Nice addition to the Pro Bono hockey roll 
I just saw on ottawasportsblog a Sens fan blogging out of Toronto - nice. She's at hockey will tear us apart - a sample:
Whether it's due to injuries or a lack of insurance [which is a pathetic excuse], a lot of names are gone; the Russian team is in shambles; is this tournament going to be on-par with the other myths of Canadian international hockey? The players, so far in exhibition play have not demonstrated that. The fans want to treat the World Cup as the last bit of sweet, sweet hockey for a while, but so far it's hard to savour amid all the bickering and uninspired play. That, and international hockey usually requires more incentive and embellishing to be interesting. It just doesn't mean as much in North America. Unless we lose.

And you don't want to miss this picture - the newly scrubbed Ottawa captain. No more Krusty the Klown jokes from you Leaf fans!

World Cup 
Going into this thing I was picking Canada and the Czechs to be the last two standing. Yesterday in Helsinki the Finns soundly beat the Czech Republic 4-0 while only allowing Kiprusoff to face 15 shots.

I thought to myself that maybe the Czech's will rebound like Canada did after their opening 5-2 loss at the Olympics to Sweden. Interestingly, I read this soon after:
"We just need to fix some things and we'll get better," Jagr said. "In fact,
Team Canada also lost their first game in Salt Lake City and then they won the
entire Olympics."
The question is - who will rally them? Do they have a Gretzky to rant like he did after a 3-3 tie with the Czechs in Canada's second game of the Olympics?

As for Canada, tonight's game against the US in Montreal will be interesting. Firstly, will the fans boo the American anthem - of course not. Secondly, who will be scratched - Marleau, Morrow, Gagne, Bowmeester I would guess.
From watching the two Team Canada games at the Corel Centre I'm also interested in seeing how Thornton plays. He wasn't the same player in the game against Slovakia as he was on Wednesday against the US. He skated hard both ways, led the game off with a solid check, and played with much more passion than what I saw several days earlier. He had a couple of shifts with Iginla that were awesome. Those two, with Lecavalier and Heatley will definitely be the core of Team Canada for the next decade.
The US will need great efforts from Modano and Weight up front and workhorse nights out of Leetch, Chelios, and Aaron Miller - and for Esche, Dipietro, or Conklin to play above their heads - if they want to make the final rounds of this tournament.

The goal of the US, Slovakia, and Russia is to not end up 4th in the pool and have to play Canada in the first round of the elimination.

UPDATE: Well, the Globe says that Hannan, Bouwmeester, Marleau, Draper and Kirk Maltby will be sitting. I still think Draper should be in and Morrow out.

The revolution will not be televised.... 
Okay - lame title for this post.
I saw this over at Ianism.com - from the Lanark Landowners Association:

Rural Revolution

Food Strike & Demonstration
Perth's Farmers Market
September 11, 2004
From 8:00- 12:00 noon

The Lanark Landowners Association along with vendors and consumers of quality farm fresh produce will be demonstrating against intrusive and corrupt legislation that prevents quality farm products from being sold direct to the consumer. The large trans national agricultral corporations & marketing boards want total control of food sales and have lobbied bureaucrats into creating unjust and interfering laws that restrict the sale of food, the basics of life, into the hands of large corporations. When you have a quality product, a reputable vendor and a willing buyer there is no law required, the market will take care of its self, its called free enterprise.

Tractor Convoy arrives at 9:00 am
LLA Grade AAA local beef steaks & roasts for $1.99 lb
Ungraded & illegal farm fresh eggs & produce for sale
Music by the Tweed Twangers
Witness the arrest & trial of local farmers

Lanark Landowners Association1- 613- 257- 7968

Here is the related press release:

To: Dave Ramsay ; Andy Mitchell ; Paul Martin ; Dalton Mcguinty ; Steve Peters ; Irwin Cotler Cc: Reid, Scott - M.P. ; John Yakabuski ; Cheryl Gallant
Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2004 12:33 AM
Subject: Rural revolution -food strike begins

