Friday, February 28, 2014

The Royal Baby Is Born!

Congrats to Mr. Trudeau and his wife.  The kid's timing is impeccable.  I'm sure he will be Prime Minister one day.

Ont. Spring Election Or Not?

“It’s pretty tight between the three of them,” Forum president Lorne Bozinoff said Wednesday. “But I’m not convinced there’s going to be an election this spring.”

OK, it's just Forum, but most of the real pollsters have also put Horwath's NDP well back of the reigning OLP and Hudak's PCPO. Some have been advising that Andrea Horwath shout damn the torpedo!, eat the red pill, and send her crew into the soup,  but that didn't work so well for these guys did it?  So, while I seldom agree with Bozinoff's numbers, I am half inclined to his line of reasoning in this particular case. I think its significant that the NDP chose not to bring down the government earlier this week.  Do they think things will get better for them after Wynne presents a budget/campaign platform/bag full of goodies?  Hard to imagine that being the case.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Serious Question: What's Crapping On My Balcony?

I'm nine floors up in outer Scarborough (or, as we call it down here, The Bro), facing West, and every once in awhile I find animal poop on the balcony of my condo unit.  Too big for a mouse or rat--and how could they get up here anyway?-- not a furry pellet like owls produce, and not an acidy splat like pigeons or gulls. I figure I'm dealing with  a hawk of some kind, as I've seen them flying among the buildings and resting on balcony railings in the afternoon when nobody's home.  Its kind of neat to think a red-shoulder perched on my patio chair, sleeping, and they are welcome to do so.  Bit rude to abuse my hospitality like that, however.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Stintz Line: Soknacki On Stintz

Click on it to see it better.

As I've mentioned previously, David Soknacki is an intriguing candidate, and I predict that his anti-Scarborough subway stance will prove to be surprisingly popular now that the bill for it has come due. I have not heard the fellow speak, but a lobbyist friend has and tells me that the fellow is, well, not very charismatic.  That may be a wee problem.

Nevertheless, the piece above is quite clever.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party Has A Problem, And His Name Is Tim Hudak

That clip with me and Rebecca Thompson on the Pat Bolland show last week has finally appeared. Quite enjoyable actually.  Mr. Bolland is a genial presence and there was a good conversation, not the high-speed babbling of competing talking points.

Another Random Observation Re Tim Hortons And Their Products

Pretty slow day news-wise, I must say.

Monday, February 24, 2014

How Fake Is My Mayoral Candidate?

From here:
Apparently, Tory shifted all his radio show followers to his mayoral run feed, so this might have something to do with his high fake score.  Still, the page offered to sell me software to remove all his fake followers. Here's Karen Stintz for comparison:

Ran out of free searches before I got to anyone else.

OMG More Tory Turmoil For Sad Tim Hudak!

On Monday the Conservatives sent out a release, attributing the following statements to [now former Conservative nominee in Thunder Bay-Superior North Tamara] Johnson: 

“As of this time, I am no longer the candidate for the Ontario PC Party in the riding of Thunder Bay-Superior North. “I support the aims and objectives of the Ontario PC Party as well as our leader Tim Hudak’s plan and vision for a better Ontario. I wish Tim Hudak and all the Ontario PC Party candidates the greatest success in the upcoming election.”

Johnson flatly denies making the statements. 

The Waffle-Master© Strikes Again!

Anothger Hudak flip-flop, it seems.  From the Owen Sound Sun Times, February 21st:

PC Leader Tim Hudak has said that he wants to end the monopoly on beer and liquor sales by allowing the sale of alcohol in private outlets like corner and grocery stores.

From today:

Although I'm not sure this is a flip-flop; it seems more like a waffle.  In fact, I think its fair to say that there is no policy that Tim Hudak will advance that he is unwilling to walk back when the heat gets high.  Remember this one?  He is indeed the Waffle-Master©.  And at this rate, if they call an election for May, he may not have anything left to run on.

PS.  I've trademarked the term.  Say it and you owe me a nickel.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Things NDP MPs Say

Grovelling Apology in 5...4...

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hudak Flip Flops On Right To Work!

