November 25, 2006
Review on Mark Steyn's latest book...
Steyn's New Book Combines Humor, Accuracy, Depth
By: DANIEL PIPES
November 14, 2006
The political columnist and cultural critic Mark Steyn has written a remarkable book, "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It" (Regnery). He combines several virtues not commonly found together — humor, accurate reportage, and deep thinking — and then applies them to what is arguably the most consequential issue of our time: the Islamist threat to the West.
Mr. Steyn offers a devastating thesis but presents it in bits and pieces, so I shall pull it together here.
He begins with the legacy of two totalitarianisms. Traumatized by the electoral appeal of fascism, post-World War II European states were constructed in a top-down manner,"so as to insulate almost entirely the political class from populist pressures." As a result, the establishment has "come to regard the electorate as children."
Second, the Soviet menace during the Cold War prompted American leaders, impatient with Europe's (and Canada's) weak responses, effectively to take over their defense. This benign and far-sighted policy led to victory by 1991, but it also had the unintended and less salutary side effect of freeing up Europe's funds to build a welfare state. This welfare state had several malign implications:
- The nanny state infantilized Europeans, making them worry about such pseudo-issues as climate change while feminizing the males.
- It also neutered them, annexing "most of the core functions of adulthood," starting with the instinct to breed. From about 1980, birth rates plummeted, leaving an inadequate base for today's workers to receive their pensions.
- Structured on a pay-as-you-go basis, it amounted to an intergenerational Ponzi scheme under which today's workers depend on their children for their pensions.
- The demographic collapse meant that the indigenous peoples of countries like Russia, Italy, and Spain are at the start of a population death spiral.
- It led to a collapse of confidence that in turn bred "civilizational exhaustion," leaving Europeans unprepared to fight for their ways.
Arriving at a time of demographic, political, and cultural weakness, Muslims are profoundly changing Europe: "Islam has youth and will, Europe has age and welfare." Put differently, "Pre-modern Islam beats post-modern Christianity." Much of the Western world, Mr. Steyn flat-out predicts, "will not survive the twenty-first century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most European countries." With even more drama, he adds, "It's the end of the world as we know it."
(In contrast, I believe that Europe still has time to avoid this fate.)
"America Alone" deals at length with what Mr. Steyn calls "the larger forces at play in the developed world that have left Europe too enfeebled to resist its remorseless transformation into Eurabia." Europe's successor population is already in place, and "the only question is how bloody the transfer of real estate will be." He interprets the Madrid and London bombings, as well as the murder of Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam, as opening shots in Europe's civil war and states, "Europe is the colony now."
The title "America Alone" refers to Mr. Steyn's expectation that America — with its "relatively healthy demographic profile" — will emerge as the lonely survivor of this crucible. "Europe is dying and America isn't." Therefore, "the Continent is up for grabs in a way that America isn't." Mr. Steyn's target audience is primarily American: Watch out, he is saying, or the same will happen to you.
Pared to its essentials, he counsels two things: First, avoid the "bloated European welfare systems," declare them no less than a national security threat, shrink the state, and emphasize the virtues of self-reliance and individual innovation. Second, avoid "imperial understretch," don't "hunker down in Fortress America" but destroy the ideology of radical Islam, help reform Islam, and expand Western civilization to new places. Only if Americans "can summon the will to shape at least part of the emerging world" will they have enough company to soldier on. Failing that, expect a "new Dark Ages... a planet on which much of the map is re-primitivized."
Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and author of "Miniatures" (Transaction Publishers).
Copyright 2006 - The New York Sun
Whose ideas are truly "radical" today?
Rebels With A Cause - Conservatism
By: ALICIA COLON
November 14, 2006
Upon first meeting Bill Zachary and Dan Oliver, one might consider writing them off as preppy, button-down conservatives. Well, the clothes may fit that bill, but these two have the type of esprit de corps that molded our Founding Fathers. They are radicals, wickedly anti-establishment. Of course, in the 21st century that means they have a diabolical sense of humor toward political correctness.
In 2004, during the presidential run of Senator Kerry, who is married to the Heinz heiress Teresa, Messrs. Zachary and Oliver founded the W Ketchup company. Their entrepreneurial spirit allowed the members of the vast right wing conspiracy to enjoy their favorite condiment without contributing, however minutely, to the Kerry coffers.
Naturally, I ordered a case of W ketchup, and later a W cap, bumper stickers, and decals. It was just a gesture of support for President Bush's reelection, but the ketchup was a real surprise that was enjoyed by everybody in my family. I had no idea it was made by a local company until I received a press release with a Manhattan address commenting on Mr. Kerry's slip-up regarding the intelligence of members of the military.
In the release, Mr. Oliver, W Ketchup's CEO, stated: "Throughout the 2004 election Senator Kerry claimed he was a war hero and a patriot notwithstanding his condemnation of our troops in Vietnam. Now he displays his elitist arrogance by insulting our brave soldiers, in his unwillingness to apologize, and through his vindictive instinct to place the blame on someone else. It gives us pause that this man was nearly commander-in-chief and sheds light on the true sentiments of the Democratic Party."
