Climate Mistakes III

The IPCC Chairman has apparently another error to explain.  This time the error was the inclusion of claim that mountain ice levels have reduced in the Andes, Alps and Africa due to global warming.  The problem is that their source for this claim was not a peer reviewed publication based on science.  Instead their sources were some very non-scientist like mountain climber's opinions.

At this point it should be very clear that there are some very serious flaws in the system the IPCC has to review these reports before publication.  It amazes me that there are some attempts to deny that a problem even exists.

Sanity seems to prevail over at least one contributor to the report:
"The IPCC should continue to ensure that its review process is as robust and transparent as possible, that it draws only from the peer-reviewed literature, and that uncertainties in the science and projections are clearly expressed."
There's a certain amount of doublespeak here. I a nutshell he's saying, "we have a good review process but we need to make sure it's working."

The IPCC Chairman continues to stand by the report despite these large errors. He can all he wants to. At the end of the day all that matters is credibility. Credibility is something that the report and the IPCC has completely lost by denying there is a problem to begin with.  Especially with errors as large and glaring as these.

Climate Mistakes II
Climate Mistakes I

The Problem With Obama's Space Policy

Rumors are abound that Obama's space policy shift is massive.  The new themes of his policy: no new moon missions by 2020, Ares will be scrapped, NASA will depend on private commercial companies for transport to space, and a renewed emphasis on space science.  Obama has managed to one thing right, but there are some serious problems with this supposed shift.

Space Science is not human spaceflight.  NASA was great when it focused on technical goals.  NACA, NASA's predecessor, it was said focused on doing the research that no one else wanted to do in aviation.  NASA continued that tradition to a certain extent by focusing on hard concrete technical goals in going to the moon.  I think NASA's ultimate failure was in failing to do the necessary research in getting to the moon cheaply so that private companies and individuals could take over.  They got to the moon OK.  They just didn't do it in a way that was worthwhile or useful in terms of engineering research.  One of the great things about Bush's VSE is it got NASA to start thinking about hard concrete technical goals again.  This was in contrast to the obsession that it had for years with space science.  As much as I like science experiments like testing how old men sag in space, I think the billions spent at NASA are better spent elsewhere.  Obama's re-emphasis on space science I think couldn't come at a worse time.  It will let the agency sink back into that floating abyss of space science once again.

If not the moon -then what?  At least with the VSE the agency had a clearly defined purpose.  Without it, NASA exists in that strange void that it has inhabited ever since the Apollo program ended.  Just how much space science in low earth orbit does Obama really think we can do anyways?  It's ridiculous to have to ask the question, but many American's will once again, just what is NASA around for?  NASA spent 20 years trying to find a purpose and came up with nothing.  VSE was the cure to a serious problem.

That being said, outsourcing the orbital launch side of NASA makes sense.  It has never made sense for NASA to be in the crew transport business.  There are several rocket launch systems in operation that have proven to be cheaper than the shuttle ever was.  A good argument can be made that private commercial launch companies could man rate such a system for a lower cost than NASA's Ares launch system would eventually burn into the American taxpayer's wallet.  Was this the right moment to do it?  I suppose an argument could be made that the Ares development was already well underway and passed the point where it was probably cheaper to just finish it.  I think though in the end the extra costs will be worth the benefits of getting NASA out of a business it shouldn't have been in in the first place.

There's no way to know whether Obama's actual space policy will prove to be as bad as it seems.  If it does in fact turn NASA into the shapeless, aimless, pointless mass it seems they want it to be the one solstice we can take is at least the private commercial launch market might see a significant expansion.  This could be a good day for Economic Liberty.

Climate Mistakes II

Apparently the IPCC Chairman was made aware of the mistake of Himalayan proportions made in a report months before anyone bothered to correct it.  This effectively destroys any credibility the IPCC Chairman has left.  It's one thing to make a mistake, it's quite another to be aware of it, know that it affects other people, and yet refuse to disclose and correct it.

The excuse that he was "... preoccupied with a lot of events..." is particularly unreasonable. The events he was involved with at the Copenhagen conference going according to plan and being executed appropriately were less important concerns than ensuring the information available to policy makers were reasonably free of LARGE errors.  Furthermore, I would argue he still has a duty to investigate how this error was missed and to take appropriate actions to ensure this won't happen again.

