Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bud Polhill: the medium is the message

Eighteen years on council, and still "under development"…

[Screen capture taken Oct. 31, 2006]

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The Charter of Convenient Politics

Sometimes the mask slips a little… Dust my Broom catches this nugget from the Winnipeg Free Press:

A looming court battle over Manitoba's anti-smoking law will hinge on whether the province must treat white bar owners the same as their aboriginal counterparts, an issue that could have implications across the country.

The section of the law that exempted aboriginal reserves from the smoking ban was struck down in August by Justice Albert Clearwater of Court of Queen's Bench, who ruled it violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Manitoba government is trying to appeal the decision by arguing, in part, that the Charter guarantee was not designed to provide a level playing field for white males.
If the Manitoba government's argument is correct, the Charter does not exist to protect equality; by definition, it promotes inequality instead, making it a Charter less of Rights and Freedoms than is supposed than one of Privileges and Immunities (which subsection 2 of section 15 pretty much allows anyway). The assertion by the Manitoba government is not necessarily a long shot either; the Supreme Court has certainly done little to discourage their interpretation.
The province argues that if everyone must be treated equally under the law, employment equity programs and other initiatives designed to help minorities could be struck down.
That's rather it in a nutshell. [Emphases added in quotes.]

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A bitch is a bitch

Belinda Strumpet is a "dog"? The Foreign Affairs Minister can't afford to mince his words so let's clarify this:

"I think she's a bitch. It's as simple as that," Mr. [Norman] Spector said. "And I think that 90 per cent of men would probably say she's a bitch for the way she's broken up Tie Domi's home and the way she dumped Peter MacKay. She is a bitch."

Mr. Spector did not back down from the remarks in a telephone interview late yesterday.

"I think it's the perfect choice of word that the Oxford English Dictionary describes as 'malicious or treacherous,' " he said. "So I think as an analyst of politics, I chose the right word."
. . .

"I have no concerns about the Conservative Party, or the Liberal Party or any other party. I'm speaking as an analyst. And as an analyst, I think the behaviour she showed, particularly when she crossed the floor and that whole incident, qualifies as treacherous."

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London's pocket banlieues

Lorne Gunter, National Post:

Social housing must be counted as one of the greatest failures — and there are many — of the "progressive" thinking of the 1960s and 1970s.

Nearly everywhere large public housing projects have been built, they have become incubators for crime, drug dependence, fatherless families, unemployment and welfare.
The rampant lawlessness, rioting and crime in the giant housing estates of France have lately thrown the deleterious effects of social housing into stark relief (on top of which radical Islam is "the spin on the ball," in Gunter's words). The diffuse distribution and smaller scale of these projects in London have fortunately minimized the worst excesses of these effects; we are left instead with localized epidemics of property crime, robberies and isolated violence. Less fortunately, however, this has obscured and diluted recognition of the economic and social impacts of social housing. But as commenter Jake noted yesterday, the recent shootings in London took place — as with much of the crime in London, both violent and property — in those particular and familiar areas of town:
that you most likely see these problems (eg the usual suspect "skid row" areas with government funded/subsidized housing). With that said, by no means do I think this issue should be swept under the rug. These areas should have increased police patrols and tougher sentences for gun crimes.

[But] It's the socialist left on council (Eagle, Winninger, Baechler, and Bryant, Armstrong) that constantly whines in support of social housing (which are substandard and promote perpetual poverty) and [a] "hug-a-thug attitude" that are the problem.
[Thanks to Kim Ainslie for pointing out the Lorne Gunter story.]

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Monday, October 30, 2006

That Was No Ordinary Protest Goon, That Was VP, NDP London North Centre!

Good Lord! It gets weirder.

Go here for the original story, including audio clips.

That Union Thug who harassed and marginalized me at the late war protest -- physically denying my right to peacefully photograph a public event in a public place -- turns out to be Gil Warren, the Vice President of the NDP London-North-Centre riding association.

The comments box to this post would be an excellent place for NDP sympathizers, and moreover, candidates in the London North Centre riding, to reaffirm their party's, and their own, support for journalistic freedom to take photographs at public events.

NDP London North Centre candidate Megan Walker? Riding association president Stephen Maynard?

Reread that post with this in mind: it was not just any union thug, but an NDP riding association vice president:

  • Aggressively demanding my identity as the price of peacefully going about my business;
  • Physically preventing me from going about said peaceful business of taking photographs in a public place;
  • Shouting ridiculous accusations of me being a CIA or CSIS agent (now why would an NDP vice president have anything to worry about on that score, even if I were one?);
  • Ascribing my odious views to my blue eyes and white skin;
  • Equating the killing of Taliban with the murder of raped women by Taliban.
  • Hear more Gil "Choice Is A Red Herring" Warren audio here, in conversation with Bob Metz of the Freedom Party of Ontario on AM 1290 a few years back.

    I'd apologize to the UTE-SEI for associating Gil "It's Not About Choice" Warren entirely with their organization in my first post... but, fuck them.

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    Gundon 2006

    As the majority of candidates seeking election here in London Ontario promise to protect the trees, preserve heritage and promote the arts, the property taxes keep on rising and the guns continue to fire. A man on the street with an orange shirt responds to the apparent mix-up in priorities by defending the red shirts running for office:

    "The promotion of an attractive landscape and a vibrant cultural scene is the only effective way to reduce crimes committed by those who feel isolated from the community. We also need to pass legislation to ensure anti-bullying and sensitivity training continues in our schools."

    Standoff on Cheapside Street:

    A 44-year-old London man was shot dead yesterday and investigators with Ontario's police watchdog are probing the shooting.

    The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was called yesterday morning to 613 Cheapside St., just east of Adelaide Street.

    London police had responded to a domestic dispute call at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday and found a man had barricaded himself alone inside the home.

    After a few hours of negotiations, a shootout erupted about 10:30 p.m. and continued for 30 minutes. Police resumed negotiations, but at 5:30 a.m. yesterday, officers entered the home to find the man dead from a gunshot wound.
    Teen shot in the stomach with shotgun
    The search is ongoing today for suspects in a Sunday-night shooting that left a London teen in critical condition.

    A 17-year-old suffered a shotgun wound to the stomach at 945 Huron St. — a London public housing complex — about 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

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    Sunday, October 29, 2006

    Look For The UTE-SEI Union Label At The Peace Protest (But Don't Take Its Picture)

    Elhaz Inverted: There may be hidden danger waiting to ensnare you. Hasty and ill-considered actions will plunge you into serious problems. There is the danger of being swallowed up by archetypal forces, which you think to shape to your will with inadequate knowledge or preparation. This can result in damage to both spiritual and physical health.

    Alerted by Darcey on my morning blog rounds that yesterday was A Day Of Protests, I checked and sure enough there was one in London. I went out to document yesterday's Troops Out Now! protest here in London, at Victoria Park, on a miserable, rainy afternoon. I had no intention of talking to anyone -- just of taking pictures and recording a publicly announced demonstration in a public place.

