Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Great Showing

The Winter Olympics are all but over and Canada has done a wonderful job of reaching the goals set out by the Canadian Olympic Commitee.

With 24 medals won we are just 1 short of the of the 25 medals originally targeted for, and in the process set a Canadian record for the number of medals won. If the mens hockey team would of lived up to even some of the promise we would have made it. We did manage to hit the target of a third place finish in total medals won and I guess all that can be said now is....

Way to go Canada!!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Free speech and David Irving.

David Irving was found guilty in Austria of denying the Holocaust, and was sentenced to 3 years in jail. The government is looking at a possible appeal as is Irving, with both parties not being happy with the outcome of the trial. It will take some time before it gets sorted and all is settled, at least until the next 'historian' comes along.

Much has been written about the laws that were used to charge and convict Irving and most of this has been negative of the law. The issue of free speech comes to the forefront as the reason that most who oppose the law use as the basis of their opinions, and while on the surface it is a strong argument, it is lacking in perspective. The German/Austrian perspective.

Free speech is not absolute, and there are limits on what can be said without getting yourself in hot water in every country on earth. For a law like this to exist in Canada or the United States would be absurd, and I myself would fight it tooth and nail, as there is no reasonable need for the limitation on speech. In Germany and Austria, when these laws were conceived and written, there was a need to put certain limits on free speech, and the passage of time has not yet removed this need.

For a German/Austrian perspective you have to look back at not only the birth and history of the nazis and their years in power, but you also have to remember that these countries not only lived it, but also were responsible for it all. Without going into a long history lesson on the subject of the evil the nazis had set forth, just remember that it did not all end inside a bunker in Berlin in April 1945. The shadow of the nazis would continue on for decades to come, and I dare say it still hangs over Germany and Austria to this day.

When the war was over Germany and Austria had deal with the result, it did not take much introspection to see the damage that nazism had done to not only the world but also to themselves. With all of this in mind they decided that NEVER again would the nazi party be allowed to rise up from the ashes and wrote laws to this end. Having been the birthplace of national socialism, and having seen what it had done, these restrictions were seen as common sense and accepted by the majority as reasonable. Who are we to say the laws are wrong?


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Olympic Hockey

First the mighty Swiss beat Canada, and today Finland handed us another loss. I think Finland has the best shot at the gold and I would like to see us play them in the gold medal game, but it doesn't look good for team Canada if they don't start putting the puck in the net very soon.

Update: Canada is out of the tournament with the loss to Russia. Let the blame game commence.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The question I would ask.

Do you believe in the separation of church/religion and state?

Yes or No?

It is this question that should be asked of all those who are currently, in one way or another, protesting the Danish Cartoons. It is a simple question that is neither confrontational nor offensive, but will provide a great deal of information about the one who answers it and their belief system.

The one answer is a major principle of what our western society was founded on, while the other answer is just the opposite, and perhaps the greatest threat to western society.

Think about it?

Comments welcome.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Top 10 things I like about Saskatchewan.

With apologies to David Lettermen

10. It is flat: None of those pesky hills to obscure your vision or slow down your driving.

9. The Name: Saskatchewan just sounds cool, and as a bonus you can always tell a non Canadian by their pronunciation of Saskatchewan. Try it out on an American near you!

8. Rider Pride: The Roughriders have the most loyal fans in the country for any sport, even though the teams record has been less than steller for years.

7. The People: In general I have found people from Saskatchewan to be honest and friendly; something lacking in most urban Canadian centres but still found in abundance in Saskatchewan.

6.No Time changes: Sure the extra hour of sleep is nice, but is it worth it when you lose that hour six months later?

5.Saskatoon Berries: One of natures more delicious offerings. Mmmmm Saskatoon berry pie........

4.Sunny Days: Saskatchewan has the most sunshine hours per year in Canada, with Estevan averaging 2,540 sunshine-filled hours each year

3.Rye fields everywhere!! Kind of self explanitory if you partake in Canada's namesake whisky.

2. Small Dead Animals: Not the furry kind, the Blog. Kate McMillan has created one of the few 'must reads'in the Canadian Blogosphere.

And the number one reason I like Saskatchewan is: Because they are next to the greatest province in the country, Alberta.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Emerson Speaks

This story has helped me understand why David Emerson decided to switch parties, and why more trouble remains in store for the Liberal Party.

It appears that Mr. Emerson was only a loyal Liberal because of Paul Martin, and when PM resigned as leader, Emerson's loyalty was no longer there.

