Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hypocrisy on Parade!

Check out Jeff Black's Horny Rabbit blog post for an accurate description of the gay political stories du jour.

As usual, he has a humorous yet right on target view of the situation . . . .

Fairy Tales . . . . (No, Not That Kind of Fairy!)

A friend sent this to me this morning and I think it's a very appropriate commentary on today's political scene.

Wouldn't it be refreshing if once candidates got into office they actually did what they promised they would?

I'm sure this is only a US phenomena - Surely not in Canada!!
(We can only hope . . . )

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Love This Web Page . . .

As I was "stumbling"* around the web today, I came upon this page which is quite clever and very accurate. Hope you think so, too . . . .

*Actually, "stumbling" is an accurate term if you're not familiar with it. It's a Firefox browser extension that lets you pick search options based on your interests and fetches pages that people find useful. It has been a very good tool to find new viewpoints on topics that interest me. Here is where to go to install it.

Nick and Mason Have Landed!!!

L-girl of We Move to Canada advises that Mason and Nick of Life Without Borders landed in Canada this morning . . . What great news for them and the rest of us attempting to follow in their footsteps.

Congratulations, Guys!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Don't Think We Like This . . . .

Not that this is surprising, but it is still disappointing. Further ties to the southern neighbour is not a good route for our future home to take. More spending on the military, depletion of natural resources, no universal health care, the "with us or against us" foreign policy . . . . These are reasons we're trying to get out of the US, we sure don't want them to follow us up here.

From today's Vancouver Sun:

Conservatives snuggle up to Washington

U.S. ambassador hails a ‘new era of cooperation’


OTTAWA — Canada and the United States have entered a “new era” of cooperation, the American ambassador said Tuesday, hours after new federal government documents proclaimed Ottawa’s top foreign policy priority to be “greater collaboration” with Washington.
Though Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made strengthening relations with Washington a key part of his international agenda, the relationship was identified as the country’s top foreign policy priority in the government’s spending estimates formally tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
According to the estimates, tabled by Foreign Affairs, that means backing the U.S. in its “indispensable role” in promoting Middle East peace, deepening ties between Canadian and American diplomats abroad, and an attempt “to balance American priorities with traditional Canadian foreign policy” in dealing with major international issues such as Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Iraqi reconstruction.
Later in the day, a speech in Ottawa by U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins heralded the onset of a renewed era of stronger ties between the two as he took a thinly veiled swipe at the previous Liberal governments of Paul Martin and Jean Chretien for undermining relations with the Bush administration.
“We are truly entering a new era of cooperation where there is a focus on shared responsibilities for dealing with problems — certainly more interested today on fixing the problem rather than fixing the blame,” Wilkins told hundreds of delegates at the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada’s annual meeting.

Nope, don't like it, don't like it at all.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday Morning in Vancouver . . . .

Checked in on the Burrard Bridge web cam overlooking English Bay this morning . . . Looks like another beautiful day in our future home.

Sure wish we were already there on a permanent basis. Getting kind of envious of Nick/Mason and Gito/Juan's journey this week . . . . . Hopefully the rest of us will be following soon!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dual Citizenship Revisions?

This from today's Vancouver Sun . . . What do you think about this proposed change?

For those of you already with PR status, do you plan to maintain US Citizenship upon gaining Canadian Citizenship? Thoughts appreciated . . . .

Tories plan review of dual citizenship

Some argue people should lose Canadian status if they are also citizens elsewhere