Story here.  Graphic swiped from Shaidle's hubby.  No link for you Arnie.  Fuck off.

Ostrander Point ERT Decision Overturned!

Ontario's Superior Court court has overturned the provincial Environmental Review Tribunal's decision to kill a proposed wind-farm at Ostrander Point.  The court doc can be found here.   I've written about that earlier decision in a number of places, primarily here.

Below is a quick summary of the superior court's justification:
I'll just touch briefly on point (iv) and (v).  Re (iv), the judge writes:
This basically accepts a Ministry of Environment argument contra the ERT  that I discussed briefly here.  The argument still confuses me, so I'll repeat what I wrote on that earlier occasion:

If the province's stock of endangered turtles is parceled out into discrete sub-populations, of which only one or two would be effected by a particular development, how could you stop any development?

The court seems to be suggesting that while the local population might be negatively effected, the mitigation efforts required by the apellants might lead to actions elsewhere that would enhance the health of the Blandings Turtle populations in Ontario generally.  That's strikes me as very doubtful.

Fortunately, part (v) of the decision is enough to give one hope.  Of course the main problem for turtles living near the wind-farm was not the presence of turbines, but the presence of a road network designed to bring workers and equipment to and from them.  It was felt that increased traffic on this public network might lead to increased mortality among female turtles (who like to make their nests in the gravel at roadside).

Fortunately, Gilead Power Corporation, who are behind the Ostrander Point project, have already agreed to gate both the main access road and a number of points where preexisting trails intersect with that road, if the project is allowed to go forward.  This will mean that the danger to the turtles will come almost exclusively from ATV-ers avoiding the gates.  If the numbers of local oiks can be minimized, this measure just might do the trick

A Brief Note: On Walmart Pizza

Had a Walmart-brand pizza for dinner for the first time last night.  They're a terrific bargain.  They come in an edible box.  Or at least the box tastes identical to the pizza itself.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ah Well, We Still Have Randy Hillier

Time to step up, Randy.  Say something barbaric that will kill PCPO chances in the GTA.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

158. Thorium Policy

WHEREAS Canada is a net exporter of energy products and possesses a greater proportion of thorium to uranium;

WHEREAS alternative forms of energy are quickly gaining traction in the world’s energy economy;

WHEREAS Canadian governments have a responsibility to provide safe and clean energy solutions for Canadians;

WHEREAS nuclear experts, such as Hans Blix of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has stated  that thorium based reactors are safer, almost impossible to weaponize, and are a critical element in  combating our climate crisis;

WHEREAS there are less long-lived waste products (only 400-500 years rather than thousands) and thorium reactors can be easily shut down without chain reactions like those that took place in Fukushima in 2011;

WHEREAS scientists at the United Kingdom’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) have encouraged their government to support thorium reactors;

WHEREAS before switching to plutonium Canada had invested decades into thorium research;

WHEREAS the existing model for CANDU reactors can be modified for thorium fuel;

BE IT RESOLVED that a Liberal Government would direct the Council of Canadian Academies to study the utility of thorium-fuelled reactors;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a Liberal government would direct, based on the conclusions and recommendations of the Council of Canadian Academies, investment appropriately in thorium reactors in concert with all other levels of government as part of a comprehensive plan to further develop sustainable energy solutions for Canada.

Thorium reactors are not big on my radar screen, although they have proponents.  But whether you agree or disagree with the individual policy, its very much the kind of thing the LPC should be doing: lean forward on "clean energy" of any kind.  Some things might work out, some won't.  But the future is not in oil.   And in any case the thrust of the piece is research.

LibLogs R.I.P?

This is what you see, since yesterday:
Someone should pay their bills.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What I Did On My Long Weekend

...I lobbied LPC/OLP potentials for a post-2015 Senate appointment.  First up was Saturday night's confab at the Pauper's Pub, organized by the venerable Jeff Jedras and some guy named Ed Blake, who didn't bother showing up.  There I met longtime gal-pal Nancy LeBlanc:
Nancy wants to represent the OLP against Cheri DiNovo down in Parkdale-High Park.  Though she's the only one running for the nomination, the deal still hasn't yet been sealed, for some unknown  reason.  Hopefully, the OLP isn't up to some kind of parachute candidate jiggery-pokery.  Because you couldn't ask for a better person to represent our values. Dedicated, sincere--the works.  Here's Nancy's web-page, and here's a clip of her door-knocking:

When we met on Saturday I pitched my idea of an Ontario Provincial Senate, to which I could be appointed when Hudak had been thoroughly whupped  and we were set to rule forever.  I was about four pints in at the time, but I think I convinced her, because as you can see she's smiling.

