Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The ever-popular populism

------------------------------LINDA McCUAIG ------------------------

The lesson for today class is on “populism”.

The idea for this lesson was triggered by an unintentionally funny column in today’s Toronto Star, by leftist writer, Linda McCuaig. She is commenting on the Republican candidate, Scott Brown, taking the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in the state of Massachusetts.

McCuaig says:

It's the notion that he's a populist that sticks in my craw.
It's his alleged populism that led to his dramatic upset win last week in Ted Kennedy's old seat.

Right-wingers like Brown hide the elitism of their agenda by presenting themselves as ordinary working types, as truck-driving, gun-toting folk who may have just slaughtered something with their bare hands in the back shed.

Right-wingers can’t be populists? Where does that come from?

Populism is not the prerogative of either the left or the right. It is an expression, articulated by a leader or would-be leader, of the aspirations of the people.

It works like this. The candidate licks his or her finger and sticks it up in the air to see which way the wind is blowing in politics and then says, “If that is the direction the people are marching, then, by golly, I am going to run to the front of the parade, grab the marshal’s baton, and lead them.”

Certainly, during his election campaign I would have pegged Barack Obama as a populist with all his appeals to hope and change and a New Jerusalem for the United States. But that would be OK for McCuaig, because Obama is clearly a leftie, so he owns the turf, according to her.

She says:

After being elected with a mandate for change, Barack Obama has seemed powerless to change much, continuing the giveaways and deference to Wall Street.
No wonder the people are in revolt.

Stung by Brown's victory, Obama moved last week to recapture some populist ground, announcing previously stalled plans to bring in tough new banking regulations.

Interesting, since the very first thing Obama demonstrated when he nailed the office of President is that he is anything but a populist. He is of the powerful elite class (Columbia, Harvard) and associates himself with other powerful elites. His picks for cabinet posts showed that. And, after all, if you are going to count Warren Buffet as one of your important advisers, how populist can you be?

The Pew Research Center just released its findings on the political concerns of the American people. Here is the chart from that report.

Obama has so far struck out on the economic recovery, which is the top priority of Americans. Ditto for jobs, the second most important concern. He has failed on the terrorism front (Fort Hood, Detroit), the third highest category.

He hasn’t done anything on social security and his education initiatives, whatever they might be, are still in the starting gate. The confusing health care bill appears to be damaging Medicare, or at least, is putting it in some doubt.

Deficit reduction ranks ahead of health care and the military ranks ahead of health insurance. Financial regulation is way down the list and, coming in dead last, is global warming.

So, the President is focused on things like global warming, reforming health care, and financial regulation, and appears to be paying no attention to deficit reduction which ranks as the seventh most important thing on a list of 21 concerns. In fact, on deficits, he seems to be going in the opposite direction, which can only make this issue climb farther up the list of importance.

He is marching in the opposite direction to the people and leading his own parade of elites.

Simply attacking big banks is not going to recapture populist sentiment for Obama when financial regulation ranks so low in order of importance.

Anyway, why does McCuaig think populism is such an important agenda?

About Brown, she says:

Meanwhile, beware of truck-driving centerfolds in sheep's clothing. Underneath that buff populist skin may be just another wily wolf working for Wall Street.

Or, one might add, beware of populists who are working for things other than Wall Street.

Here are four pictures of famous populists. The first two were lefties and the last two were right-wingers. Can you name them? Hints - the last one was a Republican and the second last was a Democrat.

The lesson really is to beware of populism period.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Truth on trial

The Netherlands is littered with the graves of thousands of Canadian soldiers and airman who gave their lives to liberate Holland from the tyranny of the Nazis.

I wonder what those men would think of the Dutch today if they could see the country that was reborn from the ashes of German occupation. Would they think their sacrifice was wasted?

In Amsterdam, in 1944, if you strode into the public square, stood on a bench, and denounced Nazism, you would likely have been murdered on the spot, if any Nazis were present. If they weren’t, chances are, a fellow countryman, likely a government functionary, wishing to appease and curry favour with the occupiers, would have turned you in.

In 2010, if you were to stand in the same spot and say the same things about Islam, you have a pretty good chance of being shot or knifed to death by Islamists, considering the fates of Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh. You have an equally good chance of being turned on by the government functionaries and driven from the country, as was Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Or put on trial by those same people, as is the fate of our friend, the popular nationalist politician, Geert Wilders.

