Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Paradoxical Scientific Reporting

If this paper is true, then is it likely false?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"A Wilderness of Monkeys"

What a performance of The Merchant of Venice tonight! Despite the sad, unexpected passing of artistic director Patrick Christopher-Carter, Halifax's Shakespeare by the Sea's troupe matches up with the best that I have seen.

The line of the night, and one I hope to use at various times, befitting the good fortune that hangs over the collective heads of myself and friends, is simple and magnetic:
"We are the Jasons. We have won the fleece."

Do I need to repeat it? Bill Shakespeare has done it again. And I absolutely adore this random commentary re: the play:

There is a happy—and that is not to say sappy—ending for everybody in “The Merchant of Venice”—everybody except Shylock. “Thou torturest me, Tubal!” he
exclaims when he learns that Jessica has traded that ring for a monkey. “It was my turquoise. I had it of Leah [his dead wife, Jessica’s mother] when I was a bachelor.”

And then, in an extraordinary line: “I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.”

Which says it all. Such is the world. A wilderness of monkeys.

Another Dal Law Blogger

Welcome to an old classmate, Liam O'Brien, across the blogosphere - although technically he's been around for some time. Liam's one of the sane members of the Blogging Tories, an honourable gentlemen and enjoyer of fine Scotch. He (along with Anna Pugh from Whitehorse) convinced me of the futility of the gun registry in the basement of the Domus one night with sound argument and good Keith's. He's one to watch.

Quote of the (Fri)day

A day early! Simply because it derives from a larger wonderful article on "classical" music (via Wells) that deserves as large an audience as possible, and because it is wonderful writing that speaks the truth. And who knows where this night will lead me into tomorrow. Do have plans for Shakespearean play #17 since last June tonight. From Vancouver Harbour through London, Oxford, and Stratford, now back to Point Pleasant Park. Bring on The Merchant of Venice. Will Bill Shakespeare do it again?

But to the quote:
The best music is music that persuades us that there is no other music in the world. This morning, for me, it was Sibelius’s Fifth; late last night, Dylan’s “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”; tomorrow, it may be something entirely new. I can’t rank my favorite music any more than I can rank my memories.

Alex Ross, "Listen to This"

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

We Broke It... So Only We Can Fix It

A little Ahab "Cheers and Jeers" to TDH Strategies' commentary yesterday (August 23rd):

CHEERS: for calling out the frustrating Liberal unwillingness/inability to react constructively to the now not-so-recent Chaoulli decision, beyond continued rhetoric:

"Either disregard your claim to supporting a universal health care system, or begin the conversation on how we can better regulate the industry by updating the Canada Health Act.

But for the federal government to continue to operate in this grey area of apathy is just unacceptable, lazy and short-sighted governance."

Can anyone disagree? [dare I ask, lest Cherniak turn out a post entitled "Martin Has Saved Health Care"?]. I hope the Fall Parliamentary session sees some movement on this file beyond the tired bluster that "no one" wants "two-tier" healthcare. A meeting of Federal and Provincial Health Ministers, as Sinister Thoughts has long suggested (day 76), would be a productive first step. Let's please move away from political posturing and toward constructive engagement.

JEERS: for calling attention and repeating (apparently without irony) these comments from July 8th, a classic example of the twisted reasoning typical of Liberal Party partisans:
We must modernize the Canada Health Act. And correspondingly, the only way a process can stay true to Canadian values and ensure the trust of the public is if it begins with a Liberal government.
The "only" way? I don't know whether that's an indictment more squarely of the Canadian public or the Opposition parties. It is a sad statement, surely, that seemingly the only ones we can trust to save the public system are those same ones who have overseen the sharp rise in private clinics.

The days of "See No Private Health Care, Hear No Private Health Care, Speak No Private Health Care" are gone - it is already, undeniably, in our midst. If we want to fix the system for a generation, we'll have to at least begin with an honest debate and argument that accords with reality. Then, let the chips fall where they may.

