We have a tenant in our house who is from Indonesia working as an intern for the embassy here in Ottawa.

Their press release:

The Embassy of Indonesia is extremely grateful for the outpouring of sympathy and offers to assist the victims of the recent tsunami disaster in Aceh and North Sumatera from the People and Canada. In this regard, the Embassy of Indonesia would like to seek your kind assistance in conveying the following information to your readers/audience.

The Indonesian Embassy in Ottawa, in collaboration with the Indonesian Students Association in Canada, shall be holding an “Aceh and North Sumatra Earthquake Victims Emergency Relief Drive”, which will begin on 18.30 on Friday, December 31, 2004 at the Indonesian Embassy in Ottawa (55 Parkdale Avenue, Ottawa, ON, Telp. 613-7241100) for those who wish to contribute fund directly for victims of the tragedy. We would like to invite to all concern members of the public to attend our event.

The embassy would like to emphasize that donations from the public for the disaster victims be made in the form of funds. Logistical constraints prohibit the transportation of the goods to the affected areas. All funds accumulated shall be used to purchase food, goods, and medical supply needed for the victims. In this connection, the Indonesian Embassy has set up an account to collect contributions from the public for relief efforts for the victims of this disaster.

The account details are as follows:
Account Name : Indonesian Embassy Tsunami Relief Fund
Account Number : 3290 5209-104
Bank : TD Canada Trust, Minto Place
427 Laurier Avenue, Ottawa, ON

We appeal to the people of Canada to support our efforts to collect funds
for relief through the Embassy.

You can also donate online here at the Canadian Red Cross.

Merry Christmas 
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas holiday with family and friends!

Last year, I asked for the following for Christmas:
Dear Santa,

Please bring me a new coat, a couple more credible candidates for Conservative leader, and a power forward to play left wing for the Senators.

The old Scrooge didn't give me any of them! I'll try again this year...

Dear Santa,

Was I so bad in 2003? This year I've been extra good.
Please bring me a new coat, NHL hockey this year, and a Conservative victory in 2005.


I hope he makes it back to the NHL 
Steve Moore's victim impact statement:

Growing up with my two brothers in Thornhill, Ont., I had dreams of playing in the NHL for as long as I can remember. From the time I started skating at two and a half, to playing on my first hockey team at age four, my passion and love for the game only grew with time. I was extremely focused at an early age, and even in elementary school I was already channelling my energies toward pursuing a career in hockey. Every day when I got home from school, I headed out to the garage to shoot pucks, to improve my shot.
Then it was into the house for supper, finish up homework for school, and head back outside with my brothers, where we would play ball hockey on the street in front of our house, hour after hour. Every Saturday night, when we weren't playing a game with one of our many teams, we would be at home huddled around the TV to watch Hockey Night in Canada. I loved watching my heroes play - Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, among many others. I dreamed that one day I would be out there myself, playing in the National Hockey League.
As I reflect on the impact this attack has had on me, both on my health and on my life as a whole, I am overwhelmed. There is not one single piece of my life where I do not find myself severely and profoundly affected. Everything has changed. The toll that all of these cumulative effects have had on my health and my life, and in my relationships with family and friends, cannot be measured. I think back to anxiously looking forward to being a part of the greatest championship in sports, the Stanley Cup playoffs; thrilled at embarking on such a monumental journey, with such special teammates. Those experiences were taken away from me, and I can never get them back. So many extraordinary experiences that I so unfairly missed out on, are now gone forever. My whole career, built upon the hard work, discipline and commitment of my entire life, and fuelled by a persistent dream, has been halted in its tracks.
My concerns now are no longer those shared with my teammates, such as whether we will win tonight or how I will play. My concern is, will I ever play again? And more fundamentally than that, how much of the damage to my health, physical abilities, mental capacities, family life, personal relationships and future, is permanent and
The Victim Impact Statement Form provided to me by Crown Counsel asked me to comment on how I feel regarding contact with the accused. I have no desire to interact with him in any way. I would respectfully request that should I regain my health and someday be able to get back to playing, that Todd Bertuzzi never be permitted to participate in any sporting activity in which I am competing.
Steve Moore

Practical Politics for the CPC 
The Shotgun is a nice blog - might win best group blog.

