Jason Hayes

Libertarian thought, policy, religion, the environment, tech, coffee, and Tabasco – the stuff of life
This is my personal blog - the thoughts and ideas expressed here are posted on my own time and are mine and mine alone.

Google+

Archives

Jason Hayes Social Feeds

Green Shift: Dion is channeling Trudeau’s ghost

Why am I not surprised to see Stéphane Dion’s plan to “save” Canada from the threat of climate change involves taxing the life and breath out of Alberta and Saskatchewan?

His Green Shift/Tournant Vert plan is nothing more than Trudeau’s National Energy Plan resurrected from the dung heap of the past. It is more of the same mentality that sees Western Canadian resources as a bank account for Toronto, Montréal, and Ottawa. They’ve crushed the economies and squandered the resources of the Maritimes, so now they need to find somewhere else to grab more funding.

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion says 40 per cent of Canada’s carbon emissions come from Alberta and Saskatchewan and the two western provinces will have to do the most to change their habits under his new green plan. But he said it will be good for them – and he’s taking that message to the Calgary Stampede next weekend. …

“To do the right thing will be beneficial for them,” Mr. Dion told The Globe and Mail’s editorial board. “I care about Alberta and Saskatchewan. I know many people who want to do the right thing. Many will know that it will create jobs there – green jobs.”

The Liberals’ controversial “green shift” plan would impose a carbon tax worth $15.4-billion a year that would be levied on the use of fossil fuels at the industrial and consumer level, although gasoline would be exempt. It would start at $10 per tonne of carbon fuel, rising to $40 per tonne in the fourth year.

It seems the malevolent spirit of Pierre Trudeau has indeed risen up from the grave and entered Stephane Dion. P.E.T. apparently hadn’t sucked enough energy, cash, and spirit out of Western Canada and he needed to make a comeback. Dion, possessing the Liberal leadership but lacking a soul of his own, was an obvious target for possession by the demonic shade of P.E.T.

We’ve seen the scam before and we’re seeing it again. Essentially the selling point for this plans is, “it may destroy you and it may appear like we’re benefiting from your pain over here in Ottawa, but you should understand that its really all for your own good.” It’s the old, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” on steroids.

Sitting in their meager surroundings at 24 Sussex Drive or Stornoway, the federal Liberal leadership are able to perceive the needs and wants of Western Canadians so much more thoroughly than Western Canadians. They know what we need and what we “really” want is to spend our lives working for the good of the collective and to send our hard earned money and resources to Ottawa.

The sad thing is that Dion is apparently just as deluded as Trudeau was. He actually appears to believe that he can waltz right into the middle of Alberta — into one of Western Canada’s most popular pastimes (the Stampede) — and inform the assembled people that “he cares” so they need to cough up even more in taxes — they need to shoulder even more of the burden.

Watch for Dion to start channeling other aspects of Trudeau’s winning personality as his ghost becomes more entrenched in Dion’s frame.

But the “Dion salute” doesn’t have quite the same ring as “Trudeau salute” or the “Salmon Arm Salute”.

How about the “Stampede salute”?

Quote of the Week: Shooting smack a new Canadian “right”

Some experts believe cigarettes are harder to kick than heroin. So should we stop blaming smokers for their filthy, harmful, expensive habit? Of course not! Nor would we attempt to argue that somebody addicted to cigarettes (or alcohol) has a constitutional right to the next smoke (or drink).

And so we have arrived at a peculiar place, where smokers are officially regarded as a scourge, but junkies just can’t help themselves. We have widespread public-health programs to warn teenagers of the perils of tobacco and AIDS, but hardly any to show them what happens to guys who start shooting heroin for kicks, or girls who become crack whores. Oh no. We can’t do that. That’s way too moralistic. And everybody knows it would never, never work.

Margaret Wente discussing the recent ruling by BC Court Judge, Mr. Justice Ian Pitfield that claims herion addicts have a Charter right to “health care” in the form of safe-injection sites.

With scholars like this fellow sitting on the bench, I wonder if having a “right” actually means anything at all anymore. It’s clear that none of Mr. Justice Pitfeild’s profs in university or law school ever bothered to help him understand the concept of a right.

Toronto City Councilor says “gun-toting Yanks” should stay away

Here’s the text of a May 29th letter to the editor, published in the Toronto Star, and written by Toronto City Councilor, Adam Vaughn. If you’re an American, read through it and then let me know if you plan on spending any time in Toronto any time soon.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Guns aren’t welcome in Toronto
May 30, 2008 04:30 AM
Re:Targeting the good guys
Letters, May 29

It is interesting to note that letters criticizing Toronto City Council for closing down city-run shooting ranges were sent from Mississauga, Halifax, Wellesley, Ont., Pickering and Peterborough.

