Friday, June 30, 2006

The Thin Red Book

Ontario Minister of Invented Porfolios, former Ottawa mayor and perennial rent-a-mouth Jim Watson was on CBC this morning explaining the Ontario Liberal response to complaints about the property tax assessment system and MPAC, the corporation that adminsters tax assessments in Ontario. The government is suspending tax assessments for two years and there will be no re-assessment in 2006/07. Doing nothing, in other words.

It struck me that this strong and decisive move is similar to the Liberal plan to deal with many other issues. Let's recap:
  1. Health: The Liberals have introduced a health tax; number of Ontarians without a family doctor continues to rise. Access to health care for rural residents in particular is getting worse and worse. Net Liberal action: None.
  2. Education: The Liberals have bought off the teachers unions and given school boards the extra money for the cave-in. Net extra money for things that actually matter, like books, for example: None. No matter. With falling standards in Ontario schools, fewer people will be reading anyway. Net Liberal action: None.
  3. Electricity: The Liberal plan: Close coal fired power stations. Net Liberal action: None.
  4. Caledonia: Criminals take over private property, commit assaults, vandalism, intimidation, etc. Net Liberal action: None.
  5. that's enough Liberal inaction - Ed.

If they plan on keeping up this record, the next Ontario edition of the Red Book will be pretty thin.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Trillium Traction

Nice to see the PC party getting some traction in the media on the issue of the McShifty gang's stealth redesign of the Ontario provincial logo.

The province's stationery and websites had already undergone a makeover to Liberal colours, but changing the government logo to match the Liberal party one is a step beyond the traditional makeover that comes with changing governments.

That Dalton handed out $6.5 million to his friends at Bensimmon "Soldiers. In our cities." Byrne is not surprising. Ontario Liberals are just as entitled to their entitlements as their federal cousins once were.

The Save The Trillium campaign is a good idea, but I fear doomed to failure, as the McGuinty Liberals have a worse than usual case of deafness when it comes to their public - witness the situation in Caledonia.

Black Magic

The marketing folks at Guiness have always had a certain Pure GeniusTM, but their latest effort, combining hitech electronic gadgetry with beer, seems certain to hit the mark with their target demographic. I hate when I recognise myself as a target demographic, but I neeeeeeeeeed one of these.

Monday, June 26, 2006

CBC Rider : A Shadowy Flight Into A Dangerous Mind Whose World Does Not Exist

Larry Zolf has obviously had too much sun of late, or else he has been drinking or smoking something he shouldn't. He's bounced from 'we, the press can unelect Harper' to 'well, maybe we can't', to this week's completely unhinged rant on CBC's Viewpoint.

The piece is barely coherent; one pictures Zolf foaming at the mouth and gesticulating wildly as he spouts delusion after delusion.

He begins with a list of things that Stephen Harper supposedly believes. No fewer than 18 different beliefs. There is nothing at all to back up any of the assertions. No quote, no fact, not even any hearsay. No, Zolf says this is what Stephen Harper believes, so it must be.

Personal favorites:
  • Harper believes that the state is inherently evil and cannot be trusted with anything.
  • He was violently opposed to day-care centres because he saw them as bastions of socialism.
  • Oil-rich Alberta has the right to be untouched by federal regulations on climate change.
  • His enormous respect for the military [shows] how little use he has for traditional Canadian liberal values

This last point is of particular interest, because it reveals (unwittingly, I presume) some true Liberal (and liberal) thinking. Apparently, traditional Canadian values don't involve respecting the military at all. Zolf is entitled to his opinion, of course, but I really think it's a shame when a supposed dean of journalists at Canada's state broadcaster holds the Canadian forces in such open contempt.

There's some other, more predictable lies in Zolf's piece too:

'Harper claims he's only an economic conservative, not a social conservative. But here is the rub. Harper won't give the state a brake in economic matters, but on social matters like same-sex marriage and abortion, he is ready, willing and able to interfere.'

This notwithstanding that (a) nothing will happen on abortion under a Harper government (although how Zolf and his ilk wish it would), and (b) all that is proposed on same-sex marriage is what should have happened in the first place: a free vote in parliament. Of course, if PMSH really wanted to get rid of same-sex marriage, there would be no free vote, but a party whip.

I think we can be fairly sure that Zolf does know that he is an outright liar - even 40 years with the CBC can't have completely eroded his ability to distinguish truth from fiction. So it's interesting to read his conclusions: that Ontario and middle-class Canada is already so alienated from the Conservative government that the Liberals will walk back into power the second they have a new leader. This is not lies, but wishful thinking. A world that no longer exists.

