Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Del.Icio.Us Explained, Digg Exposed, Centrerion Readers Win

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You likely noticed that a few things have been added to Centrerion: Canadian Politics recently. The following is a little explanation of the new features, and why we added them. The main idea is to offer more value to you, our readers, while increasing our readership.

The most important recent addition are Bookmark in Del.Icio.Us links you'll see at the bottom of every post. The idea of bookmarking in Del.Icio.Us is that you can have your bookmarks stored online (at, so you can access them from any computer worldwide. At the same time, you help spread/share your interests with like-minded people.

This is done by 'tagging' the posts you've bookmarked, which consists of using search engine like keywords to describe the content in the post. The more people who bookmark and tag the posts, the more popular they'll be on At the same time, Yahoo's search engine considers this popularity in offering search results. So you can pass on articles you like through directly, and by extension through Yahoo. In effect, it makes your opinion heard.

Note, competes with a similar website called As I understand their privacy policy (not a legal opinion, just my understanding), Digg does not respect your privacy as much. While we'd appreciate similar bookmarking and tagging at Digg as we hope you'll do for us with, you should know that your email could be sold/leased to third parties by Digg. Their privacy policy reads:

"Will Digg Share Any of the Information it Receives?

Information about our users is an integral part of our business. We neither rent nor sell your personal information to anyone. We share your personal information only as described below.

* Business Transfers:
In some cases, we may choose to buy or sell assets. In these types of transactions, user information is typically one of the business assets that is transferred. Moreover, if Digg, or substantially all of its assets, were acquired, user information would be one of the assets that is transferred."

As I read it, then, Digg considers your personal information an asset, and as such, it can be sold or leased. The keyword here is "moreover." This suggests that it's not only if they're merged with or bought out that your information will transfer, but this may also be possible in the course of regular business otherwise. I'm not suggesting it's likely (can you tell I'm nervous about Digg's lawyers?), but it looks like a possibility to me, based on the text of their privacy policy.' program has a similar stipulation that if merged with/acquired, your information will be transferred to the acquirer, but it won't sell your information itself. In addition, it will notify users of the transfer, and so you can delete your account before any merger/acquisition.
"You can delete your Yahoo! account by visiting our Account Deletion page. Please click here to read about information that might possibly remain in our archived records after your account has been deleted."

Another thing we have added is trackbacks. This is mainly for fellow bloggers and web publishers, who, having discussed one of our posts on their website, can leave a message, similar to a comment, of their post discussing us. That way, the people who read the original post can read more of the discussion on the topic at the other website. This sort of linking and networking is called trackbacks.

Lastly, and our fellow publishers and bloggers should really jump at this business opportunity, we are now working with Text Link Ads. Publishers can sell links from their website, as well as refer other people to the service. Each referral who signs up is worth $25 to the referrer. That said, it's a good business opportunity (though to be honest, I've heard that search engines are wary of people selling links)*, even if you only sign up to become a referrer. If you want to join, we'd appreciate you going by clicking on our link, or on the ads in our sidebar.

*Update: That has since been contradicted by other search engine experts' opinions I've read. The SEO experts don't really agree on this. The best explanation I understood was that the link sellers' outgoing links are just disregarded by Google, if Google sees they sell links. The way around this is the "nofollow" tag, which lets Google differentiate between links to 'click' on and check out and those to ignore. The point is that your own website likely won't be affected, but those purchasing links from you for Google optimization may not get what they're paying for (I haven't seen any data/opinions on Yahoo or other engines).

Articles relating to
, , :

  1. Carnival trackbacks (carnivals used for networking)
  2. Who some of our readers are (readership) MSN vs Google; Centrerion: Canadian Politics' global readership (eradership and search engines)
  3. Centrerion is #1 for moderate analysis (search engines)

Foreign Aid Directly to Palestinans? Moderate Analysis Suggests Double Jeapordy

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The MSM reports Canadian MP Alexa Mcdonough, the NDP's foreign-affairs critic, is telling the Conservative government that a net reduction in foreign aid to Palestinians is short-sighted and counter-productive. She agrees not to give money to Hamas (hey Mackay, are you listening?? The NDP is giving you a lesson on foreign affairs! You should be embarassed!), but thinks money ought to be given directly to humanitarian groups there.

This is an important issue, and I'm having a hard time deciding which side of the
debate offers the better alternative. (By contrast to the NDP, others are advocating a total cut of aid, including to NGOs).

Making the argument in favour of donating to NGOs, you could argue that reducing aid to valid humanitarian groups just makes Palestinian society deteriorate even more, making Hamas control even easier, and allows Palestinian society to develop into a base for terrorists. You could add that this hurts innocent Palestinians more than Hamas.

Arguing against it, you could point out that the NGOs are infiltrated by Palestinian terrorists, and that the rampant corruption means that they'll get a cut of Canadian aid money. Besides, Palestinian cities are already home to a terrorist infrastructure; cutting aid can't make it worse than it already is. The argument that is strongest, in my mind, is that cutting all aid means Hamas has to apportion funds from its budget to what aid would otherwise pay. That means less money for Qassam rockets to kill civilians.

I think we should cut the aid. Palestinians knew full well they were voting terrorists into office. They can't say it's a surprise that the West wants to cut aid. Let them live with the consequence of their actions.

Articles relating to , , :

Israeli Elections: Pragmatic Shift to the Center

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Israel Goes Pragmatic
by Elliot Chodoff of Middle East: On Target (reprinted with permission)

The preliminary exit poll results of the Israeli elections show some interesting, but not particularly surprising, results. The Kadima Party, established by Ariel Sharon and led by Ehud Olmert since Sharon’s debilitating stroke, leads the pack with some 31 or 32 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. While this will guarantee that Kadima is the largest party in the race, it has slipped sharply from the predicted 42 – 44 seats of a couple of months ago.

The two former political powerhouses, Labor and Likud, eked out 20 and 12 seats, respectively, and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is our Home) Party surged with an estimated 12 seats, making his the third largest party in the new Knesset and possibly the critical swing votes in the formation of a government.

Exit polls in Israel tend to be skewed leftward, and the right wing parties invariably put in a better showing once all the actual votes are counted. Nonetheless, the election results are likely to be misinterpreted as a shift from the right and left toward the political center.

In fact, the Israeli electorate has abandoned the ideological parties for the more pragmatic ones. Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu, while coming to somewhat different conclusions vis a vis policy, have arrived at those conclusions through pragmatic assessment, rather than through the distorted tint of partisan ideologies. This approach has worked to their benefit, as the age worn ideologies of the left and the right have proven to be inadequate to the task of steering Israel through the difficult period of the terrorist war she has been fighting for the past six years.

There is still a long way to go before a government is formed and presented to the Knesset for approval, but it will be the pragmatic parties that lead the effort, both in assembling and crowning that new government. Kadima leader Ehud Olmert is likely to be the next prime minister, but he will have to contend with Lieberman’s support or opposition on the way to the position. Pragmatism cuts many ways, and is a far more flexible tool than the brittle ideologies of the past.

