Posts

Showing posts from December, 2012

Comedy Group Air Farce does Stephen Harper "Gangnam Style" parody

Image
The Canadian comedy group Air Farce has produced a parody of the ever-parodied "Gangnam Style" starring Craig Lauzon as Stephen Harper. The skit will be part of the Air Farce's New Year's Eve special on December 31. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gives us the year in review through his version of the South Korean pop song by PSY "Gangnam Style". Some of the references will no doubt be quite foreign to non-Canadians. The video makes reference to several controversies that dogged the ruling Conservative Party. This includes the over-spending by Bev Oda, the deal for buying F-35 fighters, and budget cuts. Bev Oda is a former MP and cabinet minister. Oda was appointed Minister for International Cooperation on August 14 2007. After a series of controversies and scandals she resigned her seat in July of 2012 and was dropped from Cabinet. Besides having a recommendation for funding of a charitable group turned down by having a "not" inserted in a …

Tiny Machias Seal Island claimed by both the US and Canada

Image
Machias Seal Island is a tiny rock island 16 kilometres from the coast of the US state of Maine and 19 kilometers south of Grand Manan Island just off the coast of the Canadian province of New Brunswick. The island is claimed by both Canada and the US. Machias Seal Island has an area of just 8 hectares or about 20 acres. The island is a sanctuary for many seabirds including the Atlantic Puffin seen in the appended video. Visitors from around the world come to view the birds during the summer. There are no permanent residents of the island although there are lighthouse keepers who come in pairs and stay four weeks at a time. The lighthouse is operated by the Canadian Coast Guard. The original lighthouse was built by the British in 1832. There has been a lighthouse maintained ever since. Many think that the presence of the lighthouse will give Canada a legitimate claim to the island. The United States has never had a presence on the island except in 1918 during the First World War when …

President of Manitoba PCs youth wing resigns after racist comments

Brayden Mazurkiewich, who was president of the youth wing of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party has resigned after posting racist comments on Facebook. The Progressive Conservatives are the official opposition in the Manitoba government.
The president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba, Ryan Matthews, in a press release said: "Comments by Progressive Conservative Youth President Brayden Mazurkiewich have been deemed conduct detrimental to our party. As PC Manitoba party president I have asked Brayden Mazurkiewich for his resignation and received it." Mazurkiewcih made some of the comments in response to news that a group of four First Nations again won a decision in their favor on the government sale of the Kapyong barracks site located in Winnipeg. The court ruled that the federal government had failed to consult, or even communicate adequately with the First Nations involved before selling the land. The First Nations group has been tr…

Will Harper finally pull the plug on the F-35 purchase?

Image
According to a December 6 article in the Ottawa Citizen, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper has finally decided to pull the plug on a planned purchase of 65 F-35 stealth fighter jets. An audit, soon to be released by KPMG accountants, will push the projected life-cycle cost of each plane to well above $30 billion. Some even put the figure at close to $40 billion. NOTE: Actually it turns out to be around $45 billion according to the KPMG report. Faced with the huge increases in costs, the operations committee of the federal Cabinet decided to scrap the sole-source program and begin looking at other sources, claims the Ottawa Citizen, citing an anonymous source familiar with the decision. The Prime Minister's Office denied a media report that the F-35 purchase was dead saying that the report was "inaccurate on a number of fronts". The statement also promised that the government would update the House of Commons on its seven point plan to replace the jets before …

Harper reverses policy and condemns Israeli settlement expansion

In a sudden reversal of Canada's unqualified support for Israel, Stephen Harper warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Canada does not support the expansion of settlements planned by Israel.
Perhaps the negative reactions to Harper's quite one-sided position of supporting everything Israel does changed Harper's mind. European nations and the United States were very critical of the Israeli plans, claiming that they could prevent any peace talks in the near future. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told the Globe and Mail that Harper told Netanyahu that he believes the settlement construction would impair peace efforts between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. A Globe and Mail editorial earlier criticized the government for not condemning outright the Israeli settlement plans: Canada’s strident defence of Israel’s interests in the UN vote was legitimate but its zealous threats to punish the Palestinians damaged its ability in Arab eyes to…

Canada refuses to explicitly criticize the 3,000 new Israeli settlement housing units

Image
While other strong allies of Israel, even the United States, have strongly condemned the Israeli plan to build 3,000 settler homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, Canada refused to directly criticize the plan. The Jerusalem Post says that Canada is the "gold standard" of support for Israel: "There is not a government on the planet today more supportive of Israel than Harper's Canada." Canada, together with the U.S. with only a few other countries voted against granting Palestine observer status at the U.N. While this marks Canada as one of the few supporters of Israel globally on this issue, Canada has now gone even further to show that it is globally number one as a supporter of Israel. The White House and State Department both complained that the Israeli announcement would be an obstacle to resuming peace talks. Five European countries have removed their ambassadors from Israel in protest of the new plan. Germany had a "very negative view" of …

Canadian economy slows in third quarter of 2012

Image
In the July-September, third quarter, Canada suffered the largest drop in exports in three years. The economy grew at a 0.6% annual rate compared to 1.7% in the first two quarters. While Canada has recovered relatively quickly from the recession compared to some other countries, growth has become more sluggish in 2012. and particularly in the last quarter. While the Bank of Canada and many economists had been expecting a slowdown in the third quarter the results were even weaker than expected. Analysts predicted that even with the slowing economy, the Bank of Canada will still take the position that interest rate hikes may be needed down the road. Michael Gregory, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets said: "The Bank of Canada bias is very much a long-term bias so it's not going to be changing any time soon. But there is no question the Canadian economy is under-performing a bit here and if this continues past the turn of the year and the whole 'fiscal cliff' in th…