In Memoriam: Those Lost on Cougar Helicopters Flight 91

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

- "Eternal Father, Strong to Save" (a/k/a "The Navy Hymn"),
William Whiting/John B. Dykes


The Magic Number is Now 161 ...

It's that time of the year! Opening Day - when hope springs eternal, even for Blue Jays fans.

And not a bad way to kick things off: an extra-inning win over the defending AL champs.

Yes, there's a lot going on, and going wrong, in the world today - the crisis I mentioned in the post below this one is still festering, for instance.

But c'mon: even with more serious things going on, Day #1 of your team's season, in the only sport that I'm sure God approves of (per Stephen King, of all people, in Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption) - well, it's as good a sign as any that spring's here, and that you don't have to focus on what's wrong all the time.

Play ball!

More later

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Trouble Brewing?

This is rather disquieting news, isn't it?

Short version (in case the link doesn't work): 15 British navy personnel have been taken into custody, at gunpoint, by Iranian forces. It happened while the Brits were conducting an inspection of a vessel heading for Iraq.

Details are still sketchy, but needless to say, the British government is not happy about this, at all.

Apparently, something like this happened in '04 (check out the BBC story for more details), and it was resolved - but as noted in other media covering this story, the situation vis a vis Iran and "the west" (including the UK) is significantly more tense now.

Here's hoping that this is quickly remedied by the quick return of the British sailors (along with an apology, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one) - because if it isn't, the British, and perhaps others, will have to respond more directly.

More later.



Such a Shame - He Was Having Such a GOOD Campaign ...

If there's a landmine, or even a cow-flop, out there, it seems Andre Boisclair is bound and determined to step on it.

But still, it's not as if leaders of the PQ have a history of saying really stupid things about people who don't fit the typical "pur laine" model of Quebec nationalist - right?

More later.

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Bloggin' the Brier (VI)

Howard can maybe put the game out of reach with this shot ... Here we go .... Damnit. He made a super shot and is up by 4.

It was an amazing shot, and ON deserves its win, but damn, it shows how this game can turn on a dime. NL looked like it had the edge at the 1/2-way mark and had Gushue made that risky shot a few ends back ...

Oh well. Howard & co. earned their win, but Gushue's rink earned some respect that they didn't have coming in, despite the gold medals at the Olympics last year.

In the 10th now, and Newfoundland & Labrador has just run out of rocks. Congrats to ON (who lost in the final last year) and see ya next year for NL - hopefully they can do what ON did this year, and bounce back for a win.

More later.

Bloggin' the Brier (V)

Hard luck for NL in the 8th ... They really needed 2, but got stuck with a single. Ontario leads by 1 and has the hammer in the 9th.

Gushue & co. will need some luck, or a bad break for Ontario, here.

More later.

Bloggin' the Brier (IV)

BIG risky shot from Gushue - and he missed BIG. Ontario steals 2, and Ontario's in the driver's seat heading for the 8th, up by 2.

I dunno - NL can maybe score a couple here, but now the Gushue rink's really under the gun. Damnit!

More later.

Bloggin' the Brier (III)

Ontario grabs 2, as Brad Gushue misses a double-takeout with his last rock, leaving a relatively easy draw for Howard (though the boys had to sweep for it!). We're tied after 6 ends, with NL holding the hammer in the 7th.

More later.

Bloggin' the Brier (II)

Bad ice has been the story this week, and it has reared its ugly head this week. Both Ont and NL have had good-looking shots go south.

In the 6th end and Ontario's threatening....These are 2 fine rinks here.

Ont scored 1 in the first; NL got 2 in the second, and ON did the same in the 3rd. NL scored 2 in the 4th and stole 1 in the 5th.

More later.

Bloggin' the Brier (I)

(Lord knows if this "remote blogging" will work this time - last time, during the '06 elections in the US, it screwed up 9 ways from Sunday - but it's worth a shot.)

Heck of a game going on today at the Brier in Hamilton. We're 1/2-way through, and NL has a 5-3 lead, but ON has the hammer in the 6th.

Great shooting from Nfld skip Brad Gushue, and not-quite-so-good shooting from Ontario's Howard, has been the diff so far in my uneducated opinion, but it's still very close. The ON rink can pick up 2 points easy, and maybe more.

More later. 

The Demos Get More Interesting ...

The NY Times had a bit of the glitch other day, but I have to say, I don't think the Dems have ever looked better.

More later.



Sometimes, a Story Can Be Summed Up In a Single Word...

... and that word is disgusting.

More later.

