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Michael Hardner

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Posts posted by Michael Hardner

  1. The senate has been largely ineffectual and unnecessary in Canada.

    Observers may notice that various parties come up with electoral reforms in order to "balance power" or make things "fairer".

    But is it a coincidence that these reforms always help the parties that propose them ? Of course not.

    Let's abolish the senate, rather than having each successive government try to stack it with its cronies by elections or otherwise.

  2. Chance of a private member's bill passing, slim to none. But its great to see democracy alive and well within at least one party, weird that the other parties think that members having free votes is such a bad thing. Oh wait I do recall Pauly saying he would allow free votes to reform the democratic deficit.

    Free votes are an interesting idea, but I'm really suspicious of the fact that most CPC candidates are mum about their own positions on hot-button issues.

    Harper should have demanded that his own candidates be more forthcoming, since free votes are his party's policy.

    I do not believe the Cons will take away the right of a woman to choose. I think they will address some of the issues around abortion tho. Hell I do not think the taxpayer should be flipping the bills for abortions, and in many cases time and time again for the same women, its their mistake make them pay.

    Harper will defend the traditional definition of marriage and I am glad for that. No where does he say people can be fired for being gay or be arrested cause they are a lesbian. NO NO NO, all he says is that he will defend the traditional definition of marriage, no bones about it. He is all for the civil unions with the rights of married couples. He sees marriage as something that is sacred to him and his party agrees, so what do you think that they are not allowed an opinion.

    I don't think that it is actually party policy. This is another one of those free vote issues, and again the local candidates are keeping pretty quiet about it.

  3. Too close to call.

    If the CPC wins, we're in for a period of instability, as the Bloc won't support them on a number of issues.

    If the Libs win, they'll have to do something pretty drastic to get the Bloc's support.

    It's going to be a wild ride either way.

  4. i was watching a local talk show with Norm Spector, and he thinks the Cons did this to gain support with the rest of Canada, by appearing not to be catering to just one province. (ie Quebec)

    I don't think that would sway too many votes to the CPC that aren't already there.

    He also went on to say that his could be a kind of chess move to send Quebec itself a message........with the message being, if you want a voice in Ottawa, don't vote Bloc.....

    Exactly. Those votes would go straight to the Liberals.

    MS's explanation makes more sense to me. But who would leak something like this ?

    The mind boggles.

  5. Whether or not it's a good idea, it's politically stupid to float this idea now. Not that Harper was going to win a lot of seats in Quebec anyway, but it will cause Quebec voters to wonder whether the Bloc will be able to fight for their interests in Ottawa.

    Why would the CPC let this out now ? With all that they've NOT been saying it would have been easy to let this go.

    I don't understand the logic of this.

  6. I have seen a number of reports today concerning the murder of American Paul Johnson by Islamic terrorists. I could not help but notice the abscence to all the stories of two very pertinent words. None contained the word "terrorist" and none contained the word "murder".

    Now I realize that journalists are none too bright, and that they are on the leading edge of political correctness. I realize, as well, that they have been avoiding the word "terrorist" because they somehow believe this is "prejudicial". As if the word did not have a recognized definition and its use somehow constituted making a judgement.

    But when did they stop using the word "murder"? Is that also making a judgement? Can there be any doubt, any question, even in the minds of the most ignorant of anti-American bigots, that Johnson was murdered? Is there anyone out there who isn't a Muslim who believes his killing was justified?

    And what are we to make of the universal term now used as a substitute for terrorist - militant? I thought a militant was someone who was somewhat argumentative and uncooperative; environmental or union militants, as examples. Now it appears that the term "miltant" means "murdering terrorist scum".

    Should we alert the dictionary people? Do we need to get the words re-written? Or do we just need to look into what's in all that hair gel and hair spray "journalists" use which has rotted away their brain cells?

    You're assigning motivations that might not be there. The CNN story I read on the web used the word 'terrorist' a few times.

    And 'murderer' isn't descriptive enough. 'Terrorist' is a better word.

