Top Five 2010 Predictions

Due to my horrible accuracy at making predictions in 2009, and my complete lack of a sense of knowing better, I have decided to repeat the trick and try making another round of predictions for 2010.

1.  There will be NOT be a federal election.  Looking at the opposition, I don't believe the the NDP, the bloc or the Iffy's Libs are in any position to have an election.  Their time was in the middle of the recession.  NOT NOW.

With a recovery taking hold, the Liberals loosing the one fundraising expert that seemed to get them off the ground, a Liberal leader loosing credibility by the day, the NDP still attempting to deal with the "Green" question, and the Bloc quickly being forgotten the fundamental equation seems to result in the answer: avoid an election at all costs.  If anything if I were the opposition I would be pushing for more information about the Afghan abuse scandal before even thinking of an election.

As for Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister has an a fragile economic recovery to tender to, along with an Afghan abuse scandal that will not seem to go away.  The implementation of the HST this year is no doubt NOT going to make him friends in certain regions of the country as Canadians start to pay MORE for things they aren't used to.

2.  The economy will rebound.  The worst is indeed over.  The re-evaluation of the market after the downturn lead to 5 years of growth going doing the tubes.  Basically the market seemed to think that over the last 5 years absolutely zero growth had occurred.  My personal opinion is that the market on the whole is undervalued.

3.  Inflation will be a problem.  The United States alone pumped into its economy $787 billion USD in stimulus spending, Britain expanded its money supply by $330 billion USD in "quantitative easing", and Canada injected somewhere over $35 billion CDN.  With recovering oil demand, I personally think that world wide inflation should be given.

4.  Obama will send more troops to Afghanistan and Iraq.  I never believed he would ever pull out of either country.  He's a statist at heart and will fall on the argument of "realpolitic" to justify his actions.

5.  Absolutely nothing will come out of Copenhagen.  The summit was a failure by those intent on expanding the role of government in our daily lives.  I think those that believe that a treaty signed by a government somehow negates the politics of that government's homeland after the treaty has been signed are living in la-la land.  A good example of this is the Lisbon treaty's difficulties in Europe.  The US will implement some half hearted attempt at carbon restrictions.  In the end it doesn't change the politics or the reality of the climate debate.

Al Qaeda's Christmas gift to the West

An attempted terrorist attack on an airplane filled with - lo and behold - innocent bystanders. Except that this attack was foiled by passengers taking the initiative and wrestling the terrorist to the ground. I can't help but think about the heroism displayed by the passengers of Flight 93 on the Sep 11 attacks.

Apparently the most effective means to stop terrorists doesn't seem to be increased airline security, or increased immigration restrictions.

What does work to stop terrorism seems to be committed decent individuals defending their lives and not allowing fear to get the best of them.

The irony here is of course that governments will no doubt react to this latest attack by further restricting the freedoms of their citizens in the name of improving security.

Airlines should be able to place whatever restrictions they wish as passengers are not forced to buy tickets from them. The problem I have is the ridiculous restrictions the state has placed on immigration, border controls, and free trade that I do not believe improve security against terrorists attacks ever since 9/11.

Charest's Copenhagen Whining

“Mr. Harper wanted me to say nothing at Copenhagen? Why? Why would I be silent at Copenhagen — I’d say one thing in Quebec and the opposite thing there? Defending Quebec’s position is not working against Canada.."(link)
Why? Because, Mr Premier, quite frankly you're wrong.

The position you took at Copehagen was anti-Albertan, and quite frankly anti-Canadian.

You suggested there was "two Canada's." A Canada consisting of the central provinces pursuing tough objectives for carbon emissions, and Alberta with the west unwilling to meet tough carbon restrictions. This view of Canada pits region against region, with little regard for your neighbors in Confederation.

You are correct there are two Canada's. But the rest of your world is upside down.

There is one Canada of provinces with Conservative leaning governments working diligently to stay out of people's way to be self sufficient, and a Canada with provinces dependent on equalization payments from the other Canada to fund their spending heavy socialist leaning pet projects.

Whining about the Little Red Hen refusing to bake bread quite the way you want to is not productive, it's not the mark of leader, and in the end it's childish.

It's easy for you to critize how the provinces that are keeping this country afloat are running their affairs, but in the end you depend on them to fund your government. So the question I have for you Mr Charest, is with your economy contracting due to your stronger emission targets, just how do you expect to stay afloat by forcing the Little Red Hen's of Canada to follow your economically disastrous policies?

Just what will it take for you to appreciate and work with your fellow Canadians on this file?

Canadian Space Prize?

Apparently the CSA is considering using prizes, structured like the X-prize to drive innovation in the Canadian space industry:
"I believe that prize competitions, if carefully structured, can have significant potential in accelerating the pace of innovation, in stirring the imagination, especially of students and young professionals, in providing a communications and outreach platform to highlight the benefits of space, and in promoting an entrepreneurial spirit."
To be frank, my only hope is don't spend this money on prizes pushing "Space Science." The CSA does enough of that already. Although it may be scientifically interesting to see how crystals and plants grow in a laboratory, it just doesn't do it for me.

I would love to see money going into good solid engineering prizes - but I won't hold my breath for that one.

Climate Denial

McGuilty is off on another Climate rampage against the amazingly stalling Harperites in Ottawa.

