Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
To find out that it was an agency of the federal government that was responsible brings the level of concern to a whole different level.
The facts of the case as we know them: a Human Rights Commission official hijacked a private citizen's protected internet connection, posted on a white supremacist hate site under the epithet of "Jadewarr," and HRC representatives remain righteously indignant that anybody might be concerned about it.
We are quite confident that, at the end of the day, it will be established that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has done nothing untoward, nothing wrong, in this whole scenario.
Oh, all right. Never mind then.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
With General Rick Hillier's recent announcement that he plans to retire as Canada's Chief of the Defence Staff, there's been a flurry of speculation regarding his replacement. Important as that is, it's dwarfed in my mind by the conspicuously under-asked question of what the future holds for General Hillier and, particularly, whether it may involve a position within the Conservative Party of Canada.
A recent Ipsos Reid survey, conducted for Canwest News Service and Global National, has revealed some pretty incredible numbers:
Some 92% of those polled said they think Hillier did a "good job" during his 3 1/2 years as the chief of defence staff.
Pollster John Wright said he has never seen an approval rating this high for a public figure.
"The Pope hasn't seen numbers like this," said Wright, senior vice-president of Ipsos Reid, which conducted the April 15-17 telephone survey of 1,002 adults.
Atlantic Canadians at 96% liked him the most, followed by Albertans (95%) and Ontarians (94%).
Some 94% of men and 90% of women approved of the general, but among Canadians age 55 and over, the 52-year-old career army officer enjoyed a staggering 97% approval rating.
His numbers among the 34 to 55 demographic were slightly lower -- at 96%.
Only 79% of young Canadians, age 18 to 34, thought Hillier had done a good job.
Compare these numbers with overall approval ratings of the Afghanistan mission and you'll quickly discover that Hillier's immense popularity must be a function of Canada's interest in the man himself rather than of the mission to which his name has become attached. His McCain-esque persona has engendered a lot of support and his straight-talk, evinced, for example, by his public depiction of the Taliban as "scum-bags," did nothing to lessen his attractiveness in the public's eye. In fact, John Wright observed that Canadians see him as a "charming man of force."
Should Hillier decide to run for political office, common sense suggests he'd have little trouble securing a seat. Rumours to this effect spread like wildfire last spring but the General quashed them quickly. Since he announced his retirement, however, interest in Hillier has been renewed but this particular question has been carefully evaded.
His political convictions are widely recognized as right-of-center. His description of the Cretien and Martin years as "dark ages" for the Canadian forces certainly earned smiles from Conservatives, as did this comment in the 1990s:
Any commander who would stand up here and say that we didn't need more soldiers should be tarred and feathered and rode out of town on a rail.
His willingness to become involved in political debates has not gone unnoticed either. Memorably, his comments after last spring's controversy surrounding prisoner treatment in Afghanistan demonstrated this point. I contend that he's the most out-spoken and popular Chief of the Defence Staff Canada has seen since World War II and I doubt the claim will be met with much opposition.
Without question, Hillier would make a powerful addition to the CPC ranks. I have no special insight into Hillier's plans and I won't suggest he'll change his mind but I think it is worth noting that, if he did, he'd find broad support.
Wright puts it well:
"Who would have thought, a decade ago, that we'd be looking at numbers with a 92% approval rating in a job for a general of the Canadian Armed Forces involved in combat, where in fact, the common mantra has been, as soon as the body bags come home, there's going to be a downturn?" he said.
"This is a man who is seen to have integrity and managed his job about as good as it gets."
So why think Hillier would be interested in pursuing politics with the Conservatives? His loud and consistent activism for increased Canadian military spending is a big reason. With renewed calls by Canadian military officials to address equipment and soldier shortages, it's likely that military spending will become an increasingly important topic in Canadian political discourse in the near future. Despite his dismissal of rumours that he's interested in running for public office, Hillier's actions and convictions betray his passionate concern with Canadian politics and the current place of the military therein.
This Ipsos Reid poll shows he is wanted by Canadians and the growing prominence of the military in public discourse shows he would be a useful political ally for the Conservatives. Hillier is in his mid-50s - prime political age - and his place as Canada's outspoken defender of the military would make his transition to politics seem natural to the electorate.
Hillier once said:
"I admit I am no politician. And I don't think I'm very wise. But I represent the 87,000 Forces members and their families."
This is precisely what we're starved for politically. Canadian voters want a politician with convictions to crusade for rather than with a thirst for power.
It isn't much, but here's one reason for optimism:
I've talked to the Prime Minister. I'm absolutely clear where he wants to go and on what he needs and I'm absolutely in line with that.
Like many others, I'll be watching Hillier closely in the future for any hints about his plans moving forward. My fingers will be crossed.
