Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I know, there's tragedy and real fear out there about the current flu that has being blamed for more than a 100 deaths and spreading around the globe.
It began in Mexico, but the Swine Flu as it's currently coined, is now heading into 'celebrity status'-phere, with the likes of ET and TMZ ready to pick up the story. Say goodbye to Susan Boyle, and adios to economic downturn - the current ratings-winning buzzword is 'Pandemic Swine!'
As is the way with celebrity, apparently the tag 'Swine Flu' is the modern-day equal to Esther Blodgett. It doesn't pass muster with those of the Jewish faith, so thus Israel has tried the handle 'The Mexican Flu', but with little success.
The scourge is now being called a killjoy by the US government, who through some helpful suggestions from the Pork Industry, are hoping that the sexy moniker 'H1N1 flu' will catch on.
Although, there are unconfirmed reports that the only other suggestion for a new tag came from Homeland security chief Janet Napolitano, who apparently preferred the 'Back Bacon Flu.'

Monday, April 27, 2009


The number of cases that have so far been recorded in Canada can be counted on two hands, but the growing sense of alarm over the Mexican swine flu is building.
Although one can see that the health industry is acting, one has to wonder if the Canadian government is up to the challenge.
Maintaining calm under duress has not been one of their more steady traits. And a few instances where health and action were front-and-centre showed a weakness in Stephen Harper's skill set.
The health minister appears to be putting a brave face on the situation and obviously we can credit some of that sure-handedness to the fact that Harper likely is huddling in his private partisan war room curled up in the fetal position, unable to blurt out minute dictates...
As of late Sunday, there has been no travel advisory issued (though some words of caution), as the provincial health bodies are working overtime in B.C., Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec as they deal with reports of people reporting in with signs of the influenza that is being blamed for the deaths of more than a 100 people in Mexico. People are changing their plans, businesses are demonstrating flexibility when it comes to concerned customers.
Let's hope that this outbreak can be contained, and that science is provided the means and funds to find the answer quickly.

UPDATE: Here's a pretty wise post on swine flu, while Cathie has some dire notes to add.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


That's Earth Day...
Take the time today to enjoy a part of nature near you. Then take the steps to help nature reclaim its health -- plant a tree, remove some invasive plants, donate some of those extra energy efficient lightbulbs stacked in your closet to the local foodbank, buy some organic fruits or vegetables... And soak up the glory that is nature!

Take a moment too, to learn a little more about one of the founding fathers of Earth Day (they chose his birthday for the date -- and see if his image doesn't pop into your head when you hear this)...

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Marc Garneau isn't your typical politician.
Unlike virtually 99% of the CON caucus (and especially those in charge of the science file), Garneau entered politics after reaching the top of his field on a number of fronts. His contributions in science helped put Canada on the map.
So when he openly questions the Stephen Harper CON team's attempt to stymie and stunt scientific innovation in Canada there is weight to his words.
Garneau brought a message of encouragement, of firm belief in the work of Canadian scientists and innovators, and absolute faith in the direction of Liberal fortunes in the nation to a fundraising event in Coquitlam on Friday - that's him signing a fundraising item at the Sneakers Ball.
Canada's first astronaut and a one-time Commander in the Canadian Navy, Garneau talked about the companies he visited on his western swing, where he saw the brightest minds working on a variety of interesting projects. He met with innovators in such fields of energy, animation and food production.
With the announced resignation of MP Dawn Black, New Westminster-Coquitlam will be facing a byelection sooner than later, although Harper could postpone it, as he did the one that Garneau was campaigning in until the government broke its fixed-elections law. Either way, the turnout of nearly 100 people, paying $100 each to dine at the gorgeous Westwood Plateau Golf and Country Club, was surely encouraging and a tribute to the man who grew up in Quebec City and took to politics with an eye on keeping Canada a leader on the science and technology stage.
Sitting in opposition, Garneau admitted that the main problem he sees coming from the Harper team is that "they just don't get it."
These facts are backed up by the recent plea from scientists that the government reverse course in its decision to slice funding for research and development. Just as he 'found' climate change as an issue when it became vogue after deriding any action on it as being based on "tentative and contradictory scientific evidence about climate trends", Harper has shown ambivalence or outright disrespect to the role that science and technology plays in our economy. Many members of his caucus prefer to accept governance by 'divine intervention' rather than evolution.
It's not just a noble cause that Mr Garneau is fighting for -- Canada is stronger in economics, health care, the arts, the international stage, etc, when it encourages and engages with the science and technological community.
As we prepare for a great opportunity to meet and discuss on what the Liberal party has to offer, let's remember the big picture. Bringing responsible, caring and courageous governance to Canada. Vancouver is going to be a great time, so pack your most relaxed work clothes and a party hat and come on over!

