Thursday, December 31, 2009

IWC Should Examine Afghan Detainee Issue

Petition: "Should Canada invite the International War Crimes Tribunal to investigate the allegations of war crimes in Afganistan?" Sign here.

The Petition

Allegations have been made that Canadian Forces in Afghanistan have handed prisoners over to the Afghan authorities with knowledge that there was a significant probability that those prisoners would be tortured against the requirements of the Geneva Convention. Canada is a signatory party to the Convention.

The Canadian government has gone through extreme lengths to avoid domestic investigation of these allegations, including concealing documents, misleading the domestic tribunal, and ignoring orders from the majority of the Canadian parliament to reveal its documentation on the incidents.

Given that the Canadian government has chosen to be unaccountable and not to participate in an investigation which will find the truth of these allegations, and that the unresolved nature of these allegations damages Canada as a whole internationally and places our country and servicemen at risk, it is proposed that the International War Crimes Tribunal be invited to investigate the allegations and make a finding of fact.

Conservative Talking Point: Prorogation is Routine

Just this morning I have heard or read several Conservatives say that prorogation is routine, and happens approximately every 1.4 years. On CBC, Hugh Segal said that parliament has been prorogued 15 times in the last 20 years. On CTV and in the Globe & Mail, Tim Powers said that parliament has been prorogued 105 times in the history of Canada.

This is disingenuous. Prorogation is usually done for short periods, at times that make sense, such as elections or the expected end of work. They are seldom controversial. Harper's current prorogation - shutting down parliament for a prolonged period to halt a parliamentary committee's investigation into government malfeasance - is most definitely not routine.

We should have learned during last year's federal crisis that we can't allow Harper's spin team to turn lies into conventional wisdom. Last year, Harper managed to convince Canadians that the coalition was undemocratic. This year, he's revving up the spin to convince Canadians that this prorogation is perfectly normal, business as usual.

I haven't been able to find information about the exact context of past prorogations. If anyone has that info, please let me know.

Update: The PMO released another talking point on prorogation, claiming that Chretien did it more than Harper, and specifically citing his 2003 prorogation as a way to avoid release of the Adscam report. This has been widely pasted into comments sections of newspaper articles and blogs, including this one. They neglect to mention that the prorogation occurred when Paul Martin took over as leader of the party. Since prorogations are supposed to occur when it is time to reset a legislative session, this seems in keeping with tradition, as a new PM would surely be resetting the agenda.

Update: Only in Canada: Harper's prorogation is a Canadian thing


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Torturing Citizens

First he said he didn't do it. Now he says it's not his responsibility.

Why are we in Afghanistan? This was supposed to be a humanitarian mission. We're not supposed to be conducting a military occupation. We are treading a fine line here, and our government's lack of concern for the civil and human rights of Afghan citizens is making our presence there intolerable.

Other NATO countries came to the very pragmatic decision that (1) to win, we need to win the hearts and minds of the Afghans and (2) most of these insurgents are not Taliban: they're local citizens who are protecting their homeland. Hence they are very careful with the Afghans they detain: they monitor their treatment and they are careful who they hand them over to.

As well as being criminally negligent, Harper is just so very very stupid. Canada should be forced to pay reparation for every bit of damage we've done in Afghanistan, to both life and property.


Monday, December 21, 2009

What's Long and Thin and Curves to the Right?

I don't follow golf. I don't know anything about Tiger Woods. I get all my news online and I haven't once clicked on a story about his Grand Debacle. That makes me qualified to comment on it, no?

I've heard people say that they feel betrayed by Mr. Woods because he said that family was most important to him, and his numerous extramarital affairs proved that to be a farce.

But is it? He might have slept around, but he didn't give up his marriage easily. When his wife found out about his girlfriends and hit him in the face with a golf club, he tried to blame it on a car accident. He gave her $5M to stay in the marriage. Surely he is just as concerned about his marriage as he always seemed to be.

Okay, he slept around. There seem to be two types of men: those who get caught and those who don't get caught. Don't hit the keys too fast: I'm joking. And women commit infidelities too. But come on: studies have shown that over half the population does it. Mr. Woods spent a lot of time on the road; he's movie star handsome, adorable and rich; celebrity is a powerful incitement to narcissism: it's not surprising that he got more than your average shmo.

