Reverse-profiling

If profiling isn’t done as security precaution at American airports, as it is done in Israel, because it is “insensitive”, would selectively exempting traveling hijab-clad women from the new “enhanced pat-down” TSA grope session or nude scanner technique constitute “reverse-profiling”?

CNSNews.com,

When asked today if she will insist that Muslim women wearing hijabs must go through full body pat downs before boarding planes, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano did not say yes or no, but told CNSNews.com there will be “adjustments” and “more to come” on the issue.

“On the pat downs, CAIR [the Council on American-Islamic Relations] has recommended that Muslim women wearing hijabs refuse to go through the full body pat downs before boarding planes,” CNSNews.com asked Napolitano at a Monday press conference. “Will you insist that they do go through full body pat downs before boarding planes?”

“Look, we have, like I said before, we are doing what we need to do to protect the traveling public and adjustments will be made where they need to be made,” Napolitano responded. “With respect to that particular issue, I think there will be more to come. But, again, the goal here, you know, we’re not doing this just to do it. We’re doing it because we need to keep powders and gels and liquids off of planes that are unauthorized just as we need to keep metals off of planes.

Tony Genco and F-35s

Tony Genco is the Liberal by-election candidate in Vaughan. This week, Genco released a video criticizing Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government on their plan to purchase F-35 fighter jets.

You can watch the video here.

However, there’s a little known fact about Tony Genco. In the 90s, Mr. Genco used to be a senior advisor to Art Eggleton, the former Liberal Defence Minister. This fact is in the Hansard record.

It should be noted that Canada has been a participant and advocate for the Joint Strike Fighter Program since 1997, when the former Liberal government was in power:

Canada has been a participant in the JSF program since 1997, when the Department of National Defence signed on to the Concept Demonstration phase with an investment of US$10 million. As part of this phase, Canada participated in the extensive and rigorous U.S.-led competitive process where two bidders, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, developed and competed prototype aircraft. This process led to the selection of Lockheed Martin as the JSF manufacturer in 2001.

Art Eggleton was Defence Minister from 1997-2002. Tony Genco was his senior aide.

Why the change of heart on F-35s, Mr. Genco?

More broadly, bringing this up during this by-election campaign more broadly underscores Liberal dishonesty on the F-35 program, having signed us up for the program in 1997.

Michael Ignatieff silent on Nobel Prize Committee’s “Megaphone Diplomacy” with China

Jailed Chinese pro-democracy dissident Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. Xiaobo was arrested in 2008 for being an author of “Charter 08″, a manifesto demanding greater free speech, improved human rights, and open and free elections in China. His award is a statement for those seeking democratic reform in the world’s most populous nation and is a positive impetus for liberty in the world.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the following statement regarding Xiaobo’s prize,

“Our government has expressed concerns in the past about his imprisonment…

I would hope the fact that he is now a Nobel Peace Prize winner would cause our friends in the Chinese government to look seriously at that issue of his release from prison.

But, as I say, I think more than anything, we’re delighted for him and send him our congratulations.”

In the past, the Prime Minister’s vocal criticism of China over its human rights record has been a point of conflict between Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and Harper.

Ignatieff, during a tour to China earlier this year criticized the Prime Minister,

[A Chinese student] said Ignatieff properly praised China for pulling so many people out of poverty with the success of its economic engine, but he had avoided saying anything substantial about human rights challenges, “the fact, for example, that there are many activists currently imprisoned for no apparent reason. He just avoided that.”

In an interview, Ignatieff said he didn’t believe in “megaphone” diplomacy — a reference to Prime Minister Harper’s early, high-profile, public criticisms of China on human rights.

The Nobel Prize Committee released this statement regarding its awarding of the 2010 Peace Prize to Xiaobo,

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2010
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace. Such rights are a prerequisite for the “fraternity between nations” of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will.

Over the past decades, China has achieved economic advances to which history can hardly show any equal. The country now has the world’s second largest economy; hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. Scope for political participation has also broadened.

China’s new status must entail increased responsibility. China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights. Article 35 of China’s constitution lays down that “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration”. In practice, these freedoms have proved to be distinctly curtailed for China’s citizens.

For over two decades, Liu Xiaobo has been a strong spokesman for the application of fundamental human rights also in China. He took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989; he was a leading author behind Charter 08, the manifesto of such rights in China which was published on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 10th of December 2008. The following year, Liu was sentenced to eleven years in prison and two years’ deprivation of political rights for “inciting subversion of state power”. Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China’s own constitution and fundamental human rights.

