Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Of Galloway and CPC Gall

Most discussions of l'affaire Galloway have failed to see its beneficial properties. Allow me to scrape off the medicinal residue from this absurd fiasco. Let us take this case--wherein a middle-aged British Parliamentarian who has visited Canada and America many times without incident has been barred and declared a national security threat--and distil a healing tincture from its sopping dregs.

Of course, there is much to deplore here. For instance, it seems Jason Kenney's Immigration Ministry had its paws all over this case, inappropriately: members of Kenney's staff were apparently aware that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) was preparing a pre-emptive refusal to Galloway's entry request. Kenney claims that he had nothing to do with the decision (rightly, as the CBSA reports to the Ministry of Public Safety, not to Immigration), yet his staff were au courant with the latest developments and knew of the refusal even before Galloway did.

Deplorable also is the decision's rationale: apparently, delivering food and medicine to people living in a nightmarish no-man's land is a "terrorist" act if the people in need have elected a politically incorrect leadership.

We must not be seduced by mere appearances, though. If we strain to peer through the superficial turpitude, we'll find something we've never before seen from the Harperoid horde: the twitching of a fledgling political conscience. What seems to be wretched hypocrisy is nothing less than a sublimated but profound and devastating self-critique. In rebuking Galloway, the CPC condemns itself.

For if a man be infamous for risking his life in the personal delivery of food and medicine to people living under the grip of Hamas, how much more infamous would be those who, from the safety of their Parliament Hill offices, impersonally deliver missiles, bombs and artillery shells onto civilians on behalf of the squalid satraps of a corrupt, Islamist, narco-state?

If it be odious for one insignificant man to deliver food and medicine into the hands of a democratically elected "terrorist" government, how much more odious would it be for the most influential oligarchs of the world's most powerful nation to deliver millions of dollars worth of weapons into the hands of a tyrannical terrorist regime?

If it be odious for a "terrorist sympathiser" to enter Canada, how much more odious would it be for a terrorist sympathiser to administer Canada's immigration laws and presume to personify patriotic vigilance?

The CPC's moral faculties, long in embryo, have grown, have developed, and now begin to stir. They feel their own vileness but can yet experience it only as something outside of themselves--in a Galloway, for instance. Their ethical sense, still primitive, expresses itself in a kind of voodoo; through this occult magic, the CPC torments itself through attacks on others: it sticks pins in dolls fashioned after its own likeness.

Now, will the party ever evolve beyond this stage of infantile, pre-historic enchantment? Will it ever gain the power of authentic self-questioning? Will it ever establish itself on a set of dignified, ethically consistent standards of governance?

The answer is another question: Will Stephen Harper ever resign?

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Ignominious Defeat Makes For Strange Bedfellows

Ring the church bells, people. Canada has just lost her first war—an inevitability, really, once we hitched our geo-political cart to history’s most fecklessly narcissistic empire.

Once, we begged to negotiate only with "moderate" brutal, medieval Islamofascists--a human category Harper and his Harperoids always insisted did not exist.

Now we're negotiating with the Taliban's top leadership, in talks to be mediated by the world's wealthiest pro-Western Islamonazi regime--the country that produced most of the 9/11 hijackers.

Those of you familiar with the history of the Second World War will know that Churchill, FDR and Stalin never asked Hitler, Goering and Himmler over for tea and cucumber sandwiches; that's because they wanted to win and knew they would win. In war, petitioning for talks is an admission of defeat. Thus, all we have after six years of carnage is this blighted harvest, sown by the blood of far too many fine Canadian soldiers.

Now that our Afghan battle-group is operating on behalf of appeasers, enablers and collaborators, Harper has a stark choice: either repatriate and redeploy our troops or allow their last two operational years to be spent as the military arm of an Islamist Vichy.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Bowling for Breitkreuz

Bowling for Columbine begins with a scene of Michael Moore receiving a hunting rifle as a promotional gift for opening a savings account. While shouldering the weapon, Moore turns to a bank employee and asks her whether she thinks it a good idea to hand out free rifles to strangers.

I remember watching the movie in a theatre and being hit by the waves of laughter: everybody thought, "Those crazy Americans," safe in the knowledge that what we were witnessing on screen was a bizarre foreign rite far removed from what our own society would tolerate.

