Truth in Broadcasting

Jason Kenney seemed to say lying was OK this week when in defending Bev Oda he suggested there was no real problem in what she did saying, "The CBC lies all the time."

I don't agree with Kenney but that may explain why the CRTC was planning to go ahead with the rule change that would make it alright for broadcasters to simply make up the news. Most people thought it was to get ready for the new right-wing, FOX news style TV channel which will soon go to air in Canada but perhaps it was to put broadcasters on the same foot as legislators.

Well, hold on to your hats. CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein (I'm sorry I always think of Hogan's Heros when I hear his name.) is quoted in the Embassy, Canada's Foreign Policy Newsletter saying “I was perfectly happy with what it was before, and I’m sure at the next commission meeting, we will withdraw this attempt at rewriting.”

On Thursday the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations, a committee of the House and Senate, agreed to withdraw advice to the CRTC to water down a regulation prohibiting the broadcast of false and misleading news.

As a result of advice from the committee, the CRTC issued a notice of consultation in January to change its prohibition on the broadcast of false and misleading news so that it would instead be a prohibition on “any news that the licensee knows is false or misleading and that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.”

Thanks to everyone who wrote the CRTC and their MPs to stop this stupid rule change.

The Member for Regina - Lumsden - Lake Centre Gets it Wrong Again

Come on Tom. Try a bit harder
We all got a lesson in ethics from Tom Lukiwski this morning.  Well, Harper style ethics anyway.
Commenting on the Bev Oda affair my MP waded in yesterday suggesting that Oda was honest with her answers as to how, or why the “not” appeared on the CIDA document recommending continued funding for KIRIOS.  Tom, not the sharpest tool in the shed, suggested, “Perhaps the member should have asked a different question or more questions or have been more diligent in his inquiry, but his unhappiness with the answer is not a breach of privilege.”

Oh really. I don’t think Tom has been paying attention

My suggestion is that Tom Boy enroll in an Ethics 101 course.  Even if he doesn’t learn anything, his views on what is ethical and what is not, would be a source of great amusement to the rest of the class.

Jack Backs Off Again

It's just a game isn't it Jack?

A couple of weeks back a rather persistent NDP fund raiser called me asking for a donation to help the New Democrats  build up their war chest. “We all know we are heading for an election this spring and we need this money if we are going to be ready.” She scolded me for my unwillingness to step up.

I finally told her, “Look, my expectation is that Jack Layton will once again get cold feet and support the government’s budget. Give me a call when the election is called and I’ll think about it.”

So I was with some disappointment but very little surprise when I read in this morning’s paper that the NDP are going to withdraw their insistence that Harper back off the corporate tax cut proposal. It seems that Jack has reached another back room deal with Little Stevie and now will support the tax cuts in exchange for some undisclosed legislative favour.

These guys are so predictable.


Bev Oda is History

Harper Can't Skate Around this Much Longer
One of the things this Harper government is not very good at recognizing is, when the jig is up. On the surface you might think that the PM is incredibly loyal to his ministers and is inclined to back them up no matter what but, we all remember what happened to Helen Guergis.

This latest problem the Tories are facing isn't going away. Harper can only stonewall so long. The opposition smell blood and unless the Liberal and the NDP get cold feet once again, we'll be facing an election before this matter dies a natural death.

I may be wrong but it appears to me and many others that what happened is very straight forward.

The story could have very well unfolded this way:

  • KAIROS submitted a proposal just as they had done for decades, requesting funding for their programs overseas.
  • CIDA looked the proposal over and found it to be in line with policy and similar to proposals it had funded in the past and in September recommended approval. 
  • The Minister, Bev Oda and her staff looked the proposal over in November and seeing nothing amiss, she signed it approving the grant.

It was shortly after that is when I suspect the "Oh shit" moment occurred.

It isn't that hard to come to the conclusion that the PMO, heavy on ideology but a bit  light when it comes to accuracy somehow got a bee in their bonnet about KAIROS.  Someone went on a rant about the agency and Oda was stuck with a document she had signed approving funding to the organization.

In the Harper camp, no one wants to piss off  Stevie, cabinet minister or not. So Oda got on her Blackberry, called her staff and said, "What the hell do we do now?"  The rest is history.

Bev Oda had every right to ask for changes to the KIAROS proposal or to turn it down outright. But, any cabinet minister worth her salt who didn't agree with a  proposal recommended by CIDA would have asked for a meeting and expressed concern if they thought there was anything amiss.  I suspect that sort of thing happens all the time.

To  change the meaning of the document after it had been signed by CIDA, thereby making it appear that this was all ia CIDA decision, then to lie about it is unconscionable.

So I think that Stephen Harper will defend Oda a bit longer then, Oda will stand up and say that she is resigning of her own accord because, the whole matter is a distraction from the "important business of Parliament."

Either way. Don't expect Oda to hang around much longer.  Bev Oda is Conservative Senate material, for sure.


In America, You Kent always Say What You Want

And, Don't you Forget it Buddy
I am constantly amazed, and amused by American politics and politicians. They are even crazier than our own.

