Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Mid-Week Post

 Your central point of focus of the work-week ....

That sound one hears is the sound of desperation:

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne compared the province’s opposition leader to Donald Trump and called him a liar and bully, a day after Doug Ford suggested that some members of the Liberal government belong in jail.

(Sidebar: yes, about that ...)

Ms. Wynne, who is seeking re-election in June and faces a tough campaign against Mr. Ford, said that the Progressive Conservative leader “all but chanted, ‘Lock her up,’” on Tuesday, referencing a slogan used by Mr. Trump when he was campaigning against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

(Sidebar: this Hillary Clinton.)

“Doug Ford sounds like Donald Trump, and that’s because he is like Donald Trump. He believes in [an] ugly, vicious brand of politics that traffics in smears and lies. He’ll say anything about anyone at any time because just like Trump, it is all about him,” Ms. Wynne said on Wednesday during an announcement at a Toronto hospital.

(Sidebar: this Donald Trump.)

The thing is, Kathleen Wynne doesn't have to resort to this pathetic name-calling and fear-mongering that usually works with Canadian voters who regard anything American as wicked and heathenish, especially when she knows that bribing unions will do. 

Whether one likes him or not, Donald Trump is doing what he said he would do: lower unemployment and taxes. Since he took office, 2.21 million jobs have been added to the economy. His Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts has allowed companies to reward bonuses to workers in non-management fields.

Since Kathleen Wynne took office from the fleeing Dalton McGuinty, the economy hasn't just taken a downturn. It has foundered almost completely:

Ontario now has the fastest-growing electricity costs in Canada and among the highest in North America. And those rising costs are hitting average Ontarians in the wallet. Between 2008 and 2016, Ontario’s residential electricity costs increased by 71%, far outpacing the 34% average growth nationwide. Consequently, in 2016, Toronto residents paid $60 more per month than the average Canadian for electricity.

Ontario’s skyrocketing electricity rates also hit the province’s industrial sector. Between 2010 and 2016, large industrial users in Toronto and Ottawa experienced cost spikes of 53% and 46%, respectively, compared to a 14% average increase for the rest of Canada. In 2016, large industrial users in Toronto paid almost three times more than consumers in Montreal and Calgary and almost twice the prices paid by large consumers in Vancouver. While some select large industrial consumers received rate reductions, they still paid higher rates compared to large electricity users in Quebec, Alberta and B.C.

The result? Thanks to rising costs and diminished competiveness, compared to multiple comparable American and Canadian jurisdictions, Ontario has seen the steepest decline in its manufacturing sector over the past decade. Astonishingly, Ontario’s high electricity prices are responsible for approximately 75,000 job losses in the manufacturing sector from 2008 to 2015.

So, now that we know how things were broken, it’s time to start fixing them. So far, the Wynne government has mostly employed sleight of hand to hide electricity costs from consumers and shift costs to future generations.

And she's not done yet:

Construction workers, building security guards and cleaners under government contracts would receive a “fair” wage under legislation Ontario’s governing Liberals introduced Tuesday and hope to pass before the June provincial election.

The new legislation — called the Government Contract Wages Act — would establish minimum pay rates for workers in those sectors and require contractors and subcontractors hired by the government to abide by them.

How will Wynne tax these workers when these contracts simply dry up due to the rising costs?

So let Kathleen Wynne and her flying monkeys tell everyone about the "real Doug Ford". Even if he didn't live up to the promises of auditing Kathleen Wynne's books or not making minimum wage workers pay provincial income tax, he still wouldn't be Kathleen Wynne.

Stick to bribery, Kathleen.

Today in "the country's most 'transparent' government" news:

Federal opposition parties are raising alarm bells about a new $7-billion envelope — which they call a “slush fund” — in the main budgetary estimates that Liberals introduced to Parliament on Monday.

Worried that Liberals are giving themselves billions of dollars worth of wiggle room right before an election year, Conservatives are asking for assurances that a promise to limit funds to specific measures announced in the federal budget will be legally binding.

(Sidebar: assurances? Really? From known liars?)


In a long-awaited public appearance, Canada’s national security adviser claimed Monday that there was a “coordinated effort” to spread misinformation about the invitation of a convicted attempted murderer to an official event during the prime minister’s trip to India in February — an invitation that threw the trip into turmoil and that continues to make headlines in both countries. 