That was seven years ago--long before a small minority of my fellow countrymen decided to hand over federal office to a conclave of moral dwarves whose sacred mission it is to push our faces into every malodorous cloud of toxic cultural gas that wafts across the southern border.

Now we hear that the noisome cranks of the pro-gun Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) plan to whoop it up in style at their annual general meeting in Mississauga. They've arranged to dazzle their guests with a special raffle prize: no, not a Chapters gift certificate; no, not tickets for two for a performance of La Sacre du printemps; no, not a coffee-table book on the Group of Seven. The lucky winner will get a semi-automatic Beretta PX4 Storm handgun.

Now, this may disappoint those more in the market for a link-fed 5.56 mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon with complimentary five-metre belt of armour-piercing rounds, but this Beretta is a special "Canadian Edition" of the handgun, something sure to impress whoever will get the honour of being mugged at its barrel point once it is stolen, sold, and bought by some thug.

The featured speaker at this lugubrious event is to be the "Conservative" Party's own Garry Breitkreuz. In a city swamped with American handguns and desperate to snuff out the rising tide of gun-related violence, Breitkreuz will be toasted for his undertaking to abolish the federal gun registry and relax controls on handguns and other restricted weapons.

For the record, I've never seen the value of a long-gun registry, and I consider that particular component of the Liberal program to have been a costly mistake. The members of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police disagree, however, saying that they "strenuously oppose any weakening of Canada's current firearms control regime". Despite my own misgivings, then, I suppose I shall have to defer to the cops on that issue: they're the experts.

What really astounds me here is the rank stupidity of a Member of Parliament waltzing into a town still mourning over its dead in order to clink champagne flutes with a gaggle of uneducable ghouls who think a semi-automatic is an acceptable choice of party favour (and who are so apparently stupid as to forget that only someone licensed to own the fucking thing will be legally free to take it home). One wonders if the same crowd attempted to book a New York ballroom for a "Celebrating Thirty Years of Airline Hijacking" party on September 12th, 2001. Perhaps we should take this as confirmation that Harper and the CPC have simply written Toronto off (as well as Quebec and the Maritimes) and are happy to serve it whatever offensive diarrheic effluent flows out of its members' distempered souls.

I wonder, though: why would the CSSA be so banal and unimaginative in its choice of raffle prize? Why not go for something roughly equivalent to a handgun but with a playful soupçon of novelty?

Think about it: a handgun is designed only to kill human beings. Ho hum. Why not award the lucky guy something designed only to torture or maim human beings? Such a device would be much less ethically objectionable, as wounding is more humane than outright killing (football and hockey players wound each other as a matter of course), and it would threaten less danger if it ended up in criminal hands. Using it might also be so much more fun.

But for some reason, whilst so many of us accept the propriety of a homicide-delivering handgun as a raffle gift, we would be stunned and appalled to hear of an MP’s complicity in handing out thumbscrews, garrotes, cattle prods and switchblades. Why is that?

Perhaps we should ask Garry Breitkreuz...


We'll not get the chance to ask anything of anyone, since Breitkreuz's invitation has been withdrawn by event organisers--meaning that someone on Breitkreuz's staff, realising the ghastliness of the optics, asked the CSSA to "withdraw" the invitation as a way of liberating the MP from the obligation to attend without making him appear to be running away from public outrage.

Happily, the raffle will go ahead. Good luck to those of my readers who plan to compete.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

"Justice", Alberta Style: The Inevitable Bush-Bashing Post

* With apologies to Ryan and Joël, proud Albertans, proud progressives, and braver men than I.

I guess being lucky enough to sit on an ocean's worth of the planet's second most expensive natural resource doesn't make Albertans different enough from the rest of us, for it seems they always feel the need to deepen, to sharpen and, finally, to revel in their difference.

Sure, this is often entertaining. Sometimes, though, it’s just embarrassing--for everyone involved. Like an aged uncle who ruins a wedding reception by stripping down to his briefs and attempting the macarena after too many rum and cokes, our Albertan brothers and sisters just don't seem to know when to stop.

Here's my case, in three exhibits.