Poor Larry Zolf - he's a tired old hack whose time has come and gone, and whose dream of Stalinist utopia has fallen out of his reach. However, at least his pursuit of it lasted long enough to take him from the slums of Winnipeg to 40 years of comfort living off the taxpayer, and a retirement on a fat CBC pension to boot. All this, of course, paid for by those middle classes he despises. Heck, some of them might even be military. He might not respect you boys and girls in Afghanistan, but he'll take your money, thanks very much.

The CBC is a completely objective and unbiased media organization; salmon live in trees and eat pencils and bananas are marsupials.

The LCBO : An Insurance Company

I was chatting to some friends this Saturday while waiting to climb into a dragon boat and paddle my way to a not-very-glorious result in the Nortel Ottawa Dragon Boat festival, when the subject of beer (always close to my heart) came up. I was reminiscing about how odd it seemed to us, when, fresh of the plane from England, we discovered that liquor retail was a state-owned monopoly in Ontario.

Being of a naturally small-c conservative disposition, at first the whole notion seemed vaguely wrong. Subsequently, I have come to accept and even admire the LCBO. They do a fine job of bringing a vast array of interesting products to us, at fairly competitive prices (being the largest purchaser of beverage alcohol in the world). Their staff are well trained and highly knowledgeable and their advertising material is a good read in its own right.

I had still been struggling with the notion of all this being state-owned, however, until this weekend, when it suddenly hit me: The LCBO is not a liquor retailer, but an insurance company. We drinkers are putting away a little hard-earned cash with the LCBO markup on every bottle. This cash finds its way through the Ontario government's bureaucracy and into the healthcare system.

Thus the more I drink, the more I am putting away towards the care of my own liver when it eventually begins to complain. I feel so good knowing that I am not drinking myself into being a burden on the taxpayer, I think I'll have another. Cheers.

Friday, June 23, 2006

OPP Gives Up

According to this story in the Toronto Star, the OPP has ceded control of part of Caledonia to the Six Nations and:

OPP officers will no longer respond to calls from non-native home and property owners who live on the 6th Line, a county road running along the southwest border of a housing development occupied by native protestors — a move that has some residents feeling helpless and sick with worry.

How far is the Ontario government prepared to go here? There is no longer even the pretence of enforcing the law in Caledonia. Does this 'no-go' apply to fire and rescue services as well?

I don't think anyone can seriously accept this. What has to happen before McGuinty does something... ANYTHING... here? How much destruction will it take, Dalton? How many 'non-native' (sic) deaths will be OK by you?

There are just no words to adequately express what's going on here.

Ask Nicely, Dalton

Dalton McGuinty thinks it's time for the Six Nations protestors to leave the contested development site in Caledonia. Only 120 days in, Dalton? Sure you're not being a little hasty there?

I'm sure that the Mohawk Warriors will respond rapidly to Dalton's nice words. He's such a powerful leader, eh?

Always The Bridesmaid

Perennial CBC radio and TV stand-in host Lucy van Oldenbarneveld has been passed over for the Ottawa Morning and The House jobs vacated by Anthony Germain. According to the Ottawa Citizen, she is disappointed and is said to be considering her future at CBC.

Kathleen Petty, who will be moving from Calgary to take up the position has always done a good job when I've heard her on As It Happens. She is definitely a serious journalist. We at The Doggerel Party are hoping her appointment might mean a temporary halt to the dumbing-down of CBC Ottawa, and an escape from the fake, girly gossipy tone that Ottawa Morning has been adopting.

All In A Day at the other end of the workday has been ably rescued from mediocrity by Adrian Harewood. So far so good.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

No Facts Please, I'm A Canadian Journalist

Heather Mallick, always good for a dose of bizarre reasoning and twisted thinking, has really outdone herself in this latest ramble for CBC's Viewpoint. Her target today is Christie Blatchford of the Globe and Mail.

Let's go back to the beginning. At the press conference held to announce the arrest of 17 suspects on terrorism charges, the police announced that the suspects were a diverse group from all strata of Canadian society. Blatchford took exception to this. She wrote:

"The accused men are mostly young and mostly bearded in the Taliban fashion. They have first names like Mohamed, middle names like Mohamed and last names like Mohamed. Some of their female relatives at the Brampton courthouse who were there in their support wore black head-to-toe burkas … which is not a getup I have ever seen on anyone but Muslim women."

Mallick is 'horrified' by this paragraph. Most of her column is then devoted to material written by Robert Fisk - well, it saves having to write your own column if Fisk has already done it for you, I suppose. Fisk is well dealt with by Andrew Coyne here, so we can pass over his contribution.

