Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mediocre Media Contributor Yisrael Medad in Jerusalem Post

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Frequent Mediocre Media contributor Yisrael Medad has had an op-ed published in yesterday's Jerusalem Post, concerning the poor quality of journalism exhibited in much of Israel's media. Yisrael asks: "Do Israel's Media Know Their Place?"

For four weeks this summer during the second Lebanon War, Israel's media provided consumers with more publicity and spin than hard news.
True electronic media consumers did not lack for breaking news. The three main television stations - Channels 1, 2 and 10 - all provided live continuous coverage of the war.

Then Yisrael gets to the heart of the matter:

With the war over, however, recriminations are being openly voiced about media partisanship and recklessness. Letters to the editor columns are full of complaints about how the media handled itself. Oversight authorities have received hundreds of complaints from consumers about television coverage particularly.

People are mostly angry that television stations seemingly provided information that could have been helpful to the enemy, and that too much time was spent airing personal opinions cloaked as news. I share many of these concerns.
It seems that media, no matter where they are, or what country they're from, make an effort to put their country's troops in danger. For them, it's a very simple equation: higher casualties sooner means more pressure to end hostilities. Conclusion: let's help increase the casualty count. The New York Times expose on the weak points in American troops' body armour comes to mind...

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Open Letter to Prime Minister Harper

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Dear Prime Minister Harper,

I am writing you to express my thanks to you for your principled stand on the Israeli-Hezbollah war. In spite of polls which showed that it would have been politically expedient to criticize Israel for "disproportionate or unmeasured force," you took the moral high ground and stood by Israel.

While Bloc, Liberal and NDP MPs were marching with anti-Semites, supporters of terrorism, and other assorted criminals advocating for violence against Jews, your government stood out. The media lied to make you look like a jerk, and the editorial pages were very harsh. Nevertheless, you stood your ground, and as a Jew and as a Zionist, I appreciate that and am grateful to you and your party.

In the past, I've identified strongly with the Liberals. In high school, I thought I would study finance, partly as the result of seeing Paul Martin rise to the top through the Finance portfolio. (I didn't know he was also involved in dirty infighting and was sketchy about Ad Scam.) Furthermore, a man I hold in the highest respect, Irwin Cotler, is a Liberal who embodied what I saw as justice and a values-based approach to politics.

Recent years have seen me get more involved in political life. That means I've been informing myself through lots of reading, and trying to share those things I do know or believe by my writing. That's how, amongst other things, I've come to understand that Paul Martin's government started to change the disgusting trend in Canada's anti-Israel UN voting. I applaud your continuation and development of Martin's break with previous Liberal voting. And while I disagree with Stockwell Day on a variety of issues, such as the gay community's civil rights, I am again genuinely grateful for your Minister's support of Israel.

However, I have difficulty associating myself with a party known for its poor environmental stance (and whose Minister of the Environment is from the oil industry). With a party too closely associated with big industry, with opposition to gay rights and abortion rights (though I recognize the important step forward the party's taken in dropping abortion from its agenda).

To conclude, I'd like to thank you again for your support of Israel and of the Jewish people in our time of need. You've earned yourself and your party a strong supporter, even if I can't bring myself to join it, for the reasons stated above. As a Jew, I feel that the issue most pressing for me in Canadian politics is our foreign policy vis-a-vis Israel. I'm proud to say that my vote for the Conservative Party last election was justified, and equally proud to say that I will vote Conservative again should the Opposition topple your government this fall. (Incidentally, I wish you'd recruit Irwin Cotler to the Conservative Party of Canada, though, so that I could vote both for the party and the person, as opposed to just voting for the Party. Neil Drabkin is a decent guy, and he debates well enough, but he's kind of generic.)

If you want to read more on the Conservative Party, Canadian politics, Israel, or the Prime Minister consider our free newsletter (scroll all the way down for the sign-up).

Here are some related articles:

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Comment Moderation!

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I just realized comment moderation's been on for a while. I turned it on then forgot about it, with the result it looks like no one's been commenting. Sorry about that. Those comments presenting logical arguments will be allowed through. Those offering ad-hominem attacks and dogma will be deleted. Those adulating me will be saved for my "I'm the greatest ever wall." Thanks Mom.

comment moderation

Jason Cherniak: Canadian Political Blogger Interviews

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Jason Cherniak is a popular Canadian political blogger, and with good reason. The erudite writer and chair of Stephane Dion's blogging campaign for the Liberal leadership has a sharply analytical pen. He argues with a precision appropriate to top legal talent - which he is (a lawyer).

Beyond his debating skills, Jason is a really genuine guy. He has the courage to share his emotions publicly on his blog. He answers emails in a friendly fashion and doesn't have the ego you might expect from someone with his resume. When he disagrees with what others in the party have said, he'll come right out and say so, rather than flip-flop and try to avoid controversy (Liberal leadership candidates, are you catching this?).
All in all, Jason's an up-and-coming star of Canada's federal political scene, and is certainly one of the blogosphere's actual stars. Those of you interested in the Liberal Party of Canada need to pay attention to this fellow! (Jack Layton might also do well to pay attention...)

That having been said, I proudly present to you my interview with Canadian political blogger Jason Cherniak.

1) Describe the state of Canadian politics, preferably in regards to one of
the 10 key issues in today's political scene.

If you will forgive me, I would rather give a general overview [of Canadian politics].

Right now the Tories set the agenda. They decide what issues matter and the
media follow along. When the Tories do not get what they want, they
complain about media bias and try to warp the story to suit their interests.
So far this has worked. However, in trying to obtain a majority the Tories
have put forward a number of policies that sound good while offering little
in long-term solutions. As a result, the longer they go without an election
the less likely they are to win again.

The Liberals don't know what to do. Sometimes they respond to the Tories
and sometimes they try to do their own thing. Unfortunately, they are still
not used to opposition and have many in caucus who do not really know how to
be Parliamentarians. Until the Liberals have a new leader, there is no way
to know where the party is going in the short-term. However, if the
Liberals pick the right leader then they have a good chance of winning next

The NDP has screwed up royally. At a time when the Liberals have been
adrift, the NDP should have been attacking the Tories and proving that it
the "real" opposition. Instead, the NDP have attacked the Liberals and
gained nothing from it. Indeed, if they were smart they would want the
Liberals to have no airtime at all. For missing this opportunity, Jack
Layton should be considered the political goof-up of the year.

2) Do you believe there is an educational/social/career path to the
Premiership? If so, what is it?

No. I think there are many different paths to take. However, there are a
few key things that any person needs to do:

1) Be trustworthy;
2) Keep your friends close and your enemies closer;
3) Think before you speak;
4) When opportunity arises, take it;
5) Before taking action, consider the consequences and the possible results
of failure.

