Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc are walking a fine line

During the Bloc Party (convention) in Montreal this weekend, leader of the Bloc Quebecois Gilles Duceppe openly mused about the possibility of subverting the Canadian military in the province Quebec to become an army of the independent nation of Quebec.

After intense discussions on whether such a force was viable or necessary, the some 1,000 delegates rejected the idea using the more politically palatable term “national guard” instead of army.

They also agreed it could be created by taking over Canadian military facilities.

Duceppe said he had faith a Quebec army would have no trouble recruiting.

“When you look at voting (for separatist parties) … we have very good results among the military … There are lots of sovereigntists in the Canadian army” — Gilles Duceppe

Part II, section 53 of The criminal code of Canada deals with “Inciting to Mutiny” and states,

Every one who

(a) attempts, for a traitorous or mutinous purpose, to seduce a member of the Canadian Forces from his duty and allegiance to Her Majesty, or

(b) attempts to incite or to induce a member of the Canadian Forces to commit a traitorous or mutinous act,

is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 53.

Gilles Duceppe is walking a fine line here.

Jean LaPierre’s feelings hurt

jean-lapierre-dyspeptic.jpgFrom today’s Ottawa Sun:

Transport Minister Jean Lapierre demanded an apology yesterday from a Bloc Quebecois leader who said members of the federal Liberal party would be unwelcome in an independent Quebec. Lapierre, Prime Minister Paul Martin’s Quebec lieutenant, told The Canadian Press in a telephone interview he was “personally hurt” by Bloc house leader Michel Gauthier’s comments. Gauthier refused to apologize.

Because Lapierre is a founding father of that same separatist party perhaps we can understand how this hits close to home. However, I imagine that many federal Liberals aren’t much welcome in the rest of Canada (except for perhaps Toronto).

Paul Martin doesn’t care about Native people

Is this a stupid or exaggerated statement?

Perhaps.

However, the people of Kashechewan have been suffering under these conditions for eight years and have been ordered to boil their water for the next two. Further, about 100 other native reserves are also under ‘boil water’ advisories.

Do I honestly believe that Paul Martin doesn’t care about Native people?
No.

However, I do believe that Kashechewan has been mismanaged by the federal Liberal government.

This is our national shame.

Like most Canadians, I only learned about the situation in Northern Ontario this month but how is it that only when the situation gets national media attention does the government come up with an action plan? This has been going on for eight years.

Shamefully, the media is treating Paul Martin’s government with kid gloves in contrast to how they personally attacked Mike Harris during the Walkerton incident. Are the Liberals getting a pass on this one? Perhaps Canadians (including the media) are conditioned to believe that these squalid conditions on reserves are the norm and thus not at all too shocking. While Paul Martin likely cares, he may be largely indifferent and perhaps we as Canadians also share this unfortunate state of mind. How is it that we have people in this country living under sustained third world conditions? How is it that we’ve never devised a working solution to this problem?

Will this crisis spark an honest national debate on the issue of Native poverty?

There are potential solutions to the problem, from caring people both on the left and on the right.

I must say that I am without much knowledge of native and northern affairs and this tragedy has inspired me to read up on the subject.

Perhaps Andy Scott should do the same.

We all care about the situation in Kashechewan, but coming up with a lasting solution for these poor people and not merely a quick fix is what I care about most.

Brad is standing up for seniors

My pal Brad Farquhar has a monumental task on his hands. He’s fighting the good fight against the Liberals and while his home province of Saskatchewan is virtually free of them, there remains one and it’s not exactly a backbencher: it’s Minister of Finance and Challenger frequent flyer, Ralph Goodale.

Since Brad’s taking on the finance minister, he’s been up on his research pointing out exactly why Liberal finance policy is hurting Canadians. Teaming up with Monte Solberg and Dean Allison, Brad is taking the Liberals to task for their assault on Income Trusts.

Brad outlines the studies, the background and the media coverage necessary to get anyone up to speed on the issue. Brad also provides some help to contact the 302 sitting MPs to urge them to act upon the issue. Let’s hope Brad takes this issue all the way to Ottawa himself.

Guns, guns, guns

Consider the following quotes:

“The Americans ask us to do things in terms of the border; I think there’s an obligation on their side to work with us to prevent gun-smuggling into Canada.” — Paul Martin, October 25th, 2005.

“First of all, we have no evidence there are more guns being smuggled into the country now than ever before,” Ms. McLellan said. “Sometimes people easily blame the United States for a smuggling of guns. That too is a simplistic response.” — Deputy PM Anne McLellan, Edmonton Journal, August 25th, 2005

“Regardless of what their domestic gun laws are state by state, they have taken for years a very, very tough line, one of the toughest in the world in relation to guns being smuggled into their country or out of their country.” — Deputy PM Anne McLellan, Edmonton Journal, August 25th, 2005

Manning and Harris: Caring for Canadians

There’s a new report out by the Fraser Institute today by Mike Harris and Preston Manning titled Caring for Canadians and it outlines the vision of these two conservative leaders for a better Canada regarding the distribution of wealth between the federal government and the provinces. Of course, conservatives will be pleased to hear that Manning and Harris’ conceptual reconfiguration of Canadian federalism favours the provinces. In the 102 page document, the two Fraser fellows argue for:

  • Federal respect for provincial jurisdiction.
  • Services to be provided wherever possible by levels of government and
    delivery organizations closest to those they serve.

