Saturday, June 30, 2012

And This One is Just...


Liberals need more than great hair at the helm
"Still, as with many odd proposals in life generally, I find myself wondering to what identifiable problem Justin Trudeau as Liberal leader is the solution.

1) The Liberals have no leader. OK, it would fix that.

2) The Liberals need a charismatic leader. OK again. Justin can be charming and disarmingly frank.

3) The Liberals need a brilliant leader. Oh oh. And it gets worse.

4) The Liberals haven't won a majority under an anglo leader since William Lyon Mackenzie King communed with his dead mother from this side of the turf. No problem, in that Trudeau's not an anglo. But no solution either because:

5) The Liberals haven't won a majority of Quebec seats since 1981, because of Trudeau Sr.'s repatriation of the Constitution. The family name is about as magic there as in Alberta. (Oh, and they haven't won a majority of Western seats since 1949.)

7) In short, the Liberals still think they're the big-tent, national-brokerage party but in the last four elections they've lost 138 seats and more than half their popular vote share in an alarmingly steady slide: from 172 MPs and 40.8% of the vote in 2000 to 135 MPs and 36.7% in 2004, 103 and 30.2% in 2006, 77 and 26.3% in 2008 and 34 and 18.9% in 2011.

Of course, party fortunes fluctuate. But normally a party dramatically tossed out quickly starts regaining ground, as the Liberals did in the Diefenbaker years and the variously-named right-wing parties after 1993. Instead, the Liberals are in a unprecedented slide. How does Justin Trudeau fix that?

As my colleague Lorrie Goldstein wondered Thursday, are Canadians giddy schoolgirls "who would elect their hairbrushes as prime minister, as long as they were named Trudeau?" Maybe the party thinks so, since their only official leadership candidate is a policy wonk who gave birth to Pierre Trudeau's daughter when she was 36 and Trudeau was 71. But leadership isn't the problem. Followership is. There's no reason to follow the Liberals any more.

If they are to revive, great hair won't do it."
Seriously, our media is all over this story as if Baby Trudeau is de facto leader of the LPC. He ain't. Wait and see. They have enough problems with or without Baby Trudeau at the helm. I, for one, think they're not going to dig themselves out of this hole. If they put Baby Trudeau at the top, I know they're not capable of a come-back. We live in interesting times. I just hope the general electorate sees through the NDP. God forbid they should ever form the government in the country. We'd all be doomed, if that were to happen. Ah well. There's always Western Separatism.

And this, on the eve of July 1st, Canada Day!

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Oh My! My!

Nothing is certain but death, taxes - and change!

Do Canadians care if Quebec separates?
"According to two recent polls, almost half of Canadians outside the province of Quebec couldn't care less if La Belle Province separates from the rest of Canada."
"The National Post reports should Quebec separate, 57% of Canadians outside Quebec do not want to have any type of economic or political association with the newly independent country. This is a large change from 20 years ago when a poll showed 66% of Canadians in other provinces and territories wanted to keep some sort of association with an independent Quebec.

Quebec residents were also polled and as expected, the results were completely different. Separation from Canada is a big deal to 92% of Quebec residents. Of those in the province who have made up their minds about sovereignty, 62% would vote to remain in Canada while 38% favour separation. Twenty per cent of those polled have not made up their minds about whether Quebec should leave Canada."
Good bye Quebec. I'll bet you could make a lot of money extorting shipping of goods along the St. Lawrence - until we figure out there are two coasts (three actually) in this country and you'll only have control over access to one of them.

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Today in History...

On the radio station that my ears are usually glued to, they are making a big deal out of the 100th anniversary of the "Regina Cyclone". For anyone who has not had the privilege of having to listen to this, on this day in 1912, a tornado ripped through the small prairie city, capital of the (still fairly new) province of Saskatchewan. That event remains the most deadly tornado in Canada's history, we've been told. A total of 28 people were killed.

I've been thinking and wondering what our leftie greenie babies think about this. They keep wanting us to believe that storms and weather disasters are increasing in number and intensity and more and more people and buildings are being killed/destroyed all because of human induced global warming. It never seems to occur to them that one hundred years on, there are a lot more people and a lot more buildings, and that alone would account for the number of deaths and the sweep and cost of the damage to structures.

Ya'll probably remember a vicious tornado ripping though the Missouri city of Joplin last year. In 1880, Joplin's population was just a little over 7,000. Today, it's very nearly 10 times that. Surely factors such as that must be considered in any assessment about whether there are changes to severe weather patterns.

And speaking of Missouri, take a look this chart from Wikipedia:

List of North American tornadoes and tornado outbreaks

Note the following, from that webpage:
  • Exact death and injury counts are not possible, especially for large events and events before 1955.
  • Prior to 1950 in the United States, only significant tornadoes are listed for the number of tornadoes in outbreaks.
  • Due to increasing detection, particularly in the U.S., numbers of counted tornadoes have increased markedly in recent decades although number of actual tornadoes and counted significant tornadoes has not. In older events, the number of tornadoes officially counted is likely underestimated.
Note also, that the deadliest tornado in the US took place in 1925, eighty-seven years ago.

Case closed.

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Friday, June 29, 2012


The old boys club has their backs up again:

Saskatchewan MP says Indian Act 'major barrier' to First Nations success
"Clarke has a private member's bill before Parliament to amend the Indian Act and provide for its replacement.

He outlined his proposal to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations this week and came under immediate criticism.

The federation says chiefs haven't been consulted and have — quote — "grave concerns" about Clarke's bill."
Stock in trade 'group-speak' reaction. "We haven't been consulted" while the consultation is taking place right in front of their eyes.
"'In my aboriginal affairs committee work since 2008, I have heard over and over again from First Nations leaders, grassroots band members and non-aboriginal Canadians that the Indian Act has to go,' he said Thursday in a release out of Ottawa."
"Federation vice-chief Morley Watson said Wednesday the Conservative government is behind Bill C-428 and has sent a First Nations MP to front its agenda."
Attempts to change the status quo, which will require a major overhaul of the Indian Act or it's replacement entirely, have been made since the early 1970s. And every freaking time, they are met with this reaction from the tax payer funded Indian organizations, especially the FSI or FSIN as it's known now.

The status quo, and the Indian Act, is just fine, because it provides the basis upon which the FSIN can whine and bitch and point a finger of blame, while the Chiefs line their pockets. Why, any attempt to actually resolve the problems plaguing their communities could have the affect of kicking the soapbox right out from underneath their feet. Then what would they do?

And then there's the Industry. My God. It would dry up. Can't let that happen.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012


Does this mean we're descendant from slugs?
"University of Alberta scientists say they have uncovered the fossilized trails of an ancient slug that proves complex life evolved 30 million years earlier than established by previous discoveries.

The tiny tracks, found in a South American rock formation, date back 585 million years. The fossil find reported Thursday in the journal Science, confirms what scientists had theorized was possible — but not previously proved — allowing for an important addition to the evolutionary chronology."

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The Evidence Just Keeps...

...rolling in.

We won! We won!!

Brit global warming skeptics now outnumber believers
"Fewer Britons than ever support the proposition that global warming is caused by human-driven CO2 emissions, according to the latest survey.

