Monday, October 31, 2005

I can't believe what the Liberals are doing! (Part 1)

This will be the first of many posts under the title "I can't believe what the Liberals are doing!" There will be many parts to this as each day I find more information that outrages me, frustrates me and makes me want to up my hands in the air and scream "serenity now".

Part 1 has to do with the stripper shortage that has pledged Canada for quite sometime. The Liberals were very willing to solve this problem by offering dancers in Eastern Europe work visas in the exotic industry. However, this program was cancelled when the Sgro scandal unfolded a couple of months ago. We learned that a Romanian exotic dancer who had worked on Sgro's campaign was given preferential treatment in obtaining citizenship. NDP Pat Martin stated "Five successive ministers of immigration have been pimping for the underworld by providing an endless stream of fodder for the underworld of pornography and prostitution under the guise of legitimate dancing."

But what happened after the program was cancelled you ask? The Edmonton Sun reports that the Liberal government is still filling the quota of strippers in Canada. Under old rules, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada would conduct a national labour market opinion that gave a blanket approval for the exotic dancer category. Under the new process, the employer must apply for an individual assessment for each dancer. Temporary work permits can be issued for a few days up to three years, and can be extended if the labour shortage continues. What the hell does that mean?

The Liberals continue to pimp the underworld of these desperately poor countries in Eastern Europe. Now employers in these strip clubs are applying for dancers to work in their bars. They are moving from the desperate situation in their own home countries to another desperate situation in Canada. Thanks Pimp Daddy Martin! Serenity Now!

Who Done it?

Yes, my head hurts just thinking about it too.

Tomorrow I'll be able to read all about the sponsorship scandal and who spent my hard-earned tax dollars so that bureaucrats in Ottawa can line their pockets.
I will be able to answer the following question:
The person to blame in the sponsorship scandal is:
Or will I be able to answer that question?? Stay tuned.....

I'm wondering if Paul Martin will even be mentioned in the report?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Orange Revolution Turns into Rotting Pumpkin

Just in time for Halloween! Yes, it's true Ukrainians are feeling disillusioned by their revolution. The hopes of the revolution are now withering away like a rotting pumpkin. BBC News reports that Ukraine has been torn by broken promises. The dream team of Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko - hero and heroine of the revolution, who became president and prime minister - proved incapable of fulfilling their promises. They pledged an end to Ukraine's notorious cronyism, but after a few months officials were openly trading allegations of abuse of power for personal gain. As well, the paradox is that the face of the government itself did not change.

What have we learned from this episode? Revolutions from below rarely deliver on the dreams of the people. The masses will feel a limited sense of hope followed by an anti-climactic sense of betrayal. One can't help but get caught up in the euphoria but it's short lived.

Problem? What Problem?

The minister of Indian Affairs Andy Scott, appearing on CTV's Question Period, stated over and over again there are no problems with Ontario's Kashechewan First Nation reserve. In fact, he said that they are right on track and have worked on the problem for some time now.

"We've been working on this for a year and a half," Scott said. "It is based on both collaboration with the community and a transformative agenda and I'm optimistic we're going to make a difference." He goes on to state "The reality is that we established a water management strategy, in fact, two years ago. It's in its third year now, and the strategy is on track to eliminate all of the high-risk water systems -- there are over 900 in Canada -- and to reduce the medium-risk water systems to about 90 per cent. We are on track to do that."

If INAC has worked on the problem for sometime now why were they evacuted just recently and why have people become infected? During the interview, it was clear, he was not answering questions directly and it was quite frustrating hearing his responses. At the end Craig Oliver thanked him for being on the show, to which Scott replied "Oh, it was my pleasure." Oliver then replied "Oh, I don't think it was a pleasure, but you hung in there". Way to go Scott! Thanks for being another example of the incompetence of the Liberal Party of Canada.

