Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday Post

The week-end is upon us ...

Funds raised for the families of the sixteen people killed in an accident in Saskatchewan have now topped ten million dollars:

One week ago, a bus carrying members of the Humboldt team was involved in a collision with a truck near Tisdale, Sask. Sixteen people were killed in the crash, most of them members of the hockey team.

Hours after it was first reported, a GoFundMe campaign called Funds for Humboldt Broncos was launched in support of the players and families. As of 2 p.m. Friday, more than $10.7 million has been raised and the number keeps climbing.

“The fund for the Humboldt Broncos is the largest campaign to date in Canada, and now one of GoFundMe’s top three largest campaigns globally,” Rachel Hollis, GoFundMe’s communications manager for Canada and Australia, told Yahoo Canada via email. 

“In less than a week, over $10 million has been raised from more than 120,000 donations, which is the largest number of contributions to a GoFundMe campaign in history,” she added.

Donors from more than 80 countries including the U.K., Australia, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Ireland, Sweden, India and Peru have supported the cause, according to GoFundMe. Canadians from every province and territory have also contributed.

Margaret Thatcher was truly an Iron Woman. As the first elected female prime minister, she battled chauvinism while handling the pressing problems of her country.

Justin Trudeau isn't Margaret Thatcher. He isn't even her toe lint:

In early May of 1956, in that generation’s starkest instance of Liberal arrogance, the government imposed closure in the House of Commons so as to get financing set and construction started that very summer. The opposition parties — the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) and Progressive Conservatives — argued that closure, which was rarely used, was an affront to the rule of law, or at least the rule of Parliament. The voters seemed to agree, turfing the Liberals in 1957’s election, giving John Diefenbaker a minority government, and then sweeping him to a majority in 1958, the year the pipeline was completed, with the biggest seat count in Canadian history to that time. 

The contrasts with today’s pipeline crisis are manifest and many. The Liberals are still arrogant, of course, but they’re far from gung-ho for the pipeline. Quite the opposite: most Liberals probably wish the issue would just go away. The Conservatives (no longer Progressive) are fully behind the pipeline and want approvals streamlined so it could be built yesterday. This time round, delay, not decisive action, is the affront to the rule of law. ...

In 1981, even the former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher backed down in the face of a strike by the National Union of Miners, knowing it could bring Britain to a halt. Over the next three years, however, she built up coal stocks to six months’ supply and in 1984 won a long strike that effectively broke the union’s back and freed the country from union control. But then, she was determined and courageous and, most important of all, believed in the justice of her cause. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems deficient on all three scores. 

He has shown a willingness, however, to spend money to solve political problems. What we certainly don’t need is for governments to bail out the pipeline, or even take it over on the grounds that their own equivocation has rendered it commercially unprofitable.


Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister called out the government of British Columbia on Thursday over its opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, following last weekend's announcement the company building it is suspending construction on the project.

Pallister said he spoke out because he believes the pipeline expansion is in the national interest and one province shouldn't be allowed to stand in the way.

"We have statements made from so-called leaders in British Columbia, saying that the project will never go ahead," he said.

"Look, B.C.'s a wonderful place and it's an important part of Canada, but it's not Canada by itself and it never will be."

Premier Pallister isn't the only one displeased with Justin.

No doubt fearing for their political survival, other Liberals MPs, seeing which way the political winds have blown, are speaking out:

A growing chorus of Liberals are coming out of the woodwork, both on and off the record, to engage in criticism of Canada’ prime minister.

The latest is prominent Quebec journalist and political adviser Jocelyn Coulon. A long-standing close confidante of Stephane Dion’s, Coulon worked for Dion during his tenure as Trudeau’s first foreign affairs minister.

He’s now written a book about that experience with a focus on Trudeau’s foreign policy approach (which is Coulon’s journalistic beat). You don’t need to look far to find damning quotes. The title and cover image say it all.

“Un Selfie Avec Justin Trudeau” is the title of the book that’s taking French Canada by storm. And, yes, “selfie” in French means the same thing in English. This is no complimentary work.

The picture? A cartoon of a goofy Trudeau posing for one of his signature selfies. The caricature draws Trudeau with an eagerness and manic energy, showing him desperate to look great for the cameras. ...

The book has flown off the shelves in Quebec, where it’s now in its third printing and a best-seller online. It’s not yet available in English, but the author is hopeful it will soon be translated.

It’s interesting that this stinging rebuke comes from someone who until recently was a prominent Liberal. (Although it should be noted that Coulon has a history with the PM. Trudeau wanted the Liberal nomination in 2007 in the riding of Outremont, but Dion who was leader at the time instead sided with Coulon, who went on to lose to Tom Mulcair.)

