Tuesday, March 31, 2009


If any of you folks out there are going to be around Carstairs, Alberta on June 19, well, by cracky, just bring 125 bucks with you and you can shoot some buckshot and eat some red meat with the Alberta Minister of Sustainable Resource Development, the Honorable Ted Morton. And, by the way, it's best to stay out of the Honourable Ted's way when he's aiming at you like that. Oh yes, our Ted is not high on gun control.

Monday, March 30, 2009


No doubt daunted by his near-death experience at the hands of the coalition as well as the impressive emergence of Michael Ignatieff as his chief opponent, Steve Harper is getting ready to leave office. The signs are unmistakable.

In a democracy such as ours, when a government believes it has not long to go before the people kick its ass out of office, there is a certain protocol it follows. It makes patronage appointments of its people to boards, commissions, the bench, etc. with unseemly haste and efficiency. An example was the orgy of eighteen Senate appointments made by the Prime Minister just before Christmas after having been nearly done in by the coalition. Near its end, a government also promotes some of its stalwarts into sinecures of the public service or international institutions, with cushy jobs, generous pensions and so forth. An example of this is the attempt to foist the callow and inexperienced Peter McKay onto NATO as its Secretary General.

When it believes that it is about to be gassed, a government also embarks on enacting policy on the fly in order to implement some of its cherished beliefs before being confined to the trash-heap of history. This is what Harper seems to be doing at the moment through his motor mouth surrogate Jason Kenney, Canada’s Immigration minister.

Kenney has called for a new policy requiring that new immigrants to Canada be competent in speaking one of Canada’s two official languages. The view is that immigrants are happier if they can communicate in the language of their adopted homeland. Furthermore, the theory goes that if they don’t speak the language of their new home, they are at an economic and social disadvantage.

That may be true, but so what? I grew up in a community of not more than 800 souls where almost everybody was just off the boat or first generation born Canadians. If they spoke English at all, it was usually with an accent. It was a community comprised primarily of unskilled immigrants from the four corners of Eastern and Western Europe. They came over to make a better life for themselves and their families and to provide new and better opportunities for their children. They were not doctors, engineers, or professionals. They were hardscrabble labourers who worked with their hands and their backs. Most knew not a word of English or French when they arrived in town, unless they happened to be from the U.K., France or Belgium. There were some who never learned how to speak any of our official languages. This was particularly so of women who were not in traditional workplaces. They were mothers and homemakers who were pretty good at what they did. With the husband bringing home the pay cheque and the homemaker taking good care of the kids, these families produced significant numbers of engineers, geologists, school teachers, doctors, lawyers, professors, and people with great technical skills. This process for new Canadians continues to this very day. The vast majority of immigrants to Canada are the salt of the earth. They come here to work and to make a better life for their families. They have succeeded magnificently, and continue to do so.

What Kenney is really doing, no doubt with the support of his leader is trying to enact some Reform/Alliance driven pipedream about getting the “right” immigrants into this country. As though we have not got the “right immigrants” coming into this country as we speak. As though indeed, we have been getting the “wrong immigrants” over lo these many years that we have been taking in immigrants.

There is nothing wrong with our immigration policy. It ain’t broke! Canada is bringing in people who are taking the biggest risks of their lives to seek a better life for their children, and they are prepared to work like hell to attain it. No labour is too menial or too difficult for them so long as they are confident that they are getting ahead and that their families will have a better life than had they continued to reside in their homeland.

The lunatic fringe of the Conservative party is comprised of the Reform/Alliance crowd inflicted on this country by Preston Manning, Stockwell Day and now Stephen Harper. Jason Kenney is their poster-boy. This element of the Conservative party has never been comfortable with immigration of the unskilled who spoke a foreign tongue, and who had nothing to offer except blood, toil and sweat to get ahead. Those Conservatives have not learned that it is precisely those immigrants who have made this country as great as it is today by instilling the values of hard work, sacrifice and respect for education into their children and grandchildren. It is not by accident that Canada stands at the forefront of the family of nations in terms of its standard of living and strong institutions. And for that we should always thank a generous and understanding immigration policy that has made that possible.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Assets? Assets? I have no assets.

Well, well, well. Just when I was running out of ideas. Just as I was suffering from writer’s block. Just when this bloody depression was really starting to get me down, along comes a truly inspiring news item to get the juices flowing.

Yesterday the ex-Canadian and rip-off connoisseur Peter Pocklington was taken from his luxurious digs in Palm Desert by ten armed FBI agents. His destination? The slammer located in the gritty mean streets of Riverside California. He is under arrest and facing charges for bankruptcy fraud. See:

The whole episode scared the hell out of his long-suffering, loyal and faithful 87 year-old mother Eileen who was visiting with Pocklington and his wife at the time. The old girl said “We were still in bed, they broke the lock and came in. . . . There was 10 of them . . . . I heard all this banging, I think, ‘What on earth are the neighbours doing?’ Bang, bang, bang. . . . Little did I know.” She added that she had no idea her boy was in trouble. She said, “I just couldn’t believe, never in my life would I ever believe. . . . He has always been fine.” Yes, yes. Dear me. Ahem.