I was delighted to find that this company was still alive and knew I had to meet those whom I intuited were kindred spirits. I contacted Mr. Zachary, Mr. Oliver's partner, who suggested we meet at the Harvard Club at 44th Street. Mr. Zachary confirmed that he did at times find Harvard University to be frustrating, a changed institution from the one that spawned pioneer conservatives like William F. Buckley. In my humble opinion, the conservatives who do manage to emerge from the Ivy-covered halls with their principles intact are the true blue conservatives who mischievously wreak havoc on the establishment.
Mr. Oliver, whose father was chairman of the Federal Trade Commission during the Reagan administration, admits that W ketchup was first started in fun. The 2004 presidential campaign also inspired a number of tongue-in-cheek operations that tweaked the biases of the major news organization. One group, called Communists for Kerry, marched in an anti-war parade and its members were interviewed by a CBS reporter who actually took it seriously. Its Web site www.communistsforkerry.com, condemned W ketchup as a "Capitalist condiment." Only mindless ideologues do not quite get the jokes on this hilarious site, which recently endorsed Senator Clinton.
Mr. Oliver is not a Republican, but a registered Conservative. He told me of a meeting with President Clinton at a miniature golf course in Hyannis Port several years ago. Mr. Oliver suggested that our loss of freedom began sometime after the New Deal. Mr. Clinton countered that our standard of living is much higher now than back then. After Mr. Oliver said, "Yes, but we are less free," he said Mr. Clinton seemed genuinely taken aback.
The concept of freedom before wealth is hard for Democrats to understand, but it is this principle that defines conservatism. Smaller government, less regulation, strong defense, and civil rights for all — these are radical concepts today, but one forgets that the original Republican Party members were radicals. Abraham Lincoln was hated just as much as Mr. Bush, only his vice president was a Democrat, Andrew Johnson. Maybe having Vice President Cheney around is keeping the president out of harm's way. After Lincoln was assassinated, the Democrats did all they could to unravel his Emancipation Proclamation. Not many blacks know that it was the Democrats who formed the KKK, and Jesse Jackson sure isn't going to clue them in.
Sitting in the members-only lounge at the Harvard Club with these modern rebels, I cheekily suggested that perhaps their product was so successful because it was Heinz inside a W bottle. No way, I was told, W ketchup is way better, made in America with only American ingredients and sold only in America. Also, unlike that other company, W ketchup does not donate to political groups or politicians. It donates only to the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships for the children of our brave heroes killed in action.
As for the 2008 prospects, New Yorkers Dan Oliver and Bill Zachary know who they're rooting for to run. They both say, "John Kerry — bad for president. Good for Ketchup."
Copyright 2006 - The New York Sun
A message from one of our veterans...
I am emailing you on behalf of the Dominion Institute's online petition for a State Funeral for the last veteran of the First World War.
I signed the petition earlier this week. I am proud that my name is alongside the more than 40,000 people, including yourself, who believe the Government of Canada should offer a State Funeral to the family of the last World War One veteran resident in Canada.
To ensure that this honour is bestowed on the last World War One veteran we need to create a tidal wave of public support.
Please take a moment today to forward the link www.dominion.ca/statefuneral to your friends and family.
We will not forget our World War One heroes!
Canadian Air Force, Pilot Officer
World War Two, 1943-1945
Email the Prime Minister about this petition: email@example.com
Don Cherry for the Order of Canada!!!
From: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
My Order of Canada includes Don Cherry
By: REX MURPHY
Nov. 9, 2006
Another pretty hectic week... Saddam the butcher sentenced to be hanged, the U.S. elections, and the United Church launching a $10-million campaign of unfathomable ecclesiastical dignity featuring whipped cream and a bobble-headed Jesus. Throw in a few fridge magnets and this could be the Reformation, a sequel.
And then there was Rona Ambrose's hair. The great apostles of the Green movement, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club and other higher clergy of our ecological salvation have been issuing very mocking and personal press statements about our Minister of the Environment. It's all about her hair.
At another of those great mass meetings so beloved by jet-travelling global warming activists, this one in Nairobi, they sent out a newsletter containing some junior high school sarcasms about Ambrose finding time away from her hairdresser, going on with even greater thigh-slappers, "We were, however, impressed with the hair. Good hair, some might even say exceptional hair."
If the brain trust of the anti-emission crusaders doesn't save the planet from the great global warming incineration, not to fear. With material like this, they'll have hot writing gigs with Letterman and Leno within a week, regardless of how much CO2 is hanging over New York or L.A. Greenpeace and the Sierra Club does Air Farce, now, there's an apocalypse worth burning for.
So, with all of that, the United Church going dashboard ornament for Jesus, the ecological sexist puritans making fun of a woman's hair while poor Gaia suffocates, could it be much wonder that the news that Don Cherry was jeered in our House of Commons by some Bloc MPs and some Québec Liberals got somewhat lost in the clutter?
Don't mock Don Cherry.
You are not worthy to unloose the great man's collar studs. A few of these petulant parliamentary pygmies even had the nerve to suggest that Don Cherry, the single most celebrated Canadian not doing a Las Vegas lounge act, should not be recognized as a distinguished visitor in our House of Commons.
Let me put this with extreme clarity. If people espousing the break-up of Canada, if a party advocating actual separatism from Canada can actually sit in the House of the Federation and receive salaries from the same federation they are desperate to leave, then, by the bobble-headed deity on my dashboard, Don Cherry can sit there as a distinguished visitor.