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Because Secret Ballots Are *SO* 20th Century ...

Not that Canadian politics isn't enough fun, but an article from south of the border caught my attention.

The gist of it is that the Democrats, who are now running Capital Hill, plan on changing the existing rules governing how a workplace gets unionized. Instead of requiring a secret yes-or-no ballot, the Dems and their union-head allies want to impose an automatic "card certification" process, which means that once a simple majority of eligibile workers sign union cards, the union is automatically "certified", or officialy recognized, without having a follow-up election.

The problem is, an individual worker could be pressured into signing a card - or for that matter, could be pressured into not signing. A secret ballot lets that individual make up his or her own mind, and vote accordingly, without anyone being able to prove how he or she voted.

If the worker signed the card of his/her own free will, then great: he or she can vote accordingly. But if for any reason they want to express themselves differently without everone in their shop knowing about it, a secret ballot lets that happen.

Unions, it is said, exist in part because the power of the individual worker is nowhere near as strong as the power enjoyed by his or her employer. But if that logic is accepted, then it follows that there is also a "power imbalance" between that individual worker, and a union on an organizing drive. One way to protect those individual workers from that "imbalance" is to allow them to make a yes-or-no choice without having to inform their fellow workers, the union organizers, or their employers & managers. And that's done by a secret ballot.

The Liberal government in Ontario has gotten up to similar shenanigans, bringing back Bob Rae-era "card certification", with a 55% threshold, in the construction industry. The McGuinty Libs haven't gone the whole hog and introduced "card certification" throughout Ontario - so far. But they have brought in some other pro-union "reforms". The CFIB has mounted a PR campaign setting out these changes, which you can read about here (note: Adobe document).

Naturally, the CFIB isn't exactly an unbiased observer in all of this by a long shot (but then, neither are most bloggers ...), but they do set out some of the more troubling changes introduced by the Libs.

But of all the "reforms", it's the card certification one that bothers me the most. Protecting an individual by giving her or him a secret ballot is seen as a pretty important principle to me - but it looks as if it's a principle that some unions, and their allies north & south of the border, would rather see the back of.

More later.



Well Done

Not that the "who's slandering who in the House of Commons" isn't fascinating, but as a slight diversion, and in the interests of putting up at lease one post a week, I thought I'd bring a "good news, job well done" sort of story to your attention. What is it? Click to see.

Not that it's a surprise to see a member of the Forces acting bravely even if he wasn't "on the job", but it's still a well-deserved recognition.

More later.


Don't Go Overboard

The Libs, as you have probably heard, are poised to flip-flop on their support of certain anti-terror provisions that were introduced after 9/11. I know, I know: not exactly front-page news. Both sides of the House change their minds on various issues, sometimes for good reasons, and sometimes for not.

I think the grits are in the "not" catagory here. But that's not the point of this post.

Today, the PM dragged out the "soft-on-terror" meme. And I think doing so is a mistake.

First of all, it's not necessary. Calling the Libs on ratting on their previous support - expressed as recently as last December, if media reports are to be believed - is entirely fair ball. So is pointing out that this particular flip-flop is muddle-headed at best. I don't even object to Harper saying, as he has, that this is driven by a certain element of the Lib caucus that doesn't reflect opinion in the country. So there are other means for going after "Team" Dion on this issue.

Second, it detracts from the principled argument that can be made for these provisions. In other words, you're arguing a negative instead of a positive. Sometimes, "negative" works - but it doesn't move your own agenda as much as it pulls down the other guy. This is a policy issue that we should be trying to push "up".

Third, it really is going too far. The Libs can be, and in my opinion are, quite wrong. That doesn't mean that they're hangin' with Osama.

Is it fair ball to say that the effect of the grit flip-flop is to unnecessarily weaken our anti-terror arsenal? Of course it is. Dion and his crew should not be let off the hook on this one. Quite simply, in my own opinion of course, they are wrong to turn their backs on the policy that they introduced.

But the PM is sailing into more troubled waters when he drags out the whole "soft-on" thing.

More later.


Ocean Ranger, 25 Years On ...

Now and then, you feel gobsmacked when you realize how much time has passed since a "big historical thing" (to use the technical term) happened.

In this case, unfortunately, the anniversary I'm referring to is of a tragedy for all Canadians, especially Newfoundlanders & Labradorians.

25 years ago today, the offshore oil drilling unit Ocean Ranger capsized and sank during a fierce North Altantic storm, with the loss of all 84 souls aboard her at the time.