What bugs me is the hypocricy of it all. While Bill Clinton was being impeached over a blow job it was widely known that his predecessor, George Bush Sr., was in a long-term relationship with a woman other than his wife. There wasn't any interest in ensuring that politicians keep it in their pants. All the interest was in finding out where he put the cigar.

No, there seem to be two things going on. One is voyeurism: when someone gets caught there's an opportunity to dig into their privates. Second, it's like those guys who are homophobic because they can't come to terms with their own interest in men (I don't know if these guys exist but they show up in movies quite a bit). You get to condemn the sinner, secure in the knowledge that everyone's attention is on the celebrity sinner, and nobody's looking at you.



From time to time I threaten to delete comments and sometimes people ask me to delete comments, but it's something I've hardly ever done for editorial reasons.

However recently I've been getting hit by a spammer who embeds links in Chinese characters, or sometimes in a row of dots. I have word verification enabled but they still get through. So if you noticed that comments are coming and going, that's why.


St Clair is to the Gun Registry As...

Toronto's St. Clair streetcar line is finally finished, after years of delays and going millions of dollars over budget.

If we followed the logic of the anti-gun registry group, we'd respond by tearing up the tracks.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Print Media Transition

Newspapers and magazines are having to find new business models as people turn increasingly to the internet for their content. That describes me: I haven't bought a newspaper for years. I still find the odd magazine convenient for when I'm on the go or the couch, but not much of that either.

This is a good trend. It's great for the environment: even if you recycle, there's a great deal of energy and pollution involved in thick daily newspapers. It's great for readers: I have hundreds of news sources bookmarked, categorized by type of publication.

So far, it's not so great for the publishers as they struggle to make their operations profitable. I find that the transition to electronic media is making some mistakes.

The biggest problem online is advertising. Advertising should enhance a publication, and so far, electronic media has not figured that out. Print ads tend to be informative, while online ads tend to not be. In the old print model ads were an integral part of the paper, and people flipped through the paper looking for sales, coupons, promotions, special events, etc. I would like papers to reproduce their print ads online - especially local papers where the print ads tell you about local businesses and events, zoning applications, etc. Papers can keep all their current online ads. Many magazines also have interesting ads that are lost online (think the back of the New Yorker or NYT Magazine... or even comic books).

Next, online publications are becoming too inefficient: it takes too long to open a page. The worst offender is the Huffington Post, where when you click a link you might as well go out for coffee. The Washington Post has always been a bear. Lately other publications, such as the Globe & Mail, have started to deteriorate alarmingly. It ruins the entire online model to make reading an unpleasant experience. This also applies to those ads that pop up, obscuring the article.

Finally, online publications are much more about the writers than print. I hardly ever click my bookmark to the Toronto Star home page, but I regularly click on my links to the Star's columnists, especially Chantal Hebert. If you want hits on your site, you hire great writers and you promote them.

I get the impression that print media think of their online component as an sideline to their main thing. They need to change that thinking. Their online product has to compete head-on with other online products. There is lots of competition, and they will simply lose us if they put content behind a subscription wall or provide an unsatisfying reading experience. To succeed, they need to play to their strengths: for example, the Waterloo Regional Record has great local coverage. I don't read it for the reprints of international or even national articles. Why then is the Local section not on a tab at the top, and only accessible from the home page? I open the Record every day and the only sections I look at are Local and Opinions. If they had local ads, I'd look at those too.


Friday, December 18, 2009

A Solution for CCGG?

Waterloo's Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery never had a chance - at least not since it moved into its current building at the corner of Erb and Caroline. The architect created a building that is inaccessible, forbidding, and inefficient in terms of size.

Inaccessible - Far back from the corner, up steps and hidden behind some landscaping, the building is hard to get to, even if someone bothers to venture across the Waterloo Square parking lot and large intersection at Erb and Caroline. It's equally difficult to access from its parking lot, which is located behind it. The best thing anyone ever did for the building was to purchase a 99 cent neon orange "Open/Closed" sign that lets us poor citizens know when we should hike up to it and when not. The front doors are convenient to nothing.

