Friday, July 28, 2006

Yes, Harper will win a Majority

There's an interesting discussion at The Globe and Mail about John Ibbitson's column, "Tory Majority Ain't Happenin'" You have to pay to read the column. But essentially the argument is the tories need to win seats in Vancouver, Toronto, and the province of Quebec and their stands on key issues are sure to alienate these voters. The issues listed in the article are the Kyoto Protocol, the Afghanistan deployment, scrapping the gun registry, mild opposition to same sex "marriage," and support for Israel. None of these issues will be damaging to Harper's chances.

Kyoto was supported by environmentalists, and the admission that Canada will not meet its targets was viewed as a threat. However, this fall the Conservatives will put forward a 'Green Plan' that will demonstrate that the government is not going to abandon the environment.

The deployment to Afghanistan may be unpopular in Quebec, but the Liberals started this mission. The federalist vote in Quebec will go to the perceived front runner like it always does.

Scrapping the long gun registry will have very little impact on safety in cities. Meanwhile, the tougher enforcement and sentencing option put forward by the Conservatives may be effective.

Same sex "marriage." Whatever. I know very few heterosexuals that are passionate about entrenching this issue. Really, there are two groups: those who passionately believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman; and a larger group that really just doesn't care. Those who would vote against the government on this issue alone are part of a fringe that would never vote Conservative anyway.

Support for Israel. I don't know how this will play out, but John's own Editorial Board said this about Stephen Harper's position on the conflict: "To take a neutral stand between terrorist militias fuelled by radical Islam and a democratic country defending itself from attack would have been a perversion of our traditions. Mr Harper did the right thing when he backed Israel's right to defend itself, even if its counterattack has sometimes been too fierce and too sweeping."

Add to that the undisputed effectiveness of his government despite being in a minority position, and I'm confident Harper will be leading a majority government whenever the next election comes.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Clean Flicks Right to Keep Up the Fight

Last week, Lifesite News reported that a court ruling will prevent companies from purchasing Hollywood films, and then editing out all profanity, nudity, sex, and graphic violence. Clean Flicks is the leading company providing this service, and as Lifesite reported, will keep up the fight. Good for them, too many movies use sex and violence as a substitute for decent plot development, offering a choice of clean movies is a valuable service to families. Naturally, the court's decision has been widely criticized.

Normally, I wouldn't care to write about this but I just ready a post on Relapsed Catholic where Kathy Shaidle lays into everyone who appreciates the service that Clean Flicks offers. I think I'm missing her point. She says: "The idea that some third party would make unauthorized changes to a work of art by me or anyone else is utterly. Absolutely. Disgusting. "

Come on, TV companies have been doing this for the sake of commercials since movies were invented and I haven't heard a complaint from Hollywood. The entertainment industry is about the audience not the artist and if part of that audience wants to cut out some of the crap, I say go for it.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

High Stakes for Terror Mole

This excellent article describes how CSIS, Canada's spy agency, successfully infiltrated the Toronto terror cell. The 'terror mole' Mubin Shaikh describes some of his challenges like this:

He stands on the corner describing his “surreal” predicament to a Globe reporter. Since the beginning of the investigation, he's had to repeatedly prove his loyalty to both his employer and his emir, Mr. Ahmad.

One day during the investigation, he was driving Mr. Ahmad somewhere while being followed by undercover police officers. When Mr. Ahmad noted that they were being tailed, the agent weaved through lanes of traffic, trying to shake off the people who pay his salary, he said. He is also, he said, fearful of any reprisals that may stem from his co-operation in the case. Many people in the Muslim community suspect he was involved and the agent worries that a tiny fraction of them might take issue with him.

But he's prepared to be scrutinized by all of his Canadian Muslim brothers and the defence lawyers of the accused, who will no doubt vigorously examine him about the $77,000 he says he's earned, and the $300,000 he's says he's owed.

