August 2010 Archives
Gap in credibility
Walgreens is the largest pharmacy chain in the U.S.
It's also corrupt.
For years, they secretly altered their customers' prescriptions, without their doctor's knowledge, in a giant insurance scam across 42 states. They targeted Medicaid, the program for low-income Americans. So they were stealing from taxpayers and the poor at the same time. That kind of big thinking is why Walgreens is number one.
Walgreens replaced inexpensive drugs with drugs that were up to four times more costly. Only when an honest pharmacist finally blew the whistle on them were they stopped -- and fined a whopping $35 million.
Are you ready to take moral lessons from Walgreens? Because they've just announced that they're switching their trucks to fuel that doesn't come from Canada's oilsands -- as an ethical statement.
Taking ethical guidance from Walgreens is sort of like taking abstinence lessons from Hugh Hefner.
I'd call for a boycott of Walgreens, but they don't have any stores in Canada (and, despite their name, they are no relation to Walmart).
But Walgreens isn't the only moral hypocrite to come out against Canada. So did The Gap, which also owns Banana Republic and Old Navy.
Do yourself a favour: Don't buy their clothes.
This applies especially to Albertans, whose jobs depend on the oilsands. There are 26 Gaps, Old Navys and Banana Republics in Alberta. Boycott them.
But it goes for Ontarians, too, where more people work for the oilsands now than work for the Big Three automakers combined.
And it goes for anyone with a pension -- odds are some of your savings are invested in the oilsands. The Gap could hurt your retirement. So hurt them back.
Not just because they are boycotting Canadian oil. But because they've had their own ethical failings, too.
In 2008, a shocking TV report out of India showed children as young as 10 working in sweatshops sewing clothes for The Gap. One child had been sold to the factory as a slave, and had not been paid in four months.
Sorta gives "Baby Gap" a new meaning, doesn't it? Banana Republic isn't just a brand name, it's the location of their factories.
The Gap claims they were shocked to learn about this. Just like they were shocked a few years earlier to learn their factory in Saipan kept indentured workers in with barbed wire, and bullied pregnant workers into having abortions, so as not to lose time off work.
They're shocked a lot over at The Gap.
And now they say they're shocked by Canada's oil.
But Canada's oil isn't produced by 10-year-old kids or abused Chinese women.
Yet we're supposed to take moral lessons from the likes of them.
There is a question the fools at Walgreens and The Gap haven't answered: Where are they going to buy their gas from, if not Canada?
Saudi Arabia? Could there be a more unethical barrel of oil than one from that racist, misogynistic, terror-sponsoring dictatorship? Venezuela, to enrich strongman Hugo Chavez? Iran, with its nuclear plans?
We should boycott The Gap because they're thumbing their nose at us. And because they have used what looks an awful lot like slave labour.
But we should also boycott them because they're making an unethical fuel decision: Swapping Canadian oil for Saudi or Venezuelan oil.
How could you in good conscience give money to someone like that?
Australia's a lot closer to Sri Lanka than we are. How does their socialist government handle Tamil boat people? Here's my new Sun column on the subject:
No refuge Down Under
Here’s a warning for bogus Tamil refugees made by the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, just before she called an election last month:
“Do not pay a people smuggler, do not risk your life, only to arrive in Australian waters and find that you are far, far more likely than anything else to be quickly sent home by plane.”
Gillard does more than just talk tough to Tamil gatecrashers.
Australia is now in negotiations with East Timor, New Zealand and the United Nations about setting up a “regional processing centre” where intercepted ships will be taken.
“Arriving by boat would just be a ticket back to the regional processing centre,” warned Gillard.
Right now, refugee applicants are processed on a remote Australian island called Christmas Island, where they’re held until their cases are heard.
Gillard wants to go one better — outsource the job to other countries. Why not?
Her plan is pretty simple. If someone’s refugee claim was rejected, they’d be sent home. And if a refugee claim were found to be legitimate, that refugee would be resettled — but in a safe third country, not necessarily in Australia.
There are plenty of friendly countries in the neighbourhood where Tamils don’t have to worry about being picked on, as they claim they are in Sri Lanka.
Australia would pay those countries to resettle Tamils — a lot cheaper than giving them five-star treatment in Australia. They’ll take some, sure. But they’ll choose which ones.
Australia is serious about stopping bogus immigrants. Which makes sense for a big island just a short boat trip from China, India and Indonesia.
Australia has produced videos in languages such as Tamil and Arabic, warning fake refugees from around the world not to risk their lives — and waste their money — paying criminals to smuggle them ashore. Check out the videos yourself at youtube.com/NoToPeopleSmuggling on the Internet.
Oh, by the way: Gillard is with the Labour Party — they’re the soft-on-immigration party.
Other than immigration lawyers, who could complain about Australia’s approach? Surely not true refugees. They will be resettled somewhere they won’t be hurt — just not necessarily in Australia. And that’s what these Tamils claim they want — just to get away from Sri Lanka. Beggars can’t be choosers.
Bogus refugees — that is, the liars — will be sent back to where they came from.