I supported shutting down the shooting ranges because I believe it is hypocritical for city council to call for a total ban on handguns, while supporting and in fact subsidizing gun culture at city-run facilities – especially when recreation programs to keep kids away from the draw of a street culture that too often includes weapons are underfunded in Toronto.

Letters from outside the city and indeed from across North America have been trickling in since council made its decision. My favourite letters are the ones being sent from the U.S. Gun owners there are now urging a boycott of Toronto. Considering that most of the problems with guns on our streets emanate from south of the border, I couldn’t be happier.

If all it took was closing a couple of shooting ranges to stop gun-toting Yanks from coming to our city, maybe we should have shut the doors on these clubs years ago. (emphasis added)

As for people outside Toronto, you are free to shoot off your mouths in this city or any other town. Just don’t shoot off a gun in Toronto.

Adam Vaughan, City Councillor, Toronto

I think all Americans should give the good people of Toronto exactly what they want. Keep your business and your money away from Toronto and anything that might have anything to do with Toronto. We wouldn’t want to sully their pristine hotels, restaurants, convention centres, and tourist attractions with our dirty “gun-toting Yankee” dollars now would we?

Let’s see if the Councillor is capable of figuring out the difference between the Toronto-based drug-dealers and gangs that are carrying out the shootings in Toronto and peaceable, law-abiding American tourists and business people.

What it takes to own a handgun in Canada

For those hoplophobes out there and for those who labour under the delusion that it is easy to legally possess a firearm in Canada, columnist Lorne Gunter has very briefly described what a normal, sane, law-abiding Canadian — with no past criminal history — has to go through to legally obtain a handgun.

If you, a law-abiding Canadian with no criminal record and no history of mental illness, decided tomorrow to take up handgun collecting or target shooting, it could take as much as eight to 12 months before you actually got you hands on a pistol.

The underlying assumption in the Canadian firearms bureaucracy is that you probably want the gun for all the wrong reasons. So you would be subjected to a series of obstacles designed to weed out anyone unworthy of ownership.

You would have to apply for a licence, complete an extensive safety course and pass an hours-long safety test. After that, you would need special permission to buy a handgun, as opposed to a rifle or shotgun. Your recent employment history would be investigated to ensure you are not some newly laid-off maniac looking to exact revenge on his former employer and co-workers.

If you’ve recently divorced or left your common-law spouse, your chances of being approved would be reduced. Your ex-partner might even be contacted for a character reference and authorities would place a get deal of stock in her answers.

Then, if you are eventually approved, you would be able to go to a gun shop and buy a handgun. But before you could take the gun home, you would have to take the bill of sale to police and apply for a transportation permit, a step that could take several additional weeks. Then, if police grant you a permit, you could go back to the gun shop, pick up your pistol, lock it in your trunk in a locked gun case and take it directly home.

Thereafter, you could only take it from your home to the shooting range you designated on your transportation permit, again locked in a case in your locked trunk. And you would have to take the most direct route and make no stops along the way, there or back.

That’s how “easily accessible” legal handguns are.

Of course, these law-abiding citizens are the only ones who will be impacted by the anti-gun rhetoric and political games of people like Toronto mayor David Miller . No reasonable person expects that the criminal element and gang-bangers will pay any attention to the Mayor’s plans for a citywide gun ban. They never paid any heed to the bans in D.C.; they never paid any heed to the registration requirements for handguns that have been in place since the 1930s in Canada. Why would they bother paying attention to a municipal code?

Of course, when you realize that Miller is fully aware of the futility of his demands and that he is likely gunning for a run at the Premier’s job (or something bigger), you see that his gun ban games are just more symbolic politicking. The man is building his cred with socialist do-gooders and whether his ban moves ahead (and ends up killing innocent, disarmed people), or gets shut down by one of the few remaining judges with any sense in their heads, he has shown that he “cares.” In the world of the gun grabbers and liberal politics, that is all that really matters.

CBC exec takes over at al Jazeera

Kind of says something about who the CBC hires to produce “news” for the Canadian public, doesn’t it?

Tony Burman, the one-time head of CBC news, has been appointed managing director of Al Jazeera‘s English operations.

Paul Watson admits money drives environmental campaigns

This is a very revealing interview between the late CBC reporter, Barbara Frum and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) founder Paul Watson. In his comments, Watson admits openly that environmental groups purposefully target the image of a baby harp seal as a money making machine.