Farm/food strike for Property Rights and Survival

The Lanark Landowners Association issued a communiqué to you and your government departments on Thursday May 20, 2004. The message was clear: Rural Landowners and farmers must regain constitutional protection for ownership rights to private property in order to regain profitability and protect our heritage and culture. In addition, the communiqué clearly outlined September 1, 2004 as the deadline for a response and the consequences that will ensue. Your non-response is evidence of Canada’s lost democracy and government unaccountability.
Failing a suitable and timely response the united landowners of Lanark, Carleton, Renfrew, Hastings, Glengarry, Frontenac, Leeds & Grenville Counties and numerous farm, landowners & rural associations throughout Ontario will begin rotating and escalating farm strikes and road closures on September 3, 2004. The first of these actions will commence at Shaw Rd. in Pakenham Township, followed by actions each and every week at communities throughout Ontario, leading to significant demonstrations in downtown Ottawa, in the shadows of the people's parliament. The farm strike actions will eliminate gouging by middle men and corporations and will be the beginning of the end to unjust government interference in rural Ontario. The strike will include restricting road traffic at key intersections, selling farm fresh LLA-inspected beef and steaks for $1.99 per pound, selling un-graded farm fresh produce and products (bypassing government enforcers and inspectors), tractor convoys and farm/rural displays of dissatisfaction. Each week, a new location will be announced to selected media outlets as the farm strikes beat a path to picket the corrupt halls of power in Ottawa.
It’s clear and unambiguous that all levels of government have little or no respect for rural landowners and farmers: urban politicians & bureacrats are prepared to experiment with and manage the death of rural Canada. Unaccountable bureaucrats and ignorant politicians have created a dangerous habitat and threatening environment with over regulation, excessive & intrusive legislation that favours Trans national corporations and agri-food monopolies. The heavy hand of coercion is frequently used to extort compliance from rural landowners and our de-facto justice system ensures the only thing that is common in Canadian law is that individuals can never win without losing.
The closure of hundreds of local abattoirs has magnified the devastating effects of BSE, while the meat packing cartel wallows in obscene profits and government compensation packages. Our access to foreign markets remains closed while Uruguayan beef is imported and Canadian taxpayers exploited. Marketing boards designed to protect the family farms have become covert double agents; aiding and abetting the corporate culture of greed that expands monopolies and cartels. The reality of government deception remains hidden from the urban consumers' view, but not for long.
The united landowners of Eastern Ontario will no longer comply with legislated injustice, will not cower in fear and will defend our heritage and culture with forceful resolve to return democracy and justice into the hands of its rightful owners - common people. The consequences of your inaction will be the weight of Rural Canada descending upon your diminished authority.

Randy Hillier
President, Lanark Landowners Association
Tel, 613-257-7968
Tel, 613-267-6661
Fax, 613-259-2741

Why the food strike?
This from the LLA's website:

To achieve the objective of getting government out of rural lives, a clear timetable for the inclusion of Property Rights in the Canadian Constitution is needed. The LLA is setting a deadline of Sept. 1, 2004 for the government to establish a timetable and a commitment. If nothing is forthcoming from the government, strikes will be initiated. A final deadline of July 1, 2005 is set for the inclusion of Property Rights into the Canadian Constitution.
Canada’s most important industry has no union, and ineffective representation, and in these troubling times requires protection from both governments and bureaucrats. Canada’s ability to feed itself is lost in fields of worthless intrusion. Agriculture is monopolized through government regulations that close and bankrupt the foundations of Canadian independence "the family farm". Farmers are left with few outlets to sell the fruits of their labours, and their harvest is a pittance of income. Canadian farmers have inadvertently traded their independence and prosperity for crumbs of subsidies that benefit the bureaucracy more than farmers.

I will definitely try to be there on the 11th.

Warren Answering Warren 
Warren Kinsella wrote this a couple of days ago:

I think this: it is legitimate, post-Charter, to want to know about the views of prospective appellate court judges. And, similarly, it's okay to criticize, in the strongest terms, the Bush administration.

But cut the bullshit, you know? If you oppose Rosie Abella's politics - like Toews clearly does - then SAY THAT. Don't try and have it both ways, with an attack on “process.”

David Warren writes this today:
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when Irwin Cotler, our country's new justice minister, introduced Abella to our highest bench.
I laughed, at first -- even though I knew it wasn't a joke, that the appointment of Abella and of Louise Charron, two radical feminist Ontario Appeal Court judges to the vacant places among the Santa suits, was probably meant to provoke people like me.
To provoke, generally, anyone who disagrees with the notion that the law exists to advance projects in social engineering
This is the woman who attempted to establish, as a young family court judge, such remarkable legal principles as: No child-support payment can be "inappropriately" high; and the final, contractual terms of a divorce settlement may be re-opened at the woman's whim.
These, and other such creative judgments, were struck down by higher courts.
But now, Abella is the Supreme Court. Her views on anal intercourse alone -- and they are extensive --would have been worth exploring.

It's funny that when the two judges were announced, the papers quoted other judges praising the two appointments. Why do you think you didn't hear other judge's criticism? Do you think that they all believe that those two are the right appointments at this time? What other reasons do you think there are for them to keep silent?
No one dares make the appointments "political" - certainly not those in the law industry - afterall - it could affect your career path.

Kerry's daughters lose their father 2 pts in 2 minutes 
I watched the Kerry daughters at the MTV Video Awards last night - and I was embarassed for them. The one sister put her finger to her mouth to 'shush' the pit when her sister was talking and then, when she was talking, told the crowd to be quiet because "this is very important" and then went on to saying something no one remembered five minutes later. Oh, she also slapped the microphone by accident when she was saying goodbye.

