26 September 2005

To vote, or not to vote, this fall

This bit from The Globe's website is my candid response to the announcement yesterday made by Martin that the Liberals will not engineer their own defeat in Parliament this fall to bring about an early election.

In spite of the Liberal membership card which I proudly carry in my wallet, I've disagreed with Paul Martin on a number of occasions in the past year. He should have stuck to his guns and allowed the promised parliamentary debate on ballistic missile defence to occur. He should have stuck to his six-point "democratic deficit" reform promises and done more to act as the new kind of leader that he once seemed to be, instead of rewarding his insiders with plumb political postings that were a little too Chretien-esque. He should have been quicker to act against Carolyn Parrish. He should have been stronger on softwood lumber and BSE. The list goes on.

However, on this issue, I agree wholeheartedly with Paul Martin. There is no need to call an election before the Gomery Report is delivered to Canadians. There is no great debate over Canadian public policy that is calling into question the confidence of the government. It appears to me that the people who are demanding an election now are the same ones who were furious that the Liberals called an election last year, only three and a half years into the last mandate given to the Chretien-led Liberals. These are the people who want an election for the sake of having an election, because there is no good policy-, security-, or confidence-based reason to spend $250 million until we have heard from Gomery. I have long advised people that if they desire a field of study or interest that is barren of hypocrisy to stay out of politics, but this is one occasion in which the hypocrisy of the people is outweighing the hypocrisy of the politicians.

21 September 2005

Mackay tips his hand?

There are an increasing number of people calling for Stephen Harper to resign. We all know about the four Quebec candidates (people of little consequence given the party's standing in La Belle Province), but today the vice-chair of the Tories' Toronto council joined in on the choir. This is obviously something that has to be taken a little more seriously. Interestingly, this happened to be ran on the Globe's website:

Deputy Leader Peter MacKay shrugged off the criticism and said it was not widely held.
Unfortunately [my italics], this is a small group in the party,” Mr. MacKay said.

Now this could be one of those cases in which someone either misspoke or was misquoted, but when one just takes a look at that they've got to think that perhaps Peter Mackay is waiting not-so-patiently in the wings for the putsch against Harper. I've got to say that it's borderline incomprehensible to me that the Tories aren't vastly ahead in the polls, but due to Harper's mismanagement of the Adscam affair and his inability to definitively criticize the Chretien-esque practice of Martin appointing political buddies to plum political appointments, that is not the case. I guess maybe that makes it less incomprehensible to me. Either way, the knives are slowly but surely being sharpened for one Stephen Harper.

Lastly, I just found this on the Globe's discussion site on an article pertaining to the JTF2 killing people in Afghanistan.

19 September 2005

North Korean Breakthrough

It is all over the newspages today that there has been an agreement in principle for North Korea to drop its nuclear weapons arsenal and programs. The deal was largely brokered by China (another sign of its growing soft power) but could not have come into force without concessions made by the United States and the DPRK. Under the terms of the deal, the North will give up its current stockpile (believed to be around 13 nuclear weapons), open the country to IAEA inspectors, and re-sign the NPT. The United States, for its part, acknowledged that it does not have nuclear weapons in the Korean Peninsula and concedes to the DPRK's right to have nuclear energy. It is likely that a light-water reactor will be provided to the Koreans to ensure that it is not utilized for devious purposes.

It's interesting because I was just having a discussion with a friend last night about what will happen in the next three years for Bush. I was saying that three years is a lifetime in politics and that it is possible that by then Iraq, Iran, and North Korea could all see their predicaments resolved. He didn't believe me. Well, we're a third of the way there, and this new diplomatic breakthrough could have a spill-over effect into the negotiations with Tehran.

17 September 2005

Guess who has Habs tickets?

Yes that's right I do, I do! Well not just me, but Tasha too! We've got tickets for the two Super Bowl weekend games in early February. We get to see the Canadiens take on Boston on Saturday afternoon and then on Super Sunday it's a matinee against Philadelphia. As you can well imagine I'm looking forward to seeing the Habs against the hated B's, and with Philly looking stacked (on paper) this season that should be one hell of a great game. Bet your bippy that we're gonna do a bunch of sight-seeing in Montreal while we're there too. Happy as punch about this deal with Munro Day in Nova Scotia, it's allowing me to have a five-day weekend, a bunch of which will be spent in the great city of Montreal. Happy times abound!

16 September 2005

Pettigrew on the outs?

This is a particularly upsetting story for me to read. It seems that Pierre Pettigrew, a man with whom I've held several enjoyable conversations, is in a lot of hot water with the PMO these days. There's suggestions that his actions in recent months have upset a lot of Martin's staffers and since the PM is such a micro-manager there have been maneuvers to take power away from Pettigrew and put it into the PMO again. Isn't this type of activity exactly what Martin vowed to eliminate in his efforts to reduce the "democratic deficit?" His strongest arguments against the Chretien regime was that the PMO was too powerful and stifling the work of MPs and some Cabinet members; now he's doing the exact same thing to a very good politician and a good man. You can bet your bottom dollar I'll be bringing up this issue next week in my Canadian politics seminar as evidence that Martin's six-point plan isn't being taken all that seriously by its drafter.

15 September 2005

No sooner said than...

From the Globe:

Prime Minister Paul Martin says neither he nor his ministers will cross a CBC picket line set up outside of the Senate for governor-general designate Michaƫlle Jean's swearing-in ceremony, which means the event may not proceed on Sept. 27 as planned.
"I don't cross picket lines," Mr. Martin said.


