No Dogs or Anglophones

Thanks for the Memories....

For over four years I've written this blog in an effort to fulfill an inner desire to share some of my thoughts and experiences with you.

From a tiny following, the blog has blossomed, giving a small voice to a not so insignificant segment of Quebec Anglo society that the mainstream media doesn't seem to address. It has been, to say the least, entirely rewarding and I've kept going far beyond where I first thought I'd go solely because of the readership.

But all things come to an end.

With the election of the Liberals and the prospect of the PQ dim for the short and immediate term, there is less of an impetus for me to continue.

Can we as Anglos and Ethnics claim victory over sovereigntist forces?

Perhaps yes, but the real problem was never sovereignty, but rather the treatment of Anglos and Ethnics by all  Quebec governments.
It is sad to see that we continue to be viewed as interlopers, a people to be controlled not appreciated, an alien nation within the legitimate body politic of French Quebec.

Too harsh?
Nope, I don't think so. I continue to believe that if Quebec chooses to remain in Canada, it is simply an economic decision, the alternative of an independent and truly French Quebec a dream too costly and unrealistic for a generation whose real values include Facebook and Nintendo.

I remain convinced that if Quebec had the wealth of Alberta's oil sands, this province would have overwhelmingly voted for independence years ago.
It's really just about the money and when Quebecers finally realized how much money Canada lavishes upon them, the independence movement withered.

Such is the reality of our Quebec society, locked into a loveless marriage of convenience, forever unhappy and unfulfilled but financially comfortable, a difficult trade off to make.

As for myself, I look forward to the summer, sipping margaritas by the backyard pool, leaving the bitching and moaning to others, God knows, I've done my share.

To those who have been faithful readers and contributors I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your interest, friendship and lively conversation.

I would never have come this far without you.

and so I fade to black....

I'll leave the comments section open for a while and the blog itself open for research purposes.

Thank you all once again.....

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Posted on 1 July 2014 | 5:23 am

Justin Trudeau

Statement by Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Liberal Party of Canada Leader, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

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Posted on 27 January 2015 | 10:22 am

Ezra Levant

Violent pro-Palestinian protester let off the hook

Samantha Hamilton and Jake Birrell were victimized by a violent pro-Palestinian protester in Calgary last summer. Their attacker was only sentenced to probation.

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Posted on 28 January 2015 | 12:29 pm

Scott's DiaTribes

Adam Vaughan, Scott Simms visit #Brant; charity walk response

Last week, Liberal MP’s were out and about in Southern Ontario prior to the re-opening of the last session of Parliament before the next election, and in Brantford-Brant, 2 MP’s dropped by to visit with voters on issues and to support Danielle Takacs, Brantford-Brant Liberal candidate.

The first MP to visit was Adam Vaughan, MP for Trinity-Spadina, and the Liberal Urban Affairs and Housing Critic. He along with Danielle held 2 roundtables on the affordable housing issue – one with area stakeholders in Brantford-Brant, and a second one on affordable housing for students with Wilfrid Laurier Brantford campus student representatives. You can read more about that visit in the [...]

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Posted on 28 January 2015 | 11:11 am

Dawg's Blog

Outline For A Film We'll Never Make

After years of research, a theoretical physicist figures out how to send a five-word message back forty years through time to his younger self. Only one message, and only five words. After careful consideration, he composes the message: “Sell Everything,...

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Posted on 28 January 2015 | 9:59 pm

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff

CSEC Back In The News

Here’s an interesting bit of the process the NSA and partners are going about tracking your online activities so they can link everything you do that isn’t encrypted and disassociated from your IP address and social profiles online, to you personally. LEVITATION has been watching you, most certainly. Every RT of #BellLetsTalk will be tracked […]

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Posted on 28 January 2015 | 12:17 pm

