Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Liberal Party Plan B: Get Stockwell

Liberals trying to scapegoat Stockwell Day for their sins

To those who have been following the fallout from the Maher Arar case, today’s resignation of RCMP commissioner Guiliano Zaccardelli came as no surprise, and for good reason.

Zaccardelli, of course, was serving as RCMP commissioner in 2002, when the RCMP passed false information to American officials, who subsequently deported the Syrian-born Arar to his original home country, where he was subsequently tortured.

According to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who accepted Zaccardelli’s resignation, the outgoing commissioner sited that “it would be in the best interest of the RCMP to have new leadership as this great organization faces challenges in the future.”
For those following the case, the story is very different. It was revealed on 5 December that Zaccardelli had previously perjured himself in the course of the inquiry, earning himself what Liberal MP Mark Holland rightfully thinks was a certain dismissal.

“It’s a start,” Holland said of Zaccardelli’s resignation. Now, one would expect that Holland’s next ideal targets for the inquiry would be the officers involved, none of whom have yet been disciplined, and some of whom were even promoted.

Now Holland, the Liberal party and the New Democratic party have all set their sights firmly on Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, suggesting that Day may have been complicit in Zaccardelli’s about-face, despite the lack any evidence to suggest so.

“I can tell very clearly that at no time, from my office or officials, was there any interference whatsoever in the operation of the commissioner's duties or any testimony he was giving,” Day insisted.

Now, one would expect that in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, Day would be considered innocent until proven guilty. Not with the Liberal party. The Liberals, of course, are citing ministerial responsibility. Indeed, Stockwell Day is apparently expected to be responsible for something in which Zaccardelli was involved in 2002 – when the Liberal party was in power.

For those who may have missed the irony of this, the Liberals are trying to hold Day responsible for something that took place under a Liberal government.

This is the same party under which Ralph Goodale refused to live up to ministerial responsibility and resign when it was revealed that an Income Trust investor was improperly tipped off, via a wink-wink-nudge-nudge email, to an impending decision about Income Trusts.

Yep, Ministerial responsibility: the Liberals are all about it… at least when another government’s ministers are being scapegoated for things that happen under their watch.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Video Never Lies

Amateur Attack Ads Tell Interesting story

It’s official. YouTube has become a cultural phenomenon.

Like many recent cultural phenomena, perhaps the greatest strength of YouTube is that it offers its users a do-it-yourself online media outlet (not much unlike blogs – hello!).

Like any do-it-yourself media outlet, YouTube was quickly harnessed for political means. Various people have used YouTube – as well as similar sites such as Google Video – for various political purposes. Those with a stake in the current Liberal leadership campaign are no different.

Often, the way the grassroots uses the do-it-yourself online media tells an interesting story.

Once again, the current Liberal leadership contest is no different.

A number of amateur attack ads have been uploaded to these sites. They convey an interesting image of the Liberal party at this turning point in its history – and it may not be a very pretty picture at that.

The bulk of the videos take aim at one of two targets (if, of course, one ignores the mass of attention paid to George Bush and Stephen Harper): frontrunners Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff.

”Once a Dipper, Always a Dipper” takes aim at Rae, predictably highlighting Rae’s career as the disastrous NDP premier of Ontario, and listing several inflammatory quotes made about the Liberals during that time. “Keep leadership in the family,” becomes the theme of the piece.

”Timmy” portrays a couple of pop-art Ontarians, NDP supporters turned Liberals, shocked to learn of Rae’s candidacy for the Liberal leadership. While the mother is driven to drinking, the father tells his son Timmy the story of “Rae days” in scant detail. Rae Days are also the subject of ”Potholes”. In ”NDP Orange” it is actually suggested that Rae’s candidacy for the Liberal leadership metaphorically pisses on the “great” image and legacy of the Liberal party.

George Bush and the Republicans also become an omnipresent spectre. In ”Michael Ignatieff Outakes”, a South Park-style animated Ignatieff needs to be corrected after announcing his candidacy for the Republican party. He is later on seen ogling a map of Iraq. ”Fit to Be President” makes use of Hulk Hogan’s famous “Real American” entry music, and makes reference to some of Ignatieff’s contentious writings on imperialism and torture, as well as a photoshopped image of Iggy with an Eagle perched on his outstretched ”Presidential Finger”. A video of this title tries to turn a hand gesture into a political issue (yet curiously makes few references to Pierre Trudeau’s Prime Ministerial finger).

Speaking of Pierre Trudeau, no Liberal campaign of any sort could possibly be complete without someone exhuming his ideological grave, and this campaign is no exception to this rule. ”Quebec as a Nation: A New Perspective” quotes Pierre Trudeau at length on the issue of Quebec nationalism, painting Michael Ignatieff – whose recent Quebec as a nation appeal reopened the issue – as an outsider, out of touch with Liberal values. Video can also be found of Justin Trudeau responding to Ignatieff’s suggestion.

Even nutbars such as Alex Jones have weighed in, spreading their typical paranoid nonsense, and insinuating that Bob Rae could be used as a sacrificial lamb to allow the Conservative party to help institute a North American Union of Canada, Mexico and the United States.

To be fair, there are some bright spots. In particular, Gerard Kennedy’s supporters have posted some positive ads, highlighting their candidate’s strengths.

Frankly, these ads do not paint a flattering picture of the Liberal party.

Not only do they paint a start picture of a party divided against itself, they also reinforce the (arguably) popular public image of the Liberals as a party running headlong into a dead end – of a party so committed to living in the past that they cannot possibly lay claim to the bold vision for the future they often lay claim to. Between rampant anti-Americanism, and political xenophobia, these ads show a side of the Liberal party they would likely much rather remain private.

But nothing remains private when it is posted to online video, for the entire world to see.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What the Fuck!? Files Vol.1 -- Men Fail to Support Breast Cancer Research

Honestly, guys: Let’s not be douchebags

Life is a funny thing.

OK. Maybe that’s an under-exaggeration. Life is fucked up. We live in a world where virtually every day, something occurs, or we encounter something that can elicit one and only one response.

What the fuck!?

For those moments, we (okay, I – but hopefully, just for now ) at the Nexus of Assholery are proud to announce yet another new addition to the Nexus: the “What the Fuck !?” Files.

The inaugural entry – of what will certainly be many entries – into the “What the Fuck!?” Files was uncovered while attending a recent screening of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, a film that itself could constitute an entry into the “What the Fuck!?” Files.

While buying concessions prior to the film, I was offered the opportunity to purchase a $2 button (okay, they kicked in a $10 coupon for Coles Books and Chapters, so I actually profited $8 from the transaction).

The cashier remarked that not very men had bought the buttons.

Did I mention the $2 paid for the button benefits breast cancer research?
Oddly, many men aren’t supporting breast cancer research. Which, frankly, strikes me as odd.

Because there are so many reasons for men to support breast cancer research. Six billion reasons. Six billion excellent reasons.

Women, you see have breasts. Men tend to like women (okay, not all men, but that’s another story for another time), but these men also tend to like breasts. There are approximately three billion women on the planet, and so, approximately six billion breasts.

So, it then seems odd that men would not support breast cancer research, given that breast cancer research tends to support breasts.

You know, tits . Boobs . Jubblies. Fun bags. Happy pillows.

I think I’ve pretty much made my point. Guys, support breasts. Support breast cancer research.

For Christ’s sake, guys. Buy some fucking buttons.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Kadhim to Harper: Let's Get it On, Bitch

Kadhim wants to go mano-a-mano with PM over Gun Registry

Once again, the gauntlet has been thrown in Canada’s gun control debate.
Figuratively and literally.

Hayder Kadhim, one of the victims wounded by Kimveer Gill’s rampage at Dawson College, has challenged the Prime Minster to a public debate on gun control.

“I want him to explain why he wants to dismantle a gun registry proven to have saved many lives and which now costs next to nothing to maintain,” Kadhim announced at a press conference in Montreal.

Of course, an expert on the gun registry like Kadhim may be able to explain to us how the gun registry prevented Kimveer Gill from opening fire in Dawson college with his Berretta Cx4 Storm, a legally-owned and registered – albeit registered – firearm.
Except, it didn’t. Whoops.

Kadhim may also want to defend his assertion that the Gun Registry is proven to have saved lives. It hasn’t. The Dawson College shooting is proof of that.

In fact, the Gun Registry relates to incidents such as the Dawson College Shooting in one of two ways: either, A.)The weapons used were registered, and the Gun Registry did nothing to prevent it; or B.)The weapons used were unregistered and the Gun Registry couldn’t have possibly done anything to prevent it.

Kadhim also may have wanted to check the facts regarding the cost of the Gun Registry before his press conference.

Originally budgeted at $2 million, the cost of the gun registry have exceeded $1 billion, good for a cost inflation of at least 5000%.


Gun Control advocates have accused the Registry’s opponents of sabotaging it. “There’s no question that the same people who said ‘take it apart because it costs too much’ did everything in their power to drive up the costs and make it impossible to implement,” Wendy Cukier said in 2003, while serving as the president of the Coalition for Gun Control.

To make matters worse, Kadhim seems to have forgotten all about the revelation of May 16, 2006, when it when it was discovered that a bureaucrat loyal to the Liberal party covered up $39 million in costs in 2002-03. . It was discovered that the money was later reported over the two subsequent years.