Mallick also quotes 'brave and unstoppable' Antonia Zerbisias, omitting to mention that the column she praises so mightily had to be withdrawn and re-written, and Zerbisias had to apologize for calling Blatchford a Nazi - apparently Mallick feels that Zerbisias had it right the first time.

Mallick re-quotes the offending paragraph with Jewish names, in pursuit of the Blatchford-as-Nazi plot, but then clarifies that 'of course Christie Blatchford didn't write that'. However, that's what Mallick apparently read - she's now decided that she is such a supreme journalist she doesn't actually read what's written on a page, she makes it up for herself. That this is her approach to reading the work of others, goes some way to explaining the quality of her writing.

Mallick further takes exception to a witness quoted in the Globe, who describes two of the suspects as 'brown-skinned'. Apparently, she feels that the Globe should not have printed this statement. No matter that the quote was that of a witness - that he said this is a fact - and no matter that the individuals concerned are brown-skinned, another fact. No, get the facts out of news reporting at the Globe, please.

Finally, Mallick objects to a distinction being made in this case between Canadian and Canadian-born men. The distinction is important, because there has always been a perception that terrorists were recent immigrants. To find that a group of men that were mostly born and raised in Canada harbour enough rage agains their own nation to plot such an attack has shocked many people and is certainly relevant to any discourse on the prevention of terrorism. Mallick deliberately interprets the distinction as being racist, as if between a white and non-white Canadian, when in fact it is nothing of the kind. But Mallick is not interested in the prevention of terrorism - no, we racist, conservative, white, Nazi Canadians - us Globe & Mail-ites, we deserve to be blown up, don't ya know.

What we have then, is a leading journalist in this country's public broadcaster who feels that we should not report any fact that might make us uncomfortable. We should suppress any truth that doesn't fit her worldview. No matter that leaders in the Muslim community are already acknowledging the common thread of radical Islam that runs through the 17 Toronto suspects. No matter that their actions were clearly motivated by religious faith, no matter how misguided. No truth here, this is the CBC.

No, says Mallick, we must not mention that the Toronto 17 were Muslims, even though they are. We must not mention that they were Canadian-born, even though they were. Anyone who does? She's a Nazi, says Mallick.

Funny how someone who professes to despize Nazis and similar regimes should make such great use of some of the Nazi's own tools - propaganda, hiding the truth, distorting facts and labelling anyone who disagrees with her with a nice. simple, hateful badge.

Unless, of course Mallick is just taking a name-calling pot-shot at the newspaper that fired her. But no self-respecting writer would ever do such a thing on the back of an issue as serious as either terrorism or racism... would she?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Picture a small, rural town somewhere in North America. A local company is going about its lawful and unremarkable business, when it is suddenly terrorized by a bunch of hired thugs brought in by a local bigwig in the underworld community. Gradually the thugs and Mr. Big begin to encroach on the company’s operations and terrorize the entire town. It turns out that Mr. Big has his eye on the land belonging to the good guys, and he has plans for it – usually nefarious and always lucrative plans.

If you’re someone of a similar vintage to me, you’d recognize this scenario as the basis for many a plot of ‘The A-Team’. It’s at this same point in the scenario that the daughter of the good guys finds Hannibal Smith, and the A-Team sweeps into town. Hannibal makes his plan, Faceman cons the bad guys into giving away their secrets. Murdock hatches some hair-brained schemes and Mr. T generally just beats the crap out of everyone. In the end, the bad guys are left tied up and gagged to be picked up by law enforcement, as the A-Team skips out just in time to avoid that same law enforcement.

Hannibal Smith lights his cigar and utters the immortal line: “I love it when a plan comes together.”

Now today, picture the town of Caledonia. A local land developer has purchased some land in good faith and is planning to build homes for ordinary working people. Some senior guys in the local tobacco company, which has a checkered history with law enforcement, decide that they’d rather see the land in question developed to further the interests of their gambling concerns. They recruit some activists and ‘warriors’ who sweep into town, occupy the land and begin terrorizing the company and the community. Thus far, life imitates art.

There not really being an A-Team, who will come in to save the day? The premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, sends in a crack squad of negotiators, who spend a month in Caledonia and achieve precisely nothing. With frustration mounting, Dalton’s getting desperate to find a solution, but not so desperate he would actually confront the thugs and warriors, or send in the law. No, Dalton comes up with an even more creative solution. He shuts down the local development, by buying out their land, with taxpayer dollars. (A reminder here that the taxpayer already paid once for the land in question well over 150 years ago). His secret plan? To give the land to the thugs for their casino.

