Monday, June 30, 2008

British invade Plains of Abraham again

This time they're invited.

Paul McCartney sera sur les Plaines d'Abraham le 20 juillet

L'ex-Beatle Paul McCartney offrira un spectacle à Québec le 20 juillet prochain pour les fêtes du 400e.

La nouvelle a été confirmée lundi après-midi par les organisateurs des fêtes du 400e, qui ont pris soin de préciser qu'il s'agira d'un concert gratuit pour lequel il n'y aura pas de distribution de billets, contrairement au spectacle de Céline Dion.

Le musicien en sera à sa première performance au Canada depuis 2005.

Il s'agira également de sa seule présence sur le continent américain cette année.

On peut déjà prédire qu'il s'agira d'un des événements les plus courus de l'été dans la capitale.

You can watch Paul's announcement here.

The Conservatives did the right thing in bringing in Daniel Gélinas to get Quebec's 400th anniversary celebrations back on track. Nice work Daniel.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Green Grift

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation asks which came first, the SHIFT or the SHAFT? If Stéphane Dion gets away with this little confidence game, we'll be calling it the GRIFT.

A “carbon tax” in the style of Mr. Dion’s, which shields many people altogether from the price impact by various mechanisms, has nothing whatsoever to do with the Pigovian taxes economists favour as a response to negative externalities. It’s simply another way of picking and choosing.

What is more truly dear to Liberal hearts, we suspect, is the redistributive fashion in which the returned revenue from the carbon pricing will be used to re-jig the income tax system.


But the Liberals, in cutting the lowest tax bracket the most, and the highest not at all, are actually proposing to raise the already high marginal tax rates on upper-middle-class Canadians. And they’re not only writing cheques to rural dwellers to make sure they don’t belong to the carbon-priced class with us city folk; they’ll also be increasing the Northern exemption, creating another group that has non-negotiable “higher requirements” for pollution.

Will Canadians play willing marks to Stéphane's redistributive grift? Let's hope not.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Dion: Playing God with the Market

The ultimate conceit of the modern liberal is that he knows better than the market. Thus it is little surprise that a recent fundraising letter for Stéphane Dion would make a statement like this:

Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion recently asked Canadians to take part in an open and honest debate about shifting taxes from things we want more of, to things we want less of.

Really? And all this time I thought the market was doing that. If I want something, I spend my money on it. If I don't want it, I leave it on the shelf.

But Stéphane Dion has a better idea. He wants us to spend our money on what he wants, not what we want. And he'll raise taxes until we get it right.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Courting copyright controversy

This is dumb. Really dumb.

If the reports are true, I'll be tearing up my CPC membership card. I can't believe Harper could be so stupid.

After months of delays and speculation, the federal government is set to unveil its controversial update to the Copyright Act of Canada Thursday.

According to a press release, Industry Minister Jim Prentice and Heritage Minister Josée Verner are set to introduce the legislation during the morning Parliamentary session. Both ministers will deliver brief statements and answer media inquiries shortly after the tabling of a bill to amend the Copyright Act.

Reports have also indicated that the two ministers will unveil the Copyright Act under the slogan "Made In Canada Copyright Reform" during a scheduled press conference.

The new Copyright Act has been updated to reflect the growth of digital media and is said to include a number of contentious provisions including:

-- A $500 fine for each illegal file shared online

-- Making it illegal to unlock cellphones or copy music from protected CDs to iPods

-- Forbidding the right to copy "time shifted" shows onto personal video recorders if flagged by broadcasters.

While this might make Hollywood and Big Media happy, they don't vote. Once consumers realize that the content they just purchased has been locked down, they will be furious.

The Conservatives are going to take a big hit for this. Watch the sparks fly.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Are Blogging Tories careerist conformists?

I've just about given up on reading any left-leaning blog. As Jay points out, orthodoxy is the rule on the left. There is very little real debate going on.

What makes things interesting on the right is that there is a debate. And it is a respectful one. While a liberal tends to heap nothing but condescension on the socon perspective, for the most part, a libertarian conservative attempts to integrate any differences into a world view that accommodates them. At the same time, socons seem to recognize libertarians as sympathetic allies, even though they sometimes suggest that the libertarian approach to social issues is responsible for many of society's ills.

The tension between the two "conservative" perspectives is healthy and makes for some lively debate. And, surprisingly, it often leads to common ground.

That said, I am puzzled as to why some make a punching bag out of the Blogging Tories. It is undoubtedly true that many of the bloggers on the BT blogroll are careerist cheerleaders for the Conservative Party. But what do you expect?

A little more variety would certainly lead me to visit more. I think traffic is down for that reason as I do not get nearly as many referrals from the site as I used to. However, many of the good blogs I have in my RSS feed were initially discovered there, including Kathy Shaidle, Ezra Levant, Gerry Nicholls and Dust My Broom.

Stephen Taylor (and Craig) deserve our thanks for creating Blogging Tories. I am not aware of any attempts by Stephen to censor any blogger on the BT blogroll. So far, he seems to have resisted strong pressures to play that role. I think Garth left voluntarily.

In fact, Taylor actually encourages contrary viewpoints. I talked to him once about a post I was working on that was critical of the government and he encouraged me to write it. He's no dummy. He knows controversy drives traffic.

Still, I wish the Blogging Tories could be less conformist and think for themselves from time to time. Minority or not, the only way to get the Harper government away from its Liberal-lite speaking points is to expose it to some critical attention. We are bloggers, not cabinet ministers. Hence, we can't get kicked out of the cabinet for not toeing the line. After all, isn't that why most of us blog?