Despite the fact that the harp seal is not an endangered species and the hunting of “white coat” (baby) harp seals has been illegal for over two decades, animal rights and environmental groups continuously use pictures of the white coat harp seals to “turn a profit” and to drive donations from the $2 to $5 donors — the grandmothers who are conned into giving by the pictures of tear-filled seal eyes. As the text at the end of this YouTube clip describes, this deception has been a multi-million dollar windfall for these groups for decades now.

What makes the deception even worse is the fact that other animals — like the sea turtle — which are on the endangered species list have often been ignored by these groups, simply because they don’t tend to bring in as much money.

Listen to the clip and then ask yourself if you’ve ever been duped into supporting this lie.

Nod to Darcey

Ontario Human Rights: No trial, but Steyn’s guilty anyway

Here’s a classic bit of wisdom from the great and powerful members of the Ontario Human Rights Commission as they dismissed the Mark Steyn/Macleans magazine case and pronounced their guilty ruling all in the same paragraph. You really have to read it in their own words to comprehend the outrageous arrogance of this group.

While freedom of expression must be recognized as a cornerstone of a functioning democracy, the Commission strongly condemns the Islamophobic portrayal of Muslims, Arabs, South Asians and indeed any racialized community in the media, such as the Maclean’s article and others like them, as being inconsistent with the values enshrined in our human rights codes. Media has a responsibility to engage in fair and unbiased journalism.

So, as Steyn notes in his post on the ruling, they don’t have the intestinal fortitude to deal with the case in an actual court of law (or even in their own kangaroo court for that matter) — they apparently are aware that even a Canadian judge wouldn’t be able to convict either Steyn or Macleans.

So they simply forego all that trial silliness now and just pronounce people guilty.

I suppose its much easier that way.

Declinism

While completing the course work for my Masters Degree a few years back, I sat through a discussion on the outlook of the extreme environmental movement in one of my environmental ethics courses. We were looking at the Deep Ecologist belief structure and the notion that without a fundamental paradigm shift and coinciding move away from freedom, liberty, capitalism and consumer choice — toward a command and control, bioregional, subsistence-based existence — the human population faced imminent extinction. (There’s a great deal more to the theory and the discussion that we had, but I have other work to complete today.)

After much argument and considerable disagreement on my part*, much of the class finally agreed that the extreme environmentalist mindset was a fundamentally unsustainable pseudo-religion. In its attempts to force a regressive involution onto human societal development — as it called for renouncing scientific and medical advances, stopping the development and expansion of wealth, the abandoning of traditional belief systems and structures, and many other equally disruptive beliefs — it demanded that humanity abandon all those things which had bettered the quality of human life, reduced mortality and morbidity, and improved our ability to feed, clothe and protect ourselves. At it’s very core, the belief system and its adherents required the abandonment of human well-being and attempted to cover over that requirement with creative equivocation and the redefinition descriptive terms for human flourishing. Since that time, I have found that most people who actually read the writings or listened to the thoughts of that sector of the environmental movement came away with the firm conviction that it was fundamentally anti-human. They were convinced that their thoughts and beliefs — if implemented — would lead to our demise.

When I read Andrew Potter’s 3-27-08 editorial in the Financial Post, I was immediately taken back to that discussion and was pleased to see that Potter came to the same conclusion as we had.

Of course, he recognized the hardcore members of the anti-human group by a different name – declinists. He also added the issue of global climate change as their preferred means of collating a distaste for human advancement and well being into an easily definable target. However, his take on the ideology and its long-term goals were pretty much the same as I and others in the course determined them to be.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the growing concern over climate change is the giddy delight with which some members of the left await the coming global catastrophe. Of course they don’t admit to being delighted. Instead, they claim to be extremely upset about the prospect of melting ice caps, rising sea levels, drought, flooding, crop failure, species extinction and so on. But let’s be honest, listening to a global warming hysteric rhyme off the terrible and inevitable consequences of driving to work or buying a Big Mac is to hear someone in the rapture of a geo-pornographic fantasy.

Let us call these people “declinists,” and their animating philosophy “declinism.” What motivates declinism is an attitude so pessimistic that it is almost theological: not only are things worse than they used to be, but they’re getting worse with every passing year. Furthermore, the declinist believes that the various strategies that are usually proposed for making things better–the promotion of liberal democracy, technological development and economic growth–cannot be the solution to our problems, since they are actually the cause. That is, it is the principles that underwrite modernity itself that are the problem. As the declinist sees it, the rights-based politics of liberal individualism, combined with the free-market economy, have served to undermine local attachments and communitarian feelings, leading us to seek meaning in shallow consumerism and mindless entertainments. …

There is no point in arguing with declinism, because it is not a set of empirical propositions but an ideology. Over the past 100 years, life got steadily better by almost any conceivable measure. Life expectancy rose while infant mortality dropped; the air quality of our cities improved, our food got cheaper and more nutritious, and the workplace became safer as wages steadily climbed. If you have any question as to the arrow of progress, ask yourself one question: Given a choice, when would you rather have been born, 1900 or 2000?