But hey, young people don't vote anyway so who cares?
At least they showed up?

The Middleman being seduced by the dark side? 
Some of you might read the blog of the Middleman - a Winnipegger moved to Edmonton - he wrote this the other day...
This, on the other hand, sounds like a man who fully understands 1) what it will take to win next time and 2) that next time is at hand.
Now, the Middleman has never really said anything too nasty about Harper and the Conservatives like some but I don't recall him saying many nice things either. Could his thinking be a sign of growth for Harper and the Tories or just another Canadian going a little more right after living in Alberta?

Who's the idiot? 
MP Carolyn Parrish said:
"We are not joining the coalition of the idiots. We are joining the coalition of the wise," the Liberal legislator told a small group of demonstrators.
Parrish, who had to apologize for her "bastards" remarks last year, at first denied using the word idiots, and when reporters pointed out they had her remarks on tape, she said: "I don't mean Americans are idiots."
Parrish then begged reporters not to use the remarks: "Please guys don't put that on tape," she said. "I already got into trouble once.... Really, please, I've had enough trouble."
Four hours later, however, she hardened her line.
"The last one was a really stupid thing to say," she told Reuters. "Bastards is an inappropriate word. Idiots is a term people use in everyday conversation," she told Reuters.

I bet she hears the term idiot in everyday conversation - she's certified as one.

Canada wins - long way to go still 
While it was a good victory for Canada - a 3-1 win - last night at the Corel Centre, it was obvious that this team has some more gelling (is that a word?) to do. I thought there was a little more chemistry between some of the American forwards than the Canadians which there probably should be as the core of the US team has been together for a while.

The US defence is in trouble though. With Gill going down last night the team is struggling to find quality replacements. When Jordan Leopold couldn't continue, the US selected Paul Martin to take his place - Paul Martin? The guy's a mediocre prime minister - not a world calibre defenceman (I can hear your groans from here!) Seriously though - I don't think many hockey fans would pick Martin as a top US player.

Theodore and Luongo played great and Esche made some big saves for the US. Conklin - get ready for a cliche - would have liked to have a couple of the goals back I'm sure.

As for the experience - it was great. We could see Gretzky and Bob Nicholson sitting and watching the game from a 1st level box. The expressions on the players faces going into the corner to take or deliver a hit is something you can't experience as well in seats further from the ice. You really get to see the size difference between Lemieux and St. Louis, realize how big a man (just 20 years old) Bowmeester is, and how much skill Sakic and Lecavalier have in tight situations. Lucky for me, I'm seeing Slovakia/Canada in the same seats on Saturday.

Rematch tonight - CAN vs USA 
I've got some nice tickets for tonight's rematch. Three rows from the glass and in the corner so I can hopefully see Smyth or Iginla lay some shoulders into the ancient D from the south (Leetch, Chelios, etc).

Should be a sold out Corel Centre for the game - supposedly a few thousand tickets left for Saturday's game against Chara, Hossa and the rest of Team Slovakia.

My prediction - Canada will really want to win this game to send a message to the US after Monday's loss. The crowd will get the guys up for sure. End result... 4-0 for us.

I'm also expecting a pretty good cheer for Jacques Martin if they introduce him as one of the assistant coaches. And no, I don't think the Sens fans will boo Quinn. Though if the team goes 12 minutes without a shot like they did on Monday in Columbus there might be some boos. The fans expect a Team Canada to play with energy and emotion and shots on net is usually a pretty good indicator.

Two lost, two won 
While Felicien Perdita's fall was hard to take, the time of American Joanna Hayes was 12.37 which I think is better than Felicien's personal best. Not to say that Perdita couldn't beat it, but it was a tough race.

I thought an equally brutal heartbreaker was the baseball team's final at bat against Cuba. The Canadians had fell behind their North American socialist brothers 8-3 after the eighth inning. The Canucks didn't give up though and had Kevin Nicholson up to the plate in the ninth representing the tieing run. He cranked it but a wind coming into the park kept the ball from going out - the Cuban fielder made a nice catch up the wall to end the game.

I should say I started following the baseball team a little more closely after reading this in the recent Maclean's:

The crowds at ballgames have been thin, even by the spotty attendance standards of these Games. None of that matters to second baseman Stubby Clapp of Windsor, Ont., who first played for Canada at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg. "If there's 50,000 or there's two, we're going to play hard every day," says Clapp. "We play because we love the game and because we love representing our country."
Nor have they forgotten to have some fun. Clapp has taken to carting around the team mascot, a bobble-head doll he painted in Canadian colours, bearing the likeness of erstwhile teammate Justin Morneau, who was called up to the Minnesota Twins before the team left for Europe. Ballplayers, and occasionally the bobble-head, have popped up at water polo, diving and softball, cheering for Canadian teammates and downing a beer or two -- unlike most of their abstentious fellow athletes.