Some 48 per cent of Britons now agree with the suggestion that warming could be "mostly natural" and that the idea of it being human-caused has yet to be proven. By comparison only 43 per cent agree with the idea that warming is "mostly" caused by industrial and vehicular CO2 emissions."
"Only 43 per cent of Britons think we should get poorer in order to protect the environment. The numbers have actually moved very little since November 2009, but believers are now in the minority.

The studies were conducted by Angus Reid and surveyed four thousand people in the USA, Canada and the UK.

The UK is only one of three countries in the world to pass legislation mandating CO2 reduction, and the issue dominated the media agenda between 2006 and the Copenhagen Summit in 2009. So the UK is unique amongst the three countries surveyed, in giving its population saturation exposure to the climate change issue, and early exposure to CO2 mitigation policies.

It would seem that the more people hear the arguments and study the policies, the less they like them."
There's a bit of work to do here in Canada, though:
"In Canada the ratio is 58:34 in favour of the mamade (sic) warming hypothesis, while in the USA it's a tie."
Funny, that. You'd think Canadians would welcome a warmer climate.

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Fresh meat!!

Bad, Weesie! Bad!

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Good News

Canada Day survey:Canada growing prouder to wear patriotism on their sleeves

"The provocative results of a new survey challenge the long-held notion that Canadians are reluctant to be as outwardly patriotic as their brash American neighbours.

The Ipsos-Reid online survey of 1,100 people — conducted for the Historica-Dominion Institute in the days leading up to the Canada Day long weekend — suggest the Canadian sense of national pride is becoming an in-your-face swagger.

That is particularly true when it comes to the country’s most potent national symbol: the maple leaf.

One in five of those surveyed said they would consider getting a tattoo of a Canadian flag somewhere on their body.

They didn’t say where."

Hopefully that also means we're abandoning the "not-American" definition of who we are.

That only makes sense, given our proximity to the USA and to the availability of so much technology enabling communications - such as blogs, dare I say - across boundaries.

I've had a theory knocking about my head for some time now. We have gradually moved away from out British roots, because, after all, the Empire is no more, we are a nation of immigrants from all over the world, not just Great Britain. Despite the best efforts of the Liberal Party of Canada and the liberal media, we are becoming more and more attached to the values and lifeways of our cousins to the south WITHOUT FEAR OF BEING SWALLOWED UP.

I remember when we raised the flag in the morning at school it was the Union Jack that was hoisted on the pole. And high up on the wall in the front of the classroom invariably there was a portrait of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Now, it's only the Maple Leaf flag you see flying high in front of public buildings and I think the Monarch's mug is no longer staring down at school children.

Not only that, but driving around out in the rural and northern parts of knuckledraggerland one frequently sees the Stars and Stripes sharing the pole right along with the Maple Leaf - on private property, of course, not on government buildings.

Of course, what happens in the USA can easily screw us over (think the Keystone Pipeline), but not so much with Britain any more.

That wasn't so with my parents generation. They were very loyal to Great Britain, and when the mother country called, we, especially the men, answered. My dad had signed up and was in boot camp within days of Britain declaring war on Germany in 1939. It took the yanks a few more years and a lot of arm twisting by Churchill before the joined in.

We are slowly losing our ties to Britain, and have far more in common with our southern neighbours and that's not a bad thing, Martha.

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Chastity Doesn't Look...

...any better as a man than she did as a woman. Tough nuts, I guess. (Pun intended)
Bad Louise. Bad!

I wonder how much a penis costs?

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Insite Insights

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Oh Hell...

...I'm not going to call it Big Liz.  Just try and make me.

God forbid they try and name it after Chucky-Pooh. They'd have to change the name to Big Dick, perhaps.

Here's a little history:

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Another Reason Not to Vote Liberal

Liberal leadership race gains new Trudeau tie as Deborah Coyne announces plans to run
"Liberals yearning for the glory days of Trudeaumania as they head into a leadership contest could face a choice between Pierre Trudeau’s eldest son and the mother of his only daughter."
And just look at her proposed policy positions.
  • Create an independent advisory commission tasked with reforming and managing equalization and other federal transfer payments to provinces in a manner that promotes “greater equity and equality of opportunity for all Canadians, regardless of residence.”

Yup. Here we go again. Rob Alberta to pay Ontario.
"Among other things, Ms. Coyne is also calling for a carbon tax and a reassessment of the utility of supply management for dairy products. "
The Liberal Party seems to have a death wish. Good bye.

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Tell that to Indian Head!!!

I just checked Environment Canada's weather webpage for Indian Head. It says the "Wind Warning Has Ended". Stick you're nose outside for a minute, deary. There's a fierce wind still blowing through this town.

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The United Nations...

...a case of abject failure:

World cooling to global warming
"The Rio 20 conference (so named because the first big global-warming conference was held at the same Brazilian resort 20 years ago) produced nothing that could be called a success - not even a qualified one."
"You might remember the UN's green confab in Copenhagen in December 2009. There, world leaders, led by rookie U.S. President Barack Obama, extended their meeting by a day and pulled an all-nighter to work out a consensus draft promising to limit the worldwide temperature rise to no more than two degrees Celsius over the next century.

The Copenhagen declaration was meaningless. No one at the meeting had the slightest clue how they would go about keeping global thermometers from going up. But at least early the next morning they could all emerge from the boardroom, refasten their cuffs, tighten their ties and pose for the obligatory group photo.

Rio didn't even manage that kind of phony accord."
"With many countries facing imminent economic catastrophe, what the temperature will be on the third Tuesday of October 2079 was the last thing on most leaders' minds.

Most world leaders didn't attend, unlike the original conference in 1992. Obama didn't go, nor did German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went, so did Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe and Cuba's Raul Castro, all to denounce the West and to call for "environmental justice."

You could sense the air - the hot air - has come out of the global-warming balloon."
Well. On to the next round of collective idiocy. I wonder what will it's focus be? Should be royally entertaining, though.

I know what I'd like to see. I'd like to see Canada withdraw from the U.N., and a whole bunch of First World Countries follow suit.

The United Nations, like its predecessor, the League of Nations, was a good idea on paper, but things don't work that well in the real world.

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Good News...

...of the kind you might not see on CBC's website:

Survey finds Canada has best human rights record; support for UN 'lukewarm'

Especially that bit about the UN.

Go Canada!!!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Atta Boy!!

The proletariat could use it.

Marxist-Leninist G20 protester launches $4M lawsuit

You are going to share it with them, right?

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Kansas, Here We Come

This part of knuckledraggerland is on the northern edge of tornado alley. On the radio today, all day long, they were broadcasting about locations where tornadoes had been sited and/or touched down or where plow winds had been knocking semis off the road onto their sides, etc., etc.

Luckily for me, most of this was happening further to the northwest. All we're getting is thunder and lightening. Maybe it will rain and cool things down. My air conditioner has been working real hard, but it's still pretty warm in the house.  Ice cream and cold bottles of Coke have helped, but that's not healthy. But we're all gonna die somehow - tornado or too much bad food, or roofs collapsing. Godspeed to the people of Elliot Lake. Especially those who were just out doing a bit of shopping.  Lawyers are gonna get rich. Tony Merchant, where are you?

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I Beg to Differ...

