Wednesday, June 29, 2005


The Globe and Mail: Ignatieff sets sights on Ottawa

I don't know much about our new philosopher king. Sounds like a little bit of a wild-card and by that I mean hard to decide which side of the big Liberal tent he likes to hang out on.

This article sort of makes it sound like it depends which day it is.

This is worth some research...


A nice way to frame this [the same-sex marriage] issue....

Full text of the speech

Here is an excerpt from (then) Prime Minister Jean Chretien's address to the Liberal caucus meeting in North Bay, ON in August of 2003. I think it frames the issue in a very clear succinct manner...

Now, I want to address another important issue of concern to all of us that was not part of our agenda. I do not have to tell you how challenging the issue of the constitutional definition of marriage is for each and everyone of us. Many of you have written to me directly to share your concerns and those of your constituents. Circumstances demand that we deal with the issue now because of very recent court decisions based on the Charter of Rights. The Canadian Alliance has attacked the courts for years. They attack so-called judicial activism. It is code for their profound opposition to the Charter of Rights. A Charter that was passed by Parliament and that Liberals and all Canadians respect and cherish. So let us not fall into their trap on this issue. This is not about weakening Parliament. It is not about weakening traditional religion. It is not about weakening the Canadian social fabric. In fact, it is about giving Parliament its rightful voice. It is about protecting religious traditions and rites. It is about giving force and effect to Canadian values. Values of mutual respect, justice and equality.

All of us understand that Parliament must always act in accordance with the Constitution. In the case of same-sex couples, we need to be guided by how court after court has been interpreting the Charter of Rights. And the courts have been telling us that the notion of separate but equal has no place in Canada.

Therefore we drafted a bill that guarantees the absolute right of churches to decide what is required for a religious marriage and guarantees as well the equality rights of all Canadians. We are now asking the Supreme Court to tell Parliament what is in accordance with the Charter of Rights, because I know that Liberals, and the vast majority of Canadians, do not believe in using the notwithstanding clause. When Members of Parliament know what is possible within the framework of the Charter, then they will be able to vote in accordance with their conscience and with all the facts in a free vote with no instructions from party whips.

So I urge you all to give this careful consideration at the appropriate time. To cool the rhetoric. Not to fall into traps set by the Opposition. Believe me, for someone of my generation, born and brought up in the Catholic rural Quebec of my youth, this is a very difficult issue. But I have learned over 40 years in public life, that society evolves and that the concept of human rights evolves often more quickly than some of us might have predicted and sometimes even in ways that make some people uncomfortable. But at the end of the day, we have to live up to our responsibilities. And none of these are more essential than protecting the Constitution and the fundamental rights it guarantees to all Canadians.

Yep... right on the money....

A. L.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I am a PROUD Canadian! | Same-sex marriage bill passes in Commons

Perhaps what took place politically in both the USA and Canada tonight provides an interesting commentary on the vast differences between these two countries...

In the USA the President addressed the nation from Fort Bragg, NC to offer his newest re-definition of the mission in Iraq, coming back full circle to sell the baloney that it's all about September 11th again...

In Canada, same-sex marriage passed the final (major) hurdle on its way to becoming law, passing the House of Commons in a final 158 to 133 vote. Extending equal rights to Canadian homosexual couples.

There should be some credit given to Prime Minister Paul Martin for this development. Though I have been disappointed in Martin's public image and presence I think no one can deny that his government has skillfully maneuvered through the minefield that is a minority parliament. His legacy gained a nice piece of hardware for it's wall of fame tonight. While Harper and the Tories say they will bring the issue up once again in a free vote if they form the next government, I can't really see any government in the future having the cajones to take away minority rights. It's tough rhetoric to satisfy Harper's base, but I can't see it actually happening.

It makes me happy to see this come to fruition. There were points in the past few months when I was definitely uncertain that it would pass. Mostly I was worried that the government would fall, the session would adjourn, or the revolting backbenchers would turn the tables against the legislation. I am a happy Canadian and I can't wait to answer the questions tomorrow... perhaps some will be too embarassed to ask?...

A. Happy Liberal

Monday, June 27, 2005

Jeremy Roenick telling it like it is....

CBC Sports: Jeremy Roenick rants about NHL lockout:

True to form, here's Roenick (Philadelphia Flyers) speaking the truth in an "I told you so" moment...

"'If people are going to sit and chastise professional athletes for being cocky, for being suck asses, they need to look at one thing and that's the deal that we are probably going to end up signing here in the next three weeks,' Roenick told the newspaper. 'They'd better understand that pro athletes are not cocky. Pro athletes care about the game.

'Everybody out there who calls us spoiled because we play 'a game,' they can all kiss my ass. They can all kiss my ass because we have tried so hard to get this game back on the ice.'

Roenick said everyone – the league, the union, the players – are all responsible for the lockout, he just wishes the NHLPA listened to its constituents more closely.

'They could have listened to their players,' he said. 'They could have listened to the players who had an idea of where this thing was going. They could have listened to me, they could have listened to Robert Esche, to Jarome Iginla, to Chris Pronger, and to sign a deal close to what we had in February. '

'... Now that we're at this point, I realize I was right. That deal we could have signed in February beats the [crap] out of the deal we're going to sign in July.'"

Perhaps we'll see a deal very soon. Me hopes!