Erich the Green

Sometimes enough power means too much power

Supplying electricity to a province as large and diverse as Ontario is a complex undertaking, enough that one can always find some detail to “prove” a predetermined attitude, or so it seems. A case in point is the electricity oversupply we had on Christmas.
This is where J. J. Abrams gets his power
That day, as trumpeted by some anti-wind bloggers, saw so little demand for electricity in Ontario (due to mild weather, and most people not being at work) that we had more than we needed, had to give it away to other jurisdictions, even pay them to take it from us. Which means we (Ontario power customers) paid for wind energy we just gave away. Shocking!
We actually had too much power of all sorts: wind, nuclear, gas and hydro, so we bought power from all of those sources, and paid each to forgo producing more, to keep the system in balance. Yes, even worse than buying electricity we didn’t need, we even paid for some that wasn’t made! Scandalous! Or is it…
Context is key. On the lowest-demand day of the year, we had more electricity than we needed. Our power system was built to ensure we don’t run out on the days when we have our highestdemand. To have enough power available to keep the A/C on for hot summer afternoons, we need to have far more available than can be used on mild winter holidays.
Sure, it would be nice if we just paid for exactly the power we needed, when we needed it, but that’s not realistic. Power plants cost big bucks to build. Heck, they can cost a half billion dollars NOT to build, as the cancelled gas plant scandal has shown! For builders to take on projects of that scale, they require guaranteed minimum contracts to cover fixed costs and make loan payments so they don’t go belly-up in a season of low demand.
Without it, firms simply wouldn’t be willing to lay out the funds to build power generation. That would leave us without enough domestic generation to meet our needs, and we’d have import more expensive power, which would make electric bills higher.
Of course, if all power generation were publicly owned, we would not have to make such payments. Yet we’d still pay, because the public would be on the hook for the full construction and operating costs, regardless how much power we did or didn’t need. Our bills would reflect that.
Another option would be some kind of storage capacity, so we could “bank” unused power and use it later when we needed it, instead of having to dump it. This could work, but the cost to build that storage would also be massive, and again go against your power bill.
So in the end, there is no avoiding it, and you can’t put all the blame on wind, or nuclear, or any other mode of generation. There have been many signs of mismanagement of the power system by the government, but paying for some wind we didn’t need on a low-demand holiday isn’t one. The simple fact is that if we want to have enough power ready when we need it most, then we must overpay a bit when we need it least. It’s all part of the complex trade-offs of providing reliable power service to Canada’s largest economy.  
Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner as "Planning needed to keep Ontario powered up"
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.

Here's an email I received in response to my column:
Dear Erich,

I read your piece in the Barrie Examiner on the complexity of the electricity system.  I agree that the system is complex, but our over reliance on nuclear energy is a big factor in the current large power surpluses we are experiencing.  These plants have to operate at a steady level 24/7 and provide little system flexibility.  

A far better approach would be to reduce our dependence on nuclear energy and continue to increase our development of renewable energy in combination with water power imports from Quebec.  Quebec has massive capacity to store energy by holding water in reservoirs. Ontario's recent deal to exchange up to 500 MW of power with Quebec can be used to essentially transform Ontario wind and solar power into firm baseload power.  We send power to Quebec when we have a surplus; they send it back when demand peaks in Ontario.  

Of course, one of the key advantages of solar energy is that it produces most of its power "on peak" -- hot sunny days when power demand is highest.  Another reason we have a power glut is that the Ontario energy bureaucracy has consistently over estimated future demand for power and underestimated the potential of energy efficiency.  We need a more flexible and responsive electricity system, and that means one built around distributed generation sources like wind and solar.

Thanks for your time, 

Federation of Community Power Co-operatives  |  (416)977-5093 ext 2380

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Posted on 27 January 2015 | 1:58 am

Five Feet of Fury

Ann Coulter: How much is that psychology degree worth?

Ann Coulter writes: Other than engineers, economists and quarterbacks, no one acquires any marketable knowledge at college. The sole purpose of a degree is to function as a substitute IQ test. If employers were allowed to give applicants 15-minute intelligence tests, they’d have the exact same information as knowing what college a person attended. But […]

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 7:29 am

A Blog By James Curran

Happy Birthday Madiba

Nelson, the world needs more of you. We miss you kind sir. Happy Birthday!

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Posted on 18 July 2014 | 12:29 am


With Oil Prices Tanking, Thank Gawd That Premier Brad Wall Set Aside Some Royalty Money For Saskatchewan's Hard Times

... oh wait!!! That never happened!! Brad Wall blew a multi billion dollar surplus left to him by the former government AND he allowed the Oil industry to extract Billions of dollars out of the ground in the last 7 years with only a pittance in resource royalties paid to the province AND he spent every nickel that came into the public treasury!!

So much for the 'Saskatchewan Advantage' Brad !!!! :(

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Posted on 15 January 2015 | 12:32 pm

Mark Steyn

Education as Child Abuse

Being as how I'm in Toronto for my Indigo gig with Heather Reisman tonight, I thought I'd make an in-studio appearance with John Oakley rather than doing it via the bit of wet string stretching from New Hampshire to Toronto. We discussed the enforced

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Posted on 28 January 2015 | 9:00 am

Huffington Post

Canada Is Trading Away Its Environmental Rights

In 1997, Canada restricted import and transfer of the gasoline additive MMT because it was a suspected neurotoxin that had already been banned in Europe. Ethyl Corp., the U.S. multinational that supplied the chemical, sued the government for $350 million under the North American Free Trade Agreement and won! Canada was forced to repeal the ban, apologize to the company and pay an out-of-court settlement of US$13 million.

