Friday, March 24, 2006

The past week

Sorry, it's been over a week since my last post. So what's happened?

Harping on Harper's waist
The media has been focusing on Harper's tub, particularly from his trip to Afghanistan. If this is all the main stream media (MSM) has on the Prime Minister, then they better start digging more. They sure must miss the weekly Liberal scandals eh?

Ethics guy clears Harper
Oh, NOW Harper and Emerson are in the clear. Well, thank you very much. The weight on my conscience was killing me!

Graham meets with Harper
Interim Liblead, Bill Graham, met with Harper and told him that if the Throne Speech doesn't have this and that, the gov't could fall. Yeah, callin' your bluff there Billy boy. You need the Bloc to bring 'er down anyway, and I don't think the Bloc wants to give up seats over the child care debate, do you? I say, bring it on. Harper would get a majority.

The MSM was all over this with headlines such as "the race is heating up". Paul Martin finally announces he's stepping down while Martin Cauchon says "non". Bob Rae? Fiddlesticks! Make way for Ashley McIssac! Visit The Calgary Grit for more detail if you're interested in this ... er .. um... "race".

JTF2 rescues hostages in Iraq
Such great news! This mission actually started soon after the capture. Notice how the MSM is avoiding the fact that Canadian troops were in Iraq. My stars!

King Ralph
His retirement announcement months and months into the future makes me ponder about the divine right of kings. The recent bloated budget had tax cuts for corps, but none for individuals. Only sort of good thing is that health insurance premiums (read: tax) don't kick in unti 32k. But then why bother with them at all if private insurance will exist anyway in this "third-way". I'm not a proponent of this third-way. The problem with the system is the management and bureaucracy.

250 year old tortoise dies
Speaking of Ralph. Wow! Now there's a pair of eyes that's seen it all eh? He's been around since before the United States was created and Napoleon. Is this proof that a slow and steady lifestyle under a shell can prolongate your life? So in light of this, I'd pick "Steady" Ed Stelmach the Tortoise to be the next premier of Alberta over Quick Rabbit Jim Dinning or Donkey Lyle Oberg.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

On Leadership

Lack of Leadership
Liberal Party execs want to dump Martin now to start the liblead race. I've been speculating all along that Martin was positioning himself for a comeback and I still believe that. But if the party doesn't want him, then they won't have him. It's appearing that the Liberal CEOs are tired of all this dithering. Read more at TheHillTimes.

Love of Leadership
PM Stephen Harper gave a rousing speech to the troops yesterday, ate with them (pictures here), and has stayed two nights at the base. Wow. The majority of Canadians now support the mission there. Finally. Then Harper went to Pakistan.

Here's a bit of his speech to the troops that I found just excellent, shows real leadership, and also emphasizes the partisanship back home (read: Jack Layton).

Standing up for Canadian Values

Of course, standing up for these core Canadian values may not always be easy at times. It’s never easy for the men and women on the front lines. And there may be some who want to cut and run.

But cutting and running is not your way.

It’s not my way.

And it’s not the Canadian way.

We don’t make a commitment and then run away at the first sign of trouble.

We don’t and we won’t.


Friends, we have made real progress here. You’re work is vital to Canada.

To the free world.

To the Afghan people.

As you get ready to go back to work, know that I am behind you.

Your government is behind you.

And, most importantly, the Canadian people are behind you.

Thank you. God bless Canada.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Harper in Afghanistan

Kate covers my sentiments at SDA.

But I wanted to emphasize this:

Drapeau calls visit 'unprecedented'

However, Colonel Michel Drapeau, former director general for the Department of National Defence, said Harper's visit to Afghanistan shows that Canada no longer has a "politics of neutrality."

"It's unprecedented. I can't recall an instance where the head of government … would deploy to the front trenches and bring his minister of defence along to meet the troops," he said.