...It's not Assange who is the useful idiot. It's his loyal groupie, Bradley Manning, who wears that epithet. Assange is one of the big boys, out to screw the world - er - the United States of America, getting all cozy, fraternizing with various devils.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Round Up

Meh! It's hot and muggy here today. Tried doing some yard work but it got too hot out.

Anywho, here's some interesting items from the news:

Male bird loses interest when mates' beauty fades
"Not unlike some among their human counterparts, male blue tits lose interest when their mates' beauty starts fading, staying out longer and neglecting their offspring..."
Meh. What self-respecting male would carry the name "Blue Tit" anyway?

Former police officer finds ‘back seat baby’ 50 years later
"Long retired and just weeks shy of his 80th birthday, Cameron’s years with the Edmonton police may be long behind him. But he vividly recalls the wee hours of June 26th, 1962, when as a 29-year-old constable, he rolled up to a red light on 111th Avenue and 101st Street, just after midnight.

Looking north, Cameron spotted a speeding 1956 Ford Meteor headed his way. The white and black sedan zoomed past another southbound car and blasted its horn. At the intersection where Cameron waited, it hung a sharp right. Cameron flicked on his police lights and pursued.

Less than two blocks away, the lead-footed speedster pulled over into a parking lot — on the east side of the Royal Alexandra Hospital, undergoing expansion at the time — and jumped out.

“My wife’s having a baby in the back seat,” blurted the young man. “I’ll go get help!”"
"...the officer found himself alone with a woman quite evidently in the final stages of labour.

The next moments were a blur..."
"Then he watched as hospital staff whisked woman and child onto a gurney and into the building.

“Where’s the afterbirth?” a nurse demanded. “That would be on the back seat, ma’am,” he replied, pointing to the car and his recently laundered and freshly bloodied uniform. The ordeal over, Cameron was soon being heckled over the radio by his duty officer.

“Well, what are you doing, Cameron, are you back in service?” asked the sergeant. “Boy or girl? Do you know the difference?”"
Har, har.

I often wonder about these stories about police officers delivering babies in the back seat of a car. Do cops receive mid-wifery training? Hell, I've had two kids and I would probably panic, but maybe that's because I've been there, done that.

And apparently he didn't know the difference. He told the sergeant it was a boy.

Shrinking Newfoundland caribou herds still a mystery

It's global warming, stupid.

Seriously, though, have you noticed lately that global warming is no longer the standard excuse for everything? What am I going to blog about?

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The Blakeney Curse...

...has been lifted:

K+S turns sod on first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in 40 years

Allan Blakeney was an NDP Premier of Saskatchewan way back in the '70s. His biggest claim to fame was his nationalization of Saskatchewan's potash industry.
"The company that’s building the first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in 40 years is the same company that helped build the last new potash mine in the province in the 1970s, before it was taken over by the then-NDP government to become Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan’s Lanigan mine."
"Saskatchewan’s reputation as place to invest and do business was damaged by the threat of expropriation during the 1970s.

That’s why the Saskatchewan Party government passed legislation in 2008 to repeal the Potash Development Act, which was introduced in 1975 by the Blakeney government to “nationalize’’ the potash industry..."
May the Dippers never govern this province again. Why, before you know it, our knuckles will no longer be dragging!

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

I'm a Pretty Happy, Up-beat Person...

...but I'll take a bouquet of daffodils anyway.

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Atleo facing accusations of a too-cozy partnership with Harper in AFN election

"The issues for the more than 700,000 members of First Nations living both on and off reserves are clear: more than 100 rural and remote communities lack access to safe drinking water, housing crises abound across the country, northern communities face rising food prices, land rights and resource-revenue sharing issues are heating up on resource-rich reserves, and claims that Canada is not honouring its various treaties are rampant."
Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!
"While supporters of incumbent AFN national chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo — who is seeking re-election — say he has spent the last three years fostering relationships and laying groundwork for change, his critics say his approach has been too conciliatory and even go so far as to accuse him of being too cosy with the Harper government."
Can't have that, now can we?
"But Romanow said there are many First Nation communities which saw the Ottawa Gathering as a mere "photo-op" and many in those communities who refused to participate in the education panel, which they said was created without consultation."
This old saw about the lack of consultation is getting really, really tiresome. What the heck do you think Atleo was doing? Facilitating consultation is precisely what he was doing, dingbats.  Consulting has been the status quo since the second half of the 1940s.

So which sectors of the Indian Industry (lawyers, academics, consultants, civil servants, Chiefs who award themselves big salaries) are represented here?

Academic (and legal): 
"Pam Palmater, a Mi'kmaw lawyer and professor at the University of Toronto"

 "Diane M. Kelly, an Ojibway from Onigaming First Nation, who is also a lawyer and the first female Grand Chief of the Grand Council of Treaty #3

"Joan Jack, a lawyer and band counsellor from the fly-in Aanishinaabe Ikwe community of Berens River First Nation in Manitoba."

 "George Stanley, former chief of Frog Lake First Nation and current Regional Chief of Alberta"
"Dene leader Bill Erasmus, the regional chief in the North and brother of former AFN National Chief Georges Erasmus"
Oh. And I guess being a strutting, loudmouth boor in addition to being a member of the standard Indian Industry professions helps as well:
"Terrance Nelson is a former five-term chief of Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation in southern Manitoba. He made headlines earlier this year when he took the plight of First Nations to Canada's Iranian consulate. A self-proclaimed "radical," Nelson has said "the Northern Gateway project is dead if I am elected national chief." His focus is on sovereignty and land rights for First Nations."
Double yawn. I suspect his term as Chief on Roseau River was similar to that of the Mad Mullahs and I-am-a-dinner-jacket, too. He'd fit right in.

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I See Our Resident...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

About That Idiot Julian Assange...

UPDATED AND BUMPED:  It doesn't get any better than this:

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange: Thanks for nothing
"Last week, after a Supreme Court ruled extradition was legal and proper, Assange slipped into the embassy in London and claimed asylum.

You have to hope he knows what he is doing. Ecuador exports five million tons of bananas a year, and gave the world the Panama hat, but a darkness dwells at its moist and spicy heart in the form of tinpot president Rafael Correa. Irony doesn’t quite capture the mordant weirdness of Assange seeking sanctuary in a country where the suppression of information is a flagship government policy.

Here’s a recent bulletin from the Organisation of American States: “Correa regularly uses an emergency provision in the country’s broadcast law to commandeer the country’s airwaves and denounce journalists as ‘ignorant’ and ‘liars’.” But his tactics go beyond theatrics. Correa has filed multiple defamation suits against journalists and is creating a legal framework to restrict press freedom. Three executives and the former op-ed editor of the leading newspaper, El Universo, have been hit with a $40 million libel judgment and could soon be jailed.

Now, what was Julian saying before this unpleasantness began? “We [WikiLeaks] are free press activists. It’s about giving people the information they need. That is the raw ingredient that is needed to make a just and civil society. Without that you are just sailing in the dark. I have tried to invent a system that solves the problem of censorship across the whole world.”"
"It isn’t as though Assange was ever the brave moral warrior the liberal establishment made him out to be.

