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Monday, 28 December 2009

Who will succeed Kyle Rae?

Longtime Toronto City Councillor Kyle Rae announced earlier this month that he will not be running for re-election in 2010. Rae was originally elected in 1991 after beating Adonica Huggins Sherona Hall for the NDP nomination in what is now Toronto Centre Ward 27. Rae filled an opening created by then city councillor Jack Layton's decision to run for mayor. Rae left the NDP in 1993 1994 to protest the Bob Rae government's decision to not whip his caucus to vote for same-sex benefits and allow a free vote instead - which failed due to several NDP MPPs voting with the Opposition. Since then, he's essentially been a Liberal in all but name supporting Liberal candidates such as George Smitherman, Bill Graham and, ironically, Bob Rae. Kyle has also been a general disappointment by supporting the closure of homeless shelters in his ward, backing policing against homeless people sleeping in parks, supporting the creation of Dundas Square as a privatized, commercial playground rather than a genuine public square and holding swank fundraising parties at College Park's exclusive Eaton Auditorium.

Despite his background as Executive Director of the 519 Community Centre in the 1980s, Rae has been, in practice, a city councillor for Rosedale and downtown condos rather than the poorer tenants of his ward.

The NDP has largely withdrawn from being an organized entity in municipal politics and will not be holding a meeting to nominate an NDP candidate in Ward 27.

So far, four individuals have emerged as likely candidates in next year's contest;

*Helen Kennedy is a former East York councillor and was subsequently Olivia Chow's longtime executive assistant when she was city councillor in Ward 20 (Trinity Spadina). When Chow moved to federal politics, Kennedy won a bitter contest against Tam Goosen for the NDP nomination to succeed Chow in the 2006 municipal election and went on to lose an equally bitter contest against Adam Vaughan. She is now executive director of Egale Canada, a national GLBT rights organization.
*El-Farouk Khaki, a lawyer, human rights activist, 2009 Grand Marshall of the Pride Parade and past NDP candidate in Toronto Centre, says his candidacy is not likely but that he's not closed the door to the possibility.
*Chris Phibbs is a senior advisor to David Miller and was executive assistant to Kyle Rae from 1992 to 2003 when she ran and lost as a candidate in Riverdale in the 2003 municipal election against NDPer Paula Fletcher. She has reportedly ruled herself out of the race.
*Enza "Supermodel" Anderson is a transgendered activist and media personality who ran for mayor in 2000 as a novelty candidate and came in third with 13,000 votes. She ran against Rae in 2003 and won 15% of the vote. She was grand marshall of the 2008 Pride Parade.
*Susan Gapka is also a transgendered activist and a representative of the Ontario NDP's LGBT caucus on the party's provincial executive. She ran against Rae in 2006 winning 4.8% of the vote.
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Thursday, 30 April 2009

Tell me why (I don't like Mondays)

Or "National Post deathwatch part 23"

National Post stops Monday editions in summer

As CanWest sinks further and further into debt and tries desperately to stave off its creditors the company has announced that its flagship newspaper will not be publishing on Mondays through the summer. Think of this as the Aspers' version of "Rae Days".

Post publishers Paul Godfrey and Gordon Fisher are trying to put the best face they can on this move stating in their Note to Readers that "this change is in some respects simply a return to what used to be the norm. Financial Post, the 102-year-old heart of our newspaper, prospered for years as a Tuesday-to-Saturday publication." Somehow, I think most Post employees and readers don't see this retreat as a nod to nostalgia.

As CanWest tries to sell of non core assets and dead weight in an attempt to remain solvent the Aspers will have to, sooner rather than later, decide the ultimate fate of the National Post which has never once returned a profit in its ten year history. Chances are that by the end of the summer it won't be just Mondays on which the Post won't be publishing.
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Thursday, 9 April 2009

Order of Canada revoked from disgraced recipient


No, convicted felon Conrad Black still has his gong.