Election on Ice

Liberals backbenchers are probably right to be concerned about the prospect of a Winter election following the Gomery report, but they have no legitimate grievance here. The Prime Minister knew exactly what the 30-day promise entailed when he went on the air under the guise of "emergency" to plead for an additional Gomery grace period.

This should be an absolute no-brainer for the opposition parties. One of the most annoying non-arguments in politics is the various posturing about who is "responsible" for the fall of a minority government and the resulting election. The supposed "fault" for the 2006 "Election on Ice" would lie squarely on the shoulders of that pledge in the wake of Gomery. It guarantees that a central tenant of the campaign will involve the findings in the report, without the opposition having to constantly mention it explicitly.

Live by the sword, die by the sword. Martin's pledge delivered exactly what the Liberals wanted (time), but it came at a cost. Harper, Layton, and Duceppe would be foolish in the extreme if they threw away the advantages of a set election date that they (and political punditry in general) should be gearing up for yesterday.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Quote of the (Fri)day

Or poem actually. More Kavanaugh (favorite line obviously bold-faced):
Lines Written on a Seat on the Grand Canal Dublin
“Erected to the Memory of Mrs Dermot O’Brien.” (1958)

O commemorate me where there is water,
Canal water preferably, so stilly
Greeny at the heart of summer. Brother
Commemorate me thus beautifully
Where by a lock Niagarously roars
The falls for those who sit in the tremenduous silence
Of mid-July. No one will speak in prose
Who finds his way to these Parnassian islands.
A swan goes by head low with many apologies,
Fantastic light looks through the eyes of bridges—
And look! A barge comes bringing from Athy
And other far-flung towns mythologies.
O commemorate me with no hero-courageous
Tomb – just a canal-bank seat for the passer-by.

I liked that one so much, here's another, perhaps better:


I have lived in important places, times
When great events were decided, who owned
That half a rood of rock, a no-man's land
Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.
I heard the Duffys shouting "Damn your soul!"
And old McCabe stripped to the waist, seen
Step the plot defying blue cast-steel -
"Here is the march along these iron stones."
That was the year of the Munich bother. Which
Was more important? I inclined
To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin
Till Homer's ghost came whispering to my mind.
He said: I made the Iliad from such
A local row.
Gods make their own importance.

The Kos '08 Straw Poll continues to favor Wesley Clark. Fair enough, as the bigger shock is, though I recognize he is only at 1%, there are still 158 people at that site who would like John Kerry to run AGAIN. Why? Were there still die-hard Bob Dole supporters out there in 2000? Some things just cannot be explained.

Otherwise, it's another Rum and Coke Friday. Check out yet another classic "Cheers and Jeers": Have a Great Weekend! Go make Liberal babies. Too funny. As Rick James might say, "Enjoy yourself!"

Thursday, August 18, 2005

"Crass Leftist Hipsters"

Some very shrewd observations by Colby Cosh on l'affaire Jean as well. You have to love the blogosphere for the quickness of its nature. And especially because most newspapers probably wouldn't let you refer to the Governor-General Designate and her "consort" as follows:
"It also seems pretty clear that, at one time at least, they were crass leftist
hipsters with a serious boner for Frantz Fanon."


Coyne Returns (?)

Who knows if his vacation is over, but it is good to have Mr. Coyne back in the blogosphere. I hadn't read his latest reaction to Ms. Jean before posting below, though my thoughts continue tend toward the passively indifferent on this. But as always, Canada's best journalist makes several valid and compelling points:

How far our expectations have sunk. Because she's not currently working to bring about the destruction of the country, that makes her an appropriate choice for Governor General? She drinks toasts with the founder of the FLQ, her husband
hangs around with Pierre Laporte's murderers, she's supposed to represent the
Queen as a citizen of the French Republic, and she's known outside Quebec, if at
all, as the presenter of hysterically anti-American documentaries on Newsworld.

She has no record of service to the country, no outstanding accomplishments to her name, no specialized knowledge of law, politics or the constitution.