The thugs who are wanted on attempted murder charges aren't arrested. No, they escape to the protection of their leaders and that's just fine with Dalton, who is running scared.

There is no delicious moment of justice. There is no fighting and no come-uppance for the baddies. There is no Mr. T.

And that cigar? Banned since May 31 of this year.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cansher? What Cansher?

Researchers have concluded that drinking 17 beers a day would significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Why can't I ever get to participate in a study like this??

Full story here:

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Mutt's Nuts

Sighted on Highway 417 this morning: Gold Toyota Camry, license D BOLOX. The MTO's license plate approval board clearly has nobody of British extraction.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bildebears: A Clarification

The Doggerel Party would like to clarify that the Bildebear group is in no way related to the Build A Bear Workshop.

The Build A Bear Workshop is a friendly store where children go to choose a favorite bear and stuff him or her with fluff.

The Bildebear Group is an evil collective of teddy bears who control the thoughts of world leaders, put cancer in vaccines and cause news editors to stuff their pages with fluff.

The Doggerel Party apologises for any confusion previous posts may have caused.

And You Thought They Just Made Knock-Off Viagra

News to absolutely no-one on CBC's World Report this morning: China is a major and secretive supplier of arms to all kinds of unsavory people.

Ultra Secretive Group Meets In Kanata, Ont

If you go down to the Marshes today,
You're in for a big surprise.
If you go down to the Marshes today,
You'd better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was,
Will gather there today because,
Today's the day the Bildebears have their conference.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Alex Sullen's Banned Product Of The Week

Time for another review from our scent enforcer, Alex Sullen. This week, fresh baked bread gets the Alex treatment.

Aroma: Yeast, flour, warm baking.
Danger: Contains wheat, a well known allergen. Also yeast, which sounds a lot like yeast infection. Flour dust can cause asthma. Ovens can burn people.
Verdict: Clearly far too dangerous within city boundaries, baking bread should be outlawed in the City of Ottawa.

Alex Cullen is Ottawa City Councillor for Bay Ward.

What Liberal Media?

Updates on Caledonia today:
  • Arrest warrants for seven native individuals as a result of the incidents on Friday and Saturday.
  • The only individuals actually arrested appear to be white.
  • Six Nations leadership spirits the wanted individuals away from the site under the pretext of 'carrying out their own investigation' - clearly taking a leaf from the Ralph Goodale playbook.
  • Dalton McGuinty is still 'disappointed' and still nowhere to be seen.
  • The Ottawa Citizen devotes half a page to the 50th anniversary of the snooze alarm, while the complete breakdown of law, order and civil society in a part of their own province merits a column-inch. Tell me that's not a Liberal paper letting McGuinty's pathetic ass off the hook.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Dalton 'Disappointed' McGuinty

News today in the Toronto Sun of more goings-on in Caledonia. The mob that has taken over this small town continues to flout just about every law in the province with impunity. The highlights:
  • Four tourists from the US are forcibly dragged from their vehicle, which is then stolen by Indian thugs, taken for an hour-long joyride and finally returned.
  • Two CH television camera crew are assaulted by Indian thugs to the point of requiring stitches.

Our esteemed premier, conspicuous by his absence throughout this whole affair, sticks his head out of his rabbit hole long enough to issue a statement this time. Dalton McGuinty is 'disappointed' by these developments.

Disappointed? Disappointed is what you feel when you discover you don't have clean underwear this morning, Dalton. Disappointed is when you go to the fridge and find you've drunk the last beer (although a manly man like Dalton probably prefers vodka coolers). When tourists are assaulted and their car is stolen in front of your own provincial police force, you don't feel disappointed. You feel angry, outraged, disgusted, perhaps, but you don't feel disappointed.

When you need stitches after being beaten up, you don't feel disappointed. You feel hurt, angry, hungry for justice.

'Disappointed?' Just what the heck are you smoking, Mr. alleged Premier?

The people of Ontario are way, way more than 'disappointed' in the pathetic, limp rag coward of a Premier we have. We are way more than 'disappointed' that anarchy is reigning in Caledonia and that that same Premier has ordered the OPP to ignore it. We are outraged.

'Disappointed' is what we hope you'll feel in 2007 when we kick your sorry, gutless, whining, girly butt out of office.

'Disappointed'??? I'm almost speechless.