Wilders goes on trial today for saying rude things about Islam and for wanting to preserve Dutch and European culture in the face of another tyrannical “ism”, Islamism.

Unlike the situation of the last generation when the country was occupied by a foreign invader promulgating a nasty, brutal religion of its own making, this new “ism” is a hostile religion that was invited in by the Dutch and made as comfortable as possible and appeased at every turn in the road, no matter how suicidal its demands are to the historic nature and character of the Dutch nation.

Many commentators talk about how this is a battle over free speech.

In part, it is.

Free speech doesn’t exist in Europe, or in Canada for that matter, and hasn’t for some time. It resulted from a unilateral surrender in an undeclared war long ago.

All the members of the EU have passed anti-speech legislation intended to prevent people from spreading the evil doctrines perpetrated by the Nazis, but these laws have now been used to prevent citizens from discussing another doctrine they find evil; namely, Islam.

In Canada, we can trace the exact date free speech died. It perished in the Supreme Court of Canada on December 13, 1990 when the high court upheld legislated speech-limiting laws, giving the government of Canada the license to prosecute people for speaking their minds even when what they speak is the truth and even when that discourse is of a political and public nature.

But at least we have not yet descended to the scurrilous level of using the court to try to penalize and destroy a legitimate leader of a political party with seats in the legislatures of the Netherlands and the EU for expressing his constituents’ viewpoints, as the Dutch are doing.

This is nothing less than an attack on democracy.

For some time, I have been reading his website, listening to his speeches and watching his interviews, and I have concluded that Wilders is a very principled person. I have not observed that he has said or written one word on this subject that is not truthful

It is truth that is on trial.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How the enemy can hide in plain sight

U.S. Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, is blaming his own department for its attitudes and the military command structure for lapses that allowed Major Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, to progress through the system. As many as eight officers may be held to account.

The day after the shooting, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, the top military man in the U.S. military structure, went on a media blitz to assure serving Muslims that the military would keep a sharp eye out to make sure there no repercussions against them because of Major Hasan’s attack and that “diversity is our strength, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

Well, which is it Mr. Secretary?

Do you want your officers to implement Political Correctness -- which is the reason why no action had been taken against Hasan -- or do you want them to keep a better weather-eye on Muslim radicals and root them out?

If PC rules the day, these officers should be given medals for respecting diversity, not prosecuted.

In the 86 pages of the Pentagon review of the shooting, not once does it focus on Major Hasan’s motivation as an Islamist, although apparently there is a separate classified report that deals specifically with Hasan.

According to Gates, the problem with the Defense Department is that:

We have not done enough to adapt to the evolving security threat that has emerged over the past decade. The department is burdened by 20th Century attitudes rooted in the Cold War.

He says that as if it were a bad thing.

Let us consider those 20th century attitudes during the Cold War. They could be summarized as follows:

Communism is evil. It is our enemy and we must be diligent in defeating it. We must not allow our military establishment to be infiltrated and undermined by communists.

It seems to me if you simply substitute Islamism for Communism you pretty much have the attitude you need to get rid of the future Major Hasan’s before they become a problem. But you do have to identify the new “ism” first.

Somebody ought to remind Secretary Gates that we won the Cold War with those attitudes. Maybe if the DOD could bring itself to terms with the idea that it is Islamism that is the enemy it would get better handle on how to defeat it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Helpful advice for Americans going to the Vancouver Olympic Games

Americans arriving to enjoy Vancouver Olympic Games

The U.S. government is at it again. Along with the extremely useless colour-coded warning signs at airports that seem to be permanently stuck on orange (high terrorist alert), the government is now warning U.S. tourists who are attending the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver next month to be on the alert for terrorists.

"Al-Qaeda's demonstrated capability to carry out sophisticated attacks against sizable structures - such as ships, large office buildings, embassies and hotels - makes it one of the greatest potential threats to the Olympics," the U.S. State Department said in a fact sheet on the Games posted on its website.

No specific credible threats have been identified, the U.S. government said. However, Americans planning to attend Olympic events or participate in large-scale public gatherings during the Winter Games should use caution and be alert to their surroundings, the advisory said.

Americans are advised to be especially alert when outside Olympic venues. "As security increases in and around Olympic venues, terrorists could shift their focus to more unprotected Olympic venues, open spaces, hotels, railway and other transportation systems, churches, restaurants and other sites not associated with the Olympics."