Then on Sunday, I attended blogger and lawyer James Morton's campaign launch for his run at the federal seat in Thornhill.  Here's a shot of me and Bernie Farber at that event:
Later I approached Mr. Morton, another Liblogger, and suggested that post 2015 I could make a good Senator.  I also registered my displeasure at Justin Trudeau's new proposals for that August body, because if they are going to make appointments according to merit than I would be pretty much excluded from consideration.  James shook my hand, said "Thanks for coming out!" and moved on.  So I think I'm set!

Its worth noting that in both pictures I am modelling the "Irish Laborers Jacket" that I received for Xmas, and which I am quite proud of and feel I look extraordinarily sexy in.  As a Senator, I would of course want to polish my salt-of-the-Earth type creds, even if the whole point was to book in and sleep late for the next 25 years.  A jacket like that will surely help.

And, as I  like to point out, I am and will always be a friend of a friend of the working class.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Through Andrew Leslie To The Troops

I don't have much to say on this. Other than the amount involved ($72,000) there  is nothing remarkable about it.  And if you look at the list CTV got hold of there are some other pretty big numbers on it ($38,000, $50,000) including another move within Ottawa (one Brigadier General King) that cost roughly $22,000.  Its obviously an attempted smear of the guy, but to what end?  Leslie has his suspicions:

"...What is disappointing is that this particular attack may raise questions over a military retirement benefit and I do not think veterans deserve to have another measure called into question."

The same thought was expressed yesterday on the forums (in a very enlightening thread that I encourage everyone read from end-to-end):
(As usual, its easier to read if you click on the image).

So, will the CPC use this issue to steal another benefit back from our troops?  Worth noting that they were already sniffing around the issue last year.

Finally, as to the amount claimed: though I have some small experience with the relocation program--I have occasionally fielded calls from service members involved in it re T.O. house prices--I don't really know what expenses it is meant to cover.  The general mentions "real estate" fees, and the conversation suggests that commissions may be covered.  If so, five percent on the sale of a $1,000,000+ house is $50,000 right there.  And as to the distance of the move, well, in T.O. a five minute drive can can take you from an "island of affordability" too some pretty ritzy digs (think The Guild vs. North of Kingston near Markham Road, for example), so that is a red herring.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

On Benny Peiser: A Brief Note

From the Independent:

Lord Lawson’s climate-change think tank [the Global Warming Policy Foundation or GWPF] faces being dismantled or even wound down after a formal complaint that it has persistently misled the public prompted the statutory regulator to probe into the group.

Benny Peiser, the GWPF's director, is not happy about this.  He insists that:

“The GWPF has never participated in any campaigning and does not promote any particular line of opinion. In fact, the GWPF does not have an official or shared view about the science or politics of global warming...." 

Readers of this blog may be familiar with Mr. Peiser.  He is on the editorial board of Energy and Environment, once the AGW denialists journal of choice (ie where they could always publish crap the other journals wouldn't take).  He was, in fact,  before he joined the GWPF, co-editor of the journal. So it's worth noting what fellow co-editor Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen  said when he left that position in, roughly, 2011:

A few important announcements need to be made. Firstly, E&E is not the journal of climate sceptics or deniers, as some have asserted, but will continue to publish papers (seriously peer reviewed) and Viewpoints by these people in order to inform the energy ‘community’ - academic as well as professional - that the science debate which underlies so much of its current activities is by no means over. There may well be a need for a pure science journal dedicated to debating the AGW hypothesis and any role for E&E in this debate would disappear if mainstream scientific publications ceased to reject voices that disagreed with the IPCC line. Secondly, I would like to express my deep thanks to Dr. Benny Peiser for having acting as my co-editor for several turbulent years, but he has returned to our Editorial Board and will remain a valuable support. His work at the Global warming Policy Foundation now keeps him very busy in London. Also, a clear distinction between this lobby group and Energy & Environment may be now be desirable. 

