Monday, April 30, 2007


While we're on the topic of the Old Country, here's Jeremy Clarkson on the Royal Navy:
There’s more. The Danes know that in a bout of fisticuffs their navy would struggle to beat the Leander club. Whereas we think the Royal Navy could take on China and win. We are therefore deeply disappointed to find our fleet is actually a fat bird in a rubber boat who sticks her hands up at the first sign of trouble and squeals like a piggy when someone steals her mate’s iPod.

Hat tip to Doggerelle.

Cruel And Unusual Punishment

Speaking as someone who served 28 years of Life In Britain, I can honestly say this is a harsh sentence.

Life In Britain. Soccer hooligans. Lager louts. Car thieves. Rain. Bag your own groceries. Vandals. Tony Blair. Harsh, I tell you, harsh. With a hat tip and apologies to TSC.

Friday, April 27, 2007

For The Reporter In Your Life

Tired? Listless? Languid? Jaded? Bloggers exposed your bias? Sharp-eyed readers spotted your faux-tography? Prime Ministers refusing to let you run the country?

Here's what you need:

Time To Hand Over The Ironing Board

Here at Doggerel Party Headquarters, Doggerelle does all the ironing. I mention this partly to enrage any visiting feminists, but mostly because it's true. She does all the ironing, not because we are reactionary neo-conservatives with a hidden agenda to chain all women to the kitchen (barefoot and pregnant, naturally) - although of course we are - but because she's good at it.

I can iron a shirt. Really, I can. I learned to iron in the Royal Navy, which means my technique is measured, meticulous and above all, very, very slow. Painfully slow and awkward, according to Doggerelle. She can't bear to watch. Any attempt on my part to do any ironing is met with an exasperated 'give it here' within about two minutes.

This is because it's always painful to watch someone fumbling a job. No doubt you can think of hundreds of examples when you've wanted to step in and say 'give it here'. And now is one of those times for Canada's New Government.

Gordon O'Connor's Department of Defence is a little like my ironing board. He's getting the job done, and (being the reactionary neo-cons that we are) I don't personally have any sympathy with Taliban detainees or the professors that shill for them. However, the fumbling, confusion and general disorganization of this week has been truly embarrassing. In politics, it's not enough to iron the shirt, you have to do it quickly, cleanly, and with panache, just like Doggerelle. Mr. O'Connor has treated us to a tangled mess of creased fabric this week, and all in the very public glare of an unsympathetic media.

While Mr. O'Connor undoubtedly has the knowledge and expertise to very ably run the Department of National Defence, watching the politics of the last week in particular and few weeks in general has had me gritting my teeth. I think it's time Mr. O'Connor yielded the ironing board to someone who, like Doggerelle, will not only iron out the creases, but sparkle in the process.

UPDATE: To those wondering about the corgis, they would like it to be known that they are willing, but ironing is difficult with paws. However, they would like to offer to provide very, very, very close up monitoring of Taliban detainees. With their teeth.

Local Heroine

The communities of Montague, Merrickville, Burritts Rapids and Smiths Falls, as well as the naval family of Master Seaman Roxanne Lalonde will have come together at her funeral to pay their last respects by the time this post is published.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all her family and friends, and those of Grant Gallipeau, the boy she tried so bravely to rescue from the Rideau River. A tragic accident, followed by an act of great courage and a small community loses two of its own.

This tragedy is arguably the most significant thing that has happened to our communities this year. While there is no doubt that the community has rallied around the families, and while floral tributes line the bridge where the accident occurred, the local media has proved to be a disappointment. The Ottawa Citizen, the Ottawa Sun and the Globe and Mail all afforded significant space to this story. Smiths Falls This Week and the Record News gave it fewer column inches despite being local, and in one case didn't even make it the leading story on the front page.

