Thursday, January 27, 2011

Apocalypse deferred (indefinitely)

In 2005, right-wing bloviator and professional Islamophobe Mark Steyn wrote an article for the Jewish World Review with the title ("U.S. can sit back and watch Europe implode"), which adumbrated the argument of his book, America Alone, that Europe was in the process of being overrun by Muslims. Money quote from Steyn's article:
"By some projections, the EU's population will be 40 percent Muslim by 2025."
These projections has never been clearly exlained (for some speculation, see here), but (as I've pointed out before) the figures are wildly wrong, as is clear from a a recent study by the PewForum (here), which places the Muslim population of Europe at barely a fraction of Steyn's number:
"In Europe as a whole, the Muslim share of the population is expected to grow by nearly one-third over the next 20 years, rising from 6% of the region’s inhabitants in 2010 to 8% in 2030."
The difference is, frankly, enormous and leaves Steyn's analysis is shreds.

(h/t Dawg)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Harper lowers expectations

In today's speech celebrating his five years as Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is reported to have said: “We are in this minority government. We haven’t been able to pass what we want to pass. But that doesn’t mean we have forgotten … there will be an elected senate and we will get rid of that wasteful, ineffective long-gun registry.”

As a wish-list for a future majority this is noteworthy for two reasons. First, it is surprisingly thin: senate reform and the gun registry are pretty small issues in an age where we have Canadian soldiers stationed overseas and a $56 billion dollar deficit.

The second reason is that, unlike the gun registry (which Harper could kill with a majority), an elected Senate is not. Even with a Parliamentary majority, true senate reform would require a constitutional amendment, and to get that, Harper would have to negotiate with the provinces, and there is no reason to think that this is in the cards.

Given that Senate Reform is impossible, is this all that Harper can offer in his majority? No gun control?