Declinism is both a sin and a betrayal. It is a sin because it displays an utter lack of faith in humanity, believing that we will inevitably abuse the gifts of freedom, knowledge and power and become the agents of our own destruction. It is a betrayal of modernity and of the liberal ideals that have breathed life and hope into human progress for the past four hundred years. In its resentment of modernity, the declinist left finds itself in agreement with a broad spectrum of Islamofascists, evangelical nuts and tin-foil-hat anarchists, who equally fear the globalized future and pray for a return to a glorious but thoroughly imaginary past. If it takes a global catastrophe to get us there, so much the better.

Read the rest of the editorial here.

* A bit of explanation for you – I was the only libertarian in a faculty full of marxist/socialist, ivory tower-style environmentalists.

I thought that Obama was above this sort of thing

I never bought into the hype, but according to everything I’ve heard over the past few months, Obama was all about “change”. He is supposed to be different from the other Washington elites. He is supposed to clean and pure as the wind-driven snow.

However, the news over his backroom dealings with the Canadian consulate and his attempts to smooth over his NAFTA foreign policy blunder show that he is not really any different than any of the other Washington insiders. His talk on the campaign trail is just that; talk. Apparently, not even Barrack or his handlers believe anything said in the course of his campaign, it is all just “political positioning.”

Barack Obama said Monday that his campaign never gave Canada back-channel assurances that his harsh words about the North American Free Trade Agreement were for political show — despite the disclosure of a Canadian memo indicating otherwise.

According to the memo obtained by The Associated Press, Obama’s senior economic adviser told Canadian officials in Chicago that the debate over free trade in the Democratic presidential primary campaign was “political positioning” and that Obama was not really protectionist.

The adviser, Austan Goolsbee, said his comments to those officials were misinterpreted by the author, Joseph DeMora, who works for the Canadian consulate in Chicago and attended the meeting.

In Carrollton, Texas, Obama told reporters: “Nobody reached out to the Canadians to try to assure them of anything.”

Asked why he had appeared to deny a report last week that such a meeting had taken place, Obama said: “That was the information I had at the time.”

The denials and obfuscation are starting to sound like Hillary’s famous “I don’t recall” line.

The essence of contemporary liberalism

Lorne Gunter has captured about 75% of the liberal/socialist mindset in these two paragraphs on the ‘reasons’ for their never ending campaign against personal firearms ownership.

The principal reason, of course, is that modern liberalism is the victory of symbolism over substance. A public policy or law is seldom designed mostly to solve an identified problem. Its primary purpose is to reflect well on the good intentions of the person or group proposing it.

So what if laws and social programs produce no tangible benefits? They remain on the statute books and retain full funding — complete with massive bureaucracies — because they enable liberals to convince themselves something is being done. Activity is confused with achievement.

If one adds the other 25% — that many of them honestly believe they are the only ones who are smart enough, caring enough, wise enough, or capable of coming up with the plans we “need” to keep our society running — you outline the liberal/socialist world view in a nutshell.

There are few, if any, policy suggestions from the liberal framework that are not almost wholly grounded in these two bedrock principles.

Statistics Canada study confirms firearms not the cause of violent crime

Thanks to Garry Brietkreuz for his tireless work to reveal the truth about firearms and crime. In a recent news release he described recently released StatsCan data that shows violent crime in Canada has little to nothing to do with firearms and all of the attempts by government and special interests to restrict the rights of Canadian firearms owners have had little to no impact on violent crime.

For example, the study shows that the vast majority (over 3/4) of all violent crime was committed without any form of weapon — meaning physical force, hands, fists, and feet were the most likely “weapons” to be used by violent Canadian criminals in 2006. These weapons were followed by knives, which were used in 9.2% of violent crime and blunt instruments and clubs, which were used in 3% of violent crimes.

Interestingly, the study showed that firearms were only used in 2.4% of all violent crime. Handguns — which have been required to be registered and have been largely banned or had their ownership severely restricted throughout the country since 1934 — were used in 3/4 of those crimes (or 1.8% of all violent crime).

Firearms crime in Canada

Some may try to argue that this information demonstrates the effectiveness of the 1995 firearms registry in reducing crime. However, this graphic from the StatsCan information shows clearly that overall firearms crime has been trending down or has remained stable since 1977 (or before); crime related to long guns has also trended down during that time period, while firearms crime with handguns — the most restricted and regulated type of firearm — has trended slightly up.

