Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Post

The last week of summer....

I know, Sad Cat. I know...

This doesn't happen unless someone gets something out of it:

“The Government of Canada has been seized of this case at the highest levels. We want to thank consular officials who work behind the scenes every day in support of Canadians abroad.”

Charles Burton, a China expert at Brock University, had told the National Post prior to Trudeau’s visit he thought it would be “very unlikely” that Garratt would be released during Trudeau’s visit. Part of that could have been for the optics, Burton suggested, since such a public exchange would give the appearance of additional closeness to the Chinese regime — which could “impact the Liberal brand” with some Canadians who have negative feelings towards that country.
Pressed by reporters on the issue while in China, Trudeau was cagey, confirming that he raised Garratt’s case and other consular cases with Chinese leaders, but not providing any specific details of the conversations.

Garratt’s release comes as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang prepares to visit Canada next week, less than a month after Trudeau’s trip. The visit — unusual in coming so soon after Trudeau’s visit — will mark the first trip to Canada by a Chinese leader since 2010, when then President Hu Jintao came for a Canadian-hosted G20, and is being viewed as a sign that Trudeau is succeeding in deepening Canada’s relations with the Asian giant.


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Japanese counterpart that China opposes "unhelpful" unilateral sanctions on North Korea but will work within the United Nations to formulate a necessary response to its fifth nuclear test.

China has expressed anger with North Korea for its largest nuclear test to date last week, but has not said directly whether it will support tougher sanctions.

China has said it believes sanctions are not the ultimate answer and called for a return to talks.

China has a permanent seat on the UN council and is Trudeau's favourite country.

Carry on.

Attempts to change the electoral system have hit a snag:

Canadians may not agree on the kind of voting system they want but Maryam Monsef says they do agree on some common principles they want to see in any electoral reform.

The democratic institutions minister says her consultations thus far have revealed no consensus on the precise voting model that should replace Canada's current first-past-the-post voting system.

Rather, the Liberals took the trouble to involve Canadians as little as possible or not at all:

It is amazing the lengths that the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau will go to avoid holding a referendum on its proposed reform of the voting system. Stuck with a campaign promise to make the 2015 election the last one ever held under the first-past-the-post system, but inexplicably unwilling to hold a plebiscite on what to replace that system with, the government has come up with a novel response to Canadians’ understandable desire to be consulted on this fundamental issue.

Go consult yourselves, say the Liberals.

That’s right. Canadians can go right ahead and consult themselves, as far as their government is concerned. Ottawa is calling on Canadians to meet in small or large groups this summer and discuss the merits of electoral reform. It could be a small gathering in your house or a neighbour’s house, or a rejigged book club meeting, or a full-on town hall assembly organized by an enthusiastic local political aspirant. It’s up to you. Ottawa is all, like, who cares.

It’s the Tuesday evening after the August long weekend, and I have just returned home after attending a “town hall” meeting hosted by Liberal MP John Aldag on the subject of electoral reform. This was part of the “consultation” with Canadians that was supposed to be so much more comprehensive than a referendum. I went with a jaundiced view because I don’t think the day after the August long weekend is when you hold meetings when you want to hear from Canadians — it’s when you hold meetings when you don’t want to hear from Canadians, but you want to be able to say you consulted.

Seventy-three percent of Canadians want a referendum on electoral reform.

Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryan Monsef does not believe that a referendum is necessary:

I have said in the past, although I recognize that a referendum is one way of seeking clarity from Canadians, I remain to be convinced that it is the best way.

As the above poll indicates, a referendum IS the best because seventy-three percent of polled adults want it. Not having ANY voter decide does not make up for the voter who is indifferent.


The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that federal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is backing off on comments his office made suggesting he might consider giving direct power to First Nations to call in the military when they feel their rights or communities are being threatened.

Sajjan wanted to give one segment of the Canadian population the right to call the army that we pay for every time they throw a tantrum.

Sajjan should not only resign, he should leave Canada. From his remarks about ISIS to this fiasco, he has been nothing but an embarrassment.

While he is at, if he could take the rest of his idiot friends with him, that would be great.

Alberta, the oil hub of Canada, will support the creation of 50,000 mega-watts of renewable energy capacity:

The Canadian crude-producing province of Alberta said on Tuesday it will support the creation of 5,000 megawatts of additional renewable energy capacity by 2030 to help achieve goals laid out in its climate plan last year.

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks, said Alberta now has a firm target of 30 percent of electricity used in the province coming from renewable sources such as wind, hydro and solar. 
Previously, Alberta said it would aim for up to 30 percent renewables and industry analysts said the clarification would boost activity in the sector.