Friday, June 09, 2006

If It Looks Like A Duck

A local dog breeding company in Shawville, Quebec is suing Lorie Gordon, a Brockville woman who purchased a Labrador retriever from them. The dog had a heart murmour and hip dysplasia and had to be euthanized two years later. Ms. Gordon has been posting on various forums about her experiences with Paws 'R' Us and they are now suing her for libel. Among the issues of contention is that Ms. Gordon labelled Paws 'R' Us a 'puppymill'.

Here are some facts about Paws 'R' Us.

  • Paws 'R' Us is a commercial dog breeding operation.
  • They have over 30 breeds of dogs.
  • They had over 100 dogs on the premises when the Citizen reporter visited.
  • Paws 'R' Us dogs are not registered with the CKC, UKC or AKC, and as such are not legally purebred dogs under Canadian law.
  • They register their dogs with the 'North American Purebred Dog Registry'. Here is an excerpt from the NAPDR's application for registration, which shows their extremely rigorous requirements (I have left the spelling errors in):
  • Paws 'R' Us dogs are kept in pens or kennels with mesh floors to filter urine and feces
Now, here are some facts about the breeders that I purchased my dogs from:
  • The dogs' parents were DNA tested for all possible hereditary health conditions before the breeding took place.
  • The parents' hips were OFA certified to guard against dysplasia.
  • The parents were Canadian champions registered with CKC.
  • The breeder has about 5 or 6 dogs on site.
  • The breeder breeds just one breed of dog.
  • The breeder raises her puppies for the love of the breed and makes no profit, and often a loss, on the sale of her puppies.
  • Puppies are raised in the home, alongside the family.
  • Puppies are socialised with children, other dogs and commonly encountered environments early in life.
  • Puppies are partially crate and house trained before leaving.
  • Inspection of the dogs' living conditions by purchasers was encouraged.
  • The breeder undertook a detailed examination of our suitability to adopt her dogs.
The Doggerel Party is not interested in lawsuits. Readers may draw their own conclusions.

Heather Mallick on The Value of Life

Heather Mallick's latest column for CBC's Viewpoint talks about MP Leon Benoit's proposed private members bill that would punish the homicide of a pregnant woman by taking into account the life of her unborn child.

Her column is completely self-contradictory.

First off, she quotes a statistic about murder being the leading cause of death for pregnant women in the US. This is (I believe) also true in Canada and many western countries. It's also true that violence against women disproportionately affects the pregnant. In many many cases, pregnancy results in abuse escalating or beginning when it was not present before.

Far from devaluing anyone, Mr. Benoit's bill would value women more highly and increase their level of legal protection at the most vulnerable times in their lives.

Ms. Mallick then takes a moral mystery tour to arrive at the conclusion that somehow because she has chosen never to be pregnant that her life would somehow be devalued by Mr. Benoit's bill.

The real motivation behind Ms. Mallick's moral ducking and weaving is that she is completely unable to see a fetus (even one at 38 weeks) as a human being. For her, apparently, it only becomes a human being at the moment of birth (although it would be interesting to ask her when that exact moment is, given how long the journey into the world can take some children). In her world, should a doctor have acted negligently and killed her stepchild a day before birth, he would be guilty of nothing. One might hope her stepchildren don't know that - or they might feel just a teensy bit less valued.

Ms. Mallick is a vocal supporter of abortion, at any time, and on a woman's whim. In order for this position to be comfortable for her, she has to take this completely amoral stance on the fetus. To do otherwise would be unconscionable. It's a consistent position and one she is entitled to. But it is only for her and her co-believers that this bill and the abortion issue have anything to do with one another.

Far from Mr. Benoit being simplistic, it is Ms. Mallick who is simplistic. She is unable to see a moral difference between the death of the fetus in abortion, and the death of the fetus in homicide or spousal abuse. If the woman's right to choose stands, then surely a wanted fetus is more highly valued than the unwanted? Or does a woman only have the right to kill a fetus, but no right to protect it if she should (horrors!) happen to want it to live?

These are extremely complicated and murky moral waters, in many shades of grey. But it suits Ms. Mallick's feminist purpose to ignore that complexity in favour of the gross simplification that a life is not a life unless she personally chooses to see it as such.

This is just as simplistic as the opposite 'Christian Right' point of view on these issues. Mr. Benoit's bill actually attempts to steer into these swirling moral waters and it constitutes a discussion that should be had, but such a discussion is not well served by Ms. Mallick's monotone.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Todays Alleged News

So Al-Zaqarwi is dead, killed by US forces in Iraq. The single most active terrorist leader in the world, architect of the Iraqi insurgency and the inspiration behind Al Quaeda worldwide in recent months is dead.

CBC news this morning describes this as an 'alleged victory'.