That's a pretty valid criticism not many people have come out and uttered. Yet it is hard to get up in arms if you don't agree with his subsequent statement:

This isn't a sales clerk we're hiring. This is supposed to be the position of supreme honour and prestige in the country, one with important symbolic and substantive roles. It should be filled by titans, revered national icons, whose love of country is reflected in the love their country has for them.

Well, maybe ideally, but we have long since passed this point. Today we simply have more important political fights. And when Prince Charles' mug starts gracing our coins, we just might get to that broader debate. Stay tuned.

More critically, now that Coyne has returned, will Tim R.A. Cooper also emerge from his prolonged hiatus? Or at least respond to my emails?

General Ridiculousness

This blog has been rather silent throughout the pettiness of the Michelle Jean business, perhaps because I keep nursing mid-week Split Crow induced hangovers, McNair is an avowed anti-monarchist, and Cooper has decided to join the ranks of Andrew Coyne in the internet's ether. I comment only now, at the end, because the Globe and Mail has treated the latest announcement to a full page spread here at home, following yesterday's overdue and all-too-official "clarification", and because the whole scene represents a fine example of the true pettiness and general ridiculousness of Canadian politics as a whole.

I simply don't care much who the given Prime Minister decides to appoint Governor-General. There is no criteria, no express mandate, and no real responsibility attached to the post, absent the dissolution of Parliament decision that is really going to be made by the likes of Peter Hogg first anyway. It is terribly obvious that the only real consideration these days on who to pick is how it will play in the polls to the general public. As long as you don't appoint someone who longs for the break-up of the country or is an obvious hack, it is pretty straightforward. And who would support the breakup of a country that decided to appoint them to such a plush 5 year posting, anyway? This was always going to end how it did.

The hoopla surrounding the mini-controversy is insightful though. The usual characters are outraged that anyone question the beneficence and wisdom of Reverend Paul's selection. His enemies jump to the conclusion that one video doth a "crypto-separatist" make. Spokesman Scott Reid accuses those who raise questions of a whole host of things in colourful language for a week, and then the PMO issues a rather cheeky statement that "Canadians have a right to know that the occupants of Rideau Hall are unquestionably dedicated to Canada" after stone-walling any such inquiries as both a conspiracy and a targetted smear campaign that somehow plays into separatist hands. You really have to hand it to those Federal Liberals. Their ability to spin in pirouettes on the face of a dime is always as remarkable as it is sad.

Meanwhile, most Canadians just shrug their shoulders while on August vacation and mutter, as Rhett Butler did, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Should they? I don't see why. Regardless of how "inspired" any appointment made under the current rules might be, it is always difficult to applaud (or care) because it remains so arbitrary. As with the Senate, as with the Supreme Court, as with countless other positions in this country, the Prime Minister seeking a legacy has only to curtail his or her own power by instituting real parameters to these processes into the future. No one will believe you if you run on the point, so don't bother. Just make the changes when you have those keys.

As for me, I have placed the contributions and stories of this GG above all others.

Tomorrow, fittingly, as Kos' "Bill in Portland Maine" will surely remind you, is Rum-and-Coke Friday as well. I have paid good money to a Young Liberal fundraiser to partake in a party "Boat Cruise". So in a salute to the rum runners of olde, I'll smuggle a pint aboard, order pop, toast my favorite captains (Ahab, Picard, and Mayo) and feign increasing worry about the state of the good ship Liberal. Ah, you Nova Scotia Good Times.

Manana Mas.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The White House has got a Fever...

... so is the only prescription more Cow Bell?

(transcript, video, and information on the legacy of one of SNL's greatest sketches here)

Oh, if only this website were true, but it seems the Washington Post has confirmed it is not. WALKEN FOR PRESIDENT in 2008 would have been nothing if not hilarious though - especially given the possible slogans. "Liberty is my weapon of choice". Genius.

