Sunday, October 01, 2006

Approving Torture Through Apology

I can't say that I have ever been pressured into an apology. But that's where the Conservative government, including Stephen Harper, the Mounties, and the minister responsible for public safety (Stockwell Day) have found themselves.

Maher Arar, the deported Canadian who suffered torture in his home land of Syria has had his day. The justice has placed the blame for the events directly on the RCMP for feeding the Americans false information that lead to his removal from the USA.

Now the apologetic, look down at your shoes, speeches come out. Mr. Arar is however waiting for one apology in particular. From Canada's PM, Mr. Harper. Mr. Arar has stated that he feels more injustice is done everyday that goes by without this event-capping apology.

My opinion, give it to him. Along with the (no doubt millions) compensation package (not in that order of course).

Here's what most are missing. The experts in the situation have looked to everyone in the situation for responsibility. They ask that (almost) all take responsibility for the deportation and treatment of Mr. Arar. No one that I have heard from has pointed their compassionate hearts towards Mr. Arar's home, Syria.

When we as a country have a mistake in data surrounding an individual, it us not likely press-worthy content. This fact happens everyday, a thousand times. But when something horrible happens to an individual based on this mistaken information we stand up and scream at our government?

I would suggest that by apologizing and compensating Mr. Arar for this matter we are forgetting the foundation of why this happened. It is not because of an alliance that our PM has with President Bush, or the War on Terror. The foundation for our apologies and sympathy to Mr. Arar come from the fact that a country, Syria, continues to operate some 13th century law that justifies torturing individuals to gather data.

I have heard and read a lot about President Bush and the secret 'camps' that the CIA ran to torture and gather data from individuals. Yet these same people screaming and shouting at the US choose to ignore the same activities in a different country? If they are so against the US using these techniques, or the techniques themselves, why not elevate your voice to include all offending parties? Or is it that spotlighting only some of those parties can further a partisan goal?

Selective choices often imply hypocrisy. Welcome to the left.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Fight the Empathy

The western world has made the worst mistake it could in any fight. We brought a dictionary to a gun fight.

Step back, look at the world. Pockets of unsettling events all over the globe. Most have a common theme. Islam versus other religions. These are not events that have only timing in common, but rather events that are tied together with one religion versus another.

The western world, be it Canada or the US chooses to fight these wars with a greater emphasis on words rather than actions. I know some may disagree when you think of Iraq, but the larger picture points to the fact that we do not employ the same war techniques that the enemy does. We are fighting on a skewed playing field. In Iraq and the other Arab nations with NATO and other forces on the ground, we are losing the fight, badly.

As the days pass we see a change in their cowardness and methods. We lose soldiers because of their ability to play against a set of made up rules and regulations that change day to day. We however must play by the rules of Geneva, or NATO, calling a two month inquiry when an individual not directly related to the fighting is injured or killed. Why?

Do we feel that we are lowering ourselves to their level? If we do not take similar reactions for their actions will we not be destroyed to a level that is beneath them?

Look back at world events. World War II was a horrible time that should not be re-lived for a moment, if not for remembrance. We were not the group that started the events that lead to war, but we were the group that fought them on even terms. One of those terms was that empathy followed once the threat was controlled.

I hope to see the day that we control the threat, provide our empathies and move towards a more secure, peaceful time in the world.

Friday, September 01, 2006

NDP's Yoko Oh-no

A few days after reading a post on another blog rounding up some wacky policy suggestions made by grass-roots NDP ECA's, I thought it was something that would filter down by the time the leadership parsed the text. I was wrong.

In a move that must have been inspired by the suggestions, "Handsome" Jack Layton has come out and said that the Canadian Government should engage the Taliban, with conversation, not cluster fire. Huh?

The Taliban, the same narrowed-sighted, fundamentalists who nurtured and assisted Bin Laden in changing the world almost five years ago.

Bringing these cavemen to the table to talk does only one thing, solidify their presence in the area. Instead of driving them back to the caves in the mountains, are we prepared to say to them, "C'mon down here, you're an important part of the nation's future, let's talk.". No way.

If the NDP wishes to push this point forward even further, may I suggest that the negotiators we send is frontlined by Mr. Layton, Pat Martin and (through air-freight) Libby Davis? Perhaps looking at evil directly in the eyes may have some effects on their position.

What's that ticking noise?

Trudeau v2.0

To all those who doubt the forces behind Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff are positioning him as the next Trudeau of the country, look again.

Iggy, whom won the claim of Trudeau v2.0 after speaking at the Liberal convention in 2004, is continuing down the parallel path of the rosed one. He has made a comment that contained many words but the three that are stirring the pot of federalism are "Civil", "War" and "Quebec". He was quoted as saying that he want to avoid civil war in Quebec painting the situation as some foreseen separtist 18-wheeler coming to the nation head on. The cause for concern over Quebec's slow slide towards independence is troubling, but I think his words have an undercurrent of conservative success in them. For the first time since Jean "The emperor" Chretien took power (not office) we have see the sun poking through the haze of Quebec separatism. The conservatives won a stronger than expected presence in the province and it may be growing, if the general Liberal shakes are any indication.