Hey - I don't like dwelling on negatives - young Despatie's silver and old Lori-Ann Muenzer's gold were fantastic. My problem is that I guess I value certain medals more than others - the wrestling, trampoline, diving, gymnastics, and cycling medals are great but just don't hold as much weight as a swimming medal would have - or a track or baseball medal. It's like in the Winter Olympics - who cares if the Germans pile on the one and two man luge medals - if we win the hockey medals - they 'mean' more.

Canada depending on a 38 year old? 
Okay - this is getting a little ridiculous.

The paper in the Ottawa Sun on the weekend had a Canadian Press article headlined 'Moment of Terror' - the terror...
There was a collective gasp from the crowd of a few hundred at the University of Ottawa Sports Complex when Canada's star centre Mario Lemieux took a heavy fall. The spectators were able to exhale when Lemieux, who tripped on defenceman Ed Jovanovsky's stick during a drill, quickly got up smiling. The 38-year-old Lemieux, who is expected to be the key to Canada's power play at the World Cup of Hockey, has a history of back and hip problems and there is concern that either can flare up again at any time.

And tonight - after the U.S. wins the first exhibition game 3 to 1 in Columbus - the CP article states:
It was a sluggish effort by the Canadians, who were held without a shot on goal for the first 12:22 of the third period. Canada, with only 10 returning members from the Olympic gold medal squad of February 2002, was without one of their top two offensive units in Richards-Lemieux-St. Louis.

The other lines were (from the CP story) Joe Sakic between Jarome Iginla and Simon Gagne; Kris Draper centring Shane Doan and Kirk Maltby; Joe Thornton between Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau; Vincent Lecavalier centring Brenden Morrow and Ryan Smyth. These guys aren't good enough? We need Super Mario and the Lightning boys to get a shot on net? No - it's their first game in months and the result wouldn't have changed with Mario playing with Gretzky and Hawerchuk.

This team is good enough to win this tournament without Mario Lemieux. The Team 1200 here in Ottawa spent my drive home from work talking about the significance of Mario not playing the first game - was he hurt? - was he intimidating his own teamates? My goodness - the guy's fantastic but he's a shadow of his former self. I'm looking for the Sakic line and the Thornton line to shine - Heatley especially.

Should we care how Canada places? 
Mike, a frequent commenter here, firmly believes that the federal government should not be in the business of giving money to sport in order to improve our chances at winning medals on the world stage.

I disagree.

I, and I am not being sarcastic here, feel that more funding for our sports would improve our results and improve our standing in the world and the pysche of our nation. Let's look at the current medal rankings:

Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 China 22 14 10 46
2 U.S. 21 22 15 58
3 Japan 13 6 7 26
4 Australia 12 8 13 33
5 France 9 7 7 23
6 Germany 8 10 11 29
7 Italy 7 6 7 20
8 Russia 6 14 17 37
9 Britain 6 7 7 20
26 Canada 1 2 1 4

Notice anything about the top nine countries? All of the G-8 are there - except who?

Australia has 2/3 the population of Canada.

Canadian funding for sport: $70 million
Australian funding for sport: $280 million

Canadian military expenditures: $9,801.7 million (2003) (GDP $957.7 billion)
Australian military expenditures: $14,120.1 million (2003) (GDP $570.3 billion)
(from Factbook)

What does military expenditures have to do with sport funding or Olympic medals? Or foreign aid where Canada is also hitting way below our weight?

We have become so inward looking. I think our national self confidence is at an all-time low.

We no longer compare ourselves to global powers like our G-8 partners but to countries like Denmark and Norway. Our anti-Americanism will grow as we shrink further on the world stage - we will further resent the US as it seems the only symbol of our nation becomes singers and actors who move to the States anyway.

Yes - spend money on sport programs. Increase military spending. Increase foreign aid. Decrease internal program spending, don't create a national day care program, don't pile up corporate and regional subsidies.

I always hear that Canada is one of the greatest countries in the world - then shouldn't we have the greatest people in the world?

I want to be proud of our country when I watch the Olympics - it's more than whether or not we have a better gymnast or diver - it's a statement to the world and ourselves.

Dr. Foth's prognosis 
Ah - I read this last week and had to put it up here....

THE MARTINIS - presently encamped in a tent on the lawn of 24 Sussex Drive
- are in a very nervous mode in the dog days of summer.

The prime minister, having been revealed as a robot run by his Earnscliffe lobbyists who knew how to overthrow the previous guy who couldn't speak either of the two official languages but didn't know how to run an election campaign, and his crew are for the first time reading the history books and learning about John Diefenbaker.

Herle and The Rest surely should have remembered. But perhaps they weren't born then. Surely Herle, who dresses like a bum at formal affairs to allegedly show his contempt for Ottawa, should remember, since he is, after all, from Saskatchewan.