In their book WikiLeaks, David Leigh and Luke Harding of The Guardian, the newspaper that first championed Assange, describe the staff’s revulsion at his behaviour. Over lunch at a London restaurant, one reporter asked if he wasn’t worried that Afghan civilians who had co-operated with the coalition forces could be exposed to danger by WikiLeaks’ revelations, Assange replied: “So, if they get killed they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.” A silence fell over the table.

The New York Times, another early WikiLeaks glorifier, suffered a similar disillusionment, reporting that several of Assange’s closest associates had abandoned him, exhausted by his “erratic and imperious behaviour, and nearly delusional grandeur”."
"“Let us stop promoting this image of poor, courageous journalists, a saintly media trying to tell the truth, and tyrants and autocrats trying to stop them,” said President Correa in an interview last month. Assange, who was asking the questions, nodded obligingly. “I completely agree with your view on the media,” he beamed. How well they will get along together."
Fine hero you got there, Saskboy.

But am I surprised? Assange reminds me a lot of Luka Magnotta. Or is it the other way around? There's something about the coldhearted narcissist that makes them all alike.
==========ORIGINAL STARTS HERE========== don't suppose he has an inkling that he's not that important, do you?

Assange: Ecuador's UK ambassador set for talks in Quito
"The Ecuadorean government has so far made no comment on whether they will agree to Assange's request, which would see him avoid potential deportation to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assaults against two women."
Relations between countries may be just a wee bit more important than you, dingbat, especially when one of those countries is the USA. If I was the Ecuadorian ambassador to the UK, I too would be seeking advice from the home country. Giving asylum to this asshole would piss off some very powerful interests which have a wee bit more weight that you do, fool. Sweden ain't the only country that would like to see you face justice. Given enough rope, naive idiots usually get around to hanging themselves. Assange may just have tightened the knot.

PS: I just realized that in my list of labels, Assange is right next to assholes. HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE!

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Unions in Crisis?

Maybe if they stuck to their original purpose, they might have a better chance of survival. Look at this:

It could be hike-dues-or-die time for federal union
"One of Canada’s largest federal unions could face extinction as an independent organization unless its members accept a 42-per-cent dues increase to forestall a financial crisis triggered by the Conservatives’ job cuts."
Too bad. So sad.

Or this:

Caw tackles social issues to boost ranks: Union steps in to pro-choice debate

Are you telling me that each and every member of the CAW is pro-choice? Or those that aren't are okay with their money going to support that cause?

Or this:

Elections Canada orders NDP to pay back some union sponsorships at convention
"For the second time in a year, the NDP has run afoul of political financing laws.

Elections Canada has ordered the NDP to pay back money it collected from unions who sponsored events at the party's national convention last year.

The party, which has criticized the Conservative government for a lack of transparency, offered no details on how much it paid back or to whom."

And this is just hilarious:

Public sector sick days cost $1B a year

From the CBC, yet! Whose annual budget costs the taxpayer the same amount and a bit more, if you call $100,000,000 a "bit more".

And this?

Unions see benefit to open membership
"Two of Canada's biggest unions are considering opening member-ship to everyone, including the unemployed and retired, when they merge. A committee working on the merger of the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions floated the proposal in a recently released report outlining the potential structure of the new union."
Let's just say they're getting desperate. Or the Union bosses want a bigger raise.

No wonder they are getting nervous:

Union bill causes stir in labour circles
"A proposed private member's bill that would compel unions to disclose their spending is causing ripples in Canada's labour community.

Bill C-377 -- put forward by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert -- would reveal how labour groups use funds collected through union dues."

Some good background reading here.

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Ask Yourself One Question

What would Baby Trudeau do if a radical Quebec separatist movement kidnapped and murdered the Deputy Premier of that province and kidnapped a British diplomat?  That's the difference between Baby Trudeau and his father. Hopefully, the Liberal Party won't be so stupid.  I would prefer to have Liberals in the opposition seats than Dippers, or, at the very least, a man with massive balls at the head of the opposition party. Neither Mulcair nor Baby Trudeau fit the bill.  At least Pierre Elliot had massive balls, whether or not you agreed with his policies.

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I Hearby Pronounce...

...environmentalism, in it's current form, to be well and truly dead. Long live sanity!!

Oh well. The environuts got some nice, publicly funded vacations in some warm places, so it isn't a total write-off. But, on to the next bankrupt cause, lefties. I'm all for the entertainment you provide.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

James Delingpole... his best:
"Quite possibly the only good thing about this week's Rio + 20 summit is that it coincides with the publication of a brilliant new book called Os Melancias. If you're American or Canadian you'll know it as Watermelons: The Green Movement's True Colors. In Britain, it's called Watermelons: How The Environmentalists Are Killing The Planet, Destroying The Economy And Stealing Your Children's Future. And in Australia and Kiwiland it is called Killing The Earth To Save It: How Environmentalists Are Ruining The Planet, Destroying The Economy And Stealing Your Jobs. Oh, and it's also available in Estonian.

I wish that I could say that these titles were an hysterical exaggeration but unfortunately – read the book, read the copious references – they are no more than the truth. Thanks to the junk science, bogus computer projections, and scaremongering of the environmental movement the planet and its inhabitants have suffered grievously these last 20 years. Here – courtesy of Paul Driessen and David Rothbard – are just a few examples of damage that has been done, ostensibly to save us all from the threat of Man-Made Climate Change."
"That's why, at this Rio they're playing down the "Climate Change" issue and concentrating on "Biodiversity" instead"."

We won. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!

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Crime Rates and Demographics

Some of you may remember way back a brilliant book by one David Foot called "Boom, Bust and Echo".  It chronicled the birth rate since the 1950s and correlated various demographic trends accordingly.

One trend to keep an eye on is crime.

Baby boomers were from large families. The boomers themselves had very small families (the bust), but because there were so many boomers, their total offspring, once in adulthood, produced a bulge (the echo).

Most crimes are committed by young people. We hear a lot from leftards about the crime rate going down, so there's no need to build or renovate prisons.

Well, crime rate in absolute terms, perhaps. But, there is still a "Boom, bust and echo" demographic at play

Canada in the midst of a mini baby boom.
"StatsCan claims the number of babies and toddlers under the age of four was up 11 per cent from 2006. That's the biggest growth in the category since the actual "Baby Boom" following the Second World War."
One should pay careful attention to the ongoing Boom, Bust and Echo phenomena before going on half-cocked about crime rates going down.

That last article is interesting on another front, one which I think it's time we had a national conversation on, namely the policy issues regarding universities. Note David Foot's remarks:
"Foot says the peak of the echo births happened in 1991.

"They're now 21.
There's the reason right there for the drop in the crime rate. By and large, youth leave the criminal life behind them as they mature.

But back to Foot's remarks:
"You have your first kid, on average, around age 30," he said, meaning that, over the next decade, there will be increasing numbers of babies born as the echo generation moves into their prime reproductive years.

That could have important implications for how money is allocated within schools and hospitals, Foot said. "A logical society would take money away from colleges and universities and allocate it to day care," he said."
Hear! Hear! The number of universities expanded as the original baby boom neared university age and it hasn't shrunk since then.

