31 October 2007

Tax Cuts a-Comin'

Me not being anything remotely approaching "expert" status on economic matters and which is better, a consumption tax cut or an income tax cut, let me still say that I'm looking forward to both. As a regular Joe working a 9-5, saving a few extra pennies on my morning double-double or anything else I want to go out and purchase is something I like. When it comes time to file my taxes in February, I'll be looking forward to getting more money back. It's a win-win, and the Conservatives know that measures such as this resonate with the people on a much deeper level than the chattering classes realize. Seeing Liberals going on and on about the GST cut being a stupid thing doesn't connect with people, especially those who have long enough memories to recall that once upon a time this party ran an election campaign (promise not filled, promise not kept, however) on abolishing the much-hated service tax.
Savings at the till + more money from the tax man = winning political strategy. I'm willing to wager that more folks who don't pay close attention to politics or the stock market will agree with Harper's position--no tax is a good tax--than that of the Liberals--a consumption tax cut is bad economic policy.
I should also mention the gadfly that is Jack Layton embarrassing himself on national television within minutes of Minister Flaherty's announcement. It's as if the man can speak only in platitudes, offering up grand-sounding statements that consist of very little substance. I personally laugh at the statement that the government, with its new tax cuts, is "continuing to lead Canada down the wrong path." When you look at the simple facts, that Canada is stronger today than it was two years ago (and due credit to the Liberals for their time in office on the economic management file), one year ago,and it's projected to get even stronger, saying that the country is on the "wrong path" makes one wonder what his agenda is. A strong dollar, a treasury awash in cash, investment coming into the country, sound resource management, paying down the debt, and general confidence are the hallmarks of Canada's economy right now. If that's wrong, baby, I don't wanna be right.

24 October 2007

New Tory Strategy: Every Bill is the Speech From the Throne

Given that the Official Opposition has abdicated its responsibility to Parliament, Harper may as well really ramp it up and make every government bill a matter of confidence. Dion will have everybody show up but stay seating and thereby give him a free pass. He'll get the omnibus (and horribly named) crime bill passed easily, the vote on the fall mini-budget/economic update will go by without any fanfare, and if Harper wants to pass a resolution that refers to the Liberal Party as "weenies," well, that'll probably end up passing with unanimous consent and 95 abstentions.

Harper has maneuvered the Liberals to the brink of irrelevancy with his strategy to this point. He'll be able to mock them for probably the rest of this session of Parliament, saying that the Opposition has no stance on any of the government's five policy points and passing pretty much all of it with ease. After all, if one of those points is so odious to the Liberals when it comes to a vote, how can they justify voting against it in December or January or February when they sat on their butts when the government declared its intentions in October? Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe now command more presence in the House of Commons because they've made their respective party's position known, loud and clear. They all stood up to be counted while the men and women in red collectively behaved like Prime Minister Paul Martin: so consumed with how to appear that they're impotent to act.

From this point until the middle of 2008, every bill introduced by the Government is going to be connected to the Speech From the Throne in some way. Since the Tories got parliamentary approval for their blueprint, I can imagine that, in the name of consistency, the implementation of that blueprint shall receive similar approval. Since the main opposition party has taken itself out of the equation, Harper now has a de facto majority, which will make the coming months all the more interesting. Or, if you're a Liberal supporter, infuriating and contemplating why you voted for that green scarf-wearing weenie in the first place.

Meeting Mister Mulroney

On Monday night Tasha and I had the opportunity to listen to former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney speak about his life and career in politics. It is the type of meeting that I always try to attend, as there are only 7 living Prime Ministers of Canada, and each of them has a wealth of knowledge and insight that they can impart. The experiences they have are unique and incredibly interesting to hear, such as Mulroney's ability to speak of his work with Ronald Reagan, Nelson Mandela, and Margaret Thatcher during the height of the Cold War and the Canadian role in ending the vile apartheid regime in South Africa. He has a canny sense of humour that all good politicians are able to wield, usually the self-deprecating kind. I know that there are many Canadians who still revile Mulroney for the imposition of the GST and a myriad of other policies, just as there are those who despise Trudeau for the policies that he initiated. Such is the life in Canadian politics.

