Sunday, 23 December 2018

Canada at a Crossroad

During 2018 Canadians have witnessed few ups and more downs across the country. While we can argue who or what is to blame, we must acknowledge that the country is facing many obstacles, if not all created by bad policies and egocentric politicians.

The continued blind and ideological Prime Minister Trudeau has successfully thrown the country into another crisis laden by calls of separation by a Province-Alberta. The current federal government has continuously believed that lining up its agenda with the rest of the world, namely the United Nations, would make Canadians better. Despite the rosy claims made by the PM, dissention and loathing of some of his polices abound.

His blind support of the Paris Agreement on the environment and his polices of consultation with virtually every interest group against pipelines has caused a crisis in oil and gas producing provinces. Alberta has seen a recession and a collapse of its main source of revenue. But the catastrophe also rests with an Alberta government who agreed to impose a carbon tax in the hope of getting a pipeline built. In addition the Notley NDP government has destroyed the Alberta advantage through massive expenditures and socialist fiscal policies. The British Columbia government which only exists because it is supported by the Green Party has decided that Alberta oil is no longer part of the national economy and has helped the federal government to come to the conclusion that it should nationalize the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Furthermore the Quebec government does not support an Eastern pipeline, while the Eastern part of Canada buys its oil from foreign countries. Yet Quebec will receive Billions of dollars under the Equalization system while Alberta gets nothing. The Liberal government does not have a national energy strategy, what it has is an environmental strategy that will destroy the Canadian economy and divide the country.

The other issue that will burden the country for years to come is another globalist agenda. PM Trudeau believes in open borders and has allowed close to 40,000 of illegal immigrants into the country. In fact in a social media communication he invited illegal immigrants into the country. Millions of dollars are being spent in housing and supporting illegal immigrants while many Canadians, including veterans, live in poverty. He also recently signed a UN declaration on immigration, which although non-binding, may well be used to further increase immigration and be used as tool for gerrymandering. A culmination of his spending excesses that includes expenditures around the world to secure a seat at the United Nations has left the Finance Department to tell us that Canada will not see a balanced budget until 2040

While many blame the rise of Donald Trump and populism for the problems we see today, we should not ignore that it is the leftist and globalist policies of many governments that are causing the real problems. We can only see what is happening in Europe to understand that Canadians should follow suit and start confronting the current government, in non-violent protests, and stop us down the slippery slope of economic, immigration and terrorism problems seen in Europe. The result of globalist governments has seen the rise of populism in the Brexit decision, the Yellow vest uprising against taxes in France, and protest closer to home in Alberta.

The supporters of globalism are falling by the wayside. Angela Merkel is out of the German leadership. Macron is being asked to resign. Theresa May who started her rise as England’s Conservative party leader is fast becoming irrelevant due to her inability to negotiate the country’s exit from the European Union. Trudeau’s latest favorable poll numbers are even less than Trump’s. Does that say something about the state of the country? Well in my view all the above mentioned issues are a harbinger of things to come if the citizenry does not stand up and be counted. People around the world should really look at what is happening around them – a bunch of elitist politicians are attempting to rule the world with more international regulations and policies. The result, if they succeed, will be a loss of sovereignty and the death of nations as they blow down international borders.

With all this doom and gloom in sight Canadians should heed the words of rookie Tory premier of New Brunswick Blaine Higgs, who declared: “the Canadian federation fractured — with Ottawa and other provinces seemingly unconcerned about Alberta’s slump, and Quebec actively blocking economic development... Here’s a province that has fed many of our kids for years and we’ve all been happy to be recipients of that transfer payment. I’m not proud of that fact, and I would like to develop the very industry that they have,”
 It is said that charity begins at home. In politics I believe that it starts at the civic level. Alberta should vote out the current NDP government, followed by Canadians getting rid of a feckless and vacuous Prime Minister and his government. 2019 will be a watershed year for the country. If we do not vote for governments that are prepared to bring back free market policies and who refuse to pander to special interest groups we shall be doomed.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Who protects your privacy?