Forbidding - The architectrual style is 20th century fortress. It's not unlike the last reno of Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario - you know, the one that was so disastrous that they had to spend hundreds of millions to get Frank Gehry to undo it. It is the opposite of welcoming.

Size-Inefficient - The building simply isn't a gallery. With its soaring ceilings and sparse rooms, it's a great place for a public lecture or reception (I've been to several), but it's not sufficient to attract people to see art. For displays, there are two rooms: one big, for visiting exhibits, and one smaller, which has some model historical kilns and stuff like that. I've been a few times; my reaction was always that the admission (which was $2 and is now $5) was very low but still too much. To add insult to injury, the building's volume is so large that it must cost an arm and a leg to heat/cool.

I'm not blaming the management. The gallery store is the finest gift shop in town, and has been for years. The gift shop is always more interesting than the gallery. The building is just not good enough. The gallery is doomed. It is a bust.

So here's my solution: move the CCGG out of its current building to somewhere more accessible. Move it to Waterloo Square or one of the empty storefronts on King Street. (The gallery could have its shop downstairs and exhibit space upstairs.) Sell the building, or tear it down and put up something more usable, and use the money to create an endowment fund for the gallery.

Instead of being a grandiose monolith, the new gallery could be more like Waterloo's Button Factory or Harbinger, providing space for local artists to have short-term shows. Like CIGI and the Perimeter Institute, it could engage in more public outreach with lectures and classes. Like the old Ontario Craft Council, it could be a resource for local artists: creating a directory, holding contests, providing networking opportunities.

Then, instead of being a drain on public resources and a white elephant, CCGG might become a beloved community institution.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Walmart Effect

After a twelve year battle to keep it out, Walmart recently opened its doors in my community, or at least nearby in Woolwich Township.

Local retailers have been quaking for years in anticipation, trying to figure out how to stand up against the giant Borg-like invasion.

Our local Loblaws chain, known as Zehrs, glitzed itself up. It seems at least a quarter of the goods have signs saying they're reduced in price. The Zehrs I shop at had been a stable place for decades, but in an apparent attempt to keep us in the store longer, has taken to reorganizing its stock every few months. Shopping has become a tiring sensory overload.

Loblaws has also opened a bunch of Walmart-clones called Great Canadian Superstores that specialize in household goods and junk food.

The bizarrest effect is on Canadian Tire stores, many of which are trying to keep their clientele by selling groceries. There's something just wrong about buying milk at a tire store.

As municipalities across North America have learned, this is all fruitless. Walmart has: (1) A huge advertising budget and a good PR firm; (2) Low prices; and (3) Scads of convenient parking. I know someone who lived right across the street from the Waterloo Zellers but drove all the way across Kitchener to the Sunrise Mall to buy things at Walmart that were available at Zellers. No, it didn't make any sense and it didn't save any money, but Walmart advertises more than Zellers and it sucks in the shoppers.

Waterloo city Council hopes that Walmart will not compete with the independent, boutique-style shops in Uptown. However, those aren't the only shops in Uptown. We also have a small grocery store and a hardware store, and they serve a very important purpose: they mean that the growing residential population in Uptown doesn't need to drive for necessities. If they die, then there will be no environmental benefits to a compact urban core. The core will just be a pretentious place to live, and not a true urban experience. Uptown residents will get in their SUVs and drive to the big box stores on the outskirts of town to shop. It's not anyone's vision for uptown Waterloo.


Brought Down by the Meanness that Drives Them Forward

I was doing some research on the government defunding of KAIROS, a multidenominational aid organization that Harper&Co have apparently decided is too left wing, and I came across this very good opinion piece in Straight Goods.

Our government makes us ashamed of Canada

Harperites' bully tactics and corporate ethics contradict Canada's national and economic values.

Dateline: Tuesday, December 15, 2009

by Ish Theilheimer

While the Olympic torch makes its way across Canada tugging at national pride, Canadians are being pelted every day with news that makes us feel shame internationally and a sense, at home, that the whole idea of Canada no longer matters.