    I got to Victoria Park just as people started arriving. At that point, the Jack Layton signs were front and foremost on RIchmond Street (the main vantage point to that part of the park). Indeed, it was a largely NDP and union affair. Not precisely a grass roots outpouring of megaphone-synchronized support-our-troops bring-them-homage.

    I tried to find some good shots. Entering the park, which held perhaps 80 people, I passed an older man with a handful of pamphlets, questioning a yet older man sitting on a pillar bearing a poppy on his lapel:
    Old man: Excuse me, I see you're wearing a poppy -- do you support the war?
    Older man: Oh, no, I... (some explanation)
    Old man: (relaxing) Well, OK... you never know...

    I wanted a picture of the CAW flag to the left: WOMEN UNITE. As the Taliban are renowned for stoning women to death for indulging in the slightest tinge of reproductive freedom, this was a particularly jarring motto. Do -- do you intend to climb into the stoning hole too, in the spirit of sisterhood, or what? If hypocrisy carried its own physical weight then there'd be no way any ten people could manage to lift that flag off the ground.

    As I clicked my inept fingers around the camera to try to capture the text of the flag as the winds ruffled it, I was peremptorily approached by this man:

    Seeing me photographing while wearing a poppy on my overcoat, he demanded to know whether I "support the war". At my polite, generally affirmative answer, this guy demanded my name, some ID, and to know who I was with: CSIS, or the Conservatives? As he saw it, the problem was me taking pictures of people demonstrating in a public park without asking permission -- during a protest presumably staged and advertised for publicity's sake! Worse yet I wouldn't identify myself to this power tripping union security guard, so he started blocking my shots. No diversity activists within earshot seemed to care enough about this to help stop him. So, I started recording.
    Union Thug: You didn't ask to record me, turn it off.
    Mike: Why do you care who I am?
    UT: You didn't ask, turn it off.
    Mike: I don't have to ask, this is a public place.
    UT: Well, then, I'm not talking to you.
    Mike: Well, that's fine!
    UT: I want some ID from you.
    (More.) Little did I know that this unhinged representative of Canada's public service would insist on standing in front of my camera for the next fifteen minutes. As you may have suspected, Blaganovich's Fundamental Constant of Bullying held; he was bigger than me and I was alone. I trust the UTE-SEI do not endorse their members doing this so as to prevent other Canadians from photographing public union members engaging in political activity? Don't get me wrong, this guy made it a memorable protest and I found his behaviour more comical (and instructive to open-minded observers) than threatening to me -- but it sure puts a bad light on the UTE-SEI public relations department, to utter racist slurs and thuggish demands for ID into a microphone. Dumb, dumb, dumb, but funny, funny, funny.

    But -- what did he believe they had to hide? Perhaps CSIS has reason to be concerned about the activities of the UTE-SEI. Why would a UTE-SEI member be so concerned about someone photographing their activities in a public park to which the public (including me) is welcome?

    This fruitjob kept following me around, moving his body around to block me every time I raised my camera, announcing to passers by that "this guy supports the war! he's a spy! he works for CSIS!" To their credit, most everyone recognized his paranoia, if not quite defending my right to take pictures unmolested even without showing this Stasi-in-his-own-mind my papers. I look too much like a spy to be a spy, and I would have a better camera if I were.

    Three or four young and, as it turned out, intellectually honest NDP supporters in their orange toques gathered around us as I tried to get away from him to take pictures. The union representative wasn't exactly endearing himself to his young fellow travellers by going after my race, of all things: Check this out:
    Union Thug: You said "I support killing the Taliban."
    Mike: I do.
    UT: Yep, you're a killer. What a typical killer too -- blue eyes, blond hair, very, very...
    Mike: What the hell's that? What's this blue eyes -- you have a problem with my race?

    The funniest part was when he ended up blocking an A-Channel interview shot, as he was trying to block my shots using his amazing People Power. Well, in the end he pretty much did end up preventing me from taking pictures of anything but his face, though the A-Channel ended up filming his meltdown.

    NDP candidate Stephen Maynard passed by around this point. Apparently I was the first person ever to inform him that the Taliban made a practice of stoning "adulteresses" to death. Don't the NDP brief their reps on the subject of the protest beforehand? I'd been getting nowhere asking the union goon to tell me what he thought of stoning people, so I turned to Stephen Maynard. (Audio)
    Mike: Stephen Maynard, you object to taking women and burying them in the sand and throwing rocks at their heads, right?
    NDP Candidate Stephen Maynard: What? Do you have reports of this happening?

    The UTE-SEI thug finally buzzed off when A-Channel came up to interview me. I was feeling gregarious after such interesting conversation, so I agreed against my better judgment. I don't watch TV, so I'm afraid but don't know whether I was slotted into the story as some kind of counter-demonstrator, which I absolutely was not. Just a citizen photographer hassled by the Man, folks.

    If anyone wants me to post the whole recording (15 minutes), ask in comments.

    By the way, I then had a very good conversation with several of the young NDP. I was impressed by their inquisitiveness and intellectual honesty enough that it made this a protest of two extremes: UTE-SEI goon, and well-meaning students who've never encountered Bastiat.

    Update: Wow, how sad for the NDP London North Centre campaign. As it happens, not quite so much union thug as NDP thug.

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    Friday, October 27, 2006

    It's official: London is a Pothole City

    Who needs Joe Fontana? London's already "on the map" thanks to the Ontario Worst Roads Survey, which released its results this week. Although the democratic results of polling — in which Western Road and Thompson Road were popularly voted the second- and fifth-worst roads in the province respectively — were diluted this year with the survey's own inspection of roads, they still received respectable finishes in the top ten at nos. four and nine, in order. Sadder for Londoners, however, the survey apparently deferred to political considerations this year and abstained from releasing the final rankings of cities according to voters. Fortunately we can report that, thanks to the fine and civic-minded contributions of the residents of this great bumpy city, London placed second this year behind only Toronto and well ahead of Ottawa — a significant accomplishment and an improvement over last year's third-place finish. Appreciation is owed to the Ontario Worst Roads Survey and to the selfless diligence of Londoners who cast their votes (and reader Jake Lachelli who has kept us updated throughout the survey). But gratitude must especially go to the politicians of London who have made this honour possible — despite having collected among the highest property taxes in the province, they still deliver the worst services! Way to go, London politicians, you're the worst!