  7. Argus, the interesting question is if Harper gets more seats but Martin still thinks he can face the House. (I think that would only be possible if the NDP has the balance of power.) Would the GG agree?

    I think something like this happened in Ontario in the mid-80s. The Libs and NDP were allowed to form a coalition government even though the Libs had less seats.

  8. What I mean to say is, although this is a comfortable life, I want to believe more people will become uncomfortable if they realize the real issues.

    Be optimistic. The average North American is far more aware of the issues than they were five years ago.

    For these reasons, the transfer of information is very important. The problem of who to trust arises. Our idea of what realities exist are dependent on those we trust. Some trust people who say there is something wrong with the Islamic world. Others trust people who say there is a lot more wrong with us. Others still trust no one, but are no better off, nor do they change anything for the better. I like to think one solution is discussion, but this must be discussion with the intent to find solutions, and all parties must have an open mind, not merely trying to be the "winner" of an argument. I'll give you a political example. If you have ever sat down and watched CPAC, you may realize that our politicians take the meaning of debate literally - which is to exploit opportunities to argue against anything and everything by exposing a weakness in the opposition or by sarcasm that aims to make the opposition seem ridiculous, dull, or irrelevant. If you wish to know where I came up with that, I was handed that garbage as guidelines to follow as a debator! MH, maybe you too see the problem with this!

    That's why these types of boards will save democracy !

    Uh... Maybe that's too optimistic.

    It seems to me that our system of democracy is founded on open discussion and the inevitable compromises that result. Two people tend come up with a better solution than one.

  9. The fact that no such reason exists implies that that they are.

    But reality does exist outside your mind, and it might not align completely with your perspective, in all cases.

    This is why arguments exist. Otherwise, it would simply be a matter of "ask takeanumber". ;)

    There is no good reason to be 'for' the promotion of extermination of a whole group of people.

    The term "good" is a value judgement that exists in your mind. There might be an argument that laws that suppress individual expression will cause a backlash, and give a hint of contraband to views that would otherwise just wither and die anyway.

    That's one argument that might be good to someone.

    You can't say, "because of freedom of speech", because we place limits on all our rights for reasons. Libel is one such limit.

    That doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do.

    You can't say, "because political correctness is bad", because how can you be against basic respect for homosexuals without being anti-homosexual.

    It's possible. If one thinks that their actions are immoral, decadent or improper somehow for one.

    You can't hide behind the curtain of 'free speech' or anything else for that matter because that material, with the right glasses, is transparent.

    But maybe I'd rather wait until everyone can see properly than force everyone to wear glasses.

    When I read some of this stuff, it is exactly what I've heard from the mouths of, well, people who were involved in doing things, and that's why I have the reaction.

    But it doesn't mean they're the same type of people. You may be pre-judging them, which is a behavior that you are ostensibly against.

    I've asked, repeatedly, for some proof that the people on these boards are different than the people I know in real life, and every time, I don't the differentiating statements.

    Which inclines me to believe the absolute worse about these people.

    But the board isn't about outing bad people, it's about discussion. Your visceral reaction to your opponents is understandable, but I suggest that all you can do is argue them to a stalemate then walk away.

    Those who are comfortable in their views will be open to change them.

    I mean, they might not want to be associated with those people, but when they make statements like the ones I read under Bill C-250, or the immigration one, it just confirms my worst suspicion.

    And I'm not sorry, but those ideas need to be disputed. And nothing short of banning is going to keep me from fighting those ideas, in spite of the personal attacks.

    The board is about arguing the idea not the person.

    If you're indeed arguing with somebody who harbours hatred for certain groups, you're never going to win anyway. Give up.

    The board isn't for those types anyway. That's an emotive response, not an intellectual one.

    Those ideas are wrong, and worse, they're infectious if they're left unchallenged.

    I think hatred is more of an emotion than an idea. You can't argue against an emotion.

  10. If you're against C-250, you're anti-Homosexual.

    Can you say somewhat is racist if they're against hate laws ? I think that's a fallacy.

    There are many reasons one might be against the law and not racist.


    This is a value statement, not a fact statement. You have to prove this in argument, you can't just say it's true and expect people to accept it.