What they might learn from Dief the Chief is that the unwashed electorate, once tasting blood, go for the kill.

Barber talk 
I was at my barber on Bank St this morning. He had the Olympics on TV and I asked whether we had won any medals today. Of course not. The barber said, "Chretien didn't spend money on sport - he spent it on Shawinigate."

What a legacy.

Never learn 
I don't know if this is surprising or not? Martin, on a trip up north, said the following:

"Over the generations to come, Pond Inlet, with all of its huge beauty, is going to become in my opinion known all over the world", he said. "We are here in a land that is ageless. A land that has been occupied by a great people since time immemorial. . . . It is a wonderful thing to see a living history."

Mr. Martin completed the second day of his five-day Northern tour. His first visit
to the region since taking office in December.

He planned to sit with the premiers of all three territories in meetings expected to centre on health-care funding, regional development and the potential transfer of powers to territorial governments.

But Mr. Martin offered few hints of what he will propose to the premiers.

He said he agreed that more funding was required for housing, and also said he has always believed in handing greater responsibility to the territories, but he provided no further details.

Does this guy exaggerate everything all the time? Does he get up in the morning and tell Sheila that he is going to make her the best breakfast she's ever had - every morning?

He agreed that more funding was required, he has always believed in handing greater responsibility to the territories - of course! More to everyone - it's a big freakin' more party for everyone when Martin is around.

Oh, he didn't provide details. Well, that's a change - NOT

Hmmm, how long before the territorial leaders come out and complain that Martin hasn't delivered on his promises for more funding and more responsibility? Before the next election?

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised - what's the saying about old dogs?

Line etiquette 
We Canadians are considered 'polite' - the Molson Canadian beer commerical tells me so - so, when I get an e-mail like the following, I must take it very seriously.

Don, maybe you want to answer this question for me on your blog, give me a Dear Abby answer.

There are 3 cash registers. Only one is open. It has a long line-up. There is a cashier milling about the 2 closed cash registers. The train is soon arriving. If I stand in the long line-up then I'll miss my train for sure. If I go to one of the closed cash registers and if it opens I will have a chance of catching my train. At worst, I end waiting longer for my ticket for the next train.

I chose to stand at a closed cash register. Before long I am accosted by a person in the long line, "The line is back here buddy". I state something to the effect that it is okay because I'm waiting for a closed cash register to open. The accoster is not impressed, he says that those in his line would get to go to that cash register if it opened. I wait for a closed cash register to open.

The departure time for the train passes so I sit on a bench to do work and will catch the next train (why wait at a closed cash register when there is nothing to be gained).
One of the closed cash registers does open and the accoster does change lines along with others (I did not observe how they negotiated who changes lines and in what order the new line is established).

After the lines dissipate I pick up my ticket and take next train. I walked down the tracks and was pleased that the accoster was also waiting. I continued my work until the train arrived.

Question: Did I break line etiquette by waiting at a closed cash register?

Dear Waiting,

Yes, you broke standard line etiquette. Only open registers should form a line. When an additional register is opened the accepted procedure is that the odd number 'waiters' in the queue move to the new line.
The fact that the 'accoster' ended up waiting with you for the train is interesting. If the closed register had of opened immediately, and you were waiting there, you would have made your train but perhaps the 'accoster' wouldn't have. He was waiting longer than you and should have received service earlier.
You shouldn't feel ashamed - only those that are afraid to ask the question and never learn should be ashamed.

Yours sincerely,

Protest on the hill 
In case you didn't hear about it - here's some thoughts on the CHOI protest on parliament hill - go read the entire piece....

That is our Parliament, the very of our Westminster democracy and the site
of Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s speeches expounding on liberty. In a healthy country it
should be the central defender of liberty, not the site of a crowd outside
reduced to begging for the privilege of being able to listen to the station of
their choice. Participating in such a spectacle was frankly a little degrading.
I never imagined that in Canada I would be reduced to participating in a
demonstration to allow a politically incorrect radio station to continue
broadcasting. On top of the gag law shutting up groups like the National
Citizens’ Coalition during election campaigns and judges issuing diktats it
certainly feels like certain core aspects of our democracy itself are slowly
slipping from our grasp. Yeah, we can go the booth and vote but more and more it
feels like there’s nothing actually attached to those democratic levers.

The best defence in the NHL 
Oh yeah baby - you better believe it!

Sens fans are very happy to see Chara signed today. Yeah, he was scheduled for arbitration tomorrow and would have been in the lineup regardless - but an extra year is nice and it's usually better to keep these negotiations away from an arbitrator. Considering Gonchar received 5.5 million for one year, Chara's 4.6/4.9 million dollar two year deal seems okay.