"The renewable energy target will stimulate billions in investment in the province to build the electricity system of the 21st century, bringing jobs to Alberta. This target sends a clear signal to investors, providing the certainty required for investment," the Pembina Institute said.

(Sidebar: this Pembina Institute.) 

It's going to be a cold winter.


Vancouver plans to tax its vacant homes by the end of the year, the city's mayor said on Wednesday, announcing the second government move in as many months to address foreign investments that officials say have helped drive up home prices.

The tax on the city's 10,800 known empty homes will increase costs for foreign buyers and owners who have helped make the west coast city Canada's most expensive property market. It could also send investors elsewhere.


If Japan doesn’t put more efforts into procreating, its population will go extinct. That’s according to a countdown clock, which was released by researchers at Tohoku University.

Oh, my God! NO!

But... but... there was not supposed to be a slippery slope!

Where it is inevitable that an incapacitous patient is going to die—and specifically when it has been agreed through the courts that a patient in a PVS is going to have CANH [tube-supplied sustenance] withdrawn, it could be in a patient’s best interests to have a drug that would stop their heart and to have vital organs donated to a family member, acting as a means to the end of saving another, much as the mother would be doing in running out on the road to save her son.

By extension, it could also be in the patients best interests to donate their organs to someone else, if that was consistent with their previously expressed wishes. (3) The current practice of withdrawing CANH from patients in PVS or minimally conscious state—with the inevitable consequence of death—is ethically inferior to actively ending life with a drug that would stop the heart.

Netanyahu believes that Israel is experiencing a "diplomatic renaissance" with Arab nations:

A month ago, Saudi General Anwar Eshki, who leads a think tank in Saudi Arabia but was formerly a top advisor to the Saudi government, led a delegation from Saudi Arabia to Jerusalem to discuss a plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace with senior Israeli officials.

This highly unusual trip, which likely could not have happened without high-level Saudi approval, has led prominent Middle East analyst Aaron David Miller to observe that “The Saudis appear to be more worried about Iran and the rise of ISIS than about being seen with the Israelis.” This is perhaps unsurprising in light of the Saudi Foreign Minister’s recent comment that, “Iran is on a rampage. It wants to reestablish the Persian Empire….”

Israel, which is also threatened by Iran’s nuclear and hegemonic ambitions, has emerged as an important ally to the Gulf states. Consequently, Israel established its first diplomatic office in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and the Saudis have even launched a domestic media campaign to combat anti-Semitism, potentially in order to prepare its people for better relations with Israel.

However, Israel’s diplomatic advances have not just been limited to the Gulf. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry publicly visited Jerusalem in July – the first public visit by an Egyptian Foreign Minister to Israel since 2007 – to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Instead of continuing to use the Palestinian conflict to isolate Israel, both Egypt and Saudi Arabia are using the conflict “as a basis to engage,” according to Aaron David Miller. Moreover, Egypt has actively opposed Hamas, the Palestinian terror group dedicated to the destruction of Israel, by flooding Hamas’ smuggling tunnels between Gaza and the Sinai in Egypt.

According to a Bloomberg News report, Israel and Egypt have reached “unprecedented” levels of security cooperation. The report claimed that Egypt has even allowed Israel to launch drone strikes on militants in the Sinai. Israel has also given Egypt permission to expand its troop presence in the Sinai; both measures would previously have been unthinkable.

One should remind Mr. Netanyahu that Israel has a small yet powerful functioning army and the Arabs are disorganised cheapskates. Should Israel do the heavy lifting and take care of Iran and ISIS, the Arab states will turn on Israel faster than Hillary can claim pneumonia.

What? Too soon?

Who took down Swissair Flight 330?

Swiss media this week is abuzz with revelations from a declassified American intelligence assessment which points the finger at one or more groups who may have assisted the Middle Eastern terrorists who blew up the Swissair jet. The truth about what befell Flight 330 appears to be far more complicated than anyone might have guessed.

And now, in this day and age of boorishness, tactlessness and unnecessary full-arm tattoos, wouldn't it be nice to bring back some civility?

“It is said that one can tell during a conversation that lasts not longer than a summer shower whether or not a man is cultivated,” explains one 1921 book of etiquette. “Often it does not take even so long, for a raucous tone of voice and grossly ungrammatical or vulgar expressions brand a man at once as beyond the pale of polite society.” While you probably won’t offend anyone with a grammatical slip-up these days, it’s still a good idea to keep conversations free of bad language or an overly raucous tone—especially if you’re in a professional setting.

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