I usually think that Ben Mulroney is a bit of a twit, but this week he wrote something that showed just a teensy weensy bit of insight that I would have never guessed that he was capable of.
In this week's Sunday Sun article, Peaceniks can't make case to sway unless they root argument in reality, Ben discusses the silly tactics of many in the antiwar movement, and how they are actually hurting their cause.
Those of you who have been reading this for a few weeks, know that I co-founded the Brampton Peace Coalition (BPC) a few weeks ago, but what I haven't reported is that I have already sort-of unofficially left the group. I thought that a Tory and a group of socialist anti-globalisationists could work together on the one issue we agree on, our disgust with the war in Iraq. Unfortunately they want to bring in most of their silly protest tactics like die-ins and some stuff that's borderline illegal, and that's not really the vision I had.
Back to Ben. His article ends:
**
However, in order for anti-war protesters to maintain relevance and respectability, their future arguments should be rooted in reality.
Members of the peace movement should keep up their pressure. It will ensure that the battle to liberate Iraq never loses its focus.
But if they see themselves as the voice of reason in this great debate, then reason should guide each and every one of their arguments.
Activists should be challenging Bush on his methods, not his motives; otherwise they risk slipping into the absurd and losing any chance of swaying the silent masses sitting on the sidelines.
**

This is almost exactly the same message I was attempting to bring to the Brampton Peace Coalition. Most on the left are already against the war, so the anti-war movement's message should not focus on them. Most on the right, at least the far right (CA), aren't going to agree no matter what message is presented, so the anti-war message should be focussed primarily on the moderates. That generally includes the middle class, the Liberal and the Tory supporter. And those people are not going to react favourably to "stunts", like "die-ins" in the middle of a busy crowd. You need to let those people form their own opinion of the war, and then create a passive way for them display that opinion. If you can get a person to "Honk for Peace", for instance, then you've gotten that person to commit their opinion in a small way.
Unfortunately, as Ben points out, there are a lot of folks, especially the anti-war movement's organizers, who are shooting themselves in the foot by with silly tactics. Making it less likely that middle class folks are going to get up off their couch on a Saturday and go down to an anti-war rally.
Carrying around union banners at the protests for instance. Die-ins. Calling George Bush a criminal or a Nazi. On that last point, are you going to feel very comfortable associating yourself with a person who is wearing a t-shirt that says "Bush is a Nazi", even if perhaps you might agree with his point?

Let me put it this way. The stated goal of many in the anti-war movement is "to end the war". This is silly. Demonstrations aren't going to end the war. The purpose of the antiwar movement should be to convince people who are opposed to the war that it is acceptable to stand in a crowd and be counted as being opposed to the war. The end goal being that the larger the head-count at the rallies, the more the media will have to pay attention.
Apparently the seventh inning stretch of this year's Blue Jays home opener will not be punctuated with the usual:
Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

Instead, Major League Baseball has decreed that instead, fans will be treated to an Irving Berlin number, in support of our..I mean their troops. No, not White Christmas, although that would be nice.
Anyway, here are the lyrics to the song that will be sung:

***
God Bless America.
Land that I love
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies ,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America
My home sweet home.

God Bless America,
Land that I love
Stand beside her,
And guide her,
Through the night
With the light from above,
From the mountains,
To the prairies,
To the ocean,
White with foam,
God bless America,
My home sweet home.
God bless America,
My home sweet home.
***

What is it about this song about geographical features that is supportive of our....their troops?

I've got a better suggestion. How about this one by Pink Floyd?

Bring the boys back home.
Bring the boys back home.
Don't leave the children on their own, no, no.
Bring the boys back home.

And there might still be time to play "Okay BlueJays".
I guess I'd better clarify the post I wrote on Saturday night, when I was fairly intoxicated. There must be a name for that, blogging while drunk. Perhaps Grogging? Intoxiblogging?

Anyway, Fenelon Falls is (was) a village of 1600 people, and it's where this correspondent lived from age 0 til about 19 or 20. Fenelon is pretty much smack dab in the centre of Victoria county, and is a few hours north of the city of Toronto.

Driving through Fenelon takes about 5 minutes, although on a summer weekend it can take up to 3 hours. Driving north, the first landmarks (on your left) are the Canadian Tire and Home Hardware stores. Continuing on, you'll pass the the High School, and then a little further on to your right is a store called Marshalls. Go around back and you'll see a car wash, owned by a couple of friends of mine. Tell them I sent you and, well they probably won't give you a deal, but it'll be a great conversation starter (don't believe anything they say about me).

Continuing down the main street, you'll come to the bridge, and on your left you'll see the falls, and then the locks (part of the Trent-Severn waterway). At this point you are in downtown Fenelon Falls. Stop and plunk down 50 or a hundred bucks at one of the great gift shops. Anyway, continuing north there's not a whole lot you'll find interesting, some fair sized churches, a funeral home, my parents' street, etc. Go back downtown, spend some more money and then have a nice day.