The free trade agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico was never designed to raise labour and environmental standards to the highest level. In fact, NAFTA and other trade agreements Canada has signed -- including the recent Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with China -- often take labour standards to the lowest denominator while increasing environmental risk. The agreements are more about facilitating corporate flexibility and profit than creating good working conditions and protecting the air, water, land and diverse ecosystems that keep us alive and healthy.

Canada's environment appears to be taking the brunt of NAFTA-enabled corporate attacks. And when NAFTA environmental-protection provisions do kick in, the government often rejects them.

According to a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, more than 70 per cent of NAFTA claims since 2005 have been against Canada, with nine active cases totalling $6 billion outstanding. These challenge "a wide range of government measures that allegedly interfere with the expected profitability of foreign investments," including the Quebec government's moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Quebec imposed the moratorium in 2011 pending an environmental review of the controversial gas-and-oil drilling practice. A U.S. company headquartered in Calgary, Lone Pine Resources Inc., is suing the federal government under NAFTA for $250 million. A preliminary assessment by Quebec's Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement found fracking would have "major impacts," including air and water pollution, acrid odours and increased traffic and noise. Fracking can also cause seismic activity.

According to the CCPA, Canada has been sued more often than any other developed nations through investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms in trade agreements. Under NAFTA, "Canada has already lost or settled six claims, paid out damages totaling over $170 million and incurred tens of millions more in legal costs. Mexico has lost five cases and paid damages of US$204 million. The U.S. has never lost a NAFTA investor-state case."

NAFTA does, however, have a watchdog arm that's supposed to address environmental disputes and public concerns, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. But Canada is blocking the commission from investigating the impacts of tailings ponds at the Alberta oilsands.

Environmental Defence, the Natural Resources Defense Council and three people downstream from the oilsands asked the CEC to investigate whether tailings leaking into the Athabasca River and other waterways represent a violation of the federal Fisheries Act. According to the complaint, the tailings ponds, which are actually much larger than what most people would think of as ponds, are spilling millions of litres of toxic liquid every day. Environmental Defence says the CEC found "plenty of evidence that tar sands companies were breaking Canadian law and lots of evidence that the Canadian government was failing to do anything about it."

It's the third time in the past year that Canada has prevented the commission from examining environmental issues. Canada earlier blocked an investigation into the protection of polar bears from threats including climate change and one concerning the dangers posed to wild salmon from B.C. fish farms.

Trade agreements are negotiated in the best interests of corporations instead of citizens. On top of that, federal and provincial governments keep pinning our economic hopes on volatile oil and gas markets, with little thought about how those resources could provide long-term prosperity. Recent plummeting oil prices show where that leads.

These priorities are screwed up. We end up with a boom-and-bust economy and the erosion of social programs as budgets are slashed when oil prices drop. Skewed trade deals allow corporations to override environmental protections that haven't already been gutted, and create a labour climate in which wages, benefits and working standards fall.

It's time for Canada to recognize that a diversified economy and citizens' right to live in a healthy environment are more important than facilitating short-term profits for foreign and multinational corporations.

Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

Learn more at


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Posted on 28 January 2015 | 1:05 pm

Fight the Power

Day 28

Two murders a day, horrific kidnappings and even the police don't dare enter: Inside the ghost towns of Mexico's 'Murder Valley' - one of the deadliest places on earth

18-foot high fences separate Juarez Valley from American state of Texas

Vigilante forces who opposed 'Sinaloa' cartel were tortured and beheaded

'You get used to seeing dead bodies in the street,' says one local resident

Pictures of murdered relatives sent to families who failed to pay ransom

One man heard his kidnapped daughter, 17, being raped 'down the phone'

The police officers who were executed in 2009 have never been replaced

Only 5,000 of its 60,000 original inhabitants have dared to remain

by Alasdair Baverstock

As originally posted on: Mail Online
January 21, 2015

The Juarez Valley on the Mexico-Texas border, a forty mile stretch of cotton fields and ghost towns, is so dangerous that even the police don't dare to enter.

Situated to the east of Juarez City – a town which held the title of the world's most violent for three consecutive years – the criminal cartels in 'Murder Valley' run drugs, weapons and illegal immigrants across the border, murdering in cold blood anyone who interferes with their business.

Today the Juarez Valley, which runs along the Rio Grande and is just a stone's throw from the eighteen-foot fence on the US border, sees more death and violence than anywhere else in North America. It has even been suggested that it could be the deadliest place on Earth

'You get used to seeing dead bodies in the streets', Alejandro Montes, an employee at the only petrol station in the town of Praxedis Guadalupe, told MailOnline.

'If you're away from your home and you hear gunshots then you could end up dead', he said. 'I've lost a lot of friends who were either caught in the crossfire or worse - they had spoken out against the criminals'.

The last of Praxedis Guadalupe's police officers were executed in 2009 by the controlling Sinaloa Cartel; they have never been replaced.

