Saturday, July 09, 2005

Monte Solberg loves Canadians

In his column today in the National Post (subscriber only), Adam Radwanski pulls one quote from Monte Solberg's blog after the same-sex marriage vote and uses it to suggest that conservatives don't like Canada, and that this attitude is responsible for their not achieving 'power':

June 28, 2005

Its a route
Its over. Gay marriage is now on the fast track to becoming the law in Canada.
The new Canada. You can have it.
posted by Monte at
7:06 PM

Radwanski doesn't seem to understand the subtleties of the English language -- or perhaps he is being deliberately obtuse in order to force Solberg's ideas to fit his premise that 'Conservatives dislike Canada'.

I read Solberg's posts that day -- all of them -- which one really should do if you want context (which obviously Radwanski doesn't want to give his readers). I never took from any of it that Monte was 'Canada-bashing'.

Radwanski describes Solberg thus:

He's considered a comparatively moderate conservative --thoughtful, funny and well-liked on the other side of the House. So, far from being an isolated rant from the party's fringes, his outburst presumably came from a common perspective within the Tory caucus -- one that has come to largely define the Canadian right.

So Radwanski not only uses the one post quoted above to decide that Monte Solberg doesn't like Canada, but extrapolates to conclude that in his dislike of Canada, he is representative of both the Conservative caucus and all right-thinking Canadians. If Radwanski can jump to that giant conclusion, you'd have to bet he can leap tall buildings in a single bound, too.

Radwanski pulled this one brief post, from a wealth of blogging by Solberg, and implies that Solberg doesn't like Canada. Never mind that throughout his posting, Monte consistently expresses concern for, and understanding of, the average Canadian -- and not just the fleas who nip the dog and who through sheer irritation factor, have set the agenda and the course for our nation.

What Radwanski forgets as he sits in that ivory tower of his, is that the average Canadian might vote Liberal or NDP more often than he votes Conservative, but the average Canadian is not part of the liberal elite who determine what 'Canadian values' are and should be. A good lot of us were offended by the government telling us that our values are 'unCanadian' and that our religious or personal convictions are 'against human rights'. Their 'outbursts' -- which vilified over half of all Canadians -- are perhaps justifiable to Mr. Radwanski because he agrees with their ideology. Just remember though, every time Paul Martin or Jack Layton told us that SSM was a human rights issue, and that people who disagree with it don't hold Canadian values -- we know that they were referring to ordinary people. Solberg was obviously referring to the government. Which POV is more offensive to Canadians?

This column is typical Radwanski. Taking a snippet of the truth and twisting it to fit his theory. His column continues by equating Solberg's lament over the passing of the SSM bill with Michael Coren's and David Frum's Canada Day columns, both of which examine the failings of our nation at this juncture.

What Radwanski has failed to grasp is that Coren, Frum and Solberg share one thing -- and that thing is not political ideology. Frum is an avowed 'neo-Con' far to the right of almost anyone in Canadian politics. Coren, though socially conservative, is far more in line with the NDP on issues like foreign aid, the environment, affordable housing etc. -- I've read him for years and I wouldn't presume to say which way he votes -- he would probably be insulted to be called a 'conservative commentator'.

These men don't hate Canada, nor does anything they've put to paper convey that sentiment to someone who isn't looking to 'expose' them as anti-Canada. No, the one thing these men share is a disdain for our governance. They despair for the Canada that could be -- that might be -- if not for Liberal corruption, ineptitude, cowardice and arrogance. They talk about the democratic deficit, the lack of accountability, the smug liberal attitude of entitlement. That is not Canada-bashing -- that is government bashing. It is Liberal bashing. And it's true.

The Liberals were voted in with three successive majorities and one minority -- so one might conclude that to criticise their policies and programs is by extention, criticism of the very people who voted them in. Perhaps the answer is for all conservatives to refrain from commenting on the direction this country is taking. Radwanski seems to think we should be silently accepting of the governments flaws, and just be grateful that we live in such a pretty country. Radwanski would likely say he didn't mean that -- that these men he's quoted criticised Canada -- but then, why is it inferred by liberals that when a Carolyn Parrish says: 'Americans, I hate those bastards' that she meant only George W. Bush and his crowd, but when Solberg says: 'The new Canada. You can have it.' it must mean he hates Canada and all Canadians?

Radwanski has likely read Monte Solberg's Canada Day post. He didn't bother to comment on it, I expect because it doesn't fit his theory of the Canada-bashing man he's trying to portray.

Here are some quotes from the post -- read it, then tell me Solberg doesn't like Canada.

