Friday, December 30, 2005
As for Paul Martin, the devout Roman Catholic, he has been seen in every religious venue but a Church. A Church would be a natural place to visit, this being the Christmas season and given Martin's personal Catholic beliefs. You could say I find this religious venue hopping a bit odd, considering how Martin seems to have ignored the Church.
As you can see, the closest Martin got to a cross this Christmas season was the one on top of the tree you see in this picture below. OH, and did I mention that the Christmas tree was in a deli?
The latest SES research poll shows a dead heat. Considering that it is rolling polling (that kinda rhymes, don't it?), either today's numbers represent an anomaly or the Liberals seem to be sinking everywhere in Canada, with only the lone two holdouts Quebec and Ontario.
ON THE ISSUE OF income trusts, the Globe and Mail headlines this story: "Trading offers few clues for RCMP."
Is this really the right title for the story?
Exhibit 1: this statement by one Bay Street exec: "You would have to be pretty stupid not to figure out what's happening." The evidence bears this out.
Exhibit 2: It took less than a week to figure out what was going on based on public knowledge that everyone could access.
Exhibit 3: There are many clues that can be followed up. Here are some simple layman suggestions:
- Find out who profited/traded Income Trusts in high volume the day before and the day of the Income Trust announcement.
- Analyze phone records from the PMO and Goodale's office. Who were they calling? When?
- Try to establish links between communication with these offices and big firms.
- Find out what went on during the closed door meetings Goodale had with Bay Street in the days prior to the announcement.
- Trace Stockhouse.ca messages indicating that Goodale would be "levelling the playing field" before the announcement.
Besides, the RCMP aren't looking for patterns per se. Is the Globe suggesting that there is no merit to the suggestion that 35x increase in the average volume of Paul Martin's Physicians' Medisys Trust was guesswork? Look at the statistics and decide for yourself.
Volume for MHG on the TSX:
Thursday, December 29, 2005
You can watch the now-infamous Mansbridge/Goodale interview here.
Small Dead Animals has this: "Ralph is on local radio right now, repeating his assertions that he investigated himself to his own satisfaction. He sounds more than a little rattled."
Even Calgary Grit notices is pathetic CBC performance: "Watching Ralph Goodale on The National tonight was...almost sad."
Paul Martin is coming out this morning defending Goodale: "I have complete confidence in Ralph Goodale."
Will the electorate?
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
I've examined my own conduct in this matter and I'm confident that conduct is consistent with 30 years of integrity and trust in public life.
Isn't it reassuring to know that 'acountability' to a Liberal means "self examination"? It is the customary fallacy of nemo iudex in causa sua, or that no one can be a judge in his own case.
Bourque has learned that RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli has confirmed that the Paul Martin Liberal Government is under a criminal investigation over potential leaks stemming from decisions in Finance Minister Ralph Goodale's department relating to the multi-hundred million dollar Income Trust debable.Now, the Globe and Mail has its own story on the issue. As I read it, I could not help but feel like the last sentence of the article did not belong. It seemed the closest thing to a personal opinion creeping in the story:
I mean, why would you even say that last sentence? It goes left unsaid, I think. The morale of the Globe: investigations do not equal guilt. As if Globe readers, thought to consist of very intelligent Canadians, can't infer that much already. And as most Canadians know all too well, most scandals don't lead to any charges either.
News of the criminal investigation comes in the middle of a federal election campaign in which opposition parties have tried to depict the Liberal government as corrupt and scandal-plagued.
Criminal investigations do not always lead to charges.
But on a more legal note, this is what Elections Canada and Parliament have to say about residency: The new information brought to my attention is pretty damaging information. That is, there are really two relevant factors here determining relevant to determining Ignatieff's candidacy:
- Length of absence from Canada
- Intention of residency
"If you are an elector (a person who is eligible to vote) and have been living away from Canada for less than five consecutive years since your last visit home, you are eligible to vote under The Special Voting Rules."
Ignatieff has been living away from Canada for more than five years. Thus, he runs afoul of the ordinarily resident clause in the Canada Elections Act, explained here by Parliament:
"Since 1993, Canadian citizens who reside outside Canada have been permitted to vote in federal elections provided they have been absent for five years or less and plan to return to Canada."
Ignatieff has not been absent for five years or less. I thus infer that he is not eligible to vote if the above information is correct.
Ignatieff only can be eligible to vote based on one factor: intention. If Ignatieff intends to reside in Canada again, he can vote. Ignatieff is not saved by his intentions, though. As he said before, he intends to go back to Harvard: “If I am not elected, I imagine that I will ask Harvard to let me back." Further, after politics, if elected, he still plans to go back to Harvard: “It would be an honor to return to Harvard once my political career is concluded."
I see no way to interpret his comments as a "joke." Who is laughing?
Besides, as one commenter put it more or less, we have a right to know what Ignatieff's permanent address is.
*****Correction: As someone stated correctly in the comments, Ignatieff is not prevented from voting per se. He may indeed be eligible. The problem is merely finding out which electoral district he was living in. If Ignatieff has bought some sort of permanent place, these questions surrounding his candidacy are answered. If Ignatieff does not have any place he is "ordinarily resident" at all, then I think all the above still applies.
As far as this comment goes, that "the "5 year" rule you continue to cite only applies if a person is currently absent and has been so for for 5 years or more," I have not seen any evidence to suggest that it only applies to people currently absent. When I read the material from Elections Canada's own website, it talks about past ("have lived") not the present ("currently lives").
