Friday, December 31, 2004

The Cock Up Continues

It's New Year's Eve and several holidaying Liberal Cabinet ministers have awakened to the fact there is a major disaster in Asia and that as Ministers of the Crown they are supposed to be at their post waving the flag and providing direction to the civil service. Even Prime Minister Martin has signalled his intention to leave his Moroccan beach any day now and return to Ottawa. But he's in touch by cell phone, so don't worry.

The Liberal spin doctors are frantic that the government looked rudderless at a very critical time. Of course, this perception grew with the public because the government was rudderless at the time. Pesky facts! They keep interfering with the myth making. ...the Government is on top of things, .... really .... honest .... cell phones you know ..... DART team may not be the best instrument .... blah, bah, blah, ....

(But the people know what's happening, or rather what's not happening ..... Ministers of the Crown may not be up and running, but the peoples' BS detectors are fully functioning .... They know this is a grand cock up.)

The Liberals are still trying to spin the failure to send the DART team. They thought they bought themselves some time by sending a 12 person DART reconnaissance team to Asia. I think it merely highlights the cock up. We have diplomats abroad who should be able to assess the situation in their respective countries and report back. Other countries are already there with assistance teams ... the non-governmental aid organizations (NGOs)are on the ground and working hard .... the Canadian Government has sent one aircraft so far .... which, given the serviceability of CF Hercules transports may be about the best the airforce's 8 Wing can do.

Cock up test. If other assisting governmments in the world and NGOs like Oxfam, et al, can find the coal face and dig in with assistance, then why can't the Government of Canada do the same? Why don't they just pick up those damn cell phones and call an NGO, or a government in distress. Answer. It's a cock up, that's why.

The Liberals are great admirers of the United Nations. So much so they've abandoned their faith in God for faith in the UN. This must be why they are emulating the one other organization that hasn't got its act together in this disaster. A very interesting post in the Diplomad has the goods on the UN effort.

We have US C-130s flying in and out of here dropping off heaps of supplies; US choppers arrive today; USAID is doing a knock-out job of marshalling and coordinating US and local resources to deliver real assistance to real people. The Aussies have planes and troops delivering stuff; even the Indians have goods on the way. The UN? Nowhere to be seen. OK, I'm not being fair. Last night they played host to a big "coordination" meeting of donors to announce that the UNDP has another large "assessment and coordination team" team arriving. Our USAID guys, who've been working 18-20 hrs/day, came back furious from this meeting saying everybody would be dead if the delivery of aid waited for the UN to set up shop and begin "coordinating." The UN types are upset with the US, Ms. Short, dear, not because we're undermining them but because we're showing them up as totally inept.
Yup, the UN is upset with those nasty Bushites again. They won't join in the UN assessment and coordination team exercises because they're too busy providing assistance. I bet Canadians are on that UN team. Sounds like it runs at about our government's speed.

Fact. In 1996 the Liberal government established (with great fanfare) a 200 person disaster relief unit of the Canadian Forces that can't assist in any disasters because they clearly can't move 200 troops and their equipment beyond the gates of CFB Trenton.

People will die because of this Liberal cock up. But the Liberal spin doctors and vacationing Minister's of the Crown will die before admitting it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

LCol Hawn on DART

It appears that Laurie Hawn of "Strong and Free" is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Forces. He has just posted an excellent letter to Prime Minister Martin about the grounded DART team and the degradation of the CF in general. His site is on my sidebar links. Have a look at his blog.

By the way, the CD after his name is earned by military service to his Queen and country. It is there because he has been awarded the Canadian Forces Decoration. Paul Martin cannot add CD to his name. Nor, I believe, can any other Liberal Cabinet Member. I assert that this is a large part of the problem.

DART Team Spin Doctoring

Today in the Globe and mail Elissa Goldberg, a director of humanitarian affairs in the Department of Foreign Affairs, is quoted as saying that the 200 member Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Relief Team (DART) is not being deployed because it isn't needed. She says that DART isn't normally deployed within the first 72 hours. "It is more of a medium term intervention,"Ms Goldberg said.

Not according to the Department of National Defence (DND) web site it isn't. Refresh your memory by rereading my post of yesterday, The Holy Paperwork of Antioch. The DND says Dart is something different. In addition to my quotes from the site yesterday, the site says that DART is supposed to be:
ready to deploy quickly to conduct emergency relief operations for up to 40 days, the DART can bridge the gap until members of the international community arrive to provide long-term help.

If that doesn't sound like a first responder, I don't know what does. According to DND, the team is supposed to get there before the NGO's arrive on scene. We are not being told the truth on the DART team by government spokepersons. Shame on them.

How many will die in the next few weeks because our Liberal government has completely neglected its obligations to the people of Canada to provide and maintain a well equipped, deployable military service?

If you don't care about those poor unfortunates in Asia (and if you don't care, your heart is stone), then give some thought to having these neglectful incompetents in charge of disaster relief when a catastrophe strikes right here in Canada.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Why The Dart Team Has Not Deployed

Andrew, of Bound by Gravity, http:// has put me on to a very good blog on the subject by Laurie Hawn of Strong and Free at

(I am well aware that I must master the art of linking by just having a bolded word on the page. Those who can perform such magic impress me greatly. At least one kind blogger has tried to teach me how to do it. Alas I am a tube model brain in a computer universe. Be patient.) ... I digress.

Laurie's post was much along the lines of what I was planning for my next effort. My experience, and the publicly known facts about the decayed state of the Canadian Forces leads me to believe it has the ring of truth. Have a look and weep. No, better yet start demanding better from your local MP.

I remember remonstrating about two years ago with a good friend and (until the last federal election) a Liberal member of parliament about the decayed state of the CF. He had just told me about a flight he had taken with other MPs to the arctic aboard a Hercules C-130 transport aircraft. The "Herc" was not allowed to fly above 10,000 ft because of it's cracked wing spars. Apparently, most of the CF C-130 fleet was in this condition. Not surprising given their age and the very large numbers of flying hours on the airframes. Also completely unacceptable.

When I stated my shock at this state of affairs and asked how this could happen, he said, "There are no votes in defence" .... and he was a friend of the CF, a rarity among Liberals. I know. I worked on Liberal political staff.

Anyway, get thee hence to Strong and Free and have a look. I'm adding him to my weblog.

The Holy Paperwork of Antioch

The earthquake and subsequent tidal waves that have devastated coastal regions in Asia has left behind an almost unimaginable death toll (over 50 thousand and counting). In addition, there are thousands of injured and missing persons and, depending on the country affected, a desperate need for medical and search expertise and just plain old clean water.

The Canadian Forces has a disaster relief team, which was created for just such circumstances. Called the Disaster Asssistance Response Team, or DART, it is has about 200 assigned military personnel. The Department of National Defence site says the unit is:
...designed to deploy rapidly anywhere in the world to crises ranging from natural disasters to complex humanitarian emergencies. The DART: responds rapidly, in conjunction with national and regional governments and non-governmental agencies, to stabilize the primary effects of an emergency or disaster; provides potable water and medical aid to help prevent the rapid onset of secondary effects of a disaster; and gains time for the deployment of national and international humanitarian aid to facilitate long-term recovery in a disaster-struck community. (I bolded certain key words)

Doesn't that sound like the sort of unit needed right now in the wake of the Asian earthquake? Well, think again. According to the National Post's, Chris Wattie (tip to Norman's Spectator):
Canada 's military disaster response team must wait for an official request from the Department of Foreign Affairs before it can be sent to help victims of a tsunami in Southeast Asia .

While other nations had teams already in the air yesterday to help with the aftermath of the deadly tidal wave, defence spokesmen said the Canadian Forces' Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) will not be going anywhere without the proper paperwork.

Ah yes, the paperwork. Let victims of the tsunamis die like flies while the Liberal Government of Canada dithers over its sacrosanct memos and briefing notes. This is the conclusion of the DND site on the DART team.

Canada is an important provider of international humanitarian assistance and emergency relief. The creation of the DART enhanced the federal government's ability to meet both domestic and international requests for aid, and it demonstrates Canada's resolve to support disaster victims anywhere in the world.

If this situation demonstrates the Liberal government's resolve to provide enhanced support to disaster victims anywhere in the world, I'm a purple mongoose with six legs.

Pray tell us, Prime Minister, just why we're spending millions on a rapid response DART team again? Hope you're enjoying your vacation in Morocco. Any big waves on the beaches there?

Monday, December 27, 2004

There Are None So Blind ...

Thanks to the Diplomad this one.
Stop labelling terror as Islamic: Muslim group MADRID, Spain (AP) - The Islamic Commission of Spain has asked the parliamentary panel probing the Madrid train bombings to refrain from referring to terrorists as "Islamic" or "Islamist", the leading daily El Pais said Thursday.

