Sunday, May 31, 2009

Climate Change Profiteers

Lawrence Solomon exposes the fraudulent nature of carbon trading and all the "cap and trade" scams alike in his National Post article:
The climate-change industry — the scientists, lawyers, consultants, lobbyists and, most importantly, the multinationals that work behind the scenes to cash in on the riches at stake — has emerged as the world’s largest industry. Virtually every resident in the developed world feels the bite of this industry, often unknowingly, through the hidden surcharges on their food bills, their gas and electricity rates, their gasoline purchases, their automobiles, their garbage collection, their insurance, their computers purchases, their hotels, their purchases of just about every good and service, in fact, and finally, their taxes to governments at all levels.

These extractions do not happen by accident. Every penny that leaves the hands of consumers does so by design, the final step in elaborate and often brilliant orchestrations of public policy, all the more brilliant because the public, for the most part, does not know who is profiteering on climate change, or who is aiding and abetting the profiteers.

Some of the climate-change profiteers are relatively unknown corporations; others are household names with only their behind-the-scenes role in the climate-change industry unknown. Over the next few weeks, in an extended newspaper series, you will become familiar with some of the profiteers, and with their machinations. This series begins with Enron, a pioneer in the climate-change industry.

Almost two decades before President Barack Obama made “cap-and-trade” for carbon dioxide emissions a household term, an obscure company called Enron — a natural-gas pipeline company that had become a big-time trader in energy commodities — had figured out how to make millions in a cap-and-trade program for sulphur dioxide emissions, thanks to changes in the U.S. government’s Clean Air Act. To the delight of shareholders, Enron’s stock price rose rapidly as it became the major trader in the U.S. government’s $20-billion a year emissions commodity market.
Another article that makes it clear that it's all about money, not about climate change or "global warming". Not sure if we'll ever see the perpetrators of this fraud on trial, but if ordinary people realize that this is all a scam and stop mentioning "environment" as their top concern when polled, we can look forward for the politicians to abandon the issue and stop wasting our money on all those green scams.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

But What If They Are Wrong?

Here's a great essay; and a great question that is always worth asking:
What if you're wrong? We never seem to ask that question any more, do we? Just think of all of the problems we wouldn't have if someone had just taken the time to consider that option.

You see, all wrong action begins with wrong thinking. The prison inmate never thought he'd get caught. The teenage girl never thought she would get pregnant. The business man never expected one trip to the bar would ruin his marriage. Wrong thought leads to wrong action.

Look where this stinkin' thinkin' has gotten us. How have we become so easily bound by the advice of “experts?” I thought Bill O’Reilly was looking out for us.

Un-wed young women abort their babies because:
  • Their parents won't understand.
  • They can't afford a child right now.
  • A baby will mess up their future plans.
  • It is merely a blob of tissue.
  • An abortion won't affect them in the future.
But what if you are wrong?
...
Separating Christianity from our government is a good thing because:
  • You can't legislate morality.
  • No one should tell another person what is right or wrong.
  • "Under God" means all religions deserve equal exposure.
  • America was not founded as a Christian nation.
  • Muslims and Christians worship the same God.
But what if you are wrong?
...
It is best for the judges to make the decisions that change America because:
  • We aren’t smart enough to understand what “Congress shall make no law” means.
  • The Constitution is a living breathing document.
  • Spiritual education is harmful to children but sex education is not.
  • They have studied foreign law instead of the outdated US Constitution.
  • They aren’t bound by the “laws of nature” and of “nature’s God.”
But what if they are wrong?
And there are a lot more examples like that. All I can say is - well said!

Friday, May 29, 2009

At Least There Will Be No "Corren Agreements" In Alberta"... For Now...

Too bad the Wildrose Alliance didn't win any seats in the Alberta legislature, so we don't have a right-wing opposition to the governing PCs. As result, Alberta bill 44, that amends the province's human rights legislation delivers very little to those who support traditional values and freedom of speech.

The latter wasn't even included in the bill. An initiative to rein in the province's "human rights" commissions by amending (if not repealing) Section 3 of the Alberta Human Rights Act, initially proposed by the Minister of Culture and Community Spirit, Lindsay Blackett, was stamped out by the Premier. But even the parental rights clause, one that would ensure that parents could exempt their children from controversial curriculum, wasn't passed in its original form.

Following fierce filibustering from the opposition, the clause ended up being reworded to exclude classroom discussions. So, if a teacher tricks the class into a discussion that (completely unexpectedly) turns into a scene of massive public condemnation of certain "narrow-minded" students - none of those protections will apply.

At the same time, the provisions that enshrine the so called "sexual orientation" in the province's human rights laws, (instead of just leaving it as a court-mandated "read in", as it's been for 11 years or so,) remain intact. With all the commotion over the parental rights clause, it was barely noticeable that, while failing to protect the freedom of expression, the government of Alberta has chosen to give full legitimation to the courts' usurped right to alter laws as they please by "reading in" stuff that shouldn't have been there.

Oh, well, at least with the parental rights clause in, there will be no "Corren agreements" in Alberta. For now. Until unelected and unaccountable activist judges strike down the parental rights clause and "read in" compulsory "social justice" classes that would indoctrinate kids into leftist ideology.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Senate Reform — Third Attempt

A government bill to set fixed term limits for Senators has been reintroduced in the Upper Chamber as bill S-7.

The bill proposes restricting Senate tenure to a single 8-year term, unless a Senator attains the age of 75 earlier. A Senator whose term got interrupted (e.g., one who chose to resign and run for a seat in the Commons,) could be summoned again for the reminder of his term. The term limit would only apply to the Senators appointed after the 2008 Federal election. For those 18 of them that have been already appointed, the 8 year term officially begins on the day S-7 becomes law.

The only thing that the new bill doesn't address is the method by which the Senators are selected. So we'll once again have the opposition arguing that if the bill passes in its current form, then a Prime Minister that stays in power for 8 years or longer, gets to reappoint every single Senator. In my opinion, there should be an amendment that would either delay the coming to force of this bill until the Senators are elected or compel the House of Commons to introduce and pass the Senate Elections bill by a certain deadline, if not both.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

So It's Ok For The Liberals To Label Conservatives "Un-Canadian"...

But when the Conservatives use the Liberals' own tactic against them - they are being blasted for using "attack ads" and "negative campaigning".
Not a fan of government monopoly health care? You're un-Canadian. Not big on easy unemployment benefits, official bilingualism, dismantling our military, beggaring our economy in the name of environmentalism, coddling criminals, huge public debts, activist judges, multiculturalism, foreign investment reviews, national energy policies and so on? Shame on you for being so un-Canadian.

Now the Tories are using the Liberals' own tactic against them and the Grits are sputtering with indignation.
...
The big problem for the Liberals is that the Tory ads, while exaggerated, are largely true: Mr. Ignatieff left the country, more or less permanently, in the 1970s, lived away most of his adult life and showed no intention of returning until he was seduced back by the idea of becoming Liberal leader in 2005.

While he was away, Canada seems barely to have crossed his mind. For instance, in The New York Times, where he wrote opinion pieces for a time, he referred to "we" Americans.
And, if we're talking about attack ads - then what do you think it this? A defense ad?
Aired in the weekend preceding the 2004 election, the ad led to a massive swing from the NDP and the Bloc back to the Liberals. Yes, believe it or not, it was nothing but attack ads and negative campaigning that kept the Liberals in power back in 2004.

Just three days before the election, both major parties were neck in neck in the polls, and a Conservative minority was predicted. (With almost no support in Quebec, Conservatives votes, roughly equal in number to the Liberal ones, would have spread over fewer ridings, winning more seats.) But then came the "two-minute-hate" attack ad against Harper and hoopla - the Liberals gain 6 points (5 from the NDP, 1 from the Bloc) and we're stuck with them for 19 more months. Talking about "attack ads never work" and "negative campaign is unacceptable"...
The funniest thing in Canadian politics is not that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and his merry little band of Grit-heads believe they have a divine right to portray Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives as planet-destroying, war-mongering, medicare-gutting, women-hating, Bible-thumping, knuckle-dragging, bigots.

Nor is it their plaintive cries of "Oh, unfair!" when Harper responds in kind.
...
Recently, there has been much media venting of spleen over Harper daring to run a "negative attack ad," reminding Canadians that (a) Ignatieff stepped briefly outside the country ... for over 30 years (b) referred to himself as an American and (c) returned to Canada to become prime minister.