As an aide to potential American visitors, I thought I would add some specificity to the State Department’s unhelpful and completely ass-covering advice.

It is important to note that many people in Vancouver look like terrorists. I don’t know what it is about the west coast, but boy do the weirdoes ever like flock there. For an American, stay on orange alert the whole time you are there.

In case you are wondering what an Al-Qaeda guy looks like, below is typical example. Look closely at his features and his dress.

Also, Al-Qaeda has been known to recruit women, so examine the appearance of this one for clues.

Now here is the most likely person you might meet in Vancouver. He is not Al-Qaeda, he is a Sikh. Note closely the difference between his appearance and Al-Qaeda guy. It should be obvious.

You will find Sikhs predominately driving taxis, so they will be around hotels, restaurants, railways and other transportation sites. It is most unlikely to find them in churches, unlike Al-Qaeda guys who apparently will pray anywhere.

You will find Sikhs in abundance at malls. But why would you be going to malls anyway? The goods are not nearly as worthwhile purchasing as your own American offerings in terms of selection, styles, sizes, etc. and you will be paying big Canadian taxes you would avoid by shopping for the same unnecessary stuff in the U.S.

Why should you distinguish Sikhs from Al-Qaeda? Well, for one thing Sikhs don’t generally subscribe to the view that the only good American is a dead one. The same cannot be said for Al-Qaeda.

Sikhs sometimes wear a ceremonial dagger called a Kirpan. It is legal in Canada, even in schools. Al-Qaeda guys usually sport an AK-47, but as these are illegal in Canada it would be exceptional if you spotted somebody with one of these in Vancouver. However, if you do, leave the area at once.

You don’t want to cause a panic by alerting security personnel to the presence of a terrorist unless you are completely sure the person in question is an Al-Qaeda guy, because the immediate vicinity will be quarantined and you will be held up for hours by police and soldiers and will lose your restaurant reservations.

To avoid this problem, you could employ self-help, the way the passengers on the Detroit-bound plane did recently.

Stroll up to him and engage him in casual chit chat. Ask him how long he is will be in Vancouver. Ask him what he thinks of the city. If he indicates that he is here for the Olympics, ask him what his favourite sport is. Then while he is thinking about his answer, quickly ask him who he thinks is the world’s best cricket bowler. If he doesn’t immediately snap out two or three names that all sound South Asian then you might be dealing with an Al-Qaeda guy who will looked puzzled and simply shrug his shoulders.

If that happens then ask him if he likes the Biathlon. If he is an Al-Qaeda guy he has got to like that one. Anything involving shooting is big turn-on for these folks. You can seal the deal by immediately asking him if he knows the muzzle-velocity for an AK-47. If he quickly responds with 2,300 feet per second, you have pretty much nailed him. A Sikh will only looked puzzled and shrug his shoulders.

Here is a sure fire way to sniff out Al-Qaeda guy. Wait until you are in a crowded elevator or standing in a long line waiting to get into an event or a restaurant. Then shout as loud as you can, "Takbir!" If the suspect shoots up his fist and responds with "Allahu Akbar!" you know he’s the real deal.

I hope this has been more helpful than the advice of Hillary Clinton’s minions and, if you can leave your terror aside for few days, enjoy yourself.

Welcome to Canada.

Monday, January 11, 2010

More Caledonia nonsense from the Toronto Star

Angelo Persichilli had a column in yesterday’s Toronto Star that rhymes with his name; to wit, silly.

He is trying to defend the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, Julian Fantino, over the OPP’s handling of the Caledonia file. A private citizen has launched a lawsuit that claims Mr. Fantino exceeded his authority by writing to the local municipal council threatening police retaliation if the council endorsed an anti-aboriginal protest march organized by an outsider (a non-resident of Caledonia).

Mr. Persichilli is saying that the OPP cannot police natives because they will not be backed up by the politicians. He says that this means there is no law.


The law didn’t go away just because the politicians ran and hid under the nearest convenient rock, which we can all agree they did.

This Ontario Liberal government held an expensive public hearing to demonize the former Progressive Conservative government and particularly its former Premier, Mike Harris, in the government’s handling of a similar Indian occupation of a public park in Ipperwash, Ontario.

