CBC fights the culture war

What’s this? A CBC story about huge guns, a baby, and Santa?

From Scottsdale Arizona? What is the relevance?

Oh, those Americans and their guns. “Is it appropriate?”, CBC asks.

Well, no. But, for a different reason. The long-gun registry vote is in the news as the Conservatives uphold a long-standing promise to their base to eliminate the registration of legal rifles and shotguns. Amendments were voted upon this week and the final vote is upcoming. What better time for the CBC to remind Canadians what’s at stake?

Every gun featured in the Christmas card photo is prohibited in Canada.

Yesterday, the NDP had to walk back an attack ad on the Conservatives that featured a gun that is restricted in Canada and is thus would have to be registered anyway despite the scrapping of the long-gun registry.

This isn’t the first time the CBC has played politics in the long-gun registry debate. On the eve of Candice Hoeppner’s Private Member’s Bill defeat, the CBC ran this conspiracy theory disguised as an investigative report into links between the Conservative government, it’s activists and the Gun-lovin’ American NRA. CBC provided a 10 year old clue that the NRA once produced a commercial that aired in the US and was available to Canadians! Also, they helped fun a pamphlet for a Canadian long-gun advocate, also 10 years ago.

We consider Americans and their huge military-grade machine-guns.

We also consider the Canadian debate about the registration of long-guns.

If one were against the dismantling of the long-gun registry, one would be irresponsible to suggest that Americans are not only trying to influence the debate but it would also be irresponsible to create a scarecrow argument against guns which are already illegal in Canada. How much of this debate is honest? And what element of dishonesty is being driven by the CBC?

Canada out of the Kyoto Protocol

Was Canada ever even in? The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 in the city of the same name in Japan. The United States was the only holdout at the time, with Congress refusing to ratify the agreement under President Bill Clinton.

Canada’s Liberal government led by Jean Chretien bound Canada to the international accord at the time, promising to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 6% of 1990 levels by 2012. The protocol has come under heavy criticism since as it provides exemptions for many emerging economies, namely India, China and Brazil. Further, the 1990 level was so pegged to satiate Russia’s demands to use the Soviet Union as the reference point to mark Russia’s future emissions against the Soviet era, pre-industrial and economic collapse.

Other criticisms of the protocol include carbon trading that were dismissed by our current Prime Minister as a socialist scheme, exchanging ‘pollutability’ for cash. Again, much of it to the Russian Federation.

The Protocol expires in 2012 and has largely been a symbolic icon of the progressive movements in Canada, the US, and Europe. Carbon emissions under Chretien (and Dion as his environment minister) actually increased. Again, the emissions under the next Liberal administration increased. In fact, between 1990 and 2005, Canada’s GHGs increased 25%. We should have spent money fashioning a statue of Gaia in our own image. Our vanity would have been satisfied, it would have been as effective, and it would have costed much less. As far as symbols go, it’s pedestal ‘footprint’ would have less of an environmental impact than that caused by sending our jobs and capital to emerging exempt economies.

It’s been reported today that Canada will not “renew” its “commitment” to the Kyoto Protocol. To do so would be foolish, as Canada is nowhere near meeting 1990 targets anytime soon. Further, a cap on industrial production would be foolish at a time of global economic fragility (not to mention coercive at any time).

The utility — either environmental or economic — of signing onto such an agreement has not been established. If humans face any challenge, global bureaucracy is certainly the most unagile method of addressing it. Kyoto seemed to be focused on special interests and side-deals rather than some superordinate goal.

Oh, was it mentioned that it’s a socialist scheme?

Just another day in Ottawa…

So, this tweet stream caught my attention yesterday,

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(5 minutes later, Coderre raises a point of order)

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and then Candice Malcolm, Jason Kenney’s Press Secretary, sent me this note,

Looks like the Liberals are having trouble with their more limited budgets these days.

Vacated prime real estate in Ottawa!