News reports from British Columbia put the cost, so far, of handling Canada’s 492 Tamil gatecrashers at $22 million — covering everything from free telephone calls back to Sri Lanka to free lawyers to free dental care.
Taxpaying, law-abiding Canadian citizens don’t even get free dental care, in case you’d forgotten.
These Tamils have been ashore for two weeks and they’ve already cost us $22 million. That’s $45,000 each — and that’s before they sign up for welfare, child benefits and all other social services they’re legally entitled to, for the years it takes until they’re processed.
Who among us wouldn’t rather give a country like India or Thailand $20,000 a head to resettle genuine Tamil refugees there? And as to the fake refugees, even a $1,000 plane ticket to ship them straight home is a bargain. Right now they’re each costing us more than $1,000 a day in Canada.
The fact is, if we followed the Australian plan, once word got out that Canada wasn’t the world’s sucker anymore, there wouldn’t be that many gatecrashing boats to deal with. There would be no point in paying a smuggler to make the long journey to Canada if you knew you’d never get to set foot in Canada — you’d be taken to an offshore processing centre, and, at best, wind up in a third country.
Like Canada, Australia is a friendly, generous country built by settlers. They love their neighbours and are quick to help, like they did after the 2004 tsunami.
But they know the difference between giving something and having something stolen. Even Australia’s left-wing party knows it, which tells you how bad things are.
Usually I write my columns based on news reports that are in the public domain already. But for today's column, I did a fair bit of reporting myself, calling most of the people involved in the story. That included a call to the most belligerent bylaw officer I could imagine, in the town of Clarington, Ontario. He positively boasted to me on the phone about what he had done to the Jaworski family, and what he was planning to do to them still. It was shocking -- and a symptom of a government that no longer sees itself as a servant of the people, or even a policeman to the people, but as an antagonist of the people. The citizens are not the boss in the mind of this man; they are the enemy. He seemed to have a personal mission to harass the Jaworskis using every tool in his large book of laws.
Embarrassing; enraging; frightening. Here's my column:
Bureaucrats leaving a sour taste
One of the few thrills of working as a bylaw enforcement officer is making people cry.
When you’re not allowed to carry a gun like a real cop, you have to make do with the simple pleasures.
Last month, seven-year-old Julie Murphy was made to cry by two bylaw officers when she set up a lemonade stand without a $120 US “temporary restaurant licence” at a street fair in Portland, Ore. Not one, but two bureaucrats were dispatched to stop that menace — and threaten her with a $500 fine. She left the fair in tears.
Only after a public outcry did politicians drop the charges — but not without first insisting they had every legal right to prosecute the seven-year-old. She had broken the law; it was only their mercy that would spare her.
That same bureaucratic spirit — meanness; blind adherence to the letter of the law; a disconnect with reality; all done with a hostility to private enterprise — is now on display in the municipality of Clarington, east of Toronto.
It’s not a lemonade crime wave that the brave city elders of Clarington are combating. It’s the menace of backyard barbecues.
Peter Jaworski has been holding backyard barbecues at his parents’ property there for 10 years. It’s a house in the country on 40 secluded acres. Once a year, Peter invites a few dozen of his friends to spend the weekend eating his mom’s cooking and camping next to the swimming hole. I’ve been there: it’s one part family reunion, one part picnic and one part political talk.
So clearly, the Jaworski family must be stopped.
First came the health department. They poked and prodded, and even took water samples. No one has ever got sick at a Jaworski barbecue — the opposite; everyone comes for the food — but the government ordered that no home cooking would be allowed. The Jaworskis complied with these costly and ridiculous demands, catering the whole weekend and serving only bottled water, at great cost.
But bureaucrats travel in packs. A local bylaw enforcement officer waited until the barbecue itself, and marched right onto the property — no search warrant needed! — and started peppering the guests with questions.
He wasn’t a health officer; he was a bylaw officer. Yet he demanded to know what the guests had for lunch. In the name of the law!
Armed with this devastating information, the officer charged Peter’s parents with running an illegal “commercial conference centre,” which carries a fine of up to $50,000. The officer, a burly, tattooed, six-foot-something man, told Peter’s mom to “be very careful.” She burst into tears.
I phoned that bylaw officer to ask him about the Jaworskis. I found a man on a mission, boasting to me that his next step would be to take down the street sign for the family’s small bed and breakfast.
He was particularly pleased that he could do that without issuing a summons, or even receiving a complaint. When he sensed my sympathy for the Jaworskis, he hung up on me.
The Jaworski family has dealt with bigger bullies before.
They were democracy activists who fled communist Poland in 1984. Unlike in Poland, they’ll have a free press and fair courts to help them now.
But freedom isn’t free; their fight against red tape bullies will likely cost them just as much as the $50,000 fine would.
Clarington should be ashamed.
P.S. If you want to learn more about the Jaworskis, or chip in to their legal defence fund, visit their website, here.
Here's my new Sun Media column on massive refugee fraud in Canada:
Tamils playing us for fools
How bad is life back in Sri Lanka for Tamil refugees?