The Sinaloa cartel is currently thought to be under the control of a drug lord named Zambada, who replaced 'El Chapo' Guzman following his arrest early last year.

A community vigilante force subsequently established itself in the area, but following the kidnapping, torture and beheading of its chief Manuel Castro, the residents have lived in fear of the brutal treatment reserved for community heroes.

'The narcos, rather than the police, have become the authority in The Valley,' said Alejandro. 'If you want to survive, you have to live by their rules'.

Today, Juarez Valley averages 160 murders per 100,000 residents annually according to the authorities in San Agustin, the only town in the region with any police presence at all.

The valley was once home to a 60,000-strong community. Today only around five thousand of the original residents remain.

The rest have either fled or fallen victim to the cartel violence. Murder rates are higher in the region due to the cartels battling over territory - thugs arrive from elsewhere to kill each other in the streets.

The town of Praxedis Guadalupe looks like the set of a horror film, and for many of the residents of the region the lives they lead are not far away from the image of gang violence that Hollywood presents.

Every building on the town's main street makes some form of testimony to the violence they have witnessed. The metal shutters remain closed on the buildings' windows year-round, and the majority of the shops have been abandoned.

To get access to the town's only pharmacy, you have to state your business at the armoured front door's intercom.

Throughout the town one sees burned-down houses where only

the charred wooden beams still stand, bullet-ridden road signs, graffiti indicating the sites of murders, holes blasted in the sides of abandoned homes.

'In San Agustin we see on average two murders a day,' Police Supervisor Umberto Mata told MailOnline.

Supervisor Mata has seen many fellow officers die during his seven years in the Juarez region.

He added: 'The residents tend to stay indoors because of the violence. If on the rare occasion you do see someone in the street, they're probably one of the narco assassins'.

San Agustin is the most westerly town in 'Murder Valley', and battle lines between government forces and narcotraffickers lie in the No Man's Land between the next town to the east, Praxedis Guadalupe.

'We don't go past the limits of the town,' Supervisor Mata, who saw action in Juarez City during the period of greatest violence, told MailOnline. 'It's simply too dangerous.

'I'm a wanted woman three kilometres east of here,' said Marta Armas, the only female police officer on the San Agustin force. 'I've busted enough of the thugs driving through our town with drugs and weapons for a price to go on my head.

'If I step out of bounds here, it'll be torture before they kill me. That's how they deal with police officers on their side.'

The narco-traffickers who terrorise the region forbid the residents to talk to the authorities on pain of death.

'I can't talk about the terrible things they've done to me', one old woman with tears in her eyes told MailOnline. 'My husband and two sons are dead because of them. If I'm seen talking to a journalist I'll be dead within the hour.

'If I'm required to leave my office to visit another station in the valley', said Mario Fernandez, who runs the Mexican immigration checkpoint in Guadalupe, 'then I will cross into the United States and re-enter at the border I need to visit.

'If the narcos smell even the slightest hint of government forces or authority along the main road, there will be death.'

The construction of the eighteen-foot tall fence along the US-Mexico border by the American authorities seven years ago made the situation worse for many residents of Juarez Valley, they say.

Frustrated by the heightened security and greater difficulty of crossing into the United States, many of the narco-traffickers turned to kidnapping and extortion within the local community in order to continue earning.

The 17-year-old daughter of a pharmacy owner in the valley had been kidnapped on the day before MailOnline arrived in his town. He asked to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions.

'They came in the night to our house and took her from her bed,' he said, speaking with tears in his eyes of his awful experience. 'We were held at gunpoint in our own room while they took her.

'This morning we had a phone call from her captors. They made us listen to her being raped down the telephone, before demanding four thousand dollars by the end of the week.'

Many residents in the area have been the victims of kidnapping, and say that the tactics of the kidnappers are very difficult to deal with.

'If you agree to a ransom price too quickly then the kidnappers will raise it,' said one man, whose father was the victim of kidnapping from which he never returned.

His father was found decapitated three weeks after he disappeared from a restaurant where he had flashed too much money under the noses of a group of cartel members.

'They send you pictures of the person being mutilated, and tell you the more you delay the worse they will be', said his son.

The murder was never reported by the Juarez newspapers, nor was the crime ever solved by police investigators, who many residents claim ignore much of the horrors in the valley as they concentrate on Juarez City.

'There were eight other kidnappings in the valley that week', said his son. 'How can we expect results when the police don't even come here anymore?'

Kidnap victims in Murder Valley rarely return to their families. 'It's easier for the cartels to kill them rather than instigate any sort of revenge plan when they return', he said.

'I can't go to the federal police', he added. 'They have the reputation of being involved with the criminals here. Even if I find a police officer who is honest and tell him my problem, the narcos will find out I have been talking and then kill me'.

