Friday, August 25, 2006

A sobering lesson on Iran

One of the advantages of having a satellite radio is that I have news from about 15 different sources at my disposal. On the drive from Vancouver to Kelowna yesterday afternoon I decided that I had had enough music for a while and switched over to the live feed from CNN TV.

The show I tuned into is hosted by Glenn Beck and he was talking about the Iranian threat.

Its somewhat ironic because I was remarking to a friend just earlier at UBC that I was unsure about the idea of "provoking" the Iranians. I'll admit, I hadn't followed the situation that closely and was fairly ill-informed, so I welcomed the chance to listen in on this discussion about Iran.

Talk about an eye-opener.

Now, being on CNN, he was talking directly of a threat against the United States. But as their closest neighbour and an identified target of terror groups like Al-Qaeda, we need to be just as weary as our neighbours to the south.

Luckily, I stumbled upon a transcript of the show. I won't post the entire thing, but i'll provide the following lengthy excerpt (which I urge you to consider as North Americans) for your benefit:

I need you to listen and read these words very, very carefully, "The annihilation of the Zionist regime will come. Israel must be wiped off the map. And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism", end quote. That, my friend, is a quote from the president of Iran.

So today, there`s a congressional report, it came out I think yesterday afternoon. It says we need more hard evidence on Iran. Really? I thought that last quote was pretty compelling. You know, Iran wants to vaporize us. Now, the pinheads in Washington are playing politics with it. The Republicans are saying, you`d better pay attention to this. Democrats are saying, all right, please, everybody, just calm down.

You want to know why I take the words of President Tom so seriously; while he might sound crazy, if you remember back in the 1980s, another guy sounded crazy too, when he said things like that, Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan sounded crazy to the Soviets when he called them an evil empire. President Tom, just like President Reagan is not bluffing when he promises his people that he will take this empire down.

You know what, look at the cover of this report, that was out. This is the congressional report. See here, is President Tom, he is standing behind a podium that says "A World Without Zionism." Now if you look here, can we bring this up? This is what`s behind him. This is a creepy hourglass, with down at the bottom, this represents the United States. It`s in pieces. You really think these guys are on the up and up?

Look, the point is, there are two kinds of people. There are the kinds of people that make threats and those who make promises. You know the difference in your own lives. If you`re a parent, and you have a kid who is misbehaving, you tell them, you better stop or you`re going to get punished.

The kid will keep misbehaving if you are the kind of parent that never lives up to your promise. You`re just making empty threats. I`m going to spank you, and then you never do. Now when you`re dealing with crazy people, they don`t make threats -- they make promises. You need to take them at their word.

The same thing applies to Iran. The United Nations, they make threats, they don`t make promise. They make threats. "Oh, you`d better stop making those nukes by the end of the month, or there`ll be sanctions." No there`s not. You know it and I know it. I guarantee you, there will be no sanctions.

But back in 1997, Osama bin Laden, he promised us. He promised us he would strike at the heart of the United States and four years later, he made good on that promise. So when President Tom promises that soon, we will experience a world without America, I`m telling you, he means it.

I also know, I`ve done enough homework on these guys to know they are a genuine threat. They`re the real reason we went to Iraq, not weapons of mass destruction, that was good, that was just a sidelight. We went there to crush the head of the snake.

I also, I don`t know, if President Tom will succeed in making his promise come true. The only way he won`t is if we wake up. But our intelligence community is afraid of it`s own shadow. But, you know what, don`t take my word for it, former CIA director, James Woolsey -- he`s here with us tonight. Am I wrong on this, Jim?

JAMES WOOLSEY, FMR. CIA DIRECTOR: No, I think the thrust of what you`re saying is on the money. You know, you`re right about Ahmadinejad. He`s like Hitler. Hitler wrote "Mein Kampf" and he said he was going to establish a 1,000-year Reich and kill all the Jews.

BECK: Right.

WOOLSEY: And people said he`s crazy, so.

BECK: Right.

