Friday, September 11, 2009

Hurtful By Intent

Here is a pdf copy of Rob Anders anti-Muslim pamphlet that I received in my mail box not long ago. Free speech is free speech, but this particular free speech, borderline hate speech, is wholly funded by the Government of Canada.

The key piece that caught my eye:

It is now illegal to hold opinions that offend radical Muslim activists.

A lie, pure and simple.

That, and frequent references to liberal activists, who by the semantics of infantile McCarthyism are equally to blame for whatever ails you.

It was released on or around Ramadan, and designed to fall on the fertile ground of Calgary West, a constituency built by hand by Preston Manning and Stephen Harper.

As a political strategy keeping people dumb, full of hatred, and confused about basic facts seems to have worked quite well.

h/t to Jennifer Pollock, whom I stole the post title from.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dr. Yosh Senda 1922-2009

I was sad to hear of the passing today of Dr. Yosh Senda of Lethbridge Alberta. Dr. Senda's accomplishments as a foundational figure in the world of Judo would be too numerous to mention, but here is a short list, in no particular order:

  • Highest ranking Judo Sensei in Alberta and Canada at 9th Degree
  • Taught Judo from children to elite athletes for over 50 years
  • Order of Canada
  • Alberta Sports Hall of Fame
  • Olympic and National Level Coach
  • Developed a long list of elite level Judo competitors
  • Held every conceivable executive committee position in Judo Alberta and Judo Canada, as well as international bodies
  • Developed exchange programs with Schools and Judo Clubs in Japan
  • Taught Judo and practiced well into his 80's

My first Judo Sensei in Edmonton drilled into the significance of Dr. Senda and the history of Judo in Alberta, particularly southern Alberta. My Sensei was a sharp guy and wanted us to learn about the mix between Alberta and Judo history. From the little I know of Dr. Senda's early life, his family came to Alberta as internees during the early 40's. The young men sometimes had nothing to do so they played a lot of sports. Dr. Senda developed a love for Judo and the rest is history.

There was always rivalry between the Judo clubs of Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge. Whenever I went to tournaments in Lethbridge I would obsess way too much about whether I could beat Dr. Senda's students. I rarely did. They were very good, well taught and well coached.

The last time I appeared before a Judo Alberta grading committee I was beyond nervous. I felt privileged that Dr. Senda was present that day. It made us all try harder.

Dr. Senda was very soft spoken, and his message to Judo people was always the same: keep trying and never give up.

I know that he will be missed by a lot of people.

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Why Harper’s Speech Doesn’t Matter

If you were shocked and saddened by Stephen Harper's leaked private speech delivered last night, you're probably not alone. I felt very demoralized last night and still do. However if you learned anything new about Harper from that mean spirited hate-filled speech then I would suggest you probably haven't been paying attention. That was vintage Stephen Harper, consistent with every partisan speech he's made going back to the early nineties and the birth of the Reform Party. As an Albertan this type of McCarthyist BS is nothing new.

It won't have much of an impact on people who already support Harper, in fact it will probably energize them. Those moderate conservatives, leftovers from the PC days maybe, have no influence and are tied and gagged in the basement.

I doubt very much whether the opposition parties will pick up any new energy or supporters from this speech because we've seen time and time again where these type of things don't really register with the average voter who are worried about feeding their dogs. Or kids. If we look at it honestly, voters can be irrational about a lot of things. The entire Bush era and the current American Health care debate are cases in point.

Unless polling suggests otherwise, I'm willing to bet that this speech will be quickly forgotten in a swirl of garbage noise from the CPC.

Here's Milewski's take on the speech.

Update: September 10, 2009 09:40 MST

I'm starting to believe that the leak was deliberate. At the very least I doubt that Harper would be angry at the leak since it sends all the right messages to the people they're trying to keep on board. Sad.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Harper's Election Law was a gimmick

As we speak lawyers for Elections Canada and Democracy Watch are arguing in Federal Court whether the last election was illegal. I support Democracy watch, in general, and can't wait for Harper to be retired to a think tank somewhere. Yet, I have doubts and I think the lawsuit is misdirected effort.

Its true that Stephen Harper broke his own law, and its true that this shows his lack of character and professionalism. However the law was a gimmick. It was a brain fart from the original Reform platform. None of the Reformers had much regard for the Constitution Act of 1982 and it continues to show.

A sitting Prime Minister making a law about election dates in a minority government is bizarre beyond belief, and I doubt the Supreme Court would be able to uphold such a law if it was ever challenged. It was a gimmick and nothing more, best remedied by the voters not the courts.

Harper knew ahead of time that ignoring such a bullshit law would be perfectly legal.

Democracy watch should focus on more important issues for now, given our growing democracy deficit. And yes, for the record, I believe we should have fixed election dates as part of overall electoral reform. I can only get behind that if its based on broad consultation. Stephen Harper isn't the one to do that, he can barely collaborate within his own tribe. Also, he doesn't understand what rule of law means.

Update September 8, 2009 14:15. Fix minor typos.

Update September 8, 2009 21:00 Links to other bloggers on same topic:
Kirby Cairo
Impolitical (strikes again)

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Where is Ed Stelmach? (Yawn)

Too good a graphic to waste, and so full of unintentional accuracy.

Since the beginning of the Bill 44 debate in Alberta, starting with Lindsay Blackett floating the idea to Tory fan boy Rick Bell, until the current argument about when the bill will be implemented, the Premier has been completely absent. During the historic Bill 44 debates in the Alberta Legislature the Premier didn't participate. I don't think he was even there for most of the debates. His absence was unprofessional and unparliamentary. In the meantime Blackett and Hancock spar through the media, like children, over the time frame to implement Bill 44. Hancock, after being in the party since he was 12 years old, apparently has no influence left, and bill 44 will go into effect this fall.

In the meantime, the economy has gone south. The Finance Minister managed to get though an economic update, high on rhetoric, low on facts, without insulting single mothers or double earners. (We must see the positive.) There is some reason to believe that the low price of natural gas will pin the Alberta economy in deficit for some time to come.

All of it reminds me of that scene in Rosemary's Baby where Mia Farrow finally gets what's actually happening. This is no dream! This is really happening!

So where is Ed? I don't know and I don't think it really matters much.

Update: September 7,2009

An op-ed at the Sheldon Chumir foundation by Janet Keeping, worth reading in and of itself, claims that Bill 44 will not be implemented until September 2010. Closed door top door Government - keep them guessing.

(On my fifth try now, hopefully I got the right link this time. )

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