In that instance, in evicting the occupiers, a trigger-happy OPP officer shot and killed an unarmed Indian. The officer was convicted of a crime and duly sentenced.

But that wasn’t enough for the Liberals. They had to spend $50 million trying to prove that the government (the former Premier specifically) had interfered with police discretion and caused the harm. They failed. The commission exonerated the government from such charges.

Now, with the Caledonia native occupation, the chickens have come home to roost. And that roosting has been expensive. The latest estimate is that it has cost the taxpayers $65 million, not including the cost of the undisclosed settlement of the seven million dollar law suit brought by an Ontario couple against the government and the OPP because they were harassed for two years by the rampaging Indians without police protection.

Mr. Persichilli says:

There was no doubt that without a legal framework to say who was right and who was wrong, the tension in Caledonia would increase, with the real possibility that someone was going to be hurt.

Again, the OPP and its commissioner, Fantino, were asked to enforce the law in a context where the dispute was the law itself. The bottom line was simple: was the occupation legal or not?

Later he asks again:

Was it legal? I don't know, but was it legal to occupy public land? Is it legal to leave citizens without protection?

There is not a shadow of a doubt that the occupation of this land was illegal. It was not public land, like Ipperwash. It was land privately owned by a development company, which may have been subject to an as yet unsubstantiated aboriginal historical claim.

The problem, however, is not so much the fact that the Indians invaded the property and faced down the police in a show of force. Most people would have simply looked the other way and considered it an issue for the development company to sort out with the Indians and federal government.

It is what they did once they were in occupation, starting immediately with the beating of an employee of the development company who was simply trying to retrieve his blueprints and other documents from his on-site development office. He was hospitalized. Here is his picture.

And here are a number of pictures showing the acts carried out during the occupation: burning a railroad trestle, burning an electrical substation, blocking public highways with trash and burning tires, throwing a van from an overpass onto the highway, and tearing up the national flag. One thing to note in all of these pictures: the complete absence of any police presence.

Now here is a series of pictures from the other side of the disputed property – from the town side. A man is detained from waving a Canadian flag by no less than three police officers. A protest organizer is hauled away by three police officers. He was jailed and subsequently released without charge. Note the number of police vehicles present on the town side of the dispute when the town's people gathered to protest the occupation.

It is not that there are no laws to deal with the hooliganism, thuggery, arson and violence perpetrated by the Indians, Mr. Persichilli, it is simply that we lack a police force with the balls to enforce the laws we have.

And the sad thing is that this appeasement in the face of such aggression will only encourage the Indians to adopt such tactics in future land disputes.

Finally, ask yourself this question. If, instead of Mohawks, a band of Hells Angels motorcycle guys rode onto this property and carried on in the same fashion, what would the police response have been?

For readers who are unfamiliar with the Caledonia story, I refer you to this website.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

French catch "English disease"

It seems the French may have fallen victim to the “English disease.” No not that disease, not the one the Brits call the “French disease.”

I am writing about bad engineering design. In this case it is the TGV, the fast French train that plies its trade between the U.K. and France through the tunnel.

Just before Christmas the tunnel service was suspended when six trains failed and had to be towed back to France. It happened again yesterday. It seems that the cold weather has caused moisture build-up in the engine compartment and has shorted out the electrics.

This is bad design, because whoever put this together ought to have anticipated the impact of a hot engine on an influx of cold air and should have isolated the electrical components.

In the 1960s, my father, for reasons best known to him, became enthralled with English cars. Some folks today may not realize that the U.K. back then had a large auto industry that exported its products to the world. In fact, it was the largest car exporting nation at that time.

I think my dad took a liking to a nearby garage owner who also happened to have the local dealership for Austin and Vauxhall. Over a period of about 5 years our driveway had two of the larger Austin’s (which were not large at all by North American standards) and one Vauxhall. They were all purchased new.

Collectively, they spent almost as much time in the garage being repaired as they were being driven. They were terrible cars, completely unreliable. You could never count on going out in one of them and returning in the same vehicle.

We used to chalk it up to the fact that British automotive engineers had no idea about winter driving conditions in Canada when they designed them.

That theory ended in one spring when I took an Austin for a spin on a rain-soaked day. There was a nearby town that was located at the bottom of a river valley, with steep grades at either end of the highway that ran through the middle of the town.

I came down one hill, drove to the other side, and started to climb the hill out of town. Halfway up, the motor began to sputter and lose power.