    Of Western Road:

    Another Worst Roads perennial - and the section of 'road' through the university campus area remains one of the worst roads this coalition representative has ever seen. Craters everywhere that create small lakes after a rain. Ruts, cracks and every possible fault a paved surface can be seen….Western Road then also creates chaos for motorists only a short clip south nearing Oxford St. where it abruptly changes from two lanes in each direction to one.
    And of Thompson Road:
    Voters are particularly vocal about the worst section of this city street between King Edward Street and Adelaide. In this section the pavement is cracked and broken across both lanes. The curb lanes are particularly bad, exhibiting broken asphalt and sizable potholes.
    Yes, it's Pothole City, courtesy of the "tax-raising, pork-barreling, career politicians at city hall," and immortalized by the legendary Frank Le Fou.

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    Kultur über alles

    After spirited debate and avoidance by challengers and the incumbent respectively on the subject of property taxes and municipal debt at Wednesday night's televised mayoral debate, neither Joe Fontana nor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best were eager to commit themselves to immediately start digging a $70 million hole for the triumphal cornerstone of London's Creative Cities Task Force, the Performing Arts Centre. Nonetheless, both frontrunners jerked reflexively forward to the stimulus-prod of Creative Cities when it was introduced by a panelist: after Fontana criticized the mayor for the slow implementation of the task force's recommendations, DeCicco-Best boasted that the city had in fact already implemented many of the recommendations — "putting its cultural infrastructure in place," so to speak — including the creation of yet another permanently entrenched layer of bureaucracy, a culture division at city hall. Innocuous and unassuming as the bureau may be now — the Culture Office cannot be found on the city's directory at least as yet — its vague and improbable jurisdiction will certainly expand to include at least more discretionary spending funds as long as Londoners continue to elect politicians like DeCicco-Best who in the matter of policy defer utterly to the caprices and instructions of unelected administrators…

    …administrators who enjoy not only receiving and dispensing perquisites for which they are barely accountable but also unchallenged acceptance and expansion of their own justifications for existence as economic and social managers of Londoners. Politicians like DeCicco-Best and Fontana, in return, expect to reap credit for endorsing popular sentiments at no cost to themselves, relying on a generally passive lack of scrutiny and acceptance on the part of voters for ideas like "creativity" and "culture." After all, who's opposed to those? But lost in the game of politicking is the very active sense in which city hall employs these ideas: i.e., to take money out of the productive economy that spontaneously and creatively delivers the cultural goods and services that all people freely choose, and to redistribute it instead into bureaucratically-delivered projects and services that compete against the free market and benefit only those handfuls of Londoners to whom it is politically expedient for politicians to pander. The rest of Londoners find not only that their city of residence is no more "cultural" or "creative" than it had been before, but that their own opportunities to pursue their own cultural preferences and support creativity has been artificially impoverished.

    Of course, the premise of the Creative Cities concept is that centralized pursuit of cultural amenities and attitudes increases rather than depresses economic well-being by luring sophisticated entrepreneurs and workers to cities. Since it was introduced a few years ago by American professor Richard Florida, the vision has enthralled and been enthusiastically promoted by politicians everywhere — not coincidentally in proportion to their propensity to have their pretensions to sound economic and social management flattered, contrary to all historical evidence. But the Creative Cities concept puts not one but two carts before two horses: first, that economic productivity is a product of cultural affluence, rather than the other way around; and, second, that competitive tax and regulatory advantages are secondary, if at all relevant, to successful entrepreneurs and workers. Simply put, the premises of the Creative Cities concept do not work logically, and they do not work in practice. Steven Malanga elaborates and illustrates this in a City Journal article from 2004, forwarded to us by reader Matthew Clarke: The Curse of the Creative Class.

    The Money list illustrates an underlying problem with Florida’s whole approach. Not only does he believe that marginal attractions like an idiosyncratic arts scene can build economic power, but he thinks that government officials and policymakers like himself can figure out how to produce those things artificially. He doesn’t seem to recognize that the cultural attributes of the cities he most admires are not a product of government planning but have been a spontaneous development, financed by private-sector wealth. While Florida’s writings denigrate efforts of cities to power their economies by building sports stadiums and convention centers, the professor thinks that he, by contrast, has found the philosopher’s stone that will turn public spending on amenities into economic-development gold.

    It is exactly because Florida is an exponent of this kind of aggressive, government-directed economic development (albeit with a New Age spin) that liberal policymakers and politicians have latched on to his theories so enthusiastically. To them, an expanding government is always more interesting than an expanding economy—especially if economic growth depends on something so very uninteresting as low taxes and small government. But it is just as likely that the Floridazed brand of aggressive governing will get things as wrong as the builders of sports stadiums and convention centers.
    Read the rest here. Lost in the rush for populist credentials between Fontana and DeCicco-Best was mayoral candidate Arthur Majoor, who made precisely these points in the debate and two months ago on his website:
    Quality of life is achieved by being able to make choices, and the ability to make choices comes from having access to your own resources. London’s arts community needs an audience with the resources to choose to patronise the arts in all its forms. Loss of that base not only hurts artists, but also the support industry that is built around the artistic community; distributors, art suppliers, galleries and venues. Channelling even more tax dollars into extravagant projects like a $70 million dollar performing arts centre hurts the London arts scene in several ways. A large performing arts centre will have to concentrate on blockbusters in order to take in enough revenue to be even partially self supporting. Imported acts and artists will drive out local talent. The constant flow of tax dollars to subsidize the cost of the performing arts centre will pull funding away from other artistic endeavours, and indeed draw funds away from other civic mandates. Finally, even though most Londoners will not be able to afford the extravagant ticket prices, they will be paying for the centre for years to come through their tax dollars, limiting opportunities to patronize other forms of artistic expression and narrowing the choices of what artistic expressions get supported.

    The Creative Cities Task Force worked on a flawed premise. Cities which were artistic and cultural centres in the past became that way because they were first economic and political centers. The ahistorical view of the arts community adopted by the Creative Cities Task Force supports a view of art and culture which is disconnected from the underlying culture of the city, and in effect creates a “Disneyland” for the arts, not a creative and self supporting artistic community.

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    Thursday, October 26, 2006

    Belinda Stronach is a dirty dog

    I've so far failed to comment on Peter McKay's alleged comment in the House of Commons last week regarding Belinda Stronach’s canine status because I really didn't care. When you pack a room full of bandits jockeying for control of the public purse, it's going to get nasty. That's politics. I'm sure Belinda has been called much worse in her 40 years on this planet. So, I really didn't care, until Belinda and the "victims" started shouting sexism and hurt feelings, and it's still going on. Your taxpayer dollars hard at work:

    The opposition Liberals added fuel to the fracas by serving up eight legal affidavits from MPs swearing they heard MacKay’s heckle, even though it was not recorded in Hansard — the official written record of House proceedings.

    The House of Commons Speaker, Peter Milliken, who presides over decorum, agreed to listen more closely to an audio version of the proceedings, in which MacKay can be faintly heard shouting in the background during a heated debate.

    Outside the Commons, several Liberal women gathered at a microphone to condemn what they described as MacKay’s “sexist remark” and to implore him to either come clean or quit.