Articles relating to , , :
Initial effects of Hamas' Election (Israel)
Moderate Circus of Canadian Politics 2 (centrism)
On Democracy and Liberalism (democracy)
Amona Investigation (Israel)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Osama and Coffee - Quip of the Day

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The global jihad gained a new target today, as Osama bin Laden issued a fatwa against Starbucks. "The women's hairnets do not conform to international veil standards!" raged the Turbinator. "Furthermore, offering French Vanilla is an Zionist-American conspiracy to insult real arabian coffee. Death to the infidel refreshments!"

Articles and posts relating to , and s:
Harper Supports Terrorism by Placing Government Above The Law (terrorism)
The Debate on Afghanistan Widens (humour)
Militant Islam Confronts Europe (terrorism) (you didn't think Europe would confront radical Islamists, did you?)
Osama Thanks Stephen Harper

Who do they think they are?

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I would like to issue an open letter to the members of the Cabinet of Canada, on behalf of... well, myself, but I imagine many (most) would agree:

You are not the Cabinet of a monarch in anything but name. You are not chosen by a monarch in any way but ceremonially. You are, for all intents and purposes and in all practicality, servants of the citizens of Canada. You are to perform the tasks delegated to you by the people who elected you. You are to perform these tasks well, or when it is time for your bi/tri/quadra-ennial review, you will be fired.

Part of your job is to tell us what you are doing. You are remiss in your duties when you refuse to speak to those who would inform us of what you are doing. You do not have the privilege of secrecy. People of your occupation are regarded with ever-increasing suspicion, and attempting to hide from the voters, either by banning their presence outside of your clandestine meetings, or entering your workplace through the back door (past the dumpsters) does nothing to preclude these fears; in fact, it gives just reason for these fears to take over, and likely inform our mood when your performance evaluation comes up.

Let me put it bluntly: we are not amused. You are not dictators. You are not oligarchs, autocrats, or princes. You are democrats, in a democratic system, and you do not have the right, despite your wishes to the contrary, to govern without the support of the people. Straighten up, or we'll straighten you up. And start by giving your reports - we want them on our desk by Monday.

(Posted at BlueGrit)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Balkans Full of al-Qaeda; Was Daniel Pearl Targeted for Knowing Too Much?

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The Balkans are still teeming with al-Qaeda's terrorists. That's the main idea of an in-depth article out by Julia Gorin. It appears the KLA, or Kosovo Liberation Army, which the US, NATO, and UN supported against the Serbs in the 90s, was working with all sorts of terrorists. This continues today. Indeed, troops have recently found an application to al-Qaeda from a former KLA member, who notably recommends attacking Disney theme parks.

The article also notes that Daniel Pearl, a journalist most of us will remember as having been caught and beheaded in Pakistan, was investigating the links between the international jihadists and their suppliers and partners in the Bosnian Muslim populace. It made me wonder: was what the media framed as a random and unfortunate killing, actually a very specific, targeted operation aimed at killing a man who had learnt too much?

Overall, this article reinforced the problems inherent in our traditional media.
  • feed off each other,
  • ignore stories that are quite worthy of our attention (this may even be intentional covering-up), and
  • have power over policy that is essentially akin to brainwashing.

Note: I'm skeptical of the article's suggestions that the genocide was exaggerated, though it's quite possible it was going on against the Serbs too.

Articles relating to
, , :
Mediocre Media taking submissions (media)
Osama and Coffee - Quip of the Day (terrorism)
Forget a Debate, Canadians Support the Troops in Afghanistan (the war on terror)
Initial effects of Hamas' election - Analysis (terrorism in the Mid-East)

Mediocre Media Taking Submissions !

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Mediocre Media's submission form is now up and running at CC's website. Here's the kind of articles/posts Mediocre Media will roundup.

In related news, we need to thank a few carnival hosts with a couple o' trackbacks.
The always excellent Dr Sanity's got a new Carnival of the Insanities.
Fat Pitch Financials has the Carnival of Investing.
Financial Baby Steps has the Carnival of Personal Finance. It's long, but the host's done a quality job with lots of quotes.

Articles relating to , , :
Announcing Mediocre Media
CTV posts duplicate stories
Media Lies and Democracy Project
Moderate Circus of Canadian Politics 3

Iggy Politely Smacks Down His Critics

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Courtesy of C-SPAN and care of Paper Dynamite Online, I present to you the truth: Michael Ignatieff Does Not Support Torture. It's been said many times in many ways, but in this C-SPAN interview about his book The Lesser Evil, Ignatieff gracefully and eloquently sets the record straight. It's a great interview, and he is certainly good at defending his point of view. It also has implications for his skills as a politician: not only is he good at defending his views, he is also good at defending himself against vile, ugly smears and attacks by the right-wing assholes (watch the interview, you'll see what I mean) who call in to attack him personally. Perhaps this can alleviate the concerns of the anti-Iggy crowd who have - either through ignorance or through malice - been spreading false rumours about his support for torture. I think you'll find that, in his own words, he is quite emphatically against it. Don't believe me? Watch the interview for yourself. He's not only against it, he takes shit from the right-wing about it. What more do we need?

Just a warning, it is about 45 minutes long.

(Posted at BlueGrit)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Israeli Election TV Broadcast Live Online

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Israel's elections will be broadcast live online, for free, in a joint project mainly featuring Israel's Channel 2. Those of you interested in real coverage, without the CBC and CTV's amateur spin doctors tripe, should check it out.

NAFTA's Impact Analyzed To Similar Conclusions; stop CAFTA

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NAFTA's been written about by Carlos Guerra, a San Francisco journalist. In his article, he cites different people saying the distribution of wealth has been mismanaged, and that only corporate rights are being taken into account. In my own analysis of NAFTA's impact, I've found that while GDP has grown, Canadians' average salary has not, which means the growth is going to companies.
While I can't say I've found any causal links to social problems (in the sense of quality of life issues; the environment, life expectancy, literacy...) like Guerra has, his article is well worth reading, not to mention it's concise and to the point.

Articles relating to
, , , :

Sunday, March 26, 2006

This Adoption Thing

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(Cross-posted at BlueGrit)

As anyone who follows the stirring "moral" debates that happen south of the border probably already knows, there has been a row in Massachusetts over the "right" of the Catholic Church to impose their insane "values" on others, even to the detriment of children. Basically, Catholic Charities of Boston acts on behalf of the state and places children in foster homes. However, in a violation of the state's non-discrimination laws, the Vatican instructed the organization to stop placing children in homes with same-sex parents.

Article after self-righteous article have condemned this move, this one even making the ridiculous assertion that the "religious freedom" of the Catholic Church has been a missing angle from the debate. I don't know how exactly such a statement can be made, given how many articles, some of them civil, some of them downright homophobic, I have already read on the subject of the supposed "violation" of the Catholic Church's rights.

Some facts which are often missing from the debate include the fact that every single board member of Catholic Charities of Boston disagreed with the Vatican's decision and had to be brow-beaten into taking their homophobic stand, and in fact eight of them stepped down in protest. There is also the fact that, of the 720 children they have placed in homes over the past 2 decades, only 13 of them were placed in homes with same-sex parents. That's less than 2%. And finally, Catholic Charities acted on behalf of the state, not as an independent organization.