And please let us not get into comparisons on the question of dignity as between "Coach's Corner" and its vivid tribune and the House of Commons.
It wasn't "Coach's Corner" that spent a good ten days this fall over the immensely vital question of who called whom a dog. And it wasn't Don Cherry who insulted Québec with adscam either.
Cherry has got more standing with the majority of Canadian citizens and more connection with their lives from his few minutes on "Coach's Corner" than three quarters of every debate we've had in the House of Commons in the last decade.
One last really important note: I had not known until this very day that Don Cherry doesn't have a single civic award of distinction yet, no Order of Canada, no medal of merit. Is this possible? Can there be such a thing as an Order of Canada that doesn't have Don Cherry in it? Has every governor-general of the last 20 years been asleep? Do they not watch "Coach's Corner"? I fear we are not a serious nation. My Order of Canada includes Don Cherry. What about yours?
For "The National," I'm Rex Murphy.
Copyright 2006 - The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
US election will affect Canada...
Democratic Gains Raise Roadblocks To Free-Trade Push
Party's Majority in Congress, Helped by Trade Critics, May Hamper Pending Deals
By: GREG HITT and NEIL KING , JR.
November 11, 2006; Page A1
WASHINGTON -- The Democrats' sweep of Congress is set to deliver a blow to President Bush's free-trade ambitions and could hamper impending trade deals both big and small.
Democrats' stances against free trade helped build the party's success at the polls and could tip the balance on trade matters. The new dynamic could put a definitive end to the already troubled effort to reach a global agreement to reduce tariffs and open markets, known as the Doha round. It also could put in jeopardy smaller deals such as those the U.S. has crafted with Peru and Colombia, intended to boost two-way trade by lowering tariffs and increasing intellectual-property protections.
Two dozen tightly contested races turned partly on Democrats' protectionist platforms, according to Public Citizen, a liberal advocacy group. All told, 16 incoming "trade skeptics" are set to replace "trade friendly" Republicans in the House, according to a study by the Swiss Institute for International Economics at the University of St. Gallen. Five new Senate Democrats are viewed as more critical on trade than were their opponents.
"The House and Senate are going to exert themselves on trade much more aggressively," vows Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown, whose successful campaign against free-trade Republican Sen. Mike DeWine was built on opposition to the Bush trade agenda. In one television advertisement he stood before an abandoned local factory, contending Mr. DeWine had supported trade agreements that cost the state jobs. "Congress has given too much of its authority to the president," he says. "We've just ceded our power."
A lame-duck session of the current Congress is set to vote as early as next week on whether to lift Cold War-era economic restrictions on Vietnam, which has just joined the World Trade Organization, and grant it the same benefits as other U.S. trading partners. That vote is expected to pass easily, despite some opposition in the textile industry.
After that, Democrats are gearing up for a major pushback against the Bush administration on other trade fronts, most notably on a vote next year on whether to renew the president's authority to negotiate trade deals with other countries, without amendment from Congress. That authority expires in the summer.
The U.S. in the past 20 years has championed global and regional trade deals that have significantly lowered tariffs and have helped spur a boom in global trade. Advocates assert that the U.S. would benefit from more liberalization, both to bring in lower-cost imports and to increase exports. Opponents argue lowering trade barriers has hollowed out the U.S. manufacturing base and done lasting harm to many pockets of the economy.
Special presidential trade-negotiating authority, often called "fast track," is critical to getting deals done. Other countries are reluctant to negotiate with the U.S. if there is a chance the deals could changed by Congress instead of just approved or rejected. Democratic critics have long complained that the Republican Congress gave too much negotiating latitude to Mr. Bush and want to rein the president in.
Trade experts say Democrats may try to exact concessions from President Bush that would render a deal on fast-track nearly impossible. For instance, some Democrats have suggested significantly increasing the $1 billion the government gives yearly to workers displaced by foreign competition. Others are proposing compromises such as limiting fast-track authority only to the Doha talks.
Some business officials expressed cautious optimism that trade liberalization won't grind to a halt in the next Congress. "The trade agenda may change, may be done in a different way, but it isn't going to end altogether," says Bill Miller, a congressional liaison for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He and others said past Republican dismissiveness of Democratic concerns on recent trade legislation - such as labor rights and environmental protection in recent trade bills - may have stirred some of the deepest opposition. A more cooperative environment could make a difference, they said.
Charlene Barshefsky, President Clinton's trade representative, agrees, predicting Democrats could show real cooperation to try to secure the Doha round. "I see tougher sailing ahead, but not necessarily history-altering events," she said.
The first test may be the U.S.'s proposed trade pact with Peru, which the Bush administration had hoped would be voted on this fall, before the new Congress is sworn in. Many Democrats oppose the deal, including Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat who is poised to take over the House Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Rangel wants labor protections to be included. Though no final decisions have been made, Republican leaders are wary of bringing the deal forward for a vote, especially after the signal sent by Tuesday's vote.
Even in states that historically have rejected anti-free-trade campaigns, such as Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, candidates who ran heavily on such a platform won. While the dominant themes of the campaign were Iraq, terror and scandal, there were plenty of signs that economic insecurity was coloring voters' decisions.