In other words, the costs were covered up. Then the cover up was covered up.
To top it all off, one might expect that a gun control expert like Kadhim would know that the gun registry doesn’t accomplish anything that can’t be accomplished by tracking gun licenses. In fact, tracking gun licenses would e even more effective in predicting the presence of a weapon in a given situation, because it allows for cases when a license has been issued, but no weapon has been registered, yet may still be present.

Furthermore, Kadhim has yet to explain how criminals will be persuaded to register their weapons, or how the gun registry acts to prevent crime with weapons that aren’t legally owned.

If Kadhim wants a debate opponent on the gun registry, he can find one – right here at the Nexus. If Kadhim wants to have a public debate on the gun registry, I will respond by making a challenge of my own: you set up the venue, you buy the plane ticket, and I will personally show up and give him a public debate on the gun registry.

But he had better be prepared to take a severe ass-whupping, because he is seriously barking up the wrong tree. His campaign to save the Gun Registry is both ill-concieved and ill-informed.

His advocacy in favor of a monolithic bureaucracy that is built upon nothing more than an illusion of action is proof enough of that.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Spirit Permeates Afghanistan Rallies

"Canada out of Afghanistan" rallies touted as "huge success"

Ah, yes. Halloween. That time of year when adults and children alike disguise themselves as someone or something else for fun.

It should come as no surprise, then, that in the days leading up to Halloween, the “venerable” Toronto Star has been hard at work describing October 28’s “Canada out of Aghanistan Now!” rallies as something they weren’t – a success.

500 protestors marched through the streets of Ottawa (population 859,704). 200 protestors showed up in Halifax (population 359,111). 500 congregated in Montreal (population 3,326,510), and 600 in Vancouver (population 600,000). In Edmonton (population 937, 845), fewer than 100 turned up.

Success? Hardly. Not in one of these cases did so much as 1% of the city’s population turn out to agitate against Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan.

“I get the feeling we’re making history here today,” said NDP leader Jack Layton. “Millions of Canadians are deeply concerned about this combat role.”

Layton, whose comments about Canadian involvement in Afghanistan have alienated Canadian military service men and women from his party, may have wanted to check his rhetoric before spewing this absurdity. If “millions of Canadians are deeply concerned about this combat role,” millions of Canadians might have actually shown up to these rallies.

Thousands (but barely thousands) of Canadians in 37 cities – far from what Toronto organizer Sid Lacombe implied when he said, “there are 37 different actions happening in Canada today, all the big cities, and even small towns.”
37 rallies in a country with a population of 32,000,000 hardly represents a huge success. In fact, a mere 37 rallies is a dismal failure.

Even more amusing is the common failure in logic. It seems that many protestors have confused the war in Afghanistan with the war in Iraq. “It’s an illegal war,” 60 year-old Ellen Schifren asserted.

The same charge leveled against the American war in Iraq. Of course, one might expect an obvious international law expert like Schifren to know that the war in Afghanistan is actually being conducted under a UN mandate.


This was hardly atypical. Many of the protestors carried placards portraying Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a war monger, despite the fact that it was actually the Liberal Party of Canada that committed Canadian troops to Afghanistan, and did so without a parliamentary vote, or even a debate.


While one certainly can appreciate the value of dissent on an issue as key and important as the war in Iraq, these rallies essentially turned out to be nothing more than a Halloween masquerade – protesters masquerading failure as success, Stephen Harper as George Bush, and the dumber as merely dumb.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Believe it or Not, Duceppe Makes Good

Um... Wow...

Personally, I never thought I would say this.


Good for Gilles Duceppe.

Holy shit. I can’t believe I just said that. Let’s take another look at that.

Good for Gilles Duceppe.

Holy shit! I really did just say that! Now, let’s take a closer look at why.
As most people have probably already heard, Gilles Duceppe has threatened to help topple the sitting Conservative minority government. With polling numbers suggesting the Liberal party could be in a position to potentially mount a spring 2007 election, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois has added a little fuel to the fire under Stephen Harper’s feet.

“Stephen Harper must now deliver the goods for Quebec, especially concerning the fiscal imbalance,” Duceppe announced. “If Stephen Harper breaks this promise, we will make his government fall.”

According to Duceppe, the government’s survival is contingent on an extra $3,9 billion for Quebec in the next federal budget.

To make matters worse, the Conservative party’s polling numbers in Quebec seem to have tanked. A recent poll has the Conservative party holding 17 points, trailing the Liberal party at 20, and the Bloc Quebecois at 47. The NDP and Green Party trail with eight points apiece.

Now to some, Duceppe might seem to simply be playing predatory politics at its worst.
But frankly, this is exactly what Duceppe’s constituents – as well as the members of his party – elected him to do. Stephen Harper, as most may recall, made a promise during the 2006 election to rectify the fiscal imbalance – the very fiscal imbalance the Liberal party refused to recognize.

Seven months and one federal budget later, Harper’s Conservatives have yet to make good.

Of course, Harper would likely be better off resolving the matter with Quebec Premier Jean Charest, rather than kowtowing to the separatist BQ.

But at the same time, Duceppe may want to be careful what he wishes for – keeping this key promise to Quebecers may be just the solution Stephen Harper’s support in Quebec desperately needs.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bush and Harper Running for Liberal Leadership?

Listening to the rhetoric being traded by the candidates for the leadership of the federal Liberal party, one would suspect that Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper and U.S. President George W. Bush were candidates for the job.

Each candidate has taken seemingly every opportunity to draw as close a relationship between Harper and Bush as humanly possible. Waxing rhetorically about the “similarities between Harper and Bush”, the leadership candidates have made a point of forcing the issue.

Even when mocking this tendency, Stephan Dion asserts, “yes, Harper is terrible,” while shrugging.

It’s safe to say that if any of the leading candidates – frontrunner Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae, Stephan Dion and Gerard Kennedy – were running against Harper or Bush for the Liberal leadership, they would win in a landslide. Unfortunately for them, they aren’t. So is focusing on Harper and Bush a wise decision?

Regardless of the wisdom (or potential lack thereof) of treating Harper and Bush as de facto candidates new. Before the campaign even began, the youth wing of the Liberal party distributed approximately 100 stickers to their university chapters . The stickers were a photoshopped mock-up of the Brokeback Mountain movie posters, with Harper and Bush’s faces substituted for those of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. It is branded “Brokeback Conservativism”, and described as “a story about two friends who share ideas, ideologies, and long walks on the beach…”

The obvious homophobia aside (from members of the ever-so-tolerant Liberal party, too…), the stickers are merely one symptom of the Liberal party’s use of George Bush as a political tactic.

This was also prophetic of the candidate’s use of Harper/Bush comparisons during the campaign. John Diamond, the president of Young Liberals of Canada, in an interview with Concordia’s The Link, suggested this would be brought up during the leadership campaign – which it has.

There are some within the Liberal party who are concerned about this tendency. “I think [the campaign] is a little over the top. I don’t think that they have that much in common,” said Nick Blesser, the 2005/06 vice-president of the Concordia University Liberal Party Association. “I think it’s demonizing both individuals, which is not always a good idea. It creates more skepticism, and there is already too much of that among young people today.”

Blesser also clued into the homophobic statement made by the stickers. “Are you implying something sexual? No, I don’t,” he said.

It seems that the Liberal party’s attempts to equate Stephen Harper with George W. Bush have been bearing fruit. As the U.S. inches ever closer to its midterm elections, Canadian pollsters have found that the Conservative and Liberal parties are currently tied for support amongst Canadians. In a Strategic Council poll of 1,000 voters, the two parties were found to be tied at 32% apiece, with support in Quebec dipping to 16%.

According to the Strategic Council’s Allan Gregg, same-sex marriage, the Kyoto protocol and the war in Afghanistan are the key issues separating the Liberals and Conservatives in Quebec.

Diamond focused on Harper’s promised vote on potentially re-opening the same-sex marriage debate, saying, “To me, [same-sex marriage] is an issue of equality. [Harper] wants to open reopen this discussion, these are things that smack of George W. Bush republicanism.”

It isn’t limited to the leadership campaign, either.

Scott Reid, a Liberal party spokesperson, has delighted in pointing out what he wants Canadians to believe are Harper’s “three B’s: Bullying, BS and Bush”. He takes any opportunity he can to needle the Conservative party about allegedly “wearing Bush’s belt buckle” or “Bush’s pyjamas”.

The focus on equating Stephen Harper with George W. Bush may be paying dividends for now, but one can’t help but wonder if they will continue to be successful once the American midterm elections have passed, and the imaginations of Canadians are drawn to more important matters.

Worse yet, the Liberal party may want to consider what it will do should the current minority government endure past 2008, when Bush leaves office. Suddenly, what may well be their most successful PR tactic will have disappeared into history’s long night, leaving the Liberals to find a new tactic.

Perhaps what would be wise is if the Liberal party were to focus on establish a record as the Opposition to campaign on, instead of resorting to distraction tactics while quietly playing partisan politics with key issues such as the environment.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Opposition Parties and "Environmental" Lobby Breathes Hot Air Over Clean Air Act

Warm front sweeps over Parliament as hit parade begins

Yesterday, Stephen Harper’s government tabled its long-promised Clean Air Act.

Predictably, Canada’s opposition parties and so-called environmental lobbies have taken up the cause – of preventing effective long-term environmental legislation.
“They're not going to do anything: This is a (law) for inaction," said the Sierra Club’s John Bennet, complaining that the Clean Air Act calls for consultations with industry over the next three years.