Seriously - this of all Presidential election cycles is one where a moderate independent could blow the 2008 race open. Anyone read the Fallows' Grand Strategy Piece in the July/August Atlantic? Will a contender more convincing than Ross Perot stand up?

"Al-safar Zafar"

A favorite new proverb. Still thirsty for that ever-expanding open road, while resting and scheming for the next destination within these cubicle walls. The ocean gives me strength. Onward:

"Fighting-men, all," the Master repeated, while Leclair listened with keen enjoyment and the Legion stood attentive, with the white-burnoused horsemen giving ear to every word - astonished, no doubt, to hear Arabic speech from the lips of an unbeliever. "We have traveled far, from the Lands of the Books. Is it not meritorious, O Sheik? Doth not thy Prophet himself say: 'Voyaging is victory, and he who journeyeth not is both ignorant and blind?"'

- George Allan England, The Flying Legion

Monday, August 15, 2005

Yo Cousin Vinny

Hilarious VH-1 show last night - Awesomely Bad Career Moves. Dean's Scream made the cut, as did Eddie Murphy's "Party all the time" and Garth Brooks' alter ego, Chris Gaines. Perhaps my favorite was hearing the news that Joe Pesci put out a CD six years after the release of the movie, "My Cousin Vinny", of songs sung by that title character.

The chart-flopping single? "Yo Cousin Vinny". Sung in three different languages on the CD, replete with a gruesomely bad video. Certainly songs NOT worthy of a download.

Honestly, you just can't make stuff like this up.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Quote of the (Fri)day

"Everywhere I go, I find a poet has been there before me."

-Sigmund Freud(1856 - 1939)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


In an article otherwise important for its content on a possible fall election, Scott Reid offers the zinger of the week:
The government would no more force an election before Justice Gomery reports than we would follow the Conservatives example of dressing up our leader in a two-sizes too small Buffalo Bill Cody leatherette costume," Martin spokesman Scott Reid said.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper was photographed at the Calgary Stampede this year wearing a cowboy hat, string tie and a tight black leather vest.

"That's what is truly known as trying to engineer your own downfall," Reid said.

Youch. The picture that keeps on giving.

Yes, but...

The Governor General shall from Time to Time, in the Queen's Name, by Instrument under the Great Seal of Canada, summon qualified Persons to the Senate; and, subject to the Provisions of this Act, every Person so summoned shall become and be a Member of the Senate and a Senator.
At the moment, this means Senators are appointed merely at the whim of the PM (subject to the meager age and property requirements). What is to stop he or she from instituting any type of additional procedure prior to selection, signifying to the public a willingness to bound by the results? Consult the provinces and electorate, of course and by all means, but then make a choice and stick to it throughout your term. Future PMs won't be bound, obviously, but if the public supports the changes, reversing them would carry significant political cost. In short, attempt to establish a Constitutional convention on appointing individuals to the Senate. Such appointments could even be governed by conventional limits, etc...

Critics might say that this is playing fast and loose with our Constitution. The point is - virtually everyone would see any change to the current unaccountable mess as progress of some sort. Klein, Charest, et al. may not agree completely with a new system, but they would likely be happy to take any improvements, non?

And so, back to my original criticism of Martin in March. In all, he had 16 appointments at his disposal. We all know convention is strenghtened most by use. Hence, an opportunity lost that is attributable to him alone. And that's really all I have to say for now on the Senate.

What's next? This glaring headline. McNair, long proponent of the mergers, I'd like to hear your case. Cooper, long absent from Ahab's Whale, I'd just like to hear that all is well.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Champion of a Performer

If I were back in England, I would be glued to the tube watching the Champions League matches. As it is, I am resigned to following the BBC Live Updates, where you find this:
2124: GOAL Man Utd 3-0 Debrecen
Wayne Rooney is involved once again as he collects Ruud van Nistelrooy's pass inside the area on the right and centres for Cristiano Ronaldo to slide home the third. Rooney has now scored one and made two.