BY ALLAN WOODS CanWest News Service

OTTAWA — The Conservative government plans to revisit issues surrounding 30-year-old rules allowing people who live abroad to hold dual Canadian citizenship, a senior Conservative has told CanWest News Service.
The review of the laws allowing people to carry a Canadian passport along with the citizenship of another country appears to be on a fast-track, particularly after the government began tallying the costs and results of the mass rescue of civilians in Lebanon who held Canadian citizenship during the recent conflict between Hezbollah and Israel.
“I think it’s going to be something that our minister of immigration [Monte Solberg] . . . will be addressing in the future because I think there is some interest as these details become known,” said Conservative caucus chairman Rahim Jaffer, a member of the House of Commons citizenship and immigration committee.
Solberg refused requests for an interview and Jaffer did not disclose what other issues relating to dual citizenship could come under review. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already expressed his desire to look at changes to the protocol the government follows when helping Canadians leave foreign hotspots.
Lesley Harmer, a spokeswoman for Solberg, said “there aren’t any plans” to change laws governing dual citizenship.
But Jaffer said a closer look at the issue was already on the government’s fall agenda, and could now happen “within weeks” after the burden of moving Canadian citizens out of the Middle East war zone have come to light.
Some 40,000 Canadians were registered with the embassy in Lebanon when the war broke out in July, and Ottawa estimates it spent more than $85 million to bring about 15,000 of them to Canada. Reports suggest 7,000 evacuees have since returned to Lebanon.
The movement to revisit dual citizenship is drawing support on both sides of the Commons.
“I’ve always questioned dual citizenship, and I’m the former minister,” said Ontario Liberal MP Judy Sgro, a Liberal immigration minister between 2003 and 2005.
“We’ve paid all that money to evacuate all those people and now 7,000 of them have gone back.”
She added the benefits that come with Canadian citizenship — including pension benefits and assistance from the federal government in times of emergency — are “ripe for exploitation” by those living abroad.
Statistics Canada says there are more than four million immigrants who hold dual citizenship with Canada and at least one other country.
There are no records for Canadian-born citizens who hold other citizenships.
“We need to be loyal to one country as far as your citizenship. Your heart can be where you were born but I think the commitment to Canada has to be strong, and I think dual citizenship weakens that,” Sgro said.
Canada changed its laws to allow Canadians to hold passports from two countries in 1977. Advice from two parliamentary committees from the mid-1990s that it was time to revamp citizenship laws were ignored.
One of those committees from 1993 suggested permitting dual citizenship reduced the value that goes along with being a Canadian and recommended those who take citizenship with another country should forfeit their Canadian passport.

I have contacted Idealistic Pragmatist and L-Girl of We Move to Canada for their thoughts/discussion. Hope we get good responses . . . .

Monday, September 18, 2006

On a Lighter Note . . . . "Boobs a-Popping"

To those of you unfamiliar with Jeff Black's blog, today's post is particularly amusing . . . Thought a lighter note after the "pope-poop" was in order . . . . Enjoy!

Pope & Circumstance, Chapter II

After my original post here on "His Idiocy" Pope Benedict, it never occurred to me that I would be posting another tidbit about this nitwit so soon . . . . Who knew the cretin is even more bigoted than once thought?!?!? Please explain why anyone would belong to an organized religion when all of them are led by despicably inept people such as this?

Sept. 18, 2006, 9:53AM

Iraq al-Qaida says pope, West are doomed

By ANNA JOHNSON Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

CAIRO, Egypt — An al-Qaida-linked extremist group warned Pope Benedict XVI on Monday that he and the West were "doomed," as protesters raged across the Muslim world to demand more of an apology from the pontiff for his remarks about Islam and violence.

The Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella organization of Sunni Arab extremist groups that includes al-Qaida in Iraq, issued a statement on a Web forum vowing to continue its holy war against the West. The authenticity of the statement could not be independently verified.

The group said Muslims would be victorious and addressed the pope as "the worshipper of the cross" saying "you and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. ... We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (killed by) the sword."

Islam forbids drinking alcohol and requires non-Muslims to pay a head tax to safeguard their lives if conquered by Muslims. They are exempt if they convert to Islam.

In Indian-controlled Kashmir, meanwhile, shops, businesses and schools shut down in response to a strike call by the head of a hard-line Muslim separatist leader to denounce Benedict. For the third day running, people burned tires and shouted "Down with the pope."

Protests also broke out in Iraq, where angry demonstrators burned an effigy of the pope in Basra, and in Indonesia, where more than 100 people rallied in front of the heavily guarded Vatican Embassy in Jakarta, waving banners that said the "Pope is building religion on hatred."

The pope on Sunday said he was "deeply sorry" about the angry reaction to his speech last week in which he cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of Islam's Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman" and referred to spreading Islam "by the sword."

Benedict said the remarks came from a text that didn't reflect his own opinion.

"I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect," he said during his weekly appearance before pilgrims in Italy.

The statement of regret - the pope's second in two days - helped ease some tensions.

However, State Minister Mehmet Aydin, who oversees the religious affairs in Turkey, said he expected Turkish authorities to cancel the visit if Benedict does not offer a full apology.

"We are expecting the authorities to unilaterally cancel this visit. The pope's coming to Turkey isn't going to foment the uniting of civilizations, but a clash of civilizations," he said.

The secretary-general of the Turkish HUKUK-DER law association submitted a request to the Justice Ministry asking that the pope be arrested upon entering Turkey.

The appeal by Fikret Karabekmez, a former legislator for the banned pro-Islamic Welfare Party, called for Benedict to be tried under several Turkish laws, among them obstruction of freedom of belief, encouraging discrimination based on religion, and inciting religious hatred.

A prosecutor in the ministry will evaluate the request and decide whether to open a case.

Angry reactions also persisted in other corners of the Muslim world, where many demanded more of an apology by the pope than Sunday's statement of regret.