The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad. Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.

Michael Ignatieff released a statement congratulating Barack Obama on his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize the day it was announced that the US president had won it. However, it’s Monday, and Ignatieff has yet to weigh in on the Nobel Committee’s bold statement that may promote positive change and more freedom in China.

Riots: nobody does it cheaper than France

at least according to Nicolas Sarkozy,

“With regard the French G8/G20, even if I can’t confirm the figures that you are talking about in Canada, I can say that in France they will be 10 times less”

Let’s compare two events in both countries where there were riots. Specifically, Canada’s G20 in Toronto and France’s 2005 riots.

Metric Canada France
Cost $930 million €200 million
Municipalities affected 1 274
Cars damaged 3 8,973
Arrests ~900 2,888
Deaths 0 2
Duration (days) 2 20

What is the appropriate cost for G20 summit security?

On MPs and lobbying – where does it end?

Found on another website:

Mr. Jaffer’s valuable contributions to our clients include acting for foreign and offshore organizations in obtaining operating licenses, securing regulatory and governmental approvals for mergers and acquisitions, reviewing policies and conduct of Canadian Security Intelligence Services, advising government bodies on international issues regarding cross border tax collection, antidumping issues, and lobbying government on policy issues as well as facilitating inter-governmental relationships.

Oops, I’m sorry. The paragraph above erroneously cited the name of Rahim Jaffer. The excerpt above is not about the former MP who is the subject of a probe into website fibbery (and some alleged “puffery”) by the House of Commons ethics committee, but was rather in reference to a sitting Member of Parliament. I regret the deliberate yet illustrative error.

Now, of course, Lee has has probably not anything wrong here but I find it odd that a paragraph on a website puffing up an individual and what they can do for clients has caused so much controversy, with respect to Rahim Jaffer. Jaffer’s website seemed to claim that he could influence public policy decisions through his contacts. If Jaffer was indeed lobbying, he should have registered.

On the other hand, Lee is not a lobbyist but we have a firm boasting to their clients that a Member of Parliament is “lobbying government on policy issues” thus providing “valuable contributions to our clients”.

The language just doesn’t sit right. It’s quite a bit of puffery.

Members of Parliament and the concept of work

One of the talking points from the Liberal Party concerning prorogation is that the Prime Minister has given MPs a “vacation” as the Members are left in the riding without work to do in Ottawa.

Despite the fact that Ignatieff himself was literally on vacation when his office was lecturing the Tories on the concept of work during the Parliamentary pause, many observers either are ignorant or purposefully neglectful of the truth when it comes to the responsibilities of MPs.

I spoke with an MP yesterday — perceived to be on vacation by the Ottawa press gallery and Liberals — whose backlogged caseload includes a large number of Haitian adoptions.

The glorious life of an MP isn’t just limited to heckling other Members in the House of Commons. Funny that the decorum of Parliament is mourned when the House of Commons is in session while democracy is declared dead when Members are given more time to accomplish casework in their ridings or elsewhere.

Take Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis who is not “on vacation” despite the bleatings of his fellow members of caucus. Karygiannis is currently in India “not working” on the work surrounding the case of Parminder Singh Saini, a convicted terrorist who was deported from Canada. Karygiannis is also in India for other MP related matters. Here is the report from PunjabNewsline.

Canadian MP visits Guru Aasra trust in Punjab, defends deportation of Saini
Punjab Newsline Network

Thursday, 28 January 2010

MOHALI: Jim Karygiannis M.P of canada visited Guru Aasra trust here Thursday on an invitation by SAD Panch Pardhani. Members of different religious,political and human rights organization questioned M.P regarding deportation of Parminder singh Saini convicted for hijacking plane. Saini was depoted to India from Canada on Wednesday.

First Ignatieff condemns Conservatives of taking vacation from his high horse stabled in the barn of his villa in the south of France, and now his own Member is — by the Liberal definition — “on vacation” in India.

Greenhouse gases over Copenhagen

We’re only partway through the conference in Copenhagen and there has already been criticism of the size of the so-called carbon footprint left by delegates. From flights, to limos to the food imported to feed everyone, the eco-conference is an eco-disaster isn’t it? And if there’s no deal, what was it all for?

