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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Liberal Party of Canada: Since our role is to govern, why oppose?

One of the criticisms of the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) over the years, from both inside and outside the party, has been that the LPC, in seeing itself as the “natural ruling party”, had grown complacent. The narrative being built by Justin Trudeau is that those days are over: only hard work and direct appeals to the Canadian people will earn their trust. Nothing can be taken for granted.
The Liberal Party of Canada's new look

Yet, in positioning the LPC as a “government in waiting”, Mr. Trudeau has deferred to the policies of the Conservative party to such an extent that, should the Liberals form the next government, we can expect little more than a changing of the guard. In effect, Mr. Trudeau seems to believe that Canadians want a different Conservative party to rule. The problem isn’t the content, it’s the style. Give it a softer touch, and there should be a smooth ride to power.

It will fail, and Stephen Harper will be elected to a minority government. But more on that later.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Torex Gold subsidiary denies making payments to Mexican cartel

Press reports in Mexico have accused Minera Media Luna, a Mexican mining subsidiary of Toronto-headquartered Torex Gold Resources, of paying one million Mexican pesos a month (about C$ 84,000) to a henchman for La Familia Michoacana, one of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels.

The reports cite as a source an anonymous member of the Community Police in Nuevo Balsas, within the municipality of Cocula in the state of Guerrero, near the company’s Morelos Gold Property, which includes the  El Limon-Guajes project (under development) and the Media Luna project (in an advanced stage of exploration). The accusation is that Uriel Vences Delgado, also known as “La Burra” or “El 50”, received the payments through two Mexican representatives of the Canadian company: Carmelo Navarrete and José Luis Peralta.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Mazatlán mayor informs youth delegation they have impunity to drink and drive

In Mexico impunity is not only a privilege, it is also a gift. If you know the right people, and are in the right place, those in power will sometimes bequeath you the right to do as you please.
Carlos Felton: Partier in Chief

Carlos Felton, the mayor of Mazatlán, in Mexico’s Sinaloa state, drove that home recently when he told hundreds of young people at the Second National Congress for Innovation in Education that, as visitors in his town, they could avoid a breathalyzer test if they flashed their Congress membership card.

“Don’t forget to enjoy some good scallops with a Pacifico beer,” he told the kids. “If you are stopped for a breathalyzer test, just pull out your card from the Second National Congress for Innovation in Education.”

Friday, 16 January 2015

Saudi Arabia is (not) so gay! John Baird sentenced to 600 word lashes

In Canada it is not libelous to call someone a homosexual, for the simple reason that homosexuality is nothing to be embarrassed about – it is, quite rightly, considered neither a good nor a bad thing. It just is.
Baird: playing it safe in Ottawa

In that respect, the notion of “outing” a gay person in Canada becomes somewhat moot, because sexual preference is no longer such a big deal. For example, Canada’s Foreign Affairs minister, John Baird, is a homosexual. That’s hardly news, which might be why not a single major media outlet in Canada, including the CBC, reports this fact. However, there is a political angle: the Conservative party would rather not broadcast Mr. Baird’s sexual orientation for fear of losing support among its socially conservative base.

That’s a political choice that might be craven, but hardly the end of the world. That said, Mr. Baird is minister of Foreign Affairs, which complicates matters given that many countries around the world have strict laws against homosexuality. One of the worst offenders is Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is illegal and can be punished by life in prison, or even death.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Mexicali madness: gay couple must be crazy to want to marry

In Mexicali, Mexico, gay marriage is legal, but mentally unstable people are not permitted to marry, and since a gay couple must be crazy to want to get married, they’re out of luck.
"My rights are not crazy"

Mexicali is the capital of the State of Baja California, on the US border near Tijuana. Civil marriages of gay couples is legal throughout Mexico, according to that country’s Supreme Court, but the reality is that local prejudices still hold sway: despite repeated attempts, no gay couple has ever been married in Baja California. Usually the roadblocks are due to unexplained “paperwork” and other bureaucratic canards.

Mormons buying a Mexican stairway to heaven

The Mormon faith is notable for its insistence that its parishioners abstain from all intoxicants, including caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. However, in Mexico the Mormon Church, also known as the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS), has been spending pesos like a drunken sailor on a bender in Tampico.
Joseph Smith,
founder of Mormonism

According to the Church’s own financial statements, it has investments in Mexico totaling 11,200,000,000 pesos, over US$767 million at today’s exchange rate. The purpose of the financial statements is to assess the economic value of the Church in Mexico, and does not include philanthropic spending.

Practically speaking, as a result of reforms to the Mexican Constitution in 1992, “foreign” (i.e. non-Catholic) religious groups can have tax-exempt legal status in Mexico that allows them to acquire real-estate and hold funds in Mexican financial institutions. Non-Mexican missionaries are also allowed to proselytize, and the LDS can set up places of worship and even educational institutions.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Was Michael Zehaf-Bibeau a terrorist? Yes (but you don’t get to decide)

The attacks in Ottawa on October 22, 2014, by Muslim-convert Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, in which he killed an unarmed honour guard at the War Memorial and then stormed parliament, have been called “terrorist” by the RCMP, the government and, depending on weather conditions, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
Thomas Mulcair: soft on "terror"? (Source: CBC)

However. Tom Mulcair, leader of the official oppositions, has stated categorically that “When we look at the individual...we are not in the presence of a terrorist act in the sense that we understand it.” 

In Mulcair’s view, Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau, who suffered from mental illness and drug addiction, and repeatedly sought help, had committed an uncommon and horrific crime, but not a terrorist act.