So, can you name me a better defence (top six) in the league than this one:

Total salaries16.5

What did Fulford's column say? 
First I saw Paul Wells blog and the mysterious comment:

I've often had occasion to marvel at the wisdom of Bob Fulford.

Then tonight, on the radio, I heard John Robson and Brigitte Pellerin talk about, I think, the column that made Wells write his statement. From what I gathered it was about the Globe and Mail and Ed Greenspon?

The thing that caught my attention was Robson's rant on Greenspon stating that the Globe identified itself as "generally tilting towards to the moderate centre-right". He wasn't mad about the centre-right part - though I think he said that was in itself a discussion - he was talking about the generally titlting towards the moderate part. His point was - get a frickin' backbone Eddie - I think he said it a little differently though.

I'd love to know what the entire column was about.

No opinion here - whatever you think... 
From an old post on freethought.ca - perfectly demonstrate's the Liberal idea of multi-lateralism - abstaining. We don't have an opinion - the Liberals wouldn't want to actually have to defend their position.

Yesterday in the UN General Assembly Canada reaffirmed its irrelevance with its vote, or rather non-vote on the Israeli barrier. There are problems in the middle-east and especially in Israel, but to not vote against the barrier, to not even take a stand, was a cowardly act and shows that Canada does not deserve to have influence in the world.

The General Assembly vote was 150 to 6, with 10 abstentions; Canada counted among them. Paul Martin and others may talk about a proud and strong Canada, but we don’t even have the balls to vote with most of the world. It’s said that you can judge a person by who they hang around with. Well yesterday Canada’s friends in abstention were: Cameroon, El Salvador, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Uganda, Uruguay and Vanuatu. If this is what Paul Martin has in mind in building a strong Canada, I’m afraid he and I have a different concept of what a strong Canada is.

Conservatives called for the rebuilding of the Canadian military in the recent election. I’d settle for a little backbone.

It's a Canadian thing... 
Despite one commenter's thoughts on Mr. Horton's coffee - this article I saw linked to from NealeNews sounds pretty Canadian:

The military is insisting it will buy only Tim Hortons coffee for the galleys at CFB Halifax, including those on board our warships.

The justification for the two-year contract for about 300 cases of Tim Hortons coffee -- with "no substitute" -- is that it's what sailors want to drink, according to Lt.-Cmdr. Denise LaViolette of navy public affairs.

But - the pressure is on Tim to change...

"It's sort of pathetic, really, that our government would be purchasing coffee that's exploiting coffee farmers in other countries," said Debra Moore, manager of Just Us Coffee Roasters, a fair-trade co-operative based in Wolfville, N.S.

Do the Leafs know something the other owners don't? 
From another Star column - by Damien Cox - talking about the Leafs continuing to build their payroll:
If the Leafs had wanted to help Bettman and the league, they could have gone to arbitration with McCabe and then, in the wake of a rich reward, they would have walked away from the 29-year-old defenceman.
Imagine the reverberations that would have produced in the hockey world.
Imagine the political impact on the union.
Again, you can only really find fault with the Leafs if you believe the NHL is in dire financial straits and needs a salary cap to relieve the pressure.
If you don't believe those things, and if you only care about the Leafs, and if you forecast that ultimately the owners will lose this fight and lose big, then you have to be very happy indeed with Ferguson's summer activities.
Ferguson isn't told what to do by an owner that talks to Bettman - he gets his budget from the board of directors of MLG - controlled by the teachers pension fund.

But the bigger issue that Cox ignores is that if you really do care about the Leafs, do you want your $60 million dollar payroll to have the same players as last year? With the same coach?

Sure they can beat the Sens in the playoffs... (as a Sens fan I'm going to start saying this -->) Sure they can beat Lalime in the playoffs but they aren't going to win 4 rounds with creaky back Nieuwendyk, bum shoulders Roberts, crazy 40 year-old Eddie, and more importantly, with McCable and Leetch playing over 30 minutes a game, every game, in the first and second round.

Another sign of the coming apocalypse? 
From Hebert's column today:
A growing number of Quebec federalists fear Martin is about to act as the accidental midwife to the rebirth of the sovereignty debate.
It is a sign of just how worried they are that many of them are counting on former unity minister Stéphane Dion, of all people, to talk some caution into the Prime Minister before it is too late. Others are starting to miss the tested hand of Jean Chrétien at the helm.
Who'd a thunk it?

UPDATE: Warren Kinsella - who once wrote that Hebert was "a founding member of the Chretien Haters Club" - lovingly links to her column. The enemy of my....

Canadian Youth Taught America is Evil? 
An American hockey fan brought up Bill O'Reilly's recent interview with Rudyard Griffiths who wrote in the Globe and Mail about his poll that stated 64% of Quebec youth described the US as evil. He said "I think Bill did a fair job to try and get across the message of how good Americans are pissed off at the 64% and how the liberal Canadian gov't. isn't doing more to stop the groundswell of hate. (of course, Bill is just miffed that he can't be seen in Canada.. but still). I think resonable citizens on both countries can realize that neither country represents evil."