The disgraced figure who has been stripped of his Order of Canada is T. Sher Singh, a prominent Guelph lawyer who was appointed to the order in 2001. Singh was expelled from the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2007 after he "failed to serve clients, mishandled trust funds, misappropriated $2,000 from a client and continued to practise after being suspended in November 2005." The Toronto Star reported earlier this week that Singh's Order of Canada was revoked in December 2008 "pursuant to the Law Society of Upper Canada finding Mr. Singh guilty of professional misconduct and revoking his licence to practise law."

There is no indication that Singh was either criminally charged or convicted for his misdeeds.

So here's the question, if someone can have their Order of Canada taken away as a result of being disciplined by a professional body for misconduct then why does Conrad Black still have his Order when he has been rendered a much more severe judgment by a criminal court?

If you are no longer deemed worthy of an honour for having misappropriated $2,000 and being expelled from the Law Society of Upper Canada, then certainly committing a $6.1 million fraud and being sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison is automatic cause for being de-orderized?

Conrad Black has lost every appeal and the Supreme Court of the United States appears to have passed up its option to consider Black's case a month ago. So why does Black still have the Order of Canada?
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Friday, 3 April 2009

Meir Weinstein of JDL nailed by CBC Radio News World at Six



CBC Radio News has a report this evening on Meir Weinstein and the Jewish Defence League. Where other media outlets have failed to dig further into Weinstein's past or that of the JDL the CBC managed to put Weinstein on the spot. Weinstein tries to wiggle away with some rather disingenuous excuses as well as outright lies but I'll provide a dissection a little later. But first, here's a rush transcript of tonight's CBC Radio News report on Meir Weinstein and l'affaire Galloway:

Bernie McNamee: There's another twist tonight in the George Galloway saga. The controversial British MP was refused entry to Canada because of his alleged support for the Palestinian militant group Hamas. now it turns out the man claiming credit for tipping off immigration officials is Meir Weinstein. Galloway's supporters say Weinstein himself was a spokesperson for a Jewish extremist group on Canada's list of banned terrorist organizations. Our security correspondent Bill Gillespie has the story.

Channel 4 News presenter: Banned from Canada and branded a threat to national security George Galloway says he'll fight a shameful decision.

Bill Gillespie: Britain's Channel 4 led their newscast this week with the Galloway affair. In fact, they brought Galloway and Meir Weinstein together to butt heads on a trans-Atlantic video link.

Meir Weinstein (on C4): We are extremely determined to uncover any proxy agents of Hamas.

Galloway (on C4): You don't have to uncover me, I'm an open book.

Bill Gillespie: Ottawa's decision to ban Galloway came four hours after Weinstein held a news conference alleging that the British MP had provided material support for Hamas, a banned terrorist organization in Canada but Galloway's supporters in the blogosphere say Weinstein himself was once a member of a Jewish terrorist group. In 1994 he was identified in a Canadian Press article as a spokesperson for the Kach Party, also known as Kahane Chai. A Kach member in Israel had just massacred more than 50 Palestinian worshippers. Weinstein refused to condemn the attack. He doesn't deny making the statement but he denies ever being a member of Kach.

Meir Weinstein: I've never been a member of Kach or Kahane Chai.

Gillespie: Canada, the US, and the European Union later put Kach and Kahane Chai on their list of banned terrorist organizations. Weinstein denies any connection between Kach and his present group, the Jewish Defence League of Canada. But left-wing bloggers who support Galloway point out that the logos of both groups - a clenched fist in an embedded Star of David - are almost identical. Weinstein says Kach stole the logo from the JDL.

Meir Weinstein: Um, that's the logo of the Jewish Defence League so they took it from the Jewish Defence League but again I don't dictate to them what they're going to do or anything like that.

Gillespie: But bloggers also discovered a link on Weinstein's Facebook page to a chat group called "Death to Arabs". Weinstein says the link was sent to him in Hebrew and he added it not knowing what it said. He has since deleted it. But despite his best efforts he didn't succeed in keeping Galloway from his speaking engagements in Canada.

Galloway (Toronto speech): You won't be able to hide behind your immigration officials who can't speak up for themselves.

Gillespie: The pro-Palestinian group in Toronto that invited Galloway beamed him into a packed church on an internet video link. Bill Gillespie, CBC News, Toronto.