Morocco's King Mohammed VI sent a letter to the Vatican in which he implored Benedict to show "the same respect for Islam that you have for the other religions," Moroccan media reported. Morocco withdrew its ambassador to the Vatican over the weekend.

Even in China, where the government exerts tight controls over religious activities, a top religious official said Benedict had insulted the nation's Muslims.

In the Middle East, where Muslims threw firebombs at seven churches in the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the weekend, Christian leaders posted guards outside some churches.

"We are afraid," said Sonia Kobatazi, a Christian Lebanese, after Mass at the Maronite Christian St. George Cathedral in Beirut, Lebanon, where about a dozen policemen carrying automatic weapons stood guard.

And if you still think Muslims are the only radical religious zealots around, check this out and think again.

I'm sure that both jesus and muhammad would be proud of the actions by their representatives on earth . . . . Sshheeesshh, what a crock!!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Keith Olbermann "This Hole in the Ground"

If you missed the 9/11 comments by Keith Olbermann here is the transcript and a link to the video is also available. It is a classic and bears everyone watching . . . .

As a postscript: On 9/13/06 Representative John Conyers of Michigan quoted from Keith's commentary in a speech he made on the floor of the House. At least some people are listening . . .

NDP Convention Report

There is a great review of the NDP convention - complete with a link to very professional photos - here posted by Idealistic Pragmatist. She was in attendance representing her riding.

IP did an excellent job recapping the event in Quebec and it is well worth a read for her in-depth analysis of the convention. Great job, IP!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Final Cut . . . Great News!!

Gito and Juan of "wondrous canadian renewal" made it in!! Yay!!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Pope and Circumstance . . .

Another reason to ignore these "Holier Than Thou" religious leaders:

Pope criticizes Canada on gay marriage and abortion

Roman Catholic politicians are urged not to sacrifice their personal beliefs to back legislation contrary to their faith

BY ALLISON HANES - National Post

TORONTO — In a toughly worded statement, Pope Benedict XVI Friday singled out Roman Catholic politicians in Canada who voted for gay marriage, urging them not to sacrifice their personal beliefs for the sake of opinion polls and social trends.
The Pope repeated his opposition to abortion and gay marriage after a week of meetings with Ontario Catholic bishops.
The group, including Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic of Toronto, are wrapping up an ad limina visit to the Vatican — a once-everyfive-years courtesy call where they provide the Pope with a state-of-the-union report on their diocese.
“In the name of tolerance, your country has had to endure the folly of the redef inition of spouse, and in the name of freedom of choice it is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children,” the Pope said.
The pontiff touched on the highly sensitive issue of whether Catholic politicians can back legislation allowing practices such as gay marriage and abortion even if they are personally opposed to them.
He condemned such behaviour as “false dichotomies.”
Same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada after a series of provincial court decisions and the passage last year of a bill in Parliament by a 164-137 margin.
But during last winter’s federal election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed to reopen the debate, which in many cases has pitted MPs against the positions of their parties.
A vote on whether to revisit the law is scheduled to take place this fall.
Gilles Marchildon, executive director of EGALE Canada, a same-sex rights group that pushed hard for the marriage law, said Friday he was not overly surprised by the Pope’s latest comment, since he has expressed his opposition before.
It is hard to tell, Marchildon said, how his remarks might influence the next round of the parliamentary debate.
“Most politicians are able to be objective and while being informed by their faith, are not shackled by it,” he said.
Before his death, Pope Jean Paul II vociferously denounced Canada for its drive to legalize same-sex marriage.
Archdiocese of Toronto public relations director Neil McCarthy explained Friday that the Pope’s latest foray into the gay marriage debate came directly in response to issues the visiting Ontario bishops would have raised.
He said Catholic bishops from Quebec and the Atlantic provinces also made an ad limina visit to the Vatican earlier this year, eliciting a response from the Pope on other matters of concern in Canada, like unemployment and declining church attendance among young people.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

2 Months from Anniversary . . .

Two months from today - November 7 - will be the one year "anniversary" of Ottawa issuing the Acknowledgment of Receipt for our application.

After that time I will become even more anxious than I already am to receive some sort of correspondence from them. It certainly would be a welcome surprise to hear something before that time, but I'm not holding my breath . . .

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Policy Adjustment?

Interesting figures:

Number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks: 2,976

As of today, Number of US military deaths in the Iraq fiasco: 2,644

Five year's later, we will soon eclipse the 9/11 figure . . . . Is it possible at that time the Moron will rethink his policies??

Recent Canadian Poll . . .

To quote an old Southern expression which appears to be quite appropriate in this situation:
"You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas."