He’s not the first. Just this year, former Liberal finance minister John Manley, in his capacity as CEO of the Business Council of Canada, called the budget “disappointingly thin.” And former longstanding Liberal MP Dan McTeague, currently a petroleum sector analyst, has applauded Andrew Scheer for pledging to scrap the carbon tax.

These are just three speaking out publicly. Many more Liberal insiders who don’t want to go on the record speak on background with reporters and columnists, such as yours truly. And while a little bit of this is to be expected no matter who is PM, this feels different.

It's not like his immense idiocy was not known before the election. Why would they expect wealth and famous surname to carry the country (if that was ever their intention)?

Sure. Why not? How could this go wrong? :

During Trudeau's official trip to India in February, Jaspal Atwal — a Canadian of Indian descent who was convicted of attempted murder for trying to assassinate Indian cabinet minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu while he was visiting Vancouver Island in 1986 — turned up at an official event and got an invitation to another at the Canadian High Commission in Delhi.

Photos of Atwal posing with a Liberal cabinet minister and Trudeau's wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, at an Indian film industry event in Mumbai were sent to media outlets, including the CBC, touching off a public relations firestorm for the Trudeau government.

The incident complicated Trudeau's efforts at the time to convince India that Canada stands firm against extremism and does not back Sikh separatism, or the violence that has been employed by some to pursue it.

Daniel Jean, Trudeau's national security adviser, will on Monday tell a House of Commons committee about comments he made to media in an off-the-record briefing as the controversy unfolded. Jean suggested to journalists Atwal's appearance was somehow orchestrated by rogue political elements in India to compel Trudeau to crack down on Sikh extremists in Canada.

Atwal maintains that he is not an agent of the Indian government, has reformed and regrets his youthful actions. He said he would like to clear the air before the parliamentary committee.

To wit:

Atwal was once a member of the International Sikh Youth Federation, an extremist group aiming to establish an independent Khalistan that was banned in Canada as a terrorist group in 2003. He was one of four men who shot and wounded an Indian cabinet minister, Malkiat Singh Sidhu, on Vancouver Island in 1986, and was convicted of attempted murder for his part in the attack. He served jail time and was later paroled. 

Atwal was also charged with a 1985 attack on former B.C. premier and Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh, a vocal opponent of the Sikh separatist movement, but was later acquitted. 


A man convicted of attempted murder who was invited to a dinner reception with Justin Trudeau in India says he has a friendly relationship with the prime minister, and stayed away to save him from further embarrassment.

But the Prime Minister’s Office says there is no merit to the assertions by Jaspal Atwal, who was convicted of attempted murder in the 1980s, especially the claim that he and Trudeau were friends.

The dispute emerges after Atwal was interviewed by the The Canadian Press at his home in Surrey, B.C., following Trudeau’s, at times, turbulent trip to India, which ended with his return to Ottawa on Sunday.

Atwal says he received an invitation directly from the Canadian high commissioner’s office for the event in New Delhi last week.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending a senior government official's suggestion that factions within the Indian government may have been behind the presence of a convicted would-be assassin during his recent trip to country.

Let the train wreck begin!


On March 14, 2016, suffering from schizophrenia and in the midst of a psychosis, Ayanle Hassan Ali stormed into the Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre in North York bent on becoming a jihadi martyr.

“I have a licence to kill, I have a green light to kill,” he had written in his diary. “One soldier is all it takes, just one. I can’t let those fools play games with me. I’ve been ready and willing for a while now.”

See - he wasn't moved by ideology. He is just crazy, just like Joshua Boyle and Rehab Dugmosh. That is what everyone should remember when these attacks occur. They're all crazy and - by extension - their culture.

You opened the door, guys.

Eventually, summer will arrive and when it does ... :

Canada's gas prices are likely to hit their highest levels in a decade this summer, according to a prominent industry analyst — and the situation could be made even worse if Alberta follows through on its threat to reduce oil supplies to British Columbia.

Analyst Dan McTeague of predicts gas prices will hit a 10-year high this year, thanks to a lower Canadian dollar and rising global oil prices.

The smell of desperation is in the air:

Battered by some of the lowest approval ratings in the country, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said Thursday she considered quitting before this June’s election, but was encouraged to soldier on by the backing of her colleagues.

(Sidebar: oh, did they?)


Ontario is funding Canada's first dedicated care centre for fetuses requiring high-risk medical care and in-utero surgeries. The new Ontario Fetal Centre will support expectant families with increased access to world-renowned specialists and ground-breaking surgeries.

Premier Kathleen Wynne was at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto today to announce the government's support for the Ontario Fetal Centre, a collaboration between the Sinai Health System and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), and a first in Canada. With the help of an investment from Budget 2018, this centre will bring together leading specialists in fetal care, providing pregnant women in Ontario with greater access to some of the most advanced in-utero surgeries.