Instead, we have righteous indignation, an inability to empathize with those that were misled, and a refusal to disclose the whole truth of the error.  Errors in judgment also appear to be a problem for the IPCC chairman. For his sake I hope he can start to correct that behaviour as I don't believe this story is going away anytime to soon.

Climate Mistakes I

Taliban Pogy

Obama's latest plan to deal with the Taliban apparently involves government pogy for Taliban insurgents.  I guess I couldn't have expected anything different from someone who so wholly believes that big bureaucratic top-down government is the answer to health care.  I know - I shouldn't be so hard on him - it's backed also by  Lord Socialist Brown in the UK as well.

As far as I can see to get out the quagmire in Afghanistan the international community needs to do three things:
1)  Encourage local militias to introduce self sufficiency for Afghans.
2)  Legalize and license the opium trade.  This is a drug war the world will not win.  Practically speaking this may not be possible.  I fully understand this, but even some minor moves towards liberalizing drug laws could have dramatic effects.
3)  Stop supporting the regime of Hamid Karzai.  He's becoming quickly a despot and the west would do best to distance themselves from him now while they still can.

Giving welfare to terrorists is not the solution to the Afghan insurrection.  I would hope we can all agree on that at least.

Prorogue and Contrast

Pro-Life rally in 2008: 8,000 attendance.

Anti-Prorogue rally in Toronto:  7,000 attendance.

I suppose if the Canadian public is really mad as hell about Harper's move to prorogue parliament it should only be a matter of time before this country outlaws abortion.  I mean, it only makes sense... How can numbers lie?

Day's Spending Problem

With the upcoming federal budget, Stockwell Day has been appointed as the new Treasurer minister to be Harper's pointman heading up spending cuts. There's been a lot of talk about whether the Tories can even cut enough to balance the books. I think Day does have his work cut out for him, but it's not as bad as some people think.

The Federal Government in the fiscal year of 2008-2009 spent about $238 Billion CDN.  A recent report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page indicates that the government needs to find $19 Billion CDN in savings over the next five years to balance the budget.  In a nutshell the Tories have to cut government spending by a total of 8% over the next five years from current levels (I'm assuming that inflation was not taken into account by Mr Page in his figure).

The department of finance provides the following pie chart to illustrate where that money actually goes.  I have decided for simplicity not to look at the projected spending levels as I believe looking at the 2009 numbers should give us a good enough idea of the general fiscal layout of the land.

Keep in mind here that the government has already committed to the following restrictions:
1)  Taxes will not be raised.
2)  Major transfers to governments will not be touched
3)  Major transfers to persons are ixnay for cuts too

That leaves 41.7% of the federal budget ($99 Billion CDN) that Flaherty will have to trim $19 billion from.  I think we can safely assume that national defense will not be touched since I think the move would be electoral suicide with the Conservative base.

The categories of Crown Corporations, Subsidies and other transfers, and Operating expenses will be where the government will have to trim.

Really this boils down to the following areas of cut backs:
1)  Operating expenses (I would assume this would mean the civil service and general costs of running the federal government) ($42 billion)
2)  Crown corps ($8 billion)
3)  Miscellaneous program expenses like labour market training programs etc ($30 billion)

To be frank if I were a member of the civil service up in Ottawa I would be polishing up my resume at this point.  I think it's clear that of these three areas where the government can cut a significant portion of savings can come from reducing the size of and costs of federal civil service and the operating costs of government in general.  This fits well with recent stories of possible planned cuts.  A 20% cut in the costs associated with the civil service would get the Tories half of the way they would need to balance the budget in five years.  The Tories could choose to spread out the cuts over the five year period to 4% a year to shelter the blow.

This is again assuming todays spending levels.  That $19 billion dollar figure was based on future predicted spending levels which will be higher than today and the potential for savings would also be higher.

Crown corps make such a low portion of the question.  They could very well privatize outfits like AECL and they would move maybe an inch towards the goal.  They may still try to do just that, but I think the effort is almost wasted, when you have thirty billion dollars of miscellaneous subsidies and transfers that could be tackled.

