Thursday, December 04, 2008

When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Prorogue

When a government starts trying to cancel dissent or avoid dissent is when it's rapidly losing its moral authority to govern. - Stephen Harper, April 18, 2005.

I stumbled upon the above quote from Danielle Takacs' blog; it's a quote that needs to be repeated.

As a supporter of the Coalition, I was disappointed by the decision of Governor General Michaëlle Jean to follow the advice of the Prime Minister to prorogue Parliament. While I was disappointed, I can't say I'm entirely surprised.

It's kind of a precedent versus precedent. Let me explain.

The Prime Minister, clearly not holding the confidence of the House of Commons, asks the Governor General to prorogue Parliament to avoid being defeated. The people of Canada elect Members of Parliament; the Members of Parliament choose government. The House of Commons decided to form a new government, which is both democratic and legal based on the rules of a parliamentary democracy, and the Prime Minister asked the Governor General to help him avoid the inevitable.

On the other hand, while I wanted the Governor General to deny the Prime Minister the prorogation, what precedent would have been set if she had actually not listened to the advice of a sitting Prime Minister?

I maintain this incident was different than both Clark / Trudeau / Schreyer as Clark was defeated first, and slightly different than King / Meighen / Byng, as Meighen held a larger minority than King.

In short, I don't blame the Governor General. I think in the back of my mind, I kind of knew she would not deny Stephen Harper's request.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Unquote

As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government’s program. We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority. Your attention to this matter is appreciated.

- Stephen Harper, September 9, 2004

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One Member One Vote

I support the resolution to elect Liberal leaders by a one member one vote system. It's fair and democratic.

Liberals who do so as well are encouraged to join the Liberals for One Member One Vote Leader selection Facebook group, or follow the blog, One Member, One Vote.

Unquote

The weak fiscal performance to date is largely attributable to previous policy decisions [of the current Conservative government] as opposed to weakened economic conditions.
- Kevin Page, Canadian Parliamentary budget officer

[H/T, Far and Wide]

Bob Rae Launches Leadership Bid

While I have indicated that I will be supporting Michael Ignatieff for leader of the Liberal Party, I will not be using this blog to attack the other Liberal leadership candidates during the race.

Case in point, I would like to point out a great comment on the CBC news article announcing Bob Rae's official bid launch.
Unfortunately, it seems that Bob Rae has allowed history to be rewritten about his record in unflattering and inaccurate terms. Unless he can turn that demonization around during this next leadership bid, he may prove to be the best candidate for the job, but incapable of delivering Ontario (and a government) for the Liberals.

It's ironic that some of Mike Harris' most incompetent cabinet ministers are now in charge of our federal government, but any goodwill that Bob Rae might have earned as Ontario premier is entirely dismissed.
I won't say that I was necessarily the biggest fan of Mr. Rae's tenure as Premier, but Liberals must remember the above comment at every opportunity, regardless of the candidate they support. If the basis of your support is on how Ontario will react to a Bob Rae Liberal leadership, then how did these three get elected twice?

It will be incumbent on Liberals and Team Bob Rae to prepare for the inevitable attacks should Mr. Rae win; we can begin right now.

When debating who would be best to lead Canada as a Liberal Prime Minister, it should be on the merit of their ideas for the future.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I Support Michael Ignatieff

I support Michael Ignatieff as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

This is an exciting time to be a new Liberal and I look forward to working toward a Michael Ignatieff leadership victory.

This will be my first Liberal leadership campaign and I plan on working hard, if they'll have me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Three Posts in One Month

I get the feeling that I'm not a very good blogger. I must be breaking some kind of blogging etiquette rules somewhere.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thoughts on Liberal 308

I stumbled upon a good article by CBC correspondent Henry Champ - I think he's semi-retired now, after being the CBC's Washington correspondent.

The title of the piece sums it up nicely - If Obama wins, thank Howard Dean. More precisely, Mr. Champ argues that Barack Obama's success is, in some way, due in part to Mr. Obama's execution of Howard Dean's fifty-state strategy.

This commentary is especially important for those of us who support Liberal 308.

Mr. Champ argues that Barack Obama created a base of Democratic support in non-Democratic areas while Hilary Clinton concentrated in Democrat-favoured areas. Democrat supporters in red states felt a part of the Democratic Party and contributed to Barack Obama.

It's easy to make the strategic comparison here. Creating 308 visible Liberal riding associations is, in my mind, the most important step. Those visible riding associations means Liberal support even in Conservative or NDP-held areas. That support translates into volunteers and financial contributions.

You build that support, you build the party. You build the party, you win elections.

That's renewal.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

That Was Quick

Remember how I said back here that Stephen Harper still thinks he's leading a party based on rural populist values? It's clear he's delusional.
Newly-re-elected Prime Minister Stephen Harper today served notice that he will stack the Senate with Tory appointments if necessary to push through democratic reforms of the chamber.
[H/T, Accidental Deliberations]

The ends justifies the means, I guess. And, if they can use that stuffed Conservative-filled Senate to pass other legislation, what's the harm? Right?

This stuff almost writes itself.

On Garth Turner ...

Garth Turner's defeat to Conservative Lisa Raitt is a huge loss to the Liberal caucus as far as I'm concerned. He wasn't afraid to ask himself what a maverick would do and then do that (yes, I'm channelling Tina Fey).

I'll say it again - the House of Commons would be better with a few more Garth Turners and a few less of the "principled alternatives" ...

Speaking of principled alternatives, we say goodbye to Rahim Jaffer - yes, he was only the messenger.

I was going to say we also say goodbye to Michael Fortier, but since he never sat in the House, we never technically said 'hello'.

On the Election Results Continued ...

The parties claiming victory today owe more to a flawed electoral system and voter apathy, then to any message they delivered.

The Conservatives picked up 16 more seats on a total popular vote share gain of 1.37% and the NDP picked up another 7 on a total share gain of 0.79%. All parties, with the exception of the Greens, pulled in less total votes than they did in 2006.

This, to me, is a failure on all counts. Facing an uncertain economic future, less Canadians bothered to vote and, of the ones who did, voted almost identically as they did in 2006.

Stephen Harper still believes the Conservative Party is a Western-based protest party rooted in rural populist values (it isn't) continually hampered by imaginary media bias and Liberal-appointees in every shadow (they aren't). Stephen Harper continues to struggle in articulating a palatable conservative message to all Canadians. He failed to deliver a majority conservative government in his third try at it, all the while having favourable conditions for victory in each case. The fault is his, and his alone. He controls the message, he takes 100% of the blame for the party's failure.