Uh... why is that an "attack ad?"
Sure, I'd rather see a positive ad; one that actually says "vote Conservative", rather than "don't vote Liberal". After all - when the Conservatives keep saying "don't vote Liberal" and the Liberals respond by saying "vote Liberal", we hear the word "Liberal" twice, while "Conservative" is never mentioned. But, as the 2004 election campaign has shown - you can't defend yourself with a cookie jar. If you want to win - you must be aggressive.

Another Credit Crisis Is On The Horizon

Consumer debt crisis threatens to be even worse than the sub-prime mortgage crisis that has plunged so many nations (including Canada) into recession and skyrocketing deficits.
VANCOUVER, B.C. - Canadians are getting deeper into debt and increasingly using credit to cover day-to-day living expenses, "a highly disturbing matter" that has pushed national household debt to $1.3 trillion, a new report shows.

The Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA) said debt levels - mainly mortgage and consumer borrowing in a period of low interest rates - increased 6.8 per cent at the end of 2008, and have climbed another six per cent so far this year.

"It just keeps swelling," said Rock Lefebvre, vice-president of research at the CGA.
...
"Anecdotally we keep hearing a lot of stories about people who are being more frugal ... but I would argue that, based on the numbers, we aren't seeing people tightening their belts as much as suggested," Lefebvre said, adding that debt has been rising 5.5 per cent annually over the past decade.
...
Of the $1.3 trillion in debt weighing down Canadians, Lefebvre said $900 billion is from mortgages - reflecting the rising costs of housing in many parts of the country - and $400 billion from general consumer debt.
So what are we going to do when consumer debt catches up with the Gross Domestic Product, and then exceeds it? What will be left of our financial sector when at least a million households can no longer afford to make even the minimum payments on their debts? How will our economy overcome $100B or more worth of personal bankruptcies? And what kind of recovery could we look forward for, once a large share of consumers is excluded from the credit market for at least seven years following the crisis?

I can already foresee such measures as tens of billions of bailout money for the banks, sharp devaluation of the currency (to reduce the face value of the outstanding debts,) a lot more deficit spending and more taxes for those who managed to stay debt-free, to ease the financial troubles of those who kept going shopping with the money that wasn't theirs.

But I'm afraid we're unlikely to see any steps towards a real reform of our sales-on-credit-driven economy. I doubt that any of the major parties considers even conducting a research, let alone - hosting an open forum on the economy, to see if we can have at least a fraction of our money supply created as a national dividend, rather than as a consumer's debt.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It's Time For The "No More Wasteful Spending" Rallies

Just a year ago, Jim Flaherty was ready to rein in spending and to keep the books balanced at all costs. Then came the attempted coup d'etat and the government chose to agree on a 2% ($34B) "stimulus" to appease the opposition. Now the "stimulus" deficit is about to swell to as much as $50B. That's just plain outrageous.
Take a look at this "no more taxes" rally from 1995. Thanks to those protests, then governing Liberals chose to suspend their tax and spend plans and adopted the Reform policy of zero deficit in 3 years. Sure they adopted it in a Liberal way, cutting essential services instead of reducing waste and dumping ideologically driven expenditures, but by 1998, the deficit was gone and the taxes started going down. Angry taxpayers' protests had made the difference. Now, it's time for yet another series of protests - this time, under the "No More Wasteful Spending!" banner.

Just take a look at the numbers: In 1999/2000, program spending stood at $118.8B. A year later it was already over $130B. 4 more years (Chretien's "legusee", Paul Martin's pre-election spending) - and the program spending hit $176B. It stayed there for 2005/06 (that's what gave us three consecutive surpluses of $10B to $13B each,) but then the new Conservative government began boosting spending to buy short term support from the opposition.

The opposition often blames the Conservatives for having eliminated the "safety cushion" with their tax cuts. In fact, it's not the tax cuts, but wasteful spending that is responsible for the loss of the safety cushion. If the Conservatives had maintained program spending at $175B (instead of adding $10B to $15B in new spending year after year) there would have been no deficit this year. Not to mention that with the taxes being much lower, the economy could have been stronger, so the effects of the global meltdown would not have been that devastating. If only Harper and Flaherty had the guts to force fiscal discipline on the government...

But that's when the No More Wasteful Spending protest rallies could make a difference.

Monday, May 25, 2009

EI Reform Or Political Posturing?

Imagine what would happen to a private insurance company if it allowed anyone to collect the benefits just 9 weeks after purchasing the policy, regardless of the circumstances? A public insurance company doesn't need to worry about being fiscally solvent. It has the opposition party politicians to lobby for more funds and it has Canadian taxpayers to foot the bill.
The opposition coalition threatened to topple the Harper government before Christmas if it did not, amongst other things, make changes to EI. The Harper government acceded to their demands; extending eligibility by five weeks for two years. These changes cost $3 billion. Despite this, the opposition coalition is again demanding increased EI payments and threatening an election if it doesn't get its way.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is the one leading the charge for a possible election. He has said that the Harper government must work with him on temporarily reducing the number of hours Canadians must work before they are eligible to access EI. Eligibility now depends on local unemployment rates, ranging from a high of 700 hours where unemployment is low, to 420 hours where it is high. Mr. Ignatieff wants to see it lowered to 360 everywhere in Canada.

This would be a mere 45 days of full-time work and only eight days less than the current minimum. He may have a good point in making eligibility the same across the country under the current rules. However, adopting the lowest standard is needlessly costly for the sake of scoring political points.

Mr. Ignatieff has so far been silent on the issue of how this increased cost would be paid: increased EI payroll taxes, more borrowing or cuts to other areas of spending.
I understand the logic behind having lower eligibility requirement in the areas where the unemployment is way in the double digits. I understand that it might make sense to reduce eligibility requirements for those in the high-unemployment regions, to make it easier for them to last through the recession.

I could understand the proposal to lower the number work hours, required to collect the benefits, nationwide - so it would be 360 hours, instead of 420, in the high-unemployed areas and 640 hours, instead of 700 - where the unemployment is low. But lowering it to 360 hours, no matter what is the unemployment rate in the area? Allowing anyone who's been on the job for mere 9 weeks to collect EI benefits for the rest of the year, even if there are lots of jobs still available? That looks like nothing but vote buying to me.

And another thing: we used to have higher unemployment during the "dot-com boom" ten years ago, than we have now during a recession. And guess what political party was in power back then. Do you recall any of them saying anything about the need for EI reform? I don't.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Baby Faith Hope Died Peacefully In Her Mother's Arms

She was diagnosed with anencephaly and the doctors argued that she had 0% chance of survival. (Not even 1% - zero.) Baby Faith Hope lived 93 days. She died peacefully in her mother's arms yesterday afternoon.
The best 93 days of my life... were spent with my daughter. Faith went to Heaven today. We spent the entire morning and some of the afternoon snuggling together in my warm bed. I told her that I loved her many times. I was holding her in my arms when she passed away. It was around 4:40 in the afternoon. I had just finished changing her diaper and I decided to pick her up and wrap a blanket around her. She made a very sweet smiling face and held it for several seconds... I thought it was very cute. I waited for her to take her next breath, but she didn't.
Baby Faith Hope couldn't see, but she could hear; she might not understand the words at that age, but voice of a loving mother needs no translation. Her life was short, but she was surrounded with love and care. She died peacefully in her mother's arms - unlike so many other unborn boys and girls, handicapped and perfectly healthy, who end up being dismembered and thrown in the trash can - just because others believe it's "for their own good".

Rest in peace, baby Faith Hope Walker.

Ten Commandments Of The Socially Progressive Nanny State

By Jeff Putman.
Reposted from the Canadian Viewpoints forum.

The Ten Commandments are obsolete. They're just not relevant any more. They're just so ... OLD! After all, this is the 21st century! We've got to keep up with the times! We're already being told to do all of these things. So, to help you remember them so you can obey them, to make sure that everyone fits in, here are your NEW Ten Commandments:

1. Government is almighty. You shall put no other allegiance before government. Your religion, your marriage, your family, your business, your friends and your neighbors - all of your relationships shall be regulated by government.

2. Images are encouraged. You shall worship as many celebrities as you can. (Except any who question any of these Ten Commandments. The celebrityhood of anyone who questions the government is automatically revoked.) Pop culture is what gives meaning to life. Celebrities in all fields shall be worshipped. Celebrities in movies, television, music, sports, fashion, and any other mass media shall be imitated as much as possible. Your clothing, your speech, your behavior, and your thinking shall be patterned after everyone the media tells you is popular.