With all that in mind, the entire issue becomes much clearer.

First of all, the right to religious freedom is irrelevant here. Regardless of religion, regardless of personal moral code, and regardless of any belief one may have about anything, the fact is that if you are acting on behalf of the state, then you must accept the rules of the state.

Second, many people have blamed gays, in expressions of typical bigotry, for putting their rights ahead of the needs of children, including Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is becoming more and more anti-gay by the day as he prepares for a run at the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. However, if gays are fair game here, then so is the Catholic Church. Is it not fair to say that the Vatican is putting the needs of children secondary to their own outdated "moral" code, so much so that they forced the well-meaning and good-hearted members of the organization to go against what they clearly felt was best for the children?

Third, the children placed with same-sex parents were placed in such households not because of gay rights activists or because of political correctness - they were placed in those homes because the members of Catholic Charities felt that same-sex parents, whether they agreed or disagreed with the concept, were better than no parents at all, something any reasonable person would agree to, especially if said reasonable person knows anything about the nightmarish foster care system. The options were simple - gay parents, or not parents at all. With that in mind, who is truly being unreasonable here? The phantom "gay rights activists", who did nothing, or the Catholic Church which proactively shut down an organization that wanted nothing more than to help children in any way possible?

Announcing Mediocre Media

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In addition to hosting the Moderate Circus of Canadian Politics, Centrerion will now also be home to the (International) Mediocre Media carnival.

Posts to this carnival can discuss any media in the world. The posts should include topics such as media bias, poor reporting, ignorance, and all the "you goofed" type of stuff the editors of "letters to the editor" don't print. Other criticism of the media is welcome. The full political spectrum can submit their posts (Xenophobic material will be reported to authorities; don't waste your time). Related posts are accepted; use your judgement.

To submit, just email me. (or use the Carnival submission page) Include a permalink/link to the specific post, a trackback url if any, and a brief synopsis of your post (-50 words).

Related articles on the mediocre media:
CTV is sloppy: Twin Stories
CTV sucks it up again
Media Lies and Centrerion partner up
CBC and Jack Layton can't express themselves

Canada's Savings Rates since NAFTA

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It appears that NAFTA may have impacted our National Savings Rate (NSR), as well as the Households Savings Rate (HSR). The NSR has increased while the HSR has decresed. If you don't know what the National Savings Rate and Household Savings rate is, don't worry, I've explained what they are. Those with an interest in NAFTA's effect on the Canadian economy will find an interest in this.
This is the follow up post to the article discussing Canadian GDP and GDP per capita since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994.

The National Savings Rate (NSR), or Gross National Savings, as the OECD calls it, measures what percentage of GDP a nation saves. For reasons beyond the scope of this analysis, the OECD bases this measure on the nominal GDP (i.e. not adjusted for inflation - go figure). The Household Savings Rate (HSR), for its part, measures what percentage of their income households (and by extension, individuals) are saving. In this it is a subsection of NSR, since the NSR is the sum of government and private (individuals and business) saving. The method for calculating the savings rate, both for NSR and HSR, is to divide savings by income (adjusting the figures accordingly to whether it’s national savings and income or household savings and income) With these explanations in mind, the data can now be examined and understood.

From 1994 to 2004 (the most recent year with data available), Canada’s NSR increased 6.6%, to 23.1%. However, with the exceptions of 2000 and 2001, the percentage of income Canadian households have devoted to savings has shrunk or stayed the same every year since NAFTA’s implementation. In 2005, Statistics Canada and the OECD reported that Canadians savings were –0.4%! (See also my article on what negative savings means for your taxes.)

Articles relating to , and the :
  1. The idea behind my NAFTA analysis (why I got interested)
  2. Impact of NAFTA: Introduction and Basis of Research
  3. Impact of NAFTA: Canadian Government Muddled?
  4. GDP and GDP per Capita since NAFTA

Leftist Hypocrisy on Religion

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The left in today's politics is entirely behind separation of Church and State, and decry every instance where their reunification is possible. Though this occasionally is exagerrated, as with the opposition to parallel teaching of intelligent design (there's no harm in teaching two parallel theories as to how we got here; scientists don't have exclusive rights to the truth), this is mainly a good idea.

HOWEVER, the left wants to introduce religious thinking as a basis for national policy, and that is totally unacceptable. What religious philosophy?
Allow me to quote Andrew Whittle, whose Tribes inspired this article.
" say we are responsible for the terrorists in the world is a way to say we can control this wolf. If we believe we made him, then that means we control him. We can unmake him. Such a worldview appeals to the left, because it gives them Godlike Mental Powers. All we have to do is act differently and he will go away."

Quit sinning, in other words, and the evil gods won't hurl lightning bolts (or bombs or planes) at you. That's a far more insidious form of religious penetration into affairs of State than anything up until now, because it hides itself behind the title of objective political analysis. The left needs to join the rest of us in the modern world and keep religion away from state policy (not to mention in the fight against terrorism).

Articles relating to , , :

Discusseion of Lebanese attempts to keep Church and State separate, Appeasing Iran, Russian Style, Is Canada a secular country?, Middle East Church and State impact on freedom of speech

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Audet's Budget for Quebec: What A Joke!

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Quebec's Minister of Finance released his budget for 2006-2007, and it's a total joke. Here's the sham at a glance:
  1. Audet is increasing personal income tax more in the $17B + range, while giving something like 74-250 million in tax breaks (depending if you believe his statistics or the opposition's). Why even pretend you're reducing Quebeckers' tax burdens? Not to mention that the tax breaks are directed at companies (-0.8%), rather than people.
  2. Audet is claiming that we can't let the debt keep growing and hurt future generations (it's around 45% of Quebec GDP, and is in high double digit billions). So how does he propose to reduce the debt? He's
    introducing a fund to pay off the debt, with 74 million dollars devoted to that purpose this year (can't you tell he's serious about cutting the billions in debt?) . In 20 years, the plan is to have a 30 billion put aside to make the debt 'only' 25% of GDP. This is, of course, assuming good faith in future governments to keep this fund around, and keep to the plan. A whole lot can change in 20 years (including the government). But most of all, this plan is a joke because it's still putting off paying the debt down to the future.
  3. Much of the money for the debt reduction fund is to come from Hydro-Quebec developing new dams. When new dams are developed, an area is flooded, wrecking the surrounding ecosystem. Great thinking Audet: let's swap the debt problem for a destroyed environment. Hey, only the First Nations will notice, so who cares?
Normally I'm against strikes and the public sector getting all pushy like that, because I think it does a disservice to the people. But I'd be quite happy to see our student union, public sector unions, and the Quebec population at large out in the streets against this budget. Sure it's got lots of money for health and education, but the taxes are designed to benefit business at the expense of individuals. The money for education is a step in the right direction, but it's a drop in the teabucket compared to the stupidities composing the rest of the budget. What shocked me was to hear Claude Picher, normally an smart economist and analyst, praising the budget as credible, and stating that Quebeckers can afford it. Afford the higher taxes with what money? The 10 cents more an hour the Vanier institute of the Family has found Canadians are earning since 10 years ago, or with our negative household savings rate?