'The federal police in this town are the ones who make trouble for the locals', said the young man, who continues to live with his widowed mother. 'They have no respect for anyone and beat me up if I do anything they don't like'.

In 2008, the Sinaloa cartel (run by 'El Chapo' Guzman who last year was detained by Mexican authorities) declared war on the Juarez cartel, leading to an explosion of gang violence in Juarez City.

As El Paso's neighbour soaked up the world's attention, few noticed the savagery being committed just ten miles to the east, in a farming region carved out of the Sinaloan desert.

As the authorities began to take control of the city again in 2012, much of the business of borderland narco-trafficking moved into the Juarez Valley.

Many residents of the valley fled as a result of the violence. The sudden drop in manpower put an end to local industry, and today unemployment rates are high.

Although the valley's arid fields and intense sunlight produces perfect conditions for cotton agriculture – indeed, the valley's cotton has been said to rival that produced in Egypt – farming produces little reward.

One kilo of raw cotton sells for just ten pence, and labourers are paid less than ten per cent of the profits for a back-breaking day's work in which they may pick two hundred kilograms.

'Many people from the region, or who come here from other parts of he country, end up working as killers for the cartel', says Supervisor Mata (whose surname translates to Supervisor Kill).

'When people are desperate and haven't been able to feed their family for months, the cartels offer them money to kill people, and they take it.

'Other people arrive here from other parts of Mexico thinking that by working for the cartel they will eventually become a powerful drug lord,' he said.

'This makes it difficult because anyone here could secretly be a narco assassin. In other troubled parts of Mexico such as Michoacan, the government have records of who the gang members are.

Here we have no idea because new killers are recruited just as soon as the previous ones are killed or arrested.

'At one point last year I was talking to an eighty-year old man I had pitied for his frailty. When I asked to conduct a routine search he pulled a gun on me. It's the fact that you never know who you're dealing with makes this area so dangerous.'

'We see a lot of ghosts', said Juan Valdez, a Praxedis resident who gave his name as a famous Colombian coffee brand in order to remain anonymous, 'especially in the old disco.'

In 2010 there was a terrible shooting in the town's 'Roses Disco', during which three young girls were killed.

The building is now completely abandoned, much like the rest of

the town's entertainment businesses. The floors are covered with the faeces of the pigeons and stray dogs which now inhabit the building, and the locals claim that in the evenings the ghost of one of the murder girls appears in a blood-stained dress, watching silently from the main entrance.

'I haven't moved away because my family lives here,' says Alejandro Montes who has seen many friends die as a result of the violence. 'It's possible to make a life for yourself here, it's just a different set of laws to what apply elsewhere.

'If you stay out of the narcos' way you'll survive,' he smiles. 'Just duck out of sight when you hear bullets.'

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Posted on 28 January 2015 | 1:01 am

Andrew Coyne

Andrew Coyne: Liberals join other federal parties in leading from behind provinces on carbon pricing

Somebody needs to provide leadership on this file — not oversight, not coordination, but leadership — and that somebody is the federal government

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Posted on 23 January 2015 | 7:51 pm

Blazing Cat Fur

Is Washington Encouraging Iran’s Threats?

The United States and Iran have been locked in dead-end negotiations over the Islamist regime’s nuclear program for over a year, but the lines of communication between Washington and Tehran appear to be open.According to Iran’s IRNA news agency, that country’s deputy foreign minister said that his country had sent a warning to Israel via their U.S. […]

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 5:00 am

Driving The Porcelain Bus

No One To Blame For Rob Ford But The Media And Ignorance

This article in the Toronto Star points to the voters as those solely to blame for Rob Ford being elected.

I disagree. The voters are partially to blame, but there were other major factors.

1) The Media
The Media is very much to blame for the election of Rob Ford. During the election campaign they, pretty much as a whole, focused much more on the celebrity of Rob Ford than on the policies of the candidates. This influenced the many voters who are more easily swayed by name recognition and celebrity than policies.

Also, the Media is largely to blame for discouraging people from voting, by convincing many that it is pointless to vote as it will change nothing. Remember, the vast majority of media is or is owned by large corporations. So, it is in their best interests for the most part to support Conservative ideology. It is known that the most avid voters are conservative supporters. So, by convincing those who disagree with and are disappointed by government policies and trends that it is a waste of time to vote, they are removing votes against the parties/people that support the conservative/corporate agenda/ideologies.

2) Ignorance
A large part of Conservative ideology is the celebration of ignorance over knowledge and reason. Just look at the popularity of the Tea Party in the USA, especially a couple of years ago, during the time of the last Toronto municipal election. Those people in Toronto who embraced this celebration of ignorance over knowledge and reason at the time of the election were/are at the core of Ford Nation. The popularity and sensationalizing of this ideology convinced many more to jump on the bandwagon of celebrating ignorance.