He is definitely an enigma. Supporting Jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan, but wanting to keep it away from Canada. But that's OK. We don't have to vote for him, we don't even have to like him. By dealing with this guy CSIS helped the RCMP get the job done. It's just a shame he's gone and blown his cover.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Liberal Race Just Got Interesting

The race to replace Paul Martin as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada just got more interesting. Left-Wing Candidate Gerard Kennedy has apparently out organized rivals and signed up the most new party members in advance of the party's membership deadline. (In Canada only members of political parties are able to vote in the leadership selection process, and very few Canadians are members of any party. Therefore signing up new members is an essential part of the campaign.)

Mr. Kennedy has established his left wing credentials by beginning his political carreer in provincial politics with the socialist NDP. Later he changed allegiance to run for the leadership of Ontario's Liberal Party. In that race, he was defeated in a run-off that saw multiple candidates come together to support a more moderate leader.

I don't know if this race will have the same result. The other leading candidate, Michael Ignatieff, is a moderate and an intellectual who supports the war on terror. Given the fact that there are a lot more left wing candidates than moderate candidates seeking the leadership, things are looking up for Gerard Kennedy. I can't say that that's a good thing for our country.

Correction: Gerard Kennedy did not begin his political carreer with the NDP and did not change his party affiliation. His left-wing credentials were well established however as he was an anti-poverty activist working with Toronoto's Daily Bread food bank before entering politics.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Courage Runs in the Family

I want to recognize the debt that I and the rest of Canadians owe to all the soldiers who have served, are serving, or have lost their lives in Afghanistan. Theirs is a noble mission to protect the world from terrorism and to rebuild a country where people have suffered needlessly under a repressive regime.

Corporal Anthony Boneca is the latest soldier who has given his life for freedom. He was a committed soldier who executed his duties bravely and volunteered for two missions to Afghanistan. He was clearly a man who loved his country who willingly risked his life.

Unfortunately, the media and those opposed to the war were determined to use Boneca's death as an opportunity to question the mission and question the resolve of our soldiers. This was completely shameful and not only tarnished the name of a good man; it tarnished the name of all our men and women in uniform.

Fortunately bravery runs in the Boneca family. Despite losing their only son, Anthony's parents, have opened themselves up to more media scrutiny to set the record straight, that there son was a committed soldier who was properly trained for his duties.

Thankfully, I haven't lost a close relative to war in my lifetime and I pray diligently that I never will. I cannot know the Boneca's grief, but to willingly take on intense media scrutiny while trying to cope with their grief, they have shown themselves to be courageous examples to all Canadians.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Turning the Other Cheek

First two quotes.
Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Luke 6:28-30 (NIV)

"Enough now with this turning the other cheek. It's our duty to protect ourselves." Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican's Supreme Court.

My first reaction to this was disbelief and disappointment. I just don't like the sound of a clergyman contradicting scripture.

Christian History is full of martyrs who willingly gave up their lives rather than protecting themselves by force. We would not have a Church if Christ had defended himself instead of willingly accepting a brutal execution as a punishment for our sin. Here in Ontario we have a shrine to Canadian Martyrs like St. Jean de Brebeuf, a missionary to the Huron Indians who refused to flee when they were attacked by the Iroquois.

However, in reality, I don't believe that Monsignor De Paolis is contradicting scripture. Rather he is contradicting a mistaken interpretation of it that would suggest the Catholic Church should allow its members and other Christians to be persecuted, tortured, and murdered for their faith. Daniel Pipes outlines the problem in an excellent article here.

In the nineteen eighties, the Church was largely successful in protecting Christians' freedom to worship in Russia, Poland and the other communist countries of Eastern Europe. Today there are many countries where religious freedom is in serious jeopardy, many of them are majority Muslim countries. The church is right to recognize the threats to believers and to use all of its political influence to protect the rights of people in every country of the world to worship freely.

Wise Move, Bank of Canada

Today the Bank of Canada announced it would keep Canadian interest rates steady. The Bank demonstrated an understanding of the impact that a strong Canadian dollar is having on the economy by stating in today's release:
The additional strength that has developed in domestic demand is expected to persist into next year, but this should be more than offset by a weaker outlook for net exports, owing primarily to the recent strength of the Canadian dollar.