Yet, our universities are producing ever more useless programs whose only purpose is to indoctrinate. All the while, our technical schools cannot produce enough skilled trades-people. Time to scale back university funding and up funding to post-secondary programs that actually have an economic payback for the tax payer. Federal (and provincial) funding of post secondary institutions ought to be targeted toward the achievement of goals, such as the production of a skilled population. Ya' think? We do not need as many universities as we have.

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And Speaking of Sitemeter Sightings...

...someone from Australia did a search using the terms "right wing people so stupid" and landed on my blog. Harumph!!!! I'm insulted! Too bad I'm not a member of one of the "favoured" groups, else I'd be going to the closest Human Rights Commission.

Which reminds me, the amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act are moving right along. The Senate has them now. Then there's one or two more steps and freedom of expression will have been restored!!

I'm watching Brian Storseth's website for progress reports and updates.

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Snarkaholics Anonymous

Did you know there's a self-help group, or at least there should be, called "snarkaholics anonymous"? Sitemeter shows that someone did a search using those terms and landed on my blog. LOL!!

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No Wonder...

...there's a shortage of affordable housing and skilled tradesmen in this here province:

Sask. grew by 20,000 in just one year

Biggest growth since 1930

1930, huh. Let's see. The CCF, forerunner to the NDP, was created in 1932. That about explains it.

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Moving Right Along...

...No matter what you think of him, his message to Canada is bang on. Mind you, all the leftards in the country will dismiss his message due to it coming from the wrong sort of person:

U.S. loss is Canada’s gain: Conrad Black tells Canada to seize more global influence

Mind you, our leftards should be more than happy that "our gain" is at the U.S.'s expense, so little do they understand the cultural and economic ties that bind...

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Same Thing... happening in Edmonton. Different river, same problem.

Most of the houses on the riverbank, in both places, are were worth megabucks, too. Not so much now, one would hazard....

Just goes to show ya', Mom Nature can still have her way, regardless of what human brained scientists can come up with. Kinda like the global warming hysteria, in a way. It's gonna happen no matter what we fools do...

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Just When You Thought... couldn't get any more absurd, out comes this:

Here's the "offensive" video. In my ever so humble opinion, I think it's a great video with an even greater message:

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Sore Loserdom on Display..., in the comments, not the article. Saskatchewan's NDP are like the Federal Liberals - completely unable to fathom what has hit them; completely incapable of introspection.

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Our Tax Dollars at Work

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Oh, Jason Kenney...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What'd I Tell Ya'

Only Hepburn says it better than I did.

Lessons for Justin Trudeau from John Turner on being Liberal ‘saviour’
"Trudeau and all Liberals should study Turner’s tenure as leader closely because it provides a prime lesson into what can happen to a political party that pins its hopes for success solely on finding a “saviour.”"
"A poll conducted last week after interim leader Bob Rae announced he would not seek the leadership placed Trudeau, who is rethinking his decision not to run, far ahead of any other potential challenger.

Back in 1984, after prime minister Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father, announced he was retiring, the Liberals looked for a saviour, just as many party followers seem to be doing today.

In their desperation, they turned to Turner, who was seen as “a golden boy.” He was good-looking, bilingual, a former federal finance minister under Trudeau, a successful Bay Street lawyer, a Rhodes Scholar.

Despite being out of politics for almost a decade, Turner steamrolled his leadership opponents at the party’s leadership convention, easily winning on the second ballot.

Buoyed by fresh polls showing the Liberals surging ahead of the Conservatives after trailing badly for months under Trudeau, Turner called a snap election only nine days after being sworn in as prime minister.

He turned out to be a disaster.

Turner had lost all his political skills while out of office. He was seen as rusty. His campaign was a mess. He was caught on camera patting the bums of party president Iona Campagnolo and a female Quebec candidate. He had a nervous laugh and cough that grated on TV viewers. His hands trembled when he gave speeches. He was trounced in the TV debate by Tory leader Brian Mulroney. He had done nothing to prepare his headquarters team for battle.

Worst of all, he had no fresh ideas or policies to offer Canadians."
"Since 2006 when Paul Martin stepped down, Liberals have looked to two other leaders as possible “saviours” — Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff — with increasingly disastrous results.

The lesson for the Liberals from the Turner debacle is that policy and organization — not a foolish reliance on finding a messiah — are critical for the party’s long-term resurrection.

To ensure that happens, party leaders need to send a strong message in the coming weeks that the leadership contest won’t be a coronation."
"Fed up with “saviours,” Liberals want to hear what Trudeau, who some party members consider a policy lightweight, and other possible contenders would do to rebuild from the ground up, how they plan to restore a sense of purpose to the party, and what new ideas they have to attract voters back to their side.

Ultimately, Justin Trudeau may emerge as the new leader when voting is conducted next April. If that happens, it had better be because he has developed solid, imaginative ideas, backed by a strong organizational team.

That’s because if Trudeau triumphs in what amounts to the equivalent of a coronation, then the Liberals may well be repeating their mistakes of the past — mistakes that John Turner, the golden boy of 1984, knows only too well."
The only policy ideas that would resonate with the electorate are ones that dismantle the Liberal Party Legacy. So yawn. Just wait. Pretty Boy Justin just does not have what it takes, but that, apparently, won't stop the Liberals from making him their next leader.

Clear sailing ahead, Stephen Harper. Ya' hear?

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More Thoughts on Egypt

When I wrote this piece yesterday, after reading articles about what's going down in Egypt, the same thought passed through my noggin. Is Egypt on the verge of a civil war?

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Further Thoughts on...

...the Liberal Party:

If you listen to the interview of Ray Heard, at about the 5:37 minute mark, Heard says something that is absolutely astounding.

Ray Heard is an old-time Liberal. He's been around for ages. Not only does he reveal the Liberal Party has been warring with itself for years, but he thinks that getting young people to vote by any means for any reason is a good thing!

What ever happened to evaluating a candidate's accomplishments and credentials? Is being Pierre Trudeau's son all that's necessary? Look at the comparative list of Trudeau senior's accomplishments and Baby Trudeau's accomplishments flashed onto the screen.

Shouldn't young voters be encouraged to look at things like accomplishments and credentials of the candidates?

Shouldn't young people, like older people, be encouraged look at the party's platform and vote according to which party best fulfills whatever it is that the voter wants to see done about issues that are most important to him or her?

Shouldn't we all do that?

Is a second wave of Trudeaumania all that is necessary to bring young folks to the voting booth? What about more substantive issues?

If this is what passes in the Liberal Party for political awareness and participation in the political process, no wonder the Liberals are down for the count. Celebrity worship is a poor substitute.

God help us.

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Hip! Hip! Rah! Rah!

Way to go Britain!!!
"The MV Alaed had its insurance withdrawn by The Standard Club in London while it was about 50 miles (80.4km) off Scotland's north coast.

The insurer said it had sought more information on the boat's cargo."
""We were informed on Friday evening that the ship might be carrying weapons, in particular attack helicopters, missiles and non-specific munitions, and we are making inquiries to establish what their side of the story is.

"There are exclusion clauses in our cover and, for anyone involved in improper or unlawful trade, we can cancel cover.

"We are investigating whether or not to do so in this case.""
Those Ruskies have been looking for greater access to southern ports, one way or another, since forever. With so much of its empire now independent nations, the search continues. That, and who said the Cold War was over?