This new StatsCan study reinforces the findings of other countries around the world and helps to demonstrate the complete failure of attempts to address the issue of violent crime by restricting the legal ownership of firearms. Those with a criminal intent to harm or commit acts of violence will do one of two things when carrying out their plans. 1) They will use other weapons (even their hands and feet), or 2) They will ignore the restrictions on firearms, obtain them illegally, and then commit their next crime.

The simple fact of the matter is that criminals (by definition) do not care about the laws and regulations; they wouldn’t be “criminals” if they did.

Suzuki: If you don’t agree with him, he’ll have you thrown in jail

Here’s where the hard-left environmental movement always appears to end up; do as they say, or else.

They fill the newspapers with their dire warning, hysteria, fear mongering, and apocalyptic predictions. They overload you with end-times fantasies that are so far divorced from reality that you can’t help but begin to question whether they are capable of dealing with reality. All the while they claim to be basing their rhetoric in “science” and charge anyone who disagrees with them as being against some massive, overarching “consensus.”

Then when their house of cards starts to fall and they realize that reasonable people are not buying their tripe any longer, they start in with the threats and harassment.

David Suzuki delivered a scathing and powerful speech to a packed house at McGill Thursday night, calling on young people and business leaders to reverse the demise of ecology at the hand of shortsighted economic theory.

Suzuki, an award-winning Canadian scientist, environmentalist, and broadcaster, kicked off the McGill Business Conference on Sustainability by addressing the conference’s theme of “looking backward and moving forward.” …

He said we need to do more to look forward, as well. He cited a brochure from 1992 entitled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”, signed by over 600 of the world’s top scientists, that expressed the seriousness of modern threats to the environment.

“No more than one or a few decades remain before the chance to avert the threats we now confront will be lost and the prospects for humanity immeasurably diminished,” he read from the brochure. …

He urged today’s youth to speak out against politicians complicit in climate change, even suggesting they look for a legal way to throw our current political leaders in jail for ignoring science – drawing rounds of cheering and applause. Suzuki said that politicians, who never see beyond the next election, are committing a criminal act by ignoring science.

The interesting thing about their raving is that they must recognize that their power and influence is beginning to wane so they break out the threats to push the masses back into line. However, reasonable people are not falling for their threats that “the seas will rise 20 feet” any longer. (Even the most hard-core true believers had to admit that that claim from Gore’s move was completely overblown.) So instead of heading back to the drawing board and rethinking their game plan, admitting that the hysterical approach isn’t selling, and coming back with something more reasonable, they start to suggest we set up gulags for the “deniers.”

I believe the most appropriate term for this is ‘jumping the shark.’

Less government, not more – got that?

Kudos must go to the Centre for Policy Studies for their work on debunking the UK government’s moves to implement a national ID card program (described as their “Tesco Clubcard approach”).

It’s not surprising to see that a reasonable and restrained look at the program indicates it will require massive increases in government spending, increases in the size and power of national bureaucracies, and the centralization of power and information management. Given the government’s inability to accurately and securely store/manage data in the past (the report brings up the botched National Offender Management information system and the problems associated with implementing a National Health database) there’s no reason to suspect that they will be able to manage the massive influx of new data and security issues associated with the national ID card.

Of course this difficulty with managing sensitive information is not limited to the UK. The Canadian government also tried and supremely botched the multi-billion dollar firearms registry fiasco and was forced to abandon their HRDC database after privacy concerns overwhelmed the systems supports.

Another disturbing aspect of the report is the apathetic attitudes of most citizens when they are presented with these grandiose schemes. As report author, Jill Kirby, writes,

A section of the (Varney) report describes how services will look in 2020, once this ‘transformation’ has been accomplished

Older people, children and young people, workless people and other customer groups can choose packages of public services tailored to their needs. Public, private and third sector partners collaborate across the delivery chain in a way that is invisible to the public. The partners pool their intelligence about the needs and preferences of local people and this informs the design of public services and the tailoring of packages for individuals and groups…

Measured benefits, services and facilities are shared between all tiers of central and local government and other public bodies. The public do not see this process. They experience only public services packaged for their needs.

The intention is plain: government will centralise and share information, both horizontally across services and vertically between local and national government and agencies, yet individual citizens will be unaware of the extent of that information sharing. The Government anticipates that, in a triumph of state planning, decisions will be taken out of the hands of the individual, who will simply be the grateful recipient of a ‘package’ of services.

Rather than welcoming the opportunity to have “personalized” services provided by a central government database, citizens should be resisting this type of paternalistic power grab with everything they have.

The facts in the case are simple and straightforward. Governments around the world have demonstrated time and time again that they are incapable of managing this level of personal data. Where they might have a partial ability in this area, they are either unable or unwilling to do so in a careful and responsible manner. The data is often shared around in a laissez-faire manner, misplaced, misunderstood, or used in an inappropriate and abusive manner.

