Larry Spencer in His Own Words

The Canadian Alliance MP and “family affairs” critic in Stephen Harper’s shadow cabinet has some interesting thoughts on homosexuality. This was just the wake up call for those Progressive Conservatives who think uniting the right is a good thing. In contrast to our neighbours to the south, being a mainstream conservative in this country usually means moderate to progressive views on homosexuality. Mr. Spencer’s thoughts can only be described as lunatic fringe.

“I do believe it was a mistake to have legalized [homosexuality]…

OK, that may be an extreme view, but I grant that for some anyways, it’s not lunatic fringe. But it gets better. There is apparently a gay conspiracy, starting with a speech made by an unnamed gay activist sometime in the 60s. Though he couldn’t remember who, what, or when, he did manage to paraphrase (I guess) a quote:

“His quote went something like this . . . ‘We will seduce your sons in the locker rooms, in the gymnasiums, in the hallways, in the playgrounds, and on and on, in this land.’ “

Gee, this is pretty scary stuff.

“The activists that organized in those days (encouraged) people of their persuasion to enter into educational fields, and to do this with the feeling of a mission, you know, of going out there as pioneers in a — quote — human rights area, and I think they were successful, as we’ve seen.”

So gays were encouraged to go on a crusade, though what the cause was isn’t clear. Was it a conspiracy to turn heteros into homos? Or was it just to have th right to be gay without going to jail for it. But he doesn’t believe that gays should be made to go to jail for their “crime”.

“I wouldn’t even suggest that there would be a penalty. I just think it’s so sad that we have to take an issue like this and be asked to put the Good Housekeeping seal of approval on it without being allowed to tell the truth and talk about facts.”

So he’s not all bad…..he doesn’t want to punish gays for being who they are, and apparently believes in Fact and Truth.

This should give long-time members of the Progressive Conservative party pause. The problem is less what he said, which is pretty loony, but that Stephen Harper must have known of Mr. Spencer’s views, yet gave him the “family affairs” position in his shadow cabinet. Surely he could have done better than Larry Spencer. He has now been fired from his position, but the damage is done. The Canadian Alliance is exposed for what it really is: a right wing fringe party. In the States, they would be mainstream. But Canada is not the US, thank you very much.

Now if David Orchard could win his fight to keep the PCs alive, we might have a viable alternative to Paul Martin’s Liberals in 5 years. Those who think that uniting the right is a good thing for democracy in this country should think again. A member of the Alliance believes the sexual identity of some should have remained illegal. That is not democracy. It’s borderline fascist.

Sources: canada.com, google news search.

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David Orchard’s Fight

The big political news in Canada this week is the legal challenge of David Orchard to the proposed merger between the far right Alliance and Canada’s oldest political party, the Progressive Conservative Party (PC). This merger would create “The Conservative Party”. David Orchard’s last leadership bid for the PCs reminded me that the “progressive” in PC has a long history and is distinctly Canadian. Reading Mr. Orchard’s speech at the PC leadership convention, one could be forgiven for thinking he was giving his speech to the NDP. It turns out that many of us have forgotten our Canadian Sec V history lessons. I had forgotten all about the “Red Torys” – Mulroney made sure of that and it brought the party to ruin. The fact is, Canadian conservatives have a long history of standing for causes that are definitely progressive, and usually associated with social democrats. He points out that the party has only been successful when it embraced progressive causes (the party under Diefenbaker brough national medicare, universal suffrage, and full civil rights for aboriginals) and nation building (the Railroad, CBC, and Canadian Wheat Board).

Interesting. It seems these Red Tories were forced underground during the 1980s, with “progressive” all but purged from the PC name. With the party on the brink of death from the early 90s, they re-emerged, many of them as David Orchard supporters, and it’s no wonder. He’s the epitome of the Red Tory. Just go to his site and browse through his articles – he writes eloquently and is a strong dissenting voice. I hope he wins the legal challenge, because we don’t need “The Conservative Party”. Things are “right” enough as it is. We need people who will forcefully argue against the radical economic liberalism (yes, that’s right, liberalism) of NAFTA and the WTO, and who will defend the institutions and social policies that make this country great.

I think David Orchard is fresh political voice, and I think the “progressive” in PC should make a come back. It’s a distinctly Canadian institution. In fact, the whole notion of a “progressive conservative” or “Red Tory” is. Just go to google.

I’ll probably never vote for or join the PC Party, but more voices like David Orchard’s make it more likely that I will. If David Orchard loses his fight to keep the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada alive, it will be bad for democracy in this country, and we’ll have lost an important part of our history. Now more than ever, we need to fight Paul Martin’s Liberals. Losing the “Red Torys” of the PCs will not help.

Scotland v Netherlands – Upset in the Making? Not!

UPDATE We were thoroughly trounced 6-0 in Amsterdam. Oh well.

It’s been a long while since us poor Scotland supporters have had anything to cheer about, but in the first leg of a two game play-off for Euro 2004 qualifying, Scotland were both brave and lucky – and that was good enough to beat Holland for the first time since 1982. The last time I had been able to share the joy with other Scots over a Scotland victory was, if memory serves, our match against Greece which brought us to the Euro 96 Championship in England. That was a beauty.