    “He is coward, and he is a man without honour,” MP Marlene Jennings said.

    “He’s on an audio tape, it’s clear that he said it,” added Judy Sgro, another Liberal MP. “Does he think the people of Canada are stupid?”

    During a debate last Thursday on the government’s proposed clean-air legislation, which was denounced for not being tough enough on polluters, Liberal MP David McGuinty asked MacKay: “Don’t you care about your dog?”

    The Liberals say MacKay gestured toward Stronach’s vacant seat and retorted: “You already have her.”
    Canadians are stupid in exact proportion to the importance they place on McKay's comment, assuming he even said it in the first place. The real victim here is the taxpayer who pays the wages of these buffoons. Bitches, all of you. Is it okay if I call Stronach, Jennings, and Sgro dogs or bitches? Can a woman be accused of "sexism?" if her comment is directed to a member of one's own "victim" group? If you can't take the "heat" ladies, you should resume your role of sock darner and toilet cleaner.

    Cross-posted at Dust my Broom

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    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    Rory Leishman column rejected by the Free Press

    Long-time London Free Press editorial columnist Rory Leishman's Oct. 24th column, A Rising Tolerance for the Wrong, was rejected for publication by the newspaper, citing Leishman's apparent failure to attend a play at the Grand Theatre that he employs as an example of the "flagrant exhibitions of sexual promiscuity have coarsened our entire culture." As purveyors of gratuitous culture themselves of only a less lurid but no less degenerating nature, the editorial staff at the Free Press are no friends to this sort of commentary. However, Joel Johannesen at Proud To Be Canadian has taken the opportunity to publish A Rising Tolerance for the Wrong, with an explanatory preface by Leishman, here, instead of at the London Free Press.

    [The London Fog is neither endorsing nor condemning the sentiments contained in the column: we are providing this link as a service to our readers. But we do note that the Grand Theatre received $465,000 in taxpayer funding from London's Community Arts Investment Program in 2006 as part of the implementation of the Creative Cities Task Force's recommendations.]

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    Spelling matters. Choose Firefox

    Firefox 2.0 is now available. What are you waiting for Internet Exploiter users? If you are a Mac user, long ago you have ditched IE, and in response, IE no longer supports Macintosh users. Who cares? Not I, who no longer have to deal with a system crash if the browser decides to crap out.

    If you are running MS Windows, you should care if you continue to run the security challenged browser. And get this. The lastest Firefox release enables a built in spell checker for forms, which includes blogger and hotmail. Oh yeah!

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    Tuesday, October 24, 2006

    The good, the bad and the ugly on taxes and spending

    The London Free Press reports that, with three weeks left before the municipal election, Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best has been keeping "a relatively low profile, preferring to let her record stand on jobs, economic development and doctor recruitment as the city's construction industry rolls to another record year." This reflects sound judgment on the part of DeCicco-Best's campaign staff as her record on these issues stands safest on a very low profile indeed; but to be polite, the low profile of her record is safe with the London Free Press. Under a cursory inspection, it might be more appropriate to say that DeCicco-Best's hopes for re-election rest on letting her record stand on meager expectations and negative returns; specifically:

    • a 25 per cent increase in residential property taxes and a 50 per cent increase in water and sewer charges between 2000 and 2005, including increases of 5.9, 6.63 and 2.95 per cent in the past three years respectively;
    • a municipal debt that has climbed to $371.1 million in 2006, the repayment cost of which topped $38 million in 2004, or 5.6 per cent of the city's budget;
    • declining median family incomes in London relative to other Ontario cities;
    • unemployment that has risen from 5.5 per cent in September 2004 to 6.5 per cent in September 2005 to 7.0 per cent in September of this year; and
    • approximately 30,000 Londoners without a family doctor, despite subsidies to family physicians.
    It is worth noting, of course, that construction and housing starts have flourished in London within the past few years, but this apparent success owes less to propitiatory local economic circumstance than to a national monetary policy that has created low interest rates fuelling an artificial boom in property investment, development and speculation that is soon subsiding. When one considers that assessment growth from property development has contributed over two per cent to the growth in the city's property tax revenue before property tax rate increases, the rate of municipal spending growth is seen to have far exceeded the rate of property tax increases; even this "success" is undermined by the failure of London under DeCicco-Best's administration to have capitalized on the opportunity of assessment growth revenue to limit the burden on London homeowners.
    DeCicco-Best has promised to tighten the city's belt on spending, stop the brain drain, get residents to sell the city and keep the pressure on senior governments for money and new programs.
    After six years of almost uncontrolled spending growth, DeCicco-Best's promises are patronizing and vague at best, disingenuous and pernicious deceit at worst. Lobbying for subsidies and grants from provincial and federal governments, much ballyhooed and promoted by DeCicco-Best as accomplishments and solutions, are neither: far from providing for sound and responsible financial management, these redistributions of tax dollars have and will continue to have bailed out the city's unrestrained spending by deferring the burden of tax collection to other jurisdictions that, in the end, take from the same pockets as municipalities. Under this kind of administration, Londoners may have to sell the city while they can still get a price for it.

    Challenger in the race for least objectionable Liberal establishment mayor is Joe Fontana, who today released a finance platform that is finally much less inscrutable and more competent and cogent than his previous efforts; specifically, increases in taxes and spending of no more than two per cent annually for the next four years. While this and the other eight planks in the platform recognize the untenable tax situation in London and the economic deterrent impacts of our tax and spending burdens, throwing these issues into a starker relief that DeCicco-Best has tried instead to blur, Fontana must still be remembered as a Johnny-Come-Lately to this recognition and a candidate who began his campaign extolling his contributions to municipal financing dependency on funding from other levels of government — there has never been a shortage of Liberals willing to change their spots for political expediency. But for voters convinced that there are only two electorally-viable candidates for mayor, Fontana's re-focus may present a more palatable or even welcome proposition on election day, November 13th. For a more serious and unbelated acknowledgement and redress of London's fiscal problems, however, Arthur Majoor has proposed since the beginning of his campaign measures that do not only stop the holes in London's economic productivity but also reverse the drain, including:
    • "[a] broad based property tax cut, to put money back into the productive economy" and
    • "[r]educing spending by $100 million dollars to focus on the core aspects of civic governance."
    For more information on tax cuts instead of holding patterns, read:

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    Monday, October 23, 2006

    After eight months, Dalton McGuinty claims Caledonia not his responsibility

    Dalton McGimpy's latest "solution" to the insurgent occupation in Caledonia is to demand money and action from the Federal government.

    An ongoing aboriginal occupation in southern Ontario has worn out the patience of the province's taxpayers, Premier Dalton McGuinty says -- and he's urging Ottawa to pick up its fair share of the cost and settle the eight-month dispute with Six Nations protesters.

