Monday, June 30, 2008

Sexual Orientation not Chosen

One does not choose to desire anything; thinking otherwise is what Ryle called a category mistake. I do not choose to desire a glass of water; I just desire one. The same goes for belief. I can no more choose to believe in God than I can choose to believe that there is a computer screen in front of me. That being the case, it matters not a lick whether one’s sexuality is biologically based or otherwise.

What really seems to be at the heart of dispute is whether one’s sexual orientation can change. Available evidence, especially with regard to males, is it can not be changed. Orientation seems to be far less varied than behavior. (Women who identify as bisexual respond to erotica of all sorts; their bisexual male counterparts on the other hand only respond to one or the other.) This has led those opposed to fundamentalists to claim victory. Both sides are guilty of confused thinking though. Just because sexual orientation can not be changed does not mean that this settles the issue. Pedophilia also seems to be immutable, but that does not make diddling kids morally permissible. Homosexual behavior is morally permissible because there is no harm in two consenting adults of the same sex engaging in sexual behavior and with regard to morality no harm no foul.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Poilievre: “My view is that we need to engender the values of hard work, independence, and self-reliance. That's the solution in the long run, more money will not solve it.”

This is typical small minded conservative self-reliance crap. A lack of “self-reliance” is consequence not a cause. Also Poilievere’s timing is awful. He could not have picked a worse time to spout off. The good news for those concerned with the quality of public discourse is that Poilievre is likely in Harper’s doghouse, he already had to make a clarification, and will not be answering too many questions in the House or making any public appearances.

All that being said, Poilievre is right about one thing. The reserve system, premised as it is on the notion of native rights, is a bureaucratic, fiscal, legal, intellectual and sociological abortion that does nothing save waste mountains of money, breed corruption and poverty, instill in the native community a vile sense of identity based on “blood” and breed racism in the Canadian society at large. Hell, if Harper promised to abolish native rights and privatize communal land holdings, I would vote for him. Well maybe.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Starve the Beast: Cut Military Spending

Outside of implementing a newer version of the White Paper and alas this just not going to happen, the one area of government that fat can be cut is the military. Sure the military’s operational capability was badly compromised by cuts during the 1990s, but this not all bad. Indeed, far from it. It has greatly limited our ability to engage in foreign adventurism and this is important for reasons that extend beyond wasting money. The biggest threat facing Canada by far is Islamic terrorism and this relates largely to our presence in Afghanistan. In the case of the Toronto 18 the Afghan mission was what motivated the accused to target Canada. As for Al Qaeda, the only time Bin Laden and company have mentioned Canada is in reference to the Afghan mission. Starve the beast. Government can not be trusted. Unless military spending is kept low, future governments, particularly Conservative ones, might commit Canada to foreign missions that are doomed to failure and greatly increase the likelihood that Canada will be attacked by terrorists home grown or otherwise.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Liberals should not Force an Election Now

Yes the Conservatives are flat right now. Yes the Conservative will come back reenergized after the break. This will be especially so if they bring parliament back only after the Conservative convention. However, no the Liberals should not go right now. If you go province by province riding by riding there is very little evidence that the Liberals would win an election right now. Whatever gains they might make in the 905 are more than offset by Conservative gains in Quebec. Liberal support has not budged outside of the Maritimes, the 416 and parts of the 905. Indeed, there is pretty good evidence that it has gone down in “the West” and Quebec.

The consequences of an election loss are just too high for the party. The Liberals have enough held in reserve so they will not be outspent by the Conservatives during the next campaign. The Liberals will spend the max. However, after that Liberal party would be flat broke and would be in midst of another leadership campaign. The Liberal party would be faced with either doing battle with the Conservatives in election with huge monetary disadvantage or allowing the Conservatives to stick to them even worse then they are now. Forget a death by thousand cuts; the Conservatives would look to disgorge great gobs of flesh.

Another problem with going now is that Liberal platform, to be blunt, sucks. There is not single issue or combination of issues that I can see that would put the Liberals over the top and that especially includes a carbon tax. Indeed, whenever I here a carbon tax – sorry tax shift – mentioned I can not think help but think of Warren Kinsella’s errant but humourous quip “Think gas is expensive now. Want to be pay more? Vote Liberal.”

On the flipside though it is pretty clear that Canadians are not enamored with the Harper government, the Conservative caucus is very weak and most of the cabinet intellectual minnows, the economy in central Canada is going south and good god if the Liberal got down to work on the policy front, stopped focusing only the environment, they might actually convince the Canadian people to give them a minority government. Rae, Ignatieff and Dion must understand that Canadians want an end to the incremental approach the Liberal party has taken over the last number of years. The status quo will not do. Canadians want change.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Safe Injection Site: Different Standard for BC and Quebec?

Tony Clement is apparently open to idea of Quebec setting up a safe injection site.

Health Minister Tony Clement says his government will not necessarily oppose safe-injection sites for illegal drugs in Quebec even though it will appeal a court decision allowing a similar facility in British Columbia……”I am obligated to consider each situation as a unique situation. That’s my obligation as the Minister of Health.”

I love it. It is as if Harper and company have forgotten what launched the Reform Party in BC. Insite is Vancouver’s pet project and so as it the Conservative’s risk shutting it down at their own peril, but shutting down Insite well allowing a safe injection site to be set up in Montreal would create a huge political storm in BC. I can see the headlines now and tempers starting to boil. I can guarantee you if Conservative treat the two cases differently, Conservative support in the Lowermainland will drop 5% to 10% overnight. There is nothing that goes over worse in BC than saying that Quebec deserves to be differently than BC.

Hat tip To David Eaves .