Recently there has been a bit of a debate over conservative or Conservative politics/policy. Norman Spector has used the term practical politics a few times in response to Kathy Shaidle's 'social conservative' views - basically saying that by being firm in her beliefs on a variety of issues she is withdrawing from practical politics.

The sides have become somewhat formed with the person's like Jay Currie saying that if an issue like abortion legislation becomes part of the CPC platform then he would 'remain' politically homeless.

It's interesting to think about. The CPC is going to have the national policy convention in less than three months and we could possibly see an election in 2005.

As part of the process leading into the convention each riding association had, or had the option of holding, a policy amendment meeting. I briefly attended the Ottawa-Centre meeting. I joined the party in January - and this was my first political meeting other than the nomination meeting for the local candidate last election.

There was about 30 people there I would guess and it was pretty much an open forum. A person would propose an amendment to the current party policy statement and the others would debate it. During the time I was there (1.5 of 4 hrs), there was about 4 votes with one very subtle amendment passing.

The biggest thing that I noticed was even in that room of local Conservatives there was the fear of electibility that was so thick - the practical politics that Spector talks of was a spoken and unspoken veto on thought and discussion. During a debate on health care there was much discussion over the need for 'weasel' words when describing funding or implementation. I said that I found it strange that in the large section of health care the word private was not to found (the word public appeared numerous times) yet that is what people want to know about our platform - what is your stance on privatization? I didn't plan to say anything at the meeting and had done no real research or else I would have pointed to the Maclean's poll that showed 53% of Canadians support "allowing government to contract out delivery of publicly covered services to private clinics". I concluded by proposing an amendment that would add that the Conservative party believes that the Canada Health Act does not prevent provinces from using services provided by private business. It was narrowly voted down.

I'm getting to my point.

The party must be receptive to differing opinions - it needs all conservatives. The problem arises on a couple of free vote issues - if the party doesn't have a firm position then those debates are going to be public. I think those issues must be settled - a screaming match in Montreal in March - and then something to compare to the other parties.

Here are my top policy amendments that are 'politically practical' in my opinion.

1. My local proposal - worded more clearly perhaps but whatever: The Conservative Party believes that the Canada Health Act does not prevent provinces from using services provided by private business. It's meaningless in actuality since the other parties believe the same thing - might as well come out and say it though. You might force the other two parties to fight for a position.

2. Let's get the biggies out of the way - the Conservative Party would introduce abortion legislation similar to that which is found in Europe with a gestational limit between 14 and 22 weeks to be determined by a national panel. This abortion legislation would be consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Conservative party will ensure that women have timely access to abortions during the legal timeframe throughout the country.
Look - what are the Liberals going to do with this? - would the Liberals actually campaign for no limit? If you say they did in the last election you would be partially right - they got away with it because the Tories had no real policy to compare.

3. The Conservative Party will move to remove marriage from federal and provincial jurisdiction by a proposed constitutional amendment and will leave the definition of marriage to religious institutions to develop as they see fit. Civil unions will be required for the determination of spousal rights and legal whatevers.

4. The Conservative Party will not implement a taxpayer funded national daycare program. The Conservative Party will eliminate the spousal tax credit and instead will provide create child tax credits. The Party will increase child support payments for low income Canadians.

5. The Conservative Party will decrease the size of the political pork barrel - yes, those words will be used - for regional development programs, industrial subsidies. Reductions in those programs will be directed to increased funding for post secondary research and development.

That's enough for tonight....

Ouch - that hurt 
I just saw this from James Bow - talking about the best blog design category in the blog awards:
Too many other of the major blogs use a standard blogger template, and I’m sorry, but that orange is simply hideous. Get rid of it, or at least switch to what the Armchair Garbageman offers.
I go to click on the poor smuck using that hideous orange - nooooooooooo - it's me!

Actually, I've thought the same thing - some day maybe it'll change.