Articles relating to , , , and the :

Announcing Mediocre Media
Dion and Pratte discuss Quebec separatism
Canada's GDP and GDP per capita since NAFTA
Do your taxes faster (advice/how-to)
Where investment is really needed for education
Harper's GST cut means a few hundred $ for the middle class
Canadian parties' tax policies - dry, sarcastic, but accurate presentation
Quebec Humour

Iraqi Embassy Attacks Christian Peacemaker Teams

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(Cross-posted at BlueGrit)

In a statement calling the CPT "phony pacifists," the Iraqi embassy in Canada has condemned the Christian Peacemaker Teams former hostages as being on the side of the jihadists, Hussein-loyalists, and al-Qaeda, as a result of their own naivete.

Now, normally I'm not one for attacking the victim. But in this case, much as I hate to say it, I think Michelle Malkin was correct when she attack CPT for using this incident as a grounds to condemn the war, rather than to thank the excellent work done by Canadian, American and British forces in saving the lives of the hostages who were, let's not forget, in Iraq of their own accord.

It does of course show the limitless barbarism of the Islamists that they would be willing to kill people (starting with Tom Fox) who were only in Iraq out of a desire for peace. It does not excuse, however, the CPT's seizing upon this incident to not only condemn the war, but to blame the Americans and the British for the kidnapping of the four activists. That is truly beyond the pale. Let me say this: when the United States participates in a mission, alongside Canada, and led by the British, to rescue the surviving members of your organization from the hands of murderous thugs, you do not respond by blaming them for the actions of the murderous thugs. You issue a heartfelt "thank you."

As I said, I am against attacking the victims. But I am just as emphatically against attacking the heroes.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

New Politics Club Members; Carnival Acknowledgements

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More politicians, analysts and other politics junkies have joined the Politics club in the past few days, as you may have noticed. Here's a summary of who they are, what they do, and why you ought to visit them.

Fellow moderates we are linking to and promoting are:
Mathieu Laberge - A fellow young Quebec moderate, this man writes for La Presse, Quebec's #1 French language daily. In French.
Charging RINO - a Republican who doesn't toe the party line. He is a co-founder, if I am not mistaken, of the influential Raging RINOs. A good source on the US center-right.
Staunch Moderate - Moderate politics, as seen through the eyes of a member of the media (no, they aren't all far-left pro-terrorist neo-communists who like adjec-tives). Pointed out some other non-liberal stuff in the media recently.
AbbaGav - An Israeli moderate with a heavy penchant for sarcastic humour and ironic top 10 lists.

Many Centrerion posts have also been included in recent carnivals of the blogging world.
Rightwingnuthouse hosts the Carnival of the Clueless, mocking fools on the left (I wonder how long till I can post about my material being up on a Carnival making fun of the right? Anyways...)
The 180somethingeth Bonfire of the Vanities is posted at Blogger Idol.
Neo's Nest Egg has posted the 14th Carnival of Investing.
The Conservative Cat's Carnival of the Funny is up.
The Carnival of Comedy is up at File it Under.

Similar posts on our associates:
Insane, Capitalist Investments - 3 political and financial roundups for the click of one.
Democracy Project and Antimedia - New collaborators of ours discussing freedoms and the media.

How to Do Your Taxes Faster

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I've been filing my taxes for a few years now, at first with the help of my dad, this past year on my own, and I thought I might share how I speed up the process of filing my income tax return. If this is helpful, or if you have any insight of your own to add, please commment and let me know. Ditto if you link to this post: send a trackback.

1) Read the forms over and take notes.
On looseleaf, you should write things such as which sections will see the numbers increase or decrease. This means accidental errors will be caught before the end of the process (last year, I added 9K where I was supposed to substract... you can imagine my surprise when I finished and saw that I, a student, owed money to the government!). Other considerations for the notes are which documents are required for that particular section, and which not. If you have lots to write, and break the work up over several days, this allows you to know what documents you need what day, and order them accordingly.

2) Have all your materials ready when you sit down.
The materials you'll want to have with you include all documents, such as T4s, a calculator, an extra copy of the return in case you mess up the first time, pencils and an eraser, and paper to keep notes. The advantage of preparing this all off the bat is that you needn't get up several times and interrupt your train of thought. This step avoids wasting time and prevents distractions (that's where I left the recipe! I need to call Sara to tell her).

3) Start by estimating all your revenue for the year.
Income tax, ultimately, works by brackets. Knowing what your revenue and associated tax bracket is helps you out by giving you a rough estimate of what you should be paying (or getting back). Not only does this prevent filing a return with a major error in it, but it helps you follow all the calculations logically. For example, anyone earning less than $9000 a year knows they'll get back several hundred dollars. If they finish and find they've calculated they owe the government money, they know there's a mistake somewhere.

4) Do your taxes at the same time as your spouse/partner.
This simplifies the process as you don't need to wait and go back and forth. You can do the calculations on how to minimize your taxes as you're both writing out the numbers. This works on the same principle as number one.

5) Become a citizen of Monaco or Aruba.
Doing your taxes is really simple in those countries: there are none!

UPDATE: 6) Use U-file.
This tip comes to us graciousness of Mark Dowling (see comments). It won't necessarily speed things up, but it's another good way to check for mistakes. In a sense, it saves time dealing with annoyed and annoying bureaucrats who have nothing better to do than waste their and your time finding out why you erred in your statement.

7) Use Netfile to file your taxes.
Basically the sam as U-file, but free of submission charges, and it goes through faster.

Related articles on , , and :
Canadians spending beyond earnings: impact on GST calculation
Calculate your GST tax break in 3 easy steps
Tax subsidies for people in the trades

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

World Aryan Cup in Germany

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According to AFP, Neo-Nazis from around Europe are planning to fight Muslims who come to cheer on their soccer teams at the FIFA World Cup this summer in Germany. Wouldn't it be great if al-Qaeda and the Aryan kids duked it out somewhere in the desert and Iran spent it's nukes meshing them all into a piece of glass in the desert?

Be honest ... Can you tell if he's a nazi or a gay porn star?

Critique of Trade Surpluses and Deficits Criticism

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An economics professor of mine took the time to critique my criticism of trade surpluses and deficits as being outdated. Here are his comments.
1) My prof agrees that trade surpluses and deficits being used as a measure of economic health is an outdated idea rooted in mercantilism. The basic premise of my argument as to why it no longer makes sense to gauge economic health by the balance of trade is accepted.
2) I said that judging the state of an economy by trade surpluses and deficits was morally reprehensible. The phrasing was a little cock-eyed, To clarify, if one accepts that trade deficits and surpluses can indicate how an economy is doing, with deficits being a sign of bad times and surpluses a sign of good times, then it follows that one country's economy is profiting at the expense of another. Thus the basis for such judgement, i.e. trade as a yardstick for economic performance, suggests a conception of trade as a zero-sum game where one can either win or lose.
3) I cited Ben Bernanke and co.'s book, Macroeconomics, which notes that the world has a net total deficit of $210 billion, due to differences and problems in accounting. This remains an argument showing that deficits and surpluses are lacking in value as indicators since the mathematical calculations might not be right. However, my prof pointed out something I hadn't noticed; $210 billion in the global scheme of things is chump change.

