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Babel-on-the-Bay: Are you mad? Are you going to take it any more?

Have you been following the stupidity of Bell Canada owning CTV? Is has been a steady downhill slope for CTV news under their masters at Bell Canada for the past five years. Former CTV boss Ivan Fecan really stuck it to Bell and his network when he sold CTV to the uninformed Bell management. The sale was approved despite many objections because of the political pressures of the Harper government on the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) of the time.

What the experts were talking about those days, but few understood, was the rapid convergence of digital transmission of (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: “The enemy of my enemy is …”

There is something that needs to be understood by people afraid of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL): It is neither a state nor a country. It is an Internet and public relations savvy band of brigands and thieves feasting off the current civil war in Syria and the turmoil in leaderless Iraq. They are neither disciplined troops nor well commanded. Maybe Iraq asked Canada for help against the brigands but only a fool would get involved in the fighting in Syria when you have no side to support.

It is amazing how the Middle East always (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: A requiem for our Democracy?

The other day, one of the more interesting progressive bloggers was discussing what he perceived as the three eras of Canada’s democracy. To discuss the three eras that interested him, he really needed to start with Canada at the end of the First World War. The reality is that Canada left its childhood behind when dispensing with R.B. Bennett and came of age under the leadership of William Lyon Mackenzie King.

But the writer was absolutely right to key his eras of democracy to prime ministers John Diefenbaker, Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau. Mackenzie King only laid the groundwork. (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Does the Hair want us to get a gun?

Canadians are getting mixed messages from their Prime Minister. His message last week to a gathering of rural municipal leaders in Saskatchewan was that there was a certain level of safety in having a gun in the home “when you are a ways from immediate police assistance.” Other than it sounding like a straight lift from American National Rifle Association handouts, the Hair was in conflict with Canadian law.

Canadian law requires that a gun be stored unloaded and both gun and ammunition be kept locked up in separate locations. You have no chance to put things together if (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The NDP’s Mulcair discovers Toronto.

If there had not been so much ice in the harbour last week, they could have got some great shots of the New Democrats’ Tommy Mulcair arriving in Toronto. He could have been dressed in buckskins, cradling a musket and standing in the prow of a Voyageur canoe. He could have invoked the memories of the arrival in Toronto of Samuel de Champlain. The only difference was that de Champlain brought real trade goods and Mulcair brought his typically hollow political promises.

There will be much of the same foolishness by all parties over the coming months leading up to (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Principled politics are hardly passé.

Bad legislation is bad legislation and to approve bad legislation even temporarily is a denial of principles. The Harper government’s Bill C-51 supposedly to end terrorism is bad legislation beyond any possibility of repair or amendment. It is time for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau to get up and speak for principles.

No real Liberal can support legislation that denies any Canadians their rights. This bill against terrorism is also a denial of free speech. And the bill is unnecessary. No Canadian police force or organization has said that the extreme provisions of the act are needed. The extra security and (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Redefining the Dauphin.

It was about time. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau prides himself on his ability as a stump speaker. With no notes and no prompts, he can keep a Liberal audience enthralled. And if all he had to talk to was Liberal Party members, no change was needed.

But with the oncoming federal election it is time for broader audiences. There can be no more off-the-cuff remarks and no more gaffs. It means Trudeau must be provided with carefully crafted scripts that he can stick to. It means he must become as one with his teleprompter. He has to join the big (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Rethinking Guaranteed Annual Income.

Maybe we all need to get involved in this exercise. In a world full of band-aids, we need to rethink our way to health. We are talking here about a guaranteed income for every man woman and child in this country. It is not an idle dream or a panacea. It is just a beginning. It is our future.

It is mainly liberal thinkers who have shaken this tree in the past but it is becoming more universal as more people see the essential fairness of the concept. It is as understandable as universal medical care. It is as complex (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Which wicket for social licenses?

There seem to be many ways to use the term ‘Social License.’ Natural resource extraction and pipeline industries use the term to describe the theoretical license the community provides to allow the necessary disruption of the environment in the process of extracting, processing and transporting our natural resources. The only problem is that social license is viewed from many different angles by the government, the regulator agencies, aboriginal rights activists, environmentalists and the community as a whole.

