Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Canadian Soldier Coming in From the Cold

Do you admire the Canadian Forces?

Are you pleased to see our men and women in uniform on the streets?

More and more Canadians would say, "Yes," to both of these questions.

There was a time not very long ago when the Canadian Soldier was very much at the bottom of the ladder.

That perception and the acceptance that comes with it is changing dramatically.

Michael Valpy has written a fascinating piece today examining this shift and our "embracing of the warrior culture."

Particularly interesting was the following:

"Warriors were the centrepiece attraction at a black-tie dinner titled True Patriot Love held in Toronto on Nov. 10, organized by some of the city's super-wealthy with $750-a-head tickets and an auction that raised more than $1-million for Mr. Hillier's Military Families Fund."

Could that have been possible even 10 years ago? I don't think so.

Very few people want war.

Some do, but that's another story.

Few of us want war, but most of us realize the cold reality of a harsh and often hostile world.

There are real dangers and it is our necessity to have a well-equipped and honorable and honored standing fighting force.

We needn't blindly worship these men and women. Nor should we revile them or diminish them, as we too often have in the recent past.

One of the worst and dumbest faces of a week-kneed liberalism - that can only flourish in the safety and luxury of a peaceful social order - is the citizenry who scoffs at its military.

These comments are not a reflection on foreign policy or an excuse for not asking for the same transparency from the military that we demand from other government offices.

Costs of Recovery

Wendy Stueck has written an excellent and compelling report in today's Globe about the Burnaby Centre for Mental health and Addictions.

She argues persuasively that the Centre is doing some truly good work in helping some hard case people to get clean and sober.

I admire their efforts and cheer them on.

But there is a small catch.

The cost per bed per annum at this facility is in excess of $125, 000.

Critics of treatment often charge that treatment is too expensive.

My first response is I am happy to pay whatever it takes to do this difficult and necessary work.

But I add this.

The Behavioural Health Foundation in Manitoba is doing exactly the same work with better demonstrable results for $50,000 per bed per annum.

BHF is the oldest and leading Therapeutic Community in Canada.

Other TC's in Canada operate on similarly smaller budgets than the Burnaby Centre.

They are able to do this because they use so many recovering addicts as staff.

Praise the Burnaby Centre, but note that less can be more.

The Sponsorship Scandal - Quiet Please

I copy herein in full the Globe story of the crook who wept and gnashed his teeth at his sentencing yesterday.

I add that we are not moved.


OTTAWA From Saturday's Globe and Mail

Adman Gilles-André Gosselin had the gall at the time of the sponsorship program to frequently charge taxpayers for more than 24 hours of work in a single day.

The move was part of a systematic attempt to squeeze every penny out of federal contracts, even if it meant making up timesheets and fake invoices.

For his crimes against taxpayers, whom he defrauded of $655,000, a sobbing Mr. Gosselin was sent to a federal prison yesterday to serve a sentence of two years plus a day.

His lawyer said Mr. Gosselin, 62, is bankrupt and suffers from depression, heart problems and sleep apnea.

Madam Justice Lise Maisonneuve took those factors into account, but she insisted on a jail sentence, saying the one-time journalist was educated and well aware that he was committing fraud as president of his advertising firm from 1997 to 2000.

Mr. Gosselin said little during the 11/2-hour hearing, except to plead guilty at the start and to express remorse at the end.

"I'm sorry, I apologize," he said in tears, unable to add anything else.

Mr. Gosselin's firm, Gosselin Strategic Communications, was a major player in the sponsorship program, overseeing federal visibility at 500 events that received government funding.

He made $4-million from 1997 to 2000, but his remuneration was obtained in part through the submission of 81 fake invoices to Public Works Canada.

The court heard yesterday that Mr. Gosselin had instructed his staff to overcharge the government to maximize his company's revenues.

On the Dial

One of the best things on television these days isn't on television, it's about television.

So why isn't someone televising it?

The CRTC hearings over the dogfight between the broadcasters and the cable companies is a laugh riot and filled with great quotes day after exasperating day.

But Jim Shaw gets the award with the following addressed to Ivan Fecan, the president of CTV Globemedia:

“You're the CEO of CTV. You're owned by the richest family in Canada, and yet you've never, ever come and seen me … never, ever come to Calgary,” he said of Mr. Fecan, whose company also owns The Globe and Mail. “You can't even get your arse on a plane and come out and see me. Come on.”

Shaw has said that he is tired, very tired, and Konrad von Finkenstein, the CRTC chair says that he is sick.

Between them, they are sick and tired.


"Good morning, Sicken Tired. How may I direct your call?"

If they think they are sick and tired, try being an average popcorn consumer of Canadian Cable TV and paying a fortune for Seinfeld reruns.