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Did You Know...

...that this is International Bash Canada Week?

Coming from that basket case known as Europe, tho, we don't give a sh!t. And we have company. And, although there are plenty of loonies in Europe, none of them are ours.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Another Reason to Like...

...SUN TV:

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Getting Canada...

...out of the UN, is an idea that's gaining ground. Please, Canada, let's be a leader in the world.

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Another One Bites the Dust

This is the second big-time supporter of the CAGW believers who has climbed down in recent weeks. The global warming alarmists are having a hard time being taken seriously these days.

Here in Saskatchewan, in fact just about the whole country, we've had record rainfalls and unusually cool temperatures and there's very little let-up promised in the forecasts. Here on the prairies, we were supposed to be well on our way to desert-like conditions, but whoops - ain't happening.

The leftosphere, which has climbed onto the GW bandwagon with orgiastic enthusiasm, will likely not recover from this. They've hitched their wagon to the wrong horse and they're going down. This could be the end of leftardism.

Faster, please.

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Sandmonkey, on the Egyptian...


Chapter's End!

I've been thinking of writing something about the situation in Egypt, but now I don't have to. Sandmonkey sums up my thoughts quite succinctly.

Revolutions are messy affairs and they often take years - decades - to complete. Witness what has happened in Russia since the moment Vodka soaked Boris Yeltsin climbed up on that tank. That revolution is not yet over.

Look at what happened after the French Revolution, a monarchy beheaded followed by several years of what can only be described as a blood-bath, which ended with France being ruled by an Emperor. So they replaced a king with an emperor.  Yet gradually a democracy emerged.

Let's hope the French influence on Egypt eventually ends the same way.

In the meantime, Sandmonkey is right. There has to be a plan for what will happen after the initial violence and bloodshed is over. One good thing that has already come in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood has experienced a pretty solid comeuppance. Their win, if it stands, was by the thinnest of majorities and the future belongs to the younger cohorts, of which Sandmonkey is a member.  There is work to do, but don't give up.

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Preeeeeecisely. Ignoring him and his trial is the best thing we can do:

Another good one, about where he might eventually end up - way outta sight and outta mind:

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Have You Ever...

...been so depressed by what's happening in the world that you'd like to go live on another planet?

Well, make it Mercury.

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Reflections on a Lifetime

My mother was two or three years old when the communist "revolution" took place in Russia. During the ensuing Soviet hegemony, the whole of Eastern Europe fell behind the "Iron Curtain" (Winston Churchill's phrase) with the Soviet Union's assistance.

Following close on the heals of WWII, the Cold War began. I was born at the beginning of that war. I spent my entire youth witnessing from afar the terrible tensions throughout that era - the Cuban Missile Crisis, the proxy wars, etc., etc..

This morning, I was listening to Charles Adler, Canada's best talk radio host. His show featured a clip of Ronald Reagan's famous speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall that separated communist East Germany from free West Germany.

A few days ago was the 25th anniversary of that speech, yet it seems like only yesterday that Mikael Gorbachev's Glasnost and Perestroika movements were in full swing.

Shortly after that famous speech, the whole of communist Europe was gone. It began in Berlin. Reagan's speech had given East Germans hope.

Something that had begun when my mother was a toddler, something that created the Cold War, that defined my generation, was gone.

Poof!! Just like that.

Everything changed.

Years later I learned that German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, had been born on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall. She grew up under the real deal, not Communism Lite - ie) Socialism, but the real thing. She is now the only European leader with any sense, while the rest are dealing with the consequences of socialism - with their heads in the sand, I might add.

Charles Adler was born in communist Hungary. He escaped, tucked into a knapsack. carried by his father, when he was a mere toddler.

Listen to his program on his website:

The Reagan speech is broadcast on Adler's June 16 Commies and Zombies segment.

He also has an excellent rant about returning to Canada after a trip to Eastern Europe, which also touches on the legacy of communism.

Listen to both of them.

His rant about Canada is item 41 June 1 A Return to Canadian Soil

Hurry. Those numbers and the audio clips may change real quick, just like the world did twenty-two years ago when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down.

Regrettably, we still have Socialists amongst us who are doing their level best to impose communism lite on us. No thank you!!

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Baby Trudeau and the Liberal...


Listen to these two interviews and tell me if you think the Liberal Party has a hope in you know where of surviving. And the Baby Trudeau worship is only part of it:

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Friday, June 15, 2012

He, he, he, he, he, he, he

Andrew Coyne: Plenty of room for a tell-it-like-it-is third party. Sadly, the Liberals aren’t that
"Bob Rae is a serious man, and as a serious man could see the leadership of the Liberal Party is no place for serious men. Whatever other factors went into his decision not to run for leader, surely among them must have been a frank judgment that he could not win. A party that is preparing to throw itself at Justin Trudeau is not a serious party."
"Survival in its present form would require the party to reinvent itself to a quite extraordinary degree. Indeed, as I’ve written before, it would have to redefine what it means to be a centrist party. This is not so much because the centre of Canadian politics has disappeared — the much-discussed polarization — as that it has been occupied. The Conservatives, whatever their recent initiatives, are well to the left of where they were a decade ago, while the NDP had moved some considerable way to the right even before it chose Tom Mulcair as its leader."
Yup. That's the choice we have. Mushy conservatism or mushy socialism. There is no territory in between.

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Quote of the Day...

...from the comments below this story: MPs head home after marathon voting session on budget bill
"hell hath no fury like a socialist out of power"

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Vive Quebec Libre!! 2015:

NDP taunted Tories with French ’2015′ chant as budget vote wrapped

PS: Scroll down to the photos of parliamentarians from both sides of the house and tell me who looks more exhausted. And which side has more gray/white hair. Yup. It's the old men who cling to leftist causes. Men with one foot in the grave. I have a spade. I'll help make that grave a little wider.  In the meantime, you old goats can take your other foot out of your mouths.  Of course, the parties on that side of the house don't have enough members to spell each other off,  the way the Cons did. But then again, that's because they are old men with old ideas that have lost their appeal.

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Melanie Phillips

Peer into the mind of a political genius:

H/T: Dr. Roy

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Headlines You Just Can't...

Wallowing in Self-Pity...

...gets results, apparently:

North Dakota voters: University can drop Fighting Sioux name

I say they call themselves the Fighting Irish, instead. I'll bet Irish-Americans will be very pleased, as will the all those University of Notre Dame teams.

Or they could choose Acid Farting Communist Snails, but I'm sure snails would object.

Come to think of it, why don't we begin agitating about the name Canucks or Canadiens? Maybe it's because we don't want to draw attention to the fact that we suck.

But there are some pretty cool names out there.

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Politics is Soooo Entertaining

Bill C-38: Voting continues in Parliament's omnibus budget marathon
"Bleary-eyed members of Parliament are continuing their round-the-clock voting on proposed amendments to the government's 425-page sweeping budget bill, and are expected to be stuck in the House of Commons until the wee hours.

As many as 159 consecutive votes — which began Thursday around 1 a.m. and are likely to stretch through to early Friday — are expected on more than 800 proposed opposition amendments to the federal government's Bill C-38.

By 10 a.m. Thursday, MPs had completed about 60 votes on proposed amendments and had nearly 100 more to go.