Andrew, Andrew, Andrew..... 
Andrew Spicer, who hasn't yet been nominated for a Canadian blog award by the way (is there a Best 'Toronto needs more money' blog award? - just kidding - I'm working way too hard to be funny now), wrote this about the NHLPA:
If I were running the union, I'd tell all the players to report to their team's towns. In each city I would set up a hockey team and find an arena -- even if only a small one is available. I'd put all the people who should be Maple Leafs in blue and white uniforms and have them play games against people in red and white from Detroit, etc.
The owners have talked about replacement players, but I think a much more viable solution is replacement management.
After all, what else do these NHL owners own, except a monopoly, some brand names and trademarks, and some leases on arenas?

Yeah, just a hundred years of tradition, generations of fan loyalty, etc, etc. Maybe Buzz Hargrove should think about this - the next round of CAW negotiations might end with with Buzz saying "After all, what else do these auto companies own, except a building, some automated robots, and some arrangements with dealers?"

The only end result is the NHL players playing for the NHL clubs - that's it.

I want to see the league to have payrolls that are in the same ballpark (or rink). This not only gives fans hope every few years to develop a contender but it would allow for each team to have a balanced roster in terms of skill level and may be the best catalyst to develop more excitement in the game. When you have teams with 30 million dollars less in payroll they will be forced to play a tight defensive game all the time as they will not have the tools to play an open, up tempo game. You pay for those skills.

I want the NHL to have competition like the NFL, not MLB.

There might be other ways to have cost certainty and payrolls balanced across the league without a salary cap. That's what the NHLPA needs to figure out.

Funniest Canadian Blog 
It wasn't supposed to be funny.

Crazy Robert McClelland is hosting an interesting activity - the 2004 Canadian Blog Awards. Looks like someone nominated me for the most humourous blog.

Nominations can be made from this post on Robert's blog. Robert's an anti-Conservative blogger so travelling to his site will be a great test of anger management for many of you.

Speaking of funny - I read Paul Martin's interview with Maclean's in this week's edition:

There have been reports that 24 Sussex Drive is run down and drafty. Is it true that you and Mrs. Martin have to bundle up to sit in the kitchen for breakfast?
Basically, my life is, I come in late at night, I go to bed, I get up in the morning and go to work. The house has a lot of character, and I don't notice anything else about it.

You've spent an extraordinary amount of time abroad recently. Any lasting memories?
I don't know if you saw the pictures of the two schools I went to in Africa. To go off into a corner and talk to a little girl--in one case the girl spoke French, and I think we communicated. This is not an arid statistic; these are real live kids, who are so cute you want to pick every one of them up and take them home. Many are orphans or have lost brothers and sisters. I'll tell you, that touched me like you wouldn't believe. We've got to change the world because, for these kids, it's not fair they should grow up in this world.

When you were asked in a recent CNN interview about the possibility of Canadian troops serving in Iraq, you said Canada didn't have any troops available. Did you mean to suggest that if you had them, you'd consider sending them?
Then why answer the question that way?
Because it's a fact. We don't have the troops. So that's the answer.

The Red Ensign Standard 
Damian Brooks has posted the Red Ensign Standard:
I've struggled to explain to friends and family curious about my foray into the blogosphere what binds the disparate blogs of the Red Ensign Brigade together. The closest answer I can give is that we share strong feelings about the importance of Canada's past in charting our nation's future. We share a conviction that Canadian freedom and prosperity are not a birthright bestowed upon a lucky citizenry, but rather a reward for action consistent with longstanding Canadian values.
We've taken the Red Ensign flag as our symbol because we understand that while Canada has improved in many ways since the adoption of the new Maple Leaf, it has also disregarded some of what made it great in generations past.
Read it all...

Great job Damian!

I'm with Ulmer. 
As Mike Ulmer wrote a few days ago:
Blow it up, boys, the season, the game, the whole enchilada. Then make sure the door doesn't hit you on the ass on the way out.
One year without the NHL? Not enough.
We need a two- or three-year lockout that would inflict incalculable damage to the sport.

Well, I guess I'm not that extreme. But if it scared the players enough to actually give in to the creation of Satan himself - the salary cap - I would scream it from the rooftops.

UPDATE: Even Paul's onboard with a cap:
Martin declined to offer an opinion on the dispute, saying the federal government shouldn't display any prejudice if it wanted to get involved.
But he did say Tuesday in another interview that he wanted to see the NHL help smaller teams survive, and cited the NFL's Green Bay Packers and the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders as examples.
Both the CFL and NFL have salary caps but Martin did not specifically say whether he felt the NHL should have one.
Yeah, he didn't come out and say it - but when does he ever - you have to read between the lines people.

