Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Not really surprising

Friday, February 17th, 2006

Enough is enough - it’s a cartoon!

Muslim clerics have been complaining in the press about Islamophobia, which I roughtly translate as “fear of Islam”. Gentlemen, when one of your own is talking publicly about offering a reward and a free car to the person who kills this cartoonist, does this really surprise you?

There is a double standard in operation here - a muslim cleric can openly call for the murder of a cartoonist, but the free press is being told by Islam in general that they are forbidden to publish pictures.

It isn’t surprising that there is growing resentment in the West to Islam as it only seems to respect itself. Non-believers are only tolerated as long as they don’t break Islamic teachings. Note I say Islamic teachings, not law, because thank goodness, in the free world it isn’t law.

On your own heads be it gentlemen - if you want respect for your beliefs, then start taking positions that will earn respect and not condemnation.

As far as “moderate” Moslems are concerned, if you don’t condemn your own lunatic fringe, then you get painted with the same brush. And rightly so!

“Islamophobia” I would suggest is a response to some pretty outrageous behaviour so look to yourself first!

A very canadian approach

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

I quote: “Mohamed Elmasry, national leader of the Canadian Islamic Congress, says he would like the Western Standard charged with distributing hate literature”.

Now in prior commentary I have commended Dr. Elmasry for his approach, but on this one I think he is completely wrong. Distributing hate literature is very different from publishing a cartoon that offends Muslim sensibilities.

Are the cartoons offensive to Muslims? Yes, there can be no doubt about that. Are they hate literature? No I do not believe so. Are they news ? Very much so.

The Western Standard showed poor judgement in publishing the cartoons. Lets face it, anyone with an internet connection can view them for themselves, so there really isn’t anything positive that would come out from yet another publication. That being said, if they wish to show poor judgement, it is their right.

The issue here is that Islam is trying to impose its view of the world on people that do not subscribe to their faith. That should never be acceptable in a free society.

There was a film released many years ago by Monthy Python called “The life of Brian” that was offensive to Christians in general and catholics specifically. Was the film banned? No, and in my mind - that says it all.

Unique hiring practices

Friday, January 27th, 2006

I was sitting thinking about the election results the other day, and how it will affect the lives of the average Canadian. I then started to follow a very interesting chain of thought. Being a politician is a very unique hiring process.

Lets start at the beginning and look at getting nominated and elected. It is a tough, gruelling process and also starts a long slide. Lets face it, you can’t get elected without campaign funds, and obtaining those funds is inherently corrupting. You don’t get given money for nothing, and the people or organizations which donate to your campaign are doing so for a variety of reasons, and not all are altruistic.

By the time you take your seat in the house, you have a long line of favours you owe.

This is where it gets interesting though. Let’s say that you form part of the governing party. Currently the ruling party in Canada has 124 seats, of which 30 or so will form part of the Cabinet.

So, statistically speaking you have a one in four chance of being in control of a major or minor portfolio, all things being equal. Those aren’t bad odds when compared to the odds that an average person has when applying for a plumb position.

The rules for selection to these portfolios are never stated, but they include many factors other than skill. They will include proportional representation based upon geography, ethnicity, gender and many other factors. Any single group that can be identified will be screaming if they don’t have their representation in government and rightly or wrongly will be claiming bias.

You can try and tar and feather me here, but the current government has 14 elected women MPs out of the 124 total, so there will be immense pressure to appoint a significant number of them to Cabinet. There will also be pressure to represent all areas of the country, so if you are one of the 10 MPs elected from Quebec, it will also increase your chances. I’m not even going to get into ethnicity, but you can see where I’m going here.

The bottom line on this is the talent pool is pretty limited and realpolitik limits it even further. If you were a shareholder in the largest company in the country would you be happy that the members of its executive were selected this way?

The Canadian Election

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

Well if you ever thought that Toronto was out of step with the rest of the country, all you have to do is look at todays election results to be completely convinced of this.

The general election is showing a Tory tide across most of the country, other than the little pocket called Southern Ontario. Well, I suppose that is a little unfair, but the concentration of Liberal seats in Toronto is significantly higher than anywhere else.

What does this mean. Well, in my humble opinion, there are a lot of downsides to this for Toronto. Hopefully the new Conservative government will not be completely spiteful, but you have to expect some political payback. Additionally, your powerbase drives your agenda, so don’t expect Toronto’s issues to register on the political map.

Furthermore, our very telegenic, but not very bright Mayor David Miller has made a fatal mistake in even getting involved in this election. He should have kept his nose out of it, but didn’t and this will cost Toronto big time. You want infrastructure money, have a bake sale. You want money for roads, ride a mountain bike - after all you keep claiming to be green. You have a garbage problem, oh thats just too bad, maybe you should recycle more.

I can’t believe that a politician that had been in office for more than about 6 minutes could make such a stupid mistake, but then Major Miller keeps surprising me, and usually not in a good way.