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
One commenter is certainly right - the public does have a right to Ignatieff's permanent address. The problem with Ignatieff is not that he is possesses the possibility of being an elector because he certainly does. The problem of Ignatieff is that he may have voided this possibility by indicating his return to Harvard if his candidacy does not work out. This intention, interestingly, does matter. As I reiterated before, intention is used to determine where students are eligible to vote. Where they intend to return after their studies is their eligible district. What is Ignatieff's?
It is still important to keep in mind that the final call does come down to the wisdom of the Returning Officer though. I am in no way saying that Ignatieff should or shouldn't have the right to vote or be a candidate. I am merely questioning his candidacy based on current election law. I don't know of any cases where a Canadian has been denied their right to vote. Can anyone think of such a case? I dont suspect there are many. It's that Charter thing.
Monday, December 26, 2005
"Many are predicting the election run will get nasty after Jan. 1, when party leaders are expected to return to full speed campaigning. With the campaign about half over, civility is expected to give way to nastiness."Of course, they were saying the same thing a month ago. It was "fast approaching then." And it is "fast approaching" now. I don't know, though. The campaign still seems pretty tame to me.
The Canada Elections Act stipulates that candidates must be eligible electors. In order to be an eligible elector in a riding, you must be "ordinarily resident" in that riding. To my knowledge, Ignatieff disqualifies as an elector, and thereby as candidate, in Etobicoke-Lakeshore for the following reasons:
- Ignatieff has no known connections (dwellings, residences, etc.) in that riding. He has not lived there before.
- Ignatieff does not intend to stay in that riding if he loses the race. That is, he has indicated that he would return to Harvard if he lost the election. In order to qualify as being "ordinarily resident" one has to fulfill this demand as stipulated in the Act: "The place of ordinary residence of a person is the place that has always been, or that has been adopted as, his or her dwelling place, and to which the person intends to return when away from it." Thus, the only concievable way that Ignatieff can be considered ordinarily resident is if he bought some property and intended on residing in that riding. But since his comments in the Harvard Crimson do not show he intends to permanently adopt it, or return to it "when away from it", Ignatieff has disqualified himself from being an elector in that riding.
But this is purely my opinion. There be facts of which I am unaware.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Recognizing that Trudeau's "the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation" is anathema to Canadians, the Court has ruled accordingly. Reading the case makes it even more clear to me that the majority focused more on precedent rather than the black and white text of the law. Indeed, there is absolutely no analysis in the majority opinion of the part of the Criminal Code being broken, s. 210(d). Instead, the majority revels in playing the philosopher king, asking: is a bawdy house indecent? does it cause harm? does our Canadian tolerance extent to bawdy houses? Here is the relevant section in the criminal code:
Every one who keeps a common bawdy-house is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.Case closed. Yet, the judges babble about decency and harm.
The real big issue, in my opinion, is the continuing neo-natural law jurisprudence of this Court. This neo-natural law jurispudence evidently appears to focus more on good sounding slogans than law. "Consensual conduct behind code-locked doors can hardly be supposed to jeopardize a society as vigorous and tolerant as Canadian society," says McLachlin. Essentially, the Court has baptized the harm principle.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS RULING IS THUS: Logically, these sexual decisions based on consent may logically lead into economic decisions between people based on consent. Look at McLachlin's formulae to test whether or not state interference is unjust or not. I have been saying for years that this type of sexual liberation in society is really bad news for government. Not only do they lose their right to legislate for the public good (morality). But they may also lose their economic right to intrude on its citizens.
For example, I cannot set up a gambling operation in my house. I need a license from the state. But why would I need to under the logic of these sexual liberation cases? If consent without harm=permissable without state interference, the government requirement of a license ought to be nulled unconstitutional and void. Heck, the concept of "taxes" is an implicit interference upon two or more private consenting individuals.
Since a situation where the Court rules taxes unconstitutional based on the firewall of consent is absurd, so must this decision be. And thus, the signficance of this case is not a drawback of public morality, but of a dangerous road of precedent being developed.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Monday, December 19, 2005
"We watch our hockey team competing for gold medals and often winning. We probably wouldn't win if we had a Canada team and a Quebec team … We would be both of us irreversibly diminished if this country were to be divided." –Stephen Harper, English Debate, Dec 16th, 05Stephen Harper's comment to Duceppe about hockey in the December 16th English debate is missing from the CBC transcript and on the CTV transcript.
I was going to make some comment on the subject of diversity and Canadian national unity, but I think Mr Mugford puts it well in the context of the debate.
Friday, December 16, 2005
My government "provided a substantial tax cut for the middle class and the less fortunate." "Because that is much more effective and much fairer to reduce personal income taxes, rather than reducing the GST because it leaves a lot more money in the pockets of tax payers."
Wrong answer. She doesn't have an income. Therefore, Martin needs one detail to show that the income tax cut "much fairer" to her? Perhaps since there isn't any. This was a huge mistake in my view. A lot of people don't have a large enough income to get benefits, especially "the less fortunate." What about young people? Disabled? Retirees? Income tax are not bad by any means. But answering the question in that manner is playing dodgeball.
If you think I should be talking about Harper re: same-sex marriage, think again. His position has been clear for years and years. It hasn't changed. Can we let it go? Besides, most Canadians agree with Harper's position on same-sex marriage according to a poll this past weekend. Can we stop calling it controversial?