September 3, 2006

Bush ties leave Harper in bind
Poll suggests PM's relationship with U.S. prez hurts popularity


OTTAWA -- A fascinating national opinion survey suggests Stephen Harper and his Conservative government would do well to heed an old political saw about Canada-U.S. relations: Canadians like to see their prime ministers in the White House rose garden, but not in the presidential bedroom.

After seven months of an aggressive Washington courtship, the prime minister has apparently left a significant number of Canadian voters with the impression he is 'twixt the sheets with George W. Bush, and far too close for comfort.

In fact, the poll suggests Harper's perceived love-in with the increasingly unpopular U.S. president is the foremost single cause of what ails the minority Conservative government.

The survey of 1,003 voters was conducted in late August by the premier polling firm SES Research, exclusively for the Sun.

While Harper and his strategists have run the government with the single-minded goal of building towards a majority in the next election, the SES-Sun poll shows the Conservatives' popularity has slipped back to where they started on voting day seven months ago.

The big question, of course, is why? The SES-Sun poll probed voters' likes and dislikes about the Harper government, and what is it that is making fully 45% of voters "uncomfortable" with the mere concept of the Conservatives ruling with a majority in parliament.

While voters said what most impresses them is Harper "keeps his promises" and "gets the job done," what exactly the Conservatives are getting done is the main source of negative reaction.

Topping the list of things voters dislike most about the Harper government is "too close to the U.S.," and the Conservatives' military policies -- presumably Canada's role in the Afghanistan war.

Among those who said they would be uncomfortable with Harper assuming the powers of a majority government, "his policies" were the single largest cause of queasiness.

Put all the data together, and the SES-Sun polls paint a political landscape pocked with major challenges for the Harper government between now and the next election.

First, the war in Afghanistan and, to a lesser degree, Harper's pro-Israel stance on the conflict in Lebanon, are taking a definitive toll on Conservative popularity, particularly in Quebec where the party has tanked since the spring.

Second, the Conservative communications strategy of making the government "all Harper, all the time" has also turned him into the lightning rod for voter discontent.

Asked what they don't like about the Harper government, voters didn't point to Conservative policies, but "his policies."

SES pollster Nik Nanos says the results suggest those who don't like the Harper government are far more passionate than those who do.

"Those who support the Conservatives are saying Harper is doing a good job, he's getting things done so let's give him a chance ... Compared to the previous prime minister (Paul Martin), Harper is seen as the anti-Dithers."

On the flipside, Nanos notes, those who don't like the Harper and/or the Conservatives, REALLY don't like them. "They don't trust them."

The polls point rather clearly to the road ahead for Harper.

For starters, he will be in a lot fewer photo-ops with Bush, and in lot more waving the flag in the far North where our sovereignty is somehow threatened by the Yanks (who, for the record, say they aren't the least bit interested).

But more than anything, Nanos says, the Harper government desperately needs to "change the channel to domestic issues that do not involve the U.S." That means moving public attention away from issues such as softwood lumber, border security, the environment and Kyoto accord, and away from conflicts in the Mideast and Afghanistan.

None of which will be easy: The lumber deal has yet to be finalized; new passport rules for entering the U.S. start to kick in next year; the Conservatives are presenting their alternative to Kyoto this fall; and Afghanistan will continue to be a killing field for Canadian troops.

At the same time, the Conservatives' much-touted "five priorities" barely registered with voters' likes and dislikes in the SES-Sun polls. Nanos says if the Conservatives are smart, they'll latch on to their promised health-care guarantee, an issue that is certainly Canadian and equally un-American.

One way or another, Harper needs to wake up and smell the rose garden.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy September 1st . . .

My personal favorite - for obvious reasons - is the last one . . . .

This day in history:

1939: The lethal combination of German blitzkrieg tactics, French inactivity, and Russian perfidy doomed Poland to swift defeat this day in 1939, when Adolf Hitler invaded the country and sparked World War II.

1985: The wreck of the Titanic was found on the ocean floor at a depth of about 13,000 feet (4,000 metres).

1969: A group of young army officers led by Muammar al-Qaddafi deposed the king and made Libya a republic.

1951: Australia, New Zealand, and the United States signed the ANZUS Pact.

1930: The Young Plan, the second renegotiation of Germany's World War I reparation payments, went into effect.

1923: A great earthquake struck the Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area; the death toll from the shock was estimated at 142,800.

1914: The last known passenger pigeon died in the Cincinnati (Ohio) Zoo.

1870: The French army suffered a decisive defeat at the Battle of Sedan in the Franco-German War.

1864: The Charlottetown Conference, the first of a series of meetings that ultimately led to the formation of the Dominion of Canada, convened at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.