"Unfortunately (these terms) are used too frequently in political, journalistic and editorial circles, almost on a daily basis, creating a public opinion of social, anti-Islamic alarm," the group's leader Ria Tatary said in a letter sent to the parliamentary commission. "Terrorism is perceived in the world of Islam as a crime along with genocide, both being crimes against humanity," El Pais quoted the letter as saying.

The March 11 bombings, which killed 191 people and injured 1,800, have been blamed on Muslim religious extremists with possible ties to the international terror group, al-Qaeda. Eighteen people, mostly Moroccans, have been charged and jailed in the case. Tatary pointed said the terrorists despise all those who do not think like them, whether they are Muslim or not. He said several Muslims, including an imam, were killed in the March 11 attacks.

I was going to make a comment or two about this article, but sometimes it is better to allow folk their full and uninterupted say. Commentary can potentially obscure the clarity of their vision, which everyone should have the opportunity of observing in all its natural splendour.

Ukrainian Reformers Win ... so far

I don't really have much time for posting, as Mad Dad is required elsewhere in the Castle by young members of the clan. So my posts of necessity wil be surreptitious and short.

I've been trying to follow the election in Ukraine with very limited success. There hasn't been a lot of coverage. It appears, at this juncture that Viktor Yuschenko, of the Orange revolution, has beaten (again!) his rival pro-Russian rival Victor Yanukovitch. This time, the electoral commission has the split at 54.4% to 43.8% (CBC News). Ominously, Yanukovitch is refusing to concede defeat and says he will contest the results.

Apparently, electoral returns are very slow in coming in from the Russian speaking eastern regions of the country. I sense that Yanukovitch is setting up conditions favourable for declaring an autonomous region in the eastern region. This may be a prelude for the fracturing of Ukraine. Certainly, this would be in line with the imperial designs of Mr. Putin. Stay tuned folks. This one is not over yet.

The Third Day of Christmas.

Well, the first two days of Christmas were wonderful here at Castle Mad. St. Nicholas made his miraculous trip from the north pole escorted by Canadian Forces CF-18 fighter jets on patrol with NORAD. The escorts are fitting as they are about the same vintage as Santa's sleigh, although Santa's avionics are rumoured to be much more up to date.

The children of the Mad appear content, as they play away on various games electronic and pre-electronic. Master Liam told me before he went to bed on Christmas that it had been a great Christmas. Lady Mad agreed whole heartedly, as did mother-in-law of the Mad one.

I like the new air hockey set that St. Nick somehow smuggled down our chimney. How he does that is a source of some speculation around the castle, although Master Brendan sums it up with a statement of faith that would put the Roman centurian of new testament scripture to shame.

[Pause for short lesson, paraphrased from memory ... the centurian came to Jesus asking for a healing of his servant. Jesus agreed to go to the centurian's home, but the centurian, knowing that Jesus would be viewed as defiling himself for entering the home of a Roman soldier, told Jesus, "Rabbi, I am unworthy for you to enter my home. Say but the word and my servant shall be healed." Jesus turned to his deciples and said. "In all of Israel I have not seen faith as great as this." .... thus endeth the small, but possibly necessary, teaching moment.]

Master Brendan's statement of faith went like this. "It's easy Dad. Santa's magic!

Just so, my son, just so. He can do it because he is indeed magic.

Bless you all on this third of the twelve days of the Feast of Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Magnificat anima mea, Dominum

It is the eve of Christmas in the year of Our Lord two thousand four. The star of Bethlehem still shines on the hearts of people of good will. The child still draws us to the creche, as the shepherd boys and wise men were drawn so long ago.

I am a Catholic, by the grace of God and not of my own merit. Still, my will and my spirit are set on Christ and there you have it. I will go to my grave a Catholic simply because that child, born of Mary, a long time ago called me into a continuing relationship with Him. It is my great joy.

Like Mary, I can only reply to the call of grace, that my soul magnifies my Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour. And when I have gone to my death (and rebirth, for such he has promised to all of us who believe in Him), I will stand before the judge of judges and plead not justice, but mercy. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will hear me and will be merciful. You see, He loves me and His nature is mercy itself, .... and my sins will be as far as the east is from the west.

His mercy generates in me equal amounts of relief, humility, sorrow and joy. Relief that I can start afresh in the love of Christ. Humility in knowing that I do not really deserve the forgiveness granted, sorrow that I continue to inflict pain on my Saviour by my failure to turn my will completely to Him, and joy ... knowing that in spite of it all God loves me.

Still, Christmas is not so much the time to reflect on our weaknesses but to marvel that the Lord God of Hosts humbled Himself to become a tiny infant born in a stable, like us in all things except sin (as we all were meant to be, before that unfortunate dalliance with the apple in the garden.)

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.

And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.

The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.

New American Bible - Excerpt from the Gospel of St. Luke

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Time Approaches

As Christmas eve draws closer I can say that Clan Mad is pretty well finished with the domestic preparations. I have a number of last minute presents to wrap. Castle Mad has lights in the turrets, all sorts of other decorations and a wonderful spruce tree that looks magical even to this middle aged patriarch. Yes, folks John the Mad is a patriarch (albeit a minor one) and proud of it to boot.

After much deliberation a few days ago, my sons picked out that perfect tree at the Taylor tree farm and Master Liam, now 11, felled it all by himself. He was quite proud of himself, as he should be. You always remember your first trophy tree. One of the side benefits is that you are struck from the David Suzuki Foundation charitable begging list. Nothing to sneer at, that.

Lady Mad, of course, finished her present shopping and wrapping a week or two ago. Possessing Irish hedge row poet genes, I find her Protestant organizational streak endlessly fascinating, if somewhat odd. .... I am digressing.

The presents are being placed under the tree as I write. I'm sipping a glass of Ontario red wine (quite nice) and nibbling on some Upper Canadian extra-old cheddar (mmmm) and the heavenly choir is practicing at this very moment for the big event (No? .... O', ye of little faith!).

Yesterday after we all went to see The Polar Express (It was a good movie.) Master Brendan (six) and Master Liam both visited Santa in the mall in Pickering on the Rouge. It is my considered opinion that all the other Santas, in all the other malls, are mere hired help. We get the real superannuated Catholic bishop, ... on half pay no doubt. I'll tell you why I know this.

The line was very long but well behaved, as one would expect at a time when the naughty list was nearing completion. Master Brendan sneaked around and stared wide eyed at Himself. After a while, Bishop Nicholas noticed. Brendan smiled and waved. Santa, who until that moment looked a tad tired stood up, broke into a genuine barn burner of a grin and waved back and winked. Yup, he's the real McCoy allright.

I have to get back to my patriarchal seat with the family now. It just doesn't get any better, you know. Thank you Lord, .... for them .... and everything.

Malaysian Christmas Rebuttal

There may well be another side to the Malaysian Christmas ban story, as has been pointed out in my comment box by a Malaysian blogger called MaoBi, http:// . Another Malaysian blogger by the name of Slickshadow also questions the story.

In the interest of fairness go have a look.

The Canadian federal government refused to allow religious prayers at the memorial service for the Swiss Air crash off Nova Scotia a couple off years ago and at the 911 memorial service on Parliament Hill in 2001. Something about not wanting to upset people (at least non-religious people, since the prohibitions certainly upset a lot of religious folk). Sounds familiar. No formal ban. Just quietly send the word out through the bureaucracy and later deny there was any such thing.

Still, the Malaysian Christmas ban may not be true. Hard as it is to believe, the mainline media occasionally get it wrong. Anyone else know something about this story?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Christmas in Malaysia

It seems that Christmas is celebrated in Malaysia, as one would expect from a country with a significant Christian population. In a story by Ioannis Gatsiounis, in the Asia Times, it is noted that there are a few restrictions on how it is celebrated.( )
In multi-ethnic Malaysia, where Muslims make up a slim majority and control
the government but where there are also sizeable Christian, Hindu and Buddhist
minorities, news that the government would ban any reference to Jesus in hymns
and Christian symbols like the nativity scene from its Christmas Day open house,
was destined to ruffle some feathers.

According to reports, the request to ban the mention of Jesus at the public Christmas celebration at Petaling Jaya on December 25 - held in the presence of King Syed Sirajuddin and Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi - was made in order to "protect Muslim sensibilities".

At first the state-neutered press ignored the story; it generally considers race and religion too sensitive to discuss. But with a swelling number of postings to websites, blogs and e-mail chat groups questioning the logic of the decision - and by way, the substance of Malaysia's brand of "tolerance and diversity" - it
wasn't long before the mainstream media weighed in.

