Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Babel-on-the-Bay: A year can be forever in politics.

It will feel like a year long federal election campaign between now and October 2015. Wars have not lasted as long. Yet, despite all the strategies at play, the key decisions by the real electors will not be made until September and October next year.

Much of the first six to nine months will be taken up with making sure of each party’s base vote. Regionally and demographically, you can define the base for each of the main political parties. In the same sense as most rich, white males vote Conservative, many mid-income, educated, females vote Liberal and a high (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Harris helps harass the Hair.

Canada’s prime minister a.k.a. the Hair does not have a large number of friends. And that short list obviously does not include Canadian author and journalist Michael Harris. We hear that Harris’ newly published list of the Hair’s shortcomings is a rather lengthy book. Called Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover, Harris seems to have done the political job for the Hair’s political detractors. After all, we bloggers were never going to get the job done without some expert help.

The Hair’s attempts at controlling and demeaning parliament are said to be well documented (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Justin’s book written by the choir.

Nobody expects that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s puff piece that has just been published is actually written by him. It comes as a shock though when he describes the process as more like a choral arrangement. It sounds like a process that takes out any spontaneity, edge or passion from what is being published. It sounds like a waste of time. We should not be too eager to read the literary reviews. Forget the Geller Prize.

What Trudeau believes is that the book is an opportunity for Canadians to see the differences between his Liberal approach and the present Conservative (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Hair harvests his hopes.

Canada’s prime minister must be quite happy these days. There is actually a world-wide glut of oil driving down the price of crude oil. The Hair has taken us to the promised land of the oil economy and Canadians are reaping the rewards. They are also watching stock markets plummet and their eyes are rising skyward and they are saying, ‘Please, this is just a market correction, we hope.’

Who knew—other than the Hair—that fracking and tar sands would save the day for Canada’s economy? It was a brave move to dismiss the manufacturing sector in Ontario and Quebec (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: What price for your vote?

Step right up folks. The Conservative Party is ready to buy your vote. If you do not worm your way to the head of the line, you might miss out. After all a lot of Canadians have suffered so that the greedy can get their snout in the trough. It is time for the payoff.

There is no pretence here. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made it very clear the other day that there will be a stream of goodies available for Conservative Party supporters over the next year. He will be announcing many of them at carefully staged and managed (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: We need more Irwin Cotler’s Mr. Trudeau.

Here we are losing one of the few intelligent and thinking parliamentarians left in Ottawa and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau wants nebbishes to replace him. Trudeau is too wet behind the ears to understand that we have to have mavericks in caucus to keep Liberals honest with themselves and their constituents. Irwin Cotler helped keep Liberals honest.

And the Liberal caucus will miss Irwin Cotler after he steps down as a Member of Parliament for Mount Royal next year.

What Justin Trudeau knows is that he cannot tell Irwin Cotler what to think. He has his own ideas. He has (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Tories work copyright from both sides.

It takes a while to get your mind around it. It seems the government party can use copyright material as they wish but the news media are not allowed to censor. That seems to be the gist of what federal Heritage Minister Shelly Glover said the other day. Since the Conservatives routinely steal from the media and the media are always censoring material, people want to know what the argument is really about.

The sticking point seems to be that the news media are in high dudgeon over the Conservative attack ads using news clips from the television networks. For (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The EU can be hypocrites too.

The European Union has changed its mind and is allowing bitumen to be imported to European Union countries. Canada’s Suncor has recently announced that it has sent its first every tanker load of what it calls ‘heavy crude oil’ from Alberta by rail and then by tanker from Sorel-Tracy in Quebec. The shipment is going to an unnamed European country on the Mediterranean Sea.

They are not talking about crude oil. When these oil people talk about ‘heavy’ crude, they are really talking about bitumen from the tar sands. This can come from the Orinoco region of Venezuela or from (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: It’s High Noon for the Hair.

The Hair is strapping on his six-shooter, saying goodbye to the missus and heading to meet the bad guys on the noon train. He did not wait for the House of Commons vote that might have enabled him to deputize a Mulcair or a Trudeau for some moral support. The Hair is going it alone. In one of the most ill-conceived military exercises ever attempted, the Hair is going to war with brigands.