In exit polls, half of voters said they felt the "state of the national economy" was "not so good," or "poor." Economic concerns were particularly big in the industrial Midwest, where free-trade critics won some of their biggest gains and voters in some states put economic concerns first.
Mr. Rangel said he wants to renew the president's fast-track authority but that the president would need to consider Democratic priorities in return. Extending the authority depends on whether Mr. Bush "wants both parties to participate in discussions," Mr. Rangel said in an interview before the election.
After the new Congress is seated in January, Democrats are all but certain to seek modifications to a trade deal with Columbia. As with the Peru deal, they are likely to push for stronger language on worker protections. Both pacts would give them their first real opportunity to wrangle more concessions in an area over which their party and Republicans have been fighting for years.
Another big issue is agriculture: Congress next year must either renew or rewrite the current farm bill, a huge mass of legislation that covers all U.S. farm policy, including subsidies. The biggest sticking point within the Doha round is the big subsidies the Europeans, Japanese and U.S. give to support farmers. Developing countries argue these payments distort the export market.
To reinvigorate the Doha talks, Democrats would have to be willing to enact steep farm-subsidy cuts, a move many analysts doubt they will take.
Democrats also could push tough measures of their own. They have floated various bills to squeeze imports from China or to try to manage the country's trade imbalance. Others seek to impose various restrictions or punishments for intellectual-property violations or its failure to allow its currency, the yuan, to strengthen further. Those have been shelved until now, partly because of a lack of support from the Republican leadership and the White House.
Congressional Democrats have long been moving away from free-trade support. In the 1990s, dozens of House Democrats regularly supported free-trade initiatives like the North American Free Trade Agreement backed by then-President Clinton, which won 102 Democratic votes. But only 15 Democrats backed the Central American Free Trade Agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in 2005.
The incoming batch of trade skeptics that unseated incumbent Republicans largely represents a new breed. Many are conservative on issues such as gun ownership and abortion and on economic issues like taxes, but veer populist on trade issues.
In the union-heavy areas north and east of Pittsburgh, Democrat Jason Altmire struck a starkly antitrade tone in his bid for a House seat, beating Republican Rep. Melissa Hart, who had ran on an overt free-trade plank. "I'm not protectionist, but my view is that future trade deals can't just give the store away," Mr. Altmire says.
Indiana's Joe Donnelly pointed to job losses in his own district and promised to insist on strong labor and environmental protections in future deals. He said he would have voted against Cafta and recent trade deals with Chile and Singapore.
In North Carolina, former National Football League quarterback Heath Shuler won on a campaign that was pro-guns and anti-abortion but also strongly anti-trade. He beat up on his opponent, Rep. Charles Taylor, for having cast no vote at all when Cafta squeaked through, which Mr. Taylor blamed on a technical glitch.
A message for all conservatives...
Republicans took a beating on Election Day because they abandoned their conservative principles and in the end stood for nothing, Rush Limbaugh says.
In his Wednesday broadcast, America’s top talker said that until Republicans begin asking themselves what’s wrong with themselves they are never going to fix their problems.
When things go wrong, Rush said, "you must look inward and ask first,‘What did we do wrong? What could we have done better? What mistakes did we make?”
Commenting that although Republicans lost, "Conservatism did not lose, Republicanism lost last night. Republicanism, being a political party first, rather than an ideological movement, is what lost last night.”
The Democrats, he said "beat something last night with nothing. They advanced no agenda other than their usual anti-war position. They had no contract — they really never did get specific. Their message was one of ‘vote for us; the other guys have been in power too long.’”
Rush further admonished, "There was no dominating conservative message that came from the [Republican] top and filtered down throughout in this campaign.”
He added that if there was conservatism in the campaign, it was on the Democratic side: "There were conservative Democrats running for office in the House of Representatives and in a couple of Senate races won by Democrats yesterday.” He cited James Webb as an example.
He also said it was conservatism that won fairly big when it was tried, but it was Democrats who ran as conservatives and not their GOP rivals. He added that the Democratic leadership had gone out and recruited conservative candidates because they knew liberals could not win running against Republicans in red states.
Rush quoted Thomas Sowell as explaining that the latest example of election fraud is actually what the Democrats did — they nominated a bunch of moderate and conservative candidates for the express purpose of electing a far-left Democratic leadership.
"The Democrats could not have won the House, being liberals,” Rush said. "Liberalism didn’t win anything yesterday; Republicanism lost. Conservatism was nowhere to be found except on the Democratic side.”
The root of the problem, Rush said, is that "our side hungers for ideological leadership and we’re not getting it from the top. Conservatism was nowhere to be found in this campaign from the top. The Democrats beat something with nothing. They didn’t have to take a stand on anything other than their usual anti-war positions. They had no clear agenda and they didn’t dare offer one. Liberalism will still lose every time it’s offered.”
Republicans, Rush said, allowed themselves to be defined. "Without elected conservative leadership from the top Republicans in the House and Senate, Republicans are free to freelance and say the hell with party unity.”
That leads, Rush said, to the emergence of RINOs — Republicans in name only.
Republicans in Congress, Rush explained, were held captive by the party’s leadership in the White House. They were put into a position of having to endorse policies with which, as conservatives, they disagreed.