Friday, April 17, 2009


There's chutzpah and then there's chutzpah.
Stephen Harper, that moral compass-less disciple of anything partisan, has decided that sales was his original calling. But apparently, he doesn't believe so much in the product.
With his media blitz southside that began moments after President Obama's plane taxied off the Ottawa runway, Harper has turned to the US media to spread the gospel -- that he knows what he's doing, that Canada is the envy of the world, and he's the greatest talking head to hit the US network talk shows since Dr. Phil.
Oh, but wait. Apparently, despite some of the above being true -- like Canada's banks being better positioned to weather the current tsunami than many of their US counterparts -- his sales pitch can't be done from Canada. And it can't involve any other Canadians other than himself. He needs 'insiders' to get him to the best seats, the most supplicant interviewers, people who think Canada is just an importer of hockey players, back bacon and arctic cold fronts.
Fortunately, there's a super duo available to help grease Harper's wheels into the likes of Fox News (again), CNN and HBO -- George W's best set-up man Ari Fleischer, and for some optical balance, Clinton's lead blocker Mike McCurry.
Apparently, there's no economic job crisis amongst Canadian PR flacks, so our government has no reason to wonder if its wise to be spending taxpayers dollars in a recession on buying Harper face-time with Bill O'Reilly and Wolf Blitzer.
Hey, its true Canada does have a pretty impressive story to tell. And occasionally going to the shores of other countries isn't a terrible idea to spread that message.
But I'm still waiting for our so-called Prime Minister to talk to Canadians with sincerity about what his plan is, how Canada is going to rise and make good on its potential, despite a federal government that continues to think an ever-expanding Seinfeldian advertising campaign about nothing is a shrewd, tactical plan that doesn't cost Canadians anything. The cost is real.
Harper has said that Canada won't emerge from the recession until Americans get back to work and start buying. I agree with that in part, notwithstanding the need for a made-in-Canada plan of attack. However, I'm not so sure Canadians paying Americans to do a job that has no real payoff is a real forward-thinking strategy. Sounds more like an attempt at evading Canadian media, while trying to counter the Leader of the Opposition's reputation as an International Man About Town.
Frankly, if we're going to be hiring Americans to get us access to the US airwaves, I think we might as well go all-in. Instead of a frumpy, unsmiling geek who gets constipated everytime he is given anything less than a softball question, let's spend some money on a real spokesperson, too. My choice would be Susan Boyle. Isn't her story the same kind of attention getter Harper is hoping for?

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Wow. Mr Magic 8-Ball is proving to be quite prolific when it comes to dire predictions. When not using the northern star to find where he hid his own moral compass, or wiping out bushy-tailed optimistic forecasts when challenged, the so-called leader Stephen Harper is now saying the latest bad news is 'old news.'
It wasn't unexpected.

Those rosey days pre-election day, where if we were going to have a recession we'd be there already, and that there'd be no deficit under his watch, proved to be somewhat less true.

Perhaps the bridge-burning, sulking CON chessmaster missed his true calling. While he's been a wash-out as the leader of a somewhat progressive nation, he'd have made a heckuva carnival showman. He could guess your weight within five pounds, or the technical recession is on him.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Oh-oh. Time to wind up the CON criers and their faux outrage.
Another inference from a Liberal that Stephen Harper and his CONs that can't shoot straight have a bit of Neville Chamberlain in them:

“Stephen Harper promised the softwood lumber agreement would bring peace in our time,” said Liberal trade critic Scott Brison. “Clearly the agreement has failed to deliver.”

Mr. Brison, hasn't anyone told you never invoke Neville while within earshot of a reporter? It causes hyper-reaction from the CONverts, CONtemptors and CONcubines. Besides, I seriously doubt Chamberlain would have signed a softwood lumber deal that gave away a Billion dollars.
While I have no trouble with your comparing Harper's tone-deaf insight into that of Chamberlain's haltingly wrongheaded belief in a signed agreement, it's time to move on. Harper is no Neville. I'd say he's more a cross of this turd and this moron, minus the charismatic hair.


So, those evil geniuses inside the CON bridal suite war room have discovered our achilles heel...

"Notwithstanding Ignatieff's poll numbers, where he's seen as competent and popular, what our polling and focus group testing shows is that people really don't have a solid impression about him. They generally like the guy, but they don't really know anything about him. According to our polling, he's an unknown quantity in the eyes of Canadians. So, since people don't have a locked in, fixed impression about him, there's still a tremendous amount of opportunity to influence what people think about the guy," the Conservative source told The Hill Times in a not-for-attribution based interview last week.

The source said that right now the absence of adequate information about Mr. Ignatieff (Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Ont.) is hurting Prime Minister Stephen Harper's (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) image because without a fully fleshed-out alternative, Mr. Harper is compared to an imaginary ideal Prime Minister. "The media when they cover the government, they say here's what the government is doing and here's how it deviates from perfection," said the Conservative. "It's always Harper vs. the perfect prime minister, and in that battle we always lose, but that's how the daily media coverage goes: Here's how he's not living up to the ideal image."

