The propaganda campaign was remarkable, the repression more so, as though the policymakers feared that a little dissent could turn the whole country antiwar. "Woe be to the man or group of men that seeks to stand in our way." That was Wilson's warning to the war opponents two months after he asked an obliging Congress for a declaration of war on Germany. "They had no small idea, as yet, just how much woe was to befall them," Kennedy writes.
A continuing saga of statist overstretch and pretension:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced measures to promote an economically viable, job-creating, commercial agricultural industry in Canada’s North. These include support to help establish a permanent campus for the Northern Farm Training Institute (NFTI) in the Northwest Territories, and the launch of the Northern Greenhouse Initiative, which is aimed at advancing the commercialization and enhancing the productivity of greenhouse projects across Canada’s North.
Agriculture of the Northwest Territories is nearly impossible except for limited cultivation south of the Mackenzie River area
So naturally a bright light in the PMO thought what the heck, let's quite literally plough a few million dollars into the subarctic tundra and see what happens. For those questioning the sanity of those concerned in this endeavour I remind you, gentle reader, that in politics everything makes perfect sense. So long as you're a politician.
The Northwest Territories happen to be represented in the House of Commons by the NDP. The other two northern ridings are held by the Tories. The riding of Western Arctic as its known was lost by a margin of 2139 voters. If you're a government trying to pick up a few marginal seats, the Western Arctic looks like a good place to buy. A few million tossed in just the right way and the Boys in Blue have a straight three across the Canadian North.
The official goal of the project is to allow the North to reduce some of its pricey food imports, which is perfectly laudable if you're a private investor. The nutty part is that they want to reduce prices by growing food in government subsidized greenhouses. It's a form of import-substitution that was mocked by no less a figure than Adam Smith:
The natural advantages which one country has over another, in producing particular commodities, are sometimes so great, that it is acknowledged by all the world to be in vain to struggle with them. By means of glasses, hot-beds, and hot-walls, very good grapes can be raised in Scotland, and very good wine, too, can be made of them, at about thirty times the expense for which at least equally good can be brought from foreign countries. Would it be a reasonable law to prohibit the importation of all foreign wines, merely to encourage the making of claret and Burgundy in Scot- land? But if there would be a manifest absurdity in turning to- wards any employment thirty times more of the capital and industry of the country than would be necessary to purchase from foreign countries an equal quantity of the commodities wanted, there must be an absurdity, though not altogether so glaring, yet exactly of the same kind, in turning towards any such employment a thirtieth, or even a three hundredth part more of either.
I love the phrase "acknowledged by all the world." Poor Adam Smith never met Stephen Harper. The Tories, while negotiating a free trade deal with the EU, are fighting against the theory of comparative advantage in the Canadian north. Just in case you didn't grasp how terrible an idea it is to promote agriculture in the North:
Although his current crop is still only half of the typical yield in Alberta or Ontario, it is impressive by the standards of Norman Wells, N.W.T., where the average high temperature crosses 13C only three months a year. It took Mr. Whiteman years of trial and error attempts at working with compost, fertilizer and vegetable matter, to bring his “dead soil” to life. And the nutrient-deprived soil was not where his challenges stopped.
One admires the tenacity while questioning the opportunity costs. If Mr Whiteman wishes to continue has battle with the elements, the best of luck. But let him do it with us own money not ours.
As reported by The Toronto Star, when police raided the home of Denis and Margaret Deneault in August 2006, they found illegal drugs, including hashish, cocaine and ecstasy. The Deneaults were charged, and the police bragged about their conquest in multiple press releases. But here’s the crucial point: The Denaults were never found guilty of any drug (or other) crimes related to the police’s storming of their house. In 2009, the government abandoned its prosecution of the couple for unknown reasons (this time with no crowing press releases). And that should have been the end of the matter.
And we're still laughing now. By-elections in safe Tory seats are near meaningless. The base doesn't bother showing up because they know it doesn't matter. The greatest organizational problem facing any major political party isn't reaching the middle, it's motivating their base. Had the fate of the government hung in the balance the margins in those by-elections would have been much wider.
That NEP still stings can be attested to by a quick chat with many Albertans of a certain age, or by a glance at news article comment treads. Click on a story about Justin Trudeau and, almost inevitably, there is a NEP rant. It's been thirty-four years since that inter-regional vote buying scheme was foisted upon the Canadian West by a deeply cynical Liberal government. It's been more than a quarter century since the Mulroney government belatedly scraped the program, years after global price had rendered it's statist pricing scheme a dead letter.
But the population of Alberta today is nearly twice what it was in 1980. The majority of modern Albertans have no personal memory of NEP. It's a folk memory kept alive by the oil industry and conservative commentators. For a large swath of the electorate it's not the memory of NEP that is holding them back from embracing Trudeau, it's the Liberal Party's political leanings and culture. They don't trust a political party which is based out of Toronto, which will win and lose the next election based on what happens in the 905, and that instinctively regards Alberta as a backwater saved from complete disgrace only by the presence of the much beloved Mayor Nenshi of Calgary.