I guess this is what we would expect from a network employing so many 'alleged journalists'. Next week, Saddam's former Information Minister hosts the National.

The Age Of Minority

When I was only about eight or nine years old, I remember a conversation at the kitchen table. My father was asked by someone what he thought the next great 'Age' would be; we'd had an Age of Enlightenment, an Age of Steam, etc. He said that the next would be the Age of the Minority. It took me many years to understand what he meant by that, and by the time I was old enough to appreciate it, he had been dead for some time.

How right he was, however. Here in Ottawa, we are being subjected to a public education campaign at our own expense over the issue of scents, something that even the advocates of this bizarre policy admit affects only 2% of the population. Yes, folks, at Ottawa City Hall, 2% of the population gets to make the rules for the other 98% of you.

This is an extreme example, but the erosion of personal freedoms in the interests of vocal minority groups is all around us. We are truly in the Age of the Minority. So pervasive has this way of governing ourselves become that it is not even recognized for what it is; it's become part of the 'democratic' scenery and goes unseen and unchallenged most of the time.

Leaders of this movement have constituted the Canadian political establishment for many years; Liberals at federal and provincial levels have been the architects of this theft of liberty. From the left-wing group that dominates Ottawa City Hall, to the McGuinty Liberals whose time in office has been marked by a string of salami-style slices at personal freedoms, to the now defunct government of Paul Martin, all have been focused on the rights of the Minority and have stolen the freedoms of the Majority.

So now we have a change of government and a breath of fresh air on Parliament Hill. We have a government that is focused on serving people and enabling people rather than controlling and coralling them. Can the Harper government succeed in communicating and articulating the seismic shift they represent? Are Canadians just too used to a controlling nanny state dedicated to placating the vocal and ignoring the ordinary hard working citizen? Will Canadians get to taste more freedom for the first time in decades, and will they like it when they taste it?

I believe that if Harper can communicate and articulate this vision of personal freedom, and can persuade Canadians to take a bite, they might discover they like it. They might realise just how starved and suffocated they have been, and they might decide to stick with freedom for a long time to come.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Pro-Am Terrorism

From the latest emerging news on the terrorist suspects arrested on the weekend, it seems they were at best a bunch of amateurs. It's tempting (and the MSM seems to me to be pushing us in this direction) to think that this both reduces the magnitude of the crimes of which they stand accused and reduces the risk to the Canadian people.

I'm not convinced by either of these arguments. When I was in the military in the UK and facing a regular threat from the Provisional IRA we were very clear that we were dealing with an extremely effective and professional organization. PIRA terrorists were very, very good at their job. What they set out to do, they often succeeded in doing. Their attacks were precisely targeted, well planned and well executed.

While this made them a formidable enemy, it also made them somewhat predictable. The discipline that PIRA had within its ranks made it unlikely that renegade individuals would break out on their own to do unpredictable things. To some extent it made it possible to guard against attacks and to be sure that when an attack was foiled, things were safe for a while.

While it's tempting to think of a much looser, ill-disciplined network of amateurs as less effective, I think in many ways it's much more dangerous. Such a network, inspired by senior Al Quaeda figures rather than controlled by them, attracts all kinds of people. The lack of discipline leads to many potential loose cannons, and makes it more likely that there will be affiliated individuals not picked up in police operations. It's hard to predict what such a group might do, and the risk of their attacks ending up in the wrong places and hitting unintended targets is much greater.

Someone on the radio today referred to the 'franchising of terrorism' and I think this is a good description of what we're seeing. It's the difference between the local burger restaurant and the global reach of McDonald's.

Given the choice between the pro and the am of terrorism, I'd pick the professional enemy every time.

Ottawa Citizen, June 7th, 2032

Ottawa City Hall was locked down today by police armed with laser disintegrators, after 6 women were arrested on suspicion of scent-related activities. Police say the plot involved a plan to storm City Hall and spray Chanel No. 5 on Ottawa mayor Avril Lavigne.

It's Been A Long Time

I was shocked to discover this weekend that the last two albums I bought were numbers 1 and 2 on the Amazon bestseller list. I suspect this hasn't happened for twenty years (if there had been an Amazon bestseller list 20 years ago). Usually my music selections are unlikely to make any bestselling lists...

Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris's All The Roadrunning is a wonderful album featuring Knopfler's songwriting and lazy guitar style at his very best alongside wonderful vocals from Emmylou. For me, it's one of those rare albums with no dud songs on it.