A good example is the controversy that began with Richard Colvin's testimony to a Parliamentary committee about Afghan detainees. The government's initial response was to attack Colvin, a diplomat with an outstanding service record and an avowed supporter of the Afghanistan war. This reaction exposed the ruthless meanness of the Harper government and destroyed a lot of its credibility on Afghanistan and everything else.

The Harperites seem doomed to be brought down by the very meanness that drives them forward.

Harshness hurt the Harperites. Public opinion swung against them, even when they brought in top military generals to parrot the party. They were caught completely wrongfooted by hard-copy evidence in the form of a Canadian soldier's 2006 Afghanistan field notes, that conclusively disproved Peter MacKay's repeated claims that there was no documentation of Canadian detainees being tortured.

Someone had to had to walk the plank. The Conservatives appointed General Walt Natynczyk to the task. He was forced to change his story in humiliating, public fashion, saying he was suddenly given new documentation on the three-year-old file.

You can’t help but feel for the general. Like diplomat Richard Colvin or detainees handed over for torture, he appears to have been just another pawn sacrificed on the Harperites' strategic chessboard.

The Harperites could have quietly disagreed with Colvin, praised him as a dedicated public servant and shuffled him back to Washington. The story might have ended at that point. Instead, they were derailed by their apparently uncontrollable desire to smear Colvin and cause pain. They seem doomed to be brought down by the very meanness that drives them forward. Like the crack about artists at galas that lost Quebec for Harper in the last year's election, or last November's economic statement that targeted political party financing, the Conservatives exposed themselves once more as ruthless bullies.

A nasty attack-reflex can quickly undo a lot of Bollywood dancing and Beatles songs. The Colvin affair showed that the government has no heart, and totally undermined the PM's ability to lecture anyone about human rights when he visited China.

The Conservatives have stonewalled a public inquiry on the Afghan detainees matter because they know they can get away with it. This is true, technically, but polling shows the affair has hurt them badly among the constituencies they've worked so hard to win over — urban and suburban voters in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

And the time was awful. At the UN Copenhagen Climate Change conference, Canada is being held up to daily international ridicule, thanks to the Harperites. While the people of this planet are debating how to reverse the global catastrophe that's threatening our existence, Canada's representatives are stalling and obstructing.

This country, which used to be seen as an environmental leader — the Montreal Protocol brought world action to protect the ozone layer, for instance — now regularly receives derogatory Fossil of the Day awards. The whole world knows that our government is run by the tar sands lobby. Canada’s position that poor countries should equally share the cost of reducing pollution, when the rich ones have profited from profligately burning fossil fuels, can well be called immoral.

The Harperites have a very narrow agenda and anything that doesn't fit with it goes. For instance, on November 30, Bev Oda, the minister in charge of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), cut all funding to KAIROS, "an ecumenical partnership working to promote human rights, justice and peace, viable human development, and ecological justice." In a brief phone call, a CIDA staffer told KAIROS its projects do not fit with CIDA's criteria.

As contributor Dennis Gruending points out, KAIROS has been a leader in humanitarian assistance, such as setting up a legal clinic to assist women in eastern Congo. This sort of work doesn't fit with the new Canada. Axing KAIROS works for the Harperites, because they see KAIROS as a funding source for left-wingers, like the Court Challenges Program (which they also axed). Settling political scores and undermining potential opposition matters more to them than victims of famine and war.

Nor does this government care about keeping Canada in control of its own economy. Straight Goods has covered the five-month old Vale INCO strike in Sudbury. In Timmins, international mining giant Xstrata shut down the Kidd copper and zinc metallurgical plant. Meanwhile in and near Hamilton, ON, the former Stelco steel mills, now owned by US Steel, lie dormant.

In each case, the Harperites allowed the sale of critical — and profitable — industries, to foreign corporate giants with no commitment to Canada and almost none to Canadian jobs. In the Xtstrata case, the company closed down just months after the end of a three-year jobs agreement it was forced to adopt. If these three international giants walk away from their Canadian holdings as they appear quite willing to do, many thousand manufacturing jobs will be gone forever, resulting in widespread suffering and devastated communities.

