Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tory thinking compared with Putin's Russia

William Watson on Fin Min Flaherty's suggestion that the Tories might renege on PM Harper's income-splitting promise:
... The buzz is that the government may backtrack on its promise to introduce income-splitting once it has balanced the budget. 

... If the Tories do decide not to spend a couple of billion dollars establishing what most of their supporters do think of as fairness in the tax system, they need to come up with a better rationale than the one they’ve floated so far, which is the Liberal-technocratic one that in today’s labour market the skill shortage is so acute we mustn’t do anything that encourages skilled workers to withdraw ...

Don’t we know there’s a skill shortage (supposedly) and a productivity crisis (supposedly) and that, like our Olympic athletes, we all need to put our shoulder to the wheel for the Motherland?
Well, that may be how they do things in Putin’s Russia, where the leadership regards every Russian as one of Putin’s workers. But it’s not how we do things here. We’re not all Harper’s, or Flaherty’s, workers.

How we do things here is that we establish a fair tax system that raises the revenues we need to pay for basic services  .... And then we let people make their own decisions about the relative worth of making an extra dollar of market income versus tending to their own or their family’s needs.  In particular, we don’t have a policy that says, even implicitly, a woman’s place is in the labour market combating the skill shortage.
Strengthening families by increasing their options has been core Conservative social policy from square one. And tax policy that encourages people to raise families is one way (besides immigration) to help sustain our economic growth. It is also a step towards an effective alternative to unaffordable "progressive" programs like national universal daycare.

If Stephen Harper fails to keep his income-splitting promise it will be at the Conservatives' peril. While no serious Conservative supporter would waste his vote on any other party, many, like me, would simply withhold their vote and stop donations if betrayed on this.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

General Leslie's moving expenses

MND Rob Nicholson and others are making a lot of noise about General Andrew Leslie's moving expense claims.

Like most media accounts the above linked article fails to tell us what moving expenses government/Treasury Board/DND regulations actually allow (and disallow). General Leslie's move was a local move (within 40 km) to an Intended Place of Residence (IPR) on release. His move was authorized under these regulations so it would be logical to conclude that his moving expense claim was within the rules. General Leslie would have been advised by DND administrative staff what expenses would be covered.

Rob Nicholson's observation that Leslie's local moving expense claims "appear grossly excessive" is understandable. So is his pledge to look into it:
"... I will be asking the Department of National Defence to examine how an in-city move could possibly total over $72,000".

That's good. It does seem excessive. He should look into it.

But Nicholson also attacked General Leslie's integrity:
"In the meantime, it is important for Andrew Leslie to explain why he believes this is a reasonable expense for hard working Canadians to absorb. This is a matter of judgment and the responsible use of taxpayers dollars."
There Nicholson is way off base. Leslie doesn't have to "explain" anything (even if he is an advisor to that dipsh*t, Justin Trudeau).   It's the Treasury Board and Nicholson's own DND officials, those responsible for the regulations and the authorizing of claims, that have the explaining to do.  Nicholson will be eating crow (and demanding changes in the rules).

FYI, the applicable government regulations are described here (see Chapter 14):

Update - Ezra Levant's take:

I agree with Ezra on the Media Party's double standard, the partisan bias and that Leslie is now fair game for partisan criticism.  However, like many partisan conservatives Ezra portrays General Leslie's claim for local moving expenses as some kind of  moral outrage.  It isn't.  That moving expense benefit has been available to all ranks for decades.  The  relocation regulations in question do not discriminate based on rank.  And since there are many more lower ranks than there are generals it can be assumed that there has been a lot more money shelled out for similar expenses for the lower ranks than for generals.  Now, if it were to be discovered that the lower ranks have been denied that benefit, then we'd have a real scandal on our hands.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How our immigration system went wrong

George Jonas:
... The assumption, unspoken but taken for granted until the 1960s, was that immigration was beneficial as long as it was designed to serve the interests of the host society first

... It was in the past 40 years that the immigrant of dubious loyalty emerged, followed by the disloyal native-born, sometimes of immigrant ancestry, sometimes of Islamic conversion. The new immigrant seemed ready to share the West’s wealth but not its values.

... How did this come about? Three reasons stand out.
One, we retreated from the principle that immigration should serve the interests of the host country first.  ...

Next, we tried to turn this liability into an asset by promoting multiculturalism....