Harper managed not to look scary or sarcastic but failed to break his image as a somewhat detached and over-rational type."Besides the usual pro-Liberal rhetoric of the Globe, what you have here is a bunch of media elites trying to fit into the shoes of a so-called "average Canadian." Further, their comments are so feeling-based. Call me rational here, but what about the actual content of what they are saying? The only time the editorial board is vigilant about substance is reiterating the same-sex marriage debate. People, Harper and Martin have said nothing new over the past year. Let it go. Honestly. Do we need any more stories like this?
"Mr. Harper was too bland."
"Mr. Harper has made civility look boring."
"Paul Martin is coming alive in this debate -- and it is working."
"Martin's words were ringing. I only heard a quick clang from Harper."
"Harper is looking rather wan in contrast to Martin's passion in the last few questions -- he's SO cool and rational that he often seems robotic."
"Martin gives a great, passionate response to the unity question -- his best minute yet."
But back to the average Canadian ideal that these elites try to stick their shoes into. Harper "failed to break his image" and "Harper is too bland" really go to the root of their quest: to speak for the average Canadian.
I say, speak for themselves. They are smart and education. Talk about the damn content. Who is making better points? Who is lying? The most obvious omission is Paul Martin saying he never wanted to send troops to Iraq. Well, we are already in Iraq. Maybe his right arm doesn't know what his left arm is doing.
Paul Martin: "I really think Canada should get over to Iraq as quickly as possible," (North Bay Nugget, April 30, 2003)".
Yet, even this issue is just an issue of veracity: it is still not about the best ideas. Who is making better arguments about children, etc.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Here are the latest polling numbers:
The national stage has surely changed with the Bloc being in power. Who knows if we will ever have a majority Liberal government again for some time with the strength of those numbers. On to the debates!
But as the article by Don Dessord points out, fixed-elections dates challenge the fundamental principle of responsible government in Canada. As an essential feature of the American Congressional system which relies on the principle of the separation and balance of powers, fixed-election can be confused perhaps as importable into Canada to help level the field for fair competition.
But features of responsible government that would be compromised by fixed-election dates would include votes of non-confidence and the role of the Governor General.
So why is the notion of fixed elections appealing? I think Dessord has a good answer and some interesting suggestions:
I believe what the public really objects to is not the fact that election calls are unpredictable, but that the party in power holds an unfair advantage and some elections are not fair contests. Therefore, measures that improve the competitive nature of elections would go a long way towards alleviating public dissatisfaction.
There are many ways to do this, though a full discussion is beyond the scope of this paper. Some form of proportional representation, for example, would help. So would allowing more free votes in Parliament. More free votes might convince citizens their MPs matter, and so they might think elections matter more too. There are many other problems with our parliamentary system that need to be addressed as well, as people like Donald Savoie have so well identified. But the convolutions necessary to fix election dates strike me as requiring far too much effort for far too little improvement, and may very well make things much worse.
I wonder what one would find if one were to compare attitudes towards priests in child abuse cases to teachers in child abuse cases?
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Here is a case where I do not side with the crown. I do not share a particular fondness to gangs. I would like to see the elimination of criminal gangs altogether. Yet there are problems with the way the government is going about stopping them. And let me argue, I think their solutions are a bit myopic.
1. The freedom of association, the ugly swan in comparison with the other freedoms (ie. of religion, speech, etc.), is trampled by the government's definition of "criminal organization." If people are allowed to freely assemble, that includes the right to assembling under an organization with loose or unloose memberships.
2. A gang is not criminal or un-criminal, just like a corporation is not criminal or uncriminal. Any body of people that come together under an organization is just that - a body. The corporation - or gang - itself is merely a legal fiction: an entity that is ascribed status. Following the government's logic of criminal organizations as an organization which habitually breaks the law, it puts the government in quite a tight spot.
After all, the government is perhaps the premiere prominent law breaker. Adscam notwithstanding, the government frequently coerces people to obey laws which are not actually legal - courts frequently strike down laws which go contrary to the law. Ought we call the legislature or Parliament "criminal" when it does that? Ought we prosecute legislators for passing laws which get struck down?
No. We should not. I am arguing from the position that the government's logic leads to an absurd result. Belonging to a criminal organization cannot be considered a crime any more than being a party of the Liberal party or Nazi party ought to be considered a crime. People individually break the law. People individually need to be accountable to the law. (Yes, there are laws governing corporations. They are not above the law; corporations get punished collectively for their sins).
3. The rule of law demands that s. 467.13 of the criminal code be struck down. It is of no force or effect precisely because it violates the rule of law. The rule of law demands guidance. Vagueness cannot guide. Therefore, if "criminal organizations" is a vague term, it ought to not be enforcable since it cannot guide people. For instance, ought people belonging to the Liberal party, an arguably criminal group, be punished? No. Because the section of the Code is so vague that its application may lead to wildly broad and arbitrary results, which violate the rule of law. No reasonable person can be expected to know that joining the Liberal party might actually be criminal. The section itself lends no credence to this interpretation. Yet, it could be construed that way under its vague definition. If criminal organizations is unduly vague, and I think it is, then the judge had no choice but to strike the section down.