    I've called you on it repeatedly, and you havn't been able to offer a single, VALID reason for being anti-250.

    Conclusion, you must be anti-Homosexual.

    It's up to people to decide how they would like or not like to be labelled. It might be obvious to you, but it's still up to him/her what they would like to be called.

    Rather than descend into a statement about your opponent, try speaking in the third person, ie. "One can't be anti-250 and not be anti-homosexual" etc.

    Otherwise, you're contravening board policy, contributing to the trashification of the board and inviting tit-for-tat responses.

  11. That's no answer. So you're going to find out your local Tory is pro life and vote against him - only to find out that your winning Liberal candidate is even more pro life? What's the point of that?

    I'm not saying whether I would for or against anyone.

    I'm saying if a party says that they're going to allow free votes on anything that's not party policy, the members of that party have a moral obligation to be forthcoming on those views.

    I'm not arguing about the utility of the policy, or whether one party or another is more pro-life. I'm saying that a party that has a policy such as this needs to show consistency.

    In any event, Harper has not ordered his candidates to refuse to answer questions about abortion or same-sex marriage. He just doesn't want screaming headlines. It's perfectly all right for an MP to say "If there was a free vote on same-sex marriage I would vote against." It's not perfectly all right to say "Homosexuals are the children of Satan and must be expunged from the universe!" So to speak.

    Again, this is beside the point. Whether or not the CPC told the local candidates to be quiet they should be forthcoming on their views, just to be consistent.

    Specifics, please. Which candidate has refused to say how they would vote on abortion or same-sex marriage?

    Check the straw poll I did at the top of this thread. Nine CPC candidate websites, many of them touting free votes, did not explain the candidates' views.

    The tenth had a statement concerning the traditional family, and defunding of abortions.

    I have heard of NO ONE being jumped on for merely expressing their opinion on this issue. Making dramatic, reactionary statements is another thing.

    Are you saying that the CPC has been treated fairly by the media then ? Did you hear the reporter who was booed by the Harper supporters in (I think) Kitchener.

    Harper's desire for more free votes goes back more than a decade to his time in the Reform Party. It has nothing to do with allowing arch conservatives a voice.

    How can you say for sure that is has nothing to do with it ?

    The free votes issues certainly serves a political purpose for Harper to manage social conservatives from within the party.

    Nor have you identified just what opinions you think are so detestable to the public. As has already been pointed out half or over half the population wants laws against abortion and is against same-sex marriage. So why is an opinion which mirrors that half of the population scary and unacceptable but an opinion which goes on the other side called "mainstream"?

    In an election, there is no advantage to turning off half of the voters, if that is the number.

    Harper isn't winining because Canada turned socially Conservative. That half of the voters that is for same-sex marriage and pro-choice must also be supporting him to a large degree.

    Further, if the Liberals are allowed their Tom Wappels and Roger Galloways why are the Tories scary with their Cheryl Gallants?

    See above, re: party consistency.

  12. The NDP will not win no more then 25 seats. While the BQ will win 55 or more seats. Those are the facts.

    A future event can't be a 'fact' by definition.

    From these and other posts, I'm starting to understand why the BQ would support the CPC. But will the CPC party and Canadians in general be satisfied with a coalition (however loose) with the Bloc ?

    Harper's image is built on integrity. How quickly would that crumble if he started doling out more money and power to Quebec ?

  13. Thats a very scary mode of thinking. The countries "need" to be "westernized" out of their own "free" will. Does that not sound like a propangandized mind to anyone else? There are so many things wrong with this statement I cannot begin...so here are some other scary things (I hope you find them scary...)

    Maybe it would be less scary if I had said "in order for us to get along peaceably with these countries, they would need to want to be part of the same world as us".

    -Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 are countries (based on a comparison of corporate sales and country GDPs).

    -The Top 200 corporations' combined sales are bigger than the combined economies of all countries minus the biggest 10.

    -The Top 200s' combined sales are 18 times the size of the combined annual income of the 1.2 billion people (24 percent of the total world population) living in "severe" poverty.

