Banksy: peace for paris

Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for the TV show “The Wire”. And also some colourful language, such as you might expect when talking about terrorist bastards.

This week has been a bad one for the world. Unless, of course, you happen to be a giant terrorist asshole. Terror attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, and the deadliest attack in Paris since World War 2 have sent the world reeling. The group known by many acronyms — ISIS, ISIL, or what I’ll refer to in this post as Daesh, has claimed ‘responsibility’ (if such a word could even be used) for all three attacks.

All this has happened against a backdrop of unprecedented humanitarian crisis, as hundreds of thousands of refugees continue to flee Syria’s deadly civil war. Western governments are debating how they can cope with what they’ve dubbed a “migrant crisis”, as though the problem only started when desperate refugees started showing up in Europe. It happened on the eve of the G20 summit in Antayla, Turkey, and in the lead-up to a huge global summit on climate change taking place in Paris.

The responses to the attack, in typical format, have followed the Rorschach Test pattern; people see in tragedy what they want to see. More foreign aid. Less foreign aid. More military intervention. Less military intervention. More solidarity with refugees. Close our borders to refugees. It’s about Islam. It’s not about Islam. And so on, and so forth. French president Francois Hollande has taken a hard line, promising military strikes against Daesh, closing of borders, and crackdowns all around.

Everyone has an opinion on how to fight this so-called “war on terror”. But is this really a “war”?

It strikes me that this so-called “war on terror” bears a lot of resemblance to another misnomer: the so-called “war on drugs”.

Sure, this isn’t exactly an original observation. Plenty of people have pointed this out in analysis after analysis. But, other than depressingly similar tactics, sources of funding and consequences, these two so-called wars parallel each other in other ways. Here are just a few:

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There are petitions going around urging Justin Trudeau to appoint Elizabeth May as Environment Minister.

I think that’s a terrible idea. Here’s why:

After a decade of Stephen Harper’s “war on science”, we finally have a government committed to returning to evidence-based decision making. Trudeau wants to bring back the long form census. He wants to make scientific committees independent again. He’s committed to bringing knowledge and scientific literacy back into public policy.

Elizabeth May and the Green Party, on the other hand, are a fringe party with a strong fringe lunatic contingent. Yes, they’re shiny and feisty people are prone to like them, and May in particular.

But when you chip away at the surface a little bit, you discover that this party supports or has supported all sorts of The Crazy: Anti-GMO, anti-vaccine, worried about cell phone radiation, pro-public health coverage for “alternative” medicine such as naturopathy or homeopathy. It goes on and on:

“After reading the above, I suppose what follows is less of a shock, but it’s still pretty bad. The following points are all part of the Green Party’s health care platform:

Provide funds to expand provincial health insurance to cover proven alternative therapies that are less expensive and invasive such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture. (p. 68)

We will promote complimentary health care – through support of chiropractic, naturopathic, homeopathic, and other non-western practices. The Green Party of Canada recognizes the value of good health as a fundamental human right, and also the key to the most vibrant, inclusive and sustainable Canadian society possible. (p. 71)

Expand healthcare coverage to include qualified complementary/alternative health professionals such as naturopaths, acupuncturists, homeopaths, licensed massage therapists, chiropractors, and dietitians. (p. 73)

And sure, the above was from their 2011 platform. Since then, the Green Party has backpedaled on some of that nonsense. But not all of it. Which makes sense when you consider that it’s a fringe party, and has to pander to its fringe base for votes. If the party were to grow to become more mainstream, it’s likely that the fringe element would be calmed. But that’s not enough.

I want someone as environment minister who finally is going to make real, evidence-based policy decisions about the environment and fight climate change based on actual science. There’s just no room for woo in this job.

While I applaud the spirit of reaching across the aisle, I think Elizabeth May is wrong for the job. I’d think she was wrong for the job if she were a Liberal, too.

In my opinion, someone like Stephane Dion would make a terrific environment minister. There may be other places where Trudeau could reach across the aisle. But please don’t do it at the expense of science.


It’s a Liberal majority!


Wow. Just wow. Prime Minister Trudeau. It’s been a long time since Canada has heard those words. Before my lifetime, anyway. I dared hope for a Liberal minority. I never in my wildest dreams could have predicted a Liberal majority. The Tories have been turfed out. Stephen Harper has announced he will step down as [...]

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Pollwatch: Dirty tricks as Canadians vote


#Pollwatch: I’ve been hearing reports of people having difficulty voting, despite being on the voter registration list and showing up with multiple forms of ID. Via the Orwellian-named “Fair Elections Act“, Stephen Harper is trying to make it more difficult for people to vote, and I fear he may be succeeding. Don’t let him get [...]

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John Oliver on Canadian Election: Don’t vote for Harper


John Oliver is one of my favourite comedian-slash-pundits. Last night, he took on the topic of the Canadian federal election, as only he could: Now, it’s true that this is a bit of a lighthearted treatment of the topic, with plenty of room for moose jokes and Canadian stereotypes. But remember that Oliver is addressing [...]

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Let’s do this, Canada!


Well, it’s been a really long slog of a campaign. But either way, it all ends tomorrow. So I’ll just leave you with this plea: Please get out and vote — it CAN and WILL make a difference. If you’re not sure where or when to vote, visit If you aren’t sure who to [...]

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Pre-election thoughts


Thoughts heading into the weekend before the election: ‪ Polls showing a Liberal surge are going to help Trudeau‪‬, as anti-Harper voters get off the fence and hop on the bandwagon of the party they perceive as most likely to beat the Tories. Having said that, recent polls don’t reflect the Dan Gagnier resignation over [...]

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Habs start season a record-breaking 5-0-0


Don’t look now, but the Habs are off to a hot start, going 5-0 for the first time in franchise history: “Despite powerhouse Canadiens teams that won a record 24 Stanley Cups in their 106-year history, the previous club record for wins to start a season was only four, last accomplished in 1977-78.” It’s early [...]

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The Guardian on Stephen Harper


The Guardian has published a damning, point by point account of how the Harper‬ government has cheated, lied, blustered and outright steamrolled over democracy on their way to three consecutive election victories.   An unkind cartoon this summer showed the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, kneeling before the statue of another politician, asking: “What now, [...]

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13 thoughts after watching the Vice interviews with Trudeau and Mulcair


Stephen Harper is an idiot for refusing to do this interview. They lobbed softballs for the most part, and he might have even scored some points with young Canadians. His silence speaks volumes about how little he cares about anyone under the age of 35. Then again, we already knew that. Holy crap, I’m not [...]

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