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.