Monday, July 30, 2012

Message to Bashir Mohammed: You Are What I Feared Canada Was Becoming...

...but fortunately, we're setting things right again

On Saturday, July 14, 17-year-old Bashir Mohammed interrupted a speech given by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in Edmonton, doing his damnedest to make a grand ol' spectacle of himself.

He was removed from the event -- and really, what else could he have possibly expected when he started bellowing at Kenney while the Minister was giving a speech that people had paid to hear? Here, then, is my response to Bashir Mohammed.

Sanctimonious. Self-reighteous. A little pig-headed. That's what the left in Canada is quickly becoming, and once upon a time I was worried that the whole country was becoming that way. We're setting that right, so don't you worry too much about that.

Once upon a time, Canadians had been so badly bushwhacked by guilt-mongering, envy-enshrining left-wing politics that when a governing party caught red-handed stealing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to keep themselves in power so much as peeped about their opponents having a "scary right-wing agenda," they overlooked the opposition in favour of the safety of living under the crooked. Like I said, that's a thing of the past. In fact, it was what eventually -- finally -- led us to where we are today. And it's a time and place that isn't nearly as disastrous as people like you are falling all over yourselves to make it out to be.

Hell, you were willing to interrupt a Minister of the Crown, at an event at which hundreds of people had paid $40 apiece to hear him speak. Let me make that perfectly clear to you: they didn't pay $40 a head to hear you preen on about your own personal political ambitions, they heard to hear the Minister. Apparently, that wasn't good enough for you. I guess you wouldn't be such a good little leftist if you didn't thrill at the idea of stealing someone else's spotlight.

But really, what bothers me the most is the sheer lack of self-knowledge in the statement you planned to deliver to Jason Kenney -- and which you subsequently published at (also known as Canada's single largest left-wing suckhole). It's more than enough to underscore that you're the kind of person who really just doesn't get it. Things like this:

"Your cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program are ridiculous. You are separating Canadians by saying that we should help 'our own' before we help 'them', referring to the people that you seem to generalize as 'smuggled, or bogus asylum claimants,'" you intended to say. "When you say that, I am insulted. My dad was an engineer in Somalia and his education was removed when he entered Canada. He worked up north, and at Home Depot while going to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology to re-earn the title that he lost."

You say you're insulted by talk about "bogus asylum claimants." You talk about your father's experiences after arriving in Canada (and really, who would have imagined that an engineering degree from freaking Somalia wouldn't be up to the Canadian standard?). Quite frankly, we can see by the fact that you are still here in the country that your father is quite ostensibly not the kind of person whom Kenney was speaking about. Clearly your father spent the time necessary to demonstrate quite thoroughly that he is not a bogus refugee claimant. So quite frankly, your "insult" was entirely self-imposed.

From how you yourself describe him, your father -- peace be upon his soul -- was precisely the kind of immigrant that Canada needs: the kind who goes through the proper process of coming to Canada, who waits his turn. I do personally see the virtue in allowing those refugees who are in truly dire and desperate straights to come to Canada through irregular means, but there must be some limit to whom Canadians roll out the red carpet for.

If you were truly up-to-speed on this issue, you would know full well that immigrants approved to stay in Canada will still be covered under Canada's Interim Federal Health Program. The Harper government rewrote their own policy statements to make sure that the program wasn't completely shut down.

Naturally, that wasn't enough for those who think that Canada should fit the bill for the medical and dental care -- heck, perhaps even gender-reassignment surgeries -- for every one who manages to somehow skip across Canada's borders and set foot on Canadian soil.

In fact, the policy of the Harper government is one that a great many Canadians will agree with: that immigrants to Canada should be genuine, prepared to contribute to Canada, and at the very least be prepared to stay here.

If you have a problem with that, it's your problem, and you can keep it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Call It the DePape Factor

All across Canada, a virulent new strain of leftism is emerging: the kind of left-winger who just wants to be famous.

They don't necessarily need to have a particularly novel or insightful idea in order to do it. All they need to do is find a way to put themsleves in the spotlight. If they can successfully do it, left-wing organizations across the country will dig deep into someone else's pockets -- labour unions, university student unions, or the government -- to fly them in to speak.

It doesn't matter if all they do is spout the same boring, mindless left-wing boilerplate as every other left-winger in the country. It's a great way to manage to do a lot of travelling for free.

Take, for example, the case of Brigette DePape. DePape is also known as the "Stop Harper" girl, who lost her job as a Senate page because she abused her job to make a political statement. It turned out to be one of the most empty and vapid political statements to find public traction in decades. DePape was hailed as a hero by Canada's far-left when she disrespected Canada's democratic institutions and held up a "Stop Harper" sign during the Speech From the Throne.