With his continued direction of spreading FUD for thought in Quebec, perhaps Iggy should brush up on past performances.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Stephen Harper Scare Tactics, Now With Kittens!

It seems that PM Stephen Harper is fostering a new priority in his minority government.

As the left paints him as a scary, shifty-eyed prime minister a kitten comes running across his desk. Huh? Perhaps he's planning on kicking the small feline, or putting it out in a cold, Canadian winter night.

Actually, contrary to the left's view of the current PM, the kitten that runs across his desk is part of a PM sponsored pet fostering plan with the Ottawa Humane Society.

Read the full story here.

Sorry CBC, this is a good news story.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Senate to hold up accountability...act?

Queue the imperial march music and turn the 370 cameras that cover the Hill to the right. Point your microphones directly at the people sitting in the Red Chamber.

Apparently the senate is set to 'roadblock' the act. Here's the first of many links:

Roadblock looms in Senate

Keep in mind, it is the Star!

Will the next Prime Minister please stand up...

The familiar smell is in the air. With a room full of Liberals that old scent of power-lust lingers throughout.

The usual suspects lined up and tossed their words out into the waiting audience while holding hands out waiting for the audience to reciprocate in currency. The Liberals have 10 candidates now but how many are really that close to 24 Sussex?

My take on the situation is this, the race will be Michael Ignatieff's to lose. I predicted that about a year ago when he made his first speech at the Liberal convention. Immediately afterwards he was referred to as the next Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

His lead in the race is not one to assume and expect however. Others such as Kennedy, and Rae have their work cut out for them, but if they work hard they have a good chance as well.

The only sure bet in the situation is that as the race tightens and the hopefuls dwindle, it will get ugly, 600-pound gorilla ugly. As the ballots come back and opponents drop out to throw support behind the next person the broad and focused attacks on Harper will die off. The guns will be directed focused on the person sitting next to them no doubt, right Mr. Brison?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Turner to McCallum, You're a Prick.

This post was on Garth Turners blog:

"McCallum, I have come to learn in the last week, is a pompous prick. This could be due to the fact he’s going to announce his intention to run for the Liberal leadership job – after he gets hours of face time tomorrow scrumming after the Flaherty budget."

This comes after a week of John McCallum stepping on Garth Turners toes in question period. The stepping comes due to a leak that he accuses Turner of regarding the budget.

With McCallum entering the race and turning up his blood pressure you can be sure that Turner's maverick personality will only fire back. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Why Monte Solberg Should Be Finance Minister

Lunch – Working lunch with journalist, $16.71
Breakfast – Working breakfast with Chief of Staff, $5.49
Dinner – Working dinner with Chief of Staff, $70.30

Knowing that your total expenses for the year are less than the bottle of wine Joe Volpe ordered with pizza dinner, priceless.

Monte's Expenses

The Media Versus Harper: Cast and Drag Method

Read between the lines on most media reports on PM Harper.

You will start to see tangential references to behaviors that don't seem to dissimilar to what the PM displays on a regular basis. However, wait a couple of days and you will hear soon see a retort from the every quiet PM on the issue at hand.

Listen carefully and you'll hear the line cast being tossed into the water. The media seem to have the patience required for this technique to work properly and surprisingly the PM is responding to almost every hook out there.

Most recently the issue/rumour that General Rick Hillier was being muzzled after some out of scope comments made at some ceremonies. CPAC junkies will remember a couple of days ago Gen. Hillier went on and on almost uncomfortably at times about who had the best job in the country and this and that, and remember when Bill thought that the car parked there was his, etc, etc.

The media picked this up and accused the PM of ordering a full assault on the General's mouth. After a couple of days of silence, the PM came forward in Winnipeg today and stated that, "I keep reading these stories about secret memos that I'm vetting this and that, but I'm not aware of any of them".

Watch out Steve, the media has their ways of making you talk.

Peter MacKay, Always the Last to Know

Poor Pete. When the spotlight turned to him about the upcoming budget and gas tax relief, he thought he had all the answers.

"There are discussions about that right now, and we have a budget coming and we're getting all kinds of submissions ... on what to cut and what not to cut," Mr. MacKay said.

"The truth of the matter is higher gas prices – that's going to be something that we're going to have to get used to." This from his boss, PM Harper hours after Mr. MacKay made the statement.Oopss.

Many are trying to take the Tories to task on this issue. It wasn't so long ago that they were the biggest supporters of cutting the tax on tax, hidden your fill-up fees. Now when pressed on the matter the PM returned to the upcoming cut to the GST as apseudoo relief (that is GST on gas after all). Truth be told, most economists agree that cutting the tax on tax or 1% off the federal tax show similar results. Not a heck of a lot back in our pockets.

Budgets or Belinda, poor Pete seems to be the last in the information food chain, in opposition or cabinet.