My New Favorite T-Shirt

This t-shirt is very appropriate due to the string of good luck bestowed on Alberta. Let's recap:
  • Uncle Ralph will be sending each Albertan a $400.00 cheque
  • The $54 million dollar lottery ticket was bought in Alberta and two other Alberta tickets earned six-figure wins.
  • Alberta is the first province in Canada to eliminate its debt
  • We only have 7% tax on all goods and services
  • We're standing on a lot of black gold

Saturday, October 29, 2005

DJ Martin

So, Ol' daddy Martin announced that he'll be hitting the radio waves soon. No, he didn't lose his job as PM (not yet) and looking for steady employment. No, he is not changing his name to DJ Martin and asking everyone to phone in and say "the phrase that pays" ("The Liberal Party of Canada is NOT corrupt, now, show me my money!!). In fact, he will take to the airwaves tomorrow (October 30) in a U.S.-style address to the nation that will become a weekly event. The PM will launch his first national radio address with a two-minute talk on the softwood lumber trade dispute with the U.S.

Radio? Who the hell listens to the radio anymore? Is that FM or AM? This is, once again, a useless way of spending taxpayer's money. He's also targeting a very limited audience (grandmothers, grandfathers and the family dog) in an attempt to gear up for the upcoming election. I think I'd rather change the litter box then listen to any more lies from the Liberal Party.

Preemptive Measures Continue in Belarus

Radio Free Europe have announced that Belarusian police have just arrested 70 members of an independent election monitoring group, who were attempting to register in the country.

"Nikolai Astreika, the leader of the Partnership group, said police raided the meeting, held at a theater, and arrested 70 members on charges of attending an unauthorized meeting. Astreika said the group was aware of a prohibition on unauthorized meetings but needed to assemble and hold a founding congress so they could gather the necessary documents to register. Astreika said police broke up the meeting before it started.
Belarus will hold a presidential election in 2006."

This is another example of preemptive measures taken by the president to prevent free and fair elections to take place next year. Preemption has an enormous psychological impact on the people because they instill the belief that there is no hope for change and imposes the view that any political change is far beyond reach. The whole method of preemption is to root out any starting points of civil society, organized methods of uprooting the leader and any talks of change.

It is only a matter of time until Lukashenko will be unseated as president. The change must come from within the party but the public does not have a clear view of what's happening inside the presidential powerloop. Lukashenko is only as strong as the individuals who surround him. If the loyalty of the presidential entourage changes as well as the armed forces the clock will soon be ticking….

Friday, October 28, 2005

Talk Is Cheap!

Lorne Gunter made some comments recently in the National Post about the Kashechewan First Nation problem. A disaster unfolded recently on their reserve that led to the forced evacuation of many due to unsafe drinking water and many reports of illnesses stemming from water contamination. Gunter proposes that the problems that unraveled on the reserve lies with the handout mentality and not a lack of handouts.

"Native communities have no independent powers to tax and their residents have no private property and very little independent income against which to levy even if the band council wanted to tax. Everything natives have -- or nearly so -- comes from one level of government or another." This inevitably leads to a lack of power and personal responsibility of the First Nations. To blame is the Ottawa government who perpetuates this dysfunctionalism even as it cleans up the immediate symptoms.

I think Gunter is correct when he asserts that it’s the handout mentality that is to blame. However, scaling back on all assistance to First Nations in Canada, in order to implement a mentality of self-reliance and personal responsibly, will not be met favorably by First Nations people. This is political suicide for any politician who wants to implement this. First Nations leaders will bring out the rhetoric of promises made by the government since the first Indian Act. They will recall how treaties were signed and promises were made on the Great Plains that should never be broken.

The real issue is whether First Nations leaders are willing to come to terms with the "handout mentality" and take steps to improve the lives of their people. Politicians are afraid to even tackle the issue or even use the words "handout mentality" in their speeches about Aboriginals. The initiative must come from the Aboriginal people themselves. They must be willing to take the steps to promote self-reliance instead of constantly shrouding behind promises that were made in the early 19th century that should be respected until the sun rises and the water flows

Putin is Not a Politician

Extra, Extra: Putin is Not a Politician. All this time he's been fooling us, that crazy bugger. This is was published in the Moscow News recently:

"It’s evident to most of Russians. Putin is not a politician and never was. Every politician should love power above all but he doesn’t. Putin is doing his job as if he was appointed to be a president. And that is the main reason why Russians like him. It’s also a reason why so many Western experts simply couldn’t grasp the idea that a person with so much power doesn’t want to use to become a president for a third term. Maybe they think it’s an axiom that only power mongers can be politicians as it always was in the West? Money and Power is ueber alles."