Brazil has sent over 700 delegates to the conference while the tiny island nation of Tuvalu has sent 20. Each delegate represents just 750 Tuvaluvians who earn an average of $2000 per year. Presuming there aren’t many direct flights from Tuvalu to Copenhagen, travel costs, let alone hotel costs, would seem to me to be quite prohibitive for the island’s treasury.

The United Nations boasts 30,123 registered delegates and 2,941 media passes granted.

That’s a lot of dead polar bears.

Iggy skips out of economic conference to go back to Harvard?

“If I am not elected, I imagine that I will ask Harvard to let me back” — Michael Ignatieff to the Harvard Crimson published November 30th, 2005

Given Michael Ignatieff’s recent troubles in the polls it appears that he is retreating to his safety zone.

Here is the October 15th media advisory from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce listing Michael Ignatieff among the distinguished speakers to discuss “Canada’s competitive edge and economic prosperity” on October 21st. Michael Ignatieff is scheduled for the 8:10am timeslot where the Liberal leader is scheduled to discuss, “Canada on the world stage: keys to success”.

But here is today’s updated schedule for the same event:

Bob Rae is now listed in the 8:10am timeslot and Michael Ignatieff is off the schedule. Why would the Liberal leader skip out on a discussion about Canada’s future economic prosperity? The economy is the #1 issue to Canadians and Mr. Ignatieff has been trying to outline an economic agenda so that the Liberals can compete with the Conservatives in the next election, or at least outline their agenda before the next budget. So, did the Liberal leader have a better offer?

It appears that he did.

Michael Ignatieff is scheduled to speak on a panel at Harvard to some friends at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy on Wednesday October 21st. Ignatieff is scheduled to speak on a panel titled “Why Human Rights Matter: Human Rights as Public Service”.

UPDATE: Now, we learn from David Akin that “OLO calls to say organizers jumped the gun Iggy staying in ottawa”

How did “organizers [jump] the gun” when Ignatieff was scheduled to speak at a conference, but then days later he is removed and replaced by Bob Rae? It appears that the schedule change could have been deliberate to fit Iggy’s opportunity to return to Harvard to give a talk to his fellow Crimsons.

This incident is reminiscent of Michael Ignatieff’s jaunt to the UK to deliver the Isaiah Berlin lecture in the summer while some Canadians wondered why he wasn’t politicking at home.

Stephen Harper skipped out on a crazy Muammar Gaddafi speech at the U.N. to return to Canada to discuss the economy and he got an earful from concerned Liberals. Until just minutes ago, Michael Ignatieff appeared to be skipping out on a Canadian economic discussion to fly to the US to speak on a human rights panel.

Ironic press release of the day

The Liberal Party put out this release today:

OTTAWA –The Harper government must stop their ongoing complicity in human rights abuses against Omar Khadr by bringing him back to Canada, Liberal MPs said today.

“An independent report has just found that Canada’s spy agency failed to take human rights concerns into account when interrogating Mr. Khadr,” said Liberal Consular Affairs Critic Dan McTeague. “This finding strengthens the case for bringing Mr. Khadr home and calls for stronger government oversight on how CSIS conducts its business.”

SIRC, which is the oversight body that monitors the work of CSIS on behalf of Parliament, reported this week that CSIS ignored human rights concerns when interrogating Omar Khadr at Guantanamo Bay prison.

Ah yes, who was the minister responsible for CSIS at the time of Omar Khadr’s interrogation? Khadr was interrogated and filmed by CSIS during February 2003. Wayne Easter was solicitor general of the Liberal government at the time.

Here’s CP:

OTTAWA — Canada’s spy watchdog says the Canadian Security Intelligence Service may need major changes after finding it ignored concerns about human rights and Omar Khadr’s young age in deciding to interview the Toronto-born teen at a U.S. military prison.

By Liberal logic, if the “Harper government” is complicit to human rights abuses by not bringing Khadr home, the Liberals are most complicit for having ministerial oversight over CSIS when the alleged abuse took place.

And then, the Liberals go on to lecture the Conservatives (their leader is a human rights expert, so I’m told):

Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae said the Harper government’s record on standing up for Canadian citizens abroad shows that they either don’t care about the expectations of a “contemporary democratic society,” or they don’t understand them.

“Whatever the case, it is unacceptable, and their complicity in human rights violations around the world must stop,” said Mr. Rae, adding that Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan’s response to the report was highly inadequate. “Our laws make it very clear how Mr. Khadr should have been treated. Clearly, there needs to be better oversight on how CSIS conducts its business overseas. And clearly he must be brought home.”