December 22, 2005

Bud Talkinghorn & A Bit More

Martin and The Charter--more hypocrisy

I'm afraid that Paul Martin's bluster about how Harper doesn't deserve to rule has boomeranged on him. Supposedly, Harper's promise of a truly free vote on the same-sex marriage bill makes him a Charter pariah. Boomerang number one was when Martin claimed he "would never use the notwithstanding clause", but only a few years ago he had said he would in certain circumstances. Now he is Moses defending the Ten Commandments.

Boomerang number two is even worse. In the debate he stated that any candidate aspiring to the Prime Ministership must cherish his version of The Charter. This obviously is Stephen Harper being referred to here. Conveniently, the "random" questions from the public happened to start with the same-sex issue. "First impressions are lasting impressions" seems to be the strategy employed by the small-L producers. This allowed Martin to pull out all bombastic stops and rail at Harper's "secret anti-Charter agenda". Finding good liberal press coverage of his bambast, Martin went further in Burnaby, BC. There he stated that "Anyone with another view of The Charter or same-sex marriage was unfit for public office in Canada." He liked that line so much, he repeated it in Regina. That must have been a body blow to the 31 Liberals, who publically voted in The House to rescind the same-sex marriage bill. Can't you see them--some high level cabinet secretaries--pulling up their election signs? However, I don't think that Martin's Louis the Fourteenth's complex will stretch that far. Instead Paul is now retracting that fatwa. He "really" meant that he, as supreme guide, cannot espouse such heresy. What a Conservative coup. They should broadcast these two statements in every riding that has one of these Liberal "same-sex heretics" running.

Switching gears for a moment. Does Martin not understand that The Notwithstanding Clause was purposely embedded in The Charter, precisely because the framers--even Trudeau--saw the need to control some activist Supreme Court decisions? They were not about to allow a Star Chamber to gain strength in Canada. However, Martin tries to bamboozle the public with the idea that this clause is some foreign legal manoeuver to overturn The Charter. These combined statements are the actions of a desperate man. I can only hope that the public in general can see through all this subterfuge.

© Bud Talkinghorn

The Leadership debates--Tedious or simply misdirected?

... or lacking the blood that the mainstream media salivate over?

We are all crying in our beer (and popcorn) that the debates didn't meet the expectations of the media. Where was the harmonic opposition chorus when Martin tried to pretend that the Gomery Inquiry was history? Where were the catcalls when Layton reminded everyone of the corporate tax cuts for the seventh time? Where were the reality checks, which would explain, patiently, that Gilles Duceppe's fantasy of a prosperous, independent Quebec was maybe just taken from a Cuba-in-waiting script? Geez, couldn't one of them have at least whipped out a placard, saying, "My opponent is the anti-Christ?" You know, stay on the money message, but occasionally throw a bone to the Christians. After all, their holiday hasn't been completely dismantled (yet), so let's get some spiritual mojo tossed in. The single banner carrier of a Christian viewpoint was poor Harper, who tried to lay out his ideas and beliefs, albeit in a policy wonk sort of way. Besides being a trifle doctrinaire, it was deemed way dull. More mindless sound bites please. Bring on the histrionics they display in Question Period.

This format of civilized "debate" does have it's charms. We were spared the bombast and endless interruptions that the media so desperately want. However, where was the "knockout punch" media can put on the front page? If the media had their way the candidates would have to gobble down a can of worms to show they were truly "fearless". Look, the Trudeau cannonball, and the Stanfield fumbling the football; they were boffo theatre. Can't we at least have Harper hurl his lectern towards Martin--or vice versa--as an emotional point maker? It is too bad that Bono has had a falling out with Paul. Just think of the youth vote gained as Bono croons behind Paul, "I am Canada's Dream" song. Harper could have the combined choir of the East and West Moosejaw Evanglical church swoop with "Hallelujah!" each time he hits the right moral election points. Layton could have Bruce Cockburn sing a protest song that simutaneously hugs the whales, wolverines and the darter snail fish. Then the media could have Jack emerge out of a gigantic old growth forest fern. Is this too much to ask to bring back the disaffected youth and the easily bored?