But Daniel Jean, who appeared before the House of Commons national security committee on Monday, insists he never said the Indian government was responsible for the misinformation, or for any kind of conspiracy.

“I went out of my way to say this isn’t the government of India,” he told the committee. Jean said either individuals or “rogue elements” within the government, who were not sanctioned by the government, gave misleading information to journalists that aimed to discredit Canadian institutions, including CSIS, the RCMP, and the Canadian High Commission in Delhi.

(Sidebar: yes, about that, Daniel -  Daniel Jean says both the RCMP and CSIS said Atwal was no longer considered a threat. (This is highly questionable). This means they knew he was going to be there and had at least assessed him as a previous threat. Even Atwal calls you out.)


A new poll shows Canadians taking a negative view of how Justin Trudeau is dealing with the Trans Mountain pipeline crisis.

According to Angus Reid, 46% of Canadians say Trudeau is doing a ‘poor job’ handling the issue, while just 36% say he is doing a ‘good job.’
18% say they are not sure or can’t say.
Horgan gets even lower ratings than Trudeau, with just 31% saying he is doing a ‘good job,’ while 38% say he’s doing a ‘poor job.’

This John Horgan:

The British Columbia government is denying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s claim that it has been mum on how Ottawa should reinforce environmental protections — and offering as proof a detailed list of six demands it says were provided to the federal government in February.


So, after Trudeau’s meeting with Notley and Horgan, Horgan is doubling down on his opposition to the Trans Mountain expansion, and promising a seemingly endless legal battle.

On Monday, the Alberta government introduced a bill that would limit exports of oil, natural gas and gasoline to British Columbia.

The majority of gasoline used in B.C. is shipped through the existing Trans Mountain pipeline. B.C.'s government is opposing the expansion of the pipeline.

Shortly after the Alberta government made its announcement, Premier Scott Moe said his government would be following with similar legislation.

"We'll be introducing our own legislation in the next number of days not weeks but days and we'll be asking the opposition here in Saskatchewan to support that," Moe said.

Moe did not give away any specifics but said it would involve putting in export permits on energy products going to British Columbia.

"We hope it doesn't come to this, we truly don't. This is not a conversation we want to be having," Moe said.

When Saskatchewan refused to impose Trudeau’s job-killing carbon tax, Trudeau threatened to take away $62 million in ‘green infrastructure’ funding.

Yet, even as the B.C. NDP was ignoring federal law and blocking the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Justin Trudeau gave Horgan’s government $4.1 billion in infrastructure funding.


Iqra Khalid and the Trudeau government are facing criticism after Khalid reportedly brought greetings on Justin Trudeau’s behalf to Palestine House – an organization with a controversial past.

(Sidebar: this Iqra Khalid.)

Khalid reportedly presented the head of public relations at Palestine House – Amin El-Maoued – an award on behalf of Justin Trudeau. Khalid is also facing criticism for “introducing Palestinian Archibshop Atallah Hanna at an event in Mississauga,” according to iPolitics.

The Conservatives say Atallah Hanna is a support of Syrian Dictator Bashar Al Assad. MP Rachael Harder said Khalid was sent by Trudeau to “bring greetings on his behalf at an event organized by the anti-Israel Palestine House. This event starred a Palestinian activist who supports suicide bombings and who met with President Assad of Syria in 2017,” said Harder.

(Sidebar: this Rachael Harder.)


ProPublica was founded when a pair of wealthy billionaire donors to the Democratic Party decided they needed to fund journalism. In addition to millions from Herb and Marion Sandler, who also fund the left wing Center for American Progress, ProPublica is backed by a long list of left leaning foundations.

Among the list of donors, the Foundation to Promote Open Society, set up by none other than  George Soros.

Now this doesn’t mean Soros is going to be dictating news stories at CBC HQ but why on earth would CBC want to give it’s critics George Soros to wave around as further proof of their left wing bias? Soros has a history of funding projects in an attempt to change the political landscape in his direction.

He has funded projects to try and flip local political races to the Democrats, he has funded state races and he funds a lot of journalism, all of it in a left wing direction.