The 2016 Presidential elections in the U.S brought forward many concerns about the use of social media and privacy issues. Cybersecurity has become the issue of our times, and more citizens are becoming paranoid about their personal information, and the extent to which they are protected by their governments.
Facebook and Google are being investigated by several governments regarding their data collection and how they are using it. Organizations like Cambridge Analytica harvested advertising data, and used them in the pro- Brexit, as well as the Trump Presidential campaigns. While there is no proof, it is very conceivable that other firms may collect data from Facebook and other social media users.
The increasing use of personal data collection is alarming because there seems to be no end to the ability of criminals as well as governments to access the data and use it without permission. Foreign governments interfere with the democratic process during elections, and criminals are attacking individuals and corporations. Some of the most infamous 2018 breaches have included the following:
·         Cathay Pacific – 9.4 million passengers
·         Facebook – 90 million users
·         Uber -57 million customers
These are only some of the many breaches experienced by corporations, but government data have not been immune to attacks, and these breaches involve very personal data which include Social Security, and  Healthcare data etc. So it seems that data which used to be private are no longer so, even when shared with government agencies.
This brings me to my next point concerning government data collection.  Some years ago, the Harper government decided to eliminate the Long-form census which collected data about housing, transport, employment, income and other key attributes required by various tiers of governments to plan and deliver public services. The outcry from the Chief statistician Munir Sheikh, was such that he resigned his position. In some ways I can understand the concern about who collects data and for what purpose. But today I am more concerned about what is collected and the security issue.
Governments can collect data, but how certain are they to keep them secured? The ability to collect data through the information system is so easy that what is being collected should concern citizens. Recently it has been reported that the Canadian government will be asking financial institutions to collect and provide data from some 500,000 Canadians without their knowledge. According to a report from Global News:   “the national statistical agency plans to collect “individual-level financial transactions data” and sensitive information, like social insurance numbers (SIN), from Canadian financial institutions to develop a “new institutional personal information bank. Statistics Canada will be acquiring individual payments and income history information from financial institutions,”
Canadians should not only be alarmed that their private data will be collected without their consent, but that they may not be assured that their information may not be used by criminals in case of a breach. There is no guarantee that any data collected by private or public sector organizations is immune form cyber hacking and theft.
In my opinion, this latest government collection of data reeks of ‘Big Brother’. While there may have been concerns about the abolition of the Long-form census, we should be more concerned about the government’s brazen intrusion in our private lives, and its inability to protect our privacy.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Going down the rabbit hole

Ever since the defeat of Hilary Clinton by Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential elections, politics in the U.S have turned upside down. The losing Democrats have resorted to resistance, obstruction and even violence by some of their supporters.  The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has brought a new dimension to the left’s ire, accusations and delusion.

The claim of sexual assault committed by Judge Kavanaugh some four decades ago was brought up by Democrats at the eleventh hour of the confirmation hearing by the Judiciary Committee. As a result we saw a repeat of the kabuki dance always performed by the Democrats when the Republicans nominate a Supreme Court judge. Their ugly character assassination came to the fore again just like they did when Judge Robert Bork and Judge Clarence Thomas were nominated. Democrats are obsessed by sexual abuse when it comes to conservative nominees, and yet ignore the dalliances and abuse perpetrated by their own. Character assassination has become a trade mark of the Democrats.

While abuse of any human being, albeit man or woman, is abhorrent and should never be condoned, we should never attack somebody with unsubstantiated accusations. In this case Judge Kavanaugh has been investigated six times by the FBI for each of his previous positions as a judge, yet that was not enough when a number of seemingly coerced witnesses came forward and accused him of crimes that have not been proven.

Both the victim Prof. Ford and judge Kavanaugh testified in lengthy depositions. While Dr. Ford was evasive on many answers, judge Kavanaugh’s answers were deemed to be temperamental when he defended himself from heinous and deviant sexual crimes.
Sen. Flake in another RINO moment sided with Democrats and demanded a further FBI investigation, which in the end may have helped the process to move forward. The Judiciary Chairman agreed to the request and the President ordered another FBI investigation which did not find any misconduct by the judge.