"The Democratic Party,” Rush went on to say, "is the party of entitlements; but the Republicans come up with this Medicare prescription drug plan that the polls said that the public didn’t want and was not interested in. That is not conservatism. Conservatives do not grow the government and offer entitlements as a means of buying votes. But that’s what the Republicans in Congress had to support in order to stay in line with the Party from the top."
"It is silly to blame the media; it is silly to blame the Democrats; it is silly to go out and try to find all these excuses,” Rush said. "We have proved that we can beat them … we have proved that we can withstand whatever we get from the drive-by media. Conservatism does that — conservatism properly applied, proudly, eagerly, with vigor and honesty will triumph over that nine times out of 10 in this current political and social environment. It just wasn’t utilized in this campaign.”
Rush also blamed the failure to embrace conservatism on Republican’s fear of being criticized from those in the so-called establishment. Republicans, he charged, go out of their way to avoid being criticized, fearing they will be characterized as extremists and kooks.
As a result conservatism gets watered down, and the GOP loses the support of the nation’s conservative majority Rush stated.
Anything can beat nothing, Rush concluded, "and it happened yesterday.”
Rush also said that the elections liberated him.
"I feel liberated, and I'm going to tell you as plainly as I can why," Rush said. "I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don't think deserve having their water carried. Now, you might say, 'Well, why have you been doing it?' Because the stakes are high. Even though the Republican Party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country's than the Democrat Party and liberalism does."
Rush went on to explain that he believes his side is worthy of victory, and that he believes it's much easier "to reform things that are going wrong on my side from a position of strength. Now I'm liberated from having to constantly come in here every day and try to buck up a bunch of people who don't deserve it, to try to carry the water and make excuses for people who don't deserve it."
The nation's top talker confided "I did not want to sit here and participate, willingly, in the victory of the libs, in the victory of the Democrat Party by sabotaging my own. But now with what has happened yesterday and today, it is an entirely liberating thing. If those in our party who are going to carry the day in the future - both in Congress and the administration - are going to choose a different path than what most of us believe, then that's liberating. I don't say this with any animosity about anybody, and I don't mean to make this too personal."
Rush explained that it has not been easy for him to endorse some of the things backed by Republicans in Congress. "There have been a bunch of things going on in Congress, some of this legislation coming out of there that I have just cringed at, and it has been difficult coming in here, trying to make the case for it when the people who are supposedly in favor of it can't even make the case themselves - and to have to come in here and try to do their jobs ..."
The stupidity of the "intelligensia" ...
By: Peter J. Smith - 11/7/06
MONTREAL - A professor at Montreal's McGill University has come out publicly against a bill designed to raise Canada's age of consent to protect children from pedophiles and sexual predators. Robert Leckey, a Professor of Family Law at McGill stated his opposition to raising the age of consent from 14 to 16 during a panel discussion on C-22 last Wednesday, arguing the Conservative bill would disproportionately effect "straight people and sexual minorities" according to a story by Nora Mulloy published in the McGill Daily.
“I’m not really convinced there is a problem here,” said Leckey, who derided the Prime Minister's bill as “an inexpensive way for Conservatives to send a message to certain constituencies that they care about children.”
The Daily reports that Leckey argued C-22 perpetuated the notion of young people as “helpless children needing to be protected by the state.” Leckey also based his opposition to the bill on the grounds that homosexuals were more likely to be prosecuted than heterosexuals for violating the law, saying, “There’s no reason to think the law would be applied equally across straight people and sexual minorities.”
However, the language of the Conservative bill clearly intends to protect children from advances made by adult pedophiles to engage in sexual relationships. The bill incorporates a close-in-age exception, which would exempt sexual relationships between partners within five years of each other's age (e.g. a 14 year-old in a sexual relationship with a 19 year-old, etc.), but eliminate the loopholes under the current law used by sexual predators to protect their abuse of children.
C-22 would otherwise eliminate sexual relationships between adults and children over 14, which the current law permits provided the adults have not abused "a postion of trust." According to Justice Minister Vic Toews, the "trust provisions" are a fundamental weak point in the current law, and "very rarely" used because of the difficulty of getting the child to prove a violation of trust.
Justice Minister Toews defended the merits of C-22 to Parliament saying that the higher age of consent would make Canada's children safer from aggressive pedophiles taking advantage of the law's current weaknesses. "Police point out that this low age is often known by sexual predators and encourages them to target Canada in search of younger victims who would not be able to consent in countries with a higher age of consent."
The Department of Justice has statistics that a subset of 94 police departments in Canada reported 8800 sexual assaults perpetrated against youth and children - Leckey's "helpless children" - in 2002. Statistics Canada reports that of the 15,000 sexual assaults reported by police, 61% of victims were aged 17 and under, nearly four-fifths of these victims were girls, and more than two-thirds of these girls were aged between 11 and 17.
C-22 would also change the "Age of Consent" to the "Age of Protection" and has achieved nearly unanimous approval in Parliament after its second reading with the exception of two openly homosexual MPs, Libby Davies and Bill Siksay, both of the New Democrat Party. The bill will leave unchanged the Criminal Code's age of consent for anal sex and pornography at 18 years.
The law is under review by the justice committee and is expected to eventually pass Parliament after the third reading.
Readers who wish to respectfully express their disappointment may contact the McGill Faculty of Law at:
Faculty of Law
Chancellor Day Hall, 3644 Peel Street
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1W9
Tel: 514-398-6666 Fax: 514-398-4659 firstname.lastname@example.org
Can we even fight for what's ours anymore?