The most positive counter-argument to this, I suppose, is for the Crown to rely on the previous jurisprudence of the court, which has stated that a section of law is vague when no one can debate what it means. If there is debate on what the law means, then it is not vague. Let me just say that I think this jurisprudence is terrible, because it makes no sense. Yet, if the Crown is to have a hope in convincing the Supreme Court, they might have to argue that the section is quite debatable.
As Stephen Taylor points out, Scott Reid buys a lot of "refreshments" with tax dollars from establishments that specialize in booze. Here is just the beginning of the list posted on Taylor's site and populated with public information available from the Privy Council Office.
Perhaps Scott Reid doesn't trust parents, because he doesn't trust himself.
Scott Reid's hospitality expenses for 2005 (Jan 1 - Jun 15)...New Year's "Dinner meeting" at D'Arcy McGee's: $22.71
January 3rd "Dinner Meeting" at Heart & Crown: $33.13
January 10th "Dinner Meeting" at Lieutenant's Pump: $33.10
February 1st "Dinner Meeting" at The Works: $53.00
February 4th "Dinner Meeting" at Royal Oak: $93.70
February 8th "Dinner Meeting" at Brixton's British Pub: $28.39
And now someone's spotted that one of these expenses listed as a "Dinner meeting to discuss media briefing" at Suite 34, a bar lounge in Ottawa, on May 19 2005 was the same day the budget vote passed, the same week when Belinda Stronach crossed the aisle, and the same night that she and Tim Murphy, the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff could be found dancing atop a speaker at... Suite 34. The The Toronto Star has the details for that evening. Scott Reid appears to have been the only person to have claimed that evening as an expense (see 1).
- Did anyone else expense the evening?
- What are Canadian attitudes towards the expenses claimed by government officials? What are the norms in other countries?
- Do Canadians trust themselves and do they believe that the government should trust the people?
- If there isn't much reaction to Mr Reid's comments about parents, I may form the opinion that Canadians either do not care for the extra $25, think the government would spend it better than themselves, apathetic towards those with small children, and/or that Canadians have a tendency to believe that the government is more trustworthy than families.
- The triumphalism of people who barely just win a vote of confidence is fascinating. Almost as if it is the last days on earth. Like the night Al Gore after conceding the 2000 election "stomped and gyrated" past the midnight hour, the image of the sweat showing through his shirt spurs on my contemplation of the end and the dance. As I imagine what Stronach and Murphy dance on the speakers and Reid looks on, I wonder if in their minds tonight was the future.
Monday, December 12, 2005
My theory is that the more he is highlighted in the press, the papers, TV, etc. the more people dislike the man. The same may be true for Stephen Harper. But I would wager that the more Martin is out there, the more people remember how insincere they find him.
Personally, I think Jack Layton could use some visibility out there. Let's see what the debates do. If Jack can come off with temperence and reasonable without attacking the Conservatives, I think he could really improve his share of the vote.
With the recent lack of polling, it seems evident that polling companies are waiting until the debates to do major polling. I suspect Thursday's debate will cause some of these numbers to fluctuate - for a time, anyway.
Anyway, here are the latest polling seat predictor based on the lastest IPSOS and Strategic Counsel / Globe and Mail / CTV polls.
This news relates to the previous post, in which my colleague raises a provocative, yet valid question. Is there a relationship between immigration and violent crime in a country? A question he ties back into a thought on the broader theme of tolerance and the cult that follows it and keeps it sacred.
The number 43 challenges those who think god is in the precious box. My colleague says tolerance hinders the proper assessment of problems, which for him evidently begin by conducting a more comprehensive census. The number 43, however, suggests tolerance is nothing.
As for the relationship of crime to immigration, Japan makes for an interesting comparison to Canada. First, there are critics of the close relationship between the police and the media and their reporting of violent crime (see: 1, 2 - 'the crime of crime reporting' in Japan). While there is evidence to support the argument that aliens tend to comprise much of the crime (see 3), in the context of the media-police relationship this may make the criminals as much as the victims of domestic policy on immigrants as the victims are victims.
Second, Japanese intolerance only gives it short-term security in a globalized world. The Japanese workforce is shrinking and the number of people that will need to be employed to service the grey market increasing. By 2030, there is predicted to be 2 people in the workforce per retiree in the country with the population heading back under the 100 million mark from 127 million people (see 4, 5). And while awareness of the problem has drawn attention to immigration, the reality of a backlash against foreigners is considered very possible (see 6).
The complaint against Japan culminates in drawing out a similarity between it and Canada and not so much in contrasting the two. Both share in their lack of tolerance - though certainly not to the same extent, but emphasizing similarities in intolerance may help Canadians ask hard questions of themselves rather than point the finger at immigrants.
And though women may not be tolerated (or encouraged or want to be) in parliament, and though the Prime Minister goes for banning handguns over listening to the affected (see 7), and though separatism is still alive and well despite what the new Gov Gen says in her investiture speech; almost 80 percent of Canadians like immigrants (see 8) and that's a warm feeling for an immigrant like myself. Tolerance isn't the problem. A shallow tolerance is. Tolerance deepened through greater personal and collective introspection and hospitality is worth pursuing. There's even security in it.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Today on CKNW, Peter Warren and his guest chose political correctness over an ugly truth. To demonstrate how absurd this choice was, I encourage you to listen to the archives at CKNW on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 11:30am. Essentially, an astute reader asked, "is it a coincidence that Japan has the lowest crime rates in the Industrialized world, considering the fact that they also have the lowest immigration rates in the world?"