We call them brigands for lack of a better term. If they were sailors, they would be pirates. They know no allegiance. They pose as zealots when (Read more…)

reeves report: NDP propose tough rules for importing Asian carp

On Oct. 1, New Democratic MP Brian Masse from Windsor, Ontario introduced a private member’s bill calling for tougher action and better coordination across Canadian governments in the fight against Asian carp.

The bill would make it illegal to import Asian carp — or “invasive carp,” as Masse calls it in his remarks — into Canada unless the fish is dead. And, to make sure border guards aren’t fooled by fish on ice that later spring to life in water, the fish must be eviscerated. Through a change to the Fisheries Act it would also forbid the inter-provincial transportation of (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The stateless state of ISIS.

How do you go to war with stateless brigands? How do you bomb the locations of thieves who move about usurping the homes and authority of people weakened with years of oppression and destructive war? How do you bring ill-trained soldiers into an effective force to fight these brigands when all the conscripts know is the fear of totalitarian regimes? How do you wage war against people taught to welcome martyrdom?

But, Prime Minister Harper—being smarter than other Canadians—is leading us to war with thieves. He wants to fight people who call themselves an Islamist state and are neither true (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Looking for war in all the wrong places.

In Orwell’s novel 1984, Big Brother’s regime uses never ending far away wars to control the population. He makes war a critical component in sustaining the totalitarian regime. War is to blame for the regime’s economic failures, the shortages, and the beggaring of the proletariat. Big Brother has victories. The people suffer the losses.

But there is a caution that needs be noted for those seeking to create their ideal totalitarian regime in Canada. The one component that Orwell added to the mix in his mythical Oceania was total control of communications. This is where Mr. Harper and his lackeys (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Why Babel-on-the-Bay is cutting off the Greens.

It is supposed to be flattering that Babel-on-the-Bay receives so many news releases from so many sources every day. Some of them are interesting, a few are funny, some are useful, and most get a quick check and delete. It is with deep regret though that we have had to bar the Green Party of Canada for spamming us. The Green Party overdoes it.

The Green Party communications person must be a machine. It sits there in the Green Party office in downtown Ottawa and churns out unnecessary news releases indiscriminately and much too frequently. We now know where the (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: But the Hair only came for dinner.

The last thing the Hair needed this week was another state dinner. The guy is going to finish up his imperial prime ministership next year weighing close to 300 pounds (136 kilograms). People are beginning to notice the way he is packing it on around the middle. And it has been a telling week. He passed up addressing the nations gathered in New York to do something about global warming but then showed up for dinner.

And was the speech in New York by Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq supposed to be some sort of a joke? Here she was telling (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Who is this Sun Media boor Levant?

We hardly live a totally sheltered life here in Babel. Sun Media owns the only daily newspaper and the odd free copy takes about three minutes to thumb through and discard. We are supposed to get Sun News on our Bell Fibe television service. We have never bothered to find it. And knowing the Péladeau’s, père et fils, we would probably not be interested anyway. The combination of those sleazy tabloids that the senior Péladeau created in Quebec with the witless Toronto Sun holds no level of interest.

But, at the same time, Justin Trudeau is getting bad advice from (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: All you need is $1000 and Liberal Green Light.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is telling us that the party now has open nominations. You really hate to be a killjoy but the party still has a long way to go to have truly open nominations. The process is about as open as a bank vault at midnight. Becoming a federal Liberal Party candidate today can only be described as expensive, intrusive, demanding, demeaning, and by no stretch of the imagination is it democratic.

And the fact that the Conservative Party is just as undemocratic does not excuse it.

The New Democratic Party would laugh at the Conservative and Liberal (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: And liberal thinkers need not apply?

This needs to be clarified. Nobody owns your body but you. A true liberal recognizes the right of men and women everywhere to the freedom of control of their bodies. It is why a liberal sees abortion, prostitution and euthanasia as moral issues but not legal issues. A liberal decries the efforts of narrow minded people to try to use the state to resolve issues of conscience and personal choice.