Here is a link to an excellent archival site at cbc.ca, which contains a footage of news broadcasts and additional information about the tragedy.

And here is a link to a tremendous post from Simon Lono, who gives a personal - and deeply moving - account of the loss. Yes, Simon is a "Liblogger", but in case you couldn't guess, this has nothing to do with partisanship.

I was less than 11 years old at the time the Ocean Ranger sank, but I can still remember the shock and horror that almost everyone in St. John's experienced as the extent of the tragedy became apparent. I can't begin to imagine how the families of the victims felt on that day - or how they feel today.

As Simon's post pointed out, offshore oil has been, in some ways, a blessing for Newfoundland & Labrador. Many people see it as one of the best - if not last - chances for my home province to escape economic "have not" status. Debates have and will continue as to how "the offshore" should be developped, and on what terms. But very few would disagree that it has had a significant effect on Newfoundland & Labrador. But as Simon's post also reminds us, the boon of offshore oil has come at a heavy cost.

The only good thing I can say about the Ocean Ranger aftermath is that it resulted in much-needed changes to a host of regulations and procedures, especially as they relate to the safety of the crews of offshore oil rigs. It shouldn't have taken a disaster for these improvements to be made - some of them just scream "basic common sense" when it comes to working on the ocean, even to a decided non-mariner like me. But sometimes we just don't learn until the sea, or some other calamity, forces us to face up to our mistakes (Titanic and lifeboats - another example).

God rest the souls of the men who died that day, 25 years ago, and comfort their families. And God help us remember.

More later.


Now, Morale Has REALLY Improved

So, when I posted last evening that the Newfoundland & Labrador Libs could take moral satisfaction from a near-win, it turns out that wasn't quite good enough for the oppo team back home.

No, it turns out that thanks to what the CBC calls a "ballot boo-boo" (yeesh), the Liberal candidate won after all.

So, it looks like the Williams PC crew will have to pay even closer attention to the message(s) sent last night.

Assuming that there isn't another mix-up, or a recount, and the result stands, this is the first time that the PCs lost a seat that they formerly held in a by-election since they swept to government in 2003. Provincial law requires that a general election be held this October (unless there's a vote of non-confidence in the House of Assembly, which given the Tories' still-huge majority, aint gonna happen).

Several fine members of the Newfoundland & Labrador blogroll can give you an even better analysis of what this means, by virtue of being "on the ground" - links to them are over there on the right.

More later.


Morale Has, Quite Likely, Improved

Late last Thursday / early last Friday, I posted about the Newfoundland & Labrador PC's sweeping 3 by-elections.

I speculated that the PCs were the odds-on favourite to win the 4th by-election, held this evening. I also said that the Libs could do better in tonight's race.

Did they ever.

As tonight's results have it, the Tories have just barely held on to the Humber Valley district, located on the west side of the island. Subject to recounts, the PCs held on to this seat tonight by a whole heaping 12 - count 'em, 12 - votes out of 4,383 cast.

Why was this one so close? Well, like I said last time, keep in mind that this analysis comes from way far away in Toronto. But as near as I can tell, in no particular order:

1. Unlike most districts, this one was relatively close in the last general election in 2003. Whereas the PC's won almost 60% of the vote province-wide in '03, they won Humber Valley by a 52/48 margin (the NDP didn't field a candidate in the general election). So it wasn't as if the Libs were dealing with Tory strongholds, as were 2 of last week's districts.

2. Because this was a one-district night, the Libs were able to focus all of their attention on this one race. Of course, the same can be said for the Tories, so that explanation is probably a bit of a wash, at best.

3. There could very well be a whole host of local, district-only issues that I, I am ashamed to say, know nothing about (but then, NL by-elections don't exactly get lots of press in the national / Toronto media). What's more, for all I know, the Lib candidate - the same person who came in a close second in '03 - could be an excellent candidate and/or have run an excellent local campaign. I'll let more local commentators sound off on that.

4. Perhaps most importantly, the whole reason for this by-election was because the former MHA, Kathy Goudie, was personally implicated in a financial scandal, allegedly double-billing her expense claims (a police investigation is, apparently, underway).

So, put it all together and you get a victory-in-defeat moment for the NL Liberals. Whether it has any l0ng-term effect is hard to say, but after pointing out their electoral pratfall last week, their near-success should be noted as well. (Though you'll forgive me if I put my partisan hat on, and say that I hope it doesn't last!)

The real question is whether this represents, for Danny Williams and his crew, an aberration or a warning of trouble in this fall's scheduled election. For that, I'll have to cop out and say "wait and see" - but if the Tories needed a reminder not to rest on their laurels, this will hopefully do the trick.

