Mario speaks out 
Hopefully, this will stop the ridiculous stories that Bettman used that last weekend as some master plan to break the union and destroy the NHL...

Mario Lemieux:
Lemieux said he and Gretzky only took part because they were led to believe the union was prepared to make an offer that included a $45 million slary cap.

"The only way that Wayne and I would have gotten involved is because we believed there was a new proposal coming from the Players' Association," Lemieux told the Post-Gazette. "We were told by some of the players we were talking to that there would be a new proposal on the table at the $45 (million) level."

No such offer was made at the meeting, and the NHLPA later denied that an offer was even in their pocket, never mind on the table. The NHLPA said they only attended the meeting at the league's invitation. League commissioner Gary Bettman later told a New York radio station that he, Gretzky and Lemieux had been "set up" by the union, a notion NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow vehemently denied.
Lemieux avoided such talk in the aftermatch of the failed talks, but acknowledged he felt he was misled by the players - he just doesn't know why.

"It's a mystery to me," he said.
Mario - scab number one.

Big time meetings this week. The NHLPA and the players then the NHLPA and the agents. Hopefully the executive will be told to make sure a deal is done soon.

Hanna - not aggressive enough 
Jones beat Hanna and her Ottawa rink 8-6.

I couldn't hear the discussion that took place before Jenn Hanna threw her last shot, so I don't know how much she considered it, but I think she should have brought her last rock right in and not allow Jones a chance to win the game.

Certainly, in the men's game, they would not have let that long roll win the championship.

I realize that it was a fantastic shot - and Jones made it perfectly - but Hanna had the choice to either give her that shot for the win, or give her a slightly easier shot for the tie. Why not play it a little safer and leave yourself a chance to win the game on YOUR last shot?

Colleen Jones' reign over 
She lost this morning meaning we'll have a new women's champion for the first time since 2000.

What a run!

Will she be able to capture the Olympic spot in the trials next winter and win the medal - one of the big things that separates her from Schmirler?

Of course she'll never be able to make up for her 4 World Championship losses in 6 attempts. In this country, like Kevin Martin knows, if you lose the World's - you should hang your head. Schmirler in the Worlds and Olympics - 4 for 4.

Convention bloggers 
Know of any Conservative or Liberal bloggers going to or getting accredited for the upcoming conventions?

Anyone going to actually blog during those conventions?

Update: I'll keep a little list over at BlogsCanada

Seven degrees of cookies 
Small world.

I read this post at Gen X at 40 yesterday:

Check your food combo gag reflex with these things I leaned this week:
Grannie salted bacon.
a friend of a friend's mom made chocolate cookies with saved chicken fat.

After a few comments and some e-mails, turns out he was talking about my mom's cookies! Alan's friend was my sister's roomate in university. They were oatmeal cookies with turkey fat - and actually very good.

We just looked at the polls 
Posted to Jim Elve's E-Group.

I suppose there are many reasons to refuse to "sign on" to missile defence.

Too bad Canadians aren't given any by their government.

Also, one would expect that the Prime Minister and the Foreign Affairs Minister, in the course of deliberations, would have talked about the scenario where there is a missle in Canadian airspace, no?
Martin said he would expect to be consulted on what to do about any missile passing over Canada.
Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew, however, seemed to indicate the ultimate decision lies in U.S. hands - whether or not Canada ever joins the missile shield.
"Would it have been otherwise?" he replied when asked whether Canada's refusal to join means the country now officially relies on the United States for protection.
I guess the polls didn't indicate that there would be any missiles - why would they waste their time on that? At least none before the next election.

UPDATE: Watch Pettigrew on Canada AM - what a joke.

No Adrienne, you need a new cup - not the NWHLs 
So, the NWHL is going to try and scoop the Clarkson Cup from under the nose of Canadian women hockey players. (from the Globe and Mail)

Adrienne says she'll decide in a couple of days.

I'm going to advise her that she should not give her name to the existing NWHL cup and instead should present a new cup that this year will go to the winner of the NWHL championship but will, in future years, go to the the best women's hockey team on the continent.

I don't a lot about the NWHL but it's only 7 teams based in Ontario and Quebec and it would be in poor judgement to award the Clarkson Cup to that league's winner annually when other leagues may grow and develop a better quality of play.

At this point, perhaps Adrienne should consult Hockey Canada and USA Hockey on how best to create a Stanley Cup equivalent for women's hockey. She should not quickly jump into bed with one eager commisioner.

CTV's Saturday Night Hockey 
How long before Hockey Night in Canada leaves the CBC?

I think, from this article, that the current CBC deal expires at the end of next season (if there is one).

CTV/TSN, on the heels of it's successful winter olympic bid for the 2010 games, could use the NHL broadcasts as a natural step for it's development as the premium sports network into 2010.

Certainly, if they pick up top broadcasters like the discarded Chris Cuthbert, they would have the talent to do it - not to mention the stable of hockey commentors at TSN that could be shared.

Senator calls for Gomery Audit 
And what Senator you ask?
Pierrette Ringuette - Liberal Party of Canada
Appointed by: Chrétien (L)

Yeah, she's really worried about the financial costs.

Also from her bio:
In 1997, Ms. Ringuette joined the Canada Post Corporation as Manager of the International trade development unit, taking part in a number of trade missions
promoting Canadian expertise among foreign postal administrations.

I wonder how much money she spent on her trade missions?

She was an MP until 1997 - WOW - she got that nice Canada Post job right after her time as MP - how things work out, eh?

The Clarkson Cup 
To follow up on yesterday's post...