WOOLSEY: It`s just talk. But it wasn`t just talk. And Ahmadinejad is waiting for the hidden imam to return from the eighth century because he thinks that will help him bring about an end to the world. This guy is really far out there, but he`s far out there in his objectives. It doesn`t mean that he`s not shrewd. Hitler was a really shrewd operator in the `30s, and this guy, you know, the Persians invented chess, and the rulers there in Iran are moving their pieces like Hezbollah and Hamas and Moqtad (ph) al Sadr in Iraq in order to protect their queen, which is their nuclear weapons program.

BECK: We could find ourselves in a position of inaction because our intelligence community -- because of what happened this Iraq -- freaked out, right? They`re afraid of their own shadow.

WOOLSEY: Well, it`s complicated. I think that they have an inclination to talk too much just to what they call controlled assets, that is spies that they`ve recruited and pay. And what they call liaison officers, that is intelligence officers, and friendly intelligence services. And that`s a pretty small share of the world. A lot of people have a reluctance to do what you were just doing, which is read what Ahmadinejad says and take him seriously. He`s got a strategic advisor, named Abase (ph) who says there are 29 sites in America and in the West, which if we take them down we`ll destroy the Anglo-Saxons. You know, there`s some very serious threats against our existing, in Iran today.

BECK: They are absolutely serious. So when you look at all of this stuff and if you were sitting there in your former position, you go into the Oval Office, and you would say what? Mr. President today you must -- fill in the blank.

WOOLSEY: Well, directors of Central Intelligence normally don`t give policy advice, and they really shouldn`t. They ought to say here`s how I see it, as distinct to, what you ought to do. But I think what`s important is that both on the Sunni side of the great divide within Islam, by Al Qaeda and the Wahabis (ph), actually, in Saudi Arabia and the on Shiite side, with Ahmadinejad and the others, there are fanatic movements that are rooted in this world`s great religion. And we haven`t figured out how to deal with theological totalitarianism. We haven`t had to face that in many years. Now, during the Cold War, the Soviets were cynics, their ideology was dead. These are not dead ideologies in what the president calls Islamic fascism. BECK: So what do we do? What would you be recommending?

WOOLSEY: We`ve got to do a bunch of things.


WOOLSEY: One is that we ought to -- I think try to make sure people understand that we`re going to have to combat this kind of ideology much more strongly than we had to deal with the soviet ideology, during the Cold War. This is real trouble because there are young men in streets of Riyadh, and Cairo and some few in Britain and maybe even a few here in the United States that are really signed on to that fanaticism. And it`s a very, very serious problem.

BECK: Sir, I --

WOOLSEY: I think we need to move away from oil.

BECK: Sir, I really only have 10 seconds. If I could get a yes or no answer from you. If we fail in destroying this, globally, do you believe it`s the end of the West?

WOOLSEY: Maybe not the end, but it would be a huge blow to us and we`re going to be struggling with this for decades.

Now i'm not saying I take everything any media outlet says as the Gospel truth, but listening to this sure gave me a wake-up call on the whole Iranian threat.

I'm going to do a little more digging on this file for my own benefit, as should you.

After hearing this, I think we all need to become a lot more informed about Iran and what they can and will do if they get the chance.

And by "we", I mean all freedom-loving people of the world... regardless of where they live... regardless of their cultural background... regardless of their religion.

I, like many, am guilty of having become complacent with regards to the situation in the Middle East. It so dominates our news cycles that many of us are de-sensitized towards the words we hear and, since we haven't seen an attack on North American soil since 9/11, we are increasingly falling back into a false sense of security.

We owe it to ourselves to wise up to this new and real threat, and we need to ensure that our Leaders deal with this threat before the threat comes over to "deal" with us.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Three random things

Good morning everyone. I spent another night in my new home in Victoria last night, off now to Kelowna this morning. As the title suggests, three random thoughts for you today:

-As you can imagine, I (like any good Canadian) enjoy watching the Liberal Party of Canada flushing itself down the crapper for all to see. One of the biggest laughs I got regarding their current state can be found HERE.

-I was thinking last week about what i'd miss about Fort McMurray. At first I thought i'd miss seeing floatplanes coming in and out of the valley, but I soon remembered that I live about 1000 feet away from one of Canada's busiest water runways (to reinforce that, two floatplanes have taken off since I started writing this.

