Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Mid-Week Post

The focal point of the work-week ...

You can run to India and then run away from work but you can't run away from the truth:

In response to a query regarding invitation to Jaspal Atwal, the Official Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said:

"We have seen the recent exchange in the Parliament of Canada regarding two invitations issued to Jaspal Atwal by the Canadian High Commissioner, for functions hosted in honour of the Canadian Prime Minister in India.

Let me categorically state that the Government of India, including the security agencies, had nothing to do with the presence of Jaspal Atwal at the event hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner in Mumbai or the invitation issued to him for the Canadian High Commissioner's reception in New Delhi. Any suggestion to the contrary is baseless and unacceptable.”

Does Justin think Indians are as stupid as the pot-heads who voted for him?

Yes, he does:

In question period on Monday and Tuesday, Conservative critics demanded to know who the source was and why they had spoken to the media on the matter.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called those remarks a “conspiracy theory.”
Trudeau, however, backed the official.

“Our professional non-partisan service does high-quality work, and when one of our top diplomats and security officials says something to Canadians, it’s because they know it to be true,” he said.

Would this be the "high-quality work" that Justin blamed for the Joshua Boyle affair?

Is there anyone Justin won't throw under the bus?


The Liberal MP who invited a man convicted of attempted murder to dine with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his trip to India has apologized and resigned as chair of his party's Pacific Caucus.
Backbencher Randeep Sarai, the member for Surrey Centre, had claimed responsibility last week for inviting Jaspal Atwal to a pair of high-level receptions on the trip that ended last weekend.

(Sidebar: I really hope that Justin threw in a solid-gold jet for you to fall on your sword, Randeep, or it's just not worth it.)

There is no way that known terrorists or their sympathisers get past any security agency - domestic or international - unless Justin wills it.

Is Justin done making a jack@$$ out of himself yet? His next fiasco is set for Argentina and Brazil and he seems to be sending only a lackey, thereby missing a chance to don a tutti-frutti hat:

Canada will launch trade negotiations with South American trade bloc Mercosur next Friday, with an eye to accessing free trade with “prize” markets Brazil and Argentina.

A first round of talks is being scheduled for Ottawa the third week of March, according to a spokesman for Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne. 

Champagne will travel to Asuncion, Paraguay to make the announcement alongside his counterparts from Mercosur countries Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, Joseph Pickerill told the National Post. The decision comes after a round of exploratory talks that began this summer.

Never send trustifarians to do an economist's job:

Modern statespeoplekind, swelled with majestic aspiration, do not deign to discuss tawdry tax and spending. Hence the crucial “Summary Statement of Transactions” was buried on p. 319 of 367 as essentially an afterthought. As Andrew Coyne notes, these documents aren’t really budgets at all any more, or even the long tortured econometric rationalizations we used to get in a vain effort to reassure us the government’s deficit projections were not voodoo. Now it’s about “equality.” Well, “That, and pandering to every conceivable Liberal client group and policy cult.” ...

Too cynical, you say? Alas, it is. If Baghwan Justin and Bill Morneau were doing it on purpose they would, at least, have some lurking sense of the precariousness of their position. Instead this budget reeks of blithe arrogance, taking on ever-more ambitious and glorious goals because government is omniscient, omnipotent and all-merciful. Why, the Finance Minister declared “We are, in this budget, taking measures to ensure women can be successful.”

Leaving aside the patronizing patriarchal image of two rich powerful straight white knights in shining armour riding to the rescue of frail women unable to succeed otherwise, the word “ensure” rather than, say, “assist” is revealing. They have no doubt they can avoid fiscal storms, generate prosperity, strengthen the middle class and bring in gender equity. What could go wrong?

Gee. Where do I start? I know. This a government, and I mean a government not just a ministry, cannot pay its own employees properly because its Phoenix computerized pay system is an expensive disaster. Which the Liberals inherited but have been quite unable to fix. The public service has been on it from the beginning, with a direct personal motive for sorting it out, and also can’t fix despite ever more money and IT personnel being hurled at it. 

When high taxation and inflation hits, how many times will the money-grubbing Morneau and Trudeau say "gender" to ward off the jobless masses who threaten to vote Tory (oh, yes, it WILL come to that).


Speaking at the Economic Club of Canada in Ottawa to kick off a post-budget sales job, Morneau said many Canadians are without coverage, including people who are self-employed. Some parts of the system are working well, but others are not, he said.

"We need a strategy to deal with the fact not everyone has access, and we need to do it in a way that's responsible, that deals with the gaps, but doesn't throw out the system that we currently have," he said.

 Eric Hoskins, Ontario's former Liberal health minister, will chair a council that will consult with stakeholders and make recommendations to government on how to proceed with a national plan.

Morneau said the committee will need time to carefully study the issue because the workforce and cost of pharmaceuticals have changed dramatically in the last two decades. 

That sounds like a waste of time and money.

Morneau could simply let waitresses and the like keep their money and pretend that drug plans are not free but that would be sensible. 


And yet Morneau’s budget Tuesday plots no such course. New spending on indigenous peoples, military veterans, scientific research and gender equity have eaten up windfalls. Even with new tax revenues from marijuana, tobacco and private corporations, Morneau wasn’t able to accelerate the deficit-reduction path, totaling $98 billion (US$77 billion) over six years.