Read the rest of the Centre for Policy Studies report, “Who do they think we are? Government’s hidden agenda to control our lives

Aussies warn that Canada is potentially dangerous vacation spot

I wish I had read this Australian government web page before I grew up in Canada. If only I had known that I had unintentionally exposed myself to so much danger for over those 30 years.

Australians considering a trip to the Great White North may find themselves quickly making other plans after reading their federal government’s travel advisory on Canada.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recently updated its “Smart Traveller” website – intended to give travellers “up-to-date information about the risks Australians might face overseas” – and classified the world’s nations into five categories based on their current “security situation.”

Canada falls into the second safest category, called “exercise caution” (not as safe as Chile, Romania and South Korea), with terrorism listed as the top concern.

“We advise you to exercise caution and monitor developments that might affect your safety in Canada because of the risk of terrorist attack,” the website reads.

“Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.”

While the crime rate in Canada is acknowledged to be “similar to that of Australia,” tourists are warned to remain vigilant as “pick pocketing and street theft occurs at tourist destinations, hotels and on public transit.”

The section on climate, which was just updated with new information about natural disasters, would turn even the most hardened adventurer away.

“Heavy snowfalls and ice in the winter can make driving dangerous. The wind-chill factor can also create dangerously cold outdoor conditions. … The province of British Columbia in western Canada is in an active earthquake zone. Alberta and British Columbia are also subject to avalanches. … Tornadoes can occur in some areas of Canada between May and September. Bush and forest fires can occur any time in Canada.”

To be fair, the bit about the wind chill is correct. And, yes, it is true that a lot of the tourists (and people from Vancouver) have no idea how to drive in snow. Other than that, stating that Alberta and British Columbia are subject to avalanches is a bit over the top. Well … there was the big slide of ought-6 that leveled the city of Edmonton.

They’d probably be more accurate to warn against people getting lost in the Gap and driving for weeks without ever seeing anything change.

Canfor closing Fort Nelson operations

Wow! I worked as a S.P. Forester (FIT) for this operation when it was still owned by Slocan Forest Products (I worked there from 96 – 99). My job was to make sure that the PolarBoard (OSB) plant and Tackama (plywood and dimensional lumber) had siliviculture permits and logging permits prepared, so the company could bring in wood during the winter.

The Canfor sign leading into Fort Nelson reads “Our roots are in this community,” but all was uprooted early this morning.

Mayor Chris Morey called the effects “catastrophic” after Canfor’s announcement to indefinitely shutdown the town’s two mills. Employees were alerted of the closure Thursday.

More than 400 employees at the PolarBoard OSB plant and Tackama plywood mill will lose their jobs once existing inventories are utilized, but the effects are expected to also ripple out to contractors and those indirectly employed by the mills. The town’s population is just below 5,000 people.

“The news is devastating and the effects of this are catastrophic,” Morey said in an interview. “We already had our sawmill closed two years ago, and now to have the two mills down is something that this community has never had to fathom – this is big.”

I worked there when they shut down the chopsticks mill — the company logged aspen to produce the disposable chopsticks that you get with your Chinese food orders. When that plant closed, they laid off about 200 people and the town was reeling for years. I went through one downsizing in the town right after that, when lumber prices were dropping and demand was down in 98. That, matched with the often unfriendly nature of industry and government relations in the area, encouraged me to head south to Calgary to do my Masters degree in late 99. That downsizing and the Chopsticks closure convinced me that far northern towns were a bit too risky to get too heavily invested in.

Now I am thanking my lucky stars I did move along when I did because this notice by Canfor could be a town killer. Fort Nellie would still have the gas industry and the railroad, but when a town of 5000 loses as many as 600 jobs (if you add the few hundred that would have been lost when the dimensional mill closed earlier), I don’t know how the local economy gets past that.

The ripple effects from this mean that the several hundred contractors (and their employees) who worked with the mills and the forestry divisions (woodlands dept) will all go under or have their businesses on life support, the schools are hit, the small businesses lose many of their customers. I would hate to think what the real estate market is like in town right now. On top of that, the major industries, like the railroad and trucking companies, lose much of the business that made it worthwhile to keep running up the highway to Fort Nelson.

Since the city is so isolated, it will not be worth it to ship products up — it is literally a four hour drive through black spruce, sphagnum moss swamp from the nearest “city” of Fort St. John with about 15,000 people, six hours from Grande Prairie (50,000), nine hours from Prince George, and ten hours from Edmonton. There’s almost nothing beyond Fort Nelson until you get to Yellowknife or Alaska, so justifying the trip will become difficult for anyone in business.