What happened should have been anticipated, The Democrats even before judge Kavanaugh was nominated decided that they were going to vote NO. It would have mattered very little who was nominated. Had Trump nominated George Washington or Mother Theresa, the same Democrat NO vote would have been cast. The strategy was to delay the proceedings as much as they could, and stop any Republican nominated judge from becoming a Justice of the Supreme Court so that perhaps they could win the mid-term elections in November. The Democrats’ behavior has been a demonstration of character assassination at its worst, and a continuation of their delusion and vengeance.

Having seen their hopes of a postponement dashed they also resorted to accusing judge Kavanaugh of being political when in his defence he quoted the Democrats tactics as being based on their affiliation with the resist movement and the Clintons, forgetting that in 2016 before the election of President Trump, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the New York Times is reported to have said:  "I can't imagine what this place would be -- I can't imagine what the country would be -- with Donald Trump as our president," Then they questioned his temperament, when he strongly and emotionally defended himself,

The continued attack on President Trump by the left is morphing into a real civil war. Democrat lawmakers condone attacks on opposition politicians, and anarchy. It is said that you reap what you sow, and the Democrats must remember that it was the Obama administration that started all this with the help of then Senate leader Harry Reid, when they passed Obamacare and their judiciary appointees.

As citizens, we should be very concerned about the Democrats’ tactics. Their disgusting performance as lawmakers should be a warning to us all, as they now believe that ‘the presumption of innocence’ is no longer the rule of law. That anybody can be accused of the most heinous crimes and should not be allowed to defend themselves, because what they say may be construed as being sexist, racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, or homophobic. The left has now appropriated the right to free speech and have apparently become the sole arbiter of morality.

The left is not fighting Trump’s policies or judge Kavanaugh as much as they are fighting for globalism and progressivism. Their goal is to have open borders, redistribution of wealth and the continuation of failed Obama policies which they thought were going to be perpetuated and enhanced under a Clinton Presidency.

Unless we follow Alice in Wonderland, conservatives the world over must rise up to this growing progressive movement, which sometimes verges on socialism or even fascism.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Progressives, but no progress

As the U.S. mid-term elections approaches, Obama comes out of retirement to spew some more divisive progressive rhetoric. Still trying to save his failed legacy he accuses Trump of endangering democracy and takes credit for a booming economy. As the Democrats move further to the left, Obama ignores that hope and change never came when he was President, but that real progress is now underway.

Let us look at the facts under Obama. For eight years the GDP was 2% and he said that was the new normal. Those certain jobs would never come back. The unemployment rate did not go down; there were more people on food stamps than at any time in U.S history. More importantly the hope that he touted for never happened for the African American worker. Wage rates were static. These are some of the facts about the economy under Obama.

His appeasement policies created a real problem in the Middle East. Syria and Iran are now aligned with Russia. Chemical weapons were used frequently and his red line was crossed many times without any response. Furthermore his Iran Nuclear deal was accompanied by billions of dollars delivered in cash aboard a cargo plane: money now being used by Iran to support terrorism around the world. The real Russian collusion was between Obama and Putin when he was heard to say to President Medvedev to inform Putin : “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility”.

As for divisiveness, Obama created a culture that is now common among progressives. If you disagreed with him, you were a racist, if you were for borders and legal immigration, you were xenophobic, and if you were against Jihadists, you were Islamophobic. Today Democrats and the so-called resistance use epithets to describe anything that conservatives believe in. This culture of divisiveness now permeates campuses everywhere. Free speech is being stifled for the sake of political correctness. Obama divided the country, and perhaps the world along dangerous lines never seen before since the Nazi era in Germany. Entitlement and the lack of respect for existing laws is now normal. Under Obama, we have seen the rise of racist organizations like Black Lives Matter, and the Antifa movement and of course the idea of ‘white privilege’.

Now let us contrast Obama’s record to Trump’s: The second quarter GDP was 4.2 percent, unemployment 3.9 percent lowest in 50 years. Unemployment among African American at an all-time low of 6.6 percent, was 4.8 percent for Hispanics, 3.6 percent for whites, and 2.7 percent for Asian-Americans. The numbers of regulations which have been stifling the economy for years have been cut. Despite the hiccups of the North Korean summit, there has been no missile or nuclear test since the meeting. Despite the possibility of a trade war, Trump is trying to abolish as many tariffs with other trading nations. Now, his tactics may be unorthodox, his language may be bombastic and sometimes downright arrogant, but we must remember that he is not a politician in the old mold, and more importantly he is doing exactly what he promised during his electoral campaign.

