29 November 2007

Down to Business

I'll freely admit that I've been paying relatively scant attention (by my standard, anyways) to the 2008 US Presidential Race. As a Canadian, it's something of an abomination to see a two-year campaign cycle, and the amount of money required to run a campaign is equally grotesque. One of the greatest accomplishments of Jean Chretien's career was to drastically reduce the influence of the wealthy and virtually wipe out the ability of large corporations to disproportionately affect an election race to their preferred outcomes. It is commendable that Stephen Harper has followed up on this, further limiting the extent to which an individual can contribute. None of these restrictions apply in the United States, and thus we hear of a $250 million warchest for George W. Bush and a not much smaller one for John Kerry in 2004.
One of the great problems with such a prolonged campaign is that someone who appears to be a virtual lock in the early stages turns into a total non-factor by the time the actual election occurs--hello and goodbye, Howard Dean. The potential for a timebomb to appear at a strategic time is also increased--witness Swift Boat Veterans for Truth or Dan Rather's accounting of GWB's Vietnam record. There is always the possibility for similar things in a Canadian election cycle, of course, but the compressed timeframe means that we're not subjected to multiple variations of the same theme ad nauseum. Thirdly, there are relatively few things that are discussed at a YouTube debate in August 2007 that are likely to still be resonating in the minds of voters by the time November 2008 rolls around. It's merely preliminary verbal jousting for months on end that does little to establish long-term positioning, especially in this, the era of "the flip-flop."
However, the primary season is almost upon us, and that means it is time to start paying attention. What is said in the next few weeks will determine where the Democratic and Republican bases park their votes. True frontrunners are likely to emerge in the next 50 days, while players that were playing well previously will be compelled to throw their weight behind others that have a genuine shot at winning their party's nomination. The mid-carders will start dropping off shortly, and the high-profile main eventers will have a greater number of even more intense spotlights shining on them. That means tough choices for a number of candidates, and that means the intrigue and interest will certainly be picking up.
Off the start, let me say that I am quite likely to be supporting a Democrat for 2008 unless either John McCain or Rudy Giuliani take the Republican nomination. There are a number of shortcomings facing the other Republican candidates that almost instantly disqualify them in my eyes. I cannot reasonably support a candidate who says such things as, and I'm paraphrasing here, "While Mitt Romney was promising to do more for gay rights than Ted Kennedy, I was moving in the opposition direction." It's unfathomable to me that a candidate for President of the United States would be proud to say that he was moving to deny a group of people rights--and of course, Romney himself no longer supports gay rights for Americans. With so many of the Republican candidates pandering to the religious right, they're alienating themselves from people like me who believe, to borrow Irwin Cotler's term, "a right is a right is a right." Other major issues for me include:
* Foreign Policy - I'll be looking for positions regarding the continuance of the Bush Doctrine, seeing who adopts what and who seeks to be the un-Bush when it comes to America's strategic role and primacy in the world. The candidate who articulates the strongest vision for American leadership, victory in Iraq and the broader War on Terror and Tyranny, ending genocide and human suffering, counter- and nonproliferation of WMDs, and the remaking of the system of international institutions is likely to earn my support.
* Domestic Policy - though I like my American leaders to largely follow the principle of the imperial presidency and leave the domestic agenda largely to Congress (and let's be honest here, being Canadian, what Americans do within their own borders is less relevant than what they do beyond them), there are some initiatives I would like to see. Someone has to reasonably tackle the challenge of increasing violence in the United States--against women, among gangs, as a result of drug trafficking, and otherwise. There's the looming Social Security and Medicaid crises. Education is another big issue. Homeland security and intelligence reform.

There's a lot going on in America that will be relevant and pertinent to a successful candidate for 2008. I'm looking forward to seeing who emerges in the coming weeks and months.

25 November 2007

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Today is the first of two days that specifically highlight the systemic problem of violence against women. It is internationally recognized by the United Nations, which has a comprehensive information section here: http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/violence/ I encourage all readers to head over there and check it out. I'll be out and about today with my white ribbon, hoping that others will ask what it signifies so that I can inform them. There is a collective responsibility to address violence against women so that it stops. It is inexcusable that 1 in 3 women in Canada will experience male violence in their lifetimes. It is unacceptable that there is virtually nobody in this country that doesn't know a woman that has been assaulted in some way. It is unforgivable that rape is utilized as a military tactic throughout the world. It is unjustifiable that too many husbands hit their wives. This must stop. It is not the work of one or two days of the year, it is an ongoing commitment to recognizing women's humanity and according them the dignity, respect, and justice to which they are entitled. Violence against women will not end because of November 25 and/or December 6th, it will end when men have absorbed the message of these days and integrated them into their lives.