So the numbers are a little contradictory. Who cares?

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

CTV's Laziness: Twin Stories

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CTV's goofed up, again. In the CTV's latest bumble, two apparently different stories on the media website had near identical content. The stories, concerning the Liberal leadership race, shared the following words (see my translations into everyman speak at the bottom):

"Godfrey, 63, said he will submit his official papers once the Liberal party declares the race open on April 7th.

"He is the second candidate to announce his intentions to run in the race. Toronto businesswoman and lawyer Martha Hall Findlay was the first to announce that she was entering the race in February.

"A senior strategist for Bob Rae said the former Ontario NDP premier is leaning toward running and will make his decision within the next few days, according to The Globe and Mail.

"Other possible contenders include Liberal MPs Scott Brison, Belinda Stronach, Ralph Goodale, and Michael Ignatieff.

"Ignatieff told Mike Duffy Live that he intends to make his decision within the next two weeks.

"'I'm talking to people, above all talking to my caucus, colleagues and friends, going across the country, listening, learning, figuring out what the party needs, whether I'm the guy," said Ignatieff.

"'I think we'll have an answer to those questions in the next ten days at the latest.'

"Speaking on CTV's Canada AM on Tuesday, MacIsaac he hopes to attend younger members to the party.

"'It's time for new members, time for new younger views, and that by coming out with saying that I want to run for leadership that at least people will hear about the party that I believe is going to make a large comeback in the very near future.'

"However, he admits even his mom and dad wonder if he's ready for politics.

"'And mom and dad, you know, you always say you can do what you want. And I was a good kid. When my dad told me to eat broccoli, I ate it.'

Ignatieff isn't figuring out if he's the guy. He wouldn't have entered politics if he didn't think he was. What he's figuring out is if he'll have sufficient national support to win. He seems serious and pretty self-confident to me if he's actually crossing the country, rather than making the minimal effort of a marginal candidate.
McIsaac: I'm a clueless musician who wants political influence. If Belinda can do it, so can I!
But will he eat his spinach?

UPDATE: Oh, I forgot to mention: The CTV offers a clip of Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Jim Prentice announcing a new plan for safe drinking water for our reserves, then shows a clip that cuts short just as he starts detailing what the plan consists of. Smart.

Articles relating to CTV/CBC/media incompetence:
CTV's anti-Israel slant
The CBC goofs on the Middle-East, again
Centrerion rated as left-wing by CBC
The CBC has poor language skills

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Moderate Circus of Canadian Politics 3

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Here's the Moderate Circus of Canadian Politics, edition three.
This carnival highlights writing from a moderate and or centrist point of view on Canadian politics. Non-Canadians are also welcome to contribute, so long as their post is written from a moderate/centrist position (it doesn't have to be about Canadian politics, though those are obviously preferred).
If you would like to host a future edition of the carnival, write me: Ggoldenberg at-gmail dotcom.
Read the submission criteria for having a post listed in the circus, then submit using the easy carnival submission form (hint: have your post page/permalink url handy for the post you're submitting, as well as trackback url(if any) and homepage url).

Foreign Affairs:

Abba Gav notes the stupidity of the media in calling yet another Hamas member a moderate.

In Boobs, Not Brains, Continued, North American Patriot discusses the reaction to her criticism of Jessica Simmpson. Said starlet refused to do charity work because it meant associating with people of a different political stripe. Nobody's taught the girl about having an open mind it seems.

What does it say when terrorists think Canadians are cool? Here's some original commentary on the kidnapping of a Canadian aid worker by the terrorist group PFLP.

Harper's pissed of the Indo-Canadians, says Vijay Sappani. He snubbed India after visiting Pakistan. Smooth moves, Stephen.

Work accidents happen to Jihadis
too, we learn from Clarity and Resolve. I wonder if they get worker's comp?

Domestic Politics:

604 Plonker from I didn't Get Where I Am Today has an intelligent critique of the first blogger hotstove, which had a bunch of bloggers of different political affiliations discussing the Liberal leadership race. The idea's like satellite hotstove on Hockey Night in Canada, but with politics. Anyways, he comments on the foolish strategy of appeasing Quebeckers at the expense of the rest of the country.

James "Top Notch Writer" (ok, so I'm the only one calling him that ... it's still true) Bow discusses our national priorities, and in this post, it's reinvesting in the Canadian Forces.

Calgary Grit reports on Ralph Klein's decision to step down in Alberta.

Cops Copping Cops Flops - Again is over at Dawg's Blawg. Title makes the topic kind of self-evident, no? Good to hear someone discussing this; it's an important societal issue.


Laryngeal Bleep Implant Improves Political Discourse, by Avant News. They report the news before it happens, and the LBI is no exception:
The Laryngeal Bleep Implant, or LBI, first proposed in 2008 by the grass-roots initiative Americans For a Little Honesty In Government Please If It's Not Too Much To Ask and first tested on a human being in 2013, is the small device implanted in the necks of public servants that functions as a proactive self-censor during public speaking.

Rick Mercer has a photo editing challenge of a picture of PM Harper. Here's an entry.

Jon Swift has some material on weeding out the other illegal immigrants from American society: Canadians. I'm not sure what makes us illegal, or if this was actually a joke, but I'm going to treat it as one. If it's not, the author's as dumb as you can read (but please, no easy comments a la "Americans are fat and stupid.")

Moderate Circus 2
Moderate Circus 1, then called Canadian centrism

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John Avlon on Centrism in the US

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John Avlon is a well-known centrist and moderate, who authored The Independant Nation. He writes for national newspapers, and his most recent article has been reprinted at The Moderate Voice. It discusses why so many Americans are declaring themselves independants, moderates, and so on.


Amid the media attention that has followed liberal and conservative blogs, the dramatic increase in the number of self-identified centrist blogs has been comparatively ignored. These are decidedly more difficult to pigeonhole - that's largely the point - but their rise indicates much the same thing as the 300% increase in the number of independent registered voters across the nation since 1994: There is an increased alienation from partisan politics as usual that the established parties have tried to ignore.

It's a good, easily digestible read.


Moderate Circus of Canadian Politics
Canadian Centrism
Moderate Analysis of the First Effects of Hamas' Victory
Centrerion's #1 for Moderate Analysis

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Quebec Separatism: Dion, Pratte Weigh In (and I Rant)

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In the world of Canadian politics this week, Stephane Dion and Andre Pratte were interviewed by 940 AM here in Montreal a day or two ago. The two noted French Canadian federalists, one a former Environment Minister, the other La Presse's Editor-in-Chief, weighed in on Quebec separatism. This was in light of the recent decision by the European Union to require a minimum 55% approval rating in a referendum to recognize Montenegro's (a small ex-Yugoslav republic) independance.