3) What should be the [ideal] path to the PMO?

1) Get a university education.
2) Be involved in politics.
3) Hold lower party positions to prove your value.
4) Work at something outside of politics.
5) Run to be an MP once you have a family around 35 or 40.
6) Be a good Parliamentarian for a few years.
7) Be a good cabinet minister.
8) Run for party leader around 50.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Elizabeth May: Canadian Green Party Leader!

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Elizabeth May has won the Green Party's leadership, beating out other Green leadership candidates David Chernushenko and Jim Fannon. May's campaign was better run, and I'm entirely unsurprised she won.

I asked all three candidates for an interview. May and Chernushenko responded and each agreed to be interviewed. May answered my questions and emailed me her replies. I saw Fannon at the Montreal leadership debate, where he told me he had a number of these requests and felt I asked too many questions, so that he wouldn't have time to answer them all. I sent another email selecting which questions would be key for him to answer... and still got nothing.

Furthermore, throughout the campaign, it was evident May is/was the media's darling. In part, this is because she knows what to give them, and has in fact written a book on activism in which she discusses getting the media's attention. Anyways, the importance of this, in my opinion, was to generate awareness and interest in May's campaign, and generally to get positive attention.

(On a related note, I've recently purchased said book by Elizabeth May. As a political activist, I find myself very excited by the prospects of what I can do with the knowledge I gain from this book...)

So reading today that May beat Chernushenko hasn't got me surprised in the least. Congratulations to Elizabeth May!

If you want to read more about the Canadian Green Party, consider our free newsletter (scroll all the way down for the sign-up).

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

UNIFIL Quip of the Day

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News item: UNIFIL will have 15,000 more troops.

Hezbollah reaction: Great! We were just running out of human shields...

I know this is a little thin for those of you who are regular readers, accustomed to more meaty posts. I intend to post an open letter to the PM later today or tomorrow with more in-depth political discussion.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

UNIFIL Helped Kidnappings

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UNIFIL participated in the 2000 kidnappings of three Israeli soldiers along the Lebanese-Israeli border. Indian UNIFIL troops were bribed by Hezbollah to let Hezbollah use a UN jeep and UNIFIL uniforms. This of course resulted in the total surprise of Israel's troops, who were subsequently kidnapped, then eventually traded back, along with kidnapped Israeli businessman Elchanan Tannenbaum, for terrorists Israel had imprisoned.

I recently decided to read Complicity, by Elliot Kramer, which is a book concerning the mediocre media's complicity with terrorists. That's where I learnt about this not-so-surprising bit of UNIFIL history. Kramer describes the kidnappings, UNIFIL's involvement (and the UN's subsequent attempt at a cover-up) and of course, the media's spin doctoring of the whole affair.

UNIFIL isn't part of the solution, it's part of the problem.

If you want to read more about the Middle East, consider our free newsletter.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Bernard Lewis: Middle East Scholar

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La Presse recently mentioned Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis in its pages. I wrote them the following letter, extolling Lewis' insight on the Middle East.

Lorsqu’il était ici à Montréal, en automne 2004, pour donner un discours, M. Bernard Lewis a dit que le plus pressant problème et le plus grand danger au Moyen-Orient était le régime Iranien. Ma mère et moi étions rentrés chez nous perplexes des paroles du vieux sage. Le terrorisme en Israel et en Iraq constituaient des problèmes bien plus pressants aux yeux de Monsieur Tout-Le-Monde, ma mère et moi-même inclus.

Deux ans plus tard, il est évident que M. Lewis est l’éminence grise de l’Occident au sujet du Moyen-Orient. S’il y a bien quelqu’un à qui il faudrait prêter l’oreille en ce moment, c’est M. Lewis.

Je conseille d’ailleurs à tout le monde les livres, de M. Lewis, tels que « What Went Wrong?» et «The Middle East». Ce sont à la fois des lectures passionantes et des œuvres de référence, œuvres qui éclaireront certainement les yeux de plusieurs au sujet du Moyen-Orient.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Harper Asserts Sovereignty in Canadian North

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According to the Conservatives, Stephen Harper has launched an operation to assert our sovereignty in the North.

“The North is poised to take a much bigger role in Canada’s economic and social development,” the Prime Minister said. “We must ensure the unique ecosystem of the North, and the unique cultural traditions of the First Peoples of the North, are respected and protected.”

Translation: We expect to be mining there and/or exploiting other natural resources. So we're making sure the Greenlanders and the Dutch (of which Greenland is/was a colony) don't get any ideas that these are their resources. Furthermore, we expect the First Nations are with us on this one.

Question: Is this really such an important issue? Developing/destroying the Arctic more than it already is? Wasting our troops' energy on some ifs and maybes?

This is useless posturing, where I'm concerned. Harper is an intelligent man who knows what he's doing on foreign affairs, but I see no particular use for this.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Halftime Assessment of the War in the Middle East

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Halftime Assessment is an article graciously provided by Elliot Chodoff, of Middle East on Target.

Halftime Assessment
by Elliot Chodoff

Having just today been released from reserve duty after 37 days, there hasn’t been much time to reflect on the events that took place this summer, but one thing is clear: the war with Hizbullah is not over, it has only paused for the halftime show. As the UNIFIL based international force (farce?) takes the field for a short interlude, now is the time to assess the results of the first part of the war that we have fought over the past six weeks.

Israel neither won the war nor did it lose, but a halftime tie with Hizbullah does not represent an impressive performance by the IDF. True, the IAF inflicted heavy damage on Hizbullah targets throughout Lebanon, IDF special forces executed a number of operations that were breathtaking in their daring, and the regular and reserve IDF ground troops generally performed very well, outfighting Hizbullah’s best guerrillas in every encounter. Nonetheless, the result was not a battlefield victory, and in guerrilla warfare, if you are not winning, you are losing.

A number of subjects (beyond the general question of quality of leadership) bear scrutiny in analyzing the outcome of the war, and we will elaborate further on each next week after catching up on some much needed sleep.

First, the over reliance on airpower to provide a quick, clean victory over Hizbullah proved to be a gross error. The reasons for this are many, including the high representation of air force generals on the IDF general staff. Air forces have been dreaming of making ground war obsolete for 80 years, and the image of winning a war without committing ground troops to the battlefield is enticing. Once again, the dream has not turned to reality.