I won’t be able to see this game, but I’ll be listening to as much as I can on BBC Scotland’s Sportsound.

These have been rough years for Scotland fans. Back in the 60s and 70s, Scottish national teams were loaded with talent, but always had problems working together as a team, probably due to the fact that the teams were almost always filled with Celtic and Rangers players who had no great love for one another. Today, Scotland doesn’t have a fraction of the talent it once did, but apparently they can work better as a team. This team is young, and gives me a little hope that we can be competitive once again.

Football is huge in Scotland, though not as much as it was once. Most British attendance records have been set at Glasgow’s Hampden Park, though in those days most people stood in the terraces. Today, Celtic Park, Ibrox, and Hampden have all-seated capacities of 60,000/50,000/50,000 respectively. That’s 160,000 seats for football matches in a city with a population of 620,00. Celtic Park and Ibrox are still routinely sold-out, and are among the biggest in Britain.

The football tradition of Scotland is undisputed. The first international match ever played was between Scotland and England in Glasgow way back in 1872 at, of all places, the Cricket Ground. It was a 0-0 draw.

So all this to say that Scotland has a long and proud football tradition that has seen better years. Let’s hope that today, Scotland can once again feel some pride in the National Team.

Naomi Klein on Iraq’s “Shock Therapy”

There’s an article by Naomi Klein in Britain’s Guardian entitled Iraq is not America’s to Sell, taking a look at the illegal move by the CPA (“Coalition Provisional Authority”) to make Iraq’s economy, except for oil, 100% foreign owned. Well, I should say they’re allowing for this to happen, but there’s nothing stopping Iraqis from buying up what foreigners would want to buy up. Except lack of money, perhaps. From what I hear, it’s not something many Iraqis have at the moment. It reminds me of a scathing article I read back in August called Shock the Monkey by Matt Taibi. The article was written in response to the CPAs hiring of Yegor Gaidar as a consultant to the CPA in the development of Iraq’s post-war transition economy. Taibi’s says:

“Gaidar, former Prime Minister under Boris Yeltsin, is not the most despised man in Russia. That title belongs to the man who succeeded him as the chief architect of the Russian privatization effort, Anatoly Chubais. There is no way to talk about the meaning of this decision to invite Gaidar to Iraq without mentioning Chubais, because in inviting Gaidar, what the U.S. almost certainly was trying to say to the world was: At least we didn’t invite Chubais.”.

He goes on to describe a method of plunder they called “Shock Therapy”, a policy probably directly responsible for the creation of the new Russian oligarchy. Here’s how it goes:

“First, stealing money from people’s pockets. In 1992, Gaidar began implementing a program known as “Shock Therapy” (yet another cruel irony of this business: first Shock and Awe, now Shock Therapy?). Shock Therapy was the brainchild of another Harvard villain, Jeffrey Sachs. In the early phase, this took the form of Gaidar’s move to free the ruble before the end of state-controlled prices. This resulted-as even a child could have predicted it would-in hyperinflation. By the end of 1992, prices in Russia had increased by a factor of 26. Money from 1991 became worthless overnight. Families that had been stuffing mattresses since the siege of Stalingrad saw their life savings disappear in a few weeks.”

By making the ruble worthless overnight, there were only a few people around who could take advantage of the privatisation phase of shock therapy – “the banks that had been licensed by the state to handle currency exchange operations”. The end result was the “…crown jewels of the Russian economy were handed over to a small group of thugs and gangsters at fractions of their actual cost..

This is an incisive and possibly prophetic article (though I understand it was probably not a huge leap on Taibi’s part), written before it was announced by the CPA that Iraq’s entire economy except for oil would be open to 100% foreign ownership. Now, Naomi Klein discusses how this is actually an illegal act under International Law, and that because of this, companies who would like to take part in this plunder cannot be insured because if a duly elected government did come in power in Iraq, there would be nothing stopping them from taking back what was rightfully Iraq’s to begin with. The Haliburton’s of the world need not worry, however, since this is where the US Export-Import Bank comes into play. They’ll insure companies like Haliburton at the expense of the US taxpayer, and if Haliburton loses what it buys in Iraq, it’ll be at the cost of the US taxpayer. She points this out in an depth discussion at Democracy Now!.

A revolution has been taking place over the past 10 years, and its got nothing to do with workers and everything to do with a kind of capitalism that regards theft as a right. As Taibi puts it, “Lenin preached communism but created a dictatorship: This crew preached laissez-faire economics but created a corporate oligarchy in which the state replaced the market.”.

While the Russian oligarchs got away with their version of plunder, it isn’t likely the US-led CPA will get away with their actions, so long as Iraqis manage to live in the democracy they were promised (I know, fat chance that will materialize). They have obligations under the Geneva conventions and Hague regulations as occupying powers. Lets hope Iraqis will eventually get back what is being stolen from them….