There was much that I found myself nodding in agreement with throughout Mulroney's hour-long speech. When he spoke of the undoing of the bizarre moral equivalence that was held up between the United States and the Soviet Union, I harkened to Natan Sharansky's book, The Case for Democracy, and how removing that false equivalence brought forth a tidal wave that ultimately caused the implosion of that decrepit regime under its own weight. Listening to him recall speaking with Helmut Kohl about the future possibilities of reuniting the two Germanies was equally fascinating. Kohl's belief--proven correct--was that television would be the impetus in awakening the democratic spirit of the people of the German Democratic Republic, as East Germany was called. Seeing the colour and choice that the outside world offered to West Germans would create an untenable pressure against the oppressive East German regime that caused the Berlin Wall to come down. It is but one of many examples of the power of democracy and political openness to transform societies.

There was one major area in the field of foreign policy that I could not find myself agreeing with Mister Mulroney's position, however. He discussed the lead-up to the Persian Gulf War, and spoke of his pressure on Bush 41 to get a UN Security Council resolution or else Canada would not participate. This obviously implies that, in the absence of such a resolution, the American-led ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003 is less just or legitimate than the original Gulf War. The senior Bush did have a point when it came to the problems in occupying Iraq post-Saddam (as current events readily demonstrate) but that is not the thrust of what Mulroney was discussing. His willingness to give individual countries a veto over Canadian foreign policy is an abdication that I cannot support. Recall also that the United States at least believed that it could get the 9 votes required to pass a resolution in the UNSC in early 2003, but the threat of the French veto scuttled all of that. I respect Mulroney's position that the cover of UN legitimacy is important, but it is not all-important and I question the legitimacy of the idea that a 14-1 vote can prevent authorization and passage of a resolution if that 1 vote is from France or Russia or China (or even the US and UK). This is the great paradox created by the structure of the Security Council, and I believe that Mulroney, like so many Canadian Prime Ministers both before and after him, is on the wrong side of the fence in his view that the absence of a UN Security Council resolution in all circumstances is justification for the continuance of an intolerable status quo.

After the speech, there was a book signing and now my copy of Mulroney's Memoirs features his autograph. There were a lot of people, so there was no opportunity to get a photo or have any real discussion. I did manage to have enough time to thank him for playing a key role for Canada in ending the Cold War and apartheid, and not much else other than a handshake. It was, all told, a very nice experience and so now I'm hoping that Jean Chretien will have recovered sufficiently in order to do a similar appearance.

21 October 2007

The Value of Information

Since 9/11, Western governments have put a premium on information, specifically intelligence information. Knowing what al Qaeda and other terrorist operatives are up to, where they are, where they intend to go, what they intend to do, and so forth are vital aspects of the Global War on Terror & Tyranny that the West seeks to prosecute while instituting tranformative change in the Middle East. While this is mostly defensive--protecting the homeland and Canadian/American allies--it also allows us to go on the offensive, targeting terrorist training camps, rooting out insurgents, and eliminating threats to the stability and reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq.

However, one element that has been conspicuous in its absence--and which I have called for on a number of occasions--is a sustained campaign dedicated to winning over hearts and minds of people in Afghanistan, Iraq, our allies, and indeed here at home. It's incredible that a NATO-led, UN-sanctioned mission to rebuild a war-shattered country only enjoys 50/50 support in Canada, and not the good kind of incredible. It represents failure on the part of successive governments to put out a coherent and cohesive message for what the Canadian Forces and Canadian aid workers and diplomats are doing in that faraway land about which many Canadians know little. Given due explanation, it is my belief that the public would more warmly embrace the efforts of our fine men and women to bring a modicum of peace and security to a country that has not enjoyed it for decades. People who criticize "neo-conservatives" will no doubt see this as another example of a "neo-con" and his abiding faith that a little propaganda is all it takes to magically sweep people off their feet.

It is that simple word--propaganda--that has become a barrier to Canadian efforts (and those of its allies) to win over hearts and minds domestically and abroad. Any effort on the part of the government to disseminate information is automatically cast as something about which people should be dubious and skeptical, the very word conjured up to remind people of Goebbels and Hitler and the Nazi Propaganda Ministry. There is a fantastic article in the current issue of Parameters, the US Army's quarterly academic journal, that focuses on the problems that a democracy faces in waging an information campaign alongside a military one. Whereas terrorists have no inhibitions about stretching the truth or saying things which are blatantly false, democracies must rely solely on pure, unadulterated fact. And even when this is deployed, the press is usually there to portray the government as doing something sinister to guide people along a pre-determined path of their choosing. Never mind that national interests and objectives are at stake. I'm all for retaining a healthy sense of skepticism, but forcing information agencies to shut down within weeks of being established is going too far and indeed hinders the government's ability to achieve the objectives of the state.