Warning - icy roads, go slow 
I'll be going slow on this blog for the next several weeks - call it a Christmas holiday. In reality, I've started a new job and will be very busy.

If some of the frequent non-blogging commentors feel like e-mailing me some of their thoughts on relevant topics (hockey, politics, etc.) then I'll be happy to share them with the general audience.

One quick thought on the NHLPA proposal 
The 24% rollback is impressive to be sure.

I thought the 75 cent luxury tax discussed in my post below was more impressive though. Maybe that is what the owners can negotiate on - get that up to a reasonable level to prevent payroll growth and with the rollback try to make a go of it.

I want to see Hasek between the pipes for the Sens.

Santa Suits 
I'm too busy to write anything myself so I'll leave you with this e-mail I received to ponder:

I want you to be think correctly on the Supreme Court ruling from the start. The Santa suits said: (1) federal gov has jurisdiction on defining marriage; (2) same-sex marriage would be legal if parliament made it law; (3) religious officials will not be forced to conduct same-sex marriages against their beliefs; (4) refused to say that current definition as being between a man and a woman is unconstitutional.
If the above is correct then I have no problem with the ruling and in fact I agree with everything except that on item (4) should have been unequivocal that current definition is constitutional. What is the ruling: yes, the feds can define marriage (I say fine); yes, they can define it with or without including man-man or woman-woman (I say good); and yes, either way they can't force it on religious groups (I say good). Basically the ruling is clarifying jurisdiction and saying that it is up to parliament to set the law.
The horseshit starts when Paul Martin erroneously contends it is a"Charter" issue. It would only be a "Charter" issue if the Santa suits said man-woman exclusivity were unconstitutional, which it hasn't. Personally I don't think it violates the "Charter" since there is no group rights in the "Charter" and the law grants every man and woman the same right to marry one willing person of the opposite sex. If it were a"Charter" issue then we know the Liberals won't use the notwithstanding clause, but if it is part of the constitution and if parliament sees fit then it should use the notwithstanding clause. A future government would have the option of reversing bad legislation and using the notwithstanding clause if needed.
The interesting thing will be on the civil law. Provinces cannot use the notwithstanding clause to overrule on federal jurisdiction so they are stuck with how parliament defines marriage. However, they are the masters of the civil rights for the vast majority of citizens. Pension, benefits, succession, hospital visitation, ... laws that can all be redrafted to not reference "marriage" but rather go back to woman-man as they so wish. If the Santa suits say unconstitutional then the notwithstanding clause can be used as desired as these laws are within provincial jurisdiction.
See, the courts may be annoying but they aren't always wrong and they aren't always the problem. The problem here is the Liberal agenda (ifyou don't agree with it) and their scheming, dishonest promotion of their agenda.

Think of the children 
The NHL and the NHLPA have to remind themselves of what they've done and what will happen if there is no season.

Draught beer sales are down, people are acting crazy over haircuts, and Brendan Shanahan is so desperate to get out of the house he's paying for hotel rooms so his buddies will come and talk hockey with him.

What will happen if the season is wiped out? I don't even want to think about it.

Luxury Tax proposal 
TSN is reporting that the NHLPA proposal contains a luxury tax that would impose a 75 cents on the dollar tax on payrolls over $40 million. This is what it would look like for the various teams - data from USA Today:

Team Payroll Luxury Tax Player Costs
Detroit Red Wings $77,856,109 $28,392,082 $106,248,191
New York Rangers $76,488,716 $27,366,537 $103,855,253
Dallas Stars $68,578,885 $21,434,164 $90,013,049
Philadelphia Flyers $68,175,247 $21,131,435 $89,306,682
Colorado Avalanche $63,382,458 $17,536,844 $80,919,302
Toronto Maple Leafs $62,458,140 $16,843,605 $79,301,745
St. Louis Blues $61,675,000 $16,256,250 $77,931,250
Los Angeles Kings $53,833,800 $10,375,350 $64,209,150
Anaheim Mighty Ducks $53,296,750 $9,972,563 $63,269,313
Washington Capitals $50,895,750 $8,171,813 $59,067,563
New Jersey Devils $48,931,658 $6,698,744 $55,630,402
Boston Bruins $46,569,000 $4,926,750 $51,495,750
Vancouver Canucks $42,074,500 $1,555,875 $43,630,375
New York Islanders $40,865,500 $649,125 $41,514,625
Ottawa Senators $39,590,000 $0 $39,590,000
Phoenix Coyotes $39,249,750 $0 $39,249,750
Montreal Canadiens $38,857,000 $0 $38,857,000
Calgary Flames $36,402,575 $0 $36,402,575
Carolina Hurricanes $35,908,738 $0 $35,908,738
San Jose Sharks $34,455,000 $0 $34,455,000
Tampa Bay Lightning $34,065,379 $0 $34,065,379
Columbus Blue Jackets $34,000,000 $0 $34,000,000
Edmonton Oilers $33,375,000 $0 $33,375,000
Buffalo Sabres $32,954,250 $0 $32,954,250
Chicago Blackhawks $30,867,502 $0 $30,867,502
Atlanta Thrashers $28,547,500 $0 $28,547,500
Minnesota Wild $27,200,500 $0 $27,200,500
Florida Panthers $26,127,500 $0 $26,127,500
Pittsburgh Penguins $23,400,000 $0 $23,400,000
Nashville Predators $21,932,500 $0 $21,932,500

One of the NHL's complaints with the PA's previous proposals was that the luxury tax was toothless - a 20 cent on the dollar tax would not be a drag on salaries. Is this luxury tax enough?

With last years payrolls, a total of $191 million would be collected and somehow divided among the teams that were under $40 million in payroll.

Most plans indicated that teams would have to hit a minimum payroll to receive a share of the money - say $30 million. If the bottom 5 teams increased their payroll to $30 million then those 16 teams with payrolls less than $40 million would receive almost $12 million each.

What would happen in reality? Most of the teams paying between 40 and 60 million would likely drop down to share in the tax revenue. For the Leafs - you would think that they would be forced to drop their salaries by 8 or so million so their payroll cost would remain the same after the tax.

Sounds like a starting point to me.

A little from column 'A', and a little from column 'B' 
Trudeaupia is down in Dallas for work:
First risky experiment: I'll see what happens if you cut into a steak at the Texas Land and Cattle Company without saying grace first. I'll let you know (if I survive the lynching).
Damian's Grandmother was in Ottawa last week:
Here's what my retired-grade-two-schoolteacher, adopts-abused-cats, sings-the-silliest-songs, sweetest-lady-in-the-neighbourhood grandmother had to say about the whole thing:
"Did you see they interviewed some fool with pink hair on the news? I'm going deaf, you know, but some days I just don't think it's happening fast enough."
Best. Line. Ever.
Bart was watching Don Newman on Friday:
I'm listening to the Friday morning Politics online (see the 19 minute mark) and their roundtable chat on missile defense and Liberal MP Derek Lee argued that the weaponization of space made sense because "We might need to stop one of those meteorites". I only hope that our government isn't basing their foreign policy decisions on bad Ben Affleck movies.
And the big news in Canada this week is - the NHL - NHLPA meeting on Thursday. Sources indicate that December 15th is the drop dead date for the season.

I don't care what you think - I love Survivor! 
I think it's a great show - and I'm glad to finally read a column (from NealeNews) that gives it proper respect. I'm serious.
Incredibly, "Survivor" is both the most cerebral of all reality television shows and the most popular. This doesn't support the "reality TV is dumb" thesis that percolates throughout our societal consciousness, so it is routinely ignored. After all, it's much easier to castigate an entire genre of programming based upon a show where the contestants eat horse rectums, rather than give props to a show that could accidentally cause us to think.

This post has nothing to do with Canada - something which may be a first for this blog. I just really like the show - yes, I'm being serious!

Giving some credit to the government 
Hey, I don't think I'm the type of guy that hates everything that the Liberals do - right?