There is something of the federal Liberal Party that smacks of Alison Redford. Put aside the meaningless party labels. Redford was a Liberal in all but name. The tremendous sense of entitlement, the barely disguised contempt for the common Albertan and the basic failure to understand the culture that has created Canada's most successful province. The spoiled heiress who came home to run the family business in a socially responsible manner. That faint odour is detectable among every Liberal Party operative I've ever met.
Justin Trudeau doesn't emit the same level of entitlement. He's isn't intelligent enough. But there is a sneaking suspicion among the more observant voters that maybe, just maybe, the lad isn't writing his own off the cuff remarks. That cleverer men are at work and that, should the unthinkable happen, it is they who will govern the nation come 2015.
Albertans remember NEP but they're hardly embittered dead enders about it. That sort of angry obsession with the past is characteristic of only one region of the country: Quebec. It's not a healthy fascination with what came before, it's an alternate universe to project one's fantasies upon. Quebec is obsessed with the past because, at a very basic level, it doesn't believe it has a future. A dynamic place like Alberta has a future. The province has completely surpassed the heights it reached during Peter Lougheed's glory years. That's why Albertans have moved past NEP in a way that the Quebecois have never moved past Lord Durham.
What worries Albertans about Justin isn't his daddy's name, it's his daddy's bad ideas and tremendous arrogance. A repeat of that the whole country could do without.
The Department of National Defence confirmed Thursday it has donated five six-wheeled armoured vehicles to police agencies since 2007 — a Grizzly armoured personnel carrier to Edmonton police in 2007; two Cougar armoured vehicles to the B.C. RCMP in 2010; and one Cougar each to the New Glasgow and Windsor, Ont., police in 2013.
“It’s like insurance,” New Glasgow police spokesman Const. Ken MacDonald said. “Our police force wants to prepare for anything we may encounter.”
New Glasgow, Nova Scotia has a population of 9,500 and is located two hours north of Halifax. You can pass it on the way to the PEI ferry. It's a town the size of a Toronto office block and it has an armoured personnel carrier sitting in the police station's garage. This begs a somewhat obvious question of the good constable: What exactly are you insuring against? Rowdy Japanese tourists? Islamist Anne of Green Gables fans? Drunken middle aged hockey players?
An APC would be regarded as over kill in Toronto. In Nova Scotia? Seriously? It should be noted that the town has an unusually high crime rate by national standards. New Glasgow has actually been voted the worst place in Canada to live. I take it that the people who reached that conclusion had never visited Hamilton, Ontario. This dubious distinction was likely reached by crunching the StasCan numbers in a particular way. The residents of the town, however, seem pretty upbeat.
Suffice it to say that the worst city in Canada is still better than most cities anywhere else. We leave the massive urban decay stuff to our older brethren to the south. Which bring up the contrast. There is a vague sort of logic in providing APCs in cities with very high violent crime rates. America's drug wars have generated an escalating arms race between police and drug gangs. If the criminals are walking around with AK-47s then yes, perhaps, the police must up their game too.
But does no one stop at any point and ask, in all seriousness, how the hell do civilians afford such powerful arsenals? That if America was to move toward reduced enforcement, decriminalization and finally legalization that these turf wars would gradually reduce and dissipate. That when it becomes necessary to even consider using military grade weaponry on civilian populations, not as an exception but as a routine act, it's time to start looking at root causes?
That's not bleeding heart liberalism, it's common sense. When a very similar country immediately to your north can somehow police its streets without warrior cops, the question becomes what the hell is the matter with your basic approach? The violence in Ferguson has deeper causes that incompetent cops and absurd government subsidy programs.
This brings us back to Canada. If there is a vague logic in having APCs in America's heartland, what logic is there in having them in the Maritimes? Unless New Glasgow is plagued by running gun battles in the streets, then why have them at all? The argument that such weaponry is an insurance policy is risible. Are the police either incapable or unwilling to do a very basic risk assessment? If not then anything goes.
How about an Apache attack helicopter? A nuclear submarine? Perhaps they might need a Leopard II tank? Because you never know what can happen. This is the same logic a paranoid relative once gave me as to why their son couldn't get a driver's license. Because he might get killed! Sure he might. But the chances of dying behind the wheel are way higher than the chances of a small Nova Scotia town needing an APC. Oh. And should the truly unforeseen arrive we have this thing, it's called the military. When they're not killing bad guys overseas they occasional help out during emergencies in Canada. If you ask nicely they'll even shovel the snow for you.
A substantial majority of Canadian electors are on the same page as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau when it comes to legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana, a new Forum Research poll suggests.
The Forum Research survey earlier this week found 66 per cent of voting-age Canadians who responded either support the legalization of marijuana and taxing legal marijuana sales or taking marijuana possession out of the Criminal Code.
That sounds a little high. Even if true it doesn't answer the important political question for 2015: How many people will change their voters simply because of Trudeau's pro-pot stand?