Tag Archives: Canada

Well, we can’t have that!

marc-emery-embrace

Regular readers and friends will know that I wrote a book last year entitled “Start and Run a Marijuana Dispensary or Pot Shop” (yes, hit the link and buy the book…I make about a buck). The book was written in anticipation of Trudeau’s legalization strategy here in Canada and the likelihood that many more American states would legalize recreational or medical marijuana in the November elections.

I don’t have a particular axe to grind in the pot wars. If I smoke pot I go to sleep in three minutes or less. So I don’t. If I had trouble sleeping, I would. But, politically, I think it is assinine to keep marijuana (and several other drugs) illegal. Doing media for the book I have chattered away on assorted Canadian radio programs and said, bluntly, that for the time being, opening a pot shop in Canada opened you to the business risk of “GOING TO JAIL”. My lovely publicist Hanna probably grimaces when she hear me say that but it is, absurdly enough, true.

Which was proven today.

Police officers in several Canadian cities raided illegal marijuana dispensaries linked to activists Marc and Jodie Emery on Thursday, charging them and several others with drug offences as part of an investigation led by Toronto police.

The raids were the latest attempt by local police forces to shut down pot shops that have been opening in cities across the country, even as the federal government prepares to fully legalize the drug with legislation this spring. It was also notable for the involvement of Vancouver’s police force, which has largely left dispensaries in the city alone, including those run by the Emerys.

The two were arrested at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Wednesday as part of a Toronto police operation called Project Gator. the globe and mail

Now, what is actually going on is that the prohibitionist faction in the Liberal Party, led by ex Toronto police chief Bill Blair, having lost the big argument to young Justin, is fighting a brutal rear guard action against the hippy libertarian pot people who don’t see the need for massively intrusive pot regulation. And there is no better place for such un-Canadian anarchists than court and then jail.

The game here is simple: legalization if necessary but not necessarily legalization. The dumbo Millennials who flocked to hip young Justin heard him say “legalization” and didn’t hear all the caveats. But Bill Blair did. And Bill Blair is not the sort of guy who likes any sort of disorder. (Disorder needs to be kettled in Blair world.) The emergence of a grey market in pot is disorderly. It means that the big money guys at Canopy and the other publically listed potcos might be cut out of a “bottom up” recreational marijuana market.

Blair said a day ago that Canada would not rush into the legalized recreational pot market. First there is the legislation which is expected in spring. Then there are the regulations to be worked out with the provinces…

Lawmaker Bill Blair — the former Toronto police chief leading Trudeau’s legalization effort — confirmed a bill is due in parliament this spring, but it won’t be the last hurdle as ample regulatory work remains. The federal government will take its time and work with provinces, territories and cities to build a framework and develop specific regulations, he said.

The government is also looking for ways to control production, distribution and consumption of legalized marijuana, while testing it for quality and keeping it out of the hands of minors, Blair said. bloomberg

All of which should give assorted police forces plenty of time to raid, charge and crush the emergent, unregulated, pot industry in Canada. (To save the children and ensure “purity” of course.)

Trudeau’s supporters are far too stupid to realize what is going on. In fact, Trudeau himself, who simply wants to legally be able to enjoy a joint after dinner, isn’t bright enough to realize the prohibitionists and the corporate pot guys are now running this show. He’s been played.

Marc and Jodie Emery are the go to people for media on the pot issue. Given the charges filed today, they may not be available much longer. Which is exactly what corporate pot in Canada has been pushing for.

 

(And…WTF? Vancouver too. Shame on you VPD.)

Update: 

Ottawa policeman raids pot shop

Ok, why the mask?

Masked police may make sense in terror situations but, so far as is known, pot shop owners don’t track down cops.

So why the mask. There are other pictures of the raids on Cannabis Culture with other masked officers. Why?

I can imagine the poor buggers are ashamed of themselves but that is no justification for wearing masks. I suspect the elephant gun is for taking down the maddened stoners frequenting the shops. But the mask?

The mask is about intimidation plain and simple. The hidden face of the big state showing those hippie libertarians who’s boss. Anti-terror cops sometimes wear masks although they shouldn’t because they should be proud of what they do. Secret police wear masks because they know they cannot be proud of what they do.

So, Justin, you might ask Bill Blair, just out of interest, why the masks?