The bolding above is mine.  For reference, here's a quick definition of the term "lobby group":

A group of persons working on behalf of or strongly supporting a particular cause, such as an item of legislation, an industry, or a special segment of society

So, the GWPF is called a lobby group in the very magazine that Peiser once helped edit, and to which he still provides editorial services.  We can assume he had no issue with this characterization at the time.  His indignation now rings supremely false.

PS.  To get some idea of what E&E was once willing to publish when Benny helped run the journal, read this.

Friday, February 14, 2014

By-Election Analysis And A Look Ahead

Let the NDP crow for a day.  They've earned it.  As for a Spring election, its about as likely/unlikely as it was yesterday morning, which means we'll probably have one.  And as to the likely result, well, Kathleen will be dogged by anti-wind  protesters at her rural events.  Our wild and crazy Ombudsman is launching a new and possibly embarrassing investigation into Hydro One billing.   (Not that that's an unworthy target, but check out the man's twitter-feed from last night:
...His behavior is, let us just say, unseemly.)  But on the other hand, Tim Hudak still resembles a constipated weasal; his own party hates him and challenges his leadership at every juncture (google "Richard Ciano" and "Tim Hudak"); and his policies are so barbaric as to be judged appalling by a focus group of  cannibal rednecks.

So, for an OLP partisan, you have to be thinking that any Spring election is eminently winnable.

PS. What about Andrea Howath's NDP?  Some folks think they see a wave building.  Maybe.  I'm not noticing anything yet.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Global Warming Denier James Delingpole Gets Ass Booted Out Door

Word is the UK Telegraph (the Torygraph, as they call it) felt he was an embarrassment.  And of course, in his sign-off column he admits he knew nothing about science.  Something most of us figured out long ago.

Although I would also suggest he's pretty ignorant even for one of us English grads.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thumped By A Frenchy! Sun News Star Brian Lilley Takes Boot To Nads From French Billionaire Boss!

The only time I would ever ask my readers to watch anything from Brian Lilley.  If you really don't want to, I'll just say its all about Brian calling out the politically correct "over-pronunciation of French athletes names".

Its a thoroughly grovelling apology, and the word is:
As to why of all occasions would PKF force his guy to eat dirt on tape, well, the Olympics are everywhere. Mr. Lilley's remarks reached an audience far beyond his usual.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Federal Government Sacking Another Library?

So this notification at GCSurplus looks to have been placed by the Office of The Privacy Commissioner of Canada. That is, the address given in the ad (112 Kent Street) matches the one given by the office.  And the email suffix ( also matches.

And the notification is for:
It sounds as though the Privacy Commission is selling off its library shelving.  Here's a shot from the ad:
Picture of Assorted Bookcases-1
This is presumably the product to be disposed of (the shelves, not the books...yet).  So, if they're selling off their ability to house books, does this mean they are getting set to dump their books? And if they are closing down their library, what does this mean for the Commission itself?

Non-Muslim Removed From Islamic Preaching Course A Hard Core Fruit-loop

From Jen Gerson's rather gormless piece:

A London, Ont., university is defending its decision to restrict access to a course that teaches Muslims how to proselytize.

The Huron College course — The Muslim Voice: Islamic Preaching, Public Speaking and Worship — was, according to the syllabus, “open to Muslim men and women who offer religious leadership and/or speak publicly about Islam on behalf of their communities.”

The school allowed a non-Muslim to enrol in the course, but then kicked him out because, they said, they didn’t want to open the course to auditors. That student, Moray Watson, is an accountant who says he is an opponent of Islamic extremism and enrolled in the course partly to test the prerequisite in the syllabus.

So, who is Moray Watson?

Well, you can read him in comments all over the Internet, from Arnie Lemaire's site to Jihad Watch (none of which will get links here) to most of the other hard right culture warrior blogs.