If the Conservatives want to move forward, they need a new leader. Not right now maybe, but one that can articulate that message over the noise.

I joined the Liberal Party because I do not buy into the version of the Conservative Party I described above; I still like my politics pragmatic but right-of-centre. I have no ties to a particular past leader or leadership contender; I joined after Stéphane Dion became leader and his leadership was not really a factor in my decision to join.

That said, in my opinion, the Liberal Party ran this election similar to how the John Kerry Democrats ran the United States presidential election in 2004. The Liberals showed up, smiled, told us how evil the Conservative Party (and the NDP) was, and expected Canadians to reject the other guy just, well, because.

To be honest, I think the Liberal Party needs to open up a little more. Look a little less aristocratic and maybe a little more rustic. Will it take a new leader? Maybe one with no ties to the old guard? Perhaps an official position on democratic reform might eliminate this question? I don't know. That's an opinion for another day.

On the Election Results ...

It's the morning after last night.

I regret not being more involved in the online and real life campaigning. I also regret not being more involved in the Fairness for Ontario campaign. I regret not talking about electoral reform during this election.

To be completely honest, I found little to be fired up about in this election short of hoping for Conservative electoral defeat.

The final count (and the change from dissolution in parentheses):
Conservative Party - 143 (+16)
Liberal Party - 76 (-19)
Bloc Québécois - 50 (+2)
NDP - 37 (+7)
Green - 0 (-1)
Independents - 2 (-1)
I'll have more later when I get rid of this cold I've been fighting the last few weeks.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Voting for the 40th Canadian General Election is Under Way

Today is election day for Canada's 40th General Election. If you have not done so already, please get out and vote.

The Elections Canada Voter Information Service is a one stop shop to find out where you vote and who the list of confirmed candidates are in your riding.

As I have done in the past, comment moderation will be on until either sometime this evening or tomorrow morning.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Shenanigans on the Campaign Trail

The Toronto Star's Richard Brennan calls shenanigans on Jack Layton's shady campaign tactics. He even suggests it's happening in other campaigns!
There is nothing spontaneous about it. The NDP rallies (actually they are all the same) are contrived. Before Leader Jack Layton arrives, supporters practice cheering and waving signs, are told where to stand and when to be excited on cue. The big thing with with the Layton rallies is to have many supporters lined up behind him so the crowds looks much larger than they are. Seldom does Layton break out of the safety of the NDP family.
I'm shocked! Shocked!

What I'd like to see in the future from such hard hitting journalism is:
  • An in depth investigation into the possibility that political campaigns hold rallies in rooms too small for the number of attendees. Not by accident - intentionally!
  • The folks standing behind leaders making campaign speeches may have known beforehand that an announcement was coming.
  • Party supporters calling your house looking for support may in fact be reading from a script.

These are just hunches. We need Richard Brennan to dive in and uncover the truth behind the shenanigans!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Unquote

“I think there are probably some great buying opportunities emerging in the stock market as a consequence of all this panic.” - Prime Minister Stephen Harper

[H/T, Accidental Deliberations]

I hear there are great deals on used work boots as a consequence of all this imaginary panic too.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Just Curious

I'm curious to know what Charles McVety and all the socially conservative supporters of the Conservative Party who voted in the advance polls are saying now that their tax dollars are once again going to fund "offensive" films? After all, films promoting homosexuality, graphic sex or violence should not receive tax dollars or so we are told.

More importantly, when are social conservatives going to realize that they are just being used as props by Stephen Harper to obtain electoral victory?

Putting a Price on Carbon the Best Approach : Economists

Good news for us Green Shift supporters as the plan to put a price on carbon, and reduce tax on income, has received support from a broad range of Canadian economists.
More than 230 academic economists have signed an open letter to the leaders of the federal political parties, urging them to acknowledge that putting a price on carbon is "the best approach" to combatting climate change.

...

Pricing carbon allows every business and family to decide for itself how it values the things that generate carbon, the letter says. Each can consider the options and everyone has the incentive to change, but does it in a way that's best for them.
[H/T, Far and Wide]

The full letter and list of signatories can be found at Econ-Environment.ca as well as the list of principles behind the letter.

  1. Canada needs to act on climate change now.

  2. Any substantive action will involve economic costs.

  3. These economic impacts cannot be an excuse for inaction.

  4. Pricing carbon is the best approach from an economic perspective.

    1. Pricing allows each business and family to choose the response that is best and most efficient for them.

    2. Pricing induces innovation.

    3. Carbon is almost certainly under-priced right now.

  5. Regulation is the most expensive way to meet a given climate change goal.

  6. A carbon tax has the advantage of providing certainty in the price of carbon.

  7. A cap and trade system provides certainty on the quantity of carbon emitted, but not on the price of carbon and can be a highly complex policy to implement.

  8. Although carbon taxes have the most obvious effects on consumers, all carbon reduction policies increase the prices individuals face.

  9. Price mechanisms can be regressive and our policy should address this.

  10. A pricing mechanism can allow other taxes to be reduced and provide an opportunity to improve the tax system.

So now it's 230 economists versus one and his crony.

The Liberal Green Shift is the right solution for Canada to fight greenhouse gas emissions - it being both economically and environmentally viable.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Preston Manning, Conservative Crony, Endorses Stephen Harper

In today's Globe & Mail, Preston Manning asks the question.

If you have a heart problem, you go to a cardiologist. If you have an abscessed tooth, you go to a dentist. If the biggest challenges facing your country are economic, who should you put in charge?
He's referring to Stephen Harper's degree in economics and thus being the only choice for Prime Minister during an economic crisis.
Jack Kevorkian was once a medical doctor too, but I'm not sure I'd go to him for health care advice.

That being the case, let's look at another pragmatic Conservative appointment based upon careful examination of their background as to their fitness for their new role.

Preston Manning, with a background in economics and the dream of creating a conservative-based political and media infrastructure, was appointed "to provide credible and expert assessments of the science underlying important public-policy issues and matters of interest to Canadians." Apparently, if you have challenges facing your country that are scientific in nature, you turn to a socially conservative economist.

Beyond that, if you're looking for credible, unbiased advice on who to select as Prime Minister - look no further than one of his top cronies.

Where Have I Been?

Wow. I must have fallen off the face of the earth, if I haven't posted since September 17. My only excuse -- because apologizing for a lapse in blog posting is apparently cliché -- is that I've been enjoying real life too much.