"It's a brave and very bold move and it's leadership at its very best [emphasis mine]. Years from now we will look back at this day as a turning point … because it shows that Canada has basically shifted gears. We went from a policy or a politics of neutrality … and here we have a prime minister newly elected, with his minister of defence, making a huge statement to allies."

Drapeau said the visit will greatly boost the morale of troops, who will now know that "the Canadian government, through the mouth of the prime minister, is squarely behind them."

Yep, if Jack wants a debate, why didn't he bring it up when the Liberal gov't deployed troops? Why mention it now to stifle the now high morale of our troops? Parliament doesn't sit for another few weeks and even then, there will be a lot on the table.

Hmmm.... I wonder if the Canadian Olympic hockey team would have fared better if Harper went to Turin. Nah. But still.

EDIT: There's a poll at whether you approval or disapprove of Harper's visit. 17% disapprove.

Dear 17%:

This is not whether you agree or disagree with stationing our troops there. This is not partisan. This is about boosting morale of dedicated men and women who leave their families for months on end to free the people in the line of fire and danger to help build a democracy and fight terrorism. It's obviously good that our prime minster and defense minister visited them because they trump any negativity you spew a zillion fold.

Bill Clinton visits Edmonton

"Do you like Bill Clinton?"

"No, I do not," I said.

"Well then you probably don't want to go with me to the Bill Clinton speech on March 9th."

"Well, um ... I didn't say I wouldn't go here him speak."

So we went last Thursday and I really enjoyed it. I still disagree with his liberal views on many things, but this guy is very intelligent and yes, "larger than life".

He talked about his world view and what we need to do.

He did talk extensively about the Middle East, mostly about relations with former Israeli PM, Rabin, who Clinton admired the most (along with Nelson Mandela).

He talked about a meeting with Arafat and Rabin where they were agreeing on borders in the West Bank. Clinton said although the agreement already called for certain borders and was about to be signed, Arafat asked Rabin for more room, and Rabin said they had to sign this agreement but would honour Arafat's request. Arafat trusted Rabin. Clinton said Rabin had a mystical character about him.

Clinton then said to Arafat, "So are you going to shake his hand? There's millions of people watching. You should shake his hand."

Arafat said..."Well, you can't make me shake the hand of a friend." And he did.

He did not talk about Hamas, nor was it asked.

The former U.S. President also said something very profound:

"The difference between democratic nations and terrorist regimes is those who kill in the name of God believe they know the absolute truth and use this for their political program, whereas democracies recognize that we cannot know the absolute truth, that sometimes, we can be wrong, and even when someone thinks they do, there's a mechanism to hold them accountable."

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Witness comes forward...

'I'm not going to jump in'
Teen passenger on death bus defends fellow riders

An eyewitness to last Thursday's fatal beating on a transit bus in south Edmonton says he and the other passengers have been unfairly criticized for not getting involved.

The 19-year-old man, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said while he came to the victim's aid after the four attackers got off the bus, there was no way he was going to jump into the middle of the melee.

"I'm not going to jump in. I'm the only male (passenger) on the bus," said the teen witness, who weighs 165 pounds at five-foot-nine.

The witness said the other passengers were a 22-year-old woman, two teenage girls, a mother and her son who was about 10 years old.

The passengers have been widely criticized for not trying to intervene in the deadly swarming. But the witness also came to the bus driver's defence, saying he did all he could do by dialling 911.

"He's not allowed to jump in there and start throwing punches," he said.

The witness said he boarded the bus at Mill Woods Town Centre transit terminal
shortly before 9 p.m., along with the four assailants and the would-be victim,
35-year-old Stefan William Conley.

Within about 10 minutes, the group of teens, who were "loud and rowdy" and sitting in the back seat, were asked by the bus driver to quiet down and stop swearing, he said.

But the teens continued to be loud and obnoxious.

Conley, who was also sitting in the back seat, told them to shut up.

The witness said he turned away and looked back after hearing some yelling between Conley and the teens, which soon escalated into shoving and then a full-scale fight.