 

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Trump and the Canadians

Trump, CanadaCanadians’ views on American politics are generally fairly predictable. Being Canadian means a degree of smugness blended with a drop or two of envy and a fairly constant need to assert moral superiority. In a very polite, but persistent way.

The candidacy, nomination and election of Donald Trump gave the better class of Canadian plenty of opportunity to show each other just how intelligent and enlighted they were. The Coynes and Kinsellas competed with each other in the political snobbery sweepstakes. Trump was Hitler, the Republicans the Nazi Party, Steve Bannon was a badly dressed Goring or, more likely, Satan himself. Breitbart News was Der Stürmer, the alt-right was universally the SS, the Trump regime overnight transformed America – save for the brave “Resistance” – into an anti-semitic, racist, fascist, misogynistic state in which freedom of the press and human rights in general were crushed under the jackbooted heels of Trump’s evil to a man (and pretend woman) Cabinet.

It has been tons of fun to watch ostensibly rational, intelligent, people reach immediately for the white supremacist smear tool kit in the face of the unthinkable occurring in our neighbour to the South.  The fact that, one month into the Trump Presidency, the worst he seems to have done is be rude to CNN and the New York Times doesn’t deter our good and decent Canadians one bit. They just know that Trump is an evilton and, at any moment, will open the concentration camps and start rounding up Mexicans, Jews, Blacks, Muslims, Women, Queers, NYT reporters and anyone else the human Cheeto and his henchmen find objectionable.

And, to make the entire thing even more ominous, there seems to be a belief that Trump was put into position by none other than Prince of Darkness, Vladimir Putin and that Trump is simply following orders. Or something.

Step by step refutations of all or some of this hysteria have next to no effect. the Canadian reaction to Trump is not a “political” reaction in any common sense of that term. It is far more visceral, more religious, more tribal: Trump could be a very good President, accomplish great things, improve the condition of black people, defend the 1st Amendment and preside over an economic boom lifting all boats and he would still, to the Canadian commentariat, be the Hell Spawn of Satan.

Now some of that commentariat, like Kinsella, are simply stupid partisans for whom nothing Trump says or does will ever be anything but evil. These were the people who, had they been Americans, would have eagerly voted for Hilly on her merits. (A touching act of faith performed by very few actual Americans – the “hold your nose for Hillary” voters constituted the bulk of her support.)

The mildly more rational, like Coyne, seem to see Trump as essentially impossible. Back before the election Coyne was rumbling on about not being able to see how anyone could support Trump. More recently, he is using the Trump re-alignment in American politics as a stick with which to beat up the Canadian conservative Manning Center conference for having rightish agenda items and some populist speakers.

The biggest worry, the nightmare scenario, for the Canadian media and political elite, is the possibility that Canada is not entirely unanimous in its fevered rejection of Trump and all he stands for. There is an awful possibility that we do not live to welcome refugees. And there seem to be some ungracious Canadians who believe that people who come to Canada should adopt Canadian ways and “fit into mainstream Canadian society”. Yikes!

There is some evidence that, once they realize what it costs and how little effect it will have, Canadians are not entirely willing to do whatever it takes to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

There are even some Canadians who are growing a tiny bit suspicious that mainstream Canadian media might not be reporting objectively. In fact, when Macleans let a bunch of its staffers go a few weeks ago, there were nasty Canadians saying “good riddance”.

Despite the frantic efforts of the Kinsellas and Coynes of this world, there are disturbing signs not every Canadian is thrilled with rule by the Laurentian elite.

For all of his foibles, the late Rob Ford’s success in Toronto, worried Canadian elites. I mean it’s one thing to have yahoos in Alberta electing hard core conservatives, but this was Toronto.

The three leading contenders for the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership are all running from the Right. Leitch because that gave her an edge in the early going; O’Leary because, well, who knows what goes on in that strange little man’s head; Bernier because he has run and been elected as a libertarian conservative for years.

Mainstream media is bleeding out, unable to compete with online, unable to adapt to the internet and unable to attract revenue. It is being replaced by everything from VICE and The Rebel to news and views delivered by social media. The cozy relationship between the Globe and Mail, CTV, CBC and the Ottawa political world is collapsing because ambitious politicians can by-pass the media elite.