Dixie Chicks Taking The Long Way is taking me a longer time to get into, and has stronger and weaker tracks on it, I feel. However, I admire the Chicks for the way they've kept going against the odds and come back so strongly. Unlike many other right-wing bloggers, perhaps, I applaud their exercise of free speech and I don't believe the punishment they endured at the hands of ignorant radio hosts and even more ignorant country music 'fans' was justified.

Which Road Was That, Lucy?

Driving in this morning, Lucy van Oldenbarneveld giving her traffic report on CBC Ottawa meant to describe an accident on West Hunt Club, but she spoonered. Readers can use their own imagination as to what she said. She tried to catch it but it's definitely out there. How very un-CBC...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Is Kelly Egan....

... the worst columnist in the world?

Inquiring minds want to know. If you can find a worse writer of purple prose about inconsequential subjects, please submit nominations in the comments.

Truth Half Told, by Janice Kennedy

Janice Kennedy has another disjointed column (subscriber only) in today's Ottawa Citizen in which she seems to have been tipped over the edge by some of the truths that have been emerging recently about her idol, Pierre Trudeau. The revelations of Mr. Trudeau's past as an anti-Semitic separatist seem to have upset Kennedy. Where PET is concerned, she is still a misty-eyed schoolgirl. Quite touching really.

She berates Canadians for wanting to knock The God Of Canadian Values off the pedestal on which she places him, and says that it's a too common Canadian trait to do this to our heroes. In the week when the home-grown terror suspects were arrested, I would say that Kennedy illustrates another, and far more insidious trait that Canadians - and especially the chattering classes like Kennedy - share. That trait is to deliberately distort, ignore, twist, spin and delete from history anything bad about anyone.

Yes Mr. Trudeau might have been anti-Semitic, says Kennedy, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that we mustn't say it. It's not nice. Yes, there were terror suspects arrested this weekend, but we mustn't say anything about Muslim extremism, we mustn't say that these are evil people. No, we should focus on how it might be Canada's fault, how we just haven't lived up to our fluffy soft Trudeau values enough.

Ms. Kennedy calls her views a glass half-full. What it actually is, is a truth half (if that) told. And that, in the end, is far more dangerous than any amount of pessimism.

Alex Sullen's Banned Product Of the Week

Every week, the Doggerel Party is proud to feature guest columnist Alex Sullen, scent enforcer extraordinaire. Alex reviews a new product each week and explains why it must be banned.

Today, Alex tests McDonald's Chicken McNuggets.

Appearance: Crisp golden brown battered pieces, approximately 1.5" x 1" x 0.25".
Aroma: Chicken blended with batter, seasoning, cooking oil and hot cardboard packaging.
Reason For Ban: Offensive to vegetarians, Rotarians, unitarians, and Burger King Executives.

Alex Cullen is Ottawa City Councillor for Bay Ward.

Home Grown Terrorism

Many many column inches will be filled by all sorts of MSM and bloggers alike with fact, analysis, supposition and opinion on the 17 arrests in Toronto on Friday. There will not be a great deal that this blog could add to that discussion, so I will limit my thoughts to a personal reaction to the news.

That reaction is simply to feel profoundly saddened that it has come to this in Canada. When my wife and I landed in Canada just over ten years ago to begin a new life in a new country, one of the best things we found here was a sense of personal safety. After some time in the military in the UK, during which I was not allowed to appear in public in uniform, and always had to check under my car for bombs before every journey, it was surprising to see uniformed military folks on the streets of Ottawa.

Similarly, after commuting to London and enduring endless security alerts, stations with no garbage cans, and so forth, it was reassuring to feel completely safe using Ottawa's bus system. It took some time for us to stop reacting at the sight of an unattended piece of luggage, but that comfort was a great thing about our new home.

Now that is lost, and it can never be regained. Whatever the rights, wrongs or causes, I am sad that Canada has lost something that she had held onto for longer than so many other countries.

Friday, June 02, 2006

What Price Freedom?

Tonight as I was driving home, I heard Flora McDonald interviewed on CBC's All In A Day. Turning 80 tomorrow, she was describing some of her experiences as an aid worker in various countries and particularly in Afghanistan.

She described how 72 of 75 villages in one valley had managed to establish their own village councils; no mean feat considering the Taliban regime from which they had just been liberated, and the local warlords who were no doubt not too keen on the idea of self-determination.

In earlier posts I have had a little fun at the expense of Ottawa City Council and their bizarre machinations on the subject of scents. Now, they should truly be held up as a laughing stock over this issue, but at the same time there is a serious side to all of this. Democracy, self-determination and freedom are hard won in places like Afghanistan, and they are appreciated, valued and properly used because of that.