New Democrat MPs were slowly rising for each and every vote in what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to slow the voting process, while government MPs were being handed 30-minute breaks every four or five hours to grab some breakfast, brush their teeth and prepare for a long day in the House.

Indeed, MPs were stocking up on coffee, dark chocolate and a healthy supply of political outrage as they headed into a potentially 24-hour marathon session of voting on the federal government's budget-implementation bill"
On vote after vote, Conservatives quash C-38 amendments
"Federal MPs came armed with snacks, blankets, even iPads for a marathon voting session on the government's omnibus budget implementation bill, which began at around 1 a.m. ET Thursday morning.

The opposition parties have introduced more than 800 amendments or deletions to Bill C-38, which includes major changes on everything from Employment Insurance to environmental approvals for major projects.

Andrew Scheer, speaker of the House of Commons, grouped some of those amendments together and ruled others out earlier this week. The end result is that as many as 159 votes are being undertaken by MPs -- a process expected to take about 24 hours."
"...most MPs are organized in shifts to ensure each party has enough members in Commons at any given time during the voting marathon. The Conservatives, for example, have split their MPs into 11 groups, with 10 of the groups required in Commons at all times. As a result, all MPs get a short break at regular intervals to use the bathroom, get a coffee or stretch their legs."
As long as they get potty breaks, we're gonna be alright.

Read the comment from Angus99. Weep, lefties. Weep.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

First, It Was Dire Straits... it's Ezra Levant. Someone (that means you Conservative Party of Canada) needs to put the CRTC out of its misery:

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Speaking of Canada...'s an ode to a Canadian original:

Can't beat that!

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Epistle to Dumb Yanks - Part VII - Smart Yanks - Epilogue

This is the seventh, and last, entry in a series. I recommend reading the entire series from the beginning. To read the entire series click:

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI.
This series has taken me a long time to create and I doubt whether any of the dumb yanks will ever read it, so I'll just have to challenge them the next time I encounter their favourite meme, the one that set me off, namely that Canada's population hugs the American border, as if that's due to their magnetic attraction, or something. I have endeavored to show the history of Canada's population distribution, demonstrating that proximity to the US border, per se, is not now and never has been a factor.

But there is one more thing I want to discuss and I have intended, right from the beginning, to end the series with a message to the rest of you, the Smart Yanks. So here goes:

I am in great awe at the United States of America. Obviously, there are many more "Smart Yanks" than "Dumb Yanks", and the proof of that is in the multitude of great accomplishments, inventions, "firsts" of various kinds, and so on that you can claim as your own. (You can keep Hollywood.) You do great things in the world and your devotion to liberty is an inspiration to many, the world over, but you can be a bit arrogant at times, which I suppose is earned.

What separates the "Smart Yanks" from the "Dumb" ones is not your knowledge of Canada. I don't expect you to know all about Canada, although it would be nice if you did know more. No. What separates the "Smart Yanks" from the "Dumb" ones is their adherence to the wise maxim attributed to Mark Twain: "It is better to have people think you a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." Dumb Yanks open their mouths (or peck away at their keyboards) and say really stupid things, leaving no doubt.

Most of the "Dumb Yanks" I've noticed making stupid, poorly informed comments about Canada are in the comments of right-leaning blogs, which is really a disappointment. If it were otherwise, I wouldn't care. They also tend to hang on to old resentments, such as Canada being a haven for so-called draft dodgers from the Vietnam war era. That was 35 to 40 years ago, folks. We've moved on. You should, too.

I don't read left-leaning blogs from either side of the border, but I do know that there are many Yanks with a left-leaning perspective who grossly over-romanticize Canada. No thanks. I guess, through your rosy-coloured glasses, you failed to notice that we sent more recent deserters - er- "war resistors" (puke) packing.

I prefer to live in the real world, and in the real world I am a loyal Canadian who loves her country, warts and all, and who knows something about Canadian history. So....defer to me, dammit.

You yanks do know that you got the warmer part of the continent, don't you?  I think that has a lot to do with our differences.  And with that in mind, let me end this rant with another map. This one shows the population distribution across the entire country. You'll notice the further north one goes the sparser the population. That's because a) it gets colder the farther north you go, and b) exceedingly large portions of the north are nothing but bedrock.  Google the Precambrian or Canadian Shield. It's solid rock and covers half of the damned country, in addition to being mostly very cold.  Other than forest, nothing grows there, so humans are not too abundant. You might want to compare that map with the one I linked to in the very first entry of this series.  It's the green part.

PS. I've also learned a few things myself in putting together this series.  One of the funniest was about "Fort Blunder". I'm still giggling.

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Epistle to Dumb Yanks - Part VI - British Columbia

This entry is the sixth part of a series. To read the whole series (recommended), click: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VII. I also recommend reading them in chronological order.
Since the Rocky Mountains extend down through the USA, this one should be easy to explain: Long story short, populations do not accumulate in great numbers on ragged mountain tops.

Here's a few of maps of British Columbia that show the topography and the locales among the mountains where heavy populations can (and have) accumulate(d):

Map 1 (Scroll down a bit.) The yellow parts are where the dense populations are. And guess what? They are adjacent to rivers and snuggled between rugged mountain ranges. These rivers are responsible for the creation of broad, fertile valleys in the southern part of the province where climate (generally warmer than other parts of the country, and certainly warmer than more northerly reaches) is hospitable.  Sorry, but the location of the population has nothing to do with proximity to the international border.

Map 2 (Night-time map showing the same thing.)

Map 3  (The westernmost area of the Fraser River delta together with Burrard Inlet, and the population centers along side them.)

Map 4 (Similar to Map 3, this one shows suburban communities close to Vancouver)

Population figures for some of these communities are as follows:

Vancouver (pop: 603,502)
Burnaby (pop. 223,218)
Richmond (pop. 190,473)
North Vancouver Metropolitan region (pop. 84,412)
Surrey (pop. 468,251)
Abbotsford (pop. 133,497)
Coquitlam (pop. 126,456)
Langley (pop. 104,177)
Delta (pop. 99,780)
Chilliwack (pop. 77,936)
Port Coquitlam (pop. 52,687)
New Westminster (pop. 65,976)

This region of British Columbia is far and away the most densely populated. Note the predominance of waterways. This is also the delta region of the Fraser River and is right next door to the ports that lead to the Pacific Ocean and ultimately, Asia.

Those are factors that have driven the population of this region to make it a rival to the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor.  Other, earlier, factors involved in the formation of these settlements include the fur trade and the gold rush of 1858. Indeed, the river (and a host of other things) is named after an early explorer/fur trader, Simon Fraser.  Proximity to the USA border has nothing to do with it.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Epistle to Dumb Yanks - Part V - Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta

This entry is the fifth part of a series. To read the whole series (recommended), click: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part VI, Part VII; I also recommend reading them in chronological order. 
Traveling from the East, the first of the Prairie Provinces is Manitoba.  You literally can travel from the East by water, provided you are willing to endure a few portages along the way. Into the "bottom" east corner of Lake Winnipeg flows a river that empties north-west from Lake of the Woods, which, in turn collects water from a large part of North West Ontario and Northern Minnesota.