Second, the ground forces were not mobilized or deployed quickly enough or in great enough concentration to gain a decisive battlefield victory. In the early stages of the war, small units were inserted and extracted from Lebanon, often having to fight repeatedly over the same real estate, as Hizbullah utilized the interim period to reinforce its fighters in South Lebanon. Infantry and tank forces were sent into battle with insufficient ground support, and with great hesitation. The result was often that Hizbullah enjoyed local firepower superiority, especially having equipped its forces with an enormous quantity of antitank missiles, which took a heavy toll of IDF tanks.

Third, the katyusha missile attacks against Northern Israel were not prepared for seriously by the government, despite the fact that the IDF was well aware of the threat, in both quantitative and qualitative terms. For years, Hizbullah has amassed a missile arsenal of some 15,000 rockets, some with ranges adequate to reach Tel Aviv. Outside the IDF, the general attitude was that they would never use them, or that they would be destroyed by the IAF within a few days. After a month of fighting and aerial bombardment, over 200 rockets were fired into Israel on the last day before the cease fire.

The government and the IDF leadership have the rest of the halftime break to assess the errors of the first half and to make as many changes in the game plan as they can to assure that the score at the end of the next half leaves nobody in doubt as to Israel’s overwhelming victory.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lebanon Ceasefire: Israel Gets the Shaft

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The ceasefire in Lebanon is total garbage. Kofi Annan's UN has conspired to protect a terrorist, genocidal group, once again. (Recall that Kofi was in charge of the UN's force that was supposed to peacekeep in Rwanda; he prevented Canadian general Romeo Dallaire doing his job.) Israel has gotten the shaft, as it neither destroyed Hezballah, nor succesfully disarmed it, and assuredly neither the Lebanese army nor the cynical joke that calls itself UNIFIL will disarm Hezballah either.

Furthermore, Israel hasn't gotten its soldiers back. The oft-repeated 'we just destroyed the last bridge to Syria' suggests, unfortunately, that the terrorists had the ability to get them out of the country for a while.

Iran and Syria are undeterred. Israeli soldiers have died. Israel's military might has been shown to be useless in the hands of wishy-washy leaders (whom I sincerely hope lose the next election to Bibi Netanyahu).

It feels to me that the US pressured Israel to stop fighting, in order to repair its own relations with France. Furthermore, the useless UN resolution is a symbol of acknowledgement to an institution that deserves no such recognition. Its only purpose in life is to serve the interests of regimes like those in the Middle East and in China, and to give an entirely undue feeling of self-importance to buffoons like the French. (How else do you describe a group whose foreign minister called Iran's terrorist regime a stablizing force in the region? Before retracting himself a few days later? )

The only marginally positive things I see in the whole episode are that
1) Civilian populations will have got the message that they'll suffer if they support and protect terrorists, and
2) Stephen Harper is a courageous, pro-Israel leader, whose stance will hopefully help the CPC win this riding, come next election.

I was speaking to my friend AbbaGav and he made the very valid point that this whole thing is useless. What it was all about from the start, namely disarming Hezballah and assuring Israel's safety on its northern border, has come to naught.

I can't wait for Kofi Annan to resign (December). This Lebanon ceasfire is real nonsense, and Israel got the shaft.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

More Mediocre Media: Photos and Horror Stories from the Mainstream Media

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YNet News service has a great roundup of various photo frauds and other bias in the mediocre mainstream media. There appears to be a shockingly high number of photographic forgeries going on. Besides that, the mainstream media is showing its usual bias against Israel.

For example, Ynet points out how the BBC published a photo editorial on the war with a majority of pictures covering Lebanese suffering, while Israeli pictures showed hardly recognizable humans shadows, in an obvious effort to avoid generating sympathy for Israelis.

I've just gotten an email with pictures of Israeli troops in more humane settings than the media would like to portray. Here are a few.

israeli soldier with girl

israeli soldier with old man

israeli soldier with kheffiyah man
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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Canadian-Politics on Canadian Politics: Jo McNair Interview on the Environment

Save this online in [?] Vote For this Post's Jo McNair recently granted us an interview in which we discussed the various aspects of Canadian Politics. This is the concluding segment of that interview, covering Jo's opinions on the state of Canadian politics' debate on the environment.

The Environment

It's time to stop ignoring the issue of climate change. So the Liberals were all talk and no action - that's no excuse to continue the trend. There are countries that are not only meeting their Kyoto targets, they're surpassing them. Sweden is going a step further by aiming to completely wean itself off oil within 15 years.

We need a government willing to start making tough decisions. Whether or not they believe in the whole global warming thing - another reality we can't ignore is the fact that oil is a finite resource and we're probably already past peak oil. We have to find alternatives - now.

I'd like to see a government introduce environment-friendly tax measures. For example, smart cars and other hybrid vehicles should be tax-free, and i'd even throw in a substantial tax credit. On the flip side of that, SUVs and other gas guzzlers should be nailed with massive green taxes that would go to fund green ventures. Contractors who use green technologies such as solar panels, geothermal heating, etc. should get major tax credits, as should people who buy such homes or renovate existing homes to use these technologies. The tar sands projects in Alberta should be stopped - the environmental impact their having is serious.
These are just a few off-the-top of my head examples - I'm certain there is plenty more that can be done.

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Tax Carnival Posted

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For those of you interested in tax legislation, politics, advice, and so on, the tax carnival has been posted! Check it out :).
Consider our free newsletter.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mediocre Media 7

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Welcome to Mediocre Media 7! As always, we're taking submissions for the next issue, due out in a week and a half. Here's the info on the carnival. You can submit via the Cat's carnival page (scroll down, and select Mediocre Media).

Stikguy at Stiknstein has no mercy presents CNN HEADLINE 13th day of fighting....wait a minute.

Don Surber at Don Surber presents LAT: They do such lousy work, give them a raise.

Kiril, The Mad Macedonian at Sneakeasy's Joint presents The Jabberliberal. It's an unusual poem about the mediocre liberal media, and about how a new right-wing radio group is going to set things right.

And here's my own contribution: LeCentre at Centrerion Canadian Politics presents Israel, "Restraint," "Proportionality" and "Measured Response". It blows up the mediocre media's argument for a "measured" response and "restaint."

Since submissions for this issue of the carnival are admittedly a bit thin, I decided to roundup some other interesting articles and posts around the net. Also, I want to make some comments on the media.

First, I've been so sickened by the anti-Israel bias in Montreal's La Presse, that I've actually stopped reading the news in the morning. For someone like myself who loves reading, that's really saying something.

Besides that, I'd like to mention some great places for political commentary, and that also comment on the media. These include Shark's Blog, New York Times Watch, Robert Stevens on Reuter's doctored photos, News Busters (who got hate mail from a CNN anchor!), Biased BBC (who comments on their incredible use of language) and Ace of Spades, who was involved in outing Reuter's photographer.