If our commentariat thought about it for a bit they would realize that the actual reality of Trump is not that he is orange Hitler; rather he and the people around him have figured out how to culture jam traditional media, traditional politics and, perhaps, the deep state. Thinking about how Trump managed to do that would be more interesting than thinking crapping on him from great height somehow matters.

The people, the Canadians, who realize that Trump was actually about something important and transformative will have a clue about what is likely to go on in Canada in the next few years.

 

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Pot Leaks

marijuana postal delivery

Here are your brownies Mrs. Smith. Can I see some ID?

To my not very great surprise, John Ivison of the National Post had parts of the Canada Marijuana Task Force Report leaked to him.

What was a tiny bit surprising was to be called by “The Morning Show with Matt Gurney and Supriya Dwivedi” http://www.640toronto.com/morningshow/ at 5:30 AM this morning (Producer Ryan…you owe me baked goods.) to comment on the information disclosed in the leak. You can listen to my remarkably coherent (having been awake for a minute and a half) ramblings here.

A couple of slightly less random thoughts on the leaked material.

The leak itself is interesting and more than a little outrageous. The Report clearly favours Health Canada Licenced Medical Marijuana growers and many of those corporate grow shows are publically traded companies. Allowing the report to come out in dribs and drabs (because “translation”) could cause deep uncertainty in the public markets. The government should release the report, in toto, immediately.

Substantively, the Report apparently recommends that legalization efforts be directed at “getting rid of the $7-billion-a year black market. Sources familiar with the report, which is expected to be made public Dec. 21, say all the other recommendations flow from that guiding principle.”

It is not clear whether that “black market” includes the grey market of dispensaries and pot shops which has grown up in Canada and which continues to expand.

Using “legalization” as a weapon against the “black market” is pretty much the level of restrictive thinking I expected from the Task Force. Rather than seeing legalization as an opportunity to regularize the marijuana market, the language suggests a resumption of the war on drugs by other means.

The Task Force is apparently suggesting that the 40 Health Canada approved licencees remain the only legal source of marijuana and proposes that recreational pot, like medicinal pot, continue to be delivered by Canada Post. A nostalgic bow to the mail and a suggestion pretty certain to keep dispensaries and “Bob on the corner” in business for the foreseeable future. Here is a free clue for the Liberal government: recreational pot users are impulse buyers. As I say in my book, “The most common triggers for the decision is that, by their lights, a customer is running low on pot, has run out of pot or has been out of pot for some time but only now has the money to buy more pot.” In short, not likely to wait a week for Canada Post to deliver.

But recreational pot users may be waiting a lot longer than that. Let’s do a bit of simple math. A 7 billion dollar a year “black” market at, say, $10 per gram implies a 700 million gram market or 700,000 kilograms. According to Health Canada’s market data, Canada’s licenced corporate grow shows, in the quarter ending September 30, 2016 produced 5734 kilograms of pot and had inventory of 13,236 kg. Just for fun, lets say we take quarterly production to 7000kg. Annualized, in round numbers, 30,000kg.

Yup, the combined production of all the Health Canada licenced corporate grow shows is, optimistically, less than 5% of projected recreational demand aka “the black market”. Don’t be looking for the postie with your pot anytime soon.

There is no question that some, but not all, of the current licencees can scale up their operations; however a 20x increase in production is not likely with only 40 licencees.

Ivison’s story goes on to suggest that, at least initially, Canada Post would have a monopoly on pot deliveries. The logic here being that Canada Post would verify the identity and age of the people it was delivering to. Right. Just for fun think about how that would work. Would you go to your local post office and present ID to pick up your pot? Would the postie (for those of you who still have home delivery) ask for id at your door? Canada Post according to its 2015 Annual Report delivers millions of parcels. Some days it delivers over 1 million parcels. E-commerce is taking off and Canada Post is getting its share of the business. But a great deal of the parcel post does not involve any interaction with the recipient.

If you take the “black market” number of 700 million grams and assume people will buy in 10 gram parcels – call it $100 – that is 70 million face to face deliveries a year. There will be new jobs at the Post Office.

The only encouraging thing in the Ivison piece is that distribution and production will have to be discussed with the provinces. Ivison suggests that, at least in BC, “which already has a large number of pot shops, the expectation is that the provincial government will require dispensaries to buy marijuana from a licensed producer.” This would make a heck of a lot more sense than distributing through the Post Office.