I suppose Torontonians have to learn the hard way - and I believe that lesson is about to commence.

Canadian continued….

Monday, January 16th, 2006

I am so disillusioned with politics.

We are in the middle of a General Election and are being bombarded with TV advertising for the various parties. That is to be expected, but the tone and tenor of the adverts are just so wrong in my view.

Rather than saying what they are going to do, each of the major parties simply seems to be trying to demonize each other…. and I mean demonize

It is a wonder that it hasn’t sunk to the level of posting pictures of the leaders with horns and a tail impaling babies on a pitchfork.

Gentlemen, and I use that term loosely, this level of behaviour would be unacceptable in a schoolyard, never mind a national debate. Show some class!

Dingbat politics - update

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

Well the saga continues…

According to the latest press release from the government spin machine it looks like, and I quote….

The federal government is obliged to offer a severance package to the former head of the Royal Canadian Mint, says National Revenue Minister John McCallum. That’s because David Dingwall could sue them if they don’t, he says.

Now, the amount that they are talking about is $500,000 which isn’t exactly peanuts, and Mr. Dingwall resigned voluntarily.

If it walks like hush money, and it talks like hush money…..well I’ll leave the rest for you to decide. Personally - my view is offer him 50 cents and if necessary up the offer to a buck.

Dingbat politics

Monday, October 3rd, 2005

And yet again, I read the news and my blood boils…..

The latest political faux pas seems to be revolving around David Dingwall, who in case you haven’t heard has resigned as the head of the Canadian Mint. Mr Dingwall, who was a cabinet minister in the Chretien government quit his post as the head of the mint after some enterprising soul had the temerity to point out that he and his senior staffers at the mint had managed to run up an expense bill of some $740,000 give or take a few bucks.

Its a nice tidy sum, isn’t it. The last time I had an expense bill, it was about $70, so dear David and I have very different standards about expenses. I guess I always try to keep expenses under control, not so Mr Dingwall.

Now in case that isn’t bad enough, there is talk about paying DD a severance package. For goodness sake - is glue sniffing rampant in Ottawa?

Let me re-cap - he quits because he has been caught running up expenses that would even make the Governor General blush and now we (the poor abused Canadian taxpayers) are going to pay severance?

The only severance that I can think of that fits would be to seperate him from his taxpayer stuffed wallet.

Go figure!

Finally, some sense

Friday, July 22nd, 2005

I had to post this quote as to my mind it is the single most well thought out comment about the situation regarding Muslims and the integration into whatever country they are choosing to live. We talk about multiculturalism a lot, and are trying very hard to integrate disparate communities into the Canadian mosaic, and maybe the statement needs to be made

“Be welcome, but please leave your baggage at the door”

Thank you Dr Elmasry.

By the way - this comment should apply to all immigrant groups, not just Muslims

TORONTO (CP) - Muslims must move beyond condemnation of global terrorist attacks and work to integrate into the political and social life of Canada and other western democracies, the president of the Canadian Islamic Congress said Friday.

Two terrorist incidents in as many weeks in London has pushed the long-standing issue to the forefront for Canada’s Muslims, Dr. Mohamed Elmasry said in an interview.

“I call it beyond condemnation,” said Elmasry of a sermon he planned to deliver Friday afternoon.

“Canadian Muslims can push for smart integration. It means they have to be an active Canadian citizen and the same time they can practice their religion.”

“(Where you are) born is not really the issue,” said Elmasry,

Too many Canadian Muslims conduct their lives apart from the larger society, which leads to a dependency on imported foreign ideologies, he said.

“Then if you are frustrated by x, y, z, political issue, you might actually use violence to propagate your agenda.”

That, he said, illustrates the urgent need for smart integration.

“The apathy among Canadian Muslims is above the national average in terms of not voting in elections, because we don’t see the benefit why. This is not acceptable,” said Elmasry.

“This is what we have to really ingrain in the minds of young people.”

Step up to the plate

Friday, July 15th, 2005

By now the news wires are starting to settle down about the bombings on the Tube in London and the various investigative authorities are following the many thousands of leads.

The latest information that I have come across is that these dreadful deeds were performed by british lads. That is the worst possible news. It means that violence perpetrated against Muslims will increase across Britain and all of the people that get their jollies off promoting racial hatred will have a field day.

Unfortunately the Muslim community isn’t doing what it needs to do to quell this tide. I’ve seen various press releases that are just weasel politics that have been released by leading Muslim figures. One had the temerity to say that Christians commit murder, so it is not fair to target Islamic groups when something like this happens.

Excuse me!!

I think it is fair to say that there are Islamic organizations across the world that are promoting this type of terrible activity, both from the ideologic and financial sense and unless you take a positive stand against it, you are inherently complicit.

The muslim community in the UK, through its leaders needs to make an unequivocal and consistent statement that this type of terrible deed is WRONG……period

Additionally, the muslim community in the UK needs to step up to the plate on this and cough these terror cells up. I find it very difficult to believe that no one knew anything.