Another example of the Harperites profits-before-people approach is last week's government decision to overrule its own regulator and license the foreign-owned cell phone company Globalive. It is no accident that the lobbyist who sealed the deal for the Globalive was Stephen Harper's old friend and former policy advisor Ken Boessenkool. A key colleague of Harper during his rise to political power, Boessenkool left politics for corporate lobbying, and has successfully represented corporate giants like Taser International and Merck Frosst Canada.

Today there are news reports that the government could prorogue Parliament until March. This would let the Harperites avoid more fallout from Colvin and Copenhagen and give Cabinet ministers plenty of opportunity to bask in the glow of the Vancouver Olympics. The government would have more opportunity for self-promotion at taxpayer expense, without the inconvenience of answering to an elected parliament.

Medicare under attack in the USA? So what. Cultural funding? Who needs it. Public broadcasting? Ditto, ditto. Working multilaterally with other countries on key issues like the environment, agriculture, fair trade, or health? Not a priority. We've become a corporate-driven, military nation, and our bizarre regional politics make this unlikely to change soon.

How ironic, that while our athletes will be going all-out for Canada's pride, our government is doing so much to make us ashamed to be Canadians! What does make us proud is that millions of ordinary Canadians don't buy Harper's mean vision. They are working, through the environment, labour, and social justice movements to maintain Canada's role as a nation of people who care about others and their world.

Ish Theilheimer is founder and president of Straight Goods News and has been Publisher of the leading, and oldest, independent Canadian online newsmagazine,, since September 1999. He is also Managing Editor of He lives wth his wife Kathy in Golden Lake, ON, in the Ottawa Valley.


The article source is here.


The Flip Side of Bully

A pattern is emerging, and it ain't pretty.

We have all noticed that the Harper government likes to circumvent democratic procedure when it suits them. What has slowly been dawning on me is when/why they do this.

It's not to support policies they believe in. It's when they screw up on the PR front.

A month after the election last year, Harper thought he could throw his weight around because the opposition couldn't topple him so soon after the vote. He went too far with his economic update, announcing he was cutting off all funding for federal parties and announcing that the government would [fly in the face of every other developed nation and the IMF to] enact no fiscal stimulus. When the opposition balked, he prorogued parliament - an option never used for this political purpose before, and very dodgy.

Recently the opposition has been trying to get to the bottom of the Afghan detainee torture issue. The Liberals have said they want to air any problems that occurred under a Liberal government as well as Conservative, but the Cons decided to take it as a personal assault and fought back in their inimitable no-holds-barred style. Peter Mackay thundered that it was all lies and had never happened. When a top general testified before a parliamentary committee that yes, it had indeed happened, the red-faced government decided to pull all Conservative members from the committee, leaving it without a quorum so it had to shut down.

A more minor occurrence of this pattern happened just yesterday. Harper didn't seem at all embarrassed about showing up at Copenhagen after lobbying furiously against any progress there, but then his spokesman was caught on camera screaming at an environmentalist, accusing him of perpetrating a fraud on Canada. The environmentalist, who throughout the ordeal protested his innocence, turned out to have nothing to do with it. Now Harper is delaying his arrival at the conference.

The flip side of bully is coward. They behave badly; they won't back down; so when they're called on their bullshit their tactic is to shut down democracy till the public has lost interest.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Canada Fights Back

Canada's recent stance on sealing is brilliant.

The anti-sealers are wrong. They're wrong to attack traditional hunting, wrong to attack the environmental hakapik, wrong to imply that sealing is less ethical than raising commercial livestock, wrong to overpromote this cause just because cute big-eyed white seal pups (which aren't even hunted) are effective in money-raising campaigns.

When our Governor General went on camera and ate raw seal heart - wowee! That was great stuff. After years of protests and boycotts against Canada, we're finally doing something to fight back. (Or at least thumb our noses.) In the long run our side will prevail because we're right.

Seal hunting is the traditional sustenance of small portions of our population, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal northerners following long-standing traditions. We're not talking about giant Japanese harvesting ships. We're not talking about Americans with semi-automatic rifles flying in helicopters. These are men who walk the ice floes with a stick with a hook on the end, just as their forefathers have for hundreds of years.