What didn't make the headline is that earlier this month the Province of Ontario's Environment Minister indicated that Ontario will likely miss its own emissions targets.

It's clear that despite Liberal meanderings the emissions targets discussed and only quazy-committed at Copenhagen will never be met.

Now, I refuse to believe that Dalton McGuilty is just some idiot. His government is staffed with some very smart people. And quite frankly many Liberals out there are very successful people.

The reason I bring this up is because, years after the Chretien Liberals signed into Kyoto, Eddie Goldenberg admitted that the Liberals didn't think they would actually meet the targets at the time.

Seeing that the Liberals are not idiots, is it possible that McGuilty's barrage of Canada on the international stage might be motivated by a denial of the basic reality that his province's emission targets are a fantasy? Is this his way of coming up with an excuse?

I refuse to believe that the smart people in McGuilty's government don't know full well that this is all "well wishing." As such I'm forced to conclude that McGuilty and many on the left in this country are lashing out as last desperate attempt to justify themselves in a quickly dying global climate change movement.

They're all in climate denial.

Canada: A Country Of Scrooges

Canadians continue to trail far far behind Americans when it comes to charitable donations. Quebec ranks the bottom of the list. The underlying reasons will continue to be debatable but I`ve always believed it has to do with the general level of public spending in Canada.

With government being more involved in our daily lives in Canada, providing Healthcare, education, and even television, I believe many Canadians don`t feel the need to support charities.

In the US, Americans feel more compelled to donate because Joe next door doesn`t have a big old government to depend on.

It`ll be interesting to see if the general generosity of Americans reduces with the implementation of socialized healthcare by Obama.

A Cardinal That's About To Be Silenced

Welcome to Hugo Chavez's Venezuela:
"This is a very complex issue, but there is no doubt that there are people in prison simply because they are accused of some crime simply because they do not agree with the political agenda of the national government..."(link)
There's only part of Cardinal Urosa's remarks that I disagree with. This isn't a "very complex issue." He's being to generous. It's very simple. Hugo Chavez is a power maniac that is recklessly bringing his country to ruins.

Copenhagen Aftermath

Global Climate proponents have long had an excellent line of argument to convince us all of their cause. It's the Auto Mechanic close method to sales.

Whenever I go in to an auto shop I've come to expect that it doesn't matter what I originally go into that shop for I will no doubt be told something else needs to be replaced. A mechanic will describe to me how if I didn't replace part X what "could" happen, what "potential" safety problems might occur, and how part X is "ready to go".

Your immediate reaction is "Holy Moly!" Better get that part switched or else simultaneously my wheels, front bumper, the windshield and steering wheel will come popping off the car magically without any prior warning.

The only problem is I don't what "could" happen. I don't care what "potential" safety problems could occur. And I don't care if something is "ready to go."

What I care about is how much more life does the part have? How likely are those safety problems are to occur? And, how likely is this problem going to happen without any prior warning? Once I start asking those questions, including the question "If this was your car, would you replace that part" all of sudden the picture becomes a lot more clearer of the shenanigans really going on.

In the climate change debate the same sales trick is being employed. Reports speak of how global water levels "could" raise by X amount by the end of the century. They speak of the "potential" costs to humanity. They elaborate about how endangered species of animals are "close" to extinction.

And the public reacts no differently. The "Holy Moly" instinct kicks in and we all stop thinking rationally. All of sudden any draconian measure of no matter the cost becomes justifiable.

In the aftermath of Copenhagen I think those of us who see some value behind individual freedom would be best to ask the following questions of Climate Change proponents like Al Gore and the like:
1) Are you so confident of the "potential" downfalls you are willing to be poor and have the government take 90% of your income to cure the problem?
2) Just how likely is it that the outcomes we've heard of global warming will actually become true?
3) How much time do we have left as the best case scenario? I've heard the doomsday scenario's all over the place, but given the best case, given all variables are the most advantageous towards humanity - what is the result?

We keep on asking those questions, and the climate change debate will easily fall apart. As Al Gore flies around the world leaving a carbon footprint the size of the Alberta I think we can see how much Al Gore would be willing to part with his money.

McGuinty the Privatizer?

I must be either dreaming, having a stroke, or experiencing some weird mind altering side effects of a recent caffeine fast because it looks as if the MgGuinty government is "trial balloning" the idea of privatizing Crown assets.

This brings to mind a some quick points:
1) Why the hell didn't we just privatize Hydro One when the Harris Tories first wanted to?

2) McGuinty must be desperate if he's willing to part with that most golden calf of Lefties everywhere - Crown Corporations.

3) Is hell freezing over? Seriously, I can't believe that the health tax Warren Kinsella Ontario Libs would honestly be considering this.

4) Just how does one justify having the state involved in Liquor, Electricity, and gambling?... Sounds less like a benevolent state and more like a Mafia operation.
Bottom line, privatize, privatize, and more privatize McGuinty. Do something right for a change.

Update: McGuilty does a mea culpa. Well, sort of. He denies considering the dirty deed, but admits to studying how the Provincial government can get the "best bang" for its buck... Whatever that means. My guess is some sort of sell off is bound to occur eventually. Even it's just a public offering of stake in a crown corp. It's good news for those of us interested in reducing the size of government.

Fiscal Child Abuse

"The mountainous federal debt problem amounts to fiscal child abuse, as both current and future generations will be required to pay it off."(link)

More like fiscal rape when taxes start climbing as a result of all this "stimulus."