And now, with all that, there is the issue of trying to reason with those who have chosen to abandon reason.

It is easier to fool someone that to convince them that they have been fooled.

We have our work cut out for us. And it is made especially hard for individuals to fight against the Media for the attention of people, especially for those people who currently won't be reasoned with.

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Posted on 24 November 2013 | 2:58 pm

BigCityLib Strikes Back

Break The Law And Aussie Cops Will Make You Listen To Nickelback!

Media preview

Oi Oi Oi Indeed. 

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Posted on 22 January 2015 | 8:35 pm

Just Right

NASA/GISS scientist, Gavin Schmidt, refuses to debate global warming

Actually, Gavin Schmidt's field of expertise is climate modeling, which is more an art (and propaganda tool) than it is science.  Here he is back in 2013 on John Stossel's program refusing to debate renowned climatologist Roy Spencer:

I kind of expected Schmidt to say he wouldn't debate Prof. Spencer because "the debate is over, the science is settled".

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Posted on 26 January 2015 | 10:06 pm

Government Procurement Failure: BC Ministry of Education Case Study

Apologies for the lack of posts. I’ve been in business mode – both helping a number of organizations I’m proud of and working on my own business. For those interested in a frightening tale of inept procurement, poor judgement and downright dirty tactics when it comes to software procurement and government, there is a wonderfully […]

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Posted on 6 June 2014 | 1:46 am

Bold Colours

Today in Astute Observations

If CNN is going to chyron "Muslim Hero," why not "Muslim Terrorists?" — John Nolte (@NolteNC) January 12, 2015

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Posted on 12 January 2015 | 1:17 pm

Accidental Deliberations

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Kate McInturff and David Macdonald address the need for an adult discussion about how federal policies affect Canadian families. And Kevin Campbell writes about the importance of child care as a social investment. 

- Vincenzo Bove and Georgios Efthyvoulou study how public policy is shaped by political budget cycles - with more popular social spending getting emphasized around election time, only to face a threat as soon as the vote is held. And Scott Clark and Peter DeVries identify a distinct increase in the smoke and mirrors being used by the Cons to hide Canada's true budget picture in an election year:
Since the fall — when the prime minister promised tax cuts he hadn’t paid for — everything on the fiscal front has changed, except this: The budget remains the key document in the run-up to the election. Except now, the budget won’t be saying what Harper wanted it to. He wanted it to tell the story of his steady management of the economy since the 2008 recession. Instead, it’ll be about convincing Canadians the government had a plan B all along. Since the furor over Kenney’s comments strongly suggests a government at war with itself, that could turn out to be a tall order.

The PM has never liked budgets. He never saw them as a means to articulate a vision of the economy and the country. To Harper, a budget is a PR document — and a Trojan horse for pushing through legislative changes that have nothing at all to do with the budget.
It’s this kind of economic outlook that makes Canadians nervous — and they’re right to be. They need facts, not slogans. They need a budget that provides an honest, realistic assessment of our economic and fiscal prospects. They need to know that the government is taking a serious look at its fiscal policy and asking how it can be adjusted now to strengthen growth and job creation, while maintaining a sustainable fiscal structure over the medium term.

That’s what they need. Here’s what they’re likely to get: More slogans, more shallow optics and the spectacle of a Department of Finance tying itself in knots to at least show a balanced budget in 2015-16.
- Desmond Cole examines the Cons' dismal treatment of immigrant detainees. And the CP reports on their disregard for court rulings finding refugee health funding cuts to be unconstitutional.

- At the same time, Barrie McKenna writes that the Cons are once again going out of their way to support corporate corruption - this time by relaxing rules for businesses which have committed crimes abroad. 

- Finally, Ralph Surette discusses why it's time to end the Cons' reign - while suggesting #ThrowTheRascalsOut as an appropriate campaign hashtag.

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Posted on 28 January 2015 | 12:41 pm

What Do I Know Grit

Happy Birthday Madiba

Nelson, the world needs more of you. We miss you kind sir. Happy Birthday!

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Posted on 18 July 2014 | 12:29 am

Small Dead Animals


Ontario: Saving the planet through homeless sequestration....

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 6:46 am

Le blog politique de Claude Dupras

L’intégration au lieu de la laïcité imposée

La Laïcité n’est pas un sujet facile à traiter au Québec. Les opinions sont très partagées sur sa définition, son importance et divisent les québécois.

