Archive for December, 2006

Person of the Year

I have had the opportunity to meet this person only once. She seemed a dedicated individual, one who was committed to Canada. While I disagree with her decisions, her political stripe and her party, there is no question how much news this person has generated. As Environment Minister, she carried herself with considerable aplomb under the face of relentless (albeit deserved) attacks from the opposition and environmental groups. Sadly, her intelligence seems to be wasted on the Environment portfolio, where she must cow-tow to the demands of an autocratic party leader, rather then achieving the results that I have no doubt that she could.

The storm of controversy whipped up over the toothless Clean Air Act began her downfall, which is truly unfortunate. I can only imagine the achievements that could have been made by the Ministry if the Environment had been made one of the five priorities. Additional acts, like the limitation of toxic substances, are a step in the right direction. Despite political leanings, I think that this person could really have been an asset to the government and to the cabinet, had she been able to actually do her job.

The election of Stéphane Dion as Liberal Leader thrust the environment, and by extension, the Environment Minister, to the front and centre. Contrast was made between the current and former Ministers, and began to force action. I doubt this will be enough to keep her in the environment portfolio, but there is significance to what she is doing.

Throughout the year, she has been the subject of much controversy and anger. From muzzling an Environment Canada scientist regarding his novel, or being herself stymied and stonewalled by a Prime Minister who does not understand her portfolio, this woman has been generating headlines and garnering notice, both positive and negative for the majority of this year.

The Naylor’s Take Person of the Year is Rona Ambrose.


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Best Speech

For the speech that most served it purpose, and left those who heard it inspired…

When many thought that he might be the root of a split in the Liberal Party akin to the Martin-Chrétien feud of the past decade, he managed to preach party unity and commitment to core Liberal values at a time that must have been, personally, one of the most difficult times of his life. The award for Best Speech goes to Tous ensemble by Michael Ignatieff.

Outstanding Parliamentarian of the Year

For the non-leader, non-cabinet minister who has contributed most to the House…

She, during a time when many other Liberals were preoccupied by the leadership race, was a veritable parliamentary attack dog. She is sharp, to the point, and always asks cutting questions of the Government. The award for Outstanding Parliamentarian of the Year goes to the illuminating Marlene Jennings.

Outstanding Liberal Politico of the Year

For the unrecognized backroom organizer who has had the greatest degree of impact on the workings of the Liberal Party…

In April, she was plunked into the middle of a province as acting co-chair for an also ran candidate. She was inexperienced, never having done this before, and working with a team of people who are all in the same boat. Driven by true belief, and blessed with an unmatched work ethic and determination, she raised Dionista support in Alberta from the ground floor to a respectable super weekend finish. At convention, her team managed to deliver all of its delegates. She was unquestionably the unrecognized heart and soul of the ragtag Alberta Dion Team. The award for Outstanding Liberal Politico of the Year goes to Jennifer Spencer.

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Best Cabinet Minister

Awarded to the most principled, active and dedicated member of the Cabinet, with respect to their commitment to Canada…

For his principled stand on the Quebecois Nation motion, and for not being a barking partisan, the award for Best Cabinet Minister goes to Michael Chong.

Greatest Political Implosion

For the most disastrous, calamitous and unexpected political nosedive of the year…

Everyone thought this man was a shoe-in for the leadership. People thought that there was not a chance that this man could loose. His massive campaign machine was unmatched amongst other competitors. He garnered a significant amount of caucus support – more than any other contestant. But the leadership instead went to Ed Stelmach, and the award for Greatest Political Implosion goes to the prodigal son of the PCs, Jim Dinning.

Best Political Moment

For the moment that will be the most influential in the course of Canadian history…

Every leader of this Liberal Party since Laurier has become Prime Minister. Therefore, the position of Liberal leader is a fairly important one. This award goes to the moment that most influenced the course of the leadership process, and crowned Stéphane Dion the winner. The award for Best Political Moment goes to the endorsement of Stéphane Dion at the Liberal Leadership Convention by Gerard Kennedy.

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These awards are special and created to recognize exceptional performance in a given area, but are not recurring* awards.

Greatest Journalistic Miscarriage of Fact and Integrity
The National Post, for its work on Iran.

Best Convention Giveaway
The GK Tambourines

Strangest Leadership Giveaway
The Dion Cabbage Seeds of Change (I am so very proud to be a part of this one)

Best Hospitality Suite – General
The BC Liberal Falcon-Mayencourt Suite, “Fire and Ice”, Penticton

Best Hospitality Suite Montreal
Michael Ignatieff, Day One

Other Hospitality Suite Montreal
“Dionista: Because the 4th Pillar is Free Alcohol” because it almost got the police called to my room.

Political Breakup of the Year
Michael Ignatieff and Susan Kadis

Political Matchup of the Year

Stephane Dion and Gerard Kennedy

Political Bonehead of the Year
David Emerson

Stay tuned throughout the day for more important awards and the Naylor’s Take Person of the Year!

*I say recurring, even thought my blog is less than a year old, and will by dying as of tomorrow to make way for the revamped group blog, but I plan to keep going…

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Well, I had a post all ready to go, a new series named “If, By Whiskey…”, but alas, real life has gotten in the way. Saddam Hussein has been executed. The former Iraqi dictator is dead…

Saddam Hussein should not have been put to death. This goes beyond simple opposition to the death penalty. Academically, I am opposed to the punishment of death to any person. Viscerally, when somebody like a child-killer comes before the courts, I ask myself some very difficult questions. Still, the fact of the matter is that it is not our call to make. I do not hesitate to say that in the heat of the moment, self defence and reasonable response can justify taking another persons life. There are very few black and whites in this situation, but this is one of them. Given that a person in custody, and that any manner of punishment can be exacted, there is no justification for the death penalty.