Exhibit A:

George W. Bush chooses Calgary as the venue for his inaugural exercise in public rehabilitation, signalling to the world his belief that Alberta is the last planetary redoubt of support for an American ex-president loathed in his own country and thus chronically deprived of even the most meagre domestic media platform from which to dribble his preposterous apologetics.

Albertans happily confirm this belief by sending over a thousand of their business élite to the event. The crowd gives Bush a sympathetic hearing--with one of them opining that the plutocrat cum war criminal "came across as a pretty good human being". The anti-Bush protest, a pitifully small affair, is left up to people with names like "Splits the Sky"--moving me to the anguished conclusion that, in Alberta, even the sane people are cracked.

Exhibit B:

Most Canadians know Mayerthorpe as the scene of the most tragic catastrophe in our nation's policing history since the Battle of Duck Lake. Quite a few Albertans, though, seem to view Mayerthorpe as the scene of a terrible miscarriage of justice. According to these amateur clerks-at-the-law, two men who materially aided the cold-blooded slaughter of four young Royal Canadian Mounted Police constables are entirely innocent "scapegoats" whose indictment was an arbitrary act of official vindictiveness and who've had a "huge toll" taken from them since their arrest (more toll, we assume, than was taken from the murdered officers).

Exhibit C:

Most Canadians feel that Omar Khadr has a right to be tried by his peers (i.e. other Canadians). Many Albertans disagree, though: along with the always-interesting folks in British Columbia, Albertans are quite eager for Khadr to stay just where he is, facing a jester's assizes that even his U.S. Navy lawyer considers an absurd affront to international law and American values.

Presumably, Albertans' main objection is that Canada would provide Khadr with a fair trial--one operating according to post-Magna Carta norms--whereas the American process would provide a more gratifying fast-track to the noose, electric chair, gas chamber, firing squad or injection room regardless of pettifogging, pre-9/11 niceties like the distinction between "guilt" and "innocence".

So, let's review, shall we? When it comes to giving the benefit of the doubt to two of their own who committed the slight ethical lapse of shuttling a heavily armed known criminal to the scene of a multiple cop-killing, Albertans are all heart, begging the Crown to give the poor guys a break.

When the man personally responsible for triggering one of the century's worst bloodbaths arrives to prattle on about his ignominiously failed presidency, Albertans roll out the red carpet and wax sentimental about what a "decent" chap he is.

When a fifteen year old is captured, tortured and dragged into a kangaroo court for allegedly committing a murder for which the evidence is threadbare at best, Albertans gleefully watch him rot and cheer on his torment.

Thus, the norms underpinning Albertan "justice" can be divined through the following deeply held beliefs: accessories to a multiple cop killing are victims of a vengeful Crown and must be freed immediately; an American president who orchestrated the massacre of tens of thousands must have his ass kissed, and a Canadian kid (ethnically Arab, provocatively) must be punished, perhaps capitally, for most probably not killing a single soldier.

These are precisely the facts I shall have in mind next time a representative of God-fearin' Albertan righteousness lectures the rest of us about our bleeding-heart, soft-on-crime "decadence". I know decadence when I see it, and, right now, it is home, home on the range.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Your Tax Dollars At Work: Jim Flaherty Edition

So there I was, minding other people's business at Luxe restaurant in the Byward Market of a Tuesday evening, when who should drag his knuckles in but our own Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, accompanied by a not unattractive young woman.

The squat, shrunken-apple headed poltroon seemed in a festive mood, no doubt inwardly glowing with pride at having kept a straight face throughout his infamous Senate committee testimony--where he laughably insisted that nobody foresaw the depth of the current recession (nobody indeed, except the chief economists of many of our chartered banks) and then ludicrously scolded the Senate for daring to "delay" passage of his precious budget (after having helped shut Parliament down for two whole months in a desperate, squalid, semi-constitutional act of political skin-saving).

Who could blame Flaherty for wanting to unwind at one of Ottawa's trendiest bistros with a comely young lady approximately half his age? I'm sure his wife, busy with her own duties at Queen's Park, would be delighted to know that the job of reinforcing her husband's glass-jaw ego, monitoring his Depends and clipping coupons for cut-price Metamucil is apparently in the capable hands of someone so vigorous, so svelte, so eager.