I woke up on Sunday morning to a vandalized election sign. Looking at my neighbours, I deduced that I was merely the victim of some kids playing with it as my sign was the only Liberal one hit. It even looks like they tried to fix it afterward.

Having read the stories of a new round of attacks on Liberal supporters, I checked the rest of my property just to make sure that I wasn't hit.

At any rate, I have put up another sign.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Unquotes

This is like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts.
- Conservative Party MP and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, on the potential for political damage from the listeriosis outbreak.

Please tell me it's (Liberal MP) Wayne Easter.
- Conservative Party MP and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, on hearing about a PEI listeriosis-related death.

Are there any more bombs out there?
- Conservative Party MP and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, on opening a conference call into the listeriosis outbreak fearing political damage.

Updated: Bonus unquote.

Politicians being what they were leading into an election cycle will continue to drag the political spectre through it.
- Conservative Party MP and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, on the prospects of the listeriosis-outbreak "becoming a political albatross around the Conservatives' necks in a campaign."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dogs and Cats Living Together~!

Shorter Stephen Harper: Voting for the Green Shift will make this country head for a disaster of biblical proportions. By biblical, I mean Old Testament, real wrath of God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes... The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria! *

* Paraphrased from Ghostbusters (1984).

Updated: Actually, the more I think of it. If we go with the Conservative plan for the environment, we would have fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, the seas boiling, and the darkness. Probably not so much the dog and cat thing, though.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Victory for Greens

Congratulations to Elizabeth May as she'll be participating in the leaders' debates [CBC, Green leader allowed into debates, networks confirm]:
Green Leader Elizabeth May will be allowed into the federal leaders' debates, Canada's main broadcasters confirmed late Wednesday afternoon.
We need to cement the rules for inclusion in the leaders' debate, so this type of thing does not happen again.

The threshold for inclusion in the federal leaders' debate should be, in my opinion:
  • You achieve the popular vote threshold to receive a public funding subsidy (currently 2%), or
  • You elect a member to Parliament during a federal election or by-election.
Simple and clean.

The first bullet means you are not fringe because you qualify to have us funding some of your research bill. We need to see what policy proposals you have come up with and how well you can defend them - you've convinced enough people to vote for you, so let's see what you got.

In the second bullet, you have elected representation in Parliament, which seems to be the general consensus required.

Dion Goes to Holland

I attended my second ever Liberal event yesterday evening; my first as a Liberal.

Stéphane Dion visited Ajax-Pickering and the campaign office of Mark Holland - this was the "opening act" to Mark Holland's official campaign office opening. Sharing the stage with Mr. Dion and Mark, were Dan McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East), Brent Fullard (Whitby-Oshawa), Martha Hall Findlay (Willowdale), John McCallum (Markham-Unionville), and Bryan Ransom (Durham).

The energy in the room was incredibly positive. The message was positive.

Mr. Dion focused his visit on backing local candidates, introducing Brent Fullard, who will be replacing Jim Flaherty in Whitby-Oshawa, and talking about the Green Shift.

Quote of the night ... "I gave clarity to Canada, Stephen Harper gave Flaherty to Canada".

Here are some pictures I took with my cellphone camera - I apologize for the quality. I was in a bit of a rush to get there, so I didn't grab my real camera. I tried to get a close up as Mr. Dion walked by on his way out, but then the media cameras were doing a human bulldoze down the middle aisle.

The Big Red Bus
Dan McTeague has some more pictures over at his campaign blog.

NewsDurhamRegion.com has more coverage. I even make an appearance in their video.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Unquote

"Make no mistake: Ms. May is being excluded for no reason of principle. This is all about exploiting an opportunity against a potentially dangerous opponent. Another word for this is opportunism. This is a decision that may well come back to haunt both the Conservatives and the NDP. And they'll have no one to blame but themselves."

Gerald Caplan, Former NDP Campaign Manager.

[H/T, Dawg's Blawg]

Monday, September 08, 2008

Not Entirely Surprising

I won't add too much to the chorus of bloggers who are shocked and dismayed that Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will not be able to participate in the leaders' debates.

I still believe strongly that Elizabeth May belongs in the leaders' debate.

I understand why Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe do not want to debate. Stephen Harper would give anything to have an excuse not to have a public debate with the other leaders. Gilles Duceppe is at the head of a failing political movement.

I can't for the life of me understand Jack Layton's position [CBC, Greens can't participate in leaders debates, networks rule]:
NDP campaign spokesman Brad Lavigne confirmed late Monday that party leader Jack Layton had said he wouldn't attend the debate if [Green Party leader Elizabeth] May were allowed to participate.
As part of the NDP campaign, Jack Layton is applying for the job of Prime Minister -- a new kind of strong. Sounds a lot like the old kind of strong we have now.

Republicans -- Keeping Ameirca Strong

Courtesy English Fail Blog.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

"Canadian PM employs loophole in potential power grab"

CNN got it all wrong.
Canada's prime minister dissolved Parliament on Sunday and called an early election for next month in hopes of strengthening his Conservative minority government's hold on power.
We have fixed election dates in Canada so there won't be an election until October 2009 - because fixed election dates stop leaders from trying to manipulate the calendar.

That's a whole year away.

I only wish it were funny.

[H/T, A BCer in Toronto]

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Include the Green Party in the Debate

I have not changed my position since I last spoke about it; I believe that the Green Party has a rational platform on national policy that deserves open debate with the other leaders. I may not agree with every part of it, but it deserves to be debated. And now, they have an MP.

I second DemocraticSPACE's call for the Green Party and Elizabeth May to be included in the national leaders' debate.

Greg puts it well:

The Greens are one of only 5 parties to receive public funding (about $1.2 million in 2006); Canadians deserve to hear what they are getting for their money. In 2006, the Greens won over 660,000 votes, about 1 in 20 votes, 24 times more than the next most populous party, so they can hardly be called “fringe”. They are polled by every pollster in Canada and have consistently maintained the support of about 1 in 10 Canadians since 2006. They are one of only 4 parties to run a full slate of candidates. And they now currently have an MP. By most objective metrics, the Greens should be included.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Just Throwing this Out There

I'm not sure anyone noticed this or thought about this, but, would it not be advantageous for the Conservative Party to have an election prior to their policy convention this November?

It could be argued that the Conservative Party is the only party where not having a policy convention before an election is a good thing.

The last thing a communication-fearing party needs is an embarrassing policy convention leading into an election. Stephen Harper would entirely control the Conservative agenda in an October election, but not so much so in a December or January one where the Opposition could potentially attack recently-made policy proposals. Not necessarily that any would pass, mind you.