Maybe the interviewer didn't see the bottle of vodka in her purse or her bloodshot eyes from her night of partying. But this 60-something, obviously intelligent women, was clearly mistaken. Putin has always been a politician maybe he's not as recognizable in our Western eyes because he carries himself differently, speaks differently, isn't charismatic like Bill Clinton or as "down-home" as George Bush but he is nonetheless a politician. He presents an image that resonates favorably with Russians: always in control (in their times of chaos) intelligent, forcefully when he speaks and presents himself as a determined person. He is carefully calculated and commands attention.

Her statement also got me thinking about whether this is the right approach. It is right to not look at Putin as a politician? Russia is attempting to build a democracy and with that also comes the learning of norms and values. Russian political culture tells us that they have a temptation to look at their leaders like a father, a patriarch, a protector. However, Putin should be looked at for what he is, a politician. He was elected by Russian citizens to lead the country for a specified period of time. Democracy is self-restraint, co-operation and self-reliance. Once his time is up in the Kremlin he has to hand power to another president, after all he must play by the rules of the democratic game. However, once his term in office is up I strongly believe he will still be involved in the Kremlin powerloop. He will not disappear to his little hideaway in the country and write his memoirs.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Prime Minister of Ukraine

Introducing the new Prime Minister of Ukraine. I found this too funny not to mention it on my blog. This picture was found at "Ukraine, Russia, Europe, the US, Oh My!
Acting Prime Minister of Ukraine Yuri Ekhanurov, the former head of Dnepropetrovsk regional state administration.

Also know as Yulya Ekhanurov

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Why is Belarus Still Communist?

Why is Belarus still Communist? Belarus is surrounded by democratic states (Well, they're democratic to a certain degree and that degree is always qualified on a state-by-state basis). However, there is no mistaking the extent to which the president of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenka, has a firm grip on civil society, media and any internal and external dissent. He is like a conductor of a grand symphony though his employment of various preemptive measure to abolish opposition. This creates a belief that there is no hope for change and imposes the view that any political change is far beyond reach. He once stated that there will never be an orange revolution (Ukraine), a tulip revolution (Georgia) or a velvet revolution (former Czechoslovakia). The combination of patronage and clientelism are also important factors keeping any internal dissent to a minimum.

However, the answer to this question also lies in the mentality of the citizens of Belarus. They are fed a daily dose of propaganda without any competing views or any channels for expressing dissent. Lukashenka also emphasizes the uncertainty that lies ahead if they would pursue democracy. There are more then enough examples in Eastern Europe of stalling or failing democracies. Russia, in the eyes of some, is not even a democracy but just an elective democracy. There is economic hardship, corruption and a decrease of standard and quality of life in new democracies. People are reminded of these fears on a daily basis. Why would they want to embark into the unknown instead of putting up with what is familiar?

Lukashenka's sultanistic style of authority is reminiscent of Romania's Ceausescu dictatorship. We all know how that ended, the execution of the dictator and his wife. If there is any hope for democracy in Belarus, based on the present regime and the extent to which the tentacles of control reaches all facets of society, I predict that his demise will not be as peaceful or conciliatory as the other, more recent revolutions in Eastern Europe.

Dingwall: Banish him to the N.W.T

David Dingwell, Paul Coffin and Chuck Guite should thank their lucky stars they don't live in Russia. Otherwise they would be sent to a far off prison in the N.W.T for chargers relating to fraud and mismanaging tax payer's money. We just have to look at what happened to Mikhail Khororovskii to see what could have awaited them. Get out your thermal underwear!!

Oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovskii has been taken to a far-flung Siberian camp to serve his eight-year sentence for fraud and tax evasion. The 42-year-old founder of the Yukos oil firm, once Russia's richest man, will serve his sentence in Chita Oblast, in eastern Siberia. The camp lies near the Chinese border, some 5,000 kilometers from his native Moscow. The camp where he is due to serve his term is reported to have a population of about 1,000 inmates, most of them convicted of fraud or theft. When the prison opened in the 1960s, inmates initially helped build a large uranium-processing plant. Today, the camp manufactures only textiles, but the region remains heavily contaminated with radioactive waste.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Princess of the Orange Revolution Whored Out

Yulia Tymoshenko, the Ukrainian Prime Minister, whored out when she recently posed for the Ukrainian edition of Elle. Wearing a fitting blue Louis Vuitton dress and sporting a hairstyle popular in the 1960s she hoped that this cover can help her gain appreciation in the male-dominated world of politics. Frankly if Ms. Tymoshenko, the so-called "princess of the revolution", wants to be taken seriously she will not accomplish this by posing on the front cover of a magazine that addresses everything from fashion trends, tasty recipes, "top ten ways to please your man" and the lastest form of birth control on the market.

If she wants to be taken seriously as a politician this is not the way to do it. Does anyone think that Condolezza Rice would fare well on the cover of Cosmopolitan right under the headline "28 Romantic Rituals to Do With Your Man"?

Afterall, Ukraine just had a revolution and elected a liberal president to lead them in the 21 century. They are seeking EU membership and emarking on many political, economic and social reforms. But what is evident, by Ms. Tymoshenko's publicity stunt, is that the role of women has not changed. In fact, the decision to pose for Elle magazine will not help her gain appreciation in the male-dominated world of politics but it will further entrench the traditional role of women in post-Communist Ukraine.

Svend is like Madonna...

Svend Robinson is like Madonna. Sure he doesn't wear a pointy bra (or, does he?) but he is trying to recreate himself just like the queen of pop. Madonna is considered the master of reinvention because of her changing style of music. Svend is also trying to repackage himself to the average voter. He has announced that he will seek the NDP nomination in the riding of Vancouver Centre to run in the next federal election. That riding is held by Liberal Hedy Fry. I would actually like to see Hedy Fry leave federal politics but certainly not replaced by Svend Robinson.

He was charged for stealing a gold ring earlier this year. He cried a little, *sniffle* *sniffle*, said he was sorry and that he suffered from a mental breakdown. He disserves another chance; after all, he is human. However, he does brings a lot of baggage to the nomination race and I'm not certain that the NDP would like his stealing incident to weigh over the party. The Liberals are already trying to keep their heads above water with accusations of mismanagement of money flying each day in the House. Trusting our members of parliament is a big issue and Svend has to work exceptionally hard to reinvent himself so that the average voter can put his little kleptomaniac incident behind them. Svend, why don't you just stick to fishing, walking your dogs and watching question period in front of your TV?

It's our "Wild-West Mentality"

I recently read an article in the Edmonton Sun that hits close to home. The author states that Albertans have a wide range of social dysfunctions, like depression, mania, high crime rates, sexual abuse and substance problems then any other province in Canada. He goes on to mention other debilitating and troublesome aliments but cites the source of the problem as "the wild-west mentality" and "resource driven economy". A doctor in the article states "It's time Albertans get off their fat asses and recognize that our way of life, in one of the richest provinces in the world, is not improving our mental health." WOW! Talk about over exaggeration. I would have expected this from someone in Ontario but not one of our own.
To read full article:

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Something is Rumbling on Top of Burnaby Mountain

It looks like something is brewing here. These Socialists on the mountain are waging war. Have your gas masks and picket signs ready. Oh, right, you have keep them in your office...

"At this point it looks like lower mainland wide political action will be
taking place on Friday October 21 in support of teachers and the BCTF.
In light of the decision of the membership at Tuesday's emergency general meeting, if this event happens, the TSSU will be calling on its members to stay away from work, avoid performing any of their employment duties and instead attend political rallies or BCTF picket lines. That said, the decision whether to participate in this action is an individual one and the Union will not be bringing sanctions against anyone who chooses not to participate."

The Orange Revolution: Just Another Revolution....

Oh, how I love to hear Ukrainians proclaim the unique qualities of their revolution. "Eastern Europe has never seen a revolution quite like the one we had" This difference is rooted in the extent to which common people, your everyday Vladimir and Elena, took part in the uprisings and camped out in downtown Kyiv along side enthusiastic teenagers. They all worked together to bring down Kuchma and start implementing this elusive dream called "democracy". They were so enthusiastic, expected so much, but in the end, like most revolutions in Eastern Europe didn't get all they bargined for.

