Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Polar bears and scrambled eggs

(Large white pig carnivore looking for pigs at Churchill garbage dump - www.worldofstock.com)

From Randy Boswell of CanWest News Service we learn the following horrible news.

Canada's vulnerable polar bear population could survive the effects of climate change by switching a significant part of their diet from seal meat to scrambled eggs, according to a new U.S. study that suggests snow geese nests along the Hudson Bay shore may become a key feeding site for the iconic Arctic mammal.
This is outrageous. Will no one move to save the snow geese young? Does no one care?
The latest study of the Arctic's "most visible and charismatic predator" highlights the energy-rich attributes of geese embryos but cautions that egg eating benefits for bears "will depend on the increasing temporal overlap with the nesting period and on the foraging behaviours of individuals eating the eggs. It is likely that other food sources will also have to play a role if the polar bears are to persist."
Temporal overlap? I think I've heard of that - t'was a central theme of a number of Star Trek episodes, wherein Wesley Wark fell in love with a anarchistic alien lizard ..... or something like that. Just because I'm lighthearted doesn't mean that the polar bears can be. Their traditional way of life rummaging in northern garbage dumps for leftover tuna tins is at stake here. Anyway, I am surviving. Not the least of why is because my nesting period does not overlap my temporal whatever.

Focus here folks. The study is clear and authoritative. It was done by academics.
"It is likely that other food sources will also have to play a role if the polar bears are to persist."
What other food sources? Once those damn furry ice flow foragers have developed a taste for scrambled eggs, can back bacon be far behind? (Note to American readers - back bacon is what you republican revolutionaries call Canadian bacon.) If so, pigs are now endangered. Now this may serve the theological purposes of certain strict bearded Wahabbist mullahs in caves in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but I like my back bacon. Crisp and tasty.

And once those beached arctic landfill foragers get a taste of back bacon they will pillage existing stocks of porkers and hunt them to extinction. They are now empirically proven by American Museum of Natural History biologist Robert Rockwell et al, to be insatiable once they fix their minds on what to eat.
The authors themselves witnessed a young bear as it consumed eggs from about 200 eider duck nests near Manitoba's La Perouse Bay.
The horror! The horror! Al Gore, are you listening? There is celebrity life beyond the narrowing circumfrence of current global cooling. Save Porky and the poor suffering eider ducks from the big bad bears! You'll be a hero - to the bearded mullahs and the little ducks, at least.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Bob Rae figures out democracy

(Ignatieff and Rae)

All weekend, I'd been hearing rumors about this, but today I was really surprised to read press reports about various MPs moving for an immediate vote to elect our Leader next Wednesday, in the Commons caucus.

I thought I'd seen a lot of politics over 30 years of public service, but this one really came from left field.

The idea of taking away the vote from tens of thousands of grassroots activists in every part of Canada, and reducing the franchise to just 76 men and women seems so out-of-step with the modern world.[bolding is mine] It makes you shake your head. Here's just a quick, off-the-cuff list of things that struck me as wrong about this idea:

  • The activist base of the party would be unable to vote. As an MP, I'm enormously and profoundly grateful to the volunteers who sustain my political career in my riding. I cannot imagine rewarding their tireless work by removing their say in the leadership.
  • Significant portions of the country that didn't elect a Liberal MP would be unable to participate. What about the voice of rural Liberals, of almost all of Western Canada, of Quebeckers outside Montreal? All of these folks would be silenced.
  • What about the Senate? These great Liberals, distinguished Canadians from inside and outside of politics, would have their votes taken away after lifetimes of service.
  • What about the Party Constitution? The party is preparing a perfectly viable, constitutionally valid plan for holding a one-member-one-vote ballot electronically in mid-January. That's just a few weeks away, and gives us time to prepare for the Conservative budget. It's timely, legal, workable, low-cost, and constitutional.

It's up to us to put a stop to this hasty, ill-considered idea for electing our leader. I am raising my voice publicly for your right to vote. Please help me by raising yours as well.

Ah yes, Mr. Rae is the champion of the right of people to vote for Liberal party leader. But as for the right of you and me to vote for which political party forms our government, well ..... that's not on. Here's what the Toronto Star had to say about Bob Rae's involvement in the formation of the coalition.

There is no doubt that Jack Layton is the brain behind the anti-Harper coalition and St├ęphane Dion is the funny salesman who tried to sell it to Canadians. But the person who sold it to the Liberals was Bob Rae.

When the first rumours about the coalition surfaced last week on Parliament Hill, few people gave them much credence. Many Liberal MPs wouldn't feel comfortable with Dion leading the Christmas Parade in Vaughan, and Michael Ignatieff and his supporters were against it.

Then former prime minister Jean Chr├ętien got involved and one MP told me that "now it's clear that Bob Rae is behind this." He also said that Rae's move "trapped" Ignatieff, who had to support the deal because otherwise "he is going to be seen as the person who kept Harper in government."

Why confine democracy to Grits, Mr. Rae? If it's good enough for Grits, it's good enough for all Canadians.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A miserable coalition

(Poisoned chalice drawing by Riddel - of The Guardian)

Let see now. The Conservatives should be thrown from office because Mr. Harper was mean about withdrawing public funding from political parties.

Why was that mean? Many like me think abolishing public funding for parties is a principled stand.