While we do depend on our local media to be eyes and ears at council meetings and to picture school pageants and the like, it would be nice to see them recognising that in a small rural community the newspaper can be more than council minutes and classified ads. The newspaper should in some way be part of the community and reflect its soul and its emotions, as well as the hard facts of news. The silence of the newspapers on what was a momentous event locally says that perhaps they don't recognise or are not ready to fill this role.

Nobody wants intrusive media, or to turn a tragedy into a circus, but I do feel that Roxanne Lalonde and Grant Gallipeau deserved better. May they both rest in peace, and may their families find comfort in the support of their community and the knowledge of the heroism surrounding the tragedy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Post Earth Day Guilt

So, after failing to do my granola-fuelled bit for Mother Earth on the weekend, I had a sudden attack of guilt. Thankfully, on my recent visit to the LCBO, I found just the tonic my conscience needed.

Duchy Originals Organic Ale is brewed by the excellent Wychwood brewery in Oxfordshire, England, from organic barley (some of which comes from HRH Prince Charles' Highgrove estate) and organic hops. It's a delicious golden ale, well hopped and well balanced. Strongly recommended. And environmentally responsible too.
Drink lots, is my advice.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Montague Dog Tags... This Bites

Home from a day at the tech salt mine, to a letter from Laura Lowson, our by-law enforcement officer. Apparently, she has no record of us purchasing tags for the corgis this year. The letter sets out the same threats as were made through the local media last week - visits, fines, and more expensive tags.

This is curious because I have in my possession three shiny new tags and the receipt for their purchase (before the March 31 deadline). The letter does acknowledge the possibility of error, but I am now curious about two things:

1. How difficult can it be in a township of 3,100 residents to keep track of who's bought a dog tag?

2. Of the supposed 350 dog owners who have not purchased tags, as reported at the last council meeting, how many have, like me, actually purchased tags but fallen into a record-keeping screw up?

3. (I know, I said 2 things, but I just thought of this) If Ms. Lowson has had an angry reception so far, what might it be like if she shows up threatening to fine households that do have dog tags?

Get it together people. Sheesh.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

My Earth Day Diary

0700: Woken by annoying birdsong. Wished the corgis hadn't done such a good job with the Cat Project.
0800: Woken again by crying baby. Fed baby. Went back to sleep.
1000: Attended local pet microchip clinic. Drove less than 1km in either direction, rather than walk. Ran A/C full blast in the car.
1200: Home for lunch. Ate processed food with lots of packaging (N.B. the food had the packaging; I didn't actually eat the packaging, although it might have been better if I had).
1300: Out with chainsaw. Cut down small tree. Left chainsaw idling between cuts. Spilled some 2-cycle oil while refilling chainsaw.
1400: Vacuumed and steam cleaned car interior. Idled car to power seat heaters to dry front seats after steam clean.
1600: Drank cold beer to celebrate jobs well done.
1800: Pulled curtains to block out bright setting sun; turned on lights instead.

Did I miss Lenin's birthday??

Friday, April 20, 2007

Alex Sullen: Riding The Ban Wagon Again

Not content with smoking bans, pesticide bans and generally meddling in the minutiae of citizen's lives whereever possible, veteran Ban All Happiness campaigner and Ottawa councillor Alex Cullen now wants to ban trans-fats from that fair city's restaurants and other eateries.

Am I the only one who sees a certain irony in the fact that while Alex is trying to remove trans-fats from Ottawan french fries, he's planning to run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain?

Eating some trans-fat, or being trampled by half a ton of angry pot-roast. Which of these activities carries the larger health-risk? Send your opinion to the good councillor - Let's mount a campaign to introduce a ban on Ottawa councillors indulging in extreme sports - for their own good, you understand.

Dalton McGuinty: An Apology

In a previous post, TDPC referred to someone licking Dalton McGuinty's boots. It has been brought to our attention that someone as metrosexual and urbane as Dalton would not, of course, wear boots at any time. Therefore, please read 'shoes' or 'Birkenstocks' where boots are referenced.