Fenelon and the surrounding area (in fact the whole county, comprising some 20 or so villages and towns) have now been amalgamated into the brand-new "City of Kawartha Lakes", as of 1999 or 2000. If your idea of a city is cottages, lakes, forests, dirt roads, villages, etc. then you won't have a problem with that. But for the rest of us that's a little weird. I won't bore you with the problems that has caused for the residents of this new "city", including tax hikes, loss of local fire dept. service in some areas, etc.

Thus endeth your virtual tour of Fenelon Falls. You are welcome to continue your stay in your imagination, just don't get lost down by the beach.
Tonight I'm blogging from Fenelon Falls, well what was once called Fenelon Falls. Now it's part of the City of Kawartha Lakes, a huge area made up mostly of farms and villages, lakes and woods. But it's now considered a city... If you thought that unveiling the budget in an auto parts factory was stupid.....
Fuck do I ever hate Aaron Brown. I get the impression that General Wesley Clark can't stand him either.
I missed the Ernie Eves factory budget thing today, even though it all happened within a few blocks from where I live. I'm sure it all went swimmingly, although the clips I saw on the news didn't give me the impression that it was very fun for those in the audience.

Maybe the Ontario Liberals are right (or should I say "correct"?), they should have presented the budget at Queen's Park, where people are paid to listen to boring people drone on. If it wasn't for people like that, I would have almost no visitors to this website.

And in other news, I have a big blister on my foot from wearing socks with big holes in the heels.
If the facts don't support your argument, find some that do.

And if you still can't find any facts, then make some up. That's what polls are for, after all.

Inspired by CNN and Aaron Brown
The Onion Magazine is all protesty this week. For the first time that I know of, the magazine has devoted almost an entire issue to one issue (You have to forgive me, I really did try to think of a better way to say that).

In fact it's the first time the Onion has ever tackled ANY issue.
This week's issue is devoted to making fun of the war in Iraq.

heehee.
Since I posted the bit about Salam Pax, who is posting again by the way, my traffic has picked up significantly, with hits on search queries like "Baghdad cam", "live view of Baghdad", someone was even searching for "Peter Falk Iraq", if that makes any sense.

Putting aside for a minute just how those particular searches led to this blog (I don't know), what's really interesting is that there seem to be a lot of people searching the internet for information and photos of Baghdad during wartime. Which is unusual, since CNN is covering the war 24/7, as are CBC Newsworld, CP24, Newsnet, BBC World and probably hundreds of news channels around the world. So why do people want or need to search the internet for pictures and information about the war in Iraq?

For starters, every time that CNN says "we're not going to show those pictures", it is basically saying "we're engaging in self-censorship". CNN for instance, has a script approval policy which helps explain the lack of information coming out of Iraq other than some choppy videos of tanks moving through the desert. In an article which appeared in the Toronto Star recently, Robert Fisk discusses CNN's script approval policy, and the possible consequences for the war in Iraq. Fisk concludes that "We are going to have to see a US army officer denying everything the Iraqis say if any report from Iraq is to get on air." Maybe this explains why CNN journalist Kevin Sites, reporting from Iraq, says "I've been asked to suspend my war blogging for awhile"

And coincidentally, I just walked past the television, where CNN has been on virtually all week, and heard this sentence "the Pentagon asked that those interviews not be shown". I don't know what interviews they are talking about, but it's ironic that I heard that while in the middle of writing about CNN self-censorship. I am not saying that CNN is lying, in fact I still think that it's probably the most important media source in this war, but there are obviously a lot of things that aren't being said.

Which brings me back to the topic of people searching the internet for alternative media sources about the war. A week ago I did a search on Yahoo for "Baghdad cam". Almost all of the results were people discussing the fact that it was currently the most popular search phrase on the internet, but that there was no real Baghdad cam. Also there were a lot of sites that had added the phrase in the underlying HTML of their webpage, in order to attract traffic. Today I re-ran that same search, and there are all sorts of Baghdad web cams from different media outlets. And although I haven't checked them all yet, I've noticed that some of the major media sources like CBS news, have "web cams" which are really just links to a streamed version of their news programming. The point being that in the last few days, the mainstream media has caught on to the thirst for alternative sources of information about the war.
Anyway, here's one real webcam, if you're interested. Check the search link I provide for more.
The French Debate
Unfortunately the candidates were switching between languages faster than the translators were able to keep up, so I missed quite a bit of what was said. It would have been much easier, and I wouldn't have missed as much if they hadn't provided translation.

Well. There certainly were a few surprises. Mr Grafftey was easily the most passionate of the candidates, in his opening remarks he lit into Peter Mackay for something his campaign had done. Mr. Grafftey became so passionate that for a moment it looked like he was going to break down into tears, and it looked like he was going to walk off the stage as he finished. But I don't want to denigrate Mr. Grafftey's performance, he did very well and I was very impressed.

Mr. Chandler, whose campaign is based around the idea of uniting the right, was another story. As I was keeping notes during the question sections, Mr. Chandler's responses were so predictable that I just started writing "blah blah blah" in my notebook. For just about every question, from how to deal with Paul Martin to how to attract minorities and women, Mr Chandler's response was that we need to unite with the Canadian Alliance. The only exceptions were regarding the Iraq war, when he called Canadians "anti-American", and the gay marriage issue, in which he expounded traditional family values. Essentially what Mr. Chandler proposes is that we unite with the Alliance, under Alliance values and Alliance policy. Yeah, right.