Paulina Ayala is the NDP Member of Parliament for Honoré-Mercier in Quebec. She was elected on May 2nd in the Orange Crush that saw the NDP take most of the seats in that province.

Here are some photos from the hallway outside of her Ottawa office today.



Has Ayala moved in yet? Calls to her Hill office at 1:30pm went unanswered and to voicemail. How can the NDP represent working families if they don’t have a working office?

Thanks to the staffers who got tired of walking around these boxes every day for weeks for sending these pics!

#occupyconfed

UPDATE: Ayala’s been in the House, but why not her office?

Occupy Eviction Day

Occupiers in Toronto and Ottawa stand to be evicted from their tents today as St. James Church and Ottawa’s National Capital Commission have issued trespassing notices to those camping out in downtown parks.

I got wind of the Ottawa eviction from Rob Snow of CFRA. Snow Facebooked this rumour earlier this afternoon and sure enough, at 2:45pm an official notice was given out to occupiers in Confederation Park to vacate by 11:59pm this evening. The protesters are likely to go without much of a fight.

However, in Toronto, it seems that the 20-30 protesters are digging in.

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The news media is descending upon St. James Park to capture images of the spoiled brats of capitalism behaving badly.

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However, that doesn’t mean that is will be an eviction. Enter the labour astroturf. Ontario trade unions at a conference at the Sheraton on Queen street have marched down Bay street to join the occupiers. It has been reported that a few hundred have joined.

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The occupiers in Toronto have also planned a hunger strike. Local eateries however will likely see a boom from the influx of well-to-do union representatives occupying the park.

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Some protesters are reportedly planning on chaining themselves to the occupy site.

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The city of Toronto and Mayor Ford are providing live updates on what is an evolving story

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Canadian Auto Workers union boss Ken Lewenza tells protesters that some people are above the law,

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Syria now on UN human rights committee

Maariv via The Weekly Standard,

A short time after UNESCO, the UN’s organization for education and science, accepted the Palestinian Authority as a full member despite strong U.S. and Israeli opposition, it is now Syria’s turn to receive a present from the organization.

On Wednesday, the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad was chosen to be the Arab representative on the UNESCO committee the deals with issues relating to the implementation of human rights.

UNESCO’s decision comes after Assad’s regime managed to kill 3,500 demonstrators and arrest tens of thousands, without any due process whatsoever.

Meanwhile, Canada has told all Canadians in Syria that they should now leave. Also, DFAIT has been engaged in talks with the Syrian opposition.

Further to this, this weekend, Defense Minister Peter MacKay indicated that Canada stands by ready to assist in Syria as this country did in Libya.

Meanwhile, the RCMP has been called in to investigate a Canadian web hosting company that has been hosting Syrian ministry and media websites.

The company, iWeb in Montreal also hosts the NDP’s website.

Richard Ciano’s bid to run the PCPO

My friend Richard Ciano is running for the Presidency of the PC Party of Ontario. He’s launching his campaign tonight in a simultaneous telephone townhall/live townhall/live webcast event.

His slogan is “Time to win” which really cuts to it for a lot of Ontario Tories. Clear messaging has always been a hallmark of Ciano and his pal Nick Kouvalis who ran Rob Ford’s “Stop the Gravy Train Campaign”. The event kicks off at 7:00pm and I’ve embedded the video below.

You can join the telephone townhall at 1-877-229-8493 and enter ID code 19167

Other candidates for the Presidency include Kevin Gaudet and John Snobelen.

What are they teaching in school?

Concordia’s student newspaper on Movember (November 2011):

The whole ‘Movember’ thing is cute and all, but can we stop and be real about it for a second? Movember is a movement to celebrate North American guys not practicing basic facial hygiene for a month in order to raise money towards saving a group of extremely privileged people—themselves.

Yes, if Movember was to raise money for people in third-world countries, for illiterate people, or homeless people, or for anything but what it is—which is privileged guys pretending they have it as hard as people with real problems—then it might come close to approaching something vaguely resembling worthwhile.

Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that, as far as cancers go, prostate cancer is not much of a cancer.

Flashback to Carleton 2008:

The Carleton University Students’ Association has voted to drop a cystic fibrosis charity as the beneficiary of its annual Shinearama fundraiser, supporting a motion that argued the disease is not “inclusive” enough.

Cystic fibrosis “has been recently revealed to only affect white people, and primarily men” said the motion read Monday night to student councillors, who voted almost unanimously in favour of it.

Queen’s University, 2006 (Toronto Star):

Queen’s University, one of Canada’s most academically elite schools, admits it has allowed a “culture of whiteness” to take root that fails to welcome visible minority students and professors.

And the university vows to be more aggressive in shedding its reputation as a tony enclave of white privilege, says vice-principal Patrick Deane.

State of Twitter

Treasury Board President Tony Clement recently remarked that Twitter is important in the public policy process. The Parry Sound-Muskoka MP has discovered its utility in his own branding; he is often cited by Hill reporters and other observers alike as the politician making the most sincere effort at using the medium to engage with the political twittersphere.

But are they his constituents? In politics, anyone who has skillfully run a successful election campaign will tell you that there are two main objectives: finding out who would vote for your candidate (voter ID) and getting these identified voters to actually vote (get out the vote). Does Twitter do either of these things?

To be sure, Twitter’s strength is in amplification. Like blogging in the middle of the last decade, the average elector is not getting their news from Twitter but those that pen the articles that this elector reads, are consuming as many tweets as they can. Twitter’s political strength in terms of votes is changing the direction of discussion among opinion leaders and those that set the narrative.

During the last Ontario provincial campaign, PC, Liberal and NDP war rooms took to Twitter often with inconsequential results. Mid-level war room staffers in their early 20s tweeting about smart-metering and tax cuts on home heating came off as insincere. Reporters had already flagged and dismissed many of these partisans as just that and if the staffers were unknown quantities, they were largely unsearched, non-retweeted and thus unamplified. Better to spend one’s time knocking on doors or making phone calls to identify hard constituent data rather than the pseudonymous. Politically, Twitter is better used to challenge preconceptions. This is done most effectively when the source is trusted and high value. And as with anything else social, authenticity matters.

Watching the Canadian twittersphere for any length of time it is easy to see that its participants mostly lean left. In the United States, one can see that a good number lean right. Why is this so? When the champion of one’s ideology occupies the government pulpit, the megaphone of office is sufficient for many. However, getting the message out in opposition is always a challenge. When mainstream options aren’t available, creative use of alternative methods becomes a necessity. When in opposition, partisans will occupy alternative media. It was true for the Canadian Conservative blogosphere when the Conservatives were in opposition; it is true of this country’s Progressive twittersphere today.

Another theory may also prove supplementarily useful. It is no secret to us conservatives that engagement with non-political but ideologically-aligned people remains one of our greatest challenges; most of our people just want to be left alone. For the left, solutions to grievances are rooted in state solutions. For the right, most look to themselves or families for answers. Advocacy and appeal for government solutions (or criticism for a lack of them) is typical of the left. There are right-wingers on Twitter, however, as citizens who look outside government for solutions, they are more likely tweeting about the hockey game or Dancing With The Stars than about the merit of cuts coming from Clement’s office. Further, Twitter is more likely to be used by younger people and by those with more free time (students and the unemployed). These demographics are also more likely dependent on — and seek fulfillment from — government assistance.

The result? Twitter viewed politically has a leftward bias in Canada. For better or worse, that’s just the way it is. For truly social-media savvy reporters, this bias is understood rather than taken as a true cross-section of Canadian life. Twitter does provide an exciting new medium for direct participation and feedback in our democracy. However, taken as a poll, it is an incomplete picture. If Twitter were reflective of reality, it would have been nationalized as a strategic resource long ago.