I managed a U-turn and on the down slope the engine came up to full power. When I started up the other hill, the same thing happened, and I again pulled U-turn and used gravity to get the car up to speed. This time I roared through the town, greatly exceeding the speed limit, and tried to assault the hill. No luck, the motor died halfway up. I abandoned the effort and found alternative transportation.

Later we consulted with the dealer who said the problem was that the sparkplugs were all positioned in the front of the motor, just behind the radiator, and the rainwater had shorted them out. When we asked for a solution to the problem, he said the manufacturer provided a pull down blind that could be installed just behind the radiator. However, he cautioned, if you do that, your engine will overheat.

If the automotive engineers in one of the wettest countries in the Northern Hemisphere couldn’t design a car appropriate for their own climate, then it was time to go back to American cars.

And that is just what we did.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

When bloggers boil over benches

---------------------AQSA PARVEZ---------------------------

When bloggers get angry it can get very personal.

There are two American blog sites that are up in arms over a story about a granite bench in a “peace park” in the little burg of Pelham, Ontario.

Now before you go running to Mapquest or Google Maps, I will save you the trouble; this otherwise unremarkable town (population 16,000) is buried in the middle of the Niagara region, many miles away from the events that led to this dispute.

What Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch and Pam Geller at Atlas Shrugs are ticked off about is that the Pelham Fire Chief, Scott McLeod, gave an interview to the Toronto Star and, forsaking Geller, took credit for initiating a memorial to Aqsa Parvez in the form of a granite park bench, with the following inscription:

"Remembering new Canadians lost to the quest of integrating cultures – In Loving Memory of Aqsa Parvez – Remembered and Free."

A little history.

In December of 2007, sixteen year-old Aqsa Parvez, a Mississauga grade 11 schoolgirl, was rushed to Sick Kids Hospital, in Toronto, suffering from neck compressions. She died in hospital.

There was a 911 call allegedly made by her father confessing to her murder. He was charged with second degree murder. The girl’s older brother was charged with obstructing police. Subsequently, both were re-charged with first degree murder when the police concluded that the killing was planned and deliberate. There has been an extensive preliminary hearing in which the evidence was banned from publication.

The criminal trial is to take place in January, 2011.

Yes, the wheels of justice do grind slowly in Canada.

The arrest created a sensation because it was alleged in the media she was murdered because she did not wear a hijab all the time. It has been branded as an honour killing.

Both Geller and Spencer write frequently on their blogs about honour killings, including this one.

Geller was appalled to learn that Aqsa was buried in a cemetery with only a numbered marker in the ground. She organized a fund which received $5,000 in donations to put up a stone somewhere as a memorial to Aqsa with this inscription:

In loving memory of Aqsa Parvez

April 22, 1991 – December 10, 2007
Beloved, remembered and free

According to Geller, McLeod is a frequent reader of her blog and had contacted her about this memorial before the events in Pelham unfolded.

What annoys the two bloggers is not only that McLeod wants the brownie points, but that he deliberately appears to have distanced himself from Geller. The money came from the municipality with the assistance of a local female councillor and a point was made in the Star story that none of Geller’s donation money was used.

I guess I would be pissed off too, if I were Geller.

But I am not Geller and I haven’t been personally involved in this effort, so, just as a third party observer, this is what occurs to me.

I would not attribute evil motives to McLeod. He’s just a small time local guy who has done something notable in the community, probably the most exciting thing to happen in Pelham since they paved the highway into the town. Geez, he got his name in the Toronto Star. Who in Pelham can claim that distinction? He wants to take the credit. So be it. That is human nature.

And because I don’t think that he is evil in intention, I think it is consistent with portraying himself to be the local hero who thought up the idea that he would distance himself from Geller’s Aqsa fund. I don’t think Geller should assume he is somehow saying her money is tainted because of her politics.

As to the depiction in the story of Geller’s blog as being anti-Muslim, that is standard form multi-cult Toronto Star coverage. That goes well beyond McLeod.

Leaving aside the matter of who gets to be the hero of the piece, I am not overly impressed with either of the two inscriptions.

This is what one Muslim spokeswoman had to say about the Pelham one:

Alia Hogben, executive director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, is happy that a town is remembering Parvez. "But I have some difficulty with what they are trying to say in the inscription. Maybe they are trying to raise questions but I'm not quite sure (the inscription) reflects her death."

