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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…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: This is what democracy looks like.

We had a great time in Barrie the other night. We would have liked to have federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and his team there but we had to settle for volunteers from other Liberal riding associations. They were there to make sure our nomination meeting was run by party rules and that our candidate would be the choice of the Liberal Party members in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. What we wanted Justin and his friends to see was democracy in action.

The only problem was that that there are not many reasonably priced meeting venues in Barrie for more than 500 people. (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: So, they broke up the Bobbsey Twins!

In recent years, we have had the fun of writing about the Bobbsey twins of the Harper cabinet. Specifically, they have been Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Employment Minister Jason Kenny. While it has been pointed out to us that one of the original Bobbsey twins was female and the other male, their stories that we read as children made them out as androgynous.

And even as an adult, who cares if one or both or neither of them share Oscar Wilde’s bent. Two, somewhat portly, single gentlemen in their mid forties can be anything they want and who (Read more…)

reeves report: Environmental Groups Pin Slim Hopes for Rouge Park Changes to Senate

Rouge Park in autumn.

Canada’s Rouge National Urban Park Act began second reading in the Senate earlier this week after sailing through the House of Commons is just six months.

Tobias C. Enverga Jr., a Stephen Harper appointed Senator for Ontario, is acting as the bill’s sponsor in the Senate.

On Monday this week, Enverga Jr. spoke on the bill, urging all Senators to offer their support. “One hundred years from now I am confident that the decision to preserve this remarkable place as our country’s first national urban park will be viewed as one of the most (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Trusting social media solutions.

Our political parties have been discovering the social media solutions of the Internet. It is nirvana, the answer to a campaign manager’s prayers, or so it seems. It supposedly reaches new and expanded audiences, younger voters and it is inexpensive. Candidates and the elected all have to have their personal web sites, party web site, government web site and they are all interconnected to save time and trouble. Everyone has to have them but few draw much of an audience.

And then there is Twitter and FaceBook and YouTube and their spin-offs. Twitter is embarrassing when you recognize what it (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Better beckon Blaney’s backup.

With the serious lack of talent on the Conservative backbenches, you really do wonder if Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney’s backup is the answer. The only thing we know for sure is that this guy cannot do the job. With Blaney responsible for public safety in Canada, we get the feeling we are in danger of being murdered in our beds.

The surprise for people about the Public Safety Minister is that he is a Quebec-trained civil engineer and has a reputation as an environmentalist. He did a quiet and responsible job as Minister of Veteran’s Affairs for two years (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Never tell the truth to a machine.

To suggest that automated telephone polling is right 19 times out of 20 or subject to variables of 3 or 4 per cent is something of a joke. When you have no idea of the age of respondents, no idea of the statistical viability of your sample, then you have no idea of the reliability of the result. And then there is the problem of people who always lie to machines. When the calls get heavier towards the end of the campaign, you get loyalties bouncing all over.

One example of this, witnessed in the vast databases being assembled by (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: “And deliver us from evil.”

That line from the Anglican version of the Lord’s Prayer is a simple request to God to keep us from being beset by that which is evil in society. Were we to leave that job to those we choose to govern our country, we could be in serious trouble. Politicians seem to overreact. They go after malefactors with a zeal that puts the Lord of Hosts to shame.

Take the Hair and his friends in Ottawa. For years now they have been building new prisons for evil doers. It does little good to tell them that statistically crime is decreasing (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Canadians are waiting for the Hair.

The lights are on late in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). The price of crude oil is less than $50 a barrel. The Canadian dollar is trading just under 80 cents American. The surplus promised in the 2014-15 fiscal year is gone. The federal budget that was expected in March is being put off until April or May, or later. The Bank of Canada prime lending rate has been dropped to 0.75 per cent to stabilize the currency. What is the Hair to do?

Part of the problem is that the Hair has foolishly decided to try for a (Read more…)

reeves report: Contentious Rouge Park Bill Passes Third Reading

Despite united opposition against the proposed National Urban Park, Conservative Bill C-40 passed third reading Monday. The legislation is now on its way to the Tory-dominated Senate for further review.

Orchard Trail in Rouge Park.

The passage of Bill C-40 in Ottawa earlier this week, creating the country’s first National Urban Park in Toronto’s Rouge Valley, is not the cause for celebration a large number of its proponents hoped it would be.

Many of the countries leading environmental groups — including Ontario Nature, Environmental Defence, the David Suzuki Foundation and Friends of the Rouge Watershed — lamented the fact that in (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Oh sure, let’s blame Question Period.

The Prime Minister must be smiling. You can tell because his make-up is a bit askew. Someone told him that his favourite newspaper wants to get rid of Question Period in the House of Commons. As he explained to an aide, “Without Question Period, I would never have to show up in that damn place except for budgets and Throne Speeches.”

He does like to look prime ministerial and periodically, when he sees the time is right, he will rise in the House to allay the concerns of the overly curious Opposition. While sometimes his answers bear little relationship (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Lord Cross-the-Pond still ponders.

Finding another commentary by Lord Cross-the-Pond, Conrad Black, in this past weekend’s National Post only proves that he really needs something serious to do. And we can assure him that his friend Paul Godfrey needs no help in running the National Post and Sun Media newspapers into the ground until the American money lenders are satisfied. It is heart-warming to see that Lord Connie still thinks of people like us as lumpen-left. It is too bad that he cannot find something he knows about to write about.

And hopefully Paul Godfrey is not paying Connie anything for those overly long (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Is Canada racist? No. Is there racism in Canada? Yes.

The announcements of the concern about racism the other day in Winnipeg came as no surprise. That part of this country has been trying to stuff the racism genie back in the bottle since the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers was the site of an early trading post. Give the city the credit it deserves though, the racism is now exposed and the city has a chance to work on the problems. It is just too bad that Montreal does not do the same. It continues as the most racist city in Canada.

And we are not talking (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: If there is Will, he will find a way.

Not being a regular reader of the Washington Post, we might not have read many columns by George F. Will. It was only when Toronto’s National Post picked up one of his commentaries last weekend that we had the fun of trying to figure out how his mind works—or maybe does not. What appeared to start out as a mindless Republican tarring of America’s first black President, was found to include some mindless repetition of TransCanada Pipelines’ news releases.

This guy Will must be a staunch anti-environmentalist. Yet he has the temerity to say about President Obama that “his mind (Read more…)