Adrienne Clarkson thinks she has some right to speak out on the Stanley Cup because it originated from the Governor General at the time.

What would make more sense to me would be for her to commission a new cup to be awarded to the best women's hockey team. The Clarkson Cup should go to the best women's hockey team - not a national team - a club team.

This year, if she gets it going in time, it would replace the NWHL Championship Cup to be awarded on March 26th. In following years, the scope may have to change to include Women's leagues in the US and other parts of Canada.

Now that would be going where the puck hasn't gone yet.

Update: in MacGregor's column in the Globe - sounds like the women agree, no?
Olympic gold medalist Therese Brisson, on the other hand, says that it would feel "kind of funny to play for the Stanley Cup" in that she and other players on the national team didn't grow up with that dream because it was not believed to be available to them.
"The epitome of hockey for me," she says, "is to play in the World Championships and the Olympics. And quite frankly, that means a lot more to me than the Stanley Cup could."
Teammate Cassie Campbell hopes that, at some point, an equivalent of the Stanley Cup will be created for women's hockey — although she says she has been overwhelmed by the widespread interest in the Governor-General's suggestion.

The GG weighs in 
In the Globe - subscription required so there is no link:

Ms. Clarkson and her policy advisers examined the archives for material that might relate to the Cup and found, to their surprise, that the first trustee, Ottawa Journal publisher Philip Ross, was concerned as early as 1909 that the public was in "a revolt against" professional hockey , a feeling echoed in recent polling about the NHL lockout and its aftermath.
The Governor-General and her advisers considered a number of possibilities, including an all-star game featuring NHL players in which the profits might go to charities or hockey scholarships. Consideration was also given to other leagues, but senior hockey already has the Allan Cup and junior hockey the Memorial Cup.
"I don't want to interfere with other Cups," she says.
The solution, then, was to give consideration to women's hockey.
Ms. Clarkson has already made tentative contact with the cabinet of Prime Minister Paul Martin, though it is hoped that good will, rather than political will, would be the determining point for the trustees agreeing to have the Stanley Cup competed for outside the realm of the NHL.
Had the NHL and its players settled, she says, she would never have pursued the thinking, as she maintains her sole interest is in seeing the tradition of her predecessor's Cup upheld. She simply feels that there is something so Canadian in seeing the Stanley Cup played for and awarded each spring that Canadians would be "hugely disappointed" if such an opportunity were allowed to slip by.
As for her recommendation that this one special time it be competed for by women, she says this would merely be reflective of the times.
"I follow Wayne Gretzky's dictum," she says.
" 'Skate to where the puck's going to be, not to where it's been.' "

An All-Star game for the Cup? Just two women's teams playing, what - a best out of 7? That's a joke.

You are no Wayne Gretzky.

Naslund - what a captain 
I wanted to write something to trash Markus Naslund's comments regarding Steve Moore but I came across a column that does the trick - I'm copying more here than I like to but it's so nice to read:

He's suing everyone so he can make money," Naslund told a Vancouver paper. "I've got no respect for him at all.
"This is just a guy who's trying to hit a home run (financially). Someone who wasn't good enough to play.
"I'm not saying what (Bertuzzi did) was right. But if it was me, I'd be doing everything I could to get back and play and show everyone the character I have."
Oh, don't worry. We now are keenly aware of the "character" possessed by Naslund.
This is the same captain of the Canucks who hid behind the brutes on his own team after being nailed with a clean hit, asked them to go out and make like the dogs of war so he could keep his saintly hands clean.
Has a little Tonya Harding-Jeff Gillooly scent to it, wouldn't you say?
This is a hockey player, based on his words yesterday, who looks down his nose at the marginal players in the game, the grunts, checkers and pluggers who have to scratch and claw just to get on the active roster of an NHL team for a few games.
Those Naslund judges as not "good enough to play" certainly don't deserve the same
consideration as, say, he does. People like Moore should not have the temerity to bodycheck those above him in the food chain.
This Naslund is a "leader" who allowed the foaming-at-the-mouth lynch mob to get way out of control in the Canucks dressing room, ultimately helping to create the scenario that left Moore with a broken neck, Bertuzzi suspended indefinitely and the Canucks out millions of dollars in post-season revenue.
He figures Moore should just suck it up. Recovering lost wages and opportunity through a lawsuit would never be done by a manly sort.
Just go and steal somebody else's job during the lockout like the rest of us, Naslund
seems to instruct.
It's the hypocrisy that really gets you.
On one hand, Naslund takes shots at NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for the indecency of trying to design a system that will cap NHL playing incomes at an average of about $1.3 million per season. The Swedish profile-in-courage then takes shots at an injured athlete who can't even exercise because of his severe injuries,
suggesting he's just out for the money.
That Naslund questions Moore's character is indeed the topper. After all, at least Borje Salming stood up for himself. Naslund could have sought revenge against Moore himself last winter, could have dropped his gloves, lifted his protective visor and given the Harvard grad the old Ingemar Johansson one-two.
Instead, he let Brad May and Bertuzzi play judge and jury while he kept his Lady Byng tiara in place.
Now the lawsuit is on, and the evidence sure looks compelling that there was a conspiracy to take Moore's livelihood away from him.
Sadly, one name is missing from the list of defendants.
Would love to see the name of Markus Naslund added.
What a stupid, stupid man.

My thoughts exactly.
Oh, are you going to come back and say Moore's original hit on Naslund wasn't clean? That the referees missed it, and that the video tape that the league reviewed was somehow flawed?