3. Government is holy. You shall not take the name of government in vain. You shall not criticize the government. Government has perfect wisdom. Government knows what is best for you in every area of life. You shall never do anything of your own initiative. You shall never do anything without first asking for permission from the government. You shall not question the government. Government is holy. Government is to be always obeyed, never criticized.

4. You shall observe the union. Union rules are holy. You shall do no work not allocated to you by the union. You shall perform no task allocated to another person. You shall not work any more than the union rules permit. If you are not in a union, you shall join one immediately.

5. You shall disregard your father and mother. They are OLD! They are obsolete! You shall think and act as you are told to by your government school. You shall not have sympathy for your parents just because they feed and clothe and house you. The food, clothing, and shelter were first allocated to them by government! You shall put government first in all you think and do.

6. You shall kill only infants. They are only a piece of tissue. They cannot think or act or produce. You shall not kill as a punishment for any crime. You shall have mercy on "criminals." They are not guilty. They are only misunderstood. They are only replaying all the injustice that was inflicted on them by the old, unenlightened people of the past.

7. You shall hook up with anyone you feel like. Sexual urges are powerful! Who are you to deny what your flesh demands? It is a cruel sin to expect anyone to resist anything that feels so good! Fear no potential result of hooking up, for the government will provide everything you need - food, health care, child care, or an abortion if you're just not into babies.

8. You shall not steal. Everything belongs to The People. You shall not hold anything back for yourself. You shall not keep for yourself any of the fruit of your labor. It belongs to The People. "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need." The government will determine what you need. The government will distribute everything you need. You shall always serve The People! Never yourself!

9. You shall not bear witness. The government will determine what the truth is. The media will tell you what the truth is. You shall not believe anything you see, or experience for yourself. You shall believe what the government and media tell you to. Believe what you are told, not what you see.

10. You shall covet. You shall desire everything everyone else has - their house, their car, their clothes, their comforts. Everyone should have the same! Nobody is entitled to have anything better than anyone else. Except, of course, the government. Government is the ultimate good! People who serve the government deserve to have the best of everything!
Note to the perceptually impaired: The above list is SATIRE! It is intended to RIDICULE modern thinking (or what passes for thought). The media is already commanding us to do all of these things. I wrote it this way to expose what we're really being told to do - replace God with government! Which is proving to be an infinitely more cruel master!
Jeff Putman
Dayton Ohio

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lobby Group Pushes For A Mammoth Pension Plan

If you think CPP contributions are too high - take a look at the proposed UPP or "Universal Pension Plan". The group that came up with the idea likes their proposal so much, and they are so eager to make everybody rich and happy that they want no opt-outs to be allowed.
TORONTO- The pension crisis has sparked calls for a universal pension plan to cover Canadian workers without employer-sponsored pensions.
...
Susan Eng, CARP's vice-president for advocacy, presented details of a proposed mandatory extension to the Canada Pension Plan to the House of Commons standing committee on finance Tuesday. She also unveiled details of a CARP survey that found 88 per cent of its members support the idea.

The UPP being proposed resembles the ``Canada supplementary pension plan'' (CSPP), suggested last May by the C.D. Howe Institute and Keith Ambachtsheer, director of the Rotman International Centre for Pension Management.

One key difference in the CARP proposal is that Eng thinks UPP should be mandatory, while Ambachtsheer contends the CSPP should have an "opt-out" provision for employees.

"If you're going to be a true paternalistic libertarian, you have to give people a chance to get out of something that may be good for them," Ambachtsheer said.

Eng disagrees, saying that to get the economies of scale necessary to cut costs, such a plan needs to be mandatory.
...
While CPP pays 25 per cent of the maximum pensionable earnings of $46,300 in 2009, UPP would eventually replace 70 per cent of income from one's working years.

That would not come without cost. The current 9.9 per cent combined employer/ employee contribution rate would have to double to 20 per cent.
First of all, there's something wrong with the math. If it takes a contribution of 9.9% (employee and employer combined) to raise funds for a pension that amounts to meager 25% of the income - then what do you think should be the contribution if we want to nearly triple the payout?

That's right, doubling the contribution won't be enough. 20% contribution will only buy you a 50.5% pension. To make it 70%, the contribution must be 27.72%. 13.86% for the employee, 13.86% for the employer, or both amounts at once (an extra $172.80 per thousand) if you're self-employed. No wonder the proponents of this scheme assume that unless the UPP is made mandatory, there will be so few people joining that the administrative costs alone could bankrupt the plan.

And another thing: remember what the CPP contributions used to be once? Even if you're not old enough to remember the days (1966-1986) when CPP contribution rate for employees stood at 1.8% (3.6% employee and employer combined,) you probably still remember that the employee rate was "only" 2.8% in 1996, from which it grew to 3% - in 1997, to 3.2% - in 1998 and so forth, until it reached the current 4.95% for employees and employers (9.9% combined rate for the self-employed) in 2003. I bet, not many could see that coming back in 1966. Now we have a proposal for a pension plan with the 10-14% contributions to begin with. Can anyone still be 100% sure that those rates will never go up?

Well, here's a better solution: Instead of instituting yet another mammoth pension plan - how about leaving it up to the people to manage their retirement savings, using personal savings accounts?
The CHP would move to a Personal Security Account (PSA) as was proposed by Dr. Robert Thomson back in 1980.
...
Beginning with their first job, individuals and their employers would each contribute 5% to their PSA, just as we do now for EI and CPP, and in Ontario, Healthcare. This money is saved in an account that specifically belongs to that individual. When needed, the individual may withdraw needed funds from their account.
...
Those newly unemployed would be able to withdraw up to a maximum of 15% per year from their PSA, after which, government assistance would kick in and provide support if it were needed.

This plan would ensure that, during times of crisis, people have immediate access to funds to tide them over. The withdrawal of 15% per annum in any time of need would not significantly affect the balance in the account, with 85% always remaining.

An added benefit of this policy would be to decrease abuse of the system, since individuals would be responsible to self-insure themselves up to 15% of their PSA. Building safeguards against abuse is an obvious necessity of any government assistance program.
Sounds much better idea for me, than having to contribute almost 14% of the paycheck (plus almost 28% of whatever self-employment income I may have) in a faint hope to receive 70% - when pigs fly and when lobsters whistle.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fetal Rights Debate — A New Approach

Welcome another reinforcement for the pro-life movement. A new B.C.-based group called Signal Hill is trying a new approach to promote fetal rights:
The fast-growing organization intends to help Canada reconsider its acceptance of abortion. Signal Hill's strategy is to put aside impassioned political and moral arguments in favour of service, education and compassion. You might say the group is aiming, not for Canadians' minds, but for their hearts. And Manning couldn't be more pleased.

This past month has seen some fairly significant abortion-related events. A Gallup poll in the U. S. found that, for the first time since the company started asking the question, the majority of Americans considered themselves pro-life. The news came at the same time as controversy was building over Notre Dame's awarding of an honorary degree to President Barack Obama; protesters said a Catholic university should not be honouring a pro-abortion President. Subsequently, anti-abortion hecklers interrupted Obama's keynote address at the Catholic institution.

Naturally enough, things weren't quite so dramatic in Canada. There was a smattering of stories about the 40th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in Canada, and also some coverage of the national March for Life in Ottawa on May 14. Some of the smaller provincial marches received coverage as well.

If anything, the fact that abortion is still in the news is a repudiation of Jean Chretien's remark of nine years ago: "We have social peace with that [abortion] at this moment."...
Appealing to hearts instead of minds? Good idea. But it doesn't mean we should drop the political and moral arguments. Let's tackle the issue from both ends.

Legalized Euthanasia — Worse Than A "Slippery Slope"

The author of the euthanasia bill, Bloc MP Francine Lalonde, dismisses objections to legal euthanasia as "slippery slope" alarmism. Calgary Herald columnist Licia Corbella analyzes the experience other countries have had with legalized euthanasia - and the consequences appear to be far worse than euthanasia opponents here in Canada could even think of:
The Netherlands has been practising the killing of patients for about 30 years. It was made legal on April 1, 2002. Euthanasia in the Netherlands started out as "mercy killing" only for terminally ill, elderly people with full mental faculty who repeatedly ask for death. Now in the Netherlands, anyone over the age of 16, suffering from mental anguish, can seek physician-assisted suicide. What's more, now mildly deformed infants are being killed in the Netherlands.