Le Parti Québécois (PQ) qui cherche toujours à calquer ses politiques sur celle de la France, prétexte, de nos jours, que la laïcité est essentielle pour notre mode de vie future puisqu’elle assure, entre autres, la neutralité religieuse, l’égalité hommes-femmes et la paix sociale. De tous les pays du monde, seule la France a adopté une loi sur la laïcité. Est-ce à dire qu’ailleurs, sur toute la planète, il n’y a pas de neutralité, d’égalité ou de paix ? Évidemment, non. Aux USA, par exemple, le pays le plus d’avant-garde du monde où les immigrés se sentent les mieux intégrés et l’affirment, le dollar comporte l’inscription In God we Trust.
Pourquoi veut-il précipiter le Québec dans l’adoption d’une telle loi. Il est clair qu’il cherche à profiter des émotions générées par l’agression de Charlie Hebdo pour gagner des points politiques. Pourtant, aujourd’hui, il y a plusieurs français et étrangers qui concluent que la laïcité est devenue en fait une arme de destruction de leur pays.
L’ex-gouvernement Marois a divisé profondément notre société avec sa Charte des valeurs québécoises. Il avait créé un comité parlementaire pour recevoir les dépositions des auteurs de mémoires. Celui-ci devint un vrai cirque où des opinions plus bizarres les unes que les autres furent émises. Cet opportunisme véreux fut vite détecté par la population qui réserva, par la suite, une raclée électorale hors de l’ordinaire au PQ.
Dès sa venue au pouvoir, le nouveau gouvernement libéral du PM Couillard mit fin au comité parlementaire tout en promettant de présenter un nouveau projet de loi pour compléter ce qui existe déjà et le confirmer.
Aujourd’hui, le PQ insiste sur l’urgence d’une loi sur la laïcité pour, dit-il, combattre l’intégrisme, nonobstant la vraie priorité qui est de régler les problèmes budgétaire et financier du Québec et de créer un grand nombre de nouveaux emplois. Pourtant, la France est laïque depuis longtemps et l’intégrisme y est fortement installé, comme ailleurs dans le monde. On voit bien que la laïcité de l’État n’a rien à voir avec le combat contre l’intégrisme.
De toute évidence, l’adoption d’une telle loi n’est pas urgente car depuis des décennies, toutes les lois québécoises sont indépendantes de conceptions religieuses et les dirigeants religieux n’ont aucun pouvoir politique ou administratif. Dieu n’est pas mentionné, ni les religions. Dans toutes les activités humaines telles, l’éducation, les soins de santé, la vie sociale … les québécois et les québécoises ont les mêmes opportunités, les mêmes protections et les mêmes droits à tous les niveaux. Certes, il y a encore des difficultés notamment dans le travail mais avec le temps, les statistiques montrent qu’elles s’amenuisent.
De plus, nous vivons depuis des décennies dans une réelle paix sociale.
Mais soyons francs, ce qui est à la base de toute cette discussion est la présence grandissante de musulmans dans notre société. Certains de nos concitoyens sont mal à l’aise avec des personnes étrangères surtout celles qui sont vêtues de façon non conformiste. Mais de tels sentiments ne justifient pas l’adoption d’une loi sur la laïcité qui ne changera rien.
Le monde musulman existe principalement au Maghreb, en Libye, en Turquie, en Égypte, en Arabie Saoudite, en Syrie, en Irak, en Iran, au Pakistan, en Indonésie, en Afrique noire, en Inde… Il regroupe plus d’un milliard d’individus sur la planète. En France, ils sont 8% de la population. Au Canada, c’est 5%. Au Québec, 3%. Les musulmans québécois ne sont donc pas tous arabes, pas tous du même courant (sunnite ou chiite), pas tous du même pays ou du même continent. Ils sont vraiment différents les uns des autres. Au Québec, plus de 100 nationalités coexistent et un très grand nombre des religions de la terre y sont représentées.
Les gouvernements libéral et péquiste du passé étaient en accord pour augmenter le nombre des immigrants et encourageaient particulièrement les parlant français, dont les maghrébins, à venir chez nous. Ils voulaient en plus profiter de l’apport économique important que ces immigrants génèreraient.
Ayant eu l’opportunité de travailler en Algérie de nombreuses années, j’ai eu le privilège de me faire plusieurs amis algériens. J’ai connu leurs épouses, leurs familles, leurs modes de vie et leur approche à la société. Depuis, j’ai pu y retourner en touriste et partout on m’a toujours accueilli à bras ouverts, généreusement et amicalement. Ce sont tous des gens bien. J’en connais plusieurs à Montréal et c’est la même chose.
Dans le débat actuel au Québec, en entend plusieurs affirmations en rapport avec la religion et le comportement culturel des musulmans. Trop sont inventées de toute pièce et amplifiées pour faire peur. Pour les crieurs de malheur, la religion musulmane n’est pas compatible avec notre mode de vie et nous sommes en danger. Pourquoi proférer de telles faussetés ? Pour alimenter un mouvement islamophobe dans le but de les chasser de notre territoire ?  
