Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Post

Sweet, sweet, week-end, ahoy!



What a difference a day made:

(Sidebar: not that. This.)

Following days of accusations that he was putting himself in a conflict of interest, Finance Minister Bill Morneau has announced he will set up a blind trust and sell off his ownership stake in his family’s pension services company.

He also denies he was ever in a conflict, despite having personally introduced legislation last year that proposes changes to pension regulations.

The finance minister pointed out that a conflict-of-interest screen has been established in his office that requires him to be recused from discussions that directly affect Morneau Shepell, except by way of “general application.”

He could recall at least two times when he had been pulled out of a meeting because of the screen, but could not clarify what exactly those meetings had been about. “I don’t know what the issues were discussed in those meetings, because I was taken out,” he said.

Morneau described the controversy over his finances as a distraction from the work the government is trying to do, and said it was time to go “above and beyond” what Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson had previously told him was required.


And this:

New details uncovered by the Toronto Sun show that Morneau Shepell — the firm founded by the father of Finance Minister Bill Morneau — has a contract with the Bank of Canada worth over $8 million.

A spokesman for the Bank of Canada confirmed this relationship in an email exchange with the Sun. “The Bank of Canada has had a pension and benefits service contract with Morneau Shepell since November 1, 2012,” said Louise Egan. “The contract covers administration services for the Bank’s Pension Plan and benefits program.”

When asked if any changes had been made to this contract since Morneau became Finance Minister, Bank of Canada confirmed that there had.

“The original contract granted a right to the Bank to extend the contract for four years,” said Egan. “The Bank opted to exercise this option on Feb. 27, 2017.” ...

This relationship raises further questions for Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who has millions of dollars of shares in Morneau Shepell and is responsible for the administration of Bank of Canada.

As minister of finance, Morneau has significant influence over the Bank of Canada.

He holds the entire share capital of the bank on behalf of Canada and appoints the members of Bank of Canada’s board of directors, which manages the day to day affairs of the bank.

One might think that a resignation would be in order.




From the most "transparent" government in Canadian history:

Federal cabinet ministers were on the defensive Wednesday as opposition parties hammered proposed changes to the law that gives Canadians access to government files.

The criticisms largely echoed those voiced last month by the federal information watchdog, who said the Liberals' plan to amend the Access to Information Act would take people's right to know backwards.

The Liberals say their proposed access legislation, introduced in June, will raise the bar on openness and transparency following years of inaction by the previous Conservative government.

That was the message Treasury Board President Scott Brison, who is responsible for overseeing the act, and Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould delivered to the House ethics committee Wednesday.

"As we developed these reforms, we were guided by the principle that government information belongs to the people we serve," Brison told committee members. "We remain committed to this principle."

But opposition MPs zeroed in on proposals that would let an agency refuse to process an access request unless it identified the specific type of record, the subject, and time-frame.

Conservatives and New Democrats noted that Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault has called the proposed criteria unreasonable, and they expressed concern the clause would be abused.

Brison said the measure was intended to prevent "frivolous or vexatious" requests that are made in bad faith and often "gum up" the access to information system.

But he refused to say who would determine whether a request meets the criteria, and a senior Treasury Board official testified that less than one per cent of current requests are considered frivolous.


Also

The Liberals are blaming the previous Harper government for the failing grade they received in an independent audit of compliance with the Access to Information Act, saying the Conservatives left behind a badly damaged system.

The national freedom of information audit found the federal access system is bogged down to the point where, in many cases, it simply doesn’t work.

The annual audit focused on the federal access regime this year — given Justin Trudeau’s election campaign promises of increased transparency — and concluded it is faring worse than in the latter years of the Conservative government.

“The Liberal government has a long way to go if it is to deliver on its promises of transparent government,” the audit report says.

The audit was funded by national industry group News Media Canada, which represents more than 800 print and digital titles across the country. It was researched and prepared independently by a team headed by lead author Fred Vallance-Jones, who teaches journalism at University of King’s College in Halifax.

A total of 428 requests sent to different levels of government were included in the analysis.

In their 2015 platform on open and transparent government, Trudeau’s Liberals stated that transparent government is good government, the report notes. “It’s a sentiment shared by just about every opposition party that seeks power, but often falls out of favour once power is achieved.”

The federal access act allows people who pay $5 to request records ranging from correspondence and studies to expense reports and meeting minutes. Agencies must answer requests within 30 days or provide a reason why more time is needed.

The researchers found the federal system continues to be far slower and less responsive than provincial and municipal freedom of information regimes.

Who will the Liberals blame next?



Also in "screw what the public thinks" news:

A senior political staffer nicknamed a project to wipe clean computer hard drives — allegedly to erase data linked to the gas plants scandal — within the office of former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty, court documents alleged Thursday.

Laura Miller, McGuinty’s former deputy chief of staff, who hired her husband Peter Faist, an outsider, for the job, dubbed the assignment “Pete’s Project.”

Miller and her boss, David Livingston, McGuinty’s then chief of staff, are accused of deliberately and illegally destroying relevant public records stemming from the billion-dollar gas plants cancellation boondoggle. Both have pleaded not guilty to charges of breach of trust, mischief to data and unauthorized use of data.

Earlier, Crown attorney Sarah Egan said Miller and Livingston “acting together destroyed records that they had a legal duty to preserve.”

Egan said that days after Livingston obtained the passwords, purportedly so that he could delete personal information from his computer before exiting his job, Faist “began wiping the hard drives.”

Egan said Livingston even coached his staff on how to double delete e-mails to make sure they were really gone.