In a March 2005 New England Journal of Medicine report called The Groningen Protocol, it is revealed that babies born with spina bifida, cleft palate and other abnormalities are being killed by Dutch physicians.
...
According to a 1991 Dutch report called Medical Decisions About the End of Life, by Prof. J. Remmelink, attorney general of the High Council of the Netherlands, in 1990 alone 1,031 people were killed by their physicians without their consent or knowledge. What I don't understand is how this fact alone doesn't stop the push for euthanasia cold. Of those 1,031 people murdered against their will, 14 per cent were fully competent and 72 per cent never expressed the will to be killed. In other words, those patients were given no choice then or ever again. That could be you or your teenager or your infant should Lalonde's bill become law.

Numerous other reports in the Netherlands made similar hair-raising findings. In 1995, 950 people were killed without their consent or "choice," and in 2005 (the most recent report in the Netherlands) 550 people were killed by their doctors without request or consent.
You can't argue with facts. Licia is right; it's worse than a slippery slope — it's a vertical skating rink.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

NDP MP Wants To Extend "Human Rights" Abuse Even Further

5 years after passing the ill-famous bill C-250, that enshrined so called "sexual orientation" in the "hate crimes" legislation, one NDP MP wants to go even further:
May 20, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On May 15th, NDP MP Bill Siksay of Burnaby-Douglas, BC tabled a private members' bill that would add "gender identity" and "gender expression" as categories protected against discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act. The bill also proposes to add these two terms to the Criminal Code to be taken into consideration at sentencing for "hate crimes."
...
"I believe that enshrining explicit protections for transgender and transsexual people in our human rights legislation and our Criminal Code will go a long way towards full equality and acceptance for transgender and transsexuals people," said Siksay in an NDP press release. "This will ensure that transphobic violence is clearly identified as a hate crime, and judges will be able to determine sentences accordingly."
In other words - if a surgically mutilated man or a man that merely dresses like a woman claims that he is actually a woman and demands access to women's only facilities (bathrooms, showers, exercise rooms etc) - Siksay believes that he has all the rights to do so and that others should endure the hardship to accommodate those implied "rights". Now, if the facility owners (or the women who want some privacy in their showers and changing rooms) refuse to accommodate such a pervert and rightfully force him out - that's "transphobic violence" and those who dared to resist should brace themselves for "hate crime" charges.

Moreover - with the so called "gender identity" and "gender expression" enshrined in the "human rights" act, individuals, businesses and organizations could be charged under subsection 13.1 for merely speaking out against giving those gender-disordered perverts too many privileges at everyone else's expense. Yes, the NDP will force you to be tolerant and non-judgmental...

Next Year - It's 80,000 Marching For Life!

The Ontario Knights of Columbus are stepping up efforts to bring more people to the March for Life next year:
The resolution declares:

"A large impact upon Parliamentarians, the media and individuals is necessary if we are to convince our fickle politicians that yes, we the people want some action taken. The numbers we have now cover about three quarters of Parliament Hill, and we march with banners and signs on the downtown main streets of Ottawa. The major newspapers still ignore the Event. Our only choice is to make this event much larger: We must spill over into the streets of Ottawa with not 8,000 but 80,000."

"THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED," the resolution concludes, "that to effect the much larger numbers required to get Canada's attention, we must have every District make it a priority, in February each year, to press councils throughout Ontario to partner with their area parishes on this issue."

The Knights have resolved to accomplish the goal of boosting the numbers at the march through several means, including encouraging pastors, CWLs, and KofC members to strongly support the march.

In their most concrete commitment, however, the Knights resolved to subsidize local bus trips to the march as well as bus trips from high schools throughout Ontario.
Hopefully, the Knights from Quebec follow suit and and bring in even more people from their side of the Ottawa river. As for us in New Brunswick - we've just decided that next year we'll get a coach, instead of a school bus. That way we can have a lot more comfortable ride (school bus is a-ok for a 10-20 minute ride, but not for a 2-hour-long trip from Moncton to Fredericton). Plus, a coach seats more people.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mainstream Media — Missing In Action

Once again, the mainstream media turns a blind eye to the March for Life. Roughly 12,300 people marched down the streets of Ottawa (not to mention 4000 or so attending the Marches in other provinces,) but in the eyes of our "progressive" and "unbiased" media, none of that is newsworthy:
“We can’t cover everything,” editors grumble. Aggrieved ethnic groups cheesed off about something on the other side of the planet? Check. European animal-rights flakes moaning about baby seals in no actual danger of clubbing? Yup. Three cardigan-clad neighbours chained to a poplar they don’t want the city to cut down? We’ll send a camera crew. A good-sized town’s worth of pro-lifers on the grass of Parliament Hill? Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

At least the National Post ran a Michael Coren column earlier this week talking about the March for Life, but a quick Google turns up nary a mention from any other national secular media. The fact that the March for Life gets plenty of coverage from religious publications, blogs and websites makes its absence in mainstream media all the more glaring.
Yes, Michael Coren knew what he was talking about when he titled his column "Shhh ... it's the March for Life. Pretend you didn't notice". His column was published before the March, and Michael was right in everything but the predicted turnout (in the end it was 12,300, not 10,000) - the mainstream media did in fact avoid covering the March for Life:
There has never been any abusive or violent behaviour from the participants — though there are occasionally obscene and provocative gestures from opponents — and numerous MPs and religious and ethnic leaders will attend. The march is also intensely reflective of the authentic Canada, unlike most other demonstrations: Conservative and Liberal, able-bodied and handicapped, black and white, Muslim, Christian and Jewish, from every region and background.

One would think this diversity would make it almost worthy of a heritage moment on the CBC or a government grant. Instead it makes the shapers of establishment opinion extraordinarily uncomfortable. As does, of course, any mention of the abortion issue. What one regularly hears from the marchers is best described as an informed incredulity. Why, they ask, is someone automatically excluded from the public square and considered extreme if they merely embrace the scientific proof that life begins at conception?

It’s a valid question. While pro-lifers are routinely dismissed as basing their arguments on religion and emotion, the position is in fact startlingly prosaic and self-evident. An unborn child has an entirely distinct DNA and unique genomic character at the point of conception. There is no other scientifically and logically based beginning to life and, contrary to popular belief, it is the other side’s arguments that are quintessentially emotional and, if not religious, certainly fundamentally ideological.
If anything, the New Brunswick March for Life received far greater coverage. The Daily Gleaner just couldn't overlook an event that was attended by as many as 17 MLAs, (that's almost 1 in 3 MLAs being openly pro-life). And the CBC apparently wanted to highlight Michael Murphy's remarks, that he is not "entirely comfortable" with the regulations which force the government to fund about 40% of abortions in the province; portraying it as if Mr. Murphy weren't comfortable fulfilling his duties as the Health Minister of New Brunswick. That's the kind of coverage, the mainstream media is always glad to provide.

Pro-Abort Activists Pressure NB Health Minister To Resign

A twitter alert calls on poor-choicers who live in New Brunswick to phone NB Health Minister Mike Murphy and demand him to resign. His "transgressions" in the eyes of pro-abort jackboots include: speaking at the New Brunswick March for Life rally, publicly acknowledging a medical fact that life begins at conception and stating that his pro-life views make him not entirely comfortable with the provincial regulations which qualify hundreds of abortions on demand for provincial funding under pretence of being "medically necessary".

Even though Mike Murphy later stated that he has no plans to fix the province's watered-down rules and to restrict "medically necessary" clause only to the life-threatening situations, those pro-abort jackboots tolerate no dissent. In their opinion, Mike Murphy may have a right to express pro-life opinion only if he resigns. So they pressure him to do just that.

Let's counterbalance this pressure. Please consider sending (or e-mailing or faxing) a letter of support to Mike Murphy. Let him know that his courage to speak up for the unborn babies is appreciated and that as a Minister of Health, he's done the right thing when he stated a medical fact that life begins at conception. Also, I hope that now, once he has nothing to lose, Mr Murphy actually considers reviewing the abortion regulations and making sure that "medically necessary" clause applies only to the medical emergencies.