So what exactly is CBC doing with ProPublica?

They want you to help them track political ads on Facebook by installing an extension on your web browser and then reporting to them, through the extension, when you see a political ad on Facebook as opposed to a non-political ad.

Also - who cares if proles get their Internet news or not, right, Liberals? :

A cross-party parliamentary committee is unanimously calling on the federal government to take more action to address the roughly $7-billion problem of connecting rural and northern residents to high-speed internet.

Oh my God:

While the Harper government changed the rules around pardons after that 2010 report, name changes are handled by provincial governments and it seems being a predator that seeks out children for sexual assault won’t keep you from getting a new identity.

On Sunday the Toronto Sun told the story of Adam Laboucan, now known as Tara Desousa. While the Sun went with the titillating headline that read, “Youngest dangerous offender gets DD breast implants” my concern was with the name change.

Laboucan was 17 when he was arrested for a brutal sexual assault on a three-month old baby in Quesnel, B.C. The child was so badly injured reconstructive surgery was needed.

Laboucan became Canada’s youngest person ever to be named a dangerous offender and therefore is held behind bars without any firm release date. So far, Laboucan, now Desousa, has been denied parole thanks to bad behaviour behind bars including prostitution, assault, drugs and threatening to kill a female guard.

British Columbia, where Laboucan/Desousa is held, requires anyone with a criminal record to get finger prints before a name change to allow police to track.

But what about the public?

If you remember Adam Laboucan’s crimes, would you know a thing about Tara Desousa if she moved in next to you?


A Canadian drug mule broke down in tears in an Australian court on Wednesday when she was sentenced to eight years in prison for her part in an attempt to smuggle cocaine worth $16 million into Sydney in luggage aboard a luxury cruise ship.

Melina Roberge, 24, told the New South Wales state District Court that she risked a life sentence in an Australian prison for the opportunity to take selfies “in exotic locations and post them on Instagram to receive ‘likes’ and attention” during a $17,000 vacation she couldn’t afford.

Yes, I am sure Libya will get right on to that, Canada, because who doesn't see this airport as pivotal to global peace? :

As conflict between rival governments and militias in Libya continues years after the Arab Spring, Canadian diplomats tasked with monitoring the situation are still stuck operating out of a neighbouring country. 

An inspection last year of Canada’s missions to Libya and Tunisia found problems with having both operate out of the same building, according to documents the National Post obtained under access-to-information law. And as other countries considered moving embassies back to Tripoli despite the Libya’s instability, the Canadians worried they would be left out of important conversations on regional security.


Two young men wearing Jewish skullcaps were attacked and insulted in an apparent anti-Semitic assault in Berlin by three other men, who whipped one with a belt, Berlin police said Wednesday.

There has been a big to-do over reports that the Korean War finally will be ending.

If one believes that then perhaps I can interest one in a bridge I no longer want.

Why would Kim Jong-Un or China (which is playing nice by "freeing" defectors it once caught and which will visit its North Korean vassal state soon) relinquish this dictatorial plum?


After the speech ends, as the NIS guys are hustling Thae into a black SUV, the reporter asks him, in effect, what cards he expects the North Koreans will play at the summit. Thae starts to answer, saying that he thinks Pyongyang may well promise to denuclearize again because of the high pressure it’s under, but the NIS men prevent him from finishing his answer. At another point, Thae predicts that despite its promise to denuclearize, Pyongyang will try to stall two or three years until Trump is out of office, presumably to frustrate verification.

This doesn't sound like openness and extrapolation on the event of peninsular peace.

Why would the South Koreans hush this up?

Oh, yes - Thae's prediction that this truce is based on bullsh-- is quite embarrassing for the Moon government.


Veteran actress Choi Eun-hee died on Monday after a long life fuller of ups and downs than a Hollywood film. She was 92.

Her son, movie director Shin Jung-kyun said his mother died while undergoing dialysis. 

Choi was born in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province in 1926 and debuted on the silver screen when she was 21. She married movie director Shin Sang-ok (1926-2006) in 1953 and divorced him in 1976.

In 1978, Choi was abducted by North Korean agents in Hong Kong, and Shin was also abducted when he went there to find her.