[Sarcasm Starting] No wait! I mean, this is all temporary... It'll all be ok... We'll just turn off the spending taps in a couple years and magically no one will have any problems with it... The construction industry, which is booming as a result of this "stimulus," won't put up a fuss... [Sarcasm Ended]

The only thing I can say in Harper's defense, is that at least he's not pulling an Obama. That stuff is nuts down there. A 1.2 trillion dollar deficit later that country's going to have so much fun recovering from that disaster.

Patronage Hypocrites

OTTAWA–Prime Minister Stephen Harper was labelled Canada's political "patronage king" and a "hypocrite" yesterday after tossing aside for the second time his promise not to name unelected Canadians to the Senate.(link)

I think I would be more apt to take the opposition more seriously except for the fact that most of them are responsible for stalling and halting most of Harper's attempts at reforming the senate over the last few years. Couple this with the back history that the Liberal Party has had with patronage appointments and I think the opposition's calls of "hypocrite" will come flying back into their lying faces.

The Obligatory Apollo In Memoriam Post


Forty years ago today a couple engineers from this flying ball landed on another flying ball and planted a flag.

Let's all pat ourselves on the back one more time for humanity's great ingenuity.

"We got to the moon!" Yippee.

We can all hunker down and worry about more serious things now - apparently.

The bottom line is that we went to the moon and did nothing with that success. Really we could have never gone and would the world have been really different? Was the psychological effect of a moon landing stunt really of that much value to humanity?

I have to admit to thinking it was once. Today though I can't say that. It would have been far better for humanity to have hunkered down and tried to develop safe and cheap access to space for everyone. That's the stuff that changes things. That's the stuff that people should be patting themselves on the back for.

Where people really need to be focusing their attention on is the work that companies like SpaceX are doing.

The timing of their recent launch success is the thing we need to latch unto as a benchmark for human progress. Not the antics of a select few in another century who in the end did not do much to change the essential reality that spaceflight is expensive and dangerous.

The Two Encyclicals

The Pope's newly released encyclical has been called everything but a shift left for the Vatican.

As a public service I figured I'd post an actual quote from the encyclical that those crying foul might do well to reflect on:
"By considering reciprocity as the heart of what it is to be a human being, subsidiarity is the most effective antidote against any form of all-encompassing welfare state. ... In order not to produce a dangerous universal power of a tyrannical nature, the governance of globalization must be marked by subsidiarity, articulated into several layers and involving different levels that can work together."

For those not familiar with the principle of subsidiary...

From the Roman Catholic Catechism 1883:
"Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervatrion by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity according to which 'a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of the community of a lower order..'"

From 1885:
"The principle of subsidiary is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits on state intervention... It tends towards the establishment of true international order."

Let's re-quote the encyclical's more controversial passages:
"67. In the face of the unrelenting growth of global interdependence, there is a strongly felt need, even in the midst of a global recession, for a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth. ...Such an authority would need to be regulated by law, to observe consistently the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity..."

In other words the UN needs more teeth. No to socialism. You can call that a contradiction, but the Pope was careful to warn that he was not offering any technical solutions to the current economic crisis.

The Principle of Subsidiary is fairly present in this encyclical. It's interesting how no one seems to notice it.

I wonder just what Papal encyclical the press seems to be commenting on.

Ten Percenters

"A pervert in a plaid shirt is luring a child in a park, but the Bloc Québécois will not do anything to stop him, the Conservative Party says in a new round of attack ads.

The message, which was sent at taxpayers' expense in every single Bloc riding, features a blurry picture of a small boy leaving a park with an older man. The two are walking hand-in-hand, and a nearby kiddy swing is empty.

“Your Bloc MP has voted against the protection of children,” the tag line states.
Mr. Guimond said the use of parliamentary resources to send out the ads is despicable."

The infamous "Ten Percenters" are the annoying pamphlets you get in the mail from MPs that aren't your own, you could care less about, and know nothing about.

Sometimes they are from someone outside your province. You see as an MP you are allowed to send a mailout to ten percent of riding's population anywhere in the country at the taxpayer's expense.

Never mind the reason "Ten Percenters" exist. The point is they are used by political parties to infiltrate new markets. Basically MP A will use his "Ten Percenter" for some Riding on the other end of the country where his party is weak.

Inappropriate use of parliamentary funds? Absolutely.

Though just where does everyone think that the Conservatives picked up this tactic? Does anyone really think they've dreamed this up on their own?

Pay attention to those annoying pamphlets the next time you get one. You should notice not all of them come from the Conservative Party of Canada.

The Club for Governors Who Cheat

Mark Sanford apparently is a member:"South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has admitted to having an extramarital affair..."

Now every playboy and wannabe playgirl out there that justifies their own promiscuity in the name of convenience believing that fidelity and monogamy are "impossible" will have another huge poster child. They'll say that living with one person their whole lives to exclusion of all others is "just talk." Even those that preach it can't live it.

To add to the damage Governor Sanford has done, no one is talking about the issue that he was championing anymore - rejecting the concept of a stimulus.

The harm that world wide massive government spending will do this world will be felt for decades. Mr Sanford was one of the few that seemed to buck the trend and fight against the sound of "one hand clapping" in the global world.

Unfortunately Mr Sanford apparently was dishonest for at least year when he talked about "family values." It's unclear how dishonest he was with anything else.