I am waiting for the release of the actual report, but if Ivison’s article is substantially correct, the Liberal Government is being handed a largely unworkable plan for marijuana legalization. Insufficient supply, inefficient distribution and a prohibitionary mentality seem to have destroyed the entrepreneurial opportunity marijuana legalization presented.

I’m not surprised.

 

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Venezuela

Well this is a surprise…Honest reporting from the People Paradise: NYT

From the coast, we started inland, a journey that began with the discovery of black gold. Not of oil, of which there is plenty in Venezuela, but of black beans. There are almost none in this country.

Few producers make them anymore for the fixed government price. Octavio Medina bought them for 50 times that price and still sold them for an additional markup on the street. He says dozens of people buy bags, priced at half a day’s work at minimum wage.

Socialism based on an oil economy…Hmmm. With our boy Justin at the helm I am thinking beans might be a good investment this summer.

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2.65 Billion: It’s Harper’s Fault

cmip5-90-models-global-tsfc-vs-obs-thru-2013
(link)
Assorted rightie bloggers are expressing their outrage that Trudeau has committed Canada to spending 2.65 billion dollars helping 3rd world kleptocracies “fight climate change”.

As I said at Kate’s and repeated at BCF,

Idiot.

However, the real problem lies with Harper and the Cons not digging in and discrediting the global warming farce while they had a majority. 20 million tossed at sceptical researchers – ideally led by Steve MacIntyre – and the whole scam could have been buried forever.

Instead, Harper and the Cons pretended that global warming was a thing. They didn’t actually do anything about it; but they did not use their time in government to demolish the Green Blob.

20 million versus 2.65 billion simply because the Conservatives were chickenshits.

Harper might have had an excuse with the minorities. He had no excuse with a majority. He knew the science was bogus and the economics laughable. But he wanted to avoid offending the climate true believers. So he punted the file and we are stuck with 2.65 billion now and carbon taxes and, Lord knows, what else.

A twenty million dollar Commission looking at the science and the economics could have torpedoed the crazier claims of the warmists and built a solid wall of science preventing Trudeau and Dion and the other dimwits from fashionably screwing the economy.

Harper lacked the courage of his convictions on this file and many others. Good riddance.

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France and Terror

Ignored in news coverage of the Paris massacre is the single most pertinent piece of background: A 2014 opinion poll found that ISIS had an approval rating in France (at 16%) almost as high as President Francois Holland (at 18%). In the 18-to-24-year-old demographic, ISIS’ support jumped to 27%. Muslims comprise about a tenth of France’s population, so the results imply that ISIS had the support of the overwhelming majority of French Muslims (and especially Muslim youth), as well as the endorsement of a large part of the non-Muslim Left. Spengler

Spengler suggests that France will do nothing in the wake of the Paris attrocities. His logic is that to do something involves putting pressure on the French Muslim community which, in turn, will likely cause a great deal of trouble. The French don’t want the trouble so they will do nothing.

I am not sure Spengler is right but the numbers and the concentrations of Muslims in France suggest he may be.

I don’t live in France but the takeaway for Canada is that at a certain point a Muslim population becomes unmanagable. Canada is not at that point. Yet.

Realistically, Canada needs to take a hard look at immigration from Muslim majority countries. A trickle is one thing, a serious flow quite another. By eliminating, or vastly reducing, immigration from those countries we have the chance to avoid the truly awful consequences of a large, unassimilated and potentially hostile group within our borders.

I suspect if you were to ask the average Frenchman or Englishman or German whether, given the chance of a “do-over”, they would have welcomed quite so many Muslims to their nations, you would hear a chorus of Nein, Non and No. We have the opportunity to reduce our future regrets with, initially, a moratorium and then, after a decade or so, a re-examination of the question of Muslim immigration.

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Ooops…

CO2, China, Canada CO2 emissionsChina burnt 17% more coal than it had previously said it did. Which, what with one thing and another, comes to a billion extra tons of evil CO2 “spewing” (it always spews) into the atmosphere. (NYT for details.)