  • Maximization of freedom of choice for service recipients and acceptance
    of greater responsibility for choices and personal well-being.

Now choice is a beautiful thing of course and the document reads in a very practical sense. Manning and Harris recognize the current balance in the state/individual dynamic that currently exists and they prudently nudge their ideal towards that which favours individual choice in the delivery of social services that fall within the provincial realm of jurisdiction (education, healthcare, welfare).

Particularly Harris and Manning note the success of the provinicial administration of education that thrives without much federal interference. As such, the two men argue that this lack of federal manipulation allows greater flexibility within the system and permits greater agility to meet its own needs.

Essentially, the document argues for the severance of the strings attached to the provinces as manipulated by Ottawa.

Caring for Canadians offers a formalization of the healthcare approach which is currently a reality in our country. While advocating for a universal system accessible to all regardless of one’s ability to pay, Manning and Harris propose a mixed system of private and public delivery of healthcare delivery, payment and private insurance.

The Conservative Party of Canada will be happy to hear many of their positions reflected within this new Fraser Institute publication, especially on the topic of childcare. Not surprisingly, Manning and Harris decry the new creeping federal attention to this matter of provincial jurisdiction.

The report has just become publicly available this morning. Download Caring for Canadians by Mike Harris and Preston Manning

NDP: The fix is in!

I got an email at about 7pm last night from a reader encouraging me to post about an NDP youth poll that I could help swamp by getting the word out especially on the Shotgun blog and through some other conservative blogging friends. After writing a post on the Shotgun, encouraging its conservative audience to participate in the poll and after successfully suggesting to Kate that she should also encourage her readers to do the same, the numbers went wild for Stephen Harper. Free Dominion also contributed heavily to skewing the numbers in the Conservative leader’s favour.

The NDP poll question is:
In your opinion which federal leader has done the best job of standing up for students?

It has three options: Paul Martin, Stephen Harper and Jack Layton.

By 12:09am, the following were the results of the poll:
NDP-poll-early.jpg

Well, I thought, we’d successfully bombarded the NDP poll with the power of the conservative blogosphere and internet. So, when I got a call from some friends to head out for a pint, I decided that the ball was rolling and the damage for the most part had already been done.

However, when I got back from some late night wings and drinks, the following graced my screen.
fixed-ndp.jpg

Somebody woke up the NDP webmaster! Those logs must have been crazy too. The poll went live yesterday morning and registered little activity throughout most of the workday until we coordinated our attack just after the dinner hour. During that time, Freedominion, the Shotgun and the busiest blog in Canada (Small Dead Animals) were all referring conservative-minded people to vote. I was laughing by the time I logged off when we had captured 78% of the 545 vote total of the day.

However, between the hours of 12:09am and 2:40am, 8 people voted for Paul Martin, 108 people voted for Stephen Harper and Jack Layton’s vote went up by 912! The vote total had tripled during these short early hours. How could this be?

In a few keystrokes, the NDP Youth webmaster likely added 900 votes to Jack Layton’s total. (He had 97 votes up until 12am)

In fact, FD poster Vek noticed the same at 1:49am.

So, either the NDP blogging power kicked in at 9x that of the conservative blogosphere at about 1:30am, or the numbers were manipulated. Vek’s observation shortens the NDP supposed “surge” (or likely manipulation) to a window of 1h 40min.

This isn’t very honest. I laughed when I imagined the NDP webmaster’s discovery of the poll results but I expected him/her to remove the poll entirely. However, the numbers were most likely manipulated to give Jack Layton a 900 vote boost sometime during the wee hours of the morning (12am-2:30am). A period in which the highest traffic blog in Canada (and the Shotgun, and Conservativelife and Freedominion) only contributed at most 108 votes to Stephen Harper.

Also, isn’t the idea of such a poll on a partisan website a silly idea? An NDP poll on an NDP site asking visitors to choose the most effective federal leader is hardly scientific. Their audience bias is obvious. Nobody would take any stock in Jack Layton winning the poll. Perhaps that’s why it was so funny that we hammered the poll and had Stephen Harper winning (by legitimate votes).

I guess I can’t be too hard on them though. We did the same thing to them on their silly insignificant web poll that they did to Terry Fox during the Greatest Canadian contest. However, when the CBC didn’t like the result, they didn’t suddenly dump a truckload of votes on Pierre Trudeau.

UPDATE: 12 hours after I last took a screenshot, votes are still coming in for Stephen Harper. In fact, Harper is up by 280 votes, Jack Layton is up by 70 votes and Paul Martin is up by 8 votes. Two observations: (a) Layton’s 70 votes seems to be consistant with their actual rate of legitimate voting over twelve hours. During yesterday’s vote, Layton had 97 votes by midnight. (b) Harper’s votes are still streaming in from various Conservative websites even though it has been revealed that voting for Harper in this poll may never allow him to win.

poll-update.jpg
as of 2:40pm EST, October 21st.