Mr. Orchard would have been much more impressive if he hadn't continued to launch into his tirades against the Americans. I personally am upset with the Yanks right now because of the Iraq war, but I certainly disagree with some of Orchard's claims, like the suggestion that Paul Martin would seek to adopt the US dollar. Mr. Orchard believes we need to safeguard our Canadian institutions (Air Canada for instance), a statement I agree with. But where I disagree with Orchard is that he believes that every conservative politician, including Paul Martin, has some secret agenda to sell Canada to the cheapest bidder in the States.

Jim Prentice is a good solid Tory, who incidentally I was supporting before Mr. Bachand entered the race. He shares a lot of his vision for the party with Mr. Bachand, but being from the west his focus seems to be a bit more on attracting the Alliance vote. Mr. Prentice is correct when he says that we must stop treating the CA as if they are "radioactive". In fact from a fiscal perspective I think that Mr. Prentice would feel fairly comfortable in the CA. Which isn't a bad thing, I am a fiscal conservative myself, although I think that the CA focuses too much on tax cuts and not enough on debt reduction.

Scott Brison. Actually he's going to be here in Brampton tomorrow morning for a breakfast thing, and I've been asked to go. Unfortunately I have a stupid meeting so I can't. I won't spend much time on Mr. Brison, because his comments on the middle east are so incredibly poorly thought-out that I can't stomach him. Mr. Brison is opposed to Kyoto, as are most of the candidates. The one thing that impresses me the most about Scott Brison, is that he believes that churches should be allowed to define the marriage issue, and that same-sex marriage isn't a priority for the government. This is impressive because.. never mind. Mr. Brison is another fiscal conservative, and during the debate he was one of the first to tell Mr. Orchard that his ideas are welcome in the party.

Conventional wisdom holds that Peter Mackay is going to win the leadership of the party, although I am not so sure. I've always liked Peter Mackay, and he deserves credit today for having improved his French to the point where it was barely an issue during the French debate. I have to wonder sometimes at Mr. Mackay's judgement though. As a front-runner for the leadership of a major political party, he shouldn't allow himself to get drawn into the petty arguments so easily. And his answers to the questions were often empty of any content, which I guess is good practice for if he ever becomes a government minister, but not very good for the leader of the fourth place party in the House. For example, on the question of how would we attract minorities, he said basically "we must attract minorities". Unfortunately that tells us nothing.

And Andre. I still believe that Andre is the candidate that has the best chance of winning us a whole bunch of seats. The man wants the job, he wants it. Today I got the impression that at least a couple of the other candidates were borrowing ideas from the Bachand policy book, especially Mr. Bachand's plan to bring Quebeckers into any new coalition with other conservatives and other former party members. Mr. Bachand was the first to say that war is a bad solution to the Iraq problem. And in a debate that was often acrimonious, Mr. Bachand remained cheerful and in fact his rapier-wit transformed portions of the debate, and reminded me that this was part of the process for choosing someone who will be in a position to possibly become Prime Minister of a G-8 country.
While the other candidates were having trouble with the question about how to bring women and minorities into the party (guess what Chandler's solution was...), Mr. Bachand didn't try to avoid the question with a verbal fog (like a couple of the others). Instead he met it head on with a joke. He looked at himself and all of the other candidates and suggested that they were doing a casting call for the movie "Men in Black 3". He then addressed the problem of not enough Francophones in the party (OK, he probably doesn't get points for that one), and the image that we are a closed party that doesn't accept you if you're not a WASP. Bachand suggested that we would have done better in Quebec during the last election, except that we weren't organized enough to capitalize on Joe's strong performances in the debates.

And my favourite Bachand comment during the debate was addressing the question of David Orchard's role in the party. Mr. Clark had called Mr. Orchard a "tourist" in the party back in 1998, so Mr. Bachand offered Mr. Orchard a "Tourist Visa", demonstrating that Mr. Bachand believes that Orchard is part of this party, and his ideas are welcome even if the majority of us disagree with him.

Everything else aside, I think Mr. Grafftey won the debate. His passion and populism are something that this party could really use. Unfortunately it’s a bit much to expect that he could ever win an election for us when even Tories don’t know who he is. My prediction is that Mr. Grafftey will be the next to leave the race and throw his support behind the Bachand campaign. Unfortunately he doesn’t have any delegates to bring over with him…
I'm a bit upset that several of our candidates, as well as Joe Clark, are supporting the American invasion of Iraq. The international soap opera that has characterized the past year, from the time that the rumours began to fly around that George Bush had his eye on Iraq, has done serious damage to the bonds of trust and friendship between the countries of Western Europe and North America.

Regarding Canada's non-role in the Iraq war, I can understand the point that it would be nice to be standing beside our allies Britain and the US, just as we did in 1991 and many other times in the past. But we have a responsibility to ask ourselves, before sending our soldiers into harm's way (to use the American expression), whether the cause we are sending them to fight is a just one or not.