In short - the picture isn't bad.  It's very doable to make the cuts that are needed from what I can see here.  The only questions are do the Tories have the guts, is there enough pressure on the opposition, and will Canadians support these types of moves?  Are we prepared for it to take longer to get passports processed?  What about income tax forms?  To me it's worth it to ensure that we aren't perpetually living off of borrowed money, leading to higher interest rates, and a debt that will have to be one day repaid by a shrinking workforce.

Did Iggy Get Something Right?

I have to admit to being dismayed at Jason Kenney's reaction to Iggy Puff's push to get immigration rules relaxed in light of the Haiti disaster: "Massive resettlement is not a solution to natural disaster..." Immigration is not a bad thing. This country was built on immigration. In fact, based on what I've heard from Albertans, Alberta's economic success was built on provincial immigration.

I found it terribly ironic that I just watched one of the recent converted Wildrose Alliance MLA's on TV explain that "Alberta wants people..." He explained that Alberta's success was based on people coming from elsewhere for the opportunity that exists in Alberta.

Time and time again examples around the world prove that the recipe for prosperity is open and free markets, respect for individual rights, and an openness to new people.

Now I respect Jason Kenney a whole lot. But one thing I've never been able to understand is the ideological inconsistency that many Conservatives have when it comes to immigration. Immigration worked in Alberta, I don't see how any Conservative can argue otherwise when it comes to the country as a whole.

I won't try to deny the problems that currently exist in our immigration system. The type of immigration that has been actively promoted for years by successive Liberal regimes tends to attract those that are more receptive to our large welfare system and the entitlements regime of being Canadian. It's a recipe for abuse that has to be stopped. Further the issues regarding "reasonable accommodation" and the adaption of our social norms for the sake of newcomers is another warping of the system that has to be corrected.

Yet this does not give us license to increase the regulatory burden on new comers to this country. Since when do Conservatives stand for more bureaucracy and more government? 

Climate Mistakes

The IPC Vice-Chairman responded to a recently revealed error in a report they produced with the following: "I don't see how one mistake in a 3,000-page report can damage the credibility of the overall report..."  Except that this wasn't a small minor error.  This was a big climate change prediction.  This was a huge result:  The Himalyan Glaciers are either going to be here or not in 30 years time.  How did no one check and catch this?

Having some experience producing reports involving the results of detailed calculations I do feel some sympathy for members of the IPC.  You can review and check a document over and over as many times as you want and still there will be errors.  But after reviewing a document a certain number of times (or by a certain number of people) the errors left that people find are not only few but they are minor.

Certainly with a 3000 page report probably involving numerous participants is a recipe for at least a couple errors. I would think that they would have a thorough review process in place to catch errors like this one.

The question is, why did such a huge glaring error go unnoticed?  This wasn't a decimal point error on a figure on page 2459.  This was a prediction no doubt used by policy makers to justify public policy positions.

I believe it's clear that the IPC has to suck it up and deal with the fact that there is something seriously wrong with their system and subsequently something seriously wrong with the reports they're producing if they can't even predict whether or not it's likely that the Himalayan glaciers will be here in 30 years time.

A mistake like that one is not a small typo. It's a big boo boo that's indicative of the quality of report they have produced.

What we shouldn't do in Haiti

The disaster in Haiti has prompted foreign aid to start pouring in from around the world.  With all these good intentions I think people are forgetting that there is the real possibility of harm.  This disaster presents a perfect situation for abuse, and what's worse, for well intended actions to be implemented that are poorly thought out.

Depending on Government Aid
The use of government aid poses real problems.  Governments around the world don't have a good history of ensuring aid dollars get to the places and the people that it needs to get to.  Government run charity simply put has been ineffective and unproductive.  A simple look at the states around the world that have received government aid shows that in some cases nations are worse off accepting help then would have been otherwise.

Now I write this not intended to criticize the work of those that do good work in government run or government sponsored aid organizations.  There are just some things that they can't change that are part and parcel of the nature of the beast they work in.  Those things hinder their efforts on a daily basis.