Dispute Over NW Passage Revived
U.S. Asserts Free Use by All Ships; Canada Claims Jurisdiction
TORONTO -- A long-standing legal wrangle between the United States and Canada could complicate future shipping through the Arctic as global warming melts the ice in the Northwest Passage.
The United States contends that the Northwest Passage, though owned by Canada, is an international strait with free passage for all, like other straits around the world. U.S. officials say they are following a long-standing position in favor of keeping straits free to all navigation and want unimpeded movement of U.S. ships.
Melting Arctic Makes Way for Man - Researchers aboard icebreaker say shipping could add to risks for ecosystem.
Canada counters that it has sole jurisdiction over the Northwest Passage and wants to enforce its own laws on ships in the Arctic waters. Canadian officials argue that their authority over the myriad channels and straits that make up the legendary route from the Atlantic to the Pacific is the best way to minimize unsafe ships and accidental spills in the pristine North.
The issue has suddenly come alive because climate change is reducing the Arctic ice pack that prevents regular shipping through the passage.
In an unusual twist last week, the former U.S. ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci, was quoted in Canadian newspapers as saying that he agreed with the Canadian position. "It is in the security interests of the United States that it be under the control of Canada," he said at a conference in Ottawa.
Cellucci's comments prompted the current U.S. ambassador, David Wilkins, to restate U.S. insistence that the Northwest Passage is an international strait.
The spat has flared occasionally in the past. Canadians were incensed when Americans drove the reinforced oil tanker Manhattan through the Northwest Passage in 1969, followed by the icebreaker Polar Sea in 1985, both without asking for Canadian permission.
Usually, however, the two countries have ignored their differences, agreeing that icebreakers do not need permission to pass and refusing to acknowledge the regular traffic of undersea nuclear submarines that use the passage.
Michael Byers, an international law expert at the University of British Columbia, said that if foreign ships begin using the route, Canada will lose its claim of oversight.
Canada has no search-and-rescue helicopters regularly based in the north and has disbanded the one military unit capable of dropping onto the ice. The country has no submarine that can travel under the ice cap. Its icebreakers are old and considered mid-weight; they leave the Arctic for the winter. The government has promised to build three new, powerful icebreakers and a deep-water port at Iqaluit, the capital of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, but has failed to fund any of those projects.
"If a foreign vessel wanted to come through here right now, it could," Byers said. "It's a big welcome mat for all the fly-by-night companies."
Copyright 2006 - The Washington Post
Another show of support for those who sacrificed for our well-being...
Please consider the purpose and sentiment invoked by The Dominion Institute's intitiative (see http://www.dominion.ca/petition/index.php) desribed in the news article below. The Institute will send the petition on behalf of its signatories to the Prime Minister of Canada on December 11, 2006.
From: The Canadian Press
State funeral sought for last WWI veteran
Updated Sun. Nov. 5 2006 8:59 PM ET
TORONTO -- Canada's last First World War veteran should be given a state funeral to help honour the pledge that Canadians will never forget the sacrifices made during the Great War, says the Dominion Institute, which is launching a petition Monday to drum up support for the cause.
There are three surviving veterans - 105-year-old Dwight (Percy) Wilson and Lloyd Clemett and John Babcock, both 106 - and they are our last living link to the sacrifices and triumphs of the war, in which 619,636 Canadians served and 66,655 died between 1914 and 1918, said Rudyard Griffiths, executive director of the Dominion Institute.
A state funeral would ensure Canadians pause to honour all those who fought, he said.
"An event like a state funeral, a major national commemoration, is a small step but an important one in the direction of renewing our commitment never to forget," he said.
"People will say state funerals are only for prime ministers or former governor generals, well I think if there ever was a time to cast off our Canadian understatement when it comes to celebrating history, this is that moment."
He said other countries have been quick to honour their war dead but Canada has never done enough.
Last year's passing of Clarence (Clare) Laking, believed to be the last surviving Great War veteran to have seen action, was barely on Canadians' radar screens, Griffiths said.
"I think it was a bit of a comment on the country that his passing was really not observed, other than the obligatory obituary in the newspapers and a press release from the government," he said.
Griffiths said he envisions a state funeral being religious, held in a church according to the denomination of the veteran.
"We in the 21st century live in a very agnostic or a very secular society but I think a state funeral would be very important to capture the religious undertone of the First World War," he said.
"So many of those Canadians who fought and died in the First World War were fighting for an idea of a more generous, and what they perceived as a kind of Christian ideal of equality, of peoples' equality, of nations' equality, or races' equality."
He said he's not advocating the idea for religious reasons, but believes it would show an appreciation for what Canada was like in 1914 to 1918.
"It speaks to the reality of the experience," he said.
Griffiths said he doesn't know if the veterans are religious men and hasn't contacted the families about the idea of a state funeral.
But he said every detail would ultimately be up to the families if a state funeral was offered.
"Our policy here is at the end of the day, this should be the decision of the families, of these men, and it should be up to them to decide," he said.
"What's important here is the gesture and it is within the power of the prime minister to grant a state funeral to anyone."
Digital signatures for the petition will be collected at the Dominion Institute's website, and organizers are hoping to present thousands to the government.