In a way this is like the situation with gang shootings in nightclubs - the whole place was in the bathroom when the police interview potential witnesses. You have to stand up and be counted otherwise you will be tarred with the same brush, and you will have no one but yourself to blame.

A Canadian perspective

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

The news these days in Canada seems to be concentrating on two issues, the recent death of Pope John Paul II, and the sponsorship scandal. While the one is getting full media coverage of every facet, the other is news because of a publication ban.

There is no doubt that Pope John Paul II was well respected throughout the world. As the first media savvy Pope, he managed to get his message across to hundreds of millions of people. While I certainly don’t agree with his stance on a number of issues, I respect him for standing up for his views, and having a consistent message. I simply wish that given his ability to use modern media, he had also been able to adapt to modern realities. He lost golden opportunities to be more of a champion of the rights of women and again in the fight against AIDS especially in Africa.

On the sponsorship front, those of us that monitor blogs already have managed to get around the publication ban, and know significant details of the recent testimony. For those of you that dont - here is a link.

While the testimony still needs to be verified it raises some very serious questions about the ethics in play in Canadian politics. The Liberal Party has asked for and been granted standing at the commission, and to me this either sounds like ‘lets generate some smoke and throw a few to the wolves’ or a genuine attempt to get to the bottom of this cess pit. I guess the proof of the puddling will be in the statements made by the party, and what they do to back those statements up.

Oh yes, and the other interesting development is the previous Prime Minister is trying to get the judge in the inquiry thrown out for bias. Bias?? Cconsidering what is coming out from this commission, I’m surprised that Justice Gomery hasn’t asked for anti-nausea pills.

My cynicism is showing here - I have simply heard too many ‘it wasn’t me guv’ statements to have any faith in what is being said. Memories have gone conveniently blank, I’m sure there never was any paperwork, other than the slightly soggy stuff that is now being used to cover butts, the general level of lack of moral fibre is frightening, and statements that state this program was necessary to save Canada just make me ill. If this is what it has come down to - then maybe Canada isn’t worth saving.

Canadian eh?

Thursday, March 17th, 2005

The news is buzzing with the conviction of WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers, and there is some very negative spin on the fact that he came from Canada. Couple this with the recent hiccups at Nortel, and the ongoing fall-out from the various political inquiries into governmental slush funds, and some serious questions are being raised about the ‘ethics’ of Canadian business and government.

As you sit and listen to the testimony at the various inquires and trials, you really do start to wonder what the term ‘an honest days work for an honest days pay’ means these days. It would seem that when working in PR for the Government of Canada in certain areas, it has meant as little as possible for as much as possible as long as you have the right connections.

Magna is another example, with the CEO drawing down $54 million dollars in compensation for the last years effort. While there isn’t a whisper of any wrong doing at Magna, if my math is correct then Stronach is getting paid nearly $15,000 an hour if he works 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for 52 weeks a year. It is no wonder that car parts are so damned expensive!

Since Sarbanes Oxley, the level of ‘acceptable deniability’ has certainly been curtailed, and the ‘I didn’t know’ excuse simply isn’t washing anymore, but that only applies to publicly held companies that do business in the USA. Governments are not held accountable in the same way, and even though the Auditor General has done some sterling work, there is nothing on the books that allows for locking away senior elected officials for the types of activities that would make even the most hardened fraud artists blush.

Is Canada corrupt?

I sincerely hope not, and I can certainly show plenty of examples of ethical companies providing excellent value for fair compensation, but its a pretty slippery slope and you can make the case that there is too much sliding going on.

Rip offs

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005

Running a small web-development business can be eye-opening. As part of the marketing, you look around to see what the competition is doing, to get ideas as to where the market is going and the quality of the work out there.

What seems to be happening is that there is an aweful lot of franchise operations that are hooking clients into a closed development loop. The sites are developed and hosted on the web-development companies own own servers, and usuallly use 3rd world development resources.

Bottom line is the client is then trapped - they don’t have the source for their sites and due to ignorance have no idea that they are being ’serviced’ by being asked to drop em and bend over.

Is this where our industry is going?

I sincerely hope not, but there is no doubt that there is a significantly growing community out there that is doing exactly that. The major thrust of these companies is selling franchises that ‘market’ web development to small businesses. The franchisees do the leg work and capture the clients, who are passed through a formula process with development being outsourced to the third world. The results are pretty variable, as the customer sites pass through multiple hands and multiple continents.

I guess that the small independants are behind the eight ball on this one, as they don’t have the marketing resources to reach a larger audience, whereas these franchise operations have been very clever in that they get an increasing sales force, and not only that - they get paid by each saleperson - boy talk about getting your cake and eating it too!!

I’d like to find out what others opinions of this approach are, especially if there are any clients of these large web franchises, or francisees for that matter.