Les musulmans ne sont pas une menace au sens que certains voudraient nous le faire croire. Ils ne sont pas culturellement incompatibles avec nous. Face à ce que plusieurs qualifient de menace fondamentaliste, il faut avoir la tête froide et ne pas crier des absurdités mal définies et faire la part des choses. Il nous faut trouver et réaliser les politiques publiques les plus susceptibles de faciliter et de maximiser leur intégration.
Oui, la solution est l’intégration. Elle est rattachée aux opportunités disponibles pour que les néo-québécois puissent participer à la vie économique du Québec. Il faut trouver les moyens pour les aider et les inciter à le faire comme en Angleterre et en Allemagne où ils sont mieux intégrés avec leurs enfants parce que les marchés du travail de ces pays sont peu réglementés alors que la France, avec un système quasi byzantin de lois sur le travail, obtient un résultat nettement moins bon.
En somme, lorsqu’on ne bloque pas artificiellement l’intégration, les immigrants voient moins d'avantages à la réclusion et préfèrent s'intégrer comme les Canadiens-français l'ont fait aux États-Unis et comme les Italiens, les Irlandais, les Grecs, les Écossais, les Slaves l'ont fait au Québec. P
Pour le reste, cela n’empêche pas d’avoir de bonnes politiques pour rechercher et expulser les éléments islamistes très minoritaires qui violent leurs conditions de citoyenneté en prêchant la violence au nom de l’Islam. L’intégration veut dire aussi que la société civile dénonce les éléments extrémistes dans son sein afin que tous sachent la perfidie de leurs propos.
Pour l'ensemble de l'Europe, les démographes ont constaté que « le taux de croissance de la population musulmane a chuté de 2,2% par année pendant la décennie 1990-2000 à 1% pendant la décennie 2000-2010. Ce taux continuera de chuter progressivement au fur et à mesure que les différences du taux de fertilité entre les femmes non-musulmanes et celui des autres femmes s'estomperont d'ici 2030. Aux États-Unis, la différence est encore plus petite puisque les musulmans ont un taux de fertilité déjà très proche de la moyenne nationale ». Au Canada et au Québec ce sera éventuellement de même.
Les promoteurs de la laïcité parlent encore d’éliminer les signes religieux tels, la croix accrochée au mur principal de l’Assemblée nationale. Ils y voient un signe de dépendance à une autorité religieuse alors qu’elle est devenue un symbole de notre passé. L’exemple de la France sur ce sujet devrait les éclairer. Alors qu’elle est supposément très neutre religieusement, la France nomme encore ses jours fériés avec des noms de fêtes religieuses : lundi de Pâques, jeudi de l’Ascension, lundi de la Pentecôte, l’Assomption, la Toussaint. Elle ne craint pas de montrer son passé religieux.
De plus, ils affirment que la laïcité protégera toutes les religions et leur pratique alors qu’ils s’opposent à ce que les fonctionnaires portent un vêtement ou un objet ayant rapport avec une religion (musulmane, juive, sikh) contrairement avec ce qui se fait en France. C’est un manque de respect à la liberté démocratique de ces individus.
Les églises de France sont devenues la propriété du gouvernement pour les protéger contre des démolitions sauvages. Il les entretient pour les mettre à la disposition des fidèles. Dans un petit village de Provence, que je connais bien et qui ressemble à tous les autres, l’église est le lieu de messes dominicales, de baptêmes et de funérailles. Son clocher carillonne à toutes les heures et demi-heures et le son se répercute dans la vallée. Les musulmans de leur côté prient à leur mosquée, les juifs à leur synagogue et les protestants à leur temple.
Au Québec, on vend les églises pour en faire des condos, des centres communautaires, etc.. ou on les détruit comme la belle église de pierres de Notre-Dame-de-la-paix à Verdun. Même l’église de la paroisse de Lamothe en Abitibi, celle du cardinal Marc Ouellet qui fut considéré comme un papabile lors du dernier conclave à Rome, est devenue un centre d’activités communautaires.
Le PQ propose la laïcité pour régler un problème qui n’existe pas. Un tel projet est un instrument de division et ne réglera aucune des craintes générées par les fondamentalistes comme on vient de le voir en France.
En somme, les promoteurs de la laïcité du Québec sont plus catholiques que le pape.
Claude Dupras

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Mind of Dan

Bah Humbug!

Physicists who want to protect traditional Christmas realize that the only way to keep from changing Christmas is not to observe it.

(via xkcd)

That is all.

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Warren Kinsella

My tri-partisan nature is revealed on Sun News

Going on @SunNewsNetwork with @LisaKirbie to say how amazing it is all #cdnpoli campaigns run by brilliant women – Telford, McGrath, Byrne. — Warren Kinsella (@kinsellawarren) January 28, 2015

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