Are they tortured? Do they have a well-founded fear of persecution?
Are things so bloody bad over there that we have to let a boatload of them into Canada, just because they showed up?
That’s what we’re told by immigration lawyers, bleeding heart politicians and fashionable journalists who don’t believe Canada should have any borders at all.
But what about actual Tamil refugees here in Canada? How bad do they think life is back home?
As QMI’s investigative report shows, 71% of Tamil refugees here in Canada think things back in Sri Lanka are good enough that they’ve gone back home for a vacation.
Canadian immigration officials randomly surveyed 50 Tamils already here, who are trying to “sponsor” more people to come over, too. Of those would-be sponsors, 31 are refugees. And 22 of those admit to going back to Sri Lanka.
That would be like Jews who fled Nazi Germany deciding to go back to Berlin to hear the opera. Sorry, it just doesn’t add up.
The Tamils are playing us for fools. They’re not genuine refugees. Genuine refugees don’t go back to a country that’s persecuting them.
The benign interpretation is that they went back for a vacation. But there’s the real possibility that some went back to help the Tamil Tiger terrorist group wage its war against Sri Lanka.
The no-borders left has argued that because Canada accepted 85% of Tamil refugee claims last year, that’s “proof” Sri Lanka is a bad place.
But that high number doesn’t tell us anything about Sri Lanka, a place that the UN High Commissioner on Refugees says is so much improved that no country in the world should assume that Tamils are refugees.
No, what that 85% number tells us is that our Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), the independent judges who are supposed to screen out bogus refugees, is totally broken.
The IRB judges are letting almost all the Tamils in. And many of those they reject stay here anyway. According to Sheila Fraser, the auditor general, 63,000 would-be refugees who have been ordered deported from Canada are still here, and the government has lost track of where 41,000 of them are.
The 85% acceptance figure was suspicious enough, based on the UN’s comments. But now that we know 71% of Tamil refugees travel back and forth to Sri Lanka, it’s more than a scandal. It’s wholesale fraud.
If Jason Kenney, the immigration minister, was responsible for that 85% acceptance rate, and the 71% fraud rate, the opposition would rightfully call on him to resign. But it’s the IRB judges, not Kenney, who make the decisions.
Brian Goodman is the chair of the IRB. It’s his job to make sure his judges are competent and skeptical. At least one of those components is obviously missing. Goodman must go.
But that’s just the start. The only way to restore confidence in the system — and respect for the value of Canadian citizenship — is to have an audit of every Tamil refugee to see if they, too, took vacations back to Sri Lanka, after swearing they were terrified to be there. Those who went back should be denaturalized — stripped of their immigration status and deported immediately.
In my last column I erroneously stated that the 1985 Supreme Court immigration ruling called Singh v. Minister of Employment and Immigration was decided on a three-three tie. That’s incorrect — all six judges gave foreigners Charter rights to sue their way into Canada. The judges split 3-3 on their reasoning, but they all supported it.
Question: Do you think those six judges, 25 years ago, could foresee the refugee gong show in 2010? The Singh decision is a straitjacket stopping Canada from defending our borders and our laws.
Their obsolete ruling needs to be suspended, using the notwithstanding clause of our Charter.
Lawyers and politicians would hate that. Good.
It's been months since I've given a report about the nuisance SLAPP lawsuits that Canada's illiberal censors have unleashed against me. As longtime readers will know, I was targeted by Canada's Orwellian human rights industry back in 2006 when they falsely prosecuted me for publishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammed in a magazine, and I dared to fight back instead of go meekly.
Those bullies dropped the cartoon prosecution against me (after 15 government bureaucrats and lawyers dined out on me for 900 days), leaving me with $100,000 in legal bills. (Thank you for helping me pay that bill, dear reader.) But then the most aggressive members of the human rights industry proceeded to punish me by filing over 20 law society complaints and five defamation suits against me, which have been proceeding ever since.
Today's story in the National Post about one of those lawsuits seems like a good opportunity to give an update.
Warman must hand over his neo-Nazi records
The Post story is headlined "Lawyer who launched libel suit against Ezra Levant ordered to hand over computer", and that's a pretty accurate summary of what happened this week. In brief, an Ontario judge has ordered Richard Warman, a former Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) staffer and Canada's most prolific censor, to hand over a copy of his laptop computer to an independent forensic expert, who will search it for evidence relevant to Warman's Nazi activities.
Warman's neo-Nazi activities already condemned by Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
Those activities are at the center of Warman's two nuisance lawsuits against me. Warman is a member of several neo-Nazi organizations, including Stormfront and Vanguard, and he posted hundreds of anti-Semitic, anti-black and anti-gay comments online, including my personal favourite, when he called Jews "scum". That last comment was particularly offensive to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which issued a ruling last year calling Warman's racist conduct "disappointing and disturbing". No kidding.
Writing hundreds of bigoted messages is bizarre and un-Canadian to begin with. But even weirder is that Warman published much of this bigotry while he was working at the CHRC, and then later when Warman went on to work at the Department of National Defence's own internal human rights commission, called the Directorate of Special Grievances. Seriously, that's what it's called.
