"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!"
-Homer J. Simpson

Friday, August 28, 2009

Funding Cuts Back on the Table

Remember that stupid thing Harper tried to do in late 2008 the precipitated a huge crisis and almost cost him his government? Yeah, he just ordered his minister to try and push for it again.

Fletcher -- the minister of state for democratic reform -- has been talking about gearing up to take on the vote tax again. He has indicated it is something his government still plans to pursue.

"We believe that political parties should support themselves with people who voluntarily donate to whichever party they wish to support," said Fletcher.

Last November, you might remember, Conservative plans to cut off the per-vote subsidy which parties get led to a near meltdown of Parliament. The opposition parties accused the government of trying to use the threat of a recession to kill off its opponents by bankrupting them. Then the Liberals, NDP and Bloc banded together to form a coalition and were prepared to vote down the government and take over.

This will end well no doubt.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Doer Resignation News Round-Up


Manitoba Premier Gary Doer's announcement to step down has garnered shock and praise from those in Canada's political arena.

Winnipeg Sun:

National Post

Former Tory premier Gary Filmon -- Doer's "nemesis" when Doer was in opposition -- said he expects Mr. Doer will do well outside of politics.

"I welcome him into the club of former premiers," Mr. Filmon said after being told Doer was calling it quits.

Winnipeg Sun (Again)

"He's been a formidable foe in Manitoba," said Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard, who also wished Doer well but was not so shy about what this means to his Liberal party, which has seen its membership grow five-fold in 14 months, from 1,000 last June to 5,000 today.

"We're seeing a resurgence of Liberal support and it couldn't be better-timed," he said. "(Doer's retirement) is clearly going to change the political landscape. It's going to make a huge difference."

Globe and Mail

But if the party is going to try to take advantage of Jack Layton's efforts to professionalize it, it needs a new leader who can make use of that apparatus to take it to the next level. Doer is probably the one high-profile New Democrat in the country who fits the bill.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

One of these quotes is not like the other ones

From a recent PA Daily Herald story:

First we have these...

"...I think many people feel that the supply of needles actually drives the demand. It's actually completely the other way around," said Dr. Moira McKinnon, the province's chief medical health officer.

According to a report produced for the Ministry of Health, the best estimate is that needle exchange programs reduce the transmission of HIV by one-third and save $4,000 in health-care costs for every $1,000 spent.

Lana Bear, a former injection drug user. "I think (a needle exchange) is helpful, but I think it's a choice thing, too," she said.

"The use of clean needles and the recognition (by drug users) that they are protecting themselves from disease, enhances the public health side of this equation," said Stephen Lewis, former UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.

and then we have this...

"There are issues coming out of the needle exchange from the community and they are valid concerns. The concern (is that) we are finding needles everywhere," said Joceline Schriemer, Saskatchewan Party MLA and Legislative Secretary to the Minister of Health with responsibility for addictions.
Can someone beat this woman with a clue stick already?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ow Canada's new copyright law will affect you

Canada is about to reform its copyright law. Our government is holding a public consultation, and we need to be involved.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Can a busy female politician give reliable evidence? A judge says no

From the Globe:

Lisa MacLeod is a young female politician who commutes to her job at Queen's Park from Ottawa and leaves her husband, Joe, and four-year-old daughter, Victoria, at home. Mr. Justice Douglas Cunningham of Ontario Superior Court said this is a big distraction for the 34-year-old woman and as a result he felt he could not accept her evidence as corroboration of the Crown's key witness in the recent high-profile, influence-peddling trial of Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien.

Does anyone think that this would EVER be mentioned by a judge about a male politician? Of course not.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Here's an Idea, don't film your crimes and put them on Youtube


Three young Saskatchewan men were arrested Saturday in connection with a recent YouTube video that showed three males using rifles to shoot ducks on a prairie pond, footage that has caused widespread public outrage.
Brian Petrar, operations manager for Environment Canada's wildlife division, said while charges haven't yet been formally laid, officials will likely charge the individuals with offences under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Act.
But Petrar did say that information from tipsters and the fact there was a sign in the video and images of a blooming canola field in the background also helped officials track down the suspects.
The overwhelming number of tips in this case shows that the public understands the value of the wildlife resources in Canada and isn't willing to put up with animals being slaughtered, he said.

The video sparked widespread public anger and prompted the Toronto-based Humane Society of Canada to post a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of those shown in the Internet posting.

Society executive director Michael O'Sullivan said the organization also got calls from people who wanted to help and they were directed to tip lines in both western provinces. O'Sullivan said he is pleased to hear of the arrests.

"I would like to commend all the members of the public who provided information. Canadians take cruelty to animals very seriously and they want to help out as best as they can," he said.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sure, Blame it on Minimum Wage

Tim Horton's is the latest business to pull the whole "minimum wage increases hurt us so much" card.

Don Schroeder said yesterday price increases could be implemented in certain regions to offset cost pressures from both higher food prices and rising minimum wages.
Yep, that increase in the minimum wage must have really affected the bottom line of the company, right? They must be losing money hand over fist, right?

Yesterday, Hortons reported its net earnings rose to $77.8 million, or 43 cents per share, for the quarter ended June 28. That's an increase from $75 million, or 41 cents per share, a year earlier.
Growth was more modest in Canada at 1.7 per cent, as the company faced a variety of challenges including the economic slowdown

So you grew by 1.7% during the worst recession in decades and your profits were a measly $80 million? Wow, those provinces that have the nerve to insist you pay your staff dollars per hour should be ashamed of themselves!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Saskatchewan Isotope Reactor Schizophrenia

Richard Florizone is the vice-president of finance at the University of Saskatchewan and is heavily involved in the nuclear file. He thinks we should get an isotope reactor.

The accelerators offer a good solution that could come online faster and for less cost, but they don't have the volume,” said Richard Florizone, a nuclear physicist and vice-president of finance at the University of Saskatchewan, which will partner with the province on the reactor. “Together they would offer a diversified supply, so that if one facility went down, you would have others that could back it up.”

The Saskatchewan bid is already one of the early favourites. It promises a low-enriched uranium research reactor capable of half the isotope volume of the Chalk River facility for between $500-million and $750-million.

Sounds good, except the government's Uranium Development Partnership says this:

Key Recommendation NN: "The economics of a standalone isotope reactor are not attractive." (Page 97 of the UDP Final Report).
In other words one of the key recommendation of the UDP report is that a isotope reactor is not a good idea. But really, what does this UDP working group know anyway? It was chaired by some crackpot named Richard Florizone, who is a nuclear physicist and vice-president of finance at the University of Saskatchewan.


(I'm back.)

Update: The Jurist has some good numbers that point out the lunacy of this whole argument.