The stuttering by Warren's guest could be heard echoing around Vancouver. Confronted with facts that went against his value system of tolerance and multiculturalism, the guest, a doctor, was at a loss for words: "I don't know what to say to that." Peter Warren did, however: "it tars the feathers of every immigrant coming into this country." Sure it does. But the question is, is it justified?
Are ethnic people more likely to commit crimes than euro-centric people? Are a larger portion of gun crimes a result of an immigrant influx?
Such questions are taboo in Canada. They do not get asked seriously. But even more shocking, people do not deserve an answers. People scream that the premise is anti-tolerant, so one must ignore the evidence.
It is odd, isn't it, how tolerance and pluralism only extends to the outward acceptance of tolerance. As far as I am aware, we can poll people on their wealth according to race/ethnicity. But not their crime rates. In Canada, that is taboo.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
While Goodale said to CTV "There was no specific advance notice whatsoever" -
- trading of dividend paying stocks increased more than usual that day and prices rose sharply reports the CBC;
- people were talking about an announcement that day, mentioning specifics, and used similar language to the language that the Finance minister used before the announcement was made - CTV found evidence earlier in the day of postings on stockhouse.ca of an announcement to "even the playing field" and "to make a more level playing field" specifically mentioning taxation on stock-dividends. Goodale's statement that evening: "We're going to help to level up the playing field as between corporations and trusts and we're going to be doing that by ending double taxation on dividends."
- at the very least, some people knew an announcement was going to be made - the associate executive director of Canada's Association for the Fifty Plus, William Gleberzon, told CTV "The day [the Finance Minister's office] made the announcement they phoned us and said something is going to be said."
- potentially not as significant as the opposition makes it out to be, because it would appear that Goodale had said an announcement for something would come before a vote of non-confidence and also the leak may not have come from the top of his office.
- it would, however, continue to build the case against the government's ability to be accountable.
1) There is insufficient regional data. I can't find the regional Decima data. And the SES Research poll does not distinguish between the regions of Manitoba and BC, for example - in my view, a grave error.
2) I don't trust these polls. The SES poll seems out of whack. For instance, it has the Liberals with a 40 percent advantage in the Maritimes. 40. The latest EKOS poll puts that lead at 20. Such large shifts in voter intention are rare without any forseeable cause. The Liberal lead is also 20 points in Ontario. The most recent MacLeans poll put the Cons and Libs in a neck and neck race. The Decima poll, on the other hand, is online. Even though the sample size is a whopping 9,000, it is still online. I don't trust it.
The Strategic Counsel poll appears to be more accurate than these two. However, since there are no regional detailed numbers, I cannot add it into the aggregation. Thankfully, IPSOS and EKOS appears to be doing mid-week polls which are released on the weekends, which can provide a better idea of what is going out in the public.
UPDATE: I have just discovered that Strategic Counsel is publishing their regional data. See here for their latest example. This is good news. This means that there will be more frequent seat predictions and poll aggregation here on the Potent Pew. An update will occur as soon as the IPSOS poll is released.
- The Goodale office Income Trusts leak. Developing...
- The handgun ban proposed by the Liberal party has been receiving some really negative response. It seemed like a sure fire hit. However, after reading some information, I am not so sure.
Ironically, a handgun ban is practically in effect already in Canada. Handguns are only given to registered owners. It has been this way for over 60 years. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the electorate.
Obviously no one is in favour of having unrestricted access to handguns. However, it seems like a smokescreen announcement, given the fact that the gun registry has not lessoned gun violence. And that an all out ban in other countries have not been proven to be successful.
So how can handgun crime be lessoned? For starters, how about severe penalties for possessions of handguns outside of a government sanctioned handgun?
Secondly, there needs to be a study done on handgun crimes on guns that have been registered. If handguns used in crimes are typically registered, that is a good correlation to measure. If handguns in crimes are illegal, then any registry has proved to be ineffective. Thus, registered owners that do no harm ought not be punished.
Third, the root of the problem cannot be solved by a quick fix. It means an agenda of education of values, where people are taught that problems are resolved between people and the law. Not vigilante justice. Violent vigilante justice ought not be tolerated by the community.
Of course, it is doubtful we are ever to see real vision on this issue. If people still want to kill each other, they will find a way. Whether that be a gun, knife, or some other method. The method is not the problem. The people controlling the method are. If violence is to cease, then people will need to smarten up. No statist law or regulation can instantly change people. If a government is to govern for the future, it needs to foster values - a hard word for a government to digest, let alone legislate.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
OTTAWA, Wednesday, November 30, 2005 — The Chief Electoral Officer of Canada,
Under the Act, the first person or media outlet to release the results of an election opinion survey must indicate who sponsored the survey (for example, the news organization or political party that paid for the poll), who carried it out and when, the population from which the survey sample was drawn, how many persons were contacted, and the survey's margin of error. If a survey has not been conducted using recognized statistical methods, this must be stated. Print and Internet publishers must also include the wording of the survey questions and instructions on how to obtain the written report. The survey sponsor must make this report available to the public, on request, at a cost of no more than $0.25 a page. Any other media outlet that broadcasts or publishes survey results during the 24 hours following initial publication must provide the same information.
No new opinion survey may be published on election day before the polling stations close.