Again, just throwing it out there.

Monday, September 01, 2008

New Blogger Features

I've noticed that Blogger has implemented a couple of new features - one I have implemented and one that I have discovered accidentally.

I have turned on comment moderation for posts older than 14 days. For a while now, I have been getting - I guess - manual spam postings on really old posts. It's somewhat annoying as I sometimes head straight to the blog instead of the offending post - then I got to search for it or root back in my email. I'll keep it to 14 days.

Blogger blogs can also future schedule postings and they won't be posted till the day of. This is the one I found accidentally. If you time your post time to be a little off from Google servers, it thinks it's future dated.

Quick Ketchup

While on vacation, I ate way too much, I drank way too much, and I sat around way too much -- in other words, it was perfect.

So, I go away for a couple of weeks and there are a lot of things going on.

1) Blair Wilson is the first Green Party MP to sit in the House of Commons. I want to talk more about this a little later; this is significant. This bit of news glued me to the CBC Sirius channel while on the road.

2) Call it a hunch, but I don't think we're heading for an election soon. I know Stephen Harper and all he has accomplished, and I know he will not dissolve Parliament before October 2009 -- because fixed election dates stop leaders from trying to manipulate the calendar.

Also, I don't think he'll tax income trusts. Bank on it.

3) We have a nation-wide recall of meat products for listeriosis. Further, "[t]he Canadian government strongly opposed tougher U.S. rules to prevent listeria and lobbied the United States to accept Canada's more lenient standards, internal documents reveal." [Globe & Mail, Ottawa wanted U.S. to accept more lenient meat inspection regime]

Yes - let's call an election!

4) Barack Obama is right - who cares if Palin's daughter is pregnant? John McCain's got plenty of problems that are fair game - Sarah Palin included.

5) Another by-election in September was called. On September 22, 2008, voters will go to the polls in Don Valley West. I've updated my by-election section coverage at the top right. Get out and support Rob Oliphant.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

See You in September

My apologies to everyone for the light posting. My excuse is it's summer and I'm on vacation. I hope to resume regular posting after Labour Day.

In the meantime ...

Join the Victory Fund.

Support your Liberal candidates in the upcoming by-elections on September 8th. Extra information and by-election information located on the right hand sidebar.

Updated: Comment moderation on.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Fighting for a School For Attawapiskat

Help support these kids, and build them a school.

You can read more about their fight at their site - Fighting for a School For Attawapiskat.

You can read Cam's coverage here.

Tony Clement is an Embarrassment

According to our federal Minister of Health [Globe & Mail, Clement's Insite attack leaves WHO red-faced]:

“Allowing and/or encouraging people to inject heroin into their veins is not harm reduction, it is the opposite. … We believe it is a form of harm addition,” Tony Clement said Tuesday in Mexico City, where he is attending the XVII International AIDS Conference.

If it isn't already bad enough that Tony Clement contradicts reality, he then contradicts himself.

While the minister's views on Insite are well known, Mr. Clement repeated them Tuesday at an event where he was endorsing and promoting a new WHO “how-to” guide on battling the epidemic, which promotes needle exchange and safe injection sites. The Health Minister's comments left officials from the agency flummoxed and red-faced.

[H/T, Peterborough Politics]

Let's reiterate for the folks at home some of what Insite has done:

  • Insite is leading to increased uptake into detoxification programs and addiction treatment. (New England Journal of Medicine)

  • Insite has not led to an increase in drug-related crime, rates of arrest for drug trafficking, assaults and robbery were similar after the facility’s opening, and rates of vehicle break-ins/theft declined significantly. (Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy)

  • Insite has reduced the number of people injecting in public and the amount of injection-related litter in the downtown eastside. (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

  • Insite is attracting the highest-risk users – those more likely to be vulnerable to HIV infection and overdose, and who were contributing to problems of public drug use and unsafe syringe disposal. (American Journal of Preventive Medicine)

  • Insite has reduced overall rates of needle sharing in the community, and among those who used the supervised injection site for some, most or all of their injections, 70% were less likely to report syringe sharing. (The Lancet)

  • Nearly one-third of Insite users received information relating to safer injecting practices. Those who received help injecting from fellow injection drug users on the streets were more than twice as likely to have received safer injecting education at Insite. (The International Journal of Drug Policy)

  • Insite is not increasing rates of relapse among former drug users, nor is it a negative influence on those seeking to stop drug use. (British Medical Journal)

It would have been far better for him to stay home from the conference like Stephen Harper did when Toronto hosted last time. At least then we'd only be asking why he didn't show up.

Instead we're left to ask why he did show up.

I'm Not Making This Up

A South Korean company utilizes an incredible scientific procedure, with huge moral and ethical concerns, to make boogers.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Canada.com - Adware Provider?

Has anyone else noticed that, with McAfee SiteAdvisor installed, when you Google to get a list of links originating from canada.com, they are marked with the yellow exclamation mark warning?

Canada.com is owned by Canwest Global Communications and is the internet domain name of several newspapers including the Calgary Herald, the Ottawa Citizen, and Vancouver Sun.

McAfee is warning that the Canada.com domain is the potential distributor of adware.

The yellow exclamation mark means, for those unfamiliar:


Safe sites appear with a green check mark.

I offer no other commentary because it doesn't look like Canada.com has commented on SiteAdvisor's classification. There are some user reviews vouching for the site.

Updated: Cleaned the wording up a bit.

More Good News Paranoia

Steve shows us more of how the Conservative government continues to govern based upon alarmism and reactiveness.
Where are the "vision" ads, where are the "good government" ads, why can't this government seem to offer anything but attacks? Maybe, it's because the reality of this government, they don't really have anything to offer anybody, apart from vote driven policies, the entire new Conservative Party predicated on what they dislike, what they "hate", rather than what they stand for. It is really an indication of a party that really stands for nothing, it's mainly nothing more than a reactionary entity. In the end, negativity is all they have, Harper more suited for leader of the opposition, than leader of men. Run the ads, and reinforce your own shortcomings, it really does says more about the messenger than anything else.
This is what the Globe & Mail calls a good thing.

Paranoia is a Positive Catalyst for Government Policy

So says the Globe & Mail.