I don't think Jerry Seinfeld's Festivus would get very far in Malaysia. It would be banned as soon as the "airing of the grievances" got underway.

Now this story is interesting for a number of reasons. It denotes the level of tolerance of Muslim societies to the actual practice of Christianity. It is also noteworthy for the example it gives of the power of the Internet and of how blogs and chat rooms can be instruments of freedom for the oppressed. The truth shall set us free, my friends.

To See the Ensign Flying High

To see the Ensign flying high,
fills me with something, I know not why.
It is a feeling deep inside;
I think they call that feeling pride.

It flew through three wars true to call,
but now at last it's going to fall.
They'll take it down without a thought;
the Canadian flag for which we fought.

by John the Mad
written in Grade Nine, in 1964-65 during the flag debate, probably when I was supposed to be conjugating latin verbs (a subject which I failed, ... mea maxima culpa), at St. Patrick's College High School in Ottawa. There is a third verse which, tragically, has been lost to Western civilization due to brain cell destruction, likely caused by quaffing too much ale at university.

Damian Brooks, of Babbling Brooks fame, recently posted a far more eloquent recruit's first post to the brigade and to the world. I cannot match him, so I'll content myself with a few observations, which I hope will suffice. I want first to address a slander against the Ensign and, by implication, an untruth against the brigade itself.

The Canadian Red Ensign does not belong to racist extremists, as some have been asserting on the web. It has a past steeped in freedom and democracy and deserves a better legacy than any evil to which modern racists have subjected it. It was the symbol of our country when Canada was emerging from its colonial past to its splendid place among the nations of the world. If wicked men and women misuse this ensign today it is to their great and added shame.

My two grandfathers, my father, an uncle and father-in-law, all went to war under the Red Ensign. All but my father served our nation in the army. My dad served as a sergeant air gunner in the Royal Canadian Air Force. My paternal grandfather served at Vimy Ridge. My father-in-law served in the 48th Highlanders throughout Sicily and Italy. I even have a forebear (on my mother's side) who served with Wolfe in the battle of the Plains of Abraham. Of course, that predated the Red Ensign.

They pledged, through their voluntary service to Canada, to fight and die for her. Fortunately, they all survived their wars, although my uncle left his right leg in Holland. These men (for they were men for a' that) are all now deceased or, as we Christians believe, they are all now with Christ. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.

The Red Ensign went with them to those wars and if evil men are misusing this flag today they would demand that it be recalled to honourable service. So in hoisting the flag on my site I am doing my part to ensure that the Ensign remains in honourable service. I assure you I do not love our national flag less.

My reasons for applying to join the Red Ensign Brigade are many and varied. During my life time I have watched a succession of governments squander the opportunities handed to them by previous generations. Accordingly, in Canada today we have low expectations of our national government and of our place in the world. We were bequeathed better by better people than those who serve us now.

At one time Canadians played the great game above our weight. We believed that together we could make a difference for good in world affairs. We undertook our international obligations seriously and were prepared to pay the cost in treasure or, where necessary, in lives.

Our nation today is still an exciting and vibrant place to live and work. It is a changed place from my grandfathers' and father's day, with many new nationalities and religions struggling to make a place for themselves under the maple leaf flag. This is a very good thing. I find it exhilarating, for the most part.

But let us not forget our traditions as we move forward. These traditions speak to us of sacrifice, honour, patriotism, hard work and respect for our neighbours and the rule of law. Canada is one of the oldest democracies in the world, yet we are not yet a society set in stone.

I sense in the Red Ensign brigade a frustration with the pettiness in contemporary government and the shrivelled aspirations to which we as a people have foolishly consented. Worse yet, many of us have joined with Europe and a goodly portion of the United States in embracing a cult of death (and I am not writing here of the war in Iraq, or the war against Islamic terrorists). We in the brigade don't agree on everything, but we are open to good and honest debate. Such is the very stuff of democracy.

So hoist high the Red Ensign and remember what it really represents.


Thanks, are due to Raging Kraut and Babbling Brooks for their time and assistance in getting this flag onto my sidebar. What a great band of bloggers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Church Attendance Growing

As we approach the holy day in which we celebrate the birth of the Son of God in a manger in Bethlehem, the earth is once again filled with tidings of great joy. From Michael Swan in the Catholic Register, the newpaper of the Diocese of Toronto we learn that:

Catholic and Protestant, mainline and Evangelical, young and old, urban and rural, Canadians are coming back to church.

Reginald Bibby, Canada's leading sociologist of religion, calls it an "embryonic renaissance of religion."

After decades of decline, Canadian Church attendance is on the rise, Bibby's surveys show an eight point jump from 30 to 38 percent between 2000 and 2003 in Canadians who attend church at least once per month. Weekly attendence has also surged from 21 to 26 percent in the same period.

Bibby's results are also mirrored in other major surveys by Alan Gregg, Gallup and others. His conclusions are also supported by Statistic Canada's figures.

During the 2000-03 time period Canadian Catholic and Protestant church attendance (measured as attending a church service at least once a month) jumped by 10%, from 36% to 46% for each group. Roman Catholic attendance figures are running somewhat ahead of other denominations. Outside Quebec, Catholic attendance has increased an astonishing 15%, from 42% to 57% in three years.

Catholic numbers overall are depressed nationally because of Quebec where Catholics traded in their faith in God, during the 1970s, for faith in the separatist dream. Even in Quebec, however, Catholics have shown an increase in Church attendance of 5%, from 29% to 34%. The report concludes that the increases hold true for both urban and rural dwellers (with a slight variance favouring rural dwellers). According to Professor Bibby, a sociologist from the University of Lethbridge, the evidence:
can't be explained as a blip in the survey data, or as a shift in the age of Canadians. "We actually have some evidence that the Spirit of God has been active in Canada," Bibby said.

You might think that Bibby making a spurious assumption with his assertion that increased church attendance is a sign the Spirit of God is working, but you would be wrong. You obviously haven't been attending yourself, or you'd know it isn't the outstanding quality of the homilies, the deeply moving tenor of the hyms, or the esthetically pleasing liturgies causing the increase (at least in the modern Catholic mass). Fortunately it is the sacramental aspects and not the human element of the services which draw folk to the Church.

Now one would think that Paul Martin, the self-avowed devout Catholic Prime Minister of this Dominion, would be happy to learn of this renaissance. (My advice is to avoid Catholics who describe themselves, or allow their staff to describe them, as devout. It is a sure sign something is awry spiritually.) If you think he would be elated, though, you are wrong twice in a row.

I suspect Mr. Martin will greet the news of increased church attendance with some alarm. Think about it. This is bad news for the Liberal party. What major political party introduced and defends abortion on demand into Canada? The Liberal party. What party introduced divorce on demand? Liberals again. What party is championing same-sex marriage in parliament? Liberals. What party is soft on child pornography? Liberals.

When euthanasia and polygamy are brought before parliament (as they most assuredly will), what position do you think the Liberals will take? Given the above record it is surely not too difficult to extrapolate. Please don't say they will oppose these things. Three strikes and you're outta this blog and I would prefer it if you finish this post.

The Liberal party has taken a consistently regressive and anti-family position whenever it has dealt with these matters. As the population turns, in ever increasing numbers, to practicing their faith in God, the Liberals will find themselves increasingly outside the mainstream of public belief and practice.

It may take a while yet, but if the return to religious practice by the people continues at anywhere near the current pace, the Liberals will soon discover they have committed political suicide by unvaryingly maintaining positions congruous with the cult of death.

The worm is turning folks.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Well, well, explain this one Prime Minister

Being preoccupied with an approaching major religious holy day, I had just about determined to be quiet for a while on the same-sex marriage issue, until I read my morning's Globe & Mail. There on page 5 was an article called, "Prairie officials compelled to perform gay marriages."

What is this, I thought? Hasn't Prime Minister Martin and Justice Minister Irwin Cotler been going on at some length that people with religious objections to same-sex marriages will not have to perform them. According to the Globe, Premier Doer:

... told reporters that despite Mr. Cotler's assertion, marriage commissioners in Manitoba will still be required to perform same sex-marriages. Mr. Doer says they are provincial officials and must not discriminate against gay couples. Two marriage commissioners have quit over that rule, ... and have filed human rights complaints. Saskatchewan has adopted the same policy, and officials have given no indication that policy will change.

You see there is spin and there is reality. It is most unfortunate for Mr. Martin and Mr. Cotler that their spin is unspinning so rapidly. Luckily for them the Globe put the story on page 5 and the public is distracted with spiritual preparations for the birthday of the Christ child .... as represented by mass pilgrimages to the shrines of Blessed Walmart and Saint Hudson Bay. But there you have it, a major political promise broken before the legislation is even tabled in the House of Commons. Tsk. Tsk.

