Author Archives: Jay Currie

Terrorism

A horrific shooting has occurred at two mosques in New Zealand. It looks like 40 people were killed and at least twenty more badly injured.

Much as it would be comforting to think that it was done by someone “mentally ill” it seems to have been a carefully planned, viciously executed attack by a single, or perhaps group of, nasty white extremist(s). Terrorism plain and simple, no excuses, no BS about “root causes”.

And, for God’s sake no candles, flowers and teddy bears. Murder is murder, terror is terror and there is no reason at all to minimize it or pretend that one more chorus of “Imagine” will heal the innocent worshipers who were killed, their families or their community.

It is very early in this story but it is absolutely essential that the terrorist(s) be interrogated and whatever support they may have had brought to account.

Terror is terror. Its perpetrators are evil regardless of their religion, ethnicity or politics.

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The Real Scandal

It seems pretty clear that Trudeau and company’s response to the SNC-Lavalin issue is to muddy the waters, deny responsibility and move on. Given the supine nature of Canada’s media and the Liberal’s majority in Parliament, this might just work. Especially if the focus remains on whether or not there was “inappropriate pressure” exerted on Jody Wilson-Raybould when she took her decision not to intervene.

However, there is a more basic problem here as outlined in Andrew MacDougall’s excellent article in Mcleans.

“By late that same summer, the federal government launched a public consultation on its integrity regime, including the possibility of including deferred prosecution agreements into Canadian law. The change wanted by SNC now had its chance to find broader support. And a few months later—and featuring a submission from SNC—the consultation concluded.

And then, as if by magic, a proposal for deferred prosecution agreements was buried into page 202 of the 2018 federal budget.” Michael Wernick’s SNC-Lavalin problem Mcleans

Read the whole thing because it is a very clear look at how this scandal tracks back to the PMO, PCO and Finance with Jody Wilson-Raybould principled decision essentially being roadkill in the drive to extricate SNC from its own folly.

And there, of course, is the real scandal. No one is disputing that SNC broke all sorts of laws in pursuit of its business interests. What is in issue is what the consequences of that lawlessness should be. The Deferred Prosecution Agreement language is an attempt by a private company to create its own get of jail free card. That the Trudeau government would even entertain, much less pass, such legislation, makes its systemic corruption obvious.

Long before the Liberal establishment – from the Prime Minister on down – behaved badly toward Wilson-Raybould it had already betrayed the Canadian electorate by enshrining a sweetheart deal in the Criminal Code.

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Burnaby South

You can watch the results here.

As the count begins two points: first, Mr. Singh pretty much has to win this or his tenure as NDP leader will come to a very quick end.

Second, if People’s Party candidate Laura-Lynn Thompson polls respectably, a solid third or even second, Max can declare victory and push on. Fourth won’t cut it. She has to beat at least one legacy party’s candidate.

Bonus third, if Laura-Lynn Thompson wins, which is most unlikely, Canadian politics will never be the same. All of a sudden the People’s Party becomes viable and the CPC’s mistake in electing Scheer rather than Max is going to become as pressing as Mr. Singh’s demise.

Enjoying political drama as I do, I am hoping Thompson beats the odds and wins; but if she manages a serious finish and Singh is defeated, the next General election is going to become a lot more interesting.

Update: Lots of votes to be counted but Singh looks to have taken the riding and Thompson is running a distant fourth. Canadian politics reverts to the boring mean. Not unexpected and, frankly, Thompson’s socon politics leave me cold. One of my kids asked me if I would have voted for her if she had a serious chance to win. Given my own, largely libertarian politics, probably not. A data point Max might consider.

Social conservatives, however well meaning, tend to be out of step with pretty much the whole of Canadian society. Which is electoral poison. Max needs to recruit smart libertarians if he wants to win. Running socons is not a winning look.

Updater: This shouldn’t matter but apparently it does. Jagmeet Singh is the first non-white leader of a Canadian political party to ever take a seat in the House of Commons.

I once was lucky enough to have a Sikh girlfriend (Hi Sandy!) and I’ve had many Sikh clients over the years. The idea of “non-white” seems very silly to me. Canadian Sikhs have embraced Canada. Their skin tone seems a grand irrelevance. The faster we dispense with “white/non-white/black/First Nations” the better. But, for the moment, we can celebrate the fact that a deeply misguided, socialist, intersectionalist, and slightly brownish Canadian was elected despite not being all that white. How cool is that?