**

The Ontario Ministry of Energy has turned over about 13,000 of potentially 145,000 e-mails requested by Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, who’s probing the government’s Fair Hydro Plan financing, Minister Glenn Thibeault says.

Lysyk raised the issue Tuesday as part of a damning report that accuses the government of deliberately wasting $4 billion of Ontarians’ money over 30 years to keep the true cost of its 25% hydro bill break from taxpayers.

At that point, 7,000 documents had been produced.

Thibeault said he expects that it will take a couple of weeks to hand over all the e-mails.




Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne threatens to sue known weasel, Patrick Brown:

Ontario’s premier says she is taking another step toward a defamation lawsuit against the province’s Opposition leader.

Kathleen Wynne’s lawyer demanded in a letter last month that Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown retract comments suggesting the premier is personally on trial.

That letter came minutes before Wynne testified as a witness at a trial in Sudbury, Ont., involving two provincial Liberals facing Election Act bribery charges.

The day before, Brown had said to reporters that he hoped Wynne would give answers about the scandal “maybe when she stands trial” and went on to describe her as a “sitting premier, sitting in trial.”

Nearly six weeks later, Wynne’s lawyers followed up with another letter to Brown today saying it constitutes a notice of libel.

In today’s letter they warn Brown that he must preserve all relevant documents, because if Wynne proceeds with a lawsuit he will be required to disclose them all.
 
Ho-hum.




Putin is dreadfully upset over the Magnitsky Law:

Russian President Vladimir Putin is accusing Justin Trudeau’s government of playing “unconstructive political games” with its newly-adopted Magnitsky law. 

During a question-and-answer period at a conference in Sochi, Russia Thursday, Putin alleged events leading to the adoption of the law are part of a conspiracy to “blow up more anti-Russian hysteria,” according to a transcript posted on the Kremlin’s website.

On Wednesday, the Canadian parliament passed its final approval of a Senate bill proposed by Conservative Sen. Raynell Andreychuk. It would allow the federal government to impose sanctions on foreigners accused of human rights violations, including freezing any Canadian-held assets and barring them from entering the country. 

(Sidebar: that does include China?)




Remember - election in 2019:

Asylum seekers who illegally crossed the U.S. border into Canada this year are obtaining refugee status at higher rates, new data shows, as authorities accept claims from people who say they feared being deported by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. 

More than 15,000 people have crossed the U.S.-Canadian border illegally to claim refugee status in Canada this year. Many were in the United States legally and some interviewed by Reuters said they might have stayed were it not for an immigration crackdown. 

The influx, mainly at the Quebec/New York border, prompted the military to set up a temporary tent encampment in Quebec and sparked a backlash from anti-migrant groups.

Lawyers who have handled dozens of cases said that members of refugee tribunals, who evaluate requests for asylum, have grown more sympathetic toward people who have spent time in the United States and who say they now fear immigration policies under Trump.

One could say many things about Trump but the worst he could do to people who overstayed their visas is return them. 

Pretending that he is an ogre only to make another country a dumping ground for a few votes is morally and intellectually dishonest.

When the welfare runs out, I hope that the illegal migrants realise that.




The embrace of political multiculturalism, while a badge of honour for the virtue-seeking, is also a great method to prove people's utter ignorance.


Case in point:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received a bit of backlash this week for a tweet he made about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

The post published Monday night said: “Diwali Mubarak! We’re celebrating in Ottawa tonight. #HappyDiwali!”

It was accompanied by a photo of the Liberal leader lighting a lamp while wearing a black sherwani, which is a coat-like article of clothing worn by Indian men.

The message seemed simple enough, but it quickly turned into a debate online over the use of the word “Mubarak,” which means “blessed.” Mubarak is an Arabic word often used in languages such as Urdu and Hindi as part of a blessing during celebrations.

Some were quick to say the word has ties to Arabic and is more often associated with the Muslim holidays known as Eid, which is celebrated twice a year.




Putting aside Trudeau's ineptness, propensity for gaffes, both verbal and visual, his melodrama, his overtures towards the Islamist community and attempts at showmanship, this latest effort encapsulates the typical hollow liberal gestures that further prove what complete rot political multiculturalism and the lack of self-awareness its adherents possess. Cobbling together some affectations and phrases to prove one's global worth comes off as laughable and proof that one doesn't know and understand other cultures. It is the seeming of virtue rather than the understanding and application of it. No work in the former is really necessary.



And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward.

These hypocrites and jack@$$es were called out ages ago and don't have enough sense to stop while they still can. 


Failure to understand cultures and the failure to stand for one's own are reasons why faltering politicians in Ontario and idiot Quebeckers with their futile gestures of "solidarity" will fail miserably. Defending the misogynist practice of face-covering might score a few votes and might seem like the "nice" thing to do if one is not paying attention to how utterly wrong, divisive and barbaric such a practice is. It sure looks good in selfies, though.

Not even PM Hair-Boy will completely blast his home province for Bill 62 as doing so will cost him the votes he sorely needs. But he's always been afraid of challenging others. His cowardice is an accepted trait.


Also - scrapping the entire censorious M-103 because it chafes the wet bottoms of the Islamist-supporting class should be the goal of every citizen who still thinks Canada matters:

David Matas, an Order of Canada recipient who began his career as a clerk for the Chief Justice of Canada in the 1960s, delivered testimony Wednesday before the M-103 committee hearings in his capacity as senior counsel to B’nai Brith Canada.

“Not every fear of Islam is Islamophobia,” Matas said to the House of Commons Heritage Committee, noting that anyone who is not afraid of the various radical Islamic terrorist outfits in the world is “foolhardy”.