More later.

PS: It's also worth noting that voter turn-out was significantly higher this evening in Humber Valley than it was in last week's races.

Now THAT'S Confidence!

The very first paragraph from Chantel Hebert's column in the The Star today:

Word on Parliament Hill these days is that a handful of senior Liberal MPs have been hitting their French books with a vengeance. Stéphane Dion may have been on the job for only a few months, but the prospect that his successor will almost certainly not be from Quebec has convinced some of his ambitious colleagues to put energy in language training now, to avoid being left behind later.

No time like the present, I guess. But whatever could have unilingual MPs racing off to French class (or English class, as the case may be)? Maybe this survey from the blogosphere's favourite Canadian pollster can offer up a clue. Apparently, mean ol' Stephen is doing a lot better as a leader than his opponents give him credit for.

Now. If you go digging through the archives here, you'll see that I have cautioned that opinion polls - even from SES - should be taken with several bushels of salt. That is all the more so when we're not in the middle of an actual election campaign. If anyone - from my fellow Blogging Tories to the folks in charge at Conservative Party h.q. - were to assume that Team Harper's in like Flynn after the next election based on these sorts of surveys, they really do need to think twice. If the last few years have taught us anything, it should be that poll numbers ebb and flow, and that campaigns matter.

But still: the Liberals seemed to be banking on, amongst other things, an assumption that Harper's style would turn off the electorate. For now at least, that assumption should go back to the drawing boards, if not the rubbish bin.

More later.


You Heard It Here First - Curling Edition

Brad Gushue - who in 2006, was the skip of the first Canadian men's rink to win a gold medal at a Winter Olympics - got his first big win several years before, when he won the Canadian Jr. Men's competition in 2001. He went on to win the World Junior Championship that same year.

Now, the Stacie Devereaux rink from St John's has become the first team from Newfoundland & Labrador to win the Canadian Junior Women's Champtionship. And they did in dramatic style, scoring 3 to come from behind in the 10th and final end against a game squad from Manitoba.

Congratulations to Stacie and her team. Here's hoping that history repeats itself, and we see her getting a gold medal placed 'round her neck not only at this year's World Championship, but 3 years from now in Vancouver!

More later.


For NL Liberals, the Beatings Will Continue Till Morale Improves ...

Danny's crew went 3 for 3 tonight in by-elections back in my homeland. You can see the results here if you're interested.

Turnout was low in 2 out of the 3, and downright pathetic in the third. People will debate the meaning of that - here's a quite smart Liberal's analysis of the results.

I've (literally) got a train to catch, so I won't go into detail, but the short version, as I see it (from far-too-many-kilometres away, keep in mind) is that 2 of these seats were Tory strongholds - even when ol' Brian T. was at the top of his popularity, Kilbride and Ferryland went PC. The third, Port au Port, is a bit more of a swing riding, but I don't think too many of my compatriots were shocked to see it stay "blue".

What's more, the big money scandal going on back home - more details to follow, but almost any one of the fine NL blogrolls blogs to the right of this screen can give you details - has touched all 3 parties. So you probably had a bit of "plauge on all your houses" thinking going on.

But still and all: as at least one of the Ontario by-elections that were also held tonight demonstrates, people can toss elect an oppo member to a formerly-government-held seat in a by-election, if they're good-and-angry enough to do so.

At least for now, the Newfoundland & Labrador PC's haven't inspired that anger, and for sure, the NL Liberals and NDP (who were never expected to be a factor in these races - their strength is much more localized in a smaller # of districts) haven't found a way to either create that anger, or capitalize on whatever remnants of it that do exist.

An interesting question is that effect will this have on the 4th & final NL by-election, scheduled for next week. As Ed H. (the "Liblogger" I linked to above) suggests, tonight could help the Liberal candidate, in a roundabout way - but from all the way here in T.O., it looks like the Libs have a heck of a hill to climb.

More later.


Conditions For a Halton By-Election?

I think Garth is now saying that if the PM promises to call a by-election right away, Turner will step down right away.

I say "I think" because I'm still not certain whether Garth is still insiting that at the very least, a by-election be called for W. Khan's riding as well. It depends what quote you read.

I've said it before: Garth should step down, without conditions, because he has made the whole issue of changing horses in mid-stream such a big deal.

But if Garth's not insisting on Khan, or anyone else, resigning before Garth agrees to live up to his own principles, then that's a much more interesting situation - and it puts the ball right back into the PM's court.