So here was someone claiming to be fighting against "hate speech" by day, but pumping out hundreds of hateful comments by night.
Warman has given a name to his belief in bullying: "maximum disruption"
Anyways, Warman sued me because I wrote about this creepiness. You can see his statement of claim here (he's actually sued me twice, in nearly-identical lawsuits), and my statement of defence here. Warman has sued or threatened to sue over sixty different people for defamation -- I'm not the only one he tries to bully with his philosophy he calls "maximum disruption". But I am, so far, the only person who has used the procedural rules of court to demand that Warman disclose his relevant records -- such as the electronic trail he left behind as he wrote his countless bigoted comments online.
In Canada's human rights kangaroo courts, defendants don't have the right to see any of the complainant's records -- it's a completely one-sided process. No wonder that's Warman's preferred forum. Not so in real courts, where the plaintiff must hand over any relevant documents, even if he's embarrassed by them.
Warman refused my requests, of course, so I sent my lawyers to court to ask a judge to order him to turn over the records. As you can see in this 38-page ruling (.pdf version here, html here), this week a judge agreed to many of my requests.
Warman's computer will be searched for all of his Nazi comments
The ruling orders Warman to give a mirror image of his laptop computer to an independent IT expert who will examine it for anything (including fragments, metadata, etc.) that relates to his neo-Nazi activities that are at the heart of his lawsuits against me.
We know Warman has many neo-Nazi membership accounts, and the IT expert will search for Warman's known Nazi aliases, such as Pogue Mahone, Axetogrind, Lucie, Mary Dufford, Dave McLean and others. The IT expert will also search for various terms relevant to the bigoted online comments about Sen. Anne Cools, including the alias 90sareover and the insulting words c-nt and n-gger. As well, Warman's IP address at the relevant times will also be inspected.
The key paragraphs in the judgment are 167 to 170. (Note, para. 167 has a transcription error; it should read that Warman must confirm in writing he has used no other computers to make neo-Nazi comments.)
Obviously, the case is still before the courts, so I will only describe this ruling, not comment on it. But other observers have given their two bits.
The court did not award me my legal costs
The judge has postponed any cost consequences of his decision until the trial itself is heard -- so neither Warman nor I have to pay the other's legal bills resulting from this hearing. But I have been instructed to put up the money to hire the independent IT expert.
Obviously, I don't yet know how much such an expert will cost. It really isn't possible to even estimate it, if there are hundreds (or even thousands) of relevant files in Warman's computer. If I had to guess, I would guess $20,000. That's on top of the legal bills incurred to get this order -- a process that has literally taken a year. I estimate that this laptop diversion will cost approximately $70,000 when all is said and done, an amount larger than the lawsuit itself. But I still believe, as I always have, that once the light of public scrutiny is shone on Warman's neo-Nazi conduct, not only will his lawsuit against me wither away, but so will his suits against dozens of others, as well as the credibility of the human rights industry itself, which has largely been built on Warman's Nazi entrapment.
Other lawsuits: Giacomo Vigna
Warman has two identical lawsuits against me, each for $50,000. And then there's the $50,000 lawsuit filed by Giacomo Vigna, a prosecutor who worked on several of Warman's complaints at the CHRC.
The trial of Vigna v. Levant was heard in Ottawa over the course of seven days in March and June. The ruling in that case has not yet been issued -- although my lawyer's bill for the trial has been. Like Warman's suit, the cost of defending the Vigna suit has been about as much as the suit itself, but my belief in freedom of speech and resisting censorship demanded no less.
Warren Kinsella's absurd $5-million defamation lawsuit against me continues, too. It's not a serious lawsuit, of course; Kinsella never files serious lawsuits -- he issues countless threats to intimidate his opponents and make them spend money. Kinsella's reputation is not worth $5-million (no Canadian's is, according to our courts); and then there's the pesky matter of what I said having been true. (Nutshell: the Gomery Commission found Kinsella's role in Adscam to have been "highly inappropriate". Kinsella did not disagree enough with that assessment to appeal that judicial finding.) But that's the point of all these lawsuits: just to bury me in an avalanche of paperwork and bills, to get me to shut up. So far, it ain't working.
Khurrum Awan is the little bigot who took Mark Steyn to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal for writing a magazine article criticizing radical Islam. Awan actually boasted that his objective was to foist legal costs on his political enemies -- basically an admission that his lawsuit was legal junk. Awan is suing me, too. So that's five lawsuits altogether, on top of the law society complaints and human rights complaints.
What's the goal of these pests?
The purpose of SLAPP lawsuits is twofold: to overwhelm the political target with legal costs, and to demoralize him. I can assure you that I have not been demoralized -- if anything, the abusive conduct of these plaintiffs has confirmed for me the importance of fighting against the corrupt human rights industry in Canada.
The legal costs though, are high. They would have crushed me by now if it were not for my supportive readers, who share my belief that human rights commissions have become terrible bullies, destroying our Canadian value of freedom of speech and bringing the administration of justice into disrepute.