Last, but perhaps most importantly, I need to acknowledge the work of Charles Johnson. The Little Green Footballs blogger exposed the use of Photoshop on some pictures of a bombing raid on Beirut. Reuters has since pulled the image and issued something of an apology.

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Que les médias prennent modèle sur les prostituées!

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Qu'ils [les médias] prennent modèle sur les prostituées !

Par Guy Millière

Guy Millière est un homme en colère. Chercheur de vérité, il hait le mensonge, l'hypocrisie et l'injustice. Pour toutes ces raisons, lui qui n'est pas Juif prend fait et cause pour notre peuple et son Etat. En ce qui me concerne, j'ai lu ce texte courageux avec émotion et reconnaissance. J'en recommande chaudement la lecture et la diffusion. (Menahem Macina).


Mis en ligne le 31 juillet 2006, par M. Macina, sur le site

[En nous confiant ce texte, G. Millière, dont la réputation n’est plus à faire, témoigne de l'estime et de la confiance qu'il a pour notre site. Le moins que nous puissions faire, en retour, est d'assurer la plus large diffusion à cet article. Qu'il soit donc clair que notre copyright conjoint ne constitue pas un embargo, qui limiterait indûment la diffusion de la pensée de l'auteur. Nous invitons donc les sites qui le désirent à reprendre ce texte, sous réserve de sa reproduction à l'identique et sans coupures, et de la mention : "Texte en ligne sur]

• Je ne peux pas penser, une seule seconde, que les journalistes qui travaillent pour les grands médias en France et en Europe ignorent tout du discours haineux et génocidaire des dirigeants du Hezbollah.

• Je ne peux pas penser qu’ils ignorent que Al-Manar, la chaîne du Hezbollah, est le média le plus antisémite que le monde ait connu depuis la fin du Troisième Reich.

• Je ne puis pas penser qu’ils ne savent pas que le Hezbollah est une organisation totalitaire qui endoctrine et soumet par la violence les populations civiles dans les zones qu’il contrôle. Je ne puis pas penser qu’ils ne savent rien du fait que les miliciens du Hezbollah utilisent les populations civiles du Sud Liban comme des boucliers humains, empêchent délibérément la fourniture de vivres à ces mêmes populations, de manière à disposer de victimes à exhiber devant des caméras.

• Je ne puis pas penser qu’ils ignorent que des immeubles, tel celui qui vient d’être touché à Qana, sont des dépôts d’armes dans lesquels le Hezbollah place, de manière ignoble, des femmes et des enfants pour les sacrifier à des fins de propagande.

• Je ne peux pas penser que ces mêmes journalistes ne savent rien ou presque de ce que subit en ce moment la population du nord d’Israël.

Je ne peux, dès lors, que me poser une question : pourquoi tant de mensonges et d’ignominies ? Je trouve peu d’explications. Je ne veux pas aller jusqu’à dire que l’antisémitisme, sous de nouveaux oripeaux, est de nouveau omniprésent en Europe, mais il m’arrive de penser que c’est le cas.

Bien sûr, vous répondront les intéressés, ils ne sont pas « antisémites », mais, poursuivront-ils, « regardez ce qu’ils font aux civils libanais ». Et si vous leur rétorquez que les Libanais sont victimes du Hezbollah, ils se transforment immédiatement en avocats du Hezbollah, en précisant qu’il « mène aussi des actions sociales » et que c'est un mouvement de « résistance ».

Certains concéderont, à la rigueur, que le Hezbollah doit être désarmé, mais ils ajouteront que cela doit se faire par la « négociation », voire, peut-être, par l’envoi d’une « force internationale », avec l’accord du « gouvernement libanais ».

Sachant qu’ils ne sont pas complètement idiots, je serais tenté de leur dire qu’Hitler, à sa manière, était très « social », et j’aurais envie de leur demander :

• Résistance à quoi ? A l’existence d’Israël ?

• Négociation avec qui ? Des fous furieux ?

• Force internationale pour faire quoi ? Protéger le Hezbollah ?

J’ai eu, parfois, ce genre de discussion. Je les évite désormais. Je sais qu’il y a pire que des gens complètement idiots, à savoir : des gens qui font cyniquement les idiots, en pratiquant le tri sélectif des faits. Et je sais, hélas, que nombre de journalistes, en France et en Europe, font cyniquement les idiots et pratiquent le tri sélectif des faits. Je sais aussi, et c’est pour cela surtout que j’évite ce genre de discussion, qu’il y a davantage à l’œuvre : une forme de haine viscérale qui ne dit pas son nom.

Pour ces centaines de journalistes français et européens, Israël, désormais, est détestable par essence. Des réactions instinctives ont été incrustées dans leur cerveau et, quoi que fasse Israël, il a tort.

• Des discussions s’engagent pour un processus de paix et s’interrompent ? C’est la faute d’Israël qui n’a pas fait assez de concessions dans la négociation.

• Des ennemis d’Israël font des attentats terroristes ? Ils sont « désespérés » et utilisent « l’arme du faible ».

• Israël riposte ? C’est le « cycle de la violence », qui va entraîner encore davantage de « désespoir ».

Israël n’a pas encore été accusé du récent épisode de canicule en France, mais, au train où vont les choses…

Cette haine, qui ne dit pas son nom, a des relents antisémites, incontestablement. Aucun Etat sur la face de la terre ne subit autant d’incriminations verbales et de calomnies qu’Israël. Aucun, sinon peut-être les Etats-Unis - qui ont, peu ou prou, autant d’ennemis haineux qu’Israël, mais sont la première puissance du monde.

Cette haine a aussi d’autres causes et, entre autres, une conception - totalement pervertie - de la repentance, dont implication est que quiconque semble faible et opprimé est digne d’éloge et de soutien. Or, aux yeux des Européens, les Arabes sont faibles et opprimés, en général, alors qu’Israël est « fort ».

A cela s'ajoute l’idée que le « rêve européen » est celui d’un monde dans lequel il n'y aurait aucun conflit qui ne puisse se régler par la diplomatie : un monde où personne ne veut le mal, où il n’y a pas de totalitaires, pas de méchants, et où, quand un « faible » ou un « opprimé » se montre agressif, c’est qu’il a raison et qu’on n’a pas fait assez d’efforts pour le « comprendre ».

Le fait qu’il y a plus de trois cent millions d’arabes, plus d’un milliard de musulmans et seulement six millions d’habitants en Israël, joue vraisemblablement un rôle aggravant. De même le fait que l’Europe soit toujours davantage une terre musulmane.

La peur du terrorisme entre en ligne de compte également : il n’y a rien à craindre si l’on crache sur des juifs ; par contre, critiquer des islamistes, c’est autre chose.