    Although McGuinty has consistently called for patience in the aboriginal standoff in Caledonia, south of Hamilton, his own forbearance appeared at an end as he reminded the Conservatives in Ottawa that aboriginal land claims are a federal responsibility.

    "It is costing the people of Ontario a lot of money," McGuinty said after a weekend speech in Niagara Falls.

    "We intend to claim for compensation from the federal government and we would encourage the federal government to fully assume its proper responsibility and begin to bring some real vigour to the negotiations and to bring them to some conclusion."
    The reason the Caledonia occupation has cost so much is because instead of enforcing the law that everyone else in Ontario is expected to follow, the Ontario Liberals have purchased the disputed land, provided the natives there with "free" utilities - despite damage caused to hydro poles early on - compensated business owners for lost revenue, spent money on overtime pay for police to stand around and do nothing, and paid out large sums of money to a provincial negotiator who has clearly failed in his role. Conservative Leader John Tory has estimated that $55 million of taxpayer money has been spent to date, although he does not provide an itemized list, and Dalton McGuinty continues to refuse to release a running total.

    What is known is that millions and millions of dollars have been spent on the occupation thus far, and after eight whole months, The Gimp is now claiming the problem is a Federal responsibility and demanding compensation to Ontarians for the Liberal's mismangement of the situation.

    But unlike McGuinty's government, the Federal government might actually enforce the law, unless the occupiers can prove they have a legitimate claim to the disputed land. McGuinty should have been asking for hard core proof of the native's claims before he purchased the land with other people's money.
    A federal negotiator told a town meeting Friday night that Ottawa has told Six Nations representatives it does not have legal title to the housing subdivision occupied since February.

    But Ron Doering, a lawyer hired by the Conservative government to help deal with the land claim, said Ottawa could be wrong and wants to negotiate a way out of the occupation.

    Doering said Ottawa has documents from 1844 indicating the Douglas Creek Estates land was surrendered and sold.

    "If they don't convince us we're wrong, the federal government will stand by its position," he told more than 200 people attending the meeting organized by the Caledonia Citizens Alliance.
    As utility costs continue to rise on the reserve, eating into the provincial reserves, the Ontario Liberals realize they must pass the cost and responsibility onto the Federal government if they are to focus on more important matters, like preventing gender-based price discrimination, protecting consumers by banning expiry dates on gift cards and the beginning of a $2 million initiative to "build character in schools".

    Cross-posted at Dust my Broom

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    Red Ensign Standard #45

    After a long absence, the Red Ensign Standard is back. West Coast Chaos hosts the 45th edition.

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    Sunday, October 22, 2006

    Street Prophet of Babylondon

    Is global cooling or global warming upon us? Concerned about poverty in Africa? Should you choose prunes or bran? Wondering where to draw the line between sharing and selfishness? Need someone else to tell you how to think?

    Coming soon to a street corner near you:

    The ubiquitous Street Prophet has returned from high atop Boler Mountain to once again indulge his appetite for Earthly ways. But even great prophets must earn a living in the world of man, so our intrepid sage has set up an itinerant street ministry in the downtown core of Babylondon to answer these questions and more.

    Wandering from curb to curb, as in the glorious tradition of Socrates, Buddha and likewise inspired men - in an obscene Lysol inspired stream of conciousness rant with only his hat and his words to provide for him - Basil is offering pearls of wisdom free of charge (alms and a drink are always appreciated but not required).

    Who is this spiritual master you ask? What are his transcendental credentials? This is his story:

    WHEN Basil was thirty years old, he left his home and the lake of his home, and climbed to the upper most peak of Boler Mountain. There he enjoyed his spirit and his solitude, and for thirty years did not weary of it. But at last his heart changed, - and rising one morning with the rosy dawn, he went before the sun, and spake thus unto it:

    Thou great star! What would be thy happiness if thou hadst not those for whom thou shinest!

    For thirty years hast thou climbed hither unto my cave: thou wouldst have wearied of thy light and of the journey, had it not been for me, mine eagle, and my serpent.

    But we awaited thee every morning, took from thee thine overflow, and blessed thee for it.

    Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to take it.

    I would fain bestow and distribute, until the wise have once more become joyous in their folly, and the poor happy in their riches.

    Therefore must I descend into the deep: as thou doest in the evening, when thou goest behind the sea, and givest light also to the nether-world, thou exuberant star!

    Like thee, I must go down - as men, to whom I shall descend, call it.

    Bless me, then, thou tranquil eye, that canst behold even the greatest happiness without envy!

    Bless the cup that is about to overflow, that the water may flow golden out of it, and carry everywhere the reflection of thy bliss!

    Lo! This cup is again going to empty itself, and Basil is again going to be a man.

    Thus began Basil's down-going.
    Have a question to ask but too afraid to seek out this wise man in person on the insurgency ravaged streets of downtown Babylondon? Now you can ask the London Fog's Street Prophet. Send in your questions or leave a comment and we'll publish them here with one of Basil's Lysol induced diatribes which may or may not address your question!

    Go ahead. Ask Basil now. Send us your money. We accept paypal. Be sure to remember Fenris too.

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    Friday, October 20, 2006

    Bono: Making Poverty History with Other People's Money

    Currently in Ireland, "recognized artists" are exempt from paying income tax. Bono is an Irish "artist." In January of next year, changes to the taxation act will include the provision that only 50% of an artist's income will be tax exempt if that income exceeds half a million dollars. So how does the man who demands wealthier nations redistribute even more of the stolen loot from the vassals to "those in need" react to the changes? He pulls his bank account from Ireland and relocates it to a country where he can keep more of his own money.

    . . . U2, the famous Irish band, has moved some of its assets from Ireland to the Netherlands. The Netherlands has a very favourable tax rate, even better than Ireland, which for artists is already a tax haven of unimaginable indulgence. U2 is of course Bono's band, Bono, the Stephen Forbes business partner and the greatest scold of "rich" governments on the face of the earth. Bono was the man who nagged Paul Martin in public for Canada's not giving enough for African debt relief, but then Bono, friend of Bill Clinton, consort of the princes of the world, World Economic Forum attendee, gazillionaire, nags everyone about Africa.

    He even read the riot act of Liberal outrage to his own government because the Irish government, like Canada, was slack on debt relief for Africa. Uriah Heap with groupies. Bono and his multimillionaire band-mates have hauled their songwriting business out of Ireland because Ireland has modestly upped the tax levy on artists making over half a million a year. So he wants Ireland to give more of its taxes to help poor Africa, but he, Bono, wants to pay less taxes to Ireland.

    I'd call him a "whited sepulchre" except that's a biblical reference, and Madonna would probably claim copyright.
    HT: Darcey

    With the usual hypocrisy we have come to expect from Bono, he practices heteronormative, capitalistic behaviour while preaching from the pages of The Communist Manifesto. Two tiers. There's Bono and his rich, enlightened, entitled and discriminatory pals, and then there is the rest of us taxpaying proletariats to pay the bill for the approved agenda.