"Instead of using existing legislation and acting immediately, the Conservatives have delivered vague promises to regulate polluters sometime in the coming decades," Hugh Wilkins, a lawyer with the Sierra Legal Defence Fund.

Of course, one would expect that Bennet and Wilkins, two obvious experts in environmental law to understand that all the current agreements with industry, struck by the Liberal party, only call for voluntary compliance. This law will be in effect until 2010.

In other words, for the next three years, the Conservative government has no option but to consult with industry about what the standards (which will be mandatory) should be. Previous Liberal governments made certain of that, arrogantly legislating in such a way that not only handcuffed their own government, but also future non-Liberal governments.

After 2010, the government will set fixed caps on air pollutants, as well as stricter emissions standards for vehicles, modeled after California’s much-applauded standards.

By 2050, the Conservative plan is to cut total emissions by 45 to 65%. These are well in excess of Canada’s current Kyoto target of 6% below 1990 levels, between 2008 and 2012.

The number one complaint about the Clean Air Act seems to be that it does not explicitly mention Kyoto. Like complaints about George W. Bush after 9/11 – sulking, “he didn’t mention Canada!” – the so-called environmental lobby complains that the Act doesn’t mention Kyoto.

Beatrice Olivastri, CEO of Friends of the Earth Canada, complained, “[This] means that we have killed Kyoto as far as Canada is concerned. We've violated our international responsibilities. I don't take that lightly and I hope that no one else does."

Kyoto “expert” Olivastri may or may not be aware that the 65% by 2050 figure is very similar to a target provided under the Kyoto protocol – Britain’s targets. Britain, under the Kyoto protocol, has accepted a goal of 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, and 65% below 1990 levels by 2050.

The Conservative government has just pledged to meet these much more ambitious targets.

Given this little factoid, one has to wonder exactly what it is that the so-called environmental lobby wants.

It’s difficult to ascertain if the environmental groups in question are Liberal party members, voicing their criticisms via their Liberal party talking points, or if the environmental groups in question have been completely enveloped by the anti-conservative movement.

Either way, the point becomes abundantly clear: this was never about the environment. It was about politics all along.

The Clean Air Act – The Wrong-Colored Lollypop?

It can be likened to an unruly child in a grocery store, demanding a red lollypop.

“I want the red lollypop!” the child demands. The red lollypop, for whatever reason, is unattainable.

“I’m sorry honey,” the beleaguered mother says soothingly, “we can’t have the red lollypop. How about a green lollypop with a chocolate center instead?”

“NO!” the petulant child screams, jumping up and down frantically. “I want the red one!”

Such is the condition of Canada’s “environmental” lobby. The Conservative party, handcuffed until 2010 by Liberal party-initiated voluntary industrial emissions standards, has instead opted to act beyond 2010, and act to a greater extent – within a time frame that is, in fact, still within the Kyoto protocol’s time frame – and the “environmental” lobby is responding with a temper tantrum because the plan isn’t Kyoto.

Is it better than Kyoto? You’re damn skippy.

Is it Kyoto? No. And that’s what the problem is.

The Conservative government has come forth with a firm plan for action. A plan that won’t allow Canada off the hook, doing noting while paying billions of dollars in order to buy emissions credits from countries that aren’t required to do anything to meet their Kyoto requirements. Unlike the Clean Air Act (merely one part of the Conservative party Green Plan), under the Kyoto protocol, Canada’s ability to do nothing is reinforced by further inaction. With money! Kyoto is not a plan for action.

For its part, the Sierra Club has already been caught playing politics with the environment. On June 16 of this year, the Sierra Club issued its annual “environmental report cards”. The Harper government, in power for all of six months, was given a failing grade. Fs across the board.

"We are recommending that the Harper government attend summer school in order to see improvement next time," said the ever-so-clever Stephen Hazell, the then-acting executive director the Sierra Club.

The Harper government had, at that point, no opportunity to formulate its environmental policy.

The government of Prince Edward Island, however, was given a B average. In particular, it was given a B for biodiversity – even after a serious incident in which over 100 tons of raw sewage were simply pumped to Charlottetown harbor instead of being cleaned up.


Interestingly, the Sierra Club also opposes the Conservative government’s biofuel initiative, which would require that all gasoline in Canada be composed of 5% ethanol by 2010, which would reduce Canada’s emissions of greenhouse gas by that same 5%.

Once again, whoops.

One really has to wonder what side the Sierra Club is buttering their bread on. One might expect that an environmental lobby group would put some effort in to ascertaining the achievements of each government honestly, in stead of trying to act as a defacto opposition party.

Playing Politics With the Future
Canada’s opposition parties have pledged to vote against the Clean Air Act.

It’s interesting to note that, given that the item allegedly occupies a central point on the current agenda, that Canada’s opposition parties are promising to play partisan politics with the Clean Air Act – and have been promising to do so before it was even tabled.

“The whole Clean Air Act, for me, is a cynical exercise by the Conservatives," opined Nathan Cullen, the NDP’s environment critic. "Even if the committee rushed, and even if we pushed this thing as fast as we could, there's little to no chance at all of this thing coming into effect prior to the next election. That's unfortunate."

Unfortunate, indeed. The opposition parties instead favor private member’s bill C-288, which would require the federal government to somehow magically implement the Kyoto protocol, despite the constraints placed upon this by current legislation. Somehow, a party that has always favored increasing environmental legislation has come to deride the government’s impulse to introduce new legislation. “Our argument has always been that they have the legislation already," Cullen continued. "Why are they recreating it? If that's not a delay tactic, I don't know what is."

The “environmental” lobby and opposition parties desperately need to get their talking points straight on this one. Either the legislation in place is sufficient, as they claim – in which case criticizing the government for not proposing new policy (as was being done) should be considered an untenable position – or the new legislation, which plans over the long term should be accepted as a valuable tool for protecting the environment for the next 44 years.

At the very least, the lobby groups and opposition parties could do something really crazy, like – oh, I don’t know – cooperating with the government via the committee process, suggesting perhaps some – gee, what would… -- amendments to the act in question.

Otherwise, the message these parties are sending to Canadians may be that the opposition parties favor short-term inaction, as opposed to long-term planning and action. This certainly isn’t the message most people would want to send if they were part of an environmental lobby group or allegedly progressive political party, but this might be entirely immaterial.

Who cares about protecting the environment when there are political points to be scored?

Obviously, not the Liberals, NDP or Bloq Quebecois. The “environmental lobby”?

Obviously, not any less.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Michael Ignatieff & Stephen Harper: Their Feet & Their Mouths

Open mouth. Insert foot. Repeat as necessary.

Michael Ignatieff is not a happy man. This may have something to do with the fact that he’s had a very rough week.

On monday, Ignatieff was criticized for not attending a leadership debate. On Tuesday, Ignatieff accused Israel of war crimes. On Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper used Ignatieff’s comments to (perhaps unwisely) label the candidates in the Liberal leadership campaign as “Anti-Israel”. On Friday, Ignatieff responded to Harper, but also lashed out at the media.

“Yesterday, Stephen Harper used my statement that war crimes were committed in this (Mideast) conflict to launch a personal attack on me and on my colleagues running for the Liberal leadership of Canada,” Ignatieff complained. “Mr. Harper's comments were a disgrace, a disgrace for a man who holds an office that is supposed to represent all Canadians.”

“There is no basis whatever for Mr. Harper to suggest that the Liberal party is biased against Israel.,” Ignatieff insisted. “The prime minister showed a profound lack of respect to the Official Opposition and a profound lack of respect to the Canadian people who elected them."

"Being a friend means speaking honestly and this week I did that, I spoke honestly about this summer's terrible conflict," he said. "It was a conflict provoked by Hezbollah and its backers to lure Israel into a wide war, it was a conflict in which Israel exercised its right to respond and to send a terrorist militia a clear message that its actions cannot and would not be tolerated."

However, on October 10, in a Radio-Canada interview, Ignatieff said, "I was a professor of human rights, and I am also a professor of the laws of war, and what happened in Qana was a war crime."

So, to recap, on Tuesday, Israel is a war criminal. On Friday, Hezbollah are war criminals.

In any conventional sense of the term, this would be a huge flip-flop.

On Thursday, Stephen Harper described Ignatieff’s previous accusations as “consistent with the anti-Israeli position that has been taken by virtually of the candidates for the Liberal leadership.” However, on Friday he noted that Joe Volpe and Scott Brison were exceptions to his assertions.

Now, what Harper said was inflammatory, but was it accurate?

Ignatieff’s aforementioned comments on Israel, and subsequent flip-flop on the issue, demonstrate that he is merely doing what he can to exploit the Israeli issue for political gain.

Gerard Kennedy issued the standard promises to recognize Israel’s right to exist and defend itself, but his supporters have been more vocal, accusing Israel of conducting ‘state terrorism’.

"We don't want to see any more terrorism, whether the terrorism of suicide bombers or launching rockets or state terrorism. This is state terrorism," said Kennedy supporter Boris Wrzesnewskyj.

Even more interesting are the comments of Kennedy supporter Thomas Hubert, who advocated eliminating all “Zionists” from the Liberal party. "The Liberal Party is stronger without these violent Zionists in our party. I am glad for them to cease influencing our foreign policy so we are free to promote Canadian values of peace. It amazes me that this community is so absurdly selfish. The only issue that matters to them is the defence of a "state" that survives on the blood of innocent people. Shameful.”

