the Changing of the Story

From GABLE at the Globe and Mail: "The Changing of the Story"

Hah! Good one. I can't recall a greater example of federal shilly-shallying (but then again I have short-term memory 'issues'). Could the Conservatives (I refuse to refer to them as 'Tories') be handling this issue any more incompetently? It is hard to imagine how they could.

One thing, though, at least they are not stone-walling. They are doing the opposite: making up whatever pops into their silly heads at any given moment.

This is just the sort of entertaining keystone-kops style incompetence that I was anticipating when The Conservatives first formed their government.

It took a while, but now I feel I can finally just sit back and enjoy it.

This break will give Dion some time to work on his english elocution, and J-Lay some more time to hang around Toronto, glad-handing hapless passers-by.


Toronto FC
Toronto F.C. opens at home

to a sold out crowd!

Just as importantly, by being trounced by some team from the bloated belly of the Great Satan, they displayed a true awareness of local tradition and I, for one, appreciate their effortless ability to fit in with local 'sporting culture'.

Right now they are 0-4 in the league, with zero goals scored. Inquiring minds should note that this is the same record (and number of goals scored) Canada compiled in its one World Cup appearance, circa 1986.

BlogTO has a posting with a bunch of photos from what looks like a pretty enjoyable occasion. Except for Tall Boys™ of Carlsberg at $8.50 each. Ouch!

Elephant attacks!

I just keep on learning.

Even though I spent a couple of weeks in Kerala recently, I did not pick up on the fact that Keralites have a special veneration for elephants.

According to India Today, which I have no link to since India Today is an entirely meat-based entity (the Mcleans of India, so to speak), I am forced to summarise. In meat time!

So here it goes, the shorter version: elephants are going crazy at unprecedented levels because of the strains being placed upon them, especially when the male mating time (musht, or something like that, the mag isn't at hand) overlaps the Keralan festival cycle. New to the party bread-head owners are chemically dosing their elephants to repress their 'maleness' so that they can preform.

An example of an overly repressed bull elephant behaving badly during a Keralan religious ceremony (warning- probably too graphic for children. Time 8:17):

According to the article, traditional elephant owners treat their elephants like a member of the family and their beasts don't exhibit this sort of behaviour.

Unfortunately, there is so much money to be made during the Kerala February Festival Circuit that unscrupulous carpetbaggers have become a new force in the elephant-renting market. They don't care for the elephants they own, forcing the beasts to work, regardless of their condition (ie. horny or not).

For the people that are interested in this sort of thing, many more elephant attacks are available at youtube.


NDP intentions clarified!

Thanks to a responder from my last posting, I was directed to a weblog with some inside info on the negotiations that went on between the Liberals and the NDP prior to the Tuesday vote (a motion to curtail Canada's military participation in Afghanistan by 2009).

According to ceasefireinsider,

The Liberal motion was uncritical of the military mission and supported its continuance unchanged, yet called for the government to notify NATO that our troops would be withdrawn from the combat mission in Kandahar when the current commitment ends in February 2009.


In politics, the wording of a motion is important. When I first read the Liberal motion last week, I feared that it was D.O.A., or Dead-on-Arrival. The motion let the Conservative government off the hook by not expressing any concerns at all about the failing mission, did not call on the government to change the focus from war-fighting to peacebuilding, and missed what is becoming an obvious solution to the war: a diplomatic settlement.

We urged the Liberals to make a small amendment to their motion in order to win NDP support, and Former UN Ambassador for Disarmament Peggy Mason actually suggested specific changes to the language that would likely have been palatable to both Liberals and the NDP. We sent the suggestions to every Liberal and NDP Member of Parliament. The NDP even proposed an amendment during the debate, but the Liberals rejected it.


That is a relief. If this account is factual, though, it only increases my still relatively small fear that Dion is listening to the wrong people.

He must have some sort of workable strategy! I am even possibly prepared to accept some triangulation at this point.

Also, it lets me off the hook for my potential 'J-Lay' confrontation. As a Canadian, of course, I reflexively recoil from anything confrontational.
WTF is up with the NDP?

After lunch, on the way back to my cubicle I was informed by my main news provider, the Elevator News Network (ENN), that the Conservatives had defeated a Liberal motion that Canada withdraw from Afghanistan by 2009.

They accomplished this through the support of the NDP. What is that all about?

If the NDP is up to their old trick (infuriatingly obvious during the Harris years, here in Ontario) of supporting the Tories for short-term political advantage, I am going to have some sharp words to share with 'J-Lay' the next time I happen upon him relentlessly glad-handing hapless passers-by.

If the bill had gone through, it would quite possibly have made our part in the occupation of Afghanistan the big issue in the next election.

And what sort of "progressive" entity wouldn't want that? The mind boggles...

The NDP, apparently.


Insurgents rain on Harper's parade

Afghani insurgents killed six Canadian sepoys on Sunday, stealing the limelight from Steven Harper's Vimy Ridge photo op.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who had invoked the Afghan campaign in a speech to veterans Sunday by drawing direct parallels between Kandahar and Flanders Fields, was careful yesterday to avoid any mention of the latest losses in his address to the crowd before the memorial.

My first thought when I heard the news about the deaths was: how could this possibly happen? Who could possibly conceive that Canadians would continue to be killed in this pointless exercise in national chest-thumping?

My second thought was that this news would mean less chance of a spring election since it reminds the Canadian public (a majority of whom oppose extending our involvement in the Afghanistan debacle) of the costs involved.

Then I had a third thought, which directly contradicted my second thought: this latest incident will make a spring election more likely, not less.

Pretty soon, it is going to be the 22e Regiment (based in Val Cartier, QC) that will be taking over duties in Afghanistan. Harper would be wise to have an election before this happens because once francophones start dying (N.B. none have yet), his popularity in Québec will drop like a stone. Goodbye majority!

In related news, it is good to see that the pro-war Canadians out there have a good grasp of why we are in Afghanistan. Crooked in Canada, for example, seems solidly non-ironic when he or she wrote:

I think its time to do in Afghanistan what should have been done a long time ago, bomb the hell out of it until the Taliban have nowhere left to run or hide. I think people have had enough time to flee the war torn country by now, and I see no reason as to why the war in Afghanistan shouldn't be stepped up a helluva lot more now.

As you can see, Crooked in Canada has really thought things through. The civilian population has had more than enough time to flee the country by now, so the odds are that everyone remaining hates us for our freedoms, and deserves to die.

That being said, I don't mind blowing the f*** out of country to keep the bad guys from getting in and out of the country. Afghanistan needs to be cut off from the rest of the world in order for the war against terrorism, and the Taliban to be won. That's what I think anyway.

Apparently, Crooked in Canada lacks even a basic understanding of what creates insurgents. The use of military force against civilian populations only creates more insurgents. I could look for a link buttressing this last statement but I am too bored.

Luckily, the Canadian public is less obtuse (shoutout to WKRP!) than Crooked in Canada. A CTV poll shows

When asked about the likelihood of Canada being a terror target because of its military presence in Afghanistan, 56 per cent said we are more likely to be attacked.

This represents an increase of 18 per cent compared to one year ago. Thirty-four per cent say the military presence has no bearing; while five per cent say having soldiers in Afghanistan make us less susceptible to an attack.

Yes, if I was Harper I would definitely call an election sooner, rather than later. Before le merde hits le fan in Québec!