If it weren't for you, the lawfare being waged against me would surely have crushed me by now.
I'm afraid I need some help again
I regret having to ask for more help, but I must -- I don't think I've made a solicitation on my website since January, and since then I've had to pay for the entire Vigna trial and the expensive hearing into Warman's computer. I've taken an extra job to help cover the bills, and my lawyers have been very patient waiting for me to pay. Friends, I hate to ask, but I really do need your help again, especially if I'm going to hire that IT expert to look through Warman's computer. That's going to be a five-figure cost, and a lot of it will have to be paid in advance.
If you believe in fighting back against these bullies, please help me. You can use PayPal, by clicking on the button below. If you’d prefer to send in a cheque by snail mail, please do. Please make cheques payable to one of my lawyers who has set up a trust fund for donations:
“Christopher Ashby in Trust”
Attn: Ezra Levant defence fund
Suite 1013, 8 King Street East
Toronto, Ontario, M5C 1B5
Thank you very much. I promise to fight this battle all the way to its destined conclusion: a victory for freedom of speech for all of us, and a rebuke to censors and those bullies who practice "maximum disruption".
"I am not a registered non-profit organization. Donations are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes."
Twitter is a micro-blog -- you have to write everything in just 140 characters. So not much more than I've written here already.
It's a great way to make quick comments on the passing news, and to share website links. It's also a great way to follow newsmakers of your choosing -- really, it's about setting up your own constant newswire. It's like following a stock ticker, but only about things you care about, whether it's news, sports or friends.
I've only been blogging a couple times a week lately (I promise to do more!), but I manage to write a half dozen Tweets a day.
Follow me if you like. I'm at www.twitter.com/ezralevant. Twitter is great for cell phones and BlackBerries on the go -- that's when I do most of my Tweeting.
The retraction is right there on Random House's home page for McDonald's book (scroll down).
I know there are dozens (hundreds?) of other errors in McDonald's book; most of her victims just couldn't be bothered to litigate -- it's not like anyone took her gossip seriously.
What an embarrassing end to a long and tired career.
Who do you think should decide who gets to come to live in Canada?
Should it be the criminals and terrorists who smuggles hundreds of people to our shores?
Or how about three Supreme Court judges, back in 1985, who decided to give foreigners the right to sue our country under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
I think the decision should be made by our duly-elected lawmakers, namely Parliament. And given that the current laws clearly aren't working, they ought to fix those laws. Here are my two recent Sun columns on the subject. I was also on Evan Solomon's show on CBC talking about it -- you can see that debate by clicking here, and fast-forwarding to 20 minutes into the show. Watching the clip again, I'm worried that I've become too liberal and agreeable. What do you think?
Great news for health care!
The Victoria General Hospital is reopening a whole ward that had been shut down. They’re even contemplating dusting off an extra emergency department. No more waiting lists in that B.C. city!
The VGH is indeed doing all of that, but it’s not for mere Canadians.
It’s for a ship of 490 Tamils from Sri Lanka who decided they’d like to move to Canada, but don’t want to bother asking us first, or waiting in line like everyone else.
Reports from the ship say there was an outbreak of tuberculosis.
It’s a safe bet the B.C. department of health didn’t set aside millions of dollars in their budget for that Third World disease.
No problem — just take it away from MRIs or cataract surgeries. No one will notice, and if they do, let’s just call them racist.
Question: If a Canadian waiting for surgery were to get on that boat, could he jump to the front of the health-care line, too? Or is that privilege only for non-citizens, non-taxpayers?
The ship, the MV Sun Sea, was not originally destined for Canada. We’re an awfully long journey from Sri Lanka, an island country just off the tip of India.
No, they were en route to Australia, but changed course when their captain decided Australia’s navy would intercept the ship and turn it away. Canada, internationally known as a soft touch with generous welfare and free health care, was the obvious alternative.
Question: If Australia’s left-wing Labour government is willing to defend its shores, why is our right-wing Conservative government unwilling to do so?
Our navy didn’t stop the Tamils. We escorted them in, like ushers at the theatre.
Sri Lanka is not a nice place to live, in part because of the 30-year civil war waged against it by the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist organization.
More than 80,000 people have been killed in that war, but in May 2009 the Sri Lankan army finally crushed the Tamil stronghold on the island and killed its leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran.
Still, terrorists continue to organize and fundraise, especially in Toronto where 200,000 Tamils live.
But with the war over, life in Sri Lanka has improved — so much so that the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees says the security situation there is “greatly improved,” and countries of the world should no longer presume someone fleeing Sri Lanka is a genuine refugee.
Question: Why are we pretending these Tamils are refugees, when even the bleeding hearts at the UN don’t?
Let’s ask Gurbax Singh Malhi, a Liberal MP who spoke at a Tamil Tiger rally on Parliament Hill last March, surrounded by the terrorist group’s flags and portraits of Prabhakaran.
“You’re here today for a great cause,” he said. “I am helping you guys, I’m behind you because you’re fighting for the right cause.”