Stimulus Duh

Stimulus money mispent? Duh:
"The problem with Baird and his minions is that they are ignoring the process in place to determine where the money should go — a process predicated by previous political scandals. The stink that is going to waft out of the “stimulus” project should make the Libs’ previous troubles seem minor in comparison."(link)

When you're trying to spend tens of billions of dollars in a span of months I'm thinking the chances of mistakes are pretty high.

Heck - I don't even think governments can spend money wisely when they take their time let alone when everyone is in panic mode!

Not So Great Depression

Donald Marron has created a superb visualization comparing the great depression to the current financial crisis with surprising results:

As a comparison to Canadian numbers... Canadian GDP contracted 27.7% during the great depression. The annualized GDP drop we've been having over the last couple quarters is somewhere near 5%.

One quick criticism - If this downturn ends up lasting 5 years, a 5% drop a year quickly turns into a great depression when it's adds up to a 25% drop.

The visualization above is based on current projections of an economic contraction lasting at most a year.

h/t Political Math


Big City mayors are concerned:
Canada's big cities are sounding a national alarm that Ottawa is moving so slowly on spending infrastructure stimulus dollars that projects meant to cushion the blow of the recession will likely not start until next summer – when the downturn is expected to be over.(link)

If we can't get the money out time I'll start doing cart wheels.

This so-called "stimulus" spending is the result of nothing more than shear untamed panic. Nothing could be better if the government couldn't spend it.

No reasonable Canadian, after getting laid off, in a bad economy, would start spending more money that he/she didn't have.

I don't think governments should behave any differently.

Let Big City mayors pay for their own roads.

Bailout This

h/t Acton

The Club for Governors With Guts

Has only one member:
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford doesn't believe a federal deadline looms for him to seek $700 million in stimulus money for struggling schools, according to his spokesman, and his critics said Tuesday they're worried the money will disappear.


"No one anticipated we'd be the only state out of 50 going through this kind of litigation because of the governor's position," he said.

Senate President Glenn McConnell said the federal court case could leave the state missing the deadline and losing the money.

"That's exactly what he's doing," said McConnell, R-Charleston. "By taking it up in federal court, he makes sure there is no money."

South Carolina would get $2.8 billion in federal cash for programs and projects during the next two years. Sanford controls about $700 million of that and won't request that unless it can be used to offset state debt. The White House twice rejected that idea.(link)
Some in South Carolina are anxiously trying to discredit a Governor willing to put everything on the line to try to prevent one of the largest socialist experiments in the last 30 years claiming he's only doing it to become President:
Sanford, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has raised his political profile and been mentioned as a possible 2012 presidential candidate since he's started protesting the stimulus money. McConnell contends it's coming at the expense of the state.

"He gets the headlines and we make no headway," McConnell said.

This of course suggests that Governor Sandford's protest has been popular.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Governments around the world have been passing "stimulus" packages since late last year. In some cases reluctantly, like in Canada's case, where the governing Conservatives only passed a stimulus budget after having a near death experience with the opposition.

I don't know about the US, but in Canada polls have consistently shown that Canadians agreed with the stimulus.

Sandford's stand will not win him any votes for propective Presidential bid.

It will, however, make him stand out in history as a sane voice in a sea of panic and desperation. Years from now people will wonder just how we could have let politicians spend so much money so quickly for so little return and with so little justification.

Money Grows On Trees

...At least it apparently does according to the Fiberal Party of Canada:
Liberal Member of Parliament Mike Savage told CBC television that premiums would not have to rise, since general tax revenues could be used.

"If more money was needed, it would come out of general revenues," he said. The Conservatives have criticized this idea as violating the concept of the EI program as self-financing.(link)

I wonder what the definition of "general revenues" is to Mr Savage?

To me it means tax payers money. Money which must come from somewhere.

Gee... I wonder where that money will come from? More debt maybe? Or how 'bout some tax increases...

That Old Time Reffffoooorrrrmmmm!!!!

I count five times the word "Reform" is used in this piece on the EI standoff in Ottawa. The last time I heard the Canadian Left make that line of attack was back when Jean Chretien was still around strangling protesters - A Liberal who made a living stealing Reform Party policies believe it or not.
"He's slipping back to that old Reform Party view of the unemployed, that people would rather sit at home receiving a cheque - as paltry as it is - rather than work," Mr. Layton said.


"People have moved on from that Reform view of things that says that EI is too generous or too lucrative. I think Canadians understand that people who are on EI need EI..."

Unfortunately it's all true. Economists have known for a while that a portion of Canada's unemployment is "structural unemployment" - a component of which comes from some people who are unemployed because Canada's generous welfare state makes it more advantageous for them to be.

It's just an economic fact. Canada's labour market has it, and the only way to get rid of it would be to do things like reducing EI benefits - which is about as likely to happen as Stephane Dion becoming Prime Minister.

So here Iggy Puff and the Dippers come along and suggest making Canada's already overly generous welfare state even more generous.

Harper is right: "absurdity" is the word to use in response.

This will tick off Obama Supporters...

Yes I am a "V" nut. "V" was an 80s scifi mini-series about alien visitors who come to earth claiming pure motives and peaceful intentions. They're actually hideous reptilians hiding their true motives... The whole story was an allegory to Nazism and the Soviets.