“Islamophobia does not appear in a vacuum,” Matas told MPs. “It grows out of a fear of incitement and acts of hatred and terrorism coming from elements of the Islamic community.”

**
During my presentation, I asked the committee some pointed questions such as “Why would the House not agree on a more precise term to combat anti-Muslim sentiment and instead insist on a vague and all-inclusive term such as Islamophobia?” A term, I might have added, which also has Islamist overtones.

Also, why would the House accede to a demand that is clearly unpatriotic by casting an unfair aspersion on Canada’s society and current laws?

I explained the connotations of Islamophobia to the house, stating that in Islamic nations and some Islamic circles in the West, the term clearly also means mere criticism of Islam.

I also explained that the term is often falsely considered parallel to the term anti-semitism. This was important as MP Khalid had also implied an equivalence between the two.

A common dictionary meaning of anti-semitism is “hostility to or prejudice against Jews”. 
Islamophobia, on the other hand, also includes criticism of Islam as a religion. The common dictionary meaning is “intense dislike or fear of Islam, esp. as a political force; hostility or prejudice towards Muslims.”

While I could state my case without interruption for the ten minutes allotted, I felt the committee was reluctant to ask me any further questions, as I would have reinforced a viewpoint that countered the Liberal Party’s position.

My only questions were from Conservative MP Scott Reid.

I had recommended erasing Islamophobia from the motion, because in my view it is a vaguely defined term; I asked why the House would not agree to a more specific term to investigate anti-Muslim sentiment. Mr Reid's response was to ask if Islamophobia defined strictly as “hatred toward Muslims” would work.

No, just get rid of the damn thing.




The "green" road to hell is paved with stupid intentions:

Remember all those new, green jobs Ontario’s Liberal government promised us under premier Dalton McGuinty and now, Kathleen Wynne?

A new study by the Fraser Institute released this week suggests rising electricity prices caused by Ontario’s green energy policies, ended up costing more jobs than they created.

In “Rising Electricity Costs and Declining Employment in Ontario’s Manufacturing Sector”, Ross McKitrick and Elmira Aliakbari conclude Ontario may have lost at least 1.8 permanent manufacturing jobs for every new job created under the Liberals’ green energy initiatives, many of them temporary, since 2008.

That’s because the heavily-subsidized jobs governments create when they invest money in things like wind and solar power, have to be measured against the economic damage caused by the higher electricity prices that result.

These higher prices force many manufacturing businesses to downsize, shut down, or leave the province for more energy competitive jurisdictions.

McKitrick and Aliakbari estimate 74,881 of the 116,435 jobs lost in Ontario’s manufacturing sector between the start of the global recession in 2008 and 2015 — 64% — can be attributed to Ontario’s higher electricity costs, caused in part by its green energy policies.

Between 2010 and 2016, they note, electricity costs for small industrial consumers in Toronto increased by 48% and in Ottawa by 50%, compared to an average rate increase in the rest of Canada of just 15%.

These higher energy prices drove Ontario’s traditionally competitive electricity rates to the highest levels in Canada, provoking substantial job losses, McKitrick and Aliakbari conclude.

**

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the newest poster boy for the worldwide global warming crusade, and justifiably so. No nation’s leader more cares for the planet, judged by the climate metric, than Canada’s own.

It is becoming a lonely battle, however. Unlike Trudeau, whose signature on the Paris climate agreement meant something — he has been nothing if not diligent in imposing climate action on provincial premiers — most signatories are ignoring, if not altogether abandoning Paris commitments, undoubtedly because voters in large part put no stock in scary global warming scenarios.

**

Dirty air in India and China. Tainted water in sub-Saharan Africa. Toxic mining and smelter operations in South America. Pollution around the globe now contributes to an estimated 9 million deaths annually – or roughly one in six – according to an in-depth new study published Thursday in the Lancet. ...

The two-year project, which relied on data from researchers in more than 130 countries documenting the causes of disease and premature deaths in recent decades, found that poor air quality was the most significant pollution-related killer. That includes both outdoor pollution tainted by mercury, arsenic and other harmful particulates, and household air dirtied by the burning of wood, dung and other organic materials. The result: An estimated 6.5 million deaths in 2015 from heart disease, strokes, lung cancer and other respiratory problems.


But carbon is bad.

Or something.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mid-Week Post

The Rangoli of Lights.jpg
A merry Diwali to all y'all.



Tax evasion for me, but not for thee!

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is allowed to continue owning shares in his family's publicly traded company because he holds them indirectly through a holding company – rules that Canada's federal ethics commissioner has said she'd like to see changed.

The former businessman has come under heavy criticism this week after The Globe and Mail revealed he is not keeping his substantial wealth in a blind trust that would place it beyond his reach – a mechanism that his boss Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has championed as the gold standard for federal ministers.

Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson's office has told The Globe that ministers are not required to divest controlled assets such as publicly traded shares if they are held in an indirect manner through another corporation.

In a statement provided to The Globe, her office said the divestment requirement "does not apply to any controlled assets that reporting public office holders hold indirectly, through a holding company or other similar mechanism."

Ms. Dawson made it even more clear in a subsequent interview with CTV News Tuesday where she said of Mr. Morneau: "He doesn't hold them, the corporation holds them, that's the legal entity," she said.

Then there is no need not to include this in the Liberals' new tax scheme, is there?

Pay your fair share, Bill.


