Thursday, September 28, 2006

Voting with their feet

Nothing makes me more sceptical than a consensus, particularly in regards to Quebec. So after the drubbing Jan Wong received for her infamous article on the Dawson shootings, I decided to investigate a little further. The fact that both Premier Charest and PM Harper have also piled on makes me doubly suspicious.

This is the passage that seems to offend almost everyone:

What many outsiders don't realize is how alienating the decades-long linguistic struggle has been in the once-cosmopolitan city. It hasn't just taken a toll on long-time anglophones, it's affected immigrants, too. To be sure, the shootings in all three cases were carried out by mentally disturbed individuals. But what is also true is that in all three cases, the perpetrator was not pure laine, the argot for a “pure” francophone. Elsewhere, to talk of racial “purity” is repugnant. Not in Quebec.

Now it is true that Montreal is more "cosmopolitan" in terms of its ethnic diversity than it once was. Still, relative to Toronto, Montreal has a long way to go. In 2001, visible minorities – the group that Dawson killer Kimveer Gill's family would be considered part of – comprised 13.6% of the population in the Montreal CMA, compared to 36.8% in Toronto. But linguistically it is another story as English is being progressively erased from the face and working life of the city.

What Wong really seems to be probing, however clumsily, is the place that those who are not part of the francophone majority have in Quebec society today. It is certainly foolish to presume that this "otherness" is a driving factor behind the horrendous acts of Kimveer Gill, Marc Lépine or Valery Fabrikant. But is it really so farfetched to suggest that this might be a contributing element to their alienation?

What I find particularly troublesome about Wong's critics is the fact that her hypothesis is dismissed out of hand. They directly attack her, not her arguments. Even Denise Bombardier, a so-called moderate, said something to the effect that Wong had the right to say something stupid. Some defense.

The tendency to circle the wagons on the part of the Quebec intelligentsia whenever someone dares question Quebec is well known. Yet what credibility do a bunch of white francophone journalists, politicians and community leaders, with the odd token, fluently-bilingual anglo or ethnic thrown in for good measure, have when discussing how the province's minorities might feel about their place in Quebec?

To listen to them, Globe and Mail journalists such as Jan Wong or Margaret Wente hate Quebec. They are even accused of fomenting separatist sentiment in the province. But as they ask how could they say such spiteful things, they are oblivious to the fact that they are effectively proving Wong's point. If they are so easily offended by what a Toronto journalist might write, imagine how anglophones and non-francophone immigrants in Quebec might feel when they see their francophone neighbours sporting pins with the slogan "le Québec aux Québécois" or chanting such at the St-Jean Baptiste festivities on June 24th.

Eventually the message gets through. For his part, Jacques Parizeau's outrageous outburst on referendum night about "ethnics and money" was totally redundant. It was already painfully clear that his little country did not include them.

Behind all this psychobabble, though, is one real fact. If English-speakers in Quebec have little or no cause to feel marginalized, then why do they continue to leave the province in large numbers? While Quebec elites feign indignation, English-speaking Quebecers are voting with their feet and leaving the province.
The number of people claiming English as their mother tongue in Quebec dropped more than 25% from 1971 to 2001. Over the same period, the total population of Quebec increased by 20.5%. In light of this apparent demographic mystery, perhaps a little more introspection about the society Quebecers want to build is in order.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

West Toronto Conservative Pub Night Tonight

You are invited to

The West Toronto Conservative
Pub Night

at the
Dark Horse Pub

2401 Bloor Street West

Thursday, September 21st
7.00 PM start

The Dark Horse pub is located about half a block east of Jane Street on the south side of Bloor. Click here for a map of the location.

Blogging Tories, CPC members and fellow travellers are all welcome. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Wal-Mart not organic enough for its critics

Wal-Mart's entry into the natural food business promises to lower organic food prices for consumers. Yet not everyone is happy. It seems that Wal-mart is not organic enough for its critics despite legitimizing the market and fueling growth for products such as organic milk.

Activist groups, as well as some organic food retailers and dairies, contend that the company where Wal-Mart and the other big retailers get their milk operates large factory farms that are diluting the principles of organic agriculture and delivering customers a substandard product. They argue that Aurora’s cows do not spend any significant time roaming pastures and eating fresh grass; instead they live on a diet high in grains.


The controversy turns on how closely Aurora adheres to the principles behind the organic food movement. Many organic farmers say grass feeding is essential for organic dairy production because it is part of a cow’s natural behavior.

Andrew Potter notes the absurdity of it all.