But last night I had to run to Wal-Mart and when I came back outside I noticed how dark it was. Then I realized it.

I'm really going to miss the northern lights.

-Speaking of Wal-Mart, the reason I had to go was to get a shower curtain. Now i'd like to know what idiot thought it would make sense to sell shower curtains with no rings to attach them to a pole. I mean really. If you need a bloody shower curtain, would it not stand to reason that you'd need something to hold it up?

Monday, August 21, 2006

How do these people get elected?

I've been way too busy packing up my house to bother blogging this past week or so. Sure there have been a few issues worth commenting on, like the new entrants to the PC Alberta Leadership Race or Garth Turner's nomination race in Halton, Ontario, but I haven't really been motivated enough to sit down and type something out.

I read something last night, though, that absolutely infuriated me.

When I read, in this CBC article, that Etobicoke Centre (read: Toronto) Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj is "ashamed to be Canadian", I was absolutely beside myself.

This man, along with the other MPs on the trip, BQ MP Maria Mourani and NDP MP Peggy Nash, have repeatedly talked about "Israel's crimes against humanity" and that PM Harper is "condoning human massacres".


They've been in the Middle East for a few days and suddenly they're experts on what has gone on in the last month or so?

Honestly, its as though they believe that only one side of the story deserves to be heard and, since the tories are with Israel, they have to be against them.

What kind of weak-minded individuals make up their mind with only half (if even that much) of the facts???

William does a much more succinct and thorough job of pointing out the absurdity of the statements being made by the opposition on this trip.

I, for one, am simply agog.

I am NOT, however, embarassed to be a Canadian. If anything, I am proud that Canada has finally removed the fence post that was lodged firmly in our asses and chosen to stand with the only historically democratic nation in the Middle East.

I'm embarassed that people like Borys Wrzesnewskyj get elected to Parliament.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A veteran retires

News from Edmonton this afternoon that longtime MP John Williams won't seek re-election. I've had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Williams on a number of occaisions and can honestly say that he's one of the good guys.

Canadians owe John Williams a heartfelt thanks for the work he has done on behalf of taxpayers for the last 13 years. I definetly consider myself to be a John Williams fan... the article below explains some of the reasons why:

St. Albert MP Williams to retire from politics (2:00 p.m.)
Published: Thursday, August 10, 2006

John Williams, the Edmonton-St. Albert Conservative MP who led the charge on the Liberal sponsorship scandal, says he is planning to retire from politics.

Williams, 59, said today he wants to leave politics to concentrate on his work with the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, which he helped form and chairs.

“My concern for the millions who are destitute caused me to engage parliamentarians around the world and form GOPAC,” he said in a prepared statement.

He said he will continue as MP for the remainder of his term but will not seek re-election.

Originally from Scotland, he came to Canada in 1970, originally to work at the Royal Bank before starting his own accounting firm in St. Albert.

He joined the Reform party in the late 1980s and was first elected as a Reform MP in 1993 for the federal riding of St. Albert, where he owns a 10-acre hobby farm.

He rose to national prominence as chairman of the public accounts committee, which is usually a low-key position that confines itself to arcane rules over spending of public money.

But it was under his watch that the sponsorship scandal broke, putting him in the public spotlight hammering the Liberal government over more than $100 million in taxpayers’ money that vanished to Liberal-friendly ad agencies in Quebec. The scandal is blamed in large part for Paul Martin losing the election this January to Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. Williams was re-elected by a 23,000-vote margin.

He was also an early player in talks between the splinter Reform and Alliance parties to merge with the Conservatives.

The father of two adult sons, he lost his wife of more than 20 years to cancer in 1998.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Another roundup

As you may have noticed, the idea of blogging from Las Vegas was a bit of a flop. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise, though... who the hell goes to Vegas to sit in their hotel room and blog?

Anyway, here's a bit of a news roundup:

  • THIS is getting ridiculous. Someone needs to step in and show these people that this is not some kind of third world country, and that we follow the law here. I'm glad to see that Justice David Marshall is trying to do that in the absence (as usual) of leadership from Ontario's provincial Liberals.