Conservatives actually raise enough money through voluntary contributions of individuals to support their party without the need for direct public funding and without corporate or union donations. Why can't the others? I think it was more tactically stupid, than mean, or in the alternative (as the lawyers are wont to opine) perhaps it was mean, but so what - give your head a shake - this is politics not a girl guide quilting bee. But let me grant you the argument for now. Mean I can take. Unprincipled coalitions I cannot.

Mean does not justify the response. The Liberal Party has now gone beyond the pale, by entering a formal coalition with Bloc Quebecois. M. Duceppe's signature is on the coalition document and the Bloc is committed to undertake certain things - They are most certainly a party to this miserable coalition, despite obfuscation to the contrary. It matters not that they won't be given seats at the Cabinet table. The price of their support will be demonstrated, should they succeed in wresting power from the Tories, in skewed policies towards separatist priorities in Quebec. Jacques Parizeau, the former Party Quebecois premier and leading separatist ideologue is thrilled with the coalition. Wonder why that might be?

The Liberals and NDP have made common cause with the separatists, which clearly will have a veto over government legislation including any budgets. Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau must be howling in his grave in Westmount. His son, a much lesser newly elected member of the House of Commons supports the miserable coalition. When you voted six weeks ago did you contemplate such a scenario?

The miserable coalition intends to install an individual as PM who the country clearly rejected in mid-October (some 50 days ago) in a general election. All because Harper was mean? Was that intended by us voters?

Mr. Harper I remind you, already retreated on that funding proposal. Accordingly, it can't stand as the current causus belli, though it is clearly the reason for why we are where we are. A woman scorned apparently cannot match the fury of opposition parties denied public funding. The three coalition partners argue that they ought to be allowed to form a government without recourse to an election because the Conservatives have lost the confidence of the House of Commons and among them they control the majority of seats.

Constitutionally, this may be legal, but it ignores the political imperative inherent in the recent electoral result. The Prime Minister must indeed have the confidence of the Commons to govern. This is a bedrock parliamentary convention. Mr. Harper has clearly lost the confidence of the Commons. But there is a greater constitutional principle at play here. The legitimacy of parliament derives from the will of the people, not the will of members of parliament. There might be merit to the parliamentary "confidence" convention, were it not for the proximity of the election. Remember that? It was but seven whole weeks ago.

In my view, the Prime Minister has the right to ask the Governor General to prorogue parliament until January when the government can present its budget. Should the opposition oppose that budget, the Governor General should dissolve this wretched parliament and call a general election. The people of Canada did not vote for M. Dion to be Prime Minister, on an interim basis. They did not vote for a coalition government of the Liberals, limousine NDP socialists and separatist Bloc, only to be see a new unknown prime ministerial successor, once M. Dion resigns as promised in three months. The electorate did not vote for this miserable ragtag coalition or this ridiculous scenario.

Keep in mind that M. Dion specifically rejected a coalition during the recent campaign. According to constitutional convention, the Governor General must decide if the coalition can provide a stable government before opting to allow them to form a government. It cannot. It is inherently unstable and, given the results of the recent election, is profoundly undemocratic. If the coalition wants to govern Canada, let Canadians say if they agree.

That's called democracy and we forget it at our peril.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Three amigos thwart the will of the people

NDP leader Jack Layton, Liberal leader Stephane Dion and separatist Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe
Photograph by : Chris Wattie, Calgary Herald)

Here we have it folks. The three political party leaders prepared to thumb their collective noses at the electorate who rejected M. Dion in a resounding way a mere 48 days ago. You will recall that the Liberal Party received the lowest percentage of votes the party has received since Confederation. This low Grit vote was, if noting else, a clear repudiation of M. Dion, the Liberal leader.

Now the trio is proposing to have the Governor General of Canada appoint the rejected candidate to the office of Prime Minister. How will this be done? With the support of the NDP and the separatist Bloc Quebecois. Cabinet seats are to be given to the former and a great political victory and inordinate political influence over government policy to the latter. There's something for everyone but ordinary citizens denied their franchise.

If the Liberal Party really believes it ought to form the government let it go to the people. Vote a lack of confidence in the Conservatives and let the Prime Minister go to the Governor General to ask her to dissolve parliament and let's have another election. That's the democratic way.

Let the people decide if they want already rejected Liberal leader Stephane Dion to be their Prime Minister, propped up in a formal coalition by limousine socialist Jack Layton and separatist (and former Maoist revolutionary) Gilles Duceppe - a man dedicated to the destruction of the Canadian federation. Let the people decide.

This despicable political ploy may be constitutionally legal, but it is politically unacceptable in a democracy. It is repugnant to those of us who hold democracy dear.

Mr. Harper had already hauled down his battle flag, junked the political party financing proposal, withdrew the plan to temporarily strip civil servants of the right to strike and moved up the budget date to January with the promise of additional stimulus measures. As the casus belli diminishes, the opposition's lust for power grows.

If there is one sentence that can sum up the politically stupefying events of today it is this sentence penned by Kelly McParland of the National Post.
The Liberals apparently believe Canadians will buy into this: an unstable government beholden to a separatist party for its survival, led by a man who was repudiated by voters less than two months ago, who will be given the reins through a critical period in the national history and then replaced with somebody to be identified later.
Just so. Let the people decide.


Have a look at the Daily Bayonet for another fine commentary on this disgusting effort.