Such a genius of a player. If only he didn't play for damn Manchester United. Still, he could be the one to take England to the promised land in 2006. The dream lives on.

Attacking the Defence

Cherniak has posted a Defence of the Senate in response to my post below that I find pretty unconvincing. So, consider this an offensive against this particular defence. You may want to go over and read his post to follow the debate.

Note that I don't propose to have "the" answer to Senate reform in Canada. The critique of Martin is in his failure to galvanize the considerable resources at his disposal to make any attempt.

This will only fuel those who think I only like to concern myself with criticizing and picking apart the actions of the Prime Minister, and will never be satisfied with anything. Let's put that broader opinion aside. On this issue, I can only say that trying to galvanize any support to attempt reform is my major priority, rather than craft my perfect alternative [maybe if someone appointed you to the Senate you'd have the necessary spare time to devote to uncovering the perfect solution? -ed.] What I find frustrating is inertia on this issue and the lackadaisical acceptance of the status quo. Give me the leaders who attempt something with vision, rather than those too timid to try anything when the circumstance cries out for reform, either modification or abolishment.

On to the substantive critique of Cherniak's defence:

(1) Jason states in his opening paragraph that the "best way to stifle democracy" is to increase the accountability of those in government by electing the officials elections. That's a paradoxical (and almost laughable) argument today.

Take a look at this "Forum of the World's Senates" report: Of the world's 67 two-chamber parliaments, 39 have a second chamber where all members are elected, and many others have at least some type of mixed system. Only 14 have solely appointed Senates: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cambodia, Fiji (Isles), Grenada, Jamaica, Jordan, Lesotho, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and of course Canada and the UK. The report notes that this is mainly because these countries are going through a process of democratization or are simply too small to justify two-tier elections. The United Kingdom faces its own unique difficulties, but at least Tony Blair has placed reform of the House of Lords on his agenda.

Do not attack an elected Senate as somehow anti-democratic or undermining of the House of Commons. It is, in fact, the model favoured by the majority of the world.

(2) Jason then assumes that Canada's appointed Senators fulfill a valuable function because they can differentiate between "popular and necessary" versus "popular and badly considered" legislation, giving the House time to sober up by bogging the poorer legislation down.

On what basis does he derive such faith? Are not the potential problems on this front starkly obvious, especially if a Conservative government were elected and the Senate (the vast majority of whom were appointed by Liberals) then attempted to slow things down? Today's Senators are neither representative nor responsible to anyone. If they perform an effective review function, it is despite the current Senate's structure, not because of it.

(3) Jason has an affinity for the political partisan. "We should recognize that they are giving up their lives to work behind the scenes to do what they think is right for society," he writes. "90% of the time, these people really do deserve some recognition for their efforts." I dare say most Canadians would disagree. The Senate is widely recognized as THE plum appointed position in a Parliamentary system full of such appointments. The wide discretion available to the PM in appointing ensures that often the appointment is yielded as a partisan tool - moving MPs to the Senate to clear the way for favoured nominations is only one possible example.

(4) Jason then goes on to say that it doesn't matter if these people are paid by "political parties or directly through government coffers", completely missing the general criticism that we don't think taxpayers SHOULD be paying these people! Political parties at least face their own operational constraints on who they hire. The Senate's budget is immensely larger than money directed to the parties for such purpose. The democratic system may depend on party workers and volunteers, but that doesn't justify a second House to reward a select few with excessive and cushiony salaries for life. At a time when the Canadian voter is increasingly disillusioned with a perceived political class, why not take a step toward some semblance of accountability for our Parliamentarians in the "other house".