The argument “What if he is innocent?” does not really make a lot of sense here. We know the atrocities committed by the regime. This alone, however, does not justify the execution.

Vengeance appeals to the most base and detestable elements in the human psyche. To be able to bring someone to justice is different from exacting the same punishment on the perpetrator as was exacted on the victims. The eye for an eye does not work here.

Bush has hailed the execution as a victory. However it is merely symbolic. The Vatican is the one that has it right here.

The Vatican spokesman on Saturday denounced Saddam Hussein’s execution as “tragic” and expressed worry it might fuel revenge and new violence. The execution is “tragic and reason for sadness,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi said… (AP)

One cannot exact justice through vengeance. Indeed, acting in this manner has a number of consequences. Saddam will have far more destructive power in death than in life. As a rallying point, he will fuel sectarian violence and cause further deterioration in the Iraqi Civil War.

President Saddam Hussein fell a martyr

The Baath Party has decreed that Saddam was a martyr, confirming the worst fears. This course of revenge will lead to nothing but suffering, hatred and violence.

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Christmas News Roundup

Saddam Hussein Execution

Saddam has sent the people of Iraq a letter of reconciliation just days before his scheduled execution. In it, he encourages the people to not hate people of other nations, the invaders who are currently occupying Iraq. People assume that this could galvanize the former supporters of Saddam, including former Baathists, into enacting a greater degree of violence in Iraq.

Wasn’t it just so much easier when the Middle East was simply an arena for proxy wars fought between two opposing superpowers whose mutually assured nuclear destruction was the only thing keeping the world in one piece. As M said in the most recent James Bond, “Christ, I miss the Cold War”.

Crime in Canada

Apparently, over 850 convicted criminals are on the loose the nation over. Also, it’s apparently our fault. So, the penal system needs to be altered to prevent the escape of criminals, but there also needs to be a greater emphasis on rehabilitation for offenders. Recidivism is very high, and if we can reduce the number of repeat offenders, we can significantly change the crime rate in Canada.

One thing that bothers me is the idea that some people, particularly hard line Conservatives, believe that every Liberal was involved in the Sponsorship Scandal, or, on a similar note, that we (or anyone for that matter) is actively trying to do bad things. I ran into people door knocking during the last election who actually thought that every member of the Liberal Party got a cut of the Sponsorship money. It boggles the mind.

Stephane said it best, and people would do well to try and comprehend this:

We do not think their intentions are bad. We just think that they lead to bad results.

Take Two: Actual Crime in Canada

It appears that the Federal Conservative Party has actually run afoul of election finance laws. I’m not particularly surprised. After all, accountability is something you impose on other people, not follow yourself. I’ve just noticed that this particular story is noticeably absent from the Blogging Tories blogroll.

Well, there appears to be one thing going on. Kitchener Conservative has posted on the convention refund debacle. One encouraging thing I glean from this is that rhetoric over the Sponsorship Program has deteriorated to Ezra-Levantonian Whining and Hyperbole.

Cabinet Shuffle Rumours

Well, it appears as if my MP will not be joining the Privy Council any time soon. Western Separatist Diane Ablonczy. Jim Prentice will apparently be moving into the Environment Portfolio, which comes as somewhat of a relief, because while Jim might actually do things, he doesn’t have the media savvy to present them. So, we get the best of both worlds, a Minister who does something, while appearing to do nothing.

That said, whatever Prentice does do will undoubtedly fall short. Let’s just hope that a Liberal government can regain power before the Conservatives manage to screw this up even more.

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There is a Latin Phrase that states that “while Rome deliberates, Saguntum is in danger”. Saguntum was a city that ended up being conquered by the Carthaginians because of a lack of action from Rome. To me, this seems to hold a striking similarity to the situation in Darfur.

Darfur is dying. This much is for certain. The international community has turned a blind eye to a humanitarian crisis, or, as Jon Stewart would say, catastrofuck. It seems to me that those who say that “The time for action is NOW!” are sadly mistaken. The time for action was years ago. That said, another cliche comes to mind: “Better late than never”.

We have a responsibility, not as a ‘civilized’ nation, nor as a first world nation, or as Canadians. We have a responsibility as human beings to do something. When such rife human suffering exists, it is nothing short of unacceptable. So, the question becomes not “should we do something”, but “what is it that we should do?”

For one, the United Nations needs to send troops to the Chad-Darfur Border, to prevent the conflict from spilling over into Chad from the Sudan. While it seems insensitive to practice containment first, a significant amount of Darfurian refugees are living in Chad, and to afford them a small amount of safety seems significant. Then, we need to send troops. We need to make peace.

In my mind, Canada needs to fundamentally shift its foreign policy from a wide and thinly spread network to some concentrated locales. Afghanistan, Darfur and Haiti come to mind. Canada can affect international policy as well – we have always been a country that punches above its weight. We have the ear of the world – those dying in Darfur do not. Let us make some truly monumental change, and prevent what happened in Rwanda from happening in Darfur.

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