Of course, one has to wonder how the federal Liberals could be so brazen as to promise what they have. They well know that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the other day that, while parliament had exclusive jurisdiction over implementing the court's brand new "living tree" definition of marriage, the Supremes also ruled that only the provinces have jurisdiction over the solemnization of marriage, e.g., marriage licences, who can perform civil marriages, and under what conditions, etc. In addition, the Liberal prime minister and justice minister knew that:
The court made no mention of civic officials - marriage commissioners, court clerks or justices of the peace, depending on the province - who perform civil marriages but might object to officiating at a ceremony for same-sex couples.

The Globe noted that twelve civic officials have resigned in British Columbia, so far. This is no doubt considered a small price to pay to ensure rigid compliance with the new zeitgeist.

Now what about those Liberal cabinet ministers who oppose same sex marriage. Mr. Martin, having wrestled with his own concience and lost, has said they must vote for the legislation regardless of their beliefs. What will be be for you folks ... your conscience, or your limousine? This is a testing time and you are being measured.

[Okay already, spelling errors corrected.]

Friday, December 17, 2004

Who Decides?

Premier Ralph Klein of Alberta is doing his best to stir up some real opposition to the same sex marriage legislation, by recommending the use of the dreaded notwithstanding clause in order to maintain the common law definition of marriage. The thought of invoking this provision of our constitution is viewed with great horror by the liberal elites in Upper Canada, where Castle Mad is situated.

Their repugnance is utter nonsense. The use of the notwithstanding clause would simply allow parliament to determine the definition of marriage and not the judiciary. What in heaven's name is wrong with that?

Prime Minister Paul Martin, having recently decided that from now on his Catholicism will take second place to his Liberalism, has countered that he will not use the notwithstanding clause to take away rights, i.e., in this case the "right" of homosexuals to marry. This makes for a very impressive sound bite, which allows Mr. Martin to sound as though he is taking a principled stand on the issue.

What right are we talking about? Well, the right of people of the same sex to marry one another. When did that become a right? It wasn't a right for the past three thousand years. Well, when the Liberal Government refused to appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal ruling. So the Ontario Court of Appeal says its a right. So Paul Martin, is defending a right. See the strategy.

Stephen Harper is floundering in attempting to counter it.

The use of the notwithstanding clause, properly understood, would not remove a "right" from anyone. The clause merely allows our elected and accountable parliament, and not the unelected and unaccountable judiciary, to determine whether same sex marriage is in fact a "right."

Our constitution gives parliament and not the courts the final say. It is parliament that is the consitutional court of final jurisdiction. But this consitutional principle will not survive if our parliamentarians and the people accept the canard that the courts are the only legitimate interpreters of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. And this has become the common view.

I say that if we continue to accept this view, promulgated and sustained as it is by the liberal elites in Canada, than we will have subjected ourselves to the rule of a new Family Compact.

Mr. Martin's refusal to invoke the notwithstanding clause presupposes that a constitutional right has been established and parliament would be extinguishing it if it uses the clause. This is a lie. An effective lie, but a lie nevertheless.

The Supreme Court of Canada itself recognized in its ruling on the reference that the definition of marriage, "... is within the exclusive legislative competence of Parliament." So it is.

Justices of the Supreme Court are fond of defending their judicial activism by suggesting that the courts are engaged in a dialogue with the executive and legislative branches of government. What the dialogue really is, however, is a one way conversation where judges dictate to the elected representatives of the people who are to take careful note of the judges' monologues and act in accordance with them.

I suggest to you that members of the House of Commons are every bit as much the guardians of the constitution as is the judiciary. In fact, as it is parliamentarians who are elected, it is they who are vested with the moral legitimacy to determine the basic structure of civil society.

As such, parliamentarians must not shirk from participating in this legal dialogue and when it is appropriate they must point out that it is they, and not the judges who are elected and accountable and it is they, and not the judges, who in the end are best placed to determine our civil rights.

Failing that, we will have ceased to be (as our American cousins are so fond of saying) a government of, and by, the people. We will have entered the age of the divine right of judges. The new Family Compact.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Peter Hogg's Choices

Peter Hogg the former dean of Osgoode Law School and constitutional scholar has a piece in today's Globe & Mail in which he gives us the lay of the land on same sex marriage. Essentially, he says that parliament has four choices before it. It may:
  1. redefine marriage to accept gay marriage (the government's announced intention);
  2. hold a referendum (the Prime Minister has rejected giving the people a say and it it doubtful that the judicial living tree priesthood would honour a rejection by the people);
  3. enact a civil union approach (apparently, not within parliament's power, as relationships other than marriage are the provinces' juridsdiction, not that of the federal government; or
  4. retain the current definition and use the constitution's notwithstanding clause to override any Charter challenges. The use of the notwithstanding clause would have to be repeated every five years, or the Charter would apply.

It goes without saying that Mr. Hogg understands these things much better than I do. If he is correct, then it is apparent that any attempt to retain the common law definition of marriage, would have to make use of the notwithstanding clause. I don't see much hope of this happening. In legal terms this is pretty much a fait accompli. This turkey was cooked when the courts read in sexual orientation into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I've already posted my thoughts on the horrid process by which this matter has moved forward. Whatever the advocates of gay marriage intend, and whatever the merits of their cause, the resort to judicial fiat over parliamentary debate has diminished our democracy and entrenched the rule of unelected and unaccountable judges. The retort of the judiciary to this charge is that it was parliament that created the Charter and they are merely interpreting it as is their duty.

The argument would be more persuasive had the court not seized every opportunity to fertilize and water their living tree with such abandon. It is Trudeaupia in action. They are quite prepared to trample democracy in pursuit of their notion of the good. As for our political leaders, ... well that's for another post.

The Compromise Position

Andrew at has a worthwhile discussion underway on the same sex marriage issue. Essentially, he takes the view that the public is evenly split on this issue and that a compromise is both needed and sustainable. Heterosexuals would retain marriage as the term of their union while homosexuals would have civil unions.

I don't think this compromise would be acceptable to those advocating for gay marriage. It would thwart the underlying objective of asserting the right to marriage, which is to "mainstream" the gay community. Words matter to them as much as it does to those who advocate the traditional view.

He notes that he is being attacked on all sides for his view.

The Fix Is In

Stephen Harper has indicated that the Conservative Party will be seeking amendments to the forthcoming Liberal same-sex legislation which will protect the traditional definition of marriage.
In reponse we have Liberal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler making this comment (from CTV).

If Conservative Leader Stephen Harper wants to pass an amendment to reaffirm traditional marriage, he'll need to use the "not-withstanding" clause to do it, Justice Minister Irwin Cotler says.

"You can't have it both ways," he said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon. "The moment the court affirmed the constitutionality of extending civil marriage to gays and lesbians, at that very moment, it is declaring the opposite-sex requirement for marriage is unconstitutional," he said, referring to last week's Supreme Court of Canada reference.

Actually, as I understand it, the Supreme Court specifically refused to render a decision on the fourth question put to it by the Liberals, which asked whether the current definition of marriage (one man, one women, to the exclusion of all others) was constitutional. Parliament has the authority to enact a same sex marriage law. The Court did not say it was compelled to do so.

Parliament, therefore, is quite free to pass a law reaffirming the traditional definition of marriage. Those who oppose the law may well take the new law to court and in the end the Supreme Court may be render a verdict requiring same sex marriage, but until that happens the people's representatives are free to enact a law defending the traditional definition of marriage, without using the constitution's notwithstanding clause.

We have an interesting chronology here.

First, parliament refused on more than one occasion, when framing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to place homosexual "rights" into the Charter.

Second, the Supreme Court ignored Parliament's will and "read in" homosexual rights into the Charter anyway.

Third, parliament subsequently reaffirmed the traditional common law definition of marriage.

Fourth, using the Supreme Court's "read in" right, various people challenged existing marriage law as being unconstitutional. Lower courts stuck down the common law definition of marriage on the grounds it violated the same sex equality provision of the Charter (which the courts, not parliament inserted into the Charter remember).

Fifth, the Liberal government refused to appeal the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, thereby making same sex marriages legal in Ontario. Other provincial courts followed suit. This refusal to appeal to the highest court was done in order to create a legal fait accompli. The Supreme Court may, or may not, have upheld the common law tradition. We'll never know because we were never given the opportunity to know.

Sixth, the Chretien Liberals referred three questions respecting the legality of same sex marriage to the Supreme Court.