Oh, another - pile on:
In fact, Moore is showing everybody the character he has.
Clearly, respect doesn't exist between players. Honour is dead and if you don't think so, re-read Naslund's comments.
What will bring change is financial repercussions, the kind Moore can bring. Money talks and the players have amply shown, nothing else gets their attention.

Didn't see this until today 
Joe Volpe - cabinet minister:
"If he had his way, we wouldn't have multiculturalism and we wouldn't have anybody who didn't look like Stephen Harper or [think] like Stephen Harper," Immigration Minister Joe Volpe (from Singh)

How can Liberals get away with this crap?

No pressure 
This seems important - at the bottom of Eric Francis' column today:
A debate now rages on as to whether an agent would be de-certified by the NHLPA if one of his players plays amongst NHL replacements next year.

What would this do?

Put pressure on the agents to keep their players out of the NHL - or push the agents to demand the union make a deal before the season starts?

No - don't believe it - Bettman is the devil, the devil I say! 
From Hockey Rumors: (yeah, I know they spell rumours wrong)
We may owe the NHL a bit of an apology. I have confirmed aspects of this
next story with five different sources, all who have heard elements of it..we
may never be sure if this is what happened, I sure hope none of it is....I 'd
like to be told otherwise...

Let's go back to last week on Wednesday night.

Send in the Scabs 
Send in the scabs
Those daffy-laffy scabs
Send in those soulful and doleful schmotes by the bowlful scabs
Send in the scabs

They're already here

(Taken from Krusty)

This doesn't surprise me 
Cox in the Star:
The guess from here is that it was a cynical, last-ditch sucker play by the union designed to put the league on the griddle, with Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux having flown in to be part of the negotiation, and then to see if the NHL would cough up a better offer.
Instead, the NHL didn't offer anything, and the union didn't come armed with any new proposal of their own, much to the shock of both Nos. 66 and 99.
The meeting was supposed to be a secret and both Gretzky and Lemieux — whose presence was requested by union president Trevor Linden — were without question under the distinct impression the union was coming in with a $45 million (all figures U.S.) salary cap offer.
Instead, the union immediately released news of the meeting Friday night and did so in a way that made it appear the league was begging the players to come back to the table.
Then, the players arrived at the St. Regis Hotel yesterday empty-handed.
Fact is, the league almost certainly would have done a $45 million cap deal yesterday, and came armed with two former superstars and the intention to make it happen.
But the union had other ideas, and the entire effort went nowhere.
The result, and this is worrisome to the notion of getting next season started on time, may be that the day only served to further polarize the two sides.
Gretzky and Lemieux, counted among the most moderate owners, were left bewildered and angry at their former union, while Bob Goodenow in absentia may have been able to regain some control over his fractured organization by creating the impression for his charges that the league is wholly intransigent.
The only promising news might have been the presence of former NHL Players' Association president Mike Gartner, a moderate voice in a sea of extremism.
Gartner might be able to play a constructive role if — and this is a gigantic if — a way can be found to get a new collective bargaining agreement done in the next two to three months.
Still, the arrogance of the players appears to know no bounds as they continue to believe they're entitled to a higher salary cap than the NBA ($43 million) despite the fact the NBA's revenues are substantially higher.

Do you believe in idiots! Do you believe in idiots! 

Re-cancel - a new word brought to you by the NHL and NHLPA.

Do you believe in miracles! Do you believe in miracles! 

It's almost too cliche to believe.

Two lawyers lose the season and possibly more on Wednesday and then two Canadian hockey legends, one English and one French no less, bring it back from the dead.

Uncancelled - Yzerman's gift to hockey - what a word.

Denial in Detroit 
From Fox:

WXYT-AM in Detroit reports that Red Wings forward Brendan Shananhan declined an invitation to come on the radio, saying there are some sensitive negotiations going on right now. However, his agent Rick Curran later denied this report to the Canadian Press.
Steve Yzerman again confirmed to The Hockey News that there is time to salvage a deal. "I don't know if it's necessarily tonight, tomorrow morning, Friday night or Saturday ... I know the season has been canceled, but it's not too late to uncancel it," Yzerman said.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to go into this site and see what's being discussed: http://www.nhlpasource.com/ (from Hockey will tear us apart)

Read it 
UPDATE: A comment below that I'm going to place up here because I like it...
It is a speech well made to parliament. Now if Harper takes that message out of Ottawa and to voters he will have an effect. How many town hall meetings is he going to hold? How many rallies is he going to have? Is he going to saturate communities in Ontario with his presence?
This is a democracy and he needs to end-run parliament if he wants success on this issue. If he isn't willing to do it himself then he needs to recognize his weaknesses and get high profile people in the party to lead the outreach efforts. There are 30 million people in the country, he should not spend too much of his time on 300 who likely have already made up their minds.

This speech was made to parliament on February 16th.

Mr. Speaker, before I turn to my formal remarks I would like to begin with just a brief reply to the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister spoke at length, as we just heard, about rights in the Charter of Rights. I remind the Prime Minister that in our system of government, the Prime Minister does not decide or define our rights. The Prime Minister does not interpret the Charter of Rights. The Supreme Court of Canada does that. He asked the Supreme Court of Canada to endorse his interpretation and it just refused.

However I want to take this opportunity to thank the government, or maybe, ironically, I should be thanking the Supreme Court of Canada for at least one thing. At long last the question of marriage has been returned to where it should have been from the beginning: in the Parliament of Canada.