Here's a sample from PJ Media:
So, he's nuts, clearly.  And while he insists that he was kicked out for being non-Muslim, I suspect the university smelled Teh Crazy on him.  Certainly, this guy has no interest in preaching Islamic doctrine.  In fact the justification he gives for wanting to enroll in the course...that he wants to spy on the teacher to make sure she's not indoctrinating little jihadis is, well, I've already used the term nuts once, haven't I?

Why Ontario Anti-Wind Forces Keep Losing Their ERT (Environmental Review Tribunal) Appeals

They want the Tribunal to take their word at face value:

“There is no reliable evidence to demonstrate that the project will cause serious physical or any other serious harm,” [the tribunal] ruled.

A number of witnesses who live close to existing wind farms testified that the turbines had damaged their health.

But the tribunal said that they did not provide professional medical opinions that would establish a “causal link” between their ailments and the turbines.

This is not the first time that appellants protesting nearby wind farms have made health claims while refusing to provide the medical documentation needed to back those claims.  And it is only recently that they ERT has begun to consistently demand that they produce such records.  In addition, as noted here, if appellants are testifying re reductions in property values due to nearby turbines, they will now be asked to turn over all relevant real estate records.   I expect most of those appeals to fail as a result of this change in procedures.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Randy Hillier: Ontarions, You Are Lazy

Follow the man's argument:

The proverb “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations” refers to a family’s generational cycle through poverty and prosperity; does this proverb also reflect Ontario’s political generations?

The proverb demonstrates a timeless truth that the family’s first generation start off with little, and with hard work create a financial fortune. The second generation continues to work but also enjoy the benefits and the family’s wealth plateaus. The third generation, with no direct experience of work, consumes the family fortune. The fourth generation either returns to work to build a new fortune or begs for alms on the street.

In our case, things went South when Bill Davis got in power:

For some time now, Ontario politicians have been acting as the spoiled third generation, consuming the financial fortunes and equity our ancestors created, while holding the values and economic lessons that produced that wealth in contempt. The first of the third generation policies occurred during the Bill Davis years; the Niagara Escarpment Commission, imposition of rent controls and the purchase of Suncor marked the beginning of this new political generation.

And here's the kicker:

The present political generation, like the first, is also a reflection of the people today. 

And finally:

With certainty, this third political generation cannot last forever. What is unknown is this: Will our next political generation be personified by the proverb’s fourth generation, begging and pleading for federal alms, or will the people resolutely find and elect first generation-type politicians who can build a new fortune?

This is Mitt Romney style politics, pure and simple.  You're all lazy welfare bums.  Pull up your socks and vote for my guy!  Hardly the kind of appeal that is likely to attract a non-Tory to the Tory cause.  So hardly the kind of appeal Tim Hudak needs to make.  Randy must be assuming that the province's hard-core rightests will be able to vote twice, or that by voting really, really hard they can carry the day, though they be outnumbered.  We saw how that worked for Mitt.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Rob Ford's Wednesday Night

It around midnight and was very quiet (as it is on Wednesday -- we have a large trivia crowd that leaves right after trivia on Wed.) -- around 5 patrons and an equal number of staff, most of which had just been cut (kitchen was closed and I was getting ready to close up shop early when he showed up). He came in with two younger people -- a man in his 30s and a slightly younger-looking woman. A couple people got pictures as he walked in, but I did not, as he never once approached or even talked to me (after all, he's not drinking, right, wouldn't want to look improper, right?). The off-duty staff and patrons were welcomed to sit with him, and the man who entered with him bought rounds of drinks for everyone and waved off pictures if people tried to take them. Rob was red-faced and awkward seeming, but I don't know if that's just because he's Rob Ford and it was cold or what. He seemed pretty gracious as one of the patrons got into a heated discussion with him and then he laughed it off and high-fived with them.

I never saw him drink anything. I didn't take any video or anything because I'm not that kind of dude, but I was a bit upset to see that he called off work yesterday.

And, just to be clear:

Farber Vs. Gwyn On John A.

From Bernie's piece in The Star:

The latest hullaballoo around renaming Toronto’s Union Station after Sir John A. Macdonald should have and could have been avoided from the start. It simply boggles the mind that Toronto Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a savvy municipal politician, would have suggested such a change without engaging in at least some research.

