Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Ontario in decline! (Maybe.)

ontario-could-lose-20070803 According to this article in the National Post, some think-tank economist has decided Ontario's position is threatened.
In his analysis, Mr. Orr said that in the mid-1980s, Ontario's standard of living was 15% above the Canadian average, and for a time was briefly tied for first with Alberta in 1986 and 1987. But that has dropped, to roughly 9% above the national average in 2002 and only 7% last year. And it is set to fall farther, according to Global Insight's forecast, to 5.5% above average this year and only 4% by 2010.
The problem with this kind of argument is that Ontario is so large within the Canadian picture that it more or less defines the average.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Department of Finance and Google Ads

Many odd-balls and cranks inhabit the internet: that is no surprise. The oddest and crankiest add radio their repetoire. Exhibit A, Craig Chandler of Freedom Radio Network. Exhibit B, Doug Aldridge of Doug, as he tells us, spent 26 years in various radio jobs until becoming the Reform candidate in Leeds-Grenville in 1997.

Aldridge now has an internet radio show, where you'll find a collection of the usual suspects: recent interviewees include Gerry Nicholls (formerly of the Taxpayers Federation), Pierre Bourque (Nascar Driver and would-be Drudge), and "the true story of how the Dominion Day tradition was hi-jacked by 13 sneaky Liberals". Interesting! (Or perhaps not.)

Also interesting is the ads on the side. Adwords, in case you didn't know it, are how Google makes much of its money. Advertisers buy an ad, and then pay Google for every internet surfer who clicks on the link and goes to the site. Google uses complex algorithm to place ads where they are most likely to be clicked, and then pays the site-owner (blogger, etc.) on a per click basis.

The top on of these ads leads to a webpage at the Dept. of Finance touting a presentation of Flaherty on Income Trusts under the heading of Tax Fairness Plan. Click through (thus earning both Google and Mr. Aldridge a few cents and you find yourself at Minister Flaherty’s presentation on Income Trusts to the Finance Committee – January 30, 2007

But why is the Department of Finance paying to advertise this page and on a pay-per-click basis?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I hate …

… can't even say the word

And the further one has to ______, the more unpleasant the task of _____ing.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lemire's motion to subpoena Bell

Below is the motion of Marc Lemire applying that Bell Canada be subpoenaed for information about an IP address that at some point had been associated with "jadewarr", a pseudonym used by Dean Steacy of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. (I've placed copies here to function as archive; the original was posted at Lemire's own site:

Here is a text version that should be easier to search.
    Motion by Marc Lemire for Subpoena of Bell Canada ’s Records to Ascertain identity of Stormfront User Account “Jadewarr”

    May 14, 2007
    Re: Warman v. Lemire, Tribunal No. T1073/5405

    To: Canadian Human Rights Tribunal,

    This is a motion by the respondent for a subpoena of Bell Canada for all documents and information concerning the IP Address

    The facts which form the basis of this motion are as follows:

    On December 12, 2006, during questioning of Richard Warman by Paul Fromm in the matter of Warman v. Beaumont, he asked about an exhibit filed by the Commission from the Stormfront website which was headed “Welcome, Jadewarr”. Mr. Warman testified that it came from the Commission.

    T1106-8705 2006-12-12 Warman-Beaumont

    CHRC attempts to put into evidence a post from Stormfront entitled “ Italy for Italians” at Tab 17. Warman V. Beaumont. The top of the page showed the login name as “Jadewarr’

      MR. FROMM: Can you explain what that is, "Welcome, Jadewarr?
      MR. WARMAN: It appears to be a name that was logged in under.
      MR. FROMM: By whom?
      MR. WARMAN: I'm sorry, I don't know.
      (Page 273, Transcripts)

      MR. FROMM: Is it your testimony, then, that it's a Commission document?
      MR. WARMAN: It originates with the Commission. I do not know its providence.
      (Page 275, transcripts)