As with so many things related to Canada's waterways, this one too was used by French explorers and fur-traders in the 1600s. Both this route and the Red River were important transportation routes for furs collected in trade with Indians, or by the  Indians themselves.

Furs destined for trade with the Hudson's Bay Company went north, into Lake Winnipeg, up to the north end of that massive lake, and into rivers that flowed into Hudson Bay, such as the Nelson, Hayes and Severn Rivers.

It was via Lake of the Woods and its rivers that the French began competing with the English for favourable trade with the Indians, introducing trade goods, such as alcohol, into the array of much sought goods of European manufacture, which, by the way, worked very well with the Indians, and against the English, as the Indians refused to trade their furs unless they were offered alcohol.  But I digress.

Back to the point, the earliest European settlements in what is now Manitoba were fur trading establishments. Fort Garry, a Hudson's Bay Company trading post, was built on the "Forks", as they now call it, where the Assiniboine River flows into the Red River and which is in the centre of the modern city of Winnipeg.

Winnipeg is now the seventh largest city in Canada (pop. 663,617) It is perhaps a wee bit less than a hundred miles from the American border, but at the time of its earliest settlement, the location of the border had not even been settled or even entertained. Human activity and settlement was concentrated up and down the length of the Red River, and if one were to look at the area through the eyes of its inhabitants at the time, the Metis (mixed blood people of French and Indian origin), the notion of drawing a border through the centre of it may have seemed absurd.

Just a bit north of Winnipeg is the City of Selkirk, which is the location of the first deliberately formed British agricultural settlement in Western Canada, organized by this dude.  The original Selkirk Settlement was destroyed by flooding, a fate that befell earlier French fur trading forts as well.

Long story short, both French and British interests stomped all over this area, long before (as early as 1738, in fact) the international border was established, and left population centres to tell the tale.  And once again, it was waterways, one with an especially flat and fertile valley, and the fur trade that enticed and enabled European settlement.

Next to Manitoba is Saskatchewan.  As Canadian cities go, Saskatchewan is a little brother to Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.  Saskatchewan's largest city is Saskatoon, (pop. 222,189). Although Regina is the capital, it is smaller (pop.193,100).

Saskatoon is located on the shores of the South Saskatchewan River.  The headwaters of this river are in the Rocky Mountains and they flow, ultimately, into Lake Winnipeg, and from there to Hudson's Bay.

Again, there is both a waterway and a fur trade connection, although, it is generally recognized that Saskatoon began its settled life as a temperance colony - tea-totalers - no rum or whiskey trade there. Saskatoon is roughly 610 miles from the American border, straight south.

The rivers all run in the general west-east direction, with perhaps a bit of a northward tilt for some of them.  The waters of almost all Saskatchewan's rivers flow eventually into Hudson Bay and they begin in Alberta.

Regina, the capital, on the other hand, is much closer to the American border.  It's earliest history was as a buffalo jump, which gave it it's earliest name - "Pile-o-Bones".  It was the seat of the territorial, and later, provincial, government from 1882 onward. (A previous capital had been at the Battlefords, on the North Saskatchewan River, which had historical connections to the fur trade.)  Regina, Latin for Queen, was named after Queen Victoria. (There is a Victoria street, avenue, park or bridge in nearly every town and city in this region, more proof of the loyalties of the area's early settlers.)

Regina is on the route established by the Canadian Pacific Railroad, in fact, it is the largest community on the Saskatchewan part of that rail road. This railroad, too, plays a major role in the settlement of the prairies. The railroad was built for several reasons,  but two stand out, in particular, in support of the theme of this blog entry:
  • One was to fulfill a promise to the British colony of British Columbia, which had indicated it would join the Canadian federation if a railroad was built to join it to the heartland of Upper and Lower Canada, (Ontario and Quebec, or Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal).
  • The other was to fill the prairies with immigrants, farmers especially, so the Americans would not be able to swallow it up first.
Thanks to the existence of the CPR running straight across the southern region of the North-Western Territory, the task of bringing in homesteaders was fairly easily accomplished.

(I might as well insert that bit about Sitting Bull right here. Sitting Bull, as you may recall, was one of the American Indian chiefs who led his warriors on a fruitless battle to protect their homeland from the advancing Yanks as the Americans rushed West to fill up the plains with settlers.

Movies used to be made about this era in history, movies that are now considered politically incorrect, but are nonetheless based on actual events. "Custer's Last Stand" is another story from the same era, now near mythic since the Indians actually won that one.

As this was happening, the Canadian government rushed to pacify Indians on this side of the border with treaties. The British government had decreed that treaties with the Indians, in which their lands would be ceded, had to be made before settlement of the Canadian prairies could take place. They did not want to be faced with an Indian war at the same time as they were trying to fill the West.

This is the same area that had been granted to the Company of Adventurers Trading into Hudson's Bay or the Hudson's Bay Company, for short. The fur trade had declined precipitously in the early part of the 1800s and the land belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company had been sold to Canada.  But still being a British colony, Britain called the shots and decreed that treaties with the Indians had to be negotiated.  So, during the 1870s, treaties were negotiated and Sitting Bull and his people soon learned that there was line which, when crossed, landed them in safe territory. Yankee soldiers would not cross it.  Sitting Bull called that line, the Medicine Line, otherwise known as the 49th parallel.)

In other words, the population pattern of southern Saskatchewan was created with a view to keeping the Yanks at bay, not the other way around. (See Canada Before 1891)

Not only that, but the earliest settlements in Saskatchewan are much further North. The Village of Cumberland House is the oldest continuously occupied community in Saskatchewan. It is situated on the Saskatchewan River, east of the City of Prince Albert and is the strategically sited locale of an old fur trade post.

The City of Prince Albert, itself, is older than either Saskatoon or Regina. There is fur trading, agriculture and missionary work in its early years, which were the 1700s and early 1800s, whereas Saskatoon's establishment is generally traced to the tea-totalling Barr Colonists who located there in 1882. Regina's beginning is normally said to be 1882, as well.  With the exception of Regina, none of these early settlements are anywhere close to the American border.

Now to Alberta.

As with Saskatchewan, the earliest settlements are along the northern branch of the Saskatchewan River.  The City of Edmonton (pop.812,201) grew from a Hudson's Bay Company fur trade post. For many years, Edmonton was considered the "Gateway to the North", a jumping off point to Canada's North West Territories.  In other words, the orientation of its commerce was North and East. No looking to the Yanks, who were 320 miles to the south, for protection.

Calgary (pop.1,096,833), on the other hand, was propelled into the economic stratosphere only after oil was discovered in the early part of the 20th century and it became the locale of the corporate headquarters of numerous companies involved in the oil industry. Until then, the economy of Calgary was primarily centred on cattle ranching, and even earlier, the fur trade.

There was a North West Mounted Police presence in the early history of the city. Their mission was to stop the flow of whiskey from American whiskey traders.  The same is true of south-west Saskatchewan.

Calgary is now Alberta's largest city (and Canada's 4th largest) BECAUSE OF OIL!!!! Calgary is probably the most American-friendly of Canadian cities, and that's likely because Americans were heavily involved in the early years of the development of Alberta's oil resources.  But again, it has no need to cling to the American border.

Next up, British Columbia.

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