To check out the article, written by Dennis Murphy and James White, click on the link. All comments for discussion are, of course, welcome. Propaganda: Can a Word Decide a War?

17 October 2007

Out of Touch...

The headlines today were all screaming "Election Blueprint" in reference to last night's Speech From the Throne and the establishment of the Government's agenda for the coming months. Both the Globe and Mail and the Halifax Chronicle-Herald portrayed the Speech as something upon which the Conservatives would rest their hopes in an election campaign. Let's face it, elections are sexy. They're full of intriguing storylines, angles, twists, plot devices, and they always have a thrilling conclusion in which one party rises supreme above all others. So desperate for another election campaign are they that they ignore reality.

I have maintained for a long time now that there will be no election in 2007. I'm on the verge of updating that forecast to suggest that there may not even be one in 2008. The opposition parties can snipe and bray all they want, they will ultimately back down. The Liberal Party of Canada has no chance of winning an election at this time. They haven't got the money, they haven't got the organization, they haven't got the people, and they don't have the policy. It has been well over two years since the last Liberal Policy Convention, which is odd given that there's something in the party constitution which states that policy conventions are to be biennial. They have been rudderless since Paul Martin ran out of good ideas sometime in September 2005. They've had ideas, but they have certainly not been good: banning the notwithstanding clause, anyone? They've had ideas, but they haven't translated them into policy. Firing off the name of your favourite city in Japan isn't a policy, it's not a blueprint, it's a word. In the absence of any semblance of preparedness for a six-week campaign against a well-oiled and well-financed Conservative machine, there is simply no way that Dion would commit political hari-kari and further fan the flames of the party's self-immolation by calling for an election.

And yet the media still insists that an election is imminent. It is no wonder that they are regarded as out of touch.

Speaking of, M. Duceppe is having a hell of a time trying to get out his speech. It's turning into a blathering rant without any sense of direction. I can't believe they're actually semi-serious about their intention to oppose the Throne Speech and therefore be angling for an election.

15 October 2007

US Calls for Establishment of Palestinian State

"Frankly, it's time for the establishment of a Palestinian state," Rice said.

This comes from a news story at CTV.ca. I must say that I'm very surprised to hear her saying this only a matter of hours after trying to get all parties scheduled to attend the Middle East peace talks held in the US this week to go in with somewhat low expectations. I guess we can safely that they've been raised extraordinarily high now.

I am in favour of the two-state solution. I would love to see the day that it takes place. I don't know what parameters Rice intends to put forward regarding the continguousness of such a state, its borders, its security situation, or any of the other hindrances to achieving this objective, but obviously she has some ideas in mind if she's making such a bold statement. It will be very interesting to see how this week plays out and if we get some real tangible progress moving.

14 October 2007

Osirak Redux?

There have been revelations this morning about the Israeli air strike against a Syrian facility last month. It turns out that the building was a nascent nuclear facility that could have ultimately been used to develop weapons-grade plutonium. Indeed, the model for the facility appears to be based on that used by North Korea to develop its nuclear weapons stockpile.
Because this was a preemptive strike against a facility very early in its development, it is very difficult to assess what it would have been used for. This is the great problem of preemption: it is impossible to fully ascertain what would have happened in the absence of the preemptive action, and the consequences of the action could prove more dangerous than what would have happened otherwise. Israel's strike against Iraq's Osirak facility in 1981 is a striking parallel. Initially condemned by the U.S. under the Reagan Administration, the strike has now been regarded as a very successful example of preemption because it set back Saddam Hussein's ability to develop a nuclear weapon by several years. The facility was years away from being completed, so it would have been probably close to a decade before it could have churned out weapons-grade nuclear material. Whether this inspires Syria to launch a renewed crash program or to abandon the pursuit of nuclear technology out of fear of further reprisal remains to be seen, and Assad's course of action will go a long way in determining whether the Israeli attack was justified.
Syria's near-silence on the matter suggests that there may be an element of "Gotcha!" involved, as one would expect there to be a torrent of outrage stemming from the country after an Israeli incursion into Syrian territory to attack one of its installations. There hasn't been any staging of propaganda events, "death to Israel" marches, or wide-ranging proclamations from any of the other countries in the region. Now, Syria may not be the most well-liked Middle East dictatorial regime, but there is generally a strong camaraderie when it comes to Israel and any cross-border action it may undertake. Damasacus has been on Washington's bad list for a long time, though, and that may be inspiring the region's more pragmatic leaders to keep Assad at arm's length and not do much of anything to strengthen his hand. A lot of people were quietly urging back in 2003 for the Bush Administration to send a couple of battalions on a little detour to topple Assad while the invasion of Iraq was ongoing, and I distinctly recall one of my old professors musing that Assad had to be "shitting his pants" at the prospect of the Iraq war. So perhaps that helps to explain why Syria and its assumed friends haven't been making too much of a stink about the Israeli strike.
This is going to be a situation worth monitoring in the coming weeks. There may or may not be more information coming out, as the intelligence communities have been very tight-lipped about the particulars of the strike, but if they do decide to let news out, it will hopefully clarify the picture a little and remove some of the murky details. If it can be demonstrably proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Syrian facility was to be used for illicit nuclear activities, this will be a blow in favour of nuclear non-proliferation and a check on the ledger for preemption. Only time will tell.