The two made 17 movies in North Korea for late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who had them kidnapped because he was a movie fan.


Still, there are good people in the world:

The GoFundMe page dedicated to the Humboldt Broncos, believed to be the largest of its kind in Canadian history, will remain open for two more days before being transferred to a newly created memorial fund, the team’s officials announced Monday.

More than 130,000 individuals and businesses from Canada and other countries have donated between $20 and $50,000 to the GoFundMe campaign, called Funds for Humboldt Broncos. The campaign was started by Humboldt resident Sylvie Kellington after the horrific bus crash earlier this month, which killed 16 players and staff. In nine days, the online campaign has raised more than $12 million.

(Merci beaucoup)

Monday, April 16, 2018

(Insert Title Here)
Damn your black heart, global warming!

Sure, Justin. Sure:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday took his firmest stance yet in support of the Trans Mountain pipeline, saying after an emergency meeting with the B.C. and Alberta premiers that his government would introduce financial and legislative backing to ensure the project goes ahead.

“We are going to get the pipeline built. It is a project in the national interest,” Trudeau said. “We will not have the discussions in public, but this project will go ahead.”

These discussions:

Prior to the 2015 federal election, when the National Energy Board (NEB) was subjected to unremitting pressures from local and international activists, many polls indicated that Canadians viewed NEB decisions as reflecting the national interest. That was until Justin Trudeau, the Liberal leader then running for prime minister, asserted that the NEB was “broken” and in need of “modernization,” a view held by many in the vocal NGO community. After he won, several individuals from prominent NGOs assumed senior positions in his new government. Fast forward to 2018, and we now have Bills C-68 and C-69 to “enact the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) and the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) Act.” ...

Contrary to government assertions, the proposed legislation introduces regulatory uncertainties and may exacerbate regulatory delays. The legislation introduces untested assessment processes while deferring final project decisions to cabinet.

These delays:

"The prime minister is saying they are in negotiations with Kinder Morgan to ensure an end to uncertainty. What he is ignoring is that we are the uncertainty," said Will George, an organizer with Protect the Inlet from Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, in a press release Sunday. "We will not be bought and we will block this pipeline."

This potentially election-blowing pipeline (not the Energy East one, for some reason) has put Justin on the melodrama defensive.

I guarantee one that this pipeline will not be built under Hair-Boy.

It may cost him a few votes but he'll make up for it this way:

Internal data prepared by the Immigration Department for a committee of deputy ministers suggests a majority of Canadians supports current immigration levels, but this support drops when they are informed of how many immigrants actually arrive every year.

(Sidebar: did it never occur to the Canadian voter to ask how migrants will be housed, fed and provided jobs before letting them in to the country? No?)


I wonder how the public would feel if they knew the real total intake for 2016 was 848,000 people and not 260,000 as the poll claims.

Even the number of permanent residents was off as a perusal of the latest report to Parliament by The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, PC., M.P. Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship will attest to.

In 2016, Canada welcomed more than 296,000 permanent residents, which is close to our new, ongoing target of 300,000 that we aim to achieve in 2017.

In 2018 the government hopes to reach between 290,00 and 310,000 and in 2019 as many as 350,000 permanent residents.

But even that doesn’t tell the full story, which we can find in the report to Parliament on the 2016 numbers.

296,000 permanent residents, this includes 62,000 refugees
286,000 temporary foreign workers
266,000 international students
TOTAL: 848,000

That is a far cry from the 260,000 that the immigration officials put in the poll. Now some might say they are temporary and some of the workers, especially agricultural workers, only stay here part of the year. Others though stay for years at a time. As for students, they are encouraged to get Canadian experience and stay here with preferential treatment.

Oh, it gets better:

After four decades, the federal government is getting rid of rules that turned away would-be immigrants with intellectual or physical disabilities, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Monday.

The government will no longer be allowed to reject permanent resident applications from those with serious health conditions or disabilities.

To wit:

A group of parents with children on the autism spectrum is preparing to take legal action against the Quebec government and its school boards. As Gloria Henriquez reports, the parents say their children are being discriminated against.

It isn't just craven vote-stacking; it's contempt for the average Canadian who pays into a system and regards himself as a Canadian.