Seventh, the Martin Liberals asked a fourth question of the Supreme Court in an obvious and blatant attempt to delay the Supreme Court decision until after the federal election. We couldn't be allowed to have this as an election issue could we. The people might not agree with the plan.

Eighth, Paul Martin, in the election, states that he will not use the notwithstanding clause to remove rights from people. How do we know same sex marriage is a right? At this point there is no specific law and no Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage to justify such a claim.

Ninth, Paul Martin appoints two judges to the Supreme Court who have a record of extending same sex rights. Just in case he needs the votes later.

Tenth, Justice Minister Cotler, on the eve of the decision pre-empts the Supreme Court by announcing the Liberal Government's intention of proceeding with same sex legislation regardless of the decision of the Court. Why all the legal huffing and puffing then?

Eleventh, the Supreme Court decsion is rendered. They do not answer the fourth question put to them (interestingly, despite a law apparently saying they must).

Twelfth, Ralph Kline of Alberta calls for a referendum. Paul Martin vetoes this idea. Something about letting the people determine the fundamental structure of society being a foolish idea.

The fix is in folks. If you oppose this legislation then you'd better get onto your MP's case about it. You also might demand a completely free vote in the Commons. Paul Martin is requiring his Cabinet to vote for the Bill, even if their conscience is opposed to it. Now that's democracy in action. (One brave Liberal minister, John Efford, has said he may resign rather than comply.)

Has the polygamy lobby started to make any noise yet? They will. And on the basis of how marriage is being redefined, there is no principled basis on which to oppose it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Yuletide Wishes

As we move closer to the time when many of us commemorate the birth of a certain child in a Bethlehem manger roughly 20 centuries ago, it is bemusing to me to observe how we react to this holy day.

For some, there is the orgy of present buying for all and sundry. I am as guilty of this, I'm afraid, as anyone else. We are an acquisitive people.

One of my cherished memories of Christmas took place two years ago, when we asked our youngest son, who was then four, what he wanted for Christmas. He was quite certain what he wanted. It was a green striped crayon of Blues Clues fame.

A crayon. A special crayon, granted, but a crayon nevertheless. Nothing would substitute for this green striped crayon, and my wife spent a lot of time cruising the toy sections of various stores until she found one. On Christmas morning he was very pleased. Santa had delivered, as promised. Trust was retained. (He received more than the crayon of course.)

As he grows he will become more acquisitive. He already has, although he's still quite restrained. He's just beginning to understand there's loot in them there hills. But I will always remember the Christmas when the green striped crayon was his heart's desire.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Burglars' Rights on Proto-Earth

Every once in a while I read a news story that makes me believe that I have been plucked from my home on real earth and plunked down in a proto-earth that only superficially resembles my home planet. At Canadian Comment
you can read about an actual debate taking place in the proto-UK on what rights criminals possess when breaking into private homes.

Canadian Comment provided the link to the relevant News Telegraph story in which Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General of the Proto-United Kingdom, is defending the rights of burglars, arguing that criminals also have the right to protection from

Lord Goldsmith's intervention came as Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, dismissed fears that giving
homeowners greater freedom when tackling burglars would lead to an "arms race" that would put them in greater danger.

(I am not making this up, I swear.)

We really could have predicted this, I suppose. We were warned by the left that if George W. Bush terminated the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with the no longer existent Soviet Union, that an arms race would break out. Now here it is.

The News Telegraph story goes on:

Last week, Tony Blair told the House of Commons that he would look at strengthening the law and a Tory MP has introduced a private member's bill to do so. Lord Goldsmith, however, appeared to take issue with the Prime Minister's pledge to act. "We must protect victims and law abiding citizens," he said. "But we have to recognise that others have some rights as well. They don't lose all rights because they're engaged in criminal conduct." [emphasis is mine]

One can sympathize with Lord Goldsmith over the sabre rattling of his war mongering Prime Minister. The thought of criminals losing civil rights just because
they're engaged in criminal activity is quite a radical thought for a leftist politician to absorb.

Perhaps I am being hasty. On reflection, Lord Goldsmith may be on to something. Perhaps there ought not to be a left-right ideological split on this matter. In the interests of civil libertarianism, I'm willing to extend certain rights to a burglar, if one decides to break into Castle Mad. I have a wife and kids. Accordingly, I'd grant the right for criminals:

  • to run like hell when I discovered your entry. Should you not wish to exercise that right;
  • to beg for mercy while I employed all and every means of force at my disposal to prevent further ingress;
  • to soil your drawers;
  • to know I will expect the worst from you and will defend my family to the death, preferably yours;
  • to notice of intentions. I suggest you read my blog on one of your stolen computers. I have served you notice. Here and now;
  • to read General Carl von Clausewitz, On War, before breaking into Castle Mad. You should. I have. I recommend Chapter IX "Plan of War when the Destruction of the Enemy is the Object." You will need all the strategic and tactical advantages you can muster.

Dorothy, where are you? I need a ride home to earth.

Bravo Zulu - Joint Task Force Two

While surfing by I was reminded that I have yet to comment on the award of the US Presidential Unit Citation to Joint Task Force Two (JTF 2) of the Canadian army. They were recognized for their oustanding work routing out Taliban and Al Qaida in Afghanistan. Go have a peek at Bound by Gravity to get a taste of what they did there.

At the the DND site the Chief of the Defence Staff, General
Henault had this to say.

"The presentation of the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation to members of JTF 2 brings important recognition to a group of incredible Canadian Forces members whose accomplishments normally cannot be publicly be recognized in the interest of national security," said General Ray Henault, Chief of the Defence Staff. "Canadians should be very proud of this specialized Canadian military unit."

And so we should. Well done lads.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

You mean Flannery O'Connor wasn't a guy?

It has been brought to my attention by an anonymous commenter that Flannery O'Connor was a woman. After taking another look a the blog that introduced me to this deceased writer, I do see that there is a prominent photograph of a woman in a dress sitting in a chair. The photo can't be missed as it's at the top of the site's sidebar. Was this clue placed there for such as me? Colleagues at work now smirk at me, revealed as an obvious illiterate..... sigh.

The Ukrainian Borgias

Now it has been confirmed that Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko was in fact poisoned with a massive dose of dioxins in an attempt to prevent him from winning the presidency of the Ukraine.

In a couple of weeks (December 26) Ukrainians will once again be asked to vote for their president. The cost of obtaining this new vote was meeting demands of the old soviet-style guard that the powers of the presidency be significantly curtailed. If you wanted confirmation that the first round was rigged, this is it.

Mr. Yanukovych, who came within an inch of stealing the last round sees the writing on the ballots and knows he cannot win the upcoming election if it is held in on a reasonably free and fair baisis. He also knows that there will be thousands of international observers (500 from Canada alone) who will cry foul if he tries to repeat his electoral shenanigans.

Tacitly acknowleging the likelihood of defeat in the presidential election, the old guard is now engaged in a rear guard action, reducing presidential powers in order to try and retain political power through control of the the legislative branch. May they not succeed.

The Allure of Magic

David Warren Ottawa Citizen columnist extraordinaire has posted an excellent piece on same-sex marriage.

We now have the Canadian Supreme Court's diktats on "same-sex marriage". In political football, we've watched the completion of a double-handoff: the Liberals handing to the Court to make a decision that could be politically suicidal, then the Court handing back, by ruling the Liberals had already made the decision by failing to appeal judgements in the lower courts. (Let us pause to admire the fine footwork!)
Like David Warren, I fear that the key decisions on same sex marriage have already been taken and that we are undergoing the next devolution in the values which underpin Western society. Mr. Warren suggests we pause to admire the fine political and judicial footwork. He's speaking tongue in cheek, of course.

One can indeed admire the way the Her Canadian Majesty's executive branch of government, under Liberal Prime Ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, and all levels of the judicial branch, have so skillfully manouvered to achieve their ends without admiring the ends to which they have placed their talents. Satan is reputed to be beautiful in aspect, if not in spirit.

I do not mean to directly compare Chretien and Martin, or even the nine justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, to Old Dirty Face himself. They are not Lucifer incarnate, or even conscious acoloytes of his. Unlike them, Old Nick knows what he is about.

Our political, judicial and media elites, so bent on reconfiguring society, are more comparable to Mickey Mouse in the old Disney cartoon movie the Sorcerer's Apprentice. They are playing with powerful magic, without any recognition or sense that their considerable education does not at all equip them to tinker so capriciously with society's elemental foundations. They are precocious children setting loose upon our land consequences which they do not intend to loose in their immature wisdom.