Admittedly, I might have missed something, but the Globe & Mail's editorial says that policies based on alarmism and reactiveness work and -- specifically with respect to the government's Arctic strategy -- concludes:
It is true that Canada was under-represented at a recent special meeting of circumpolar nations, and that the Tories could usefully revive the office of circumpolar ambassador, but in the end it is hard to make a case that this government has in any serious way failed in terms of its Arctic policy. If this constitutes alarmism and paranoia on the part of the Conservative government, then hope for more of it from Ottawa.

Beyond asking the simple question of what actually is to be delivered toward this grand Arctic policy versus what was promised, the paper which the Globe criticizes indicates that a real Arctic policy is necessary, a policy that should include diplomacy, an international effort to build bridges, and strong northern development in addition to the expansion of Coast Guard and military capabilities in the region.

Anyone may criticize any government, past or present, for failing to develop an Arctic strategy in this regard, but it should be clear that none of this appears in the current government's Arctic strategy and the Conservative Party deserves no special praise.

The paper argues that an Arctic policy should not be centred around issues of sovereignty or developed under an imagined threat of invasion. If no other country puts a flag on the Arctic floor or claims an unwanted island, then you can be certain that the government will drop this current Arctic policy.

In fact, the paper says as much:

After all, a crisis mentality is more conducive to symbolic reactions and hollow commitments, designed to serve positive short-term optics rather than sustained investment in Canadian capabilities and northern development.

The Globe & Mail would do well to remember that it was a Conservative government that reneged on the last "defend the Arctic" plan - it too was born from alarmism and reactiveness.

I'm sure, though, that this time it's different.

Updated: Cleaned up the wording a little bit.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A New Home

I have joined the Liberal Party. I've seen some other folks from other long standing political traditions do the same and not start melting.

Make no mistake about it, I still consider myself a progressive conservative and I know no political party is perfect.

I just believe that right now, I can maintain those political beliefs within the federal Liberal Party. On the more selfish side, I love working on campaigns -- I love door-knocking, I love talking strategy over polling maps, and I love talking politics with people I don't know (I'm sure they love that too :) ). Without a political party, it's hard to do those things. Plus, in my neck of the woods, it's Liberal vs. Conservative, so I have to put my energy where it's most useful.

Right now, I feel that home is now the Liberal Party. I'll reiterate some things I've said in the past.

The social libertarian in me demands the government respect and protect an individual's freedoms and our collective diversity. It's no good fighting to be kind of sort of free.

I cannot accept socially conservative legislative policy with an underlying disregard for diversity.

I cannot accept a government that has a systematic disdain for the public service, the Senate, the House of Commons, and the Supreme Court. I cannot accept a government that blames the civil service, the Opposition, or other agencies for misguided political decisions.

I cannot accept a government without a long range economic plan.

I cannot accept a government that denies climate change and refuses to take steps to clean up the environment.

I cannot accept a government unable to govern, but all too willing to try and rule.

But, that's just me.

It's the first time in nearly fifteen years that I've been a member of a different political party. I hope it lasts just as long or longer.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Get Used to It

Look, it's another Liberal inside job to undermine the Conservative government's non-position on climate change.

Toronto Star, Health Canada issues climate change warning:

A major Health Canada report is warning of a jump in health problems across the country as the planet's climate changes, ranging from more heat-related illnesses and deaths to outbreaks of previously unknown infectious diseases.

A 500-page report released Thursday urges the federal government to act immediately to gird the nation for an onslaught of climate change calamities.

"The findings of this assessment suggest the need for immediate action to buttress efforts to protect health from current climate hazards," it says.

The report forecasts more frequent heat waves will increase the number of heat-related illnesses and deaths and lead to more respiratory and cardiovascular disorders.
I, for one, am glad Tony Clement is on the job.

Speaking to reporters at the Conservative caucus retreat in the rural Quebec town of Levis, Health Minister Tony Clement said Canadians will "have to get used to" the gloomy scenario laid out in the report.

"This report makes it clear that if you have bad health outcomes now, you're likely to be more impacted by extreme weather events than if you're at the top of the health ladder," he said.
Let's do nothing and just make sure everyone gets used to it. A pound of cure beats an ounce of prevention all the time.

That's what I call strong leadership.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Negative Option Organ Donation in Ontario, Again

The Ontario NDP are dead wrong on calling for negative option organ donation again; pun not intended.

CBC, Ontario's NDP calling for law presuming automatic consent for organ donation

Ontario's New Democrats are renewing calls for a presumed-consent law to govern organ donation in the province.

NDP members Peter Kormos and Cheri DiNovo plan to introduce — for the third time — a bill calling for a system that assumes people want to donate their organs when they die.

I still don't feel comfortable with 'negative option organ donation' - somebody else making the decision for me, or a decision on behalf of my next of kin. Making a decision about what becomes of me is very personal, and can be extremely difficult for those left behind.

I continue to support making selecting or not selecting organ donation a requirement for renewing one's driver's license or health card, but I don't agree with this position.

The NDP should rethink their position on this bill.

It's Tempting, I Know, But ...

The first person who makes a "series of tubes" joke loses.

[New York Times, Senator Ted Stevens Indicted in Corruption Case]:
A federal grand jury has indicted longtime Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska, on charges of failing to disclose receiving gifts of services and construction work as part of a wide-ranging corruption inquiry involving public officials and corporations in his home state. The indictment accuses Mr. Stevens of failing to report on his financial disclosure forms receiving gifts of more than $250,000 — in labor and construction materials — from Veco Corp.
However, indicted Republican jokes are fair game.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thought Experiment : Social Conservative vs Social Libertarian

The difference between a social conservative and a social libertarian is that a social conservative wants people to behave like them and the social libertarian wants people to behave like themselves.

True? False?

In a political party developing one unified party policy, can both live with each other, or would you necessarily expect one to leave to find another political home?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hear, Hear

Montreal Gazette editorial, Tories' scurrilous attacks on election boss are ludicrous:

The Conservative Party of Canada, starting with its leader the prime minister, should find the decency to knock off their scurrilous assault on the integrity of Elections Canada and its commissioner, Marc Mayrand.

...

If the Conservatives did, indeed, play by the rules, they should make their case by sticking to the facts of the matter. Instead they are resorting to the classic scoundrel's defence: Impute motives to others, deny everything and make wild accusations.
[H/T, Far and Wide]

This is how the party reacts to "simple" adversity.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Definite Loss of a Canadian Icon?

This one is different than this one, though.

The move marries the two oldest department store retailers in North America, and will create an $8-billion (U.S.) merchandising powerhouse for the new buyer, NRDC Equity Partners of Purchase, N.Y. It will combine HBC's Bay, Zellers, Home Outfitters and Fields chains with NRDC's Lord & Taylor and Fortunoff, the jewellery and home decor chain.
I have never ever heard of "Lord & Taylor".

