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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Canadian Team Crushes Gold Medal Hopes

Team Canada was scoreless 11 out of 12 periods in their last 4 games. Gretzky thought this team was better because they didn't have put centerman like Lemieux or Yzerman on the wing. But with players like Staal and Crosby left off the team while Ovechkin scored the key goal for Russia- Canadians are infuriated that Gretzky left off young players who could have made a difference.

Here's the foursome of players I am blaming:

1. Jay Bouwmeester

Tough defenseman was well suited for NHL-size rinks. But on Olympic ice surface and with the loss of Canada's two fastest defenseman to injury (Niedermayer and Jovanovski), Canada needed speed to generate offense from the point. Speedier defensemen like Brewer, Boyle, or even Phaneuf should have been chosen instead.

2. Todd Betuzzi

Canada wasn't scoring. But Pat Quinn still put him on the ice more than other player. Eric Staal is one of the league's leading scorers and unlike Bertuzzi he delivers on his potential.

3. Shane Doan

Like Betuzzi and Iginla, Doan is also a power forward. On a european ice surface speed is more important. Doan did well on a smaller ice surface during the world cup but this is the Olympics. A better winger might have been Alex Tanguay who would have gelled with Joe Sakic.
4. Kris Draper

Two years he scored 20 goals and that was considered a success. Draper seemed out of place and couldn't help when Canada's talented players were struggling to score. A better player to play on the fourth line would be Martin Gelinas who can check and also play on the first line if he has too.

Canada was too experienced and didn't fill holes (speed) with inexperienced players. All of the players had the experience and were confident in their abilities. Canada was like an NHL team that loads up on veterans before the playoff deadline. Rental players are useful as fourth-liners and not much because they rarely gell with the rest of the team. Just like the Toronto Maple Leafs who have never won the cup with that formula and who was Canada's coach. Russia took a chance on Ovechkin and Sweden selected Lunquvist as their goalie. They took a chance on youth and Canada didn't. The results tell the story.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ezra brings Mid East Conflict to Canada

In a free and democratic society all people have rights and freedoms that they are allowed to exercise responsibly. People are allowed certain rights till they start infringing on other people's rights. That's where the Western Standard crossed the line.

Muslims have the right to have their religion respected. Asking others not to publish images of Mohammed shouldn't be viewed as a great inconvenience to the rest of us. Other religions make icons and depictions of their religious leaders but Muslims regard any depiction of Mohammed as a sin because it could lead to idolatry of him. There's no double standard here. They don't even make positive depictions of the prophet and depicting their prophet as a terrorist isn't an act of freedom of speech- it's hate speech. David Ahenakew was charged for making defaming comments against Jews and Muslims should have similar protection. Any magazine that publishes the cartoon and any store that sells hate literature should be punished.

Western societies have their own norms that they expect people to respect and we should view it as a two-way street. Christians would be enraged if someone was doing something disturbing to a communion wafer. Jews would also be enraged if someone was making crude jokes regarding the holocaust. When I went to Australia I didn't climb Uluru. Others did and regretted it later because it offended the aboriginals because it was a sacred place. It was only a 15 minute hike to reach the top so it wasn't a great triumph to achieve. Why is it so important that the magazine has to publish these cartoons to serve the audience who isn't connected to the internet and wants to see the defaming cartoons.

Another point that Ezra Levant makes it that people have to see the cartoons to understand the issue. News outlets routinely outline pornographic and abusive language but the people still get the message. Kiddy porn has been in the news lately but no respected new outlet has felt it is compelled to show what it is.

I believe the Western Standard is attempting to gain new readership through the rule, all publicity is good publicity. Also, I fear the people who usually don't purchase the Western Standard are purchasing it because they hate Muslims. News organizations should cater to the hatred market.

The big issue surrounding the story is the Israeli-Arab conflict in the middle east. And Levant brought the problem to Canada. The problem with both Israeli and Arab governments in the middle east is there is now separation between church and state. Israel is a political and religious state. If people attack Israeli policies- religion often becomes involved because people sometimes end up offending both ethnic and religious views at once. The same applies to Muslim countries. I see this cartoon controversy in Canada and as an extension of the conflict and find it interesting that a Jewish publisher and some Jewish magazines have published the offending cartoons.

And with the latest native remark against Ralph Klein's wife. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the last month the Western Standard is in circulation.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Is Harper saving deputy PM post for Layton?

Harper sinks the popularity of his government in his first week in office by appointing a Montreal senator and luring a Liberal from Vancouver to sit in cabinet. He didn't appoint a deputy PM or give a cabinet post to anyone from Toronto. Jack Layton is from Toronto and a coaliton could give Harper a majority government.

The Conservatives have 124 seats and the NDP has 29 seats. If the speaker is a Liberal MP, Bloc MP, or an independent a Conservative-NDP coalition could govern.