This is definitely the “bust” end in the boom and bust nature of far north resource towns and industry.

Ezra’s closing statement

Worth watching over and over again. Be sure to check out his posts on the issue as well.

Now watch these cowards at the AHRC slink under a rock and toss out a dismissal so they don’t actually have to deal with this any more.

Syed B. Soharwardy accused of human rights violation

You’d have to work to make this foolishness up, but apparently the sensitive waif whose life and self-esteem is ripped apart when someone has the audacity to publish a picture of his prophet, or to question the intelligence of his statements (like every adult Jew in Israel is a legitimate target for terror attacks) may actually a big rough and tumble, tough guy. Apparently my early perceptions of Syed Soharwardy — of the Alberta Human Rights Commission complaint against Ezra Levant fame — were wrong.

You see, when he is dealing with Canadian men (especially the Jewish ones), he appears to get his feelings hurt and all worked up over the littlest thing and then has to run off and tattle to the Human Rights Commission because the big mean men Jew “offended” him. However, a group of ladies who attended his mosque one evening are claiming that when he is dealing with women, ol’ Syed takes on a whole new persona.

They claim that when he’s dealing with the skirts, he gets all hardcore and macho and likes to push them around. If that’s true, Syed apparently hasn’t figured out that he’s not in Pakistan or Saudi anymore and that Canadian women tend to be aware of little things like their rights. As a result of their knowledge, and his alleged misogyny, those women have actually submitted a human rights complaint against him.

We as women and members of the visible minority are writing to you about unfair and unequal treatment given to us at a general meeting convened by the Al-Madinah Management Committee that was chaired by Syed Badi-uddin Soharwardy, National President of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC), Muslim Against Terrorism (MAT), This meeting was held as an open house on Sunday, November 11, 2007 between 3-5 pm at Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Centre, 5700 Falsebridge Drive NE, Calgary, Alberta to discuss certain serious allegations, community issues and future plans.

We were discriminated as women and were treated poorly, differently, negatively and adversely by the Directors and Officers of Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Centre, Islam Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC), Muslim Against Terrorism (MAT), Al-Madinah Dar-Ul-Aloom Ltd and Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Assembly. In this meeting we were treated diferently from men in the following manner:

  • Abusive language uttered towards us;
  • Not permitted to ask any questions;
  • Danied participation as equal members of the Muslim community;
  • Physically and verbally threatened; made to sit in the back of the hall;
  • Accused of disrupting and subotaging the proceedings;
  • Forced to vacate the pemises;
  • Followed-up by obscene and threatening phone calls and letters in the mail.

To enable you to see the proceedings of this meeting , please see enclosed DVD video of the meeting at the open house.
Overall, there was a lack of respect for the women attending the meeting through intimidation, harassment and abusive behaviour.

The full complaint is posted at Ezra’s site.

Unlike some Saudi and Pakistani women who live under Sharia law and the ever present fear of being beaten up if they don’t obey (see Sura 4:34 and you’ll see that it’s all cool though), Canadian women are free to speak their minds and even — get this Syed — disobey! In fact, they’re well known for being strong, independent, capable, and unwilling to sit back and let someone walk all over them.

I agree with Ezra‘s sentiment in his post on the issue. It is unfortunate that the women are choosing to go this route (i.e. through the AHRC) because the process is flawed and unjust, no matter the situation or the complainant. However, if what these women have said is true (remember, they are only allegations right now), the women should be bringing Syed and his minions up on criminal charges of assault.

Notice any difference?

From the National Post, we get the next example of someone trying to be provocative by attacking and belittling others who are not like them.

Terence Koh, the provocative Canadian darling of the New York art scene, has aroused controversy in Britain after a top gallery displayed one of his sculptures showing Jesus with an erect penis.

Media reported that Mr. Koh’s statue at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead “has offended Christians and visitors alike.”

Mr. Koh’s depiction of Jesus is the centrepiece of a sculptural display titled “Gone, Yet Still.”

It features 74 glass-encased plaster models of cultural icons — some of which are also cast in an aroused state– ranging from Michelangelo’s David to Mickey Mouse and the movie alien E.T.

The exhibition has prompted calls from one Christian advocacy group in the U.K. for the “blasphemous” statue to be destroyed.

There are a few Christians who are calling for the statue to be destroyed — no one will actually carry out their demands, nor should they. Doing so would just give Koh a reason to cry censorship. However, I missed hearing about the mobs of Christians rioting in the streets, calling out hits on this fellow/his family/his friends.