Harper has already admitted that Stephan Dion is not anti-Israel.

But as it relates to Bob Rae, Harper may be a little bit off. In a 2002 opinion article entitled “Parting Company with the NDP”, Rae (who is of Jewish descent) criticized what he believed to be a strong anti-Israel bias in the NDP.

On his website,, Rae even issued the following statement, “The issue is not simply Israel's right to defend itself - it is how to police a border, how to reduce tension, how to create the preconditions for dialogue. Israel has a right to live in peace within secure, internationally recognized borders. At the moment this clearly requires the presence of peace monitors. Lebanon cannot and will not do it and has called for a UN presence on its soil to assist in this. The UN must respond."

"Canada's further efforts need to focus on the refusal of both Hezbollah and Hamas to recognize Israel's right to exist. These radical groups, clearly fuelled by money and other assistance from Iran and Syria, point to the biggest obstacle to peace: an inability to accept Israel as a legitimate country in the region. Ideologies that cannot accept the presence of other people, with different religions, languages, and loyalties, are a profound threat to the peace of the world."

That is not, by any means, an anti-Israel statement.

For Harper, the leader of the federal Conservative party, commenting on the statements of the leading candidate for the Liberal leadership is perfectly legitimate. However, Harper needs to keep one important fact in mind.

In Canada, conservatives do not win on rhetoric. They have to win on facts.

Labelling all the candidates for the Liberal leadership as “anti-Israel” takes an issue that should be discussed in terms of fact, and transforms it into a rhetorical issue.

He should, at the very least, avoid making comments he can’t defend. As it pertains to two of the four frontrunners for the Liberal leadership, Harper can’t defend these comments.

However, in the cases of Ignatieff and Kennedy, defending their own comments (and those of their supporters) is a matter they should be good deal more concerned with. As the frontrunner, Ignatieff needs to be doubly concerned.

Conservatives Turf Turner

Bad fucking idea

Instructions for a political fiasco:

1. Get gun
2. Point at feet
3. Pull trigger

The Conservative party followed these instructions perfectly today, squeezing the trigger on the suspension of Garth Turner from the Conservative caucus.

Ever controversial, Turner was noted as being a politician that does not fit in with the stereotype of a Conservative. A small-c conservative with socially progressive views. Sure, he favors smaller government and lower taxes. He’s also a small-l liberal where it counts, favoring more rights for all Canadians.

The Conservative party claimed that Turner was violating the secrecy of caucus. There may be some truth for this. For example, in a recent weblog post, Turner speculated on the contents of the next federal budget, writing, “So, I'd wager the coming budget will look pretty much like this: another point off the GST, a drop in the income tax rate for the lowest bracket, the promised rollover in capital gains taxes for reinvested profits (look for a complicated new investment account to be created - Bay Street will love it), provisions for social benefits not be clawed back for lower-income workers, a lower growth forecast for the economy, an agricultural action plan, bringing in new income-support for farmers, [and] more middle-class tax credits aimed at family expenses.”

Now, if one considers that a budget discussion should take place under conditions of secrecy (I, personally, do not), this certainly does violate that secrecy.

The Conservative party has insisted that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had nothing to do with Turner’s suspension, and even sustained from the national caucus vote that decided the issue.

Interestingly, many media outlets took this story as an opportunity to play a game of “get Harper”, asking questions insinuating that Harper was behind the decision. Neither Turner, nor any of his former colleagues confirmed any allegations.
Turner, for his part, has resolved to follow the wishes of his constituents. He has promised to hold town hall meetings in the next week before he decides what he will do. He has promised he will sit at a “caucus of one”, and will not join any of the other parties.

The Conservative party, however, has some very serious questions to answer. For a party that is garnering a reputation for secrecy, to suspend Turner in such a manner is simply a bone-headed move. Suddenly, the one answer to all the criticisms ideologues levy against the Conservative party has been banished to sit as an Independent.

Bigotry? Garth Turner.

Same sex marriage? Garth Turner.

Right-wing extremism? Garth Turner.

Garth Turner may have been the most prominent leftover from the Progressive Conservative party left in the Conservative party. No more. Mere hours after the suspension of Turner from the Conservative caucus, a new seating plan was released, with Turner sat on the other side of the house – far away from his former colleagues.
On Mike Duffy live, a fellow Conservative MP even suggested that Canadians may see Turner sit as a Liberal or NDP member in the next session of parliament – but not as a Conservative.

The Conservative Party has just distanced itself from the most valuable member of their caucus: their voice of conscientious dissent. This is something that is of incredible value to any party: it demonstrates variety within the opinions of that party.

With recent polls suggesting that the Conservatives and Liberals are tied in national polling, this is a move that could not have possibly came at a worse time. Turner is an MP the Conservative Party should have clutched near and dear to its heart.

If there is any sense left in the minds of the Conservative party, it is hopefully not too late to turn back the clock, and take Turner back.

Otherwise, Canadians may not like the answers the Conservatives have for the questions they will need to answer.

Friday, September 29, 2006

This Just In: Kimveer Gill Loved Megadeth, Megadeth Evil

CBC mischaracterizes Megadeth frontman's comments

Almost immediately following the September 13 Dawson College shooting, the media started focusing on gunman Kimveer Gill's adoption of the gothic subculture.

Evidently, Kimveer Gill was also a big fan of Megadeth, and especially the song "A Toute La Monde", a french-language song which he claimed convinced him to finally go on his shooting spree in Montreal.

"The guy who went to Dawson College and shot everyone, it's terrible," Mustane announced at a recent Montreal concert (where, as usual, they played A "Toute La Monde" -- it's become something of a Montreal/Megadeth tradition).

"Aside from the fact that what he did was very wrong, we have a relationship with Montreal, and that really pissed us off," he added. "That guy was not worthy of being a Megadeth fan."

Yet, for some reason, the CBC recently ran the story under the headline "Megadeth defends music Dawson College gunman loved." But judging by Mustane's own words, perhaps a better headline would have been, "Megadeth to gunman: "fuck you"."

Interestingly, Gill also pictured himself wearing a Kane mask (Kane, of course, being a current WWE superstar). Perhaps Glenn Jacobs can be accused of "defending the wrestler gunman loved".

So, it seems that whether the CBC is putting an editorial slant on "news" stories through headlines, putting an editorial slant on "news" stories by mixing and matching questions and answers (by the way, Christina Lewand, please meet me at footnote number one), or banning dissenting columnists from the people's network, the CBC seems to be entirely comfortable with setting a new low standard for Canadian journalism.

Given that the Canadian tax payer is paying for this little exercise in embarrassment, perhaps it is time for the Canadian public to be a good deal less comfortable with this.

1.)OK, Christina. What were you thinking? Sure, you must have thought you were pretty sly, with that whole violating journalistic ethics and matching Stephen Harper's answers to the wrong question thing. But you had to have known that press conference was also being broadcast on CTV. So, you got busted.

Stupid. Real stupid. Look, Christine, if you're going to not like Stephen Harper, that's fine. But be honest while you're doing it. What you did was basically a form of lying. Not a good road for a journalist to be travelling.

For most journalists, being caught doing something like this would be throwing your career away. Fortunately for yourself, you work for CBC.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Lebanon Conflict Presents Twin Conundrums for Canadian Leaders

There is no question that, for politicians, times of war and conflict tend to paint the most interesting portraits of them.

The current war in Lebanon has been no different for Canadian politicians. This conflict has proven to be a political conundrum in ways that few could ever expect. In fact, politicians representing both the governing Conservative party and the official opposition Liberal party have encountered twin conundrums in the form of the War in Lebanon.

Polls Present Harper With Another Lesson to Learn
For Prime Minister Stephen Harper, this crisis has been a huge lesson in many respects. He's learned valuable lessons on the topics of crisis response, image management, and playing the role of a middle power. Now, Harper needs to learn the most important lesson of all: the lesson regarding how to properly determine the will of the people.

As the leader of a party with a strong populist element (courtesy of the influence of the Reform party, of which he himself was a charter member), this was a strength of Harper the party leader, and is going to continue to be a necessary skill for Harper the Prime Minister.

As previously reported, Harper quickly came out in support of Israel. Traditionally, Canada has been a reluctant ally of Israel. While Harper was criticized by his political opponents, Lebanese supporters, and critics of Israel, he was rewarded by praise from Canada's Jewish community (including a rally of more than 1,000 people at a Vancouver Synagogue).

But a recent poll conducted by the Strategic Council, CTV and The Globe and Mail found that 45% of Candians disagreed with Harper's stand on Israel. This would seem like a healthy number for a minority government -- perhaps even for a majority government -- Prime Minister, but the same poll found that only 32% explicitly agreed with him.

In Quebec, a whopping 61% of respondents disagreed with Harper's support of Israel's actions.

77% prescribed a neutral role for Canada. Only 12% believed the government is maintaining a neutral position.

While Canada traditionally supports Israel, during times of crisis, Canada has traditionally maintained the role of the third-party "honest broker".