Mike Finds The Liberal

A while back I suggested we'd had trouble finding a Liberal in Smiths Falls. Well, Mike found one recently, in the form of Smiths Falls CAO Wayne Brown. Mr. Brown thinks that the Liberal government of Dalton the Liar are 'guardian angels' for the town of Smiths Falls.

While Mr. Brown has his head down licking Dalton's boots - or perhaps his attention is similarly diverted somewhere else - he might have failed to notice:
  • 1,500 jobs leaving town, 800 of them courtesy of his 'guardian angels'
  • Eastern Ontario's poor living standards compared to the rest of the province, and in particular the fact that average income in Smiths Falls is $10,000 below the provincial average.
  • The fact that similarly placed rural communities east of Ottawa have got off their own asses to organize a commuter rail service to Ottawa.
Many h/ts to Mike who has more on all of these stories.

An Up Hillier Battle

The nomination race for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (LFLA) promises to be interesting, pitching two more experienced political operatives against the colourful ex-leader of the Lanark Landowners Association, Randy Hillier.

Mr. Hillier is wildly popular in some quarters in rural Eastern Ontario, where his confrontational style and media-baiting antics have made him a hero. Certainly under his leadership the LLA and the Ontario Landowners Association have made some progress in standing up for rural property rights.

However, the nature and extremity of Mr. Hillier's tactics are not for everyone. There are quiet voices of moderation here too, although as is the case with most causes, it's the louder voice that gets heard the most.

The new riding is likely to vote Conservative in October 2007, meaning the selected candidate will likely be an MPP. Looking forward, what kind of MPP might Randy Hillier make? Is he capable of learning the different standards of behaviour and the different tactics that provincial politics requires? There's no issue that (if nominated) he will likely win his seat; the question is how many seats in the 905 the PCs might lose as a result.

McShifty's Liberals are already salivating even before the nomination:
"John Tory is really good at saying one thing in urban Ontario and singing a different tune to rural Ontarians," stated Smitherman. "The Conservatives are the party of Walkerton and the party of environmental cuts and neglect. Under John Tory the Conservatives repeatedly refuse to take a firm stand on our environment. Instead they're racing backwards with Randy Hillier, a poster boy for those who oppose a cleaner greener future for Ontario."

In what's shaping up to be a tight election in October, would Mr. Hillier be an effective Tory politician, or would he be a Grant Hill or Cheryl Gallant? We can only watch and hope as the nomination process unfolds...

Also see Mike's coverage of this nomination race here.

Montague Council Goes To The Dogs

First off, well done to council on achieving a 0 % tax increase for this year in their budget. That's a big plus for all of us who will enjoy it, but also an achievement to point to when looking to attract new residents to the township.

That said, it seems that the issue of dog tags is now the dominant one on the council's plate. This year, house-to-house issuing of dog tags was stopped, with the result that about 350 people have yet to renew their dog tags. Bylaw enforcement has been stepped up, with the bylaw officer quoted in the newspaper as saying she will be 'ruthless' this year.

At the council meeting it emerged that fines of $70 are already being issued, and that these fines can be given to an individual multiple times, as frequently as every week. There has been something of a back-leash.

I think the new dog tag arrangements and pricing steer the best course between respecting the rural nature of Montague and the fact that many of us have multiple dogs, and the promotion of responsible dog ownership. That said, there has been no warning that enforcement would suddenly be ratcheted up to such a level this year; the deterrent has usually been the higher cost of dog tags after March 31. I think it might be appropriate to at least issue a warning with a short grace period during which an owner must get tags at the higher price (say a week) or the fine will be issued.