Also:

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk stopped short of calling them crooks in her damning report Tuesday on their scheme to pay for hydro-rate cuts — their factiously named Fair Hydro Plan — by hiding the true costs of it from their bottom line.

What the Wynne Liberals essentially did to keep the costs off the public books was to figuratively go to a loan shark instead of government lender where interest rates are less onerous.
It will cost them — read, Ontario taxpayers — an additional $4 billion in interest fees, money that loan sharks like to call their “juice.”

“Anywhere else in Canada, you won’t see this done,” said Lysyk. “The government’s proposal is to treat that ($4 billion) loss as an asset.

That’s like you treating your credit card debt as an asset in your books. Does that sound right to you?

No, but voters can't do math on the spot, so ...



Oh, it gets worse:

Lysyk’s findings call to mind former federal auditor general Sheila Fraser’s devastating 2004 report that found federal officials in Jean Chretien’s government “broke just about every rule in the book” in awarding contracts during the Liberal sponsorship scandal.

The political fallout from that saw Paul Martin’s Liberals reduced to a minority government in 2004, before losing to the Harper Conservatives in 2006, after 13 years in power.

Except for one difference.

That is that the Wynne Liberals, and before them the Dalton McGuinty Liberals, have survived scandals — e-Health, Ornge, cancelled gas plants, green energy — that should have ended their 14-year political dynasty years ago.

We already know from previous elections that no matter how many scandals the Liberals cause, Ontario’s powerful public sector unions will support them at election time, while attacking whomever the Conservative leader happens to be.

We know a huge number of Ontario voters, particularly in Toronto, will stick with the Liberals no matter what.

We know many support Wynne’s Fair Hydro Plan, even though it’s a phony fix to the skyrocketing hydro rates the Liberals caused, in part, through their disastrous green energy policies.

Combine that with the fact Wynne is a smart, tough campaigner, while Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown faces an internal revolt by social conservatives who feel he’s betrayed them, and it all adds up to one thing.

The Wynne Liberals, incredibly, are still competitive heading into June’s election.
Be afraid, Ontario. Be very afraid.


And it's all because of this:

Peter Wallace was being cross-examined by Brian Gover, lawyer for former McGuinty chief of staff David Livingston.

Livingston and his former deputy, Laura Miller, are pleading not guilty to charges relating to their alleged destruction of documents about the McGuinty government’s billion-dollar decision to cancel two gas-fired electricity plants in Oakville and Mississauga.

Gover was asking Wallace about statements McGuinty had made to OPP officers then probing the matter.

McGuinty, Gover said, had told investigators that communications in his office were of an “overwhelming oral nature” — in other words, that was why there were so few documents available — and what did Wallace think of that?

It took the former secretary to the Cabinet a few minutes — he was, he said, “deeply uncomfortable” with the question — but his bottom line was unequivocal.

“I was frankly shocked by that, when I read it in the newspaper. (McGuinty’s remark was widely reported in 2014 when a police Information to Obtain a search warrant was released by a judge.)

“I simply, flatly disagree with that statement.”


 
I don't see why an unveiled face cannot be a condition of citizenship.  This cultural thumb-in-the-eye only reinforces a misogynist and anti-Western view that should be both socially and politically out of place:

Niqab-wearing Quebec women who want to ride the bus, visit the library, go for a medical check-up or meet with their child’s teacher are now legally required to uncover their faces while receiving provincial and municipal government services.

Quebec’s National Assembly adopted Bill 62 Wednesday morning, a controversial law that is the Liberal government’s answer to a decade-long debate over the accommodation of religious minorities in the province.

The bill passed despite opposition from the Parti Québécois and Coalition Avenir Québec, which argued the legislation does not go far enough in restricting the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols.

Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée has maintained that the bill’s requirement that government services be provided and received with the face uncovered is not aimed at any religious group. ...

(Sidebar: what other religion group covers faces?)

Nicole Filion, coordinator of the Ligue des droits et libertés, a human-rights defence group, warned that the law will “have a discriminatory effect on religious groups who are targeted, in particular women.”

(Sidebar: yes, about that - "A notice stamped on mosques in the Shopian district of Kashmir allegedly from groups calling themselves al Qaeda Mujahideen and Lashkar e al Qaeda declared: “We appeal to the public that they ensure that their women observe purdah [covering heads and faces] in public places. If we spot any woman without purdah, we will sprinkle acid on her face.")



 
But ... but ... the Russians stole the election!

Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.
 
Oh, my! How embarrassing!




Chinese Xi Jinping reminds everyone at the party congress that he is still in charge:

Chinese leader Xi Jinping urged the Communist Party on Wednesday to “resolutely oppose” any actions that undermine its leadership as he opened a congress expected to enhance his formidable power.

Xi told the 2,300 delegates at the imposing Great Hall of the People that the country is entering a “new era” as the party pursues “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”




One would expect no less from a one-party state.




And now, facts about sweet, sweet Halloween candy:

Harry Burnett Reese sold the Lizzie Bar and Johnny Bar, candy bars he named after his daughter and son, respectively. But his chocolate-covered peanut butter cup creation, which he named after himself and called Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, was his real hit.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

There Is Always Something

Often, that is true ...



Mary Dawson runs interference for Bill Morneau:

Speaking for the first time on the escalating controversy over Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s personal finances, Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson clarified on Tuesday she had simply told Morneau it wasn’t a requirement to set up a blind trust, rather than advising him against it.

Her comments come as opposition MPs demand an investigation into whether the finance minister is in a conflict of interest, and push for transparency on the murky question of whether Morneau still owns shares in the pension services company he used to run.