24 November 2007

Happy Trails, John Howard

The results of the Australian election are in, and the torch has been passed. John Howard, who has led the country for years and been a strong ally of Washington in the War on Terror and Tyranny, has been defeated as Prime Minister, to be succeeded by Kevin Rudd of the Labor Party. The end of the Howard regime is the latest example of a generational changing of the guard in the world's democracies, following the ascension of Sarkozy in France, Brown in Britain, Harper in Canada, and preceding the departure of George W. Bush in the United States.
While it is always sad to see an old familiar face that has been a staunch supporter of expanding the scope of democracy around the world depart, it is a reminder of the primary virtue of the democratic system: nobody lasts forever. Contrast all the changes in democratic states with the stasis of undemocratic regimes in the past five years: Mubarak remains the Egyptian pharoah, Bashar Assad keeps Syria under his thuggish heel, the military junta still stifles Burma, and Pervez Musharraf continues his military dictatorship in Pakistan (though events may force that to an end in the very near future). Our system inherently rejects such permanence in its heads of government/heads of state because we prefer the system over the individual. So happy trails, Mr. Howard, and we look forward to working with Mr. Rudd in the future on a wide range of issues, from Afghanistan to climate change to international trade and beyond.

23 November 2007

Two Days

From the latest issue of the White Ribbon Campaign Newsletter . . .

Two Days
November 25th marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In Canada, December 6th is a National Day of Remembrance and Action for Violence Against Women. Two days in a year. Two days.

That leaves 363 other days where 51% of Canadian women over the age of 16 will still experience an act of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. 363 days where the global toll of violence against women will exceed the harm inflicted on women by traffic accidents and malaria – combined.

363 days where one of the most tragic, harmful, and preventable human rights atrocities on the planet will go largely forgotten. 363 days where the White Ribbon Campaign will continue its efforts to work with men and boys on the prevention of gender based violence against women and girls.

This year, the White Ribbon Campaign challenges you to do something, anything, to help realize a future that has no violence against women.

You can start by wearing a White Ribbon and making the pledge to never commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women. Explore your own attitude, behaviours and beliefs about gender based violence. Make a change that starts within.

You can make time in your life to listen to, learn from, and try to understand the experience of the important women in your lives. You can inform yourself through any number of vast resources that are available out there.

You can make a financial contribution to a women’s shelter, to a crisis line, or to a support program for women who have been victims of violence. These resources are chronically under-funded.

If you also think men and boys have a role to play, and violence prevention is a necessary part of the solution – you can get involved with the White Ribbon Campaign. Sign our online pledge [insert link] visit our Blog [insert link] or make a donation [insert link].

Talk to young people, challenge your peers, spread the message, talk to politicians, organize an event, share your stories with us. There are 363 days left, and there is lots that can be done. Have a look at our resource “What Every Man Can Do” [link].

Every little effort adds to the momentum, inspires others, and adds to the growing movement of hundreds of thousands of people in Canada and around the world who think it is time we solved this fundamental human rights issue, and create a safer world for all women and girls. Whatever you do, do something. This is our challenge to you this year.

To borrow a phrase from a colleague;
Until the violence stops.

21 November 2007

Oh, Celine...