As in all such areas of regulation, the biggest problem lies with those outside the system, who have never tagged their dogs; the backyard breeding operations that go unlicensed and undetected. If we're stepping up enforcement in the township, let's make sure it's not just going down the list of last year's defaulters, but actually looking for unlicensed homes and kennels too. Those are the places where responsible dog ownership is likely non-existent, and more likely to be the places where problems of abuse and cruelty are found.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More Melamine: The Plot Thickens

News today that Natural Balance has recalled two dry pet food formulas, because consumer complaints had begun to come in of dogs vomiting and suffering kidney problems. Later in the day the company issues a press release stating that melamine has been found in samples of the food.

Menu Foods recalled products all contained contaminated wheat gluten from China; in the Natural Balance case, the contaminated ingredient is believed to be rice protein concentrate sourced from a North American supplier. Natural Balance is not naming the supplier.

Did the Chinese wheat gluten flow through the same supplier as the rice protein at any point? Does this point more and more to deliberate tampering, as Steve Janke has suggested? How else can different ingredients with different sources end up containing the same toxin(s)?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

New Music Sunday

Doggerel Party Records is proud to present a live, unadulterated performance by the greatest leadership sensation of our times. For the first time, all the greatest hits of this legendary performer are gathered together on a single disc.

Track Listing
How Much Is That Doggie Kyoto?
It's Not Easy Being Green
We Didn't Get It Done, feat. Iggy Pop
An Envelope of Dollars
I Can't Get No Priorities
The So Unfair Blues
Imagine (There's No Election)
Leaving, Without A Jet Plane (feat. Robert Milton)
May Day (Sending Out An SOS)
Same Old Liberals (2007 remix)
Bonus Track: Why I'm Optimistic, feat. Cherniak

For rush delivery of your copy, please leave a brown envelope containing $2,000 in used bills at Doggerel Party HQ. Remember, this offer is not available in stores.

UPDATE: Hot off the press, check out the rave review here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Doggerel Party Exclusive! Inside Magna

Doggerel Party hidden cameras have captured the scene at Magna International, as employees learn that Belinda Stronach is returning:

Jim Henson was a genius.


The political career of Belinda Stronach has died. It was nearly four years old.

In its short but tumultous life, her political career made a number of enormously large contributions to absolutely nothing. Sometimes lacking in judgement, morals, loyalty, integrity and intellect, but always attracting the attention of the world's media (the CBC, surely? - Ed), Belinda's career inspired dogs everywhere to consider entering the political realm. Among the corgi population of Eastern Ontario, she will be sadly missed.

Weighed down by massive amounts of ambition, and an equally large wallet, some had long predicted that the political career could not survive, and indeed, it had appeared to be suffering from stagnation in recent months. Still, the suddeness with which it entered its terminal decline caught some by surprise. It seems the final crisis was so rapid in its progression that even elite Liberal spin-doctors were unable to resuscitate the career.

Belinda's political career is survived by Stephen Harper, some bad dog jokes, a very messy divorce proceeding and the remains of Chrysler.

Earth to earth, dust to dust, Magna to Magna.

Although unconfirmed, it is believed that Belinda's career has left a number of boxes of Complex Files to Mr. Mark Holland.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Merging School Boards

So the Ottawa District School Board, in the throes of a major funding crisis is to vote on whether to try to merge with the Catholic board.

You can dress it up as a human rights issue, or pretend you're going to find efficiencies, but has anyone else noticed that it's never the well-run school boards with balanced budgets and good quality schools that want to merge with their counterparts?

Much like city amalgamation, you can bet that the Catholic board's robust finances and carefully managed budget would just disappear overnight.

Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler Smitherman

Ontario's Minister of Ideologically Sound Health, George Smitherman, thinks we should put in place a system where live donors can be 'compensated' - note, not paid, compensated - for organ donations.

This is the same health minister who recently refused to allow a private clinic to help shorten Ontario's wait list for knee surgeries, on the narrow ideological grounds that only the state should supply health care services. Mr. Smitherman is a hard-left idealogue and a sworn enemy of all private enterprise.