I was first worried when I heard they were doing a "V" remake. Remakes have a good and bad history in TV land. Having watched the trailer it appears as if this new remake of the old 80's "V" scifi series is not going to disappoint by the looks of it:

h/t Curmudgeons

Some awful subtle references to Obama there eh?

Political Math...

This guy is brilliant:

h/t Jimmy Akin

Ruby the Liar? Part II

Things just keep on getting better for Ruby:
"I wanted to clarify my position in relation to the statement made by Ms Dhalla during the inquiry. The letter she presented in the inquiry that was signed by me, but not written by me. It was prepared by the office of Ms Dhalla.
However, when I signed the letter, I was unaware of the seriousness of the allegations of abuse. I was feeling sick at that time and was not properly informed. I was misled by not being provided with sufficient information to make an appropriate decision."(link)

The credibility of Ruby is just going down the tubes at this point.

Ruby the liar?

Ruby Dhalla exposed:

"Embattled Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla has stepped down from her post as the Liberal Party's youth and multiculturalism critic over allegations she mistreated foreign caregivers and paid them under the table."
"...the two nannies were allegedly forced to work in Ms. Dhalla's home up to 16 hours a day, five days a week, for just $1.56 an hour - well below the province's minimum wage of $9.50 an hour. "(link)

Ruby Dhalla the Liar?:

"It is a shame that this budget does nothing about raising the minimum wage, about creating a better plan for child care in this nation, or helping the most vulnerable."(link)

"That is why we support today's motion for creating a national anti-poverty strategy and for ensuring that as the federal government there is an opportunity to increase the minimum wage to $10."(link)

Hillier's Hurrah

Know who Randy Hillier is? Most don't.

Know who Mike Harris is? Sure you do. Former notorious Ontario Conservative Premier. Notorious of course mainly for having the gall to actually keep his promises despite tremendous pressure from the Ontario Left. Mike Harris proved himself to be the most principled Conservative Politician in the last 30 years.

That being said there was one thing that Mike Harris did do that I was never a big fan of and thought was totally inconsistent with Conservative Principles: Amalgamation.

See Conservatives believe that the best government is the smallest government because it's closest to the people. Conservatives, in general, believe that the more you can push powers down to the local level and even to the individual the better. Individuals are far better makers of decisions that governments. Similarly decentralizing power to the lowest level follows the same principle.

It's prevents huge centralized bureaucracies from taking power with supreme powers which inevitably leads to huge corruption.

Well Mike Harris seemed to ignore that principle when it came to amalgamating municipalities. His government argued that their were efficiency gains to be had by taking all the municipalities in Toronto and making one super city.

Of course they did apply that practice when it came to downloading responsibilities to the municipalities making the disconnect in principles clear.

So that brings me back to Randy Hillier. He's running for leader of the Ontario PC Party to defeat Dalton McGuinty and Become Premier of Ontario himself. Well recently he released a proposed new policy when it comes to municipalities embodied in a piece of legislation they intend to call the Municipal Reform Act.
Hillier says he plans to bring forward legislation that would allow municipalities to de-amalgamate. He claims that de-amalgamation will see decision making return to a local level and will help restore community identities. (link)

That's right. De-Amalgamation.

Mr Hillier has proposed to undo what was essentially the one socialist thing Mike Harris ever did.

Iggy The Socialist

Sooo... According to the Great Liberal From Harvard we need a tax hike:
'“We will have to raise taxes,” but not at the expense of hurting the recovery from this recession. He added that “an honest politician” cannot exclude a tax hike as an option.'

But apparently an honest politician can exclude eliminating pogey for politicians, and keeping government spending in check as Iggy Puff and his cabal did with their attempted coup late last year.
"He criticized the federal governement for not quickly freeing money in the federal stimulus package. He said the government should give municipalities the money, as they are in a better position to know how to spend it."

Wow. So tax increases are the only "honest" thing to do, but hey let's not talk about curtailing the stimulus. Good Old Liberal Arrogance is back.

Since Chretien left I thought you were out of mode, but it seems Old Gilligan-Kinsella has brought you back.

Blinding Insight From David Dodge

David Dodge disagrees with Harper's optimism:
Recovery "is not going to be as quick as everybody thinks," Dodge said. "I think anybody would be dreaming in Technicolor to think that you're going to get through this by the third quarter of this year."

Earlier this year, current Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney forecasted a quick recovery for the nation's economy.(link)

David's previous role as Liberal deputy finance minister under Paul Martin makes me wonder... Is he biased?

He's liberal... He's a civil servant... Enough said.

Then he gives this advice to the PMO:
Dodge also recommended a slight boost in taxes to boost government coffers, such as a one per cent hike in the GST.

"A little bit of tax here and there would do it," Dodge said.

Thanks for the advice David. Why don't you do the honors by being the first one that pays that extra percentage point.

That's all we need right now is a government raising taxes. That's one way to kill a recovery real fast.

It's Always the Guns

Gun Control at work in Germany:
"A shooting rampage that began in a high school in southwestern Germany on Wednesday has left the teenage gunman and at least 15 others dead, authorities said."

"Police said a 17-year-old former student dressed in combat gear entered Albertville technical high school in Winnenden, northeast of Stuttgart, and began shooting at random, killing nine students, three teachers and a passerby outside the building."(link)

I don't get it- the government in Germany restricts handgun ownership to those over 18.

