 2006
MONTREAL -- Canada's Conservatives, who look increasingly sure of winning national elections on Monday, say they are hoping for a fresh start in the nation's frosty relations with the United States.
John Reynolds, official opposition house leader, said while trade disputes between Canada and the United States will remain, the tone of political discourse will change. "We had a government that for 12 years in Canada has called [Americans] words like 'coward' and 'stupid,'?" said Mr. Reynolds, who co-chairs the Conservative elections campaign. "That would change. Our party is not filled with anti-American people like it is within the Liberal Party." Mr. Reynolds said the first practical step in improving security cooperation between Canada and the United States would be to restart discussions about joining the anti-ballistic missile program."

In the last few months I have written several times to John Weston, Mr. Reynolds' CPC successor in our riding, asking him very politely for a clarification on his own position on the anti-ballistic missile program and the Security and Prosperity Pact of North America.
No reply from John Weston's campaign office.

As I recall, it was Bush, and not [Americans], who was referred to as 'coward' and 'stupid'.
So likewise when I call Mr. Reynolds a quisling and a disingenuous lying sack of shit, I do not mean all the people living in the West Van/ Sunshine Coast/Sea to Sky riding.

OK, to be fair, sometimes Canadians have referred to Americans as stupid, mostly because so many of them voted for Bush. I'm afraid we're about to find out what that's like.

As David Hill put it on the Forum : "A vote for George Harper is a vote for Stephen Bush."

Friday, January 20, 2006

We are family

Stephen Harper appeared in public in his secret Promise Keepers Canada crown for the first time today, as seen above. Introduced at a news conference by David Sweet, a Tory candidate and former president of Promise Keepers Canada, Mr Harper has also obtained the endorsement of the 'Globe and Mail' and the 'National Post'.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Item 46 of the Conservative Party Policy Declaration reads :

"Off-shore gas and oil development
A Conservative Government will promote exploration and environmental assessment of off-shore natural resources...."

I thought we had a moratorium on off-shore drilling and seismic testing...

"We will ensure that companies follow best practices and the precautionary principle to mitigate environmental risk...."

Oh well then - "best practices and the precautionary principle". Why didn't you say so right away?
This obviously beats a total moratorium on off-shore drilling all to hell by comparison.
And "mitigate environmental risk"? As in "to make less severe"? As in "the environmental disaster from a faultline earthquake will be less severe if it is first preceded by 'best practices and the precautionary principle' "?

Chris Corrigan reported that following a visit to Bowen in December, local CPC candidate John Weston had this to say about us in a press release: "And as island residents, they are particularly worried about the Canadian military's inability to respond to natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes."

No, John, we are particularly worried about government policies that may actually cause disasters, especially the ones that can in no way be passed off as 'natural'. Like fatal whale strandings, large-scale fish kills, and damage to crabs, squid and other marine life.

"and to consider the potential of these natural resources before designating new Marine Protected Areas."

Yeah, well, we saw that one coming.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Scam, Bam, Thank you, Ma'am

Over at the excellent Bouquets of Grey is a story from the Winnipeg Free Press about CPC Winnipeg candidate Linda West and her mail-order PhD.
Here's my diploma mill story.
Some years ago I started getting emails from The Western Ivy Covered University College or something like that. For a while I amused myself with just returning their "acredited univercity diplomas" solicitations with the spelling and grammar corrected (yeah, I know, but I was sick at the time and besides the whole pooter thing was new to me). Then I heard about a scambaiter who had conned one of those Nigerian "please help me-I'm very rich" scammers, and I was inspired to respond to WICUS regarding my interest in a PhD. Back came an invitation to obtain one in any field I liked for $2800US and the good news was that it was a self-directed study program in which all my previous work experience would count too. What a deal. Plus when I explained that I wasn't interested in writing any tests or submitting anything till my final paper - they were fine with that.
I do wish my old computer hadn't suddenly retired, taking with it all the ensuing correspondence in which Western Whatever U patiently adjusted their program to accommodate my rapidly changing career objectives. You see initially I really wanted to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in Policy Objectives for General Human Sciences, like the former deputy director of the US Dept of Homeland Security has, but eventually I came to see that there were more opportunities awaiting me in "Motel Management and Firearms Consulting". Sadly, my correspondence with them finally came to an abrupt end with my request for a financial prospectus on completing my Grade 10.

CPC John Weston on Shari'a Law

"I believe that society is best served when individuals are free to take their actions based on the fundamental freedom of religion that is a cornerstone of Canadian democracy and protected by our constitution," John Weston, a Christian constitutional lawyer and Conservative candidate for West Vancouver, told CanadianChristianity.com.
Weston added: "If people freely enter into arbitration . . . based on rules that they agree upon in advance -- and they understand those rules -- then I think the results will be better than if they are imposed by, let's say, a court system."