How come Mr. Smitherman's wonderful nanny-knows-best state hasn't been able to provide organs for all its citizens? What will the introduction of private-sector organs mean for Ontarians on the transplant list? Will there be a two tier system with some getting ideologically sound state-sourced organs and others getting a 'cream-skimmed' private sector organ? Is there any danger that Liberal patients might accidentally get contaminated with a piece of Tory liver?

Before the comments start, I'm not trying to belittle the situation of anyone needing a transplant; I'm just sick of Liberal lies and hypocrisy about healthcare in Ontario.

Menu Foods

The corgis think they smell a rat. And for once, it's not Rattus Liberalis. It's Rattus Glutenus.

The Great War and the Afghan War

Watching CBC's The Great War the last two nights has been something of a revelation. Firstly that Al-Jazeera North would even create a production such as this - it goes against every peace-loving, war-hating, liberal, roll-over-and-surrender, Busharper-is-evil bone in their journalistic bodies. But someone, somewhere has overcome this and produced what I think is an exceptional piece of television. Sure, it's not perfect and historians may well find it not entirely accurate. Sure, they cast Justin Trudeau as a war hero who might one day return to lead Canada to united nationhood - little bit of subtle help for Papineau Liberals there. And in common with other Liberal icons it seems he still likes his home comforts. But I digress.

However, the strength of this production is in the ordinary citizens who are reliving the experiences of their ancestors. The combination of documentary showing the sheer, unimaginable scale of the destruction and horror, with the decidedly intimate life stories of soldiers and their descendants is perhaps the most effective way to tell the story of the war that CBC could have found. As an immigrant, it has revealed to me the profound truth of Canada's coming of age in the Great War; something I'd heard talked about but never really understood.

In English schools, the Great War was not taught in history classes, at least in my day. Perhaps this was because my teachers formed the tail end the generation whose own fathers fought, who had experienced the loss or seen the horror of the aftermath. I am therefore shamefully ignorant, and this show has done much for someone in that situation, if only to pique my interest in learning a lot more about this particular event. The particularly Canadian perspective on the Great War is enlightening and, DVD formats permitting, I think a lot of Brits would gain a lot from watching this.

It's inspiring to see and hear young Canadians paying their respects and pledging to carry forward the torch of the Great War Canadians. This is not something you ever see in Britain; sometimes it's hard to imagine there still being a Remembrance Sunday in the UK when the last of the WW2 veterans passes away. Young people there just don't really care.

But what of us, today, with men and women again serving a cause of freedom in a foreign land. How do today's Canadians compare with the hundreds of thousands who volunteered to ship overseas to a land they didn't know, in the defence of a country that was not their own?

The servicemen and women in Afghanistan know what they are there to do and they know the cause in which they fight, risk their lives and in some cases pay the ultimate price. Their families know it too. It doesn't lessen the pain, suffering and fear, but they understand the greater cause. Watching Vimy ceremonies, or interviews in high schools, I see teenagers that 'get it'. But I also see a generation of well-fed, comfortably-off liberal baby-boomers who not only wouldn't lift a finger in the cause of freedom, but who denigrate those who do. Leaders, opinion-writers, politicians who would completely turn their back on the Canada that the Great War built, and turn it into a pale imitation of freedom, where something they misname 'tolerance' erodes all notion of right and wrong, and where any threat or attack no matter how extreme or how evil would be met only with negotiation and surrender.

The Great War generation drew a line in the sand; they said that aggression and evil would not prevail against freedom and against the Canada they had come to build. No matter what the cost, Canada would prevail, and she did. Nobody wanted the war, the destruction, the loss, the pain and the suffering that took an entire generation. But the line had to be drawn and the war was the cost of standing up for right. Just so in Afghanistan. There will always be aggression and evil in the world and there must always be some who will draw that line again and fight against it, or eventually we will all be overrun.

3,600 at Vimy. 6 in Kandahar. The same troops, the same cause, the same fight for freedom and right. We should always honour them all.