MAN! Don't criminals listen to governments anymore?

I miss the good old days when criminals obeyed the law, and politicians did everything right all the time every time.

You know the days when governments spending like drunken sailors cured depressions and Canadian Senators actually earned a living...

Yes I am a cynic. And yes I do feel for those victims. The problem is I know that part of what caused this disaster in the first place is a culture that treats guns and those who own them lawfully as part of the problem:
"Police searched the suspect's parents' home Wednesday. They said his father, who belongs to a local gun club, had 16 legally owned firearms, one of which was missing."

Yes he belonged to a gun club.

Time to start the nights of terror and round up those evil gun owners because they are obviously the reason why 17 year old kids with serious issues go on killing rampages.

Maybe just maybe these kids are doing these things because fundamentally we live in a global society that demeans the value of life on a daily basis?

Nah!!! It's gotta be the guns. It's always the guns.

John Tory RIP

Last night was a bad one for John Tory:
LINDSAY, ONT. — Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory was defeated in a by-election race Thursday night, leaving his political career in tatters.
"Obviously, I am very disappointed by the results today, but the voters can never be wrong in what they decide and I respect their decision," Mr. Tory said in conceding defeat.(link)

This has got to be earth shattering to Tory and his supporters out there. Night's like these just kill you in politics. As someone that's supported more losers of elections than winner I can sense the frustration very clearly from John clouded behind the nice words and pleasant attitude. It's all to familiar.

That being said part of me wants to jump for joy. John Tory had embarked on a quasi-oppressive campaign against the old Harris guard of the provincial PCs. "Common Sense" was the relic of cavemen rural types that didn't understand big cities like Toronto. When from my perspective it was Tory and his supporters that didn't understand people past Mississauga, or a majority of their base for that matter.

Did you pay it back John?

A promise made...
"...Mr. Tory’s staff and supporters, who control the Ontario PC Party’s offices, sent me a brown envelope just over a year ago that still sits at on my kitchen table. The envelope was sent by Mr. Tory’s supporters during his recent, and much publicized, leadership review. Inside was a passionate plea for me, a voter in that review, to keep Mr. Tory as PC Party leader. What is concerning about this envelope though is that the costs associated with it were not paid for by Mr. Tory or his supporters directly but from PC Party funds. Mr. Tory, when confronted by this last year, admitted that this highly unethical act was a problem and promised to repay the thousands of dollars that were misappropriated for his direct gain. To this date, March 2, 2009, he has not publicly come forward to return this money that his supporters virtually stole from party donors.(link)

... Let's hope is a promise kept.

This issue has been all but completely forgotten since the leadership review. Did you pay the money back John? I certainly hope so for your sake.

Covering Your Butt 101

I just finished telling someone that in a year's time the auditor general will file a report and we'd all find out how this stimulus money was wasted, blown away, or stolen. Apparently Jim Flaherty agrees:
OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says the Canadian economy is in such dire straits he is prepared to risk making mistakes and will rush stimulus spending so it can speed economic recovery.
“There will be some mistakes made, but it's worth the risk to help the majority of Canadians during what is a serious recession,” he said after meeting with the Conservative caucus.(link)

It's amazing. Flaherty has basically admitted what Obama doesn't want to. I'll give him credit for honesty, but the bottom line is that our money is being spent out of panic, fear, and complete stupidity. I don't believe for a moment that Flaherty disagrees with that assessment. He was the one who less than 6 months ago had a budget tabled with no stimulus whatsoever.

Given that, I'm convinced that all that Flaherty is really doing here is covering his butt. Not a bad political move. Not a good sign for the rest of us though.

Power Grab

The EU wants to expand financial regulations like nuts. Apparently the global financial crisis proves that the financial sector can't make decisions for itself. Big Old Benevolent Goverment has gotta step in to save us all from ourselves.

Socialists everywhere must be popping open new bottles of champagne because somewhere in that mess this little line item got slipped in to the mess of proposals:
'Other key points agreed to Sunday included adopting a “sanctions mechanism” to penalize tax havens ...'

Sanctions? Against Tax Havens?

Wow. That special treatment is usually reserved for bad guys that smell bad and have committed a genocide or two.

But I guess to those champagne socialists out there jurisdictions that decide to tax people low are the moral equivalents to Iran, North Korea, Sudan...

The way this world is going right now, I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning and snap to attention while the Internationale is played.

Grassroots Appeasement?

While I've been taking copious amounts of drugs to keep the brain aneurysm at bay over the Conservatives new budget, this little tidbit smolders out of Ottawa:
' OTTAWA — The Harper government will introduce new Senate reform legislation that would force the new raft of Conservative-appointed senators to quit their jobs after an eight-year term.
' “That will apply to the recently appointed senators as well as any future appointments,” Mr. Fletcher said. “Anyone who was appointed after the 2008 election will be subject to the eight-year terms.”
' “Right now, we must get our stimulus package passed through Parliament and we need to do that quickly,” he said. “It just has to be passed before we can deal with the Senate … it's by far and away the No. 1 priority.”
' Sources have said that the government is thinking of allowing the federal government to hold Senate elections directly, as opposed to a previous bill which would have had the provinces hold votes.'(link)

This along with the recent gun registry announcement leads me to believe that some appeasement of grassroots party members is under way.

First I appreciate any efforts in Ottawa to keep my blood pressure low.