The banality of her message did absolutely nothing to dissuade the left from holding DePape up as some kind of luminary. Various organizations began to roll out the red carpet for DePape, flying her around the country. Despite having never had an original thought in her head, DePape has made out quite well from her little "stop Harper" stunt.

Now Edmonton resident Bashir Mohamed is taking his turn. At a Conservative Party fundraising BBQ in Edmonton, Mohamed paid $40 to get into the event, just so he could pop up in the middle of Jason Kenney's speech to shout him down.

He claims he was simply trying to ask Kenney a question. But none of those present at the event seem to recall him asking a question, and instead recall that Mohamed just started "screaming" at Kenney.

It's basically a repeat of some medical students who interrupted Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver at one of his press conferences. The subject, as for Mohamed, was some recent cuts to healthcare programs for refugees. The Conservative government has moved to cut off benefits for unsuccessful applicants, and reserve those benefits for successful applicants. It makes perfect sense.

Unless you're a doctor who's about to see some of his billing hours undercut, or a university student who just wants to be famous. Then it's an absolute outrage.

Canadians can look forward to seeing more of Mohamed over the next few days. If he's anything like DePape, he'll be seen on TV, with a self-satisfied smile on his face, pleased at just how famous he's managed to make himself, and looking forward to all the perks that comes with that kind of fame.

It's hard to believe that Brigette DePape's particular streak of narcissism is entirely unique to her. What kind person might be this particular brand of narcissistic? How about someone who shows up to a Jason Kenney event determined to make it all about themselves?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Coming Soon to a Left-wing Twitter Feed Near You... Elections Canada Are a Bunch of Poopie Heads

Really, they're not

Score on for Elections Canada.

Yes, for Elections Canada, not for the mob of would-be citizen prosecutors who want to rush Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party into jail on the basis of accusations alone.

Yesterday, Elections Canada released its ruling in the case of a complaint regarding an Ohio-based company called Front Porch Technologies. As it turns out, Front Porch Technologies had some role in the 2011 election for Conservative MP Rick Dykstra.

According to Democracy Watch, and numerous other left-wing complainers, this violates section 331 of the Canada Elections Act. This prohibits non-residents inducing Canadian voters to vote for or against any particular candidate.

"The information described in [the] complaint, found on internet or news stories, indicates that the activity complained of was of very limited duration, and suggests that the purpose of the individuals' presence in Canada may have been partly or primarily to promote their business interests," Elections Canada responded. "No complaint to this office provided a basis to believe that any elector was actually induced or affected in their voting behaviour due to the activity complained of."

Predictably, Democracy Watch didn't like the ruling. They declared it to be "legally incorrect."

But when examining the complaint presented by Democracy Watch more thoroughly, it actually turns out that the Elections Canada ruling is indisputably correct. Simply put, the complaint presents insufficient evidence to determine that any wrongdoing took place, or that the wrongdoing complained of was even what they insisted it was.

The evidence submitted to Elections Canada basically consisted of the following: tweets by the Front Porch Technologies Twitter account, and a photo of Front Porch Technologies President Matt Parker talking on the phone at Julian Fantino's campaign office.

They insist that all of this is concrete evidence that Front Porch Technologies, and the campaigns that employed them, violated section 331 of the Elections Act. But hold on.

The photo of Matt Parker was simply of him talking on the phone. No one actually knows who he was talking to. Certainly, he could have been talking to a voter. Maybe. But he could just as easily been talking to a volunteer, someone else involved in the campaign, or even someone at Front Porch Technologies HQ in Ohio. Certainly, the Front Porch Technologies Twitter account tweeted that they were "taking Toronto by storm," and made references to door knocking, but none referring to Matt Parker, or any other non-Canadian resident actually doing any such door-knocking themselves.

Both of these things can be quite easily explained away by the suggestion -- or, rather, the likelihood -- that Front Porch Technologies was providing consulting services. It's not illegal for election campaigns in Canada to contract such services from American firms. For their own part, the Liberal Party knows this well: they've had decades of involvement with US consulting firms -- more notably, the ones that tend to provide services to the Democratic Party.

Certainly, the evidence presented by Democracy Watch is enough to suggest that there's a possibility that Parker was improperly involved in election campaigns during the 2011 election. But it doesn't demonstrate indisputably that Parker was. No matter how badly Democracy Watch may want it to, it just doesn't.

