The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Monday, June 21, 2004


Odds and ends

Outgoing Burnaby-Douglas MP Svend Robinson was formally charged today with the theft of an expensive diamond ring back in April. Since Robinson's admission and the subsequent referral of his case to a special prosecutor, some of his old enemies have been grousing loudly that Robinson has been getting special treatment -- particularly Link Byfield, he of the Citizens Centre for Freedom and Democracy. In Byfield's world, Robinson has been getting special consideration due to the fact that he is a high-profile leftist (not to mention gay) politician, and therefore a member of a preferred minority. Never mind, of course, that the Crown names special prosecutors anytime a sitting politician is under investigation, or that charging someone in BC is not an instant affair in any case. It was a good opportunity to grandstand despite the fact the Byfield has no hard evidence (as opposed to anecdotage from a "former prosecutor") to back up his claims.

Now that Robinson has been charged, will Link Byfield and his pals quit whining about Robinson getting "special treatment" from the RCMP and Crown? Not on your life, bucko. Byfield's crusade for Robinson to be pilloried had bugger-all to do with any concern with justice being served and everything to do with getting one last shot in at a political rival whose stands and success over the last 25 years has incensed various Byfields and their supporters.

The Globe and Mail's editorialists slap down Stephen Harper, not once, but twice. The first, as expected, was for Harper's attempts to slander both Paul Martin and 11 NDP MPs as supporters of child pornography for having the temerity do disagree with Alliance/Conservative ideas on how to combat it. The Globians call Harper's judgment into question (fair enough; do you want a PM who cannot even acknowledge a simple fuck-up?) and then debunk Harper's claims that Martin is somehow soft on child porn:
What nonsense. Canada has a tough child-porn law, brought in by the Liberals, that among other things provides for sentences of up to 10 years in jail for putting child porn on the Internet. An even tougher bill was in the works but did not make it through Parliament before the election, a common fate for legislation.

The "exception" Mr. Harper refers to is the "public good" defence, which would exempt writers, artists, researchers and legal authorities from prosecution in some circumstances. Without it, the police could potentially break down your door for owning a copy of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. Is that the kind of Canada that Mr. Harper wants? To include such a sensible and necessary clause in the bill does not make the Liberals "soft" on porn.

Harper's suspicion of the Canadian judiciary and tendency towards judge-bashing for political gain also gets the Globe's thumbs-down. Between his questionable knowledge of "constitutionality," his unique interpretation of section 15 of the Charter (completely forgetting its open-ended nature and the fact that it applies to all individuals), and his public statements last fall about a 20-year politico-judicial conspiracy to advance gay rights (Damn homosexualists! How dare they be regarded as equals!), . Harper's been a bit two-faced on the courts striking down laws enacted by legislatures himself. After all, he was the one who spearheaded the fight against restrictions on third-party advertising during elections -- a law that was passed by Parliament, which, in Harper's world, the courts should defer to. Well, except when they shouldn't. Quoting the Globians again:
Ironically, Mr. Harper himself brought a Charter challenge to the federal election gag law that imposes spending limits on interest groups during election campaigns. (He lost at the Supreme Court.) It may be that it is not activist judges he objects to, but activism in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

I'd have written that last sentence a bit differently; something like "... but activism that does not suit his political purposes." would fit the bill.

Finally, a Mustel Group poll released today shows the Conservatives with a significant lead in B.C. over the New Democrats and Liberals, 36-28-26; the Greens are at 7% provincewide. Mustel is better known for its bimonthly provincial voter intention surveys, but they've tossed us a bone for the federal election, with another poll on the way. (Thanks to Public Eye.)

I couldn't help but notice in the press release: "A recent Mustel Group poll indicates that in BC, the Progressive Conservative Party has the support of 36% of decided voters, in contrast to 28% supporting NDP and 26% supporting the Liberal Party." The wag in me says: Okay, so the Progressive Conservatives are on top. Not bad for a party that's been dead for six months. How are the no-longer-progressive Conservatives doing?

later tonight: Get Your Vote On, Terminal City, and the Simon Fraser Student Society presents a youth-oriented candidates' forum at the Pic on Pender in Downtown Vancouver. Politics is best washed down with a few pitchers; enough booze may even make an all-candidates' debate tolerable. Imagine that!
A proper BC poll! At last! Interesting to see the Reformatories polling better in the Vancouver 'burbs and exurbs than the Interior+Island.
Any possible upsets?
Overall a good poll for the Dippers, a big drop for the CA-PC/CPC from last election, LPC doing O.K will probably be squeezed though.
Very bad for the Greenies.
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