Yes, about that:

Neither Ms. Dawson's office nor Mr. Morneau will explain why the Finance Minister has avoided a blind trust that other public office holders have been required to set up.

He said Monday that he would put assets in a blind trust in the future if Ms. Dawson advised him to do this.


Even PM Hair-Boy is pushing the blame onto Mary Dawson, whose job she managed to keep after she inexplicably stopped investigating Trudeau for cash-for-access and clearing his speaking fees and holiday-making on Aga Khan's private island:

“The Prime Minister placed responsibility for the lack of a blind trust on the shoulders of Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson. “We have in Canada a Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner who is mandated to ensure everyone follows the rules … I can tell you the Minister of Finance worked extensively with [the Commissioner] when he came into this job and followed all her recommendations.” Mr. Morneau is facing a separate accusation of conflict of interest even as controversy lingers over his lack of a blind trust.”

Pathetic.

Think about how crazy Trudeau’s spin is. Morneau could face serious ethics questions because of his lack of a blind trust. He still refuses to say whether he owns shares in Morneau Sheppell. Yet, instead of fire Morneau, Trudeau pathetically tries blaming the ethics commissioners. At this point, how can anyone believe anything Trudeau says? He refuses to take responsibility for anything that happens in the government he leads, and he always throws other people under the bus. After all, if Trudeau had any integrity at all, Morneau would already be out the door.


Miss Dawson should, at this point, wonder if it was worth it to cozy up to so treasonous a boss whose zeal to not answer tough questions invariably ends up with someone thrown under the proverbial bus.

One must wonder if Harvey Weinstein's victims thought the same things.





While Trudeau, the perpetually unserious successor to the Liberal throne, panted on about things no one really cares about, the people who know that they stand to win or lose by how the NAFTA negotiations go can proceed no further for the time being:

Trade ministers from the United States, Canada and Mexico on Tuesday wrapped up a contentious round of NAFTA negotiations dominated by aggressive U.S. demands, including a sunset clause on the pact that Canadian and Mexican officials say will be rejected. 

The three sides agreed to carry on with talks and said they would negotiate into the first quarter of 2018, beyond the end-year framework initially envisaged to complete the negotiations to modernize the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. 

The tone of closing statements implied they were far apart. 

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer complained that Canada and Mexico were not willing to accept U.S. proposals on some less controversial areas of the trade deal, let alone the kind of issues that the United States says would be needed to strike an agreement. 

“As difficult as this has been, we have seen no indication that our partners are willing to make any changes that will result in a rebalancing and a reduction in these huge trade deficits,” Lighthizer said as the latest round closed out in Washington. 

The Trump administration’s proposals to reshape NAFTA to help shrink U.S. trade deficits have created stumbling blocks, leaving some participants and analysts wondering how an impasse can be avoided. 

Washington’s demands, previously identified as red lines by its neighbors, include forcing renegotiations every five years, reserving the lion’s share of automotive manufacturing for the United States and making it easier to pursue import barriers against some Canadian and Mexican goods. 

Mexican and Canadian officials at the talks have said those proposals are unacceptable while stressing their governments will not walk away from the table. The talks are now scheduled to resume in Mexcio City on Nov. 17-21.



Speaking of unserious:

Trudeau never made a real argument for why we needed $10 billion deficits, let alone triple that. The business tax changes were tucked away in the platform with none of the details now causing them headaches. The middle-class shtick was always just that, shtick.

So don’t be too hard on Trudeau as he grapples with the new realities of governing. It’s not like we weren’t warned.

Indeed.

If someone told one that one's credit card debt will magically sort itself out, one would think: "hell, that is the most insane thing I've heard all day."

So why was it fine when he said it the first time? It's not like he was misquoted or simply that he misspoke. One could excuse that if Trudeau had a record of being somewhat intelligent and not a complete douchebag to his fellows in the House of Commons.

Trudeau has always presented himself as a buffoon desperate for attention. He's like the class dummy whose place in the math club is because his parents paid for new football uniforms. Except that Trudeau was elected leader of a country (not through individual elections but as the federal leader of a party known for its corruption) where his numerous gaffes are the subject of many a joke. Even when he walks back from a catastrophe, it's painful to watch:

What’s alarming is that Trudeau didn’t reverse course because it was the right thing to do.

He did it because he and Finance Minister Bill Morneau botched their initial presentation of their small business corporate tax reform plan so badly, the Liberals are worried it’s eating into their popularity, as suggested by several recent polls.

How's that for sincerity?




The Ontario Liberals bait-and-switch program for rocketing hydro expenses is still costing voters:

The Kathleen Wynne government’s desire to keep the true cost of its Fair Hydro Plan off the province’s books exposes Ontarians to an extra — and unnecessary — $4 billion in interest costs, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk says in a special report.

“This accounting proposed by the government is wrong and if used would make the province’s budgets and future consolidated financial statements unreliable,” Lysyk said in a statement. “This cannot be taken lightly.”

The damning report looks at the Wynne government’s plan to reduce hydro rates by 25%, in part by extending the payback period on various energy assets.

The total cost of reduced hydro rates?

According to Lysyk, who ran her numbers past other auditors, it’s $39.4 billion, including the extra $4 billion in interest costs that would not have occurred if the government had borrowed the funds directly.

“Internal records show that senior government officials were aware their approach to borrowing could result in Ontarians paying significantly more than necessary,” Lysyk said.



Why not make an uncovered face a requirement for citizenship?

Muslim women in Quebec who wear a burka or niqab could soon be required to uncover their faces to ride a city bus under a proposed provincial law.