    -While the sales of the Top 200 are the equivalent of 27.5 percent of world economic activity, they employ only 0.78 percent of the world's workforce.

    -Between 1983 and 1999, the profits of the Top 200 firms grew 362.4 percent, while the number of people they employ grew by only 14.4 percent.

    -A full 5 percent of the Top 200s' combined workforce is employed by Wal-Mart, a company notorious for union-busting and widespread use of part-time workers to avoid paying benefits. The discount retail giant is the top private employer in the world, with 1,140,000 workers, more than twice as many as No. 2, DaimlerChrysler, which employs 466,938.

    -U.S. corporations dominate the Top 200, with 82 slots (41 percent of the total). Japanese firms are second, with only 41 slots.

    -Of the U.S. corporations on the list, 44 did not pay the full standard 35 percent federal corporate tax rate during the period 1996-1998. Seven of the firms actually paid less than zero in federal income taxes in 1998 (because of rebates). These include: Texaco, Chevron, PepsiCo, Enron, Worldcom, McKesson and the world's biggest corporation - General Motors.[/url]

    Yes, I believe this is all true.

    But hey, at least you're honest in your reasoning, that this is how they will "buy into the west's way of doing things".

    The influence of corporations is one of the aspects of our current western civilization, but I don't know if you could say it's the defining influence.

    Maybe this is what the argument is about.

    The idea of "westernizing" could only exist in a totalitarian system. Assimilate or face your demise.

    Not if the people of these countries want to westernize.

    Give me all your resources for nothing, and we'll give you the freedom and right to televised opinion, heavily marketed brands your children will grow to insist on buying by the age of 2, the illusion of democracy and capitalism but a higher reality of a publicly funded government subsidizing the corporate olligarchy rooted in the country's own constitution and serving the principle on which the country was born - namely to serve the oppulent and protect them alone from the majority. But this works because once the advanced societies realized you can achieve this by restructuring the minds of the majority (not to mention redefining their language to suit and justify just about anything: Wall Street Journal on US Torture), instilling devices to turn members against each other, the rest of the work really falls into place and you end up producing a GWB Jr.

    Essentially, yes.

    If these countries are eventually going to be on the same team as us, this is how they'll have to look.

    I'll leave your perspective on our western civilization intact, even though I don't entirely agree with it.

    You're right about one thing, we're not all that different. Do you not see you contradict yourself? If we're not all that different, isn't there also "something wrong" with us? What is "us" anyways?

    Oh, yes, there is something wrong with us. And the title of the thread could be "what's wrong with western countires". And in such a thread we could discuss the ways that the west would have to change in order to be more like the "Islamic world".

    I am not anti or pro anything...just trying to iron out illusions. People seem to value real principles, but do not realize they do not actually exist.

    I probably agree with you more than you realize.

    I was just discussing a practical problem, which is something along the lines of "How would George W. Bush's ideal vision of a new Iraq come into being ?".

    But I do think that the systems used by many of these countries are inferior to our (deeply flawed) systems, and that it's possible for them to evolve (yes, evolve) to a system of informed secular democracy that's superior to ours in a few years.

  14. But why only the Tory candidates? You don't care how the other candidates vote? Are you under the illusion there aren't many pro-life people in the Liberal Party, that there aren't pro-lifers in the BQ and NDP?

    As I said in my last post, the CPC is the party that will allow completely free votes, so they should be telling us what they think.

    In any event, Harper has not ordered his candidates to refuse to answer questions about abortion or same-sex marriage. He just doesn't want screaming headlines. It's perfectly all right for an MP to say "If there was a free vote on same-sex marriage I would vote against." It's not perfectly all right to say "Homosexuals are the children of Satan and must be expunged from the universe!" So to speak.

    Whether he told them to be quiet or not, they're not being so forthcoming.

    For example, were I a candidate and was asked about abortion I would say:

    "Well, I'm kind of in the middle. I would not vote to ban all abortions. However, I am open to some kind of legislation governing abortions, particularly those in the late terms of pregnancy. It seems an awful waste to me to have a fetus aborted when it's viable or close to being viable outside the womb. Unless, of course, the health of the mother is endangered. So how I would vote would depend on the bill in question."