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Amateurs

The great and the good huddled in a Commons Committee to consider how they would investigate the allegation that Prime Minister Trudeau or his gunsels leaned on the AG, Jody Wilson-Raybould with respect to the SNC-Lavalin affair (as the CBC so delicately puts it).

Here’s a hint lads: you call all the people who were involved or who might have been involved. Otherwise the “investigation” is a farce from the go.

Here’s the other hint, people notice this stuff.

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Bit Snowy…

And the power keeps going out…But pretty:

Over Reach

Nancy Pelosi and the MSM are breathlessly announcing the demise of the hated Trump. He caved on the shutdown/border showdown and now it is just a matter of time before he resigns, is impeached or neutered by the fearsome force which is the Democratically controlled House of Representatives. And even if he limps home to finish his term, there is just no way for him to get re-elected after this debacle. And Russia – Pelosi is more than happy to suggest Trump is Putin’s puppet.

I didn’t think much of Trump calling off the shutdown. No doubt he had his reasons and he is pushing the idea that it is a three week hiatus; but the fact is that Trump lost that round and losing is not something which Trump is very good at. I don’t hold out much hope that the Dems will suddenly see the light on the border in three weeks and vote the funds. Nor do I think that going the “Emergency” route is likely to work simply because there will be a judge somewhere who will enjoin the Emergency declaration.

Nope, Trump needs to do something which is immune to Congressional funding and which is a much less juicy judicial target. That something is, frankly, building the wall by Presidential fiat. The how is to use Department of Defence and Department of Homeland Security funds and get going. The “Wall” itself is a not particularly good idea – there are more sophisticated ways of controlling the Southern border – but it is a huge symbol of determination. It needs to get started and if that means an end run around Congress, Trump’s predecessor did that same sort of end run to get ObamaCare up and running.

However, the Wall per se is not going to be enough to turn it around for Trump. He actually needs to take the fight to the Democrats and to the deep state itself. The indictment of Roger Stone (for “crimes” which have nothing to do with Russian collusion but rather having to do with lying to Congress – a crime everyone from James Comey to Lisa Page and Andrew McCabe have committed from inside the FBI/DOJ) means it is time to start laying out the criminal conduct of the FBI/DOJ. It means it is time to re-open the question of Hillary’s emails and how the FBI entirely mishandled that case.

The Democrats are going to spend the next two years throwing muck at Trump. It will do Trump no good at all to sit on the evidence of ongoing Democratic Party/FBI/DOJ criminal actions.

At the same time, we will have the pleasure of watching the Democratic Party nominate a Presidential candidate. My clever middle son suggests that their best bet will be the sort of candidate who I would not vote for in a million years. (My older son is too busy gloating to give the matter much thought.) The list of potential Democratic Party Presidential nominees I would not vote for is very long indeed. But Sam’s point is well taken. If the Democrats want to beat Trump they can’t work on the basis that virtually any candidate can get the job done. After all, the most qualified (and entitled) candidate of her generation lost.

Trump is going to spend the next six months to a year shoring up his base as the cliche goes. But as he does that he is also going to be picking away at key Democratic Party support. A few points in the black community, a few more with Hispanics, done right Trump could be formidable.

This is particularly true if the Democrats have a real donnybrook of a nomination fight. In a field with Irish Hispanics, fake Indians and Jamaican East Indian gals who slept their way to the top, the entertainment potential is Huge. And there is nothing more vicious than an identity-driven, virtue signalling, fight on the left. Particularly when most of the contenders have come up in an environment in which any sort of accommodation or concession will be seen as betrayal. The Twitter brigades will be out in full force and there will be no need for Russian bots to thoroughly demoralize the many losing sides in the Democratic race.

Trump was certainly hurt by the shutdown/border retreat.

But, if you are going to shoot a lion you better be damned sure to kill the lion. Trump’s retreat was not a mortal blow, the question is whether it was a flesh wound or something more serious. We’ll see over the next few weeks and then the next year.

The hyenas in the Democratic Party and the MSM have, I suspect, once again over-reached.

