Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday Post

Lots to talk about...

Transparency means apparently nothing to the (non) Liberals:

A CBC report from last week, analyzing Conservative expenses noted that a number of Tory senators routinely charged taxpayers to bring spouses with them on trips to Ottawa.

Paul Calendra, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's parliamentary secretary, says that he's a little perplexed as to why the Liberals didn't disclose that information.

"We understood that Canadians wanted more openness with respect to expenses and that is why we [made] sure that spouses were also included in this," he told Yahoo Canada News.

"It's still taxpayer money, whether it's the MP or spouse or..children. It's all in the same vein as...this fakeness we're seeing in the Liberals. Nothing has really changed. They promise a lot and then deliver little. That's been the history of the Liberal Party and it continues with this."

Yahoo Canada News sent an email to Senator James Cowan, asking him to explain why the ex-Liberal senators didn't provide the same level of information as the Tories.

Here's his response:
"The commitment which Mr Trudeau made on behalf of all Liberal MPs and Senators in August was that, on a quarterly basis, we would disclose our travel and hospitality expenses in the same way and with the same level of detail as is required of Ministers.
"That is exactly what has been done."

Gregory Thomas of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation doesn't necessarily buy that explanation.

"The Liberals say they’re matching the disclosure of cabinet ministers, but the key difference is that anyone can obtain the actual documents and receipts [of ministers] that confirm the spending, along with details like $16 glasses of orange juice," he said, explaining that you can't get that information about MPs or senators.

"The Liberals have made a great start with being accountable for their travel expenses. We’d like to see them extend this disclosure to cover all the spending they are responsible for: their office budgets, contracts, hospitality and travel to foreign conferences."

It's window-dressing. If Liberals (or senators formerly known as Liberal senators) can make small concessions while attacking other parties (the Tories, really), they can distract the decidedly gullible electorate that they alone are the honest ones.

It's the usual dance.

He's really stepped in it now:

Justin Trudeau was back on Parliament Hill on Tuesday to face the music for his flippant joke about Ukraine, as the Conservatives and NDP pondered once again how to make the Liberal leader's latest so-called gaffe stick.

Trudeau told the media he waited until Tuesday to apologize for his remarks because he "wanted to make sure that I had the chance to express directly to leaders in the Ukrainian community ... how seriously the Liberal party takes the situation in Ukraine." ...
(Sidebar: rather, after he found out what stupid thing that was to say, he thought he would do some damage control.)

Trudeau apologized earlier in the day to the Ukrainian ambassador to Canada after making a quick visit to the embassy. Vadym Prystaiko, who had called for the apology a day earlier, praised Trudeau for being the first Canadian politician to sign a book of condolences.

The Liberal leader also took to Twitter to say he'd made amends with Paul Grod, head of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

In his interview last Thursday with "Tout le Monde en Parle," Trudeau suggested Russia, peeved about being eliminated from the medal round in Olympic hockey, might vent spleen by getting involved in Ukraine.
"It is even more worrisome now," Trudeau said in the interview, broadcast Sunday night. "Especially since Russia lost in hockey, they will be in a bad mood. We are afraid of a Russian intervention in Ukraine."

"Only because of hockey?" the show's host, Guy A. Lepage, asked Trudeau as other panelists chuckled.

"No," Trudeau replied. "It is an attempt to bring a light view of a situation that is extremely serious and extremely troubling."

In the aftermath of Trudeau's comments, both the Conservatives and NDP pounced in an effort to inflict some damage. Trudeau is consistently ahead in public-opinion polls and wrapped up a successful policy convention in Montreal over the weekend.

In the last year, Trudeau's political foes have taken aim at his remarks on China. At his joke about used-car salesmen. At his comments following the Boston marathon bombings. And now on Ukraine.
And yet Trudeau is still comfortably atop the polls.

Tory insiders say it's just a matter of time before Trudeau's verbal missteps start to hurt him, and the current Conservative strategy is to simply bide their time until he does himself in.

Well, why not? Shoving his foot in his mouth seems to be the only thing he knows how to do.

Why do Liberal voters want to elect someone who has to apologise all the time?

Pro-Russian supporters call those trying to form a new government in Kyiv "bandits":

Dozens of pro-Russian protesters rallied Tuesday in this Crimean Peninsula city, bitterly denouncing politicians in Kyiv who are trying to form a new government, with some even calling for secession from Ukraine. A Russian lawmaker stoked their passions by promising that Moscow will protect them.

"Russia, save us!" they chanted.

The outburst of pro-Russian sentiment in the strategic peninsula on the Black Sea, home to a Russian naval base, came amid fears of economic collapse for Ukraine as the fractious foes of President Viktor Yanukovych failed to reach agreement on forming a new national government and said the task of assigning posts could not be completed before Thursday.