And another thing: maybe we too should put the health ministers under scrutiny? After all where are the Health Ministers of the remaining 9 provinces and 3 territories, not to mention the Federal one? Why didn't they attend the March for Life in their provinces (or the National March for Life in Ottawa)? We've heard the New Brunswick Health Minister saying that life begins at conception. What about his colleagues from all other jurisdictions? Why are they silent on the issue? And if they are afraid to state a basic medical fact - what kind of Health Ministers are they?!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Abortion On Demand - What Does It Have To Do With "Safe Medical Services"?

Some Liberal MPs (among them - the Leader of the Opposition, Michael Ignatieff,) actually took the time to respond to a pro-life petition that we had sent them using the ContactMPs.com website. All of them used the same template, informing us that "It is the longstanding view of the Liberal Party of Canada that women must have the right to choose" (without specifying what exactly is to be chosen) and that "this party will take no step that limits, or opens the door to limiting, access to safe medical services for women across Canada" - as if our petitions weren't about abortions on demand, but about some cosmetic surgery.

Here's a great essay by Stephen J. Gray who comments on those carbon copy responses:
It would appear that the leader of the opposition in Canada believes that the “right to choose” to kill the innocents in the womb in Canada can be described as “safe medical services.” One wonders what is “safe” about cutting to pieces, tearing apart by powerful suction devices, beheading, poisoning [in the case of a saline abortion], and then disposing of these little innocents slaughtered by abortionists, like some kind of garbage? Surely calling this atrocity “safe medical services” is very unsafe and deadly for the innocent life in the womb? I believe that a more apt description would be legalized slaughter aided and abetted by those in Canada in positions of power, who would rather use politically correct words to disguise what “the right to choose” really means.
...
Canada today has no law on abortion. The little innocents in the womb can be killed right up to the moment of birth, and those in positions of power boast they are in favor of the “right to choose” to kill these innocents! Therefore the question has to be asked: Do we live in a sick society? Most certainly. The evidence for the humanity of the unborn child is irrefutable. We can see them on ultrasound; there are pictures of them sucking their thumbs in the womb, and we even operate on them (when they are "wanted," that is) to correct some medical problems. In fact, click here to see a picture of an unborn baby grasping his surgeon's finger:
http://www.lifesitenews.com/fetaldevelopment/samuel.html
)

“A woman’s right to choose” rolling off the tongues of politicians makes this heinous act of slaughtering vulnerable unborn human beings sound like something on a menu...
The NDP was a lot more straightforward on the issue. Without hiding behind the "access to safe medical services" rhetoric, their "status of women critic", Irene Mathyssen made it clear that NDP is pro-abortion, period. (With the phrase "abortion should be available" appearing at least once in every paragraph.) If the Liberals have decided to mirror the NDP policy on abortions (with no exceptions for those few pro-life MPs that still remain in the Liberal caucus) - they better start being honest about it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Evils Of Theocratic Secular Humanism Must Be Exposed

Under the guise of preaching tolerance and inclusiveness, militant secular humanists force their philosophy and moral order as the only one which has the right to exist.

In our schools:
Last September, Quebec's new "Ethics and Religious Culture" (ERC) course became mandatory for all elementary and secondary schools in the province, including private Catholic, Jewish and Evangelical schools.

The provincial Education Ministry has steadfastly insisted that no child or school may be exempted from the new course, even if a school offers to teach the same contents as the ERC course but present the contents in a different manner.
In our colleges and universities:
Recent news out of the University of Calgary shows how ugly is the secular humanist philosophy when it inadvertently reveals itself.

The Pro-Life Club on campus had always been allowed to display a graphic picture of an aborted fetus, which is its protected right under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Not so anymore!
...
To the secular humanist, it seems, tolerance is only given to viewpoints to which they ascribe. This is clear evidence of the totalitarian attitude of ardent secular humanists.
Or in politics:
CALGARY — A bill that has raised the spectre of Alberta parents hauling teachers before human rights tribunals is an offensive attempt to placate ultra right-wing conservatives, says the man whose legal crusade forced the province to rewrite its human rights legislation.

This weekend, Alberta's teachers slammed proposed new rules that would give parents sweeping rights to pull kids from classes on touchy subjects, and be notified in advance when lessons focus on religion, sexuality or sexual orientation.
Obviously, they won't agree with us when we call them "theocratic". But their actions speak for themselves.
Secular Humanists evade this accusation by claiming to be morally neutral, by claiming to represent all people of good will, regardless of their personal beliefs. This is false and dishonest yet even many humanists seem to believe their own propaganda. Hence they see absolutely no contradiction in their militant attempts to impose their own humanist “theocracy” on Canada while condemning Christian influence on Canada’s public square.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Virtues Of Home Education Are Clearly Demonstrated

Want your child to be a leader, not a follower? Then get him out of the public school system.
...In meeting individuals who are working to improve our country through political action, I am increasingly amazed at how many home-educated adults I meet. In fact, the first person I met at this conference was a home-educated adult and member of HSLDA! Talk about direct evidence that our work is helping to produce influential individuals who are trying to make a difference! This was not the first time I had met such an individual nor was this the only home-educated person at this conference. In fact, it seems that a surprising number of young political staffers and even elected politicians were home educated. The anecdotal evidence that home education tends to produce leaders is corroborating the growing evidence provided by research.

This is especially encouraging when we consider that, in the general population, this same age demographic is disengaging from political involvement. In the last federal election, only 25% of adults between the ages of 18 and 28 actually voted, whereas this percentage doubles among home-educated adults, according to the last Canadian study on home education.1

Home-educating parents can take comfort in the knowledge that not only is the newest research continuing to support and recommend home education as an effective option, but that home-educated graduates themselves are proving the effectiveness of their education by their actions as adults.
Yes, it takes time and effort, not to mention that the government is anything but supportive. And yet - homeschooling produces the best results. Here's another passage from the same article:
The significance for parents is twofold. First, the most effective teacher for a child will be the one with which that child has established a strong bond. In this context, parents have a natural advantage over everyone else if they are willing to foster and maintain the relationships with their children. Second, by sending children to school, parents are giving teachers and peers the position of greatest influence and moral authority in their children’s lives. In this context, it should be no surprise when the children disregard the influence of parents in favour of peers. In light of this research, it is only logical that home education not only tends to produce better academic results, but also children who value their parents and also seek to emulate them.
So, isn't it worth all the hard work?

The Dangers Of "Ism"

I can't believe this cartoon is actually over 50 years old. All those threats to our rights and freedoms of which the cartoon speaks have become a part of our day-to-day life. And, to make things worse, it seems like the people are getting used to the snake oil taste of "ism", so they don't really mind the side effects.
Remember what Thomas Jefferson said: A government big enough to provide everything you need is big enough to take all you have.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

SoCon Advise To The Conservative Party

Great article by John Pacheco:
Yesterday, 12,000 Canadians showed up on Parliament Hill in the rain and strong wind. They represent millions of Canadians across this country who are ready and willing to work for, donate to, and vote for a Party and a leader who will give them a ray of hope on this issue. And yet, the Party which is supposed to be protecting our traditions as Canadians and protecting our way of life is, in point of fact, destroying our country by destroying our future, the unborn children of this country. We’ve been mortgaging our future for the sake of a false freedom, but as with all bad mortgages, the time to pay up is quickly approaching.

If the Conservative Party wants a chance at staying in power, it had better start distinguishing itself from the Liberal Party on fiscal and social issues. For once, Canadians want a clear choice. We want an ideological choice, not a pragmatic one.

Scrap the “Michael Ignatieff spent a lot of time in the US” card, guys, and get real. Start playing the game on our turf:

1. Pass the Unborn Victims of Crime Bill.

2. Scrap the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

3. Cut significant income taxes for families.

If the Conservative Party of Canada wants to stay in power, it should start acting like a Conservative Party. They should be the Party of natural justice and Canadian families.
Well said. It's time for the Conservative party execs to realize that they can no longer count on the "progressive", "centrist", "fis-con Liberal" voters. Most of those who turned their back on Dion are now back in the Liberal ranks, and the Liberals are back to their post-2004 support level which is around 35%.

Which makes sense: why would any of them vote "Liberal Lite" when they can have the real deal? The Liberals now have a pragmatic, fiscally responsible, yet socially "progressive" Michael Ignatieff; and they'd rather support their own leader, than give Stephen Harper (whom they still remember as an old-time Alberta Reformer) another chance.