So what is the difference between a "just" cause, and an "unjust" one? What justifies starting a war? Apparently Peter MacKay believes that oft-repeated rhetoric is justification. I'm sure that as a lawyer, he must be at least a little bit impressed by the White House's ability to defeat reason and fact merely by repeating rhetoric over and over.

Scott Brison believes that the anti-war sentiment in this country is due to “poll-mongering”. Scott even goes so far as to suggest that the US should not stop at invading Iraq. He says that he sees the end game "not just in terms of regime change in Iraq but a macro approach to the entire Middle East". Stephen Harper is right; Brison is turning into a CAer.

In an article on the Torydraft website, James O'Halloran says "Apart from his rabid Anti-Americanism, why is Mr Orchard so keen to defend a regime who counts among its' top leaders rapists, murderers and thugs?".
Readers of my web log know that I'm no fan of David Orchard, and I haven't heard any of his individual statements on the current Iraq war. But I do need to point out that while a dictatorship is not necessarily the best form of government, either for guaranteeing the rights of its citizens or for ensuring liberal economic policies, still a dictatorship is a perfectly valid and legal form of government. And the Treaty of Westphalia, which is considered to be the basis for all international law, provides for all countries to be able to manage themselves as they see fit, and one country's internal affairs are not the business of another country. So the rapist, murderer and thug theory is not a valid justification for the current American invasion either.

As conservatives, we believe that other people have the right to govern themselves as they see fit, even if we disagree with it. The current doctrine that seems to have been adopted especially by Mr. Brison, is that other people have the right to govern themselves as we see fit, even if they aren't asking for our opinion.

Something tells me this isn't the way for me to make friends in the party.
Pentagon spokesperson models fancy new uniform designed for it's gal soldiers

WarBlog. It's a new term, referring to blogging from a war zone. There have been several Warbloggers from Iraq, including the suddenly famous Salam, who has been blogging from Baghdad. Another is Kevin Sites, a CNN journalist in Iraq, who has been publishing pictures of the people living there.
Unfortunately, Salam seems to have disappeared, or at least hasn't posted since 7am Friday, when he wrote "2 more hours until the B52's get to Iraq.".
And Kevin Sites has also stopped posting. In his words: "I've been asked to suspend my war blogging for awhile.".

Anyway, these are a couple of sites (no pun) to watch in the weeks ahead. Salam's site has links to other Iraq-based blogs.
I went to an interview Friday morning. Sitting in a room with four other people, none of us had met each other. Someone mentioned the US war in Iraq, and all order fell apart. Everyone was angrily denouncing the disgusting American actions, CNN's Madden-style
coverage of the war, "Shock and Awe".

Where did the Yanks lose control of the message? It's not like they haven't asked us to suspend disbelief in the past. When we were told by the White House that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11, we quickly accepted that as the truth despite the complete lack of evidence. That's just a measure of how much trust and respect the majority of people have always had for the US government.

But today, as Donald Rumsfeld answered reporter's questions at the Pentagon, you could hear the accusatory tone in their voices, the angry and defensive tone in his. CNN is avoiding interviewees whose opinions are not already well known as being in favour of the war, which is why that network keeps having the same four or five people on, over and over. General Wesley Clark is probably spending more time in the CNN studio than he is at home.

And George Bush has decided to take the weekend off. It's been a rough week for him I guess.

I very much wanted to believe the Bush administration's charges against Iraq, and even if they had provided the smallest sliver of evidence that would have been good enough for me. But instead of evidence to prove that Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), they are building rhetoric-based arguments upon rhetoric-based arguments, until it begins to become difficult to sort the facts from the BS. In fact the whole argument about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" is misleading, when you consider that there are several countries in the world with nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, many of which are US allies. Pakistan. Britain. And which country has more WMD than any other in the world? The United States.

OK, I better quit now.

Get out and tell someone that you despise this war.
I know that I titled this thing "PC Leadership Thoughts", and for a day or two I've been talking about other stuff. When you get your own web log, you can talk about what you want. So there.

I did something tonight that surprises me and certainly would surprise most people who know me, my mother most of all. I got together with some evil anti-globalisationists and we started our own Brampton peace group because we're all unhappy about the current war in Iraq. I should say here that I'm personally not against war in itself, when there is a valid reason. Anyway, I won't get into speechifying here, because I could fill pages and pages.
I can't remember the name we came up with for our little group tonight, but it was very nice and it had the word "Brampton" in it.

So it makes me very sad to hear that Joe Clark, my political idol, the man who I've respected since grade 3 when he became PC leader for the first time, is in favour of Canadian involvement in the war against Iraq.
The folks at CNN are disgusting
They have been treating the entire day as some sort of NFL pre-game show, and one giddy commentator today said "it's hard to be all
serious at times like these, you just have to crack a smile". In big bold letters they have been advertising this as:
Showdown Iraq: The Brink of War

I'm watching Crossfire, which is being shown on a shrunken screen, while most of the screen is a live view of Baghdad. The caption reads:"28 minutes to go". It's hard not to think about the fact that inside those buildings on my TV screen are people who are scared to death.
But it's all very exciting to the talking heads at CNN.
For people who like to get involved in online political discussion groups, here are a couple of good ones:
This one is completely devoted to the PC leadership race, although there seem to be a few CAers who've stuck their heads in to stir things up.