There are a lot of left-wing demagogues running about the blogosphere and the Twitterverse claiming that this ruling is evidence that Elections Canada cannot be trusted to investigate complaints involving the Conservative Party. All it shows is that Elections Canada did not choose to inflate the evidence presented in this complaint so as to treat it as if it were something that it wasn't.

It says so much about a lof the allegations, and the way they're being treated by the Canadian left. First off, it shows us that the left is more than willing to inflate very sparse evidence into something far more conclusive than it really is. Secondly, it shows us that the left has very rarely risen among the level of mere presumption of guilt. Thirdly, and more importantly, it shows us that the left is already preparing itself to reject any conclusions by Elections Canada that don't simply find the Conservative Party guilty of anything the left may care to accuse it of.

Once upon a time, criticizing Elections Canada was unthinkable. Even when Elections Canada was going after Conservatives for something the Liberals were doing also -- the so-called in-and-out "scandal" -- or tipping the media so they could be present at raids of the Conservative Party offices, Elections Canada was proclaimed, by the left, to be above reproach.

Now, suddenly that they aren't getting everything their way, the left is declaring Elections Canada to be moribund and corrupt. Which just goes to show precisely how shallow their regard for Canada's election watchdog is, and just what they imagine the roll of Elections Canada to be:

They don't imaigne Elections Canada's role to be conducting elections for the good of all Canadian people; they imagine Elections Canada to be their own private cudgel, beating down Conservatives whenever the opportunity may arise.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Spam... For #CdnPoli, It's What's For Dinner

Last night, the Canadian political Twitterverse exploded with indication -- from conservatives, at least -- over what appeared to be a censorship campaign against a Twitter account the Ethical Oil Institute has been using to promote its boycott of Lush Cosmetics.

Personally, I've never been that big a believer in boycotting critics of the oilsands. Boycotting them may hurt their business for a short period of time, but frankly I see it as just vengeful. A boycott may change someone's behaviour, but it doesn't change their mind. For supporters of the oilsands, the latter should be much more important than the former.

Now, with that aside, onto the censorship.

After a long Twitter conversation with Alheli Picazo, the alleged perpetrator of the censorship, I've personally come to the opinion that the entire affair is actually a mutual misunderstanding between Picazo and EOI. And I think it would be a good time to address what are some very important concepts.

Obviously, Twitter is still an emerging medium. Accordingly, it can often be difficult to classify the kind of interactions that take place over it. Take, for example, the belief popular amongst left-wing Tweeters that anyone who disagrees with them is a troll. It's almost certain that some of them are disingenuous in this -- it's simply a cheap shortcut to discount opinions of people who disagree with them. Others may believe it more genuinely, even if it's comically false.

But that's just one example. What's more important to the issue is how we understand what is or is not spam.

A quick case in point also involves Picazo, and took place a few weeks ago. Picazo recommended that her followers flag a pro-motion 312 Twitter account (Motion 312 is Conservative MP Stephen Woodsworth's motion to debate abortion). At that particular point, after quickly reviewing that account's feed, I actually agreed with her. The account was Tweeting identical messages over and over. Clearly an automated account in my view. So I agreed with her. Reporting that particular account for spam was just the right thing to do. Anyone who wants to support Motion 312 should come down here and debate like the rest of us.

As of the writing of this blogpost, the @BloodLushAlerts Twitter account has been suspended, so it's hard to see whether or not it was similarly sending identical Tweets. What does remain to be seen is that the user of the account responded to Picazo's suggestion that her followers report it for spam. She then reiterated her suggestion that it be reported for spam.

On its face, it may look bad. But I think there may be a better explanation for this than Picazo being censorious.

For one thing, Picazo seems to be operating with a different definition of spam than the rest of us. She defines "hardcore trolling" as spam. In her view, if someone is uninterested in any kind of actual dialogue -- and no hardcore troll really is -- then they're a spammer.

Does she have an argument? Absolutely she does. But did @BloodLushAlerts try to engage Picazo in dialogue? As a matter of fact, yes. Yes, they did. But this also led to a huge misunderstanding. In my view, I see it like this: Alheli Picazo misunderstood the intentions of the @BloodLushAlerts Twitter account, and recommended that her followers report it for spam. The operator of the account then misunderstood Picazo, and from there Picazo merely interrupted.

So what does my argument have in its favour? For one thing, history: in my view, Picazo was entirely right about the Motion 312 account -- as would anyone who received an unwanted "Truth About Tim" or "Queen's Park Update" Tweet, and reported the associated account for spam. For another thing, it has human nature on its side: both Picazo and the @BloodLushAlerts operator are human, and humans sometimes overreact.