At the same time - there are over 10,000,000 (ten million) registered voters who didn't bother to cast their ballot in the past election. Among them - millions of Conservatives who aren't sure if they are still welcome in a party that was once built on a solid Reform/Alliance foundation, but that acts more and more like the old Mulroney PC nowadays. If the Conservative party makes an effort to win back some of their old Reform/Alliance base, so that next time they actually go out and vote - it will boost the Conservative share of vote and dilute that of the opposition parties.

But to achieve that, the Stephen Harper and his Conservative party must become leaders rather than followers. They must be the ones seizing the initiative on fiscal and social policies. The three items mentioned by John Pacheco: the Unborn Victims of Crime Act, protection for the freedom of speech and broad-based tax cuts for families - that would be a great start.

Friday, May 15, 2009

NB March For Life Video

Here's a three-minute video of the New Brunswick March for Life 2009. Just a few short clips - a rally at the New Brunswick Legislature, a march through downtown Fredericton and a prayer circle at the Mother and Child Welcome Center.
We had a record high turnout of over 400 people and I wish I could capture each and every one of our friends who joined us that day to speak up for the unborn.

Euthanasia Bill Reintroduced

As if 40 years of legalized wholesale slaughter on demand of innocent unborn babies wasn't enough, some activists want to extend the deadly "choice" on to the elderly and the handicapped.
May 14, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Francine Lalonde, the Bloc Québécois Member of Parliament from La Pointe-de-l'Île, on Tuesday introduced a private members bill to legalize euthanasia in Canada.

Bill C-484 would add an exception to the criminal code, ensuring that doctors will not face criminal prosecution if they help a person die who is at least 18 years old and who, after being given or refusing treatment, continues to "experience severe physical or mental pain without any prospect of relief," or suffers from terminal illness.
...
Her first two attempts that were introduced in June 2005 (Bill C-407) and June 2008 (Bill C-562), would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada. Both bills were not limited to the direct and intentional killing of terminally ill persons, but also people experiencing chronic physical and mental pain. The current bill also makes allowances for euthanasia for physical and mental pain.

Lalonde stated in the House of Commons in February that she intended to introduce a bill to legalize euthanasia in Canada. Lalonde is number 42 in the private members bill order of precedence, meaning that unless an election is called, it is likely that her bill will receive a vote at second reading.
Ironically, the euthanasia bill is numbered C-484 - which used to be the item number of the Unborn Victims of Crime Act during the previous Parliament. It appears that Life Site News has made a mistake; the bill is actually numbered C-384, not C-484. Well, if we work hard enough, we can make sure the pro-death crowd gets their last year's dream to come true. Let them see their bill C-484 C-384 defeated.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Exodus 2009 - New Brunswick March For Life

Exodus 2009 - A future without abortion. That was the theme for the New Brunswick March for Life in Fredericton, which commemorated the sad 40th anniversary of abortion in Canada.

New Brunswick was the first province to start organizing its own March for Life, in conjunction with the National March for Life in Ottawa. And, just like the National March in Ottawa, our March too had a record turnout - over 400 people, up from 325 last year. (Not bad for a province of 750,000.) People came from all across the province to speak up for the defenseless unborn babies. This year we even had a handful of opponents showing up to protest our rally - who got the lion share of the media attention right away...

The March opened with a pro-life rally at the New Brunswick Legislature. The Legislature was in session and MLAs from both political parties came down to join us; among them - Minister of Health, Mike Murphy and the leader of the opposition, David Alward. They both spoke about the efforts which the provincial lawmakers make to strengthen children's rights in New Brunswick; including measures to streamline adoption process and the "Safe Heaven Act" which would protect newborn babies.

But there's a lot more to be done. Peter Ryan, the executive director of the New Brunswick Right to Life, talked about massive abuse of the New Brunswick healthcare system by the abortion industry. 370 hospital abortions were performed in the province last year. All of them were classified as medically necessary on paper. But assuming that all 370 of those abortion were truly performed for health reasons, means - there must be something seriously wrong with women's health in New Brunswick. Because there just can't be that many medically necessary abortions in the province with less population than the city of Ottawa.

Baby Taylor was also mentioned. It's been less than two weeks since over 200 New Brunswickers came to mourn the death of an unidentified baby boy that had been found frozen in a snow bank in early April. His tragic fate grabbed the media attention - and people were shocked. But what about all those other unwanted babies? Hundreds of them end up being rejected by their families - not abandoned in the snow, but dismembered and thrown in the trash can. Over 25,000 New Brunswick babies were lost to abortion since it became legal 40 years ago. 8,000 of them - in the Morgentaler's private abortiuary. But the remaining 17,000 - in the public hospitals of the province of New Brunswick. All those lost lives were commemorated with 250 roses - 1 rose representing 100 babies who weren't allowed to see daylight.

Following the rally, we marched down the streets of Fredericton to the Mother And Child Welcome Centre. The very same Welcome Centre which is located right next door to the Morgentaler's abortuary. I noticed a few people observing our prayer circle from the clinic's parking lot. Not sure if those were just by-standers or clinic workers or if some of those who came to counter protest actually followed us. Either way - they're going to see a lot more of us this fall, when Fredericton joins hundreds of other cities across North America in a 40 Days for Life Vigil. Yes, the 40 Days for Life is coming to New Brunswick. And I hope - it's here to stay.

Update: According to The Daily Gleaner, our rally at the Legislature was attended by as many as 17 MLA. That means, 1 in 3 MLAs of New Brunswick doesn't afraid to be openly pro-life. Which is a great news for New Brunswick and a great example for the rest of Canada. Our goal for the coming years should be - 100 MPs attending the National March for Life in Ottawa.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Feminists Organize A "March For Death" In Winnipeg

Looks like the pro-aborts are running out of ideas if they can't think of anything better than countering our March for Life with their own... march for death? Picket for abortion?

Winnipeg Free Press calls it a demonstration for "free, safe and legal abortion" and a "national day of action for 'reproductive choice'". But since that "choice" usually involves taking away a baby's life, (not to mention that abortion and reproduction don't go along quite well,) I guess the "march for death" would do just fine.
The event is organized by M.s. Citizenship Feminist Collective, which maintain that crisis pregnancy centres often misinform women about abortion. The group says it is still difficult for women outside of Winnipeg to access abortions, since only one clinic and two out of 52 hospitals in the province perform the procedure.
To fully mirror our strategy of targeting abortion facilities, the pro-aborts are planning to picket the Crisis Pregnancy Center. Suzanne, the author of the Big Blue Wave blog, wonders what's the rationale behind this:
How does picketing a CPC improve abortion access?

And are they protesting that Crisis Pregnancy Centres disagree with their *opinions* on abortion?

You know, it makes sense for pro-lifers to picket abortion clinics because they believe that human beings are being killed.

But what interest do feminists have in foisting themselves onto Crisis Pregnancy Centres? They're upset that their ideology is being debunked and that women are using these resources rather than Planned Parenthood?
Well, the answer is simple: Pregnancy Centers are driving down abortion business. By educating women about abortions, by raising awareness of the health risks associated with abortions, by informing women about emotional consequences of abortions (and providing post-abortion counseling for those who didn't want to listen at first,) the Crisis Pregnancy Centers effectively reduce demand for abortions. And when the demand goes down - guess what happens to the supply. That's what the pro-aborts are afraid of.

And another thing: Interestingly enough, WFP refers to the tragic anniversary as a pro-abortion day of action, but forgets to mention the National March for Life, a pro-life event which commemorates the revocation of personhood for the unborn babies. Neither does it mention the provincial March for Life in Winnipeg, that will take place on the same day as the feminist pro-abortion picket. Unless this article is a paid announcement by the picket organizers, you can see how fair, balanced and impartial our mainstream media is.

Last Glimpse At BC-STV

Oh, well, what did Winston Churchill say about people getting the kind of government they deserve? If almost half of those who supported fair voting system four years ago choose either to stay home or to support the status-quo - well, that's their choice. Except, they better don't complain when they are the ones facing a tough choice between voting their conscience and supporting the front-runner they hate the least. Next time when their least-favorite party wins majority with 40% of the vote (not to mention - with fewer votes than the other front-runner,) let them remember the day when they could have made a difference, but chose not to.

But let's take the last glimpse at a system that BC is not going to have. Back in 2005, STV came just 39,262 votes (2.3%) short of the 60% "super-majority" threshold. If let's say 39,500 voters had changed their mind and supported STV or, if the threshold had been 55% (let alone 50%+1 vote,) BC would have used Single Transferable Vote to elect MLAs in this election. So what the results would have been like?