Many Ukrainians are left scratching their heads, "so, this is what we fought for?" This was just another revolution (if I can even use the word "revolution") in Eastern Europe were everyone expected so much but in the end got so little. Their revolution isn't different from any other revolution and their civil society isn't different then anywhere else in Eastern Europe. They have freedom to criticize the government, write until their hands fall off, spew venom against the government's lack of accountability and they can protest on the streets against government policy. Yes, most countries in Eastern Europe can do that too.

Their revolution only helped to create this one way street. The government must be willing to implement reform and seek to change the structures of government. So far nothing has convinced me that Ukraine is any different then other countries in Eastern Europe or that their revolution brought about a greater sense of democracy. Take a chill pill Ukraine and look at your country realistically. Democracy is a long hard road that takes many generations. Your barbeque-party event was nice to watch on TV but like the rest of Eastern Europe you have a long hard road before you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

You Know You're at Simon Fraser University When...

  • Most students are wearing t-shirts depicting various revolutionary icons like Che Guevara
  • The majority of students all wear sandels that are handmade in Brazil by the chief elder of the tribe
  • Your classmate walks around with a gas mask and protest signs in his backbag
  • You constantly see groups of people walking together, with fists in the air, protesting the enslaving nature of capitalism
  • "Hey Man, look at this joint" means something totally different in your kinesiology class
  • The only coffee you can buy on campus is "fair trade"
  • You attend a student's union meeting and you constantly hear "there is strength in numbers", "unite together brothers and sisters" and "in solidarity we can overcome"
  • The only kind of fruit they sell on campus is organic
  • Asking the question "So, what has the union done for me lately?" can start a fight
  • You can't find a bathroom on campus with paper towels
  • At the university bookstore the best selling book is My Union, My Life by Jean-Claude Parrot
  • There are more recycling bins per capita then at any other university in Canada

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Sin of Democratization

Democratization is committing a sin in Eastern Europe, however, the ideology which it follows is blinding and everyone accepts it purely by the freedom which it guarantees. The method of exporting democratic principles and institutions to countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Former Yugoslavia is very idealistic. Proponents of democratization see no option except for importing democracy and market-economics. They are committing a sin, imposing on people their ideals and vision of what a society should be. Need to catch up to the West, can't waste any time, tick-tock.....

When Communists came to Eastern Europe they were seen as liberators from the Nazis. They start to build a new man with new ideals, new principles and new priorities, Communist man. They created institutions to curb personal interest mixed with a heavy dose of propaganda and strict punishment for any dissidents. Communists wanted to catch up to the developed West and prove that there are many roads to prosperity, not just through capitalism and democracy.

Now, Eastern Europe is rescued once again, but now from the Communists. Democratic man is now the way of the future. Communist institutions - destroyed. Communist practices - destroyed. Democratic institutions - erected. Democratic practices - erected. However, the norms, political culture and way of thinking is still very much part of people's psychological make-up. But of course, there is no time to think about that. You need to reinvent yourself once again for your own sake.

Citizens of Eastern Europe are victims to a new set of ideologies. They constantly find themselves catching up to the developed West. Eastern Europe is an ideological laboratory for the Great Powers. They have always been conquered by one great power after another that have subsequently imposed on them a new set of beliefs and norms that must be learned in a short period of time.

A Revolutionary in the Making "The Dictator is Dead"

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A View From Above

Hello World!
I spy with my little eye Vancouver. I spy with my little eye mountains, trees and clear blue sky. Okay, it's not always sunny here but its always beautiful. I'm a student at Simon Fraser University and I spend most of my time on top of Burnaby mountain. Whether it's studying for an exam, writing a paper or justing hanging out with my friends, I always find myself on top of this moutain.

It's quite interesting being here. From my office I can see the expo centre, the coast line and one a clear day the island. I'm quite privileged to have this office space and I'll never take it for granted.

So, hello blogging world I'm Constance and this is my take on the world from on top of Burnaby Mountain