Historically the conservatives haven't dominated Canadian elections and will be lucky to win one more term before the Liberals sweep back into power. The NDP has suggested they would form a coalition if proportional represenation is introduced. Are Harper and Layton ready to make a deal?

Hopefully Jack Layton doesn't sell out too.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Olympic Hockey Prediction

Gold: Canada

Over half of the players are Canadian in the NHL. If we lose it's not because we are not the greatest hockey nation on Earth, it's because the wrong players were picked.

Silver: Sweden

Rangers goalie Lundqvist is leading the Rangers into the playoffs for the first time in six years. Also Nicklas Lidstrom is playing at his best and leads a strong defense than also includes Mattias Ohlund. Forsberg and Alfreddsson are more than adequate for the Swede's fist line.

Bronze: Russia

Finally Russia has a number one goalie playing for them at an international tournament. Khabibulin may be injured but Nabokov is one of the best goalies in the league. If Russia succeeds Kovalchuk, Ovechkin, and Datsyuk must skate circles around players from the rest of the world.

Belinda's Now Liberal Front-runner

"But now, David Emerson has accomplished the impossible for an MP of his calibrea: He has made the Belinda Stronach defection appear one of honourable principle" National Post's Don Martin

"I was opposed to a budget being defeated, concerned about the party leadership and trying to defend national unity. And when I crossed the floor, I could've been out of a job in 48 hours if the election had been forced. But David Emerson was just elected as a Liberal two weeks ago" Belinda Stronach

Manley, McKenna, and Tobin are all out of the race. Some speculated the Liberals are searching for a Trudeau type under the age of 50 to resurrect the party. With all the major drop-outs in the leadership race thus far it looks like former tories Stronach and Brison are the front-runners. And why not Belinda?

Before entering politics she was ranked as one of top female CEO's globally. She finished second to Harper in the conservative leadership race without any political experience and finished ahead of Tony Clement. When she defected to the liberals she faced some of the most malicious and sexiest attacks in Canadian history and survived by winning her riding. If Canada wants a tough leader who will truly stand up for Canada there isn't a better example.

I haven't decided who I will support in the Liberal leadership race but after the new cabinet was unveiled, Belinda's stock soared. How will the conservatives attack her?

Belinda left the party after serving for Harper under a year (Emerson left 2 weeks after winning under the liberal banner), made her objections public before leaving (not a peep from Emerson), and was right on waiting to fight an election when the Bloc support was diminishing (the conservatives won 10 seats in Quebec and the Bloc probably would have won 65-70 seats if the election was held in the summer of 2005). The conservatives can't touch her.

Stronach is a progressive politician on social issues. But she will answer questions from liberals on how far to the right she is on fiscal issues and she needs to be clearer on her foreign policy.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Blind Ambition

The two things most people missed after yesterday's rocky first day for Harper. The NDP now holds the balance of power with the Liberals dropping by 1 seat and the Conservatives adding 1 seat. Second, Harper romanced a Liberal to defect to the Conservatives to secure a seat in Vancouver. (Canada's 3rd largest city) He appoints a senator to run Public Works who has no intentions of running for election. (Canada's 2nd largest city). Toronto has no conservatives and got the cold shoulder from Harper after he tarnished his image to get represenation for Canada's other big cities. The Centre of the Universe wants in.

" I guess all of the noise in May 2005 about Belinda Stronach crossing over for the promise of a cabinet post was just that, noise. I deplore what was done in her case, and I deplore this.This is one of the principal reasons why people are so cynical about politicians. Shame." Warren Kinsella

On the other hand, maybe Emerson's on to something. Maybe we should just elect MPs to act as free agents, on the basis of their personal attributes and desirability in the political marketplace: "elect me and I'll consider several offers." Instead of known quantities of MPs elected on each of several party slates, there'd be a pool of 308 unattached individuals. " Andrew Coyne

"What if Emerson isn't Belinda Stronach?

What if he's Harriet Miers?" Paul Wells

"David Emerson is a dipstick, who whored himself out to the Tories." Calgary Grit

"Regular readers will know that when Stronach crossed the floor, that I criticized her roundly for doing so. Now, please be advised dear Liberal readers, that I am in no way impeding or objecting to your criticism of David Emerson for doing the same. Have at 'im!" small dead animals

"26 Conservatives and a Liberal" Globe and Mail Headline

"Is this how Harper ushers in a new era" Globe and Mail Editorial Title

"Stephen Harper ran as a man of principle. He has a perverse way of showing it" Globe and Mail Editorial

"No other senator (Michael Fortier) has held such a major portfolio in postwar Canada without promising to seek a Commons seat at the earliest opportunity." Globe and Mail's Murray Campbell

"The first day of government was nothing if not audacious" Globe and Mail's John Ibbitson