Question: What cause was Malhi referring to? The terrorist war in Sri Lanka? Or the cause of 200,000 Toronto Tamils voting for Malhi’s party?
Let’s do what Australia does. They have a small island 2,600 km off the coast of Perth. It’s actually closer to other countries, like Indonesia.
Australia built an 800-bed holding centre on the island. It’s not a prison, but it’s not a resort either.
When ships full of gatecrashers are caught, they’re steered to Christmas Island, which is not considered Australian soil from an immigration point of view.
They wait there until their refugee claims are processed — and are kicked out if they’re bogus. No living it up in the big city, no disappearing into a 200,000 person diaspora.
Let’s build a Christmas Island. We can do it on one of our remote islands off the West Coast, maybe in the Queen Charlottes.
Food and medicine, immigration officials and CSIS — and no legal rights to anything more, not even to vote for Mr. Malhi.
And here's the latest:
A tie vote at the Supreme Court 25 years ago doomed us to accept the ship of 490 Tamils that arrived in Victoria last week.
In a 1985 case called Singh v. Minister of Employment and Immigration, the court ruled that our Charter of Rights applied to foreigners, not just Canadian citizens.
Foreigners overseas could now use the Charter to enforce their “rights” against our country.
The six judges hearing that case were split on the subject, three against three. But a tie is broken by the Chief Justice. So one, unelected man changed Canada’s immigration system, granting foreigners the right to sue their way into our country, from wherever they might be in the world.
Needless to say, it has been a 25-year party for lawyers.
So why shouldn’t human smugglers get into the game?
Estimates are that the traffickers behind the Tamil ship made $20 million in profits — either for their own pockets, or to fund the terrorist Tamil Tigers.
After being held briefly, the 490 will be let go, to collect welfare, medicare and child care benefits for the years it will take before their refugee cases are heard. That’s what happened to the 76 Tamils who landed on a ship last October. When Canadian officials didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute suspected terrorists, they were simply let go.
That’s how it ought to be for citizens: If the government can’t prove you’re a terrorist, you ought to be able to go about your business. But it’s ridiculous that border police who can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a foreign gatecrasher is a criminal can’t still turn that person away.
It’s absurd. How could Canada prosecute a Tamil stow-away here in Canada for crimes committed overseas? Are we seriously expected to fly in witnesses from Sri Lanka?
Australia, which is much closer to the sources of boat people, has tried two solutions, both of which could work for Canada, were it not for the Singh decision.
Australia set up immigration processing centres in other countries, such as Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Purported refugees could apply from there; they just couldn’t get into Australia until they were certified as legitimate.
Australia has since consolidated its processing on its own territory, on remote Christmas Island.
Canada could set up our own Christmas Island. Or we could have Nauru or another country do it for us. Or we could even ask the Australians to do ours, too. Even if we paid our allies $20,000 per migrant to do the work, it would be cheaper than processing them here — and that’s not counting social services.
Of course, the Singh decision would be invoked to declare such solutions unconstitutional. So the terrorists and traffickers would continue their profitable shipments. And dozens of ships would follow, with thousands of more queue-jumpers.
Unless our government invoked section 33 of the Charter, called the notwithstanding clause. It was put there by Pierre Trudeau and the premiers for cases just like this, when courts are out of touch with reality. Section 33 would suspend the Singh decision for five years — long enough to see if a Canadian Christmas Island would work.
Would the opposition parties accept the use of section 33? Or would it force an election?
Better that 33 million of us get to decide in 2010, rather than one man back in 1985.
Correction: I just re-read the Singh decision in full, and I regret that I got a fact wrong in the column. I wrote that the case was three judges for, three against. That's wrong -- all six judges were for giving foreigners legal rights; only three cited the Charter, but the other three cited the Bill of Rights. I'll make a correction in my Sunday column. I should have known better!
On Monday, the judge hearing Omar Khadr's murder trial in Guantanamo Bay ruled that Khadr's taped confessions can be admitted at trial.
Canada's little terrorist is as good as done.
But what remains to be seen is whether the liberal media will save the myth of Omar Khadr -- the myth they have painstakingly built in collusion with Khadr's lawyers.
I predict that the Khadr in the two pictures below, photographed in front of an AK-47, and then assembling IEDs to use against NATO troops in Afghanistan, will be locked up for a very long time:
What's going on here? Why is the media white-washing Khadr's evil? For an explanation, let me excerpt from a speech that the great Richard Fadden, the head of CSIS, gave last fall:
So why then, I ask, are those accused of terrorist offences often portrayed in media as quasi-folk heroes, despite the harsh statements of numerous judges? Why are they always photographed with their children, given tender-hearted profiles, and more or less taken at their word when they accuse CSIS or other government agencies of abusing them? It sometimes seems that to be accused of having terrorist connections in Canada has become a status symbol, a badge of courage in the struggle against the real enemy, which would appear to be, at least sometimes, the government. To some members of civil society, there is a certain romance to this. This loose partnership of single-issue NGOs, advocacy journalists and lawyers has succeeded, to a certain extent, in forging a positive public image for anyone accused of terrorist links or charges.