There is unrestricted abortion and censorship laws. Why bother with this?

Only in Quebec:

Premier Philippe Couillard has praised a Laval teenager who says she wants to become a police officer and still wear a hijab, and rushed to the defence of an MNA who chose to wear his kippah in the legislature.

As the highly charged issue of religious symbols continued to dominate the legislature Thursday, Couillard found himself in the hot seat for his government’s decision to not restrict personal religious freedoms even for authority figures like police officers. ...

Quebec did adopt Bill 62, which will oblige public services to be delivered and received with the face visible, but the law does not touch the issue of religious symbols worn by persons in authority like police officers.

That all changed Thursday when Lamrhari’s story left the opposition hopping mad.

“I can understand the aspirations of this young woman and I respect them completely,” said PQ secularism critic Agnès Maltais, adding there was an incident in Gatineau in the fall of 2017 in which a young woman went to the police to denounce her father because he beat her because he refused to let her remove her hijab when she went to school.

“I wonder what this young woman, who had the courage to denounce her father to police, would think if the officer who welcomed her was wearing a hijab.

“I say, out of respect for the potential victims, she (Lamrhari) should either drop this idea of wearing the hijab or to direct herself to the RCMP, which accepts it. In that way she could find work.

“Canada decided to have multiculturalism. We decided to have something else.”

“A police car is not a house of worship,” added Coalition Avenir Québec secularism critic Nathalie Roy.

Quebec is different from the rest of the country and can, therefore, get away with that.

It's just money:

An audit of Canada’s embassy in Egypt has found serious examples of mismanagement, including the loss of $81,000 in unrecoverable taxes and a decision to buy 20 high-quality televisions, then abandon them for months in a warehouse.

The details are revealed in a newly-released report, part of a multi-year review of which Canadian embassies are at the highest risk of fraud.

Officials at Global Affairs Canada are trying to prevent the kinds of mistakes revealed in a 2015 investigation that found Canada’s embassy in Haiti lost $1.7 million over 12 years due to fraud — a discovery that prompted the government to sack 17 locally-recruited staff in Port-au-Prince and order audits of a number of embassies it considers to be similarly at risk.

When auditors visited Egypt from May 28 to June 8 last year, they found the 74-employee mission failing to meet a variety of standards and policies. Their report described “opportunities for misuse of consular funds,” “control weaknesses,” “a lack of consideration of value for money” and “questionable choices” throughout.

In other parts of the world ...

This is kind of a big deal in Japan:

Deep sea mud off the coast of Japan contains enough rare earth metals to supply the world for centuries to come, a new study reveals.

The study published this week in Scientific Reports says the deposit, which lies within the Japanese exclusive economic zone, contains 16 million tons of rare-earth oxides, enough to meet the demand for yttrium for 780 years, europium for 620 years, terbium for 420 years and dysprosium for 730 years.

The deposit “has the potential to supply these metals on a semi-infinite basis to the world,” the study said.

Stick it in your ear, China.

The desperate state of the North Korean people:

Not far from Linjiang, people in thin, head-to-toe rubber suits were diving in the river. Locals said they were part of North Korea's smuggling operations.

We couldn't figure out what the divers were doing - mending pipes in the river bed, fishing? One local walking along the Chinese side of the river bank was happy to fill us in.

"They're mining for gold," he said.

"Are they Chinese or North Korean?" I asked.

"Ha! They're North Koreans. Chinese aren't desperate enough to resort to earning money like that."

We saw men in military uniform watching over the divers. Defectors have said "Office 39," a North Korean entity that procures luxury goods for the Kim family, has a hand in the gold mining business, exporting gold as a way to raise hard currency.

Each corps in the military and security ministry does this kind of gold mining, panning for gold in rivers and streams, wrote Kim Kwang-jin, a North Korean defector, in a report by the U.S.-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.

North Korea has many things desired by the Chinese, locals told me. Not just gold but also copper ore, iron ore, aluminum, charcoal, timber, pine nuts, hazelnuts, seafood and pine mushrooms. In the 1990s, traders just needed to give the border patrols on both sides of the river a small bribe. Now, things have tightened up.

The Nazis were real buggers:

Historians in Poland have acquired Third Reich documents that they believe provide evidence of a Nazi “criminal plan” to obliterate Warsaw by aerial bombing during the war.

Hospitals, water systems, traffic arteries and even a vodka factory are marked in the documents, suggesting the Nazis from the outset intended to inflict maximum civilian casualties and disrupt civil life in their new style of total war for the first time.

Jewish areas of the Polish capital also feature in the documents. The city as a whole seems to have been subjected to a meticulous plan of destruction rather than indiscriminate bombing. Historians from the Warsaw Uprising museum describe the files as significant.

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