I agree with that.

I also don’t think Geller’s inscription passes muster. It is okay for a normal headstone, although it is never going to be placed on her grave.

If you read Geller and Spencer closely you find they are upset that the honour killing aspect in the Star story appears to be absent and that the message is lost in politically correct mush.

They are right about that and that is why I am not enthusiastic about Geller’s version of a memorial because it appears to suffer from the same problem.

Here is what I would do if I were Geller and I had $5,000 to put up a memorial to Aqsa.

First, I would ensure that the memorial was put up somewhere in Mississauga where Aqsa lived and died. What is point of locating it in Guelph or Pelham? The community that her death was supposed to appease is in Mississauga. That is where the message has to be hammered home, amongst the very people who tacitly support honour killings.

Secondly, I would wait until the trial is concluded and verdicts are secured.

I see that Spencer makes no bones that Aqsa’s father murdered her. In Canada, you haven’t murdered somebody until you are tried and the court says you did.

I know, I know: if it swims like a duck, it waddles like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. Still, there is the presumption of innocence and we have the same libel laws as the United Kingdom, so one should be careful. It is up to a jury to declare it is a duck.

Consider this. Perhaps it was not the father, it might have been the brother, and the father was trying to take the rap for him. Not that he is not guilty of complicity, but why name him if it might have been the brother?

There is also an issue involving the question of the Islamic dress that remains unresolved.

According to this Toronto Life background story, Aqsa’s close friends don’t put much stock in the “wouldn’t wear the hijab” angle. Aqsa apparently wore it on whim. She liked her religion and some days just felt like wearing it, and other days not. One very telling thing was that one of her close girlfriends is black. And Aqsa’s father did not like her choice of friends, warning her that black people would lead her down inappropriate paths in life.

So it might well be an honour killing, but possibly not for the reason the media has spread about. Or it might not be an honour killing at all – just a domestic fight that got out of control over a teenage girl’s choice of friends. We won’t know the answers to these questions until the trial.

Assuming that the outcome of the trial will establish the guilt of the father and/or brother and that the evidence supports the honour killing motive, then I would suggest that a plaque be mounted in a suitable location with the following inscription:

(April 22, 1991 – December 10, 2007)

This plaque is dedicated to the memory of a young Canadian Muslim girl who was murdered by her closest male relatives, in accordance with the barbaric practice of honour killings, because she allegedly shamed her family by her desire live like a Canadian.

That seems to be closer to reality and what is needed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Governments, when they are not doing it for you, they are doing it to you

Having worked in government, I must say I am not a big fan. To me, governments at all levels leave a lot to be desired. They are necessary evils and should be treated as such. They should be compelled to do only what is absolutely essential for good government and not a thing more.

In the City of Toronto, the councillors met late at night for a semi-secret vote (the media had all departed the council chamber) to grant funds to one of their own who had libeled a rival candidate during the election and had been successfully sued by that candidate. The amount was some $65,000 with an added amount of nearly $30,000 to compensate for the taxes on the base settlement. The city’s own solicitor told the council this was illegal. Now a citizens’ group has formed to take all of the councilors who voted for this to court.

This year is an election year. Let us hope the normally butt-headed voters in that city decide it is time for some new blood at the council table and get rid of these “well past their due date” troughers.

In France, the French government is introducing a law that would criminalize domestic arguments between spouses or quasi-spouses, known as the “yelling at your wife” law. It was a former Prime Minister of Canada, who had sponsored new liberal sex laws and divorce legislation, in his former role as the Minister of Justice, who coined the phrase, “The State has no business in the bedrooms of the Nation.”

The proposed French law expands the role of the state to the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathrooms and hallways of a person’s home, and probably the driveway and garden, for that matter.

That brings us to Canada, where the current Conservative government is taking some heat from the columnists and readers of the Toronto Star for proroguing Parliament until the beginning of March. It was due to commence its session on January 25.

I say good on P.M. Stephen Harper. There will be no opportunity for more stupid legislation in the intervening months, and, when it does come back to order, all the bills will have to be re-introduced. In fact, I will bet there will be an election late this year and so those bills will also likely die on the order paper.

Imagine, a whole year in which the government can do absolutely nothing. Could anything be sweeter?

I think it was Belgium that went for an entire year with no legally elected government and nobody missed it.