A quiz for Canadian conservatives

Circle the correct answer to each of the following two questions:

Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, with no middle class, has been riven by politically-motivated religious violence for decades. It is ripe and ready for the flowering of a democracy. Our troops can bring it.

Canada can reduce carbon dioxide emissions to pre-1990 levels.

Answers: If you are a true Conservative ™ the answer to the first question is A) Possible and to the second question is B) Impossible. If you scored two out of two, you just might be a Canadian Conservative. Other evidence might include:
– a subscription to the National Post or any newspaper that has a girl in a bikini on page three,
– you read Adam Daifallah’s blog without a sickly vomit-in-the-back-of-your-mouth feeling,
– you think that two-tiered health care will magically produce more doctors, or
– you have a predilection for Churchillian quotes when thinking about Iraq or Iran.


The power of Christ compels you! Not!

Harvard medical school has completed a double-blind study on heart surgery patients. The focus of this study was to determine whether third party prayin’ would aid in the recovery of said patients. There were three groups of patients in the study. Group 1 knew some people were praying for them; Group 2 knew nobody was praying for them, and Group 3 had a group praying for them but were blissfully unaware of the attention. For group 1, 52% of the patients suffered post-op complications. For group 2, 51% suffered problems. And for group 3, 59% suffered post-op complications. The score: prayer 0, bacterial contaminents 3.

After reading about this, I have several questions, but this is my first: Who the hell funds such a useless study? Is this where the money which used to go towards stem cell research is heading? Multi-year clinical trial at Harvard University??????? Arrghhhhh!!!!

My second question: Which god were the prayers directed towards? How can we know that the Power Of Prayer (POP) is ineffective if we don’t have this vital information? I meekly suggest, with tongue firmly in cheek, that this study be repeated for every major, minor, and possible future religion until the One True God (OTG) is statistically identified. Once the POP medical study correctly identifies the OTG, we can put an end to all the silly religious wars between Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs and finally join together as one world to worship Loki in peace and harmony. Or the Invisible Pink Unicorn, if I’m wrong about Loki. It’s gotta be one of those two.


The Argument Against – The Wait Time Rant Part III

The suggestion that privatizing elements of the health care system, or what some believe to be a direct follow-up from that, a parallel private system, is met with fear and disdain, and a sense that anyone willing to suggest it would be unpatriotic – apparently private enterprise is un-Canadian. I don’t know about the last part, but…

They’re right to object, because it would accomplish nothing.

According to information I have gathered at various times, and reinforced here, a parallel private system would do absolutely nothing to reduce wait times. Looking at systems in Australia and New Zealand, each having two parallel systems, we see the problem with the theory: the public system inevitably bottlenecks, because developing a parallel system doesn’t suddenly mean you have twice as many doctors. You have the same number of doctors, and in an ideal world, they’d be working twice as hard to move the public system along. But the other alternative is obvious. Doctors defect to the private system because they can make more money there.
Hell, the Aussies actually look to our system for answers!

Having said that, I can understand the logic of privatizing some services, particularly those that are not covered by the Canada Health Act – for example, cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgeons provide many necessary services, not the least of which is repairing damaged tissue and restoring appearance after accidents, and so on. Cosmetic surgery, as opposed to plastic surgery, is primarily rooted in vanity, with Joan Rivers being clearly the most horrible example. Plastic surgery is covered by the CHA, cosmetic surgery, except that which corrects physical defects (not wrinkles, for goodness’ sake), is not.
Here’s where I say But
In order to retain certification as a plastic surgeon, said surgeon must perform a minimum number of surgeries per year, including cosmetic procedures. If they don’t, they lose their ability to practise. So, cosmetic surgery, while not necessary to the patient, is necessary to the surgeon.
These procedures tie up operating rooms unncecessarily, so in this case, I agree that procedures not covered under the CHA are fair game.

And a quick suggestion to eliminate the ‘bed blocking’ (trust me, the CEOs of the District Health Authorities HATE that term) that occurs in hospitals: For goodness’ sake, start discharging people whenever they are well. That means 24 hours a day, folks, like they do in the U.K. If you are sent home at 2 in the morning, isn’t that better than having to spend one more freakin’ minute in the hospital? Releasing people for only one hour a day guarantees that you will have people suffering in the hallways and reinforcing the perception that our health care system is going down the proverbial tubes.

As someone who stood next to the one he loves, getting more anxious as she waited over 24 hours for a bed, during an attack of a serious illness, I know what I’m talking about. I was ready to head upstairs and ‘discharge’ a few people myself.

So, if there is an inclination out there (and I know there is) to describe this as an either-or proposition, not so fast. That’s not the way the system…dare I say it, operates.