"Harper's Risky Start" National Post Headline

"Harper's Bold Start" National Post Editorial

"History may be more kind to Mr. Emerson and Mr. Harper than to Ms. Stronach and Mr. Mr. Martin on this issue. The desperate former Prime Minister needed the blondly ambitious Ms. Stronach to keep his sinking government afloat" National Post's John Ivision (Stronach was re-elected, Emerson joined the third placed party in his riding)

"She'd (Belinda) served in the opposition for a year and could've been jobless within 48 hours had the vote gone against the Liberals. Emerson endured no such risk. He joins the Conservatives having just two weeks ago labelled them as 'angry' and 'heartless' " National Post's Don Martin

"Cabinet Picks Put Heat on Harper" Edmonton Journal Headline

"Harper's cabinet a good start" Edmonton Journal Editorial (If they can't find anything majoriy wrong with what happened on Harper's first day, say allow to FOX News style news)"

"This is disgusting" Lorne Gunter (Gunter still thinks the Liberals are in power and focussed his blog on Dingwall after Emerson was sworn in)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Harper's Honeymoon is over

When the Liberals lost I accepted the defeat. The Liberals campaign was a disaster and all Canadians wanted change. The best way many hoped to clean up the government was to change it. Three prominent themes of a new Conservative government were no briding MP's with cabinet posts, elected senators, and a more transparent Public Works department.

The first day David Emerson defects two weeks to the day after winning the election. His reason:
"I fundamentally went through the thought processes many times over, and came to the conclusion I can be more helpful to the people of my riding, the people of my city, the people of my province and the people of my country doing this, as opposed to being in opposition and trying to become a powerful political partisan which I have never been," Emerson said.
If Emerson wanted to serve as a cabinet minister in whatever government attained power, he should have run as an independent. But that would have been too honest and showed voters Emerson's true side. He hungers for power and has no concrete political values.

Now really making the Liberals forget about their advertising campaign Harper named a new public works minister. He didn't even run in the election and was APPOINTED to the senate. I can really see why Harper left the Reform party. It was a little too populist for his elitist beliefs. But I have no doubt Harper will appoint "elected" senators to the senate. Alberta senators in waiting will be appointed because they ran in a "fair" election designed solely by the provincial government and all the candidates support only one federal party. Clean, transparent government.

This Montreal cabinet minister represents Public Works. Very few portfolios are going to generate more questions in Question Period. But luckily for the conservatives nobody will be answering them because the cabinet minister will be hiding in the senate.

What about the whole Belinda thing? She is certain to be the frontrunner to lead the Liberals because compared to her former conservative counterparts she is a pillar of integrity. She served for about a year under the conservative banner she ran under. She left because:
"After difficult reflections, I reached a conclusion. I cannot exaggerate how hard this was for me. The political crisis affecting Canada is too risky and dangerous for blind partisanship. I watch and listen and feel that the interests of individuals or parties are being placed above the national interest. The country must come first" Belinda Stronach
Belinda crashed heads with conservatives because she supported a youth wing in the party and same-sex marriage. (When has Emerson crashed heads with the Liberals?)
"I don't approve of lining up with the Bloc ... the consequences of an election in Quebec at this time could have serious consequences down the road." Belinda Stronach
Stronach played a vital role for Canadian unity last May. By preventing an election it stopped the Bloc from running in an election when they were at their strongest. By delaying it to the winter the Liberals were able to maintain the seats in the Montreal area and the Conservatives won 10 seats in Quebec alone. (That wouldn't have happened six months ago).

At that time of Belinda's defection Harper said:

"We don't go out of our way to romance MPs to get them to cross the floor. Liberals will do anything to win.

"We are trying to create a principled party where people act in a principled way, and obviously we're fairly cautious about encouraging party jumping, because that's the kind of thing that generates cynicism.

"And frankly, when someone jumps, once you're not sure you can trust them the next time, so I would always handle that with an extraordinary degree of caution."

And Harper surely didn't "romance MP's" in Emerson's case:
"During the last parliament as I sat across from the government benches, I was consistently impressed with David Emerson"
"He is a man of great intelligence, a man with a stellar record in the private sector, who is clearly committed to public service.

"I asked Emerson to join Canada's new government and he accepted. For this I am grateful and I know Minister Emerson looks forward to continuing to serve the people of British Columbia and all new Canadians in the next parliament."

Now for the parting shot from Belinda's defection.
"I regret to say that I do not believe the party leader is truly sensitive to the needs of each part of the country and just how big and complex Canada really is," Stronach said of Harper.

In Retrospective: Belinda was right about waiting to fight the Bloc, Stephen Harper pursued a MP (even though six months he said he wouldn't). Also on his first day he appointed an unelected senator to serve as his Public Works minister. (He can't answer H of C questions in the senate.) Stephen Harper probably also believes he will serve longer than Joe Clark.

"I've never really noticed complexity to be Belinda's strong point," Stephen Harper
Whose the dipstick now!