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Language Test for Immigrants

Despite the alarmist headline,“Language test spells trouble for newcomers” in the Star, Canada's decision to force all would be immigrants to take the IELTS (the Cambridge language exam) is good news. The Cambridge exam may not perfectly reflect spoken English in Canada, but it is the gold standard of English tests taken aboard and in ESL schools in Canada and it is required for foreigners wanting to go to university in Canada. One can sign up for a Cambridge study coarse in Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Seoul, New Delhi, etc. By adopting the Cambridge test as the standard, it becomes easier for Canada to attract would be immigrants. People know just what to study for, and more importantly they can easily access programs that will help them pass the test.

Whether it be allowing ESL students to work in Canada and now this, the Harper government, to its credit, is making it easier and more likely that ESL students, for one, will immigrant to Canada.

Update: The government got cold feet and dropped the idea. Shame.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Seats Projections if Election was held Today

Reading the polls, both provincial and national, this is how I see things breaking down if a federal election was held today.

I see the Conservatives gaining at the expense of the Liberals in BC, making solid gains in Quebec at the expense of the Bloc, loosing some ground to the Liberals in the 905 as a result of some NDP voters migrating to the Liberals and loosing ground to the Liberals in Newfoundland.

As for the Liberals, I think they will pick up seats from both the NDP and Conservatives in the 905 and 416, pick up 2 seats from the Conservatives in Newfoundland , and pick up 3 seats from the Bloc as result of decrease in the Bloc vote in Quebec. On the flip side, the Liberals should loose ground to the NDP in Northern Ontario and as mentioned ground to the Conservatives in BC.

The NDP will loose seats to the Liberals in the 416 and 905 and loose two seats to the Conservatives in BC. However, these looses should be offset by gains in Northern Ontario at the expense of the Liberals and picking up a seat an extra seat in Quebec.

The Bloc will by far the worst of any of the major parties. I see their body of support slipping just enough to allow a stagnet Liberal party to regain three seats and they will loose voters on the left to the NDP and voters on the right to the Conservatives. The NDP should be to pick up Jeanne Le Bar and the Conservative will make major gains outside of Montreal at the Bloc's expense.

Conservatives 143
Liberals 100
Bloc 34
NDP 29
Independents 2


Conservatives 23 (+6)
NDP 8 (-2)
Liberals 5 (-4)


Conservatives 28


Conservatives 13 (+1)
Liberals 1 (-1)


Conservatives 9 (+1)
NDP 4 (+1)
Liberals 1 (-2)


Liberals 56 (+2)
Conservatives 39 (-1)
NDP 11 (-1)


Bloc 34 (-17)
Conservatives 23 (+13)
Liberals 15 (+2)
NDP 2 (+2)
Independents 1

New Brunswick

Liberals 5 (-1)
Conservatives 4 (+1)

Novo Scotia

Liberals 6
Conservatives 2 (-1)
Independents 1 (+1)


Liberals 4


Liberals 6 (+2)
Conservatives 1 (-2)






Conservatives (+1) Liberals -1


1) Conservatives pick up Richmond from Liberals

2) Conservatives pick up Newton North Delta from Liberals

3) Conservatives pick up Saint-Boniface from Liberals

4) Conservatives pick up North Vancouver from Liberals

5) Conservatives pick up Nunavut from Liberals

6) Conservatives pick up Fredericton from Liberals

7) Conservatives pick up Brant from Liberals

8) Conservatives pick up Huron-Bruce from Liberals

1) Conservatives pick up West Vancouver from Independent (Blair Wilson)

1) Conservatives pick up Vancouver Island North from NDP

2) Conservatives pick up British Columbia Southern Interior from NDP

1) Conservatives pick up Berthier Masinonge from Bloc

2) Conservatives pick up Saint Maurice from Bloc

3) Conservatives pick up Trois-Rivières from Bloc

4) Conservatives pick up Chicoutimi-Le Fjord from Bloc

5) Conservatives pick up Vaudreuil-Soulanges from Bloc

6) Conservatives pick up Brome-Missisquoi from Bloc

7) Conservatives pick up Compton-Stanstead from Bloc

8) Conservatives pick up Richmond-Arthabuska from Bloc

9) Conservatives pick up Shefferd from Bloc

10) Conservatives pick up Quebec from Bloc

11) Conservatives pick up Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine from Bloc

12) Conservatives pick up Haute-Gaspésie-La Mitis-Matane-Matapédia from Bloc

13) Conservatives pick up Montmorency-Charlevoix-Haute-Côte-Nord from Bloc


1) Liberals pick up St John’s East from Conservatives

2) Liberals pick up Avalon from Conservatives

3) Liberals pick up Mississauga Streetsville from Conservatives

4) Liberals pick up Vancouver Kingsway from Conservatives

5) Liberals pick up Ancaster-Dundas from Conservatives

6) Liberals pick up St. Catharines from Conservatives

1) Liberals pick up Trinity-Spadina from NDP

2) Liberals pick up Parkdale-High Park from NDP

3) Liberals pick up Hamilton Mountain from NDP

4) Liberals pick up Ottawa Center from NDP

5) Liberals pick up London-Fanshawe from NDP

1) Liberals pick up Ahuntsic from the Bloc

2) Liberals pick up Papineau from the Bloc

3) Liberals pick up Brosserd La Praire from Bloc


1) NDP pick up Churchill from Liberals

2) NDP pick up Nickel Belt from Liberals

3) NDP pick up Algoma-Manitoulin Kapuskasing from Liberals

1) NDP pick up Oshawa from Conservatives

2) NDP pick up Thunder Bay Superior North from Conservatives

1) NDP pick up Jeanne Le Bar from the Bloc