So, as Paris fast approaches and the great and the good led by Prime Minister Trudeau prepare to pledge reductions in Canada’s CO2 emissions we might pause to consider that Canada’s total CO2 emissions from all sources in 2013 were…726 million tons. Yup, we spewed less CO2 than the CO2 spewed by China’s little error.

Whatever we pledge – in an excess of virtue signalling – will make absolutely no difference to the temperature of the Earth even conceding that CO2 has some effect. Our noble pledges will be entirely lost in the rush to industrialization taking place in China, India and many other countries. For all the difference to the climate Prime Minister Trudeau and the premiers and his merry band of Cabinet Ministers will make in Paris they might as well skip the jet ride and the hotels and mail in some targets which will not be met. Cheaper and less polluting.

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Promises

Justin TrudeauTomorrow Justin Trudeau becomes Prime Minister. As the Lying Jackal points out Trudeau has made a lot of promises along the way. Realists, and the Jackal is certainly nothing if not that, are suggesting that there is a lot on Trudeau’s plate and that a few items will likely fall off. Quite right. Now the question is which items?

Here is the Jackal’s list with a few comments.

Syrian refugees: 25,000 by year end. No. Even if it were possible – and it likely isn’t – it would be unwise. There are a lot of “refugees” and then there are a lot of people who are pretending to be. Sorting sheep from goats is important here. As well, paying attention to which of the refugees are at risk of genocide – Christians, Yazidis and so on – have no future in Iraq and Syria. They are not going back.

Doctor-assisted suicide: All the rules in the world are not going to replace medical judgment. Upping the morphine at end of life should not be a crime. Professional oversight should be sufficient to prevent flagrant murder, but I can’t see how you can legislate judgment.

Repeal parts of C-51: This is actually not that hard. Putting in the sunset provisions is easy. Beefing up the oversight is a bit trickier but possible. The one thing that Trudeau didn’t promise, but which would improve C-51 immediately, is to include very stiff administrative, financial and, ultimately, criminal penalties for misuse of the powers C-51 creates. Put the security services on notice that misuse has real, career ending, consequences. And make sure that there is a named officer in charge of every operation who will be identified publically and fired in the event of misuse.

Launch inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women: Appoint a judge. Set a budget. Wait three years.

Reinstate long-form census: Sure, but make it voluntary. At that point, the air goes out of the argument against. (And, realistically, the statistical validity of the material is largely unchanged if two or three people decline to fill it out.) Problem solved.

Pull out of Obama’s anti-ISIS force: Yes, tomorrow. It is a pointless waste of time run by an idiot. (But keep our guys working with the Kurds. About the only good guys in the entire mess.)

Restore home mail delivery: As the Jackal points out, Canada Post has suspended the implementation of the program. Does anyone still get mail?

Legalize marijuana: Given the complete balls up the Conservatives made of the Medical Marijuana Program it is almost impossible for Trudeau to do worse. The Jackal cites the hoary old “but the US will clamp down on the border” chestnut as a reason for delay. Rubbish. Colorado and Washington have legal, recreational pot and the feds have backed off. California will legalize in 2016 along with a number of other states. The war on pot is over in the US.

Legal pot in Canada can be in place in three months. 1) Allow already licenced medical growers to sell to the general public through the mail as they do for medical users now, 2) allow them to sell to registered – make registration really easy – dispensaries, 3) unplug the bottlenecks at Health Canada and start issuing licences to more grow shows. The pot ship has sailed. Minimally regulate it, tax it and move on.

Ratify TPP: Sure. But also think about what a realistic Canadian trade stance should be.

Frankly, if Trudeau can’t get most of this done in a five-week Parliament he and his Cabinet are overthinking things. The only genuinely tough item on this list is the Syrian refugee question and even that is more about timing than policy.

Politically, being able to sit in front of the Christmas fire and tick of a list of promises made, promises kept,d is going to make Trudeau look brilliant. The real work begins in the New Year.

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Enter the Dragon

001The French language debate – a rite in which each leader demonstrates his or her grasp of French and Quebec issues – turned up something interesting. Mulcair and Trudeau think the niqab is perfectly suitable attire for taking your citizenship oath: Harper and Duceppe don’t.