Have we become so blasé here in Ottawa that the best we can do with our freedom and the great instrument of democracy is to ban people from wearing deodorants?

I think City Councillors should think long and hard about those village councils in Afghanistan who are now beginning their own democratic journeys. They should ask themselves what they have done with the gift that they have enjoyed for a lifetime, and they should consider how appropriately they have been using it.

My guess is we'll have to wait many, many years before we see those Afghan villagers vote on a scent ban. More power to them.

Ottawa City Council, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Ottawa Landfill Crisis

Residents in the area of the Carp Road landfill site, in the far west end of Ottawa, have been startled to see a sudden increase in the garbage being trucked in recently. At first, it was not clear where the influx of smelly trash was coming from, but Doggerel Party researchers have been working tirelessly on the problem.

We can now reveal that the problem is a sudden and massive increase in the production of junk science from Ottawa's City Hall. The junk science began when a small but vocal population of moonbats moved into City Hall. Before they could be removed by exterminators, the moonbats are believed to have infected the majority of city councillors, who then began producing larger and larger amounts of junk science. Observers describe the council as showing an ever decreasing grip on reality.

A spokesman for the moonbats denied there was any problem, but refused to elaborate, instead accusing The Doggerel Party of smoking cigarettes while applying scented pesticides.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Breaking News: This Hour's Liberal Scandal

Stephen Taylor is breaking the story that the senate will call for a RCMP investigation of Liberal Senator Raymond Lavigne. H/t to Kate @ SDA.

Librano DrugMart

The Librano DrugMart opens over at SDA:

Caution: Liberal policies are not for everyone. Side effects may include: shrinking wallet, progressive loss of freedom, inability to account for large sums of money, sudden transfers of brown envelopes full of cash, and a complete lack of coordination between words and actions. In some cases a severe lack of integrity is observed. If left untreated, Liberal policies can lead to child indoctrination and exploitation. If you feel you may be about to vote Liberal, consult your health-care provider, if you can still find one after 13 years of Liberal mis-rule.

Ottawa To Ban Happiness

The City of Ottawa is mulling a public education campaign and possible bylaw to outlaw happiness in workplaces and other public spaces. Complaints from members of the public have been rising in recent months, with some claiming that they have seen excessive smiling taking place on buses and the O-train.

"For some people, seeing someone else happy is a real problem," said Bay Ward councillor Alex Sullen. "It can lead to feelings of jealousy, depression and rage, and sometimes bring on a severe attack of moonbattery."

City councillors acknowledge that happiness may be a naturally occuring phenomenon, but stress that in the wrong hands it can be both dangerous and addictive. Says Sullen, "I really don't feel that the general public can be trusted with happiness, and I think it must be regulated and controlled by the City."

Sullen's vision is of a public misery campaign to reduce happiness, and ultimately that bylaw officers will patrol Ottawa, extinguishing the last few holdouts.

(with inspiration from this story in the Ottawa Sun)

My Liberal's Less Corrupt Than Your Liberal

The Globe reveals today that two of the children of an Apotex executive, who each donated $5,400 to Joe Volpe's leadership campaign, are 11 years old. Pretty smart and motivated kids to want to make those kind of donations on their own initiative, eh?

At the end of the Globe piece, Jim Karygiannis defends the donations:

Mr. Karygiannis said that Mr. Volpe did not know the ages of Mr. Shechtman's children, but that donations from 11-year-olds are legal. “The law does not distinguish. We are following the rules,” he said. He suggested it is other Liberal leadership campaigns that have something to hide. “At least we're not hiding behind loans,” he said.

If the best defence of a shady act is that it's not as shady as the other guy's, have the Libranos learned any lessons? It appears not.

UPDATE: (h/t to NealeNews) : is launched. Bring Daddy's credit card!

Movie Review

Courtesy of Private Eye in the UK, a reader's review of The Da Vinci Code.

Smug Alert

So the Liberals are planning to fight the next election on the environment and Kyoto, according to this press release titled 'An Inconvenient Truth'. Never mind the Inconvenient Truth that the Liberals allowed Canada's greenhouse gas emissions to rise by 30% plus after they signed the Kyoto Protocol. It's good to know that they still find truth inconvenient over at

Campaigning on an issue where they so clearly promised one thing and did the opposite seems an odd choice, but one that is not without precedent for the Liberals. It's business as usual, although, to be fair, they are clearly taking what steps they can to reduce their own emissions; the Great Windbag of LaSalle-Émard is gone and will be replaced with a leaner, more efficient and lower CO2 emitting model.

The cloud of smug enveloping Ottawa the last few days? That has to be coming from CPC headquarters.