After some reflection:

Since I first heard about the cabinet picks on Monday I have been torn between opinions on the subject. At first I was pissed, and all I could think about was that this was the Belinda incident all over again, but next I started feeling betrayed as to how the Prime Minister could possibly do this.

A day or so later and after much reflection I came to the conclusion that it was my own fault that I felt so let down as I had placed the CPC up on a pedistal of my own making, and this bugger was so high that it would be impossible for anyone to reach it.

Politics is a blood sport and everyone uses the rules and traditions to their own advantage, I may disagree with some of the rules as they are now written, but I cannot hold it against anyone who plays by them. There are numerous examples of ministers named from outside Parliament and included in this list are a few that went on to become PM.

The rules are clear for crossing the floor and in the Emerson case the RULES were followed and at NO time did PMSH ever say that he opposed MPs crossing the floor, in fact on the CBC this question was directed to him on the subject:

Hello, my name is Colleen Belisle and I have a question for Stephen Harper regarding the accountability issue. In the past 18 months, I have noticed a number of MPs crossing the floor after the election. This makes me wonder why I should, as a voter, go and vote when my MP can change parties after the election. Mr. Harper, are there any policies that you plan to enforce after the election regarding this issue? Thank you.

Stephen Harper: My short answer is no. And I understand the voters' frustration. You can imagine I feel that frustration as much as anyone. I was the victim of a number of the particular incidents that the voter is referring to, that Colleen's referring to, but the difficulty, Peter – I know that many members of Parliament have put forward various proposals that would restrict the right of MPs to cross the floor, force elections, or whatever. I haven't seen one yet that convinces me that it would create anything other than a situation where party leaders have even more power over the individual members of Parliament. And, as you know, I've said that, of course, I've said that for a long time that I think our members of Parliament need more authority, need to be able to represent their constituents' views, and they may make very bad decisions in crossing from a good party to a bad party or, more particularly, a winning party to a losing party. But that all said, I haven't seen one yet that I'm convinced creates a bigger problem than it's actually trying to fix.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Just get used to it and move on.

The cartoon controversy continues and has moved into Canada. While it was a calm and peaceful demonstration, some of the comments by those protesting show that they just don't get it. The right to free speech cannot and will not be compromised because you are offended, deal with it and move on.

As usual the protesters were not the only ones who do not understand the issue.

According to the CTV report:

Randi Warne, a religious studies professor at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, said non-Muslims should try to empathize with the outrage Muslims feel.
"I think we should ask ourselves how people would feel in the West if pictures of Jesus were being drawn this way, committing heinous acts or in compromising positions," she told CTV Atlantic.
"I'm quite sure that there would be outrage all around the world."

This is so ridiculous I have to wonder how she is capable of finding her way to work in the morning without getting lost. For a person whose job it is to teach religious studies to not be aware of the countless examples of Jesus being the target of various forms of attacks, boggles the mind. From the NEA funded 'Piss Christ' to the current edition of Rolling Stone this stuff is everywhere and only if you have been living in a closet would you have not seen these or other examples. If I was a student at MSVU in the religious studies program I might be seeking my money back if Randi Warne is an example of the great thinkers that teach there.

Friday, February 03, 2006

To all of our troops

With the recent Sea King crash, and the latest deployments to Afghanistan; I just wanted to express my thanks to those that choose to put on the uniform.

My prayers and thanks for the work you are doing, I am proud of you all.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Ralph Bucks

It is good to be an Albertan, even more so this week as the $400 Prosperity Bonus cheques arrived.

There have been a few innovative ideas from retailers as to how they would like us to spend our little windfall.

Sears has offered to give you $440 dollars on a gift card if you cash your cheque with them. < href="">Fairmont Hotels, the hotel chain just purchased by a Saudi Prince, is offering a "Thanks,Ralph!" getaway package to one of it's five Alberta Hotels. < href="">The Brick, is offering to double your $400 as long as you spend $2000 in their store on certain items. < href="">Ralph Klein look-alike busily signing away as the sales pitch goes out. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing when I saw this commercial last night, it won't get me to their store but I did enjoy the laugh.

I am curious to see how much of the 1.4 billion makes its way back into the economy. I hope that some government agency is keeping tabs on the inevitable spike in retail sales, as it would be interesting to see the economic effects of the cash infusion in action.

My cheque did not go into an immediate purchase as it went into general revenue as dictated by the Minister of Finance, or as I like to call her, my wife. Maybe next year?