Bang on, just like his comments about Chinese spies in Canada.
No wonder the media-lawyer complex hates Fadden.
Today the Guantanamo court saw a video of Khadr threatening his guards with Allah's vengeance -- not quite how the media have portrayed him.
Don't cry for Khadr
Canadian terror suspect Omar Khadr has it tough in Guantanamo Bay — just ask him, and the chorus of left-wing journalists and lawyers whose love for him makes Justin Bieber’s groupies look restrained.
Khadr says he has been tortured at Guantanamo Bay. But Monday, prosecutors in his murder trial showed a video of some of that “torture”: American guards trying to weigh Khadr when he first arrived there, as per Red Cross regulations. He wiggled and wriggled, first claiming he had to go to the potty, and then just crying.
But then Khadr regained his composure — and showed his true nature. “Sooner or later, God will take our revenge,” he said to the guards.
And what would Allah do to the guards, in vengeance for weighing him, as any prisoner in Canada is weighed? He will “torture you,” said Khadr, presumably meaning something more than just being weighed.
My, my. Invoking God and violence — sounds like a jihadi to me. But don’t let facts like that interfere with the liberal fiction of Khadr being a naive kid, just running with the wrong crowd, an innocent lamb.
Oh, the indignity of being weighed. The average Guantanamo detainee puts on 20 pounds during his stay at Guantanamo Bay, a place where more money is spent on Muslim halal food for prisoners than for the guards there. Fitting into his old pants is just torture!
It’s not just the special Muslim food; the Muslim call to prayer sounds five times a day at Guantanamo Bay, and arrows point to Mecca to show prisoners where to pray. Khadr knows better: He aims his prayers to Canada’s liberal press.
Khadr and his fellow inmates can work off all those large lunches if they like, playing basketball, volleyball and soccer. The Pentagon even provides high-top sneakers. There’s board games in the lounge, and plenty of TV time, including Arabic language TV and a library stocked with books in 13 languages. And as the Sun’s David Akin reported exclusively last month, Khadr has access to Nintendo, and regular computers, too.
And then there are the care packages sent to Khadr by Canada’s own Department of Foreign Affairs. To be clear: Canadian taxpayers send regular gifts to Khadr to make his stay even more comfortable.
It’s not the misogynist paradise of 72 virgins Khadr once said motivated him in his jihad. But there are more than a few similarities with the other resorts on Cuba.
Monday, the judge decided to hear about the reality of Khadr, not just the carefully constructed fiction his lawyers have offered up to an unquestioning media. He ruled tapes of Khadr’s confessions will be admitted at trial.
Question: Do you think the media will continue to use the junior high-school yearbook photo of Khadr, taken before he even went to Afghanistan and circulated to the press by Khadr’s own mother as an act of propaganda?
Or do you think maybe — just maybe — we’ll see footage of the violent, threatening Khadr?
Oh, and one last thing. Do you care that the very first Canadian killed in hostile action in Afghanistan was killed by an IED assembled by a terrorist who was under 18, just like Khadr was?
I love free speech, even for nuts like Greenpeace. But committing crimes to raise money is not free speech.
And that's what Greenpeace does.
They're not shy about it -- quite the opposite. They publicize the hell out of their crimes, and ask for donations.
Of course, they're not stupid. You don't get to be a $270-million/year international corporation by being stupid.
So they don't break into oilfields in Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, for example. They don't trespass on Chinese nuclear facilities.
That would be stupid. And maybe even deadly.
They go after the easy marks -- like Canada.
Their pawns -- usually kids in their twenties -- take the fall, getting a criminal record, while the senior executives operate with immunity. Prosecuting those kids is like going after the drug mules on the street, instead of the kingpins in Medellin.
Well, I've got a better idea. Here's my new column from Sun Media:
Trespassing for dollars
They must have had a good laugh over at Greenpeace’s headquarters in Amsterdam when they heard about the Alberta government’s latest plan to defend the oilsands.
Last week, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach announced a $268,000 advertising campaign to counter global anti-oilsands propaganda.
Just to put that in perspective, the government of Alberta will reap more than $7 billion in energy taxes this year.
So Stelmach is spending 0.0038% of that to defend the oil industry.
For comparison, Stelmach spent $22 million — almost a hundred times as much — designing a fancy new logo and slogan as part of a three-year “rebranding” of the province.
Even more bizarre is that most of the ads will run in Alberta — pretty much the last place that needs convincing.
But even if the ads ran in America, $268,000 is a joke. A single 30-second ad during the Super Bowl, for example, costs more than $3 million.
Greenpeace is more effective.
The day after Stelmach announced his master plan, Greenpeace activists climbed out of the top of the Calgary Tower and unfurled a huge anti-oil banner.
The news and pictures instantly spread around the world, earning millions of dollars worth of free media coverage.
As always, Greenpeace immediately asked for donations for their stunt.
Its websites around the world published breathless accounts of their bravery — with a call for money on every page.
This isn’t their first oilsands trespass-for-dollars scheme.
