Joe Volpe: the Ben Johnson of the Liberal leadership race?

It looks like Joe Volpe’s leadership campaign might be on steroids and Pat Martin of the NDP might be administering the pee test. If the allegations prove out, several high-ranking officials of Apotex, the drug manufacturer and their children, each donated the maximum amount allowable by Elections Canada law.

Are we going to see Mr. Volpe make the decision that it’s better to spend more time on constituents’ issues soon, I wonder?


…And are You a Group of Paranoid Control Freaks?

The Halifax Regional School Board, in what is now the latest in a series of dunderheaded exploits, has decided to distribute a survey to its teachers, asking whether they are heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian.
The Lindsay Willow decision (and all of the patently bigoted decisions on the part of many ‘educators’ that led to the human-rights hearing in the first place) has apparently prompted a paranoid conservative backlash. Although not generally in favour of labour unions, I have to agree with Teacher’s Union president Mary-Lou Donnelly:

Donnelly also worries about the confidentiality of the survey answers. She said she suggested the school board collect the information anonymously, but so far the board has refused.

Collecting survey information on such a personal matter, and not insisting on anonymity, just shows how much of a witch hunt this really is. The Board wants to be able to open the file next time a teacher is accused of acting inappropriately to check whether the person is gay, lesbian or bisexual before deciding it’s ok to discriminate against them.

As a Sociologist, I am appalled that any survey of this type is being conducted at all by an employer. I’d also be surprised if, upon legal challenge (note emphasis – Mary-Lou, put this on your to-do list) , this type of action isn’t completely condemned by any court or human rights body in the land.

The fact that nobody has raised an alarm about this before now is troubling. The fact that Mary-Lou says she is “unsure about how to advise union members to respond” is even more troubling, and displays nothing less than a politically fatal moral weakness. That’s a no-brainer, M.L. – your members should tear such a document into tiny pieces, and unequivocally refuse. What kind of message is the Board sending the children under their care?

Let them have their witch hunt – I’ll be very surprised if any of the ‘witches’ they’re searching for opt to raise their hands and identify themselves in that type of working environment.

Update: Oh, now I get it. Donnelly hasn’t said anything before this because it would hurt her chances of re-election as president of the NSTU. Now I’m really sickened.


This report naturally brought to you by a British newspaper…

77 US television stations are being investigated by the FCC for broadcasting items produced by the Bush government and a handful of corporations, while promoting them as unbiased “news”. These reports, referred to as video news releases (VNR), have been used to sell drugs by Pfizer, chocolate bars by Mars, and the murder of Iraqi citizens spread of democracy in Iraq by the Bush administration.

None of this is likely a surprise to anyone aware of the state of the modern MSM, but I do have to wonder why the Bush Administration felt the need to bother when they already have Fox News?

[Update: Joe Edmonton suggested in a comment that the Clinton Administration also used VNRs to promote their own agenda. I followed up with a quick search of the Accuracy in Media site and came up with this. It appears that this kind of “reporting” goes back at least 15 years.]


Is this someone conservatives can listen to?

Actually, no, because he makes too much goddamned sense.

Even though companies here in the United States are not subject to Kyoto’s emission caps, U.S. companies that operate in nations complying with the Kyoto Protocol do have to meet those countries’ caps. Until the United States passes its own limits on global warming emissions, innovative companies based here will lose out on opportunities to sell reduced emission credits to companies complying with the Kyoto Protocol overseas. Additionally, without enacting our own emission limits, U.S. companies will lose ground to their competitors in Europe, Canada, Japan, and other countries participating in the Protocol who are developing clean technologies

Where does this quote come from? From the The Nature Conservancy (emphasis mine), whose chairman of the board, Henry Paulson is also CEO of Goldman Sachs Group and is being considered as the new Whitehouse Treasury Secretary.

So not complying with Kyoto is going to cost money and lead to further degradation, and complying with Kyoto is going to cost money and start the process of reversing environmental damage. Which is the smarter course?

For more, go to Think Progress.


I don’t like the look of that guy in the corner store…

Stephen Harper promised us, okay, promised an American economic group that he would establish an American-style conservative government in our fair land. His goals thusly stated, where to start? In a hat-tip to W down south he has shown a predilection for hiding behind the military and waving the flag, but that image hasn’t played quite as well here. In fact, in spite of his whole-hearted support of the Canadian contribution to the General Waste of Time, support for the mission in Afghanistan continues to fall across the country. It could be that we’re just not quite as accustomed to “transfer tubes” as our neighbours to the south.

So if flag-waving doesn’t jump us to attention, what’s a guy to do? Why, a guy is to steal pages two through twelve hundred from the Karl Rove “mini-Machiavelli” handbook, the section on fear. What would be more American than a liberal dose of fear to mobilize the population and spice up the water-cooler huddle?

Enter Jack Hooper, deputy director of CSIS, who has announced that we have an as yet un-colour-coded threat of home-grown terrorism! Right here, in our own backyard! And like his Homeland Defense compatriots to the south, his announcement contains no actual information, it’s purpose is simply to ratchet up our fear level a tiny little bit. We get a few priceless gems that could have been read from a Whitehouse statement four years ago like this:

“They are virtually indistinguishable from other youth. They blend in very well to our society, they speak our language and they appear to be — to all intents and purposes — well-assimilated,” he said.

What exactly does “virtual” mean in this sense? Like us, but … with a tatoo? Like us, but … they drive American-built cars? Ah, here’s the answer – like us, but immigrants:

“I can tell you that all of the circumstances that led to the London transit bombings, to take one example, are resident here now in Canada,” he said.

It’s sort of cute the way he dances around the word “Arabic”, isn’t it?

Naturally, toeing the party line, he then goes on to reiterate how important it is to keep Canadian troops in Afghanistan, because, well, do we really need to explain to you how dangerous it would be to not do so?

So, Mr. Hooper, if you have evidence of such threats, why the hell don’t you demonstrate it and arrest someone? I mean, they just arrested four kids here for conspiracy based on some crap they wrote in their schools and on their computers; surely you can come up with at least that little bit of evidence to charge someone. Unless of course the goal is just to make us that little bit more afraid so that we’ll accept the next little lie…