Is this actually true? Is the being back in school making me see things that aren't there? Paul, it's not your people picketing!! It's OK if you and the government go across the CBC's line in order to do the work of the nation. Show some backbone! What is more important: swearing in Canada's new head of state or respecting the solidarity position of a labour union? Let me just say this: if it were me, I'd have the guys in the black jackets move some people out of the way so that I can take care of government business.
Paul "The Strikeout" Martin?

I'll admit that my confidence in the current PM has been shaken greatly since the fall of 2003, but I certainly wouldn't make the same error in judgment made by Brian Mulroney. Seems that in the new book (you know the one) he referred to the "young Paul Martin" as a "strikeout" that didn't have much talent when it came to leadership (resisting temptation, resisting temptation) and that John Turner was the best of the bunch. I'll give Mulroney a little slack, the comment was made in the early 1990s, but this is just one more example of him missing the boat pretty dramatically.

13 September 2005

Yep I've still got what it takes to be able to carry myself through an intellectual discussion. This has been a great day. I've also done two paper summaries this afternoon. It feels good.

12 September 2005

Tomorrow is the Day

So it's the first day of class tomorrow, and I'm ready to go. I've done all my readings for the class, picked up the materials for the other ones, and now I'm on the eve of doing something I haven't done in over two years: walk into a university classroom. Obviously a lot has changed since April 2003, but I'm feeling very confident in myself that I can walk in there and be what I used to be: really good at what I do. Guess we'll just have to wait and see how I come out of there at noon. The whole being back at school thing has really affected me too, as I am coming out swinging at a lot of people in the various discussion forums in which I participate, utilizing a lot of tools which had been laying dormant for some time, or at least not used to their full capabilities. It feels really good and I'm excited about it.

09 September 2005

Course Schedule

Fall 2005
Theories of International Relations
Advanced Seminar in Canadian Politics
Canadian Political Thought

Winter 2005
Theories of International Relations
Advanced Seminar in Canadian Politics
American Foreign Policy

Can you say fun? I know I sure can! I haven't even had my first class yet but I'm totally getting the old feeling of being a university student again. I've already done some reading for class, photocopied a book for class, picked up a couple books, and I'm mingling fairly well with my colleagues and faculty members. I love this place!

08 September 2005

Back Online!

We finally have full access to the internet. It's been a long week without it, even though we've been really busy getting established it's nice to finally be able to catch up on all the emails, the news, the stories, and of course the blogs that we haven't been able to keep up with since the move.
I did all my graduate course selection yesterday. A lot of the courses that had attracted me initially to Dal aren't offered this year (just the luck) but it's ok because I've loaded up on Canadian coursework and also picked up the expected IR stuff. I still have to pick one course for the winter and it's between Canadian FP, American FP, and Diplomacy & Negotiation. All three would be excellent courses for me, so it's a tough call. There' s also a good vibe from the other grad students and a few of them even expressed some interest in helping out to organize a Model UN Conference at Dal. Lastly, there's a hiring at the US Consulate open to Dal grad students. Application is due on Monday so I'd better pick up that resume quickly and get it done over the course of the weekend if I want to jump on this great opportunity!
Halifax is feeling more and more like home. The weather is great and there's a lot of really nice people out here. We don't have any "friends" yet but I'm sure that will change soon as we grow familiar with the place and start hanging out at places long enough to say hi to some people.
That's all for today, talk to you all very soon!

04 September 2005

Greetings from Halifax!!!

OK well this is my first post from my brand-new location on the other side of the world, how exciting! It's been a busy, hectic, aggravating, trying, yet lovely and wonderful first few days in Halifax. I miss all the friends and family back home, not to mention the normality of it all. Tasha and I have been inseparable as we chart our path together out here (today is our six-month anniversary, you should see the beautiful necklace I got for her), and things have been really great for the two of us. We're building a home together, and it is coming slowly, but it is OURS and that is what means the most to me (and hopefully to her) right now. The weather has been great every day except for Thursday (nothing was particularly great on Thursday), it generally stays at 22-24 degrees all the time. People out here have been saying it's a bit warm but for an Okanagan boy this is springtime weather. We picked up a really nice TV and DVD player yesterday, a 27" Toshiba. It's bigger than the old one (not the same without my surround system though!....I'm Mr. Parentheses today it seems) and it cost a couple hundred bucks less to boot, so yeah I'm pretty happy about that one.
I should mention now that I'm not typing this from a home computer. We haven't been able to pick one up yet and we won't have internet until Thursday. Due to some *difficulties* with the apartment we weren't able to move in until Friday and so I had to push back the date for the cable/internet guy to show up. We do have phone service, though, so if anybody wishes to give a call (don't call collect or I won't answer it) it's 902-405-5592. I'm actually typing all this up from the library at Dalhousie. The campus is sprawling, much bigger than OUC/UBCO, and it appears to be as old as it is. This place was established in 1816 and though I'm sure that there have been modernizations and upgrades it still looks like a classic, old campus. Not complaining at all, just saying how it looks. Classes start on Thursday and I've got an orientation on Wednesday to get acclimatized with my faculty and hopefully get some course selection done. I'm hoping to do the latter on Tuesday, since I have to come up here anyways to get some paperwork dealt with and oh I don't know maybe my student ID card.
So yeah that's the update for now, I'm sure I'll be popping in here quite often in the coming days to keep everybody back home current and up-t0-date on all of my and Tasha's adventures in Halifax.
Miss you all back home!!!