To be clear, I have no problem calling for the removal or return of the government grants and subsidies that I am quite sure Mr. Koh is still receiving, or that he has used to get his so-called art into these New York and London art galleries. I have no problem calling for rescinding the tax inflows that I know are keeping open the doors for this Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. I would call for that regardless of Koh’s silly little statues. In truth, without the tax base propping up his work, Koh would likely still be waiting tables in Kitsilano, Gastown, or Point Grey and trying to sell himself as an artist of some import.

However, as I noted with the discussion on the attacks on Ezra Levant being a “piece of s*** Jew,” we’re best off letting these silly, immature people, who appear fixated on the male genitalia, show their real nature. Get their clear and apparent distaste for those who are unlike them out in the open. Get their overwhelming need to use degraded representations of human sexuality as an attack on those with whom they disagree out in the light for all to see.

As Mr. Koh attacks Christians and their religious beliefs, the radicals attack and belittle Jews. To be fair, Koh doesn’t appear to be urging anyone toward violence, but the open disdain and public attempts to degrade things and beliefs others hold dear is no different at its base. Mr. Koh just appears to be able to charge a higher rate for his bigotry.

As an aside, what is even more amusing about Koh is the fact that he’s not really doing anything new. Istvan Kantor was being this “edgy” twenty years ago. Koh is just rehashing that work. The genitalia, blood, and bodily fluids “contemporary art” thing was tired in the late 80′s and early 90′s.

But this does not expose anyone to hatred or contempt

I kind of wondered whether I should publish this photo — I try to keep this blog free from inappropriate language and pictures. However, given the fact that Ezra Levant is currently enduring a government-funded and government-managed inquisition, for allegedly exposing members of the Calgary Muslim community to hatred, I was interested to see what appeared to be members of the Calgary Muslim community publishing a crudely photoshopped picture about Ezra Levant with the title “Ezra Levant is a Piece of Sh*t Jew ” on a Facebook page.

To keep from being too graphic and limit the possibility of offense, I am only posting a link to the photo (with a note that although the photo editing is crude, these members of the Calgary Muslim community apparently think it is funny to openly engage in displays of antiSemitic and homophobic bigotry. They don’t like the fact that Ezra is one of those uppity Jews who is willing to defend his rights and freedoms, so he must be gay, right?)

We all understand that publishing a few drawings of Mohammed is an attack on the whole Muslim community that will ensure Muslims everywhere are exposed to hatred. However, calling someone a “piece of sh*t Jew” in a public forum and drawing crude, homoerotic pictures about them is just some Muslim youth having fun, right? (The funny thing is that the picture actually says a whole lot more about the immaturity, core religious beliefs, and conflicted sexuality of the people that posted it.)

To allay any fears that I might be suffering from some internal contradictions here, I actually prefer that these people get out there and publish their hatred for one and all to see (that is why I am supplying the link to the photo and saying thanks to Kate and Darcy for helping to make it more widely available). Rather than try to hide the fact that they are confused, foolish, bigoted, human trash and pretend that people like this don’t exist in our country, I want everyone to be aware of the double standard that they set up for themselves. While some Muslims appear ready to tear down walls and coexist in peace, this brand of irrational bigoted zealot wants to use their religion to build barriers and destroy civil society.

As an aside, I am also waiting to see how long it takes for the AHRC to sit these people down in front of the same type of inquisition. I want to see how long it will be before these people are asked about their “intent” in publishing this grotesque photo. Anyone willing to take bets on the idea that they’ll never see Officer McGovern or one of her contemporaries? Not that I really want them to see the inside of an AHRC inquisition, it’s better to follow the same advice that Ezra gave in a similar situation a few years back — every reasonable person in society needs to castigate and shun bigoted morons like these. They are free in Canada to spout whatever garbage they care to spout, but when they do, they deserve to be made outcasts.

Via Small Dead Animals and Dust My Broom

AHRC investigator disavows Boissoin ruling

Read Ezra’s description of this on his site – it’s worth it to see how the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) investigator — Officer McGovern — admits that the Commission has essentially a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude toward deciding how a case will be ruled when someone brings a complaint to them. The case may go to panel, it may stop at the report stage – no one really knows except for the those appointed to the Commission. The AHRC may also rule against the recommendations of its inquisitors — again, no one knows whether they will or not — they just might. And the best that the interrogator has to offer is that they “have a very high test.”

Officer McGovern is the personification of the shadowy realms of an increasingly corrupt government. When you ask them a question, they have an immediate reply. However, when you push them on the details of their reply, their defenses collapse and they start passing the buck; “That was Officer Andreachuck’s argument.”

At the end of the day, the HRC still has a 100% conviction rate and the people that are brought up before their kangaroo court system are guilty. The process is just their attempts to salve their conscience by allowing them to claim that they gave the accused a fair trial.