Here are a couple of good parts of the interview:

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: On July 6th, I reported that a poll taken in Canada found that 40 percent of teenagers there thought America was a force for evil in the world. The number rose to 64 percent among French-Canadian teenagers. On July 16th, one of the guys who took the poll, Rudyard Griffiths, wrote in the Toronto Globe and Mail this, quote: "The first sign that the Drudge Report mention was whipping up a tempest in a teapot came in the form of a screed by a Canadian baiter and top-rated Fox News personality, Bill O'Reilly."
Joining us now from Toronto is Mr. Griffiths, who is the director of the Dominion Institute. All right, where am I going wrong here, sir?
RUDYARD GRIFFITHS, DOMINION INSTITUTE: Well, what I really took exception to is your comment that America's got the franchise on liberty and that you said, straight to the record, that Canada was equivalent to France, the Canadians had freed nobody, whereas Americans had freed hundreds of millions of people across the world.
O'REILLY: Right.
GRIFFITHS: That's just straight out wrong and it's a statement that I resent and that a lot of Canadians resent.
GRIFFITHS: The truth is, we fought together in the First World War. We went into that war three years before you did, by the way.
O'REILLY: Right.
GRIFFITHS: We fought together in the Second World War (search). We went into that war about two years before you did. You know, about 10,000 Canadians served in Vietnam (search), and you sent about 16,000 draft dodgers up here. You know, in Bosnia, in Afghanistan (search), you name it, we've stood shoulder to shoulder with Americans, we've bled with Americans for the ideals of democracy and freedom, yet...

O'Reilly gives some good shots in the middle part of the interview:

O'REILLY: Look, they're negative if you put them in that kind of a context. Certainly, no American wants anybody else killed in Iraq. But if you give a balanced presentation, which the CBC does not, the Toronto Globe and Mail does not, and say to your children, "Look, this is a rough war. This is a tough thing. But a brutal dictator who killed hundreds of thousands of people is out of office, 56 million Iraqis, or whatever it is, 36 million, have a chance at self determination."
So it's not black and white. America is not the bad guy in Iraq. It might have been a mistake, but we're not the bad guy, Mr. Griffiths, and we are being portrayed in your country as such.
GRIFFITHS: No, you're not. Public opinion in Canada was pretty divided going into that war.
O'REILLY: When you've got 64 percent of French-Canadian teenagers saying America's a force for evil, you've got a problem in the media and education up there.
GRIFFITHS: Look, I think this is a temporary problem, but it's a problem for Americans and it's a problem with this current president that you've got.
O'REILLY: Not a problem for America. We have a balanced media here. You don't.

And, of course, the Canadian ends by bringing up the "yeah, but our beer is better" arguement:

GRIFFITHS: Well, you know, two years ago when I appeared on your show and had the privilege, I invited you up here for a Canadian beer. I think you turned me down. Come on up...
O'REILLY: I didn't turn you down. It's just a matter of whether I can get up there or not.
GRIFFITHS: Some great ale, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)... you know, it's not getting south of the border because of mad cow...
O'REILLY: Look, Toronto is a great town. I'm going to have to come to Toronto...
GRIFFITHS: Please do.
O'REILLY: And I'm going to have to straighten you guys out.
GRIFFITHS: We'll roll out the red carpet for you.
O'REILLY: I'm going to have to come up there because you won't take the Fox News Channel, because your government is afraid of it.
GRIFFITHS: We watch it on the Internet.
O'REILLY: So I'm going to have to come in person to do it. Tell your government to take us so then you can watch us every night and then the kids would get a fair shot.
GRIFFITHS: OK, you're on record, you're coming up to Toronto.
O'REILLY: All right, Mr. Griffiths, thank you very much, we appreciate it. Give the kids the fair shot.

I thought this was funny.... 
From the Post editorial - originally talking about Teresa Kerry and moving into the celebrity of the first family in the US (including their pets) and comparing that to the PM in Canada:
Suffice to say, there is no Web site devoted to Paul Martin's dog -- or
none that Google is aware of -- if he indeed has a pet outside the offices of

More PR thoughts 
Following up yesterday's discussion of the 12% PR proposal....

James Bow wrote today:
Then there is the fact that these at-large MPs will have been elected by no-one.
How do you keep bad MPs off of the plate? In true at-large elections, you can
vote against individual members of a party's slate; in this election, even if
the parties put up a slate of their preferred nominees before the election,
there is little an individual voter can do to express his displeasure over an
at-large candidate except by voting against the party's candidate within the

Also, in the comments yesterday Mike wrote:
We elect representatives. We do not elect parties. It is the political
class that thinks of it the other way around.The objective of a parliament is to
have representatives. Traditionally geography is used to denote groups to be
represented. PR is simply reconfiguring the grouping by party of preference.
This has much appeal to the political class as they can then focus on their base
and to hell with the rest.