Better for whom, John?
We already have rules that we have agreed upon in advance.
The decisions of binding arbitration boards are enforceable in Canadian courts, and Muslim women are unwilling to hand over their children to the father when they reach the age of eight - as a Muslim faith-based arbitration board would dictate.
Shari'a Law doesn't recognise either freedom of religion or the separation of church and state. Do you?
What about freedom from religion?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Vote early and vote often

Advance polls open today.
Did you miss the Jan 9th televised leaders' debate because you do have a life and you don't have a tv?

Shorter English debate :
Martin : I'm the only one who can hold this joint together, notwithstanding the shenanigans of...
Harper : Stand up, stand up, stand up!
Layton : We're the only ones who really care about you.
Duceppe : Fuck off, you lying hypocrites.

Winner of the debate?
Moderator Steve Paikin, who asked the kind of questions the Green Party should have been there to answer.

What? You missed the French debate as well?

Shorter French debate :
Martin : Je suis le seul l'un qui peut tenir ce joint ensemble, notwithstanding les maux de...
Harper : Levez-vous, levez-vous, levez-vous!
Layton : Nous sommes les seuls types qui s'inquietent vraiment de vous.
Duceppe : Fuck off, you lying hypocrites.

Hope this helps.

The gods must be crazy

The Christian God apparently struck down Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week with a severe stroke in divine retribution for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.
Speaking on God's behalf, "The 700 Club" televangelist Pat Robertson who opposes the Gaza withdrawal explained, "God says, 'This land belongs to me, and you'd better leave it alone.' "
This was a much-needed win for Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America and a former presidential candidate, who in July unsuccessfully called for American operatives to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. and previously suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device and that feminism encourages women to "kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

Meanwhile the Muslim God was said to crush 345 of his followers to death and injure 289 others today for "hurrying". In a three day stoning ritual at Mecca, thousands of the faithful have from noon to sundown to throw 7 rocks at each of three pillars in order to purge themselves of sin. A total of 2.5 million pilgrims all throwing rocks in a time-limited event.
Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki explained, "This was destined by God. Some pilgrims were undisciplined and hasty to finish the ritual as soon as possible."

At the very least the gods seem to be in need of some new management.

The Wacko Waco Pact

Schwartzman suggests in the comments that a follow-up is needed as to what happened as a result of 'The Task Force on the Future of North America' (see below). He recommends this from The Council of Canadians website.
I'll wait here while you go read it.
Go on - it's really short.
Yes, it's a pact called 'The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America' (SPP), and was signed by Canada PM Paul Martin, Mexico President Vicente Fox, and US President George Bush on March 23, 2005 in Waco, Texas. It reads like a slightly more anemic version of the Task Force on the Future of NA.
No one paid much attention to it at the time, as this was the same day that the media was clogged with the spectacle of Crusader Bunnypants criss-crossing the nation, pen in hand, to save the brain-dead Terri Schiavo from slipping through the fingers of the christian right into a dignified death.
But maybe you think The Council of Canadians, a watchdog group who has written extensively against "deep integration" with the US, is acting like The Council of Chicken Little here.
Given that it was the Canadian Council of Chief Executives who first launched this whole initiative in 2003, perhaps it would be a better idea to go to their website and see what they themselves have to say about it :

"Task Force Report Emphasizes Need for Urgent Action on North American Security and Prosperity
The final report of the Independent Task Force on the Future of North America adds momentum to the trinational security and prosperity initiative launched recently by the leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada, says the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE).
Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and composed of 26 leading figures from government, academia, business and the non-profit sector, the Task Force strongly endorses the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) announced at the March 23 summit in Texas, and proposes building on and extending that initiative by creating a new community by 2010 with a single market, common external tariff, and an outer security perimeter.
In January 2003, the CCCE embarked on a multi-year project to develop a strategy for shaping Canada's future within North America and beyond. In launching its North American Security and Prosperity Initiative (NASPI), the CCCE said that a Canadian strategy for managing its future within the continent should be based on five pillars: reinventing borders; regulatory efficiency; resource security; the North American defence alliance; and new institutions. All five areas are addressed in the final report of the CFR-sponsored Task Force."

Well of course they like it - they wrote it.
It's their very own "Chickens For Colonel Sanders" campaign.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Workers of the World - Untie!