"The victim grabbed the guy by the neck and held him against the wall," the witness recalled. "One of the guys punched him (the victim) in the side of the head to get him off. That's when they all started beating him. All four guys started punching him. I
didn't see any kicking."

By that time, the driver had stopped the bus in the Edmonton Research Park near 94 Street and 20 Avenue, and called for help. "I just couldn't believe they were fighting," the witness said, estimating the swarming lasted "just under two minutes."

As the four attackers walked off the bus, at least two of them spoke to the driver.

"One of the guys said, 'Sorry about that.' Another guy said, 'The guy's unconscious, you better go check him out,' " the witness recalled, adding the two teen girls "who were freaked out" also exited the bus.

Conley was out cold on his back, bleeding from the mouth and wedged near the footrest between two back seats, said the witness. He and the 22-year-old woman moved Conley to the seat, added the witness.

"He was breathing, but he was choking because there was bubbles coming out of his mouth. I said, 'Are you OK?' And he never answered. ... I held a Kleenex to his face to stop the bleeding," he recalled, adding they waited until police arrived.

I know what you might be thinking because I thought about it for a second. Wil shouldn't have grabbed the guy by the throat. But didn't the bus driver tell the punks to be quiet? Wasn't there a young boy on the bus with his mother? Why were the punks being rowdy and swearing? Doesn't sound like "good people".

They must have pissed Wil off pretty good for him to grab a guy by the throat. For the others to defend their friend, I can see that. But there's a point when kicking a guy repeatedly in the head goes too far--and that would be when they started kicking him in the head in the first place.

"Oh boys will be boys" some may say. There's a difference between a baseball going through someone's window and swearing and being rowdy on a public bus.

But they left him there unconscious and walked away? Is that what teenagers are taught by their parents?

For the bus driver, it's a difficult situation. To leave his post, with punks who could have potentially taken the bus on a joy ride and put the passengers in grave danger.

I'd also like to retract my statement in another blog about how the people there did nothing to stop it, now knowing who was on the bus and the number of people. My apologies. But didn't anybody say anything?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Cookie Jar

Well well well. Most of you know that Scott Brison got caught with his hand in a cookie jar. No wait. It wasn't him, but he told his friend via email where the cookie jar is and that he'll find a lot more cookies in there the next day. Article here.

Brison released transcripts of the BlackBerry conversations with his
unidentified banker friend who blamed the government for "bringing the equity
markets to a standstill."

"I think you will be happier very soon ... this week
probably," Brison said. After the announcement, Brison asked, "U happy?"

His friend replied, "I can't express my joy properly."

Mr. Brison, you make good cookies. No wait. You didn't make the cookies per se, but you knew that the government could.

More on the punks...

As you can kind of tell, I'm keeping a diary of articles and letters regarding Wil's death.

Here's an excellent article that closely reflects my feelings and previous posts. Yes, we are angry.

"Unless some new and mitigating evidence comes to light -- sorry, a hurtful
childhood doesn't cut it -- these four lads must be held personally responsible
and sentenced accordingly," says the article.

Exactly. And they should be tried as adults. But I had no idea they'd been drinking. No excuse.

Wil's father is suing Edmonton Transit and the police. Good for him. Our new police chief is demanding a thorough review of response times. Good for him. But Wil's uncle is correct, the blame is solely on the thugs.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


There's more on Wil, who was senselessly beaten to death on a public bus.

One from his friend who wishes he could have been on the bus with him to defend him.

An editorial that lambashes the four punks, but also the 15 passengers who did nothing to defend the innocent. 15 against 4. Hmmm. No one said or did anything. I'm embarrassed to be an Edmontonian right now.

And here's a bunch of letters wondering why no one helped.

And the concerned police chief wondering why it took so long to respond.

But what gets me is the family and friends of the 4 punks who says "they're good people". Good people? Excuse me? I don't think so. They're evil arrogant fucks. Good people don't kick another human being in the head multiple times even though you're being told to "shut up" after you and your buddies get all rowdy on public transit. Good people don't walk off the bus and say to the bus driver, "Sorry about that," while a man lays there bleeding to death.

