Friday, October 19, 2007

LINO: Dion

Liberals waiting for a miracle
Ottawa Sun: News Columnist MICHAEL HARRIS Fri, October 19, 2007

It may be time to rename Stephane Dion's dog: After his master's reaction to the throne speech, Kyoto would surely be more comfortable answering to Old Yeller.

With his party unravelling like a cheap suit, Dion sunk to the occasion in Parliament, bowed to his political foes, failed utterly to rally his own troops and then tried to talk away his political cowardice with the claim that Canadians don't want an election.

Perhaps Mr. Dion's wife believes that.

The rest of the country knows exactly why this interim LINO (Leader in Name Only) showed the white feather. The Liberal party is deconstructing itself. No cash in the kitty, an exodus of candidates and everyone around the leader wearing the rictus smile of execution at dawn or the lean and hungry look. (Someone should really wipe that ribbon of saliva off of Michael Ignatieff's face. Ambition is one thing, but drooling on live television is a no-no.)

Remember the days when being the party's Quebec lieutenant was like being made the 13th disciple? Now, nobody even wants the job.

Dion, twice turned down in trying to fill the post, was finally reduced to imposing on a senator. The Quebec wing of the party is beginning to look like one of those ghost towns in a Clint Eastwood movie.

Thankfully, Dion provided some comic relief in front of the cameras this week. The Liberals, he said, would not defeat the government because they wanted this Parliament to work. This from the same party that used every trick in the book to block, stall or derail all the government legislation they could, even using the unelected senate to gum up the works.

Hello. The Liberals don't give a hoot about whether or not Canadians want an election. Nor do they care about making Parliament work. All they want is to save their own bony political ass and that means buying time and hoping for a miracle -- a fatal blunder from the government, a reversal of their leader's fortunes.

I'll tell you what they're going to get: The prime minister is now going to call their bluff on all the so-called Liberal principles that were abandoned with the decision not to topple the government.

For starters, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not be accepting any amendments to his crime bill. Some of the amendments to it that passed in the last session will be removed. How does Dion stop him now that he has backed down on the speech from the throne? Will Canadians want an election any more in a few weeks time? And what about the Liberal LINO's new found commitment to wanting Parliament to work? The extent of the humiliation awaiting the Grits on this issue alone is contained in Dion's hilarious pronouncement that the Liberals have always been tough on crime. The only reason he would say such a foolish thing is that he is getting ready to capitulate again.

Before the prime minister is done the leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition is going to look like Stephen Harper's butler, caving in on the crime bill, the war in Afghanistan and, perhaps deadliest of all for the Grits, the environment. After all, Dion is allowing a legislative blueprint to stand that pronounces Kyoto targets unattainable and therefore irrelevant.

And what happens if Harper overplays his hand? Only this: He will get, and almost certainly win, the election he wants by making big gains in Quebec. The only real issue is whether he plucks Dion feather by feather until 2009 or chops off his head in an early election the Liberals are being invited to trigger.

Unless, of course, some merciful Brutus saves him the trouble.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Low income and homeless to Ottawa Recruiting Centre

Low-income tenants and homeless move furniture to Ottawa Recruiting Centre, just 5 days before Throne Speech

MONTREAL, Oct. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - Hundreds of low-income tenants and homeless people will move furniture in front of the Canadian Armed Forces Recruiting Centre, situated right in the middle of downtown Ottawa, not far from the Office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. This action is intended to denounce the growing disproportion between the federal government's humungous military expenditures and the meagre investments aimed at responding to the basic need of housing. The Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU), a Quebec housing coalition of 130 local organizations, including the Outaouais group, Logemen'occupe, are organizing this event, just five days before the Throne Speech that will decide the future of the Harper government, particularly on the issue of whether or not to continue Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan.

Date : Thursday October 11th 2007
Time : 1:30 p.m.: Gathering point and furniture move in front of the
Canadian Armed Forces Recruiting Centre, 66 Slater Street (corner
of Elgin), in Ottawa. Media Availability and Speeches on site
followed by a march to the office of Prime Minister Harper, at the
Langevin Block, corner of Wellington and Elgin.

N.B. Interviews are possible before the demonstration, during a community
lunch which will take place at 11:30 a.m. at the Centre Père-Arthur-Guertin,
16 Bériault Street in Gatineau.

For further information: François Saillant, FRAPRU, (514) 919-2843
(cell), (514) 522-1010; François Roy, Logemen'occupe de l'Outaouais, (613)
277-6507 (cell), (819) 778-1325


Afghan Govt, and executions ....

Afghan Government Executes 15 Prisoners
Associated Press Tuesday, October 9, 2007

KABUL, Oct. 8 -- Afghanistan executed 15 prisoners by gunfire, including a man convicted of killing three Western journalists and an Afghan photographer, the chief of prisons said Monday. It was the first time the country had carried out the death penalty in more than three years.

The mass execution took place Sunday evening according to Afghan law, which calls for condemned prisoners to be shot to death, said Abdul Salam Ismat, the prisons chief.

During the 1996-2001 rule of Afghanistan's hard-line Taliban government, executions were carried out in public, many of them at the war-shattered Kabul stadium, but the practice stopped after the Islamic extremist movement was ousted from power in a U.S.-led invasion.

The previous execution, in April 2004, had been denounced by the London-based human rights group Amnesty International, which said President Hamid Karzai had assured the group he would institute a moratorium on the death penalty.

Karzai's spokesman, Humayun Hamidzada, would not comment Monday but said last week that the president "has been holding on to these cases because he wants to make sure that justice is served and due process is complete."

The mass execution is likely to complicate relationships between Afghanistan and some NATO members with military forces in the country. International troops often take suspected fighters prisoner and later hand them over to the Afghan government, but some foreign governments would bar that if Afghanistan uses capital punishment.

The official announcement said Karzai ordered the executions following a decision by a special commission he had set up to review rulings by the Supreme Court.

Tom Koenigs, head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, said the world body has expressed its concern over use of the death penalty many times.

"The United Nations in Afghanistan has been a staunch supporter of the moratorium on executions observed in Afghanistan in recent years," Koenigs said.

Among those executed was Reza Khan, sentenced for adultery and the slaying of the three foreign journalists and the Afghan photographer in 2001. The four were pulled from their cars, robbed and shot near the eastern city of Jalalabad while traveling toward Kabul, six days after the Taliban had abandoned the capital following heavy U.S. bombing.

Also executed was Farhad, who like many Afghans goes by one name. He was convicted of involvement in the 2005 kidnapping of an Italian aid worker, Clementina Cantoni.