For one, a person up in Ottawa directing and making decisions about relief efforts for people thousands of miles away is not only hard it's a little silly.  The modern concept of "remote management" is a farce.  Someone on the ground, smelling the air and walking the streets of Haiti will be able to make decisions that are of higher quality and faster than someone a thousand miles away.

Further, government run aid faces the problem of the "tyranny of the majority."  The guy up top will want to make the best decision for everyone in mind.  Usually that means the best decision for everyone will not be the best decision someone at the bottom.  Letting people at the bottom take more responsibility and make more decisions provides an opportunity for people to make the best decisions for themselves tailored to unique circumstances.  Private aid organizations don't have that extra manager called "government" and they can tailor decisions for what people need on the ground.

It would be far better to have hundreds of charities and NGOs descend on Haiti without or with as little government supervision.  They would be given free license to simply move and get the job done.  That would be far better than it would be for those same organizations to be placed under heavy restrictions along with a myriad of rules that they would have to follow with the state involved.  Governments mean rules and regulations - and plenty of them.  Non government funded aid places the least number of restrictions on a group of people trying to fight the suffering.

Having the UN involved
“The government is a joke. The UN is a joke,” Jacqueline Thermiti, 71, said as she lay in the dust with dozens of dying elderly outside their destroyed nursing home. “We’re a kilometre from the airport and we’re going to die of hunger.”

UN run relief efforts have had some serious problems in the past.  Again I'm sure there are many people that do good work with the UN.  But why add an extra level of bureaucracy on foreign aid and relief?

No only does a relief organization have to deal with the rules of his  home nation, but on top of that they have deal with a world wide bureaucracy.  A world wide bureaucracy filled with people making decisions from the top down.  I can only imagine what it must be like to be an aid worker in some places of this world.  You have to follow rules devised by someone completely removed from the situation on the other side of the planet that you know don't apply to you.  Meanwhile people are literally suffering and dying around you.

In short, the UN should back off.  It should stick to what its good at: being a forum for diplomacy.  It should set the stage for those below, and deal with the decisions that can't be done by anyone at a local level.  It's best to stay out of the details and let those that are on the ground have the greater say.

Troop stay too long and unfocused

I think this should be self evident, however I think there is a big possibility that the stay won't be short, and it will won't be productive.  Haiti has no standing army.  It was disbanded years before.  Quite frankly I believe this situation is ripe for a good intentioned western leader to conclude that some nation building is in order.  After all how can Haiti provide for security itself we'll say?

The people of Haiti don't need to be patronized.  They can build a nation on their own very well.  The goal we should have is to convince and persuade them of the appropriate steps forward using diplomacy, fostering good relations through trade, and resisting the urge to think we're better.

If Haiti decides not to have  standing army - that its choice.  At a certain point we can alleviate the suffering all we want, but we may put ourselves in a situation where our continued intervention is preventing the right decisions from being made.

There's A Chill All Right

Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent thinks that a "chill" has descended down upon aid groups over the governments recent decision to withdraw funding from Kairos.  I suppose, although not explicitly stated in the linked article above, he is including recent actions by Conservative appointees to halt funding going through the government supported group "Rights and Democracy" from going to groups critical of Israel as part of this "chill."

Criticisms should be allowed in a free and open society.  Israel is no saint of a nation.  It has made mistakes and has policies that I'm personally NOT supportive of.  That being said the terrorist acts of Palestinians should be equally deplored.

However I firmly believe the the proper role of any government is to mind its own business wherever possible in the realm of foreign policy.  There is no need to for a government to get involved in far off conflicts -  especially ones as morally murky as the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

With that view in mind I have to say I do support the actions taken by the government to start repealing funding to groups that are critical of Israel.  These groups are accepting government funds and are acting on behalf of the Canadian people.  Canada, if it really wants to make a difference in the middle east, can best do so by fostering the diplomatic relationships needed to be able to be a neutral third party that can actually be trusted by either side.  That's the grounds for a constructive role to be played.  It won't happen if the government is seen as taking sides.