I can't help but laugh and shake my head over this Celine Dion kerfuffle. The cancellation of her Halifax concert is degenerating into a "Halifax said, Celine said" mudslinging match that is making all parties involved look bad. Who comes out worse? In my view, the city, its media, and some of its more obnoxious residents. There was a Facebook group that pseudo-lamented they couldn't just kill her to prevent her from coming here to perform. The radio stations and newspapers mocked her endlessly. And the HRM itself now has seen two major events pulled off the table that could have given it the image of being an A-list Canadian destination (the other was, of course, the 2014 Commonwealth Games). As for Celine, it's simply a cancelled date (before tickets even went on sale) and another one of those things that people will use as evidence of her "diva behaviour," whatever that may mean.
It's bad enough that many major acts don't come here already. There have been a lot of big-time world tours/North American tours in the past few years and Halifax has had barely any of them. Yeah the Stones came. Yeah Bryan Adams came (good Canadian boy). Who else that will be relevant in 3 years? Slim pickings. People that already don't come here have no incentive to come, and those who may consider it will be discouraged. Good work, Haligonians!
All of this said, I'm not a Celine Dion fan. I wouldn't have paid to attend her show. I wouldn't have needed to since the Common is right across the street. I may have closed the windows if she did come. But there's thousands of people who would enjoy the show. Those folks no longer get that chance, and that kind of sucks for them. But hey, now all the negative nellies can crow about their great victory. Remember that though when your favourite band doesn't come here during their tour.

19 November 2007

SMU Journal to Print Apology

I received word last night from the editor of the Saint Mary's University Journal that the student-run paper will be printing an apology for their Halloween cartoon in their next issue. As you might imagine, this news helped brighten my day yesterday. The editor noted that they hadn't considered how bad it looked to have Batman punching out Britney Spears in the larger context of violence against women, and that she felt very bad about having such a thing appear. I'm glad that there has been a lesson learned, and commend the editor for responding positively. Change can be effected, we all just have to do our part.

16 November 2007

2007 World Economic Forum Study on the Gender Gap

The World Economic Forum's 2007 study examining the gender gap was released this week, and there is considerable reason for women in Canada to cheer. Though Canada slipped from 14th to 18th in the overall ranking, the score (with 1.0 equalling "perfect" equality) Canada received this year is 0.720, which is strong but signifies room for improvement.
Nowhere is it more clear that Canada can do better than in the realm of political participation. We rank 43rd overall when it comes to women in Parliament, facing an almost 4-to-1 ratio of men to women represented in the House of Commons. 1 in 4 ministers, however, are women, reflective of the talent that sits in the Conservative caucus. That a woman has been the Prime Minister of Canada for under a year in the total of our history drags down the overall mark, which has us at 36th overall. When you consider that Canada is a member of the world's most prominent alliance of democracies--NATO--this is a big blight on the record. We may be doing better than some other NATO members, but this is something that we need to examine in absolute terms, not relative terms compared to our friends and allies. I see where Stephane Dion is coming from when he advocates that 1 in 3 Liberal candidates should be women, but there is a lot more to the problem than can be fixed by simply nominating worthy women in unwinnable ridings to meet a quota. Attitudes towards public women need to be examined in detail to get a clearer picture; one need only look at the manner in which someone like Belinda Stronach has been treated since entering politics to see why so many women that would make excellent MPs opt out for a more quiet route to changing the world.
It is in other aspects of Canadian life that women have reason to cheer. On every measure of education levels, we have reached equality, and in this country, education = opportunity. Presently there are 3 women to every 2 men attending post-secondary education. This is fantastic. It means that the future trends for other areas, such as economic, will continue to be upward, hopefully eliminating the wage gap perhaps within two generations (if we're lucky!). It may also result in more women entering the political realm so that we can reduce that ugly mark on the record. On wage equality currently, we're looking at about 72% for similar work. That must be improved.
One key feature that I found to be of interest is the score we received when it comes to legislation that punishes offenders who commit violence against women. It is not the best score, but on a scale where 0 is best, and 1 is worst, we're at 0.25. Still some work to do, but we're getting there. This time of year is always one in which violence against women garners attention, so hopefully that can be utilized to get us to that ideal score.
There are, of course, many more indicators than simply economic and political that will measure true equality. When figures of violence against women have sharply declined from current rates, that will be a positive. Presently the economic costs of this are huge, and I'm surprised that the WEF didn't include a mention of the fact that violence against women results in billions of dollars of costs per year. All of this is linked together, and hopefully we will have a concerted and sustained effort to achieve genuine equality in Canada.

SMU Journal Thinks Beating Up Women is Funny

I glimpsed a copy of the Saint Mary's University student newspaper, The Journal, this morning. The "cover story" was a comic-book styled Halloween skit starring a cat, Batman, and Britney Spears. It begins innocuously enough, with "Britney" starting up an impromptu concert until "Batman" "senses danger," at which time he punches Britney out, inviting her to "suck knuckles" in the process.
Brilliant and original, the paper thinks that knocking out Britney Spears is comic gold. This is yet another example of a university newspaper making light of violence against women. See a separate example, which also contains links to still more recent examples, about a Central CT State story entitled "Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It" here. No doubt the SMU editorial staff will throw up their hands and say that it was "all in good fun" and not "something to be taken seriously." Of course, in the context of a patriarchy in which violence against women is all-pervasive, it is never acceptable to portray violence against women.