Stephane Dion was concerned that Quebeckers should not be tricked into separating, and that there should be an undeniable majority voting to separate. He said: "The only reasonable solution [for Quebec to separate from Canada] is to follow the Clarity Act." Dion added that it would be an "absolute mess" if Quebec separated in questionable circumstances.

Pratte, for his part, discussed the logistical difficulty of separation. "There is no universal rule when a state decides to separate," Pratte said (though he, or one of his colleagues at La Presse, recently noted that other states that recently obtained their independance via a vote had approval ratings in the mid to high 90s). Pratte added that France, in particular, would be in a quandary. "It would be very hard for France to recognize Quebec with 51% when it just imposed 55% on Montenegro."

IMHO Pratte raised the really important point, which Dion only alluded to. Who in the world (literally) would recognize Quebec with a thion majority? Especially considering all the vote stealing and mess-ups that happened last referendum, and again in the most recent Montreal municipal elections?
Also, it's a geographic minefield if Quebec separates. How do the Maritimes and the West communicate? Also, what happens if most of Montreal votes against separation? I see us having a referendum to separate from Quebec and rejoin Canada, but Mayor Tremblay might prefer to become a head of state (yeah, like that makes any sense).


French Leaders Debate Notes
Education Politics in Quebec
Language Issues in Quebec
The real problem with Option Canada (sarcastic humour)

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Debate on Afghanistan Widens - QOTD

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A debate on Canada's role in Afghanistan has been requested by all three opposition parties. Ironically enough, these same three parties were unanimously in favour of sending our troops to Afghanistan when the decision first had to be made. Now, with the socialist CBC's "rising body count" - a handful of accidental deaths - our opposition politicians are squirming and saying, we don't have the stomach for this (they'd prefer we let the terrorists rebuild and then kill us here at home).

In related news, an Ipsos-Reid poll found that Canadians everywhere are debating why we pay these morons $100,000+ a year.

Related Thoughts:
Why Debate When Canadians Support the Troops?
Why the Left Needs to Join the Fight Against Terror
Canada Will Beat The Taliban
We Need to Fund CSIS - Reflection on Harper's and Martin's pledge to increase military spending

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Forget a Debate: Canadians Support the Troops

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Forget a debate on the role of our troops. Canadians are writing them a'plenty, and judging by their uniform support, a debate is pointless.
Besides, saying you want a debate three years after sending the troops is a) late b) counter-productive small-time politicking. Canadians see the dumb partisan politics, and don't like the hypocrisy in their elected officials. Furthermore, the troops see it, and think they're lacking in support back home.
Well, here's a little something to show where Canadians hearts are. Jenn of Kitchener Ontario says it best: "Hey to all of you. THANKS!" From the Department of National Defence, here's what people are writing.
Marie-Claire - 3/17/2006 [03:54]
Vancouver, British Columbia,, Canada
I hope that you follow your heart and remember that everyone is a person who has a family, a past and a dream, just like you.

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Cindy Thomson - 3/17/2006 [03:53]
, British Columbia,, Canada
Thank you for all of your time, hard work and efforts overseas. They are greatly appreciated! We are proud of you! Be safe and be home soon!!!

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Marie-Claire - 3/17/2006 [03:48]
Vancouver, British Columbia,, Canada
how are you? I have never written one of these before, so please excuse me if I sound a little awkward; I am just not quite sure what to say. I hope that you are not in any kind of danger right now and that you wont ever have to be. I could never really decide whether being in the army would be lonely or if one makes lots of friends there. I hope that you aren't lonely. I hope that you believe in what you are doing and believe in yourself and that you are happy. Good Luck!

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Les Semenoff - 3/17/2006 [02:03]
, Saskatchewan,, CANADA
During WW2 the French Resistance was a brilliant, colaberative movement supplied by many Allied forces to defeat the threat of Facisim. It was a Nobel cause for freedom and democracy. The Taliban and Al-Qiada are waging a similar style of warfare, however their cause is anything but nobel... Terrorism is a cowardly act when it takes the lives of innocent civilians and claims itself to be an honorable one.
We know our efforts will succeed as we hold true to our committment in Afghanistan.

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Nikki - 3/17/2006 [01:02]
Telkwa, British Columbia,, Canada
Just wanted to let you know that you are doing a great job in Afghanistan. It makes me proud to be a Canadian. We appreciate the hard work and long hours you are putting in every day to make this mission a success.Keep up the good work.

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Edward J. Baldry - 3/17/2006 [00:11]
Hamilton, Ontario,, Canada
Too all you brave people, God bless you" for all your service to the country.
PS Keep your heads down and been carefully where step..
Thank you

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

debbie - 3/17/2006 [00:01]
carman, Manitoba,, Canada
I am proud and humbled that you are willing to die so that others may live a better life. I thank you for my grandchildren here in Canada, as you protect their freedom also.

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Wayne - 3/16/2006 [23:47]
Calgary, Alberta,, Canada
We are very proud of the men and women of the CAF fighting to maintain the peace and freedom of our country CANADA.
GOD BLESS them all.

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Shane Clement - 3/16/2006 [23:10]
Blyth, Ontario,, Canada
I am now almost 60. I spent 8 years in the Armed Forces some years ago.

I think that what you are doing is extremely important. Criminals must be stopped. People with legitimate ends will at least begin by negotiating.

Good luck!!

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

christopher creamer - 3/16/2006 [23:02]
toronto, Ontario,, canada
I would just like to thank all of you in the canadian forces for the job you are make my family and all other canadians very proud. Keep up the good work, you are in all of our thoughts and prayers.

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Ken Templeman - 3/16/2006 [22:34]
Collingwood, Ontario,, Ca.
Greetings from Collingwood's Town Crier Ken Templeman, letting our troops know that we are very proud of your service to our country. We support you and wish one and all safe passage. God Bless us All. God Save the Queen

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Kim And Glenn Ramsay - 3/16/2006 [22:26]
Whitehorse, Yukon,, Canada
Hello...A short note to show our support and to let you know that there are many Canadians who support all you are doing. Please be safe/careful and continue to make us proud. Our prayers for your safe return when that is decided. Respectfully, Kim and Glenn Ramsay...

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Nana and Corki - 3/16/2006 [22:20]
Toronto, Ontario,, Canada
Hi again, to the Women and Men of Canadian Armed Forces.
Many thanks for your time and sacrifices for us here at home, and those you are extending a helping hand to; "Over there." Please be assured we appreciate your efforts.
Be safe!

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Adam - 3/16/2006 [22:12]
Liverpool, Nova Scotia,, Canada
I just wanted to say that, as a person who was inspired to join the forces because of the work that you do. I am proud to be a Canadian, and a soon to be fellow soldier, Keep up the good work, Thanks

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Sam - 3/16/2006 [22:10]
Sudbury, Ontario,, Canada
Keep up the good work. We thank you for your courage to fight for us.

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Kit Thornton - 3/16/2006 [21:58]
Saint John, New Brunswick,, Canada
Hello everybody! Just to let you know if you guys get a Tim Hortons over in Afganistan I would LOVE to come work for it!! Be careful and come home safe!