While I'm on the National Post ...

Did you know Jonathan Kay thinks that "many people casually associate the word "conservative" with unfettered capitalism."

I wonder where they got that idea?

Maybe because many "conservatives" and "Conservatives" believe that the Canadian state is not a gigantic service club that we've all joined and pledged to advance the goals of. It's a coercive organization with a territorial monopoly.

The Order of Canada is Just a Tool of the Man

I don't read the National Post as a rule, but out of a sense of balance, I've included their "Top Stories" and "Editorial" RSS feeds in my Google Reader news tag.

Boy, am I glad I did, because I got to read Karen Selick's editorial - "A worthless award".

The awarding of the Order of Canada to abortionist Henry Morgentaler has stirred controversy in recent weeks. Several Order of Canada holders have even gone so far as to return their honours to Rideau Hall.
Several? By my count, it's three unless I've missed more dead people, more guys who should have had it stripped in the first place, or more people who received it as an obligatory appointment.

But the best part, the Order of Canada is really just a symptom of the apparent fact that ...
The Canadian state is not a gigantic service club that we've all joined and pledged to advance the goals of. It's a coercive organization with a territorial monopoly.
Runner-up for the best comment, though:
There's one honouree whom I consider to be a hypocritical, dishonest scoundrel of the lowest order.
We're perhaps led to believe that she means Conrad Black so she's all fair and balanced - but, for all I know, she could mean Al Waxman.

This all spawned by an award she barely spends any time thinking about. I'd hate to read her opinions on things she throws her full intellectual weight against.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wayne "Ice Cold Beer" McMahon Let Go

Just learned that Wayne McMahon, the Ice Cold Beer Guy from the Skydome Rogers Centre, was let go. Going to a Jays game in the 100 level is going to be a lot different.

[H/T, Torontoist]

For those who may not know Wayne, here's a video.

If you liked or were entertained by Wayne, join the Facebook group to petition Aramark to hire him back.

Ontario Health Teams Work

Kudos to the Ontario government and Premier Dalton McGuinty for the creation of Family Health Teams in Ontario.

They work, according to Statistics Canada.

Canadians look to primary health care providers for many of their basic health care needs, as well as for management of most chronic conditions. In 2000, the First Ministers agreed to promote the establishment of primary health care teams that would focus on health promotion, disease prevention, and chronic diseases. In the 2004, they strengthened their commitment with the objective that half of Canadians would have access to multidisciplinary teams by 2011. Considerable investments have been made over the past decade in an effort to meet these goals.

...

The key results are:

  • Almost 40% of Canadians have access to a primary health care team, defined
    as access to a nurse or other health professional (for example, dietitian, nutritionist) or both at their medical doctor or regular place of care.
  • Individuals with two or more chronic conditions and those reporting "fair/poor" health were more likely than people in better health to report access to a primary health care team.
  • Those who have access to a primary health care team are more likely to receive health promotion and disease prevention, particularly those who have chronic conditions.
  • People with chronic conditions who have team-based care are more likely than those who do not to receive whole-person care and higher levels of care coordination. They are also more likely to report receiving a higher quality of health care.
  • Access to primary health care teams reduces emergency room use through reductions in unmet needs and in uncoordinated care. Reductions in uncoordinated care also lessen the risk of hospitalization.
  • Reductions in unmet needs and uncoordinated care, and the more positive fatings of quality of health care in general, indirectly enhance confidence in the health care system.
  • However, access to teams may have a negative direct effect on confidence when experiences with those teams do not result in improved processes of care.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What About ... Impending Loss of an American Icon?

While I was pondering the loss of a Canadian icon, the United States is also doing the same [Dear Journal - Wall Street Journal, Budweiser-InBev: Patriotism Has Its Price–$70 a Share]
All that patriotism stuff? The Missouri Senators, the Clydesdales, the flag-waving distributors?

Well, forget that.

Everyone and every board has its price. And based on reporting early this morning, Anheuser’s price is $70 a share, or about $50 billion in total from Belgian-Brazilian brewer InBev.
I don't know. InBev is heavily hyping Budweiser internationally. Anheuser-Busch couldn't do it - why not InBev?

Impending Loss of a Canadian Icon?

Goodbye, Labatt Blue.

Hello, Budweiser.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Favourite Cash Grab

Since I'm on a friendly rant talking about a great Canadian tradition, the cash grab, here's my favourite. And yes, there seems to be a petition for it too. And yes, I also complain about this blatant cash grab, but still somehow to manage to plunk down the cash for it.

A case of twenty-four Labatt Blue, brewed in Canada, sold at a Buffalo-area duty free store - US$15.00 . So, roughly $15 Canadian.

A case of twenty-four Labatt Blue, brewed in Canada, sold at a Toronto-area beer store - CD$39.50 . So, exactly $39.50 Canadian.

I'm willing to bet, that InBev is still making some profit on that $15 case of beer. I might be wrong, but I doubt it.

By comparison, a bottle of Havana Club 7-year old rum, distilled in Havana, sold at the Havana airport duty free store - US$8.00 . A bottle of Havana Club 7-year old rum, distilled in Havana, sold at a Toronto-area LCBO, CD$30.50 .

Economically speaking, it makes sense to me that the farther a thing has to travel, the more borders it has to cross, or the more oceans it has to swim to get to the store, it stands to reason that the price of the product should go up.

Yes, there are taxes and minimum prices and all that - but still, it's just Labatt Blue.

Other famous Canadian cash grabs include Costco memberships ("What, I can pay to shop at your store? Please -- sign me up!") and buying ice from the store (this is Canada after all - it's in the backyard 8 months of the year :) ).

I Love that Word SCIENNNCE

What?

[H/T, Peterborough Politics]

I for one am glad for this new era of no patronage appointments*.

I'm currently enjoying a few cocktails on this fantastic summer evening, so I'll spare you any more thoughtful commentary. I respect Preston Manning's more populist politics but ... what?
* Political appointments and cronyism had eroded staff morale and damaged the public’s perception of the institution, which many suspected had become corrupt and a haven for patronage.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Outrageous!

Hey, everyone! There's going to be a product on the market that I don't need, but is too expensive for me to purchase. Despite the fact there are other products that do similar things cheaper, we should start a petition to make the seller change their prices! It will work, despite the fact some people would have still bought the thing at those crazy prices!