1) Kach stole the JDL's logo? Come on Meir, why not give the actual explanation which is that the JDL was founded in 1968 in New York by Meir Kahane who moved to Israel in 1971 where he founded the Kach Party a few years later. They have the same logo because they are both founded and led by Kahane (who remained the JDL's mentor long after he founded Kach). Is Weinstein accusing Kahane of stealing the logo from himself? Secondly, as Bill Gillespie reported Weinstein himself was a Kach spokesperson in North America (Weinstein didn't deny this, he simply equivocated by saying he was never a Kach "member"). As for there being no connection between Kach, Kahane Chai and the JDL - that's just a bald-faced lie. Apart from having the same founder and leader in the person of Kahane, even after Kahane's death his successor as JDL leader, Irv Rubin, raised funds for Kach/Kahane Chai and promoted the terrorist group.

2) Unfortunately Bill Gillespie didn't report on the JDL's own well documented history of terrorism or the fact that JDL leader Irv Rubin and his deputy, Earl Krugel were arrested in 2001 for plotting to blow up a mosque in Los Angeles (Rubin had been in Montreal months before trying to set up a Montreal JDL chapter). Krugel was convicted - Rubin escaped justice by killing himself in prison.

3) "Weinstein says the link (to join the "Death to the Arabs" Facebook group) was sent to him in Hebrew and he added it not knowing what it said." Now I just laughed when I heard this. Weinstein has been an observant Jew, by his reckoning, since the late 1970s and even claims to have served in the Israeli military but he can't read Hebrew? I have to give him credit though, this was somewhat more believable than Weinstein's original explanation which was that the Iranians somehow planted the link on his page.

Let's hope Gillespie, and the rest of the media, follow up on this. According to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terror (START) the JDL was for many years the second most active domestic terrorist group in the United States. There's no reason for the Canadian media to let them off the hook or for any of us to tolerate their attempts to influence Jason Kenney or the Canadian government.

UPDATED: The report is now up on YouTube:

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Galloway sues Farber, CTV, Kenney, Velshi

On Wednesday, I was the first to report that British MP George Galloway was suing Bernie Farber and CTV for libel. Today, Canadian Press reports on this and adds that he will also be suing Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Alykhan Velshi for remarks they made about him.

This should get interesting. Let's home he finds cause to add the human troglodyte Meir Weinstein to the list.
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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

George Galloway suing Bernie Farber and CTV

Word out of Montreal tonight that George Galloway made public during his webcast to Concordia tonight that he has launched a devamation lawsuit against Canadian Jewish Congress CEO Bernie Farber and CTV for defamation uttered in an interview.

UPDATE: Galloway repeated the news in his webcast to Ottawa and the National Post has picked up the story.
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Friday, 20 March 2009

Kenney vs Velshi

Reading the New York Times' lexicological take on Canada's decision to bar British anti-war MP George Galloway from entering our fair land, I'm left wondering about the dynamics in the relationship between Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney and his aide Alykhan Velshi. It's quite clear who the brains is in the outfit. Velshi reaches back three centuries to find what he feels is the right word to describe Galloway as an "infandous street corner Cromwell." Infandous, which according to the Oxford English Dictionary hasn't been used in English since 1708, means something approximating 'unspeakable' or 'too odious to be mentioned'. Meanwhile Kenney, in an interview with Channel 4 News in Britain was somewhat less articulate telling the presenter that he isn't going to let Galloway "pee on our carpet". Kenney's language better reflects the actual thought processes of the government as the decision to bar Galloway from entry is infantile. Of course, we shouldn't assume that Velshi's seeming ability to find just the right arcane word is a result of a love of language - it may be the product of a love of death metal which, given our government's ideology, is not out of the question.
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Saturday, 7 March 2009

NDP Convention: 3rd ballot - Horwath wins

Third Ballot

Andrea Horwath 6732.34 (60.4%)

Peter Tabuns 4420.66 (39.6%)
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NDP convention: second ballot

Second ballot results

horwath 5259.06 votes - 43.6%

tabuns 3819.82 votes - 31.7 %

Bisson 2988.12 votes 24.8%

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