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Sean Buss - 3/16/2006 [21:56]
Beaumont, Alberta,, Canada
You guys are doing great and I think that what you're doing is awesome! I hope to be part of it one day and to do as good as you guys have done. Keep up the great work over there and I'll be cheering you on!

Reply View Replies ( 0 )

Jenn - 3/16/2006 [21:54]
Kitchener, Ontario,, Canada
Hey to all of you. THANKS!

Top 10 Posts on Centrerion

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Is Canada a Secular Country? - More ties between Church and State than you thought, in our fair frozen country
Portion Sizes linked to Obesity - Time published my letter; the post is the first of a three part series on the ties between obesity and portion sizes
On Democracy and Liberalism - We need to promote liberalism in the Mid-East. Democracy is not the same as free speech, which is a liberal (not in the political sense) value.
3 Steps to Calculate Your GST Tax Break - How to calculate what you'll get from Harper's GST tax cut
Analysis of a Conservative Majority vs a Conservative Minority - Written before the election
Quip of the Day: Art - Humour for those of us who are artistically challenged
Canada Will Beat the Taliban - Humour regarding Al-Qaeda is using... axes??
Palestinians Chose Hamas: They Didn't NOT-Choose Fatah - They could have voted for other parties than those two... analytical post.
Freedom Versus Religious Extremism - Blue Grit has a bone to pick with pro-terrorist lefties, who distort leftist values.
Harper Supports Terrorism, Places Government Above Law - What was Peter Mackay doing offering financial support to terrorists??

10 more insightful posts no one noticed, for one reason or another:
Fake Outrage - Klander - Our politicians make mountains out of a molehills. Blue Grit exposes these fraudsters.
Waiting Lists Reduction Policies - Discussion of an excellent policy paper by Dr. Michael Rachlis
How to be Influential: 5 Ideas - Mainly concerned with having others consider your writing important
The Failure of Canadian Immigration Services - We invite doctors and professionals, then we don't let them practice...
Government: More Services at Less Cost - It's possible, and this proves it using accepted economic models.
Hamas Wins, Now What? - A think tank explains the traps ahead in foreign policy, regarding Hamas.
Education Politics: Devalued in Quebec - Forget tuition, look at academic entrance requirements to study education!
Response to Daniel Pipes - No, Mr. Pipes, there is no such thing as a "right to insult." There Is a right to dignity, though.
Comment on Anti-Americanism - It's despicable that so many of us are blindly anti-American.
GDP and GDP per Capita since NAFTA - Part of my research into the effects of NAFTA on Canada

Harper's Cabinet and Harper's Donators

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Amid the controversy over PM Stephen Harper's cabinet appointments, giving ministries to David Emerson and Michael Fortier, notably, no one considered a possible link between who made it into cabinet and who contributed to Stephen Harper's leadership campaign. On a related note, it should be fun watching how many of Belinda Stronach's campaign contributors from the business world (where most of her contributions seem to have been from) get denied government contracts.
Here's a spreadsheet I've put together outlining who gave how much to who, and where they've ended up as a result. It can't be said that Harper's cabinet shows a direct link to the contributions. However, Justice Minister and former Justice Critic Vic Toews, though experienced and qualified, may not have gotten the nod for Justice given his opposition to Same-Sex Marriage. Similarly, I am skeptical of Michael Fortier's qualifications. He managed Harper's leadership campaign, and is otherwise known as financier specializing in securities, mergers and acquisitions, according to Wikipedia. I tried to find if Susan Fortier, who contributed $6000 to the Stephen Harper campaign, is his wife, but the information doesn't seem to be available online.
Here's how to interpret the data, because the spreadsheet couldn't be pasted into word. The last name, first name, and middle name (if any) are listed. Then, there is the value of their contribution to Harper's campaign, Stronach's, and finally clements. Three consecutive zeroes means no donations. If someone with the same last name donated, the name and value of their donation was noted after a semi-colon. The order remains the same. Thus, with the Baird last name, John Baird gave nothing to Harper, but a possible relative named Douglas donated $450. He gave nil to Stronach, but a possible relative named Barbara chipped in $250. Finally, John Baird gave $350 himself to the Clement campaign.

Overall, I think these donations are notable mostly as signs of committed loyalty. I noted also that a couple of people who caused trouble for Stockwell Day didn't quite make it to cabinet. These people include Jay Hill (surprised me, I'd have thought the Tories' whip would get along with a fellow opponent of gay marriage)

If you want a copy of the original spreadsheet, leave a comment and I'll email you. I'd also love to hear you guys' analysis of this information, and in particular what you think of the Fortier selection.

Last Name First name Middle Name Contribution to Harper Contribution to Stronach Contribution to Clement

In Cabinet

Ambrose Rona 0; Bruce Ambrose: 500 0 0
Baird John 0; Douglas Baird: 450 0; Barbara: 250 350
Bernier Maxime 0 0 0
Blackburn Jean-Pierre 0 0 0
Cannon Lawrence 0 0 0: Douglas: 250
Chong Michael D. ? 0 0 0
Clement Tony 0 0 0
Day Stockwell Burt 0 0 0
Emerson David 0 0 0
Finley Diane 0 0 0
Flaherty James Michael 0 0 0
Fortier Michael 0; Susan: 6000 0 0 "Mr. Fortier was co-chair of Mr. Harper’s leadership campaign for the new Conservative Party of Canada in 2003, and during the last election, he was co-chair of the national campaign." CPC website
Hearn Loyola 0 0 0
LeBreton Marjory 0 0 0
Lunn Gary 0 0 0; Larry: 500
Mackay Peter Gordon 0 0 0
Nicholson Robert Douglas 0 0 0
O'Connor Gordon 0 0 0
Oda Beverley J.? 0 0 0
Prentice Jim 0; Robert: 210 0 0
Skelton Carol 500 0 0; Chris: 1000
Solberg Monte 500 0 0
Strahl Chuck (Charles?) 0 0 500
Thompson Gregory Francis 0; Several Thompsons: 1950 0; Gordon 500 0; Mark: 400
Toews Vic 1000; Rudolph 205 0 0
Verner Josée 0 0 0

Rejected candidates (according to media sources... basing themselves on who knows what. Donations perhaps?)

PS to MoF: Ablonczy Diane 0 0 0
PS to MIT: Guergis Helena 0 0 0
Whip: Hill Jay 500 0 0
lost: Kent Peter 0 0 0
PS to MIC: Menzies Ted 0 0 0
Pallister Brian 0; Jim: 550 0 0 Asked not to be considered for cabinet, as he was considering a run for leadership of the Manitoba Conservatives
Rajotte James: 1000 0 0
PS to MFA: van Loan Peter 0 0 0
PS to MHR: Yelich Lynne 0 0 0
PS = Parliamentary Secretary

Rachel Corrie Got What She Had Coming

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Bush said you're with us, or you're against us. Like the Taliban of Mullah Mohammed Omar, Rachel Corrie supported terrorism. Rachel Corrie got what she had coming.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Government: More Services at Less Cost in 3 Steps

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More services should cost more. Less/fewer service should cost less. More services at lower cost is thus counter-intuitive. It’s quite possible though, and constitutes probably one of the greatest arguments for moderation in politics. While the left argues for greater services, and the right for fewer taxes, the centrist solution of boosting services and cutting costs effectively synergizes (not compromises, because the value of the whole here is greater than the sum of the parts) the two approaches.