During the 1956 Suez Canal crises, then-Foreign Affairs Minister Lester Pearson made one of history's great political breakthroughs by advancing the idea of UN peacekeeping (this would net him the Nobel Peace Price in 1957). During the 1967 Six Day War, the Canadian government supported a UN resolution that called on Israel to remove its forces from the territories occupied during the course of the war. During the 1973 Yom Kippur war, Canada failed to condemn the surprise attack on Israel, but pledged peacekeeping forces. Finally, during the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war, the Canadian government was first to criticize Israel's invasions of Lebanon.
53% of respondants favored the creation of a UN peacekeeping force to enter the region. 57% supported Canadian troops being a part of such a force. This is a strong contrast to the opinion expressed by Deputy Prime Minster Peter McKay, when he insisted, " a ceasefire and a return to the status quo is a victory for Hezbollah."
While it is entirely questionable whether or not peace can ever occur so long as Hezbollah continues to exist, there is no question that Canadians favor peace in the Middle East. Abbortsford MP (representing the Conservative party) may have said it best recently. " There is no such thing as a dialogue for peace with people who are dedicated to violence and the destruction of a free and democratic nation," he said.

In the end, Harper's stand on Israel has done little to harm his party's popularity. While the Liberals made a three-point jump in the polls, the governing Conservatives also jumped a point. The Bloc Quebecois saw no change, while the NDP and the Green Party dropped three points, and a single point respectively.

But Harper's stance on Israel could prove to be costly down the road. Any minority government, by necessity, has to act on its populist urges. A minority government only becomes a majority government by serving the interests of the people.

Certainly, it is being shown that the Lebanon alone is not going to be the issue that denies the Conservative party the opportunity to form a majority government. But left untended, Harper's stance on Lebanon could cause serious problems for the party.

It seems they may have recognized this. Peter MacKay has lately begun advocating in favor of a conditional ceasefire. " There has to be a ceasefire," he said, " But certain conditions must be achieved to reach that stable, durable cessation of violence in the region."

MacKay has urged both sides to cease their attacks. He also called on Israel to show more restraint in their campaign, and upon Iran and Syria to stop supporting Hezbollah. " This has to be a lasting peace," he noted. " It cannot simply be a temporary solution to allow for the rearmament of a terrorist body, and simply begin the violence again."

This isn't so much a drastic shift in the stance Harper and MacKay have taken on the conflict, but it certainly does change the nature of the dialogue, from one that would allow Israel to confinue their conflict unabated by Canadian criticism to one that places the onus to pursue peace on both sides. It is not a neutral stance -- Canada is still supportive of Israel -- but it is a principled stand on the issue that condemns terrorism, but states respect for the value of peace.

That is certainly more in line with what polled Canadians have said they want. But there is still the matter of a percieved alignment with the foreign policy of the United States -- a move which would make a great many Canadians uncomfortable -- to be addressed.

Israel Acting on its Responsibility to Protect

Former minister of foreign affairs Lloyd Axworthy wasted little time in voicing his criticisms over Harper's "measured response" comments.

" I am increasingly concerned about the view that the only role that Canada should play is to adhesively stick itself to Bush administration policies and at the very time when in fact those policies are increasingly showing that they are not working," Axworthy asserted. " [Harper is] almost at the forefront of a very small group of nations who say whatever Israel does is right. We're becoming part of the problem, not part of the solution."

Yet one of Lloyd Axworthy's chief accomplishments as Minister of Foreign Affairs, the ICISS report The Responsibility to Protect (drafted on the topic of multilateral intervention during times of crisis) would actually disagree with him. The report states: "state sovereignty implies responsibility, and the primary responsibility for the protection of its people lies with the state itself."
So, according to his Responsibility to Protect doctrine, Israel had a responsibility to protect its citizens from the dangers posed by Hezbollah's rocket attacks.

Had Israel not lived up to its responsibility, the Responsibility to Protect doctrine lays out a very different prescription: " Where a population is suffering serious harm, as a result of internal war, insurgency, repression or state failure, and the state in question is unwilling to halt or avert it, the principle of non-intervention yields to the internation responsibility to protect."
While the report is clearly dealing with issues of internal strife, one of the foundations of the doctrine is found in Article 24 of the UN chareter, which outlines the responsibility of the UN Security Council to maintain international peace and security. Thus, the applicability to international crises, and the current situation remains intact.

Hezbollah is a force internal to Lebanon (yet allegedly independent of the nation's government), which has willingly placed Lebanese civilians in peril by launching their attacks from Lebanese soil, then hiding amongst the civilian population -- essentially using them as human shields.

Because the Lebanese government has demostrated itself unwilling (or perhaps, unable) to deal with what by necessity becomes a threat to its people, the responsibility falls to external forces -- optimally the international community, but in this case, Israel.

Israel's failure to take into account its responsibility to avoid civilian casualties aside, the Responsibility to Protect doctrine lays the matter out very simply: Israel has a responsibility to protect its citizens. Lebanon has the same responsibility. Should both, or either of these states fail to live up to their responsibility, the onus falls on the international community to saddle up and ride to the rescue.

The Responsibility to Protect Doctrine has three base elements: the responsibility to prevent, the responsibility to react, and the responsibility to rebuild.

In this situation, the Lebanese government has clearly failed in its responsibility to prevent. There have been repeated calls by Israel, and by other members of the international community for Lebanon to deal with Hezbollah, which the Lebanese government failed to do. Israel's hands were tied in this regard, because for Israel to deal with Hezbollah, they would have had to enter Lebanese territory with little or no provokation.

The Israeli government did not, however, fail to live up to its responsibilty to react. The reaction to attacks carried out on your territory is to respond -- even if this necessitates entering the territory of another sovereign state in order to do so.

What has yet to be seen is if either country will live up to its responsibilty to rebuild, which requires both states to provide full assistance with efforts to recover, rebuild, and reconcilliate -- indeed, if the last of these is even possible.
Israel can potentially find its justification under the "Just Cause" article of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. This article states that, in order for military intervention (or response) to be warranted, there must be "serious and irreperable harm occuring to human beings, or imminently likely to occur, of the following kind: large scale loss of life -- actual or apprehended, with genocidal intent or not, which is the product either of deliberate state action, or state neglect or inability to act -- or large scale ethnic cleansing -- actual or apprehended, whether carried out by killing, forced expulsion, acts of terror, or rape.

When a terrorist organization starts launching rocket attacks on a country's territory, it can be expected that these attacks will result in deaths. But should the perpetrators of these attacks (in this case, Hezbollah) substitute a chemical weapon warhead for a less-effective explosive warhead (for example, mustard gas is remarkable easy to manufacture), "large scale loss of life" is a definite possibility. Under the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, Israel, in this situation, is required to act in order to prevent such an attack from occurring.
In situations where states fail to live up to these responsibilities, the Responsibility to Protect doctrine grants primary authority to authorize multilateral intervention to the UN Security Council -- which has forever been notoriously deadlocked on any issue related to Israel. So, in other words, unless Israel can deal with this problem itself, Israel is, frankly, screwed.

Axworthy likened the situation in Lebanon to that in Iraq, saying, "The morass in Iraq is such a talisman for everything that is going on."

Anyone familiar with the 1991 Gulf War will remember that the UN withdrew the mandate to use force against Saddam Hussein quickly following his surrender, even while he was commencing an oppressive military campaign against the Kurds in northern Iraq. Had the Responsibility to Protect doctrine existed at the time, it certainly would have had to apply to the situation there.

On this note, it is said that hindsight is always 20/20. While this document obviously did no good at a time in which it did not exist, it cannot be used as support for preventative action that did not happen. But the Responsibility to Protect doctrine could be used to support actions long after the fact -- including the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which was done at least partially to remove Saddam Hussein from power, and at least partially for the benefit of the oppressed Iraqi people.

Even Axworthy himself called Iraq one of the most "chillingly oppressed" countries he had ever visited.

At the end of the day, the matter becomes very simple: Canada cannot advance itself as the world's foremost advocate of universal human rights if it would allow the citizens of Israel, a state at least officially considered an ally, to have their most base human rights -- the right to life -- threatened by an external force acting with impunity.

In a way, this was ultimately the point of The Responsibility to Protect.
Axworthy certainly may take a stand on the war in Lebanon if he likes. But criticizing Israel for exercising its right -- and fulfilling its responsibility -- to protect its citizens jeopardizes the value of some of his best work -- and it was very important work indeed.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Israel Declares War on the Internet

Electronic information war may be history's first

Remember the late 80s/early 90s? Good times.

Most people remember them well. The Internet was still in its infancy, and every other movie in theatres, or perhaps even on video (Betamax, even?) had some sort of computer genius who could do absolutely anything with a computer. They're magic, you see.

So then it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that there was a time when people believed that future wars would be fought by computers, with computers, against computers. Computerishly.

But those days may be closer than we think. In a way.

In the midst of its current conflict in Lebanon, Israel's Foreign Ministry has made the future now. Concerned that the information superhighway (or cyberspace, if you will) is becoming plugged up with anti-Israel propaganda, Israeli diplomats have begun tracking message boards and websites featuring anti-Israel messages via a "megaphone" program, that has been distributed by download to supporters.

Just this past week, nearly 5,000 members of the World Union of Jewish Students have downloaded this program, and have taken Israel's war to some of the places where it's most unpopular.

Simply put, this megaphone software allows members of the WUJS to troll on unsympathetic websites, posting supportive opinions and participating in the debate.

This puts Israel at the head of the pack when it comes to using the internet to fight what may well be history's first organized "electronic information war". Certainly, other countries have used the internet to their advantage -- mostly to either disseminate outright propaganda, or have censored the internet to keep information out of their citizens' hands.