I'd like to encourage everyone to send a letter to the SMU Journal to let them know that their "comic story" was decidedly not funny and contributes to the problem. You can reach the Journal's editor, Amanda Wenek, at: thesmujournal@gmail.com

I sent the following:

To the Editor:
This morning I happened to pick up a discarded copy of a recent issue of The Journal. Imagine my disappointment and outrage when I saw that the Halloween story on the front page climaxed with Batman knocking out Britney Spears and winning the applause of everyone around him for doing so. With that, the SMU paper has joined a long list of university newspapers that portray and make light of violence against women. In this past year, university newspapers have treated rape, sexual assault, and men's violence against women as a joke, something used to generate comedy and sell extra copies while making legitimate and acceptable a major problem in our society.
Let me be clear: there is no acceptable situation that portrays violence against women. I don't care if you think you were being cute, or flip, or tongue-in-cheek; when the problem of violence against women is at such a high rate that Status of Women Canada estimates that between 1-in-3 and 2-in-5 women will experience male violence in their lives, the context of that violence is always prevalent. In any format or media, real or stylized, actual or acted, violence against women is something that we should never condone, promote, encourage, or portray in a quasi-positive light. I hope that, in a future issues, the SMU Journal will print an apology for promoting violence against women, and exercise better judgment at the editorial level in the future so that this outrageous incident will not be repeated.

10 November 2007


It's getting to be the time of the year that the White Ribbon Campaign begins its major efforts leading up to the commemoration of the Montreal Massacre on December 6th. Here are some links for everybody to read and get informed on what the day means, and the motivation behind the cause to end violence against women:

Status of Women Canada's Official Site for December 6th
The White Ribbon Campaign and its Official Blog
Men Can Stop Rape
Facebook Cause for The White Ribbon Campaign
Facebook Group for the White Ribbon Campaign
Andrea Dworkin's Official Web Page

There are many, many more sites out there for people to learn more about ending violence against women, and I encourage everybody to check them out. I'll be posting more on the subject throughout the month.

09 November 2007

Words of Wisdom

Now that the Harper government has announced its intentions to have a probe into the Mulroney affair, hopefully this will spell the end of the opposition parties' calls for a full inquiry. As I've already said, the amount of money required to put on a full inquiry far outweigh the amount of money involved. There is a possibility that the integrity of the Office of the Prime Minister is at stake, and that is something to be taken very seriously; however, I do not believe even that important principle can justify the costs of the inevitable witchhunt that an inquiry into Mulroney's dealings with no doubt devolve into. And I am not the only one. Jean Chretien, the most successful Liberal in the past twenty-five years, has this to say in his book:

For the opposition parties, calling for a public inquiry is usually an easy way to dig up dirt or keep a hot issue on the front burner after they've exhausted their own supply of facts and questions...Very few of these inquiries in my experience have every been of much use, and those few were valuable only because they didn't turn into television soap operas. If there's a problem, you should face up to it and make a decision. If you need more information, you can always ask the department to give you a full report. If you need an independent point of view [RGM - as Harper is seeking] you can ask someone to carry out an investigation without a lot of fanfare...But it is the nature of public inquiries to get turned into show trials, kangaroo courts, and political entertainment. The rules of evidence don't have to be respected as they are in a court. There's not the same right of due process or even the same process to protect the innocent during the investigation into a possible wrongdoing. Scores of reputations are shattered for no good cause, people lose their jobs merely because their names happened to be mentioned in passing.

So there you have it. The Liberals have got Harper to compromise somewhat from his earlier stance. They should let this be the end of it.

08 November 2007

Huh, Who Knew?

Last week I wrote this about Guy Bertrand, the separatist gadfly that attempted to smear Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu for his limited French-speaking abilities:

"Hearing some low-life politician looking for his fifteen minutes of fame embodies what is wrong with the Canadian body politic today."