Second this isn't good enough. All this is is words. Senate reform was also pushed in the last session of parliament without any focus. They will have to go way further to lower this young geezers blood pressure out of the "rage" range.

Right now my vision is still blurry and I keep on confusing Iggy puff with Harper at news conferences. How can you tell the difference anyways they agree on everything nowadays?

Let Them Die

GM said it needs another $16.6-billion in government loans, while Chrysler wants an additional $2-billion. Even if they get the money, the two companies between them will slash another 50,000 jobs and close several more plants.(link)

Two thing come to mind right off the bat:
1. Let them die.
2. I'm never going to buy GM or Chrysler.

Is that harsh? Yepperoo. But I doubt many other Canucks are going to be drawing different conclusions at this point.

I've been laid off. I know it's not a great feeling. Though I appreciate in every way that when a company is loosing money sometimes that means tough decisions need to be made.

To be frank that's the way the cookie crumbles. The automotive jobs in the big three are not profitable with such high labor rates.

Unions expected they could get something for nothing: high paying jobs, with high benefits and low hours yet somehow they believed it would have no effect on the industry's bottom line.

I've always argued that the only way the big three could operate under this scenario was to change their market. In Europe, the automotive industry is highly unionized yet there are some notable success stories like BMW. How is BMW doing better than GM? They focus on low volume markets such as a luxury vehicles that are higher priced.

That's the key if you want to work lower hours for higher prices. You need a market that has low volume with high margings.

I think that was what GM was attempting to do with it's move into the Hummer's and probably also the big push in the big 3 for SUV production. The only problem with those markets is they dried up as soon as gas prices went berzerk. If you add in that in all probably the luxury vehicle market is probably overcrowded to begin with it still doesn't spell "profitable."

So they're left with this conundrum: the Unions don't care about the bottom line, you can't change your market, but you're still loosing money.

It's time to let them die.  It's harsh.  It's unpleasant.  It's the truth.

Space Debris Overblown

You just can't make this up:
"...the debris was big: a piece of an unmanned Russian rocket, 10 square metres in size."


"The rocket had blasted off from Kazakhstan on Tuesday and carried materials for the International Space Station. And when it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, things got a little scary for the province of Alberta."

"NORAD called the federal government at 10:15 a.m. on Friday morning to let them know about the falling debris, and by 10:30 a.m. the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) had been notified. The time of impact was estimated to be 10:46 a.m."(link)

The government of Alberta was given 16 minutes total of warning. Wait! Where's the premier of Alberta jumping up and down in hysterics over his oil getting bombarded like Danny Millions did in 2005?

Because it's simple: the chances of a 10 meter^2 sized piece of debris firstly making it through the atmosphere without breaking up, and then secondly to hit a sensitive area are so remote you would be better on betting on lotto 649.

Let's do some extremely rough math here (statisticians please hold your nose):

The province of Alberta has a land area of over 600,000 km^2. Assuming that 10 m^2 piece of debris makes it to the ground intact that works out to a 1 in 60 billion chance that any one 10 m^2 location will be hit. If you assume that they knew for sure that the city of Calgary would be hit the chances of any one spot getting hit increases to something like 1 in 70 million.

If you assume that every square kilometer of Albertan land area has a 250000 meter squared zone that is vulnerable that works to odds of 1 in 2.4 million that a sensitive zone in Alberta will be struck.

I admit these are "rough" numbers but they illustrate my point. The odds are incredibly low.

If you don't believe these numbers see for yourself what the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Research has to say:
"Reportedly, only one person has been struck by debris from a reentering satellite in the history of our use of space. Fortunately, this person was hit by a lightweight object and was not injured."

"The risk that an individual will be hit and injured is estimated to be less than one in one trillion. To put this into context, the risk that an individual in the U.S. will be struck by lightning is about one in 1.4 million."(link)

It seems that my earlier estimate was (gulp!) fairly liberal.

Stimulate This

Apparently some Quebec economists are more conservative than our Conservative government:
"We economists would like to alert our fellow citizens to the inefficiency involved in increasing public expenditures in order to counter the on-going recession."(link)

Meanwhile Harper seem to be on a tour of the country to spend all this money.


"Ottawa – Saskatchewan M.P. Garry Breitkreuz has introduced a Private Members’ Bill to scrap the decade-old Canadian long-gun registry..."(link)

It's about time.

Global Warming Causes Everything

The death toll from bush fires in southern Australia has reached at least 84, the worst in the country's history.
The BBC's Nick Bryant in Sydney said police suspect that in at least one case fires have been restarted by arsonists after being extinguished by firefighters.
"Some of these fires have started in localities that could only be by hand, it could not be natural causes," Victoria state Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe was quoted as saying by AFP. (link)

An guess who's jumped all over this crisis? The Enviro-Facist movement of course:
The leader of the Green party, Bob Brown said summer fires would get worse unless Australia and other nations showed more leadership on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"It's a sobering reminder of the need for this nation and the whole world to act and put at a priority our need to tackle climate change," he said.

Let me get this straight:
1. Fires in Australia are believed to be caused by arsonists.
2. The Green Party believes global warming is to blame.

If a fire is caused by idiots, I think the best solution is to deal with the idiots. It isn't the time to start thinking about raising more taxes on people or increasing regulation.