These aid groups in question that have received public funding have spoken out on areas of politics, diplomacy, and foreign relations which is not their responsibility.   Really and aid group should just be and focus on being an aid group.  It should not take political positions.  It should not take sides.  If it does the government is effectively taking sides.  Canada might as well make it official government policy to be against Israel at that point.

What gives me a chill is that Mr Broadbent then claims that it is the Conservatives who "are bringing what can only be described, it seems to me, as Middle East politics, directly into the heart of the centre. Never was there such interference before..."

Yet the very fact that groups that have been vocally critical of Israel and yet continued to receive federal funding indicates that Middle East politics was already present and the Conservatives are only correcting the imbalance.

The Issue is Competence

NP's Terry Glavin has pointed out an article suggesting that the Afghan Detainee issue predates the Conservatives, and was caused by Paul Martin's Liberal government.

Let me rephrase - it doesn't suggest, it clearly identifies the Martin Liberals of having known of abuse issues, these issues were apparently lost in the process or ignored, and the current Detainee transfer agreement was formalized all by them anyways.

In the end, with all the debate of Harper's prorogation of parliament, I think we've lost track of what the issue at hand is.

Employees of the government of Canada abroad communicated to the Canadian government that Afghan detainees were experiencing abuse at the hands of Afghan authorities.

Stephen Harper's government has given incomplete, vague, or confusing explanations as to why these reports were ignored.  The opposition, and justifiably so, have demanded answers.  The opposition has demanded resignations of senior members of the government, claiming that a competency issue exists in Harper's government.  The issue is competence and who can best manage the government of Canada.

With it clear that the Liberals have a part in the blame over this issue, if not an equal part of the blame, the issue of competence becomes null.  How can Iggy's Liberals claim they will be any better managers when they were guilty of starting the problem to begin with?

I would expect Stephen Harper to bring this report up over and over the moment McCallum or any other member of Iggy's shadow cabinet decides to go on the offensive.

Harper for his part should admit they made the mistake, apologize, and take the corrective action that is needed.  The issue is about competence and the fact that the standard we hold our leaders to is higher than we would hold a regular person to.  Given that I don't see any other path forward for Harper's government.

On Iggy's part, he should similarly express his regret, and indicate a willingness to cooperate with Harper on trying to solve the problem.  Because after all when two different governments with completely different people both make the same mistake at a certain point we have to start looking at the system as being at least part of the problem.

I guess expecting that type of adult behavior among Canadian politicians is like expecting timbits to rain down from the sky.  I expect it anyways.

No-Thank-You Anti-Prorogue Festival

In a move, that has to make Stephen Harper smile, both Layton and Duceppe have decided to pass on Iggy Puff's invitation to them to join them in their anti-prorogue festival in Ottawa.

What I really can't understand is just what in the heck Iggy's Liberals are really thinking.  They have to realize that the Afghan detainee issue will be grain of salt in the sea by the time another election rolls around.  If the electorate come E-day honestly goes into voting booths across the country with the Afghan detainee issue on their minds  I'll have to blow my brains out... Ok not literally, but with the attention span of most voters I can't understand what focusing on that issue now brings.

If anything saving your ammo for when parliament resumes drags out the story and gets more media coverage.

I can't help but think though, if I were a Liberal or a Dipper or a separatist for that matter and loved Che, Stalin and Pierre Elliott Trudeau I would take a slightly different tact.

Harper's strategy is to build momentum for a bad news budget.  He's trying to prime the populace for budget cuts - cuts that most likely will chop away at Lefty statist golden calves that have been around for decades.

If I actually cared about the CBC remaining public, greater funding for the arts, increasing EI premiums to people who probably already don't need it, or increasing the size of the civil service I would be getting ready now to fight it.

I would want to organize or attend rallies for public broadcasting, arts, lefty stuff like that.  That's where I would want to not only make appearances to highlight all the positives about these great big government programs, but also by meeting these groups face to face it puts you in a position to develop those critical relationships that make your criticisms become all the more palatable later on.

Use the consultation process against Harper - that would be the strategy.  Hold conferences of your own - highlight all these rich horrible business executives making excessive amounts of money, that the Alberta oilpatch has so much money, and how Obama is doing such a great job raising taxes in the US that we have extra leeway to do the same up here without affecting our competitiveness.