While Ukraine's politicians struggled to reorganize themselves in Kyiv, a Russian flag had replaced the Ukrainian flag in front of the city council building in Sevastopol, 500 miles (800 kilometres) to the south of the capital. An armoured personnel carrier and two trucks full of Russian troops made a rare appearance on the streets, vividly demonstrating Russian power in this port city where the Kremlin's Black Sea Fleet is based.

Some called on Moscow to protect them from the movement that drove Yanukovych from the capital three days ago.

"Bandits have come to power," complained Vyacheslav Tokarev, a 39-year-old construction worker. "I'm ready to take arms to fight the fascists who have seized power in Kyiv."

Russia's fingerprints are all over this. It is no accident that Ukrainians were starved, murdered and squeezed out of their territory. The Russian minority are but a bargaining chip for Putin who seeks to not only control its ice-free port to the Mediterranean but all of Ukraine.

This won't end well:

The dilemma of how to handle the mentally ill who've committed horrific crimes is front and centre again as officials in Manitoba consider granting Vince Li unescorted passes from the psychiatric facility where he's been held for five years.

Li has been confined at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre since mid-2009, a year after being found not criminally responsible for killing 22-year-old Tim McLean a year earlier.

McLean was a passenger on a Greyhound bus headed for Winnipeg, sitting next to Li, who attacked him as the bus rolled towards Portage la Prairie, Man. Li stabbed McLean, and before stunned passengers cut off his head and partially cannibalized the young man.

Li suffered from untreated schizophrenia that caused him to suffer from hallucinations.

But doctors say since his confinement at Selkirk, Li has been making steady progress and on Monday recommended to the Manitoba Review Board that he be given a longer leash.

The real problem, aside from Li's horrific crime, is that if he stops taking his medications, he may repeat what he did five years ago.

Statism in Ontario, part five hundred:

New legislation in Ontario that would require fast-food chains to post calorie counts for each item on their menu boards moved forward today.

Health Minister Deb Matthews advanced the bill in the legislature Monday after completing a period of consultation with health professionals and businesses.

While some big fast-food chains have wall posters or brochures that outline nutritional information, the new law would require them to post calorie counts prominently on menu boards or menus or alongside the food when it is served.

With obesity a growing health problem in North America, Ontario is hoping that having calorie counts prominently displayed will discourage poor choices by consumers.

How stupid is this proposed law? Yes, eating fruits and vegetables and getting in a good walk is better for you than sitting in front of the TV and eating junk food. This is knowledge with which one leaves the fourth grade. If eating fast food or junk food is not a going concern for one or one's family despite a plethora of advice from those in the know, mandatory calorie counts imposed by the more- ahem - tubby of our elected officials is not only futile but onerous and controlling.

Repetition in Nigeria:

Gunmen from Islamist group Boko Haram shot or burned to death 59 pupils in a boarding school in northeast Nigeria overnight, a hospital official and security forces said on Tuesday.

It's a foregone conclusion that marriage preserves more than family and culture but also wealth:

Canadian families in higher income brackets are vastly more likely to be married or in common-law relationships, according to a new study released by a Canadian family advocacy group.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada report that Canadians are split into haves and have-nots along marriage lines and suggest that government, corporate and societal assistance be used to elevate the prominence of marriage in Canada.

"Top income earners are very likely to be married, while their low income peers are very likely to be unmarried," notes the report, released on Tuesday.

"This 'marriage gap' is a concern since marriage itself is a powerful wealth creator and poverty protector."
Analysis based on Statistic's Canada's Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics has found that most Canadians in the highest income quartile are married or in common-law relationships.

According to the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, 86 per cent of the highest income quartile are married or have a common-law spouse. Forty-nine per cent of those in the middle-income quartile are in a relationship, while 12 per cent of the lowest-income quartile is in a relationship.

Those numbers remain essentially unchanged from 1998, and they are also relatively constant through age brackets.

Do Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby mean nothing

The furor in question came from a press release issued after Canada’s men’s hockey team won gold at the Sochi Olympic on Sunday. Marois said in the statement she was "happy to congratulate the men's hockey team for this gold medal."

She went on to identify four Quebec players - Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Patrice Bergeron, Roberto Luongo and Marint St-Louis, for their performances. "This medal is a joy to their numerous fans," the comment concludes.

When you say things like this:

He has referred to me as a “liar” and a “clown” and attacked the shape of my “weird pointy bushy eyebrows” that are deformed because of surgery that I had as a kid to remove a tumor.

It's no wonder things like this happen:

Piers Morgan and CNN Plan End to His Prime-Time Show

And now, it's time for chickens to be shamed.

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