The oil patch goes strong 24/7, and so do the businesses that support it. They will work right through the Canada Day weekend and most will not reflect for two seconds on what it means to be Canadian.They will not watch the ceremonies from Parliament Hill today. They will not listen to CBC radio and fret over Canadian culture and heritage. They won't sit around telling each other how much better we are then the Americans.

They will work. They will look for opportunities to make life better for themselves and their family.

(. . .)

What strikes me is how typically Canadian this story is. I'm saying that the vast majority of Canadians practice a set of values and a way of life that is unrecognizable to official Ottawa, to too many journalists and to that squishy class of people who simultaneously revile and live off the backs of that Tim Hortons crowd.

(. . .)

But most amazing of all is that the overtaxed and despised Tim's crowd are the ones who would volunteer to stand in the breech first if, God forbid it, there was ever again a whisper of war. The thumb suckers would head for the bunker before you could say conscientious objector. But the Tims crowd would be there to fight. They would fight furiously, like they've always done. But they would not fight for King and country, for the CBC, or for the Department of Canadian Heritage. They would be there to fight for their little platoons, for their families, and their friends in the trenches.
The ordinary, garden variety decency that makes them the head of the Rotary Club in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia or Taber, Alberta would make them a VC winner on a foreign battlefield.

Maybe what Radwanski finds offensive about Solberg's brand of patriotism is it that is celebrates the average Canadian -- the ordinary people who are not part of the left-leaning liberal elite that fill out the ranks of the press gallery or who inhabit the inner sanctum of the PMO. Guys like Radwanski who are part of Ottawa's connected crowd -- they don't like us -- the regular folk.

What Radwanski doesn't say is what conservatives, and I would guess most Canadians know to be true: although Monte Solberg dislikes 'Canada' (read the government) he loves Canadians -- whereas Paul Martin loves 'Canada' (read, the government) he really doesn't much care for Canadians. Does Paul Martin even know any Canadians? Real Canadians? Can he have lived that kind of sheltered, rarefied existence, and really have his finger on the pulse of the nation?

Radwanski is part of that network of people, who know all the people, who are the people, who decide what matters. He speaks for them.

Monte Solberg speaks for me.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Someone's been having fun

I'm not bothering to delete the previous two posts, although I have no clue how they got here. I've changed my passwords and I'm hoping that will be enough to prevent similar mysterious postings.

I've never been 'hacked' before, and although someone obviously had access to my entire blog, these entries are all that seem to have been done.

I don't usually sign out of my account; I just close my browser. These posts happened while I was online, on my own computer but was doing other things.

Now I just wonder if it was a stranger, or if one of my kids figured out my password and posted to be funny. If it was one of my kids, they'll no doubt think it was too hilarious to keep to themselves much longer. I'll let y'all know if there's a comedian in the family as soon as I find out.



itz me agen





i am canidanea

no rilly

no i am a joke i am hacked canidanea ha ha i am funnee

if u cn gess my name i will giv u a fray viza 2 canada

her is a hint it is start w/ "Pee" and end w/ "Ell" and i am very importint

Thursday, July 07, 2005


There are those who will blame Tony Blair and the UK foreign policy for the attacks on London, but given the history of Britain when faced with adversity, terrorists couldn't be expecting the British to back down. Perhaps they are all suicidal and were hoping to galvanise Britain's resolve.

On a talk show today I heard someone using the 'root causes' defence. You know the drill . . . 'terrorism is a product of poverty . . . of a marginalized population . . . of the west's greed --- if any of these were reasons that terrorists attack, it would be angry young sub-Saharan Africans blowing things up, but it isn't.

Here in Toronto, TTC Chair Howard Moscoe dismissed concerns that Canada could be a target in terror attacks, saying that 'we don't have troops to pull out of Iraq' and 'first the terrorist would have to find us on a map.'

We do have troops in Iraq, and civilians working on the rebuilding effort. We also have troops in Afghanistan -- and a couple of our sharp-shooters are credited with taking out some important members of al-Qaeda.

His glib response is boorish. Why is it they say Toronto is a 'world class city' when they want the Olympics, but that terrorists couldn't find us when are trying to downplay the threat that exists to all civilised nations?

I doubt Toronto will be a target any time soon, but I wonder if that has more to do with our immigration policies than our foreign policy.

Angry has an interesting perspective on today's tragedy.

Prayers and all that to the people of Britain, but nothing is never enough at a time like this.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Courting the Media

Yesterday, publicity-shy murderess Karla Homolka sought out the media -- while trying to get an injunction against the media. Apparently the irony was lost on her.

Upon the 'advice of her lawyers' Homolka, describing herself as 'very private' went on to share her intimate thoughts, feelings and fears with an absolute stranger, before a television audience of at least a million viewers.