More later.


You Can't Fight City Hall ...

... Or in this case, the New Brunswick legislature.

Buckle up, this may take a minute to get through, but it's an important principle.

The backstory: Since 1988, licensed premises in New Brunswick purchase their alcohol from the provincial liquor corporation’s retail stores and, in addition to the retail price, paid a so-called “user charge”, as prescribed by regulation. Finally, Kingstreet Investments, which operated a bunch of nightclubs in the province, challenged the constitutional validity of this “user charge”. Kingstreet was looking for reimbursement and interest of the amounts paid.

The trial court ruled that the user charge was an “unconstitutional indirect tax”, but that court refused to order the government to repay the money collected, as it applied the “passing-on” defence (which means, in somewhat clear English, that the bars were passing on the higher price to their customers, and therefore suffered no loss). The lower court also applied what it called a general rule against recovery of unconstitutional taxes.

(It's important to note that neither this Court, nor the two higher Courts that weighed in on this case ever said that the tax was constitutionally valid. Keep that in mind as we go on.)

Kingstreet took their case to the N.B. Court of Appeal, the highest Court in the province, which “allowed” Kingstreet’s appeal, and told the province to pay up, but not from the beginning of when the money was improperly collected, but only from from the time Kingstreet started its lawsuit against the province. The “user fees” paid before then were, according to the Court of Appeal, subject to that “passing‑on” defence I mentioned earlier.

So off both sides go to the Supreme Court of Canada, and last month, in a judgment you can read here if you’re interested, the S.C.C., in a unanimous decision, told the province, "no dice": all of the improperly-collected money had to go back to Kingstreet.

To quote from the S.C.C.’s “headnote” (a summary of its decision that appears at the beginning of the decision):

This case should be decided on the basis of constitutional principles rather than unjust enrichment as an unjust enrichment analysis is ill‑suited to deal with the issues raised by ultra vires taxes [that is, taxes that are beyond the scope of the government in question to impose – JH.]. The taxpayers in this case have recourse to a remedy as a matter of constitutional right. This remedy is the only appropriate one because it raises important constitutional principles which would be ignored by treating the claim under another category of restitution.

Restitution is generally available for the recovery of monies collected under legislation that is subsequently declared to be ultra vires. Such restitution is warranted to guarantee respect for constitutional principles, in particular, in this case, the principle that the Crown may not levy a tax except with authority of the Parliament or the Legislature. This principle of “no taxation without representation” is central to our conception of democracy and the rule of law. When the government collects and retains taxes pursuant to ultra vires legislation, it undermines the rule of law. To permit the Crown to retain an ultra vires tax would thus condone a breach of this most fundamental constitutional principle. As a result, a taxpayer who has made a payment pursuant to ultra vires legislation has a right to restitution.
[emphasis added]

Now, that’s what you could call a thumbnail sketch of the Court’s decision, but you get the idea: to allow “the Crown” (i.e., the N.B. government) to retain its ill-gotten money undermines the rule of law.

So what’s the newly-elected (despite losing the popular vote, but that’s another story) government in N.B. going to do?

If you said “Pay back whatever unconstitutional taxes they collected over the years, and offer an apology”, then I’m sorry to say that you have to sit in the corner with the dunce hat on, becase that aint how governments tend to behave.

Nope, as this story (from the increasingly-indispensable Macleans.ca website) shows, the ward-heelers in New Brunswick plan on simply changing the law – retroactively. They’re going to be real sports about it and pay Kingstreet its money back, presumably for showing the gumption to take the government all the way to the S.C.C., and no doubt incurring hefty lawyers’ bills along the way.

But everyone else who was hosed by a “user fee” which was actually an unconstitutional tax, and who paid money that the Court said had to be returned at the risk of undermining the rule of law, can just go pound sand. The government is now calling this underhanded, unconstitutional user fee a “retroactive tax”, which is about a good example of doublespeak as I’ve heard all day.

N.B.’s Public Safety Minister – now there’s an ironic title for the job, under the circumstances – John Foran said they were just thinking of the children, for God’s sake – er, I mean, protecting the taxpayers’ interests and keeping roads and schools from imminent collapse, and of course, he dragged the rest of the N.B. populace into the act:

[Foran] says New Brunswickers would sooner see money spent on things like education and health care.

I don’t know if New Brunswickers will see it that way or not. But here’s the thing, and it’s a shame Foran doesn’t get this: the “rule of law” is not something that just ebbs and flows with public opinion. Quite the opposite: it’s one of those things that make civilized places, well, civilized because it ensures that nobody – from the Crown to a tavern-owner to the guy who buys a beer or three at said tavern – can escape the laws that are supposed to apply to us all.