Up until a few years ago, even within the modern era of the charter, Canadian law and Canadian society took for granted that marriage was intrinsic, by definition, an opposite sex institution. So obvious was this that until now a formal marriage statute has never been adopted by Parliament. This view was not even restricted to the numerous faces and cultures that have populated our great country from all corners of the earth, though it has been a universal view among them.
It has been a widespread view beyond religion as well. For example, the renowned McGill medical and legal ethicist, Dr. Margaret Somerville, a secular scholar operating in a public university without confessional or religious orientation, has argued that marriage is inherently an opposite sex institution. She points out that while social institutions can and should change in some of their accidental trappings, there are also inherent features that cannot change. As she writes:

Institutions have both inherent and collateral features. Inherent features define the institution and cannot be changed without destroying the institution. Collateral features can be changed without such impact. We rightly recognized that women must be treated as equal partners with men within marriage. While that changed the power of husbands over their wives, it simply changed a collateral feature of marriage. Recognizing same-sex marriage would change its inherent nature.
In a similar vein, former Supreme Court Justice Gérard La Forest, speaking on behalf of four judges in the majority in the Egan decision, the last case by the way where the Supreme Court addressed the definition of marriage directly, famously said the following:

Marriage has from time immemorial been firmly grounded in our legal tradition, one that is itself a reflection of long-standing philosophical and religious traditions. But its ultimate raison d'être transcends all of these and is firmly anchored in the biological and social realities that heterosexual couples have the unique ability to procreate, that most children are the product of these relationships, and that they are generally cared for and nurtured by those who live in that relationship. In this sense, marriage is by nature heterosexual.
I point out again, this is what the Supreme Court of Canada actually said, not, as the Prime Minister emphasizes, mere speculation about what it may say in the future. The statement was also written in 1995, over a decade after adoption of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and it remains the only commentary on the fundamental definition of marriage in any Supreme Court decision.
On this side, we do not believe that merely on the basis of lower court decisions, upheld only because the government refused to appeal, them that a fundamental social institution must be abolished or irretrievably altered. Only a free vote of the Parliament of Canada is an appropriate way to resolve such fundamental social issues.
As I say, I have made it clear that I and most of the members on this side of the House will vote against the bill as it now stands. We will vote to uphold the traditional definition of marriage. Those in this party, even in my shadow cabinet who consciously feel different, who believe that the definition of marriage should change, will have the full rights to express and vote their position on this subject.
The government has only proposed one meagre clause to protect religious freedom, a clause which states that religious officials will not be forced to solemnize marriages, but the Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled that this clause is ultra vires. It falls within the provincial responsibility for the solemnization of marriage. Frankly, this section of the bill illustrates the depth of the government's hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty in this legislation.
On the one hand, the government and its allies claim that any attempt to retain the traditional definition of marriage is unconstitutional on the basis of a decision the Supreme Court has not made and has refused to make. On the other hand, it is happy to insert into its bill a clause which the Supreme Court has already ruled is unconstitutional and outside of federal jurisdiction.
The Prime Minister and several of his ministers have dishonestly claimed that the use of the notwithstanding clause was inevitable in order to preserve the traditional definition of marriage. That is not true, and such arguments are unworthy of a conscientious parliamentarian, especially someone who is a lawyer.
In fact, this Parliament can protect the institution of traditional marriage very well and respect the rights and privileges of those who chose another form of union, without departing from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in our Constitution.
Some people have suggested that we cannot do what we propose to do; that is, preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman while extending equal rights and other forms of union without invoking the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution.
I am going to take a little time on this. It is red herring argument, but we might as well spell it out. The attack is dishonest on several levels. First of all, and this is important when we start talking about the notwithstanding clause, the Liberal Party and this Prime Minister have no leg to stand on when it comes to preaching about protecting human rights and the notwithstanding clause. It was none other than Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the author of the charter, who accepted the notwithstanding clause. Far from believing it to be a necessary evil to win support for the charter, he promised to use it. Specifically, he promised the late Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter that he would use the notwithstanding clause to uphold Canada's legislation on abortion if it were struck down by a future Supreme Court.
In the more recent debate over same sex marriage, in an earlier phase of it, this Prime Minister promised that he would use the notwithstanding clause should a court ever infringe on religious freedom, although of course no one takes his commitments to religion seriously any more.
In fact, this Prime Minister was a member of Parliament from Quebec in 1989 when the provincial government in his province used the notwithstanding clause to ban English on commercial signs. He had next to nothing to say about it then and in the subsequent Liberal leadership race in less than a year he supported the notwithstanding clause.
I have said I would not use section 33 to preserve the traditional definition of marriage because quite simply it is not necessary in this case. The Supreme Court of Canada has not ruled on the constitutionality of the traditional definition of marriage. The court pointedly declined to do so in the recent same sex reference case, despite a clear request from the Prime Minister that it do so. In fact, the court openly speculated on the possibility that it could uphold the traditional definition. Therefore, there is simply no reason to use or discuss the notwithstanding clause in the absence of a Supreme Court decision, especially when it involves precedent based only on common law judgments.
Many legal experts, many of them coincidentally people who have been activists involved in these cases or who are close to the Liberal government, have said that the courts are likely to rule that the traditional definition of marriage is unconstitutional, but these same legal experts said that the Supreme Court would find the traditional definition of marriage unconstitutional in the reference case and they were wrong.
We have no reason to believe that the crystal balls in the justice department or in the law faculties are operating any better after the reference case than they did before it. Furthermore, up until now the courts have largely been interpreting a common law definition of marriage; in other words, previous court judgments not statutes reflecting the democratic will of Parliament. The courts have indicated clearly that statute law requires greater deference than common law.
We have every reason to believe that the Supreme Court, if it were eventually asked to rule on a new statutory definition of marriage combined with full and equal recognition of legal rights and benefits for same sex couples might well choose to act in a much more deferential manner toward the Canadian Parliament than lower courts showed toward ancient, British made, common law definitions.
I should point out that I am far from alone in saying this. Law Professor Alan Brudner at the University of Toronto wrote in the Globe and Mail:

--the judicially declared unconstitutionality of the common law definition of marriage does not entail the unconstitutionality of parliamentary legislation affirming the same definition.
He cited R. v. Swain and wrote, "For all we know, therefore, courts may uphold opposite sex marriage as a reasonable limit on the right against discrimination when the restriction comes from a democratic body".
To those in government, in academia and the media who have argued that a pre-emptive use of the notwithstanding clause is the only way to uphold the traditional definition of marriage, he said the following:

These arguments misconceive the role of a notwithstanding clause in a constitutional democracy. Certainly, that role cannot be to protect laws suspected of being unconstitutional against judicial scrutiny....Rather, the legitimate role of a notwithstanding clause in a constitutional state is to provide a democratic veto over a judicial declaration of invalidity, where the court's reasoning discloses a failure to defer to the parliamentary body on a question of political discretion....But if that is true, then the notwithstanding clause should be invoked by Parliament only after the Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality of a law. And neither it, nor any provincial court outside Quebec has yet ruled on whether democratic legislation restricting marriage to heterosexual couples is valid.
I would add, and this is important, that Professor Brudner is neither a supporter of my party nor even a supporter of my position on the marriage issue. He was not even an adviser to my leadership campaign, unlike the principal organizer of a recent letter from a group of law professors backing the minister's decision.
In short, we have every reason to believe if the House moved to bring in a reasonable, democratic, compromise solution, one which defined in statute that marriage remains the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, which extended equal rights and benefits to couples living in other forms of unions, and which fully protected freedom of religion to the extent possible under federal law, that the Supreme Court of Canada would honour such a decision by Parliament.
The courts refused to answer the Prime Minister's question on the constitutional validity of the common law opposite sex definition of marriage because they did not want to pre-empt the work of Parliament. That suggests to me that they would be even more likely to defer to the judgment of Parliament when faced with a recently passed statute.
The members of the House, starting with the Minister of Justice, should actually read the same sex reference decision. I ask, if the Supreme Court actually believed that the traditional definition of marriage was a fundamental violation of human rights as, say, restricting aboriginal Canadians or non-Caucasian immigrants from voting, do we really think the Supreme Court would have engaged in an analysis of the possibility that it could uphold such a law even hypothetically? The answer is, of course not.
The government has also claimed and is still claiming that marriage between persons of the same sex is a fundamental right. That is another erroneous opinion and a totally specious argument the government wants to spread. Government spokespersons bring disgrace on themselves, however, when they wrongly try to invoke the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to cover up their threadbare arguments.
I want to address an even more fundamental question. That is the question of the issue of human rights as it pertains to same sex marriage and the use and the abuse of the term "human rights" in this debate which has been almost without precedent.
Fundamental human rights are not a magician's hat from which new rabbits can constantly be pulled out. The basic human rights we hold dear: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and equality before the law, the kind of rights that are routinely violated by the Prime Minister's good friends in states such as Libya and China, are well understood and recognized around the world. These rights do not depend on Liberal bromides or media spinners for their defence.
The Prime Minister cannot through grand rhetoric turn his political decision to change the definition of marriage into a basic human right because it is not. It is simply a political judgment. It is a valid political option if one wants to argue for it; it is a mistaken one in my view, but it is only a political judgment. Same sex marriage is not a human right. This is not my personal opinion. It is not the opinion of some legal adviser. This reality has already been recognized by such international bodies as the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
Mr. Speaker, I refer you to New Zealand's Quilter case. In 1997 the New Zealand court of appeal was asked to rule on the validity of the common law definition of marriage in light of the New Zealand bill of rights which, unlike our charter, explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. New Zealand's court ruled that the opposite sex requirement of marriage was not discriminatory. So the plaintiffs in this case made a complaint to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights that the New Zealand court violated the international covenant for the protection of rights to which New Zealand, like Canada, is a signator. But the UNCHR rejected this complaint in 2002, in effect upholding that same sex marriage is not a basic universal human right.
If same sex marriage were a fundamental human right, we have to think about the implications. If same sex marriage were a fundamental right, then countries as diverse as the United Kingdom, France, Denmark and Sweden are human rights violators. These countries, largely under left wing governments, have upheld the traditional definition of marriage while bringing in equal rights and benefits regimes for same sex couples, precisely the policy that I and the majority of the Conservative caucus propose.
Even those few countries that have brought in same sex marriage at the national level, currently only the Netherlands and Belgium, did not do so because their own courts or international bodies had defined this as a matter of human rights. They did so simply as the honest public policy choice of their legislatures. In fact, both the Netherlands and Belgium legislated some differences in same sex marriage as opposed to opposite sex marriage in many areas but particularly in areas like adoption.
In other words, no national or international court, or human rights tribunal at the national or international level, has ever ruled that same sex marriage is a human right.
The decision that we are being asked to make on this bill is a difficult one. For many, the decision we make on the bill will be one of the most difficult decisions they will be called upon to make as members of Parliament, but before we all do so, let us remember one thing clearly, because this is where I object most strongly to what the Prime Minister said.
Regardless of what the Prime Minister says, we all do have a choice in the position we take here. We all know that the House is closely divided. I think we all know that if it were a truly free vote, if the ministers like the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the government House leader, the Minister of Natural Resources, the associate Minister of National Defence, the Minister of State for Northern Ontario, and many others, were free to vote their consciences, we know this bill would fail.
This bill is too important to be decided on the basis of a whipped vote, whether the formal whip that is being applied to a minister, or the informal carrots and sticks that are being applied to other members. I appeal to the consciences of those on the government side.
I know that many of the government members in their hearts believe in the traditional definition of marriage and know that we are talking about this today only because the Prime Minister has literally no other legislation for Parliament.
I ask them to join with us to defeat the bill and urge the adoption of another which reflects the practice in other advanced democracies and which reflects our own honourable traditions of compromise.
There are fundamental questions here. Will this society be one which respects the longstanding basic social institution of marriage or will it be one that believes even our most basic structures can be reinvented overnight for the sake of political correctness?
Will this society be one which respects and honours the religious and cultural minorities or one which gradually whittles away their freedoms and their ability to practise their beliefs?
Will this be a country in which Parliament will rule on behalf of the people or one where a self-selected group of lawyers or experts will define the parameters of right and wrong?
All of these questions are in our hands to answer. It is up to all of our consciences. It is not what the Prime Minister and the PMO advisers tell us is most expedient; it should be based on our consciences and what our constituents tell us to do.