It must have been all of that bad company that led her misunderstood boy astray. Guys like Gretzky, I suppose, or Marc Messier. Poor kid. And she had such high hopes for him. She said young Peter – age 67 - told her when she got off the plane for her visit that he was all excited about “another big deal, I forget what country.” Indeed.
With Pocklington obviously believing, much like fellow ex-Canadian in a U.S. jail Conrad Black, that ordinary laws applied to ordinary people and that he was anything but ordinary, prosecutors say Pocklington recently made an assignment in bankruptcy attesting to 20 million in debts and – get this – 3000 measly bucks in assets. The gendarmes now accuse Pocklington of hiding bank accounts, assets in offshore companies, and spinning off art and fine furniture to his buddies, all of which he failed to mention in his sworn declarations. Last year a bankruptcy trustee was chasing him for about 300 grand that he allegedly received from auctioning some of his sports memorabilia from his glory days as Edmonton Oilers’ Peter Puck.

With any luck the outcome of his current tribulations could be the last we hear from this lamentable weasel and welcher on commitments to our government, his creditors, and even children. See: http://darrylraymaker.blogspot.com/2008/10/peter-puck-welches-on-commitment-to.html

The former candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party and – as the much missed tiny perfect scandal sheet Frank Magazine used to say – 'shameless self promoter', will be behind bars in his orange jump suit until his trial if the prosecutors have their way.
As to the self-promotion and philosophy of this paragon of rectitude his website makes for interesting reading. See: http://www.peterpocklington.com/

The burning question now is will the welching, narcissist Pocklington join Conrad Black and David Radler among the ex-directors of the Fraser Institute who are also convicted felons? The Institute also boasts among its current ranks senior policy analyst, disgraced Harper speech-writer and admitted plagiarist, Dr. Owen Lippert.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Finally, he’s got the message. As he bravely told the people of the United States on CNN on Sunday, our Prime Minister does not believe the war in Afghanistan is winnable. See: http://www.dailyheraldtribune.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1458586&auth=

The coup de grace of the statement was:

“Quite frankly, we are not going to ever defeat the insurgency. Afghanistan has probably had – my reading of Afghanistan history (is) it’s probably had an insurgency forever of some kind.”

Indeed it has. And it is a great tragedy that Harper and a few other movers and shakers in the lofty reaches of the Canadian government hadn’t read any Afghanistan history much earlier - like say, before marching our troops off to Kandahar to the mindless jingoism of General Hillier. If these turkeys had done so most of the 111 of our troops who have lost their lives in the conflict would still have their futures ahead of them. Just this morning came the news of the roadside bomb killings of another three of our brave troops in the region.

In case anybody is interested – and we all should be - here is what happened to the 111 brave young Canadians who have perished in Afghanistan. 92 were killed in hostile circumstances – 59 as a result of improvised explosive devices or landmines, 22 from rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire, and 11 from suicide bomb attacks. 19 died from friendly fire, motor vehicle accidents, falls, accidental gunshots, suicide and other causes.
See: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/03/04/canada-afghanistan.html

See also an expanded list of casualties: http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/afghanistan/casualties/list.html

In addition, more than 300 Canadian soldiers have been wounded in Afghanistan, half of whom had to be transported back to Canada for treatment. Many of those wounded have serious and disabling injuries. There are amputees and seriously brain injured among them.

Our government says that by 2011 the direct cost of this folly to the Canadian taxpayer is estimated to be $11.3 billion. Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page says that when you add in disability and health care for the troops, the price tag rises to $18.1 billion. See: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/593858

Yes, if Harper had read even the rudiments of the history of the region, he would have realized that the NATO commitment of even less than 100,000 troops at any one time would have been woefully deficient even to make a dent in changing that godforsaken country for the better.

If he had read the history of the region, he would have realized that the people of Afghanistan had given the boot twice to the British Empire at the height of its power.

If he had read the history of the region Harper would have realized that not yet twenty years ago the Russians, even with a far stronger military presence in the country than NATO now has, had to leave licking their wounds.

And had he had read some history of the region, he would have picked up on why our NATO partners were so loathe to send their troops into tough spots of Afghanistan such as Kandahar. Why indeed? Because our partners had read the history of the region and realized the futility of it all! Unlike Prime Minister Harper, who was too busy apple polishing President Bush and the neocons, in between reading learned treatises from the likes of the Fraser Institute, William Kristol and the National Citizens Coalition.

Yes, had Harper only read some history of the region before it was too late. He didn’t.
This is a very sad story. In his haste to please his American idols and embrace the geo-political views of the now discredited extreme right, history never entered the Prime Minister’s mind. It has only now, and it is too late for at least 111 brave Canadians.