Also, some products have an additional feature that the companies providing the service want to charge extra for. The original primary feature of the device has not changed, but that's irrelevant. We need to fight this cash grab on ancillary features! First, it's automakers charging extra for "air conditioning", now this. If I can't receive text messages from people with my mobile phone, how else can I possibly "talk" through a mobile phone? What am I supposed to do with my thumbs?

I want a petition calling for lower Ferrari pricing in Canada.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Defeatist Sentiment

Stephen Harper once said:

I think there is a dangerous rise in defeatist sentiment in this country. I have said that repeatedly, and I mean it and I believe it.
Stephen Harper will make the case to fellow G8 leaders next week that it's futile to reach a global agreement on climate change without including the world's biggest polluters.

...

"At the end of the day, if we don't get an agreement where major emitters play a role in helping to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, we're simply not making any progress," [PM Stephen Harper spokesman] Soudas told journalists at a pre-summit briefing.
Further:
The Conservatives say the Kyoto targets are unattainable, and trying to meet them would tank the economy. Complying with Kyoto, they say, would lower Canada's gross domestic product by 6.5 per cent, cost 276,000 people their jobs, reduce per capita income by 2.9 per cent next year and squander $51 billion in national economic activity.
Noting those concerns, a quick search through Google turns up the following:

As for German national economic activity, The Economist says that "Germany's economy is the world's third-biggest and one of its most advanced." If that isn't squandered national economic activity, I don't know what is.

But, in some respects, it's pointless to point out positive examples. Those who deny human involvement in climate change or those who would have us do nothing will continue to point out there are worse examples of polluters anyway.

They insist we have to set our bar at the lowest possible level. They insist it is impossible to innovate and demonstrate to nations who haven't had the luxury of polluting through an industrial revolution that is possible to do otherwise.

The biggest threat, apparently, is the Official Opposition's plan to introduce a carbon tax should they win a majority government and enact this legislation.

There are, of course, no other threats to the West's oil wealth.

Certainly not attempts to question sources of imported oil and their impact on the environment in foreign countries.

Certainly not dramatic rises in the cost of gasoline consumption.

Certainly not the global economic impact of the rising cost of oil.

The truth is, the biggest threat to the West's oil is the fact that the Canadian consumer might decide not to spend money on oil anymore - the costs associated with consuming oil may be too high. That, even if Stéphane Dion's "tax on everything" does not come to be, it has sparked the dangerous notion that consuming oil in order to thrive economically may not be the most ingenious long term plan ever concocted.

Oil might go the way of asbestos and that scares a lot of people.

Updated: Fixed a typo.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Psst ... It's Tomorrow

Statement by the Prime Minister on Canada's 141st birthday issued today:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement marking Canada Day:

“Today, Confederation turns 141 years old and there are more reasons than ever to celebrate our country."



Today is June 30, 2008.

Tomorrow, July 1, is generally recognized nationally and internationally as Canada's birthday.

I'm sure someone will come by and tell me I'm being pedantic. I know I am, but if it were the Liberals, there'd be a call for an inquiry.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin, May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008

Definitely NSFW, but a video showing George Carlin performing something other than the seven word routine doesn't seem right.


RIP, George.

Ed Doesn't Like Green Shift - Who Cares

On June 18, 2008, the European Environment Agency (EEA) reported that:

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the European Union decreased slightly between 2005 and 2006 according to the official inventory report prepared by the European Environment Agency (EEA). Overall emissions within the EU-27 fell by 14 million tonnes (0.3%) and now stand 7.7% below 1990 levels. Total emissions in the European Union were slightly more than 5.1 billion tonnes in 2006.
Nations in Europe are working under cap-and-trade as well as carbon tax regimes.

Of the nations in Europe with a similar or larger amount of emissions over the same-ish period as Canada (596 megatonnes in 1990, 747 megatonnes in 2005), only Italy reported a 9.9% increase in emissions. Of note:

  • Europe's largest emitter, Germany, has reduced emissions by 18.2%.
  • Canada now out-emits the United Kingdom. In fact, we out-emit every individual country in Europe except Germany.

All said, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach has come out publicly against the Liberal green shift plan.

I say who cares.

More importantly, the facts say who cares. It's clear he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Update: Fixed a typo. Added a label.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Denied ...

Like some others, I too have been denied accreditation to cover the Conservative Party convention in Winnipeg, this November.

My site's level of popularity (or lack thereof) probably didn't warrant inclusion, but I choose to believe I just failed a highly involved, highly mathematical litmus test for inclusion.

Updated: I smell a blog button coming up.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Morality Police Show Up at Queen's Park

Somebody has dropped some social conservatives into the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.

Ontario's Progressive Conservatives say the province should be careful about putting taxpayers' money into movies that many would say have too much sexual content.
I have now found myself, again, on the other side of an issue with my old provincial political home. Dalton McGuinty is right on this issue.

First it was young squirrels, now it's Young People.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Word of the Day : Irony

From Dictionary.com:

The essential feature of irony is the indirect presentation of a contradiction between an action or expression and the context in which it occurs.
From the Canadian Press:

The federal ombudsman for freedom of information has stirred up a hornets' nest by going ahead with a costly private session at the posh Rideau Club to thrash out potential reforms to access law.

...

[Ken Rubin, an Ottawa consultant who specializes in access requests,] said Marleau's proposals to rank more than 2,000 complaints that have stacked up over the years "seems to mimic the worst features of the bureaucracy in Ottawa; the system he is creating is complex and bureaucratic in its own right."

When it comes to freedom of information, obstructive bureaucracy is apparently a good thing.

Yet another remarkable Conservative achievement.

Monday, June 09, 2008

CBC in Jeopardy

There's lots of news about CTV picking up the rights to the Hockey Night in Canada theme song, snatching it away from the CBC.

Probably lost in all of this shuffle was that CBC picked up the rights to air Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy some months ago away from CTV (although it seems CTV gave them up).
Among US shows, the CBC has acquired the Canadian rights to Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune from CBS Paramount International Television after rival CTV decided to give them up. They will premiere in fall 2008. Neither game show airs nationally on CTV - Jeopardy! is not seen in Vancouver and Montreal, and Wheel only airs on the A-Channels in Ontario, plus CTV Manitoba and CTV Saskatchewan - so gauging their popularity is difficult. Layfield said she will simulcast Jeopardy! nightly as a lead-in to the network's prime-time offerings. Wheel of Fortune will air at 5:30 pm nightly to help boost viewership for local supper-hour newscasts.
I'm not sure who's the winner, really - presumably CBC will air both shows nation-wide.