(5) To rebut the challenges involved in changing the Senate by concluding, "well, no institution is perfect" does not rebut the argument that the Senate as is remains a relative disgrace. The question should not be whether it performs a useful function, but whether it is performing that function effectively and efficiently. If it is not, and most don't think it is, even if we can point to a few benefits to its existence, surely Canadians are right to demand reforms to such an embarrassing relic of the mid-1800s. After all, it is our government, and we are footing the bill.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Beating up on the Senate, Again

Fine article by Norman Spector this morning on political appointments that gives me an opportunity to beat up an old hobby-horse again, our Senate. Part I here - where consummate Liberal Jason Cherniak even concedes in his comment that it should be either toothless or removed. This column is especially noteworthy given Spector's call for Conservatives to forget the Triple E and join the NDP in seeking to abolish the Senate. He's probably right.

Some excerpts, interspersed with commentary:
Fortunately, unlike the head of state, we have no need for the Senate. Acting as a brake on the House of Commons is no longer considered acceptable in a democracy. And its lack of legitimacy as an appointed body precludes the Senate from representing the regions.
Actually talked possible Senate reforms over beer this weekend [ah! more smashing pick-up line material -ed.] but kept coming back to a basic point: any proposed changes must be measured by how well they help a newly packaged Senate better achieve its ultimate purpose. What is that purpose? I agree wholeheartedly with Spector - I just don't see one. Its cost trumps any marginal usage. What's the point in keeping it around if it's to be toothless? In March I mused about the possibilities of an elected body, but wonder now if it is even worth the effort...
Ironically, the various reform proposals for the Red Chamber have become part of
the problem. Paying lip service to an elected senate allows some to accept the
kind of cushy appointment that most respectable people would otherwise be too
embarrassed to consider.

Ouch. Wonder how close Spector and Segal were in the Mulroney glory days... I'm filing this column away for the day Norman gets offered the post. Stranger things have happened.
Western Canadian conservatives should face reality: Thirty-five years of agitation have come to naught, and the odds of achieving a Triple-E senate are virtually nil. Those who are genuinely offended by the appointment process should unite forces with New Democrats and demand the immediate abolition of an institution that, with a few notable exceptions, is little more than a patronage slough.
No doubt the NDP has considerable aversion to joining forces with Conservatives on a host of issues. But some synergies do exist between those parties - especially in areas such as parliamentary reform - that the Liberals would not otherwise implement. Proportional Representation should be at the top of Layton's list as long as we are in minority territory, and the best chance to pass such a Bill down the road would be with CPC (not Liberal) support.

As for the near future, the Prime Minister really had an opportunity to do *something* different with so many vacancies to appoint. We are left with the entrenchment of a status quo - albeit with a willingness to appoint members to the Opposition caucus. Still, that failure of imagination has sadly set back any substantive changes to the Upper Chamber by a host of years. We can only hope the next person will take advantage when presented with such a chance for real "achievement".

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Poll shows Polls stink

No recent development in Presidential Politics [and perhaps politics in general] infuriates me more than the obsession with polling hypothetical races and reporting the results as fact. Hence, my morning annoyance at the following, via Nealenews:
Poll: McCain, Giuliani would both beat Hillary
Survey shows Clinton, Kerry losing in hypothetical races
Well, there you have it. Even though the election is over three years away, no one has declared their candidacy - much less a platform, and Kerry hasn't a hope in hell of winning the nomination. Yet this is supposed to represent news? I wonder what chance the polls would have given Bill Clinton against President G.H.W. Bush in 1989... The very definition of meaningless analysis.

Polls have their place, but these type are for Diefenbaker's dogs, merely a substitute for thought. The vague notion of "electability" should be banished from the minds of primary voters. Let's have a nomination campaigns of ideas, passion, and debate - let the chips fall where they may. Not one reduced to the simple question of "who might beat x".

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Who is Paul Hackett?

Answer: portent of good things to come for the Democrats.

Another reason why kos remains essential reading: start here and here for background on Tuesday's special election in OH-2, followed by here and here and here for summary, recap, and celebratory look to the future. Also, a true demonstration of the power of the blogosphere in a country where elections happen non-stop. A truly impressive performance, and hopefully a sign of shifting momentum into 2006. In a country so wide, with such numerous elections, it is not difficult to see the potential value of blogs in raising money, attracting free attention/expertise, and gauging what messages work. Contest every seat. Well done.