I don't wear fur or like fur. I don't support sport hunting. But we don't all live in cities. We don't all buy our food in plastic wrap. There is nothing environmental about the anti-sealing movement. It's an attack on a traditional way of life. Unfortunately, it's a tried-and-true way for organizations to raise a whole lot of moolah. So let's keep up the public displays of our Inuit culture.

My other musings on the anti-sealing movement


Saturday, December 12, 2009


Last night I went to a "crank" - a get-together at which people bitch about the world, which they call cranking - a nice reformulation of the word "cranky" into a noun and a verb. (And what could be more fun than that! ...especially a Christmas Crank.)

I thought that was pretty creative, but then I heard about complaint choirs. This is how it works: a group of the disgruntled gets together and each writes out their complaints, one per page, and puts the pages in a pile. Then they organize the complaints into themes (the group in the article chose public transportation, personal appearance, work, love, society, and the future). Then they give the compilation of complaints to a composer who turns them into a song, and the group sings it. Apparently singing ability is not a requirement (resulting in something new to complain about).


Friday, December 11, 2009

Time to Step Up

"Accessibility" is one of those words people bandy about as an objective they want city planners to follow. At public forums, it is invariably the case that the public says they want a downtown that's "walkable," "accessible," "a people place."

Then it snows and the ideals go to shit.

Today I saw two very frail-looking, slow-moving elderly people pushing their walkers in traffic on Bridgeport near the intersection of Erb. Why? Knox Presbyterian Church hadn't ploughed the sidewalk on their property along Bridgeport Road. There was lots of traffic and cars were slipping in the snowy street; it was incredibly dangerous to be walking in the road. My guess is that the couple had gone to the library and were trying to get home.

Most winters the sidewalk clearing around uptown Waterloo is so poor that many elderly people in the uptown area are housebound for months. The uptown is ringed by seven residences for elderly people, from the full-care facility at King-William to the high rise Water Park apartments. The Adult Recreation Center (ARC) is also in uptown.

It's not just people with walkers, but anyone who's a little unsteady on their pins who can't get through the snow drifts that are left all winter in front of many properties. And it's not just home owners. The city often doesn't clear the pile of snow in front of the crosswalk at Erb and Peppler, so people trying to cross the street have to climb a sizable hump of snow. The sidewalk beside the city lots of Caroline are never well shovelled; at best we get a narrow track. The empty lot at 32 Alexandra, owned by the Auburn company, is rarely if ever ploughed.

The Waterloo city by-law "Snow and Ice", #82-12, states that sidewalks must be cleared 24 hours after a snowfall. This applies to occupants as well as owners, to vacant land as well as occupied. It applies to houses, apartments, churches, public land, schools, and every other type of property. Failing to adequately clear your sidewalk of snow and ice can result in a $2,000 fine, as well as the cost of the city clearing it.

The city mostly acts on uncleared sidewalks when they receive a complaint. We can all contact the city about uncleared sidewalks by calling 519-747-6280 or by filling out this form, which goes to the by-law enforcement department.

Fair warning: I am planning to rat on everyone in uptown Waterloo who breaks the by-law this winter.

(If requested, the city will help clear the sidewalks of the physically disabled or people over 65. Call 519-579-6930.)


Sunday, December 06, 2009


It's December 6, the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. In 1989 Marc Lepine, holding a legally-obtained rifle, shouted that he was "fighting feminism", sent male students to safety, and then shot 14 female engineering students to death. In the subsequent years, Canadians concerned about the event have worked to decrease violence against women and strengthen gun control.

Given that today is the anniversary, the Globe & Mail published a thoughtful article about the event from the perspective of the survivors and the families of the dead women. One of their victories after 1989 was the long gun registry, and they are naturally upset that parliament has recently voted in favor of scrapping it.

I am in favor of gun control and the gun registry. It doesn't demonize rural Canadians: it simply asserts that guns (like cars) should be licensed. It has been an expensive program largely because of a pro-gun campaign to make it so: first, by scuttling the procedure and later by the Harper government's removal of license fees. Canada's chiefs of police are overwhelmingly behind the registry. The gun registry has been used by Conservatives to make a wedge issue just as Republicans used abortion.

