Saturday, April 4, 2009

PMO Delayed Report about Laura Gainey's Death

The Canadian Press release a news story today about how the PMO (Prime Minister's Office)told the Transportation Safety Board to hold off on the release of a report on their investigation on the death Laura Gainey, daughter of hockey hall of famer and General Manager of the Canadiens Bob Gainey.

In a series of emails with the PMO, the office of Rona Ambrose wrote to Aaron Masson (director of communications for the Transport Safety Board) and said: “My Chief of Staff has just been told by PMO to hold off on the release of the report until after the election.
However, PMO would like to be made aware of any development that occurs once you speak to the family and tell them that there is a blackout on release of reports during the [election] writ period.”

A lawyer named Michel Drapeau would specializes in public access to information said: “The Transportation Safety Board makes reports and makes findings. For any political power to interfere with it, it's improper ... totally improper.They don't even hide the fact it's for a political purpose. They were doing it ... in preparation for an election campaign.”

I'm not exactly sure if what was done by the PMO is exactly illegal, but it seems to me to be pretty darned unethical, why should an independent investigatory body, such as the TSB, take orders from the PMO? And better yet, should an election really make a father wait 2 more months to find out the investigation details into his daughter's death on the whim of a Prime Minister?

I think that this is beyond inappropriate, stalling any reports for reasons other than immediate national security is not something our government should be doing. Not to mention that I didn't think our government was supposed to be able to tell independent agencies what to do. Hopefully this was a one time incident, a little blunder and it won't happen again. But the way I look at it, once is already too much.

I'm sure that heads will role in the Harper government, let's just see who they make the scapegoat this time.

Muchacho Enfermo

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Afghanistan... why haven't we left yet.

The Afghan ambassador to Canada was appealing to Canadians to not react too sharply to Article 132 and to keep supporting the mission in Afghanistan. He stated that his government had made great strides in women’s rights and the protection of women over the last 8 years. He also stated that the NATO mission was meant to help in restoring democracy and that it’s clear that they now have a democratic process. I must also, to be fair, add that the Afghan minister of justice has agreed to meet with foreign policy makers and amendments may be brought forth in Article 132.

I’ve spoken to many people about this whole thing over the last few days and the opinions vary from: “screw that let’s just leave” to “Oust Karzai and let the UN run the country” to “this is a great step in the right direction for democracy.”

Over the years I’ve had some friends and family serve in Afghanistan, I currently have some there, they’ve always supported the mission, and they’ve always thought they were there to stop things exactly like Article 132. They’ve fought hard and lost friends for this belief, even with so much of the country not supporting them back home. They went to bed at night proud that they were making an actual difference.

Now it’s not exactly clear what kind of difference they’ve made... It seems that they’ve helped a country rid itself of cruel leaders that regarded women as nothing less than sex toys and baby machines, only to replace it with someone who does the same thing except that he does it behind our backs smiling the whole way.

If it wasn’t for Canada and the NATO mission Karzai would have never won an election and if he did, if it wasn’t for NATO guarding his city he’d have been assassinated long ago. I think that our actions in Afghanistan entitle us to some kind of forewarning if a bill that is so radically against our values is being tabled.

Let me be clear, for those who say Canada or NATO has no right to intervene with governmental affairs of a sovereign nation... The Allies intervened in WWII to stop Germany from taking over the Europe and to stop the killing of Jews. We intervened in Kosovo to stop the ethnic cleansing. We tried to intervene in Rwanda but the world would not listen. Western intervention should not always mean the implementation of western values, such as democracy and a freewheeling economy, but it should mean the implementation of certain values that should be shared by every nation on earth: basic human rights and civil liberties for everyone, period. I think Canada has every right to tell Karzai to change this law now or we leave Afghanistan today.

Muchacho Enfermo

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Time's 100 most Influential People of 2009

The Time 100 most influential people list is a prestigious list to be on, if you somehow make it you will be in the company of champions for human rights, US presidents, financiers and Nobel prize winners. But if you look closely at the current polling results it's clear that our politicians and activists have far less influence on the world than say... Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears.

Britney Spears (while I type this) is in the number 9 position, the Jonas Brothers are in 16th place and US President Barack Obama is in 17th. Miley Cyrus is at number 20 while Aung San Suu Kyi (Nobel Peace Prize winner) sits at number 23, one position ahead of basketball player Kobe Bryant.Yoani Sanchez is at number 32 just behind Zac Efron and evil dictator Robert Mugabe at number 35 is far more influential than say... Hilary Clinton who is number 42, directly behind the current Pope. Just to say how crazy we are: investment guru Warren Buffett (at number 93) is less than Thomas Beatie (the pregnant man)...

This is just a crazy segway into the real reason behind my post, somehow, this list list matters, Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez made it on last year, help get her on there again (and kick Miley Cyrus off) by clicking the widget in the top right hand corner of this blog.

Muchacho Enfermo

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pack it up, we leave Afghanistan today!

It was reported yesterday, from news sources all over the world that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is rumored to have signed a law that would not only diminish women's rights in Afghanistan, it would outright throw them out the window. This new law (Article 132) states that "women must obey their husband’s sexual demands and that a man can expect to have sex with his wife at least ‘once every four nights’ when traveling, unless they are ill." It also prohibits women from going to the doctor or leaving their home without their husband's protection.It is also rumored to grant custody of children only to fathers or grandfathers.

Shinkai Karokhail (a female Afghan MP): "It is one of the worst bills passed by the parliament this century."

Senator Humaira Namati (Afghanistan): "Worse than during the Taliban". "Anyone who spoke out was accused of being against Islam."

Hilary Clinton: "This is an area of absolute concern for the United States.My message is very clear. Women's rights are a central part of the foreign policy of the Obama administration."