For the record, it is also another big victory for Democracy (previously Dean) for America. Here's the email I received this morning via the listserve:

Dear James,

Yesterday, one of the reddest regions in America turned a whole lot bluer.

I ran in a special election to serve in the United States House of Representatives from the 2nd District of Ohio. I am a Marine recently returned from Iraq, a husband, a father, an attorney, and a Democrat.

When I won the Democratic primary for this contest, few people believed we had a shot at victory. But DFA put its faith in me -- and went to work organizing on the ground and online. Your support helped build the greatest Democratic get-out-the-vote effort this district has ever known.

While we didn't pull out a victory yesterday -- we came incredibly close. We got 48 percent of the vote. And in those results rests hope for the future.

It had been 15 years since a Democratic candidate for Congress received more than 30 percent of the vote in Ohio's 2nd District and decades since a Democrat held the seat. Your support helped me improve Democratic performance by nearly 20 percent. This is a victory for democracy. And if we can do this in Ohio -- we can do it anywhere.

Join me, and help DFA elect Democrats in Ohio and across the country:

We have the power to win back Congress. Yesterday proved it. And DFA is on the front lines of the fight -- determined, hopeful and fearless.

I believe we can change this country. I believe we can win in every state -- and I know that you do too. Please join me today:

Thank you,
Paul Hackett

Define "Seriously Consider"

A Farewell to John Major, yet another of the Supreme Court Justices who ventured into the basement of Dalhousie's Domus Legis in its dying days to sign the bar's door. I love this CBC report, though:
Supreme Court Justice John Major has announced that he will retire at the end of the year, two months ahead of his mandatory retirement date.

Major joined the court in 1992. His departure opens the door for a new justice on the country's top court in the new year.

Last year, the Quebec government asked Ottawa for a formal participation in the process to select justices.

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler has said he's prepared to seriously consider candidates proposed by Quebec.

That's the article in its entirety. Good to hear Cotler will "seriously consider" Quebec's candidates. But since Major actually hails from Alberta, and la belle province already has her conventional three candidates on the Supreme bench, you wonder how such a statement is relevant, and how reporting this lousy gets on the front page.

CBC mockery aside, it will be interesting to see how the new Government handles questions regarding public healthcare with respect to their proposed nominee. Another as-yet-unknown consequence of Chaoulli's successfuly SCC challenge. But in the wake of new Senate appointments (yawn, same old crap, guess that's the last we'll hear of Hugh Segal, etc...) it is difficult to have any confidence for any substantial consideration of reform to the overall process. Wherebe thou, supposed Democratic Deficit Slayer?

The Gaggie

I love the hilarious randomness that you can find accidently via Google. These political awards, especially the headliner, prove yet again that truth can be funnier than fiction. I look forward to handing out "The Grewal" from time to time.

Candidates as Hubs of Connectivity

Interesting thesis put forth by Thomas Friedman this morning:

Message: In U.S. politics, the party that most quickly absorbs the latest technology often dominates. F.D.R. dominated radio and the fireside chat; J.F.K., televised debates; Republicans, direct mail and then talk radio, and now Karl Rove's networked voter databases.

The technological model coming next - which Howard Dean accidentally uncovered but never fully developed - will revolve around the power of networks and blogging. The public official or candidate will no longer just be the one who talks to the many or tries to listen to the many. Rather, he or she will be a hub of connectivity for the many to work with the many - creating networks of public advocates to identify and
solve problems and get behind politicians who get it.

Friedman's one-issue platform sounds rather similar to the Jeffrey Simpson thesis from the Canada25 event of May that, if a political leader, he would focus on making Canada the "most globally interconnected country in the world."

Therein lies a political campaign focal point for any of our Canadian political parties. Who will be the first to grab the torch? And will the Globe and Mail or QP reporters covering who is "Hot or Not" on the "BBQ circuit" even notice?