Elections Canada is an independent body set up by Parliament.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
This week Canadians learned that the U.S.-based National Rifle Association (NRA) would not only be supporting the Conservative party's campaign, but also providing it with strategic advice. "It's regrettable that Mr. Harper did not immediately reject these offers and send a strong signal to all Canadians that the NRA's mandate is not a sub-section of the Conservative platform," said [leader Jim] Harris.This would be pretty big news, if it were as true as it sounds. The real story goes something like this: a person in the NRA is speaking at a session with the Canadian Shooting Sports Association. The CSSA is, in turn, looking to get more politically active. Some of their members are going to be supporting the Conservative party in certain Ontario ridings. This is a far cry from the NRA, in any official capacity, supporting the Conservative party. Further, the NRA isn't even providing the Conservatives with "strategic advice", which is clear from that Globe and Mail story.
THE GREEN PARTY may have some demons in its closet, too. Most notably is the fact that the Green Party of Canada has been active in other countries' politics. This seems to be the only reason why the Green Party objects to NRA support of a Canadian party. Green Party Review says this:
"just off the top of my head I can say Canadian Greens helped the Green Party of the United States with logistical support (the lapel pin that Ralph Nader wore during his last two presidential campaigns came from a GPC project, "Goods for Greens"), and, the leader of the Australian Green Party did a tour of British Columbia to help in their last provincial election."So, must the Conservatives "renounce NRA support"? To recap, they don't really have their support anyway. And even if they did, would they renounce their foreign support?
LET ME just note one reason why the Conservatives aren't dominating this election (since they have set the agenda since day 1). It does have to do, partly, with the leader. I know, I know. I just bashed people putting too much stock into the leader. But I suppose I more resist the "extremely flawed" hyperbole of Mr. Gregg. Mr. Gregg infers that people have made up their minds. I disagree. This does not affirm the possibility of people to change.
That said, I would like to argue that the reason Paul Martin is more favourable to most people is twofold. One, people are more likely to view the status quo as favourable, as long as it does not tangibly affect them. Thus, Martin is tolerated by many people, even if he is not liked.
The second reason that people like Martin is his passion. 'Let me be clear', you can't believe a word he says. And 'fundamentally', many people think he is a liar who will do anything to get elected. However, he does have a passion when he talks. It is attractive and rousing, even if you don't take a liking to the man.
Stephen Harper, conversely, is pretty plain spoken. Even in his new plain talk ads, he kind of drifts off. He says things like he is repeating them for the hundreth time. I have heard Harper speak in person. Personally, I found him to be a great speaker. If he could have that same fire all the time as when I heard him, people might take a greater interest in him.
Let me go out on a limb and say that Gilles Duceppe is so liked in Quebec - and even in the rest of Canada - precisely because he shoots straight, but is also passionate about defending Quebec's interests. And it shows. Conservatives must be crossing their fingers, hoping that their leader can display some of the inner fire during the debates. Harper doesn't have to be angry. But he needs to be passionate. He needs spirit! As Kierkegaard said:
"our age is essentially one of understanding and reflection, without passion, momentarily bursting into enthusiasm, and shrewdly relapsing into repose."Thus, any sustained passion by either leader is likely to overcome any doubts that people have about their leadership.
Let me be the first to say that excessive poll speculation is getting out of control I gather. Every day, Allen Gregg is in the Globe analysing polling numbers. In other papers, much of the same really occurs. But he should know better than merely editorializing every percentage point fluctuation that occurs in the polls. Take this latest story for example:
"Canadians look at two extremely flawed leaders and hold their nose."For one, I honestly don't know where he is getting this. Canadians are not dumb enough to think that you actually vote for the leader of a party. That is American politics. Sure, leaders do affect people's perceptions of the party. But so what? Around 40 percent of people outside of Quebec are willing to vote for each of them. They can't be that bad.
Monday, December 05, 2005
"The rule of law requires judges to uphold unwritten constitutional norms, even in the face of clearly enacted laws or hostile public opinion," said a prepared text of the lecture Chief Justice McLachlin gave to law students at Victoria University of Wellington late last week.Over at the Great White North, the emergency bells are ringing over this:
"There is certainly no guarantee or presumption that a given list of constitutional principles is complete, even assuming the good faith intention of the drafters to provide such a catalogue."
Chief Justice McLachlin set out a blueprint for when judges must rely on unwritten principles, which she defined as "norms that are essential to a nation's history, identity, values, and legal system."
A duty to force the government to bend to the will of a simple majority of a group of nine men and women appointed without review by a Prime Minister.I DO AGREE that there must be a better process in picking judicial appointments. However, I disagree with critisism of unwrriten principles. I think there are unwritten principles, such as the rule of law, that are applicable to Canadians. I think where me and McLachlin disagree is over the content of those principles.
This is why we need a Parliamentary review of and vote on all judicial appointments that are now made unilaterally by either the Minister of Justice or the Prime Minister.
McLachlin, likely, would like to obtain the authority of history for justifying what she discovers as a principle. Me, on the other hand, would let history decide what the principles are.
The difference between the two paradigms is emphasized in her belief that she must apply as supreme "norms" that are identical with the nation's "values." This is, likely, what AGWN is most upset about. And they have a right to be. For who can claim to discover a nation's values? If a nation has any values at all, those values are written down in case law or in statutes. Otherwise, they are mere whims. Likewise, discerning a nation's values is a task in transparent subjectivism.
A jurisprudence respecting history, conversely, is bound by history and history's conventions. Values are discovered in history, not used as justification for reporting on when a judge puts their finger in the air. Thus, this idea of hers becomes heresy to the idea of the rule of law: "Societal values change over time and the constitution document can be incomplete or open to interpretation."