Before seeing how to get more services at less cost from our government, it is necessary to see why this is possible. The following chart, a Production Possibility Curve (sometimes called Production Possibility Frontier), explains this in simple terms.

In an economy, it is possible to have goods and/or services produced. Since there are limited resources (labour, natural, and capital) to produce these goods and services, there are a limited amount of goods and services that can be produced.

This chart is called the Production Possibility Curve because it shows how much we can produce (i.e. the production possibility) using all our resources, by being as effective as possible. When we are at a point on the curve (not shown; this graph was made for prior purposes), we can move along the curve towards more goods only at the expense of having fewer services. Similarly, we move towards having more services only at the expense of having fewer goods.

What happens if we don’t use all our resources? Simple: we’re ineffective, so we don’t produce as much as is possible. That is represented by a point on the inside of the curve.


How effective is government? By most accounts, government is only interested in producing services; being cost-effective isn’t a central concern. The point is that the government’s PPC has current output charted somewhere within the curve. By making government more effective, we can approach and maybe even attain the PPC (100% effectiveness isn’t very common outside small business and organizations).

Tomorrow I’ll post the first step as to how we can achieve this increased effectiveness.



Immigration Improvement Could Benefit Our Productivity


Canadian Politics’ Moderate Circus

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Democracy Project and Media Lies

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I'd like to announce the induction of two new members to our politics club.
Democracy Project, an American group blog focusing on democracy (in the modern confusion of it with liberalism) and education has some great material to read. In particular, there's discussion as to how American universities can regain their former top rankings. Valid lessons for us Canadians too, I'd say.
Media Lies, as you might imagine, is a media watchdog. Written by AntiMedia, it covers a range of issues, with a particular focus on (US) Foreign Affairs.

Initial Effects of Hamas' Election - Moderate Political Analysis

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Hamas gets elected and, guess what? They promise to release their fellow imprisoned terrorists. Israel, nonplussed, captures them before Hamas gets around to releasing their buddies.
Here's another excellent article by Middle East on Target analyst Elliot Chodoff on the situation.

Jericho’s Walls Come Down Again
by Elliot Chodoff

Yesterday’s IDF operation in Jericho finally brought the killers of Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi into Israeli custody, if four years after the fact. As the siege of the prison dragged on through the day, misinformation ruled the media airwaves, fueled by Palestinian disinformation, condemnations and threats.
This was not the first IDF operation attempting to capture Achmed Saadat, who planned Zeevi’s assassination, along with four other accomplices as well as Fuad Shobaki, the mastermind of the Karine A arms smuggling scheme on the Karine A. All were surrounded in 2002 in Yasir Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah, and were transferred to Jericho prison in a compromise agreement that precluded an IDF assault to capture them. American and British monitors were added to the agreement, as Israel had had a long and unpleasant experience of Palestinian Authority arrests and revolving door releases.
As it was, the prisoners lived under conditions resembling house arrest in the Jericho headquarters of the Palestinian police, free to move around the building, use cell phones and receive unrestricted and unmonitored visitors.
Two recent events brought about the collapse of the agreement: the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections, and recurring threats against the US and British monitors. In the aftermath of its electoral victory, Hamas announced its intention to free the prisoners as an early example of abrogating agreements made between the PA and Israel. Not surprisingly, “moderate” PA chairman Abu Mazen expressed his support for the move, although he added that he would not vouch for the safety of the prisoners once released from prison.
Also following the Hamas victory, the safety of the monitors was threatened by the usual gang of terrorists, this time supported by the democratically elected leadership. It did not take long before the US and British governments began a letter writing campaign to Abu Mazen, warning that if proper steps were not taken, the monitors would be removed. Again, no surprise. Nothing was done.
The Arab condemnations of the operation focused, as expected, on the upcoming Israeli elections and the accusation of collaboration between Britain, the US and Israel. Both claims are nonsensical.
The timing of the operation was dictated by the developments on the ground, not by the March 28 Knesset election date. The inanity of the claim that it was all a stunt to boost Acting PM Ehud Olmert’s electoral standing is obvious not only because Olmert is already ahead in the polls, but because every party from Labor rightward would have done exactly the same thing, and every voter in the country knows it. If he had done nothing the inaction would have cost him dearly, because it would have obviously gone against the interests if not the will of the majority of the population.
The charges of collusion between the monitors’ nations and the IDF are equally unfounded. The IDF has been preparing to grab these terrorists since 2002, never trusting that the PA would keep them in prison for any length of time. Israeli intelligence services were aware of the concerns about the monitors’ safety, and it should come as no surprise that they were privy to the correspondence with Abu Mazen without being informed by the other countries. The forces used to capture the terrorists yesterday were mobilized for the operation last week, moved into position in staging areas nearby and alerted in anticipation of the monitors’ departure. This permitted them to move quickly once the prison was left to the exclusive responsibility of the PA forces.
This operation was certainly the first of many that we will witness in the weeks ahead, as Hamas gains power over the PA and its armed groups, and begins to carry out its policy of violent conflict with Israel. Jericho, the first city to fall to Joshua, is likely to be the harbinger of things to come in this war as well.

Harper Supports Terrorism and Offers Aid to Hamas
Investigation into Israeli Riots a Farce, says Chodoff
Muhammad Cartoon Riots Irony: Photo Essay
Yale Sues Peter Mackay for Plagiarism (after he offered Canadian taxpayers' money to Hamas ... humour at the expense of terrorist appeasers)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

MSN uses Google; Centrerion's Global Readership

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This is a bit of a digression, but I was looking at my site statistics and what not, and found this. Entertaining stuff, I'd say. Note the browser being used by msn's robots to crawl my site.
Domain Name
IP Address
65.55.246.# (Microsoft Corp)
Microsoft Corp
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : Washington
City : Redmond
Lat/Long : 47.6788, -122.121 (Map)
Operating System
Unknown Unknown
Google 0.9
msnbot/0.9 (
I wonder if this'll get slashdotted?
I've been compiling a list of our overseas readers. Here's a partial list of some of the exotic and less exotic places you come from (in no particular order):



Bahrain – Why Palestinians Chose Hamas (Even fellow Arabs were baffled as to the Palestinians' choice)







El Salvador

Serbia and Montenegro - Belgrade

Czech Republic




New Zealand





Norway, recently viewed photo+ cartoons






Readers from every continent... we have a truly global readership :).

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Track em back! Politics and Money

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Dr Sanity's got the Carnival of the Insane and absurd. Good political reading, and most of it is actually sane.
Investor Geek's concisely posted the Carnival of Investing. How appropriate.
Carnival of the Capitalists is hosted at Pro Hiphop.
Searchlight Crusade hosts RINO sightings, a political carnival of the center-right. We love them centrists.

Be sure to check out Centrerion's very own carnival on Canadian politics, the Moderate Circus.