It's just money.

The separatist party that has fought for Quebec independence from Canada was in disarray on Wednesday after seven of its 10 legislators quit the party, opening the door for possible electoral gains by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in 2019. 

With Quebec's provincial election still many months away, polls suggest that François Legault's Coalition Avenir Québec is in the driver's seat. If an election were held today, the party probably would win a majority and oust Liberal Philippe Couillard from the premier's office.

But the election is set for Oct. 1. Will the CAQ be able to maintain its momentum over the last sitting of the National Assembly and through to an election campaign that kicks off more than six months from now?

Two recent polls indicate that the CAQ begins this election year in a strong position. The surveys, conducted by Léger for Le Devoir at the end of January and by Ipsos for La Presse between Feb. 2-4, pegged the CAQ's support at between 34 and 39 per cent. The Liberals trailed in second place, with between 28 and 30 per cent support — numbers that historically represent the party's floor.

There will always be a "Quebec-first-and-screw-everyone-else" party, whether it is the Bloc Quebecois or Coalition Avenir Quebec. The Liberals, it seems, are the Plan C.

What would cinch an "anybody but Justin" vote is if Justin decides to hammer away at the hugely popular Bill 62 as he once threatened to do. All he needs to do is remove the foot from his mouth.

No, Canada is not an "honest broker" and hasn't been since October 2015:

On Dec. 6, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump fulfilled a bi-partisan commitment by Congress, first articulated in 1995, and announced that the United States not only recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but further pledged to move the American embassy there from its current home in Tel Aviv.

Less than 24 hours later, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated, unequivocally, that Canada would not move its embassy (such unequivocal, decisive stances on foreign policy matters are remarkable for this Prime Minister). Shortly thereafter, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland expressed agreement, noting “the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute.”

Well, here’s the thing. Recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does nothing to prejudice the outcome of the “conflict” or any related negotiations. Minister Freeland’s somnambulistic repetition of a rather shopworn position — a favourite of the Department of Global Affairs — reflects either a profound disinterest or a lack of understanding of the complexity, and yet also simplicity, of the issue. ...

I expect that for an eternity, Russia and Ukraine will dispute Crimean sovereignty. Yet, it is impossible to imagine that Minister Freeland — an outspoken advocate for Ukraine — would dismiss that country’s genuine concerns with nearly the ease that the Canadian government seems set on dismissing Israel’s. The Ukrainian claim to Crimea, historically, is far less strong (certainly in terms of millennia — a key metric regarding legitimacy) than is Israel’s to Jerusalem. And, then, there’s the small matter of the last 70 years or so of Arab rejectionism, punctuated by successive wars which they started, and lost, and in which they bragged they would destroy Israel. (Their rhetoric, not mine.)

In this more honest historical context, I’d like to address a simple question to Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Freeland, who are fond of describing their position on Israel as being one of an “Honest broker.” I ask: “Honest broker? In what universe?”

Trump, or Scheer, for that matter, could declare that Haifa is the capital of Israel and the Palestinians, who have never adhered to any peace agreement, would still have a problem with it. Justin's knee-jerk declaration is not only contrarian to Trump but sympathetic to a group that will only be satisfied once all Israelis are gone.

In case one was under the impression that the government and its organs were meant to help:

Ranchers in the foothills are standing behind an Okotoks man charged after shots were fired when two intruders came onto his property over the weekend.

Police said Edouard Maurice, who faces charges of aggravated assault, pointing a firearm and careless use of a firearm, had a confrontation with two alleged trespassers early Saturday morning. 

Shots were fired and Ryan Watson, now facing trespassing and possession charges, was transported to hospital with a gunshot to his arm.

The incident has some locals fired up, saying rural break-ins are becoming far more common.

People thought that kind of thing would work for Zimbabwe, too:

Grant Singer and his family considered their cottage at Crooked Lake their quiet refuge for years. Now it's up for sale — although he says he has little hope anyone would be foolish enough to buy it.

"If somebody really wanted it, they can have the headache."

In 2007, the Regina man signed a $757-a-year lease for an undeveloped lakefront lot on Crooked Lake, 140 kilometres east of Regina. He moved an old farmhouse onto the property.

He said all told, he spent about $45,000 moving the home, running electricity and putting in a basement and septic system.

In 2009, his landlord, the Sakimay First Nation, jacked up his rent to $4,500 a year. The rates were also increased for more than 300 other cottagers leasing land from Sakimay. Some rates went up by 700 per cent.

"We were shocked. Absolutely shocked," Singer told CBC's iTeam.

He said the cottagers are aware inflation happens, but it has to be within reason.

"For us it wasn't worth that. It just wasn't reasonable for us."

And people thought that the winter Olympics would bring about an era of understanding:

North Korea sent items used in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programs to Syria along with missile technicians in violation of U.N. sanctions – and banned ballistic missiles systems to Myanmar, U.N. experts said.

The panel of experts monitoring sanctions against North Korea said its investigations into Pyongyang’s transfer of prohibited ballistic missile, conventional arms and dual-use goods found more than 40 previously unreported shipments to Syria between 2012 and 2017.

That's something Kim and Moon can talk about.

And now, a baited camera in Nunavut catches footage of the rare and elusive Greenland shark:

(Merci beaucoup)

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