Feels Good Not To Be Alone

Apparently I'm not the only one that feels depressed about the federal budget:
"I do think there is a problem among Conservative core supporters...I think many of them they don't like the budget and I guess I would believe that Mr. Harper has to do some things to reassure these people that his direction is still fundamentally Conservative."

Though flanagan has an interesting suggestion:

"I think this is a done deal, it can't be undone," he said, referring to the contentious budget.

"So that's why I'm suggesting Mr. Harper has to move on to other policies, perhaps outside the budget, things like criminal justice where he can make some accomplishments that the Conservative core supporters will appreciate."

Like senate reform? Same sex marriage? Choice in healthcare?

The path to power seems to have lead to a lot of compromises.

It's like getting smacked in the face...

So the Liberals aren't taking over after all.

Really I have to wonder what the difference is. Thirty billion dollars in the red is no conservative budget. Since when do Conservatives believe they can spend themselves out of a recession anyways?

I feel like I'm in the twighlight zone right now:
Ignatieff, speaking in Ottawa, said Liberal support will require that the Tories issue reports to Parliament on the budget's implementation and its cost in March, June and December.

"Each of these reports will be an opportunity to withdraw our confidence should the government fail Canadians," Ignatieff said.
Next he'll be living at 24 sussex on Tuesdays and Thurdays and appointing senators in his spare time.

It's like getting smacked in the face. At this point what would have been the difference if the Liberals had taken power? A paltry two billion of tax cuts?

A smack in the face...

Who's PM again?

You'd swear that Iggy and the Liberal Party has just moved into the PMO:
"I think what they're trying to do is set the table for at least the Liberal party to say, 'we can hold our nose and pass (the budget).'"

The real question in my mind is whether grassroots conservatives will be able to hold their noses and support a budget that calls for a 34 billion dollar deficit.

I can only hope that the budget won't be as socialist as they've been hinting.

Compassionate Americans

Apparently the Yanks are still more compassionate than us Canucks:
Newfoundland and Labrador along with Quebec are the least generous among provinces...

However, compared to Americans, Canadians are far less generous. When all 64 North American jurisdictions measured are compared, Manitoba, Canada’s highest ranked jurisdiction ranks 37th on the generosity index while Ontario is 45th. Canadian provinces and territories occupy 12 of the bottom 20 spots.

This is an absolute dismal shame. It's a sad story that no one in the MSM picks up on: Canucks don't contribute to charities as much as Americans.

Part of the reason of course must be attributed to our higher tax rates which equate to less disposable income than our American cousins. But this difference I argue can't entirely accounted for by this reason alone. A higher percentage of Americans contribute to Charities than Canadians.

I think us Canadians have bought too much into the "Scrooge" mentality: why should I give if my taxes to the poor that's what "poor taxes" are for?... We spend so much on public services in this country that I think many of us figure that so long as they fight for good Leftish policies - for "poor houses" - they don't need to contribute to private charities.

Last man standing without a seat...

... Is John Tory:
Tory, who missed a self-imposed Dec. 31 deadline to find a seat in which to run for the Legislature, has been trying to get elected since his defeat in the October 2007 election that saw Premier Dalton McGuinty win a solid majority.

Tory's support in caucus is obviously massive.


OTTAWA–The NDP wants the names of "any and all individuals" involved in the Conservative decision to record and distribute copies of a New Democrat caucus meeting – and it is threatening legal action to get them.

Because you know it's wrong to tape record a conversation that proves someone is full of horse manure... That's just un-Canadian...

Let's not talk about what was actually confessed in that caucus meeting: that the opposition has been plotting for a while to take power undemocratically.

Top Ten 2009 Predictions

1. Stephen Harper will still be Prime Minister. He may have a brief Trudeauesque "walk in the snow" brought in by temporary power grab by the opposition but it will be brief.

2. Micheal Ignatieff will be turfed as Liberal leader. He has precisely zero political experience and has spent more of his recent life outside of the country than in. There were plenty of more qualified and experienced candidates that didn't offer themselves for the job in the Liberal caucus. I wonder why. He's oversold and he'll tumble before the year is up.

3. There will be an election. It will be nasty and the end result will be a conservative majority. The coalition was a disastrous political move on the behalf of the opposition that has been widely unpopular with the Canadian Electorate. Canadians aren't going to forget how easily the Dippers and Grits cozied up to the separatists. Couple this situation with a weak Liberal Leader, and Liberal Party apparatus in taters and you wonder what the Liberals could do to salvage this situation.

4. The Liberal Party will be in debt and will still lag behind other major parties in individual donations. They've done nothing to change the underlying problems that make them an intensely unpopular party to mainstream "Tim Hortons" Canadians.

5. Some sort of Carbon restrictions will be put in place in both Canada and the US. The economy will continue it's downward spiral as a result.

6. Deflation and more Deflation.

7. Work on the ISS will get accelerated. Obamaeconomics calls for injections of government cash into the economy - what better than more welfare for space nerds?

8. There will be one automaker in bankruptcy or in a formal merger by the end of the year despite the bailout.

9. We will find out where all that money from all these bailout packages of banks and automakers really went. People will be disgusted at the opportunists that took advantage of the system and how little accountability governments had for their money. Already half of the bank bailout package has been spent in the US and only now supervisory body is being set to monitor where this money is going.

10. Some sort of domestic or foreign terrorist attack will happen in the US. I don't want to say this but the time is ripe for it.