The way its looking right now the opposition seems to either be unsure what to do or begun an  immature hissy fit "I'll have a parliamentary session if I want to" party.

Right now Harper must be smiling.  His strategy seems to be working exactly as he wanted it to.  Obviously he learned from last year.  As the opposition focuses on the Afghan detainee issue, I bet they will be completely unprepared for what's coming.

The A-Team Movie?

Words just can't express...  I don't know what to say...  They're doing a new A-team.

h/t Curmudgeons.

Prorogation Follies

The Liberals are releasing new attack ads suggesting the Tories only prorogued parliament solely to get out of having to answer questions about the Afghan detainee issue. Apparently Stephen Harper has "something to hide."

I've heard this argument all over the blogosphere, the news, and the anywhere else you find hot air.

The only problem is that this argument is a very thin one.

Truly there seem to be three possible reasons why Stephen Harper prorogued parliament:

  1. To consult with Canadians about the Budget. The government has made it clear that cut backs are going to be needed. It makes only sense from a strategic perspective that the Tories want a period of time to go through a consultation process. It will get the public ready for what's coming and it will serve as a justification for what we all know the government needs to do. Now the government will be able to say when the Liberals decry the cutbacks to come "We consulted with Canadians..."

  2. To Push Senate Reform. By postponing the resumption of parliament it puts senate reform in a position to be achievable. Harper will no doubt appoint enough Senators in the in between for a Tory majority to be present there by the time parliament resumes. A Tory majority there will mean the only real block that was left to genuine reform has been removed.

  3. To avoid the Afghan Detainee issue because they're Evil Reptilian Morons. If the government truly has done something dastardly in how Afghan detainees were handled in the last couple of years, there is no way they can avoid this information from eventually becoming public. The opposition is NOT going to spontaneously forget the issue when they return to parliament. Further, if you want the public to forget a scandal, you have an investigation as soon as possible. Dragging the issue on is a recipe for a disaster of AdScam proportions. If the information that the government is withholding is really as damning as the opposition suggests, Stephen Harper has effectively committed political suicide. He would have been far better off to disclose the problems, fire the appropriate people and move on. He's done just that in the past with previous scandals - why would he spontaneously change his mind now when it comes to this alleged scandal?

So take your pick, either Stephen Harper is an idiot demon from outer space that has sealed his political fate anyway or he's strategically positioning himself for the budget and senate reform.

Take it from me - Stephen Harper is no idiot.  

Radical Islam Is The Problem

Although I don't necessarily agree with everything here Crowder get's this one right: It is Islamic Terrorism that is the problem.

I think Crowder may be inadvertently downplaying the role that passengers played in that flight when they wrestled down and detained that terrorist. If those passengers hadn't acted as they did, it's not clear just what that terrorist would have done once he regained his bearings - but that's my opinion. His essential point is right though - security did NOT save those passengers on that flight.

Abortion On The Agenda?

Maurice Vellacott seems to think so.  Being vindicated over his comments on the link between Abortion and breast cancer seems to have given him a second wind.

The real travesty here is that this issue has become verboten for anyone in the Conservative Party to even speak of.  It has literally become so poisonous that MP's apparently now can make legitimate comments on health risks associated with the "A-word" and the sky literally seems to fall.  I expect the shackles that stretch all the way to the PMO will yank a bit as a result.

It can't be spoken about.  It can't be debated.  It's the elephant in the room but no one can speak of it.

You Think That's Bad

Rand Simberg decries the fact that in the US government jobs have now overtaken "Good-Producing" jobs.

If he think's that's bad, 10% of the Canadian population is currently employed by Crown and somewhere near 20% of all jobs in Canada are in the public sector.

In comparison the US has 8% of its population working for the state, or about 14% of all US jobs.

Senate Whiners

Are politicians strangely enough, and they don't like the possibility that their voices may be drowned out by additional elected representatives in the senate taking away some of their power.

The amazing part of this process, is the absolute insistence by the provinces that for the senate to be elected it must be a consitutional change. Of course they know that the mere mention of a constitutional change in this country brings back ghosts of the Meech Lake Accord so it might as well as be a door slammed shut.