For those of us who currently receive American channels, we can already watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.

I would have suggested that the CBC fight a little harder for the theme song.

Just Throwing this Out There

Not to get into semantics too much, but just because there is no official youth wing of the federal Conservative Party, does not mean there are no Conservative youth to mobilize a campaign on the streets of Ottawa.

I'm not suggesting that's who's out there, but usually the simplest explanations are the right ones.

Are Gas Station Pump Video Screens Legal in Toronto?

That certainly seems to be in question, according to Spacing Toronto - with information provided by IllegalSigns.ca.

Here is some correspondence [PDF] between Howard Moscoe and the Chair and Members of the Planning and Growth Management Committee. This correspondence came in February, a week or so after the city attempted to have sign laws changed to permit the installation of video signs at gas stations without a permit [PDF]:

In the interim I [Howard Moscoe] received complaints that Esso had installed video display advertising signs on its gas pumps which in addition to gas pumped commercials at its customers. All of these were installed without permits. The building department ordered them turned off and they were instructed to apply for sign permits. They complied but after about six months they were again turned on.

Imperial Oil (Esso) was quoted in the media accusing the city of a “cash grab” which seemed rather strange given that Imperial Oil generated some $3.2 Billion in Profits last year. The city has been talking about taxing third party advertising(billboards) and all of these gas pump videos are exactly that.

GSTV (Gas Station TV) reports that it has inked a deal with CBS to bring news and entertainment at television-equipped fuel pumps. The company has 5,000 screens on fuel pumps in more than 300 cities. Esso has 400 stations in Ontario about half of them in the Toronto Area. Add to that the 205 Petro Canada Stations in the Toronto Area and the 200 Shell Stations and it looks like a lot of potential ad revenue.
It seems that if there are video screens at gas station pumps in the City of Toronto, they are there without a permit. If that's true, it would be unfortunate to use that media to get a political message out.

Kady (Inside the Queensway) has more.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Monday, June 02, 2008

Unquote

"The older, deeper pro-Canadian conservatism that elevates the condition of the people, as Disraeli put it, is tried and proven conservatism."

-- David Orchard, March 6, 2000

Cap-and-Trade Deal for Ontario and Quebec

The premiers of Canada's two largest provinces agree to a deal that would see the two provinces bring about a cap-and-trade policy to control greenhouse gas emissions.

In a firewall-encircled, rebalanced federalist Conservative vision of Canada, this is what we should be expecting to happen. The federal Conservative government should be applauding the fact that two provinces, within their own jurisdictions, can come up with an innovative policy.

So, why is John Baird all bent out of shape about it?

I don't understand.

He could, perhaps, inquire as to why Ontario and Quebec felt the need to take this step without federal cooperation. That, however, might requiring talking without pointing.

Mitt Romney, Really?

Some of you have noticed on the right hand side of my blog I have a Newsvine Election 2008 widget that let's you vote for your candidate of preference in the United States presidential race. It tallies the votes for visitors to this site, as well as my Newsvine site.

Right now, Barack Obama has 50% of all votes, with an even split of 13% between Mitt Romney, Al Gore, John McCain, and John Edwards.

Not a Hilary Clinton vote in sight.

Interesting to note too, that of all Newsvine readers, Barack Obama leads with 33%, with Ron Paul second at 17%. Hilary comes in third with 12%, followed by John McCain at 7%.

Updated: Mitt's in second. :)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Then, Now & Now - Safe Injection Sites

Then, November 20, 2006 :

Vancouver's safe injection site is slowing down the spread of HIV and helping drug users quit their habits, a new study finds — but an expert suggested that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government won't want to hear those results.

The study, which appears Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, says the three-year-old Supervised Injection Site in the Downtown Eastside has been a great success.

The injection site, which drew about 5,000 users in its first year of operation, is a place where people can safely go to inject illegal drugs while being supervised by nurses.

[Previously captured, Horror!]

Now [Insite, Research Results]:
The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS is conducting the scientific research project, with the goal of assessing whether an injection site will reduce the harm associated with injection drug use to individuals and the community.

...
  • Insite is leading to increased uptake into detoxification programs and addiction treatment. (New England Journal of Medicine)
  • Insite has not led to an increase in drug-related crime, rates of arrest for drug trafficking, assaults and robbery were similar after the facility’s opening, and rates of vehicle break-ins/theft declined significantly. (Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy)
  • Insite has reduced the number of people injecting in public and the amount of injection-related litter in the downtown eastside. (Canadian Medical Association Journal)
  • Insite is attracting the highest-risk users – those more likely to be vulnerable to HIV infection and overdose, and who were contributing to problems of public drug use and unsafe syringe disposal. (American Journal of Preventive Medicine)
  • Insite has reduced overall rates of needle sharing in the community, and among those who used the supervised injection site for some, most or all of their injections, 70% were less likely to report syringe sharing. (The Lancet)
  • Nearly one-third of Insite users received information relating to safer injecting practices. Those who received help injecting from fellow injection drug users on the streets were more than twice as likely to have received safer injecting education at Insite. (The International Journal of Drug Policy)
  • Insite is not increasing rates of relapse among former drug users, nor is it a negative influence on those seeking to stop drug use. (British Medical Journal)

...

Over a one-year period, Insite made more than 2,000 referrals, with close to 40 per cent of those to addiction counselling. People using Insite are more likely to enter a detox program, with one in five regular visitors beginning a detox program. The facility also cut down on deaths from overdoses.

Of the 500 overdoses that occurred at the site over a two-year period, none resulted in a fatality. If these overdoses happened on the street, many of these people may have died.

Now, May 29, 2008:

The Bloc’s Christiane Gagnon, who, as you might recall, was thoroughly displeased by the chair’s opening remarks on the non-appearing witness, has a few questions for [Dr. Colin] Mangham. Like, for example, does he have any data to support his contention that the vast quantity of research that supports harm reduction policies is worthless?

Well, no, not exactly. He provided a “second opinion” on research produced by other people, to “critique” it, just like a first year university student would do.

So, what did he find? “Non-findings,” like the fact there hasn’t been a single death at InSite doesn’t actually mean that lives have been saved. Wait, what? Any graduate student in statistics, he says, would come to the same conclusion. What about a graduate student in medicine? Or psychology? Or public health?

[H/T, The Galloping Beaver]

Scientific evidence versus babbling froth. What has the Conservative Party come to?