I was finishing my own meal as the couple walked in--Flaherty looking like a slot machine had just paid out in torrents of silver dollars, she looking awkward and self-conscious. By the time I was ready to leave, he was pitchforking bales of lettuce from a huge Caesar salad into his gaping maw and fingering a bottle of what looked to be champagne, perhaps bought in celebration of yet more layoffs in his least favourite province, yet more billions hacked off our GDP, yet more devastated families, yet more foreclosures, yet more homeless. There's really nothing quite like callous, aggressive ineptitude to work up a thirst.

I left before they ordered their meals and thus have no idea what Flaherty decided to backhoe into his blowhole. What do you think a man of Flaherty's refinement would have lighted upon? Would he have started with the iced oysters on the half shell, with shallot mignonette, fresh lemon, chili jam, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and fresh horseradish? Or would he more likely have begun with the crispy duck leg confit (house cured, bien sûr), with a rich consomme and butternut angliotti--all for a measly $18?

His choice of entrée is a question perhaps even more vexed. He could conceivably have contented himself with the 16 oz. New York striploin (for $46) with the seared foie gras (for an extra $11) and the Bordelaise “au jus”, but he may have been more in the mood for the lobster pot pie, featuring an Atlantic lobster, brandy cream, seasonal vegetables, and puff pastry, all for a paltry 50 bucks.

Regardless of what the totally appropriately behaved and strictly professional couple decided to front-end-load down their gullets, I trust taxpayers across Canada—from those gullible enough to believe that CPC cabinet ministers eat exclusively at Tim Hortons to those who will shortly be supping from half-empty cans of Whiskas fished out of dumpsters--will understand the econometric brilliance of Flaherty's act of apparent self-indulgence: fully aware that Luxe's huge plate-glass windows afforded those outside a clear view of his table, Flaherty vicariously satisfied the cravings of all the panhandlers and homeless street urchins who watched longingly and droolingly from the sidewalk. They ate and drank through him; thus, without spending a penny more of our tax money than was strictly necessary to gratify his own precious palate, Flaherty managed to feed over a dozen of the normally unworthy "little people", the people he daily defends from the ghastly depredations of the liberal “élite”.

Who needs a stimulus package when your Minister of Finance knows how to feed the multitude just by feeding his own used-car-salesman face?

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

"Take My Prime Minister...Please"

Yesterday, as Canada's pain-wracked body politic continued to flinch under the cold kiss of the recessionary scalpel gliding playfully along its abdomen, Stephen Harper thoughtfully administered the most potent anaesthetic known to medical science--his voice.

Yes, I know: many experts consider the profundity and immediacy of Harper's soporific effect to be dangerous, and the use of his speeches to induce unconsciousness is controversial. Nevertheless, his humane and timely intervention means that those lucky enough to have witnessed the entire half-hour speech will spend the recession's projected year-long span in a state of effective coma--very near to clinical death--and will have no memory of this dark time when (and if) they revive.

Until then, their last memory will no doubt be of Stephen Harper desperately trying to arrive at something remotely related to this thing he's heard of--"being funny"-- by cracking wise with a lame joke that staggers pitiably out of Al Martino's killer between-song banter during a particularly uninspired late-50's appearance at a cheap Borscht Belt dive.

By way of explaining how the new Home Renovation Tax Credit works, Harper quipped, "It works like this: if you own a home, and you have a wife, you will probably be doing home renovations this year! Heh, heh [while you can literally hear the crickets]". Fast forward the video to 5:15 to experience this brutal onslaught of hilarity.

Harper reportedly wrote the speech himself. Presumably, the most apparent symptom of his personal touch was that little bit of appropriately-timed misogynist "populism": indeed, it's so important for a nerdy Master of Arts with a resumé bashfully pure of meaningful private sector experience to remind real, red-blooded, obviously heterosexual men--the middle-aged versions of the grammar-school bullies who used to beat him up and steal his lunch money--that he knows perfectly well that only men can own homes and only men renovate them.