According to former Environmental Minister and current Finance Minister Joe Oliver, social license is being misused by environmentalists and aboriginal rights advocates (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Hang-em high Hair!

The Hair is playing the revenge card. The Prime Minister is appealing to that basic human desire to get even. He is recognizing that primal instinct to lock up evil doers and throw away the key. He knows that bringing back hanging might just please some of his base vote so there is no need to go that far.

Both the Hair and his nemesis Justin Trudeau know that this coming election is about a narrow spectrum of maybe five per cent of the Canadian population who can flip flop between the Conservatives and the Liberals. These people have voted (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The literary leanings of a Libertarian.

It is sad to report that we only read the Barrie Sun Media newspaper when it is free. Mind you reading it only takes a few minutes. It strikes us that the two pages or so of actual news of this part of Simcoe County are not worth the price of a subscription. What is even worse is the editorial page that seems to forget that there are many Liberals in this town and runs material mainly by Libertarians, Greens and Conservatives—though mostly Conservatives.

The most amusing opinion pieces are by our local Libertarian. Having first met him some five (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Who said Justin Trudeau cannot debate?

What is this silly business of Conservatives thinking that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau cannot handle a debate with Conservative Leader Stephen Harper? Surprise, surprise, the truth is that Trudeau would not have to come out ahead in points to win the election. Debating skills are not the issue.

The laughable part of this entire discussion is that the Conservatives are trying to tie the Liberals down to a proposed five regional debates across the country. Since at least highlights of the debates would be heard across the country, the point of trying to deal with regional issues becomes somewhat mute.

(Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Chong’s changes that change nothing.

Congratulations to Conservative MP Michael Chong. He actually got his reform bill passed by the House of Commons. Too bad it passed because he watered it down to almost nothing. Voters are unlikely to ever see the effects of his changes. The original bill was designed to take some of the power away from the party leaders and give it to their party caucuses. It would have been better if the bill had redistributed political power to where it really belongs.

First of all, we have to recognize that the party leader has to have the ability to maintain a (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Will the Hair delay death and dying?

Obviously the Prime Minister is not a fatalist. He has been low key in response to the Supreme Court giving his government a year to do something about the current legal position of medical specialists assisting terminally ill patients to die. The time has come to take a stand on the issue and it is just not in his playbook. It looks like the Supreme Court judges will be asked for a stay of execution.

But bear in mind, the only thing the Hair has said on the issue is that Canadians have strong opinions on both sides of the (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The temptation of triumphant terrorism.

You can see the Hair savouring the thought. Sitting quietly in the Prime Minister’s Office, he is exhorting, “Terrorists unite, you can only save my job for me.” He is hardly the first imperialist who tried to use the bogeyman enemy to cling to office.

And yet the discomfort grows daily with the Conservative anti-terrorism Bill C-51. Does this flawed legislation have the staying power to influence an October election? Why is the Hair so adamant that no amendments will be made? It is hardly the first bad legislation to be brought before Canada’s Parliament. Citizens will hardly stay (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: It’s too early to bet on the federal election.

There are lots of questions about the coming national election but very few answers. That means speculation is a waste of time. That is not to say that speculation cannot be fun. The only problem is that the list of what we do know is too short for a good blog and the list of what we do not know is far too long.

One of the questions that puzzle people is the wonderment about what is going on in the mind of the Prime Minister. If that man had a friend, he or she would be just as lost (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: What is to be done about terrorist bloggers?

The Conservative’s Bill C-51 anti-terrorism act has us worried. Pass it as it is and this blogger will always be wondering when the R.C.M. Police will be breaking down the door. Can we live in limbo?

It is just not fair. The Mounties have already determined that those of us who oppose the exploitation of tar sands are a danger to the country. We are obviously terrorists for opposing the oil economy. Why should we be allowed to object to the destruction of our environment and the melting of the polar icecaps? In fact, we are doubly dangerous (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The bread crumbs of Chantal Hébert.