What's Wrong With This Picture??

H/t to Mike.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Shaidle 10, Buckman 0

I listened last night to the podcast of Kathy Shaidle's appearance on TVO's The Agenda with Steve Paikin, where she debated the concept of worshipping at secular altars with (among others) Warren Kinsella and Dr. Robert Buckman.

Buckman is memorable to English kids of a certain age for his appearance on a science show called 'Don't Ask Me' alongside the mad scientist Magnus Pike (who starred in Thomas Dolby's 'Science' video, but I digress). Buckman made a number of TV series in the UK before emigrating to Canada in the early 90s, where he again pursued parallel medical and TV careers. Recently he's been most famous as the defacto mouthpiece of Canada's humanists.

Now, I like some of Dr. Buckman's work. His books are humurous and interesting, and his take on things like 'alternative' medicine such as reiki, cancer quacks, etc. is right on. But he, in common with most professional atheists, doesn't have much of a case when he comes up against someone like Kathy Shaidle.

Essentially Buckman's problem with religion is that so many bad things have been done in its name. When, as Kathy did, you take this argument apart a little, you find that (a) this can be said of lots of things, (b) that someone perverts a religion, or any cause, and does something bad does not invalidate or in any way imply any judgement of the religion itself, and (c) that people are in general ignorant of the true nature of any religion they criticise in this way.

In an age when secularism surrounds us, envelopes our children from the moment of birth, dominates our political life, our justice system, our education system and every other aspect of our communal life, it's somewhat ironic to hear any problems being blamed on 'religion'.

Kathy manages to bring out several central truths in a very few words in this debate. It's quite masterful and I strongly recommend it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lorne Calvert Talks Balkans

So Lorne Calvert thinks that PMSH has 'balkanized' Canada by fixing the fiscal imbalance and trying to respect provincial jurisdictions.

As opposed to Lorne, who has balkanized Saskatchewan by making sure that noone can safely get in, out, or around the province.

Missing The Target

Environmental groups are unhappy about the Canadian forces plan to sink HMCS Huron in the Pacific ocean. Now, there are arguments to be made, about pollution, and so on, but the newspaper coverage misses the central and most important point: Just how much fun is this going to be for the soldiers, sailors and airmen involved? Never mind Playstation and Wii, this is the kind of game I'd love to play.

A Guest Liberal Blogger Writes

We at TDPC thought it might be interesting to let a Liberal guest blog here for once. Unfortunately, being from Smiths Falls, we couldn't find one. So here's a Q & A session we held here, with one of the corgis playing the part of a famous Liberal blogger named Jay-smoking something-or-other.

Q: What do you think about Stephen Harper's announcement of a Bill of Rights for Canada's veterans, and an ombudsman to ensure they are fairly treated?

A: He's an asshole, mean, a bully and unfair. This is just another example.

Q: What do you think of the fact that all provinces now have agreements in place to guarantee health-care wait times?

A: Stephen Harper is mean, a bully, and an asshole. The wait times guarantee is so unfair.

Q: What did you think of Stephen Harper's apology and reparation for the Chinese head tax?

A: 1. Unfair. 2. Bully. 3. Mean. 4. Asshole.

Q: What do you think about the Harper family fostering kittens from the Ottawa Humane Society at 24 Sussex?

A: Assholemeanbullyunfair.

Q: With your connections in the Liberal party, can you tell us what will be the main focus of the Liberals' next election campaign?

A: That is so unfair. Do you think it's easy to make election campaigns?

A Charter Whose Time Has Come

With Muslim cabdrivers refusing to take blind fares with guide dogs in more than one major city, can there be any doubt that the time has come for a Canadian Charter of Canine Rights and Freedoms?

Although the corgis don't feel the need to avail themselves of same-sex marriage (and wouldn't be seen dead in a taxi) they do feel that it's only right they get the same rights as every other Canadian.

H/t to Neo.