Last fall, Greenpeace activists broke into several oilsands mines and a processing plant, getting free publicity every time.
So how should Alberta fight back?
Debating Greenpeace doesn’t work. They’re not interested in other opinions.
The answer is simple: Follow the money.
Greenpeace’s budget last year was nearly $270 million.
They need to bring in more than $700,000 a day just to keep the lights on.
Slandering the oilsands is very profitable for them — and it doesn’t carry the risks that campaigning against Saudi Arabia’s oil fields would, or China’s nuclear plants.
Which is why Greenpeace doesn’t try stunts there.
If their oilsands break-ins had costly consequences, Greenpeace would move onto other, more lucrative projects.
Oilsands producer Suncor had the right idea when they sued Greenpeace for
$1.5 million over their 2009 trespass.
But there is a legal tool Stelmach has that Suncor doesn’t: The Criminal Code.
Currently, only the little people at Greenpeace are ever charged, for minor crimes like mischief and, in the case of the Calgary Tower, break and enter.
Many of those arrested are in their 20s, and are let off with a slap on the wrist.
In the meantime, Greenpeace makes enormous profits off the scheme.
They can always find more cannon fodder to do their dirty work.
But there is a section of the Criminal Code designed for such a conundrum: Section 467.1, which allows for the prosecution of a “criminal organization.”
A criminal organization is defined as one whose main activity is the “commission of one or more serious offences that, if committed, would likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of a material benefit, including a financial benefit, by the group.”
Break and enter, for example, is considered a “serious offence.”
Greenpeace operatives have been charged dozens of times in Alberta alone.
The law is clear.
To be convicted under Section 467.1, the crime organization’s leaders don’t need to know the exact details of the offences being committed, or even the identity of the people involved.
The list of factors for courts to consider includes the repeated use of a name (Greenpeace banners always feature their logo); the receipt of a benefit (Greenpeace always fundraises off their stunts); and repetition of these activities (almost a half-dozen times in the past two years).
The law applies to members of the organization anywhere around the world.
What do you think would make Greenpeace’s executives stop laughing?
A few amateur newspaper ads, and arresting some college kids?
Or the prosecution of senior Greenpeace executives here in Canada — and in Amsterdam, too?
...it would look just like the Chevy Volt.
Oh -- they did. And it does.
Here's my latest column for Sun Media:
GM — that stands for Government Motors now — has announced a car that will make Ford’s doomed Edsel look like a hit.
The electric Chevrolet Volt will roll off the assembly lines next year.
The price is a staggering $41,000 US — a BMW price for a Chevy.
Price isn’t the only clanger here. The car can only travel for about 65 km on an electric charge. After that, it fires up a gas-powered engine like everything else on the road. So much for reduce, reuse, recycle — this is a car with two engines. Hummers only have one.
And Hummers don’t have a massive battery that’s about as easy to dispose of when the car’s finally done as a tub of PCBs.
The Volt is more than twice as expensive as its non-electric counterparts. It can’t drive far enough to get from one city to another. And when your Volt has a low battery, it literally takes hours to recharge. So maybe it will ready to go when you need it. Maybe it won’t.
I checked; the name “Smart Car” is already taken, but “Dumb Car” is available.
GM knows this. Which is why it plans to produce only 10,000 of them next year.
If P.T. Barnum were alive today, he’d love the Volt. Barnum’s unofficial motto was “there’s a sucker born every minute.” But besides just plain fools, the Volt will have two natural bases of customers.
The first are the preening, morally superior types who won’t buy the Volt primarily to drive it. They’ll buy it to tell people they’ve bought it as proof of their enlightened righteousness.
So Hollywood should be good for a few hundred.
Arianna Huffington, the left-wing millionaire activist, prefers to fly in private jets, and when she must travel on the lowly ground, she likes to be chauffeured in full-size SUVs. But she also owns a Toyota Prius as proof of how environmentally sensitive she is. The new Chevy Volt? She’s so eco-sensitive, she’ll probably take two!
The other buyers of the Chevy Volt will be the people who forced it on GM in the first place: Politicians.
When U.S. President Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination, he modestly announced that was the moment when “our planet began to heal.” He championed the Volt in his presidential run, and pledged to put a million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015.
Obama is now the largest investor in GM, so he calls the shots, not the marketing department. If it’s electric cars the boss wants, it’s electric cars he’ll get — though GM is sane enough only to make a handful. That’ll be enough for Obama to order a bunch for government fleets.
But this isn’t just an all-American folly. Because every single Canadian family owns a slice of GM now. Last year, Canadian taxpayers “invested” $9.5 billion into GM, and American taxpayers spent a staggering $52 billion on the bailout. And then there’s the $2.9 billion Canada gave to Chrysler, too.
It’s clear what the big autoworkers unions got out of it: A massive subsidy for their huge wages and pensions. And GM and Chrysler got an unfair advantage over Ford and more popular Japanese competitors.
Taxpayers? Between the feds and Ontario’s spending, we paid $2.1 million for each auto job “saved.”
And we got the Volt.