Finally, in fundamentalist Islam, we’ve come up against a culture for which the very concept of rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s is alien.  ...
.... When Canada is no longer regarded as a culture, with its own traditions and narratives, but a clean slate for anyone to write on what he will, immigrants of the new school will be ready with their own texts, including some that aren’t very pleasant

Justin Trudeau's "one-purge-fits-all style"

Rex Murphy:
Mr. Trudeau’s one-purge-fits-all style offers no gradation, no evaluation of individuals, no acknowledgement that some Senators are honourable, some have worked well for Canadians, some have not seen the Senate as a lottery pit for their own enrichment.

As a response to the Senate’s problems, Mr. Trudeau’s publicity-winning move is glib rather than profound, a sloughing off of the problem rather than a real addressing of it.  Ultimately, “go away” is not a policy.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The great Pete Seeger, like the great David Suzuki was inspired by junk science

In his tribute to the late Pete Seeger, David Suzuki says both he and Seeger were inspired by junk science:
... Like me, he was inspired by Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring to become a strong defender of the environment as well as human rights. In both social justice and environmental causes ...
He also admits to making mistakes:
... Like all of us who devote our lives to trying to make the world better, Seeger made mistakes along the way. But he was willing to admit when he was wrong and to change his views. [I'd be interested to know which errors he's admitted to].
... and in closing he likens Seeger (and by extension, himself) to Nelson Mandela (we mighta' known):
... Like Nelson Mandela ... Pete Seeger was a great communicator for whom principles mattered more than anything else....

Unethical collusion between the CBC and ROM

Ezra Levant revisits the Royal Ontario Museum presentation of "The Trial of David Suzuki", this time using memos and e-mails between the CBC, ROM and lobby groups funding the partisan anti-oil propaganda stunt to highlight their strange and unethical behaviour.  The CBC's Laurie  Brown is 'credited' with dreaming up the loopy idea and enlisting the other participants.

A great performance by Ezra.  He deserves an award.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Conrad Black: The Governor General is a weasel

Or words to that effect.  Conrad Black is mightily pissed at the way he was treated by the Order of Canada bureaucrats and the Governor General in particular:
... It had been obvious for two years that the honours and awards staff that administers these matters were rabid in their ambition to remove me, and I publicly referred to their ambitions in this regard as “orgasmic.” 

... I quickly realized that these prancing figurines in the governor general’s entourage who manipulate this honours system did not wish to be confused by the facts.

... I in fact resigned, but gave David Johnston the opportunity to do the right thing — not accept the advice to withdraw my honours, which he was free to do — if he wished. I correctly predicted that the bobble-headed worthies of the official snobocracy called the Advisory Board of the Order of Canada would nod the herald chancellor’s sanctimonious misinformation on to Johnston.

... Government House issued a statement that was in fact, false, as I had already resigned; presumably to inflict as much irritation and affected consequentiality as possible. (The Privy Council issue, of which I had no notice whatever, was at least consistent, and was so insultingly communicated by Johnston’s own email, and in the name of the prime minister, it was almost piquant.) [Question: Why is the GG sending email in the name of the PM?  The GG doesn't work for the PM, does he?]

... Perhaps the most eloquent of the very large number of [supportive] messages I have received was signed “Tim”: “F–k ’em.” Good thought, Tim ...
 Excellent column, Conrad!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Dear Conrad - please don't encourage the airhead

Conrad Black thinks Justin's senate gambit is a great idea:
Justin Trudeau took a promising step this week when he severed his party’s senators from the Liberal caucus ...

... That ambition for the triple-E Senate would require rewriting the Constitution, which is simply not possible in Canada.
What bugs me about most Senate reform discussion is that it always seems to begin with the assumption that the Constitution is closed or that to "open" it would be to risk having the country fall apart (or something). Well, it isn't closed, it has always been open for amendment - there are amending formulas.

It obviously wouldn't be easy, but if our nation's leadership and brain-trust are serious about Senate reform then there should be a serious, grown-up effort made to formally change (or abolish) it. All serious proposals should be on the table for discussion and debate with a view to formally amending the constitution. All else is mickey-mouse tinkering and political grand-standing.

On the other hand it's entirely possible that the current wave of enthusiasm for Senate reform is a just passing fad stoked by the Media Party and opposition opportunism over apparent financial malfeasance by certain Conservative senators.