When I joined the Red Ensign brigade of bloggers I wrote about the Canada I wanted:
...it is having our leaders speak clearly to Canadians and the world about what Canada is on the global stage - not abstaining on UN votes...
Well, in the news this week, our Ambassador to the UN, Mr. Gun Registry, said:
"We believe that the time has come, especially given the renewed hope for the peace process, to evaluate the efforts that all of us make at the United Nations to determine if they could be redirected towards more constructive outcomes," Mr. Rock said.
He said the General Assembly and the much more powerful Security Council should do more to foster respect and trust between Israelis and Palestinians in order to help bring peace to the region.
Canada has typically abstained on resolutions that condemn Israel's occupation of and settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.
Only the United States and a few others have been left to support the embattled Jewish state.
Mr. Rock's speech Tuesday confirmed a shift in approach to UN questions involving the Middle East that has been evident since last summer. Then, Canada abstained on a widely supported resolution that noted the International Court of Justice's finding that Israel's security fence violated international law.
I'm not going to make a statement here on the actual position they've taken - I don't have the time - but this is a good step.
I'll also give props to Martin for his trip to Sudan and for his push for the L20. While these haven't produced results, he is at least doing what leaders are supposed to do - lead. Time will tell how good a leader he is - will others follow?

Bush/Martin action - what they really accomplished 
I know, some of you may think this is just a coincidence but remember what Bush said yesterday:
Paul and I share a great vision for the future, two prosperous, independent nations joined together by the return of NHL hockey.
And now we find out today:
The National Hockey League Players' Association confirmed Thursday that NHLPA Executive Director Bob Goodenow sent a letter to Gary Bettman inviting the NHL's negotiating committee to attend a meeting in Toronto next week with the NHLPA Executive Committee and senior NHLPA officials.
The letter also confirms that the NHLPA is working on a new proposal which it believes 'should provide the basis for a new collective bargaining agreement and thus end the owners' lockout.'
"Almost three months have passed since the players made their last proposal and we have yet to receive a counter-offer from the league. We have been working hard at other creative solutions and believe our new proposal will provide a basis to end the owners' lockout and resume NHL hockey," Bob Goodenow, NHLPA executive director.
Christmas is coming!

The other Canada 
I'm a little tired of every CBC special being called something like 'A Nation Divided' or 'The Great Divide' or 'Can you believe it - people have different positions!' but while this is something similiar, I think it's worth pointing out. Frum has a good post today about the visit and the speeches:
Past American presidential visitors have paid tribute – as say Bill Clinton did on his official visit in 1995 – to Canada’s softer, gentler side: its healthcare programs, its social welfare, its gun control, its multiculturalism. Well they all exist, and they are popular with many Canadians, although less so now perhaps than they were a decade ago.
But there is another Canada: the Canada that sacrified three times as many people as the US (in proportion to population) in two world wars; the Canada whose forces led the great drive of August 9, 1918, the “black day” of the German army; the Canada that took responsibility for one of the beaches at D-Day while an America that then had almost 15 times Canada’s population took three; the Canada that fought in Korea, the Gulf War, now in Afghanistan – and, as many Halifax naval families know well, that helps even today to patrol the Persian Gulf.
This Canada was the Canada that President Bush singled out for praise – even acknowledging (a fact that Canadians do not forget), “In the early days of World War II, when the United States was still wrestling with isolationism, Canadian forces were already engaging the enemies of freedom across the Atlantic.”
It's a pretty good read and he gives Martin some credit too. Speaking of CBC, I wonder what Daifallah thought of thier coverage - he's been critical in the past. I thought the coverage was pretty good yesterday - showing one Canadian stopping another from lighting an American flag on fire was nice to see.

Yesterday was my first anniversary of blogging. Thanks for the e-mails and best wishes in the years to come.

Actually, you self-obsessed blog readers, nobody remembered! Jerks.

And you thought Fox News was out there? 
Tucker Carlson, CNN pundit, was beaten up by Jon Stewart in October. Wells at the time wrote this:
I have believed Tucker Carlson to be a fairly bright fellow, albeit one who probably needs a good smack, but here he looks more and more cretinous with every passing second.

Well, it one thing to look bad against a professional comedian - but to be held to a draw by Carolyn Parrish?