Turns out that M. Bertrand has already received much more than just fifteen minutes. I'm in the midst of reading Jean Chretien's memoirs, My Years as Prime Minister, during which I've learned that Bertrand is the person responsible for the Government of Canada sending a series of questions to the Supreme Court of Canada in what came to be known as the Quebec Secession Reference. Bertrand was of the belief that Quebec could unilaterally declare its independence from Canada following a 50% plus one referendum vote, no matter how muddy the question, and he pressed this viewpiont in public. All of this resulted in the Clarity Act, perhaps the finest moment of Stephane Dion's political career, which put many nails in the coffin of the separatist movement in Canada. But this little bit of linkage does demonstrate just how small a world it is, and how easy it is for any crankpot to make himself famous...twice.

07 November 2007

More NDP Pie-in-the-Sky Ideas

This evening's edition of Politics with Don Newman featured a discussion on the NDP proposal to abolish the Senate. Their talking head, MP Joe Comartin, said that, following a successful referendum, there wouldn't be any need to go the constitutional route to make the Upper Chamber simply disappear because, get this, the Prime Minister of the day would simply promise not to make any appointments. The idea is that once the sitting Senators hit the age of 75 and go into retirement, there will be nobody around to replace them, causing a failure to reach quorum and eventually to have a living body in the Senate. Well, that's about the dumbest thing I've heard all day. First, this proposal would mean that the Senate would still be around until 2037 when Michael Fortier hits the age of retirement. Based on the membership roster of today, he'd be the only Senator for a period of roughly 7 years following the departure of Liberal Senator Pierrette Ringuette (a Chretien appointment) on the last day of 2030. I'm sure that it'd be mighty cool for Mister Fortier to have the Red Chamber all to himself for 7 years, though.
Beyond the simple matter of timelines, however, the NDP is expecting its opponents to act with goodwill to such a pledge. In politics, relying on your opponents--dare I say, enemies--to play nice is suicidal, but then there's a reason that the NDP will never hold power. If you look at the current line-up, there are going to be a lot of retirements in the next few years. Approximately 25 current Senators will be out (including Kelowna's Ross Fitzpatrick next February) by the end of 2010. Do the NDP really think that Harper wouldn't engineer a couple dozen Senate elections to pack the chamber with Tories? Moreover, in the event of the Liberals re-acquiring power, would it not be almost expected of them to plunk in some long-time party members to ensure that they retain their long-running supremacy there? This is one of the many areas in which the NDP have their heads in the cloud, oblivious to the much less genial nature of real politics. "Oh, we'll pass a resolution and everybody will just honour the spirit of that." Yeah, good luck with that. It'll be either elected Tories or patronage appointment Liberals filling those forthcoming vacant spots in the years to come, not a gradually withering number of Senators until they can bulldoze the place.
The only way to achieve abolition of the Senate is via constitutional reform. I think we can all agree that there's no need whatever to go down that route. The NDP proposal is both impractical and naive. It should have been laughed off the set.

06 November 2007

Get Yer Torches! We're Goin' Mulroney Huntin'!