The Couillard government's Bill 62 on religious neutrality could be put to a vote as early as Tuesday, two years after it was tabled.

The controversial legislation would effectively ban public workers — including doctors, nurses, teachers and daycare workers — as well as those receiving a service from the government, from wearing the niqab, burka or any other face covering.

That's tough cookies.

One could always leave if it is too unfair.




Speaking of actual unfairness:

Yong-chul is the alter ego of Choi Seong-guk, "but better looking and more expressive," says Choi.
Choi himself arrived in Seoul seven years ago, surviving a journey through four countries that took months to complete. He's been able to turn his creative skills to his advantage, not only to support himself, but also to convey what being a defector from North Korea means.

In the North, he was an animator at Pyongyang's leading SEK studio when he was arrested and jailed for selling DVDs of banned South Korean movies.

"The North is an artificial world," he says. "You have to hide your feelings and the truth. The lifestyle is brutal … it's absurd. I had to get out."

He escaped north through China, following a route of more than 8,000 kilometres to end up living on the outskirts of Seoul, only 80 kilometres from the heavily fortified and impassable North Korean border.

Today, he communicates his impressions of life in the North — and the challenges of defecting to the South — in a series of popular online cartoons.


This is why any attempt to repeat endless and fruitless discussions on North Korea's nuclear program should stop.  They are pointless and always result in sanctions on people like Choi but not on Kim Jong-Un who is protected by China.

Instead of letting China own debt, South Korea and the US should beef up their computer security (something one hopes is discussed in next month's talks) and how better to destroy the regime from within.

  


ISIS' last push in Raqqa has failed:

U.S.-backed Syrian forces liberated the city of Raqqa from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on Tuesday, a senior commander for the force said, adding that clearing operations were underway to remove land mines left behind and search for the extremist group’s sleeper cells.

Now the surviving cowards can slink back to their countries of residence and collect welfare.




One should remember this when one extolls the imaginary virtues of "free healthcare":

Health Canada has quietly deleted from its website all references to a planned framework for rare-disease drugs that dates back to 2012 and was intended to improve the availability of such drugs in Canada.

Canada is one of the only developed countries without a regulatory framework for rare-disease drugs, also known as orphan drugs.

Durhane Wong-Rieger, president and CEO of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, said the decision “certainly seems to be the kiss of death” for the orphan drug framework.

“I am totally, totally devastated that they have taken such a big move to totally eliminate it,” she said.

Until Oct. 6, a Health Canada webpage claimed the department was “developing an orphan drug regulatory framework that seeks to encourage the development of orphan drugs and increase the availability of these products on the Canadian market.” It also promised consultations that were “expected to take place before the end of 2017.” The webpage has since been removed.



This is one's government:

A British Columbia man who recently lost his mother is fighting for his own life after a bureaucratic mix-up declared him dead.

Bryan Kupiak, who is 65 and from Kamloops, is healthy but says somehow his social insurance number was substituted for his mother’s after she died in September.

A death certificate with Kupiak’s name on it was issued to his estate.

He says the mix-up has cost him access to his own pension and he has also had to ensure his bank accounts, driver’s licence and other important documents and services have not been compromised.



Well, not everyone can be a brain-trust:

Around 6 millions Jews were systematically murdered during the genocide instigated under Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany before and during World War II.

But The Scaramucci Post question appears to suggest with its multiple-choice options that the total number of Jews killed may have been fewer then 1 million.





Wow, Princess Leia had some brass:

Now, in the mounting reveals since, we’ve learned the late Carrie Fisher once went as far as sending a cow’s tongue to an unnamed Oscar-winning producer after he assaulted her friend, screenwriter Heather Ross.

The assaulted Miss Ross then went on to shrug off this incident as something that happens  " ... all the time."

Way to brush off your late friend's intestinal fortitude, Heather.




Not even a wildfire can destroy a dog's love for its family:

The Weaver family was convinced they had lost everything. But they were most devastated with the thought of losing Izzy, Widen said.

So the day after the Weavers evacuated their home, Jack Weaver and Patrick Widen decided to make the trek to visit his parent’s home. “They were turned away by police officers, but if you know my brother Jack or husband Patrick . . . neither one likes to be told no,” Beckyjean Widen wrote on Facebook.

As they approached the property, Jack Weaver noticed the gate was still standing, he is heard saying in the video. He swore as he took in the scene in front of him. ...

The brothers in law began clapping and whistling, calling out for Izzy, wondering if maybe, at least Izzy had made it.

They noticed some property had been spared – the vineyards, a tractor.

Suddenly, they saw movement up ahead.

“Izzy is here!” Weaver is heard saying frantically. “Izzy, Izzy, come here baby, Izzy!”

The Bernese Mountain Dog is seen walking toward them, wagging her tail.

Good dog.


Monday, October 16, 2017

For A Monday

Plenty of things happening ...



Dismayed at not being able to fleece the working masses, those who would not define the middle-class walk back from their "taxing everyone back into the Stone Age" scheme and live to try again another day:

On Monday, at Stouffville’s (crucially) family-run Pastaggio restaurant, reporters wanted to talk to Finance Minister Bill Morneau. It made sense. He was there. He and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were there to announce a nine per cent small business tax rate by 2019, down from 10.5 per cent currently, as part of a highly technical and controversial package of proposed changes to Canada’s tax code. You know — finance minister stuff.

Moreover, Morneau has been in the news for his “French villa controversy,” which is a terrible thing for a politician to have a controversy about. (He owns it with his wife, via a holding company. He forgot to disclose its existence.) More recent strange news: even as he ministered Canada’s finances, Canada’s finance minister had not placed his considerable financial holdings in a blind trust.