If I take the government to Court, and win, then others who suffered exactly the same wrong should get exactly the same remedy. And just like any other loser in any other Court case, the government shouldn't get to play fast & loose with that principle just because the result may not be popular.

Now, what the N.B. government is going to do here may well pass constitutional muster – I’m a lawyer but I don’t practice in that area, so really, your guess is as good as mine. It may very well be that the taxpayers who ponied up for this bloody “user fee” for years may be out of luck, so that (presumably) another group of taxpayers can benefit.

But keep in mind what the S.C.C. said (at para. 14 of the decision I linked to above):

The Court’s central concern must be to guarantee respect for constitutional principles.

Ask yourself if what the N.B. government is doing lives up to that "central concern" or not. You can’t tell me that this doesn’t give a political, if not legal, thumb to the eye to the values that the Supreme Court of Canada went on about in its decision.

More later.


"Bring it On"

Over at the blog of the newly-Liberal Garth Turner, Dion's latest (and to date, only) catch says that he'll be happy to run in a by-election if - and only if - by-elections are called in the seats currently held by Messrs. Emmerson and Khan.

Comments are not being accepted, or are being held pending review, at Garth's blog, so I'll say what I tried to say there, here:

Garth - unlike Khan, Emmerson, Fortier, or anyone else who Garth got upset about - made joining another team a huge issue. You want to be a Liberal, get elected as a Liberal, was Garth's message.

If Garth chooses to live down to the standard set by Emmerson and Khan, that's his choice to make. But he can't pretend that he's living up to the standard that he himself called for if he's saying "I'll do it if they do it".

More later.

On the Bright Side, We'll All Get to Hear What Goes On at Lib Caucus Meetings ...

It looks like independence doesn't agree with Garth - which means, assuming this to be true, that "independence" joins the long list of things & people Garth doesn't end up getting along with.

And like I said in the "comments" Garth's place, it looks like Halton is Canada's party-switching capital:

1. Gary Carr goes from a Mike Harris-era Ontario PC to a Liberal, and gets beaten by ...

2. a Brian Mulroney-era PC who wins as a Harper-era Conservative before getting the gate, promising to raise hell as an indep before (apparently) joining the Dion Liberals.

I thought/knew Halton was a great place to live, but there must be something in the water they give to politicans.

More later.


Reason # 1,000,001

I was at the movies the other night, and before the 12.5 hours of "coming attractions" began, the audience was treated - and I'm not being sarcastic when I say "treated" - to what I assume is a new video from the Beatles re-mixed Love album.

There's about a million reasons why the Beatles ruled the music world, and still kick the heck out of just about anyone else who's come down the pike since 1970. Here's another.

More later.


Good Show

I hate stealing lines from Paul Martin of all people, and I'm not a fan of the "grocery list" approach in mid-mandate when it comes to election promises & policy items, where you check things off as you go.

Generally speaking - and there are exceptions to every rule - I think you should take a look at a government's record once the writ for the next campaign is dropped, when it comes to which pledges were kept, which ones were not, and why. In other words, for the most part governments should be judged on their overall record once the election has been called.

But still and all, allow me to say, even just this once:

Promise made, promise kept.

More later.


Don't Take Dion With You to the Horse Track...

Happy New Year, very busy, more posts later ... you know the routine.

Lots of comment out there, on both sides of the fence, on the newest Tory MP. But whether or not Khan's floor-crossing is good or bad (in either the "strategic" or "moral" sense of the words), this is a story that just never should have been allowed to take root. And while it won't get as much attention, it doesn't show Dion's judgment in a good light.

Here's a hint for Stephane, not that he'll take my advice: when you hear rumours from a number of sources that one of your MPs is jumping ship, don't tell the CBC that there's simply no way it's going to happen. It makes you look a bit silly, especially when it does in fact happen a short time later.

More later.


Happy Christmas to All!

Back in St John's, with the families (mine & Fiona's) ... It was worth the 13 hours (!) of aggravation - more on that later, but suffice to say I hope Air Canada as a whole gets a big lump of coal in its collective stocking this year - to be home in St John's at this time of the year.

Wherever you're reading this, and whatever you're doing on this day, and whatever your faith, belief or creed - I hope you're with the one(s) you love, and that you and yours have a safe and happy holiday.

Like the title says ... Happy Christmas to all!

More later.