Adopter vis-à-vis d’Israël la position la plus communément adoptée dans le monde arabo-musulman fait sens, dans ce contexte, même si c’est très lâche.

On peut noter aussi un point rarement évoqué : l’islam radical - tel qu’il a cours tant dans la mouvance d'al-Qaida, que dans celle du Hezbollah, en passant par la nébuleuse Ahmadinejad -, n’est pas l’islam, mais un dogme politique dans lequel entrent bien des ingrédients empruntés aux idéologies totalitaires nées en Europe : national-socialisme, fascisme, communisme.

• Il n’est pas étonnant que des intellectuels européens d’extrême droite débordent de mansuétude envers les islamistes - les uns et les autres lisent Mein Kampf.

• Il n’est pas étonnant que des intellectuels d’extrême gauche débordent, eux aussi, de mansuétude envers les islamistes : en effet, on peut négliger le fait que les islamistes lisent Mein Kampf, lorsqu’on apprend qu’ils lisent aussi Lénine. Des journalistes pleins d’égard envers l’extrême gauche européenne peuvent voir, dans les islamistes, des lointains cousins de l’extrême gauche.

Quoi qu’il en soit, que les mensonges se répandent et soient pris pour argent comptant par les populations européennes, prouve qu’il existe, sur ce continent, une pathologie mentale collective préoccupante. Le fait que quasiment tous les dirigeants politiques européens, Chirac en tête, contribuent à cette pathologie mentale collective, est extrêmement inquiétant pour le futur de ce continent.

La guerre que doit mener Israël est âpre et douloureuse. Au plan international, Israël ne peut compter que sur le soutien des Etats-Unis de George Bush.

Israël est plus que jamais traité comme « le juif des Etats », selon l’expression d’Alan Dershowitz.

Quand bien même je serais seul à le dire encore en langue française, je le dis :

• Le Hezbollah est un mouvement totalitaire et fanatique, aux buts génocidaires, dont l’objectif est tout à la fois de transformer le Liban en république islamique satellite de l’Iran des mollahs, et de détruire Israël, si possible en exterminant sa population.

• Le Hezbollah ne peut avoir de place sur l’échiquier politique d’un pays démocratique. Israël ne peut vivre en ayant sur son flanc nord une armée de terroristes dont le but avoué est de détruire Israël. Toute issue autre que la destruction du Hezbollah serait, pour ce mouvement, une victoire aux conséquences très délétères pour l’avenir proche d’Israël.

• Toutes les victimes civiles libanaises, y compris les femmes et les infortunés enfants de Qana, sont des victimes du Hezbollah et non de l’armée israélienne. Le fait de prendre des civils pour boucliers humains (fût-ce avec le consentement de ces civils) constitue un acte d’une cruauté et d’une lâcheté absolues, mais, hélas, logiques de la part de terroristes. Tout gouvernement occidental digne de ce nom devrait dénoncer les crimes du Hezbollah.

• Ceux qui, dans la population libanaise, soutiennent le Hezbollah, subissent aujourd’hui les conséquences de leur choix et n’ont à s’en prendre qu’à eux-mêmes. Soutenir une organisation terroriste constitue un risque. On ne peut souhaiter l’extermination d’un peuple voisin et s’étonner, ou se lamenter quand ce peuple se défend. Le gouvernement libanais n’est pas innocent. Si des pays comme la France voulaient du bien au Liban, ils auraient dû, depuis longtemps, agir pour que ce pays soit une démocratie à part entière.

• Les Libanais qui ne soutiennent pas le Hezbollah sont aujourd’hui ses otages, et ils le sont depuis longtemps, avec la complicité de pays, tel la France. Ils ont été abandonnés non pas face à l’armée israélienne, mais, bien avant, face à la prise d’otage opérée par le Hezbollah qui, comme toutes les prises d’otage devra connaître un dénouement. Le seul dénouement concevable est la punition ou la mort du preneur d’otage.

• Demander un cessez-le-feu immédiat à Israël, comme le font le gouvernement français et l’Union Européenne équivaut à demander que la prise d’otage se prolonge, et à assurer une victoire au preneur d’otage, qui pourra ensuite repartir en quête de son double objectif. La France et l’Union Européenne se conduisent en complices de la prise d’otage et de la tentative d’assassinat d’Israël. C’est au Hezbollah qu’il faut demander non seulement un cessez-le-feu, mais une capitulation sans conditions. Et que nul n’évoque l’argument humanitaire pour demander un cessez-le-feu à Israël : c’est le Hezbollah qui, par sa prise d’otage et sa violence, crée un drame humanitaire, non seulement pour les Libanais mais - faut-il le rappeler ? - pour les Israéliens aussi.

• Le Liban ne pourra vivre en paix que s’il est débarrassé de ceux qui, en son sein, rêvent d’exterminer un peuple voisin. Vouloir vivre en paix tout en ayant en son sein une forte minorité qui rêve d’exterminer un peuple voisin est impossible et contradictoire.

• Israël ne pourra pas, à lui tout seul, parvenir à éradiquer le Hezbollah. Il y faudra non seulement le soutien des Etats-Unis, mais aussi celui des hommes et des femmes qui veulent que la liberté et la dignité de l’être humain soient préservées.

• Si, comme on peut le craindre, Israël ne peut ou ne veut aller jusqu’au bout de son action, si l’ONU, organisation corrompue et d’un antisémitisme avéré, se voit confier le dossier et la mise en place d’une force « d’interposition » de type Finul, ce sera une victoire pour le Hezbollah et une défaite pour les valeurs de liberté et de dignité de l’être humain. Ce sera aussi, dans ce contexte, une défaite pour ceux qui souhaitent un Liban libre. Israël devrait alors s’attendre à des jours amers.

• La victoire du Hezbollah serait aussi une victoire pour la dictature syrienne et pour la république islamique d’Iran, dont les dirigeants ne pourraient que se sentir encouragés dans leur course à l’armement nucléaire, vers la déstabilisation de l’Irak et de la région, et vers la destruction d’Israël.

• Alors même que leurs populations débordent de haine envers Israël, elles aussi, les pays arabes sunnites de la région ne veulent pas d’une victoire du Hezbollah, et c’est un atout qu’il ne faut pas négliger.