Perhaps Israel is the only state to fully recognize the Internet's potential as an organizing/mobilizing tool. " The Internet's become a leading tool for news, shaping the world view of millions," says Amir Gissin, the public relations officer of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. " Our problem is the foreign media shows Lebanese suffering, but not Israeli. We're bypassing that filter by distributing pictures showing how northern Israelis suffer from Katyusha rocket attacks."

Certainly, the topic of the rocket attacks is contentious on many internet message boards. Reports of them are often dismissed as "propaganda", or "false flag operations" concocted to justify what many see as an Israeli war of aggression.
This is part of the problem with much of the "debate" that is taking place on this issue. When confronted with information that does not support their opinions (perhaps if you're an Israeli supporter being told about the civilian casualties being caused by Israeli airstrikes, or a Lebanese supporter being told that Hezbollah are hiding amongst civilians), it is simply dismissed as "propaganda", and is ultimately discarded. What quickly develops is a debate that is rhetorically charged, and fuelled by disinformation (disinformation in the sense that new on either side consent to being fully informed).

Israel's internet campaign may change all that. Often, these debates are being waged between people who may be entirely too embroiled in a conflict that they are ultimately detached from. But Israel's megaphone software allows those who are in the middle of the conflict -- Israeli citizens under fire from rocket attacks, perhaps -- to share their experiences directly with some people who otherwise would not have had the benefit. That could make all the difference in the world.

Certainly, some will object to the presence of Israeli supporters on their sites. Some will object simply because they cannot stand to defend their opinions against people who do not agree with them. Some will object because of the online etiquette considerations of Israel's actions (and this is actually quite fair).

But in the end, Israel is only doing what smart nations do: they are adapting to the world's new realities -- in this case, the effectiveness of the internet -- and using them to thrive. And, god willing, the debate over the war in Lebanon will only benefit from the influx of new participants, regardless of whether or not they are pro-Israel.

If Israel has any amount of success waging this electronic information war, it can be expected that other states -- such as the United States -- will seek to emulate it.

The future is now. Internet warfare is probably here to stay.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Harper Must Learn his Lessons in Order to Adjust to Middle Power Status

Room remains for Canada to act as an intermediary... But it is slim

As a world leader, there is no question that one has a lot less control over world events than they would like. Often, crises can develop quite quickly, with few if any warning signs, or can start as something smaller, then escalate out of control.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has certainly learned this the hard way over the past two weeks, as what began essentially as a hostage situation, boiling over a period of months, exploded into a full-blown war between Israel and Hezbollah this week. There is no doubt that Harper has learned many hard lessons in the days since.

Despite criticism regarding command-and-control from the Prime Minister's Office hampering efforts, the evacuation of Canadian citizens from Lebanon proceeded fairly efficiently. Even the Prime Minister himself lent a hand, as he diverted his Airbus flight home from France to Turkey in order to pick up a planeload of evacuees. Many evacuees complained about poor conditions on board the ships chartered to bring them to safety, while others complained about lax treatment by officials at the Canadian consulate in Cyprus. On top of all this, the operation was far from perfect, as a Canadian family of eight from Montreal was confirmed dead in an Israeli airstrike. There was also a report of an Israeli aircraft opening fire on a ship bearing Canadian refugees (however, the small explosion was ultimately traced to a faulty fire extinguisher).

Considering that this was the largest civilian evacuation in Canadian history, the operation went as well as could be hoped.

But Harper learned one other harsh lesson this week: as he has little control over international crises, he also has very little control over the public perception of his response.

When conflict began in earnest, Harper responded quickly by calling the Israeli actions a "measured response" to the actions of Hezbollah, who were not only holding two captured Israeli soldiers, but were also launching rocket attacks into Israel from southern Lebanon.

While whether or not the Israeli military expidition can be considered a "measured response" (especially in the face of many civilian casualties) is entirely open for debate, these key facts of the issue really are not. Which may be what made the criticism that quickly followed all the more absurd.

Liberal Party interim leader Bill Graham complained about Harper's lack of initiative as a peacemaker. "Canada has always been able to serve as an intermediary," he explained, "but we can only serve in that useful role if in both our comportment and our actions we take steps and stances which enable us to play that role."

Graham didn't deny that Israel has the right to defend itself.

Deputy Prime Minister and current Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay responded fairly simply: "A ceasefire and return to the status quo is a victory for Hezbollah," MacKay told CTV's Canada AM. "Let's not forget that this was an unprovoked attack by a terrorist organiztion. Missiles were being fired into Israel."
Harper was also accused of "parroting" the American position on Israel. "He's almost at the forefront of a very small group of nations who say whatever Israel does is right," said Axworthy. "We're becoming part of the problem, not part of the solution."

However, as a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Axeworthy knows full well that support is Israel is a traditional tenet of Canadian foreign policy. In 1997, Axworthy himself closed an investigation on wether or not Israeli intelligence operatives were using Canadian passports (although Axworthy did offer Israel his fair share of criticism).

In the end, MacKay argued that Harper's stance actually served the interests of establishing long-term peace. " The Prime Minister has taken a very independent sovereign decision to participate in world events in a way that we feel is cognizant of all the circumstances including the history and the ongoing struggles in the region," he noted. " It is very much in keeping with an effort to find a long-term peaceful solution, not one that is going to be just a quick fix."

He also insisted that no peace will ultimately come of a unilateral Israeli withdrawal.

Many pro-peace activists also took to treating Harper's stance in a manner comparable to that given to U.S. President George Bush. On Saturday, in protests in Montreal and Toronto, anti-war activists carried banners of Harper emblazoned with the words "war monger" -- despite the absence of Canadian troops in the war zone.
Ultimately, the trouble with the debate on this crises is that each side seems to enjoy ignoring the key facts that make the issue so complex. Bill Graham, Lloyd Axworthy and (portions of) the Liberal party seem to subscribe to some sort of bizarre belief that peace talks are practical in an environment where a terrorist organization is launching continuous rocket attacks against a soveriegn country. Many of the most extreme anti-war groups are ignoring the matter of these attacks althogether.

Yet it seems that the Conservative party is largely ignoring the issue of civilian casualties -- even after the deaths of Canadians in the crosshairs. Not to mention claiming that Israel's actions serve the interest of long-term peace, when the Israeli Defense Force's actions will almost certainly spawn the next generation of Hezbollah members.

There certainly do need to be peace talks -- there is no question about that. But Hezbollah has already proven itself to be a terrorist organization with absolutely no interest in peacefully coexisting with Israel. As such, any such peace talks would have to take place exclusively between Israel and Lebanon. As part of the price for peace, Lebanon will have to agree to work together with Israel do deal with Hezbollah once and for all.

This is where Stephen Harper comes in. If he has left himself any room to function as an intermediary (as the Liberals so desire), it would be under such a framework. Similarily, the Liberals will also have to recognize that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, and will need to be treated as such.

However, before he can even begin to do so, Harper will have to learn the lessons this crises is teaching him -- and learn them quickly.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Will the War in Lebanon Become World War Three?

Probably not... but what if it were?

If you've had the unfortunate experience of waching CNN recently, or even coming within twenty feet of a FOX news broadcast (not recommended by physicians), you've probably heard all the frantic talk about the "Third World War".

That's right, kids, get your party hats: the Third World War is upon us. Even Stephen Colbert has proclaimed it so.Even Stephen Colbert has proclaimed it so.

Certainly, the armed conflict currently taking place in Lebanon (like Iraq, without the benefit of a declaration of war) has brought the world's alarmists and wingnuts to a state of absolute frenzy.

On a recent installment of Meet the Press, Newt Gingrich, for one, made his views on the matter clear. " is absolutely a question of the survival of Israel, but it's also a question of what is really a world war," he said. " ...I mean, we, we are in the early stages of what I would describe as the third world war, and frankly, our bureaucracies aren't responding fast enough, we don't have the right attitude about this, and this is the 58th year of the war to destroy Israel."

He quickly drew allusions to the war in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and the situation regarding North Korea. " I believe if you take all the countries I just listed, that you've been covering, put them on a map, look at all the different connectivity, you'd have to say to yourself this is, in fact, World War III."

Wow. That's heavy stuff. It's downright biblical, in fact.

Speaking of biblical, the most famous World War III prophecy comes, in fact, from the bible. The famous "Revelations" prophecy, which many people have interpreted and endorsed as a prophecy of a third global-spanning conflict, which will eventually bring about the endtimes.

A look at the prophecy itself foretells the third world war in a prelude and six acts. In the prelude, the stage is set as the events leading up to the third world war first begin to happen. In act one, the middle east is engulfed in more and more of that dreaded conflict. In act two, Israel finally goes on the warpath, and starts laying the smackdown. Act three brings a new element to bear: the machinations of those mischevious far-easterners. In the fourth act, confidence in "the system" is "eroded". In act five, the economies and moral systems of the western nations (including the U.S.) collapse. The whole affair wraps up with act six, and the signifcant reduction of population.

According to, the events leading up to the Third World War have already begun to take place.

The prelude, according to the site, began September 11, 2001 (quelle surprise!). Certainly, this was a date that changed the world, in almost every way that anyone can imagine. If any event of the past ten years "set the scene" for a global war, it was certainly 9/11. Fair enough.