David Warren is correct in asserting that this process of deconstructing Western society began a couple of decades ago with legal changes to permit the killing of infants in the womb and the introduction of easy divorce. I would take it back one step further, to the introduction of artificial birth control, which severed the unitive and procreative link in marriage and in heterosexual relationships, in general.

In his 1968 encylicycal Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI, wrote of the defining characteristics of marriage: . Perusal of this definition is useful whether you are Catholic or not, because it encapsulates the essence of marriage as properly in our sociey understood for centuries.

In the light of these facts the characteristic features and exigencies of married love are clearly indicated, and it is of the highest importance to evaluate them exactly.

This love is above all fully human, a compound of sense and spirit. It is not, then, merely a question of natural instinct or emotional drive. It is also, and above all, an act of the free will, whose trust is such that it is meant not only to survive the joys and sorrows of daily life, but also to grow, so that husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul, and together attain their human fulfillment.

It is a love which is total-that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience. Whoever really loves his partner
loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner's own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself.

Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death. This is how husband and wife understood it on the day on which, fully aware of what they were doing, they freely vowed themselves to one another in marriage. Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one has the right to assert that it is impossible; it is, on the contrary, always honorable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness.

Finally, this love is fecund. It is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. "Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents' welfare." [Bolding is my emphasis.]

Marriage then, as properly understood in Western civilization, is an act of the the free will, which is total, exclusive, faithful and fecund.

When heterosexual married society embraced the pill it severed the necessary marital connection between the sex act and the transmission of human life, between marriage and parenthood. To this extent, same-sex marriage is a logical consequence of the reduction of heterosexual marriage to the unitive facet alone.

Those who oppose it ought not to berate homosexual couples for wanting to participate in the trunctated version of marriage bequeathed to society by the generation which embraced the pill. If heterosexual marriage is endangered by the current changes to the institution, it is by a self-inflicted wound. Alchemist wannabees have been mucking about with this serious magic for several decades now.

Polygamists are standing next in line. What will you say to them, Mickey?

Friday, December 10, 2004

He danced the Skies on Laughter Silvered Wings

Damien Brooks at comments today's sad death, in a training accident, of Captain Miles Selby (age 31) a pilot of the famed Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Snowbirds.

Every time I hear of something like this, I find myself chafing to find out the names of those involved. I worry that it's someone I know, someone I've lost touch with over the years. I visualize an old classmate, or someone who put me through training. ... I don't know why I need to know a name; the grief arrives no matter what. But I always try to find out as quickly as I can.

The Canadian Forces is like that. It is a pretty small, close knit community and death hits the community hard. Like Damien Brooks, I didn't know Captain Selby, but we both know many like him. They are intensely proud fliers and very loyal Canadians. They serve.

Frankly, Canadians are not worthy of their service, for this nation is unwilling to live up to its side of the unstated bargain which ought to bind a democratic people and its military. Those who serve in our profession of arms have shown their readiness to suffer great hardship, to fight and if necessary to die, in order to protect our freedoms. We, in turn, have failed in our reciprocal duty to support them properly by giving them the first rate equipment, training opportunities and numbers of personnel to ensure their risk is minimalized when they go into harms way. Shame on us.

Elizabeth II Queen of Canada, in commissioning Miles Selby an officer in Her Canadian Armed Forces, reposed, "especial Trust and Confidence in his Loyalty, Courage and Integrity." He fulfilled that especial trust. Tonight I ask you to join me in praying for him and for his wife and family who must now be suffering greatly.

I will say no more tonight on this or any other topic, for tonight this blog is dedicated not to politics, but to a dedicated officer. You served well, sir.

May perpetual light shine upon you.

Per ardua ad astra!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Apologies to CTV

Thanks to Occam's Carbuncle I have been able to peruse the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the same sex marriage reference. Here is the link he provided.

After a quick first blush scan it now appears I have wronged CTV staffers in my last post. In Paragraph 25 of the decision I read the sentences I attributed in my last post to what had to be drunken CTV staffers. I now see that I had the wrong parties in the wrong party. It's clear that the silly satirical phrases mentioned below were penned at a judicial Winter Interlude party and not at a CTV event. My hearty apologies. While CTV staff may, or may not, have been entirely sober today, they are entirely innocent of satirizing the Supreme Court decision.

The blame, if blame there is, rests entirely with the honourable justices, although they appear to have been significantly influenced, not just by the Pinot Noir, but also by a certain Lord Sankey, writing for the British Privy Council in the famous Persons case in 1931. You may recall that that case allowed women entry into the Senate, fondly referred to by the late Senator Eugene Forsey as the Chamber of Sober Second Thought.

One could wish that the same temperance ethic had found a nest within the country's highest court today, although I hasten to add that I'm not opposed to office Christmas parties in principle. More on this decision in a later post after I've had time for reflection and a stiff Irish whiskey. Supreme Court justices are not the only ones who can drink and write opinions.

A Decision Rendered

To no one's surprise the Supreme Court of Canada has rendered a unanimous decision on the federal Liberal government's referral of four questions respecting legality of same sex marriage.

I haven't obtained a copy of the ruling yet, but media reports indicate the following:

CTV News Staff at

First question: Does Parliament have the exclusive legislative authority to change the legal definition of marriage?

Supreme Court's answer: Yes

Second question: Is extending the capacity to marry persons of the same sex consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Supreme Court's answer: Yes

Third question: Are religious leaders protected under the Charter of Rights from having to marry same-sex couples?

Supreme Court's answer: Yes

After taking over from the Chretien government, Prime Minister Paul Martin added a fourth question:

Fourth question: Is the traditional definition of marriage between a man and a woman constitutional?

Supreme Court's answer: The Court exercises its discretion not to answer this question.

Yesterday, on the very eve of the court's rulings, Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler launched a pre-emptive political strike by announcing the Liberal's government's intention of introducing legislation favouring civil same sex marriage regardless of the ruling by the Supremes.

The Globe and Mail, which supports same sex marriage, relegated this important bit of news to a tiny bottom left hand corner of its front page. It seems that progressive thinkers from the executive, legislative and judicial branches, as well as the main line media, are quite determined that nothing touching on this matter must be allowed to stir up the troglodyte masses.

CTV News Staff then quoted these statements from what it said was the court ruling.
"Several centuries ago, it would have been understood that marriage be available only to opposite-sex couples."

"The recognition of same-sex marriage in several Canadian jurisdictions as well as two European countries belies the assertion that the same is true today.''
Several centuries ago it would have been understood? A handful of Canadian provinces and two European counties belies the assertion?

Surely, CTV staff wrote this mush right after a corporate Winter Interlude party which got out of hand. I expect tomorrow we'll see an apology to the Supreme Court crafted by hung over CTV executives, demonstrating how contrite they are that their internal celebratory satire unintentially got out into the public. Such things happen, and the Honourable Supreme Court Justices ought not to take such frivolities as a measure of how CTV really views their astuteness as jurists.

Besides, any accidental harm from the satire has to be mitigated by the simple fact that anyone with a modicum of common sense would realize that such clear silliness could not possibly form the basis of a judgement of the Supreme Court of Canada.

A Blunted Wit Indeed

A comment pertaining to Of Mice and MPs, December 8th post

At 3:51PM, Anonymous said... "Blunted wit" is right. Kinsella spoke for a lot of us when he criticized aGallaway (sic) for attacking the registry on the anniversary of the mass murder that gave rise to it. That's democracy, "John." And we're grateful people like you don't work on Parliament Hill anymore. Kinsella may be tough, but you think the murder of 14 women is no big deal.

Well, Anonymous and I agree on one thing. We're both grateful I don't work on the Hill anymore. Secondly, I have no doubt that Warren Kinsella speaks for many on this matter. Thirdly, we agree that Mr. Kinsella's threats are part of "democracy." It is, of course, democracy of the party backrooms and it is of a crude and boorish sort, but it is a manifestation of free speech, disputatious as it is. Add to that my self-confessed blunted wit and Anonymous and I have achieved a consensus of opinion on four of the matters at issue in yesterday's short blog.

Alas, my interlocutor and I don't agree on everything.

Firstly, on the evidence of Mr. Kinsella's statement, Mr. Kinsella is not tough. Pierre Trudeau was tough. Even when one disagreed with him one had to admire his courage, tenacity and intelligence. I admired him a great deal, even when I didn't agree with him.

Mr. Kinsella, though, doesn't present as tough. Now he may well be tough as nails. As I said, I don't know him. But he doesn't present as such. On the evidence, he presents as a bully and a bully who is full of himself. Of course he is quite entitled to be a bully if that is his wish, as it is my right to be critical of him for it. It no doubt gets him a lot of attention in the party, if that is his aim. But as Anonymous (my disputant with whom I have so much in common) says, "That's democracy."