  • THIS is unfortunate. While I wouldn't brand myself as a Democrat, i've always thought of Senator Lieberman as a moderate and reasonable individual.

  • THIS is very interesting. I don't know much about Wajid Khan, but he has come across as a reasonable individual the few times i've seen him speak in the House. Its a smart move for Prime Minister Harper, though. In appointing Mr. Khan, he has chosen someone who not only comes from a Muslim background and has an exceptional understanding of the Middle East, but he also has found someone who supports our role in Afghanistan AND someone who is backing a supporter of Israel's right to defend itself for leader of his own party (Joe Volpe). Kudos to the PM, and congratulations and thanks in advance to Mr. Khan for the work he is about to undertake.

  • Speaking of the Israeli-Lebanese conflict, HERE is yet more compelling evidence that all media reports need to be taken with a grain of salt.

  • One of my favourite Liberals, Daveberta, has a post talking about the Federal Liberal leadership candidates' fundraising in Alberta. Percentages aside, I must admit that it sure is nice to have some public accountability/scrutiny for political fundraising numbers at the national level. Regardless of who wins the Alberta PC leadership, I sure hope its something we'll see more of at the provincial level in Alberta.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

The Big D

Just when I thought I was done for the day, I strolled over to see Will at Noise From The Right. In his latest post, he asks me a fair question which i'll do my best to answer.

Before I get to that, though, there are a couple of points he makes that i'd like to touch on.

For one, there was nothing inconsistent about backing Scott Brison for Leader of the former PC Party of Canada. For those who wanted to see some fresh, bold, and conservative ideas (things like Jump Start 250 and the elimination of ACOA), Scott was clearly the right choice. Yes, we all know that he has since betrayed his conservative roots in favour of a cheap shot at power under the Liberals... I suppose none of us thought to break out the crystal ball back in 2002/03.

True, I gave Scott a hug the last time I saw him, even though to I went over to McLellans' office with the intentions of tearing a strip off of him. I reminded myself of a phrase I often repeated to my PC friends when informing them of my decision to campaign for the Alliance in the 2000 election... "friendship transcends politics." Scott is still a friend, and I think you would find that sentiment resonates with a great number of people who spent the kind of time working with Scott as I did when he was a tory. If that makes us somehow less worthy as human beings in the eyes of "principled conservatives", then so be it.

Sometimes one realizes that life is too short to hold a stupid grudge.

The second piece Will touches on is the "party establishment" within PC Alberta. I have had more than my fair share of run-ins with said establishment and would also love to see them driven from the halls of influence. The people I see as being problematic to our party, though, are not the people who have been identified as "the Calgary mafia". They are primarily based in the Capital region and have very much turned our party into a glorified partisan bureaucracy.

Rather than being his downfall, the Premier's advisors in Calgary were the people who helped shape him into the politician that so many of us loved in the early days. It was when the Premier stopped listening to the Art Smith's and the Scobey Hartley's and shifted his attention to the more career-oriented politicos in the Capital that things started to go south.

I agree with Will that there are a great many people who are content to move "at the speed of Government" who need to go, but I think that their support does not currently with either my candidate or Will's candidate.

Now that that's out of the way, the question William poses for me is "does Dinning enjoy such strong support?"

Until the votes are counted sometime in November, the best anyone can offer is an educated guess based on the opinions of people they talk to. The people I talk to here in Fort McMurray, are a mix of industry and public sector leaders, small business owners, community activists and average folks who work out at one of the plant sites. Those who follow politics at all are, by and large, behind Jim. They like his political and professional resume, and they like the fact he has been up here talking and listening to people in Wood Buffalo about the issues we face.

Is my perception that Dinning has strong support based primarily on the vibe I get here in Fort McMurray? Probably so.

But I wonder what the sentiment is in other communities outside of Edmonton and Calgary?

Aside from Dr. Oberg's sudden departure from caucus, the only story in our local paper regarding any of the PC Alberta leadership candidates occurred when Jim was in town to meet with the RHA, Keyano College, and the Mayor.

The other candidates have rarely been seen to be talking about Fort McMurray issues and, if they have, they certainly haven't been seen up here.