    • The person using the account “jadewarr” on Stormfront has attempted to engage Marc Lemire in public conversations on the message board;
    • The person using the account “jadewarr” has engaged a person using the account “fenrisson” numerous times in private conversations on the Stormfront system;
    • The Stormfront “fenrisson” user posts have been used at least twice by the Commission to dismiss complaints against Richard Warman and CAERS as “vexatious”;
    • In March, 2007, Marc Lemire requested and received the e-mail address, IP address, hostname and access to the Stormfront account “jadewarr” from the owner of the Stormfront website, Mr. Don Black
    • The information regarding “jadewarr” provided by Mr. Don Black was as follows:
      • IP Address:
      • Host Name
      • E-Mail address used:

    • During the hearings in Ottawa on May 10, 2007 , the Commission claimed Section 37 of the Canada’s Evidence Act over questions relating to the Stormfront Account “Jadewarr”

      The respondent is requesting a subpoena of Bell Canada ’s records to ascertain the user account and subscriber information for the following:
      • User account and subscriber information for the user of IP Protocol address:, with hostname, that was connected to the Bell Sympatico and/or Bell Canada network on: December 8th, 2006 at 03:29 PM (EST) (Also Known as: 3:29 PM “ Ontario time” to Bell Canada Corporate Security)

    • It is submitted that this information is relevant to the hearing of the constitutional issues in this case as it shows the activities of the Commission under section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act are going far beyond attempting to ameliorate discrimination, and are impacting the fairness of its procedures, the rights of complainants and respondents both, and the guarantees to Charter rights.

      The Commission appears to be actively engaging with respondents on message boards, in particular with relevance to this case, Mr. Lemire. The respondent should be able to question Commission witnesses concerning these matters upon the resumption of the hearing in Ottawa in June if in fact “Jadewarr” is proven to be the Commission.

(Note: I've back-dated this in blogger to its original composition date.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

May 10, 2007: Dean Steacy's CHRT testimony

Below is a section of the transcripts from Dean Steacy's testimony from May 10, 2007 (Warman v. Lemire, T1073/5405, vol. 21, pp. 4792).

(This post has been back-dated to the date of the testimony for archival purposes.)

MS KULASZKA: Mr. Steacy, you were talking before about context and how important it is when you do your investigation. What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate one of these complaints?