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New Year, New Attitude

Alberta’s truckers are planning to drive to Ottawa in February to express their displeasure with the feds refusal to get on with building pipelines and the lunacy of the Trudeau carbon tax. Leaving aside the rigours of driving the trans-Canada in February, this is a very un-Canadian sort of activity. Because it is activity. Canadians normally sit around the bar grumbling, they don’t “do” anything which is what our masters in Ottawa and the provincial capitals count on.

While the truckers are driving in protest, an Alberta rancher is taking a stand against that province’s carbon tax. Remembering that Alberta’s Premier originally introduced the carbon tax to, somehow, gain social licence for the much-needed pipelines and noting that those pipelines have not even been started, rancher Sheila Griffith is refusing to pay the carbon tax portion of her propane bill.

While the truckers will make better copy, Ms. Griffith represents a far greater threat to “business as usual”. If more than a few people join her the Alberta government will, quite quickly, notice a hole in its budget. Apparently, the propane company will just tack the unpaid portion onto her next bill – but it will not halt delivery.

These two items, as well as the appearance of “yellow vests” at other Alberta protests, suggests that in Alberta at least, people are getting fed up with simply being ignored. They are getting fed up with the Tweedledum/Tweedledee routine of Trudeau and Scheer.

Simple, direct, action will not change the Liberal’s fixation on the tax grab which is the carbon tax or the endless kowtowing to minority First Nations opposition to pipelines or Quebec’s reluctance to replace Saudi oil with Alberta oil. It might have a small effect on Scheer’s fixation on being so bland that he wins the next election by default (a bad strategy but apparently all he’s got.) What it does do is set up the conditions for a revolt at the ballot box come October.

Right now Maxime Bernier needs to be in Alberta. He needs to visit and encourage Ms. Griffith and go to a trucker’s rally or two.

Canadians are very reluctant to actually do “civil disobedience”. It is not who we are. The fact there are large protests tells me that, in Alberta at least, a tipping point has been reached. A smart, insurgent, politician and political party would be taking full advantage.

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Shutdown

It appears that the US Government is “shut down” as of a couple of hours ago.

Oh Dear!

Because the US Government traditionally does its best work between Christmas Eve – which Trump has declared a day off for Federal Workers – and New Years.

Say what you will about Trump, and I say plenty, he is not an idiot. Right now he can have a “federal government shutdown” for twelve days and no one will notice.

I don’t think the wall or the big steel fence or whatever else Trump wants on the border is a brilliant idea. But it is a campaign promise and Trump needs to take steps to keep it.

For the moment, Trump puts the Democrat’s and the Republican’s feet to the fire with very little downside to Trump. And he can just keep going. The fact is that only about a quarter of federal employees are actually laid off in a “shutdown”. Bets are that most of them are not hugely significant to the function of the US.

We’ll see.

No PR for BC

Well, that was crushing: 61% of the 41% of eligible voters who actually voted rejected proportional representation and opted to stick with “first past the post”.

Assorted lefties and millennials were unhappy. But, really, they have only themselves to blame.

I rather like PR but none of the options presented on the mail-in ballot was worth having. Because the lefties who supported PR wanted to ensure that the PR they would have would avoid the possibility of actual “representation” for any but the NDP and the Greens while increasing the voting efficiency of those Green and NDP votes.

I will leave it to voting wonks to explain the three useless choices presented as the PR alternatives; rather I will pay attention to a very simple idea which was, of course, not included.

Reduce the total number of MLAs elected by electoral districts by, say, one half. So the 87 current electoral districts would shrink to 43. Then take the 44 seats that would open up and run a province-wide list system with a threshold of 2.5% of the votes cast. So you would have one vote in a First Past the Post race in your electoral district and 44 votes to distribute to the 44 slots on the “At Large” lists. [And I would not allow a “straight ticket” single vote…you’d have to vote 44 times or once – because vote plumping would be encouraged.]

Essentially this is the system the Australians use to elect their Senate and it allows a wide variety of candidates to take a run for office with a decent chance of winning.

It would also be a wonderfully upsetting experience for the current parties.