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    Creative city celebration on the Thames

    Apologies to Bosch.

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    Thursday, October 19, 2006

    "New PL Nepotism"

    Since the London Free Press has downsized its journalistic standards, reporting and editorial content has shriveled to grade-school rationalizations and summary paraphrasing of city hall and candidate press releases. Not much positive can be said for the city's print media anymore… and now it appears that it's the local television channel's turn to lessen its efforts. A reader passes along this story from the Southern Ontario/WNY Radio-TV Forum:

    A-Channel in London recently lost a great talent in Julie Simpson who prior to quitting was most recently hosting a “Health & Home” segment on the supper hour news.

    After she quit the full-time position was posted. Lo and behold, the job was awarded to Jan Sims. You might remember Jan as a replacement anchor at CFTO, she also did some work at CKVR. Then again, you might also recognize Jan as being the A Channel News Director’s wife. That’s right, with 45 people about to lose their jobs and morale at an all-time low; the News Director actually hired his own wife.

    But, wait, the story continues to get better!
    Read the rest of the story of the lengths the A-Channel has gone to accommodate nepotism in favour of quality broadcasting here.

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    Creative Cities boondoggle on the horizon

    At a ward thirteen candidates debate on Tuesday night, Coun. Sandy White dropped this bombshell:

    White said there's a "secret" plan in the works to build a performing arts centre that will become public in the next few weeks.
    It seems that the rate of return on snake oil is still higher than that on prudence; self-aggrandizing and gleaming temples to municipal mortgage are still calculated to impress the simple folk at election time. While it's difficult to argue that London's economy or culture suffers from the lack of a totemic performing arts centre in the Kremlin Square, it's easy to see that the city's economy at least has certainly suffered directly from the hundreds of million of dollars siphoned away from basic infrastructure maintenance and taxpayers' accounts and into a $371.1 million municipal debt hangover from the recent central planning theme parks, slotted into the forms of the city's economic development textbook. As much as politicians have touted the localized economic benefits of a handful of new restaurants and boutiques as proof of success of the city's new arena, convention centre, market building and central library, the overall costs of higher taxes and reduced private investment elsewhere have far outweighed them, and will continue to do so, apparently.

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    The London Fog's London Budget 2007 Archives
    Once again, Londoners get robbed twice by city council Friday, February 9, 2007
    Last night, in yet another tale of London City Council's fiscal malaise, they approved spending $2,000,000 of taxpayer's ill-gotten surplus for special-interest groups and other initiatives. As always, the net benefit to the taxpayers when council wastes your money — nothing.
    London Public Library: out of control Monday, January 29, 2007
    The London Public Library created a stir at city hall on two fronts last week when it submitted its $15.25 million budget request to board of control during deliberations on the 2007 city budget. As with other boards and commissions, city administration had set a generous target increase for the Library of three per cent above its previous funding level of $14.58 million — above both the rate of inflation and growth in the city's assessment revenue — allowing the Library to propose an increase of $437,000 to its budget for a total of $15.02 million. The submitted budget represented instead a 4.6 per cent increase, or $230,000 over target…
    Over the board: 4.6% tax increase in store Sunday, January 28, 2007
    Three days of deliberations by board of control last week on London's 2007 budget have produced so few departures from the original recommendations of city management in its draft budget proposals that the exercise of the board's oversight powers seemed on the whole at least a partial vindication of the criticisms of proponents of its elimination. Board of control substantially approved the $739 million draft operating budget "with few cuts" and, per the recommendation of chief administrative officer Jeff Fielding, gave additional approval to funding some service growth initiatives from assessment growth revenue…
    On the boards, by the board Wednesday, January 24, 2007
    [C]ity boards and commissions met today with board of control to defend their budgets before controllers submit their overall budget recommendations to council. Administration had set a generous target for the municipal boards for a three per cent increase above previous funding levels, above both the rate of inflation and growth in the city's assessment revenue. Significantly, the target was set without requiring those boards to justify previous expenditures but only the amounts in excess of them — a lost opportunity to promote restraint and reduce a bureaucratic sense of entitlement to those amounts.
    Cost of living in London continues to rise Wednesday, January 24, 2007
    Council last night passed the first part of the city's 2007 budget, approving five and eleven per cent rate increases for sewer and water charges respectively, adding an extra $48 to the cost of living to the average London homeowner.
    LFPress letter to the editor: Budget editorial fails… Monday, January 22, 2007
    This is the text of a letter to the editor published in Saturday's London Free Press (letters are not archived) regarding its editorial coverage of the public input meeting in front of board of control as part of the 2007 draft budget process. The author, Mary Lou Ambrogio of London, was one of the presenters of the submission to board of control referred to below, and reprinted in The London Fog
    Public input on London's 2007 draft budget, part 2 Friday, January 12, 2007
    It should finally come as no surprise to anyone that an invitation for public input from governments has become received in reality as an invitation to that demonstrative and vocal segment of the population that reasons that it has something to gain from the proceedings, and there has been no disappointment in the invitation's reception this year. Agencies and institutions in London have become professional welfare advocates for themselves as a result not only of these proceedings but of their continual success in obtaining something for themselves at no greater cost than a paid day's work in preparing a sentimental exposition of their perceived value to themselves. So much easier!
    Public input on London's 2007 draft budget Wednesday, January 10, 2007
    This is the text of a presentation delivered to London Board of Control, with some members of council attending, as part of the one-day public input meeting in the city's 2007 draft budget process on January 10…
    Budget surpluses are bad news for taxpayers Wednesday, December 20, 2006
    The London Free Press reports that this year's budget "surplus" is estimated at $8.1 million — at least the third straight year of multi-million dollar surpluses, totaling over $30 million over that time. Although surplus revenue is taxation above and beyond the city required to meet its budgeted obligations over the year, Londoners can expect to see little of that money returned to them.
    Draft budget:
    4.3% spending growth is just the beginning
    Sunday, December 17, 2006
    London's $900 million draft budget for 2007 calls for spending growth of between 4.3 and 4.4 per cent — roughly twice the rate of inflation…
    Draft budget in:
    City says, "We'd like some more!"
    Wednesday, December 13, 2006
    The modest robber, having already taken the gold and the jewelry, removes the silver and brass and congratulates himself on his moderation. City hall was "mostly smiles" today — or smirks, as the picture goes — according to the London Free Press, as staff presented a $900 million draft budget to council that will raise property taxes and water and sewer charges between 2.8 and 4.5 per cent.

    Budget 2005 Archives

    London Budget News Release — Paul Van Meerbergen
    Download as PDF

    "London as a Creative City" — by Paul Van Meerbergen
    Download as PDF

    Capital Budget Amendments — by Paul Van Meerbergen
    Download as PDF

    Operating Budget Amendments — by Paul Van Meerbergen
    Download as PDF

    Windfalls blowing through my mind

    Tilting at the windfalls


    Maybe now we can have a parade!