CNN on Tuesday:
PARRISH: I think we need each other. I think we have got a long-term trade partnership. I think both countries benefit from that partnership. And when you say to us, we don't need you, that's not a way to make friends...
CARLSON: In fact, it's not even a value judgment, it's simply a recognition of economic reality. Of course it's good for the United States to trade with Canada, but it's vital for Canada to trade with the United States. So you gain nothing by alienating the administration.
PARRISH: It's pretty vital for California to take our hydro-oil (ph). I think it would be dark the next day. I think this is not a productive conversation. I think we're long-term friends, we are long-term trade partners. And we will weather this recent storm. We are fundamentally opposed to might is right and brute force and preemptive attacks on other countries. That's fundamental in Canada.
CARLSON: Well, you have the benefit of being protected by the United States and you can say that. But I think if Canada were responsible for its own security -- you would be invaded by Norway if it weren't for the United States and so you...
PARRISH: We're a very secure nation because we haven't ticked off the rest of the world. We march with the world. We're not out of step.

Embedded Canadian on the Hill 
Earl McRae:

John Al-Hassani is Canadian, too. He's 48. He drove to Ottawa from Oshawa where he's an engineer. He stands on the fringe. His sign says: "Support President Bush."
"I came to this country from Iraq," he shouts in staccato bursts. "I have family there. I talk to them all the time. Look at these fools. They have no idea. They are idiots. They are simple babies. The majority of Iraqis are glad Bush liberated them from Saddam Hussein. But, you don't see that on TV, only the terrorist gangsters blowing people up. They don't speak for the people of Iraq.
"My country suffered under that madman. There was no freedom. He tortured and killed our people. Even Prime Minister Martin said the other day that the United Nations should change its policy, that democratic countries should have the right to invade countries with dictators who do genocide and torture their people.
"These people here have never suffered. They make me sick. You are a reporter. You should ignore them or you are a fool too. If Canada was a terrible dictatorship like Iraq was under Saddam, would these people tell Bush no, no, don't invade, we don't want you to give us freedom?"
John Al-Hassani glares at a protester who glares back. The protester's sign says: "Evil Bush Lied To Drag The World To War." Says Al-Hassani under his breath: "In Iraq if he'd said that about Saddam Hussein he'd be taken away and murdered."

All conservatives are welcome - none will be completely satisfied 
Did you read Terence Corcoran's column in the Financial Post? In it he slams Harper and the CPC from election night to today. He says:
The Conservative party is abandoning conservative values as part of a deliberate strategy orchestrated by party insiders, including some of Mr. Harper's old brain trust. Disappointed at their election loss, hungry to be in on power, they have come to believe that victory will only come to a party that shifts toward the centre and beyond.
And why does Mr. Corcoran think this?

Well, because the party isn't going to throw Technology Partnerships Canada into the garbage can. Because Harper is waiting for more concrete information on the US proposal for missile defence before putting the party's support behind it. Because Harper has mused on potential ways of reforming the federation and respecting provincial rights. Why - doesn't it get you fired up that Harper is talking about federalism in Quebec - about concepts that might not 'sweep Calgary'? Imagine that.

Mr. Corcoran appears livid that the Conservatives aren't attacking the child care plan - a plan that is so early in its development that it would seem to leave Harper and the CPC to attack the very concept of child care and not any specific Liberal program.

And, of course, we will never forgive Harper for taking a month 'off' after the election.

Understand - Corcoran's view of what the party should represent is given:
By conservative I mean a political movement that aims for less government, lower taxes, greater economic freedom and stress on individual rather than collective values.
Perhaps Corcoran is confusing the Conservative Party of Canada with the Freedom Party or the Libertarian Party? Seriously though - why does the CPC have to be so rigid to appease the various special interest groups - stretch out a bit.

The CPC is maturing as a party and seems to be less prone to sharp, poorly thought out reactions to Liberal policies. It is worrying to some who view this as a weakness. I think it's a natural progression to a real representative party.

Representative because Corcoran's views should be welcomed and debated within the party - all conservative views should be heard. If the party only partially resembles the Conservative Party that one group of conservatives would want then those in that group should do one thing - support and work for the CPC while pushing for your policies. In the end we'll get a national party that can govern this country with conservative policies.

After reading this again, I thought it sounded a little to much like fence sitting or playing referee. But, upon further reflection, why should I explain my actual positions on these issues and defend them - Corcoran doesn't.

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