So, what about voting more than once? Once for a constituency MP and then a ranking process for regional MPs.

Top of the ballot (and I would suggest larger or bold font) would be the constituency candidates as we have now. Vote for your constituency MP.

Bottom of the ballot would be the regional candidates. Rank all the regional candidates for each party from 1 to x - you wouldn't need to rank for every party if you don't wish to but you could and you can rank from 1 to as high as you wish. The number of regional MPs for each party would be determined after determining the consituency MPs and the rankings would determine which regional candidates win.

It might get a little messy for large regions. In John Bosson's proposal, with 42 regional MPs, Ontario would get 16 - meaning each party could propose 16 candidates - which would be a freakin' huge ballot. I would suggest making the regions smaller. Break Ontario into TO, West, East, North or something like that which would preserve more accountability and representation.

Would this solve James' issue of electability and Mike's issues of representation and the power of the political class?

Super Value Menu 
Did you hear about John Edwards and his wife tradition of eating at Wendy's on their anniversary? Kerry and his wife went with them during the campaign trail. Steyn has the details:

John Edwards's campaign theme is a slice of warmed-over Disraeli: there are "two Americas", one for the rich, one for the poor, and, even though he's part of the former, he wants you to know that he started out in the latter. Friday was the Edwardses' 27th anniversary, so, in keeping with tradition, they hit the Newburgh Wendy's, along with the Kerrys, campaign mascot Ben Affleck and accompanying press crew.
The photo-op didn't go smoothly.
Kerry went over to say hi to some marines, who turned out to be Bush supporters
and resented the interruption to their lunch. More telling was Teresa Heinz Kerry. She pointed to the picture of the bowl of chilli above the clerk's head: "What's that?" she asked. He explained that it was something called "chilli" and she said she'd like to try a bowl. The Senator also ordered a Frosty, a chocolate dessert. They toyed with them after a fashion, and then got back on the bus.
It then emerged that Wendy's had just been an appetiser. The campaign advance team had ordered 19 five-star lunches from the Newburgh Yacht Club for Kerry, Edwards, Affleck and co to be served back on the bus: shrimp vindaloo, grilled diver sea scallops, prosciutto, wrapped stuffed chicken, etc.

I'm not sure whether Ben had the shrimp and Teresa the scallops, but, either way, it turns out John Edwards is right: there are two Americas - one America where folks eat at Wendy's, another America where the elite pass an amusing half-hour slumming among the folks at Wendy's and then chow down on the Newburgh Yacht Club's specials of the day. The Elizabeth Edwards anniversary-at-Wendy's shtick was meant to emphasise her husband's authenticity, but it now looks as inauthentic as Kerry's own blundering "regular guy" routine.

The equivalent here in the last election is Martin and his Tim Horton's - every morning you'd see him with the large Timmy's. Imagine if we found out our multi-millionaire PM was filling it up with a specialty brew on the campaing bus. Scandalous!

350 seat house with 42 at-large members 
Read John Bosson's comment in the Globe today. It's a proposal for a mixed PR / constituency voting system.
To show that a small reform is sufficient to eliminate regional shut-outs,
I will describe a "12-per-cent solution" in which not quite one-eighth of
federal MPs are elected at large. Using the newly elected Parliament as a
starting point, we have 308 MPs elected by constituencies (the members elected
June 28). Another 42 members would be elected at-large, resulting in a
Parliament of 350 members.
How would at-large members be allocated among
regions? And why regions, not provinces? The answer to the second question is
simple: Some provinces are too small. I assume the Atlantic provinces combined
into a single region to elect at-large members, with Manitoba and Saskatchewan
also combined. With this aggregation, no region has a population smaller than
two million, and so has no fewer than three at-large members.
at-large members would be allocated among regions in proportion to population.
Thus the Atlantic and Manitoba/Saskatchewan would each have three, Quebec 10,
Ontario 16, Alberta four and B.C. six, for a total of 42.
Nationally, this system would have resulted in additional seats for the
Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Greens. In Quebec, the Bloc would not get extra
members, because it won more constituency seats than it would have obtained
under pure PR. The Liberals and Conservatives would each have won five at-large
Quebec seats. The total party standings still would have resulted in minority
government, with the Liberals winning 146 seats out of 350.

Current number of seats Additional
Liberal 135 11 146
Conservatives 98 14 112
NDP 20 15 35
Greens 0 2 2

Not sure if people would like Ontario getting 16 more seats - even though we deserve it. It would be nice to see the end of total regional shutouts (Liberals in Ontario in 97, 00 for example).

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