Natural behaviour? Cows aren’t natural entities. Like dogs, they’re completely artificial. They’re basically living meat sculptures, shaped by humans, for human purposes, over thousands of years. Besides, who cares whether what they eat is part of their natural behaviour? You’re going to drink their milk. Once you’ve decided that you’re willing to swallow whatever comes out of a cow’s udder, you’ve pretty much abandoned any high ground on the “natural behaviour” front.

I, for one, applaud Wal-Mart's expansion into natural foods if it means I no longer have to set foot in an over-priced "health food" store again. That's a healthy development in my book.

Does the Toronto Star know about this?

I find it rather hard to believe that the Toronto Star missed this one:

Stephen Harper's "Quisling" government pursues further talks for U.S. take-over of Canada

by Don Nordin

September 16, 2006
The Canadian

Media organization elites cover-up the biggest scandal in Canadian history

What would you think if it was announced that Canada was to cease as an independent country as early as 2007? Would it matter to you? Would you want to know who was responsible? What would you do?

Well, during the last week there have been announcements from at least two sources that Canada will soon cease to exist as a sovereign country.

Fortunately, Google didn't. Now where can I get a gun?

Captain Capitalism to the rescue

In a similar vein to Kate's advice on how to talk to your lefty friends about guns, Captain Capitalism comes to the rescue with the antidote to leftist conspiracy theories REALITY.
Are you sick and tired of the other kids on the block regurgitating their bumper sticker sound bytes about how Bush orchestrated the drop in oil prices for the election?

Tired of stupid, brainwashed leftist whiners going out of their way to abandon all rational thinking and logic so they can get their jollies off of subscribing to outlandish conspiracy theories?

Sickened by the utter hypocrisy of socialists who will disregard the pursuit of the truth and the well-being of the nation in order to make themselves feel like intellectuals and espouse ridiculous levels of stupidity?

Well, sit there in utter silence with your jaw on the floor as you cannot comprehend their stupidity no more when you hit them buck-side the back of their head with…(dun dun DUUUUNNNNN!)

Captain Capitalism’s REALITY!

I think he's on to something.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Keeping track of your favourite blogs with Google Reader

Checking my logs earlier today, I noticed a referral from and clicked the link to find out what it was. Is it every cool.

Google Reader is exactly what I have been looking for. It provides one convenient place to track recent blog posts from all my favourite bloggers. Some bloggers, like me, tend to blog sporadically and often don't post for days. I am especially gratified that someone appears to have added my blog to their Google reading list.

Google Reader is perfect for keeping on top of posts by bloggers like me. Sure, I know RSS readers do the same thing. But they are not very easy to configure and require a high level of geekiness. My Yahoo (which is what I currently use) has the ability to integrate rudimentary RSS feeds into its content, but for some reason the links are always out of date.

Give Google Reader a try. I think you will like it. To get you started, you can add Nice Comfy Fur to your reading list by clicking this link.

She's baaaaaack!

Now we know why Sylvia Watson took an unpaid leave of absence from her post as city councillor for Ward 14. Just in case she lost the Parkdale-High Park by-election, she'd have a job to go back to. How convenient.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Decency prevails in Parkdale-High Park by-election

Congratulations to NDP candidate Cheri DiNovo, the winner of yesterday's provincial by-election in the riding of Parkdale-High Park. It was a tough and dirty campaign.

A lot was riding on this by-election for Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty. Too much it seems. The decision to play dirty cost his government dearly.

Fortunately, Parkdale-High Park voters rejected the desperate attempt by the Liberals to reverse their slide with a campaign of obloquy and innuendo. Instead, the decision to play dirty vaulted DiNovo into the limelight. Disgusted by Liberal tactics, many voters stayed home or switched their vote to the NDP. Curiously, the 25 percentage point drop in the Liberal share of the vote from the previous election was precisely matched by a 25 point increase in the NDP's share.

Against this wave of sympathy, all the other parties could do was hold on. David Hutcheon, the PC candidate, eked out a 1 point increase in support from the previous election, while the Green Party flagbearer, Frank de Jong, slipped slightly.

In the end, the election was about decency, not about issues. Ultimately, though, decency did prevail.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

No walk in High Park

Kinsella is one of the best. His protests notwithstanding, his fingerprints (or those of one of his apprentices) are all over the smear job the Liberals have unleashed against NDP challenger Cheri DiNovo in tomorrow's provincial by-election in Parkdale-High Park. All it took was a well-planted tip to a Liberal blogger and an innocent-looking link on Warren's blog on September 6th. After that, the despicable innuendo spread like wild fire in a drought.

