"OCAP Setting a Poor Example"

You can tell that the admittedly left-leaning Toronto Star is losing its patience with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, and it’s easy to see why. This attention-snatching little group has recently claimed to have stolen $3,500 worth of groceries from an upscale Loblaws.

And I have to say that, if this is true (Loblaws isn’t sure if it is, or just some deceptive publicity stunt), then the folks who organized and participated in the theft should be charged and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Much as I sympathize with the plight of the poor and the working poor, I do not hold with anarchists, or attempts to turn this into a class war. Acts of violence and thievery do not bring attention to the problems of the poor; indeed, they serve only to discredit the efforts of legitimate activists to try and make real and positive changes.

Better Living Centre has a good assessment of OCAP’s latest wackiness.

York University Spites its Face

I do not understand York University’s intransigence when it comes to installing a busway through their campus. They asked for improved transit to their campus. Their activities delayed and modified a serious subway proposal to loop the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line. So, the TTC has come up with an inexpensive but effective busway that seriously improves upon the frequent express buses that travel from the campus to Downsview station through mixed traffic.

The problem, according to York University, is that they don’t want the bus-only roads to enter the campus. Instead, they suggest routing the express buses onto Keele Street, negating the advantages the busway offered.

Andrew Spicer is similarly perplexed. Let us hope that York University eventually sees sense and comes to an amicable agreement with the TTC.

So, Who Blinked?

The Canadian minority parliament lives to squabble another day, thanks to a deal reached between the Liberals, the Conservatives and the Bloc to change a sub-amendment to the throne speech.

As late as 5 p.m. on Thursday, it looked as though the government of Paul Martin might fall, thanks to a Bloc amendment to a Conservative amendment to the government throne speech. The Bloc amendment asked the federal government to fully respect provincial jurisdiction and acknowledge and seek to alleviate the federal-provincial fiscal imbalance, “as demanded by Quebec premier Jean Charest.” After Paul Martin called Stephen Harper and Gilles Duceppe to his office, the Bloc agreed to change their amendment to drop the reference to Quebec premier Jean Charest.

So, who blinked? Everybody is saying that everybody else did it. On one side, the Bloc sub-amendment generated some real heat, not least of which from New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord — supposedly speaking for other provincial premiers — who objected to the suggestion that the federal government be asked to cede financial control to the premier of Quebec. The federal Liberals had in their hands a credible storyline: that the Bloc Quebecois were proposing a massive weakening of federal powers and that no federalist party could reasonably accept such a condition. So, if the government fell, it was the Bloc’s fault. The BQ changed their amendment to address that criticism.

But the fact remains that although the BQ changed their amendment, it was Paul Martin who had called the amendment a vote of confidence against the government, and it was Paul Martin who phoned Stephen Harper (and Stephen Harper who phoned Gilles Duceppe) and arranged to have the amendment changed.

So, while I can’t really tell who blinked, I think I know who didn’t, and that would be Stephen Harper and Jack Layton. Harper turned up the heat, and he himself didn’t back down over anything. Layton stood above the fray and denounced everybody else for playing “chicken”, something that he is receiving equal measures of praise and scorn for.

Best Question of Last Night’s Debate

Relayed to me through Erin, since she watched it, and I didn’t:

“President Bush, during the last four years, you have made thousands of decisions that have affected millions of lives. Please give three instances in which you came to realize you had made a wrong decision, and what you did to correct it. Thank you.”

As you would expect, the answer turned into a debate over the Iraq War, but the president didn’t really answer the question.

Which is unfortunate. A good leader has to know how to correct mistakes.

The debate appears to have (again) played well to each of the candidate’s bases. Bush is losing ground, though, as his mistakes during the debate come to light after the debate.

For example:

BUSH: “I own a timber company?”

Why yes, Mr. President, you do.

Also, from the first debate:

BUSH: “I won’t hold it against [Kerry] that he went to Yale.”

I hope not. After all, you went there too.

Check out FactCheck.org (not the anti-Bush FactCheck.com, which Cheney accidentally referred people to) for some non partisan analysis of each of the candidates’ statements. Yup, Kerry’s own specific statements are given the fact check they deserve…

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