It has been interesting, listening to the support given to protesters in Egypt, Tunisia and Iran by Americans when all the while they seem blind to the oppression within.

In Wisconsin, faced with an increasing deficit the new Governor Scott Walker has been pretty tough with public sector workers.

Wisconsin state employee unions which have already made $100 million in concessions are now being told that they have to double their contributions to health insurance premiums and increase allocations to their pensions. The governor’s bill would effectively take away the right of state employees to bargain collectively for everything from vacation, sick hours, and even the hours they work.

In the midst of all this, the rules for the unions that supported Walker during his election campaign, the State Patrol, local police, and fire departments would stay absolutely unchanged.

Not unexpectedly government workers are a bit stirred up about all this. After all, what worker would take this sitting down particularly in a country which believes so strongly in freedom of expression? A country which supports citizens standing up against what they see as wrong. A country that encourages dissent.

To which Mr. Walker might say, “Not so fast young fella.”

Asked recently by a reporter about what might happen if the government workers resist, Walker replied that he would call out the National Guard. He said that the National Guard is “prepared…for whatever the governor, their commander-in-chief, might call for. I am fully prepared for whatever may happen.”

A college dropout, Walker’s limited education probably means he hasn’t learned about and he isn’t old enough to remember the Kent State Massacre on May 4th 1970 although he might remember the Simpsons 22nd episode entitled “You Kent always Say What You Want”.

This is all a bad idea Scott.


A Bit Over the Top

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am not too keen on Stephen Harper nor am I very enamoured with his co-conspirators that make up this Conservative government we are saddled with. I don’t hesitate to let people know how I think.

I thought this morning that in fairness, it might be an idea to take a look at what the other side of the debate is saying. There is a website out there called The Blogging Tories which pulls together Conservative posts in an effort to direct readers to their blogs.

Ironically, there is another site called The Blogging Tories in their Own Words. The writers of that blog, constantly amazed by what the right wing has to say, offer a look at the outrageous. They describe the original site this way.

The Blogging Tories is a group of more than 240 Canadian bloggers who have a shared interest in conservative politics. Its more prominent members include Rick Anderson, Keith Beardsley, Monte Solberg, and MPs Maxime Bernier and David Anderson.

According to one its more prolific members, Roy Eappen, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is appreciative of the Blogging Tories’ efforts, and has acknowledged that the group has not only “helped to counter a media that is not very friendly to the party”, but has “helped hold the party’s feet to the fire.” However, despite the group’s influence, it remains largely unknown outside political circles. The Blogging Tories in Their Own Words is an effort to draw attention to their writings and opinions.

Here are just a few offerings:

The Blog Barrel Strength – Smoothly aged insights was none too pleased when Gwynne Dyer was given the Order of Canada. About Dyer, the post said:

"He is very high on the list of those whose corpses should be plowed into a ditch after a short ride in the back of a truck holding other condemned traitors for their mandatory bullet in the head."

Dodo Can Spell, written by someone who describes her blog this way, This blog belongs to a Conservative Woman who believes in total freedom of speech, if you cannot bear the hear it, buy a set of ear plugs and stop whining.

Dodo is offended that Campbell’s Soup is beginning to provide Halal certified products and says:

"Just because different species of humans from all over the world are coming to Canada, does not mean that food manufacturers and food outlets have to change their own products or start new ones to cater to everyone."

“The President of the Campbell Soup Company of Canada is Phillip Donne and here is a list of the other biggies in the company. Great non-Muslim names eh? Next they might want to change them with a prefix Mohammed and a suffix Mohammed...”

And finally in the blog Dr Roy’s Thoughts the writer is still on about Pierre Trudeau. He says in part:

Trudeau's "was an attempt to destroy Canada and remake it in his image.( Kind of like Pol Pot and other Marxist leaders). We live with the tyranny of the Charter of Rights and freedoms."

Now I do accept that I get into the odd rant from time to time but, this stuff is over the top.

What about that Pepsi ad

I hesitated to put this clip in my blog, simply because I think Bill O'Rielly is an idiot but, have you seen or heard the controversy over Pepsi's Super Bowl TV spot. It seems to have enraged some in the African American community and excited a few American media commentators.

From my point of view it is pretty mild particularly considering the sea of offensive commercials keeps television afloat these days.

You will have to judge for yourself. Was it over the line or, just a very slow news day.


Palin Weighs in on Egypt

Sarah Pain in an effort to show the American people that she understands international affairs and foreign policy has weighed in on the situation in Egypt saying : 

“And nobody yet has, nobody yet has explained to the American public what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak and no, not, not real enthused about what it is that that’s being done on a national level and from DC in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt. And, in these areas that are so volatile right now, because obviously it’s not just Egypt but the other countries too where we are seeing uprisings, we know that now more than ever, we need strength and sound mind there in the White House. We need to know what it is that America stands for so we know who it is that America will stand with. And, we do not have all that information yet.”

Note to Sarah, sometimes it just does't work when you speak off the cuff.