So it's come down to this: Harper needs to be compared against something less than perfect. While Michael Ignatieff seems to have the Liberal leadership thing all wrapped up, I'm thinking Harper would be more comfortable if his opponent had more in common with his own strategic genius, like him, this mastermind, or maybe this guy. I guess, only in Harper's perfect, imaginary world.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


In just the past 30 hours, more bloodshed:
Five children found murdered
13 people murdered in Binghampton
Three police officers shot down in Pittsburgh

These horrific crimes have one obvious link:


There may be other links that pushed these people over the brink of sanity to murder these innocent people. Like depression, mental instability, anger, desperation, fear.
But those experiences rarely lead to such destruction.
It's true, these are American incidents, where the debate on gun control incites anger and defiance from those who believe owning a gun is a God-given right. It's a debate that has yet to be given a fair fight, because the ones with the guns always seem to be able to intimidate the majority. But let that debate begin again.
Another fact that will be papered over is that none of these killers were criminals until they exploded. Which kind of hits at the usual defence of the gun-fans: it's the criminals and not everyday gun owners who should be the focus. Unfortunately, in the cases above, not until the men pulled the trigger and began their rampage were they actually criminals; it was too late.
Does that mean gun control, or the gun registry as is currently under attack here by the CONservative government, could have prevented them? No one can say that. Once these people had the means and methods to act, very little could have stopped it. But the gun registry and gun control is meant to ensure that both access to firearms and the knowledge of who has firearms, can assist in providing tools and checks to prevent some of them.
It isn't about taking guns away from people. It's about responsibility, about maintaining our societal order, about providing safe communities, and giving our police services the means to serve and protect.
I'm sending my prayers to those who have been scarred by these terrible acts, and hope that something good can come from it all. I am also sending a message to my MP and senator, who will be asked by Stephen Harper to relax the responsibilities of owning a firearm and to cancel the Gun Registry. I will be imploring them to support the Gun Registry and to support the will of the Police Chiefs.

Find your senator here.
Find your MP here.

Friday, April 3, 2009


They apparently are going through with it this time.

A couple of false starts, essentially neutering the program by rescinding the requirement of registering and cutting off the funding, still couldn't squash the 'EVIL DEMON THAT IS THE GUN REGISTRY!' (cue CON horror music)...

The set-up costs of the program are indeed reason for alarm, if not anger. There is also room for qualms as to how it was applied and how the rural communities were not well served. However, the main costs have been invested; what has to be weighed is the benefits and the ideals behind it.
It is sadly comical to hear CON after CON rant about the infringement of rights that this registry invokes, while scanning the data and considerable value that even in its current trimmed state it provides for those whose job is to serve and protect Canadians.

Along with the private members bill that is before the house, now Harper's minions have let it be known that the Gun Registry will face another attack, this time through the senate.

So it's time to test the members of the senate, those superheroes of sober second thought, with this end-run attempt by our missing in action so-called leader.

CON duffus Peter van Loan said the government's proposed bill is "a fairly non-partisan issue." While 'Public Safety' prefaces his name, van Loan has obviously chosen to ignore the needs and desires of Canada's police chiefs, who through their members called upon the registry more than 9,000 times PER DAY in 2008. Guns are used in crimes, by people who are well-versed in the business, and by those who are irrational, angry and/or violent. Just a scan through the headlines the past few days turn up places where the police would be better prepared by knowing who has a gun and how many. In one instance, the incident has sparked renewed questions on gun control and mental illness; in the other, the rights of having access to such dangerous firepower was never questioned.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has already signalled his stance, and that of his party -- damn the consequences. That's called a principled stand. If the divide on this issue is essentially rural vs. urban, so be it. But I can't help but wonder why we'd want another Mayerthorpe, just in the name of protecting the rights of people to bear arms.

Rookie senator Yonah Martin, a school teacher by trade, will face her first real test as a lapdog of the CON agenda. She was apparently chosen to represent the Lower Mainland, a heavily urbanized and suburbanized region. Perhaps she will listen to the opinions of law enforcement, who too often have to show up at scenes like this. Maybe she'll weigh the studies and statistics which support protecting and enhancing the current gun registry. But from what I've seen from our so-far unimpressive new Set-For-Life Tory, I'm not going to hold my breath.
If the CONs are truly interested in reducing crime of all kinds, they will admit that their rural vote-grabbing theatrics are missing the mark, and just another example of Harper's divide and conquer strategy run amok. Which side of the debate will you, Ms Martin, stand?
Not suprisingly, this senator who sits on the technology committee does not have a website or email posted. But if you want to make sure Ms. Martin hears what Canadians (and hopefully her constituents from the Lower Mainland) think, send an email to the Leader of the Gov't in the Senate, Ms Marjorie LeBreton @