Friday, April 18, 2008
The audacity of hope. Or rather of hoping he actually meant to flip her off.
So what do you think? Intentional? Just an itchy face?
Here's a slew of opinions in case you (a) have time to kill (b) enjoy exceptionally frivolous political scandals, or (c) have always wanted to give Hillary the finger and so you can't rest until you know he meant it.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
General Rick Hillier made it known today that he's ready to call it quits as Canada's military head. In an interview, Hillier explained that he wanted to "leave on a high" and I don't blame him.
Says the soon-to-be ex-Chief of the Defence Staff:
"We have moulded our culture to one which recognizes that operations are our raison d'etre; that our efforts, all of them, must concentrate on achieving the missions and tasks given to us by the government of Canada, on behalf of all Canadians."
"We have done so while growing the Canadian Forces, re-equipping it, and while carrying out intense combat and peace support operations overseas and demanding, essential security tasks here at home."
The "moulding of our culture" bit may be suscepible to accusations of hyperbole, but it's part of his charm, no?
Hillier on Canadian forces abroad:
"We've achieved the irreversible momentum that I wanted to have. It's a transition to a whole different mode and I'm quite comfortable that I can leave on a high and leave hopefully enabling Canadian Forces to carry on to much greater things."
Hillier was an inimitable Chief of the Defence Staff. His contribution to the growth of the Canadian forces has been immense. His inability to contain his personal convictions and his influential lobbying for increased military spending in Canada have won him a lot of respect.
"Gen. Hillier has worked very well with the government, he has done an excellent job in rebuilding Canada's armed forces. He is a great Canadian and we are very proud to have worked with him."
Dollars to donuts the successor is Gauthier.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
BRITISH troops are to scale back attacks on the Taliban after killing 7,000 insurgents in two years of conflict, defence sources said last week.
7,000 fewer Taliban on the face of the earth earns you some serious kudos, I'd say. Talk about an impressive statistic.
The paratroopers of 16 Air Assault Brigade killed at least 1,000 Taliban during their first deployment to Helmand province in 2006. Since then another 6,000 Taliban insurgents have been killed by British troops, the sources said.
Not bad at all. Does anybody know the casualty ratio? I did a really quick search but couldn't find a good statistic.
Anyway, the reason for the scale down, apparently, is to allow for intensified reconstruction efforts.
The paratroopers’ commanders hope they can cut the deaths, which they fear are a boost for the Taliban when fighters recruited from the local population are killed, as the dead insurgent’s family then feels a debt of honour to take up arms against British soldiers.
The resultant fighting raises the profile of the Taliban and enhances their reputation in the local community.
“We aim to scale back our response to incidents to avoid getting sucked into a cycle of violence among local tribesmen,” said one officer. “This way we aim to continue the process of reducing the Taliban’s influence in Helmand.”
So let me get this straight. They're worried that they're killing too many of their enemies and that they're doing it too efficiently? No, no. That won't do at all. By all means, scale back your attacks. One man's opinion? Killing the Taliban goes a long way towards reducing their influence.
Regardless, this statistic speaks to the commitment and ability of British troops. The free world owes them a debt of gratitude.
For a better look at the UK's role in Afghanistan, check out this documentary by Ross Kemp who follows British troops in action in the Helmand province. These boys are unbelievable. True heroes.
There's some great footage in there. Here's the first part:
To watch the rest, follow the link.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I'd be hotter.
From two random dudes from Minnesota comes this inspiring little ditty about the harsh reality of global warming.
I laughed. I cried. It was truly an emotional rollercoaster. If you watch one spoof of a Barenaked Ladies song this year, make it this one.
Friday, April 11, 2008
I'm perfectly aware that it's a Liberal advertisement, thank you very much. But, honestly, it's just about the best Canadian political ad I've ever seen.
Judge for yourself. And feel free to disagree.
H/t Luc Schulz
From The Nose On Your Face, originator of the famed Islamic Rage Boy, comes this epic piece of poetic genius in the key of Seussian verse. Read it or you are dead to me.
A short excerpt to pique your interest:
Oh the words that they use oh those words, words, words, words!
Each one that they write gives me fits, flots, and flurds!
Don’t they realize just what their scary ideas might do
If there were no Richard Warman protecting you?
That Ezra Levant published Mohammed cartoonies,
Free Dominion is chock full o’ right wingy loonies!
Kate McMillan’s mean prose always gives me a frown,
And Kathy Shaidle maintains that I pee sitting down!
Did you know Jonathan Kay of the National Post
Is Hitler’s first cousin, far more vicious than most?
