Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Monday, September 26, 2011

Laying Waste - Week 21 - Sept 19-26

It's the first week back in Parliament and Stephen Harper isn't even thereHe is busy in New York trying to prove that he is relevant on the international stage with his comments on Palestine.  He even earned a thank-you from Israel.

He also took some time to talk about the Keystone pipeline, and explained that it should be a "no brainer" for the US to approve it.  He's right.  Why wouldn't the US want a pipeline that magically gets filled with our raw, un-processed oil products?  Why would we agree to do this for them?  This is crazy, for so many reasons.  "Ethical Oil" and all that.  On a similar note, the Saudis are getting a little bit tired about the whole thing and the Canadian Government proves that they're nothing more than an industry mouthpiece.

First on the agenda, the Omnibus Crime Bill.  Stats Canada just revealed that our crime rates are the lowest that they've been since the 1970's.  Sounds like a good time to announce sweeping "fixes".  There's a good editorial here.

As well, the Tories have announced a $20-Million dollar contract (or $90,000 a day,as the Globe puts it) to "save money".  They didn't really follow standard government tendering protocols either.  Sometimes you have to spend money to save money...so I won't be too critical.

The former Chief Statistician comes out swinging over the decision to scrap the mandatory long form census.  Pssh.  Experts.  What do they know?  I mean...this guy probably only spent years in school and his entire career working on statistics and demographics, determining the best way to formulate a coherent picture of the make-up of our country so that we can best design government policy.  Why would his opinion matter?  More here and here.

Government waste doesn't count when it's your government doing the waste.  Apparently Peter Mackay used a search-and-rescue helicopter to fly home from a vacation at a remote fishing lodge.  But it's okay, because he was participating in a "search-and-rescue" demonstration.  A demonstration put together at the last minute.  At his request.  But he cut his vacation short because of it.  Oh...And a Challenger jet flight home on the same day.  I think Peter McKay is one of the better Conservatives out there...although it's kind of his fault we had the merger, isn't it?...it sounds like he had some support from military brass based on this link.  But it's still kind of stupid.

The Conservatives start to get serious on their talk about reducing/eliminating funding for the CBC.  I love that they go on Sun News to talk about it.

And speaking of dismantling...I don't really understand what the wheat board does.  I can wrap my head around the basics of why it might be desirable.  I can't for the life of me decide why somebody would put energy into getting rid of it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Final Quiet Week - Week 20 - Sept 12-19

It's kind of sad that it has taken this long for the Conservatives to "get down to business".  Week 21 will probably be a busy one.

Why is it always the Conservative politicians involved in sex scandals? (well, not always) And haven't they learned...never lie. You'll just get found out. Oh well. Harper, Baird and their buddy deserve what they get.  It's kind of ironic that one of Harper's only redeeming qualities (unflinching loyalty) could prove to cause him the most trouble.  China seems to be reading from the Stephen Harper playbook as well: Get angry at everybody else and deny that you've done anything wrong.  And then take your ball (person) home with you.

This is fairly direct evidence that "tough on crime" isn't that great of an idea.  And all you people upset that we haven't followed the UK's lead and immediately imprisoned all riot participants?  All those new prisoners has overwhelmed prisons and are leading to increased gang violence.  "Who cares if a bunch of prisoners beat up on each other?"  Well, they do have to leave prison at some point.  Your petty riot criminal is now a gang member with a taste for blood.  Like the seal on Arrested Development.

Just after September 11th is the perfect time to renew big brotheresque "anti-terror" laws and announce that, this time, they won't be going away.  There will be no sunset clauses in our next batch of police state laws.

It seems like the short form census participation was good.  But no word on the long form yet.  The short form is still mandatory, right?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Islamicism - Comin' to get us all - Week 19 - Sept 6-12

Oh Stephen. "The major threat to Canada is still islamicism"? Is that even a word? According to this, I have a 1 in 650,000 chance of being killed by a terrorist attack (while travelling...which must dramatically increase the odds). I have a 1 in 56,000 chance of being struck by lightning. Doesn't that make lightning the major threat to Canada? Add in forest fires caused by lighting...geez...this lighting stuff sounds pretty bad.

Sticking with the terror theme, September 11th has cost Canada approximately $92 Billion (the US is at $1.1 Trillion). And counting. Which is a crazy amount of money. As a Slate article said (or something along these lines) "there's no question that we aren't safer...but at what cost?" I guess it's easier to slam the barn door shut and tell everybody they're going to die if they don't nail a few boards up on the outside as well. Wouldn't we be better off if we spent even a portion of this money on other things?

Since I wrote the above, Slate has taken it a step further. There's tonnes of questions raised by this article, but the basic point is that the cost/benefit ratio of terrorism security spending is a joke. And we'd save far more lives if we spent that money someplace else. As the headline says, "How many terrorism plots would we have to foil to jusity our current spending on homeland security? 1,667 Time Square-Style Attacks Every Year." It actually goes on to suggest that blindly spending this money is immoral.

And what better time than on the 10 year anniversary of a terrorist attack that didn't happen in this country to announce that you're planning on introducing legislation that will allow you to imprison people without a warrant and imprison people if they don't testify in your secret trial?

The Harper Government rears it's ugly head again. This article claims to cite a directive issued by the Privy Council Office to start using the label "The Harper Government". Unfortunately, it's no smoking gun, but a reference to an unseen "directive". Hopefully some direct proof comes out at some point.

Apparently we're re-hanging portraits of the Queen in our embassies. Which is just bizarre. We're going to hang Charles goofy mug all over the place when he takes over? And their justification for doing so (other nations hang a portrait of their "Head of State")...this is a pretty awesome takedown, showing that other Commonwealth nations do no such thing.

And here we go. The first vow to re-introduce Copyright Legislation...exactly as it was worded before (and couldn't get passed). This will make it an offense to remove digital locks on devices and media that you "own". Want to transfer all of your kindle books to another device?Well, you'd have to break the Amazon DRM and that would be illegal. iTunes albums? If it's one of the small number that aren't DRM'd, you're fine. Otherwise...illegal. Oh, you want to jailbreak your iPhone that you paid hundreds and hundreds of dollars for because you don't like the way Apple forces you to run things? No sir. That would be super illegal. But why attempt to work with people and hear their opinions when you don't really have to?

And more copyright, more Wikileaks. Wikileaks cables indicate what we suspected all along, Canada is in the pocket of the US when it comes to copyright legislation and cares a lot more about what the US Government thinks than about what Canadians think. Tony Clement urges the US to add us to a piracy watch list, and then the piracy watch list is ussed to justify copyright reform? That's just scandalous.

Lastly, the Conservatives get to work dismissing concerns as "Ridiculous". The problem? One of their MP's used his official parliamentary e-mail address to tell an employee of the official Chinese State Media that she "looks so cute" with her "cheeks puffed." John Baird thinks you're an idiot if you have a problem with this.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On Vacation - Week 18 - Aug 29-Sept6

It's been a slow week. I was on vacation. As well, it all seems to be about the Ontario election these days.

I had no idea that it was within the first 100 sitting days that the Conservatives planned on passing their Omnibus crime legislation. That's kind of cheating. It could be years before Parliament has sat for 100 days. Anyhow. People complaining that it does little to address victims of crime.

This...this is embarassing. A City Council report heaps blame onto the NHL for the Stanley Cup Riot. There's probably a grain of truth somewhere in there that the NHL should get more involved with helping avoid rioutous behaviour, but that's far different than accepting blame for the whole thing. This blog post makes some good points. And unfortunately, one report by city council, just like one riot by a bunch of assholes, tarnishes the entire cities reputation.