Obviously under different electoral system, voting pattern would have been also different. With only 20 constituencies instead of 85, both BC Conservatives and the BC Refederation Party could have had a candidate in every constituency. Other small parties too would have had greater exposure with their 1 to 6 candidates. Considering possibly higher voter turnout as well as far less concerns about vote splitting - their share of vote would have been much higher.

But even if we take the numbers as they are and redistribute them using the proposed STV constituencies - the results would be a lot more proportional than under FPTP. Considering all the close seats, where the outcome could have been different, depending on voters' second, third and subsequent choices, the Liberals would have had 42-44 seats, the NDP - 38 to 40, the Greens 2 or 3, with 1 or 2 Independents.

Again, with vote-splitting no longer being a concern (moreover - with small parties and Independents likely to benefit from surplus transfers from the major parties,) the closely contested seats are likely to go to the Greens and Independents. Thus it could have been 42 for the Liberals, 38 for the NDP, 3 for the Green party with 2 Independents. (When was the last time an Independent actually got elected in BC? Not to mention - 2 Independents.)

In other words - it would have been a Liberal minority or a tie between the government and the opposition, with either an Independent or one of the Greens as a Speaker. A shaky unstable Legislature with a possibility of an early election in a year or so? Not really. Since the STV leaves no chances for a landslide majority following a minor electoral swing, there would be no incentives for any of the major parties to seek a "re-vote".

At the same time, the Legislature would have been a lot more representative. Every constituency would have been represented both in the government and in the opposition. Less than 3% of BC voters would have had their first choice party completely shut out of the Legislature (as opposed to 12% under FPTP). And even those 3% could have had their vote transferred to their second of third choices, instead of just being discarded.

Just yesterday, all that was still possible. BC could have had STV, if not for 2009 (just 39,262 votes!!!) then for 2013. Unfortunately, overall voters' indifference (towards electoral reform and towards voting in general) has shut the door on fair voting for good, not just in BC but from coast to coast.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Killing Women For The Sake Of "Choice"

Firing a woman because the boss believes that a man could do the same job better is discriminatory. But killing a girl before she gets a chance to see daylight, just because the parents would rather have a boy - that's perfectly legal.
STOCKHOLM, May 12, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Swedish health authorities have ruled that it is not illegal to kill a healthy unborn child based simply on its gender, according to Swedish news service The Local.

Doctors had asked health authorities about the matter after a woman from southern Sweden had two of her children killed in utero for being an undesired sex. The woman had already given birth to two daughters.

The gender was determined during an amniocentesis requested to determine whether the child had a disability.

Concerned doctors at Mälaren Hospital then asked Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare to determine a protocol for future instances in which they "feel pressured to examine the foetus's gender" without a medical necessity.

The medical board responded that such requests must be accommodated.

According to Swedish law, abortion is legal on any basis whatsoever up to the 18th week of gestation, and therefore the board said doctors cannot deny a mother seeking to have an unborn child killed because it is the wrong gender.

A medical ethics consultant told The Local in March that mothers regularly travel to Sweden from Norway, where sex-selective abortions are illegal, to abort unwanted girls.
So what happens to women's rights now? How come personal choice of one woman is superior to another (unborn) woman's right to live?

By the way - when it comes to sex-selection abortions, Canada is not an exception. It happens here just as it happens in Sweden and, of course, just as there's no law regulating abortions, there's no law in Canada that bans discrimination against unborn girls.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Still Hope BC Voters Make The Right Choice

The polls aren't favorable to BC STV, but the only poll that matters is the one in which all 2.7 million registered voters of BC could participate. Yes, I'm talking about tomorrow's election. And I still hope BC voters make the right decision.
For the second election in a row, BC voters have the chance to vote on this. The first time, the proposal which was arrived at by a Citizens' Assembly, was approved by 58% of the electorate, 2% shy of the target set by the government. This was considered too close and hence the reason it's on the ballot once more this time.
...
This system (as well as MMP) would get rid of the politics is war mentality that mostly prevails in our political culture and instead require politicians and parties to be more respectful of other opinions and beliefs. It would require the building of bridges rather than moats across which to lobby shots at the opponents. It would create a climate in which the diversity of views within a society such as ours could be more easily represented and would make people less cynical about politics.

How would this benefit supporters of the CHP? If it can be shown that a different electoral system can work in one part of the country, then the chances of it being embraced in other parts (such as Ontario where there has also been discussion on this topic recently) is that much greater. Eventually, it would set the stage for change on the national scene.
And here's another great endorsement - from the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation:
As it was with the last B.C. election, the CTF is endorsing the Single Transferrable Vote proposal. STV will be put to a referendum again in conjunction with the May 12 provincial election. In 2005, about 58 percent of a required 60 percent of those casting ballots endorsed the system. Should STV get 60 percent support this time, not only will B.C.'s electoral process be forever changed, but so might other provinces.
Many organizations that support the voting reform emphasize on proportionality and fair representation. What I value in the STV is the opportunity to vote my conscience without worrying about splitting the vote. And, of course, multi-member proportionality offers a lot more opportunities to smaller grass-roots parties than a single-member preferential voting (aka instant runoff) which narrows the politics down to the two largest political powers.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Creation vs Evolution - Hope And Purpose

Some Sunday humor - nice Creation vs Evolution videos. Like this one:
Yep, hope and purpose are not something you could find in the theory of evolution. Here's a couple more videos. Enjoy :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Canadian Values - What Are They?

Here's an interesting Globe and Mail Article:
Despite what most Canadians have been taught that we think, multiculturalism is not our primary value. In a speech in Calgary on April 14, Mr. Kenney asserted that to be Canadian is to be something rather than nothing, something different from what one was before migrating to our shores. Canada isn't merely a mosaic of what its immigrants already were. "We want to make sure that when people become Canadians, they totally understand that Canadian history becomes their history, Canadian values become their values." But what, again, are these values? Mr. Kenney offered two examples. The first was the supremacy of the civil law (as opposed to, for example, sharia law) and the second was gender equality.

In a subsequent interview, Mr. Kenney elaborated this theme. "We can't afford to be complacent about the challenge of integration. We want to avoid the kind of ethnic enclaves or parallel communities that exist in some European countries."
...
Canada is not Europe. In fact, in the robustness of its confidence in its way of life, it more nearly resembles the United States. At the same time, for it to understand itself as fundamentally multicultural, or fundamentally a single payer for health care, or fundamentally a society that recycles, is obfuscatory and unhelpful.

It seems paradoxical, but is not, that what is most fundamental for Canada is in no way distinctive to it. It is what it has in common with many other societies (but alas, still far too few of them), namely liberal democracy. Liberal democracy implies a way of life - not equal openness to all such - one founded on the individual conceived as the bearer of inalienable rights. "Multiculturalism" may be one feature of our liberal democracy, but only in strict subordination to this more basic one. Canada's slogan is not, "Let a thousand honour killings bloom." Mr. Kenney grasps this. He is right in insisting that we teach our immigrants to grasp it too.
It's great to see that there are more people who realize that our primary value is not the multi-cult, but democracy, the the supremacy of the civil law and fundamental rights and freedoms. Including the freedom of speech, by the way.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Who Will Benefit From STV? (Thoughts On STV 8)

It's commonly believed that adopting any form of proportional representation (including the STV) would benefit the left. The assumption is made based on the traditional voting pattern: we have two front-runner parties - usually center-right Conservatives and the center-left Liberals, both with about 40-45% support and we have a solid left party - the NDP, with roughly 10-20% support. If proportional representation is adopted - this voting pattern would result in a continuous NDP-supported Liberal minority or a Liberal-NDP coalition; or that's what FPTP supporters predict. But their prognosis fails to consider the largest political block in Canada.

I'm talking about the non-voters. A typical voter turnout in a Federal or a Provincial election is about 60%. That means - roughly 4 in 10 registered voters choose not to cast their ballot for one reason or another. Sure, some of them just don't care. But there are plenty of others who don't vote, because they are not satisfied with the choice on the ballot:
People tell me they're sick of seeing their vote thrown in the garbage if they live in one of the 2/3 of ridings that are safe and they didn’t happen to vote for the incumbent party.

Theyre tired of electing politicians who ignore what their constituents want and do what their leaders want them to instead.