And good people should have helped.

The parents of these 4 punks should be ashamed. They obviously don't know what good is nor did they teach their kids any morals.

It's disgraceful. Maybe we should lock up the parents too. Or send them to councilling on how to parent.

Wil's father and brother are driving in from Ontario. Now there's a long trip. Wil also lost his mother to a car crash a few years ago.

Wil was good people.

Get 'er done!

Senators, not from Ottawa
The debate of an elected Senate is heating up in Saskatchewan. I'm just loving the fact that there is a debate and so much attention is there. Sask premier Lorne Calvert's and Ont. premier Dalton McGuinty's idea to abolish the Senate are so out of touch with how a bi-cameral parliamentary system works, and how it's important to balance regional interests with population.

The Calgary Grit makes mention of Senate Reform. While I agree the best way is to open up the constitution for full-on changes, at least Harper is making a step, even in a minority gov't. Chretien didn't even try with a majority.

Non-Ethical Ethics Guy?
It appears that Ethics Commissioner, Bernard Shapiro, is going to be dumped by Harper. I agree. But he should step down. And someone agrees with that. The Prime Minister's new communications director, Sandra Buckler, had this to say:

"This Liberal appointee's actions have strengthened the prime minister's
resolve to create a truly, non-partisan ethics commissioner who is accountable
to parliament."

Take that! So will Harper dump this guy and then have parliament choose a new one or will he have a new czar report to parliament, not just the PMO?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Kids are punks

Yesterday was my birthday. I don't feel old, nor do I feel bitter, as the stereotype goes for us "seniors".

But Saturday night while celebrating my age with friends, at our last stop, I found out that someone I knew was the man who was beaten to a pulp by four teenage punks on a transit bus. He died on the way to the hospital.

We're hearing more and more about young people killing each other.

What is wrong with kids these days? Where do they get this attitude? Where are the parents? Where are the morals?

These punks turned themselves in the next day, and were just in court today; they've been remanded until Friday. I'll keep you posted as to their sentencing. Being under 18, their names cannot be released.

Stefan Wiliam Conley, or Wil, as we called him, was 35, and on occassion was a karaoke DJ at Rosie's Bar 'n' Grill off Whyte Avenue here in Edmonton. A great guy all around, he was always doing rock-star poses while he sang and loved progressive metal music. I remember many times going to Rosie's and joining the gang there. Wil was good people.

It will be interesting to see what kind of punishment they get.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Dalton McGuinty is an idiot

Aahhhh. Feels good to say that. He's sure been yappin' his gums lately. I wish he'd stay out of federal matters, don't you? He thinks because he's the premier of the most populated province, he can say such things outside his jurisdiction. Well, they have no bearing.

So now Dolton McSquinty wants to abolish the senate. He sounds like an NDPer. He prefers proportional representation, which also sounds like an NDPer. He whins because although Ontario has 40% of the population, they only have 22% of the seats in the senate. Does this guy understand the term bicameral?

Yeah the senate needs reform. It shouldn't be based on population though, which it kinda sorta is right now. We already have rep by pop in the house of commons.

Dolton sees the direction that Prime Minister Harper is going with senate reform ... that is, to a triple-e, where each province gets the same number of senators.

So then Ontario would actually go down to about 10% of the senate seats. An equal senate balances the regions of the country. But it appears that McSquinty still doesn't want to make the country work better and continually have Ontario dominate federally and unfairly.

And I thought Ralph Klein was winning the idiot race.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Saddam's WMDs

This story is unbelieveable, but plausible. (Hat tip to GayAndRight). While lefties cry, "There are no WMDs in Iraq. Why did Bush go to war?", and the answer wasn't about WMDs, I'm also left wondering why there's no one in Syria looking for these things.

Ralph the Champ (er ... Chump?)