But that's not what interests me today...

What interests me is the comments to the Globe article. There is not just a majority of comments that express negativity towards the victims and their cause, but the agree/disagree rankings are overwhelmingly against women, as well. Here are some excerpts of comments with current rankings from the thumbs up/thumbs down vote next to each comment:

  • "Women this and women that grows most nauseating. As a man, i am getting sick and tired of measures designed to protect women. Last time i checked, they were only half of the population." - 27 agree/4 disagree

  • "Should we should be more concerned about the murder of one gender above another. That's what this article seems to imply." - 19 agree/3 disagree

  • "Maybe feminists (or pseudofeminists) should stop being so inconsistent. Could that be part of what drove Lepine to kill? Trying to communicate with women who have only their needs in mind, regardless of whether what they say is nonsense or not, can be very trying." - 67 agree/19 disagree

  • "Saying "if it saved just one life, it was worth it" is one of the most illogical, short-sighted, emotive arguments out there - that money could have saved many more lives elsewhere, or (if it hadn't been taken from Canadian taxpayers in the first place) WOULD have contributed to more jobs, better jobs, less financial stress... a better Canada." - 76 agree/16 disagree

  • "The inconsistent, illogical, purely emotion-based approach of too many "feminists" alienates many men (and probably some women) from what should be an inclusive cause." - 58 agree/7 disagree

  • "The Montreal Massacre was a tragedy, no one will argue that, but no tragedy is worth sacrificing democratic freedom over. I am sick and tired of hearing about special interest groups trying to infringe on our democratic freedoms forged through a history of tragedy and struggle. I am absolutely disgusted by the exploitation of this massacre by selfish politicians and special interest groups seeking political gain." - 78 agree/10 disagree

  • "This is just another example of feminists taking something - anything - and making an issue about it... Marc Lepine had no resources with which to help him deal with the rejection and the unfairnes of it. Feminists had power. they had the journalists on their side, and politicians. No one wanted to tell them they were wrong. They were so angry they would have destroyed that person's career, in fact their entire life, if they could, just as they have mine, for talking out about it." - 24 agree/17 disagree

  • "I am sick of seeing the women's movement use the act of one madman to tar all men and/or gun-owners with the same brush. It amazes me they can get away with it." - 19 agree/11 disagree

And there was strong disagreement with the pro-woman side:

  • "I look to the people enforcing crime to get facts and evidence on the usefulness of the gun registry and police forces across the country tell us they use the registry and it's useful in their daily work. Unfortunately, the Conservative party held back RCMP's most recent report endorsing the registry until AFTER the House of Commons voted on canceling the registry. The Tories wouldn't want facts and information getting in the way of a purely political manoeuver. If we take the argument against registering our long to it's illogical conclusion then why do we register our vehicles? Cars don't kill people, drivers do. And is it really such a burden to go out and register a gun? The gun registry legislation isn't perfect, no legislation is. But when the police tell me they find it useful to do their daily jobs I'll believe them before a bunch of Tory hacks trying to solidify their rural voting base. " - 15 agree/16 disagree

  • "Shame on these flunkies we keep paying our taxes to every year when they won't keep a Gun Registry open to protect women while they spend $20 billion on a War continents away. Rurar votes is the key on this and we should tell our yahoo gun-macho-politicos that they are going to lose thousands of votes from those who agree with our Police Forces throughout the nation! Enough carnage! Register these guntoting morons same way as pedophiles. They're both endangering our society. Enough!" - 12 agree/59 disagree

  • "The purpose of the legislation was specifically directed at domestic violence issues and the protection of women. Long guns, not surprisingly because these are far more easy to obtain and far more likely to be around for non-criminal purposes, are a weapon of choice in domestic violence cases. A vocal minority overturned the long gun registry. They saved us a whopping 2 million dollars a year. Of course, that was after costing us that much because the CPC waived the fees. The long gun registry would otherwise have been a modest revenue-generating system." - 4 agree/3 disagree

Update: A more recent comment: "Don't confuse a revulsion of feminism with a dislike of women. They are not the same brand. Feminism is a Marxist based collective ideology..." - 5 agree/6 disagree