The articles and commentaries of Chantal Hébert in the Toronto Star are always a delight to read. In the same way it would be a shame to miss one of her At Issue dialogues on CBC television with Peter Mansbridge, Andrew Coyne and Bruce Anderson. She delivers her unique perspective on Canadian politics in a blunt and unequivocal style. In her commentaries, it is a wonderful writing trick she uses to spread bread crumbs of possibilities to see which little birds go after them.

The lady also has a whimsical sense of humour. In a recent commentary in the Toronto Star, (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Gimme that old time politics.

The more we learn about Justin Trudeau’s new politics, the more we yearn for that old time politics. Before the 1990s, candidates were nominated by their local riding association and there was nothing the party leader could do about who the party chose. We ended up getting some mavericks back then. We got the odd Member of Parliament chosen by a single ethnic group. We got a few anti-abortionists. In fact, all parties got some dingbats who marched to their own drummer. And others of whom we were proud.

And we were proud as hell to be liberals. In the (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Blowing the bugles for Blair.

Scarborough Southwest is old stomping ground for this Liberal. Those are our people the Toronto Star is toying with. Suggesting that (then) former Police Chief Bill Blair will want to run as a Liberal in that electoral district is a declaration of war against them. We are not amused.

First of all, Blair is no Liberal. He is the unindicted felon of the G-20 in Toronto in 2010. He was responsible for one of the most serious infringements on human rights in Canadian history when his police kettled innocent bystanders during a G-20 incident that can only go down in (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: If there was ever a time for leadership.

You can only feel a sickening sense of betrayal in Bill C-51 that is now before our parliament. We are betrayed by Stephen Harper’s determination for re-election. It is a bill that begs for abuse. Ill-conceived and ill-defined, it is a reactionary bill better serving a lynch mob than reasoned jurisprudence.

All we can tell you is that this is not the answer to the fear of an enemy within. It is the same feeling we had 45 years ago when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau used the archaic War Measures Act against le Front de libération du Québec (FLQ). There (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Adams-Soudas story has legs.

The news media expect the MP Eve Adams story to be around for a while. The copy is just too good to pass up. The blonde (or brunette, depending on the day) Ms. Adams is an aging Cleopatra and her boy toy Dimitri Soudas is a besotted Marc Antony. Mind you, we are all waiting for the conservative-leaning Sun Media headline that denigrates her as “that bitch with an itch.”

As expected, few if any real Liberals are welcoming her to their party. It is not that they do not want to win Toronto’s Eglinton-Lawrence electoral district. It is (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: On The Prospects Of Political Probity

Anyone who follows politics on a regular basis cannot help but be cynical. Cynical about politicians’ motives. Cynical about political rhetoric. Cynical about, well, just about anything that comes out of our overlords’ mouths. Despite that, many voters soldier on in the hope that maybe something they say they will actually mean.

Well, a new website offers something other than blind faith to sustain us. Called FactsCan, this nascent site, which is just completing a crowdfunding campaign, describes itself as a nonpartisan fact-checking site on Canadian politics that will be fact-checking the 2015 federal election.

The CBC reports the (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Hair hopes to hit for a homer.

And you thought the Hair had already hit the wall in his search for talent in his Conservative caucus. When you have a guy like Pierre Poilievre on your team, the possibilities are endless. He can easily add Employment to his workload. Then there is Rob Nicholson, the Defence Minister who was ready to step into John Baird’s fashionable shoes in Foreign Affairs. And then there is Mr. Fix-It Jason Kenney, ready and able to add another portfolio, Defence, to his task of getting the Conservative Party re-elected in 2015.

And what do you think the Department of Defence and (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Justin, beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

It could have been a subplot written by Virgil. There was the beautiful temptress, hair blonde and loose for the cameras, and the gullible of Troy, our Justin. There were few reporters in Ottawa the other day who did not react in surprise when 41-year old MP Eve Adams from Oakville, Ontario and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau came to talk to them.

The news was that the Conservative member had been rejected by her party but was acceptable to the Liberals.

But the elephant in the room for that news conference was Eve Adams’ live-in 35-year old boy toy, former (Read more…)