Stockwell Day: "The onus is upon the government of Afghanistan to live up to its human-rights responsibilities, absolutely including the rights of women. If there is any wavering on this point … this will create serious difficulties, serious problems for the government of Canada."

Unifem (U.N): "Article 132 legalizes the rape of a wife by her husband."

The current Afghan administration actually had the balls to claim that this law protected women, who according to them, are weaker than men. Hamid Karzai declined to comment. It is widely speculated that signing this law is a move to garner votes from Afghan fundamentalists for the upcoming August elections.

If this law proves to be an actual law I firmly believe that Canada should lead the way in leaving Afghanistan. I would love to say that we should stay until our 2011 deadline and try to sway the Afghan government, but it's clear that NATO's influence in this country has not done very much good if the Afghan parliament still passes such backwards legislation as this one. How can one put his political career before the rights of millions of citizens?

We (Canada) should not be defending a government that does not do its best to protect its citizens. We should not support an administration that violates the rights of women. We should make our discontent and anger known. Canada, as a country known for its peacekeeping and for being a champion for Human Rights, should not be associated in any way in propping up this government that has clearly failed to live up to our, and the world's, expectations.

I don't want to see anymore Canadian men and women brought back home in coffins for a country that legalizes rape and violates Human Rights. Afghanistan, consider this your ultimatum.

sources for quotes:
Globe and Mail
Daily Mail

Muchacho Enfermo

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jews Targeted by Stupid People (again)

In a 4 paragraph little story in the Globe and Mail (written by the Canadian Press) B'nai Brith of Canada stated an 8.9% increase in anti-semitic crimes this year alone.

B'nai Brith states Israel's invasion of Gaza as a factor, but mostly points to the current economic crisis as being the main reason behind the crimes. Over half of the crimes (harassment, vandalism and abuse) have occurred in the last four months, the period where our current recession really took hold.

Let's face it... that's just messed up. Who in their right mind can blame a particular faith or ethnicity for a global economic meltdown? What about blaming the banking system in the US, the war in Iraq and the entire world for believing that the great financial times would last forever?

This whole mess has nothing to do with any one particular group of people... but it's clear that at least 1135 uneducated and probably (more than) slightly unbalanced Canadians think that Jews are to blame.

Muchacho Enfermo

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Obama to GM CEO: You're fired

In a move that surprised the industry and will surely rock the stock market today, President Obama asked GM CEO Rick Wagoner to resign. The President has also given Chrysler a 60 day deadline to prove it is worthy of bailout money.

I have a really mixed sort of emotion about this whole thing, as I'm writing this I'm not even sure how the end of this post will look.

On the one hand I LOVE the accountability that Obama is trying to push hard for, especially when giving out tax dollars; as opposed to say... the proposed Conservative slush fund to "quickly disperse the money without going through the usual parliamentary spending checks" , which did not have the safeguards in place to protect Canadian tax dollars. I also love that the President seems to be paying attention to what companies are doing and the economy.

On the flip side, I don't like that when he appears on TV for presidential addresses the stock market almost inevitably goes down the next day. I also very much dislike the idea that a President of the US can force the president of a publicly traded company to resign. Can he urge the board to make radical changes? Certainly. Could he make suggestions to said board? Of course, the bailout money is his to dole out.

But GM is not a federally owned company, like say VIA Rail is here in Canada. That for me is where my moral dilemma lies. I understand that he's trying to look out for his people, making sure their money is well spent, making sure that past trends are reversed; and I agree with all of that. I just have a hard time believing what I'm seeing in the country that is probably the purest form of capitalism known to man, you wouldn't even see something like this in Canada and we LOVE public programs such as Healthcare, Medicare, EI, Welfare, Child Tax Credits and "Free Education". The only time CEOs here were forced to step down was after the sponsorship scandal where government funds had been misspent and misdirected.

GM under its current management probably doesn't deserve billions of tax dollars and yes, the CEO should have resigned, along with most of the board. But that's just my view, as a potential shareholder. Maybe the President is also a shareholder... In any case, as steward to the trillions of American Tax Dollars and after the bailout goes, he'll be the only shareholder that matters.

Muchacho Enfermo

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dalai Lama Banned from South Africa

(Also posted on

The Dalai Lama has been refused a travel visa to South Africa, in fact he will be banned from entering the country for the next 16 months. The ban comes following pressure from China to stop the Buddhist spiritual leader of Tibet to attend a peace conference.

The peace conference was to be held in Johannesberg and was organized by Mandla Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela. The list of attendees included Archbishop and Nobel prize winner Desmond Tutu, Nobel prize winner Nelson Mandela, Nobel prize winner his Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.

Archbishop Tutu and the Committee are now refusing to attend the conference in protest of South Africa's move. Tutu is quoted in the Globe and Mail as having said in regards to the ban: “We are shamelessly succumbing to Chinese pressure,” and that he was “distressed and ashamed” by the “disgraceful” decision to prohibit the Dalai Lama from entering South Africa. The move is “a total betrayal of our struggle history"

South Africa says it stands by its decision and says it is due to the World Cup of soccer being held there next year. Government officials have stated that having the Dalai Lama visiting would take the spotlight away from the World Cup preparations.

It's clear to me (and apparently 86% of South Africans polled this week) that the South African government caved under China's influence. A country that considers itself an example of freedom and a beacon of Human Rights for all other nations of the world living with intolerance and ethnically biased policies, should now be holding its head in shame. South Africa has given in to pressure that is ethnically and religiously and monetarily motivated, something they fought so hard against to defeat Apartheid.

In a move fueled by money and fear South Africa has tarnished its image. Its people are losing faith in its government. The world is watching and waiting to see what happens next.

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