I left out the best parts so hop on over to TNOYF and read it in its entirety.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
What is the appropriate reaction to the discovery that our claim to free speech as Canadians is as tenuous as this? Time was, my emotional response would have been contempt for the cretin who would have the nerve to bring forth a charge of this nature. With these new charges, my reaction has now become bewilderment and immense disappointment. For those who haven't heard, Richard Warman has brought suit (civil this time) against the beleaguered Ezra Levant as well as Kate McMillan, Kathy Shaidle, and Free Dominion.
Michelle Malkin covers the story here.
Kathy tells us a bit about Warman:
Richard Warman used to work for the notorious Human Rights Commission, which runs the "kangaroo courts" who’ve charged Mark Steyn with "flagrant Islamophobia."
Richard Warman has brought almost half these cases single-handledly, getting websites he doesn’t like shut down, and making tens of thousands of tax free dollars in "compensation" out of web site owners who can’t afford to fight back or don’t even realize they can.
The province of British Columbia had to pass a special law to stop Richard Warman from suing libraries because they carried books he didn't approve of.
Richard Warman also wants to ban international websites he doesn’t like from being seen by Canadians.
The folks named in his new law suit are the very bloggers who have been most outspoken in their criticism of Warman’s methods.
I have nothing to add that hasn't already been said by Ezra, Kate, Kathy, or the myriad other bloggers who have posted about the story. They are asking for donations to help with their legal fees. Go to their sites for more details.
For a complete run-down of Richard Warman's antics, follow the link.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Freedom and democracy. These are the values that animate us as Canadians. They give us meaning and identity. And yet we are happy to participate in amoral and relativistic institutions like the United Nations and, more relevantly, we are pleased to send delegates to countries that flaunt their repudiation of our values as a matter of public policy. And why? Because a boycott is deemed to be impractical.
There are a thousand reasons to condemn China and, consequently, Canada's participation in the Beijing Olympics. Their frequent human rights abuses. Their communism. Their government's stranglehold over their domestic economy. Pick one and ask yourself why that isn't enough to preclude our presence at the 2008 Olympics. Our participation is a tacit moral sanction of their practices.
That isn't to say I expected another outcome. Doesn't politics require compromise? Isn't it impractical to hold such standards? I've always maintained there was nothing impractical about living according to one's values. Apparently, the government disagrees.
UPDATE: Mike Brock adds his two cents.
UPDATE II: My favourite camel chimes in as well. Give it a read. Alice digs it.
UPDATE III: The Steyn weighs in:
Well, I think there is something sort of disgusting about the world’s leaders gathering in China to, in effect, sign off on this. I think the International Olympic Committee was wrong. And while I think there’s something slightly pathetic about downgrading, you know, that we do that a lot, at this horrible Durban conference on racism, the State Department signaled its displeasure by not sending the Secretary of State, but downgrading to a low level diplomat. The low level diplomat is effectively the gun boat of 21st Century diplomacy. As I said, it’s pathetic. But I do not think, there’s no obligation for the President to be in Beijing. Other heads of state are not going to be there. The Queen is not going to be in Beijing. So I think it’s entirely reasonable to say well, you know, the International Olympic Committee made the wrong call, but if the athletes want to go, that’s one thing. But we’re not going to politically endorse what’s going on there.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
I really thought he would go with the Rousseaunian General Will approach and claim that the American system is a representative democracy and, as such, the government's taxation is sanctioned by the populace and that tacit consent is given to the expropriation of private resources for the public coffer by the citizens' choices to remain in the country.
But, I liked his approach better since it's just so very much stupider. His complete disconnect from reality is astounding. The interviewer was pretty weak though. The issue could have been pushed so much further than it was but it still makes for some satisfying shadenfreude.
H/t Hot Air
When rappers attack:
Hip-hop star Snoop Dogg has launched a scathing attack on U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama, accusing him of gleaning support from the Ku Klux Klan.
The rapper, real name Calvin Broadus Jr., insists the Democratic candidate has received funding from the KKK.
He tells the Guardian, "The KKK gave Obama money. They was (sic) one of his biggest supporters ... Why wouldn't they be? The media won't tell you that. They don't want you to know that. They just want you to know that this [bleep] befriended this other [bleep] who be (sic) threatening your values.
"But we all know all presidents lie to get into [bleep] office. That's they (sic) job."
But Snoop insists Obama will still emerge victorious in the upcoming presidential elections. He adds, "In America's eyes, that mutha[bleep]'s gonna be president 'cos (John) McCain can't [bleep] with him. Hillary (Clinton) can't [bleep] with him. He's winning over white people, white ladies."
That's about as enlightening as any political commentary gets nowadays. Let's get this Snoopy Dre fellow a show on CNN. I'd rather get my news from the dee-oh-double-gee than from that punk Anderson Cooper. Nobody's hair looks like that naturally. I'm not fooled, Anderson.
UPDATE: Sorry, forgot to add the link.