Yeah, some people may quibble with that view, but they're probably gay; they might even watch the CBC; they're definitely soft on terrorism.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The Fat, Smug, Arrogant Face Of "Accountability"

"Jeepers. Don't you just hate it when some ball-busting bitch demands that you tell Canadians what you plan to do with three billion dollars of their hard-earned cash? Just who the fuck does she think she is? The duly elected representative of her constituents, or some other such highfalutin', lah-di-dah, fancy-ass nonsense? God, it's bad enough I have to pretend to believe that Liberals deserve to live; here I am answering their insolent questions, like they're my equals or something. Ewwww, gross! How degrading".

"Listen, Miss Thing--we'll let you know what we've done with the money after we've spent it. Now go away, and let me get back to my box of Timbits".

[h/t Chrystal Ocean]


Sunday, 8 March 2009

Der Törygang: Twilight of the Clod

Friday marked the ignoble end of what has arguably been the most humiliating political leadership career in Canadian history. After spending four and a half years making Stéphane Dion look practically Kennedyesque, John Tory stepped down as Stuffed-Shirt-in-Chief of Ontario's Progressive Conservatives.

Once upon a time, Ontario's Big Blue Machine delivered Tory leaders into premierships on silver platters. Ontario's Progressive Conservative dynasty, older and deeper than Alberta's, inscribed its personality onto the province's soul and gave it its most vital builders--Whitney, Drew, Frost, Robarts and Davis. Now, that machine has been reduced to a useless heap of rusty bolts and tangled steel.

Friday marked the point at which the dismally protracted journeys of two political death-marches met and united. One path was trod by the party, too many of whose activists seem determined to orient their party's tone and platform to the aberrant mid-'90s socio-eoconomic conditions that led to the equally aberrant Common Sense Revolution.

Another path was trod by the man himself. His political karma alreadly irreparably poisoned by his authorship of the notorious "Is This A Prime Minister?" ad campaign that helped decimate the federal Progressive Conservatives in 1993, Tory disembollwed his one and only shot at political redemption by making an idiotic proposal to extend public funding to faith-based schools the centrepiece of his 2007 election campaign, thus handing his party one of the worst defeats in its history and robbing him of his own seat.

Thereafter, Tory skulked about the province, lackadaisically looking for a riding to win; he never found one. That the leader of the Official Opposition could not manage to crawl into a seat in two attempts--both against relative unknowns and in safe P.C. ridings--testifies compellingly to the dilapidation of the Ontario Progressive Conservative brand.

As they re-group and lick their wounds, provincial P.C.'s need to ask themselves whether it is time to re-define their relationship with their federal fellows. It was foolish enough to think that Stephen Harper had political coattails in Ontario. Now, Progressive Conservatives need to banish all illusions, especially those concerning the old Harrisites who continue to pull P.C. strings from within the safe precincts of Harper's "Conservative" Party.

They need to ask whether it helps their cause to have a former P.C. Minister of Finance use his perch in Ottawa to warn international investors away from Ontario. They should ask if it brightens their aura to have former P.C. cabinet minister Tony Clement stutter blankly that he had no warning of U.S. Steel's decision to idle its Ontario operations, throwing over a thousand Ontarians out of work. They need to consider whether it helps to have former P.C. cabinet minister John Baird implicated in a municipal bribery scandal. They need to ask if it helps to be seen as the provincial arm of a party led by a man who made contempt for Central Canada the main theme of his entire public advocacy career.

Most provincial wings of the Liberal party are fully autonomous entities, with few if any ideological or operational links with the national party. Some Ontario P.C.'s clearly understand the value of keeping that kind of distance from their federal parent, but widening that distance and formalising it might be an excellent first step in the party's rehabilitation program.

When you put out the trash, you usually put it as far away from where you eat as possible. It is time for the party of Frost, Robarts and Davis to take Harper and his Harperoids, not just to the curb, but to the landfill, where they belong.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Der Härpergang: Twilight of the Sods

Fans of the harrowing 2004 film Der Untergang will know that one of its more intense scenes has become something of a YouTube meme. I missed this one and this one when they were actually topical, during the last months of last year.

Are they in questionable taste? Certainly. Do they rely upon a feasible historical analogy? Not at all. Are they brilliant and hilarious? You bet.

Thus, enjoy.