Brian Mulroney's name has been in the news quite a lot lately. First the book, in which the former PM slags the deceased Pierre Trudeau somewhat harshly, which I'm guessing only five people have gotten to due to the size of the memoir. Now, though, is something a little more nefarious, and it's got the Liberals' backs up in a big way. They want an inquiry into whether or not Mulroney illicitly accepted $300,000 (no small chunk of change) from a German businessman whose name is really not relevant and 99.9% unknown outside the chattering classes. Canadians hate Brian Mulroney, not only dyed-red-in-the-wool Liberals but many Canadians at large. My favourite pub & eatery in Kelowna has a framed photo of him, tilted sideways, covered in spitballs. I don't know of a single family member that has much good to say about him. So trying to tar Brian Mulroney--15 years after he left office--is something fun and cathartic for the Liberals, who, let's face it, can use some fun these days.
Here's the problem I have with the whole thing: it's not relevant to the Canadian national interest. Not one little bit. Kinsella may want to cast Harper in a negative light for not being interested in pursuing the Liberals' request, nay, demand, for a full and thorough investigation into the matter, but he's talking into an echo chamber on that one. I don't too often disagree with W.K., but I just don't see the point in spending millions of dollars on lawyers to find out if the guy before the last guy's predecessor at 24 Sussex Drive lined his pockets for a couple hundred thousand dollars. It's greasy, it's slimy, and it sure does make Mulroney look bad, but there's really nothing for anybody in the current political environment to either gain or lose by having an inquiry. Harper's team may look at Mulroney as something of an intellectual/ideological/strategic godfather, but it's not as if Harper's got any intention of appointing him to the Senate or giving him a job on the taxpayer dime. The Liberals may get to feel good that Mulroney is getting dragged through the mud again, but it opens up the door to investigations into Shawinigate and Martin's CSL operations--if it's good for the goose... And, of course, Layton will get to gadfly around a bunch but it's not like he'll suddenly shoot up five points in the national polls. Any gains would be surface-level and fleeting, while the millions spent pursuing the inquiry would be lost to much more important and pressing programs. They could pump the money back into Status of Women Canada instead, that'd be swell.
Going back to the Liberals, I'm really astonished that they're pressing this as hard as they are. There's any number of salient issues they could target to rebuild their fortunes and attempt to knock Harper off stride. For example, there's a new poll which suggests that Canadians still lack a global conscience--er, I mean, don't want to follow George Bush's hard-right neo-conservative search and destroy so-called war on terrorism agenda--and want to get out of Afghanistan before the government's suggested 2011 withdrawal timetable. I know why it's a mission worth supporting and pursuing to a successful conclusion, but many Canadians still don't and many can't even point Afghanistan on a map. That's still fertile territory for any of the parties to seize upon and frame in a national interest perspective. Make up something tangible about peacekeeping and why we should be somewhere else instead and you may receive a boost in the polls. There's still no real social agenda blueprint put in place by the Conservatives other than some tax credits; after waking up one morning and collectively deciding that Canada must have a national daycare program, they've been pretty quiet about that lately. Oil is getting close to $100 a barrel. Given the Liberal leader's supposed penchant for the environment and competitive sustainability, where is he on the charge to finding fossil fuel alternatives? Where's the big policy blueprint that makes Canada an innovator in eco-friendly fuels and energy?
I know that it's not easy to make priorities, but seeing the Liberals flailing in an effort to put Brian freakin' Mulroney back in the spotlight instead of real issues affecting Canadian interests and, dare I say, values, is sad to see. Rather than giving Canadians an idea of where they want to take us, the Liberals are trying to re-visit the late 20th century. Harper may not be big on the vision thing but at least his ship has a setting (gotta love the North Star) that may take us into a better future.

01 November 2007

Disrespecting a Real Leader

There have been a few reports going around about a Quebec separatist attempting to smear Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu for his limited French-speaking capabilities. This is the type of item that exemplifies how some politicians will say or do anything in order to advance an agenda, and no doubt sits in the minds of regular people as to why they dislike politicians. Yes Koivu plays for a Quebec-based team that has a long and enduring legacy of being known as "the Flying Frenchmen," despite the fact that that heyday is long gone. This is a team that features players from all over the world: goaltenders from France and British Columbia; defencemen from Russia, the United States, B.C. again, Quebec, and Switzerland; forwards from Russia, the U.S., all over Canada, the Czech Republic, Quebec, Germany, and Belarus.
And, of course, Finland, where Koivu comes from. He didn't even speak English when he was drafted by the team in 1993. He's learned and mastered that language, which has certainly helped him become a true leader in Montreal, the mecca of hockey. He can communicate with all of his teammates and let them know what to do on the ice, with the media, and with the organization. Most importantly, he's been able to communicate with the sick children that he regularly visits at cancer wards in Montreal. He's raised over $5 million for a new MRI machine so that others can get the same top-notch medical care that he received when he was stricken with cancer in 2001. He is a prominent figure in the community, and an ambassador for the franchise that is beloved by the city.
Hearing some low-life politician looking for his fifteen minutes of fame embodies what is wrong with the Canadian body politic today. Anything is fair game, anything can and will be said in order to tar somebody and advance an agenda. Trashing Saku Koivu is not in the interest of the province of Quebec and it doesn't advance anybody's cause. It is being done solely to trash him and shame him because he doesn't speak three languages, the most important omission being French. He's a hockey player, not a linguist. His job is to put the puck in the net, not ensure that some politician's feelings are upset because he doesn't introduce the roster in the language of that politician's preference. It is shameful and despicable, which isn't all that surprising given the separatist agenda.