And I hear that people have had it up to here with politicians who attack each other relentlessly in an endless vitriolic war of words that poisons us all against our democratic process.
...
How many times has a political party in your riding foisted a candidate on you who is an embarrassment but whom you vote for anyway because they are with the party you like?
To that I may add - how many times were you dissuaded from voting your conscience because it would split the vote, making it easier for the front-runner you hate the most to win the riding? How many of us are tired of having to support a front-runner just because "the other guy is a lot worse"? Now, if a fair voting system encourages at least 1 in 4 non-voters to go out and cast their ballots - what's going to be left of those old voting patterns? Who is going to hold the balance of power then? What if every second non-voter gets out and votes? (75%-80% turnout used to be common up until mid 1990s.)

Adopting STV will benefit everybody; it will empower every voter, regardless of the political views. Everyone will have an opportunity to vote his conscience without worrying about splitting the vote. Election results will be fair to both sides of the political spectrum, without disproportionally benefiting those who have succeeded in either absorbing or neutralizing their closest opponents. (Or - whose closest opponents have eliminated themselves, like it happened to the BC Social Credit, BC Reform and BC Unity Party.)

Sure, not everyone likes to let go of a dream of an easy majority with 38-40% of the vote. But let's not forget that a swing of mere 3-5% could result in another leading party winning a majority with about the same share of the vote; and runing the country virtually unopposed, much to the frustration of those 55%-62% of the voters who voted against it.

Remember - the tide can always turn. Today, the center-right is nominally united while the center-left is fractured, tomorrow it could be just the opposite. If we reject a fair voting system just because we look forward for the drawbacks of the FPTP to deliver some short-term political gains for us - we shouldn't complain when our opponents take the advantage of the situation and start using the very same features and drawbacks of the First Past The Post system against us.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

STV vs MMP (Thoughts On STV 7)

Ironically, there are some electoral reform supporters who actually campaign against BC-STV. They believe that if the STV proposal is voted down, there will be another Citizens' Assembly summoned, and this time, the assembly will choose MMP. Obviously, the chances for a new Citizens' Assembly if BC-STV fails, are slim to nil, if not sub-zero. But the question of whether or not a Mixed Member Proportional system would do better in BC than the Single Transferable Vote, is worth looking at.

Proponents of the Mixed-Member Proportional system would be quick to remind us that it was MMP, rather than STV, which was first proposed for BC by the Citizens' Assembly. But they simply didn't have the time to consider all the details, so they had to go for the second choice - which was STV. What if they did have enough time to design the MMP proposal? Let's try to put ourselves in their place; let's try to finish their original project and see what obstacles were they facing.

We know the system - Open-List MMP. We know the number of MLAs: 34 local and 34 list. [According to Wilf Day's comment, the final proposal called for 47 local and 32 list MLAs (60:40 ratio). The proposal of which I heard back then, recommended 50:50 ratio, with local constituencies matching then 34 (now 36) Federal ridings.] And here's our first catch: if we are to elect 34 (or 32 or 36) MLAs using open party lists - that means, all their names should be on the ballot, so that voters could cherry-pick their preferred candidates from the list. Can we fit that many candidates for each party on a single ballot?

To implement an open-list system with 32-36 list seats, we'd have to divide the province into 5-8 self-contained regions. Each region would then have its own lists of 5-7 candidates and 5-7 directly elected MLAs. But here's another catch: if a region only contains 10-14 seats - will that be enough to establish proportionality? And what do we do with fractional seats? How do you handle 6% of the vote in a region that elects 10 members?

STV doesn't have that problem. If there are several candidates with only half of the quota - the one with the lowest number of votes is eliminated, his votes are redistributed according to voters' subsequent choices and in the end - one of the remaining candidates will have enough votes to get elected. With MMP, there are no second choices; vote fractions must be rounded either up or down and final results vary depending on the mathematical formula you use.

But what if we try adding more local seats to the regions without increasing the number of list seats? Can't we have a self-contained region of 17 local seats and 8 list seats? 70:30 ratio between local and list seats (as opposed to 50:50) was proposed for Ontario. But here's another catch: when you cut back on list seats, it becomes likely that one of the leading parties elects so many MLAs locally, that there just won't be enough list seats to offset the distortion. How should we handle a situation when a certain party wins 12 or 13 local seats, when a regional list vote only entitles it to 10? Not to mention that having 25-seat regions would still require rounding the results up or down to the nearest 4%.

So maybe we should go with closed province-wide lists? That's what the Citizens' Assembly of Ontario ended up choosing because they too, just didn't have the time to work out all the details for the open list model. But then - Ontarians voted their proposal down. PEI government too chose to propose a closed-list system, rather than designing an open-list model for 17 local and 10 list seats. The result was the same. Because, unlike Europe, we don't have the tradition of voting for party lists.

And, let's face it - a closed party list model has its disadvantages. It does give a lot more power to the party executives who compile the lists - even if a formal nomination process actually takes place. It does reduce voters' ability to directly decide on the consists of some 30-40% of the Legislature. It does create a possibility for all sorts of ethnic and gender quotas for list candidates - even if such quotas are not included in the original proposal. The simplicity of merely selecting a party list comes at a price. So when it comes to a question of what's more important - pure proportionality or ability to directly elect every single MLA, two thirds of the voters in both Ontario and PEI chose the latter.

Compare these results to 57% "Yes" vote for BC-STV. Compared to MMP, it has several advantages. First: all the candidates run locally. Thus - no easy ride for small parties that concentrate all their efforts on a list vote, without even bothering to run candidates locally. Second - it doesn't use party lists; it's each candidate for himself. Third - it uses preferential ballot - unlike the MMP, where voters are still compelled to vote strategically when electing a local candidate. And of course - STV doesn't have the problem with seat fractions, rounding and so on. Fractional seats (if any) are determined based on voters' second and third choices; votes for a party that doesn't have enough support to elect an MLA are not discarded, but transferred, according to voters' preferences.

So, no wonder that in the end, the Citizens assembly found a simple solution to all the issues I've mentioned in my article - they chose to go with the Single Transferable Vote.

Video: Abolish The "Human Rights" Commissions

Across Canada, human rights tribunals are being used to silence Canadians and force them to violate their conscience:
So far this appears to be an Ontario-based initiative, targeting Randy Hillier's bid for the provincial PC party leadership. But that could be just the beginning. With our will and effort, Abolish the HRCs website could become a backbone of a Canada-wide campaign against Orwellian tribunals from coast to coast.

Meanwhile, let's make sure we help the right man, one who cares about our rights and freedoms, to win the top job at the PC Party of Ontario. Let's give the Freedom of Speech a strong voice in the Ontario Parliament.

P.S. In case you needed yet another example (out of so many) of how those "human rights" committees treat some Canadians as less equals than others - check out this article: Canadian Human Rights Commission Refuses To Hear Case Of Anti-Catholic Discrimination.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Anti-Life Bullies Just Won't Leave A Devoted Mother Alone

First they bombarded Myah, the mother of baby Faith Hope with hate mail. (So Myah had to change her e-mail address because of that.) Then (as if that wasn't enough,) one of them is threatening to get the social services involved:
With all the criticism I've gotten about doing too much for Faith, someone actually threatened to call social services on me! Does anyone else find that freakin' hilarious? The reason was because she saw a little video clip of Faith wheezing and thought I was neglecting to treat her. Ummm... are you insane???
Insane it is, indeed. Obviously, no social service worker would accuse a devoted mother like Myah of neglecting her child. But having to go through the process, having to prove to a social worker that you don't neglect your child - that alone could be quite disturbing. Quoting Ezra Levant - "the process is the punishment". Someone of the anti-life gang apparently wants just that. I guess that person is just too disturbed with Myah's choice to let her daughter live and to enjoy every moment together.

P.S. As for the arguments that without consciousness, baby Faith Hope doesn't deserve to live - here's a great article by Suzanne:
Suppose a child is born with part of his brain missing.

How do we measure the child's consciousness is sufficient to grant him legal personhood? How do we make sure that no such child is discriminated against?

It is perfectly plausible that he might be unable to communicate the required level of consciousness, although he possesses it.

And how do we make sure that the criteria for consciousness is only applied to humans, and not apes or (in the future) robots? And how do we make sure that no other categories of human beings are discriminated against?

We have to show that our opponents' concept of humanity is a flawed one, and that the only intellectually sustainable model of the human being is one that makes his identity synonymous with his physical existence.