• Les dirigeants européens, en général, et les français en particulier, qui croiraient, dans ces conditions, que donner une victoire au Hezbollah leur gagnerait les bonnes grâces du monde arabe se trompent lourdement et gravement. Les dirigeants qui, comme Chirac et Douste Blazy, disent que c’est pour éviter un « choc de civilisations » qu’ils font tout pour sauver le Hezbollah - contribuant ainsi à la destruction d’Israël -, sont des irresponsables dangereux : le Hezbollah, le régime des mollahs, Al-Qaida, la famille Assad, ne représentent ni la civilisation arabe, ni, au delà, une quelconque civilisation musulmane, mais sont la caricature hideuse et monstrueuse de l’idée même de civilisation. Le monde arabe et, plus largement, le monde musulman ont besoin d’être délivrés de cette caricature multiforme. Préserver la caricature et dire qu’elle incarne une civilisation fait courir un danger mortel non seulement à Israël, mais aussi à l’Europe.

L’un des enjeux décisifs auxquels l’Europe doit faire face est l’intégration de ses populations musulmanes. Apaiser ou conforter la caricature ne peut qu’inciter les musulmans européens à se reconnaître non dans les valeurs de liberté et de dignité humaine, mais dans les valeurs de Ben Laden et de Nasrallah. Peut-être Chirac et Douste-Blazy souhaitent-ils que tout le Proche-Orient devienne une « république islamique », dont divers pays d’Europe, et parmi eux la France, seraient les provinces. Peut-être souhaitent-ils que, dans vingt ans, la France ressemble au Liban aujourd’hui pris en otage : dans ce cas, qu’ils aient l’honnêteté de le dire. Sont-ils capables d’un instant d’honnêteté ? Rien qu’un instant ? J’en doute.

J’ai laissé ici de côté la « question palestinienne ». Délibérément. Les producteurs de mensonge sur les opérations israéliennes contre le Hezbollah ont acquis leur art du mensonge en couvrant le « conflit israélo-palestinien ».

Nous sommes engagés dans une guerre mondiale qui oppose l’islam radical, totalitaire et génocidaire à la civilisation. Les tenants de l’islam radical, totalitaire et génocidaire font la guerre aux pays qui leur résistent : Israël et les Etats-Unis surtout, mais ils agissent aussi ailleurs, de l’Argentine au Royaume-Uni, de la Turquie à l’Indonésie, ou à l’Arabie saoudite. Ils ont des compagnons de route et des complices : journalistes européens, politiciens français, Nations Unies, gauchistes américains. Ils mènent la guerre sur tous les fronts, du front militaire au front médiatique.

• S’ils parviennent à l’emporter, Israël disparaîtra.

• Ce que je puis encore aimer dans l’Europe et la France viciées d’aujourd’hui disparaîtra.

• La cause palestinienne, qui a toujours eu pour objectif une seconde shoah, l’aura emporté.

• Il y aura un monde islamique, chaotique, pauvre, violent et dangereux, qui s’étendra de l’Océan Indien jusqu’à Brest, peut-être jusqu’à Londres.

• Il restera un monde civilisé qui inclura les Etats-Unis et diverses contrées d’Asie, mais pas l’Europe. Dans ce monde islamique, chaotique et pauvre, on pourra dire que la « cause palestinienne » n’aura été qu’un outil pour parvenir à la victoire en détruisant Israël, en détachant des millions de musulmans des valeurs de l’Occident, et en prenant en otage, non les Libanais, mais les arabes de Cisjordanie et de Gaza, quitte à les sacrifier, au passage, pour « la cause ».

L’idée que des Occidentaux aient pu croire, un instant, que l’objectif était un Etat palestinien, libre et prospère et vivant aux côtés d’Israël, fera beaucoup rire ceux que fait rire, dès aujourd’hui, la mise à mort d’autres humains, femmes et enfants compris.

Si, comme je le souhaite, les tenants de l’islam radical, totalitaire et génocidaire finissent par être vaincus, Israël vivra ; l’Europe décadente d’aujourd’hui connaîtra peut-être un second souffle ; les Etats-Unis resteront le cœur du monde civilisé, mais il n’y aura pas, en face, un monde en proie à la barbarie. Au Proche-Orient, il y aura non seulement Israël, mais un Liban sans Hezbollah, où les gens penseront à prospérer plutôt qu’à faire la guerre ; une Jordanie, un Irak, une Egypte et une Arabie saoudite prospères ; un Iran sans mollahs, ni Ahmadinejad, où l’art de vivre persan, que j’ai pu connaître avant Khomeiny, aura retrouvé sa place ; un Irak démocratique sans attentats ; une Syrie sans parti Baath. Les arabes de Cisjordanie et de Gaza feront des affaires, construiront des entreprises, des casinos, des stations balnéaires. Ils vivront fraternellement et parleront business avec Israël. Et lorsqu’on y parlera encore de l’OLP, d’Arafat et du Hamas, ce sera comme de monstruosités archaïques, dont il est heureux qu’on se soit débarrassé.

Ceux qui veulent haïr, mentir, tuer, devront se trouver d’autres chevaux de bataille. Je ne doute pas qu’ils en trouveront. Mon objectif, aujourd’hui, mon seul objectif, est qu’ils ne gagnent pas la bataille aux côtés des terroristes du Hezbollah.

J’ai choisi le métier de penseur et d’analyste pour contribuer à ce qu’il y ait plus de connaissance, moins d’obscurantisme, moins d’oppression dans ce monde. Je préférerais ne plus exercer du tout ce métier que de l’exercer en devenant un faussaire. Si je n’avais plus le choix, je deviendrais cireur de chaussures, chauffeur de taxi, ou je ne sais quoi d’autre.

• Une prostituée se vend au plus offrant et elle l’avoue sans barguigner.

• Elle vend son corps, le temps de la passe, mais elle ne vend pas son âme.

• Elle est payée pour mentir, mais elle sait qu’elle ment et son client aussi.

• Ses activités apportent du plaisir et non des désirs de meurtres ou des pensées racistes.

C’est pourquoi, à mes yeux, elle fait un métier plus digne et plus respectable que celui qu'exercent la plupart des journalistes des grands médias français et européens d’aujourd’hui.

© Guy Millière et

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Canadian-Politics on Canadian Politics: Jo McNair Interview part 4

Save this online in [?] Vote For this Post's Jo McNair has been answering our questions on Canadian politics over the past few days. Today, Jo presents her opinions on foreign affairs and national security.

I'd just like to make a few comments before presenting Jo's answers.

First, the Canadian government does not offer "unquestioning" support for Israel. Neither do the Americans. There is no proof to this effect regarding the current governments, and when one reads up on the history between Israel and North America, it is even more evident that this is not so.

Second, supporting a fellow democracy in its fight against terrorism makes us safer and stronger. It's a myth that this endangers us, because we've been targets of international jiahdis since day 1.