The site kicks off act one with the invasion of Iraq 555 days later (isn't 666 more of a foreboding number? Oh, well) on March 10, 2003. According to this site, Iranian or Pakistani radicals may, in the near future, use a nuclear weapon in the region.
Act two, according to the site, is what we are seeing right now. Fed up with having their soldiers kidnapped and missiles fire at them by Hezzbollah, Israel is expected to move into southern Lebanon in a full-scale invasion later today. But after this, things start to get a little bit hazy.

Act three, as previously noted, concerns troubles in the far east. But there's been trouble in the far east for the past fifty years. Repeated problems with the South Korean missile program, as well as nuclear proliferation by India and Pakistan (mostly over the hotly-contest Kasmir region) have been significant news topics over the past five years. Suddenly, act three predates act two.

Act four, erosion of confidence in the system is nothing new, either. It's been happening in many countries (particularly the United States) ever since the 1980s, when voter turnout first started to tank. So now, act four predates act three, which already predates act two.

Act five, some warn, is currently in the process have happening. The collapse of the American economy has been forecasted by a number of economists for a little while now. Once again, nothing new, but at least this one has yet to pass.

Act six, however, could be argued to be underway. The site notes that the population reduction in question could happen by way of natural disasters. Hurricane Katrina, recent earthquakes in Indonesia, and the Tsunami that obliterated the south western Pacific basin come to mind. So, act six, predates act five (which has yet to happen), which is predated by act four, which is predated by act three, which predates act two.

Now, certainly, the chronological order of the events probably shouldn't matter much to those who subscribe to the biblical WWIII prophesy. The fact that enough of the events can be argued to have happened, or be in the course of happening should be unsettling enough for most.

But wait! There's more.

According to this site, the Illuminati is involved, too! It wouldn't be a proper prophesy if the Illuminati weren't thrown in there, somehow. In fact, according to the site the Illuminati and the New World Order have in fact planned the Third World War, and it won't begin to happen until all the necessary puzzle pieces are in place. The recent meeting of the mysterious Bilderberg group in Ottawa probably won't do much to allay those fears, either.

Is the Third World War ongoing as we speak? It may already have been for at least five years now. If anything, the War on Terror is a global war, taking place on two or more continents -- the historical definition of a world war. Regardless of whether or not Israel's campaign in Lebanon sparks a nightmarish global war, historians may one day recognize the war on terror as World War 3 -- or World War 4, if you agree with those who consider the Cold War to have been World War 3.

Certainly, much of the "news coverage" of the ongoing "World War 3" is simply alarmism. But if left untended (and no world leader has yet to make a serious peace overture), this situation could easily balloon into a world war.

While it's easy to simply throw our hands in the air in an act of exasperation over the drama, we must resist the urge to do this, and pressure our leaders to help Israel find the most peaceful resolution possible with Hezbollah and Lebanon. Certainly, Israel cannot permit Hezbollah to continue attacking them, but an all-out war is something that simply must be avoided, if at all possible.

Otherwise, what has existed for the past fifty years in the way of a small regional conflict breaking into occasional wars could become something much bigger, and much, much worse.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July 2006 Book Club Selection : Why I Hate Canadians, Will Ferguson

Author Asks: How honest are Canadians with ourselves?

Every year, Canadians open the month of July by celebrating the birth of our country.
So perhaps it is fitting that the book club selection for July is a book that explores the assumptions we Canadians make about ourselves, and questions whether or not they are valid.

Going by title alone, Why I Hate Canadians sounds like it should be some far-right-wing book written by Pat Buchanan (of "soviet canuckistan" fame). The book is actually penned by Katimavik graduate Will Ferguson (don't worry, he explains the relevance of his participation in Katimavik), who wrote the book upon returning to Canada after nearly a decade spent abroad.

Why I Hate Canadians isn't so much a book about Canada, it's a book about Canadians. Likewise, Ferguson doesn't hate Canada -- he hates Canadians. Or, at least he wants to make Canadians face some of the unpleasant truths that come along with all the great things about being Canadian.

Ferguson attacks all the stereotypes -- the "mighty Beaver", the trademarked Canadian tolerance and niceness, and that ever-contentious multiculturalism.
Ferguson seeks first and foremost to force the reader to ask themselves questions: questions about Canada, and about what it means to be Canadian. He revels in all the things about Canada that are great, but forces Canadians to look all their historical and cultural blemishes dead in the eye.

This is a book that all Canadians should read.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Homosexuals Turn Up the Heat on Harper Government

But may be missing the parade for the "dykes on bikes"

Believe it or not, there is a time and place for public dancing in crotchless leather pants. Believe it or not, there is a time and place for men to wear women's clothing in public. And there is even a time and place for members of the same sex to ride on floats together and kiss each other in public.

That's right, folks: it's gay pride time again.

Perhaps the most visible and recognizable tactic of those fighting for gay rights and acceptance, "freak parades" have become the centerpiece for gay pride holidays all across the world.

Some credit gay pride parades with helping advance the promotion of tolerance for gays and lesbians. Some claim these parades only increase tension between homosexuals and the rest of society. This is all entirely debatable. One thing that is certain is that gay pride parades are a commendable use of the constitutionally-entrenched right to freedom of expression that every Canadian possesses.

This year, gay pride activists in Toronto -- home to one of the largest gay pride parades in all of North America -- have mixed what some consider to be a healthy dose of politics in with their festivities, in particular taking aim at the governing Conservative party over a pledge to hold an open vote on re-opening the issue of same sex marriage for parliamentary debate.

But these activists -- while their hearts certainly seem to be in the right place -- may have their heads entirely in the wrong spot. Trying to turn homphobia into a political issue may be fair enough. But trying to turn it into a partisan political issue is simply a bad idea.

For one thing, if there is anything gay pride activists have failed to adequately address, it is homophobia among members of all Canada's political parties. For example, Mary Pollack, a former Liberal candidate for BC's Surrey riding, at one point, while serving as the Chairperson of the Surrey School Board, spent one million dollars trying to bar text books from school libraries. The books in question portrayed same-sex families in a positive manner. Courts eventually forced her to allow the books. Joe Borowski, a former Manitoba NDP cabinet minister, wrote a number of articles in the late 1980s that many people considered to be homophobic.

In other words, homophobia is not a blight that is restricted to the Conservative party. While more critics of the Conservative party take aim at them with these accusations, there has been, is, and will continue to be prevalence of this problem within Canada's other parties as well.

Another problem with the stance these people are taking regards the opinions of homophobes. " I think the message from the Prime Minister about reviewing marriage has given homophobes a feeling of power," said Kyle Rae, a co-founder of the Toronto gay pride parade. " It gives them a license."

But doesn't failing to have this debate at all give these "homophobes" (and not everyone who opposes same sex marriage can simply be dismissed as such) more power? It gives them the complaint that they are being ignored, and that homosexuals are being given preferential treatment by the government. Certainly the latter is not true, but what if the former were? It is certainly better to have the debate.

James Loney, the Canadian hostage recently freed in Iraq (who also happens to be gay himself) said, "I think Stephen Harper's intention to reopen the same-sex marriage debate is providing a forum for people to express what I think is a kind of intolerance and a very narrow view."

Loney, who, after his terrible ordeal, must have a full understanding of people with narrow views, must not think that it is also narrow to deny dissenters the opportunity to express their views. It is every bit as narrow as the bigotry that he is speaking against.

Like anyone else, homosexuals have the right to be politically active. Like anyone else, homosexuals have the right to lobby and influence their government.

But they must also recognize that even those who ignorantly hate them have these same rights, and must be allowed the same opportunities to do so. Most importantly, they must recognize that homophobia is not a partisan political issue.

When they do this, the time when they can wear their crotchless leather pants in public everyday will be that much closer.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Grudge Match: Religious Right vs. ...Conservative Partyt!?

Christian activists seek to crucify Garth Turner

It is safe to say that politics and religion are, more often than not, a volatile combination.

Sometimes politics and religion go hand-in-hand. When the need arises, religious

leaders of varying stripes can be effective organizers. Many would consider this to be mainly true of right-wing conservative parties. This isn't necessarily so. Tommy Douglas, the greatest leader ever offered by a Canadian left-wing party, drew his roots directly from Gospel Protestantism -- a socialist breed of Christianity.
But the opposite is just as often the case -- if not more so.

Lately, Conservative MP Garth Turner has had an interesting fight on his hands. At a time when many critics of the Conservative party want to accuse it of being too close to Christian fundamentalists (for the past ten years, in fact), Turner has seemingly incurred the wrath of Charles McVety.

McVety, who is active with a number of Canadian Christian advocacy groups -- including Defend Marriage Canada, the Canada Christian College and the Canada Family Action Coalition -- recently shared a disagreement with Turner over the role of a Christian activist. McVety believes that this role is to defeat "anti-Christian, anti-marriage, anti-life" Conservative MPs with "family-friendly" Christian candidates.

Naturally, with talk such as this, the subject was same-sex marriage. Naturally, it is safe to assume that McVety is opposed to it.

"[McVety's] group, as you can see in the post below, is after my political head since I trashed their stated plans to swamp nomination meetings of Tory MPs who support gay marriage and are otherwise morally deficient," Turner writes on his weblog, The Turner Report. " I said I disagree with any special interest candidates who are foisted on a party or a riding in a stacked nomination meeting, especially when a sitting MP – electable and experienced – is the victim of a one-night hijacking."

The one-night hijacking in question are schemes in which McVety organizes individuals sympathetic to his cause to purchase Conservative party memberships, and flood pre-election nomination meetings in order to help install a candidate who will support his agenda.