13 October 2007

The Afghanistan Panel

My hat goes off to Prime Minister Stephen Harper for creating a panel of "renowned" Canadians to collaborate and provide a detailed action plan for what Canada should do vis-a-vis Afghanistan following the end of the current mission in February 2009. The four options provided by Harper clearly indicate that the mission will be significantly different than the one that Canada is currently conducting, which means that the NDP will no longer be able to trot out such ridiculous lines as "search and destroy missions" or, due to the timeframe, "fighting George Bush's war." No doubt they'll come up with new slogans to counter the legitimacy of these four key conceptualizations for Canada in Afghanistan in 2009 and beyond, straight from the mouth of the Prime Minister:

Option one is to continue training the Afghan army and police with the goal of creating self-sufficient indigenous security forces in Kandahar province so Canadian troops can start withdrawing in February 2009.

This is as close to the status quo as we will see. As noted by fine blogs such as The Torch earlier this summer, the PM has pretty much given up hope of getting an extension of the current mission beyond the current parliamentary mandate. What makes this concept distinguishable from the status quo is that it provides for the beginning of the draw-down of Canadian Forces personnel starting early in 2009 and continuing until some undefined time in the future. The focus will be on improving security in Kandahar by assisting the Afghan security forces to step up their training and on-the-job efforts. It's essentially adopting the "as Iraqi forces stand up, American forces will stand down" plank that the United States had previously used in Iraq, with little success due to lack of political will on the part of the Iraqi government to actually stand up. We know that the Afghan government has been more assertive, however, and that may lead to this approach getting a strong recommendation from the panel. Canada's police and military forces are well-respected around the world for their professionalism, and if we can impart those skills, insights, and abilities upon the Afghan forces, they will be in good shape.

Option two is to focus on reconstruction in Kandahar, which would require some other country or countries to take over our security role.

This would require a shift in resource allocation and, more significantly, compelling one or several of Canada's European allies to step up their efforts. The first part of that is much easier. Canada has a tremendous international aid program headed up by CIDA. They do excellent work, and this is the type of "niche" activity that Canada could really appropriate and make it a defining feature of Canada's foreign affairs. It is something that appeals to many Canadians that buy into the myth of the blue-beret'd Canadian peacekeeper handing out sacks of grain and stopping conflict by doling out hugs. It wins hearts and minds to have Canadians working hard to build schools, hospitals, working to mediate differences between competing factions, and basically doing anything that involves building the state and not shooting terrorists. I like the concept a lot because it would serve as a template for Canada building a reputation for nation/state-building in post-conflict reconstruction and stabilization efforts. This is an area that is going to be of increasing significance in the coming years and decades. The American military Leviathan is sans peer when it comes to taking down the bad guys and eliminating hostile elements, but it is less adept at building things back up to establish a viable alternative to the status quo ante bellum. I'm predicting a more stringently multilateral America starting in 2009--whether a Republican or a Democrat is elected--and if Canada is going to remain engaged in the world and doing democracy promotion-related activities, this is the type of thing that can make Canada a desirable ally.
However, the second half of this equation is where the problem comes along. Harken back to the 2004 US Presidential Election, when John Kerry was musing openly that a victory for him would cause an instantaneous shift in European attitudes to American-led operations outside of the European defence perimeter of NATO's traditional area of operations. He figured that he'd be able to recruit Europe into Iraq to assist in the reconstruction of that country. It was, and still remains, a fantasy. We simply cannot rely on Europe to provide robust numbers of troops to take on the heavy lifting in this "out of area" international effort. There is considerable talk in European countries participating in Afghanistan to withdraw their efforts and drastically scale back their activities in the UN-authorized operation to rebuild Afghanistan. I can't foresee anybody other than the British stepping up to take over the hard power operations in Kandahar if Canada decides it wants to focus strictly on reconstruction efforts. I don't even know about their level of interest, as Gordon Brown is seemingly less the liberal interventionist than Tony Blair. I would really like to see this concept being adopted, but it is predicated on a very shaky foundation. The realist in me can see the glaring problem of hoping for the best when it comes to relying on reluctant allies to adopt our current role. They have seemingly less desire to sacrifice blood and treasure for the sake of Afghanistan than we do, and that results in it being very unlikely that they would increase their participation.