Third, I have to disagree with the suggestion that what Ben Laden presents as his casus belli - US support for Israel, US involvement in the Arab world, etc. - is the honest truth. That would mean accepting a terrorist's word as being honest, and it would also mean having a total disregard for jihadist ideology.

That said, here are Jo's insights on

Foreign Policy/National Security

I think these two items can be treated as one since it is our foreign policy that may well impact on our national security.

With the new government's unquestioning support of Israel (which in all fairness, started under the Martin Liberals), Canada is placing itself in a more dangerous area in this post-11/9 era. Given that we are largely inconsequential players internationally, I don't think it's the wisest move to align ourselves so strongly in one camp or the other. The US's foreign policy with its unconditional support of Israel, support for despotic regimes in the Middle-East (and need for oil of course) - is why they are the main target of Bin Laden and his ilk. If we are going to echo this position, we must also be prepared to face the consequences.

Contrary to what many like to argue, Canada wasn't previously neutral or pro-Palestinian in the past. We voted on UN resolutions on a case-by-case basis based on the merit of the resolution being put forward. Sometimes we voted in favour of Israel; sometimes we voted for measures that favoured the Palestinian side. This is how it should be since, as in all things, no one side is 100% right all the time.

I think a much better role for Canada would be to work with other countries such as the Scandinavian nations to try to broker peace agreements (and now ceasefires) between the various parties. Canada's strengths include our ability to seek compromise between various groups, and that is something that this region needs. This country has (or at least had) a reputation for being fair-minded and principled, we have no colonial baggage, we don't have the overwhelming national interests in the region that the US does (oil), for example, we've done an extremely good job of building a truly multicultural country - these are the principles that must guide our foreign policy stances.

The mission in Afghanistan also must be properly debated. Is our presence there really going to have any impact? And what sort of impact are we trying to achieve? We natter on about defending "freedoms," we seek to impose democracy and western-styled legal systems - but what if the majority don't really want that? Has anyone asked - really asked? The Pashtuns are largely very conservative, strongly islamic people. If they want an islamic state based on shariah law, that is their right. If we're in Afghanistan to try to help them achieve the type of country that THEY want, fine. But if we're trying to impose a regime that we want, we have no business doing that any more than we'd have any business being in the US trying to get the US administration to adopt policies we want.

We do need to beef up our military, but first I think we need a national debate on what the main goals of our military should be - mostly domestic (protect our own borders and sovereignty) or a combination of domestic and international. We need Canadians to stop viewing our military as "peacekeepers" only.

It all comes down to a need for a serious debate to 1) define what are our national interests, 2) what are our strengths, as a nation - what can we contribute to the rest of th world, and 3) how to combine and build on our strengths in order to achieve and defend our national interests.

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Mediocre Media and Israel Rant

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The coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah war in Quebec's principal French media outlet, La Presse, disgusts me with its horrendous anti-Israel, pro-terrorism bias.

Their front-page the other day said that the war was really tough on "everyone," meaning both "Muslims and Christians." In other words Jews aren't suffering of course.

In the same issue, there was a major feature on Hezbollahland, or Hezbolland, as they chose to mistranslate the English. After a line or two about how they're restricting the media's access to information, the rest of the piece was a sympathetic portrayal of a "resistance" movement (resisting peace, I suppose) that is working in the best interests of the forgotten-by-the-world Shiite Lebanese. You'd think a profile of them would give some significant coverage to their terrorist activity. But no, that might not earn sympathy for the terrorists.

I really hate the mainstream media.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Canadian Politics Interview: Canadian-Politics' Jo McNair part 3

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We're running a series of interviews with Canadian political bloggers regarding their opinions on the state of Canadian politics.'s Jo McNair has been sharing her thoughts with us over the past couple of days, and today she tackles


This issue is normally couched in the old "Quebec vs Canada" discourse, but I see a new form of separatism growing in this country. Perhaps separatism isn't the right word - shall we call it "separateness"? And again, it has its roots in regional disparity.

Over the past few years, there has been a growing attitude among Canadians in certain provinces to really bunker down and give a collective finger to the rest of the country. This is especially prevalent out west - namely in Alberta. You see it in discussion forums, on blogs, letters to the editor - comments from readers from the west discussing their fellow Canadians and the "have-not" provinces and essentially dismissing them as lazy bums who have only themselves to blame for not being as prosperous as Alberta and complaining that it's time these people stop living large off the fat of Albertans.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has fanned these same flames in Ontario with his constant complaints that Ontario is getting screwed over by Confederation - his famous $23-bn shortfall. The result of this is very evident on forums such as Globe and Mail reader comments, for example. More and more Ontarians wanting to wash their hands of the rest of the country, or at least, wanting an end to programs like equalization since it would be best to let the poorer provinces "fend for themselves."

I'm not implying that these attitudes are held by the majority of people out west and in Ontario, but they are more and more common and while they might not hold the same level of threat as yet another Quebec referendum on independence, in some ways, I think they're a bigger threat. In the past, had Quebec separated, what would be left of Canada would have been, arguably, a much more cohesive, unified population. The old French-English divisions would be, for the most part, gone. Consequently, I never really believed those who argued that if Quebec separated, the rest of the country would quickly fall apart. However, the new sort of separateness, or retrenchment, with people in one province concerned only about their own little fiefdom and showing little, or no interest in and concern for, their fellow Canadians in other provinces, is something else - and far more dangerous.

If Quebec separated today, I can see the rest of the country falling apart - or at least Alberta and maybe even Ontario deciding to go their own way as well. How can any national government hope to formulate national policy when there is no sense of nation left? How can we introduce changes that the country needs, if people ( i.e. the provincial premiers) aren't at all interested in what is best for the country as a whole?

Of course, my dream of no provinces would solve this problem as well...

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Canadian Politics Interviews: Canadian Political Commentator Jo McNair - Part 2

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Canadian-Politics' very own Jo McNair gave us an interview, presenting her opinions on the state of Canadian politics. Today's section of the interview sees Jo considering Canada's problem with

Regional disparity

All of the above leads to one of, if not the most important issue in Canadian politics right now, and that is the problem of the growing regional disparity between the provinces.

If you've paid even the slightest bit of attention to the news the past few months, you may have read something about the growing divisions between the provinces on the issue of the equalization program and/or the matter of the "fiscal imbalance." I know these issues tend to bore people to tears, but personally, I think we may well be approaching a crisis situation on these fronts.

For those not in the know, equalization is a federal program that seeks to ensure that the poorer provinces (the "have-nots") get additional funding in order to better be able to provide the services they are supposed to provide. It's a complicated system, and a grossly misunderstood one, and this is not the forum to start explaining the key ins and outs. I will resort to a bit of self-promotion, however, and refer you to a section on my website that provides a primer on equalization.