And this one is mostly about the race, but not strictly. It's also infected by a few Alliance members who aren't there to talk policy.
Last night I decided, instead of renting an American film, to get all protesty, and find something in the foreign film section. I purchased "Wings of Desire", a French-German production (with subtitles). Among the movie's stars is Peter Falk (Columbo).

If you've seen the Nick Cage movie "City of Angels", you've seen this (sort of). In fact City of Angels was based on this movie. Wings of Desire is much much better though, in my opinion.
Damiel is an Angel who, and I'm quoting from the movie case, "roams the streets of Berlin providing comfort to mortals in need". And he falls in love with a trapeze artist, equivalent to Meg Ryan's role as a doctor in City of Angels.
And like in City of Angels, Damiel (the character was called Seth in C of A) has to decide whether or not to give up his wings for this girl "he does everything in his power to be seen, heard and felt by Marion".

Anyway, if you're ticked off with the US, rent a foreign film. Rent Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon if you like action movies.
The Weather Report
It is 17 degrees here in Toronto today. The first day of spring.

Hooray, right?

Wrong. The recent snow storms over the past couple of weeks left a lot of snow, which is melting right now and making it unbearably humid. And since the air conditioning isn't on yet here (in my building), well, it's very uncomfortable.

***
So the most recent news from the campaign is that the Orchard folks are starting to build momentum. The unofficial results from Lisa show that, over the weekend, Orchard's little apples have pulled to within 6 delegates of the frontrunner, Peter MacKay.
The Orchard campaign has over a million dollars in it's warchest at the moment, and the other campaigns do not. This is not very good news for the party. If anything, an Orchard win would be good for the Canadian Alliance, as PC members would begin to leave in droves the day after the convention. That probably includes the temporary Tories who are in it merely to support Orchard.
Tips for you guys, on how to kill time while waiting for her to shop

1. Get 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in peoples carts when they arn't looking.
2. Set all the alarm clocks in housewears to go off at five minute intervals.
3. Make a trail of tomato juice on the floor to rest rooms.
4. Walk up to an employee and tell him/her in an official tone, "Code 3 in housewares".....and see what happens.
5. Go to the Service desk and ask to put a bag of M&M's on layaway.
6. When a clerk asks if he/she can help you. begin to cry and ask: "Why cant you people just leave me alone?"
7. Look right into the security camera and use it as a mirror while you pick your nose.
8. While handling guns in the hunting department, ask the clerk if he or she knows where the anti-depressants are?
9. Dart around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the theme from Mission Impossible.
10. In the Auto Department practice your Madonna look using different size funnels.
11. Hide in the clothing rack and when people browse through say "PICK ME!! PICK ME!!!!!"
12. When an announcement comes over the loudspeaker, assume the fetal position and scream, "NO! NO! It's those voices again."
13. Go into a fitting room and yell real loudly.... "Hey! we're out of toilet paper in here!"

(this came to me in my e-mail, and may have originated in the Toronto Star)
Ever since my office closed I've been bored out of my mind.
Somebody give me a job.

Seriously.
Some old Usenet quotes.

"I wouldn't count (Joe) Clark out for good. If he handles himself well the next few years, he might easily pull another Bourassa." (posted on the internet by "Dave Sherman" December 6, 1983)


"Jean Charest has grabbed the lead in the public opinion polls but trails in the delegate count. Will the Tories figure out which way the wind is blowing and abandon Campbell or does KC already have it in the bag?" (posted by 'Andy', May 23, 1993)
Here's a site that shows what happens when someone takes a campaign too far.
Someone asked me today why I'm supporting Mr. Bachand. We have several very good candidates running for the leadership of the party, each with their own good ideas.
But Mr. Bachand is the only one who is not afraid to speak to the problems we are going to have to overcome in the rebuilding process. We can sit and watch the polls hoping that we are going to improve and that our opponents will not improve, or we can build bridges and give disaffected party members a reason to return.
I personally am tired of watching each month to see how close to 20% we can come in the polls.

"I will not hesitate to reach out to all the members and supporters of the Alliance who share our values and our objectives and who might want to work within a more modern, more moderate, party. I also want to reach out to those Liberals who are disappointed by a government that has been unable to articulate a forward- looking vision and which has fallen in the old habits which were so costly to us in the past. We must also make more room in the Progressive Conservative Party for all the Quebec nationalists who want to build, who want to move forward and who have had enough of doomsday predictions and negative politics. I will also try to bring the greatest possible number of people who have never participated directly in the political process to join me in the great adventure of the rebirth of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada."
( from Andre Bachand's campaign kick-off speech)

"I want to offer a new voice and unite all those, francophones and anglophones, from all regions of the country, from all backgrounds, who want to turn the page on a decade of drift at the helm of the country"

It's time to rebuild this party and put the fear o' God into the Liberals.
Listen to a CBC Calgary story on David Orchard's leadership run.
Good luck to Jean Charest. You'll make a great Quebec Premier. You would have made a great Prime Minister, and you still might some day.