I watched the press conference and watching Goodenow answer this one was pathetic.
QUESTION: In his opening comments this afternoon, Gary Bettman made an apology to the fans. Does the NHL PA have any apology to the fans at all or owe them one.

MR. GOODENOW (rolling his eyes as the question is asked) : Absolutely an apology to all the fans, and speaking on behalf of all the players up here, they didn't want to be locked out. They didn't want to be not allowed to entertain the fans. Gary owes an apology because he started the lock out. He put all this in motion, and the proposals that these players have put forward, in particular, the roll back, which would have made the league successful in one fell swoop, very serious steps were taken, and, you know, yes, we apologize to the fans for this situation, this circumstance, and the fans can say, what are you going to do about it? Well, we've done an awful lot, we feel, to get to a fair resolution, and unfortunately,ly, it's the other side that we haven't been
able to make a contact with, and it's unfortunate that this situation will continue. That's all I can say.

Do you see the apology? I don't see the apology?

The players blew it 
I've got a lot to say but I'm going to put down a few things here....

Firstly, the players messed this up royally.

For me, the biggest thing is to listen to the former players still involved in hockey. Bob Gainey, Gretzky, Lemieux, Darren Pang (who said ESPN was set to lose 20 million broadcasting the NHL next season), and Cherry - they know that the players had to give more. The players say, and listening to Glen Healy repeat this for hours has taken years off my life, that the players always had to give - more, and more. Well, that's right Glen - and they didn't give enough to make it work.

Their 24% paycut would have put salaries in the mid 55% of league revenues but they wouldn't agree to keep it at that range - no partnership. If the game grew, salaries would grow - no dice from the players.

Why not - why wouldn't they agree to it?

Philosophically - players are such hard blooded capitalists that they demanded a true marketplace where they could be paid according to their local markets. That is a joke.

Professional sports is a unique industry. The marketplace isn't real - it's one company, the NHL, and rising salaries hurt all 30 of it's divisions. The NHL product doesn't improve as a whole if salaries go up but each team must compete for the best players or else their ticket sales drop.

The players must have been told that the league is lying - the players are convinced it seems that the league is not in as bad a shape as it appears. They continue to believe that league is hiding revenue streams. I think they believe this because Goodenow et al. has convinced them over 10 years that this is the case. It continues to astonish me that some senior players haven't taken more of a leadership role themselves. Goodenow has been able to SURPRISE his membership with a 24% rollback, and SURPRISE them with a salary cap but still have their trust.

Mike Commodore and Pierre Dagenais, two young players, were re-educated after NHLPA meetings, saying they now understood the issues - whatever - you have a peer pressure group like never seen before - what do you think they are going to say.

Will there be hockey in the fall? Not with the current NHL players. Don Cherry said tonight that the owners are missing out on the playoff money so why would they pay the players for the first half of next season?

Possibly, as analysts and others have suggested, this does provide an opportunity for league to comeback next fall refreshed, with the labour dispute behind them, with new rule changes to make the game exciting. Maybe they are right.

I doubt it. I don't think the players get it yet.

Replacement players.

Bring 'em on. I'll support my team.

Gary Bettman:
.... announce the formal cancellation of play for 2004-2005
Sons of bitches.

What a bad end to the day yesterday.

First, the responses to my post below were overwhelming - the silence was deafening.

Second, I see Darren Barefoot said this about me:
It’s more pathetic than funny that this guy holds out hope that a deal will get done between the NHL and the NHLPA.

And to end the day, before the two sides could inch themselves towards the mutally acceptable cap level of $44.5 million, the letters came:

Dear Bob...

Dear Gary...

Fuck you Bob...

Fuck you Gary...

And we wait for 1pm.

I should also mention that Brett Hull was on the Team 1200 this morning and said, amongst many things:
If we were going to take a cap, why the hell didn't we do it 8 months ago

Well, Brett, maybe because you and everyone else didn't tell Bob and Ted to do it.

Gomery Blog Wars 
Oh boy! I saw the tidbit on Norman's site this morning about the Post's summary of the 'The Gomery blog wars'. I was anxious to see if this blog made the paper and perhaps Warren's actions from months ago would finally be made available to the general public.
The ongoing Gomery inquiry into Adscam is months from completion. But it has
already produced what may be the most memorable battle in the history of the
Canadianblogosphere. What follows is a thumbnail chronology.
Any mention of Warren's attempt to use blogs to smear Justice Gomery and his daughter? Surely the implication that Ogilvy-Renault was chosen because Gomery's daughter is at the firm would be mentioned.