The "fiscal imbalance" on the other hand, is no less complex, but somewhat more nebulous. Essentially, the provinces claim that Ottawa has too much money while they don't have enough - a vertical fiscal imbalance. The Liberals, when they were in power, always denied this was the case. The Harper Conservatives campaigned on a promise to "fix" it - however, they seem to have come to the same conclusion as the Liberals - there is no fiscal imbalance. I agree with the Liberals (and now the Conservatives) - there is no vertical fiscal imbalance for the simple reason that it's completely debatable that Ottawa has 'too much money' given our $500-bn debt and grossly under funded military. They're maybe not spending the money they have in the right areas, but you can't really say Ottawa has too much money.

There is a horizontal fiscal imbalance, however, and this is the most important one. I've referred to it in the previous section on health and education - the gross imbalance between the provinces and their ability to raise revenue. We have one province that is 100% debt free, has no sales tax and the lowest personal and corporate taxes in the country, not to mention billion dollar surpluses, and then everyone else. All the other provinces are grossly in debt. Most may well have budget surpluses (only Ontario and PEI don't), but they - with the exception of Ontario and Saskatchewan - don't raise enough revenue on their own to meet national standards and thus qualify for equalization. The pressure Alberta is exerting on the economies of the other provinces cannot be overstated. The growing division between the "have" and "have-nots" cannot be ignored. Anyone who fails to understand just how big a problem this is will be in for a rude shock.

In my opinion, this issue will only worsen over time. There is no easy solution. And again, the more I study this issue, the more I've come to believe that the true cause is, again, our constitutional set up. And I see only one real solution, but it's radical.

In a nutshell, we need to completely reorganise the country. Have one national/central government, get rid of the provinces completely, and replace them with hundreds of much smaller LMAs - local and municipal authorities. All programs would be run and funded by the central government, but administered locally by the LMAs. There would be room - plenty of it - for tailoring said programs to meet local needs - truly local needs (far more local than most provinces can ever offer). I told you it was radical, but seriously - if you sit down and really start thinking about it, the advantages of this are so obvious, you'll find it difficult to argue against it. There is no need for provinces. None. Their existence cannot be adequately justified. I've put the challenge to many and the "reasons" they come up with to justify the existence of and need for provinces can easily be counter-argued.

It will never happen, of course, but at least I'm encouraged that I increasingly see letters to the editor and comments on forums from people proposing something similar. There is hope!

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Montreal Heat Wave, Global Warming

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The weather here in Montreal has been very hot and humid for days now, with a serious but lesser measure of humidity having been around for weeks. I get the impression that after it rains in buckets, the water is immediately absorbed back into the ambient air. Thus, it needs to rain again for the air to 'dry out.'

Personally, I think this humidity is gross, and probably the result of global warming. After having seen Al Gore's excellent movie on global warming, I've ome to understand that odd weather is part and parcel of global warming.

Edit: this was written yesterday, August second. The air is clear today, after it rained yesterday in these weird spurts, three times. I still think it's got to do with global warming.

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Canadian Politics Interview:'s Jo McNair

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What is the state of Canadian politics? I asked that question a little while ago, and promised interviews on the topic. The first interview answers have come in from Jo McNair, the very well spoken writer of Here's the first part of what Jo wrote.

I've been asked by Centrerion Canadian Politics to chip in my two cents' worth on the current state of Canadian politics, specifically in reference to 10 key areas: national security, foreign affairs, health, the environment, the economy, post-secondary education, separatism, the judicial system, social equality and innovation.

The missing issue

I will start off by explaining that I don't entirely agree that these are necessarily the most important issues in Canadian politics today. Some of them, while currently problematic, I believe to be symptoms of a larger issue that isn't mentioned here - namely our current constitutional organisation.

Simply put, it is my belief that while the way the country was organised in 1867 might have made sense back then, it is completely unsuited for the realities of our country today and is in fact causing more problems than it is solving.

Let's look at two of the items on that list: health and post-secondary education. Firstly, I wouldn't include these as key issues in Canadian politics, if we mean "Canadian" to be federal, or national, since both fall under provincial jurisdiction. Because they are provincial issues, there really isn't any point in trying to formulate a "national" approach since the provinces like to protect their little spheres of responsibility and don't appreciate Ottawa's "interference" - unless said interference comes in the form of a large cheque with no strings attached. This is probably the only issue on which I'm in complete agreement with Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc Quebecois - health and education should not be issues in federal elections.

However, it is clear that the state of both healthcare and post-secondary education in Canada are important issues to Canadians - which is why every federal party has a position on these issues and why these issues tend to dominate political debate at the federal level. The real root of the problem here is constitutional. In 1867, there was no national healthcare program. There weren't any social services to speak of - no welfare state as we know it today. Health and education were handed over to the provinces in part because they were considered "local" issues best left to a more "local" level of government, and in part because they weren't considered to be important enough for the federal government to bother with since it was mostly private organisations and religious orders who supplied those services - not government. If you read the actual section in the Constitution Act (1867) that deals with health, the provinces are only obligated to build and maintain hospitals, asylums and the like - infrastructure - not provide actual healthcare services. No one foresaw the welfare state system that we have in place today, never mind the exorbitant costs of government-funded healthcare. Consequently, provinces now find themselves saddled with a huge financial burden. Healthcare costs alone average about 40% of provincial budgets, and it is estimated that by 2025 or so, that percentage will rise to 70% of provincial budgets. How on earth will provinces be able to fund anything else?

Simply put, health and education should not be provincial responsibilities because the provinces, while constitutionally bound to provide them and to provide them at comparable levels of service, aren't starting off on a level playing field. We have very rich provinces - OK, one very rich province, and a lot of fairly poor ones. Does it make sense to burden economically disparate sub-national entities with the costs of programs that most Canadians hold so dear, and expect them to provide fairly equal levels of service at that? Not to me, it doesn't.

Ideally, we should be looking at moving health and education out of provincial jurisdiction and hand them over to the federal government. There would be so many advantages to this, it truly surprises me that no one seriously discusses this option. For one, I think Canada is one of, if not the only Western nation that doesn't have a national education curriculum. Canadian kids should be learning the same things to the same standards from coast to coast to coast. I'm not saying there isn't room for some "regional" component to what is taught, but the varying degrees the quality of education provided by the provinces - if we use measurements such as the results of international tests - is unacceptable - at least to me. I don't think kids in some provinces are less intelligent than kids in Alberta (who regularly score the best results on these tests), I think Alberta simply has far more money to put into building a quality education system. This isn't something that should be left to the provinces and their grossly-divergent ability to fund these programs. And these same points apply to healthcare as well - even more so.

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