Turtle Power!
This week's Horoscope.
Today marks the 18 month anniversary of 9/11.
I always thought that if I ever somehow got transported into the world of either Aldous Huxley's
"Brave New World", or George Orwell's "1984", that it would be better to be one of those
who was blissfully unaware of the mind games.
Now that it seems that I have been transported into a similar world, I feel like Bernard and
Winston, unable to swallow gems like these, which have come out of Washington over the past 2 days:

"The Iraq people are waiting to be rescued by
the Americans and the English just as the French were in 1943."

"Watching France's self-serving politics of passive aggression in this effort has discouraged me
more than I can say,"

"They're (the UN) leaving regions of the world in which humanity is suffering from ethnic
cleansing, is suffering from mass killings, and in the case of Iraq suffering from the
possibility of the use of weapons of mass destruction."
Horror movies make me cry.
Warning: This post could bore you to tears. I am a really lousy writer. I'm very good at plaigiarism however.

David Orchard. He's running again for the leadership of the Party of McDonald, the Party of Diefenbaker, the Party of Mulroney. The Party of Clark.

Orchard somehow came in second in our party's last leadership race in 1988, after he was advised by former Liberal Prime Minister John Turner to run. In addition, Mr. Orchard's 1988 candidacy won the blessing of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. Mr. Orchard recalled in an interview that Mr. Trudeau "very much encouraged me" to run for the Conservative Party leadership in May, 1998. "He called it 'an ingenious use of political reality and it's historically correct. Don't be ashamed of it.' "
Now I have a lot of respect for Mr. Trudeau, but I'm not sure that a person should be taking Tory leadership advice from him and John Turner.

So why exactly is David running for the PC leadership in 2003? His website has an article entitled "What makes me a Conservative". It discusses Preston Manning, Benjamin Disraeli, Sir John A., and gives a very good history of conservativism in this country. But at no point does it explain why Mr. Orchard considers himself to be a conservative. The words "I", "me" and "myself", are completely absent from the document. The only instance in which he refers to himself is when he refers to "My encyclopedia".
Mr. Orchard is best-known for his opposition to the Free Trade Agreement brought in by Tory Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. "The Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) took effect January 1, 1989, against the will of the majority of Canadians." link
"Many Canadians, including many politicians, still don’t know what’s been signed away in the FTA and NAFTA" link
Mr. Orchard believes that the end-game of free trade is that Canada will cease to exist: "This breeziness with which we say 'Let's join the United States,' would be regarded in almost any other country as treason." link
(Which of course begs the question of why Mr. Orchard's campaign website has a US commercial (.com) domain instead of a .ca domain name).

Other causes that Orchard has championed include the idea of a Canadian car, created and manufactured here (guess he hasn't heard that the Bricklin is going back into production). An organic farmer, Orchard has also spoken out in opposition to the use of Genetically Modified crops, herbicides, pesticides, or artificial fertilizers.
Orchard's supporters include Margaret Atwood, artist Robert Bateman, Stompin' Tom Connors and classical pianist Anton Kuerti. All of whom have earned respect in their fields, but are not really political luminaries. One Orchard supporter from Cambridge Ontario wrote this article in the Cambridge Reporter, in which she states:
"Don't confuse Mulroney and Clark with the Conservative party."

And finally, on August 18th, 2001, Orchard published this article in the Montreal Gazette, entitled "ROAD MAP TO VICTORY; TORIES SHOULD SHUN TALKS WITH ALLIANCE AND FILL VACUUM ON THE LEFT OF LIBERALS"

So blah blah blah. If I haven't bored you to tears, you now know that Mr. Orchard is opposed to free trade, thinks the Tories should position ourselves to the left of the Liberals, and that he has received free advice on running for the helm of our party from Pierre Trudeau. Not a real solid Tory.

So why on earth is he in second place in the number of committed delegates selected so far?
"Anyone who can bring the Conservative Party together can bring the country together."

-Joe Clark

from the book "So, What Are The Boys Saying?", Michel Gratton
I've received word from Mr. Bachand's campaign manager, Serge Malaison, that they will be adding their platform and campaign news to the site very soon, so I'll be able to give more rah! rah! about my choice for PC leader in the weeks ahead. As well, I plan to do a series of articles on the other candidates and their campaigns. I'm also planning a Joe Clark tribute at some point before May31.

I remember the day in 1983, when I was 15 years old, cutting the grass at my Grama's house, and I kept coming into the house to keep tabs on the leadership convention. Watching Joe and Brian on TV, sitting together at the Civic Centre in Ottawa as the results were announced and Joe was no longer party leader. Here's a picture.

I'm also planning to do a little thing this week on Kent and Lisa over at Torydraft. They initially started their website to cover the PC leadership campaign. But now that site has become an important and valuable part of the campaign, and has been keeping David Orchard supporters busy for weeks.

Unfortunately I'm too lazy today to write anything. Sorry. But if anyone knows any dirt or funny stories about either of these two, please send me the info. All in good fun.

