Friday, April 27, 2007

O'Connor Goner

Our Minister of Arms Dealers should buy himself a package of those new lead-free 'green' bullets and do the honourable thing and put an end to the charade of his being of service to anyone but other arms dealers.
The Tories are so in love with George W's Bush League they want to be able to torture bad guys but they know Canadians don't like our image tarnished by such things so they hope to win brownie points by hiding how much they want to bend the rules only no one believes them, except their own spin doctors.

Baird bull

Federal Environment Minister Baird has bared his party's intellectual bankruptcy in a smoke and mirrors environmental policy that David Suzuki demolished in five sentences. As a long, hot, poisonous stew of a summer nears and then passes into the most toxic one in history Stephen Harper's fortunes are going to vanish back into the Alberta rumphole where he began his asinine political career as a hindseat reflection of a reactionary oiligarchy facing oblivion.
Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Einsteins Bees Revisted

It is beginning to appear that there is serious doubt as to whether Einstein said anything about the disappearance of bees and the disappearance of humanity. The alleged quote of Einsteins has been making the environmental rounds, including this blog. His most recent biographer apparently doesn't know the quote.
The British Crime Writer John Baker goes so far as to say he never said it.

A pamphlet distributed [in Brussels] by the National Union of French Apiculture quoted Albert Einstein. "If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination ... no more men!" [From Chris Mclaughlin's "Fearful Beekeepers Plead for Curbs on Honey Imports," The Scotsman, 25 January 1994.]

Beside the potential 1994 source listed above, there was a 2004 source that might be where the quote spread from more recently. ? The following is an excerpt from a story on a French bee die off.

Meanwhile a knight in shining armour has appeared in the person of Viscount Philippe de Villiers, the right wing president of the departmental council of Vendée, western France. In his recently published book, Quand Les Abeilles Meurent . . . (When Bees Die . . .), he describes how he was alerted to the problem of fipronil by a beekeeper whose hives had been devastated. As his shoes scrunched across a carpet of dead bees, De Villiers became increasingly angry with "the monstrous mating of the agrochemicals industry and the state".

The book, whose title quotes Albert Einstein's remark that "if bees were to disappear, man would only have a few years to live", charts the beekeepers' struggle and castigates the "servile" behaviour of civil servants, the use of disinformation, the agriculture ministry and Europe.

While I won't go as far as John Baker and say Einstein never said it, the fact remains that whether Einstein did or not, doesn't change the fact that bees are dying off in the billions around the world and it is going to effect more than just the honey supply. If nothing else local plant species will die off in areas from which bees vanish, and with those plants a piece of the food chain will vanish, and thus effect mammals and other insects. And it will be one more ecological hole that will destabilize the whole.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Charter Of Rights Freedoms - 25 years later

Pierre Trudeau and Queen Elizabeth signed a document that
a) combined Catholic personalism and Protestant constitutional theology to establish sovereignty of the individual

b) used the chartering power of the crown to create a commonwealth which limits the rights of the House of Commons to alter the law of the land when it comes to individual rights and freedoms.

c) is both profound and will prove enduring.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Dion and May and the Bees

When Stephane Dion and Elizabeth May made their deal to not run candidates against the other leader, and with May endorsing Dion as her choice of Prime Minister over Harper, that one small move changed the entire political landscape. The environment matters more than the Liberal Party.
May's run against Peter MacKay is a run against a man who acted without principle when he betrayed the deal he'd made with David Orchard to preserve the Progressive Conservatives from union with Harper's Alliance Party and MacKay deserves to reap the consequences of that betrayal.
The Dion-May deal brings to mind a respected liberal environmental blog (Climate Liberals) that has shut down for a few days because the members of its blogging community came to the decision that the environment mattered more than the Party. The blog is now called Climate Partisans and is actively seeking well known, non-liberal members to join their posting community.
I think it's the fate of the bees. Albert Einstein once said "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."
Well the bees are dying in Europe. In America they are dying in catastrophic numbers.
This report notes that "Since last November, the US has seen a decline in bee populations so dramatic that it eclipses all previous incidences of mass mortality. Beekeepers on the east coast of the United States complain that they have lost more than 70 percent of their stock since late last year, while the west coast has seen a decline of up to 60 percent.

Its the Genetically modified crops, the herbicide spraying, and the use of single crop farming - all those things that those tree hugging environmentalists wouldn't shut up about for all those years.
We can't afford a Stephen Harper let's pretend-we're-an-environmentalist government. We don't have time for any more of his bullshit. It's grow up or die time, if it isn't already too late.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

David Orchard

I kind of lost track of David Orchard (mentioned in the previous post) probably because I don't watch TV and seldom read newspapers anymore, but found this on his wikipedia entry, which details MacKay's loss of principles.
Apparently this is what is happening to him recently if I'm not the only one who is taking an extended media vacation.(I know cyberspace is a media spa.)

Orchard joined the Liberals
, who'd've thunk it !