Secondly, I am not opposed to gun control, per se. Now I know I wasn't directly accused of this, but I feel the need to be clear about it. In fact, I support the registration and tight control of handguns and assault weapons and the prohibition on automatic weapons. These weapons have been tightly controlled since the 1930, long before Marc Lapine murdered those innocent women and they ought to remain tightly controlled. Among my objections to the long gun registry are that:
  • It is a collossal bureaucratic failure. (May we declare consensus on this obvious point?)
  • It is a collossal fiscal boondoggle. (The Auditor General has made this clear. Surely we can agree on this point, as well.)
  • It is bad public policy. "A wise prince does not give orders he knows his troops will not obey." (For elaboration read Machiavelli and transpose provincial legislatures for the troops.)
  • It is alienating thousands of law abiding long gun owners, particularly in rural Canada, where people don't spend their in Internet cafes sipping lattes and plotting the defeat of elected party members of their own party with whom they disagree.
  • It is all spin and no substance (see bullet points above).
  • It draws much needed fiscal and human law enforcement resources away from where the current problem with firearms lies ... with illegally smuggled handguns ... one of which may be being fired right now in Scarborough, a stone's throw away from where I write. The innocent victim of such a crime may well be another innocent 11 year old girl riding the bus with her mother, as was the case last week in Toronto. Hell, it could even be happening right now on my street, or yours.

Now Anonymous, you may not agree with my objections to the long gun registry and clearly don't agree with my views on how to build continued success and consensus in a political party by not viciously threatening your own elected representatives in caucus with internal party "war room" electoral mobilizations. (Why are those so opposed to "guns" in civilian hands, so inclined to martial analogies?)

Perhaps, despite best efforts on our part, the hard won intitial consensus of John the Mad and Anonymous is doomed to fracture and I can expect further barbs about not caring a whit for those poor doomed women of the Montreal massacre. I promise you that even if you do make more nasty comments, I won't stoop to accusing you spuriously of not caring about 11 year old female transit riders in Toronto, just because of your apparent unwillingness to consider redirecting the wasted long gun registry dollars to stopping handgun smuggling and gang violence in our cities.

You see, I'm somewhat afraid of making unsubstantiated leaps of logic. I suppose that makes me something of a softy and not at all like the much admired Warren "scourge of the backbench" Kinsella. But a democracy takes all types, right?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Peace or Freedom

Occam's Carbuncle has posted a somewhat late, but very worthwhile reflection on Remembrance Day. (Remembering is not only for November 11th. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them!) Occam remonstrates with the sentiment, commonly found today, that Canada fought its wars for peace. He does not agree with that view and pens what ought to be a phrase carved onto the National War Memorial in Ottawa,

"Vichy had peace. Canada fought for freedom."
(Pause for short history lesson.) Vichy France was the southern portion of France that was not occupied by the Nazis during WWII. The name is derived from the town of Vichy which was it's capital. The Vichy French were allowed by Hitler to retain a puppet government, which was technically sovereign, but actually collaborationist in nature. (End pause.)

Hit my link for Occam's Carbuncle and have a good read.

Of Mice and MPs

December 6, 2004 - On the fifteenth anniversary of the massacre of 14 young women in Montreal, we are still being forced to listen to clowns like this, saying they are prepared to take down the government to defeat gun control.

Okay, tough guy, consider this: I have called around this morning. I can advise you that I have the war-roomer team ready, willing and able to defeat you, and all of your like-minded Parliamentary ilk, in every riding where a Liberal votes against his or her party to kill the registry. I'll have the dough lined up by this time tomorrow morning, too.

Your move.

(Thanks to for putting me on to this commentary.)

Back in the early 1970's I worked on Parliament Hill for a good and honourable member of parliament by the name of Norm Cafik. Yes, there were, and are, such MPs. After Norm managed to shake me from his staff he was elevated to the Trudeau cabinet, but at the time he was a parliamentary secretary and chairman of the Ontario Liberal caucus. I didn't work that long for Norm, and the truth is I wasn't necesssarily the most effective political staffer in the world. But, as a young man interested in politics I learned a great deal and owe him much.

One of the things I learned was to beware of people with the temperment that Mr. Kinsella displays above. You see, there are two types of people in political Ottawa. The first are doing their best to turn things from what they are into what they ought to be be. These people of integrity may be found in all of the political parties and they are to be cherished and supported in public life.

Then there are those who go to Ottawa because the sheer exercise of power turns their crank. They are not so much interested in the pursuit of the good, but in increasing their personal status and weilding power over others. Again, every party possesses this type of person. Unfortunately, one of the truly lamentable things in Ottawa is that this latter type appears to have prospered and proliferated at the expense of the idealistic type.

I don't know Warren Kinsella and leave it to you to determine where you think he sits on the John the Mad political continuum. I can say that I find it reprehensible that an unelected party hack feels so comfortable bullying an elected representative of the people in so public a fashion.

Back when I served on the Hill, the average MP would have thrown such sludge from their offices without breaking sweat. I saw Norm Cafik, when threatened with such tactics by someone more wealthy and much more powerful than Warren "Hear me Roar" Kinsella, do precisely that. It was a heartwarming experience. I pray that Mr. Galloway recognises Mr. Kinsella for what he has revealed himself to be. No public office is worth having to crawl before that sort of cretinous bullyboy.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart;the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Afghanistan is now is a democracy

Hamid Karzai officially became Afghanistan's first popularly elected
president Tuesday in a swearing-in ceremony attended by U.S. Vice-President
Dick Cheney and about other 150 foreign dignitaries. (at

Let us rejoice in what is happening in Afghanistan. For the first time in its ancient history that poor war torn country has a popularly elected governement. Most wonderous phenomena! A few years ago, when the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban was persecuting its own people in the name of religious purity, and providing succour to Osama bin Laden and his ilk, most would not have believed it.

I remember how vocal many folk were that Afghanistan would prove to be a mass American military graveyard, that it was all but impossible to mount a military campaign there in winter, that the local warlords would certainly thwart the establishment of a democratic government (they're still a big problem), and that the Afghani people were not ready for responsible government. People pointed to the ignimonious retreat of the Soviet forces in the 1980s as the comparator.

We should give credit to the "war criminal" George W. Bush and his administration and the US armed forces, the Afghani Northern Alliance (who did much of the original ground fighting) , and the many nations who assisted in the liberation of the Afghani people. Canada has a proud place in this pantheon.

Our troops have served valiantly and well in this mission. Some perished. Up until recently, the Canadian Forces commanded the NATO contingent (under Major-General Leslie), with close to 3,000 soldiers in situ. NATO is tasked with maintaining stability in the capital, and surrounding countryside. Of course, thanks to the federal Liberal government, our degraded military capabilities meant that this level of support was not sustainable.

About a month ago I heard General Leslie talk about how proud our troops were of what they had accomplished. He talked about the many challenges facing Afghanistan, but expressed confidence that they would eventually succeed. As I recall, his basis for that belief was that the Afghani people overwhelmingly want a stable democratic government. He does not think that, in the end, even the warlords will be able to resist the expressed strong will of the people.

Our reduced contingent of some 700 Canadian troops soldiers on at Camp Julien. I understand they have now extended their area of responsibility well beyond the capital of Kabul. I hope their decrepit Iltis jeeps don't completely rust out from under them and the Air Force's Hercules 1960's era C-130 transport aircraft, with their cracked wing spars, don't fall prematurely from the sky during replenishment flights. Per ardua ad astra!

In the words of President Karzai:

We have now left a hard and dark past behind us and today we are opening a new chapter in our history in a spirit of friendship with the international community.

Let us pray that it is so.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Flannery O'Connor Blogsite

I was introduced by surfing serendipity today to a lovely website called I highly recommend it. I really don't know anything about the late Flannery Oconnor, although I see quotations from him from time to time. Having looked at the site for a short time I think I want to know more. Behold this gem.
When the Protestant hears what he supposes to be the voice of the Lord, he
follows it regardless of whether it runs counter to his church's teachings. The
Catholic believes any voice he may hear comes from the Devil unless it is in
accordance with the teachings of the Church.

This statement is quite true and perceptive, at least for a practicing, orthodox Catholic. Or how about this pearl of wisdom:

Don't expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust, not

Simple yet profound. Now why can't I write like that? It's enough to drive one mad, I tell you.

Some Murders Are More Equal Than Others

Kevin Steel, in today's shotgun (Western Standard blog)
comments on the 15th anniversary of the shooting rampage, in which 14 innocent young women at the University of Montreal were murdered by deranged gunman Marc Lapine. Steel contrasts public attitudes to the Montreal Massacre with the reaction to Andrea L'Abbe's December 1st fatal stabbing in Toronto of her husband and child (wounding another), while possibly suffering from post-partum depression.