Oh, by the way, I was shocked when I did a Yahoo search for "Andre Bachand" and my miserable Blog was result number three. (Mike starts humming "the Jefferson's" theme)
The Chandler Stunt

Craig Chandler now wears the crown as Canada's biggest arse-kisser. This failed Reform and Social Credit candidate has a history of odd political behaviour.

Yesterday, in what will inevitably become known as "The Chandler Stunt", he sent out this letter to all of the media outlets in the US to apologize to America for what he thinks is a rising tide of anti-Americanism in this country. As evidence, he cites the recent comment made by Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish, that Americans are "bastards".

In 1993 at the age of 22, Chandler ran unsuccessfully as a Reform Candidate in Ontario, then in 1997 ran (also unsuccessfully) as a Socred candidate in the Alberta provincial election. Then, when he wasn't invited to join the Reform Party's failed "Unite the Right" conference back in 1998, he held his own Unite the Right conference. It was attended by the "Freedom Party" and some other fringe groups. The conference became a forum for each of these groups to gain attention for their causes, and ranged from anti-abortionists, to opponents of bilingualism and multiculturalism. In the end the group was unable to work together, and that was that.

Just as he didn't understand the differences between the fringe parties he was tring to unite, Chandler doesn't seem to understand the nature of the Canada-US relationship. Canadians have very close relationship with the United States. On September 11 1991, I was working in an office building and I was horrified that thousands of people just like me, who had woken up only a few hours before, shaved, showered then hopped on the subway were now dead in a terrorist attack on their office building. In the weeks after that awful event, American flags flew across this country. We don't usually think about the strength of our ties with our southern neighbour, but it might be safe to say that Canadians and Americans are like family.
Yes, there have been some dumb remarks made lately. But most Americans who are aware of the Parrish comments know that they don't represent the opinion of Canadians towards Americans.

So why did Chandler feel the need to pen this pathetic suck-up letter? Because he wanted to make some sort of headline, even if it is a negative one, in hopes of saving his silly attempt to win the PC Party leadership. Because somewhere, deep inside, he's got the same North American insecurity shared by Stephen Harper and his breed.

If we're going to let zealots like Craig Chandler run the party, wed be just as well off to go and join the Canadian Alliance.
Mike's Guide to Canadian Newspapers

1. The Toronto Star is read by the people who run the country.

2. The Globe and Mail is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The National Post is read by people who think they should run the country.

4. The Calgary Sun is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand the National Post. They do, however like the smog statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Vancouver Sun is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could spare the time, and if they didn't have to leave B.C. to do it.

6. The Montreal Gazette and La Presse are read by people who used to run the country.

7. The Toronto Sun is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country, and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8. The St. John's Telegram is read by people who don't care who's running the country either, as long as they do something really scandalous and funny, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The Westender is read by people who aren't sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it; but whoever it is, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority, feministic atheist dwarfs, who also happen to be illegal aliens from ANY country or galaxy as long as they are NDPers.

10. Le Devoir is read by people who want to run another country, and don't give a damn about the hockey scores.
I got my first angry e-mail today. I've seen this person's writing on Usenet quite a few times, and he's a Canadian Alliance member who uses the name "King Arthur".
Since so many Usenet users are familiar with his antics, I thought it would be fun to not only re-post his e-mail message, but also his e-mail address.

"You left wingdings male femnist are the worst cowards yet.
Gee your site sucks too.

The King"


Send King Arthur an e-mail.

Supplemental: A reader sent some info on King Arthur. His real name is Mark Hansel. Here's his work e-mail: mhansel@fathers.ca, and his website
America starts to ask questions about 9/11. Why didn't Bruce Willis stop the terrorists?

“Don’t get me wrong. Willis has done this country truly heroic service in the past. Time and time again he’s shown that even if you’re just one man that doesn’t like to play by the rules, you can still stop any number of crazed foreigners with wisecracking American knucklepower and advanced automatic weaponry. No one’s questioning that. But when it comes to the really big one, where is he? Nowhere, that’s where.”
Full Story

Where have you gone, Bruce Willis
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)


Here's a neat magic card trick. Somehow they managed to make it political....
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail (Social Studies):

Every day, 10 billion spam e-mails are sent, reports The London Observer. This number is expected to grow to 30 billion a day by 2005.
Furthermore:
There is 25 times more spam now than at the start of 2002.
One in 12 British e-mails is spam. In the United States, spam now accounts for 37 per cent of all e-mail.
In a recent experiment, it took just 540 seconds for a new e-mail account to receive its first spam.
Up to 90 per cent of all junk mail is sent by 150 spammers.

There are many ways that a person can come to believe in a cause, political
or otherwise. In no particular order:

1) because you're trying to impress a girl, so you are pretending to believe
in her cause, whether it be religion, saving the rainforest, whatever.

2) because the proponents of that cause have phrased it in a way that seems
to make sense, often using jargon, sloganeering, and other forms of
propaganda (ie. pro-life, pro-choice).

3) because it's part of your favourite political party's platform (ie. many
Liberals were opposed to free trade in 1988, but most support it now that
the Liberal government has embraced it).

4) because CNN told you it was good or that it was bad (Saddam is bad, the
UN and the French are somewhere in the middle).