Misusing Twitter's spam reporting procedures to censor other Tweeters has been a hot topic lately. Sheila Gunn Reid has been a victim of it. Others have as well. Mostly they tend to be conservatives, but Kikki Planet is fairly left-leaning, and she was victimized as well during the recent Alberta election.

I surmise that in this heated environment a lot of people -- including, at first, myself -- simply assumed that Picazo was maliciously censoring people. After a conversation with Picazo, I no longer believe that to be true.

As I understand it, Picazo still blogs at I'd say that the Twitterverse would benefit from hearing Picazo make her case for her definition of spam at greater lengths. I'd encourage her to make use of her soapbox there to tell her side of this story more publicly, and make her case for her definition of spam.

So far she seems to disagree with me about both things -- I consider trolling to be a problem separate from spamming, and that it should be handled in different ways -- but I genuinely think that she has a lot to add to this conversation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Who Killed Scientific Evidence?

Talk about the death of evidence.

A few hundred scientists, organized by the Council of Canadians, gathered yesterday in Ottawa to accuse Prime Minister Stephen Harper of having an anti-environment, anti-science agenda.

The message is clear: they seem to think that, at a time of fiscal austerity, they should be immune. Artists almost certainly feel the same way. But I digress.

It's worth noting that, in the research of many of the scientists present at this partisan protest, research was already grievously ailing, if not already dead. Did Prime Minister Harper kill evidence? Perhaps, at best, his government is simply shovelling dirt on the grave.

Coming via Mike Soron of Steady City, take the case of Arne Mooers. Mooers was at the protest yesterday. He had some interesting comments about 'state propaganda.'

"Evidence is the way that adults navigate reality," he insisted. "To deny evidence is to live in a fairy tale world. When countries engage in fantasy it's called state propaganda."

As Soron points out, one of Mooers' past pieces of work was a study projecting a global planetary collapse, one that will effectively end human civilization as we know it. Or altogether. Of course, when you take a look at what Mooers used for his "evidence," his study becomes altogether unconvincing. Essentially, the whole thing is a scientific whitewash. The best evidence Mooers uses in his study is paleontological. Other than that, the study relies on scientific theory and toy ecosystem modelling. So in reality, the study never advances beyond theory.

"The last tipping point in Earth's history occurred about 12,000 years ago when the planet went from being in the age of glaciers, which previously lasted 100,000 years, to being in its current intergalacial state," Mooers explained. "Once that tipping point was reached, the most extreme biological changes leading to our current state occurred within only 1,000 years. That's like going from a baby to an adult state in less than a year. Importantly, the planet is changing even faster now."

Or not.

Recent ice core studies have cast some serious doubt on the conclusions drawn by some climate alarmists -- presuming, of course, that you take actual science seriously enough to allow there to be any doubts.

"The odds are very high that the next global state change will be extremely disruptive to our civilizations," he continued. "Remember, we went from being hunter-gatherers to being moon-walkers during one of the most stable and benign periods in all of Earth's history."

Of course, that would be a massive historical mistake -- one repeated over and over again in the apocalyptic ravings of scientists aligned with the climate change alarmists. This forgets the global state-changes that have happened during humanity's advance form hunter-gatherer societies to moon-walking. The one most popularly omitted is the medieval warming period. The omission, by the way, is quite deliberate.

If judged by such things as the state of glaciers, the medieval warming period was much closer to the global collapse that Mooers refers to in his study. Yet the planet eventually returned to its previous state.

Why is this important? I'm glad you asked.

“Once a threshold-induced planetary state shift occurs, there’s no going back," Mooers insisted. "So, if a system switches to a new state because you’ve added lots of energy, even if you take out the new energy, it won’t revert back to the old system. The planet doesn’t have any memory of the old state.”

The paper is also strongly rooted in a Malthusian ideology. Malthusians have been forecasting doom and gloom for nearly 200 years, and time and time again it's failed to come to pass.Think of the Malthusians as being the Jehovas Witnesses of science.

The most remarkable thing about the study is that, as there has never been a human-induced planetary collapse, Mooers' study cannot have determined such a threshold based on evidence. They claim that humanity has already reached 43% of the threshhold that would induce such a global collapse. If humanity exceeds 50%, it's all over. But without any evidence on which to base it -- and there is none -- that threshold is entirely arbitrary.

Simply put, it's impossible for a study like Mooers' to be anything but grey science. Which would make it a very bad idea for any government to base policy on it.

So who really killed evidence? Was it Prime Minister Stephen Harper with what are actually some very small cuts to scientific funding (which are the first of his time as Prime Minister)? Or was it Arne Mooers?

You be the judge.