    "almost makes me want to break out in a rash"

    The future of the JLC?

    Anne Marie is smiling

    The farce of the democratic process

    And my income tax refund is a bonus, too…

    It's only 6.63% - and it's London's 150th besides

    I admit defeat

    "Londoners can no longer afford their local government"

    No wonder that report was kindly kept away from council: they don't care and it makes them look bad

    How much is your property worth to us?

    The continuing saga of London's financial crisis

    Bitch slappin' and name calling

    City staff gets larger still

    City councillors stomachs grumbling in marathon budget smokescreening

    Passing the blame and missing the point

    More budget scraps...

    We're only in it for the money

    More budget lunacy .....

    Knife misses capital budget and hits Londoners in the back instead

    Budget Scraps - Babies, nannies and horses and buggies

    Budget Antics 2005

    They always get so cranky when they stay up past their bedtime

    Sing a song of 7.81%

    London Ontario — a sinking ship

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't...

    “Smart Growth” is just dumb economics by Dr. Kim Ainslie, reproduced with permission.

    Pay for it yourself

    150 years of robbery and theft

    Pass the buck — blame it on the province

    London proudly upholds time honoured tradition

    London celebrates 150 years of corruption

    City Hall’s Cynical Budget Politics by Dr. Kim Ainslie, reproduced with permission.
    Budget 2006 Archives

    Fiscal responsibility, London-style

    Save the twelve dollars, you're going to need it

    Special interests speak out on London budget.
    Hint: it's not for your interest

    It's going to get more expensive to live in London, version 2006.1

    Thanks for your fiscal restraint and your foresight

    It's going to get more expensive to live in London… again

    And that little matter of the budget…

    Please tell us more about your fiscal discipline

    What about the potholes and the soaring debt?

    Save London Roads! Close Fanshawe Pioneer Village

    City hall cannot be trusted with taxes

    "It shows we're ahead of the curve, that we're making investments"

    London can't afford its local government

    Riches of embarassment for council…
    more taxes for the rest of us

    London's Ryugyong

    "… the side streets resemble Siberia"

    Melba Toast

    Don't trust council with a "surplus"

    The sewers were neglected in favour of the JLC

    It's only your money…

    There's a truck stuck in the sewer

    Thanks for the two bucks, now scram

    Election year budget creates moderate discomfort to special interest groups and propitiatory council

    Assorted London anaesthetics…

    London 2006 budget deliberations begin.
    Citizen advisory in effect: start saving…

    London Ontario — an expensive place to raise a family

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    Within this post has some word about importint sujbect

    Higher education is not just about putting words in their proper order. Walking into the UCC on UWO campus this morning, I was forced to confront the reality of a large black wooden box with a door on the front. The entire front featured the spraypainted message,

    With in this ...this box has the ability for both the exploration of good & evil.
    This being a post about a university, everything in the blockquotes is of course qualified with "(sic)".

    Today's Gazette explained:
    This week, a large, black wooden box mysteriously appeared in the middle of the University (of Western Ontario) Community Centre atrium.

    The box was part of the University Students' Council's ongoing initiative to raise hate crime awareness on campus. The box's outside displayed collages constructed from pictures of sexist, racist, and homophobic graffiti found on campus. They were accompanied by cryptic messages like "In here has the potential for both equity and HATRED."
    Inside this box was I invited to walk if the courage was what I had to face the factors about our hate filled society. Was I an individual community member educated enough to step into the eternal struggle between HATRED and equity that takes place -- to paraphrase the traitor Solzhenitsyn -- within the breast of every man, woman, homosexual, minority, person of different ability, and new Canadian?
    Inside the box were several mirrors and posters displaying messages like, "Know what is said. Now look at yourself and ask: Do you accept this?"
    No, really, it said that. I looked. I could find in myself neither hatred nor equity, those classic opposites -- just the eternally battling duality of bemusement and irritation. Some still show spirit, however, when faced with the terrible fruits of the privileging of indoctrination over literacy:
    The box's message didn't reach everyone; one comment left in the suggestion box said, "Fucking haters, let's kill them."
    Is our children learning?

    Continue reading…

    Wednesday, October 18, 2006

    London, Ontario: the city that economics forgot

    Ultimately, economic growth is a complex matter. Sure, economic growth won't happen without roads and a reasonable tax rate. But it also won't happen without a sustainable natural environment, a vibrant cultural community, a visible respect for heritage, a lively and bustling downtown core, a healthy partnership with educational organizations, an obvious concern for those who have fewer advantages.
    — London Free Press editorial, Toward a new London, Oct. 14, 2006
    The conceit of civic politicians to practicing sound financial management and economic planning is not upheld by the evidence of declining median family incomes in London relative to other Ontario cities, stagnant job growth, rising crime and deteriorating municipal infrastructure. These indicators of economic decline have coincided with an increase in the regulatory restriction of property development, the expansion of the city government's capital and operating budgets to $862.7 million in 2006, the inflation of the municipal debt to $371.1 million, the repayment cost of which topped $38 million in 2004, or 5.6 per cent of the city's budget, and a 25 per cent increase in property taxes and a 50 per cent increase in water and sewer rates between 2000 and 2005 that has made London homeowners among the most highly burdened in Canada, with the owner of an average bungalow in London on the hook for $3,734 including surcharges in 2005. The lesson is hard to avoid that enlarging political and bureaucratic interest in and control over the city's economy subtracts from economic growth and opportunity — which would surprise few economists because politically-motivated spending through taxes must come at the expense of voluntary and unregulated spending on goods and services that promotes growth and opportunity in the free market.

    Incumbents, candidates, their supporters and special interest groups bent on maintaining or acquiring disposition of an expanding portion of London's economic assets for political purposes have since found it necessary to perpetuate a willfull confusion between economic tenets and political objectives by equating objective and quantifiable economic indicators with chipper but inscrutably vague, immeasurable and ultimately meaningless "quality of life" precepts: "livability," "sustainability," "heritage," "diversity," "culture," "community," and so on. As economic metrics, however, these boiler plates cannot sustain any agreed-upon or impartial definition or scrutiny, but they are certainly not by any stretch of the imagination economic resources, inputs or outputs. Although they may be employed by some as decision-making variables for allocation of already existing economic inputs or wished-for outcomes of economic activity, appropriation of economic resources for collective decision-making under their banners produces profoundly deleterious economic consequences. That politicians, bureaucrats and political interests have rendered them as axioms is no surprise. That the London Free Press indulges them instead of exposing the folly of massive expansion in economic intervention by politicians and bureaucrats is pitiable.