One can open the major papers in Edmonton or Calgary and read about what is quickly becoming an Edmonton against Calgary taint on this entire race. That may sell memberships in Edmonton and Calgary, but it does precious little to advance the real issues facing people in this province.

On his blog, Jim said recently: said all along: "I’ll be a leader for all Alberta. I won't do the Calgary vs Edmonton thing. Nor rural vs urban. Or north vs south. Others might play that games. I'm determined to be a leader for all of Alberta."

Its a sentiment I agree with and one that every leadership candidate should echo.

In talking to a number of MLAs last week (some who are and some who aren't supporting my candidate), I definetly got the feeling that caucus wants this race to heat up and start talking about serious issues rather than fighting over who has who's support or where that support comes from.

I suspect Albertans are beginning to feel the same way.

Leaving for Vegas tomorrow... can you tell i'm killing time?

Another little roundup of odds and ends for you this morning:

  • THIS is very, very good news. The fact that the sick man who did this was allowed as much freedom as he was is very disturbing, and something that I think Vic Toews will be trying to rectify that shortly.

  • THIS was a neat story to see in today's National Post. My family has known Tiger Williams for a number of years and he is every bit as humble and down to earth as the story will have you believe. It sure is nice to see him get some recognition in the oil and gas field.

  • When I commented on this story, I entirely forgot to mention some more good news that comes with it. I have been saying for a couple of years now that, with its newfound prosperity, the biggest threat to the economy of the Northwest Territories is not the climate, or a labour shortage, or anything of that nature. Rather, the biggest threat to the NWT was Ottawa. While provinces like Alberta enjoy full jurisdiction and responsibility of their natural resources and the lands on which they sit, that power does NOT currently lie with the territories. The Conservative government in Ottawa recognizes that the oil, gas, and diamonds that lie within the NWT belong to the people of the NWT and it is they who should manage the resource and reap the benefits. Bravo to whomever spearheaded this through the halls of Parliament, the NWT will be a much greater place because of it.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Chalk one up for P-Mac

Most people who know me politically know that i've never been accused of being in the Peter MacKay fan club. The same can be said of my feelings for Liberal MP and brainless media hog Dan McTeague.

However, when these two collided today I was solidly and proudly behind our Foreign Affairs minister.

HERE is the article detailing today's Foreign Affairs committee hearing.

What I enjoyed most, though, was Minister MacKay's shot back at McTeague when accused of being invisible during the first four days of the current conflict in the middle east:

"Where were you for the first four days of this crisis?" McTeague asked, referring to MacKay's initial lack of visibility.

"I was on the job," MacKay shot back. "You may have been on TV, but I was meeting with officials."

Way to tell it like it is, Pete.


  • First, thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Paddy McGloin who passed away suddenly on Sunday night. I've known Paddy, his wife Jackie, and their kids Aedan, Paul, and Renee for a long time. They're all stand-up people and I wish them well as they cope with their loss. Godspeed to one of Ireland's finest!

  • I leave for Vegas in 3 days. Its gonna be a great (if not hot) long-weekend with 11 of my old/new BC friends.

  • Speaking of British Columbia, the big move is now 3 weeks away. While i'm certainly getting a bit nostalgic about McMurray, the lure of life by the ocean is pretty cool too. I'm also looking forward to hooking up with THESE people. They've done a remarkable job turning BC around, and that's definetly a cause I can line up behind.

  • THIS is just plain stupid. The problem with federal Liberals is that they don't understand the difference between appointing qualified people who happen to have a political pedigree and the kind of willy-nilly pork barrelling that they engaged in for 13 years. Harvie Andre, with the cabinet portfolios he held during his time in Ottawa, is indeed uniquely qualified to perform this work. Mind you, we saw this same "moral outrage" from federal Liberals when Jim Gouk was appointed to a the board of Nav Canada. Jim Gouk is a former Conservative MP, yes, but he was also an Air Traffic Controller. Call me crazy, but I think that someone who has both practical knowledge in a certain area AND an understanding of how Ottawa works (or doesn't work) might just prove to be an asset when dealing with federal policy and/or tax dollars. The federal Liberals just don't get it... no wonder their party is in ruins.