A spokeswoman for Veteran Affairs said the government does have a plan for when the last First World War veteran passes away but it does not include a state funeral.
Instead, the government is looking at a way of honouring all First World War veterans.
The government is also considering military funerals for the remaining three veterans, if their families wish to have one.
Copyright 2006 - The Canadian Press
A great conservative voice may have spoken for the last time...
Buckley Says Yale Speech Was His Last
By: ELIANA JOHNSON
Staff Reporter of the Sun
November 3, 2006
The godfather of the conservative movement, William F. Buckley Jr., caused a stir at Yale University on Wednesday evening by announcing that he was delivering his final political speech.
The founder of the conservative magazine National Review, a novelist, and a former co-host of the Public Broadcast Association's longest-running television series "Firing Line," Mr. Buckley delivered his speech to the Yale Political Union, a debating society of which he was a member as an undergraduate.
But Mr. Buckley, who has made a habit of delivering "last speeches" since he officially retired from public speaking in 2000, was the first to make light of the situation. "Every now and then, I flub," Mr. Buckley said. "So I just got a little theater out of saying it was my last speech."
"I think this was his fifth final speech," Mr. Buckley's nephew, L. Brent Bozell III, said. "He's given more final speeches than Barbra Streisand has given final concerts."
Mr. Bozell said Mr. Buckley doesn't know how to decline an invitation.
The Yale Daily News reported that Mr. Buckley "surprised" the 500 members of the audience with his announcement that his remarks marked "my terminal speech on public affairs."
"I am very honored to have been a part of William F. Buckley's last public appearance," the president of the Yale Political Union, Roger Low, said.
Mr. Buckley took the opportunity to devise the topic of his speech: why the Democratic candidates for the upcoming elections should withdraw. "I took the liberty of writing my own resolution, but I wrote a preposterous one," he said.
Nonetheless, Mr. Buckley, 80, argued in his speech that "Democrats are dominated by craven, greedy, hypocritical thought" and criticized them for not demanding the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.
He reminded the union of its tradition of "carrying out the speaker on your shoulders when positively transported by enthusiasm for the resolution, for the speaker, and for the speaker's advocacy," but asked it to "rein in that impulse."
Copyright 2006 - The New York Sun
Investors suffer from overly "empowered" governments...
DEMOCRATIC SWEEP MAY SPELL TROUBLE, 'EH?
By: TERRY KEENAN
WOULD a landslide victory for the Democrats in Tuesday's midterm elections spell disaster for the U.S. stock market?
Well, that question has been the subject of a very partisan debate. If the Democrats sweep the House and Senate - sweeping in the specter of higher taxes along with them - the GOP argues it will crater the economy and the stock market. Meanwhile, the Democrats argue that the Clinton tax hikes and deficit reduction helped pave the way for the bull market of the late 1990s.
In a possible preview of what a repeal of the Bush tax cuts might mean for investors, the Toronto Stock Exchange careened lower after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty stunned investors with a change to the favorable tax laws covering Canada's income trusts.
Sound arcane? Perhaps, but those investment vehicles - especially in the red-hot energy sector - have been among Canada's fastest-growing exports. Because of their advantageous tax treatment, the trusts often paid out double-digit dividends, drawing thousands of U.S. dollars north of the border.
Now that Canada has broken its promise not to change the tax rules on the trusts, investors are bailing out of Canada in record numbers. As the folks at the Outstanding Investments newsletter put it this week: "If you do business in Canada, you are liable to confiscatory changes in tax policy at government whim - even if we promise no such changes beforehand."
Could it happen here? You bet. With Rep. Charles Rangel poised to rule the powerful Ways and Means Committee, investors are in the cross hairs.
Although Rangel has waffled a bit as Election Day approaches, the New York representative recently told a reporter that he couldn't think of a single Bush tax cut he'd be willing to extend.
When the Democrats took control of the Senate 1986 and cemented their majority in the House. It wasn't long before the capital gains tax rate was on its way up, and the crash of '87 soon followed.
To be sure, over-speculation, portfolio insurance and soaring interest rates all contributed to that Black Monday as well. Still, on Election Day 2006, it may pay to consider whether a vote for the Democrats is a vote for higher taxes and a lower stock market.
TERRY KEENAN is anchor of Cashin' In, an investing program that appears on Fox News Channel on Saturday mornings at 11:30. E-mail email@example.com.
Copyright 2006 - The New York Post
Something for Canadian Conservatives to think about as well...
What Exactly Do Voters Really Want?
By: CAL THOMAS
Tribune Media Services, Inc.
November 2, 2006
Conservatives who are upset that Republicans haven't done enough during their 12 years in control of the House and Senate and nearly six years in control of the White House need a slap in the face.
Republicans may have controlled all three branches of government, but conservatives haven't. If conservatives believe enough has not been done to advance their agenda, let them work to elect more conservatives, not hand control of Congress over to a party controlled by far-left liberals who have no intention of moderating their tone or watering down their beliefs after the election.
One issue should trump all others for conservatives: judges. As Manuel Miranda of Third Branch writes in Human Events,"If the GOP loses the Senate, precedent shows that more than 60 Bush judicial nominees will never get a Judiciary Committee hearing under the chairmanship of Senator Leahy of Vermont. Republicans will be unable to stop a filibuster of a next Supreme Court nominee and countless circuit court picks. This will dwarf Democrats' past six years of obstruction."