Option three is to shift Canadian security and reconstruction efforts to another region of Afghanistan.

This option runs into the same problem as that faced in the previous conception. If we leave Kandahar, somebody has to step in and do at least as good of a job as we have done during our tenure there. It would have to be one of the major countries stepping in, because they are the only ones that have a force capability to send at least 2500 troops to the region. France doesn't even let its soldiers off their bases at night. It pretty much comes down to Britain or Germany at that point, and I don't know if we can convince them to take on Kandahar. We simply can't pick a new place and not ensure that some other country comes in to fill the void. Geopolitics, like nature, abhors a vacuum, and unless we get one of our allies to take over Kandahar, some more nefarious entity (read: the Taliban) will unless by some miracle Kandahar is completely secured by February 2009.

And option four is to withdraw all Canadian military forces after February 2009 except a small contingent to provide security for our remaining aid workers and diplomats.

A.K.A. Cut and run. This is the preferred option of the NDP and the radical left. The hard work of reconstruction and stabilization in Afghanistan will almost certainly not be done by February 2009. These types of efforts take at least a decade, possibly even longer under the circumstances. There is so much work to be done in Afghanistan, whether we're talking about human security and human rights, stability, democratic institutions, and law and order. Like I said earlier, Canada does this type of job really well, and it would be a real shame to see our leaders decide to withdraw all of our expertise from Afghanistan to leave the job to others. I'm sure that other countries can do the job, possibly as well as Canadians, but doesn't it reek of abdicating responsibility and embracing the cocoon? In situations where we can help, and our assistance has been requested, there is a degree of obligation to do so. Yes, it costs money and it may cost lives, but the long-term benefits stand to be enormous. Waving goodbye to Kandahar and Afghanistan while the work is incomplete has a ring of immorality to it, and I hope that this option does not end up being recommended by the panel.

12 October 2007

Al Gore's Nobel Prize

First off, let me try to issue a clarification/apology to all my readers: I'm not a weekly columnist, I'm trying to write with greater frequency, but the truth be told I'm just not really finding a whole lot to be worth writing about of late. I'm also doing a lot of reading, having polished off Susan Faludi's The Terror Dream earlier in the week and currently going through a collection of essays under the title American Power: Potential and Limits in the 21st Century. Also lurking around is the massive Mulroney memoirs and a small pile of others. Plus, that hockey thing. I was terrible during Election 2004 because of it, but what can I say? I love my Habs.

Anyways, the big news of the day is that Al Gore is the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007. I'm pretty stunned by this announcement given that Al Gore hasn't brought peace to anything. He's done a lot of great work raising awareness of climate change in the United States, and made a popular movie to boot, but peace? Nothing Al Gore has done has made the world a less dangerous place than it was a year ago; conflict in Iraq, nuclear weapons being built in Iran, instability throughout the Middle East, and genocide in Darfur and the Congo are all still raging in spite--in spite!--of Al Gore's best efforts to raise awareness of the problem of man-made global warming. Yeah there were a few big concerts back in July that had everybody buzzing about the "Climate in Crisis" for about 48 hours--sort of like how Live8 solved famine in Africa--but the continuing lack of consensus among the world's major, middle, and non-powers about collective action on global warming sticks out like a very sore thumb.