On November 19, 2005, CBC Radio News reported that the Liberals were trying to recruit Orchard as a candidate in the 2006 federal election. According to the report, Orchard would be a Liberal candidate in either Saskatchewan or rural Ontario. Orchard did not run as a Liberal in the 2006 federal election but he announced his support for the Liberals and campaigned for Chris Axworthy. [4] Orchard also officially became a member of the Liberal Party of Canada during the 2006 election.

After Liberals were defeated, and Liberal leader Paul Martin Jr. stepped down, there was some media speculation that Orchard would seek the Liberal Party leadership. [5] Instead, on August 17th, 2006 Orchard endorsed Stéphane Dion to be the next leader of the federal Liberal Party.[6] At the 2006 leadership convention, Orchard led a group of approximately 150 delegates, including 32 from Saskatchewan, in support of Dion. Those delegates ended up being pivotal in helping Dion pass Gerard Kennedy for third place on the first convention ballot, and eventually win the leadership when Kennedy swung his own support behind Dion after the second ballot. Orchard has not yet declared whether he will be a Liberal candidate in the forthcoming 40th Canadian federal election, although he reports that he has received invitations to run in a variety of ridings across the country.[7]

Elizabeth May versus Peter MacKay

At one point I thought Peter MacKay was one of those Red Tories of stature that occasionally rise up out of Maritime soil, and then he proved he had no principles by reneging on the deal he made with David Orchard when he joined camp with Stephen Harper's Alliance to create an American Republican Party subsidiary, the Conservative Party of Canada. I haven't given Peter a moment's thought since, except when he was nursing his wounds over Belinda, when I gave him about ten seconds for the thought 'poor bugger, that's what he gets for marrying his fortunes to Harper's.'
In the end Elizabeth May's ability to beat MacKay in his own riding will probably come down to what kind of constituent services MacKay has provided, and I suspect they have been considerable.
Still, an 'anyone but MacKay movement' will unseat him, and a good thing too.
He needs to go back to hoeing potatoes for awhile. I think his career is toast.

Stephen and deep integration

Stephen Harper's deep integration into the American Republican Party is nicely detailed on this site.
For Stephen it appears that thinking outside the Canadian Box means getting into the American box and having all his thinking done there by republicans.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Proportional Representation

The case for proportional representation is gaining public support and yet the idea is complicated by the nature of the proposed institutional reforms. The most recent proponents are suggesting that 30% of all elected officials be selected at large based on percentage of voters each party receives.
I think that particular proposal is problematic because people want less government, not more, however much they like the idea of proportional representation.
I think a simpler solution exists.
Historically the government was the Cabinet, and the Cabinet was the government. The cabinet had to win the approval of the House to stay in power. If a government lost the support of the House a new Cabinet was formed, either under the the same Prime Minister or under a different one. All without an election, and all dependent on the support of the House.
If we return to the idea that the cabinet is the government, rather than the government being the party in power, proportional representation becomes feasible, and far less complicated.
As far as I'm concerned, we can keep the party system to contest elections, but once elected the House itself becomes non-partisan and serves the function of the loyal opposition and/or ally of the government (cabinet). The cabinet would be made up of party members in direct proportion to their party's popular vote. The Prime Minister would be the leader of the party with the most votes unless he could not form a cabinet that had the support of the house, at which point someone else would try.
If a party won X% of the vote, but won no seats, then their leaders or other representatives would be appointed to cabinet as privy councilors. The committee make-up in the House would likewise be in direct proportion to the vote percentages of the parties. Non-seated members would be appointed as sub-privy councilors to ensure both representational and responsible government.
From my perspective, such reforms solve a number of problems with our democracy,and are reasonably simple to explain and to enact.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Partisan Posting

The worlds of political web logs are wild and wooly.
Sure there is the tame one of the various media outlets and political parties, in which staidness and sobriety rule, but in them journalistic desires not to offend advertisers dominate, as do Party desires not to offend voters.
But where the web meets the cyber ground running, everyone has an opinion on everything. Having worked as a journalist I understand the need for caution, but in the web world it's not so much objectivity that is required as not getting your facts so wrong that you look like an idiot. And in the blogosphere (dreadful word) looking like an idiot is a pretty common occurence.
I will say however, that as much as Liberals and Conservatives dislike one another it appears to have nothing of the rancour that exists between the Democrats and Republicans south of the border. Except perhaps in Alberta, the most American of all our provinces. Maybe it comes from all those sons of British Lords who bought up most of that province and settled in to rule it as cattle barons until the whacked out social credit movement arose and started talking Christian socialism, but fortunately oil was discovered in 1947 and the Alberta ruling class found common cause with American oil men and the modern Alberta conservative party was born and did away with all notions of Social Credit. Their hatred of the east is a well oiled propaganda machine designed to keep the rich rich and everyone else just fat enough to keep the oil slick in power. They even managed to commandeer Christianity and turn it into the worship of their particular cult of Mammon, while allowing free fundamentalist belief against all sins but greed.
Am I digressing ? Must be the air in the blogosphere.