Hijacking isn't a new trick for McVety. He has been known to register online domains under the names of politicians, particularly those who oppose his views. Many critics consider this to be cybersquatting. However, because he uses these sites to express opinions regarding each particular politician's views, the law allows him to do so under tenets of acceptable use.

Charles McVety is not a man who believes in the separation of church and state. His plan to supplant the candidates of a political party with religious activists is chilling to those who believe in the secular state. This is precisely what Turner was alluding to when he wrote: "Faith-based politics is fine. It has a long tradition. It can accomplish a lot of good. But when one religious or cultural group engineers a coup, overwhelming existing political party members and workers, and replacing a politician elected by a plurality of people with a single-issue monochromatic militant, well, kiss democracy goodbye."

Supporters of McVety would later try to use this statement to paint him as an anti-religious zealot. Perhaps a person may suggest it would take a zealot to know one, and if this was true McVety would certainly know one if he saw it.

Along with his wife and children, McVety attended the 2005 Liberal party convention aboard his famed "Defend Marriage" tour bus. About the experience he wrote the following: "As in the days of Lot the penalty for the righteous was that they knocked on the doors of Lot and demanded his young men for their sexual pleasure. This was the penalty for the righteous being “wrong” in their eyes. As I stood on a rally platform outside the Convention Centre we prayed that marriage would be defended Canada protected. Hecklers cursed and swore at us and held up a sign displaying the word 'Immoral'."

This would certainly be a frightening bundle of rhetoric, if it didn't instead provoke one very simple response: what the fuck?

He noted that his daughter, confronted by the contempt and fury of the Liberal attendees, asked him: "daddy, why are they spitting at us?" He neglects to mention that he exposed his children to this behavior (as unacceptable as it may indeed be) knowingly and willingly. Which would make a certain amount of sense: his crusade against same-sex marriage is "for the children".

Let it also be known that this is a man who has organized boycotts against Famous Players theatres (for showing an advertisement supporting same-sex marriage) and the Da Vinci Code (apparently for being a fictional book about Christ).

If allowed to garner any significant amount of influence in the Conservative party, McVety would prove to be one of the greatest liabilities in the party's history. Those who suspiciously eye the Conservative party as crusaders aching to turn the clock back to the days when religion took a direct role in governance would suddenly have their poster boy -- a bigger, better poster boy than Stockwell Day ever could have been.

On the other hand, Turner is an absolute treasure for the Conservative party. He is an MP who defies the typical stereotype that critics of the party would like to promote. He may have a firey personality. He may love to get down and scrap with his opponents, but he stands for what he believes in. Most importantly, he is an indispensible voice of dissent within the party -- without such voices, the Conservatives risk becoming victim to that pitfall that has so entirely entrapped the Liberal party: groupthink.

In short, Turner is a Conservative who's not afraid to think outside that little conservative box. Consider this in comparison to McVety, who obviously believes it is some sort of grievous sin to think outside the pages of the Bible. This is like mixing Jedi and Sith: bad fucking idea.

The Conservative party needs to pull Turner in and hold him close, and push McVety as far away as it can. Only then can it step forth from the shadow of Christian fundamentalism, and get on with the business of being a secular political party.
After all, religion and politics can be a nasty mix.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Liberal Party Prepares To Eat its Own Young

Ignatieff has fellow leadership candidates running scared

There is a man who has the Liberals running scared.

No, it's not Stephen Harper, who led the Conservative party in a defeat of the Liberals in the 2006 election. Nor is it the Honorable John Gomery, who handed them their ass at the Adscam inquiry, precipitating that defeat. Nor is it I (although, maybe it should be).

No, the man that the Liberals fear most is one within their party -- one they went to great lengths to recruit to run as a star candidate during the 2006 federal election.

This man is Michael Ignatieff.

At first glance Ignatieff, the current Member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, seems like the man that Liberal party members should absolutely adore. He's taught at Harvard. He's worked for the BBC, the Globe and Mail and New York Times Magazine. He's published volumes of books.

Like all Liberal leaders, Ignatieff was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, which was earned for him by his hard-working father, who emmigrated to Canada from the Soviet Union and eventually served as a distinguished diplomat. George Ignatieff also served as president of the United Nations Security Council. On his mother's side, Ignatieff can trace his lineage to George Monro Grant. Michael continued to benefit from his family's status when he attended the University of Toronto... where is father was conveniently the serving Chancellor.

Ignatieff was parachuted in to run for his riding, which he handily won. When Paul Martin resigned following his defeat, Ignatieff was immediately mentioned as a contender -- possibly the favourite -- to win the Liberal leadership. Indeed, in the minds of many, he has already won.

He's already shown leadership within Liberal party ranks. He recently turned a vote on extending Canada's mission in Afghanistan almost single-handedly, as he and his supporters stood against the Liberal caucus, and delivered the motion to a narrow victory.

Since that moment, Ignatieff has been in the crosshairs of his opponents.
At the June 10 Liberal party leadership forum, Joe Volpe fired his first shots at Ignatieff, when he seemed to point out Ignatieff's short membership in the party. Bob Rae (obviously continuing to attempt to tap into the anti-American crowd) accused Ignatieff of holding opinions that are too similar to those of the American Republicans.

What is perhaps most shocking about Rae's accusations is that they are awfully true.
Ignatieff's critics accuse him of supporting the controversial Missile Defense Shield. In "A Generous Helping of Liberal Brains" he writes:

"The government has recently announced its decision about ballistic-missile defence. The decision will be popular in the party. But we need clarity in our national defence policy. We need to balance a principled opposition to the future weaponization of space with an equally principled commitment to participate in North American defence right now. We don't want our decisions to fracture the command system of North American defence, and we don't want a principled decision to result in us having less control over our national sovereignty. We must be there, at the table, defending what only we can defend.""
In short, past agreements not to weaponize space are all well and good. But we need to protect ourselves now. Pragmatic, perhaps. But it is exactly what his critics accuse him of.

Ignatieff's critics accuse him of supporting the American war in Iraq. In "The Burden", he writes:

"Those who want America to remain a republic rather than become an empire imagine rightly, but they have not factored in what tyranny or chaos can do to vital American interests. The case for empire is that it has become, in a place like Iraq, the last hope for democracy and stability alike."
In short, the only hope for the survival of American democracy is to go to war abroad, in places like Iraq.

Ignatieff's critics aim to rally the anti-American crowd, and accuse him of spending more time in the United States than in Canada. Again, they are right. Harvard may be one heckuva school, but McGill it ain't. He also writes much of his work under the guise of being an American.

However, there is one area where his critics have clearly missed their mark. Ignatieff has, in the course of his writings, questioned the moral nature of torture. While some people may consider this to be inherently dangerous, all Ignatieff has tried to do in this particular situation is explore the definition of torture. In "Evil under Interrogation", he writes:

"A liberal society that would not defend itself by force of arms might perish, while a liberal society that refused to torture is less likely to jeopardise its collective survival. Besides, there is a moral difference between killing a fellow combatant, in conformity to the laws of war, and torturing a person. The first takes a life; the second abuses one. It seems more legitimate to ask a citizen to defend a state by force of arms and, if necessary, to kill in self-defence or to secure a military objective, than it does to ask him to inflict degrading pain face to face. On this reading of a democratic moral identity, it may be legitimate to kill in self-defence, but not to engage in cruelty."
The point quickly becomes abundantly clear: torture occurs when someone is treated in a manner that cannot be justified based on their actions. Finally, torture is wrong.

There is no question that those who control the Liberal party leadership -- pulling the strings of the "election" process, favor individuals such as Ignatieff. The reasons for this are already well established. For this reason alone, Ignatieff clearly stands head-and-shoulders above his meagre competition -- he holds favour with those whose favour he needs.

These are the king makers of the Liberal party. They were the masterminds behind the ascension of Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien, and they imagine the leadership campaign less like an actual campaign, and more like a coronation -- where the "crown" of the "natural governing party of Canada" (they have, in fact, controlled the government for all but a handful of the last 100 years) is neatly passed from meticulously pre-selected leader to the next. It is for this reason that Canadians can probably fully expect the crown to be passed along to one of the surviving Trudeau children at some point in the next 20 years. It is indeed a chilling view of Canadian democracy, but one that the Liberal party has been advancing for longer than any living party member can likely attest.

Because of this in turning on Ignatieff, the Liberal party is in fact cannibalizing itself. The fact is actually quite simple: in looking at the list of candidates for the Liberal leadership, Ignatieff is in fact the most qualified, and easily the most charismatic. This is what makes him most dangerous to his competitors: he is a legitimate triple threat.

Certainly, the Liberals are not the only ones who are afraid of Michael Ignatieff. The Conservative party is likely rubbing its hands together in anticipation of lining up against any of the other piss-poor candidates that have been advanced to lead the Liberal party.

But not Ignatieff. Ignatieff is a true threat. He is determined to defeat the Conservatives: "We have an enormous responsibility to defeat the Harper government. We have to understand -- we have to make Canadians realize the choice they face. This is a government that has abandoned our environmental commitments. This is a government that has lost and betrayed faith with aboriginal Canadians.”
Beyond this, he is the only candidate capable of the task.

In turning on Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal party is in fact turning against its own future. Its future with Ignatieff may not be guaranteed, but it would be a whole lot brighter than with any of the other candidates.

Perhaps that is what these other candidates fear the most.