Norman even included the infamous e-mail in his Daily Press Review but, of course, since Warren didn't respond to that publicly - he doesn't want anyone to know about it - The National Post skipped right over it.

The guy is doing this in the background while appearing before the commission, being interviewed on CBC, writing columns for the Post, being talked about like genius by Jane Taber in the Globe and Mail, and being treated like a credible source for information or criticism.

And nobody in the media cares that he wanted bloggers to imply that Gomery chose Ogilvy-Renault for familial gain?

Maybe the new visitors coming here from domains like gc.ca or cbc.ca haven't seen the e-mails - here they are again:

>From: "Warren Kinsella" <wkinsella@navltd.com>
>To: "Don at talkcanada" <talkcanada@hotmail.com>
>Subject: RE: Hey dude - confidential
>Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2004 11:08:40 -0400
>She is indeed.
>Wonder how Ogilvy's got that sole-source, multi-million dollar assignment as commission counsel?
>What a coincidence.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Don at talkcanada [mailto:talkcanada@hotmail.com]
>Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2004 10:56 AM
>To: Warren Kinsella
>Subject: RE: Hey dude - confidential
>Is she John's daughter?
> >From: "Warren Kinsella" <wkinsella@navltd.com>
> >To: <talkcanada@hotmail.com>
> >Subject: Hey dude - confidential
> >Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2004 09:59:39 -0400
> >
> >Was going to put this up on my site, and then thought it might be something
> >we could have fun with in the blogosphere. Just don't source me. Over to
> >you:
> >* This [LINK: http://www.ogilvyrenault.com/en/biographies/bio.jsp?id=4905
> >] is an interesting coincidence. When you consider this [LINK:
> >http://radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Politique/nouvelles/200409/07/001-commission-gomery.shtml
> > ].
> >
> >
> >Warren Kinsella, LL.B

Someone - other than Warren - please tell me whether or not this is relevant? I mean - I feel like this horse has been lying on the ground for some time and I'm still beating it.

Poor Strachan 
He hit this one on the head, didn't he:
Yesterday, the two sides met to explore their options and neither one delivered a new proposal.
There also had been reports that some players were urging the union leaders to accept a cap if the level were high enough, but such a change of heart on the part of the union would be highly unlikely.
The opposition to the cap has been steadfast and if the players were willing to accept a cap, they could have started negotiating the size of it years ago. They always have said they won't accept a cap of any magnitude.
It could be $100 million US, the union leadership has said. It doesn't matter. There will be no hard cap.

Ouch. Sorry Strachan - there are no mulligans in the print media.

UPDATE - next day's column - too funny not to add:
But others say that a team payroll of $42.5 million is a healthy sum and if they do not agree to this deal, they will have to rely on European hockey to provide their salaries for the foreseeable future, not a particularly bright prospect.

Oh, oh, oh, me, me, me... 
I know the answer!
According to an NHLPA statement, Daly began the process Monday by offering a $40-million salary cap without ''linkage'' - a fixed link between player costs and league revenues, which has long been the centrepiece of the NHL's bid for cost certainty.

The union counter-offered with the $52-million team-by-team salary cap. The players' proposal also featured more aggressive payroll tax thresholds and tax rates on team payrolls. (TSN)

$46 million?
More likely $45 or $44.

Get it done. I want to watch the ensuing debacle of an NHL season.

Update - more information:
Sources say the NHLPA proposal is as follows:
- A cap of $52 million but with provisions for teams to spend as much as 10 per cent more than that on three occasions in a six-year period, with a luxury tax incorporated. The luxury tax rates would be 25 per cent on $40-44 million; 50 per cent on $44-48 million; 75 per cent on $48-52 million and 150 per cent on $52-$57.2 million.
Sources say the NHL proposal is as follows:
- A hard cap of $40 million, with a 50 per cent luxury tax on $34-40 million.

As for the possibility of negotiations, sources on the NHLPA side are suggesting the union will only negotiate off the $52 million figure if the NHL presents a detailed, meaningful revenue sharing plan.
On the NHL side of the equation, sources are suggesting the league isn't prepared to go much higher than the $40 million cap figure.
So it's a matter of trying to bridge a $12 million (per team) gap with the clock running towards the league's scheduled 1 p.m. (EST) announcement to cancel the season.

Kinsella breaks ceasefire 
This was posted on his site today:
For a variety of reasons (inter alia, I'm boring myself; I'm boring you; I'm irritating my wife, who is fully capable of stabbing me while I sleep, and no jury would convict, etc. etc.), I am declaring an armistice with Coyne/Spector/Wells/dozens of deservedly anonymous white'n'right bloghaters who I periodically torment for amusement. Hell, if the Israelis and the Palestinians can do it, so can Your Humble Narrator.

Surely I am justified in saying that by calling me a 'deservedly anonymous white'n'right bloghater' Warren has broken the terms of our ceasefire agreement reached last week.

I'm left to ponder my response.

UPDATE ~3pm: Kinsella changes post to read this:
I am declaring an armistice with Coyne/Spector/Wells/ white'n'right haters who I periodically torment for amusement.
Doesn't this sound like he's calling Coyne, Spector, and Wells white'n'right haters?

A clarification 
Kinsella says:
I have raised it with people in the blogosphere.

The issue is not, and never was, whether Justice Gomery should have disclosed that his daughter is one of hundreds of partners of Ogilvy Renault.