From Richard Gwyn's defense in the same paper:

About John A. Macdonald two comments can be made with near certainty.

The first is that but for him no Canadians would be reading this article because no Canadians would exist to read it other than Americans who happened to live in the new state of that name.

Apparently, attacks on John A. are "shabby" and "opportunistic", but Mr. Gwyn declines to explain why.  I think the most important bit in either column is Bernie's reference to the newly published Clearing The Plains, by James Daschuk of the University of Regina:

In arresting, but harrowing, prose, James Daschuk examines the roles that Old World diseases, climate, and, most disturbingly, Canadian politics—the politics of ethnocide—played in the deaths and subjugation of thousands of aboriginal people in the realization of Sir John A. Macdonald’s “National Dream.”

Mr. Gwyn's piece would have benefited by directly engaging the claims in this book. I admit I have not read it (yet), but the fact that this kind of thing went on into the 1950s makes its claims plausible at least.

All of which is not particularly relevant to the renaming of Union Station.  That's just a dumb idea whatever the truth about John A.  It's just  Denzil  floating a few  balloons to get his name out front before he announces he's running for mayor.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Postmedia Fires A Useful Guy

From J-Source:

Postmedia Network is downsizing its parliamentary bureau and had laid off five parliamentary bureau staff.

Three political reporters—Mike De Souza, Andrea Hill and Tobi Cohen—as well as planning and production editor Rhonda Cumming and librarian Kirsten Smith were laid off.

Mike De Souza is, or was, pretty much the only journalist in Canada who  consistently covered issues surrounding the federal government's response to Global Warming.  And now he's gone.  On the other hand, pointless blow-hard climate change denier Terence Corcoran remains.

For the consipracy-minded, this deal signed bewteen Postmedia and CAPP last July certainly looks suspicious:
If they're willing to ensure that their editorials will be onside with CAPP, who knows that they wouldn't terminate a reporter whose stories have been an embarrassment to their new pay-masters.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Is Mark Steyn Doing A Slo-Mo Double Endo Into The Snow Fence Of Failure?

Is he crashing and burning, in other words?  Getting involved in a potentially ruinious lawsuit must be bad enough; representing yourself must surely make it worse.  Witness this, from The Orange County Register, one of the papers that publishes Mr. Steyn's work:

Editor's note: Syndicated columnist Mark Steyn has not filed a column with the Register since Dec. 20. While Mark has not notified our editors why he has gone on hiatus, we note that, according to several posts on his own site,, he is involved in the trial of a defamation lawsuit filed against him and others by a climate scientist.

Maybe the guy's hiding under his bed, wishing that the world will just go away.  Maybe's he's wearing nothing but his "legal briefs", clutching his head in his hands and crying for Mama.

Is it too much to ask?

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Tim Hortons History In Pictures

They've put together a slide-show.  So far this is my favorite pic:
The more things change, the more they remain the same.  

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday: Stay Safe

So don't even think it.  Personally, I will be off the road by game time.  And, yeah, I may well be eating wings and nachos.  Don't wreck your evening, and the evening of those around you.

Free Dominion Is BACK!!! Sort of...

They've gone read-only, for the time being.  Meanwhile, it worth nothing the occasion that brought them out.

 A federal appeals court has put the final nail in the coffin of Mark Lemire's constitutional appeal  of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (the hate speech provision). You can read more about it here; I've written extensively on the matter here; and the court doc is here.  I've only glanced at the latter, but its obvious that Marc Lemire has been defeated utterly.  Even the act's penalty provision (section 54.1), severed in a previous ruling, has been judged constitutional.

Why worry about legislation that has already been repealed?  Well, a Trudeau-led government that wanted to re-establish section 13 and 54.1  could do so knowing that they have passed constitutional muster. And remember, the Tories snuck their changes through the system as a private member's bill in the dead of night. Divided and leaderless as they might well be after 2015, they would not want to revisit these measures, especially since Mark Steyn, their strongest advocate on the file, might be playing piano for tips and cigarettes at some  skeezy  U.S. strip club by that time.