Ezra Levant was happy to see the FPTP system retained but wistful because he would have run a Rebel slate and thinks he could get 10%. (Maybe, I rather doubt it.) But what would happen is that a ginger group of half a dozen to a dozen “list elected”

MLA’s could represent everyone from my own favourite Wine Tax Freedom (WTF) Party to a party composed of First Nations people and on to Christian Fundamentalists and Antifa. With a 2.5% threshold, you can pretty much guarantee the First Nations party would hold four or five at-large seats. So could a Teacher’s Party or a Resource Extraction Party (see Suits and Boots). Recent immigrants to British Columbia could run their own lists as could Aged Bald White Guys such as myself.

But this sort of radical democracy was not on the table in this referendum. Too scary for the NDP and the ultra-conservative Greens.

Because real Proportional Representation was not on the ballot PR lost.

Too bad.

(I might add that it was a huge mistake for the pro-PR forces to entirely align with the left and the greens. Essentially that alignment turned the referendum into a pseudo-referendum on the current Red/Green coalition. That is never a good idea on what is actually a process question.)

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The Strange Case of General Flynn – II

Whatever hopes people had that Judge Sullivan was going to be annoyed at the FBI/DOJ’s procedural irregularities died as Judge Sullivan instead suggested that General Flynn had betrayed his country, asked the prosecution if treason charges had been considered (a remark he subsequently withdrew) and refused to rule out jail time. As he did this the Judge got Flynn on record as knowing that lying to the FBI was wrong, not believing he had been entrapped and insisting on pleading guilty even when offered the chance to change his plea.

Then, weirdly, the judge offered to postpone the sentencing indefinitely with a status update in 90 days. Apparently, this will allow Flynn to further co-operate with Special Counsel and give Judge Sullivan all the more reason not to jail Flynn.

Frankly, the indefinite postponement seems off to me. As does Flynn’s repeated assurance to the judge that he really does want to plead guilty. As Eli Lake points out at Bloomberg, “Nearly two years after the FBI trapped Flynn, the crime the Justice Department was investigating remains unknown. If it turns out that the reason Flynn was a target is as flimsy as violating the Logan Act or not being candid with his colleagues, then that itself is a scandal.”

I suspect Flynn wants to plead guilty because he has been threatened with a whole set of other indictments if he does not. Those, in turn, would cost millions to fight. And they might well involve his family as well. Purely as a matter of self-preservation, Flynn might believe he needs to plead.

The postponement of actual sentencing makes less sense. Mueller has already made his case for no jail time. Flynn is already a co-operating witness on a bunch of matters which – while well outside the scope of any proper Russian collusion investigation – Special Counsel is pursuing.

The delay may, however, give Flynn the opportunity to reconsider his plea agreement and to consider the foundation of the case against him per Eli Lake above. The only reason Flynn was in Court today is that he lied to FBI agents who, apparently, just dropped by the White House on instructions from Andrew McCabe – a now disgraced Deputy FBI Director. Why were they there? Why did they not follow standard protocols when dealing with the White House or with a represented person? As Lake asks, what crime were they investigating?

The foundations of the entire Special Counsel/FBI/DOJ operation against Trump, his campaign and his White House has always been vulnerable to attack on the basis that there is a lack of a foundational crime for the FBI/DOJ to have been investigating going all the way back to 2015 when, apparently, FBI/DOJ people began circling Trump. Back then there was no need for an actual crime because the tools being used were counter-intelligence rather than criminal.

The counter-intelligence investigation, as Andrew McCarthy has pointed out, morphed into a criminal investigation with the appointment of Mueller. But that appointment did not, in fact, create a criminal predicate.

While Flynn co-operates with the SC office on matters having nothing to do with the mandate of that office, he and his lawyers have the opportunity to rethink his case and their approach to it.

Reading Sullivan’s remarks and questions in Court today I get the sense that this rethinking was what the Judge had in mind as he systematically tore down the “Logan Act” premise and the “treason” premise by asking the prosecutor whether those charges had been contemplated.

Judge Sullivan also poked and prodded both Flynn and his counsel. The line “You sold out your country” (despite being entirely unwarranted on the facts before the Judge which he later admitted) was, in my view, meant to anger Flynn, get him to fight. So were the Judge’s remarks on the possibility of jail time.

Whether or not Flynn will be sufficiently provoked to rethink his position is hard to say. He’s been pretty badly beaten up by the process and couldn’t be blamed for simply walking away. But many things can change in 90 days.

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