But when the first reporter up to the mic asked to address her questions to Morneau, Trudeau puffed out his chest. “I’ll take ‘em,” he told her, oozing smarm. “You’ve got an opportunity to chat with the prime minister.”

A second reporter asked for Morneau. Responded Trudeau — bewilderingly, obnoxiously: “You have to ask the question of me first, because you get the chance to talk to the prime minister.”

Morneau did eventually get to defend himself on the question of his assets: he said he told the ethics commissioner everything and followed her advice. It’s not a great defence. Mary Dawson’s not a great ethics commissioner. But it’s exactly the one Trudeau offered on Morneau’s behalf before ceding him the podium. Why not just let the guy talk? Farmers and doctors and Italian restaurant owners might not much like Morneau these days, but he’s less likely to jam his foot in his mouth than Trudeau.


Also:

The finance minister is under fire for not disclosing to the ethics commissioner the private company that owns his family’s villa in France.

It's a set-up that gives Morneau’s family a tax advantage with regard to inheritance.

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson apparently knew of the villa, but not of the private corporation.

(Sidebar: this Mary Dawson.)


And:

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau suddenly, magically announced small business tax rates would drop to 9% from 10.5%.

Magically, because in 2016 Morneau insisted he was locking in the higher rate for the foreseeable future. What changed?

It’s pretty obvious. A summer of discontent.

The change wasn’t made for sound public policy reasons (though we believe lowering taxes is almost always sound public policy) or because the Liberals have grown suddenly adverse to taxes.

No, they found a political way to deal with the blow back they’ve been receiving on a whole slew of tax policy screw ups.


Maybe the Liberals need extra money to pay for more wreathes to commemorate our war dead or better monitoring of that financial black hole known as the "First Nations".

How can coffers be filled with things like accountability or wreathes?




If immigration is meant to supply Canada with the best and the brightest then revert to the old scheme of vetting for skills:

The Liberal government is finalizing its 2018 immigration plan, aiming to strike the right balance amid a global migration crisis, a surge in illegal border-crossers and persistent labour gaps across the country.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen recently wrapped up cross-country consultations and is preparing to table the annual immigration levels in the House of Commons by the Nov. 1 deadline
As he sets next year's target for the number of newcomers allowed into the country, the government's goal is to attract top talent in a competitive global market while reuniting families and offering refuge to people displaced by disaster and conflict.

"Canada's immigration system continues to be based on compassion, efficiency and economic opportunity for all, while protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians," reads a statement from Hussen to CBC News.

"Canada's system of immigration has been recognized internationally as a thoughtful, responsible approach that takes into consideration the need for more immigrants while balancing our fiscal and global responsibilities."

Conservative Immigration critic Michelle Rempel said the government has so far failed to develop a sound strategy to ensure immigrants help fill labour gaps in certain sectors and in remote and less populated parts of the country.  

"There are some bigger policy questions around how the government is incenting people in high unemployment areas to be matched with existing work, and how the government is going to seek to pull people that are coming into the country, new Canadians, instead of becoming isolated in small pockets in major urban centres, how perhaps those streams could be used to bolster immigration needs in areas of high demand in the country, where people aren't settling," she told CBC News.

(Sidebar: because urban centres vote Liberal.)




North Korea rattles its sabre - again:

North Korea warned countries at the United Nations on Monday in a statement: don't join the United States in military action against the Asian state and you will be safe from retaliation.

The caution was contained in a copy of North Korean Deputy U.N. Ambassador Kim In Ryong's prepared remarks for a discussion on nuclear weapons by a U.N. General Assembly committee. However, Kim did not read that section out loud.

"As long as one does not take part in the U.S. military actions against the DPRK (North Korea), we have no intention to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any other country," according to Kim's prepared remarks.

"The entire U.S. mainland is within our firing range and if the U.S. dares to invade our sacred territory even an inch it will not escape our severe punishment in any part of the globe," the statement read.

Perhaps Kim Jong-Un does not realise that without China's generous support, it could not be a global Scrappy-Doo.




Known sex abusers dig in for one last push in Raqqa:

The last of the few dozen ISIL holdouts inside the terrorist group’s de facto capital in Syria were mounting a final stand on Sunday, after a stream of militants surrendered under a deal brokered by local officials.

A U.S.-backed alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, said that 275 militants had left Raqqa’s city centre, along with their families, and that they would be interrogated and sent to court if they were suspected to have participated in killings.


Also - ignominious ends for ISIS child-rapists:

The ISIS once drew recruits from near and far with promises of paradise but now bodies of terrorists lie in mass graves or at the mercy of wild dogs as its "caliphate" collapses. Flies buzz around human remains poking through the dusty earth in the Iraqi town of Dhuluiyah, 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of Baghdad, at a hastily-dug pit containing the bodies of dozens of ISIS terrorists killed in 2015.

"They should have ended up in the stomachs of stray dogs," local police officer Mohammed al-Juburi told AFP. "We buried them here not out of love but because we wanted to avoid diseases."



Furious over a Kurdish referendum for an independent state, Iraqi forces seize Kirkuk:

Iraqi government forces captured the major Kurdish-held oil city of Kirkuk on Monday, responding to a Kurdish referendum on independence with a bold lightning strike that transforms the balance of power in the country.



Before I continue with the self-pitying squatters and their complaints-du-jour, I would like to start with Ibn Warraq:

An obsession with conspiracies leads to fatalism, a refusal to take charge of one's own destiny or to take responsibility for the manifest backwardness of one's own culture.