Neither, it turns out, do 80% of Canadians and 90% of Quebecers. There’s a fine old fight going on at Dawg’s blog in which Dawg himself says,

The niqab, after all, is just synedoche for the Muslim presence in Canada. In the service of hatred and fear, articles of ethnic clothing are completely interchangeable.

The electorate has become a mob. And how easy it was. dr.dawg

While I certainly don’t agree that the electorate has become a mob, I think Dawg is exactly right when he says that the niqab has become “synedoche for the Muslim presence in Canada” (synedoche means a part which represents the whole (yes, I had to look it up too)).

All of a sudden the people of Canada have the opportunity to express their views about Muslim immigration. Perhaps not directly – after all the niqab is not a particularly good proxy for Islam as it is not required religiously and not all Muslim women feel compelled to wear it – but far more overtly than the topic has ever been broached before.

Dawg ascribes all manner of sinister motives to Harper, his Aussie advisor and the CPC in bringing this up at all. For all I know this may very well be an exercise in wedge politics. If it is then it is about time that this wedge be tested.

Immigration policy in Canada has never really been put to any sort of popular test. Nor has the ruling class’s conviction that the only thing which matters about Islam is Islamophobia. Dawg lines up nicely with the ruling class and, in the lively comments, states,

There IS no legitimate debate about the degree a government should be prepared to extend human rights to minorities. Rights should never be up for debate, and frankly I don’t give a damn what Chantal (Hebert) says to the contrary. dr dawg

Apparently, well over 80% of Canadians disagree with this position.

Partially, I think, the debate turns on whether one sees Muslim immigration as just another instance of immigration or if one sees such immigration, particularly from the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia, as potentially more problematic than other sorts of immigration.

There are thousands of Muslim immigrants to Canada who lead rich, full integrated lives as Canadians. I am thinking particularly of the several hundred thousand Ismailis who arrived as refugees in the 1970s and have gone on to build vibrant, integrated communities all over Canada.

However, there is a growing minority of Muslims who have moved to Canada but who seem incapable of leaving their old countries, customs and culture behind. The burkas at Walmart are one thing, the demand for segregated swimming times another, the terrorism and support for Sharia law yet another.

Over at Dawg’s the argument seems to be that even noticing that there are Muslim immigrants who do not integrate well into Canadian society is bigoted or racist. Which it may well be; but Canadians have the right to at least discuss how they would like their country to evolve. Should we welcome immigrants from parts of the world where anti-Semitism is matter of fact? Where women are treated as chattels? Where support for the barbarity of Sharia law is a religious duty?

Harper – perhaps by design, perhaps by accident – has given Canadians the opportunity to discuss and, maybe, vote based upon their particular answer to the question of whether, in general, we should accommodate the religious, cultural and political demands of Islam.

I suspect he has won the election by giving Canadians that choice.

[And, as a bonus, I rather doubt that there are any Canadians other than the editorial board of the Globe and Mail, who don’t take a certain satisfaction when convicted terrorists are stripped of their Canadian citizenship. Just as few Canadians lamented when various Nazi war criminals lost their citizenship.]

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Betrayed: Stephen Harper’s war on principled conservatism – A Review

51i7c9ikkIL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Various people have asked me why I will not vote for Stephen Harper and the Conservatives in this election. While the Cons’ failure to seriously tackle the deficit, reduce the size of government and begin to dismantle the Liberal state are all good reasons, I probably would hold my nose one more time if it were not for one, fundamental fact: C-51. And I might have even given Harper a pass on C-51 if I didn’t know the Conservative record on free speech, the perversion of the Human Rights Commission and the legal thuggery which attended it.

Connie Fournier and her husband Mark are not going to be voting for the Harper Conservatives either: Connie has detailed her reasons in Betrayed: Stephen Harper’s war on principled conservatism.

Full disclosure: I’ve met Connie and Mark once and I provided an affidavit in their defence when Dr. Dawg sued them for libel (a case which they won at great personal expense). Connie and I chat on Google and, in so far as it is possible to have friends you only chat with on the internet, I’d like to think Connie is one of mine.

The Fourniers are ordinary, middle class Canadians – Mark drives long haul trucks, Connie was a homeschooling stay-at-home mum – who were politically involved as far back as the Canadian Alliance. They started a website called Free Dominion in 2001 where conservatives of various sorts could post topics and comments and have a good time arguing among themselves. Continue reading

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