Could it be possible, rather than wanting to prevent the media scrutiny, Homolka is actually fuelling the flames of attention? If it weren't for the court challenge scheduled for September, we might just turn our minds away from her -- now, for at least the next few months there will be bits and pieces about her in the news, and then when it finally comes to court, she'll be centre stage again.

That picture of her on the front pages today looked different enough from the Karla we've seen over the past few months in the papers, that if she hadn't run to the TV studios upon her release -- it's likely no one would have recognised her. Good thing she got her mug plastered everywhere, now she's sure to get the kind of privacy she craves.

It's absolutely sickening. This was like a dating service ad for her. Calling all pervs; here I am.

It is shameful that our criminal justice system allows this felon to continue to haunt their victims and force the public to pay for the process.


Monday, July 04, 2005

God Bless America

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America has such gorgeous symbols for the values they hold dear.

Image hosted by

And words that resonate still:

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

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Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Irish way

There's an article in today's Star by Thomas L. Friedman, about Ireland's improved place in the world over the past 30 - 40 years.

It started me thinking about the current Liberal focus on early childhood indoctrination.

Freidman says:

In 1996, Ireland made college education basically free, creating an even better educated workforce. . . The results have been phenomenal. Today, nine out of 10 of the world's top pharmaceudical companies have operations here, as do 16 of the top 20 medical device companies and seven of the top 10 software designers.

"We set up in Ireland in 1990," Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computer, explained. "What attracted us? Well-educated workforce - and good universities close by. Ireland has an industrial and and tax policy which is consistently very supportive of businesses, independent of which political party is in power."

Childcare is getting an huge amount of attention because Ken Dryden is pushing it. He has said only regulated care can deliver high standards for health and safety, staff training, ratios of caregivers to kids, and other key elements of early childhood development. His suggestion is that parental care is inadequate, and there has been some talk of negotiations with New Brunswick (where they want greater flexibility for parents who choose to stay home with their kids) According to Andrew Coyne in yesterday's National Post, these talks have suggested that parents would have to receive 'training' in order to benefit from any government support and that they would be 'regulated'. I'm not sure how that would work, but it sounds too weird to me.

Anyway, although Dryden knows most families would prefer to have one parent stay at home with their children, or for a relative to care for them, he says the national daycare program should be like public education or medicare by creating a system that would generate demand from parents -- forcing governments to keep expanding it. "More spaces, higher quality, higher expectations and ambitions, a bigger and growing public appetite, building the pressure on each level of government, to reinforce the commitment implicit in building a system," he said. "We need to paint ourselves into a corner because it's a corner we want to be in and need to be in."

Needless to say I disagree. In a post a couple of months ago I wrote against national public daycare, and more and more I realise how the Liberals are trying to turn this from a debate about babycare to a debate about education. But the fact remains, the government is trying to get into the babyminding business. Call it 'early childhood education' if you like, but it's babysitting. Changing diapers, chasing toddlers, spit up, potty training etc.

Most parents encourage learning during infancy at home, and as Rona Ambrose has pointed out, having a caregiver from within the family enables a child to learn language and culture from his own heritage. Infants and toddlers require a lot of individual and messy attention. Daycare workers might be able to incorporate periods of 'learning' but let's not pretend we're going to be churning out child prodogies as a result of a program like this.

It would seem that Ireland's focus on post-secondary education has been a major factor in the turnaround they've made from a poor, needy country to a rich, productive country.

There are other factors of course. Friedman continues:

By the mid-1980's, Ireland had reaped the initial benefits of EU membership -- subsidies to build better infrastructure and a big market to sell into. But it still did not have enough competitive products to sell, because of years of protectionism and fiscal mismanagement. The country was going broke, and most college grads were emigrating.
"We went on a borrowing, spending and taxing spree, and that nearly drove us under." said Deputy Prime Minister Mary Harney. "It was because we nearly went under that we got the courage to change."

In a quite unusual development, the government, the main trade unions, farmers and industrialists came together and agreed on a program of fiscal austerity, slashing corporate taxes to 12.5% (far below those in the rest of Europe) moderating wages and prices, and agressively courting foreign investment.

An educated populace realises that if you have jobs you won't need public housing and bottomless pit social programs.

Maybe we should be rethinking our education priorities, making post-secondary programs financially feasible to all citizens rather than paying billions to
strangers to mind our infants and pretending that it is better for them than parental care. A mom, dad or grandparent can as easily teach their little ones their ABCs. Handing them over to state regulated care is not going to miraculously transform toddlers in to baby geniuses.