Friday, June 24, 2005

The Globe and Mail: Liberals outmanoeuvre Tories to pass budget bill

The Globe and Mail: Liberals outmanoeuvre Tories to pass budget bill

Nice work! So now we can be assured we'll get a vote on the Same-Sex Marriage Bill.

The Tories look like they are in disarray... Leadership review anyone?


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Globe and Mail: Grewal in hot water again

The Globe and Mail: Grewal in hot water again

It just keeps going from bad to worse for this guy....

First someone doctors the tapes, then his friend contradicts his allegation that the Liberals approached him... and now it looks like he may have broken the law in becoming a citizen.

Sheesh... where does Harper come up with these people?

Oh and by the way, the Liberals have regained the support of very large group of Canadian voters.... The largest share I might add, at 37% nationally compared to the Tories 23% and the NDP at 21%. In seat-rich Ontario the Liberals are way out in front with 48% compared with the Tories at 22% and the NDP at 24%. This proves my friend's hypothesis that voters in his home province really could give a rats' about Gomery... for now.

A. Liberal

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Globe and Mail: Grewal tapes altered, expert asserts

The Globe and Mail: Grewal tapes altered, expert asserts

Chip... chip... chip... chip...

That's the sound of Tory credibility being chipped away in this situation...

It's rather unsavoury on both sides, that much is certain.

For the C's to float these tapes/recordings and then have their credibility questioned when the experts get a hold of them, just makes it stink.

My hypothesis is that an overzealous hard-right operative working in the Leader's office was the resident tech-wiz and was asked to dub the recordings onto a CD or computer or both. Then upon realizing that the tapes weren't as juicy as the opposition would have hoped, took some creative license and sexed things up a bit.

So, was Harper's office involved? probably. Did Harper or senior Tory staff know about any doctoring? probably not.

Still, my scenario shows a little bit of the ugliness that seems to be seeping into Canadian politics. I have a theory on that one too.

While the Liberals were the 1st ones to go negative with the "Stephen Harper said" ad campaign last election. Young Tory operatives have it bad for Republicans. They get pretty enchanted by the rough and tumble mud-slinging typical of US politics and deep down would really like to see that free-traded to Canadian conservative causes.

Watch out... it's on the way.


Friday, June 03, 2005

Invasive conservatives...

Indianapolis enforcing adult book store ordinance:

Justin Ohlemiller with the Department of Metropolitan Development says, 'Some operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By ordinance they'll now be limited to six days and closed Sundays.
OK, before anyone rushes to any judgments, let me first say that while I HAVE been to an adult bookstore/novelty retailer before, I am NOT a frequent patron. So, suffice to say this ordinance really has nothing to do with my personal shopping behavior....

However, I am deeply troubled by this law. Particularly, the fact that this is such a clear example of faith-based legislation.

This law clearly recognizes and sets-aside Sunday as a special day. The same thing with the no alcohol sales on Sunday in the state. Both ascribe some sort of special status to Sunday.

There are only 2 possible (although tenuous) justifications for this:

1. Sunday is God's day, therefore booze and porn should not be available to the citizens of Indiana (booze) and Marion county (porn).

2. The citizens of Indiana and Marion county in particular need the government to tell them how to spend their money on Sundays.

Anything else is just pandering or hot air. I think laws like this that only have justification in the bible or in religious doctrine, or dare-I-say social engineering, are complete bunk.

I guess the most disappointing part of this story is the main sponsor, our good Democratic Mayor Bart Perterson... shame.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Globe and Mail: Volpe's fundraiser stirs leadership talk

The Globe and Mail: Volpe's fundraiser stirs leadership talk

I had never read or heard of MP's or candidates in Canada giving money to other candidates or other riding associations.

It happens all the time in the US, but I didn't know it happened up north....

A product of the new campaign financing/political party donation laws, my guess.


Who's the shady one here?

The Globe and Mail: Liberals woo Tory on tape

I think it depends what side of the aisle you favour....

If you're a Tory you see what you want to see, dirty Liberals buying votes with offers of Cabinet seats, UN appointments, Senate appointments, you name it.

If you're a Liberal you see a self-interested Indo-Canadian moderate Tory looking to hold off an election because he and his wife have become uncomfortable with Harper's leadership.

Me, I think I see something half-way between. I see a self-interested politician (Grewal) looking to cement some important personal/family gains in exchange for scuttling Harper's no-confidence gamble. Yet, it's still not quite that simple, Grewal is a berry-berry sneaky person... he secretly tapes the conversation for two reasons: to back himself up in case the Liberals back away from the "rewards" when it all dies down, and to be able to cover his tracks and keep him in good stead with the Conservatives by making it seem like he was just doing it to expose Liberal corruption.

Smart dude!

I think there are some un-asked questions (by the press):

-What does this say about Mr. Harper's leadership? It seems even some "Western Conservatives" were willing to jump ship.
-What does this say about Mr. Grewal himself and his ethics?
-What were Mr. Grewal's true intentions? I think a solid argument could be made that he would have been equally comfortable with either outcome, staying with Harper or jumping ship.

The facts as I see them are this:

-Mr. Grewal approached the Liberals about voting with the government.
-Mr. Grewal taped the conversations without Tim Murphy and Ujal Dosanjh's knowledge.
-There are valid questions about the veracity of the translations and transcriptions.
-There was no explicit offer made.
-An offer was solicited by Mr. Grewal.
-Mr. Grewal was under investigation.

It gets muddier and muddier....