5) because someone you don't trust took one side of a debate, and you
reflexively took the other side, and while making arguments you somehow
began to believe what you were saying.

6) "...for the Bible tells me so..."

7) because you are a right-winger or a left-winger. Opinions or tenets
described as "conservative" are naturally more attractive to someone who
believes they are a conservative than those described as "liberal". And
vice-versa (for the lefties). This is probably the worst way for people to
form personal opinions.

8) because it's something that you were taught in school (ie decisions made
by a western democratic government are somehow better than those made by a
non-democratic government. In reality, the distinction is not in how the
government came to be in power, but in other factors, especially how long
that government has ruled. From Saddam Hussein to Catherine the Great to
Jean Chr├ętien, almost every government in history has started out as an
activist or reformist one, and over time slowly became more and more
reactionary. Usually this results from a combination of having to defend
past decisions, or just becoming "comfortable" holding the reins).

8a) because it's something you were otherwise brought up with (ie spanking,
"I wasn't allowed to date until I was 18, and I don't see why you need to")

Still discussing methods of opinion formation:

9) people in a group can be subject to something called "groupthink". This
is ''a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved
in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override
their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action."
(Irving Janis) Here's a swell article on groupthink and the Challenger
accident.

10) because you have thought long and hard about the issue, and you have
come to your own conclusion about what's right and what's wrong (this is
actually fairly rare)

11) I almost forgot Delphi. This is where a group of people can be
"tricked" into thinking that they already believe something. Most political
parties practice Delphi on their more active members. So do other organizations, like
the Fraser Institute. The drawback with Delphi is that it really only works
on the most outspoken members of the group, but then, they are the ones that
probably matter the most to the practitioners of Delphi. Here's a MUST read on
Delphi, very interesting.



I'm sure there are others. Many times opinion is formed based on several of these factors, as a reader pointed out to me. Everybody is subject to these methods of opinion
formation, some of which are a result of people purposely trying to "help"
you form your opinion (examples 2 and 11). Some others are a result of
taking your cue from people whose opinion you respect (examples 8 and 4).

In the end it all boils down to forming a person's principles and the way
they view the world around them. The most simplified definition of
personal political beliefs I can think of is this.

Some people consider abortion to be a right. Others consider gun possession to
be a right.

Let's call it "Wilson's Law".

note: Groupthink is actually a method of decision-making, not opinion
formation. But it's very difficult to not have an opinion on something
after you've formed a decision on it, which is why I included it.
A new picture of Andre Bachand, my choice for PC party leader.


If you're new, click here to find out why I'm supporting Mr. Bachand.
I just received my latest copy of the Alliance Advocate, the weekly e-mail spam put out by the Canadian Alliance. Actually, I got it a couple of days ago, but Yahoo considers the Alliance mailing to be spam, and it disappeared into my trash folder, where it properly belongs.
How long can the Toronto Star continue to pretend that it's still 1995? In the past few days, they've printed several negative stories about the PC party of Canada, including yesterday's editorial titled Fighting Irrelevancy.
An article in today's Star includes the line "As a Liberal MP, Quebec's Andre Bachand might not have made it to the front bench of the government.", and on Monday the Star had this to say about the leadership debates: "The federal Conservatives were true to their fractious institutional history".

It's just so hard to tell where the Toronto Star stands anymore. When the Liberals are having rough times the Star sings Hallelujah to the Canadian Alliance and prints story after negative story about the Liberals. But when the Liberals are having better times, the Star jumps back on board and becomes a faithful party organ. With friends like these.....
It's Patrick. He just took out life insurance!


Has anybody ever actually met a David Orchard supporter?

Conservatism is not a strict set of rules. There's no book locked away someplace, listing what is conservative and what isn't. There's no judge with the responsibility of taking away your conservative credentials if you believe in abortion, or gun control, or if you agree with something that a liberal (or Liberal) government says or does.
A real conservative doesn't form an opinion based on some imaginary "conservative way". A real conservative makes decisions based on what seems sensible and what seems right to him or her. But of course what seems sensible and right to one person, is more than likely going to seem sensible and right to many many other people.
And so my very loose definition of conservatism is "what seems sensible and what seems right".

A few reviews on Andre Bachand's performance in the debate on Sunday, from around the web.

"As for Andre Bachand, he is impressive. He has a good TV personality, cool and confident. It will be interesting to see if he can pull in any support from outside of Quebec."

"I think Monsieur Bachand did quite well....his English has improved, and he certainly brings a certain "joi de vivre" to the campaign.....he brings a worldly, yet not worn, look to the campaign as well....smart dresser too...."

From Torydraft:
"Next up, Andre Bachand. A born natural, he took to the mic with an upbeat attitude and gave the crowd some lighthearted humour before giving us the hard sell. He reminded us of days gone by when the PC Party was one of national coalitions and encouraged us to be open-minded about being the Party that can actually bridge the gap between the Canadian Alliance and the Bloc Quebecois. While that garnered applause what really excited the crowd was his assertion that he would bring both money and people into every riding during the next election and we would win. The rating factor here is 4.5/5 for passion."


By the way, I'm not the former minister of Finance