Quisling Watch

  • John Manley - former Liberal Deputy Prime Minister and ex-Finance Minister of Canada
  • Michael Wilson - former Tory Canada Finance Minister
  • Pierre-Marc Johnson - former Quebec premier
  • James Dinning - former Alberta Finance Minister
  • Tom Axworthy - former Chief of Staff to P E Trudeau
  • Thomas D'Aquino - Chief Executive of Canadian Council of Chief Executives

Thanks to the above for all their work this year on the 'Task Force on the Future of North America'. We are especially grateful for these recommendations:

  • a N.A. resource pact allowing greater trade and investment in non-renewable resources, such as oil, gas, and water
  • an integrated N.A. electrical grid
  • a common N.A. currency
  • a N.A. passport
  • a N.A. security perimeter
  • an educational project to teach the idea of a "shared N.A. identity" in schools
  • a harmonization of immigration and refugee policies with the US
  • a trilateral threat intelligence center with US and Mexico

and also for this quote:

"Governance has not kept pace with economic realities and is preventing further integration."


Monday, January 09, 2006

Some Candidates Meeting at the Legion

Any one else notice that all the Green Party/NDP/Marxist-Leninist supporters spontaneously seated themselves on the left side of the hall and all the CPC supporters spontaneously seated themselves on the right?
For those of you who couldn't untangle yourselves sufficiently from your counterpanes in time to attend (and I'm looking at you here, b-boy and ricky larch), the format consisted of intros from each candidate, followed by Murray Atherton reading aloud the written questions which had been anonymously submitted beforehand by members of the audience.

The candidates :
Green Party - Silvaine Zimmerman
Liberal - Blair Wilson
Conservative - John Weston
NDP - Judith Wilson
Marxist-Leninist - Anne Jamieson

And right off the top comes :
Do you or your party consider water to be exempt from NAFTA ?
M-L, GP, and NDP candidates : Yes, exempt from NAFTA but the NAFTA rules we do have aren't enforceable.
Lib. : Yes, but currently it's legally up to individual provinces to negotiate.
CPC : Says he doesn't know.

What are the most important issues to this riding:
Lib : Biggest riding in Canada so accessibility and accountability to each part of it. (Boos on Lib accountability)
NDP : Poverty gap and cynicism regarding social justice.
M-L : Productive job base threatened - we can't live on tourism and house construction.
GP : Balancing economy and environmental concerns - more green collar jobs needed.
CPC : The 2010 Games and expanding the military.
No kidding?

Lib : Yeah!
GP : No corporate meddling and no ads.
NDP, M-L : Why no meaningful local programming? More money needed.
CPC : The 2010 Games! and more Sheri Ullrich.

Priorities re kids and childcare :
NDP, Lib : Quality daycare and affordable housing.
GP : Daycare should be available where you work but affordable housing is the bigger issue.
CPC : Tax credit for kids in sports programs.
You're fucking killing me here.

Gun regulation :
GP : Tough on gun offense sentencing but more relevant to fix causes like poverty and gangs.
Lib, M-L : Deal with poverty, hunting rifles ok.
NDP ; Fix existing hand gun registry.
CPC : Stiffer sentencing, more cops, increase the military.

Abortion :
Lib : Didn't we establish this 20 years ago? (Cheers)
GP, NDP, M-L : Better sex education.
CPC : Will listen to his constituency and support a free vote.
You're toast now, buddy.

Gay rights :
GP, Lib : Duh!
M-L : Yeah, fine, what about a constitution that addresses all human rights?
CPC : The gov't has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.
NDP : Oh give me a break. You have a SoCon agenda and are also personally involved in a vote against the Nis-Ga'a.

Murray : Ok and now to wrap up ....

Of course I'm excluding here how the table some of us were sitting on collapsed noisily during the 'bedrooms of the nation' speech, and how several members of the audience coughed 'Mulroney' repeatedly throughout the proceedings, and how likeable and funny the Lib candidate was in the face of audience opposition, and how GP Silvaine really kicked ass here but with a light and amusing human touch. But I was just wondering...
Hands up everyone who watched CPC John Weston today and thought, "Now here's a serious guy, an intelligent Harvard-educated well-spoken guy, who is sincere and courteous and well-meaning."
OK, good, thanks.
Now hands up everyone who watched John Weston today and saw a sock-puppet.
Yeah, that's what I figured.

All Candidates Meeting at the Legion

Quotes from the after-brawl :

"Look, Harper made those remarks ten years ago. It's just not fair to bring them up now after all this time."
"Ok with me as long as you don't bring up Jesus."

"Wait a sec there, Slick...Turn it back, turn it back now a sec..."

You're telling me that you're gonna give me $1200 a year in Child Care Allowance that I can spend any way I want -- for free-- and all I gotta do in return is let you make whatever changes you want to the country and the constitution and the judiciary.
Damn but that's gonna buy a lot of beer and popcorn.

With apologies to David Cross.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

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