There is little doubt the McGuinty Liberals are desperate to win tomorrow. But despite Gerard Kennedy's phenomenal 16,572 vote lead over the second-place PC candidate in the 2003 election, the polls are obviously not going so well. The election will certainly be no walk in High Park for the Liberals. Hence the call to Kinsella and his ilk to "kick ass" to make the best of a bad situation.

Now good people might like to think that such dirty tactics don't work. But sadly, they often do. Even one of our own has taken the bait.

In my opinion, Sylvia Watson's campaign tactics are toxic and demonstrate an astounding lack of judgment. Although likely a pawn of her campaign team, which has been directed from the highest levels of the McGuinty government, I do not think she can ever be an effective MPP for Parkdale-High Park after all this. Moreover, whatever her strengths as a municipal politician, she simply does not deserve to win.

In last night's debate. Watson's performance was pathetic. I expected a much stronger performance. She is obviously feeling the pressure and appeared very uncomfortable. Not surprisingly, she was particularly evasive in answering questions on integrity and honesty, even dredging up broken promises by the NDP in 1990 and Mike Harris in 1995. I'm surprised she didn't go back even farther, say, to John Robarts or Leslie Frost.

While I may not agree with many of Cheri DiNovo's policies, she appears to be a woman of integrity and strong character. She performed admirably and with dignity in the debate. We could do worse if she wins. If this really is a two-way race between the Liberals and the NDP, it is because DiNovo's profile has been significantly raised as a result of the Liberal smear campaign.

David Hutcheon, the Progressive Conservative candidate, was apparently a victim himself of vicious dirty tricks (subscription required) in the 1997 Toronto municipal election, which NDP candidate David Miller ultimately won. He gallantly defended DiNovo against Liberal smears. Hutcheon has a strong record of community service, notably in spearheading the clean up of the Humber River, and is a moderate. The Tories have come in second in the last two elections. Hutcheon is very much a contender in this election.

Tomorrow, I will be voting for David Hutcheon. He will make an excellent MPP for Parkdale-High Park. Let's just hope that Warren Kinsella strikes out this time.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ghosts for Sylvia Watson

Much has already been said about the despicable tactics to which Sylvia Watson's campaign boosters have stooped to give her an edge in the upcoming Parkdale-High Park provincial byelection.

But putting up scores of signs in front of abandoned buildings slated for demolition smacks of pure desparation.

None of these buildings along Oakmount Road, Bloor Street West and Pacific Avenue are presently occupied. Perhaps ghosts have been requesting signs on Watson's web site. Or maybe overzealous campaign workers are putting up signs wherever they please. Don't tell me it's payback from a developer friend.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A nation of students

American parents consider the Honda Civic a good first car to buy for their children:
Even though many parents and children are divided over a teenager's first car, the Honda Civic is the happy compromise, according to a survey by Kelley Blue Book.

While the top choice for drivers ages 16 to 25 is a Ford Mustang, 34 per cent would be happy to roll onto campus in a Honda Civic, the top selection among parents at 43 per cent.

Here in Canada, the Civic again heads the list of the most popular passenger car for all Canadians.
On year-to-date sales to the end of June, the top ten in order were the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Toyota Yaris, Chevrolet Cobalt, Ford Focus, Pontiac Pursuit, Toyota Camry, Toyota Matrix and Chevrolet Impala.

Notably, these cars, with the exception of the Camry (8th) and the Impala (10th), are all sub-compacts and compacts.

By contrast, the most popular passenger car in the United States is the mid-sized Toyota Camry.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New couple on the Bloq

Jack and Olivia are not the only couple in Parliament. Maka Kotto, Bloc Québecois MP for Saint-Lambert, and Caroline St-Hilaire, BQ MP for the neighbouring riding of Longueuil/Pierre-Boucher, have officially announced their status as a couple, a relationship which had been rumoured for months.

The two MPs were reportedly in Africa last year, missing the crucial June 28th vote on same-sex marriage while outside of the country. Kotto, an actor before being elected to parliament, was in Africa for the filming of Un dimanche à Kigali, a film on the genocide in Rwanda. He refused to explain his absence to his constituents at the time.

The fact that Kotto actually missed an important parliamentary vote to play a role in a film is all the more ironic given recent comments by Gilles Duceppe (summary only for non-subscribers) ridiculing André Arthur, Independent MP from Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, for working on the side. Duceppe should think twice before throwing rocks in his glass house.