Any Canadian who tolerates this deserves every moment of misery he or she has coming to him or her and it will come.

Vote the b@$#@rds out of office.


The Quebec government says it is facing the prospect of even more asylum seekers entering the province from the United States this year and wants the federal government to come up with a plan to deal with the influx.

The number so far this year has tripled to 6,074 from about 2,000 during the same period in 2017 and is forecast to increase significantly this summer, Immigration Minister David Heurtel said Monday.

"Even the numbers we're getting from the federal government show us that the situation is different, there's going to be more asylum seekers, so we need a new plan," he said.

Heurtel said projections suggest there will be up to 400 crossings a day this summer, compared to 250 in 2017.

He noted that the ball is in Ottawa's court and that he will meet with federal officials Wednesday to discuss the matter.

This must be embarrassing:

During that latest foreign trip (this time to Peru for the Summit of the Americas), Justin Trudeau took a moment to wave to the adoring crowds as he boarded his airplane.

Trudeau often waves as he boards his airplane, and this time seemed no different.

Except, there was nobody there, as can be seen in photos recently shared on Twitter.

Trudeau waving to nobody

This might have something to do with it:

After all, the last time he intervened in an impasse it didn’t to so well for him. Remember ‘Elbowgate’, when Trudeau decided to help out the Conservative whip who was being delayed to a vote by three NDP members? Trudeau jumped into his phone booth and came out in his superhero costume, but instead of leaping tall buildings, he allegedly murmured obscenities while manhandling members of Parliament in his rush to solve what he perceived as an affront. He ended up apologizing in the House a number of times.

Now here he is again attempting to solve something else by trying to force somebody with his will and his government’s brawn. But like that incident, he doesn’t seem to realize he can step back. Sometimes diplomacy and compromise work better than threats and bluster, especially in complex matters that require a full understanding of options and facts — something that seems to be lacking on all sides in this debate.

He’s wading into a situation where a land locked province with a new refinery lining out is threatening to block the movement of their own product out of the province. Meanwhile B.C. sits on the water and often brings in almost twice as much product from outside the country as Alberta sends out. Notley’s threat sounds very Trumpian, threatening to shoot herself in the foot. Stand back and assess the reality of where we are, please.

But Trudeau seems to have that same, singular focus as in the boxing ring: that focus to make a thing happen, to be a winner without thinking through what his non-pugilistic options are or even if the problem is what he thinks it is.

He has his father's arrogance.

It's the Canadian chaebol way.

A reminder - Justin thought it was "disgusting" to prioritise Yazidis and Christians as refugees:

At one point during the peak of the conflict, there were nearly 7,000 non-Muslim females captured by ISIS. Currently, there are an estimated 1,500 Christian and Yazidi girls and women still in captivity in Iraq and Syria, while 1,000 others are missing. After their defeat in Raqqa, ISIS jihadists reportedly moved most of the captive females to other areas under their control in eastern Homs and southern Damascus. Others are believed to have been sold to sex traffickers in Turkey.

With the anti-ISIS campaign gradually dwindling, many Christian and Yazidi groups fear that discovering the fate of those girls and women still in ISIS captivity is becoming even more difficult. It is an issue that the international community cannot ignore.

Moscow denies that it will or that it has tampered with evidence relating to a gas attack that killed many in Syria:

The United States accused Russia on Monday of blocking international inspectors from reaching the site of a suspected poison gas attack in Syria and said Russians or Syrians may have tampered with evidence on the ground.

This sounds terribly familiar:

Britain’s Court of Appeal ruled Monday against the parents of a terminally ill toddler who sought permission to take him to Italy for medical treatment that lower U.K. courts blocked in favour of suspending life support.

The parents of 23-month-old Alfie Evans have been engaged in a protracted legal fight with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital over his care. They asked the Court of Appeal to overturn earlier rulings that blocked further medical treatment for their son.

Instead, justices upheld a lower court’s conclusion that flying Alfie to a hospital in Rome would be wrong and pointless.

Oh, dear. The Narrative:

The Canadian Association of University Teachers wants you to believe that racialized professors are “Underrepresented and Underpaid” on campus. That’s the title they gave their new report, which delves into 2016 Census data.

