And so endeth the year…

…with my opining being quoted in no less than The Economist! The Economist, don’t you know!

This European model would be unpalatable to those Canadians who fear that they would have to adopt American policies. One strategist for the opposition Liberal Party has already proposed that they run ads similar to those used during the 1988 national election campaign when the main issue was whether to adopt a free trade agreement with the US. The ads featured an American trade negotiator erasing the border with Canada.

Okay, so they don’t actually name me, but I’ll take what I can get.

Anyway. A sincere thanks to all of your who regularly comment here, or those who send along ideas and links and whatnot – or those who just lurk out there in the Internet ether, and read.  May you all have a way better 2011 than my 2010 was.  Way.

Now, Happy New Year!  And don’t drink and drive!


Predictions for 2011

Every year, I make ’em.

Every year, I get most or all spectacularly wrong.  Happens without fail.

This year, I’ve penned my predictions for the Sun chain, and – happily, inexplicably – they have paid me for same.  So I’d better get ’em right.

My prognostications will be in Sunday’s paper.  But I thought I’d give the smart folks who comment regularly on wk. com – you know who you are, and I know who you are, too, pen names notwithstanding – an opportunity to join in on the fun.  Below, I’ve posted the ten headings for my Sun predictions for the New Year – but I’ve left out the actual fortune-telling.

So, I invite you to offer up your own predictions in each of the ten categories – or, if you like, predict what I’m going to predict – and I’ll re-post the best ones on New Year’s day.  Use comments, here.

Try it out!  Have fun!  Remember: you can’t possibly get as many predictions wrong as I do!

**

1.          Election 2011:

2.          And the winner will be…:

3.          Galvanizing issue for 2011:

4.          Stephen Harper will…

5.          The provinces will…

6.          Post-election, [FILL IN] will abound.

7.          Ignatieff will…

8.          A coalition will…

9.          Scandal [FILL IN]

10.  …our federal politicians [FILL IN].


The best music of 2010

My annual list is imminent, Scott.  At or near the top will be the Liars’ latest, Sisterworld, on which this tune is found.

The video, compelling as always, essentially defines life: you keep throwing shit away, and it comes back threefold.  Then you cack out.


Lily’s story

Lily Shang is a young friend of mine.  We met through Liberal stuff, and I saw right away that she is a very impressive person.  She’s a talented musician, an award-winning student, and a committed political activist.  I last saw her before she left for New York City to start a new life.  We talked about her career and the political future.

Last night, a Star reporter got in touch with me to ask if I knew Lily.  I asked why.  The reporter told me that “her husband was being pretty hard on her.”  When I Googled Lily’s name, I saw why.  And, this morning, I saw the resulting story. There are others, told in a gossipy, adolescent tone.

I’m biased, because I like Lily, like many Liberals do.  But, on the heels of that story about the Harpers – and given that my family is going through something similar, with my divorce pleadings being swapped like hockey cards by two newspapers and OLO operatives in Ottawa and Toronto – I think a truism bears repeating.  Here it is:

This is nobody else’s business.  Leave her (and them, and us) alone.


Canada at war

…because we are at war.  We’re a nation at war.

It’s easy to forget over the holidays, I suppose.  And, because it is happening so far away, in a place where most of us will never go, it seems like something happening in a movie theatre.  But for the Armed Forces, and for military families, it is much more realistic than that, I reckon.

Military expert Scott Taylor – who has forgotten more about this country’s military than I, or most of this web site’s readership, will ever know – writes about the war this morning in the The Chronicle Herald. I urge you to read all of it, because it isn’t just an important column – it’s a courageous column.  It’s courageous because pro-war voices are pervasive, and utterly dominate the discourse in Canada, these days.  They attack and malign whomever speaks up against them.

In particular, I wanted to draw to your attention the following:

“…Canada’s extended military contribution to this mission, with the provision of 1,000 military trainers until (at least) 2014, was loudly hailed by the pro-war tub-thumpers as an opportunity for Canadian soldiers to “finish the job.” This has become the universal catch phrase of the pro-war lobby in the wake of their realization that the word victory no longer makes any sense.

Even if we take that objective to its logical and limited conclusion and assume now that our soldiers’ job is to create a self-sufficient, effective Afghan security force, that still begs the question: How does that ultimately benefit the Afghan people?”

And:

“…Given the death of [Cpl. Steve] Martin — and his 153 comrades who have also made the ultimate sacrifice — Canadians need to continue to educate themselves about the real challenges and to define through debate the real job we may want to finish in Afghanistan.

Training more Afghan youths to fire weapons in order to impose ruthless authority is not the answer.”

It’s unfortunate that – every time I voice an anti-war opinion – I feel obliged to state that my Dad was an officer in the Armed Forces, that we grew up around the military, and that I wanted to join the military myself.  But such is the effectiveness of the military lobby, with their embedded journalists and wined-and-dined politicians: they make you feel a bit guilty about challenging the conventional “wisdom.”

But my view remains unchanged: I feel – and apparently Scott Taylor agrees with me – we have done our bit.  After almost a decade, it is time for other nations to step up.  Canada can apply her considerable expertise in many other parts of the world, where terror and tyranny also run unchecked.  Propping up Afghanistan’s dictatorship does us, and the world, no good.

Who else feels as I do?  Not bloody many, by my count.  The Conservative government, naturally, equates the untendered acquistion of billions in unneeded fighter jets with patriotism.  My party, meanwhile, isn’t much better: after opposing extending the war – and after repeatedly demanding that the government make good on its promise to withdraw in 2011 – the Liberal leadership now cheers it on, blithely giving the pro-war lobby the votes they needed to continue making billions.  And to keep a corrupt dictator in power.

The New Democrats and the Bloc feel similarly, I think, but they will never be close enough to power to do anything about it.  So, for years to come, we will continue to lose young lives.  We will continue to receive returning soldiers at CFB Trenton, and watch the grim trek down the Highway of Heroes to Toronto.

And, eventually, we will ask ourselves: for what?



Even the Vice-Regal guy agrees with us!

“The new governor general says he sees nothing wrong or illegitimate with coalition governments — something Prime Minister Stephen Harper has attacked for being “undemocratic.”

Gov. Gen. David Johnston told QMI Agency he’s been busy brushing up on constitutional governments in case he is called upon to navigate a choppy political crisis.

“Any governor general who has that role in a constitutional system like ours, from time to time will be confronted with questions where there is an element of discretion,” he said.”

Coming up: the “I have no relationship with the Governor-General” press conference!  Stay tuned!


If Timmy Hudak can’t run his own party, how could he ever run Ontario?

“A rare act of open hostility between a federal Conservative MP and his provincial PC cousin is resonating throughout Queen’s Park, prompting astonishment from the sidelines, mild concern within the party and outright glee among Liberal ranks. The outburst came in a letter to a Toronto newspaper penned by Conservative MP Scott Reid… Several Tory MPPs have privately expressed shock over the letter. And one senior Liberal said the party will use Reid’s remarks against Sterling in the October 2011 provincial election. Sterling, an MPP since 1977, played down Reid’s remarks, calling them “silly” and “irrelevant.” He said he’s not worried about the impact the comments will have in the upcoming election.”

What’s it all mean? Well, it means they are Reformatories, for starters. They are two parties within one: Conservatives on one side, rural extremists on the other.

And Timmy Hudak did a secret deal with the latter to win the leadership of the former. Soon enough, he’ll pay a price for that secret deal.

He won’t like the outcome.