p. 4792, line 24

MR. STEACY: Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value. 4
MS KULASZKA: Okay. That was a clear answer. 6
MR. STEACY: It's not my job to give value to an American concept. 8
MS KULASZKA: I will give you an example. The AOL complaints you spoke about earlier and you said that they dealt with postings about the same-sex marriage debate. Is that right? 10
MR. STEACY: Yes. 15
MS KULASZKA: Did you give any kind of consideration to the fact that people were participating in a political debate at the time? 16
MR. STEACY: Yes. 19
MS KULASZKA: How did you do so? 20
MR. STEACY: In evaluating the information or the postings that were given by the posters, what was looked at were the arguments that were being made by the complainant and/or the respondent, and basically the positions of the parties. In one case, one of the respondents put the issue forward of freedom of expression. That was part of his defence, and what he had posted was what he had posted. That information was provided to the complainant for his comment, and, again, based on the facts raised or the information provided by both parties, that is what was presented in the investigation report. I didn't make a value judgment as to whether or not the complainant or the respondent -- that the positions they were taking were right or wrong, I presented both parties' positions. My job is not to evaluate the intent or the reasons why the individual posted what he posted, or evaluate the reasons why the complainant is complaining. He has made an allegation and my job is to investigate whether it happened and, based on the pertinent facts, I come up with a recommendation, and that recommendation is presented to the Commission and the Commission makes the decision to deal with it or not to deal with it, and it recommends what it is allowed to recommend. p. 4793, line 21
MS KULASZKA: Do you take into account, for instance, in that case, that there is a political debate, it is very heated, and that people might get emotional about it? p. 4794, line 23
MR. STEACY: Yes, that was one of the factors that was taken into account in one of the cases. But, at the same point in time, the comments and how far they went, and where they went, and the level of the intensity that they went, was also factored into the position of the parties. p. 4795, line 2
MS KULASZKA: So if someone claims freedom of speech for what they said, it is rejected out of hand? 9
MR. STEACY: If somebody is claiming freedom of expression, it is not rejected. As I said, freedom of speech is an American concept, it is not a Canadian concept. If somebody said, "I am doing this because of freedom of speech," I would equate that to somebody raising a freedom of expression concept. 12
MS KULASZKA: But you do realize that freedom of expression is protected under the Charter of Rights in Canada. 19
MR. STEACY: To a point it is. 22
MS KULASZKA: Yes, so I am asking you if you try to balance these values, these rights, in an investigation of section 13. 23
MS DAVIES: Mr. Chair, is the witness being asked to do a constitutional analysis? It is not his job to determine whether section 13 is constitutional, he just applies it. p. 4796, line 1
THE CHAIR: Yes, I understand that. That is clear, but I think it is important to understand how the Commission undertakes its investigations. I think that is what is being asked for here, on what basis does he exercise his duties to make recommendations. That's understood. It is certainly quite enlightening to hear what he is saying. Go ahead. 6
MR. STEACY: What specific type of language am I allowed to use? 16
THE CHAIR: You are free to use any language you want. 18
MR. STEACY: I mean profane language. 20
THE CHAIR: Oh, it's permissible, given the nature of the subject matter. You may use profane language. 21
MR. STEACY: If, for example, a posting says, "Every gay person should be taken out and whacked because they are butt fuckers," like was in some of the postings, in my interpretation, in the training I received, that goes beyond what is allowable. If somebody writes in a posting, "I disagree with gay marriages because my religious beliefs tell me that it's against my religion," that's freedom of expression. 24
MS KULASZKA: Do you take into account on message boards that people are sitting in their homes and they perceive message boards as being a private space? p. 4797, line 9
MR. STEACY: No. 13
MS KULASZKA: Do you take into account the fact that they believe they are conversing with other people? 14
MR. STEACY: Yes, I do. 17
MS KULASZKA: How do you take that into account? 18
MR. STEACY: Regardless of the fact that you are conversing with somebody else, you don't have the right to say absolutely anything you desire, especially when it's in a written format. 20
MS KULASZKA: Would you agree that a lot of this material, like the example you just gave, is almost barroom talk? If you were in a bar, you could hear this kind of talk. 24
MR. STEACY: Yes, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable. p. 4798, line 4
MS KULASZKA: No, it doesn't mean that it's acceptable, but it is the equivalent, isn't it? 6
MS KULASZKA: Except one is written and one is oral. 10
MR. STEACY: Yes. 12
MS KULASZKA: I am going to give you an example. This is something from my personal experience. This is a friend who had retired and her husband was driving her crazy, because he had retired, too, and she was complaining to someone I know about it, and she said, "You know, I think I'm going to have to shoot the bugger." She was talking about her husband, because he kept following her around their apartment. In an oral conversation it's humorous, but what if she had put that on a message board? 13
MR. STEACY: I would think that the police might think there had been a death threat made. 25
MS KULASZKA: That's right. It would stop being funny. It would stop being a little profane, but funny, a bit of a joke, and it would become quite serious, simply because it's written. Is that right? p. 4799, line 2
MR. STEACY: Yes. 7
MS KULASZKA: Do you ever take into account that context? 8
MR. STEACY: Yes, I do, and I have. 10
MS KULASZKA: Do you take into account the fact that people who post on a message board are not part of a large-scale scheme to promote hatred? 11
MR. STEACY: Again, it depends on the case. It depends on what was posted on the board. It depends on what the allegations of the complaint are. 15

Thursday, April 26, 2007