The truth is that senators have been elected in the past and could be in the future without any constitutional wrangling. So long as the Prime Minister is willing to appoint elected Senators the path is viable. Manitoba is already embarking down that process now.

The real question is, just at what point will Whining provincial leaders finally admit that having an unelected body of representatives is an embarrassment to this country?

People are so willing to decry Stephen Harper for doing what every Prime Minister has done on average once every two years by proroguing parliament as affront against democracy, yet where is the equal horror at our unelected senate?

Prorogue to Death...

When the Prime Minister announced he was proroguing parliament my immediate question was why?

I read article after article from the main stream media decrying this horrendous attack from the evil reptilian kitten eaters in the Conservative Party against tenets of modern democracy. I mean this is serious stuff people - facebook groups were even being formed.

So I searched available sources, and the best I could was some vague comments published from Harper's communication guru indicating that the government wanted time to "consult with Canadians."

Apparently Harper was saving the best for the Commies at the CBC. He's effectively saying everything but that this maneuver is a ploy to push for Senate reform.

This is big. If Harper can pull this off, by the time parliament resumes the Tories will have a majority of Senators that are willing to entertain the notion of reform.

With the remarkable resistance to the Senate's status quo that the left in this country, and I speak of particularly those members of the Fiberal Party of Canada, seem to cling to with so much perseverance my guess is that this fight is about to get a lot more interesting come March.


As Stelmach attempts to quench the flames in Alberta, I can't help but reflect on the motives of these Wildrose Defectors...

"Rob Anderson and Heather Forsyth were elected as Progressive Conservatives and now need to seek a mandate as Wildrose Alliance members from the voters in their respective constituencies," Mr. Mason said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Mr. Mason suggests the MLAs should resign their seats and run in byelections.

Mr. Anderson and Ms. Forsyth said Monday they do not plan to resign their seats because byelections would be too expensive.

Mr. Mason is not the only politician raising the question. On Monday, Calgary-Egmont Conservative MLA Jonathan Denis noted Mr. Anderson and Ms. Forsyth both support the idea of recall legislation, which would allow constituents to dismiss their representatives through a series of petitions.

Failing to take the decision to cross the floor back to voters is inconsistent, Denis said.
It's so nice that these defectors have chosen to avoid costing their constituents the extravagant amounts of money some puny bi-elections would cost.

I have to say, as a former victim of defections, having experienced what it's like to have your guy changing colours at the 11th hour... well... It doesn't feel nice.

I'm buoyed at the prospect of the Wildrose Alliance being successful out in Alberta. The Red Tories currently in control out in Conservative country have run amok quite frankly, and a right wing alternative I think is sorely needed there.

However these defectors have shown a lack of professionalism and good sense by these actions. They always had the option to sit as independents until the next election, or to go straight to a bi-election to settle the issue.

They have further cemented the view that politicians are doomed to always lie or at least to have a propensity to change their minds frequently.

Instead these members have decided to make the word "politician" even more the dirty word of the eon. In essence, they have said to their supporters "thanks for you vote, time to ignore it."

I think the cost would have been worth it.

The Saga of Kurt Westergaard

The Danish Cartoonist that infamously drew a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed with a bomb shaped turban, survived a murder attempt this past Friday.

Radical Islam appears to be so incapable of dealing with criticism, that even a slight attempt at mockery precipitates death threats and murder attempts with axes.  I'm starting to wonder if those that prescribe to Radical Islam can be considered part of a religion when Radical Islam really more closely resembles a cult.

If you consider National Socialism as a religion in the 20th, I suppose Radical Islam would fit nicely into your definition.  It seems to me however that the fanaticals in Al-Qaeda are more interested in supporting certain power structures and keeping certain leaders in power than they are about examining genuine theological issues.

What's stranger is that I don't think I have a single doubt in my mind that this will be the last attempt on Kurt Westergaard's life.  I don't honestly believe that anyone, irrespective of their views, would disagree with that statement either.  Has it really become that normal in western society for us live in that kind of fear and for none of us to question it?