That, to me, is news. And good on the first person in the media or the LSUC who recognizes it for what it is.

Discreditting Gomery discredits his findings.

Here's another quote that baffles me... 
CP story:
In one public-speaking appearance before a group of bank heads last year, he was challenged by a member of the audience about the missing sponsorship millions.
Chretien showed flashes of that well-honed defiant streak which will likely be on full display before Gomery.
He replied, how much did you lose in bad loans last year?
To which the befuddled bank boss mentioned the scores of millions lost in the program. Chretien shot back: And they gave you how many millions in bonus?
The bank boss shrank back in his seat, smiling.

I don't get it. He thinks we should give him a bonus?
Oh, he's working on cultivating the idea that the money was just 'lost'. Good one.

They? Who's they? 
Aline Chretien on her husband testifying this week:
"After 40 years in politics I've seen everything, and you know what, 11 times we were elected in St-Maurice. Every time they said we were going to be defeated ...So I'm not worried at all," she said. (link from Bourque)
Do you think she really thinks that? That Jean Chretien was the underdog for 40 years in St-Maurice?

I'm optimistic 
Yes, for some strange reason, I think there is a chance the NHL and NHLPA will come to an agreement.

Mike Ulmer's column in the Sun today suggests we should not want that to happen:
Trust me, you don't want an NHL season. You might think you do, but you don't. For one thing, you'd be signing on to a season shorter than a teenager's attention span.
For another, a salvaged season would require a complete capitulation by the players.
As difficult as it would be to endure a victorious Bob Goodenow, Gary Bettman's golden moment would be even worse to watch.
I could live with it to see Hasek, and the Sens start back up with Murray behind the bench. I'd fly my car flag on Monday if they came up with an agreement this weekend.

And, also, since I'm in a good mood, I won't write anything about Warren Kinsella today. I will, however, point to this illuminating editorial from the Post:
That those with an interest in sabotaging the inquiry are trying to paint it as bloated and out of control is unsurprising. But the way they are doing it is disingenuous. A quick survey of other recent commissions and inquiries shows how unusual it is to ascribe secondary expenses within government to the inquiry itself.

(examples of other $$$ inquiries and commissions omitted)

The point of the Gomery commission is not to get as much information on Adscam as may be retrieved on the cheap, but to discover how an expensive government program could go so appallingly astray, and to ensure this scandal is the last of its kind. If it achieves that, the inquiry will have fulfilled its mandate. Whether that costs $20-million, $60-million or $100-million, it will be money well spent.

To ensure this scandal is the last of it's kind - hey, they're optimists too!

Sure they do. 
NHL players are now going to play in the UHL.

From the UHL annual meeting:
Due to the increase in the number of games played (80), the salary cap is increased to $260,000.00 for the regular season.

Shhh. Don't tell those NHL players this - they have philosophical issues with a cap.

I think Jay said the same thing... 
Norman's Spectator today:
Guité is the fellow, you’ll recall, who got his job thanks to a “representation” by David Dingwall that the Clerk of the Privy Council testified was "not appropriate."
No wonder that Warren Kinsella--who wrote the letter and potentially could end up at the wrong end of an adverse finding--has been working assiduously to discredit the Inquiry. The latest gambit, which even the Toronto Star ain't buying--is its cost
(Memo to media: Has anyone looked into the rules governing lawyers at http://www.lsuc.on.ca/?)
Jay Currie wrote this months ago after Warren's attack on Gomery's family:

Kinsella's smear is all the worse because he not only slimes the Sally Gomery by implying that the contract was let because she works for the firm, he also attacks a member of the bench. This should attract the attention of the Law Society of Upper Canada as lawyers have a duty to defend judges who are, by virtue of their position, unable to defend themselves.

Criticizing Tribunals
- Although proceedings and decisions of courts and tribunals are properly subject to scrutiny and criticism by all members of the public, including lawyers, judges and members of tribunals are often prohibited by law or custom from defending themselves. Their inability to do so imposes special responsibilities upon lawyers. First, a lawyer should avoid criticism that is petty, intemperate, or unsupported by a bona fide belief in its real merit, bearing in mind that in the eyes of the public, professional knowledge lends weight to the lawyer's judgments or criticism. Second, if a lawyer has been involved in the proceedings, there is the risk that any criticism may be, or may appear to be, partisan rather than objective. Third, where a tribunal is the object of unjust criticism, a lawyer, as a participant in the administration of justice, is uniquely able to and should support the tribunal, both because its members cannot defend themselves and because in doing so the lawyer is contributing to greater public understanding of and therefore respect for the legal system.Law Society of Upper Canada, Rules of Professional Conduct - Rule 4(scroll down)

I added the emphasis. May appear to be partisan?

Jack be nimble, Jack be gone quick 
Wells' column last week contained this:
Ottawa's seen plenty of politicians who trust their gut, to the dismay of all around them. Once upon a time we had Stockwell Day; today it's Jack Layton. The two share little except an unshakable fondness for whatever pops into their heads.

It reminded me that I had written this last March:
He is reminiscent of another national leader that came onto the stage with much of the same fanfare - Stockwell Day - a new face from outside the power circles, energetic, and a purported ability to expand the party from its previous base of support. He also has the same negatives as the other leader had - little caucus support, prone to foot-in-mouth moments, and strongly supported by special interest group factions in the party.

But, those negatives aren't going to be Jack's downfall directly. It's Chretien's legacy that will kill him - political financing. With the NDP's big union funding in peril due to the financing laws I think Jack will be pushed out shortly after the next election. They can't survive without being a populist party.

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