Societal values change over time. Sure. Perhaps we need to change our system then. The separation of powers was intended to protect the legislatures from acting like courts. Now, we have the opposite problem. Courts are acting like legislatures. For how can people be guided by post facto discoveries of rights and values?
Sunday, December 04, 2005
HERE ARE THE latest polling numbers. As I have said before, the Ipsos poll appears to be the most "believable" poll. The EKOS poll, on the other hand, is very far from believable, in my opinion.
Take this example: EKOS has the Conservatives at 27% in the prairies compared to the Liberals' 34%. Every other poll I have looked at during this period has the Conservatives up at least 10 points, and in some cases up 14% in this same region. The same poll has Liberals up 10 percent in BC. All other polls have the Conservatives with a 3 to 9 percent lead. Keeping in mind that all these polls were done at the same time as each other, the EKOS poll appears to be an anomaly. Take these latest numbers with a grain of salt.
Latest polls (sample size in italics)
Poll 1: SES Research Nov.28-Dec.1 1200
Poll 2: EKOS Nov. 28-Dec.1 1308
Poll 3: Ipsos Nov.28-Dec.1 2450
4958 Total Sample
Saturday, December 03, 2005
I will also try to give you some detailed analysis of the polls tommorrow. Should be fun.
Friday, December 02, 2005
|Poll 1:||SES Research Nov.28-Dec.1||1200|
|Poll 2:||EKOS Nov. 22-24||802|
|Poll 3:||IPSOS Nov. 28-29||1000|
UPDATE: well, someone either "tipped Belinda's people off" or their website crashed. At any rate, the incriminating images are gone. Gone!
“If I am not elected, I imagine that I will ask Harvard to let me back,” Ignatieff said. “I love teaching here, and I hope I’ll be back in some shape or form.”Well, I hate to reign on his fun, but this followup sounds incredibly insincere:
Mr. Ignatieff quickly explained in a telephone interview from Boston that the comment was a joke. "I was talking in my customary way, with a lack of care," he said ruefully. "It was meant in a light-hearted humourous way . . . a kind of joke, like I was begging them to take me back."Forgive me from being slightly suspicious. But does this -- “I love teaching here, and I hope I’ll be back in some shape or form" -- sound like a 'kind of joke' to you? If he loses his election, my money is that he cuts and runs. Some dedication to the country.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Now, if they could only tell us how many people they called - rejections and all - to get those figures.
Look at these recent headlines:
- Harper's negative image hurts positive message (Of course, Martin, the incumbant, has relatively the same unfavourability ratings)
- Tories appear confused on plan (the most they can say is that they "appear" confused? or are they actually confused?)
- Harper re-opens same-sex debate (actually, the reporter that asked about same-sex did)
- Just what does Harper intend on Same-Sex marriage? (can you say "Hidden Agenda?" in any more obvious terms?)
Defending the undefendable, Paul Martin for Prime Minister.
The only thing I worry about is that it is forgotten come poll time. Then again, if the Conservatives waited, it could be seen as desperate. On second thought, it is best to remind people during the debate.
Here is some of the reaction to the move.
Liberals (CBC): "Cutting the GST favours the rich, finance minister Ralph Goodale said on Thursday."
NDP: No reaction yet. But they did propose the idea in 1997.
Paul Wells: "I should point out that Harper's announcement of a GST cut from 7% to 5% over four years, unveiled this morning at a Mississauga video store, went relatively smoothly and it probably actually will win votes."
Andrew Coyne: I don't know what he thinks now. But 5 years ago, he wrote this.
Warren Kinsella: "This election just turned. I can feel it - this was policy, not politics, and it was big."
Political Staples: "This positioning plays right into the mainstream Ontario voter. Again smart."
Calgary Grit: "For what it's worth, I think this is a bad policy. You keep the administrative costs and cut revenue. But this gives Harper something he can point to as constructive policy. And it's going to be very difficult to argue against."
I just want to make one comment, and that is related to Goodale. Why do people always have to play the class card? In a sense, it is such "American-style" politics - that Conservatives are the party that favours the rich and so on. Of course the GST favours people who spend more; the more they spend, the more they save. But so what: are the Liberals saying the poor don't benefit? For poor people who don't pay income tax, the GST is one of the few taxes they do pay. In that sense, the class warfare rhetoric doesn't work. The poor do benefit.
The idea is not only dumb policy, it is also dumb politics. In Quebec, the feds seizing control of provincial jurisdiction is headline material for separatist campaign literature.Come on. Can't he do better than that? Obviously there are jurisdictional concerns if this office was ever implemented. So what. It's almost like saying the Federal government has no de facto control over health care, which is not true - it even has a cabinet minister devoted to health. There is a simple solution people are overlooking: the federal government could work with provinces to ensure that there is an independent prosecutor in every province. It would not be coercion; it would be a joint venture. BC, for instance, already does this.
Offices in every province dedicated to looking over the federal government seems about right to me. I hope Paul Wells doesn't buy into this attack either. It's a campaign of ideas for goodness sakes, not a logistics convention.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Which one of the political parties do you think has a hidden agenda?
Here are some key areas of government. Can you remember a promise made and kept in each of these areas? This should be open season for the Tories to continue to hammer away at the Liberal record.