Markets today responded by trading lowering the Canadian dollar by 1/2 a US cent. This is good news for many Canadian businesses, hopefully the situation will change from the way I described it in February.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Democracy Means Accepting Fair Election Results

You really have to hand it to left wingers. They are entitled to be in government even when the voters reject them. 100,000 people gathered in Mexico City to protest the results of the presidential election in Mexico. This despite the fact that a recount showed a conservative candidate, Felipe Calderon won by approximately 244,000 votes, or 0.6% of the vote in an election that European observers found to be fair. Yes, this is a close election, but I wonder how much does a left wing party need to lose by before they can admit defeat? Maybe we will find out in the American elections this fall.

I really can't claim to be an expert on Mexican politics. I'm sure that inequality and adjusting to the competition from American companies as NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) has come into effect are very difficult issues, but according to Lifesite.Net, he attends daily mass and is pro-life. He also managed to convince Mexicans that he was the right man for the job, even though he was considered a long shot. It's time the left wingers in Mexico, choose to respect democracy and admit defeat.

One final thought, isn't there something like 12 million people living in Mexico City. Shouldn't a serious left wing protest there have a lot more than 100,000 people?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bush and Harper Should be More Friendly

George Bush and Stephen Harper met today to celebrate the president's birthday and to talk about the tough issues facing the two countries. There are a lot of successes to celebrate including both countries' success in fighting terrorism at home and abroad as President Bush acknowledged when he gave Stephen some well deserved praise for Canada's bold investment in our military.

One of the biggest threats to cross border trade and the relationship between our two countries is the American proposal to require passports from everyone crossing the border from Canada. American security issues are extremely important, but Stephen Harper hit the nail on the head when he said, "If the fight for security ends up meaning that the United States becomes more closed to its friends, then the terrorists have won. And I don't think either of us want that." President Bush promised to work to extend deadlines, but pointed out that the US congress has the ultimate control on this issue.

As always, Stephen Harper was very effective in representing Canada's interests, but, according to the Canadian press: "Harper, aware of critics at home who don't want him to be too cozy with Bush, wanted the visit to be taken very seriously but remain as low-key as possible, with none of the flash accorded other leaders. "

I understand that many Canadians don't want our Prime Minister to be too buddy-buddy with the American President, but, I wish it weren't that way. Our countries should be close allies with a rich history, and many, many common goals. Think how much stronger the relationship can be if the two leaders are openly partners in peace, and also friends.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Welcome Fr. Ian Duffy

St. Joseph's Parish in Fergus has been extremely blessed, especially with wonderful pastors! Since I've moved to Fergus, we've had 3 wonderful priests, Fr. Ken Miskiewicz, Fr. Frank Frietas, and today Fr Ian Duffy!

I've heard only good things about Fr. Duffy. I've only seen Fr Duffy twice, first at a seminar during lent and then this morning at Sunday mass. However, it's already clear that he's an eloquent teacher.

I just did a quick check and found that he's so eloquent, they've put him on television. Here's a 30 minute video on why it's important to save sex for marriage from Salt & Light TV where he helps teach. Father Ian is part of a new generation of Catholic Priests that will fill the church with enthusiasm.

If the loving attention that he has given to St. Gabriel's Parish for the last 4 years is any indication, I know our parish will be richly blessed.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day . . . Really

Happy Canada Day!

It really is. Today's the day the GST is reduced from 7% to 6%. It's also the day that the universal Child Care credit of $100 per month for families with children aged 6 and under. Read more.

Today also marks the end of a week of announcements on reinvestments in the Canadian Military. I love the way Lieutenant-General Leslie, Chief of the Land Staff sums up the week's news, "As a soldier I'm delighted, my first time in my 25-year career I have seen this amount of money and growth in personnel coming our way. Quite frankly, I think we're getting an armed forces looking out over the next couple of years that Canada deserves."

I wrote a month ago that I felt Proud to be Canadian; today I'm enjoying that feeling again.