    Continue reading…

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    Dalton McGuinty's smoke-screen

    Dalton McGuinty has identified the real trouble in insurgent occupied Caledonia. It's the billboards brainwashing the people to purchase cigarettes against their will. Joe Camel declined to comment, citing the current fatwa issued against him:
    Ontario is asking for Ottawa's help to look into billboards advertising cigarettes posted on a highway leading to the Six Nations' reserve near Caledonia.

    There are large signs on and off the Six Nations reserve advertising cigarettes, including one portraying a smiling bull with a feather between his horns, having a smoke.

    Premier Dalton McGuinty says Ontario's Ministry of Transportation is taking a look to see if the signs violate a provincial ban on tobacco advertising.

    And he says if the billboards break the law, then the ministry "will be taking action."
    Another selective application of the law, funded by you, and delivered by The Gimp and his gang.

    HT: Darcey

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    Freedom Party of Ontario leader Paul McKeever on YouTube

    Freedom Party Media Release:

    Freedom Party of Ontario today has launched "FPTV", a "channel" on the popular website YouTube.com. FPTV will facilitate publicly-viewable two-way communications between party leader Paul McKeever and those who would like him to address questions or comments concerning the party, its leader, and the governance of Ontario. In the first of many personal FPTV "fireside chats" to come, McKeever addresses the question: "Why not just join the Progressive Conservatives, and change that party from within?".

    [..] "For the first time ever", explains McKeever, "an emerging political party like Freedom Party will be able to communicate not only the nouns and verbs of its message, but the look, tone and feel of its message as never before. Folks who want to speak directly with me, in full view of everyone else, will be able to do so by posting a video response. They will be able to vent or to cheer, to question or to suggest. It will be just like a real town hall meeting, but it will operate 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and with global reach. And, perhaps best of all, viewers will be able to subscribe to FPTV for free, so that they can be notified every time a new episode of FPTV is made available for viewing.
    FPTV - Ep. 1: Why not join the Progressive Conservatives?

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    Monday, October 16, 2006

    The Occupation continues in Caledonia

    Over 500 people showed up for yesterday's rally against the insurgent occupation in Caledonia. Five protesters were arrested as the native protesters enjoyed police protection, a potluck supper, free hydro and water. $55 million and rising ... and what about those destroyed hydro poles?

    McGuinty Two-Tier and his goons are proud of themselves, John Tory calls for a $50 million study and newly appointed OPP commissioner Julian Fantino is considering his role as the Natives wonder why they weren't consulted.

    Ontario's First Nations are disappointed that the province named Julian Fantino the new OPP commissioner without consulting them, an adviser to the chiefs said yesterday.

    "We wanted the opportunity to have input or play an advisory role," Pam Hunter said. "We know we can't select the new commissioner."

    Hunter said they wrote to Public Safety Minister Monte Kwinter asking for input and they were told an outside firm was conducting the search.
    I guess the rest of us are of no consequence.

    Sharing with The Broom

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    Don't vote for Stephen Orser on November 13th

    According to an article from Friday's Left Arm for Special Interests, the crime rate is 14% higher this year in London Ontario. Chief Murray Faulkner explains this away into oblivion by citing the increase in police officers resulting in more charges. Faulkner also credits special projects like Project Speak Easy - a program designed to deal with rowdy university and college students, which resulted in triple the number of charges over last year. While it is true that many students in London vandalize local property and cause a general disturbance, especially when under the influence of alcohol, it is apparent to most Londoners that Project Speak Easy will have little impact on the types of crime that are significantly on the rise, largely committed by non-students, especially downtown and in the east end.

    Robberies are up 38 per cent this year, auto thefts 43 per cent and break-ins 16 per cent.

    Deputy Chief Ian Peer said Londoners must do a better job protecting themselves, especially their vehicles.

    Residents should park vehicles in garages, keep them locked and install anti-theft devices. Vehicles popular with thieves should be parked between another vehicle and the garage, Peer said.
    The rising crime rate was also an issue at a recent Ward 4 candidates' meeting sponsored by The Old East Village Community Association. The lack of perspective as evidenced by the responses of certain candidates should be noted. Take for example, Stephen Orser, a candidate who wants a full-time council:
    Stephen Orser said the solution is to tackle one issue at a time, starting with street prostitution. He said the province could provide more tools, such as seizing and selling the vehicles of clients.
    I work in the east end of the city, and based on reports and my own experiences, prostitution is hardly the "issue" to begin with. The criminalization of drugs and prostitution is part of the problem in the first place, as police presence is diverted toward these largely victimless crimes. The reason the drug pushers and the prostitutes and their customers roam the streets is because the government has decreed it illegal to voluntary provide sex and drugs to voluntary buyers. Banning the exchange will do little to lessen the desire, and yet, as the number of hold-ups and car thefts increase in the Old East, Orser is recommending giving the police further powers to seize property they have no right to take.

    Ward Four Candidates:

    Bill Brock
    J. Daniel O'Neail
    Stephen Orser
    Greg Thompson
    Henry Zupanc

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    Friday, October 13, 2006

    Giant Douche meets Turd Sandwich in London Ontario mayoral race

    Six years later, Anne-Marie DeCicco spends her afternoons knocking on the doors of Londoners with "A Focus on the Future", which includes

    • Five new libraries
    • Revitalized community centres
    • Expanded outdoor recreation facilities
    • National and international conferences, cultural and sporting events like the Memorial Cup
    Meanwhile, the streets continue to crumble all around us as the crime rate rises along with property taxes. The city is in debt for recent capital extravagances, and yet the mayor is promising even more treats you won't be able to afford.
    “We still have a lot of work to do,” DeCicco-Best said today, as she drove to an event after an afternoon of door-knocking.

    “We were out in the snow today and we’re going to keep getting our message out and knocking on doors and we won’t be taking anything for granted.”
    Joe Fontana claims Anne Marie's literature is full of nothing, while offering something for nothing in return.
    Asked today if his campaign lacks focus, Fontana said, “Possibly . . . my message is going to be sharper, no doubt.”

    But if his campaign is guilty of trying to say too much then Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-best is guilty of saying almost nothing, Fontana said.

    “I’m not putting out motherhood and apple pie . . . I’m not putting out brochures like the mayor’s that say nothing,” he said.

    The mayor later defended her brochures, saying, “(It’s) getting great results at the door.”
    So who shall it be? Giant douche or turd sandwich?

    Decicco vs Fontana

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    The war on drugs will not be won by force

    The attacks on the plants appear futile and the plants are victorious even in defeat:

    "We tried burning them with white phosphorous -- it didn't work. We tried burning them with diesel -- it didn't work. The plants are so full of water right now ... that we simply couldn't burn them," he said.

    Even successful incineration had its drawbacks.

    "A couple of brown plants on the edges of some of those (forests) did catch on fire. But a section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action," Hillier said dryly.

    Rolling fields of opium poppies, forests of marijuana . . . do the rivers flow with beer?

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