Bill C-208

Peter Stoffer has re-introduced floor-crossing legislation, Bill C-208, which would immediately result in a byelection should a member cross the floor. The last time around the votes split this way:

I have a sneaky suspicion that Maria Minna, the only Liberal to vote in favour of Bill C-251 might have some more company from her benchmates. What will be more interesting is to see where the Conservatives who voted Yes last time when it was Car-Parts Girl was the issue-du-jour. They are:

Rona Ambrose
Rob Anders
James Bezan
Gord Brown
Rick Casson
John Cummins
Barry Devolin
Ken Epp
Diane Finley
Gary Goodyear
Nina Grewal
Helena Guergis
Richard Harris
Russ Hiebert
Jay Hill
Brian Jean
Randy Kamp
Gerald Keddy
Daryl Kramp
Tom Lukiwski
James Lunney
Rob Merrifield
Larry Miller
Bob Mills
Bev Oda
Pierre Poilievre
Joe Preston
James Rajotte
Carol Skelton
Joy Smith
Myron Thompson
David Tilson
Bradley Trost
Maurice Vellacott
Jeff Watson
Lynne Yelich


Environics poll results…

Environics released some interesting poll numbers yesterday that show the Conservatives picking up support pretty much all over the country, but especially in Ontario. The results are(change from the election):

Conservatives 41 (+5)
Liberals 22 (-8)
NDP 21 (+3)
BQ 10 (-1)
Green 5 (nc)
Other 1 (nc)

On the surface this is indeed good news for the Conservatives and NDP, whose 5 and 3% increase is just outside the statistical margin of error of 2.4%, and bad for the Liberals, who appear to be in somewhat of a freefall. This should be of little surprise – the Conservatives have made errors since the election but have continued to press mistakes of the previous government to their advantage, and the caretaker leadership of the Liberals has been unable to effectively counter this. What should be of greater concern for the Liberals is the regional breakdown – the bleeding continues in Quebec and Ontario where the Conservatives have picked up 4 and 5% respectively and the Liberals have lost a whopping 10 and 11%!

It might not all be bad news, however. The poll also asked what the respondents thought was the main reason the Conservatives are now in power, and only 5% responded that it was due to support for the party and their policies. This might reflect some distrust or wariness with the new party, or it could be that Canadians just have not bought the Conservative revolution yet. However, the question required that the respondent interpret what they thought the general mood was, not why they voted the way they did, so the question asks for an analysis of the political mood, not personal preference, so hanging too much hope on it is not wise.

Whatever the results, I have a feeling that the electorate is still in a state of flux and the Liberals could still regain some of the lost ground even before the leadership convention. However, if they continue to concentrate all of their attention on the leadership and not on real governance issues, they run the risk of solidifying the Conservative support in the high thirties or higher and then a majority Conservity government is a near-certainty next time around.


Blogging on the dark side…

I try to make it a habit to spend at least half of my surfing time prowling the right side of the blogoshpere, partly because I think just reading posts written by people whom I agree with is kind of dull after a while, and partly because it’s nice to get into a good scrap now and then about something.

Like any other blog family, on the right I come across lots of types – blogs that are either so clueless that I’m left speechless, like say Michelle Malkin, some that are written or commented by pubescents that just love to write “fuck” behind their parents’ backs and I can’t get anything at all from, and others that leave me furious and frustrated like Little Green Footballs and it’s offshoots. Then there are others that I disagree with strenuously, but just love to read. For instance, Adam Daifallah is a fun read because he’s so naïve it’s almost painful. He really has no sense in the world, and as long as the conservative element in Canada keep paying attention to guys like him, I think we on the left in pretty good shape. I think that in the deepest despairs of my lefty heart, I can always go back to him for a spiritual lift – I’m not that dumb.

A recent discovery for me is Rick Moran’s blog Right Wing Nuthouse. It combines good writing and right-wing politics that make for a decidedly icky feeling with every read – I keep going back. Here’s a sample of what I hate and love:

The gamble we took in Iraq was, at the time of the invasion, a good bet. There the potential gains to our security and our overall strategy in the Middle East far outweighed the minuses of roiling the volatile Arab street and spurring al Qaeda’s recruitment. As the war has gone on, however, the tote board is starting to look more and more even. There is still much to be gained with a successful conclusion to the Iraq operation (although lowering our sights as far as what can be realistically accomplished is now part of the game) and, of course, we’ve already benefited from getting rid of Saddam. But the minuses are starting to pile up and very soon we will be faced with the prospect of Iraq becoming a zero sum game with whatever benefits accruing to our security and strategic position in the Middle East being offset by losses to our overall security posture and an actual diminishing of our influence in the region.

It actually is from an article he’s written on Iran, but it really nicely highlights some of the contemporary right-wing thoughts on Iraq. What looked like a safe bet at the beginning is beginning to look more and more, umm, “even”, and soon, yes, soon, it’s going to start looking like it will actually weaken the overall American influence in the region. Set aside the fact that the “tote board” is a count of civilian dead and transfer tubes, can you detect that trademark optimism that I’ve been going on and on about? I mean, how much weaker does the US have to get, how much credibility does it have to lose before the right wing realizes that the gig is up? The zero sum game started somewhere around the time Bush showed us his military package on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln, I’m afraid.

For anyone interested in fleshing out their reading on Iraq and Iran, I recommend this website. It really is quite good – just don’t take everything in it at face value.