    And they would jump all over your statement as being anti-choice.

    I don't think that would draw any screaming headlines, nor any wrath from the party offices.

    It might. It just might.

    The CPC has a large conservative force that wants to be able to have its ideas heard. Fine. Harper's solution is to push that off on free votes, so that mainstream voters won't be scared into voting against the CPC. Also fine. No contradiction there.

    But at some point, the rubber has to hit the road. If the mainstream is vulnerable to fear-mongering, and the political solution is to use free votes to mollify the conservative hardliners, then there's a disconnect if the local candidates don't tell us what they're thinking.

    But, politically, it's a very good play by Harper. Quite in the league of Chretien, I would say.

    But I don't have to believe it's all about integrity etc. etc. any more than I believed the Liberals when they pulled these stunts.

  15. You don't understand common English? If you shot dead every MP in the house except the Tories, and then held a vote to ban abortions it would still fail. Is that easier to understand?

    Well, how do I know that if the local candidates don't tell me how they feel ?

    Therefore, since when you pile on all the BQ, NDP and Liberal votes, the great majority of which will be pro choice, a free vote can lead to only one conclusion.

    This is all specific to abortion, and beside the point that the local candidates should be telling us.

    Oh? Did the Conservatives spend the last ten years watching health care deteriorate and do nothing except slash health care transfer payments?

    Based on Poll numbers I saw yesterday, voters see the Liberals as slightly stronger on healthcare than the CPCs.

    But not the candidates from the other parties? Paul Martin spoke long and lovingly about his desire for more free votes to address the "democratic deficit" some time ago. Or did you simply not pay any attention because you knew he was a liar?

    Well, yes. Maybe the other party candidates should start thinking about doing this, seeing as how a CPC government is looking more likely.

    But, I think the party that has free votes entrenched in its policy has an obligation to have its local candidates explain their views, more so than other parties that might be sitting in parliament under the new CPC rules.

    Martin will allow free votes, but not on anything that he doesn't want to allow free votes on. Just like Harper.

  16. No, your problem is you don't like the official party line. Which is that there is no official policy on abortion or same-sex marriage. Harper has made it crystal clear that it will be up to individual MPs to vote on those issues. He has not told them to refuse to answer where they stand on those issue, merely told them not to make any outspoken, quotable, damaging statements.

    They can certainly say they are opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage and will vote that way. What they can't do is say abortion is like cutting off the heads of kidnap victims.

    But they (the local CPC candidates) haven't been saying anything, and that seems to me to be irresponsible, given their official party platform.

  17. The Conservative candidates are not exactly shouting to the rooftops on social issues. What's happening is the press is actively seeking out comments from them - and only them - on controversial social issues. The press is looking for any comment they can then splash across a newspaper to show how "extreme" the Conservative Party is.

    This is entirely appropriate, given that their party policy states that they will be voting independently on these issues.

    Do you see anyone portraying Paul Martin's suggestion that women who are seeking abortions get councilling as extreme? Do you even see any commentary on it in the media? Do you see Liberal and BQ and NDP candidates besieged by questions about their stand on abortion? How about someone go and ask Mona Mazigh, the NDP's chador wearing candidate in Ottawa South how she feels about abortion and gay rights? Hmm? Why aren't we seeing the press stuffing microphones in the face of Des McGrath, the retired Catholic Priest running for the NDP who has said he would vote against abortion, and was opposed to same-sex marriage? How come we aren't seeing very vocal anti abortionists from the Liberal party like Dennis Wappel or Roger Gallaway being asked for their comments? With scandalized headlines to follow?

    This is a practical matter. The CPC's stance on social issues is the story.

    Martin has his own similar set of problems.

    This is a big, sly scaremongering attempt by the Liberals, aided by the NDP and their friends in the media. 

    I don't think their friends in the media have been doing a good job of portraying Martin as a winner. Instead, the Liberal story is their floundering and impending defeat.

    That's the worst story that could befall the Liberals, too.

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