I do not like the term ‘fake news’, but I will definitely label the media as biased. The media continuously publishes reports which are always negative about Trump’s administration. Everyday there is a barrage of attacks or reports of chaos in the White House. Books are being written to discredit him, claiming that he is unstable and perhaps mentally incapacitated.  His use of Twitter has a lot to do with the way that the press views him; his combative nature often fuels the debate. Despite all this, it is uncommon to see him get any credit for anything. On the other hand, the media is now praising the ‘third-coming’ of Obama. The so-called ‘resistance’ has not yet been able to digest the fact that Trump was elected as an antidote to the Obama presidency, which would have continued under Clinton.
Even worse, as a Canadian I am frustrated to see and read the news, which every day starts with a criticism of Trump’s policies. They very often ignore the dismal performance of the vacuous and incompetent Prime Minister Trudeau. The Canadian economy is stagnant in comparison to our neighbor; NAFTA negotiations are at a standstill due to the inability of the government to see the difference between economics and social issues. The Canadian government, instead of coming with new ideas, is counting on their progressive friends in Congress to do their bidding to stop Trump’s negotiating tactics.
Those who lament Trump’s election would like to bring back their entitlement polices , bigger government, more regulations, and appeasement, while stifling free speech, which apparently is now  the divine right of the left. The so-called ‘deep state’ will do anything to disrupt the Trump’s presidency.

Yes. The midterm elections are important, for U.S and the world. Should the Democrats win the House of Representatives, it will be chaos for the next two years. Impeachment of the President will take centre stage, foreign affairs will take a back stage, and the economic gains may be stalled. Trump’s opponents are wishing for a return of the Democrats, ignoring that today’s Democrats are no longer progressives but are now real socialists verging on the communists. This is how far left they have become.

Those who wish for a return to Obama’s past Presidency should remember that there is no progress under Progressives.

Monday, 3 September 2018

The new Davis Cup

As I watched 2018 US Open I cannot be more pleased with the rise of young Canadian players Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Denis Shapovalov. Despite the retirement of Daniel Nestor from competition, Canada has other players in the wings that can eventually, and very soon, be real contenders to win the Davis Cup. Milos Raonic, is still a pillar of  team Canada, and Vasek Pospisil the doubles Wimbledon Champion is our go to doubles player. However , as a former Tennis Canada Board of Director in my view there is a cloud over the World Cup of Tennis.

The  Davis Cup will see major changes to the competition. Beginning in 2019, 24 nations will compete in a home-or-away qualifying round in February, with the 12 winners advancing to the final tournament. Joining the qualified teams will be the four semifinalists from the previous year, plus two wild-card teams, who need to be in either the top 50 of the Davis Cup rankings or have a top-10 singles player to be eligible.

As a long time tennis enthusiast and administrator, I find that these changes will be detrimental to the development of the game. There is no doubt that the playing season has become too long and put the top players at greater risk of injuries. However changing the format of the Davis Cup, but adding two new events like the Laver Cup and the NextGen event goes contrary to the argument of too long a season.

The format that has been used for 117 years gave smaller nations the opportunity to stage an event with the best players of the world involved.. It provided the opportunity for tennis fans to watch their national players at home in a small venue, Who can forget the final rubber in Edmonton when Andrew Sznajder took the newly crowned French Open Champion, Andres Gomez of Ecuador, to fifth set? How about the inspiring defeat of world number one Stephan Edberg, by a young Daniel Nestor in Vancouver? These performances are etched in our memory and helped to create a new generation of players. Under the new format, it is unlikely that Canadians in towns like Halifax, Vancouver or Calgary, will be able to see a Davis Cup tie between Raonic/Shapovalov against Federer/Wawrinka on Canadian soil surrounded by a sea of Maple Leaf Flags.

The new format will cause two things to happen. Smaller nations with no large facilities will never stage the Davis Cup. The event will be staged only by countries with large facilities and be a money grab like the Olympics.