Ok! So these proposals entail big budgets. The old sponsorship scam can't cover these things any more. Therefore, the product must be seen as cost-efficient. The cheesy Roman forum backdrop fits the bill. However, at no extra cost, it could be enlivened. So, there are four of them and four debates; now let's just fall back on a tried and true formula. We simply vote off the loser of each debate. Extinguish their torches and move them to the green room for their post-debate bitter analysis. Maybe we might let them come back to judge the final two candidates. Throw in Jackass, who can wheel the final loser away in a shopping cart. Then throw him in a rubbish tip. Issues, missues. We are talking a vibrant media event here. If you can't provide sound bites, at least give us some video footage. There is hope for this turkey yet. Think remotes, you political people. "Well, I'm glad you asked that question, Marci, as this problem is so near to my heart,"--CLICK! This is not going to sell much popcorn. Segue to "The Great Race", "Fear Factor" or "Survivor Canada"; take your pick. We can beat those ratings with the right format angle. Take thirteen!"

Well, so much for what the media would like. My only serious complaint is that there should have one or two chances for the leaders to challenge each other directly. Just as one pertinent question is asked of a Liberal, the next time slot goes to the Bloc. The question can therefore be effectively ignored. All sides would gain by this advantage. Too bad.

© Bud Talkinghorn

CNEWS: and scary -- "Suspected nerve-gas poisonings in Chechnya" Dec. 20, 05

The ill include pupils, teachers and workers at a middle school in the town of Starogladovskaya, according to Vladimir Gerasin, a spokesman for the Ministry of Emergency Situations’ office for southern Russia.

Mystery poisoning hits dozens of children in Chechnya Dec. 20,

If the UN didn't involve my country ... if my PM didn't turn to the UN for ethical guidance ...

The Everest of Change....Reforming the United Nations -- CSIS Globalization 101 Date Posted: 10/17/05, CSIS

Does anyone else detect the tone of Paul Martin's Budget 2005 in this? I must be mistaken .....

[. . . . ] 3 Egypt, among other countries, called for greater attention to the needs of developing countries, such as strengthening the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), an African initiative for development, socio-economic advancement and the promotion of good governance and civil society. Guyana felt that developing countries need to have a larger say in the decision-making processes involving development issues. Mongolia noted that debt – relief should be considered comprehensively, taking into account the history and impact of the debt and the country’s capacity to repay4.

[. . . . ] Reform is a process not a one-time event. As the needs of the world are constantly changing there will always be a need to improve the United Nations. With 191 member states, representing democracies, theocracies, dictatorships and everything in-between [. . . . ]

For further information, read:

Report on the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, 2004:

American Interest and UN Reform, Report of the Task Force on the United Nations. Mitchell-Gingrich Report, June 2005:

Revised Draft Outcome Document of the High-Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly, 5 August 2005;

2005 World Summit Outcome: .


1 “A Glass At Least Half-Full” Kofi Annan, 19 September 2005. Wall Street Journal.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 “Although World Summit Outcome ‘disappointing,’ UN reform efforts must continue.” 21 September 2005. United Nations. [Says who?]
5 “The United Nations” in Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia. 23 September 2005.
6 “Reform at the UN”. 23 September 2005.
7Wedgwood, Ruth. “The Evident Virtures (and Vices) of the United Nations”
8 Ibid.
9 The Oil For Food program was established in 1997 to allow Iraq to sell its oil on the world market in order for it to obtain food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies that were inaccessible because of the trade sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries seeking to topple the Saddam Hussein regime. This UN program came under fire in late 2004 when it was revealed that the Iraqi leader may have personally benefited from this program and pocketed billions of dollars that were intended to purchase food for the Iraqi people. Further trouble for the UN stemmed from Kofi Annan’s son Kojo’s personal involvement with the intermediary companies.
10 Passed June 17th, 2005, although opposed by the Bush Administration and other officials.
11 “The UN reform Bandwagon” by William F. Jaspar, 11 July 2005. Posted on


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