But at the same time, nobody has the right to tell you how to think. We all have the right to our own set of principles. At the same time (Read more…)

reeves report: Ontario and Ottawa face off over fate of Rouge Park lands

A STANDOFF IS BREWING east of Toronto in the Rouge Valley between Queen’s Park and the federal government over the proposed Rouge National Urban Park.

Ontario Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid made it clear to federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq that the province would not hand 5,400 acres of land it owns, stretching from Lake Ontario to Markham, over to Ottawa to create the new 10,000 acre park.

Map of existing Rouge Park.

At issue is the wording of Bill C-40, the Rouge National Urban Park Act, which began second reading in June. Much of the 5,400 acres Ontario controls (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Harper’s CRTC dog won’t hunt.

It was like old times at the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearing last Friday. You could see the anger rising in the commission chairman’s face. The only problem was that it was not the previous chairman Konrad von Finckenstein who had led the commission into the digital age of communications. It was Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s choice of chair, civil servant Jean-Pierre Blais. Where von Finckenstein would have blown a gasket, Blais called a washroom break.

The witness Chairman Blais left at the microphone was American lawyer Corie Wright global public policy director for Netflix. The streaming video company (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The Hair prefers ‘presidential’ powers.

What a bother! That fussy Mr. Mulcair is making trouble for the Hair again. He wants Canada’s Prime Minister to ask parliament for permission to send troops to Iraq. It seems a lot of bother for a matter of just 69 soldiers going to the aid of Canada’s friends in Kurdistan and Iraq. After all, the Hair’s buddy, American President Barack Obama, has the power to send help to the Iraq government without calling Congress together to discuss the plans.

But Canada has a different system of government. The Americans have a republic wherein the President heads the administration and (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Hailing the Hair’s homecoming.

They were all in Ottawa for the opening of parliament. They were the Conservative Commons and Senate parliamentarians, the Prime Minister’s and ministerial staffs, MPs’ and Senators’ staffs, local Conservative Party members and their guests. They were all there to welcome home the Hair.

But they were not in the parliament buildings. The Hair detests parliament. It is a bother for him. People stand in parliament and criticize him. They do not recognize the greatness that the Hair sees in his vision of Canada. They ask long and boring questions. There is the tedium of votes.

The Hair prefers to (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Blowing the whistle on the Fraser Institute.

Fair’s fair. Babel-on-the-Bay would like to file a complaint with the Canada Revenue Agency. The complaint is against the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute and its offices in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. This pseudo think-tank enterprise has been found to be biased and one-sided. It is more of an unthinking-tank as it has a clear bias on its research subjects and seems to only hire researchers prepared to support that bias.

What has brought about this demand for retribution is the outrageous treatment of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The Canada Revenue Agency is harassing the centre with an unnecessary and (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Who convinced Trudeau to look democratic?

Wow. When you read the website now it looks like Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau invented party democracy. It not only says he believes in party democracy but he is working to assure Liberal Party members of open nominations. He seems to not only be recanting his heavy-handed approach in the recent Trinity-Spadina by-election in Toronto but maybe he expects us to pretend it never happened.

But we should not let him off the hook for just some well chosen words. We still have to see some positive action. We still have to get the heavy hand of the (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Conservative Oliver uses gifts not incentives.

Say what you like about Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver but he is certainly proving that he is not the brightest bulb to ever hold that portfolio in Ottawa. In fact, Oliver might just embarrass the Harper government right out of office next year. It was his opening salvo in goodies for next year’s election that showed Canadians that he has no idea of how to motivate business with taxation for job creation. He does not understand that there is a serious difference between a gift and an incentive.

And this is all about a matter of 28 cents. That (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Quebec is not Scotland.

A week from now we will have the results of a close referendum in Scotland. And the ‘No’ side is worried. Sorry guys, it is too late now to recognize the problems. While we still expect a narrow margin for the ‘No’ side, it is emotions that seem to be running away with the day. And as much as the separatists in Quebec would like to equate it with their situation, there is less of a lesson for Quebec than you would think.

We have made the point before that Scotland is a country with thousands of years of sometimes (Read more…)