- :: Health - Waiting lines were so long the Supreme Court was forced to allow private care. Remember how health care was Martin's number 1 priority last campaign. Can he really run off that again?
- :: Foreign Aid - Martin was buddy-buddy with Bono. But Martin is not keeping their promise to him by maintaining aid at 0.7% of the GDP. Way to go Martin, now Bono is pissed.
- :: Accountability - It is not accountability to appoint the person responsible for investigating you.
- :: Taxes - The Liberals have raised taxes $500 billion in the last 7 years. Don't let the latest progressive tax cuts fool you.
- :: Democratization - 2 years since Martin promised democratization. Has he delivered? I can't think of one thing he has done to make this country more democratic. Further, Ms. Stronach was the Democratic Renewal cabinet minister. Do we know any of her recommendations after her cross-country tour? More on this here.
- :: Defense - They did increase the military by a few thousand troops. Keep in mind that they have lost many more though.
- :: Peacekeeping - What happened to all those people being sent to Dafur like Martin promised Kilgour and the country? Apparently only 2 advisors have been let in thus far.
- :: Economy - The Liberals and NDP once promised initiatives to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. It was in those 90's redbooks. I don't see any sign of the problem getting any better.
- :: The enviornment - Canada loves the environment. But the Liberals have not delivered. Consider this fact: Between 1995 and 2002, Canada cut its air pollution by 1.8 per cent while the United States achieved a cut of 45 per cent, says the report by Environmental Defence and the Canadian Environmental Law Association
The sum of this equals a record to attack. Harper, Layton, Duceppe - start your engines.
The Liberals are facing controversy over their star candidate Michael Ignatieff. Basically, the riding association is holding their own nomination meeting and accusing Ignatieff of not being a member of the riding in good standing.
The Liberals are also facing allegations of another scandal of insider training between the government and investors. The RCMP has begun to investigate. Finally, the story is getting some traction.
Finally, an "only in Canada moment": we were recognized by the third highest rated comedium in the 11:30pm time slot and we report it as news. On Canoe.ca right now, its the top headline. Admittedly, this line is pretty funny:
"Tonight, Canada's government falls. Will the streets murmur with quiet disagreement?"More as these develop...
He says a Director of Public Prosecutions would operate at arms length from politicians and make final decisions on all federal prosecutions, including charges arising from the sponsorship program.
- Paul Martin dropped the writ, and announced Stephen Harper would endanger Charter rights.
- The Liberals make the worst decision of the already early campaign. They start a blog with Scott Feschuk at the helm. And boy, does he try to be funny:
"Wow, look at me! I'm in "cyberspace," where no one can hear you scream. Or maybe they CAN hear you scream but they don't pay attention because they're too busy looking at naked ladies. Either way, stop screaming, would you?"My money is that he is a plant.
- Harper's election theme seems to be change.
- The media also made a mountain out of a molehill after Harper was caught suggesting the pre-existing policy that he would allow a free vote on gay marriage in the House.
- Harper also dodged a direct question about whether he loved Canada. (this does seem like a ridiculous question, though).
- Jack is proud of the work he has done so far. Elect MP's so he can continue to be the powerbroker.
- Their leader was MIA, out of the country.
"Party leader Jim Harris was in Europe on a paid speaking engagement when the Liberal government fell Monday on a vote of non-confidence."
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
"No Canadian Prime Minister in history has invoked the notwithstanding clause to override a Charter right – Stephen Harper would be the first to take this radical step."First of all, using a clause agreed to by 9 provinces and the federal government is not "radical." In fact, it was a "necessary" clause.
Second, no political party will disrespect the law, especially not the Charter. It is empty talk. Consider this example of how "two can play at this game":
Martin on Health Care after Supreme Court strikes down ban on private care:
"We're not going to have a two-tier health-care system in this country. Nobody wants that."- Paul Martin, June 9, 2005.
YET the Supreme Court ruled that...
However, where the government puts in place a scheme to provide health care, that scheme must comply with the Charter. We are of the view that the prohibition on medical insurance in s. 15 of the Health Insurance Act, R.S.Q., c. A-29, and s. 11 of the Hospital Insurance Act, R.S.Q., c. A-28 (see Appendix A) violates s. 7 of the Charter because it impinges on the right to life, liberty and security of the person in an arbitrary fashion that fails to conform to the principles of fundamental justice.UNFORTUNATELY, ONE-TIER health care that isn't speedy violates the Charter. I thus conclude that Paul Martin is ignoring Charter rights by claiming the status quo is sufficient. Further, the reason why this decision came to be in the first place was that for the past 12 years under Martin's watch, health-care waiting lists have increased to intolerable lengths.
The Liberals are not the protectors of Charter rights now any more than they were protectors of people's' rights 100 years ago under the Chinese head tax, imprisoned Ukranians in the first world war, and interned the Japanese and turned away Jewish migrants fleeing Nazy Germany during World War II.
The fact of the matter is, rights are to protect us from the government; we don't need a political party telling us that they instead will protect us from other parties. No one has a monopoly on rights OR law.
- Good live election-blogging by Paul Wells.
- Warren Kinsella has a very interesting piece on his blog.
- Andrew Coyne-watch, Day 1. Still no new election posts.
Nov. 29 Tracker
|Poll 1:||IPSOS Nov.22-24||1000|
|Poll 2:||EKOS Nov. 22-24||802|
|Poll 3:||IPSOS Nov. 28-29||1000|