"I says, 'Pardon?' And I lose it. Head fake him with the left--a flurry to the solarplexes, and a big right hand wind up. Pow! I says, 'Is that enough of a third-way for ya?' Ever since I've been The Champ."

Now read this.

Alberta Liberal leader, Kevin Taft, is right. Klein has lost it. This behavior is reminiscent of throwing change at people at a homeless shelter. Now, during question period in the legislature, with school children in the gallery, he throws the Liberal health plan after a legislative page hands it to him and says, "I don't need this crap."

He's an embarrassment. He has absolutely no vision anymore. While Alberta has a higher surplus than the federal gov't at over $7 billion, sure $1 billion is ear-marked for the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, Klein has squandered this fund and hasn't added to it in a very long time.

And while I believe in allowing some private delivery in our health care system, if there's going to be queue jumping for those who can pay, then why bother with the $44/month health care premiums which bring in just under a billion a year?

NDP leader Brian Mason also points out that PC delegates at the upcoming convention should be aware of Ralph's behavior and give him the heave-ho. I agree.

And this isn't a case of "Oh, it's just Ralph." Fine, be that way Ralph, but not as Premier of Alberta.

(I'm tempted to call my cousin who works at the PC headquarters for Peter Elzinga, Ralph's go-to guy, and find out what's going on. Hmmm...)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Two more reasons why Paul Martin is staging a comeback...

I still believe Liberal Party Leader Paul Martin is staging a comeback. Even more so.

Why would the Liberals get all in a huff and puff about blocking the Conservative health care plan?

As well, back in January, before he lost the election, in Dose magazine, Martin said his favorite book was called "How a Setback Can Be A Comeback". Something like that.

Time for a quick House of Commons recap:

CPC + BQ = 125 + 51 = 176
Lib + NDP = 102 + 29 = 131
Ind. = 1

Okay, nevermind.

Fiscal Imbalance

Andrew Coyne has the best definition I have ever read on the so-called "fiscal imbalance" Quebec keeps talking about:

The fiscal imbalance is one of those things like dark matter or quantum
uncertainty that defy comprehension by the ordinary layman. Its precise
magnitude has been the subject of countless arcane calculations -- the
government of Quebec devoted a whole white paper to the subject -- but its basic
mathematical expression may be reduced, by a combination of Lagrange polynomial
interpolation and dead reckoning, to two lines: 1. Ottawa has money. 2. We want

"dark matter or quantum uncertainty". Now that's good stuff, Andrew!

Harper shoots and scores

Here's PM Harper's first post election interview. I must say, his answers are straight to the point, and honest. He even admits that he thinks "two steps ahead". Well, he's being a bit deceiving here, because he thinks about 10 steps ahead.

And he's telling the truth regarding his abortion stance. This was one the contentious issues he had with the Reform Party about a dozen years ago. It's not that he is for or against abortion, Stephen Harper, like me, doesn't think it should be legislated. He's a true libertarian here.

Then there's this news item on Stephen at the local hockey rink watching his son's team. Funny tidbit. Harper's son plays on left-wing, while an NDP MP's son plays on right-wing.

After reading these, I thought, "Well, now the media is finally catching up to this guy. " He's simply an intelligent, forthright, regular hockey dad type guy... your average Canadian and it appears that's what the other hockey parents think too. I loved that he used to yell at the refs. How much more Canadian can you get folks?

All Paul Martin could do was play cards. Thing is, it's fitting. You never knew what hand you were being dealt.

The media love celebrity in our Prime Ministers. That's why they put Trudeau on a pedestal. Mulroney was very charming and an excellent speaker. Chretien wasn't about celebrity either. Martin simply thought he deserved to be there. Harper, more of an intellect, says he's not here for the celebrity, that he just wants to get the job done.

Friends of mine who'd say, "I don't know about Stephen Harper. He just doesn't sit well with me." Well, that's what the media and the Liberals portrayed. I told them, "Actually, when you meet him, he's a regular hockey dad type guy. " And finally, the media is getting to know him. Hopefully now Canadians will too.