Liberals have used the courts for decades to bypass the public will and impose a secular agenda on the country. If they win control of the Senate, their current leadership will be emboldened to continue that practice. Any judge who manages to make it onto the bench will most likely be of the judicial philosophy of Anthony Kennedy and David Souter. Republican presidents named both men because they thought it would be easier to win the approval of Senate Democrats. Neither turned out to be conservative, despite the White House sales job to conservative groups.
Then there is the war. We live in a time when most people do not remember what a real war looks like. Some are horrified that nearly 3,000 Americans have died in the Iraq war, but ignore that in World War II more than 407,000 Americans died. Sixty-two million were killed on all sides. Some say this war is taking longer than that war. That's because this war is different from that war in that it has no home state, unless we abandon Iraq. And the enemy accepts no rules for fighting it.
Democrats speak only of withdrawing American troops and of how our presence inflames the enemy, yet they have no explanation for what inflamed them before the war. President Bush may have to change tactics, as he has said he is willing to do, but he understands the challenge. This isn't Vietnam. This is a religious-philosophical war for control of the planet. Anyone who thinks any objective other than the complete defeat and humiliation of these Islamofascists will deter them from their goal of world domination is self-delusional.
Last week over lunch, I asked Vice President Cheney about conservative angst. He said in previous campaigns, "I would have given a lot to get an economy this good to be able to run on." Noting the recession that occurred right after he and the president took office in 2001, Mr. Cheney told me, "We (also) had 9/11. … We had Katrina, a war. We had to spend a lot of money on the war and homeland security. And so a series of repeated shocks … to the economy and here we are, we've got 4.6 unemployment. We added 6.6 million new jobs in the last three years. Productivity is running at an alltime high. More Americans [are] working than ever before. Inflation is under control. … The stock market has hit all-time records. What do you want? How much better do we have to make it before people say, ‘yes, that's pretty good'?"
It's a good question. Is there anyone who believes government doesn't have enough of our money? Then vote for Democrats. Is there anyone who thinks withdrawing from Iraq before the country can stand on its own against terrorism means there won't be more terrorism? Then vote for Democrats. Do you prefer liberal judges reading their prejudices into the Constitution and increasingly depriving us of our right to decide our own future? Then vote for Democrats.
If not, conservatives should vote Republican and then work to continue advancing conservative goals. Those goals are more likely to be reached under Republicans than under Democrats. That's the choice this year, a choice that will be made whether one votes, or cuts and runs out of a false notion that Republicans need to be punished for not doing more. As the vice president said, "What do you want?"
Copyright 2006 - The New York Sun
More on the income trusts...
Income trusts in Canada: Death and taxes
Nov 2nd 2006 From The Economist print edition
The government cracks down on a stockmarket moneyspinner
OTTAWA - CANADA'S finance minister, Jim Flaherty, drove a stake through the heart of the fastest-growing sector of the Toronto Stock Exchange on Halloween, announcing a crackdown on income trusts that he said were being increasingly used by companies to dodge taxes. It was the latest attempt by successive governments to discourage corporations from converting to income trusts, which have become popular vehicles for shifting the tax burden from companies to investors. Judging from the dismayed reaction of the Toronto stockmarket, which plummeted the day after the news, his stake hit its mark.
Income trusts were first set up in the mid-1980s by mature property and energy companies who chose to pass on all of their profits to investors and thus avoid corporate income tax. At that stage the loss to the treasury was minimal. The haemorrhaging has increased during the past five years as businesses as diverse as pizza chains and telephone directories jumped on board, luring investors with higher but riskier yields than they could get from dividends or interest-bearing investments.
When two of the largest telecommunications firms in Canada — Telus and BCE (the owner of Bell Canada) — announced plans to switch to trust status this autumn, pushing estimated tax losses to more than C$1 billion ($885m) a year, the government could no longer sit idly by. Both companies said on November 1st that they were re-examining their options. But not before their shares dropped sharply.
For the government the problem is not so much individual investors, who hold about 39% of the 247 publicly traded income trusts worth C$200 billion. They pay personal income tax on the distributions. But cash going to pension plans, with 39%, would be taxed only in the hands of future beneficiaries. And foreign investors, with 22%, pay only a 15% withholding tax. Mr Flaherty plans to tax distributions of new trusts next year and those of existing trusts in 2011.
Although angry investors sputtered about the surprise announcement, citing Conservative campaign promises to leave the sector alone, the portents were all there. The previous Liberal government tried to limit pension investment in income trusts in 2004 but backed off when the pension industry objected. In 2005 it denied advance tax rulings to potential converts and then lowered the tax on dividends to make income trusts less attractive. All to no avail: there was another C$70 billion in announced conversions this year alone.
While you would not know it from the outcry, the trust sector was already beginning to fray around the edges as some of the riskier vehicles cut distributions and saw their unit prices fall. Small investors, who had been attracted by the promise of regular payments, had already begun to protest about them.
Is this truly the end? Some investors hope the government will reconsider and allow exceptions for the original energy and property companies. The more optimistic point out that 2011 is still four years away. A buying opportunity for some, a lingering death for the sector.
Copyright 2006 - The Economist Magazine