One man's mental illness is apparently another woman's mitigating circumstance. Put another way, according to many women's movement activists, M. Lapine's mental illness does not excuse his actions, while Ms. L'Abbe's illness does excuse hers. Mr. Lapine is held to be an exemplar of the violence dwelling with all men, while Ms. L'Abbe is merely an individual victim of pressures brought by child birth. All men carry the mark of cain for the Montreal murders. No one, least of all Ms. L'Abbe, bears responsibility for the murders at her hand.

The legacy of Marc Lapine's deranged murders is hard to overstate. Certainly, the massacre brought into stark focus a very serious problem of violence against women. Unfortunately, there is no question that women activists have exploited the massacre by asserting that all men carry within them the potential (and by inference) the inclination, to commit such an act of butchery. The man who murdered is everyman. The unarmed men who fled the classroom in fear of their own lives are castigated as uncaring cowards.

Lapine is not, in fact, representative of men and of Canadian men, in particular. In a December 5, 1999 Toronto Sun article by Michelle Landsberg, she noted that Lapine only adopted the francophone Lapine as an adult. He was born Gamil Gharbi, the son of a Muslim Algerian mutual fund salesmen, who regularly beat young Marc/Gamil until his nose and ears bled. The elder Gharbi regularly also beat his wife and refused to allow her to console their tormented son. His father's traditional Islamic views on women and childrearing, combined with his obviously sadistic personality, created a destructive pychological brew for his son.

Refused his father's love and denied his mother's nurturing balm, Gharbi grew up to adopt his father's twisted view of women and ultimately unleashed his own pychological pain on those innocent undergraduates on that fatal day in 1989. Landsberg, and other feminists, of course, cannot resist the impulse to link Lapine's sick actions with men in general and use the memory of the Montreal Massacre to advocate for political action on the women's rights agenda. So it was, and so it remains.

I must confess to a resentment about this yearly memorial and the underlying ideological inference contained. I do not accept, as Ms. Lansberg did in her article, that men in Canada have a predisposition to do evil to the women in their lives. Men such as me were raised quite differently from Mr. Lapine/Gharbi, with quite different values. We are taught from an early age that men simply do not strike women for any reason. We are inculcated with a sense of responsibility for protecting our families and do so to the best of our abilities.

Most of us take our obligations as husbands and fathers very seriously. We are rather a quietly noble and sacrificial lot, as are (truth be told) our beloved wives and life companions. That this is so is a prime reason why this nation is such a great place to live. Oddly enough, there is a recognition of this fact in the scorn shown those men who fled the scene.

Feminists are disgusted by the men who fled Lapine's shootings precisely precisely because they sense on a visceral level that these men abandoned an unspoken manly duty to protect. That men do not have an obligation, under the total equality provisions of feminist thought, to charge an armed assailant with only their bare hands seems to escape those who feel most outraged by those men.

Secondarily, on a political level, the Montreal Massacre directly led to the adoption of the much hated and useless long gun (i.e., rifle) registry, which has cost us as taxpayers over one billion dollars (and counting). The Liberal government continues to spend obscene amounts of tax money on a hopeless bureaucratic long gun registry boondoggle, while illegally imported handguns are increasily being deployed by youths and street gangsters in our major cities to kill innocent men, women and children. The squirrel gun registry does not address this pressing issue, and in fact drains away fiscal resources that properly ought to be employed in dealing with hand guns (which have had to be registered in Canada since the 1930s) and with the street gangs, which use them to terrorize neighbourhoods and schools.

This politically correct long gun registry is a key symbolic reason why Western alienation continues to grow and is yet one more example of the utter incompetence of the Liberal party governing Canada without proper accountability for the tax revenues entrusted to them.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Paul Martin's Bombastic Daydream

More than 1,000 uniforms and parts of [airport security] uniforms were lost or stolen, and nearly 100 security badges went missing over a nine-month period, CBC News reported after uncovering documents from the federal agency responsible for making air travel safe.

[later in the story this comment]

International security expert Peter St. John, who has written a book on hijackings, told CBC Newsworld Saturday that news of the missing uniforms is not surprising.
"I suppose this information had to come out sooner or later, because all the standards are really being missed by this new agency," he said.

Contrast the above information with Prime Minister Paul Martin's December 2nd ringing statement, reacting to pressure from President George Bush to sign on to the Strategic Defence Initiative, that Canada is sovereign and his government is fully able to defend this country, thank you very much.

Well, even if I were unaware of the exhausted, undermanned, ill equipped, undertrained, completely delapidated condition of the Canadian Forces, I have to say that my confidence in the truth of the Prime Minister's statement is rather undermined by the fact that the federal Liberal government seems to be unable to defend even our airports in a minimally competent manner.

This is not a reasonable basis on which to assert the ability to defend the whole upper half of North America. Is there a connection here with the Liberal plan to decriminalize wacky tobaccy?

Friday, December 03, 2004

Pass the Hemlock Latte, Svend!

(Derived from an article in

Just when it appears that things can't really get much more corrupt on the moral front, news arrives from Holland that Dutch doctors have begun to admit that they now kill live babies who they consider to be severely malformed, where they agree that there appears to be no prospect of improving pain. So far, (they say) the parents must be consulted and must approve the killing of their child.

Apparently, Dutch teenagers under the age of 16, seeking to end their own lives, must currently obtain the permission of their parents, before doctors will assist with the killing. New measures are being proposed, though, that will lower this age to 12. (yup, that's 12!!)

All of this ought to be sufficient to make the NDP in Canada green with envy, but Belgian lawmakers may be prepared to up the macabre ante. There, legislation is being considered which will, "expand the country's euthanasia law to allow doctors to end the lives of children without parental permission."

Now that's progressive thinking at its finest! (Doctor Sweeney Todd, Doctor Sweeney Todd, please contact Pediatrics after you're finished in Delivery..... Doctor Sweeney Todd....)

Hippocratic Oath -- Classical VersionI swear by Apollo

Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses,
making them my witnesses, that I will fulfil according to my ability and
judgment this oath and this covenant:

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal
to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art - if they desire to
learn it - without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral
instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has
instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath
according to the medical law, but no one else.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked
for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.
Similarly I will not give
to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and
my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will
withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all
intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations
with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the
life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself,
holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

If I fulfil this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with
fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely,
may the opposite of all this be my lot.

Translation from the Greek by Ludwig Edelstein. From The Hippocratic Oath: Text, Translation, and Interpretation, by Ludwig Edelstein. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1943.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Suns Rays to Roast Earth as Poles Flip,6903,837058,00.html

Robin McKie, science editor
Sunday November 10, 2002
The Observer

Earth's magnetic field - the force that protects us from deadly radiation bursts from outer space - is weakening dramatically. Scientists have discovered that its strength has dropped precipitously over the past two centuries and could disappear over the next 1,000 years. The effects could be catastrophic. Powerful radiation bursts, which normally never touch the atmosphere, would heat up its upper layers, triggering climatic disruption. Navigation and communication satellites, Earth's eyes and ears, would be destroyed and migrating animals left unable to navigate.

Thank goodness we have a new potential catastrophe to amuse the latte quaffing, anti-war, anti-American, anti-globalization, pro-Kyoto Accord (not to be confused with the Honda Accord) crowd. A real global scientific humdinger of a disaster movie writ large. We're apparently about 700 thousand years overdue for the earth's magnetic poles to reverse themselves. Soon at a theatre near you. Maybe we can save ourselves if we all turn our fridge magnets in the right direction.

How is it that the David Suzuki foundation is not on to this one yet? Hmmm, can't blame corporate America for it, eh? A small suggestion. The Suzuki Foundation can take up the cause by hiring Jack Layton and Carolyn Parrish to be their spokespoliticians. They could travel the country on their free MP Via Rail passes, insisting that we put into place a national contingency plan to prepare for the coming switch in magnetic poles.

As I see it, the plan would involve grafting global positioning systems to all Canada geese in order to help them get to wherever it is in the States that they poop in the winter. It would show a deep comittment to our feathered friends, while also ensuring those "damn bastards" southern neighbours get crapped on all winter by our geese. Talk about giving them the bird! The optics fit with two of the left's grand causes ..... radical environmentalism and virulent anti-Americanism and it would be a fine way for the left to demonstrate its committment to what they call "Canadian values."

Mind you it, would lend credence to President Bush's insistance that the Americans really do need a missle defence system to shoot down hostile flying objects.