(Warraq, Ibn. Why the West Is the Best. Encounter Books, 2011. pg. 159)

And now:

A preschool English teacher was told to remove her hijab if she wanted to be hired by a school in Kuwait. The 23-year-old applied for a job in Kuwait’s the English Playgroup. After an interview, she received an email from a school official saying that her new job depended on whether she was OK with teaching without a hijab on.

**

Somali-Canadians left reeling after a bomb blast killed hundreds in Mogadishu over the weekend are calling for Canada to offer help to those affected by the horrific attack. ...

"Our prime minister has made a statement, and I think the statement is good, but not what we need at this moment," Ibrahim said in an interview on Monday, adding that the federal government should be helping get the wounded out of Mogadishu and into places where they can get adequate medical treatment.

(Sidebar: I thought that Canada was their country now. I guess not.)




It doesn't matter what anyone says at the show trial M-103 committee because its conclusion has long since been decided:

A big problem is the standing committee hasn’t clarified the term Islamophobia in the context of M103. Liberal MP Iqra Khalid, who crafted the motion, could have clarified the term but has neglected to do so.

The supporters of the motion claim that the commitment to avoid bigoted judgments is non-binding. However, many fear that it is merely a precursor to a bill condemning Islamophobia, which is a very nebulous notion.

I consider equating Islamophobia with anti-Semitism highly flawed. In committee, I will argue that the two are fundamentally different, are used in very different contexts and would also have completely different ramifications in the context of M-103.

Khalid has used the condemnation of anti-Semitism as a pretext to push for a similar response to what she considers Islamophobia.

Khalid's anti-Semitic co-religionists are more than happy to equate anti-semitism with their faulty notions of persecution of Islamists because it furthers an end.  For Miss Hassan, this article is a futile gesture and her belief that this motion is unpatriotic or un-Canadian is incredibly wrong-headed.  Why allow one religion (and a despotic one at that) be permitted to establish a blasphemy law and then Sharia over a country the foundations of which are entirely anti-thetical to that of a theocracy similar to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, states that would otherwise have failed had the West never existed?
 

Also - this must be embarrassing:

A former lawyer for the Alberta Human Rights Commission has failed in his efforts to sue Sun Media over an allegedly defamatory column by Ezra Levant.

The suit has been thrown out of court for delay. Nothing has happened on the file since Sun Media filed its defence three years ago, although there are related defamation suits that remain active.
The litigation relates to comments Levant made in 2014 on The Source, his show on the defunct Sun News Network, and a column in Sun newspapers headlined, “Next stop, crazy town.”

In that column, Levant harshly criticized the actions of the Alberta Human Rights Commission and some of its employees, including Arman Chak, by reference to some of his previous writings about Bangladesh, Pakistan and Israel.

“The crazy keeps going down. You’ve gotta get out your shovel and dig to get to the crazy that’s underneath the crazy,” the column reads.




The saga of the disgraced movie producer, Harvey Weinstein, and his several foot-in-mouth apologists who knew of and tolerated the open secret of his abuse of young actresses for years (in the years he was successfully bringing in cash) slogs in with the absurd and the contrarian:



Alleging U.S. “rape culture” caused the Hollywood sex abusescandal, UK news site the Independent has claimed that only Islam can provide the answer to preventing violence against women.



 
(Sidebar: insert own Islamists and Western feminists commentary here.)


**

Mayim Bialik is responding to the criticism she is facing over an article she wrote about the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, insisting her words were taken out of context.
The Big Bang Theory actress wrote a New York Times article titled Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein’s World on Friday after more than 30 women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against Weinstein.

In the article, Bialik wrote about her strong feminist stance and appeared to suggest she is “overlooked” in sexual harassment situations because she does not adhere to the classic standard of beauty in Hollywood.

“As a proud feminist with little desire to diet, get plastic surgery or hire a personal trainer, I have almost no personal experience with men asking me to meetings in their hotel rooms,” she wrote. 

“Those of us in Hollywood who don’t represent an impossible standard of beauty have the ‘luxury’ of being overlooked and, in many cases, ignored by men in power unless we can make them money.”
The 41-year-old also explained she makes choices she finds to “self-protecting and wise” to avoid any inappropriate situations.

“I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with,” she wrote. “I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.”

“I am entirely aware that these types of choices might feel oppressive to many young feminists,” she added. “Women should be able to wear whatever they want. They should be able to flirt however they want with whomever they want. Why are we the ones who have to police our behavior? In a perfect world, women should be free to act however they want. But our world isn’t perfect. Nothing - absolutely nothing - excuses men for assaulting or abusing women. But we can’t be naive about the culture we live in.”

After the article was published, many people took to social media, including Patricia Arquette, accusing Bialik of victim blaming.

There is no excusing the fat slab of piggery that is Harvey Weinsten and his various pedophilic defenders but how many of his victims who have come out of the woodwork and the slow-to-judge-but-quick-to-pontificate friends in show biz could have turned on him and the other offenders ages ago but sat on it because he was a cash-cow? How is Miss Bialik's commentary (aside from her delusional ideas that feminism still means Susan B. Anthony and Jane Austen) "victim blaming" (victims no one cared about until now, one might add)? In what industry is debasement of a person and allowing one's self to be debased for profit standard? Would the likes of Emma Thompson excuse this sort of behaviour in any other professional environment?

There is so much wrong about this entire fiasco and so much blame to go around. Had any of the parties involved had shame, they would slink into obscurity.

But, you know, money and such.