Friday, October 27, 2006

Eight years of the National Post

I posted earlier on today's most important birthday, but overlooked another important anniversary. The National Post is eight years old today (h/t: Paul Wells).

Congratulations to the editors and writers of the Post for providing the most interesting daily read in Canada. Without doubt, it is the best newspaper in Canada. The wide range of commentary and its balanced coverage, combined with its centre-right editorial perspective, make it unique in Canada -- it is a paper you can trust.

I've been a National Post subscriber since the beginning and keep the little acrylic tombstone with an encased replica of the front page of the inaugural edition I received on its launch on my bookcase. Fortunately, the paper is getting even better. They have been bulking up on their coverage of local Toronto issues, as well as sports, in a bid to become the only paper Torontonians need to read. If you are not reading it, try it out with a free 90-day trial subscription here.

Happy Birthday Kid!

It's hard to believe. My little baby is now a teenager. It certainly has been fun.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Not so scary

After all the talk about how scary Stephen Harper was in the last election, I figured we would be seeing lots of Stephen Harper costumes this Halloween. Somehow, I don't think this will be the case. Canadians don't find him all that scary.

Still, that hasn't stopped some from searching for a Stephen Harper mask. Too bad for her, I don't think she will find one. I was out shopping with my daughter for Halloween costumes yesterday at Malabar and while they had plenty of Frankenstein and George Bush masks, Stephen Harper didn't make the cut.

For those of you looking for other celebrity mask ideas for Halloween, check out Forbes. They've got masks for Kim Jong II, Stephen Colbert, Hugo Chavez and Katie Couric, among others, that you can print out and wear on Halloween. Now some of these guys are really scary.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Making a committment to the Toronto newspaper market

For the second time in a week, the National Post was not on my doorstep when I left for work this morning. Apparently, there was a "delay in production." This happens every couple of weeks and every time it happens, I buy a copy of the Globe and Mail to read on the subway to work since I can usually snag a copy of the Post at the office. This is not the way to run a newspaper.

The source of the problem seems to be that the National Post does not even have its own printing plant in its most important market. In an age of contracting out, that in itself, is not a problem. Many publications can be produced more efficiently at the specialized facilities of commercial printers. The issue for the National Post is that the newspaper is actually printed at the Toronto Star's production facilities. So when there are production difficulties with the Toronto Star, the National Post gets bumped.

If the National Post is to make a credible committment to the Toronto market, it must have first claim on a printing press. It cannot play second fiddle to a competitor publication to the detriment of its subscribers. In the process, it would quickly lay to rest recurring rumours of its impending demise.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Beryl Wajsman's Civil Conservatism

Back in May 2005, I wrote about Beryl Wajsman in an article entitled An Honest Liberal? At the time, Wajsman had achieved a certain notoriety as one of the lunch guests at Chez Frank when an envelope of cash was passed by advertising executive Jean Brault to a Liberal Party worker. Although Wajsman was later vindicated by Gomery, Paul Martin kicked him out of the Liberal Party all the same. The action, however, was redundant. Wajsman had already quit the party in disgust.

Since that time, Wajsman has not faded into the woodwork. He keeps up a whirlwind pace writing commentary for the Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal of which he is president, started Barricades Magazine of which he is the publisher and hosts The Last Angry Man on Montreal’s 940 AM.

Wajsman's latest essay On Civil Conservatism is reprinted on The Conservative Voice. It is well worth the read.

Wajsman eloquently describes the inevitable descent of "industrial liberalism" into illiberalism:

It has been an article of faith that appeasing almost every demand of populist "rights" was the course for electoral success. Little thought was given to the legitimate limits of government intrusion. Less still to the efficacy of the policies proposed. Today's experiment always trumped yesterday's experience.

It has resulted in an international retreat from reason in the face of a galloping excess of license. A license which not only threatens the economic viability of western nations, but has created a feckless and frivolous citizenry dependant on government largesse whose apathy compromises the most basic and cherished constitutional liberties through the verdicts of illiberal democracy returning government after government based on the lowest common denominator of greed.

In its place, Wajsman posits a civil conservatism which stands as a bulwark against the intrusions of the state:

The essence of civil conservatism lies in the belief that the organization of a commonweal is essential for the promotion of those qualities of co-operation and compassion without which the challenges of human existence would find even the most powerful among us quite desolate. That these nobler inclinations of man must triumph over our coarser instincts of competition and contempt so that we can continue our incontrovertible ascent from the jungles of barbarism.

However, though intuitively democratic, the civil conservative understands the need to restrain illiberal government intrusions with the bridle of constitutional liberty. That society exists to provide each of us with the just consideration to realize the full flower of our individual humanity. And the requisite freedom to express that humanity in our singular poetry and passions.

Read the rest. It is a philosophy to which I could easily subscribe. I like this guy.

Friday, October 13, 2006

As Jan Wong was saying...

From the Montreal Gazette:

Separatists oppose anglo superhospital

The Gazette

Published: Friday, October 13, 2006

A coalition of separatists wants the province to abandon plans for an English-language superhospital in Montreal.

The group says the government is wasting at least $3.6 billion by building two large hospitals. One of the sites is to be affiliated with the McGill University Health Centre and the other with the French-language Universite de Montreal.

The coalition says it's wrong to provide equal funding to the hospitals when a majority of McGill medical graduates leave Quebec to practise in Ontario or the U.S. It says the McGill version should receive only 12 per cent of the total budget, reflecting the percentage of anglophones in Montreal.

And La Presse:

Réflexe de l'homogénéité

Pour Mme Ollivier, les promesses de diversité dans la représentation du Parti québécois sont restées lettre morte. «Malheureusement, force est de constater que dans toutes les circonscriptions prenables, le vieux réflexe de l'homogénéité joue encore.»

Pour elle, «les candidatures annoncées dans les bonnes circonscriptions appartiennent toutes à la majorité démographique et des personnes de talent sont reléguées à des circonscriptions difficiles et peu favorables.»

Forest industry in crisis

Our sanctimony about the Americans telling us what to do with our forests during the softwood lumber dispute seems to have been misplaced. In our pique with the Americans, we missed the opportunity to reform the way we allocate timber on public lands. As it turns out, the Americans were right. Our timber allocation system is dysfunctional. Eastern Canadian forest workers are now paying the price.

The biggest reason Eastern Canada's forest industry has lost almost every comparative advantage it ever enjoyed -- and there used to be many -- is politics. Governments have managed our forests to maximize jobs and minimize efficiency. The inherent risk of such a strategy is that eventually there are almost no jobs left to maximize.

With a softwood lumber agreement now in place, it is time to focus on developing a timber allocation system that responds to market signals rather than defies them. It might not be enough to head off future trade disputes with the United States, but it might help save some of the jobs we have left in the sector.

Backroom Liberal white guys

Warren already caught this one, but it bears repeating: they're all white guys.