If one truly wants to consider peace efforts in the world in the past year, why not look at North Korea? A year ago, Kim Jong-Il successfully detonated a nuclear weapon and was acting very boldly following his ascension into the nuclear "club." Conflict in the Korean Peninsula seemed to be in the short term, following a summer full of missile launches into the Sea of Japan and the usual rhetoric emanating from the aptly-titled "Hermit Kingdom." Yet here we are a year later, and legitimate and sustained serious talk about North Korean nuclear disarmament is ongoing. As in the past, the DPRK has indicated that it will disable and dismantle all of its nuclear weapons facilities, and work is underway to ensure that this is done by the end of 2007. Imagine that, from testing nuclear weapons to giving them up in barely more than a year. The six-party talks have proven effective, and the extraordinary face-to-face meetings between the North and the South--only the second such talks since 1953!!--have obviously paved the way for a more sustainable rapprochement between the two Koreas than we have witnessed in our lifetimes. There is even talk of allowing the Internet into the DPRK in limited areas. A completely closed society, governed by fear and propaganda, is slowly taking steps that open it to the rest of the world. There is to be an economic zone within North Korea that allows companies from the South to set up shop. This is amazing progress.

In the end, then, it seems to me that the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize was as much a political rebuke of the Bush Administration as was the awarding of the Prize in 2002. Carter, like Gore, has been incredibly outspoken in his hostility to the Bush Administration, and that appeared to be a motivating factor for the Nobel committee in its deliberations (remember, this occurred during the build-up to war in Iraq). I can only imagine what John Kerry must be thinking at this moment--perhaps something along the lines of finding his own cause celebre to chastize President Bush and gain favour with people around the world. I saw his book last summer, it appears as though there is something about losing to Bush that turns a person into an environmentalist. But that avenue has already seen its ticker-tape parade, so Mr. Kerry will have to look elsewhere. He's unlikely to secure the role of "Middle East peace envoy" since that's been given to Tony Blair (speaking of, where is he?) already. Maybe he can go on a Joe Wilson-style "fact finding mission" in Iran about its nuclear program. That'll for sure wow the Nobel committee.

05 October 2007

Waterboarding = Torture

It has once again appeared in the news cycle that terror detainees are being waterboarded as part of the coercive interrogation process. For those who don't know what this practice is, it's basically simulated drowning. A person is blind-folded, tilted back in a chair, and the interrogator pours copious amounts of (usually cold) water over them. Imagine the horror that a person would feel in that situation. The people who worked over Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the orchestrator of 9/11, were impressed at his ability to withstand the treatment for over two minutes before confessing to his intimate involvement in planning the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Yet today we hear President Bush flatly stating that the United States "does not torture people." I would defy anybody to say with a straight face and a perfectly clean conscience that the above description of the waterboarding technique does not constitute torture. Instilling the sheer horror of imminent death in another human being--no matter how despicable that person may be--is torture. It is not a practice that should be used by Americans if they want to reasonably claim any semblance of the moral high ground vis-a-vis the likes of al Qaeda, Hezbollah, or any of the other groups out there that seek to kill innocent lives.
It is often noted that during war the lines of moral clarity become greatly obscured. When evil is everywhere and death omnipresent, retaining a sense of dignity and value for human life becomes very difficult. What I find so disturbing is that George W. Bush once held such a sense of compassion. Watching only the media clips of the press conference today makes me question whether that still exists. He has clearly lost the initiative and the command over American foreign policy and grand strategy that he demonstrated all the way into 2005. He seems lost, wandering, and resigned to simply serve out his term with the hope that Iraq doesn't completely implode under his watch. I find this most disturbing--and disappointing--of all.

04 October 2007

On Team Captains

This morning, given the fun events going on in both politics and the NHL, I have come to notice two distinctions between the captain of the Montreal Canadiens and the captain of the federal Liberal Party:

1. One doesn't speak French.
2. The other one is not a leader.

I'll leave it to my faithful readers to guess which is which.

02 October 2007

Go Habs Go!

Tomorrow is opening night for the Habs, and, as always, I'm excited. Carey Price has made the team and will be pushing Huet for the #1 spot. Chris Higgins and Tomas Plekanec are ready to step up in a big way--I'm looking for 30 goals out of Higgins and another 20+ from Pleks. If he can play on a regular basis the way he did against Boston here a couple weeks ago, that should be no problem.
There are concerns about the team, of course. The moves they made in the off-season to replace departed players resulted only in cosmetic upgrades. For a team that missed the playoffs last year, that's not enough on its own merit. Remember, though, this team was challenging Buffalo for first in the East when everybody got sick around Christmas time, and they never recovered from it. Combine that with some bad luck in the nets, and it's a recipe for disaster. This year should be different. I'm predicting 6th in the East.