“The data is revealing but comes as no surprise,” laments York University professor Pat Armstrong in the press release. “We can and must do better to address discrimination in employment at Canada’s universities and colleges.”

The data are revealing alright. But rather than showing widespread discrimination against non-whites, it actually shows the opposite: not only is the racial makeup of Canada’s professoriate now almost perfectly matched to the national labour force, but the data suggest universities have discriminated heavily against white academics to get there.

Consider what ought to be the headline number, which is glossed over in the report. The Census showed that 21.1 per cent of university instructors in 2016 were non-white. That’s exactly the same percentage (21.1) of the Canadian labour force aged 25 to 74 who were non-white that year. White people are no longer overrepresented overall in academia.

But it's the truth! :

The complaint filed with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal alleges that Neufeld negatively affected teachers' work environments by calling those who support transgender students "child abusers."

It claims Neufeld has referred to trans people as part of a "biologically absurd theory," and that his statements paint trans people as "ill, delusional and suggests that there is a transgender agenda that will harm children."

Gerald Stanley pleads guilty to unsafe storage of a firearm:

A Saskatchewan farmer acquitted in the fatal shooting of a young Indigenous man is giving up his guns and has been ordered to pay a $3,000 fine after pleading guilty to unsafe storage of an unrestricted firearm.

Gerald Stanley pleaded guilty Monday in North Battleford provincial court to the charge that involved six rifles and shotguns. The Crown said none of them had trigger locks.

The Crown dropped a second count of unsafe storage of a restricted handgun.

Stanley was acquitted in the death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie, who was shot and killed on Stanley’s farm in August 2016.

Bad dog!:

This pup may look like a perp, but the Ontario Provincial Police say Finn’s criminal record remains clean despite his brief run-in with cops in Kenora, Ont., over the weekend.

A tweeted image of Finn in the back of an OPP cruiser shows the stern-faced dog peering through bars after he was accused of chasing deer near Lake of the Woods.

How could anyone stay mad at that face?

(Merci beaucoup)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday Freakout

Only in Japan:

For years, people in Japan have been enjoying the taste of mochi, a Japanese treat made from glutinous rice that’s been cooked and pounded to give it a delectably smooth and chewy consistency. Usually eaten as a traditional food for Japanese New Year, mochi has also been used in the world of confectionery, wrapped around fillings of sweet paste in the form of daifuku, paired with ice cream like Häagen-Dazs, and used in the ever popular Yukimi Daifuku mochi-covered ice cream balls manufactured by Lotte.

Fusion food, the Soviet way:

A simple salad called morkovcha or “Korean carrots” can be found in markets and on tables across the former Soviet Union. Despite its name, people from Korea probably won’t be familiar with this dish of julienned carrots marinated in white vinegar, vegetable oil, coriander, red pepper, and fresh garlic. But anyone from Uzbekistan will recognize it immediately.

The former Soviet Union is home to around 500,000 ethnic Koreans (or Koryo-saram), with the largest communities in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Their forebears had come from the northern part of Korea to Russia’s Far East in the 1860s to escape famine. In the early 1900s, another wave of Koreans fled repression by the Japanese colonial authorities. By the 1930s, nearly 200,000 Koryo-saram had settled in what was by then the Soviet Union.

In 1937, as tensions rose between the USSR and Japan, Joseph Stalin deemed the Soviet Koreans an “unreliable people” and forcibly relocated the population to remote parts of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Many Koryo-saram died on the month-long journey. Those who survived were forced to start over with nothing in an unknown land. Hunger and extreme poverty marked the early years.

Koryo-saram cuisine diverged from traditional Korean cooking, first as the group mingled with Russians in the Far East and later in response to Central Asian influences and crops. Morkovcha is a prime example of this evolution: When common Korean ingredients such as napa cabbage weren’t available for kimchi, for example, carrots could make a handy substitute. Meanwhile, the coriander seeds and fresh cilantro often added to the salad are staples of Uzbek cuisine.

As Soviet Koreans moved around the USSR to study and work in the 1960s, their cuisine spread and morkovcha became a staple outside the diaspora. The crunchy, garlicky, sweet-and-sour salad is so well-loved, many grocery stores sell packaged spice mixes to make it at home.

Speaking of the former Soviet Union:


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.